reiny days and mondays


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Denim Hearts Kelly Skirt

Kids Clothes Week starts today! I am gearing up for two projects for Liam this week. True to form, I’m already behind and the fabric is supposed to arrive in the mail today! This is probably wishful thinking, but I’m hoping to have both completed and photographed this week. Wish me luck!

I do have a bit of a backlog of completed projects to share, so here’s another Kelly skirt!

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My office is fairly casual so my normal uniform is a cardigan + tank top + pants/skirt. On Fridays we can wear jeans so I specifically made this denim skirt for Fridays. When I finished it though, I was too excited to wait until Friday soooo I’ve worn it on a few non-Friday days! Ooh, rebel!

This fabric is from Jo-Ann’s. I bought two yards, but I really need to measure how much I used because I’ve ended up with quite a bit of excess every time I make the Kelly skirt. I think I probably use about 1.5 yards.

This fabric has 2% spandex which is exactly what I felt the Kelly skirt needed. I find my first two skirts fit a bit loosely when I’m standing but are a bit uncomfortable when I’m sitting. I probably just need to get rid of my gut, but I took the easy way out and altered the pattern instead.

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So first thing was getting a slightly stretchy fabric. I did not interface the waistband because I wanted it to maintain its stretchiness. I also cut the waistband a bit narrower – I think part of my issue with the pattern is the waistband is just too wide for my extremely short torso.

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I also cut the skirt pieces narrower but made the pleats a bit smaller. I think the fullness of the skirt is kind of overwhelming on my frame. I’m pretty sure this means that I would really like the Beignet skirt by Colette Patterns but I’ve got other patterns on my to-do list before I can really justify another skirt purchase at the moment!

I added a huge hook and eye closure up top instead of buttons. I just think it’s cute, even though no one is ever going to see it!

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The pockets are lined with leftover fabric from our Valentines shirts! I thought it was fitting with the cupid arrows and the hearts.

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I lopped off two inches so it would hit just above the knee. This is probably the most flattering skirt length on me, which bonus! is still work-appropriate. I wouldn’t recommend the denim for a corporate job, but it works for me and I’m glad to add a casual but polished skirt to my wardrobe! It works really well for weekends out as well, paired with a t-shirt.

By the way, I am super proud of myself for being able to match up the rows of hearts across the front and sides. I’ve never really worked with fabric that needed matching up like that so I’m pretty much still giving myself pats on the back for that. I know, amateur.

And with that, I think I’ve finally gotten the Kelly skirt to TNT (tried & true) status!


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Valentines shirts

If you know me or have been a reader for any length of time, you’ll understand why I needed to make Liam a Valentines’ Day shirt. It’s because novelty cotton prints are my life.

We’ve been snowed out a bunch lately – yesterday was a snow day (I am able to do work from home though) and today I decided to leave a bit later to allow for the icy roads to melt some. Of course both days I woke up before 7am anyway. After nearly three years of being a mom, I am simply incapable of sleeping in.

So naturally, this morning I woke up and sewed up a shirt for Liam! I may have been feeling guilty because I made a shirt for myself yesterday (scroll down to see it!) instead of making valentines for his little friends at daycare. (Because of the snow day(s), they’re doing the party on Monday so SCORE, I get the weekend to make valentines!)

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I used the Oliver + S Sketchbook pattern that I’ve used a million times.

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The fabric is from (where else?) Jo-Ann’s and is probably on sale/will be on sale soon. I believe I paid around $3 a yard a few weeks ago.

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I decided to finish the hem and armholes with bias tape. I think it is especially helpful for the curved hem of the Sketchbook – I often have trouble making the hem lie perfectly flat by just folding twice and sewing the them down.

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I took a few shortcuts because (a) it’s a novelty shirt, and (b) I was short on time!

1. I didn’t use any interfacing. The shirt seems fine without it: the placket is stiff enough, and the collar is a bit floppy but suits the casual nature of the shirt.

2. I used pearl snaps instead of buttons. I’ve fallen a bit out of love with the snaps since I finally learned how to do button holes, mainly because my snaps pliers are pretty unreliable. I think I ruin 3 snaps for every one I actually get to attach properly. I will probably replace the snaps with real buttons.

3. I didn’t attach the pocket but may do so later!

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I cut a 3T and added an inch to the bottom because this boy is getting so tall! I just the let the hem out of those gray pants a couple of weeks ago and I think I have to do it again!

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Sorry, you’d think I’d clean up a bit for pictures… but no,  you’d be wrong. But THAT SMILE THO.

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Obviously I made myself a shirt with the same fabric. This is the Laurel top, except I redrew the side seams  for some extra ease and added another inch to the hem. Super comfy!

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For some reason Liam was happy to pose this morning! Success!

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Laurel Top in Rosebed Pomegranate

I’m officially a Laurel convert! I loved the fit of my Laurel dress so much that I had plans for a top immediately after finishing it! I was surprised the top had no closures and, while I should have made a muslin, I decided to just go ahead with it and add a zipper if necessary.

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It fits! And it’s really comfortable.

I used bias binding to finish off the neckline, sleeves, and hem and machine stitched them on rather than by hand. It’s not as fancy-looking but I don’t think it really has to be for this top.

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This fabric is Rosebed Pomegranate by Juliana Horner for Jo-Ann’s. This line is just so good.

I did lower the bust dart points two inches and I think they’re perfect now.

I almost always use french seams when I sew up the shoulders. Super neat! I rarely have the patience to do that for too many seams though… not when my serger is so handy! I did serge the back seams separately and pressed them flat.

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Love this top! I really want to make a few more. I will say that since I started sewing for myself, I’ve made almost exclusively dresses and well… sometimes a girl just needs some separates.

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Corduroy Kelly skirt

Another Kelly skirt in my repertoire!

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This is uncut corduroy from Jo-Ann’s in Biking Red.

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I found these lovely buttons at Jo-Ann’s during their BOGO buttons sale during Thanksgiving weekend. They look like hammered gold.

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I love the look of uncut corduroy. It looks almost velvety and it’s super comfy for this cold weather!

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This time I cut the skirt pieces Small and the waistband Medium. Not sure what I did but the waistband could’ve been a Small as well. I also think both skirts are too long by about two inches so I will probably rehem them both.

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I lined the pockets with the silver shot cotton I was talking about for my failed Laurel. I bought it at Fabric.com – I don’t see the silver anymore but this is the dark green one (which I think is actually quite lovely… I’d love to use that for a scarf!) This is one use I’ve found for it – another more exciting one is waiting to be pictured!

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I was taking these pictures but Liam kept looking at the LCD screen and waving at Mummy inside the camera… he nearly knocked the tripod over a couple of times. Never a dull moment.

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Navy Kelly skirt

I’m trying to sew more cake and less frosting for myself and well, it’s really hard. I’d much rather sew the floraliest, most heartastic, kitten-adorned dresses in the world (evidenced by my fabrics Pinterest board) but I really need some separates as well, and I need to be able to mix and match them to some extent so I can pretend to be a normal person at work.

That doesn’t mean I can’t be ADORBS too! I’ve wanted the Megan Nielsen Kelly skirt for ages now but I have a thing against paper patterns. The tissue paper just makes me really nervous because I feel like they get so rumpled and I will NEVER be able to use them again. Oh, and also my fear of the buttonhole foot on my machine.

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WELL not only has Megan Nielsen started converting their patterns to PDF format, I have since conquered my fear of the buttonholer! I was super productive over Thanksgiving weekend and sewed not one, not two, not three, but FOUR garments with buttons. Ok, one of them only had one button, but TWO of them were Kelly skirts so I got a lot of practice! My machine does four-step buttonholes which sounds really terrifying (anyone else? just me?) but it turned out fine! I wouldn’t say they’re the most beautiful buttonholes in the world, but I’m getting a lot better.

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I used this cotton twill from Jo-Ann’s, lined the pockets with leftover Bouquet Sprout from my Ruby dress, and used these faux (?) wooden buttons, also from Jo-Ann’s. I’m not sure why I only ended up with five buttons (they came 2 to a package) so I used an old 1″ tortoise shell button I had in my stash for the top instead of two smaller buttons.

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I love the pleats on this skirt! It actually may be a little TOO full for me. I made a second Kelly skirt this weekend and cut a small for the skirt pieces but kept the medium waistband and just shifted the pleats to fit. I like the second skirt better and may adjust this skirt as well to tone down some of the fullness.

One thing about this twill though – holy lint trap, Batman! It comes out of the dryer completely covered with all the lint from the other clothes, and attracts dog hair like a magnet. A dog hair magnet. It even attracted lint from my sweater all day long.

Also, I swear I’m not wearing black tights with a navy skirt! They’re gray, I promise!


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I Heart Laurel!

It’s been a long time coming, but I love Colette Patterns now.

I bought the Laurel pattern half a year ago and had grand plans to make it in a gray shot cotton. Unfortunately I didn’t realize how SHIMMERY the fabric was when I ordered online, and the more I sewed, the more the dress started to look like something Donna Summer would have worn at one of her concerts. I tried to tone down the nightclub feel by cuffing the sleeves and adding pockets but I just was not feeling it. It was my most embarrassing UFO (and trust me, I kind of looked like I came from a UFO when I tried it on) and I just shoved it to the bottom of my scrap pile.

The silver Laurel has since been Frankensteined into several beloved pieces – soon to be blogged! – but I have revisited the pattern and did it RIGHT this time. And I love it!

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I found this pretty hunter green fabric at Jo-Ann’s – I think it’s elegant and sweet at the same time, which I don’t find too often there. Even Kevin commented that he thought the fabric was nice! Win!

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I think the sleeves are just perfect. I love the slight puff, and the length is exactly what I want on all my blouses/dresses. I don’t like sleeves that are too loose, nor do I like super tight sleeves (ok who does?)

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Once again I think this is a dress that looks better belted on me. I would probably take in a bit more on the back darts if I wanted a more close-fitting dress that I would always wear unbelted. One other note for my next Laurel – I want to shift the bust darts down about an inch as I think they hit me a bit high.

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I bought enough fabric to self-line the dress and I think that was a good choice! Not that anyone will ever see it, but it looks so beautiful on the inside too! The doubled fabric also gives the dress a lovely weight that makes it feel more substantial and a lot less “homemade”. I took care and did ALL the handstitching that was recommended in the instructions – the bias binding on the sleeves, neckline, and the lace hem tape – and it looks amazing. Good call, me.

I DO need to get an invisible zipper foot! I did my best with a regular zipper foot and it’s not terrible but certainly not invisible either. Of course I didn’t get pictures of the back but rest assured, you don’t need to see my backside after Thanksgiving.

Anyway the reason why I finally pushed myself to get the Laurel done is because I’m planning on making the Albion coat for myself! Now that I’ve made a wool duffle coat for Liam and sewn another Colette pattern, I think I’m as prepared as can be for the Albion. I’m sure I’ll be too busy with other projects in the meantime so I’m waiting for the sew-a-long that I hear will be happening after the holidays. Can’t wait!


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Halloween costumes – Doctor Who!

I am back after an extremely crazy Kids Clothes Week!

I so inconveniently decided to fall ill with bronchitis during KCW, and in the week leading up to Halloween no less!

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We usually do two costumes for L: one is a group costume that we do as a family when we go to our friend’s annual Halloween party, and a different costume for L to wear at daycare for their little parade.

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Our group costume was the Doctor (Eleven, if you must know), his TARDIS, and a Dalek. OBVS L had to be the Dalek so I whipped up a Geranium dress… because when else can I make a dress for my son? I sewed up a 3T and lengthened the skirt and also cut it as an A-line skirt rather than gathered. I was playing this by ear so I initially thought I would need a yellowish fabric to start with so I bought Hawthorne Thread’s Solid in Goldenrod. I later decided to use fabric spray paint to make it really gold so I picked up a couple of bottles of this stencil spray at Jo-Ann’s. It turned out looking great on the outside but bled horribly onto the inside. A nice plus was that the fabric stiffened up quite a bit so the skirt really stayed flared out, which I think worked nicely. What worked for me was spraying one whole side, then smoothing it all out with a foam brush. It was a bit streaky and drippy so going over it with the brush gave it better and more even coverage.

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I threw it in the wash after I’d finished painting and letting it dry, but now I’m afraid it’s rather wrinkly and I’m not keen to iron all that paint. Well, lesson learned.

I cut out a million felt circles for the Dalek bumps and painted them with gold glitter paint. Why didn’t I spray paint them? I don’t know, I did a lot of this at night and I don’t think straight after 8:30pm. Those suckers got Mod Podged on… I tried sewing them on and my machine was NOT having it. It dried pretty hard since I did about four coats to get the glittery goodness I wanted.

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By Saturday morning I had just about had it with the Dalek costume, and the party was that evening so I just Sharpied the black details on the bodice. I’d had grand plans of cutting out little black rectangles and sewing them on but that was so not happening after I’d been working on it every day after work for a week while fighting bronchitis. Just… no.

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We had some failed attempts at making the Dalek gun and eye stalk, but I gave up trying to figure out how to attach the eye stalk to the kid’s head, and Liam hated the Dalek gun hanging off him so that was taken off pronto. Doubt we even have any pictures of it.

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And now TARDIS dress pictures!!! I used the Ruby dress pattern because it’s the simplest dress pattern I have (man, Rae really helped me out this Halloween!) and I figured the lack of darts and seams would make the best palette for TARDIS details.

I do have to tell you guys that I emailed Hawthorne Threads to ask for help picking out a good match for TARDIS blue and I got such a thoughtful, helpful response that appeared to be crowdsourced from multiple Whovians over at Hawthorne Threads. The best, guys. The best. And their recommendation was spot on – I bought Free Spirit Designer Solid in Admiral and I think it’s perfect.

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I cut out rectangles for the front paneling. I should have sewn them on with darker thread or layered a darker fabric beneath but… that wasn’t something  I noticed until after sewing them all on and looking at pictures. Oh well.

ALSO, THEY’RE ALL POCKETS. I think it’s keeping in the vein of “bigger on the inside” to have so many pockets.

I hand embroidered POLICE BOX on the yoke but left out the PUBLIC CALL… it was getting too tiny and I’m really not a great embroiderer to begin with 😦

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I went the easy route for the TARDIS sign and printed it on iron on transfer paper. Correction – I sent my husband to his parents’ house to do this because we don’t have a printer. And he had to go back and redo it because I forgot to tell him to flip the image so it would transfer correctly. Oops.

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Besides the pockets, I think the windows are my favorite part. They’re just so cute. Love them.

And I’m so glad I made myself a TARDIS dress.

Husband was the Doctor, and I kid you not, the entire costume is pulled out of his current wardrobe. He seriously already dresses like Eleven. I’d say that’s why I married him except we didn’t discover Doctor Who until after we were married.

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Kid approved, as you can see.

This is already a ridiculously long post so I will have to save L’s other costume for tomorrow! Also I still need to upload the pictures of this costume. Always last minute here…