Sewing for my tiniest girl is easy, because thus far she’s never refused to wear anything I made for her, and because toddler clothes are all cute. Sewing for my tween is a little trickier. In addition to taking into account her numerous preferences I feel pressure to sew things for her that are appropriate to her specific age, which is in itself a tricky thing. She’s tween in truth–neither a child (though often childish) nor a full-fledged teenager (though she often acts like that too). She’s big and little, she’s responsible and flighty, she’s wise and naive, she’s precious and difficult, she wears pigtails and ratty friendship anklets until they fray and fall off. She’s into horses, so when I saw the Michael Miller Wee Wander Summer Ride fabric I thought of her. If you zoom in on the fabric you can see that it has an image of a girl with long, dark hair riding bare-backed, fast and free. It’s the perfect tween fantasy fabric–sweet and feminine, but with a strong, independent subject. Once I had the fabric in my stash and a girl who felt excited about it, I wasn’t sure what to do next. After some searching, I found this tutorial online for a piped-pocket skirt. Again, it’s a good tween pattern. It is twirly and fun, but it has sophisticated little piped pockets. Perfect! My daughter wears the same size as the model child in the tutorial, so I followed her instructions almost exactly. It’s in centimeters, so I had to drag out a tape to convert everything to inches, because none of my cutting rules show metric measurements! But it came together nicely, and most importantly, Dorothy loves it. She decided her pink hair extension coordinated with it better than any of her other hair extension color options. Who am I to say it doesn’t?
As I’ve been glancing back over our summer photographs, I noticed a couple projects I’d like to share. Here is Belle in another of her handmade collars. I make these periodically, whenever I think she needs a cute new one, or I have a pretty scrap that would like nice against her fur. I bought buckles and webbing in bulk because it was so cheap and it really only takes a few minutes to make a one-size collar. She got into the chevron trend with this one.
And in this photo, taken by our pretty Ohio River last spring, I am wearing a skirt made from a pattern in The Colette Sewing Handbook. It’s the only pattern from the book I’ve made so far. I loved the way the scallops turned out, and the inside of the skirt looks just as tidy as the outside, thanks to her careful instructions. My only complaint is that I did measure carefully before cutting the pattern but mine was still too large. I think I may try it again in a fall print in a smaller size.
Daphne has really been on the baby social circuit this spring. While I may not be any sort of homeschool mom socialite, I do at least leave the house dressed as a grown-up sometimes, to go to the Kentucky Oaks or out with girlfriends, or my 20th (eek!) high school reunion. Daphne doesn’t really like it when I leave the room she’s in, and I don’t really like to hook my breasts up to machinery, so my third child/path-of-least-resistance parenting strategy is to just bring her with me everywhere. It’s kind of fun–I’ve become like the Crazy Cat Lady of Babies. And Daphne has been lots of interesting places. These pictures were taken at the Oaks, which is the day of racing that happens on the day before the Kentucky Derby. Daphne and I both wore hats, in keeping with tradition, and I made a little overdress for her with her name and “Little Winner” embroidered on the front. It might be the ultimate one-use outfit, but I justified that it was made with hand-me-down fabric.
This picture was taken on Easter. I might have made dresses for the girls, but when Costco put out cute dresses in both their sizes for $15.99 each I knew that sewing their outfits would not give me as much of a thrill as jumping on that deal. It’s so hard to find store-bought matching clothes for girls so far apart! I did make my own skirt, from the “Flirty Skirt” pattern in the book Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders, which is a companion book to the other One-Yard Wonders book I’ve blogged about before. The skirt was the first project I’ve tried from the book and I was pleased with it. It was a little hard to find 3-inch elastic, and I think if I make the skirt again I’ll just use stretchy knit for the waistband, but I was impressed that I got a whole skirt that covered my butt decently and used only one yard of fabric.
I found this beautiful peacock fabric last summer at a local fabric shop. I didn’t know what to do with it but I couldn’t walk away with out, so I compromised by only buying one yard. That was a big mistake because of course everything I could think of to make with it after I got it home required MORE than one yard of fabric. Sigh… But finally I decided that it absolutely had to be a skirt, and since one yard of fabric does not make a respectable skirt for a size 10 mama I had to get creative. I used a thrift-store cream-colored sheet to help me out, fabric-wise, and then there are a couple oddly-place seams in this skirt, but I think that with such a bold pattern you don’t really notice. I jazzed up the cream band at the bottom by adding interesting stitches in various colors of thread. This was a very ad hoc project, with a seam here and some ruffles there and is this enough fabric to go around my rear end? But it turned out pretty well and I wore it this weekend with a cream-colored sweater and boots and I loved it. I’m hoping it’ll be equally at home with a t-shirt and sandals this summer.