Kids Clothes Week Summer 2016: Beachy Boatneck

Beachy Boatneck2

Until last night, I hadn’t touched my sewing machine in just over two months. My sewing production always tends to slow to a trickle in the summer, but that is definitely the longest I’ve gone without sewing a thing! Blame it on the heat (it’s been downright disgusting here lately), or the general lack of time with the kids home on summer break, or simply being too tired after long days of exploring/swimming/getting on each other’s nerves. Or, we can simply blame it on Netflix, the Olympics, or whatever draws me to the couch once the tasks of the day are finally complete (or pushed off for another day!).

Kids Clothes Week and the impending start of school dragged me out of my sewing slump, however. Since my son wears a uniform to school, my daughter can be the sole focus of my back to school sewing efforts, and sewing for only one child seemed manageable. We’ll see about that. Starting this task two weeks before the start of school may not have been the best move.

Beachy Boatneck1

In some ways this project seems like the ultimate compromise to me. I love sewing my daughter dresses. My daughter loves rejecting said dresses and demanding soft, cozy garments. And so, despite my deep desire to start the school year with a slew of newly sewn dresses, I am acknowledging that an unworn pile of dresses would irritate me beyond belief, and it’s far better to make her something that she’ll enjoy and wear multiple times.

Beachy Boatneck6

Hence, my return to sewing comes in the form of a t-shirt. Ah, the glory.

Beachy Boatneck5

I’ve sewn t-shirts before, but this was my first time with this pattern. It’s the Beachy Boatneck by Melly Sews for Blank Slate Patterns. I tease about the lack of glory in sewing a simple tee. Every time I sew something up in knit fabric and I feel it could pass for ready-to-wear quality, I’m pretty darn proud.

Beachy Boatneck7

The fabric definitely passes for soft and cozy, too — as evidenced by my daughter’s immediate request to wear it and her later suggestion that it could be a PJ shirt, too. Success! The fabric is an organic cotton interlock from the Acorn Trail collection for Birch Fabrics. Last year I made my son a pair of creepy crawly pajamas with another fabric from this collection.

Beachy Boatneck3

My one regret in sewing this shirt is being too lazy to switch over to my double needle to finish the hems and topstitch the neckline. But a girl can only handle so much at once — baby steps, people, after all this is my first time sewing since early June!! Let’s not rush things.

It’s a good pattern with reliable instruction and it comes together quickly — probably even faster if you don’t have to reintroduce yourself to your sewing machine! The pattern uses a front and back yoke facing rather than a neck binding, and I love that clean look. I sewed up a size 4 for Daisy based on the measurements provided, but the fit is a bit loose on her.  It’s not sloppy big, but there is definitely room to grow. Interestingly, she mostly wears a size 5T in RTW shirts. The pattern also lends itself nicely to adaptation, and I’m hoping to play around with it soon.

Beachy Boatneck4

Now that one back to school project is in the books, let’s hope I don’t fall back into another summer slide. I suppose I could take the easy way out and just sew up a whole pile of Beachy Boatnecks — she is quite happy with this one, and who am I to ruin a good thing…

Or, more appropriately, who am I to mess with an intimidating ninja superhero? I’ll leave you with one of Daisy’s oh-so-imposing ninja stances; she’s been practicing all summer.

Beachy Boatneck8

Crazy Horse: KCW Sewing Geranium Top

Horse Geranium top, pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by, fabric by Cotton + Steel


Horse Geranium Top, pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by


Horse Geranium Top, pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by #fromwholecloth, fabric by Cotton + Steel

This is my little crazy horse, my Daisy horse. Crazy Horse was known for being ferocious in battle; she’s ferocious in her own way. Small in stature but big in spirit. And louder than anyone her size has a right to be. She’s also going through a phase (is it still appropriate to call it a phase when it’s been about 9 months?!?) where she doesn’t think bedtime applies to her. We do the whole bath, book and bed routine, and then she stays up for a couple more hours engaging in vigorous conversation with her toys, singing songs of her own composition, and occasionally sneaking downstairs to see what Mommy and Daddy are doing. And she’s still typically the first one to wake in the morning.

She just turned three and a half, which means she’s big now. “I was little when I was three, but now I’m big.” Watch out, world!

Now, I know a lot of girls are c-c-c-crazy about horses. I went through my own horse-crazed period when I was little. I even asked for a horse for Christmas, and my Mom patiently and devoid of sarcasm responded something along the lines of, “Well, in case Santa Claus can’t bring you a horse, is there something else you’d like for Christmas?” I wanted to know why Santa wouldn’t bring me a horse, that’s what! Well, I never did get that horse, and in fact I forgot all about my previous horse obsession until I started to see so many horse-themed fabrics making their debut over the last year or so. Daisy is actually not horse crazy – yet. Transformer, cheetah and rhino crazy, yes. But this horse fabric has been staring at me from my fabric stash for a while and I couldn’t resist using it any longer.

The theme for the Spring Kids Clothes Week (April 20-26) was “Wild Things” and I fittingly sewed this wild mustang top for Daisy. I sewed a bunch of other things, too, but then she and I both were hit hard by a stomach bug that week and I never posted any of my projects. I am seriously backlogged on posting about recent sewing projects, so I’m trying to catch up. Actually, I’m grateful for a little reprieve from sewing because, to tell the truth, I’m feeling a little sewed-out after a marathon sewing session at the end of last week. (More on that later!)

Horse Geranium Top, pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by

This top is the Geranium Dress/Top Sewing Pattern by Made by Rae. I’ve made the dress option of that pattern before both here and here. It’s an uncomplicated sew and produces such a reliable result. Except that I forgot to mark the buttonholes when I cut my fabric, and then guesstimated on their location and they ended up a little too far from the edge. It made the bodice a bit tighter, but still wearable. Whoops!

Geranium Dress/Top Pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by, mustang fabric by Cotton + Steel

I’m sad to report that lately I’ve been getting a lot of push back from Daisy about wearing a dress. “No, Mommy. Not a dress today. I want a shirt!”, she’ll insist in the morning. I guess I’ve always known this day was coming, since I’ve heard so many stories about little girls deciding very early on that they want to call the shots on their apparel. I applaud her independence, but it’s still kind of breaking my heart. And so, I sewed up a shirt that is about as close to a dress as I can get! “You made me a horse dress?” “No, no, it’s a shirt! A horse SHIRT!!”

The fabric is Melody Miller’s Mustang in Aqua for Cotton + Steel. The feel of this fabric is wonderfully soft – especially considering it is quilting cotton. It feels soft like favorite shirt status soft.

Geranium Dress & Top Pattern by Made by Rae, sewn by fromwholecloth, Mustang fabric by Cotton + Steel

When I decided on the pattern and fabric for the top, I also decided to make her some fun pants to complete the outfit. Big oops on my part – they are way too big on her right now! Rather than calling this a sewing fail (even though I was dying to see her wear the top and bottom together), I’m considering myself super organized for having a leg up on her fall wardrobe. How’s that for a positive spin!

Sleepy Jeans Pattern by Brownie Goose, sewn by

But seriously, aren’t these pants super cute!? (Sleepy Jeans Pattern by Brownie Goose, fabric is Robert Kaufman chambray in indigo)

Thanks for reading!

KCW Winter 2015: An Unnecessary Polka Dot Dress

Polka Dot Dress Upcycle by

Oh, Kids Clothes Week, are you over yet?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Kids Clothes Week and the way such a large online sewing community comes together to celebrate it and share ideas and give virtual pats on the back for jobs well done.

But. I find that not a lot of other things on my to-do list are accomplished during KCW. The final day of KCW means that reality is about to bite down hard on my butt cheek. Laundry piles await. The house is generally unkempt. Nothing tragic or even all that problematic for sure. More like a dull headache that is nagging in the background and you just wish it would go away.

Further, sometimes the creative frenzy that KCW fosters inspires me to sew up garments that are not even remotely a wardrobe necessity. Like this polka dot dress for my daughter.

In its prior life, it looked like this.

Dress Original

A polka dot dress that is neither purple nor navy blue (blurple?), with a very sheer polyester exterior and a rayon blend stretchy lining.

As I started to lay out my pattern pieces, it became obvious that the original exterior dress hem was not completely straight. Since I firmly believe that an integral part of upcycling clothing is that you incorporate as many of the finished edges and other completed details as you can (heck, I’ll take any opportunity I can get to skip hemming!), I was determined to use that hem — asymmetrical or not!

Polka Dot Upcycle2

So, I shifted my pattern pieces a bit to accentuate the asymmetry, and now — asymmetrical hem rules the day. I think it’s a nice, unexpected counterpart to the otherwise sweet mini polka dots.

And, having now sewn with that sheer polyester fabric — by far the slinkiest, shiftiest fabric I’ve ever sewn — I can tell you I never would have finished the dress if I had to hem it myself. Dang — this stuff had a mind of its own. I just kept reminding myself that this dress was essentially an experiment, with free fabric (thank you, sister!), and there would be no harm in ditching the whole thing in the wastebasket if it became a sewing nightmare. Yep, that was me, with my devil may care attitude, hair blowing in the breeze, whistling a tune while sitting at my sewing machine. As if. There was some cursing involved as I wrangled the polyester into submission.

The dress fits just fine over a shirt, and so I can justify its utility as a winter wardrobe addition. However, I am looking forward to seeing her wear it sleeveless in the summer. The sheer, flowy fabric is definitely a better match for warmer weather.

And I have a KCW confession to make. I haven’t finished off the seams yet; raw edges abound on the inside. So naughty, I know. This is partly because I had light colored thread in my serger and I was too lazy to change to a dark color. The other, perhaps more compelling reason, was that this fabric is so sheer I was afraid I’d burn it with my iron, so I just sewed up the seams and left them — no pressing, no finishing, just moving on.

Polka Dot Dress Upcycle by


Of course, I can’t leave it this way. And there is a reason why ironing is an incredibly important part of sewing. I cringe looking at this photograph below of the side seam in all its unpressed madness. Shudder.

Polka Dot Dress Upcycle by

Oh, forgive me my sloppy, unpressed side seam!

Let me just get on my soapbox for a moment to discuss the need for good ironing (since I’m obviously not leading by example in these photos, ha!). Perhaps my appreciation for a nicely pressed garment was imprinted over several years of spending Sunday nights ironing my school uniform shirts for the week ahead. I recall my mother even teaching me the correct order for ironing a shirt. (Oh, yes, there’s a proper order — google it!) But seriously, skipping pressing when constructing garments, will likely contribute to your creations looking amateur and cheap. You can even think of pressing as a remedy of sorts for less than perfect sewing, since pressing can help smooth out minor imperfections and will give everything a nice, neat appearance. Okay, stepping down from that soapbox now.

Polka Dot Dress Upcycle by

So behold the dangers of Kids Clothes Week. You make dresses your daughter doesn’t need. You get angry at finicky fabric. You leave your seams raw. And you shun your iron. What is the world coming to, people?!

Oh, and you make your daughter endure endless photo shoots.

Please, please, I beg you. Stop taking my picture, Mama!

Please, please, I beg you. Stop taking my picture, Mama!

So long, KCW Winter 2015! It’s been swell.

KCW Winter 2015: Another Tee to Dress Upcycle

Coral Circo Tee to Dress Upcycle by


Tee to Dress Upcycle 2 by

Circo clearance t-shirt to dress upcycle #2. I just had to make another. And I think I like this one more.

Daisy was in an incredibly good mood as we had our photo shoot for this post. She was hamming it up and we had a lot of fun. The starry background may have contributed to her cheerfulness. It kind of set the mood for feeling you were somewhere much more special than the living room. (Backdrop is from Caravan Shoppe. I’m not sure if it’s still available, but they always have a great selection of printables, so it’s worth checking out.)

A few months ago I wouldn’t have batted an eye over her exceptionally good mood. It would have seemed like the norm rather than anything extraordinary. But these days, tantrums are becoming a regular part of her day. We’ve become accustomed to seeing more of this lately:

Circo Tee to Dress Upcycle #2 by

Oh, I swear, it should be called the “terrible threes“, rather than the “terrible twos.”

I made this dress a little differently from the prior one. The skirt portion is half the width I used before, so it’s not as full. The biggest difference is that I attached the skirt to the outside of the t-shirt, rather than tucking it under.

Tee to Dress Upcycle by

I simply folded over the gathered skirt top by about 1 1/2 inches, and then topstitched the skirt onto the t-shirt bottom.  The raw edges are hidden away from sight, and you have a cute stand-up mid-line to the dress.

Tee to Dress Upcycle 2 by


Tee to Dress Upcycle 2 by

Such an easy way to dress up a regular old tee. It doesn’t require much fabric, and somebody else did all the trickier parts for you. Can you sew a straight line? You can make this. A perfect beginning sewing hack!

kid's clothes week