Itty Bitty Dress, Take II (only not as Itty Bitty this time…)

UPDATED: After nearly 5 years, we are sorry to inform you that this pattern is no longer available in the larger size. So sorry for the inconvenience!

(photo courtesy of apassey, Itty Bitty Dress flickr pool)

So I’m so excited to finally post about this — Amber has been kind enough to provide us with a toddler-sized version of the Itty Bitty Dress Pattern (and HOW CUTE IS THAT with the teeny tiny version and big sister version together in this picture???). The pattern is really very high-quality and impressive (Amber’s hubby is scoring significant points for help in the Adobe department!).

Amber says that the pattern is about a 3T, as she made it to fit her older daughter who currently wears a combination of 2T and 3T. Be sure to check out the free onesie patterns she has on her blog too!

I can’t wait to make my own version! Thanks so much, Amber!

Mother’s Day Revisited

I really don’t like to give away surprises, so this one had to be kept until after Mother’s Day:

This was my and my sisters’ Mother’s Day prezzie for our mum this year. Just in case you’re wondering, that’s me on the far left, Elli in the middle and Krick on the right.

I got the idea for painted silhouettes from Anna Maria Horner, who did a segment on Martha Stewart demonstrating the technique (warning: video will begin). We all took digital pictures and Elli produced outlines from the pictures which Krick and I printed out, traced onto freezer paper and ironed onto the canvasses before we painted them. Midway through the process it was pointed out that it would have been a mite easier just to print out the profiles and frame them, but I like how the painted look turned out.

Here’s where they finally ended up:

On a wall in the guest bedroom where they can be seen from the stairs. I like how they go with the yellow wall and they match the bedspread perfectly. Nice placement, mom!

: : Supply Stats : :
fabric – JoAnn’s quilting cotton
paint – dark brown Scribbles brand fabric paint
canvas – 11×14″ from Michael’s

Sewed: Diaper, PJ Pants, Swingy Top and Clog Refurb

I’m sorry I can’t come up with a more creative title than that. I’m tired from cleaning out the basement today and can’t think. Also I should apologize for some hideous photography in this post. But whatevs. The important thing is that I feel really productive for finishing so many little projects. So here they are in no particular order….drumroll please!

: : Cloth Pocket Diaper : :

I actually made a couple smaller ones (pictured below) last summer by tracing a pocket diaper of Elliot’s. He outgrew those long ago and I’ve wanted to make some more large ones. The outside is waterproof PUL and the inside is white fleece. I stuff them with extra inserts I bought for my other diapers. Just in case you’re wondering, I mainly use BumGenius but I also have Happy Heinies and Haute Pockets. I found that the boat print PUL actually leaks pretty easily; I’m not exactly sure why, so I’m wondering if anyone else has had any experience with PUL. The solid colors have been much better.

: : PJ Pants : :

Remember the previous post? Here are the pants I made to go with one of the tops. The pants are too large (no, this baby is not missing a limb; his mother was just too lazy to sew elastic in the feet of his pants) but I’m sure he’ll grow into them soon. Here’s another (awful quality) picture so you can see another shot:

: : Baby Clog Refurb, Before : :

Elliot’s cute little blue clogs (one is shown here with one of mine for size comparison) were not staying on, due to a poor non-adjustable strap design by the Target Corporation. Shame on me for buying imitation Crocs.

: : After : :
So although I didn’t have to spend $25 on a pair of plastic baby shoes, I did have to spend a good hour making elasticized straps for them so they’d be wearable. Next time I’ll just spring for the better shoes. Despite the wasted time (not exactly an exciting project here, right?) I do like how they turned out. I used some Amy Butler scraps so they are pretty funky.

: : Amy Butler Swing Top : :

This is my pride and joy of the week — a new swingy top! I’m so embarrassed to admit this, but I made this pattern up after watching a Home Depot commercial during Desperate Housewives. Ack! I’ve admitted too many embarrassing things for one sentence there. Anyway, the ad starts with this woman walking out of her house carrying a platter of something to her husband at the grill. Yes, I know, cheesy, but her top was SO SWISHY AND AWESOME I had to pause it, rewind and make poor Nate rewatch it like six times so I could absorb it. Then I began plotting in my head how I was going to make it. This is version one because it came out way too big and so of course I had to make another one. I’ll post that one soon and maybe just maybe I will try to have better posture.

Stashbusting: Knit Baby Tees

Last week I made some pajama tops for Elliot with some knits that have been hanging around in my fabric stash since last summer. My fabric closet is about to explode and I’m feeling the pressure to sew away my fabric before I get sick of it. Case in point: I still have Amy Butler Gypsy Caravan prints waiting for a project (for those of you out of the loop, that was her first fabric line). Sad, I know.

I used one of Elliot’s shirts to make a lap-tee pattern. Seriously it is so much easier just to trace clothes that fit him than try and find patterns that do. However, the first shirt (the alien one) came out so ginormous I’m pretty sure it would fit a 4 year old. So I tried again with this geometric print and it fit (!), so I made a matching pair of pants to go with it but have been too lazy to take pictures of those yet.

The binding is 1.5″ wide rib knit. I bought the knits online at SewZanne’s and just cut the rib from old shirts. I’m sure it would have been better to use a serger, but I don’t actually own one, so the neck edges ended up a bit wonky.

I got Home Stretch for Mother’s Day, and after reading a bit of it and seeing the Button and other bloggers talk about it, I’m really excited to make some of the patterns. Now if only I could find some cool knit fabrics for ME.

: : Close-up of alien print. Ooga Booga. : :

I also finished a yellow crochet baby hat last week. It’s kind of out of season, but actually the green one with the leaves on top was made for Elliot a year ago when he was only a couple of months old. It seemed too cold outside in April and May so when we went outside he wore this hat and he stayed nice and toasty. The chin strap was key; every other baby hat he had just slid off of his conehead. The yellow one has a flower on top — I was hoping to get it finished before the birth of one of the two girl babies that were due this spring, but it was not to be.

The pattern is loosely based on a cherry baby hat pattern I found online with a chin strap added and no cherries. Although those cherries are ridiculously cute. Maybe next time.

Ta-dah! Clothespin holder

I’ve heard many other new mothers suffer from anxiety over things they have little to no control over. My issues are global warming, toxic plastics (like those containing bisphenol-A and PVC) and other environmental toxins from things like mattress flame-retardants and cleaning products.

On a few occasions when Elliot was really little I had this feeling like the house was caving in on me as I realized that it was not possible to eliminate all potentially deadly factors from my baby’s environment in one day. It did not help that I spent every nap reading Healthy Child articles (a website I had found, ironically, in the eco-issue of Elle last year. WARNING: If you are pregnant or a new mother do NOT look at that site until you are absolutely sure your hormones will not cause you do something rash like throw everything in your house into the dumpster. I cannot be held responsible for ensuing mayhem).

I still care alot about these things, but it does help a ton that my hormone levels are pretty much back to normal. You have no idea how serious I am about that. It also helps (really) to tackle things one step at a time. So one thing I did was put up a solar clothes dryer (a.k.a. retractable clothesline) to help cut down on our energy use. I heard somewhere that running a dryer for one cycle costs about $1, and when you use it during the day, you’re more likely to be purchasing energy from backup power plants which are older and give off more pollution and carbon dioxide (can anyone confirm this?). So I at least feel like I’m helping with the whole global warming thing a little bit. And now that I’ve got this handy-dandy clothespin holder, I can stop rummaging around in the ground-cover for dropped clothespins. Man I can’t believe I waited so long to make one of these. Night and day we’re talking here, people.

Fabric: Michael Miller cotton laminate (you may remember previous projects from other prints), which is waterproof on one side.

Pattern: I just cut out a couple of pieces of fabric and then found a round cup to trace for the hole and corners. The hanger pieces are rectangles which I put snaps on with my snap press.

Finishing: Lime green double fold bias tape, which is about 1/4″ wide and can be found at just about any JoAnn’s.

Sewed: Striped Breakfast Nook Cushion

I really love IKEA because their stuff is so durn awesome and cheap, but I’m still not exactly sure how to feel about it. First, everything is made in China (which, don’t get me wrong, is not necessarily bad but do you know how much coal they burn in those factories over there???). And second, is it possible to make that much stuff out of wood without deforesting half of the globe, you know? They seem to have this whole earth-friendly vibe going on but I’m not sure if I’m just being duped by their team of marketing savants or what. So I’d really like to have more info on that.

In the end my uncertainty about IKEA did not prevent me from buying a new table and bench (Norden series, for those of you wondering) and while the 2.5 hours my hubby and I spent assembling it surely could have been better spent playing GTA IV or sewing, respectively, I am still a little hyper about how awesome they look in my kitchen:

: : Also pictured: Tripp Trapp High Chair, Splat Mat, Eames Molded Side Chair : :

I love that although I meticulously relocated all of the junk in the kitchen to make it look like we have this pristine living space, my domestic achievements are betrayed by the discarded plastic toddler fork on the floor. Alas.
It took me awhile to futz with the layout; originally I had the bench along the wall with the clock, but the cookbook cube kindof got in the way when trying to sit on the bench, and now I’m still a little unsure about this setup because the person sitting on the bench now has a windowsill and potted plants to contend with. But I like the overall breakfast-nook-look here far better than the original setup so it really doesn’t matter. Old setup shown here:

That really didn’t work. Although there were four chairs around the table, due to the fact that it was normally pushed up against the wall only two chairs were actually usable. NOW we have four places for adults to sit (well, after the blue Eames chair on backorder arrives) and one place for Elliot.

Of course once I had the new table and bench I had to make a cushion for the bench:

I made it from two pieces of IKEA fabric and two old bed pillows that were flat and musty. I took two pieces of fabric about 20″ x 60″ (the bench is 60″) and just sewed them together and put a seam down the middle to divide the two pillows. It was pretty tricky sewing the pillows into the case, and I ended up getting some puckerage. Maybe if I did it again I’d put snaps or velcro at the end so I could take the pillows out and wash it. But whatevs. It’s just a seat cushion.