Motherhood Musings: 5th Birthday

Dear readers, I thought I’d take a break from sewing talk to share some of my recent thoughts and observations on motherhood. If you’ll be so kind as to indulge me…

Tiger Towel 1

It’s official. I am now the mother of a five-year-old.

Five seems so big. In a way that his first through fourth birthdays did not affect me, I am suddenly struck by how much older he seems to me. And despite the still thumb-sucking, and the requests to be held and hugged and to snuggle, and the way he often reverts to calling me “mama” rather than “mom, and even if we’re holding off on kindergarten for another year, it is like there is no denying that five years old is no longer a little, little boy.

Five is big. Five for him is full of ambition, even when he’s still working on all the skills necessary to achieve. Like wanting so much to ride his bike without training wheels, and tie his shoes. Five means getting dressed by himself but still struggling with socks. Five is being so proud to be a big brother.

But five has a certain fragility to it. It is a tightrope walk between toddler and big kid. More big kid than baby, yes; but the steps toward big kid are often uncertain and slippery. While we wait in line at the grocery store, he boasts to strangers, “I just turned five.” It is an announcement that belies his usual hesitancy about talking in public or drawing attention to himself. It is as if he’s trying out his five-ness on them. Looking for assurance that he’s on the right path.

Selfishly I feel a strange and unwelcome sentiment that turning five has suddenly and irreparably catapulted us down the road toward his adulthood. Like a super-sized gravitational pull toward a time when I won’t be the answer for all his questions and worries. When I check on him for the last time before bed each night, I have to fight the urge to whisper “stay little” in his ear. I am embarrassed by how unsettled I feel by this. And yet I recognize it is one of the quintessential hypocrisies of motherhood and aging in general. We want our children to grow up and figure things out on their own. Just not too soon. We want them to be independent, but to need us too. We want to matter.

I must sound ridiculously dramatic. I know. But I was blindsided by how this birthday was tinged with some bittersweet. I’m going to chalk it all up to a fleeting melancholy due to all the changes culminating at this time of year — the end of summer laziness, a new school year for my son, my youngest starting nursery school, new work obligations for me, shorter days, longer nights. Life moves on, as it always does.

And, the truth is, I still really, really matter to him. And we’re lucky enough to still be at the stage where a tiger towel and cake pops pretty much assure my “best mom” status. But more on that next time.

Thanks for listening!

 

Kid’s Clothes Week Summer ’14: Project 2

My little guy is happy.

Let's Drive Shorts by fromwholecloth.com

There are a few things I can solidly count on to make him happy. Pumpkin-flavored baked goods and matchbox cars figure heavily in that mix. So I pretty much knew that car, truck and motorcycled-themed fabric was going to be a hit.

Let's Drive Shorts by fromwholecloth.com

This fabric is “Retro Rides” by Premier Prints. I purchased it about a year ago on fabric.com and it’s been sitting in my fabric stash just waiting for a good project. Confession: it’s really not intended for apparel sewing. It’s a medium-weight cotton duck. And the manufacturer recommends not drying the fabric; air drying only. Well, we’ll just have to see how this works out.  How long before you think I forget and put them through the dryer?

fromwholecloth.com

These shorts were made using the Parsley Pants pattern by Made by Rae. I modified the pattern using Rae’s tutorial about how to make shorts from a pants pattern. I made the pockets with a solid orange lining that peeks out a bit, and also jazzed them up with extra topstitching along the hems and pockets in rows of orange and blue thread.

Unlike yesterday, today the photo shoot gods smiled down on me and I scored a very willing model. Eli was busting out his modeling moves. Of course, most of his modeling moves were better suited for a runway, so I was bouncing around to keep up and strongly suggesting that we take a couple photos standing still — very still. The concept of stillness means something so different to children and adults.

Ah, stillness. A parent can only dream. We’ve been struggling for so long with keeping Eli in his seat during a meal. I honestly don’t think he’s ever managed it since he left the highchair. He always finds some reason to get up and move. And even when he’s sitting, it  is rare that his bottom is completely on the seat. I was thinking about this during dinner tonight when I asked, for what felt like the 100th time, for him to sit “all the way” in his seat. Perhaps I need to develop a pants pattern that accommodates a big magnet in the seat of the pants, and a corresponding magnet for his chair.

That’ll stick him.

kid's clothes week

Kid’s Clothes Week Summer 2014 – Project #1

It’s Kid’s Clothes Week, summer edition!  The sewing is going well. The photo shoots are another story, however.

There has been a lot of her forced “I’m not really into this, Mom” smile, making it very clear what she thinks about me interrupting her morning with a photo shoot.

Wavy Linear Dress by fromwholecloth.com

Wavy Linear Dress by fromwholecloth.com

Wavy Linear Dress by fromwholecloth.com

This KCW’s theme is “Kid Art”. Sticking to the theme is optional, and it’s open to any interpretation that tickles your fancy.

I was going in a million different directions contemplating how to incorporate the theme into my KCW projects. I finally decided to use fabrics that remind me of art and to try being a bit more creative (dare I say, artsy?) about using the fabrics in my chosen designs.

Wavy Linear Dress by fromwholecloth.com

I selected these fabrics from Lotta Jansdotter’s Blooma fabric collection. They definitely make me think of kid art. The lines of varying widths, criss-crossing and headed in different directions, the spare but interesting design. Young modern art!

I used the Ruby Ruffle Dress sewing pattern by the Cottage Mama for this project. I love this pattern and have used it several times, including for Daisy’s birthday balloon dress  and my new sewing machine initiation project. It’s a great pattern with excellent instructions.

I used version C of the pattern, which is a simple A-line dress in a jumper style with button closures at the shoulders. The pattern envisions using a single fabric, so basically I just cut my pattern piece in half to allow for a “color-blocking” effect with the two fabrics. (PS: I sized up to 3T, so the fit is quite generous at this point, and I also shortened it. We will definitely be able to use this as a top paired with leggings or pants as she grows.)

Wavy Linear Dress by fromwholecloth.com

Since the fabrics I selected were so linear, I decided a wavy divide between the fabrics would provide more visual interest than a straight cut across the chest. It definitely required slow and careful sewing along the curves to prevent puckering, but it was worth it. I am so happy with how it turned out!

I also chose different sized buttons for the shoulders, as a nod to the way children (or at least mine!) are not overly concerned with, or constrained by, symmetry in their artistic ventures. However I’m not sure the different proportions are all that obvious.

Wavy Linear Dress by fromwholecloth.com

The buttons are both over-sized and neither fit in the buttonhole foot for my sewing machine. It was my first time making buttonholes without the “automatic” feature on my machine, and it wasn’t all that difficult. I’m awarding myself bonus points for learning a new sewing skill!

Okay, I’ve got to get rolling on my next KCW project..

Wavy Linear Dress by fromwholecloth.com

 

Easter Dress 2014: Geranium Dress Pattern

Easter1

I realize Easter was a few months ago, but since I never posted about this dress I thought I’d share it now before it becomes really old news.

I had no intention of making Easter outfits for the kids this year. They already had perfectly acceptable holiday outfits in their wardrobes and I thought I’d save my efforts for something else. And I was 50% true to my intentions. Daisy got a new dress sewn by Mom, and Eli went store-bought all the way.

Easter2

Shortly before Easter I decided I wanted to make a dress for my cousin’s new baby using the Geranium Dress Sewing Pattern by Made by Rae. However, I had never sewn the pattern and despite my desire to get right down to business I acknowledged that first making a muslin from the pattern would be the more boring most prudent approach. And that, in the overused and likely worn out nutshell, is how my daughter scored a handmade Easter dress. (By the way, what kind of nutshell is it? My vote is for hazelnut or almond. And while we’re debating nuts, why the heck are there multiple names for hazelnuts?)

The effort went well enough that I think this dress can shed the muslin label. The fabrics are both from my stash and admittedly not what would typically be considered muslin fabric; a medium pink gingham for the bodice and a floral for the skirt bottom, both purchased on sale from fabric.com a couple of years ago. The floral fabric is from a Beatrix Potter licensed fabric collection, although I don’t recall the manufacturer.

The Geranium Dress pattern includes several different style variations, and for this dress I chose the notched neckline and the faux cap sleeve. The cap sleeve style looks better when it isn’t paired with a t-shirt underneath, but our Easter weather wasn’t quite mild enough for her to comfortably go bare-armed.

Easter3

For the kids, the highlight of our Easter festivities was definitely the egg hunt graciously hosted by my sister-in-law. The pictures below perfectly capture why Daisy won’t be scoring the most eggs any time soon.

Eli had the right technique for amassing eggs — locate, grab, drop in basket, repeat.

Easter5

Whereas Daisy proved to be more of an egg connoisseur, taking her time and inspecting each egg she found.

Easter6

Yep, she’s still there.  It’s as if I photo-shopped Eli out of the picture. She’s barely moved an inch!

Perhaps she is looking for the Faberge eggs? I could have sworn they told me they’d have Faberge this year! What kind of egg hunt is this?!

I was trying not to interrupt the egg hunting while I snapped a few photos of the dress. It seemed like every time I went to take a picture of her, she was examining an egg with her hands up blocking a view of the notched bodice. I nicely asked “please put your hands down, so mommy can take a picture” and, since Daisy interprets everything so literally, this was the result.

Easter4

Well, her hands are down. Easter egg hunt zombie style.

Easter7

Ahhh, sometimes I think that soon enough I’ll know what it’s like to be the mother of the class clown.