Friday, June 15, 2012

Gifts for Teachers

Why do I torture myself by waiting till the last minute?  I started these totes the day before I was supposed to deliver them.  Seriously, I was up till the wee hours of the morning finishing them up.

They are part of a gift set that me and a couple of other moms put together for s's teachers as an end-of-the-year gift.  The totes were filled with summer essentials including flip-flops, sunscreen, and a bottle of wine.  The other two moms also made handmade items:  personalized cups and journals and bookmarks made from vintage books.  I wish I had taken pictures of the gifts once they were put together. They were truly amazing.
   As a former teacher, I am happy to show my gratitude to those who have dedicated their lives to nurturing other people's children.  I know from first-hand experience how hard they work.
Okay, I'll get off my soapbox and let you in on the deets.  The pattern is The Jane Market Bag designed by the super-talented Alicia Paulsen of Posy Gets Cosy.  By the way, I am also happy to support our local (Portland, OR)  artists and businesses.  It's an easy and quick tote, no pattern pieces, just dimensions that you measure out yourself.  I changed a few things though.  First, I only had pockets on one side because I cut out two pocket pieces and sewed them together thinking that they were lined, then I was in too much of a hurry to pick the seam apart and decided that the bag only really needed the one pocket anyway.  I also added a double-stitched seam about two thirds of the way down from the top of the pocket; I just felt that the pocket was too deep without the seam.  Another modification that I made was to sew the handles between the lining and the top layer for a cleaner look.  The handles were ready-made nylon straps, a nice short-cut which I am sure saved me an hour of so of work.  
The lining was made from laminated cotton that I had laying around and the outside fabrics were duck cloth for the solids and outdoor canvas for the prints.  The laminated cotton was kind of a chore to deal with.  I had to pull the fabric through the feed because it kept getting stuck.  I believe that a teflon foot would have helped.  Or maybe tape under the foot?  And a word of warning on sewing with outdoor canvas.  Make sure that your iron is not too hot or you will burn a hole through the fabric.  I found this out the hard way.

The pattern's instruction in regards to the pleats on the sides of the bags was to put together the whole bag first, then sew a seam down the side, catching the lining in the seam.  Because I was using heavier fabrics than the calico that the pattern recommended, I felt that this was not feasible.  So before joining the lining and the main bag, I sewed the pleats on the outside only; the lining was left unatached except for the top. 

On a final and somewhat related note, I will leave you with pictures of S on her first and last day of preschool, wearing her Oliver and S playdate dress.

First day of school (above).  Last day of school (right).
Look how much she's grown!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

a pirate's life's for me....

My baby turned 2 recently!  We had a little pirate-themed party to celebrate.  I found the pink skull knit fabric at Mill-End and made both girls pirate dresses for the occasion.  The pattern is Lil Blue Boo's Racerback Tunic Dress.  I've made 3 versions of this dress, the first one I blogged about here.

This pattern is so quick and easy I've got it down under 2 hours from start to finish.  With leggings or shorts it is the perfect summertime playdress. 

You can tell what a mischievious little monkey she is!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Itty Bitty Baby Gifts

I went to a baby shower yesterday.  After about the 10th time (no exaggeration!) I was getting tired of my usual go-to gift for expectant moms, the Amy Butler Everyday Diaper Bag seen here.  Then I remembered that while pregnant with B, I really wanted to make her Made by Rae's  Itty Bitty Baby Dress, a free newborn baby dress pattern. 

I used fabric and trims I had in my stash.  The hem is actually grosgrain ribbon, not bias tape that the pattern called for.  The fabric is by Liz Scott.  It came together really fast
I also made a peekaboo bonnet to match, another pattern by Rae.  I had made this pattern before, last summer when B was still a baby  .  

Again I used grosgain ribbon for the ties.  I was too lazy to make my own bias tape.  I also stitched in the ditch instead of hand-sewing the two sides together.  The result wasn't too awful.

Here's the reverse side.  The fabric is a purple moda bella solid which I also used for the lining of the dress bodice.

Here's the whole outfit together and below is  a detail of the bodice.