Teddy Smocked Romper

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One of the best parts of our trip to Utah was getting to meet my best friend’s baby boy! He was only two weeks old, and I miss getting to see him every day now that I’m back home, so thank goodness for social media! I wanted to make him something special, so I tried my hand at this mock two piece romper from an old pattern my mom has had and used for years. I was honestly trailing threads to Utah to finish sewing this in time, The Grizzly Kid did all of the driving on the way up and I sat and finished all the hand sewing and finishing touches that needed to be done. Last minute work is my forte. And if you want an overview of how I made it, then read on, if not, you’ve caught the gist of this post and can move on with your day!

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I wanted to add a single smocked teddy bear to the front since his name is Theodore (Teddy), but that that meant I couldn’t run the whole piece through the pleater, so I had to hand pleat a section which was not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. The closest smocking plate in my mum’s stash was this little sailor bear, which is adorable, but not quite what I wanted.

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Instead I altered him a bit as you can tell later, but first I had to creates my pleats for the smocking.

 

 

 

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I just took a large section of fabric, and used a needle and  thread and picked  up a stitch every five lines (the photo above shows every third, but that meant the pleats weren’t deep enough so I redid it after this sample two rows). It’s clear that I am new at this hand pleating and my stitches were not perfect, but it turned out fine as the stitches are hidden later.

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I measured the the number of rows of stitching I needed to the number of rows that the sailor bear pattern called for and once you have enough rows you simply pull each end of the threads and gather the pleats like so! All too easy, just rather time consuming.

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From there I smocked on my little bear! It’s such fun to see the picture come together even though your stitches are uneven and wobbly, no need to be perfect to tackle a new project!

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I love how this little guy looks like he is walking off on an adventure. I switched him from a sailor bear to a more classic teddy, with a longer sleeve, and french knots for buttons to make it look like a coat instead. And here you can see how big a piece of fabric I used to stitch him onto, I was too paranoid to cut until I had the pattern laid out on top of my smocking. IMG_7905

Better safe than sorry,  measure twice cut once, and all that other play it safe stuff is my middle name. From there I just followed the pattern instructions to cut out and sew up the romper! Well all except the front seam where I was placing the teddy bear and therefore couldn’t put a seam there, so instead I used the pattern to sew a seam up to the bottom of the pleats, which worked out great as it took out some of the extra fullness the pleating creates.

Et voila! the finished product, which honestly turned out far better than I expected, haha. I mean I have only done one other picture smocking project here, but that was over a year ago and I had so much help from my mum who sewed the whole romper part. This I did all on my own!

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Who doesn’t love a baby in old-fashioned clothes? I mean have you seen my pinterest board? I live for this style. Especially for peter pan collars.

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Not to mention dainty little baby sized buttons up the back of the outfit.

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Sadly, the outfit is on the bigger range of 0-3 month size and Mr. T was born a bit smaller than that, but plumping up nicely! So he hasn’t gotten to wear it yet, but perhaps when it fits we can get him to consent to model it and send us a picture, because the only thing cuter than a old school outfit is a darling baby in said outfit.

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Heirloom Sewing

Heirloom sewing means, needlework, hand done, time intensive outfits usually for little girls and boy. It often looks old-fashioned, which I love. And my favorite part of heirloom sewing is the smocking, because that is what my mother has been doing for decades and what I am slowly learning to do. Last year I made a Scottie Dog romper for Wallaby and I am working on another smocking project, but yesterday for church Wallaby wore the cutest little smocked outfit done by my mother some 18 years ago for my youngest brother who is now 20.

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And that is how this type of sewing earns the name heirloom, having been made almost two decades ago it still looks new, vintage, and timeless all at once. Plus Wallaby was very excited about the wheels (buttons) on his outfit.

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I love the thought of any skill being handed down from one generation to the next. What skills have your parents shared with you? Speaking of, I still need to learn to make The Grizzly Kid’s grandmother’s rolls and holiday candy! Those are traditions I don’t want to lose.

The Perfect Summer Dress

 

Add a cap sleeve and this is my ideal summer dress. Boden is always right on the money with their clothes, but especially with their dresses! Sadly, even on sale at $118 it  is outside my dress budget. So as anyone with a budget will tell you, you either learn to do without or you make it on your own.

I recently discovered a new to me online fabric source—Fashion Fabrics Club and quickly and deeply fell in love with this blue and white stripe fabric (and loads of other fabrics that were begging me to take them in and give them a purpose in life). This stripe screams summertime, with its colors and the fact that it is lightweight. Not to mention, those prices! I grabbed it while on sale at $3.95/yard. I’ll let you know how the quality is once it arrives—I ordered it on Friday and have been checking the mail every minute since.

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So with the inspiration and the fabric on the way, I’m only wishing I could have it ready for the 4th of July! But I do have other fun plans for that day.

Beach Wedding Part 3

The shoes. One of the final preparations for my sister’s wedding in less than a month! Is the shoes for the women. We’re thinking red sandals, since we’re taking pictures on the beach and stilettos stick in the sand. I am all for a cute red sandal, but I wouldn’t have thought it’d been so hard to find the right sandals, in classic red—not coral, or fuchsia—and it a contemporary style—not clogs or orthopedics—which apparently lend themselves to the color red.

Here are my current top choices.

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Salt Water Sandals. Classic. And, I have been wanting a pair for a while now. They are also the least dressy of my options, and do they look too childish on adult feet? I wish I could find somewhere to try them on in person. I’m thinking this pair would get the most wear after the wedding.

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I’m not really into the whole gladiator sandal trend, which seems to be getting replaced by fishermen, and huaraches sandals anyway. But I do really like this pair by Sam Edelman. They scream summer! But they are kind of an orange-red, and again a bit less dressy. Of course flats are always less dressy than heels anyway.

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I am seriously in like with this pair of tiny wedges from American Eagle. They feel a bit more dressy and I still wouldn’t sink into the sand too much. Again they are a bit on the red-orange side, not a classic red like the Saltwater sandals.

 

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I think you can see my favoritism for thick leather straps. This pair from MIA falls somewhere in the middle of all the sandals. But are they almost coral colored? It is so hard to tell just from a picture!

What’s your opinion? Or have you seen any better options out there? And you know what really gets me, as I’ve been look around? Sandals that aren’t real leather but want to charge 70+ dollars! Just because your name is Marc Jacobs doesn’t mean you can charge so much for such low quality. As you can see here I have gone with more affordable synthetic options—not that paying more for a shoe is bad, but the higher price should come with better quality.

Wedding Planning Part Two

Being here in Arizona with my mom means I get to really help with the June beach wedding plans for my sister!

We bought the Children’s Place turquoise gingham shirts from this post  for the youngest of the nephews and will be making white linen shorts for Walter and the other youngest boy—this style, but white.  Super cute right?  For the older boys we are thinking about this tiny gingham shirt from Dillard’s, also with white shorts, but maybe fedoras with a red ribbon? We shall see.

Old Navy was a total score for the little nieces outfits! We found perfect white eyelet dresses for the two youngest and a peasant top for two of the older girls. We will be adding turquoise bows to the dresses and turquoise skirts for the blouse.

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Top Dress / Bottom Dress / Blouse

Now we just have everything else to plan for this San Diego Beach Wedding. Any recommendations on places in San Diego for a picnic lunch after the ceremony? We want outdoor seating for 50. Oh and where are the best beaches for pictures? We want nice waves to run in, some cool rocks in the background/to climb on, a peer, and perhaps a cave if we can swing all that ;)    Some things are hard to plan from a distance.

Getting Settled

We have arrived in Arizona and finished unpacking the final boxes today! What a glorious feeling to be settled in your personal space and yet still have so much to explore outside your door. And the weather! I won’t rub it in for the rest of you snow covered states—perhaps you could show me the same courtesy come June when we hit triple digits? That would be very neighborly of us.

It’s extra fun to be near my family and Wallaby has no shortage of cousins to play with any time we choose. In fact, yesterday we all got together for lunch and Wallaby and his little four-day-older cousin have begun a love/annoy relationship. At one point she was motherly stroking his hair

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and at other points they were arguing over toys and sippy cups. Wallaby is in some serious need of competition anyway, so these cousins are just what is needed!

Wallaby is adjusting well—waking more at night than is usual, but today I discovered 3! new molars poking through, so it’s to be expected. Wallaby also has a lot to say lately. He will chatter on in his little language for minutes at a time to anyone who will listen. And there are a couple of new parks to explore within walking distance, so we’ve been taking many a trip to them.

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And we’ll end with another model shot of little Wallaby. The adorable striped overalls were a gift from my mom from Old Navy.

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Beach Wedding

I love a good wedding. And I have a couple to look forward to this summer! My big sis just got engaged over the weekend, yay! and the wedding is set for June in the San Diego Temple—which kind of looks like the Disney castle except prettier. After the ceremony there will be pictures taken on the beach—a given.

With pictures coming up, and how I stress over family photos, I have begun planning in my mind what to wear for photos on the beach. With her chosen colors being aqua and red, I have been scoring the interwebs for dashing outfits for us all, but today we are going to focus on Wallaby. After all, the smaller the clothes the more fun they are to look at, right? I started my search thinking a plaid top in aqua and some red pants would be super cute and here are some of my top choices so far.

This shirt and shorts combo is from Children’s place and comes in around $25. Since what I am looking for is pretty specific I price matched different stores to see what I could find at each—because we are always on a budget in this neck of the woods.

Next we have a top and pants from Gymboree at $31, and I really love the bigger plaid with the different shades of turquoise/aqua. As for the pants, maybe too hipster? Plus we are talking June and the beach, so perhaps shorts are better. Then again, I hear the weather in San Diego at that time of year is unpredictable.

This is what Carter’s has to offer by way of plaid top and red pants coming in at $34. If I wear going to pick pants, I like the faded color on this pair better than the bold Gymboree pair. However, I feel like this shirt is pretty interchangeable with the first shirt but it costs a bit more.

 And then I thought overalls! I love little boy overalls, and Oshkosh always delivers when it comes to overalls. So of course I fell in love with this pair that isn’t even in the color scheme, but screams beach! Add a red polo from Old Navy and some adorable boat shoes, also from Old Navy, and this outfit is so super cute. I honestly squealed when I saw the overalls. It is definitely more casual, but it sounds like it’s going to be a simple wedding, so maybe this will fit the bill. The top and overalls are only $26 and then toss the shoes in for another $14.

What’s your favorite combo? Do you have any tips for planning wedding attire? I’m thinking I’ll make another post like this for me and one for The Grizzly Kid too.

Oh, and I made the happy couple a wedding playlist with every single song I could think of that mentions a wedding. Did I miss any?

https://play.spotify.com/user/valerieelsewhere/playlist/66a2gHWg4gF1SptXqfG2w9