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a first day theo shirt

Oscar started preschool last week! He’s so ready for it. We were all pretty excited, especially Lila. She begged to take him to school on his first day, so I let her play hooky and come with us. He walked in like he owned the place and barely noticed we were there.

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I already have a mental list of hopes and dreams about what I will do with my 6 free hours every week. Probably more like 5.5 hours if you factor in dropping off and travel time, but still, it seems too good to be true. The last time I had any sort of regular time alone was when Lila started preschool in 2012, and it ended pretty quickly when Oscar arrived two months later. It’s an exciting development.

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Anyway, I decided Oscar needed a new “handsome” shirt (which is what he calls button-downs) for his very first first day of school. I’ve made him the Oliver + S Sketchbook shirt a few times, but the fit was pretty boxy, so I started looking at other patterns.

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The Theo by Zonen 09 has been on my radar for awhile – it’s a Dutch pattern with a great fit and a two-piece collar, and there are a lot of cool customization options included. I made the easiest, most basic version this time, just to try it out, but you can also choose long sleeves, a big 70’s collar, piping at the yoke and pocket, a welt pocket, slim or standard width in each size, and the option to add contrast fabric to the corners of the shirt in several different places.

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Based on his measurements I made a 104 small, which is a 4 slim. As you can see, it’s….slim. A tad slimmer than I had in mind. I should’ve known – he’s still 3, but he’s built more like a 5 year old. I’ve since gone back and traced the pattern in a size 110 (5) standard – I love the look of the slim fit but I think he could use a little more room to grow for the next one.

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I was really happy with the way the shirt was constructed and with the directions, too, for the most part. I did consult my Sketchbook pattern when it came time to attach the yokes to the back of the shirt, though. The technique can be hard to visualize, and since I already knew Liesl’s diagram and instructions made sense to me, I just went straight to hers. Also, I was surprised the directions for setting in the sleeves didn’t include adding basting stitches at the cap to ease them in. Is it even possible to attach sleeves without doing that? I didn’t attempt it.

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I feel like you can get away with just about any fabric for a shirt like this, but gingham is always a safe bet. Using the bias for the yoke and pocket is an easy way to add a little interest to a plain fabric like this and avoid matching those checks. This fabric is from Cotton + Steel’s Checkers collection, which is full of great gingham colors. I couldn’t choose between the Story Blue and the Coral, so Chio at Llama Fabrics kindly sent me both. But this blue/green won out in the end. Not sure what this dramatic pose is all about, but he does match the cushion nicely.

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Preparing this pattern took a little extra work – it’s in English, but it’s formatted for A4 paper (slightly longer than US letter size) and doesn’t include seam allowances. Legal sized paper worked well for the printing, as did connecting the dots with my trusty ninja star measuring gauge for the seam allowance. But good news! Sharon from Zonen 09 is working on formatting her patterns for easier printing in the U.S. and adding seam allowances. These upgrades will only make me love this pattern more.

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One of these days I’ll sort through the pictures of Lila’s first day of school Jump Rope Dress, maybe while Oscar’s at preschool? I’ll add it to my list.

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big joey dress -- probably actually-1-2I managed to make something last week, something I cut out last fall and then left on my ironing board for eight months. It’s a Make it Perfect Joey Dress, a favorite pattern of mine, and of Lila’s, too. The orange one I made when she was in Kindergarten rivaled that first Geranium dress as her most loved and most often worn garment.

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I have no idea why this sat for so long. Once I started it, the top half was finished in a couple hours, and I would’ve happily kept sewing if I’d cut out two skirt pieces rather than just one. Instead I had to order more fabric – thankfully Llama Fabrics still had this print (Morse Dot from Katarina Roccella’s Imprint line), so it all came from the same bolt, and I got right back to work when the new fabric arrived. Started on day #1 of Kids Clothes Week, finished on day #7.

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The fabric is an Art Gallery knit, same as my first Joey. I like these knits for their quality and great range of prints, and because they have enough stretch to make bindings. My only complaint is that there’s some fading, especially with the darker colors.

I remember thinking she looked so grown up in that first Joey dress. Same with this one, only about a year and a half growner-upper.

big joey dress -- probably actually-1-12‘Tis the season for monkey bar callouses and backyard raspberries. Happy almost summer!

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seven years old

Seven!

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She’s changed some since this photo from my first ever post.

onlytwo.jpgTwo sure was a sweet age. I must say though, I haven’t felt especially nostalgic about a birthday since her fourth. I think once I came to terms with the fact that the baby and toddler years were over, looking ahead has just been exciting. It really does just keep getting better and better. And I can still see that little face in there somewhere…it helps that she hasn’t lost a single baby tooth!

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Anyway. I want to share about Lila’s seventh birthday party, and of course there’s a dress to go along with it. She requested a long-sleeved birthday dress this year. I don’t own many long-sleeved patterns, but I’ve been wanting to try this one for awhile now – the Oliver + S Playtime Dress.

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I made it from a coral Cloud9 double gauze from Joann. Normally I don’t buy fabric at Joann but I trust anything Cloud9 Fabrics puts their name on. And double gauze never disappoints. The pattern was great, of course. I remember when it first came out I thought it seemed like a little girl dress, and that maybe Lila was already too old for it. I like it on her, though. It looks a lot like a Geranium dress, although it has facings rather than a lined bodice. The sleeves have a dropped shoulder, making them very easy to set in.

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I had heard this dress runs big, and aside from height her measurements put her squarely in a size 5, so I went with that, and lengthened everything (bodice, sleeves, hem) to a 6.

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But on to the adopt-a-kitty party, which definitely trumps the dress (I was a little disappointed when she vetoed every cat fabric I chose!).

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I think I said it about Oscar’s animals-in-party-hats second birthday, but this one was officially the most fun I’ve ever had, party planning-wise. I’m going to link to all the stuff I collected just in case you want to throw a kitty party of your own someday…please, somebody, have one! I’m sad ours is over…I’m telling you, it was super fun.

adopt a kitty party -- probably actually-1-10These are the cats we chose – they came in several different breeds and the quality was good for the price. We only had six guests which helped keep the cost (and chaos) down.

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The girls arrived and chose a cat to adopt, then named their kitties and filled out an adoption certificate. Then they chose a blanket (pinked-edge fleece) and a collar (a ribbon with a velcro closure sewn on, strung with a key tag and bell), picked up a bag of kitty food (chocolate cereal), a container of kitty vitamins (gummy butterflies), a little ball of yarn, and an adopt-a-kitty box to carry everything home.

adopt a kitty -- probably actually-1-5.jpgMy sister designed the adoption certificates and the box labels – she used this font which came with the flowers, and she added the cat. The certificates were adorned with highly official gold cat seals, and I used the extra stickers on the cups.

adopt a kitty party -- probably actually-1-15The great thing about first graders is that they’re still young and imaginative enough to genuinely enjoy playing on the rug with their stuffed cats, but old enough to have attention spans and skills to do some fun party activities.

In addition to a few games, we water-colored cat faces…

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and made little crowns for the kitties from pipe cleaners and paper flowers.

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The crowns were inspired by this wrapping paper (found locally), which I used in much of the party decorating.

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The girls (and their kitties) snacked on chocolate “cat food” cereal, goldfish crackers, peanut butter and nutella cat face sandwiches,

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and strawberry mice (mini chocolate chip eyes and nose, sliced almond ears, licorice tails). I had planned to make the mice ahead, but when Lila and I did a test run we thought it would be a fun party activity, and I think it was.

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The kitties themselves were really the party favors, but I made some treat bags, too.

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Gummy mice, kitty pens, kitty stickers (these, found locally), and a sugar cookie (I got this set of cutters). I’m still waiting for Jess to show up at my door and teach me how to decorate cookies, but in the meantime, I made some collars out of flattened Starburst and a silver sprinkle.

I used this cat stamp on the bags and the invitations.adopt a kitty party -- probably actually-1-26

Oh, and I ordered these cat headbands too, which arrived from China about 10 days after the party. Oh well.

I will admit that sometimes I get so wrapped up in the little details that I forget the actual point of the party…you know, for the kids to have fun…but it seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves, and I loved all the prep, so I think it was a win. And Lila was so excited about it all. And man, there is no shortage of cute cat ideas out there…it was hard not to go crazy. Here’s a link to my kitty party Pinterest board if you want to see what I mean.

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Thanks for reading…posts are obviously sporadic these days but I do still enjoying sharing things every once in awhile🙂

 

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0116-toy-colors

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It’s Kid Clothes Week again, and while I haven’t actually done any sewing, I thought I’d share these pants I made for Oscar’s third birthday. You know, back in November. They sorta go with this season’s toy theme though, so I’m seizing this opportunity.

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I’ve made him a pair of Oliver + S Art Museum trousers for every birthday thus far, and it’s one of my favorite boy patterns out there. I love the details – back welt pockets, side pockets, faux fly, flat front, belt loops…these are sophisticated pants. A three year old could hardly ask for more.

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These have obviously been washed and worn at this point, although honestly not all that much. Turns out pants covered in robots don’t exactly go with everything. And yes, they look a little like pajama pants, which is a risk when you use a print like this. But the fabric (it’s this Echino print) is a heavier weight cotton, which helps bring them back into the daytime realm…and pajamas don’t generally have welt pockets, right?

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So anyway, it’s only Tuesday…there’s still a chance for me to do some actual KCW sewing. I’m going to try, but lately the TV calls. I hope the rest of you are more productive than I am!

 

 

 

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velveteen geranium -- probably actually-1

As soon as I saw Kaufman’s Lush Velveteens, I knew I wanted to sew this dress for Lila. The Geranium Dress pattern was an easy choice – it’s fast and simple, it always fits well (this is a 6 with some added length), and most importantly, it has Lila’s long-standing seal of approval.

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Velveteen is great because it feels a little bit fancy while still being 100% cotton, which is really what I prefer to use for kids’ clothes. And I couldn’t resist this color. I decided to go with blue and gold and get it finished in time for Hanukkah so she could wear it all month long, which she did.

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The bodice is lined with Morn’s Rays in Gold by Eloise Renouf for Cloud 9 Fabrics – I wanted something with a little metallic gold in it (of which there are many great options these days) to go with the sparkly gold trim, which I found locally at Fabric Depot.

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I added the trim after the dress was finished and tucked it under at the back edges.

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Lately I can only get motivated to sew when I have a very clear vision of what I want to make and I’m fully invested in the end result. It doesn’t happen as often as I want it to. I had every intention of making Christmas pajamas this year, but I ended up buying them. It wasn’t that I ran out of time. I spent hours looking at patterns and fabric, but I couldn’t pull the trigger – nothing was really doing it for me. I don’t want to make just for the sake of making, you know? I want to sew something I’m really excited about, something I can’t wait to see come together. I definitely sewed less this year and that trend will probably continue, but I’m hoping what I do sew will be well thought out and satisfying.

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I hope everyone’s holidays were wonderful. Happy 2016 from these guys!

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striped sailboat top -- probably actually-1-5

Happy middle of November! Oscar has a leaf to show you. And a new Sailboat top. The Oliver + S Sailboat top is one of the little boy patterns I was most excited about making for him, but I could never seem to find the right fabric for the job. I’ve long admired Kristin’s striped versions and I’ve been on the lookout for a heavier-weight striped knit since Oscar was a wee lad. Which, clearly, he is no longer.

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When he asked to be a pirate for Halloween I decided this shirt would make a decent base for the costume – something I actually wanted to sew and something he could wear afterwards. I found this striped French terry at Mill End – it’s thick and sturdy and easy to sew with, and made for a nice comfortable sweatshirt-like top.

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The pattern was great, no surprise there. The neck and hem are finished with facings, so only the sleeves require hemming, and the whole thing was quick and easy to sew. I made a size 3 and added an inch to the length, though I should’ve added two inches, and maybe an inch to the sleeves as well. It just fits. I wish it were bigger. No, I wish he were smaller. But anyway.

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Here it is with the rest of the pirate get-up. I ripped off a big square of Essex linen to serve as a bandana, and I made him a little pirate vest based on this MADE post, using Dana’s free Frontier Vest pattern. With gold bias tape and a felt skull-and-crossbones patch to show he meant real pirate business.

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And since we’re on the subject of Halloween, Lila requested a black cat costume this year.

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The actual sewing was minimal. I added felt pads to a pair of black gloves for the paw effect, and I used black velveteen and a pink silk/cotton blend to make the the Oliver + S Cozy Winter Hood from Little Things to Sew. The cat ears were sewn on after constructing the hood so they wouldn’t lay sideways in the seams.

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But the shirt, pants, gloves, and tail all came from Target (as did Oscar’s pants and accessories), and I must say, this was the perfect amount of Halloween sewing for me this year!

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First grade!

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Lila’s first day of school came and went almost two weeks ago. But the day after Labor Day will always be the real first day in my book, so I’ll commemorate it by sharing her first day dress today. The Oliver + S Jump Rope dress has become our tradition for the first day of school – she wore it the day she started both preschool and Kindergarten, so I figured we might as well just keep on going.

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The truth is, her Jump Rope dresses tend do a whole lot of hanging around in the closet and not much else. She didn’t wear last year’s more than five or six times, and the one before that, even less. But the other truth is, I don’t care. I love making this dress, and I love seeing her wear it, even if it’s just a handful of times. It’s still worth it. And the pattern only goes up to size 8, which means I may only have two more first days left! I better start searching for a replacement pattern.

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This little floral print is Kimberly Kight’s Clothesline in Periwinkle from Cotton + Steel, which I ordered from Llama Fabrics. It’s been on my radar since Cherie used it here, and while I’m not a purple person, there’s something about this combination of colors that I really like.

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My love for this pattern was officially declared here, and if you have any doubts about making this dress (I had many before making it the first time!), there’s a decent little pep talk in that post that I hope might convince you to forge ahead. I must say, sewing it this time was the best yet – the pattern is so well constructed that you can undoubtedly make a beautiful dress the first time around, but it sure does come together like butter the sixth time.

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Happy official first day of school!

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