Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Few of Her Favorite Things or, My Entry for the Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition!

It's time for Challenge Create: Fabric Swap Edition!!!  There have been some great projects the past four weeks and I'm sure this week will not disappoint.  I've been most excited for this week because it's finally my turn and because I can't wait to see what Terri made with the fabric I sent to her.  When I saw the themes I immediately chose the Mystery Fabric week.  Really, what's more fun and creatively stimulating than complete and total surprise?

My fabric came from Kara at Sweeter Than It Seams.  She sent me a yard each of two cotton prints, along with a note saying she thought it could be a cute summer theme.  She was right.  I’d originally planned on making something for myself.  The problem is that anything I make now can only be used for the next three months before baby comes.  It worked out perfectly though, because the light red background on the chair fabric is Blue Eyes's very favorite color and it begged to be made into something for her.

I rarely work with quilting cotton so it was quite a challenge to decide what to make.  After many hours of internal debate I settled on the free Brooklyn Frock from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop and let loose with the alterations!  I shortened the dress into a top, angled out the sides a bit for a little extra fullness, shortened the sleeves, scaled down the pocket size to fit the new length, and added a second pocket.  Whoo!  My favorite addition, however, was the piping.  It added such a fun pop of yellow and I think it really helped tie the other fabrics together.

Blue Eyes's birthday falls on the day the results for this week's challenge will be announced.  It only made sense to have her help choose several design elements.  She selected the buttons and made a couple of design changes on the purse.  The shopping trip was a bit of a fiasco because I took all three kids to the fabric store.  By myself.  To select buttons.  Sigh.  I know better than that.  Anyway, after many bribes, threats, and replacing of scattered button cards, we came away with a package of small ladybug buttons and another of gold and silver stars.  That was narrowed down from her original nine choices.  Blue Eye's three favorite colors are red, black, and gold so I think we did well.  I wasn't satisfied with the ladybugs in their original state.  A quick dab of black nail polish made a real improvement on these buttons.  The gold buttons also got nail polish.  Upon returning home I noticed that little bits of glitter came off on my finger when I touched the star buttons.  Two coats of clear nail polish fixed that little problem.
I really do prefer my ladybugs with black heads
The pattern suggests sewing together the open edges of bias tape to create button loops.  The buttons are so small that bias tape loops would have been ineffective. Instead I used colored hair elastics from the dollar store.  I got the idea for that from Sue at A Colorful Canvas.  It's a brilliant idea, though I wouldn't recommend it on this top.  Using hair elastics in a facing is one thing, but sandwiching it into the bias tape and then topstitching on the other side to reinforce and get the loops to lay flat is another thing altogether.  The bumps in the elastic made my topstitching go wonky.  At least it's not that noticeable when it's on her body and that's what really matters.

My original plan was to make shorts out of the swap fabric, using the rest of the blue as the main fabric.  Despite searching through paper, PDF, and self-drafted patterns, I just couldn’t find anything I wanted to pair with the top. I almost decided on a pair of sailor shorts but it just felt too busy when I pictured it in my head.  The top is a really strong piece and I didn't want to distract from it.  Instead I pulled out some white jersey I had on hand and made up a pair of Go To Leggings. Had I known before I made the top that I would make leggings for the bottoms, I would have made the top a few inches longer.  The leggings are fairly loose and she's just turning six, so no biggie.  I think the leggings give it just the right touch.
LOVE the back of these leggings!
A quick shopping trip in my mom’s fabric stash produced the red knit I used to trim the hem and peek-a-boo hole.  I called asking her for a solid red knit.  When I showed her what we were matching she immediately pulled out the fabric you see on the leggings and it was an amazing match!  I could have used the red solid for the bows in back but I really wanted to incorporate the swap fabrics. I used the smallest and largest size bows included in the pattern to make a double layered bow, then used the red knit for the center. I can hardly handle the cute.  Blue Eyes says the leggings are boring because there's nothing on the front.  She also wanted three more pockets on the top so I take that little comment with a grain of salt.
FYI, she's holding a dead butterfly in her right hand and a live ladybug in her left fist.  It's dead now too.
In addition to the challenge of using the mystery fabrics, I also challenged myself to use as much of the swap fabrics as possible.  To accomplish that I printed up the Free Child’s Ruffled Purse Pattern from Create Kids Couture.  The bag echoes the top with the added piping and the buttons.  I moved the bottom ruffle down a bit so the buttons can actually be seen.  At Blue Eyes’s request I added a button and loop closure to the opening, as well as “side pockets like the diaper bag!”  I was getting ready to attach the lining to the body of the purse when those requests came in.  Being the sucker loving mother I am, I complied with her requests and made side pockets and a closure.  The star buttons were also problematic.  I'd used all the gold buttons from the original package on the shirt and only had silver buttons left over.  I really wanted the purse buttons to match the ones on the shirt.  Rather than go buy more buttons, I busted out my glitter toes set and turned them gold.  Now the purse is just what she wants. I'm so glad she loves the whole thing.

Most of the pictures you see above were taken at the school Blue Eyes attends.  They use uniforms so I'm pretty sure that will be the first and last time she wears her favorite things outfit there.  Blue Eyes was far more interested in finding bugs than in posing for the camera.

We also went to the local children's museum that recently opened and I figured I'd get in a few decent shots there.  For your amusement, I give you a sample of what I got at the museum. They were pretty much all like this.
Love my silly girl!
Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to vote for your favorite Mystery Week project on Friday and/or add your own favorite project from 2014 to the Sew Along (bottom of this post).  I had a great time and I'm happy I had the opportunity.  Thanks, Skirt Fixation!


  1. You did an awesome job! I love the outfit and I'm so happy to see what you made. I didn't know what to do with the fabric so I'm glad to see your vision.

    1. Thanks! I wasn't sure what to make for a while either, but I'm really pleased with the result. It turned out to be a great fabric choice!

  2. Adorable outfit! I love all the pieces and details you put into it. Great job!

    1. Thank you! It was a real labor of love and my daughter is happy that so many of her favorite things are included in the outfit. I'm really happy with it too. :)