No, I’m not writing children’s literature … I’ve just started naming all my newest creations.
Those who know me best know that I have an, ahem, interesting personal style. Yes, I like trends and what’s going on in the fashion world. But I also like lots of color and pattern. Recently I wore a beautiful, multi-colored Scout tee that I had made years ago and a friend exclaimed that it was so pretty and she wasn’t used to seeing me in such bold colors and patterns. I was shocked! Had I accidentally become … a NEUTRALS person? (No offense to all my beloved friends who love neutrals … we just all know that’s not me.)
So when Kimberly from Straight Stitch Designs asked me to help test her newest pattern (have you noticed I kind of love patterntesting for Kimberly?), I said yes! And dug into my craziest fabrics.
First up is what I call my Mrs. Roper top. Because doesn’t this look like something made from one of Mrs. Roper’s housedress/caftans? (I evidently have a thing for her. It’s not the first time I’ve referenced her in a handmade item.) I bought like 4 yards of this fabric for $4 or something from a thrift store. It’s definitely 100% polyester. Which means it’s highly flammable … but also, spit-up and food spillage just wipes right off. So, I’ll take it.
The bias cut of the Bryant Dolman not only provides beautiful drape, but it also allows for patterns to be highlighted in such an interesting way.
And I personally love a drapey, slightly oversized top. It is flattering, feminine, and COMFORTABLE.
Then I got all excited about making a second Bryant out of this fantastic tie-dye rayon jersey … and after cutting out the front, I realized that I didn’t have enough left for the back. I know, I know … measure twice, cut once, blah blah blah.
So I improvised with some lovely chiffon I had in my stash for the back of my Bryant. And voila! The Reverse Mullet was born.
You know … party in the front, business in the back.
This one has a slightly different fit as the pattern is intended for knits, but the back is a woven. Still, I find it rather flattering and a fun mash-up to a great pattern.
Thanks for having me back, Kimberly! Grab your own copy of the Bryant Dolman while it’s on sale!
Y’all … it turns out that babies and blogging don’t mix, huh? My last post here was May 17, 2016. And our Jack was born May 18, 2016. So … yes. Proof. But 9 months in, 9 months out, and here I am returning to my sweet little corner of the internets. Before I jump in to sewing, here’s this cutie for your viewing pleasure:
Okay, on to the sewing!
This week I had the privilege of doing another pattern test for Kimberley at Straight Stitch Designs. She creates wonderful patterns … designs for clothing I wear over and over again. The Phinney Ridge cardi is no exception.
In Kimberley’s words, the Phinney Ridge is “classic meets comfort.” I literally couldn’t agree more. What’s more cozy than throwing on a cardi? And is there anything that makes you feel more put together than a well-fitting cardigan? Come on.
You know how hygge is the 2017 trend of word and lifestyle? That’s how I feel about the Phinney Ridge. Just cozy and homey and GOOD.
Both of my cardis were made with jersey knit. The striped fabric I bought for dirt cheap last summer when Hancock’s was going out of business. I should be embarrassed by the amount of fabric I bought from Hancock’s last summer (spoiler: I’m not embarrassed at all. I’m rather pleased.)
The floral fabric was given to me (isn’t that so nice?!?!?) by someone in a local sewing facebook group. And isn’t it so pretty and springy? I love it.
My next version is going to be a knee length version in a lightweight rayon jersey (also bought last summer from Hancock’s). I can’t wait to throw that on over everything. But first, I have to go take care of this guy…
Good thing he has two super-hero sisters to help me.
Happy President’s Day!
If you sew (and you should definitely give it a shot, friends), grab your own copy of the Phinney Ridge Cardi from Straight Stitch Designs now while it’s on sale!
In the last couple of weeks there has been all kinds of controversy over whether or not to swaddle your baby. At least I think there has been … I refuse to click on the headlines and read the articles. Not because I don’t want to be informed, but rather because I don’t want to be scared. I’m planning on asking my pediatrician their opinion and doing my best to ignore the opinions of the internets. The internets are unreliable, y’all. And they basically always convince me that I have cancer. Even if I’m just looking for the answer to a really important question like “how do I style little girl hair?”
Anyway, I love a swaddle. I have a tiny bit of third-time-mom guilt that I haven’t made as much for this baby as I did for my first two. So I paid a visit to the utterly delightful Owl & Drum and purchased some dreamy fabrics to make swaddles for my Baby Balloon.
Swaddles are not difficult to create (they’re just a square, y’all), but they do require a little patience. I made two, using two different hemming methods.
I used Grainline Studio’s tutorial for a cheater rolled hem on this one. The end result is lovely, although it does take some patience. Or an episode of Bones, in my case.
The next swaddle is a lovely gauze that is so dreamy soft and thin that I wish I could sleep under it. (Those would be really expensive sheets).
For this one, I simply serged all four edges. Then I turned under the serged edges and stitched with a small zig-zag stitch.
Cozy, sweet, cuddly … all what I want in a homemade swaddle. If Balloon’s a girl, I might add a pale peach monogram to the grey and white swaddle. Or baby pom pom trim. Or leave it as-is because she would be a newborn and I’ll be tired. We’ll see.
If you have the time (or a tv episode to watch), these make excellent baby gifts, too. Even if someone’s not a swaddler, a large, breezy blanket is a necessity in any mom’s diaper bag.
We are into surprise babies around here. By that I mean that we are on the don’t-find-out-the-gender bandwagon. I’m not going to argue that everyone should do it … I get that for emotional sanity, not everyone can! I’m also not going to argue that it’s one of life’s last true surprises as many folks do. It’s just FUN for us.
The first question I get from people is, “How do you decorate the nursery without knowing the gender?” I’m not really a stereotypical decorator anyway, so I just kind of go for it. For my first two, that meant lots of COLOR (those who know me best were not surprised at all). But Balloon’s room already had blue-on-blue striped wallpaper. It’s really pretty wallpaper, and we did NOT want to take down wallpaper. So I went with it. What has resulted is a sweet room that any baby would love. (As much as a baby gives a flip about their room, amiright?)
Before I give you a tour, let me just go ahead and say a few things: 1-I don’t know how to take and edit indoor pictures. The walls look a different color in every picture here. 2-Yes, there is stuff under the dresser and under the bed. I am not aiming to ever be a home-style blogger. Obviously. What I am is a real-life blogger. And for real … we store stuff under our beds.
For the most part, I was okay with re-purposing items or buying things already made this time around. But I did craft/create a few things myself. For the video monitor, we needed a little more height. So I took a stack of books that we don’t really read but don’t want to get rid of (things like a Calculus text-book, some theology books on youth ministry, and a couple of classic novels) and covered them in pretty fabrics.
I had a dream of making these beautiful curtains that are white with a large-scale modern floral print in grey. Something very Marimekko in style. I did find the fabric I liked … and it was $60/yard. SO … I bought basic Ikea curtains and added grey fringe trim I got for $1/yard on my Fabricut run to Pryor. Then we hung them from the ceiling for a more dramatic effect. And you know what? I think I totally love them.
We decided to leave the bed in the room. It’s a big room, so space wasn’t an issue. And it’s nice to have a spare bed for guests. The quilt across the bottom of the bed matches nothing else in the room, and I don’t care. It was made by my grandmother, and we used it on Elsie’s bed for two years. It will stay and I do not need a perfectly matching room!
I also really wanted to recover our glider rocker. But that wasn’t in the budget. So I bought a slipcover. It looked awful. SO, I accepted that a baby’s going to be spitting up on it anyway. I hung some grey fabric across the back, decorated with my beautiful African marriage blanket (is that what it’s called, Em?), and threw some sherpa I’ve been hoarding on the ottoman. It’s not perfect, but it will do. I’ll keep you updated if Balloon has strong opinions on his/her non-recovered glider.
The one item I was most excited about creating was the wall-hanging over the changing table. My sister-in-law Laura had sent me a snap of a really cool wall hanging made with yarn and a limb. So I took the idea and ran. I collected various grey, white, and patterned fabrics from my stash and cut strips from them. Then I simply looped them around a limb from the redbud tree we recently cut down. After hanging the strips, I trimmed them up to look evenly uneven. I used some scraps of black leather to hang my “art” on the wall. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.
My favorite part of the room just got completed this weekend, though. As a nod to his/her in-utero nickname, I had Elsie and Caroline paint balloon pictures to go over the crib. They are messy and imperfect and don’t match anything in the room. AND I LOVE THEM.
It’s baby week, y’all. We will meet our kiddo THIS WEEK. And I am so excited. I enjoyed creating this space for him or her. And it has been more fun than I ever imagined to see how excited my big girls have been by this process. I’ll be back tomorrow with another make for Balloon.
No affiliate links here. I still don’t know how to do that. I just wanted to be informative in case you liked any of my stuff.
*Early in my pregnancy, Elsie decided she was going to call the baby “Balloon.” We laughed and thought it would be the first of many baby nicknames. It was not … it has stuck. We can’t wait to meet Balloon and start calling him or her by their real name. But I suspect we’ll always refer to the sweet kiddo as Balloon sometimes.*
With each of my pregnancies, I have been so lucky to have a dear friend who was pregnant alongside me. Two months before Elsie was born, my friend Kat had Bo. [They still talk about each other even though they haven’t seen each other in over a year.] A week before Caroline was born, my friend Amanda had Tommy. [We’re working on an arranged marriage for these two.]
And exactly one month after Balloon’s due date, my dear friend Hailey is due to have a baby girl. Hailey and her family have been a GIFT to us since moving to Tulsa. While they have been a part of our church community group, they have become friends way beyond that over the last year. And we have had the privilege to celebrate their coming daughter with so much joy.
Two weeks ago I got to attend the sweetest baby shower tea for Hailey and her girl. And I got to put together the most fun gift for Baby Sis. Hailey and I laugh a lot at how different our style is. Namely, she likes neutrals and greys above all else, and I love pattern and color. So when picking out fabrics for tiny baby things for Hailey’s daughter, I had to show some major restraint!
When I first started dreaming about what I wanted to make for Baby Sis, I felt like it would be so hard to tone down my natural inclination towards all the pattern and all the color. But then, as I dug through my stash of fabric, I realized that it was so fun to pick fabrics just for Hailey and her girl … things that she would completely delight in putting on her sweet, prayed for babe.
I’ll be happy with Balloon no matter who he/she is … but if she’s a girl, I will be THRILLED to make one of these lined in a floral for her! But for Hailey … a simple chambray with white lining was just perfect!
Once upon a time, in 2001, four girls went on a search for furniture for their apartment. These girls were starry-eyed and silly. Luckily for all of us, I don’t have a picture from that day. (It was not a pretty time in fashion, guys.) We came upon a yard sale where the folks were selling two sofas. One was a normal upholstered sofa with arms and cushions. The other was a white, vinyl, armless sofa on wheels that was priced at $5. Guess which one we picked.
After college, my dear Mary Beth so generously GAVE me the white sofa to help furnish my apartment in good ol’ Statesville, NC.
And while the wheels are history, I have yet to part with the sofa. What was once a joke has become a beloved part of our family decor.
In our current home, #thewhitesofa is now in its third location … and I think this one’s a winner.
Please keep in mind that all of these pictures were taken with my iPhone, AND I have no clue what I’m doing with photography in general and indoor photography specifically.
Our bedroom is delightfully large, with a lounge area. I have dreams of recovering the white sofa. Not just dreams … I actually have the fabric, the piping, and the pattern all made. But there’s an addition coming to our family soon (please come soon, Balloon!), so I had to accept my humanity and admit that it would be best to make do with the white sofa (repaired for now with white duct tape) and just style that beast to death.
So I took a trip to the Fabricut Outlet in Pryor, OK this summer and bought yardage to recover the sofa (one day) as well as two yards of upholstery weight faux fur. Because OF COURSE, y’all.
I also found this gorgeous remnant of color that I knew needed to become curtains for the random window over the sofa.
The pillow inserts are actually quite vintage. They are squared down from bed pillows hand-stuffed by my grandmother. One of these was the pillow I slept on every night as a girl.
The trouble with an armless (vinyl) sofa is that it’s hard to lounge on. So I knew we needed an ottoman. My favorite furniture source to the rescue … the Midtown Flea Market. What’s the Midtown Flea Market, you ask? Well … it’s a little hard to explain. It’s a store front here in Tulsa filled quite literally floor to ceiling with furniture. Most of it needs minor repair. Some of it needs major repair. (Ask me if I’ve accidentally brought home some major repair furniture before. Oops.) All of it is super affordable. So I popped in, talked to the awesomely prickly lady who owns the Market and bought this ottoman for $10. Just popped some fur on top and AWESOME.
The rest is just rearranged. And the White Sofa lives to see another day. This time as a cozy setting for middle of the night feedings. I know it’s weird to say I’m looking forward to those, but right now I’m just so ready to meet our new person.
So while most of my sewing is very very selfish, I do occasionally make the effort to sew for my nuggets. YES, kids’ sewing is quick, and YES it’s cute, and YES it’s nice to be able to control what they wear rather than being at the mercy of the children’s clothing makers. But y’all … they grow so dang fast, it just kind of makes me batty when I spend all my time on something and then POOF … it no longer fits.
HOWEVER, the creating of something beautiful for my little people just never disappoints. Especially when you find a winner of a pattern. Enter the Maggie Mae Tunic/Dress by Shwin Designs. I have now made five total of these dresses, and I’m not sure that I see an end in sight. For one thing, the pattern comes in a large range of sizes, and it’s neither babyish nor too tween-y.
My first Maggie Mae was for Elsie … an adorable matching ensemble with her sister (who is wearing a Little Geranium dress). Caroline was only a month old here, and I was in a crazy post-partum sewing frenzy. Don’t question the hormones … just check out how cute they are.
My second Maggie Mae was again for our Elsie … this time to go to the Daddy/Daughter Dance when she was 2.5 years old. She still refers to this as her Daddy Dance dress, even when her sister wore it last summer. I used an old Lilly Pulitzer dress of mine for the top and bottom, and a white linen for the middle of the dress.
My last three, though, were the most special. Kenny’s brother married his sweet love, Laura, in November. We all got to celebrate as a part of the wedding party. I immediately volunteered to make the dresses for my girls and my niece. I just knew that Maggie Mae would be the perfect base for a sweet flower girl dress.
Laura wanted something with lots of fluffy tulle … I think I managed that quite nicely, don’t you?
With their adorable flower headbands, they looked like dreamy little fairies.
Then, there was also this groomsman I had my eye on … 😉
Wedding photos all are taken by the fabulously talented Ellie Be. If you have photo needs, you should definitely check her out.
I’m guest posting over at Straight Stitch Designs today with more details on how I modified the fabulous Montlake Tee to work for my maternity needs.
Hop on over and check it out. And while you’re there, you should DEFINITELY pick up your copy of the Montlake Tee pattern. It’s only $10 and worth every penny. (I should know … I’ve already made four! And I’m thinking that I probably need a cheesy Valentine’s version for number five.)
DISCLAIMER: I actually used my real camera for these pictures; yet they are the worst pictures I’ve posted on this blog yet. I waited until Kenny got home from work, and it turns out that it was too dark and cloudy then, but this is just my real life. And isn’t that one of the things I swore I would do with this blog? Be real? Not just give you the pretty version of everything? Well, here it is: my real grainy photos. Please have patience with me. 🙂
Since I was a little girl, I would get ideas in my head and need things to be that way. It sounds all great, like, “wow, Holly, you’re so decisive.” Except that no one else lives in my head, so making these things a reality is not so easy. Mostly this applies to clothing, shoes, and textiles issues. You should have seen my search for the perfect fabric to recover the seats of my dining chairs. I spent a good five years searching for the perfect riding boots (I think I just liked this idea a little too early because now you can’t walk into a store without tripping over like five pairs of awesome riding boots).
But this is one of the reasons I love sewing: the creating of something unique. I have the ability to dream up something awesome and crazy, and then MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Last weekend I had the incredible privilege to be a tester for the new Montlake Tee pattern from Straight Stitch Designs. I don’t sew just to make my own clothes. Y’all, I sew to customize my own clothes … to make them reflect who I am. And this pattern is the perfect base for this.
The Montlake tee is truly simple fashion.
It’s simple because there aren’t any unnecessary bells and whistles. It’s not gimmicky; there are no funky parts to it. It’s basic and simple in the most complimentary senses of those words.
But with just a little creativity, it can be turned into fashion. Add a contrast fabric. Change the sleeve length. Make it in a color that POPS. Create something beautiful.
It was a pleasure to get to work with Kimberly on the final tweaks of this pattern. Her attention to detail to make sure this was a perfect product was incredible. I am so grateful for talented people like her who make it possible for me to create.
At its base, the Montlake Tee is a scoop-neck t-shirt with four potential arm lengths and a swing hem. Swing hems are my favorite because, well, I’ve had two babies already. I made pattern alterations for mine to fit over my baby bump as it grows. I will do a more detailed tutorial on how I did this soon.
Outfit Details (If you’re interested in that kind of thing)
I’ve never been much of a New Year’s Resolution kind of gal. I’m not anti-change … I just never quite have grasped the idea of making all the change happen at the beginning of a year. In general, if I feel the urgent need for change, then I just try to make that change.
Years ago, a friend told me that she would give a word to each year. It was an awesome idea, but a little daunting to me for some reason. One of those, “Wow … that’s cool. Too bad I can’t do that” kind of ideas. Mostly because the idea of pinning down one word seemed a little overwhelming. What if my year took a different turn? What if I decided in June I hated the word? I don’t know who I thought was holding me to this ridiculous standard of a word, but I shied away nonetheless.
But this year, 2016, I’ve done it. It’s official. I came up with a word. Or, maybe, the word jumped out at me. Because I can’t stop thinking about it.
I love to create. I love to create all kinds of things.
It’s thrilling to take a blank expanse of fabric and make it into clothes … or sometimes even into fashion. (Yes, I have been watching Project Runway again. How could you tell?) This weekend I got to be a part of pattern testing for a talented pattern designer. I’ll blog more about this later, but it was exciting … to get to help someone else create something incredible while I created a few beautiful things myself.
It’s an adventure to step into the kitchen and turn a bunch of ingredients into a meal. Whether it’s fancy or just simple soup and sandwiches, it’s nourishing, and it’s a privilege.
It’s an honor that I get to be a small part of a life being created inside of me right now. I’m not arrogant enough to believe the I actually am the One who created this sweet life … but I do get to take part in it. That’s incredible.
It’s exciting … and sometimes taxing … to figure out new ways to create fun and excitement for my children. And then I remember that they need little more than some attention and a piece of cardboard, and they’re having fun.
My sister-in-law is a talented and passionate creator. She posted this lovely thought from Joss Whedon on her instagram last week: