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   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!).  🙂 


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


For a heroic family

Superhero capes!  I wanted to craft something special for my dear friend Mary’s daughter, Reagan, who was diagnosed with leukemia last November.   At only 15 months old, she entered treatment at CCMC in Hartford, and essentially lived there for the following 7 months. Let’s just say that this little girl kicked kancer’s keister (I read that if you change its spelling, you take away its power… I da know.)!  Reagan has remained “in remission” since her first round of chemo, and is back at home with her two older siblings, where she belongs!  

This isn’t Reagan by the way, but “Rainbow Reagan’s” cape modeled by Avery.

At her age, adjusting to the new norm was easy, but for Mary, Bill, Liam and Charlotte, it was a monumental shake up.  How they managed to keep it all together astounds me!  Indeed there is not just one superhero in this family…

“Lightening Liam”, at 5 years old, is also a force to be reckoned with!

And “Shining Charlotte”, 3,  will blind you with her star quality!

Oh, I’d be running for the hills if I were cancer, I mean kancer.

Though this project was not without its ups and downs, and rips and tears (funny that tears and tears are spelled the same),  it was very enjoyable and gratifying.   Keeping the Keany kids in my mind, I was motivated and inspired, and even experienced a rare crafters’ calm (maybe you knitters are familiar with this, but i think its safe to say that sewing doesn’t allow for much zenning-out).   I have now designed and sewn 5 capes (see batman and superman), so I am pretty much an expert.  These costume fabrics can be really tricky since they do not respond to a hot iron very well.  Reagan’s cape (like the batman cape) is basically reversible, which is probably an easier design to sew, given these fabrics.  Hemming the sides on Liam’s and Charlotte’s was by far the toughest part.  The appliques were fun and experimental, and secured with my friend steam-a-seam2.

The capes were happily received by the Keanys and I hope to update this post when Mary sends me photos of her little heroes!



Hi all, its Caroline!  After a long hiatus (due to a hellish math class) I am back and ready to contribute to the blog.  Erin did such a great job holding it down, and I must compliment her on how far she has come with her sewing- she only started a little over a year ago!

Even though I have been crafting very little over the past few months, I am always collecting bits of inspiration from websites, bloggers, and clothing catalogues.  My list of “things to try” is a mile long, and who knows if I will ever get to much of it.  But I did manage to piece together an applique design that was inspired by this season’s MiniBoden collection. 

Ta da!  Not bad for a knock-off ay?  I bought a bunch of these organic onesies at the H&M outlet store during my last visit to Los Angeles.  The long sleeves were $4.95 and the short sleeves were $3.95!  I can’t wait to go back and load up again!  An appliqued onesie makes a unique (eh-hem) gift for a baby, like this little guy:

I made this next one a while back about an hour before the birthday party for a one-year-old pal named Kenji.  See how simple?

My copy-cat seagull was not as simple or quick, but I learned a lot in the process.  Next time I would consider stabilizing the jersey fabric before sewing, perhaps like this:

I don’t know.  It was a labor of love, worth it for such an adorable nephew!

Now, get to work boy!


Cape Expectations

Jet’s superhero phase is in full swing now and he made it very clear to us before Christmas that he wanted needed a cape, make that two capes- a Batman cape AND a Superman cape.   This was very exciting for me: a boy project! 

I focused on Batman for Christmas and hoped to find some guidance and inspiration searching others’ blogs.  I didn’t find much out there that matched the vision in my head, so I decided to go with my vision: shiny, sleek material, navy and black, and scalloped (or inverted scallop?) at the hem, and a distinguished collar.   With a lot of luck it worked.  TA DA!    

This isn’t going to be much of a tutorial, but I did shoot some progress photos.  Please feel free to email me with questions. First, I cut my main fabric pieces. I folded each in half for symmetry, but otherwise just kinda went for it.

Next came the Batman logo applique. Somewhere in this process, I realized that I did not have any solid yellow fabric to use!  So, I snuck into my sleeping children’s bedroom and went dresser diving.   Found a mostly plain  tee-shirt that was the perfect yellow- go me!

I used steam-a-seam2 to fuse my applique pieces before securing with a zig-zag stitch.

With the applique finished, and the body of the cape sewn and turned, I had to attack the collar.  I did not have a plan for this.  It took two tries, and did I mention luck?  I was so pleased with the results, the buttons helped to dignify the look.  I do feel that Batman is the most dignified of superheros, don’t you?

Since I was on a roll, I used some scraps to applique a onesie for baby cousin Grant. Yay!

I was so excited to give this special gift to Jet that I could not wait for Christmas, and decided to present it on the Eve.  His reaction was perfection, bashful at first, but so proud when he put it on.  He was thrilled, and it is now a regular part of his wardrobe. 

Not long after I gifted Jet with his first cape, he casually mentioned, “But Mom, I wanted a Superman cape too”.   I reminded him that his birthday was right around the corner, be patient.  Last week, I threw it down again- and even had to destroy another yellow tee-shirt of Jet’s! 

Here’s a little trick (probably not legal) I’ve been using to sketch my applique designs:

And that Steam-A-Seam2 comes in handy again:

I was kind of lazy with this one, no lining, no buttons.  But my fabric choice was much more difficult to work with.  It has great flow, but was not as much fun to make.

The important thing was that the birthday boy LOVED it!

I’m off to bed faster than a speeding bullet.

– Caroline

Gifts for little ones

One of my favorite things to do now that I sew, is to make gifts for friends.  Making something with your own two hands, something unique and in your own style is so gratifying… Oh, and it usually costs less (as long as you don’t count your time as money of course!).  This month, a little friend of ours celebrated her 1st birthday.  She is a girly girl- as much as you can be at the age of 1…  I really wanted to make her something pretty…

I used this tutorial, and tweaked it a bit so it would fit our friend.  The ruffled sleeves ended up looking more like capped sleeves when I was finished, but I liked it even more because of that.  I think the buttons added just the right amount of pink too…. I can’t wait to see her in it this summer at the park! 

For my husband’s cousin who is expecting her first baby this March, I decided to throw my fears aside about making bias tape aside and delve into the kimono pj’s from this Amy Butler book. 

The bias tape making went very well… so much cuter than the stuff I’ve been buying!   This is a 0-3 month size and I have to say that Amy’s instructions for cutting a 19″ piece of elastic for the waistband seemed WAY to big.  I followed her instructions anyway, but once they were made I went back in and cut out a couple inches from the elastic.  I use 19″ elastic pieces when making skirts for 18 month olds, so…. I don’t know.  Wonder if anyone else has thought the same thing?

– 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.


Nobody puts baby in the corner…

But, I did!  Yup.  My sweet little boy is wedged between a dresser and a wall now that he’s sharing a room with his sister.  I wanted to make a simple bedskirt that didn’t involve too much skill since I’m still pretty new at sewing… I didn’t need much fabric- just enough to cover the front and one side of his crib.  I used about 1 yd of some new fabric that I love.  I did a quick measure, sewed two panels together, and then hemmed the bottom. 

I used this fun stuff to tape it to the mattress frame…


The result:

The mattress is set at the highest setting since Grant is still little, but when I have to change it to the lowest setting, the skirt will hit the floor.  I didn’t want Ellery to feel left out, and since I had more fabric, I made her a matching pillow for her bed.