Wild Thing….she loves you!

Kids Clothes Week Edition

As you may recall I’ve vowed to not sew Ella things that she won’t wear. So most dresses are out. That said, she still needs dressy-ish clothes for church, fancy dinners and the occasional theater trip with Grandma. I decided to make things I know she wears (shorts and tops) and just make them out of nicer, but still washable (because I’ve already learned that lesson) fabrics.

The first piece I chose to sew are the Oliver and S class picnic shorts. I think this is one of the first Oliver and S patterns that I bought and I’ve made the shorts and the top many times.  It is a cute pattern and it lends itself to lots of different styling ideas. Last summer I made Ella the shorts in a size 4. I used button elastic in the back waistband so they were pretty forgiving. This time I just assumed a size five would fit because she still wears the size four to play in the yard. (We’ve had exactly two warm days in my opinion and she is already wearing shorts like her Daddy)  The size five does fit, mostly. The shorts are a bit shorter than I would like, but we are going to roll with it because the fit everywhere else is so spot on.

 See what I mean? All leg.

The shorts’ fabric is what was left after I made myself a skirt. It is a medium weight woven pique.  I know it washes well but it does require hang drying. (Must remember to tell my husband this as he is more on top of keeping the laundry moving from washer to dryer than anyone I know)

The shirt is another Oliver and S pattern called the Ice Cream dress and blouse. I’ve made Ella both the dress and the blouse version out of lawn and she loves them. (Yes, she even loves the dress)  This time I used fabric that my mom picked up at the Joann’s 50% off Red Tag sale.  It is a linen look but it doesn’t seem to be as prone to wrinkles as an actual linen.  Honestly I wasn’t sure I liked the fabric when my mom brought it, but as I worked with it, it kinda grew on me. And nothing fits better with this round’s  of Kid Clothes Week’s theme of wild things better than rainbow zebra.

I made a size five but I lengthened the top to about a seven and put in a hefty hem. This fabric seemed prone to fraying so I did French seams to keep things neat and tidy. Bonus: The top works well with leggings so it will be a good piece as we slowly transition to warmer weather.

Ella’s absolute favorite thing is that I agreed to sew on this button that she found in the button box. She has asked me to sew this particular button on to so many other things but I kinda hate it. Honestly, when you are wearing a rainbow zebra print blouse why not have a big zebra button?

 And given the clothing struggles we often have, I will concede an ugly button if she will wear clothes other than leggings and t shirts.

 See the facing on the shorts?  Same as the shirt.  I did this to remind her that they go together.


Field Trip Raglan Upcycle

When my dear friend Sarah came to visit last year, she was wearing a t-shirt from the famed Momastery website. Ella instantly fell in love with her shirt because it had a sparkler on it.  Lucky for Ella, Sarah had bought two different sizes and she said Ella could have one.  Now Sarah is an adult woman and Ella is 6.  So the chance that the shirt was going to fit her was slim, but I knew I could rework it so that Ella could have her very one sparkler shirt.  It took me forever to get around to the project, but the upcycle theme of Kids Clothes Week was the perfect time to tackle this project.

I laid out all the t-shirt patterns that I have on the woman’s size medium shirt.  I really thought the Flashback Skinny Tee was going to work, but because of the dolman sleeves on the original shirt I couldn’t fit the pieces without losing part of the design.  Turned out the the Oliver and S Field Trip Raglan worked the best.

I was able to use the ribbed waistband of the original shirt for the neckband of the ragalan tee.

Ladies size medium.



The best thing about using the raglan pattern to do this, was I was able to use the sleeves exactly as is.  So sewing this together was quick.  I think it took me more time to lay out the pieces than it did to sew the shirt.

Remember who I said awhile back that I was only going to sew Ella clothes that were her style.  Well this one fits that bill.  I had her try it one before I hemmed the bottom and she wore it that entire afternoon. (with no hem and lots of untrimmed threads on the inside).  That night I cleaned it up and gave it a proper hem.  The next day she wore it all day.  Success! (finally)

She not one to enjoy being photographed, but here she is in her new to her shirt.




Upcycling for KCW

kid's clothes week

It’s Kid’s Clothes Week! Basically a challenge to sew every day for an hour for 7 days. Here is a better description. While I knew it was coming up this month and I was totally psyched about the upcycling theme, I had the dates all wrong in my head. Thanks to my feed reader, I caught that it started on Sunday. Usually I plan out in my sewing notebook what I am going to make. I included what patterns I am going to use, notions and fabric I might need, and whether the pattern will need to be traced. Sometimes there is even a line drawing of what I am going to sew and I let the girls color it in. I am a planner. Can you tell?

Whelp, this time around there just wasn’t time to plan. Luckily I had some sewing projects just begging to be started.

The first I wouldn’t exactly call an upcycled project. But it still counts as sewing I did this week. Delilah has been asking for a “one shoulder dress” for a while now. I’ve had her describe it a million time over and even show me what she meant by one shoulder because it just seemed like an odd request from a four (five next week, eep!) year old.

Once I as pretty clear what she wanted we searched Pinterest together. Yes, she likes Pinterest. If she finds my phone unattended, she’ll open the app and find things “we should do”. I found the Stella Dress from Violette Field Threads and decided that would be the pattern to use. The pattern is a PDF so it does need to be printed and taped together and then traced.  I have this love/hate thing with PDF patterns.  I love the immediacy but I hate all the taping and cutting before I can get to tracing it.

The pattern very clearly says the bodice is designed to be fitted and advises you measure carefully. I measured Delilah and her chest measurement put her at a size four. She wasn’t around for me to paper fit the pattern once it was traced so I just went ahead and cut the fabric. Mistake…more on that later

We bought the fabric that I used for this dress about a year ago. We were at a flea market and Delilah spotted this piece of home decor fabric and said she wanted it to be a dress. There was just under a yard but it was 56″ wide so I figured it could be a dress for a tiny person. She also picked out a vintage apron that she wants turned into a dirndl but I haven’t gotten around to that and probably won’t have time this week. According to the selvage, it’s a Monet inspired fabric that was printed in England. You can see that here on my cutting table/kitchen island. Please disregard the errant sippy that is on the floor. I live with lots of little people who just throw things when they are through with them.



I knew there wasn’t going to be enough of the Monet fabric for the dress, ruffle, lining and sash so I found this peach satin in my stash. It was a designer remnant I picked up at Fabric Place Basement. And while I don’t know a lot about it, there was a sticker on the middle of it that very clearly says, Dry clean only.

Sigh, see what happen when you don’t plan? You end up making a dry clean only dress for a little kid. I pushed ahead knowing that this would be more of a party dress. (And also knowing the fabric store is half an hour from my house).

I taped and traced the pattern and carefully laid out my pieces to make the most of the print. I meticulously marked fronts and backs of the skirt so that the prettiest part would be in the front. You see where this it’s going right? Delilah comes home from dance with my mom, who is my sewing idol, and I insist that I fit the pieces to her. And what happens? The bodice doesn’t fit!!  It’s to SMALL! My mom says, it doesn’t fit. (Remember that for later that I had a witness). I decided to add the peach satin as a tuxedo stripe on either side of the bodice to remedy this problem. I had already decided to add panels of the peach to the skirt to achieve the desired fullness because there wasn’t enough of the Monet fabric.

So I add panels here and there and get the bodice all put together and put it on Delilah. And it is too big. It is too big by the exact width of the panel I’ve added. What??? Remember I had a witness?? So I take out one of the panels. The other I leave because quite frankly the dress was making me crazy. Mind you it’s not the fault of the pattern, but I am pretty sure my measuring.

Other than my inability to correctly size my child the dress came together easily. I added a lining to the skirt because I wanted to add some body to it. The peach satin is a bit stiff so it was perfect lining as far as adding body. But it did tend to stand up a bit on the front ruffle. I was going to try ironing it better but my mom was kind enough to hand tack it down.

Of course we took pictures before my mom sewed the ruffle down!

Delilah, who honestly poses herself like this, loves it.


Somehow the dress makes her look so old. Don’t you think?

And since we were taking pictures, Barrett thought he should get in on it. Looks like I should sew him a shirt next.


So while not upcycled, it is made from thrifted fabric and home decor fabric at that so I am counting this as a repurpose. (Did you notice the sash is missing?  I ran out of thread…..yes, I sew all the time and yes I have thread that is a close match, but I kind of want it perfect after the time that has gone into it at this point so for now, no sash)



Ella’s 6th Birthday

My curious independent first baby tuns six today. Six. That just sounds so old. She is turning into her own little person. She is unlike me in so many ways. She is a definite extrovert while I am in introvert, she is incredibly athletic while I’d rather sit and read a book (or sew) and she has such different ideas about fashion than I do. While she likes a dress she much prefers tunics and leggings. And she hasn’t met a sneaker that she doesn’t love, but a ballet flat or other dressy shoe is just not her thing.

So for her birthday this year and for the foreseeable future, I am making clothes that she’ll actually enjoy wearing, starting with the Playtime Tunic. I love this pattern for so many reasons. It’s a pretty quick sew, it has pockets and it has some fun variations. One of those is a mock peter pan collar topstitching detail. I used some Cotton and Steel fabric that I picked up on sale from Imagine Gnats fabric shop . I think I bought out the last of it because she doesn’t have any in stock anymore. The butterfly pattern is so busy (right up Ella’s alley) that I didn’t think the topstitching would really stand out. Instead I modified the stitching templates to make a Peter Pan collar.


I couldn’t love it more. It’s the perfect mix of all things Ella and some things me. The Peter Pan collar and gold topstitching at the cuff and hem are all me.



The fact that it is a comfy tunic with butterflies on it is all Ella. And that it matches her newest pair of sneakers couldn’t be more perfect because I know that is how she’ll style it!


Just look how those butterflies line up down the front! I made myself completely crazy trying to make that happen. And no one will notice it unless I point it out!

Happy Birthday Ella! You keep me on my toes and make me think outside the box. I love you so much.

Finally a badminton

Confession: I have been avoiding sewing the Oliver and S Badminton Dress. Why? Well there is this part in the instructions that says something like, don’t worry this looks messy and it looks like it won’t come together but it … Continue reading

KCW – Summer

It’s been a crazy week. We have family visiting, the girls have a million summer dance classes and swim team and Barrett turned one!  One!? How on earth did that go so fast??

There was the obligatory party to plan and host.  Although this time it was just family so it was low key.   But still, I am not sure why I thought it would be easy to participate in Kids Clothes Week.  Technically I have an extra hour in my day to dedicate to making clothing for my children because my one year old wakes up consistently at five a.m.  So I have plenty of  waking hours to get things done; however, finding the motivation to do said things is another story.

I was able to push through and sew an hour or more a day and actually have the clothes to prove it. In the interest of fairness, everyone got  a thing or two.

For Barrett, I made the lullaby layette shirt from Oliver and S. I used short sleeves and I brought the sides in a bit. I first followed the pattern exactly and made it as an a-line shirt but I didn’t like the way it looked in on him so I straightened it a bit.  I think if he were a little younger or if I was making it for a girl, I might like it with the a-line sides, but it just kept looking like a dress to me.   I made the Oliver and S Sunny Day Shorts to go with the shirt. I think this is the third pair I’ve made him this summer. I love that they are a quick sew and that they fit nicely over a cloth nappy.


Ella got a Skater Dress made from some knit remnants that I bought in the spring. She’s been on a bit of a teal kick so I knew that the colors would be a win. I can’t believe what a grown up dress I ended up with. I would totally wear this dress.


I made the 5/6 size and she has a bit of room in it. But I am hoping that means it will fit next summer too.



For Delilah, I made a romper using the Burda 9711 pattern. It only goes to size 18 months, but based on her measurements that is her size. She has been asking me to make her something out of this whale fabric since I bought it at Joann’s last year. It took some creative pattern placing but I was able to eek out all the pattern pieces out of what I had on hand.


I added a pleat in the back because it was just too boxy on her.


I have to say I love that she is little enough to still pull off this look because I just think she looks so quintessential New England beach baby.



I also made Delilah a Roly Poly Pinafore . I sewed a four, even though her measurements put her at a three.  I am hoping she’ll wear it in the fall with a shirt under it.

This was my first time making one of Rachael’s patterns, despite owning a few. I used a paper patten that she had printed using her indiegogo funding. It was very straight forward and the pictures were helpful. I really liked how she has the directions printed on a booklet that also serves as the pattern “envelope”.

I used thrifted and vintage fabrics for the pinafore, which is reversible!!.



The crossover back is one is one of my favorite features.


And I love both fabrics on her so I’m hoping she wears it often.


Since everyone else got two pieces of clothing, I needed to make one more thing for Ella. I sewed up another Oliver and S Class Picnic Blouse. I’ve made this pattern many times, but I had to trace a size five because Ella has out grown the size four ::sob::

I used a Nani Iro double gauze that I was saving for myself.  She spotted it in with the fabrics and professed her love for it, so it became hers.


It really is as pretty in real life as it looks on the hanger!

With all the business here. I didn’t get a chance to get good pictures of all of the pieces on the kids. So there are a lot of hanger shots. But I got plenty of pictures of this guy eating his first cake albeit gluten and dairy free because food allergies.



Independence Day

Fourth of July has kind of become a big holiday for me since moving to New England. We celebrated when I was growing up but there is something about living north of Boston, in a city settled in the 1630’s … Continue reading