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!