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...

Beatrix Top Hack

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Hey hey hey! I managed to make myself something! I've had a list of things I'd like to sew for my postpartum body because I don't have much that fits me now, but this is the first one I've managed. It took me nearly a week because babies need attention and stuff. Haha!

I needed a loose fitting top that I could easily breastfeed in, that was also cool for the unbearable heat and humidity of Virginia summers. I'd planned to buy the Scout tee pattern, but then I saw Erin's hacked Beatrix, a pattern I already own, and figured I could work off of that! Sewn in this fantastic lawn from Urban Sew means it drapes beautifully and keeps me cool- because we've got a month of heat left here! It's just loose enough to pull up for easy breastfeeding access without drowning out my frame.

This has quickly become my favorite top and I'd love to sew another one or two! I didn't have to make many adjustments, and was happy to have a built in full bust adjustment to use. I also got a chance to use my new hemmer foot for my sewing machine which made this narrow hem super easy! Normally I cringe when I have to work through a narrow hem, but the hemmer foot makes it simple! Details about sizing and mods are below!

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Pattern: Beatrix by Made by Rae

Size: Straight medium, View A, with the C/D cup front option

My measurements: in inches below

Upper Bust-34

Bust- 37

Waist- 31

Hip- 41

Mods:

-Cut back on the fold using the center back line on the pattern

-omitted the button placket

-omitted facings (I hate facings!) and bound the neck with single fold bias tape

-added two 1" fisheye darts to the back to give some shaping for my swayback after assessing the fit on my muslin

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So now I'm thinking I need a few with view B- a banded hem and longer sleeves. I'd definitely recommend this pattern, as it was detailed and easy to follow and a great fit!

That awesome red necklace is from Madre Beads- I love these necklaces because they're a perfect accessory that my little lady can pull, chew, and grab with no worries about breaking chains. You can check out more at madrebeads.com! I'm a Madre Beads Enthusiast, which means I share my love for this brand and receive discounts (score!). I was not paid to share this, and don't make any money if you purchase. I just love having jewelry that fits my lifestyle and love sharing :)

Thanks for reading!

On motherhood and creativity

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I'll be honest, here. I've been struggling lately with feeling fulfilled. I'm fully aware of how cliche that sounds. But with a new baby and Matt working hard in the evenings on his ice cream business I feel like I'm in the trenches of motherhood at the moment, and sometimes it's rough. I love my job. I love that I get to stay home and spend my days with these amazing little people, but sometimes I hate cleaning bodily fluids off the rugs and for-the-love will you just be quiet for a moment so I can scroll through instagram in peace while the baby sleeps?! You know?

But really, honestly, I can handle all that stuff. I can. What is really hard for me at the moment is not having the time to pursue my creative interests. Because when you're an inherently creative person, the ideas can be consuming and it's like having a twitch that you just can't quite get rid of. I need to get the ideas out of my head through my hands and make them happen so I can stop obsessing. So I can relax. I read an article recently about creativity and motherhood, and while I can't find the link at the moment, the thing that stuck out to me most was a line that said "it isn't what I'm doing that's the problem; it's what I'm not doing"- and I feel that SO HARD. But I guess that's the point, right? I mean, time is the great equalizer. Money and opportunity and ability are so variable, but we all have the exact amount of hours in our day. And here we are, using it all up and in the end whatever we did with it is what we have to show. And the things that need done may come at the sacrifice of those things we want to do. And even if I WANT to stay home with my kids (I do) I still mourn those things that I currently can't do because mothering these little beasts requires all of my time.

Before someone says it: I KNOW. Treasure these moments, the time goes by so quickly, you're lucky you're able to stay home with your kids, you chose this life, first world problems. I KNOW. Soon the baby will sleep better and things will change. And this phase won't last forever, and I'll try to enjoy it as much as I can. And I DO enjoy it. I have so many beautiful moments that I wouldn't change. But feeling those creative urges with little chance for release is harrowing. So I did this. I woke up one morning staring at my sweet tiny baby in my giant bed, and I got my camera. And I started clicking. And then I just kept going. And by the time we had breakfast I realized I was really enjoying it, so I kept going. This is my spontaneous photo project. A day in my life. The challenge of documenting my day in photos did amazing things for my creative spirit. And at the end of the day, looking back at these little snapshots of my real life moments reminded me why I do this. These are my people. And I'd do anything for them.

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Lucy's Nursery: Crib Sheets

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I'm breaking two of my long ago pronounced rules of nursery decor. Back when I was pregnant with Charly and was sure I was going to be the hippest mom with the most beautiful nursery, I was adamantly against animal motifs and the classic pastel colored nurseries. That was "old school" to me- the teddy bears and elephants and pink and blue was NOT hip and NOT in. I decorated her nursery with Amy Butler prints that were certainly less theme-y than the nurseries I was used to seeing at the time. Remember now, 5 years ago none of us had heard of Pinterest, so trends spread much more slowly. I actually wrote a blog post about Pinterest when I first discovered it and I thought I was the bees knees when it exploded and everyone and their grandma had an account. I was a total Pinterest hipster.

Back to the nursery- I loved how I did Charly's nursery- it was sweet. But after two girls and 5 years I was ready for a change. Little miss Lucy could have certainly used the same nursery decor. It's in good shape and still cute. But we're in a new house, and you know, sometimes you just want to change things up. So I settled on the idea of a monochromatic nursery. And then I saw this bear print from Cotton and Steel. And I had to have it.

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The tiny gold details just slay me. Bears wearing bow ties and party hats definitely wouldn't have been on my radar 5 years ago, which is why it's fun to change things up and break a few silly self imposed rules!

There are lots of good DIY crib sheet tutorials all around bogland (I followed this one), and they're all basically about the same. I strayed from them a bit and here's why: a crib sheet uses the full width of quilting cotton- typically listed as 45". In reality, quilting cotton varies from 41"-45", and that extra few inches can make a big difference to whether your sheet stays on the mattress or not. A narrower fabric will mean less overhang to wrap around the back and hold it on.

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As it happens, the fabric I used is 42" with selvage included. Rather than narrowing that measurement by 1) removing the selvage, and 2) folding over to form an elastic casing, I left the selvage intact and added a separate elastic casing, giving my sheets a better chance of staying put. It doesn't hurt that this selvage is beautiful in and of itself!

This is super simple to accomplish, and means less ironing. Trust me, your fingertips will thank you! I used gold metallic polka dot fabric a friend gave me that was already cut to be quilt binding, which made the process even simpler. After sewing together the corners of the sheet I sewed the binding (already folded with both raw edges together) to the right side of the edge of the sheet all the way around, leaving a small opening for inserting elastic. Once I inserted the elastic I sewed the last bit closed then finished the seam allowance.

Although Lucy is 2 months old her nursery is still in progress. Third kid problems, you know. So I'll be sharing her nursery in stages because the rest of it is still very much unfinished- and having some in progress posts might help me keep momentum going to finish it!

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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!

Thread Faction ss2016 Tour

Hello Friends! I'm thrilled to be participating in a blog tour for Thread Faction* today. Liz Elliot is the designer behind the children's pattern company Thread Faction, and she's just released her spring/summer line. It's a fabulous looking collection of patterns using knits- perfect for easy summer wear!

Thread Faction SS2016 Blog Tour

There are links for the other stops on the blog tour at the bottom of this post, as well as details on the GIVEAWAYS so make sure you check that out!

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I've sewn up #106- a girls skater skort perfect for my gals who love skirts but still need a little more coverage for play. After I decided on a pattern I took to my Kidcouture Pinterest board to get some inspiration, and came across this image that I pinned a year ago. I love how the stripes seem to curve due to the shape of the skirt and I love the simple drawstring detail.

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#106 is the perfect shape for this, and stripes will get lots of wear since they're basically a neutral, right? I bought some double knit from Joann Fabrics (the same fun stripe/polka dot I used for this dress a couple years ago) and some white jersey to try to form some sort of drawstring out of. I ditched the drawstring idea because I was sewing against the clock, and by pure coincidence Liz posted this video tutorial for the knit fabric twine just yesterday so I took it as a sign and added it! I love the little something extra it adds and I love that Liz and I were on the same wavelength!

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The shorts underneath mean they can run, skip, dig, jump, and climb without showing their unders. Caroline just recently toilet trained and not having to layer up separate shorts under a skirt will help prevent those wardrobe related accidents that seem to happen in the early days after ditching diapers.

The only changes I made to the pattern were to lengthen both skirts according to the pattern instructions for my tall skinny girls, and adding the twine detail on the front.

I hadn't sewn any of her patterns before, and I'm happy to report that I fully enjoyed my sewing experience with this pattern! There were lots of great tips included on things like fabric selection and tips for sewing with knits, and an included crib sheet for those who don't need the full instructions. The diagrams well drawn, clear, and easy to understand. This pattern had lots of extras but was still simple and straightforward without too much extra fluff. I love the waistband construction method and am really happy with how quickly these came together without sparing any quality. I'm already planning to purchase more and can definitely see myself sewing this pattern again! It could easily be hacked as separate skirt and shorts, too! You can find it and all the other patterns from the collection over on the Thread Faction* site.

Liz has an awesome giveaway going on over on her blog- head over to this post to enter to win an amazing prize package of fabric and patterns!

But wait! You can also enter here to win a pattern of your choice from the SS2016 Collection below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to visit the other stops on the tour for more inspiration on how you can sew up these patterns! Each link won't be live until their post date.

26/5 Nap Time Creations Miss Castelinhos Swoodson Says Needles to say

27/5 Made By Sara Sew Not Perfect Hello Holli Whisk 'em

28/5 House of Estrela Made By Amanda Rose Max California Brave Fabrics

29/5 Create 3.5 Bless by Tone The College Seamstress

30/5 Ma Me Mi Mo Paisley Roots Skirt Fixation

31/5 Sew Very Rebel and Malice Call Ajaire

1/6 Better Dressed Child Buzzmills Handmade Frenzy

2/6 Lamb and ewe crafts All Things Beautiful Pen, Seb & Rox

 

*This post contains affiliate links. I love this pattern and I think you'll love these patterns, too, so I signed up for the Thread Faction affiliate program. If you purchase through my link I'll receive a small commission. Thanks for reading!

Holiday Debut Blog Tour: Prize Winner!

It was a fun week full of holiday looks made possible by wonderfully talented bloggers, and now it's time to share the winner of the prize made possible by our generous sponsors! First, the $50 to Cali Fabrics is our blogger prize, won by Celina Bailey!

And next, for the grand prize-

Congratulations Liz Knutson! You're the winner of a whole lot of sewing goodness!

Fabric Shops Gift Certificates: $50 BWD Fabrics & Supplies | $50 Imagine Gnats | 20 EU Girl Charlee UK Sewing Patterns: Hello Holli-Blue Ridge Dress | The Wolf and the Tree-choice of pattern | Chalk and Notch-Fishtail Kimono | Baste+Gather-Copy of all patterns | True Bias-Men’s Hudson Pants | Jennuine Design-choice of pattern | Sew Sweetness-choice of pattern | Radiant Home Studios-Highland House Pattern | Paisley Roots- copy of all patterns | Atelier Louise-Silver Sans Sandal pattern | Tinman Pattern-choice of pattern | Pattern Pieces-Fun Tee Pattern | Lorelei Jayne-Tech Pouch pattern | Designs by Call Ajaire-choice of pattern | The Ruffled Stitch-Flower Stripe Top/Dress pattern | Petit a Petit Family-choice of 2 patterns Gifts: $25 Sew Very Rachel

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A huge thank you to all who made the blog tour possible- bloggers, readers, sponsors, and of course my fellow budding designers! Keep your eyes out this week for a round up of all the looks that were shared throughout the tour!

Holiday Debut Blog Tour Day 6

Waaaaaahhhh it's the last day of the tour! The good news is you're about to be blown away. We're ending with a bang (although I feel like that could have been said each day!) and I CAN'T WAIT to show it to you! Check out these lovely ensembles! Celina from Petit a Petit + Family added A BOW COLLAR that I'm seriously obsessed with. It's a perfect addition to the Blue Ridge Dress and I'm happy to have awesome people sew my pattern to do all the cool stuff I never thought of myself :) https://www.dropbox.com/s/j0v92h7t9hwbx8j/12321148_10153094349912471_4542743151595586727_n.jpg?dl=0

Karly from Paisley Roots made this cute look- I am all over that plaid! More plaid, please!! https://www.dropbox.com/s/emg79v859jelj3n/1.1.jpg?dl=0

 

Molly made her little ladies these matching holiday outfits with some added tulle to the Blue Ridge Dress. Is there anything cuter than matching siblings? Go check it out on her blog Life with Zeke.

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Sara of Made by Sara is always sewing such sweet things, and this Blue Ridge Dress with a neck ruffle is no different! https://www.dropbox.com/s/l93fjqh4tucsmai/holidaytour_madebysara4.jpg?dl=0

Go check out the rest of the photos of these cute looks and give these ladies some love!

The MASSIVE GIVEAWAY will be open until Sunday night and we'll announce a random winner Monday morning. Make sure you enter via the rafflecopter for your chance to win this amazing prize.

Fabric Shops Gift Certificates:

$50 BWD Fabrics & Supplies | $50 Imagine Gnats | 20 EU Girl Charlee UK

Sewing Patterns:

Hello Holli-Blue Ridge Dress | The Wolf and the Tree-choice of pattern | Chalk and Notch-Fishtail Kimono | Baste+Gather-Copy of all patterns | True Bias-Men’s Hudson Pants | Jennuine Design-choice of pattern | Sew Sweetness-choice of pattern | Radiant Home Studios-Highland House Pattern | Paisley Roots- copy of all patterns | Atelier Louise-Silver Sans Sandal pattern | Tinman Pattern-choice of pattern | Pattern Pieces-Fun Tee Pattern | Lorelei Jayne-Tech Pouch pattern | Designs by Call Ajaire-choice of pattern | The Ruffled Stitch-Flower Stripe Top/Dress pattern | Petit a Petit Family-choice of 2 patterns

Gifts:

$25 Sew Very Rachel

And The Wolf and the Tree, Hello Holli and Chalk and Notch are on sale with 20% off right now! Use coupon code 'Holiday'!

If you are inspired to sew up these patterns you can shop each pattern here.

The Fishtail Kimono | The Blue Ridge Dress | The Abby Footed Tights.

Holiday Debut Blog Tour Day 5

It's nearly the end of the tour (tear) and I can't help but be grateful for all  these awesome people who were willing to sew up our patterns. Sewing people are the best people, that's all there is to it! Emi from Just Add Fabric has this gorgeous blue look that can easily transition to spring- check it out! https://www.dropbox.com/s/7vzaro5uw42m6e5/12304522_10153100870165044_1859871992133566484_o.jpg?dl=0

How cute is Rita's little reindeer! I'm loving all these collars with the dress, such a fun way to spice it up for the holiday! Read more on Conversas De Hermanas. https://www.dropbox.com/s/o2m57wvlunolv5b/12314481_10153492938594232_7661492634482866547_o.jpg?dl=0

Tasha of Glitter & Wit always has amazing fabric combos and this one is no different! The colors are unexpected for a holiday look but still so so festive! https://www.dropbox.com/s/7j29abbgr4z2q3t/12316208_10102020335313974_8944032420736381658_n.jpg?dl=0

Starly from Sew Starly shared this festive combo- and those colors just scream PARTY to me! https://www.dropbox.com/s/gnao81ttaqb35go/12322397_10153553317199584_1255322746932029704_o.jpg?dl=0

 

Thank you all for following along our tour. It's so fun seeing the creativity of so many amazing sewists! Don't forget to enter the giveaway via the rafflecopter!

Holiday Debut Blog Tour Day 4

Hello my friends! The Holiday Debut Blog Tour continues, and the inspiring looks just keep coming! The thing I love about these sorts of tours is the variety you get- I mean, just look at all the amazing things that have been done with 3 patterns! The creativity of these bloggers is outstanding, and I feel so grateful to have such talented people willing to participate! The first stop today is Candice on her blog Candice Ayala. Her version with a lace trimmed Blue Ridge Dress is KILLING ME. So much cute. https://www.dropbox.com/s/vxs9mh8trriytka/12363245_10208048536199271_2675290488809819833_o.jpg?dl=0

Cindy sewed all three patterns for her daughter and is sharing them on her blog Cindy Parrett. Gorgeous blue and silver tones and tulle to boot? The perfect holiday look! https://www.dropbox.com/s/7opjyrf86wk1jsr/12310652_10154408833709616_8804758440783027734_n.jpg?dl=0 Maryam from Hi and Hello made her Blue Ridge Dress a maxi with a fun surprise underneath- GOLD! I can't get enough of that blue velvet! https://www.dropbox.com/s/cho8zx2e5fyj45g/12309818_10101652521211294_2335104189869451184_o.jpg?dl=0

Toya of Made by Toya made two Blue Ridge Dresses, stenciled footed tights, and a kimono to gift- whew! I'm in love with the bishop sleeve she added on this version! https://www.dropbox.com/s/uv8tgtdpoa7b0h6/dsc_3667-2.jpg?dl=0

So good, right? The awesome thing about having other people sew up my pattern is seeing versions that I never could have envisioned or had the time to execute. It is so (sew) rewarding! Thank you ladies! Go check these out, give them some love, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!!

 

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