Sunday, October 25, 2015


There! At last.  My patience was rewarded as the elusive Toddlersaurus Rex entered the clearing, seemingly unaware of my presence.  I held my breath, careful not to make a sound and scare her away.  She was a beauty!

I moved silently, closer to the bushes.  She was foraging for food, happily humming her ABC's.  I inched forward with my camera trying to get a close up.  The shot of a lifetime.  I was determined.  But then, my foot slipped and....

SNAP!  I stepped on a branch and surprised her.  She was startled!

She lunged for me and let out the most ferocious roar I've ever heard!  It was terrifying.  Just when I thought I had met my demise, she turned.  She ran back in to the foliage.  It seems she was just as scared of me as I was of her.

My later research has revealed that the enigmatic Toddlersaurus Rex is not a meat eater, lucky for me and that fateful encounter.  They seem to prefer things like cookies and apple juice.  And bananas and croissants, too.

I really had a ball making this costume, if you can't already tell.  Especially this year since this was completely at Jane's request.  I asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween.  Her first response was, "cow" followed by "dinosaur."  And then dinosaur it was.  She has talked about this costume for well over a month.  And sorry for the picture overload.  We had fun taking pictures.  There were too many to choose from. 

It's really an unoriginal costume.  I got the idea straight from the internet.  Actually, I first saw the dinosaur tails on House of Lane and mentally filed it away for my dinosaur loving girl.  So when she requested a dinosaur, I looked up those dinosaur tails and found umpteen etsy shops that sell them along with dinosaur hoodies.

But of course, I am a die hard DIY-er.  And a handmade Halloween costume is going to be my tradition. So I made it.  I used McCalls 6782 for the hoodie.  My original plan was to use real apparel fabrics (nice sweatshirt fleece) and make this something a little more sophisticated that she could actually use after Halloween.  But after ordering two lengths that didn't work (bad color and really thin) I gave up and went to Joann's to buy the cheapest fleece I could get my hands on.  My toddler came with me and picked the colors.  She was very specific!  And there's not a whole lot you can do to make lime green and hot pink fleece look polished.

The McCalls pattern is a good one.  I chose it because it was on sale.  But I was impressed with the fit.  This is a size 2 and it is spot on my two year old.  Usually I find Big 4 kids patterns to be huge.  I cut the back piece down the middle to add the dinosaur spikes.  And then I lined the hood and back to cover up the ugly seam that sewing the spikes made.  Actually, I planned on lining the hood all along to add a drawstring just like the poncho I recently made.  I used a Pellon product called Flex-Foam for the spikes instead of stuffing them.  This stuff is really cool.  I kind of want to make myself a bag with it.  Great structure but it's soft and squishy.

The tail was just free handed. It's about 20 inches long.  I traced a salad plate for the circle that sits against her bottom.  The straps are 4 inches wide and 10 inches long.  For a child any bigger, they would need to be longer.  I placed the straps slightly higher up so the tail would sit right.  The tail is so adorable, I almost can't stand it.  It will make a great play item long after Halloween is over.

She loves it.  I sewed it all it one day, too, if you can believe it.  I sewed like a maniac and am so glad I finished it.  Anybody else sewing costumes?  I've been kind of m.i.a. in the blog world lately.  And no, I'm not apologizing for that, but I miss it!  I'm going to have to spend some time with my blogroll soon.  I've been swamped at work and my free time is nil right now.   I'm kind of proud of myself for sewing this costume (and blogging it!) this weekend.   I have a huge art show at the beginning of December, a really formal one.  I'm very excited about it but it is eating up all my time.  I'll be thrilled when it's over.  I'll catch up one day!  If I can make it to Thanksgiving when all the art is due, I'll be good.

Happy Halloween, friends!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I No Like It

Y'all.  My child.  Look at her.  She is figuring it all out.  Soaking it all up like a little sponge, making her own decisions and forming her own opinions.  I can't tell you how many times a day I hear, "No, I do it!"  It honestly is pretty awesome to watch most of the time.  However, not so much when this happens.

I made this really cute poncho using McCalls 6431 in a blue check fleece.  It's adorable.  I even made pom poms for the drawstring.  That's right, pom poms that I made.  I'm not sure why it's such a dud with her.  It's soft.  It has a hood.  Her response to it: "I no like it" and total refusal to wear it.  That was before even trying it on.  I took these photos the other day under heavy, heavy coercion.  And bribery with a tootsie roll pop.

The photos are hilarious.  I have snorted quite a few times while editing.  To be fair, the poncho is way big.  I think the main issue is that she doesn't know what to do with her arms, much like myself when I'm wearing my cape I made.  It's kind of like a toddler straight jacket.  If it was shorter so she could stick her arms out of the bottom (or if she was taller), it would work. Or maybe a poncho is just not a good idea for a toddler.  I made a size XS, which is listed as a 3-4.  And it definitely is.  She is wearing a 3T now in rtw, but just barely.  So I will put it away in the closet until next year.  Or possibly the year after when she's 4.  Maybe she'll change her mind about it by then.  She does like the pom poms.

The pattern is really simple.  Three pieces- front, back and hood.  I did deviate a little and line the hood so I could sew a casing for a drawstring.  I used a scrap of bamboo knit for the lining.  I knew it would be nice to be able to cinch the hood in.  Also because I wanted to add pom poms all along.  I made them with my pom pom maker and some really soft black yarn.  Not sure how they'll do in the washing machine, so they are just tacked on to the end of the drawstring and can be removed really easily.  I'll probably try washing them once just to see what happens.  I added two button holes at the front of the hood where I sewed the casing for the drawstring.  I did that before I sewed the lining to the hood.  I also made the button holes at the bottom of the poncho per pattern instructions but they are pretty crappy in fleece.  I should have stabilized them with something first.  They flop open and slip off the buttons easily.  I think I'm going to sew the button holes shut and sew snaps instead.  I'll just sew one of the buttons on top to cover up the button hole.  However, no rush since she's not likely to wear it any time soon.

She is a trip.  She's almost two and half and full of personality.  This picture below is me threatening not to give her the tootsie roll pop unless she smiles.  Cute little pattern.  I recommend it.  I actually am a little jealous of this poncho and would like something similar for myself.   I've been plotting one, maybe in some grey sweatshirt fleece.  Would that be ridiculous???

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Two More Versions...

...of McCalls 7115.  What is it with me and making things in threes?  It seems the last few projects have been done in threes.  The second and third versions are always easier than the first.  And I can apply some tweaks here and there.  Anyway, I won't write a ton about these two pieces since I reviewed this same pattern here- my denim dress.

 This is a simple, relaxed fitting pattern.  Once I tweaked the shoulder seam, I didn't have to really fit anything else.  There isn't any waist definition to this dress but for some reason it works.  Maybe because there is a seam there?  I love this version I made using a rayon poplin fabric.  I also just made my black culottes in the same fabric.  This was my first time using it, though.  I would say it drapes just like a rayon challis but is heavier and more opaque.  And there is almost a slight sheen to it.  I ordered this from on a whim and was pleasantly surprised by the weight of it.  I don't need any sort of slip or anything under this dress.

I made view B, with the tiered skirt and cold shoulder detail.  Both of those design features get kind of lost in the psychedelic print.  But I like both nonetheless.  I did add an inch of length to both tiers.   The bottom tier of the dress is actually three pieces instead of two.  That wasn't apparent to me at first but I figured it out as I was sewing.  So my print placement is all over the place.  I also screwed up the print match at the front button placket a little.  I didn't stay stitch the neckline (and I can't remember if that is in the instructions- if it isn't, be sure to do it!) and it stretched out some from handling while sewing.  I had to shave a little off the front center to make the facing fit right and in the process messed up my perfectly matched print.  It's close enough.  I sewed the facing with a triple stitch again.  And I added pockets again, too.  This dress definitely needs pockets.  

I put a filter on these photos because the colors were so washed out for some reason.  The light is changing.  But this photo below of the shoulder splits doesn't have a filter on it and is a good representation of the colors in the fabric.

I did notice on my denim version that something was up with the hem.  There was a height difference in front even though I knew my hem was straight.  I thought maybe it was just the dress pulling backwards or something.  Valerie helped me figure it out and it makes perfect sense now.  When I made that shoulder adjustment to straighten out the shoulder seam, I removed a wedge of fabric.  I need to add that wedge back to keep the skirt from tilting up.  However, by the time I talked to Valerie about it, I had already made this dress and cut out my blouse below.  So both of these have that same tilt, though I think it's less apparent in fabrics with more drape.  If I make this again, (a fourth time!) which I might,  I'll fix it.  I'll add that wedge back in to the center front to make the skirt hang evenly.

The blouse version is the same view, but just one tier instead of two.  It's a new favorite.  It's been worn to death since I made it.  In fact, one of my students pointed out that I had worn the same top the week before when I wore it this past week.  I see classes once a week, so they notice if you wear something twice in a row.  It's made in a rayon challis I found at Joann's that I love.  I tried to just balance the print on the front since it's so patchwork-y and failed.  Look at that yellow section that almost matches.   It think it looks fine, though. 

Anyway, nice and easy pattern.  I think I'm done with it for now that the weather is changing.  But maybe I'll pull it out again next summer.