“I want to look like my cake” Birthday Dress

Five years! How has it been five years since this little princess joined our family!

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Actually, five years and almost two months, because we were in the middle of moving cross country during her birthday and I’m only now getting around to posting pictures of her birthday dress. It was done on time – early actually, as we held a joint birthday party for the kids before we moved.

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This year, I  took Grace to the fabric store to pick her own fabric. We’d already decided that the party would be “rainbow themed” in a very loose way. Simple, colorful decorations. She fell for this immediately then demanded that her brother and the cake match!

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“Choose Happy” is a good message for this season of our lives. There’s a lot going on; we have a lot we’ve left behind and a lot we’re trying to reestablish on the other side of the country. But while we’re honoring those feelings, we’re also trying to “choose happy” at the end.

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The dress is the Fairy Tale Dress from Oliver + S, my reliable favorite pattern company for classic designs and well drafted patterns. I’ve been waiting to buy this one until Grace was in the higher size range – I knew as soon as I bought the small one she’d hit a growth spurt! So, this is a size 5 with a 6 length, which has a little extra space in it. I’ve got years more opportunities to get my money’s worth on this pattern. I made View B with the View A waist detail. I love some of the techniques – the waist seam method was new to me – but be warned that there is a lot of handwork. This allows a very professional finish but I hadn’t budgeted my time correctly.

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Reid matched, too, but I was so displeased with his shirt pattern (Peekaboo Classic Oxford) that I haven’t bothered to photograph it or write a review. Though I probably should so others don’t waste their money…

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All in all, I’m grateful for every day I get to “choose happy” this sweet girl is in my life!

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So Tweet Rain Cape

Rain on the green grass,
And rain on the sea,
Rain on the house-tops,
But not on me!

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Slip on your raincoat,
Pull on your galoshes;
Wading in puddles
Makes splishes and sploshes.

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Sometimes when you see a pattern, you know exactly what you want to do with it. Such is the case with the Red Riding Hood Cape from Little Things to sew – the moment I saw it, I knew it would be a rain coat. My only hold up was deciding on fabric and committing to purchase it. Laminate is more than double what I am most comfortable paying for fabric; I kept waffling back and forth between different prints. I finally came back to the very first one I looked at.

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Why a cape? Two reasons – 1) Car seats. Love them, have to have them, hate having to plan outfits around a 5 point harness. A cape can pop on and off without drama. 2) Have you followed for any length of time? This kid grows like a weed. She’s a size 3 around and 5-6 in length. I’m not going to wrestle with laminate only for her to outgrow what I made her in a day. With a rain cape we’ll get our use out of it, no matter how quickly she grows.

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Bring on the rain!

Details

Pattern: Red Riding Hood Cape, Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson, size M. No pattern alterations except to add topstitching all the way around to keep lining in place.

Fabric: Urban Zoologie Birds in Spring (here); lined with plain white polyester

This is my 9th project in the Little Things to Sew Cover-To-Cover Challenge. See them all!

Alley Explorer Vest and Hat

There’s a secret place behind our house, the most exciting place ever (if you’re 3).

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Full of rocks, and “goody mud”, and trees, and scampering critters.

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Much to find. Much to learn. Much to see. Much to hear.

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 So many different treasures to collect.

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An every day adventure in the alley (when you’re 3)

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Details

Patterns: Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson; reversible bucket hat and explorer vest

Fabric: Khaki twill and ladybug quilter’s cotton Joann’s. Navy vest lining, upcycled cotton pillowcase

2 more projects completed for the Sewing Through LTTS challenge! 8 out of 21 done, I’m up to 38% with 3 months to go (and fabric for 2 more in the house already)

Roller Skates Come in Pairs

So many good things come in pairs.

Pants.

Shoes

Twix bars.

Mittens.

Chopsticks.

And… ROLLER SKATES!

Back in the day, the Skate Corral was The. Place. to be. We’re talking the epitome of grade school coolness. For just a couple bucks you could spend hours skating in a circle inside a somewhat smelly cinderblock building that had essentially no ventilation with all your other cool seven year old buddies. And maybe popcorn if your mom sent an extra dollar.

Oh, the memories. The “classic” skating time where you could chat. The dice game that I still don’t understand, but someone won a soda. Partner skates (but NEVER with a boy. Boys had cooties). Hokey Pokey. Backwards skate. And that crazy skate that may or may not have had a name when they turned the lights off and the music loud, then ran the smoke machine and the disco ball.

In honor of all those nights (or afternoons… we were seven after all), I made Grace a pair of Roller Skate Dresses for spring. Just like that plain cinderblock building (which has since been bulldozed into a Lowe’s parking lot), this pattern may not look like much. Until you get started! I’m in love. It’s simple to sew with super clear directions – a given from Oliver + S. But once you get going there’s so much potential. Something as simple as fabric choice changes the look completely.

The “Classic” Skate

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This dress is straight from the pattern – view A, no changes except length. Any more, if I’m going to make a dress for Grace I’m going to make it really long. She’s growing like a weed!

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I love how regency-inspired this dress turned out. If anyone knows me, they know I’m more than a little fascinated by Jane Austen and the culture of that era. I’ve spent longer than I will confess to studying the fashion history of Regency Britain. I hadn’t started this project intending to make Grace a regency dress, but hey! The Roller Skate pattern skates that way, too!

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The outer is a white eyelet from my stash – I’m pretty sure it’s 100% cotton but I didn’t do any tests to confirm that. The baby blue lining is broadcloth, 65% poly 35% cotton. I’m crazy about the way the blue shows through the white. My plan is for this dress to be Grace’s church dress through spring and summer.

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Oh, and shorts out of leftover broadcloth. Because she’s a preschooler and thinks her tummy is cute and the whole world needs to see it.

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The “Crazy” Skate

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Same pattern, completely different dress. Introducing: view B with several key modifications. First, I added a hem band at the bottom. This serves two purposes – to lengthen it a little in a different way, and to keep me from having to hem. I don’t know why I hate hemming so much. It also makes the hem very strong for when she does things like this:

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The other big modification is that I only lined the bodice of the dress. This is a summer play dress. Our summers get pretty hot and extremely humid. I decided that one less layer would make Grace a happier girl. To achieve this, I cut the pattern off 1/2” below the lower casing line. I turned that ½” up with my iron then sewed the casing per pattern directions, which placed the lower line just at the edge of the lining.

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Grace picked the fabric, can you tell? It’s from Anne Kelle’s Urban Zoologie line. I’ve had it around for about a year but couldn’t decide what to sew with it. The dress is crazy bright, but so is my little girl. Never a dull moment around here!

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There will probably be more Roller Skate dresses in my future. I started out just wanting to get my use out of the pattern before Grace outgrows it but now I’m in love. It’s easy to sew and easy to wear. I’d love to make her a tunic version to wear over capris, but Grace is still in her hating pants phase. That’s ok – dresses are awesome anyway 🙂

Details

Pattern: Roller Skate Dress from Oliver + S. White – view A. Cats – view B

Fabric: White: Eyelet from unknown source. Blue broadcloth from Joann’s

Cats: Anne Kelle Urban Zoologie Cats in Spring colorway, from Fabric.com (not available). Pink quilter’s cotton from stash

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.

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!

Gray Winter Days (PR&P, Winter Wonderland)

“I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.” Bill Waterson, author of Calvin and Hobbs

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

Winter in Central Illinois is awful. It’s a very unpredictable season. What snow we get is beautiful, for a few few hours at least. And then it will get just warm enough to rain and turn everything to gross mud and slush. Even though the theme at Project Run and Play this week is “Winter Wonderland,” I decided to go more with our Winter Reality. I was up for a challenge: finding beauty and inspiration in the yuck of a midwest January.

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

 

“Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen.” Willa Cather, My Antonia chapter 7

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

Our favorite outfits have layers. Our favorite boots wash off (mostly). We brave the outdoors anyway – because Spring is still a long ways off and we’ll all go crazy if we don’t go out and run for at least a few minutes. This week I made three layers: A gray knit slip, upcycled from an old pillowcase. A Family Reunion Dress from Oliver and S in quilter’s cotton. And a gray cardigan cut down from one of my old ones, misshapen from years of use.

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“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” Carl Reiner, American actor, film director, producer, writer and comedian.

embroidery closeup on Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

I bought the Family Reunion pattern for the tab. To me, it is just begging to be embroidered. I stitched this little snowflake in a steely blue floss, which picks up the hit of blue spattered in the background of the main print (it’s very subtle, you can just see it). I used a simple back stitch; the snowflake design is from Handsewn (a fantastic sewing book!). I didn’t get a picture of it but the buttons on the back of the dress are also stitched on using the blue floss. I love the hint of color in the midst of the gray – just like the few minutes of sunshine that  pop through the clouds. There’s nothing prettier than the clear, pale blue sky of winter.

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

“Every mile is two in winter.” George Herbert, English clergyman and poet

And every photo shoot is misery, at least if you ask the toddler! It’s ok sweetheart, we’re done now, and we can enjoy the best part of winter: snuggling on the couch in the early dark with a bowl of soup and a cup of tea. And spring will come soon enough.

Family Reunion Dress by Gabi Sunshine

This week’s inspiration image: taken by me last week when the weather randomly decided to be sub-zero temps for a couple days.

 

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Be sure to check out the other sew along entries right here. Many of them are more “Wonderland” – ish, if you’re tired of gray!