Hi y'all. What a week it's been! I left my poor, fancy camera outside in the rain. I think it still works. It's currently drying out. Cross your fingers! I feel like a fish out of water without my camera. I do have a handful of photos that I have stored up, but this seems like the perfect time to post pretty pictures from other talented peeps on this here blog, don't you think?
It just so happens that I had already scheduled a mini blog tour featuring our newest sewing pattern, the Paloma. (My favorite summer top! If Patrick noticed such things, he would certainly say to me, "Are you wearing that again?!" But he doesn't notice such things. So I wear my Paloma tops day after day.)
I hope you'll follow along while I introduce you to some wonderful sewing and sewing mama bloggers. Here's the schedule:
Sew Caroline is starting off with a dress version of the easy, breezy Paloma! I just love Caroline's sweet personality and her beautiful blog. I'm really liking how she styled the Paloma with a red belt. Stop by to say hello to Caroline and enter to win a pattern in her giveaway!
This is the top that I have lived in for almost a year. I designed it for myself last summer, and have made many tops since. Words can't express how much I love it! It's like a tee shirt, but with a touch of shaping and gathering under the sleeves that make it a really special tee. You can choose to make it in the top version (shown here) or as a tunic or dress length. An option for a 3/4 - length sleeve is also included (shown in the last photo with Finn.)
The Paloma is a VERY easy top to make - even if you've never sewn with knits before, you can easily make one!
And now it's a pattern for you! Wait - it gets more exciting - you can download and print it from home right now at Craftsy's Indie Pattern Shop! Alternatively, you can pre-order the standard, professionally printed pattern at our shop. The paper patterns should be ready to ship by May 18th.
To download the Paloma Top pattern from Craftsy, you'll need to sign up for a free account and, while you're there, check out their great community.
I also have fabric kits for the Paloma Top (short-sleeved version) available in my shop, which include a package of the required Lite Steam-A-Seam 2. A limited number of hard-to-find, gray-and white-striped fabric is available, as well as the thicker green-and-gray stripe shown above. Kit orders will ship the week of May 14.
I have a lot of plates spinning in the air with Sew Liberated right now. Thought I'd share a few in case you're wondering what we do around here when we're not hosing off muddy boys:
- We had a photo shoot yesterday afternoon with Jessi for our two new patterns slatted to come out in a few weeks - the first is a knit tee, the second is a most amazing sundress/dress with several pocket options!
- Patrick and I are interviewing students at NC State on Thursday, looking to bring on a few summer interns and, perhaps, a few more permanent employees come Fall.
- In order to transition the sewing studio into a shared office/creative space, we're knocking down a wall, putting in windows, insulating and finishing the ceiling, and putting in flooring ... starting in just two weeks! This remodel will make such a huge difference in our "cave," as we currently call the space - and it will make it more pleasant to be in come winter. This past winter, a very mild one at that, found us unable to work in there because it was so cold.
- I have a few more behind-the-scenes sewing-related projects coming up for the rest of this year - details to come - that I'm quite excited about.
All in all, lots of work, but we're hoping the interns will help us out in a big way this summer, and will allow us to move the business forward in a healthy way that doesn't compromise our ability to spend quality time with the boys.
Just a little bit more about dollies, please? ;)
The Little Amigo in Growing Up Sew Liberated is accompanied by the oh-so-stellar doll papoose designed by Fabiola Perez-Sitko of Fig and Me. I'm not sure how I happened upon her Etsy shop a looong time ago, but I did, and the moment I saw her handmade doll papoose I knew I needed to ask her if she'd like to publish the design in Growing Up Sew Liberated.
I'm so happy I did.
You see, just the thought of Fabiola gives me a big grin. Not only is she a doll-making genius, but she is funny, lighthearted, and she and I share something else - a bit of Spanish back-and-forth. She's from Chihuahua, Mexico, where I lived for three years. In the Spanish language they have a word - chispa - which means a sparkle, twinkle-in-the-eye kind of spunk. Fabiola's got some chispa, folks.
Love pulled her north to the boreal forest of Canada, where she's raising her two girls on the shore of Lake Superior.
Photo by Ginny of Small Things
Shortly after the book was released last summer, Ginny made a gorgeous pair of papooses for her daughters. She also has some tips on downsizing the papoose to fit a small child.
Photo by Ginny of Small Things
It just so happens that I have just enough Echino fabric (originally used in the Art Satchel kit) to make a papoose. I've paired it with some aqua blue corduroy from my stash, as well as the hardware and strap material that you'll need to make a papoose. Leave a comment to enter to win the doll papoose kit! I'll keep comments open until Monday morning, March 12th. Gook luck!
Comments are closed and we have a lucky papoose-maker - Sunny Loya! Congratulations!
Here it is- a simple method for making a doll wig that doesn't involve learning how to crochet!
Click on over for the full tutorial.
This little fellow was stitched together with so much love. Finn sat on my lap and helped trim threads, stuff wool, and guide the fabric through the sewing machine. I worked on him here and there for the week prior to Lachlan's birthday, taking those quiet moments to reflect upon the priviledge of having a little boy for whom I could make this red-headed doppelganger.
He's a Little Amigo from Growing Up Sew Liberated - the knitted cap is the one Lachlan wore as a tiny babe, and the hat is a retrofitted Huck Finn. The pants and shirt are on-the-fly mama-made patterns. And, thanks to this doll, I also have a doll wig tutorial for you that I've been promising for a long time - it will be live tomorrow afternoon.
Finn, of course, was the one who noticed. "He has a scar, Mama, just like Lachie!" I felt it was important that both Finn and Lachlan have a doll with a beautiful scar. Finn often asks about Lachlan's "ouch" while bathing, and this is a way to address their feelings and questions about it through play. It's just a normal thing in our lives, and the scar certainly doesn't define the doll (as the real scar doesn't define the boy), which is made in the Waldorf tradition of minimal facial expressions so that the child is free to pretend that the doll has all sorts of emotions, not just the bright-eyed, fixed smile so common in playthings.
Sweet boy. I'm glad you like your little friend.
Sometimes, in my bag of parenting tricks that I've gathered from here and there, I tend to forget things. It's a big bag of a lot of randomness, with some Montessori thrown in, a dose of Waldorf for good measure, and a good amount of attachment parenting. And yes, some may find the bits of granola dispersed through this parenting bag a bit messy ... even funny. But it works, and that's how we learn to be parents - by throwing past experiences and good ideas into that bag, hoping that we can a.) find the bag when we need to pull something out, and b.) rifle through it to find that particular idea among a sea of others.
Lately I've been thinking to myself that I need to clean out this disorganized mess. I'll be the first to admit that I'm addicted to parenting books. I need to break that. There's just too much information coming in.
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I'm rediscovering the value of Montessori's Practical Life exercises in my home, after nearly forgetting about them. I gave up the idea of being a Saint-in-Residence a while back, ;) a character trait that some believe Montessori and Waldorf parenting necessitates. Yet, even though I got rid of those unrealistic ideas from my parenting bag, that didn't mean that I threw out some simple tools - dare I say the backbone (at least a supporting leg?) - of the philosophies themselves.
And you know what? Even if neither of these two philosophies truly resonate with you, the idea of giving young children meaningful work to do in the home is an amazing parenting tool. It calms nerves. It centers children. It gives them confidence. It develops their capacity to concentrate. Out of it will come content for creative play. It allows you, the parent, to get a few things done while they work. Setting up activities for your child makes you feel like a capable parent (when I often feel like I'm floundering in the murky waters of sibling messes.) I love me some Practical Life.
I thought I'd share with you some of what we're doing around here in terms of meaninful "work" for Finn.
Today, I had some pictures of this recent beeswax-fest on my camera. You will need some polishing cloths (I made mine from Little Folks flannel), a very small spoon for applying the wax to the cloth, and some yummy beeswax/jojoba oil blend from my go-to practical life resource, Montessori Services.
Wax anything that's unfinished wood - from the play kitchen to toys to tables. It helps to have a smaller container of beeswax so there's a limited amount and it is used more judiciously. You see the whole jar here because I forgot my own advice. Next time, next time. Now our kitchen is super-waxed!
Best of all? Thirty minutes of contented work. For all of us.
Oh! P.S. The apron pattern (including the template for all of the embroidery work) can be found here!
If sewing books could be friends, my book would want to be best buddies with Sewing for Boys . In Growing Up Sew Liberated, my goal in designing the clothes was to make them unisex, comfortable, and functional for movement and play. With Sewing for Boys , authors Karen LePage and Shelly Figueroa of Patterns by Figgy's have made a book packed with the same kind of comfortable, play-friendly clothing. Especially if you have litte guys in your life, these two books will really be all you need to outfit them for fun and play. (Says an unbiased author!) But, even if you have girls, you should check out Sewing for Boys. Why? Because girls need comfy clothes too!
I started out with a pattern I've been wanting to make for a long time - the Raw-Edged Raglan, which I believe is Figgy's Tee for Two pattern. Rae has made a ton (here's her tutorial on making it a billiard tee), and now I know why - what an easy, hardy, stylish, and quick-to-make pattern this is!
For Finn's version, I used a precious piece of this Retro Glasses Frames fabric in the organic cotton knit, printed by Spoonflower. I kid you not - this whole thing took me an hour to make, from tracing the pattern to finishing the last seam. I even had a disagreement with my sewing needle while topstitching the collar (you can see where I had to stop and start the seam on the collar front). Despite the brief fight, it was such a pleasure to make. I'll be making more, since it seems like the boxes of hand-me-downs we recently got for our boys contain mostly collared shirts for Finn for the Autumn. The boy will need some more Mama-made comfies!
So do check out Sewing for Boys . Hats off to Karen and Shelly for writing such a fantastic book!
There's nothing like a little searchity-search on my Flickr group to make you scratch your planned post for the day in favor of some sewing inspiration! Enjoy!
Great book review at Craftbuds with these cheery jammies.
An alphabet version of the Irresistible Numbers from Growing Up Sew Liberated!
And finally, some Reversible Bubble Pants made in flannel (pattern in Growing Up Sew Liberated) made by The Crafty Kitty.
Be sure to upload photos of your projects to the group so we can all ooh and aah!