Monday, October 13, 2014

The Warmest Socks

It's cozy sock weather!

These pictures helped me notice a dropped stitch before it got any worse. Phew!
These are made with a chunky yarn and this pattern. They're a pretty quick knit but I'm not a pro so it took me way longer than the evening the pattern suggests! This was a scrap buster for me, as you can tell by the ever decreasing pink on one foot and off-white toe. I made sure the cuffs were the same though, so it won't look funny in shoes.


My only worry is that they'll be too warm. If so I'll just wear them over another pair inside my boots this winter. Time to go test and see!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pretty Bow Dress for a Wedding

So I finally got the chance to make my favorite dress from Feminine Wardrobe, a cute dress book I bought in the spring. If you follow the link in the book title you'll see that this is the dress on the cover, and the reason I bought the book! 


My cousin had a wedding coming up and thanks to babies I had exactly one dress nice enough to wear. I have managed to get away with this because all of the weddings I have been to since then have coincidentally been for different family and friend groups, so no one except my husband has seen it repeat. This side of the family was the only group not to have seen the dress yet, so I technically could have gotten away with it but the whole traveling dress thing was just getting pathetic. Then I wandered into Fabricland for some thread, (a very dangerous pastime) and they just happened to be having their seasonal clear out... Well wonderfully soft rose coloured satin for 3$ a meter is clearly a sign that it's time to do some sewing for Mama!  


I found the instructions pretty clear, though some were on a different page because similar patterns are grouped. The only weird thing about the pattern is that the grain line on the sleeves is one way on the pattern and the other in the instructions. (Unless I traced something wrong but I didn't investigate this further since I didn't have enough fabric to do it the other way!)


This is actually the first time I have ever made a real muslin. I make wearable muslin's all of the time but I sew with such inexpensive fabrics that it doesn't usually matter. This time I knew that if I screwed it up I didn't have backup fabric, and I was less sure than usual about how the dress would end up fitting. I'm glad I did because I sewed the pleats in backwards! That would have sucked to try and pick out of the satin.


The book does their designs in three's, three variations on a basic pattern. The other two don't have the bow and this shot gives an idea of how that would look. I have definite plans to make the other variations some day! My only question is what do I do with the stupid muslin now that I'm done with it?


So actually sewing the dress went fairly smoothly. I unfortunately had to marathon it in one looong sewing session the night before we left. The only thing I changed was to hem the bottom by machine instead of blind stitching it by hand like the instructions suggest. It was so worth it though, I'm so proud of this dress! I love the bow, I love the colour, and I love that the hemline's not a foot shorter than I'm comfortable with like everything in the stores! 


I will admit that despite my list of loves there were a few cons. Having bigger boobs than the model on the book cover meant that the bow sat differently on my dress. On her it's almost like a short bodice, on me more like a collar detail. This is common with larger sizes though, to just widen the smallest size without adjusting length or rise.  I also need a slip next time, the material was a bit static-y, but that's my material choice not the pattern. 

My final pitfall was self inflicted. I traced my pattern markings in that blue wipe off marker. In the past it has always just rubbed off with a damp cloth. The above pictures were taken after doing that but when I unpacked my suitcase, they were back. I wiped again. They disappeared when wet and came back all smudgy when dry. Uh-oh. Google assured me they would wash out in the machine but that didn't help me that afternoon. Hair camouflage to the rescue! 


This picture's really here for my Mom. I had her take a few pictures of the dress outside of the church. It bothered her that I asked for one without my head, so here's a close-up just for her. Sorry Mom, I don't regret the head-less picture though. I'm making stupid faces in the other two full length photo's :P

I'm do glad I took the time to sew something nice for me though. I shy away from that because it just takes so much longer and sewing time with little's around is pretty limited. Also the fabric issue. My stash is full of small odds and ends and things to refashion with just enough material for a kid-sized something. I will remedy this though! I have bought a couple of pieces of grownup sized fabric with big the plan of updating my wardrobe this fall. It needs it desperately, but this is also Christmas present season so we'll see what actually happens!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Salt Sock: Cat Version

Because who says practical can't be cute? 


These are super simple to make and are meant to help ear infections. I found a tutorial here. I'm writing this post in praise of the salt sock, not to show off my fabulous sewing job by the way ;) It is my new friend. It is coming to work with me today, though I'm a little nervous it will come home bacon scented since Monday is bacon day. (No, bacon day in NOT as great as it sounds. I don't eat bacon anymore.) Anyways, salt socks are cheap, easy and awesome. Do not forget this next time you or your littles have an ear infection. You won't regret making one!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mama Confession

Sometimes I'm not very good at this whole Mama thing. I know everyone has those days, it's normal and we're human, but it's hard when it's these little people of ours who pay for it. I make more good decisions than bad ones, but sometimes it feels like other people are better at this than us. So, here's my little confession.

Sophie has had a hard time adjusting to my going back to work, and I've been sick and had less time for her this past week. Not surprisingly, we had a bedtime recently that involved an epic meltdown at bath time and several trips out of bed once we got her in it. So when she appeared at her door once too often muttering what I thought was her wanting to sing me a song, my patients was done. All I could think about was the shower I desperately needed and repeated "Go to bed! Go to bed! Go to bed!" over her protests and shut myself in the bathroom until I was clean and human again. Not before I had heard her whimper "Seashell" from her bed though. But I went anyways.

What's the big deal you're thinking? She was supposed to be in bed. Mama's are allowed to be cranky by the end of the day, especially sick ones. The "Go to bed!" 's  could have been uttered without the exclamation marks but weren't unreasonable.

That's because you don't know about Seashell.
Seashell is her baby song, the lullaby that is hers alone and that I've sung to her since before she can remember. Every once in awhile when she's upset or lonely she will ask for it, and I will sit on her bed and rock her while I sing it.

Except I didn't.
My tired, sore, dirty, frustrated, self-pitying and thoroughly done self left her in the dark instead of taking two minutes to help her calm down.
Just the sort of decision that leaves you feeling like pond scum once you've relaxed (and showered).

She's probably already forgotten it. Especially since she woke up later that same evening for some water. I brought it to her, rocked her in my arms and sang, grateful for the chance to try again.

Seashell, seashell,
Sing a song for me.
Tell me about the ocean,
Tell me about the sea...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Satsuki and Mei for Sew Geeky's Studio Ghibli Theme

So I'm sure no one is surprised that Sophie wanted to be the characters from her favorite movie :)
We're practically the Totoro fan club around here!


Once she woke up and saw Satsuki's skirt it was all she could talk about. I had waited to try it on her before sewing the backs of the straps to the waistband just to be safe, and I ended up having to safety pin them for the pictures because I didn't get it back until she went to bed! She's still young enough that just because she says she wants something doesn't mean she'll still care by the time it gets made so this was a win.

I might go back and top-stitch the straps and waistband, they're kind of bothering me.
This is my winter-ized version of Satsuki and Mei's outfits. I used corduroy for the orange skirt and sweatshirt material for Mei's dress. I lengthened the sleeves on the blouse, which was a downsized sweater. It still has the puff to the sleeves at the top. I had originally planned to fold down the scallops at the neckline to mimic the collars on the girl's blouses but I was afraid that too much stitching would keep the neckline from stretching well and it just didn't seem worth it.


They both wear bloomers and little collared shirts so I kept those pieces the same for both outfits. (Sorry Satsuki, my kid may have your haircut but there's no way she could pull off that yellow shirt and look healthy!) The bloomers are just scraps of a white t-shirt. Nothing fancy, but super cute peeking out from under the skirt while she played. She is seriously going to have a drawer full of these by next spring, I'm in love with them!


I didn't have any patterns with shapes that were quite right so everything is self drafted. I am becoming an expert at the "trace clothes that fit" method.


This is her idea of posing nicely for me. The only almost usable picture of the entire outfit and her face.  I am considering making a Sophie-sized mannikin to take pictures with. (I'm  kidding...mostly.)


So here's my absolute favorite part. The other outfit she asked for, Mei's dress. It would also be worn over the sweater and bloomers. Please note that she is not wearing it :P


I couldn't resist adding the little soot sprites, they make me so happy! They're just little t-shirt scraps, sewn on with big stitches to make them look fuzzy.


I even fulfilled a request of hers while making this dress; last minute pockets. Don't worry though, someone else did want to wear it. Deacon wanted in on the dress-up fun. We had mercy on Daddy though and didn't use him as a model ;)

P.s. If you want to see my concept sketches for these and other Studio Ghibli inspired outfits check out yesterday's post.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Studio Ghibli Concept Sketches

So, I have a day and a half to sneak in my post for this month's Sew Geeky theme, and I'm posting pictures of things I haven't made yet instead. I couldn't help it though. Studio Ghibli films are kind of my happy place and I had so many ideas going around my brain that I had to organize it somehow.

I was watching Spirited Away when I started so it has the most thorough  sketches. For each one I sketched the original outfit (or character in Haku's case) and then my variations, usually based on patterns I knew I had on hand. I outlined and coloured them so that Sophie could  visualize what she was choosing better, but they're cute so I'm sharing.


Haku is by far Sophie's favorite sketch. Not any of the clothing designs (Why do I need new clothes Mommy?),  but because there's a picture of a dragon in the middle. She has insisted that it go on her wall when I'm done with it. I did Zubaba's dress as well, not because I particularly like the character but because her dress is interesting.


The other movies got squashed a fair bit more. This next one has two and the others three. I thought she might want to be Kiki and that her black dress would make a cute peplum top but Sophie wasn't impressed. I'm pretty fond of the Michael dress though (Howl's Moving Castle), it looks kind of steampunk to me.


When I asked her which ones she wanted to be she just picked the characters from the movies she likes best. She wanted to be Satsuki and Mei from Totoro, and Ponyo.  Three complete outfits in two days was not happening, so thankfully I didn't have anything that would work for a Ponyo dress. Looks like Totoro wins in our house again!


Yes I did do another page but it was movies I liked and she'd never seen (Castle in the Sky, Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke). Also it was the last page I did and I was running out of steam, so it really wasn't very creative.

Hopefully you'll get a bonus post this week, with the actual outfits!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Guess What I Made? (Birthday Present for Mom)


What is that?


Or this crazy shape?


It's me playing with my birthday present to my Mom, camera accessories! 


It was pretty funny making her guess what each thing was. This is a camera strap cover with a lens cap pocket. The little shape makers probably have a more technical name than that, but they're pretty simple and self explanatory to make. I'd probably use black for them in the future though, and maybe use a punch or another one of my Mom's scrap booking tools for clearer edges.  


This is a camera buddy, you put it around your lens to make the kids look in the right place. It's from a free online pattern that I found here. Definitely go check it out despite my terrible picture. I'll be making myself one for sure!

P.S. Sorry for the dark couch pictures. I finished these the night before I planned to give them to her (story of my life!) so the options were all dark since I rely heavily  on sunlight for any half decent pictures I manage. I am researching a solution though. Have no fear, you are not forever doomed to my mediocre photography skills :P