MakeIt Kids: Baby Kimono-style PJs

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Let’s pretend I’m not the biggest blog slacker on the planet.  But then let’s also remember that I started this blog when we were living in London, I wasn’t working, husband wasn’t working, and we had lots and lots of help with the kiddo.  Now we’re all working full-time and I’m 34 weeks pregnant with #2 (a boy!) so time and energy for sewing and blogging has pretty much vanished.  I’m not much for home decorating, however, so I channel my nesting into sewing and when Summer Kids Clothes Week came around, I figured now was as good a time as any to start sewing for the new babe.

I’ve weeded out Ellery’s old baby clothes that crossed the line into “too girly” and passed them on to a friend.  Even though a lot of our newborn and infant clothes are unisex, I did seem to remember not having a lot of the smallest size of baby clothes so I figured this was my opportunity.  I’m sitting on tons and tons of 1/2-1yd cuts of lovely knits, some stashed swatches from work and others like the one in the above pic from Girl Charlee.

I found surprisingly few patterns for newborn and infant jammies but in the end settled on this great pattern from Brindille and Twig on Etsy.  There are 9 pattern pieces, plus you have to cut a long strip for the binding, so the cutting takes a bit of time.  It helped to trace around the pattern with a felt-tip pen first – made cutting fast with a combination of my rotary cutter and fabric scissors.

Another time-saver is that the directions say to sew many of the seams directly with the serger.  Luckily since the pattern is for knit fabrics, you don’t neeeeeeed a serger but I used mine since I have one and I love how professional it makes thigns look.  I usually sew with my sewing machine and finish with my serger, but since they’re newborn PJs that are about to get covered in a wash of baby fluids and then promptly grown out of, I wasn’t so concerned about every detail being absolutely perfect.10488797_1484610485113265_931775746_n

I only made one minor alteration to the pattern instructions, which was that I applied the sleeve cuffs prior to sewing the underarm and side seam sleeves.  Seems much easier than sewing around that tiny circle at the end.

I’d love to adapt the pattern to have a zipper instead of snaps – it was my first time using non-sew snaps (ordered online from Snap Source), whose snap-application tool was quite helpful, but it was hard to find a good time to be hammering away on snaps, and I also put one on totally wrong and had to use needle-nose pliers to pry it off, leaving a small hole on the placket.

In the end, the sewing went fairly quickly and the resulting PJs are super cute.  I made one pair in the newborn size but they looked quite large compared to the “up to 7lbs” Gap things that Ellery wore in her first couple of weeks (she was 7lbs 12oz at birth yet still needed that tiny size).  So the second pair (striped above) are in the preemie size.

I’ll try try try not to go so long again without posting.  A newborn won’t really take up thaaaaat much of my time, right?

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MakeIt Kids: Figgy’s Banyan Tunic for Winter KCW

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Like clockwork, I’m back for more Kid’s Clothes Week.  I’ve been at a full-time freelance job for the last three months, which really put a damper on my sewing and calligraphy (and cooking dinner and doing laundry and basically operating as a functional adult) but alas, my gig ended about a week ago.  The upside is, it ended just in time for me to get back in the swing of things for KCW.

I’ve had the Figgy’s Banyan Tunic pattern stashed away in my sewing files since before we left London, but I never got around to doing anything with it.  But Ellery, just weeks away from turning three, is growing out of her clothes yet again, so I figured now was as good a time as ever to make her up a quick t-shirt.  The Banyan Tunic pattern has short sleeves (as does the Banyan Tee that comes in the same pattern), however with the multiple polar vortexes (vortices?) we’ve been experiencing this winter, I drafted a long sleeve using the sleeve cap from the original pattern and the length of an existing shirt sleeve from her wardrobe.

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The shirt came together quite quickly, and I popped into City Sewing today in the garment district to pick up some new double needles to give the neckline and hems a more professional feel.  I took extra care with this first go-round (plus tracing the whole pattern out took an hour or so), so it probably took me several hours total, but I’m confident I could bust out a few more tees in no time at all.

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And in fact I might!

I haven’t tried this on the kiddo yet, but I’m sure she’ll want to give it a whirl first thing in the morning.  If the fit is good, I may play around with changing the hem from long on the sides to more of a hi-low.  We shall see…

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My goal is to get one more project in before the bell rings, ending KCW for another season. A good friend had a baby girl a little over a month ago, so hopefully I can throw together a thing or two for her.  Thanks for popping by!

kid's clothes week

MakeIt Kids: Elinor Dress for Fall KCW

Oh hai, remember me? I started a blog and then stopped it nearly as quickly? I swear I’m not trying to make excuses but I’ve certainly had a busy few months.

My last post was while our house in London was being packed up for our move back to Brooklyn. Well we’re back and after over a month of bouncing around staying with family, we’ve been back in our apartment for nearly two months. It’s only just now that I’m starting to come out of that settling-in haze and have the energy to get creative and make things (yay!).

The only complication with that however, is that I have a new job! It’s a temporary freelance position but it’s in an office so it eats up 45ish hours of my week. I only started a few days ago so I’m still getting used to it, as is Ellery, but I think it’s going well so far.

And in the midst of all of this change – country, apartment, preschool, work status, and on and on – it’s Kids Clothes Week again!!  And while I’m only posting my first project on Thursday, I’m at least glad it’s motivating me to get going and get sewing again.

I’ve been reunited with my trusty Janome 8048 and I found a great deal on a Juki 654 serger on Craigslist and from the looks of it, it’s never been used.

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So off I went, tacking a project I’ve been meaning to try for a while.  I loved Craftiness Is Not Optional’s Elinor Top and have been planning on making a dress version for a while.  It so happened when I was unpacking my fabric stash that I actually had a piece of lightweight denim that looks a lot like what CINO used on her top.  Sorry I didn’t really take photos as I went as I was eager to get it finished.

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Here’s the finished product and I think it went great, although I haven’t tried it on Ellery just yet.  If it fits, I’m going to base her Halloween costume on the pattern (she’s going to be Madeline and I’m feeling totally terrible that I haven’t started the costume yet).  Hopefully I can take a stab at it before KCW is over!
kid's clothes week

Moving Day(s)

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(all photos in this post are from my Instagram feed)

I may have mentioned it in passing before, but we’re moving!  It’s exciting and happy and sad and scary and stressful (and very stressful) all at the same time.  We’ve been living in beautiful London for about 18 months now and it’s time to pack up our things and ship them all back to Brooklyn and move home.  We were originally planning to stay here 2-3 years but a few things have changed since our move that made now the opportune time to move back.  I truly love it here in London and am sad to leave our friends and this amazing city, but New York is our home so off we go. More after the jump!

Quickie Makeup Bags

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Tuesday was Ellery’s last day of school (school goes much later here in London than it does in the US).  Saying goodbye to her teachers was one of our first goodbyes before we move back to NY in a little over a week.  Despite talking about it constantly, I don’t think she quite *gets* just yet that she’s not going to see her school, her teachers, our house, the lovely parks in our neighborhood, our friends, etc. again once we get on that plane.  Of course we’ll come back for visits, but I don’t think the enormity of this change has occurred to her yet.

I dropped the ball on getting presents for her two wonderful teachers, so yesterday afternoon after I dropped Ellery at school, I headed home to knock out a couple of these DIY makeup bags.  They came together quite quickly, despite the fact that I haven’t used my zipper foot since I took after-work sewing classes at F.I.T. back in 2007.  But it came right back to me once I attached the foot.  They’re made using 9.5″ x 5.5″ rectangles so it was a good way to use up some bits and pieces I had lying around.  The tutorial suggests using upholstery-weight fabric for the outer fabric, but I wanted to use these pin-dots so I instead just added some fusible interfacing for a bit of bulk.  I was rushing through the project in order to finish it in time for school pick-up, so I managed to break two needles in the process (my machine apparently does not like to sew across zippers).

I thought the bags came out quite cute, although next time I’ll try to finish the insides a bit more cleanly.  The tutorial leaves a lot of unfinished edges inside so I covered the big one with some yellow bias tape before sewing up the sides, but I’d still like to find a way to have no raw edges at all.

Then I stuck a £15 Starbucks gift card inside each and I was done!  I suppose I have many many years of teachers’ presents ahead of me so hopefully I can get inspired and give them something handmade every year.

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MakeIt Kids: Liberty Modified Edelweiss Dress

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Just in the nick of time as Kids Clothes Week wraps up today!  I didn’t get to as many projects as I’d hoped to this week, but I certainly did meet the requirement of working at least an hour a day on kids’ clothing projects.

This dress was truly a labor of love.  It’s my own twist on hey june’s Edelweiss Dress. Before delving into my version with changes, I first made a muslin of the original pattern.  I don’t always make muslins, but since it was my first time sewing with the gorgeous Liberty London Tana Lawn fabric, I felt I really needed to make sure a) I was capable of completing the pattern and b) that it would fit Ellery correctly. More after the jump!

MakeIt Kids: Sneak Peek into Liberty Modified Edelweiss Dress

SKETCH2 This is the lovely Edelweiss Dress from hey june.  I sometimes get a little carried away with different iterations of a design and this being my first time sewing with Liberty London fabric, I felt the need to get it right before I dared cut into the beautiful fabric, lest I waste even an inch.  Plus I’m a total sucker for print-mixing and this gorgeous, primary-colored ditsy floral was just asking for a simple, 2-color print to be paired with. But sometimes it’s hard to picture print mixes without having a visual so here are the options I’ve come up with.  I could’ve kept going but it’s Kids Clothes Week so I had to put down the Wacom pen and pick up the scissors and get going at some point!  The dress is nearly done and I can’t wait to reveal it to you soon. Which option would you choose? More after the jump!