It goes too fast


This is K when she was just a little over 18 months back in 2008. Last night, we had dinner at a friend’s house and I watched K and her two buddies play and eat and argue and reconcile and laugh hysterically. She’s known them since birth and nearly 10 years later, they’re still the best of friends. They used to be so small, they all fit snugly in a basket:


I had mentioned in a post a while back that I wish I had a photo of the very first top that I sewed for her, and I found it while I was browsing through my forgotten Flickr account this weekend:


I called it the “Girl, Interrupted” top because it bears a striking resemblance to a hospital gown, of the sort worn in a psychiatric ward. It was, to be quite frank, an eyesore.

I self-drafted the whole thing but couldn’t figure out how to sew the back, so I fudged a sort of tie-back design. The concept of coordinating thread was foreign to me and none of the seam allowances were finished — you probably can’t see them very well, but the stitches are helter-skelter.


I loved making it, though. I miss that daring sense of adventure I had, that bring-it-on attitude. I even gathered the sleeves! Now that my sewing skills have improved, I repeatedly find that I’m a lot harder on myself or have this self-imposed need to deliver more complicated or higher quality garments. This need stymies me and I’m tempted to avoid sewing altogether.


And it turns out I’ve been lying about not knitting, because I have evidence of having made K several sweaters. Like this droopy hooded one up there. And this burgundy kimono sweater. How did I forget?


Clearly, she wasn’t all that excited about that burgundy one.

As I observed the pre-teen kids last night, showing early signs of awkward adolescence, I wanted to grab time by the shoulders and command it to stop. Stop. You’re going too fast. 

I don’t see my 9-year-old guffaw with abandon as much; she’s so much more aware of how others are perceiving her.


I often bypass capturing hilarious moments of sweetness now that I get so caught up in my to-do lists (or even worse: checking how other people are capturing hilariously sweet moments on social media).


It’s not just time I need to tell to stop. I want to pause, to pay attention. I want to take in the good, the bad, the ugly, the miraculous. Because 10 years — it’s a blip. I went through hundreds of baby photos in my Flickr account and the memories! Carting her around in every baby carrier known to man all over Seattle, teaching her the alphabet, scrubbing her bottom in that behemoth plastic contraption I fitted into our tub each night. If I’m not careful, I’ll forget to be curious, to be willing to experiment, to savor the fleetingness of it all. Note to self: be careful.

babyk6P.S. The Indigo prints giveaway winners are Manda, Eva and Katharina. Congrats! I ordered quite a few of the teas recommended, and I’m excited the try them out!

Monday Outfit: Puperita Colleen Dress


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.


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.


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:


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).


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Yep. We’re in love.


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!

The Girl in Red (A Valentine’s Dress)


Good morning! It’s mid-winter break right now, so K and I are hanging out and relaxing today and tomorrow. Since we’re in vacation mode, the pace is slower around here and I’m posting a little later than usual…


I made K this little red number for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know why, but I tend to avoid the color red — maybe it’s because it’s my mom’s favorite color and I OD’d on it growing up. It’s a great hue on K, though, and I should make more outfits in this color. I’m not sure how the red is coming across on your screen, but this is a deep crimson with blue undertones.

In lieu of sugary treats, I told her I would make her a dress, so K and I browsed through my out-of-control Mini Fashion Pinterest board for ideas, and she liked this one:


She also selected the fabric, but sadly, I didn’t have quite enough to replicate the dress though I did my best to accommodate. Thank goodness she gave it a thumb’s up. Although my version isn’t quite as poufy and is more business-y than party girl, I’m quite pleased that I didn’t shell out anywhere near $200 to make the frock — I was trying to wrap my head around the type of person that would buy a $200 dress for his or her child, and then realized that if I added up the hours I spend on making each item of clothing, it suddenly didn’t seem so outrageous.

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I started with An’s awesome Tinny Dress pattern, but completely hacked it so I’m not sure if I should even reference it. I used the size 7 bodice — which shows you how petite my almost 10-year-old is —  but didn’t bother with a zipper since I made the dress out of a ponte knit that was moderately stretchy.

Changes I made:

  • No zipper
  • Added a waistband
  • Made it a two-tiered skirt
  • Added a humongo bow


It’s a cute little dress and I’m proud that the inside of the dress looks clean and tidy:

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You can see that I hand stitched the waistband facing. I’m starting to enjoy hand sewing more and more. Maybe I’m building my patience muscle?



valentine-dress8She looks so grown up to me, especially in those new-to-her wedges (K is so much smaller than most of her friends, we end up with quite a bit of hand-me-downs). I wanted to shorten it a bit to balance out the proportions, but K liked the longer length so I kept it. Let’s call this one a success! It’s actually comfy, totally customized and the Valentine girl feels fancy. Win, win, win!


P.S. Confirmed! Ana, my Secret Valentine received her gift and I opened my spectacular gift from Sonja yesterday. So much happiness! I will post more about them later this week!

Faux Fur Infinity Scarf + Giveaway [CLOSED]



Well now. Ute and I are simply blown away by the enthusiastic response to the Secret Valentine Exchange!! It’s been so enthusiastic that my server crashed a number of times last week. It’s true that I have a wimpy, tiny server, but still. I also think there’s something problematic about multiple people trying to fill out the form simultaneously, but that’s an uneducated guess on my part. We’re approaching 130 sign-ups!! If you were one of the folks who couldn’t access the form to sign up, please email and we’ll send you the form directly. Quick reminder: the deadline is this Wednesday, January 13th!


Today, though, I’m talking more faux fur. There’s a pint-sized fabric store near my house called District Fabrics, and during the holidays they sold these infinity scarf kits. For $10, the kit comes with a 19″ x 30″ faux fur piece, a spool of coordinating thread and instructions. I thought it was a decent deal and a good idea, particularly for a little someone obsessed with all things wild and animalistic in my household. Plus, I’d just seen something similar in Anthropologie, so it was totally on trend (not that we’re ever on trend or ever feel the need to be).


I didn’t get around to sewing it up in time for Christmas, but I did find a few minutes to bang it out this weekend. So fast! It was done within 15 minutes, and then I realized I didn’t follow the instructions because I’ve made so many infinity scarves. Instead of sewing the ends right sides together, leaving an opening and hand stitching the opening closed, the instructions call for finishing one end of the tube, slipping the other end in and sewing through all four layers with the right side facing out. I guess that part would end up at the nape of the neck so the flattened section won’t show, but I’m glad I did it my way for the overall fluffiness.


K decided that she would create a special ensemble – a faux-furnanza, if you will —  and I’ve dubbed her “mini sasquatch”. Actually, with the ear muffs she looks like the love child of Princess Leia and Chewbacca (yes, we’ve seen the Star Wars movie that just came out).

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And here she is, playing the part of an infirm Victorian poet with a furry ascot — or is it a cravat?? She’s engrossed in a game of Mancala (an African game with which she’s obsessed).


There’s a little twist to the front of the scarf, which I like, and because of the thicker material, it’s a simple circle scarf, meaning it doesn’t loop twice like most infinity scarves.


At any rate, after sewing the vest, the trim on the jacket, and now a scarf, I’m all faux furred out. I have an extra kit, but I can’t bring myself to sew it. Would anyone like it? This one is a lighter shade of brown, sort of chestnutty or squirrel-colored. Even if you don’t end up using it as a scarf, there’s plenty there to make at least one side of a pillow cover, which happens to be all the rage right now — something that mystifies me. Or you could add a fur trim to a garment. So many possibilities.


It seems like I should ask a New Year’s Resolution type of question, but I’m going to turn it on its head a bit: what worked for you last year that you want to continue? So often it seems like we try to change when we flip the calendar to January 1st. But there are so many things that we already do right and well and I’m a firm believer that those things ought to be acknowledged. Last year I met with at least one friend a week for coffee or some sort of get together, and it was so uplifting and wonderful, it’s something I’m very conscientious about continuing this year. Another funny little thing that worked for me last year was getting rid of the word “busy” from my vocabulary. Whenever people would ask me how I’m doing, my automatic response used to be, “Good, but so busy!” I can’t remember where I heard or read it, but I came across the term “glorification of busy” and how it’s become so normal in our society and is essentially a humble brag or a way to feel important. So I experimented with not saying that I’m busy for the whole year. And you know what? It was awesome! I felt like I was less in default mode and it forced me to pause to think about how I’m really doing and what I’m spending my time on. I’m going to keep up this habit of not saying I’m busy for sure. What about you?

I’ll leave the giveaway open until this Friday, January 15th and will announce the winner on Monday. Entries from around the globe are welcome. I hope someone’s interested – I’ve had enough of faux fur for the time being!