Monday, June 24, 2013

Tofino Pajama Party

It's a Pyjama Party!

Happy Pyjama Party! (I feel so British typing it like that...isn't it wierd how some words are spelled differently between British and American English?)

Anyway, this is the first time I've joined in on a sewalong and actually completed my project for the deadline, and I was soooo excited. And then I went to bed, slept in my brand spanking new pajamas, and neglected to photograph or blog them for a few days. Some blogger I am. 

So, even though its a bit late, here I am for Karen's Pyjama Party. I used the new Tofino pattern from Sewaholic, and though I was a little nonplussed at first, I reminded myself how I habitually wear the same two pairs of strikingly similar pajama pants, and how it would be a really great stashbuster if I could make some new coordinating sets out of my renfrew and tofino patterns, so I bought it, and whipped these puppies up in a couple days. Strangely, its always been a goal of mine to have all matching pj sets, along with matching silverware sets and hotel quality linens. So, check one off my nerdy housewife list!

These pants were super easy to make, and the piping keeps them interesting. Of course, I neglected to think about how my store bought piping was narrower than the seam allowance, which made the already roomy pants even bigger...(if I had followed along with Karen properly I would have known) so I had to create an extension at the back to take in the extra room. But even with that snafu, they went together wonderfully, and I even got to use some petersham ribbon from my stash for the bow. I was able to squeeze these out of 1.75 yards of 45 in quilting cotton I bought long ago, mostly due to my height (63 in) and use of storebought piping and ribbon belt. Since I am so short, its always an impossibility to find pj pants that aren't way way way too long, so it was a real revelation to be able to walk around outside without having to hike them up!

I'm looking forward to making hte shorts version next in some lovely cotton lawn, but I need to find a contrast for the sides, as I only have 1 yard of that.

Thanks Karen for hosting the pajama party!


Monday, May 20, 2013


Kids Clothing Week Challenge 2013!
 I was brand new to sewing last year when KCWC rolled around, so although I did produce some wearable garments, my expectations were more realistic this round.
For those of you who aren't familiar with KCWC, its a challenge to sew at least one hour a day for a week for your littles. The first  year I participated, it was like "oh yeah, of course I"m sewing for them, who else would I sew for?" Now that I'm neck deep in selfish sewing projects (chiffon blouse anyone?) it makes sense to have a "challenge" of focusing on the kids. Also, by restricting myself to an hour a day, it forces me to realize that yes, sewing can be done in small spurts, and sometimes, putting a project down for an hour can be a great thing.
So, what did I decide to make? Well, I had a whole list of things I would have loved to have had time for, but since setting realistic expectations of myself was part of thechallenge, I decided to fill the most glaring hole in the boys' wardrobe: t shirts. You can make all the adorable button up shirts and cute jackets for toddlers that you want, but when it comes down to it, the only clothes you are going to be able to wrestle onto their little bodies with any regularity are going to be t shirts and shorts (more on the shorts later).
So, I made 7 t shirts. One for each day of the week. Though I should have made more than one for each day, since they tend to get them dirty in about 20 minutes and then request another one...
The fabric was owl print cotton interlock, pirate print rib knit, and- my favorite- mustache print cotton jersey with ribbing for the neckline. My new coverstitch got a workout on the neck and the hems, and I really love the professional finish it gave! Not once have I gotten asked if I made these shirts- and to me, thats really a compliment!
The first ones I made were the pirate rib knit, and unfortunately, the necklines got a abit  stretched as I underestimated the elasticity of the fabric vs the rib knit. So, those two got relegated to pajamas, but the others came out great. Our little neighbor friend even got one (no pic of him though) so they could all match when playing together!
The pattern on all three was my fav t-shirt pattern for kids: The Made By Rae Flashback Skinny Tee. Love. It. There will be many more where these came from.
So, here are some pics showing how the shirts passed the "kid wearability" test at the park, the animal sanctuary and at breakfast!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Maxi Fever

Public Health Warning: I think I've caught the Maxi Fever. As widespread as it is contagious in the blogosphere, Maxi Fever is known to affect individuals with little to no previous interest in maxi dresses, leading them into prolonged ideation about how to turn over half their fabric stash (and if you've seen my fabric closet, you know that's alot) into maxi dresses for the sheer fun of feeling like you're wearing your pajamas all day while looking like a million bucks.

Treatment options are limited, and recovery is rare, leaving sewers at risk for hypothermia as winter comes around again and they refuse to wear/sew anything else.

As you might have guessed, I've sewn another Mission Maxi dress. This time, in paisley swirl border print ITY from fabric mart. This fabric is fabulous, but it sat in my stash for a while, as I tried to figured out how to maximize its double border. After my first two maxis, I knew I should just go for it. I squeezed the dress out of just 1.5 yards, making the neck and arm bands from fabric cut from the bottom to accommodate my height. Sometimes, its good to be short :) 

I had a little late-night sewing mishap on the neck binding, so I ended up turning it under and topstitching, which actually ended up looking even better, since the print matches perfectly that way. I was also pretty excited about the fortuitous print placement on the front of the dress, as the inward and outward swirls of the paisley have a slimming effect. Yes! 

Here are some photos of the dress on me:

I'd love to hear what you think! I have so many ideas in my head for more maxi dresses, but I'm trying to convince myself to go for some variety....

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Yep, I think I can now start to divide my life into pre-blog and post-blog. Ha-ha.

Seriously, I just wanted to share with you all some of the things I've made in the last year, especially for the littles. As I've mentioned I love making clothes for my boys (even if I'm now a bit obsessed with selfish sewing for me!) because its so adorable to see them truck around in handmade duds. After you get over the screaming and bribe them with a cookie to wear the thing and take their photo.

Anyway, without further ado, here is a pic of the four pairs of Oliver and S Sandbox pants I made for KCWC last year, using quilting cotton gifted to me by my aunt and brown linen. The pattern was easy to put together, but I did get a little burned out by the 4th pair. Bonus: even a year later, these pants are in heavy rotation thanks to the drawstring waist, my kids general lack of disdain for the growth chart, and some re-hemming to make them into shorts!

Another of my Oliver and S pre-blog makes was the Nature Walk Pullover. This one was made out of thrifted velour and quilting cotton again. The velour made them more of winter wear, but I'm hoping we can squeeze another season out of these, as they were a bit more time consuming to make!

Hey! These have pockets!

Now, what can I stuff in here for mom to "discover" when she does laundry?

Finally, we have a pair of Oliver and S Sleepover Pajamas. Made out of Monkey Business Flannel. These have held up really well to repeated wear, and will definitely see another winter, with more to come! In fact, I may even make up a cotton pair for summer....

Seriously. My heart melts.

Can you tell I love Oliver and S Patterns? I have several more I'd like to make up soon, and I've really appreciated how thorough but not dumbed down the instructions are. I think by starting out sewing with these patterns, I learned alot about how to sew for adults. The techniques are the same, the proportion (and fabric required) is just smaller! One note about size, I do find these patterns to run a bit big, but since my children (especially the blondie) are small for their age, this may or may not be true for others.

Thanks for reading!

Mission Accomplished!

Mission Maxi: Accomplished!

I recently tried out the "Mission Maxi" Pattern by Jamie Christina. I've made her Miz Mozelle dress as a top, and the fit was spot on, but I must admit, I was skeptical that a Maxi dress could work on my petite, had 2 babies body. Whenever I've tried them on off the rack, they have always been horribly proportioned- too baggy in the hips, too clingy over the tummy and Way Way too long.

But Hello! This Mission Maxi pattern was the answer to my maxi-yearning (yes, thats a thing).

The first dress I made for my father in law's birthday party, and my hubby deemed it "too sexy" for everyday wear. It is a size 2-4 and fits like a glove. Fabric is some sort of super curly poly/metallic spandex from Jo Anns. The straps got a little tricky on this first version, but I widened them and took up the shoulders in the next one to compensate, and it came out perfectly. I also widened the bindings to make it less cleavage-bearing. Of course, I cut about 3 inches off the hem, and left it raw. Insides are serged, and binding is done a la Sewaholic Renfrew.

First Mission Maxi. 

Seriously, I wore this second one to work the other day, and it felt like I was wearing pajamas. Super comfy, sexy pajamas. Now if that isn't an oxymoron I don't know what is, but its true.

So what are you waiting for? Make it now. You won't regret it. I think I might make 10 of these for the summer. And did I mention it came together in 2 hours? Yep. I'm in love. Now excuse me while I go make another one...

Second Mission Maxi. In Soft as a baby's bottom rayon jersey.

Easter Cambie!

I'm so in love with this dress! I made it to wear for Easter, and then wore it again recently to a Mother/Daughter tea, and I think its one of the most well-executed and pretty things I've made to date!

I made the full skirted version in a size 2, and shortened the bodice and skirt a bit to account for being on the "short side" (I'm 5ft 1.5 thankyouverymuch). The result is a "girly-twirly" dress thats so much fun to wear, though a little too sweet for everyday. I think I'll save it for special occasions. Like when I have to run to the grocery store and I'm all out of Me Made Clothing for Me Made May. Thats how much I love this dress. I'd wear it every day if I didn't know that it would be smothered in macaroni and cheese and dirt from my real job as a mom (I just moonlight as a sewist).

Anyway, the details: The main fabric is a silk/cotton/lycra challis from fabric mart, and apart from fraying like a madwoman, it sewed up beautifully. The tutorial for inserting the lining/zipper was super helpful, and the only place I got stuck was in sewing the lining to the bodice at the waist. The instructions have you "stitch in the ditch" or stitch by hand. I don't like the look of the stitch in the ditch method, so I tried to hand sew- and promptly got very turned around by how to get up inside the dress and make it work. Any suggestions for how this should be done? I left it alone, and it seems to be ok, though the dress is a bit heavy and I had to reinforce the straps to handle the weight.

The lining is a cream cotton lawn, and though I was initially concerned about using a non-stretch lining with a stretchy fashion fabric, it went together perfectly. That's why I love Tasia's patterns- I literally feel like they are made for me, and I know I can sew them up and expect to have to do little to no modifications.

I am constantly drawn in by some of the designs by Colette and other pattern makers that are beautiful, but clearly NOT designed for my small busted petite frame (Laurel Dress, I'm talking to YOU), and I always regret it because I spend hours doing loads of modifications. Since I'm not so good at modifications yet (I've only been sewing for a year, fyi), the results are sometimes...dodgy. So when I go back to my TNT pattern company- Sewaholic, its like a breath of fresh air.

Ok, enough singing the praises for the pattern. You want to see how it turned out?

Dontcha' just love spring? It makes me so happy. Hope your spring is warm and sunny as well!


Welcome to my sewing blog!

I've decided to start this blog to chronicle my adventures in sewing, track my progress, and keep myself accountable for all the fabric and patterns I buy.

Me at my sewing table, probably looking up an internet tutorial on how to make something... Thank goodness for the internet!
Of course, its not all for me, I selfishly hope that maybe people will find their way here and read it, maybe even leave a comment or suggestion or two. Maybe that'll just be my family, or maybe I'll hit the big time and get sponsored by Mood and Burdastyle! A girl can dream....

Anyway, a little about myself. I'm a modern girl turned stay at home mom who always swore she would never do something as domestic as sewing my own clothes....but then one day, outraged at the price of wetbags and encouraged by pinterest I decided to sew my own zippered. wetbag. Using PUL. On my mom's old vintage singer sewing machine. That nobody knew how to thread.

Miraculously, I threaded the thing, got the slippery/sticky fabric cut and pinned together, and installed my first invisible zipper thanks to several Internet tutorials and lots of seam ripping. Noticing this strange but positive change in her daughter, my mom bought me my most used tool- a surgical seam ripper.

Buoyed by my "success" (the wetbag did indeed keep the yucky diaper smell at bay while out on the road, which was the point) I decided to sew up some shorts for my boys using a thrifted men's shirt. Did I mention I have two crazy, lovable 2.5 year old twin boys? I do. They're the light of my life. Anyway, I managed to squeeze out the shorts, and though they were questionable at best, I figured I could keep sewing for the boys, cause they're so darn cute they make everything look good.

Oliver and S shorts in "Car fabric" for the boys. One of my first "real" patterns.
 Tip: Put cars on anything and it doubles the likelihood of it getting worn by a toddler boy.
Raw Edge Raglan, Patterns by Figgys. The armholes were so tight they cut off his circulation, but he wore it  anyway cause "mommy made it". 
But sew for myself? Never.

Okay, I changed my mind on that one too.  A couple months later I negotiated/begged my way into a serger and a new sewing machine (I love my Laura Ashley Innovis NX 2000 and Brother 1034 D), and I recently talked my mom into getting me a coverstitch for Christmas (Janome Coverpro 100CPX).

So basically, now I'm my own sweatshop.

Sewing for myself (and my now neglected husband and children) gives me a great challenge, sense of pride, and accomplishment as well as some much needed time for myself.

I'm still a noob, and have only been sewing for a year. I haven't counted the articles of clothing I've sewn, but I've averaged 1-2 garments a week, so I'd guess thats about 50 things in the last year. Wow! My goal for this year is to focus more on fit and quality construction, and to take the time to make some wearable but slightly more complicated pieces. 

So, all that to introduce myself and say Welcome! Please feel free to comment (constructively, I'm sensitive!) and enjoy!