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Sunday, October 28, 2012


Gracie is obsessed with Tinkerbell so it was a no-brainer that it would be her Halloween costume this year. I found Simplicity 1792 with the cutest Disney Fairies costumes to go with the Disney Store purchased accessories.

I finished this up last night and today she wore it to Boo at the Zoo. The NC Zoo has a lovely natural setting (and has more land than any other zoo in the country), so I got some great shots of her.

Benjamin also came along in his lovely plush giraffe costume (eBay!) - can you guess what animal he LOVES the most?

The hardest part about this costume was adding the bling. I broke at least 5 needles sewing on sequins.

The petals on the neckline and the waist took the most time, but they made the costume totally blend with the purchased accessories. I used two different kinds of organza to get it more dimension.

One layer had a burnout print of flowers, the other was dusted with sparkle. I also layered the tulle skirt and there is a soft purple cotton slip built in to the dress.

The bodice is made from light green velour and a swirly purple velour. Inside, I lined it with lime green matte jersey. I used the same green velour to make a pair of leggings, but I didn't make them big enough - the pattern needed stretchier fabric, but we made it work today.

The skirt has a respectable amount of twirl power!

While we were there, we fed the giraffes. I just had to share this sweetness.

They also had a costume contest - we entered, but didn't win.

That's okay...I know they looked adorable and had a good time, so that's what matters!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Black cats and pumpkins

I am so addicted to applique right now! Look how sweet these pumpkins and black cats are on this Ottobre tunic. (1-2008 design #8)

I made this tunic as one of my first Ottobre projects back in 2008 and loved it then, so I wanted to do it one more time before she outgrew the design. The fabrics are again from Patsy Aiken as is the matching bow and tights (couldn't resist them at the outlet!).

Here's the original version of this pattern (shown with some other Ottobre knit pants):

That one was an 80cm size and the current outfit is 110cm. She is certainly a growing girl! Of course, it has been over 3 years since I made it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

More leos and some fall basics

Here is the rest of the fall/winter leotard collection! These are all made from Jalie 2792 which is a fantastic pattern for anyone sewing for a gymnast.

I have a small Rubbermaid tub full of 4-way stretch activewear fabric and I just have fun mixing and matching them. The white holographic top fabric has a rainbow sheen to it.

I got the pink daisy print at the Patsy Aiken outlet. They used it for swimwear, but it is perfectly suited to leos. Nice and stretchy!

I had to go back and make a revision on the gold and red leo - sleeves had a straight stitch and serged seam, but the straight stitch made it too tight and it started to pop the stitches when I took it off of her.

In the process, I shortened up the sleeves a little, but that worked out well since I had to tuck the sleeves a bit when she wore in on Thursday anyway.

The lesson here is that serging the sleeve seams is sufficient!

She's happy with all of these new looks for the gym, and it will be easy to pick her out among the crowd of bouncy little girls in her session.

I also stitched up two new items for her school wardrobe. The first is Children's Corner 262 "Kitty" in a Tinkerbell corduroy print I found at Joann's. She adores Tinkerbell (and I'm working on that for her Halloween costume!), so this jumper was a good pick.

I made the 6 instead of the 5 so she could wear it longer. Children's Corner often runs true-to-size or small.

The back has a nice rounded strap/yoke, while the front has a nice ruffle detail. I lined it with a pretty cotton stripe. The lining ends up covering ever raw seam in the jumper - very classy and comfy for her too.

The other item I made was McCall's 6596, view E - pants. I didn't quite have enough of the acrylic plaid I wanted to use, so after cutting out the back pieces, I had to get creative with the front. I split the front piece at the lengthen/shorten line and cut the lower section on the bias in a remaining section of the fabric. I love the effect since I think it makes them look slightly less pajama-ish.

They have two small patch pockets on the back and a faux fly with two decorative buttons on the front as well.
She liked them so much that she chose to keep wearing them after I got done taking pictures of her. They do seem rather cozy!

With my boys ALL camping this weekend and our business out of the house done, it's time to get back to the sewing machine and the fabric. I have quite a bit cut and ready to go. More fashions on what has to be the best-dressed five year old in my town coming up soon!

N.B. - The pink and purple tops are from my Children's Place basics purchase last week...good stuff.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


I love the Jalie leotard patterns! This one, 2792, has so many great variations! I tried the keyhole back version this time in this shiny gold and red fabric combo. Gracie felt great in this both in terms of comfort and the fact that she looked like a little Olympian.

One of the high school girls who helps teach the little girls at the gym complimented us on how professional looking this was. No matter how much I sew, hearing the validation from someone else that it looks professional is always pleasing. As long as the "You made that?" comment is of the "Wow!" tone and not the "Ew!" tone...thankfully, I have heard 99% wows...not sure my ego could take the ews and I wouldn't want my children to feel that what I make for them is somehow inferior. For that matter, I want that for myself, too. The validation pushes me to be an even better sewer.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Buy it or sew it?

Sometimes I am torn between buying an item or making it myself - especially for my daughter Gracie. I know how quickly and easily I could knock out a basic tee shirt or a pair of leggings, so I often neglect to purchase those basic items with intent of making them later. Then, when I realize she REALLY needs a particular basic item, it is often NOT the right time to be figuring that out.

Tonight, I found an email from The Children's Place with a code for 20-30% off (depending on how much you spent) and free shipping. I ended up placing an order for 5 basic long sleeve layering tees (dark brown, black, navy, hot pink, and lavender - they were sold out of white or I'd have gotten one of those, too), two pairs of leggings (loved the colors), and the cutest little red patent dress shoes (Okay, I would have bought those no matter what - I don't make shoes!).

How cute are these??? (Less than $12 after discount!)

Yesterday, I cut out a pile of new clothes for Gracie - lots of cute knitwear - tops, leggings, a skirt, some fun pink and aqua plaid pants, and what will be a Dr. Seuss themed dress with coordinating top and leggings. I have quite a few mix and match items in the works, but I just couldn't get excited about basic plain tees. I was think I would still need to cut more fabric and rush to get some things sewn.

A little part of me feels annoyed for buying things I could totally make, but then I remembered why I sew. Reason number one is the creative outlet - I don't get that rush from making this:

I get the rush from making things like this! I have this pattern cut in a variety of Dr. Seuss fabrics and will also be added some embroidered embellishments to match. It's just too fun.

I think the next time I feel guilty for buying something I am capable of making, I may feel a little less guilty if the deal is right. After all, I can't make that purple tee for $4.50 - especially if I factor in the value of my time. On the other hand, I can't put a price on the excitement of making something truly special for myself or one of my children. Isn't that what creating is all about?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Halloween Feliz dress

I love Studio Tantrum's Feliz dress. It is so fun to make (and I have done it enough times I do not need to look at the instructions). I've done the dress in several different versions over the years.

When Gracie was tiny, I made my first Feliz as a Christmas dress (Dec. 2008) in the smallest size possible - 86/92. Even so, she was really more of an 80cm size, so it was huge on her. I loved this dress and got two more years of wear out of it since it is so adjustable!

The following summer (June 2009), I made another version of the Feliz - this one with a patriotic/summer theme. The size was still 86/92, but it fit her a little better now that she was six months bigger.

December 2011, I made another Christmas Feliz, this time with a nativity theme. I used silky soft bamboo corduroy and embroidery an elaborate cute nativity scene on the overskirt. It took a LOOONG time to embroider, and I waited a little too long to start, but she was so precious wearing this to church when she sang "The Friendly Beasts" with the other preschoolers.

This morning, I finished my latest version of the Feliz - a Halloween/Black Cat Feliz! I did the appliques and embroidery onto wool felt since the fabric is so busy and I like being able to play with the placement of them in the design process.

The Feliz definitely has a lovely twirly design, and my girl loves to twirl!

Somehow, I doubt this will be the last Feliz I make!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A pair of pear projects

So now, we have a pair of fun pear outfits! I actually had cut the tunic top and capri jersey pants Gracie is wearing from these coordinating Patsy Aiken/Chez Ami fabrics using patterns from the Fall 2012 issue (#9 & #10). THEN I used the remaining piece to make my top, but I ended up sewing that first because I'll admit it: I wanted some instant gratification.

I finished Gracie's outfit last night after digging through a huge pile of papers that had to be graded all afternoon. I wore my top to school today with this cute pair of golden cropped pants from Loft. Gracie is going to wear her new outfit tomorrow with the most adorable little Hello Kitty boots we found at Rack Room shoes tonight and the matching braided ribbon headband.

I love how this child has gotten into modeling with wild poses. She cracks me up!

She is too adorable - and silly.

I know what she's wearing to school tomorrow...

...complete with sassy attitude!

(***Of course, she knows the attitude must stay with the clothes - she's a sweetie to her teacher!)

She's my sweetie, too.

Schoolwork tonight - sewing tomorrow night...sometimes I wish I had a job where I didn't have to bring work home ALL the time.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A pear of projects

Meet Adele from StyleArc! This is a great knit top with a flattering cut and asymmetrical hem. I am totally loving how it turned out. Plus, it was quick and easy.
I have had this cut for over a week, but had not had a moment to sew. Work has been crazy-busy and sucking up an inordinate amount of my time. I am trying to get ahead on some things because I have quite a bit of sewing to do.
One of my most important upcoming projects is for Halloween. Gracie is going to be Tinkerbell - her favorite Disney character! We bought the crown, wand, and wings (all of which light up) from the Disney Store. I have the pattern and fabric for Tinkie's dress, and today I purchased some of the official Tinkerbell trim at Joann's. That is going to be fun to make. She is very excited, too.