My Lil’ Chef

We love our play kitchen around here and spend lots of time “cooking” up ” ‘tend” meals, then serving them up to be “eaten.” Obviously, I couldn’t wait to test Patty‘s upcoming Lil’ Chef pattern, with its play oven mitt, chef’s toque and cutesy little apron.

Patty told me to use just any ol’ fabric I had on hand, so I grabbed some of the sweet birdy fabric from Joann’s that I used for my niece’s birthday present and got cracking.

What a seriously fun little set to sew! And it’s been a hit with the Little Miss, although it took a couple of days for her to agree to model it for a photo.

The hat sews together super fast — and it’s only two pieces, to boot! I think the longest thing about making this was quilting the fabric for the oven mitt (it may be optional but it looks so cute that I had to do it LOL!). By the way, the hat really does fit; Liesl just insisted on putting it on all by herself and didn’t make the band snug enough to stay put.

I can’t wait to make more and think it would be great to embroider the owner’s name on the hat band to really personalize it.

The patterns aren’t available yet but add Patty’s blog to your feed reader to find out when they’re released.

Skirting the Issue

I’ve had the Amy Butler Barcelona Skirts pattern for about a year, yet have never made the first one. I did trace off the pattern, and I bought plenty of fabric for making a couple of them. I just found other things to sew first. Why? The zipper. I have an irrational fear of sewing zippers, for no other reason than the unknown.

Not anymore.

In the past week, I’ve sewn two skirts and one pair of shorts, all with invisible zippers. They’re not perfect but unlike previous zipper experiments, they are functional and wearable — and they don’t look half bad. In fact, they look pretty darned good!

This is actually the second of the two Barcelona skirts I sewed. I bought this fabric when I bought the pattern, brought it home and washed it, then promptly ignored it. And that’s a total shame, because I could have been wearing and enjoying it all this time.

I made this more or less as the pattern dictated. Instead of using sew-in interfacing for the waistband of the apron, though, I used flannel. While I like the feel, it’s a bit too heavy, especially when folded over.

I also had some issues with stitching the waistband closed. If you could see it close up, you’d understand what I’m talking about. I think part of the problem was the thickness of the waistband, courtesy of the flannel. The other part? Sewing too late again. Yes, it’s the bane of my existence. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes necessary and I guess I really need to learn to keep it together when the clock ticks past 9 p.m.

I did make a bit of bigger goof in sewing this skirt that had nothing to do with the time. I thought the first skirt I made was a little on the small side, so I added a half an inch to the middle of both the front and back sections, then used a smaller seam allowance. I now have a skirt that is too big. Guess I’ll be taking it in before I break it in.

This was my first attempt at the Barcelona skirt, using a pretty blue floral fabric from Joann’s. Boy, do I like this fabric! It’s very spring-y and sweet, but not in a cloying way. You know? I think I may even have paid full price for this fabric, I liked it that much. Glad I did, too, because it’s sold out around here.

The apron was sort of a last-minute project. I decided on Saturday to make Miss L a coordinating outfit for Easter, since we were going to church the next day for her big brother’s baptism. I thought the apron would help pull together our outfits. While I got her dress finished before I went to bed Saturday night, the apron was only about half done. Woke up early Sunday to finish it before church — and then managed to leave it on my bed when I walked out the door.

Brilliant.

I opted not to make this apron reversible, and also did not use any interfacing on the waistband. Because it’s not reversible, I did need to finish the back side and bottom edges. I think it’s one of my favorite aprons, and I actually wore the outfit at left all day Monday — even out and about. (By the way, the picture is actually a self portrait. I used my handy dandy tripod and the timer on my 30D.)

The dress on the left is Miss L’s Easter dress. It’s just a simple A-line dress, fully lined, with buttons at the shoulders. I think it’s going to be a great dress for spring and summer, very cool and fun and classic. The Easter bloopers actually continued Sunday morning. I didn’t realize I’d put the dress on backwards until after lunch. Guess I need to sew some tags on it!

My little “Stinkerbell” had fun posing today, especially the photo on the right. What a nut! Tomorrow is “green day” in her class and she needs to wear something green. I recently acquired this Tinkerbell knit fabric and knew it fit the bill. I’m not big on buying anything with characters on it but I made an exception for this one because Miss L loves Tinkerbell and I couldn’t resist. The pattern is Butterick, 3316 (I think). It’s no longer in print but definitely worth searching out. It has a curved bodice, which does make it a bit more interesting than just a basic swing dress. Fun to sew, pretty fast — except when I sewed one section wrong and had to re-cut two pieces to fix the goof. When the weather warms up, I’ll shorten the sleeves so it can be worn through the summer.

This Burda pattern is another I’ve had for a while, just waiting to get up the courage to sew something with a zipper. I hate that I missed out on a year of getting use out of it, because these pants are cute as can be. I made the bermuda length but there are two other lengths, so they can be worn year round

I love this fabric, a pretty embroidered twill with bumblebees on it. I found it at Joann’s, along with two other twills. One is pink with strawberries; the other is green with ladybugs on it. I was only going to buy the pink and blue but that little blond cutie insisted on the green ladybugs.

I’m planning to make tops to coordinate with all three pairs of shorts, but I figure I’ve got a little time since the weather is not quite warm enough for wearing them. (I can already tell that t-shirt isn’t going to make the cut for summer, cute as that pumpkin belly may be.)

I’m meeting my goal of sewing more for me this year, that’s for sure. Today, I broke in my new coverstitcher with the top on the left, Butterick B5185. I made it with short sleeves with a pretty teal knit I bought at … yes, same place. (Really, I do shop other places; it’s just how it worked with this sew-and-show.) I messed up while sewing it and had to rip out some stitches and fix it. It would help to read the directions before I start sewing.

A little love for the CP900: I never thought I’d own a coverstitcher. It just didn’t seem like a must have for me, and I was making do just fine with twin needling on my sewing machine. But then I learned about a great deal on a Janome CP900 and decided to splurge. So glad I did! It’s really amazing how great it does on coverstitching knits (and it should, since that’s what it’s supposed to do). In fact, my son was surprised to learn the shirt I was wearing was made by me and not store bought — and that made my ego just swell.

On the right is my new Favorite Things skirt, the Hip Skirts pleated skirt. I used a fabric I found at Hobby Lobby that’s one of my favorite colors (aqua). I like the skirt but did not cut the elastic small enough, so it’s a little roomy in the waist. It’s an easy enough problem to fix; I just haven’t done it yet.

One Apron, Two Looks

I had the chance today to not only break in my new sewing machine but also a new pattern: the Emmeline apron from Montessori by Hand. I’ve really been eager to do it, but had a tough time finding fabrics in my stash that would work. I easily could have bought any of a number of fabrics but decided that it was best to cull from what I already own. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.

While I often buy fabrics with coordinates, I rarely buy more than two fabrics for me. It took several tries to find three fabrics that worked together. I think it turned out pretty well:

I’m calling it my Proper & Punky Emmeline. The black-and-white fabric is Michael Miller’s Dandy Damask. I think the polka dot also is from MM, but couldn’t swear to it. The funky red fabric is from Joann’s; I bought it last year with the intention of making a punk-style Valentine’s outfit for Miss L but went in another direction.

Gotta say that I really had fun making this apron. The directions were easy to follow, although I did machine-stitch on the binding/halter straps instead of hand stitching them. Definitely faster, even if it’s not as pretty. I can definitely see wearing this apron on a regular basis (I am right now, actually).

Tomorrow’s another Word-free Wednesday and I’m planning to show a snippet of my current project. It’s quite sweet, if I do say so myself.

Lazy Sunday

Honey headed into the office today so it’s been just me and the babies. Yes, I still refer to all of them as “babies” even though the older two have towered over me for years. Secretly, I think they like it; after all, they sometimes still call me “Mommy.”

Since conditions were right (a second camera operator) and the sun was actually out, I had J take a picture of me wearing my latest sewing-for-me project. These are the “muslin” I made for my first crack at Favorite Things‘ new Smarty Pants pattern. I did not hem them because I do not intend to wear them out of the house. Or likely ever. Nothing says “I have a big butt” like this fabric print. Why did I buy it? I have no clue. All I know is that I had enough of it to try this pattern without making some sort of hodgepodge clown pants because I had to use two or three fabrics.

But I digress.

I know capri pants are some big fashion no-no according to all those makeover shows but I don’t care. They are comfortable and hide my thighs, and they’re a bit cooler than jeans or long pants during the summer. (It’s not called “Hotlanta” for nothing.)

The pattern also makes Bermuda shorts and there are options for pockets and belt loops but I haven’t tried them out yet. And I’m not sure I will, since that style of pockets draws attention to my hips, which I’d prefer received a little less attention.

This is actually a pretty easy pants pattern. I highly recommend covering up the sizes and looking solely at the measurements to determine the best fit. Go by just your size and you may be disappointed. I know I would have been. Maybe “depressed” would be a better word.

Moving on.

The pants are only six pieces, which sounds like a lot but it’s not. Two front leg pieces. Two back leg pieces. Two pieces for the waistband. The waistband is two pieces because the back band forms a casing in which you insert elastic to fit the waist. The flat front waistband is a flattering look, and I like that the back fits closely so I don’t have to worry about someone seeing my Hanes Her Way.

Because these are a muslin, I didn’t do any serging of seams which did cut down the sewing time. Still, I made these pants from start to finish (cutting, pinning, sewing, fitting) in just a couple of hours. I think future iterations will be faster, especially because I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the assembly of the waistband. This is no fault of the pattern instructions; I’m just a hands-on learner and sometimes have to read the directions a few times, then practice with the fabric to get it down.

Favorite Things also makes these in a Little Smarty Pants version (which I also own) and I expect them to be a cornerstone of Miss L’s spring and summer wardrobe if they sew up as easily as I expect.

In other news, I added these Mommy & Me aprons to my Etsy today. I’m still loving the Heather Bailey Fresh Cut fabrics, accented here with a little Robert Kaufman floral plus a touch of grosgrain ribbon. I had originally planned to do the ruffle a little differently but I’m happy with how these turned out.

We had fun with our little photo shoot. I think L expected to keep wearing her apron as she played, since she dragged my mixing bowl and spoon into the living room. Sorry, kiddo!