starchildebunny

WELL there really are no words. I’m pretty proud of this. Not only did I design it (yes, I really did), I conquered a few treacherous challenges, including appliqueing a couple dozen flannel stars on a very stretchy pseudo-cord and negotiating a generous offset placket.

From The Front!

The bunting was a lot of work but it was all for SCIENCE and space exploration. Obviously.

From The Back!
Front Placket

(Listing at Homesewn, Flickr tagset (the latter has some construction talk and more detail shots).

springtime! early! damn your eyes!

I finished a little dress for Phoenix today; I worried she wouldn’t enjoy it because she’s been quite distasteful of anything “girlie” lately.

But, I was silly to worry. She said the dress is Beautiful! then: Cool! (both just like her). Verily I present thee SKELE-PHONE DRESS, made from a Norman Rockwell licensed phone print, and an Alexander Henry “Born to Ride” motif featuring skeletons and roses. The entire dress is lined in a black quilting muslin, making for a wonderful weight.

Happy

The pattern is a vintage Simplicity 4924 – way, way out of print (the original pattern cost was 60 cents) that I purchased from kalliedesigns on Etsy. Older patterns usually have only one size in the envelope which makes for a much more fun experience sewing (for me, anyway); I made her a size 10 and added a bit of length, for the perfect amount of growing room.

Ralph took our daughter out this morning and later told me with all the drabness seeing her in her bright dress was like a “beacon of hope”. She was instantly complimented when they hit the grocery store.

Ready For Action

Pockets

Thrifted buttons, of course:

Vintage Buttons

In other news of sewing-awesomeness, I finished a lovely but strange item – the Miniature Giant Japanese Baby Bunting:

Soft, Soft, Sturdy

It’s made from a Japanese import fabric (cotton canvas) including motifs of – wait for it – skulls, the American flag, shamrocks, strawberries and flowers. OF COURSE.

The bunting is lined and underlined in fleece, making for a very sturdy piece. I experimented with some quilting too!

Back Seam

Zippers, buttons and snaps were all bought from thrift stores – vintage, frugal, FTW!

Vintage Button

You can see more details of each item at my Flickr tagsets: dress, bunting

I don’t need too much / Just need somebody to love

You’ll probably never see me again as one of my Christmas gifts from Ralph was a nice phone – and because he’s all S-M-R-T it came completely set up with my tweeter and texting and chat and contacts and music service and every single thing I could ever want besides another human life and heartbeat – and this development is concomitant with a hardcore case of BIEBER FEVER* (yeah, I know I am late to the game on that one) so I’m mostly located in the kitchen making bread or washing dishes and listening with very perky pop at volume 11. Bieber gave way to some New Wave about the time I was rolling out some pumpernickel bread while the kids ran through the lights-out house playing hide and seek – donning caving lights on their heads. Of course.

I have been out and about a little bit.

Amore In Aberdeen

The darkness means photo-opportunities have been slight. And since this is my first ever mobile phone (seriously… I’m like a frikken corny commercial here) I’ve taken pictures of my own finger and all that, blah blah, oh well.

Here’s Ralph this morning. He recieved several gifts from my mother and I that were entirely PNw-clothing related, a lined flannel and handknit hat and neoprene boots and such. He accused us of exploiting his new beard and trying to dress him all sexy-lumberjack. I am SO GLAD I did not opt for those Carhartts with the buttcheeks cut out!

My Husband The Stoic Lumberjack

Not everyone’s too thrilled with my new gadgetry (Phoenix has intuited the awesomeness of my phone but Nels is mentally comparing it to an iPad and finding it lacking).

Post Sleep Marathon

However, despite the grouchy mien, some people are thrilled with their Christmas robe. We’re past 24 hours wearing it.

Christmas was incredible and beautiful but also exhausting. Oddly enough I need a break. Fortunately I’m getting one soon; a day with just the kiddos and I, tomorrow, when our sleepover guest goes home.

Gadgets, gadgets, more gadgets.

Post-Christmas Computer

* Here

“Oh *hi*!”

I finished two wool coats last night! Here’s one (the size 8):

Young Blazer In Wool Plaid

And here are my little scamps “modeling”, for which, yes, I pay them. $2 a garment (their requested fee):

Mischief!

I listed the jackets at Homesewn; you can peruse endless construction technique at the Flickr tagset.

Trademark

Out and about in Hoquiam!

My Kids Doing Tommy Wiseau Impersonations

The kids (my two, anyway) are doing Tommy Wiseau impressions. If you don’t know what this means, I urge you not to find out.

The local American Diner (yes, that’s its name) has kid lunch specials including entree, side, fruit, drink, and ice cream for $4.99. Of course the children love it there although I find the food highly depressing. However I sat nursing a sub-standard coffee and loved watching and listening to the kids enjoying themselves.

The minute we sat down Phoenix flipped over the kids’ menu and began drawing.

Immediacy

“A black eagle”, she told me:

The other children followed suit. Sasha didn’t have a name for this one:

Drawing By Sasha

Here’s Nels’ work:

Drawing By Nels

Nels wrote out his soup recipe in graphic detail. From left to right: carrot, a can of chicken broth (on top of a real chicken), a pot, and broccoli. The planning of this soup was kind of the Biggest Deal Ever for our son.

I have observed most grownups I know have lost the ability to draw as decisively, joyfully, and unselfconsciously as most children I meet.

When we left the kids found a brand-new stuffed animal tucked in the dispensary of one of the fifty-cent claw arcade games. They were completely thrilled by this find; the smiles on their faces and joy in their eyes reminded me of childhood… the magic in simple things.

We stopped at the new thrift store which had some rather intriguing stuff, including a very old New Home sewing machine with manual and buttonholer. Oh, and frayed death-electrical-cord. If I could have tested the thing I might have brought it home. It was sturdy but lightweight and looked – besides the cord – well cared-for.

New Home

We got home to our sleepy cats and Nels got busy on his soup recipe (which, to his credit, included nori and miso and was entirely delicious).

Ralph’s had so much time off work he’s actually almost catching up on sleep.

It’s a good thing.

Christmas Imp

maker

I get asked often how long I’ve been sewing. The truth is I can’t remember a time I didn’t know how to sew. I think I’m only a modestly-skilled stitcher, really, considering I’ve been exposed my whole life. Some of my earliest memories of focussed work are of pinning cloth and sitting on the floor cutting with a pair of orange-handled Fiskers; of crinkled tissue cut down to size and marking notches by painfully cutting small triangles. In fact in learning something as a young child the methods my mother used were the ones I thought were The Only Way To Do It. As a grownup I’ve learned my own methods and taught my mother not a few. For instance in contrast I iron all my patterns (shout-out Amore!) and never ¡EVAR! cut them; I dispatch yardage from a table and with rapier-like acuity using a rotary wheel and mat, and I mark notches by a chalk line or tailor’s tacks.

Rollin' On My 201-2

My mom sewed a bit more as a young woman, before she had a family and career. She didn’t sew all that much while I was growing up but what is most important is – I remember she loved it. She seemed to enjoy the feeling of competence in her craft and she definitely enjoyed the design process (such as it is when you’re sewing out-of-envelope). I often think the familial example of someone who does Work and loves it is the most likely avenue for subsequent generations to take it up. This is why I’ve never much bothered to try to get my kids to sew. My guess is they will end up doing it because it’s in their blood. They know so much about it already, without even knowing they know! (They also think everyone knows how to make clothes… they don’t realize how rare this is.)

Three years ago my mother brought me my grandmother’s sewing machine – a Singer Centennial 15-91 made in 1950, both popular and utilitarian. The very machine was manufactured and shipped from the same location, only days apart, from the one a friend gave me about eight years ago when she moved from PT (mine is a Centennial 201-2, another great machine). As a Mother’s Day gift in 2009 I got grandma’s machine tuned up and re-gifted it to my mother – who hasn’t yet used it.

If I had the room I’d have kept it myself. I currently own two working sewing machines. I’d love more and to have them set up – it really is helpful, especially given how quickly I construct things – but I lack the space. I sometimes fervently wish for a room to spread out and outfit myself further with a set up serger and a cutting table and, jeebus, SHELVES would be nice! Realistically this won’t happen for some time; we aren’t likely to have a larger house anytime soon. My husband has offered to rent me a studio space in downtown Hoquiam because he is a Really Fucking Awesome Guy. But even the incredibly-cheap prices of downtown HQX aren’t in our spending plan; neither much are shelves or more accoutrement to fill such a space.

But if I could, I would snap up that opportunity toot sweet.

My clothes generally last so much longer than what people buy. My kids’ closet is bursting with garments I’ve sewn. When they grow out of the pieces (which is relatively quickly!) the clothes go off donated or gifted… I am rather shy about giving off my sewn clothes because I’m unsure of what people like and want (and I hate to mail stuff. A lot. So locals are easiest for me to gift to). A surprising number of garments end up going to the Salvation Army. Whatever their future destinations, I hope they are as well-worn and well-loved as they are when in my home.

Currently I’m only a few minutes away from finishing a couple wool coats, which I’ll post soon. Tonight I’m on another pair of Monster Booties, much requested by readers here and there. I have to put a pause on Yes to favors and outside-of-the-family work; Christmas approaches and one of my chief pleasures is sewing for those I love.

Wool Underlined With Cotton

Wool, wool, wonderful wool! How I wish I had yards and yards and yards…

French Seam

French seams on the inside of a coat – underlining exposed.

In other news, we have my mom’s (incredibly submissive, aged) terrier Tuck here for a few days while she cat- and house-sits in Portland. My mom brought this huge dog bed as well. Last night, his first night, Tuck curled up on the bed and a second later alpha-kitten Hamilton walked over and put her paw on his face. He immediately self-telescoped using his own butthole and slunk off; three of the cats took the bed in a neat feline coup. Ralph and I trained the cats off the bed (this was very easy and involved putting them outside in the snow every single time they so much as stuck a claw towards it) but I had to snap a picture for my mom.

They STOLE It From Us, The Precious!

While I did this the fourth kitty Mable watched and decided if she wanted in on the Hot! Sleeping! Action!:
Watchinz

She voted “No”, on the account of she would have had to move her body, which resembles the form and function of a Guild Navigator, about eighteen inches. Much easier to stay on the goddamned chair.

oh the suspense!

My favorite Hitchcock film – so far, as I haven’t yet seem them all – is Dial M For Murder. The director was brilliant – and yes I realize he had about a hundred and one issues with women, and none of them bore very good results – but. Still.

North by Northwest is another I enjoyed –

And of course, Vertigo. On my first viewing my favorite part was the nightmare sequence (which is, it goes without saying, far better viewed within the context of the film):

So of course, I thought I would make a baby bunting thusly. Because it just makes sense.

Vertigo!

This was my first experience using Spoonflower’s printing service (you can view my brother’s uploaded designs at their site). I was very disappointed in the results of the twill, which faded quite a bit upon my initial wash (gentle, in cold water). However, I am not done with Spoonflower by any means. I’d like to continue to work with them (and if you, dear reader, know of another custom-printing house for small batches, let me know) although I feel some consternation I do so potentially at my own peril of lost-materials cost. An in-house screenprinting studio is hard to negotiate given we four live in a two-bedroom house… but my wheels are turning as I’d like to be able to do more with the fabrics I use.

Lined With Organic Cotton Softness

(Hee hee, lined in the iconic Vertigo poster art!)

You can read more about the construction and materials of this in the Flickr tagset. I put it up on my homesewn sub-site. And I’ve decided I need to make, oh… like a billion more sci-fi, classic, or B-movie-film-based clothing items.

ALSO: NEED ACTUAL BABY TO PUT IN THE BABY CLOTHES I MAKE

angel in blue

My daughter loves this ensemble but personally I think it’s a tiny bit too matchy-matchy. For my taste, anyway. One won’t deny the teal is a lovely color for this time of year.

Friendly

Funny: as soon as I finished it (handsewing at the soccer practice last night) I knew my daughter would love the dress but be less enamored of the pinafore: and I was right!

Hood

Both she and I love the hood more than anything (the pattern for both pieces is Olivia from Farbenmix).

Grimms' Fairy Tales

The dress is a 100% cotton Michael Miller; the pinafore is made from one of my favorite current fabrics to work with, a linen/rayon blend.

Skirt

The linen/rayon looks better and better with age, too.

“It’s the pleats.”

Button, Flowers

Handsewn flowers via a tutorial by my lady Karen.

Laugh

Phoenix laughs, watching her dad play hackysack.

I’m offering either/or/both pieces in my little shop; you can also view more detail photos in the Flickr tagset or read my pattern review.

the littlest giant

Today the children and I went off for a lunch date and then swimming as soon as I’d done the laundry and made all the beds blah blah blah. We got sandwiches together at Subway (all three of us eating for $11; can’t beat that) where I saw then introduced myself to one of the excitable soccer parents from last weekend.

The kids were a delight to have lunch with. They were very hungry (well, for them – the kids and I are all three kind of light eaters), splitting a ham sandwich on flatbread and judiciously divvying up a milk between them, followed by a cookie apiece. I can’t always know when they are hungry and I’m glad I took them out first because we ended up playing quite vigorously in the pool.

It felt wonderful to be back in the water again. Now that it’s school season we often have the pool to ourselves which is incredibly peaceful.

Phoenix and I played many games together. This was a welcome improvement from the last few months we’ve visited the pool. Phoenix loves to swim with me but often we have to stay close to Nels or risk being admonished by the capricious lifeguards and this limitation has frustrated us both in the past. Today she figured out a few new games we could engage in together: we performed a syncrho-swimming waterdance using hoops formed from those styrofoam noodles in the pool (she challenged herself to see how long she could stay under and quickly swim in back and forth in the hoops; she got up to three). Then she had me hold her straight out from my waist, her legs around my body, while I spun her like a fan blade through the water (now that was a workout for both of us!). I get dizzy easily now (ever since I had kids, and I’m not making that up) so I had to rest between goofy games like this. She helped Nels improve his kick. She tickled me and swam in and out around my legs with a grace and a lack of kicking-me-in-the-face which was delightfully new and appreciated.

My son has been a bit fragile today. It is truly a wonderful experience for me to be able to be available to them for their needs. Today from across the pool my son swam out from the little winding river and I saw the set in his shoulders and the sadness in his eyes. And I swam over to him and asked, “What is it baby?” He told me he had hiccups and they were hurting his body. He said, “But I feel better now you’re here,” and wrapped his arms and legs around me. And there’s probably nothing that smells and feels better to me than my children.  And sure enough a hiccup jerked through his little body, his frog-like limbs and tender little ribcage and his little belly. And I showed him how to hold his breath and tighten his eyes up and plug his nose and ears and he tried this many times, his little body convulsing now and then. The hiccups seemed too big for him!

Later at home he lay on top of me and we played “I Spy.” He made me laugh about eighteen times. For instance when he said, “I spy something BLUE… It’s outside.” I laughed and told him the whole point of the game is that you could SEE the thing from where you were. But I got it anyway (answer: the sky). A minute later it was my turn and I told him it was something that looked like a breast… he looked and looked and finally I had to tell him it was up high, at which point he saw the hemisphereical-with-nipple-fitting center light in our room and pointed triumphantly and then looked down at me and shook the hair out of his eyes and said knowingly, “Eas-y,” as if he hadn’t been guessing for minutes! I laughed and wrestled him and grabbed him up and we kissed and hugged times One Hundred.

I played a game with him, one he hadn’t remembered but I had. First I took my hand on his bare big toe (the right one) then pretended The Toe was sojourning on his body on its way to see The Head (I perform the role of The Toe by dancing my fingers along his body). So The Toe would stop and introduce herself to The Ankle, or whomever (as played by Nels) and they’d have a little talk, with The Ankle directing The Toe on further to her destination. Et cetera. We played this when the kids were little – I mean littler. It’s one of those simple but amazing games because it involves a lot of touch but a total respect by the grownup, since the child is in control of directions. We play similar games where the children will tell me where to kiss them, or stroke them or squeeze them, or (if they want to scare themselves) bite them or pinch them.

It really is an honor to be trusted and loved so much by my little ones.

In other news I have the perfect Halloween costume idea (finally!). I do not have money to garner my supplies!  Very upsetting. I am hoping (against all hopes) to set up a little display and sell a few of my wares. This would be a miracle (by “miracle” I mean something kind of nice that no one could possibly give a shit about, and thusly deserves a less auspicious descriptor) as I do not have my items ready or a display ready and also, by the way, I’m being a total coward about the whole business. Halloween approaches and I have three semi-elaborate getups to assemble and I’ve made no headway and can’t even sell our last running car without a few repairs that I’m not even going to type about as one of them makes the vehicle un-street legal.

what’s in your head, zombie

What’s that you say?

Bunting 002: All Hallows' Eve

“That is so fucking cute, Kelly-goddamned-Hogaboom!” Yeah. Well at least I think so. In fact the only thing I liked better that picturing this bunting from the very second I saw the fabric at Hart’s website was every detail of construction. Like underlining it with fusible wadding and appliqueing bright orange stars and then basting in the pumpkin-orange zipper and waxing thread to finish with handsewing while watching a soccer game:

On My Way

and of course the super-super soft and deep green fleece I lined the whole thing with.

So. Soft.

Oh right, forgot to mention – I thought I’d make another one, a bit less sweet and a bit more gruesome:

Bunting 001: Zombi (Looming)

My sewing room and I are like a couple honeymooners. I can’t wait to get back there and mess around. OK, ew. So what I really mean is, I’m having such a wonderful time making exactly what I want. And you know what I want? More babies, out and about, everywhere. These buntings are so warm they can be out all night trick or treating. Until they fall asleep while nursing in the sling.

I’ve put these abovepictured items up for sale: All Hallows’ Eve and Zombi in my wee little boutique. I’ve already got my next projects – seasonal for the approaching cold weather – out on the slab.

Deeply, truly good times.

Hat Et Al

Happy.

for bowling, or just in general being awesome

I continue to now and then write reviews for patternreview.com, or as I like to call it, “Thin mid-to-upper class white women who sew tailored dressy stuff get all the attention and no one gives a damn about my whimsy!“*  Today Nels is sporting the rather way-too-awesome Ready Set Robot shirt:

Happy.

Zig-zag topstitching, which is a THING I ADORE:

Can't Get Enuf Zig Zag Topstitch

Nels can, & does, like to button:
Buttons Well With Others

OH SNAP did I line that front placket up perfectly? WHY YES

Rockin' The Center Front!

Tuff, but fair:

Dancing

Best thing ever is that Nels loves the shirt. This is a good thing; he literally will not wear something I make if he doesn’t like it. Yay robots, red, and orange!

* For instance arguably one of the awesomest things ever sewn, my Narwhal baby bunting, only reaped one comment up in that site.  Seriously, people? GAH!