Our Etsy shop is back up and running through the end of the year or whenever we run out of stock. Expect to find rare prints from Nani Iro, Echino, Heather Ross and a few other American designers. We’ve re-listed many items with new, clearance prices.
Come on over to the Mira and Westie shop and tell us what you think!
I began quietly working on these pinafore-style aprons on Sunday night after I finished up the Zephyr. A few loose rectangular cuts and guessed measurements later I had a perfect fit on the three year old by Monday night. Then on Tuesday I pieced the remnants to make a second pinafore for the six year old. About an hour later everything had been stenciled, constructed and zigzag stitched using the principals of a halter dress I designed for my contribution to an upcoming book. The apron was a wish list necessity for our littlest one, she loves her sister’s cafe apron but really wanted her own for all of the cooking she loves to help with. And if you’re making one – why not make two?
I tucked the outer edges of each strap just above the bodice to give shape to an otherwise very rectangular shaping.
Do you see that tiny white printed detail under “vie”? It also appears along the bottom hem of each skirt panel. Lovely! As the project progressed I really liked the concept of a rough-hewn finish, for example, piecing Mira’s bodice above with a frayed edge and finishing the topstitching with zig zags.
Last year I sewed Marimekko pillowcases. I can’t tell you how happy I am when I bring them out of the linen closet at the start of summer. A few weeks ago I went up for Heather Ross’s Briar Rose launch party at Purl Soho and procured a fine selection of the new prints which are just perfect for the girls’ summer pillowcases. 2.5 yards of the strawberry print was enough for two, and Heather gifted me about a yard and a half of the clover/grasshopper print – enough to make one. A few shorter cuts of accompanying prints worked out exceedingly well for the side edges of the cases.
The orange polka dots are Lecian (purchased at Purl) and the green strip with yellow dots is leftover from the Marimekko cases.
Once again, I used the Film in the Fridge tutorial to make these. This fabric is directional, so you wind up using a panel 42″ height x 26″ wide, so you will need about 1.25 yards (at least 42 inches, but I managed 40 inches of Marimekko last year and made two since it is wider, overall) to make one. It’s a lot, I know. But after it’s done, these cases are an absolute treasure – and there are plenty of scraps leftover to make something else. I worked on these last week as I tried to get my sewing spirits back up. It was just the project to get me excited about the KCW challenge this week.
I’m thinking about ordering a single fitted sheet from Garnet Hill for each bed. For whatever reason the kids don’t like the flat sheets.
And if you’re still reading I have a few photos to share from my quick trip to NYC (more on our facebook page) where my room was so big I even managed to do two quick Ballet Beautiful workouts. (more…)
Day 1 of the Summer Kid’s Clothes Week.
Pattern: Figgy’s Zephyr, Sundress
Fabrics: Liberty Lawn bodice and Ivory Silk body
I began my first project on Friday afternoon, quickly cutting liberty to make the braided straps and button loops.
Sunday afternoon I began constructing the bodice. The pattern is a very simple construction but I had one hiccup that you might want to look out for – the button loop placement was fairly simple, but I found the loops were generally too long and had to go back to trim and reposition them once I had already cut the bodice center. Ultimately no big deal but it could cause frustration late at night. To avoid an issue I recommend basting the loops in, verifying button size securing more stably and then trimming the loose ends of the button loops so they don’t get sewn into the other side of the bodice… I wish I had a picture to show you but when you prepare to make the stitches in the bodice cut you may as well draw the stitching line with chalk or water soluble marker. If you do that, you can easily see where the button loop ends might get caught in the other side of the bodice so you would be better prepared to cut the loose ends before sewing that bodice “V,” or slash. Also, I forgot to flip ahead for the sundress version and inadvertently sewed in a third button loop which I removed later. Shown here (also before I trimmed the button loops to size):
One more tip that I wish I had heeded myself, it’s worth hand basting the inside bodice before topstitching to make sure that you don’t have to do any last minute seam picking which is what I finished up this morning.
I’m very happy with the way the project came out. The silk is a bit sheer which makes it ideal for a nightgown. It was the perfect use of a half yard of ivory silk that my friend Leanne shared with me at a Weekend Sewing event.
The next Kids Clothes Week challenge begins next week, July 15 – 21.
Getting organized begins with measuring children, ordering or organizing patterns, checking fabric stock and ordering those last minute bits that you need if you want to plow through. Of course, it’s also fun to take care of these things on the fly. I tend to trace patterns the week before if I have time. Pre-cutting also makes things go quickly.
Oliver + S has prepared a nice pocket measurement card so you can capture all the important dimensions of the children for whom you sew.
As usual, I have a list of things that I’d like to make. You can find a couple of hints in my recent pins to my Stitchery and Wee Dress boards. I’m planning a few simple knits and also a Lilly Pulitzer-esque tunic or shift dress. I’m having a little bit of trouble finding the right prints to satisfy this urge. Though there are a few voile options out there, it’s not the best cloth for the job.
But I’m also starting to think about school needs – my daughter did not have nearly enough knit shorties (bike shorts) for under her school jumper. New, they are about $25 for a set of 3. This is a perfect opportunity to self-draft a pattern and sew a bundle quickly from a half yard to a full yard of knit fabric for about $5. Also on the school uniform front, Oliver + S makes two skirt patterns that could work for us, the A-Line skirt and the Music Class skirt. I was all set to tackle those until I found two skirts on sale at Land’s End for $7.99 and $14.99. Those kinds of bargains negate the need to sew from a savings perspective; however, the A-line skirt is such a simple pattern that I might make an exception if I see the right khaki colored fabric – especially because I can add some lovely details in the pockets and inside hem area… though my daughter told me explicitly, “no seahorses.” If you’re looking for uniform inspiration you should check out nightknitter’s blog, Jeanne does wonderful things for her daughter’s school uniforms.
Do you have any lists going? Feel free to share a link to your blog in the comments so I can check out your to-do list. Do you have any suggestions for a successful week? (more…)
Heather Ross has a twin sister who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Unfortunately her health insurance does not adequately cover her treatments. Medical bills with an illness like this can be devastating to a family. Heather has organized a benefit in conjunction with Harts Fabric. You can participate by purchasing a raffle ticket, a ticket to the event on June 30 or by purchasing one of these snappy t-shirts in Heather’s online shop. Read more about it on Heather’s website. Thank you for your help and please spread the word.
Apologies for the long silence. I am taking time off to remember my father.
This week I enrolled in an online mapmaking class. I love map drawings. Brief diagrams showing direction, shopping maps in unfamiliar territories, google maps with notations – any of it. My drawing skills are meh but I LOVE illustration and it’s a deep regret that I just don’t have the patience or the skill to create unique visual works of art. I’m hoping that this inspiring three week course will help bolster my creativity and get me on the way to creating a bit of lovely on paper. If you’re interested in the course topic – please let me know – I can share some of the inspriation sources from our instructor… I suggest starting with this fun art quiz (can you identify a Bremen vs. and Abstract artist? I must admit the dog and cat threw me off but otherwise I scored great). The no-pressure/work-at-your-own-pace online platform is really just the thing to inspire me out of my February winter funk. It’s quite a charge to make connections with literature, compositions, interviews, as well as to be inspired by singlular works of art.
I wanted to share the work of Oliver Jeffers. No doubt you’re familiar with his work in some capacity (notably commercial illustration and children’s books). On topic, he makes whimsical illustrative maps: see America, DC and Paris.
If not, let me introduce you to him via this quirky video:
I haven’t drawn my first project just yet but I have a scanned map of Prague from an old travel journal that features where to get a bagel, the bank and the local AMEX office – this image helps me remember a story: the essentials from 1999. I needed the AMEX because all of my cards were lost in Amsterdam and bagels became the central focus of each day. My intention is to take an illustrative story approach with my map drawings. I am not so much interested in being technically accurate as I am in being whimsical. So you better believe I started a mapmaker, mapmaker make me a map pin board last night.
Finally, I wanted to introduce you to my Tumblr page. At first I was skeptical of this Tumblr thing. But it’s a fun way to embed content quickly without having to write a huge post about it – it’s much more of a virtual sketchbook platform. I read that only 6% of the internet population over age 29 is using it. Are you? Do you have any favorite sites? Want to join me in class? Have no fear, you can catch up in no time… I just started last night.
This is deliciously easy. How many times have your kids wanted pom poms but you were too frugal to buy something so frivolous? (for me, the answer is once or twice) It need not happen again! Last night I succumbed to the confetti system tassel garland craze in preparation for valentine photo booth decoration. While sitting in the basement rolling and twisting tissue together I realized that a simple addition of a lollipop stem would translate this concept into pom poms, a perfect prop for the photo booth. So easy to do, my three year old and I made four in less than 15 minutes.
I present a quick tutorial for turning tissue paper into pom poms, this will literally take you five minutes. Hip hip hooray!
I noticed the kids were spending too much time in the digital universe and decided it was time to DIY the Valentines. After a trip to Michael’s I can say with certainty that it is not cheaper to make your own (unless you own all of the supplies – but I needed fresh new things to command attention). I wanted to make sure I had enough to keep them busy for a week, making about 16 valentines each. Supplies ran me somewhere in the neighborhood of $45, and that was with a coupon. Looking at it another way, this is about one hour of entertainment and creativity every night for a week – well worth it! And they are coming up with some pretty spiffy color combinations (see Aidan’s card, above). Genevieve is a little behind with her cards – lacking the desire to maximize her output in one sitting – so I think we timed it about right to finish by next week.
This mélange of creativity is exactly what I had in mind for the table when we bought it. (more…)
Many of us are inspired to sew after we have children. Perhaps the highest compliment is when our children ask to learn how to sew because they are, in fact, inspired by us. Honoring the natural interest with a well-curated sewing kit is an empowering way to encourage them to value and care for their own tools as well as to respect a shared workspace by keeping it organized. Here are a few ways to get started.
4-6 year olds may be encouraged most with a simple selection of sewing cards, spare shoelaces, felt, embroidery floss and metal or plastic embroidery needles. Allowing them to cut and attach freely is an empowering lesson in trial and error. If your child learns best with a bit of structure you might try cutting geometric shapes or create a simple paper doll-type activity sewing the clothes to the doll form. Made by Joel features several modern unisex kid-centric embroidery projects that can be created with a bit of parental guidance.
6-10 year olds are ready to do some simple sewing. Initially you’ll want to work together at the sewing machine, guide fabrics together until your child is ready for some simple straight stitching. Again, felt is an easy material to work with because the ends/seam allowances are always tidy. Many sewing books are geared toward children and readily available at the library.
Starter Project: Have your child draw a picture of your house on white fabric with fabric markers or a water soluble pen. Embellish the lines with embroidery or use the sewing machine to follow the lines with metallic threads to add dimension. Help sew a coordinating backing fabric and fill with stuffing to create a pillow. Add a pocket for a lost tooth and you have an heirloom tooth fairy pillow.
First Sewing Kit
Begin with an attractive box or container to store tools. Fill it with some of the most loved items from your own collection. Consider sharing your ruler, sharper cutting tools and seam ripper, and doing the ironing for a while.