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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Happy birthday, dear Clementine!

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She’s four today! Yay!!! *kermit arms*

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Wait, how did she get so BIG??? *sobs*

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Birthdays are a mixed bag. On the one hand, I’m so proud of what a fun, silly, smart, capable girl she is becoming. On the other hand, I wish she would always stay my little baby. You know? Yes, you know.

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This is the birthday dress I made for her, a simple shirred design with bows on the shoulders. I la-la-love it! I think Clementine has always been particularly cute in yellow. She’s been wearing another shirred sundress that I made for her last fall quite a bit lately, mainly because it’s easy to get on and off by herself. So rather than go with something complicated and time-consuming, I decided to make something similar. The actual dress part took about 15 minutes (sew a rectangle together at the sides, finish top and bottom, sew shirring around the top); the bows took a bit longer to make and attach, but overall it was a quick and easy sew. If you’re looking to do something similar, do check out my shirred sunsuit post for an intro to shirring and a similar design (skip the leg holes, of course, for a dress), minus the bows.

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Fabric: Lecien double gauze…possibly one of the most lovely solid double gauzes out there. As far as I know this double gauze is no longer available anywhere except at Pink Castle, so you’ll have to get it before it’s gone if you want some for yourself!

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And here’s a peek at the “rainbow cake” I made for her party. Compared to the effort I put into her cake last year, this was ridiculously easy, so I’m feeling rather clever and smug about it, if we must be honest.

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Parsley Shorts in Action

I just finished another pair of Parsley shorts for Clementine, this pair in a lovely Oxford fabric from Yuwa called “Cat and Bird” (I found the fabric here).

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I had considered making her a matching Flashback Tee to go with them, but this morning she put together this genius ensemble, making me wonder why I ever bother making matching clothes for her. I can’t say it would have ever occurred to me to put these two things together, but it works (shirred Pierrot tunic blogged here).

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They look a little puffy in the bum, but that’s because there’s an entire ruffled hem tucked in there.

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Here are some “new” poses she insisted on (please don’t pin these pics below; the ones above are fine, though). Very creative, this girl. I sense that she may have a future in theater.

Parsley Shorts

Parsley Shorts

Parsley Shorts

Now for a few shots of Elliot’s moon shorts (you can see a better shot of them in this post):

Parsley Shorts

Parsley Shorts

And that is my little Zombie. Having grown up in a house full of girls, I can safely say I never imagined I would have a six-year-old who was obsessed with zombies. I for one did not know what a zombie was when I was six, that’s for sure. I certainly never anticipated that his preschool teacher would pull me aside last year and explain that it is NOT OK to talk about zombies at preschool because it was frightening the other children. THAT was a bit embarrassing. Oops.

If you would like to make the Parsley Pants pattern into shorts, you’ll find a very handy little how-to over on this post. Check it out!

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Heart Pants!

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With Valentine’s Day coming up, it seemed appropriate to post these fun little pants with heart kneepads. [UPDATE: PARSLEY PANTS PATTERN AVAILABLE HERE]

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So easy, all it takes is four little hearts cut out of fabric. I already have another pair planned out (grey pants, pink hearts).

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Just cut out four hearts, sew them together two at a time with a small-ish (1/4″-3/8″) seam allowance, leaving a turning hole.

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Notch or grade the seam allowances and press them flat.

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Then pin and sew them to the pant leg in the desired location. As you can see I like to use a worn pair of pants to help me locate the spot where the knees are. Then sew up the pants and you’re finished!

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(What happened to my resolution that I would sew more for the boy this year you ask? Don’t worry, I have been busy. More to come, soon…)

A look back at my year in sewing

I’ve been seeing lots of project roundups from last year pop up on other people’s blogs over the past week, and I realized how much I enjoy them. I love seeing a bunch of things from the entire year presented in one place! So satisfying. It just appeals to my visual side. So I started to look through all of my projects from this past year to see if I could sum up my 2012 projects in photos. It turns out that’s a pretty big job, yikes. At the same time, I definitely started to see some general trends. For instance, I sewed a TON of stuff for me this year, especially dresses and tops (YAY!!):

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1. scarfonme, 2. Sparkler Top, 3. libertytop1, 4. Wiksten Tank by Rae, 5. green snow white top ., 6. Charcoal striped shirt by Rae, 7. Alabama Chanin Babydoll, 8. teal tee with green skinnies, 9. figuring the eight

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1. Washi Dress, 2. Pink washi maxi dress, 3. Summersville Washi top, 4. aqua washi dress, 5. Time for Tea, 6. aquawashi7, 7. Orange Washi, 8. hello pilgrim full length, 9. Ruby Star Washi Dress

I’m super proud of what I accomplished this year when it comes to sewing for myself. Believe it or not, I learned a ton of new techniques and I feel like the things this year I made are more comfortable and wearable than clothing I’ve made for myself in the past. I also made a TON of stuff for Clementine (DOUBLE YAY!!!):

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1. Pink Geranium Dress, 2. fauxfurcoat, 3. flutter sleeve linen dress, 4. Princess and the Pea Dress, 5. pomegranate pierrot, 6. yellowjacket, 7. Bubblegum Dress, 8. nursery versery pamama pants, 9. charliegreensnowwhite, 10. geranium fox top 4, 11. whale shirt, 12. pink and gold crochet sweater, 13. Striped flashback tee with puff sleeve, 14. Little folks dress, 15. pierrotwithabow, 16. Charlie Dress

So that’s cool. BUT. For the boy? Not so much.

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1. flashback13, 2. awesomepants1, 3. shirtshorts5, 4. short sleeved flashback tee

OOPS.

It makes me really want to sew more for this little guy. The crazy part is, he really likes to wear things I make for him (unlike Clementine who is very hit or miss and usually requires bribery to get photos), so I actually do sew quite a bit of stuff for him, but not much of it ever makes it onto the blog because it’s always a little bit boring. Like two plain brown Flashback tees. A pair of grey linen pants. Yeah. Time to amp it up in the boy department, Rae.

So, my sewing goals for the new year…hmmm. I think we should Celebrate the BOY, don’t you? I’d also like to try more skirts and pants for myself this year. And I know this might seem strange, but I think I need to cut back on the amount of stuff I sew for Clementine. It is really fun to sew for her, but she seriously had more clothing this year than I knew what to do with, it was crazy.