So, despite my inability to sew buttons onto a few dresses (still not done...), Sam somehow caught me at a good moment and convinced me to help him sew a rabbit for Viv.
My parents flew out for a solid three weeks over the holidays and it was absolutely blissful. My mom couldn't tear herself away and decided to extend her stay a few weeks more, so she's still here! The more time my kids spend with their grandparents, the more ridiculous I think it is that we live so far away from both sets! I noticed some pretty important and wonderful things happening with my kids when my parents were here. There are just some things that grandparents do better...
Hello! Is it Monday already? Wait, what?! Tuesday?! Goodness, sometimes time just takes off without me. We're getting a slow start to our week here at the Thompson house, and rather than get caught up with cleaning and whatnot, I decided to sew Vivian a little dress this morning. I've had this old dress of mine that I loved and had been wanting to turn into something for her. So, despite dirty dishes, dusty furniture and unfolded laundry, today was the day!
I used that wonderful Sew Baby reversible pattern; I'm forseeing many versions of this dress in Vivian's future. I had a white cotton, eyelet, ruffly bedskirt that I picked up at the thrift store, knowing that it would eventually make some darling little girl thing. It was perfect for this project and I only had to adapt the pattern a bit. I wanted it really full and peeking out beneath, so I hemmed each side individually, instead of sewing them together. And see all the gathering in the arm loops? That's how I got a bunch of extra fabric in there. I don't know if that's the "real" way to do it, but it totally worked. The gathering along the bottom of the bodice and straps was already there; I just cut the bedskirt to take advantage of it.
I made the 9-12mo. size and although Viv tends to wear clothes a bit ahead of her age (8.5mos.), it's still a tiny bit big, which is perfect because that means it'll fit her all summer long. At the last minute I added a little pocket with an extra scrap of the eyelet stuff.
Despite the fact that my house is no better than when I started this morning, in fact, it's probably in worse shape, I think forgoing my household chores for the morning was definitely the right decision. I gave Sam and Viv free access to my craft room drawers (with instructions to not open the tubes of paint) and they happily kept themselves busy emptying drawers, stacking and sorting and generally making a wonderful mess. Sometimes creativity and messes just go hand in hand:)
Almost a year ago, for my birthday, I was going to take sewing lessons at The Finishing School, here in Salt Lake. But schedules were busy and it got put on the back burner, and somehow just never happened. Until this Christmas when Clay thoughtfully got me lessons, and then babysat every Wednesday night for six weeks.
I think my favorite favorite part of going to the school is that it's quiet, peaceful and clean with everything in its place. Having an instructor who can teach me how to do things the right way is also pretty awesome, but it is SUCH a treat to be able to sew uninterupted in a dedicated, lovely space with everything right where I need it. I feel instantly relaxed when I walk into the warm, cozy house filled with bright bolts of fabric, notions and every sewing implement I could need or imagine.
One wall is decorated with project inspiration. You can use their patterns or bring your own. I did several projects out of Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing, plus the little reversible dress for Viv.
None of the projects I did were ones I couldn't have figured out on my own, but the details were just better. The teacher showed me little tricks about pinning, sewing clean button holes, reading a pattern etc. So, instead of just winging it as I usually do, I actually did it the right way and it was so satisfying to see the subtle difference it made.
I took the beginning class where you just bring your own projects to work on and the teacher is there to help. But the next level up is a class where you create a binder full of techniques and samples and it sounds really tempting... But, I think it might be my turn to sacrifice my Wednesday nights so Clay can take a few classes:)
Some days I feel as if I can't get out of my own way. At the end of the day I can't think of a single thing I've started and actually finished... Nothing to show for my incredibly long, exhausting day! Such is the life of a mom. The "product" we produce is a lack of chaos, nothing you can hold up proudly and say, "Look what I did!" but rather, a lack of dirty dishes in the sink, a lack of hungry tummies, a lack of piles of dirty laundry. If we do our jobs well enough, it's hardly noticeable, just a clean, well-run home to show for it. It looks so easy from the outside! I think this is why things like sewing and knitting, and creating things are so appealing to me. There's actually a concrete object to show for my work, something I can hold in my hands (aside from sweet, happy babies, of course; they're plenty holdable, huggable and clear evidence of a labor of love). So, after a day of feeling as if I've accomplished nothing, it feels good to sit down to a quick and satisfying project. The mittens I made Sam last year got a hole in the thumb. I fixed it, but it made the thumb considerably shorter and they were getting a bit small anyway. So, I dug into the basket of felted wool sweaters and whipped up a few more pairs for Sam. The first time I traced his hand to make a pattern. This time I just traced the already made mitten, adding a bit more for a seam allowance to to make them slightly larger, since he's a year older. These are the absolute easiest project in the world, and it feels so satisfying to see a stack of something, anything, actually finished. It helps when Sam dances around with glee when I make him things too:) I also whipped up a few pairs of leg warmers from some worn out socks for Vivian. Got to keep those babies warm!
Something in the air has had me at my sewing machine knocking out quick and cozy attire for my little ones. Well, the flannel-lined pants cannot technically be defined as quick... They should have been. But, because I don't actually know anything about sewing (really, for someone who sews as much as I do, it's shocking how little I know about the actual ins and outs of it), it took much, much longer. But, on the upside, I learned a ton, and my next pair of flannel-lined whatevers is going to be a breeze. And they still look cute (as long as you don't look too closely).
The owl print flannel is from Modern Organic Fabrics. I've got some pink bunny flannel from the same line that's destined to become something for Viv; I'm thinking a reversible dress.
Of course, I can never stay away from the felted wool when in a quick and cozy mood. The sweater pants I made for Sam a year or two ago have gotten much use and are now about three inches too short for him. But, no problem, sweater pants are about as easy as a project can get. I don't worry too much about how they look, as their main purpose is to serve as long johns under his waterproof pants (so much less bulky than normal kids' snowsuits and just as warm with wool longies underneath).
Take two felted sweater sleeves and use a pants pattern to eyeball about how you should cut it (fold the pattern in half because, of course, the side seams are already done for you). Or use a pair of pants as the pattern. You can leave the waist extra long and if you make it narrow enough the natural stretch of the sweater and extra length will mean that you can skip the waistband altogether. Just sew those two pieces together along the inseam (right sides together so the seam ends up on the inside) and there you have it: super warm, snuggly, 100% wool long johns. These really only take a matter of minutes to make and they are so worth having on hand.
Even Vivian got a few snuggly additions to her wardrobe. I had a pair of SmartWool socks that wore out in the heels (much too fast, I might add; is it my imagination or are they not what they used to be?). I followed this tutorial to make them into legwarmers. They're even kind of Christmasy:) And now that I've satisfied my maternal urges to bundle those babes, it's back to making Christmas presents!
Well, today is my "official" due date. Did you know that a 40 week gestation isn't actually accurate? First time babies average 41.5 weeks and subsequent babies need 40.5 weeks to get ready for life on earth. So, no panicking that our little baby is still cooking in there. I've been expecting her to arrive a bit later in the month anyway.
I've been taking advantage of these last few weeks of baby-less time and an extra helpful and sweet husband, to start crossing some projects off my list. Saturday was a very successful day in the sewing department. I finished the pointy hat and added some wide ribbon (modeled by Mr. Bear from our French friends), also added ribbon to a hat for a pregnant friend, bound a quilt, made a few swaddling blankets (I'm excited about these; they're a gauzy summer weight and I think I'm going to love using them!). I made two little skirts out of the last of the vintage sheet edges and even added a ridiculous amount of girly lace to one of them. I just got swept up in the girliness of it all:)