Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fun for the Older Sibling (When you go from One to Two)

Quite a few of my friends have been having their 2nd babies lately. Seriously, I think there was a new baby every month for like 4 months this past spring. I met most of these ladies in a mom's group I joined a few years ago, after having my second child. So many of their first children are the same age as my youngest. I hope that makes sense.
Anyway, when asked by a few of these ladies what I had wished for when I went from 1 child to 2 children, my honest answer was, "Another adult to entertain the toddler so I can....." insert any number of things here, sleep, nurse the baby, bathe, you get the picture. Which would have been lovely, but when all the visitors leave and the hubby goes back to work, it's just the 3 of you. And the juggling has to begin.
I can remember struggling to figure out how to balance the needs of the older with the needs of the baby. Now, I can't move in with any of my friends or hire them a nanny, but I know from experience that toddlers are very easily distracted and I am a crafty gal, so using ideas from various blogs as well as a few toys in my own house, I came up with the idea of a type of survival kit for the mom with a new baby and a toddler. A few special toys that are not for every day use, put up or in a special box that only appear when Mommy needs to.....again insert whatever here....for just 10 minutes, pretty please???
I have seen so many great ideas for things that would work on so many blogs and I just haven't had time to try them all, not that I'm not trying!
So here are a few ideas.
The I Spy Bag
 There are many tutorials available for this online, they are quick and easy to make and I think pretty fun to find the things to put in them. (My husband the pack-rat has a zillion dice less one!)

Fabric Puzzle Blocks
based on a tutorial found at Craftiness is Not Optional 

Her tutorial is for 6 sided puzzle blocks, but I was not feeling that ambitious so I did 2 sides and left the edges plain wood, the wood I used was only 3/4 inches thick so it made a nice, simple edge. And a nice, double-sided bag to store them in.

Memory Game using Scrapbook Paper
To be honest, I can't remember where I came up with this, or if I saw it somewhere else, but here's how I made mine.
I took one sheet of 12X12 scrapbook paper (the green checks) and cut out strips of other scrapbook papers 3" wide X 12" long (the length of the paper) and used spray adhesive to stick the strips to the green check paper.  I used the paper cutter to cut them into 3"X3" squares. Then I laminated the squares and cut them out again leaving an 1/8" border on the edges. I used my corner rounder to clip the corners (no sharp edges!) and stitched up a little bag for them. I made a set of 12 for a 2 1/2 year old, I figured that was plenty.
My 3 year old has pointed out that you can use these to play a version of "Go Fish" with them also. Clever girl.

I have just recently seen the Color Book over on Living with Punks so you can bet that one of those is going to my next Mommy with a new baby and toddler! And there are many, many versions of the Quiet Book like this one, I do want to try my hand at one of these as well.

Some of these and diapers, my new go-to gifts for the soon to be mom of 2. Sometimes in the beginning it's all about distraction and survival, baby!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fourth of July Upcycle


I bought these 3 t-shirts waaaay back in April (I think) and I've had this project on the back burner ever since. I more or less knew I wanted a skirt-top combo for Lilah, but between life and my first disastrous experience with sewing knits, the shirts just kept moving back to the bottom of the pile.
But, the 4th of July is approaching quickly and there is no way these shirts are going to spend another whole year at the bottom of my "to do" stack!
So, let's upcycle!

First grab some t-shirts.
I knew I wanted a 2 tier skirt, so I cut off 2 4 1/2 inch wide strips off the bottom of my shirt. A bonus is that you can use the hem of the shirt as the hem of your skirt. One less step!
Then, I decided I wanted more of an A-line shape to the skirt, so I trimmed off the side seams at an angle. The top band can either be the same measurement as the wearer's waist, or in this case, I added a waistband with elastic, so the measurement wasn't exact.
Then, using a pair of Lilah's shorts as a guide, I cut out a front and back, the shorts will be attached at the waist to the skirt. I also cut a 3 inch waistband from the blue shirt.

I decided to use the red shirt for her shirt, so using an existing shirt as a guide, I cut 
a front and back. Again, I kept the hem of the shirt at the bottom.

Now, the fun part; sewing it toghether!
Stitch the side seams of the two skirt pieces together.
Run a gathering stitch at the top of the lower band, pin the two together and stitch them.
And when you flip it right side out, it's a skirt! Yay!
Next, assemble the shorts and waistband. 
For the shorts, sew the center front seams together, then the sides, and lastly the crotch seam, then add a small hem. Sew the two waistband pieces together so you have a 3 inch wide circle by your waist measurement.
Now, you have these 3 pieces, put the shorts inside the skirt, right side (shorts) to wrong side (skirt) and baste them together at the waist.
Then, pin and sew on your waistband. You now have a skort!
Now, you'll fold over your waistband 1/4-1/2 and inch and press. Then fold over again, enclosing the raw edges, press again and pin in place leaving and opening to insert your elastic.
***Please note, you do not have to use elastic, you can size your waistband to your child's waist, similar to the yoga skirt, and it will fit just fine. My kids are skinny and I like elastic in everything in order to help their bottoms stay on.***

Once you have threaded your elastic through the casing, sew the ends together and sew the opening closed.
And you have a cute 4th of July skort!

Now, let's do the top.
First, sew your shoulder seams together. Now, I am having a really hard time with bias binding on the necks of my knit shirts (still working through that) so I decided to turn the edges of my neckline in and make a casing in the neck.
And I threaded 1/4 inch elastic through the casing. This doesn't have to be tight, just enough to have some gather and hold the neck shape.
I hadn't decided up until this moment what I was doing with the arms/sleeves on this shirt, but I had done another dress earlier using a crescent shaped "flutter" sleeve and fell in love with it, so I used it again here. Basically you need 2 strips of fabric longer than the armhole measurement, for gathering, with one edge straight and one curved. It's fun to experiment with different curves as you get slightly different shapes. But you could also use bias binding on the armholes, or make another casing with elastic. There's no right or wrong.
Gather the curved edge of the sleeve, pin around the armhole and sew in place. This was a good time for me to fix the little uneven piece on my shoulder seams. (oops!) Once you've sewn in your sleeves, stitch the side seams, turn right side out and---
Tell me those sleeves aren't adorable!
Now, you could easily stop here. That is a cute outfit!
But I have developed a fondness for applique lately, so I added some stars to my shirt.
All you need for the stars is some fabric, Heat Bond or a similar material.
Iron the "glue"side to the wrong side of your fabric, trace a star onto the paper, cut it out, peel the backing away and iron onto your shirt.
Like so. I also stitched around the edges of the stars.
And you're done!
A fun new outfit for the 4th of July! And some practice sewing with knits, and upcycling, and creating your own pattern. Wow, there are 4 really good reasons to try something like this!
 Plus, there's always this reason!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Instantly Gratifying Thrift Store T-Shirt to Dress Refashion

So this dress took me an hour to make. An hour. And probably about 10-15 minutes of that hour was spent getting out various tools (a seam ripper was necessary on this one) and helping my son with his computer game. And it is adorable, and I love it, and I have to thank my friend Lori for finding this shirt at the thrift store this morning. I started with this shirt--

Which, by itself is a cute little peasant top, I love the borders on the lower part. But when Lori and I saw it, we both had the same vision, largely because of the shirring. It just screamed to be remade into a sundress.

To start, I turned the shirt inside out, marked a line where I wanted to stitch, and stitched a new side seam. I did this before I cut the sleeve off because I didn't want the shirring to come out. And you'll see in this photo that I did not use a straight line, I angled outward in order to keep the fullness at the bottom of the shirt. After stitching a new side side seam, I cut off the sleeves.

Next, I cut the sleeves open and laid them flat. It was a hard choice which side to use, but since the shirring would hold the dress on and the straps/sleeves didn't have to be strictly functional, I decided to use the inner part of the sleeve with the elastic casing as my sleeves.

So I chose a line (love striped fabric) and cut along that line for a little flutter sleeve. The front and back were slightly different shapes, but easy enough to fix by folding the sleeve in half and cutting the the sides to match and did a little zig-zag on the raw edge to finish it. (How I long for a serger) Then I marked where I wanted the sleeves to go, sewed them on and---

The almost instant sundress!

All ready to wear after naptime! With only a little bribing for photos.
And of course all of this is helping me gain confidence in working with knits, double bonus!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some fun Vacation Moments

Last week we took our first road trip as a family, drove to California, not a bad drive at all, mainly because of the portable DVD player. Seriously, how did parents travel for 6 hours or more in the car with no car seats and no portable brain-sucker for the children?!
Anyway, some of the highlights of our vacation were, the beach, Legoland (twice!!), fresh seafood, the beach, cooler weather, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the beach, shopping at Maisonnette fabrics and the beach!

In no particular order---









We had such a great time! I came back very relaxed, but as always, am glad to be home.
Stay tuned for some major sewing and upholstering and crafting!

Monday, June 20, 2011

On Vacation!

Well, I made this cute post and picture for last week while I was away with the family. But I forgot to post it.  So I am going to do it tonight, even though we just got home.
However, for one more day you can still consider me----


I'll talk at you again in a day or so!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Let's Hear it for The BOY!

Let's face it, girl clothes are really cute. (And you just looked up at the title of this post again, didn't you? Stay with me.)  And there seems to be a bigger variety in style, color, and fabric than for boys. So, quite often the boys in the house don't end up with as many cute handmade items as the girls. My boy, for instance, has been watching me make clothes for his sister for months and watching me with a little bit of longing and occasionally asking, "mom, where's mine?"  Which plucks my guilt strings. And it's not as if I don't make him other things (see finger puppets or bean bags) but boy clothes? Booooringggg!
Right?
Well, two things changed my mind about that recently. The first was the end of the year program at his school (blogged here) and the second was the discovery of this blog, MADE. She has an entire series about boys and boy clothes and boy stuff, can you imagine?? After reading a few of her posts and tutorials, suddenly that tractor fabric Elliot had picked out at the fabric store 3 months earlier seemed more appealing. And since he has been wanting to wear nothing but pants (in 99 degree weather) the idea of summer weight pants was really appealing as well. So I jumped in with both feet.

Using the same pattern as the bowling shirt, I finally made the Tractor Shirt.

Does this guy look happy or what?

The shirt was an old Simplicity pattern, and turned out to be an excellent way for me to get reacquainted with buttonholes.

Next, I tried out the Kid pants pattern from Made and came up with either the ugliest pants ever, or some really cool, retro pants. I will leave that decision to you.
He really likes these and the fabric is a super soft cotton, not denim as I had originally thought. I like these more on him than when I was making them. Really, only a little boy could make these pants work.

At this point, I had to give in to the weather. It's HOT! And even Elliot will not be able to wear pants all summer. And in case I needed any other inspiration, MADE was starting their summer boy series (see side tab)  Plus, I was on a roll, so I decided to try my hand at patterning (marrying several patterns together)  and started on some shorts.
From the back.

And the front.


And some in plaid. These turned out to be my favorite. And as a total coincidence, his as well.

The side view, with the side pockets, using a very helpful tutorial from Very Purple Person

 And from the front. 

And what are new shorts without some cool new t-shirts to go with them?

The angler fish shirt is a Mini Boden knock off, made with a plain Hanes t-shirt we already had. I bought a few other t-shirts at a thrift store for 99 cents, so total cost for this shirt was about $2, can't beat that!
The robot shirt is also a thrifted t-shirt appliqued on an existing t-shirt, total cost for that one, $1. 
These were super easy to make, and really the only limitation for this kind of refashion is your imagination. Or maybe your child's imagination. I do like to give them some input now and then.


And it would appear that I do pretty well making his special requests. I do love that smile!

Boy clothes boring?? Definitely not!