Sunday, April 19, 2015


So you know those rompers you see everywhere? They are so easy to make without a special pattern. And so much cheaper to make with an old XL men's t-shirt. All you need is a trusted shorts pattern. You could marry a top or dress pattern you like with the shorts like I've seen done here and here. In this case all I did was make three tubes. Two small ones for the straps and one big one for the body of the top. I also added a strip of fabric from another t-shirt for the ruffle at the top.

ikat romper

As I was shopping on on the Children's Place website and came across this romper that is pretty close to what I came up with. Theirs cost $19.95; mine cost $3.00.  
For the shorts I used the pattern Simplicity 5382 Girls sleepwear. I really like this pattern for PJ's and everyday play clothes. There is one pattern piece and only two cuts. So easy!  I took advantage of the existing hem from the bottom if the men's shirt. I position the single pattern piece centered over the shirts side seam so the seam is on the outside leg of the shorts. 
 I love how easy and breezy rompers are, however I'm a little concerned about potty time. This may not be a first choice if you're potty training like me. Oh well, it's still cute! I debated doing a tutorial for this but for the sake of time I didn't. If you would like me to do one leave me a comment.

Thanks for stopping by the nest!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chevron Halter Top

Here is another item completed over the past month. I fell in love with this Chevron Yoke Halter Top when I found it a couple years ago on Pinterest. I've had this fabric just for this top almost as long, so don't ask where it came from. I really need to do a better job cataloging fabric information.  This is a free tutorial that is offered by Bridget at Everyday Chaos.
The top tutorial can be found here, however when I went to download the chevron yoke template it no longer works and sadly it doesn't look like this blog is active any longer. Fortunately, there were enough information in the tutorial and comments concerning the dimensions of the chevron yoke that I was able to recreate it.
The recommendation was 4"x4" cut on a fold which is what was used here. Hannah is a 4T across the shoulders and I think the yoke could have been a bit wider. Maybe closer to 4.25" wide would be better. If you would like to use the pattern I came up with it can be found here.
This is a good one for KCW since it was a really simple top to make. I can see making this a wardrobe staple for years to come.  I've exported the tutorial into a PDF so if by chance the blog disappears too I can forward a copy to anyone who would need it.
We both like this top so much that I already have another one in the works (the next one will be the 4.25"). I'm actually thinking that I might make one that is dress length too.

Thanks for stopping by the nest!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Up-cycled Popover Sundress

For a warm up to KCW next week I thought I'd share a few of items I have completed over the past month for Hannah's warm weather wardrobe. This is another variation that I did with Oliver+S Popover Sundress using an up-cycled mens shirt again. I just didn't love the version that I made here. It was just a bit boxy for me. I really wanted this pattern to work so I made minor alterations and am much happier. 
I really didn't do much. I widened the overall dress pattern (not the top yoke) about 4" and ran a gathering stitches on either side of the button placket and all the way across the back. Gathered to fit the yoke and thats it. 
There is something very sweet about ties on the shoulders. It took me forever to get them perfectly even though (dressing a fidgety child is no fun) so I am going to stitch these in place and with the extra width its easy to pull over her head. Over all I like this one much better and Hannah likes how it's more flowy. 

Thanks for stopping by the nest!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

KCW & Sewing Books, Magazines and Patterns

Over the past couple years I have accumulated quite the collection of sewing books, magazines and paper patterns. I really enjoyed pouring over each one of them as they have entered the house as well as when I am looking for inspiration. Sadly, I have not really used most of them. Despite all of the money I have spent on these I seem to gravitate to the free patterns and tutorials that other blogger's have so generously shared. Maybe its the personal feel of a tutorial, like your being taught by a friend. Or the fact that they are real people who just want to keep it simple.

Regardless, motivation with a dash a guilt has me feeling like I need to challenge myself to 1. make at least one of these patterns a month and 2. do it with only the supplies I already have on hand and 3. for heavens sake make something for my boys! I say this to you with hopes of having some accountability.

For now I am going to focus on the books and magazines since they are the most neglected. They also offer more possibilities for my boys. 
I have made one item out of Growing Up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. The Basic Pocket Pants for Samuel a couple years ago which can be found here. There are several non clothing patterns that I would love to do for my kids. The art satchel and the dress-up bucket are high on that list. I like the knit PJ's (Crossover Tee & Sleeping Johns) for all my kiddos which I believe will be the next thing I make from this book.

I have never made anything out of my copy of The Pattern Book for Boys by Shelly Figueroa. This book receive really mixed reviews on amazon. I bought it regardless thinking that a good number of the negative reviews could be from individuals with poor sewing skills or just couldn't adapt to the method of instruction. I'm not saying I could do better but figured "What the hay, give it a try," it's not like there are a ton of sewing patterns out there for boys to choose from. Looking over the pictures there are definitely things that are not our style but there are a bunch that I love, like the two-in-one jacket and the little heartbreaker pants. 

My most recent acquisition is Stitch, Wear, Play by Mariko Nakamura which I just stumbled on amazon a couple weeks ago while looking for another pattern book for boy (which are in short supply I might add). There were no ratings and reviews so I searched for other bloggers who have used this book and I couldn't find any. I really like the snippets of images I could find and the size range so I took a leap and bought it. At first glance I really like this book. It has a nice balance of boy's and girls clothes. The styles seem timeless but modern. It's broken down by season which I especially like. I am feeling a bit challenged by the fabric suggestions (or lack of multiple fabric type suggestions), a good number only list linen which it not my preferred fabric for everyday kids clothes. The first thing I would like to make out of here is the girls Suntop and Shorts & the Boy's Shorts. 

I have seen a lot of projects completed from the Happy Homemade (2) Sew Chic Kids by Ruriko Yamada and always love the results. The fact that it is a Japanese sewing book that has been translated in to English makes it a good place to introduce myself to the Japanese sewing world. So many people have raved about this book that I can't believe I haven't touched this yet. The knee length shorts are top on my list for Samuel. 

I really wanted the Japanese Lesson Book by Vogue Sya and now all it does is mock me. I am so intimidated by it. It has a ton of awesome basic patterns. When I look at working on one of these patterns I convinced myself that I need to invest to much time trying to translate the instruction and I am instantly defeated. What I need do is exactly what I do with English written patterns and let my previous experience with similar items guide me through the assembly. (I'm too impatient to read instructions) This is probably a dangerous approach but at least the book will finally be used. There is a pair of shorts that would work great for the boys that doesn't seem too challenging and is probably be a good place to start.
While at a local half price book shop a couple years ago I came across a couple used but never touched sewing books for really cheap so I couldn't resist purchasing them. Who knows if I will ever use them but they are entertaining and educational if nothing else.
The first is Sew Cute Couture by Gail Doane which looks more dated than it really is. It was published in 2009. This book is really about heirloom sewing and contains mostly smocking and embroidery embellishments along with dress and jacket patterns. The sizes range from 6 months - 12 years depending on the pattern. According to what I found on the internet Gail is well know heirloom sewer and a fantastic instructor. This book receive great reviews on Amazon. I don't know if I will ever do any major embroidery embellishment but I would like to try my hand at smocking someday so this could be useful. There are some really cute jackets and a wrap skirt I can see making for Hannah in a few years. For now maybe I can plan on making Hannah a jacket for over her Christmas dress this year, minus the embellishments.
The second is Designer Smocking for Tots to Teens by Helen Davies published in 2007. It too looks dated and maybe it is a little but the closer I look at it has the potential with slight alterations to the pattern can be modernized. This book takes classic smocking and applies it to every day clothes which I find very interesting. The pattern sizes range from 12 month - 14 years depending on the pattern. This book also received great reviews on Amazon. Most of the projects include complete clothing patterns. Some are smocking add-ons to ready-made-clothing. There is a complete project where the smocking is only on the pocket which might be a good place for me to start. These cute smocked pockets would look great on a little dress or Hannah.

One of the first sewing books I purchased is called Making Childrens Clothes by Emma Hardy published in 2009. I did it on a whim right after having my first baby when I had my first thoughts of sewing for kids. I really wish I had done my research on this book prior. This received mixed reviews on Amazon and the ones that panned this book are very intelligent. I have picked this book up from time-to-time thinking that I will make something (prepared that I will probably need to alter patterns) and see for myself but never follow through for some reason or another. This is book is very girl heavy and and has only one item directed at boys that interests me, the boy's shorts. I just need to bit the bullet and see for myself if this book has any value. 
I purchased Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay looking for valuable  information on selling homemade goods which it does. It also has a ton of great sewing projects. None of them are clothes for kids but a few are non clothing kids items like a bib & burp cloth and a really cute lunch bag. I have read this book cover to cover and highly recommend it for any sewer not just those who sell or want to sell. The projects alone make this a great book. I only feel comfortable saying this without sewing anything out of it since the author makes and sells these items herself and could probably sew these in her sleep. They are tried and true. Samuel starts full time school next school year and needs that lunch bag and this one would be perfect for him.

Another Non clothing book I obtained on the cheap is A Quilting Life by Sherri McConnell. This book got great reviews on Amazon and has a variety of quilting projects that a beginner through intermediate can do. I have been saying for a while now that I need to make Hannah a quilt for her bed and just not gotten to it. I think the scale of that project has me overwhelmed. This book has pillow patterns that I think I should start with first. I'll just plan on making it to match the quilt that will be made someday.

Sew Charming by Cath Derksema and Kristen Junor is mainly about hand printing fabric and has several sewing projects. A couple of them are clothing items but most are general home projects. I bought this book simply for inspirations it has fantastic style and vibrant colors. I may never sew anything from this book but it has me interested in attempting fabric printing some day. 
Last but definitely not least my Ottobre magazines. I ordered a subscription in 2013 and when I hadn't made anything from the ones that I had I didn't renew.  It was a tough decision. I loved seeing that package show up from across the seas but I knew it was a bad reason to spend that much money and never actually use them. These are my favorite things to look at for inspiration. There is always a fantastic balance between boys and girls clothing and the sizing ranges from newborn to preteen depending on the pattern. I don't know exactly why I have never used them other then the rumors I have heard about how challenging the patterns can be. I think I just need to start with something basic like leggings or PJ pants to get my feet wet. 

Kids Clothes Week is April 20th - 26th so I will need to put my sewing list together this week. I hope that these books will be put to good use next week (finally : )
As always, I am really looking forward to kids clothes week. I'm not feeling overly inspired by the "Wild Things" theme. I'll have to search around for some inspiration. May be one of my books has something.  

I love my little collection of tangible sewing media. Up to this point it has been a pretty superficial love though. I hope that when I really dive into them that they don't let me down and I can turn this little infatuation in to a long lasting relationship.

Do you have a favorite sewing book or magazine? Leave me a comment, I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks for stopping bu the nest!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sailboat Invitation

My baby Noah is turning one next month. It just doesn't seem possible. He has turned into quit the little man and his little personality is exploding. He even does stuff just to make us laugh. To celebrate this little life I am putting together a sailboat themed birthday party for him. This has given me another excuse to pull out the scrapbook supplies.

For invitations I always use a 8" x 6" no fold card. Over the years I have accumulated a ton of envelopes leftover from photo cards that fits this size perfectly.

I used basic solid card stock for all layers. The base is a natural paper grain, navy blue for the layer base, deep red for the boat, pale blue for the water, white for the sail and portholes and bright yellow for the boat strip.

For the invitation text I printed on standard white printer paper and over laid it on the white sail. This worked out but aesthetically I could have done better. I should have just printed on 8.5" x 11" white card stock and then cut out the sail. Oh well, live and learn. 

All but the water was cut using the free Cricut Font and Basic Shapes. The water is on the When I Was a Kid cartridge (on the frame tab, called comb).

I am sharing my craft room file which can be found below. The craft room cut file is setup for 10 invitations. The base that was cut on the natural paper grain was cut by hand and is 8"x6". Same with the invitation text, that was cut to fit the sail. Everything else is on the Cricut. I have no idea if this file works in the Cricut explorer design studio. If it does could someone leave me a comment to let me know. I tried looking it up but didn't find anything.

Cricut Craft room File Link
The base cuts two at a time so that will need to cut 5 times to get the 10 count.
The sail cuts 6 at a time so that needs to be cut twice and you will have a couple left over.

I take the term "scrap"book pretty seriously. I have a hard time parting with paper and fabric that is leftover from a project especially when I know I can do something else pretty cool with them. I am always trying to maximize what I have. I have even gotten pretty good at it. For this project I challenged myself to come up with creative ways to eliminate as much waste as possible. The way I designed the craft room cuts the left overs will look like what I have pictured below.
DON'T THROW THESE AWAY! and do your best to be careful when you remove them from your mat. I have plans for these scraps and will show you have I have used them in a future post. As you can see with the natural paper I already assembled the 1/2" wide remnants a lattice piece that I thought might be cute on an apple picking scrapbook page.

A lot of times I find that I like the negative more than what I was actually cutting out. Its fun to challenge myself to use them. I hope I can inspire you to do the same.

Thanks for stopping by the nest!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Lenten Sewing - Easter Dress

 I have been wanting to make this dress for so long. When it came time to decide on Hannah's Easter dress for this year I knew this dress and with this fabric was exactly what I wanted, The decision process is never that easy for me. The dress pattern is the First Day Dress by Dana Willard of Made and the fabric is a quilters cotton Colorbok for JoAnn Fabrics. My husband says the flowers remind him of raspberries. They kinda do, don't they? This dress is perfect for fabrics with big patterns since so little is lost with gathers and lots of pattern pieces.
The pattern comes with two dress styles an a-line and a swing dress (the version I made). Both have a shirt variation and a front placket option for the swing dress or top. The little cap sleeve is optional as well. The sizes are 2 - 10.  All that makes it a steal in my opinion. 
My Hannah is between a 4t and 5t and based on the measurements for the dress I made the size 4. Its fits a little more snug than Dana shows and describes which seems right to me since Hannah is between a 4T & 5T.

I love the lines of this dress but then I'm a sucker for a circle skirt. I was a bit surprised how high the neckline is when Hannah first tried it on. I realized why I didn't expect it, most of the pictures of this dress on the PDF pattern show the dress and tops from the back. It's not that I don't like it I just didn't expect it. Stupid of me of course since the dress pattern uses the same pattern piece for the front as the back. 

The flower I added was really simple. I took a strip of fabric 4"x20" folded it in half wrong sides facing (do not iron) and ran one gathering stitch 1/2" from the raw edge. Tied off the tread on one end of the strip and pulled the bobbin thread on the other end to gather the fabric. I gathered until I could gathered no more. It will automatically want to coil for you. Just follow its lead and tuck and fluff until your happy. I just whip stitched the flower together on the wrong side to hold it in place. Then I mounted it to a brooch pin (like found here) so I could remove it from the dress when washing.
All in all I really like this dress and think this pattern is going to get a ton of use. I can't wait to make the swing top for this summer and I have some plans for that a-line dress too. Hannah loves the dress too and that's what really matters the most. 

I hope you all have a very happy and blessed Easter!