Secret Heart Summer Tunic

Secret Heart Summer Tunic
I made Froo a shirt. It was supposed to be part of her first day of school outfit, but it works much better on its own, paired with leggings. It’s a bit long for a shirt, so I decided to call it a tunic instead.

I started with this tutorial to make a ruffled sleeve top. Froo picked fabric from my tiny stash, used previously in my Suzy Ultman dolls. But then I wanted to make double-layered ruffles, inspired by this beautiful dress. The ruffles on Froo’s tunic are more like wings! Each layer of ruffles is doubled-up, creating 4 layers of fabric–way too stiff for flounce & flutter. They were also wide-set, falling off her shoulders, so I unstitched the ruffles on the back and sewed them closer to the centre.
Secret Heart Summer Tunic
I added a tiny heart pocket with a secret heart inside, tethered to a piece of ribbon. I wanted Froo to know that wherever she might be, I am always in her heart. Super cheeseballs, I know, but up until now, Froo’s world has been pretty sheltered. I have no control over what will happen at school, but as long as Froo has self-worth, knowing that she is unconditionally loved, I know that she will have the courage to be herself. Meanwhile, I will pray for her protection each and every day!
Secret Heart Summer Tunic
Secret Heart Summer Tunic
I can’t believe that today is Froo’s official last day of summer holidays–she starts kindergarten tomorrow! So we took it easy with a morning bike-ride to the playground.
Secret Heart Summer TunicSecret Heart Summer TunicSecret Heart Summer TunicSecret Heart Summer TunicSecret Heart Summer TunicSecret Heart Summer Tunic
Froo & Boo pick those tiny flowers every time we go to the playground. They are brought home, then spend some time in a toy cup filled with water, replaced when they start to wilt. I hope Froo never gets too “old” or “cool” to pick flowers with her little brother. It’s the joy of sharing the simple things in life with Froo & Boo that has really changed my life. These small, passing moments collected, then replaced with new moments–I cherish them more than anything else.

Finally, one last photo of Froo–about to take-off on her adventure. In keeping with the metaphor, I love that she still relies on her training wheels and hasn’t reached full independence to venture alone. Always my little girl. Froo.
Secret Heart Summer Tunic

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KCW: My 2nd Geranium Dress!

For KCW Summer 2013, I am repeating myself from the last spring edition. I made a Geranium dress for the first time and while it is a lovely dress, I have learned from my mistakes:

  1. Put the back bodice piece together properly. (Previously, I missed a good 1 1/4″ section that made the dress too tight! Oops.)
  2. Get Froo’s input for fabric choices. (It turns out cream & brown are not her faves.)

The last time we went fabric shopping, Froo picked a gorgeous print as soon as we walked in and wouldn’t change her mind. The fabric is called “Treasure” in Courage–part of the Wish collection by Valorie Wells. It is a cotton voile, which is much lighter and finely woven than quilting cotton–perfect for summer!

I chose to make this Geranium dress with faux cap sleeves and a pleated skirt. The only modification I made was to lengthen it by an inch and sew up the sides of the skirt with French seams. Froo did not want pockets, saying, “pockets are not fancy”. She has a point, I guess.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo picked matching buttons in a frosted aqua.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
I used muslin as my lining. Since the cotton voile is somewhat sheer, the ivory lining keeps the colours looking a bit “softer”. I was going to use white lining, but somehow, the fabric seemed to brighten up too much at the bodice. The dress is sheer enough that you can see Froo’s silhouette in sunlight, but I think the fullness of the skirt makes it acceptable without lining.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo’s first pose:
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo was really excited to try on the dress as soon as she woke up. We don’t have the best light in the morning, so my photos are not stellar. Which is perfectly fine with me–what really matters is the smile on her face.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
In the next photo, you’ll notice that Froo got a haircut! A couple of weeks ago, she went to a hair salon for the first time–my mom used to cut it, but since we’ve moved, it has grown out of control. I think she looks much older, but I still deny it every moment I can.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
The pink tulle and bead trim adds a delicate touch to the dress. I bought it months ago at Fabrix in San Francisco for $0.25/yard. I bought 10 yards, not knowing what for, except for the fact that it only cost me $2.50!
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium DressKCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo says the cutest things sometimes, such as: “I’m not a princess, I just look like one” or “people think I’m a princess because I wear princess dresses” or my favourite, “when I turn 5 years old, can I still play with my bunny?” Of course you can, my princess. To which she would respond, “I’m not a princess, I just look like one!” Sheesh.
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Froo is in a 5T Geranium dress, so I think this is the last year that she’ll be able to fit into it. Rae recently released the Big G, Geranium Dress in sizes 6-12, which I might have to pick up soon. It’s crazy how fast my little girl is growing!

As for Boo, he is still our photo bomber extraordinaire:
KCW Summer 2013: My Second Geranium Dress
Finally, a couple of Instagram photos of our weekend spent at Half Moon Bay and having some carnival fun, with Froo & Boo in their new KCW summer outfits:
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
KCW Summer 2013: Froo & Boo
We have traded in our swimming suits for snow pants with iceskating lessons on Saturday afternoons! Keeping it Canadian in the Froo & Boo household, even though the kids are the most tanned they’ve ever been. Hope the rest of your weekend is ever so lovely!

KCW: Summer outfit for Boo

I’m excited about the KCW (Kids Clothes Week) new website! It’s loaded with new features, including a database of patterns and projects by participants—such a cool concept! I’m looking forward to seeing the website grow and change, but mostly, to use as a source of inspiration for handmade kids clothing.

My first outfit for KCW Summer 2013 is an outfit for Boo. He is in need of a new pair of shorts. I have been taking Froo & Boo to the outdoor pool for swimming lessons, which is really nice in this weather. However, it’s not-so-nice trying to wrangle myself and 2 slippery kids into our clothes afterwards. I made Boo a pair of shorts for KCW Spring 2013 and love the simplicity and ease of an elastic waistband.

I decided to make Boo a summer shirt to match. The shirt pattern is great as a basic pattern, but it does require a bit of guesswork in terms of pocket and collar placement. Both prints are from the Indian Summer collection by Sarah Watson: the shirt in Woodland (Pine) and the shorts in Forest Trail (Mountain)–also used to make my A-line skirt.
KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
A closer look at the pocket and pearl snap buttons:
KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
There is a small pleat detail in the back of the shirt:
KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
I added a hidden tag to the bottom of the shirt that is only visible when the buttons are undone.KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
The shorts are super simple, without front and back pockets. Since the fabric is busy, I figured that they weren’t necessary. I added a tag to indicate the back of the shorts:
KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
Both patterns for the shorts (modified from Ben & Mia Pants) and shirt (Summer Shirt for Boys) are from the Lily Bird Studio. When I made Froo’s Burberry-Inspired School Coat, I bought a 4-pack bundle and have now used all of the patterns! Here’s a round-up of all of the garments I made with The Lily Bird Studio patterns:
The Lily Bird Studio Pattern Roundup
Today was Boo’s first day of preschool. He was on a waitlist for the summer session and a spot opened up for him. I was nervous about how he would handle it, but he just walked right in to play, amidst a bunch of wailing toddlers. I was completely stunned at his independence.

I wanted Boo to wear the outfit for school, but the shirt was collarless and buttonless this morning. So he wore it after his nap:
KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for BooKCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
There used to be a drawing on the wall. Froo & Boo had friends over yesterday–I drew a picture of all of them on chart paper, so the kids could colour it in altogether. Boo is the boy on the far right.
KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
Then Boo had this look of what I call “premeditated naughtiness”:
KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
It only takes a split-second for some Boo-induced destruction:
KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
Which ends with this face:
KCW Summer 2013: Summer Outfit for Boo
This is the face that he uses when he pretends to emote guilt. I must be a huge sucker because I fall for it every single time. Now that he can talk, he is learning how to say exactly the right things, with a look of feigned sincerity: “Really, really bad. Never ever again. Sorry mommy.” I’m pretty sure Boo thinks “never ever” means, “again in 5 minutes”.

I am currently working on another geranium dress, but I forgot to prewash my lining. I’m hoping to finish by Sunday’s deadline! My A-line skirt did not make it to the next round of the Super Online Sewing Match, so I should have some time to finish. I’m a little disappointed, but I’m very happy to have taken part in the entire experience. I’m still sewing and dreaming up new projects, just not obsessively!

Round 1: An A-line Skirt

The Super Online Sewing Match After the initial shock and elation of being selected as a contestant for the Super Online Sewing Match, a wave of fear overcame me. The challenge: to draft my own A-line skirt!

I could feel my fear growing exponentially as I considered my challenge. Here’s a step-by-step progression of what went through my mind:

Step 1. Take true & proper measurements. (Oi!)
Step 2. Transfer those measurements onto paper. (Ack!)
Step 3. Make a muslin and adjust the fit. (Eek!)
Step 4. Choose fabric. (Uh oh… this could take forever!)
Step 5. Design finishing touches. (In how many days? Yikes!)

Luckily, the Craftsy video course was extremely fun, informative and dispelled most of my fears (I’m still hung up on Step 1). Deborah Moebes is a great teacher and has the ability to tie in all of your existing sewing skills, including the new ones she teaches–creating a seamless feel to the course. I found an iPad app for it, which made it so much easier to bring to my makeshift cutting table and back to my sewing machine.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Anyhoo, my first ever, custom-fit, self-drafted A-line skirt pattern! The piece on the right is a band that follows the curve of the hem to create a contrast hem.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
This was also my first time making a muslin. I can see the benefits of making one now. I was able to adjust the fit by: omitting front darts, while lengthening the back darts and practicing all of the intricate parts of the invisible zipper, bias tape waistband and pocket placement.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
I knew I wanted pockets on my skirt. I have a short torso, with what I call a “wrap-around waist” (one that extends into my back), so I wanted a large pair of pockets to draw attention away from my waist. I based the pockets from a Vogue pattern that I had (V8552) and attached them to my muslin. Then I noticed a major design flaw: the zipper opens up into the left pocket.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
I then drafted a new back pattern piece. It includes a 1/2″ seam allowance added to the fold line, that is used to cut 2 back pieces, instead of one. For my final skirt, the zipper is installed on the back and there is a seam that goes all the way down the centre of the back.

Ta da! This is my made-for-me-by-me skirt:
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
This is the back of the skirt with the invisible zipper down the centre seam, I just noticed loose threads stuck to the bottom of the right pocket! Oops.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
The bias tape for the waistband is made from the same fabric as the contrast pockets and hem. I absolutely LOVE this print! I added a FROO & BOO fabric tag for a personalized touch:
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
The side seams were finished with my serger and the contrast bottom hem is fully encased, so you can’t see any seams. This was a huge feat for me. When I wasn’t sewing, I was trying to figure out how to construct the hem and after a couple of modifications, I got it right!
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
By chance, the day before I became a contestant, I went to The Intrepid Thread for the first time. I picked up 3.75 yards of Pure Elements, by Art Gallery Fabrics, in Nocturnal (I cleared the shelf, still loving navy blue) and a couple of prints from the Indian Summer collection by Sarah Watson. These fabrics are quilting fabric, but the quality is oh-so-much better. They feel lighter and smoother, with more drape and the slightest amount of sheen. I only bought half a yard of Forest Trail in Mountain–it was intended as shorts for Boo. I couldn’t give up on the design in my head, so I asked the hubs to pick up another yard for me on the way home from work. He assured me that it was very much out of the way, but he went anyways. Love him.

Finally, a couple of photos of me in my new skirt. The outdoor photos were taken by Froo. I chose to wear a billowy summer top to hide the squishy bits, tucked in with a belt, to give semblance that there’s a waist hiding in there somewhere. Even though the pockets flare out, I feel that the lines of the pockets help to elongate my figure, creating a more narrow effect. Score!
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
A couple of bracelets that I made years ago to bring out the colours in the contrasting fabric. Aqua, coral and white, accenting navy blue–this is my favourite colour combination of all time, especially for summer.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
It was super bright out, so I wanted to see if the colours looked more “true” indoors, without all the highlights and shadows:
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
I think I would wear this skirt more as part of a casual outfit–with an aqua tee and a pair of TOMS. Boo is starting to become a regular photo bomber on my blog. He’s wearing the art smock that I made for him.
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
Round 1: The Super Online Sewing Match
This is why I LOVE to sew: the new skills that I’ve learned over the past couple of days transformed a piece of Swedish tracing paper into a design of my own! The possibilities are endless when it comes to fabric choices, styles and design elements. It could be overwhelming, believe me, I spent a great deal of time scouring Pinterest, but once I sat down to consider a skirt I would actually wear, I could visualize it clearly in my mind. The need to create it took over from there, totally squashing my fears.

Round 1 of the Super Online Sewing Match is done–thanks for stopping by! A huge thanks also to Sew Mama Sew for hosting this amazing sewing match! This week has been a blast.

The Super Online Sewing Match… and me!

The Super Online Sewing Match
I have yet to recover from the shock that I am one of 10 contestants for the The Super Online Sewing Match*, hosted by Sew Mama Sew! I found out by email last night, accepted the challenge and now I’m getting ready for Round 1! To read more about the Sewing Match*, this post has all of the details. I haven’t had much sleep since that email because I have been watching The Great British Sewing Bee until my eyes felt like they had dried wide-open, almost losing the ability to blink. Really exciting stuff!

For readers who are visiting my blog for the first time, thank you for stopping by! To find out more about me, I thought I would simply post my audition email that I sent to Beth and Kristin, the lovely ladies of Sew Mama Sew, to try and convince them to pick me.

—–

Hi Beth,
 
I would love to have the opportunity to be a contestant for your Super Online Sewing Bee! Just thinking about it gives me chills—it would be so exciting to participate.
 
I’ve been sewing since the 8th Grade, when I learned how to make a tote bag, apron and a pair of shorts in my Home Ec class. My mom taught me how to build upon those early skills to make garments and I took sewing classes all throughout high school—even making my own prom dress! More recently, I returned to sewing 5 years ago, anticipating the birth of my first child and now I sew all the time, documenting my progress on my blog at: frooandboo.wordpress.com. My projects are catalogued visually on this page of my blog: frooandboo.wordpress.com/photo-index
 
Here are a couple of samples of my work:
  1. Kate Middleton Military Coat – I drafted this coat pattern to follow along with Project Run & Play, during Fashion Icon Week. It is one of my most popular posts to date and my daughter wears it all the time. frooandboo.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/fashion-icon-weekKate Middleton Military Coat
  2. Burberry-Inspired School Coat – This is another coat that I made for my daughter, inspired by the Burberry trench that I was obsessed with at the time. This coat features oodles of details and I learned a lot from putting it together. frooandboo.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/a-burberry-inspired-school-coat
     Burberry-Inspired School Coat
  3. Grey Fox Backpack – This is my most recent sewing project. I customized the Oliver + S backpack pattern to be a grey fox as a birthday gift for a boy named Grey. I love how it turned out! frooandboo.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/happy-grey-canada-day
    Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew"
  4. Wiksten Tova in Nani Iro – If you’ll allow me to throw in just one more… This is my favourite shirt and has really planted the seed to make more clothing for myself. I love finding amazing fabric to showcase amazing patterns.  frooandboo.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/wiksten-tova-in-nani-iro
    Wiksten Tova in Nani Iro
Finally, to try and persuade you to pick me (Pick me! Pick me!), I feel like I am bursting with new sewing ideas that I have yet to try. It would be a great experience to focus those ideas in a competition format, to be challenged and to come out of it with garments/bags that I can be proud of. My blog is still relatively new, but my intent for it has never wavered: to create useful handmade goodies for my friends & family, intertwined with the storytelling of our lives—thus, bringing meaning to those handmade goodies. 
 
Thank you for reading my application!
 
Regards,
 
Irene Leung
—–

Please join me on my sewing adventures! I am beyond thrilled and honoured to have been selected as a contestant–I’m so excited to create garments that will truly reflect my creativity and style. The online sewing community is so warm and encouraging–I would never have dreamt to enter a sewing competition if it hadn’t been for all of the positive feedback from my little blog. You guys are the bestest!

* This post has been updated to reflect the new name of the competition.

Happy Grey & Canada Day!

Boo’s best buddy’s name is Grey. Today is his 3rd birthday, which happens to land on Canada day–happy birthday to both boy and country!
Grey's 3rd Birthday
Yesterday, we celebrated Grey’s birthday with his family. Lots of fun! This was the birthday gift I made for him:
Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew"
I knew I wanted to make the birthday boy something grey, so I searched my sewing books and the Internet for some ideas. I decided on using the Oliver + S backpack pattern from the book, “little things to sew“–using a grey fox instead of a penguin. I think foxes are adorable.

Normally, I would shy away from a time-consuming, detailed project like this, but after I had decided on a grey fox backpack, I was determined. The instructions were many, but well-written and easy to follow–I was able to get a little bit done at a time, over the span of a week. I’m glad I made this cute backpack–I love how it turned out!

I used Pellon Wonder Under to applique the face onto the front pocket and secured it with a triple stitch. The ears and nose are a polka dot print on flannel. The fabric is a bottom-weight fabric, similar to denim, with a silver metallic sheen to it.
Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew"
I added fusible fleece to the back panel of the backpack, to provide comfort with the extra padding. I also added fusible fleece to the straps and modified them because I could only find 1″ strap adjusters. I copied the straps on Froo’s backpack–shortening the straps in half and attaching a bit of 1″ navy cotton webbing to loop around the strap adjusters. I sewed longer cotton webbing to the bottom of the backpack, looped it through the adjusters and sewed the edges down.
Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew"
Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew"
The lining is very cute–grey, aqua and white woodland animals. There are foxes printed on it! Both the outside & inside fabrics are from Jo-Ann. The divided pocket is Kona Aqua, leftover from Froo’s open wide zipper pouches.
Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew"
To save time, and my sanity, I decided to machine stitch the lining to the zipper tape using my zipper foot. I tried to get the lining as close to the first set of stitching as possible, but there are a few wobbly spots. I’m pretty sure a 3 year old boy won’t mind!
Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew"
Here’s the “real” birthday present, hidden inside the backpack:
Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew"
Even though Froo & Boo love electronic gadgets, sometimes it’s the old-school toys–like the View Master–that keep them entertained at a restaurant, or waiting room. One of Grey’s favourite movies is Despicable Me. I was surprisingly touched by the movie and have already made plans with Grey’s mommy to watch Despicable Me 2 altogether!

During Boo’s nap, Froo was busy making a card and gift wrapping. Not too shabby for a dressed up Safeway paper bag using cardstock, scrapbook paper, punches, stamps and old ribbon:
Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew"
Finally, here are some photos of Grey with his birthday present:
Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew" Fox backpack from Oliver + S "little things to sew" Grey's 3rd Birthday
Happy happy birthday, Grey! We hope you fill your backpack with meaningful things that will give you a life full of adventure and happiness!