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rainbow hide-and-seek

Lila graduated from preschool yesterday.

rainbow hide-and-seek -- probably actually

It seemed like a pretty big deal, so I made her a new dress.

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It’s her second Oliver + S Hide-and-Seek dress – we’re both really fond of the first one, which has been in heavy rotation since March. This is very much that same dress – chambray, size 4 (this time I added a 1/2 inch in length), short sleeves, no notch – it all seemed to work last time, so I didn’t want to risk it by making too many changes.

rainbow hide-and-seek -- probably actually-15The fun thing about this pattern, though, (besides the genius welt pockets) is that you can do something special with yoke, which is framed so nicely by the side panels and skirt. The yoke on this dress was pieced from a striped shot cotton (Kaffe Fassett’s Broad Stripe in Bliss), which I purchased at Bolt a few months ago with this very dress in mind. Rather than cutting the front yoke piece on the fold, I cut two pieces on the bias (with an added 1/4 inch seam allowance on either side) and pieced them together to form the V.

1 rainbow hide-and-seek -- probably actually

Now, I’m no quilter, and while I suppose point matching isn’t rocket science, I did manage to butcher my entire 1/2 yard trying to get those stripes to line up just right. My first attempts were laughably off, and even when I got the pieces cut out correctly, they didn’t especially want to match up – shot cotton has some stretch even on the grain, so it wasn’t terribly cooperative on the bias. But I tried, tried again, and it all came together well enough in the end.

rainbow hide-and-seek -- probably actually-9And happily I was able to use the few remaining scraps to eke out some striped pockets.

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I used the same Andover chambray as the last dress, this time in Denim. There’s so much to love about this fabric – the weight, the drape, the texture – it’s great for clothing and I pretty much want to use it to sew all the things. Luckily it comes in so many great colors that maybe nobody would notice if I did? The thought has crossed my mind.

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So that’s it. Lila’s career as a preschooler is officially over. We went from this, her first day of preschool two years ago:

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To this, her very last day:

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She had such a happy year at school, and is so ready for Kindergarten, whether I’m ready for it or not. And no graduation is complete without a cheesy senior portrait to commemorate it all. It would’ve been better had she been peeking out from behind the tree (or maybe side lying with a tuba), but this one will have to do…

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As you may have heard, Rae‘s lovely new line for Cloud 9 Fabrics, Lotus Pond, is now available in all its glory!

LotusPond-600-wideThe prints and colors are so happy and summery, and I had (and still have!) so many ideas for what to make. But in the end I couldn’t get the bucket hats out of my head. I mean, picture a kid down by the pond on a summer day, catching butterflies and snails and frogs, and try to tell me you don’t see a bucket hat on that kid’s head. Right? Anyway, there was that, and the fact that both of my kids happened to need new summer hats. So there you go.

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The weight and feel of this fabric is perfect, and Cloud 9 prints on organic cotton which makes me feel all happy inside. I chose two of the larger scale prints, which I like for hats because you don’t have to worry about anything matching up at the side seams or the print looking straight along the curved brim. And I love those blues together.

There are some fabulous boy-friendly prints in this line. I went with Lily Pond for Oscar.

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And Lila’s is Meadow Blossoms in Blue.

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The pattern comes from Liesl Gibson’s Little Things to Sew book, but it’s also available as a free download on the Oliver + S website. I’ve made it year after year (Lila’s hat from two years ago still fits, but a new one was in order) – it’s quick and easy and fits well. I widened the brim on Lila’s, same as last time, by one inch all around – inspired by none other than Jessica of A Little Gray. More sun coverage and more big sunhat floppiness. And I’m a big fan of avoiding hand sewing whenever possible, so I used the “look, no hand stitching!” technique (Jessica again!) to construct both hats. A pleasure to sew, even two in a row!

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Another nice thing about the pattern is its reversible-ness. Lila’s hat reverses to Andover chambray in Mustard (same stuff I used for her Hide-and-Seek dress), and Oscar’s to good old Essex yard-dyed in Denim. I love that you get two hats in one with this pattern – one fun print, and one neutral solid.

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lotus pond bucket hats -- probably actually

And Oscar is wearing Lila’s first pair of Sailboat pants – finally a usable hand-me-down!

Okay, visit Made by Rae this week for lots of Lotus Pond inspiration – there’s a Lotus Pond Extravaganza in the works! Thanks to Rae and Cloud 9 for having me along!

 

Today is my stop on the Willow & Co. Glamping Tour!

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Laura (of Craftstorming and Titchy Threads) kindly invited me along, and anything she’s involved in is automatically legit in my book. I’ve been so impressed with her patterns (Small Fry Skinny Jeans!), and I figured she’d only take part in the most awesome of pattern collectives. And once I read more about Willow & Co. and looked through the collection, my assumption was confirmed.

Choosing from all the patterns wasn’t easy, but I thought Oscar would look pretty cute in the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt.

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The Hawthorn jumped out at me as being both practical and stylish, and that it happened to be Laura’s pattern was the icing on the cake.

hawthorn sweatshirt -- probably actually-14It’s a perfect little collared sweatshirt that can be made in a full or half zip, with options for side seam pockets or a split side-seam with lower back hem. A basic, well-designed zip-up sweatshirt is such a useful pattern to have in your collection. The fit is great, the details are professional, and what kid wouldn’t want to wear it? This one is a total crowd pleaser.

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And back to those details – Laura does them so well. I’m somewhat of a zipper novice, and I really appreciated the directions for inserting the zip – the Wonder Tape (I used this stuff) really did work wonders, and the interfacing kept everything hanging straight.

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I did the full-zip version with the pockets, and used a soft, lightweight french terry (smooth on one side, loopy on the other) from a men’s Target sweatshirt.

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I have such trouble finding good knits locally, and I hate ordering online without seeing and feeling the fabric first. I always check Target and Old Navy for pieces to re-purpose, but I’ve noticed lately that a lot their sweatshirt and jersey knits are cotton/polyester blends. You really have to search for the 100% cotton stuff, but that’s what I prefer to use when I sew for kids. This one fit the bill – the quality was surprisingly good, and I liked the minty-jade color. For the pockets and facings I cut up an old hoodie of Lila’s from Old Navy.

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One nice thing about using a ready made sweatshirt is that the existing ribbing could be re-purposed for the cuffs – and it all matches. That’s my other gripe about knits – every variation of every hue is available when I shop for woven solids, but when I’m pairing up knit fabrics, I usually feel pretty lucky if I find a random contrast color that doesn’t totally clash.

((Oh hi, Lila. How’d your dress get so short?))

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Anyway. Can we talk about “glamping” for a moment? That’s glamorous camping for those like me who were not in the know. I am not in the know about 7/8ths of all pop culture references, so it was no big surprise that I had to turn to the Google for guidance. I must say though, I can get behind glamping. I grew up in an Indoor Family. We read books and played Boggle and we were all proficient with rubber stamps, but we did not camp. Roughing it is definitely not in my blood. I did marry a camping enthusiast though, and we recently acquired a pop-top camping van. Sleeping inside this hunk of German engineering has to be more glamorous than the hard ground in a tent, right? Now that we’ve got the van AND proper glamping attire for the boy, I think we’re set for the summer. See, Oscar says, “Let me in! Let me glamp!”

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Okay, enough already. Go check out Willow & Co. if you haven’t already. The lookbook is overflowing with Vanessa‘s beautiful photography, and it’s sure to inspire you. So many patterns, so little time. The Fawn Lily dress and the Senna Tote are next on my list.

And for even more inspiration (just a few days in, and so much gorgeous stuff already!), here’s the full tour schedule:

glamping tour

Happy sewing, happy glamping, and thanks to Laura for having me along!

little cotton rabbits

For my next installment of “things I didn’t knit” I’d like to introduce you to the bunnies my mom made for this year’s Easter baskets.

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They’re pretty cute on their own, but they also have tiny bunny wardrobes, which of course takes things to a new level.

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We take dressing up our little friends pretty seriously around here, and we’re having so much fun playing with these.

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I’m definitely including myself in that “we” – technically there was one bunny for each kid, but you know how it goes.

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The patterns come from Julie Williams of Little Cotton Rabbits. There’s all sorts of adorableness to be seen on her blog and in her Flickr stream (the rabbits! the elephants! the miniature dresses and sweaters!) – I’m in awe of this woman. Her knitted animal and dress patterns can be found in her Etsy shop. And she occasionally sells her own creations in the shop, too.

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That’s all. I’ve got my eye on the robin dress next – stay tuned for expanding bunny wardrobes!

little cotton rabbits -- probably actually

 

 

I finally finished up the third of the spring Oliver + S patterns, the Lullabye Layette. Just one of the many things I had planned for Kids Clothes Week but didn’t make – that’s always the way.

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It’s such a sweet little set, and I was so happy to see a little baby pattern from Oliver + S. The sizing goes up to 24 months, but to me this kind of thing is cutest in the tiny sizes (and for girl babies!), so I opted to make it in 3-6 months as a baby gift. Good thing other people keep having babies so I don’t have to miss out on sewing stuff like this.

 

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The pants are shot cotton, which I chose for its baby-softness and orange hue – they’re light and airy and they feel great, but I should probably apologize in advance to their recipient because I have a feeling they’ll end up a wrinkled mess out of the dryer. It’s love/hate with shot cotton, I tell ya.

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I added a little band of the shirt fabric on the back pockets by making some single-fold bias tape from a one-inch strip (cut on the grain). And I swapped out the snaps for buttons, only because I had three matching buttons in the correct size, which was too good to pass up. Otherwise I followed the pattern to the letter, and no surprise, it all came out just right.

lullabye layette -- probably actually-7

Originally I chose the print (Leah Duncan’s Gentle Breeze from her Meadow line) for Lila’s Hide & Seek dress, but after I got it home I decided to set it aside for the layette. It’s such a delicate little print, it seemed just right for a baby girl.

lullabye layette -- probably actually-2

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the pattern comes with two addition garments, a sweet little jacket and a bubbly bodysuit. I highly recommend the Lullabye Layette, both for its undeniable Oliver + S quality and its squishy-baby cuteness. Thanks to Liesl for sending it my way!

 

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Okay, it’s technically still KCW according to Pacific Standard Time, so I’m squeezing in this one final project – a Mini Shearwater Kaftan from Make it Perfect. Toni released this pattern (it’s a kids’ version of her Shearwater Kaftan pattern for women) a couple weeks ago and was kind enough to send me a copy.

shearwater kaftan -- probably actually-2

This is a comfortable, breezy shirt, perfect for spring. The sleeves can be worn long or rolled up and secured with sleeve tabs, which are my favorite part. It’s a digital pattern and comes in two size ranges (0-5 and 6-10) – I made a size 5, which was a good fit for Lila.

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Toni suggests something light and airy such as double gauze (like her beautiful Nani Iro version), voile, or lawn, and the minute I saw the pattern I thought of Palos Verdes voile from Cloud9 Fabrics. I’ve been drooling over this line for quite some time, and seeing and feeling it in real life only confirmed my belief that it’s positively divine.

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It was hard to choose from all the beautiful prints, but I went with Malaga Cove (from LiMa Sews – she has the whole line in stock). And if you’re looking for Palos Verdes inspiration, the new Oliver + S Lullaby Layette was made up in this voile for the pattern cover. It’s perfect.

shearwater kaftan -- probably actually-14

I was happy to discover that last year’s chambray Class Picnic Shorts still fit – they turned out to be a nice match. I think a pair of Sailboat pants would be awfully cute with this top, too.

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Incidentally, the weather has been glorious here. See? Sun.

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Bye KCW, see you this summer…

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silver dot school bus t-shirt -- probably actually-7

I made this shirt two weeks ago, so it’s technically a cheater KCW project. But Liesl of Oliver + S just announced her collection of digital t-shirt patterns (kids’, women’s, and men’s – you can outfit the whole family!), and I was a tester for the kids’ version, the School Bus T-shirt pattern. I sewed up one for each kid, so I thought I’d share Lila’s today.

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The School Bus pattern is a basic t-shirt that comes with several options – three different sleeve lengths and two neckband widths. This is View B, with a more feminine, capped sleeve and a narrow neckband. Views A and C are your standard short-sleeved and long-sleeved t-shirts. It’s so nice to have basics like this from trusted sources like Oliver + S – you always know just what you’re getting into, and it’s always something good. And as with all great basic patterns, the options for customization are endless.

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I sewed a size 5 and was really happy with the fit – it’s relaxed but not overly roomy, and the capped sleeves and narrow neckband definitely give View B a girlier feel.

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The silver dot knit came from a sale rack Old Navy tee. I don’t know if it was the fabric or the fact that I skipped the walking foot this time, but it sewed up like a dream.

silver dot school bus t-shirt -- probably actually

If you want more info on any of these new T-shirt patterns, check out Liesl’s introduction post on the the Oliver + S blog. Each pattern is available on its own, or you can purchase a “Family Pack” that includes all four (men’s, women’s, and two size ranges for kids). I’m looking forward to trying the women’s Metro T-shirt myself. After KCW, of course.

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