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!



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!


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.


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.


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!



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!



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!



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!



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!


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





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


Thanks for reading!

Cheyenne Tunic


Every time I saw my sister this summer during our visit to Michigan, I kept saying, “I love your shirt!”  She was always showing up in these cute, flowy tops that were super flattering.  The one I liked the best had this neckline that I kept wanting to recreate, but I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how to make it by hacking any of the patterns I already had.


Then Adrianna, the amazing Hey June pattern designer, posted a tester call for the Cheyenne Tunic, which had the exact look I wanted!  I raced to apply… and was picked! (and maybe jumped up and down quite a bit when I got the email telling me so…)



So here are my two Cheyenne Tunics – both are View B, tunic length, and they have both already gotten plenty of wear.  I have fabric picked out and purchased for my next version, too!

View A of this pattern includes a full collar and a button placket that extends all the way down to the bottom of the shirt.  You can see some great examples of that version on the Hey June blog here, and a lot of other View B versions here!



I can’t say enough good things about this pattern.  The instructions and illustrations are incredibly clear, and the construction is impeccable – there are zero exposed seams, so the inside of the shirt ends up looking just as professionally made as the outside.




I got the fabrics for both of these shirts at FabMo again… the blue balloon rayon was $3 for 1.5 yards, and the flannel was $6 for 6 yards (so I still have plenty left!).  I love getting fabric at that place!  🙂

Thanks for reading!

McKenzie Dress and Tunic


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.

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


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.


Since we both loved the dress so much, she got a tunic length version as well.



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.



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.


Thanks 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!


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!


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!


Thanks for reading!

Baby Shoes

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


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


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!


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.

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:


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…


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


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!


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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