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?

kid's clothes week

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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

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!

MakeIt Kids: Rolled Dolman Sleeve T-Shirt Dress

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Edit 16 July 2013: I’ve just discovered Kids Clothes Week so I’m adding this project to the mix.  Hopefully it’ll nudge me to post a bit more and to get some projects done this week.  I’m currently working on a very special one – a dress for Ellery to wear to a family wedding in a few weeks, and my first project in Liberty London fabric (yum!).  Stay tuned for more…KCWC

I’m not sure if Kin by John Lewis is new, or just new to me, but I like it!  John Lewis is a department store here in the UK, I guess the closest thing I can compare it to back home would be Bloomingdales.  It’s one of those huge places that has absolutely everything and they happen to have a haberdashery department so I find myself popping into the one at Sloane Square (actually that one is called Peter Jones but it’s the same store so I don’t really know why) when I need a bit more elastic or some velcro or needles or such.  Haberdashery is conveniently located on the children’s clothing floor so I took a spin around recently and discovered one of their clothing lines called Kin.

The pieces are comfy and laid-back looking, and they look like adult clothing shrunk down to kids’s sizes.  And let’s be honest, I wish that half of Ellery’s clothes came in my size, too, so it was right up my alley.  I love this t-shirt I’d bought her from the line.  It has a dolman sleeve (aka easy to reproduce because you don’t have to set in a sleeve) so I figured it was a great template for a t-shirt dress.  I’ll definitely be making this one again – either from the same pattern or perhaps with some different design details.  More after the jump!

MakeIt Kids: Leggings

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Welcome to my first post!!

This is Ellery, my almost 2.5 year old.  About 5 or 6 weeks ago we potty trained, and unfortunately in London there aren’t too many days that are warm enough for “nudie legs” as we call them.  Her wardrobe is full of jeans but the thought of peeling off jeans after an accident wasn’t terribly appealing, so I decided to make up a quick pattern for leggings and was able to make 4 or 5 pairs in a jif.

If you haven’t ever made your own pattern, don’t worry – I’m going to go through it in-depth but it’s not actually very difficult.  And if you’ve never sewn with knits, don’t fear!  It’s scary at first and I find it a bit harder to take them apart if I’ve made a mistake, but generally knit garments are very forgiving so they tend to fit and look nice even if they aren’t perfect.  And contrary to popular belief, you do not need a serger / overlocker in order to sew with knits.  In fact, they don’t fray so if you don’t want to, you don’t even have to finish off the inside seams.

Here’s what you need in order to make your own leggings:
There’s more after the jump!