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.

charlyturns4fingers

charlyturns4ear

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!

charlyturns4ballet

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:

charlyturns4chucks

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!

I'm living in Hudsons.

I'm just barely sneaking in another make for Parcel #6  (here's the first) before the tour ends and this parcel is gone forever! (don't know what I'm talking about? Check out their site to learn more about how awesome Perfect Pattern Parcel is) I've been dying to make some Hudson pants since before I even got the pattern but I've been supa supa busy sewing many other things. In the past couple of months I've sewn 2 wedding dresses, 2 Halloween costumes, 20 drawstring bags, and two makes for separate Pattern Parcel blog tours. That's all I can think of, but for some reason I feel like there was something else... Oh and I had a photography retreat, a trip to Utah (2 weeks!), my sister came to visit, and I'm training for a marathon. Way too many good things to even deserve, but it meant those Hudson pants went on the back burner.

Anyhow, I've been wanting some Hudson pants because I basically live in yoga pants these days and mine are all stretched out from maternity/postpartum wear. And yes my baby is 18 months old already. I know. Buy some clothes that fit already, right? But I made time! And I sewed them up in literally one evening, which is nearly unheard of for me. I've worn them every day since I finished them 2 days ago, and I don't plan on stopping. I guess I'll probably need another pair ;)

So the pattern- I printed the large format version at the copy shop because NO TAPING MAKES ME HAPPY so that expedited the process quite a bit. I literally started tracing my pattern at 8:30 and put the final touches on them at 11:15. Boo to the yah.

I'm short on pictures this time because we were all a little hangry and dinner needed to be made. Also, anyone have recommendations for a camera remote? My marriage will thank you.

Behold, my Hudsons.

Pout pout fish photo bomb!

This is pretty accurate- no fancy photo shoot for these. I'm lounging in them, reading books, really spending much too much time on the computer in them. #momlife.

The details:

Things I loved...

  • the fit! I sewed a size 6, no changes, and I love the fit.
  • fast sew! record speed for me, I tell ya.
  • the waistband! The finish of it looks pretty pro.
Things I changed...
  • nada. not one thing.
Things I'll change next time...
  • I'd love to try a cropped version
  • use a heavier fabric to make them feel less pajama like
Notions & Fabric...
  • Charcoal reversible rayon jersey blend, from JoAnns. It is DIVINE. So soft. So supple. The waistband and pocket detail show the opposite side of the fabric.
  • Dollar store shoe lace for a waist tie
There she be. They may not look like much- not flashy or fancy- but these babies are in heavy rotation which makes this project an absolute WIN.
There are only 8 hours left of this parcel sale so GET IT NOW!!

Aztec Floral Zsálya Top- Pattern Parcel #6

Another Pattern Parcel is here!! This bundle of PDF patterns from indie designers, available for two weeks, is all women's patterns and all fabulous! As always, you can choose your price when you purchase, and all profits are donated to the charity Donors Choose, which provides supplies for classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

The patterns included in Parcel #6 are: Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren Hudson Pant by True Bias Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations Syrah Skirt by Lauren Dahl/Selvage Designs Zsálya Top and Dress by Kate and Rose

aaaand a bonus pattern, if you choose a price of $32 or greater, the Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll! It's a star lineup of patterns, folks! Some I've been pining after for a while, some are completely new to me, but I can see myself wearing every one of them.

Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win I chose to sew the Zsálya top first. This is a risky move for me, I have to admit. I have a pretty petite/narrow frame, so while I love the look of loose and drapey tops they rarely look good on me. My shoulders are narrow and generally can't balance out a voluminous top. I decided to sew it anyway and hope for the best because I love that crossover front detail so much. It reminds me of a grown up Fawn Lily pattern, which I've been eyeing for my girls.

Totally works, right?! I love to layer in fall, especially since our weather is pretty temperate. I can start the day with a cardigan over the top and take it off when things warm up in the afternoon.

The fabric is refashioned from a Laura Ashley dress I bought at the thrift store. Charly was bemoaning me for cutting it apart. Apparently 90's fashion is her jam.

I chose it because of the funky floral. The flowers have an aztec sort of styling to them that for some reason spoke to me. The dress is a lightweight cotton that doesn't wrinkle, making it the perfect mom top. Aint nobody got time for ironing. I love that it dresses up my normal t-shirt and jeans look but isn't too fussy- no closures, high neckline that can't be pulled down by tiny hands exposing me to the other parents at the children's museum... you know, all the important things. And comfy. Did I mention that?

And it looks good with my favorite boots, which is requisite for any fall staple.

Back yoke, so pretty.

You can see the aztec-ish floral on the sleeve detail here. And speaking of sleeve detail, I love the gather and the shaping of the sleeve!

I'd wanted to use piping to accentuate the crossover detail but I didn't have any and I was antsy to get started. Next time.

I cut out a small and ended up sizing it down later. I should have cut an extra small (I was on the border size wise, and should have known from past experience to size down on these sorts of tops) but I solved it by holding the taped together yoke and front bodice pieces over my sewn together top (sans sleeves), shifting them over about an inch, and literally drawing a new side seam and armysce based on that. It's a bit of an unconventional solution, but it worked like a charm and meant I didn't have to worry about changing the sleeve shape any.

As for the pattern, I'm in love. I love the pattern diagrams- very clear and easy to follow. The pattern had great pointers and explained things really well. I really loved that they gave two methods of finishing the yoke so you can choose if you want the easy way or the more polished way. It's a pattern that can teach you something while you sew, and I love that! Everything came together relatively quickly, although I did have to think through the bodice/yoke sewing method a few times before I figured it out. The sewing was made quicker by reusing the existing hem of the dress I refashioned. Hooray for up cycling!

So sewing friends, do you want these patterns? Head over to Pattern Parcel to purchase this bundle before it's gone!

Sunki Village Dress & Pattern Parcel #5

Hello my friends! I've been a busy seamstress, and I should have a post up with pictures and details from my sister's wedding dress SOOOOOON!! The wedding was lovely and our trip was too much fun. I've missed the desert air. Utah was on the cusp of autumn when we left, and had I not known that the blissful Virginia autumn was soon to come I may never have left that dry and blessed state. I'm done with humidity, yo. Thankfully, the leaves are starting to turn and we've even had a couple of boot-and-soup days so I'm in my element. I even made pumpkin crap cookies, which is the official mascot of fall in this house.

But yes, enough blabbering about air and cookies, right? This post is about clothes! I'm happy to be sewing along for Perfect Pattern Parcel again with Parcel #5- girls and tweens! It's a stellar parcel, to be sure. Every parcel seems to have a few patterns I've been eyeing and a few new-to-me patterns, which is a perfect mix I think. For those unfamiliar, Perfect Pattern Parcel offers limited time sales of pattern bundles from indie designers, and donates all profits to a charity called Donors Choose. Donors Choose provides supplies to teachers and students for their classrooms. It's a win-win-win- support indie designers, help students, and get patterns!

This particular bundle of patterns includes sizes from toddler to tween- meaning these patterns will be in rotation in my house for YEARS to come! A few of the "tween" sizes may even fit me, so I'm excited to see how versatile these patterns become. Click through the links or pictures to learn more about the patterns in this parcel!

Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

Oh, and did I mention that you can name your own price?! Yes. I know. Unreal. And hey, if you name a price of $28 or more, you'll be sent the bonus pattern as well- the Sunki Dress!

Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win So what did I sew? There's a sneaky peek at the top, but I couldn't resist making another Sunki Dress. Yes, I've sewn it before (twice actually, but this one is my fave) but it's just. so. good. I'm a Figgy's fangirl, truly. The Sunki Dress was my first indie pattern purchase. I saw it and the Nituna Coat (you can see the one I made here) on Pinterest in the early early days (like, 2010, folks) and I pined after them for a long time. I had never seen such hip patterns before. I just dig the aesthetic and the ease of wear. So modern and still kid friendly. Both the Sunki and Nituna are some of my favorite kid makes to date:

So here's the deal: I started with this wool skirt I bought earlier this year at the thrift store.
It is dated and kinda weird but the print sucked me in. It's a village scene that, despite being fairly dreary, is completely whimsical at the same time. I loved the juxtaposition of those muted colors with the intricate village scene, full of towers and mountains, fishermen and horseback riders, just waiting for a story to be told. So I bought it, with every intention of turning it in to children's clothing. Sunki was perfect for showcasing the scene, with no gathers or pleats to interrupt the pattern.
It is dark and chic but still totally wearable and playable.
To keep it from feeling too grown up or dreary I decided to embellish the scene with a little embroidery. I kept it simple, mainly because my embroidery skills are rudimentary at best, but also because I love how subtle it is.
And the easier to see version- Charly said she wanted an orange haired princess in the tower. Orange hair it is!
I tried to line up the horizontal pattern as much as possible. The large repeat meant total pattern matching was impossible, but I did manage to line the sleeves up fairly well.
I love how easy this dress is- not necessarily assembly wise, but wear wise. Sure, it's wool, and pretty grown-up looking, but that won't stop the puddle jumping, leaf collecting, bug catching girl who is wearing it.

Also, it layers sooooo well! Perfect for autumn! I wish I could show every part of this fabric. It truly is beautiful, the way the colors flow and the village streets blend to marshland and then mountain scenes. I'm so happy to have rescued it and given it a good imaginative home! Surely many stories will be conjured up for the orange haired princess in her tower! Will she call out to the fisherman below? Are the horsemen coming to her rescue- or is she diligently guarding the kingdom from their attack?

So, the details:
Things I loved:
  • That silhouette, y'all. The pocket detail gets me every time
  • I finally totally get the pocket construction- 3rd time's the charm! But wait- there's a picture tutorial here to guide you!
  • The fit is spot on with my daughter's chest measurement, with just enough room to grow
Things I changed:
  • Added piping at the pocket detail
  • Created a lining- sort of. I didn't want this fabric to get itchy, so I basted lining fabric to the body pieces (using the back pattern piece and the assembled front piece with pockets as patterns) and then sewed as usual. It's a cheater lining, but I'll take it:)
  • Added an inch to the hem for my tall skinny gal
  • Cut the back piece on the fold so the pattern wouldn't be interrupted, then did an exposed zipper over top
  • Cut the side panels on the bias
Things I'll change next time:
  • I won't change anything about the pattern- but I'm sure I'll find a way to customize again! Maybe patchwork pocket details in some modern solid colors with a neutral main fabric. Mmm now that sounds right up my alley.
Notions & Fabric:
  • Thrifted 100% wool fabric (As a side note, I disregard wash labels on thrifted fabric often for kids clothing. Aint no way I'm going to dry clean this bad boy.)
  • Black piping from Hobby Lobby
  • Black fashion zipper, also from Hobby Lobby
  • Lining fabric from the thrifted skirt

Special thanks to my model, who worked splendidly on two conditions: 1. We HAD to have a pajama photo shoot first, and 2. Gummy worms.

I work for gummy worms, too.

Blingin' Prefontaines for Perfect Pattern Parcel

I'm so so excited to be sewing for Perfect Pattern Parcel again- this time for Parcel #3. Not sure what Perfect Pattern Parcel is? Here's the gist of it, straight from their own mouths...er...keyboard.

"Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel.  We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity Donorschoose.org in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we've raised almost $4,500 towards eliminating educational inequality."
Pretty great, right? It's a fabulous way to support indie pattern makers (which I love!) and teachers and children (which I also love!) while getting some fabulous new patterns. I love buying pattern bundles because I end up with patterns that I otherwise may not have sought after, but sometimes those end up being ones you love the most. Parcel #3 includes these awesome patterns:

Pattern Parcel #3

When I first saw which patterns were going to be included I picked out 3 immediately that I knew I wanted to sew up. The Prefontaine shorts were not one of them, which just goes to show how awesome it is to get a bundle of patterns, even if every pattern isn't one you think you'd buy on its own. But enough words, how bout I show you what I made?
So here's the deal: I don't do shorts. I wear shorts when I run, and I have one pair of knee length jean cutoffs I wear when I really really have to. And that's it. But I was walking around Hobby Lobby and I spotted this gold bias tape, and it was like I had a vision. Gold trimmed linen prefontaines. Perfection. Maybe a little crazy or maybe super chic? Hard to say, but I knew I had to make it happen. I snatched up the bias tape and made my way to the thrift store hoping to find a linen dress I could dissect to make these shorts. The thrifting gods looked kindly on me and sent this 100% linen dress that was perfect. Plenty of fabric, very few seams to worry about.
Please forgive my poor phone photography!

So the pattern. It's simple, just a few pieces to cut out, and comes together very easily. The most time consuming part is the trim, but even that wasn't bad. If I wasn't confident using bias tape to finish edges before, I am now! I got lots of practice and perfected some of my technique. I finished them up but wasn't totally happy with the fit- I'd done the longer inseam and they just felt a little frumpy. 

Let's ignore my unmade bed. And brassiere.

But the thought of removing all that trim to shorten them... ugh. So I played around with it a little and realized if I shortened the rise of the waistband and overlapped the side seams a bit more I'd end up with a more fitted, but still loose and easy, fit. I lowered the waistband by 2" in the front and 3/4" in back, then overlapped the side seams (at the bottom circle, for those who have/are making the pattern) by 2". I made sure to taper up so I wasn't taking in any extra up near the bum area, just down in the leg.

 
 
After those alterations the pocket needed to be shortened (since the rise was lower) and moved so it was better centered to the new shape. I just safety pinned it on where it looked right, tried it on, and finished it up. And then I fell in love with them and we lived happily ever after.
 
 
We are living with my in-laws right now, and their neighborhood has a super awesome pool and splash pad that is a ten minute walk on a wooded path from our house. So shorts to wear to the pool, if nothing else, will get lots of use this summer. Oh, and I've made something else for our swim days, too. Do you spot it in these pictures? I'll be sharing it in a couple of days!
 

Are you convinced you need these patterns yet? This parcel is available until Friday, June 13th at Perfect Pattern Parcel! Check out the posts by these bloggers over the next two weeks for more inspiration! Parcel #3 Inspiration Tour Schedule:

Friday, May 30 Sew Busy Lizzy || Pienkel || SeamstressErin

Saturday, May 31 Design By Lindsay || the Brodrick design studio || Cookin' and Craftin'

Sunday, June 1 Diary of a Chainstitcher || a happy stitch || Disaster in a Dress || sew Amy sew

Monday, June 2 Idle Fancy || Casa Crafty || Kadiddlehopper || Dandelion Drift

Tuesday, June 3 Our Family Four || Casa Crafty || Cookin' and Craftin' || a happy stitch

Wednesday, June 4 Lexi Made || The Quirky Peach || Stitched || a happy stitch || Casa Crafty ||

Thursday, June 5 verypurpleperson || Casa Crafty || sew a straight line || Sewbon

Friday, June 6 Shawnta Sews || Mama says sew || a happy stitch || Cookin' and Craftin'

Saturday, June 7 Casa Crafty || sewninestitches || 'So, Zo... What do you know?'

Sunday, June 8 oonaballoona || A Stitching Odyssey || Sew Charleston

Monday, June 9 Sew Sweetness || True Bias || Ozzy Blackbeard

Tuesday, June 10 Welcome to the Mouse House || Sew Caroline || Adventures in Dressmaking

Wednesday, June 11 Peneloping || YoSaMi || sewVery

Thursday, June 12 la inglesita || La Pantigana || Sanae Ishida

Friday, June 13 Seamster Sewing Patterns || Paunnet

Ombre Bohemian Babydoll

When I saw the Bohemian Babydoll Dress and Top pattern by Elegance and Elephants popping up all over my blog feed I fell in love. The curves are phenomenal and the simplicity is right up my alley. No closures means my fiercely independent three year old can dress herself at will (which she does, multiple times, every day) without needing me to button or zip every time she's ready for a change. Hallelujah! She also demands dresses most days, but loose fitting, flowy tops are considered dresses in Charly land, so I also knew this would actually make it into her rotation. The hem band appealed to me because I just don't like hemming. It isn't hard, or complicated, I just don't like it. I think it is the folding and ironing. I'll iron seams all day long, but folding the edge and keeping it consistent is tedious to me. I don't purchase a lot of patterns; I have to REALLY love something to buy it, and then I try to use it in several different ways. But man, I had to have this one. So I pulled the trigger and sewed up three of them assembly line style, one for a gift and one for each of my girls. This one is the one I made for Charly.

First, the fabric. Matt hates it, but that's ok. He says it reminds him of a grandma's tablecloth. That's what I like about it!  And the ombre... is ombre still in? I'm a little slow on trends, but... I love it. I found it at Wal Mart of all places, on clearance for $2 a yard, so naturally I bought 4 yards of it and now I've got to figure out what to do with it. It's a poly/cotton blend, and the pattern is woven, not printed. It's a bit stiff, sort of like chiffon, but not too fancy feeling. It could easily be dressed up or down. I lined it with white cotton broadcloth because it is cheap and lightweight.

So the pattern. Here's the thing. This pattern is adorable. I'd say it requires intermediate sewing skills, despite the lack of zipper/button holes. Because it doesn't have a back closure, the armholes of the main bodice and lining have to be folded, ironed, and topstitched together. Remember that part where I don't like folding and ironing? Yeah. Bummer. And because it is curved it is kind of tricky to get those to lay just right, so I had quite the time getting those armholes to lay nicely and look right. Maybe it was the fabric? I think I would have preferred a zipper or button. I may try finishing the armholes with binding next time for a slightly different (and hopefully easier) look. After that the construction went together swimmingly, until I got to the hem band and realized I'd still have to fold over the raw edge and iron it down before topstitching- and of course since it is a high/low hem, it's folding and ironing curves. My favorite!  I know, I know. It's part of the whole process and I just need to get used to it.  And I like the look of it, so that's a plus. Next time I'm going to use this as a chance to add a fun print or pop of color. Maybe in the same fabric as the armhole binding... hmmm...

A word about sizing: I do this all the time. Pattern says my three year old should wear 12-18m. I think that's silly and don't want to make something too small, so I choose a middle ground and cut a 2. Size 2 ends up being baggy and I curse the fact that so many patterns just run so so big. Sure my little gal is skinny, but she wears a solid 3t in most ready to wear brands, so I kind of scoff at the thought of making her something 12-18m size. Sure enough, a size 2 is a bit large (you can see it especially around the armholes) and the 12-18m top I sewed for Caroline fits Charly perfectly, with a little room to grow and ease to get it on and off. The size chart won't lead you astray, as long as you FOLLOW IT! Sigh. When will I ever learn? Or when will pattern makers start using blocks that are more consistent with modern sizing?? But I digress. Measure your kids. You won't regret it.

That is one happy customer! Now on to more projects. I'm on a roll here so I should have some fun projects to share coming up in the next couple of weeks! Anyone else doing some summer sewing? Or constantly disregard sizing info and live to regret it? Tell me all about it.

Fashion Revolution- a guide to a more ethical wardrobe on a budget

My Photo for the #insideout and #handmadeinsideout
Today is Fashion Revolution Day- a day to remember the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh just one year ago, and a day to ask the question, "Who made my clothes?" A day to bring awareness to sustainable fashion and make us all think a bit about where our clothes come from, and who makes them, and how they are made. Because it matters. And if you don't know why yet, watch this five minute op-doc about the Rana Plaza collapse. It's good. Really good.
I've had sustainable fashion on my mind for a bit now, ever since I came across this article- 6 Things You Should Know About Your Clothes- in my facebook feed. (You should really read it, and the follow up post, 4 Things You Should Remember Every Time You Shop for Clothes). Here's the thing- I've always been a seeker of bargains. I pride myself on finding a good deal, but this article made me rethink the cost of those "deals.'  I'd started to see the light on quality over quantity (as a twenty something who naturally wants ALL THE THINGS this is a slow going change) but I'm more committed to that change every day, as I'm learning about the options I have as a consumer. I'm on a tight budget, which means I can't afford to buy all organic cotton, sustainably sourced, ethically made clothes for myself and my family. I'm using this fantastic and lovely graphic by Sarah Lazarovic, along with the ideas in the articles linked above, as my guide to navigating a more ethical wardrobe, on a budget.

source: http://longliveirony.com/?p=575 by Sarah Lazarovic

1. I'm gonna use what I got. When I look through my closet there are always those things that I pass by because they don't fit just right, or a button needs to be replaced, or there is a hole somewhere. Well guess what- clothes can be fixed! Mending and alterations can extend the life of clothes you already have. I do mine myself, but when I don't know how I usually search the internet for a tutorial or video. If you want to learn how, the information is there! And if you don't want to learn how, find a tailor or someone who can do the work for you. Costs range on this quite a bit, but it never hurts to ask, right?
Matt and I both had holes forming in the crotch of our jeans a few months back. I finally convinced myself to try patching them because we just couldn't afford new ones at the time. That was 5 months ago, and we are both still wearing them with no signs of them wearing out, and the patches aren't even visible!
2. I'll borrow and swap when I can. I don't have a clothes borrowing friend near me now, but when I did I loved it. For family pictures or a special occasion, raiding a friends closet can give just the extra something you want without purchasing anything. I've also borrowed maternity clothes. Pregnancy can be a tricky time for clothes, so borrowing makes so much sense. Something you wear one week may look terrible or not fit the next, so borrowing from others was a great way for me to have a wardrobe I wasn't sick of by the end of my pregnancy. Oh, and kids clothes? Borrowing saved us from having to buy a new infant wardrobe, since my girls were born in opposite seasons. Moving forward I'll try to lend more, too.
3. I'll keep on thrifting. Its no secret that thrifting is one of my true loves. Sometimes when I need to get some "me time" at the end of the day I'll leave the kids with my man and go to the thrift store. Yeah, I know how to party. Needless to say I'll continue to thrift for my family's wardrobe- and alteration skills come in handy here too- and thrift for pieces to upcycle or refashion. Which brings me to the next part of my plan:
4. Make, make make! Wearing something I've made makes me happy. Seeing my girls wearing something I've made makes me happy. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm betting seeing Matt wearing something I've made would make me happy. I'm going to try to add to all of our wardrobes with handmade when I can, using lots of thrifted materials, and try to use patterns by indie designers (my fave!) whenever possible. For anyone who doesn't sew but wants to, the online sewing community is one of the nicest and most helpful out there! There are tutorials! Patterns! Bloggers galore! So many resources to help anyone, at any skill level, hone the skills needed to sew. It doesn't take a special talent, just patience and practice. If you've ever thought about learning to sew, DO IT!
5. I'll put my money where my mouth is. Yes, I'm sure I'll still be buying lots of things, but I'll try to do a little research and buy less 'fast fashion' and more quality products from companies who treat their makers well. Because I sew, so I know the skill it takes to make clothing. I want to show, with my dollars, that I value that skill in the global market. I'm not promising to only buy from a certain company, or to only buy organic, but I am going to be a more conscientious consumer. Because it matters.
So what about you- how are you going to be part of the fashion revolution?
Check out Behind the Hedgerow, Petit a Petit and Family, and Things for Boys for more info on #handmadeinsideout

Kids Clothes Week Spring 2014- Days 3-7

As always, I lost some steam at the end of Kids Clothes Week. I put in the time, for sure, but my projects just didn't go as smoothly. Does anyone else have that happen- great momentum in the beginning of projects and then.... ya know? Anyway, I finished up my last two garments yesterday, so here is what I spent the last part of Kids Clothes Week working on:

The bloomers are made using the Hosh Pants pattern-and hey! Perfect Pattern Parcel #2 is still available until Friday, and the Hosh pattern is included! I got my inspiration from this post by Monica of Adirondack Inspired and decided to give the adjustable, flat front waistband a try with a bloomer style short for Caroline. I reworked the pleats a couple of times and I'm not 100% happy with these. I'm picky about bubble or bloomer shorts- I don't like too much volume, and I'd say these are borderline for me. Oh, and yeah, they were supposed to be for my 1 year old, but clearly my three year old is modeling them, so they turned out a liiiiittle big. I almost want to try again to get the proportions more to my liking , because I really do love that waistband and pleats. Anyhow, they are comfy. And perfect for transitioning from spring with tights/leggings underneath, to summer worn with a tank or tee, and all the way through fall with tights again. The fabric is a chambray bought at Joanns a couple of years ago.

And this shirt- quickly becoming my favorite make of the week- a pippa peplum with a double layered flounce and freezer paper stenciled cat face. I wanted to have something Charly could help me with as I spent some extra time on projects last week, and freezer paper stenciling is just so darn easy. This is a great tutorial, although I used screen printing ink (found at Hobby Lobby) rather than fabric paint because it softens up much better in my experience (and because my talented friend Mel told me to). Charly enjoyed it, and c'mon. Cats!

Will pose for marshmallows.

The fabric is a knit interlock remnant from Joanns. The slightly thicker knit and half sleeve make it great for cooler spring days. I think the extra layers at the waist seam are making it bow out a little at the waist despite using elastic thread in my bobbin, so I'm considering sewing some elastic right at the seam to bring it back in. I probably won't, though. I'm feeling kinda lazy after all this.

And that is that! My goal of 7 finished items wasn't met, but I can be happy with 5 in a week. As always, my head is reeling with projects I want to make. My creative juices are flowing, but time, that dastardly device, never seems to be on my side. Oh the wonderful clothes I could make for my children if I didn't have to take care of my children all day! I kid, I kid. But really.

Kids Clothes Week Spring 2014- Day 2 & 3 (and a half!)

I've done fairly well keeping up with a bit of sewing each day, and I've even managed to get outside with my kids and make dinner. Let's not talk about the state of the laundry, though. I have a goal this KCW of using stuff I have- refashioning, upcycling, or using fabric from my (small) stash- rather than buying new fabric. It is time to clear some things out and make these piles of junk into something useful! So, for day 2, I refashioned (or upcyled... I really should find out the difference) this shirt I picked up at the thrift store a while back. If you haven't seen a rhyme or reason to my thrifting yet, I'll let you in on a secret. It's all about the fabric. If I'm looking for something for me then yes, I'm looking at fit and lines and all that stuff, but if I find something with a fabric I just love I know I can usually make it into something cool. Which is exactly why I bought this shirt that I knew I'd never wear- at least not in its current state.

It had a deep scoop back that meant there wasn't enough fabric to make it a little dress, so I finally decided to lop off the bottom as is and gather it into a skirt. It was basically the easiest thing I've made in a while. I used some fabric from the top to make a flat front/elastic back waistband, gathered the bottom portion and sewed it on. Easy as pie and my little lady is in love.

But then I didn't have anything she could wear with it, so I figured for day 3 I'd take a swing at the Celestial Tee from Figgy's that is included in Parcel #2 from Perfect Pattern Parcel. I had a cream tee I bought on clearance for $5 to work with. I loved it in theory, but the pleat detail on the front did a weird something over my boobs that I just wasn't digging. The problem is, this shirt wasn't quite wide enough to fit the pattern piece. I thought I'd try doing a contrast sleeve band like this, but it wasn't even wide enough for that. So I thought and thought and wasted way too much time brainstorming (I'm an overanalyzer- like bad) and came to the conclusion that I could try making it a raglan style sleeve, using another shirt to create a contrast sleeve. I literally just cut the pattern from the armpit diagonally to the neckline and added seam allowances. I also brought the back hem up for a less dramatic hi/low hem. Once I sewed the sleeve to the main bodice I followed the pattern. I wasn't sure how the pleats would look with the raglan sleeve, but I'm actually really loving that they seem to have the same angle to them, which makes it look intentional.

I toyed with the idea of using a linen with metallic stripes, but wasn't sure how a woven would work with a knit pattern. I used a thin knit with some texture instead (from a hand me down base layer type shirt), but now that I've sewn it up I'm pretty confident this pattern is loose enough that a woven sleeve would be just fine.

I didn't have enough fabric for a neckband so I cut the original hem from the main shirt and used that. It made a more narrow band but it worked! Talk about using what you've got!

I'm wishing I would have made a size smaller, since this pattern has a lot of ease and Charly is skinny as a rail. I guess she'll get to wear this for a long time:)

I finished the hemming on the shirt this afternoon, which brings us to today. I'm currently working on a pair of bubble shorts for Caroline and have another peplum top cut for Charly. My goal is 7 items this week- fingers crossed!

In the mean time, we are enjoying some fabulous weather, and it is all I can do to not skip naps and spend the whole day outside. Once summer hits the humidity comes with it, so these nice spring days are a precious commodity! Today we managed to get out for a run this morning and spend the late afternoon doing sidewalk chalk.

This goober declared herself "a ragamuffin princess" and I'd have to agree!

Sewing for Perfect Pattern Parcel #2- Charly's Spring Look

Here is part 2 of the looks I created using the patterns from Perfect Pattern Parcel. If you missed it, the first one is here. I couldn't stop myself from making more than one of these great patterns- so I used two to make Charly this outfit.

Charly always gets more home sewn stuff because she is the oldest and doesn't have hand me downs. Thus, every season change (or growth spurt), I'm brainstorming things I can make for her. These days all she wants are dresses, but she also thinks shirts that are flowy or have a little flounce are dresses. I knew the Hanami top would fit the bill for a "dress" and I was dying to sew up some Hosh pants. The Bimaa is one of my absolute favorite patterns so I figured I'd like another LouBee pattern.

I scoured the thrift store for some fabric and wound up finding this gem:

It is rayon, which I thought would make for a nice flowy Hanami, and I like the small print. So 90's, but hey, thats coming back right? Right? Or did I hear that wrong? Anyway, there's enough fabric left for a whole other project, so you may be seeing this again soon.
The top sewed up beautifully. I opted for the crossed back to give it a little something something. I love the look, but the buttons are a bit hard to reach on the inside flap. I lengthened the bodice and skirt each by an inch for my tall skinny gal. I also opted to leave the sleeves unlined and just serge a rolled hem on the edges to make them a little more drapey.

I used a lightweight apparel lining rather than another layer of rayon. I love the finished look of the fully lined bodice, and the edge stitching keeps everything in place nicely.

The pants are a stretch twill from Joanns. I love the pop they give with this neutral top. I neglected to measure my little lady before cutting and sewing them. Oops. They were baggy and the bum was saggy so I had to make some alterations, but I'm confident that if I'd followed directions they would have been fine as is. Just as I suspected they were simple to construct and came together so fast. The adjustable waistband saved my bacon and is great for my skinny kid!
I'd definitely make both of these patterns again. The Hosh is a great staple skinny pant that can almost pass as leggings but has a more polished look. Charly is suddenly vehemently against jeans, so I'm happy to have a pants pattern with a bit of polish but lots of comfort, too.
So... are you convinced that you NEED these patterns yet?

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

Get all five (and the bonus shorts if you pay $24 or more) by clicking the link below.

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

Want to see more? Check out what these bloggers are making with the patterns!