Archive for the ‘sewing clothes’ Category

calling all kids: cheetah swim trunks

calling all kids on elsie marley

I’m posting as a part of this awesome series hosted by Alida, Calling All Kids. It’s geared toward making unconventional clothes for your little ones who don’t fit the trucks for boys, princesses for girls stereotype.

calling all kids

This is a topic quite dear to my heart because I was never one for princesses, but then I wasn’t really a tomboy either. I was just myself. It took many years of weird-ass outfits to figure out what I wanted to wear. And in the end, my clothes are not girly, but not boy-y either. I JUST WEAR WHAT I LIKE!

calling all kids on elsie marley

And it should be that way for my kids too. I  think it’s really stupid that Target gets to decide what my 4-year-old boy wants to wear. He doesn’t want to wear dark depressing colors with angry things on them. He’s 4! He pretty much wants all cheetah all the time. So I made him a whole cheetah ensemble.

calling all kids on elsie marley

He is a finicky kid, not just when it comes to what is on his clothes, but how they fit is super important to him too. The ubiquitous board shorts that most boys wear drive him nuts! He’s constantly fussing with them and can’t stand how they feel. I mean it’s like wearing your pants in the bathtub–not the most comfortable thing in the world.

calling all kids on elsie marley

I knew he would love these swim trunks because 1. they are cheetah and 2. they are comfortable when you swim! Amazing.

calling all kids on elsie marley

I used the Euro Trunks sewing pattern by Running with Scissors and it was great! I thought it would be all zip zip and done–the pattern is comically small! But swimsuit material is slippy and slidey and arg! It took more concentration than a normal pair of shorts, but I wanted these swim trunks to hold up all summer too. I’m super happy with how they turned out.

I even had enough fabric to eek out a matching rash guard (flashback tee, natch). My kids have never actually worn rash guards before, but it was that or put some perfectly good fabric back on the shelf forever. I mean do you have any projects for a fat quarter’s worth of  blue cheetah spandex?

calling all kids on elsie marley

He is going to own the pool this summer.  I cannot wait.

Check out the whole Calling All Kids series on Aldia Makes. While you are there, enter the ginormous giveaway (at the bottom of this post)!


kcw spring 2014: outfit #3

spring kcw: outfit #3 on elsie marley

For this outfit the inspiration pic doesn’t really look like it did much to inspire me. originally the plan was to do khaki jeans and a grid check shirt just like the very stylish lady is wearing, but then the grid print looked better on my youngest’s ensemble. So I switched out the grid print for a large scale gingham (or do you call it buffalo plaid? I don’t know).

spring kcw: outfit #3 on elsie marley

I love how the shirt turned out. It is, again, the Johnny B. Good pattern from Shwin Designs. I think it’s my new favorite pattern.

handmade gingham shirt on elsie marley

Both times I made it, I added a curved bit to the bottom. In the pattern the hem goes straight across, but regular button up (or handsome shirts as we call them) have that curve in the front and back. My first draft was not very successful, but this one I like. It’s even a little longer in the back. Hi-low hem for boys, hey it might be the new thing!

orange pants on elsie marley

Ok, so the pants were supposed to be khaki and I even had some super nice organic canvas in my stash. But ugh, khaki is so boring! And he has to wear khakis for his school uniform, so I knew he wouldn’t be very excited about them. Into the dye bath they went (and out went the organic-ness, I suppose). I mixed tangerine and tan RIT dye to come up with this burnt orange. I don’t know what I am doing dye-wise so they are a bit splotchy, but not as bad I thought it’d be. The trick was leaving the fabric in the dye bath for a whole week!

spring kcw: outfit #3 on elsie marley

I thought this tie from a few Easters ago would work with the outfit, but he looks like an extra on Anchorman! I’m going to use my KCW hours this weekend to sew up some ties for the boys that match my daughters dress. I don’t know how much Motif Madness fabric I have left–there might need to be some strategic piecing going on. But I can’t resist the matchy matchy!

spring kcw: outfit #3 on elsie marley

There you have it! Three outfits for KCW: one, two, and three (this one, silly). I did of course do my hour a day the last few weeks instead of this week (hey! I gots to run this KCW show too). But the point of KCW is to get behind your sewing machine and get your creative juices flowing. You know what? I kind of fell in love with sewing again.

kcw spring 2014: outfit #2

spring kcw: outfit #2 on elsie marley

I am particularly excited about this dress. Mostly because I drafted the whole thing myself (pretty much on the fly) and it turned out even better than I imagined. The satisfaction of dreaming something up, struggling with it, and then making it work is like no other. And it is why I love sewing.

triangle dress on elsie marley

The inspiration for my daughter’s Easter dress was this amazing Marimekko dress.  You know those pictures that you keep returning to again and again (on pinterest or in magazines or wherever it is you find your inspiration)? Where each time you see them you fall in love with them all over again. The picture of that dress was like that for me.

triangle dress on elsie marley

It’s simple, but quietly stunning; playful, but still super stylish; clever, but not show-offy. I wanted to make it in gray, but what little girl wants a gray Easter dress? That’s rather depressing. Then I thought I could use a narrow stripe–maybe have the stripe go one way on the bodice and another way on the triangle bit. I almost went with the stripe, but then I remembered Rashida’s fabric collection, Tsuru, and the gorgeous triangle print in it called Motif Madness.

triangle dress on elsie marley

I ordered 2 yards of it and thank goodness I did because I only had a handful of scraps when I was done. You should probably draft your pattern and then cut it out, instead of trying to do both simultaneously :) I also did a bit of fussy cutting (that triangle at the top of the pocket) which took up a bunch of fabric.  I was worried that the triangle pocket would get lost in all that print, so I added some orange trim. I wanted to use piping, but I couldn’t get the piping to be pointy at the top. So I bound it like a quilt! A little odd, but it worked.

triangle dress on elsie marley

For the back I used an invisible zipper and a hook & eye closure. It might have even looked professional, had I matched the print. Whatever, the zipper works and doesn’t look like hell. I’ll take it. The whole dress is even lined! The fabric was pretty thin and see-through, so a lining was necessary.

triangle dress on elsie marley

I couldn’t be happier with this dress. And as an added bonus, she loves it too!

small fry skinny jeans

small fry skinny jeans on elsie marley

Today the Small Fry Skinny Jean pattern tour is stopping here at elsie marley. I didn’t make hot pink pants or harlequin pants or floral skinnies for the tour. I just made plain old gray pants. Well they might look like plain old gray pants, but to me they are a bit of a masterpiece.

small fry skinnies on elsie marley

I think I’ve made my fair share of pants at this point, but I learned so many new things making these pants! I sewed belt loops for the first time, I made a little coin pocket (you know that little tiny pocket on your jeans), and a full on half fly.


stellar tunic

stellar tunic on elsie marley

This is the Stellar Tunic from the new Heavenly Collection by Figgy’s. I have sewn a fair bit of Figgy’s patterns. Actually when I look back, I’ve sewn a ton of Figgy’s patterns:

Figgy's patterns on elsie marley

1. tee for two 2. ayashe blouse 3. sunki leggings 4. sunki dress 5. nintuna jacket 6. tee for two dress 7. banyan tee 8. robes 9. tee for two

Why have I sewn so many? Because Figgy’s patterns are fun to sew! The designs are very modern, but designed with real kids in mind. They are constructed in interesting ways, but not impossible to sew.  I usually learn a new technique when I sew with Figgy’s patterns. Most importantly they are comfy and my kids like wearing them.