reiny days and mondays


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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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Wedding suit for Liam

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Here is where I admit that I am a big fat cheater when it comes to Kids’ Clothes Week. I pretty much NEVER sew an hour a day for a week when it comes around. For example, this time I spent roughly 4-5 hours total on the Saturday and Sunday BEFORE Kids’ Clothes Week, and I am totally counting that as my participation for this round. I regret nothing.

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(In my defense, I have a full-time job that keeps me out of the house 50 hours a week.)

Anyway, because I’m a totally reasonable person, I decided to make L a suit for a wedding we went to this weekend. Kev was planning on wearing his brown suit soooooo… brown suit it is! I found this polyester suiting fabric at Jo-Ann’s. I know, polyester suit, UGH… but I am pretty sure I would never pay the premium for high quality fabric for toddler formal wear. I just don’t have it in me. This fabric, though, is super staticky and frays like mad. EVERY seam was either french seamed or serged, let me tell you that.

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I used the Basic Blazer pattern from Blank Slate Patterns (same as his corduroy blazer from Christmas) and I still love it. My welt pockets turned out MUCH better this time – still not perfect but definitely an improvement. I lined it with this fun poplin from the new Lisette collection for Jo-Ann’s. I feel like it makes the brown suit a little more… toddler-friendly.

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His pants were the usual Parsley Pants from Made by Rae. I left the pockets off and used flat fell seams on the inseam. I hemmed them with a blind hem by hand.

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I’m realized that I totally have enough fabric to make a vest for him too. I bought Simplicity 4762 a few months ago to sew a Christmas present (actually I have a few finishing touches to add to it, oops!) and it was actually really easy so I might make it! Although now that the wedding is done, I’m not sure if he’ll have occasion to wear a three-piece suit while this still fits him. Friends and family, please get married this year!

I bought tan Sperry’s for him to wear but they were too small! When did we discover this? Why, at the hotel fifteen minutes before ceremony, of course. (What respectable mother doesn’t have her child try something on – especially shoes – ahead of time? Just me, probably.)

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He ended up wearing his red Converse which, in my opinion, turned out way cuter. He got compliments all day long.

Below is the only shot I got of him standing up in the suit and it is, forgive me, a cell phone shot AND in an elevator.

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In case you’re wondering, the bow tie stayed on the entire time. How much longer can I expect this to continue? This is a magical time.


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Corduroy blazer

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Christmas outfits are pretty much done chez Waterman! I made L a corduroy blazer using Blank Slate Pattern’s Basic Blazer.

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The corduroy is 16W corduroy from Jo-Ann’s – Biking Red like my uncut corduroy Kelly skirt.

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Silver shot cotton lining! I think it makes it look extra festive.

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I tried to get a good picture of how shimmery this shot cotton is. It’s nice and light which I think pairs well with the heavier corduroy.

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These beautiful little buttons are Jo-Ann’s (what else) – not sure why they’re called tortoise buttons but they’re cute and remind me of Bilbo Baggins. I bet he’d be proud of these buttons.

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These are my first welt pockets. They could definitely use more work but my second turned out much better than the first! I’m sorry to say that this one pictured is my second one… but I’m sure I’ll get better with practice! Plus, come on, it’s not like it’s going to fit Liam next year…

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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!