Monthly Archives

March 2014

Handmade Wardrobe: pre-schooler casual

Continuing on in my quest to sew a wardrobe for my youngest.  Why my youngest?  Because she’s my favorite.


Ha…I jest. (Of course)  Okay, maybe it’s because she requires the least amount of fabric and harbors the least amount of unsolicited opinions on the finished product.  At least, she has the smallest vocabulary.  Not to mention that when I mentioned sewing my oldest daughter’s concert dress, she fell into a heap of bitter tears.  Moving right along…

This little one was quite happy with her new ‘birdy shirt.’  If she sees it, it is what she’s wearing that day.  And I don’t blame her, I love this fabric, and had trouble deciding what to make with it, so in the end it came down to necessity.  Girl needs some t-shirts for the warmer weather that is surely (let’s be optimistic) on its way.  I used the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern and widened it a smidge.  So I guess we’ll just call it a Flashback Tee.   Because if I’m hand-sewing this girl a wardrobe, I’d like it to last more than a couple of months.  I also added puff sleeves to the FBST, and then top stitched a peter pan collar shape, but seriously, you can’t even see that.  I like the concept, in theory, but it really is a non-existent feature here because the pattern is so busy.  Honestly, every time she wears this, I picture it as a little tee and shorts set of pajamas.  I have a feeling they are in her future.

Adirondack Inspired FBST with puffed sleeves Adirondack Inspired FBST with puffed sleevesAdirondack Inspired FBST with puffed sleeves

The pants are another pair of Hosh pants (see here, and here).  I made this pair straight leg, and sized up to get a lot of wear out of these.  I will probably have to go in and shorten the elastic once she is out of diapers, though…the extra padding is definitely helping these babies stay up.  (The pattern calls for buttonhole elastic to make them adjustable, but I just sewed in some regular, old elastic.)  I also added little pockets to these pants after the fact, which was a little slapshoddy and a total hack, but sometimes that method works just fine.

Adirondack Inspired / Hosh Pants with pockets Adirondack Inspired / Hosh Pants with pockets Adirondack Inspired / Hosh Pants with pockets

I love these pants with other, less colorful and patterned, shirts.  A nice hot pink pop with her more neutral shirts is fun to see after this marathon winter.

Adirondack Inspired / Hosh Pants with pocketsAdirondack Inspired / Hosh Pants with pockets

The quick and dirty details…

Patterns:  Flashback Skinny T (3T), Hosh Pants (2T)

Measurements:  Her belly measures at 19 1/2 inches.  (She will be 3 in May)

Materials:  A pink bottom weight, bird and flower patterned knit, and purple ribbing…all from Jo Ann’s.

Notions:  Thread, one-inch elastic

Difficulty Level:  Both beginner friendly, and a more advanced seamstress could sew it up in an afternoon. If you’re a beginner, the most difficult elements would be the neckband of the t-shirt and making the waistband on the pants.  Neither are especially difficult, but they take time when it’s a new concept.  I can’t visualize something until I actually do it, so even though the waistband is not at all tricky AND the pattern has step-by-step directions, the first time I still needed to take my time.  As far as necklines go, they take practice.  Mine is pretty disgruntled and wonky, but at the end of the day it’s just a practice thing.  If you’re new to knits, look for interlock, it’s like sewing a woven!

Oh, and don’t forget to pay your model.  Preferably in chocolate.

Adirondack Inspired





Pattern Hacking the Lady Skater

Hi all.  I’m so happy to announce that I am a guest contributor over at Imagine Gnats!  Today is my very first post, and a good one at that.  I’m participating in the Perfect Pattern Parcel and did a little pattern hacking to the Lady Skater.  Here’s a sneak peak!

Pattern Hacking the Lady Skater with Adirondack InspiredRead the rest here!  And seriously check out the Perfect Pattern Parcel.  It’s five fantastic patterns bundled together and available for a limited time.  Plus, you’ll be donating to charity (not to mention supporting indie designers) at the same time!


Grow-with-me pants tutorial

Alternate title, choose your own adventure pants!

Back to share  this little method I used to create pants with a contrast cuff.  I find that with my kids, they are typically growing up and not necessarily out.  Toddlers, especially, seem to grow up and then lose their baby bellies in the process.  So I created a pair of pants that can grow up with them, with a little variation along the way.  A cute contrast cuff to be folded up until they grow into the full length.  Also an exercise in ‘how to add a cuff when I only have a tiny bit of fabric available.’

First, decide how big you want your cuff.  These are two inches. Reversible Pant Cuff TutorialThen add top and bottom seam allowances to this, and make sure to change your pants hem seam allowance to match.  I used 1/4 inch seam allowances.  Take your cuff and iron one seam allowance up, like so… Reversible Pant Cuff TutorialNext,  line up the raw edges of both your pants bottom and the cuff, and sew.   This both hems your pants and adds the cuff.  We will hide all the raw edges in the nest step.pantcuff3Reversible Pant Cuff TutorialNow press your cuff to the wrong side and pin, tucking the seam allowance under.  Reversible Pant Cuff TutorialAnd edgestitch that sucker down.  Reversible Pant Cuff TutorialThe pattern I was using only has two pattern pieces, and therefore no outside seam edge.  To clean up the look of the inside seam, I just folded and sewed the fabric to hide the raw edges.  I sometimes do this to the entire seam when I want things to look nice and pretty on the inside.  Pant Cuff TutorialAnd, voila, you’re done and you have a fun little grow-with-me cuff to fit your toddler for more than a few months.  If your kids are slow growers, like mine, these pants could fit for a few years.   I think this would be cute to make with pants that could be either folded up capris or pants.  When you are taking the time to home-sew, versatility and extended wear are always a big bonus.Reversible Pant Cuff Tutorial


Now go forth and cuff all the pants.

A portrait a week / 9 of 52

A portrait a week continues.

Inspired by Practising Simplicity.


This winter has had a lot of really cold temps, not entirely conducive for playing out in the snow.  Last week they got some much-needed outside time.  I’m not sure who needed it more, the kids or myself.  This is the first year I can bundle them up and send them outside to play.  Alone. This one snowshoed around the house for almost an hour with her big sister.  She is so eager to be part of that magical big-kid world.  The school-day mornings bring a lot of sadness in the morning when Daddy leaves for school with her brother and sister in tow…  She has always been independent, hitting major milestones faster and more intensely than her older siblings.  But it wasn’t until this week that I’ve stopped thinking of her as a baby, my baby.  My last baby.  Sniff.


Birthday gifts

I love sewing little handmades for little ones, and seem to be stuck on pants lately.  I also seem to be stuck on not ever having the items made at the time of proper gift-giving event.  Luckily, a one year old is pretty indifferent to gifts at all, so I got a free pass on this one.

This particular one-year-old needed some little pants made just for him.  (A year ago I made him these! So tiny!!)  For inspiration, I looked around at what the men in his life like to wear.  At his birthday party, all but one of the men was dressed in some sort of button down flannel/check shirt.  I really need to learn how to make a button-down for the Adirondack boys in my life, but until that happens, I used that inspiration in other ways. Three pairs of pants, three modified patterns.  Dana’s kid shorts pattern, Sarah’s Hosh Pants, and Melly’s PJ Pants.


I kind of screwed up two out of three, and I’m hoping they all work.  The Hosh Pants are the bicycle pattern and I sized up, but then I thought I should have maybe had actual measurements to work with and sized up a little more.  I was surprised by how much I thought I widened the leg, but how skinny they actually are.  Live and learn.  I really like the look of them, though, and want to try to do a dropped crotch modified version out of knit.  Someday…

Hosh (Pajama) Pantseight

The Kid Shorts-converted-to-pants pattern….I just…damned if I know.   I think I sewed half of it upside down.  As in half waist/half cuff.  All I know is I ended up with a waist that might fit a (skinny) newborn and cuffs that looked about right.  I went back in and added a strip of fabric to each leg, but whoa.  They are rough (sorry W!).  I’m hoping they work well enough to sleep in, though, because they were my favorite fabric combo.  I’ll probably have to try them on him, and then take in the inseams two different amounts, because as I said, one is a cuff and the other is a waist.  I think.   Maybe…  All that to say, sometimes you think you have this sewing thing down and then you realize, huh, you really can’t sew them in your sleep.  Maybe an extra cup of coffee next time.

two Dana's Kid Shorts Pattern as pants

For the Lazy Day PJ bottoms, I thinned out the leg and these sewed up beautifully.  I love the contrast waistband method, it was new to me and I loved how neat and tidy it sewed up.  I used a brown gingham that is pretty sturdy and will make cute little every day pants.  I sized up for extra-long wearing time, but until he gets a bit taller, I added a little peek-a-boo contrast cuff in there.  Two pants in one!  He’ll wear out the knees before he outgrows these, I think…

Contrast Cuffed Pants Contrast Cuff Pants

All fabric came from Jo Ann’s and it took me record time to pick them all out.  I’m not sure exactly what that time was, fabric stores are like a 3rd dimension, they run on their own time. The point is, I’m progressing in this area.  Almost enough to take children with me…(although I don’t ever plan on that).  Jo Ann’s is a little like TJ Max.  Utterly overwhelming with a garish combination of color and pattern.  Jewels to be found, for sure, but my first instinct is to just turn and walk out.  The only time I’ve ever found anything worthwhile at TJ Max is when I’ve been shopping with other people (looking at you, Tracy) and basically jailed in the place long enough to find a few items.

Once I learned to tune out some of the noise of so many fabrics and textures in one space, I love wandering around finding fabrics that jump out for the particular giftee I’m thinking of.  For this little one-year-old, I wanted a bit of that plaid flannel, something that would work for a more modern every-day pant (the checks), and the flannel with hooks and fish were a must since I pictured him wearing them on a trip to his Grandpa’s fishing camp in Canada, an annual family tradition.  I love winding meaning into the fabric choices, putting him in garments that tell a little story.

Sewing Toddler Pants

So now I’m wondering, how does everyone else choose their fabric?   Do you gather inspiration before hand and have it all planned out, or do you just walk around aimlessly and grab whatever speaks to you?  Do you buy fabric for each project individually, or in advance?  Do tell…