Thursday, March 27, 2008

Japanese Easter dresses

I used this book to make some dresses for the big girls for Easter. I've had the book for awhile, but have never tried any of the patterns. I was a little intimidated by the lack of english instructions. The styles were all very straight forward and easy to figure out from the diagrams in the book. The diagrams tell you in what order to sew everything, which is about all you really need to know. In the book, this dress is shown as short sleeved, but it was as cold as the arctic here on Easter, so I made them long sleeved dresses. The book is very versatile because it had the pattern for the long sleeves included, so I can mix and match depending on what I want to make. I didn't realize how clever it the book is until I started using it. I got the book from here last summer.

The purple dress is made of a lightweight linen/cotton blend from Joanns. It is so soft and pretty, but a little sheer. Maria wore a long sleeved tee and tights underneath, so she wouldn't get frostbite. Betsy's dress is made from some floral quilting cotton I got from Equilter. I thought it sort of looked like a Liberty print, but not $30 a yard. I look at so many beautiful fabrics that I would love to make dresses out of, but at $15-$20 a yard, it just seems like too much to pay.

So when Easter morning came around and I had all the kids in decent clothes all at the same time, all awake, I had to take a photo. I took about 20 photos and I swear Patrick has the biggest smile in each one. He is such a good boy. Who's that kid standing in the middle that looks like a baby? That's Tess! To the best of my recollection she was just born about a month ago, but there she is not looking like a newborn at all. How did she do that? She's almost as tall as Betsy. What a lucky baby she is to have those big sisters and brother. They are so crazy about her.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The fun is in the details.

When I feel like doing something, and I have a free minute, I sew. It often seems like a trade off, that if I update my blog, then that's taking time away from sewing. I also tackled some projects that will be taking me a long time to finish, so I don't have much progress to show. I've been spending most of my sewing time hand quilting Maria's quilt. I am using the Thimblelady's thimble and I really like it. I ordered the plastic one, and it works great. I don't really have much experience with any other thimble, but I do like this one, and would never use any other.

But with all this sitting and quilting with the end just barely in sight, I started to daydream about the satisfaction of completion. This quilt was not going to be done fast enough to scratch that itch, so I started a new doll. She was going to be for a birthday present for a friend of the girls', but I had a change of heart. It took about 6 hours to do the hair alone, and the birthday was coming up too quick. Betsy named her Lucy Anna. Here she is sitting on the Maria quilt.

Here's more of Lucy Anna looking cold, because it is still freezing cold here in Chicago.

Maria did decide to go the handmade route for a gift. Every few months she tries to do some embroidery, but it has never gone too well. Too many knots and tangles for her to do it independently. This week it was different. Maria is no slacker when it comes to fine motor skills, attention span, and most importantly artistic talent. It's not that I'm bragging (it's my blog, I can if I want to anyway), but she really is something. So I set her up with some muslin, a hoop, and some thread to get started. She drew her design with a water soluble pen. She did all the sewing, and I threaded the needle and tied knots as needed. At one point she said, " If I make big stitches, it goes really fast." I said to her that if she makes smaller stitches it will look much better. She continued to work for a little more and then said, "If you do big stitches you miss out on all the fun of sewing." What a great attitude! We picked out some fabrics to go with her design and then made it all into a pillow. I totally tried everything to get her to keep the pillow, but she insisted on giving it away as a gift. She doesn't get her nice from me apparently. But look at how cute this pillow is! Not bad for a five-year-old.