kidsewing

Waka Waka

This summer has been a wild one, seeming so slow, then crazy busy, always going by too fast. (Summer is like that. I think it’s fleeting nature makes me love it more. It’s hard to love crazy heat and humidity when it hangs around too long.) Importantly, some dear friends of mine were expecting a baby midsummer. I had a grand plan for something highly complicated, and each time I simplified the plan the project got easier, but more importantly, better. My whole time working on it I’ve had this quote from the opening of Pride and Prejudice stuck in my head:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. 

Of course my mangled mind deemed that in the same vein that a fresh baby, in acquaintance of a good quilter, must be in need of a quilt. This baby has a big sister whose baby quilt features Kermit the Frog and as such needed something in the Muppet family to stay on theme.

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Now, I had planned this quilt far in advance to give myself lots of time. Unfortunately, all I had were plans, and all she had was hurry because she arrived three weeks early and I had only just purchased the fabric. In the end, this worked out well, as I was able to incorporate her name into the quilt. I used a paper piecing patter that was free from Fandom in Stitches, printed at 200% for a 20” block rather than the drafted 10”. This pattern looks great when done but it is decidedly not for the faint of heart. It had 135 pieces and even doubled in size there was a not insubstantial number of pieces that were so small I couldn’t read the labelling and had to fiddle around figuring out which piece was which. (The smallest was a piece of the eyelid so small that it was barely 1/8” tall.) I did do a dumb thing and print, tape and cut out the entire thing on regular printer paper before I remembered I much prefer my newsprint for paper piecing. It worked out well, since I cut out each individual piece from the thicker paper and was able to use them as cutting templates.

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The lettering is a personal favorite. The pattern is drafted so well, it always comes out looking so impressive. It’s My First Alphabet by From Blank Pages. Framing the text in a cartoon speech bubble was a stroke of a genius (if I may toot my own horn) as I was beginning to plan out the quilting. Beyond that I outlined Fozzie’s head, eyes and mouth and stitched vertical lines 3” apart, going around the main motifs. I’ll be honest, the quilting is my least favorite part (besides basting, but no one likes basting). I also really like fluff and drape in a quilt so sparse quilting works for me and is my go to. I think it works well here.

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I made a label using a Dear Stella fabric that has a bunch of printed labels you can fill in. I played with the monogramming feature on my machine to embroider the label. It did go a little sideways but I still think it looks nice. You can see that I am quite the novice at needle turn appliqué but hey, you know it’s handmade.

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I had the pleasure of gifting it to said lovely baby upon meeting her tonight and it was just a delight. My friend told me she had forgotten to buy a quilt in the lead up to baby’s arrival and was planning to do so ASAP but I beat her to the punch! Perfect. Then she said the thing everyone wants to hear about a thing you’ve made with your hands and your heart and given freely:

This is the best present we’ve gotten.

There is a truly nothing better. I am the cat that caught the canary.

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So, I did a thing. I couldn't resist.

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In my defense, she loves to wear matching stuff. I do too. I love the compliments and feeling cutesy with my girl.

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Confession: I'm not going to stop until she makes me and I hope that day is far, far away.

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Pattern is the free Popover Dress from Oliver and S. It took about 90 minutes from idea to finished product and that was mostly due to the fact that I did a bias tape hem instead of a double fold and that I tried it on her to double check the length of the shoulder straps (I didn't bother measuring against the cut pattern piece). I used leftover fabric from my Jessica Dress. You can check out the details in my last post here.

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She loves it, it's super comfy. I recommend it if you need a quick palate cleanser project. I can easily get a size 3 (that's what I used, same as last year. She's gotten taller but not broader.) on less than half a yard of fabric.

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And in case you need further proof that we are related, here you have it.

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Poppy - Pattern Testing

I am a magpie when it comes to patterns. Always into the new and shiny. I love the Jo-Ann pattern sales and just grab up tons of $1 Simplicity and $2 McCall's. But as I get more experienced at sewing garments for myself and my kid (all of my early, formal sewing education was costuming, so I never got much guidance in how to select and tweak patterns for my own body), I'm learning the value of TNT (tried and true) patterns and designers.

For me, I love Itch to Stitch. Kennis' block is just spot on for my body and her designs have a really classic, wearable aesthetic.  The only changes I have to make are usually to add length (I like tops longer than most designers or RTW manufacturers for that matter, design them) and sometimes grade between sizes, depending on my body measurements. Likewise, I've found the perfect designer for kid dresses: Bubby and Me Creations (the designer of my all time favorite kid sew, the Ava Dress). Both designers have really clear instructions, with professional finishes and layered pdfs (this is HUGE. It means that you can print the pattern in only the size(s) you need. No more going blind trying to find your line where ten sizes converge!).

I've been lucky enough to test upcoming patterns for both of them as well. In fact, I've got some tester photos and a review of the newest Bubby and Me pattern for you now. Poppy is a knit, princess seamed dress in toddler to big girl sizes. It has options for long or puffed sleeves, or sleeveless with armbands. It has circle and gathered skirt options (I went circle for both of mine for two reasons. Number one is obvious: maximum twirl factor. Photo evidence to come. Number two is my own oddity, but I feel like I have a problem with my serger making gathered seams in knit waistbands appear in big bumps rather than nice gathers when I finish the waistband seam allowance so I just try and avoid them.). There's optional faux piping (which looks so slick and was super easy) and a ton of color blocking opportunities.

 

See, I told you the twirl was out of this world. I used ITY on both versions from Gaffney Fabrics in Germantown, Philadelphia (a must shop if you sew and are ever in the area). I picked the purple and yellow but she was adamant about the black flowers. At $3/yd. we compromised and got both. Her review was as follows: 

I like it because it has a big neck hole and doesn’t squish my face. It is great for spins! Here watch!
— Nina

I made the first version with long sleeves per her request but now that the temps are warming up around here (HELLLOOOOO SPRING!) I'm planning to shorten the sleeves this week. There was no unpuffed short sleeve cut line in the tester version so for the flower dress I sewed up the long sleeve version, tried it on her, had her point to where she wanted the sleeve to end, cut it an inch longer than that and hemmed. I didn't bother to hem the purple skirt because my fabric didn't even curl. It looks even better than the rolled hem I attempted on the subsequent version.

Here's a shot of the faux piping because I love it so hard. I'm totally using this trick in garments for myself in the future.

Here's a shot of the faux piping because I love it so hard. I'm totally using this trick in garments for myself in the future.

If you couldn't tell already, I highly recommend this pattern. I've gotten tons of compliments on it and I have to explain to Nina that she can't wear the same two dresses to school every day. Once I have a bit of time to sew for myself I'm going to make up a few sleeveless versions for this summer. With pockets this time (once I find a pocket pattern to steal from elsewhere) because the circle skirt has side seams. This has the added bonus of taking less fabric because you can stagger the pattern piece instead of needing the full width to cut a traditional full circle skirt. You can get Poppy for yourself (well, your kid. I keep nagging on Nikki to make her designs in mom size too. I'm milking the age where twinning with mom is cool for all its worth!) right here. And send me your photos when you're done, I want to see!

Best of all, Poppy is on sale right now for $9! It will go back up to the regular $11 price in the next few hours so go ahead and snap it up now!

 

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