We have mice!

My Mom made one these for each of her 6 grandkids.  Isn’t it the cutest?

I’m imagining a nice little stash of these with all different little critters inside.

Perfect to keep in your bag for those what-was-i-thinking-taking-my-kids-to-a-restaurant moments.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering…. my Mom has curiously strong minty breath these days. :)

-Erin

backyard sundress

Have I mentioned before that my 4 year old ONLY wears dresses?  In fact, she probably hasn’t worn a pair of shorts or pants- besides leggings or pj’s- in almost a year…. While I think it’s cool she’s got a strong sense of…a-hem…style… I’ll be honest and say, yeah… it bothers me slightly that I have a stash of pants and shorts that just sit in her closet while she recycles the same 3 dresses each week.

Anyway, the girl could use some new ones.

I have a lot of home-sewn ideas for her in my head that are looming around.  Just not a lot of time to dedicate to the sewing machine these days. So, I really wanted to create a simple dress that wouldn’t require too much planning, thinking, or cutting or tracing of any pattern pieces (all those beignet skirt pieces burned me out).  Something where I could just keep the measurements and some notes handy, and whip up one whenever I had an hour free.   

I’m happy to say, this is it! 

Here’s how it rates on Ellery’s Wearability Scale (1-10):

comfort: 10.  She wore this 5 days in a row (i kid you not) and slept in it once…

twirlability: a solid 8.

pinkaliciousness: 8.  there is enough pink here to satisfy both daughter AND mother (if ya know what i mean).

backyard capabilities: off the charts!  This dress can easily adapt to tricycle riding, firefly catching, toad-spotting, garden grazing, sandbox-squatting and hill rolling.  It’s loose where it needs to be loose, and snug where it needs to be snug.

  A bit about the fabric:  It’s a ‘specialty’ seersucker from Joann’s… definitely higher quality than their normal seersucker.  I bought a few yards at 40% off…It’s so soft and light.  I love the dusty rose color, and the hints of yellow and purple. 

 

And can you see the gold thread running through it (better in person)? Adds just the right amount of snazz. 

As far as the design goes, I was inspired by Rae’s spring ruffle top (Caroline made a couple, here and here), the simple band around the chest, the gathered skirt, and the ruffle straps.  My kid seems to prefer dresses that are long, so i made sure it was a few inches above her ankles. For the straps I cut a long piece of fabric, folded it, then cut along the raw edges getting wider as I got to the center (so the ruffles at the center of the strap would extend almost to the end of her shoulders).  Then, I shifted the top layer over just a bit so you can see the under layer of fabric, and sewed in a casing for elastic along the fold.  Easy as can be.  I left the ruffled edges raw, but later zig zag stitched them so they wouldn’t get too fray-crazy.  

I like the almost-unfinished look it gives, as if this dress doesn’t take itself too seriously… 

though it is seriously loved by this girl.

Bless her little tomato-pickin’ heart. 

-Erin

***if anyone would be interested in a little how-to, please let me know in the comments.  I plan on making a couple more of these soon and am happy to put a tutorial together to share with you***

The Rookie Seamstress (a guest post and tutorial)

I never thought I’d see the day. Our sister Erika, dubbed “the uncrafty one”, learned to sew! And get this, after only two hours at the sewing machine, she is here to offer you a tutorial! Seriously guys, this is how big sisters roll.  They also declare things like, “Watch me dominate the sewing machine,” and “Sweet! What What!”, as they go.

Erika and her adorable one year old, Sean, are visiting from Chicago for a few weeks, staying at our parent’s house. Since a terrible storm last week has left us (the Chang 4) without power, we’ve been squatting at casa de parentals too. 6 days and counting, people!

Anyway, I came back here with the kids after a pool day, and found Erika in our mom’s sewing studio, completed project in hand, looking oh-so satisfied…

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 My jaw dropped. What just happened?
I will let E take it from here.
-Caroline

I admit that crafting isn’t my thing. It takes too long, gets boring, requires lots of clean-up, and I just don’t have a head full of creative ideas. However, I always admire the things my sisters and mother make and think, “Well I can do that too.”

Here is my first sewing project: Bibs!

Choose your fabrics. For this bib I chose a red gingham and a Dick and Jane print. I also used a piece of flannel fabric in the middle to give the bib some additional structure. However, the flannel is optional. I made some bibs without it and they turned out just as well.

The first step is to iron your fabric. Apparently this is the key to sewing, according to both my mom and mother-in-law. Did they have the same Home Ec. teacher??

Next, trace your pattern onto your fabric. (Who knew they make fabric markers that disappear when you iron it?! Love it!! I’m a gadget girl and I’ll buy anything that makes life easier and more convenient so this marker was right up my alley.) Make sure you trace on the wrong side of the fabric and make sure the flannel fabric is on the bottom, not sandwiched in the middle. I made the mistake of putting it in the middle and after I finished sewing and went to turn it right side out, I realized my error. This led me to my next “first”….the seam ripper. My sister and mother assured me they make mistakes all the time and have to take out stitches. Yeah right.

Start by tracing your favorite bib onto some card stock or heavy paper.

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Place your fabrics on top of each other and pin together.  They should be inside out.   Trace around your bib pattern on one of the outside fabrics.

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Don’t cut out the shape yet. Sew it first, then cut it out. Trust me. It’s much easier!

Sew along the line you traced on the fabric. Remember to leave an opening (2-3 inches) so you can turn your fabric right side out later.

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Once it is sewn, cut out the shape staying about 1/4 inch from the thread.

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Turn the bib right side out. Then use a tool like a chopstick to push out all the edges from inside the bib.

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Iron your bib making sure to iron a nice seam at the opening.

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Sew the opening shut.

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Optional step- I went back and added a top stitch after I was done. I did it because I made a mistake sewing up the opening. Apparently, this is an “advanced” sewing technique

;-) Actually, it made the bib look more finished and I really liked it. It was easy with the aid of a quilting 1/4 edge foot in place.

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Add a snap.

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Hardest part- trying to fix my many mistakes: retreading the bobbin, switching feet, threading the needle, trying not to sew too fast, remembering all the steps.

All in all, not too tough and I’ll admit, pretty fun.  I plan on making more of these bibs to give as gifts to friends.  But this one, is for my little guy, Sean!

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Thanks for having me!

Erika