Mar 30, 2014

the boy is two

Colin turned two back on the 19th, and I have to say, two might be my favorite moment of toddler-hood.  Colin at two is the best combination of sweet, squishy, rebellious, and hilarious.   One minute, he wants to snuggle and cuddle and "bwush uh hair, Mama" (apparently, my hair is quite twirl-able), and the next minute, the boy is all "noooo! my turn!!" I came to the realization recently that I don't have any babies in my house anymore, and I think it hit me so hard because Colin seems more "big kid" than Cara did at two.  Of course, he has a real big kid to keep up with, and he definitely holds his own.  Cara gets wrestled to the ground by her little brother fairly regularly, but he also plays with his fair share of princesses and dolls.  After seeing him decked out in jewelry and crowns a few too many times, I decided it was time for the boy to have his own dress up/adventure clothes.  (Not that there's anything wrong with boys dressing up in jewelry and crowns--I'm all for letting the imagination run free--however, the traditional boy options were a bit limited over here.)

I never thought I'd see the day when I wandered into the fabric store in search of camouflage.  I went in picturing something more abstract and walked out with what my husband called "real tree."  I still don't know what that means exactly, but he approved of my camo choice.  I used the Explorer Vest pattern from Little Things to Sew in the smallest size. Oliver and S never does me wrong.  I wanted this vest to be fully reversible, so I used patch pockets for both sides so that they wouldn't be too bulky, and I left off the buttons so that Colin could get this on and off by himself.  I originally intended for this vest to be strictly for dress-up and playing at home, but it turned out so cute that I might consider letting Colin wear it out in public.  This is South Carolina, after all.

To go with the vest, I also added the Bucket Hat from Little Things to Sew, again reversible.  It took the largest size for this hat to fit on Colin's giant noggin. :-)

Colin's enthusiasm for this little camo ensemble comes and goes.  When I first showed him the vest, he told me that he didn't like it.  Fortunately, I have thick skin and lots of patience.  It took a week of leaving it sitting around before he brought it me and asked for help putting it on.  Score one for Mom!

I tried to explain to Colin that he could hide in the woods in the backyard in his camouflage, and he really liked that idea.  He was not such a huge fan of taking pictures.

However, Cara knows how to get her brother tickled: hide behind a tree and play peek-a-boo.

Mar 12, 2014

the perfect dress

Cara has a Disney Princess book that she loves to read called "The Perfect Dress." It's one those step-into-reading books, and she's had it memorized since the day she got it.  The storyline is that all of the princesses have many activities to accomplish and events to attend, and each one of them is after the perfect dress for the occasion.  I have to admit, it's pretty tough to find a dress that goes from scrubbing the floor to a magic carpet ride to a ball.  I can sympathize.  Fortunately, I have the answer:  the Oliver and S Jump Rope Dress.

I have been feeling up for a new sewing challenge lately, and this dress fit the bill.  I wouldn't say it's difficult, but there are lots of details to handle.  In true Oliver and S fashion, the instructions are so thorough that even my button placket came out pretty close to perfect on the first try.  In addition to the button placket, there are sleeve tabs, a collar, a sash, and pockets on the skirt, but I was careful to be precise in my cutting and measuring, and everything went together like a dream.

It's hard to tell in these pictures, but the fabric is covered in kite tails, which only makes this dress even more perfect for spring.  To be honest, all I had to tell Cara was that it had a twirly skirt and a bow, and she was sold.  I love it because it looks a little bit more "big girl" and it can go from church to play time to birthday party in a breeze.

I made this one in a size 5.  It's a slightly slimmer fit than some of the other Oliver and S dresses I've made, with the exception of the Fairy Tale Dress, but I think it suits the style of this dress.  I'm crossing my fingers that it will last through the summer into the fall!

And there's nothing more perfect for my little princess than a dress that works just as well for swinging with Ariel as it does for riding bikes with your brother.

Mar 8, 2014

the two week tank top

If you're going to sew a garment completely by hand, obviously it's going to take a bit longer to complete it.  That's okay though.  I am so very proud of this tank top, perhaps precisely because it took nearly two weeks to finish.

This is the fitted tank top from Alabama Studio Sewing and Design made out of two XL t-shirts I picked up at Goodwill.  I made a quick muslin from another old t-shirt and decided to alter the neckline a bit, but I really like the fit of this version.  I would actually call this one a second muslin because my big undertaking is going to be a dress.  

I used the Paisley stencil (available for free on the Alabama Chanin website) in a backstitch reverse applique.  The first panel probably took a week to complete, but fortunately, the second went a little faster.  I left the back panels plain because I can't see them when I'm wearing this top. :-) Other than raising the neckline, I followed the instructions in the book to letter, sewing each seam by hand. 

There is something so soothing and organic about handsewing.  It is the perfect activity to keep me feeling productive while I binge-watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it's especially fun to see the design come together.  I am so glad the sun made an appearance this weekend so that I had a chance to wear this top.  I've been experimenting with ways to layer on cardigans, but I think a top like this just needs to be on display, not layered under frumpy sweaters and scarves.  Can you tell I'm ready for spring for real?

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