Laura H. Wednesday, September 26, 2012

So, over at luvinthemommyhood, there's this... facebook-y sort of fill in the blank thing she's doing all about creativity. I figured that I'd jump on board since I love these things.

Since I love them, I never do them. I've found that the more I adore something, the worse it probably is for me. But in this case, I can't see what it could hurt!

* i'm longing to make "the brown and yellow gingham dress i just drew" right now.

* i want to try "tatting".

* i wish i could sew with "all the lovely, expensive fabrics i see online".

* i dream of making "reasonable clothes for myself".

* i keep track of my ideas by "doodling in a one-subject notebook".

* i'm inspired by "nearly everything".

* i would love to meet "Michelle Obama" in person. (i'd love access to her wardrobe.)

* my favorite fiber is "cotton".

* i like to sew with "wovens".

* my favorite color is "red. all shades but fire engine.".

* i rock at "making it work!".

* i would like to learn how to make "patterns for myself from scratch".

* i like to listen to "the hum of my machine" while i "sew".

* i bring my "eyes and ears" everywhere.

* my favorite thing to "avoid" is "anything kitchen-related".

* my favorite things to "recycle" are "t-shirts".

* my crafting space is "a dark, pokey, huge mess".

* if i had my own crafting room it would be "huge, sunlit, and still a huge mess!".

* i sew with "a Singer Tradition".

* i like to "sew with" "unexpected fabrics".

* i can never get enough "strawberries".

* i adore "Elizabeth".

* i also enjoy "history" and "murder-mysteries".

* i like to fill my shelves with "patterns, books, and toys".

* i create the best when i'm "left to my own devices".

* i am currently excited for "the fall kids clothing week challenge".

* right now i am "procrastinating on a project i don't want to do".

* i love to watch "Poirot and Miss Marple" while creating.

* my guilty pleasure when it comes to creating is "making the old new again".

* my current favorite music crush to listen to while creating is "the local classic rock station".

Laura H. Monday, September 24, 2012

So. Over the years I've been proud of stuff. Usually, it falls to pieces because it's not really stuff worth being proud of in the first place. Like my hair. Long, really dark save for some silvery-grey streaks, mad-as-snakes kinds of curls. Then, I nurse Elizabeth and it (almost) all falls out. Stupid alopecia. Stupid DNA.

But I digress. I've been really, honestly proud of nearly all the things I've made for Elizabeth to wear in the cooler weather. Now, that may spell their doom in some plumbing disaster, but for now I will be proud.

See, age has taught me some wisdom.

You all might remember the pile of racerback dresses that I made back in the summer. They have been great! They fit well and were very cool and comfy. Well, it has been 42 degrees around here in the mornings and little sleeveless dresses are a thing of the past. I'm making over all of them (including the white one if I can find it.) I finished the first one tonight.

Please forgive the un-amazing lighting. Elizabeth is wearing this to playschool tomorrow so there will be no daylight pictures for a little bit.

But seriously! I cobbled together two patterns - the Racerback Dress and the Go To Signature Dress, lopped off the top of the original and attached this cute owl print that I found at Joann's (I only got a half-yard. The price was a touch high, but it is good, sturdy knit.) The neckband is the rib from the original $2 shirt.

I'm not sure why I'm so proud of this playdress. Maybe it's the franken-pattern. Maybe it's because I didn't think the colors would work. Maybe it is just nice to know that my skills are coming along nicely. Whatever it is, I hope it keeps up!

And that all stray sparks, weird weather, and odd animal mishaps can hold off long enough for me to know if these little things can hold up to toddlerdom!

Laura H. Thursday, September 20, 2012

So, after this I expect to have a note from Kristin of skirt as top revoking my right to ever make another dress even vaguely resembling a Sweet Tartan. I will *totally* understand too. I promise, promise, promise I'll do my level best to not make another one until spring!

And let me tell you, after working out the sleeves (without realizing I made it way too hard), realizing they were weird and wonky, ripping them out twice to fix them, then getting the skirt on backwards and realizing it was about 6 incihes shy of being full enough, ripping it out, cobbling together a better skirt then realizing I didn't have enough of the off white to do a full under-skirt, there is *very* little that will induce me to make another of these before April.

Just sayin'.

Anyway. Here she is. The fall/winter Sweet Tartan with puffed, banded sleeves. And buttons selected by the Boy Scout because he has Crazy Button Selection Skills.

 The fabric is some from my Grandmother's stash that has probably been around since the 80s at least. The off-white is a sheet from Goodwill that I threw in the sink with a bunch of tea bags until it was the color I wanted.

So, a couple of tutorials helped me make this dress.

1) skirt as top's Sweet Tartan dress tutorial. duh! I've made a blue-million of them and the sleeveless versions are too too adorable.

2) This indietutes tutorial on how to puff a sleeve. I totally drafted one from the pattern which was both dumb and time-consuming. So I'll add this - if you are adding a sleeve to something sleeveless, just grab a basic sleeve pattern piece and puff it extra. if it wasn't a perfect fit to start, the puffing will allow you to take up any extra and will just be extra puffy. Which is the point of a puffed sleeve.

I think I'm Sweet Tartaned out. This one has whipped me!

Laura H. Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Are you?

Laura H. Sunday, September 16, 2012

I've taken a break from cutting out to start stitching things up. Elizabeth sort of needs some 'too cool for sleeveless, not hot enough for a coat' dresses, so I've done several of those. Also, I've reworked a pair of jeans because lightweight jeans are also awesome for playschool. I've manage to do one sewing project a day for the past 7 days. Two Pierrot's, these four, and the burgundy pants. I'm not showing those because there's a somewhat suggestive set of tracing marks on them.

Breaking up is EASY.

Dear Carters:
I'm sorry. I'm breaking up with you. Not only is your stuff all beginning to look the same, your prices suck.
Not to mention I found this pattern called the Go To Signature Dress that allows me to get looks way cuter than yours and hemlines that are not booty-tastic.
Sorry again. Hope you understand. And if you don't, go get the pattern and try it out.
Really easy.

And really, what's not to love? I'm even going to be using this pattern for Elizabeth's long sleeved tees - I just measured and hacked the pattern off. Only on the tees, I'm going to gather the neckline instead of pleat. I love pleats, but the gathering will be a little bit more casual looking. Excellent for tees.

Would you like fries with that?
Another little dress that I finished up was the much-anticipated School Uniform Dress knock off that I made from some of the Boy Scout's old work shirts. I have pictures of the before - the work shirts before I started cutting in to them. And while the franchise office said he could keep them since they were changing over to all dress-shirt-and-tie business, I don't trust that blatantly advertising the name of his company won't bring down the wrath of the CEOs and them take away a dress this adorable.
No, just a large juice box.

Granted, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out, but I doubt that the Powers That Be are reading this blog.I cannibalized a 4t boys polo shirt for the pieces, then left the original placket intact and added a dummy button below the functional one. I love that I have enough of the teal left over to add another ruffle to the bottom! She will need it before she outgrows this little dress. I wonder when 'teal' month is at playschool?

Trivia: My sister named me for...?
 This little dress is getting called the Little House dress. It is another Simplicity 2377 and it is so long! But I've already cut off a lot, so I'm just going to leave it alone. The fabric was in a bag of stuff my great-aunt and her daughter gave me last week. It was an a-line skirt when I took it out of the bag. Next day, it was this dress.

I'd made up some green gingham bias tape for my first attempt at the no big dill bias tape tutorial and then promptly forgot that I had it. I found it again and decided that using it on this would be both cute and handy.

Laura! From the Little House show.
I've decided that casings are just too easy not to use. And using the bias tape around the bottom hem adds weight without bulk, which is great on this dress since the fabric is so very thin. This dress is great for fall in the Southeast - fall colors, summer weight. And considering that we will be going to the National Banana Pudding Festival in a couple of very short weeks, it will be nice to have something on Elizabeth that can be layered.

And last but not least, the jeans. These are Made by Rae's Big Butt Baby Pants pattern. Elizabeth wore them so much that when I dropped the hem for this year, there was a wear line! So, I snatched this ribbon from one of her birthday presents and worked my magic. I can't believe she's grown so much! The original hem was at the red stripe on the ribbon. Where'd my wee-baby go?
Well, wherever that small little thing went, she'll be looking pretty adorable in her rainbow pants. Although I think I can file 'bows for jeans' under Not Doing It Again.

Laura H. Thursday, September 13, 2012

I got Rae's (of Made by Rae fame) pattern for a Pierrot tunic instead of the Charlie tunic because of the big old goofball ruffle around the neck. Then I realized that I have about two fabrics that would look anywhere near okay with a ruffle at the neck. And both of those are spoken for for other things.

So the first two I make? No ruffle!

 From the depths of the 'why did i buy that?' bin comes this fabric. I've still got a lot left! It is so big and bold and busy that little Elizabeth is only just now big enough to wear it without looking like some sort of crazy-print loving mommy is trying to make her suffer. Still, this is a pattern 3 and we will see how it fits. I love that this pattern only touches the child at the shoulder - it means I can add a little to the hem and she will be wearing it for YEARS.

Hey, my kid! I can dress her crazy until she protests! And she's only protesting clothes in general right now, not specific items
 This one is awfully fun. See, back in our pre-child days when we shopped a certain blue-and-white clad major chain store for everything, our newly-wed selves needed both a Christmas tree and ornaments. We were (as ever) pretty broke so we went with the multi-box of assorted colored ornaments. We open the box at home and start pulling out and hanging ornaments on the tree.

The Boy Scout pulls out a mushroom shaped one. We laugh. Then I pull one out. This continues until there are eight of these things! Thus a tradition is born - every year, we hit up that same big chain store and search until we find a mushroom shaped ornament. Sadly, the past two years, there's not been *any* mushroom ornaments to be had. But this year, our own little fungus can be decked out in mushrooms! They will go great with her burgundy corduroy pants!


Anyway, here's some detail shots of the necks. The casings are just bias tape. The orange is store bought and left over from Elizabeth's Halloween outfit last year. The red check is made my me! See, I do use those remnants!

Laura H. Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Just in time for cooler weather (hey! low 70s is cooler around here!) I decided that Elizabeth needed a few new dresses. I've done three this weekend - The 'why-did-i-ever-buy-this-fabric' dress, the 'very-nearly-free' school uniform style dress, and the Little House on the Prairie dress. Here's the 'why-did-i-ever-buy-this-fabric' one!

 This pattern is my own personal go-to pattern. When there's a play-dress needed, this is what I use for wovens. It is Simplicity 2377. When I bought it, Elizabeth wore a 2. So I also have Simplicity 5695, which is the smaller sizes and fewer options version. I've made both but this is the first one I've made with the next size built in.

See, I sew for keeps. And play-dresses are kind of a dime a dozen. But I *know* that before winter's end Elizabeth is going to be firmly in a pattern 4. She's already in a store-bough 4t due to being a tall little person (she's just topped 36 inches tall. It's genetic!) And come to find out, this print of fabric is one I really like, tho it matches NOTHING on planet Earth except the other two fabrics in the series (which are both awful and hideous equally busy prints.)

So this little dress is sewn to a size three but cut to a size four! HA! Smarty pants Mommy!
 There are some pretty glaring changes that I made to the pattern. One is the shirring at the neck. There's very little of it, but it looks different from the pattern because of it. Also, the ultra-deep hem. About and inch and a half of it shows, but there is another inch folded over within that. And the sleeves did not get the elastic either. I decided that while the shirring is easy and the casings are easy, I am LAZY. Or I could blame it on wanting to be able to layer it in really cold weather (and shut it! 32 degrees Fahrenheit is COLD!)

 She wore this dress to playschool today and the Center Director pointed out the color of the month to her. They have a color focus for each month, and I think I may be a sneaky-pete and make a few more multi-colored dresses so she's nearly always wearing the color of the month. Next week, I'll show you the Little House on the Prairie dress that I made so she's got two days worth of brown to wear. Brown is this month's color and she only had one little Old Navy shirt in brown. Problem SOLVED.
 And here's just a couple of more pictures of my bubble-master girl. Another lovely thing about this dress - it doesn't show the bubble drips too much! Bet you didn't even know they were there, did you?

Laura H. Monday, September 3, 2012

Well, that took longer than I'd hoped.

Two days of fiddling and I've finally got this blog a new look. What do you think? I like it. It's the first time I've ever made my own header image and liked it.

It only took me ten tries before I was happy with the color of the little orange 'button' on the end. But here it is!

Today finds me unexpectedly toddler-free. I felt like death warmed over last night and my mom took Elizabeth for the night. I'm a lot better this morning and Elizabeth is coming home this afternoon. So, I've got a bit of freebie time and I'm thinking about what to do with it.

I think we all know what I'll end up doing!

I'm in the cutting stages right now still. It is slow going as I can't cut while Elizabeth is awake and running the show. I can't see her from where I cut, so I just play with her or draw endless moo-cows in red marker instead. Which is nice! My artistic skills have really developed under her demands of happy-faces, sad-faces, ducks, dogs, stars, and hearts. Oh, and the moo-cows. Mustn't forget the moo-cows.

But I could get a lot cut out this morning. I've already vacuumed and picked up stuff, so I really am free! Whee!

Is it telling that the only thing I really *want* to do is go get my little person?