Monday, January 8, 2018

Starting off the Year - Sewing Something New

A new year begins, and my first project this year is something different and new to me (not something for the cub to wear, for once)! I'm participating in the January Sewing by Ti Blog Tour, which was a challenge to make something new, so here we go!

I have always loved doing hand embroidery, and while I've dreamed of beautiful hand embroidered dresses I haven't yet really brought my love for embroidery and love for sewing together in a project. So here is something new for this year, and hopefully it will be followed by many projects that incorporate the two together!

Last October my aunt called me up and invited me to go to Sweden with her, and it was an amazing trip in so many ways. One of my favorite parts was when we went out exploring in the woods and found toadstools that looked to be straight out of an Elsa Beskow book (if you haven't read her sweet stories you should do so, especially with children). We found lots of interesting mushrooms, but my favorite were the red ones.

I used the Toadstool Village pattern from Twig and Tale to recreate a little of the magic to send as a thank you gift to my aunt. It was such a fun sew, quite simple and quick apart from the embroidery (and I love to sit and do that sort of work). I used some bits and pieces of felted wool sweaters I had left over from past projects, and put black beans in the bottom to help it stand on its own.

One day on our trip my Morfar (mother's father) was helping repair my great-uncle's mailbox, and they were trying to decide what color to paint it. My aunt and I suggested yellow, and the look on my great-uncle's face was one to remember. So I had to add a little yellow mailbox onto the toadstool in tribute!

Want to see more fun and exciting new projects for the New Year?

Monday, January 1st: Introduction- Sewing by Ti

Sunday, January 7th: Minn's Things
8th Lilla Gumma *** You are here. 😀

Sunday, January 14th: Sew Like a Sloth
19th Ma Moose

Sunday January 21st: Flaxfield Sewing

Sunday January 28th: Sew Haute Blog

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Nutcracker Christmas Dress!

I managed to make a second project from the Nutcracker Christmas fabric I provided with as a Sewing Portfolio Ambassador! (First project here)  This gorgeous Nutcracker fabric is from Sarah Jane's Nutcracker Act 1 line by Michael Miller, and I'm obsessed with all of it. I've seen so many darling dresses made from different fabric combinations from this line that I've saved for inspiration for next year.

I actually was ahead of the game for once and had this dress done at the beginning of the month, just in time for us to go see The Nutcracker at a local ballet school. The cub has since worn it several places - Christmas parties (including her own here at our house), church, Nutcracker story time at the library. It's nice to get so much wear out of the Christmas dress!

I made the Georgia pattern from Violette Field Threads in a size 3. I added a little bit of fullness to the skirt, I think it was about 4 or 5". I only used three buttons down the back and think it could have used another one at least, maybe even two because it tends to pull open a little right at the top of the placket (I really should add a hook and eye now, but I seem to have a hard time going back to work on a project I thought was finished). The gold buttons were ones I already had in my box, which is why there were only 3.

I really wanted to have the ruffles at the neck and sleeves be solid, but was having a hard time finding exactly the right blue. Finally the obvious dawned on me - I just used the wrong side of the fabric! Perfect color.

It's so sweet on her, especially when I can convince her to let me put her hair in a bun (or a "hair donut" as we call it, since the piece we use inside is called a hair donut and she thinks that is so funny).

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

An Evergreen Dress

I bought myself a pine green dress last month, jersey knit with a gathered skirt. Then I found a similar jersey fabric and decided the cub and I need a little more mommy and me matching in our lives, so I decided to make her a dress to go with mine.

I used Little Lizard King's newest pattern, the Wimberly dress. It has a ruched detail option for the sleeves and there are two skirt options, a gathered circle with a ruffle and a simple skirt. I did the simple skirt for this one, primarily because I'm not super great with knit fabric and "simple" sounded more my speed. This dress also has a sweet little scoop in the back that I just love.

I made a size 2 with a little extra length added (little cub falls right between 2 and 3 for height on the size chart).

I'm fairly happy with how this turned out. I still see tons of areas where I need improvement when sewing with knits, but the only way to get better is to keep going, so I refuse to be discouraged. I need to work more on not having wavy hems and not letting my fabric stretch a little bit as I go! I think my next move will be buying a double needle and seeing if that helps my hems, if anyone has any more advice on things to try please share!

The cub has decided this dress is comfortable, and she's happy with it. Jeff thinks the sleeves give it a bit of an 80s vibe - not a bad thing, right? Now I need to get my dress on and we can go out and paint the town green!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Twig + Tale Trailblazer Vests

For several months now my husband has been asking me when I'm planning to sew something for him. We'd even looked through a few patterns, but nothing had really stood out to either of us, so I continued just making things for the cub.

But then Twig and Tale came out with their Trailblazer Vest in Men's sizes, and I knew that finally the time had come. This pattern is awesome, such a classic design with some nice variations (wind flap, snaps/buttons/zipper, even a fisherman add on) and is something my husband will actually wear. Best of all there is a matching kids' version, so the two of them can match!

Michael Miller provided beautiful fabrics for me to work with, and I chose this beautiful pine green cotton couture fabric for Jeff's vest. For the cub's I decided to go with a print, and their Say Yes to New Adventures from their Words of Wisdom line is the perfect mix of sweet and spunky! We love the little tree doodles.

What really makes the vests is the lovely organic sherpa, also from Michael Miller. It is so incredibly soft. The cub loves to touch the inside of her vest and says, "It feels like a kitten, or a blanket." I hesitated just a little cutting into it because I wanted to just wrap myself up in it and take a nap! It still looks beautiful after being washed and dried (a must when a toddler is wearing it).

This was my first time using a separating zipper, but Lisa's instructions (and video!) make it a complete breeze. Every time I do a zipper I wonder why I don't do them more often, they really aren't hard to do when you have good instructions! I actually think the hardest thing about zippers is finding the right color for your project.

I quilted both of the vests (more on the smaller vest, because quilting is so new to me and it seemed more doable on something small!) onto a thin wool batting for extra warmth, since we are starting to see our temperatures drop. I also added a little color blocking on the cub's vest, so you can really see the nice seams there that help give these vests a nice shape (nothing boxy here!)

These two are such pals, especially since I went to Sweden without them in October. Came back to find that perhaps they don't actually need me after all, they were so on top of things! Hopefully they enjoy having me around, at least.

The cub is such a satisfying person to sew for right now. She seriously loves this vest, and tells me so all the time. When I first put it on her she went over to the mirror and was looking at herself with the most satisfied little smile, it was so cute. Makes finishing something extra rewarding!

Such a handsome guy. :)

Such a big girl!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Toddler-sized backpack!

The cub and I were flying this summer together, and a few weeks before the trip it dawned on me that since she was now old enough to need her own seat, she was also old enough to carry on her own little bag. That way she could carry some of her own snacks, books, etc. At last some of that space in the diaper bag will be filled up for me to stick in my own snacks and books!

I pulled out my copy of "Little Things to Sew" from Oliver + S and used the backpack pattern found in there. I've read reviews of this backpack being a little small, but once I put it on the cub I found it was the perfect size for her little 2-year-old body. Anything thing bigger would probably knock her over. I didn't add any of the penguin details, instead I used some beautiful Michael Miller Sarah Jane Sommer canvas fabric I had on hand (was earmarked for a different project, we'll see if I'll have enough left or need to buy more now!) and a remnant of solid pink canvas I had picked up somewhere a few years ago. I love love love the Sommer fabric line, but this is the first thing I've actually made with any of the fabric! I lined the inside with a yellow cotton.

Honestly, I'm a little amazed that I made this. It looks really good and I don't think it screams homemade. I did want to try to add a water bottle pocket on the side, but I was intimidated and figured I needed to try just following the instructions as written first, since I've never made anything like this. I would highly recommend this pattern, especially to anyone who is brand new to bags (like me)!

Luckily the cub loves it, she looks so cute wandering around in it. It was used on the airplane, and after we returned from our trip she started preschool one day a week and has been taking it there, too. I think I should be able to just throw it in the washing machine (I hope?) which it's going to need sooner rather than later.

She styled herself for these photos, adding on the sunglasses, hat, and boots. The girl has style.

 A good size for carrying around stuffed friends!

Saturday, September 30, 2017

A Layette set for Violet

I already shared the embroidered baby shoes that I made for my niece, and finally finished the entire ensemble!

This is for a darling little girl named Violet, and perhaps this color is more lavender, but the little embroidered flowers are meant to be violets. Being named after a flower myself I appreciate using little flower motifs to personalize instead of tacky personalized keychains (especially as I have never found one with my name on it).

The shoes are Twig and Tale's Wayfarer shoes, which are simply perfect for embellishing with embroidery. I love the little ribbon tags to assist in putting them on. Just darling.

The bonnet is the Storybook Woods bonnet by Alicia Paulson. I love the shape of this bonnet and plan to make many more. I made it so it is technically reversible, though I can't imagine not wanting those sweet little flowers showing.

The little dress is the Geranium dress by Made By Rae. This has become my go-to dress for baby gifts, it is so quick and comes together nicely. I did a little fabric treatment to the bodice to make a little tucked chevron design. My original plan was to do a chevron tuck design like I did for a baby dress last year, but my thread didn't match as well this time and I ended up deciding I liked the back side of my tucked pieces instead, so I decided to make it work and went with it! The fabric is a linen blend, it is very soft and I like the feel of it. I used the same cotton print to line the dress bodice and the inside of the little shoes.

This was a bit of a labor of love with the embroidery, but very worth it. I love the end result.

I made everything 3-6 month size, so I hope it all fits around the same time!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Four pairs of Wild Things Shoes!

I have a really wonderful group of friends here and so many of them are currently expecting, so we had a joint Baby Sprinkle (a smaller version of a shower) to celebrate four of them. I have been so fortunate to have made these friends, they are the best support and I am a better mother because of them.

I decided to make each of them a pair of baby shoes, because after making the embroidered wayfarer shoes I was really eager to try the Wild Things version, also by Twig and Tale. I loved choosing a different animal for each of them and fabrics. Projects like these are exactly why I can never seem to convince myself to get rid of my scraps, because they just take a tiny little bit!

I chose to make:

Panda bears


Polar bears

and foxes!

The cub loved these and kept trying to put all them on herself. She has requested a pair, although she keeps changing her mind on which animal she wants. I'm looking forward to trying to make some in her size, all these tiny little baby shoes have been so small and finicky.

Our baby sprinkle was a lot of fun, too. It was Gator themed and we had it at a local donut shop (YUM).