Recital Wrap.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, Big Sister danced in a big recital.  She tap-danced to Jamaican Farewell ("I'm sad to say, I'm on my way, won't be back for many a day...").  Although most of the other classes had matching costumes, Big Sister's class wore brightly-colored bathing suits and wraps around the hips.  Turns out that bathing suit wraps aren't the easiest thing to find for little girls, so I made one.

I cut a piece of knit fabric into a long rectangle with longer-waist ties at the top of each side.  That worked okay for a dress rehearsal, but the 100% cotton knit didn't have enough recovery and quickly stretched out of shape.  So I added some elastic thread at the waist and, voila, a recital wrap:

This dance studio is very strict about photos, so I don't have a single shot of her in costume on recital day, except where covered.

But look how proud my big girl is.  What a superstar!

Of course, we can't leave out Big Sister's Biggest Fan, who loves cheering her on:

Scene from the Sewing Studio.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's a very busy time at work, and my sewing machine has taken a trip to the Pfaff Spa, where it will be pampered and massaged until it decides to wind bobbins again.  So I'm left to daydream about sewing.  Even when I'm not sewing with my hands, I find myself sewing in my head.  I'm planning projects, dreaming up fabric combinations, thinking through construction steps and techniques.  I believe it helps me to be more efficient when I actually put my hands to work, but Mr. Great would probably just say that I'm obsessed.  Since I can't be in my sewing room right now, how about I share a glimpse of my work space?

I once hired somebody to fold fabric for me, so I could spend my time enjoying my sewing space and actually sewing, rather than stressing about disorganized piles of fabric.  It worked out beautifully, and this was the result -- neat, organized stacks of perfectly folded fabric.  I can't say it looks quite this tidy today, or that I haven't accumulated new disorganized piles of fabric, but at least now I have a photographic model of how my fabric should look.

Running skirt.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I like the idea of running skirts.  They're feminine, they're fun, they're modest, they're comfortable.  It's a nice alternative to shorts, and they transition well to errands and chasing after kids.  What I don't like is the built-in underwear that comes with almost every athletic skirt out there.  I'd rather choose my own, thankyouverymuch.  If you haven't spent any time searching for running skirts without built-in underwear, then trust me when I say that it's a waste of time.

So what's a girl to do?  Sew her own, of course! 

I started with a skirt that I like the shape of, but on my short body it's a little long for athletics.  This is the Vital Skirt II by Lucy:

I made my own pattern based on that skirt.  This is the Vitality Skirt (ha!) by greatjencreations:

I kept the yoke, and the three panels on front, two on back.  Instead of a casing, I used exposed elastic, for a sportier look.  Turned out pretty good, I think.

I can't believe I'm posting a picture of my backside for all the world to see, but (butt!) we're all friends here, right?

Best of all, I can wear what I want underneath.

Fabric Notes:  Sporty fabric like this isn't the easiest to find.  I bought this at SewZanne's Fabrics -- it's cool because it's reversible (dark navy on the inside), and it was $6.99/yard.  Search for "activewear" to find the selections there.  You can also find sporty fabrics at, again searching for "activewear."  If you want really high quality fabrics, check out Peak Fabrics, in the Wicking Fabrics section.  They actually sell a lot of the fabric that lululemon uses.  They ship out of Canada, but neither the currency conversion nor the shipping is unreasonable.  You have to talk to a person to complete the order, and I've found them to be very friendly and helpful.  I found a great soure of decorative sporty elastic -- Puffytots has really fun selections, and although shipping out of Singapore is a little slow, it's worth waiting for.

Little Red Riding Hood.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Last week, Big Sister made her stage debut as Goldilocks in her preschool's fairy tale play.

That's her in blue, in the bears' cottage, just about too eat Papa Bear's too-hot porridge.  She was great, and it was a treat to see her perform in front of an audience.

This week, she's Little Red Riding Hood.

The cape I purchased off Etsy a couple of years ago, the dress I made.  It's Leila & Ben's Sweet Little Dress pattern, now available in sizes 6-10.

It's a wonderful pattern, very quick and easy to put together.  I added the waist strip and elastic -- just folded a piece of fabric as you would bias binding, sewed it on to make a casing, inserted an elastic loop, and closed it up.  Easy as pie.  I think I will make many more of these.

Makes a cute play dress, doesn't it?

There's a Flickr group for Leila & Ben's patterns, full of inspirational photos of the Sweet Little Dress.

Of course, Little Brother can't help but find his way into our photos.

Fabric Notes:  The Red Riding Hood fabric is a Japanese import, cotton-linen mix:

The red with hearts is Hobby Lobby fabric I've had since I started sewing.  I swear I only bought a yard of it, but it keeps finding its way into my projects.  I'm nostalgic about it because it was my first sewing project as an adult, when Big Sister was neither big nor a sister.