: : Happy Birthday to Moi : : Placket Tutorial : : Small!

So yesterday was my birthday, but I was too busy opening all of the prezzies that arrived (yay!) and getting ready for a party that I didn’t have time to post…but here’s a taste of the day:

: : Martha Stewart Tissue Flower Decorations : :

: : Birthday napkins by Tag : :

: : Cosmos and Zinnia centerpiece : :

: : Placket Tutorial : :

I want to draw your attention over to the sidebar where you will now find a MadeByRae placket tutorial. Now you too can make a placket like you’ve seen here numerous times! Yay! Please keep in mind that the pictures are large (so you can see more detail) and the presentation is campy.
With that said, I hope at least some of you will find it useful. I have a few others in the works as well; if you have a tutorial request please let me know in the comments section.

: : Small : :

I spent almost an entire morning last week with my coffee and chocolate biscotti perusing the Autumn issue of Small magazine because it is so awesome. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go take a look. The online magazine is free (!) and they’ll send you an email when it’s up each season. Their stuff is so cute. Someday maybe I could be as awesome as Alicia and get something in there…

Yay I won!!! : : Aqua Love : : Slipper Pattern Review

This is certainly not the first time I have entered a giveaway, but it is the first time I’ve WON! Check out this awesome elephant pillow from Eva at Uniquety. As part of the giveaway entry, we could pick something we wanted her to make for us (isn’t that a great idea? and gutsy!). I picked an elephant pillow, thinking I would put it in Elliot’s crib. But as you can see, it hasn’t ended up there yet…

How cute are the little peanuts? And look at how it matches my favorite bedding!!! Don’t worry, I’ll put it in E’s crib soon…after I finish admiring it.

Thanks so much Eva!!!

Turns out this aqua/turquoise is pretty much my favorite color ever. I seem drawn to it. As evidence, I present the following lovely things in exhibit form for your viewing pleasure.

: : Exhibit A : :
Beautiful Heather Ross fabric from SIL Sara Beth for my birthday. What a great present for a fabric-lover, eh? (We had a combined celebration yesterday for her birthday and mine with my husband’s family and I got some wonderful early birthday prezzies)

She gave me a couple of the blush pink colorway too, which I also LOVE LOVE LOVE:

: : Exhibit B : :
Cute baby hat for Elliot made by my momma. The fishies! Mom was smart enough to provide a strap for the hat so it stays on.

: : Exhibit C : :
New dessert plates from IKEA! (365+)
: : Exhibit D : :
Bathroom wall paint (Martha Stewart at Kmart)

OK, so maybe that was actually just an excuse to show you the slippers I just finished. These are the Heather Ross slippers that I alluded to in an earlier post. I didn’t have matching ric-rac (sad!) to go with this fabric, so I skipped it, but I did want them to be toasty so I made them with chenille lining. Some observations:

: : I found, as others had mentioned, that the pattern was sized really small. I added about an inch or so to the pattern pieces. I have size 10 feet so there was no chance a small 9-10 was going to fit.

: : I just about tossed the whole project when I read that the sole was to be made out of felted wool. Who has that kind of thing just sitting around, I ask you? Crazy people. Not me.

Fortunately I found that I could just use regular fabric for the sole. Here’s how: Don’t sew the insole all the way around the slipper (leave a 3″ hole along one side of the slipper). Then sew the sole on (right sides together) by sewing just inside the previous insole seam all the way around the slipper, being careful not to sew your 3″ hole shut. Then turn the whole thing right-side out by pulling the slipper through the hole and handstitch the hole closed.

: : If you decide to use chenille like I did, I’d recommend using about 2x as much elastic at the heel, since the thicker fabric won’t gather as much.

Happy Sewing!

Sewed: Gnome Romper!

I have been singly-minded ever since I read All Things Created the other day and saw this cute romper that Deb made.

: : UPDATE: Sorry, All Things Created seems to be gone! Deb, where did you go??? I’m sorry? : :

I took the baby to the fabric store (ack!) and kept him busy with his favorite battery-operated contraption so I could track down the pattern, and when Mr Rae gave me the morning off today (whee!) I channeled all my sewing energy and got this done in one sitting. It’s amazing how fast kid’s clothes go when you set your mind to it.

Pattern: Simplicity 3808
Fabric: Heather Ross’ Lightning Bugs and other Mysteries (1 yard)
Notions: Bias Tape, Snap Tape (so great…an absolute MUST), Buttons

: : Some time-saving tips for kids patterns : :

1. I never fold/iron/zigzag the facing edge. Just zigzag some double fold bias tape along the bottom edge of the facing (see picture below).
2. Skip interfacing. Many reasons for this, no time to explain.
3. Many romper or overalls patterns call for you to hand-tack the facing to the inside side-seams of the garment. I skip this and stitch in the ditch along the side seam instead. Maybe you can see this in the bottom left hand corner of the picture below.

: : Some things I never skip : :

1. Staystitching
2. Ironing (both sides) after sewing each seam
3. Marking pleats, buttonholes, and button locations on the fabric pieces before I put the pattern back into the envelope.

: : Mr Gnome likes it : :

For those of you who think you may attempt this one, let me just say that it does seem to run a bit large. Elliot is definitely beyond the measurements on the envelope for the 18 month size, yet as you can see it’s pretty huge; it looks like it might even fit him next spring.

I have to show off these awesome groundhog shoes I found on sale this afternoon in Ann Arbor whilst hanging out with some girlfriends + babies:

: : Rae sews yet another top : :

It’s actually becoming a little ridiculous how many summer tops I have now. I really just can’t stop. One wonders if one could even wear this many tops in one season. This one was inspired by this top at Anthropologie which I spotted whilst leaving the store a few weeks ago in Chicago and immediately regretted not trying on. But of course my mantra is “I SO could make that!”

My favorite part of the original top was the neckline so I tried to recreate it as closely as I could. I actually also cut out and pinned on puffed sleeves as well, but I decided I had too many puffed sleeved tops so I made this one sleeveless. That will work better underneath sweaters in the fall anyway (SORRY! Said the “f” word…will give more warning next time).

It’s difficult to tell, but the solid is actually an ivory color. It’s recycled from an old topsheet. I botched a bunch of stuff on this top — accidentally cut a hole in the middle of those pleats there after it was too late to start over and royally botched the hem. You can’t get too cocky with a blindhem foot.

I’m really digging the pockets. I took pictures as I went along so maybe you’ll see a pocket tutorial soon.

The pattern came from this blouse which I made up last fall:

If you can’t see the similarity, that’s OK; it’s pretty subtle. I threw out the collar thingy on the original, curved the neckline a little more, pleated rather than gathered, and traced the neckline to make a little neck facing out of the polka dots. And I’m starting to get embarrassed admitting this, but since I lack any pattern-drafting talent I used the flour collar. Again.

My new top will look smashing with these new little earrings I bought a few weeks ago on Etsy from Cocoapod:

(picture by Cocoapod)

Aren’t they cute? She has such adorable jewelry. Just my style, and I love that bright yellow color.

: : From the Healthy Baby Dept : :

This awesome stainless steel water bottle (with #5 PP top) is from Sweet Peas and Little Sprouts. It’s a local shop in downtown Plymouth that I frequent weekly (they have Happy Heinies Diapers which are the best) but they have an online store too. I’d been getting frustrated with the wear and tear on Elliot’s Sigg and the fact that you can’t really ever clean the thing out and this thing is far superior. I cannot tell you how much great stuff this place has; you’ll just have to look for yourself. Cheryl (owner) does such a fabulous job picking products that are eco-conscious and safe for your baby — she carries the ThinkBaby stuff too which I also really like.

I sort of freaked out about polycarbonate baby bottles when Elliot was really small. Nobody tells you this stuff. Your baby bottles and Nalgenes are leaching estrogen-mimicking compounds? Who knew? You know, maybe researchers will tell us in a few years that it really doesn’t matter, but personally I’d rather be safe than sorry. I also just think it’s so important to keep these kinds of local family-owned places in business. So check it out.

*Note: I did not get paid to say these things. I just shop there.*

Sewed: Mandarin-Collar Shirt

Here’s the latest sewing project for my little munchkin (and another one for me in the works inspired by this lovely blouse…more soon hopefully):

The fabric (from JoAnn’s) is striped but it’s so teeny you can’t see it here. The pattern is (as usual) just made up from tracings and such…I know that drives some of you nuts–I get so many emails asking for the pattern that I use, and honestly I hardly ever use one anymore. BUT just so you know, in the back of my head I’m hatching a plan to publish all of them someday.

I wanted to try a mini-placket like I’ve been doing on other projects lately, and the collar and cuffs are actually very simple; I followed the flour tutorial (again!) except made it much narrower (I think it’s 3 inches wide altogether) and deleted the pleats.

I’m sorry for the poor photos and drool, but do you know how much work it took to even get a single non-blurry picture that actually contained the shirt?

And I know this makes those-without-children gag when those-who-do post excessive weird pictures of their children and then go gaga over how cute they are, but it just about killed me when I said “smile!” and this is what I got: