Kid’s Clothes Week Summer ’14: Project 2

My little guy is happy.

Let's Drive Shorts by

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

This fabric is “Retro Rides” by Premier Prints. I purchased it about a year ago on 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?

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

Wavy Linear Dress by

Wavy Linear Dress by

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

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

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

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


Easter Dress 2014: Geranium Dress Pattern


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.


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 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.


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.


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


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.


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


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

Geranium Dress for a New Little Miss


Hurrah, a new baby in the family! The extended family — not my immediate family. “Phew!” says my husband. “Awwwwww…, ” says Eli, with disappointment. That boy asks for another baby on a regular basis. Cue the Rolling Stones: you can’t always get what you want, my dear son.

My cousin and her husband welcomed baby #2, a beautiful daughter, in January. Yes, yes, I know, it is now July, and I finally just shipped off a package of homemade goodies and officially welcomed her to the family.

I swore I was going to be more timely. I sewed up a minky and flannel blanket right after she was born. But it just didn’t seem exciting enough. I tossed around different pattern and fabric ideas but nothing really struck me. Months passed. Then I decided I needed to get in on the Geranium Dress goodness I’d been admiring on sewing blogs and in the Kids Clothes Week photo pools. The Geranium Dress Sewing Pattern is from Made By Rae, and the fabric I chose is from the Out to Sea collection by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller.  The “Sea Flowers” fabric is a small scale print of flowers and sea stars in pinks and blue and it is pretty busy, but I think it works really well in a smaller child’s size (in this case size 6 to 12 months — actually, I don’t think I indicated the dress size in the package I sent, so this post will have to do the trick!).

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Aside from the usual greatness of Rae’s patterns and the detailed instructions, I love that the pattern easily accommodates different trims. I chose pale pink pom poms at the waistline, because, well, pom pom trim is awesome. Enough said. Rae has a post devoted to Adding Trim to the Geranium Dress



As much as I love the added element of pom pom trim, this part didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. I didn’t give myself enough of a seam allowance on the waistline once the trim was added, and this necessitated closing the bodice lining by hand. Groan. Groan again. I learned how to sew on a sewing machine, so my hand-sewing skills could use some work. Sometimes, when I’m feeling super ambitious (a/k/a “fooling myself”), I declare loudly — in my head, so that no one can hear and I won’t really be held accountable — that I should spend an entire week’s worth of sewing time focused solely on hand-sewing techniques. I mean, I should do this. And I really do think it is important to be skilled and feel confident in the most basic form of one’s hobby, buuuuuut (insert whiny voice here) the sewing machine just makes everything so much easier, not to mention faster, and there are so many projects that just seem way, way more interesting than a week of sewing drills.

This is a poor picture, but you can see my totally amateur stitching by hand. Thank goodness this is the lining. Ain’t nobody gonna see it from the outside!


So, the dress was complete and ready to be sent off with the blanket (I swear there really is a blanket! Just no photos!). All set, right? Nope. I wanted to include a little something for the Big Bro. A couple more months passed. Really, now, this is just pathetic. A classic study in procrastination.

I knew exactly what I wanted to make — a little zippered pouch to house treasures of all sorts — and I had the fabric and the zipper and, well, apparently no motivation. I knew it wouldn’t take too long to complete so I kept pushing it aside in favor of whatever was grabbing my fancy at the time — like truly important things such as surfing the internet looking at outrageous vacation rentals in far off magical places where no one with children under the age of fifteen ever visits. Tick. Tock. Finally I had to sit myself down and have a little talk about responsibility and ambition.

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Okay, actually there was no such talk, but I did finally get out of my own way and sew this cute little bag for a cute little guy. And all’s well that ends well. Or so I hope.

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Happy Fourth of July!