Potential Birthday Tops for a 10-Year-Old

pink-horses-fabric1

July is teeming with birthdays in our cozy circle of family and friends, and it feels like we’re celebrating every other day. But the two that matter the most in our household are coming up this weekend and next. This Saturday is M’s special day and we’ve got a teepee booked. He loves those teepees, and I hope we can slumber without any moose scares.

And then the following Saturday, K turns 10!!! A while ago, I found this amazing silk fabric with pink horses and nothing was going to stop me from getting it for K even though a) it’s silk, which is an impractical textile option for a kid and b) it wasn’t, as I’d initially thought, pink unicorns. K is going through a humongo unicorn phase right now.

pink-horses-fabric2

I know that she’ll adore it though.

I’ve been so scattered lately. It wasn’t until yesterday that it dawned on me that I have less than two weeks until her birthday and I’ve done so little planning. I’ve totally dropped the ball on this one. If nothing else, I’m determined to sew her a sweet top because she noticed that I’ve been sewing for myself again and said, “No fair! I want you to sew for me!!”

Because the fabric was a bit spendy, I only got a yard and a quarter, which limits what I can make. I’ve narrowed my choices down to the following:

bday-topoption1

From this book.

bday-topoption2

From this book.

bday-topoption3

From this book.

I’m leaning towards that last one. The silk would flow so prettily and I might be able to reduce the width a bit to squeeze the pattern pieces out of the small amount I have. What do you think? Which one would you go with? Or do you know of other tween-worthy patterns that could be made from 1.25 yards? I suppose I could combine it with some lawn fabric I have (which is what I might have to do with the very top option with the lace inset), but I don’t know…this one deserves to shine on its own.

I better get crackin’. There’s a sewing project I want to try for M as well, but that one is fairly ambitious so I highly doubt I’ll be able to complete it in time. You know me, always biting off more than I can chew — what would be the sewing equivalent of that? Threading more than the eye of the needle can hold? Cutting more fabric than the pattern requires? My brain is not cooperating…More later!

Endless Summer Tunics

endless-summer-tunic8

Good morning! Looky here — I sewed something! In fact, I sewed two somethings:

endless-summer-tunic1

This is the Endless Summer Tunic pattern by A Verb For Keeping Warm (have you seen the IG feed? Stunning). How is it that I didn’t know about this pattern?

endless-summer-tunic4

I made the grey linen one first — complete with pockets — and used the same fabric as this top for the yoke facing and pocket linings. I should mention that I’ve long since donated that polka dot button down because I felt sloppy and frumpola in it every time I tried it on. No regrets! Marie Kondo would be proud of me.

endless-summer-tunic3

Here you can see what it looks like on the inside. It’s an interesting pattern. At first glance it seems super easy and quick but in fact, I timed myself and it took me six hours to make this grey version of the tunic. Most of that was due to hand sewing the armhole bindings and facings, which is recommended though they can easily be machine-stitched. The hand sewing results in a sleeker finish, but man, I’m slow when it comes to stitching by hand. Both the front and back pieces are cut as two pieces instead of on the fold because the center line is slightly curved to provide subtle shaping. I found that this created a flattering silhouette.

endless-summer-tunic9 endless-summer-tunic10

I’m a fan of the gathered detailing on the shoulders and back, though I’m finding more and more that these types of back gathers tend to render me hunch-backed in appearance. Maybe it’s the way I stand?

There was much hemming and hawing over which fabric to use for the pattern, and I’m so glad I started with the linen. I LOVE this tunic. Though I completed it four days ago, I’ve already worn it twice and have gotten quite a few compliments on it!

endless-summer-tunic5

Spurred by this newfound sewing mojo, I proceeded to cut out this tutti-frutti-fun-fetti looking fabric I got from here. I can’t find it on their site anymore, but it’s German lightweight cotton according to my receipt as there’s no selvage info on the fabric itself.

I shortened this version by 4 inches, omitted pockets and used a pretty dusty pink/rose cotton gauze for the armhole binding and yoke facing. For this shorter tunic, I didn’t bother with interfacing the back yoke. Maybe it’s because of that and the stretchiness of the gauze, but the armholes are huge!

endless-summer-tunic7I cut the 41″ finished bust size and the fit is spot on for the grey version, but I feel like I should have gone down one size for tutti-frutti-fun-fetti. Fingers crossed that this will shrink some in the wash, because there’s some embarrassing gaping that happens around the armholes and this might have to be a swimsuit cover. I guess I can always wear a tank top underneath, but the point of a summer tunic is to stay cool and not layer up, right?

endless-summer-tunic6

Still, it’s cute enough and I like that it’s a departure from my usual color scheme (or is it? It does have pink and navy and mint, which are all high on my list of preferred colors).

The first Endless Summer Tunic I stitched up is probably going to get a lot more wear. Linen. Grey. Loose, long, comfy yet stylish. Pockets. Easily mistaken for maternity wear. It’s got everything I look for in a garment.

endless-summer-tunic11

Have you tried this pattern? What do you think of it? Would it be too much if I made a third one out of dark denim shirting? I would lengthen it by a few inches so I could wear it as a full-on dress. Mmmmm…I just might do it.

 

Investing in Quality

linen-pillows1Good morning! I’ve always appreciated the finer things in life — some might call it “expensive taste” (“some” is actually my husband). But I also have a cheapskate side, or maybe it’s this sense that I don’t actually deserve certain high quality items yet.

One of those someday-when-I-feel-deserving items is linen bedding. We have a small closet at the edge of our upstairs landing where I keep all our sheets and pillowcases, but most of them are from Target. I’m pretty sure that the fiber content is indestructible synthetic that will float out into the galaxies completely unscathed should our planet ever combust. I’ve salivated over the thought of drifting off to dreamland nestled upon 100% flax linen sheets and pillowcases since I was a little girl. I was an odd kid, what can I say?

linen-pillows3

So, today is my birthday and I thought it was high time I treated myself to some linen bedding. I’ve had a linen duvet cover for a while now, but I finally bit the bullet and ordered this linen sheet set last week. Once it arrived, it was a beautiful expanse of white on my bed, but I felt an urge to add a little extra…grey.

linen-pillows4

Using the instructions for the most basic pillowcase from this tutorial, I whipped up a couple of grey linen versions and it was so fast and so easy and so satisfying, I couldn’t believe I’d never made simple pillowcases for my bed before. The only modification I made to the tutorial was to fold the pillow edge 3″ instead of 4″ since I wanted the insert to be completely covered. The French seams are tres luxe. I’d like to try this Purl Soho tutorial with the envelope edge next. I’m already starting to iron other neutral-toned linen. Highly addictive and beautiful to boot. Love.

The gorgeous peonies were a birthday gift from a friend. My adoration of pink flowers is well-documented on Instagram and these make me so very happy.

linen-pillows5

I’ve been thinking a lot about investing in quality. I’m no stranger to bargain-hunting and a good deal is always worthy of celebration, because cost doesn’t necessarily dictate quality. Yet sometimes paying top dollar is totally worth it. After reading this book and a slew of other minimalism books, I’ve been reevaluating how I approach everything in my home and my notions of taste and style and quality. I’ve been guilty of wanting pricey, brand-name stuff in the past because of course it’s a way to impress others and it was an easy way to feel better about myself even if it wasn’t altogether healthy. There’s also a kind of safety in established brands. A particular logo may say: “Look, I have good taste.” And though I’m well aware that filling life with expensive things isn’t all that meaningful in the end, it wasn’t until I stopped buying clothes four years ago that I started to examine what was meaningful. I discovered that without the crutch of trends and my go-to stores, I didn’t know what my style was at all, and this wasn’t limited to apparel.

I’m still exploring what “investing in quality” looks like for me. I guess there are certain elements like my love of linen and neutrals that have been unchanging over the years, but I’m still forging my own style and learning what my personal tastes are (and yes, they will continue to evolve). You would think that after living over 40 years, it would be a no-brainer, but no. Maybe I’ll never know for sure, but it helps to shrug off the little voices in my head that blather on saying things like, “you should look like this at this age,” or “you should own these things because ‘successful’ people have them,” or…anything with “should”.

linen-pillows2

Hm. I’m almost always surprised at what I start typing when I create these blog posts. My plan was just to mention the linen pillows, but I suppose I’m feeling contemplative on this 13th day of June, now that I’m 45. It feels like a significant age somehow, and I’m excited to see what will unfold.

P.S. The winner of the giveaway is Dora, congrats!

Monday Outfit: Puperita Colleen Dress

puperita-colleen6

Good morning!! It’s good to be back! I have to warn you, though. I’m jumping the gun because the husband is still murmuring about adding another security measure or two, but I decided I just needed to get back into the blogging groove or I would lose all motivation and this little space would die a quiet, unacknowledged death. There’s a small chance that the blog will go down again, but I think it’s safe to proceed with caution.

Later this week, I’ll do a roundup of some fun things going on with Sewing Happiness and Little Kunoichi, but for now, I want to share a post that is long overdue.

puperita-colleen5

I was supposed to partake in the celebration of Annalisa of Puperita a few weeks ago, but then the crazy hacking thing happened and…well, here we are. I discovered Puperita earlier this year when I made the puffy jacket. The pattern was excellent and it was fun to modify the hoodie into a puffer — Annalisa is amazingly prolific!! I took note of several other patterns I wanted to try, and when Emi of Just Add Fabric contacted me about participating in this lovely tour spearheaded by Jenya of While She Was Napping, naturally I said yes.

puperita-colleen8

This is the Colleen Dress for knits. If there’s even a smidgen of woven fabric involved, I’ve learned that K won’t wear anything I’ve made. I had a feeling that this super simple style would appeal to her and I offered her several choices in knit fabric:

puperita-colleen7

I was betting that she would choose the second one from the top with the turquoise and yellow. I was wrong; she immediately selected the navy and white stripes (inwardly I was hoping she would bypass it so I could use it for myself).

puperita-colleen3

With such a straightforward pattern, there’s not a whole lot to say, but as per usual the Puperita pattern came together nicely. Also, I made this so long ago, the details are pretty fuzzy in my brain. One thing I do remember: I didn’t add the little bow on the neckband since K seems to be drifting away from “cutesy” details.

puperita-colleen4

Highly approved, this is a dress that’s going to get much love. I tell you, tween sewing involves a lot of hit or misses, but both Puperita patterns I’ve used have proven to be hits!

I feel terrible that I couldn’t get this post up in time, but better late than never, right?? Did you already check out all the other wonderful blogs that participated? Here they are:

 

Emi ~ Just Add Fabric     Jaime ~ Made By Jaime
Janice ~ So-Cal Sewing Mom     Soso ~Moineau & Petit Pois     Ula ~ Lulu & Celeste
Nuala ~ clootie dumplings     Pam ~ Threading My Way     Maria ~ Fairies, Bubbles & Co.
Shelly ~ Sew Shelly Sew     Chari ~ Take time to smell the rose     Helen ~ The DIY Fox
Karly ~ Paisley Roots      Melissa ~ Rebel & Malice
Janet ~ 7 Pine Design     Jenya ~ While she was sleeping

puperita-colleen1

P.S. It’s Me-Made-May time! Are you in? Like last year, I am unofficially following along — I already wear something me-made 99% of the time, so I’m in the Me-Made-May spirit all year long!

P.P.S. Furoku members, #14 has gone out!

Monday Outfit! The Spring Thea Dress

thea-dress1

K must be reading this blog, because after I posted about the dearth of kid-sewing around here, she began to pepper me with requests for handmade clothes.

As luck would have it, Mel commented on that post and introduced me to Blaverry (I’m salivating over Mel’s denim Decklyn jacket, by the way). K and I browsed through the site and she chose the Thea Dress. “Make it tight, Mama,” she instructed. She’s really into tight clothes.

thea-dress2

I branched out and used a floral print knit. Isn’t it pretty? This here is an Art Gallery knit designed by my friend Frances Newcombe and it goes by the name Tree Fleur Blanc. I think I bought it some time last year? The minimal, modern dress pattern with the feminine, vintage-y print, it’s a winning combo. If this doesn’t say, Spring is here, I don’t know what does.

thea-dress5

Well, it’s not quite as form-fitting as K would normally like, even though I went down to a size 6 based on the finished measurements, but the fashionista’s declared the dress spectacular. “It looks extra good with blue tights, right?” she asked.

I added 2 inches to the skirt hem, and I’m glad I remembered to do that or else this would have been a tunic.

thea-dress4

I like the binding method of the neckline and how clean it looks. This is a thin, 95% cotton + 5% Spandex blend that’s so easy to sew — hardly curls, presses beautifully, drapes like a champ.

thea-dress3

The key to the Thea dress, which is easy to construct, is in the pleats. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever pleated a knit fabric before and I don’t think I have. It upgrades the style factor and K enjoys how swingy the skirt is.

thea-dress7

Yep. We’re in love.

thea-dress6

K loves this style so much, I’m going to make a couple more in different colors/prints. Thank you for directing me to Blaverry, Mel! I ordered a few more patterns and I can’t wait to try them out!