I'm a bit late on this post but I participated in Kids Clothes Week at the end of April. I totally forgot about it until the day it started, and then I thought, ok, well I can probably do this. As a result, I didn't make anything fancy, but I used all fabrics and patterns I had on hand, which is kinda cool.
I recently bought a serger which has made sewing with knits a lot more fun. I'm still learning and practicing, but the more professional-looking finish I get on the inside makes sewing up t-shirts a lot more satisfying than it used to be. (Spoiler alert: I made a lot of t-shirts during this round.)
I started with a pair of Oliver + S Sunny Day Shorts (free patterns for the win!) made out of this adorable clementine printed corduroy. To my great delight, Joey loves them. And how cuuuuuuute are they?
I posted them on facebook and someone said they wanted an adult-sized pair. which is obviously a great idea. So I'm venturing into new ground and am going to attempt to make myself a pair of matching clementine shorts next. (Using the Grainline Studio Maritime Shorts pattern.) There will not be a lot of opportunities in my life to match my son so I plan to take full advantage of this one.
(sidenote: nighttime pictures in my sewing room are challenging.)
After I finished the shorts I pulled out a couple pieces of knit fabric I'd purchased with no real plan and gave Made by Rae's Flashback Tee pattern a try. I've had the pattern for a while but only used it once, to poor results. Luckily things went a little better this time and I ended up with some really cute little shirts! I think I'll make some leggings out of the deer fabric and turn that into a summer pajama set, but I don't have a leggings pattern on hand. Any recommendations for a good one?
And finally, I decided to change things up a little bit and do some freezer paper stenciling. Joey loves The Jungle Book right now and has named every stuffed tiger/lion/leopard/cat in our house Shere Khan, so I thought a super cool tiger face would be perfect. I used my Silhouette to cut the pattern out and then just basic fabric paint to carefully stencil onto the shirt. Unfortunately, one of the eyeball cutouts moved while I was painting, so I had to fill in both eyes, and I had a similar problem on one of the ears. But it still looks pretty rad. (I made the shirts too. I thought about buying blank shirts but I had the grey fabric and now I'm basically an expert at t-shirts, so why not.) After the complex tiger face I was in the mood for something simple, so fun monogram it is. And hey, when it's Teddy's turn to wear these shirts I can just fill in the bottom of the J to make it a T. Perfect! ;)
So I was pretty boring pattern-wise for this week, but I got a lot more comfortable with my serger and have a whole handful of new clothes that Joey will actually wear all the time. And it all came from my existing stash of fabrics, which is always a nice feeling. I'm calling it a total success!
These tag blankies are great for small babies. Most babies love the smooth satin texture of the ribbon, and all the loops are great for little fingers and mouths. Like the pacifier clips, you can buy these almost anywhere, but they are simple to make if you have basic sewing skills! (If you don't feel like sewing and just want to buy one, this one is listed in my shop as part of a baby shower gift bundle.)
1. Cut your ribbon into about 4" pieces; they don't need to be exact. The number of pieces you will need will vary depending on their width and the spacing you use when you lay them out. You can always cut more if you need it, but I typically use about 20-24 pieces per blankie this size.
2. Lay your ribbon pieces out on the fabric until you get an arrangement you like. You'll want to leave about 1/2"-1" empty at each corner.
3. Fold your ribbon pieces in half and pin them to the right side of one piece of fabric. Align the raw edges of the ribbon with the edge of the fabric.
It will look a little crazy when you have them all pinned!
4. Lay your second piece of fabric on top, sandwiching the ribbon inside with the right sides of the fabric together. Pin the two pieces of fabric together.
5. Sew around the edge of your ribbon sandwich with a 3/8" seam, backstitching at the beginning and end. Leave a 2-3" gap so you can turn it right-side out.
6. Clip your corners at a 45° angle. Be careful not to cut through your stitches!
7. Carefully turn the blanket right-side out through the gap you left. You will probably have a few pieces of ribbon that didn't get sewed down because you didn't sew all the way around. After you turn the blanket right-side out, unpin them, insert the raw edges about 3/8" into the blanket, and re-pin.
8. Topstitch all the way around, about 1/8" from the edge of the blanket. This will close the gap and secure those last few pieces of ribbon. Ta-da! Now you have a super-cute, super-tactile object to entertain any baby!
Pacifier clips are super useful if your baby uses a pacifier. Clip it to their shirt and they can almost always find their binky and put it back in their mouth if it falls out. For us they were indispensable in the car and stroller when Joey was a lot smaller. You can buy them either handmade or mass-manufactured, but if you have basic sewing skills you can also sew them up yourself! (And if you don't want to sew them yourself, you can buy these two as part of a baby shower gift bundle in my shop.)
For one pacifier clip, you'll need:
1. Cut your fabric and fold the short ends over about 1/4". Press.
2. Fold the strip in half lengthwise, right sides together, and pin along the open edge.
3. Sew a 1/4" seam down the open edge and clip the corners.
4. Turn your fabric tube inside out and press it flat so the seam is running down the center.
5. Edgestitch both sides of your strap.
6. Thread your strap through the clip and fold it over about 3/4". Make sure you are folding to the underside of the clip, as pictured. Stitch close to the edge to secure the strap, and remember to backstitch at the beginning and end.
7. Insert your elastic. Fold your 4" piece of elastic in half and insert the ends about 1/4"-1/2" into the open end of your strap. Again, edgestitch to secure the elastic ends.
Ta-daaa! That was easy. To use, you simply loop the elastic through your pacifier and clip to your baby's shirt!
I am so thrilled to post that Theodore Elliott finally made his appearance—either way too late or right on time, depending on whether you ask me or him. :) He was born Friday, January 23 at 11:34 am. We are all so in love.
He looks a lot like Joey, but I'm also really happy that he looks a lot like me as a baby. Joey is such a carbon copy of Chris that it's nice to have my own genetic representation the second one!
We spent five days in the hospital due to jaundice that required phototherapy. Not fun for anyone, and we were so grateful to finally be leaving on Tuesday.
Last year, I had two sets of resolutions, one more general, and one specifically about sewing. I'm not sure exactly why I did that, except that it made sense to me to set specific goals related to sewing.
I love to write lists of resolutions and goals. Even when I don't totally succeed at meeting my goal, I always get further than I would have had I not written them down. Like last year, where I only read 13 books instead of 24. If I hadn't made it a goal to read 24, I probably would have only read 5 or 6.
But this year it felt hard to think of concrete goals, because I have no idea what this year will be like. I'll have two little ones at home and I just honestly can't imagine what my days are going to look like in a month. Or six months. Or a year. Then I remembered last time I had a baby, when my only resolution was patience. And I decided to steal a page from my own book.
Have patience and be kind. Have patience with my toddler, with my husband, with myself, with my newborn's unpredictable sleep schedule. Be kind when things don't go as planned, when sleep is short and tempers are high, when little hands make mistakes and things get broken. Easy to say, hard to do.
The sewing resolutions were a lot easier to plan. And honestly, they might be too ambitious. Because I have dreams of two-hour synchronized naptimes, but I'm not crazy enough to think I should count on that.
Last year, I realized I'd never made a quilt just for me. And now I have 3 throw quilts, made because I felt like it and I liked the colors and I liked the patterns. (None of which have been shared here. I should change that!) Similarly, about a month ago, I noticed I hadn't made any bed-sized quilts for our house. So obviously, that's my number one quilting goal for the year. We have a king-sized bed and a full-sized guest bed, and my plan is to do 2 king quilts and 1 queen (for the guest bed). Two king-sized quilts sounds like A LOT OF QUILT. It sounds huge to me. But I hate the duvet on our bed and I would love to be able to replace it with something I made.
I have the same fabric shopping goal as always: do less of it. This time with an Instagram hashtag to go along with it!
Curved piecing is something that sounds a little scary but I have a feeling once I try it I'll wonder why I was afraid of it for so long. I'm planning to make this pattern, but I haven't decided which size yet. It would be awesome to do a king but I might wimp out and do a throw. Either way, I'm looking forward to learning a new skill.
And finally, five pieces of clothing for myself. Last year's goal was ten, but I'm setting lower expectations for myself this year. I already have fabric and patterns to make way more than 5 things, so the only thing I need is time! The first thing I make will be the Linden sweatshirt.
So those are my plans for 2015. Have patience, be kind, have a little fun sewing. Oh, and have fun!
My awesome friend Tony contacted me to make a quilt for his new niece who will be born in Feburary. He basically left everything up to me so I went all out with the pink and girly. I've wanted to do another version of the patchwork heart quilt I did last year for a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
This is a bigger version, at about 36" square, but still made of 2" patchwork squares. The piecing was a little bit tedious, but I love the results so much it's worth it. I used a lot of favorite fabrics in this one, and a few metallics that give it a subtle shimmer when the light hits it just right. I actually cut out enough squares to make 2, and the second is up on my design wall right now, waiting to be pieced. I'll list it in my shop as soon as I can get it done!
The backing is very simple, with one special touch. I asked Tony if he wanted me to embroider any sort of inscription or message on it, and he said no, he just wanted me to include a turtle, because turtles are Tony's thing. So a little turtle would serve as his signature.
I found a cute flannel with pink turtles all over it and ordered a fat quarter. I carefully fussy-cut one and pieced it into the back. I really like it.
Last year I made the first bright star quilt and listed it for sale, and a mom bought it for her soon-to-be-born baby girl. A couple months ago she emailed me to say she is pregnant again with another girl, and she wanted a coordinating quilt for her. I love that idea!
So I made the same pattern, swapping out a few of the fabrics and adding in some lavender. The mom asked that I keep the turquoise floral print the same, which I totally get because it's one of the most beautiful prints ever.
I used a pretty backing print with hot pink and lavender, and a lavender binding to top it all off.
I'm really happy with how this turned out, and now I totally think every pair of siblings should have matching quilts. Maybe I should get on that...
I'm excited to share another commissioned quilt. I received a surprising number of custom orders in the last few months, which have been a lot of fun to work on. I still have two more to show you, but I've finished all the making I'm doing before the baby comes in a couple weeks. (But if you're interested, definitely get in touch and we'll work something out!)
Allison wanted a herringbone pattern that faded from dark to light. I've done a herringbone quilt before but I've never worked with a gradient like this and that was a really fun challenge. It required a lot more pre-planning than I usually do before I start on a quilt. I started with 5 or 6 solids that covered the range I needed and then slowly pulled in patterned fabrics that matched each solid. Then I made a mockup of the quilt in Photoshop so that I could work out placement before I started cutting. I really wanted the different colors to fade into each other, instead of having a clear break between each shade, so it took a bit of trial and error in Photoshop to get the right look.
My favorite bit is the top, lightest section. As I was putting it together I was trying to decide if it'd be overkill to have a whole quilt like this, with a super low-contrast pattern. I think it would, actually, but I love it in this small chunk here.
The backing and binding are the same pale fabric, Cotton + Steel's Netorious print. It's such a cool basic; I have it in a range of colors and it works with everything. If the quilt had been for me I would have made the backing a color to add some pop, like a mint green or icy blue, but Allison wanted it super-neutral, and I think that looks really cool too.
It's a large throw, 60"x72"—my favorite size for a couch quilt!
One of my 2014 resolutions was to read 24 books. I did not succeed. I barely cleared half my goal, with 13. And half of those were all read in January! January!! I think it is no coincidence that January is the month in which I did not sew at all. When Joey is sleeping, I can read, I can do chores, I can watch tv, or I can sew. I almost always choose to sew. I'm mostly ok with that choice, except when I realize I read 7 books from February to December, and then I'm a little embarrassed.
But anyway. I read some books I really liked, and I wanted to share them. I think my favorite was Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I've read at least one of Rainbow Rowell's books before and enjoyed it a lot, so I was pretty certain I'd like this as well. It was sweet and funny and romantic, and I liked that it strayed from your standard romantic comedy character archetypes.
And for something completely different, my second favorite was The Orphan Master's Son. I read it on a recommendation from my dad, and absolutely loved it. It's set in North Korea, which is unusual and interesting in itself, but the story too is fascinating and a little bit weird. It wasn't a light, quick read but I didn't struggle to get through it at all.
There were two books I started a few weeks ago and ended up not being able to finish: Heart of Palm (also a dad recommendation, I think) and The Goldfinch. The library fines were racking up and I was struggling to find time to read so I finally admitted defeat and returned them. I'd like to give both of them a second try at some point.
(If you want to see all of the books I read in 2014, including the ones I hated, check out my goodreads shelf.)
In 2015 I'm looking forward to starting off with a couple of celebrity memoirs Chris and I received for Christmas. He got Manhood by Terry Crews, who I think is hilarious on the show Brooklyn-99, and I got Yes, Please by Amy Poehler, one of my heroes. Both of them should be good reads!