Peplum for Coco

For the girl who wears nothin’ but hand-me-downs…

A perky peplum!

Using Dana’s First Day Dress pattern, of course.  As stated in my last peplum post, I am not a “peplum person”.

(Quick! say that 5 times fast!)

But I deem this style to be totally adorable and appropriate for small people.  It’s just straight-up cute!  Right??!!

Minus the big wrinkle down the front.  Whoops.

The fabric is Large Flowers in Charcoal by Alison Glass and I think it’s perfect for this top.

Such vibrant color!  A joyful top for my joyful girl.

I lined it in Cotton Couture in gold, which seems to compliment the colors in the print pretty well.

I went up a size this time around, and sewed a 3T.  She wore her polka-dot one the other day and I almost had to call the Fire Department to come with the Jaws of Life to remove it from her.  Oh. My. Gersh.

Just trust me here… if in doubt, go up a size.

This top is fitted, so it does require the kid to put her arms straight up so you can tug it off, which might just be harder for a 2 year old to suffer through for more than 3 seconds without having a full-on panic attack. a-hem.

  Instead of cutting the slit in the back 4 inches, I’d consider cutting up to 5 inches next time around- and my Corinne has a skinny head.  Or, I might cut the neckline out a bit larger.  Dana does have you cut a 5″ slit for the larger sizes, but I think it might be something to consider for the smaller sizes too.

(Note: I really do love this pattern- just giving you the heads up!  Gotta be real.)

Aaaannnd a little vintage button on the back to finish her off.

Next Tuesday, Coco starts preschool two days a week.

She is SO excited to play with the baby dolls and baby strollers- her favorite things in the world right now.

And I will not lie- I am looking forward to some free time.  Strolling (quietly) through the grocery store, getting my ridiculously overgrown hair cut, sewing to the sounds Pandora, and the occasional morning nap are all on my list of things to do.

Now go forth, my people.  Sew the peplum!

-Erin

Back-to-School Babydoll

School starts on the 20th.  So soon, so soon!! Ellery will be a big first grader this year.

I wonder if she’ll be brave enough to buy lunch sometime.  Last year, she asked if she could buy lunch one day and I said, “Of course! What would you want to buy?”  Thinking she’d say, “pizza!” or “tacos!”

Nope.

“Trout Treasures.”

My kid wants trout.  In treasure form.

 Let’s talk about this dress.

Once again, it’s the Bohemian Babydoll pattern from Elegance & Elephants.

The fabric is an organic cotton designed by Carolyn Gavin for Windham.  It’s Petite Fleur in Navy, and the contrasting Citron solid for the hem is from the same line.  I kept checking out this print in my fabric closet, imagining it as a dress for the fall, layered with a cardigan and over tights… or, knee socks.  KNEE socks people.  Can we get a straight-up revival?

This is my 5th boho baby dress.

I’ve had a few custom etsy orders since my first, and I can say that I love this pattern now that I’ve decided how I like it.

This is how I like it: I cut my 6 year old a size 6 with the 7 length for the skirt… But, I still felt that this dress was a leeetle too short.  So, when I was sewing the hem facing, I decided not to fold it all the way under, and just stitched in the ditch on the front.  It probably added another 3/4″.  I love this length on Ellery and I will probably make this dress in this way again!  Oh, you know I did the “sausage step” again for the bodice- once you get the hang of it, it’s so much faster and so much cleaner!!

I am really a fan of not having to make buttonholes.  This dress is sweet and simple, and just has an ease about it that I like a whole lot.

I think Ellery will rock this all school-year long… We both love it!

I hope she rocks those knee socks too.

WHILE tearing up some trout treasures.

-Erin

Swiss Dot Babydoll

 Sometimes I buy patterns on impulse and then lose interest on the actual sewing of them. This was one of those patterns.  But then I saw Rachel’s version, and decided to give it a go while ALL.THE.KIDS napped!

This is the Bohemian Babydoll Dress pattern by Elegance and Elelphants.

My first impression as I was sewing it?  Looks like a Geranium, walks like a Geranium! (Did I really need to make another flutter sleeve dress for this kid?  No.  No I did not…)

BUT, I started to really like it more as I sewed- the curved bodice is different and sort of casual.  There is no closure at the back- which I also really liked since it’s so easy to slip on.  Also, it makes it a quicker sew.

I used an airy swiss dot fabric from Joann, and wish I’d bought more of the stuff- it’s light and dreamy.

Two things I noticed about the pattern that I’ll pass on to you: First, the length seemed way too short on Ellery- just looking at the pattern piece, I could see that, so I cut the length to the size 7 while keeping the rest of the pattern a size 6.  I almost wish I had gone a little longer, because it’s definitely cutting it close to too short.

The hem facing is a nice touch, and I think a great way to play around with a contrasting fabric.  I used a floral lawn cotton from ye olde stash.

The other thing, is the finishing of the arm holes.  To finish them, you are supposed to clip the seam allowance of each arm hole separately- the outer bodice and the bodice lining.  Then, you iron in the arm holes, fit them together, and topstitch around the edge.  This was the second pattern I’d made recently that finished them this way (Coco’s peplum, being the first I’d done like this), and I’m just not a fan of this technique- though I did follow her instructions here.  Heidi did add a tutorial a few weeks ago on her blog showing how to finish in a different way (Rae has a great video that demonstrates this- she calls it the “sausage step”!), and I recommend you try that way.  I’m making a second babydoll as we speak, and went that route this time- I much prefer it!

My baby loves it!

Adios!

-Erin

Striped Maxi

The 10-minute maxi.

If you’re a mom to little kids, it’s more like the 22-minute maxi.

Either way, it’s fast.  Why didn’t I make 5 of these at the beginning of Summer?

I followed Sew Caroline’s tutorial and it really does take no time at all.  I did add an extra couple of inches to the length- which was good because after I tried it on, I was able to really get the exact length I wanted by cutting it right across the bottom with my rotary cutter.

 No hemming here!  Boom.  Skirt.

Oh, I also used 1″ elastic in the waistband (instead of 1/2″)… which I think gives a better fit to most elastic-waisted things.

My fabric is a striped bamboo knit from Girl Charlee, though I believe it’s a goner… but there are lots of others to choose from.  It’s really soft, but still substantial enough and stretchy without much curling up.  I love it!

We’re at the beach now, and I decided to be a good blogger and schedule this post for today… I’m probably wearing this baby as we speak, strolling on the boardwalk and picking sand out of my hair.  Surely this skirt will end up balled up in my suitcase (er…laundry basket- anyone else travel by basket?  My husband thinks I’m nuts) but that’s what I like about it- no fuss!

-Erin

Caroline Blogs (+ a giveaway)

Hi everyone!  It has been about 5 months since my last blog post, when I sewed costumes for Jet’s 7th birthday party.  That was right about the time when symptoms of Wes’ cancer began.   As most of our readers know, in February, my youngest child (at age 15 months) was diagnosed with stage IV, high-risk, neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the nervous system.   Our lives changed forever.  I have a new blog now- the kind you never wanted to have-  that chronicles our family’s fight for Wes’ cure.   You are welcome to join us on http://www.caringbridge.org.  Just log in and search for Wes Chang.

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I don’t want to get into the horror, the hardship, the grief, the joy, the crazy emotional rollercoaster that comes with having a child go through cancer.   Its something I would not wish on my worst enemy.  But somehow, many blesssings have home out of it, and I have a renewed sense of purpose, and new perspective on life’s importances.

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To tell you the truth, I have been avoiding this space.  Writing my posts on caringbridge (along with living our new normal) takes a lot out of me.   Its just so emotional that it exhausts me.  Actually, even here in the past, blogging did not come easily for me.  I am extremely self-critical and perfectionistic.  I sew slowly, and I write slowly.   And now, I simply do not have time for any of it.  I still crave sewing.  I miss it.  I yearn for it.  But my priorties have shifted, and the sense of satisfaction I get from crafting a wearable garment, is replaced by taking the best care of Wes that I possibly can.  Add NURSE to my resume, because I’m pretty sure I’ve earned my degree!

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To catch you up to date quickly, Wes has undergone 5 rounds of intense chemotherepy since his diagnosis.  He had tumors (or “lesions”) in several places in his head, also in his lungs, and, signature of neuroblastoma, a primary tumor on his right adrenal gland (which sits above the kidney).  His bone marrow was also infected by the disease.  After just two rounds of chemo, the visible tumors on his head and face were diminishing, and bone marrow biopsy was clean.  Wes just underwent scans after round 5, and the only remaining visible disease  is the primary tumor (1/3 of its original size)!  It will be surgically removed on Wednesday.

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His progress has been amazing!  His expert oncologist actually used those words.   Wes has stayed extremely healthy through this process, and we have been living at home as normal most of this time.  I can assure you that this is not the norm for kids with neuroblastoma and other devestating cancers.   He is making this look easy.  But it is not.  The stress, the worry, the time it takes, and the toll it takes on the family dynamic, is extraordinary.  Please understand, that if this could happen to our family, it can happen to yours.  Please support the research, support the families, the events, the races, the blood drives.  I never thought we’d be the recipients of so much kindness and generosity.  I never thought we would need to be.  We are humbled indeed.

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I’d like to thank my sister, and co-blogger, Erin, for all that she has done to help our family.  Thank God we live in the same town!  She has had to swoop in a ton to help with Jet and Avery, but has also managed all the wonderful friends who have wanted to help.  She (and the rest of our extended family) has also dealt with a lot of emotions when learning the devastating news about Wes.  Our mom was still in treatment for her own recurred cancer.  But, Erin had to be my liaison to the people.  All of the calls and emails went through her.  I simply could not talk to people.   She organized a donation website that just exploded with funds to help us financially.  It’s been a long  road, and we are only at about the half-way point with Wes’ treatment, but we are in a much better place now with Wes doing so well!.  Lucky doesn’t even cover it!

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So, this summer has been a nice change of pace.  Not having to get up early to send the big kids off to school has been a sweet relief.  I found ourselves having a slow week recently, and was able to dust of my sewing machine.  An email came from Dana of Made,  asking us to test her First Day Dress pattern.  How exciting to have an assignment from an industry big-wig that we have worshiped since the beginning of time!  Erin and I both jumped at the opportunity!

I chose to sew the simple A-line option for Avery.

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Excuse the ‘tude.

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And the pool hair.

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I chose the 5T size for my solid 4.5 year old, Avery.  The fit is perfect!

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 I took Dana’s suggestion and used a home-dec fabric.  How cute are these chickens??  The fabric, called Barnyard Dance Speckel,by P Kaufmann, was at our local U-fab store, which also sells online.  It is a lovely weight for this project. Plus, you get 10 extra inches on these bolts.  I have plenty for another project!  Even with the cotton sheeting I used as a lining, it is super soft and drape-y.   Another bonus is that this fabric is stain resistant.  It will totally hold up in the fall when we throw on a cardi and some leggings.

Hopefully you saw Erin’s version last week!  She made a peplum convert out of me!  There are so many adorable options to choose from in Dana’s pattern.

Please leave a comment at the end of this post if you would like a chance to win a copy of this PDF pattern!  Giveaway will close Thursday July 17 at 8:00 pm.

Even if you are not interested in the giveaway, we invite your comments!   I know this post is major heavy.  Erin and I want to extend our gratitude to our devoted readers, and blogger friends, who always “like” us on instagram and continue to show your support for #hungiegungie and #teamwes.  We love you!  I hope to not be a stranger for too long!

Lots of love,

Caroline

 

 

Polka Dot Peplum + giveaway

Hello!  Today is a good day.  Dana of MADE has released her much-anticipated First Day Dress pattern!

:::::APPLAUSE:::::

Caroline and I were excited to be testers for this pattern, because… well, duh… it’s Dana- need I say more?  But, for me anyway, her blog was literally the FIRST sewing blog I had ever stumbled upon.  Like, I didn’t even know about you people or your cool sewing blogs, or that this community even existed.  I was googling sewing patterns late one night 4 years ago, and came across her Market Skirt tutorial and then spent the next several hours poring over her beautiful, bright and cheery site.  I was amazed that a person could make these things at home!  Not to go all cheese-fest here, but you could say that she changed my creative life!  Aw….

Onto this GREAT pattern.

There are several options.  I’ll let you hop on over to her site to read all about them, but for my version I chose to sew the peplum top.  I’m pretty sure Caroline is with me here… we are not peplum people.  I have seen them all over the sewing world over the past year, but haven’t jumped on board until now.

Something about my fun little Coco-girl inspired me to give it a whirl.

And I’m so glad I did.

I made a size 2 for my newish two-year old.  Guys, the fit is PERFECT.  I was nervous that this would be to small on her, but as soon as she got it on, I was just doing a crazy dance.  Those little capped sleeves, the adorable swingy peplum skirt, the polka dots… this is a happy project.

I found this great charcoal/silver polka dot fabric at Joann, and snatched up three yards of it.  Luckily, I barely had to use much for this pattern- since I might see a size 6 dress version in my future!  The back closes simply with a single button and elastic loop.  I used one of my favorite buttons from my stash, and I like you could have some fun with a colorful, bold, or special one that you love.

Like I said, there are plenty of options here.  Even when it comes to the lining…you can choose to do a partial lining- just at the bodice, or a full.  I fully-lined mine with some mint voile.  I love the glimpse of color that pokes out when she’s boppin’ around.

Or balancing on her brother’s cute bum.

This pattern is very thorough, with great photos and detailed instructions.  I think it is such a sweet tailored shape, and after making so many dresses with a gathered skirt, this top seemed to come together in a jiff.

I made one particular note to myself that I’ll share with you about this pattern:  while this top really does fit peeeerfectly, it took some care to get off of Corinne without inducing a full on mid-removal arms-stuck meltdown.  If your kiddo is well endowed in the noggin’ department, I’d consider cutting your back slit 1/2″ longer, or cutting the neckline a hair larger.  Just in case y’all.

Now.  Which one of you kind readers would like to win a copy of this pattern?  Okay!  Leave me a comment telling me which option is your favorite, and I’ll randomly pick a winner by the evening of Thursday July 3.

**Giveaway is now closed.  Congratulations to #13, Jo!  Hope you enjoy your new pattern!**

And come back soon if you don’t win because sister Caroline (!!!) will be back with a totally different look and another chance to win!

Thanks to Dana for the awesome pattern- it’s obvious to see how much work went into creating this one!

Goodbye and Good Luck!

-Erin

Kids in Hats

Last month I stayed up way too late making a bucket hat for Ellery.  The next day at school was “H” day- they were counting down the days of school with each letter of the alphabet- and I was damned if she was going to wear the ratty purple dollar store witch hat that she layed out before going to bed.

  She loved the hat, but wouldn’t ya know… she wore the goofy purple witch hat to school.  OF COURSE.

This pattern is a free download from the Oliver + S website, though you can also find it in Liesl’s book, Little Things to Sew.  Luckily I had this pattern cut out in every size (thanks again, old self!).  A couple of easy modifications were done: I widened the brim AND skipped the hand-stitching a la Jessica.

I used some Echino mochi dot linen in charcoal for the outer layer, and mint cotton for the lining.  I also made one for little sister using some more Echino linen.  BIRDS y’all.  Ellery got a size large, and I made Coco the medium… I recommend that you go a size up with this pattern.

This was not a day for bucket hats…

Look at that sky!

Ellery always dresses for the weather.  She looked outside before going out and decided a corduroy jacket was in order- even though it was in the mid-80’s.  Silly girl.

Oh look!  It’s my semi-annual Hungie Gungie photo of Grant!

 He was so cute trying to sneak into their pictures.  Remember the first bucket hat I made? It was for this boy when he was just a squishy little 1 year old…

This hat is technically reversible, but I gotta say, the inside is not super pretty.  I’m not very good at sewing around curves and this pattern has plenty to fit together and sew.  Plus, I maybe should’ve interfaced my lining pieces instead of the linen, because the linen was then extra thick and the lining was very thin, and it just took a lot of fiddling around to fit them together nicely without tons of puckering.

These hats are just so cute and so practical- my girls wear them outside playing all the time!

Hope you are all enjoying the beginning of Summer!

(oh, and thank you all for your nice comments about my etsy shop! XO)

-Erin