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FO: The Kate Dress

3 Sep

This dress is Frankensteined out of some scrap fabric and a onesie, both of which were gifts–well, the scrap fabric was just a leftover–from a lovely friend, hence the name.

This doesn't look like a baby who woke up at 5.30 this morning.

A started wearing this onesie at 6 weeks and fit into it until about 6 months. I know for a fact it was six weeks, because I took an iPhone picture to send to my friend.

A rare moment of non-crying.

When I could no longer squeeze it over her butt, I chopped off the crotch* and sleeves and made a dress. There’s not too much to say about it: if I had a serger, I would have serged the edges of the sleeves but as it is I just zigzagged them tightly to make them ruffle and to finish the edges. I just used up the fabric I had for the skirt and turned a narrow hem.

She's about to stuff one of those flowers into her mouth.

I was not too sure about the results at first, but now that she’s fits into it, I think it’s pretty cute!

Yum yum!

I didn’t use a tutorial for this, but they do exist. This is a nice one over at Prudent Baby, and here is a fancier one that I might try.

*I’ve noticed a lot of craft bloggers apologizing for the word “crotch” or looking for a different one. But why? It’s the technical term for the area, isn’t it?


FO: Colette Madeleine Mini-Bloomers

13 Aug

long and lean!

If you are looking at the picture of this lanky model in her wee little bloomers right now and thinking, “Wow, that does not seem like it would be a good look for Firstmute,” you would, alas, be right. I’ve been working on these things for almost two weeks with the intention of boosting my sleepwear collection, which currently consists of one cute chemise and lots and lots of boxer briefs that I filch from C’s dresser. I actually had visions of making a whole army of these and debuting them here in a nifty little pile.

At first everything was going great: I used fabric from a hideous thrifted Victoria Secret nightgown (imagine a full-length prairie nightgown in this fabric and you’ll get the idea), got the pattern printed out and lined up and taped, and even ordered a 144-yd roll of 1/4″ elastic for the occasion, since I’d decided I’d leave out the ribbon for simplicity’s sake. Everything came together smoothly, and there’s no reason for these to have taken two weeks–two hours would have been more the thing–but, as I said, I’ve been really busy with the chapter lately. Anyway, I finally finished them up this morning during a surprise nap by A, thought they looked pretty cute, tried them on, and … yeah. Wee little bloomers, just not a great look for me right now.

Not too bad on the hanger, a little unfortunate on the butt.

Oh, well. Time marches on!

Sadie Shirt, attempt #1

31 May

Look at this adorable Sadie Shirt, made from a Goodwill men’s shirt. I didn’t have any fabric that coordinated, so I cut things sideways and on the bias to add visual interest. For the pattern, I used a new 18-24M t-shirt from Old Navy (yay, Memorial Day sale!), since Abby’s 12-18M were getting a little tight.

See? Bias placket! Horizontal ruffles!

Ignore the wrinkles. I didn't bother ironing it, since she can't actually wear it.

I spent all yesterday working on it during naptimes and finally finished right before the end of Abby’s afternoon nap. She woke up and I rushed in, barely getting her out of her crib and sleep sack before trying it on. And … it wouldn’t even fit over her head. Well, I could get it over her head and one arm, but it didn’t have enough give to stretch over her second arm. Partly, I didn’t compensate enough for the woven fabric, but also it turns out that the t-shirt, which I didn’t both to try on before drafting the pattern, doesn’t fit her that well.


Oh, well. You live, you learn, you practice making button closures. I’ve got lots more shirts to cut down.

Shirt into baby skirt

17 May

ETA: I was well over 1,000 page views this morning, hooray! Feel free to de-lurk in celebration.


Since I’m almost out of FOs, I needed something quick to make during naptime. I’ve been meaning to get rid of this old t-shirt for a while–it’s gotten a little stretched out and unflattering since the last few washes. (Arguably, the horizontal striping was never that flattering to begin with, but that’s a topic for a different day.)

The scissors are labeled so they don't accidently get used to cut anything else.

I ran across this tutorial a while ago and worked from memory and common sense. (I say “common sense” like it actually is common, but until recently I referred to tutorials for hemming napkins.)

Basically, you cut a tube from the bottom, grab some fabric from the back to make a smaller tube for the waistband, gather the bottom tube, and stitch everything together.

Put on baby and exclaim over how quickly that came together!

Look at these adorable little feet. She’s highly motivated to walk because she refuses to crawl. She’ll scooch around on her belly when she wants to get somewhere, but she just won’t get up on her hands and knees. I know she can do it because I’ve seen her do it in the bathtub; somehow, she hasn’t made the conceptual leap to realizing that she can do it on the floor, too.

Yes, we have a cat.

Oh, and the childproofing’s going really well.

New Household Addition

14 May

No, not another baby, thank god, although I did have a very vivid dream the other night that I was pregnant. The horror!

A couple of weeks ago, our neighbor invited us over to meet some of his friends. We fell into chatting with another couple with a young baby, and later that night I friended the woman on Facebook. A few days later, she posted looking to see if anyone was interested in adopting their piano. Yes please!

She warned us that it was not in great shape–had character, as they say–and was in tune with itself but about a half tone off from A 440, or whatever. Chris checked it with his iphone tuner thingy, and turns out it’s actually about a whole and a quarter tone off. Fortunately I am, despite years of music lessons, basically tone deaf.

Getting it in the house was a challenge, but a manageable one. And now we are the proud owners of a well-loved piano.

My favorite was going through the stray music in the bench and finding this:

Someone didn't study.

It’s a mimeograph!

And here’s the post’s craft content (also, slight TMI warning!). We have a number of wood surfaces (table, coffee table, piano, dressers), but no coasters. Until the other day, when I set my cup down on a stray one of these in Abby’s room.

Can you tell what they are? Here’s a hint. They’re round, absorbent …

Yep, they’re breast pads! I pulled out my stack, which I don’t use anymore, and sewed some embroidery stitches on to liven them up and make them look a little less like, well, what they are. I guess you wouldn’t necessarily recognize them unless you’d used them or been around someone who had, but I’m still not sure I’d have the nerve to bring them out in company. For everyday furniture-saving use, they work fine–a simple solution to a problem, and a great second life for some unused stuff!

Hippie skirt refashion

11 May

About nine days postpartum, I snuck out of the house to buy some new clothes. I couldn’t stand the thought of wearing any of my maternity gear (not to mention that most of it was borrowed, and I didn’t want to get it covered in any more bodily fluids than absolutely necessary), and I sure couldn’t fit into any of my pre-baby clothes. I went to Old Navy and bought everything on sale that had a stretchy waistband.

Including this.

Yep, it's over-edited because half of it was in pitch black shadow.

I mean, whatever, it’s fine, and I ended up wearing it a lot. But I’m really not much of an Earth Mother, cloth diapering aside, and it’s hung unworn in my closet since about October. So, I chopped it up and made three new garments: a knee length skirt for myself, and a dress and a skirt for Abby. Here’s the dress:

We can't quite stand by ourselves yet.

Very simple: I used the existing hem, sewed it in a tube, shirred in a spiral, and then made some folded straps because I didn’t want to fuss with turning them.

Of course she immediately got strawberry on it, but a little timely Shout took care of that.

I haven't quite figured out how to deal with a high armscye when the bodice top goes straight across.

Hooray for refashioning! I love sticking it to the man.

Shirred shirt

25 Apr

How’s that for an ugly phrase? “Shirred shirt.” Blech!

Anyway, Chris recently replaced a handful of old white undershirts with identical new white undershirts and gave me permission to do whatever I wanted with the old ones. So I did this:

It is ridiculously easy. Cut out two bodice-shaped pieces, stitch them together at the shoulders and side, then shirr the leftover edges. Knit doesn’t really fray, and if you use the original hem there’s no need to do any folding, hemming, or ironing. Yay! I didn’t even zigzag the seams, although I did topstitched them down to eliminate any irritating scratchy bits and because I like the way it looks.

I did three rows of shirring on the sleeves and two on the neck. It would have made more sense to do three on the neck and two on the sleeves, but I never do things right the first time. (Also, next time I’ll cut the armholes bigger, because I think they’re a little snug.) Luckily I have a whole pile of undershirts awaiting massacre.

I thought about putting a ruffled fabric flower on the front, but I just did a ruffle shirt. So, instead I cut out a linen flower from some scraps and inexpertley zig-zagged it on.

I’m pretty sure a better alternative would have been to iron the fabric to some interfacing before cutting out the applique. Eh.

So there you go: basically a thirty-minute shirt. I’ll make some adjustments next time, but it’s definitely wearable.

Helpful links:
shirring tutorials (go to the sidebar on that last one; it’s a pdf)
drafting a bodice pattern

Pink ruffle upcycle

21 Apr

I had a majorly crappy day yesterday. A missed appointment, $200 on brakepads, and 5 loads of laundry do not make for a happy camper. Added to that, I’ve had two major sewing catastrophes–the ill-fated peasant blouse, which I was unable to salvage, and a pair of baby shoes that started out cute until I tried to improve the pattern. Mistake!

So I figured I’d do a quick sewing project that would be sure (or, almost sure) to turn out: an upcycled tank for Abby made from an old T-shirt. I bought the original T-shirt from the Gap two years ago for $5, and I was very excited to get my money’s worth out of it … except I cut the damn thing out wrong. I used the side seam as the fold, so the bodice had a big, fat, ugly seam running right now the middle. But I forged ahead and made a casing for the neck and shirred the sleeves. Ick. It still looked very homemade. What to do?


Much better, even if the third row of ruffles is a little wonked. I will probably fix that at some point.

And a third picture, because I love her expression and because it’s not over-exposed:

The pants are actually another pair of Big Butt Baby Pants (my other versions here and here), so her entire outfit is mama-made. Yay!


18 Apr

We brewed (and by “we,” I mean “Chris”) an IPA on March 16th, and this was bottling weekend. After stashing away bottles for a month, we had a nice supply. Chris spent the last week boiling and scrubbing:

And yesterday was bottling day. Here are some caps having a soak:

And bottles waiting in their tub:

And being capped:

And then packed away for another few weeks:

We tried a little of the flat beer and, priming sugar aside, it was tasty! Definitely an IPA: nice and hoppy, and very drinkable. Next up, maybe a porter?

New Camera! New Pants

11 Apr

After deciding that we’d be sad if, twenty years from now, all we have of Abby is blurry iPhone pics, Chris and I splurged on a fancy camera. We’re going to have to be extra-thrifty to make up for it (for like, YEARS), so I’ve been mining the nearest Goodwill for “fabric.” Abby and I happened to be matching yesterday: the perfect time for a pants-into-pants photoshoot. I know the photos aren’t great for showing off the pants–we’re both new to this photography thing. But they show off the baby just fine!

The pants Abby is wearing used to be from H&M. I repurposed the lace on the waistband into a butt-panel:

Lace panel on the butt

And then the front seemed a little plain, so I cut out a flower from some patterned linen in the stash and zig-zagged it on:

The side seams were supposed to be the pant’s original seams, since the pattern I used (from the genius Made by Rae) doesn’t use a side seam. Unfortunately, I’m a spatial idiot and cut out one pants leg backwards so that the seam was on the outside. I ripped and re-stitched, and I must say the new seam looks pretty nice!

They garnered two unsolicited compliments at the library this morning, and Abby seems to like them, too: