Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Gratitude

Ok, I know I sometimes complain about my kids, or wish that life was a little less noisy and crazy.  But Mother's Day always makes me stop for a moment and thank the Lord for the blessing of these four little ones.  And I know that they won't seem little for much longer!

Yesterday, they made me a beautiful present (thanks to the materials and instructions in the Funshine Express preschool kit):
Do you notice that the one on the bottom left is not actually glued together?  That's my six year old Joseph's project.  He said he did not want to do a craft, but then he felt guilty since it was a Mother's Day present, so he did part of it anyways. 

And then my eight year old Hannah worked hard writing a song and memorizing it, so she could do a singing presentation of her gift.  I found the lyrics she wrote out this morning, so here is her Mother's Day song:

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to you,
Happy Mother's Day to you,
Happy Mother's Day, Dear Mommy,
I love you.

You lead me to Jesus.
You are my love.
I wish I could do more for you.
Um um hum hummmmm.
Oh we need you.
Love for you fills my heart.

Doesn't it make your heart just melt?  I especially like the "Umm um hum hummmm" part.  She also made a special second gift for me:  a pipecleaner bookmark, which works surprisingly well.

Now that is love!  What more could I ask for?

And, then, while my husband did yard work, I relaxed and actually got some sewing done.  Here is what I was working on -- a Boo-Boo Bunny:

I am working on a tutorial and pattern for this, so look out for it in the next month or so.

All in all, what a great day!  I think the moral of the story is that I am surrounded by these little blessings every day, and I should appreciate them this much every day of the year.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oliver & S Tea Party Dress and (Slightly Modified) Playsuit

It is hard to beat the Oliver & S Tea Party pattern for a cute little sundress for a tiny girl.  The pattern is only available digitally now, as it is out of print.  As always, the directions are absolutely impeccable and are basically like a personal sewing lesson from Liesl.

Here is a close-up of the finished product:

I love how this pattern calls for a contrast facing under the hem, and bias tape finish for the elastic casing on the bloomers.  I also really like the piping to call attention to the flared princess seams.

The pattern also includes a playsuit.  I wanted it to be a little more girly, so I made the hem curved and added a pleated trim.

The straps are supposed to be button closure, but I was worried that my little girl would not be able to undress herself to go potty.  So I made a faux button closure with velcro underneath.

Directions for added curved hem and pleated trim

1.  Cut all fabric pieces as directed in the pattern.  Also cut 2 strips of fabric that are 2.5 inches tall and the width of the fabric.  These pieces are for the pleated trim. 

2.  Fold the trim pieces in half lengthwise wrong sides together and press.

3.  Assemble the bodice as directed in the pattern.

4.  Use a plate as a template to trim the bottom of the playsuit into a curved pattern at the outer edge.

5.  Place the front and back of one leg right sides together.  Sew the inseam together.

Then press and topstitch this seam.

6.  Finish the bottom hem edge, including the curves, by serging or zigzagging over it. Also serge the raw edge of the trim pieces.

7.  With raw edges together, right sides facing, sew the trim piece to the curved hem edge of the shorts.  Use your fingers to create little pleats as you feed the fabric under your presser foot.

8.  Press the hem well.  Then topstitch.

9.  Now it is time to sew the outer leg seam.  With the front leg and back leg pieces right sides together, and the raw outer leg edges lined up, serge the seam (or sew with your sewing machine and then zigzag over the raw edge).

Please be careful with this step that you make sure you don't leave the thread tail hanging, as it would show.  Sew just one stitch so that the needle is in the fabric.  Then pull the fabric tail around from the back of the presser foot, around the left side of the presser foot, and back in front of the presser foot and the knife.  Then continue sewing.  This will completely catch the thread tail in the seam, like so:

10.  Press the seam well and topstitch.  It should look like this now:

11.  Repeat steps 5 - 10 for the other leg.  Really, it is much easier and faster than it sounds when I write it all out like this!

12.  Follow the directions in the pattern to sew the crotch seam (the rise seam) by placing one leg inside the other.  (Personally, I like to serge this seam and then press and topstitch it, rather than sewing two lines of stitching on the sewing machine and then finishing the raw edges.)

13.  Then follow the directions in the pattern to attach the bodice to the shorts and finish by attaching buttons or velcro to the straps.

Then put the outfit on your little one and tell her to smile at the camera. 

Then give up and tell her to run and play while madly trying to snap pictures of her that aren't entirely blurry.

Playsuits are for playing, right?

Good thing she is wearing matching bloomers!

Modeling for pictures is sooo hard!
Thanks for reading!  If you have questions, or need a step explained, please, please make a comment and let me know!
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