Would you wear it with a fox?

In deference to the “Kid Art” theme of this summer’s Kid’s Clothes Week, I decided to let Dr. Seuss do the art part here, while I just do the sewing part.

Seuss 6

Lulu has been eyeing her sister’s Cat in the Hat dress for a while now — even wearing it to sleep when Kiki isn’t looking.  So, I decided that it was high time for her to have one of her own.

Instead of a dress this time, I decided to double her fun with a Cat in the Hat top and shorts.  Both are Oliver & S patterns — the Ice Cream Dress (in blouse form) and Puppet Show Shorts.

Seuss 4

When I ordered this Robert Kaufman fabric online, I was pretty jazzed about this pattern combination.  How could I possibly go wrong with cats and crazy dots together?  Well . . . as it turns out, it is possible to go wrong, as unbelievable as that may seem. 🙂

Robert Kaufman calls both of these fabric “turquoise.”  But, as you can see, they are not the same color blue.  Not even a little.  As much as I want this top and shorts to be awesome together, I think that the colors seem to argue more than they get along.  They say clown to me.  Am I wrong here?

Seuss 5

But, all is not lost.  Each piece turned out pretty well separately, and I think they’ll each look sharp with other companions.  The shorts would be kooky and fun with a plain white t-shirt.  And the top could be cute with denim shorts.  We’ll have to try a few things out.

Anyway, Lulu doesn’t mind.

Seuss 9

Both top and shorts are 2T.  The top is a little blousy for now, but it’ll be perfect by fall — and it should last through next spring.  I’ve made both the dress and top version of this pattern before, and I see more in the future.

This is my first ever attempt at shorts.  When thinking up this project, Gail’s version of these shorts came to mind, and I was eager to try my hand at those mighty cute pockets.

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Turns out that these pockets are pretty simple to put together.  And they add so much character, that I think I’ll have to slap babies like these onto all sorts of other things.

There is also a little bit of gathering on the sides right at the bottom leg trim.  So cute!

I do think that these little details would show through a lot more with a tamer fabric.  Next time.

So that’s a wrap for me this Kid’s Clothes Week.  How did it go for you?

Seuss 7

 

So Many Fish, So Little Time

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I have a serious problem.  I am a koi fabric addict.  There, I said it.

When I came across this Eiko Playing Koi in cream from Birch Organics, I pretty much lost my mind.  I first saw it on clearance at Fabricworm.  Of course, I waited too long to order a big pile of it, and it was sold out when I finally was ready to go for it.  I searched around on Etsy, and found it at LiMaSews.  Sorry, I bought all that she had — which was enough to make the Flared Sleeve Dress from my favorite book, Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic KidsI sewed up a size 2 for Lulu.  It was pretty straight up and simple to do.  The only real trick was turning under the flared sleeves and hemming those suckers.  They’re pretty curvy, and I wasn’t completely successful in getting the hems to lay flat all around.  But once it’s on this little gal and she’s running around, you’d never know it, especially if it’s windy 🙂

Happy Homemade Sew Chic KidsThe only change I made to the pattern instructions was to attach the neck binding by tucking the raw edge of the neckline inside the binding and sewing it once — rather than sewing one edge of the binding, flipping it over the edge and sewing again.  I learned this trick when I made the Olivia Dress from Craftiness Is Not Optional.  It’s just easier.

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As a general rule, I don’t really go for the matchy-matchy look with my kids.  But . . . once Lulu’s dress was done, I knew that I needed to sew with this stuff again.  Right away.  Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

By this time, Kid’s Clothes Week was right around the corner.  So, I needed to find more koi — and fast!  Another search commenced.  This time, I found plenty at Harts Fabrics.  (You can still find it there!)

If you have visited this little blog before, you know that my oldest daughter Kiki will currently wear only skirts and shirts.  And, one must be able to tuck the shirts into the skirts (sadly).  So, it was back to Happy Homemade for the Ribbon Tie Blouse and Tiered Skirt.

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Seeing as it’s Kids Clothes week — late Tuesday night (technically Wednesday morning – gulp), I finished Kiki’s koi duo.  They are both size 4 for this four year old.  They’re a little roomy, which is always good news for next year.

No problems sewing these.  Again, the only change I made was with attaching the bias neck binding as I did with Lulu’s dress.

The contrast fabric in the skirt is Eiko Stamp Stripe in pool from SewYeah Fabrics on Etsy.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

As a special favor to her mother, Kiki agreed to let me take these photos with the shirt untucked.  Just this once.

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There’s something about this seeing my girls in this fabric that makes me feel like I’m back at the glorious Japanese Spa Ten Thousand Waves, just outside of Santa Fe.  How being around toddlers can make one think of a massage and a dip in the tubs is testament to this fabric’s power!

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How’s your sewing going this week??

A Honeybee Pinafore

If you are at all involved in the online sewing world, you know that Kid’s Clothes Week is here!  Each day this week, we sewers agree to sit at our machines and work on something for our kids for at least one hour.  Then, we post photos of the fruits of our labor on the KCW website — and, of course, oooo and ahhhh over all the great stuff everyone is making!

This happens four times a year, and I get a big kick out of planning what I’ll make, print my patterns and cut everything in advance.  Then, I sew like crazy all week, getting very little sleep, while the laundry and household stuff piles up.  My family is very understanding of my partial absence during this critical time 🙂

First up for me this week is one of my favorites . . . the Roly Poly Pinafore by Imagine Gnats.

Imagine Gnats

I made a couple of these for Lulu last summer, and they were worn over and over.  They are a cinch to make — only one pattern piece!  There’s a very cute option for cutting the front and back out of contrasting fabrics.  You can add pockets if you like, and it’s fully reversible.  What more could you ask for?  The little pleat in the front is my favorite detail — it kicks it up just enough to make it something special, but without going over the top.

20140722_120143a(Psst — this pattern, along with all of Rachael’s other patterns for kids, is on sale this week for just $5!)

Imagine GnatsThe main fabric I used here is Hex Bee in Yellow from Heather Ross’ Briar Rose collection that took the world by storm last summer.  So many of our kids have been wearing the strawberries, crickets and frogs from this collection for the past year — but I think that the Hex Bee has been kind of overlooked, as far as I can tell.  I’m a sucker for bees, and these particular specimens are wearing kerchiefs, for crying out loud.  Awesome!

Anyway, I picked this up last year at the end of the summer, and have been saving it for the perfect project.

20140722_121953aLulu is wearing a size two, which fits her to a tee.  The lining is orange polka dot that I found at Joann’s.  I seriously considered doing orange ric rac around the whole things — but in the end, I decided it would just be too much.

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I found these buttons at an antique store in my hood, and they remind me of lemon drops.  I know that this outfit is all about honey, but lemon drops seem to work.  I guess sugar is sugar in my mind.

20140722_121849(0a)I can’t wait to see what you’re sewing this week!

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4th of July, Part 2 – Gingham Girl

In my last post, I chronicled the misadventures of the making of Kiki’s 4th of July outfit.  Now that I’ve recovered from telling that sordid tale, it’s Lulu’s turn.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

You may recognize her dress as a dead ringer for the one on the cover of Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids, my new favorite Japanese sewing book.  Not too creative, I know.  But, I saw that dress, loved it, and made one just like it.  I couldn’t think of a way to improve it.  And what can I say — it’s perfect for the 4th of July, don’t you think?

Happy Homemade

This “Dress with Square Neckline/Dress b” was very smooth sewing, and it has me ready to continue to give into my kind of freakish Japanese pattern book sewing obsession.  I really love the classic simplicity of all of these designs.

I was a little surprised that the back bodice piece sits much higher than the front piece — I thought I had screwed it up when I first put the bodice pieces together.  But now I see it’s a design element that adds to the flowy-ness of the dress.  So it’s all good.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

It’s a size 2, in Riley Blake Medium Gingham.  It’s roomy, so she’ll be able to wear it for a while.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic KidsThe only change I made was to use red hair elastics for the button loops instead of making them out of fabric.  This is a little trick I learned from Toni of Make it Perfect, when I made her Sprout Dress for Kiki last winter.  I do not love sewing little fabric loops, and these elastic loops go on and off so much more easily.  And, I always seem to have one in the right color laying around the house without having to plan ahead.

The only thing to be aware of when going the elastic hair tie route is to be sure you’ve sewn through the elastic on both ends of the loop, since the elastic is pretty narrow.  Just to be safe, I sewed over them a few times on the outside of the bodice with a really narrow stitch to be sure they stay put.  I don’t think it shows too much, do you?

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

As you can see, this dress is great for twirling and Vogueing — two necessities for any 2 year old’s wardrobe.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

It even comes out looking great after a good dousing with the sprinkler.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

 

 

 

4th of July, Part One – The Outfit That Almost Wasn’t

4th of July is a pretty big deal in our town.  So, like any good sewer, I figured that my kids needed something appropriately festive to wear to the parade — something that gives a healthy nod to the stars and stripes, without being too overtly flag-like.  Little did I know that this project would almost get the best of me . . .

Oliver and S

First up, Kiki.  I decided to fully embrace her new “Shirts & Skirts Only” law with an Oliver & S Hopscotch ensemble.  I got bonus points for the top’s tuckability, as that seems to be a crucial corollary of the law.

Oliver and S

(Yep, she made that necklace herself.)

I sewed up a 4T all around on this one, even though I usually go smaller on bodice width for Kiki.  Both top and skirt fit well.

Oliver and S

The top fabric is jersey from Girl Charlee, giving a shout out to my Dad’s Navy days with the anchors.  The skirt is chambray from Joann’s.  There were cheers all around when we found the red buttons with anchors on them.  Kiki agreed that this touch really brings the whole outfit together.

Oliver and S

So, I have made four hopscotch top/dresses in the past nine months.  Like so many of us, I made Briar Rose Strawberry dresses and Birch Elk Grove tops for both girls this fall and winter.  With that in mind, I figured that I could coast through sewing the top without paying much attention.  Ha!  Through pure carelessness, I managed to twist the neckband as I sewed it to the front gathered piece.  Of course, I didn’t realize this until I had serged the seam allowances and removed the gathering threads.  So there was much seam ripping and fiddling to get the gathers right when I put it back together.  And then, when attaching one of the sleeves, I sewed over a fold of fabric and poked some pretty nice size holes in the sleeve, necessitating a new sleeve piece altogether.  The lesson here is, don’t think you’re a genius and can phone it in while sewing, giving all your attention to a Radiolab podcast, no matter how cool it may be.

All things considered, I think it turned out fine.

Oliver and S

Then came the skirt.  I hadn’t tackled this one before, as it seemed pretty complicated with the fancy folded pockets and button placket.  But, those pockets (although designed to look like Asian takeout boxes) kind of remind me of nautical flags for some reason — so it made sense to put it together with the anchor theme.

Oliver and S

I’m glad I took up the challenge, as this is a pretty cool little skirt!

Oliver and S

But this one was not to be a picnic, either.  Initially, things went well.  I did sew a couple of things on backwards and all that — but this is par for the course for me when I sew something new.

One thing that didn’t quite fall into place was the top button/button hole placement.  The anchor buttons, as awesome as they are, are larger than what is recommended in the pattern.  Liesl of Oliver & S tells us to make the top button hole horizontal, and the rest vertical.  Being the trusting devotee that I am, I followed instructions, though knowing that the largeness of the buttons might muck things up — which it did.

Oliver and SThat top button is just too far over.  Awwwww, man.

Anyway, I finished it promptly on July 3, much to Kiki’s delight.  Anticipation of the big day was high!  The next day, our lemonade was packed in the thermos, and we were getting ready to head out to the parade, when the elastic came loose from the waistband.  Major four year old crisis!  I’m still not quite sure how this happened.  I must have clipped the ends of the elastic too close after stitching it on.  Luckily, this was an easy problem to fix in a jiffy, and we were on our way.

Then, imagine my surprise at the end of the day to find a sizable rip in the fabric on the front.  Ugh.  This once was not sewing related — it was pure operator error.  Something having to do with the swing set out back, no doubt.

Oliver and S

I thought about just zigzagging over it and calling it a day.  But, since this skirt is so beloved by Kiki at the moment, and because I was never very happy with that top button-hole placement, I decided to perform some major surgery.  There was to be a front side panel and double button placket transplant.  This procedure of taking pieces from one thing and inserting them into another is known as “Frankensteining” around here.  (Luckily, I had just enough fabric leftover to pull it off.)

A few hours later, all was repaired.  I made the top button hole vertical this time, which solved that problem.  Many lessons were learned here.  That’s how I like to look at it.

Oliver and S

Ahhhh, now that’s better!

Here’s a little preview of what’s coming up in Part Two . . .

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids

 

Poppies . . . Poppies . . .

Meet my new favorite summer dress . . . the Poppy Tunic from Make it Perfect.

Poppy1I had my eye on this pattern for a while — and when it turned up in the Perfect Pattern Parcel a couple of months ago, I knew it was destiny.

This dress has cool and unique style, fits great, and is extremely comfortable.  In my book, that’s a win-win-win.  It’s also a great way to use up that leftover cotton print from another project that’s been sitting in your stash.

Poppy Tunic 1

How about that yoke detail on the front and back?

Poppy Tunic 2

Poppy 3

Poppy Tunic 6I made a size medium with Robert Kaufman chambray and a quilting cotton print I got on sale at Hawthorne Threads back in January.  I did have to adjust the bodice a little bit to accommodate my smallish shoulders — but otherwise, the fit is spot on.

Poppy2

Believe it or not, this exact fabric combination has made a previous appearance in my household . . .

Oliver & SThis is Kiki’s Hide & Seek Dress by Oliver & S, made for Kids Clothes Week this past spring — a dress that came out very well and that has been worn very little.  If only I had known that Kiki would be establishing and vigilantly implementing her new “Skirts & Shirts Only” policy right when this one came off the sewing machine, I might have made her something else with these spiffy fabrics :).  So, I was so glad to have enough left of both to pull off something for me.  And only now do I realize how similar these dresses really are.  Crazy!

Make it Perfect also has a kid size Mini Poppy — I wonder if there’s enough of this fabric left to make one of those for Lulu, or would that be overdoing it??