Liberty Scarf

Thanks for all of the great suggestions on machines and ideas for sewing with Elliot on the last post! It’s so fun to hear about your own experiences and what you’ve done with your own kids. That could be a whole new blog theme, for goodness sake.

I have been sewing so much this week that I’ve really been slacking on the blogging, sorry about that (it’s always a tricky balance). I have a couple of projects that I just finished that were started in New York for Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing Workshop that I want to show you that I’ll blog about next week. I also bought some new fabric in NYC and had to make this as soon as I came home:

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When I was at Purl Soho a couple weeks ago I couldn’t resist picking up a little Liberty lawn. It’s rather pricey stuff but when you see it in person you start to understand why. The prints are quite delicate and beautiful and the fabric itself is lightweight and silky. Liberty lawn reminds me quite a bit texture-wise of the Anna Maria Horner voiles; they’re all really wonderful fabrics to work with.

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I bought just a half yard of this modern striped one (it’s here on the Purl website, third to last row), I decided to make it into a loop scarf along with some natural linen/tencel blend. Anna Maria Horner had actually demonstrated in person how to make her “Figure 8 Scarf” at the Weekend Sewing Workshop (instructions are here on her blog). It was great to see her talk it through because when I first read her blog post on it I had gotten a little confused and thought it had a twist built into it, but it turns out it’s just a big loop, no twists, but you twist it to wear it, if that makes sense. Unfortunately I also only half-listening/half-working at the workshop (sensing a theme here, Spacey Mc Spaceman? OK and does that remind anyone else of 30 Rock?), I also missed the fact that the cuts for the scarf are 18″ by 72″ so my scarf (18″x54″) is a little shorter than it should be. It’s definitely big enough to fit over my head…it’s not strangling me or anything. Just do yourself a favor and cut the recommended length (or buy one of AMH’s kits here — Christmas gift anyone??) if you decide to make this for yourself.

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I like it. It’s very striking! And such a quick easy project, really fun. I have other plans for my other Liberty fabrics, so stay tuned!

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The 4 year old can operate my sewing machine.

I am like a proud mother hen. Do you know what this is?

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It’s the first bit of sewing Elliot’s ever done completely on his own. He doesn’t nap anymore in the afternoon so after his quiet time is over he wanders upstairs and (go figure) I’m almost always in the sewing room. Often I keep him busy while Clementine finishes her nap with games on the tablet or coloring or cutting or we play a (real) game. The other day he told me he wants to “sew something.” I gave him this scrap of fabric and put the pedal on a box so he could reach it with his foot and this was the result.

He did it all himself. There isn’t a bit of this that I helped him with. Here’s a little video so you can see for yourself:

If the embedded video isn’t working, click here: http://vimeo.com/30909143

I have to admit that as a mother of two young children, I usually feel a bit envious when other bloggers show off crafts they do with their kids. The craftiest I ever get with my kids is painting or play-dough. Wait, I think last winter we dyed noodles. Somehow though the creativity I feel when it comes to my own sewing never seems to translate into crafty activities with my children. So let me walk you through our process so you can see if this is something you think you might do with your own children. And if you’ve had success sewing with your little ones, please share!

It started with him sitting in my lap while I sewed, probably as early as two years ago. He has always been fascinated by the needle going up and down and after I put the proper amount of fear in him regarding the needle, he would watch and we’d talk about what the machine was doing. The next step was me I guiding scraps of fabric under the needle while he pushed the pedal with his foot. This always elicited much giggling and excitement as he learned what happened when he pushed the pedal down really hard or not so much. We made a simple two-layer blanket together a couple weeks ago, and I let him lift and lower the presser foot. I let him cut the thread with the little thread cutter or a kiddy scissors. And then last week he made this, all by himself.

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I’m a bit frustrated at the prospect of trying to buy him his own machine. If this interest continues there’s going to be a wait at the sewing machine unless I can find him one that he can have all to himself. How annoyed am I though that the only truly functional “kid” sewing machine (i.e. one that is not a toy) that is on the market right now is the Hello Kitty one? When I showed a picture of it online to Elliot he thought it was really cool, but it irks me enough on principle that the Hello Kitty and flowers are meant to be girly that I really can’t get behind it. Sewing in and of itself is not girly. So why can’t we make simple beginner machines for girls and boys? We have plenty of stickers here if bling really is the issue. There’s also the issue of getting a machine that can handle a little abuse. Most beginner machines aren’t built very well; I don’t want him to get frustrated if the thread starts jamming up all the time. Ironically he’s probably better off just using my Bernina.

Anyway, now that he can pretty much sew a line, I think he could sew something more practical and fun. He gets a little bored with the cutting out part of sewing, so it think it will have to be something small and simple. Any ideas?

Here it is! Pierrot Tunic PDF Sewing Pattern

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The Pierrot Tunic features a lovely gathered neckline, swingy ease and comfortable fit and looks fantastic with jeans or leggings! The elastic neckline and sleeves can be taken out as your child grows. Pierrot can be sewn entirely with a sewing machine; no serger necessary. Instructions are also included to extend the pattern if you would like to create a Pierrot dress or longer tunic.

This sewing pattern is a digital PDF sewing pattern that you purchase, download, and print at home. The 32-page eBook sewing pattern includes detailed step by step instructions, color photographs, printable instruction summary sheet and full-sized pattern pieces for NINE sizes (wow!) for babies and children. Seam allowances are included on all pattern pieces.

The digital eBook including pattern and instructions will be sent to your Paypal email address (please do not request that we forward to a different address. Thanks!) via instant download link as soon as payment is received.

SIZES INCLUDED
0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months, 2T, 3T, 4T, 5T*

*The 5T tunic can be easily lengthened to make a size 6 or 7 (maybe even 8??). Instructions for lengthening the pattern are included, but because we have not tested these sizes, please be aware that you will need to determine how much length to add based on other well-fitting garments in your child’s wardrobe.

$10 – Pierrot Tunic Sewing Pattern PDF

Buy Now

{Please read my purchasing/printing instructions first if you have never purchased an instant download PDF pattern before. Thanks!}

NOTE: This sewing pattern is intended for personal use only. A handmade sellers license for Pierrot is also available from the pattern page. For more information on the licenses and seller’s program, please visit the Seller’s Program page. If you purchase the sewing pattern without a license, please do not sell Pierrot Tunics or use the pattern for profit. Non-profit use for charity is usually fine, but please contact me first to request permission.

DIFFICULTY
This tunic is a “confident beginner” project. I would recommend this project to someone who knows how to sew a straight line backward and forward and can keep an even seam allowance on a curve. The following skills are also recommended: gathering, inserting elastic into a waistband, and hemming. Clear instructions are given for all of the steps, however, so a beginner who has confidence could definitely tackle this. I am always happy to assist you by answering questions via email if you should run across anything that is giving you trouble!

SERGER OR SEWING MACHINE?
Pierrot can be completed entirely without a serger. The ruffle edge at the neckline can be zigzag stitched (shown below left) or finished with a serger (shown below right); both take approximately the same time.

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MATERIALS
• Woven fabric such as shirting, cotton voile, cotton lawn, poplin, chambray, lightweight seersucker, baby wale cord, linen, flannel, or quilting cotton (see yardage chart below for amount)
• Elastic (1/4″ or 3/8″ wide, for neckline)
• Optional: prepackaged 1/2″ single-fold bias tape (or instructions for cutting your own bias tape included in pattern)

YARDAGE
(of 44” wide fabric; you’ll need less if your fabric is 54” or 60” wide)

Click here for size chart

What’s the difference between bias and straight of grain?
Cutting this tunic on the bias will give you a more “swingy” fit, but it can also be cut on the straight of grain to save fabric (I personally think it looks great either way). In the picture below, the tunic on the left was cut on the bias, and the tunic on the right was cut on the straight of grain.

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INSTANT DOWNLOAD
This 32 page PDF becomes available to you instantly via a download link as soon as payment is received* (Click on teeny tiny “Continue to download” link after making payment. Just in case you miss that, another link is automatically sent to your Paypal email address, but please make sure your Paypal email is up-to-date or you risk not getting it!). A chart is provided on the first page of the file so that you can save paper and ink by printing just the pattern sheets you need.

*e-Check payments take roughly a week to process, so your pattern will not be sent instantly if you use e-Check. The pattern will be sent to you automatically as soon as your payment clears.

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The Pierrot Tunic was featured on my blog on the following posts:
Pierrot Dress for Clementine (the red and white seersucker version)
I Couldn’t Help Myself (Another Pierrot Dress) (the blue chambray version)
Chambray Pants for Baby C
Another Pierrot (the hot pink voile version)
Friday Photos
Brace yourself for the cute: plaid pierrot (the red flannel plaid version)
Rockstar

BUY YOUR PIERROT TUNIC SEWING PATTERN NOW!*

$10

Buy Now

{Please read my purchasing/printing instructions first if you have never purchased an instant download PDF pattern before. Thanks!}

Share your photos: I can’t wait to see all of the cute little Pierrots you guys make! Please add your pictures to the Rae Made Me Do It or Pierrot Sewing Pattern photo pools so we can all see what you’ve made!

Thanks for your patience! As usual, please be patient with me as there are bound to be glitches at first. Please email me if there are any issues and we’ll get them worked out!

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Pierrot Testing

It always really amazes me how long it takes to make a sewing pattern. Theoretically each one I make should get faster but somehow that never seems to happen. I’ve had the sewing pattern for Pierrot more or less ready for two weeks, but between “being a mom” (which can mean anything: a trip to the zoo, the apple orchard, piles of laundry, a sick husband, and what I think was possibly the longest game of Chutes and Ladders in the history of the universe yesterday), friends visiting last weekend and a trip to New York, I really just haven’t had any time to get it up and running. The final push is always the most tedious, proofreading for what feels like the hundredth time, dealing with file size issues, making sure it prints correctly, making size charts for the blog…it’s that “packaging” at the end that always seems to take more time than anything else. I’ve learned over time to push away the frustration that comes with working at this pace…but still. As I write this the finished file sits fully completed on my computer, but I need a little break before I upload it and finish the “here it is!” post. So instead let me tease you with some adorable tester photos:

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One of my testers (Brit) has twins. TWINS!!! *dying of cute* I love that her neckband facings are contrasting/matching:

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Kristin from skirt as top made this one for KCWC last week — these colors are really amazing:

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a lovely ruffled polka dot one, also from skirt as top:

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Sharon sent over these great pictures of her little honeypie. I love her bun and her awesome attitude:

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This adorable Pierrot was made by Elaine who I met in New York at the Weekend Sewing workshop. It was so fun to work with her as a tester and then get to meet her in person!

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Here’s a couple by Shelby (you might remember her from Spring Top Week):

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I don’t know, can you even focus on the clothing when the face is this angelic?

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And I love this idea from Kelly of upcycling it from another knit top! What a great idea. It completely transforms it:

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Finally, this wonderful tasseled version with leggings from Suzanne:

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You can see the rest of the tester photos (that are uploaded so far) right here in the Pierrot pool. I think I had the largest group of testers so far; ten people helped out this time by making a Pierrot tunic, photographing it, and giving feedback on this pattern. I know that there are always many of you interested in testing, so I’ll make sure I put up a tester sign up sheet again when I’m ready to do another pattern. Thanks to everyone (Kathy, Kristin, Elaine, Suzanne, Sara, Shelby, Kelly, Jen, Sharon, and Brittney) who volunteered for this round!!!

Posted in pierrot
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Finito! Good Folks Shower Curtain

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Sometimes a work in progress sits for so long unfinished that I don’t even see it anymore. This patchwork shower curtain has been sitting in a pile for a couple of months (I gave a guess-what-this-is preview here, and a bunch of you guessed correctly, nice!). I finally focused in on it the other day and the only thing I had left to do was add the buttonholes on top. Seriously? So I spent a half hour sewing those on and it was finished. Do you ever finish something and then want to punch yourself for how long it took you to get to that last little thing? That is exactly what was going on here I tell you. Ridonkulous.

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This project is a pretty simple sew-it-up, just squares of patchwork sewn together (this fabric is all from the Good Folks line by Anna Maria Horner, who I met last weekend!!). Off the top of my head I don’t even remember how big the squares were (10″? 9.5″) but I have it written down in a notebook somewhere and will probably talk myself into writing a tutorial for this at some point. The only thing about making a shower curtain out of patchwork is that you have to decide what to do with the raw edges on the back. Do you leave them unfinished and assume you’ll never wash the thing? Do you trim them with a pinking shears? I supposed you could fold under and sew down all the raw edges if you were really super anal.

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I opted to sew the entire thing up with my serger. I didn’t sew the seams with a machine first, I just sewed all the pieces together with the serger, which also has a little pair of knives that trim the seam allowances as you sew, so for a project of this size it was definitely faster. I finished the edges and hem and added the buttonholes with my machine and it was done.

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I already want to make another one. Yes, that is insane, seeing as I only have one shower in my house. I’m envisioning the next one in solids, with grey, goldenrod yellow, and navy as the base colors. It wouldn’t match my crazy rhubarb pink towels though. For now I’m just enjoying this one. Yippee!

A dissection of the latest Anthropologie cover by toddlers

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image via

Elliot: What happened to her?

Clementine: Owie?

Me: I don’t think so. I think she’s just resting.

Clementine: Boo-boo?

Me: No, I think she’s just fine.

Elliot: She’s going to fall in the water and drown and get eaten by sharks.

Posted in at home
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Weekend Sewing in NYC!

I took so many pictures in NYC it’s ridiculous, so I’ve decided to present them to you in “gallery-view” so you can get a taste for my week and click on the ones you’re really interested in seeing. They all link back to my Flickr, where there are even more pictures in each of the sets for you to peruse. I’ve tried to narrate them a little, but yikes, I think it just took me nearly an hour just to label all of them. Enjoy!

My introduction to New York City began with a lovely evening of shopping at Purl Soho with the rest of the Weekend Sewing Workshop participants, along with Heather Ross and Anna Maria Horner (I completely embarrassed myself by completely wigging out when I met her. She was very sweet about it though).


See the whole set

Here are some more shots of the rest of the Weekend Sewing Workshop. We had a fantastic time sewing at the Sewing Studio and made some side-trips as well (Shake Shack and Mood were on the list). On the last day of the workshop, Liesl Gibson and Anna Maria Horner presented samples from their upcoming projects, including new fabrics, new patterns, and new needleworks. It was very, very fun to see things that will be rolling down the line come spring! Is it bad that I already have plans for fabric that isn’t even available yet? Nah!

See the whole set

After the weekend was over, Mr Rae joined me for a couple days and I covered as much of the city as possible. I especially loved seeing Central Park for the first time and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. There’s also a bunch of pictures in there from an adorable shop in Soho called Loopy Mango.


See the whole set

One of the highlights for me was a visit to Liesl Gibson‘s studio in Brooklyn.


See the whole set

I also really enjoyed the Chelsea Highline, which is an elevated railroad turned park with some amazing landscaping and design. It’s a neat thing to experience in the middle of the city and it has some fantastic views.

See the whole set

Our final evening was spent in Brooklyn with my cousin Shawn and his wife Lisa and their baby Annika (who is a complete cutie and was wearing hand-me-down baby pants from Clementine). It was nice to end the trip with a lovely dinner and familiar faces. I’m so glad to be home with my babies, but I can’t wait to go back to New York again!!!

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Hello NYC!

For the past five days I’ve been enjoying the city of New York, first as a participant in the Weekend Sewing Workshop hosted by Heather Ross, and then for a few days of couple-y together time with Mr Rae, without kids (cue the “awww” or the “YAY” however you feel about it).  This was my very first time in the city so I tried to hoof it all over the place rather than spend any time on my computer, hence my slightly-longer-than-usual online absence of late, which actually isn’t all that odd come to think of it but maybe somebody noticed. No? Good. Mental note: take more blog breaks.

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So yesterday I walked from Chinatown to Little Italy to Soho (where I walked past Meg Ryan on the street, la dee dah) to Greenwich Village to Chelsea and I think maybe part of the Meatpacking District and then walked along the Chelsea Highline (an old elevated railroad-turned-long-skinny-park) from 9th to 19th street, and then walked back to the Chelsea Market and took the train out to Brooklyn to visit Liesl Gibson in her lovely studio (of Oliver+S and Lisette). Then trained it back to Manhattan and walked past Times Square and Bryant Park to have dinner up there with Mr Rae and a dear friend of ours. I think I can say “uptown” instead of “up there” but am not certain, so will refrain as to avoid embarrassment. Slightly less walking today, but we still walked through Central Park and around Madison Avenue and across the Brooklyn Bridge, so yeah, ask me tomorrow how my feet feel.

Can’t wait to show you some photos but I’m also double dog tired so it’ll have to wait. Until then, my friends.

Posted in travel
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Nani Iro Knit Top

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I really love sewing with knits. It used to be more of a fierce loathing, but I’ve since realized that this has less to do with some innate fault of knit fabric or my own skills, and more to do with the equipment I was using to sew with said knits (or perhaps I should say, *trying* to sew). I don’t want to blather on about that because believe me I have a whole other post in my head about that very topic, but I will say that I do now have a serger so the knit projects go super-quick and are v. satisfying.

Enter the Knit Fabric of My Dreams:

Source: etsy.com via Rae on Pinterest

Which as you can see has become yet another thing sewn for ME. Hooray for Selfish Sewing! **Although I do need to remind everyone that the Kids Clothes Week Challenge Fall 2011 (aka KCWC, hosted by the awesome Meg of Elsie Marley) is coming up very soon next week (with a nice pre-party this week) and then we should all put aside Selfish Sewing Thoughts for another week. I promise I shall.**

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I do feel a little smug about this top because I managed to cut and sew it in just one day. And again this is partly due to the fact that I used a serger, but is also partly due to the fact that this past Sunday afternoon Clementine and Mr Rae (who is I swear genetically programmed to dead-sleep for 3 hours every Sunday afternoon like clockwork) were both napping and Elliot was happily puttering downstairs for his “quiet time” (which is almost never actually “quiet”) so it was All Systems Go for me in the sewing room. I love that feeling. I traced and modified this pattern from an old tee that had fit well. This one, to be exact.

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The fabric is the “Colorful Pocho” knit by Nani Iro from Charmstitch, a pointelle double-layer knit with quite a bit of stretch and not thin at all (the double layer helps there) so it’s thicker than your average stretch tee and oh. so. soft. It’s really dreamy. I love the dots. My friend Giedra pointed out today that they are strongly reminiscent of that candy with the colored rows of dots stuck to the card. Do you know what I’m talking about? I can’t remember what they were called but as soon as she said it I was like “YES!”

The only slight bummer about this knit is that it is only 31.5″ wide, so I needed 2 yards for a short-sleeved tee, or in this case, mid-bicep-length tee as I made the sleeves as long as the fabric would allow. Normally 1 yard would be about right for a t-shirt, since many knits are 54″ or even 60″ wide so you can often lay both back and front across the width of the fabric. Anyway, it’s not a big deal, and for a short while I even wondered if maybe I should just buy less and make something for Clementine, but after meeting this fabric in person I just could not put it into a garment that would only be worn by a toddler for perhaps six months max. And now that I have worn it for like three days in a row and it is starting to smell but I still kindof want to wear it tomorrow I have NO REGRETS, no regrets I tell you.

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With the hot pink skinny jeans and this saucy shot I definitely look like I am trying to dress like a teenager, but since I am now in my mid-30s I can’t be bothered to care about that sort of thing. So I’m young-dressed? Whatevs. Bring it.

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Oh and did I have enough extra fabric for a couple of sleeves and a neckband for a size 2T tee for two. Why yes I did.