Archive for November, 2011

tova top, take two.

I made another Tova top.

Normally I like to complete one project before beginning another, but I started this second Tova two weeks ago and got distracted somewhere around setting in the sleeves…and then again when it was time to slip stitch the collar…and it wasn’t the fault of the sleeves or the collar, I’ve just been really scattered lately. There are so many things I want to make right now that I can’t stay focused on just one at a time. I kept taking breaks from the Tova to start something else, thus finishing nothing and making a huge mess in the process. I’m driving myself crazy with pieces of various projects all over the place, so I buckled down and finished this one up.

My first Tova has already seen enough wear to make this pattern well worth its price tag. Like I said in that post, I don’t buy clothing very often – and if something is comfortable and fits well, I’ll happily wear it over and over (and over) again. Apparently others were getting a bit tired of it though, because after seeing me in the same shirt for three visits in a row, my mom gently suggested that I make myself another one. That was the plan all along, but if she wanted to watch my kid while I went to the fabric store, I wasn’t about to turn that down.

The polka-dotty stripes are from the Darling Clementine line by Timeless Treasures. It’s a lightweight cotton lawn – more crisp than the gray checked fabric I used for the first shirt, but still super soft. Probably better for spring than winter though. Maybe flannel for number three?


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When I was growing up there were always new pajamas under the tree to open on Christmas Eve. It’s a tradition I’d like to carry on, and when I spotted this Moda Hideaway fabric back in January, I immediately envisioned Oliver + S Bedtime Story pajamas for Christmas this year. I prefer my holiday fabric to be more winter-y than Christmas-y, and these snowy little pines on icy blue fit the bill.

I had trouble finding a contrast fabric I liked, and then I remembered seeing these pajamas in the Oliver + S Flickr pool. While I love how this pattern gives you the option to use contrast fabric, I like them in all one fabric, too (especially those Heather Ross horses!) and it gives the pattern a slightly different look. Anyway, that’s how I decided to go the no-contrast route.

For the inside closure I used a snap instead of ties (an idea I found here in the Flickr pool). Where the directions say to sew the tie inside the seam allowance, I used a piece of twill tape and attached one snap to that. The other snap is attached to the end of the neckband.

This is actually my second attempt at Christmas pjs this week. After seeing this pajama post a couple months ago at Sarah Jane Studios, I decided it would be fun to try something new and make classic button-down, collared pajamas. So I bought the New Look pattern she used, and made wood grain piping for the cuffs.

But it wasn’t meant to be. I got as far as the pants (in size 3, the smallest that pattern goes) and it was immediately clear that Lila wouldn’t be wearing them this year…or next year for that matter. They were huge. I should’ve known better than to think she’d fit into a size 3 in a commercial pattern. I looked unsuccessfully for something smaller in that style (I really wanted to use that piping!), but ended up coming back to good old Oliver + S, and I’m glad I did. Honestly, I sometimes wonder why I ever stray…

So anyway, she’s got a second pair of these pajama pants waiting in the wings for when she grows another six inches. I suppose I should make the matching top for when that time comes, but my eyes need a break from those cute little deer for awhile.

To satisfy my need to use that wood grain fabric, I made a tag for the pants:

And appliquéd a t-shirt, which I think will probably get more wear than the kimono top.

You might not think so at first glance, but it’s a great shirt for nursing:

And bottle feeding, too, for that matter.

She loves her baby dolls, this girl…

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If you’re like me and can’t bear to part with your fabric scraps, onesie appliqué is a fun way to use them. Of course, in my case, actually using something from my disastrous scrap heap only serves to justify future hoarding, as in, “See! I knew there was a reason I didn’t throw this (or anything else, ever) away!” Be careful, this is the mentality that can land you on an episode of Hoarders.

Anyway, a good friend just shared the news that she’s expecting twins in April, so I rifled through my scraps and made a pair of congratulatory onesies.

These were as easy as following the directions on the package of Steam-a-Seam – just cut out your shapes, iron them on, and stitch around the edges by machine (I did the squirrel by hand since he was so tiny).

Everything but the faux bois tree trunks were cut from scraps of Lila’s School Days Coat lining. I saved every. little. piece. of that fabric when I made the coat – I just love that Kokka print, and I knew there had to be a future for some of those precious scraps.

I tried to be gender neutral….if there’s a boy in the mix, hopefully he’s secure enough in his masculinity to wear a couple of pink apples on his shirt.

And to package them up I made a little drawstring bag (a mini version of Dana’s Hobo Sack) out of linen.

Maybe I should take this opportunity to organize my scrap bin…any tips? By color? By size? Straight into the trash can?

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sunday brunch

Lila took a trip around the block on the balance bike with her dad while I did some sewing this weekend. She doesn’t move very fast, but she did manage to display some healthy self-esteem and an appreciation for nature all within the first nine seconds of this video.

Here’s what I was working on:

It’s the Sunday Brunch Jacket from Oliver + S. There are lots of gorgeous versions of this jacket in the flickr pool, but this one has always been a favorite of mine. I’d planned to make the jacket last month for KCWC but only got as far as cutting it out. And then, as usual, a bunch of other projects pushed it out of the way until now. But the fact that it was prepped and ready to sew made it a pretty desirable project to tackle this weekend.

Here’s what’s hidden on the inside – little trees, getting a dose of some very uncharacteristic November sun,

and my first bias bound seams (minus the armholes, which Kristin gave me permission to skip :)).

The fabric is the same uncut cord from this skirt. It has a nice study weight while still being super soft and cozy, and I think I paid $4.50/yard with my JoAnn’s coupon, so the price is right. The trees are from Erin McMorris’ Wildwood collection – I used it for my very first (and long outgrown) Oliver + S garment, the 2+2 blouse, which I made almost exactly a year ago. I finished the seams with the same shot cotton I used here and here (because I still haven’t cleaned up from two projects ago, so there it was) and I chose the buttons to match it.

Speaking of which…Lila dumped out my button jar, very carefully selected these four buttons for the jacket, and placed them on the markings. I exercised my veto power, much to her disappointment.

The jacket came together like all Oliver + S patterns do, without a hitch (I feel like a broken record, but they’re such great patterns, they really are). And it fits, but I really wish it was an inch or so longer. At the rate Lila’s growing I think it might only fit through the end of next week. This is the kind of sewing project that makes me hope I have another girl someday.

And in conclusion, a pretty decent hop…

and a caterpillar named Amy.

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my tova

When I first bought my sewing machine I took a series of three beginning sewing classes. The projects got progressively more difficult (apron, robe, two-piece pajamas), but they all had one thing in common: none of that stuff is worn out of the house. And I’m pretty sure it’s no coincidence – probably a good idea for beginners to stick with garments that nobody sees.

Anyway, that was then, and this is now. Not to say that I’m all pro now or anything, but I made myself a shirt!

And I wore it outside!

Okay, just the backyard so far, but I have every intention of wearing it out and about.

The pattern is the Tova top/dress from Wiksten. It’s a beautifully crafted (and packaged) pattern – spendy as far as patterns go, but since my annual clothing budget hovers somewhere around $0.00 (I’m not kidding about this, I never buy clothes), I was able to justify it pretty easily. I was so excited about finally getting my hands on the pattern that I traced it the day it arrived in the mail. Then it languished in the corner through KCWC and Halloween until I could give it my undivided attention.

The fabric is a super soft, lightweight organic cotton, checked on one side and striped on the other. It feels like voile and has a similar drape. I’d been eyeing it at Fabric Depot for months, but didn’t have anything specific in mind for it, so I held off. When I bought the Tova pattern I knew I finally had a project for this fabric…though I did have a moment of doubt when Lila saw me cutting out the pattern pieces and exclaimed, “Hey! That looks like daddy’s underwear!”

I know pattern sizing can be really weird, so I was pleasantly surprised and more than a little relieved when I tried this on for the first time and didn’t have to make a single adjustment – I made an x-small and the sizing was perfect. And I’m fully prepared for the next pattern I try to result in a completely ill-fitting garment, just as payback for this one. Or better yet, maybe I’ll keep making this shirt over and over again…

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Yesterday was my sister’s birthday – nice for her and all, but also fun for me because I got the chance to make another one of these bags. She requested the same fabrics I used for mine, but I thought we’d look a little silly carrying around identical bags, so we discussed some other options. She picked out some stuff she liked and asked me to make the final decision. This is a fun bag to pick fabrics for, but I must say, it helps to have someone else narrow down your choices!

Sorry for the lack of creativity in staging my photos – this is the exact same shot as bag #1. Same book in the background and everything (it’s a great one, by the way).

We ended up with a brown Lisette chambray for the outer pockets and lining, and Joel Dewberry Empire Weave in Dandelion (basted to canvas for added structure) for the main bag.

I made my own piping for the first time using this tutorial – it was super easy. Extra easy, in fact – I cut my strips on the grain instead of the bias, knowing the piping wouldn’t be going around any curves. Maybe there’s some reason I still should have cut on the bias, but I couldn’t think of one.

The piping and all the pocket linings, including the inner slip pocket, are a purplish/pinkish Kaffe Fasset shot cotton called Mushroom (first used as a lining here).

The pattern is the Go Anywhere bag from the lovely and talented Anna of Noodlehead. I really can’t recommend this pattern enough. I’ve been carrying mine around for a couple months now – it’s just the right amount of roomy, and everything stays organized and secure in all those pockets.

My only regret in making this bag is that I couldn’t find the hidden sew-in magnetic snaps for the lining like Anna used, and I didn’t leave myself enough time to order them. Next time!

And just because this photo was in the same upload…after my shower yesterday, Lila invited me to view her “rice cake aisle.” And yes, those all went back in the package.

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halloween proper

Lila was really into Halloween this year, giddy with excitement all day long. It could be because she got to eat a cupcake first thing in the morning (no frosting, so that’s really just a muffin, right?), or maybe it was because she got to sit on the dining room table with said cupcakes while enjoying an unauthorized Dum Dum.

Whatever the reason, she could tell it was a special day. And she was a pretty cute little tree, blue leaves and all.

Not sure what this facial expression is all about – concentrating on keeping that precarious bird’s nest on her head, I think. I covered her headband in the woodgrain fabric, and it wasn’t quite grippy enough. (There are more details about the costume in the last post, if anyone’s interested).

The little squirrel came out to play, too.

We went to a Halloween party at the library and trick-or-treated a little bit nearby with her buddy the referee. We must have rehearsed the trick-or-treating script a hundred times at home, and her performance was flawless…of course she completely clammed up once we were out. Isn’t that always the way (it is over here, anyway)…

The highlight of the day for me was how she kept mysteriously disappearing, and each time we’d find her upstairs in her room, door closed, under the covers, getting into her candy stash. Sneaky.

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween and got to eat their candy in peace!

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