Will You Be My Valentine?

This past week was Valentine’s Day!  I thought I would show off the kids’ Valentine’s Day outfits, even though one really isn’t handmade.

First up, is baby sister.  For her I made a Bridille & Twig Pocket Romper out of an adorable hot pick heart print in double brushed polyester spandex from Knitpop.  I just love this romper pattern.  It’s trendy, but simple to get on and off.  I’m a big fan of rompers in general for toddlers.  They look cute but take the guesswork out of creating an outfit.  I accessorized it with one of the February bows from our Little Poppy Co. subscription.

File_000

(Don’t mind her refusing to look at the camera.  She was in a mood.)

For big brother, I wasn’t really planning on making a Valentine’s Day shirt for him.  He wears a uniform to school, so I typically don’t make holiday shirts for him unless it’s Christmas or the holiday is on a weekend.  But then I found out late the day before that he was allowed to wear a Valentine’s Day shirt too school.  I didn’t have time to make him a whole outfit, but I do have a Silhouette machine.  😉 I ran to JoAnn after work to pick up a plain red t-shirt and then I bought this cut file from Thread & Grain, at my son’s request. Thankfully I had some black heat transfer vinyl on hand.  Less than 15 minutes later, kiddo had a cool new shirt to wear to school!

File_001

I’m pretty happy how everything turned out, and the kids had lots of fun at their respective Valentine parties!

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get stuff when you use the link to make a purchase. Thanks for contributing to my sewing habit!

Advertisements

Toddler in a Maxi

So the thing about toddlers is that sometimes they grow absurdly fast.  It’s not fair that, at the same time you’re having to make peace with their rapidly departing babyhood, all of a sudden they’ve outgrown their clothes. This happened with my 18 month old daughter, who overnight decided that she needed to go ahead and move up to the next size of clothing even though Mama had virtually no winter clothing in that size.  While I can (I hope) keep squeezing her into her slightly too small playclothes for daycare until I have time to shop/sew, all of a sudden her church dresses were too short.  So I decide to make a new one for her.

File_005

Thankfully I still had this left over yard of double brushed polyester spandex from a flat rate Friday mystery box I purchased from Vinegar and Honey Company back in the summer.  I had been holding on to it because I wasn’t sure what to make it into.  It turned out to be perfect for a new, late-winter knit dress for baby girl!  For a pattern I chose a Joy dress in maxi length from Made for Mermaids.  At first, I cut a maxi length because it would give me plenty of fabric to adjust the length (take that, growth spurts!) but as I got going I decided to leave it as a maxi.  I was a little worried that I was out of my mind for putting a long dress on a toddler, but as soon as she put it on all those worries disappeared.  Baby girl LOVES it.

She immediately started dancing and prancing around like a little princess.  It didn’t even really slow her down from trying to run all over church building!  Usually, she wants out of her dress for Sunday evening, but she kept it on all day.  Double brushed poly is a very soft fabric (a certain well-known multi-level marketing clothing company uses it for their leggings), so I’m sure the dress is actually quite comfortable for her.  I love that (a) it didn’t really cost me anything since I had the fabric and the pattern and (b) when it gets warmer I can shorten the sleeves and the skirts and turn it into a spring dress!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get stuff when you use the link to make a purchase. Thanks for contributing to my sewing habit!

Book Review: Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance

What’s this?  A book review on a sewing blog?  That’s right.  Part of my 2018 plans for this blog is to use it to share my other loves, including (or especially) reading.

Last summer, I joined Book of the Month Club.  BOTM started as a book subscription and selection service WAY back in 1926.  Although the mechanics have changed (hello Internet!) it’s essential product has remained the same.  Every month 5 literary judges select one book each and write an essay reviewing said book.  For a subscription, you get one book credit every month and can select from any of the 5 books.  There is usually a range of styles and genres, though the selections weigh most heavily toward fiction works.  After you make the selection BOTM will ship a hard cover copy to you within the next week (shipping is included in the subscription fee).  The BOTM site also hosts a discussion board where you can talk with other readers about the books.  I found it to be a GREAT way to expand my horizons beyond the epic fantasy series that I usually devour.  Also, you can’t beat $15 for a hardcover novel, and there is always the option to skip a month.

 

File_000 (10)

 

My October (yes, I’m a wee bit behind) selection was Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang.  It is Ms. Lang’s first novel (BOTM likes to feature new and debut authors, which I think is just wonderful).  From the book jacket description:

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

That tornado was the first of many strange events that seem to follow Weylyn from town to town, although he doesn’t like to take credit. As amazing as these powers may appear, they tend to manifest themselves at inopportune times and places.  From freak storms to trees that appear to grow overnight, Weylyn’s unique abilities are a curiosity at best, and at worst a danger to himself and the woman he loves.  But Mary doesn’t care.  Since Weylyn saved her from an angry wolf on her eleventh birthday, she’s known that a relationship with him isn’t without its risks, but as anyone who’s met Weylyn will tell you, once he wanders into your life, you’ll wish he’d never leave.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and house willed with spiderwebs and the strange man who inhabits it.  

There is one story, however, that Weylyn wishes he could change: his own.  But first he has to muster enough courage to knock on Mary’s front door.

This is the first time I had ever read anything from the “magical realism” genre.  If you’ve ever seen Big Fish, it reminded me a little of that but (I think) better.  One of the cleverest devices that Ms. Lang used was to tell Weylyn’s story from the perspective of the people he affected: Roarke, the teenage boy who broke into middle-aged Weylyn’s spiderweb-shrouded house on a dare; Mary, the love of his life whom he met as an 11 year old girl aching to get away from the sadness in her home; Lydia, his foster sister who also didn’t quite fit in; Meg, his teacher; and Duane, his boss at the logging company.  Through them, we see Weylyn mature from a young, nearly-feral, boy full of optimism to a young man in love to a middle-aged man full of uncertainty and regret, all the while his inexplicable abilities, while amazing, tend to get in the way of his desire to live a normal life.

The story is told with such love and persistent hope that you can’t help be encouraged by this book.  Weylyn is one of those characters that will stay with you for a long time.  Even though his life is not easy, and eventually he becomes lonely and sad, he is stubbornly kind.  He makes choices that he believes (though at times mistakenly so) are best for those he loves, even when it means more loneliness and heartache on his part.  In a time and place where the news is nearly always depressing and our worst selves seem always on displace, this book left me feeling encouraged and reminded that, though we have a talent for cruelty, we each have a great capacity for kindness.

 

This post contains a referral link for Book of the Month Club.  Thank you for supporting my reading addiction!

Baby It’s Cold Outside

It’s been cold here lately.  And not just “wimpy Southern complaining” cold, but “cold by any standard cold.”  It’s a lot of work bundling up the kids to keep them warm, but comfortable and safe in this weather.  It’s especially hard for the toddler, who is still in a car seat with a 5 point harness.  If you weren’t already aware, bulky coats and car seats don’t mix.  In a collision, the bulk of the coat can compress, leaving the child improperly secured and protected.  (See this relatively recent article from Consumer Reports). I’ve been putting baby girl in a warm outfit, a warm hooded sweatshirt, and then covering her with a blanket.  But, the other day, she CRIED from the cold when I got her out of the car to run her into daycare.  We needed another, warmer solution.  Stitch Upon A Time’s Kids Riding Hood Poncho to the rescue!

Riding Hood

This pattern is great because, when made out of two layers of fleece, it’s really quite warm…but it allows you to safely buckle the child’s care seat straps UNDER the poncho, next to his or her clothes.  The designer feels so strongly about car seat safety that she also made the pattern FREE on the website, which is amazing!

(Car seat safety hawks: rest assured that I moved the fastener up to armpit level after I took this picture.  I was moving quickly with the photos because it was COLD!)

It does seem to keep her very warm and comfortable in the car.  Tonight she was so toasty that she fell asleep on the way home AND stayed asleep halfway through changing into her pajamas.  She’s a light sleeper, so that’s a rare occurrence.  Anything that helps her SLEEP in the car is a winner as far as I’m concerned!

I made the poncho out of two layers of blizzard fleece from JoAnn’s.  She’s an average size 17 month old, and I made a size 2.  It has just enough growing room with out being overly big on her.  I decided to go ahead and add the pockets in case we decided keep her mittens in them.  The poncho can fasten with a separating zipper, but since I already had KAM Snaps on hand I went with the snap option.  There is even a snap on each wing of the poncho to make “sleeves” if desired!

I’m 100% sure I’m biased, but I think she looks pretty stinkin’ adorable in it.  Most importantly, I’m thankful that I can keep her warm AND safe this winter.

Riding Hood 6

Party like its…1998?

Happy 2018!   I hope this new year is full of blessing for all of you!  One of my goals this year is to be much more consistent in my sewing AND my blogging!  I’m off to a good start…finishing and blogging about my Vinegar & Honey Co.  BeeBox before it’s time for the next months to come out!

To recap: The BeeBox is an awesome monthly fabric subscription.  They send you two yards of a mystery fabric along with care information and pattern ideas (and a discount code for the pattern designer).  December’s BeeBox jumped in on the crushed velvet trend that has inexplicably taken over the women’s sewing world with this lovely berry colored fabric.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I think crushed velvet is beautiful.  I also hadn’t worn it since about 1998.  I don’t get the whole “90s coming back” thing because I AM TOO YOUNG FOR THE CLOTHES OF MY YOUTH TO BE COMING BACK!

Once I’ve gotten over that, I do have to admit that this fabric makes you feel so comfortable AND fancy when you wear it.  I understand why it came into style in the first place.  It IS very tricky to sew though as it tends to slip all over itself. If you decide to try to sew it, I would recommend going SLOW and pinning scrupulously.

I decided to make a Mama Isabel in the top length from Made for Mermaids.  Isabel is a very flattering, true wrap dress/top.  The tie on the “cross under” side passes through a small opening and all the way around the back to meet the tie on the “cross over” side.  In stretch velvet, I think it makes a beautiful and cozy winter cardigan.  It was perfect to wear on New Year’s Eve, which was quite chilly here.

Modeled

I think my husband and like it too.  At least, they both gave me FAR more hugs than I usually get when I was wearing it.  At one point my son was even rubbing his cheek on my sleeve, lol.

So I GUESS I’m ok with crushed velvet coming back after all.  Whatever.  At least I’m on top of the trends this time, right?

This post contains affiliate links, which means that I get stuff when you use the link to make a purchase. Thanks for contributing to my sewing habit!

 

Thanksgiving WeeBee & BeeBox

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!  This past week, we went to my in-laws house about 2 1/2 hours away.  Our Thanksgivings are always wonderful, low key days of hanging around the house and eating.  But, even though there is no need to dress up, I still like putting the kids in special outfits whenever there’s a holiday.  This year’s October WeeBox from Vinegar and Honey Company was perfect for the occasion!

File_002

Vinegar and Honey Company started something new with their October fabric subscriptions – now the BeeBox and the WeeBox each contain their own custom prints!  This WeeBox consisted of an adorable forest monster print (yellow for boys, blue for girls) and a coordinated sweater knit print (light blue for boys, purple for girls), both on buttery soft double brush polyester spandex.  SO CUTE.  In addition, they included a “Thankful Little Monster” vinyl iron on from Thread & Grain for each!

I let my son pick the pattern he wanted for his shirt.  Like almost every other time I’ve let him pick lately, he chose the long sleeve, cuffed version of the Neverland Tee from Stitch Upon a Time, without the front color blocking.  I think he looks pretty handsome…and I love how exited he gets about Mama-made clothes!

For my daughter I decided I wanted to do a simple A-line dress and leggings.  I chose the A-Line Raglan dress from Brindille & Twig.  I love how the double brushed poly makes it soft and drapey while still holding an A-Line shape.  I used the Bonny Leggings pattern from Made For Mermaids for the leggings (the pattern is free if you join their Facebook group).  I was nervous about how they would fit over her bulky cloth diaper, and even made the yoga waistband version to give us more room, but it turns out they were fine and I probably could have used the regular waistband!

File_004

Finally – Mama needed something new to wear for Thanksgiving too!  The Beebox this month contained 2 yards of this beautiful autumnal floral on a raisin-brown background.  After considering a few ideas, I decided that I couldn’t go wrong with another pair of basic leggings.  I used the recently updated free Peg Leg pattern from Patterns for Pirates along with the contoured waistband from the add on pack (also free)!  I love the way the contoured waistband sits higher on my waist.  A girl can’t have too many pairs of leggings, right?

With this new direction for their fabric subscription, I can’t wait to see what Vinegar and Honey Co do next!

(This post contains affiliate lengths.  Thanks for helping my sewing habit!)

 

 

October/November 2017 Dress of the Month

I intended this to be October’s “Dress of the Month” (in addition to the Halloween dress), but I didn’t actually didn’t finish it until November.  And, since it’s really two dresses in one, we’re making it count for both…ok?

I absolutely LOVE the Rosemary and Matilda patterns from Violette Field Threads. If you recall, I made a springtime version for baby girl last April.  I had to bring it back for her
“Thanksgiving”/November dress!

For this version, I made the under dress with a GORGEOUS autumnal forest print I found at Hobby Lobby.  The employee who cut my fabric commented that it was very popular this year! I used a dove-gray ribbon that I had lying around from a previous project for the elastic casing on the bell sleeves, and I think it provides a lovely contrast with the print.  I chose a solid, rich berry for the pinafore and accompanying bloomers. This hue seems to be very on trend this autumn, and I couldn’t be happier because it’s BEAUTIFUL.  Because the pintucks tend to get lost, especially in solids, I decided to accent the ones on the bodice with white ribbon.  I’ve been seeing a lot of beautiful hand embroidery on the internet, so I decided to attempt a simple vine with french-knot flowers in lieu of buttons between the two sets of pintucks.  Not to bad for a first attempt, right?

File_001

Here is a closer view of the dress by itself.  My favorite thing about this dress is that it features an elastic neckline.  Therefore, there is no need to fiddle with a zipper or buttons down the back.  Easy on, easy off–which is SO helpful when trying to wrestle a wiggly toddler!

File_003

I accessorized it with these adorable laces up slippers from Old Navy (by the way, ON’s shoes for baby this season are ON POINT. I’m having to work really hard at self control.) Notice how the shoes perfectly match the pinafore? I’m telling you, that berry is POPULAR this year. Her hair bow is one of the November bows from our favorite subscription ever, Little Poppy Co! In fact, all three of their November bows match this dress.

I hope you love this set as much as I do.  It’s listed in my Etsy store, if you’re interested in ordering one!

 

 

(This post contains affiliate lengths.  Thanks for helping my sewing habit!)

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween…not quite as much as Christmas, but it’s a close second.  I love the air FINALLY turning cooler, the fall decor, everything pumpkin, dressing up in costumes, and, all right, the candy as well.  When these fun Halloween fabrics were passed down to me, I just knew they had to become a dress for baby girl!

I used the baby Pepper pattern from Violette Field Threads. It’s such a fun, easy, and CUTE pattern, with a full skirt, button-closure, and peter pan collar!

File_003

I accessorized it with a witch hat headband I was given last year as a baby gift, and these adorable black cat shoes I found.  Baby girl looks adorable as usual!

Fall Feathers Romper

Even though it’s still in the 80s here (what gives?) it IS October and I’ve decided to get started on my kids’ fall wardrobe.   For my daughter, I made this fun romper set out of double brushed polyester spandex in a purple feather print and solid mustard, with a fun little fringe trim added!  And here’s some good news…this same set is available on my Etsy page!

 

Then I styled it with knee socks, teal moccasins, and a floral headband and made my poor toddler model it in 80 F weather.  She’s such a ham, I don’t think she minded.

File_001File_000(3)File_000(2)

Looking forward to when she can wear this outfit regularly!

 

Fabric: Plumb Coachella Feathers and Mustard from Vinegar and Honey Co.

Romper pattern: Summer Romper from Brindille and Twig

Shirt pattern: Movie Night pjs shirt pattern from Sew a Little Seam

 

 

August 2017: Back to School Weebee!

My WeeBee box tends to arrive at the end of the month.  So appropriately, this year’s August WeeBee theme was back to school!  Because I have a son and a daughter, I receive a double box with 1 yard of “boy” themed fabric and 1 yard of “girl” themed fabric, along with pattern suggestions and embellishments.  August’s box included one yard each of Riley Blake’s Crayola Crayons and Crayola Alphabet, along with a little bit of Crayola Triangles as an accent.  They also sent some really cute school-bus shaped wooden buttons!

They are such fun prints that I knew I HAD to make a play outfit for my daughter.  I’ve written on here before about how much I love the Harem Coverall pattern from Brindille and Twig.  Because these prints were all Cotton Lycra, they were perfect for this pattern!  I made the main body out of the Crayons, the accents from the Triangles, and then I used a little scrap solid blue and made a faux placket for the buttons!

File_001

For my son, it was a little trickier.  He is 6 1/2, and I was concerned the prints might be too babyish for him.  Fortunately he loves being involved in my sewing and happily picked out a pattern and a fabric scheme.  We settled on the Jolly Roger Raglan from Patterns for Pirates.  My boy picked Alphabet for the main body of the shirt, some scrap solid blue for the sleeves (which he wanted, in his words “not long and not short”), and added a tiny accent triangle patch out of the…Triangles.  For fun, and because I was out of matching thread, I did the hems in a zigzag stitch with a contrasting green.  He seems to like it, and I think he has good taste!

File_000

I love it when my kids match…but aren’t exactly identical!  What a fun was to celebrate the beginning of the school year!

File_000(1)