Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Adventures of Gnomes in the Woods

I ordered this gnome fabric a year or two ago because Elena loved it so much. It sat around here for so long because I couldn't decide what to make with it. Elena is going through a no dresses, no skirts, no blouses phase. At least I hope it's a phase because it is truly sad for me. We went with shorts and a top to match in the end.

The top is a refashion of a jersey t-shirt into a simple peasant top. The pattern comes from the book "Little Girls, Big Style" by Mary Abreu. Elena was disappointed that it had no embellishments, but I felt like anything I did would take away from the print on the shorts or feel costume-ish. I also made a white woven cotton peasant top with smocking instead of elastic and made it cropped, but she doesn't seem comfortable in it at all. Here's a pic anyway. This pic cost me an extra ice cream cone on top of our previously negotiated fingernail polishing for the photo shoot. I love that book though and think it's a great way for beginners to have fun sewing for girls.

On to the shorts though. The Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Classic Chinos is a great pattern. I've used it to make her school uniform pants so I knew I'd like it as shorts. These have a zip fly with a snap, slash pockets on the front, welt pockets on the back, and an elastic back waistband. This fabric is Stenzo poplin and is the perfect weight for summer shorts. Mabel Madison doesn't seem to have this particular print anymore, but like I said, this was purchased some years ago.

We went for a hike at our favorite spot. It's a magical place with rocks, caves, and scenic lookouts to Lake Erie. It is always quite the adventure. Elena tackles the rough terrain head on even though neither of us had on appropriate footwear today.

I am linking up to Project Run & Play's June theme of Adventures and we are sneaking in just under the deadline. One last picture and that's all folks.

Monday, June 19, 2017

An Embroidered Bag & A New Clutch

Olivia and I have been collaborating on a new bag for her for some months now. She designed it entirely herself and drew a pattern. She went so far as to create the bag out of newspaper first to see if it was the right size. We headed to Joann Fabrics with some idea of what we needed and came out with this gorgeous sage colored brocade velvet and some purple cotton to line it with.

Then she set to work embellishing it with embroidery. She has a great organic work method when it comes to art. I enjoyed watching the work evolve as she chose one color after another and played around with stitch variations. The more work she put into it, the more scared I became of ruining it when it came time to sew it all together.

She wound up sewing most of the lining with only a little help from me. That way she could put pockets exactly how she thought would be best. In the end, she has only one regret. She wishes the main interior pocket was placed lower. Lesson learned. The water bottle holder on the side was a great addition. She also learned a couple of new sewing skills making that part - basting and gathering the bottom and making the elastic casing at the top. We are building confidence. I think she will want to make some clothes soon.

She didn't want a flap like her old messenger bag, or a full zipper, but she did want some kind of minimal closure so we rummaged through the bins in the basement and found this metal thing and sewed it into the top edge with some blue twill tape. It does the job and is easy to unhook one handed when needed. The handle is wider at the bottom edges to bring a little more closure to the top by rounding out the sides a bit. Turning that thick strap right side out was a 2 person job!! The strap is long enough to wear cross body, but not so long she can't throw it over one shoulder. It also works well riding a bicycle, which she is having to do a lot of this summer since 2 kids and I are now sharing my car.

Anyway, I am so happy that it turned out well and mostly that she is pleased with it too. It is quite a piece of art and I just love that she understands and likes the concept of slow sewing, of taking your time and making something you really love.

I needed a new little bag too. I made a clutch using this tutorial and some linen scraps for the outside and quilting cotton for the inside. It is the perfect size for running little errands and I can even ride my bicycle with it on my wrist too. Yes, I take turns with the bicycle too when needed.

There isn't much originality happening in this bag, but it serves its purpose and is lovely to look at. I did add some extra rows of stitching to the strap, but that's it. It's a solid addition to my summer wardrobe. Also new to my wardrobe, is reading glasses. Ugh. Getting old sucks.