Tag Archives: sewing for babies

FO: Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress

17 Apr

Even better the second time. The last one I made was an 18-24 mo and it just fits her now:


So I went up to the 2T for this one. The airplane fabric (Moda, from Purl Soho) has been sitting in my stash for a long time, since way before A appeared. I originally meant to make something boy-related, but, well, I didn’t have a boy.


It was going to become an Oliver + S bucket hat, but after tracing and cutting the pattern, I realized the print needed a larger canvas–perfect for this dress.

Not our cacti.

Then I couldn’t figure out what fabric to use for the yoke and hem. I bought some gray and pink solid cotton that I was going to use, but it was a little too lackluster for me to get excited about.


Pretend you can't see the gathering stitches that I forgot to remove.

Enter the bright red cotton. This was in a stack of remnants that my mom passed along, and I was afraid the whole time that the color would end up too bold. But I actually love it! She wore it yesterday to the park and already got a compliment. I took these pictures at the end of the day, hence the wrinkles and mac + cheese stains.


Mac + cheese stains optional (I hope).

The next one is going to be the colorblock version. I’ve already got the fabric laid out, but it’s going to have to wait until I get back. I’m leaving early tomorrow morning for whirlwind West Coast trip that’s going to involve three meetings, two presentations, and one video interview. (And hopefully one visit from my sister!)

A has learned to smile on command, with questionable succes.

Oliver + S is genius. Their patterns are so well made and so carefully explained that the finished product is just guaranteed to come out beautifully. Expensive, sure, but I think absolutely worth it. I can’t make up my mind which one to buy next. I think maybe the puppet show blouse, especially because A is currently obsessed with puppet shows.


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: 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: Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress

2 Aug

I traced this off on Friday, cut it out on Saturday and Sunday, sewed most of it last night, and finished up the hem today during naptime. It’s too big for her, as you see, but I think I’m in love.

You can see one of the pockets here.

The fabric is some linen (possibly linen blend?) that I got, along with a massive parking ticket, in the LA fabric district a few years ago. I was planning to make some sort of lined tote bag with it, but I think this is much better.

Boring button. Perhaps I'll replace it later.

The pattern–what can I say about Oliver + S that hasn’t already been said? The pattern was ridiculously clear, so that even I only had to rip out two seams. That’s practically a miracle. All the little helpful tips really made a difference.

She's really into sticks lately.

I only got confused once when I was covering the back of the dress with the back yoke. I think I was supposed to unpick the yoke seam, which is what I did. That seemed a little inefficient though, and I’m not 100% sure I did it correctly.

Sad baby.

Abby was a cranky little monster after her nap today, poor thing. We had a busy morning: dropped Chris off at work, went to the university library, hit up Gymboree, and then stopped at Publix. Plus, she woke up three times last night.

Pattern: Ice Cream Dress, Oliver + S

Fabric: Linen/ linen blend, unknown source

Mods and notes: No mods. This is a beautiful pattern. It’s probably a good idea to measure your baby, as they suggest, because I made a size too big. Also, listen to them when they say to mark the wrong side of your plain fabric. That would have saved me probably half an hour of turning the pieces over and over, trying to figure out which way to pin them.

Busy busy: I have a chapter draft due in three weeks, a class starting in four weeks that I have to write a syllabus for, and a house to keep. The crafting’s been a little slow around here, but I try to get my hands on something every day. Also, I’ve just discovered a knitting needle stuck in my hair. A bad sign for things to come, I think.

FO: Peekaboo Bonnet

20 Jul

This bonnet was supposed to replace Abby’s old bonnet, which is now dramatically too small for her (12 month check up: 30.5 inches, 24.5 pounds). The print is a Liberty twill (Mirabelle) I’ve had sitting around for ages, and the plain is just a bottomweight from Joann’s.


What you can’t see in these pictures is that the bonnet is actually kind of a hot mess. First problem: I didn’t line everything up quite right, so I had to do some careful manipulation of the bias tie to get all the edges hidden.

Second problem: my handstitching skills are pathetic, so the band is not stitched down very well.

Third problem: I wanted to make a wide tie from both fabrics. Results: mixed. I can’t really tie them in a bow, because they’re too wide and not quite long enough.

Hello, stray thread.

Fourth problem: I used red thread to match the piping. Unfortunately, the red thread shows up like whoa on the gray, and I could NOT get the tie attached neatly enough. So I had to handsew it (see second problem) and then overlock the edges.

Abby figured out where the lens cap goes.

For next time: use thinner (possibly even store bought!) bias tape for the ties. Match things up more neatly. Choose piping, print, and plain fabric that matches more closely so the stitching doesn’t show up as much.

I do love the pattern (I love all Rae’s patterns), but I am wondering: why can’t just make the print and the plain separately and then attach them wrong sides together, the way a lining is usually put in? Rather than fiddling with handsewing them at the band, I mean. I’m trying to figure out why I couldn’t do that and can’t. I’m sure Rae has a reason, but I’m at a loss.

FO: Refashioned skirt from giant shorts

7 Jul

People who are really good at refashioning and upcycling seem to be able to look at something hideous and see something beautiful. Mostly I look at ugly things and see only ugly. When I do have a vision, the reality often turns out to be … well, less than satisfactory. Sometimes, though, even I get lucky.

Yikes. Even without bad lighting, they'd be terrifying.

I picked up these humungous shorts from the 1$ rack at Goodwill a while ago and finally got around to doing something with them.

Look at those nommable knees!

An adorable little skirt!


I used the same method for the pieced linen skirt, although the lower tier is not nearly as long–maybe only a few inches longer than the upper tier.

And, since I’ve been frustrated by my hems lately, I added some piping around the bottom instead of turning a hem.

All-important squatting picture.

You can’t see it, but the elastic is sewn directly into the waistband. The material is fairly thick, so I thought a casing would be too bulk (and let’s face it, I was trying to cut corners). I worried a little that the elastic would leave belly marks, but it seems just fine.

Yay! A cute new skirt just in time for our trip to Salt Lake. I won’t be posting much, but I’ve got a new bonnet and new shirt AND new skirt to show off when I get back and get the pictures uploaded.

Ooh. And someone has a birthday coming up!!

Tutorial: Pieced Linen Skirt

5 Jul

This is an extra special day for me. Three months ago I set a series of really ambitious goals, including sending off two articles, revising a chapter, and drafting another one, all to be finished before we leave for Salt Lake on Thursday. As of early this afternoon, I’ve met every single one of those goals. Hooray! I can leave with a satisfied conscience (not to mention advisor).

And I even had time to write up this tutorial for the pieced linen skirt. I’m so in love with this general idea that I’ve already used it again to make another skirt from some tragically large Talbots shorts.


  • Some fabric, preferably remnants but really anything.
  • Your sewing stuff
  • 1″ elastic, or whatever width you preferred width for baby clothing


1. Get your remnants. Alternately, cut some pieces of fabric on the bias.

Pieces from the wrap.

2. Stitch them together in an aesthetically pleasing way to make rectangles.

Getting ready to piece.

3. Find yourself a skirt that fits and measure it. Alternately, find these measurements:

  • A: length = distance between waist and top of the thigh
  • B: length = distance between top of thigh and knee (approximately)
  • A: width = slightly longer than around the widest part of the hip, over the diaper
  • B: anywhere from 1.5 to 2 times width of piece a. With stiffer fabric, you’ll want the shorter width; drapier fabric will be able to tolerate the longer width.


Doing some maths

4. Cut your rectangles to the appropriate measurements.

Cutting the second layer with a refreshing homebrew!

5. With a basting stitch, gather the long edge of the long rectangle.


6. Right sides together, pin the gathered edge of B to the long edge of A. Fiddle with the gather to make everything line up evenly. 7. Stitch together. I get better results if I put the gathered edge down by the feed dogs to make the gathers feed through the machine more evenly.

Stitched up.

8. [Optional.] Cut the piece in half so you have a front and a back and then stitch back up. I like seams, so I add them wherever possible. (They also give your sewing a professional touch.)

Yay seams!

WARNING: waistbands are the hardest part for me. You may have a better way of doing it or find a clearer tutorial. If so, use it and let me know!

9. Cut waistband:

  • length: long enough to fit easily around your model’s waist, plus seam allowance.
  • width: twice the width of your elastic, plus seam allowance.

10. Join the short ends of the waistband, right sides together, to make a tube. 11. Fold the tube in half long ways and press.

12. Fold down about 5/8ths of an inch and press.

Waistband folded, ironed, and joined.

13. Right sides together, slide the waistband down over the top of your skirt with the folded edge down. [From the picture, you’ll see that I did right side to wrong side, but really you could do it either way. I think the wrong sides together would be better, which is why I’ve described it that way.]

Waistband attached and ready to be folded up.

14. Pin and stitch.

15. Flip the waistband up and over, so the folded edge meets the raw edges and everything is now enclosed within the waistband.

Waistband folded and and ready to cover up all those raw edges.

16. Edge stitch as close as you can to the folded edge. I didn’t manage to get as close as I should have :(. VERY IMPORTANT: Leave an opening of about an inch to thread your elastic through.

17. Thread your elastic and close up the hole.

Waistband attached, elastic inserted, and skirt hemmed!

Yay! You have a skirt! Embellish as you wish. I added some running stitch embroidery, but you could really go crazy with this as a blank canvas.

No pictures, Mama.

Hope this is clear, and I’d love to know if you made anything with it!

Pieced Linen Skirt

28 Jun

This has to be a short post, since my babysitting is out of town and I have a precious two hours while Abby naps for my actual work. I give you the pieced linen skirt, made out of remnants from my sling knockoff. It’s based on the skirt below, which is getting too small:

I got it up on its feet with a little running stitch, and Abby wore it to the park yesterday. Here she is exploring the sand after playing in the sprinkler (hence the wet patches):

I took lots of pictures while I was making it, so I’ll write up a quick tutorial when I have some time again. I love this skirt!

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.

Mini Boden knock off

19 May

I saw a tutorial Mini Boden knock off tutorial over at Craftiness is Not Optional  and thought it would be perfect for this fabric. Or that the fabric would be perfect for it, whichever.

I am so thrilled with how this came out!

My parents bought Abby a really nice wooden walker with tasteful colors. Not us. We bought the hideous plastic monster.

It not only rolls but it also makes music, has a ball toss function, and works as a shape sorter. Abby is nuts about it. She was afraid of it at first but then started to get the hang of it. She likes to play with the spring-loaded toys on the side, glancing up at me every once in a while like, “Really, Mama? I really get to play with this?”

You are easily pleased, my child.

My absolute favorite part of this dress is the pockets. Tiny useless pockets! Well, I did put a leaf in one to try to get Abby to put her hand in there for the photos. She humored me for a few shots.

What has it gots in its pockets?

Fabric: Dots and Dashes, Windham Fabrics in Association with the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum (repro). Bought from Purl Soho.

Mods and Notes: I shirred the sleeves because she has wee little arms. I think I might leave them unshirred next time, or unpick one and compare. The only thing I would do differently is cut the neck a little higher, because the shoulders are a bit wide. Oh, and if I were feeling really fancy, I would make a 1/4″ elastic casing around the neck so it didn’t curl down to show the hem. But I hate making elastic casings.