KCW Spring 2014: Froo’s Mini Me

Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
I’ve missed the last 2 seasons of KCW (Kids Clothes Week), so I was determined to participate in this one. As luck would have it, we are away the entire week, so I made Froo & Boo’s outfits last week and photographed them wearing their new outfits this week!
kid's clothes weekThe theme for KCW is “mini me”. I already have several examples of handmade “mini me” garments with both Froo (matching dresses / shirts) & Boo (grey shirts), so instead, I thought Boo could be Froo’s “mini me”. Besides, they were both in need of a pair of easy-wear bottoms and spring-time shirts.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
For Froo & Boo’s bottoms, the common fabric is Essex yarn dyed linen in denim. The fabric looks like chambray, but with the linen content, has a more textured feel. Froo’s pants are pattern “O” from the book, Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids. Boo’s pants are the art museum trousers by oliver+s. If the combo looks familiar, it’s because I repeated the bamboo knit versions I made for Project Run & Play. Can’t go wrong with what works!
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
While Froo’s pants are wonderfully simple, I love the details of the art museum trousers! The welt pockets took some time sewing in, but give the trousers a professionally finished look. The pockets look a little funky from the inside and I’m not sure if they will be comfortable sitting in–which shouldn’t be a problem, since Boo does not sit still.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
I thought navy blue would be the perfect pairing for linen pants since the colour works well for both girls and boys. Froo’s pinafore is pattern “R” from the same book. I omitted the frilly sleeves and added a colour block hem, shortening the dress into a top. The navy blue fabric is part of the Uno collection, from the Danish company Stof. The bright pink fabric is Kona Cotton in Pomegranate–also used in Froo’s self-designed dress.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
I wanted to make Boo a super lightweight, long-sleeve shirt, using the field trip raglan pattern by oliver+s. I have a hard time getting Boo to wear a jacket, so long-sleeve shirts are our happy compromise. The navy slub knit sleeves are slightly sheer, but nice and soft. I added banded cuffs on the sleeves and hem for extra length. I even managed to match up the stripes on both sides!
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
We have enjoyed an early start to spring break with a trip to Legoland, where we celebrated Boo’s 3rd birthday! We celebrated a little early, leaving Legoland yesterday, on Boo’s 3rd birthday. We took advantage of his last couple of days as a 2-year old to get free admission and meals. We are currently enjoying a great time in San Diego!
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014
Boo is in many ways, Froo’s “mini me”. He follows her, repeats what she says and mimics everything she does. But with increasing age, begets increasing wisdom–he is completely unafraid of telling his sister she is wrong. Froo is unaccustomed to being told she is wrong–resulting in heated arguments between a 3 and 5 year old pair of accusatory (but loving?) siblings. My ears cannot handle the loud squabbles. I just need to remember the tender moments between them–usually when they are in cahoots, trying to hide something from me. Oh brother.

Boo’s shirt stayed clean for roughly 30 minutes, until it was time for breakfast and became spotted with red smoothie. I can’t believe my Boo is 3! When I asked him if he was big or little, he responded with, “I’m a little bit big, but I’m still little.” I think I’m ok with that. xoxo.
Froo & Boo: KCW Spring 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel: The Lady Skater Dress

Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I made a dress. But hold on a life-altering moment, I made a dress that I actually like AND one I would wear often AND could work like a boss* (those were actually part of the sewing instructions!). I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I LOVE my new dress!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I’m participating in the Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 blog tour today! Bloggers extraordinaire, Jill (Made with Moxie) and Rachel (Imagine Gnats), have put together a great selection of PDF patterns to support independent designers and to encourage a growing community of makers. Proceeds from Parcel #1 will raise funds to Donors Choose–a charity organization that helps students in need. I’m honoured to be sharing my handmade dress with you!

Parcel 1 CollageThe Skater Dress by Kitschycoo / Dandelion Dress & Top by Seamster Patterns / Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY / Ava by Victory Patterns / Accordion Bag by Sew Sweetness

I used black bamboo stretch French terry, my all-time favourite knit, which is also the same fabric I used for Boo’s art museum vest and trousers. It is sooooo soft and drapes beautifully. I would highly recommend bamboo stretch French terry because it doesn’t curl, making it easy to lay flat, cut and sew.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I chose the 3/4 length sleeve option. Then I decided to mix things up a bit and add a cowl neck collar with side zippers, the same way that I made Froo’s yellow sweater. I inched up the front neckline by 3 inches and attached a 5 inch collar. The zippers give me options for wearing the collar in different ways. Scroll down for a mini tutorial!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
I can see this dress becoming a staple in my wardrobe. Which is surprising since I hardly ever wear black, solid colours, or dresses. I live in jeans and shirts with happy colours and interesting patterns, polka dots, florals and graphic prints.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
The dress came together really quickly. The instructions were clear and straightforward, with oodles of useful information on sewing with knit fabric. I even bought black serger thread to match my fabric! I like the cowl neck collar the best folded over once.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
As for outfitting the Lady Skater dress, I’m obsessed with my moccasin boots. I can’t help it. I wear them with everything! I ordered the very last pair that just happened to be in my size on sale, as a Christmas present from the hubs. They didn’t arrive for over a month, so I woefully thought they weren’t meant to be. Meanwhile, the hubs felt bad and surprised me with a Wacom tablet for Christmas. Then my boots arrived and I have been wearing them ever since!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
As for my mini tutorial, bear in mind that the zippers have some weight, so the collar doesn’t stand up on its own. If you want a stiffer collar, you could back the fabric with fusible interfacing. Otherwise, let’s begin!

Start by measuring your neck opening and using the calculations in the photo, cut your collar pieces. My zippers are from zipit. You can play around with the placement of the zippers, as long as the width measurements will add up using the calculations below (click on the photo to enlarge):
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Using a zipper foot, sew the tops of the zipper down to the backside of the zipper. Trim edges.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Sew both zippers to the back collar piece first, following the photos below:
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Sew a loose gathering stitch 1/4″ from each length of the front collar piece.
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Your collar should now look like this:
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Baste the bottom of the collar closed and put a pin to mark the centre front & back of both the collar & dress. Pin the collar to the dress, with right sides facing together. Serge or sew together. Reinforce the zipper ends by sewing across the bottom of the zipper, trying to get as close to the metal bottom as possible. I don’t have a clear picture of this (sorry!).
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
Et voilà!
Perfect Pattern Parcel #1: Lady Skater Dress
There’s still some time to get your Perfect Pattern Parcel #1 before the sale ends tomorrow! There’s also a rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win some great prizes.

Thanks for visiting! Be sure to check out what participating bloggers have created with their parcels:

One Little Minute / SeamstressErin Designs / One Girl Circus / casa crafty / the quirky peach / Kadiddlehopper / Sew Caroline / Groovybabyandmama / Fishsticks Designs / the Brodrick blog / verypurpleperson / sew a straight line / Adventures in Dressmaking / true bias / Idle Fancy / La Pantigana / Crafterhours / Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts / Max California / YoSaMi / la inglesita / Diary of a Chainstitcher / four square walls / Lauren Dahl / Sewbon / mingo & grace / Dandelion Drift / VeryShannon / Sanae Ishida / buzzmills / Sew Jereli / Figgy’s / a happy stitch / Disaster in a Dress / Things for Boys / mama says sew / sew Amy sew / Sew Busy Lizzy / Made With Moxie / imagine gnats

Frozen Elsa Cape

Frozen Elsa Cape
My friend asked if I could make her daughter an Elsa cape from the Disney movie, Frozen. Apparently, Elsa costumes are sold out everywhere. I thought the oliver+s “little things to sew” red riding hood cape pattern would be perfect, so I agreed. Besides, I’m participating in Lightning McStitch’s cover to cover challenge and I’ve been wanting to make another lovely project from the book.

Froo wanted one too, of course. I asked if she would prefer an Anna cape–being the nicer, warmer, happier, and care-free younger sister (ahem), but she was insistent. We also went to a Frozen-themed birthday party for Froo’s BFF, so I thought I would make her one as well. Yup, that’s right, a total of 3 capes! I don’t even like princess dress-up clothes! Seriously. But I loved the movie and I love winter capes even more–so I was determined to make my own version of the Elsa cape and make it right.
Frozen Elsa Cape
I made one small cape and 2 large capes. I lengthened each cape by 10 inches to give it a dramatic princess look. We had to outfit Boo and his bunny to get some photos of all 3 capes.
Frozen Elsa Cape
Frozen Elsa Cape Frozen Elsa Cape
I purchased all of the fabric from Jo-Ann. I scored the polyester shantung in the redtag clearance section for $3/yrd, after an additional 50% discount. It is the PERFECT colour with an amazing flowy drape. Cutting & sewing it, however, was a nightmare. It’s shifty and slippery. I’m pretty sure I started with some skewed pieces (the fabric had to be completely flat before cutting), but the shantung didn’t always match up after sewing it together, whereas, the lining did.

The great thing about making a winter cape in March–the lining fabric was also on clearance. The drawback: there wasn’t quite enough. I used a super cute aqua flannel with white snowflakes for 2 capes and a subtle tone-on-tone white snowflake quilting cotton for Froo’s. There wasn’t enough of that one either, so the hood is self-lined.
Frozen Elsa Cape
The overlay is really quite spectacular. I found a sheer, stretchy fabric with glittery silver sparkle swirls that looks amazing, with even the slightest movement. However, the shimmer comes at an annoying cost: it sheds pixie dust everywhere. The good news–no finishing required! I was going to trim the edges with sequins, but I thought it would weigh down the fabric and seriously, I’m not that crazy. Maybe just a little.
Frozen Elsa Cape
Frozen Elsa Cape
My favourite part of this cape is the fur lined hood! There are iridescent tinsel “hairs” dispersed within the fake fur, giving it a subtle sparkle. Love it. The hood is embellished with snowflake crystals and buttons stitched at random.
Frozen Elsa Cape
I used a big rhinestone aqua button as a closure. I like the bright pop of colour it adds to the cape.
Frozen Elsa Cape
Finally, I bought a couple of bead and rhinestone appliques from Britex Fabrics to make hair clips. There were so many beautiful ones to choose from, but finally, I chose one that resembles a snowflake. I used E6000 glue to attach an alligator clip to the applique.
Frozen Elsa Cape
So my thoughts? The red riding hood cape pattern is amazing. It really is. The shape is circular, while accounting for the curves at the shoulders, with clever arm openings–the design is brilliant! The hubs even said, “that is the best thing you’ve ever made.” I was completely surprised. I mean, I’ve made oodles of things, to which the hubs either says, “that’s nice” or on rare occasions, “that’s very nice”, but this one definitely has that wow factor. An hour later, he scowled at me after vacuuming up all the pixie dust. Hee hee. I should have made the overlay detachable, maybe?

I took some photos of Froo wearing the Elsa cape with her winter wonderland tutu and my wedding shoes. The girl would not stop twirling.
Frozen Elsa Cape Frozen Elsa CapeFrozen Elsa Cape Frozen Elsa Cape
Frozen Elsa Cape
My final thoughts? I sincerely hope Disney does not come out with a new princess movie for a long time. I’m hoping this cape will hold enough magic to last until Halloween! Although, now Froo is asking for an Anna cape and I might be crazy enough to make one…

Tiny Hearts Geranium

Tiny Geranium Dress
I went to a baby shower today! It was an informal gathering where Froo & Boo tagged along for some fun. When it comes to giving baby shower gifts, I am hopeless. I gravitate towards ridiculously cute and impractical party/formal wear, usually purchased last-minute. I mean, someone else will buy the diapers and butt paste, right? Now that I have 2 little ones, I’m getting better (I hope!).

Momma bear is expecting her 3rd baby, so I wanted to give the baby girl-to-be a handmade gift that is both cute and practical. I chose the Made-by-Rae Geranium dress pattern in size 3-6 months. See, I’m learning–I would have made the newborn size, but it’s more practical to leave room to grow! I used white quilting cotton with colourful tiny hearts, from Timeless Treasures, previously used in my Suzy Ultman dolls. The fabric seems thicker than average quilting cotton, which gives the pleats a nice crispness.
Tiny Geranium Dress
The buttons on the back are pale pink, with a frosted heart in the centre of each button.
Tiny Geranium Dress
This is my first time trying out the flutter sleeves. I’ve never tried them before because I was apprehensive about leaving an exposed zigzag finish on the edges. So I played around with some of the decorative stitches on my machine until I found one that I liked. I used a zigzag scallop stitch on the edges of the flutter sleeve and placed strips of Swedish tracing paper underneath to stabilize the stitching. I used Mettler silk-finish 100% mercerized cotton thread, which has a bright sheen, adding a richness to the colour.

I LOVE how they turned out!
Tiny Geranium Dress
I made a tiny mistake. Not really worth mentioning, except you might have already caught it in the previous photo–I cut the back pieces of the lining with the hearts upside down. Oops.
Tiny Geranium Dress
I can’t believe I actually planned a handmade baby shower gift in advance! It seems like an obvious thing: I sew, therefore, I should sew baby gifts. However, I also blog, therefore, I spend waaaay too much time thinking about my sewing projects. It’s not easy to throw a baby gift into the sewing queue, while bumping projects down the list! But this adorable baby dress was well worth the queue jumping. Such a happy little dress!

A Special Baby Quilt

A Special Baby Quilt
The best man at our wedding welcomed his first child, a baby girl into his family on February 10! I am incredibly happy for the new parents and I can’t wait to meet their precious daughter, the next time we are back in Vancouver to visit.

This couple holds a very special place in my heart because they adopted our first baby… a yellow labrador retriever named George. It was a difficult decision to find George a new home, but it was the right one and we are thrilled that he was adopted by friends. Friends who love the outdoors and take George out on nature-filled adventures.
George
George
When I first spotted the Fort Firefly fabric collection by Teagan White, I knew it would be perfect for the new baby. I think her parents would appreciate that it’s not too girlie and the colours are varying shades of earth tones, with a vintage feel. The fabric is also 100% organic cotton, which is perfect for newborn babies. Besides, there are woodland creatures, fireflies and tents!
A Special Baby Quilt
A Special Baby Quilt
Froo & Boo use the quilts that I made for them every night, but they also use them regularly to build forts. We use their kitchen chairs with some extra-large binder clips to keep the quilts “pitched” to the chairs and furniture. (Froo’s quilt is blogged here; Boo’s quilt is blogged here.)
A Special Baby Quilt
These photos were taken last summer:
Quilt Fort
I chose the Firefly Hexi Patch print as the top of the quilt. I love that the hexi print already takes on the look of a patchwork quilt, so all I had to do was quilt on the existing lines with matching thread.
A Special Baby Quilt
The Tree Fort print was used for the backing of the quilt. The print is busy, with animal friends having all sorts of fun in the tree forts. As the baby grows up, I think this print will provide her with oodles of visual stimulation.
A Special Baby Quilt
I used Warm & Natural cotton batting in between the two layers of fabric. The quilt measures 35″ x 35″. I chose this size because I only had to purchase one yard of each print. There was a tiny amount of shrinkage in the wash and after squaring up the fabric, those were the final dimensions.

The binding is from Denise Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy fabric collection, that I’ve had for quite some time. The brown coordinates with the quilt and the posies add a pop of colour to the binding. I machine stitched the binding onto the quilt for a quick finish.
A Special Baby Quilt
I had 2 skinny pieces of fabric leftover, measuring 6″ x 36″. Not really useful for anything else, besides juggling balls! I figured it could be something that the baby could play together with George, since February 10 is also George’s birthday. I’m not even making this up–Happy 7th birthday, old buddy! Hopefully, he’ll know not to rip these ones apart. I placed a small rattle inside each ball, to add auditory stimulation to the development of fine motor skills.
A Special Baby Quilt
Having a baby is an incredible miracle of life. While looking through the photos of George, I found this one. It’s my favourite of the bunch. The mother-daughter bond is a strong one that keeps growing stronger.
Mommy & Froo
Congratulations to the new parents and welcome to the world, baby girl! The Froo & Boo family is celebrating with you. xoxo.
A Special Baby Quilt

Feeling Grateful

My Little Valentine
A couple of days after my last post, the hubs flew to Philadelphia for 9 whole days. With both sets of grandparents living in Canada, I was definitely feeling overwhelmed. But then I started to feel sorry for myself and I knew I had to snap out of it. The moment I start to complain about my life is the moment I feel my unthankful heart start to shrink.

It must have been perfect timing, since the women’s bible study that I attend, is putting together care packages for single teenage moms. Each table is paired with a mom and her precious baby–to provide some basic necessities, treats for the young mom and make a no-sew blanket together.

Confirmed with reading this amazing post on the Momastery blog, I know that I am truly blessed. That the inconveniences of having to do every little thing for my little ones is outweighed by the love, health and two beautiful gifts of life. That the hubs has a career that enables me to stay at home to care for our children. That I don’t have to worry about how I am going to pay for my groceries. There are so many things to be thankful for. I just need to recount the happenings in every moment of my life.

Back to the teenage moms… in 2003, I started my teaching practicum. Green. Thinking I was going to shape the minds of the next generation of young thinkers and doers. One of my first ever students was a 15-year old girl with a 1 ½-year old baby. She was new to Canada as a refugee, with poor English. Upon learning about the horrors of what people endure at refugee camps, I can’t even imagine how much she had already suffered in her life. She showed up when she could, but when she did, she gave it her all. Her work was terrible. I didn’t care. I just needed her to show up.

At that time, I was dating the man who would become my hubs someday. I told him that I didn’t want children because I couldn’t bear the immense responsibility of taking care of a baby and raising a child to become a responsible human being. He agreed. Then we got married. A couple of years later, we had Froo. Even with all of my protestations, the hubs convinced me that it made sense to add a baby to our loving family. I agreed.

Upon returning to work and through a series of unusual daycare circumstances, we ended up putting Froo in a daycare that took care of the children of teenage moms attending high school. These babies were constantly sick, lacking in hygiene and general care. As a mom whose child was in the same environment, it was hard to have compassion for these moms, even though their needs were apparent. I was torn between wanting what was best for my child and knowing that these moms could never give their babies all that they could hope for.

But what do babies really need? After the basic needs have been met, I believe that a baby needs a loving community. People who care, take action and provide. A place where babies are loved and moms feel supported. No matter what. I am incredibly thankful to the church for taking action. For getting women involved in building a community, when it’s so much easier to stay isolated. Helping others is therapeutic in a way that puts things into perspective. It is no coincidence that the gift-giver is often as blessed as the gift-recipient.

I am not trying to pat myself on the back, by no means, I am just grateful for the community that surrounded me, during the 9 days of the hubs’ absence. There were kids programs, mommy groups, playdates and a Valentine’s day party to keep us busy, but most importantly–connected with others.

In my little effort to give hope to the young mom that my table is paired with, I made a personalized cloud pillow for her son. I blogged about my cloud pillows here–when I made custom ones for my mother-in-law’s friend (and amazing poet!), Mary Tang. This time, I used soft, dotted minky with contrast navy piping.
Froo & Boo: Cloud Pillow
Froo & Boo: Cloud Pillow
I want to share Mary’s poem again:

even now

even the moon wanes
even the sun sets
stars ceased to glow
long ago

tides recede and
mountains slide
into seas

blossoms that scent the night
shroud the earth by dawn
and the heat of fierce embrace
fades in the glare of day

yet birds go berserk every morning
bursting their breasts with song
as mourning mists drift away

and the sun rises
again and again
and again

© Mary Tang, 2006

This next photo is taken with a mommy giraffe and her baby. When we were on our cruise last year, I saw them and I knew I had to have them.
Froo & Boo: Cloud Pillow
Okie, that is all. Life is full. Sometimes when life feels half-full or even half-empty, you just need to plug yourself into a community. That is probably my deep thought for the year. My next couple of posts will be about handmade baby gifts! But today, I am just thankful for the hubs being safely home, enjoying warm sunny weather together (he experienced snow storms and power outages–I truly feel for those living through insane winter weather!) and being grateful for my amazing community.

My Signature Style

Froo & Boo: Signature Style
The last Project Run & Play theme, “my signature style” was a tough one! I’m a visual person and I’m inspired by a lot of things. I’ve un-secreted my PR&P Pinterest board if you’re interested in the kid-styles that inspire me.

I’ve narrowed down what style means to me, in terms of general concepts:

  1. Fit. To get the perfect fit for your unique body, usually resulting in the most comfortable clothing, that also look the best. How awesome is it to fit something on my slim daughter with a long torso, or my solid little boy, with monkey-like arms?
  2. Balance. Not to be confused with being matchy-matchy. Busy prints with simple styles. Plain fabric with dynamic lines (pleats, draping, tailoring). A mix of textures, contrasting colours and layers–in moderation. Shape and fit of garments also balanced–slim jeans with loose shirt, that kind of thing. An Asian yin-yang influence, I guess?
  3. Connection. The personality of style. An emotional connection to a piece of clothing. A visual representation of the ideas, favourite colours, past experiences and future hopes that materialize in the form of clothing, as an expression of individuality.

Froo & Boo's 3 Concepts of Style
I prefer concepts, rather than labels–that way you can wear anything and make it look good! Although, if I had to choose, I would define my style as: “casual/preppy/classic/with a dash of modern bohemian charm”. (The last one describes my love for Free People, Anthropologie and Lucky Brand clothing.)

However, there are general rules of thumb. One such rule is this: sweatpants kill any sense of style. I totally understand the comfort factor and ease of wear for going to the potty, but I think sweatpants are meant for the sole purpose of getting a sweat on. So I set out to make a pair of sweatpants that don’t look like sweatpants for (poor neglected) Boo. I’ll just call them nonsweatpants.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
I drafted a pair of nonsweatpants by tracing a pair of Boo’s stylish Mexx nonsweatpants. I used bamboo fleece again. I love this stuff–it is so soft! I used matching bamboo ribbing on the waistband and leg cuffs.

After cutting the pattern pieces for my nonsweatpants, the fit was bordering on sausage casings, so I added an extra panel to the inside seam. I tapered the panel to keep it fitted through the legs and looser at the top. It acts like a gusset and it makes me feel like I happened upon a stroke of genius, from my initial mistake (note to self: don’t do math late at night). The joys of experimenting while sewing!
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
The nonsweatpants have 5 pockets, 4 with yellow piping and lined with yellow stretch French terry, which is a cotton/lycra blend knit fabric. The little pocket on the backside has some triple-stitching for added detail.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
For Boo’s sweater, I used a cotton jersey knit that has a layer of sweater knit attached to it. It is pretty awesome stuff–it’s soft and looks like a sweater, without all of the effort. Both the sweater knit and charcoal bamboo fleece were purchased at Fabricana, last October.
Jersey Lined Sweater Knit
I used the field trip raglan pattern by oliver+s and used my serger to sew most of it together. I bought the pattern after seeing a version here and learning that you can buy it individually as an instant digital download. I added contrasting yellow sleeve cuffs and a bottom hem.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
I used off-white bamboo (leftover from Froo’s suit) to applique a family-favourite phrase, “oh brother” to the front. It is fused with Wonder Under and stitched using the blanket stitch on my machine. I used Sulky Tender Touch iron-on stabilizer on the inside, so the stitching wouldn’t be scratchy on Boo’s tummy. I got this idea from the store-bought jammies that Boo wears.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
I added last-minute elbow patches to the sleeves. They were intended to be knee patches on Boo’s nonsweatpants, but there wasn’t enough space with the side pockets. They are backed with fusible fleece and triple-stitched on a diagonal grid for a pop of colour. The elbow patches were hand-stitched on.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
For Froo, I wanted to make her a floral skirt that was unique, twirly and colourful. I ended up cutting 32 panels of fabric to create a pleated skirt with inverted box-pleats and a contrasting print hidden inside the pleat. The floral print is quilting cotton from the Bloomsbury collection, by Liberty of London, purchased at Spool of Thread. The contrast fabric is from Mod Box, by Juliana Horner, purchased at Jo-Ann.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
I wanted to draw attention to the centre of the skirt by closing the middle pleat. I topstitched it down and added a column of cross-stitching to give the skirt extra love. Each pleat has 3 inches of top-stitching to secure it in place.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
This past weekend, I took Froo to watch the movie “Frozen” and I was tickled to see the main character, Anna, wearing a green dress with a pleated skirt that had contrasting fabric hidden within the pleats! I loved that every movement caused the pleats to expand and contract, creating a dynamic visual experience.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo’s top started off as the Flashback Skinny Tee, modified to be a raglan tee using this tutorial. (Just a quick note: I made Froo’s sweater before I made Boo’s. Froo’s sleeves turned out pretty tight, but they still fit her well. Instead of fiddling with the pattern for Boo, I decided to purchase the oliver+s pattern, so I wouldn’t have to do all the guess work!) I widened and added length to the shirt by attaching a bottom cuff. Most of the seams were sewn using my serger.

There is a kangaroo pouch with floral lining and piping made from the contrast print of the skirt. The bias strips were centered on the dots. I would have used the piping from Boo’s nonsweatpants, but I had only purchased one package at Dressew, in Vancouver (I literally had one inch left!). I like the dotted piping so much better!
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Here’s why this sweater makes me soooo happy–these zippers that were on clearance at Jo-Ann are the perfect way to create a unique neckline! The front of the “turtleneck” has gathered ruching and the sweater can be worn zipped, or unzipped on one side for an asymmetrical look.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Four pieces make up the look for “My Signature Style”. I think it has all of the components of fit, balance and connection. Lately, I’ve been completely drawn to this muted mustard yellow. I’ve always had an affection for grey, but the combination of the two is magic. I also love florals, but I hardly sew with them because I am incredibly picky about the exact type of florals: scale, colours, design, quality of printing and cotton–must be just right.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
For our photo shoot, I took Froo & Boo to the beautiful mosaic mural that graces the front of the Bank of America, in downtown San Mateo. I made a couple of pompom hair ties for Froo. I love pompoms–they are so much fun and make me feel like I’m a half-way accomplished knitter. Hee hee.
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
Froo & Boo: Signature Style
I will end this post with another rule of thumb (this one is more sewing-related): when you find fabric that you feel a real connection to, buy lots. Like oodles. I don’t know what I was thinking, buying only 1 metre of the yellow cotton/lycra and liberty print (ok, this one was expensive). I guess I fear waste–that fabric will sit in bins, hoarded, unused, until it doesn’t connect with me anymore. But using fabric that I love becomes addictive and I often regret having so little. I am a creature of habit (you’ve seen how many times I’ve used the Flashback Skinny Tee!!!) and I know what I like. Buy it and use it. Says the girl who hardly ever buys fabric without a project in mind, simply because it’s pretty. Oh brother.

As always, thanks for visiting!
Froo & Boo: Signature Style

Thank you, Project Run & Play!

Thank you, Project Run & Play!
Thank you so much for all of your votes and kind words over the past 3 weeks! I am seriously touched by your positive feedback. I used to think that people who choose to compete must have thick skin, but I now realize that it’s quite the opposite. I felt completely vulnerable. To dream up designs and commit so much of my time, energy and resources to the creation of them, only to have them potentially criticized and rejected–egads, this experience has been an anxiety-ridden ride! That I would do all over again. In a heartbeat.

To have Elizabeth & Liz pick me from the fabulous group of home sew-alongers was such an honour! They have built an amazing community of people who not only MAKE handmade clothing for their kids, but DESIGN them, as well. To think of myself as a designer is immensely gratifying and rewarding. This opportunity pushed me to design kids clothing that I am soooooo happy with (dare I say, proud of?). I feel that I put my best work together–garments that truly reflect my style and personality. I am thankful for this opportunity to design clothing and learn new techniques that enabled those designs to become wearable garments for my kids!

But at the end of the day, Project Run & Play is a competition and I will not be moving on to the next round. One of the surprising things that came about from the competition is a deep respect and admiration for the other designers. I had grand plans for each theme, but then I would see work done by the competition and feel inspired to push myself even more. For example, these amazing grey pants by Louise of I’m Feeling Crafty made me realize that the pants I made for Boo for The Brothers Bloom week, could be so cool. The leather jacket (made from a sofa!) by Jenn of A Jennuine Life is simply incredible! The hand stitching done by Ashley and Emily of Frances Suzanne is a meaningful way to stitch love into a garment and instantly gives it an added dimension of intricate detailing. The lace dress, by Karly of Paisley Roots is so darling. Finally, this jacket (holy smokes, how did Jacq of Begin with B even conceive of the idea to create this??) is so inspiring! I know that I will be sewing more for my Boo, seeing how Jacq makes little boys clothing look so modern and original.

Next week, I will be posting my “signature style” designs. Without any boundaries of themes to follow, this was a lot harder than I thought it would be! I’m still working on it (at a leisurely pace, ha!), so be sure to come back, I would love to share my designs with you!

Thanks again for visiting! It is with joy (and oodles of excitement) that I share my creations on my blog. It’s nice to have an audience to read through my design process, silly stories and random thoughts that I have. I couldn’t be happier with my Project Run & Play experience!

Week 3: A Dress for 3 Generations

Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I’m still competing in Project Run & Play–thank you for voting me through again! Let’s get right to this week’s challenge: REPURPOSING. For me, the true meaning of repurposing is for the original materials to have already been used, then made into something new. So I won’t be hacking away at any new, clearance rack, XXL t-shirt, since the t-shirt never served it’s primary purpose.

Keeping that in mind, I decided to only repurpose items that we already had–which was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Before we moved to the San Francisco bay area, we went through a huge purge, either donating or giving away clothing, baby gear and household goods. It felt really good and since then, we have been trying to maintain a simple lifestyle, with less consumer goods and more handmade goods. Except now I don’t have a lot of items to repurpose!

Then I found my mom’s vintage dress in my closet. I love this dress–so many of my childhood memories belong with this dress. Years ago, my mom was about to throw the dress out, but I salvaged it, even wearing it a couple of times. But the seams were weak and I tucked it away, unable to part with it.
1970s Vintage Dress
I phoned my mom and asked if I could repurpose her dress into a dress for Froo. She was totally fine with it and had my brother email me some photos of her wearing the dress! I wanted to honour the dress (my mom, really!) and make it special. Here’s a “before” photo of Froo wearing the dress:
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
The fabric label had been removed, but my guess at the fibre composition is polyester or poly-blend. It’s slightly sheer, with a mesh-like, stretchy quality. It behaves like knit fabric, which doesn’t fray (yay!), but it does snag (boo!). The bottom skirt is almost a full circle, with the seam running down the wearer’s left side.

I was fully intending for this dress to have long sleeves, but once I saw all of the pieces, it just seemed so wrong. I changed course and decided on a sleeveless dress.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
To add detail to the plain bodice, I “embroidered” (using the term loosely, just needle and thread) red pearl cotton in the centre of the flowers. The front bodice is backed with black Pellon shape-flex interfacing to provide more stability for the embroidery.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
This repurposed dress is all about the back! I placed the original cross-over v-neck on the back of the dress, to create an open v-back bodice. For the skirt, I shifted the seam to align at the centre back. This drastically changed the flow of the print–it creates symmetry and draws attention to the busy, floral print. I wanted all of the details to come alive at the back, paying homage to the past.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I purchased stretchy black swimsuit lining to back the bodice and I used stay tape on the neckline for extra structure. Afterwards, I understitched the lining, to prevent it from rolling.

Once the skirt was shortened and hemmed using stay tape (loving this stuff!), I used a gathering stitch, clear elastic and a serger to attach the skirt to the bodice, following this tutorial, which worked really great at keeping a close fit, while maintaining stretch.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
The belt is my dad’s old necktie, folded into a bow tie, using a variation of this YouTube tutorial. I hand stitched snap buttons as closures. The last time we were in Vancouver, I took about 20 of my dad’s old neckties. He has oodles. My uncle is a doctor in Korea and apparently, it’s customary for patients to give their doctor gifts. My aunt gives them to my dad, who has trouble saying “no” to free things, no matter how hideous they are. I brought them home, intending to make tiny bow ties for Fringle & Stu. This one was just the right shade of rich red:
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I felt that the dress needed a bright cowl scarf, so I made one using my old Banana Republic scarf that was sooooo itchy. I shortened it and backed it with some leftover quilted sherpa, from my week 1 challenge. I serged the end of the scarf twice, to ensure it wouldn’t unravel.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
But the buttons! My friend Deborah gifted me some awesome buttons (thank you!!!) and these leather buttons were in the mix. She bought them at Our Social Fabric, a non-profit organization that collects donated fabric and sewing notions to sell, keeping them out of landfills. How perfectly fitting is it for me to use them in this challenge?? My sewing machine can’t handle button holes through thick fabric, so I stitched the buttons on and placed a magnetic snap on the inside.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo was not happy about the fake nerd-glasses that I found in the $1 bin at Target, but this is my absolute favourite photo of her from our photo shoot:
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I thought the outfit needed a cardigan or jacket, but I couldn’t find anything suitable to use. Until I saw a pair of the hubs’ old jeans–they are HUGE! (I mean, he’s 6’3″ tall and prefers a relaxed-fit.) I used my drafted blazer pattern from last week and made a couple of tiny modification: a straight front edge and a one-piece sleeve, instead of two pieces. I was able to cut all of the pieces on the grain, matching most of the faded bits at the sleeves and shoulders. I love the almost ombré effect the fading creates.

Then I cut a leg off my worn-out jeans to create enough trim for a ruffled edge–they were the first pair I bought after Froo was born. I bought my Fidelity jeans at a warehouse sample sale for $26. I don’t know why I remember this. The colour is a pretty good match!
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
These buttons! The other ones in the mix from Deborah–I just love them! The colour is a blend of brown-black, with a hint of mauve and looks great with the red stitching.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Again, the denim was too thick for button holes, so I placed snap buttons on the inside facing of the jacket. They are quite easy for Froo to snap together!
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
The inside of the jacket is finished with bias tape. I had purchased the red bias tape for the bamboo suit, but never used it. The bottom hem, sleeves and back facing are hand stitched in place.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I repurposed the tag from the hubs’ jeans for a more polished look. Besides, we could use some luck this week!
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
For this week’s Project Run & Play challenge, I feel a deep sense of accomplishment for repurposing what I had, without buying any additional fabric, besides the lining and notions (interfacing and snaps). I also feel that I conquered my seam-freaking-ripper. It really had me beat a couple of days. I wore a head-lamp strapped to my forehead, just so I wouldn’t go cross-eyed, trying to pick out some unruly seams.
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
With all the money I SAVED, I feel like I practically MADE money (insert photo of the hubs rolling his eyeballs here), so I bought Froo a pair of ballet flats from H&M–they are insanely cute and coordinate really well with the dress. Then we went to the San Mateo Main Library for our photo shoot. I thought it would be the perfect location, since the public library is the ultimate example of recycling–books to borrow for free and share with the entire community!
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
Froo & Boo: A Dress for 3 Generations
I must admit, this challenge really brought out an emotional side in me. While making the dress, I could almost smell my mom. Not in a weird, creepy way, but in that way that you would leave a piece of clothing with your baby for comfort while sleep-training. Or a puppy while crate-training. We’ve been through both. My mom’s dress symbolizes her training for me to be an amazing mom to Froo (and Boo!), that even my scent alone can provide my kids with comfort and security. Ok, I am totally calling my mom now!

Thanks for visiting! I would love for you to vote for me at Project Run & Play–this is my last chance at making the finale next week! (I always feel awkward asking for votes, but I appreciate every single vote that I get. Seriously. Because each vote counts–the competition has been incredible!)

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Week 2: Bang Bang (with Bloom)

Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Thank you for voting me through to this week of Project Run & Play! This week’s challenge was to come up with an outfit based on a character from a movie. As I was googling some of my favourite movies, I stumbled upon images from “The Brothers Bloom” and instantly, I knew that Froo should be Bang Bang. It’s a bit of an unknown movie and an unusual choice for outfitting children, but this is the outfit of my dreams:

From the last challenge to this week’s challenge, it doesn’t take much to make the connection that I am obsessed with tailor-fitted outerwear. With wide-legged pants? Yes, PLEASE! Except, I had never sewn a blazer, nor a proper pair of trousers before. This seemingly simple outfit would require some crazy attention to detail–not something I could whip up with my tiny bag of tricks. I mean, a suit!

I found the task of making a suit completely daunting, so I sewed up an outfit for Boo that would give me the confidence to try welt pockets and test the use of knit fabric instead of wovens. I chose knit fabric because I wanted comfortable, kid-friendly fabric that is easy to wash and most importantly, doesn’t need ironing. I outfitted Boo as Bloom, played by Adrien Brody. I made the art museum vest and trousers by oliver+s in black bamboo stretch French terry.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I wanted Boo to wear a bowler hat, but I couldn’t find a pattern for one. As I suspected, the wool needs to be molded into a round shape anyways. I made a wool fedora instead, which is more like the one worn by Bloom’s brother, Stephen, played by Mark Ruffalo. The fedora pattern is from E & E Patterns.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I am not including Boo as part of my entry for this week, since I didn’t design the vest, trousers, nor the fedora. The only thing I designed was his ascot tie, which is simply one piece of fabric sewn into a long skinny scarf. His outfit was a practice run for Froo’s, so I consider him to be an accessory (photo shoot prop) to Froo’s outfit! I will blog about his outfit at a later date. But, Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot get over how cute my little guy is. He is definitely not the pensive, moody and sensitive character of Bloom, but just as charming and swoon-worthy! Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
As for Froo’s outfit, I used natural bamboo stretch fleece, which is extremely soft. Her pants started off as the art museum trousers. She tried on Boo’s pair in size 3 and they fit! I kept the front pockets, but omitted the fake fly, belt loops, darts and welt pockets on the back. Using some layering tricks with Swedish tracing paper, I merged a wide-leg pant bottom by tracing Pattern “O” from the Japanese sewing book, Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids. To dress up the pants, I added red piping to the outside leg seams. Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I purchased the Basic Blazer pattern from Blank Slate Patterns. It’s my first time using a Blank Slate pattern and I was immediately impressed–starting with the way the paper was taped together. There is no paper cutting involved and the paper lined up perfectly, saving time and frustration. Brilliant! Then I traced Froo’s GAP knit blazer directly on top of each pattern piece, adjusted for Froo’s measurements, measured and aligned pieces to make sure they would match up. This process took several days. Drafting. Tracing. Redrafting. Oodles of eraser bits. Then I did the unthinkable–I cut my fabric without making a muslin first. Eek! I had barely enough fabric left to eke out the winter accessories, so I was ALL IN. Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
My furrowed brow has left permanent deep-set wrinkles, but I’m ecstatic with the end result! I slimmed and flared out the sides, narrowed the sleeves, created a more dramatic collar and added piping to the edges. The fit is perfect on Froo. I’m a little jealous.

My favourite detail is the small pocket flap attached to the welt pockets that can be hidden inside the pocket. I was nervous about the red stitched button holes, but they turned out really well! I placed a piece of tracing paper underneath the garment before stitching the button hole and ripped it off afterwards.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Bamboo fleece is a fair bit thinner than regular sweatshirt fleece and definitely requires lining. I chose to line it with thin jersey knit, with anchors printed on it! The heather taupe is neutral and doesn’t show through. I bought it at Fabric Outlet (also available online) during a date night with the hubs. He’s a good, good man. Anyhoo, to sew up my lining, I used this awesome tutorial from the Grainline blog, instead of the instructions from the pattern, since I needed a way to finish the sleeve hem with piping.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I also added a back facing to give the blazer more structure. I used red bias tape to make a little loop for Froo to hook the blazer on her cubby at school. I used Pellon Easy Knit interfacing on the front/back facings and collar. After sewing up the lining, I actually unstitched it to add a 2.5″ border of interfacing to the bottom hem, which made a HUGE difference in the structure of the blazer.Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I made a last minute t-shirt for Froo, since it’s indecent for a 5-year old to wear a low cut blazer with nothing underneath! I used the lining fabric to make another flashback skinny tee, this time with a scoop neck and short sleeves.Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I used stay tape on the neck hem to get a nice flat finish, following this tutorial from Skirt As Top. It worked beautifully.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I made the toque (aka “beanie”) by tracing Froo’s Old Navy toque (seen here). I drafted shapes, similar to the juggling balls, from the book, “little things to sew” by oliver+s, to round out the hat, giving it a spherical shape. The scarf is a longer and wider version of Boo’s ascot tie. I used a Clover pom pom maker to make and attach cute red pom poms to both!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I knew that Froo would never wear a bow tie on its own, so I incorporated it into the toque instead. The bow tie is attached to the toque with a strap and a snap button.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
That’s 5 pieces total for this week’s challenge! Neutrals with pops of red for contrast. I am beginning to see a theme with the things I like to sew…
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Both the ivory bamboo stretch fleece and black bamboo stretch French terry are from Nature’s Fabric. From the exterior, they both look about the same, but the fleece is fuzzy on the inside and a smidgen thicker. Froo & Boo love their bamboo pants! Boo calls them his “soft pants” and refuses to take them off once they are on. Froo is happy that her pants are softer than Boo’s. Sheesh.
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
I wanted to take some photos of Froo by the water, but of all days to leave my camera at home… arg. I took a couple of iPhone photos of Froo with a goalie stick, instead of a shuffleboard paddle. Keeping it Canadian, eh?
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
There is a great museum scene in the movie, shot in Prague–a gorgeous city. The hubs and I visited the first winter we were married. It was cold, snowy and magical. For our photo shoot, I wanted to take moody photos at the San Mateo County History Museum, in Redwood City. The weather was forecasted to be cloudy and grey last Friday, but it ended up being sunny and over 70 degrees! Poor Froo & Boo were melting. Boo dropped his fedora in the water fountain, which explains the soggy, warped brim. Froo refused to wear her winter accessories. I don’t blame her. By the end of it, they both wanted to dip their feet in the fountain!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!
My longest post EVER. Thanks for making it this far! I have a couple of tiny favours to ask of you:

1. Please head over to the Project Run & Play website to vote for me!
2. If you haven’t already seen it, watch “The Brothers Bloom”. Clever storytelling. Enchanting locations. Beautiful cinematography. Amazing fashion. Rachel Weisz is stunning. Adrien Brody is dreamy. Mark Ruffalo is brilliant. Rinko Kikuchi (Bang Bang) is a hoot!

Thanks again for visiting! I hope you liked the outfits for this challenge. I must admit, this week was a challenge for me, but I am so happy with how it turned out! I made 9 pieces altogether, 5 for my submission. I can hardly believe it!

p.s. In case you were wondering, 90% of the photos look something like this:
Froo & Boo: Bang Bang (with Bloom)!

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