Minions Run Wild

Before I get started, a round of applause for my amazing sister, Erin, for summoning her inner Jessie Spano and pumping out several kid friendly garments during KCW!  Bravo!  Who knew that sewing with knits would be like crack to her?

My crack is those peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets.  Can I get an intervention please?

My KCW week was consumed by this- Minion costumes for Jet’s 7th birthday party!

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Jet was dead set on a Despicable Me themed birthday party, a theme that is not widely found in your neighborhood stores (though, I bet it will be by next year).  The idea to costume all of the children came from the fact that I really hate coordinating party games.   I was all over Pinterest, trying to get ideas, but I just did not feel like decorating  soda bottles for minion bowling, or pining the scarf on Gru…

So naturally, sew costumes for all, and let them handle the fun!

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Before you declare me out-of-my-gourd, understand that this is not kind of sewing I am proud of.  This was balls to the wall sewing with reckless abandon!   Most of it was done on the serger with super forgiving fleece- no hemming, no button holes, no elastic, nobody cares!

It was totally fun!

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I used the Parsley Pants pattern to draft the bottom portion, and basically attached a rectangular bib.  The long straps took the longest to sew because I used two pieces of fabric and sewed them on the regular machine.  The yellow T-shirts were 4 for $9 at Jo-Ann, and that is where I bought the fleece too (using coupons of course).  The “G” was cut from denim and roughly appliqued.

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My plan worked.  All the boys were so jazzed about the costumes, that all I had to do was supervise the ensuing madness!  That cloud paper was also from Jo-ann’s, and worked well for a photo wall.  Ready for some pics?

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Pei and I attempted to dress as Gru and Lucy.  Yes, I did sew him that scarf.  Avery bailed on her Agnes outfit because I couldn’t get her ponytail to “stick straight in the air”.  #fouryearoldproblems

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A nearly 70 degree day in winter worked to our advantage.  After photos, I just pointed them all toward the door and they ran and played their little hearts out!  We even moved the eating table and pinata out there!

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You better believe we heard lots of “be-do, be-do, be-do”!

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By the way, the pinata and glasses were found on Amazon.

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Birthday boy!

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Little sister!

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Little brother!

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Make-your-own sundaes!

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This was a last-minute paper banner that I let Avery and Jet work on before the party started.  We didn’t finish it in time to hang it.  Oh well.

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The party was a major hit!  I really enjoyed seeing how adorable these little boys were in those costumes.  And before you ask me what I am going to do to top this next year, here  is your answer- Nothing.  We will not be doing the party with all the friends thing every year for every kid.  Keeping it mellow for the next couple years.

I hope that this will be one of those historical birthdays for Jet.     

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He is one incredibly worthy 7 year old.  I Love you buddy!

~Caroline

KCW day two: parsley pants for the boy

The great thing about KCW (for me anyway) is that it inspires me to finish a project that I either threw aside in a fit of frustration, or that needs some more attention or tweaking.  Take these parsley pants for example.

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I made them two weeks ago, and Grant wore them once, but complained that the waist was too tight, and that they were too long.  He was on the verge of rejecting them forever… and almost about to give me this gnarly look if I didn’t do something about it:

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So I spent about 30 minutes yesterday opening up some seams and adjusting the elastic length to make them a bit roomier.

And I fixed the hem by bringing them up about 3/4″.

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And now he’s happy about wearing them.  And it makes me happy to make stuff for him- he’s always really sweet about it and appreciative.  He’s a gem.

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How I obtained that fabric is sort of a funny story… I had seen 2 posts by sewing extraordinaire Sanae. This great tunic, and these adorable baby shoes- both made in the same ticking fabric.  Then about a week later, my friend Ann called me and asked if I wanted any blue ticking fabric.  She had some from a home décor project and had some leftover.  I remembered Sanae’s posts and decided that she made it cool, so of course I said sure!

So Ann dropped it off one day.

TEN YARDS PEOPLE.

I was like, “Ann, did you forget to recover your SOFA??”

An entire roll of blue ticking fabric sits next to my sewing table.

Anyone want some free fabric?  No, really… anyone?

Leave your yardage requests in the comments.  I’ll have it shipped out faster than it would take to wait in the cutting line at Joann’s on coupon extravaganza day!

**update!  I’ve actually had some interest in this fabric (including a local friend who I’ve promised some to as well)…  glad to unload it on you guys so we can deck our kids out in some home dec! haha…  thanks gals for participating in my sorta-giveaway!**

:)

-Erin

Vintage May :: Playclothes for all!

:::This post is a part of the fabulous Vintage May series hosted by Craftiness is not Optional and Skirt as Top:::

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We are so glad that Kristin and Jess invited us to participate in this year’s Vintage May series- and wow, what a line-up of talented ladies!

We’re not worthy!  We’re not worthy!

If you are new here, Welcome!  We are so happy you’re here.

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Last year, we sewed along during Vintage May, using floral sheets from yesteryear- here and here.  This year we got our Fraulein Maria on, repurposing bed linens into playclothes for our brood- that’s 6 kids altogether!

Okay, so we were a teensy bit excited for our FIRST GUEST POST!  ::sister high-fives all around::

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Some of our looks were designed around the unique beauty of vintage bedding, and some just have touches of them, as you’ll see below.  Repurposing sheets and pillowcases is great since a lot of the work is already done for you in the form of seams and hems- just make sure to wash them up in some yummy-smelling detergent.  You might find the aroma to be uniquely “vintage” as well.  ;)

Though our photo shoot reflects some nap-time delirium and lingering (and still lingering…) pink-eye- don’t worry, it ended with a full-on Vintage May/Gangnam-Style dance party!

It only makes sense to start with the oldest… so here’s Jet!

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Caroline:  Thinking about vintage looks for the boys, I kept coming back to this child actor, who was in some of our other favorite childhood movies (Swiss Family Robinson, Pollyanna, and Toby Tyler).  You know him right?  He’s the same in all those movies- scrappy, mischevious, and somewhat annoying.  But he’s so cute in the hats and knickers and suspenders!  So for Jet, I worked up a pair of HG tour pants  using a plaid pillowcase for the stripe.  I decided to chop the pants below the knee to encourage summertime boyish mayhem.  Get it?  May-hem? I love a good sewing pun.  The suspenders are simply made with 1″ elastic, and upcycled leather + buttons. 

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Erin: I fell in love with the details and colors of this pillowcase and knew right away that it needed to be a top for Ell.  I utilized the entire thing.  Normally, I’d leave the existing pillowcase hem for something like this, but I wanted to use the yellow in the flutter straps and the chest band, so I ended up cutting off a good chunk of the bottom.  The back closes with a big vintage button and elastic loop. The shorts are E and E’s bubble pocket sailor shorts pattern in yarn-dyed Essex Linen.  I love all the buttons!  You can get a better glimpse of them up in that first picture.

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Caroline: Avery’s look is also reminiscent of Pollyanna.  If you need a fix, watch this.  I loved her drop-waisted dresses and sailor ties.  Avery’s modernized version (say if Pollyanna were to take up tennis) begins with a Flashback tee (minus the sleeves) on top and vintage pillowcase on the bottom.  I simply cut the pillowcase in half and pleated it to match the circumference up top.   Using the same pillowcase, I made bias tape and stitched it around the collar and arm holes.

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ERIN: I love the idea of little boys in vests, but it’s not a look you really see anymore.  So, I decided to try one out for Grant using Lindsay’s tutorial modifying it into a racerback… and I love it!  I made it with Essex linen (same as Ell’s shorts), and the pockets are cut from the hem of a pillowcase.  The inside is a pretty yellow floral sheet (the most masculine one I had).  Grant’s pants are based on the Parsley pants pattern, but modified a bit to make them skinnier, and of course shorter.  If we had a creek out back, you bet this boy would be wading it.

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Erin: For Corinne, I definitely wanted to keep it easy!  I love the idea of a one-piece outfit for babies, so I made some bloomers from a sweet pillowcase I had and then attached it to a basic tank onesie- I used 1/4″ elastic to gather the leg holes, and added 3 snaps at the crotch.  I thought it’d be fun to add a faux peter pan collar since, they were and are all the rage, aren’t they?  I appliqued some shiny gold fabric and added a sweet ivory ribbon rosebud in the center.  It’s pretty, but so practical for summer days.  (note to self: make more of these.)

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Caroline: Wes is wearing faux-suspenders (grosgrain ribbon, d-rings, steam-a-seam) attached to a onesie, along with pillowcase lined pants (based on A.M.H’s Quick Change Trousers).  His newsboy cap is from this free online pattern/video tutorial that I found for an adult, and eventually had success with scaling it down for a small head. 

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Do you remember this part in the Sound of Music?

Captain Von Trapp: “Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old DRAPES?”

Fraulein Maria: “Mmm-hmmm. And having a MARVELOUS time!”

Duh!

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Thank you all for stopping by!  Come back tomorrow for a tutorial on Corinne’s pillowcase romper- it’s an easy one! :)

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And if you know what’s good for you, check out today’s other Vintage May post by Jessica of Happy Together.  Thanks again Kristin and Jess for letting us in on the fun!

So long, farewell….

Erin + Caroline

I made a hat

…for a stuffed monkey.

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Not my intention.

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While looking around blogland for Gatsby-inspired digs (can’t wait for this movie AND Vintage May!), I stumbled upon this random free pattern and instructional video for a “flat cap”.  Thought I’d give it a try.  But I wasn’t sure about how to get the right size for printing.  What’s a dpi anyway?

Whatever I ended up with looked about right for a kid…okay maybe a baby, I’ve got one of those.

Wrong.

 I knew it as I got halfway in.  But I was having so much fun! It’s actually a great pattern!

My mother’s helper will love this for her AGDs!

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Watch out for the food police!  I love that my first rule is eat with utensils.  That’s embarrasing.

We had some major laughs around here with each kid and husband trying this thing on!

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TWO SNAPS UP IN A ZIG ZAG FORMATION!

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I’ll have another go at this soon, just increased it 30%, so wish me luck.

And, now I will EAT YOU MONKEY!

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~Caroline

Lone Wolf

For three weeks leading up to Halloween, Grant declared “I gonna be a WOLF”.  I suggested he maybe be Batman or Spiderman since we had those costumes handy from his cousin, but he refused.

I had some time one night when the kids went to bed early, so I grabbed my Oliver + S book and fulfilled his request by making the cozy winter hood.  I used some creepy faux fur that I had from when he was a wolf 2 years ago… really…. see below:

Gray fleece for the lining, and charcoal corduroy to line the ears, some brown grosgrain ribbon for the ties.  To keep the ears standing up I hand-stitched a bit around the base of them.

As soon as it was done I was psyched.  Totally looked like a wolf (to me)…but could pass for a donkey as well I’m told. ;)  I snuck into his room and put it on his sleeping head.  It fit perfectly.

The next morning he saw it on my desk and pretty much ran away screaming.  He wouldn’t go near it!  Even after seeing his sisters try it on, me, dad…. even the dog… he was not going near it.

So, I brought it along to my Mom’s 60th birthday party at a local vineyard.  We had no problem getting it on anyone else!

Here’s everyone but Grant gettin’ their wolf on…

My nephew Jet.  Obviously G had no problem being chased by a wolf.

And Avery.  How cute is she?

 Ellery rockin’ the wolf….

And baby-wolf Corinne:

Even my Aunt Joan got into it:

 We offered up 2 other costumes for Grant, which he refused…. until last minute when he decided on a “worker-guy” (construction hat and flannel shirt & jeans) I hardly ever sew for my boy, so it’s kind of a bummer that he wont wear this!

He has since told me he wants a “truck” hat.

Shoulda known!!!

-Erin

Superhero onesie tutorial

In my recent experience, I have found that capes make a perfect gift for girls and boys, whatever the age.   You are never too old for superhero fantasy play!  At least that’s what my husband would have me believe.  He even made up his own hero called “The Nap-Master”, whose powers become stronger when he gets a few minutes of sleep.  Nice, right?

Anyway, this project allows for the youngest in the family to become a caped crusader in his own right.   And just in time for Halloween!  As I whipped up this bad-boy (2 hours before it was due to be gifted!), I tried to take enough photos to pull it into a little tutorial for ya.  Hopefully, there not too many gaps in the process!

First, gather your materials-  a plain onesie (or tee-shirt), a 12 x 15 rectangle of cape fabric, and scraps for your applique design. and thread to match!

Fold, press, and pin 3 of the cape’s edges.  Or, save time on this simple project by serging your edges and leaving them that way.

Finish your 3 sides with a 1/8″ edge stitch.

Next, machine gather the unfinished edge by sewing a straight stitch (do not back-stitch at the start or finish) set to the highest stitch length.

The fabric will gather when you pull on the top threads at each end.  Gather until the length of your gathered edge measures the length of the back collar of your onesie.

At this point, I was running late and decided to quickly secure my gathered edge by folding it over and running a zigzag stitch along the edge.  Then, I pinned the cape from shoulder seam to shoulder seam.

Secure the cape to the onesie with a zigzag stitch.

I snuck in a little ribbon tag for a signature look.

Now, on to the applique.  I always use Steam-a-Seam 2, a double-sided fusible interfacing, to attach my designs.  Iron paper to the wrong side of your fabric.  Draw your design on the paper, but be careful if you are drawing a letter- you will need to draw it backwards, or draw it on the right side of the fabric!  I had my husband draw me a superhero-y lightening bolt.  My own version just did not look cool.

Cut out your design, remove paper, and iron to your onesie.

Finish the applique by using a small, tight zigzag stitch around the edge of your design.  Practice your zigzagging on scrap fabric to get it just right.  I thought this gold contrasting thread would really make it pop!   And, that’s it!  Super baby to the rescue!

*Disclaimer*

I am not responsible for atempted flying off furniture by caped babies or toddlers!  However, if instead your child transforms into a fearless “Nap-Master”, I will gladly accept credit!  Good luck with that one.

~ Caroline

Balancing Act

While Erin is discovering how to balance life as a mother of three (take your time girl!), the Chang kids are discovering balance in a more literal sense.  Balance Boards!

I think this is the first “pin” from my Pinterest page that I have actually followed up on.  The pin came from elsie marley and includes a great little tutorial that she did for last year’s Celebrate the Boy series.  I love Meg’s find-whatever-you’ve-got-around-the-house approach.  Later,  I came upon a neato version with bumpers made from pool noodles, from Family Fun Magazine (February issue).  I pretty much followed their project instructions step-by-step.  I played with two different board sizes.  Basic white board from Lowes, and pvc piping there too. Got the Duck Tape and noodle from Target.  That was all I needed.

 In the process, I became a born-again worshiper of Duck Tape!  So fun, so easy, and now, so decorative!

Avery was all over the balance boards, such a natural that I wonder if we have a future snowboarder or surfer on our hands.  Maybe my tweenage dreams will live on through Avery…

 

Jet got in on the action too.  Though he shall remain faceless.

We gave a couple boards to our friend Olivia, for her 5th birthday (of course I didn’t snap her photo while she tested them out, errr.).  Still, they were a hit with children of all ages at the party.

All in all a great project, and a cool rainy day activity for the kiddos.  Or, just do it for the Duck Tape.

~Caroline

Pants for the boy (kcwc day 5)

I couldn’t end my week of sewing without making something for my boy, Grant.  Nothing, too exciting here- except for the fact that he’s actually getting some homemade clothing love, which is rare in these parts!

I used a the “quick-change trousers” pattern from Handmade Beginnings.  It took a long time to cut the pattern pieces and all the fabric since these pants are reversible.  I had to scrounge for some boyish fabric… I had a lot of this charcoal blue corduroy, and some random clearance fabric.

They definitely fit well, a tad big, but if he can do his normal thing like climbing on tables and chairs- I’m happy.

I’m glad I took part in KCWC this time around… I did my fair share of sewing, but I am definitely out of steam.

Looking forward to several days of beautiful weather while my sewing machine takes a nice long nap.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Erin

**one more thing… here’s Ellery actually wearing her new sweater.  She kept it on for most of the day at preschool… success!

Baby Bibs

I stopped by a friend’s house last week with some baby-warming goodies… some post-natal comfort food for her and her family, and some homemade bibs for her new boy, Cole.  These bibs are a cinch to make and are actually the very first things I learned to sew… (the pattern is from Amy Karol’s book, Bend-the-Rules Sewing).  The back of the bib is made with soft cotton flannel.

I wanted to use fabric suitable for a boy of course, but that didn’t look babyish.  The owl fabric is one of my favorites.  I got it from an upholstry fabric store (U-fab here in C’ville) and I’ve used it to make Grant a pair of overalls, a pillow for our living room, and a tote (you’ll see another version of the owl in the last picture).  You can’t really see it here, but once I appliquéd the owl, I used gold thread and stitched all around the square- it really made it look cool. 

These cute bugs have crazy bugged-out eyes!  Love them!  The fabric was a great clearance buy from Fabric.com.   It’s by Jay McCarroll for Free Spirit.  I love his designs, and have used his garden bunnies for Ellery and my niece Avery’s Easter Dresses.  His kooky alien-bird is on the appliqué below:

For the appliqué, I cut a rough shape with my desired image in the center.  I then ironed on some lightweight interfacing to the back of the image.  Then, I cut my shape out into a clean square (or oval) and placed it on the bib.  I ironed it again and then pinned it in the center.  Stitched around the border with a straight stitch, and then using my gold thread, zig-zagged all around it to add some bling. 

So, if you’re like me and have lots of friends makin’ babies these days, give these a shot.  They are quick and unique and stay nice through many washes- my kids have been wearing the same ones for a year and a half and they still look pretty darn cute (the bibs too!).  :) 

-Erin 

It’s all about this guy…

It’s been a while since I’ve sewn anything for Grant… He’s gotten a couple of pairs of overalls and a mobile, a few other random things along the way…but nothing as of late.

 I went to a great yard sale a few weeks ago and after chatting with the owner for a bit about making clothing, she brought out her gigantic secret stash of buttons, adorable vintage girl’s dresses, and a few yards of fabric.  I paid $20 for a piece of furniture, and she “threw in” some goodies.  One of them being this awesome fabric by Painting Red Rhinos:

 How cute are those little surfboards?  The first thing that came to mind was to make my boy a bucket hat:

The pattern came from the book, Oliver + S Little Things to Sew

There are so many great little things to make from this book- I highly recommend it!

The hat is reversible- I lined this one with yellow twill. 

I love the glimpse of color that pokes out…

 I had enough fabric to make a pair of comfy pants… I drafted a pattern from an old pair of pants and they seem to fit him perfectly. 

Future romance-novel cover model?? ;)

Where’s the beach? 

- Erin