Wednesday, September 30, 2009


A friend from a chat board that I belong to is selling all her smocking things - pleater, patterns, plates, thread, etc...

And after talking with my husband - I am going to buy it from her!

I love smocking.  I taught myself 2 years with my daughter's dress.  But to have it pleated, I had to send it to a friend in San Diego, who owns a pleater! 

I haven't done any more smocking because I don't like to impose like that - again.

So, soon, I will have my own pleater!  I have a dress, a nightgown for me, and a blouse for me and daughter already planned in my head!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cruise clothes, Part II

Here are the pictures from the cruise (that's the ship we were on above!)

This would be the capri pants and matching shirt I made.  The shirt is not pink, but rather a baby red/white gingham check gauze.  Nice to sew, however it does ravel a little - even at the seams.  I added a white modestly panel as I don't like other people seeing my underthings (no matter how cute they are!) !

This was the new hawaiin shirt I made my husband.  He loves it.  I made it for this trip and while I was making it, he realized that I had enough fabric to make myself a matching shirt!  So, for Halloween this year, we will be going as "tacky tourists" with matching shirts and everything! 

And here is a cute picture of us in Mexico, trying to avoid all the flea market people.  And our bright yellow tags don't identity us as tourists, at all, do they?

All in all, we had a great time.  It was a nice early anniversary trip for ourselves.  We spent all the time together and then also with our friends from my husband's work.  (they were not allowed to talk shop at all!)  We were able to pretend that we were a couple again, with no children for 5 days!  However, as soon as we started shopping in Mexico, guess what I did?

Yep!  Bought presents for my 6 children, my mom and dad.
And none for me!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My 6 children -

People always ask me 3 questions about my children:

1) You have 6 kids?! (yep, that's what I said)
2) Are they all yours (DUH! of course they are all mine!)
3) I can't imagine having 6 children! You do know what causes that, right? (yea, we finally figured it out and bought a TV to keep us busy at night ;) )

I love being the mom of 6 - they keep me busy, on my toes and laughing for the most part. There are always interesting conversations at dinner and after school - between 3 teens and 3 younger ones, it can be quite confusing at times.

Here I am always talking about my 6 children, but not always posting pictures of all of here they are:






and last but not least, JP

That's all of them - all 6! They make my life fun and complete!

Friday, September 25, 2009

My sewing to-do-list...

My sewing to-do list seems never-ending, but by my choice. So far, in the last week I have finished a matching sundress (it matches mine) for JP (4yo), a knit t-shirt (pictures forth coming when I download the camera) for JT (7yo), and a denim mini-skirt (pictures not yet taken) for MM (14yo).

And sitting and waiting for a waistband, belt carriers, and hem/cuff is AP's (9yo) new church trousers! I will finish all but the waistband completely, as I am waiting for buttonhole elastic. Seeing that most of my children are super thin (hmm...wonder what my problem is?) but have long legs and crotch lengths, I often sew their size, and the put in this type of adjustable elastic. Then they can adjust the waist to their liking.

I also have a pair of khaki trousers to finish for AM (12yo) also. I have several other things cut - some are put away until winter, and others I have put away until my mom wants them sewn up.

I have a shirt to make my husband for his birthday - a very nice black cuban style shirt with pintucks and embroidery - his favorite type of shirts.

The rest of my list are clothing that needs to be made: jackets for our slightly cold winter, jeans for JP, oj bottoms for most, some new blouses for me for winter, and also in line are new bags that my mom and I plan on doing together.

So, no pictures today - maybe tomorrow or Sunday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little girl vintage (or my daughter who loves poufy skirts!)

I love sewing vintage! I find that the patterns are well put together, the directions are simple (often only 1 page, not 4-5) and that the styles are perfect for those of us with an hourglass figure.

I also love sewing vintage for my daughters. They have all been blessed with an hourglass figure - and they each love to wear beautiful clothes in their own way.

I recently made JT this new dress: Simplicity 4158 from the 50/60's.

My pattern is a size 3 - which is still a little big on her! I took up the 4" hem and it still comes to her knees - not above them!


My son, MD, choose this fabric - found at JoAnn's. It is a cotton muslin with pintucks sewn on the diagonal. I lined it with ecru bastiste from Hancock's Fabrics. The skirt is puffy because 1) she loves puffy skirts! and 2) I used netting on the skirt lining to create a permnanent petticoat!


This is the apron/pinafore (don't laugh, but I found the fabric in the $2 section of Wal-Mart! it's just a cotton/poly blend) - it comes apart into 2 pieces. I covered my own buttons, as the fabric is quite busy and I could not find anything I liked to go with it! There are, count'em, 10 buttons alone, on the pinafore, along with 11 buttonholes! (thank heaven for my automatic buttonholer on my Brother sewing machine!)


Here is the dress without the top of the pinafore/apron. And one more just because my mom takes great pictures (she used to do this all the time - and is startin to get back into it - don't they look better than mine?):


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Birthday Dress and the Birthday Blouse...

My youngest, JP, turned 4 last month. And as most 4 year old girls go, she is into princesses and the like. So I took a pink t-shirt from the dollar store, 1 yard of disney princess material, a little embroidery from my sewing machine (and the princess card) and voila! A princess dress for my princess:


I embroidered a castle on the front of the shirt


and made it slightly longer so that she can wear it next year also.

And finally - here is the birthday white blouse I made for my sister, being modeled by Suzanne (the mannequin) as my sister lives on the East Coast:


While it bothers me that the fabric is "slightly" see-thru, she loves it! I was all worried, but it was exactly what she wanted (and she has now commissioned a purple and a black blouse with 3/4 sleeves for the winter!). Fortunately, she won't be here until Thanksgiving, so I can get all my schoolwork done and then sew her blouses!

Not much sewing at the moment - I have to take my A+ examinations by October 5th, so I actually am spending my sewing time studying and reading for the next several weeks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sewing for older children

I have been sewing for my children (all 6 of them!) since my daughter, MM, was born. Her brother MD, was 3.

Anyway, they are now 17 (MD – the boy) and 14 (MM – the girl). There are 2 more girls, AM who is 12, and JP who is 4; there are then the 2 little boys – AP who is 9 and JT who is 7.

So, the standard questions I get about sewing for my older children are:

What do you sew for them?
How do you get them to wear it?

What do I sew for them? Everything!

My daughters enjoy me making their dresses, skirts, shirts, and pants. I don’t sew everything – sometimes it is a much better deal to buy something rather than sew it. However, I do know that most high-end things they want, I can replicate. Here is my process:

1. Window shop! My daughters and I go window shopping with our cell phone cameras and notebook in hand. We take notes, sketches, and sometimes, pictures. I write down type of fabric, colors, and key designs.

2. Home to dig through patterns that have similar features that can then be re-designed into the look they are looking for or to the store to purchase a new pattern.

~ Patterns for older children are a completely different thing. I use misses patterns for MM – because they have bust darts and such in them – something she likes (and needs now). I often will make a muslin for her – to correct the shoulder, bust and waist, and overall length (she has a long torso). She often designs her own clothes, giving me the drawing of what she wants based on what she has seen lately.

~ I also use misses patterns at times for my 12 year old, AM. She loves very simple, classic lines for her skirts and dresses – things that are definitely hard to find in girls’ patterns! (why the big 4 pattern companies think that my 12yo wants to dress like my 4yo is beyond me!) I will cut the pattern to either her waist or bust and then make my corrections from there on the muslin. I often save her muslins, as she tends to like the same patterns used again and again.

3. Once patterns are decided on, then we shop for fabric and notions! We always start at home with my fabric stash. Each child has their own bin of fabric – pieces that they have chosen over the last year. I also allow them (to a point) to look in my other bins (all 18 of them, and yes, they are all organized according to content – no comments today about being anal please – we will leave that for another discussion, ok?). Otherwise, we go shopping for the fabric they are looking for. I very rarely buy any fabric without them anymore (lesson learned the hard way – that bit of fabric became a dress for JP instead).

4. Once fabric and notions are in hand, they wash/dry their fabric and then help either with cutting out or with the younger children while I cut out fabric. I make sure to have current measurements and then start sewing.

How to get them to wear what I sew: I only sew things they want!

I don’t sew as much for them as I did when they were little (I still sew about 75% of my JP, the 4yo’s, wardrobe), but the things I do sew are things that they want and need. By allowing them to have control over pattern, design, fabric, and colors, they love the things I sew for them. At the moment, I have a blue jean mini-skirt cut and ready to sew this week for MM – because she couldn’t stand to spend $30 for one when she knew that the pattern only takes 1 yard for $10 plus the zipper for $1.75. She gladly bought the yard of denim and the zipper!

In the last 2 months, I have made for both girls: black leggings, 2 church dresses, 1 new knit shirt, and 1 new mini-skirt. They have a few more things that they want – new jackets for the winter and some longer sleeve shirts (plus the mini-skirt).

Sewing for my 17yo son, MD, is slightly different. He has a very distinct style (t-shirts and jeans). However, he does like the dress shirts and vests that I make him for church. He prefers me to make them at times because they are more fitted than what he can buy in the store.

So, to recap sewing for older children:

~Let them choose – everything! Style, pattern, fabric, color, and notions!

~Take your time sewing for them! While I can quickly sew, I take time and use all my skills to make my older children’s’ clothes. I want them to be impressed and proud of their couture clothing, which is exactly what I am making! They have learned to appreciate good fabric, good seams, and good techniques – which often leads them coming back for more!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Re-using shirts for little ones

One of the things that I have learned with having 6 children is how to reuse things. Recently, my husband got a yellow stain on his white polo shirt - right in the middle of his chest...thus rendering it inwearable (at least by my standards).

So, I turned it into a much needed white shirt for my now 4-year-old daughter.

And I took photos, too!


This is the shirt cut out (a Jalie pattern)

What was left over from the original shirt


The finished shirt! (before I ironed it)

Parting shot -

The smocked dress 18 months still fits everywhere - just a little shorter. In case you were wondering - my 4-year-old is 28 pounds and wears a RTW 3/4 in length, but a 2 in her waist and chest.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Something else I made several months ago...

So, I do have some new pictures on the camera to upload. But, somehow, between helping my mom and dad with their house (they are getting ready to sell) and studying and teaching school to my 4 home-educated children, and then helping my 2 teens with their homework each day...the camera is like the last thing I think of needing to do something with.



These 2 sweet mandarin collar dresses I made for my oldest and youngest daughters last fall. The little princess wasn't too fond of the black and red, however she quickly fell in love with the satiny feel of the fabric!

I used red piping and handsewed the frogs on. The girls still wear them - although less this summer, as the dresses don't breath too well in 100°+ weather that we have here in Arizona. back to our regularly scheduled CompTIA A+ studying!