Friday, October 31, 2014


We love Halloween here. It might even be our favorite holiday, although the kids are pretty partial to Christmas. My mom made most of my costumes as a child, at least most of the ones I remember. Dorothy, Glenda (the only one I recall being thrifted instead of handmade), baby doll, Star Fleet officer (yeah, growing up nerdy!), princess Jasmine... And a cherry tree. No, I have no idea how I came up with that last one. You'll have to ask my mom if she remembers. Last year I went full on geek mom with Cyrus' costume, and made him a pretty excellent (if I do say so myself) tenth Doctor suit. Unfortunately, he was quite disappointed with the lack of people who seemed to know who he was, in spite of weilding that sonic screwdriver like a pro.

Oh yeah. Sonic the camera, dude.
This year, we went through a handful of ideas - Green Arrow, ninja, Deadpool, to name a few - before he decided to be Harry Potter. He just started reading the books this fall, and is totally loving them. Since Ellie is even less good about making up her mind on a costume (she is 3, after all), there was a parental executive decision to make her a Hogwarts student as well, which she was perfectly okay with. Patrick thought she looks like Luna Lovegood this year, with the wispy blonde hair, and not so much like Hermione, so I present Harry and Luna!

I will gladly admit that a lot of this I bought instead of made. It was much easier to buy school uniform pieces for the basic uniforms, so aside from the white button up that was already in Cy's closet, they got nice new uniforms. Are they perfect replicas? Nope. But it saved me work and those details are largely lost on the kids. My mantra for this project became "It's a costume, not a cosplay". That just left me the robes and scarves. The scarves in the movie are knitted, but I crochet so much faster, so I crocheted theirs. As an extra plus, that's something I can do upstairs during the day while the dog is awake. Maybe I should crochet more this fall and winter! For the robes, I altered a Simplicity costume pattern. I think it took me longer to trace and cut the pieces than it did to sew them. I don't have an embroidery machine, so I bought iron on house patches. Ellie's spectrespecs are sunglasses with the front piece of a printable taped to the front. I bought fabric to make ties, totally did not get to them, and I have concluded that I don't care. After all... It's a costume, not a cosplay! Besides, you'd never see them under the scarves anyway.

I think one of the hardest things about these was making sure wre knew where the wands were at any given time! The kids love them, and they tend to wander a bit. Cyrus spent the past weekend wearing his Harry glasses and carrying his wand around anywhere we went. He even tried to dress more like Harry when he's not in his uniform, but his clothes actually mostly fit him. But the wands have been found, and everything is finally done, just in time for Halloween and their first time going door to door trick or treating.

Happy Halloween!

Finally Trick-or-Treating after all of the pictures!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Iron Man Inspired

This outfit is something I planned back in August, with the clearly over ambitious plan to add it to the Crafting Con Avengers linkup. Oops. So instead, a month and a half late, I got it done for Cy's birthday. I guess that will do. The challenge for Crafting Con is to create day to day wear instead of costumes, based around geeky themes, which works out so very well for me. I want to know when they plan to do Firefly/Serenity month, because I have some fabulous outfits drawn up based on that. I also have a page with designs for the whole family based on Mass Effect. Is that too far off the geek end?

I've been informed that he needs "repulsor gloves". Add another project to the list!
When I was designing last August, Cyrus chose Iron Man for his preferred Avenger. While I'm familiar with him, I took to the internet to look up photos for inspiration. Having that visual is often helpful for me, even when I'm referencing something I already know. I found a few photos of Tony Stark in tee shirts with the arc reactor glowing though, and went with that for the top. I made a black Peek-a-boo Patterns Grand Slam raglan tee (I used the slim fit option), then used a freezer paper stencil to paint the arc reactor design on the front. It dried to a darker blue than I wanted, but Cy went totally nuts with excitement when I showed him. I guess Mama did okay!

The pants are my interpretation of Iron Man's armor into cargo pants. I used another Peek-a-boo pattern, this time the Castaway Cargos. This is a fantastic pattern, and my son loves the knit waistband. I left off the back welt pockets this time, since he doesn't use them, but now I wish I hadn't. The contrast of a gold welt would have been great. Oh well, too late now! The main pants pattern is made from a red twill, but I used a gold-ish colored contrast for all of the pockets to mimic the accents on Iron Man's armor. Cyrus loves them, and when Ellie saw them she essentially said "Where's mine?", so I may need to make some for her, too.
Ready to fight!
While I was at it, I made a matching tiny sized version for my nephew ET. It would be so much better if we lived close enough to get photos of the boys together, but this will have to do for now.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

SSW - Julia Cardigan and Side Pocket Skirt

Selfish Sewing Week has come and gone, so it must be time to share what I made! First up is actually the last made, because my Hudson Pants ended up in the wash before I could get photos. At the end of the week, I whipped up a new Mouse House Creations Julia Cardigan. I've made a few of the long sleeved version, both for myself and as holiday gifts for my best friends last year. This time I went with the cap sleeve version to change it up.

Puppy kisses!
Because moms actually get time to lounge casually at the playground, right?
While I've seen some cozy looking versions of this in heavier knits, I chose a very lightweight rayon for mine. The pattern has an option to hem the outside, but I would consider hemming this stuff to fall somewhere around the pleasureableness of stepping on Legos. Instead, I chose to make the waist and collar in the doubled over option, which is two layers. Like using a banded hem, it makes a nice clean finish without hemming and worrying about stretching the edge out of shape. In a super light fabric, it also adds just a bit of extra weight to keep it hanging nicely.
The smile that says "Hurry up, the sun is in my eyes!"
It took an excessive number of tries to get reasonable a picture of my own leg.
The skirt I made without a pattern. I found a fat quarter of the flower print at a local quilt shop, and it sat around for awhile waiting for me to figure out what to make with it. At some point, I decided it would make good accent pockets on a skirt for me. The print is pretty large, so I went with pockets big enough to show it off. I made a pleat in the center of each pocket to keep them from hanging away at the sides. Trust me, that looks really odd. You could make a casing and use a bit of elastic at the top of the pocket for the same effect with a slightly different look. The main skirt is a very basic elastic waist skirt, but with four panels instead of two. The pockets are the same width as the side panels, and are sewn directly into the seams instead of being topstitched on afterward.
Nice try, but you are totally in the picture, honey.
I love how roomy these pockets are. My phone, keys, and camera all fit with room to spare for the inevitable other things I will aquire on walks or at the playground. Flowers, rocks, acorns, shells... This skirt will hold it all!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Shorts galore

In the spirit of catching up, here is some more of what I was sewing over the summer! A good bit of my sewing time was for my best friend and her son ET (my honorary nephew). BA found some adorable beach and nautical themed prints that she wanted made into summer shorts for the baby, and I was happy to oblige. Upon going through my substantial collection of pdf patterns, I found that I really didn't have just a basic, elastic waist shorts pattern. The only one I have doesn't ever print properly for me, which drives me nuts and makes it hard to use. Instead of buying one, I used the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop Pier 49 Pants. I shortened them using the length of a pair in his size, and omitted all of the admittedly cute details like pockets, both faux and real.
Chew that pull rope!
Stop to admire the scenery.
Just look at that cute face.
They came out a bit long, but otherwise fit pretty well. No growing room to speak of, but the summer heat doesn't last long in Maine, so they got him through the season. We have some other cute prints stashed away for next summer's shorts!

His mommy didn't want to be left out, so I made her a couple of pairs of shorts length leggings. Along the idea of playground shorts for little girls, BA found she could use something to wear under dresses. You can see the hems of one pair peeking out under her dress in the photos above on the deck. Leggings may be back for fall, but knee length ones for summer weren't so easy to find. Greenstyle Creations Lucy Leggings came to the rescue! There are several lengths and two rises to choose from, which takes most of the guesswork out of where to cut. I used the yoga waist option, but there are directions for an elastic casing if that's your preference. These came together wicked fast, and I had fabric left over, so I made some for myself, too! I used Kaufman Laguna knits from It is a little lightweight for leggings, but is very soft and comfortable to wear. I'm pretty sure I need to find a thicker knit and make a few full length pairs for the cooler weather that is starting to creep in. Come on autumn, I'm ready to layer!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Setbacks abound!

In an effort to get myself more organized, which is something I'm not always good at, I printed one of the monthly calendars that I use for meal planning and turned it into a sewing calendar. I'm pretty sure it would have helped, and with its help I completed about half of my ambitious Selfish Sewing Week list (which will be blogged as soon as I have my husband take photos), but then life happened. The car needed work, so I lost nearly two days of sewing time to that. Then I had an encounter with that scourge of elementary school families... Head lice. Eww. So instead of sewing, I've spent the last three days on a serious offensive against critters. Fortunately Cyrus doesn't seem to have passed them to anyone else, and was finally nit free and able to go back to school yesterday morning, so I think that maybe I can step down from paranoid to just being watchful for the next couple of weeks. Thank you Fairy Tales products! It has been such a consuming thing that I haven't even considered breaking out my sewing stuff, even after everyone is in bed. Hopefully, the rest of the week will be better and I can get back to my extensive to do list. I should probably update my calendar though, because I will not be able to quite catch up.

Unfortunately another month has passed when. I haven't gotten my sew along on for Crafting Con. The Hosh Pants of the previous post were intended to be half of a Hulk inspired outfit for August, and I had a few ideas for September's princess theme that didn't quite make it to the machine. Therefore, I'm setting a goal to do better this month for Crafting Con villains! I already have sketches, and had written them into October to get done. If my kids are lucky, they will also get Halloween costumes! Heh. With any luck, I already have the materials too, because I think for this month I'll mostly need to be stash busting and upcycling, since my sewing budget essentially went to lice treatment. Stupid lice.