long-distance, Geranium-style

Earlier this month, we had a heavy wet snowstorm that knocked out our power and water for 4 days.  To keep the kids happy + entertained, we had “practice” easter egg hunts, bacon fried on a little propane burner, couch naps, s’mores a la fireplace…you know, power outage stuff.  Do all Moms suck at building forts, or is it just me?

Anyway.  Sounds fun for a while, right?

We stuck it out at home for about 24 hours before the novelty of of it all wore off and we high-tailed it to my parent’s hotel house for the rest of the weekend.  I love a good flushing toilet.  TMI?

DSC_0147

One great thing about having no electicity, is that you are forced to do the stuff you normally don’t like to do, like organizing all the crap that no one ever uses under the bathroom sink, making Goodwill donation clothing piles (i’m talking to you and your t-shirts, husband), and cutting out pattern and fabric pieces.

Prepping up a couple of Geraniums with Ellery delightfully helped to pass the time.

I snagged up this fun fabric (Summersault by Erin McMorris for FreeSpirit) when it was on sale for a few dollars/yard online… I actually bought it in 3 colorways- we also have orange, because I knew Ellery would lo-lo-love it.  It just exudes Spring.  And jelly bean-colored raindrops?  Love at first sight for my girl…

She and I decided to make one for her, and one for “Friend Caroline”- her bff that moved to Colorado last year.  I showed her the options in the pattern, and she did a fabulous job of telling me EXACTLY how she wanted them to look, down to the flutter sleeves on both, and the green one having the U cut-out but not the pink one.  😉

Our photo shoot went a lot like one of Ellery and Caroline’s many playdates:

It started off a little slow.

DSC_0006-001

Maybe even a little sassy….as Caroline’s midewestern mom would say.

I say fresh.

DSC_0013-001

But after some nagging from us Moms, and a little moping from the girls…

DSC_0023-001

Soon, things would be just fine and dandy!

 DSC_0015-001

…and they were off playing princesses or fashion show, trading dresses, tiaras, and shoes….

DSC_0111

Having some girly fun.

DSC_0089-001

And of course, getting bugged by Grant… seen here, trying to eat the pink dress.

DSC_0137

I let Ellery decide in the end which dress she would send to Caroline, and which one she’d chose for herself.  Can you guess which one she kept?

It *might* surprise you.

DSC_0145

Green!  Now THAT is a good 4 year-old friend…

We miss Caroline and her Mom (a.k.a. my “sisterwife”) TONS, but we are getting used to Facetime- Ellery gets very shy when she sees C on the ipad and pretty much goes mute.  So her!

I’m sure eventually they’ll be able to channel all that laughter and silliness that would ensue during those playdates.

Like here, when just after I took this shot, she walked backward and fell off the bookshelf, landed on one of Corinne’s baby toys, and kicked it on.

DSC_0103-001

In Spanish-mode.

We laughed our heads off.

I’m pretty sure Friend Caroline would have too.

-Erin

Pattern Testing :: Bubble Dress!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of testing a new sewing pattern by An of StraightGrain.

The Bubble Dress!

An makes some really sweet clothing for her little girl, and has now put her skills towards creating this great little pattern for girls ages 1-6.  It is for sale now, and you can buy it here.  If you have never made a bubble-anything before (like me), give it a shot- it comes together pretty quickly and it’s fun to see the bubble take shape!

Anyway, without further ado…

Here’s Corinne enjoying her new frock:

DSC_0097

I tested the 1 year size for my Coco-girl who is turning 1 next week.  WHA??  Crazy.  I mean, I just had her, didn’t I?

Anyway, it fits great… she’s lean, so this will fit her right on through the Summer I’m sure.

DSC_0046

I’ve had this fabric (Jessica Levitt, Timber collection) since I first started sewing 3 years ago.  I never was quite sure about what to use it for, but I’m so happy I finally cut into it.  Pretty perfect for Spring!  I’m not  usually drawn to geometric prints, but i love the combo of geometric and organic shapes here.  Such cute little bird’s nests they are!

DSC_0061

Check out that bubble!

The peter pan collar is an option in this pattern, and is a fun way to use a contrasting fabric.

I figured if I was going to learn how to make a bubble skirt, I might as well learn to make a collar too.  That was the hardest part for me, but it turned out just fine- i took those steps pretty slow, especially when attaching it between the outer bodice and the lining.

DSC_0261

The back closes simply with a button and loop.

DSC_0158

I used 1/8″ elastic, though you could use ribbon too.  Anytime I can get out of making a buttonhole, I’m gonna take it!  I think the elastic is nice for a squiggly toddler too.  Easy on, easy off.

DSC_0280

We had fun during this photo shoot.  Her cuteness was bubbling all over the place.  Sorry…but  you knew the pun was coming…

DSC_0310

Someone’s ready for Easter….

DSC_0317

So, hop on over to An’s blog and look around… She’s from Belgium and is hosting a great series called Kid’s Clothes Belgian Style – Lots of awesome sewing happening over there!

Thanks for stopping by  🙂

-Erin

My First Flashback

I bought this shirt a while back at a thrift store, thinking that it looked big enough to fit me.  I just loved that retro squirrel print!  Trying it on at home, I soon realized that this shirt came straight from the tween department.  It wouldn’t even stretch over my rib cage!  That’s alright, I knew I could turn it into something cute for Avery.

1-March 2013 076

Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee was the perfect opportunity to use this fun print and to get some practice sewing with knits.  The thrifted shirt only provided enough fabric for the front and back of the tee.  So, I had to scavenge for sleeve fabric.  I found a  purple rayon knit shirt that I’d never worn balled up in my closet.  (I couldn’t take it back to the store because my parents’ puppy chewed up the tags, thank you Lenny. 😉 )   It was the perfect color for my sleeves, albeit, a difficult one for a novice- so thin and drapey.

3-March 2013 083

Pretty sweet right?  With all new sewing projects, you learn a lot.  Rae’s pattern is perfection, and she gives so many wonderful hints and options.  My excitement got the better of me, and I made a couple of errors.

#1. I did not pre-wash that rayon shirt!  My cuffed sleeves shrunk to a 3/4 length!  I cut them off, and may decide to turn it into a short sleever later.  For now, its cool with a raw hem.

#2.  I did not measure my child.  She is 3 1/2 , and is always 50th percentile at the doc, so I just went with the standard 3T sizing.  I should have taken into account that she “has a pot”(Pulp Fiction anyone?) and used Rae’s instructions for adding length.  Oh well, I took out the bottom hem, and left that raw too.

Now we’re in business.

2-March 2013 081

I added the stripe across the front to cover up a seam that existed in the original shirt.  The back of the original shirt became the front of this tee.  I’m kinda glad it was there because I wouldn’t have thought to add such a cute detail!

4-March 2013 086

Avery loves it!  And so do I!  I cannot wait to make another Flashback Tee!  It is just so satisfying to be able to create something as mundane as a tee-shirt.  What kid would object to such comfort?  Not mine!

Happy Monday!

~Caroline

Geranium in Voile

I sewed up a Geranium tunic for Corinne last week and finally cut into some much-loved AMH little folks voile.

I love how my last Geranium turned out for Ellery, and I love how different this one is.  This fabric is so nice and light, i thought it would make a nice breezy top. I’m happy that she can wear this now right on into the Springtime.

(Seriously, Spring.  Get a move on it!)

DSC_0089-001

So, I added long sleeves here – not an option in the pattern, but I figured it would just look super cute and couldn’t be too hard.

For the sleeves, I used a pattern piece that I already had handy- from the baby in the hood jacket (from this book) that I made a couple of years ago for Grant.  I added an elastic casing at the cuffs.  I did trim my sleeve pattern piece down a little bit along the sides, but I wish I had left it as wide it was- I think this shirt would be perfection if the sleeves were just a teensy bit roomier.  But, it’s totally wearable, and I’m loving it on her, so no biggie.  Next time, next time….

Here’s “Coco” (as she is affectionately known around here) and her bribery snack of choice: baby Mum Mum crackers.

DSC_0032

Anyway, to attach the sleeves, I didn’t really have a plan of attack since I’ve never sewn sleeves to a lined bodice.  But, I remembered Rae’s tutorial and video for adding sleeves to a Washi dress, so I followed that… I’m sure there are other ways to add sleeves to a lined bodice, but the girl knows what she’s talking about, so I let her guide me through it.  And it went very well… even though it looks all kinds of crazy when you’re sewing it up!  No really… check out that video to see what I mean.

  That’s what I love about sewing- sometimes you just have to trust the instructions in front of you and forego your own thought processes.

I always learn something.  Always.

DSC_0083-001

I made the 12-18 month size for my almost 11 month old!  11 months already?? what??

Instead of using 3 buttons as the pattern suggests, I decided to use 2 here just because I liked how it looked.  I’m really digging this pattern and have seen so many great variations in the flickr pool.

Action shot!

DSC_0052-001

Corinne has been walking since just after her 9 month birthday, and I really feel like she’s in the mix with the other *big* kids because of that..  but it’s funny because she still looks like such a baby to me… I took her to an open-gym today with tons of other kids and she had no problem leaving my side to cruise around after balls, crawl through tunnels, and at one point even walking up to some random boy on a bike and planting the biggest slobbery open-mouthed kiss on his face.

He liked it.

DSC_0072-001

C’mon, wouldn’t you?

-Erin

Geranium Dress

Happy February!

DSC_0046

To celebrate the arrival of my least favorite month (bleak/blah/brrrrrr!!!), I made a Geranium dress for Ellery.

This a new pattern from Rae a.k.a. our sewing guru…. And just as I knew it would be, the pattern is clear and concise with many photos and plenty of options.

Really, if you’re looking for a great basic dress pattern, get this!

DSC_0018-001

The fabric is sort of an odd choice, but i was feeling pressured to use a (soon to expire) gift certificate at my local shop and I was drawn to this… It’s Field Study Glimmer by Kristine Baerlin for Free Spirit.  I think it’s suitable for February actually.  Grayish/Green cattails with bits of pink and orangey-gold…. a little prelude to Spring.  I didn’t have much else in enough yardage, so I kind of took the risk of her rejecting it but soldiered on….

Ellery seemed to like it right away, but told me (she loves to say this) “I’ll wear it to school when I’m 5!”

DSC_0027-001

I made a 5T for my almost 5 year old girl- there is a little room for her to grow into it.

I lengthened the skirt by an inch and a half and I also added in the pockets from view B to my skirt piece (view A).

DSC_0008-001

I intended to use snaps to close the back, just for ease of getting dressed in the busy mornings, but I forgot I had these cute purple oval buttons- I liked the look so I went with it.

DSC_0034

Here she is discovering her pockets….it took her a while 🙂

  DSC_0078-001

….And here she is trying to play dollhouse with her hands still in the pockets…

DSC_0098-001

Most importantly, this dress withstood the couch-jumping test.

DSC_0152

I have a tunic version of this in the works for Corinne…

Until then, Adios!

-Erin

Washi #1

I titled this post ‘Washi #1’ because there will be a #2.  And a #3.  Aaaaannnd probably a #4.

Really.  I love it that much!

If you follow any action in sewing-blog land, you’ll have seen many Washi dressses and tunics floating around.   It’s a thoughtful pattern created by Rae.  Rae has some great patterns and tutorials out there- I’ve learned a LOT from her site, so it was no question that I’d give this pattern a try.  The back of the dress/tunic has several rows of shirring that help to keep the bodice fitting comfortable, yet snug at the same time….the skirt piece is pleated….and I’m convinced this would look good on anyone.

I solicited some advice from Kristin (thanks girl!) who’s two Washis are some of my favorites.  (You can check out tons in the Washi Flickr pool)

I especially loved her second (who didn’t?) which has a lovely scooped out neckline.  I took her advice and cut about 1″ more into the pattern and shaped it a bit wider at the bottom to give it a fuller U shape.  I lengthened my bodice 1″ since I’m tall (as in 5’11” kind of tall)… I’m so glad i did- it pretty much fits perfectly.  I also lengthened my skirt piece by a good 1 1/2 ” to hit right where I wanted it to.  Better to give yourself a little wiggle room if you’re not sure…I added 2 1/2 inches to the pattern and then cut about an inch off before I hemmed it.

 P.S., if you think you need to lengthen your bodice too, add the inch on the back piece above the highest shirring lines… the bottom shirring line should be right at the seam where the bodice meets the skirt.  It seemed to work out nicely for me anyway.

My fabric choice is one I’m super happy with. It’s Marqueterie in Berry from Pat Bravo’s Indie line. I don’t own a whole lot of floral in my wardrobe, so I wasn’t too sure when I ordered it, but it spoke to me, so I went with it and crossed my fingers. I think it’s fallish, but at the same time i think the colors lend themselves to any season. Oh, I also cut my fabric pieces out oppostie than way Rae suggests, just because I liked the flowery parts to go across my body instead of up and down, just perferred it that way when I took a long look at it.

Oh, and don’t get ahead of yourself- make a muslin to make sure it’ll fit before you cut into your nice fabric.  All you need to do is cut the bodice out and sew the bust darts…. depending on your chest size, you may need to do an FBA or SBA (as in a full or small bust adjustment).  I did not have to make any adjustments… but I’m still nursing.  Believe me when i tell you I will be making an SBA on this pattern when i stop!  Bye, bye boobage….

I would say the ONLY thing I would change next time around is the armholes, which for me and my somewhat broad upper-body, fit just a little too snug- I’ll blame that on my years of competetive (update: *cough*…highschool) swimming growing up- not the pattern!  I’ll probably cut into the armholes an extra 1/2″ next time around.  No biggie.  I’m still gonna wear the heck out of this.

It’s so satisfying to sew for ME!  I’m still somewhat of a novice sewer (got 2 1/2 years of practice under my belt)… so if I can make one of these, so can you. After the last couple of dresses for Ell got hung up in the closet- probably for good- it was really nice to focus on my own wardrobe… which is now hurting just a little bit less thanks to this shirt.  🙂

I am envisioning a few more… one with long sleeves (Rae is working on that, yay!), A dress version, a mini version… yup, I said mini…. check out Kristin and Rae’s MINI Washi dresses for their girls…. riDONKulous!  The possibilities are endless, which is the mark of such a great pattern- props to Rae for perfecting the design and sharing it with all of us who love to sew!

-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

Two by Heather Ross

So, I’ve been MIA for a while, and I don’t have much to show for it.  It was the end of June, on a dark and stormy night, when I sat down at my machine to start the Mendocino Sundress I’d been planning for weeks.  Just as I secured my fabric beneath the presser foot, the lights flickered and the power went out!  Our power was out for EIGHT days! When we were finally able to come back home, it was time to pack for California.  I took the kids by myself to visit my husband’s family for a 15 day trip.  I brought my knitting, but didn’t get to it much.  Maybe because I became a Words With Friends geek while I was out there?  This game is truly coming between me and my crafting!  Make me stop!  I’m neglecting my fellow bloggers! August now, and I finally got back to that dress, still pinned and waiting patiently in a cluttered corner of the house.  Here it is:

Image

Happy happy with the results!  I just knew this pretty lawn cotton would be worth the wait.  I also knew that getting some shirring practice in before attempting it on this expensive stuff was a smart move.

Image

I purchased the fabric at a local shop called Les Fabriques.  A 50% off Living Social coupon made it a sweet deal!  There was no other info on the bolt besides “lawn cotton”.  I was told it comes from their vendor in New York, which I jotted down, but can’t seem to locate now.

Image

It is so light weight and comfortable.  I definitely recommend buying the Gutterman elastic thread over the cheaper stuff, if you want to shirr something more special (Though practice with the cheaper stuff for sureshirr!). I probably went through 3 spools, but it was worth it.  Also, a busy pattern helps to hide wobbly rows :).

Image

Check it out, I made pockets!  The pattern (which is a free download) includes pockets, but does not give much instruction.  You have to really have to think things through before you sew up your inside seams.  I can see how easy it would be to wind up wrong side fabric peeking out of your pockets.  Watch a video first.

Image That’s my 6 month bump there.  I probably haven’t mentioned yet that it’s a BOY!  I will have to get to work on some Big Butt Baby Pants!  I like this dress for maternity wear, but think it will fit just fine next spring when baby is on my hip instead.

Next up, is the “Trapeze Sundress” from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross.  I wound up with this adorable frock after our dear friend, and domestic goddess, Grayson, sewed it up for herself, and then decided the results were undeniably pregnant.  I win!

Image

I just love this color and the big peonies!  Grayson is not sure where she picked up this fabric (Jo-ann, she thinks). It is a heavy weight cotton though, not something I find much at Jo Jos.  Might be able to update this info for you later.

Image

I also have this Heather Ross book, but haven’t tried much from it.  I’ve heard that the errata page is extensive.  Any thoughts out there?

Image

I have to thank my Gungie sister, Erin, for putting up with such an awkward model.  This is not my favorite part about sewing/blogging for myself!

Image

Big thank you to Grayson for passing this dress along to me!  We’d love to feature more of your work here!  This woman has mad skillz! Have a good weekend ya’ll! ~Caroline

Beignet Skirt

In a slow attempt to update my current wardrobe with some home-sewn flair, I made myself a skirt!

This is the beignet skirt from Colette Patterns.  A high-waisted straight skirt with 12 buttons (and…12 buttonholes…yikes ) up the front and a skinny belt. This skirt could also be referred to as “the 7 week skirt” or “the skirt that took 4-eva” or the “put down that beignet and get to sewing me already” skirt.  Hmmm….do I look knock-kneed up there?  Yikes.

I mean, I know I’ve been a little busy… but I cut my pieces out a month and a half ago, and they sat around collecting dust for a bit.  Here and there, I got around to sewing it together in the last couple of weeks.  During a couple nights of the Hatfields & McCoys mini-series with my hubs, I blew through most of it.  All that killing and backwoods family drama motivated me I guess?

 I made a size up from what I normally wear since I’m post-baby.  And like some other folks out there, in the end I decided to forego sewing the belt together since I honestly could not stand to look at my fabric anymore!  I found an inexpensive braided red one at Old Navy instead- and I think it probably looks better this way.

Oh, hello split ends!

Wow. I need to make an appointment to shave my head this week. STAT.

Anywho, I would say this was an elaborate project for me- but, as with all sewing patterns I’ve tried, I learned a heckofalot!  Made some side seam pockets for the first time, and also learned how to face and line a skirt-  this being the hardest part of the process for me, since 1. I bought cheap yellow lining fabric that showed it’s cheapness in many ways….  and 2. once I went to sew my skirt shell to the lining, none of my seams matched up.  My shell was wider than the lining… so, I took in a few of the shell seams and did the best I could with getting it to match up, but it wasn’t without belting out some of this: @#*$*^*#%&^!!!

There’s also a point where you have to attach the lining to the facing at a major curve.  See below.  I just had to go super slow… and it came out okay, but probably not perfect.

My buttons were a small splurge- but I really love the jade color.  I was a little hesitant to use them because maybe they don’t quite “go”…but i’m happy I did.  I’m not all for “matchy matchy” things anyway, and plus I need more color in my closet like nobody’s business.

I will say, this pattern was challenging for me, but defintely well-written… I plan on making another someday, maybe for Fall… though I’d choose a heavier weight cotton.  Mine here is almost linen-like, and I did have some slight issues (mainly when it came to the buttonholes) because of that.

And like I said, I used cheapo lining material (don’t be like me- do a little research on lining options!) but I do like the little glimpse of yellow poking out of the pocket.

Now.  Can i blatently show off  the REAL (adorable) reason this took me so long to make?

I MEAN….

Who can get anything done with these baby blues gazing up at you?? 🙂

-Erin

**update: this skirt was feautered on Colette Patterns blog, Coletterie… I’m blushing!!**

spring sundress

In the days leading up to the birth of little Corinne, I was getting anxious.  I was officially overdue, my house was spotless (well, for me anyway), freezer stockpiled with cheesy-carby-homemade meals, clothes folded and actually put away… you could say I was waiting for things to happen.

  What better way to get my mind off impending labor, than to get lost in a sewing project?

 

I followed instructions for the Flower Girl dress pattern found in Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing, but altered it a bit along the way to fit my (as of last week!) 4 year old girl.  There were a few bumps along the way- joining the bodice together tripped me up for some reason.  I found the instructions to be a bit lacking, but then again, i had pregnancy brain going on at the time so….maybe i was just dumber that day. 🙂

I can’t remember who makes the fabric, but somehow I had a masssive stash of it- i do know it was a major clearance buy.  I love me some clearance fabric!  

It’s the perfect weight for this breezy sundress.

I widened the bodice a bit….though Heather says it should be snug-I knew Ellery wouldn’t go for that- she’s gotta be comfy or it’ll never get worn! 

Of course, it helps if there’s room to twirl….

Here’s where I ran into a bit of trouble:

Because I widened the bodice (note: the front and back bodice pieces are cut the same pattern piece), the straps were falling off her shoulders.  SO…. I brought them in from the edges of the back by an inch and a half- I sewed a few buttons to the straps and made buttonholes on the bodice- not ideal, but a quick fix.

 

My daughter lives in comfy dresses- I’m glad to add one more to her collection…

And though it’s not fancy enough to be called a Flower Girl dress, it’ll do the job for a kid that likes to twirl and play barefoot in the yard.  You may remember she called this dress her party dress!  haha…

such humble taste she has.

-Erin