31 December 2014

2014 holiday challenge review

Mindy and I did a Holiday Challenge this year, started in February. Here's my report:

February: heart pillows.

March: Dr. Seuss print clothes for all my girls.

April: JE's birthday dress, because birthdays are holidays!

May: SM's birthday dress.

June: Nine Independence Day skirts for my 5 girls and 4 of their cousins.

July-August-September: the bottom fell out on my sewing mojo, and I did nothing for any holidays. That's when I need to start working on Halloween costumes and Christmas gifts, actually. In August, I was hoping to get a picnic blanket put together for Labor Day out of cut-up jeans. I started cutting old worn-out jeans one day in my living room with my kids "helping," and then the scissors had to get put away when JE started giving haircuts. We still have some extra-choppy bangs going on.

October: birthday dresses for RG and TA (and I started the Sew All 26 alphabet challenge. Always looking for something new to motivate myself!)

November-December: All the sewing for the Christmas gifts, which I just posted in my C and D alphabet posts.

These review posts are helping me organize my thoughts and see where I did well and where I need to improve. Hooray that I completed so many sewing projects! And I'm really glad I met the target of making birthday dresses for all 5 of the girls. For another round of the Holiday Challenge, I think it would be better for me to choose what holidays I'm going to work on through the year and some project ideas for each, all in one big list so I'm not trying to come up with new ideas all the time. The planning is what trips me up on a lot of things.

30 December 2014

2014 sewing inventory

Here's my final list of items sewn in 2014:

- 5 flannel nightgowns, one for each of the girls, a variation of the Oliver+S playtime tunic. I made the top the same and lengthened the skirt part all the way to the floor.
- 4 heart pillows with letters that spelled L-O-V-E. I also helped my girls make their own little heart pillows. Holiday challenge - Valentine's Day.
- I helped a friend's daughters make 2 "simple skirts" out of my leftover Minnie Mouse fabric to wear at Disney World. The girls were 8 and 6 and did quite a bit on their own but needed a lot of help.
- 4 tier skirts and an Oliver+S ice cream dress, all with Dr. Seuss fabric. Holiday challenge - Read Across America Day (on March 2, Dr. Seuss's birthday). The dress was also JK's birthday dress.
- Spring break "sewing camp" with some friends - the girls made dresses and square block "quilts" for their dolls.
- JE's birthday dress: Oliver+S roller skate dress.
- SM's birthday dress: Oliver+S music box jumper.
- 9 Independence Day skirts for my 5 girls and 4 of their cousins - all simple skirts with added pockets and ribbon trim. Holiday challenge: Independence Day.
- a t-shirt playdress for TA.
- jumper Sunday dress for JK.
- SM's white baptism dress.
- 4 comfort blankets for JK, which are a king-sized blanket cut into quarters and re-hemmed.
- 2 flannel baby blankets for gifts for friends - the edges were hand-stitched.
- a pillow cover from MADE's video tutorial.
- 3 Origami Bento tote bags - ballet bags for RG and JE, and one for a friend's birthday gift.
- a team project with SM to make a "picture quilt" for Grandma's birthday - I basically sewed everything onto a background fabric in a very crude version of applique.
- RG's birthday dress: Oliver+S music box jumper.
- TA's birthday dress: a t-shirt dress with an applique (she's only 3 so has no idea she was cheated on not getting her own new Oliver+S dress, but I'll make it up to her).
- 7 doll skirts, 5 doll shirts, 10 doll dresses.
- a kitchen floor rug for Adam's Christmas gift.
- the roof and walls for the playhouse Adam built for the girls' Christmas gift.
- 4 stuffed animal cats.
- 20 items out of my mending box fixed and returned to circulation, although from the size of the pile, you'd never know I did anything at all.

Wow. There are so many things I wanted to do that I didn't get to, but this is definitely more than I've ever sewn before. I'm happy with the list! Onward for 2015!

27 December 2014

D is for doll clothes

My girls all have the My First Disney Princess dolls - not the baby dolls, but they look "toddler"-ish. Very cute. They're 14-inch dolls, so a bit smaller than American Girl dolls but LOTS cheaper. We were starting to have issues over the doll clothes because they come with just the outfit they're wearing, so I decided to make doll clothes for one of the group Christmas gifts.

I started with this list of ideas and links by Nest Full of Eggs. That got me going on skirts but my attempts at a circle skirt did not go well. It was enough for me to decide to move on to another idea for my letter C in Sew All 26 - a Circle skirt was not going to fly. I got through 7 skirts - one for each doll - and called it good. The trims were the fun part!

I needed something for the top half of the dolls, of course. So I did a couple of searches and found 2 shirt patterns/tutorials for dolls. I had to tweak the sizing because they're designed for the 18-inch dolls. I used this pattern from Serving Pink Lemonade to make 4 shirts - 2 light blue and 2 hot pink (only one of each in the picture). I stopped with 4 because my pattern tweaks were still pretty wonky and it was my first attempt at working with knit fabric ... which ... like the circle skirt, did not go very well.

The second shirt pattern - here by New Green Mama - was tweaked larger instead of smaller, and made into a dress. I made 10 of those. Still wonky but whatever. The girls don't even notice, or care. My favorite is the white/navy dot with the hot pink ribbon. While I was putting the combinations of fabric and ribbon together, I was thinking that I wished I had more fabric to make full-size dresses like them! But all of this fabric was out of my scrap box, so that's not going to happen.

These are certainly not worthy of being sold or given to anyone besides my own kids. But I put in some solid work and tried some new fabrics and tutorials, and the girls are happy with the wardrobe for their dolls to share. That's what matters.

26 December 2014

C is for cats, cottage, crimson-trimmed rug

C is for Christmas presents that also start with C - cats, a cottage, and a crimson-trimmed rug.

The girls and I were doing a random search for patterns to make stuffed animals, and found this great round-up at Sewing Support of LOTS of stuffed animals. They wanted this, that, and the other and this cat - the Cotton Candy Kitty - was included on their list. Ultimately, what it came down to was this was the only pattern that printed out well and I was running out of time. So they all got the same cat. (SM, our oldest, got a different gift from Dad - the other 4 girls got these cats.) Fortunately, it's part of the design to use regular quilting cotton for the fronts of the ears so that's how they're all different. They're made of fleece - pink with white dots. I embroidered the faces. Cats are actually a very popular toy at our house, since the girls have been told straight out that we will never have a real cat. Dad is allergic to them.

This was Adam's brainchild - he built the frame out of PVC pipe and I covered it with fabric. The roof and 4 walls are 5 separate pieces all made from regular quilting cotton and wrapped around the pipe and attached with velcro. The door is that I cut and edged a slit in the pink fabric, and then just hand-stitched a flap of green felt across the top over it. There are no windows or other details on the sides and back yet - that will be a project for the girls and I to work on together in the next few weeks. I figure we'll cut things out of felt and hand-stitch them to the pink, the same as the door.

I got the idea of making a kitchen rug a long time ago from one of the quilting blogs I read but there was no way I was going to put all that effort into a quilting piece just to stand on it in the kitchen. This was a piece of print duck canvas (who the heck thought of naming a type of fabric "duck"???), layered with an old towel for cushioning, and then a layer of the rubberized no-skid rug mat that I got from Home Depot. The border is bias tape. This was one of my gifts to Adam.

soft and warm

Lamb attempt number one:
Only about six inches tall.  
Forgot to add the ears (pinned on for the picture).
Not happy with it.
So I scaled the pattern 150%, tweaked it a bit
and used cuddly pink fleece to make lamb number two.
Much much happier.
Nose is embroidery floss and eyes are permanent marker.

Rice-filled bags are fabulous to use as heat packs.
Just microwave for a few seconds and toasty warm.
Little pocket warmers are a great way to use scraps.

25 December 2014

D is for Dragon

Cupcake asks Daddy to read her "dragon" every night, The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.  He knows it so well that he has his own version of telling it, with sound effects and silly lines added in.  One day I'll get it on video.  When I came across this link to making your own rug, I thought it looked pretty easy, and we are in need of a good rug in the kitchen.  I found the non-slip rug liners at Walmart, and some denim at the thrift store.  The other side had flowers all over it, and while I would be happy with it I didn't think my husband would be too thrilled with it for a Christmas present.  So I turned it to the solid blue side, but it was too plain.  I debated a lot about what to paint, but finally settled on a dragon (which he loves), so it will be from both me and Cupcake.

The actual making of the rug was easier said than done.  The rubber doesn't go through the machine easily, and getting the whole thing smooth is difficult.  So not a project I'll do often, but glad I did it at least once.  

 And while I'm on the topic of rugs, I made a scrap rug too!  This one goes to my sister, Tawnia.  I worked on it off and on for exactly three months.  I used the same non-slip rug backing and just pushed strips of fabric into it.  Because I was constantly adding more colors and patterns and textures, as I finished other projects, I added scraps at random.  But working from one end to the other makes sense too.  Not every hole needs to be filled - every other or every third is plenty.  I will definitely be doing this again - I've already got lots of other scraps trimmed (around 1" by 6") for future rugs.  It could be fun to try stripes or pattern or even a giant heart in the middle.  I used the scraps from other projects but thrift store sheets would be great to get a lot of fabric at once.  And old t-shirts are fabulous because knit doesn't fray.  Although this one took a lot more time, it was a mindless, relax in front of the TV but still being productive, sort of project.  Yay!

14 December 2014

I Spy Bucket

 small plastic jar + vase filler +
twenty five small objects + item list =
a fabulous I Spy game ready to play!


C is for Christmas Cardigan

I completed Cupcake's Christmas skirt at Halloween, when I made her Bo Peep outfit reversible.  I'm glad I did, because I haven't been able to do as much sewing as I've wanted to in the last few weeks.  But it needed a little red sweater to go with it, and I couldn't find one anywhere.  I was given one years ago for myself, that was always just a little too small, so I didn't mind resizing it down to fit her.  I just laid a shirt on top of the sweater, traced around it, and resewed it all together.  Done.  The sleeves are a little snug, but it works for the few times she'll wear it this month.  I may add a pin or button towards the top to add some sparkle.  

01 December 2014

quiet time here

I know it's been quiet here but I have been sewing quite a bit lately. I'm shooting for a Christmas as close to $0 as I can. We bought a real tree and I have to buy stamps for our Christmas cards, so obviously we're spending some money for our holiday ... but I'm trying to use materials we already have for making gifts. The results will be posted after Christmas, since the girls read the blog. No preview notes or photos, but I will say that C and D in the Alphabet Challenge will be covered.

In other homemaking news, we had a lovely Thanksgiving with my brother and his family visiting from Virginia. It snowed on Wednesday last week, so we had our first White Thanksgiving. The girls went sledding with their cousins in the morning before our big dinner.

Adam has figured out the secret to pie crust - he totally nailed it on every pie. The secret is - freeze the butter, then grate it with your food processor grater attachment. Don't ever touch the butter with your hands. Mix it in with the flour with a pastry cutter and handle the dough as little as possible until it's rolled out and in the pie plate. Adam has been trying for "flaky" pie crust for years, and this was fabulous.

01 November 2014

B is for Boynton Book

When the theme "storybook" was announced for Kids Clothes Week I decided to look on the shelf and see what books Cupcake really likes to read.  One of her favorites is Blue Hat Green Hat by Sandra Boynton.  If you have not read this simple children's book, you are missing out.  (To get a general idea of what I'm talking about, go here.)  Most of the book goes something like this: "blue shirt, yellow shirt, green shirt, oops!"  And so I decided to "oops" and make her one shirt with all the colors.

For fabric, I used what I had.  The same red for all the other red projects (the first pair of pants I made and all the 4th of July skirts).  The lime green was used as lining in her St. Patrick's dress and as a second layer on her Bunny Dress.  I randomly received a whole bunch of fabric from my friend's mom which included the yellow with tiny ducks and the small blue gingham.  

I used the St. Patrick's bodice pattern as my starting point, adjusting it slightly and making a round neck instead of square.  The back is my usual loop and button closure, because I have yet to attempt button holes or zippers.  I made my own quilt of fabrics for the bottom, using strips of various widths.  (I've learned that I would not be entirely opposed to a small amount of quilting in the future, as long as things don't have to be super exact.)  The real challenge for this project was the sleeves.  I'd done flutter sleeves, and peasant tops have sleeves, but no proper sleeves.  I was nervous, but followed the first part of the tutorial here and made my own pattern.  And they turned out great!  They aren't too tight or too loose and now I won't be so scared to do them again in the future.

A is for Apron

My little Cupcake absolutely loves sheep, so it just made sense to dress her up as Little Bo Peep for Halloween.  I finished the last of it for Kids Clothes Week last week.

Hat tutorial here and I added extra lace around the brim.  I was worried that it was a waste of time because she never wanted to try it on, but she wore it the entire night of trick-or-treating!

I made the shirt months ago when I was making lots of peasant tops (basic tutorial here).

I tried to be practical with the skirt and made it a reversible circle skirt (found here).  The flip side is Christmas fabric!  Just need to find her a red sweater and her Christmas outfit is done.

Bloomers are the same basic pants pattern I use for everything (originally here).  I used the cutest white eyelet for both the pants and the apron.

And for the apron there is no tutorial because I made it up as I went along.  At first I made the elastic for around the back of the neck too long, and then I cut it and made it too short.  It worked for the night of trick-or-treating, but if I'm going to keep it for future use, I think I'll cut the elastic entirely and make it straps to tie. 

As a bonus, my friend Sherry made her a crinoline.  And Grandma had made her the cloak for her baby blessing two years ago, and it was perfect for keeping her warm without detracting from the outfit.


23 October 2014

B is also for ...

Bento Ballet Bag. 

I found this tutorial for a little tote bag that I totally loved: the Very Shannon Origami Bento Bag. I've already made three and need to make at least three more. I made two for RG and JE for their dance class bags, and one for a friend as her birthday gift. My other three girls want them too - SM also takes dance but I haven't gotten her bag done yet because I had to do the birthday dresses first.

Anyway, the original tutorial mixes 3 different fabrics and doesn't line it. I used one solid cut of fabric and lined it to give it a little more strength and just for better looks. This is JE's bag. RG's bag has the same plain pink lining, and her's is pink with white Swiss dots on it. The birthday gift bag was a couple of shades of purple. Also, on the gift one, I left off the box corner seams so it can be reversible. The box corners do give the bag better shape, but it's fun to have it reversible.

And here's little Miss JE coming home from her ballet class with her bag carrying her shoes. Hooray for dance class! And she loves the bag.

22 October 2014

B is for buttons

More birthday dresses - another B word, and another Holiday challenge entry!

RG chose her pattern - the Oliver + S music box jumper (same as SM in May), and chose her fabric at JoAnn. It totally suits her. I made the pattern according to the proper sizing (altered for SM) but gathered the skirt rather than pleating it. I wish I'd made it a little longer for her, but it's fine.

She also chose the buttons on the back, which is the fun part. Note that they're doing the ombre thing - light at the top and getting gradually darker as they go to the bottom. The clothes I make are still super simple and basic, but I'm getting a little better at adding details and making things more personalized.

14 October 2014

A is for applique

I followed along, by reading but not sewing, with No Big Dill's "Sew All 26" challenge for herself and loved it. (I love her projects and photography anyway.) (Also, I've realized that one of the things that makes a sewing blog is the photography and settings ... and that's not going to happen here because I don't have time to drive all over just to find cool places to take pictures of the clothes I make, or set up fancy little photo shoots. You're stuck with my house as the background of pictures shot with my phone. Sorry. I'll try to keep the mess out of the frame.)

ANYWAY ... that was a rant ... I've thought about doing a Sew the Alphabet challenge myself when I finish some other things, but recently thought ... Wait. I can do it as part of all my other sewing! Between now and Christmas, the projects I'm doing fit in with A-B-C-D anyway! I need to figure out E-F-G because the quilt (my first quilt!!!) I've already started working on fits with H.

So. We start with A - applique. I'm doing an exchange with a quilting group I joined at the beginning of the year, and received a gorgeous "quilt picture," as my girls call it. This, for now taped up to the wall in my sewing area as inspiration, until I can figure out how to frame it and put it in my living room. Isn't it awesome?!?

SM loves it and wanted to make one herself for Grandma's birthday gift. I haven't learned yet how to piece quilts, especially into pictures, so we went with the applique method. I gave her a fat quarter of fabric (fat quarter = 18 x 22-inch cut of fabric) in blue, and she went through my scrap box to figure out all of her pieces. She cut and arranged for an entire afternoon one day, getting it all laid out. I did all the sewing to attach her little teeny pieces, and she did the binding. We didn't use batting or any quilting because it's a wall hanging, and, well, I'm out of batting right now.

SM using the machine by herself for the very first time!

Happy (late) birthday, Grandma!

I also did an applique on a t-shirt dress for TA's birthday - it took me a couple of attempts. The secret - stabilizer! Don't skip it. I wondered if I could get away with that, but no. I got about halfway around when the whole thing decided to get snagged in my machine. I pried it out and ripped a hole in the shirt in the process. So I removed the heart (lots of work with the seam ripper since the stitches were so teeny and compressed together) and started over, this time with stabilizer. And I covered the hole in the shirt. I need to reinforce a couple of sections of the stitching to make sure the edge of the heart is fully covered and doesn't start fraying in the laundry, but I got it on there in time for her birthday party at the park and she loves it!

Little Miss TA is 3 now!

28 September 2014

things to do with zucchini

I've always liked zucchini, but my mother-in-law had a garden this year so I got a LOT of it.  I've shredded some for the freezer, I've pureed some and added it to spaghetti sauce.  Here's a few other things I've done with zucchini this month.

Zucchini Boats - great to make with small zucchini.  Can be used for a whole meal or as a side.  Easy enough to change up the ingredients to suit your needs - add ground beef, mushrooms, etc.

Zucchini Chips - I've made these as chips (using small zucchini) and fries (with big to jumbo zucchini), dredging them in either milk or eggs.  Both work, both are tasty.

Zucchini Cobbler - I prepared the zucchini according to this recipe, but added my usual crisp blend for the top.  My husband loves apple crisp and gave a big thumbs up when he tried this.  And THEN I told him it was zucchini.  He was stunned.  This is now known as deceitful crisp at my house.  And this is awesome for large/jumbo zucchini because it uses so much up at once.

Zucchini Pizza - Yum Yum YUM!  Fabulous use for large zucchini (not too huge, or you get the soft spot in the middle with all the large seeds).  Tastes like regular pizza, but you don't feel so guilty eating a lot of it because there's no crust, just zucchini!  Definitely a favorite.

Zucchini Carrot Muffins - when given a lot of zucchini everyone's first thought is to make bread or muffins.  This was actually the last thing I tried (and they just came out of the oven).  I halved the sugar, and replaced the oil with more applesauce.  Very similar to the spiced carrot muffins I made last month, but with added pecans and raisins.  I'd make them again.  There are many other muffin recipes I'd like to try, so it's a good thing I've got a stash of shredded zucchini in the freezer.

25 September 2014

thrift store sheets

I found a purple Tinkerbell twin flat sheet at the thrift store, and there's not much more my toddler loves more than Tinkerbell (except maybe cheese).  And from that one sheet I made my own crib sheet (from this crib sheet tutorial), a pair of pajamas, and I'll use the last of the material for a little pillow cover.  Not bad for six dollars.  (And people say sewing is expensive.)

01 September 2014

happy anniversary!

Today is the anniversary of Operation Domestic Goddess! Sept. 1, 2006 was my first day as stay-home mom, full-time domestic engineer, happy homemaker ...

We've been canning all weekend. That means that Adam has been canning, and I've been washing dishes and getting more jars out of the storage room and kinda/sorta keeping the kids out of the way. 18 quarts of peaches, a bunch of small jars of peach syrup, 8 pints of tomato sauce, 8 pints of red cabbage chow-chow (a type of relish to put on meat), pickled peppers, a bunch of corn scraped off the cob and put in the freezer, and we still have probably 10 or 12 quarts of cucumbers to make into pickles. We're at 24 gallons and counting of pickles.

Today, I cut Adam's hair, had school with the girls, and mowed the lawn for the first time. Adam did the front yard and I did the back (which is a lot bigger). Tonight, I need to sit down with RG and have her choose her pattern for her birthday dress - RG and TA's birthdays are only 3 days apart at the beginning of October, so I need to get going on their dresses now to have both of them done on time.

We decided that Labor Day weekend is going to be LABOR Day for our family - we get work done with the house. We have beach plans for next weekend, when the crowds have gone away to school and work and it will still be 90 degrees. Ha ha ha!

Sidenote: For August sewing, I was planning to make a denim picnic blanket cut from old jeans for a Labor Day holiday challenge item. Alas, it was not to be. I cut some squares but didn't get very far. For as long as the summer is, I got a lot LESS done with sewing and around my house in June/July/August than I'd been planning. I really don't know why but I have very little to show for this summer.

My girls have been watching the sewing instruction videos on the MADE blog and JE liked the pillow cover. So I experimented with the envelope pillow cover with my couch throw pillows - JE chose some "spring" fabric and it went together very quickly. The back does have a bit of a gap - I need to do an overlap of 3 or 4 inches when I do it again rather than 2 inches as instructed in the video. The pillow is really poofy so that's probably why. My plan is to make Christmas pillow covers for the couch throw pillows - the couch is white and the covers zip off the pillows anyway. Should look good! Now to find the time to do it ...

many muffins

I've been on a muffin kick lately.  Last month I tried three new recipes, and within the last week I've tried five more recipes.  I tend to fail with sweet breads, never getting them to cook all the way through, so I'll stick with muffins.  They freeze well - I can pull out one or two, nuke it for a minute, and I've got breakfast.

Blueberry Applesauce Muffins - Specifically suggested for toddlers, my toddler did actually enjoy them.  Not something to add to my recipe box, but not bad.  Won't make them for a while again because my little one suddenly has decided she dislikes all muffins.

Peanut Butter Muffins - I honestly can't remember if I used this recipe or a different one, but either way the muffins just came out okay.  As much as I love the idea of a peanut butter muffin, the final product was a lot more rich than I expected.

Orange Muffins - After reading the comments I altered this recipe - switching the proportions of the liquids (one cup of orange juice and half cup of milk instead of the other way) and used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  I added more zest - at least from two oranges if not more.  Lastly, I skipped the glaze - there is already plenty of sugar, I don't need to add more.  And they were delicious!  Very light and fluffy and orange awesomeness.  After the first batch I made a double batch a week later.  This recipe is a keeper.

Oatmeal Cookie Muffins - The first bite of every muffin throws me off, but really enjoy it by the time I'm finished.  Slightly different texture, but not as bad as straight oatmeal ones.  I added mini chocolate chips, raisins, and crushed pecans.  My husband won't eat them (he doesn't like chocolate, raisins, and there's banana in there too), but they are pretty tasty, and good for giving away (I think - I've only eaten them warm).  AND they can be made gluten free.

Peanut Butter Apple Muffins - The peanut buttery flavor was much better than the straight peanut butter muffins.  Maybe the apple balanced it out better.  Not sure how often I'd make these, but it's a good use for a couple leftover apples that no one is eating.  (And again, I didn't make the topping.)

Mini Coconut Orange/Lime Muffins - I really liked the texture that the coconut added - a slight crunch without being overwhelming.  Much faster than the straight orange muffins (no squeezing oranges), but yum!  I did make them semi-mini and find that size perfect.  And this morning I tried them with lime - it worked!

Spiced Carrot Muffins - Delicious.  Warm, spicy, carroty goodness.  I was very hesitant when I made the batter - half of it was the shredded carrot!  But it baked up beautifully.  Since I'm going to eat muffins anyway, the least I could do is include more vegetables sometimes.  I think I'll make these often during the fall and winter.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins -  Husband approved.  Following the baking instructions (425 for five minutes down to 375) made a nice crisp top with fluffy inside.  Light lemony flavor, that could be enhanced with the glaze, but tasty as is.

23 August 2014


This week I made seven dishtowel-bibs.  I had already made four earlier this year for Cupcake, so this batch was easy.  Cut a circle in the dishtowel, attach ribbing.  Done!  And I made another simple baby blanket, bringing my total up to eight for the year.  Two layers, usually one printed cotton and the other flannel, stitch right sides together, turn out and then top-stitch a zig-zag around the edge.  Now, with all the babies coming, I've got a stash of gifts!

17 August 2014

t-shirt / birthday dress

I wanted another try at the birthday top, but I lengthened it to make it a dress.  I like this new one better, but the fit still isn't quite right.  Considering I put the whole thing together in a day I won't complain too much.  And it's a different sort of t-shirt dress - the bottom half is made from one of Aaron's old shirts.  Working with knit wasn't as intimidating as I thought.

31 July 2014

sewing tally for the year so far

Seven months down, five to go.

I didn't do KCW this time because it was the same week I was planning for a friend's baby shower on Saturday at my house. It was my first time hosting a baby shower - or any kind of party besides a birthday party for one of my kids - so that took up my time and attention for the week.

I've been keeping track on a list of everything I've sewn this year so far, and honestly, with the year only half over, I'm shocked at what I've accomplished. Before July 1, I had sewn the following:

- 5 flannel nightgowns, a variation of the Oliver + S playtime dress. It's a tunic pattern and I lengthened it to the floor.
- 4 heart pillows that spelled out L-O-V-E.
- I helped a friend make 2 simple skirts out of my leftover Minnie Mouse fabric for her girls to wear at Disney World.
- 4 tier skirts and an Oliver + S ice cream dress, all with Dr. Seuss fabric. The dress was JK's birthday dress.
- JE's birthday dress: Oliver + S rollerskate dress.
- "sewing camp" for SM and 2 friends. They made dresses and square block quilts for their dolls.
- SM's birthday dress: Oliver + S music box jumper
- 9 (NINE) Independence Day skirts: all simple skirts, added pockets, ribbon trim. (That reminds me. I need to post a tutorial on the pockets. I'll make another one and take pictures as I go ... but that would mean I need to get a new camera. Mine has apparently died.)
- a t-shirt dress for TA. Attach fabric to the bottom of a t-shirt and ta da! A dress!
- jumper Sunday dress for JK. I actually started it last year from a random unknown pattern but never finished it, and I found it. I tried it on her and it still fit fine around her torso because I'd made it really big. I did have to add a wide ruffle around the bottom to make it long enough for her. It turned out awesome - I love it!
- SM's white baptism dress, from a McCall's pattern that quite frankly, I didn't really like. But the dress turned out nicely!
- 4 comfort blankets for JK, which started as a king-sized blanket on my bed that she co-opted as her "I can't sleep without this" blanket. I cut it into quarters so we would have travel sizes, and hemmed them.

That's 24 articles of clothing made for my own children, and various other items for other people and my home. AND I've fixed 14 things that are in my rather large mending pile. AND in July, I handstitched the edges of 2 flannel baby blankets to give as gifts to friends - one having her first baby, and the other having her first grandchild.

And here are pictures of the clothes I hadn't posted about yet:

SM's baptism dress. The pattern had no closures at all - it was a pullover dress. The fabric should apparently have some stretch to it but this did not so it's a little tricky getting on and off. I have to help her. The front hemline was rather odd - a weird slant to make it look like there's an overlap but it didn't really work. I added the sheer white overskirt just for fun because SM wanted it and bonus! It hid the screwy hemline.

JK's jumper. I need to get a shot with the ruffle - it totally makes the dress.

TA loves her t-shirt dress! And playing with bubbles. And her cousin Cupcake.

Like I said, I'm shocked at what I've accomplished. Here's to another 6 months and beyond of handmade clothing for my daughters (2 more birthdays still!) and just generally being creative with fabric!

29 July 2014


Saturday - I got my game plan.  Picked patterns/tutorials and fabric for a birthday outfit, plus another pair of pajama pants (from an old receiving blanket).  Made my own bias tape, and a trial pair of bloomers (modifying the pattern I use for pajama pants). 

Monday - Created the pattern for the top.  Cut out all the pieces for shirt, bloomers and pj's.

Tuesday - Ironed in all the hems and casings.  Started making ruffles for the bloomers.

Wednesday - Worked on the shirt.

Thursday - Finished the shirt.  Finally got to try it on her, and was a little disappointed with the fit.  The bias tape is a bit overwhelming, and the shoulders are too narrow to properly show off the cap sleeves. Did a quick redraw of the pattern for next time.  Worked on the bloomers a bit and finished making the ruffles.

Friday - a busy evening, shopping for the birthday BBQ, so I didn't get as much time to work on stuff.  Got further on the bloomers - pinned the ruffles on.  Need to sew them on and put the elastic in the waistband.

Saturday - Outfit finished!  Time to show it off at our birthday party.

Sunday - rest and recovery from the party.

Monday - spent exactly an hour finishing the pajama pants.  After making so many they actually go pretty fast!