Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November Giveaway!

Hi all! I am still alive and have sewn a few things- just need to make time to post about them! Max is eight months old now (wow) and I am teaching special education full time, so I don't have as much time to sew as I used to...

Leave a comment to enter the giveaway by Friday at midnight. The winner gets all four patterns and I will ship internationally if needed. All patterns are vintage and for a 34 bust. I have not checked if they are complete or not.

Simplicity 4260 is a button down shirtwaist dress with an interesting triangular neckline, or simple collar variation. Probably early 50s. Simplicity 2195 is for a monogrammed blouse with three sleeve lengths. Probably late 50s or early 60s.

Simplicity 1672 is a 1940s pattern for a shirtwaist dress. A button down bodice with a tie or button waist, with an option for scalloped sleeves and neckline. Butterick 3034 is a 60s wardrobe pattern that makes a skirt, blouse that can also become a dress and a casual, boxy jacket.
 Leave a comment by friday if you would like these cool patterns! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Breastfeeding Wardrobe: Advice Plz!

Since having Max three (!) months ago, I am mostly back to normal physically. I am only ten pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, so that's good! I have started going to yoga again and working on toning up.

Being slightly larger than before and also breastfeeding is making me reevaluate my wardrobe. I bought some new jeans since my old ones don't fit anymore, which was great. That made it so I had more than just leggings to wear and made me feel more like a human again! I got rid of a garbage bag full of clothes that are either too small or won't work with breastfeeding. Now I need a summer wardrobe that will work.

Mostly everything I have seen online is nursing tank tops with the hooks, button downs, and wrap tops or dresses. I am just wondering if you ladies have any tips for nursing through the summer months? What are some essential pieces that I should buy? Summer is so short here, I think I could easily get by with less than ten "outfits".

I also want to try to sew a few items (maybe three?) as well. I think the Camas blouse by Thread Theory with either short or no sleeves would work very well. I saw a cute button down sleeveless dress on Instagram, I know it was an indie pattern, but I forgot the name... Any other recommendations for patterns that would work and be quick and easy to sew?

And to leave on a funny note, I saw Gertie released a new pattern:
Link here
All I could think was "You could turn view A into a nursing top if you cut two holes under the ties" How funny would that be? :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Vintage Clothes Shopping

I spend a lot of time on my phone, like when the baby is nursing. I have been wasting a lot of time on Instagram lately (@mollysews but it is mostly baby pictures at this point).

There are a few vintage clothes sellers that I follow on Instagram. I (and lots of you) love vintage clothes and I use them for sewing inspiration since they are often horrifically expensive and usually not anywhere close to fitting me.

Two points for discussion:

1. I really really enjoy looking at the clothes, which are often very simple 50s dresses, and then looking at how much they cost. They are often well over $100 and so simple that you could buy a similar modern pattern on sale for 99 cents and then make a replica for less than $30. That is really why I got into sewing; I am so cheap at heart and love to gloat about how much money I saved (which only makes sense when you either talk about vintage or designer, not regular everyday stuff). Do any of you like copying expensive stuff and the feeling super proud? Mmmm, my favorite!

2. I see them tagging and labeling so MANY dresses as 40s and 50s and they are often very clearly not. Frankly, the 40s were 75 years ago and there really cannot be that many pristine and intact pieces to sell. I think lots of times they are similar styles from the 70s and it's just wishful thinking. I see the same thing with 80s dresses that were inspired by the 50s. Sometimes they tag it as "inspired" but not always. Granted, I can't see the labels and that would help determine if they are or aren't. I know a lot of the styles and features that date an outfit to a time period from sewing from vintage patterns for so long, but I am sure lots of their buyers have no clue. But then again, they may not care. Do you think there can really be THAT many pieces (shoes and dresses) from the 40s or 50s?

Either way, I love looking at the pictures and thinking about how I could and would sew that myself!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

SHB Sewalong: Cloth Diaper Covers and Fun with Snaps!

I used the Green Pepper Patterns 554 to make these cloth diaper covers. I bought two beforehand to investigate, but as purchasing each one can be 10-15 dollars, I knew I would make my own. 

I combined the pattern design with a blog tutorial I read. The outside is flannel and the inside is the PUL fabric that feels like plastic and keeps the baby's clothes dry. The cloth diaper is inside of that, so you only need to change the cover if it gets totally soaked or there is a poopsplosion.

I cut out three at once in size small after Maxwell was born. The pattern is really easy and you can make each diaper in less than 30 minutes once you know the drill.

Version 1:
The front is a little short, so the diaper tries to poke out the top. This leads to wet belly and too many changes of clothes. 

(These pictures are from about 3 weeks ago and he is so much bigger now!!)

Tummy Time!
 Version 2:

I tried to add elastic to the front to tighten it up more, but failed to realize that topstitching the gap closed would make the elastic not gather. Duh. I added a seventh snap in the center so it could be snapped tighter.

His favorite toy: Crinkle Penguin!
 Version 3:

This time I successfully added elastic to the front, which gives a better fit. I kept the seven snaps idea from version 2.

Next time I make them, I am going to make the next size up, of course. I think I will make the front a bit longer so it will go up higher and prevent the diaper poking out. It's a good pattern and I totally recommend it! I knew nothing about diaper covers and it was really helpful.


PUL is cheaper at and a yard will make at least 3-4 of these.

You do not need a zigzag, I did it all with a straight stitch since I have a vintage machine.

My diaper service gave us an info sheet and it said that if it gets stained, you can lay the PUL in the sun and it will bleach itself- true and works!

Use poly thread not cotton: I used cotton and now it is stained orange from baby breastmilk poops.

Plastic snaps are so much better than metal ones!! If I stamp it crooked, I can just snip the pin part with scissors and fix it! I'm never going back to metal!! I bought the Babyville snaps at JoAnn, but the bought the KAM pliers and more snaps based on online reviews.


I will be making more baby stuff, but technically the SHB Sewalong is over. I didn't get too much done in April, but at least it motivated me to post about stuff. It made me feel somewhat productive!

SHB Sewalong: Cloth Diaper Diaper Bag

My friend Ahnna got us the cloth diaper bag on the right. We are using cloth diapers and it did not cross my mind that hmmm maybe you need something to hold dirty diapers when you are out, since you can't just throw them away!

I thought it might be good to make a second, in case one is drying. For days in future when Max and I actually go places.... :)

 Super easy to make:

Traced the original, installed a zipper on the top (a 12" white one), sewed up the side seams.

For the inside I used some of the PUL (I think its polyurethane laminate?) fabric that is used for the cloth diaper liners as well. I bought it from in white so I could use it for a bunch of projects. JoAnn has some, but it was 15 bucks a yard and only in goofy prints.
 I made a second pouch for the inside and topstitched to attach it to the zipper tape.
The proof is in the pudding: it worked perfectly fine on our 2 month pediatrician appt!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

SHB Sewalong: Boppy Pillow Cover

Ok, some of these things for the sewalong were definitely not made in April. However, it is motivating me to blog about them, so that has to count for something!

I bought some cute Mink style fabric from after being disappointed at the selection at JoAnn (shocking, right?) I used the green forest creature print for the Boppy cover.
 My aunt gave me her old pillow when we were in Oregon for Xmas and it came with a blue cover. I thought it would be smart to have a backup, which was smart as it has been covered in an assortment of baby fluids.

T-Rex has been the pillow's #1 fan since we brought it home in January. He was able spend two delightful months sleeping on it before the baby came.

 More snuggles...

 Uh oh, Molly took it away! It was really great for nursing after the cesarean, protecting my stitches from the baby and from the dog who was always trying to stand on my lap. Now I just use it to prop up my elbow as I nurse on the sofa during the endless Netflix marathons...
at the hospital

As for the sewing:

 I used a pattern, Simplicity 4225, which I bought for a dollar on sale. It mostly fit the Boppy pillow, but I had to shorten the ends of the U and round them a little more to get a better fit. I just used it for the shape- they want you to use velcro to close it. The real cover has a zipper on the outside, so I just copied that. I had a vintage zipper that matched the green fairly well.

It was really easy to make and probably took less than an hour to make.

Next up: cloth diaper covers!

Monday, April 13, 2015

SHB Sewalong: Adventures in Babywearing

Installment 2 of my Small Human Being Sewalong:

I knew we would want some kind of baby carrier for babywearing, aka having hands that are free!! In week two of Andrew's paternity leave, he held the baby and kept me company while I whipped this together. 

Previously, I did a bit of research as I had absolutely no plans to pay upwards of $50 for a Moby wrap or a Boba wrap or whatever. Essentially, it is a very long rectangle of knit fabric. It should be about two or three yards of 60" wide knit, and then you cut it into three strips of about 20" wide. Sew them together and wham-bam-babywrap. 
Cradle Hold
 I bought this fabric on Goldhawk Road when Andrew and I were in London in (gasp) 2013. It really puts my fabric hoarding into perspective when I can look back on my blog and see how long ago I bought it. I really love it!

At first I was reluctant to use it, but if I made it into a dress I would only wear it sometimes, and then for only a season or two. Making it into the baby wrap means that I will use it every day- all the time since my little spider monkey only wants to sleep on my chest. Plus, since the fabric is almost intact, I can always make it into clothes later if I want to.
Ta Daaaaaaaaaa!
 Anyways, I made the wrap and then Andrew tried it out. I was still recovering from my stitches and was no shape to spend much time standing, much less wearing the baby. There are two holds for newborns, cradle hold (like how you hold them in your arms) and newborn hold (chest to chest with the baby's legs tucked in). We tried both, but they were not all that successful. He would enjoy it for less than 30 minutes maximum and then flip out.
Selfie with the baby

newborn hold
 Finally, I searched online for other holds and discovered kangaroo hold. It is like the newborn hold, so it is still chest to chest, but the baby's legs hang out the bottom. You put him in the pouch, cross the X over your back, and then loop each half under the baby and between his legs so he is super secure.

Max loves this one!! He loves to kick his legs wildly, so when his legs were tucked in he was very cramped and mad. This one allows him to move his arms and legs, and he is super happy. Usually he falls asleep in less than five minutes.

 Then, you just tuck his head in one of the sides and you're good to go!!
Success: Kangaroo Hold!!
I am going to count this as a sewing project because I am totally sleep deprived and adjusting to being a mom. I sewed one seam to hold two strips of fabric together and then did not finish the edges because it's a knit. Still counts!!!

So congratulate me on my sewing success (haha) and reassure me that the sleeps-only-on-my-chest phase will not last until I am sending him off to college...right? right? guys?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

SHB Sewalong: Baby Bunting for a Carseat

I don't think I have ever participated in a sew-along before, which is amazing since I have been blogging since 2009 and sewing since 2006? I usually have trouble following along to other people's time tables, what with work, and life, and being a giant procrastinator. However, this sew-along corresponds with my time and interests perfectly so why not. 

The SHB (Small Human Being) Sewalong is for the month of April and is anything baby related. It is being hosted by CindyClio and Mikhaela, who all have small babies. Do you ever find a blog and feel like you're kind of stalking someone's life (in a positive way)? I love reading Cindy's (Cation Designs) blog since she sews, teaches middle school and has a baby boy who is a few months older than mine. I am, for the first time, interested in other people's babies. I suppose that sounds terrible, but now I am interested in what to look forward to!!


On to my sewing:

I bought this pattern a long time ago at an estate sale, I think. Kwik Sew 1827, from 1987. It is for two baby buntings, for a newborn and a bigger baby. It always made me laugh so much, since I think the baby in pink looks somewhat like a vagina. When I have a girl, I will make a pink one just for laughs. 
 As Maxwell is a boy, I decided to choose something other than pink. I roamed up and down the huge wall of fleece at JoAnns. Really, if aliens landed on Earth and visited JoAnn, they would think that 90% of humans' wardrobes are made up of polar fleece. I chose a cute space print, since Andrew loves space so much.
 The pattern is three pieces: front, back and hood facing. I bought the coordinating flannel at the same time and didn't even realize it (baby brain?) so that worked out well. The drawstring is from
 I thought I had lost the instructions, so I winged it. That wasn't too hard- zipper first, hood facing, sew front to back and then insert the drawstring. I then found the instructions right after I had finished. The fabric was purchased when I was pregnant, so that was baby brain, but I made this after he was born, so let's blame that on sleep deprivation!

Making the whole thing probably took less than two hours, including cutting.
The matching facing 
 These pictures are from a few weeks ago, when Max was much smaller. His happiness quickly turned to rage during the photo shoot, but it's hilarious! Baby in his pod!
Interested in Dad.
 He hates being swaddled or having his arms restrained, so this outfit was not a winner...
Struggling to be free
 The point was to put him in his car seat and take him for a walk in the park. This is a car seat suit, supposedly. When we tried to put him in the car seat, we realized that the seat clips at his shoulders, between his legs and UNDER HIS ARMS. Duh. So it didn't work at all.
Baby rage
Since the pattern was made in 1987, I googled car seats in 1987. Sure enough, they only go over the shoulder and clip between the legs. Time has rendered view A obsolete, unless you just need a fleece newborn pod.

Either way, a funny pattern and something I made for the baby!!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Meet my Sweet Baby!

One month and one day ago: my last day being pregnant and T-Rex's last day being an only (dog) child!

One month ago, I had our baby! It was a scheduled cesarean and went just as expected. He arrived at 8:10 am and weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and was 20.5 inches long. We named him Maxwell Alexander and he is such a good baby. I can't believe a month has already passed!

With Daddy at the hospital
Look at that chin!! So precious!
First clothes for going home from the hospital- not a fan

About a week old...

I know all of his clothes are too big, but its too cute- 2 weeks old

Three weeks old and ready for business

Almost a month!!
Andrew and I are both so happy and I am in awe of the adorable baby I grew inside of me!! He is already getting to be so much bigger and changing so much. I am really happy that I get to say home with him through August and I have recovered from my surgery- it was not the end of the world after all! :)

I have already made a few baby related sewing projects, so I will post those as I find time. Lately he only wants to sleep on me, so that is limiting my activities- baby snuggles make that worth it! I have been Instagramming a lot lately since its easier than writing a blog post- I am mollysews on Instagram.

As for T-Rex, he is adjusting very well. He was such a spoiled only child that I was kind of worried, but he is a smart dog and is adapting really fast. He knows he needs to stay back from the baby and is getting used to the interesting sounds Max makes, but he still gets people food and to sleep in our bed so not everything is different!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Final Maternity Dress- Simplicity 1360 Again

As I am now 39 weeks pregnant, this will be my final contribution to my maternity "wardrobe" of things I made. I really only ended up making five dresses and three skirts. I was feeling fairly peppy until January, when my favorite thing became taking a nap after work. So not a whole lot going on around here sewing-wise. 
Since it was my third attempt, the knot looks the best on this one. 

I made this from that same pattern, Simplicity 1360, as my other two (floral print here and green one here). This one is a knit from Jo-Ann and it is really static-clingy. I wore this over leggings and with a slip and it still spends all day trying to climb my legs, which you can see in some of the pictures. The floral wrinkles insanely when it is washed, but the print is busy enough to hide it. The green one doesn't have any major problems, maybe since that is the bamboo rayon I bought from

My only tip for making these is to try it on after you sew the front to the back and really pull and tug on the knot. Most of the time, pulling will open up some kind of gap either above or below the knot that you then need to sew up. Otherwise you end up with a hole directly between the boobs... unless that's what you're going for ;)

 It is great for its expansion capabilities- I can still wear it at nine months and it still has some drape in the front. Less on the sides.
Static cling on the sides. 
 Look at my big baby!
 A little bit squishier from the back, but what do you expect? I have gained 35 lbs, which is still in my target range.

The last few weeks have been really busy and hectic. The baby decided to turn breech about 3 weeks ago and we were trying everything to get him to turn head-down again. Went to a chiropractor, did acupuncture, the moxibustion where you burn incense next to your little toe, laying in all the weird positions from the spinningbabies website, talking to him, flashlight on where you want his head to go, and so on.

 Finally we tried the external version on Tuesday, where the doctor pushes on your stomach to try and physically turn the baby head down. That was really painful, but unsuccessful. So unless he magically turns before his due date, we will be scheduling a cesarean soon. Not quite what I had in mind, but I am getting used to the idea.

I have one more week of work (or less, depending on the baby's agenda) and now I am moving on to sewing baby things finally.

I will post a few more things this week, hopefully, but then I might fall off the earth for awhile!! Wish us luck with our new baby!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Maternity Skirts- Simplicity 1359

I made these skirts in early December and have been wearing them fairly regularly with tights or with fleece-lined leggings. You make the pattern in your pre-pregnancy size and it came out perfectly fine. It is a simple pencil skirt with a belly pattern with no ruching, which I personally dislike. The waist is elastic, so you can adjust it to fit. 

I took all of these pictures with a self-timer after school one day before the light disappears at about 4pm.
 I made three from knits from Jo-Ann. I made simple black one because I was tired of how my maxi skirts would bunch up around my tights. These are all a size 8. 
So neutral...
 I am still wearing all regular tops, nothing specifically for maternity. This is an Ann Taylor Loft one that was always a little big, and all of my Target tops are super stretchy and still work.
Side view-32 weeks pregnant
 This one is a grey knit with small gold polka dots. The side picture was super blurry, but you get the idea.
 This one is my favorite- a very 90s inspired neon cheetah print knit.
 I still look mostly like old Molly from the back (and I really need a haircut!)
 I always wear my shirt over the skirt, but this is just for your amusement! I look like I'm stealing a bowling ball!
I got the pattern on sale for $1 and it also has shirts, pants and a long skirt. I would definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to sew some simple and easy maternity clothes!! It's only four pieces and I made all three assembly-line style in just a few hours. Plus, they are stretchy knits so you will get a decent amount of wear out of them.

Only five more weeks and it's baby time!!