FO: Oliver + S Bias-Trimmed Apron

5 Apr

Oliver + S are true to their word: these are little things to sew,with small amounts of fabric and manageable construction. I want to make everything, but I started with the bias-trimmed apron–not because A needs an apron, but because I had these two fabrics lying around and I’m desperately trying to destash.


Look, someone else's backyard for a change!

The polka dots are leftovers from a fairly successful pillow project, which I’ll post eventually. Now, four and a half yards of bias tape is a lot of bias tape, but, with my trusty bias tape maker in hand, not so bad. Here are a bunch of versions, super cute!


That red car in the background is hot property.

I could *not* get the wrinkles out of the canvas. I also am not very good at applying bias tape, unfortunately. It’s always a lot harder than I expect it to be. Other than the bias tape, this was a very easy project. When I held it out for A to try it on, she screamed, “No! No!,” and I had to bribe her. Luckily, she’s easy to bribe: I said, “Put it on and we’ll go outside,” and then she didn’t want to take it off.


My mom informed me that A needed a haircut. That makes two of us.

And in exciting circle-of-life news, I think we found A’s nursery school: Namaste Montessori. It reminds me so much of my childhood Montessori School that I got a little teary when the director was describing the toddler class.


OMG, look at her adorable little scrunchy face.

And just a short quotation today, from the perennial Happy Golden Years:

“I’m so glad Ma told me to bring this big apron … I like a real big apron that covers your whole dress, don’t you?”


FO: Lotta Jansdotter Simple Shift

8 Mar

This dress is cute, but Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing for Baby is a frustrating book. I love that the patterns each come on a separate page, but I hate that as far as I can tell, the second pattern sheet for this shift was missing, meaning that I had to make it up. Not difficult if you’ve done some sewing, since this is a very easy pattern, but still not cool.

I also hate that this pattern does not come with a size. She’s just like, “Hey, cute dress! It’ll look cute on your baby!” But what size baby? And why doesn’t it come with some extra tracing lines, so I could, you know, make it for more than one size? Again, not hard if you’ve done some sewing, but seriously.

That sort of flaw makes this book better as inspiration than as an actual sewing book. I do love her Scandanavian style and all the Ikea-esque prints.

Anyway, I took a smaller seam allowance and figured that this would fit A just fine, and it does–it could maybe be a little smaller in the shoulders. It’s seriously easy, although I thought the instructions for attaching the bias tape were overly complicated.

I contemplated making a matching diaper cover, until I realized that I hate the twee little short dress and matching diaper cover look for toddlers. My toddler will wear leggings and like it.

Patten: Simple Shift from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing for Babies

Notes and Mods: I modified the bias tape attachment, and I also made it a little bigger by taking a smaller seam allowance.

Make Again?: Yes–it’s a cute and easy pattern, especially if you’ve got fabric you want to show off–but I won’t be happy about it.

Fabric: This fabric is from Purl Soho’s sale section. It’s a Wyndham fabric of some sort, and I love it because it’s sprigged. Sprigged fabrics always remind me of this description from These Happy Golden Years:

Laura wore again her sprigged, pale pink lawn dress and her new hat with the ostrich tips now sewed on tightly.

Mary’s dress was a blue lawn with small white flowers scattered over it. Her hat was a white straw sailor with a blue ribbon band. Beneath its brim in back her hair was a great mass of twisted gold, and golden bangs curled richly on her forehead, above her eyes as blue as her ribbons.

Refashion: Market Skirt

6 Feb

Another Goodwill shirt from the refashion pile. It was a really nice J. Crew button-down–great print, good fabric–but it had a big tear on one front and the sleeve had been weirdly and inexpertly darned. So I made a market skirt.

She really doesn't frown all the time.

The white is something random from my stash–I don’t think it’s entirely cotton, but it’s very white.

Also, since my machine can’t make buttonholes (only a few more weeks!), I skipped the pocket for now.

My mom made the sweater. A provided the stain.

I did cut up the shirt sleeves to make bloomers for A to wear under this in the spring, but they turned out awfully big. At some point I’ll try to fix them up.

Before or after consuming an entire handful of sand?

This is one of the first things I’ve made for her that she actually seemed to get excited about–but not as excited as she gets about this green bag twice a week:

Sorry, Stacey.

Refashions–especially ones that require any cleverness in cutting out the new pieces–always make me think of this exchange from Louisa May Alcott’s An Old-Fashioned Girl:

“A little checked silk was sent in our spring bundle from Mrs. Davenport, and Mother said Kit might have it if she could make it do. So I washed it nicely, and we fussed and planned, but it came short by half of one sleeve. I gave it up, but Kit went to work and matched every scrap that was left so neatly that she got out the half sleeve, put it on the under side, and no one was the wiser. How many pieces do you think she put in, Maud?”

“Fifty,” was the wise reply.

“No, only ten, but that was pretty well for a fourteen-year-old dressmaker. You ought to have seen the little witch laugh in her sleeve when any one admired the dress, for she wore it all summer and looked as pretty as a pink in it. Such things are great fun when you get used to them; besides, contriving sharpens your wits, and makes you feel as if you had more hands than most people.”


This Moment

4 Feb

This Moment

With SouleMama

Refashion: Dress Shirt to Shirtdress

29 Jan

The end of January is approaching, and with it the deadline for my 2/ month sewing projects resolution. I got this shirt for C at Goodwill a while ago, but, since he didn’t like it, it ended up in my languishing refashion pile. This mini-tutorial outlines some easy steps to turn a dress shirt into a shirtdress, and I decided to try it out. 


Yes, the template shirt is heading straight for the wash, and that's not my drink.

The sleeves were a bit tricky. I opened up the shirt at the shoulders and used the curve to cut out a sleeve. Originally I wanted to use the cuffs, but they’re so big that they ended up looking a bit ridiculous.


This looks a lot more deliberate than it was.

After an emergency run to Jo-Ann’s to pick up some elastic thread, which I’d unaccountably run out of, I was able to finish this pretty quickly. 


Abby is saying "DurDur," her current interpretation of "turtle."

There are no closeups, because the stitching is totally wack. Which is why I’m really looking forward to my birthday next month: I’m getting the joint present of a new sewing machine!!!!


I got a little turned around with the instructions for the ties, so I just winged it.

I’m torn right now between a Babylock Tempo and a Bernina 330. The Bernina is much more expensive, but … it’s a Bernina. 


On the other hand, I’m never going to be much more than a hobby sewist, so I probably don’t need a machine that costs almost a month’s rent.


Abby's Ellen Tree.

On the other other hand, they do last forever. And a month’s rent amortized over forever is, well, practically free.


C is starting to receive law school admissions. Right now it’s looking like Excellent Public School or Fancy Private School. We’ll see! 


In Review: 2011

31 Dec

Finished sewing projects, only a few of which I actually want to link to: 32

Finished knitting projects (at least, four finished and blogged. It’s possible I left some out): 4


I haven’t been knitting very much. It’s partly because I’m having trouble committing to projects, and it’s also because I’m not making good use of my knitting time. C almost always drives when we go somewhere, and I never bring my knitting. If I knit every time I was in the car, I’d probably have at least … SIX finished projects!

There’s been a big learning curve with the sewing. I’m getting better at picking fabric, that’s for sure, but I still have a lot to learn.

Resolutions for 2012:

  • Buy fabric with a specific project in mind (at least until I learn more about buying fabric)
  • Branch out from quilting cottons!
  • Focus on one major knitting project at a time
  • Spend less time thinking about sewing and knitting and more time actually doing it!
  • Don’t let 75% finished projects sit around for six months.

Goals for 2012:

  • Knitted: 12
  • Sewn: 24, including a handful of items that I actually wear

We have a big, exciting (and scary!) year coming up, so I may get derailed. But creating things is really important to my mental well-being, and I’m going to try to do it more mindfully this year.

FO: Cosy Tank Top

19 Dec

This tank top is one of the first things I ever made, beside some ill-conceived and executed scarves. I made it for my quasi-ironic hope chest long before Abby was around and rediscovered it the other day in one of my periodic stash dives. Image

It’s designed to add an extra layer of warmth over pajamas and turns out to be perfect for doing just that. 


A few days ago, we set aside the sleep sacks A’s been in for the past year, since they’ve finally gotten undeniably small. I don’t really want to buy more, but she’s not awesome at keeping her new owl blanket on, so this tank top has actually come in handy.


Here’s a closeup so you can admire the horrific seaming job.
And finally, a comparison, where you can see the dramatic improvement that three years has made. On the left, the inside seam of the tank top. I think it’s supposed to be mattress stitch, but I wouldn’t swear to it. On the right, the seam from the sweater that I just finished. Beautiful! I’m so proud of that seam. 
Pattern: Cosy Tank Top
Yarn: Can’t remember–I think the off-white is Rowan Cashcott, and the brown is some washable baby something or other.
Notes and Mods: None, except I think i-cord might be nicer as an edging. I’m not a huge fan of this sort of crocheted edging. 

FO: Owl quilt

15 Dec

Yes, this quilt is a little ugly. Owls are big around here right now, a close first ahead of trains, and it’s adorable when A points and says “oww! oww!,” so, when she spotted the fabric at Joann’s a few months ago, I bought it. This is what you get when your fourteen-month old (now seventeen-month old) picks out the fabric.

I pieced it pretty quickly and then let it age for a while while I contemplated my next steps. Quilts are a craft I’ve never had too much interest in, since they require a precision that’s not really my forte, and anyway my sewing machine is not really designed for anything more than casual use.

Also binding is my nemesis.

It turns out, my thanks to Made by Rae, that you don’t actually have to attach binding–you can use the backing itself, which I even think I like better than separate binding.

A seems to like it. I’m not totally satisfied with the color choices, patterns, or evenness of the stitching or cutting (which I realize is pretty much everything, for a quilt), but the overall effect is cute.

Also, I figured out that the real hindrance to my crafting is not actually lack of mojo or lack of time. C just bought a new game for his Xbox, and suddenly I have all the time for crafting I could possibly want!

Christmas Bunting

13 Dec

I love to say the word ‘bunting’ because I only learned it as a synonym for what I would call ‘banner’ when I started reading craft blogs a few years ago. Yay buntings! They’re festive, and I made one.

The circles are a little jagged, but if you stand far enough away they don’t look it. Using scissors adeptly is actually much more difficult that it seems.

Also, I finished a sweater but I have no one to take pictures 😦 It gets dark before C comes home from work these days, and fat chance of us getting it together in the morning.

Activity: Pouring and Scooping

20 Nov

Obviously, I don’t have enough time to update a craft blog on a regular basis. I’ve got about a thousand different projects going on right now, both paid and unpaid, and only a few of them are craft-related. (Expect to see some sweaters soon, though. I’m getting cold.) Abby, however, is just getting to the age where she likes to do activities, and, being Montessori-raised, I have lots of ideas.


Abby decided to wake up at 6AM this morning, and C. gets to sleep in on Sundays. Bleary-eyed, I pulled out a jar of bulk popcorn that we don’t like, added some pinto beans, and set out some stirring, scooping, and pouring utensils. That’s it. The sheet keeps the majority of the dry goods off the shag area rug, but a good vacuuming is definitely in order.

Equipment: jars, utensils, dry goods (rice, beans, popcorn)

Age: Abby is currently a bit over 16 months, which I think is a perfect age to start activities like this. Depending on the kid, you could start a month or two earlier. With different utensils (even chopsticks, eventually), this sort of activity can work for years.

Parental involvement (1-5): 2. I set things up, showed her how to use the spoon, and then sat back. Younger children will need supervision so they don’t swallow anything and so they don’t pour a jar full of dry goods anywhere you’d rather they didn’t, but this kept her so absorbed that I was able to do some knitting.

Length of Interest: About twenty minutes, which is practically all day in toddler time.

Time to Clean Up: Three minutes, although I didn’t vacuum, just hunted down a few stray beans. Not bad.