Wednesday, July 31, 2013

on outfitting kids

Before I get started here, I'd like to give a shout out to how awesome PicMonkey is!! I designed my new header and the new sidebar buttons with no frustration and with great ease using that site. I "splurge" on the $5 a month for the pro membership. After using a 30 day trial of Photoshop recently and finding it way too cumbersome and time-consuming for my needs (not to mention expensive), I find PicMonkey to be soooo much fun.

Next bit of news, Fancy That now has it's very own Facebook Page!! It used to be the page for my Etsy shop, but that is no longer in operation so I turned that wasted space on the Internet into something useful :) You can find and like that page here and thus receive my new posts on your timeline. There is also a cute new button to the right that will always take you right to it.

Now for the bit of sewing I have been doing. I made the girls some super cute knit dresses from McCall's 6785. This is Natalie's (Layla doesn't want to model hers right now. Shoulda taken pictures yesterday when she was wearing it!)

Layla's is out of a cute cherry print knit and I made the other view with the cute ties at the hem. It's adorable. Don't worry, I'm determined to get pics of her in it! This is the pattern envelope:
And so, my Fall sewing has commenced. I have a lot of great plans, but I'm not sure if I should dig in now or just wait until after the move. I definitely can't go weeks without sewing ... so I guess I just answered my own question! I'm digging in ;)

We went to our favorite thrift store on Sunday afternoon (the one the kids got all excited about, haha) and they happened to have all kids' clothes half off that day. We had just left Old Navy--I wandered around thinking, "I could so make that better and for a lot less money" and Casey and I were both snubbing our noses at their "clearance" prices. Call us cheap, but when three kids need complete new wardrobes every time the seasons change, you'd have a $5 limit for kids' clothes too! This Old Navy experience made Savers even more fun. We get clothes there that we would never but in stores: Gap, Banana Republic, Abercrombie kids, Gymboree--these were all represented in our haul on Sunday for between 1 and 3 dollars a piece. Thrifting is just the way to go, in my most humble opinion. How do you shop frugally for kids' clothes?

Monday, July 29, 2013

two tried, two true

I made second versions of two recent favorites.

I got so many positive comments on my latest Vogue dress, both here and on! As soon as I finished that one, I knew it would be a perfect design for this print I picked up at Denver Fabrics, which I'm pretty sure was part of the Liberty of London for Target line that everyone went nuts over a couple years ago.

I love this version just as much as the solid blue chambray one!!
We've had a couple cool and rainy days here. It's been lovely, but I'd like another month of sunshine at least!!
In the meantime, though, an umbrella makes a fun prop ;)

 Yep, I think an umbrella must come with me to my next photo shoot!
In case you're interested, this was my second version of Vogue 8810, which I reviewed here.

Before that, though, I made another version of my recent ruffle shirt, Simplicity 1886, which I reviewed here. Shortly after I made that top (which I've already worn several times!) I bought this two-sided double gauze at Denver Fabrics. I knew this same pattern would be the perfect design to showcase both sides!
 Isn't this fabric so cool???

That wrapped up the Summer sewing I was wanting to do before our exodus to Virginia. I have a TON of Fall sewing plans for both me and the kids, but I think I still have plenty of time. When does Fall (meaning long-sleeves and hot Starbucks weather) arrive in Virginia. Anyone?

In other news:

  • We started school today. It went awesome :)
  • I quit shampoo. More on that later, in a long and informative blog post, haha. 
  • Natalie just decided she wants to be a Mexican Princess for Halloween. As she's watching Strictly Ballroom. Best movie ever. The costume plans change almost daily, all year round.
  • Our kids got crazy excited over a trip to a thrift store yesterday--we are a nerd family. 
  • We started reading the Chronicles of Narnia out loud to the kids and we are all loving it. 
  • I cleaned out my little girl patterns yesterday :( My girls are too big for most of them. One daughter is too mature for the sweet ruffly looks and the other daughter just prefers pants and shorts and wants to look "cool", not "cute". I'm trying to encourage her in her own style. I want to let her be herself, which makes me thankful for the lines of patterns designed by Disney Channel stars past and present--even though my girls don't know those characters, they like their clothes, haha. And my friend Jennica will be getting some awesome little girl patterns ;)
That's all! 
Cheers :-D

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Well, as time before our move winds down, our school year is winding up! I've spent this week planning our next few weeks of school before we have to pack it up and move across the country a bit over a month from now. I've had a few people tell me I'm crazy for trying to school through a move, but Summer, after July, finds my kiddos a little lazy--too much TV is being watched, not enough chores are being done and we all are starting to itch for a little routine. So we're jumping in.

I have started to wind down my Summer sewing also. I have two more pieces I'd like to sew up before packing up. I cut one out yesterday, maybe I'll get it done by this weekend. I managed a breezy rayon dress last week. I wore it to church Sunday and really liked it:

 This picture is not great. I need to teach Natalie to focus on the person, not on the brick wall ;)
 It's McCall's 6678. I liked the modified shirt dress look with a drawstring waist. And I love a shirttail hem.

I used peachy orange buttons, which I think are perfect!! I made a couple changes. I shortened the hem by two inches in front and one inch in the sides and back. It was a frumpy length before and I like things to hit above my knee, not below. Also, the sleeves were a little ridiculous.  They are large and they stuck straight out. I tried it on and just manipulated a pleat into each sleeve and then took it off and attached the pleats with buttons. After those changes, I'm pretty happy with it, but in the future will stick to my new favorite modified shirt dress pattern, Vogue 8810, which does not require a cami underneath like this one does because of the massive arm holes. 

I'm pretty excited about our school year, as broken up as it's going to be with two moves in the next 8 months. I'd love to come back in the next few days and show you which materials I'll be using! This will be our best year yet :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

family & friends

There have been good reasons for my absence here this past week. After my friend Jenn and her family left, my sister and her husband and five kiddos came!! It has been SO fun having loved ones here for a few weeks. Yesterday my kids were wandering around the house not knowing what to do with themselves. I think they'd gotten used to being busy, ha! Today they have mellowed out and are occupied, whew!

I was able to rope everyone into a little family photo shoot at Delaney Farm one day. Whenever we are all together, we must make this happen in some form!
 This is the one and only shot where everyone was looking and no kids (or Dads) were doing silly things.
 My favorite:

My brother in law snapped that last one. I love it :)

Working backwards from there, despite the sickness that scurried through the house while Jenn was here, we did manage to get one day of outside fun in once we were all well again.
 She couldn't resist making her own version of the pool bag. They look SO AWESOME next to each other. These guys could make anyone smile ;)

 Their little guy Asa just became officially theirs this week!! So excited for them. They took him to Build-a-Bear that day and named his bear "Gotcha". So cute.
And we got to go on a double date to the rifle range too :)

Now, you'd think things would be settling down for me ... but, we are moving in SIX WEEKS!!!! Six weeks. Crazy. I have a lot to do. I'm trying not to stress out about every tiny detail. We are moving to Ft. Lee, Virginia for six months for Casey's Captains Career Course. After that, we'll move again. Could be anywhere. We have to drive both our cars, which puts me in our SUV with the three kids and no passenger to help tend to them for three 8 hour days. This part is not necessarily sounding that stressful to me, actually, although your ideas for helping the kids through it would be very welcome :) The stressful part is getting this darn house ready for renters! While trying not to get super behind in homeschooling with two moves in one school year. So, anyone who has rented a house, moved cross-country, PCSed with the military, moved while homeschooling, driven with kids for several days--insert your best advice in the comments!!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My new favorite dress

I don't buy a lot of Vogue patterns, but sometimes when they're on sale for $3.99, I pick out one or two. Call me cheap, but when the other companies go on for $.99, four bucks can seem like a lot, haha.

I have been looking for the perfect shirt dress pattern. I didn't want it to be the straight kind with a sash or belt because that's just not a flattering cut for me. So I wanted one with a skirt and I do have a pattern like that, but it has a fitted waistband also and I wanted it to be more comfortable for everyday than that.  I know, I'm so picky!!

But, I flipped through the catalog just for kicks since I was at JoAnn and saw Vogue 8810. I loved the more paper bag style of this one and the drawstring would make it so comfortable! I had a dark denim colored stretch chambray and hand so after making a quick muslin, I got to work. And I LOVE IT!!
 The fit is perfect, although I sized down from what I normally make because I thought it had more ease than I wanted on the model. I also thought the waist looked low on her so I shortened my bodice by using the petite fold lines on the pattern pieces. It actually made for a perfect length, thankfully.

 I found the perfect buttons at Hobby Lobby. They add to the casual look, I think.
 I didn't quite have enough fabric (long plackets like these, since you need to cut four of them, take a lot of fabric) so I pulled a vintage cotton from my stash and used it for the placket lining and the pockets. I love how it peeks out from my hem occasionally when I walk.

This will be so easy to style for Fall too. Just add a long sleeved tee underneath or a cardigan on top and some boots or flats.

I love this dress so much, I'm thinking of making another one out of the Liberty for Target print I showed you the other day! I just need some underlining for it. In the mean time, I promised two little girls some doll bathing suits ;)

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Well, our friends arrived safe from Reno on Tuesday and on Thursday the first of us contracted a nasty stomach bug that didn't quit until 7 of the 10 of us had gotten it. Whew! SO thankful it's over and that at least 3 kids were spared. Before both Jenn and I got the bug, we did manage to go to Denver Fabrics and we both came home with quite a nice haul, but I just had to share this cotton lawn with you...
Am I imagining things or was this fabric part of the Liberty of London line for Target from a couple years back? I have a wallet from that line out of this fabric in a different color way! It was quite a lucky find, for only $2.97 a yard. We both grabbed three yards. Any thoughts about what I should make with it?? We also hit the JoAnn's pattern sale yesterday (love it when they have military discount days!) so now that I have several new fabrics and patterns, I'm not really sure where to begin :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Recycled t-shirt pajamas

As promised, here is the basic tutorial for how I turned a pile of my husband's t-shirts into p.j.'s for my four year old. It is super easy. Kelby really needed Summer pajamas and Casey just cleaned out his shirt drawer. Most of the ones he was giving away, he barely wore, so I repurposed them for Kelby.

The Dunder Mifflin shorts are definitely my fave, even if they make me a bit sad that The Office has ended for good ;) We will keep the Dundy spirit alive through sewing, haha!

First, obviously, you need some t-shirts. Casey generally wears a size L. The bigger your shirt, the bigger child you can make these for. This will probably be the last year I can squeeze Kelby shorts of the Large shirts, but I can always buy bigger tees from the thrift store. He wears a size 5 currently, if that gives you a frame of reference for what size shirts to use for what size kids. If you have a toddler still, you could probably make pants this way! 
 First up, the shorts. You'll need a basic pajama bottoms pattern for this, or one from the Internet, which shouldn't be hard to find, or expensive to buy. This is the one I use:
 I've traced this in a bunch of sizes over the years. I do lower the waistband on these and shorten them quite a bit. I don't know what kind of long-legged kids they designed this pattern for, but they're way too long for us ;) It's not necessary that your pattern be designed for knits only. This pattern is for wovens and I use it with knits also.

Next, pin your shorts front and back piece onto your t-shirt any way that it fits. I put mine on a bit of a diagonal and I actually really like how the logo twists around from the front to the toosh. You can see in the bottom right corner that the top of my pattern piece goes onto the sleeve seam a little, but no matter, those lines will disappear into the seams and casing.
Next, just follow your directions for putting the shorts together. I use 1" elastic in mine and I used yellow thread for a cute contrast. 
I like to put a tag in the back of my kids' pants, shorts and skirts, just so they know which way is the right way. I just put a folded piece of ribbon into the casing before I sew up my elastic hole. 

 Next up, the shirt. Just as easy and no pattern required :)
First,  cut off the sleeves and cut the side seams and shoulder seams open, so you have the front and back as two pieces. We need to make the neckline kid-sized, but still make use of the original ribbed neck.

 Then, reposition the shirt front onto the shirt back, but putting the shoulders of the front higher than the back shoulders, thus making the neckline smaller. Just use a sleeveless shirt that fits your son to compare.
 Once you have that neckline lined up, just trim around the tank top, adding seam allowances to the sides and shoulders and a 1" hem at the bottom. No need to add seam allowances to the arm holes unless you plan on hemming them, which I did not.
 So it should look like this (I know, there are stains on this tank top, he's a busy boy :)
 Put your pieces right sides together and sew or serge the side and shoulder seams. If you don't have a serger, just use two rows of straight stitching close together and trim. I sewed knits that way for years and never once popped a seam.
 Hem your shirt and if you want to, hem the arm holes. For this red shirt, I just added a zig zag stitch around the arm holes and zig zagged the hem too, just for interest.
And you're done! 
For this next pair, the yellow t-shirt actually had ribbing around the sleeve hems, so I cut that off (leaving about 1/2" of the t-shirt part for a seam allowance) and reapplied it to the arm holes and top stitched it. 
 Now he has two new pairs of Summer p.j.'s that cost me nothin'!
 Wouldn't these be cute with appliques on the shirts?? If you use this tutorial, I'd love to see your results so leave me a link in the comments! Also, if you're new to sewing knits, my #1 tip is to use a ball-point needle, which is made for stretch knits and will make a HUGE difference in preventing skipped stitches and rescue you from frustration. Oh, and to use a walking foot if you have one.
Happy sewing :)