Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tee Times 3 by Blank Slate

So we all know I love versatile patterns, and I love upcycling as much as possible.  So I am totally stoked that I got to test the new Tee Times Three pattern by Melissa of Blank Slate Patterns - this is the first release in her fall line 'GRAPHIC'. (affiliate link)

There are tons of great T shirt patterns and free tutorials out there, so what makes this one so special, huh?!?!  Well, to start with, this is a unisex pattern.  OK, I guess most t-shirts could be unisex, but this one gets better.  You start with  the basic T shirt with a ringer collar - a staple that any one needs to have in their tool kit.  This is the kind of basic that Blank Slate is known for, because it truly is a blank slate that can be embellished or tweaked to your heart's content.

woah - did you say embelish??????
The great thing about this pattern is the fit.  I would call this a vintage fit Tee - it isn't boxy, it isn't baggy, it is just a great fitting shirt that isn't going to swallow you child whole. Next, the length.  My boys are two and a half but wear a 3T for length, and even then half the time shirts are too short for their long torsos.  The length on this one is perfect, it hits about high hip and is long enough that he isn't' flashing his diaper at me when he bends over to play.  The pattern includes both short and long sleeved options, so this is a pattern you will be able to make year round! (I chose long sleeved, 'cause I am starting to sew ahead for fall!)

So after the basic T, there is the hoodie - I love me a good hoodie and to me the hood is what makes or breaks a good hoodie pattern.  This is a notched hood pattern, and I love the way it fit my son, not too big not too small (and of course I didn't take any pictures of it up ;op).  It is a lined hood which means you get to have fun with a contrasting color or pattern in the hood.

Then last, there is the Peter Pan collared T for girls - I haven't made it yet, but believe me, it is on the 'to-do' list!
I made the hoodie using two t-shirts in my stash... I love the red and grey combo, it looks great on my boy and will go with anything.  The only draw back to upcycling and hoodies is that the hood takes up A LOT of fabric... so, you will need two shirts at least.  Also, make sure you cut your hood on the correct stretch or you will end up with something that is never going to fit over your child's head - ahhh the dangers of late night sewing ;op

'look Mom, I can make my belly button poke out after eating a TON of pizza!!!'

Expect to see more of these showing up on my children!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Living in the Land of Transients

Growing up my family moved... A LOT!!!!  I went to 4 different elementary schools in 3 different states (CA, WI, SC) and one different country (France) before I hit 5th grade.  I hated moving - I always felt betrayed as I was taken away from my friends, teachers, even language; and plopped into a new place where I had to start over again, and again, and again.  Looking back as an adult I can say that all those moves shaped me into who I am , gave me confidence to face any situation or group of people, and made me fairly adaptable.  I do however still hate drastic change and have striven (after 9 moves in 8 years pre-children) to set up a home and roots for my family.
The problem is that I have set up my home in a transient area.  I live in a college town where first our friends came in and out as grad students; and now as professors, post docs, or university workers who are honestly only going to be around for a few years.  And then they leave me.  I mean, they aren't specifically leaving ME - they are transitioning to the next phase of their life, to the bigger and better picture that God has in store for them.  But, it doesn't make me miss them any less.  In all my moves as a child, I never once thought about the struggles for those I left (or maybe they forgot me the day I left); but I have holes from the amazing people who have graced my life and then left it... I make new friends, I move on... but even in the digital age of facebook images and status updates; it isn't the same as actual hugs, real conversations, and the sharing of day to day life.
I am so thankful for my family, for my home, for the amazing friends and community I am surrounded by; but I also want to thank those that have left for having such a great impact in my life, and let them know that they are never forgotten!
Demoree (&Brian)




Gail (&Brian)&Charlotte

Danielle (&Andrew)
Ellen (&Ed)
Adam & Leslie

Sarah & Ryan

Monday, July 22, 2013

Kids Clothing Week: Summer 2013

So, I have loved watching and participating in Kids Clothing Week since I first discovered the world of sewing blogs.  I love that the premise is to spend one hour a day sewing or doing prep work to sew (does trolling pinterest for an hour for inspiration count???)  Anyway, for me it is a reminder to take that time each day to do something productive that I love (rather than watching some moderately awkward reality TV ;op).

This past week I sewed and sewed and am super proud of what I accomplished.  I made two pairs of leggings using Peek-a-boo Patterns soon to be released Lollipop Leggings pattern.

The second pair of leggings are just a plain white pants length pair - but what a great staple for the cooler months ahead (they are coming, right????  Please tell me fall is coming!!!!)

And I made two of Oliver&S's Class Picnic sets - well... almost two, the second pair of shorts is shy a waistband and I haven't taken any pictures of it yet... but it is made with some of the Riley Blake: Little Red Riding Hood line... and has some embellishments to make it different from this one.

Why make two of the same thing???  Well, first of all - it is such a cute outfit, I mean - did you see the SHORTS!?!?  And second... because next week I will be teaching a Sew Along over at Whimsical Fabric.  This is my very first time teaching a sew along... so I'd love some encouragement!!!  If you want to participate, that would be super cool too - all you need is the Oliver&S Class Picnic pattern.  You can get the pattern and fabric kits HERE for 10% off with the code SewAlongSavings.

All in all, I would call that a successful KCW - 2 pairs of leggings, 2 tops, 2 pairs of shorts (well, almost ;op)

What did you sew for KCW???  Leave me a link in the comments so I can come check out all your fun creations!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

The CrumbCatcher Dress Tutorial

Today I was lucky enough to share my Crumbcatcher dress made out of cloth napkins over at House of Estrella.  And here is the full tutorial for all of you!!!!  This has a forgiving size due to the elastic, so I think it can fit 12-24 as a dress, and up to a size 3 as a Top.
*** If any of you make it, I'd LOVE to know and see pictures!!!

First, you need 3 cloth napkins or rectangles of fabric approximately 19x20
*One can be in a contrasting color for the bodice lining and sash
You will also need: 3/8 elastic (1/2 inch will work too)

Take two of your napkins and lay them with the shortest side on top

-Cut a four inch band off the top of both pieces.  These 4 inch bands are your straps, the remainder is the body of the dress.

- take your straps and cut a 1.5 inch section off the end of each (these are your sash loops)

-Take your third napkin (this would be the contrast) and cut 5x 4inch strips (if your napkin is smaller than 20 inches, cut 2x 4inch bands and then divide the remainder by three)

*Two of these bands will be the bodice lining, the other three will become the sash.

Construction: (Seam allowance is 1/4)
-Sew the side seams of the body of the dress

-Sew the side seams of the two 4inch contrasting lining segments

- Use the two 4 inch strips with a finished edge or Turn the bottom edge up 1/4 and press

-Pin the bodice and lining together right sides together (RST) matching up the side seams.
-Sew with a 1/4 seam allowance along the top edge.
-Flip the lining to the inside and press the top edge.

-Pin the lining so that it lays flat against the inside of the dress
-Top stitch along the folded/finished edge of the lining, leaving a 2 inch opening to thread your elastic.

- Measure up 3/4 of an inch from the bottom of the lining and mark all the way around.
-Measure  3/4 of an inch up from your line and draw another line
*I like disappearing pens for marking, but chalk pencils would work well too, or mark with pins
-Stitch along both of these lines leaving a 2 inch opening on the first line that lines up with the first two inch gap (this is how you will thread in your elastic).  The top line of stitching should be all the way around with no opening
-You will now have two casings for your elastic

-Measure your elastic 2 inches shorter than your child's chest measurement.  My daughter is barrel chested at 21inches - so I cut 2 pieces of elastic at 19inches.
-Attach a safety pin to your first piece of elastic and thread it through the top casing
-Pull the elastic through and sew the ends together
-Repeat with the lower casing
-Stitch the two 2inch openings closed

-Take your two strap pieces.  Fold in half RST and sew along the edge in an 'L' one short side and one long side.
-Clip your corners, turn right side out and press

-Turn the dress inside out
-Attach the straps 4 inches apart (2 inches off of center on each side).  Turn the unfinished edge under and pin the strap so that the turned edge overlaps the middle casing line by 1/8 of an inch.
-Stitch the strap in place along the middle stitching and top stitching lines (this way your strap stitching should blend in with the existing stitching from the casings)
-Repeat with second strap

-The Sash loops are optional, but I like that they keep the sash exactly where it should be without the sash having to be sewn onto the dress.
-Take the two small pieces you cut off the straps earlier (1.5 x 4) and press them as bias tape
        -Turn the outer edges to meet in the middle and press
        - Press the whole length in half
        - Top stitch 1/8 from each edge
        -now cut them in half so you have 4x 2inch pieces

-Attach  the front two belt loops 4 inches apart.
-Turn the edges under and stitch along the very top and the very bottom casing stitching lines.
-Repeat for the back loops, or leave them off - up to you!

-Take your three sash sections - stitch together along the short ends (RST) so that you have one long strip.
-Fold in half RST and stitch along the 'L'
-Clip your corners, turn right side out and press
-On the open edge, turn the raw edges in 1/4 and press
-Top Stitch around the entire rectangle

Thread the sash through the belt loops, and ...

Now go make one and tell me all about it!!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Eye Opening: Our family Vacation

So I feel like having children is this MASSIVE magnifying glass on your flaws and shortcomings.  Three years ago, I would have said that I didn't really have a vice/major sin issue (HA!!!).  Today I can look you in the eye (or not, since I'm typing at a computer screen), and admit that I truly struggle with coveting.  I have huge jealousy issues when it comes to things that others have that I think make their life easier.  I go into the mode of 'oh if I only had X, obliviously my life would be sparkly and happy and oh so wonderful'.  I find myself wanting the open space in someone else's home, wanting a little extra income for more date nights,  or even wishing that I could have experienced life with only one baby at a time.  Yep, it runs deep.
So how does this tie into our family vacation???  Well, I think I've been quite a sourpuss the last few years on various vacations because instead of enjoying the moment, I get caught up inside myself thinking 'if only...'    And for that I apologize to all of my family and the people who put up with me on a daily basis ;op  So this time, I put my best friend to work praying for me and stepped forward into vacation mode with the mantra of 'enjoy THIS moment'.  When my coveting tenancies reared their ugly heads, instead of going into my jealous state, I starting make a mental list of what I could change when I got home - or if it was something beyond my power, I let it go.

I ended up having the best vacation I have had in YEARS... and it wasn't because it was some exotic destination, or a change from the daily grind of caring for three toddlers, it was simply because I changed my attitude.  *i'm actually working on a post about making 'visiting family' the BEST VACATION EVER!

date night in DC - you can't see the Washington Monument behind us ;op
Pool Time!!!
Baking with the kids - My sister and I have made this Flag cake every 4th of July for years!!!
Monkey Joes - bouncing insanity!
and of course some matching PJs (PJ's are the ONLY thing you will ever see me go all 'character' on - but come on it is GABBA!!!!)
One of the key areas that hit me was the cleanliness of my Sister-in-law's house - I was in awe.  She has and keeps a GORGEOUS house WITH A TODDLER.  It made me realize how much I miss the 10 months after we had the boys that we hired a cleaning service - it made a huge difference in being able to keep up with everything.  We can't afford that at this point, but instead of just wishing I could have that again, there are things I can do to try to keep things more manageable.  A clean house just makes me feel less frazzled, it makes me more desirous of having people over, and it honestly seems to foster better play in the kids!  My house will never be spotless, and most likely it wont ever all be clean at one time, but it can function with better organization and a plan.

A PLAN????

Well yes, I pinned THIS on pinterest about a year ago - hahahahahahah!  And THIS.  Both are easy breakdowns of how to clean your home in about 20 minutes a day.... now even 20 minutes feels like a lot to add onto my already chaotic day.  So here is my plan:  in order to get into the habit, I will take the first 10 minutes of nap time to do one thing on the list on the MAIN floor of the house each day.  Once I am in the habit, I can adapt and expand to make sure that I eventually cover the whole house, but at least this will be a starting place for me.

What do you think???  How do you keep your home clean with a house full of kids???

Hugs, and remember to enjoy THIS moment!!!