Monday, February 27, 2012

Sew-Along Invitation: The Haven Top (March 7-9)

Ready for spring?  Want to make a cute top for the little spring flower in your life?  Then join me next week for a sew-along!  Introducing the Haven Top!

This is a square necked top with a bit of a modern feel.  After all the ruffles from my Signature Look, I felt like doing something a bit more streamlined.  

This is a great top for spring and summer.  The sleeves and hem are finished with a band of contrasting fabric.

The bodice features a bold fabric detail, also done in the contrasting color.  The bodice is also fully lined.

The back closes with two buttons, although don't let buttonholes keep you from making this top!  If you aren't comfortable with making buttonholes, you could also use snaps for the closure.

The sew-along will happen over 3 days next week, starting Wednesday March 7.  I'll walk you through making the pattern and cutting your pieces on day 1, assembling the bodice on day 2, and finishing the sleeves and "skirt" on day 3!  

To make this shirt, you will need the following materials:

Approximately 3/4 yard main fabric
Approximately 1/3 yard contrast fabric
Coordinating thread
2 coordinating buttons
Sewing stuff: machine, scissors, ruler (a rotary cutter and mat are very helpful too!)

I hope you will sew along with me!  Feel free to spread the word and invite your friends!  Grab your friends, neighbors, sisters and let's get sewing!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Take a Look, It's in a Book

I saw this on Pinterest the other day.

I can't tell you how true I think this is!  My mom was a preschool and early elementary teacher for most of her career and I remember her reading to my brothers and me all the time as a child.  I know my husband has similar memories.  In fact, we were just talking a couple of weeks ago about our childhood trips to the library, checking out stacks of books we could barely carry. 

Hubby and I are both avid readers, so we're so thrilled that both our girls love to read, especially the younger twin.  She will bring you book after book and point at everything, wanting to know what everything is.  Now, at just shy of 2 years old, she can name pretty much everything in her "regular" books, including the goofy stuff on the back like the UPC code and the names of the other books they show.  I'm amazed at how many letters, numbers, and objects she can recognize already and I know it's because of how much she reads.

I read with the girls every morning after breakfast and I love that special time with both of them in my lap.  This morning we read this:

I love Little Golden books and we have quite a collection going.  Some of them are my dad's from the early 40s, some are my brothers' from the 70s and we have a few new ones as well.  Those old illustrations are so fabulous!

I've seen other bloggers post about their vintage book thrift store scores and it makes me think I need to get thrifting, ASAP!  

A few of our vintage Little Golden favorites

Last Christmas, some of our friends blessed us with a book shower for the girls.  We ended up with a huge pile of Berenstain Bear books.  I love those!  I remember my younger brother reading them as a child and now the girls enjoy them too.  They are great stories with good life lessons for kids.  They have even come out with a "Living Lights" series which combines Christian values such as going to church, praying, and learning how God loves us with the familiar Bear family stories.  

Some of my old favorites are a little worse for wear, having been through four kids in my own family growing up, but we still treasure them.  They are wonderful learning tools for kids, even if they have a few extra illustrations in them!

Do your kids enjoy reading?  What are some of their favorites?  Even if they want to read the same book over and over, I hope you all can enjoy this special time with your kids on your lap, sharing a book.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Tiny Gift

A friend of mine from church is having a baby girl soon.  They already have a little boy who is just 10 days older than our girls, so it's been fun to see her anticipate the arrival of a little pink bundle of joy!  To help her celebrate, I made a little outfit for her soon-to-arrive sweetheart.

You may recognize the fabric from the corduroy peasant dresses I made our girls.  There were only a few tiny scraps left, but that's enough to make a skirt for an itty bitty one!  

I think the skirt is about 6" long...oh my goodness!  So tiny!

The shirt was my first attempt at appliqueing.  They are naming her Harper, so I wanted to make something both cute and personal for her.  It went pretty well, although I definitely learned a few things along the way.  I'm going to be appliqueing shirts for our girls' 2nd birthday, so I was glad for the chance to try out the technique.  

My favorite part is these adorable little shoes!  The outer fabric is the patterned corduroy I talked about in the corduroy peasant dress post, and the lining is a vintage floral pattern (shocker, I know).  It's soft and comfy and just right for those sweet little feet!  I didn't take a separate photo of the headband, but it's just a simple yo-yo flower sewn onto a crocheted headband.

I can't wait to see this baby girl in her new outfit...and I know her mama is ready for her to come soon!  Can't wait to meet you, Harper!

Monday, February 13, 2012

PR&P Sew-Along Week 5 Signature Look: Tea for Two Dress & Ruffle Pants

Project Run & Play has come to an end for the official contestants!  What a great competition!  I saw so many amazing looks and I'm in awe of the sewing abilities these ladies have!  Wow!  For those of us entering outfits into the Sew-Along, we got an extra week to submit our looks and I'm so glad...I really needed the time!  For my Signature Look, here is the Tea for Two Dress and Ruffle Pants!

Anything labeled as my "Signature Look" is definitely going to involve ruffles!  I love them!  They are adorable and feminine and a quick fix for any problem!  Plain neckline?  Add ruffles!  Sleeves or pants too short?  Add ruffles!  Straight and boring hemline?  Add ruffles!  You get the idea :)  

This look is a combination of some of my very favorite things.  Ruffles (obviously), light blue and white, and vintage linens.  Vintage linens?  Oh yes, did I neglect to mention that this entire look is made from upcycled vintage linens?  From bedsheet to baby chic!  Too nerdy?  Okay, how about more photos!

The dress is essentially a peasant dress to which I added a collar.  There is a single ruffle on each sleeve, four tiers of ruffles on the skirt and an additional two tiers of ruffles on each pant leg! I think I ruffled around 85 feet of fabric to make this look.  Did I mention I love ruffles?

I struggled a bit with how to attach the collar, but I think it worked out well in the end.  It's a bit over the top, but the girls aren't quite two, so they can get away with that for awhile yet!

I think the blue and white combo is so soothing and delicate.  As I was envisioning the entire look, I just kept thinking of a fancy English tea, so the photo shoot concept came from that idea.  Something possessed me to let the girls handle my good china, but they were awesome and nothing was broken!

It's ruffle fever around here.

The girls love it...and each other!  I'm so blessed to have such sweet babies! 

I'm not going to lie - this outfit was a bear to make, but I love my girls, I love to sew, and I love making things for them that can go into that "heirloom" box.  Every girl should have one...and there should be a lot of ruffles in it :)  I hope you enjoy this look as much as I do!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Felted Wool Toddler Slippers

First off, I just want to say that this project makes me laugh - partly because these slippers are so hilariously cute, but also because this really verges on ridiculous.  

Toddler slippers?  What are the odds that they would stay on for more than 2 minutes?  See, my hubby is a slipper-wearer in the winter.  Every night after work, he puts on his slippers and the girls are totally fascinated.  They have started bringing his slippers over to "help" him put them on and they are always touching the slippers and now they've started saying "slipper" in that adorable, lispy, toddler-esque way.  I knew they would love a pair of their very own, but I definitely wasn't going to buy any!

I had a wool sweater from Old Navy that I think I have worn once in the last two or three years, so I decided it needed life as something else.  One day it just clicked - felted wool slippers for the girls!  So, into the hot water cycle it went (three times, no less...this was one stubborn sweater!) and it came out looking like this. 

If you've never felted wool, the process is fairly simple.  Basically, you take a 100% wool garment and wash it on hot until you can no longer see the individual knitted loops then toss it in the dryer.  There are several tutorials online if you just search for felting wool.  One tip I read was to put the sweater inside a pillowcase...definitely prudent advice!  The bottom of my pillowcase was filled with little balls of wool.  I was happy to not have to clean that out of my washer!  Once the wool was felted, I cut pattern pieces for the slippers using a basic baby Mary Jane shoes pattern I already have.  I cut the upper with a much smaller opening so the slippers would just stay on without any straps or fasteners.

I stitched the soles and uppers together right-sides facing then turned them right-sides out.  I put them on the girls and surprisingly enough, they fit just right!  Too cute!

The girls are absolutely thrilled and have been running around in them (and taking them on and off) ever since!  I guess they're comfy!

Now they can be just like Daddy.  Nothing makes them happier :)  I'm glad they are so easy to please at this age!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine's Heart Hair Clip Tutorial

Valentine's Day is coming up soon!  Even though the girls are too young to understand all these holidays, that doesn't stop me from crafting for them!  I decided to make some fun little hair clips for them to wear in honor of Valentine's Day.

You can make them in any colors you choose.  Red would be more traditional, but the amount of red in the girls' wardrobe is basically zero.  They do wear LOTS of pink, though, so I went with pink and white.  Ready to get started?

To make one Heart Hair Clip, you will need:

One lined alligator clip (for more info on lining a clip, see my tutorial here)
One piece of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon, cut to 6" long
One piece of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon, cut to 5 1/2" long
Hot glue gun 

Just so it's clear for this tutorial, my longer (outside) piece is pink and my shorter (inside) piece is white.  

First, get your hot glue gun heating up!  Find the center of your outer ribbon and apply a bead of hot glue extending out about 1/2" on either side of your center mark.  Then lay your inner ribbon on top, leaving 1/4" margin on each side, and press to attach.

Squeeze the two pieces into a V-shape with your longer ribbon on the inside.  Place a dab of hot glue into the V so your outer ribbon is glued together at the point.  It should look like the picture below.  If you need to, add a little more hot glue so your ribbons are well adhered about 1/2" up from the point of the V.

Now apply a dab of glue to each INSIDE end of the inner ribbon - so the glue should be in between your two pieces of ribbon at the very ends.  Press the ribbons together, so it looks like this.

Then apply a dab of glue to the OUTSIDE end of your inner ribbon.  Bring the two inner ribbon pieces together and attach them to make a heart shape. 

Now we just need to attach the heart to the clip.  On the back of the heart, place a dab of glue in center and the two outside edges of the top of the heart as indicated in the picture below.  This will adhere the heart to your clip in three places so it should be nice and secure!

Once the glue is dry, pull off any excess glue strings.  You may also want to trim any frayed ribbon at the bottom of the heart and apply some fray check.  Now go make some for the little sweethearts in your life!