Sewing for Kindergarten: Checkered Ania Tunic

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Well, it happened. My oldest has gone off to kindergarten, which means I've officially left the world of "stay at home mom with young kids and no schedule" and am venturing into "stay at home mom who is forced to have some sort of schedule" haha!

And since I'm sending a child off to kindergarten I was happy to be able to join in with Mie's series Sewing for Kindergarten! I love sewing special outfits to commemorate important things for my kids. I decided to have a little fun with it and work with Charly to plan a capsule wardrobe. We took to Pinterest and started a board to pin things she loves. I had her tell me what she liked about each thing and it really helped me get a feel for what she likes, and it was super fun to hear her answers! You can see her board, with a quick note of what she liked about each thing, here.

Of course I would have loved to have sewn an entire capsule, but with two other small children to care for that wasn't possible, so we made a plan and have a mostly store bought capsule (including these adorable pink leggings from Target), along with these few special pieces I've sewn. This top was inspired by this pin - which Charly saw and exclaimed "I want a shirt just like Dad's work shirts!"

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Pattern: Ania Tunic by Coffee and Thread

Fabric: Double cloth cotton purchased from Imagine Gnats last year. Sadly she doesn't have any more, but I found a few options here.

Size: 3, with the length of a size 5

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 23.5

Height- 44

Mods: 

-Bias cut the bodice, pockets, and bow centers

-staystitched the neckline rather than interfaced

-omitted the bodice lining and bias bound the neck and center back edges

-shortened to a half sleeve and altered the cuff to be narrower

-removed some width at the bottom to create a straighter side seam

-increased the hem depth to 1"

I used more of this fabulous floral (used in this project), cut into bias tape, to bind the center back and neckline since I omitted the lining. The double cloth cotton has a looser weave and is two layers of cotton- similar to double gauze but a bit heavier. I love the weight of it, but I discovered a little too late that it isn't very conducive to cutting on the bias, at least not without stabilizing it somehow. The weight of the fabric pulled it out of shape a bit, which you can see where the bodice meets the bottom portion.

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I love being able to make her something special, and add little details like the floral binding that make her so happy!

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 Thanks for having me, Mie! I'll be back tomorrow with one more thing I sewed for my kindergartener. You can also check out others participating in the series below!

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Now if you'll excuse me I'll be weeping over baby pictures trying to figure out where the time has gone...

Lucy's Blessing Dress

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In my LONG blog absence I was busy busy laying on the couch in pregnancy exhaustion and then subsequently having a baby. Her name is Lucy and she is sweet as can be, and now two months old! I'm planning to share her birth story (like I did for Charly and Caroline) but today I'm jumping the gun and sharing the blessing dress I made for her special day last weekend (a baby blessing is something we do in the LDS church and is similar to a christening). I made dresses for both of my other girls (here and here) so while I'm still super duper in love with Caroline's dress and contemplated using it again, it only seemed fair to make our little Lucy her own.

I decided to go a totally different direction with this one after doing some searching and pinning. I put together this board and realized I was digging a 60's babydoll vibe.

The only problem was I couldn't find a pattern that suited my vision. And true newborn patterns are hard to find- most start at 3 months- and I just couldn't get past the idea of having it actually fit her tiny shoulders. So I drafted my own! It was great to jump back to drafting a bit as I haven't done much since releasing the Blue Ridge Dress.

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This dress is a baby doll or tunic length, a line, lined and features a bow front detail, hem facings, and front pleat. I used a hook and eye closure at the back neck because I was strapped for time, but I had planned to do a button and loop or ties.

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I used dupioni silk that I had left over from a wedding dress I made for a friend of mine a few years ago, and while I love the look, it definitely wrinkles like the dickens. The bow detail is a sequined lace from Joann Fabrics. I brought the sequined lace in to the bloomers, as well, which are made from the free Blousy Bloomer pattern from Sew Caroline. While I love the details of these bloomers, they aren't well suited for this fabric and ended up too baggy looking. I also sized up, so both those are my own fault. I'll definitely give these a try in another fabric some time- I love the options for trims and contrast fabrics with the front panel.

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My little Lucy looked precious on her blessing day and was given a wonderful blessing by her dad. We were happy to share the day with some family. I'm so happy with the way her dress turned out and that I could make her a special keepsake.

And since I've already drafted it, I'm tweaking a few things and planning to release it in newborn size as a free pattern! I'll have lined and unlined options for a more casual look. I can't wait to make a few more of these for her for summer- keep your eyes peeled for the free pattern in the coming weeks!

Thanks for reading!

Caroline's Birthday Dress

carolines birthday dress7 Last week my Sweet Caroline turned 2. TWO! I'm stuck squarely in that conundrum of "she's only two?" and "how is she already two?"

Two years of fun and sass, she's finding her way in to her own little personality now and  she's a force to be reckoned with. Adventurous and headstrong, loving and silly.

Of course a birthday means a new birthday dress, so after I was mostly over my sickness and a day before her birthday I started this dress. I finished it during her birthday nap and gifted it that night. This continues my tradition of continually sewing last minute gifts for my children. Because one must not break with tradition, you know. 

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Meanwhile, we've been enjoying lots and lots of backyard time. I thought the fact that grass didn't grow back there was a huge bummer but it turns out my kids couldn't care less! They love digging in the dirt and adding nature treasures to their collections. I was hoping to grow some lush grass back there next year but now I'm thinking I'll just embrace the natural setting and let it be wild. It's less work, anyway.

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You may recognize this pattern if you've been around here (or my instagram) much lately... it's self drafted and a work in progress to become my first for-sale pattern. I'M SO EXCITED! It's a bit slow going lately with a two week trip to visit family and illness thrown in the mix, but my goal is to release it in early summer. I'll post more details about the pattern later this week, but for now here are the details on this particular version of the dress:

Pattern: Self-drafted

Fabric: Gramercy by Leah Duncan from Finch (no longer in stock) and Mustard Double Gauze from Imagine Gnats for the binding and lining

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also I'd like to say- dat sprout.

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I've given her SO MANY haircuts to keep the baby mullet away. Still, the sprout seems to be the only 'do we can do without some more front hair growing in. Cmon hair!

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Caroline- BAH BAH BAH! Good times never seem so good!

Better Late than Never Finlayson

finlayson sweater_0002 I hope everyone is enjoying a little sunshine today! It is starting to feel like Spring might be real again here and I'm just crossing my fingers and toes that it stays nice all week. I need sunshine!

The story of this Finlayson sweater is that it's a super belated Christmas gift. Yeah, Christmas, like 4 months ago. To be fair I finished it at least a month ago (which explains the lack of sunshine in these pictures)... so... better late than never? Anyway, it's the first time I've sewn clothing for Matt, and can you tell he just LOVES modeling it?! I think I should probably sew some euro trunks next and do a beach shoot. Y'know, just to make him appreciate the whole "take pictures in your bathing suit and post it for the internetz" thing I did last year, haha! 

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The rest of the story of this shirt is that I ended up taking in quite a bit of it, and not very well at that, so I'm calling this a wearable muslin. I also shortened the sleeves by like 4 inches. Based on measurements he was a solid medium, but I think a small is in order. It may be that it was meant to be a looser fit than what I was going for and I'm sure fabric is playing some part in the size issue we had, too. I'm also not happy with the way the front shawl collar turned out. Mine's a bit sloppy. Guess I need some practice:)

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Anyway, he's worn it out so it isn't a total bust- although I'm not sure why this knit is looking so crazy wrinkly?! Looks like I'll just have to make another! I've also got my eye on the Jedediah Pants and Strathcona Henley, but I don't want to get ahead of myself here:)

Pattern: Finlayson Sweater from Thread Theory

What I loved:

  • hem band and sleeve bands mean no hemming knit- hooray!
  • great tips in the pattern, particularly adding stability to the shoulder seam

What I changed:

  • took in the sides and shortened the sleeves

What I'll change next time:

  • cut a smaller size

Fabric & Notions:

Despite this being an older project, I promise I've been doing LOTS of sewing lately. I'm  nearly done with my second t-shirt quilt in a month, and I'm putting the finishing touches  on some stuff for the next issue of Stylo!! I CAN NOT WAIT to show it to you, so don't worry, if you follow me on Facebook, instagram, bloglovin, or whatever other ways there are to follow I'll be shouting it from the roof tops when the issue is out!

Wildewoman Cardigans

wildewoman cardigan2 As long ago promised, I finished up these matching Aster Cardigans from Kid's Clothes Week! I finished them up a few days later but then we've had snow snow snow and I don't have a good inside picture spot yet at this house so I had to wait until the snow melted and it wasn't 20 degrees out.

As with most clothes I make for Charly, I try to think of a reason she'll love it to convince her to wear it. It doesn't matter if she loves the fabric and helps choose the pattern, it's still a 50/50 chance she'll want to wear it after the first day it's finished. So I try to give my handmade stuff a boost by connecting it to stuff she loves, like princesses. Sometimes it works.

Anyhow, Charly's favorite band is Lucius. Go check them out if you aren't familiar with them. No really. Go. Treat your ears with this one, or this if you don't have the time for the full Tiny Desk Concert. Or there's this song, which made me fall in love with Lucius when I first saw them open for The Head and the Heart in Richmond. 

The two lead singers always dress alike, so when I planned to make matching Aster Cardigans for Charly and Caroline I knew relating it to Lucius was a golden plan. Plus the Aster Cardigan pattern totally goes with their retro vibe. It worked like a charm- she loves wearing it! It doesn't hurt that it coordinates with her Mushroom Skirt, probably her favorite thing I've made in the history of ever. Wildewoman is the name of their most current album, and also one of Charly's favorite songs. I need to record her singing/dancing to it sometime. The internet needs to see it! These pictures don't do it justice, but this is Charly getting her groove on in the backyard as Matt plays Wildewoman on his phone.

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"It's written in her blood oh it's written in her bones!"

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As for the pattern- it's a win! I love how these turned out! The fabric is an upcycled, thrifted, textured/quilted knit, originally this oversized beaut:

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I was just barely able to eke both cardigans out of it with my mad pattern placement skills in overdrive. WORTH IT.

The collar binding is from another upcycled t shirt that got some holes in it. I've been hoarding it forever and I'm so happy to use it- you can just barely see that lime green and white diagonal stripe peeking out of the collar.

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The buttons are another hoard- I bought them at an antique store in Downtown Leesburg where we used to live when Charly was a baby.

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This picture was completely unintentional, but it totally reminds me of a Lucius photo...

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So I couldn't help myself. Enter bad photoshop skillz...

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THE HAIR. It couldn't be a matchy matchy photo with just Caroline's little sprout now, could it?

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If only my photoshop skills would have gone to work on the tarp over the neighbor's wood pile...

With spring (HOPEFULLY!) coming these are going to be in heavy rotation I am sure!

Here's my review of the Aster Cardigan from LBG Studio/ Willow and Co. Patterns

Sizes: 18m and 2t, both lengthened

What I loved:

  • the fit  is superb- trim but not tight
  • clear instructions walk you through every detail of a nicely finished collar and button placket

What I changed:

  • lengthened both cardigans for my tall skinny girls
  • changed the method for lengthening a bit- tracing down to the 4t line doesn't actually give you a 4t length because of the way the pieces are nested with equal amount of space at the top and bottom of each piece. I traced the top half of my size (2t) then shifted it until the bottom of the armscye matched the bottom of the 4t armscye and traced from there down to the 4t line.

What I'll change next time:

  • use a thinner knit for the underside of the collar- since my fabric was so thick the collar doesn't lay well. I think one less layer of thick fabric would have helped with that.

Fabric & Notions:

  • upcycled quilted knit
  • upcycled green and white striped knit
  • vintage buttons

What do you think, friends? Have you made an Aster Cardigan before? Do your kids need convincing to wear their handmade duds? Do you love Lucius as much as I do??

Such a Sweet Pea

sweet-pea-cap_0029 PONY EARED HAT.

That's what this is. I love hats with ears, don't you? I wish there were more adult hats with ears. For me it's the perfect amount of whimsy without having an embroidered Winnie the Pooh on your denim overalls- not that I'd know anything about that. (And don't ask my mom for my 4th grade class photo, please and thank you. You won't find embroidered Pooh-alls on me, nope nope.)

But yes, whimsy but not juvenile. Not that there's anything wrong with juvenile- we are talking about children's clothes after all- but it's not really my jam.

SO! Pony eared hat. It's actually called the Sweet Pea cap. This is part of the Haven Acres Mini Collection that I've been testing for Jennuine Design. I kinda sorta forgot that I still needed to sew up the final version until last night, so this got bumped to the top of my Kid's Clothes Week queue. I also forgot to have Matt print it for me (for some reason we keep putting off buying a printer because every printer is the worst ever) so I hauled both kids to the library today to print and magically found out that we get 10 free pages each day. TEN PAGES FREE WHY HAVE I BEEN PRINTING AT OFFICE MAX WHYYYY! Don't remind me about the time I forgot to specify black and white printing and it cost me twenty dollars to print it in color and it was a test version and the version changed before I got the chance to sew it. Just don't remind me.

Can you tell I've been cooped up for two days with sick kids and haven't gotten out except for said library trip? I'm feeling a bit chatty. Craving adult interaction.

Cut the jibber jabber, right?

Here are some pictures of a kid posing for cookies.

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This hat took me 2 hours from tracing the pattern to placing the finished hat on her head. Well, almost finished. I still have to hand stitch the opening at the back closed. Don't tell. That's a nap time project! And the pattern pieces are all small so it is the perfect project for scraps or upcycling! I used fabric that I bought from the Habitat ReStore like 5 years ago, so although it isn't a true upcycle it kinda feels like it. The fabric still smells like mothballs when I iron it, so it has that pleasant "thrifted" smell, haha! Charly has now requested that I make a Pinkie Pie and a Rainbow Dash hat for her, which makes me wonder why I didn't think of that before. Add it to the list!

I call this one: Galloping Gang Signs

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And this one: Of HORSE You Can Have A Cookie

(stop me now)

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Pattern: Sweet Pea Cap by Jennuine Design

Size: Medium (her head measures 51cm)

What I loved:

  • it's a fairly quick sew!
  • using up scraps feels so oh oh good
  • the suggestion of using cheap plastic cutting mat for the brim stabilizer is so perfect. It's a game changer for future hats and bags!
  • pony ears. duh.

What I changed:

  • not a change, per se, but I opted for the bias cut pieces and faced lining (both options given in the pattern)

What I'll change next time:

  • I'll stay stitch my bias cut pieces- you can sort of see that mine got a little warped. That is now suggested in the pattern!
  • I may try a My Little Pony version- put a cutie mark on the side of the hat and a corresponding mane

Fabric & Notions:

  • Tweed from the ReStore
  • scraps of red linen
  • cheap plastic cutting mat for the brim

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Can I just say, our new yard is like, the best for pictures? We've got great tree coverage so it looks like we're in a forest instead of the burbs. Bad news is the pine trees kill grass so this moss is all we get. The kids seem to have endless ideas for how to play with moss though, so I can't complain too much.

Thanks for reading, friends! Let's chat again soon, huh? And maybe next time I'll let you get a word in :)

A Wyld Stallyn!!

haven-acres_0249 Please tell me you know that reference.

So I've been doing some pattern testing for the upcoming (sooooon!) Haven Acres Mini collection by Jennuine Design. It's my first time pattern testing and it's been very cool to see how the whole process works. The collection is equine inspired, with leggings similar to riding pants, a loose woven blouse, and a to die for pony eared hat. I love me some Cotton and Steel, (evidence here, here, and here) and I had this Mustang print earmarked for a skirt for Charly but I just couldn't resist pairing it with the dressage leggings. Double bonus- Caroline is suddenly really in to horses the last couple of weeks!

Enter, the Wyld Stallyn top and leggings. So named for my little horse lover, a Wyld Stallyn in her own right, who wouldn't stand still for a moment and doesn't respond to bribery like Charly does. I think this is what I get for bragging about my photography yesterday, haha! I literally took over 200 pictures of her gallivanting about the back yard today and these were the best I got, and it took some delicate editing to get them this way :)

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I'll be sharing more about the Haven Acres Mini Collection next week for the blog tour after the pattern is released, but I couldn't help but share this today since the leggings were my Kid's Clothes Week project today. The blouse was done last week, so maybe that's cheating a little, but they're a package deal, ya know!?

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I stepped outside my color comfort zone a bit on these. Pink doesn't make it in to my sewing rotation much, let alone such a bubble gummy pink, and if I'm being honest I'm still not sure the red and pink combo was a good idea. It's a little in your face for my liking. At the very least they'll be great for Valentine's day, right?

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So, a few details

Pattern: Dressage Leggings by Jennuine Design

Size: 18-24m, extra rise option

What I loved:

  • that cut is just so cute!
  • great for mixing prints (I'll have to share some funky tester versions I did with prints!)
  • generous bum coverage- that's a ginormous cloth diaper under those leggings
  • great fit

What I changed:

  • lengthened the 18-24m size to 2t length for my tall 20 month old

What I'll change next time:

  • nothing! the fit on these is fantastic!

Fabric and Notions:

  • red jersey knit from JoAnn
  • pink performance knit from Joann
  • woven elastic (the kind for pajamas and underpants- it's softer than the knit kind)

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And the top-

Pattern: Haven Acres Blouse by Jennuine Design

Size: 2t

What I loved:

  • Easy on and off design
  • no closures means easy sewing

What I changed:

  • no changes to this blouse!

What I'll change next time:

  • I'll likely lengthen next time since my daughter is fairly tall and the elastic tends to ride up
  • I'll use flat elastic rather than cord elastic in the sleeves because the cord elastic is a bit tricky to sew together

Fabric and Notions:

And that's WYLD STALLYN!!!!!

(air guitar)

Tree Hugger Top

tree-hugger-top_0109 This, my friends, is the project I was most excited about for Kid's Clothes week. I've been hoarding this plaid linen dress in my refashion box for a couple of months and man am I happy to have used it. This is the top I had in mind when I made the Colonel Mustard Skirt- and I love love how they look together!

The fabric reminds me of a lumberjack shirt, but my little gal would be the one in the tree trying to save it rather than the one cutting it down, so Tree Hugger Top it is!

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The pattern I used is the Haven Acres Blouse pattern, soon to be released by Jennuine Designs. I've been testing for her so I get an early stab at it, lucky me! I've made a couple already and I've got another one planned. I made some modifications to it for this top though, which I'll detail below. But first, a before:

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and after:

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Pattern: Haven Acres Blouse by Jennuine Designs

Size: 3t

Things I loved:

  • intuitive construction
  • simple, feminine shape
  • accurate size- her measurements landed squarely in the 3t range and it fits great!

Things I changed:

  • lengthened blouse by 3in to make it more of a tunic
  • cut the back on the button placket of the dress instead of a fold
  • cut the front bodice over top of the back panel to use the bias cut panel as a design feature
  • omitted keyhole (to feature the bias panel) and bound neckline with a clean finish on the back instead of ties
  • narrowed the sleeve by 1.5in. Since the shirt buttons down the back now less fullness is required in the sleeve for comfortable dressing. If you make this top with the original design and don't have buttons down the back be very cautious that you don't make it too hard to put on by not allowing enough ease in the sleeve!
  • omitted the sleeve elastic
  • bound the hem in bias tape

Things I'll change next time:

  • I've made it following the pattern exactly and love it that way, I'm sure I'll make another like that!
  • I'm toying with the idea of making one in the same mustard sweatshirt fleece as this skirt

Notions & Fabric

  • thrifted linen dress
  • navy single fold bias tape, ironed in half to make it a narrow double fold bias tape

I'm excited for this pattern to be released! I'll be sharing makes from this 3 piece collection soon- but I'm feeling oh so lucky to have the pattern in time for Kid's Clothes Week!

In other news, we're getting better at the whole photo taking process. Less grumpies (treats are always involved) and I'm getting better shots quicker. Plus these two hams like to pose, so there's that :)

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Goofballs. Anyway, I'm feeling good about the photography retreat I went to. Maybe I'll share some pics from that one day- although I think it will just make you all hungry:)

The Colonel Mustard Skirt

colonel-mustard-skirt It's that magical time again, friends... the time when I sew my heart out and actually blog about my projects before moving on to the next ones... it's KID'S CLOTHES WEEK! The theme this go around is up cycling. Um, yes please? If you've been around here for any length of time you know I LOVE to up cycle/refashion/scavenge. So obviously, I must OWN this Kid's Clothes Week!

I like to start the week off with a quick and easy project to help keep me motivated to make more. Enter my first project of the week- the Colonel Mustard Skirt. It had humble beginnings as a 2XL mens sweatshirt rescued from the thrift store:

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I forgot it was supposed to start on Monday, so a little Super Bowl night sewing (watching the series finale of Parenthood and not the Super Bowl because duh) and I drafted and sewed this simple skirt in an evening.

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I kind of winged it, which is something I haven't done in a while. I have so many patterns now that I usually have something similar to what I want and don't need to draft my own. This was simple enough that I thought I'd give it a try. I'm also taking the Pattern Workshop course from Lauren Dahl right now so I figure I need to get brave about drafting myself.

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It's a fairly simple skirt- a couple of rectangles, pocket cutouts, waistband and hem band from the bottom ribbing of the sweatshirt, and elastic at the waist to keep it up. I made the whole thing on my serger except for the topstitching on the pockets. Once I buy another double needle I'll topstitch the waistband and hem band, too. I did end up lowering the front waistband after trying it on her today, so for anyone thinking of drafting something like this you'll likely need to scoop that front waist down some.

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Here's the pocket lining detail. I used this fabric from Finch Sewing Studio. I had the pleasure of stopping in to their shop on Saturday and just couldn't leave empty handed!

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I always forget size labels so I made do with a simple ribbon tag and fabric pen.

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If I were to sew it again I think I'd add some pleats to the front. And the little lady? Well, she likes it alright. It isn't twirly, but I have plans for a top to go with it that will be plenty twirly, so hopefully that will redeem it!

Who else is sewing along for Kid's Clothes Week? I wanna see what you're making!!

(Details on the coat are in this post)

Charly turned 4!

charlyturns4 My spunky-crazy-sassy-silly-sweet-precocious-clever-tender Charly bug turned 4 this week. This girl made me a mother, and every day she's making me a better person. She tests my every limit and is the best snuggler. She's quite possibly the funniest person I know. She knows what she wants. She's a lover of all- every color, every animal, and every person (except bad people. and robbers. and horse bandits) and makes friends with everyone she meets. She's a lot like me in some ways, and completely different in so many ways that I admire.

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Here's to four years of motherhood, four years of snuggles, four years of tears, four years of the most heart wrenching love imaginable. I love you Charly!

I promised her a new dress for her birthday, one with lots of colors and even gold. I cut it out the night before her birthday and got it just about sewn up while she was out with Nana for her birthday. I gave it to her unhemmed that night and finished it the next day, which means I'm now ok with giving half finished gifts, haha! This is not good for my procrastinating tendencies :)

I used the Caroline Party Dress pattern from Mouse House Creations, just like the one I made for Caroline last spring. It came together even quicker this time, which proves to me that all the sewing I've done over the past year has made a difference!

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Things I loved:

  • just a few pattern pieces means less tracing!
  • the cap sleeve bodice doesn't require setting in sleeves

Things I changed:

  • omitted the collar since I planned to pair it with this sweater

Things I'll change next time:

  • match my pattern better on the back seam
  • try a version with the collar

Notions & Fabric:

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These red Chucks SLAY me. She's had strong opinions on clothing lately and a lot of my handmades haven't fit the bill. I'm happy to say she loves this one (for now) and loves the shoes too! I know these things don't really matter, but man, it sure makes me happy.

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THIS. is a Charly face. Happy Birthday Charly!