Rainbow Stripe First Day Dress

This cute girl is the epitome of “crazy hair don’t care.”  Some days, it’s just not worth the battle to get her to sit still for as long as it takes to put in ponytails – there are just so many other fun things to do!  So, sorry about the crazy hair.  It’s a good thing she’s still cute, even with crazy hair.  🙂
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On to the dress!  This dress was made using the First Day Dress pattern by MADE.  I love this pattern, and I bought it on the first day it was available, after much anticipation.  There are a couple of different silhouettes you can make (scroll down to see the circle skirt version below!), and I like that this a-line version gives you the chance to use some really bold fabric.IMG_6987

This pattern is really beginner friendly – the closure is just a simple button on the back – no buttonholes or zippers required.

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This fabric is from Ikea a few years back, and if you’ve known me long enough, you might recognize it as the curtains that hung in our first apartment when we moved to California!  You know… the white walls, beige carpets, and generally blah type of apartment that needs a little color brought into it.  These brought color for sure!  Now they’re getting a second life in this dress, and it makes me happy to see these bright stripes again.  The funny thing is, back when I bought this fabric, I was so intimidated by sewing that I had my mother in law hem the curtains for me… things have changed a bit since then!
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Okay, here’s how a toddler photo shoot works in my house.

Step 1: Put toddler in dress.  Try to convince her to let me put pigtails in, but settle for a couple of bows to get the hair out of her face.

Step 2: Follow toddler around trying to get decent pictures of said dress.  Take 67 pictures.IMG_6943 Step 3: “You want to go outside?  Sure!”  The lighting is better out there anyway. 😉 Take 83 more pictures.IMG_6961IMG_6983Step 4: Go through all the pictures and find 8 that are decent enough to include. Win!IMG_6971Below is the circle skirt version of the pattern, which I made for my niece Lexi’s 4th birthday last summer.  There are a few different options for how to do the circle skirt – this one has two separate layers for extra twirl factor.  🙂  I like this version for “older” girls – I don’t think it works as well with toddler tummy.  But there are definitely going to be some of these in Ella’s future!

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Thanks for reading!

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Faux Chenille Baby Blankets

Is it possible to have too many baby blankets?  I don’t think so… mine end up needing to be washed so often that having a few extra on the shelf is never a bad idea. 🙂  IMG_0419This type of blanket is one of my favorites for putting under my kiddos as they are laying on the floor during the itty-bitty, pre-crawling stage that Luke is in right now.  At four months old, he likes to hang out with some toys, do some tummy time (yes, he actually likes tummy time!  Who knew some babies liked that?), and giggle at his crazy parents and sister who do all kinds of silly faces and voices to make him laugh.

IMG_9620 We received one of these blankets as a gift when I was pregnant with Ella, and after I learned how to sew, these blankets were quickly on my to-do list.

I use Dana’s tutorial to make these, and use flannel for all four layers to make it extra soft and cozy.  I also like to do squared off corners instead of the rounded ones that she does.

IMG_9617This one was for a gender-neutral baby shower, so I did a beige backing with navy, deep pink, and coral top fabrics, based on some clues my friend had given me about her nursery colors.  As you can see, the top color definitely stands out the most, and you get little hints of the two other colors below.
IMG_9624IMG_9622For this one for my nephew, I matched up the top fabrics to the colors of the chevron pattern on the back.  IMG_0421IMG_0420I’ve always used the pre-made blanket binding you can find at Joann to do the edges, and I like to use this multiple-stitch zig-zag to attach it.  I love this stitch because even if you don’t have the edges of the front and back binding lined up exactly, it is wide enough to catch both of them with at least two of the three stitches.  Plus I just like how it looks!IMG_9625

What I discovered is… these take a long time to make!!!  You can tell I’m not a quilter!  I’m used to sewing up little girl dresses, which involve multiple steps of different techniques, and are generally pretty quick to make.  These blankets take a lot of time, and most of that time is spent sewing straight lines 1/2″ apart from each other… it gets tedious.  But then you end up with a beautiful blanket and you’re so glad you did it!!!

IMG_0422Thanks for reading!

Blake Dress

The Blake dress by Mingo & Grace is, in my opinion, one of the cutest little girl dresses out there.  I just love the clean, simple lines and the full pleated skirt.  Other people must agree, too, because when I pinned the link to the pattern on my pinterest board for Ella, it was by far the most re-pinned item I’ve ever had.  The number of people re-pinning it convinced me that I had to buy the pattern, and I’m so glad that I did!

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I have to give a huge shout-out to my friend Josh, who took all of these pictures.  Not only does he have amazing photography skills, but a beautiful home and yard to take the pictures in!  Thanks Josh!!!

Version 2IMG_4041The fabric for this dress, both the outer and lining fabrics, are from FabMo (I promise I’ll get around to posting about this amazing place soon!), which means the most expensive part of this dress (other than the pattern) was probably the invisible zipper.  Score!

The hairbow was crocheted by my mom and I put it together using this tutorial by Jess at Craftiness is Not Optional.  Because what’s a cute dress without a cute hairbow to match, right?
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These and other pictures from this photo shoot doubled as Ella’s two-year pictures, even though they were taken a couple of months after she turned two.  What can I say – when your little brother is born on your birthday, it takes a while to get back into the swing of things!

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The following picture is one of my favorites, because it includes two things that are very “Ella” – bright pink toenails and dirty hands.  This girl is just the most amazing combination of pink princess girly-ness and roll-in-the-mud fun.  She is constantly surprising us with the things she says and does, and it’s so, so rewarding to see her little mind learning and growing every day.  We love you Ella!

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Baby Shoes

One of my favorite gifts for baby showers are these little shoes.  I mean… so cute, right?!?

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Plus, these have the added bonus of keeping little baby socks on… which is otherwise next to impossible, if you ask me.

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For boy shoes, I generally use the pattern/tutorial found here, which gives you shoes the size of the ones on the left.  These fit my little Luke (or as Ella calls him, “witto Wukie”) right now at 3.5 months old.  My sister-in-law recently requested some slightly bigger shoes for my super adorable nephew Ezra, a petite 8.5 month-old, so I printed the pattern at 110% scale for the two other pairs shown here.  I’m hoping they’re big enough, but we’ll find out when he gets them in the mail next week!

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I vary from the pattern/tutorial in just a few ways.  First, to make the sole of the shoe, I layer faux-suede for the bottom, a double-sided fusible interfacing like this one, and fleece for the lining, and then iron to fuse them all together.  I’ve found that fusing these together at the beginning makes the whole shoe come together much easier.  Second, I always use fleece for the lining because it’s so soft and warm for little baby feet!  Finally, I don’t use interfacing on the lining, just the exterior fabrics.  I’ve never felt like I needed it on the lining too (maybe because I use fleece?), and I like that it makes the shoe less stiff than if it had more interfacing.

IMG_7060The faux-suede makes the bottoms just a little grippy, but if you’re making these for walking kiddos I would probably recommend something with even more grip, like this anti-skid fabric.
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I got all of the faux-suede and fleece for these shoes from my local Joann.  All of the exterior fabrics for these came from a place near me called FabMo.  I’ll have to write another post about this place sometime, but for now, let me just tease you with this:

FREE FABRIC!

IMG_7068IMG_7067One thing I’m finding is that the back of the shoe can be just a touch too low, so I may alter the pattern a bit to bring it up higher and provide even better stay-on-ability (yes, making up new words as I go!) for those little feet.
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Here are some other shoes I’ve made in the past…

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The outer fabric on these was upcycled from one of my hubby’s old button-down shirts.

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Both the navy chevron and gray stripe fabrics are left over from other projects… another nice thing about these shoes is that they’re a great scrap-buster!

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These pacifier clips are also a go-to baby gift for me.  There may be a tutorial for these coming soon. 😉

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Cargo Duffle

I love a good Noodlehead pattern.  Anna has a way of taking items that seem like they would be super complicated to construct and making them easy.  At last count, I think I’ve made 9 of her divided baskets!

So when I saw that she was offering this cargo duffle pattern for free, I jumped on it!  All the details of this pattern are great – the quilt-as-you-go sides, the ease of the zipper installation, the finished look of the interior, and as always with Noodlehead patterns, the perfect touch of a little hardware.  I have to admit, I was nervous about the snaps.  I bought this snap kit at my local Joann and tested it out on a scrap of fabric.  Guys… it was really easy.  Phew!

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The main fabric I used is this Joel Dewberry fabric, purchased from Fabric.com.  I took that fabric to Joann and found some coordinating red/orange and gray fabrics in the quilting cotton section.  The interior is a gray canvas, also from Joann (sorry I didn’t get a shot of that!).  It’s not my typical color palette, but it just jumped out at me for some reason, and I love how it turned out.

I copied Kristin’s idea and used this as my hospital bag when Luke was born.  It was the perfect size.  I’ve also used it as an airplane carry-on, and it fits under the seat in front of you – no need to worry about space in the overhead compartment!

Thanks for reading!