Monday, February 10, 2014

Hand Painted Dress // Project Run & Play Season 3 Reunion

2 years ago, I was lucky to be asked to participate in a sewing competition, "Project Run and Play"-- kind of an online Project Runway for children's clothing design. The girls from my season decided to do a little virtual reunion, because we like each other, and to reflect back and see how we've grown.

One thing that unifies a lot of the things I made for PR&P is fabric manipulation. Rather than just buying and using fabric as is, I like doing something to it to make it my own. It's just another fun way to personalize the design.

I dyed, printed on, quilted, and appliqued to create new colors and patterns. I've been playing around with using dye to actually paint on fabric lately, and thought it would be fun to create a dress using fabric I've painted this way.

The thing I like about painting with dye, as opposed to printing with ink or paint, is that the dye actually permeates and bonds to the fabric and doesn't leave behind any stiffness. It seems more permanent than the other methods I've tried. I also love the watercolor effect it creates. 

I designed and drafted the pattern for the dress. It's pretty simple, but has a fun shoulder detail. And I made it very roomy so she can enjoy it for years to come.

Here's a look at some of the things we all made during the competition:

Thank you Jessica for putting this together!

Check out the amazing things the other girls made. I sincerely feel lucky to be included in a group with them. Each is incredibly talented and inspiring:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Felt Ball Mobile

I had visions of this mobile dancing above Ollie's crib when he wasn't yet born, and well into his second year, I finally got it made. 

Making it was fairly simple. I just gathered some fallen branches from our backyard, soaked them in bleach, and let them dry.

Then, I cut them to the sizes I wanted, and laid them out in a general mobile shape.

I used embroidery floss to sting the felted wool balls, and tied them to the branches, using triple knots and securing them with glue so it's nice and strong.

And then I hung it with a piece of leather cord, and let my little guy enjoy it. Finally.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Nordic Noel Nightgown

Every year I plan on making the kids special Christmas pajamas, and so far--every year, I haven't. So I was glad to be included in Katy Dill's Sew All 26 sewing project, and for the boost it gave me to finish!

I chose letter "N" because it fit most perfectly with my idea for jammies this year. "Nordic, Noel, Nightgown" were the inspirational "N" words that guided my design. Originally I had planned on sewing some for Ollie too, but I didn't get to it. Poor kid. But really I couldn't have made anything cuter than the Crewcuts jammies I ordered anyway, but even with those, the little stinker refused to pose for a photo.

Nordic, or Scandinavian, style is obviously broad and varied, but often incorporates a lot of white with a few pops of bright colors and elements of nature. For Christmas in particular, decorations are often done only in white and red. I love the beautiful simplicity.

I chose a super-soft white linen, a natural fiber, for Avery's nightgown and added just a pop of bright red cotton trim to the bottom. I kept wondering if I didn't add more to the design, would it feel boring to some, but in the end I just listened to my gut-- I really wanted it to be simple. That is the beauty of it and what I love most. I also love the way the linen is just slightly sheer, so as to provide a peek at the structure of the garment, and the way it wrinkles and moves.

I drafted the pattern, using a basic raglan T-shirt pattern. I just slashed and spread across the middle front and back, and at the shoulders, and then added pleats around the neckline, which give way to the fullness of the fabric. I lowered the neckline as well, to ensure it would comfortably fit over her head, and also, because it's pretty.

Avery always gets hot at night so I kept it pretty short, plus little girl legs are the cutest!


I have loved this painting since it hung on the walls of our home as a child. The colors and shapes have always been magical to me. As I have gotten older I appreciate it even more as a link to my family heritage because it belonged to my great grand father Andrew Knaphus, who was an artist from Norway. It was fun to incorporate this art into these photos, and have it hanging in my home. I'd love to go and visit Norway someday, but until then It's special to bring bits and pieces into our home and traditions.

Hopefully we'll get a photo of both kids together in their Christmas jammies before they've grown out of them.
Merry Christmas! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Back to School Bateaux Tour


So Avery has started Kindergarten. To be honest I thought I'd be more emotional about it, but after two years of pre-school it felt like no big deal. She was so excited about it, and I am happy to have some more focused time to spend with just Ollie in the mornings.

Avery is pretty big for her age, but still really built like more of a toddler, which can make shopping for cute age-appropriate clothes kind of a challenge. So when Anneliese of Aesthetic Nest gave me the chance to be part of her Back to School Bateaux Pattern Tour. I happily accepted. I don't actually sew as often as I'd like, but I knew that I wanted to make Avery a few tops for school that would be really comfortable and functional and this pattern totally fit the bill. Plus, everything Anneliese makes is really detailed and perfect, so I knew her patterns would be no exception.

I can happily report that to be the case! It is a great, well thought out, easy to follow pattern with no mistakes. The Bateau pattern comes with many variations, all pretty simple to sew. I chose the pleated, button-backed version, because-- well buttons. I love them. And I found this amazing vintage knit trim (and stripe buttons) at Harmony Shop in Provo and knew I had to incorporate it somehow. Doesn't it remind you of like an old-school ski sweater. My hands got shaky when I spotted it I was so excited!

This pattern really lends itself to using trim because the hems are straight across. Other than that, I kept things pretty simple and followed the pattern straight-up, and it came together like a dream.

Anneliese suggests that you size up if using a less-stretchy knit, and I wish I had followed that advice. I made just a basic version of the plain t-shirt using a jersey knit to check the size, and it fit well so I thought I'd be OK, but I really should have followed her advice and sized up--especially because I wanted this to wear like more of a tunic. Ah well, next time.

Still, Avery is obviously very comfortable-- so much so that she won't hold still for a photo, so Success!

Anneliese has been kind enough to give away a copy of her pattern. Leave a comment to enter, and I'll pick a winner on Friday. 

Be sure to check out all the other versions of the pattern too!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Avery's 5th Birthday

The main event in celebration of Avery's birthday this year, was a trip to Disneyland the following week.  So, we kept the fanfare pretty low key on the actual day, but I never like to let a birthday pass without a little fuss.

So I decorated with this hair-bow bunting featuring her cute little face, placed a giant balloon on the table, and had a strawberry shortcake family-breakfast-party before school. 

Then, I tried to get a portrait of her before she headed off so we could remember what she looked like on the exact day she turned five.

I got exactly zero photos of her smiling and looking at the camera. She was in too big a hurry to get to school and get her birthday badge, and was annoyed by the whole thing. But, these are actually a pretty accurate representation of her personality these days. Spunk and zoom. And she cares nothing for getting her picture taken or clothes. Except she loves purple, so this polka dot birthday dress sent by Aunt Nessie was perfect. 

A few days before her birthday, Avery's friend cut all her hair off during a play date. When the girl's mother brought her home I was really sad about the haircut, and sad for Avery who was really devastated.  I could write quite a bit about my unhealthy attachement to my kids' hair, but I'll save it for another day. 

At any rate, I thought some new hair bows would be a fun gift and a fun way to celebrate change and her cute new bob (which I love, but would never had done so... silver lining) , so I made half a dozen, and then clipped them onto black and white photos of her that I'd printed out on cardstock.

I got the idea from Stephanie Ford, who blogs at Simply Radiant. She did a similar bunting but with paper party hats. I was pretty proud of how mine turned out. Functional and festive.  And Avery loved it, so-- win. 

And just in case you're worried that she did not get enough party in on her birthday, we finished the day at Chuck E. Cheese with a few friends and family, horrible pizza, a Costco birthday cake, and  some thoughtful gifts from all who love her. And we told her about Disneyland and then had the longest week of anticipation in history.

I love this girl. My little Avery. Five years old. I remember vividly the day she turned five days old. I was really sad about it. I wrote a whole hormone-induced letter to her about how she would never be five days old again. I am not someone who is in a hurry for my kids to grow up. I really enjoy the little people that they are-- exactly as they are, and so the thought of anything about them changing is hard for me. But if the new bob has taught us anything, it's that change can be good. So I'm trying to let it come. But I wouldn't mind if it slowed down a tad.

*Dress from Boden
*(Some of the) Ribbon and Balloon from Darlybird

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Birth stories never get old...

The story of Oliver's birth is over at Freshly Picked today. They are featuring a birth story each week and today they let me share his. I love reading birth stories, and I am so glad I recorded my thoughts and feelings about that day, but as I read over it I laugh a little thinking about Ollie reading it when he gets older. Good thing I detailed the position I pushed him out! I'm sure he'll be dying to know that someday;)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Handmade Kids Clothing Swap

You guys I'm so excited to be participating in a Handmade Kids-Clothing Swap with some of the most stylish and creative ladies around!

Each of us participating designed and sewed an outfit for another person's child, based on their pinterest board/s. Make sense? We all gave the details of our kids measurements etc. and a link to our pinterest board for inspiration, and didn't know who was sewing for us until our package arrived in the mail.

I was really excited when my package arrived and it was from my friend Kristin of Skirtastop, because I knew whatever she'd made would be amazing. But when I opened my box I was floored!

She made an entire outfit for both of my kids and a bag for me. Each of them impeccably sewn, and so thoughtfully designed. Just my style but with special touches I wouldn't have thought to do. And totally above and beyond-- but if you are familiar with Kristin, not surprising at all. As I inspected each item, I nearly cried. And I don't cry about a lot of things.

But as someone who sews, I know how much time, thought, and love went into each little seam. And it's so special to me to receive something that was crafted by Kristin's own hands.   

Kristin sent me this little note, so I'll let her explain the outfits:
I was so excited to draw your name for this project, Danielle!  You're one of my very first bloggy pals and your encouragement was one of the main reasons I started my blog in the first place, so I feel like I owe you a lot!
This swap theme was "Inspired by Pinterest," and I sort of stuck with that.  I scanned your kid style board for inspiration, but didn't pick any pins in particular - I looked at the  "vibe" in general.  Frankly, I had an idea what I wanted to make for Avery right away - you had said nothing too tight in the bodice and that she loves purple.  I know YOU love peter pan collars, and I knew I had pinned a couple dresses that I thought would fit the bill nicely - this one and this one.  So I made a roller skate dress in size 8, with a self-drafted sparkly peter pan collar.  The purple is Violet Cotton Couture, and the collar is a glittery knit.  It's lined with a stripey vintage sheet. 
I had to make something for Ollie too, mainly because I thought Avery's dress was more of a standalone piece, not easily turned into an "outfit," and I had a little extra time (hehe).  The boy looks you pinned have a lot of earth tones and a vintage style, with a little surprise added to them.  I made a short sleeved flashback skinny tee (in 3T) from a really soft old Anthro shirt of mine, and stamped brown/gold triangles on the hip that wrap around to the back of the shirt.  I also made him some sailboat shorts in (also in 3T) in Essex Yarn Dyed Black Linen with mint buttons. 
It was so fun to sew for your kids, though it's really hard to get the fit right when you can't try it on them halfway through - I met your kids in person last summer, but had no idea how much they'd grown since!  Hopefully they enjoy and get some good use out of them!  :) 

For Avery:
Avery squealed when she saw this dress. "It's purple!"
And how perfect is that sparkly collar?

Avery is a little tricky to sew for. Kristin picked the perfect silhouette and style. It's so comfortable and will fit for a long time.

I am in love with the button detail! I would never have thought to do it that way. It's perfect!

And that lining is so soft and darling! Such a fun surprise.

For Ollie:

I love his whole outfit! I mean, how darling...

Those hand-stamped triangles on the softest t-shirt...

Those perfectly sewn shorts!

Such cute buttons. Not one out of place.

For me:
Don't you just love this fabric?  I've been meaning to make myself something like this but I am just not that productive. I love this bag. It's just so stinking darling!  Above and beyond girl!

Kristin, I really can't thank you enough! 
You are amazing.  I will treasure each of these things forever.

And if you're curious about what I made, head on over to Robin's blog to see what I sewed for her little girl:

And be sure and check out all of the other swaps happening too! Here's the full list of everyone who participated:

cherie from you and mie
danielle from my sparkle
delia from delia creates
heather from well-crafted
kristin from skirt as top
meg from elsie marley
sanae from sanae ishida
vanessa from lbg studio
robin from nested in stitches

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