Apr 15, 2011

Sew & So

First, thank you to those who have left such encouraging comments this week. Several left comments on the post where I talked about my obsession with my daughter (ha). And a few have left comments for the first time this week. I try to respond via email but don't always have time to respond to each one. So, if I didn't respond to you, thanks for reading our blog and for commenting.

One commenter asked about where I get SM's clothes. Specifically, where do I get some of her dress outfits. I get a lot of her play clothes from Target and Children's Place. I also have a friend with a daughter a few years older than SM. When she cleans out her daughter's closet, I often get clothes from her. I shop at consignment stores for some things but often, even things I think are cute and in good condition, turn out to have a small tear or stain once I get them home. So, I don't shop at those stores as much anymore. I get some of her smocked clothing from special sales like one I went to held by Kidz Klozet last Fall. They sell last season's clothes at discounted prices. And personally, I have no problem with that. I order some things from Kelly's Kids. And then, lately, I've started sewing a few things for her.

I learned to sew in a junior high school Home Ec class. I don't even know if schools still have those classes anymore. But at the time, every female 7th and 8th grader in our school had to go through the class at least once. We learned how to make peanut butter cookies and sew a pair of elastic waist shorts. That's about all I remember about the class. And at the end of the semester, we had to "model" our shorts in a show in front of all the kids at school. My pair of shorts never got finished. It was kind of like Project Runway, only so much more pitiful - they were half sewn and half held together by safety pins.

I also took another sewing-style class in high school. I don't remember what the name of it was, but they didn't call it Home Economics. Anyway, there I was, sewing another outfit. This time I did much better. But after that class I didn't sew for a long time. It just wasn't something I thought to spend time on.

Then, after Reagan and I married and I began to think about children, I remembered how my mother and grandmother had sewn some of my play clothes when I was a child. And my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, Susan, both sewed. Susan told me about some sewing classes offered where she had purchased her monogramming machine. So, I attended a few classes and began to sew again. I learned quite a bit through those classes. My mother-in-law also offered tips as I began to sew more. Up until SM was born, I sewed quite a bit for children I knew - at church, in my family, etc. I even sewed a few things for her before she was born.

Then... for some reason... after she came along, I just couldn't find much time to fit in sewing. I have sewn her a few small things, but not much at all. The older and more active she has gotten, the less time I've had to sew. But, now I've started making a little more time and effort to sew for her. One reason is that she will play on her own a little while I sew. So that gives me a little time. I also try to sew when she's napping or after she's gone to bed. Another reason I've started sewing more is, I have a new friend at church, Stephanie, who sews and she has pointed me to a couple websites that offer tutorials and patterns that are QUICK and simple. I've taken several of those patterns and added a few little touches I've learned from the past, and made several cute little things for SM over the past couple weeks. I thought I'd share them. One reason being, I'm kind of excited about having successfully finished something (as opposed to having it held together by safety pins), and also because my Aunt Sue likes to see these kinds of things. So, here goes...

The first outfit I made her was this little boutique style top and pair of pants.

(I should mention now that all my fabric comes from either Hobby Lobby or a local children's fabric shop in our area. I think all this fabric in this outfit came from the children's shop.)

What I did was take this pillowcase dress pattern and adjusted it to her size. Then, as I cut out the pattern, I shortened the hem to make it more of a shirt than a dress. At the bottom of the shirt, instead of just a regular hem, I added a row of ruffles all the way around. I'll show a close-up pic of it later in this post.

Here are the pants.

I got the pattern for the pants at the children's shop I mentioned. It is the Children's Corner Lettie pattern and is just a simple elastic waist pant. I think I've made her a couple pair of pants from this pattern before. They usually take me about a hour from start to finish.

If you look at the picture on the pattern, the pants are a little short on the models. I like her pants to be a little longer, so I changed the ruffle a little. I think the pattern calls for about a 1 inch ruffle but I wanted something bigger. I think this ruffle is either 3 or 4 inches. When I tried the pants on her, the pants with the ruffle ended up being just the right length.

Here's a closer look at the shirt. Again, it's a pillowcase dress, just shortened to right below her waist.

I will probably monogram it at the bottom right, just above the ruffle. Cause if there is one motto I try to live by, it's More is More. (You know, as opposed to Less is More.)

Here's a close-up of the ruffle. Little additions like that dress up just a plain pillowcase dress and make it look like I put a little more time in effort into it, when really, I didn't.

Here's the top of the shirt.

Usually, with her pillowcase dresses, I put a ribbon through the front and a ribbon through the back and tie them at each shoulder. I thought I would try two long ribbons threaded through both the back and the front and tied on one side. I think it's cute.

The next thing I did for her was a t-shirt to wear for the Easter egg hunt at her daycare.

I don't have a Cricut or Silhouette machine, but I wanted to do something similar to what I've seen done with vinyl cut from one of those machines. So, I picked up some iron-on vinyl at Hobby Lobby, free-hand drew a bunny onto a piece of paper, and then cut out fabric and vinyl using the bunny pattern. Following the instructions on the vinyl packaging, I ironed it onto a white t-shirt I had bought for SM at Wal-Mart. Then, from the craft section, I purchased a small bag of little balls. They come in various sizes and colors, but I purchased a small bag of white. I glued one to a piece of felt, then hot-glued that to the bunny's bottom. It's so far from perfect, but I'm pretty sure she'll only wear it once (because EVERY time she wears a white shirt she ruins it), so it's good enough for the hunt. I am thinking about making her a pair of shorts out of the same fabric as the bunny so she can wear them with this top. It will just depend on whether I have time or not.

Next, I took the same pillowcase pattern that I used to make the zebra-print top above, and made her a dress. In the top above, I shortened the pattern to be more of a shirt. For this dress, I kept it the full length of the pattern for a size 3T.

It may have taken me a little less than an hour from start to finish on this dress. It was so quick and simple. The fabric is from Hobby Lobby. It is a little long on her, and I could let her wear it now, but I will probably wait a little while. On the next pillowcase dress I make, I will probably shorten it just an inch or two.

Another look at the top of the dress. Same trick with the ribbon tied on one side. I think it makes it look a little more dressy.


On the hem of this dress, rather than a ruffle, I added rick-rack. My thoughts on rick-rack: it is ALWAYS appropriate on little girl play clothes and I look for any opportunity or place I can add it.

On to the twirly dress she wore in THIS POST. She loved it. I got the pattern and instructions HERE and I got the fabric at Hobby Lobby. They have such cute fabric right now.

The person who posted this pattern said it took her about an hour and a half to make the dress. It took me a little longer (for obvious reasons), but it was very simple.

I've never been good in the piping department, but I think it turned out well on this dress. (But if you see my child wearing this out somewhere, try not to look at the piping in the back too closely.)

I mentioned I like rick-rack. The pattern didn't call for it on this pattern, but after I added the band of fabric at the bottom of the dress, I also added some rick-rack.

Sara Madalin loved this dress when I put it on her. She loves twirling in it. I have a feeling you'll see her in it pretty often this Summer.

Now, I have to admit, I also had a few fails in the sewing department these past few weeks. I might as well share them too. I tried to applique' a tie on a little boy's shirt. I've seen them on several blogs and thought I'd give it a try to maybe give some of these as gifts. Well... I think I'm going to need a little more practice with this one before I give any away.

I free-hand drew the tie onto a piece of printer paper and then used it as a pattern to cut out the fabric. (Again, Hobby Lobby fabric.) It appears one side of the tie is a little more straight than angled. And I didn't quite get the neckline right.

I'm going to practice and see if I can't get this little number right.

And this isn't so much a fail as I just didn't like it when it was done. I think it was more the fabric I used than anything. It's a skirt and I found the tutorial HERE. It was probably the simplest skirt I've ever made, and I could even alter to it to make a skirt for myself.

I used a jersey knit fabric from Hobby Lobby. Sara Madalin loved it and I'm sure she'll play in it, but I don't think it's something she'll wear out. It was just a little too thin for my taste.

Here's a couple more shots of it. First, the hem.

and the waist.

It was a very simple pattern. I like that. I think it took me about 30-45 minutes total. And, if I'd made it out of a different fabric, I might like it more.

I have a little more fabric that I plan to use to make another outfit or two. I'll try to remember to point out which outfits they are. If you sew, you should try one of the patterns or tutorials from the sites I've linked to. My friend Stephanie (who has 3 children under 4) says sewing is like therapy to her. I have to agree. It helps to relieve stress for me and I feel really great when I've made something cute for Sara Madalin. Especially when I see how much she likes it, like the twirly dress. That is a pattern I will most definitely try again.

Happy Sewing!

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Christi said...

Thank you for sharing this.

You might like the blue skirt if you put a pair of leggings under neath it. It would be well loved by my girls (8 an 6) as they are definitely into layers right now.

Also, I have a cricut (not the expert on it) but if I can ever cut something out and send it to you for use just let me know.


Meet the Robinsons said...

I would love to know the name of the shop where you took your classes and the children's fabric shop. I live in the Flowood area.
I do have a Cricut but my trick for appliques is to go online and google for free coloring book pages or free clip art of whatever I want to applique then I just cut the picture out and use it as a pattern for my fabric. If you would feel more comfortable emailing me information my email is marobinson2006@gmail.com. Thanks!

Melanie said...

I'd also like to know the name of the fabric store!

I need to get my you-know-what in gear and make a couple pillowcase dresses for my girls this summer. Seems like even *I* could make those with my mediocre sewing skills. I've also seen pre-smocked fabric at Hobby Lobby, so I thought a couple sundresses would be easy to try.

On SM ruining her white shirts... Have you ever tried putting a little lemon juice on the stains then putting them out in the sun? My mom taught me that trick, and it works WONDERS. Even on colored fabrics.

Kelli said...

Great job on all the outfits! They look great and I am positive SM will appreciate them even more when she has her own children someday!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I don't live in your area so I can't get stuff drom Kidz Closet but I can order from Kelly's Kids. Adorable!

A Love Worth Waiting For.... said...

You are SO talented!!!! I just love these little outfits and shirts you have made for SM!!

blessedmomto8 said...

SO AWESOME! MAN YOU ARE GOOD! MAYBE ONE DAY I will learn to sew HA~ Gorgeous stuff and I'm sure I could learn right???

Penny said...

The last time (and only time) I sewed something was in a Home Ec class in Jr. High. We had to make skirts and wear them to school. I had made my waist band too small and was MISERABLE the whole day! Never tried again. lol
It's really a shame, though, because I come from a long line of seamtresses. My Mimi even made dresses for the Natchez Pilgrimage!!! She, my mom, and my Nannie could make anything~ including wedding dresses. With six daughters (three and three steps) I really could have used sewing lessons to save money.
Love the clothes you made. The "twirly" dress and the green dress are my favorites. :)

LisaAnne said...

Great stuff! You have a gift. All those outfits are SO CUTE!

Amy said...

Love your outfits! I'm not sure if I've ever commented here before, but I stumbled across your blog last year and was intrigued by your adoption story as we were in the process of adopting as well. I love to sew and create as well but it is very hard with an infant in the house! But I am trying to make time to do a few things. :) Thanks for sharing your creations!BTW- SM is precious!