Tuesday, August 24

Portabello Pixie Part 2 or Shirring Madness

After my good experience with Portabello Pixies' Apron Dress from their Claire pattern, I decided to try another view from the same pattern-- an innocent and simple looking peasant dress. Before I knew what I'd gotten my self into, I discovered the instructions called for SHIRRING and it was too late to turn back. I've NEVER done shirring before, but have seen posts about it on some of the blogs I follow. It always seemed a little intimidating and now I know why! The actual technique on paper is fairly straightforward, but putting it into action proved a little more tricky. Tutorials I found online were helpful, but my machine was... not so much. After days, that's right, days of fiddling around with bobbin tension and different elastic threads and thread tension and stitch length and my beloved ironing board dying, I finished the dress. Hooray! Even with the trouble I had getting the shirring to come out right on my Brother machine, I still really enjoyed the process and think the finished product is really neat.

I did alter the pattern a bit. It called for a ruffle along the bottom, which I left off and for multiple rows of shirring around the waist. I decided to just do one row partially because of the trouble I was having getting the shirring to work right and partially because I thought it would be over kill on that small bodice.
The fabric I used is from Amy Butler's Daisy Chain line.

Monday, August 23

Portabello Pixie Dress In Action

This is Lucy's favorite thing I've made her this summer. She begged to wear it to school. I love how well it washes and how easy it is for her to wear-- no buttons or zippers! I think this pattern is a winner all around.

Saturday, August 21

Baby Shoez

These cloth baby shoes are constructed like "Robeez" leather shoes. It is fun to see what you can do with scraps of fabric in contrasting colors. My very pregnant daughter-in-law, Candice, and I had fun trying out this free pattern. The yellow lining is a bottom weight fabric and was too thick and hard to work with, so I will stick to lighter weight cotton fabrics next time.

Friday, August 20

Sugar Cookies with Henry

With Lucy away at school for most of the day, Henry and I have had some long over due alone time. We made cookies as an after school surprise for L. Even though Henry ate half the dough, we still had plenty of cookies to go around. This is a great sugar cookie recipe, a little different from Mom's. Hope you like it!

Henry's Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter (2 sticks), at room temp*

1 cup sugar

3 eggs, at room temp

3 teaspoons vanilla

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups flour, + more for rolling out the dough

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Slowly mix in baking soda, salt and flour on a low speed until combined. Turn out dough on floured surface. Roll out evenly with floured rolling pin until it is about 1/4"-1/8" thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until edges are golden. Cool cookies on a wired rack and frost to your liking. Makes approx. 4 dozen.
*Note, if your butter is not a room temperature, place both sticks in the microwave for 45-60 seconds on the defrost setting.




1st Day of 2nd Grade

After my not so successful experiment making a t-shirt dress, I went to Target and found this one for only $3.74. SCORE! So, Lucy was excited to wear it for her first day.

It matched her back to school manicure perfectly-- an added a bonus! You can read more about there here, if you'd like. It's always nice when you can mooch off of a better writer's skills for you blog-- thanks K! :)

She found out that her best friend is in her class-- not only in her class but sitting next to her, lucky girl! Actually, there are three kids in Lucy's grade (including L) who go to our church and they are all in the same class. Kind of neat!

Thursday, August 19

Tweed-ish and Tweaking

The last time I went to Dallas and discovered Heaven on Earth, I picked up some interesting cotton called Quilter's Tweed to add to my stash. It's visually textural, but fairly smooth to the touch and lighter weight than it looks. You can click here to learn more about it. I really liked the blend of colors and thought it had a lot of potential. So, in the midst of my School-Clothes-Sewing-Extravaganza, I realized Lucy would need some shorts (especially to go with this shirt) and I thought of the tweed. Tweaking my Oliver + S Puppet Show pattern was the trickiest part. Enlarging a pattern (four sizes larger than it was meant to go) always makes me break a sweat. I'm never quite sure if I've been exact enough with my measurements until they're finished. But, these little shorts seemed to turn out okay. I guess we'll see if they hold up after a day of breaking in!

Never mind my reluctant model, good help is so hard to find.

Thursday, August 12

First Day Experiment

Lucy has been asking for something like this, for the first day of school:

And me, thinking, oh that would be easy to make! came up with something like this:

I can't say I'm loving how it turned out. There are a lot of things I would like to change, but seeing how on top of things I've been lately, this will probably get put on a shelf and forgotten... hopefully before the first day of school.

Wednesday, August 11

Summer Lovin'

I think I'm in love. Ever since Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks line came out, I've been drooling over its Indian summer color scheme, ultra soft, almost silky, light weight texture and fabulous folksy patterns. But, I've been tentative to actually make anything with it. In fact, I bought some a while ago, but ended up just framing it because I didn't want to mess it up.

But, after seeing a friend's recent project with the voile, I gained a bit of courage to try sewing with it myself. I used Oliver + S's Ice Cream pattern to make a little blouse for Lucy. The voile sewed and washed beautifully. I was afraid the delicate fabric would snag easily, but it's actually really sturdy. Now, I'm itching to get some more voile in a solid to make shorts...

Monday, August 9

Hello, Again

There's something about summer in Arkansas that just sucks all of the creative juices out of me. I think it's 110 degree humidity. We haven't been doing much more than hanging out at the pool and hitting Sonic's half-price drink hour. But, with the faint ringing of school bells to pull me out of this summer's swelter, I wanted to get a few things made for Lucy's back to school ward robe.

Here is the first of a few projects I've got in the works. This dress is a Sandi Henderson pattern that I've been wanting to try for such a very long time. This pattern was so nice to use. The markings on the pattern are somewhat minimal, but the instructions are presented in a color, brochure style that are very easy to follow. I really hate buying a designer pattern and feeling like it is poorly made. But, Sandi's patterns are great-- sturdy, high quality, something you could use again and again with out fear of tearing. I used Heather Bailey's Nicey Jane line and I love how it turned out! The weight of the the Nicey Jane fabric is heavy enough that it will work well into the fall.