Quick and Easy Sew: Baby Gift with Free patterns

Quick and Easy Sew: Baby Gift with Free patterns

In my last post, I told you we know three different couples that are expecting (and one has just delivered) babies. I love making little baby gifts to welcome all the new life.

Quick and Easy Sew: Baby Gift with Free patterns

I know that getting stuff can be overwhelming for new parents. People love to give baby gifts. So I like to keep it small and simple. The project needs to be quick and easy for me too.

  Quick and Easy Sew: Baby Gift with Free patterns

For the baby booties, I used the FREE pattern by Stardust Shoes.  This patterns fits all of my requirements, and has a high “squeeeee” factor. AND it is FREE. Perfect.

***EDITED TO ADD- the link to the shoe pattern is not working, and I cannot get in touch with the author of the blog. Sorry about that!!******

Quick and Easy Sew: Baby Gift with Free patterns

The pants were made using Made by Rae’s FREE Basic Newborn Pant pattern. I have used this pattern many times in the past. The Bee has even made some for her teacher a few years ago. Simple and easy. I always add a few inches, though to the top and bottom, so I can turn under more generously. I just like a wider casing and hem.

Quick and Easy Sew: Baby Gift with Free patterns

Another baby gift down, and it may be my favorite so far. I love that fabric. A friend gave it to me for my birthday, and I was saving it for something special. I can’t think of a more perfect use for it.

What do YOU make for babies?

Baby gift idea

All of a sudden, we know three different people that are either expecting or just gave birth. What is in the water, people?! I have to say, I absolutely adore making baby things, though. I haven’t done it in a while, so I really had to look through my patterns and came up with a great baby gift idea that is quick and fun to make:

Baby Gift idea: Sew Baby Booties with a FREE pattern

Squeeeeeeee!

I have had this pattern for quite some time now, and made a few pairs of these adorable teeny shoes. It is from Stardust Shoes and it is FREE!

***EDITED TO ADD- the link to the shoe pattern is not working, and I cannot get in touch with the author of the blog. Sorry about that!!******

Baby Gift idea: Sew Baby Booties with a FREE pattern

I don’t know if you can tell, but these are tiny newborn shoes and are stinkin’ cute.

Baby Gift idea: Sew Baby Booties with a FREE pattern

The insides aren’t finished, just used pinking shears to clip the edges, but you really don’t see them.

Baby Gift idea: Sew Baby Booties with a FREE pattern

I have had that fabric in my stash forever, and have no idea where it originally came from, but I adore it! I actually used it  on the first pair I made in 2010. This pair are lined with super soft gray flannel.

Baby Gift idea: Sew Baby Booties with a FREE pattern

Quick, easy , and fun!

What is your go-to gift to make for babies?

Marbella dress made with Birch Organics Swallows Dusk Fabric

Marbella pattern made with Birch Organics Tall Tales collection Swallows Dusk Fabric

I made The Bee a new dress to start her Junior year off right. She requested another Marbella. This pattern is so flattering, and comfortable, yet stylish.

Marbella pattern made with Birch Organics Tall Tales collection Swallows Dusk Fabric

She chose this beautiful fabric from the Birch Organics Tall Tales collection called “Swallows Dusk“.

Marbella pattern made with Birch Organics Tall Tales collection Swallows Dusk Fabric

It has great drape and weight. And being one sided, it makes it easy to keep track of what is the right side  and the wrong side.

Marbella pattern made with Birch Organics Tall Tales collection Swallows Dusk Fabric

I lined the pockets with some cotton crab fabric I had in my stash. Because, well, it made me laugh (and it was the only fabric I could find to coordinate with the outer fabric).

Marbella pattern made with Birch Organics Tall Tales collection Swallows Dusk Fabric

The one thing I really love about this pattern is the extra deep pockets. I know I stick tons of things in my pockets and appreciate how large these are. The Bee loves to put her hands in them. Either way, these pockets can hold them.

Marbella pattern made with Birch Organics Tall Tales collection Swallows Dusk Fabric

A big thank you to Fabricworm for providing the fabric. All opinions are my own.

Recycled Jeans turned Denim Jacket

My friend Audrey over at Skirt Fixation made an incredible denim quilt that she posted the other day, out of upcycled jeans. When I read she made it for a refashioners challenge (which is right up my alley), I knew I couldn’t resist making something to enter myself (although that quilt is pretty hard to top)! The contest is over on Makery.uk.  After taking all of the jeans out of my upcycle pile (doesn’t everyone have one of those?!), I decided to make a Denim Jacket for my Falafel girl.

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I have always wanted to make one of these! Of course, when I started looking, I could not find a pattern to use. So, my next thought was “what pattern do I own, that is close enough so I can adapt it into a jean jacket?”.

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I fell back on one of my favorite patterns, the Bookworm Button Up (affiliate link). You can see other Bookworm Button Ups I have made here and here and here.

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I used it as a base, and then made some obvious changes. I shortened it, and extended each of the front pieces instead of adding plackets, and I broke the back up into sections (and took out the pleat).

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

The most fun I had was in embellishing it! For the back, I used the same method I used here with water soluble fabric (affiliate link). I think it adds a little whimsy, at the same time it uses up a bunch of scraps.

  Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

A friend had made me those wool felt feathers, a few years ago, and I have been holding on to them to use on the right project. I think they are perfect for this!

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

For the hem, I unpicked a wasitband on one of the old jeans I had, and used it, as is (just upside down).

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I left the distressed spots that were part of the jeans. For some pieces, I actually turned them inside out for some color variation.

Upcycled Jeans turned into a Denim Jacket

I had so much fun with this one, and the best part is, it used up some jeans (and scraps) that were taking up space!

Upcycled Jeans turned into Jean jacket

AND my girl now has a snazzy new jean jacket to go with her sassy new haircut!

jeanjacket7m

What have YOU upcycled today?

Pencil Pouch: Sew some love for school

Our girls go back to school this week, and it is a big year for our youngest, Falafel. She will be starting Intermediate school. She is a bundle of nerves right now. My solution to that (always) is to sew a little something. I believe the kids can actually feel the love I put into whatever it is I made. In this case (get it?) I made a pencil pouch, so she could take a little love to school.

sewing up a pencil pouch for the first day of school jitters

It serves as a tangible reminder that she is important and loved and that I am here waiting to hear about her day. Often I think I need to sew something just as much as she needs to recieve it. Can you tell that I am a little nervous for her?

sewing up a pencil pouch for the first day of school jitters

I let her choose the fabric, which makes it all the more special. Custom pencil pouch?! How cool is that? The fabric is Heather Ross Tiger Lily Marching Cats in green (affiliate link). Oh how I adore Heather Ross fabric. This one was in my stash awaiting a very special project. I thought this qualified.

sewing up a pencil pouch for the first day of school jitters

These zippered bags take me minutes to sew up, and I know she appreciates having a Mama-made pouch to take with her to her big new school. I know it won’t take away all the anxiety, but I am hoping it helps.

My older daughter is going to be a Junior, and has this whole High school thing down, so far. It surprises me, but my teen still loves when I make her things. I may just have to whip up one for her, not because she is nervous, but to show her some Mama-love too.

Do you sew something special for your kids to start the new school year?

 

Sewing for my Teen: Bringing home Marbella

A month ago, I shared this Marbella dress I made for The Bee over at Melly Sews as a Blank Slate Patterns Team member. Today I get to bring it home! I absolutely adore sewing for my teen.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

Oh my goodness we had fun with this one. When she put it on, she and I agreed that we needed to do a 1940’s-esque photo session. We got some great looks from passerbys in the ferry terminal and in the center of town, for sure.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

Believe it or not, this pattern is a fairly quick sew! The Marbella uses knit fabric, and has a collar and front placket. Instead of buttons, I used snaps, because I thought they looked cleaner. Well, that AND I really dislike sewing button holes and buttons. Ha!

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

 A really cool feature is the side seam pockets. I took this opportunity to use a fun light blue woven map fabric. It is just a little pop of color that peeks out when she bends.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

I folded the hem up, on the sleeves, and topstitched on the right side of the fabric, so that it would have a cuffed appearance. I left the bottom of the dress unhemmed. This knit fabric will not fray, and I didn’t want any bulk down there.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

My girl is all over the sizing chart. Literally. Her measurements spanned across size 4- 10. And not in top-to-bottom fashion, which would be easy to grade out. Over bust is a 10, Bust is a 4, Waist is an 8, and Hips are a 4! So I took her bust measurement which was a size 4, and even though her waist is an 8, there is enough ease to fit her there. All I did was decrease the seam allowance a bit, and it fit beautifully.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

She has already asked me to sew up another Marbella for her (just in time for school to start), which is a sure sign this pattern is a big hit!

This officially is my last post as a Blank Slate Team member. A big Thank You to Melissa for choosing me to be on the team this past year. It was wonderful to sew up your fabulous patterns. I know I will continue to use them for many years to come!

BIG news

Hey you guys! I have reopened my Etsy shop!

Upcycled White Rope Basket

This time, I am combining my passion for upcycling/ recycling with my passion for making rope bowls! They go pretty well together.

Upcycled Rope Basket

 I am making some plain, and then playing with color for others. Eclectic and fun.

Upcycled Rope Basket

All of them are made from upcycled/recycled rope. A little something for everyone. I am actually amazed at how very sturdy they are!

Upcycled White Rope Basket

If you want to make your own, I do have an instructable to show you how. If you want a rope bowl, but do not want to make it, hop on over to my Etsy Shop to purchase your very own!

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

 This past week, I celebrated turning 44! Every year I have a themed birthday party to ring in another fabulous year, surrounded by good friends, all dressed up. I love it. Truly, it is the most fun way to age. To prepare, I ususally make myself something to wear (see 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015). For this year’s theme, I was inspired by Bollywood. The colors, the music, the fashion. I turned to Pinterest for some design inspiration, since I knew I didn’t want to make a sari (although it was tempting! Knowing me, it would untuck in the middle of the party, and the whole thing would fall to the ground, and NO ONE wants to see that.). The party would be more of a nod to the genre, and culture. This particluar pin caught my eye. So began my Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I turned to a pattern I have used before in the book Sew Many Dresses (affiliate link). The bodice has princess seams, and made a good base. First, I started by taping the front and side panels of my paper pattern together, and then cutting the center piece out. This was done by holding it up where it would roughly sit on my chest, and drawing a line around the place I wanted it. The center panel was created by freehanding a sweatheart neckline, and marking where it would be, once it was connected to the (now cut) front and side panels.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I did muslin this first, and that was a  very good thing. There was a bit of tweaking to be done, because the fit wasn’t quite right, and I ended up with a gap near the armscyes. Of course, I turned to the fabulous ladies over at the Capsule Wardrobe Sewalong FB group for help. And they did! They are some good peeps (I don’t really think I can pull off using that word, but I have made it my goal to work it into my daily vernacular, much to my family’s embarassment). I ended up adding a dart on the side panels near the armscyes and it fixed the problem.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

That skirt was self-drafted. It was just as challenging as the bodice to figure out. I could not think of a way to get the side pieces to look good in the back, so I cut them into two seperate free-hanging panels, and let them cup my sides. I love the effect.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

The outer fabric is brocade from Cali Fabrics, and the gold is silk from the huge rummage sale I attend every year. It is a bit stained, but you can barely see it because of the way I placed the fabric. I hand stamped the pattern on my shawl, with acrylic paint (which you can’t really see from these photos).

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

A realization hit me when I was about to tackle this project. About 75% of my creative process is in my head. I think about sewing something for weeks before I even touch a pattern. I go to sleep thinking about how to tackle any problems, and how I would alter existing patterns to fit my design. I think about it when doing household chores, while driving, and showering. Borderline obsession, really. Then one day, it has gestated enough to the point that it is time for labor, so to speak. I have no idea if this is unique to me, or if others work this way too, but find that if I have enough time to let it marinate (as my chef husband would say), the final result is closest to my vision.

Bollywood Birthday Party

photo credit for above photo: Dawn Weber

Bollywood Birthday Party

The party was a lot of fun, but seriously the strangest weather we have had so far.

Bollywood Birthday Party

It rained, then the sun came out, then it poured, then it stopped. All the guests were very good sports about the whole thing.

Bollywood Birthday Party

YUM.

Bollywood Birthday party

You may recognize this outfit from here.

Bollywood party

My husband wins the year with this outfit, in my book. He is wearing our daughter’s (the Bee’s) pants!

Bollywood party

Another notch in the old aging belt, done with style.

I would love to hear from you…what is YOUR creative process?

Inspired by The Little Mermaid Sail Dress

This post contains affiliate links

My Bee decided to make herself a dress inspired by the one the Little Mermaid wore when she became human. She had been thinking a lot about this, and even worked out where we would photgraph it.

mermaid

She came up with this:

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

(Inspired by) The Little Mermaid Sail Dress

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

I am so impressed (and I don’t impress easily)! She draped the entire thing, which I have never done. My girl did say she would teach me, though. It is so cool! The best part is she used an old curtain (more comfortable than a sail, I would think). You know how I feel about upcycling (just look at the category above if you don’t).

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Here it is without the belt. It isn’t a super complicated dress, but I think, well exectued. She was, at first, unsure about the piece that comes to a point in the front instead of the back, but we both agreed that it works.

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

The sun was in the most inconvenient spot (and I have not figured out how to move it), and we only had 30 minutes to photograph this between activities. It resulted in some artful photography.

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Instead of rope, she used a belt in her closet, for a more modern look .

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Her friend made her that seashell necklace a while ago. Perfect for this!

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Do you recognize this dock? That time I didn’t photograph a mermaid that turned human, though.

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

I love when my girls are inspired to create something solely on their own, especially when it consists of using materials we already have! I am completely ecstatic to support them any way I can when they do this. Whoohoo! Way to go, my girl.

What have YOU upcycled today??

Skirt as Art series with Skirt Fixation: Norman Rockwell

Welcome, Skirt Fixation readers! Today I am participating in the fabulous Skirt as Art series (which is one of my very favorites). The artist I chose is one my family has loved for many years: Norman Rockwell. A few years ago I made a dress inspired by another Norman Rockwell painting (here) called “Girl at Mirror“, which, funnily enough, is the same girl in the painting I chose today (although it is a different daughter of mine modeling).

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

This one is called “Triumph in Defeat” and was originally for the Saturday Evening Post. I adore it,  BUT let me tell you, it was dang near impossible to find a location to photograph it in. I decided to zoom in on the little girl in the photo, to simplify things, so that all I would need to do is find a suitable bench, and wall. I ended up shooting in two different locations, and then chose the one I liked best (which was from a local school). To make things interesting, my daughter and I made up a story about the girl in the photo, and we documented that, first.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

This is the “before” scene.

Little Mary Whalen (her actual name) was headed to school, neat and clean like her Mom liked her to be, but she rarely enjoyed. Just as she was approaching the school,  another little girl who was a known bully, knocked Mary’s books out of her hands. A great fight ensued and even though Mary got punched in the eye, and called to the Principal’s office, the other girl was taught a lesson, and would not bother her again.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

Outfit details: I sewed up a Bookworm button up by Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate link) like I have sewn before (here and here). The only change I made was to shorten the sleeves (so they could be rolled up for the photo).

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

The skirt is the Betty Skirt by the Shaffer Sisters which was perfect for this pleated uniform skirt.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

Clearly, this is the “after”.

The story goes that Rockwell was having trouble painting the black eye, so he put out a call and offered $5.00 to a person with a black eye willing to sit for him. A little boy, named Tommy, from Massachusetts happened to get two black eyes while playing, and his Father drove him all the way to Vermont to sit for Rockwell. For my model, I had face paint, and photoshop.

Skirt as Art: Norman Rockwell

I have to say, getting the expression of this girl was the other challenging part of this project. Take a second to try it. Let me know how you do. It is super tricky to get right! I was trying to demonstrate it for my girl, and really could not do it. We took a whole bunch of photos, and this was the best I got. I wonder how much liberty Mr. Rockwell took with the eye and expression and how much was the ability of the model.

This was so much fun to reenact. You know I love a good challenge. The sewing part was easy, surprisingly. Thank you for joining me.

If you were to recreate a painting, which one would it be?

Now hop over to Skirt Fixation to see which painting Audrey chose to recreate!