A Bamboo Sweater for Boo

Boo's Bamboo Gup-A Sweater
I’ve been having a bit of sewing guilt for the lack of boy sewing on the old blog. Apart from Boo’s ring bearer suit, I haven’t sewn anything for him since his birthday. The suit was a big project, but it’s unlikely that he’ll have an occasion to wear it again. The boy needs some everyday clothes.

I wanted to make something for Boo that he would WANT to wear. I usually dress him in cute preppy outfits, since I’m the one looking at him for most of the day. Hee hee. He doesn’t fuss about clothes, but he’s starting to notice that other boys dress differently–in the graphic tee and sweatpants kind of way. I would love to say that I wouldn’t mind if he dressed like that, but I just can’t. I can’t handle the way most graphic tees are too wide and too short. Too loud and super hero-intense. Too many cheesy clichés. Not to mention, some weird poly blend knit that pills with lint balls. Don’t even get me started on sweatpants…

Anyhoo, Boo’s all-time favourite tv show/toys/books are the Octonauts! They are the cutest crew of ocean explorers who learn about sea creatures on their adventures aboard the Octopod. When we were in Vancouver for Uncle E’s wedding, Boo drew this picture of his Gup-A:
Boo's Drawing of a Gup-A
I was shocked. Seriously amazed at my little boy’s ability to depict a 3D tangible object on a piece of flat paper, using only a handful of markers. Before Boo produced his work of art, I had only seen him draw scribble scrabbles–colouring pages without even looking down at the paper. A huge milestone. I mean, what kind of sewing mommy would I be if I didn’t make him a sweater with the Gup-A on it?

I used the field trip raglan t-shirt pattern by Oliver+S to make Boo a bamboo stretch French terry sweater. I can’t get over how soft bamboo is! Boo’s stripy field trip raglan has been in constant rotation and is starting to get small, so I made a size 4 and increased the sleeve length by 0.5″.
Boo's Bamboo Gup-A Sweater
I used Pellon Wonder-Under to applique each shape onto the front of the shirt before using a triple-stitch to secure the fabric pieces. I placed a piece of Swedish tracing paper underneath to stabilize the fabric, tearing it away afterwards. I’m really happy with how my Gup-A turned out!
Boo's Bamboo Gup-A Sweater
This is my 3rd go at the pattern and each time I make it, I have trouble with the neckband–it always seems too short and narrow. I tried attaching the neckband with the same fabric (twice), but then I gave up and used ribbing, adding 0.5″ to the width. Soooo much better! Just a small tip: when attaching the neckband using a serger, disengage the cutting knife, just in case you have to try a 3rd time to get it right.
Boo's Bamboo Gup-A Sweater
I added my usual cuffs and hem band. Since there is a lot of stretch in the ribbing, I shortened them for a tighter fit. I like how the sweater stays put at the waist.
Boo's Bamboo Gup-A Sweater
Boo is really happy with his new Gup-A sweater! The Gup-A he’s holding is not the same as the one in his drawing. His collection of Octonaut toys is getting bigger with each visit with Mama & Yeye. This boy even watches Octonaut toy reviews on YouTube–he is an expert on all things Octonauts.

I paired the sweater with his linen art museum trousers. I had to let down the hem by 1.5″, giving the trousers new life, but they are still a bit short! I’ll have to let them down some more–the only thing worse than sweatpants are pants that are too short.
Boo's Bamboo Gup-A Sweater
Boo's Bamboo Gup-A Sweater
Boo's Bamboo Gup-A Sweater
Boo's Bamboo Gup-A Sweater
My sewing guilt has been absolved! I even sacrificed my old turquoise pajama tee for the Gup-A applique. The blue fleece is from Boo’s garden gnome costume and the grey French terry is from the sweater that I made for Mama (which she still wears!). The yellow is from the beak and feet of a penguin stuffy I made for Froo. When I was pregnant with Froo, I became obsessed with the book Cute Dolls and churned out stuffy after stuffy.

These little guys welcomed Froo into her nursery:
Cute Dolls
Thanks for visiting!

The finale: flower girl dress & ring bearer suit

Uncle E & Auntie Y's Wedding Day
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.

This dress:
Froo's Fairy Tale Flower Girl Dress
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!
Froo's Fairy Tale Flower Girl Dress
The back of the dress:
Froo's Fairy Tale Flower Girl 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!
Froo's Fairy Tale Flower Girl Dress
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.
Froo's Flower Girl Hair Jewels
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 Ring Bearer Tuxedo
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.
Boo's Ring Bearer Tuxedo
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.
Boo's Ring Bearer Tuxedo
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.
Boo's Ring Bearer Tuxedo
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!
Boo's Ring Bearer Tuxedo
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.
Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit
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:
Uncle E & Froo Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer SuitFroo's Flower Girl Dress Froo & Boo's Flower Girl Dress and Ring Bearer Suit Froo's Flower Girl DressBoo eating donut frosting
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:
Uncle E & Auntie Y's Wedding Day
Uncle E & Auntie Y's Wedding Day
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.

Wedding Rehearsal

Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
Froo & Boo's Wedding Rehearsal Outfits
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.

As for the black bow tie vs. ivory bow tie, the bride & groom chose:
Ivory Bow Tie on Boo
Ivory!

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.

A Poll: Black or Ivory Bow Tie

Black or Ivory Bow Tie
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.

Practice Suit for Boo

Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
My brother-in-law (aka “Uncle E”), is getting married in Vancouver this September! The hubs will be a groomsman, while Froo & Boo will be the flower girl and ring bearer, respectively.

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:
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
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.
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
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.
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
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.
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
I used large brown leather buttons on the front. For a practice blazer, they are the most expensive part of the suit!
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
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!
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
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 Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
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.
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
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…
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
I’ll end with a rare moment–Boo showing his “serious” side:
Boo's Basic Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns
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!

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

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

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)!

Busy Placemat for Boo (with tutorial)

Boo loves construction trucks, rescue vehicles, trains, airplanes and tools. I used to cringe at the sight of fabric with dump trucks printed all over it. Now I welcome it with excitement for my Boo. His joy cannot be contained at the immediate recognition of the aforementioned objects of his love. I never thought I would know the difference between a backhoe, excavator and grapple skidder.
Busy Placemat for Boo
Anyhoo, one morning, Boo & I were enjoying orange juice and coffee at Peet’s Coffee. To keep Boo from squirming off his chair, I drew him a picture of a neighbourhood, so he could play with his little firetruck on the page and put out the fires I drew. I even drew him a cat in a tree, but really, don’t firemen have better things to do?? It kept him busy for a long time, so I knew I would need to make him one that’s more permanent.

I started with the drawstring bag from the oliver + s book, “little things to sew“. I wanted to make a bag that would be big enough for a placemat, all of the fun pieces and some of Boo’s favourite trucks. As always, this pattern does not disappoint!
Busy Placemat for Boo
A peek inside:
Busy Placemat for Boo
The outside fabric is organic cotton called Shipyard, by Timeless Treasure. The hubs picked it out for Boo in the clearance section, the time we went to Hart’s Fabric in Santa Cruz. The lining fabric is quilting cotton from Jo-Ann.

I made Boo a tool belt with the same fabric a couple of month ago, after I saw him trying to shove some of his tools down his pants. My little handyman won’t stay still for a photo:
Boo's Toolbelt
The placemat is double-sided, one for a grassy green landscape, the other, a construction site surrounded by dirt. I fused the 2 pieces of felt together with Pellon Wonder-Under, which is sort of like double-sided tape. I added an orange triple-stitch around the edges to match the stitching on the drawstring bag.
Busy Placemat for Boo
The rest of the project is made up of felt pieces. All of the pieces have at least 2 layers, fused together with the Wonder-Under. I did this to make the pieces more durable–some of the pieces from Froo’s quiet book are starting to rip and wear down. Also, the double-stick webbing makes the pieces nice and smooth, while still soft, which would not happen if I used glue. I put them in a clear Ziploc bag, making it easy to spot pieces.
Busy Placemat for Boo
Let’s build a little neighbourhood–starting with some roads:
Busy Placemat for Boo
Busy Placemat for Boo
Oh no! There’s a fire at the house! Wee-wOO-WeE-WoO.
Busy Placemat for Boo
I think I’ll need to make a mailbox for one of Boo’s favourite trucks:
Busy Placemat for Boo
Ok, time to build something. Off to the construction site!
Busy Placemat for Boo
Boo loves playing with these decorative marbles. He uses the front loader to scoop them into the dump truck.
Busy Placemat for Boo
Here’s a quick photo tutorial of how to put the felt pieces together. Uh, please learn from my mistakes–I’m not sure how I’m going to clean my iron. Also, it’s a good idea to keep your desk clean, unlike mine, since the felt pieces are small and quick to disappear.
Tutorial: Busy Placemat for Boo
I think this Christmas gift for Boo will be a hit! Nevermind that the perspective is way off, nothing is to scale and my felt pieces are lacking in detail. I think this placemat will keep him busy at a restaurant, which will make going out to eat all the better. Last night, Boo was not happy with his dinner, so he got up and walked to the door saying, “I’m going to drive daddy’s car and go to a restaurant. All. By. Myself.” My not-yet-3-year-old already sounds like a teenager. We got him to finish his dinner after threatening a lump of coal in his stocking.

Some of the presents under the tree had already been “accidentally opened”, so this one will be hidden until the 25th. I’m hoping to get one last handmade gift done before Christmas!
Bartacks and Singletrack : want to go all the way with me?
p.s. The amazing Lightning McStitch of Bartacks and Singletrack, is hosting a challenge to complete all 21 projects from the book! I’ve sewn up 5 projects from the book so far, this being my 6th. I love seeing all of the unique interpretations and the faces of little ones enjoying their handmade goodies. The flickr group is full of wonderful creations from the book!

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!