Friday, December 13, 2013


  The fleece dress I made for Althea that was the star of my last post was very much inspired by this dress I made for Fern last year.
Fern is one of those fancy little girls that wants to wear a beautiful dress every day of her life. I thought all little girls were like that, but her sister actually isn't. At the age of 2, she is thus far a bit more practical. We shall see if that holds out. Anyways, I saw a version of this dress and a pattern for it on pinterest, and it basically inspired me to break out that dusty 'ol sewing machine and climb on the sewing horse for the first time in quite a while. This dress is great. She provided a well done tutorial as well, which was just what I needed to really inspire me to go to the fabric store and get myself ready to sew. The only thing I would do different next time is sew the collar on with the seam facing the inside of the dress. She has it facing outside, I assume because there is a chance you would be able to see the seam when the collar is turned way out, ie:
but we never have it turned out THAT much. It confuses my husband greatly; he always wants to turn the dress inside out. He's right, it is does tend to look like a mistake, can you see it poking out there:

I recently decided it is driving me crazy enough that I am going to turn it into a french seam; quick fix. 
Aside from that simple detail though, everything is very well explained and easy to follow. And I am so happy she has this dress to feel fancy AND WARM in! Sometimes she uses it as a coat. She wore it quite a bit last year and it still fits fine. The above photo was taken this year, while the others were last year at this time. 
So I am very thankful to Un Petit Design for providing me with both the pattern and inspiration to start sewing things for my kids! I am so happy that I remembered how much I enjoy sewing while my girls are still so small and fun to sew for (and I am still staying home with them, providing more time for sewing!)
I am also planning on making myself a fleece dress soon. I think it will be a Laurel with leather patches mixed in and long sleeves. (I made a Laurel this summer and I find it very cute and flattering.) And Fern picked out some unicorn fleece, so she has another fleecy number in the works as well. It sure is cold out there; these can't get finished fast enough! 
(Unfortunately I can't even think about starting them until after Christmas though. Let's see if I can squeeze them both in between Christmas and New Years!) 
Here's some parting shots: I think a year made rather a lot of difference in that cute little face. It certainly made a huge difference that I notice every time she opens her mouth. 
I wasn't expecting four to be so old!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We've got a birthday girl in our house! This little doll turned two years old on Sunday. Of course it blows our minds that the time has gone this fast, but it is strange to me because she also seems so old sometimes. She has been mistaken for 3 by several people this fall. I am glad to say that she is still my baby though, and prefers to be rocked to sleep and even slept on my back in a baby carrier while I cooked dinner tonight. 
     Whenever we asked her what she wanted for her birthday ahead of time, she would reply "Happy Birthday to you! Blow out candles!" Oh, if we could all have the mentality of a two year old, with no concept of wanting things you don't have; with our highest hopes being that someone will sing us a song.
     Nonetheless, she did get a few things aside from cake and happy birthday. Including her little red riding hood / snowy day / gnome birthday dress!

     I am in love with this dress. It is made out of anti-pill red fleece which was just on sale at JoAnn's. She picked out the color and I bought one yard for $3. I made the pattern piece myself by tracing her and then laying a knit dress that fits her over my tracing and adjusting a bit.

The pattern piece included the bodice, skirt and sleeves, so all I did was cut two on the fold for a front and back. It ended up being much wider than I realized, so I included a pleat on the front, and an inverted pleat on the back. 


 I had been planning to leave the front plain so that I could attach a big kangaroo pocket shaped as an animal or something to make her smile. I ditched that idea when I added the pleats, but I like the overall effect of the plain red dress a lot. I added big on-seam side pockets because it certainly couldn't be pocket-less for this treasure hunting girl. You can see her hands stuffed in them here: 

(along with some canine photo bombing)

   The hood is just a large rectangle folded in half and angled slightly so that the point would be more prominent, then stitched up the back. I folded the front edge in about an inch to make a casing and stitched it down. I used some metal grommets for holes for the drawstring and attached the hood to the dress. One of dad's shoelaces works as a drawstring for now.

   I love fleece for several reasons, the main two being coziness and the fact that it doesn't unravel at all. So I didn't even bother hemming the sleeves or bottom and only tucked in the front of the hood once. I didn't even finish the seams that I did sew, so this little dress was a VERY fast sew. And for $3 with fabric to spare, this was very satisfying.

   My favorite thing about it, is that she loves it too. She didn't want to wear it when she first saw it, then was cold a little later and asked for a blanket. I asked if she wanted to wear her new blanket dress and she said YES! Then didn't take it off all day.

   Today, after her nap she came to me crying "riding hood!" wanting to wear it again. Of course I obliged her and my heart sang. Great birthday present for mama whose birthday is the day after Althea's. (I got a birthday dress too, I'll post that once I actually take a picture or two of it). I love watching her walk around in this little ensemble, and knowing that it keeps her nice and toasty on the chilly early winter days we are experiencing. I also love that she chose red and will fit right in with the colors of the holiday season.


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

  I have had a lot of fun sewing for my two happy little kiddos this past year. Especially my older daughter, who loves fancy things and has begun to spew ideas of things I can sew for her much faster than I can put them all together.
  Her name is Fern, and she is my original little fiddlehead. When we were on our way home from the hospital with her, I was sitting in the backseat and staring at her and talking about her to my husband. I was commenting on how she was fighting the straps of the car seat in order to stay as tightly wound as she could: thighs pushed up against her tummy, feet wrapped around eachother, shoulders bunched and arms crossed across her chest in the true fetal position that newborns can't help but embody. She would start to stretch a leg or arm here and there, slightly uncoiling like a little....fiddlehead. As I was saying it I cut myself off in order to gush about how I hadn't realized we had such a perfect nickname built into the name we chose for our daughter until just then. It is such a joy to watch her unravel into the beautiful, smart, caring and creative girl she is becoming.
  Now she has a baby sister that is about to turn two! Unraveling into a little powerhouse. Althea is full of energy and has been an adrenaline junky from birth. She was walking at 8 months and now spends her time climbing everything in site, jumping off whatever she can climb, and basically running around in circles. If she had a tail, she would chase it all day. She has some explosive emotions to match. I have been enjoying having one child that doesn't prefer "a BEA-U!-ti ful dress" when getting dressed every morning. She actually still lets me dress her, we will see how long that lasts!

  We have been blessed with hand me downs galore from my uncle's three daughters, so I get to sew things that will be fun and different: we have most of the basics covered. I took a required home ec sewing class in 7th grade which is the extent of my formal training as a sewist. My mom let me play around on her machine a lot while I was in high school. She also brought me to the fabric store for the first time and showed me around. I tended to sew patchwork hippy clothes and flowy skirts. I have been really loving reading some of the helpful tutorials that are out there and refining my technique and picking up new tools of the trade over this past year. Thanks everyone, I promise to give credit whenever I can to those that are teaching and inspiring me!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat!

   Hello blogging world! I've been considering joining your ranks for a while now and finally decided that today is the day. I recently came up with a catchy blog title (which I will elaborate on eventually) and also today is the last day to link up my children's halloween costumes (it is All Hallow's Eve after all) to one of my very favorite blogs to read, project run and play. And I am just so proud of one of these costumes in particular, that I couldn't help but procrastinate a bit on some other work I should be doing and try to link it up.
    So, I present to you my little Rainbow Princess and her trusty stead, the little sister Unicorn.
    Please pardon the scratchy Iphone photos and wrinkled dress. She has been wearing it for almost a week straight. I literally couldn't get her to take it off long enough to put it in the wash the other day.
    Here is another picture of the dress when she first tried it on:

I love this dress as much as she does. It was inspired by* a couple dresses that I saw on Pinterest (some of them don't thread to a viable link for some reason though), but it is all self drafted. The entire dress has french seams except for where the sleeves attach to the bodice. It has a peasant style top (I have been using this tutorial for peasant tops) with the front of the bodice split so that I could insert the rainbow panel with gold lame ruffle trim. The front of the bodice is fully lined with muslin so that it wouldn't be itchy along any of those seams. The liner connects to a facing that circles around the top of the sleeves and back bodice; together they make a casing for the elastic that draws it all together. 
I think the rainbow ruffled skirt (seven tiers; she loves to sing me the rainbow song from cat in the hat: red, orange, yellow, green, what about blue, indigo and violet, that's a rainbow song for you!) is probably my favorite part. I have to thank the Spring Fever dress pattern, which I used to make the girls Easter dresses this past spring, for preparing me to make all of those ruffles.
But don't miss the bulky sunburst rainbow pockets on the top skirt pieces: 
I pieced them together (with french seams of course) then added the elastic to the top with a strip of facing to make the casing; hemmed the pocket piece and then zigged it on to the skirt panel. They are HUGE pockets and she loves stuffing them with treasures. 
I used the gold lame that lines the top skirt pieces as a form of bias tape as well (I say a form of bias tape because the liner is just one piece that wraps around to the front if that makes any sense.) There's also the large gold lame band that is hand sewed to the front of the dress and ties in a large bow in the back to cinch it all in. 
The sleeves have four rows of shirring at three intervals along them to create some puffiness. It's great, because if you notice in the first picture, the dress fits her but has enough stretch to fit over a sweatshirt plus multiple other layers to keep her warm on a chilly Halloween night. The awesome purple patterned fabric is a corduroy that she spotted on the clearance rack at Joann's. The rainbow colors are all cotton solids. 
The crown was pretty fun to make as well. And it came together quickly because it is entirely held together tape! Yes! Rainbow duck tape, thank you to whoever created this stuff! I cut out some shapes with stiff interfacing that I had from some fun bonnets I made the girls this summer; covered the pointy crown shape with the lame fabric and secured it with duck tape in the back; covered the cone in the duck tape with some ribbons sprouting from the top and attached those two pieces together with, you guessed it, more duck tape. There is also a piece of elastic that goes under her chin to keep it on. It's a little top heavy though, and tends to slide back on her head a lot so she doesn't keep the crown on for too long. But she thoroughly enjoyed glueing all the rhinestones onto it!
     I will try not to forget about "Glimmers" (Unicorn name bestowed upon her by her big sister). She got a fuzzy little white hat made out of a fun craft felt that was WAY cheaper than fake fur. It is lined with an old waffle knit baby blanket. I based it off of this pattern, but I added details to both seams instead of just one, so I had to make four panels instead of two and so had to alter it a bit. The horn is the lame again and stuffed with polyfil. Rainbow yarn mane and fuzzy little unicorn ears finish off the details on top. There is some elastic stuck in there around the bottom to cinch it a little because the felt wasn't that stretchy and I made it a little big. As an afterthought I added the band that goes around under her chin (secured with a button). It helped the awkward shape of the hat that I ended up with a little bit.
She also has a rainbow yarn tail hidden back there:

   So there you have it! I will be back to tidy up this blog mess soon. Until then, Happy Halloween!

*We had tossed around a few other Halloween costume ideas but I was unsure exactly how we would execute a Tiny Pteranydon costume. Then she suggested a princess outfit. I had been wanting to make her a fancy dress for her October birthday, so it seemed fitting. I just couldn't bring myself to spend a lot of time sewing a pink dress though, which seemed inevitable if she had free reign of the color palette. I had been picturing a layered ruffled underskirt (and also I've been reading Sew Chibi lately) which led to my suggestion of a rainbow princess dress. Now that seemed like something that would be fun to sew. Luckily, she loved the idea as much as I did (what little girl doesn't like rainbows?)