Since I didn’t have the zipper I needed to make the dress I’ve been dreaming about, my weekend project end up being a few t-shirt dresses for O. The shirts were already in her closet and the fabric is a thrifted cotton/poly knit I’ve had for about a year now.
Obviously, modeling for a photo shoot or even letting me style her was not part of O’s plan for the day. I managed to sneak in a few shots while she played with the cat, hence the blue blur in her hand. I am hoping to get a few, styled shots of the second dress this afternoon.
What O did feel like, after playing with the cat, was having a snack while I made a salad for supper. What mama would complain about a kid who loves veggies?!
Ever since “O” was born, I have be obsessed with little harem pants. They seem to be the ideal in cute, comfy, baby gear. The first pair I made were delicious! What’s not to love about hot pink crinkle cotton, snagged at the thrift, and a wide swaggy crotch line that encompasses a cloth diaper with ease? According to my husband, a lot. He hated those pants. So much so, that I don’t even have a photo of her wearing them. My second take was scaled back a long way to just a pair of rather wide legged pants with a slightly drop crotch (My Little Gypsy). The saying goes that the third time is a charm. Yesterday, I went for it again and made a more full legged version that is the embodiment of perfection. They have all the comfort and ease of a harem pant to please me, no swaggy crotch to irritate the daddy, and lots of movement for an acrobatic little lady. Additionally, they fit well over a pair of tights to keep little legs nice and toasty warm. For this creation, I used a 1/2 yard of poly/rayon blend I picked up at my favorite thrift store of $.50. Instead of actually drafting a pattern I just used a ruler and chalked out two rather large rectangles directly on the fabric, marked the crotch level, and cut those babies out. Very straight forward. They have only two seams and three casing, so even without a serger they took less than an hour to stitch up. Obviously, “O” loves to help me do the laundry and it proved to be an excellent diversion for photographing. It was so much easier to get a few decent shots when she had something more interesting to do than try to investigate the camera.
Finally, the top I made for Baby. With all the help O gave me, it’s amazing I got it finished and photographed. She is wearing the top over a long sleeved onesie and jeans.
This slightly blurry shot was the best one I managed to get with all of O’s assistance. Baby is a very patient little person, but with Mama setting her in a weird chair and sister constantly trying to adjust her, it had to be a very short photo shoot.
The moon phases applique (because the meaning of her name relates to the moon) and the short puffed sleeves were cut from a girls size 7, yard sale blouse. I think I spent a quarter for it a few years ago. The cotton is very dense and has a tone on tone embroidery that my machine despised. Hubby thinks the motor on the old girl is going.
The striped fabric on the bodice is a very light weight cotton denim that I picked up at the thrift. I spent $1 for about a yard and a half. I also have a dress for her in this fabric that is just waiting for the finishing touches.
Little Gypsy tunic and pants
Oddly enough, this top is made from the same pattern and size I used to make O’s Little Gypsy outfit last spring. Part of this is due to the versatility of the design, but mostly it just speaks to the sizes of my girls.
And the upside of having a toddler who makes writing a blog post into a day long event–the opportunity for an impromptu second photo shot! As it got quite warm this afternoon, we ditched the onesie and the sleeves on the blouse are much easier to see.
When I found 3/4 yard of 60 wide,quilted rip-stop fabric at the thrift a few months ago, I just had to have it. Initially I though it would become a coat for one of the littles next winter, but as camping season approached I realized it had a much higher calling. “O” is extremely independent and demands her own space at bedtime, so creating a sleeping bag of her very own became a must. With her first birthday coming up, I decided that this would be the perfect gift for our busy little girl.
This project is a blend of thrifted, repurposed, and new materials. Of course, the quilted rip-stop came from the thrift, but then I added a insulated center layer made from a repurposed mattress pad and a cotton flannel lining of new material. On the fly, this looked like a quick easy project. It really was a pretty straight forward, but it was not a project my old machine relished. The multiple layers of thick fabric posed a bit of a challenge on my test swatch, so I had to use a few alternative methods of construction. Instead of sewing all the layers into a sandwich and then simply turning and top stitching as I had planned, I had to size the insulating layer down by an inch on every side and then center it on my lining fabric and stitch the two together. I then used my sandwich and topstitch method. Also, the density of my fabrics and lack of a zipper foot made a standard zipper application impossible. Since I have outstanding faith in my hand stitching abilities, I simply adhered the zipper by hand. That is the method I usually employ in dress making anyway.
“O’s” birthday is still over 3 weeks away, but having this project finished will be a relief to her daddy. Ever since I announced that I was creating this sleeping bag, he has asked about it almost daily. I guess he still isn’t completely familiar with the Ames family genetics that allow me to do amazing last minute work. Just wait, I’ll go buy wrapping paper at 1 am the morning of her birthday, while her cake is in the oven.
Looking at this last photo, I know I could have done a better job presenting the project for photographing. It is so bumpy that it almost looks as if a little person has just crawled out of it! I really wanted to get this blogged yesterday, so it was do-or-die this morning and with the little red battery button blinking on the camera I was a little haphazard.
One pair of old jeans + One yard vintage cotton= Inspiration
I really thought about tossing this pair of jeans in the trash. It’s really not like me, but they were in embarrassing condition. The red jersey at the cuff had small holes in the seam line, leg had a small series of bleach splashes, the waistband was so stretched out that “O” continually crawled right out of them. They sat on the kitchen island for a day or two while I mulled it over and the cooling down period did us both good. I paired them with a piece of vintage thrifted cotton and turned them into one of the cutest pairs of cutoffs I’ve ever seen. Yes, I do say so myself.
Ahh, much better. Forgive the wobbly hem, “O” wanted to claim them while they were still going through the machine.
I duplicated part of the fabric motif on the back pocket for a designer touch.
A new, smaller waistband and ruffles made for a good start. They were perfectly acceptable like that, but I just couldn’t resist another layer of cuteness. Hello, pocket detail.
Per usual, “O” wasn’t feeling very cooperative.
Showing off her new shorts was just not part of her plan.
Since it was a nice, sunny day I thought that a nice outdoor photoshoot was in order.
She thinks she’s getting away with something by “stealing” my empty spool.
I did catch her in an unsuspecting moment later in the afternoon.
Last week, when I started “O’s” new wardrobe, her daddy made a request. He asked that I make her a little gypsy outfit. A chemise dress was already in the planning stages and with a tiny bit of tweaking and the addition of a pair of pants, it became the perfect Little Gypsy Duo.
Little Gypsy Duo: tunic and pants
Fabricated from a cotton sarong I haven’t used in several years, this outfit was easy-peasy from start to finish. I revisited my pajama pants pattern yet again, but this time I added two inches width to either leg. The pants, complete with elastic ankle cuffs and waistband, flew together in less than a half hour. The tunic took a bit longer, but not much and was drafted using the method outlined in Donald H. Mc Cunn’s How to Make Sewing Patterns. For coverage sake, the main body of the tunic is a double layer, but instead of an over and underskirt I handled the layers of fabric as one with the exception of hemming. Although the ensemble is darling as is, I intend to add a contrasting vest in the near future.
The little gypsy, enjoying her daddy’s day off.
“O” has just finished a growth spurt. One of those that takes your nice round baby and stretches them out to a long, lean little bugger. Now the pants she’s been wearing all winter are so big in the waist, she crawls right out of them. Luckily it was time for a fresh wardrobe anyway.
Using a long sleeve cotton t-shirt that never fit me quite right and my favorite cotton/spandex cami that had seen more than it’s fair share of layers, I started with a jumper and two pairs of pants. The t-shirt had the greatest black/red London themed print that I just love and it made up into some really cute baby gear. Unfortunately, I didn’t photograph it before taking the scissors to it.
London Look Jumper and Slim Fit Pants
The jumper was made from the body of the long sleeve t-shirt and trimmed with strips of thrifted grey jersey (we will be seeing more of that fabric soon). I made the pattern using a tank onsie as a guide, it was much easier than trying to measure a wiggly baby. When I laid out my pattern, I lined it up with the bottom of the t-shirt and was able to avoid hemming. I love easy solutions! The pants are a slimmed down version of the pajama pants I drafted last month and the fabric was sourced from a black cami. The elastic in the waistband is the cami strap. Her undershirt is a purchased, black lace onsie I have been dying to get her into.
Action Shot of the London Look Slim Fit Pants
This second pair of pants was crafted using the sleeves of the t-shirt and the same altered pattern I used on the black pants. The waistband elastic is the other cami strap and, once again, I was able to lay the pattern out against the existing hem an thus cut out a step. Her black Henley was an existing part of her wardrobe and will soon find itself facing the scissors to transition into summer.
Since “O” is not a very cooperative model (it took me all day to get images this good), please excuse my photos. On my next project for her, I will find a creative photography solution that does not require “help” from my little ball of energy.
This is what I usually get when trying to photograph “O”.