Tuesday, April 28, 2015

FYI: San Fran Spring Break Trip and Kids Clothes (Sewing and Shopping)

I inherited a trait from my mother that creates a little extra urgency around events such as birthdays, family visits and family vacations. It's the impulse to make these events deadlines for new projects! Hand designed birthday invitations, room remodels, or (most often) new handmade clothes! I think it's not a bad thing because many of these projects wouldn't get finished without the pressure of a deadline. When it comes to family vacations, I enjoy taking photos of my children so much I can't resist the lure of an atypical location as the backdrop for shooting something I've sewn for them. But it does add to the stress of packing and getting things organized.

When we were getting ready for a Spring Break trip to San Francisco I was turning over sewing ideas in my head and realizing I wouldn't be able to pull off Easter dresses plus casual clothes the time our flight left, so I was excited when Kohl's sent me a gift card to shop for Spring Break at their store. I could prioritize some things to sew, and then shop for a few essentials we needed for the change of seasons.

It was a lot of fun to shop with the girls at Kohl's. It was especially great when Audrey found something she wanted to wear since she is the most difficult to shop and sew for, and the first to need new things. I found that Kohl's had some really affordable basics coordinates and a lot of current trends for girls including digital photo print tee shirts and preppy/Palm Beach prints. Some of my favorites!

And I found a new pair of sunglasses for myself! I embraced the comeback of gold with some Simply Vera Wang Vented Lens Sunglasses.

We found cute, casual sets for the girls to run around in when we visited Pier 39 (I love watching the seals!), along with a stop at It's Sugar candy store (fun!),  Ghiradelli Square (ice cream!), and China Town (so many tourist trinkets!) on our first day in San Francisco.

Girl's clothing provided by Kohl's:
(They are wearing their own jackets and shoes.)

In addition to some of the tourist "musts," which were fun for our girls, we managed to fit in some of my favorite things: food and fabric shopping. I loved visiting the Ferry Building shops and some old lunch spots from the days when I worked at a dot-com in San Francisco. We had a breakfast of chocolate croissants, almond croissants and croques at the mounthwatering Tartine

(photo from my Instagram feed)

And I had the treat of going to Britex Fabrics with Audrey. I love that store! I purchased bridal lace for my gown there years ago and though we only had a few minutes and a few dollars Audrey and I found some great pieces in their remnants section.

(photo from my Instagram feed)

Our trip coincided with Easter and it's a little strange to be away from home on an important holiday. Luckily we have family in the Bay Area so we spent the bulk of the time with cousins. We attended an Easter fair and egg hunt with them which was a real highlight for the girls.

Games, facepainting, horseback riding and bouncy houses are hard to beat, no matter the other local attractions! It's good to have a balance of things like this on a trip with kids. (Remember when we visited a bouncy house in Italy?)

I used my Game Day Jersey pattern to make some new things for the girls. I'm working on a pattern extension for the straight tee-shirt dresses Scarlett and Tess are wearing with Jumping Beans leggings, Audrey is wearing the Game Day Jersey Tee with 3/4 sleeves and SO Utility Shorts from Kohl's.

It was a fantastic trip! And I confirmed for myself (again) that it always makes sense to give up some of my handmade ambitions in favor of sanity and more time with the people I love, whether I'm getting ready for a party or a trip. 

We saw some great sights in San Francisco, but the thing we really loved was the chance to spend a few days with our family. Cousins are where it's at!

Girl's clothing provided by Kohl's:

On Audrey: Mudd Hi-Lo Ringer Tee in Egret Palm and SO Utility Shorts (her own denim shirt)
On Tess: Jumping Beans Printed Side-Tie Te in Royal Flowers (her own skirt, leggings and jacket) 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sewing: Easter Angel Sleeve Dresses for Girls and Dolls (Free Doll Dress Pattern)

Easter dresses are some of my favorite projects. I love the idea of a new pretty dress for Spring, and the tradition of something special to mark the holiday. I usually lean toward the dressier dress, or at least something sort of ambitious, but this year I kept it simple. I made Angel Sleeve Dresses and Blouses with skirt for my girls and their dolls. I've updated my Angel Sleeve Dress pattern (one of my first) with digitally drafted pattern pieces, and I have the Doll Angel Sleeve Dress and Blouse Pattern for you free, along with a sewing tutorial below. 

Simple doesn't have to be boring, so I picked bold floral fabrics for the dresses (all purchased from Jo-Ann in their premium quilting fabric section) and adding pom-pom and bias trim. It's simple to embellish these dresses with trim at the sleeve and skirt hem and adds a bit more fun.

The Doll Angel Sleeve Dress Pattern is sized for 14", 16" and 18" dolls and it's such a basic shape it would work for dolls of all shapes. 

I used the 16" for the Waldorf dolls I sewed and it also works well for the Disney Animator's Collection dolls. The 18" pattern is designed for American Girl Dolls, Our Generation Dolls and the like.

I used a mini pom-pom trim on the sleeves and hems of the Waldorf Doll dresses, but opted for packaged 1/2" bias tape for the American Girl Doll dress. I think the bias trim is a great look for dolls and girls! I just hemmed the dresses as the pattern directed and then sandwiched the sleeve and skirt hems in the folded bias tape and stitched close to the fold.

You may be wondering about the three girls in this photo.... I knew all three of my girls wouldn't enjoy these dresses but I did want to sew a third matching set for an 18" doll and her girl. Luckily my beautiful friend indulged me by letting me borrow her American Girl Doll for a fitting and was amiable to participating in a photo shoot. She was my best model! She thought it was fun! I've been reminding my girls of her enthusiasm ever since--they don't always see a photoshoot for the good time that it is! 

It's too bad I didn't just talk Audrey into this shoot, because I miss her in it. And I owe her an Easter dress. Easter is the happiest of the holidays my family celebrates (you can read a bit about my thoughts in Easter in this post). I hope you too are enjoying the renewal of Spring.

If part of your Spring celebration includes sewing, you can find the pattern for my Angel Sleeve Dress and Blouse here in my Etsy Shop. And the free pattern for the Doll's Angel Sleeve Dress and Blouse here.

Keep reading for the sewing tutorial for making a doll-sized Angel Sleeve Dress or Blouse.

If you want to see more clothes I've sewn for these dolls you can view my Waldorf Dolls Wardrobe Post I and Waldorf Dolls Wardobe Post II.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

FYI: Spain Itinerary and Highlights (Traveling without Kids)

A couple of years ago in April this was my view! Fields of poppies streaming past my window as we drove between cities in southern Spain. It seems like a dream. It was dreamy, in fact. I never shared a report here but when I threw a Spanish-inspired brunch a few weeks ago I couldn't stop thinking about this beautiful trip and thought I'd share it with you. 

When my husband and I were planning our ten-day itinerary I looked online for stops along the way that would inspire the sewist/pattern designer/knitter/mother/foodie in me but it was difficult to find a write up, so perhaps the highlights I share here will help you when you have the opportunity to visit Spain.

Click to read all the details.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...