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.


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.


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.


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.  🙂



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.


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!



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…


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.


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).


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…


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.


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



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.


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.



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.


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.


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. 🙂



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. 😉


Whew!  If you made it this far, congratulations!

Thanks for reading!



Zip Top Tote(s)


As promised, here is the bridal shower gift I made for my cute sister in law!  I love love love this bag, guys.  This is the zip top tote from Anna Graham’s Handmade Style book.  I had had her book on my Amazon wishlist since before it was released, but then I was lucky enough to win a copy when she gave a few away!


For my newlywed sister in law, this is the perfect size for a day trip or to use as a carry on.  I also made one for myself (I’ll get to that in a minute), and for me it’s my everyday bag because it fits all the stuff I need for the kiddos.  There are also two hidden outside pockets, perfect for throwing your keys and phone into when you head into a store.


This was my first time using Soft and Stable on a project.  It’s what Anna recommended in the pattern, and I love how it makes the bag stand up on its own.


For the shower gift, I made a coordinating pouch from my favorite pattern, which is also from Noodlehead as a free tutorial on her blog (check out the open wide pouch here!).  I love how wide it opens, so that you can easily find whatever you’re looking for.


The stripe canvas fabric is from Hobby Lobby, and the rest are from Joann.  The metal zippers are from Zipit.  The leather is from a FabMo special selection event, so I’m pretty sure it cost me about $0.75.  Love that place.  🙂




I always like to make myself a tester version before I make a gift for someone else, in case I need to make any adjustments.  For this pattern, the only change I made was to double up the leather on the straps and sew the edges together.  The straps on mine stretch a bit and feel a little thin, but the straps on her version are perfect.


All of the fabric for my bag is from Joann (except the FabMo leather).


Here’s a shot of one of the hidden pockets in action.


I kind of love her simple stripe version more than mine… I think I might need to make myself another one.  😉

Thanks for reading!

Floral Li’l LDT


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!


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.




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.




Thanks for reading!

Sew the Show – Six Degrees of Separation

Welcome to the second week of the Sew the Show – Six Degrees of Separation blog tour!  To refresh your memory, we started last Monday with Kyra Sedgwick, who is one degree of separation away from Kevin Bacon (because where else would you start?!?), and we’re working our way through 20 movies/people/shows to get back to, of course, Kevin Bacon.  Each person is sewing something inspired by their movie and then passing the baton on to the next person… so let’s get to it!

Last Friday, Mae & K left us with her post inspired by The Hunger Games.  Now we’re following the star of that movie, Jennifer Lawrence, to…

Silver Linings Playbook!

Movie Collage

One thing there is a lot of in this movie is… active wear. (Does anyone else think of this video whenever they hear “active wear?”)  Since I decided to sew for my kiddos, and they are nothing if they’re not active… it seemed like a perfect fit.  🙂

running Collage

We’ll start with Miss Ella.  Her tank top is from the (free!) racerback tank dress pattern by Crafterhours, but cut at shirt length with a hi-low hem.  I’ve loved this pattern since I made this shirt for Ella the summer after she turned one, and the racerback makes it seem super sporty – perfect for this outfit!


Her leggings are Bonny Leggings from Made for Mermaids, capri length, but hacked a bit – I added side seams on the outside of the legs so that I could piece together the lower back parts of the legs with some fun colors.  The fabric placement was heavily inspired by these lululemon pants.



I also tried faux-flatlock stitching on the seams… I can’t say I was 100% successful on that attempt, but it wasn’t bad enough to take it back off.  🙂


Her jacket was also a big-time pattern hack… I started with the Bimaa pattern, but added color blocking, a front zipper, and front pockets.  See that bright pink piping on there?  Yeah – I MADE that piping.  I know, I know… it’s not hard to do, but it was my first time, so I’m just giving myself a little pat on the back.  Feel free to join me.

Version 2IMG_8275IMG_8320

I love how all three pieces turned out, even though the majority of the fabrics I used for these were ones that I wanted to throw across the room most of the time I was working with them.  For the tank and pants, the black and solid pink are this dance/swimwear fabric, and the print is this fabric, all from from Joann.  It’s all super slippery and any time I had to use my sewing machine instead of my serger (like when trying to add a faux flatlock, for instance), I had to put tissue paper above and below the fabric just to keep it moving through the machine.  You might have noticed that I didn’t even attempt a hem on the tank… yeah.  That definitely saved some sanity.


I had originally planned on making the jacket out of the same black fabric, but thought better of it and instead chose to use this black french terry from Raspberry Creek Fabric.  It was definitely the right decision.  Even the patterned fabric pieces have french terry underneath, to stabilize them and make the whole jacket warmer.  Using french terry made the construction soooo much smoother, and the jacket ended up being so much cozier – perfect for our mild California winter.


Ok, this next part is pretty exciting for me… my little Luke is making his debut on the blog!  Now, with Sew the Show, you are supposed to sew things inspired by the show, but generally not copies or costumes.  But I just couldn’t help myself from making Luke into a little mini Bradley Cooper for this… “garbage bag” and all.


I won’t ask you to say who wore it best.  That just wouldn’t be fair to Mr. Cooper.


Oh, and it’s not actually a garbage bag, folks… I do know better than to put a garbage bag on my baby!  It’s that same black fabric I used for Ella’s leggings.


His sweatshirt is the free hoodie pattern by Brindille & Twig.  The fabric is a super soft french terry, again from Raspberry Creek.  It looks like it’s currently out of stock, but it gets restocked pretty regularly.  For everyday wear I wanted to make it cuter than just an all gray sweatshirt, so the front and the hood lining are this motorcycle fabric from Girl Charlee.


His pants are my favorite way to hack the Baby Go To Leggings (also a free pattern!) to make them more like “boy” pants.  I add some width, cut them shorter, and then add cuffs.  Luke has several pairs of these pants in his wardrobe.  This pair is made from the same french terry as his sweatshirt.

Version 2




I hope you enjoyed this stop of the blog tour!  Now click the picture below to see what movie we’re headed to next!


If you haven’t been following along and you want to know how we got to this movie from Kevin Bacon, check out last week’s posts!

Then keep following along for the rest of the week to see how we get back to Mr. Bacon himself!

Thanks for reading!

Ikea Chair Seat Cushion

One of the things I love most about having learned how to sew is the ability to see something that needs to be made around my house and just MAKE IT!  The perfect example of this happened just this past weekend.

IMG_7361We scored this kid’s Ikea chair for free from a neighbor, but since it didn’t match our dining set, Tim painstakingly disassembled, sanded, stained, and polyeurothaned each piece and then put it back together.  It looked great!


And then, for reasons I didn’t quite understand, Ella decided that every time she sat on the chair, she needed to have this on it.  She called it her “flapper.” Um… huh???  The workings of a two-year-old mind are beyond me.


This is actually a pyramid baking sheet that she pulled out of a drawer in our kitchen.  Not exactly attractive when placed on a chair, and actually kind of uncomfortable, if you ask me!    After a couple of days where this happened over and over again, I realized that what she wanted was a seat cushion, since we have cushions on our other dining chairs.  So… I dug through the fabric I had on hand and got her input on what fabric she wanted (surprise!  it’s pink!).  Then when nap time came around, I made her a seat cushion of her very own.  Here’s what I did if you want to do something similar! (And if you don’t, just skip to the end to read her reaction upon seeing the new cushion… it’s super cute, I promise.)

First, I made a pattern.  I pieced together some paper to make the shape I wanted – I was really only concerned with the shape on the right side, since I knew I would cut on the fold.


My pattern piece looked like this.  You can see that I made a note to cut on the fold in the middle and add a seam allowance around all the other sides.


I then cut out all my pieces, including a top, bottom, and four strips to make ties to attach the cushion to the chair.  I also cut out a square of that tacky shelf liner (tacky as in slightly sticky, not as in tasteless… but you can make your own opinions there LOL ;)) to help make the cushion stick to the chair and not slide around when she sits on it.  (Note: It looks like I added a seam allowance on the folded side of the top piece, but I didn’t – the pattern piece just shifted over before I took the picture.)


I started by making the ties.  I folded the strips in half length-wise, then unfolded and folded each edge in toward the middle fold line, then folded again.  This sounds confusing, but hopefully the pictures make it clear.


Next I sewed along the edge to close it, and did a zig-zag stitch on one end of each tie (I zig-zagged back and forth a few times to make sure this was really secure).


I then prepped my bottom piece by pinning the tacky piece in the middle and sewing around the edge with a zig-zag stitch.  I didn’t change my thread color before doing this… laziness or design choice?  I’ll let you decide.  😉


Next, I placed my top piece right side up and pinned my ties where I wanted them.


Then I tucked the ties in so that I wouldn’t sew over them.


And then… I inexplicably stopped taking pictures of what I was doing until the whole thing was done.  Sorry!  What I did was put the bottom piece right side down on top of the ties and pin the bottom and top piece together around the whole outer edge.  Then I sewed around the whole edge with a 1/2″ seam allowance, leaving about a 4″ gap at the back.  Next, I turned the whole thing right sides out through that 4″ gap and stuffed it with a little bit of poly fiberfill.  I didn’t put a ton of fill in because I didn’t want it to be super puffy – just enough to give a little softness to the cushion.  Then I sewed the 4″ gap closed.  You could do this by hand with a ladder stitch, but I made the… ahem… design choice ;)… to just sew it closed with my sewing machine, so you can see the stitches if you look closely.

Ta da! Seat cushion.  I admit that it’s not the most tailored cushion ever, and if I made it again I would at the very least use the same fabric for the bottom that I used for the top, just because you end up seeing the bottom fabric a bit when it’s on the chair.


The best part of the whole project was that when Ella woke up from her nap, I told her to go look at her chair and she said, “Oh!  It’s bee-U-dee-full!!!”  And my heart just couldn’t get any more full.  I sure do love that girl.

IMG_7354IMG_7352Thanks for reading!

Tribal Print Lane Top

Okay guys – I finally faced one of my biggest sewing fears – sewing clothing for myself!

IMG_7319I chose the Lane Top by Shwin Designs, and this was the perfect pattern for a women’s sewing newbie.  It’s flowy and there are no darts, so the pattern itself is fairly straight forward.  I measured at the small/medium border for both the chest and waist measurements, and a straight-up large for the hip (ummm… can someone say pear-shaped?), so I chose to do a medium at the top and grade out to large at the bottom.  IMG_7291I also added 2.5 inches to the length, since the pattern was written for someone about 2 inches shorter than me and I also have a long torso (as in, no cheap-o one piece bathing suits will ever fit me!).  Plus, I wanted the shirt to provide a little extra booty coverage when I’m wearing yoga pants.  Because let’s be honest – I kind of live in yoga pants when I’m at home.  IMG_7296The result was a little bigger than I was going for, particularly in the shoulder area.  I may try a small for the chest/waist next time, but I also kind of like the oversized look right now, especially when my post-baby belly is still hanging around.IMG_7301The trickiest part for me was working with a new type of fabric – rayon challis.  I got this fabric from fabric.com (although it looks like this color is out of stock – see another colorway here) and I love the feel of it – I mean, wearing rayon is pretty great!  But working with it is a little tougher than a quilting cotton, since it can slip around on you a bit.  I used a trick that I had seen on pinterest (but didn’t actually pin, so now I don’t know where I saw it), and I think it saved me some major heartache.  Are you ready for this?  A glue stick!  Elmer’s school glue, to be precise, because it washes out.  You roll it on, then fold your hem/binding down and hit it with a hot dry iron.  Presto!  No more dealing with shifty fabric between pins!  I highly recommend.IMG_7309Thanks for reading!