I sewed something!

Remember the old days when this was a blog about sewing?  Well, I actually sewed something this week!  I bought this book last year I think, intending to make these sweet little tanks, reminiscent of the sets by Redfish Kids.  I cut out two for each twin, and two pairs of bottoms each too.  If one is good, then four must be better, right?

I sewed something!

Maybe I’ll even get all crazy and sew Miss M a back to school dress. I was just looking at all those things I sewed two years ago and wondering where some of them are…

A little late, but a wreath

Did I ever show you this wreath that I made? It’s a little late now but it’s the only piece of Christmas decor I’ve kept up. Since it’s white I feel like it can pass for Winter decor and I might just keep it up until the thaw.

It’s from a Purl Soho kit, like the advent calendar I made last year, and was not that hard to put together. I found the instructions assumed a little more knowledge than the advent calendar did, but still nothing a novice couldn’t handle.



P absolutely loves “stuffies.” Coincidentally or not, it began when he weaned. Within a week, he had a new best friend – a stuffed horse who accompanied us everywhere for at least a couple of years. His name? Horsie of course.

About halfway through kindergarten, Horsie was no longer a constant companion. In fact, he’s often forgotten as P focusses his attention on Lego or other things. But stuffies still play a big part of our life. And in fact, they gained more sophisticated narratives. There is Chippy, the gregarious hippopotamus. There is Tiny Tim, the quiet turtle. They go on boat trips and adventures and live in a place called Stuffie Land. Until very recently, M didn’t play with them much (or at all) so P took many of hers over as well.

I don’t know if these handmade stuffies will be loved as much as the cheap ones accumulated from friends but I had so much fun making them. Since this photo I’ve adorned the bear with a large lime green felt bow tie just to give a bit more pizazz. I’ll be handing them over on Christmas Eve so they don’t get lost in the shuffle of more exciting toys in the morning, and so the (big) kids can sleep with them that night.


Advent Calendar

I’m the kind of person who starts thinking about Christmas even before Hallowe’en ends. I mean, I don’t decorate or anything until at least after Remembrance Day. And the tree is not up until mid-December. But I start thinking about it and planning. Even last year when we were in the midst of moving and pregnancy drama I had ONE thing I needed to have. A real garland on the stairs. (FYI, we’re not doing it again this year. Pine needles EVERYWHERE.)

So this year, I have an even crazier project. Home-made Advent Calendar.

M and Advent Calendar

The kids are actually really into it. They want me to make them specific little characters, and they move the people around all over it. Hopefully this means I can get away without buying chocolate ones this year, since last year I got woken at the crack of dawn each morning by a certain then-two-year old who “wants go downstairs” to eat it.

Advent Calendar thingies

Advent Calendar

(Definitely not an original design in case anyone is wondering. Pattern & kit are from Purl Soho.)

Cool Weather Round-Up

It’s been cool weather again, so all the sweet summer shorts and dresses are being put away. But that’s okay… time for wool! Here’s my most recent project, Lush. It’s wee bit big I think — the 3/4 length sleeves are almost full length and the collar’s wide. But that’s okay — this girl is growing like a weed.


And here’s my Owlet. I finished it in the spring while on bed rest, but with our warm weather it wasn’t getting worn much. Now it’s back in action, so I’m glad I made the sleeves longer than required. I think it will see this little man through the winter.


And here it is being worn out and about. This photo was taken on P’s birthday at a heritage farm where they have two sheep named Sock and Sweater!


Last but not least – an O+S Forest Cape, made with blue wool suiting and a lining from the Liberty of London lifestyle collection (i.e. their quilting cotton.) Also some adorable ceramic buttons I got on Etsy – the top is a duck and the others are raindrops. This pattern is quite quick, and is perfect for this in-between fall weather.

Forest Cape

Here’s M actually modelling it. She insisted that C be in the picture too.

Forest Cape

Novelty Dress

Birthday Party Dress in Novelty Fabric

I don’t usually sew a whole garment in a novelty print, but for some reason when I was going through my fabric to find something to make a dress in, this Michael Miller print called to me for a summer play dress. She definitely gets lots of compliments when she wears it!

I’ve had this pattern for ages, but never made it, and realised that my version doesn’t go higher than size 3. So I thought I better make it before Miss M gets too big. The centre panel is some old organic Cloud 9 I bought, and I found it a little too thin and delicate – it showed pin marks and didn’t pleat as nicely as I’d hoped. But if I have time before Miss M gets too big, I may make another version of this dress in wool for winter.

Birthday Party Dress

Roller Skate Tunic

I made this tunic ages ago, around the same time as this dress. If I take the time to trace a pattern, I often make two. Anyway, the tunic version was (a) not pink, and (b) not a dress, so it took me considerably longer to convince M to wear it. With summer also coming to an end, I had to resort to the “Okay, if you don’t like it, we’ll give it to…” Not my finest parenting technique, but hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Roller-Skate Tunic

Oh, and getting her to pose in a photo where she didn’t look like this took a whole other set of bribery techniques.

Roller Skate Dress - Sulky!

Ode to Joy

I love finding random child-eye view pictures on my camera.

Child-Eye View

I finally finished my linen Gemini, (a free pattern) just in time to enjoy it for summer. 100% linen is not that much fun to knit with – it has no give, and slips off the needles constantly, which was especially annoying when I was doing the sleeves on double-pointed needles.  It’s sort of like knitting with a piece of twine.  Since I’m never able to knit for more than a few minutes at a time due to constant interruptions, I was constantly putting it down and losing stitches and having to pick them up. I also wish I’d use a stretchier cast-off at the bottom.  It’s also very hard to get the gauge consistent when you’re knitting with something that has no give at all, although I’ve decided that lends it a “rustic” air.  Ultimately, I think the pain and suffering made me a better knitter, and I love the end result.  I will knit with linen again… some day!

Blocking the Gemini

I had a few trying moments this week. For one thing, leaving the house with two seems like a monumental task. Neither loves being on their back, which means that whoever is in the stroller is always crying, or considering it. Even a trip to the coffee shop three blocks away requires significant planning and several tours around the block until whoever’s in the stroller falls asleep. Once there, I have about 7 minutes to order and scarf it down before she wakes again. On the other hand, strapping one to my chest is super-easy as they both love it. So last night after a day of being house-bound, three children and I went for a long, lingering walk around the neighbourhood, Peter wearing his Parsley Pants.

I’m constantly on the hunt for a very easy, basic pant pattern. The Sandbox Pants Pattern is pretty good. And the Field Trip Cargo Pants are a big hit here, but highly involved. Japanese pattern books have some great easy pants patterns too. How do the Parsley Pants compare? Well, I do like the infinite number of options all of which are explained in some detail in the 55 (!!) page pattern. Also, the shape is quite a universally appealing one. I was surprised at how small they were. I cut out a size 6 for my not-quite-six year old, and they weren’t quite as flared as I expected. I also wrongly assumed that I’d have quite a big margin on the hem, given that P is of pretty average height, but there was zero room to spare. I’ll cut out a size up next time.

I opted for the knee patches in a fun Michael Miller print.  I cut out a slightly smaller size knee pad and left the edges raw as I thought that would be cute after a few washings.  I also did the flat front option, and French seams for extra sturdiness.  (Not sure if she covers French seams in the pattern – that was just me.)

Parsley Pants

And in between the insanity and stolen crafty moments, there are moments of joy. Cora started smiling. Not just a little smile too, but a big giant series of smiles. She’s about six weeks from her due date, so it was right on cue, but when you’ve been waiting four months for a real smile, it’s pretty dramatic. I could almost here that enormous swell of Ode to Joy playing in the background as she thought about it, and slowly, slowly built up to this enormous grin. (At about 5:06 in that link, though the whole scene is worth watching!)

Indulging a little pink

This was my July sewing project. It is the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress – view B with the optional tulle lining. I made it out a 100% cotton sateen (Lisette collection from Joann’s), so it has a bit more of a luxurious feeling than if it were made from quilting cottons. I used the wrong side of the fabric to add a little contrast at the collar and sash, although the effect is a little more subtle than I had hoped.

Fairy Tale Dress - View B

With so many little ones now I know I won’t be able to sew as much as I was doing last year, but I’d still like to do at least a project a month. Since there was no pressure to complete this dress, I really took my time and I think it shows in the final product. I’m very proud of it.

Fairy Tale Dress - View B

Also, my girl has shown quite an interest in crafting, or “knitting” as she calls it. I want to encourage her, but I am not about to teach a temperamental 3-year old to knit. So I found a big embroidery hoop and some cheap muslin and have been letting her make little “pictures.” It still requires quite a bit of supervision, but it keeps her busy and happy.

M "Knitting"

Summer Tank

Eventually this blog will, at least partially, get back to its crafting roots. Managed to fit in a little sewing time yesterday with Bea in a sling as I picked out fabric, and Cora in the Ergo while I sat at the machine. Sometimes their tag-team approach can be a good one!

The pattern is the oft-seen Wiksten Tank, a very simple pattern with some nice details, such as French seams. PDF patterns are perfect for those spur of the moment “I-have-a-second-to-sew” projects. I made it in some a lovely Lotta Jansdotter print I had been hoarding. Must work through some of my stash to justify more fabric purchases!

Wiksten tank

On this very warm June day, Bea and I can attest to the fact that there’s nothing nicer than a loose-fitting cotton tank on a summer day.

Wiksten Tank in action