Handmade Christmas, 2016 Edition

Okay, guys… buckle up, because this post is a long one.  I may have gone a LITTLE CRAZY with the handmade gift giving this year.  All but one were done in time for Christmas, and all it took was staying up until 11 or 12 every night in December! 🙂

First up on my list: Christmas pj’s for Ella and Luke.  Luke was desperately in need of more winter pj’s anyway, so I made some trial versions for him before cutting into my Christmas fabric.  I started with the Bonne Nuit winter pajamas pattern, which I had gotten with my subscription to the Sew What Club about a year ago.  I loved that the pants were made of 3 main pieces instead of two, so they have that cute wedge shape over those kid bottoms.

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I wasn’t too thrilled with that pattern, though – the sleeves were too tight and the body too loose on Luke, and the pants were too long and legs too tight.  He still wears this pair, but it’s a bit of a struggle to get his arms and legs in.  I picked up this fabric from Fields Fabric in Michigan when I was out there this past fall.

For the second pair I swapped out the shirt for a Pistachio Tee, hacked to add bands on the sleeves.  This shirt was a perfect fit for Luke, which is what I have come to expect when using a Sew Like My Mom pattern.  I used the same pants pattern as the first time, but widened the legs.

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These fit him well, but the legs were still pretty long.  The fabric was from Raspberry Creek, and it’s much softer and stretchier than the first pair.

For the final pair, I took an inch (maybe two? I don’t remember) off the length in addition to the wider legs, and these fit him perfectly!  I used a Pistachio Tee and a widened leg  Bonne Nuit pants for Ella’s pj’s as well, and I love how they turned out.  This fabric was from Raspberry Creek as well.

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They wore them for our own gift opening on Christmas Eve morning, and then, since we had to get the kids out of bed around 3am for our flight the day after Christmas, they wore them all the way from California to Michigan.  🙂

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The next project was Ella’s Christmas dress.  I used the Waterfall Raglan pattern from Chalk & Notch, and a plum colored stretch velvet from Fabric.com.  I LOVE this dress on her, and she loves it too – in fact, she just wore it again for most of the day yesterday.

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Once I made this one, I knew I wanted to make more… so I made four more, one for each of my nieces.  I didn’t get a picture of my niece Annalise in her red velvet dress (you may remember her as the other flower girl in the post on those dresses), but we were able to get all the nieces on my side of the family to pose in their dresses!

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In the midst of this, Tim’s sister wanted to make some Christmas pillows for her living room, and once I started making pillows with her, I definitely needed some for me too…

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Tim’s mom had requested a bathrobe, but the fabric I ordered didn’t arrive until until two days before Christmas, so I made it after… here’s a really bad late-night pic of me modeling it in my super dirty mirror… sorry!  I used the Riverside Robe pattern by Peek-a-boo Patterns in a navy terry cloth, and lengthened to floor length per her request.

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For Tim’s dad, I picked up a wine bag from Target and added a design I made on my Silhouette Cameo using heat transfer vinyl (HTV).

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For my sister-in-law Abbie, I made a Cocoon Cardigan from Patterns for Pirates in a striped french terry from Raspberry Creek.  She’s expecting a little boy in March, so a cardigan was a safe bet as to what would work for her right now.  Here’s another dirty mirror shot of that one…

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For the new baby she’s expecting, I made a Bimaa sweater and some modified Baby Go-To Leggings (widened and cuffs added to look more like joggers).  The fabric is all from (surprise!) Raspberry Creek.

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I then also “needed” to make a Bimaa for Luke and one for my nephew Ezra, who is basically the same size as Luke…

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For Tim’s sister Megan, I made some Sloan leggings in a super soft brushed poly from Raspberry Creek, but I apparently didn’t take a picture of them… so you’ll just have to trust me that they’re great and I will be making more of them in the future!  I also made her a fold-over clutch using the LBG Studio pattern.

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The top and bottom bags here are for Megan and my sister Katie.  The middle one is a little Christmas gift I made for myself.  🙂  These fabric for their clutches is from Joann, the fabric on mine is from Hobby Lobby (I also used it for this bag), and the “leather” accents are from a piece I picked up at FabMo.

Katie had sent me a pin of a black and white striped cardigan with elbow patches a while back, so guess what she got for Christmas!  🙂  <insert dirty mirror disclaimer once again… don’t look at the smudges… look at those cute, cuddly kitties on the bed!>  I used the Patterns for Pirates Grandpa Cardi, but doubled the width and rotated the grainline direction of the regular collar to mimic the pin Katie had sent me.  The fabric is from an Etsy shop that will remain un-named, since I had a really bad customer service experience.  It was my first and last purchase from them.

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For my sister-in-law Sheryl, I made a Zip Top Tote from Noodlehead’s Handmade Style book.  I use mine literally every day as my carry-all for my kids’ stuff.  Since Sheryl has twice as many kids as I do, I figured she might be able to use one of these amazing bags as well!  The floral fabric is one I’ve had in my stash for a while from Fabric.com, and the purple is from Joann.  The leather (real leather this time!) is from FabMo.

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Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I realized that Luke was constantly running out of clean pants, so I spent one night making him 5 new pairs of Boxwood Joggers.  The fit of these is perfect for Luke.  For the sake of time, I combined the pattern pieces to have just one piece for each leg of the pants.  It made these super quick, but I love the added detail of the triangular piece so much that I don’t think I’ll take it out again.  Also, I was out of the correct size of elastic for the waistband, so these have a narrower waistband than is typical of the pattern.  These are all made from Raspberry Creek french terry.

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The last gift I’m sharing is one of the first I made – I think it was right after Thanksgiving.  All of the nieces on my side of the family have an “Our Generation” doll that looks like them, and it’s fun to have matching outfits with your doll, right?  Lexi thinks so!  She and “Kendra” got matching pj’s.  Lexi’s top is a Coconut Summer PJs top, and her pants are the Perfect PJ Pants, which I found as a free pattern on Craftsy.  Kendra’s top is self drafted (using Megan’s old Kirsten American Girl doll as a model), and has a velcro closure on the back.   Her pants are the Night Before PJ Pants by Cole’s Corner and Creations.  I added some HTV hearts to both shirts to make it coordinate even more. 🙂

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Oh, and one more thing I forgot to photograph… I also made 8 infinity scarves and gave away 7 of them to various family members, keeping one for myself.  🙂

And I did make my mother-in-law some of those “if you can read this, bring me a glass of wine” socks that were so popular this year, just adding HTV to some warms socks I purchased…

And I helped Megan make pajama pants for her and her husband with the free 5 out of 4 pajama pants pattern… and… I think that’s it?  It was all a bit of a blur, but it was fun and I actually really looked forward to my sewing time each evening.

I hope you all had wonderful holidays!  Here’s my little family, 3/4 of which are wearing handmades… sorry, Tim!  Maybe next Christmas. 😉

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Whew!  If you made it this far, congratulations!

Thanks for reading!

 

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Handmade Christmas Gifts – 2015 Edition

Okay… it’s been awhile since my last post!  There was so much chaos in December and over the holidays, and then sickness after… I feel like I’m just starting to get my feet back under me again.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t sewing.  It’s just the picture taking and blogging that has suffered. 🙂

I debated whether or not to post about the handmade gifts I gave for Christmas this year, mostly since the photo quality is pretty poor, including a bunch of poorly lit mirror selfies… yikes!  In the end, I decided that I had spent enough time on the gifts that they deserved a post, even if the photos don’t do them justice.  So here you go… a handmade Christmas gift roundup.

First up, a Hey June Lane Raglan for my sister.

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Next, a Patterns for Pirates (P4P) Women’s Raglan in tunic length with the cowl add-on for my sister in law.

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And a matching Bimaa for my niece.

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Mother-daughter matching goodness!

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I couldn’t resist making myself a new Christmas shirt, too.  Mine is a P4P Women’s Raglan with an attached flannel cowl.

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My nephew Ezra got a Brindille & Twig Raglan Hoodie and three pairs of modified Baby Go To Leggings.  He’s a skinny little guy, so ready-to-wear pants are too big in the waist.  Custom made pants were in order!

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Ella and her BFF cousin Annalise got matching cozy dresses.  I used the Bimaa pattern again, but made the bodice 4″ shorter and added a circle skirt, since Annalise likes twirly dresses. 🙂

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For my other sister-in-law (Annalise’s mom), a P4P Grandpa Cardi.  I was tempted to keep this one for myself, and when I showed it to my mom, she said she wanted an identical one. 🙂

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And little Luke got another sweatshirt to match his cousin’s.  Turns out it’s a great sweatshirt for wearing during cuddle naps!

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All of the fabrics I used were from Raspberry Creek Fabric, except for the cowl fabric on Ella and Annalise’s dresses, which was from Girl Charlee (purchased probably 18 months ago).  I’m really loving buying fabric from Raspberry Creek lately, and I’ve probably been buying more than I should, but the fabrics are so great and the prices are so reasonable that I just can’t resist!  I may have just placed another order this morning… it’s an addiction!  But an addiction that provides super cute and comfy clothes for me and my kiddos, so I’m not too upset.  😉

Thanks for reading!

Kids Clothes Week – Fall 2015 – Results!

Remember two weeks ago during kids clothes week when I kept posting pictures on Instagram and Facebook of the clothes I was making each day, and secretly crossing my fingers that they would fit my niece who lives over 2,000 miles away???  Well, the clothes made it to Michigan, and the results are in!

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They fit!

Well, for the most part.  🙂

I made all of the leggings with a size 4 width and size 6 length, and I probably should have just gone with a size 5 all around, since they’re all pretty long and skinny.  But since this girl tends to grow up more than out, I think it’ll be okay.

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This first top is a Nessie Top by Craftiness is Not Optional, and it’s the most basic variation.  I made a size 3T width but graded out to a 4 height at the shoulder and a 7 length so that it was more like a tunic.  I love how the curved hem covers her in the back. DSC_0062

The dark gray leggings were made using the Love Notions Leggin’s pattern.DSC_0018This next top is also a Nessie, but the colorblocked version.  The aqua leggings are Bonny Leggings by Made for Mermaids.DSC_0022DSC_0060

This top is also a Nessie Top, but I followed Jess’ gathered pattern hack for some extra variety.

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These are also Love Notions Leggin’s, but with the yoga waistband instead of the elastic.  You can see how the 4T waist looks like it’s actually the correct size, but I probably should have graded out to a wider leg size.

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Up next was a Pretty in Peplum by Sew Much Ado.  I love how this one looks on her!

DSC_0043 I did a 4T width and a 6 length for the main part of the shirt, and then for the peplum I did a 4T width and a 12 length to make the skirt part extra long.  I also did the size 4 sleeves, but added some length based on Lexi’s arm measurement.DSC_0044 The pink leggings are Bonny Leggings, just like the aqua ones.  See how the top gathers a bit at the sides?  I’m not a huge fan of how these ended up fitting her.DSC_0046  And last but not least, a Recess Raglan by See Kate Sew and a pair of black Go To Leggings.

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I love this one on her too!  I made a size 4, but added length and flared it out a bit for more of a tunic look.  I also did just a basic sleeve with a hemmed end, which isn’t one of the pattern options.  I just decided on a sleeve length based on her measurements.  This was my first time making a Recess Raglan (I picked up the pattern a few weeks ago when there was a sale!), and I LOVE making these shirts.  They come together so quickly and are adorable on kids.

In fact, Lexi’s came together so quickly that I had time to make one for each of her little siblings!

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The shirt I made for Chloe was upcycled from a shirt my mom had given me a year ago, which meant that I could use the existing hem… extra fast and easy!  She also got a pair of Go To Leggings.DSC_0031 And look at these two sisters… I mean… wow!  Aren’t they beautiful?!?DSC_0035Nolan got his own Recess Raglan in a straight-up size 18 months, and this one has the cuffed sleeves that the pattern calls for.  I can’t believe this cutie pie is almost 9 months old already!!!
DSC_0079He also got some Go To Leggings, but I modified them a bit – I cut the size 2T width so they wouldn’t fit as much like leggings, and then cut them at the 12 month length and added a cuff.  These were made out of french terry, so they’re super soft and cozy.  The cuff is the same fabric, but inside out.  I love the look of these and I have plans to make multiple pairs for Luke.  You also get a glimpse of my gorgeous sister in this pic.  It’s no wonder her kids are so cute!DSC_0090

I bought all of the fabrics (except the french terry and the upcycled shirt) from Girl Charlee, and they were all great to work with.  I love that the fabric weights are listed on their website, since I still consider myself a novice when it comes to sewing knits, and the heavier weights are more stable and easier for me to work with.

And now, I’ll leave you with this adorable picture:

DSC_0084        Thanks for reading!!!

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!!!

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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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Thanks for reading!  Remember to subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on any future posts!

Ella’s blankies

One of the next sewing projects I tackled was a simple one, but arguably the most used and loved… some blankies for Ella.  I picked up some super soft material and some satiny material and made three identical blankies, roughly 15″ square.  I’m not sure why I chose pink, since before I had a girl I was definitely NOT a fan a pink, and nothing else in Ella’s room is pink, but as it turns out, now that she is 2, she CANNOT GET ENOUGH PINK!  So it worked out rather well in the end.  And now… a picture overload of Ella and her blankies.

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They are perfect for cuddling with in bed…

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for when she’s feeling a little sick…

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for play when she’s getting a little sleepy…

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for long car rides…

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for sharing with pets and brothers…

IMG_3458IMG_4001and for climbing into ottomans, of course!IMG_3798I realized that it looks like Ella always has a paci in as well (that’s what we call her pacifiers… pick your favorite term… binky, plug, pipe – yes, we called them pipes in my house when we were little!).  She does love her pacis, and for a while her pacis and blankies were kind of a combo.  However, we have successfully restricted the pacis to her bed now! (Yay for small victories!) I’m *hoping* that by the time she’s three she’ll want to give them up on her own… but I may just be fooling myself on that one!

Thanks for reading!

the beginning

After my daughter was born just over two years ago, we discovered that she was a “spitter.”  As in, she could drench herself and anyone holding her, at any moment, regardless of when she had last eaten.  What this meant for me was that I needed more burp cloths ASAP, and some that were super absorbent.  I decided to use cloth diapers, and since I was on maternity leave with my first baby and had some extra time on my hands, I thought I would “cute” them up a bit with some flannel material.  So I borrowed my mother in law’s sewing machine and literally read the manual in order to make my first project:IMG_1783And… I fell in love with sewing.  My mother in law gave me a sewing machine for Christmas a few months later (in order to get her machine back!) and I’ve been diving into the world of sewing ever since.  I’m self-taught (with the help of many, many tutorials and online videos) and would still classify myself as an adventurous beginner, but I’m having a lot of fun and I’m hoping to share some of my projects here.  I’ll probably also share some other things along the way.  I hope you stop by from time to time and check it out!IMG_1788