Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Boys Can (Still) Wear Pink blog tour - Year 3!

Ok, so technically it's Year 4 - but we missed last year due to a family vacation so it's the third year for us. I'm happy to be back, and happy that my kiddo is still willing to throw a pop of pink into his wardrobe! He's nearly 6, midway through kindergarten, and "boy stuff" and "girl stuff" is still very much a part of the conversation.


As someone who teaches about gender and sexuality in my professional life, I know that it's developmentally appropriate for kids to be sorting and labeling as they make sense of the world around them. But I also know what our family values are regarding these topics, and want to add those values to the conversation. It's important to us that our kids know people come in all different shapes and sizes and even genders, and our differences are to be celebrated and above all, respected.



Now, about this kid and the inspiration for our tour outfit this year. He has been obsessed with Hot Wheels cars since before he could walk, and he'd carry around one of his little cars with him everywhere we went. They took a backseat to Lego for awhile, but now that he's discovered the Hot Wheels Raceoff app on the iPad, his race car love is back full throttle. (See what I did there?? You're welcome.)

*Me, melting.*


This Hot Wheels-inspired knit is a custom print from MK Designs that I picked up last year when the designs were run (through their Facebook group). The panel set has 4 panels, each with a different featured car, and I'll admit that I wondered if the pink car would actually get used. I made one for Archer recently (also a Love Notions Vanguard tee) that had the green car and some fun coordinating prints, and I wasn't sure how his buddies would react to it - since the main print has all of the cars, there's a fair amount of pink. He has mentioned on occasion that two of his classmates in particular are very vocal about their gender labeling - but he loved the shirt and we prepped for school like this:

Me: If anyone says your shirt is a girl's shirt because of the pink cars, what can you say?
A: I can say if I'm wearing it then it's a boy's shirt because I'm a boy. Also, I like it.

Well, okay then. ;)

After school, I asked him if anyone said anything about his new car shirt.

A: Yeah, ALL of my friends said something!
Me, heart dropping: They did?
A: Yup, they LOVED it and thought it was so cool! <3

Still working on the wink. ;)
He's been wearing that shirt constantly this winter and I decided it was time for another. I asked him if he wanted to join the BCWP tour again and make a new shirt with the pink car and he was all in. We used the same pattern - the Love Notions Vanguard - and this time I did the pieced long sleeves with some dark indigo waffle knit and scraps of the cars print. Photoshoots with this kiddo are always an adventure, but he's definitely not short on personality OR style!



I hope you've been able to check out all of the other stops on the tour so far; it's always a lot of fun to be a part of this one. Raising kids is a new adventure every day, and I think it's amazing how a conversation like this can be had across the globe - the intersection of our love for our boys and our love for sewing is a pretty fun place to be. Thanks for joining us!




He's even cute when he rolls his eyes at me. Ask me if it's still cute in a few years. ;) 










Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Blog tour time: The Wendybird dress for girls and dolls

Happy 2018! I hope your year is off to a good start - ours has been cold but good so far. I was excited to jump onto this blog tour since I've been wanting to add to Miss P's wardrobe a bit but found myself in a bit of a sewing funk after the holiday gift making frenzy had passed. Wendybird to the rescue!



Miss P thought the dress was adorable, and any chance she has to match her dolls is a winner for both of us - taking pics with the dolls makes for a very easy photoshoot without fail.

        

Her only request for the dress was that it be purple to match the streak in Luciana's hair. She's the new Girl of the Year doll from American Girl, and Miss P bought her with her own savings two weeks ago. Last summer I started offering my kids $1 for each photoshoot that they did, providing they cooperated and kept the shoot short and sweet. Usually we can grab 40-50 pics in about 10 minutes, and they know I need to get photos from a few different angles. The longer it takes, the more frustrated everyone is - including me! The "payment" has been a great motivator and allows them to save up for something they really want. Miss P added a little birthday and holiday money and was able to buy herself this doll, and she's been so proud of herself. I used to give her a little Shopkins or other small treat and this has been a great transition as she's gotten a little older but isn't quite ready for an allowance yet.

    

I've sewn a number of patterns from Stitch Upon A Time (SUAT) - their underwear patterns are fantastic! - but haven't sewn a dress of theirs in awhile. The Wendybird was a great sew, and fit just as the finished measurements chart promised. I sewed up a straight size 8 for Miss P, and the fit was spot on. Her chest measured a little closer to the size 6 but I knew there was hardly any ease and was ok with having a little extra in exchange for being able to wear it a little longer. This kiddo of mine has been growing like a weed lately, and isn't showing any signs of slowing down!


I used a custom printed brushed poly from So Cheeky Fabrics that I'd gotten in a scrap pack recently, and used a Laguna Jersey from Robert Kaufman in Amethyst for the solid. It doesn't get much more purple than this! The drape of the fabrics were perfect for this style dress and the skirt had a nice amount of twirl without being too heavy.



There are a number of different sleeve lengths and styles included in the pattern, and the gathered accent portion of the skirt can be pleated instead. I cut the short sleeve at the bubble lining line and hemmed it as a cap sleeve for both dresses, and it looked super cute on both my girl and her doll. The dolly dress was an easy sew and came together nicely. It uses a larger seam allowance than I'm used to for doll patterns, but the final fit was perfect. We'll definitely be using these patterns again; they'd make a great birthday gift for Miss P's similarly doll-obsessed friends!


Today is the last stop on the tour, but make sure to check out the other stops too! And you can find the pattern here in the SUAT shop if you haven't already. :)
Jan 24th: Larissa from Connected By a Thread
Jan 25th: Rebekah from Pattern Revolution
Jan 26th: Rachel Nelson from Once upon a Sewing Machine
Jan 27th: Jennifer from Stitch Upon a Time
Jan 28th: Tasha from Sewn at Seams
Jan 29th: Heather from All Things Katy
Jan 30th: Rachel from Handcrafted by Red

You can pick up your copy of the Wendybird Dress for 25% off now through Jan 31st, it is already marked down on the site! Be sure to share your version in the SUAT Facebook group! Comment below with your favorite Stitch Upon a time pattern and one lucky winner from each blog will be announced when the tour wraps up on Jan 31st!










Monday, December 4, 2017

Happy Holidays with Love Notions Patterns!

How is it December already??! I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like it was JUST Halloween! The costumes are long since packed away, and it's time to get to work on those gift lists. Being creative at the holidays is really a blessing and a curse - I love coming up with ideas for our family and friends and the excitement of getting it *just right* is so much fun. But the amount of time I end up spending often threatens to exceed the number of hours in a day, and then I end up exhausted and stressed - and much more Grinchy than I'd like to admit. 


In the end, my desire for handmade holidays always wins and I have found that using tried-and-true patterns helps the process for me tremendously. I'm not sure why I'd think that using a new-to-me pattern (usually at the last minute lol) is a good idea, but for years I found myself doing that. I've had much better outcomes and far less frustration when I turn to my favorites for the people on my list. Love Notions never steers me wrong, and the fit is always spot on - whether it's for ladies in my life, the kids in my life, and now, even their dolls. Miss P and her friends are still completely obsessed with their American Girl (and other 18") dolls, and the doll size Everyday Playdress was actually the very first dolly dress that I ever made. This fall, Tami included a doll version (the Peanut vest) with every copy of the Acorn Vest for girls, and that makes a super cute (and easy - it's just three seams and no hems!) faux fur vest. And now, she's brought us the blockbuster Laundry Day Tee for DOLLS! I agree, Tami is the best. 


I sewed up this one from double brushed poly and the drape is great. If you want to make a tunic or tee version, just trim from the bottom before you finish the hem - I'd recommend trying it on the doll if you have one handy since the weight of the fabric may affect the finished length of the dress. I made one in velvet for Miss P's BFF recently and the dress became tea length from the weight (and stretch) of the velvet I used!

I also wanted to add a quick hair accessory to match since the girls are always styling their dolls' hair and are suckers for a cute bow. This one was super quick! I cut two rectangles 3" long by 4" wide, and a strip that was 3" long by 1.5" wide for the bow center. Sew the rectangles RST and leave a small opening for turning; turn right side out and press. Topstitch if desired or just close the opening with a few stitches by hand. 


(For the bow center, fold RST lengthwise (like a hot dog bun) and sew or serge down the long raw edge. Turn right side out and press with the seam centered along the back. This is shown in the last picture above.)


Next, pinch the bow to the shape you want and wrap the bow center around, marking where you'd like the seam to close the bow center. 

Take the bow center piece and match up the short ends, RST, and sew that edge. Turn right side out (you'll now have a loop) and guide the main bow piece into the bow center loop. 

You can use hot glue to attach to a hair clip or barrette (or even a pin back if you'd rather make a brooch), or make a headband like I did. 


For the headband, I cut 11" of fold over elastic (mine is 5/8" wide), and just slid the elastic through the bow center at the back of the bow. Bring the short raw edges RST and sew (or use a dab of hot glue) to close the ends so you have a loop.  I adjusted the elastic so that seam ended up under the bow center also, and used a few hand stitches to keep the bow placed where I wanted it on the headband. 


And that's it! Dolly's got a new outfit for the holidays and I've just checked another gift off the list.\ With only a week until Chanukah starts this year, I've got my work cut out for me! (No pun intended lol)


Thanks for stopping by - and please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour, too!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sewing for Kindergarten: A Blog Tour


I've been following this series for the past couple of years, and when Jenn asked if I wanted to participate this year I jumped at the chance. This boy has been so excited and proud to start kindergarten, and I knew he'd love to do this blog tour to show off a bit.

Our town has full-day kindergarten, and he only went to preschool part-time (last year was two full days and two half days) but I knew he was ready to make the leap. He had a fantastic teacher last year who really connected with him and encouraged him, and he felt really confident when school finally started this September. He's excited to be in the same school as his sister (she's in second grade), and has been really enjoying all of the activities they do each day. We're extremely lucky and our kids have gym class 3x/week, as well as weekly classes in art, music, library/technology, and STEM. There's a designated playground for kindergarten, so recess is chaotic and fun, and he even admitted to dozing off during rest time after all of the excitement that came before.

He also started taekwando lessons this summer,
if you couldn't tell. ;)
I'll admit to being a little nervous - sometimes you just don't know how your kids will react to a big change, you know? He has the same teacher his sister had (and whom we all adore), so that familiarity was helpful. But still, I wasn't expecting him to just march right in on the first day and ask why we were still hanging around! 😂


Dressing for kindergarten has been a bit less interesting than it was with his sister, since he really just prefers to grab a pair of shorts and a graphic tee and head down for breakfast. I've made a lot of clothes for him over the years, but lately I find myself making fewer of the staples and more of the "special" but less-worn items - think oxfords and ties, lined zip-front hoodies, etc. He's pretty tough on his clothes but still loves for me to sew for him, so it's been a bit of a balancing act.


For this photoshoot, he had asked for a new pullover hoodie so I used the Samson sweater pattern from Love Notions and upcycled a men's quilted sweatshirt that I'd found on clearance at Kmart last year. I decided to challenge myself to do a pair of jeans, too, and used the Moto Maxx pattern (also from Love Notions) for that. I've made several pairs of these pants for him, but always from supplex or french terry and not from denim. This denim was also upcycled, and is a thick knit that was formerly a pair of men's plus size pants. The fit of the pants is great in this fabric, and although I'd like to add more detailing to the waistband, I'm happy overall with the outfit and I know he'll get a lot of use out of it.


This guy has always been my one-word answer kiddo when it came to questions like "how was your day?" and "what did you do at school?" Until now, that is! He's been such a chatterbox about school and all of the things he did and learned and played with. I love his energy and enthusiasm - and we've all been sleeping well since kindergarten began!

That face. <3
Please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour this week, too - I love seeing all of these newly minted kindergartners in their handmades! <3

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Love Notions Hip Hop Tank Blog Tour - another old favorite revisited!


The Hip Hop tank was another early pattern that Miss P and I tested for Tami, and it was high time to revisit it! A friend of Miss P has a shirt that had a contrast triangle sewn into the back, and I've been wanting to recreate it for awhile now. The basic view A was the perfect base for that - I simply cut the back pattern into pieces (cutting the center triangle on the fold and mirrored pieces for the back sides) and added seam allowance before sewing the pieces back together and assembling per pattern instructions.


I love the fit of this tank on Miss P - the chest is a fairly slim fit, and it flares ever so slightly toward the hem. It's not too flowy and not too tight; this pattern really is a great staple to have in my kiddo's (and my) wardrobe. I love the slight racerback, too! I added the little pocket to the front to balance the back with a little visual interest, and it was a great way to share my hoarded plaid from Raspberry Creek Fabrics without giving the whole yard away to her. ;) 





Oy, this girl. She is looking much too grown up lately, but is still happy to pretend-text her buddies on an old battery-less Blackberry.  😂


Make sure to enter our giveaway for LN credit, and check out the other blogs on the tour this week!




Thursday, June 1, 2017

Love Notions Bluezette Blog Tour - an old favorite reinvented!


Wait, what??! Two blog posts in one week - and I've got two dresses to share for this one, too! Miss P has been asking for a fancy dress for some time, and our casual family life just hasn't obliged. Cue a bat mitzvah invitation for my cousin's daughter, and my girl was beside herself with excitement. The Bluezette was a great choice, and was versatile enough to be easily modified for different fabric types. The light aqua dress was her "real" dress for the party, but I felt like I needed to sew up a sample before I cut into those fabrics.


Miss P and I agreed that the gathered skirt from the Bluezette needed to be amped up into a twirl-worthy circle skirt. I used the skirt from the Cartwheel Collection (also by Love Notions) and compared waistlines to make sure the widths were compatible. Lo and behold, it was nearly a perfect match! I lengthened the two edges of my skirt pattern piece along the double folds to make sure the skirt was long enough.


For my practice dress, I used about a yard of this bright coral knit and about 2 yards of the soft nylon tulle (a clearance find from Joann Fabrics) - this dress was a huge hit with Miss P and it cost me less than $12 to make! I made the underlining per the Bluezette pattern, since the tulle was sheer even with two layers. I basted the three skirt layers together at the waist, and attached to the bodice per pattern instructions. Since the waist seam was a bit bulky, I pressed it open and only sewed the bodice portion of the seam up and in place to form the elastic casing. The elastic gently gathered the waistline and there was still plenty of ease for comfort.


For Miss P's "real" dress, I found these beautiful light aqua fabrics in the Casa Collection section at Joanns - the special occasion fabrics are organized by color, and since they introduce new colors seasonally, you can often get great deals on discontinued colors.



There are always basic fabrics like the stretch taffeta that I used to line the skirt, but there are often a few exciting options in the color family. In this case, the net overlay had chiffon flowers and little swirls of sequins, and Miss P nearly lost her mind.


I used a yard each of the two skirt layers, and skipped the underskirt since the taffeta was opaque. For the bodice, I used about a half yard of stretch lace and lined it with cotton lycra. Super soft and definitely more comfortable than most of my own dressy dresses! This time I didn't add the waist elastic and just left the seam with a little more ease - since the skirt was woven and not terribly stretchy (and I was also adding a chiffon sash), I thought it would be more comfortable for Miss P that way.


She was thrilled, and the dress was perfect for the occasion. Dressy without being over-the-top or out of place, and certainly age appropriate and full of twirl. She wore it "backwards" since the weight of the skirt pulled the bodice down a little too low for our liking - so versatile!

Poor little brother got a new tie, at least. ;)
We tested the Bluezette before its release two years ago, and Miss P wore her dresses from testing a fair amount. It's a versatile pattern with a great fit, and I'm glad we could use it to make a perfect party dress, too!

If you'd like to purchase your own copy of the Bluezette (also available for ladies!), both size ranges are on sale this week. You can enter below for a chance to win a shop credit at Love Notions, too!

"Rafflecopter code: a Rafflecopter giveaway"

And last but not least, please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour this week!

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