2.26.2013

Sewing for Men

Today I'm guest posting over at The Train to Crazy about a cycling jersey that I made for Ben as part of Andrea's Sewing for Men series.  Won't you pop on over there to check it out?


Today is Ben's birthday after all.  Happy Birthday, Ben!


And here's the cake that I made for him in celebration of the day that he was born.  Look what you can do with a cake and two bags of Reese's Pieces!  Who knew?

(birthday cake inspiration from here )


And as a parting gift to you, I'll leave you with this picture of Ben attempting to grow his mustache out during his paternity leave.  He wasn't amused when he found out that I had labeled the picture as "creepy Ben" on our computer but I'm pretty sure that the name is an accurate description.


2.24.2013

Eleven Months


It's been a rough month for this little one.

Four teeth have either made their appearance or are on their way in.

Three weeks of a diaper rash that went from bad, to a bit better, to "Oh My God, what's happened to my child's butt!?!"

And that resulted in a very grouchy 11 month old who has been fighting a fever for the last two days from this diaper rash turned skin infection.

And then on top of all of that she pulled one of O's toys down on top of her and cut her gum, resulting in a mouth full of blood.

Needless to say I almost had a heart attack when I saw that.

And amidst all of this we've learned that C abhors oral medication and throws up in protest when you attempt to make her take some (as we learned on two separate occasions when she threw up both the Tylenol and the oral antibiotic).  That led to Ben heading out at 1 in the morning to pick up an acetaminophen suppository and let me tell you, you've officially reached a new level of parenthood when you've stuck medication in your child's rear end.  And for the record, I'm a huge wimp and I made Ben do it.

But all the craziness that's been going on in the past month is forgotten when we see this little one do her first little baby sign and say "all done" as she does it.

You know what that is, right?  A victory!  (see said baby below making the victory sign - otherwise known as her best Richard Nixon impersonation).


2.21.2013

26 Acts of Kindness


In the aftermath of the shooting at Newtown I came across a post that asked that people commit to completeing 26 acts of kindness for the 26 lives that were lost in this tragedy.  And amidst the feelings of helpless that I had at the time, it felt comforting to know that there was in fact a little something that I could do.

And I've been doing it.

I've donated blood.

I took time off of work so that my babysitter wouldn't miss any of her daughter's gymnastics meet.

I gave a ton of baby items to a pregnant friend.

And I helped some strange man who told me that he was stuck in his car (but that's a story for another day).

And so it seemed like perfect timing when Nicke asked if I would join a sewing bee that she's a part of that makes quilts for hospice patients and their families.  Yes, I'm completely intimidated working with other women who I'm convinced quilt far better than I do, but I'm also determined not to let my petty fears get in the way of bringing some good into the world.


So thank you, Nicke, for heading up this bee in the first place and thank you for inviting me to be a part of it. 

Here's to many more acts of kindness in this world. 

2.14.2013

It's February...Why Wouldn't You Sew A Swimsuit?


Allow me to first point out that I have been ridiculously practical in my sewing lately.  I made pants for my kid because, well, she needed some that actually fit her.  And I made coats for my kids because, well, they actually needed those too.  You see that, three things that I made that were actually needed!

So you'll cut me some slack for sewing something entirely impractical, right?  Although, truth be told, it's only impractical because it's a bathing suit and it's now approximately 40 degrees outside.  In another way it's totally practical because O actually does need a new bathing suit for this summer.


So while going down the rabbit hole that is following links posted on blogs the other week I came across Peek-a-Boo Patterns, but more importantly I came across the pattern for the Waikiki Swimsuit.  And in stumbling across this pattern it was if the stars aligned because:

1) O actually needs a new bathing suit

2) I'm trying my best to work with the fabric that I have on hand rather than buying more right now

3) A couple years ago my mom cleaned out whatever fabric that she had laying around the house for the past thirty years and in doing so, she gave me a couple yards of swimsuit fabric.


Now I should say that if this fabric looks a little on the eighties side (a la Rainbow Brite), it's probably because it is from the eighties (and it even has a faint moth ball smell to prove it).  But other than that it's in perfect condition and even better, the rainbow colored fabric came with some solid green swimsuit fabric that actually coordinates perfectly.  See?  Stars aligned.

Now let's be clear here.  I've never sewn a bathing suit before and I've never even sewn anything bathing suit-like (like a leotard) so I didn't quite know what I was signing up for when I began this project, but I'm happy to say that it was actually much more straight-forward than I thought it would be.   First of all, I was afraid that the swimsuit fabric would be difficult to work with (kind of like a slinky knit) but it was actually surprisingly easy to work with and it didn't even curl up when you cut it like jersey.  Woo-hoo!.  Also, I sewed most of the swimsuit on my regular machine and only used the serger to finish the inside seam so that it would be nice and pretty.  That step wasn't necessary though so if you don't have a serger don't worry about it - you can still sew this this little bathing suit.  As for the other seams, the patterns recommends a twin needle for a more "professional" look, but truth be told, I've never gotten around to breaking out my twin needle and figuring out how to use it (yes, my laziness is a bit embarrassing).  And I also don't mind the look of a zig-zag stitches on knits.  I know that it drives some home-sewists crazy but I've come to realize that it really is the most functional stitch that I can easily do on my machine with knits and I've made my peace with it (this blog post helped with that). 


As for this little suit, based on O's chest measurement I cut out a size 3 (even though she'll be four in three months) and the fit seems to be right on.  I chose to put three little ruffles on the bottom, but if I were to make this suit again I think I would leave off the bottom most ruffles as it seems to hit in a weird spot.  Oh, and the fabric that I used for the lining was just another regular swimsuit fabric so don't feel the need to purchase special swimsuit lining fabric if you don't want to or can't find it.  Regular swimsuit fabric as a lining seems to work just fine. 

I'm kind of hoping that I have enough fabric left over to make a matching one for C because little kids in matching swimsuit is just the kind of ridiculousness that I like.  No, strike that.  It's the kid of ridiculousness that I love. 


Pattern: Waikiki One-Piece Swimsuit by Peek-a-Boo Patterns
Size: 3
Fabric: Four way stretch nylon-lycra swimsuit fabric (I just happened to have mine on-hand, but there's some cute swimsuit fabrics here if you're looking for some.  I had to control myself not to buy the black and white gingham one.  Ah, gingham.  Why are you so lovely?)

In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links, but, as always, all opinions are my own. 

2.12.2013

Baby In The Hood


I had a minor freak out the other day when I realize that C is now ten months old and possibly out-growing the size range of some of the patterns that I have loved for years but have never gotten around to making.  So imagine my relief when I broke open my copy of Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings the other day and discovered that her pattern for the Baby In the Hood Jacket goes up to size 18 to 24 months.  Whew!

Elastic around the hood? Possibly the most ingenious thing ever!

There are so many great things about Anna Maria's patterns, but one of the best is that her love of fabrics comes through in every pattern that she writes.  Fortunately, I was able to dig through the stash and find two fabrics that go well together and which I had just enough of (and I do mean just enough of...it was a close call on this one).  On a side note, have I mentioned that I'm trying to control the fabric buying until the Sewing and Stitchery Expo comes to town?  Oh yes I am. 


Okay, back to this little jacket.  The main fabric is an Amy Butler fabric that is left over from the back of this quilt and the contrasting fabric...well, I have no idea what it is (aren't I the best blogger ever?) but it's left over from some quilting project that I'm pretty sure that I never got around to finishing (oops).  As for the lining, I knew that I wanted something a bit warmer than regular quilting cotton but I also wanted it to be washable so I settled on cotton flannel.  Originally I was going to head out to my local quilt store to check out their limited flannel options but then I realized that I had approximately fifteen flannel swaddle blankets that made for the girls when they were babies that I no longer had any use for, so I found one that coordinated well with the outer fabrics and I chopped that sucker up.  Problem solved.


I have to say that I was a bit worried that the nine to twelve months size was going to be a bit on the small size for C given that she is a chunky-monkey but in the end it turned out to be the perfect size.  It fits her perfectly right now, but it's also big enough that it should fit her for the next couple of months which is fantastic because she needs a little coat to take her through the spring and the only other coat that we have for her is a huge puffy coat that:

1) doesn't work with car seats
2) is so puffy that it literally doesn't allow her to move
3) makes her look like a giant red Stay Puff Marshmallow Man


Needless to say, she very much appreciates the fact that she can actually move in this coat.  No doubt if she could talk she would say "Thanks, Mom.  It's about freaking time."

2.05.2013

The Jacket That Makes Me Want To Sing Billy Joel Songs


You know what's the best?  When you go to make a certain pattern only to find out that you've already traced and cut out the right size.  It's almost as good as when you put on an old coat, only to find five dollars in the pocket.  Score!

Lucky for me, that's just what happened when I took out the Uptown Girl Jacket pattern to make a new coat for O.  "Past Carolyn" obviously knew that "Present Carolyn" was going to want to make this for three year old O and therefore kindly traced and cut out the correct size.  Thanks, "Past Carolyn."  You're the best!

Since the pattern pieces were all cut out, all that I had to do was choose which fabrics to use.  For the outside I chose some white cotton shirting that has little chartreuse dots on it. I originally bought this fabric online intending to make a blouse for myself but I also originally thought that the dots were yellow and I didn't discover that they're more on the green side until they arrived on my doorstep. Oh well.  That's just the reality of buying fabric online sometimes.  For the lining I used some Robert Kaufman cotton lawn leftover from this project.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough to line the entire jacket so I chose to just cut those pieces that would show when the coat was buttoned up in the cotton lawn and I cut those pieces that wouldn't show in the same fabric as the outside.


The last time I made this coat, I lined it with fleece to make it a bit warmer and therefore more wearable, but this time I chose to quilt the outer layer to add some warmth (inspired by this fantastic little coat).  Can I just say that quilting children's clothes in an awesome way to use up leftover pieces of batting from past quilt projects?  Now quilting each piece definitely added to the time that it took to make this project, but fortunately this is an amazingly simple little jacket to put together.  Just sew the outside pieces together, sew the lining pieces together, sew the two together, turn them inside out, bada-bing, bada-boom, you basically have a jacket.


But best of all is that you have a kid who loves her new jacket (despite what these faces may lead you to believe).


As I was trying it on O, I asked her if she would wear this and she replied, "Oh yes.  I'll definitely wear my new coat."


And this momma is definitely glad to hear that.

Pattern: Uptown Girl Jacket by Make It Perfect
Size: Size 3 (given that O turns four in about four months and that this jacket is still a bit large on her, I'm thinking that this pattern runs a bit big)
Modifications:  Since I quilted the outer layer of the coat, I left off all of the interfacing that it called for. I also did this with my past version of the coat that I lined with fleece.
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