Ballon Top

There’s a new pattern out by Heidi&Finn and I got to test it!  It was the first item I made during KCW and I’ve been itching to share it.

Souricette 1 wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing.  She saw the white T-shirt parts and thought it was quite plain.  Soft (rayon/lycra jersey) but plain.

Then, the chiffon came into play and she fell in love.  She adores her “Elsa top”.  Seriously adores it.  Floaty chiffon makes her happy.  She actually wants us to modify the pattern into a dress, using that same chiffon…

The pattern comes with three sleeve lengths (short, 3/4, and long).  I picked the 3/4 sleeves.  The chiffon overlay can be longer or shorter at the back.  I picked the longer option…

The top went together easily.  There’s a whole section on choosing an appropriate overlay fabric that I really appreciated.  The polyester chiffon I picked was delicate to work with but cotton voile is also an option and that would work really well for a beginner.  In fact, I may have enough leftover voile in my stash for another ballon top or two…  Must go check…

I also know another little girl who would love one of these…  Possibly in Anna colors…

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Project Run&Play: Signature Style

I had to design a knit for my signature style.  It wouldn’t be my signature otherwise.  But with Summer coming, I wanted to avoid any sort of heavy sweater.  I found some organic cotton/linen blend yarn and decided it would make some lovely lace.  Next, the pattern.  I had been brainstorming possible flips for the Colorblock Dress.  And then, I knew.

I decided to flip the dress inside out.  The lining became a lace exterior and the colorblocked exterior became the lining.  The colorblocking shows through the lace but doesn’t fight with it.

I again used Design-a-Knit to create my lace pattern.  I started off with one of the patterns from the program at the bottom.  I used two repeats of that pattern at the bottom and then built up from there.

I made two panels and cut one front and one back from each panel.  I sewed up the side and shoulder seams and finished them with bias tape.

For the lining, I used white, light grey, and medium grey cottons for an ombré effect.

I did flat felled seams for the color blocking elements and french seams for the sides and shoulders.  Then, I assembled the lining and lace at the neck and armholes and finished the edges with bias tape.  I cut into the back to create an opening so souricette 1 would be able to put the dress on.  The top closes with a bow.

I did 1/2″ double fold hem on the lining and finished the bottom edge of the lace exterior with more bias tape.


I might tack the lace to the lining in some spots to keep it from shifting at some point.  The lining sometimes peeks out at the bottom edge.

Flip This Pattern

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A Beautiful Matinée Dress

I’m so excited to share this dress that I’m posting on a Saturday!  I was lucky to be chosen as a tester for the very first Jennuine Design pattern.  The Matinée dress is absolutely adorable.  I just love the plunging back and souricette 2 loves her new dress.  I also have to say that Jenn is a dream to work with.  She is very involved with her testers in the Facebook group and responds to questions at the speed of light.  When I had a question about the bodice, I posted a picture to Instagram and I had an answer within the hour.  I really hope I get picked again to work with her!

And now, pictures!  The girls wanted to play outside so I had to run around after them to try to get good pictures.  They aren’t as good as I’d like but they’re decent.  I’m realizing that neither of my girls is a fan of after school photo shoots…


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Kids Clothes Week Midpoint!

kid's clothes week


And I have…. nothing.  Oh, I’ve been sewing, I have!

Monday, I worked on a pattern test for Heidi&Finn.  I did enough to have souricette 1 try on the top before bed and I finished the hemming afterwards.  But I think I’m not allowed to share pictures until the pattern is published.  I think.  Better safe than sorry even though that makes for a very boring post…

Tuesday and Wednesday were devoted to another pattern test.  This one for Jennuine Designs.  Souricette 2 will be getting a Matinée Dress.  And it won’t be blue!  Grey and yellow.  I’m a little angry with myself because it never even occurred to me to try to match the pattern at the seams.  But the floral is large scale enough for pattern matching to be possible and even desirable.  Oh well.  And the only reason I’m not done with that dress yet is…

I’ve been doing a little bit here and there for my final Project Run&Play look.  I have these two big panels of machine knit lace that are going to be turned into a dress (lined, of course).  It took me a while just to outline my pattern pieces.  The thing is, I have to outline them with thread because other fabric marking tools just don’t work as well.  And now, I need to machine sew along each of those basted lines so that I can cut the fabric without it unravelling.

Pictures soon, I promise!

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Project Run&Play: Shibori

Design your own fabric week is here!  Easy for me, right?  After all, I routinely design machine knit fabrics for my designs.  So all I needed was to knit something, right?

Yeah, no.

The description for the challenge is this : print, dye, color, paint, stencil or whatever else you can think of to design a fabric that is all you and then use that material to create an outfit.  Sure, knitting would fit into the “whatever else” but I thought this might be a good time to experiment with something a little different.

I bought 5 yards of unbleached muslin from Organic Cotton Plus along with 4 colors of reactive dye and soda ash.  And I ordered a bunch of books from Amazon (still waiting for one of them) as well as supplies for making batik.  I had these grand plans…  I split the muslin into 1 yard lengths.  Two of them were to be used with blue dye.  The three others were for trying out a variety of techniques with three colors (yellow, pink, red).  Then, I was going to pick out the prettiest one to make a skirt for souricette 2.

I dutifully read the books I had received.  Interesting techniques but the dye baths!  I just couldn’t.  I took one lone yarn dyeing class when I was in school and everything was precise.  Very precise.  (Side note: I could tell my teacher wasn’t quite used to the scientific method.  When I asked him about the margin of error on our instruments, he had no idea what I was talking about…)  There was no way I was going to measure dye with a teaspoon and fabric by the yard.  Just no.  So I pulled out my notes from class and used those.

First up, blue.  Midnight blue.  I was going to do two yards of shibori, using two different kinds of resists.  I weighed one yard of muslin to use for my calculations and doubled that.  I prepared my fabric with the resists.  Then, I prepared the dye bath.  I chose a 3% concentration.  I’ll spare you the details like how much water, salt and soda ash were needed.  Just one thing.  I made sure to go outside to measure my dye and mix it with water.  That stuff isn’t good for your lungs so you want to be somewhere well ventilated when manipulating it.  Once it’s mixed up with water, you won’t breathe the particles in anymore so it’s much safer.  Don’t drink it though!

First fabric, my favorite.

I used wood and glass marbles and secured them in the fabric with small clear elastics.  I created a few big bunches that got cinched together with another elastic (the big circles with little circles inside).  It’s beautiful but not a good choice for a 2 year old.  This fabric needs to be cut as little as possible to keep the pattern visible.

Second, the one I ended up using.

This one I twisted until it twisted back on itself.  I held the twists in place with rubber bands at regular-ish intervals.

I said I had 5 yards, right?  The three other pieces were supposed to be dyed yellow first.  Then, I was going to try different resists: wax for a batik look, shibori again, and maybe printing with wax.  But dyeing takes time.  I had to prepare the dye bath and warm it up.  10 minutes in the bath, add 1/3 salt, 10 more minutes, 1/3 salt, 10 minutes again, last bit of salt, another 10 minutes to add the soda ash, and finally 45 minutes.  Then remove from the dye bath, rinse thoroughly, add a dash of synthrapol, rinse again.  I was late picking up souricette 2 at preschool and there’s no way I can do a dye bath while she’s with me.  So I only did the blue.

Back to the challenge…

You’ve probably noticed I didn’t make a skirt, right?  I was admiring my fabric and it very clearly talked to me.  I swear I’m not crazy!  It did not want to be a skirt.  It said it wanted to be the Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress.

Which makes sense, I guess.  It’s a great pattern for showcasing fabric!  I decided to do the whole center front and back in my shibori.

I chose navy blue for the sides and sleeves.  I forgot to take a picture but the pocket lining is my shibori fabric too.  The buttons are coconut.

I wanted to keep a very earthy, modern hippie look.

We took the girls to a local park for the pictures.  The park is on both sides of the street and there’s an underpass where I took the pictures.  It’s quite clean as far as these things go.  No graffiti and the only “trash” to be found was rocks and leaves.  But there was a really cool surprise that I’d never noticed.  A mural.

Looks like it was made by kids.  It’s the earth.  Looks like it was an Earth day project or something and it looks old-ish.  Souricette 2 was fascinated by it.

And it fit really well with my modern hippie vibe!

I promise souricette 2′s next dress will NOT be blue.  It may be my favorite color and it may bring out her eyes but I need to change it up!

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Is it Kids Clothes Week Already?

kid's clothes week

But, but, but… I’m not ready!  I have next to no plans for what I’m going to do.  I’m not done with the knitting for my PRP Signature Style outfit.  Ha! more like not started.  So not ready…

So why do I have it in my thick skull that I’m going to do this KCW?  After all, I didn’t do the January one…  See, the thing is, I didn’t do the January one precisely because of the knitting for my PRP Signature Style outfit.  I couldn’t get an hour of kids sewing per day because I was knitting at the beginning.  And then, as I was sewing up the dress, it dawned on me that sewing for PRP does in fact count as sewing for kids.

I may have a master’s degree in mathematics which people seem to think means I’ve got quite the powerful brain but I can really be remarkably slow on the uptake…  I blame it on the kids.

This time around, I figured that I could combine PRP and KCW with some minimal planning.  And I’m good at planning.  It was essentially my specialty when I did my master’s.  As long as I finished my knitting in before KCW, all I had to do was get an hour of sewing in everyday.  Very doable.  I have that Signature Style outfit to sew up after all…

And then, I might need some extra sewing to do.  I have some mending to do, does that count?  3-4 leggings with holes.  I don’t know what those girls do to those leggings…  And souricette 1 has this skirt that fits around the waist but is too short and too tight.  I need to refashion that into something useful.  Add to that a pattern that I’m testing (can’t wait to get started on it!) and I actually do seem pretty organized, don’t I?

I got sick.  I’ll spare you the details.  Actually, apart from one really tough day and night, it’s been okay.  Mainly because I’ve taken the time to rest.  Not knit.  So no knitting is done.  I have a feeling this weekend will be about choosing between family and rest…

(You do know I’m kidding, right?  Unless things go really totally and completely haywire, I should be able to do half the work today and the other half the Saturday. And then, on to KCW.  Wish me luck.)


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30 Day Photo Challenge Days 24 to 30

I can hardly believe the 30 days are over!  I plan on making an album with the 30 pictures.  Maybe take a few extra pictures if the girls aren’t equally represented.

I have to confess the very last picture was taken by Mr. Mouse with his Blackberry.  But it felt right to have the last picture be of the person behind the camera while she’s behind it…

March 24


March 25


March 26


March 27


March 28


March 29 – Yes, my girls sleep together every single night. By choice.


March 30

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