Growing like weeds

Why is it that babies keep growing? While I love to see Lottie getting bigger and chubbier it seems a shame when she starts growing out of her handmades. This romper is perhaps the solution… it’s intended to grow too!

This is a free sample pattern from Apple Tree Sewing and is available by signing up to their newsletter. It is a sample 3-12 month size of a pattern which can be purchased in a bigger size range.

Lottie is 3 months in these pictures, and isn’t going to fit it on the smallest settings for long, though I think she is quite a long and skinny baby! It is fitting nicely over her big cloth nappy bottom though.

I love the concept of grow with me clothing, but this is my first attempt at sewing some. The idea is that there is lots of adjustment built in in the form of long cuffs, snap settings and in this pattern a set of drawstrings to shorten the body.

I had a bit of this fabric left from the baby outfit I made a while ago. Lottie has grown out of those now so it’s fun to have this print back in her wardrobe.

I wanted to have used and washed this romper a couple of times before I wrote this post so that I could report on how easy it is to use in practice. There isn’t much spare time for constant readjusting when putting away the washing so getting the cuffs to sit right is a little bit of a faff. It will only get easier as she gets bigger though.

It is amazing to see how much scope there is for growth as the straps are lengthened, the ruching on the sides is let out and the cuffs are rolled down. Lottie is hopefully going to fit in this for ages!

I didn’t have quite the right size range label, but this one is fairly close.

I think I may have to make another couple of these because it was such a quick and easy sew, but one which will last for ages. It seems like a good ‘value’ way to use my time and fabric. I can definitely see it as a good way to get the most use out of a special fabric.

I think I might look into a few more grow with me patterns. I like the idea of making Toby some jumpers which will do him for a couple of years. I’m also a little tempted to start sewing a few of these to sell. I’ve always wanted to see if I could begin to transition into sewing as a business and I can see that it might be easier to charge the actual value of the work and materials for an item which will last a long time. Something to look into perhaps.


What a week!

I did have something different scheduled to post this week, but it has been such an odd week that it seemed more appropriate to address the world news and also the everyday stories of how they are affecting our lives at the moment. Thus far, our household is well apart from the usual colds and sniffles that beset all families with small children. We are very grateful that so far we are healthy, but we fully expect that at some point in the future we wont be. While that seems scary, we are trying to keep it in perspective with the knowledge that even in the scariest or most unknown situation God is with us and will never abandon us.

Those machines are going to need to stay tidy under that shelf for a while!

In the meantime, we are washing our hands and starting to hunker down at home, trying to do our part for social distancing. We’ve been going on walks, feeding the ducks, colouring, building, playing and generally trying to keep Toby’s life as normal as possible while protecting ourselves and others. Matt is now working from home, so sadly my sewing space has returned to being his office most of the time and sewing opportunities are going to be more limited. Even more so now that Toby is no longer going to nursery, so his nap time or evenings are now the only opportunities to potter along with a few projects.

We all need a bit of fresh air from time to time

So what am I going to do without sewing? I think first of all I’m going to be a lot more tired having Toby home full time on my own so I might not really feel like doing much. However, I am going to try to keep opportunities going because I really value sewing as good mental health downtime where I can focus on each step as it comes. I’m going to be planning projects for when I have a bit of time or energy, tracing patterns (possibly on the floor while Matt uses the desk), continuing to digitally organise my fabric and patterns and generally dreaming about sewing. I’ve been doing a little knitting too. I have a few projects finished or nearly so which I will continue to share over the next few months, and I will keep enjoying wearing and seeing my family wear the things that I have made for them.

Slow progress on my knitting

While the physical world for a lot of us is going to be getting smaller for a while as we stay home more, there is no reason for our contact with the outside world to stop. I’ve been so happy to hear from people who are coming up with innovative ways to use technology to keep’meetings’ going. This morning I’m taking part in a live streamed church service, and I’m planning to join in with some exercise classes via Facebook too! I can see that for some, being physically isolated might mean anxiety, loneliness and the very real concern that fewer opportunities for exercise and interact with others might result in depression. I’ve suffered from anxiety and depression at various stages, and I am also trying not to succumb to my fears and concerns that this isolation could be very damaging for my own, and others mental health. It might be a small thing, but if it helps even one person I think its worth it, so I’m going to keep blogging wherever I can (and that person might just be me!). Keep in touch if you want. It’s always nice to know that there is someone out there reading, and stay safe, wherever you might be in the world.

Fox Coat- Getting Organised

Last year Toby’s Bunny coat was one of my favorite makes both for the process and the finished garment, so I decided it would be a shame not to make him another animal coat in the next size up. This time I’m going to make the fox coat from ‘The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny’ in the age 2-3 size.

For a more involved project like this I don’t really have the right fabric and notions at home in my stash or available locally so it takes a bit of planning and preparation. I’ve been ordering samples of corduroy and wool for the main outer body of the coat, trying to find one that has the right foxy rusty shade of orange! I’m still not sure any of these is quite the right thing. Though I like the colour for some of them, they are a bit ‘soft’ and lightweight so the search continues.

I’m going to use the same faux fur as on the bunny coat for the foxes ear and tail appliques, and probably for the front accent too. I haven’t yet decided if I will line it in the fur again, or whether I will choose a fun coordinating cotton for the lining. The bunny coat is so soft and fluffy inside that I am leaning towards using the fur. I have seen some cute fox print cotton’s though too so that is also an option, perhaps with a flannel or thinsulate underlining to help keep it cosy.

The other big task before I can commence cutting and sewing has been tracing off all the pattern pieces. I am not always a tracer- on PDF patterns for me I usually just cut them to the right size, but for children’s patterns where I’m planning to use multiple sizes and pattern books I always trace. I did find the patterns in this book a little odd the first few times I used them and I took a while to find the tiny grainline arrow, but now that I know what I’m looking for it is much simpler!

I know lots of people swear by different methods of tracing. Personally I always choose this squared dressmakers tracing paper from Amazon. I like having the squares to help me align things to grain, it is a nice weight- not to thin and flimsy, and it can arrive next day with prime if you are halfway through something and run out!

I still have a few more decisions to make and notions to order but i’m pretty exited to see this coming together.

Mustard Maple

There is a lot of mustard coming up on the blog at the moment because I cut a whole selection of things for the whole family from this fabric! Lottie gets another turn today with a Poppy and Jazz Maple cardigan, which is one of the new to me patterns on my make 9 plans.

This maple cardigan was cut and planned to coordinate with Lottie’s footed trousers and a second hand ready-to-wear vest that we were given. I’ve been enjoying looking through the things that we have been given and planning one or two extras to coordinate with some of my favourites.

It is such a simple pattern to sew. If you have made other t-shirts or jumpers the construction should be pretty familiar. The main difference is that the waistband and neckband need to open rather than being sewn into a circle so you need to align the ends with the front edge.

It’s currently a roomy fit with a quite bit of space to grow. She is on the smaller end of the size bracket still so hopefully she will get lots of wear out of it before she grows too much!

The pattern has you interface the front band where the snaps are fitted, so these feel much more secure than ones I have done in the past. I chose these aqua blue prym ones as a bit of a contrast.

Lottie seems to like it. She is getting bigger and smilier all the time! I think it will coordinate with a lot of her clothes at the moment so that is great.

Be wild baby!

This post comes a bit out of sequence because it is another collaboration blog post going live on Minerva Crafts this week. They kindly gifted me the fabric, in exchange for a blog post and photos. I was able to use this very sweet cotton spandex print to make a ‘coming home’ outfit for the new baby, and a co-ordinating t-shirt for Toby, so these were actually sewn in about May or June last year!

One of the reasons that I chose this fabric to test was because it would co-ordinate really nicely with the other pieces that I have already made and blogged in grey and green. It seems like a good idea for the baby to have a wardrobe that will mix and match as well as possible, so these are also in the newborn size.

I used the same patterns as the ‘pencils’ outfits, and this was actually finished first, inspiring a search through my stash to find some other fabric options. Toby’s t-shirt is a Brindille and Twig Ringer Tee, so also a free pattern. This time I left off my neckline hack and just made it as in the pattern. It is so quick to sew up, and I think this is the 12-18 month size.

As always, the full blog post can be found on their website here, with more details and pictures. Enjoy!