Archive for September, 2012

I somehow got lucky enough to test another Noodlehead bag pattern!

This is Anna’s new Sidekick Tote – she’ll be releasing the pattern sometime this week, so stay tuned! I love Anna’s blog, and she’s the queen of fabulously written and designed bag patterns. I’ve been carrying my Go Anywhere bag for over a year now and it’s starting to look a little worse for wear – emptying out the cracker crumbs might be helpful, but making myself a new bag seemed like way more fun.

And it seems I can’t stop making gray bags. This is the third bag I’ve made for myself, and they’ve all been the same color. I think it’s because I know how dirty it’s going to get, so a dark color seems safest. And I do love gray. One fun thing about Anna’s patterns is that there’s so much room to play around with coordinating fabrics.

I picked a basic main fabric (Essex yarn dyed linen in black – neutral but with a great texture), then added two fabrics from the Cloud 9’s Simpatico line, and a tiny gray chevron print called “Sally’s Skirt” from Moda’s Reunion Collection. All purchased at my lovely local fabric shop, Cool Cottons.

Linings, pockets, pocket linings, two-sided straps…the hardest part was deciding which fabric should go where.

I love how the strap can be made from two different fabrics. And yes, I coordinated my shirt to match the bag for these photos, but truth be told, I have two shirts that fit me right now, so it wasn’t that difficult a choice 🙂

This bag is secure – an adjustable strap means you can wear it across your chest, so no slipping off your shoulder.

It zips shut, so nothing’s falling out.

Even the front pocket is secure.

And let’s get back to that recessed zipper (fancy, right?). This is my first time making a bag with a zipper, and I really prefer this closure method for keeping things put. And I love how the zipper is hidden in the bag – it’s genius. Fun to be able to choose another hidden fabric for that part of the lining, too. Plus, look at that cute little zipper-end-cover-thingy.

Wish I could’ve found a local source for the cool rectangular strap adjusters Anna used on her bag – she gives you info about ordering online, but I was too excited about making this thing to wait for them to ship! So I ended up with D-rings instead.

There’s another front pocket option that you can check out in Anna’s sneak peak post – it’s pleated and finished with bias tape and I’ll definitely be trying that one next time.  The bag comes in two size options, and I went with the larger – with another baby on the way I figure my days of toting around a bunch of stuff are still plentiful. But I’m already scheming about fabric options for a smaller sized bag for when the time comes…

Thanks to Anna for letting me test this great pattern!


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So last year around this time I made Lila an honorary back-to-school dress and lamented the fact that she didn’t have anywhere to wear it. But she started preschool yesterday, so this is the real deal. Her very first first-day-of-school dress, an Oliver + S Jump Rope dress.

I made this version of the dress last June – I loved it on Lila and hated watching her grow out of it! The smaller-sized pattern only goes up to 3T, and it’s a slim fit, so this was my chance to make another.

It feels a bit blasphemous to pick favorites when it comes to Oliver + S patterns, but I think this one might be it for me.

There are so many great details and I love the professional-looking end results. I have pored through the Oliver + S flickr pool and the Jumprope Sewalong pool studying the dresses made from this pattern, and my favorites are the simplest ones – small prints, subtle dots and stripes, and almost solids – those seem to highlight the dress’s details and are always the one that stand out to me.

This polka dot fabric (Lucy’s Crabshack by Moda) was Jump Rope-worthy to me, and the candy-colored dots on the navy/grayish background seemed like the right combination of summer and fall to be a good back-to-school dress.

Lila is not much for dresses, and I doubt I’ll convince her to wear this one more than a few times. But she wore it on her first day of school, so I’m satisfied. The dress got lots of compliments at school, and no one asked if I made it, which always make me feel like I’ve done at least a decent job.

This is definitely one of the more labor intensive Oliver + S patterns (second only to the School Days coat in my experience), but absolutely worth the effort, and the stellar directions will walk you through every step. The pattern is out of print but available as a digital download. I will most definitely be investing in the larger sized pattern for this one. Like it or not, Lila, there will be many versions of this dress in your future.

Thanks so much for everyone’s well wishes for Lila’s first day of school. She was beaming from ear to ear when I picked her up, and has agreed to go back next week (as long as I drop her off and don’t stay, she says!) which is all I could ask for. When I dropped her off yesterday I didn’t even make it down the front steps of the school before I started crying, but it didn’t last long. Plus, I’m pregnant, so it hardly even counts.

And here she is with her new lunch bag, which was ridiculously fun to pack.

I really wanted her to be surprised when she opened it, but she begged for a peek before we left for school, and in the end I’m glad I didn’t miss out on seeing her face when she looked inside, because it was awfully sweet. Everything but the fruit came home uneaten, but all she ever eats is fruit so it was no big shock. And I had no trouble finishing the remainder when she got home.

And last, here are the couple photos I took with my phone when I dropped her off yesterday.

Already hard at work within the first three minutes of arrival:

A nice sunny reading corner:

And check out this display of preschool intimacy!

That’s her BFF, Norman. They didn’t just meet that morning, I promise…

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Tomorrow is Lila’s first day of preschool, and along with going to preschool comes packing a lunch…and yet another opportunity to sew something fun! Luckily, one of my many purchased-long-ago-but-never-made patterns was this little lunch bag:

The pattern is called Love your Lunch Box by Gingercake Patterns. She designed it for her daughter to carry to Kindergarten, so it’s perfectly sized for little hands (though big enough to carry an adult lunch, too).

The inside is lined with laminated cotton for easy clean up:

And there are two little outer side pockets

which are perfectly sized for snack bars and fruit leathers and such.

I worked backwards with the fabric on this one – I knew there wasn’t going to be a huge selection of laminated cottons to choose from, so I picked something neutral for the inside then looked through my stash for something to match. This is a Japanese print I bought a few years ago at Cool Cottons, and I’ve been waiting for the right project to come around to use it.

The outer layer calls for heavy weight interfacing, and the inside in insulated with Insul-Bright batting. So it’s got a nice sturdy shape and keeps the contents cool or warm.

Update – Oops, I just realized that her name needs to be on it somewhere (duh). Rubber stamps on twill tape to the rescue.

I bought a little two-tiered bento box to put inside, and now I can’t stop perusing the millions of cute little bento lunch ideas floating around online.

And this may be humorous to no one but me, but when I went to upload my lunch bag photos, my husband had done his own little clandestine photo shoot. Clearly I’m not the only one around here who’s been researching preschool-appropriate lunches. Ha ha. Funny, honey.

Lest you think we eat Pop Tarts over here, those were purchased by my husband for a camping trip and never opened…until the middle of the night last week when I discovered them in the cupboard and the baby begged me to have one, so what could I do? And that corn and crab chowder, which was a bad idea in the first place, expired in 2006 – but instead of getting rid of it like sensible people, we somehow began a tradition of planting it in various places around the house for each other to find. We’re easily amused. And for anyone curious, the jar contains some highly suspect tuna fish. Kind of a seafood theme going on…

Anyway, it’s clear who’ll be in charge of packing Lila’s lunch.

Oh, and the pattern came with a bonus reusable snack bag pattern as well, so I made up a few of those to go along with the lunch bag.

These are the easiest thing ever. They close with a big strip of velcro and can be customized to any size. I lined them with some white PUL, that waterproof diaper fabric (thanks, Amanda!).

That’s it! Here’s a preview of Lila’s first-day-of-school dress. We did a day-before photo shoot this morning, just to be safe 🙂

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