Thursday, March 30, 2017

Harper's Unicorn for Project Run & Play Sew-Along Season #13

"Always be yourself.
Unless you can be a unicorn.
Then always be a unicorn!"

Sweet Harper is in love with unicorns (until recently pronounced: 'you-me-corns').  A wooden pull-toy unicorn was the only thing she asked Santa Claus for this past Christmas.  Now where to find one?!  It is a good thing that "Santa"  can carve wood and put one together for her.  It travels everywhere with her, dressed in ribbons and sometimes with a sock around its neck. (!?) 

When I saw Sarah Jane's "Magic" collection, I knew that I would have to order the fabric and make Harper a special dress.

My "Signature Style" has evolved over the last several years into two styles with some overlapping elements.  I believe that with both styles I am still being myself.  I am "always being a unicorn"!

1.  Classic Children's Clothing:
Detailed finishing
Hand work:  hand hemming, hand sewn facings
Heirloom patterns and techniques
Vintage buttons
Hand embroidery
Hand Smocking
Lace and lace work
Feminine styling
Ribbons, ruffles, other trims
Classic style patterns
Dressy looks
Longer hemlines
Style 1:  Classic Children's Clothing

2.  Boutique Children's Clothing
Brighter colors
Detailing finishing
Up-cycled vintage linens
Hand embroidery
Hand work:  hems, facings, etc.
Modern patterns
Independent pattern designers
More casual looks
Ribbons, pom-poms, trimmings
Lace and ruffles
Shorter/asymmetrical hemlines

Style 2:  Boutique Children's Clothing
Harper's Unicorn dress falls into the second style category.

 Pattern:  Violette Fields Threads "Clara"  for the dress, size 3
Australian Smocking & Embroidery #78 for the shorts, size 2
Fabrics:  Michael Miller "Magic" collection by Sarah Jane ("Unicorn Parade",  "Unicorn Forest", "Stars and Stripes", "Lucky Stars") and white embroidered batiste from my stash.

 I love the high low hem and the ruffles over the shoulders and down to the bottom of the bodice in the front and back.  The fit was a little smaller than I expected.  Harper can still easily were a ready-to-wear size 2 and I sewed a size 3.

Pattern adaptations:  I added a full lining with a growth tuck because the pastel sections of the fabric were a bit sheer.  I also added an inch and a half to the hem to extend the life of the garment.  This was hand hemmed because the inside can be seen (high/low hemline).

During the PR&P 'Greenery' contest week my beloved Elna Diva sewing machine sewed it's last seam.  I was devastated!  I had purchased that machine over twenty years ago.  It wasn't new then.  It had been a demonstration/class sewing machine in a quilting fabric store in Tampa for several years.  I can tell you, I was beside myself!  My sweet husband told me to go and find a replacement "And get what you really want!"  I am now the proud owner of a Janome Memory Craft 9400.  Of course, there is a 'learning curve' and 'Change' isn't my first name!
 The lovely tiny rolled hems on the bodice were accomplished after practicing with the special rolled hem foot on the lining hem.  That hem has a couple of little 'hiccups' but those ruffles are perfect!
The headband was made with some trim found at JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts and a bit of elastic.

 The little shorts were an afterthought.  I am glad I made them!
Shorts or bloomers are important for under dresses when you aren't quite four!

Shoes were found on-line at Payless.
Harper was so much fun to photograph!  We just did a little photo shoot after school was over right at our school.  Harper kept saying we needed to find more places to take pictures.  She loved the whole process!  She really loved her dress and didn't want to take it off!

 The Many Faces of Harper!

I am linking this post to the Signature Style sew-along contest over at Project Run and Play HERE.  I hope that you will stop by and see all the other beautiful creations.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Kayla's Easter Dress

Spring is nature's way of saying,
 "Let's party!" 
Robin Williams 

Two years ago, a year after I made my first bunny head dress (blogged HERE), I made another  friend's little girl a bunny dress in blue to match her beautiful blue eyes.  Kayla's mommy also teaches at my school.
I used a sweet print I found at JoAnn's years ago.  I loved it so much that I that I bought several yards of it in both the blue and pink color ways.  The blue for the bodice was another sweet print I had in my stash.  I again used the pattern pieces from Ruby Jean's Closet design for the bunny and another pattern for the dress (Petite Poche' Jennie Carra).
I love how the bright pink of the ears is set off by the sky blue!

At last Peter Rabbit 
made it back to the cozy burrow
where he lived with his family.
He was a very tired rabbit indeed!
Beatrix Potter

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bohemian Butterflies and Bobbles for Chloe and Project Run and Play Sew Along

Project Run and Play's Sew Along Contest challenges me to think a little differently and stretch my sewing designs in different directions.  This week's challenge was "Bohemian":  very different from my usual designs.  Of course, Chloe would be the perfect recipient and model for this style dress!  

I actually searched for and purchased a pattern because none in my gigantic stash of patterns would do for this theme!  (I am rolling my eyes at myself!)  This is 'Luna' from Violette Fields Threads.  While at the website I couldn't help myself and purchased several more patterns!  I needed them!  (I am a crazy woman!)

 Violette Fields Threads 'Luna':  size 6
Fabrics:  "Floral Border in Gray" from
 the "Meet Me in the Meadow" collection 
from Michael Miller Fabrics and 
Allison Glass' "Endpaper" for Andover Fabrics.
Trimmings:  JoAnn Fabric and Craft Store
Buttons and white cotton lace:  My Stash

Chloe as a regal Boho Butterfly Princess
 I purchased the fabrics for this dress on sale from Hawthorne Threads.  I really love shopping for fabric online there because they have an awesome matching system where you can find prints that match your chosen main fabric and know that they really match...even from different fabric lines!

 We went to The Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg 
for our photo shoot.  
What a beautiful place!

I am linking this post to Project Run & Play's Bohemian Theme sew along contest HERE.  Please check out the great outfits entered by the other 'sewists'!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chloe's First Bunny Dress

Spring is in the Air!

When my little friend Chloe was three, I was enchanted by some little dresses I saw on Pinterest.  They featured a bunny head on the bodice with 3-D details.  I followed the link to Ruby Jean's Closet on Etsy and purchased the PDF pattern.  (The pattern as well as some others from this designer ccan now be purchased in paper form from Simpicity.)  I used the applique and pattern pieces for the bunny but did not use the dress pattern.  Instead, I used a pattern I had in my stash and knew would fit her:  "Jennie Carra" by Petite Poche'.  The fabrics were some Susan Winget prints I had in my stash.  I loved how the dress came out and Chloe and her mommy were asked often where the dress came from.  It was a hit!  She wore that dress until it was way too short and I knew I would have to make her another!

Image result for peter rabbit quotes

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Valentines Day Tea Party

Chloe and Harper in the skirts I made them.  (Blogged:  HERE.)
This year our kindergarten classes had their second annual Fancy Nancy Valentines Tea Party.  Each classroom did it just a little differently but all the children had their photos taken at our two 'photo booths'.  The one above was set up in the hallway outside my classroom and featured plants and flowers, china tea service, antique linens, etc.  Almost 80 children had their photos taken playing with my china and not one accident!  Chloe is in first grade now and Harper is in our 3 year old pre-K class but they play together every day while their teacher-mommies stay and work after school.  

I used vintage table linens on all the tables and draped over the small book cases and cloth napkins. One table had yellow depression glass dishes and the others had clear glass snack sets from the 70's.  Each table was decorated with a vase with flowers, glass candle sticks, vintage embroidered table runners, and small tea pots.  One of the mommies sent in shiny red necklaces for everyone in the class.  The parent volunteers shaped the necklaces into hearts at each table setting.  The party favors included bubbles and heart shaped sunglasses sent in by other parents.  The food was simple:  tiny cup cakes, cookies, fruit and cheese skewers (made by another of the moms who just happens to have been in my kindergarten class years ago!), grapes, gold fish and chips, and strawberries.  Little candy conversation hearts were placed at each setting in fancy little paper cups.  Two different types of hot tea was offered as well as lemonade and white grape juice.  We discussed proper tea party etiquette, what to do with a cloth napkin, and what topics of conversation would be appropriate.  We all had the best time!  (And not one accident with any of the fragile things!) It took forever to do all the dishes (no dishwasher in the pod) but it was so very worth it!  the children had a wonderful time!  Me, too!

The children's faces have been blurred but you can see the tables and part of the room set up for the party.

Center table set up with the teas and extras for the parent volunteers.  One teapot holds new fancy Valentine pencils.

Top:  Harper and her mommy.
Jac (He was in my class last year and his mommy is a teacher at our school.)
Victoria-Rose, my daughter, who came to help out that day before she had to leave to teach piano and voice lessons.
The Kindergarten Team

Victoria-Rose and Me

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Project Run & Play Sew Along: "Greenery" Skirt & Detachable Aprons

 I will be linking this post to the  Project Run & Play Season 13 Sew Along Contest HERE.  Don't forget to check out the other inspired outfits after reading this post.

I travel about 30-40 minutes to and from school everyday depending on the time of day and traffic.  Mornings are reserved for prayer and planning of the school day.  Afternoons I allow myself to sew in my imagination.  I think about the fabrics in my stash and dream about what to make with them.  Last week I couldn't get the fabrics I used in my entry to the sew along contest for Project Run & Play's "Greenery" theme out of my head.  There were just some smallish pieces left but they were begging to be used.

My thoughts:  "Well, hmmmmm.....there might be enough to cobble together a skirt for Chloe, my little six year old friend. to make it special?  I know!  I could make an apron skirt, better yet, I could make it detachable.  Wait!  I could make the apron reversible! No, wait a minute... I could make more than one!"

Oh my, I couldn't wait to begin!

Fabric remnants and a vintage table runner from my stash of 'rescued' linens.  
 I didn't have enough of the Hawthorne Threads "Botany" fabrics to make the waistband of the skirt but my Heart Sister Jana had given me a piece of green fabric that went perfectly with the theme.  I also found a linen table runner in my stash that was perfect to use for one of the aprons.  I had some beautiful antique glass buttons to use on the skirt from my friend Jackie's mother's button box and some green ribbon that would pick up the darker green of the lime leaves in one of the prints.  I was ready!  Now what to do for the other side?  Applique!  Easter is right around the corner.
Chloe with the vintage table runner apron buttoned onto the skirt with antique green glass buttons.
The skirt can also be worn without the aprons

Applique side of the vintage linen apron with a 'chocolate bunny' and 'candy eggs.
I hand stitched ecru French lace with green floss around the perimeter of the vintage
 hand embroidered side of the apron and added little
 green flower buttons in the corners.
  I used the "Kate" scalloped apron pattern from Violette Fields Threads to make the apron with the shell colored background and the limes.  I used some green gingham to make the waistband on this one.
More buttons from the stash added with pink and green floss to decorate a purchased white shirt to go with all three 'looks'.

Chloe said that she loved all the aprons but really loved the vintage hand embroidered one the best.  I love that she loves the embroidery!
 We had fun doing this photo shoot!
I leave you with this sweet photo of Chloe and her baby brother Hudson.  I enjoyed making this day dream a reality.  I hope you liked it, too!

Project Run & Play Season 13 'Greenery' For Two

A new (to us) kindergarten teacher moved in next door to me at school.  Rachel was 'family' before she arrived as she is the daughter-in-law of one of our veteran first grade teachers.  She is a wonderful  teacher and mother of two darling little girls:  Harper and Rory.  It has been my pleasure to sew a few little gifts for them this year.  Harper's coloring is beautiful with the Pantone Color of the Year:  Greenery, so the girls were the recipients of this entry to the Project Run & Play Sew Along Contest.  I will be linking this post to the contest HERE.  Please go and check out all the wonderful garments made for this week!

I again chose to use fabric from an in-house collection called "Botany" from Hawthorne Threads.  There are 24 prints in this collection that features the 'greenery' color.  I ordered three of them  (Lime Trees in Greenery, Lime Trees in Shell, Terrarium in Greenery on White).  For the fourth fabric in my design I used another Hawthorne in-house coordinate called Radiate in Greenery.  

I made Harper a shorts set and Rory a tea length dress and bloomers.  My husband questioned my decision of making the little one the dress and I explained that the dress pattern (new Look #6501/DO570) only went up to 24 pounds and that Harper weighs 31 pounds.  Well......the pattern runs so big that it would be large on Harper, too!  The pattern states that a Large size is for babies 21-24 pounds.  Rory weighs 22 pounds but this swims on her.  I will be making the shoulder straps shorter so that she can wear it.  She will be able to share it with her sister and wear it herself for a long time!
Harper's Shorts Set:  So feminine with the ruffles and full skirt!
Violette Fields Threads "Ginger" for the Top Size 3
Violette Fields Threads "Kate" for the Shorts Size 3

The Violette Threads patterns were 'spot-on' for Harper.  She is a tiny and very slender little 3 1/2 year old and can still fit into 2T RTW clothing.  When I make this again, I will be careful with measurements and will probably go up a size, depending on the child.  I enjoyed making both of these patterns but changed the construction of the bodice lining on the inside.  The pattern has you just sew/serge the side seams with the lining and front bodice wrong sides facing.  I turned the lining over the top so that it was right sides facing and then sewed my seam, serged, and then flipped the lining back over so that the lining faced out.  You can see in the photos below that the seam is then enclosed giving it a cleaner finish and a smoother feel to sensitive toddler skin.
I like the two channels of narrow elastic for the back bodice.
My husband wanted to know why I brought a step stool to the photo shoot.  My answer:  If you say to sit or stand on the stool you have a greater chance of them not running off!

Next time I think I will make the ties a little longer so that a pretty bow can be made.  The shorts remind me of "Daisy Dukes"!  Remember them?

She is just as sweet as she looks in these pictures!

Good for tree climbing.  Good thing it is a shorts outfit!

She looks like a little dancer here!  

I keep thinking of Shirley Temple and her little dance routines when I look at Harper in this outfit!

Rory's Tea Length Dress & Bloomers:  New Look #6501 size 21-24 pounds (large) Sweet with the ruffles but runs LARGE.

As I stated earlier, I should have made Rory a smaller size but the pattern measurements put her in a large.  I will make this dress again because the overall look is so sweet with the bodice and hem ruffles.  The pattern comes with a darling romper, too.  However, I will change the back placket.  It was annoying to do and I didn't care for the way it was finished on the inside.

What a character!  Rory is so much fun!

I love the ruffle on the bodice!  The buttons on the back were from my large button stash.  The upper right photo shows the buttons on Harper's shorts.  They don't show much but I know that they are there!
 This is why bloomers are necessary for dresses of any length when you aren't quite 2!

It is not easy to stay still when there is so much to see and do!


 Outtakes:  I had so much fun at this photo shoot!  I kept laughing because I kept thinking about the saying "It is like herding cats!"
 A parting shot:
I hope you liked the outfits as much as I enjoyed making them!

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