Wednesday, April 23, 2014

KCW Project 2: Space Ranger Bimaa Hoodie

kid's clothes week
Hey! I'm finally wrapping up my Kids Clothes Week posts! Go me!

There's something I neglected to mention about Adelaide in my last post: Toy Story 2.

She is freaking gonzo for that movie. As in, she is constantly pretending to be Woody or Buzz or Jessie (but usually Buzz these days) and assigning everyone else around her roles as well. (Poor Quinn is often relegated to the role of Mister Potato Head, but such is the plight of a little brother, I suppose.)

So I had the idea to make her a space ranger hoodie, and I immediately knew that I wanted to go with the Bimaa pattern by Lou Bee Clothing. I found some awesome quick-dry jersey at JoAnn Fabrics for the blue, green, and purple. The white is just the stretchiest white jersey the store had, but it's not as great as the quick-dry stuff.

The shirt sewed up pretty quickly, and I'm very happy with it, though the 3T fits a little long on my smallish almost-three-year-old. I didn't do the suggested edge stitching around the face opening, but I think I might go back and do it, because it's looking pretty floppy. On the other hand, Adelaide doesn't mind it, so maybe I won't bother.

I drew and cut a freezer paper stencil for the control panel on the front. Rather than paint all the buttons on, I decided to sew on a few real buttons, which I think worked out well. Plus it's an extra selling point for Miss Picky. A hood, buttons, AND a space ranger theme is pretty much hitting up her whole want list. All that's missing is a set of pockets and a matching shirt for her brother -- then this would be the holy grail.

I'm happy to report that Adelaide loves it! It's probably my biggest sewing win for her so far. She's wearing it right now, even. Hooray!

Yet, despite the fact that she loves wearing it, the photo shoot was nutso. She was happy enough to stand in front of the camera in exchange for some fudge, but not without some pretty intense hamming. I took about 100 photos, and the ones above are pretty much the only ones in which she played it straight. Mostly, it was like the photos below: crazy cakes. But, I must admit, they're pretty awesome. Maybe she knew exactly what she was doing.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

KCW Project 1: There's Always Room For Ice Cream Tunic

kid's clothes week

Kids Clothes Week is, of course, over by now. But it takes me awhile to get a post up these days, so here you go.

First, let me just tell you a little bit about Adelaide. She is almost three. She loves digging. She loves dancing all crazy to Michael Jackson tunes. She loves wearing jeans because that's what cowboys wear. She has very strong opinions. And she never wants to wear anything fussy, meaning she's kind of a T-shirt girl (chalk it up as a "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" thing).

Yeah, that's a wrinkly sheet taped up as a backdrop. Winning.

Before I knew her so well, way back when she was either in utero or a teeny tiny baby (I can't remember for sure), I saw this super cute Lisette ice cream/popsicle fabric at JoAnn's. I snapped it up with plans for making an adorable little dress at some point. Well, once that kid got on the move and vocal about her likes and dislikes, I decided not to waste the time or fabric on something she probably wouldn't enjoy wearing.

These days, particularly during Quinn's naptimes, Adelaide likes to hang out in my sewing room with me, playing with fabric scraps and wooden spools while I work. It is fantastic, seriously, one of my dreams come true. Sure, I end up getting less done than I would all by myself, but the other day she asked if she could sew something on my machine and my heart melted into a gloriously mushy puddle.

Pockets are serious business.

One day, she spotted the ice cream fabric. And it was love. Cue weeks of asking if I'd made her an "ice cream shirt" yet, even with some very polite "please" action thrown in for good measure. That kind of request just cannot be ignored. So, despite my reservations, I decided to place Adelaide's Ice Cream Tunic at the top of this season's KCW list.

Not sure what she's doing to Big Bird here, but it seems menacing.

I went with the Made By Rae Geranium pattern, making it with the cap sleeves, tunic length, side seam pockets, and plain neckline. It sewed up really nicely. The pattern was great, very clear. And the size 3 is a great fit for my smallish nearly-3-year-old.

It's pretty stinking cute too, though I may be biased.

Will she wear it? Time will tell.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quinny's floor blanket

I always like to lay Quinn out on a blanket for his floor time, partly to keep him out of whatever crumbs and fuzz are hanging around our floor, partly to help define a safe zone for Adelaide to reference (no riding the bike on the blanket! no jumping on the blanket! gah!), and partly to protect the rugs from the inevitable spitting up that Quinny brings to the party. Of course, now with all the rolling and scooting going on, he finds his way off that blanket pretty quickly, but still.

Six months in, I figured it was time to make the poor neglected second child his own floor blanket like the one I made Adelaide when she was a baby. Super easy, super quick, and very functional. 

I thought I had batting left over from Adelaide's blanket, but it wasn't quite enough, so I used some mystery batting that I had inherited. I kind of melted it with the iron a bit, and it puckered up a bit differently than the stuff I'm used to. Also, if you take a close look at my "quilting," it is a hot mess--just a few oddly placed lines of stitching in the middles of a few of the squares to hold things together. 

But who's looking that closely, right? Well, except for the baby playing on it.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

KCW Days 6, 7, and beyond: Cozy Flannel Robe

I started this robe during Kids Clothes Week, but after the week ended, robe unfinished, I kind of lost some momentum. Finally, it's done and I love it! I want one for me!

I really wanted to make Adelaide a fully lined flannel robe. Guess how easy it is to find a pattern for that, especially in her teeny size 2? Yeah, not easy. Burda 2662 was all I found, and as small as it goes is size 3. I went with it, and it's kind of huge on the kid, but I think it's big and cozy in a good way. Plus, now it'll last a couple of years.

Fabric was another challenge. This robe calls for nearly 3 yards of each fabric. So, looking at all the nice flannels that kept catching my eye, we were talking somewhere upward of $50 in fabric for a two-year-old's bathrobe. But then I stumbled upon a sale bin of precut flannel at JoAnn's, $5 for each three-yard bundle, making the total a beyond reasonable $10 of fabric. And I am really happy with this flannel so far. It feels substantial and is incredibly soft. I wanted to cozy up with it while I was working with it.

This was my first time sewing from a Burda pattern. It was a very simple, basic pattern, but I was a bit thrown by the pattern markings since they aren't quite the same as what I'm used to. I only sort of followed the instructions but, with something this basic, that worked out fine. Honestly, the worst part of this project was tracing the pattern pieces. It seemed like it took forever and, because the markings weren't my usual, I was always wondering if I'd traced all the correct markings for the size. But the sewing itself was easy as pie.

As you may or may not know, depending on your personal life experiences, trying to get photos of kids at all in handmade stuff can be a challenge. On the one hand, I want some documentation before my work is all wrinkly (because I don't iron unless I'm sewing) and stained (because children). On the other hand, I don't want sobbing children who grow up to tell their therapists all about how my sewing and blogging ruined their childhoods. (I kid. Sort of.) So it's always a compromise. What I get: her standing somewhat still while wearing whatever it is that I made. What she gets: everything else. And Adelaide had some strong opinions about this one. She felt strongly about the wearing of bunny ears. She also insisted that she hold her brother's Raggedy Andy. Furthermore, no photos would be taken without "a treat" immediately following the shoot. Well played, Adelaide, well played. After about 100 photos, she was willing to try a few sans ears so that the hood could be pulled up, and when she put the doll down to mess with the hood, she forgot about it. And I got a few photos styled a bit less awesomely more simply. Mama patience for the win.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A new hat for New York

Adam and I went to New York for a few days, leaving the kids behind with family (thank again, you guys!). Let's just say that it was awesome. It was our first time in the city, and we managed to cover a lot of ground, but I'm already plotting a return because there is just SO MUCH.

Before the trip I set a new personal knitting record by completing something in only a week. I knit slowly and get distracted, so a seven-day turn around is very nearly miraculous. But bulky yarn is the best, and knitting in the round isn't as scary as I feared, so I managed to finish Adam's waffle hat in time for us to leave our own cold and snowy region for a different cold and snowy region.

I was really happy with the yarn, some Malabrigo chunky. It had a nice firm-but-squishy thing going on that felt good to knit with. And the pattern was great too. I still consider myself very beginner level, and this had a couple of challenges (knitting in the round! a slightly more involved stitch pattern than I've used before!) but was still easy enough that I could chat a little while working on it and not lose my place.

Hat details on Ravelry here.

Friday, January 31, 2014

KCW Days 3-5: That time the baby stopped sleeping

kid's clothes week

Let's just say that I am not quite as far along on my KCW sewing as I had hoped to be at this point. First, I picked a pattern that, though billed as "easy," has taken me FOREVER to trace and cut. We're talking about a kids size 3 that uses nearly six yards of fabric. So much fabric for such a tiny person. So much tracing. So much cutting. I had allotted a couple of days just for tracing and cutting because fitting in an hour a day is a great goal and all, but I definitely can't achieve it every day, even for a week. But then the baby decided that sleep was for the weak, and the wrench, it was thrown into my rather modest plan.

I know that when the going gets tough, the tough are supposed to get going and all that. But let's be real: sometimes when the going gets tough, you stay in  pajamas for two straight days, pour yourself an adult beverage at 7:30 each night, and collapse in front of the television for the way too brief period between child-bedtime and grown-up-bedtime. Because I love my kids, and I love being home with them, but c'mon, hanging out with a baby who is AWAKE SO AWAKE all day long, and who is not even terribly happy about it, is hard.

But today! Oh, today! Mister Quinn decided that maybe he could be friends with napping again, or at least give it a chance for an hour or so. And I finally finished cutting all my many yards of fabric. So, Adelaide may get a bathrobe by the end of the week after all.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

KCW Day 2: Reversible Hooded Cape

Merry Christmas, Adelaide. I finally finished your cape. Mother of the freakin' year right here, folks.

This is the Red Riding Hood from Oliver + S: Little Things to Sew. It's a size medium, which is supposed to fit up to age 4. It was bound to be a bit big on my on-the-small-side 2.5-year-old, but that's the smallest size for the pattern, so I went for it anyway. She wanted a hood, and this way it ought to be wearable for quite a while.

I used a couple of quilting cottons I picked up from JoAnn Fabrics. The red is just a normal solid, though it is somehow also the most fuzz-attracting fabric in the world. I must have lint-rolled the thing five times, and there's still stray thread and cat hair clinging to it. The starry lining isn't my usual cup of tea, but I really like it. In fact, I like it so much that I decided to make the cape reversible just so the lining can be the star(s)--see what I did there? yeah, sorry--sometimes. Making it reversible was super easy: just put a button on each side. Bam! Reversified!

Other changes I made: I moved the little arm holes up about an inch, which helps the fit if your kid is smaller than the pattern's intended wearer. I also top-stitched all around the cape at the end. The prime reason for the top-stitching was sparkly silver thread. I bought it because it was shiny and wanted to use it. It's pretty subtle on the cape, though, not as glitzy as it was in my head. But, as Adelaide exclaimed, "now it's fancy!"

As for the pattern: I would totally recommend it. If you actually focus and work on it, this project is pretty quick and easy. Everything came together really well, and both Adelaide and I are happy with the results.