The handmade wardrobe

See that spunky little girl up there?  She’s mine.  She is feisty and girly and her own individual person every moment of the day. Apparently, she’s exactly how I was as a child. She is very opinionated about her clothing and loves sparkles and ruffles, so when we shop together, I know if what I buy will be worn happily or not.  But as time as passed since she’s been born, I’ve followed more and more sewing blogs and am always amazed at how many of these women are making what appears to be the lion’s portion of their daughter’s clothing.

My absolute favorite way to dress a little girl is in a knit dress and leggings.  Sylvi adds her own twist to this by also wearing boots.  This girl loves boots.  Especially her hot pink Kamik rain boots. But then, who doesn’t?

As I looked over her closet for this winter, I realized I didn’t have many knit dresses and decided that instead of heading to the mall, I’d just make my own.  Most of these fabrics are from JoAnn’s, but I did order the mustard colored one from Birch Fabrics.  It’s organic cotton knit and yes, it was a splurge, but considering that I hadn’t spent more than $8 on all the other fabrics combined, I felt it was more than justified.  And that fabric?  A dream.  I have heard fabrics described as “buttery” and wondered what was meant by that, but as soon as I pulled this out of the package, I knew.  It is amazing.

After I’d made the owl patterned dress, I tried it on Sylvi and she complained that there were no pockets.  Sooooo…. I added pockets to the two dresses pictured together (fabrics from FabricWorm) and then to one knit dress.  You know what?  They are far easier than I’d ever imagined they would be!

All the dresses are from my own patterns. I looked up dresses I liked online (Hanna Anderson, Children’s Place, Old Navy and l.l. bean for inspiration) and replicated them as best I could. Using the dress she’s pictured in at the top of this page for sizing, I used my experience from Oliver + S Patterns and the Sunki dress from Figgy’s Patterns to put the rest together.

At this point, she has 6 dresses in the closet that were made by me for this season, 1 already for the Spring and 2 that I made her this summer that were big enough I think she’ll be able to wear again in 2014.  The tunic with lace-trimmed sleeves brings the total of tops up to four (including what I made this week) and I’ve made 1 pair of leggings (also included in the Sunki Pattern).

What do I have planned next?  More leggings.  For sure.  Her legs are so tiny that I need to figure out a material weight that will cling better when combined with a 12 month width, 2T length.  I’m planning to make the kids’ Christmas PJs (I found the perfect material last week and can’t wait for it to arrive!!!) and have material set aside to make her Christmas dress.  Right now, making her clothes is such a joy and it’s so inexpensive.  To make a long-sleeved top, I only need half a yard of fabric and can get a dress out of 1 yard, including the lining.  I’ve learned how to line, insert hidden zippers, sew with a double needle, create patterns and do a variety of gatherings. So, for as long as she loves me making her clothes, I will.  Liam has loved the pjs I made this week and begs to wear the pants all the time, so I see a future of a lot of handmade pjs for him.  I would like to perfect my raglan skills so that in time I can add some of those to his wardrobe.

All this sewing has brought a whole new level of joy in my life.  I’m a creative person and this is such a wonderful outlet for me.  It used to be that when I was stressed or down, I’d bake.  Which is nice and I learned a host of valuable skills, but I can certainly blame at least 20 of these extra pounds on that hobby.  Now when I am stressed, an hour at my machine or just wandering a fabric store, I am a much more peaceful and content person.  Life is what it is, but I have realized that I can choose to use my time to make beautiful things to show my love for my family and friends.  But this post is long enough as it is… more later this week!


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