Action Shots: Clementine’s Dress

I was so thrilled with all the great button suggestions from all of you in this post. I suppose the only problem with soliciting advice from so many people is that I can’t possibly do everything that was suggested. I loved the idea of vintage or wooden buttons and promptly ordered a bunch of vintage buttons from Deborah to try. Of course I knew there was no way they would get to me in time for Christmas (especially because I paid the day after, oops), so for the family celebrations I just plopped on a double row of these cream plastic ones, thinking that I could sew the “real” ones on later. It looked pretty good though, so I saved a few pictures for you guys (Note: Please do not copy or use pictures of Clementine. Thanks!)

The red and white striped tights only lasted about half the day.  Then it was on to purple polka dots, which actually looked better with the dress (in my opinion):

Hey Big Bird, your tights are pretty sweet too!

And we’re outta here.

Needs buttons? Need opinion please.

I barely dare post anything I’m sewing right now lest I open my self up to chiding from those of you who still remember last week when I said I wasn’t going to sew anything for Christmas, but in my defense let me say two things:
1) Just saying you’re not going to sew Christmas presents takes all the pressure off, and then what do you know next thing you know you’re in your sewing room sewing PJ’s for the kids and
2) this is not technically a Christmas Dress. She might happen to have it on this year when she opens her prezzies but it could also be worn for Easter or church or whatever! so it’s not really just for Christmas. See? TOTALLY different thing. But seriously, there is something to the concept of giving yourself a little break with sewing expectations; I find that when I have a giant TO-SEW list, I find reasons to avoid my sewing room, but when I expect to get nothing done, inspiration strikes and I enjoy sewing so much more. How about you guys? Do you operate better under the gun when the pressure’s on and you’ve got a list and a deadline? Or more spontaneous-like? I wonder which is more common.

This dress was a spur-of-the-moment thing a couple days ago, some soft off-white baby wale corduroy was sitting on the top of the fabric pile so I used my little beach tunic pattern (just without the slit in front and added the slit in back) to make this Christmas um I mean holiday Dress. Clementine has a pair of red and cream striped tights that will be worn with it. That placket thingy seems to be begging for buttons. Red buttons? Cream buttons? I already tried covering buttons with matching satin and fire started coming out of my ears, so let’s just forget that. Or just leave it without buttons in front?

Will try to get some action pictures with it on for Christmas, so stay posted.

The Showoff Bag

Here’s a new project just finished. In my head I’ve been calling it “The Showoff Bag” because it takes a pretty big piece of fabric and shows it off nicely with only a few pleated adulterations.

I love this fabric (Anna Maria Horner, wheeee!) and I think I like the overall shape of the bag, but already I have plans to make the next one will be a bit different. You know, because if there’s one thing I need, it’s more purses. Hah.

This design has been in my head for awhile and it’s been fun to mess around with it and see if I can make it look the way I want it to. I like that this bag is huge. It’s got a similar capacity to the Lickety Split Bag which you can fit a crazy lot of stuff in. What do you think?

Merry Christmas Garland

Here is a no-sew craft that I made a couple years ago that gets pulled out year after year at our house:

Christmas 2010

It’s made of paper, but with careful storage it’s been up for Christmas four years in a row now. I made this garland with some origami paper (that’s where all the fun prints come from), an exacto knife and mat, and a couple yards of green grosgrain ribbon.  Here’s a step-by-step if you’d like to make one.


1. Download the letters from Martha (that MARTHA! so. amazing.) by clicking on the “ABC Letters Template” in this article.
2. Trace the letters you want onto colored paper, wrapping paper, origami paper, whatever. I like using origami paper because it’s thinner and therefore easier to see the template through the paper. I’m pretty sure I bought my paper at Kinokuniya in San Francisco but their website is in Japanese and scares me so you’re on your own there, friends.
3. Using an exacto knife or small sharp scissors, cut out each letter. This is the Soul-Sucking Step where you might want to give up and die. Watch some Arrested Development to cushion the blow.
4. Cut two slits in each letter the width of the ribbon or slightly wider and thread the ribbon through behind each letter.

Christmas 2010
Christmas 2010

5. If using two ribbons, tie ends together in knot and hang. Enjoy!

Here’s a few more shots so you can see it in the kitchen (with new pendant light from company which will remain nameless for their ability to completely bungle my custom order not once but twice before getting it right. THANKS BUNCHES for that $25 off coupon though! *rolls eyes*).

Christmas 2010

OOP! Forgot the Halloween candy basket is still out. What can I say, we’re working our way through the treats as s l o w l y as possible. And now they’re so old even I’m not stealing them anymore.  Try to focus on my amazingly tacky white Christmas tree instead.

Christmas 2010

Let’s zoom in a little and take a better look. Notice anything strange about the ornament distribution?

Christmas 2010

Yes, that’s right, there’s definitely an excess about 3 feet from the ground. My little E is now old enough to exuberantly participate in tree decoration. And I mean exuberant: “This looks SO GREAT!” he yells. “Let’s put THIS one on the tree!” “I can do it!” I think this is quite possibly the first year that every single Christmas ornament I own has made it onto the tree. Makes. me. so. happy. !!!

And yesterday he gave the “Baby Cheezus” ornament a kiss. This may elicit gagging noises from the peanut gallery but I tell you when it is your own child it’s completely adorbs to see your child being affectionate to any baby, especially the Baby Jesus, even if it is a two-dimensional baby made out of popsicle sticks (I told some of the Crafters at last Thursday’s meetup — totally awesome again, by the way, pics to come — about this hilarious pronunciation and Lisa told me I need to watch the Modern Family episode with the “Baby Cheeses” pun throughout. Can’t wait!).

Christmas 2010

Is your tree up yet? Is your child saying adorable things that others just laugh politely at when you tell them about it? I promise not to make gagging noises. Even though I actually do have the stomach flu.

Posted in holidays

Am full of Christmas cheer

I’ve pretty much decided not to sew anything for Christmas this year. That may make me Head Scrooge of Craftblogland, but can I tell you how un-stressed and v. full of Christmas cheer I feel today? Not sure what I was so worked up about last week (but I suspect it had something to do with COFFEE; I’ve adjusted my dosage down to three cups and am feeling much more collected and serene today). Plus we got our Christmas tree up yesterday. I’m hoping to take some pictures for you but knowing how distractable I am will not make any promises. Ooh am loving New Laidback Rae.

Just wanted to show you some whale jammies I just finished for Elliot. I know I should probably save this for Boy Month, but honestly there will be plenty to post about by February. My design for the top is a boy version of the White Coverups I posted about a couple weeks ago, and it’s a pretty good pattern so far but needs a little modification at the neck which currently runs a little wide. He loves the little pockets and is constantly shoving his hands in them. I have to say I am SO relieved that he loves them and will wear them willingly and without resistance/bribery (more chocolate for me, yaaay!) The key, at least for now, is that he has to pick out the fabric. He loves this whale fabric from the Urban Zoologie line by Anne Kelle and kept pestering me to finish them while they were in progress (“Let’s sew it RIGHT. NOW. Mama!”). Is three too young to get a sewing machine for Christmas?

Talking about boy stuff reminds me that I need to remind everyone now that you can still submit post ideas for Celebrate the Boy (read this post for details) until the end of this month. We’ve already had over a hundred emails and I’m sure by now it’s even more, since I will admit to you that I have been a Complete Slacker and haven’t actually checked that email account in about a week. But neither has Dana as we have both been v. busy with the holidays and other things so I don’t feel as badly. What I would feel badly about though is if someone mistook our silence as rejection, so I want to make this absolutely clear: we won’t be able to get back to you about your awesome boy ideas until January, so thanks so much for your patience if you’re waiting to hear back about that!

The Fabricworm giveaway was supposed to end tonight, but I am going to be a Major Terd and go over there and close comments now, because as much as I love to hear from all of you (and WOW over a thousand entries is so fantastic!) it’s making for an awful lot of reading. Am I the only person who reads giveaway comments? *feels suddenly like person in dream who realizes they’re completely naked* Will post winner soon!

Oh and one more thing: this week Thursday is our next SE Michigan Crafter’s Meetup and there’s still some room, so if you live nearby and want to come, reserve yourself a spot; we’d love to have you!

FINITO! Storytime Squares Quilt in Far Far Away II

It’s finished (first shown in this post)!!! I’m so geeked about how this turned out!  I’m calling it my “Storytime Squares Quilt.” I may change my mind about this later but right now I am selfishly hoarding this one for myself. Me, me, me. Elliot saw it right before he went to bed yesterday and said, “Is that for ME?” and when I said, “NO it’s for your MAMA!” he said (and picture the cutest pouty face and puppy dog eyes here) “But I really, REALLY like it.” So I caved and said he could sleep with it for one night. Turned out he was just messing with me and wanted the other three quilts that are already on his bed instead. Little stinker!

So just in case you wanted to make one of these yourself, I’ve made up a quilt sheet that shows you how to make the quilt top as a downloadable PDF.  You can download your own free copy right here by clicking on this image:

Please note: You may not email, photocopy, sell, or distribute this PDF in any other way. Please link to this blog post (but not directly to the PDF) if you would like to share this with others. Thanks!

Finished Dimensions
46″ square

Materials needed:
eight fat quarters of printed fabric (I used Far Far Away II by Heather Ross) or 48 – 5.5″ squares
2 yards of 54″ wide solid fabric for sashing and backing
cotton or bamboo batting

If you’re using the printout and want to use FFAII, you’ll have to match up the fabrics I used in the picture above since I forgot to label them on the printout. Campy! ACK, just realized it’s also upside-down! Extra Campy!!!

Other notes on making this quilt:

  • I actually used 100% linen for the sashing and backing which ended up being a bee-atch to quilt with. It’s seriously woobly and slidey-all-over-the-placey. So if you decide you are insane enough to use it too, may I suggest using a spray starch on it (Magic Sizing was recommended by a reader in a previous post and is a buck for a can at Target) both before you cut your pieces and after you piece the quilt top together.
  • Cut your backing square out before the rest of your sashing (50″ square minimum, but you can cut a 54″ square the width of your fabric and still have enough for the rest of the sashing)
  • I used a single layer of bamboo batting for the center
  • I used a plain square of linen for the backing
  • I also highly recommend using a SAFE temporary spray adhesive (I used Sulky) to attach the layers before quilting them together. There was a comical Charlie Chaplin-type moment after I spread the backing on the floor and sprayed on the adhesive when I got both hands stuck and tried to use my feet and then realized my feet were stuck too. It was dicey for a bit, but I’m happy to report I no longer have a giant piece of linen stuck to my body.
  • I used a walking foot on my sewing machine for the quilting.
  • To quilt the layers together, I stitched in the ditch around each section of squares and then drew four quilting lines 1/2″ apart between each section with fabric marker before quilting it up.
  • I drew my quilting lines for the outer section just slightly less than 1/2″ apart so that there would be space at the edge for the binding to fold over.
  • I used my Cheater Bind-off Method (there’s a tutorial at that link) for binding off the quilt. It worked perfectly since the line of stitching I used for the binding lined up just right with the other quilting lines!

How about it? Do you guys have other quilting tips you’d like to share? Let me know what you think! I’m feeling very much like a Real Quilter here but I’m sure there’s much more to learn.

Posted in quilting


This random post brought to you by Rae’s brain and TOO MUCH COFFEE!!!

All of the sudden it’s almost December and I’m a little stressed.  I haven’t even made a Christmas list yet for me or either of my children and aunties are clamoring. Of course I’m soooo easy to shop for so mine won’t take long (fabric? hellooow?).

If you live in SE Michigan, you do not want to miss the ultrahip Detroit Urban Craft Fair. It’s this Saturday and Sunday (Dec 4/5) at the Fillmore in downtown Detroit. Karen has graciously allowed me to sit at the Patterns By Figgys table Saturday afternoon in exchange for some manual labor stuffing sewing patterns, so I’ll be there too, doing my durndest to fit in and look like a hipster (do I need a new piercing? or just a new tortured look?), because I am nothing if not a wallflower. Heeeeeeee.  So do your Christmas shopping at DUCF this year and stop by the Patterns by Figgy’s table and say hi, OK?

By the way, DUCF is where my seester Kricket bought the awesome “Detroit loves you” sweatshirt for E last year that he wears all. the. time.

If you’d rather make a gift, don’t forget about the snowblossom hat tutorialZaaberry made this great BOY version of the Snowblossom Hat along with an easy duh-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that way to get rid of that pesky front seam. Visit her post for her modifications and pictures of quite possibly the most adorable child in the universe wearing it. Awesome, I say!

A few of you have emailed me your versions of the Basic Newborn Pants ( free tutorial found here) that are superadorbs. Take a look at these two sweet pairs in gingham, this one from katie at Notes from a very red kitchen:

and this one from somthinsomthin:

The first pair wasn’t quite long enough for her 6-month old babe, so she made a few modifications to the pattern, and voila! 

Cute patches too, right? And how cute is this teeny tiny pair with the grommet from Mirjam of ZoHappy?


image via

Finally, there is not much sweeter than hearing Junior Asparagus singing “For unto us a child is born.” I have been listening to the VeggieTales Christmas album (MP3 download FREE from Amazon, thanks to seester Elli for the link) on repeat all afternoon. Go snag yourself a copy!

Posted in at home

More crafting. More snacks.

We had so much fun at this month’s SE Michigan Crafters Meetup that we decided to do it again! Although, we might not need quite so many snacks this time…hee.

Our next meetup will be held Thursday December 9 from 7-10 PM in Livonia Michigan.

This is a child-free evening of sewing, knitting, and crafting hosted by me and Karen of Patterns by Figgy’s (it’s also happens to be Karen’s birthday…woohoo!!!). Bring your own project to work on, sewing machine if applicable, and snacks if you feel like it. You can see more information on the last meetup at this post and pictures from last month’s meetup at this post.

If you can join us, please click over to the official Eventbrite reservation site to let us know you’re coming. I am hoping this system will save me a little time with all the emails so we’ll see how it goes (a map to the location can also be found there as well). We’re limiting the number for this meetup to 30 people, so if you plan to make it, please sign up right away. If you find out later that you can’t make it please take your name off the list so someone else can come. Reservations will close on Tuesday December 7.

SEWISTS: please email me individually if you’ll need an outlet for a sewing machine no later than Tuesday December 7. 

One last thing to add: I know there have been requests for a meetup on a Saturday; we couldn’t make it happen in December but we’ll try to have a Saturday meetup in January or February.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in at home