Thursday, June 17, 2010

Expanding a Summer Wardrobe

One of my biggest struggles as a Mom of a little girl, is my desire to dress her in adorable clothing yet not spend a fortune. There are some incredible boutique clothing out there, however I cannot (and will not) justify spending $50+ on an outfit. Another personal desire of mine is that I would like Eleanor to look like the 3 year old that she is, not a miniature teen - I have plenty of years ahead of me to fight with her over how she is dressed.
I have been sewing since college, however at that time I primarily made purses. Once Eleanor was born and I was at home full time, I began sewing more. My main struggle then was the basic patterns you can find at JoAnn Fabrics. These patterns are often at least $10 and once I have cut out the size 1, I am done. If I want to make the outfit when she is bigger, I have to buy it again.
Rewind back 2.5 years ago - I discovered sewing pattern HEAVEN. We have all had those late nights where we cannot sleep and we suddenly spent 4 hours online. It was one of these nights that I discovered These brilliant woman have created what is basically an online craft/sewing/quilting store. Most of the patterns are created by stay at home Moms. They are all sent to you in PDF form - hello instant gratification. The BEST thing about these patterns is you just print it out again when you need the next size up - it does not cost a thing.
My favorite pattern designer from this website is Aimee Poche. You have to check her out. She is a phenomenal mother of 8, yes 8! Where she finds the time to design patterns I do not know. The other thing I love about Aimee is her availability. You can email or tweet her with any questions and she always gets back to you. She is so helpful and I just love being able to support her. Even if you do not sew, you just have to check her out.
As I have begun sewing with more frequency, I have found that I have been better at taking clothes I see in the store and figuring out how I can make them at home. I have also been able to find ways to stretch Eleanor's clothing to last more than one season. Eleanor is a very tall but skinny child - length wise she is a 4T however weight wise she is 24mths. I have started sewing fabric cuffs and ruffles on her jeans, pants and leggings.
These twirl skirts are one of my favorites. They are quite full so do not photograph well (there may also be a quality problem with the photographer) however they are just precious. The cupcake skirt will easily carry into the fall/winter with a pair of brown or pink leggings. They look so cute with any t-shirt and Eleanor just loves anything that twirls.

These skirts are a modification of the Sew Sensible Twirl Skort. I saw them on Aimee's blog around Christmas and she gave me the modifications to make the Twirl Skort into a skirt. It is the easiest skirt to make! I do also love the Twirl Skort, however I usually make that for the fall/winter. The flag tee and the flower tee are both old t-shirts from last year. The flag applique is hiding a VERY large hot fudge sundae stain. I do not throw out stained t-shirts, instead we use them in the backyard for gardening or I applique them a presto - a custom outfit made from scraps! Applique is so much easier than I thought, I learned it from a very easy tutorial found here. It is also a great way to cover a hole.
The bloomers and shorts above are from the Sew Sensible Boutique Bottoms . In the fall and winter I absolutely love them as long pants, in the spring they make great capris. I love them as bloomers and shorts in the summer. They take less than a yard of fabric and I rarely spend more than $5 to make a pair. The baseball top is from the Sew Boutique A-Line Dress and Top. The top/dress can be either lined or reversible. When I choose to line it, I always use the same fabric. That way, if one side gets stained it does not matter, just flip it over! The white top is a new pattern from SisBoom. I have made it in both a dress and top, it is fabulous for hot weather. The white fabric is simple muslin, with my JoAnn Coupon I got 5 yards for $5. I have made a skirt, shorts, bloomers, and a top out of it - I still have some left! Cannot beat that deal.
My all time favorite is the Pillowcase Dress. There are many patterns out there, however this one is by far my favorite. The instructions are so easy to follow. This will serve as a dress this year and a top next year. Eleanor wore many pillowcase tops this last Christmas that were dresses the year before. The width is easily adjustable because it gathers. I have also added borders to tops to get another year out of them.

Well, I hope you stuck with me this long! I finds so many of my tips and tricks off of other blogs. It is amazing how many talented Moms are out there. Do you sew? Do you have any great tips? Please share, if for no other reason I would love to know somebody read this:)


Shannon said...

Oh jealousy of your sewing is oozing...I am green with envy =) Your stuff is fabulous. I am going to break out my machine one of these days...I promise!!

Jean @ Quilted Cupcake said...

Very cute! I love the pillowcase dress, too. Have you seen the book that's all about using pillowcases to make different things?

Also, if you like cupcakes, I have a free applique pattern on Scribd - there's a link on my blog.