Archive for October, 2011

Lila’s tree costume is coming together. It’s a simple little costume, but I managed to make it a lot of work anyway. I’ve heard people say it’s silly to put a lot of time and effort into a Halloween costume that’s going to be worn once, and that makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to do it any other way – maybe I’ll feel more comfortable throwing things together once I become a better sewer, or maybe I’ll never be a corner-cutter, who knows. So yeah, all my seams are finished and the oak leaves have veins. And I didn’t get anything else done all week.

The wood grain dress is Leila & Ben’s Sweet Little Dress pattern with lengthened sleeves. And a knothole.

The blue leaves were Lila’s idea, by the way. She really, really wanted blue leaves. I got a blank stare when I tried to explain photosynthesis, and besides, who am I to deny my daughter a couple blue leaves on her tree?

I’m pretty sure the squirrel is what sold her on the costume. It’s attached with velcro (a la Sophie’s super cool interactive stuffie shirt) so it can scamper around in the branches and collect acorns. Lila’s into it!

There are a couple details still in the works, but it’s almost done, and I’m pretty excited for this thing to get its couple hours of wear. And maybe we can throw it into the dress-up bin (which we don’t yet have, but hope to someday) after Halloween…


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flying bats!

Our trip to the pumpkin patch over the weekend left me feeling all Halloween-y. When I saw these paper bats last October on MADE, I immediately bookmarked the idea (remember bookmarking stuff? it sounds so passé now!) for this year.

So this morning I cut out some bats.

There’s a certain 1/3 of my household who’s not a big fan of holiday decorations cluttering up our already cluttered living space, so I kept it pretty simple and hung the bats outside.

The cool thing about outdoor bats is that when the wind picks up, it looks like they’re flying. Today happened to be really windy, and these things were flapping their wings like mad.

I hung them with duct tape and they held up great in the wind. Not sure how they’ll fare when the rain returns.

Now that we’ve got our bats in order, it’s time to start thinking about a Halloween costume. I’ve got a couple ideas that I’m trying to sell to Lila, but I have a feeling whatever I make is going to be met with some resistance.

Look at her last year, she was so little and sweet and willing to wear whatever I wanted her to…

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fun with top stitching

After finishing Lila’s coat I took a little break. It’s possible that I may have shirked some of my other duties last week in favor of sewing, so I took the weekend to catch up a bit. And all sewing and no play makes for a grumpy toddler, so we took a trip to the pumpkin patch.

This big pit full of corn was the highlight for sure. Corn angels!

I did manage to make one more item from my list this weekend. So KCWC days #6 + #7 = a sort of fall version of the rainbow sprinkles skirt, only the rows are stitched by machine rather than by hand.

This time I chose a fall color palette:

The fabric is a straw-colored “uncut cord” from Joann’s – it’s super soft and cozy, like a sturdy weight velveteen.

I wanted this project to be quick, so it’s just a simple, gathered skirt with an elastic waistband (the Simple Skirt tutorial on MADE is great if you’ve never made one of these).

I just used my presser foot as a guide to keep the rows straight and even and about 1/4 inch apart. The triple straight stitch (16 on my machine) makes the colors pop a bit more than regular top stitching.

And a tag to match, because why not.

Lila, this is the last time I’ll make you model this week, I promise….

So long, KCWC, I’m signing off…I did manage to put in an hour a day this week (and sometimes waaaaaaaaaay more than an hour), but I didn’t even start on my Sunday Brunch jacket, and there’s still a pair of pants (the one thing Lila could have actually used!) I want to make. The bummer about putting in so many sewing hours during the week was that I barely had time to look through the elsie marley flickr pool! So that’s one thing I caught up on this weekend, and I must say, there’s some amazing and inspiring clothing in there. Nice work everybody!!

P.S. There are lots of great fall-colored projects (and a contest with prizes!) over at Celebrate Color!

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school days coat

Ta-da! It’s finished. It’s photographed. KCWC Day #5 = about 7 days spent on this coat:

It really was a lot of work (16 pieces to cut out!), but it was fun to make, and I’m pretty excited that I didn’t screw this thing up! So get ready for yet another gratuitous display of photos…

It’s been so hard to hold off on this project – the wool was purchased back in July and I’ve been anxiously waiting for fall so I could legitimately sew a coat. But starting this made me so nervous – I’ve never dumped so much money into one garment, and I really, really wanted it to come out like I’d envisioned it. Turns out I was in good hands with the School Days Coat pattern. Good old Oliver + S – they never let you down!

I used a blue-green Moda wool from Fabric Depot and lined it with a Kokka Trefle print from Cool Cottons.

When I bought the Kokka I never imagined it would end up hidden inside a coat, but this beauty convinced me to forge ahead.

We tried on this lovely coat for sizing (thanks Trinh!) and went with the 2T – it fits on the big side, which is perfect.

The sleeve and lining hems are finished by hand. I always dread hand sewing, so I enlisted my mom to do some (okay, most) of it for me. Here’s the sleeve I did after she showed me how to do a proper blind hem stitch.

I thought a special coat deserved a special tag inside, so I embroidered Lila’s name on a piece of twill tape and sewed it in the lining:

This is cheesy, but I kind of wanted to cry when she tried on the coat for the first time. And not because she jumped for joy and thanked me for it (that never happens! but that’s okay, I have no illusions that my sewing is for anyone but me). I was just so relieved that it all came together with no horrible, glaring errors, and that I had made a real coat! It’s the kind of project I never would have attempted at this time a year ago, and I just felt really….happy. Sewing makes me all emotional!

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déjà vu

Prepare yourself for some big time excitement, because KCWC day #4 = exactly the same thing I made yesterday!

Look familiar?

Same Lazy Days skirt, this time with the blue chevron ribbon. It’s destined for a preschool auction, so I pinned a little tag to it with the size on the back.

Two ribbon colors down, four to go. Nah, I think I’m done. For now.

I finished my School Days Coat yesterday too, but my photo session was thwarted at every turn – sucky weather, an uncooperative model, stuff like that. Hoping conditions improve tomorrow. Stay tuned…

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lazy wednesday

All this sewing is exhausting, I tell ya. I wanted to take it easy today, so KCWC day #3 = me being lazy. I did some hand stitching on my School Days Coat (almost finished!) and made a fall Lazy Days skirt.


The skirt is a free pattern from Oliver + S. I’ve made loads of them – they’re so quick and easy, and really satisfying for 30 minutes of work.

Yep, it’s my same old standby gray chambray.

I found this chevron ribbon months ago at Fabric Depot. Perfect for skirt hems if you ask me.

Instead of one seam down the back I opted for two side seams – I pressed my seam allowances open and top stitched either side of the seam with thread to match the ribbon. Kind of subtle. Actually, kind of not that visible at all. Oh well.

I also added a little piece of ribbon to the waistband to mark the back of the skirt.

I’m not usually much for pinks and purples, but for some reason the purple version of this ribbon was my favorite. Looks nice with the lavender.

After scooping the little pieces up off the ground, she asked if we could go home and put them in a vase.

Then she sat back and admired her work.

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brooke dress

KCWC day #2 = the Brooke Dress. The pattern is from Brynnberlee on Etsy. I saw the dress first here (check out that dreamy cloud fabric!) and knew immediately I had to make one.

I’ve never made anything with pleats before – do you have to iron them back in after you wash the dress? Yikes.

The dress has a really simple design, but there are some nice little details, too. The flutter sleeves and the square neckline remind me of the Citronille Apolline pattern (only this one has the advantage of being in English!)

The fabric is Painted Flowers from Moda’s Sugar Pop line (same fabric as the Storybook Woods Bonnet lining, different colorway), and the bodice is lined with Kaffe Fassett shot cotton in Mushroom.

It was way too cold and rainy for a sleeveless photo shoot, but I made Lila suffer through it. I did graciously allow her to wear a sweater for the first few minutes.

As soon as I exposed her arms she hightailed it back inside!

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