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

 

 

 

A Red Riding Hood

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding Hood I would love to tell you that Kiki wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood this Halloween, and that I lovingly created this cape much to her delight.  But that would be a lie.

Both of my daughters are in full Disney Princess mode (sigh), and we will have one Jasmine and one Ariel or Rapunzel (final decision TBD).  I have come to accept that when it comes to the Disney Princess, my girls would much rather have a blingy (and rather grotesque if you ask me) costume from Toys r Us, complete with wig and plastic shoes — so I didn’t even bother.  The good news is that we waited until last week to buy them, and they were 50% off (silver lining).  And, they love them so much that they are all worn several times a day.  I mean, the whole costume thing is for them after all, so they should have the costume they want, right?

So imagine my delight when a good friend and neighbor asked me if I would sew up a Red Riding Hood for her six year old’s Halloween costume.  Hooray!!  And to make it even better, her three year old little sister is going to be the wolf!!  (I’m trying hard not to be jealous.)  Of course, I was more than pleased to oblige.

Plus, it’s Kids Clothes Week this week (participants sew for at least one hour each day and post their makes on the KCW website), and the theme is Disguise this time.  Perfect!

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding HoodWithout hesitation, I reached for my copy of Little Things to Sew, the book written by Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S fame, which includes a pattern for the most darling Red Riding Hood around.

Now that I think about it, my sewing obsession really started with this book.  Before the mania set in, I was clicking around looking for ideas for a doll carrier for Kiki, who must have been around two at the time.  I came across the doll carrier pattern in this book and got a copy.  I mean, why not try to sew one myself in a fabulous fabric?  The resulting doll carrier never really caught on with Kiki, but I loved the book so much that I started looking into Oliver + S patterns, and the rest is history.

Anyway, my friend chose Robert Kaufman 21 wale corduroy for the outside, and we found this amazing Red Riding Hood cotton print for the lining.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding HoodWe could only find 1 3/4 yards of the lining fabric left at Hart’s (it’s sold out now, but I just found more on Etsy), and the pattern calls for 2 yards (for size 5-10, less for the smaller size).  But with some creative finagling, I managed to squeeze all the pattern pieces out of it, even after cutting a couple of pieces backwards and having to recut! There is some selvage in the seam allowances here — please don’t tell 🙂

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding HoodThis pattern has lots of pieces to sew together — eleven altogether, including the button loop.  So it’s a little more time intensive that I imagined it might be.  But the result is a very lovely cape that fits beautifully over the shoulders and has these wonderful slits for little arms to come through so that your little Red can stay warmer out in the woods when she needs to use her hands for goody distribution and such.

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding HoodI hope you have a chance to do some fun Halloween sewing this year — even if it isn’t for your own kid!

Oliver + S, Little Things to Sew, Red Riding Hood

Friends Don’t Let Friends Make Two Left Mittens: A Cautionary Tale

We live in the Midwest, and things have gotten pretty frigid around here lately.  Lulu is finally old enough to love sledding as much as Kiki does, and there’s a little hill in the park across the street from preschool.  So we are loving crunching through the snow and breaking out the sleds.  That is, until little fingers get too cold.  Then all is lost.  I decided new, super warm mittens were in order.

After looking all over the internet for a good tutorial, I remembered the mitten pattern in the Olivier & S book Little Things to Sew.  Perfect!  I had an old wool sweater in the drawer that was dying to be cut into mittens.  What’s more, it’s Kids Clothes Week, and the theme is “Upcycling” — What could be better?

I machine washed the old sweater in hot water and dried on high twice to felt it.  It shrunk hilariously and came out of the drier looking to be just the right size for Lulu — but the fibers did all blend together to make it nice and thick and fray-proof.

I got right to work, cutting out two pairs of mittens from the sweater and a lining from some purple fleece I had laying around.  I wanted these suckers to be warm.  I simply put the wool and fleece layers together and sewed normally (the pattern doesn’t call for a lining).

I finished one mitten.  I finished two mittens.  Yeah baby.  I set them next to each other to smugly admire my amazing handiwork, and I think you know what I saw.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Not exactly what I had imagined.  Shit!

Did I have enough sweater to cut new pieces for an, ahem, right mitten?

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Yes, just enough!  Thank my lucky stars.  A proper pair was then created for Lulu, followed by a second pair for Kiki.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Let this be a lesson to all of us.  Just because you’re very short on time and you decide to make a project that’s “simple” and “doesn’t require much thought” — don’t phone it in.  For God’s sake!

The good news is that both Kiki and Lulu love their new mittens.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

I’ve had a very hard time finding mittens that are really warm, yet small enough for Lulu’s 2 1/2 year old hands.  Most everything I’ve found is just too big and won’t stay on.  So, I made an “extra small” pair for her, meant to fit 6m-2T kids.  The hand part is just right, but they are a tad short in the wrist.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

Next time, rather than sewing on bias tape as a casing for elastic at the wrist, I might try Jane from Buzzmill’s very smart idea of adding a ribbed cuff.  Genius!  That cuff should tuck right into the coat sleeves.

Kiki’s are a small, 3T-4T, and they fit quite well.

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens

I’m happy to report that the end of this cautionary tale is a happy one.

Here’s to sledding, snow princesses and warm hands!

Oliver and S Little Things to Sew Mittens