Geranium Dresses For All And The Baby

Actually, I made 4 Geranium dresses for 3.  My oldest daughter got two, my youngest got one and my niece got one.  It felt like a whole lot of geranium dresses though.  All this sewing occurred around Easter.  I know it’s been a while since then, but I didn’t get a chance to blog about it because I was very pregnant and tired and then I had a baby!  He has been taking up every bit of my free time and I love it!  Check him out:

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Gus at 2 weeks old, yes that’s an Orla Kiely boppy cover.  It’s not the most masculine print, but more so than the pink floral one I had before, and I really wanted it!  He got the Orla Kiely bibs too!

In the picture to the right he is a week older and being held by his oldest sister.  And he has on the exact same outfit in both pictures.  The girls love that dinosaur onsie and constantly request that he wear it.  Both girls are so sweet to him, it melts my heart.

So, I made my oldest a Geranium dress a few weeks before Easter and she wore it to the Easter egg hunt at our church.  I had already decided to make them Easter dresses this year and chose to use the same pattern.  Since there are several variations, I don’t think the dresses look that much alike.  For the first one I used the cap sleeves, the yoke neckline and pleats at the waist.  The Easter dresses both have flutter sleeves because I feel like they look a little more fancy.  They both have a gathered waist, but I tried the v-neck version on one.  As for the necklines, I am not going to make another v-neck until I read some more about the construction, or I talk to my mom about it.  The fabric bunched a lot a the point, but I was too scared to cut it any closer than I did.  It looks just fine from a distance and still decent up close, but I know the struggle I went through with that v-neck (it was real).  The yoke neck was easy enough too, but better for the non-Easter dress because it is a more casual look I think.  Here are some quick pictures I snapped on my phone:

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Then somewhere in there, I squeezed out another coordinating Geranium dress for my niece, but I never did get a picture of the two of them together with the matching dresses on.  I was running short on the both the patterned fabric and the solid pink, but I think I made it work well enough.

The only thing I didn’t love about the pattern is the way the skirt attaches in the back.  I sewed the lining down by hand and by doing it that way I could cover up the seam at the waist very neatly.  But if I had needed to do that part on the machine, which is an option per the pattern, there is no way it would look as good.  I marked the problem area with a blue circle in the picture below.

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But, that is my only very minor complaint about this pattern and its not like I came up with any better way of attaching the skirt or anything.  I really love this pattern.  I found it to be very versatile and the instructions were great.  Even though I’ve already made four of these dresses, I think there are more Geranium dresses in my future.

Here are some more photos of my girls in their Geranium dress.  The first one is just my girls playing outside in our back yard with a stuffed animal.

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Geranium dresses are good for twirling too!

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Happy sewing!

Sara

 

 

 

Here Comes 2015! My Project List For The New Year

I am excited for 2015.  My baby boy will be born in May; that’s #1 on my list of awesome things that are to come in 2015.  #2 is that I am actually going to buy the printer I need to digitally print fabric and sell it to all you lovely people who love to sew.  There will be so much more that goes into that venture than just purchasing a printer, but I’ll get into all that as it’s happening.  #3, my oldest daughter is going to kindergarten next fall!  I can’t believe she’s already that old.

I could talk about that printer and the business for days, but right now I want to talk about all the projects I on my “To Sew” list for the coming year.  I have bought so much fabric recently and I intend to sew it up!

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Not in order of the picture arrangement, but by when each item will be sewn:

My oldest daughter got a few pajama sets this fall that came with flannel pants.  Both of my girls love the soft pants and want to wear them a lot.  So, I think they would like to have a few more.  I need to get going on these since it will be too hot for them to sleep in once weather changes, which happens earlier here than in other parts of the country.

Last summer, my oldest daughter had a dress from Target that had bicycles on it.  She LOVED it.  She continued to try to wear it long after it was too cold for short sleeves.  I eventually ended up having to hide the dress from her, but I told her I’d make her another bicycle dress and I found this super cute bicycle print by Michael Miller to use.  I love the color palette of the print; the bikes are pink and white and the background is gray.  I am using the Norah Dress pattern by Mouse House Creations, which has a retro vibe to it, so I think it will look great using that fabric!

Each year I buy cover ups for my girls to wear to the beach and the pool.  I came across this pattern for a children’s robe from Dana Made It and just loved it.  I bought a bunch of hot pink terry cloth at Mary Jo’s recently for this project.  Of course, I already had plenty of cotton fabric with pink in it to use for the hood lining and all the binding.   So, I let each girl pick out their favorite cotton fabric and they chose the two in the picture above.  I think they will really like wearing these.  Since they are taking swim lessons throughout the rest of winter, I also need to go ahead and get this project completed so they can wear the robes to the aquatic center.

I will probably make the sundresses before my due date, which is May 5th, just because I want them ready for summer and I may be not be sewing for the month or so after the baby is born.  I bought several yards of Wee Wanderer last fall (who doesn’t adore that fabric line?  I sure do!)  and saved it to make sundresses for my two girls and my oldest niece.  If I have any extra fabric left I will try to make some baby clothes for my younger nieces, but I find sewing tiny arm/leg holes to be very tedious and difficult to get the seams straight.  So aside from baby clothes made for a specific event that required a special outfit, I waited until my girls and niece were are at least a size 2T before I started making clothes for them.  However, I may have to suck it up for the baby boy and sew him some john-johns and other things.  Boy clothes are so boring and drab, I will probably need to make some especially cute outfits for him.

After I have the baby, I know I am going to want some new clothes that are figure flattering.  Both the Staple Dress by April Rhodes and the Washi Dress by Made By Rae should be perfect to mask my post-baby body shape since they are both high-waisted.  I have a new love for Art Gallery Voile and have bought quite a few yards that I intend to use for these sewing projects.  Additionally, I want some tunics to wear after I have the baby.  Stretch pants are a “go to” for me postpartum, but I don’t have any summer tunics to go with them.  The Washi Dress offers a tunic length, so am going to make another one of those.  I bought the expansion pack for the Washi Dress so the tunic should look quite different from the Washi Dress.  I am still searching for another tunic pattern for the second tunic I intend to sew.  However, as labeled above, I do already have fabric for it.  The other one will be made from the cotton voile that looks like it is a watercolor, which is from Cloud 9.  I love organic cotton , but it’s not nearly as soft as the Art Gallery voile and the hand of the fabric is more stiff.  I still love the print though and I am looking forward to wearing it.  Side comment; I love this idea of an expansion pack!  I usually embellish any pattern that I use, but rarely go so far as to change the neckline or add a different type of sleeve.  I will probably make several Washi dresses because I love the shape and it looks comfortable to wear, but by using the expansion pack, I won’t have six of the same dress in my closet!  I love it!

My youngest daughter has a Bitty Baby that she plays with quite a bit.  Bitty Baby also has a matching set of furntiture which we got at Costco that includes a crib and high chair.  The crib came with a mat, a pillow and a blanket.  And the high chair has a fabric insert as well.  Though the set is super cute and nothing is really wrong with it, I have noticed some things I would change with the design of these accessories, plus the fabric used for these items reminds me of an outdoor upholstery fabric, but it’s slick and cheap feeling.  I’m sure it’s water resistant, which is good, but I’ll take pretty over utilitarian.  So, I’m going to use my stash of Dena Designs Tangier Ikat collection that I have been hording.  I have a charm pack, which I will use for the crib’s quilt and a bunch of yardage that I will use for the rest of the items.  I should still have plenty of fabric left over to make something for myself too.  Brynn should love it because she loves purple and that fabric line is heavy on the lavender.  I need to finish this project before her birthday in October. Love a handmade gift!

And then there is this (sigh), which I also intend on finishing this year (I have a long way to go on this project).   I am nuts about Carolyn Friedlander’s Facing East Quilt which is a pattern included in her book Savor Each Stitch.  I love the simplicity of the pattern.  Though it’s a simple shape, I find the design interesting and appealing.  The inspiration is clear and expressed well in the design.  It is my first attempt at paper piecing, but the first section went very well and as long as the circles are easy to sew in, I think this project will go pretty quickly once I start to pay it some attention.  Despite my disappointment at what very little amount of sewing I have done on this quilt, I can’t wait to have the finished product draped across the arm of my couch in the winter (or wrapped around my body)…  I guess that will be winter 2016 unfortunately.

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This list of upcoming sewing projects is long, and I even have a few ideas in my head of projects for which I don’t have a pattern or fabric yet, so I excluded them from this list.  Additionally, I am currently working on 3 Sew Together bags and a mug rug that I will have to finish before I can even start on any of the projects listed above.  I am concerned that I have put too much on my plate considering I am having a baby this year, but at it’s least something to strive for.  I am going to make a project calender to help keep me on track during the year.  If I stay focused and motivated I think I can accomplish all this sewing plus meet the goals I’ve set for my small business launch this year.  Wish me luck and check back often because I am going to write about all of this sewing, plus what’s going on with my business plan on this blog.

What all is on your “To Sew” list for this year?  I know there are a ton of washi dresses and staple dresses out there.  Is there another new awesome dress pattern that has been released recently that I should check out?  Also, do other people make a calendar and project plan for their sewing and crafting projects, or am I the only dorky one?  (I doubt I am, wink wink, …well, I hope I’m not the only one at least).  Also, please comment and let me know if you have a favorite tunic pattern that I might want to use for my postpartum wardrobe.  I’d really appreciate any suggestions.

Happy New Year!

 

Why Didn’t I Do This Earlier???

Since I had my first child 4 years ago, I have been brainstorming and taking actions to start my own business, or buy a small business.  When my oldest was about 4 months old, my husband and I put an offer on a laundromat that was for sale.  That deal fell through due to poor booking keeping by the seller.  But I didn’t give up there.  I haven’t tried to buy another laundromat; good ones are hard to find (although actually there is one for sale right now that I would like to at least visit with a broker).

After my second child was born I opened an Etsy shop called The Jewel Farm where I sold jewelry making supplies.  I had recently taken up jewelry making as a hobby and was able to find a wholesaler for the supplies.  I bought semi-precious stones, silver and gold plated findings from overseas then split them into smaller quantities for sale.  Unfortunately, the jewelry supply shops on Etsy are dominated by sellers from China and they have much better prices and larger selections than I could offer when I was just starting out.

And ultimately, jewelry making is not a real passion for me.  I didn’t want to learn everything about it, soldering metals, setting stones, etc.  I just liked making simple beaded necklaces.  Sewing is my passion.  And the longer I do it the more I love about it and the more I want to learn about it; the fabrics, pattern making, and I even enjoy quilting now.  I have tried so many crafts over the years.  I have had supplies ranging from dyed lambs wool for needle felting to canvases and oil paint.  I never did much with any of them, but all the while I always had at least one sewing project going on.  Even in college, when I didn’t have a sewing machine, I would sew skirts for myself by hand!

All in all, the Etsy shop was a good experience and I’m glad for all I learned during the past 3 years of managing that shop.  I must give credit to my sister, of Smarty Pants Paper Co., who helped me get started and showed me the ropes.

She showed me how to set up my Etsy shop and use the correct policies and shipping profiles.  She also gave me a photography cheat sheet to help me take the best possible picture of the merchandise and then edit them in Photoshop.  I have a nice camera, tripod, and a light box, but I still struggle with the settings on my camera.  I had to take a few Lynda.com lessons to get better using Photoshop, but even though my Etsy shop is closed, I am so glad to have that skill set (limited as it may be) because I edit pictures all the time now, even just pictures of my kids that I post to Facebook!  Speaking of, she also helped me set up the Facebook page for my Etsy shop and recommended I start a blog.  All excellent lessons that I will be able to use in my future endeavors.

My favorite thing that my sis did for me was make a logo for the shop.  It could not be more perfect!  I still love it and wish there were some use for it today, but it’s pretty specific to The Jewel Farm:

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And this is what the banner looked like for the Etsy shop.

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I still have a lot of supplies left, which means that financially The Jewel Farm was a failure, but overall I count it as a success because I learned so much from it and the experience really prepared me for my next steps as a small business owner.  Plus, I can make myself a lot of cool jewelry if I every get some free time.  Ironically, my jewelry collection could use some serious updating!

Until next time…

Happy Sewing & Crafting!

Baby’s Nursery

This is a “getting to know me” post, so you can see my tastes and learn a little more about me.  I wanted to write about this project even though it was so long ago, because it was my first attempt at making a quilt.  It isn’t fancy and isn’t even quilted properly, but it is still being loved every day by my youngest daughter, so I consider it a success.

Prior to decorating my daughter’s nursery, I mostly sewed clothing for myself.  I made some roman shades for the sun room at our old house, but that was pretty much the extent of my non-garment sewing attempts pre-2010.  Part of the reason I made all the decor for my daughter’s nursery was the cost savings.  But also, I didn’t really want the exact same stuff that everyone else gets for their kids from a big box store (even though I love getting a Land Of Nod catalog in the mail and always read it thoroughly).

I made a quilt, curtains, a pillow, a bumper guard and a mobile.  I went to my favorite fabric shop in Gastonia, NC, Mary Jo’s and browsed their quilting cotton for hours.  I found one print that I loved immediately.  At the time I didn’t realize it was a Free Spirit fabric, but now it makes sense that I loved it so much, since I like all their designers and fabrics.  The print is from the collection called California Dreamin’ by Jenean Morrison.

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Then I chose several monochromatic fabrics to match the colors in that print, plus a hot pink and white fabric from Michael Miller that kind of reminds me of a lattice design.

The theme for the bedroom was bunnies.  I appliqued bunnies that I cut out from white minky on the quilt and the pillow.  My dad bought me an adorable bunny lamp for the dresser.  At an antique store, I found a white ceramic planter that is shaped like a bunny (what luck!).  And I also found the perfect print to match the theme and my focal fabric on Etsy from the store Make Me Some Art.  Since my girls now share a room I don’t have a place to put this print, but I intend on rehanging it in my future studio.

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For the bumper guard, I just sewed equally sized squares together, sandwiched them around quilt batting, bound the whole thing and added ribbons to tie it to the crib rails.  It was pretty easy to measure the inside of the crib to determine how large the squares of fabric should be.  It wasn’t very time consuming, but did require a good amount of fabric, so it’s a shame I had to remove it as soon as the baby was able to sit up, at about 5 months.  I don’t even think I used it at all for my second daughter.

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The pillow was also really easy.  Again, just rectangles sewn together with a single piece of the white print for the backside.  I sewed coordinating ribbon on the seams, but I didn’t even bother to put a zipper in it; I just sewed it closed.  This was the quickest item created for the nursery, but the most useful for me.  I am so glad I made this pillow because I sat in that rocking chair nursing and rocking my little babe for many, many hours and the pillow was the perfect size to support my back.

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The quilt matches the design of the pillow and bumper guard.  It is simply rectangular strips of fabric sewn together. The back is hot pink minky.  There are 3 white minky bunnies appliqued onto the green section of fabric.  I didn’t take a full picture of it when it was still new and clean looking, but a good portion of it can be seen in the picture above with the bumper guard.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good picture of the mobile either, but it can be seen in the picture below of the whole nursery.  However, I can tell you a great hack to make a custom mobile to match the rest of your nursery decor.  I bought a mobile that was on the clearance shelf at Babies R Us.  The package had been opened and damaged, but the mobile operated perfectly.  When my sister came to visit, she actually finished this task for me because I was so tired.  She took apart the umbrella portion of the mobile using a seam ripper, then used those pieces of fabric as a pattern.  She cut new fabric from my selection and sewed it back together just like the original.  Then I used that same bunny shape to cut out 4 more bunnies and hung them from the corners of the mobile’s umbrella using ribbon.  It looked fantastic.  I would highly recommend this hack to anyone who wants the mobile to coordinate with the other fabrics in a nursery.  It only took my sister a couple of hours to complete the mobile and she even went the extra mile and added cording where the pieces of the umbrella joined.

Here are two pictures of the completed nursery.

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The quilt is still used every single day; all day long actually.  My oldest daughter really took to her Jelly Cat giraffe, but my second daughter took to the blankie and never let go!  She loves the soft minky on the back.  She carries it with her all over the house and sleeps with it every night.  The binding is starting to show wear and it is kind of dingy looking even though I wash it frequently.  I have thought that if it starts to show too much wear and tear or if my daughter is still this attached to it after she becomes too tall for it to cover her body that I still have all the fabric from the bumper guard and from the curtains, I could rework a new quilt in a queen size or lap size for her.

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Happy Sewing!

 

My Work Space Is Also A Playroom

Everyone loves to see other people’s work space.  I’m happy to share mine as well.

I have a finished room over my garage (FROG), most of which is my girls’ playroom.  There is also a staircase that comes into the room and on the other side of that is a small office area, which I have completely taken over.  Since we moved into this house 2 years ago, I have gradually been making the playroom side more fun looking and kid friendly and I’ve been trying to get the work side of the room more organized for me to sew in.  I’ll post more about projects I’ve done for the playroom, but first I’ll show my work area.  There is a built in desk on one side and built in cabinets on the other.

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I bought some shelves to store my fabric on the counter.  I like having it out so I can see it and be inspired.  However, I think I still need some more shelving because I have more fabric stashed around the room, mostly my garment fabric.  I used to try to keep my stash to a minimum when we lived in a much smaller home.  My sewing machine was moved around the old house several times as we constantly tried to reorganize and squeeze ourselves into 1700 square feet.  Now that I am not so restricted with space my collection has grown.

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The eyesore on the bottom right that appears to be a missing cabinet is actually a spot for a mini fridge.  There was one there previously, but it did not have a front vent and ended up leaking and causing a spot on the ceiling below.  I will probably get another mini fridge at some point when my kids want to hang out up here and watch movies with their friends, in about 10 years.  For now, I can throw my crap in the empty space.  One of my favorite things in my workspace is the piecing wall in the left side of the picture.   It is a vinyl table cloth that I cut down to fit the wall and then used thumb tacks to hang it up, fuzzy side out.When cutting out pieces for a quilt, you just lay them on the wall and they stick to it.  It’s great for figuring out placement and keeps everything off the floor and away from kids and pets.    It isn’t as big as some other people’s piecing walls, but it’s perfect for a crib quilt which is mostly what I make.

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My sewing machine sits in the middle and I can quickly get to the desk or up to the cutting board on the counter.  I need to find a better place for the iron.  I would like to say that I keep it neatly folded and stored away in the closet but that is not the case.  It just stays out because I use it a lot.

I bought some cute curtains for both sets of windows in this room.  I got two extras so I can make coordinating throw pillows for the play area later on.  We still have to recover a couch and love seat to go in there, so there is no rush on that.

This is the side with the built in desk.  It’s always a cluttered mess and my sewing books and magazines are slowing overtaking my other books, so I need to reorganize the whole thing sometime.  I also keep all of my girls’ messy art supplies on the shelves, which I need to clean out, since I am always adding to their stash.  Maybe I’ll get to that next year :)

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I am considering encroaching on my kids space a little bit and putting a tall table where the pile of stuffed animals is.  I already have two old bar stools that I can use with it.  I have seen some IKEA hacking online and so my plan is to copy something I have seen on that website.  I am hoping to incorporate a place for the ironing board on the tall table, because it really is a nuisance in the middle of my sewing area.

It’s a small space so there isn’t much else to write about.

Happy sewing!