Saturday, June 26, 2021

one year of colin

Happy birthday, Colin! Our biggest news from this month is that Colin started standing on his own AND took his first steps! He stood on his own just two days after he turned 11 months. He was pretty stable and could hold the pose for several seconds! His first attempt at walking happened while we were visit Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma reached out her arms and he took a few little steps towards her! He has tried a bunch more times, but he gets too excited! He always tries to run, which ends up with him lunging forward and tumbling into the arms of whoever is nearby. And, when he's not trying to run, he's trying to climb.
We took Colin to the pool for the first time while we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa. He took to the water like a little fish! We put him in a floaty ring in the baby pool and just motored around like a little bumper boat. He loved floating in the big pool also.
On Father's Day, we went to the farmers' market where Colin played in a little fountain. I think he wanted to get all the way in! Later in the day, we went to a nearby splash pad where he had a ball! He was obsessed with the water jets: poking, splashings, crawling through. He didn't mind getting soaked or sprayed at all!
Now that the world is beginning to open up again, Colin is enjoying going out and seeing the world! He squeals with excitement any time I put the car in park now; it's like he's saying, "Where are we exploring today?!"

Near the end of May, we ate inside a fast-food restaurant (that was completely empty) for the first time. Colin really enjoyed the pizza.
Then, this month I took him to the mall for the first time. We got lunch at the food court. Colin really enjoyed the pizza.
And finally, we ate at a real sit-down restaurant as a family for the first time in over a year. Colin really enjoyed the pizza. (I'm sensing a trend as to why he likes going out.)
We went back to the same restaurant for my birthday. (We particularly appreciated the fully cicada-netted outdoor seating.) Colin dropped his pacifier on the floor and said "uh oh!" for the first time. This week he also started saying lots of "mama" (mostly when he is whining) and "ba" for "ball!"

Speaking of pizza, Colin pretty much gave up baby food this month. Why would you eat baby food when instead you could just eat hundreds of grapes? His favorite foods are fruit and cheese, but he will eat pretty much anything! Last week, I gave him some tiny pieces of tortilla and then walked into the kitchen. While I was gone, he managed to slam his body forward and back in the high chair until he got it to roll all the way up to the table. By the time I got back, he had grabbed an entire tortilla off the table and was eating it. Just yesterday he popped through a 5th tooth, which makes eating tortillas (and pizza) even easier!

Routine is very important to Colin. I put him to bed the other night, and he seemed tired so I skipped reading him a book. After I left the room, he wailed so I went back up with a bottle. I picked him up and carried him to the rocking chair to feed him. He shoved the bottle out of the way, pointed at the book "Little Blue Truck," and said, "Da!" Guess I can't get away with skipping bed time stories any more! (Everything is "da." Half of Colin's life is spent pointing at things and yelling, "da!")

Colin loves to climb, explore, and even sometimes snuggle. If I sit on the floor, he always crawls over and plops himself into my lap. It's just so darn cute! He's the sweetest, smiliest one-year-old! We can't wait to celebrate your birthday party tomorrow, Colin!

P.S. Here's some of the cute artwork Colin made this year. The picture of him on the sled is my favorite!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

georgie dress

I started to write about this dress as part of my Me Made May wrap-up, but I decided it deserved it's own post. This is the Georgie Dress pattern by Sew Over It. The fabric is an Art Gallery Fabrics jersey. Sewing this dress was a bit of an adventure, but I'm happy with how it turned out in the end.
I am very confused by the sizing of this pattern. (But that may just be due to my ignorance about pattern drafting.) Based on my measurements, I planned to sew a size 10 bodice, graded to between 10 and 12 at the waist. But, when I laid out the pattern pieces, the size 10 only measured about 30" at the bust. (Yes, I checked that my pattern printed at full-scale.) That seemed like an excessive amount of negative ease, so I sewed a 12 in the bodice, graded to 10/12 at the waist. It fits well except at the arm holes. The armscye is cut very low, which results in a "batwing" of fabric under the arms. I see this in other sewist's version of the dress, so it's not just me. The sleeves were wide (and I do not have proportionally skinny arms), so I took some width out of each sleeve seam. I also had excess fabric in the back of the sleeves seam which I pinched out and sewed, but I might have just stretched the sleeve caps too much when sewing them in.

I first made a muslin of the bodice using some very drapey viscose spandex from JoAnn. I wanted to make sure that my plan for the bodice lining would work. It did! I was able to enclose all the seams except the waistband, which makes for a much nicer finish (but much more complicated assembly) than the pattern directions. After attaching the neckline (step 10), I followed these basic steps:
  1. Understitch the neck.
  2. Baste the front wrap pieces in place. On the left side seam, baste the wrap to the main fabric. On the right side seam, baste the wrap to the lining.
  3. Sew the side seams. Sew the main fabric and the lining separately (main to main, lining to lining) right sides together on each side.
  4. Fold the sleeves in half and sew the seams.
  5. Baste the sleeve to the main fabric of the bodice only, along the front edge, right sides together. You only need to baste about 1/3 of the sleeve to get started.
  6. Reach in between the lining and the main fabric, grabbing the basted edge with the lining and pull out. Sew around the 3 layers. You can't sew around the entire sleeve at one time, so you will need to stop and adjust the fabric multiple times.
The last 3 steps are better explained by a photo tutorial I found from Sew Abigail (different dress pattern, same concept). Even though the inside finishing is much nicer, I am glad the directions did not recommend this method; it was pretty confusing even after I spent a good while thinking about it. I used a thinner navy viscose spandex jersey from JoAnn for the lining. I originally planned to use the same fabric as the main, but it would have been much too thick/bulky in the lining, especially at the waist seam. See how nice the insides look!
I also originally intended on making the gathered skirt option. It looks great in every version I've seen, and I like how the skirt hangs straighter than the circle skirt. I tried basting the gathered skirt to my bodice, and it just... didn't look right on me. I cut the circle skirt option instead. I shortened it about 4" while tracing my pattern and then another 3" after I tried it on. I'm wondering whether it's a smidge too short now, but it looks good with leggings! I shortened the sleeves to 3/4 length. I debated cutting short sleeves and turning this into a summer dress, but I'm going to see if it gets use as a fall/winter dress first.

I don't know if I would sew this pattern again. It's a very modest and secure faux wrap, which I really like. It doesn't feel like it's going to fall open, and it's not so low cut as to need a cami underneath. However, the fit in the arms is just weird. I would consider using the sleeves from another pattern if I do make this again. On the plus side, I felt super cute in the finished dress! This will be a perfect outfit for fall.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

me made may 2021

This was my second year participating in Me Made May, a month-long challenge focused on wearing handmade clothing. During May 2019, I pledged to wear each of my handmade items once. This year I managed to wear a handmade item every day! The weather was perfect for the challenge this year; wild swings in temperature allowed me to wear everything from wooly cardigans and socks to lightweight t-shirts and pajama shorts. Here's a few of the new items I wore this month.

First, this Dory cardigan... a good wardrobe addition for the chilly beginning of May! Remember that Vindaloo wrap I knit a few years ago? Turns out, I'm just not a wrap/shawl person. While I loved how it looked, I just never reached for it in the closet. So, I "frogged" (unraveled) it and repurposed the yarn (Ella Rae classic wool, colorway Lunar) into this sweater. The pattern is a free Berocco pattern called Dory. The simple stitch pattern at the yoke doesn't look like a pattern at all while you're working on it up close, but when completed it forms neat little diamonds! The only modification I made on this pattern was to knit the shoulder shaping using the German short-row method. More details on my Ravelry page.

Next, I finished this Biscayne blouse back while I was pregnant with Colin, but after I lost my baby weight it was way too big! My previous versions were size XS, graded to S at the waist. They are a little tight at the underarm so I went up a size in both bust and waist for this version. Turns out, I just needed to enlarge the arm hole instead of going up a size. I modified the arm hole and took in the side seams for a better fit. I also originally installed KAM snaps for the closure, but realized I'd rather have buttons. I don't need functional buttons here, so I removed the KAM snaps and just sewed the buttons through the placket. Removal of the KAM snaps was fun. I heated an old metal fork over the gas stove and then used the tines to melt the plastic prongs of the snap. Then I crushed the snap with pliers to remove the pieces. Next time I have to do this, I might invest in a cheap soldering iron for the melting step.
The fabric is a Cotton + Steel rayon and features cute little shore birds and fish. It's a bit heavier weight than the Art Gallery rayon I've used several times before. The care instructions are dry-clean only, but "ain't nobody got time for that." It prewashed fine and other internet reviews say it should be okay in a regular washing machine.
Recognize this? I made a fun modification to this Margo skirt. I think the previous waistband stretched, so it wasn't fitting correctly and sitting too far below my waist. I replaced it with this sparkly rose gold Dritz waistband elastic from JoAnn! I unpicked the previous waistband and zipper, sewed the zipper seam shut, and then attached the skirt to the elastic using a tutorial I found on the Dritz website.
As the end of May neared, I was starting to run out of handmade items. I've been meaning to make a pair of chambray City Gym Shorts from my stash of scraps, so I sewed these up in just 2 evenings. The fabric was leftover from my Cheyenne Tunic, the elastic was from my Carolyn Pajamas, and the bias binding was from a Biscayne Blouse. I added pockets, just like I did to my previous pair of egg-print shorts. I also attached the waistband using the tutorial from the Carolyn Pajamas. This results in a higher rise and a less bulky waistband. I've been wearing these as pajamas, but I have been debating whether they're nice enough for daytime wear. Pardon the wrinkles... I wore these before taking photos!
Speaking of scraps, this Acacia Undies pattern is perfect for using up little bits of knit fabrics. I used 1/2" stretch lace from Frogfeathers on Etsy. I modified the pattern to narrow the gusset slightly. They're super comfortable! I have several more knit scraps and a pile of lace trim destined to become underwear.
Lastly, I finished this top (and took this photo) two years ago! The fabric is Art Gallery Fabrics rayon in Everlasting Blooms. I loved it so much that I bought a few more yards to make curtains in our sewing room/office (hence my matching background). I've been meaning to share photos of this top and my sewing space, but it is NEVER organized enough to take photos. I try... I do. But it is always a mess. It's a mess with pretty curtains, though!
I was very proud that I was able to wear at least one handmade item every day of May! P.S. This is my 300th blog post!!