Maternity Dress

Hello there! In case you missed the big news, we’re expecting a baby girl in August and are thrilled of course! It’s funny how immediately your mind starts planning for their arrival. I mean we have all the necessities from Wallaby, but mostly I want to sew a million things for her, dresses being at the top of the list, but I’d also like to try making my own baby carrying wrap, they look so easy but I’m torn on the fabric choices, so if you have any suggestions I’m listening!

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In the meanwhile I have been working on my wardrobe to fit my ever expanding belly, mostly alterations, but I did tackle a dress. Here in Arizona there is nothing better than wearing skirts and dresses to beat the heat, plus the lack of a waistband digging into your pregnant belly is the best option ever.

I started with the Simplicity 1755 pattern and altered it from there. I had to raise the waistline, to ya know, chest line since a pregnant waist is an oxymoron and I played around with the pleats a lot to keep them lying flat over my belly. The center pleats are 2.5 inches deep and leaving the space between them allows it to lay so nicely. I also made the front hemline slightly longer than in the back to keep the hem from looking totally a-line when I’m nine months.  And instead of the darts to fit the chest I put in slight gathers to keep the top looser fitting and more comfortable.

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Overall I’m pleased with how the dress ended up and I even made matching bow ties for my husband and Wallaby from some of the leftover fabric. If you know of any other great Maternity patterns I am all ears!

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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.

Sailor Bear smocking plate  I  Wildfire Kisses

 

 

 

 

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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!

Teddy Bear Smocking I Wildfire Kisses

 

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.

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.

Toddler Bag

I thought about labeling this post, Carry it Yourself, but that sounds a little harsh. What I mean to say is that Wallaby is 20 months old today! And as such an advanced little creature he can certainly pull some of his own weight. I mean, he picks up his toys, and puts his dishes in the sink (sometimes), so why am I still hauling a diaper bag? Our little toddler doesn’t need much on little trips, a diaper, wipes, and water bottle (an Arizonan necessity), and maybe a snack for a longer trips. Sometimes I shove these things in my purse, but I hate when a diaper falls out while I am trying to find my wallet.

The solution to all our problems presented itself by way of his own little backpack! And boy did I start out with grand plans, like this adorable bag, but decided to scale way back, since I wanted it ready before our upcoming trip to Utah. So instead I used this super simple tutorial on making a drawstring bag, and it only took 15 minutes to whip it up and Wallaby LOVES it so win, win!.

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Can you guess which parent spotted this fabric at the store while I was looking for dress material? And once Wallaby saw it he got excited pointing at R2-D2 and said beep, boop, beep, boo, and it was decided.

And now he puts everything in it, like legos

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and can even put it on himself! If you count this attempt

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Overall it’s a good fit, took less than half a yard of fabric to make and will work until I can make the other backpack. Besides, who needs pants when you are wearing a backpack?

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Happy Villaintine’s Day.

The Grizzly Kid and I are rather awful at celebrating most holidays. We do pretty well at Christmas and birthdays, but our anniversary gets looked over, pretty much every year, and especially now that Wallaby’s birthday is just 3 days before. So if we can’t even manage to celebrate our anniversary then Valentine’s Day better forget it.

A few years ago our inability to properly celebrate Valentine’s Day led to the creation of our own holiday on February 13th called Villaintine’s Day. This holiday has rules so simple that even we can manage them. All that is required is junk food, a pillow fort, and watching a movie with proper villain in it. The first year we celebrated we watched Lion King, because who is worse than Scar? And this year, on our 3rd annual Villaintine’s Day I believe we discussed watching Sherlock Holmes, the 2nd movie, because Moriarty is also pretty great.

In other villainous news, I completed the monster rug that I posted about last month! This was a time consuming project, but not a hard one. Mostly it meant hours of cutting out triangles and sewing them in place while I watched tv.

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I mean look at all those triangle pieces!

Monster Rug I Wildfire Kisses

Perhaps people will find it odd that we put a monster beside our child’s crib, but we’ve told Wallaby that this monster is there to keep the other monsters away, and Wallaby likes him. Besides a felt monster is way less creepy that a real bear skin rug, or any taxidermy for that matter.

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The teeth are actually Wallaby’s favorite part. He sits there trying to pull them off.

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This is easily my favorite project that I have ever made.

Monster Rug I Wildfire KissesAnd in case you were wondering, we named him Claudio because he reminds us of this rockstar’s hair.  

Wishful Wednesday: Monster Skin Rug

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I found this monster rug on Pinterest last spring and fell in love. I want one for Wallaby’s room to put right in front of his crib, but for the $2,500 that Longoland is charging for it I am finally getting around to making my own, for probably $10 in supplies and paying myself nothing for the hours in labor, but I love how it is turning out. I still need to stuff the head and figure out how I want to make a slightly less creepy mouth, but right now I am sewing on row after row of felt triangles.

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Here is the outline, I just drew a monster outline onto my large piece of felt (I went for the cheap felt plus 50% coupon at Joann’s making it $2.50 a yard instead of the wool felt the other rug uses which runs closer to $10 a yard) and cut it out and then started cutting triangles, and more triangles, and have had to go back and cut more triangles. I cut my triangles in two sizes to give it a less uniform feel and have been sewing them on for the past couple of days, finally working my way into the third row—progress.

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I’ll be sure to take better, non-phone pictures once it is all finished and placed in Wallaby’s room. The Grizzly Kid gets excited every time he sees and will probably be asking for one in our room next. His excitement makes it even more fun to keep working on it, plus it is one of those rare projects where I am so excited to see the finished product that it makes me more motivated to finish it! Let’s hope that enthusiasm doesn’t fade.

Christmas Stockings

Talk about your last minute Christmas craft—I just finished our stockings over the weekend, but really I am patting myself on the back for finishing before Christmas Eve.  The Grizzly Kid and I had stockings that were made out of sweaters that were fine, but nothing special and they didn’t even have our names on them, so this year I tackled 3 stockings and I love how they turned out!

Joann’s had everything I needed on super sale on Black Friday, so I made all of our stockings for probably less than $5 and I have enough leftover fabric for future stockings too, that way the whole family will match. I used this stocking pattern and tutorial, which was very easy to follow, and I love that the stockings are lined with different red and green fabrics that I had on hand, making each one even more unique.

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I choose Christmas themed pictures to embroider on each of our stockings and finished them off with our names. You definitely want to do the embroidery before you sew up the stockings, it is much easier, and since I don’t have a fancy enough sewing machine to do the embroidery for me I had fun doing it by hand.

For Wallaby’s stocking I embroidered a festive little train carrying a Christmas tree! Fitting since the train we got him for his birthday has been his favorite toy ever since.

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For my stocking I did a couple of snowflakes, keeping it simple enough that I did not have to trace a picture on the fabric like I did for Wallaby and The Grizzly Kid’s stocking.

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And naturally, for the bearded man in my life I chose the jolliest bearded man of them all. This stocking ended up being my favorite.

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And since we are short a fireplace in our apartment our stockings are hung by our bookcase with care, just in time for Christmas in 1.5 days!

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Merry Christmas to you!