postpartum pencil skirt

1 Apr

the annual fundraising auction for Em’s school was a week and a half after C was born.  we hadn’t planned on going because it was just days from my due date, but they offered up a bunch of much-needed volunteer hours just for attending and since C arrived a bit early, we decided that i could snuggle him in the moby wrap (affiliate link) and he’d sleep the whole time.  we figured we could just bolt outta there if things got to be too much for me or the little guy.  this is the sort of potentially delusional confidence you get when it’s kid #3 i guess.

i THOUGHT i had a dress that would fit and look halfway decent on my newly postpartum figure while also allowing me to still nurse C if the need arose, but i did not.  nope.  not at all.  so of course – i sewed something!

gray knit pencil skirt

this is the outfit i wore that night, though the photo was taken over a month after the actual event.  my belly still looked about 4 months pregnant the night of, oh so cleverly hidden by the wrap/baby/flowy shirt combo.  oh and i wore flats for comfort/safety that night but in the photos i’m wearing heels because they look better.  ha! the immediate postpartum period is a very hormonal and delicate time – you’re not pregnant but still look like it and it can lead to a lot of self-consciousness, ya know?

gray knit pencil skirt

the pattern is megan nielsen’s awesome ruched maternity pencil skirt.  this time i made a medium, and i once again skipped the ruching.  i put my striped maternity version on, then folded the top down to where i wanted it to hit my not-pregnant-anymore waist (eliminating the belly panel and high back).  i marked the desired waistband with pins, then carefully took it off and laid it over the pattern to determine how much to chop off the top, while still leaving room for the elastic and seam allowance.  then i just constructed as usual, which takes no time at all.  i think i made it in about an hour the day of the auction while my husband held the sleeping baby.

gray knit pencil skirt

the fabric is a midweight super soft gray pinstripe knit from Hancock Fabrics that I got in California last fall while visiting Jess (we both got some – she blogged about hers here with better lighting!).  the forgiveness of the knit made up for my slapdash pattern alteration, i stayed super comfortable, and felt as cute as i possibly could’ve that soon after having a baby while still giving me the function i needed.

gray knit pencil skirt

thank god i how to sew.  this quick and easy project saved me some major “GAH MY BODY IS WEIRD AND NOTHING WILL WORK – THAT’S IT WE’RE STAYING HOME!” hormonal tears for sure.  and seriously – knit pencil skirts are so cute and SO comfy.  i wore that maternity one way more than i expected i would and always felt great, even at 30+ weeks.

i sewed this skirt out of necessity weeks ago, but recently i’ve really been feeling the urge to sew more for myself again as i’m starting to look and feel a bit more normal.  why does this always happen to me right before kid’s clothes week??

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a very retro romper

27 Mar

this post originally appeared as a part of Sew Pony’s When We Were Young series last summer.  today i’m bringing it home.

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Hi, I’m Kristin and I’m happy to be here at the tail end of When We Were Young!  Such a fun series, I’ve really gotten a kick out of everyone’s posts!  I actually sewed my outfit months ago, I was so excited for this.  Didn’t get photos until recently though, and my daughter had a growth spurt in those couple months, but ah well.  I knew exactly which outfit I wanted to recreate and couldn’t wait to sew it.

This is me in 1986.

very retro romper

As you can see by my mom’s note at the bottom, I was 4 and a half.  My daughter is 5 now, so we were pretty darn close in age!  We lived on an acre of land out in the semi-country with a couple lambs that helped “mow our lawn,” as my parents put it.  I loved basically going outside in the summer mornings and not coming in except to eat.

very retro romper

Here I am in my little romper and saltwater sandals, living summertime outdoors.  My mom said my romper was a hand me down (I was the oldest so it was likely from a relative).  You can see my early love of climbing too!

very retro romper

With a series of photos like that, of course I had to make a romper for my little gal.  I knew the print would be almost impossible to find, so I took some creative liberty both with that and with the design (wanted to make it a bit more modern).  Here’s what I came up with…

very retro romper

The fabric is a thrifted vintage bed sheet, with store bought bias tape for the bindings.

very retro romper

Her saltwaters sandals (affiliate link) are a different color too, but it all goes together and better reflects my daughter’s girlier personality (I was more of a tomboy when I was little).

very retro romper

The pattern is the Retro Romper by Blank Slate Patterns (affiliate links), and it was such a joy to sew!  I love the instructions for attaching the bodice to the shorts and simultaneously creating a casing for the elastic, and it came together super quickly.  I made some fit changes to take it even MORE retro – the bodice is a 4T but the shorts are a 2T (with 4T width).  Aside from the shortened rise, I also shortened the shorts to the 18m skort cutting line, re-rounding the edges to keep the sweet running short look.  Short shorts are so quintessentially ’80s, amirite?

very retro romper

I think I should’ve lengthened the bodice a bit to compensate for my short shortening and give her a bit more growing room, but how was I to know she was going to grow an inch and a half in, like, 2 months??

very retro romper

She likes it and my husband has said it’s one of his favorite things I’ve made for her, probably because she gets all silly when she wears it – something about a romper makes her all acrobatic, much more so than with a dress.  She hadn’t worn a romper since she was a tiny baby, so it was fun to make one she could wear as a big five year old.  Rompers are fun!

Thanks so much for having me, Suz!

springtime hide-and-seek dress

25 Mar

new favorite dress.

springtime hide and seek dress

i think i mentioned in my garden party dress post that when i saw that pattern in the lineup of the new Oliver + S designs, it seemed so much like Em’s style i gravitated toward it first.  but then, i started seeing more versions of the hide-and-seek dress popping up (Gail’s, and Delia’s, and Sarvi’s, and Sanae’s) and they were all so different and great, it made me wanna give the hide-and-seek a whirl.

so i gave it a whirl, and i’m really glad i did.  this dress makes me so happy!

springtime hide and seek dress

without realizing it, i used the exact same main fabric that Gail did, just in a different color!  it’s andover chambray in eggplant, i love it!  it’s really nice stuff – the perfect weight for apparel and so versatile.  i think the eggplant looks great with Em’s coloring.

springtime hide and seek dress

it was a rare online fabric purchase for me – i bought the chambray from LiMa Sews, one of Gail’s sponsors and a local gal with an online shop.  you should check her out, there’s some great stuff in there!  oh and the yoke?  yeah it’s actually super special Liberty Tana Lawn (in Wiltshire).  my good buddy Jess sent a few fat quarters to me as a very generous thank you for “Tim Gunning her” as she won Project Run & Play a couple years ago, and i’ve been hoarding it until just the right moment.  that moment was NOW.

springtime hide and seek dress

a fat quarter was the perfect amount for yoke and lining the pockets – i have only the tiniest scraps left!  for a pretty little extra detail, i added a bit of scalloped trim to the front yoke in a subtle nod to the fringe Allison used on her adorable pattern cover version.

springtime hide and seek dress

i made a 4T and added an inch to the skirt length for extra longevity.  otherwise, this is view A with no mods.  i can’t stop thinking the 4T is going to be too big on Em, but she has grown and it’s definitely her size now!

springtime hide and seek dress

we had some beautiful weather last weekend, perfect “go take photos in the park then play at the playground” weather, eh?

springtime hide and seek dress

i actually had trouble visualizing this dress before i made it – i just picked pretty fabrics and hoped it all came together in a nice way.  i was surprised that it ended up with a sweet and lovely French vibe (i’d imagine anyway – i’ve never actually been to France).

springtime hide and seek dress

it’s cool to me that Liesl has the vision to design so many different dress shapes - it’s impressive!  the way this dress comes together is interesting, with tons of room to change it up using different fabrics in different places.  i realized as i made it that the seaming is sort of like the school photo dress, though they don’t look that similar at first glance.

springtime hide and seek dress

i love the cuffed sleeves, the neckline notch, the (easy to construct i promise) welt pockets (which Em didn’t take her hands out of during the whole shoot!).  it’s an easy and comfortable dress for her to wear – she looked too fancy to be climbing on the play structure and spinning on the tire swing after these photos, but it’s actually a practical (washable) playtime dress!

springtime hide and seek dress

lately i haven’t been rushing my sewing – i’ve been choosing projects where i can relax and enjoy the process.  and though it may seem like i’m blogging/sewing quite a bit, this dress sat all cut out and not sewn for nearly a week because i just couldn’t get to it.  sewing and blogging took another few days even though i was excited about it.  i just have to spread out my process right now and that’s fine!

PS – i got the pattern for free from Oliver + S.  and here’s a dirty little secret – i skipped the understitching and didn’t use the buttonhole guide AT ALL!  *gasp*  

lullaby layette tiny man jacket

21 Mar

i made this little jacket so long ago!  before christmas!  but now that the Lullaby Layette Pattern has been released, it’s bloggin’ time.

lullaby layette jacket

i was so excited to hear that Oliver + S was working on a layette pattern.  most of their patterns start for slightly older babies, so it’s fun to have options for the little ones now.  the pattern contains FOUR different cute little baby things to sew – a bodysuit, a shirt, pants, and this jacket.  the sizing starts at 0-3 months and goes up to 24 months, so it’ll last quite a while and would make for great baby shower gift sewing, too.

lullaby layette jacket

i actually pattern tested the jacket and bodysuit, the first time i’ve pattern tested for Oliver + S, and it was a great experience.  the reason i love pattern testing is i get to see the behind the scenes process of patternmaking, and with Oliver + S it was especially fun to get previews of the upcoming patterns, since they tend to be pretty hush hush until release.  i was totally flattered to be asked and took the responsibility seriously – i know a lot of work goes into making patterns as good as theirs.  the pattern was already pretty darn solid though – i didn’t have to do too much.  ;)

lullaby layette jacket

i sewed the 3-6 month size for my (at the time) 4 month old nephew, shown here.  my own baby boy was still in my belly!  i wanted it to be a “manly” baby jacket, so i upcycled my husband’s khaki shorts for the body.  i lined it with a pair of flannel pajama pants that were also my husband’s and added a little twill tape loop at the back neck.  the jacket can be totally reversible if you want it to be, and the lining of the sleeves is very cleverly done.

lullaby layette jacket

please disregard the plaid mismatch – i didn’t try to match it but apparently on one side i matched it perfectly!  not so on the other.  drat.  but i do love how the plaid peeks out when you fold up the sleeves.

lullaby layette jacket

i used store-bought double fold bias tape and size 16 snaps to finish the jacket (both larger than recommended by the pattern).  now that i look at these photos, i want to make another for my own little guy (or see if my nephew has grown out of this one yet…).

lullaby layette jacket

a couple of my bloggy friends have sewn adorable versions of the Lullaby Layette jacket – you have to check out Tara’s tiny sherpa boy (that hat!  Tara’s styling is always so good!) and Cherie’s awesome girl version that had me beelining it to the store for neon bias tape.  both of those gals also happen to have ridiculously adorable babies, which helps matters.

i’ll show you the bodysuit in a bit!  gotta do everything in small chunks of time these days.

pot o’ gold nessie top

17 Mar

leapin’ leprechauns, it’s St. Paddy’s Day!

pot of gold nessie top

and this lass needed a new shirt!

pot of gold nessie top

Em’s school has a uniform, but for St. Patrick’s Day she could wear green.  she didn’t have a top that’d work, though, and she was super excited to brainstorm the outfit together on our way home from school last week.

pot of gold nessie top

well actually she wanted a new dress, but i was able to convince her that she already has a skirt with SHAMROCKS ON IT so that saved me a bit of work.  ;)  details about the skirt right here.  we picked the fabric for the top together, and the rest of the outfit is her choice – i just set out the gold shoes which she was ecstatic about.  a holiday centered around gold and rainbows is a winner in her book.

pot of gold nessie top

the shirt is the Nessie Top Pattern by Craftiness is not Optional.  i’d previously made one for my niece and love the sweet girly shape of it.  the 4T was a bit big when i tried it on Em at Christmastime, so I knew it would probably fit now after a few months of growing.

i made it with short sleeves and didn’t hem the sleeves or bottom for extra flutter.  the fabric is a lightweight green slub knit that’s upcycled from an old dress of mine.  the skirt of the dress was pieced so i used one of those seams down the back of the shirt, and i like the look (and drape).

pot of gold nessie top

i painted some ultra suede with gold fabric paint (affiliate link) and zigzagged it onto the shirt with metallic gold thread to create a little “pot o’ gold” pocket. that’s her favorite part.

pot of gold nessie top

this is not the first time i’ve done last minute sewing for St. Patrick’s Day.

did you make anything green for your kids/you to wear?  it’s kind of a fun one to sew for since it’s only based on color, so the clothes can easily be worn later and can be as fancy/casual as you want.

my husband made her lunch – bagel and GREEN cream cheese! I can’t wait to hear what she thinks of that! I think it’s pretty cute. :)

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