Friday, May 26, 2017

Upcycled Pixie Shorts

One of the top things on my list to sew for the cub once the warm weather hit were shorts. I want shorts for her that aren't super skimpy or tight, but which are still cute. Twig and Tale just re-released their Pixie Shorts & Pants pattern, and I was lucky to have the chance to sew up a version for the release. I love the flat front on these shorts and the little cuffs on the legs! I tried to show her the little pockets but she hasn't really figured out pant pockets yet.

One of the things I really love about Twig + Tale is the encouragement to recycle and upcycle fabric. There are suggestions right in the pattern of different ways to do that, and I love giving something new life (and being kinder to our environment)!  This pattern also has access to some great tutorial videos in case you're a visual learner like me. :)

I used what was previously a man's shirt to make these shorts. The fabric is a cotton/poly blend and is a thicker chambray, so it's a nice weight for shorts.

I made size 18-24 month shorts, no adjustments to the pattern, and added a bow to the front.

This pattern has so many options, and there is also an expansion pack with additional romper, suspenders, and bow add ons. I can definitely see making some corduroy or wool versions in the fall to wear with tights. The bundled pack (with the expansion) can be found here and is 10% off until midnight Monday PST.

We stopped to take some pictures of her in the shorts after dropping Jeff off at work the other day, and she was really unhappy about taking pictures because she knew I had a green smoothie in the car and she really wanted it. It took a bit of work to get her to forget about it and enjoy running around, which is a change from the usual (wanting to run around and not get in the car)! She's crazy about green smoothies right now, which I think primarily is because I let her push the button to blend it all together. She also has a real thing for raw spinach, which she wants to eat with a fork. Just raw spinach. That sounds like a total humble brag, but we just find it really funny and I know that it isn't any huge parenting win on our part and she will probably turn against all green stuff any day. But for now we're eating spinach with forks.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cherry Blossoms

My friend Veronica came to visit the weekend that peak bloom was originally predicted, and we went downtown just to see what it was like. The blossoms were brown and shriveled up, and it looked more like burnt popcorn popping on the tree, which was sad. So although the blossoms were a bit lackluster this year we still were glad to see so many of them survived and bloomed out a week later!

Last year we had a little picnic over at the Arboretum after visiting the blossoms and this year we visited the same tree again. There was another family having a picnic there as well, and they told us they have picnicked there during the blossoms every year for the past ten years! (We must have just missed them last year.) We may adopt their tradition! They shared Japanese tea with us and the cub played ball with their kids. It was a lovely day.

A Winter Mara Blouse

I feel so boring when I'm writing a post about something I sewed. So here's some human interest...the other day Jeff read the cub "If you Give a Mouse a Brownie" and said to me afterward, "You know, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is a lot more believable." 😂

I can already see that the Mara blouse pattern is going to be well used around here. I made the panda one for the cub late last summer, and then in the fall I made her one with long sleeves. I didn't take the time to take pictures of her in it until a few weeks ago, but it has been worn a lot.

The one tricky thing about doing long sleeves was that the pattern didn't give measurements for how long the elastic should be that is put into the wrist. I made the wrists a bit snug on her, will have to remember to make them bigger than I think I need next time.

The fabric was from an old shirt, I had the buttons left over from another project and thought they looked so cute. I made the bias tape and piping from the same fabric.

I love how this has a totally different look from the last time I made this pattern. I already have a new Spring/Summer one planned out, too. I love the shape of the shirt and how the tucks in the front give some extra space for her little toddler tummy!


Saturday, February 25, 2017

LLK Dakota Dress with a fur yoke

I've fallen behind on blogging, so I'll hurry and put up some of my winter sewing projects before we jump into Spring sewing (the weather is so warm that I'm feeling tons of pressure to get things made!)

I started the year off making the Dakota dress by Little Lizard King. This was my first time working with fur so I was nervous, but it was super easy. I also had to be brave and put a zipper in, which also wasn't nearly as scary as I make it out to be in my mind. I had to shorten the zipper which was an adventure! It turned out okay, although the next time I need to shorten a metal zipper I think I will do a few things a little differently. I made the main dress portion in navy flannel. Nice and soft, though I wish it had been a little thicker (this was shirting).

I like this design a lot. We layered a long white sleeve onesie under it, because of course it was too cold out to be without one.

Overall I think this is such a cute and unique design for a winter dress, and it came together really quickly, too. It's already warming up so quickly here that it feels weird to put her in fur, but we did get quite a few wears in before the temperature started creeping up! 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Louisa Coat - Compagnie M.

I feel so lucky to have been chosen to take part in the blog tour for Compagnie M.'s new pattern, the Louisa Coat. I think Marte's designs are the perfect balance of classic and modern, and they also inspire me to try new things (I made my own piping for this one!) As soon as I saw her first sneak peek photo of the Louisa Coat I was hooked, and every new detail she revealed (the back! the tulip collar!) just made me crazier for it.

 I picked up this piece of grey wool (maybe a wool blend?) at the thrift store a while ago for $2.99. It was a little over a yard and perfect for this project. I was worried that perhaps grey was a bit too boring for a toddler coat, and then happened to see it next to a piece of Rifle Les Fleurs fabric in my box and suddenly I knew they belonged together.I didn't have much of the Les Fleurs fabric but I was just able to squeeze out the piping I needed. I lined the inside with a more subtle print - tiny white polka dots on grey. The pattern includes instructions for a little flower to put on the coat, but I swapped ours out for a sailor bow pin out of the same fabric as the piping. Ivory buttons and cuffs gave it the perfect finishing touches.

The cub's chest measurement was closer to the 12 month size on the chart, but I sized up to 18 months so that she can grow into it (instead of out of it!) and so it is a little big on her all over and I'm hoping she can wear it for a long time. I did shorten the sleeves by two inches. It is quite long on her right now, but at the rate she is shooting up I'm thinking come January/February she will fill it out much better.

 This was the most complex thing I've ever sewn and I still can't really believe I made it - it's so impressive! I was a little intimidated to start, but read through the whole pattern and realized I could definitely do it. The pattern is written very nicely and the finished product looks so professional - all the seams are enclosed inside and it even has a little hang loop which I love.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Plaid Upcycled Janie Lou Dress

A month ago or so I found a nice men's plaid shirt at Kohls on clearance for about $4, and picked it up thinking it could be a fall dress for the cub. It is such a nice double brushed cotton and so soft. It was a size 2XL, so it yielded a lot of fabric.

 A boutique in the area carries a line of darling children's clothing from Spain (Mayoral is the brand) and they always have the sweetest little plaid dresses for fall which were my inspiration for this. I used the Little Lizard King Janie Lou pattern which has a nice bodice panel in the center (I love their chevron tuck option and will do that the next time I make the pattern) and the sweetest little cuffs on the sleeves. The pattern came together nicely, I did change it slightly when attaching the skirt and sandwiched the seam between the bodice and lining, purely because I prefer having less of my seams exposed inside.

 I'm proud of my plaid matching, especially across the back. I reused the buttons already on the shirt, and even put the tiny ones that were up by the neck on the original shirt onto the cuffs. (I made the cuffs from some navy blue corduroy I had leftover from another project.)

 I did have to slightly shorten the skirt because of fabric constraints, and am considering going back and adding a band around the bottom to give her another inch or two. I think it's fine when she's wearing her tights, but she keeps shooting up in height and the extra length would be helpful.


 She's worn this several times already! Here are a few action shots from our trip to the farm to pick out a pumpkin -

I love this picture Jeff snapped of the two of us chatting over our apple cider donuts. She has become such a talker lately and her blabbering cracks me up.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


We had such a fantastic time visiting my brother and his family in Beijing last month! This will be a super photo-heavy post, because despite all my attempts to narrow the pictures down to just a few there are so many I want to share. I suppose everyone should just be grateful that I'm not making you sit down in my living room and watch a long parade of you can scroll as quickly as you'd like!

We packed so much into our time there and it passed in a bit of a blur. We were lucky to have amazing weather, and many days we could even see blue skies. We generally took the subway everywhere, though we did pack into the car a few times and braved the insane traffic.

Since moving out to the suburbs we have used the baby carrier with Annika a lot less, and she isn't as used to it anymore. We took her out for a quick test walk around the neighborhood, and she seemed to really enjoy it:

To try to appease her we decided to take the stroller to the Summer Palace instead. This meant we ended up doing a LOT of this -

Thank goodness for our super lightweight stroller! I also carried Annika in my arms up all the steps to see the Fragrant Buddha. She wanted me to sing the entire way (The Wheels on the Bus, and she won't accept any repeats on verses) so that was an additional challenge to the climb. I thought about all the days I spend doing Stroller Strides and singing to her while working out - this is what I'd been training for!

The Summer Palace was massive, it was truly amazing. Everything was huge, actually. Forbidden City, The Great Wall, etc. Even the sheer amount of people in China was staggering to me.

A lot of stairs. This is apparently how our family likes to climb them.
Annika slept through many of the sights. Oh well.

 Daniel and Holly helped us eat our way through Beijing! We tried hot pot, Chinese noodle, dumplings, Peking duck, Taiwanese, Korean BBQ, and of course some good ol' street vendor food. Did I mention Holly makes fresh bread nearly every morning? We trie a lot of new foods, and the cub learned the word "rice." They seemed to know the best restaurants to eat at for everything, and I feel like we got the full gamut from nice and fancy to the hidden (and delicious) dives. We also went to a cat cafe, where cats wandered through the restaurant while we ate. Our food all had a nice cat motif, as well!

Because everyone asks, yes, the cub did get a fair amount of attention while we there. Less than I expected while wandering around Beijing, but anytime we went to a very touristy location there were always several people wanting to say hi to her and take a picture. Her reaction depended on the day. Most of the time she just ignored them, but there were a few days where she was extremely friendly!

I love this picture. These ladies were so sweet to her, and it was fun to see people playing Tai Chi Ball, especially because we had tried to learn it at the Folk Life Festival a few years ago!

I referenced Around the World in 80 Diaper's guides to seeing Beijing with children quite a bit when planning our trip. I love her rules for traveling with children, and think we'll adopt a lot of them. We definitely found time to play at playgrounds on our trip - and even a little dip in the neighborhood pool. It was fun to do touristy things, but also fun to see how our cousins live and what they normally do.

When we went out to see The Great Wall we went to Gubeikou, which is (supposedly) less touristy and is a less restored section of the wall. We went the night of Moon Festival, which was really neat and the little watertown was buzzing! We stayed at a neat farmhouse just out of the city that Holly found for us. They were so nice and fed us wonderful food that had been produced right there on the farm, including delicious eggplant! It was really fun to get out of the city and see a little more of China.
A few more random pictures:
Jeff wanted to see if he was as flexible as the senior citizens stretching at the Temple of Heaven. He wasn't. But we think Beijing would be a terrific place to retire, because the Temple of Heaven seems to be the ultimate senior center. Dancing, calligraphy, knitting, games, tai chi ball - so many fun things going on on the grounds. He has some time to work on it until we get old and head back there.
I think the cub's favorite part of China were all the stairs in Daniel's house. She loved going up and down over and over. And over.
We took the cub on a spinning ride - similar to the teacups at Disneyland - and she enjoyed it. Jeff and I felt sick the rest of the day, though.

SaveSave And to finish it off, a cousins shot: and the whole group!