Twice as Sweet: Reversible Baby Girl Dresses

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For the last several months we’ve been on a girl kick in my circle of friends.  My friend H adopted her baby girl just a few months ago.  This week my dear friend from law school, M, gave birth to her second child, a healthy beautiful baby girl.  And even though it’s early, it seemed like my own little kidney bean was intent on showing us her goods at my last ultrasound.  Not much modesty there (that’s a view from the bottom of her tush looking up with her legs on the right, the little arrow points out the money shot).  We’ll need to teach her to be a little more ladylike when she gets bigger but for now we were grateful for the sneak peak: it’s a GIRL!

With all these baby girls popping up that gives me more excuses to sew baby girl clothes.  This week I tackled a project from my latest project book: Cute Clothes for Kids by Rob Merrett.  This book contains projects for boys and girls ages newborn to five years.  Of the 25 projects, some are a tad on the cheesy side, but they can be adapted easily to make them cuter. 

Though I’ve just tried one pattern so far, I found that the instructions for this dress were missing a step or two and could have been better explained.  For example, when I was sewing the dress, the instructions should have stated that I needed to turn the contrasting fabric inside out before piecing the two parts together.  The picture just didn’t convey the message and I found myself re-reading several times until I figured out what I was supposed to do, after 20 minutes of pinning and turning and head scratching.  In the end I figured it out without too many annoying turns with my seam ripper, but more detailed instructions would have been nice.

Despite this minor hiccup, this particular dress was very easy to sew: no zippers, no gathering, no buttons.  And, the best part is that it’s reversible! Two looks in one, gotta love that.  The dress pattern includes matching bloomers and when baby grows out of the dress it can be worn as a tunic top.  So this outfit should last a while.

I made one dress with bloomer set for M, and couldn’t resist making another to keep for my own kidney bean.  Since M recently commented that she loved a little jumper I sent her before she gave birth because it wasn’t “pink or frilly,” I thought that she’d appreciate the non-pink fabric: tiny red flowers on a cream background with contrasting sage bloomers. This fabric was a bit of a 70’s throwback.  For the set I’m keeping, I don’t mind a little pink, so I chose a 60’s-ish retro pink and green Amy Butler fabric (you know how I love the retro fabrics).  Which do you prefer?

I hope M likes her “non-pink and non-frilly” dress for her sweet pea.  Thankfully I have a few more months of nesting to fill my kidney bean’s closet with handmade creations.  Right now I’m trying to decide what direction to take for crib bedding.

Decisions decisions.

Finally, Baby Girl Clothes: A basket of goodies for baby ADDISON

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Besties H+M FINALLY adopted their bundle of joy.  YIPPEEEE!!!!

Addison Grace was born on September 11 and joined her new family the very next morning. She is a perfect little angel with fuzzy blond hair and a sweet-as-can-be face.

You might recall this snuggie I made for H+M back in January when they were expecting to receive another baby.  As these things sometimes go, the birth momma of that baby suddenly changed her mind, so they waited some more.  But their four year wait is over.  Addison is home!

Of course, as soon as I heard the news last month that a baby might be on her way, I kicked it into high gear on the sewing machine.  This baby was going to come home in style, with handmade fashions from her Auntie TamaraEsq.  How exciting to have an excuse to make girl’s clothes!  So exciting, in fact, that the day we went to the house to meet Addison, I neglected to take pictures of the beautiful basket I made for her until after I delivered it.  Momma H graciously let me put it all back together so I could snap a few photos from her living room.  Not my finest pics but you get the idea.

Basket of Goodies for Addison Grace

The basket was filled with all sorts of goodies, mostly handmade items from yours truly with a few other bonuses.  The items I didn’t make included two Aden + Anais cotton muslin swaddlers, two books (Tikki Tikki Tembo and But Not the Hippopotamus, two of Fin’s favorites), a box of Baby Loopies Mary Jane socks, a Zutano A-Line Jumper (onesie/dress), and an Apple Tree to Be, which is an apple tree they can plant in their yard and watch it grow as the baby grows (Addy’s Daddy likes his garden).  Thoughtful, yes?

Bibs

Now for the good stuff.  My handmade creations included a set of booties, a pair of bloomers, 2 bibs with terry cloth on the back, and a stuffed terry cloth bunny toy.  I also made another pinafore dress (remember this one?).  For the dress I had to size down the pattern I had for a size 2.  I hope the dress will fit Addison up to six months.  And I have it on good authority that Addison might just wear her new dress when she greets the world at her baby shower next month!

The last thing I made was a blanket/car seat cover.  It’s a little something I invented but it’s top secret and I’m not ready for the big reveal just yet.  Suffice it to say it’s very handy and very cute (the blanket is rolled up on the left side of the basket next to the bunny in the picture above).

Addison clothes

Watching H open her basket made all the hours I spent sewing the goodies worth it.  I have a few more projects in mind for Addison.  Until I have my own baby girl to dress, Addison will likely be the beneficiary of all the cute girl clothes I have time to sew.  There’s something so sweet and gratifying about dressing a baby in handmade creations.  Sweet Pea creations for our littlest sweet pea, Addison Grace.

Girl Envy: Pinafore Dress

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Don’t get me wrong, I love my little boy, and I’m glad we had a little boy, but this project almost makes me wish I had a little girl.  That, or it tempts me to have as many babies as it takes until we get a girl in there somewhere.  Yikes, did I really just think that?

The daughter of Big N’s assistant is turning 2 this weekend, except she’s the size of a three year old.  Big N’s assistant is amazing.  Not only has she learned to keep my husband’s absentmindedness in check, but every once in a while she does favors for me too.  (Like most recently when a rogue gardener kicked up a rock with his weed whacker and smashed my car’s rear window, Big N’s assistant drove it in to have it repaired the same day.)  We love and appreciate her so I wanted to make something special for her daughter, toddler M.  M has dark brown hair, big brown eyes, fair skin, and the sweetest smile, and I knew the yellow and pinks in this lotus fabric would be darling on her.

Like most of the projects in Emma Hardy’s project book Making Children’s Clothes, this pinafore dress was easy to make, and took me about 6 hours start to finish.

The pattern called for flower cut outs to be sewn onto the front of the dress but the fabric I chose was already too busy so I added a sweet yellow ribbon along the bottom and a simple pink and yellow bow.  The cotton fabric makes the dress casual and comfortable but the lining inside gives it a nice drape and the button closure on the back makes the dress a little more special.  This dress was size 4-5 T so little M can grow into it and wear it throughout this summer and maybe even next.  I loved this fabric so much I ordered more to make for my future little miss.

I hope M feels like a princess and does a twirly dance when she wears her dress for the first time. But just in case she wants to be rough and tumble once in a while, she can ride around on her other birthday present, a pink Radio Flyer scooter. No reason little M can’t be a princess and race around on her scooter too. She’s a modern girl.

Pinafore dress Back of dress

 

 

 

Weekend Project: Happy Stacker

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Fin is getting into all sorts of trouble thanks to his crazy rolling / (almost) crawling skills.  To keep him out of harm’s way I decided to stock his play room with soft plushy toys for the time being.  The Happy Stacker pattern from Heather Bailey fit the bill and made for a fun project.  This project is best reserved for a weekend as it took me about 12 hours to complete. 

Happy stacker

I started with the largest ring first.  Figuring out the pattern was a little tricky and it took me about 3 hours for just the first ring.  The instructions are well-written, but it still takes a little head scratching to match the pictures and instructions with the half-sewn thing in your hand.  Once I had the first ring down the rest came much easier.  The hardest part of the project was hand sewing the pole and the rings closed after I stuffed.  I’ve never worked with polyfill before and the floor of my sewing room looks like it snowed recently.

 

stacker-1-of-1

The nice thing about this project is choosing mismatched fabrics to make each ring stand out.  I tried to stick to fun but neutral (non-baby) fabrics (mostly from Amy Butler’s awesome collections) so the finished result wouldn’t look too feminine.  Cutting and sewing perfect circles is challenging, and mine came out far from perfect, but I don’t think Fin noticed.  When I stuck the completed toy in front of him he seemed confused at first, then dived right in.  He is still a little young for this toy (he tried to eat it) but he’ll grow into it.  Thankfully the rings are machine washable.

Another “made with love” project that’s Fin approved.  He’ll be stacking away and learning his shapes in no time.

Fin approved Playing with Happy Stacker

Thanksgiving: The Planner’s Holy Grail of Holidays

Continuing with a tradition started last Thanksgiving, Big N and I hosted the family for Thanksgiving again this year.  Not only does the holiday provide a wonderful excuse for me to cook decadent foods using all the butter I want, but it also requires that I plan plan plan (my favorite past time).  I consulted recipe books and the usual blogs for ideas (special thanks to the Pioneer Woman for her delicious dinner roll recipe), created my shopping list, pondered such philosophical questions like whether to wet or dry brine the bird (dry brining won out this year, easy peasy), harassed my guests for RSVPs, and spent 2 full days in my kitchen cooking.  thanksgiving-1-of-8

I also decided to sew a new runner for our dining room table just for the occasion.  Ain’t it purdy?

I kept the menu traditional, because you don’t mess with the classics:

Tuscan Sausage Soup (a contribution from my cousin)
Dinner Rolls
Cranberry Grape Compote
Roasted Acorn Squash
Sweet Potato Casserole
Potatoes Au Gratin (a contribution from my step mother)
Braised Brisket in Cranberry Wine Sauce
Turkey with Stuffing

and pie three ways:
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Coconut Cream Pie
Pumpkin Pie (a contribution from my aunt)

Other than a minor hiccup after taking out the turkey a wee bit early and having to cook my bird some more after my guests arrived, the evening went off fairly smoothly.  My cousin’s soup and the sweet potato casserole were the favorites of the evening, with an honorable mention for the coconut cream pie.  Leftovers were abundant and forced on my guests as doggy bags, nobody was allowed to leave empty handed, house rules.

All that effort paid off in a lovely evening for Big N and I and our 16 guests (plus my mini-nephew, Daniel, the hit of the party at 2 months old).  We came together as a family, ate until we were uncomfortably full, laughed and expressed our gratitude for all of our blessings this year, and then reveled in the tryptophan induced food coma late into the evening.

And of course, true to form, my head is already spinning with new ideas for next year’s Turkeyfest.