Posts Tagged ‘Penelope’

Sewing: Penelope’s Bridesmaid Dress


Instead of buying a dress, I figured I would make Penelope a dress for my brother-in-law’s wedding. I was already making my own, so I added hers to the docket as well. It was an incredibly quick sew, too. AND SHE LOVES IT. So much so that she’ll wear it while playing with the boys in our neighborhood. It’s adorable to see her hang with the boys in such a girly outfit. That’s my girly tomboy!


I used the same printing technique with the front of her dress as I did with mine using a rose stamp borrowed from my friend Miriam. I hadn’t quite nailed down the ink consistency with the imprint, so some of the roses are much lighter than others. I figure she’s going to destroy this dress in a matter of a few wears anyway, so I’m choosing not to care a whole lot about it.


I used the Recess Raglan (blogged here and here) as the base, then added a little extra length to the bodice (which I didn’t really need to) and a pleated skirt. I left the edges on the sleeves and hem raw, they’ve curled up nicely with wash and wear. For the pleats I cut a strip of fabric 2 1/2 times the width of her dress and eyeballed the pleats starting from the center front, working my way out; pinning them in place. Super easy, but some good eyeballing required.


This girl cracks me up with her sassy posing. She loves being in front of the camera.

Quick Sewing: Ruffle Raglan Floral Dress


Sewing is perhaps one of my favorite Sunday activities. I try not to go all “Project Runway” by pinning, hemming and cussing as I’m walking out the door to church, I try to approach Sunday sewing from a more meditative perspective. Strange, I know.

Sewing can be so relaxing for me sometimes!


A couple of weeks ago I was in one of those moods. I had the time and the energy and blue thread already in my serger. I picked up this leftover fabric from these leggings, the Recess raglan pattern and set to work. I literally squeaked out every square inch of the leftover floral fabric! I had under 10 square inches of fabric left when I was done sewing up this dress. Kind of a proud moment to use up every scrap. Usually what happens is I have an awkward amount of fabric left over and I don’t know what to do with it. Give it away? Throw it away? Try to recycle it to something else?


I opted for simple finishings with this dress. The sleeves and hem are raw with a simple band for the neckline. The knit on the sleeves is curling up ever so slightly now so it looks like it was left that way on purpose. The un-hemmed ruffle seems to finish off the bottom without an actual hem.


When I was sewing it up, I actually just eyeballed the length of the dress, assuming it would fit. And it did. But with Penelope growing so much, she’d be able to wear this as a dress for about 3 days before growing too tall for it. The ruffle adds the perfect amount of length to the bottom, letting it graze right at her knees so she’ll have the whole summer to wear it alone, and the fall and winter to wear it with leggings.


The floral fabric is a 25% stretch cotton knit that I scored at the thrift store a couple years ago. I may have gotten the yardage for somewhere around $2 for 2 yards. $2 for leggings and a dress? Major win. :) I also love that this print has a lot of masculine colors incorporated with the feminine print. It just fits Penelope to a T. She’s a girly girl getting more obsessed each day over hair, makeup and clothes; but there are only boys her age on our street. And she not only keeps up with them, but she keeps them on their toes. It’s pretty cute.


One of Penelope’s preschool teachers a few years ago told us, “She’s the girliest tomboy I know.” Which I think is the best of all worlds!


When I surprised Penelope with her new dress, she gave me the world’s best reaction. Seriously, this girl knows how to make her mama feel loved and appreciated. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll have time to sew her a fancypants Easter dress this year. I’m hoping to put something together after the holiday, though.


I told Penelope to strike her most adorable pose. This girl is ridiculous.

Do you have an Easter dress tradition in your house?

Hand-Cut Playhouse Silhouette Promo


Anything in miniature is just irrisistable, is it not? Penelope and I found these little miniature plastic toys at the toy store a couple weeks ago. They’re no taller than half an inch, making them the perfect travel play buddies.


I’m always trying to find appropriate quiet toys for Penelope and Felix to play with during our church services on Sundays. They can be the hardest 3 hours of the week if I don’t come prepared with ample toys and snacks. Problem is, often times they get bored with the toys they typically play with. The idea struck for Sunday-only toys when I found these little cuties.

They were great last week, but we were missing scenery. The little pouch my friend made is perfect for housing all of the animals and any coordinating accessories so my mind set to work to make something collapsible that would fit inside the little pouch (isn’t it too cute?!?).


Making little cut-outs with Silhouette’s chipboard did the trick! Designing the scenery was a breeze, too. It was a fun little mommy-daughter activity for us to decorate the scenery together.

I’m not sure I’ve seen this kind of excitement from her in a while.


Now my only hope is that I can hide these little goodies during the week. She wants to play with her toy scene all the time!


Yesterday started a huge promotion over at Silhouette. They’re offering huge discounts on not only the machines, but a whole pack of goodies. If you don’t have a machine yet, I advise you get one with this promo. You’ll get so many fun starter goodies you’ll be crafting well into the thick of winter.

Use promo code MELISSA at checkout for this exclusive deal.

Specialty media plus a Silhouette CAMEO® for $269.99 (savings over $120 from retail cost $383.90)

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Specialty media plus a Silhouette Portrait™ for $129.99 (savings over $110 from retail cost $263.90)

  • 1 cardstock essentials pack (new product)
  • 1 pack printable adhesive kraft paper (new product)
  • 1 pack printable clear sticker paper
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  • 1 pack printable cotton canvas (new product)
  • 1 pack chipboard
  • 1 pack printable silver foil
  • 1 pack printable magnet paper
  • 1 pack double-sided adhesive

30% off on all specialty media


I am a Silhouette affiliate. I wouldn’t blog about their products unless I really loved them. And I do. I receive a portion of sales made with the promotional code MELISSA, so thank you for your support!!


Back To School: Making Skirts out of Lemons


When I went to LA, I was given a yard of two different Michael Miller prints. I fell in love. My mind was just brimming ideas for the bird fabric (find other colorways here). Home dec? Pencil skirt? Details on a jacket?


Not two hours after I arrived home from my trip, I caught Penelope red-handed with scissors and my bird fabric.

“But mom! I wanted to make a pocket square!”

I unfolded the yardage to discover Penelope had cut a giant hole in the middle of all of it.

There went my plans to make me a skirt. Squashed.


She knew the yardage needed to be a circle skirt, the pocket square bit was just a rouse. I couldn’t see myself making anything else out of the fabric now.


I followed Dana’s instructions for a circle skirt, but added a fabric covered elastic waistband instead. I like the polish the fabric waistband gives.


She loves this little skirt, but  promptly exchanged it for pants for her first day of school. No matter. She at least got dressed up for pictures this morning.


I can’t believe she’s in kindergarten already! My little doll has grown up so fast. I’ve been ready for her to start kindergarten for the last 2 years it seems. Bidding her farewell on the bus today seemed so strange, though! It was just nuts to see my little girl go off to school on her own.

She’s certainly ready for autonomy.

Sewing: Pattern Anthology Tour


Did you ever do that dumb thing in school when you were given practically an entire semester to write a paper, but you wait until the last night to sew it? I mean write it? Then when you sit down to write it, you end up having all sorts of problems with saving the file, printing and your sewing machine . . . I mean computer?

Working as hard as I do on my calligraphy and graphic design business, I really need to get better at “defending my time”, as Chris calls it. He’s right. I need to do the hard things first. And I need to get them done early. That, or I’ll just sleep when I’m dead.


I was asked to participate in a back-to-school sewing tour for Pattern Anthology. I don’t normally accept these things, but since Penelope is heading off to her first year of Kindergarten and our fabric and notions would be provided, I accepted.


These patterns are meant to be blank slates for boys or girls open for interpretation and mixing. It’s been fun to see the other looks roll out thus far and see how much they vary one from another. Some ladies went all out fancy pants for their kids.

I kept things simple with these patterns, omitting zippers and pockets where ever I could get away with. Penelope is terribly rough on her clothes. I don’t want to spend a load of time creating something fancy just to see her rip out a knee just days or even minutes after. Simple it was.


The Recess Raglan was easy. 30 minutes from printing the PDF to a finished garment. I didn’t finish the hem or the sleeves because I liked how the bodice fabric rolled nicely, and I didn’t want to spend more time on the shirt than completely necessary.

Penelope was really excited to pick out the fabrics. I found both at Girl Charlee; the tribal print was just about sold out, I got the last half yard. I just barely squeaked out the shirt and the pant details. I wish I knew the manufacturer’s info on that print. I want some for me.


The BBC Vest was sort of easy. I assumed a 5/8 inch seam allowance (it was 3/8) and ended up making more work for myself with the collar construction. It all worked out though, and I think this vest works adorably for girls or boys. I omitted the peplum cut because I knew this would be the most versatile. I used an amazing chambray from Michael Levine and an un-dyed, lightweight organic cotton voile from Organic Cotton Plus.

Penelope has a little orange hippo button that I’ve misplaced recently. She wants it on the lapel and I’m happy to oblige. Next time, I want to make the front armscye come in a bit more.


The W Pants were easier than I thought, but I overcomplicated in spots. I wanted to use the stripe bandage knit from Girl Charlee, but it’s a bit see-through. Hating to see penelope’s day-glo underwear on display, I lined the pants with more of that white cotton voile. So worth it.


The sizing is big, so I took in the legs and the crotch seam about 1 1/2 inch or so. Next time I’ll size down to a 4T. The instructions for the fly zip are very clear, but I was too tired. Faux zip it was. I spent a little extra time top-stitching each major seam. Coats & Clark has me converted to using topstitch thread. It looks so much more professional.

I have about 3/4 of a yard left of the chambray from Michael Levine, I may have to make a real zip version of these pants for Penelope.


The Study Hall Jacket was a beast. I started it late, just about broke my sewing machine with the elastic and top-stitching thread. But it’s cute. Like little bumblebee cute.

I would reduce the recommended elastic length, it just didn’t gather as much in the back as I would like. I’m not un-picking and fixing, though. I also didn’t really get the lining assembly instructions so I ended up sewing the lining in by hand. Fit is true to size, borderline short in the arms (but I think Miss Penelope has mommy’s ape-like arms). I knew this piece would take me forever, so I made it gender-neutral. A good hand-me-down for Felix.

Penelope sure loves it. I’ve never worked with a separating zip before, but they’re so much easier to install than regular zippers. The jacket doesn’t match the rest of her outfit, but I figured if I was going to spend the time to create a full-on jacket for Penelope, I wouldn’t worry about matching it up to just one outfit. The yellow twill is from Organic Cotton Plus, the rib knit from Girl Charlee and the zipper from Coats & Clark.


Overall, these patterns are a great way to get a solid block for basic kid’s clothes in your library. Thumbs up! You can view/purchase the entire collection here.

My pain points? I dislike assembling PDF patterns and each pattern has different seam allowances. Still, sewing this collection was a good challenge for me to get my butt in gear before school starts.

Alphabet Collection Blog Tour

Check out each interpretation of the collection as it’s unveiled: girl. Inspired.Shwin & ShwinSew a Straight Lineelsie marleyMelly SewsHappy Togethersee kate sew,Elegance & ElephantsI Still Love Youkojo designs, Petit a Petit and FamilyThe Train to CrazyDelia Creates and Craftiness is Not Optional

All fabric and notions provided by companies mentioned above. Enter code PA10 for 10% off your order at Michael Levine and PATANTHO for 10% off your order at Girl Charlee.


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