Monday, September 27, 2010

Polka Dot Dresses in Progress (Yes, Actual Sewing)

Turquoise baby dresses in progress (Simplicity 3765)

Yes, actual sewing, not imaginary wishful thinking sewing. Yesterday's meeting of the Brooklyn Burdastyle Sewing Club got me so revved up I actually opened my sewing cabinet for the first time in four months, dug up a few of my many unfinished objects, and... sewed! (Z was taking a nap on Masheka's chest at the time, in case you were curious).

Thankfully I still remembered how. By the time Z got up from her nap, I had almost finished two dresses for her, and it felt great. The polka dot one just needs hemming and a back neck closure button, and the medallion-patterned one needs the same, plus the skirt.

Turquoise baby dresses in progress (Simplicity 3765)

Turquoise baby dresses in progress (Simplicity 3765)

The pattern is Simplicity 3765 (full project details here). I actually cut these out in March, the same week I started this blog. I was visiting family in Massachusetts for my baby shower and my cousin's bar mitzvah, so my mom and I took a quick trip to Jo-Ann Fabrics, bought some cheap quilting cotton and a baby pattern. I cut out the fabric pieces, started to sew... and promptly got the flu and never touched them again.

Luckily I decided to make a 12-month size (since we got so many gifts in smaller sizes). Z is already wearing 9 and 12 month sizes in ready to wear, but these dresses are HUGE and probably won't fit her til spring.

A few lessons learned so far:

  • I still suck at gathering. Four months off has not given me the magical ability to make it even without the help of way too many pins and measuring. Grrr.
  • I won't sew clothes from Jo-Ann's brand quilting cotton again, even baby clothes. The patterns and colors are great, but it has no drape at all and the prints are totally off grain, so I had to give up on matching them in any way. I know quilting cotton is not meant for adult apparel, but I figured it'd be ok for a kid... and I may have figured wrong.

The other unfinished object I may finish in the next month is my chartreuse wrap cardigan (last seen here as a muslin) which is all cut out and 75% sewn. I'm almost pre-preggo size again, but I think it will still look nice belted/wrapped.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Blue Doodle Digitally Printed Hoodie

Blue Doodle Baby Hoodie (worn by Baby Z, 12 wks)

Baby Z models my first (and so far, only) foray into clothing sewn from digitally printed fabric. The drawings are my husband Masheka's sketchbook doodles, which I made into a pattern in PhotoShop and had printed via Spoonflower on organic cotton interlock knit fabric. The sewing pattern is the hooded sweatshirt from Kwik Sew's Sewing for Baby book. See my original blog post with full details and a closeup of the fabric pattern...

Here's another, sleepier shot:

Blue Doodle Baby Hoodie (worn by Baby Z, 12 wks)

I realize that dressing a baby girl all in blue will inevitably lead to strangers exclaiming "he's so cute!" but Baby Z couldn't care less, and neither do I!

Baby girl continues to outgrow her clothes at lightning speed--at not yet 3 months, she is in all 6 month and 9 month RTW baby sizes. And the way-too-big "foolproof baby hat" I knit her? Now a bit tiny:

Baby Z in her Foolproof Baby Hat

Baby Z in her FoolProof Baby Hat

My little Amazon woman!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If I could sew one dress from my pattern stash...

I think it would Vogue 8280:

Vogue 8280

Oh... or maybe the Colette Ceylon, since it actually unbuttons in front for nursing:

Colette 1009 Ceylon Dress Photo

But... considering my rapidly changing size, I'm probably most likely to make Vogue 1027 (see Elizabeth or Stitchy Witch's lovely versions):

Vogue 1027

That is, if I ever get a chance to open the sewing machine cabinet in the next few months. Now that I'm back working full time, any minute I'm not at work I want to spend cuddling (+nursing) with Baby Z, so my only sewing time for now will be her weekend naps... I think it would be super awkward to try to sew with her in a sling front carry, and I'm afraid she'd grab for dangerous pins and such anyway.

I need to do a serious closet sort now that it's getting chilly--I couldn't find a jacket that fit me this morning and will have to wear a sweatshirt over my nice work outfit. All my pre-preggo clothes are in random bags or shoved in drawers I can't get to... And I dunno if they'd fit anyway--my high bust is back to 34, but my full bust is ... 42. Yeah, I know. MAJOR FBA WORK AHEAD.

Too bad I don't have time to join my Burdastyle Sewing Club in their trench coat sewalong for McCall's 5525:

McCalls 5525 coat

Thursday, September 2, 2010

There's Nothing Like Handmade

"Maine Doggies" Orange Baby Sweater & Hat

As I'm sure you'll agree, there's nothing like a handmade gift. I've mostly been featuring handmade items made for Baby Z by me or my amazing mom, but our friends and family have been generous with their knitting needles and sewing machines as well!

The above sweater and hat set is a gift to Baby Z from her Great Aunt Becky. There's a story behind the little bears labeled "Maine Doggies"--when I was a toddler, I used to visit my grandparents on their farm in Maine. One day I was walking with my grandmother Melba and saw a bear--I thought it was a big dog and wanted to go over and pet it.

My Aunt Becky also made her this stranded hat and mitten set:

Stranded blue & white baby hat & mittens

And here's Z a few weeks ago in a diaper soaker knit by our friend Sonia, lying on a gorgeous patchwork baby quilt made by my department head Debbie (note the ballet shoes in the quilting pattern):

Baby Z

Speaking of diaper soakers, Z's already grown out of the smallest one I knit for her, the Green Goblin soaker. Here she is in the soaker her first week home, when she was just over 8 pounds...

Baby Z (aka Cartoonist Baby), the Early Days!

And here she is in that same soaker a month ago, at 5 weeks old:

Baby Z

Now at 2 1/2 months old and 13 pounds, she's outgrown many of her 3 month clothes and is mostly in 6 month sizes. And her feet barely fit in the booties I knit for her that I thought were so huge:

Bordeaux "Better than Bootties" Baby Socks

Knitting and sewing aren't the only crafts in town, of course. My mother-in-law Gail makes beautiful handmade soaps and jewelry that she sells at conventions and fairs, and she put together these gift bags for Z's baby shower in March. She made the soaps and magnets, and Masheka's cousin Laurie made the lollipops (I've whited Z's name out in PhotoShop for her privacy.) You'll note the soap features a mold of a pregnant woman.

Baby shower gift bags & soap

Orange Dress Plans (+ Actual Fabric Acquisition)

Orange, white and brown floral cotton

Considering I haven't so much as opened my sewing machine cabinet since Baby Z's birth, I really have no business adding to my overflowing fabric stash. However, I recently brought Z along to my first post-baby Brooklyn Burdastyle Sewing Club meetup (wearing an outfit I made for her, naturally)... and afterwards we took a little stroll over to the fabulous Brooklyn General yarn and fabric store.

When I saw the above fabric, I thought it'd be perfect for one of the Oliver + S patterns from my stash, either the Tea Party Sundress:

Oliver S Tea Party Dress
...or the Playdate dress:

Oliver S Playdate Dress

I also got some solid brown cotton for the yoke or bodice:

Brown Kona cotton

Of course I already have three UFO baby dresses I started for Baby Z back in March that would really require only a few hours or less to finish... but considering the state of the apartment after several months of taking care of a newborn, and my return to work next week, it might be a while.

Still, a girl can dream!

Happy 3rd Wedding Anniversary to Me!

That's fellow cartoonist Ted Rall officiating with his Hello Kitty binder in the background--he's currently on a reporting trip in Afghanistan. The Secret Service looking guy on the left is Masheka's best friend Wil.

We're standing in front of one of the old textile mills in my hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. We nearly had our ceremony at the American Textile History Museum but I'm glad we had it outdoors (even though I did get sunburned).

I didn't end up making my dress (I bought it on eBay for $100), but my mother did make the sash and the hairpiece (and the wedding cake and the topper and all the decorations and...). Don't you just love a sweetheart neckline? It's actually a cocktail dress, as I really wanted something knee length.

We kissed so enthusiastically after we exchanged rings that his boutonniere got stuck to me:



More cavorting in front of old mill buildings:

Wedding 2007

Wedding 2007

Last year we took a trip to a fun motel in the Catskills for our anniversary, and the year before it was a B&B in Provincetown, but now that we have a 2-month-old (who is unfortunately allergic to all dairy and soy, which puts a real kink in what her mommy can eat) we are just going out to a nice allergy-friendly BBQ restaurant. I may wear high heels for the first time in months! And a polka dot dress, of course...

Top photo by my brother Max, other photos by Erin Leigh.