Thursday, September 11, 2014

Back to School Back Packs

Last year I got the boy a store bought book bag. I was displeased with how well it did not hold up. Before the year was half over the shoulder strap was separating from the bag. He brings home a folder and a few small books, and takes his lunch box, how heavy can all of that be for a former kindergartner? 

So I decided that for the first grade I would make him a back pack for school, and that he could pick out the fabric he wanted. I also make one for the girl as well, because she was going to go to school one day.

I found some free full size back pack patterns online. This is a free pattern here from Pellon. This pattern is a good place to start. It has a materials list and instructions. This pattern is also free and has a simpler design, as well as a materials list and instructions.

I used both patterns as a guide for making my own version. I made the girl's back pack first because I had that fabric first. I picked it up at Hancock's last year when I went to visit my sister in Texas. It's duck cloth so it should be fairly sturdy and last during her early school years.

It's a bit wider than I would have liked it to be, but since it was my first I learned from that and made some more changes for the next one. Also, my shoulder straps are a littler farther away than I had anticipated, but they stay on her shoulders when she wears it, sort of. She's not quite that wide either, but hey, she'll have some growing room, I guess.

This was one of the items that I had Granny monogram for the girl. It came out centered, even, and looks amazing. I added on a front pocket and must say that I am pretty proud of it.

I took the boy fabric shopping and he picked out some camouflage twill fabric. Twill is not as sturdy as I was hoping it was going to be, but it is what he wanted so I made him his own back pack as well.

 I adjusted the size of my pattern to make his back pack taller and slimmer. I think it has more of a traditional back pack shape now. His front pocket could use some improvement. I couldn't find the right size zipper in my stash so I had to go to the store, and they didn't have the right size either so I picked up the closest I could find. It turned out to be a bit smaller than I had wanted. After I finished the back pack I found the shopping bag that had the zipper I was going to use to begin with. Go figure.

Granny also put his initials on his back pack. I put the fabric in the hoop for embroidery, but didn't get it straight so his initials were crooked. I fixed it as best I could by cutting and reshaping the back pack to get the letters to be even. No one will really notice anyway.

Now he has a full sized Mommy made back pack for school. I made sure it was big enough to hold his agenda folder, a few books, and his lunch box. It has survived his first several weeks of school so far. Yea!

I'm glad that my kids like their one of a kind back packs, and I hope that they last a while so I don't have to make another one for them any time soon. 

Now, if I could just make myself one as well. My book bag I have been using since junior year of high school is starting to fall apart on me. And my $4 purse is failing as well. So much to do! :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Who's ready for some football?

I'm still not ready to let go of summer, but man I love football season. And I mean the professional football season, not so much college football. I've never really viewed college football as important as people who grew up in the great state of SC. They love their college football, which in this case means Clemson and USC. It's like no other colleges in this state exist except those two. It's fascinating. And they have all but shunned the NFL home team for the area: the Carolina Panthers. Apparently 20 years (!) ago when the NFL expanded the teams, SC got upset that the team would not actually be placed in SC. The stadium was going to be built in Charlotte, and they got unhappy, but the team does summer camp in SC. I guess that is just not good enough for SC folks. You hardly ever see anything Panther related in this state and it's sad. Charlotte is not that far away people.

Alright, enough about that.

Since I love football, the kids get excited about it sometimes as well. Especially the boy. So I made them some football attire.

I made the girl a box pleated cheer skirt. I found some instructions online about how to do a box pleat. It's not really that difficult and I do love how it turned out for her. I do need to work on my math a little. It's a little bit big in the waist, but that just means she will have some growing room, right?

I used some panther fabric (obvs) for the exterior pieces of the skirt. Then, I used three matching white and blue panels for the interior pieces. The waist band is just two inch black elastic. I even installed a white invisible zipper. I have never done an invisible zipper before, and it is not exactly invisible. Once I had her try it on, I'm not even sure I needed the zipper with the elastic, but it is there just in case.

She is extremely excited about football! Or pony's. Or snack. I didn't make the skirt super short, because she's four, and I think cheer skirts are already too short to begin with and I just wasn't going to do that for her. She looks ready to join any cheer squad.

We got the boy involved as well with his Panther helmet and a matching outfit. I hadn't made his Panther pants at this point. They are cute together...sometimes.

Now the boy is ready for football season with his Panther lounge pants. I made sure they were long enough for him to grow into since he grows up more than out in any given year.

I used Dana's KID shorts pattern to make the pants. I just extended the legs down enough to make them a good fit for the boy.

We are definitely ready for football season. Not so much Fall itself, but football is welcome.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

More First Day Swing Dresses and an A-line Dress

Here are a few more First Day dresses that I made. I couldn't stop at just one! Check out the first post here.

I'm pretty sure this cute pink fabric with sweet flowers on it came from the remnant bin at JoAnn's. It was only a yard so I had to carefully cut it out to make the size four pattern of the First Day Dress and Top pattern for it to work.

I couldn't decide between the purple or blue button for the back closure. Some fb friends said purple, and I figured that that is what the girl would chose, because pink and purple are her favorite colors, you know. The blue would have been a fun pop of color, too.

In the end she chose purple, so purple it was. I ended up having to piece two corners of the bottom part of the skirt together, but you can't tell once it was all together that it is not one piece. And even if you did notice, it looks great anyway.

She looks adorable in it. It was getting dark outside so these are not the best photos, but I just love her poses and her sassiness in them. Ha! :) I love the flowiness of this pattern. It suits her well.

Now this fabric was made for this pattern. I love it so much! So bright and summery.

This fabric is from JoAnn's. Seersucker Tutti Frutti. I think I bought two yards because I definitely wanted to make sure I had enough for this pattern, even before it was released, and some extra for another project later on, like maybe a skirt.

I took extra time making sure I sewed everything smoothly, including the lining, and was very pleased with the outcome. So much so that this dress will be an entry into the SC state fair competitive exhibits. This one is a size 4 as well.

More twirling! So beautiful.

I found this fabric at Hobby Lobby in NC. It's cute! I knew it would be absolutely perfect for the A-line dress part of the First Day Pattern. This one is a size 5.

I left the cap off of the sleeve to give the dress a more tank top look, and so that she could wear it in the fall/winter with a long sleeve tee and leggings for a cleaner arm look.

When I finished the dress I noticed that the fabric had a flaw in it during manufacturing. Some of the dots colors run to the next dot and up a bit. :( You can't really tell unless you are close to the dress and look for it, but it is noticeable. 

The next one I make I will double check the fabric for flaws, and follow the pattern instructions more closely. I didn't get the full and crisp A-line look that I was hoping for. An error on my part. The dress is still cute, though.

She's part flamingo, you know. :)

I have one more Swing dress to make. This one will be the size 5 and it will be adorable as well.

Here is the last Swing dress (size 5) I have made. I LOVE it!

I got this awesome fabric from JoAnn's online as part of my black Friday fabric shipment a while back. 

I noticed that I left off the cap sleeve. I was pretty sure I cut one out for this dress, but I couldn't remember. I did end up finding the cap sleeve. It was buried under something else on my sewing table. Of course.

I attached it later, and here is the result.

Ha! So adorable!

I found this fabulous button in my stash. I think it came from a lot I got at an antique store, or from a building co-worker. I don't remember, but it works for this project.

She loves the swishiness of this dress and so do I. Twirly and swishy...dress perfection!

I enjoyed sewing these dresses for my girl, since she loves wearing dresses. I am looking forward to Fall projects, but no so much the season. Don't get me wrong, I love Fall, but I am not ready to let go of Summer just yet.

So, enjoy your last bits of summer, and I will be getting ready for Fall projects.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Random Kid Moments: #4--Because kids can talk

 I love the things my kids say sometimes, I love it even more when they don't miss a beat either. Ha! My girl was being especially cute one day after I got home from work. I was putting her to bed and she was still being cute and silly.

Me: You're so cute.
Girl: And smart, too!
Me: lol. And so funny.
Girl: You too, Mommy.


The boy was wearing some swim shorts and put on a messenger bag that I had brought home from work from a coworker.

Me: What are you doing?
Boy: I'm going to work!

I hope this "job" pays well. :)


Boy: Mommy, you look like you are 19.
Me: Aww, thanks Buddy.


When my son started kindergarten, my girl would start missing him sometimes and would ask if we could go pick him up from school. Sometimes it wouldn't even be close to lunch time and she would ask if we could bring him home. Awww. Mostly, she wanted someone to play with her.

Now that she has had him around the whole summer she has been asking if we can take him to school. Usually around lunch time as well.

Girl: Mommy, can we take him to school now?
        Mommy, is it time for school?
Me: No, not yet sweetie. We still have a few more weeks.
Girl (mad, stomps foot, clenched teeth): I want him to go to school. 

Now that he is in school she is enjoying some alone time...until she starts 4 year old kindergarten. She is looking forward to it as well.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First Day Pattern: Swing Dress

Y'all know that I love Dana from MADE. The skirts and shorts that I make for the kids come from her site. Her tutorials, patterns, and instructions are detailed and easy to follow. I love the simplicity and fun colors Dana uses for her projects. She makes sewing fun, too. Everything is always adorable and cute! And so are her kids!

When she made this dress for her oldest daughter for the first day of school last year, I was in love with it. It's totally adorable. My girls needs a closet full of these dresses!

We waited patiently (or at least tried to) for Dana to create and finish a pattern for what would become the First Day Dress and Top pattern. 

That day came at the end of June and I can't tell you how excited I was to purchase this pattern. Finally! 

I had fabric picked out and ready to go, even without knowing how much I would need. 

I printed off the necessary pattern pieces and got busy. The fabric I used came from JoAnn's, or was it Hancocks..? Either way it was from the clearance section. I bought 1 yard and the pattern called for a yard and a half. Uh, oh.

I cut very carefully to get all of the pieces to fit and not have much waste. Luckily, everything worked out just fine. 

I made my girl her very own swing dress from the First Day pattern.

I made her bodice using the size 3 pattern piece. I matched it with the the size 3 skirt piece, but used the size 4 length for the skirt.

The fit is great! The size 3 is a bit snug, but not too tight for her. If she doesn't get much wider by next spring/summer she might be able to wear it for another season. I'm not holding my breath on that.

I have three more swing dresses cut out and ready to sew. I cut out two size 4's and one size 5.  

But I also have two back packs to sew as well. I have a lot going on in my studio and summer is going by fast, school will be here soon, consignment sales are coming up, and we can't forget about the State Fair. Oh, and I have a job that needs some of my attention, and laundry. Job, kids, laundry: places where my time goes. But without those I wouldn't be sewing in the first place.

First Day Pattern: Love it! I also love that there are options for tops as well. And the option of making an A line dress! I love the look of the A-line dress and I think I have the perfect fabric for it as well. Thanks, Dana, for creating such a wonderful pattern with great detailed instructions! You're amazing.

And if you couldn't tell my girl loves the twirliness of this pattern as well. So much fun!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"It was the first day of first grade..."

My boy. He's a first grader now. A "big" kid. Naturally I took some photos of this journey. Which means that I was able to take him to his first day of school! My wonderful supervisor was able to cover for me for a couple of hours so I could do that and it was awesome. I am so grateful.

The day before:
end of summer vacation

                      First grade, you say?                                                                    

                Awww, sweet boy.                                                         First grade superhero pose.
At bedtime we read a book called The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing. It was cute and fun.

Then, the day had arrived! A new school year ready to start.
Here's a veggie tales song to go with my first grader: Billy Joe McGuffrey

"Now, Billy Joe McGuffrey was a really clumsy kid.

On the first day of first grade, I'll tell you what he did.

He tripped over a pencil box and flew up in the air
I made his back pack. More on that later.
Landed on a kangaroo who pulled out all his hair.

He needed first aide, in the first grade.

First aide, in the first grade.
First aide, in the first grade.

His teacher sent this photo. :)
You could buy a zoo with all the doctors bills be paid."

His first day went well, and he said he had fun. I hope he continues to enjoy school, and learning, and excels in whatever he wants to do. You're awesome, buddy!

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Ugly Side of Parenting

It's been rough being a parent, and a kid, in my house this week. You would think as children get older and can be more helpful that the days would go a little bit smoother. If this week is any indication, it's just not going to happen. 

By the time kids reach the age of 6 they know what they are supposed to do and not supposed to do. They can follow directions, listen, read, write, and be helpful around the house. Parenting should be more enjoyable with a 6 year old and a 4 year old...right? Things should be getting easier? We should officially be out of the terrible two's that start at 18 months and continue till sometime after the age of 4?'s getting the best of me today and I am not liking it at all. The boy is not liking it either. We are not having much fun together and it is breaking my heart. And I just don't know what to do about it. It's uncharted territory for me. I'd like to think that I was a good listener at that age; followed directions, got things done, very little pushback. Oh, the pushback. The laziness. The not listening. The not being responsible for something simple like putting toothpaste on your toothbrush without large amounts of toothpaste ending up in the sink. Seriously, why is there a weeks worth of toothpaste in the sink? How does that even happen?

Parenting. It's not going well. It sucks right now. It makes me sad. All the fussing I am doing. I don't like that. Some of it is needed, I know. Otherwise kids will never learn when and why it is appropriate to listen to someone in charge and act accordingly.

School starts on Monday and it is likely that I won't be there to see him celebrate the first day like I did when he started Kindergarten. 

I know. It's first world problems and I shouldn't be so unhappy. But it's important to me.
The little things add up. 
I haven't been feeling well lately. The 6 year old thinks I am making it up. :/ 
Getting adequate sleep has been a struggle.
I'm tired.
The house is a mess.
The kids are unhappy.
I'm unhappy.
The dog is sick.
My work schedule is making it difficult to ensure that I see my son walk to his class on the first day. 
The boy refuses to finish his summer work, clean his room, or do something the first time it is told.
The kids have been arguing, fighting, crying, and melting down.

Being responsible. It's necessary. I feel like I am pulling my kid along in this endeavor kicking and screaming. Well, someone is kicking someone, and the other is screaming, but you get the picture. It's hard. And I know, it could always be worse. Someone else on the planet has it worse than I do. But I am still not happy with my situation today and I sincerely hope that it improves. We could all use a little happiness in our lives today.