handmade kids clothing swap: my sparkle!


i was lucky enough to have danielle of my sparkle get assigned to be my sewing buddy. danielle has an awesome style sensibility and is absolutely brilliant at creating beautiful and unique outfits, so brilliant that she won project run and play’s season 3! we’ve been seeing quite a few peter pan collars from her recently, so i was stoked when one of her signature looks arrived on my porch last week!

20130403-DSC_2883Danielle said… “I didn’t do a literal remake of any one pin, but rather pulled ideas and themes from a few pins that had a similar feel. I noticed a few outfits on Robin’s inspiration board that mixed a loose woven top with bloomer style shorts like



and a few florals and peter pan collars like here.


Mostly I tried to make something that would be functional and beautiful for her little C, and that had a feel that seemed to fit Robin’s style. I chose a soft lightweight linen for the top and added a peter pan collar in a soft cotton floral.


Peter pan collar + C’s darling bob with bangs, and big brown eyes seemed perfect. I actually made my own pattern for the top (by altering a really basic bodice pattern) because I had a specific vision of how I wanted certain details to turn out and it was just easier that way. I used the full width of the linen for the top so it would feel luxurious and full and would spin and twirl.

20130403-DSC_2831I left the hem rather fat because I like the weight it gives a garment with a lot of fullness, and also so that Robin could let it out if need be.

20130403-DSC_2776For the shorts I used a blue stripped linen from JoAnn, and the Oliver + s Puppet Show Shorts pattern, which came together nicely. I just hope they fit!”

20130403-DSC_2761(the fit is perfect!)

“It was really fun sewing for C. Although Robin doesn’t show her face on her blog, she sent me a picture and she is just darling! I had that sweet little face in my mind as I chose fabric, thought about the design, and stitched it all together. Making something for somebody else, with your own hands, is such a sweet experience. I am really grateful I got to be a part of this little swap!”

Thanks so much Danielle, the outfit is so beautiful! It’s the perfect balance between cute and girly and easy to play in. Both C and I LOVE it. It’s the perfect first spring outfit, and is sure to get a lot of wear this summer!

20130403-DSC_287420130403-DSC_289820130403-DSC_2827Next stop?

Here’s a little preview of the outfit I made for Cherie’s adorable daughter Yuki… head over to You & Mie to see more!


and be sure to check out the rest of the swap posts! there’s a lot of awesomeness going on this morning, so grab a cuppa and enjoy!

cherie from you and mie

danielle from my sparkle

delia from delia creates

gail from probably actually

heather from well-crafted

kristin from skirt as top

meg from elsie marley

sanae from sanae ishida

vanessa from lbg studio

thanks for stopping by!


announcing the handmade kids sewing swap!


the pinterest challenge!

hooray, i’m hosting my very first multi-blogger extravaganza! i’ve teamed up with nine lovely ladies, and believe me when i say there’s going to be some serious awesomeness around blogland later this week. wanna see what cherie created for sanae‘s daughter? kristin made for danielle‘s daughter? gail made for vanessa‘s daughter? you get the idea, it’s gonna be awesome.

the challenge?

to sew a kid’s outfit that was inspired by pins on the recipient’s pinterest boards.

the participants?

cherie from you and mie

danielle from my sparkle

delia from delia creates

gail from probably actually

heather from well-crafted

kristin from skirt as top

meg from elsie marley

sanae from sanae ishida

vanessa from lbg studio

…and me!

see you back here later this week!

 a HUGE thank you to sanae for the beautiful button! that lady has some serious skills. :)

Japanese sewing book series: A sunny spot

JSBS_button500Hello and welcome! I had the honor of guest posting over at you & mie today, and gave a rundown on how to construct a garment using the instructions in Japanese pattern books. If you haven’t already, be sure to go check out the full week’s worth of posts. There is quite a bit of useful information that will help you navigate your way through these books. It’s been so much fun to work on this post with Cherie (and Sanae, who provides invaluable translating help)!

My most sewn-from Japanese pattern book to date has been the first version of A Sunny Spot (2010), which (eta) has an assortment of girls clothes in sizes 90-130 cm.

20130328-_DSC0166It’s always fun to see what patterns are in these books, and since I think this is a good basic book of girls patterns, I thought I show you what’s inside. I’ve added a few pics of the garments I’ve sewn from this book, too.  Ready for some eye candy?

Pattern A: High waist dress

One of the great things about this book (and many Japanese pattern books) is that it’s relatively easy to interchange some of the pattern pieces for different looks. You can swap sleeves, skirts, bodices, etc. This book provides more than one version of each pattern.

  • Type 1: back button dress20130328-_DSC0213
  • Type 2: Dot tunic blouse 20130328-20130328-_DSC0186 Here’s my version (more here)
  • 20130328-DSC_2655Type 3: Coat style dress20130328-20130328-_DSC0188My version (more here)20130328-_DSC0174
  • Type 4: puffed sleeve dress

20130328-20130328-_DSC0189 Pattern B: A-line dress

  • Type 1: Dangaree dress (and bolero)20130328-20130328-_DSC0190
  • Type 2: Lovely dress20130328-20130328-_DSC0192
  • Type 3: V-neck blouse 20130328-20130328-_DSC0193

Pattern D: Skirt

  • Gathered skirt20130328-20130328-_DSC0196
  • Tucked skirt20130328-20130328-_DSC0197My version (more here)20130328-DSC_2663 20130328-_DSC0172

Pattern D: Camisole

  • Camisole with lace (spring & summer version)20130328-20130328-_DSC0198
  • Camisole with wide straps (autumn & winter version)   20130328-20130328-_DSC0199This is one of my favorites… I’ve sewn a couple of these, and fully intend to make more. It’s such a great shape and so versatile! Here’s one of the ones I’ve made:20130328-DSC_2658

Pattern E: Knit tunic

  • Back ribbon tunic (this is awesome- perfect solution to the knit shirt minus the fiddly knit neckband!)20130328-20130328-_DSC0200
  • Layered style dress (love this!)20130328-20130328-_DSC0201

Pattern F: Cardigan dress

  • Short cardigan20130328-20130328-_DSC0203
  • Long cardigan20130328-20130328-_DSC0204My version (more here)20130328-20130328-_DSC0184

Pattern G: Coat

  • Linen spring coat20130328-20130328-_DSC0206
  • Quilted coat with round collar20130328-20130328-_DSC0207

So? What are you waiting for? Get your hands on one of these awesome books and give it a go. Worst case scenario? They’re absolutely lovely to look at and will provide great inspiration.

Want some more inspiration? Check out this site. (You’re forewarned, this is a French site about Japanese sewing patterns. Just click on the picture of the book you’re interested in on the left, and all the garments people have posted from that book will come up.) Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend. :-)

some things.

  • it seems i took another blogging break!
  • that wasn’t planned.
  • it’s been one of those months.
  • there has been very little sewing happening around here.
  • that is going to be remedied this weekend.
  • but i’ve been knitting! my first craft love.
  • i’m also taking a couple of online drawing/art classes. it’s been fun. more on that later.
  • i’m going to be a regular contributer at andrea pannell’s cool new site, gotosew. very cool. go have a look around if you haven’t yet.
  • and the reason i finally got off my blogging butt and posted is to share this: kinokuniya will be having free shipping on all US orders tomorrow. if you’ve been wanting to get some japanese pattern books, now’s your chance! (i’m not associated with kinokuniya, just thought i’d pass on the awesomeness.)


  • i will definitely be taking advantage of this and ordering some books not in stock at my local store. :-) after all, there is an enabler in our midst.
  • have a lovely weekend.
  • be back soon.
  • promise.

film petit: moonrise kingdom

moonrise title1


it’s film petit time again, and i’m so excited to be a part of it this month! when kristin asked me what movie i’d like to use as inspiration, i knew i couldn’t go wrong with moonrise kingdom, even before i saw it. i mean, all you have to know is that it’s a wes anderson movie and see this:


and you know it’s gonna be good, right? and of course, it lived up to it’s potential for pure awesomeness, and if you haven’t had a chance to see it, do it. now.

so the story is about a couple of misfit teenagers in love who decide to run away together. since the movie is filled with nutty characters (really my favorite kind), it’s really hard to pick a favorite, so i went with my favorite actor of all time. bill murray. a chance to dress my 5-year old daughter up like bill murray wearing madras pants, you say? sold. anyways, he plays walt bishop, the father of the protagonist, suzy. he’s quiet, a bit kooky. he has funny lines. for example. take a look at this short promo video he did for the movie. it’s hilarious.



“well the good ones are made out of separate pieces. yeah. this is a nice one, this is an old one. it’s made out of separate pieces of, uh, loud material, and sewed together in squares. you can do this at home.”


20121218-DSC_1321“here i am in a cardigan sweater. sittin’ here in portland oregon. livin’ la vida loca.”20121218-DSC_1292




cardigan sweater: hey june’s greenpoint cardigan in an awesome wool rib knit from mill end. lovvve those gold buttons. (they’re gold plated, you know. be impressed.)

button-down shirt: oliver + s sketchbook shirt done with michael miller’s cotton couture in soft white.

madras pants: oliver + s sketchbook shorts lengthened and tapered to a pair of awesome looking pants. i did not sew the little squares myself. fabric from bolt.


i didn’t stop there. the first time i saw the movie, i was struck by wes anderson’s fantastic overuse of plaid. this image of the inside of sam’s khaki scout camp tent in particular caught my attention:


(“jiminy cricket. he flew the coop!”)

seriously, look at all of that plaid awesomeness! (and don’t think i didn’t have very serious plans to crochet a rug. i started one. and then i came to my senses and started sewing.)

tents play a big part of the movie. wes anderson even set up camp in a plaid pup tent.

tent grpi

and of course, there’s tons more plaid love…

plaid love

i took all of this inspiration and sewed a tent dress for c.

20121218-DSC_1500 20121218-DSC_1488  20121218-DSC_1412 20121218-DSC_1399 20121218-DSC_1372



tent dress: oliver + s school photo dress. i am lucky enough to have the pendleton woolen mill store in town, and used some of their beautiful wool. i fully lined the dress in another cotton couture, choosing a color to mimic the look of the tent. for this, i eliminated all the awesome pieces liesl designed because i didn’t want to detract from (and mess up the look of) the plaid. i cut the yoke on the bias, added pockets, exaggerated the a-line cut quite a bit, and replaced the invisible zip with an outerwear zip to mimic the look of a tent. i’m so happy with this dress. and this pattern rocks. i want to go sew another (without mods) right. now.

and if you haven’t already seen what is going on over at a little gray and skirt as top


as expected, kristin and jessica nailed the looks they picked. kristin drew inspiration sam and suzy’s wedding clothes… check out that khaki scout uniform. amazing. and jessica sewed an adorable suzy dress for her little shirley temple look alike.

it was so. much. fun. to be able to be a part of this series with kristin and jessica. these ladies are incredibly talented, creative, and goofy. thanks to both of them for letting me part of this awesome series! i really enjoyed delving into a movie in a way i don’t normally, and getting the chance to sew clothes outside of my normal style. doing this definitely got my creative juices flowing. can’t wait to see what film petit is up to next month!


happy birthday maggie lou and a winner.

over the weekend we celebrated the second birthday of the little girl of some very good friends of ours. her mama requested handmade gifts, so i made the oliver + s lazy days skirt and appliqued a store-bought tee… 20121208-DSC_1124

(the applique is some stash cotton couture i had on hand… i cut it out using my digital cutter. perfection.)

(that ribbon crown? c made it for me for my last birthday- it’s what children in her class wear to celebrate their birthdays. best gift ever. such a sweet crafty little girl.)

and c made her a pillow.


(c loves to make these pillows at school. we probably have two dozen of them floating around our house now. isn’t it awesome? she embroiders a marked pattern and makes the whole thing on her own.)

the winner of the johnny mango seed leggings pattern (selected from the 24 unique commenters) is commenter #4, karen of stirandstitch, who wrote “i’m having my first baby in may, so i’ll finally have my own sprog to sew for, and, if it’s a girl, practical leggings and dresses will be go-to choices :)”. congrats, karen! i have emailed you so we can get the pattern your way.

leggings giveaway jpg

i hope to pop back in later this week with a new outfit, but if not, i’ll be back next week, when i’ll be guest posting for the fantasticly inspiring film petit series with kristin and jessica. it’s gonna be ridiculously awesome. :) (on the off chance you’re not familiar with this fun series, start here and here.)

a dress, some leggings, and a giveaway.


it’s been a fun week in sewing blog-land, hasn’t it? all of those giveaways over at sew mama sew… and i’ve got another one for you!

but first… some pictures of the latest corduroy creations.





(my child is stepping on my handdyed handknit cashmere wrist-warmers. oy.)


you guessed it, this is the (awesome) oliver + s family reunion dress. i love the cut of this dress, and have some ideas on modifications to change it up a bit. the neckline is a bit wide on my skinny mini… she is a wee bit over the chest measurements on the 3t and that’s the size i made her (with a 4t hem). i may take the neck down to the size 2t next time. otherwise? love it.


(somebody else loves it, too.)

ok, so let’s chat leggings, shall we?


every time i sew leggings, i use the same pattern by johnny mango seed. i happened upon this pattern at our local knit fabric haven, rct fabrics, and about two years ago and have been using this pattern for leggings ever since.


the fit is spot-on, and this pattern is wonderfully simple. the pattern calls for cotton (or wool)-lycra blend fabric with four-way stretch, and i get the best results when i stick to that fabric. lycra gives the leggings “memory” and help avoid saggy knees.

(have you noticed that lots of store brands sell leggings in 100% cotton? that’s one of the reasons i started to make my own. they often just end up looking kind of dumpy. i can make these much more like tights, but avoid the hassle of tights on a 5-year old (saggy crotch)).

there’s only one pattern piece to trace and cut- so no outside hems to sew. start-to-finish in 45 minutes. and i a slow sewist.

i love that all the sizes are marked clearly in a different color, too, with the size measurements right there in the middle of the pattern sheet.


the instructions are great, and provide quite a bit of detail if you need it but are written in such a way to make them easy to skim through if you pretty much know what you’re doing but wouldn’t mind a few reminders to avoid mistakes, with large heading instructions and clear pictures for each step. there is also info provided on how to make the leggings capris, scrunched (my favorite), pieced, trimmed, and how to modify the pattern into narrow leg pj pants as well as wider leg leisure pants.

i just sew these with my regular machine and a walking foot using a short zig-zag stitch that is as wide as it is long. i also turn my presser foot pressure all the way down (which is a great feature on a machine if you’re lucky enough to have it). so no serger required.


(soft. the fabric is awesome and from our local mill-end fabric store.)

the pattern is available here for $7.95 and ships for free (yay!)… so if you’re new to sewing or if you need a great leggings pattern, i encourage you to check this one out. pamela also sells a few other patterns, and i hope to try a few in the near future (day and night pants, here i come).

pamela, the local mama behind johnny mango seed, has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of the leggings pattern! to enter, please enter a leggings-specific comment below… why do you love them? (for me? they’re a great substitute for tights. my littles can’t handle getting tights pulled up very well and i feel a lot better knowing she has pants on under those dresses instead of just tights.)

comments will remain open through tuesday december 11, and a winner will be selected at random. (open internationally)



until next time!


disclaimer: pamela, the owner of johnny mango seed, noticed how much i use her leggings pattern and asked if i would review it. the pattern was already my own and all opinions are my own.