Marie Tennis Skirt.

Friday, August 31, 2012

This is the last of the Disney duds.  It's the simplest/quickest thing I made, but it seems to draw the most compliments.  People love this skirt.  I think it's probably because of the unusual Aristocats fabric (from Ixat, where else?) more than anything.  Who knew there are so many Marie and Aristocats fans out there?

I used Kitschy Coo's fabulous Tennis Skirt pattern, version 2 for a girl who likes to wear waistbands low in front, but I graded it up a size for my big girl.  The pattern goes together quickly and easily.  I love the shape of the skirt.  I want to make one for myself.
I used a new notion in making this skirt (woohoo!).  The fabric is some weighty loop-backed cotton, and no matter how much I pressed and starched, I could not get the hem to stay put.  So I pulled some SewKeysE Fusible Knit Stay Tape from my drawer and gave it a whirl.  Worked like a charm.  I was able to stick that pesky hem down so I could coverstitch.  Yay for notions!

Meet the Mouse Shirts.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

If you started reading my blog recently, you might think I have only one child.  In fact, I have a second!  A charming boy who doesn't get his picture taken quite as often as his sis because he moves as fast as Flash and grins like Goofy.  But he's an awesome kid, and we love him a lot.
And although he doesn't get quite as many mama-made clothes as his sister, he does get some.  While Big Sister got a Go to Disneyland dress in Minnie Mouse fabric, the little guy got a couple of Meet the Mouse shirts in Mickey fabric.  Both are Ottobre Design, the 3/2011 issue, pattern 24.  I wanted a slim-fit tee with binding on neck and sleeves, so I could use my coverstitcher.  The first tee, gray with Mickeys all over, had little stretch, so it was a bit more snug than I'd hoped. 

It just so happened that this gray Meet the Mouse shirt matched Little Brother's rad shorts perfectly, which meant that both kids were dressed entirely in mama-made duds on our first Disneyland day. What fun!
To avoid tracing another size, I added a slightly larger seam allowance to the second Meet the Mouse tee.  It helped a bit, but I now wish I'd just taken the time to go up a size.  I love this more-subtle-than-usual fabric, which I got from Ixat ages ago, anticipating a Disney trip someday.


Little Brother did get to meet the mouse, and he proudly told Mickey about the Mickeys on his shirt.


First Grade.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Big Sister started first grade yesterday.  She was nervous, unsure about the new situation, convinced she wasn't ready.  But she was excited too, and she went to school with a smile on her face.  On the way to school, she spotted a rainbow, surely a good omen for things to come in first grade.  


Last year, when I sent my baby off to kindergarten, I shared some of my hopes and dreams as she began her formal education.  This year, as I look back at the photos of that tiny girl and see how much she has grown and developed in a year that felt like a week, I still hope for all of those things. 


But as I kissed my baby goodbye, I wasn't thinking such lofty things this time around.  As I turned to go, with a busy day ahead of me, my hopes for first grade were pretty simple:
I hope I can pack her a decent lunch every day, and I hope she will eat it.
I hope she will learn to like math a little more and write letters backwards a little less.
I hope she will not be too afraid to ask to use the bathroom, and I hope she will wipe thoroughly.
I hope she will be glad to see me when I pick her up, but will not want to leave friends behind.
I hope we can manage the nightly burden of homework and violin practice without too much drama. 
I hope we can get her to bed early enough for a good night's sleep, but still enjoy the dedicated book-reading time that is so important to us.
I hope we can mange the earlier waking and more structured morning routine, and get everybody out the door on time.
I hope I can keep track of the schedules, deadlines, emails, and logistics of two schools.
I hope the return to the rhythm and routine of the school year will be good for our family. 
More than anything, I hope this kid will be happy and that I'll get to see her smile a whole bunch.

First grade, treat this child well.  She's a winner, and you're lucky to have her.

Go To Disneyland Dress!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

We just got back from a family vacation to Disneyland.  Before I say more about the trip, I want to share Big Sister's Go To Disneyland dress.  It makes me feel so happy and accomplished to look back at photos of her wearing the dress on her first day at the Happiest Place on Earth

As a sewing mama, I felt a ridiculous compulsion to dress my kids in mama-made Disney clothes.  I managed to make each kid two Disney items, which I count as a huge success.

Not long before our trip, Andrea (the Awesome) of The Train to Crazy released her Signature Dress pattern at her new website, Go To Patterns.  I'd made the free version of her go-to dress before, which I loved, so I knew buying the improved and expanded version was inevitable.  And I decided that it would be perfect for the cute Minnie Mouse fabric from Ixat that I'd been saving.

I made a size 7/8, which is a fantastic fit.  I used cap sleeves with bound edges, neck pleats, and knee length.  I omitted pockets, because I didn't have time to mess with them, and because the fabric, with a looped almost terry-like back, is a bit thick. 

I had to improvise a bit, as I didn't have enough fabric for the entire length of the dress.  So the bodice part and skirt part are separate pieces, cut at the elastic line with seam allowance added to each piece.  I put the elastic casing on the outside of the dress to cover that seam, and I lowered it as much as I could (the seam is right below the very top of the black waist strip), as the original elastic line seemed a touch high to me.  I also added a faux drawstring tie.  The dress was a big hit.  I was even asked a couple of times where we bought it.  Nothing makes a sewing mama happier.

I highly recommend this dress pattern, which is quick, easy, and fun to sew.  I can't wait to try some of the other options included.  And I can't say how thankful I am that Andrea chose to include big girl sizes in her pattern.  I've been struggling with my not-even-six-year-old-girl outgrowing so many patterns, so it's refreshing to know that this one will be with us a good long while.

As I was finishing this dress, Andrea's blog tour began, showcasing lots of Signature Go To dresses, and featuring lots of glowing reviews.  Be sure to check them out!