Vintage May :: Playclothes for all!

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


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

We’re not worthy!  We’re not worthy!

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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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Do you remember this part in the Sound of Music?

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

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


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


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

So long, farewell….

Erin + Caroline


Suddenly, when Ellery turned about 4 years old, all that precious time I spent sewing into the night was wasted.  She stopped liking pretty much anything I made (except for this sundress that she all but slept in last Summer).


i love this photo of her literally ripping off a Pierrot dress 1 second after she tried it on….

Why?  Oh, many reasons…. “it’s TOO BUMPY!!!!!” (i.e. made with woven cotton).  Or, “it’s just TOO short!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t a ball gown).  Or “I look like a BOY IN IT!!!!” (i.e. it wasn’t the color pink).  You can see why the dress above wasn’t her fave… hehehe.

So, I found myself buying cheap basic knit dresses from Old Navy and Target.  And no offense to those stores (i still do my fair share of shopping there), but if a dress significantly fades after 2 or 3 washes, I’m annoyed.  Especially if it cost me over $10.


So, I started making these little dresses by attaching an existing tank top we already had to a thrifted skirt or dress, and she just gushed over them.  I’m sure she likes them because they are comfy… which means I can get away with some different colors she wouldn’t normally wear.  Actually when she first saw this dress she was concerned because there were 2 shades of brown polka dots on it, but she forgot about it once she pulled it on… Livin’ on the edge, my gal!


 Really.  I feel like a cheater, but whatever- I’m so much happier spending about 12 minutes of my time whipping one of these up for a few bucks- as long as she’ll wear it.


And wear it she does.

About 3 times a week.

Love my girl!

Happy Wednesday 🙂


It HAD to have the piping

Don’t you think? 1-Avery's Dress 2013 009

I would have been finished with this Oliver + S “Music Box Jumper” days ago, but after I sewed the yoke to the skirt, I knew something was missing.  Piping!  It had to have piping.  I just couldn’t leave well enough alone.  So I made a date with my seam ripper, instead of my husband.  Boo.  He understood.  And he agreed, it needed piping.

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I constructed the yoke out of a white linen skirt that my older sister never wore, and passed on to me.  The skirt was pretty see-through, so I never wore it either, but like a good up-cycler, I threw it in my stash and knew I’d at least use the buttons from it.  These are those buttons!  Avery patiently waited as “almost done…” turned into “frrmmshmerrdurr…” and then ” *bleeping bleeeeep!* ” and then finally…
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“Praise the Lord, its finished!”  And we LOVE IT!  Seriously, I’m pretty obsessed with this dress.  Skirt fabric is from Anna Maria Horner’s “Loulouthi” collection, and is called Coreopsis in lime.  The Music Box jumper (view B) was an impeccable pattern.  I had to buy it after I saw it sewn up at Les Fabriques by the talented Jamie (shout out if you’re reading!).  I took it slowly and even made french seams, learning a ton the whole way.

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The white linen was tricky to work with, so soft and delicate.  It did not appreciate all the seam ripping!  But, it feels like buttah, and gives the dress an old-timey vibe.  Like out of a Dick and Jane book.

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I’m not really sure when I will let her wear this dress.  Maybe a certain garden party coming up ;)?  I hope I don’t hover nearby with a wash cloth when its time for cake.  After all I went through in the construction process, I will probably insist she vacuum seal it in archival tissue paper, and pass it down to her first-born daughter!   I told you I was obsessed!  Anyhoo, here are some pics of our photo shoot.  Avery is very into making me weed bouquets!

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Love the dress, LOVE the girl.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!


vintage floral crowns

Hey y’all!

Just popping in to share with you what’s been consuming my evening sewing sessions lately….I’m not sure what inspired these crowns, but once the idea came to me there was no stopping the production!

vintage floral pillowcases + wool felt = soft, sweet, and subtle crowns perfect for Spring.

(side note- no matter how much you wash a vintage sheet, it still smells OLD.  or, seasoned as i like to say….)


The above fabric is from the same pillowcase that this dress was made from.


These are going to be for a certain special girl’s 5th birthday party coming up in April.  I am making one for each of her little guests.  Hence the production line!  We’ll be having a little girl’s luncheon in our backyard garden and I’m excited to plan for it- I’m usually not big on birthday hoopla for little kiddos (a ton of work/stress/money- plus all three of my babies have birthdays within a month of each other!) but, now that Ellery is old enough to help me with ideas and planning, it’s actually something I’m looking forward to!  Except that every day she tells me EXACTLY what she’d like her cake to look like… different every day of course!

I like that these crowns (which they can wear for the party AND take home…) don’t cost a lot, but are made with a lot of love.

More to come!


Toddler Tour Pants + tutorial

I’m probably dating myself with this post, but I’m sure some of you remember this hippie craze back in the late 90’s… patchwork pants!!


The idea for these came to me in a flash when one of my best friend’s from highschool, Jay and his wife, Maegen had a baby this Fall.  I wanted to make their little guy a gift but didn’t feel inspired to make my usual set of baby bibs…so these were born.  I thought it would be so fun to modernize these pants… by using some lighter fabrics (there was a lot of corduroy back in ’98!), in softer colors. I think they are perfectly appropriate for a hip little baby!

Maybe you knew a guy like Jay- A really nice/cool/funny guy, who liked Phish, the Dead, etc… went to school in Vermont, now has a super cool job working at Ben & Jerry’s- Bonaroo Buzz? Yeah, he pretty much invented it.  I know…I’m jealous too.  Jay still gets to jam out at shows from time to time too.

He used to wear pants like these back in the day, just… earthier.  😉

So really, Jay (if you are reading this), you are the inspiration for these.  And your sweet little Chet will be recieving a boy version very soon!

Here’s my 9 month old Corinne hanging out in her new duds… munching on some raisins….

oh, and she walks now.  no big deal. !!!!


“divided sky the wind blows high…..”


“Take me where the whispering breezes
Can lift me up and spin me around”



Shall we make some pants?

First, you’ll want to make your patchwork panels.  Cut your scraps to 4″ wide, and anywhere between 2″ and 4″ long.  Sew them together to end up with 2 panels that are 4″ wide and as long as your pants pattern. Make sure you iron all the seams down.  Set those panels aside when you’re done.  These pants are a great way to showcase some of your favorite fabrics, and of course a great way to use up scraps.


Next, using your favorite pants pattern, cut your 2 front and 2 back pieces.  I cut my pants from this thrifted linen skirt- i LOVE this fabric, and the weight of it… I’ve been dying to cut into it and it’s just perfect for these.  (there’s a matching cropped jacket too that is waiting to be hacked up!)


 I’m using the Quick-Change Trousers from Anna Maria Horner’s book, Handmade Beginnings (though i altered the pattern by not using the back panel piece, and just extending the back piece to make them regular pants.)  Dana has a few pants tutorials- i like this one where she shows you how to draft your own pattern from a pair of well-fitting pants you already own.

You’ll want to cut 1″ off the side edge of your back pieces…


…and 1″ off the side of your front pieces.

(these will end up being more wide-leg than your original pattern… adding about 2 inches of “room” to each pant leg of your finished pants).


With right sides together, sew your back pieces (i always label the front and back pieces with tape since it can be hard to tell them apart!) together at the center seam.


Do the same for your front pieces….


Clip the curve…


Next, with right sides together, sew your patchwork panels to your back piece.


Should look something like this… oh, and press those center seams flat!


Okay, your back piece should now look like this!


Now, you can skip the next few steps and move right onto sewing your pants together, but I decided to line these for my baby since there are so many seams.  Lining pants is actually super easy and keeps everything nice and soft on the inside.

I’m using this vintage pillowcase since it’s really soft and thin.


Using your new front and back pieces, lay them (folded) onto your (folded) lining fabric- easy to just use a pillowcase!


Trace the pattern with a marker.



Cut it out.


Sew the front pieces and back pieces the same way you did with your other pieces.  Clip curves at center, and press the seams open.


Your pieces should look like this right about now:


Time to sew up your pants!  With right sides together, pin your front piece to your back piece.


sew the sides first (i’m using a 5/8″ seam allowance).


Trim your edges


Next, sew the inside seam of your pants, starting at one leg… and ending at the other.


Voila!  Pants!  Almost….


Press your seams open


Now, put your lining pants together in the same way, sew the sides first… then the center….


Press your seams (on a low setting if you’re using a pillowcase with polyester like i am… i almost melted my center seam. whoops!)

Okay, so turn your outer pants right side out, and keep your lining pants inside out.  Fit your lining pants into the outer pants.

There will be no exposed seams inide the pants… cozy.  🙂


Pin the top raw edges of your pants, and run that edge through a serger if you have it.  If not, you can zig zag stitch.


Nice and neat!


Now, fold your top edge over about 3/4″.  Using 2 pins, leave a 2″ space in the back of the pants to thread elastic.


Topstitch all the way along the folded edge (i’m using an edgestich foot- love it!) as close to the edge as possible.  Then, Stitch along the serged edge to form the casing… just remember not to stitch where you have your 2 pins!


Measure your kiddo’s waist, add about an inch and cut.  Coco’s measurement is 17″…


Slip a safety pin through one end, and thread the elastic (mine is 1/2″) on through your casing….


Once you get all the way around, bring the two ends together about an inch, and zig zag stitch to hold them together.


Pin a piece of folded ribbon into the opening at the back, and stitch then stitch it closed.


Now to hem!  Fold your outer pants to the inside and press (I folded up 1 1/2″). (**you may need to trim up your bottom raw edges first before you fold them under to hem, sometimes they can get a little wonky after sewing the pants together….)


Then, fold your lining up the same amount and press.


It should look like this:


Sew around each leg hole… i sewed about 5/8″ from the edge.


And you’re done!  Your kid is ready to go out on tour!

And play bongos!

With people she doesn’t know!

Or go bouncing around the room! (…or, the parking lot if she’s not so lucky).

(…Just don’t buy a veggie burrito from the kid in the brown Volvo- there’s like one bean, and the rest is just rice and you’ll be jipped out of $3…)

Yeah, I’ve been to a handful of these shows in my 33 years.  (but not as many as my sis though! Caroline- STOP asking me to make you an adult version of these, okay?  Just go put some Jerry on Pandora and make yourself some falafel if you really need to relive those days.  That goes for you too Joanne T!! hahaha…)


I’m kidding… just put them on your little babe, and enjoy the sunset….


“inspiration, move me brightly…”


Anyone going out on Crib Tour 2013?

Coco is!


“Waiting for the time when I can finally say
That this has all been wonderful, but now I’m on my way”


UPcycled: knit tees to girl’s dresses

My sewing-fun as of late has been upcycling some barely worn clothes of ours into E’s new favorite dresses!

I attached a never-worn silky jersey shirt of mine (Old Navy, clearance rack, $6) to a basic long-sleeved black tee of hers.

Took all of 12 minutes to do this… seriously… you should make a few…

She wore it several times before I got around to adding the embellishment (to hide a little un-intended pleat in the top).  I cut circles of the purple fabric and stacked them up- about 5 layers from large to small, then hand-stitched them in the center to the front.

Awww… my poor sick girl.  She’s been under the weather all week, we’re waiting for a test to come back to see if she’s got mono…

Not sure who she’s kissing at preschool!!  hee hee.

Here’s another one, the bottom is an old dress of mine, the long-sleeve shirt came as-is- it has a cute corduroy print, some lace, and a couple lttle bows.

Just attached it to my old dress and voila!  This one took me about 11 minutes… At the rate i’m going, I should be able to crank one out while the car warms up in the morning!  ha!

No really though, here’s the quick rundown:

1. Cut your shirt and skirt to desired length- (I leave about 3″ of shirt below the armpit), the skirts I’ve been keeping pretty long since that’s how she likes them.

2. Gather your skirt by sewing a couple of long straight stitches across 1/2″ from the raw edge.  Gather it up evenly and turn it inside out.

3. Insert your shirt piece inside the skirt piece, lining up the raw edges. and side seams (right sides will be touching).  Adjust the skirt and the gathers to fit the shirt piece.  Pin in place.

4. Sew (i used a straight stitch) together using a 5/8″ seam (i also then zigzaged over that for no reason.. er.. just good measure I guess?). Turn your dress right side out.

** For a better idea of this easy technique (and photos), you could go to my Vintage Pillowcase Tank Dress tutorial to get the gist.  Same idea, (only I did not use elastic thread here).

Since Ellery boycotted the last dresses I made her because “they’re bumpy” a.k.a. made from woven cotton, I’m sticking to these strechy ones for a while.  They’re comfy, easy to make, almost free, and she’s wearing them all the time.

I plan on raiding my husbands drawers next.  I know there are some goods just waiting to be hacked up!


p.s. We are still waiting to meet Caroline’s baby… she’s 6 days late and starting to get a little crank-xious (yep. new word for ya!).

Send her your good vibes!

….And For some more UPcycled inspiration, see these:

Vintage Thift Store Frock into Dress

Dad’s Sweater into Girl’s Cardigan

Cashmere Sweater into Ear Warmer

Vintage Sheet into Spring Top