Reversible First Day Top

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Waaaaay back last spring, when I was still in a post-baby fog, I asked my friend Dana of MADE if I could help test her First Day Dress and Top pattern with some Lotus Pond, hoping to include it in the Lotus Pond Extravaganza. It’s taken me this long to finally post about it, which is somewhat embarrassing, but on the other hand is a great example of why blogging when you have a baby is tough.

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I love Dana’s design because it has a great fit and can be made super simple (or with sleeves and a peplum skirt, which is also super cute) — in this case I wanted to make a simple A-line top with no sleeves that could be reversible. The top came together like a breeze and fits like a glove (Dana actually addresses the fit in the pattern — in order to get this fantastic fit, you do have to put your arms over your head to get it on because it’s not designed with a ton of ease, but Clementine doesn’t seem to mind at all).

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I made one side with the blue diamond print, and the other side with the yellow snails from my line of quilting cottons, Lotus Pond.

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It wasn’t the actual construction of the top that held up the entire make-photograph-post process. It was Clementine (is anyone surprised??). First, she refused to wear it as anything other than pajamas, which made it difficult to photograph. Then, when she finally agreed to put it on for photos, she would only wear it with the diamond-side out. So I got photos of one side in July, but not the other. Finally, last month — IN SEPTEMBER — after I bribed her with a marshmallow, she put it on snail-side-out. And here we are, nearly five months after it was completed, with a blog post about it. OY.

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One thing I do want to mention that you can see in the photo below is that if you leave clothing made with quilting cotton in a heap of clean laundry, they will get wrinkly. However, I’ve found that if you yank them out of the dryer right after they are washed and hang them up, they look nice and smooth. Little tip there for ya if you make garments with quilting cotton (thanks, Karen, for teaching me that one!!). This wouldn’t be a post about Clementine without a few zany photos, so here ya go:

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Fabric: Lotus Pond is still available in shops if you look around — as of this writing, a few of my sponsors have it in stock (Fat Quarter Shop and HoneyBeGood both have nice selections yet, and Fabricworm has a couple prints left, including the blue diamonds).

Pattern: The First Day Dress and Top Sewing Pattern is available from Dana as a PDF, and comes in sizes 2-10.

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Please do not pin or reuse photos of Clementine that show her face — I’ve included some cropped photos without her face in this post and you are welcome to pin or reuse those. Thanks!

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Rapunzel Outfit for C

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I went on a bit of a Lillestof buying binge a couple months ago; one purchase was the Ninja print for E that I posted about last week, and I also picked up this absolutely adorable Rapunzel print for C from Simplifi along with a few other prints. I think with busy prints it’s best to use a simple pattern, so I decided to make a couple of short-sleeved Flashback Dresses.

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Please feel free to pin any of the cropped photos in this post, but please do not pin or reuse photos that include Clementine’s face. Thanks!

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The Flashback Skinny Tee Pattern comes in sizes 0-5 AND 6-14. I also used my tutorial for short-sleeves, and the tutorial for turning it into a dress.

I used the Go To Leggings pattern for the leggings that my friend Andrea sent over years ago (thank you Andrea!!!) and they are fantastic. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to finally make them, but I’m so glad I did; the fit is excellent and leggings are SO easy to make! They are a little long on C because she’s tall so I went up a size, but she can just grow into them.

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Pink Dotted Geranium for Clementine

pink and gold dot Geranium

Other people might be fooled by your doll-like appearance, your proclivity towards pink. But I know the truth, Clementine: you are a tough little nut and every ounce as stubborn as your mother. Delicate would not be a word I would use to describe you. Strong, silly, fierce, smart, mischievious. Then also: adorable, affectionate, and sweet. An interesting combination that keeps us on our toes.

Pink and Gold Geranium

You draw ninjas instead of princesses. Another recent drawing that comes to mind featured a bomb. And a person cut in half on the ground.

Pink and Gold Geranium

You have a spider-sense for locating lost objects, which comes in handy given the fact that I am a complete space cadet. When something’s missing, we ask “Hey Clementine! Where’s Hugo’s pacifier??”

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You have the most hilarious expressions and faces. Cross-eyes, silly smiles, teeth over the bottom lip. The fact that you can’t say your “R’s” yet makes it even cuter.

pink and gold Geranium

Despite your many tantrums and screaming fits (what IS it about this age??), you also know how to snuggle like nobody’s business. You can’t stop giving Hugo cuddles and kisses. And when you crawl in bed with us in the middle of the night after a bad dream and fall asleep next to Daddy, you look like an absolute angel. You know, as long as you’re asleep.

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Dress: Geranium Dress Sewing Pattern, with a velvet ribbon added at the bottom of the bodice
Fabric: Michael Miller Pearlized Dots, purchased at Pink Castle

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Made By Rae Geranium Dress

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Lotus Pond + Green Bee Frog Romper

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When Green Bee Patterns (the design + sewing collaboration of my friends Alexia and Michelle Abegg) first signed up as a Made By Rae sponsor earlier this year, we immediately started dreaming of some uber-cute ensembles out of Lotus Pond fabric with the Green Bee Patterns. Jess did most of the sewing since I was (am) still on a bit of a maternity break and she did a fantastic job!! I adore the little bit of green diamond print that she used for the facings and waistband casing. It’s just as pretty on the inside as outside. My contribution was to add these awesome red buttons for a fun pop of color:

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Here are Jess’ notes on the pattern:

Hey all! Isn’t this just about the cutest thing? I have fond memories of a couple of rompers that I had when I was right around Clementine’s age (probably hand-me-downs from Rae, come to think of it!), and I wish I could get them back. I know at least one of them was made from terry cloth for true five year-old comfort.

This pattern is the Sally Romper and Dress. Based on Clementine’s measurements, we decided to trace the pattern pieces for View A using the size 4 lines for width and the size 5 lines for length. This worked really well, and was not a difficult adjustment. I’m not the *most* experienced sewist, so this was a nice lesson in simple pattern modification.

The pattern is clear and well-written, with a nice big sheet of instructions that I just pinned to the wall in front of my sewing machine for reference. Sewing a romper is basically like sewing a blouse and a pair of shorts, then stitching them together. All those steps seemed a little daunting at first, but each one is manageable and well-illustrated. I’d put this in the intermediate skill level for sewing.

My favorite features of this pattern are the the side-seam pockets on the shorts, and the button-up front. I think this would be adorable with contrasting waist band and shorts cuffs…maybe next time!

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And then it was ready for Clementine to take it for a spin!!!

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(Please don’t pin photos of Clementine. Thanks!)

We’re having lots of fun with Lotus Pond around here! If you’ve made any Lotus Pond stuff of your own, we’d LOVE to see your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #lotuspondfabric or in the Lotus Pond Flickr Pool!

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Styled by Clementine

When she came downstairs wearing this ensemble on Saturday, I have to admit I was a little jealous I hadn’t thought of it myself. Floral on floral? Brilliant and awesome at the same time.

She also requested that I make her “flower underpants and flower leggings and flower socks so I can be flower EVERYTHING!” Ummmm….I think that crosses the line, even for me.

But when this came walking downstairs on Sunday, I was pretty much blown out of the water:

I think she may have a special talent.

Pierrot with a Big Bow, blogged here.
Yellow Pierrot with pockets, blogged here.
Liberty skirt, blogged here.
Yellow chicken pinafore, handed down, vintage.
Striped tights, from Boden.

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KCW: Twirl Skirt and Tee for Clementine

This week is Kids Clothes Week so despite the fact that we moved to a new house  a couple days ago, I wanted to post at least a couple of the things I finished up for Clementine last week, this pink Flashback Tee and a twirly skirt with pockets:

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Truth be told, I am unsure of whether I should participate in KCW anymore — the challenge seems more appropriate for the stay-at-home mama who needs to scrape together an hour each night to sew by the light of Netflix to get some cool stuff made for her kids than me, who feels like a total poser with my fancy pants sewing studio and my work hours during which I could conceivably sew sew sew all the fun cute things for my kids all the live-long-day if I wanted to (though in reality that is not how it goes down). I even have Tashina and Karen assisting me at the studio so it’s hard to even keep track of who sewed WHAT around here anymore.

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For instance, I think Tashina probably sewed a few shoulder/side seams on this tee, and I’m pretty sure she did the skirt gathering stitches and put the elastic in the waistband too. So does it count? I’m probably just being totally angst-y and stupid about it, I just feel like I should be up front about the fact that when you see something from me in the KCW pool, there’s a chance I didn’t completely construct it myself. Anyway, despite being unsure of whether or not it’s “cheating” for me to sew along (oh! did I mention that Made by Rae sponsors KCW? Sooo there’s that too), I still try to plan out a few things to make for my kids every time KCW rolls around.

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Let’s talk about the outfit, shall we? The Flashback Tee was made with Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey (a quick search of my sponsors shows Pink Castle carries it as of this writing and Fabric Stash has some nice knit solids that might be similar) which is a fantastic jersey that’s quite affordable and has a nice recovery (which means it springs back to its original shape nicely after you stretch it). The skirt was made using my “Made-To-Measure Skirt” method, which is from class I teach here in Ann Arbor (sorry no pattern/tute yet), and was made with Liberty Lifestyle fabric, which is Liberty’s “quilting cotton.” I love this print.

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Clementine loves twirling in her new skirt!

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By some awesome coincidence, the skirt also happens to match a pair of tights I bought from Boden last year, so this outfit totally goes together in a way most of her hand-picked outfits never do. Chances of her wearing all three together ever again after these photos were taken? Probably zero. But at least she has two new pieces that I know she will wear, even if she never wears them all together again.

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Upcycled Parsley Pants

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One of the reasons I designed the Parsley Pants the way I did (as a 2-pc pant) was so that I could whip out pairs for my kids in no time flat. Seems the other patterns I had for pants often involved zip flies, recessed pockets, multi-pieced waistbands, or some sort of extra finishing at the cuffs or hems, and while I love those pant patterns too, they just aren’t FAST. You know? I wanted something like the Flashback Tee (another new striped Flashback for Clementine is shown below) something that could come together in an hour without too much hassle. And thus the Parsley Pant pattern was born.

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But…there’s something that makes them even faster: upcycling old adult pants for the fabric. Because then…NO HEMMING!!! So last week I cut apart two pairs of JCrew chinos in pastel colors that I used to wear back in the 00′s and turned them into pants for Clementine. The addition of the pouch pockets was the only thing that kept these from being a half hour project, seriously. And they are not only adorable, but she wears them. DOUBLE YAY!

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Here are a few tips for upcycling old pairs of pants into Parsleys:

  • use old pants that aren’t too worn out; the fabric needs to be in good shape. You can cut around (or cover up) stains, but make sure the fabric isn’t threadbare at the knees or anything. You want these pants to stand up in their second life as kid’s pants!
  • I usually only use old pants that still have their cuffs or hems in good shape, so that the old hems can become new hems.
  • To harvest the old pant fabric, cut up the inner leg seams (inseams) with a scissors, then up the crotch seams in front and back, then across the sides of the pants below the waistband as shown in the diagram below. Usually there’s not much salvageable fabric in the waistband, zipper area and pockets, so I just cut those away. DO NOT CUT THE SIDE SEAMS OPEN! LEAVE THE HEMS INTACT!

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  • Then lay your pant fabric flat (as flat as you can; some women’s pants have shaping at the hip on the side seam) and place your Parsley pattern over top of the fabric with the original pant hems even with the line on the pattern that says “finished hem line,” and the side seam of the original pant as close to the “tuxedo stripe line” as possible (see diagram below; the lower layer in the diagram is the old pant leg opened up and laid flat). Cut out two mirror image pant pieces, then assemble them according to the instructions.

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  • You can still add pockets, tuxedo stripes, pintucks, a flat front, or any of the other “extras” that come with the pattern. The main difference here is that you don’t have to hem them, because your hems are already finished!
  • Additionally, the old side seam makes it look like you’ve put in extra work when you haven’t. NICE.

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The big win here for me was the addition of two new quick and cheap pairs of pants to Clementine’s wardrobe (and the tee was quick too!). Love it!

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Strawberry Bateau Top + Pink Pom-Pom scarf

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I’m a bit behind on my fall sewing for the kids because I’ve been sewing so much for myself. Heh. Not a *terrible* problem to have, but the other day Mr Rae mentioned that Clementine didn’t really have any pants that fit. Oops. Must remedy. I missed the boat on Kid’s Clothes Week this fall because it was also the week of Quilt Market, so now I’ve started to catch up a bit, starting with their PJ’s (posted Monday) and this cute strawberry tee and scarf for Clementine!

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This pattern is from Anneliese of the Aesthetic Nest, the Bateau Neck Tee. This is the first of her patterns under her new “Wee Muses” brand, and she was kind enough to send it over to me earlier this year, but like many things it just sat on my desk waiting for the time to try it out. When I saw this version of the tee by Vanessa of LBG studio though, I just had to copy it. Not only because it was absolutely adorable (it doesn’t hurt that Vanessa’s daughter Sid is ridiculously cute and that Vanessa has killer photography skills), but because I happened to have more Briar Rose knit (thank you Windham!!) sitting around waiting for something cute.

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Honestly, I could have made this top by just hacking my Flashback Tee pattern; so adding a bit more ease to the arms and sides, shortening the arms and cutting the neck wider would produce a similar effect. But sometimes you just want to be able to print out a pattern and whip it up, without having to think about it, and this pattern takes all of the guesswork out of a reliably adorable bateau. The fit is great and I like the easy neckline finish (folding it under rather than adding a neckband). Anneliese also includes a number of cute variations to the pattern as well.

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The scarf was another easy project — I used my Pom Pom Scarf Tutorial but made it a few inches narrower (about 12″) and shorter (about 50″) and instead of hand sewing the ends separately, I placed one end inside the other (shown above, sort of) and stitched them together so that it’s a continuous loop. Clementine loves wearing it because now we can match when I wear mine. Hers was also made with shot cotton and pom poms from Purl (like mine).

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Last but not least, I hand-stitched a little Nursery Versery linen to the knees of these jeans which were worn through at the knees. I think it’s super cute and I hope she doesn’t wear through the kneepads now. It would help if she had more than just this pair of pants, so next up, some Parsley Pants!

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My two cuties in Fanfare from head to toe

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By request: blue foxes for E and pink foxes for C.

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Fabric: Fanfare, organic flannels designed by me for Cloud9 collective

Patterns:
Charlie Tunic (with curved bottom hem and 3/4 sleeve for Clementine), and basic Parsley Pants (in size 4 and 6 with a cuff added)

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You didn’t think they always got along, did you? They do pretty well though.

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