Heidi & Finn - Ballet Sweater

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I've always loved the style of Heidi and Finn's patterns and have always checked out their Flickr group for inspiration.  Lots of people use their patterns during KCWC for good reason - they're generally pretty simple, and very cool style-wise.

I follow their blog and got a chance to test a new pattern - a very cute ballet-inspired sweater:

The directions were perfectly clear - lots of pictures which is good because I'm not really big on reading directions....until, of course, I screw up....

This was made from a sweater of mine that I never wore.  I made it in a size 3T and it literally fits perfectly.  Sleeve length, everything.  I finished it in probably an hour and a half or so, with the usual constant interruptions from the kid......she wore it all day yesterday which is a huge success.  Since I finished it toward the end of the day, I believe there may be some food residue on it for this morning's photos, so please excuse them!

I will definitely make this again, but next time, will either use a knit band for the waist tie, or a strip of chiffon.  The ribbon was too slippery, and kept slipping down so she ended up with a ribbon around her toddler belly.....
Thanks to Heidi and Finn for letting me test their pattern - I'm sure it will be a hit!

Placket Pride!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I've made the Oliver + S Jump Rope dress pattern before (view A) but have seen a lot of really cool view B's in the Flickr pool as of late.  I'm generally drawn to loud bold patterns, and have seen some very successful versions using bold fabrics.

I used some fabric from my shop - Free Spirit cotton from Eleanor Grosch's Imperial Pheasant line.  I love her designs - she's doing a new line for Cloud9 Fabrics that looks pretty cool as well.  The placket and collar are shot cotton from Kaffe Fasset.

I started this last weekend - put together the collar and placket and let the dress hang on the hanger all week, admiring my work.  The placket on this pattern goes together so beautifully - it looks so professional, and really all you have to do is follow the directions, and make good pattern markings. 

View B is definitely a quicker sew - there is no belt, no belt loops, no gathered waist.  On the other hand, I think my child prefers the more girly version.  Next time - and there will be a next time.  Unfortunately for me, I have to buy the larger size for the next one.  But that's ok - I'm sure I'll get a ton of use out of it.

This is a size 3 and is a perfect fit.  The pockets get lost a little in the loud fabric, but in person, you can see them better.  I love how they go together and add a really cute detail to the plain front.

Love the collar, love the placket.  And, I loved the buttons I found that are a great match - in fact, my 18 year old son even said he liked the buttons!

So I've done both views of this one - next I want to try to make it in a knit as a rugby shirt....how cute would that be??

Cold Weather in SoCal....

Monday, January 21, 2013

At the beginning of the past week, the temperatures plunged....well, plunged as far as they go in Southern California.  When I left for work at 5:30 in the morning, the temperature was 45 degrees.  People were freaking out....wearing scarves, gloves, etc.  The Easterner in me knows that this was hardly cold....

My daughter doesn't have a winter coat, because "winter" is so fleeting around here.  I decided to try a pattern from Figgy's that I had always liked, but never tried - the Nituna jacket.

The pattern gives two options - a single layer such as wool coating or fleece, or a lined version.  I opted for the lined version and decided to use a blue corduroy and some quilting cotton designed by Liesl Gibson from her Ladies Stitching Club line.  The minute I saw this fabric, I knew that I was going to use some and coordinate with the beautiful shade of blue in the fabric.

I started this jacket at the beginning of the week, working on a teeny bit every night after work.  First tracing the pattern, then cutting/marking, and finally by Friday was able to sew it together.

Of course, by that time, the temperature was about 75 degrees during the day.....

I really like the finished jacket.  I made it in a size 2/3 with the length of a 4/5.  Typically, my daughter, a tall skinny 3 year old, wears between a 4 and a 5 in ready to wear, and I typically sew a size 3 with 4 length in patterns.  The sizing on this is generous to say the least.....

This is the first time I'd used one of Figgy's patterns.  It went together very well.  If I were to make this again, I think I'd actually use the smallest size (18 month) and length somewhere between the 2/3 and 4/5 for the sleeves.  I believe that perhaps it's sized so generously to accommodate most people's winter clothing underneath like heavy sweaters, but we don't typically have need for those here.

Corduroy plus quilting cotton make a great weight for our purposes.  Paired with a turtleneck jersey, I'm sure that this jacket will be quite warm enough for my kid to play in the sandbox at school on our coldest "winter" day.

Backpack, backpack....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

So my daughter has been without a backpack all school year (pre-school).  She's told me a couple of times that the teacher told her she needed to bring a backpack.  And, yet, I procrastinated...

I had fabric in my shop that I fell in love with the minute I saw the sample at the Kokka distributor.  Sometimes, I fall in love with the Japanese novelty prints for no reason, but this time, I knew why I loved this print.  I knew it would make the absolutely perfect little girls backpack.

I took out my trusty go-to book - Little Things to Sew by Oliver + S's Liesl Gibson.  Really, my go-to for all my sewing between her book and her patterns.  But, for some reason, I didn't make my kid the backpack.  Maybe it was the zipper?  Maybe it was bag hardware?  I should have done this a long time ago.

I knew that I wanted the main fabric to be first and foremost in this project, so I chose a rather subdued beige cross-hatch fabric for the straps and lining.  Given the great instructions, the bag went together with absolutely no problem whatsoever.  The only change that I made was adding interfacing to the lining for a bit more structure.

The Kokka fabric I chose is the perfect weight for this project.  Sturdy enough to not be floppy, but not thick enough to cause any undue stitching woes.  I carefully placed the bears on the front to include complete bear-faces and a complete French phrase.   

Maybe someday I'll get to France....I'm such a sucker for anything French!

Here's the photo of my daughter wearing it....please forgive the early morning hair!

The backpack is the perfect size for a little kid.  I included an embroidered name label for the inside....not my best work, but perfectly suitable for a 3 year old!

The best compliment that I got was from my 23 year old daughter who says she wants one too!  

The Liebster Blog Award - or, what the heck is "The Liebster Blog Award"??

Saturday, January 12, 2013

So I got a note from the very talented sisters, Ashley and Emily - the brains behind Frances Suzanne.  Their blog is one of my favorites.  They are amazingly talented, creative, and extremely humble!  They discuss even their sewing fails, which I think a lot of bloggers seem to gloss over.  It makes me like them, and know that I'd really like them in real life!

They nominated me for the Liebster.  They gave a great explanation of the "award" on their blog but you can just Google it and read about it.

The Liebster Blog Award

Here's the rules (which I will most likely break....):

The Rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.

3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 new blogs you love and link them in your post.
5. Please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!

So, without further ado, here I go:

11 random things:

1.  I played college basketball even though I'm only 5'2" tall.  One of my prized possessions is my trophy that I earned for most improved player.  I'm #32.  In the front - cause I'm short!

2.  I've never once colored my hair.
3.   I make amazing meatballs.
4.  I own at least 10 Boston Celtics shirts and 5 Boston Celtics sweatshirts.  And, I wear them all the time.
5.  I was a serious tomboy.  Still am.
6.  I can't stay up late.  Never could.  Bedtime is 10:00 at the very latest.
7.  I'm a fabric hoarder.  Surprised?
8.   My older kids used to be "actors" when we lived in Canada.  They were in The Santa Clause with Tim Allen.  My son is in the green shirt and my daughter is the little one in the front.
9.   I played clarinet, saxophone, oboe, and baritone horn in high school.
10.  I work full time, run a small fabric business, have a 3 year old.  And, I'm seriously considering going back to school and changing careers!
11.  I have a hard time thinking of 11 random things!

So now, the next step is to answer the questions from Ashley and Emily:

11 questions for fellow Leibster award recipients:
1. What are your top five ‘must-read’ blogs?
2. Do you have a phobia? And if so – what is it?
3. What is your favorite fabric? This might be a certain designer’s look, or a particular style / texture you are drawn to....
4. What is your most tried and true pattern in your stash?
5. What is your dream job?
6. Share a tradition that you and your family enjoy.
7. Name one thing sewing-related that you haven’t tried…but want to learn how to do.
8. What is your favorite month of the year and why?
9. If you had the opportunity to do a guest post, what series would you want to participate in….or, on which site would you like to guest post?
10. Where do you get your sewing inspiration (be specific – for example: a particular pinterest board, blog, children’s retail, etc.)?
11. What has been your greatest “sewing find” to date?

1.  My top 5 blogs I read are:
          1.  True Up - this blog is an absolute MUST read if you have interest in fabric.  I get so much information from her.  
          2.  Cluck Cluck Sew - this goes to something I can't do, but want to - quilt!  It seems so daunting to make a quilt.  I keep reading quilt blogs thinking I'm going to take the plunge.  I have one tutorial picked out that I think I just might try.  We'll see...
          3.  LA Kids Market - this is a place that I go to keep up to date with trends in children's clothing, and to get inspiration for things I sew.  
          4.  Aneela Hoey's blog - again, more quilting envy.  Plus, I just love her fabric lines!
          5.  Oliver + S Blog - I'd say this one is self-explanatory, considering 99% of the stuff I sew is from their patterns.

2.  Phobias:  Bugs.  And losing my kids.  I have recurring dreams that I've lost or forgotten one of my kids someplace.  Not like I've ever done that....maybe it's just a mom thing.

3.  Favorite Fabric:    Corduroy.  Reminds me of the fall.  Even though I sadly live in a place where there is no fall....I love to sew with it, it's durable, soft, wears well.

4.  Tried and True Pattern:   It's two really - first off, the Ice Cream dress by Oliver + S.
I've made several Ice Cream dresses and tops.  It's easy, comfortable to wear, and it lets you showcase the fabric you choose beautifully.  Then, the drawstring bag pattern in the book "Little Things to Sew".  It's made a great gift bag for all the parties my daughter has been going to with her pre-school friends.  And, it's a great way to use up cute fabric scraps. 

5.  My Dream Job: I actually have my dream job pretty much.  I'm an investigator, and it allows me to be nosy, snoop in other people's business....and, actually help people.  It's challenging and fun.  My next dream job would be to own a fabric shop, and I'm working on that one too.....slowly, but surely!

6.  Tradition: We don't have a ton of traditions necessarily, but every year, I make the kids fleece pajamas for Christmas.....now, I had to make some for girlfriends/boyfriends, so this year I had to make 6 pairs....I may be re-thinking this one....

7.  Sewing Thing I Haven't Tried But Want ToQuilt!!!  Really, I'm going to do it.

8.  Favorite Month:  September.  I used to love back to school shopping, corduroy pants, leaves falling.  Unfortunately, now I live in California, and we don't have fall.  I did see a few leaves on the ground the other day....

9.  Guest Post?:  I already did one guest post for "Skirting the Issue" regarding foster care.  It's an issue my family feels strongly about as we adopted our youngest from the Los Angeles County Foster Care system.  So, really, I'd like to blog more about that issue.

10.  Sewing Inspiration:  Two retail shops that I get inspiration from are The Wooden Soldier and  Hanna Anderssen.  These are two pretty polar opposite shops, but  I like the quality of their workmanship in their garments.

11.  Greatest "Sewing Find":  This one was easy.  When I was a girl, I had an aunt who sewed all my clothes.  Some day, I'd really like  to do a blog post about her, but anyways, I found a pattern that I KNOW she used to make a dress for me.  This is me, about 10 years old:
I picked this fabric - it was purple velveteen.  Here's the pattern that I found on Etsy:

It's a size 8, and you bet that Julia will be wearing this in purple velvet whether she likes it or not!

Here's the new and/or small blogs that I read that haven't already been Liebster-ized

1.  Froo & Boo 
2.   Elephant in the Study:
3.  Sweet Pea and Pumkins 

I don't really have 11 to note because Emily and Ashley took the ones I already read!!

Thanks for the Liebster.....you like me, you really like me!