October 29, 2014

Handmade Halloween: Anna and Olaf

I kinda wish I was sewing something more inventive or funky this Halloween. I mean, if you've got to sew something that likely will only be worn a few times, it might as well be a show stopper, right? But Halloween costumes aren't about me, and Charly is Frozen obsessed like every other 2-6 year old girl right now. An Anna costume was in order, which WILL get tons of wear. IT WILL SO HELP ME!! Olaf of course had to happen next, since Caroline is always whatever character Charly deems her to be. 

For the Anna costume I used Simplicity S0733 and made very little changes. I used a charcoal tweed for the bodice just to make it a little more special, and I used cotton everywhere else. I lined the bodice with more cotton so the tweed wouldn't be itchy, and I stitched the bias tape binding from the neckline to the lining by hand to give it a more polished look. My goal was to have a very wearable and washable costume, unlike the ones you can purchase in major stores. We actually bought an Anna costume for her back in January for her birthday and it started to fall apart the same day she opened it. Such poor quality. The tags on those dress ups actually tell you not to wash them- no dry-cleaning, no hand washing, no machine washing. Seriously. Have they ever been around children??

But I digress. Where was I? Anna costume. The dress was fairly easy to assemble, and I liked that this one actually had a mandarin collar and a few other details, unlike the McCalls pattern I initially purchased. The appliqués were a beast, though. Matt cut them out for me, bless his soul, and saved me hours of time, but unfortunately my ironing board cover was sacrificed in the process. Don't ask. It's a sore subject. As is the insane amount of time I spent sewing around the appliqués. The pattern advises using puffy paint to secure the edges but since "wearable and washable" was my goal I figured I'd put in the time on the sewing machine and have this last for the long haul. It was miserable. It could have been made better if I was any good at appliqué or had a free motion quilting foot. I'll try to remember that next time, haha! 

The cape was a cinch- cut out of felt so no hemming was necessary, and the purple and black details are just ironed on. They are holding up so far and have had at least 8 wears already, but if they start to peel I'll go ahead and stitch around those, too. 

And of course, OLAF!

I made Caroline's Olaf costume using the Bimaa pattern because I love the fit, it's quick to sew, and I knew anything more costume-y wouldn't fly with Caroline. She doesn't tolerate much in the way of dress ups yet. I followed the pattern exactly, adding felt "buttons" to the front, and the felt face appliqué pieces to the outer hood before it was sewn to the hood lining. The teeth are formed by a piece of white felt folded over and stitched down the sides and center to give some definition. The verdict: She tolerates it. Barely. I'm surprised we got any pictures with the hood on- she's pretty adamant about pulling it down pretty promptly. Candy helped. Luckily it still looks cute with the little Olaf face draping down her back. 

We even managed to bring Sven along for a bit.

So there they are- Handmade Halloween 2014. Who else is sewing costumes? I'm a bit of a curmudgeon about it, but it sure is fun to see the delight on their faces- or at least on Charly's face! 

And just for fun, here's Halloween 2013 and Halloween 2011.

October 19, 2014

Aztec Floral Zsálya Top- Pattern Parcel #6

Another Pattern Parcel is here!! This bundle of PDF patterns from indie designers, available for two weeks, is all women's patterns and all fabulous! As always, you can choose your price when you purchase, and all profits are donated to the charity Donors Choose, which provides supplies for classrooms in need.

Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

The patterns included in Parcel #6 are:
Bronte Top by Jennifer Lauren
Hudson Pant by True Bias
Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations
Syrah Skirt by Lauren Dahl/Selvage Designs
Zsálya Top and Dress by Kate and Rose

aaaand a bonus pattern, if you choose a price of $32 or greater, the Odette Dress by Bluegingerdoll!
It's a star lineup of patterns, folks! Some I've been pining after for a while, some are completely new to me, but I can see myself wearing every one of them.

Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

I chose to sew the Zsálya top first. This is a risky move for me, I have to admit. I have a pretty petite/narrow frame, so while I love the look of loose and drapey tops they rarely look good on me. My shoulders are narrow and generally can't balance out a voluminous top. I decided to sew it anyway and hope for the best because I love that crossover front detail so much. It reminds me of a grown up Fawn Lily pattern, which I've been eyeing for my girls.

Totally works, right?! I love to layer in fall, especially since our weather is pretty temperate. I can start the day with a cardigan over the top and take it off when things warm up in the afternoon.

October 13, 2014

Sister Love

I used to blog about my child a lot. I blogged with the detail that only a stay at home mother of one child can- monthly details of each aspect of her development were noted, along with more pictures than any one person should have taken of them. And then I had a second child and those posts nearly stopped. I mean, I can't remember the last time I did a monthly update, and poor Caroline has really only had her birth blogged about. Such is the plight of the second child. The thing is, I miss those posts, and I miss taking more pictures of my kids, and I definitely miss documenting their lives in writing. So I'm going to try to bring that back in some more sustainable form. This doesn't all have to be about sewing, even if my blog is called Stitched, right?

I had a moment the other day- Charly and I were at the Children's Museum, just the two of us, and we were both enjoying being able to do art projects at a leisurely pace, taking great care to choose materials and spending lots of time at the paint table. This is a stark contrast to our usual visits where I try to hurry her creative process as much as possible because wrangling a feisty almost-18-month-old in an art studio is a dangerous job. Scissors, open tubs of paint and glue with sticky brushes poking out- this is the nightmare of a mom of a toddler. The thought crossed my mind- "how many special moments are my children missing because I can't give either of them my undivided attention?" and it made me a little sad, for just a minute. It didn't take long for me to remember how much these sweet girls love each other. They aren't missing anything in life by having a sibling- they've got a playmate, a confidant, a partner in crime.

I took these pictures a day or two later. Caroline woke up from her nap and Charly went with me to get her. Charly joined her in the crib for a little post nap play session, and craziness commenced. Caroline's first words, each and every time she wakes up, are "sisser! sister!" These girls sure love each other. Aren't siblings grand? Here's to sisterly love, to siblings, to my sweet and sassy girls.

September 29, 2014

Kenzie's Wedding Dress

Two posts in one week?! I'm on a roll here, folks! I finished my sister's wedding dress on wedding eve with some last minute hemming and alterations. Last minute sewing is the price of making a wedding dress for someone who lives on the other side of the continent. We arrived in Utah on August 30, one week before the wedding, but I got a stomach bug shortly thereafter that set me back a couple of days. Luckily my laid back and patient sister didn't seem one bit bothered by the fact that her dress was one of the final pieces of the puzzle to come together before the wedding, so I just chugged along! I am so happy to have been able to add to her special day by making her dress. She was radiant- really and truly- and my pictures don't do it- or her- justice at all. Nevertheless, my pictures are all we have right now, so they'll have to do!

September 28, 2014

Sunki Village Dress & Pattern Parcel #5

Hello my friends! I've been a busy seamstress, and I should have a post up with pictures and details from my sister's wedding dress SOOOOOON!! The wedding was lovely and our trip was too much fun. I've missed the desert air. Utah was on the cusp of autumn when we left, and had I not known that the blissful Virginia autumn was soon to come I may never have left that dry and blessed state. I'm done with humidity, yo. Thankfully, the leaves are starting to turn and we've even had a couple of boot-and-soup days so I'm in my element. I even made pumpkin crap cookies, which is the official mascot of fall in this house.

But yes, enough blabbering about air and cookies, right? This post is about clothes! I'm happy to be sewing along for Perfect Pattern Parcel again with Parcel #5- girls and tweens! It's a stellar parcel, to be sure. Every parcel seems to have a few patterns I've been eyeing and a few new-to-me patterns, which is a perfect mix I think. For those unfamiliar, Perfect Pattern Parcel offers limited time sales of pattern bundles from indie designers, and donates all profits to a charity called Donors Choose. Donors Choose provides supplies to teachers and students for their classrooms. It's a win-win-win- support indie designers, help students, and get patterns!

This particular bundle of patterns includes sizes from toddler to tween- meaning these patterns will be in rotation in my house for YEARS to come! A few of the "tween" sizes may even fit me, so I'm excited to see how versatile these patterns become. Click through the links or pictures to learn more about the patterns in this parcel!

Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

Oh, and did I mention that you can name your own price?! Yes. I know. Unreal. And hey, if you name a price of $28 or more, you'll be sent the bonus pattern as well- the Sunki Dress!

August 20, 2014

Hand Stamped Wedding Invitations for Kenzie & Abe

Hellooooooooooooo! (elloooo, ello, ellllo, elllloooooo) and welcome to my sporadic blog. It's funny, I'm ALWAYS making something. I have no shortage of projects I could share, but sometimes I can't stop my making long enough to take pictures and write about them. My maker minutes are limited and 90% of the ideas I have will never turn in to real things because I have more ideas than time. This is why most of the things I end up sharing lately have some sort of a deadline. I work well with deadlines- deadlines get things done around here!

My next deadline is September 5th. My youngest sister is getting married and I'm making her wedding dress, so right now my evenings are filled with lace appliqué. I'll get it done, and luckily my sis is laid back and doesn't mind that she won't actually try on her wedding dress until the week before her wedding when I fly out to Utah. Don't worry, we did a muslin fitting, so hopefully it will fit like a glove and all that will be left to do is hem. I'll share more about the dress (and pictures!) after the wedding. But before dressmaking commenced, Matt and I designed and made their wedding invites. Yes, sometimes I make things that don't involve a sewing machine. I don't profess to be any sort of graphic designer, but I am really happy with the way these turned out so I wanted to share. 

July 29, 2014

Beach Day Bonnet

We returned from our quick beach weekend, and while the sea worked her magic on my cranky kids, it is good to be back in the swing of things. Vacations aren't so much about relaxation when you have young kids, ya know? On our drive back, while Caroline cried (she's not a car napper, so cranky pants just wailed when she got too tired) Matt commented on needing a vacation from our kids after our vacation. Maybe next year:)