The Nessie Top Pattern by CINO

Can we just start out by saying that Jess is awesome? I've known her since forever. We played together as kids, most often while her mom was cutting my mom's hair into the perfect 80s wedge. A wedge my mom rocked for two decades. I digress. Anyways. Jess runs the uber popular CINO blog and has ventured in pattern making. I am so happy she has started creating patterns! This girl oozes talent.

Jess's latest pattern is the Nessie top, an adorable knit shirt that sports a mullet hem and a bazillion ways to customize it. I made two - one with the color block option and one with the collar option. My serger is constantly on the fritz, so both tops were made completely with my faithful Bernina 800 sewing machine. I use a small zigzag for all seams and hems, and a long straight stitch for overcasting. A double needle does look more professional, but I hate taking the time to switch needles and get a second spool of thread out.

Miss E's sweet friend Scout let me rope her into a photo shoot after school one day. (Don't mind the apple eating) These two are the best of friends, but getting them to sit still is herding kittens! So, the shoot didn't go quite how I envisioned. Sit still for a tea party? Never! Ah, such goes photographing children.

When you get shots like these, it's so worth the dashed visions and bazillion bribes. At least I didn't have to bribe them to actually wear the tops. Both girls loved the easy going, comfortable fit of the Nessie top. E wore her color blocked top to school that day, with her beloved boots, and new jeans. I pretty much threw the collared version to Scout, and told her to put it on, with no thought as to styling. Her's is my favorite, by far. Leopard print leggings and red star boots for all little girls!!

Lets get down to the nitty gritty and talk about each top.

First up, Miss S, sporting the collared version of the Nessie top (both tops are size 5, which was just a tad short on my super tall girl, but perfect on Scout):

Isn't this floral rayon challis collar amazeballs? Melissa let me have a bit of her scraps when I visited her last August. (side note: Melissa is just as lovely and cool as she seems. Adore her!) I've been trying to figure out what to use the fabric for and when I saw the Nessie collar, I knew it was a perfect match. And it is. Especially with a yellow and white stripe knit and orange duck buttons.  I had a lot of trouble getting that collar to fit on the super stretchy knit. So a word to the wise, if you want to go the collared route, don't use a 4 way stretch knit with bad recovery and a slippery, tightly woven fabric like rayon challis. It was a match made in sewing hell. But the results were totally worth it!

I added my own twist on the Nessie sleeve: instead of hemming, I took some extra neck binding and tossed it on the sleeve. Yes, I hate hemming that much. I also like the smidge of length the binding gives the 3/4 length option. Can you believe this yellow stripe was once a night gown? It was meant to be a Nessie top.

When I first showed Dave the shirt, pre buttons, he wasn't impressed with my stripes and floral mash up.  He doesn't always get my artistic vision at first, but that's ok. Getting my little duckies in a row made the all the difference for him, though. Those buttons are from my mom's plastic button stash. I remember playing in her art studio/ sewing room with those buttons as a kid.

Onto Miss E, in the color blocked version:

A while ago, I found a 1/4 yd of this adorable scalloped knit at JoAnn's in the remnants bin. I think I spent $1.50 on it. This is one high quality knit, so buttery and soft that it was a dream to work with. Luckily, I had an old tank waiting to be re purposed that was just the right shade of pink to match. Knit is so hard for me to justify buying that I just end up using my cast off shirts 90% of the time. I did, however, place an order with Girl Charlee last week for *gasp* new knit. After seeing Jess' stash of their knits, I knew I had to buy some.

There wasn't enough left of the pink tank for sleeves, so I ended up using the same scallop knit on the sleeves as the color blocked bodice. I love that it creates a continuing line from the bodice to the arm, sort of like a faux dolman or kimono sleeve. Next time I might get fancy and curve the sleeve hem, to follow the lines of the bodice down on the arm.

Again, I put binding on the sleeve instead of hemming it. The short sleeve is a great length on their own, but since our weather is finally getting cooler, I wanted to have a little longer sleeve for my warm blooded girl. I also love the more finished edge the binding gives this sweet top.

All in all, I loved the Nessie top pattern so much, I made a third. A fourth and fifth are in the works, too. This is a great pattern for beginners and even those afraid to sew with knit. Jess has included a  knit tips section that is fantastic. So, go, buy, and make the Nessie top!

MADE Kid Shorts Pattern (Version 2)

Back in July, I purchased the MADE Kid Shorts Pattern after seeing it light up the blog-o-sphere.* I grabbed some light blue denim from my stash, some pink and white striped seersucker bias tape and set to work. Did I mention this was the night before a trip to Utah? Yeah, I was up all night sewing that first pair. Totally worth it.

please excuse the lack of feet on Miss E - taking full body shots of this kid is hard!

These shorts are Miss E's favorite. Since that first pair, I've made two others, with two more in the works. Thanks to mild California winters (can we even call them winters when it's 80 in November?), she is still wearing the heck out of these shorts. Our favorite combo is the racer short with the front pockets. There is something so magical about a pocket with a fun lining for Miss E and I am in love with the curved hem of the racer short. Miss E is a tall drink of water, so I added 1.5" to the size 5 girls' pattern.  The length addition makes for a nice modest length for Kindergarten playground shenanigans.

For this particular pair, I cut out up an old 90s romper. Back when my sister and I were kids, matching rompers were all the rage. We waited eagerly to wear this particular pair to pick our parents up at the airport, from a long trip to London. I felt like such a cool old kid in that peter pan laced collar and balloon panted romper.

Miss E found my sister's when my parents were moving and fell in love. Sadly, it was far too short for her. I'm not sure I would have let her out of the house, even if it had. There was, however, enough fabric in those voluminous pants, to make a pair of shorts. Out came the pink and white bias tape and in an hour, we had an adorable pair of modern shorts. Have I mentioned how in love I am with a vintage floral paired with a striped seersucker?

Anyways, I have to say these are my favorite pair of Kid Shorts yet. Nostalgia and function colliding makes my heart all fluttery. I am such a sucker for re-purposing fabrics and items from my youth.

As far as the pattern goes, it's a simple, beginner pattern, that includes a bevy of sizes. My first pair took a few hours to make, as the directions are online and I just couldn't be bothered to read online while I sewed. Subsequent pairs have come together in an hour, after I took the time to read the directions. Fancy that, right? My only complaint is that I had to search for the seam allowance. (It wasn't easy for me to find in the online directions) For a digital download, a seam allowance marked on the cutting lines would be more convenient. Other than that, this pattern is well worth the moolah.

*These opinions are completely my own. I was not asked to review nor compensated for them in any way.

Romper part duex

A few weeks later and I have images of Geth wearing the romper I made. I am nothing if not consistent in my delayed blogging.

My parents' home has simply lovely lighting. When they move and I loose the opportunity to use the buttery afternoon glow, my heart will break a little. The People's Public of California (bless you Tina Fey) is not the more retirement friendly place and they are looking for greener pastures on the other side of the Sierra Nevadas. In all honesty, my heart will break more than a little when they are more than a mere twenty minutes away.

Back to the romper! Quickly, this piece has become a favorite - the first item I grab for when the laumdry is clean, after the muslin baby blankets. Rompers have a lovely ease. One outfit, one set of snaps. So simple to dress baby!

 For the second romper, I want to add in a gusset (if you look closely, you can see the gaping snap tape). Soon that other romper will be in rotation, I hope.


Images from Mini Boden

Infant size boys clothes have stumped me for a while now. Slapping an iron-on on a onsie is easy enough. Yet not enough for a seamstress. With baby girl fashions, I've been able to create new styles and outfits I couldn't find in stores. Baby boy fashions are more basic: shirt & pants. Easy items to find well made in the ready-to-wear market.

Then I had an epiphany: don't re-invent the wheel.

Instead of coming up with original designs, I pulled out the staples from Geth's wardrobe. Drafting patterns from rompers, pants, and onsies, I've come to the realization that boys clothes are about simplicity and fit. Now, those two goals I can achieve!

Geth is a long and lean baby, with a long torso and shorter legs. Any standard pattern needs a bit of tweaking to fit him perfectly. My first romper draft needs a few tweaks, still: ie, a gusset in the crotch, an inch out of the sides. Also needed is a snap machine. I am finding snap tape to be an expensive headache I'd rather avoid.

Cute boy knits are proving elusive, so I've descended on our DI pile like a vulture. The Hubs has discarded quite a few polos which are made of awesome knits. I snatched my two favorite polos and cut out a romper from each. One shirt easily yields one romper, while shirts with out a placket would yield two. Only one romper has been completed, while the other lies in the pandemonium of my sewing room.

My mother gifted her sewing center, made my father back in the 70s, to me last week. A beautiful piece of practical and functional furniture, it's arrival has caused an explosion of fabric and crafting debris in my room. An explosion compounded by my purchase of comic book boards, which I am using to create miniature bolts. (inspired by Craftiness is Not Optional) When the dust settles and organization reigns once again, I plan to add onsie and shorts to the list of patterns to draft up.

Two Months & a Baby Blessing

Geth is now two months old. I feel like one day I was pregnant, the next I had a baby and now, day three, he's two months old. As my sister-in-law remarked today, "all of this" happened so quickly. In fact, I think all of 2012 happened in a blink of an eye!

Geth, the most smiley baby ever, was blessed last week. It was a beautiful day, filled with our wonderful family. Somehow, we managed to fit all 35 of them into our backyard! Our (1800 sq ft) home was filled to the brim with love.

Our first family photo since Geth's arrival

Poor baby ended up being too big for the blessing outfit I made him. Grandma to the rescue! She ran to the Janie and Jack outlet near her home and found this adorable outfit that fit. I hate to admit this, but I liked it better than what I made. That story, in full, is another post for another day!


Hmm, I think I should rename this blog "MIA" or "It's been a while", with how frequently I post. Oh well.

Easter 2013 was very low key and wonderful this year.

I didn't even attempt to make Easter outfits. I wore a dress that my mother gave me, E's dress was purchased at Costco, and Geth's was a simple onesie with a tie ironed on (the only thing I made). 

Oh, I never mentioned that I had the baby? Oops.

on my way to be induced

Well, I did.

Geth (his nickname/initials) was born three weeks early in a whirlwind of hospital stays and an insanely fast emergency induction. I developed a mild case of preeclampsia at 36 weeks. Mild or not, preeclampsia means induction in the last few weeks of gestation. So after three hours of induced labor (half the time of my first), our sweet baby boy arrived.

At nearly two months old, he is a perfect baby and we are all in love. I'm just now getting back into the swing of life, but happy as can be.

Hopefully that will mean more blogging, but we know how good I am about that.

Freebie: Cleaning Calendar {blank}

Per the request of the Bestie, here is my cleaning calendar with out the chores. Rather, I've left spaces for you to add in your own. My own chores are tailored to my needs, why shouldn't yours?


I also realized that I had a mistake on my own calendar. Saturday should say Swing Day, not catch up day. Oopsie! Here is the fixed version, in case that mistake bugs you, too.

download updated .pdf here

Freebie: Cleaning Calendar

I don't know about you, but I seriously hate cleaning. Some people have a Mary Poppins attitude towards the mundane tasks of house work, but not I. Nope, I don't find much fun in breaking my back scouring shower walls or scrubbing toilets. 

I do, however, get in what the Hubs calls "crazy cleaning mode". This is where I turn into a furious tornado of cranky cleaning, muttering under my breath how no one seems to ever put things away (myself included) and how gross our house is. 

No one likes cranky cleaning Kristin. Not even myself.

I've realized through the years that I do better with the unpleasant tasks if I break things up into baby tasks. So when a friend of mine showed me her cleaning schedule (found here), I knew it was for me. The design however, was not. Neither was the schedule or all the chores.

Last night, I sat down and designed my own Cleaning Calendar. I'm happy to say that doing one chore a day is really helping me keep on top of the house work. As my dear friend's mom says, "You don't have to like housework or cleaning or organizing. But if you want to live in a tidy, organized house that smells nice and isn't crawling with ants, you gotta do what you gotta do."

This girl has gotta take it in baby steps, with a pretty schedule. If you do, too, feel free to download and print my design. 

(click the picture to download)

Goodbye 2012, hello 2013!

Yikes! Has it really been two months since I posted here last? I really am a sporadic blogger, made even more inconsistent because of pregnancy. Only two months (give or take a few weeks/days) left of being a space cadet!

First things first, I made a goal last year to not buy any fabric in 2012. It was a highly undocumented goal, despite my best efforts. At some point, I'll put together a collage of the items I made through out the year. Although, I only managed to take pictures of a few of them.

But, I made it!! Hip, hip!

Things I've learned:

  • I don't need to buy lots of fabric. Sure, the siren call of an awesome print is hard to resist, but I don't really need to buy it.
  • Notions are pricey! I've started buying things in bulk when there are sales on notions, even before I need them.
  • I use a lot of interfacing. A lot.
  • Being creative is a challenge, but oh so rewarding.
  • I have no boy friendly fabric.

I think I may do this once every few years, just to decrease the piles of fabric I accumulate. My stash is now half of what it was to start with. With a baby boy on the way, I'm sure my stash will grow exponentially. As of now, everything I have is girly!

Secondly, I'd like to post up our family letter for 2012. We had a fantastic year, with ups and downs like every other year. My little family has grown stronger, increased our faith in our Savior, and have been more thankful than ever for the help sent our way. We are eternally grateful for the blessing from our Heavenly Father and the loving support of our families and friends.