Today, I’m guest posting at Louise’s blog, I’m Feeling Crafty. She has organized a series dedicated to sewing projects inspired by your favourite game. Froo & Boo aren’t into board games yet, preferring to make up their own games instead. To see what I created for the Sew Ready to Play series, please head over to I’m Feeling Crafty!
Just popping in to wish my Froo bear a big happy 6th birthday! We celebrated Froo’s birthday a week early in Vancouver with our friends. It was a great way to get together and have all 12 (a dozen!) of our kids play together in my parents’ backyard. It was a little surreal–it’s the same backyard where I had my childhood birthday parties.
Tomorrow, we’re looking forward to a Build-A-Bear party! I’ve been wanting to throw a Build-A-Bear party before I even had kids. Today’s plans include: baking a bear cake together, filling up Froo’s day with arts & crafts happiness and eating dinner at her favourite restaurant.
This year, there aren’t any epic handmade birthday gifts. (For Froo’s 4th birthday, I made her a quiet book, for her 5th birthday, a pair of funny bunnies.) Instead, I bought Froo a shirt from Target and handstitched shiny beads in the shape of the no. 6 in one of the sparkly hearts. It’s a little wonky, a little last minute, but it’s a little something handmade.
I’m always astounded at the developmental growth that happens at each birthday, but this year, I feel like there’s a different kind of jump–more of a giant leap out of the toddler years into the beginning stages of big-kidness. The independence and acceptance of responsibility, combined with a soft and caring heart, makes me so proud of my Froo. She is growing up in a way that isn’t just measured in inches, pounds and physical milestones.
My heart swells.
Finally, a post about the wedding! We are back in California, still recovering from an amazing visit back home. The hubs’ little brother has all grown up–I’m so proud of him! He was still in high school when he was a groomsman at our wedding and now he has a beautiful wife, ready to begin the adventure of married life.
I took the photos of Froo & Boo’s flower girl dress and ring bearer suit after they had been squished in a suitcase for several days, with chocolate mousse stains, donut frosting and all. Yikes.
Ooh. Aah. The one and only fairy tale dress pattern by Oliver + S, in size 6. It was a tonne of work, but it really saved me when I needed to work out the vision stuck in my head. The main fabric is a heavy polyester satin in ivory and the skirt looks like rosettes stitched onto tulle. Both fabrics were purchased at Fabric Outlet in San Francisco.
I made a couple of modifications. I mentioned before that I lengthened the bodice by 1 1/2″ and took in the center back by 1/4″. With this dress, it’s important to make a muslin to get the exact fit. Instead of taking the bodice in at the sides, I chose the center back because the side seams were located in just the right position–most likely from what’s left of Froo’s toddler tummy. As of next week, she will no longer be a toddler!
I also cut a one-piece skirt and widened it to 60″. I did this because the width of the satin was 60″, which meant that I could cut a single piece from selvedge to selvedge, eliminating the need to finish the seams. There are 4 layers of the skirt! The rosette tulle over a layer of satin over a layer of crinoline over a layer of lining. Fewf!
The back of the dress:
This is probably my favourite detail about this dress. Just a simple angled line to create a dramatic v-back. The bodice is lined with the same fabric because I wanted to ensure the neckline would stay fairly stiff. I really like the polyester satin because it doesn’t wrinkle very much.
The invisible zipper was a little tricky with all of the skirt layers. To get around this, I basted the rosette tulle onto the satin skirt, leaving an inch unsewn at each end. I sewed the zipper onto the satin skirt only and continued to follow the instructions. Afterwards, I hand stitched the rosette tulle close to the zipper seam. I hope that makes sense!
I almost forgot to include Froo’s hair jewels! It’s a jeweled and beaded applique that was stitched on tulle, purchased at Britex Fabrics. I hand stitched it to a piece of white felt, then carefully cut around the finished edge of the applique. Afterwards, I used E6000 glue to attach it to a satin covered headband that I bought at Jo-Ann.
Boo’s ring bearer outfit is a cute little black suit. The fabric is pretty awesome, also from Fabric Outlet. I reckon it’s the absolute best fabric to make a child’s suit. It’s a thick stretch sateen cotton, with 2 layers fused together. The sheen of the fabric makes it formal, with enough stretchiness for a squirmy boy and the thickness of the suit makes it virtually wrinkle-free.
Boo’s blazer is the Basic Blazer pattern by Blank Slate Patterns. If I were to make it again, I think I would try to get a better fit on Boo. There was just a little something that didn’t lay flat at the shoulders. I think it’s the shape of the arm scythe and the way the sleeves are set-in. I noticed it in his practice blazer, but thought it might be a problem with the sleeves being too short on Boo. But I’m being super picky and Boo was ever so cute!
A salesperson at Britex Fabrics recommended satin covered buttons for a tuxedo look. They aren’t something I would have previously considered, but they do look sharp and I’m happy with how it turned out.
The lining is a cotton voile in black plaid. I also added a hem facing to the lining, to ensure the blazer had a nice crisp hem.
The pants are the art museum trousers by Oliver + S. I didn’t add the belt loops because tuxedo pants are not worn with a belt. For the elastic, I placed it at the side seams instead, to keep the front waistband flat. The fit is perfect.
I had a major hiccup with one of the welt pockets. I had to throw it in the bin and cut a new pant leg. I couldn’t risk another frustrating pocket, so I decided to go without. I’m pretty sure it was because the fabric was too thick, because I know I can make a great pair of welt pockets!
I took a couple (hundred) photos of Froo & Boo in their finale flower girl dress and ring bearer suit. They are such crazy clowns! By the end of the photoshoot, the artwork from the magnet board had disappeared. It’s always a surprise when I upload my batch of photos. Please know that these sweet looking kids are really full of mischief.
I mentioned in my previous post that I didn’t take too many photos on the day of the wedding. My photography is usually limited to a tightly controlled environment, where I can set up my camera and shoot 500 photos in 3 minutes, with sweet and sticky bribes as a reward (see above). When in public, I usually feel like a fraud, holding a dslr, while taking blurry photos, with sweat running down my face, ruining my makeup. No thanks.
So here’s a combination of iPhone photos and some random shots:
I do regret not getting a photo of me with the kids. The hubs asked the wedding photographer to take a couple of shots of our family, so we’ll have to wait for those. I’m not sure if he was being sweet or frugal–hoping they turn out so I won’t make him take family portraits again!
Froo & Boo with my older sister and younger brother:
The wedding was oh-so-beautiful. It was heartwarming to connect with Uncle E’s bride. They started dating at around the time I was pregnant with Boo–I have no idea how we survived that year with a toddler and newborn! My memory is still hazy… then we moved to California when Boo was 1, so the distance has made it difficult. But I’m confident that Uncle E and Auntie Y will have a wonderful marriage! She is lovely, genuine and makes Uncle E happy. I can see how the love Uncle E has for Auntie Y has really transformed him into a man who will become a wonderful husband. He gave an emotional speech at his wedding that had me (and everyone else) in tears.
Congratulations Uncle E & Auntie Y! xoxo.
The wedding rehearsal went really well! I’ve never been to a wedding where the ceremony was held on the balcony of the hotel, right out of the main ballroom. So it was semi-outdoors, with a narrow aisle and great natural light. Beautiful. I had Froo & Boo practice walking down the aisle repetitively. They should have been able to walk down the aisle with their eyes closed. Umm, let’s just say half of the pair performed as practiced, while the other half did not. But it didn’t even matter–the bride was incredibly stunning and anything that happened beforehand was forgotten.
I only took a couple of photos on the day of the wedding. I figured the photographers would do a much better job and besides, I wanted to be fully in the moment. Which means I don’t have any posed photos of Froo & Boo in their formal flower girl and ring bearer outfits. I should also take photos of just the garments, as per my usual blog posts. I might try to get them to wear their outfits again! We’ll see, they don’t seem to want to cooperate with their exasperated mommy.
Froo is wearing her practice flower girl dress.
Pattern: Georgia Twirl Dress by Shwin Designs.
Boo is wearing his practice ring bearer blazer.
Pattern: Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns.
My Boo is looking pretty smart in his new ring bearer suit. He even cleaned up with a fresh haircut and gel! It’s looking a little sparse, like a nice manicured lawn, but his hair grows like weeds and should be full by the wedding. I originally wanted Boo to wear an ivory bow tie, made with Froo’s flower girl dress fabric, but I thought I would make a black one as well. Now I can’t decide which I prefer. Could you take a moment to vote? Much appreciated!
p.s. The final decision will be up to the bride & groom, but I thought it would be fun to see what seems to be the popular consensus.
After my first attempt at a flower girl dress, I reverted back to my go-to pattern maker of choice: Oliver + S, with the fairy tale dress pattern. It irks me that I didn’t have enough foresight to order the paper version when it was on sale, but the convenience of an instant download was a life-saver! With less than 2 weeks until the wedding, I am seriously running out of time.
So you might wonder why I chose the fairytale dress, when it doesn’t seem to meet the criteria I was looking for in a flower girl dress (circle skirt and v-back detail). Here are my reasons:
- circle skirts are overrated – although twirly, the movement and drape make it difficult to straighten out for photos. A gathered skirt behaves predictably and cooperates with the camera.
- the v-back modification is rather simple – draw an angled line and shorten the zipper.
What I gain: a wonderfully fitting bodice and impeccable construction of an Oliver + S pattern. I’ve also been combing through the fairy tale dress forum to glean useful tips on sewing the dress. There are some great discussion about things that I need to know that I didn’t know that I needed to know. For instance, creating a one-piece skirt, instead of cutting out 3 separate pieces. Brilliant!
I don’t have time to make a practice fairy tale dress, so I just made a muslin of the bodice to get the perfect fit for Froo. Size 6 with an added 1 1/2″ to the length (long torso) and 1/4″ removed from the centre back piece.
I considered adding the tulip cap sleeves because they are so darn tootin’ cute. I made a pair of sleeves, had a bit of a hiccup trying to figure out the construction, added a thread for discussion, and within a matter of minutes, I had helpful people offering suggestions! The internet is one of my best sewing tools! I then sewed one sleeve, had Froo try on the dress and took a FaceTime poll with the in-laws. Sleeveless won by a landslide. I unstitched the sleeve and now, I’m almost done making the BEST DRESS EVER. Seriously, after this dress, I should stop making dresses, because nothing will ever be as awesome. Except maybe another fairy tale dress with tulip sleeves…
I am both scared and excited–the makings of a nervous wreck. It is such an exhilarating feeling! I still have a mini ring bearer suit to make and perhaps, finish the grey suit. At this point, I think the plaid shorts are
good enough perfect for the rehearsal.
I hope you’ll visit again! The next time you’re here, I should have the actual flower girl dress and ring boy suit to show you!
I had a style of dress in mind for Froo’s flower girl dress. It would be ivory (as requested by the bride), but I wanted it to look like this dress I made for her. Simple enough: sleeveless, with a v-back opening, lowered waistline and a circle skirt. So the challenge: attaching a circle skirt to a woven fabric, with double layers to sandwich tulle for fullness. Yeah, no.
While searching for a pattern, I saw this beautiful eyelet dress by iCandy, made from the Georgia Twirl dress pattern by Shwin Designs. For Froo’s practice flower girl dress, I decided on a lightweight cotton voile in bright coral pink. I figured it would be worn again if it were pink, as opposed to ivory.
I sewed up a size 6, without any modifications, except added length and a couple layers of gathered tulle. Oh, and a top layer of matching lace!
For the tulle, I cut 4 layers of the bottom skirt piece. I sewed 2 together, making an extra wide skirt. Afterwards, I layered both skirts together to gather the waist and sewed it to the back of the front skirt piece.
The skirt on its own is very full and swingy, but the tulle adds a fullness that elevates the dress from “regular princess” to “fairy princess”. An important distinction, I’m told.
The back has a v-back opening with a button closure. One thing I didn’t realize before buying the pattern is that the skirt is completely open at the back. Not a huge problem–since the circle skirt is wide, it covers really well when overlapped. There are also optional instructions to tack the skirt in place.
The dress is too big at the bodice, even though I brought the bodice in an inch at each side. I could have moved the buttons over, but then I would have lost the v-back detail. In this instance, style won over fit.
The actual flower girl dress fabric is ah-mazing. So excited to sew it up, but a little scared, too. While I love this practice flower girl dress and I can see the potential with a better fitting bodice, I’m not sure if the fabric will work with the open back detail. I might have to try another pattern!
I’ll need to work this out soon–the wedding is only a couple of weeks away! I’ll try to keep you updated with my progress. I’m fully prepared for some late night frenzied sewing until everything is done (and perfect). I’m not a perfectionist, by no means, I just want both Froo & Boo’s garments to reflect a careful detail to fit, fabric and style–not simply that it was handmade by mommy. Besides, it’s easy enough to buy ready-to-wear, but this is Uncle E’s wedding–we are all so excited!
I’m super excited about the wedding, but I must admit, I have a bit of anxiety about Boo
running walking down the aisle and performing his ring bearer duties. I decided to channel that anxiety into sewing a suit for Boo, but I wanted to make a wearable muslin first, to make sure it fits.
I’m especially worried about Boo in photos. With the going rate of wedding photographers these days, I’m not sure Uncle E will appreciate moments like this:
I’m totally dating myself, but the photographer at my wedding shot in film. So what am I thinking? This cute face might require oodles of shots, but it’s all digital and completely worth it! The hubs thinks I’m a
crazy doting mommy.
For the suit jacket, I used the Blank Slate Basic Blazer pattern by Melly Sews. I used it once before, but modified, to make Froo a fitted blazer for the Project Run & Play competition. Since Boo is a large 3 year old boy, I sewed up a size 4, without any modifications. The only thing I left out were the welt pockets.
The fabric is a cheap, brushed grey canvas. It has a soft, flannel-like feel to it, but I found it in the duck cloth canvas section at Fabric Outlet in San Francisco. It’s quite heavy, making it more appropriate for a winter suit.
The lining is a lightweight shirting cotton in a green/brown plaid. Although I like that the lining is soft and gives the blazer a hipster vibe, I think I should have used lining fabric: the silky smoothness would help ease the jacket on, especially through the sleeves. At one point, I had to bend Boo’s long arms like a pretzel to get the blazer on.
I used large brown leather buttons on the front. For a practice blazer, they are the most expensive part of the suit!
The sleeve buttons are purely decorative. I used the same ones on the dress I made for my niece last year. They are my favourites and I’ve plumb run out. I’m glad we’re going back to Vancouver, so I can pick some up at Dressew. Not sure why, but I’m always drawn to these shiny buttons. Plus, they are only 49 cents for a 3-pack!
I’m so glad I made a muslin! Usually, I feel that it’s a waste of time and fabric to make what will only become a practice garment. However, I didn’t realize just how big my boy is. He hasn’t been around on ye olde blog since his 3rd birthday, but the blazer is on the verge of being tight and short in the arms. Not the fault of the pattern–it is excellent, with great instructions. Neither is Boo to blame, so I guess it’s on me–I should have taken his measurements beforehand!
Boo’s dress shirt is from Crew Cuts, shorts from Janie & Jack, shoes from Sperry Top-Sider and his bow tie is an oldie. It will be replaced with an ivory satin one, that I will make from the fabric that will become Froo’s flower girl dress. I’m very excited about Froo’s dress. Very, very excited.
I’m hoping to make the Oliver+S art museum vest and trousers to complete Boo’s 3-piece suit. I’m a little behind on time, so I’ll get to those after I make the actual ring bearer suit. Besides, I’m confident that the pattern will work out perfectly and I think it would be cute for Boo to wear his grey suit to the rehearsal dinner.
With the right motivation, I’m sure Boo will be a decent ring bearer. In Boo’s world, motivation is defined as: anything sweet and sticky, usually appearing in a lollipop form. Now all we have to work on is separating Boo from his hippo…
I’ll end with a rare moment–Boo showing his “serious” side:
Thanks for visiting on the day of my 2nd blogiversary! The next time we meet again, I’ll have a practice flower girl dress to show you!
Last Saturday, the Froo & Boo family went to the movies in the park. We met up with friends, ate from food trucks and sat on picnic blankets. There were oodles of outdoor activities, bean bag toss being a popular one. The hubs looked at the bean bag toss board and said, “I can make that.”
I raised an eyebrow. The hubs uses hockey tape to “fix” things. That is the extent of his aptitude for anything handy. His usual reaction is to find a barcode to scan–trying to find the best online deal.
“Are you sure? There are hinges on the legs!” (Not to mention dovetail joints, a smooth lacquered surface and a perfectly round cut-out hole.)
“Sure, why not?”, he says.
The next day, the hubs went to the Home Depot while Boo and I were napping. When I woke up, the hubs was putting the finishing touches of hockey tape to his bean bag toss board. He asked me to make some bean bags while Froo decorated the board with crayon drawings of Peppa Pig.
Froo & Boo adore Peppa Pig. The hubs thinks it’s because it’s exactly the kids’ lives in a cartoon.
I think the hubs makes an excellent Daddy Pig.
I used leftover charm squares (5″ pre-cut) from my Lotta Jansdotter Echo cushions to make quick bean bags. I filled them up with poly-pellets until they were 2/3 full, giving me enough room to machine stitch the opening shut. It’s still one of my favourite prints.
Ok, so I’ll admit, I laughed when I saw the bean bag toss board. The hubs traced the kids’ butterfly net to get a huge hole, used hockey tape around the edges and the legs do not hinge, but the kids were really excited–they LOVED it! I later found out that the board is called a cornhole. I think you could fit a dozen ears of corn through this one:
It’s actually a good thing that the hole is so big. Boo gets upset when the bean bag misses, so having a large target to hit increases the probability of the bean bag going in. Froo & Boo use both the bean bags and fabric juggling balls to play.
When I asked the kids to take photos, Froo was playing princess dress-up–wearing a tiara and my mom’s upcycled dress as her princess costume. It’s one of her favourite dresses.
Boo didn’t want to be photographed–he was too busy playing with his Lego DUPLO. I managed to get one blurry photo. I wish there was an Auto-Boo-Mode on my camera. By the time I set up my camera to photograph him, he’s gone. I just have to blindly shoot away in a 2-second time frame. Boo is wearing his favourite shorts.
I’d like to think that I inspired the hubs to take on his first DIY project, but I’m not so sure about that. After I started working full-time, the hubs has been working extra hard to create balance within the family. If anything, I’m inspired by his confidence to simply make something. If it were my project, I would have researched different plans and materials, agonized over every detail and it would have taken roughly 6 months to completion.
He decided to make a bean bag toss board on Saturday, then completed it on Sunday afternoon. It’s not perfect, it’s completely laughable, but it’s a handmade project that makes our family happy. What is better than that?
Froo had a cute dress from Target with a piped hem. The finishing is horrendous, but I guess that’s the way it goes with store-bought clothing on the cheap. When I made Froo a skirt awhile back, I decided to write up a tutorial on how to add piping to a skirt hem, that is completely encased. I tend to put piping on just about everything, since it’s such a great way to add a pop of contrast and create dramatic lines.
I used the free Lazy Days Skirt pattern by Oliver + S because it is oh-so-simple (a 1-piece skirt!) and the hem is completely straight. If you are going to add piping to a skirt with a curved hem, you will need to modify the tutorial by creating a curved bottom hem (at Step 6).
Cut your skirt pattern. For my almost 6-year old Froo, I cut a 17″ skirt. Cut another length of fabric 3″ wide. This will become the bottom hem.
Following the pattern instructions, sew up the skirt to make a tube. Line the edge of the piping to the front edge of the skirt. Using a zipper foot, sew the piping onto the skirt. Position your needle to sew as close to the cording as possible–I sew directly on top of the stitching on the piping. Start sewing 2″ from the back seam and finish sewing 2″ to the back seam. Leave a tail on each end that extends 1-2″ beyond the back seam.
To ensure you get a nice finish on your piping, follow the next set of instructions. Sophie, from the blog C’est la vie, has an excellent tutorial on adding piping with clear photos on finishing piping ends.
Pin or clip the piping into place. Line up the piping fold with the back seam. Finish sewing the piping to the edge of the skirt hem.
Sew the bottom hem into a tube with the same seam allowance as the skirt tube. Iron seams open. With right sides together, pin or clip the bottom hem to the skirt, sandwiching the piping in between. Match up the back seams.
Using the original stitching as a guide, sew 1/16″ (or super close) to the left side of the seam. This ensures that any thread that is sewn on the piping will not show through to the other side.
Fold and iron bottom hem 1″. Then iron entire bottom hem up so that the piping is at the bottom.
Replace the zipper foot with the regular foot and topstitch the hem in place. At this point, you will want to match your thread colour, since it will show on the front of the skirt.
Finish the waistband of the skirt. That’s pretty much it! Iron your skirt, or don’t (I didn’t!). It’s up to you, really. I’ve found that with piping and an additional bottom hem, there’s enough weight to the hem that it doesn’t wrinkle as much.
I guess I should have ironed. Oops.
Take photos of your model wearing the skirt, if she’s willing. I love that the piping on the hem is completely encased–you can see a peek of the inside of Froo’s skirt and it still looks great.
About the fabric: it’s definitely a favourite–both Froo & Boo love to point out different sea creatures (Boo is obsessed with the Octonauts) and it just feels happy. I pinned it a couple of years ago–it’s called Kelp Forest by Kokka, but I’m pretty sure it’s nowhere to be found on the Internet. Sorry to have kept the good stuff hidden, but I thought you’d like to know. I’m always so curious when I see awesome fabric on a sewing blog and the fabric is unidentified, but anyhoo…