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

 

 

OPEN 24/7.

 

 On a bit of a whim, I opened an etsy shop.  I have always tinkered with the idea, and then at the beginning of the year started making some things, but sort of set it all aside for a while.  A month ago or so, I picked it all back up and just started sewing like a crazy lady.  At the moment my kids really don’t need any more clothes, so it was fun to focus on producing things for others.  My angle was/is to just make the things I like.  That’s it.  If they sell, then I’ll make more!  Of course, it’s summertime, and you all know I fell in love with this pattern, so I pumped out many of them.  I think they’re perfect summer attire.  I hope my buyers love them.  I am considering making a few pairs of these for the boys out there, and I’m thinking already about items for Fall.

I will mention that part of the reason for opening the shop is to blow through some of my current fabric stash.  I want to sew a lot, but I simply cannot afford to buy all the fabric to just make things for my family.  It just feels excessive when my kiddos have hand-me-downs galore!  I hope that after a few more sales (I’ve already had two- wooohoo!) I can go back to doing what I do best- late night online fabric shopping.

Anyway, hope you’ll check it out!

-Erin

 

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I have been sewing like a crazy person, a.k.a. Jesse Spano, a whole lot this past month.  Like cutting out several projects in one fell swoop, labeling fabrics, staying up late, watching 19 Kids and Counting (OH C’MON… you watch it too)/Intervention (the girl who huffs computer duster. YIKES.)/Inside Amy Schumer, and sewing until my back hurts.  Hey, sometimes you got it and sometimes you don’t.  It’s rare for me to be on a straight-up sewing binge, but currently I am.

(And lest you think all I do is sew and watch trashy TV all night…I don’t.  Though sometimes I accidentally put on Peppa Pig, not realizing that my kids are in BED and ASLEEP… and it’ll just play for like 10 minutes before it occurs to me.  Do you ever do that?  Turn on the old boob tube after the kiddos are down, and immediately hit up Nick Jr? What the?! Anyway, I also enjoy the occasional TED talk or Creative Bug on youtube… I love the meet so-and-so videos.  And sewing in the daytime calls for Pandora.  Moving on.)

One pattern that I’ve been pretty smitten with lately is the Hummingbird dress by rabbit rabbit creations.  I stumbled upon it one night while searching around on Etsy and I bought it right away.  I’ve already sewn several variations, but this one here is a fave.

p.s. that mole in the middle of her back is also my fave. :)

I love the fitted bodice and the elastic casing in the back which adds comfort and a casual vibe.  There is the option of adding flutter sleeves to the straps, but I am all for the clean look of this for now.

As for the fit, it’s just perfect.  I sewed a 6 (Ell is a new-ish 6 year old), and it’s right on the money.

(update: there are couple of glitches in this pattern.  first, at the back bodice piece- which is a long rectangle- a 1/2 should be added to the width (not length!) of both the outer and the lining back bodice piece,  because when attaching it to the front bodice at the underarms, it is too short and doesn’t quite match up with the width of the front bodice piece, which then requires you to adjust some things when attaching the skirt to the finished bodice. second, the instructions suggest that you can enclose the gathered skirt piece into the bodice and the bodice lining so there is no raw seam inside… however, this is incredibly hard to do once the elastic is already in the back bodice piece.  I recommend you try attaching the skirt to the bodice and lining first, but leave the sides at the underarms unattached- then thread your elastic in, and finish enclosing the rest of the skirt. I decided to just attach the bodice to the skirt without enclosing and I am more than happy with my result, but I did want to include that in here for you in case you make this dress and want a very professional look inside!)

I’ve been really drawn to color in the last few months… I used to buy a lot of prints, but realized that I tire of them really quickly and they don’t seem to get much play at my sewing machine.

You already know that I’m a cotton couture lover (no really, Michael Miller… where’s my sponsorship?!!).  It’s just the perfect weight, has some sort of sheen to it, and if you look closely and compare it to say, Kona cotton, it seems more tightly woven, which really seems to give it this softness factor.  I used it here in watermelon for the skirt, and in gold for the sweet little straps.  The bodice is a solid voile in coral (lined with cream cotton), I’m sorta/kinda/alotta in love with this combo.

This dress is actually not for my Ellery (Sorry, kid).

  But more on that soon…

-Erin

 

A Birthday Popover

My oldest kiddo, Ellery Kate, is going to be 6 in 7 days!  She’s been counting down for two weeks now.

I wanted to make her a little birthday dress.  Something, easy, sweet, casual, and flowy.

Enter one of my favorite little (free) patterns, the Oliver + S popover sundress.

I’ve probably made about 8 of these dresses (not including the doll version!) and it will always be a fave.  It’s such a quick sew, and can easily be modified to make it more interesting.

Here, I modified the skirt piece, by cutting pieces the entire width of the fabric and then gathering at the center where it attaches to the yoke.

I also added a lining (I hacked up an old bridesmaid dress for that- leaving the existing hem), which is very easy to do with this pattern, and I’m so glad I did.  It had to have something under the cream fabric since you’d be able to see her Anna and Elsa undies (Do you wanna build a snowman???? sorry… you probably just got that out of your head), but mostly, I wanted a more fun, billowy look for my girl.

(By the way, I originally stacked the lining and outer piece together and then gathered, but decided that gathering them separately and just sort of squishing them together with pins when attaching the yoke, yields a more fluffy look there… and that’s sort of what I was going for.)

One of Ellery’s favorite handmades was this popover in knit.  Wore the dickens out of it.  I loved the pieced look of the yoke on that one, so I did the same idea here by piecing together some of my favorite Michael Miller cotton couture solids (from left to right: violet, jewel, creamsicle, mist, fog, and wedgewood).  The straps are also cotton couture, in cinnamon… and…the main dress is made in (yup, cotton couture) cream.

Yo Michael Miller!  Can I get a sponsorship?  Or at least a WOOT WOOT!

Ellery thinks it’s HILARIOUS that we only got one long stalk of asparagus in our garden… we planted that shit 3 years ago and it’s supposed to be coming up like crocuses now.  Ridiculous.

Ell has finally started to climb the trees in our yard.  Which is good because there are like 50.

Get going, girl.

…And happy, happy birthday to my best little friend.  Love you like cray cray.

-Erin

Prayers for Wes

Three years ago, our family’s world seemed to fall apart when my Mother was diagnosed with Fallopian Tube cancer.  Our easy, breezy, happy lives suddenly felt heavy and sad.  It’s terrifying when something like that happens to someone you love, and you immediately start thinking the worst.  But time went by and treatment started and somehow it all just sort of became our ‘new normal’- we learned to adapt, while my mother began her battle.   And three years later, after two intensive surgeries, and two cycles of chemo, my mom is doing well.  We hope that after she completes an upcoming cycle of radiation, that we can say “BUH-BYE” to her cancer for good.

And while it never feels right hearing that your mom, or someone close to you has cancer, you learn that cancer does not discriminate.  It can happen to anyone.

But, perhaps there is nothing more unsettling or unnatural than hearing a child has cancer.

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 Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago, my sister (and co-creator of this little blog) Caroline, got the news that her youngest child, 15-month old Wes, has been diagnosed with high-risk Neuroblastoma stage IV.   News that made all of our hearts just SINK.  To say we’re all devastated, shocked, and sad is an understatement.  Screeching halt?  I think I heard it ringing in my ears for days.

To imagine how my sister and brother-in-law felt upon hearing this diagnosis just kills me.  Life literally changed in an instant for them.

And for little Wes.

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:::Gee and Wes practice animal sounds:::

Wes has a big fight ahead of him, and we prepared to see him through it.  As the doctor explained, his cancer is highly aggressive and they will treat it aggressively.  Chemo has already begun.  Bone marrow transplant, surgery, radiation, and other procedures are on the horizon.  He is GREAT hands here in Charlottesville at University of Virginia Childrens Hospital with a fabulous pediatric oncologist, and she has given us faith that Wes can get better.  Caroline and Pei have been taking turns spending days and nights with him, and they are learning lots of new fancy medical jargon.

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Caroline and her husband have been remarkably strong… I am just in awe of them.  She is the one showing us how to get through this- with grace and love and a positive attitude.  I have always admired Caroline’s mothering.  She is a sweet mama with a ton of patience.  She is celebrating the good days, when Wes is eating well, being happy, and smiling. He loves to make animal sounds, drink the hospital dry of the complimentary apple juice, watch videos on the iPad, and scribble on paper.  A couple of nights ago, he even broke the 7th floor curfew and partied until past 10:00!

He is such a sweet boy.

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Wes has lots of adoring cousins to FaceTime with, and so many friends and family members to visit him while he’s in the hospital.  Surely Caroline and Pei will see a gazillion meals pass through their door, home-cooked by helpful, loving friends.  Older siblings Avery and Jet have lots of playdates and school activities to keep them busy, and of course they have me, their “Shao” (Chinese for little Aunt) at their beck and call, their other Auntie (our older sis, Erika, who lives in Chicago) to send them kooky videos of her doing old high school cheers, and two sets of doting grandparents to love them up!  One amusing thing we discovered, is that Wes and my Mom will be sharing the same Radiologist at UVA.  How’s that for Funny-not-Funny?  Hey, if it keeps our family on his mind more than usual, then it can only be a good thing, right?

We are Wes’s warriors, and we stand along side the Chang family as they begin this journey.

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I am asking you loyal readers, on behalf of my sister, to please keep Wes and his family in your thoughts and prayers.  If there is a community out there that can do that I know it’s the supportive, inspiring sewing blog one that Caroline and I have come to know and love over the last 3 (wait-almost 4!) years.

Lots of love,

Erin

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: The End

Like I said the other day, I’m feeling super-charged this week.  Kind of like Jessie Spano on the Saved by the Bell when she was on speed for 72 hours straight… (“I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m… so…. scared!”)

Only, I’m not high on speed.

I’m high on knits.

(and if you know the episode I’m talking about, let’s be best friends.)

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So, I’m back with a couple of outfits for the kid who needs them the most.  Ellery is growing out of pretty much everything.

Above is yet another Flashback tee.  Yup, still addicted.  I modified it to be A-line, and also cut it about 3-4 inches longer.

Then.

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The Geranium hijacked the Flashback.

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I used the ruffle sleeve pattern piece from my beloved Geranium pattern (zigzag’d the edges with gold thread) and basted it to the curve at the top of the sleeve, and then continued on as usual.  The fabric is Cotton Couture in Cinnamon and it’s really a neat neutral, but still interesting, color.  I like the contrast of it with the eggplant jersey (from Joann) and the greige (grey-beige y’all)sleeves- repurposed from a top of my own.

The leggings are made with the same brushed knit I showed you the other day.  They are so cozy. I’ve been calling them her Polar Vortex leggings.  Oh, and in true Ellery style, she slept in them last night- which is always a good sign, right?

I used the Oliver + S Playtime Leggings digital pattern, and I’m in love!

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Now.  Do yourself a favor: buy this pattern.

(It’s now being offered as an individual pattern, so you gotta check it out!)

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I cut a size 6 for Ellery, and I would say they are a pretty perfect fit, though I’m not sure it’s the perfect legging fabric.  It didn’t seem to bounce back quite as well as I’d like, but still totally wearable (and sleep-able!).  And hey, if these end up as pajama bottoms…it’s okay because I’ll probably be spooning her whenever she wears them.

Moving on to outfit number 2.

Remember the other day how I said I’d be taking care of Ellery’s high-water leggings with the worn-out knees?

I think these are a pretty great solution.  What do you think?

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Things really started clicking as this pair came together.  Great stretchy fabric, not to thin. And concise, straightforward directions that Oliver + S fans have always raved about.  Sewing is fun.  Sewing leggings is the most fun.

Oh, and can I mention how FAST they are to sew?  I started this pair at 2:15 one day (I distinctly remember looking at the clock) and by 2:35 when I walked down the driveway to get Ellery off the bus, all I had left to do was pull the elastic through the casing and sew it shut.  Boom.  Leggings.

With heart knee patches!

Here’s a quick look at my patch placement in case you’re interested:

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(My heart patch is about 3″ wide at the widest part, and about 3 1/2″ long.  The point is about 7 3/4″ up from the bottom edge, and about 1 1/2″ to the left of that edge on the right.  I fiddled around with an old pair of my daughters leggings to get an idea of where they should go, but maybe this could be helpful if you’re making a size 6 as well. note: I cut my pattern a tad longer – maybe 3/8″, though I think it’s plenty long as it is.)

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The knee patches are 2 layers of red cotton knit just stuck on there and top-stitched.  We have thrown out several pairs of fairly new pairs of store-bought leggings (I’m talking to you, Old Navy) because of holes in the knees.  Just thin fabric I guess.  Or maybe she plays too hard.

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For the tee, “I took a little help from the store”, (as Rachael Ray would say with her pre-shredded carrots) and bought one from Target.  I then thought of a fun V-day saying, then I googled it to see if I was clever enough to have invented it (no, I’m not), and freezer paper stenctiled away with some gold, red, and black fabric paint.

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I printed the I’M WITH on my computer and traced it, but tried my best to free-hand the Cupid and arrow.

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Oh, hey! Cupid’s awake!

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I think the only way for me to participate in KCW (and what I did this time around) is to plan ahead, cut out fabric, set aside patterns in the days before, so all I have to do is sew.  It’s just too much of a disorganized mess if I go between cutting to sewing to cleaning up… etc.

I hope you all had fun sewing along for KCW, and if you didn’t, well… there’s always the Springtime!

-Erin

**Oliver + S kindly supplied me with the Playtime Leggings pattern.  Several patterns are not being offered as single PDFs.  You can check them out in their shop!**

kcw day five: flashback dress

 There are plenty of times (like weeks at a time) that I don’t feel inspired to make anything, or my kids don’t need anything, or I just have no creative juices.  But I’m feeling super-charged this week and I think it’s because I’m conquering my fears about sewing with knits.  And it’s mostly because I have too- since it’s all my kids want to wear.

Caroline commented on my flashback tee for Coco the other day, “Congratulations, you are now a Flashback addict.”

Yup.  I am.

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I made this late at night, and could’ve been way more precise about sewing it all, but I wasn’t.  Basically, I cut the shirt off a couple of inches under the arm pit and added a nice big gathered rectangle (I stitched that to the bodice by using zigzag stitch and then I serged it). There is some definite wonkiness (at the gathered seam, and the hem), but Ell loves it!

(a-hem.  This photo shoot was a DOOZY.)

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This rib knit was pretty stretchy and even though I cut a size 5 for my kid, it really started to stretch out by the time she got home from school when I snapped these pictures.  The gray baby rib is from Joann and it’s awesome- great stretch recovery (like all my new lingo?).  It’s great for necklines and cuffs.

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The coral floral (hehe) fabric is from fabric.com, but I can’t seem to find it there anymore.  I got it for $3.49/yard and I am willing to take my chances on cheap knit from an online store.  I am not one of those “have to see it/feel it in the store” type of people.  There is excitement in a little risky fabric shopping!  I did make sure it was mostly cotton, with a little lycra, and I think that’s a good little rule to go buy when buying for basic shirts/dresses.

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Girl is growing like a weed.  Those high-waters and worn-out knees are being taken care of tomorrow, fyi.

Stayed tuned.

-Erin

Return of the Rookie

I’ll admit it guys, I’m in the weeds this holiday season.  Weeded.  Wee-to-the-DED.  And not in a good way.  If you know what I mean by “in the weeds”, you have probably worked as a server in a busy restaurant.  If you haven’t, then I don’t know you.

Basically, I’m overwhelmed.  Who isn’t?  The lofty plans I had for handmade do-dads for every teacher and person my kid high-fives are probably not gonna happen.  The cookies?  Sorry, you’ll have to settle for chocolate dipped pretzel rods… and I’m pretty sure my girl had her tongue in sprinkles before they were sprinkled.  Handmade dresses or jammies?  Maybe in time for Chinese New Year.

Ya, sure, we celebrate that.

I think I’m starting to get that if you are a parent of children (sorry, dogs don’t count) then you’ve got to get your Christmas act together in September.  Get organized, and get cracking!  Or, you can just be normal, and chill out and relax.  But no!  I can’t!  Jessica said it first and said it best, “Craftiness is Not Optional“.  Best blog name in blogland.  Cause its so freaking true.

Crafters are just not normal.

So, I figured that instead of blogging about sewing bias tape on a tree skirt, *yawn*, I’d introduce you to a little someone special…

Our new nephew, Brady!

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Isn’t he adorable?  He arrived 5 weeks early (November 3, MY birthday!), and was healthy, and cherubic even!  We really hope to get our hands on him soon.

You might remember meeting Brady’s Mom, our big sister Erika, in this post from a while back, when she surprised, okay, shocked us all by learning how to sew during a summer visit.  Since many of you have wondered what became of the “Rookie Seamstress”  (okay, well at least Kristin inquired ;)- girl you always got our back!)  I’m here with the update!

Guess what?  She made this.

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A hospital gown so that she could deliver Brady in style!

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Over the course of a year or so, Erika has sewn a little with her machine- more bibs, a pair of toddler pants.  But, when she found out she was expecting #2, she was on a mission to duplicate a handmade hospital gown that she was given a few years ago before her #1.  Erin and I each borrowed said gown for our #3s.  It really does make you feel special to change into something with a pop of color while you are snuggling up to your brand new baby and paparazzi is in full force.  There’s a little Kardashian in all of us, no?

In order to create this green gown, Erika pretty much deconstructed the gifted one to get a basic pattern.

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Its a pretty basic shape, but, she had to figure out the snaps and openings which got a little tricky for her.

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Erika got some help from our mom with the finishings, and she might have declared that she would NEVER SEW AGAIN, but seriously, how good is this? Please help us convince her not to Craigslist her machine!

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By the way, these photos were taken this summer when E was visiting.  I wanted her to guest blog like she did the first time, her perspective is so blunt honest, but she just kept avoiding me when I’d ask.  Its not for everyone.

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Maybe looking back on this project after its been a few months, will help her to realize how great of a job she did.  Its empowering to make a wearable garment!  Awesome work Erika- on that gown, and even more so, on this little guy!

Brady

We love him already!

~Caroline

Meet “Sergei”

My new serger!

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I’m sorry, I’m just cracking myself up at the thought of naming it Sergei, like he’s a sexy Russian figure skater (Wait, is that one big oxymoron?).  Sergei. Whatever I call this bad boy, we are about to have a good, long, rollercoaster of a relationship I’m sure.

I actually thought I was getting a serger for my last birthday, 1 year ago.  The day before my birthday last year, my husband told me not to give him a hard time about spending too much money on me, blah blah blah.  To his credit, he is a VERY thoughtful and thorough gift giver.  I figured he’d called my mom or Erin for ideas, and they’d told him about the machine.  Wrong.

As I lay in bed, just about at my due date, eating breakfast with Jet and Avery (which was my only birthday request that year, besides wishing for a healthy baby), Pei goes off to get my real gift.  He mutters, “You probably already know what it is.”

I mutter, “Is is a Serger?”

“A what,” he says?

Nope.  It was a 47 inch flat screen TV!

“Wow, thanks honey.”

I’ll leave the story alone at that.

This year, with a little help from my birdies (thanks Mom and Erin), Pei nailed it!  Yay, I am finally one of the cool kids.  I’ve spent the last week getting to know Sergei, and just running it on the factory settings with those colorful threads.  I grabbed a few knits from the to-be-upcycled stash, and played.

I wanted to see if I could make a Flashback Tee entirely on the serger.

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Did it.  This very Bert and Ernie shirt was made from an old baby blanket that I had for Jet.  Yes, I do know my sleeve stripes should be horizontal, just didn’t have enough fabric.  Once, I felt slightly confident with things, I pulled out this too-small sweater, and decided to hack it up.

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I turned it into a sweater dress for Avery.  It is basically just the Flashback pattern elongated, making use of the hems that were already in place.

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The little bow, a barrette, is working to strategically hold that collar down.  I’ll put a few more stitches in after she goes to bed, but I think she will make sure that the bow is here to stay.

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Avery’s little Wonder Woman boots are by Kenneth Cole Reaction.  My M-I-L just couldn’t help herself.

Since it’s always fun to see how these photo shoots really go, here are a few more shots…

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That collar was tricky.  I wanted to fancy the look up a bit by tacking on a gold-ish knit fabric that was sort of hard to manage.  I attached it with the regular sewing machine.

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Still workin it, but losing steam.

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“Mind if I sit?”

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“Ugh.  Now can we play my game?”

Okay, okay.

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This girl is a piece of work!

I’m defintely excited for my future with Sergei!  If you are considering buying a serger, its time.  Knits are where it’s at!  Especially if you want your children to wear what you make for them.  Thanks for visiting!

Enjoy your weekend!

~Caroline