Category Archives: Sewing

kids clothes week – my attempt

Last week I participated in Kids Clothes Week where you are challenged to spend one hour a day sewing clothes for your children.  The idea is to find one hour in your day to do a little bit of sewing.  That might be cutting out a pattern, cutting fabric, ironing, or actually sewing a garment together.  And, if you stick with an hour a day for a week, you are likely to end up with at least one finished garment.  Last KCW challenge I did pretty well.  I won’t say I did not do well for this challenge, but I did only finish one garment.  I made Hythe a shirt.

He had been quietly longing for me to make something for him and I had him in a quilting store looking for some marking chalk about two weeks ago.  I found what I wanted and was at the checkout counter where a few bolts of a beautiful fabric with horses painted on it were leaning.  Hythe insisted I get some of the fabric for Anne and Evva.  Then, we turned around while they were cutting that fabric to find that just behind us was a bolt of the most fabulous fish print.  I knew right away this one was perfect for Hythe.  He has been asking to go fishing nearly everyday since spring has arrived (and fishing season has opened).  While we were looking at that fish fabric, Hythe said he would like me to make him something to wear from it because, “Then the fish won’t see me when I am fishing.  They will think I’m other fish and I can catch them.”

So, I made the Sketchbook Shirt from Oliver + S for him – a pattern I already had in my stash.  It turned our really well and he loves it.  He wore it as soon as I had finished it and was quite proud (just the reaction I hope for when I present a hand-made garment).  It also fit well and looked good (I was a little uncertain, thinking it might be too loud).

He has not gone fishing in it yet, but probably this weekend it will see some more use by a stream or a pond.

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I think brother wants one next!

 

 

lately made

I have completed a few sewing and knitting projects in the last few weeks.  One was the lap blanket that I have been working on for quite a few months now.  A row or two whenever I got a chance was how it got done.  It is just what I wanted it to be.  Perfect size for pulling over your lap to read or watch a movie.  Perfect size to pull over little ones when they are sick and laying on the couch – and we had a lot of that this last week (luckily everyone is well or nearly well at this point).  This blanket has a great weight to it.  It is heavy, but made with a cotton linen blend that is warm, but not too warm.  I love the colors too: brown (from walnut shells), yellow (marigolds), natural, light green (goldenrod).  I just hope the colors have set well because this blanket will need to be washed fairly often, I predict – which means it is getting used and loved.  Just what I hoped.

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I also made Anne a quick Easter dress the day before Easter.  I had a simple pattern by Figgy and some printed cotton voile and pink cotton twill in my stash – perfect for this dress.  Anne loved it, but it was a little cool on Easter morn to be sleeveless.  This dress will last all summer, though, and I love the print.  Thinking of what to make myself with that fabric . . .

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And, I did make something for myself from the green linen I bought last year.  Watching spring emerge, and the indescribable green that the grass becomes this time of year, made me remember why I was attracted to that vibrant linen which I bought this time last year.  I am sure I bought it because it is the color of spring grass, which to me is a color of life.  Beautiful.

I envisioned a button up short sleeve shirt that I could wear all summer.  Linen would be perfect for this type of shirt and that green in a shirt will not overpower.   I went first to my grandmother’s patterns and found one that I thought would work.  I made a muslin, a few adjustments, and sewed up my first button up shirt.  I was easier than I thought it would be – even all those button holes, I found kind of fun to make.  I wore it on my birthday and am very happy with it.

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Next project is jeans!  I have the pattern pieces cut out, but have been too tired every night since I cut them out to do anything with them.  I am also planning to participate in Kids Clothes Week again – next week.  I am planning a few things.  Thinking about t-shirt dresses for the girls, something for Hythe (because I think he felt a little left out when he realized I made the girls new dresses for Easter, but nothing for him), and something for Steven from that lightning bolt fabric  (he keeps asking about it).  If anyone is interested in sewing for children, you should check out Kids Clothes Week.  They have a huge listing of patterns, tutorials, ideas, fabrics, etc. that are great resources and inspiration.

 

this dress

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I made this dress for Evva for her 8th birthday last week, finishing it up just before bed the night before.  I used the Oliver + S Croquet Dress pattern and a beautiful green linen.  I bought 6 (six!) yards of this green linen on a whim when a wonderful local fabric store was closing down last year.  I had a thought to make a dress with a matching jacket for myself out of it.  But, then, at home I realized I would be wearing close to 6 yards of green. Though the color is beautiful (and why I bought it), I thought it would be far too much green on me at that point.  And, green really isn’t my color, at least in those quantities.  In this dress for Evva, though, it is perfect.  And, now I want to make myself (finally) something from that green linen.  But, what? (suggestions welcome)

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I also broke down and bought a few half yards of some Liberty of London prints.  Good grief, they are expensive (hence the 1/2 yards)!  But, so utterly gorgeous.  I used one of the prints to make the belt, bow, and waistband on Evva’s dress.  It worked perfectly with the green linen.  The waistband and bow were cut on the bias, so I was very careful how to be conservative with the fabric.  I had to sew two strips together for the waistband, but it worked out well.  The other slight challenge with this dress was that Evva is so thin that she measured a size 5 for the dress.  I cut out a size 6, but when she tried it on, it was quite short – then, I remembered, she is tall and thin and not just thin.  So, I cut a 5 inch cuff to sew onto the bottom of the dress to give it a bit more length.  This actually improved the look of the dress as well.  I kind of wish I had one of these dresses myself.  She loves it and you can tell it is comfortable, light, and easy to wear, when she has it on.   And, I love that I can make her a special dress for her birthday (that she likes, too!).

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a little sewing

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I’ve been doing a bit of sewing for myself lately.  I made an awesome pair of leggings from a pattern from Seamwork magazine.  They have been perfect for running, yoga, and under skirts.  So comfortable and warm (important this past month)!   I like the petal cuff detail, too.  I also whipped out a t-shirt with that thin cotton lightning knit (I have a ton of it).  I drafted the pattern from one of my favorites in my dresser and it turned out great – very comfortable, good fit.  I did not finish any of the hems or neckline, partly because I wanted the shirt quickly and partly because this one was going to be casual – for exercise or around the house/garden.  I will definitely make this one again and finish off the hems for a slightly nicer garment.

My all-time favorite skirt is from Synergy. The skirts are so comfortable and flattering and fun.  I own three of them.   These skirts are in heavy rotation in my wardrobe that they are starting to show the wear – a few small holes in one, stains (look like bleach stains, but I don’t use bleach, so maybe toothpaste??) on the others.   Since the style is so simple, I decided to try to make my own.  I made the skirt from a knit (interlock) fabric, drafting a pattern from one of the originals.  It turned out quite nice.  I finally decided to do a tree design on the front and cut out a piece of fabric for it from some organic knit that dyed with marigolds this fall.  I figured out that the only way to embroider the little knit piece on to another knit (or probably any fabric) is to stabilize it with a bit of lightweight interfacing.  Then, I just embroidered around the edge and did a design.  I really liked the design, but was not sure it was enough (and maybe the tree looked like a leaf), so I asked William what he thought.  He said it looked like a cartoon tree!  I think I want to add another smaller tree.  Maybe that will help it look more like a tree.  Anyway, I like it!  And, it fits well and is comfortable!

I also patched a pair of Hythe’s jeans, using a technique I have not done before.  I interfaced (fusible) the holes, then made a patch with interfacing and a scrap of fabric.  I sewed them together, turned them right side out and fused the interfaced back to the knees.  Then, I embroidered them to the knee.  I think they should hold up well.  But, Hythe did not like them.  He said he wanted the patches to be the same as the jeans.  I forced them on him one day as he was trying to run out to sled without any clothes on.  By the end of the morning, he said he did like them.

I have just cut out and sewed a muslin for making myself a pair of jeans.  I am quite intimidated by this project, but determined to finish it.  After trying on the muslin last night and marking it up and pinning all the many adjustments, I decided I really just needed to cut it two sizes smaller.  So, I will start over tonight, perhaps.

Other sewing projects in planning are spring dresses for Anne and Evva.  Maybe I can have them finished by Easter.  I have the fabric and patterns, so it should not be too hard to get done.  It will be nice to work on some projects with lots of color, too!

 

 

Kids Clothes Week: day 4 and 5 review

On day 4, I made up a skirt for Evva from a simple little pattern from Maja’s Heirlooms (a company that may not exist anymore).  I found the pattern at a thrift store and think it was donated there by a wonderful local, independent fabric store that closed down last year.  I also made a skirt from this pattern for Anne a few months ago for her school uniform.

The wonderful fabric came from a dress that I had put in the quilt-making pile, but I pulled it out because the fabric is so wonderful and there was enough there to make something else wearable.  The dress was made by a local seamstress, but I did not like the construction.  It looked like a coat, but was not lined.  It was a cold dress to wear in winter and the buttons popped open all the time.  I could have sewed all the button holes shut, but one of the buttons popped off and was lost – and since it was an impractical dress, I thought I might make it over.  I decided on the skirt because it is a quick sew, looks great, and I knew there would be enough fabric.

It came together very quickly.  When I made the skirt for Anne, I put in an invisible zipper (per instructions), but she never needed it because the little bit of elastic in the waist made it easy to slip on and off.  So I did not put in a zipper, nor did I have to hem it.  It looks great and Evva loves it.

On day 5, I took a pair of Anne’s leggings with a hole in the knee, cut them off and made a cuff, so they are like yoga or running pants.  She loved them and wore them all day today.  I also started making a cowl for Anne, but I was too tired to sew today.  The beautiful weather here (and my coming down with a cold) found me sitting in the sunshine, resting during my free time today.  I hope to finish tomorrow and will post about it (only missing one day of KCW this time).

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Kids Clothes Week: day 2 – 3 review

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Tuesday night I cut out and sewed up a pair of pajama shorts for Evva (to match those I’d made for Anne).  She was very happy, and the girls danced together in the hall tonight before bed while I took pictures.

Did I mention this KCW’s theme was upcycled clothes?  Meaning, if possible, try to make clothes from fabric that is already made into something (thrifted, worn out, bad fit, etc.)  So, I on Tuesday night I also cut up a hand-me-down knit dress with a truly terrible fit for young girls, and made the skirt part into a t-shirt for Evva.  I drafted the pattern myself and experimented with no sleeves, just a little cap.  I’ve seen this style around but I don’t know what it is called – a t-shirt with a front panel and back panel sewed together with sleeves as part of the panel, not separate sections.  Anyway, I made the sleeves very short in case it did not work out well, but it seems to fit her.

I wanted to make the very plain t-shirt more interesting and debated how to do it.  I’ve wanted to try to applique some designs onto knits and thought this was a perfect opportunity to try it out.  So, on Wednesday, I interfaced some pink knit fabric scraps I had and cut them into flower petals.  I appliqued by hand with embroidery floss – a shiny pink that was part of a friendship bracelet pack of Anne’s – using a backstitch.  So, on Wednesday, I spent a little more than an hour wrestling the metallic thread through fabric to make a flower.  I had plans to make another smaller one, but that thread was difficult and once I’d finished one flower, I’d had enough.  Evva likes the shirt – and loves the flower.  Anne and Evva both loved the flower, which makes me think I will start doing some applique on plain t-shirts.  I love how it looks also.  I was inspired by Alabama Chanin (which is far above anything I’ve done, but the idea of layering shapes in knit cloth) and Synergy.  I love the clothes from both of these designers.

Next up?  I am cutting up a beautiful dress of gorgeous fabric that just never worked for my girls (and the construction was a little shoddy in places).  Planning on making a  skirt.  Tonight.  I’m off.

Kids Clothes Week: day one review

I will be one day late in revealing what I sewed, or cut, or drafted for Kids Clothes Week (a one week challenge to spend one hour each day making clothes for your children) since I usually do my sewing at night after the children are in bed.  After sewing, I go to bed!

Yesterday, we had a beautiful snow flurry that blew about so much that the mountain was nearly whited out.  The wind howled and the trees roared on the mountain and the ground got a slight dusting.  Steven had to go out to see.

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The bitter cold wind kept everyone inside in the afternoon, playing happily with that wonderful classic toy, Lincoln Logs – and their imaginations.

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But, I did finally get around to sewing and made Anne a pair of sleeping shorts she has been wanting.  I made them from the never-seems-to-be-gone knit cotton fabric.  Luckily, all the children think the fabric is cool so I can make lots of things from it.  The pattern is Oliver+S Nature Walk pants (modified to shorts).

I laid the shorts on the table so she would see them when she got up this morning.  She was excited.

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My plan for today is to make a pair for Evva (and maybe Hythe).  I hope to get them cut out sometime today and sew them up tonight.  It only takes about 30-40 minutes to sew these up.

 

week in review and sewing projects

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The first two pictures show our poor girls when they were suffering from the stomach bug this week.  I am glad they could use their quilts (the only ones I’ve ever made) for comfort and warmth.  William hung a hammock chair in our living room last week and it has been a spot everyone has wanted to sit – and Evva took her sick nap there.

Luckily, everyone was feeling better by William’s birthday this week.  I made a chocolate pound cake for him.  I had plans to make a s’mores cake from Smitten Kitchen cookbook, made with graham crackers, chocolate, and a frosting that needed to be toasted with a blow torch.  But, I gave up on the idea when I realized I really did not have time (or energy) for making a semi-complicated cake.  I would have had to go to the grocery store – and figure out how to use a blow torch.  So I went with a cake that I had the ingredients, time, and skills to make.  And, that chocolate pound cake was delicious, even if I did go on a short walk to have a moment to myself and forget to take the cake out of the oven beforehand.  It did not really burn, just got a little crisp on the outside.

Then, I settled down to do some sewing at the end of the week.  But, first I had to open up my machine and stick a magnet down in there to get all the pins that Steven has been sneaking into the tiny holes on the top of the machine.  He loves to do it and I’ve caught him at it a few times.  I’ve told him not to put the pins down the holes, but he told me that was where they go.  And, to be fair, there doesn’t seem to be a point to those two tiny holes and pins fit through them perfectly.

The girls both had birthday parties to go to this weekend and they were up for gifting homemade presents.  So, we made a pair of pajama shorts for one friend from a soft cotton jersey.  I bought the end of a bolt of this fabric from Hancock Fabrics many months ago.  I did not realize how much I was getting until it was measured – 8 yards!

I also made a circle skirt for another friend.  Evva picked out the fabric from my stash.  I debated if I should put my tag in these garments.  A tag gives the garment a more professional, slightly less handmade, look.  But, is it too silly or pretentious?  I finally decided to put a tag in, figuring I should be proud of my work and my children like to have the tags in their handmade garments.

This week I also finished up an outfit for myself.  I am trying to make some core clothes or outfits for my wardrobe.  I sewed up a black cardigan a few weeks ago, and made a pair of leggings last week. I love the leggings.  They are very comfortable and have a cute petal cuff.  They are also very simple and easy to sew up.  I made them from a black French terry of cotton and bamboo with Spandex.  They hold their shape well and are very warm.  Finally, I finished a mini-skirt I made from some plaid wool with tiny silver strips running through it.  You can see the outfit above sans cardigan (I was actually too warm to put it on – it may have also been in the washing machine).  I am pretty happy with it!

Thanks to Seamwork Magazine for the cardigan and leggings patterns!

This coming week is Kids Clothes Week and I am planning on participating.  The theme is upcycling.  I am not sure what I will do with the theme yet, but I have some ideas – and some projects to work on.

 

the weekend

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Lots going on this weekend!  We have had, what I consider, perfect winter weather – cold nights, warm-ish days.  I love 50-60 degree sunny winter days.  We can all be outside, working and playing, for so much of the day.  I love it.

I got to go to a “Designer Diva” meeting on Saturday morning, meeting with about 20 other women sewers to talk about sewing.  I love this once-a-month meeting of some amazing  area sewers.  I am definitely the youngest (maybe by 20 years), but I learn so much from them and get inspired by them and their artistic sensibilities.  About 4 months ago, at my first meeting, one of the women had a silk sari that she cut into 10 half yard pieces.  Each of us attending the meeting got a section and were given the challenge to make something from this small piece of fabric.  I put my little silk aside when I got home and watched it float around my fabric stash for the last 4 months, thinking that I probably missed the meeting were the projects were presented and maybe they would forget that I had of the piece of silk.   When I got the email a week ago that we were supposed to present what we had made with the silk this week, I decided to get busy and do something with it.  I had thought about making a bag from it, but what I really wanted to make was a sleeveless shirt for one of my girls.  The edges of the sari were woven so they would not fray, so I just cut of a simple tank pattern, wide so Anne could get it over her head.  I put in a little box pleat in the front and back and let the gold pattern speak for itself on the bottom front.  I made a very thin bias tape with the scraps of the silk and finished it with gold thread.  Loading that bobbin made me think of spinning gold like Rumpelstiltskin.  While it was not perfect (mainly the thin bias tape binding), it did look good and made a good impression on those Divas on Saturday!

In the afternoon, we picked up apple prunings from the orchard.  A fairly easy task and half of the children helped (though Hythe mainly played with the sticks).  It was a fun bit of work.  And, we are trying to instill in our children that work can be fun and that work must be done.

William also hung up the really cool swing that the children got from Santa for Christmas.  It does take us parents a long time to get around to some things, but luckily our children are usually very understanding.  They were happy to have it up, and even William and I got a few swings on it.  Fun!

I harvested the last carrots from the garden – a full half bushel!  I was waiting for a few warmer days with no rain to get them all out. I am not sure why I let them stay in the ground so long, but I think because I was tired of gardening, or got too busy, or just forgot about them.  But, they are beautiful and taste good.  Some tops had a bit of freeze damage, but I think they will store for a while.

And, grandpa brought over a typewriter that he found in his attic.  Anne and Evva were very excited about it and wrote a few letters before the spacebar stopped working.  I know these machines are simple and we should be able to get it working again, but see two paragraphs above about how quickly William and I get around to getting things done sometimes.

Final news is that I got a new camera – a DSLR.  I am very excited about it and having lots of fun.  All these pictures are with the new camera as I get used to it and learn how to use it.

Hope your weekend was great!

 

made

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Whew, it is cold out there today!  Second day in a row not going above freezing – quite cold, for here.  School was cancelled today when the heater broke, but my girls are outside playing right now.  They’ve been doing art, crafts, reading, and cleaning, and the boys are at their cousins house.

I’ve been swimming in work – soap business stuff, farm stuff, home stuff – I’m coming up for air for a few minutes!  The new year makes me want to set new intentions, schedules, and goals (not necessarily, resolutions).  I would like to be more organized and intentional with my time, efforts, and material things (I’d love to do a major purge of the house).  I was feeling overwhelmed today with the build up of clutter – the piles of papers, toys, books, clothes that need to be sorted, put away, given away.  Then, looked down to see the ultimate clutter-maker, Steven, pulling all the pieces out of a game, and I remembered that this is the time of life for it – super-full, busy, crazy, messy, but very important and wonderful.  Really, the only way to make sure it is wonderful, is to stop and treasure the moment.  Remember that childhood is fleeting, realize that the mess won’t be forever.  Do what I can . . . yes.  Stress over it . . .no.  (And, try to remember that!)

I’ve done a lot of sewing and knitting lately, and I thought I would report on it.

For, Christmas Eve, I made the boys pjs and the girls nightgowns.  I made them all (except for Steven’s pants) from organic knit cotton fabric that I had dyed this fall with natural dyes.  Fabric for the girls gowns was dyed with avocado seeds and skins.  It came out a very pale pink.  I wish it had been a little darker.  The “ribbon” on the gowns I made from fabric I dyed with black walnuts.  I also made Hythe’s pants with it.  It came out a beautiful brown.  For the boys shirts, I used a fabric that was a disaster in terms of dying.  I tried to use rusty nails and vinegar – thinking (reading) that it would give a dark brown, almost black dye.  It did not work for me.  I got a rusty, dirty looking fabric.  But, I thought it would be perfect for a boy’s t-shirt.  They can get it as dirty as they want and I don’t ever have to worry about stains.  For Steven’s pants, I cut up an old t-shirt of Williams.  All the patterns were self-drafted, except for Hythe’s pants which were from Oliver+S pattern.  I also made Hythe an entire outfit from that pattern.  He liked the pants, and even though he picked out the fabric, he won’t wear the shirt.  And, it is so cute!

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I knit three hats for the oldest three children.  Of course, one is already missing – and I don’t have a picture of it.  But, they are all proud of their hats.  I knit Hythe’s hat from a variegated yarn he picked out at the SAFF in October.  I just finished the hat and he has no recollection of picking out the yarn, so he is not as excited as he was.  And, he’s confused about the stripes (from the variegation), but he likes it.

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I finished Anne’s quilt a bit before Christmas, but haven’t gotten a good picture of it yet.  I love that she has a little special quilt for herself, made with lots of little scraps of favorite dresses.

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Finally, I am making some things for myself.  I subscribed to Seamwork Magazine, a monthly on-line sewing magazine from Colette Patterns, and it provides some simple patterns for basic garments (and bags) that don’t take a lot of time to make.  I made a cardigan from a black cotton/bamboo/Lycra fabric.  It is fairly thick (not as thin as a t-shirt) and quite warm.  I love it.  I am planning an entire outfit – black leggings and a cute wool skirt from some fabric I got this weekend.  Hopefully, I’ll get around to it all soon.

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William bought me some clothing labels.  He really wants me to label my creations.  And, I do like having a tag in the back of garments.  It is fun, too.

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