Out with the old, in with the old?

We always seem to return from our visits to California with one more suitcase than we left with.  I finally got smart and packed a big duffel bag within one of our suitcases this last time, so that I wouldn’t have to steal yet another from my in-laws on our way outta town.  Coming home with so much stuff  makes me want to purge our closets immediately.  So, while I unpacked, I filled a donation bag with articles of clothing that I was looking forward to never seeing again…and then Erin came over.  She pulled each item out of  the bag and insisted that nearly each one could be turned into something adorable for the kids. 

And that is how in one evening this:

became this…

And this:

became this…

And this shirt that never seemed to go with anything:

became this…

 (Good luck trying to find something to match your new skirt Ellery!)

For the skirts I basically just cut off the top half of the shirt and used the bottom half keeping original hemlines.  Fold over the rough edge twice, sew around, and insert elastic! 

The blue dress with straps was a total cut and paste job.  The back of the original blouse became the front, the smocking was already there, and so were the detachable straps (although I moved the securing buttons closer together).  It works because the print is so busy that you can’t see the wacky seam I created in the back.  Have a look:

I had so much fun turning clothing that I was SO over into darling wears for the girls, that I am now finding myself poking around my husband’s clothes with a discerning glare.  Once you realize that unwanted clothing can become FREE FABRIC (or buttons, or embellishments) you too will find yourself rummaging through your closets or thrift stores with a whole new purpose!

- Caroline

little girl’s dress

I made this dress for a friend’s daughter who turned 3 this month…. I thought she could wear this through the fall and winter.  Luckily, I got to try it on her while I watched her a few days before her birthday party.  It fit her pretty perfectly!  I used Butterick’s pattern B4176, but added red lining which made me have to change the shoulder seams a bit, but I ended up really liking the result!  In the first picture, you’ll see the edges are still raw since I hadn’t hemmed it yet.  I think she looks like a little vintage French girl getting ready for school to start :).  I will definately make one for Ellery using some other corduroy I have stashed.

- Erin

For the boy…

I just started sewing this year, and of course I immediately wanted to learn how to make clothes for my daughter.  My mother helped me set up my machine and gave me a 1 1/2 hour lesson: threading the bobbin, sewing a straight line, etc…  I thought that I could basically teach myself to sew if I went ahead and bought a pattern or two and just delved into them.  So, I bought a couple of cheap ones at Joann’s, and eventually learned (with many phone calls to my mother) about clipping corners, what ‘with nap’ meant, selvedges (why do i still not quite understand this?), the importance of pressing, bias tape (!!!), buttonholes, and on and on….  I am a sucker for a good free- and easy pattern that I can download online (hello popover dress- see below) and I just recently bought about 10 Simplicity patterns when they were on sale for $1.99.  I love sewing for my girl.  But, want to love to sew for my boy too!!!  Do you know how many patterns are out there for little boys?  Not many!  I did find this one and figured I should take a go at it.  I bought some great fabrics online here and got started….

My first attempt at overalls for 4 month-old Grant came out pretty good if I do say so myself.  I made the 12-month size, so that I coule then cut the pattern down again to a smaller size.  I used this pea green corduroy and bright orange thread- thought the contrast would be cute.  Modeled by the dimple-queen and sweetest niece ever, 10-month old Avery:

(I know.  Her cuteness kills me too.) 

For my next pair, I wanted something that would fit Grant this winter- something with a heavier weight.  So, I made the 6-month size and instead of just having a bodice lining like the pattern instructs, I lined the legs as well, using a dark powdery blue flannel.  The owl print has got a different, almost sturdier feel to it than regular cotton… it’s cotton duck- not sure what that means exactly, but I think it’s probably used for drapes, slip covers, etc.  Hope the boy thinks they’re cozy anyway!  I used grey buttons that came with some of my husbands Eddie Bauer shorts- they are actually not the same size- really by a hair though… so hopefully you can’t tell!  Oh, and since my model wasn’t available this morning, and my baby is a bit small for these yet, a photo of them on a hanger will have to do….

Oh wait!  He’s up…. let’s try this again….

Much better.

-Erin