My first Creativebug Class is coming soon!

Sewing for Little Ones with Rae Hoekstra

I’m excited to announce that my first Creativebug class, “Sewing for Little Ones: Beginner Pants” will go live in just two days on Thursday, April 7th! You can view the preview videos for the entire course and take a look at my instructor page for descriptions of each of the three classes that make up my “Sewing for Little Ones” work-along. (Note that these links are affiliate links so if you sign up via my link I earn a little $…).

One class will go live on Thursday for the next three weeks. I’ll say a little more about the first (beginner pants) class soon. I hope you’re as excited as I am! Wooooot!!! *does Kermit arms*

Sewing for Little Ones with Rae Hoekstra

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Charley Harper leggings for Hugo

Charley Harper leggings for Hugo
I really love the Charley Harper prints that Birch has put out in the past year. This vireo print is one of my favorites, and I was really excited when it ended up on knits as well as quilting cotton! This is the second thing I’ve sewn with the Birch knits, and I really like the quality of these knits a LOT; they hold up well, have a nice (medium) weight, and the perfect amount of stretch for clothing. One thing I learned the hard way is that they do shrink quite a bit in the wash, so my usual 1 wash / 1 dry prep for fabric didn’t work as well; the Flashback dress I made for Clementine shrunk even more in the wash after it was sewn and now is more of a 3/4 length on her sleeves and tunic rather than dress length…oops! Totally my fault, but I would recommend washing and drying these at least twice if possible before making something.

Charley Harper leggings for Hugo
Charley Harper leggings for Hugo

The pattern…hmm. I’m almost 100% sure that a pattern exists for this exact style, but honestly I just traced a pair of knit leggings he already had in a smaller size and added a little width and length to make them bigger. The final fit was trial and error (read: me wrestling them on him during a diaper change, then trimming off the seams with the serger after he went to bed, then repeat again the next day) and it took a bit more tinkering than I would have liked, but they look really cute now so I’m happy with them. But all that to say: life is usually easier when you just use a pattern. I could learn to take my own advice a little more in this department rather than going rogue all the time; it just saves so much time when someone else has done the work for me, and I’m realizing more and more how much my time is really worth.

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I guess that brings up a good issue in general that I still struggle with when it comes to sewing: how to decide what to sew when time is so limited? I remember when I first realized that I could sew ANYTHING in that classic world-is-my-oyster kind of way; there was something so freeing and awesome about being able to sew anything I set my mind to. But inevitably the project list became overwhelming and unrealistic, and I’ve had to pare it down and really choose more carefully what I want to sew, especially because kids outgrow things so quickly. So while I’m still pretty spontaneous slash irresponsible about what I choose to make, I definitely try to weigh how much something will get worn or used against the amount of time it would take to make it, and then considering whether it might just be better to buy it and weighing that against the question of whether a child in Malaysia might have sewn it up for me…OK, I digress, but you get the point. In this case, the leggings will probably get a few months of wear, but considering how cute they look, it was totally worth it.

Charley Harper leggings for Hugo

 

Small World baby pants

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Though I have tons of ideas for things I want to sew with my Small World corduroy, the first thing to make it out of the gate was a pile of baby pants. Specifically, Big Butt Baby Pants. For most of Hugo’s life he’s been wearing these flannel ones and these (he’s just growing out of those ones now), so I started with a couple 12-18 month ones (the yellow and blue and pink) and then made a few 18-24 month ones (the balloons and apples) and then moved on to a 2T pair of Parsley Pants in the red. I’ll probably send a few to Penelopeanut but Hugieboogie is still going to be one Sporty Spice.

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He’s been pretty fond of moving himself around via the Retro Rocket and the Beep Beep, even though he still cannot walk or crawl. He also can’t really steer. But that just makes it a little more interesting.

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One more thing: for the first time, I’ve started putting size tags in the backs and good grief WHY DID I NOT DO THIS BEFORE?? Answer: because I hadn’t stumbled across this Etsy shop yet (she’s on vacay as of this writing but should be back soon). You’re welcome.

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We’re winding down our It’s A Small World (blog tour), After All this week. Here’s a list of the other posts in the series:

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Small World is printed on 100% organic baby wale corduroy from Cloud9 Fabrics and is being sold in shops now. My sponsors Fancy Tiger Crafts and Fabricworm have it in stock now.

If you’re already sewing with some Small World of your own, please JOIN US! and share your photos on Instagram with the hashtag #smallworldfabric or in the Small World Flickr Pool!

Last minute gifts to sew for kids!

With just a few days until Christmas, I thought some of you might appreciate having a few last-minute ideas for gifts to sew. This blog has a bunch of tutorials and patterns that tend to get lost in the archives, but lately I’ve noticed (on the sidebar, where the most viewed pages show up), that two of my older fleece tutorials have been getting a bunch of love. That gave me the idea to put together a few ideas for you ALONG WITH A NICE PINTEREST-WORTHY IMAGE* just in case you’re still scrambling for ideas!

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1 // Snowblossom Hat: This super adorable made-to-measure fleece hat is usually sewn for girls, but if you leave the flowers off, it also makes a great gift for your favorite boy (bonus: it’s a free tutorial on my blog!).

2 // Handmade Pajamas: I made these cosy sets for Clementine and Elliot last year (and they still wear them, by the way!) by pairing the Charlie Tunic with the Parsley Pants; both patterns are incredibly versatile on their own, but put them together and you have a recipe for instant cute.

3 // Dragon Slippers: I think the ric-rac down the center and buttons are a great addition to these fleece slippers, but if you wanted to make them more big-kid-friendly, you could just make them without the embellishments. This tutorial is made-to-measure as well, so it’s great for kids of all ages!

4 // Backpack: My little backpack pattern comes in a small toddler size and is really easy to enlarge for a bigger kid — clear instructions for that are included in the pattern, as well as how to line it — so if you’re looking to make something that will both impress everyone and be practical, look no further. (FYI — this one is not a *quick* sew!)

5 // Big Butt Baby Pants: These pants are quick and easy and they make great gifts for babies and toddlers still in diapers. Give a whole set in fun colorful fabrics. For notes on gathering the cuffs as shown here, visit this post.

For more gift ideas for bigger people, check out my 5 Quick Gifts to Sew post!

Or visit my pattern shop and click on “children’s patterns” to find more sewing patterns and free ideas, or check out my tutorials page on the blog!

*I am not above producing Pinbait. And this image took for-freaking-ever to make, so I’m also not above pointing out how much work went into it!!

Little Romper Thingy for the Drool Machine

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This was a spur-of-the-moment project (inspired by this little romper on Pinterest).  As with the dress in the last post, sometimes when I wing it it works, sometimes it’s a disaster, and sometimes it just needs some tweaking.

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please feel free to pin this romper but don’t pin any photos of Hugo — thanks!

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I drew the pattern for this free-hand-style and cut and sewed most of it in less than an hour. The only step that took a bit more time was adding the snap placket to the inside of the legs.

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This fit is a wee bit wide in the neck — he’s showin’ a little baby shoulder — and could use a little tweaking. Next time I’ll just make the neck smaller and narrower and add more length to make more room for his cloth diapers. The yellow striped knit was left over from this Flashback Tee I made for Clementine last fall — that’s the great thing about baby sewing projects, they take almost no fabric so it’s not a huge investment if it doesn’t work out. Wouldn’t a little micro-pocket look cute too?

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I’m completely helpless when it comes to editing photos of Hugo. I can’t delete any. Even looking at this post I realize there are roughly four shots that all probably look the same to everyone else, but to me are so nuanced in expression they all needed to be included.

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Snail Trail Sleepsack for Hugo

We are big fans of the sleepsack around here. All three of my children needed a good snug swaddle to sleep for any decent amount of time. Plus our doctor mentioned multiple times at Hugo’s early checkups that we should NOT use a basic blanket to swaddle, that instead we should always use the velcro swaddler, so there you go. They’ve gotten plenty of use by our clan. So this free snuggler pattern from Lotta Jansdotter‘s Simple Sewing for Baby book on Make magazine’s site (that first link goes to something called a Craft podcast, but the free pattern is there…yeah, I’m confused by that too) seemed like the perfect way to pair some of the plain white Fanfare flannel I had in my stash with some new Lotus Pond snails!

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The snuggler is easy to use, it’s just a matter of folding the two outer flaps over each other; your baby’s legs go in the pouch portion at the bottom.

Snail Trail Sleepsack

Snail Trail Sleepsack

Snail Trail Sleepsack

I should note that I didn’t find the free pattern to be completely intuitive; I had some issues piecing the pattern pages together (an issue that would, admittedly, have been a non-issue if I had actually purchased the book rather than downloading the free version…you get what you pay for am I right??) and the instructions took us a few thinks to get right, but once it was together it made total sense and I think the design is totally adorable. So there’s that for my 2-cent review. Most importantly, Hugo will sleep in it, so clearly he likes it too!

This snail fabric is one of the prints from my new line of fabrics for Cloud9, Lotus Pond! To see all the posts from our Lotus Pond Extravaganza, click HERE.

Little Color Book for Hugo

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One of the joys of living in Ann Arbor is the sewing and blogging friends I get to see on a regular basis at monthly Sew Ann Arbor sewing meetups. Many of those friends have turned into people I hang out with In Real Life, and Emily of Emmmylizzzy (and @emmmylizzzy on Instagram) is one of those pals. Her daughter Phoebe and my Clementine are the same age and love playing together. You might also remember that daughter Phoebe helped Clementine model a legion of Tsuru Geranium Dresses last spring…they were so cute together!

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Emily made this adorable color book as a baby gift for Hugo, and I just love it. Had to show it to you, because it’s such a great way to use scraps, and such a fantastic baby gift idea!! Many of these scraps are from my own past sewing projects; I often bring my scraps to sewing meetups for the quilters to take and Emily was clever enough to collect a bunch and incorporate them into this book.

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One hilariously tragic thing you might have seen if you follow Emily on IG is that after she had completed it, her youngest daughter Penny found it and drew with a marker on the ENTIRE THING….ACK!! Luckily it all came out in the wash and you can’t even tell it happened; I would have never noticed it. Can you imagine though?? I would have cried.

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Elliot and Clementine have already identified a number of scraps that look familiar to them…do you see anything YOU recognize?

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Such a fun idea, right??? Thanks for the awesome gift, Emily!

My little cloth diaper model

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Hi everyone, it’s Rae! I figured it was about time I shared some more pictures of the new little dude in our fambly, especially since he is so cute and wee and is already 2 weeks older than he was when I took these pics (Hugo was 2.5 weeks when I took these photos, but he’s 1 month old now).

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The goal was to get a photo of him in each of the cloth diapers I made him, but getting that many pictures turned out to be harder than I thought. Either the baby was sleeping or the diaper I wanted the photo of was dirty (most likely) or it was dark and I couldn’t get a good photo. Anyway, I managed to get four of them on him. Enjoy!

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You can read about the cloth diapers I made Hugo in this post (by the way, I do NOT make diapers to sell, so please don’t email with requests, thanks!)

Sewing for baby: knit baby leggings

made by rae just hatched leggings

I love to make baby pants and leggings. I always have so many cute baby onesies hanging around that making tops seems fairly pointless, but pants? Leggings?? Bring it on. So far I’ve made these and these, and now…there’s more. From knits this time. Hopefully these will fit when Baby Boy is newly hatched:

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Oh yes and the adorable kitty pants were from the same pattern, just with a drawstring made of a strip of jersey:

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Someone needs to stage an intervention.

It all started innocently enough…I just thought I’d try to chop the feet off of the free pattern in my Baby Tights Tutorial. That worked great for this little navy striped pair, which are made of rib knit:

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Super cute right? But then when Tashina was cutting out another pair here at the studio, she accidentally put the fold down the center of the pant instead of along the leg, and it was just as cute. So we tweaked the shape a little, added a cuff, and we had a new pattern!

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And then we made a free pattern (link below) just in case YOU want to make a pair! Or twenty!

I’m calling these the Just Hatched Leggings, though I suspect that they will fit more like pants in the very beginning. If you add a cuff they might even fit 3-6 months? Who knows? You’ll just have to give it a try. Here’s how to make them!

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