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 šŸ™‚ 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.


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

jumper copy

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

grand slam

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!


What’s Mine is Yours (PR&P Upcycle challenge)

I live with a 2 year old. It has been months since I’ve had my own glass of water, or cookie, or bowl of popcorn, or pretty much anything else (at least while she’s awake!). Shoes taken off by the door are considered community property – I’m kind of impressed how well she can pull of my heels. And sitting down is seen as an invitation to share personal space. It was only logical to share one more thing: my clothes! (as an aside, some of this is an exaggeration. But teaching toddlers is a long process)

dress only

These two shirts migrated to my scrap bin a couple years ago. Most of the problem is the color – neons look awful on me. The blue graphic tee was an impulse buy; the green one was from a college club I felt the need to support. They’ve been waiting for a good purpose – the Upcycle Challenge for Project Run and Play! This dress was 100% free by using the 2 tees and a button from my stash. See how well I did using most of the fabric?!


The pattern is the Go – To Signature dress which for some reason I’ve been procrastinating making. Maybe it was the 20+ pages to trim and tape together. No matter – I did it now, and will be using this pattern like CRAZY! It’s really everything everyone says it is. I made a straight 4T with long sleeves, inseam pockets, and no waist elastic. I estimated the blue cap sleeves to best use the originals. I also added a keyhole at the neckline to compensate for using regular knit instead of ribbing. (I didn’t think until long after to trim the ribbing from the original green neckline). My strip was a little wide to lay nicely but that’s ok. I also need to switch the button loop – currently elastic thread – to something a little less stretchy.


Did you notice the first picture? I’ve joined the garment-taped-to-the-wall photographers. It was a matter of necessity – Grace won an award for “Least Cooperative Model Ever” when we tried to shoot this yesterday at a nearby book store. But I actually kind of like it! I may try that again, especially since Miss is 2.5 and I thoroughly expect more awful photo shoots in our future. I’ll show you modeled pictures, but seriously… Least. Cooperative. Ever.


Nice big pockets. They’re cut from the lime green for contrast.


Yes, those shoes are definitely on the wrong feet. But they’re sparkly!tiled

And a collage of non-cooperation.

But let me tell you… she loves this dress, even if she wouldn’t pose in it. I made it a few weeks back and if it’s clean, she’s wearing it. In my book, a free dress which becomes an instant favorite is a complete win! I’ll be using the Go-To dress patter again this upcoming week for Kid’s Clothes Week, so come back each day if you’re curious what I’m creating. And don’t forget to see the other entries for the Upcyle Challenge at Project Run and Play!


Dress: Go – To Signature Dress size 4T. Upcycled from 2 woman’s tees

Leggings and all accessories: Purchased

Getting Started Playing School

Now that Grace is two, I’ve been wanting to add just a little bit of structure to our days. It’s a looooong day with a bored 2 year old if I don’t have *some* kind of a plan. That plan, however, is really loose. I most identify with a Charlotte Mason educational philosophy, which looks a lot like unschooling in the younger ages. Lots of playing outside. Lots of reading worthwhile books.

I’m using a lovely curriculum called Hubbard’s Cupboard as a “jumping off” point. It’s lovely as is if you’re looking for something print-and-go and a great inspiration curriculum if you’re looking to add more yourself. I’m using Joyful Hearts, their 2 year old program.

My changes: They plan 2 lesson days a week; I’m leaving Grace’s theme basket available to her whenever she wants to play or read from it. They have a Bible theme but no particular lesson; we’re incorporating reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible and other places. I’m having to adapt some of the books based on what I can find at my library, plus adding in non-fiction books. I grabbed a couple theme-based videos at the library, too – we’re not big TV watchers, but some days I need her to focus alone while I get something done (like make lunch!). I’m also adding a hymn for each theme since Grace LOVES music!

The first theme is Beaches and the Ocean, for 2 weeks. Grace and her 2 friends that I watch are really loving it! Today I’ll show you our sensory activities. I’ll post our complete resource list next week when we wrap up the theme. There’s a couple books I’m still hoping to get from the library, plus a couple that I got I doubt we’ll actually use. I want an accurate list for my records.

8 2013 009

Our seashore theme basket: books, a movie, a tin full of real shells, and the Melissa and Doug ocean-themed instrument set

8 2013 006

Tropical drink mix flavored play dough plus shells to press


8 2013 008

Beach sensory tub: cornmeal, gold glitter, sea shells, shovels, and a set of pouring toys

8 2013 012

They loved it! Playing on our beach towel outside

I’m really enjoying playing school. It’s just enough structure without being academic. I didn’t do the math activities this week but will probably add them in as we go. I’m using the planning sheet more as inspiration and less as a rule book – mixing, matching, and adapting as I go. The next theme is camping and I’m super excited – that’s our new hobby of the summer, so Grace will really connect!

Rainy Days and Sensory Play

Are you sure this is July? This has been the weirdest year for weather I can remember. Days of steady rain more normal for April or October have us stuck in the house. Since we don’t have cable and I hesitate to turn on a movie (again) I’m delving into my treasure trove of sensory play activities to keep us entertained. Here’s a collection from the past few weeks:

Water beads plus measuring scoops and a ladle (buried in the beads)

Water beads plus measuring scoops and a ladle (buried in the beads)

A "Small World Play" with toilet paper tube trees, a water bead lake, green rice, a bear and some people

A “Small World Play” with toilet paper tube trees, a water bead lake, green rice, a bear and some people


White board and markers - CLOSELY SUPERVISED!!!

White board and markers – she wrote me a story

7 2013 412

Washing dishes at the water table in between rain storms

Then we got brave and made some new-to-us play mediums I’ve seen floating around Pinterest for a while.

7 2013 422

First we made cloud dough. It’s a silky soft dough that you can shape and mold like wet sand, except it feels better. It’s similar in some ways to that “Moon Sand” that was popular when I was a kid. I used 6c all purpose flour and a little under 1c baby oil. I just dumped them in the bin and let Grace mix to her heart’s content. As she played I added a little salt for texture and some glitter for sparkle. A few kitchen tools gave her things to scoop, shape, dump and fill.

7 2013 426

She absolutely loved it šŸ™‚ I’ve heard this will keep indefinitely, since there’s nothing in it that could spoil.

Then today I made a colored salt writing tray. This idea keeps popping up on one of my favorite blogs, The Imagination Tree. We made sort-of-purple salt with anther generous shake of glitter. Here’s one post on the idea. I left out the essential oil since I don’t have any except Tea Tree – wonderfully useful, not wonderful for smelling.

7 2013 430

Grace isn’t writing yet, but we did practice some shapes in between free playing:




Circle (ish)

This is another that should keep indefinitely. But even if it doesn’t, these are super cheap to mix up another batch. I think the salt tray has about $0.25 worth of material. That half hour of complete focus was worth every penny and more!

Do you have a favorite sensory activity when the weather keeps you inside? I’m always looking for more!

Bubble Pocket Skater Girl {Flip This Pattern}

Do you remember a few years ago – back before the housing market crashed and burned – when “flipping” was the big thing to do? Investors would go in and buy a house for cheap, then improve it and sell it for a profit. Bad idea, really, but it made interesting tv for a few seasons. Thankfully, there’s a much better spin-off going around blog-land these days – Flip This Pattern, hosted by Frances Suzanne! Every month for the next YEAR seamstresses will take the inspiration pattern and “flip” it – apply their own creativity to it in order to come up with a unique garment all their own. And I knew that I’d be sewing in July the moment I saw the pattern: The Roller Skate Dress + Tunic from Oliver + S.

7 2013 372

Now, this is not the dress I’d originally intended. But like every good episode of the flipping shows, mine was filled with a fair bit of drama. Primarily, I thought the sew-a-long closed NEXT week. Alas, no… it’s today.

7 2013 300

Then, my fabric was missing. I still can’t find it. Thankfully I’ve got a fairly stashified stash! The pink daisies are left over from the back of Grace’s baby quilt {which, ahem, isn’t quite done yet} and serve beautifully. I buy lining fabric by the bolt and have a button box and elastic box. Now… if only I were able to find the original fabric… I absolutely love my flip and will definitely be doing another!

7 2013 334

Grace is in need of sturdy cotton play dresses. She’s going through a phase of utter girliness. Yesterday she had 3 bows in her hair. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard “pitty dess!” today – the one I’m wearing, the one she’s wearing, the ones she pulled out of her closet while I was distracted by sewing… But she’s also so rough-and-tumble, getting hot, dirty, and sweaty with reckless abandon. She’s also in love with pockets which lead me straight to the newly released Bubble Pocket Tunic from Elegance and Elephants!

7 2013 405

That’s the heart of my flip – combining these two simplistically beautiful patterns into one “pitty dess!” that will stand up to my sweet toddler’s crazy antics.

7 2013 326

7 2013 320

Like a house flipper racing to sell before the next mortgage payment comes due, I raced today. From absolutely nothing at 8am, to a drafted pattern and fabric in the dryer at 9am, I finished the hem at 4:57pm. I even kept my appointments of the day – gymnastics for Grace {followed by a blessedly long nap} and a catch-up date with a dear friend. The Roller Skate dress is *so simple* and yet *so perfectly adorable*. I can see many, many of these in the near future – probably some inspired by the other flips everyone submitted!

7 2013 342

7 2013 339

{Oh and in case you’re interested, I’m writing up a tutorial for combining these two patterns. The pictures are done but IĀ  think I should cook dinner instead of writing… since I spent the day sewing instead of doing housework!} EDIT: Tutorial is here

Yellow Rose “Anna” Dress

This dress has been underway forever, or at least 7 months. That’s really ridiculously long for such a simple dress, but I have an excuse – Project Run and Play got in the way, and then my buttonholes didn’t work. But in June I finally got my buttonhole fixed and finished this cutie up right away.

7 2013 257

I used the Anna Dress tutorials from Craftiness is Not Optional – have I mentioned that I love nearly every one of her projects? Her taste is similar to mine, at least in terms of silhouettes. I’ve lost track of how many CINO dresses I’ve made at this point.

7 2013 180

I used a nice sturdy quilter’s cotton from Joann’s for this dress. There are yellow roses scattered along blue vines; the blue waistband and trim is another quilter’s cotton. I wanted an easy wash, easy wear every day dress that Grace was able to play in. I love her in dresses, especially as we begin the journey known as “potty training.” It helps that she likes them too!

7 2013 176

This is such a simple dress. I love it. I used cap sleeves I’d drafted for a different project since puff sleeves aren’t really my style. There’s also 2 pretty deep growth tucks in the skirt. You can tell the dress is huge. When I first drafted the pattern back in December or January, Grace still had more of a “baby body” rather than her strong, lean little girl body she’s growing into. Although her weight hasn’t changed since November, she’s gained something ridiculous like 6 inches in height and went from a pattern size 3 in the chest/waist region, down to a size 1.

7 2013 230

I love the full, play-friendly skirt. I think I’ll be heading to the fabric store for some more novelty cottons to make more Annas in. It’s everything I want in a day-to-day dress. I’m seeing some crazy print on the top over a denim skirt… the possibilities are endless.

Oh, and photographing a 2 year old is nearly impossible. Here’s some priceless out takes:

7 2013 209

“I dangle like Daddy!”

"I crawl. I baby!"

“I crawl. I baby!”

Running away instead of smiling at me

Running away instead of smiling at me

Spring Flowers Sensory Bin

Have you heard of sensory bins? I’m completely in love! The basic idea is a plastic tote filled with things for your child to explore using all of their senses – things to touch, rattle, stack, bang, squish, study, sort… I started making them for Grace in the fall when she was about 15 months old. They’re usually organized around a fun theme, but I’m also intentional about adding teaching concepts in, too. This is her first new one since January!

4 2013 005

Spring Flowers sensory bin

4 2013 007

Flower gems for counting and sorting


4 2013 006

Small, medium, and large


  • Easter grass base – 3 different types stirred together
  • Small, medium, and large boxes
  • Silk flowers
  • Gardening gloves
  • 20 flower counting gems
4 2013 013

I don’t usually allow dumping but she was SO excited

4 2013 016

Trying on the gloves – another skill to practice


4 2013 009

Counting šŸ™‚

She was so excited! I told her the new box was in her room and she took off sprinting to find it. Usually the base item (grass this month, beans, rice, pasta, etc) must stay in the bin. I’m not a fan of cleaning up little bits for months on end. But this time she was so happy and fast I didn’t stop her. I need to buy a flat sheet to store with the bin for making clean-up easier.

I budget $10 / box and came in a little under this month which is always nice. I can usually find what I’m looking for on clearance or at a dollar store – this time I went out the day after Easter so all the springy decorations were on clearance. I tend to get intimidated when I see sensory bins online as many of them are expensive or time consuming (rainbow rice, anyone?!).

Analyzing a piece of the grass

Analyzing a piece of the grass

Today I let her free-play in the bin. We will also have some directed play to practice specific skills:

  • Small, medium, and large – Using the boxes, we’ll see which fits inside the others and stacking. If she isn’t grasping, I’ll remove the medium to just practice small/large
  • Sorting – grass colors, flower colors, etc
  • Counting – There are 10 each color of the small flower gems to practice 1-10
  • Fine Motor – Putting on gloves and manipulating objects while wearing them
  • And most importantly, cleaning up!

Happy Exploring!