The Allure of the Hummingbird

Along with so many others out there in Blog Land, I too have succumbed to the allure of the Hummingbird Dress by Rabbit Rabbit Creations.

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

I mean, what do my girls need more that another summer dress???  Haha.  But . . . with a perfect pattern like this, how could I resist?

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

After reading in a blog post about sewing little girl dresses out of vintage sheets, whenever I have a little extra time before picking the girls up from school, I’ll stop by the local thrift shore and check out what’s on the racks.  I’ve been amazed by what I find in there for about $3 a pop.  If you really look, you can find the cutest prints on the softest stuff that’s been washed jillions of times.  And one sheet is enough to make at least two dresses.

These particular sheets had been sitting in my stash for a while, waiting for the right dress to come along.  I can’t get over these strawberries — don’t they take you right back to 1976?

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

One advantage to a print like this, aside of ultimate cuteness, is it’s ability to hide ketchup stains.  Bet you can’t find ’em!

Both of the sheets I used probably have a little bit of polyester in there, which gives them this gorgeous, flowy drape.

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

This pattern offers three different skirt fullness options.  For Lulu (in the strawberries), I opted for ultimate fullness.  Kiki prefers less drama, so for her I opted for medium fullness.

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

I couldn’t believe that I happened to have a piece of broadcloth the perfect compliment color for Kiki’s straps, as well as the same color as her hair.  Sometimes, dresses are just meant to be.

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

I came into a bit of trouble when it was time to attach the skirt to the bodice.  The method given in the instructions seemed pretty much impossible to achieve.  So, I googled to see if anyone else had run into the same problem.  Wouldn’t you know, I was not alone.

There’s an amazing tute on Glitter + Wit that will show you how to easily achieve a lovely enclosed seam!!!  But, do yourself a favor and read through this tutorial before you sew, so that you don’t have to grab your seam ripper and backtrack like I did — because in this alternate method, you need to attach the skirt before inserting the elastic.  Thanks, Tasha!

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

Erin from Hungie Gungie also mentions that  1/2″ needs to be added to the height of the bodice piece (and lining), as it doesn’t quite match up with the front bodice.  Quite right!

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

When I sew this dress up again, I’ll follow Rachel’s advice and will raise the neckline up a bit and will add 2 inches to the back bodice, as it sits a little bit tight.  I wonder if she also added 2 inches to the elastic as well — probably so?

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

Also, be sure to choose your size according to chest measurement.  For the six year old Kiki’s bodice, I cut a size 4 width and size 6 length.  Lulu (4) got a straight up size 4.

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

On a sticky summer afternoon with the cicadas singing, when the fish are jumping and the cotton is high, you can’t do better than fall for the allure of the Hummingbird!

Hummingbird Dress, Rabbit Rabbit Creations, Vintage Sheet

 

 

The Geranium Dress – The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Geranium Dress, Made By Rae, Michael Miller, Brambleberry Ridge Flight, Brambleberry Ridge Shimmer Reflection Mint

Made By Rae’s Geranium Dress is what really got me started compulsively sewing for my girls about four years ago.  The first time I poked around the internet looking for patterns, I came across this beautiful version from Gail.  I was completely smitten by the silhouette of the dress and her sophisticated choice of fabric.  It was as if the clouds parted and I saw all the possibilities out there for kid sewing.

Since then, I’ve made at least a dozen Geraniums for my own kids and their friends.  Every time I think I’ve exhausted all the options in this pattern, I think of something else to try.

Here are the ones that have made it into the blog . . .  (There are more out there!!!)

Well, it just happened again . . .

On the occasion of Kiki’s sixth birthday, I decided that she needed a dress that is as grownup as she is.

I took a look around and found this very awesome version of the Matinee Dress from the Crazy Tailor.  In its original form, I think that the Matinee Dress is a bit too low in the back for my taste, but the Crazy Tailor did such a nice job of raising the back up just enough – and that bow!  How awesome!

I thought for a moment about buying the Matinee pattern and hacking it in the same way.  But then it occurred to me that I could do the same thing with, wait for it, the Geranium.

While dreaming this up, I also remembered this Geranium from Girl Like the Sea, which has a similar shaped back.  I didn’t need to be convinced any further.

Geranium Dress, Made By Rae, Michael Miller, Brambleberry Ridge Flight, Brambleberry Ridge Shimmer Reflection Mint

It was easy as pie to scoop out the back of the bodice and tuck in some ribbon before sewing the bodice and lining together.

Kiki’s choice of fabric (chosen from a selection carefully curated by your truly, ahem) was from Michael Miller’s Brambleberry Ridge line – Flight on top and Shimmer Reflection on the bottom.  I was very impressed that she bypassed the pink and chose the mint colorway.  I think she’s growing up, guys.

Geranium Dress, Made By Rae, Michael Miller, Brambleberry Ridge Flight, Brambleberry Ridge Shimmer Reflection Mint

In case you can’t see it clearly in the photos, the gold birds and dots are all metallic and shimmery.  Very fancy!

Geranium Dress, Made By Rae, Michael Miller, Brambleberry Ridge Flight, Brambleberry Ridge Shimmer Reflection Mint

The flower crown is all Kiki’s doing.  This flower crown kit was one of her favorite Christmas gifts this year, and she’s had so much fun making and wearing her own crowns.  She decided that her handiwork would be the perfect accessory here.  Too true!

Geranium Dress, Made By Rae, Michael Miller, Brambleberry Ridge Flight, Brambleberry Ridge Shimmer Reflection Mint

Now that the Geranium is available up to size 12, I’m definitely going to keep it handy.  Who knows what will come out of it next? . . .

 

It All Started at Ikea: Part 2

A few months after Kiki’s custom hacked Ikea Kura Bed was done, the complaints began — despite her delight in the beginning.  She didn’t like climbing the ladder.  She didn’t like sleeping on the bottom.  Yada yada yada.  You can imagine my dismay.  How could this be???

Um, no, you cannot have another bed.  Don’t even think about it.  Not after everything I went through to create the thing — and let’s not even talk about the expense after buying the bed, the fabric, the ill fated Drummel tool and all those emergency distress calls to the handyman.

Here’s a little reminder of what we’re talking about . . .

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

The complaints kept on coming.  “The bed’s not comfortable, Mom.  What can you doooooo??”

This is the problem with being a mom who creates things on demand.  Expectations can get a bit out of control.

Then it occurred to me — the Kura Bed is meant to be reversible.  Maybe I could flip it, and that would solve Kiki’s issues.

By flipping the bed, I mean changing it from this . . .

Kura Bed 1

. . . to this . . .

Kura Bed 2

I mean, how hard could it be??? (Hahaha.)

I discussed this plan with the customer, and she agreed that flipping the bed would be an acceptable (and free) alternative.

Of course, one cannot just turn the bed upside down and call it a day — especially if panels are covered with directional fabric, ahem.

It became clear that the frame would have to be taken apart completely and that the panels would need to be flipped and reconfigured.  And it would have to be reassembled in such a way as to put the ladder on the side of the bed that sits against the wall.  This would take some brain power to figure out.  And there would be more elbow grease involved.

In truth, it took some time for me to accept this cruel fact.

After a brief mourning period, I wiped away the tears and stated to take the bed apart.  It was too painful a process to document with photography, so you’ll just have to use your imagination to picture the grisly scene.  And the cursing.  There was so much cursing that I had to send all children out of earshot until the project was complete . . . again.

In the end, I came up with this . . .

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

Don’t tell Kiki, but I really do like this version better than the original.

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

At night, when we turn on the twinkle lights for bedtime stories, it really is magical.

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane FabricIkea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

I love the mermaids hanging out on the bottom of the bed.  You might miss them if you aren’t paying attention.

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

Word to the wise — if you go this route with the Kura bed, be very careful to remember to bend your head down when getting into it, especially when running and jumping exuberantly.  Knocking your head on the top of the frame can be brutal.  Really brutal.  So far, this has only happened once.

Ikea Kura Loft Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Sarah Jane Fabric

Guess what.  Kiki’s now asking for curtains like the ones I put on Lulu’s bed.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Figures🙂

It All Started at Ikea: Part One

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

About a year and a half ago, it was time to find a big girl bed for Lulu.  We’d long ago taken the side of the crib off so that she could sleep toddler bed style, but she kept falling out (poor girl).   After a big bruise on the noggin, we knew it was high time for a different sleeping arrangement.

So I hopped onto Pinterest to see what’s out there, and I came across this loverly pin from Gail.  A few more minutes of clicking led me to this pin, and I was definitely hooked.

The Ikea Kura Bunk Bed.  It’s such a great idea.  The draw for me was a combination of cuteness, creative possibility and an opportunity for Lulu to sleep in a bed that is essentially a mattress on the floor with no possibility of falling out.  The other plus is that Lulu’s room is smaller than Kiki’s, and a bed like this gives more playing space in a small room.

If you want to be amazed, check out this Pinterest search filled to the brim with about a zillion genius hacks on this bed.

Of course I couldn’t just buy this bed, assemble it and call it a day like a normal person.  That would be way too easy and economical.  I had to customize.

And, of course I couldn’t stop with just one bed.  Kiki wanted in on the action, too.  Who wouldn’t, really.  Customizing an awesome bed for her sister and not for her seemed cruel.  So two beds it was.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

I decided right away that I wanted to paint the frames white, and that I wanted to cover the panels with fabric.  I gave both girls a carefully curated selection of fabrics to choose from.  Lulu chose Sarah Jane’s Wee Wander Summer Nights in twilight and On Parade, and Kiki chose Heather Ross’ Far Far Away Unicorns in green and Sarah Jane’s Out to Sea Mermaids in blossom.

My husband watched the kids while I drove out to Ikea and bought the beds.  When I got them home and opened the boxes, I was completely horrified by the number of frame pieces that required sanding, priming and painting for two beds (if I really wanted the beds to be white, which I did.)  The girls would be in high school before I’d ever finish this painting.

Emergency Distress Call to Handyman #1 — Dear Handyman, can you please, please, please sand, prime and paint all 100,000 pieces of bed frame and save me countless hours and frustration, as I’m not really that good at it myself???  Answer — yes.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ok, so a couple days later, I have a huge pile of freshly painted bed pieces up in Lulu’s bedroom.  Time to finish up my cappuccino, roll up my sleeves and get crackin.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Here’s how I did it . . .

The way this bed works is that it’s basically a wood frame with thin fiberboard panels that slide into groovess in the frame.  The first thing to do, then, is to cover your panels with fabric (or wallpaper or whatever).

Survival Tip #1 — You’ll  notice that some of the wood frame pieces are labeled with numbers.  If you decide to paint your frame, be sure to write in your numbers in Sharpie.  If you don’t, you might end up killing yourself when it’s time to put the thing together.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

I got myself some good fabric glue.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

As you can see, it’s not cheap.  But in this case, I think you’ve got to use the good stuff.

Next, I cut my fabric about one inch wider than the first panel on all sides.  Then, I squeezed on that glue.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Then, I adhered my fabric onto the panel, making sure to smooth it out really thoroughly and tightly.  It should look something like this . . .

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Next, I trimmed the fabric so that I could glue the fabric to the edges of the panel without overhang.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Then, I squeezed glue along the top, bottom and side edges of the panel and folded the fabric over, faking it on the corners.  I think I ended up trimming the fabric on the corners to avoid excess bulk.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Then, I repeated the same thing on the other side of the panel.  I ended up with this.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

After covering all seven panels, it was time to assemble the thing.  I’m sure you know what that’s like.

Survival Tip #2 — If you accidentally and inexplicably knock a hole into one of your panels, don’t panic.  Just cover it with duct tape and pretend it never happened.  Here you see the back of the panel that goes against the wall, so no one ever sees it anyway🙂

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Then, trouble arose.  When I tried to slide the panels into the grooves on the frame, the gd things didn’t budge.  The addition of the fabric and the glue made them too thick for the grooves.  Double crap.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

I took a deep breath and ran like the wind to the hardware store, where a very well meaning clerk suggested I purchase a Drummel Tool, with which I could allegedly plane the grooves to be wide enough to accommodate the now thicker panels.  Ok.

This did not go well.  If you’ve ever used a Drummel Tool (I had not, obviously), it’s like a crazy strong and (if you’re me) uncontrollable electric knife.  As soon as I touched the blade to a frame piece, wood shaving flew every which way and I managed to gouge up the thing in a terrible way.  I tried again.  It was worse.  I was afraid that three things would happen if I continued . . . 1) I’d ruin the bed, 2) I’d gouge up the wood floor in Lulu’s room, and 3) I’d maim myself.

Emergency Distress Call to Handyman #2 — Dear Handyman, can you please, please, please come and take back these frickin pieces of wood frame that you already painted and take them to your shop where you can properly plane them so that I can fit these panels in without anyone getting hurt???  Answer — yes.  (He took a panel with him so that he would know how much planing needed to happen.)

Once I got the planed frame pieces back from the most excellent, talented and patient handyman, things went much more smoothly.

After the bed was all assembled, I realized that two things were missing . . . lights and curtains, of course!

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

The curtains are just panels of $3/yard cotton gauze with a rod pocket sewn on top and zig-zagged edges attached with tension rods.  The rods do get pulled down periodically, but I haven’t come up with a better method.  No big deal.

The lights are attached with 3M Command hooks.  Aren’t those things just so handy?

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Here’s Lulu’s bed from underneath . . .

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

It’s pretty fun!

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Now that Lulu’s bed was all done, I got to do it all over again for Kiki — but this time without the steep learning curve.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Kiki opted for lights, but no curtains.

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

Ikea Kura Bed Hack, Heather Ross Fabric, Far Far Away, Sarah Jane Fabric, On Parade, Wee Wander

As my own mother often says “I wouldn’t do this for anyone else.”  This is love, my friends!

You might think this is the end of the saga of the beds.  But surprisingly, in the immortal words of Elephant & Piggie . . . “There’s more to my story!!!”

Stayed tuned for the next installment . . .

A Couple of Sommer Dresses

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Dress A Frilled Sleeves, Sarah Jane Fabric Sommer

Once Easter rolls around in our neck of the woods, we’re definitely ready for spring, even if the weather hasn’t quite caught up with our wishes.  A spring break trip to Florida was the perfect excuse to follow my heart and sew up a couple of decidedly spring/summer dresses.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Dress A Frilled Sleeves, Sarah Jane Fabric Sommer

I was pretty excited to cut into my brand new piece of Plockade in Summer from Sarah Jane’s new Sommer line.  This is a pretty cool line with lots of gorgeous prints on regular cotton as well and canvas and double gauze!  I’m for sure going to work my way through a couple more of these prints this summer — first up will be the same Plockade print, but in the navy colorway, as it has a completely different look.

One of the best things about this particular print is that it’s flowery and girly without being overly pinky-pink.  The pink flowers are actually more of a coral, making it a bit more sophisticated.  Don’t tell Kiki & Lulu.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Dress A Frilled Sleeves, Sarah Jane Fabric Sommer

The pattern is Dress A from Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids.  I think I’ve sewn up about 75% of the patterns from this book by now, and they are always pretty perfect.

But I do have to be careful with the sizing, since these patterns tend to be on the wide side, as far as I’m concerned.  For the almost six year old Kiki, I cut a size 4 width with a size 6 length.  And for the almost 4 year old Lulu, I cut a straight up size 4 (as she’s wider than her sister for some reason).  Both dresses fit just right.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Dress A Frilled Sleeves, Sarah Jane Fabric Sommer

Yes, my girls are still into matching dresses.  I suggested different patterns and/or different fabrics, but they were having none of it.  So matching dresses it is.  Sometimes it seems like that’s the only thing they can agree on these days🙂

Lulu was not at all excited about having her photo taken on this (particular day to say the least) — even with the promise of popsicles.  So I didn’t push the issue, and this is about the best I could do.  You’ll just have to use your imagination.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Dress A Frilled Sleeves, Sarah Jane Fabric Sommer

I found some very cute green transparent buttons in my stash that worked well on the back.

I tried a couple of different kinds of button loops — I thought about using narrow elastic and decided that was too fiddly.  Then, I tried out the button loop method outlined in the book, which led to disastrous results for me.  This method involves cutting a 1 3/4″ square, folding it in half on the bias, handstitching it 1/4″ from the fold, trimming and turning it out using the needle and thread still attached to the loop.  This took forever for me to figure out (you have to knot the thread at the end of the stitching before trying to turn it out — duh) and ended up with a way too short loop.  Ugh.  In the end, I went with the Oliver + S method — press a 1″ strip into doublefold bias tape and topstitch it closed, giving you a 1/4″ wide loop.  Easy.  It seems ridiculous that I spent so much time futzing around with something as silly as a button loop.  Ah well.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Dress A Frilled Sleeves, Sarah Jane Fabric Sommer

Both girls are happy with their dresses and can’t wait until it’s warm enough to actually wear them outside and run around barefoot.  The sad truth is that this is what’s happening in our backyard right now . . .

DSC_5692

. . . and it doesn’t look like we’re even close to being able to wear summery dresses yet.  But the day will come.  And when it does, we’ll be ready!

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Dress A Frilled Sleeves, Sarah Jane Fabric Sommer

Another Birdy Blouse

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Ribbon Tied Blouse c, Oliver + S Swingset SkirtIf you visit this blog much, you may recognize this wondrous bird fabric from its previous appearance a few days ago as an Oliver + S Class Picnic Blouse for Kiki.  Once that top was done, I just hadn’t had enough birds in my life — so I used every inch of what was left of the birds for a Ribbon Tied Blouse (pattern C) for Lulu from the very popular Japanese sewing book Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Ribbon Tied Blouse c, Oliver + S Swingset SkirtI’ve sewn a ton from this book and am nowhere near finished with it.  I have made this blouse before in a fabulous Japanese fish print, and it sadly didn’t get much wear.  I think I passed it onto one of Kiki’s preschool friends so that it might get the wear it deserved.  I’m hoping that Lulu will sport this one all spring and summer, and maybe even next year as well.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Ribbon Tied Blouse c, Oliver + S Swingset Skirt

On the bottom, Lulu is wearing her blue chambray Oliver + S Swingset Skirt.

This blouse is very simple to put together, especially after you’ve done it before.  It’s true that you do have to add in the seam allowances when tracing out your pattern, which is a pain in the butt, honestly.  But it’s really a small price to pay.  And now that I’ve added seam allowance many times before, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Ribbon Tied Blouse c, Oliver + S Swingset SkirtLulu’s measurements lie somewhere between a size 2 and size 4.  I tried on the size two dress I made for her two years ago from the same book, and it was a little snug in the chest, though wearable.  So I opted to go for a size 4, thinking there would be room to grow — which there definitely is.  But despite it’s extra blousy-ness in the size 4, I think this kid can pull it off.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Ribbon Tied Blouse c, Oliver + S Swingset Skirt

I love the yoke with gathers in the front and back and the slightly puffy sleeves.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Ribbon Tied Blouse c, Oliver + S Swingset Skirt

I had just the right shade of blue solid cotton in my stash to make up the bias tape for the neckline.  I cut the bias strips 1 1/2″ wide, rather than the 1 1/4″ suggested in the pattern, so that it would fit just right in my bias tape maker.  No prob.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Ribbon Tied Blouse c, Oliver + S Swingset Skirt

Now, where can I find a bird top for myself???

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids, Ribbon Tied Blouse c, Oliver + S Swingset Skirt

Aprons for Villagers

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

Is it me, or is there something about kids in aprons that just feels right?  I can’t explain it, but it’s true.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

I’ve been wanting to make my girls Bias Trimmed Aprons from the Oliver + S book Little Things to Sew for ages.  Kids Clothes Week, which wraps up today, was just the thing to make me deliver.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

I knew that there was a high likelihood that the aprons would go into heavy rotation right away, as Kiki and Lulu both love to play “Villagers” all the time — which is a game that came from an idea planted by Sofia the First.  (If you have a kid in your life who’s in the preschool/kindergarten set, you may know that Sofia starts out as a “girl in the village doin’ alright and became a princess overnight . . . now gotta figure out how to do it right . . . you know the rest.  So it follows that we must play Villagers.)  As everyone knows, Villagers wear aprons.  Kiki and Lulu have been making do with the cooking sort that came with their play kitchen.  But these aprons . . . these are authentic Villager all the way!!!!

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

True to form, Lulu was mostly unimpressed.  But Kiki — Kiki loves her apron more than words can say.  So far, she’s worn it to school, swimming lessons, out to lunch and to a birthday party, all within the two days that she’s had it.  It’s enough to bring a tear to the eye of a sewing mama.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

I’ve been trying to be a good citizen and sew exclusively from my stash for a while.  We recently put carpet in our basement, where my sewing set-up is, which precipitated a big reorganization of the fabric stash and a shocking realization of just how much I’ve accumulated over the past few years.  Both of these aprons came from that stash.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

Lulu’s apron is made from fabric leftover from crib sheets, bedspreads, quilts and curtains for Kiki’s bedroom.  I bought tons of extra just in case, and am now trying to find ways of using it.  It’s from the Meadowsweet line by Sandi Henderson for Michael Miller.  It’s from a bunch of years ago and might still be found on Etsy — but it’s mostly gone by now.  Despite seeing it everyday in Kiki’s room for the past five (almost six), I still just love it!!!

Both girls got mediums — meant for ages 3-6.  Somehow, it fits them both just fine!

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

Kiki’s apron is made from fabric that I saw online somewhere as someone’s Geranium Dress a year or so ago.  I hunted it down and bought a couple of yards and haven’t used it until now.  The selvage tells me that it’s Tiny Leaf Garland from Adorn It.  I think it’s just perfect for this project — and happily, I have plenty leftover for something else.  Since the print is non-directional, I was able to squeak this apron out of very little fabric.

The pockets are Robert Kaufman Chambray.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

About the pattern . . . it’s very simple to put together.  But I’m not going to lie.  It’s a shit load of bias tape, people.  If you’re not a fan of applying bias tape, this isn’t the apron for you.  But I kind of like it in a twisted sort of way, so it was fun for me🙂

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

True confession — when it comes to double fold bias binding, I’ve recently gotten into the nasty habit of just sandwiching it over the raw edge and sewing it once, instead of unfolding the bias tape and sewing raw edges together on the wrong side, flipping it over, and topstitching.  This is an evil shortcut.  I tried it with apron #1, which happened to be Kiki’s.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

It didn’t end up looking as professional as I had hoped.  The stitching is kind of uneven, and I had to go back and restitch places where the tape had slid off.  Not cool.  A light bulb went off in my thick skull and I wondered if applying the bias tape in the correct way would solve these issues.

The plus side of sewing two versions of the same pattern is that you get a do over right away.  So for Lulu’s apron, I went all out and sewed the bias tape with the proper two step method.  Low and behold, it came out so much better.  And wouldn’t you know, in the end it took less time.  Lesson learned.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

Just so you know, I used store bought red 1/4″ double fold bias tape for Kiki’s apron (which was fine), but made my own bias tape with my always awesome Clover bias tape maker  for Lulu’s to match the orange butterflies exactly.  If you don’t have one of these handy tools, get one!

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

I also ended up getting a Dritz Easy Attacher Kit to help with applying the snaps, as I’ve had trouble with this in the past.  I was looking for the Snap Setter, which is recommended by Oliver + S, but only found the Dritz version at Joann’s and decided to take a chance (since it was Kids Clothes Week and I didn’t want to wait for shipping).  It was definitely worth the $7 it cost and made hammering on those snaps a breeze.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

If your kid is up for a good game of Villager, you’d best get cracking on one of these aprons!

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Bias Trimmed Apron

 

 

 

Thinking Spring — A Class Picnic Blouse

Oliver + S, Class Picnic Blouse, Swingset Skirt, Michael Miller Flutter

It’s Kids Clothes Week time again — the perfect occasion to break out that fab fabric that’s been sitting in the stash and fire up an old favorite.

Oliver + S, Class Picnic Blouse, Swingset Skirt, Michael Miller Flutter

We need a little spring around here, so I decided to cut into this wonderful Birdies in Sky from Michael Miller’s Flutter line and put together an Oliver + S Class Picnic Blouse.

Oliver + S, Class Picnic Blouse, Swingset Skirt, Michael Miller Flutter

This is my third go at this pattern, so I had a pretty good idea of how it would come together.  I cut a size 5 width and size 6 length for Kiki, who’ll be turning six in May (what???).  The fit is superb — no big surprise there.

The only tweak I made to the pattern is the addition of the piping on the front and back.  (I neglected to take a good photo of the back — but it’s exactly the same as the front, the neck is just cut a bit higher back there.)  It’s pre-made piping that happened to be the exact shade of blue I wanted and was already sitting on my desk.  Hooray!

I did try it on Kiki to adjust the elastic on the shoulders before sewing it in — it’s a good thing to do if you can swing it.

Oliver + S, Class Picnic Blouse, Swingset Skirt, Michael Miller Flutter

The skirt Kiki is wearing is an Oliver + S Swingset Skirt that I made recently but never blogged.  I figured the blogging world has seen enough blue chambray Swingset Skirts over the last few years.  But here is is anyway.

Oliver + S, Class Picnic Blouse, Swingset Skirt, Michael Miller Flutter

To make it clear which side is the back, I hand stitched a little felt heart in the spot where one would normally find a tag.  This was an afterthought, and I had to stitch very carefully to be keep the thread going through the yoke facing only.  Next time, I’ll stitch one of these onto the facing piece before sewing the yoke together.

Oliver + S, Class Picnic Blouse, Swingset Skirt, Michael Miller Flutter

I’m happy to say that I have enough of this perfect fabric to whip something up for Lulu.  Springtime . . . here we come (I hope!)

Oliver + S, Class Picnic Blouse, Swingset Skirt, Michael Miller Flutter

Jackets!

Yes.  The holidays are over, and it’s January already.  What better time to show you the jackets I made for Kiki and Lulu for fall?  Ha!

Jackets 1

Both of these little ladies needed something cozy for brisk, windy fall days.  And since Kiki is off in kindergarten all day now and Lulu is hot on her trail, I wanted them both bundled up in something made with love from dear old Mom.

5&10 Designs Volume 2 Jacket

I’m way into corduroy these days, and it seemed to be just the thing for the exterior of these babies.  Both ladies chose their own colors, and both picked this fab orange.  At least I’ve taught them something!

5&10 Designs Jacket, Made By Rae Fanfare

For the lining, Kiki chose this Allison Cole Happy Camper flannel, which I can’t find any more of by now (since I bought this fabric back in September!).  It’s a cute print with little tents and teepees and campfires and woodsy critters — an interesting choice for a girl who lives in a decidedly non-camping family.  Oh ye gods, I hope she’s not trying to tell us something!!

5&10 Designs Volume 2 Jacket

5&10 Designs Jacket, Made By Rae Fanfare

For her cozy jacket’s innards, Lulu picked the always fabulous foxes from Made By Rae’s Fanfare Flannel in pink.  I have to say that I was so pleased with this pick!

5&10 Designs Volume 2 Jacket, Made By Rae Fanfare

5&10 Designs Jacket, Made By Rae Fanfare

Kiki got these wonderful green spangly buttons that coordinate with her lining.  They add a nice sparkle on a blustery day without going the way of the princess.

5&10 Designs Jacket, Made By Rae Fanfare

Lulu’s buttons are velvet covered and look like the eyes of the foxes inside🙂

5&10 Designs Volume 2 Jacket, Made By Rae Fanfare

Yes, after a couple of washes the flannel pills a little.  I have yet to find one that doesn’t.  That’s life.  It’s still the coziest stuff!

5&10 Designs Volume 2 Jacket, Made By Rae Fanfare

The pattern for both jackets comes from 5&10 Designs, Volume 2.

If you’re not familiar with 5&10 Designs, it’s a group of five bloggers who put out basic pattern blocks with instructions on how to hack them ten different ways.  They’ve put out three volumes, and this jacket is taken from the second volume — as was the coat I made for Kiki last year.

To put these jackets together, I started with the basic pattern block for Look One.  I made it longer and drew the sides out a little to create a more A-line shape.  I also made the facings for the button placket several inches wider.  The pattern calls for placket facings that end up being only about an inch wide, which may work for snaps but doesn’t cut it for buttons like these.  Here’s what Kiki’s last year coat ended up looking like with the narrow facings.

Five and Ten Designs Volume Two, 5 and 10 Designs Volume 2

Happily, I lived and learned.  Just look at them now!

5&10 Designs Volume 2 Jacket, Made By Rae Fanfare

I wanted to be sure that these jackets would be warm enough, so I went ahead and added fusible fleece on the inside (following a tip from Hungie Gungie).  It’s so easy to do — just cut the same pieces from the fleece as you cut for the exterior pieces (not the facings) and fuse ’em on.  You’ll get a jacket that’s much thicker and warmer, but not bulky enough to make sewing difficult.

5&10 Designs, Made By Rae fanfare

If you feel like you’ve seen the fabric on Lulu’s hat before, you’re not crazy.  It’s Heather Ross Briar Rose jersey.  I made these hats from an Ottobre pattern from the 4/2015 issue.  You can also find this pattern along with a handy tutorial for free online.

Ottobre 4/2015 Beanie

This little hat is a breeze to make, especially with that tutorial to explain it all.  It could also be easily enlarged for adults.  But to be honest, I’m not in love with how it looks on.  The seam runs ear to ear, and the bulk of the seam allowances makes the shape look a little weird.  I’ll have to try this again trimming the seam allowances more to see if that helps.  I mean, it takes only about 20 minutes to whip one of these up, so it’s worth a little experimentation on some extra knit fabric.

Ottobre 4/2015 Beanie

Now that the winter chill is here, these jackets have been put away.  I’m hoping that they’ll be just a cozy on early spring mornings.

5&10 Designs Jacket, Made By Rae Fanfare

 

Holiday Library Dresses

Library Dress, Oliver + S

For the holidays this year, I decided to make the girls quasi-matching dresses — knowing full well that they might not get worn much.  That’s how is goes with holiday dresses around here. In order to make it worth the effort, I thought it best to take this as an opportunity to do a little experimenting.

Library Dress, Oliver + S, invisible zipper

For about two years, I’ve been itching to try out the Oliver + S Library Dress with an invisible zipper in the back instead of buttons.  There’s a great tutorial on the O+S blog that takes you through it step by step.

I made a couple changes to the method in the tutorial.  Firstly, I extended the zipper to be the full length of the bodice, cutting it off at the point where the skirt is sewn on — as it’s done in the Hanami Dress.  It’s simpler and less fiddley that way.  I also cut the back skirt in one piece on the fold, rather than in two pieces with a seam down the center back — no need to do that with a zipper that ends at the waist!

Library Dress, Oliver + S

As you can see,  I also added a sash at the back.  As much as I love this pattern, it’s always bugged me that the waistband doesn’t extend to the back.  It’s kind of a bummer.

I originally wanted to sew the back waistband into the dress just like the front.  But in the end, I chickened out for fear that the bulk of the waistband seam allowances would muck up the zipper.  So I took the easy way out and just sewed up two sash pieces and stitched them in at the side seams.  I think the result is just fine.

Oliver + S, Library Dress, invisible zipperWhen I was cutting the waistband and sash pieces for Kiki’s dress, I ran out of fabric — oops!  I ended up piecing together one of the sash pieces from the remaining scraps.  Luckily, it doesn’t show much with this print.

Oliver + S, Library Dress, invisible zipper

Kiki’s sash was also a bit longer originally.  But for some reason, this caused great distress.  So I ended up chopping off a couple of inches of sash and finishing the raw edges with a very narrow zig zag.  Not ideal, but there was no way I was going to take the dress apart to restitch the ends of that sash.  She was hugely relieved!

Oliver + S, Library Dress, invisible zipper

I sure do love the cuffs on this dress.  It’s such a great detail.

Library Dress, Oliver + S

The fabric for both dresses is Robert Kaufman 21 wale corduroy (in jade and red from Fabric.com) with quilting cotton contrast fabric from Hawthorne Threads, neither of which I can find on their site anymore.

As usual, my Fabric.com order got screwed up.  About a week after I placed the order, I got an email saying that they didn’t have enough jade corduroy in stock and that they’d send only the red.  I frantically searched for the jade elsewhere (it was not easy to find), and reordered it on Etsy.  When the Fabric.com package arrived, the jade was in there, but in two pieces.  There was more than enough for Lulu’s dress.  Why did they not tell me that they’d send the jade in two pieces, saving me the trouble and expense of finding another piece???  Why????  (Will I never learn?)

Anyway, Kiki’s dress is 4T width and 5T length, and Kiki’s is a straight up 3T.  If I had these to sew again, I’d add an inch or two in length.

Oliver + S, Library Dress, invisible zipper

(For the record, I’m not the meanest mom in the world.  Taking our photos outside in the snow was totally Kiki and Lulu’s idea.  I didn’t wear a jacket either!!)

Library Dress, Oliver + S, invisible zipper

After about 10 minutes, we were all ready to go inside.

Oliver + S, Library Dress, invisible zipper

I’ll leave you with Lulu wearing the perfect holiday accessory — Christmas ornaments as earrings . . .

Oliver + S, Library Dress, invisible zipper

Happy New Year!

Oliver + S, Library Dress, invisible zipper