Mixed Pattern Playdress

Mixed Pattern Playdress

This is one of my favorite sewing projects ever. It’s simple, was really fun to sew, and my daughter’s face just glowed when she put it on the first time. It’s just so her, but I love it, too.

As I’ve mentioned before, she pretty much refuses to wear anything but knits. I’m always trying to find knit play dresses, and I fell in love with some from a certain British catalog that rhymes with Odin. I’m sure they would rather me write “catalogue,” am I right? Their prices are pretty steep for such simple dresses, though, and I thought, hey, I could make that! I’m kind of famous for saying that, but in this case, I actually did it.

From the catalog, we borrowed the idea of mixing patterns (which is also a big part of my daughter’s style) and went to the half-yard clearance section on Girl Charlee. Little Miss picked out the fabrics. I tried to get her to go with a contrasting color mix, but that was a non-starter. She specified no sleeves and a higher waistline with a full skirt.

For the bodice I traced another dress’s bodice. The skirt part is just a gathered rectangle. I used to be so scared of sewing with knits, but really, it’s not so bad once you get the hang of it. I definitely do better with slightly weightier knits. I used a regular machine (not a serger) and used zig zag, serger-ish-like, and triple stitches, depending on the seam/ application.

For some great tutorials on knit finishes, check this and this out.

This time, there are no booty issues (like here).

DSC_0431-001

For more of my sewing adventures, click here.

Girl’s Waffle Knit Tunic

Thermal Knit Tunic

My girl loves knits. She’s nine now, but ever since I can remember, comfort has been her style priority. More often than not, this means knit fabrics. I really hesitate to buy her anything that’s made of wovens.

Occasionally, though, I have trouble finding as much variety as we want. (okay, there’s Mini Boden, which I love, but I’m not in love with their prices). This tunic was an experiment that started out as a dress in my mind. Until I ran out of fabric. Actually, I think if the pattern sizing was anywhere near the mark it probably would’ve made a dress, no problem.

I thought I’d try making a raglan T-shirt into a dress by lengthening the bottom, since raglan sleeves can be easier to deal with than the standard set-in kind. I used See & Sew B4322, which is really a pajama pattern, but that was the closest thing to what I wanted that I could find in the fabric store.

The directions are nice and straightforward, but like I said, the pattern sizing is off by a mile. I know my daughter is slim, but she’s not far off normal store-bought sizing. We ended up with, like, six inches of ease on the sides and a Flashdance neck.

But anyway, I made it work. I hacked off the sides, took in the shoulders, and gathered the neck (this was pre-finishing). I added a wide waistband what I had leftover, and I’m actually pretty happy with how it turned out. It’s long enough that she can wear it with leggings, which was the goal in the first place.

I realize I could’ve done a better job with the bow pattern (I’m pretty unexperienced with patterned fabric) but Little Miss doesn’t seem to care, so I don’t, either. Next time, I think I’ll just trace clothes she already has, rather than use that pattern (though the directions are still helpful).

The fabric came from Girl Charlee. I’ve been enjoying sewing with their fabrics. They are good quality and very reasonably priced, cute selection. If you’re a beginner with knits, I’d recommend going with medium weights. They are easier to work with. I do love these bows!

For more of my sewing adventure, click here. Hope you have a great weekend!

Girl’s Linen Skirt with Ruffle Edge

I bought this blue linen a long time ago with a dress for me in mind. I changed my mind a couple of times about what pattern to use, and in the meantime, my daughter found the fabric and declared her love for it. You see where this is going.

I cut out my dress pattern and used the leftover to make a skirt for her. It’s just a gathered rectangle again, like this one, with a little ruffle added. This kind of skirt is so easy to make, and I love not having to use a pattern. Really, she likes them as well as a dress, which I find much more of a chore.

Unfortunately I’ve found some mistakes in the way I cut out my dress, so I’m in a bind and trying to finagle my way out of it. Meanwhile Little Miss has really been enjoying her skirt. Love the styling here, don’t you? That’s all her own doing.

But next time I’ll make my outfit first, then see what fabric I have left over. Almost finished assembling this sweater. It’s looking really good, if I do say so myself.

We were in Austria last week, so beautiful, where I finally got up the nerve to get off the bunny slope after lots of coaxing. Woohooo!!

Currently reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. So completely fascinating! It’s the most interesting story I’ve read in a long time—the true account of the woman behind the cells that started a medical revolution. Definitely check it out.

Low-Sew Halloween Costumes

Folks seem to already be looking for Halloween costume ideas, so I thought I’d round up previous posts on the topic. My favorite handmade costumes are  ones that don’t take too much effort.

Here’s our fireman costume from two thrifted shirts:

Another oldie and goodie—-the Turtle Costume from a sweatshirt and a sweater:

Turtle Costume Front 100N-0148_DSC

andf lastly, the Princess Dress from Upcycled Fabrics:

gown

For more ideas, go to elsie marley’s post here.

For the best Halloween decorations ever, look to Blair Peter of wisecraft’s posts here and here.  And here.  She does the WAY coolest stuff with things found for pennies at the thrift store.

I’m not sure what we’ll do for Halloween this year. It’s not really done in Germany, so last year we called friends around the neighborhood to warn them we’d be coming and begging for candy. It was fun, but I do miss our neighborhood Halloween back in the U.S.

Simple Kid’s Hat from T-Shirt

For a mom from a warm climate, learning to dress the kids for northern Germany has been an education. Luckily, my son’s dear kindergarten teacher is more than willing to educate me. You may remember the story about the silk-wool undershirts. In addition to undershirts and of course a jacket, he is expected to wear (until it’s absolutely hot) leggings under his pants, a scarf, mittens, and a hat. Every day, even when it seems a little overkill. Rainpants are a whole other story.

Overdressing is the preferred mode, and with Hannover’s weather as changeable as it is, it does make sense. A common refrain around the kindergarten: “Wo ist deine muetze?” Where is your hat? Meaning: put it on!

This has become so much a part of our morning routine that the other day, when we were in a hurry, my daughter (6) scolded me for not having mittens and a hat for our 3-year-old. “Mommy, what will Frau X say?” she said.

The only problem with all this gear is that it’s hard to keep up with and easy to get lost. I decided to take matters into my own hands and whip up several spring-weight hats from his old t-shirts. These take literally about five minutes to make. Maybe less. This way, if we lose a few hats, it’s no big deal.

There are plenty of more sophisticated hat patterns out there on the web. For these I basically traced a hat he already had which is made from just two pieces shaped like little hills. I stitched them together with a zigzag stitch.

My favorite t-shirts to use are his old pajama tops, since those are not only super-soft but also stretchy.

I had a bit of a dilemma with this one because I wanted to use both the cute little applique at the top and the nice finished hem. So the hat is a little long and funky, but it can scrunched or folded, and really, who cares? He’s three.

Bonus:  He’s been proudly showing off his hats and (in German) bragging that his mother made them. I know this kind of pride in mommy-made items probably won’t last, so I’m just going to savor it.

Finished

DSC_0044

 I finally finished sewing this dress for my daughter. It’s from Simplicity pattern 2688. This is the first time I’ve made the same pattern twice (the first time I made it sleeveless), and I have to say it feels good to kind of know what you’re doing the second time around. And the two dresses look totally different.

Meanwhile, Slowpoke is nearly out of copy editing, and I hope I can share some artwork from it soon.