To The Max

I’m really slow to join on fashion trends. Mostly because I’m oblivious. But there’s one that has caught my eye for years: Maxi skirts and dresses. I’ve never joined in – I’ve tried on occasion, but it just didn’t work. My legs are really long. Most maxis hit me well above the ankles, which is so not cool. Or they have no coverage on top, which isn’t my style. Or colors that I really don’t like. So I’ve just watched, filling a Pinterest board with images, considering but never actually making a move.

But wait. I sew. Cue the duh moment… really sometimes it takes me longer than it should! I blame the toddler.

So for my birthday present to myself I’m finally joining in!

Lady Skater Maxi Dress at Gabi Sunshine

I used the Lady Skater pattern again for the bodice. I showed my first try/ wearable muslin / troubleshooting version here. I got some great feedback on the alterations I needed and I am much happier this time. The skirt is a simple tube across the width of the fabric gathered onto the bodice (following the suggestion from here)

Lady Skater Maxi Dress at Gabi Sunshine

The fabric is a soft jersey knit that I bought from… wait for it… Mood! I know it’s not really that big of a deal, but after a decade of watching Project Runway, ordering from them was definitely on my bucket list. Life goal accomplished.

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I’m really pleased. I styled it really simply today, but I’ve already thought up a half dozen variations based on things already in my closet. Some with long sleeves over the top – it got cold again! I’m so ready for spring. This dress is so easy to wear. I’ve been on my knees on the floor, climbing up on ledges, and everything in between. Other than having to remember to lift the edge on stairs (oops) it’s one of those throw-on-and-go outfits that still looks pulled together. Making more? Definitely.

Lady Skater Maxi Dress at Gabi Sunshine

Details

Dress: Lady Skater by Kitschy Koo, tube style skirt

Fabric: 100% cotton jersey from Mood

 

Coco Cay Tankini

Summer’s coming! We’ll be taking Gracie to the beach pretty soon. Which of COURSE calls for a new swimsuit! Mainly because all the ones from last year are way tiny. But also because this child has a very… ah… specific sense of style. If it isn’t neon she isn’t interested. Thank goodness I picked up a swimsuit pattern during all the Thanksgiving sales a few months back! Introducing my first Coco Cay Tankini from Peekaboo Pattern Shop:

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So, inside on this windy gray day, we’re celebrating a little sunshine.

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As usual with Peekaboo Patterns, this stitched up a dream. Well, a dream considering I’m working with completely foreign-to-me materials and techniques. I’m still getting over my fear of regular knits. 4 way athletic knit? It’s crazy. The suit is far from perfect but I learned a LOT and have no doubt the next one will look very professional, and it’s very wearable. If you can’t tell, the part I need more practice on is getting the elastic evenly stretched. I’ve got super tight spots and super loose spots. I’m calling it a win though because she’s covered and comfortable. Oh and the applique is crooked since Grace wouldn’t decide what she wanted until AFTER the whole top was assembled. Next time I’ll do that very first. But she doesn’t care at all:

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She’s a natural model. LOL. I pull out the camera and it’s just pose after pose after pose.

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Ready to play in the waves! I’ll definitely be making at least one more of these to get through summer. We’ve graduated to a 2 piece due to potty training – she has a habit of waiting until the last. possible. minute. and I really don’t want to deal with a one piece in that situation. Actually, I hate one pieces in general. I really think a well fitted, long enough tankini is more modest that a one piece any day. Speaking of long enough, that was my only pattern edit – I extended the bottoms up a half inch and the top down about 3/4″. Otherwise it’s a straight 3t. I’ll probably do the top yet a little longer next time but the bottoms are perfect.

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Oh, I also got one more project off my list for the Cover-to-Cover Little Things to Sew challenge! That makes 4 so far… I’m super behind but have plans for many of them. This is the juggling bag. Well, mostly – I used the directions and the shapes, but the size is free handed based on the size I needed. The top half is scrap swimsuit fabric; the bottom is mesh swimsuit lining. It’s just right to throw a swimsuit and towel in. And it matches! Which is all that matters to Grace! Here’s my challenge post in case you want to know more about the challenge, see my completed projects, and maybe even jump in too!

Details

Pattern: Coco Cay Colorblock Tankini

Fabric: Athletic 4-way stretch knit from Joann’s

Bag: Little Things to Sew book by Liesl Gibson, scrap fabric

Troubleshooting the Lady Skater

Want to see a work in progress? I usually only post finished, polish, and posed, but I need help!

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Meet the Lady Skater dress from British designer Kitschy Coo. It’s just a tee shirt dress with a circle style skirt (not a full circle. Maybe half?). Super simple, super perfect uniform every day dress. I’m looking forward to making a shelf full – there’s some brilliant interpretations on the blog and on Pinterest that I can’t wait to copy. Except I need to do some pattern work first. So it’s completely appropriate that I’m taking photos my in process dining room.

I have narrow shoulders. It means that every. single. pattern. needs altered. I’m planning to spend some time later this spring making a sloper to make alterations easier (Don’t know what that is? Come back in a month or so! I’m already writing the series). I need some extra eyes on this pattern though to figure out what specifically to adjust. This is my first knit dress for me. I know that I can get it perfect. And I really, really, REALLY hope I do, because…

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See? It’s got to be perfect before I cut into my splurge fabric! Here’s some close ups on the bodice. I know I’m not standing up straight but hopefully it’s enough to see. (My husband only had about 2 minutes before running out the door to work)

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So, wiser eyes, what do I need to fix? Here’s what I’m thinking, but I feel like I’m missing something. I made a straight size 5 with 4? extra inches in skirt length (I’m 5’9″), but no other alterations so far.

  • Narrow shoulder adjustment, as shown here
  • Slight sway back adjustment
  • Bringing the neckline in all the way around

HELP! And, Thank You!

My [belated] Valentine

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Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. James 4:13-14

That verse sums up my February so far. Wonderful plans! Things to do! Special Valentine’s photo shoots! And then more snow storms and cancellations, car repairs, and multiple illnesses. I’ve taken to answering people when they ask me if I will be somewhere or do something, “That’s the CURRENT plan.”

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Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” James 4:15

Well, the Lord willed quick late night pictures in the bathroom, after the new favorite dress has been worn multiple times (through multiple fevers) and is in need of an ironing. Complete with a runny nose and a smile that can’t be beat! I love this kid and her joyful heart. She may have gotten her Valentine dress late but it didn’t phase her even a little. And I love that even though I made this to be a holiday outfit, I am quite certain it will be worn whenever it is clean. Pink hearts are a little girl’s uniform.

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And it definitely is a new favorite dress! Favorite to her because it’s pink and she can put it on all by herself (oh, independence). Favorite to me because it’s super easy and a size 5. Just TRY growing out of that one, kid! I’ve had my eye on this pattern (the Music Box Jumper from Oliver + S) for months, but I just knew if I bought the smaller size range she’d immediately have a growth spurt. Because that’s what buying boutique patterns does. So I’ve held off patiently until I could buy the larger size set. Yes, it’s pretty big for the short term. But I guarantee you I’ll be making a stack of them! It may be nerdy, but I really really love the school uniform look. I’m planning 2 in khaki already, one for Grace and one for her friend who goes to a uniform-requiring preschool. That is, I’ll sew them…

“If the Lord wills.”

Details

Pattern: Oliver + S Music Box Jumper, view B. Size 5. Plastic snaps instead of buttons

Fabric: Twill hearts from Joann’s – I think it’s Doodles collection.

Janey Jump Around Play Dress

I know I keep mentioning this, but my kid is growing like a weed. And I’m finally getting new play clothes made for her that actually fit. I’m so excited to share a complete WIN with you today! It’s the Janey Jump Around dress by Peek-A-Boo Pattern shop… which is…. wait for it… FREE!

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Easy to assemble the pattern. Easy to follow the directions. Easy to sew. Easy to wash. Easy to wear. I’m one happy mama with a happy little girl. And this is the 4th Peek A Boo pattern I’ve sewn up in the past few months and they’ve all be like that. Sometimes the PDF pattern world can be intimidating, but I’ve been really pleased with this designer. I’m still pretty new to knit fabric so I’m grateful that these patterns hold my hand and make it not so scary for me. (It’s ridiculous – I’m more afraid of knits than I am of chiffon and satin and such).

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The faux wrap is just the sweetest thing. I love the look, and it’s comfortable to wear. Plus easier to put on a wiggly little miss. I was so glad to find perfectly matched buttons in my stash – I really have no idea where these came from, but they were the last two. I hope I can find another set, because they’re perfectly hot pink and shiny. When she out grows this dress, I’ll probably cut them off and put them on something else.

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I made a 3t with only the smallest adjustments to the pattern – the sleeves are 3/4″ longer and the hem is just over 1″ longer. Just enough for some growing room. Maybe it will last her until spring! Seriously, kid, stop growing.

Details

Pattern: Janey Jump Around from Peek A Boo patterns

Fabric: Doodles collection, stable knit, from Joann’s. Pink is some random scrap that I’ve been cutting bits off of for years.

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Lemon Tarts Play Dough

I haven’t posted much about our sensory play lately. We’ve spent the past several months mostly stuck inside due to the weather – sub-zero temperatures and lots of snow (for this area at least). We are still doing lots of sensory play, but it hasn’t been terribly original or ground breaking. This activity turned out cute enough to share, though: Lemon Tarts!

 

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I whipped up a quick batch of lemonade scented play dough using my basic recipe (read more here) then turned the kids loose with various kitchen implements that Grace got for Christmas to use in her play kitchen. Plus glitter – there is ALWAYS glitter around here! The bowl full of lemons was just sitting there for inspiration.

Lemon Tart Play Dough at Gabi Sunshine

Aren’t these tiny tart pans the cutest?

We continue to use the play dough, but the glitter is a one-time thing. I put it away after our first use. By then the glitter is worked all the way through the dough and more just means more mess for cleaning up. These girls never get tired of playing Bakery. Every time the play dough comes out, they ask for tart pans or cake pans plus a handful of tooth picks and craft sticks for candles. It’s been their go-to game for about 5 months now.

In case you didn’t know, play dough is a great activity for developing hand strength and fine motor skills. I can tie a lot of learning in without any pressure. I offer simple ideas to direct their play in ways that work on the target skill. We used this activity to practice making balls and putting them on sticks – also known as cake pops! This reinforces shape knowledge, hand strength, and lots of coordination to actually make the balls, line them up, and get them on the stick in the middle without pushing too far.

Lemon Tart Play Dough at Gabi Sunshine

What are you playing this long, snowy winter? Without sensory play, I know we’d be going CRAZY by now!

Kid’s Clothes Week: Monday

Have you heard of Kid’s Clothes Week? It’s an event in the blog community that happens 4 times a year – once each quarter of the year. The challenge is to spend one hour each day for one week sewing clothes for your kid (or kids). There is a host blog (Kid’s Clothes Week) where projects from the Community site are featured and give-aways happen. Within the Community site, you can post photos and pattern reviews, plus get to know some other cool people who sew :) This is my first KCW but I can’t see it being my last.

I spent most of Monday getting ready: organizing patterns, deciding which fabric will be used where, and tracing off my new Oliver + S pattern.

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I decided to spend my sewing time wrapping up a couple of projects left from before. Nothing like clearing up unfinished business. Both of these were already finished except for hems and trims.

Re-purposed Overall Dress

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These started as a too short pair of Old Navy Baby overalls. Overalls just don’t make sense in our life – Grace has potty trained and she can’t get them up and down without help, but… “I DO IT MYSELF!” The end result is accidents. Turning them into a overall dress is much more our style. I cut the legs off a few inches below those cute pockets, then slit the curved part of the crotch seam and stitched it flat. Hemming with pink ribbon trim (from my stash, leftover from a different project) was a quick and easy finish – much easier than trying to turn up a hem on this thick denim. Maybe an hour of work turned this unworn hand-me-down into something Grace begged to put on as soon as she saw it. I did photograph the steps of this project – if time allows I’ll post a quick tutorial.

Striped Grand Slam Tee

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This is my first sew of the Grand Slam Tee by Peek A Boo patterns. I love it – everything matched up perfectly, which is a must when working with stripes. The fabric is a weird sweater knit remnant I found in the bin at Joann’s. It’s kind of weird, but I kind of love it. From the pattern, I made a size 4 with the 3/4 sleeves and Skinny fit. I’m hoping to make a little khaki skirt to pair with this.

My model only had one outfit’s worth of cooperation in her this morning, so we’re back to taped on the wall. You do what works, right?

KCW is just in time for me. I just had to retire 5 MORE dresses from Grace’s wardrobe for being far too short and getting tight. This is in addition to the several I’ve had to pull over the past couple weeks. My girl hit a serious growth spurt between Thanksgiving and Christmas – after not growing much in a year, she put on 2″ and 1lb in a little over a month. It’s left me scrambling for clothes – we’ve done lots of leggings under too short dresses these past few weeks. I’m glad she won’t wear pants because I don’t have any ` that cover her tummy. So for the rest of KCW, my goal is to bust out a pile of quick to sew, easy to wear dresses to keep my little miss covered. Life is never boring!