Wednesday, November 12, 2014

sewing for Craft Hope

Whenever possible, I love the opportunity to use my love of crafting for those in need. Craft Hope has made crafting for a cause straightforward yet meaningful, and I have participated in several projects over the years, including sewing a sock monkey, aprons and pillowcase dresses. The most recent project {Project 25} We Are Kenya, is donating items to an organization that works with children in one of Kenya's largest slums. 

One of the items that was needed was reusable menstrual pads... sanitary napkins... whatever you prefer to call them. My first reaction was something along the lines of Why would I want to make those??! And who would, when the other options include sewing sweet stuffed animals or cozy hats and scarves? Well, after reading further, I changed my mind. You see, girls are often forced to quit going to school after their period starts because their family cannot afford to provide them with pads. How very, very sad. 

It is hard being a girl... I remember all the things I "lost interest" in after getting my period. Swimming, dance class, Girl Scout camp. I wanted to avoid the possibility of embarrassment. But having to quit school? That is in another league entirely. I want to help some young girls through this tough time, which is why I decided to take on this project. If my work keeps even one more girl in school, then it was worth my time a hundred times over.

The details: I made a total of 24 reusable pads using flannel (only $3 a yard on sale, so these were really cheap to make!) and snaps. I used this tutorial I found on the blog Little House Living. I followed the tutorial exactly for the blue set, so they are lightweight, like liners. For the purple set, I added a layer of waterproof PUL and a couple layers of cotton quilt batting so that they will work for heavier days. They turned out so nice that I would be lying if I didn't admit that I almost wanted to keep them for myself.

I sent them off last week, so I hope they make at least a tiny difference in some girl's life. Projects like this make me realize how blessed my life really is.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Emily Elizabeth: a Halloween costume

So I went around and around trying to decide what to make as my daughter's Halloween costume this year. (Last year she was a Cabbage Patch doll!) I was planning to do an owl but at the last minute decided that since she LOVES the Clifford books so much, she should be Emily Elizabeth, the little girl from the books!


Emily Elizabeth has worn a variety of different outfits over the years, but I decided to stick with the pink and black ensemble she wears for the Clifford The Big Red Dog TV show because I felt it was the most distinct and recognizable. (And can you say cute!?)


The only handmade part of this outfit is the dress. I used the Norah Dress pattern by Welcome to the Mouse House (again, purchased in a pattern bundle). I used a stretchy black knit with polka dots and a white satin for the collar. My "master plan" was that it would be a dress she could wear anytime, not just for Halloween. The satin collar gives it some dressiness, so it turned out looking more like a special occasion dress than a play dress, which is fine, I guess... we just don't have many dressy occasions around here! I loved the pattern and will definitely make it again. My only regret is using the satin for the collar - it was really hard to work with, especially attaching it to the knit, and it kind of sticks out funny. Not exactly the look I was going for but it looks fine as a costume.

I purchased the pink cardigan on sale at Old Navy. It is a little long because they only had a size 3T, but that's fine because she'll grow into it. The shoes are from Target and the leg warmers are from Etsy. Easy peasy!

The best part of the costume is Clifford! I ordered him from Amazon and hid him in my closet until costume time. She adores him and luckily was distracted enough by her new friend that I was able to get her outfit on and pictures taken without any real meltdowns. (She is becoming more and more opinionated about clothing and didn't seem too keen on this costume until Clifford came out.) I hid him again until Halloween tomorrow, but it remains to be seen whether he will work his magic a second time.

"Oh look, a dog!"

"Just like Clifford!"


Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 24, 2014

kid's clothes week: owl bimaa sweater

Two posts in one day!!? What is going on??!

bimaa sweater by loubee clothing, sewed by dandelions and lace

Another project I sewed up for my daughter for Kid's Clothes Week is an owl Bimaa Sweater. It is my first time sewing this pattern by LouBee Clothing (got it in a pattern bundle awhile back) and I want to start out by saying... I LOVE THIS PATTERN! I can totally see why it is so popular. It was sooo easy (and quick!) to sew up and turned out so cute. I will definitely be making more.

bimaa sweater by loubee clothing, sewed by dandelions and lace

I used owl and chevron knits from JoAnn. My daughter is obsessed with owls and loves this fabric, so even though she is starting to have opinions about what she wears, I didn't have any trouble getting her to try this on. It is a slim fitting pattern, so I was slightly concerned about a 2T being too snug, but I went ahead with it and it came out perfectly. I chose the cowl version, but there is also a hood and a shawl collar option.

bimaa sweater by loubee clothing, sewed by dandelions and lace

bimaa sweater by loubee clothing, sewed by dandelions and lace

The theme of this season's Kid's Clothes Week is "Storybook" and even though I didn't base this outfit on any particular book, I thought I'd share a few of our favorite books about owls.

Little Owl's Night by Divya Srinivasan is a sweet story that tells of the forest animals and places that Little Owl visits during the nighttime darkness. I love the artwork, especially the depictions of the night slowly turning into day.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell tells of three baby owls (Sarah and Percy and Bill!) who wake up to find their mother gone. They become concerned for awhile but in the end are reassured that their mother will always come back.

A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na shows the owl observing all the different ways that animals sleep. It ends with the animals waking up in the morning and the owl finally going to sleep himself. Gorgeous!

Do you have any owl books to recommend for me and my little owl lover? I'd love to hear!

bimaa sweater by loubee clothing, sewed by dandelions and lace

kid's clothes week: étage top

I'm making fairly good progress on my Kid's Clothes Week goals... finished the Halloween costume dress (pictures later!) and a Bimaa Sweater (pictures sooner!) and I completed an Étage Top that I started awhile back and have been putting off finishing. It needed a few tweaks as it was one that I started in the middle of the testing process and the pattern was changed slightly. It also needed to be hemmed, and try as I might, that is something I can never get very excited about.

etage top by sew straight pattern company, sewed by dandelions and lace

Anyway... before we start, let me tell you about my morning. So yesterday, some nice city worker left us a note on the door saying that our water would be turned off for 4-5 hours this morning for some work on the water main. Ok, no biggie, I can handle that. 4-5 hours... no big deal, right? Wrong. One hour in and I've already changed a poopy diaper, had to leave the toilet unflushed, handled raw chicken, chopped an onion that left me weeping with no place to wash my hands or face and probably done several more unsavory things that I can't think of right now. BTW, can you get high off of hand sanitizer?? So I decided we needed to get out of the house stat and we headed to Wal-Mart (of all places) to look for stove knob covers because a certain someone has been started playing with them and the gas on one of the stove burners was running all night long a couple nights ago. Yes. I know. Anyway, couldn't find the stove knob covers, but Wal-Mart DID have soap and running water, so I consider it a win. Had lunch out and came back to a house with still no running water and 2+ hours left... 20 minutes at last count... and that's if they actually keep it to 5 hours. It is HARD to be home with no water you guys!! Anyway. That whole story was to tell you that as I was buckling my daughter into her car seat, I realized she was wearing this top backwards... and I had already taken photos, ugh. At the time I was thinking, there is no way I'm taking them again, but when we got back she was still in a good mood (and she hadn't spilled lunch all over her shirt, yay), so we went out and took a few more. So this post includes a mix of photos of her wearing her top both forwards and backwards - see if you can tell them apart!

etage top by sew straight pattern company, sewed by dandelions and lace

The Étage Dress and Top is a new pattern by Sew Straight Pattern Company - find it in the shop here. I already made two Étage Dresses (here and here) so I thought I'd make a top too. It is fun and swingy just like the dresses but can be worn with jeans or leggings, so it is perfect for fall and winter. I used a mix of fabrics this time - Briar Rose Strawberry knit for the top bodice layer, then a fushia knit that came from a dress I didn't wear anymore, and a striped gray and white knit from an old shirt of mine that had a hole in it. I think it turned out adorable and my daughter seems to think it's pretty comfortable.

etage top by sew straight pattern company, sewed by dandelions and lace

I feel like there's more I should be saying about this but my mind is blank. It's been a day. And it's not even 2 pm, lol.

etage top by sew straight pattern company, sewed by dandelions and lace

etage top by sew straight pattern company, sewed by dandelions and lace

[disclaimer: I wrote this yesterday and in re-reading the part about the water sounds a little whiny now... first world problems, I know. But I am leaving it because I feel it's a reminder of how much we should be appreciating our overlooked conveniences like running water. Smile! Life isn't so bad.]

Friday, October 17, 2014

fall and other things

Hi there!

Just thought I'd pop in and say hi. I haven't posted much lately, but that is certainly not because I haven't been busy. I've had lots of projects going... both sewing and otherwise. Here's what I've been up to in the last several weeks.

* A visit to the fair! Yes, the Texas State Fair is in town, so my husband, daughter and I spent a day there two weekends ago. We ate corny dogs, chicken in a waffle, the world's best cinnamon roll and other yummy treats. We visited Big Tex, and the petting zoo and my daughter rode her first carousel (and loved it!). I paid special attention to all the arts and crafts ribbon winners... I just might enter something next year!

* The pumpkin patch! Another fall must-do. My daughter was sooo excited to see all the pumpkins and ride in a wagon, but it got quite hot that day and after a few minutes of looking for the *perfect* pumpkin, we were all ready to grab the next pumpkin we saw and get back to the air conditioning!

* Company! We had visitors for a few days last week... my friend from Indiana and her daughter who is about the same age as mine came to visit. We spent a day at the Arboretum (the new Children's Garden is amazing!) and a day at the Aquarium and lots of time playing at our house. What a fun time. My daughter cried inconsolably after her little playmate had to leave... until I was finally able to distract her with a trip to the library!

* Craft Hope! I'm working on something for the current project - {Project 25} We Are Kenya. I will share more when I am finished. Check out the link if you feel inspired to craft for a good cause!

* Kid's Clothes Week! This season's Kid's Clothes Week starts on Monday, so hop to it if you are interested in participating! I am still working on firming up my plans and goals for the week, but here are some project I have in mind: 1// A dress for my daughter's Halloween costume (still a surprise!). I am trying to make it so that the dress can be worn anytime and not just as a costume. 2// A winter jacket(?). I have the Nituna pattern and am very inspired by this beautiful example. Not sure if I will get to this or not because I haven't yet found the perfect fabric for a coat. 3// A couple long sleeved shirts that my daughter can wear when it starts getting cooler. Planning to use a comfy knit pattern - probably either the Nessie Top or Bimaa Sweater since I already own both of these patterns. 4// Some Go To Leggings
I think these projects will be really doable, especially if I prep my patterns and fabric this weekend. They are all practical items that will get a lot of wear, too, so that is nice. (I also welcome pattern suggestions!)

Well, that's most of what's been on my mind (besides the craziness that has been Dallas during this recent Ebola madness... but I won't bore you with all that!). I'm sure you'll hear lots more from me next week during Kid's Clothes Week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

yellow apple étage dress

Another Étage Dress today! As I mentioned in my previous post, I had the opportunity to help Terri of Sew Straight Pattern Company test her newest pattern, the Étage Dress & Top.

The pattern was released on Wednesday of this week and is on sale through today, so be sure to check it out in her shop!

Etage Dress by Sew Straight Patterns, sewn by Dandelions and Lace

As I mentioned before, this pattern is designed for knit fabrics and the dress has four flowy tiers, while the top has three. Depending on fabric and styling, this pattern can be as perfect for church as it is for playtime. There are three sleeve options - sleeveless, cap sleeve and half sleeve. Just think of all the fun fabric combinations you could make with the different layers!

etage dress by Sew Straight Patterns,sewn by Dandelions and Lace

While I wouldn't call this pattern difficult to sew, it does require some concentration. The layers need to all be positioned just so for the finished dress to have the correct look and there are a lot of pieces to work with. But if you clearly label your pieces, double check your work before stitching and most importantly, take your time, you will fall in love with how quickly the dress comes together.

etage dress by Sew Straight Patterns, sewn by Dandelions and Lace

For this Étage, I alternated an neon colored apple jersey knit with a yellow sparkle knit. It turned out bright and fun. I'm hoping this dress will last my daughter until next summer, because she loves wearing it so much already, and I know she will love it even more once she learns to twirl.

etage dress by Sew Straight Patterns, sewn by Dandelions and Lace

Another fun aspect of this pattern is the fact that hemming the tiers in different ways can give you a completely different look. In my first Étage, I didn't hem the tiers at all. In this dress I alternated a single-fold hem with a lettuce edge hem and really love how it turned out.

etage dress by Sew Straight Patterns, sewn by Dandelions and Lace

I had such a great experience testing this pattern and can't wait to see what the Sew Straight Pattern Company comes up with next!

Be sure to check out the pattern here and remember it is on sale for the rest of today!

etage dress by Sew Straight Patterns, sewn by Dandelions and Lace

Friday, September 26, 2014

hello and an étage dress

Hello you guys! Long time, no blog! My blogging goal at the beginning of the year was to get in at least one post a week and I was doing pretty well up until mid-August and now I've totally blown it. Oops.

I guess I just got busy and blogging didn't seem like the thing to do. I did some contract work on an exhibit, we had carpet put in our whole upstairs (which meant bringing everything that was up there down... and then back up... whew), I've been doing a little pattern testing, and I've been enjoying the gorgeous fall weather we've had this past week.

Etage Dress sewed by Dandelions and Lace, pattern by Sew Straight and Gather

Oh, did you catch the part about the pattern testing?? Because that's what I'm here to share with you today. I've been part of the team helping Terri from Sew Straight and Gather and Sew Straight Pattern Company test out her new, almost-but-not quite-released pattern, the Étage Dress & Top.

And what a fun pattern! The dress has four cascading layers of flowy knit that is both dressy and casual and perfect for twirling!

Etage Dress sewed by Dandelions and Lace, pattern by Sew Straight and Gather

There are three sleeve options (half, short and no-sleeve) and the top option is just as adorable as the dress! I'll be sharing one of those shortly.

To top it off, Terri, the pattern designer, is super-sweet and such a perfectionist that she has gone back and made revisions to the pattern several times to make sure it is exactly as it should be. So, I can't give you a release date yet, because it is still being tweaked, but know that it will be worth the wait!

For my Étage, I used super-thin floral and striped knit from JoAnn for the bodice and bottom two tiers of the dress, then I used a thicker Ponte de Roma solid black knit for the lining and first tier. I think it turned out just adorable and my daughter loves wearing it! So comfy! Know that the pattern has gone through some slight revisions since this dress was made, but it will be very similar to this when it is finished.

Etage Dress sewed by Dandelions and Lace, pattern by Sew Straight and Gather

So cute!

Etage Dress sewed by Dandelions and Lace, pattern by Sew Straight and Gather

Be sure to check out Terri's shop in the coming weeks for the Étage's official release. You won't want to miss it! :)

**Update** The Étage Dress & Top pattern is now available HERE and on sale through Friday, October 10!