November 30, 2011

a head start

We're so on top of things this year! Not only do we have a huge chunk of our holiday shopping done, but we've also already visited Santa and taken a ride on the holiday carousel! It feels so good to have accomplished so much just days after Thanksgiving. I mean, it is still November! Woo-hoo! Now let this be a reminder to our next-year-selves: GO SEE SANTA EARLY! There was NO LINE whatsoever when we visited Santa Lane yesterday. NO LINE! It was amazing. Epic. We had plenty of time to hang out with Santa and let Lincoln warm up a little bit. He still didn't love it, but it was a marked improvement over last year's screaming shot.

So I recently picked up a copy of Sewing for Boys with the idea that I might find a pattern for the perfect outfit for Lincoln's Santa photo this year tucked inside. Of course I would magically also have plenty of time to execute said outfit, would find the ideal fabric on mega-sale, and my boy would be the cutest little thing to grace Santa's lap in years. But then, we found ourselves at Costco on Black Friday (I know, what were we thinking!?!), where I found this cute little sweater and button-up shirt combo and decided that it was cute enough. And it totally is- right? Look at him! He's such a big boy!

But I will absolutely be returning to the book- it's fabulous. But this way there's no pressure of deadlines and I can actually enjoy the process! And BTW, speaking of Shelly Figueroa and Karen LePage (the talented ladies behind Sewing for Boys), they have decided to part ways and Patterns by Figgy's is no more. When I heard that, I immediately panicked and expanded my collection, adding to my much-used Tee for Two and Dapper Dillingers patterns with a couple of other classics before they're gone forever. I suggest you do the same! And then, check out the new line that Shelly has recently released under the name Figgy's. Beautiful, simple, and currently girl-centric following the recent release of the book. Love. Especially this little blouse and skirt combo. These are destined to be classics.

I also picked up the (out-of-print but recently re-released as a digital pattern) School Days Jacket & Coat pattern from Oliver + S when I saw it at a local sewing shop recently. Buoyed by my success with Lincoln's Ottobre coat, I've decided to try my hand at a raincoat for him too. I've wanted to forever, but it's hard to find fun printed laminated cotton that is cute for boys without being too cutesy- you know? Well, I think we finally found some, and I'm going to try to get to that project in the reasonably near future.

And speaking of the boy and his coat, here they are now! We snapped this photo just seconds before he demanded we remove him from the horse, before the carousel had even begun to move. He sat next to me on a non-moving sleigh instead looking incredibly unimpressed with the whole thing while David rode the horse. And then, naturally, as soon as the ride stopped and we had to get off, he decided he actually wanted to ride the horse after all. Oh, two! You fickle little beast.

I've got lots of other projects in the hopper at the moment, but I'll save something for another day. And maybe actually try to get one or two finished before I go and claim too much productivity. There are some things for the shop, some things for me (and my expanding belly), and some for Lincoln. Lots of fun to come! Hope your November was great and December is full of holiday fun!

November 15, 2011

Lincoln's New Coat

I finished a new winter coat for Lincoln this afternoon and I'm so happy with how it came out. Lincoln is too!

This is a pattern from Ottobre Design magazine, issue 4/2010. The design is #18, the Naava corduroy jacket. Sizes are 92-128 cm, and I stitched up a size 92, which is like a 2T. I added 1/2" to the sleeve length, which as you can see from the photo above, probably wasn't necessary, but Lincoln grows out of the length of things way before they're too small, so this should fit him for a long time.

I used 8 wale corduroy in a nice chocolatey brown, and lined it with pale blue. I was a little worried that the baby blue would read kind of feminine, but I think the masculine styling and the brassy buttons make this all boy!

The whole coat is interlined with TP971F, which is a heavy needled fusible fleece by Pellon. It will be nice and warm this winter! I'm so pleased with how professional this looks! I really didn't know what to expect with the minimal directions that are given in Ottobre magazine, but I worked through it step by step and was pleasantly surprised that everything fit together just like it should. And it was quick too- I started yesterday afternoon and finished today during nap.

Before I started I looked around for reviews and photos of other finished projects to see if I could find any advice, and there isn't much out there on Ottobre patterns on Flickr or Pattern Review, so I added some more photos and a review of my own. It can be so helpful to see how others have done things before you get started, so hopefully someone can benefit from my work!

November 11, 2011

For the holiday table

I've had the urge to do some last-minute sewing of things that would be lovely on a Thanksgiving or otherwise Autumnal table. Brown, gold, orange, and red are all around outside my window, and they are absolutely present in this little limited collection. I'll keep cranking things out as inspiration strikes, and plan to try to move on to Christmas before too long, but I'm just really loving orange right now!

I love to play with textures, and this metallic-striped linen called out to me! I think it's perfect for fall and adds just a touch of elegance to the casual brown leaf-strewn edges.

This bright tangerine paisley print is my idea of perfection. Subtle tone-on-tone pattern in a bold color that can be dressed up or down. I love the way it plays with the texture of the creamy linen too.

These placemat sets can be found in my Etsy shop, along with some other lovely things that would be a welcome gift for your Thanksgiving hostess. Or a nice treat for yourself! As time before the approaching holdiays are limited, quantities will be too, so don't hesitate!

November 10, 2011


I'm starting to feel rather whale-like, which is kind of disheartening given that I'm only a little more than half-way through this pregnancy! Still SOOOOO much growing to do. I know this, but I already feel like a beast, so I decided that some action needed to be taken to lighten my load in some way. The result is this:

With all the junk in my trunk and growing midsection, I think it's helping to keep me from feeling heavy all over. And it was getting to a point where I was just pulling my hair back into a ponytail or up into a bun every day anyway and expending zero effort on it. It was time for a change!

Okay, confession time. I really just put that picture there so that the ones that follow wouldn't be the first thing you saw when you came to my blog. I really did get my hair chopped off, but to fully understand where I was coming from, you have to see the belly that is creating the imbalance.

This is what I see when I look down these days. Well, obviously normally my shirt isn't pulled up, but you get the idea. Now, take a look at the ridiculousness that is my belly button for a second. If you can stand it. Need a closer look? Here:

Is that not the dumbest thing you've ever seen? And yes, there's a weird little knob protruding from the center of my belly button. When my belly isn't being turned inside out by onboard occupants, that little nub is tucked inside a regular-looking "innie," but this pregnancy thing just throws it for a loop. Growing up, I logically presumed that belly buttons were formed by tying the umbilical cord in a knot, like a balloon, so it seemed perfectly normal to me that I had that little extra bump. And yes, it is possible that it wasn't until Lincoln was born and I saw that little clippy thing that I learned otherwise... but whatever.

Anyway, the point of all this is: absolutely nothing. I just couldn't help but laugh when I looked down and saw this silly development, and being the kind and generous person that I am, I thought that maybe you could use a laugh too. But with me, not at me- right? 'Cause at least my hair looks cute.

November 4, 2011

Date Night Skirt

Last week, my mother-in-law treated us to a date night so we could sneak away for dinner and a movie. Miraculously, Lincoln decided to take an out-of-character two hour nap that day, so I had time to whip up a new skirt for the occasion.

A friend recently gave me a big bag of clothes that were destined for the Goodwill, knowing that my fabric hoarding and repurposing self would be very pleased. And indeed, I was. Thanks Diz! This skirt was my first venture into the stash, and had a former life as a pair of wide leg Gap stretch cotton pants. I opened up the inner leg seams and put them on inside out to decide where to stitch the legs back up to make a pencil skirt shape. Then, since my belly was in the way, I removed the waistband and reattached my new skirt to the secret weapon in my maternity wardrobe: a folded knit band. I had just enough black rib knit left from the last skirt to add a skinny (4" or so) doubled band on this one.

I serged the bottom, then turned it up in a wide 1.25" hem and stitched it with a twin needle. I left the bottom four inches on the back unstitched to make a vent to ease movement. And again, I saved the original waistband so that once my expansion project is completed, I can refashion it back into a skirt that I can wear post-baby. Hooray! It's the perfect date night skirt!

November 3, 2011

McCall's 6181

So I know that I said that we had pictures of Lincoln from Halloween looking more enthusiastic about his lamb costume than he did here, but it turns out that was pretty much a lie. He looks vaguely unimpressed in every photo that we took. See:

Sadly, we didn't take too many photos, and it seems kind of silly to dress him up again just so I can get a picture of him smiling. So, I guess Halloween 2011 will officially go down in history as a solemn event. I swear, he actually had fun though! And didn't hate his costume! He thought it was pretty amazing that people were willing to give him candy, and he even believes us every time we tell him that he can have a little bite of something after dinner, even though we usually forget and he hasn't actually gotten to eat much of the candy at all. So trusting!

I did finally post the pattern review, in case you're interested in stitching up McCall's 6181 yourself. It's a great pattern and as you can see, it comes out really cute! I actually made it up twice this year- once for Lincoln's lamb costume, and again for a black kitty costume for a friend.

Official pattern reviews are here and here if you're interested. Despite appearances, I am going to call Halloween 2011 a success! Hope yours was fun too!