Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Sure enough, the vest looks better now that all the parts have been collected! Now I'd better get wrapping.

We've been around here putting our baby dolls into mangers (which means, anything rectangular, like diaper boxes or bread pans), bearing gifts on our camels and escaping from that evil king, Harrod. Oh, and if you hear some screaming in the background, don't be alarmed. It's just the angels visiting the shepherds, and they are sore afraid.

Anyway, we're pretty excited about Christmas, and we hope you have a good one! See you in the new year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Christmas . . . Swimsuit.

Yes, that's right. Now I know that swimming apparel is not exactly normal Christmas gifting material, but this was a case of necessity. The bigger girls get, the harder it is to find those nice "rash guard" swimsuits that actually offer good coverage. So I decided it was time to take the plunge and try making a swimsuit. We'll have some opportunities to swim in the spring, and I knew I'd better get it made before the baby comes or we'd be in a pickle! Hence, the Christmas deadline.
If you have difficulty keeping your paper in place when tracing from a multi size pattern,
always use Sea Salt to hold your paper down. It's healthier.
I've had the pattern on hand for a while. I wanted a one-piece with actual straps, not string, a modest neckline and a cut that looks more like shorts and less like underwear. When I saw this one, sized for girls through ladies, I knew I needed it for my stash!

I was a little nervous about making a swimsuit, especially as my serger has been acting up. But I needed to change the thread color anyway, and decided to try out the stretch knit setting. Lo and behold, as I started to reset the various dials, I discovered the problem - my serger wasn't broken after all! Some of my settings had been, well, re-adjusted by certain little people. No wonder the thread had been breaking!
With the serger up and running properly, the suit itself was a breeze! I added an inch to the legs. I would have loved to have made a cute skirt to go with it, but I simply didn't have enough fabric. (I'd purchased the fabric a while back, when Sugar Muffin was a smaller size, but we'd managed to get another summer out of her old suit.) And yes, it is sewn with the wrong side of the fabric out! I showed Sugar Muffin the fabric a while back, and she liked the pink side best.
I'm not sure if you can see it, but I reinforced the neck and arm holes with some plastic elastic. It feels nice and secure, but still has a little stretch. Now, I just hope it fits well! I went off the measurements, but you never can tell if it will run large or something.
Anyway, I've finished my other Christmas sewing project. And it's not even Christmas Eve yet! ;-)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Sewing

You wouldn't know it from the blog so far, but I have sons. Two of them (maybe even three, just don't know about the baby yet!). And while I love them every bit as much as Sugar Muffin, they haven't really made it on here, because I don't sew for them very much. To be perfectly honest, little boys just aren't as much fun to sew for as little girls.

Unless, of course, you're in the market for some Cowboy Duds!

We are in need of some masculine dress up clothes this year, and when I ran across this picture it got me thinking:

This was the cheapest version, and it still cost a hefty chunk of my Christmas budget. But that's what sewing machines are for! So I pulled out some scraps and an old pattern and got to work.

The pattern was a size four, but I scaled it up a bit to give Snickerdoodle some room to grow. I chose a cotton in his favorite blue, to contrast with a dollar store bandana. I also found some gold fabric in the stash, so I decided to add a sheriff star - one more free element added to the outfit!

I printed out a free star template, and made it a smidge smaller. I put the gold scrap on the wrong side of the front piece, sewed around the star (twice, so it doesn't fray too much) and clipped out the center to let the gold show through.

I need to iron it (it's not as crooked in real life as it looks here), and the vest looks a little lonely all by itself. But when the hat, bandana and stick horse arrive (Who wants chaps when you could have a stick horse instead!) I think it will fit the bill.

Now, I just hope he likes it!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tips for a Cute Pregnancy: Your Waist

Yes, you do actually have a waist, even while your pregnant. It's just higher than it used to be! And in nine outfits out of ten, it simply looks better to define it.
Tip #2: Define your waist.
Some maternity shirts have elastic or detailing that defines it for you. But for many shirts, or if you're using a piece from your regular wardrobe, a thin to skinny belt can be a big help.
 That non maternity shirt again, with a belt to make it work!

I especially love to use belts early on, when it's hard for people to tell if you're actually pregnant or if you ate too much turkey and stuffing! Given the options, since I am pregnant, I'd rather look pregnant!

Here's an example of what a belt can do:


Same outfit, same day, same angle, all I did was add a belt. It's fast, easy and cheap, but it really can make a huge difference!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tips for a Cute Pregnancy

Two posts in one week! Hasn't happened for a while, and probably won't happen much in the next 3-4 months, as I've got a top secret and time consuming project I'm trying to finish before baby comes. I can't wait to share it as soon as I can! But until then, it might be quiet over here.
Now, to kick off my pregnancy dressing series. Being pregnant for the first time is quite an adventure. Your shape is radically changing, you've got a whole wardrobe to scramble up, and (if you're like most folks) not a lot to spend on it. AND you're trying to re-figure out what looks good on you.
Four pregnancies in, I've learned a lot about what I like, built a basic wardrobe, and collected a whole file of cute pictures on my computer for inspiration! So, I'm going to share my thoughts (and pictures) in the hopes that is will be helpful to someone. Basically, I'm going to do the blog series I would love to find somewhere!

Without further ado: TIP #1 Use regular pieces that can grow a little.

These are not maternity clothes.  Neither is the top I'm wearing in this post, but the green sweater works for the first trimester because of it's baby doll styling. My shirt today has a loose and flow-y style, and it's fairly long. And the belt of the jacket can be tied above-bump (especially now before the baby gets very big). Anything loose, long or in a high waisted style is a good candidate for your early maternity wardrobe. By mixing regular clothes with maternity pieces, you give yourself a lot more possibilities.

This picture was made possible by the Bathroom Mirror.
One last little thought. You won't be a Cute Pregnant Lady if you're complaining. Whether it's those uncomfortable (or sometimes miserable) side effects, the goofy things your body is doing, or the fact that this little one didn't come on your timetable (or other, more serious circumstances), there is always something negative you could focus on. It's so easy to do!
If that's where you're at, let me remind you that each new life is a gift from God. And He didn't give this new life because He had the illusion that you would be a perfect mother. Or to overwhelm you. Or because He forgot what was happening in your life. He gave you this gift, so He could show Himself strong for you. So that you could learn more about His giving kind of love. To give you the opportunity to be involved in something truly significant.  He gave you this gift because He loves you.
Sometimes God withholds a gift we think would be good out of the same motivation - as in invitation to experience His love. But that's another topic for another day.
And to bring things around from the sublime back to the trivial, no accessory is more crucial to the Cute Pregnant Lady look than a happy, grateful smile. :-)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

For the Dress Obsessed . . .

Sugar Muffin is going through a dress phase - all she wants to wear is something with a swishy skirt. I can't blame her, after all, she got it from me! I was a good seven years old before I decided that pants had their merits, and I still love to wear skirts in daily life. So there was only one thing to do - make the girl some play dresses.
I had some fabric in my stash, and since Sugar Muffin looks great in royal blue, I picked up a shirt to match. Ruffles and Stuff has a fantastic play dress tutorial, so I won't go into that here, but they are super easy to whip up! They are also very cheap - an important factor for something that will probably acquire grass stains.

To decorate the top, I decided to try for a three flower corsage look. Unfortunately, it looks a bit more like a blue and white amoeba! But that's the fun of a play dress - it doesn't really matter if it turns out fantastic, or simply "meh", because it's just for everyday wear.

I made the skirt extra long and full for twirling and . . .

. . . the Princess is happy. And now we have something else to wear to Walmart that isn't velvet. ;-)