more tour pants + Echino bib

I wanted to show you guys the boy version of the Toddler Tour pants that I made.

These pants are going to a friend’s new(ish) baby, Chet in Vermont.  I hope he digs them as much as I do!

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I used a stretch tan corduroy for the main fabric and a bunch of random scraps to create the panels.  I made these in a 9-12 month size, so he should be sporting these next Fall!  Ahh… Autumn in Vermont.  Could there be a better place to leaf peep?  I think not.

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These are lined with a random cotton print from my stash.  For the tag, I used a little piece of ribbon that has vegetable plants on it.  I have no idea what vegetable that is down there.

…Looks more like an herb to me…

<wink wink>

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I was happy to finally use up the Echino fabric that I’ve been sitting on for two years wondering what to do with.  Kind of perfect for a little boy.  And, it totally goes with my theme here… tour pants… bus bib… tour bus… get it?

So, I cut a basic bib shape (it’s backed with flannel), and finished the raw edges with bias tape that I made from the littlest bit of the Echino that I had left after cutting it up for this bib.  And instead of my usual snap closure, I switched it up and used a cute brown button and elastic loop.

You know, keepin’ it fresh around here folks!

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And there you have it.  A sweet little homemade gift for a baby boy.

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If you use my Tour pants tutorial, please let me know- I’d love to see some other versions.  They are so fun to put together and personalize for whomever they are for!

Go make some.

PEACE.

-Erin

Sweet Clarice Stocking + tutorial

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This stocking has been a long time coming… it’s been floating around in my head ever since last year’s Abominable Snowman was created.

I know I’m not alone in my love for Clarice…. she is pretty, pure, so kind, and has one of the lovliest voices in show biz.  It’s no question that my favorite scene in the Rudolph movie is when Rudolph and Clarice meet… and then when he flies and says “she said i’m cuuuuuuute!”  and then his fake nose falls off.  It’s classic.  I wanted to pay homage to my favorite leading doe, by making this felt stocking for one of my girls (I think Ellery is calling dibs on this one.  Corinne will have to settle for Hermie next year!  Or the misfit doll maybe?).

Do you love Clarice too?  Or do you know someone who would appreciate their very own Clarice Christmas stocking?

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for ya…..

First, go here to download and print this little Clarice pattern I drew up.

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You’ll need wool or wool blend felt.  I love the felt I’ve gotten from Ohma in the past- I used it here for Clarice and for the snowy ground… The main part of the stocking is felt from my local fabric shop, Les Fabriques– it’s not quite as high in quality as the Ohma stuff, but it’s perfectly fine for this project, and it came in a large piece.

  I used Oatmeal-colored felt for Clarice and an off-white felt for the snow.  Bright white for the main part of the stocking- but any backround color would be nice here…. I just wanted to keep it mostly white.  I also used some little bits of white velour for the white parts on her chest and belly and ears, and some white fur for the fluff on her tail.  I used a teensy bit of black felt for her nose, but you can also use a little black craft paint ( which is what i used for the hoofs).

Okay, here we go.  Cut your pattern pieces out and trace them onto your felt with a disappearing marker, or just get crazy and use a sharpie like me- just make sure to cut away black away.

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**note: when you are cutting the legs that are in the background, extend the piece at the top by about 1/4″  since you’ll need to tuck those pieces under the body and then glue them.)**

I started putting Clarice’s head together first- I shaped the eye by going back and forth between many photos of her on the iPad. Glue (using basic craft or fabric glue) the white of her eye down to the head piece, and then glue the back part on top of that.  Using a few strands of black thread, hand-stitch around her eye…and then stitch a few long eyelashes at the top corner.  Her lashes are her best feature, don’t you think?

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Okay, next glue the little white part of her mouth to her head, and then using a tiny piece of black felt, glue on a little nose for her (or paint one on).

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I had used her head as a gauge of how big the rest of her body should be… and then made up the rest of my pattern.  I think she’s fairly proportionate.

Okay, next you need to cut the front piece of your stocking.  You can trace a stocking you already have, or draw one up freehand.  Finished, mine is about 15″ tall, 6″ wide at the center (where Clarice’s body will be), and 10″ wide at the foot.  I cut mine slightly larger at first so I had some room to modify the design later on if I wanted to.

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Next you need to make a blanket of snow for Clarice to stand on.  I cut long wavy shapes and just placed them all across the foot of the stocking.  Just use a bit of glue to keep them in place, then topstitch them along the waves.  (You’ll cut the excess off later.)

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I used gold thread, but you can barely see it.  Oh well…We’ll add some bling later.

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Once the snow was on there, I used my disappearing ink marker to re-draw the bottom shape of the stocking.  Now you can start to glue the deer in place wherever you’d like her to be.  Play around with how you want things placed, how you want the head tilted, etc…

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Using some small pieces of white flannel, felt or velour, glue a bit to her neck, and her belly, and both ears.  Just use these pictures as a general guide for that.

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Then, use a small amount of white fur if you have it to make a little fluff at the end of her tail.  You could probably even use a little bit of a cotton ball if you didn’t have fur.

Check out what my kiddos did to my embroidery floss while I was engrossed in my project!!  ARGH!

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Okay, next… use some skinny red ribbon (with white polkda dots if you can find it- i lucked out and found some at Michael’s in the clearance Xmas section) to make a small bow.  Glue it right in between the ears.  Then use a Q-tip and brush on a little blush below her eye…

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Purty….  🙂

Next, you can sew in some snowflakes using a few strands of thread- I used metallic gold… yep, you heard me.  Gold snow.  Er…stars?

You can also use embroidery floss.  Make a cross going one way, then a smaller one going the other way.  Make as many or as few as you want.

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Next up, pin your stocking to your back piece of felt.

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Sew your stocking together, staying close to the edge of your design.  Stitch along the marking on the foot you made, and then cut away the excess….

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Lookin’ good!

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Make a little loop to hang your stocking by sewing 2 rectangular pieces of felt together- finished, you want it about 9″ by 1/2″-3/4″.  Just sew up each side and trim the excess away…

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Bring the ends together and hand stitch them to the back piece of your stocking, at the top right corner.

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You can fancy up your stocking any way you’d like.  Pom pom trim would be super cute…. But I found that icy blue fringe trim at my local shop and knew right away it was meant for Clarice.  I thought it had a little old school charm…

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Hand-sew your trim (beginning at the back somewhere) all around the top edge of your stocking.

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AAAAANNNDDDD… you’re DONE!

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And enjoy having “There’s always tomorrow…. ” stuck in you head for about 3 days after….

Happy Holidays!

-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

Lately

There may have been a shortage of blogging last month, but certainly no shortage of things made.

Ellery’s BFF “friend Caroline” and her nothing-short-of-amazing mother, moved all the way to Colorado.  We are so sad they moved away but wish them all the best and promise to skype as much as possible!

I suggested to Ellery that we make Caroline some stationary so she can write letters to us.  It didn’t feel like *enough* though, for such a dear friend… I mean, we’re crafters, aren’t we?  So, we whipped up a little felt case (i get my felt from Ohma) in no time.  We didn’t measure anything, just cut from random pieces in my stash.  Caroline and Ellery loooove princesses, so we made a little crown for the front- stitched with gold thread, and some silver embroidery floss knots for a little bling.

Ellery sat on my lap the entire time and helped me keep my lines straight ;)… I love how this has a 4 year old touch.

On the way to Caroline’s house, we stopped and got some special twistable colored pencils (not shown)- perfect for her…she is a fabulous artiste!

I made some couch pillows….

….and some bed pillows….

…and a super quick and easy “faux” roman shade for my kitchen sink window.  (two tension rods and some fabric. done.)

Finally got around to sewing up some cloth napkins.  I’m 32.  It’s time I stopped using paper towels at every meal.

This ruffle-less Pierrot  with elastic casings in the sleeves (previous pierrots here and here) came off as quickly as it went on.

boo.

I am told that Ellery’s “back-to-school” dress, a purply corduroy jumper, will be worn “When I turn 5.”  Check back with me in 7 months…

I dunno…. maybe the mustard lining threw her off???

And finally, I got this crazy notion to spray paint my fireplace screen yellow, but when I got to Lowe’s, Avocado spoke to me.  So, there you have it… you can spray paint over spray paint, right?

Gotta say I’m a little bummed that E won’t wear my dresses…. So, for a while I’m going to concentrate on sewing for ME!

Next up…. WASHI!

-Erin

School Daze and a Gift for Haze

Please excuse me while I take a moment to come to terms with the fact that I most assuredly deleted the one and only first-day-of-Kindergarten photo that I took of my first-born child.  There was only one shot taken, candidly, because he was not in a paparazzi mood that day.  It was adorable, and now it’s gone.  I can’t believe I did that.  I thought I’d already uploaded it, and just erased it from my memory card… for good.

*Exhale*

Okay, well, here’s Avery on her first day.

I’m a terrible mother.

Back to the blog…

Holy back-to-school, blog-on-the-backburner bloggers we are!  I think after a month in, I have finally adapted to this elementary school schedule.  6:30 am used to be an ungodly hour for this night-owl gal!  Fortunately Jet and Avery were not super early risers either.  But I have to say, I am really thriving with all the morning clock watching, lunch box packing, and bus stop dashing!  It’s forcing me to be more alert and organized. (Edit-I wrote this paragraph before the above stated disaster took place.)  Of course with 5 more weeks of pregnancy to go, there is a bit of nesting going on, and conscious need for more sleep.  So, yeah, not a whole lot of sewing going on these days.  I can proudly say, however, that Jet is killin it in Kindergarten and Avery is perfectly pleased with preschool!  And for 8 hours a week, I am worshiping my free time!   Still, no sewing, but no shortage of ideas buzzing in my head, and half-finished projects lying around.  I’m sure you all know how that is!  You know you’re a crafter when corners of your house look like this:

Are those raw edges?  Yup.  Still figuring out if we can commit to yellow chevron cafe curtains.

Awe, how cute, a baby boy sweater just hanging out for months on the needles.  (Also a random paintbrush chillin on some Marthas that I just can’t let go of.)

Oh and look, there’s an acorn wreath that I swear IS GONNA HAPPEN!

Anyhoo, while those projects might actually, one day, be blogged, for now, I will have to share a finished product from over a month ago…

I have made these slip-covers, or “cozies”, for Baby Bjorns before, but was psyched when my BFF from highschool, Kelly, registered for the type of Bjorn that I do not own.  It gave me the chance to draft a pattern for Bjorn’s original style (mine is an “Active” Bjorn Carrier, which is bigger and slightly different shaped).  I snatched it off the registry immediately and got to work on my design.  Kelly’s daughter, Hazel Ellery (gotta love that name!), was born ahead of schedule, by 11 weeks or so, giving us all a good scare.  She was so teeny and fragile then, but she’s packed on a quite a few by now and is probably close to taking her first Autumn Bjorn ride!

Here is my prototype (and no, that is not Hazel, it’s a doll!) :

I really wanted to see how an all-fleece construction would work.  Even though my first pattern attempt was a little too small, the fleece was able to stretch to fit.

After I adjusted the pattern a bit, and found some adorable Hazel-colored fabric, I went for it, with fleece only on the inside for warmth.

Perfecto!  I even had the opportunity to meet sweet baby Haze in her Boston NICU apartment last month!   I just had to be there for that shower, and to encourage her mom and dad, who are such special friends of mine, to keep up their fierce parenting.  Its been a long road, but she will be home soon!  And she will also be a cutie-pie girlfriend for my future little man!

As for my Bjorn cozies, I still have romantic visions of an Etsy store full of them.  One day people, one day.

~Caroline

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

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