Up for a Challenge

I love seeing something I’ve created put to use — whether it be clothing, a pillow, curtains, place mats, whatever! I just get such a kick out of seeing what was once a cut of fabric transformed into something useful and, hopefully, appreciated. My son is a wonderful recipient of my handmade creations. Whenever I make him something, he gets so excited, fists raised cheerfully to the sky with a big “alright, Mommy! Thank you!” shouted for me — and then three seconds later he’s once again totally engrossed in playing trucks or whatever else I interrupted. I realize his reaction is based more on the fact that he knows I love sewing and making clothes for him and his sister, than it is organic excitement about the fact that I’ve made him another pair of pants, but I love it, and, at some level, need it.

Remember those elephant pants I posted about a couple months ago? Well, here they are in action. Okay, so maybe sitting and reading isn’t exactly action-packed excitement for most of us, but it’s pretty good stuff for an infant! What a cutie-pie! I think my cousin needs to make another trip to Connecticut some time soon so we can all see this little guy again.Elep(h)ants 1

Elep(h)ants Reading

Elep(h)ants 2

And while I’m on the topic of sewing for kids ….. it’s almost time for Kids Clothes Week Challenge, created by elsie marley. Hurrah!

I participated in my first KCWC in the spring and had such a blast. I did all my prep work (washing, pressing, reviewing patterns, cutting pattern pieces, and even a little pinning) in advance so I could spend all of my KCWC time actually sewing and creating. I can already tell I won’t be that organized for the Fall KCWC, but I’m still so excited that it’s just about here. Not familiar with KCWC? The boiled down description is that for each day during the challenge you spend an hour (or more if your schedule allows and you’re so inspired) making clothes for kids. It’s free, and you participate in the comfort of your own space and at your own pace. A whole bunch of people participate and many share their results in a flikr group. There is an elsie marley KCWC FAQ page if you are interested and want more details. I love that the “challenge” is not a contest to see who makes the best/most/etc. but rather a personal challenge to commit one hour a day to creating clothes for kids. And at the end of the week, your kids will be better attired! No need to get all competitive — just get to work creating!

Here’s a smattering of what I created in the Spring 2012 KCWC (fyi, you can click to enlarge a photo). I really feel that my sewing skills were expanded and strengthened during KCWC.Butterfly Dress KCWC Spring 2012

The dress fabric is from Michael Miller and the pattern was my own. I used French seams for a finished look and used pieces of a hand-me-down maternity shirt to create the underskirt. I loved this fabric as soon as I saw it, and loved the dress when it was complete. It’s so great when that happens. The dress didn’t fit my daughter when I made it because I’d intentionally sized up so that it would fit during the summer. Of course, then I spent a number of weeks hoping she wouldn’t outgrow it before the warm weather arrived. It all worked out and it fit perfectly for her brother’s birthday party.

Lining of Butterfly DressButterfly Dress Spring 12 KCWC

The pants and shorts are all based in large part on MADE’s Kid Pants pattern, which is an extremely versatile pattern from a talented blogger (which is a really lame and limiting description, because Dana does about a million things well). The shorts ended up being one of my son’s favorite pairs this summer, without me steering him that way, which was so great. The pants were perfect for those occasions when I was hoping for a more dressed up look for my son — like a family gathering (linen pants) and my daughter’s christening (seersucker pants) — and paired easily with a polo shirt. I really loved the way the linen pants fit him; it’s too bad he has already outgrown them.

The peasant top below was actually the first piece I made for KCWC. The fabric is an organic cotton print and just seemed so perfect for a little girl. This item actually provided me with my first alteration experience a la chunky baby. The arms were a bit snug for my daughter so I ended up opening the armband casing, removing the elastic and leaving as-is. The sleeves looked just as cute that way, and I’m glad I didn’t spend too much time on alterations since she has outgrown the shirt already. That is the downside to sewing for little babies — they grow so fast you don’t have nearly enough time to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Peasant Top KCWC Spring 12Lovebirds Diaper Cover

The diaper cover was the only diaper cover I made during KCWC, although I had intended to make several. I don’t know, I guess I just kind of lost my steam and diaper covers didn’t seem so inspiring after all the other stuff. Definitely the right call. If I’m not jazzed about a project I feel like that shows in the end. You’ve got to put some love in to get a lovely result.

Remembering all that I did during the Spring KCWC makes me feel like I better get serious about my goals for Fall 2012 KCWC. Yikes. Time to make a list…

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One thought on “Up for a Challenge

  1. Cate – I love the idea of the KCW challenge. The idea of participating/belonging to a bigger community is fun. Must say that your models are just the best kids ever!! Your fabrics are absolutely beautiful. ~ jane

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