Note to self…

Do not, under any circumstances, tell your aspiring superhero that you will make him a cape.  Do not give him any forewarning of the impending cape.  Just keep it to yourself until it is all finished and ready to present.  Otherwise, you will be subjected to unrelentless nagging, akin to an 80-year old woman.

Kai was looking so cute, trying to make one of his blankets into a superhero cape.  I said, “Well, why don’t I make you a real superhero cape, Kai.”

Kai: “Where is it, mommy?”

Mommy: “I have to make it with my sewing machine, Kai.”

Kai: “Well, I want it.”

Mommy: “Yes, Kai, I know, but you have to wait for me to make it.”

Kai: “Well, well, where is it??”

It went on like this all night long.  ALL. NIGHT. LONG.  After we FINALLY got him to bed, I proceeded to make him his cape:

Superhero Kailan

Nothing extraordinarily special since I had to use what fabric I had in my stash.  I put the “K” for Kailan on there so he would hopefully learn at least one letter in the alphabet.  He calls all letters “B”.  What did he say when I asked him what the letter on his cape was?

“B??”

*sigh* 

Weekend sewing project – silent auction outfit

Well, I really, really hope that the size fits the winning bidder since it took me many hours to make it.  Here is the flier that I am putting up and then I will put the outfit on the auction.  Anya was not wanting to stand still for me, so those pictures aren’t the best.  It is pretty cute, if I say so myself.  I used a pattern for the underdress and then made the top dress from scratch.

Flier

Dress

Underdress

Weekend sewing projects – Kitties

I was busy yesterday….

I had all the fabric cut (mostly) and here is what I made baby girl.

This is a rather non-traditional, but really, really cute, Easter outfit.  She’s wearing it today!  The pattern has little kitties on shelves with a metalic gold throughout as an accent.  I added the pretty lace that has a satin ribbon running through it.  This is a self drafted outfit.

Kitties

I love the pattern on this fabric.  It has a little bit of an ethnic feel to it, and is a really fun set for summer. She can wear it with the little pants alone and with the skirt. I had a pattern for the little pants and the skirt was self drafted.  I added the fabric to the Old Navy plain t-shirt. 

Torquoise

Such a fun girly dress!  The pattern has a swirlyness to it and is 100% cotton.  I added the front pocket with the iron-on applique and the belt with the beautiful ribbon.  I had a pattern for the basic dress, sans pocket.  I have a hat to match all cut out, but didn’t quite get to it…maybe next week!

Swirly pink

Sewing project – A gift

This gift is destined for a little girl that is around Anya’s age.  I’m pretty sure her mommy doesn’t check my blog, and since I just COULDN’T WAIT to put this one up since it is so dang cute, here it is…

Lily's Dress

The dress, which is mostly from a pattern, is fully lined and snaps at the back.  The tucked pleat little belt has shirring on the back for it stretching to fit, and connects with snaps.  The little purse has fusible fleece inbetween the layers for added weight, and it has her name on it in iron-on letters.  I made the belt and purse from scratch.  The fabric is seersucker.

I just love how it turned out…perfect for the girly little girl that it is destined for!

Weekend sewing project – Shirred top

This was the first time I ever tried shirring a top with elastic thread.  Shoot, I didn’t know elastic thread existed until a few weeks ago!  Here is a tutorial on how to shirr and I found the elastic thread/cord by the elastic, not the thread, at the sewing store.  For my machine, I wound the thread on the bobbin and didn’t stretch it at all, set my tension to 4 and used my longest stitch.  I didn’t have to steam it afterwards to make the shirring come out, it did it all through the stitching.  Tip: Definitely draw the lines with a water-soluble pen if possible.  My lines were a little crooked!

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Here is the top, with the shirring on the back.  I drafted the top and skirt patterns from scratch.  I made several boo-boos on the top while stitching it together, but it was the first time sewing it, so that happens.  I wanted the top lined in the front, as the shirred seams were a bit bulky.  I wanted them enclosed so they wouldn’t chafe her sides and also so they would lay better.  I had to rip those seams out at least twice until I got it right…ugh!

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The pattern that inspired this outfit can be found here.  The problem I had with it (besides the $20 price), is the ribbon on the corset top, the top ruffles and no straps.  The ribbon would get untied in about 2 minutes, the ruffles looked like they would chafe under the arms, and I didn’t want to have to worry about the top inching down.  I try to make my kids’ clothes cute, but practical.  Instead of ribbon, I used matching rickrack that I sewed into the sides.

I’m not sure how well you can tell in this picture, but it is SO STINKIN’ CUTE on baby girl.  When you add my cute little blondie to this cute little ensemble, it is about an overload in cuteness.  And I’m not just sayin’ that ’cause I’m her mom. 😉

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Sewing Project – Lavender flowers

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Here was my project this weekend.  I made the pattern for these little pants to make the curved gathered section on the front.  I added some pretty ribbon along the edge and a pinwheel at the bottom on each side.  It has a vintage looking silver button in the center with flowers stamped on it.  The matching onesie was again, Old Navy, and I added the appliques and silver button.  The shirt and pants match the dress I made a few weeks ago that I posted here.

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I also made another skirt out of the remaining material for this lovely lady.  Her daughter is going to Africa on a mission trip to work in an orphanage and wants to bring skirts for all the little girls there.  She had hoped to bring enough for other orphanages in the area, too, and their project is dubbed “Sewing Seeds”.  If you are interested in helping with the project, see her post here about it (or click on the project logo below).

Sewing Seeds Sewing Seeds

Sewing project – sunshine outfit

Burgundy and yellow setThis is a new set that I finished this week.  I made a skirt (self drafted) with diaper cover, a pair of ruffled pants, and embellished an Old Navy colored t-shirt.  Those little plain colored t-shirts are pretty cheap, so I can just match it to the fabric and do some fun stuff to them.  I did a few new things on this set.  I made the little pinwheel for the shirt, which was SUPER easy and so cute!  I hadn’t really done the applique thing before, so that was new.  It pulled more than I like, so there is room for improvement.   I love the little ruffled on the pants.  It is a fairly easy thing to add to a regular pants pattern.  No pictures of baby girl in it yet, but not to worry…there will be PLENTY!

Burgundy and yellow set

Sewing project – corralling diapers in the purse

I saw this product when Anya was a young little button and thought, “I can do that!”.  Of course…I never did…until now.  How’s that for procrastinating?  Yep, I’m an EXCELLENT procrastinator.

I found a pattern and instructions online for those interested in making it themselves.  It really is quite easy to do.  I used it to make mine, which are going to be used by me and as gifts.  That website has some pretty useful patterns for mama sewers.

Basically, I used some pretty (remember, I’m all about the PRETTY) fabric for the exterior and some nice washable and slippery nylon fabric for the interior.  There’s not a whole lot of room on the inside so you don’t want to put fabric in there that won’t allow you to slide stuff in and out easily.  I really should be a product designer, don’t ya think?  Errrr…don’t answer that.

Then it is a must to add the extra cool, and quite usable, wrist strap.  Thinking behind this concept: when you are walking to the ladies/mens room you only have two hands and they are both holding a squirming child.  Next step on the thinking track:  When you arrive at said room there is NEVER a hook next to the changing pad so you either have to (a) put it on the floor (ewww) or (b) put it on the changing table (ewww, ewww).  So, the strap helps to keep it on your wrist, but you could also add a hook to it that would snap on a belt loop of your jeans or some other convenient place.

Yep, I’m always thinkin’.

Diaper casesHere’s a few that I made.   Fabulous aren’t they?  I gave one to the lovely couple across the street that just had a baby in December, and so nicely volunteered to snowblow the foot of snow from our driveway.  One of them conveniently matches my purse that I made.  One of them reached the destination of a baby shower yesterday.  One has yet to find a home, but I don’t think that will be a problem with all the pregnant ladies around us. 🙂

Now this picture shows the must have contents.  A few diapers, travel wipes, disposable changing pad, and ziplock bags.  “Why, the ziplock bag?”, says the first time mom.  Have you smelled poopy diapers before??  These are a must especially when you go over to a friend’s house that does not have a Diaper Genie.  It just shows that you are full to the brim with class that you don’t make your friend smell that loveliness long after you’ve left.

Contents

They were easy to make, fashionable and oh, so usable!

Weekend sewing project – dresses

I was able to get 2 dresses made this weekend for Anya’s summer wardrobe.  I made these little numbers with the matching diaper covers for summer.  I used a pattern that I bought off of Ebay that was circa 1980’s.  I didn’t do much alteration from this pattern, just shortened the dress and the straps a bit.  I love that it has pockets.  Oh how toddlers love to put things in their pockets!  I usually make an error (or three) when making a pattern for the first time and for this one it was with the diaper cover.  I miscalculated just how chubby little girl’s legs were, so I need to put a little extra elastic in them.  🙂

Blue dress Lavender dress

A journey into, and out of, business

One day when I was in an online forum for babies born in May 05, a bunch of moms were raving about this baby carrier they had purchased.  It looked pretty easy to make, and I hated the totally NON-PRETTY (I’m all about the PRETTY) baby carrier that I had.  I did a little googling to see what was out there and designed one for myself with some pretty silk and sturdy cotton.  I put up photos of my creation and was immediately asked if I could make more and sell them.  I looked at market comparables, priced my cost per item and gave myself $10/hour for the work (it’s fairly obvious I’m a CPA, right?). 

To some, my price was too high and not “reasonable”.  Apparently they wanted a silk Mei Tai (not to be mistaken for the drink, Mai Tai, but lord knows we need one sometimes) for $25, since that was my cost for making it, give or take.  Silly me, I wanted some profit for the precious few hours of “me time” I had per day that I was giving up to sew.  I wasn’t going to budge, but I did give discounts to friends, family and military spouses. 

In the end I made over 50 of them, some were gifts, and it was a learning experience for me.  Here’s the gallery of photos for many of them.

A few things that I learned and try to keep in mind.

#1  Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  I was making 4 or 5 of them a week that first month.  This was with a full time job, 2 kids under 2, and all the other “stuff” I had to do.  Insanity!  I must say, that I wasn’t the most pleasant person to be around, either.  Thankfully, I’m such a good cook that my husband decided to keep me regardless of the bear that I was.

#2  Turning something that you enjoy doing for fun into a business is not a good idea.  Why do I do that??  I love things so much and think, “Hey, I bet other mom’s would like this!”  I fail to think of what I would have to pay for it if I wasn’t the one making it.

Which…honestly, is the main thing that I hear about “boutique” clothing.  If you look on ebay you can find these amazing outfits, designed and made by work at home moms, for around $50-$200.  People (I’m referring to moms that really love that outfit and want it BAD) will go on a freak-out rant about how costs just way too much, and hey, I’ve been in a fabric store and it just shouldn’t cost that much!!!

What they fail to realize is that the person that made the item lives in the United States and is not in Central China working for slave labor rates of $10 week (if they are really lucky).  They actually want to get paid for the time they spend on those lovely intricate outfits.  How dare they, huh?

So, now I’m taking a more relaxed approach to my hobbies.  I’m not going to rush into making them into a business.  It takes the fun out of it. 

I love designing clothes for baby girl.  It gives me a chance to use that side of my brain that has slowly turned to mush over the years of being an anal accountant.  I also made my first purse on Wednesday night…ain’t it purty??  I made it with decorator fabric and embroidered silk, and customized the inside to fit all my “stuff).  An easy $100 if I were to buy it at a boutique (see what I’m talkin’ ’bout??).

my new purseinside

I love photography, the taking of the pictures and the processing of them.  Another creative outlet for me.  I hope that all my friends here in MN/WI know that I am ready and willing to take pictures.  All they need to do is ask.  What gives me cause to hold back is how so many people like Sears/Proex/JC Penny with typical portraiture.  Not my style….AT ALL.  I want my pictures to tell a story and not show cheesy smiles.

So anyways, this was just a bit of stream of conciousness brought to you by the always busy, mama Stacy.  What was the purpose of this post?  Well, I’m going to be putting pictures of stuff that I make up here, just to share, since I like to share my creations.  I want it to be clear that I’m not going to start producing mass quantities.  I’m trying to learn my limits. 🙂