Preschool Days - The Start and Finish

Two summers ago, I made this oliver + s tea party sundress for my middle daughter to wear on her first day of preschool. (I also made a size 5 in different fabric for my oldest to wear to Kindergarten).

Here she is on her first day almost two years ago, age 3, size 3. It was a little loose in the bodice...

...but that worked out great because she was able to wear it as a tunic yesterday on her last day of preschool, almost 2 years later! Here she is almost FIVE years old and officially no longer a preschooler. Sniff.

Though I didn't intend for her to be able to wear the same dress at the start and finish of 2 years of preschool, I love that she was able to do this. It really shows how much she has grown!

Now, I want to make a dress for my youngest to wear on her first and last day. Problem is, she'll be starting this fall at age 2.5 and she'll go for three years. I was thinking I could make her a little smocked sundress (like the one in Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing book). I have the book, but a free tutorial for the dress is here on Martha Stewart's site. I think that would work. It would fit her as a dress this fall and then as a top in three years. I'll have to use both my youngest and middle daughter as models during this process...make sure the dress/top fits them both.

Plus, it will give me a great excuse to use some of my favorite fabric that I've been hoarding for years. I have yards of Munki Munki and Baby Lulu that needs to be used. Time to use it!


Fun with Markers

We've been having fun drawing these days. It's something that works with my girls - a somewhat quiet afternoon activity. I draw...they draw. We can stay busy sketching and coloring for a good 20 minutes before someone inevitably falls off their chair, steals a marker their sister was using (or "thinking of using"), colors on the couch/their sister(s)/the rug, etc.

The picture above is one of a few drawings I sketched for our "Mystery Child" at our middle daughter's preschool (every family is assigned one). My husband and I made an accordion-style album out of binder board and covered it with some cute fabric book cloth. It was actually the first time I made our own book cloth, with just Heat-and Bond Lite, fabric, and tissue paper. In the past, I've fused fabric to Japanese book cloth, but found that can be expensive. This seemed to work well.

The inside "pages"/boards are filled with a few matted drawings/pictures and a written section that describes this little girl and many "interesting" facts about her (this has been an ongoing project over the past few months).

My husband also wrote a nice poem about our Mystery Child that he'll read to all the parents tonight. I hope the parents are happy with what we've done. I'm not sure what to expect!


More lessons in sewing

Add this experience to my growing list of lessons learned...

Last week I made this dress for my oldest's 7th birthday. We were quite busy the day before with an unplanned excursion to the East Bay, and being the procrastinator that I am, I ended up cutting and sewing this dress late late at night, rushing to have it completed for my daughter to wear to school in the morning. Even though I'd love to blame my mistakes on fatigue, I'm sure I would have made a few of these errors even if I had taken my time.

My inspiration for the dress came from some knit dresses I've seen over the past few years in Mini Boden, the ones with the large applique on the side, like this:

How cute is that dress? I should have looked at it more closely before cutting out this one.

For my daughter's dress, I used an Ottobre t-shirt pattern and then extended the shirt into a dress. So simple! Right?

Again, I really should have looked at the Mini Boden dress more closely. If I had just drawn the lines of the dress more like a simple t-shirt dress (slight A-line) versus the curves I ended up giving it, I'd be much happier with the result. As it turned out, the dress flares much like the Olivia hooded dress by Farbenmix. I think I've made too many Olivia's...it was just instinct to do this :). And while the flared look is cute, it didn't work well here due to the stripes - they ended up meeting in "v's" instead of a straight line. Why this didn't occur to me as I was drawing the lines of the dress?!?!

And not only that, but I didn't even match up the stripes on one side (above the flower). If I had taken my time here, I know at least this wouldn't have happened.

Plus, the dress is just *big*, but my daughter thinks the size is perfect. That's the joy in sewing for kids. My daughter even wore this dress twice last week; she loves it so much.

And I can't overlook the cost factor. I bought the brown/white striped knit in Berkeley on sale for $5/yard and cut up a race t-shirt to make the sunflower. I also used up some scraps of brown ribknit for the circle and the neck-binding. Money saved!!! So, there's that.

Still, I hate mediocre sewing jobs. It's like an itch...I'll have to try again and get it right (redraft the lines, move the applique forwards, etc.) and then I'll feel better. Until then, I'm bothered.


A Doll for My Mother

Meet Graciela. I just completed this doll for my mom for Mother's Day. My mom is 65 years old and this is the first doll she has ever been given (bought or handmade).

My mother grew up in much rougher circumstances than most children, impoverished in so many ways. Even if anyone in her life had been able to afford to buy her a doll (let alone cared to do so), dolls when she was a child did not look like her. Most dolls in the 1940s/1950s were "white", often with blond hair and blue eyes - none of which describe my mom.

Anyways, I thought it was about time she had a doll of her own :). My mom spends hours a day in her sewing room (quilting), so I'm hoping my parents can put up a shelf for Graciela to sit on and keep her company.

Details on the doll:
* The hair is Blue Sky Alpaca - a Wool/Alpaca blend. I would NEVER use this yarn for a child's doll. It sheds *so much*. But the color is beautiful, it almost looks like real hair (the color differentiation is striking).

* Though I didn't intend this - doesn't she look a bit like Frida? Maybe it's the flower...or the braids wrapped around her head/hairstyle?

* Speaking of the hairstyle, I can't decide what to do with the felt flower. Right now, it's on a little hair clip and I keep moving it around. Hmmm.

* I made a simple peasant dress for her, with embroidered flowers. I like it enough, but am not 100% happy with the sleeves. Maybe I'll knit a simple shawl? Redo the sleeves? Let it go? Ah, I should just let it go. Move on to some drawings and a few more dolls.

Next up is a doll for my niece...