Category Archives: Curly Cutie

Zebra in a grassy field

Another season of Project Run & Play has commenced.  It is something about sewing along with this competition that gets the creative juices flowing.  I was happy to jump on board for week 1.  The theme is “Put me in the zoo”, and we were to create a design inspired by a favorite animal.  Curly Cutie chose the zebra and after a quick search I found inspiration.

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I took to my stash as this would be another refashioned garment.

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The items used were either 100% linen or a linen blend, and I thought the colors captured the essence of the inspiration pic.  This dress has a nice fit and drape.  I think I can add linen to the list of my new faves.

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I thought it would be neat to go with  stripes for this theme.  The black and white stripes give me the zebra feel.  The blue stripe represents the sky, and the bottom stripe is a light oatmeal color similar to the grassy field.  It’s so light it almost gets lost, but adds a nice touch in my opinion.

Pattern is self-drafted (modified Simplicity 3859), and 4″ or 5″ strips were pieced together to make fabric big enough to cut dress pieces.

pieced strips
dress front pieced fabric

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For the back we went with a simple exposed metal zip, and I’m pleased with the results.  Easy on and off.

zoo5zoo5bThat’s a wrap.

Girl's striped dress refashion

 

 

 

 

 

Curly Cutie’s object color palettes

color palettes

We  were sitting at the table going over a lesson for school when inspiration hit.  On the table, my daughter (age 6) pointed out a green piece of fabric, green toy car and a green crayon.  She looked at me and said, “Mom, look at this color palette.  I have an idea.  We can make several of these using different colors.  This would help baby boy (age 2) learn his colors.”  What a sweet idea.  I told her it was fabulous and we should work on it during quiet time.  That was a pretty big deal for me, because I do enjoy my down time but saw this as an opportunity to encourage her creativity.  I suggested we take photos of her creations (to the best of our ability of course).  We scoured the house for items that fit into the color categories she chose.  She would arrange the items for one color while I took pics of another.  We went back and forth in that manner until each color had been photographed.  I’m learning so much about how she processes information and what she values about her work process.  I did make suggestions about object placement for the photos.  We had lots of fun.  Now we just have to figure out what to do with the pictures.

color palettes-redcolor palettes-orangecolor palettes-yellowcolor palettes-greencolor palettes-bluecolor palettes-purplecolor palettes-browncolor palettes-blackcolor palettes-whitecolor palettes-pinkAny suggestions?  Let me know!

Conversations with “curly cutie” (round 15)

 

 

 

I know we have been looooong overdue for an installment of conversations.  I fell off in that I just stopped writing this stuff down.  Her shenanigans are so frequent we could have a book by now.  Lol.  Either way, this is a short one but I just had to come and let you know we are back in business.  You all have let me know that you really enjoy these conversations and I want to deliver.  Oh, Curly Cutie is 6 years old.

#1

CC:  I can’t believe you went to sleep in the hospital.

me:  What do you mean?  Oh, when we had baby boy?

CC:  Yes.

me:  Yeah, because I remember you and dad came home each night.

CC:  Yep, every night we slept in our comfortable beds.  Then, when the sun came up we got right up to come and see you.  They fed you breakfast and everything.

(I started thinking about how supportive she was when we were about to deliver baby #2.  She was right by my side until I started pushing, praying me through every contraction.)

me:  You were such a big girl.  You were mommy’s helper.

CC:  Yeah, I just love processes like that that allow me to have those types of experiences.

me:  Lol!  You are funny.

CC:  I mean, I was just so happy to be there for you in your time of need.

me & CC:  LOL!

#2

CC:  Can’t wait to taste these potatoes.

(she tastes a spoonful)

CC:  Ooooh, they’re gooey.

me:  Yeah, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the potato.

CC:  They are different than before.  I like them though.  It just makes me wonder, “what happened?”

me:  Lol!

 

Go here to read previous conversations.

My roots: Africa and America

I was super excited when the invite came from Heidi to participate in Roots: Sewing your heritage.  I just love it when art is meaningful.  Have you seen the other creations?  Just beautiful.

I am African-American.  Of African descent, yet born and raised in America.  Honestly, I still have questions about my roots, and almost allowed my lack of knowledge to keep me from participating.  One thing I am learning is that conditions don’t have to be perfect before I can put my “yes” on the table.  For now, I can celebrate what I do know: Those before me were born with purpose, and I am grateful for their strength and sacrifice.

*steps down from soap box*

I wanted to create an ensemble that reflects my appreciation for color found in African fashion and fit my 6 year old’s mature and hilarious personality.

When I think of modern African fashion, I think of bold and bright colors.  I think of energetic movement and strength.  The use of saturated solids, dazzling prints, geometric shapes and sophisticated silhouettes give a regal feel to garments and are breathtaking.  Muted palettes are also favored in African fashion.  There were several routes I could have taken when designing an outfit.  Color was my inspiration for Curly Cutie’s creation (say that 10 times – lol).  Feast your eyes on these beauties (pics will take you to source).

https://i1.wp.com/www.patternpeople.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/african_vlisco.jpg

african vlisco2 African Vibrations

africa bk cross African Vibrations

AFWLA2

See what I mean?  This was no easy task for a person with a go-to palette of black and white.  I appreciated the challenge though.  I feel a little more free now, like I could just about put anything together and say, “BAM, there it is!”

Here is my little one.

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We thought it would be fun to add a baby wearing element to this ensemble.  I have a friend from Ghana that taught me how to tie a wrap so I could carry baby #2 when he was just a little something.  This wrap is just a yard of fabric.

African inspired girls' clothing

baby1

Pattern used for shirt is the Aspen Ruffle Dress by See Kate Sew.  As for modifications, I shortened it to make it shirt length.  I extended the height of the collar by an inch to make it more pronounced.  Decreased collar and elastic length.  I extended the sleeves to accommodate CC’s long arms.  Circle skirt is self-drafted with a contrasting waistband and back zipper.  I used a random pocket pattern to add pockets in side seams.  A pair of textured white tights and faux oxford shoes complete the look.  I know some of you are basking in warm sun, but it’s cold here.

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baby5

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Now, about this hair and these accessories.  I was totally in the moment with this hair.

I had the idea to pull CC’s hair up with a banana clip.  I remember these from my younger days. So fun.  The front part of her hair is simply left loose with a couple of hair pins to cinch some areas.

banana clip

*back up on soap box and clearing throat*

Can I just say that I love natural hair?  I’m talking just the way it grows from our scalp.  There was a time when I didn’t feel this way and would incessantly straighten my hair by chemical force (lol) because I thought it was ugly and hard to manage.  My eyes have been opened and I know these things are not true.

I do not believe there is anything wrong with chemically treated hair.  I just did not appreciate the beliefs that fueled my commitment to the practice.  It’s nice to have options: straight, curly, wavy, coily, etc.  The opportunity to teach my daughter to appreciate everything about the way God made her is truly priceless.

*steps down*

hair and earrings

The fabric flower and covered button earrings are both handmade.  I wanted to find another place to incorporate the bold yellow fabric from her skirt waistband, and I thought a pair of earrings would be the perfect place to do that.

As for the shoes, they started out plain white.  I know people paint shoes all the time, but I wasn’t necessarily trying to do that.  I whipped out a blue Sharpie and white fabric paint marker and went to town coloring.  I was going for an oxford look.  Something simple that could be worn with other things. I removed the shoestrings so they could be worn free.  There is a piece of elastic inside that keeps the tongue from shifting.

shoes

roots finalLol!

There are still a couple of days left, if you are feeling adventurous, to add a culturally inspired outfit to the link up.  The prizes look amazing.

Thanks for visiting!  Any questions or comments?  Drop them below.

Roots Sewing Series

Heidi over at Elegance and Elephants is the mastermind behind the upcoming sewing series Roots.  She wanted to combine her love for different cultures and sewing clothes for her children, thus the series was born.  She also reached out to other sewing bloggers to join in on the fun.  Every weekday from January 13-31, a new culturally inspired design will be featured.  Ladies representing twelve countries and five continents will be sharing.  How fun is that?

I was excited when the invitation came to participate, so you know I jumped right on board.  I am even more excited to experience the creative cultural designs from these other women.  If you decide to keep up with this series you will not be disappointed.  In the spirit of sharing, Heidi has opened up the series for others to sew along as well.  And I hear that the prizes will be pretty nice.  If you do happen to make a culturally inspired design for a little one, please don’t forget to add it to the flickr group.

My design will be featured on Jan. 29, 2014.

Is anybody else excited for the new year?

Havana style twists

Thought I would drop in to share a new hairstyle for Curly Cutie.  I am often on the look-out for things to do with her hair.  She has thin, fine natural hair.  Styles where her hair is put away such as braids or twists work really well and help keep the hair from tangling like it normally would in a loose state.

Quite a while ago, I ran across a style called Havana twists.  I thought they were really cute, and this was before they took the natural hair community by storm.  They were much thicker than the average two-strand twists and boasted an invisible attachment method.  After seeing the process of how some naturals put these particular twists in I thought it was easy enough to give a try.  I also thought it would not be too rough on Curly Cutie’s hair and I’d benefit from not spending hours putting in and taking down braids because they tend to be small on her fine strands.

There are lots of tutorials on how to do these twists.  There is even a particular hair I believe that was originally used for these twists.  That’s why I’m calling them “Havana style” twists.  I did not make CC’s twists as thick as normal Havana twists would be and I used Marley braid hair to achieve the look.

This is a fresh set of twists.

twists1To get the curl at the bottom, I used thin perm rods and dipped the twists in hot water to set the curl.  I had to leave the hair this long as it is only about 2 inches longer than her hair.

twists6

I did brick layer parts on most of the head except for the front.  I wanted her to be able to have a part if she wore it down.

twists3

I really like these because they do not pull to tightly at the scalp.

twists2

twists4

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I think they were a success.  Curly Cutie is pleased and has had fun wearing different styles.

Strawberry Twist

This is week 2 of 4 over at Project Run & Play.

We were to create a design inspired by one of my all time faves……..CANDY!!!!  It didn’t take me long to figure out strawberry twists would be my inspiration.  You already know my favorite without me even having to say the name.  This is about the closest I can get to this stuff since I have stopped eating it.

candy twistsI took to my stash to see if I had any fabric I could work with and found a nice little fleece airline travel blanket. Perfect.

Inspiration can hit at some of the weirdest times for me.  I was sure we would miss this week.  I had one thing in mind, then realized I couldn’t get enough fabric from the blanket to go with that idea.  I told CC I didn’t think we would make it.  She said, “Nooooooo, we can make it.”  Inspiration hit immediately.  And here we are.

So, I made CC a drop waist bubble skirt accented with fabric twists.  My husband saw me in the process and said, “Let me guess, you’re going to put a bow on that.”  He knows me all too well.

Side note:  I just realized that I’ve done some type of “drop” style these first two weeks.   Stay tuned to see what’s dropping next week.  Just kidding.  Lol.

No pattern was used.  Just simple rectangles using CC’s measurements.  The twists were cut from 1″ fabric strips.  Another winner for CC.  Her only qualm…..”the twists don’t dangle”.  It’s like that sometimes.

 

twist7

twist1

twist2

twist3

twist4

twist5

twist6

That’s a wrap!

Popover Tunic

It’s that time again.  The ladies over at Project Run & Play are up to their goodness again! Season 7 has begun, and we have 4 opportunities to sew along with the weekly themes.  I am so excited to be participating a second time, and we’ll see if I can keep up.  As I did last season I will not be purchasing anything, but will sew from my stash only.

The first week’s theme is a pattern remix.  Pattern on the table, oliver + s Popover Sundress (free download too).  And what do ya know?  I’ve used this pattern once before,

cc and dollso I was excited to see if I could put a different spin on it.  My excitement began to wane as I could not find inspiration for a new design.  The lines are so clean and simple.  I finally did find inspiration.  I saw a shirt that had what is called a “dropped shoulder” and I was smitten.  I had never seen this technique before and instantly had a desire to recreate it on a smaller scale.  I cannot find the picture that sparked the flame, but for the sake of providing a visual here is one I found with a quick search.

old-navy-longsleeve-tops-womens-dropshoulder-jersey-topsI knew I wanted to do some color-blocking and took to my stash to see what I could find.

cb shirtsNext, I needed to revamp the pattern.  I thought this pattern would translate well with knit fabric, so these t-shirts and knit yardage were just right. I wanted to keep the same A-line shape of the original pattern yet shorten it to be the length of a tunic.  For Curly Cutie, I cut a size 4 with the length of a size 2.  I extended the pattern up and over to create a curved neckline and the dropped shoulder.  I wasn’t sure if my lines would translate to an acceptable finished garment, but surprisingly they did.

o+s remixI wanted to stick with a contrasting yoke area, and I went ahead a drew the lines for the other two color blocks.  I cut the pattern on all lines and made sure to be careful to add seam allowance when I cut from the actual fabric.

I ended up cutting the neckline wider than the pattern was drawn to accommodate a cowl neck.  I wanted to add bias binding somewhere on the top and decided to make the cowl neck a drawstring around the very top.

Presenting the Drop-shoulder Popover tunic with a drawstring cowl neck that looks like a faux hood.  Lol!  I just laughed at myself.

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The cool thing about the drop-shoulder is the fact that you don’t have to set in a sleeve, because there is no shoulder curve to accommodate.  So, the remainder of the sleeve is a simple rectangle.

I had a fun time making this top, and feel like I learned so much.  Curly Cutie had me laughing so hard.  She was so excited to have the shirt on, she didn’t even change her pj bottoms (handmade also) to take pictures.  She told me to trust her that it would work out.  When I sat down to write this post she said the following…..

CC:  Mom, just tell them that you like it and I like it and you hope they like it and you’re done.  And there’s your post.

me:  LOL!  It doesn’t really matter if anybody else likes it though, right?  It’s for you and you’re pleased. 

CC:  That’s right mom.  So just say you like it, I like it and you don’t care if they like it or not.

me:  Agggghhhhh!  We can’t say that!  Lol!

CC:  Lol.  Oh, ok.  Well you can just go ahead and write what you want then.

Of course the conversation went on, but I was too through! It’s nice when people like the stuff we make, but it shouldn’t necessarily be our motivation for creating. We don’t all find beauty in the same things and that’s ok.

Hope you’re having a great day.  It doesn’t matter what you’re creating, just create!

My baby is growing up!

Curly Cutie has done it again.  Turned a year older that is.  Where has the time gone, and what am I supposed to be doing with myself now that my baby is growing up?  Kindergarten is a thing of the past, and before I know it she’ll be done with high school.

Well Curly Cutie and J-Renee had a blast at their little joint celebration.  This may be a yearly tradition for the two families.  It is so special to me that my friend and I are able to come together year after year to celebrate our daughters.  This was the friend that was told she would NEVER have children.  The last time I checked, it was the Lord who gives and sustains life.  Well he gave to her, she gladly received and we were both wobbling around at the same time with our first blessings from God.  Our girls are only one week apart.

And just as I did last year, I made them birthday outfits.  So, I thought I would share them.  I was going for the cute and simple look, and I believe I accomplished that with these Pillowcase Tunic’s and Ruffled Capri Pants.

girls frontAren’t they just darling?  There is a slight difference in the Capri Pants.  J-Renee’s have a wider leg than Curly Cutie’s.  I used a pair of size 5 capris from CC’s stash to draft the pant pattern.  I used a strip of fabric for the ruffle that was almost twice the width of the pant measurement and gathered that right on up.

There are so many tutorials out for pillow case dresses.  I did not settle on one to use to construct these tunics, but once you get the process down you can make one in your sleep.  I did find inspiration on Pinterest though.

Sewing_Double Layer Pillowcase Dress_DSC_7110This a Double Layer Pillowcase Dress by Aesthetic Nest.

I did not make this double layer tunic, but decided to recreate the look with a simple contrasting band for the hem.  So, I made CC’s tunic first.  She tried it on and was underwhelmed, but nice about the situation.

CC:  This is nice mom.  You did great work, but I’m not all that crazy about how big this top is.

Mom:  Is it too big for your liking?

CC:  Yeah, I think so.  It seems like a lot of fabric.

Mom:  Would you like me to take it in some?

CC:  Well, I really don’t want you to have to do it over again, but I think I would like that better.

Mom:  That is not a problem at all.  I can fix it.

CC:  Ok, thanks!  (and off she ran to continue playing)

This is such a sweet kid.  Not to mention, she has an eye on her.  She often gives me suggestions I then incorporate into the items I make.  I allowed her to choose the fabrics for these two outfits.

To fix the tunic, I turned it into more of an A-line top and cut arm holes from there.  Much better fit on the little ladies!  CC had a big smile on her face.  At that point I knew the design was complete.

I didn’t get a ton of pics, but here are some other shots.

cc back

j side2

cc side back

j sidecc sitting

 

both

Let me know if you’ve had any fun celebrations lately.

 

Tshirt refasion tutorial (high-low peplum)

One evening my husband brought home some t-shirts from an event.  I immediately knew I wanted to cut them up and make something for Curly Cutie.  After a couple of wearings and washings the hubby finally handed them over, and I got down to business.

Neons are just not a set of colors I gravitate to, but since these shirts just fell in my lap I decided to make them over.  Neon is in.  Peplums are in.  Why not combine the two?  How about a cute little shirt.  You know I had to keep it simple.

I thought I would fill you all in on just how simple it is to create this shirt.  Like I said, I’m making this one for a child but the steps can easily be used to create one any size.  First, I’ll show you the final product, then we’ll jump in to the process.

peplum1

1. Gather the t-shirts you want to refashion.

-I used (2) medium shirts.  I could only use the lower portion because of the advertisements at the top.

basic orange tees

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Use a nice fitting tank as a pattern for making the new shirt.  This step would look different for an adult shirt. 

-Fold the tank in half and lay it on one side of the t-shirt matching up the folded edge.

tank pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Cut around the edges of the tank making sure to leave about an extra 1/2″ on all edges.  This will keep the shirt from being too small once it’s sewn.  This will be the back bodice of our top.

shirt pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Once your 1st t-shirt piece is cut, you can use it as a pattern to cut the 2nd piece.  Take your 1st cut out piece and flip it over to the opposite fold on the t-shirt.  Make sure folded edges are lined up again.  Cut around t-shirt pattern, but there is no need to leave extra  room this time.  This will be the front bodice of our top.

tank pattern2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Cut the lowered front neck hole on the 2nd cut t-shirt.  In order to do this we need to place our original tank (blue) onto the t-shirt to see how far down we need to cut.  Again, you want to cut 1/2″ larger than our pattern tank.  Notice the green arrow pointing to my scissors (kinda hard to see).  It is about 1/2″ above the front neckline of the tank.  Do not cut through your tank, just move it out of the way as you cut up that curve.

front neckline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.  You should have a front and a back cut out now.  Notice the difference in neckline area.

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7.  Now we can sew the front and back bodice pieces together.  Make sure the pretty sides of your t-shirt fabric are facing.  Pin and sew the shoulder and side seams together (dotted lines).  Working with knits can be tricky for some.  I don’t claim to have mastered it, but from reading others’ experiences it seems like different things work for different people.  I suggest doing some reading  and practicing with what you have.  What has worked for me is sewing with a stretch stitch.  It looks like a slanted zig zag stitch.  For an in depth look at sewing with knits you can check out this post from Prudent Baby.

shirt assembly

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Let’s work on the peplum.  I pulled out the 2nd orange t-shirt in my possession.  I cut off the top portion with the lettering.  I used the bottom portion to create the peplum.

fabric from 2nd tee

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.  You will need the waist measurement of the person the shirt is for.  I folded my tape measure to the size of CC’s waist which is 20.5″.  I slightly curved the tape and placed it on the shirt like you see below.  It did not give me a perfect semi circle, but there are sewing tools out there that do bend and stay in position.  I just don’t own any, and this is what worked for me.  This will allow you to cut the curve of the waist without having to do a bunch of math.  You can also take a fabric marking tool and draw a curved line for you to cut out.  Do whatever you are comfortable with.  As you can see, this is still the bottom of the 2nd shirt and the fold is on the right while the top edge is open because that’s where I cut it from the top portion of the tee.  You could replicate this technique with yardage fabric.  It does not have to be from a t-shirt.

peplum waist

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the waist cut out.

peplum waist cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.  You will need the lengths of the front (high) and back (low) of peplum.  How far down do you want it to hang?  For CC, her #’s were 6″ (front) and 9″ (back).  You can see these measurements in the pics.  This technique leaves the seam of the peplum in the back of the shirt.  So, you have a one-piece peplum with a back seam.  Make a snip with your scissors at those two marks. 

high measurement

low measurement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can once again use the tape measure to create a curve for you to cut, or you can use a marking tool to draw a curved line.

low peplum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go ahead and make your cut.

higg low cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove the peplum skirt, and place scraps to the side.  The folded edge is the front, and the two cut edges will meet in the back.  This will give you a preview of what the peplum will look like attached to the shirt top.  This is also the time to make any necessary adjustments.

peplum

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.  Sew seam of peplum.  Again, I used about a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Make sure the pretty sides of your fabric are touching.  Pin and sew the raw edges together.

peplum seam

 

 

 

 

 

 

12.  Connect peplum to shirt.  With the right side of the shirt facing out, place the peplum around the outside of the shirt matching raw edges.  Remember to line up the peplum seam with the center back of the top.  You can also mark the center front and sides of the peplum with a pin before attaching it to the the shirt so you can get an even match up with the front and sides of the top.  Pin the shirt and peplum in place.  Sew around the waist using the same 1/2″ for seam allowance.  You can see my line of stitching around the waist in the pic below.

attach peplum to shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

13.  Hem the bottom of peplum.  You really can do what you want at this step.  You can leave it without a hem.  You can turn the hem up one or twice to your desired length.  I turned the hem up one time at about 3/8″.  The seam will not fray when washed, so this step is just about aesthetic preference.

hem

close up hem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re done!!!!

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Oh, the white capris were refashioned from a t-shirt as well.  I used an old pair of CC’s capris for a pattern.  I used a wonderful tutorial from Dana to construct the bottoms.  If you guys aren’t familiar with Dana you should check her out.  I can see myself making more of these in the future.

white tee

Curly Cutie adores this outfit.  She looks comfortable and can move with ease.  And the fabric was free.  This is how we’re clothing CC for the summer.