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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Flower Girl Dresses

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You may remember a post from a long time ago where I showed you my trial run of the flower girl dresses for my sister in law’s wedding… well, now I’m here to show you the real deal!

We were super busy the day of the wedding, of course, so I can’t take credit for any of these photos.  These are all from the wedding photographer (Worden Photography), and used with permission.  🙂

First of all, this was hands-down the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to, and yes, I’m definitely including my own in there.  I mean, my wedding is definitely still my favorite, but mostly because of the result where I end up spending my life with THE best guy ever. 😉  This wedding was so beautiful that you’re required to pronounce every syllable of the word.  Yup, you got it, BEA-U-TI-FUL!  I am now going to spam you with a bunch of pictures to prove it to you.

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See?  I told you.

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But, now on to the flower girl dresses!  I made them basically the same way that I made the trial version, except I stepped it up a notch with some of the finishes.  All of the fabric is from Joann Fabrics.  I started with the Blake dress by Mingo and Grace, but modified it quite a bit.  I created the sweetheart neckline on the top, used binding on the arm and neck holes, gathered and lengthened the skirt, and omitted the pockets.

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I also bought enough yardage of the lace so that I could make the front and back of the skirt as one piece with no side seam, which made it so I didn’t have to match up the scalloped bottom on the sides.  I did a blind hem on the faux-satin under layer and used an invisible zipper foot (game changer!) to install the zippers.

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Ella and her cousin Annalise were the cutest little flower girls…

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Even if Ella looked slightly terrified to be walking down the aisle!

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But they made it!  And settled in next to Grandma to try and sit still for the ceremony.

See how innocent she looks here?  Yeah, this is just moments before she bopped her cousin on the head with her bouquet and had to be taken away…

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I had planned to make Luke’s outfit too, but ran out of motivation to make a plain white shirt and gray pants that he would grow out of so quickly.  Therefore, his outfit is mostly courtesy of Old Navy.  The adorable bowtie and suspenders are from Bow Tie Fun on Etsy.

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We had such a fabulous time, and I felt honored to have contributed a small piece to what was a pretty amazing wedding.

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Thanks for reading!

Dogwood Dress

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Ella has been into wearing dresses a lot lately, and especially the kind that she can easily get on and off by herself (you know, so that she can change her clothes 18 times a day… eyeroll).

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The new Dogwood Dress pattern from Sew Like My Mom is perfect for that!  It’s a simple, quick sew, and it just screams SUMMER to me!  I was lucky enough to be a tester for this pattern, and all of the tester versions were so adorable.

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The dress comes in two lengths – short and maxi – and three hem styles – straight, side curve (like Ella’s here), and high-low (I made one of those too – keep scrolling to see that one!).

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The nice thing about the side curve and high-low hems is that they use a facing, so you can add a pop of color AND you don’t have to hem.  Win – win!

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(and here comes the 3-year-old pouty face… oh boy…)

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For the next version I went with a plain fabric and added some heat transfer vinyl (HTV)… I bought a Silhouette Cameo when it was a great sale price back in April, and then it just sat in the box in my sewing space for a couple of months… I was so afraid to use it!  But now that I’ve started, I see a lot more HTV in my future.

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This was the tester version of the pattern – the front of the high-low hem has been lowered in the final version, so there is less chance of accidental exposure.  😉

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I love the little brother photobomb on this next one… he always has to keep track of where she is.  🙂

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Go grab the pattern – it’s on sale through tomorrow, 6/29!  You can get either sizes 12mo-8 or 6-16 for $6 each, or get all the sizes for $10.

Here are all the details!

Pattern: Dogwood Dress sizes 12 mo-8, Dogwood Dress sizes 6-16, all sizes

Fabric: Pink Stripe Fabric (I purchased mine from Raspberry Creek Fabric, but it looks like it’s sold out right now), Aqua FabricNavy Fabric

Pattern Emporium Blog Tour

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I am so very excited to be the next stop on the Pattern Emporium blog tour!

I was contacted to be a part of this tour just a few weeks before we had a vacation planned for Hawaii – and some new shorts were definitely in order for both me and Ella!

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I had never used a Pattern Emporium pattern before, and I was so impressed by how well the patterns and instructions were put together.  Kate has past experience in the fashion industry, and it definitely shows in her patterns.  The instructions are super clear, and there are a bunch of little tips scattered throughout that help give a professional finish.  Plus, the patterns INCLUDE “glorious little pattern hacks” to add even more options to some already option-packed patterns.

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I ended up making three pairs of shorts for myself using the Ladies Hepburn pattern, and other than one pair of quick-dry athletic shorts, these shorts are the only ones I wore during our whole vacation.  I LOVE them, and I love that they are all different even though they are all from the same pattern.  All of these are in the “play” length, and there is also an “urban” length if you’re looking for a longer short.

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Everyone told me to size down on this pattern, and they were right.  I measured in a size 10, made a size 8 muslin, and still ended up taking things in a bit.  I also lowered the back rise by about an inch.  Special thanks goes to the amazing Becca Duval for walking me through my own personal alterations on this pattern – she has such a talent for knowing exactly what adjustments to make!

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The gray pair was made using the pull-on option (elastic waistband on the back only), and the combination of that waistband and the fabric on these (I think some sort of rayon-blend chambray???  I scored it second hand at FabMo for $1/yd!) make them SUPER comfy.  I think these are going to be my go-to shorts for everyday wear, which is a step up from the last few summers of wearing those athletic shorts!

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The black and white shorts were made using the side zip option, and the fit on these is just great.  This fabric is from the apparel section at Joann.  It was on clearance for $7/yd – win!

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The floral shorts are also the side-zip option, but I took out the front pleats on this pair.  A couple of helpful ladies in the Pattern Emporium facebook group told me they had done this before and gave me their tips on how to do it.  Once again, the sewing community proves to be full of the best people!

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Ella’s shorts are from the Little Honeybuns pattern, in the “play” length.  There are also “sporty” (shorter) and bermuda lengths.  They are super cute on her and she loves matching with Mommy (I’m going to soak that in as long as possible – I know it won’t last forever!).  I made her a straight size 4 because I hate making things that she will grow out of too quickly, but I think I made them a little too big.  Oh, well!  If she ends up being able to wear them for two summers, that’s even better!

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I can’t believe this girl is almost 3!  She’s so full of spunk and sweetness.

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Thanks for including me on the tour, Kate and Marnie!

Make sure to check out all the other tour stops:

5/2 Sew Sophie Lynn
5/3 Handcrafted By Red
5/4 Sprouting JubeJube
5/5 That’s Sew Kari
5/6 Simple Blessed
5/9 Wally And Grace
5/10 Free Notion
5/11 Horris And Deedle

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Thanks for reading!

Floral Li’l LDT

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On Saturday morning, I had another one of those urges to make Ella a new dress for church on Sunday.  She picked the fabric, this cute and comfy floral knit I bought from Raspberry Creek Fabric.  The in-seam pockets are a plain aqua from my stash.

The pattern is the Li’l LDT by Love Notions, with long sleeves and just the basic banded collar, in a size 3T.  She’s in 3T in ready-to-wear clothes as well, and this dress is exactly the size I like to make when I’m sewing for Ella – a little big, so there’s room for one of those unexpected growth spurts.  There’s nothing worse than making a dress you love, only to have her grow out of it after only a couple of wears!

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The dress came together quickly and it’s super cute on her.  I have a hard time making dresses for her that I have to iron, because, well, they don’t usually get ironed.  This dress is easy to wear, easy to wash (good thing – it had purple marker on it by the end of the day), and she can get it on and off herself, which is a huge plus during this “No, I want to do it!” stage.  Win, win, win.

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Oh, and just one more thing… can all of you who sew take a moment with me to appreciate how well this neckline came out?  Yay!!!  Always a great feeling.

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Thanks for reading!

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!

Cozy Bimaa Dress

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Hi everyone!  I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.  We did, despite some sickness going around our family earlier in the week (and mine has been going on for over two weeks now – ugh!)  On Friday morning we carried out our annual tradition of going to the Santa Cruz mountains to cut down our Christmas tree.  This is the first year that Ella really understood what was going on, and she LOVED it.  She was Daddy’s big helper, as usual.  🙂

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I’ve actually been doing a lot of sewing lately, but with some for pattern testing, some for a future blog tour, and some for Christmas presents, there’s not much to show you yet… but it’s coming!

Anyway, since it’s been pretty cold (for California) during the nights lately, I decided that Ella needed a new, cozy dress to wear to church this morning.  When did I decide this?  During dinner last night, of course.  🙂

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I received both of these fabrics in a french terry mystery box I bought from Raspberry Creek Fabric in early October, and I knew immediately that they would be something for Ella, and most likely a Bimaa.

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Then, when Tami posted about making the Bimaa into a dress for her daughter, I knew that’s what this was going to be, too.

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I’ve had the Bimaa pattern printed out and put together for a while now (and I’ve used it for some of those secret things I’ve been doing!).  So… last night after the kids were in bed (roughly 7:42pm), I traced out the size I needed (3T), adding some length and a bit of a flare out for the dress modification, and cut my fabric.

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By 8:05pm, I was ready to go, and by 8:50pm this dress was complete!  I received a serger from my mother-in-law as an early Christmas gift this year, and it has been a game-changer in terms of sewing with knits.  I LOVE it! (It’s *this one* if you’re interested.)

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Can I tell you about these fabrics for a minute?  Because they’re just about my favorite thing ever.  Tim laughs at me every time I sew with french terry because I keep hugging the fabric, rubbing it against my cheek, and forcing him to “feel how soft it is!”  And then, to try and throw the scraps away… I mean… talk about torture.

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Ella loves it too, and why not?  It’s like wearing your favorite, cozy sweatshirt, but looking good and ready for church!

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Aside from a couple of random pieces, I’ve gotten all of my french terry from Raspberry Creek Fabric.  It’s a small, independently run fabric shop on Etsy.  There’s also a Facebook group run by the owner, where everyone can share what they’ve made with the fabrics from that shop.  It’s pretty inspiring!  That facebook group has also somehow attracted the most supportive group of people – so if you’re into sewing, go check it out!  As someone who doesn’t have any family or friends that are as crazy about sewing as I am, it’s a place that I can “hang out” with my sewing community, and it’s pretty fun.  Note – I’m not financially associated with them in any way  (other than when I spend my entire fabric budget there sometimes!) – I just wanted to share in case you’re like me and want to find a great online sewing community!

Okay – tangent over – now just a couple more pics of this crazy cute girl!

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Thanks for reading!

*Marked items are affiliate links, and I will receive a small amount of compensation if you buy something after clicking on that link.  Thanks for your support!

McKenzie Dress and Tunic

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While my family in the midwest is getting their first big snow of the year, it’s still feeling like fall here in California.  I thought it was about time I shared one of Ella’s most-worn dresses of this past summer.
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This dress is the McKenzie Tunic from Shwin Designs, lengthened to dress.  I love, love this dress on Ella.  It doesn’t have any closures, so it just slips right over her head, but it somehow also manages to stay on her shoulders without slipping off.IMG_7254

It’s light and comfortable for her to wear.IMG_7253

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And it’s swingy, which is just about the best thing you can ask for in a dress for a 2-year old.  🙂

A59F1C76-D699-45F3-AA51-3C090F9A9CC7I picked up both of these fabrics on a trip to Michigan in the summer of 2014, at Field’s Fabrics in Jenison.  The pink is a quilting cotton, and the blue is a lightweight chambray.
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Since we both loved the dress so much, she got a tunic length version as well.

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The gold heart material is a quilting cotton from Joann, and it’s adorable!!!  I picked up the aqua material at FabMo.  It’s more lightweight and less stiff than quilting cotton, so this turned out nice and flowy.

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And just in case you were wondering what Ella was holding in her hands in these pics, it’s mini m&m’s.  I bribe her with candy to get her to let me take her picture, and I feel no shame about it.  🙂

2E72B46C-F667-4A57-A5BB-86E80ED400AFSee this face?  This face is the “dee” part of “more can-dee???”IMG_7228

Cutie pie candy-face.

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Thanks for reading!

Flower Girl Dress – Trial Run!

My sister-in-law Megan is getting married next summer (to her high school sweetheart!), and we are all so excited!  We are also all going to be in the wedding!  Ella and her cousin Annalise are going to be flower girls together.  These two girls LOVE each other, and it’s going to be sooooo cute to see them in the wedding together.IMG_4524I volunteered to make dresses for the girls, and Megan showed me some pics of what she liked.  The final dresses will be ivory like Megan’s, but for the trial run I wanted to pick a color that Ella would want to wear for other occasions… guess what color? 😉

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I searched for a pattern to use for this style, but couldn’t find anything that was exactly what I was looking for, so I ended up hacking the Blake pattern by Mingo & Grace.  This is the same pattern that I used for Ella’s two-year picture dress, and it’s one of my favorites.

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For the skirt, I skipped the side seam pockets and gathered instead of pleating it.  I also included a layer of tulle in between the lining and the satin top layer, just to give it a little more fullness.  I also made sure the lace top layer was long enough that the scallop detail fell below the hem of the other layers.

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The top took a little more effort.  I drafted a sweetheart neckline for the lining and top satin (it’s not real satin, by the way) and only cut the lace layer per the pattern’s bodice piece, but without the seam allowances on the neckline and arm holes because I knew I would be binding the edges instead of having a lining for the lace part.

IMG_7114 I sewed the lining and satin pieces together for each of the front and back bodice pieces, then basted the lace layer to each satin piece at the side seams.  Then, after I sewed the shoulders and sides together, I bound the arm holes with some narrow bias tape I made from the satin fabrics… this was pretty slippery/tricky, but it actually turned out better than I was expecting!IMG_7113For the neckline, I used the same bias binding, but started it at the top of the inner layers in the back, brought it up and around the neckline, and then brought it back down to the top of the inner layers on the other side of the back.  I also made a keyhole-type effect on the back by trimming the lace out in a semi-circle shape above the other layers.IMG_7110Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, but there are some lessons learned and things I’ll do differently for the real flower girl dresses.  First, I want to learn how to use the blind hem feature on my sewing machine for the satin layer so that you can’t see the hem line at the bottom.IMG_7109 I also want to bring the sweetheart neckline up a bit higher.IMG_7106 I also need to work on my invisible zipper installation skills, since this one is far from invisible.  I don’t currently have a sewing machine foot specifically for invisible zippers, but I think I’m going to get one and see if that helps.  I also just picked a button from my stash that was the right size, but it happened to be dark purple… 😛  The real dresses will have matching buttons.  🙂IMG_7087

Oh, and all of the fabrics for this were from my local Joann Fabric – I was actually pretty impressed with their lace selection, and I plan to buy the fabric for the real dresses from there too.IMG_7097IMG_7091IMG_7089Thanks for reading!