Why Sew for Toddlers?

Thursday, April 20, 2017
Sewing machine for kids (fabric)

I don't know about you, but I'm so time starved that I always do quick cost/benefit/time analysis before I start a new project. I'd ruled out sewing for kids, because when my daughter was a baby she was growing so fast it didn't seem worth the effort. But now that she's a toddler and the growth curve has evened off, I've officially changed my mind and I think I'm addicted. Sewing for kids is FUN.

Reasons to sew toddler clothes:

1) It doesn't require a lot of fabric. I've used up so many odd sized fabric scraps that I've hung on to for years that my fabric cubbies are finally half empty. It always feels great to use up the odds and ends instead of throwing them out.

2) It's good practice. So if the neckband's a little off on this shirt, who cares? It's going to be covered in ice cream dribbles anyway... and you can test things out with very minimal fabric consumption.

3) It's a good opportunity to up-cycle. I made a trashed pair of maternity jeans into leggings for my kid, and she loves them because she thinks they make her look like mommy. Old T-shirts and tops can be turned into comfy pj's and play clothes.

4) Kid's sewing patterns can be used for years. Many of them go from toddler to 12 year old sizing. Talk about getting your money's worth! I'd recommend finding a basic shirt/tunic, plus a leggings/pants pattern. It's easy to turn a tee/tunic into a dress with a bit of length, or a sweatshirt if you make a larger size. You can widen leggings to make pants, or shorten them to make shorts. 

Maybe one day when she's a little bigger my daughter will ask me to sew for her (and I'd love that!). In the meantime, I'm having fun creating for her and dressing her before she has an opinion on style other than brighter is better. Sewing pictures soon!

Tutorial: Sewing Faux Leather Bag Straps

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Faux leather purse

Today folks, we shall cover how to make bag straps from faux leather. Unlike real leather, the raw edges of the faux leather can sometimes give away that it's fake, because it's a different color or the backing material might be visible. One quick remedy for this is coloring the edges, but that's not always possible or desirable. Another option is to make sure no raw edges are visible. That's what we're going to do here. This is a tutorial to make faux leather straps with neat edges.

First let's start with a rectangular piece as long as you require, and twice as wide + 1" as your desired fished width. The width of the leather here is 3.5".

1) Fold the edge of the leather .5" towards the middle of the strap, then sew it down. I used the edge of the presser foot as a guide. This helps because you can't put pins in the leather. Going as slowly as possible plus a teflon foot will help prevent twisting and pulling in the finished strap.

Sewing bag straps from faux leather

2) Repeat with the other edge.

Sewing bag straps from faux leather

3) Fold it in half, match edges, then sew close to the original stitch line. One more step to go.

Sewing bag straps from faux leather

4) Flip the strap over and stitch one more line down the folded edge. This will help prevent the strap from twisting and add some visual symmetry

Sewing bag straps from faux leather

And you're done! Voila! A strap. Now it's up to you to figure out how to attach it to your bag or purse.

Sewing bag straps from faux leather

Happy sewing!

Sewn: The Grown Up Tote

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Faux leather purse

Perhaps all the bags I sew for myself are meant for adults, but this is the first one that actually makes me feel 'grown up'. Sophisticated. What have you. I usually save faux leather for accent bits, but not this time. I splurged on an all faux leather exterior, and used canvas on the inside.

Faux leather purse interior

I am a slightly paranoid person. I prefer zippers on top so that nothing falls out of my purse and no grabby hands can get inside, so it feels kind of risque to have a magnetic clasp instead. Maybe you just think I'm absurd, but it's true. Even if it's a strong magnet, it feels so... open. There aren't any zippers on the interior pockets to make up for security. There's one large pocket, and one divided pocket. As a compromise, if you look carefully towards the right hand side of the bag, you can see a hook that I can attach a zippered envelope purse (I made previously) to.

Tassel for purse

And there's a tassel, because at some point in time tassels were cool. It makes it look less plain for sure. Maybe I'll make some colorful pom poms to attach if I'm in a different mood. It's kind of nice having a neutral bag to play around with.

Lastly, here's a sneak peak behind the scenes. The little bean didn't wan to be left out!

Photographer's apprentice

Next time on the blog: A faux leather strap tutorial.

Low Stakes Crafting

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Some days a girl just wants to have some quick low commitment fun with a glue gun, right?

So exhaustion hit, and well, I just needed to get out of a rut. I pulled apart an old Christmas wreath, dismantled some pretty silk flowers in a vase, and ta-da! A little doorway refresher.

Doorway improvement

And then there's the inevitable problem of having a small child and not a lot of storage. There are always toys underfoot. You have to be careful when you're out there going for a late night snack or glass of water, because next thing you know it's *squeak* "G*d Damn!" *more cursing*.

Now another thing you also accumulate a lot of with a small child, not yet potty trainable, with no cloth diaper service, and a busy life is pampers boxes. I had them in the living room as storage, because they're actually super sturdy. But it just looked like baby mess everywhere (which it really is), nonetheless...

Toys everywhere

In an attempt to maintain some sense of 'hey this used to be a style blog' or some sort of blog more sophisticated thing than my life right now... I covered a few pampers boxes in canvas to make myself feel better. It probably doesn't make you feel any better, but I do. Here, have a look at some tidiness that will probably only last about 5 minutes.

Cleaning up

Ahh... back to real life.

Handmade Summer Wardrobe

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Wardrobe may be hyperbole at this point, but I have started replacing some items in my closet with handmade ones. Confession: I haven't really made use of most of the things I've sewn in the past, but this year I've been better at choosing sewing projects that fill real gaps in my wardrobe. The end result is a bunch of pieces I love and would wear any day.

Bottoms:
Black Maxi Skirt
Wide Leg Shorts

Tops:
Satin Camisole
Strappy Swing Top / Pillowcase Top
Swing Top
Tank Top
Crop Top

Dresses:
Lemonade Dress
Saltspring Maxi Dress

Sleepwear / House Wear:
Sleep Shorts
Soft Shorts

I haven't tried sewing any athletic wear, and sewing a killer t-shirt is something on my to do list, so there are definitely gaps in my attempts. We'll see how it goes in 2017! Maybe I'll have more time for sewing, and working through my fabric stash.

Sewn: Strappy Crop Top

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Crop Top

So, trying something new, and yes I was wearing sunglasses indoors, but it was a stinking hot summer day when I snapped this, and all my eye makeup had smudged off my eyes. Raccoon eyes, so super sexy, I couldn't post them here. (sarcasm)

I had some leftover grey jersey that wasn't long enough for a tank top, but the odd bits and pieces ended up making this. It's a variation on the Wrapped Crop Top DIY by the Felted Fox. The original DIY uses a woven, not a jersey, and the pattern fits a size 2-4, which I am not. I ended up drafting my own pattern in a knit, but it's very similar. Here's the back. I like how it only shows a peek of skin.

Crop Top

If I made another of these, I'd make the tie straps a little wider, but I didn't have enough fabric to this time.

I know it's not summer anymore, but most of my summer wardrobe is self-sewn now, which is a cool feeling.

Sewn: Wide Strap Tank Top

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Tank Top

This is a revisit to an old tank top pattern. I traced it from a beloved top years ago, and couldn't remember if I added seam allowances to the pattern pieces. OOPS. The answer was no. Fortunately this grey jersey is stretchy and it fit surprisingly well. I made the straps wider than the original just because I'm too compulsive to stop trying new things.

If I were to try the pattern again, I might remove the ribbing on the armholes, or make the arm holes a little wider so that they don't sit out quite so far.

But I'm liking these basics in my wardrobe: quick to sew, easy to wear, comfortable.

Alterations To Some Oldies

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Self-sewing makes you super picky. It's a sickness.

There were two tops that I sewed back when I was just starting out that I wasn't really sure about so didn't wear often. To make them more wearable I made a couple of alterations.

First: A fix to a droopy neckband.
Solution: Tacking the ribbing down (by-hand). My mistake the first time around was making the neck band too loose, so it gaped. This is not a perfect solution, but the gaping is not as noticeable now, and the top is now in regular rotation in my summer wardrobe, because it's just so comfortable.

Swing top

Second: Making a super sparkly top more subtle.
Solution: Added a layer of blue netting on top to tone it down. Honestly, I'm not a sparkly person, and going out in sequins is not really part of my lifestyle of jeans and sweatshirts. This is a compromise. I think I might actually wear it out now, but we'll see.

Sparkly Top

And I've been playing with a camera stand plus a self-timer. I haven't quite worked out where I can stand inside the house, but the weather is making it difficult to take shots outside these days. I shall play!

Sewn: Velvet Throw Pillows

Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Velvet Throw Pillow

Man, velvet is hard to photograph well, because it shows every single fingerprint. In person these pillows are so soft to the touch, and feel incredibly luxurious. One side is dark blue, while the other side is green. This was the first time I did a zipper closure on a throw pillow, and it was easier than I thought it would be. I didn't do an invisible zip, but I like seeing the contrast in colors in the zipper. I might never go back to envelope closures again!

It's been almost 2 years since we moved into this house, but it still doesn't feel so intimate. With the baby around there are toys everywhere, and cloths over everything to catch spills. There's so little time to do anything, that the walls are still bare. But, simple things like this make a house feel more personal, don't you think?

Sewn: Sleep Shorts

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Sleep Shorts

This was a project borne of hot summer nights, and the husband's dislike for pants in bed. I've always been a pajama pant person, or specifically, a jogging pants in bed person. Being the ultimate lazy person the ideal situation is: you just roll out of bed and don't have to change your clothes.

Unfortunately I do have to change when I go to the office, but on the weekends I live in comfort. These shorts are made from a super-soft black jersey, plus the remnants of an oversize jersey dress. I threaded an elastic through a waistband casing to keep it all in place.

E doesn't complain that I'm wearing pants in bed anymore and I get to wear shorts all day around the house in the summer. Win win.

FYI: Free pattern here via the Sewing Rabbit. I added a casing for a 1/4" elastic instead of using the elastic band that the pattern asks for.
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