10.24.2014

My Flip This Pattern {Hattie} Dress

This week I was a guest/competitor on Emily and Ashley's Flip This Pattern.  It's kind of ironic because I am so not the competitive type.  I'm more of the 'let's gather everyone together for a big group hug' type.  :) But I do enjoy the challenge of altering a pattern.  So when Emily and Ashley asked me, I was in.   (And if you saw my post over there, most of this post will be a repeat.)
flip this pattern hattie
The pattern being flipped was the Hattie Dress by Brownie Goose.
I think this dress is adorable by itself.  In fact, I have plans to make one straight up for Iris soon.  

While I do love altering patterns, my brain usually operates in the reverse of 'Flip This Pattern.'  I generally start with a idea and then find a pattern that I can alter to make my vision a reality.

iris lucia

So this time, I started with my favorite part of the pattern, what I wanted to keep - the sleeves.  There aren't a lot of dress patterns with long sleeves.  Then I went to my favorite source of inspiration, Pinterest.  I landed on this pin and decided to try to replicate it.

flip this pattern hattie

Given I loved those sleeves so much, the only change I made to them was to shorten the cuff by about an inch or so.

flip this pattern hattie 

Next, I removed the bodice pleat, drawing a standard bodice top while being sure to keep the Hattie's underarm curve shape.

hattie flip 

I wanted a loose fitting bodice, so I kept the Hattie's A-line shape and simply shortened it to hit at Iris's belly button.

hattie flip 

Then I added a gathered- but not too gathered- skirt.

hattie flip

I really debated as to whether I should line the bodice.  I ultimately decided not to, to give the dress a more flowy feel.  This allowed for easy construction being the Hattie pattern is also unlined.  I could pretty much follow the pattern instructions.

flip this pattern hattie 

This left my neckline unfinished.  I knew I wanted to finish it with bias binding - though technically not 'bias', because I cut it on the crossgrain.

iris lucia

The final small change I made was to make a fabric button loop rather than an elastic one.

flip this pattern hattie dress 

 Whenever I work with plaids, I'm always careful (and maybe a bit obsessive) about making sure my plaids match.  Whether it's the neckline binding, the cuffs, or the side seams, I'm always mindful when cutting plaids to hopefully make the dress more interesting.

hattie flip 

I bought my fabric here.  The description says it's a flannel but it didn't really feel like a flannel at all - in a good way.  I loved the weight and drape of it.  Within each of the cream lines is a subtle herringbone pattern.   Unfortunately, though, fabric.com says it's no longer available.  I hope they get more in stock soon.  It would make great scarf material, I think.

flip this pattern hattie

It was fun to Flip This Pattern.  I hope to make another version of this dress soon.

Have a happy weekend!

10.22.2014

Iris Turns 3 - and a Scooby Doo Birthday Party

Right now my kids are big-time fans of Scooby Doo.  Whenever we have a movie night, they always choose to watch Scooby.  Every time.  Iris is particularly obsessed.  She's at that age where she has the most incredible imagination and it makes everything pretty magical.  This summer when we dropped the kids off at summer school, we didn't drive our mini-van.  Nope, it was the Mystery Machine.  And when we left the school, we always had to be sure that each member of the Scooby gang was buckled in.  Iris would ask : "Are you buckled in, Freddy?" and so on.  (Thankfully, her invisible friends buckled up quickly, unlike three year old Jude's invisible pal 'Jude' who took f o r e v e r.)

So the kids thought it would be a great idea to have a Scooby Doo party for Iris' birthday.   Not just any party, though, a Scooby costume party.

iris' bday iris' bday 

The brainstorming continued and they decided that we must also decorate our house to make it like a Scooby Doo haunted house.  We don't like to do anything too creepy so we stuck with cobwebs and spiders.

iris' bday iris' bday

It worked out great with Halloween right around the corner.  They'll wear the costumes again then and we'll also leave up all those decorations, too.  Dual-purpose.  I like it!

iris' party iris' party iris' party

I didn't make any of their costumes this year.  I went all out last year, so I took this year off.  :) These costumes all came from Amazon.

Iris took her role as Scooby veeery seriously.

iris' party iris' party 

Dan's brother, Josh, was in Texas on a business trip.  He rented a car and drove two hours out of his way to see us!  Not only was he game for dressing up as a Scooby character, but he also jumped right in to help with the party.  He made hamburgers and grilled with Dan.  He played pin the tag on Scooby with the kids as well as Hide-and-Seek.  He let Iris stamp him with her Scooby stamps.  He talked legos and model airplanes with Jude.  He's an engineer and has his pilot's license.  Not only can he fly planes but he has even built one!  Jude was totally in awe of him.

iris' bday

We all enjoyed seeing Josh so much!  He is such a great person and it's so fun to see Dan and him together.  They're both so witty - I think I was laughing most of the time!

iris' bday

The kids and I have a tradition of frosting the cake right before we sing Happy Birthday.  The birthday kid and I make the frosting together.  It's something they really love and look forward to, even though it's such a small thing.  It ended up getting late on Iris' birthday so we asked if she wanted to do her cake the next day.  Which, of course meant the party would continue for one more day.  She liked that idea.

iris' party 

 The next day she wore her Scooby costume the entire day.  It was so cute.

iris' bday

Then we finally frosted that cake.

iris' bday iris' bday

(Those are graham cracker Scooby snacks.) 

 While we were making the frosting, Iris accidentally spilled vanilla on her Scooby costume, so she put on a sparkly headband and called it good.

Iris' bday 

 Of course, we did have to wash the costume immediately so she could wear it again the following day.

iris' bday 

 While I took this photo of Iris, Indigo put her mustache on Hazel.  It reminded me of this.

iris' bday

Oh, I've got my hands full with these guys, all right!  But my heart's full, too.  ;)

10.20.2014

Celebrating Baby {Free} Newborn Gown Pattern and Tutorial

Well, guys, I finally finished it - my newborn gown pattern!  I hope you like it as much as I do!  I believe that babies should be celebrated.  So I created this pattern to help you celebrate your baby - or your friends' babies - with a newborn gown!


You'll need:
-the pattern (at the bottom of this post)
-1 yard of medium weight knit fabric
-Ball point needle
-16 inches of 1/2" elastic
-100% polyester thread or stretch thread

You will need to cut several binding strips.  Be sure to cut them in the direction of the stretch.
I would recommend a thinner knit (instead of a heavier ribbing) for these strips.  I often like to use the same knit as my main fabric.  If you'd like more info on cutting binding strips for knits, check out this post.

-One 1.5" long x 9.5"wide strip of knit fabric for the front binding
-One 1.5" long x 9 inch wide strip of knit fabric for the back binding

If you would like to use bias binding on the sleeves you will also need:
-Two 1.5" long x 6.5" wide strips



Or you can hem the sleeves.

Optional:
Double needle
Stretch Thread
(Rae wrote a fantastic post about stretch thread here.)

A few things, before getting started:

-After you print the pattern, be sure that the 1 inch box on page one measures at 1 inch.

-Tape the pattern together so the lines at the top and bottom of each page overlap.  Trim away the paper above or below the line.

-If using a double needle with stretch thread I would recommend using a size 4,0/80 not a 2,0/80.  I had a lot of trouble with my thread getting tangled using the 2,0/80.  I like to use this double stretch needle.

-Using a double needle is actually very simple.  Here's a great tutorial on how to do it.

-Be sure to prewash and machine dry your knit fabric before use.  Knit fabric shrinks quite a lot, so don't skip this step!

-When sewing with knits using a straight stitch (with stretch thread) or a double needle, I like to increase my stitch length to between 3.2-3.8.

-I start sewing about 1/4"-1/2" away from the fabric edge and then backstitch to the edge, otherwise I find that my machine eats my knit fabric, pulling it down into the needle plate.  

-I like to use polyester thread for all of my seams (the side seams and the sleeve seams) and stretch thread for the bindings and the hem.  If you only have polyester thread, that's fine too!  I've made six with polyester thread only, without any problems.  100% cotton thread is more prone to breakage.

All seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise noted.

Construction:

We'll start by sewing on all of the bindings, both to the front and back necklines and the sleeves (if you are using the bindings on the sleeves).  If you plan to hem the sleeves, you'll do that at the end.  :)

Pin the right side of the binding strip to the wrong side of  fabric, once at each end and once in the middle.  Add additional pins as needed.




Then sew with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press the binding strip up.


Turn to the right side and fold the raw edge by 3/8".  Press.



Fold the pressed edge over, covering your stitching line.  Edgestitch.

(Since I was using stretch thread, I sewed the bindings on with a longish (3.2) straight stitch.  The truth is, though, I have made 6 of these gowns without using stretch thread and have used a longer straight stitch on all of them without any problems after two months of wear.  Technically speaking, though, you would use a double needle for this step.)




Place the back gown piece on top of the front gown piece, overlapping the two pieces between the lines you marked, as indicated on the pattern pieces.  Pin and then baste.



Fold the gown onto itself to find the center point at the shoulder.  Mark this point.


Match the center point of your sleeve to the center point on the shoulder.  If you forgot to mark the center point, just fold the sleeve in half to find it.  Pin, right sides together, at the center and the two ends first.  Then add more pins as needed.



Sew on the sleeve.  Repeat with the other sleeve.

After your sleeves are sewn on you will sew your gown sleeve and side seams.  Turn the gown onto itself, right sides together.  Pin, matching sleeve bindings, if applicable, and side seams.  (Sometimes knit fabric will shift a little during cutting and the gown might be slightly off at the bottom edge.  If this happens, just trim the edge so it's even.)



Then sew the seam in one fell swoop, from the sleeve edge all the way down to the bottom edge.  I use a stretch stitch for this step.  A narrow zigzag stitch (.5 mm in width and 2.5-3.0 in length is often suggested) would work, too.

If your seam gets wavy at this step (or ever) just press it really well with a hot iron and that should take care of it!

Press the bottom edge of gown up 1" to form a hem casing.  Since knits do not fray, I choose not to finish my raw edge.  The double needle (or zigzag stitch) gives it a finished looked.


Stitch using a straight stitch with a double needle, a stretch stitch or a zig zag stitch, using a 6/8" seam allowance.   Leave 1-2" open to insert the elastic.

When not using stretch thread, I found my hem broke once when sewn with a double needle, but not when sewn with a zigzag stitch.  When sewing the hem with a zigzag stitch, I stretched the fabric slightly as I went.  Given the hem casing is gathered by elastic, I felt the zigzag stitch still resulted in a nice finish.  I would recommend this method, if not using stretch thread.



Thread your 16" piece of elastic through the casing.  Stitch the elastic together securely.  Then stitch the opening on the hem casing closed.

If you are choosing to hem your sleeves, do so now.  Press the sleeve edges to the wrong side by 1/2".  Then hem them use a 3/8" seam allowance using your preferred method.

And there you have it!  Your finished newborn gown!


When printing the pattern make sure your page size is set to 'Letter' and that 'Fit to Page' is NOT checked.




10.15.2014

Hazel is Two Months Old!

Last weekend Hazel turned 2 months old.

hazel - two months old

I am still loving the Boba wrap.  This thing is worth its weight in gold.  I use it all the time.  The key is to wrap it really tight before you put the baby in, so the baby stays high and secure.

wrapped in love :) 
(flower from Tia )

We own a bouncy seat and a baby swing and both are basically collecting dust because this girl is always in arms.  Not only mine, but also those of her siblings.  She might very well be the most doted on baby around.

loved

It's a curious thing how easily the kids have adapted to having a new baby in the house.  I can tell you when Indigo was a baby, this was so not the case for Jude.  He did not approve.  Baby Indigo would be sitting up playing with a block or two and he'd walk by and give her small shove, just enough to knock her off kilter.  She'd teeter from side to side before finally toppling over... kind of like a bowling pin.  Now those two are the best of friends and Jude even complains about being 'lonely' if the girls are gone for an hour or two.

pals

It would've been nice to know this back when Jude thought we had ruined his life.  :)

my laundry companion
my laundry folding companion

After we adopted Tia, Indigo also had some bouts of jealousy, but it was a much easier transition than it had been going from 1 to 2.  I'd say each transition has been easier than the last.

coos
coos!

This time, the kids are like,"The more the merrier!".  Heck, I'm pretty sure they see Hazel as their very own (live) baby doll.

little buddy

Sometimes I even have to remind Iris to be a little less, shall we say 'enthusiastic' in her demonstrative affections toward her new baby sister.

bliss

For awhile now I had been wanting to get a photo of Hazel's hairstyle a la Dr Seuss.

hazey's dr seuss hair

I just love it so much, but was having a hard time capturing it on camera.  Finally, Dan did it for me.

hazel - two months

Oh I can't tell you how thankful I am to have our Hazel.

hazel - two months

We've had easy days.

smiles

And we've had our harder ones (and not always just with Hazel). :)

baking gone bad

Through it all, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift that she is to all of us.  Really, there's not a day that goes by that I don't feel that.  When Hazel smiles back at me with her big toothless grin or stares at me with those saucer eyes, my heart nearly bursts.

eyes

I'm so thankful for all of them.

lashes