Tag Archives: curly cutie

Knock it Off – peplum top and cropped sweatpants

What a pleasure it is to work with the lovely Heidi of Elegance & Elephants in the return of her Knock-Off Series. Well, let’s get right to it. We are here to create and share fun clothing for younger ones inspired by designer fashion that is either available today or has a vintage feel and is no longer available. I like to think of this series as giving a nod to other designers while showing how looks can be recreated at home.

Whenever I am inspired by a photo, I tuck it away in folder. This happens to be the case for the look I created for my daughter.

Peplum top and cropped sweatpants by designer Rachel Roy
Peplum top and cropped sweatpants by designer Rachel Roy

I like that this design was not difficult to create pint-sized and translates well for a wide range of ages. This particular look features a color-block short sleeved peplum shirt paired with cropped drawstring sweatpants.

 

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How fun is this little outfit?  For fabric, I went with a sweater knit fabric in two colors similar to the inspiration pic, but decided to swap the dominant color.  I thought the lighter fabric would best suit my little one.  It cost me about $12 to create both pieces.  Curly Cutie loves purses and bags, so I couldn’t help but make a crayon tote out of linen and faux leather using a modified version of this pattern.

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If you have a basic t-shirt pattern on hand, or can draft one (from an existing shirt or by other means) you can create this top. For help drafting your own t-shirt pattern, Melly has talent that cannot be denied and will walk you through every step. You’ll need to take your basic t-shirt pattern and modify it slightly.  Bellow is a pic of the modified pattern pieces for my daughter’s size (5).

DSC08408bA FEW THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO BE MINDFUL OF:
(If anyone is curious, I have included my daughter’s modified shirt measurements where necessary – size 5)

– your original shirt pattern (front and back) will need to be shortened to account for height of peplum. (shortened to 9″ from base of front neckline, she has a longer than average torso I believe. peplum = (waist*2)x 3-3/4″)
– you’ll need to add seam allowances for both front pieces (either while creating modified pattern or while cutting fabric). (To create my color-block line for front, I measured in 1-1/4” from top of armhole and 3-3/8″ in from right side of pattern at waist and placed a mark. Connected dots and added 3/8″ seam allowance)
– you’ll need a short sleeve pattern and a neckband. (for neckband I cut a long strip of fabric that was 1-1/2″ wide and attached with 1/4″ seam allowance. I used a flat construction method, so I didn’t have a set length for strip)

If you, like me, are a continual recipient of the generosity of the online sewing community, then you may know that Heidi of Elegance & Elephants has made a retro sweatpants PDF pattern available for free download. This pattern can be used to create the cropped sweatpants.

DSC08404b E&E PATTERN MODIFICATION w/construction changes FOR CROPPED PANTS:

– I added 2” to waist of pattern to accommodate 1” elastic waistband. I did not want to attach waistband separately, so I simply incorporated it into the pattern. I made sure to follow the gentle slanted line for the pants BACK.
– I serged elastic to waist, folded down and used a stretch stitch to complete waistband.
– Instead of adding button holes for a draw string, I opted for a faux tie at center front of waist band.  Completely non-functional, but cute to boot!
– Pant sides were sewn first to add stripe before being fully constructed. For the love of all things good, I could not sew the stripe to the pant without funky things happening, so hand-sewing has never failed me yet. I attached the stripes by hand. Such a small sacrifice for a great return.
– I cut a size 5/6 with the length of a size 3 and it worked out great hitting CC right below the knee.
– I used 9” of 1/4” elastic for casings at pant bottom.

For Fun:

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The series is wrapping up, but it’s still not too late to enter your Knock Off into the Flickr pool for a chance at some pretty nice prizes.   Did you happen to catch the other creations in the series?

Elegance & Elephants

Thanks again for having me Heidi!

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

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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!

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).

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african vlisco2 African Vibrations

africa bk cross African Vibrations

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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

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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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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.

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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.

Top 10 posts of 2013

I thought I would share the posts that received the most views in 2013.  Now that I look back, they all have to do with sewing.  Specifically children’s items.  Interesting.  If you’re into this kind of stuff, hopefully you will enjoy going back down memory lane with me.  The pics will take you to the post if you want to read more about the item (except for update pics).

TEN – Denim Quilt

quilt layout

Update:  So, I never made the quilt.  My husband put in a request for a pillow cover for his huge euro, and I thought this denim would fit the bill.  I stayed with the ombre idea and came up with a pillow cover that he is well pleased with.  Each side has a different design.

Before

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denim pillow cover

NINE – Fleece pants & t-shirt refashion

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Update:  We I liked these ruffle bottom fleece pants so much, I made another pair for this winter.  I made a long sleeve top with an XL cowl neck and incorporated an old sweater of mine for accent.

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EIGHT – My chocolate drop

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SEVEN – T-shirt refashion (high-lo peplum)

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SIX – Fab collab

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FIVE – Patchwork stripes

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FOUR – Sophisticated romper

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THREE – T-shirt refashion (handsewn edition)

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TWO – A gift for Curly Cutie

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THE MOST VIEWED POST OF 2013 – Men’s shirt refashion

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I’m officially excited for the new year.  Oh what fun this year has in store.

There is a time to dream and there’s a time to walk it out.  I’ve spent this year dreaming.  So  you know what time it is.  Lol!  Who’s with me?

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.

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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.

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

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

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.

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j sidecc sitting

 

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

 

Summer knit dress

Here we are with another installment of Summer Clothes for Curly Cutie.

I’m starting to venture out into knit fabrics (outside of my refashioning ventures) and I must admit……I’m having fun!

I knew I wanted to try my hand at another circle skirt.

Back down memory Lane:  First circle skirt

polka dot circle skirtI pretty much fell for circle skirts after this one and knew I had to make more.  There are plenty tutorials out now that help with making these skirts.  I happened upon this one where I learned the basic principles for making them out of woven fabrics.  Since I wanted to make one from knit fabric I knew the measurements would have to be slightly adjusted.  For CC’s skirt, I just winged it.  I kept cutting away at the waist area until it fit her.  For others that need a more detailed method for making a circle skirt from knit fabric, this tutorial may be helpful.

Then I found Rae’s Angel Top where you use actual measurements to construct the garment.  I thought if I combined this top with a circle skirt that we would have a cute little dress on our hands.

dress front

dress side

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And a little something she made for me.

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We both like this dress.  CC says it so comfortable.  Initially, I wasn’t really sold on the fabric.  It kinda played with my eyes, you know with the neon pink and gray stripes.  It did grow on me though.  Besides, the fabric was on clearance.  I like having this stuff on hand for when I come across projects I want to try.  I surely wouldn’t want to cut into expensive fabric to do a test run.  Just so happens, this test worked out for us.  If I make it again, I will make the top a little bigger so it’s not as close fitting.  I do like that the sleeves are incorporated into the design and don’t have to be put on separately.

This is how we’re clothing Curly Cutie for the summer!

 

 

Paper Fan Dress

This is another installment of Curly Cutie’s Summer Clothes.

I saw this Paper Fan dress by Anna Maria Horner and decided I would make one for CC.  It is a free download you can find here.

Anna Maria Paper Fan

I had to slightly modify the pattern since I didn’t have any 1″ buttons for the back of the dress.  I cut a size 4 for CC, and it fits perfectly.

paper fan front

This was certainly a fun dress to make.  Curly Cutie was very pleased.  She ended up wearing me down to put barrettes in her hair.  A while back, one of my friends gave us a huge bag of them.  I am not very fond of those things.  I mean, every two seconds I was turning around because I thought someone was spilling water.  That’s what it sounds like as she walks around the house.  But oh, she feels like a princess so dad and I just carry on.  Lol.  Bonus hair pics at the end.

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paper fan side

And a close up of the shoulder detail.  I simply took a strip of fabric, pleated it and stitched it down on the shoulder.  I thought it added a nice little touch.

paper fan detail

Bonus:  Curly Cutie’s braided hair

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You should have seen the excitement on her face as she picked out barrettes to coordinate with her dress.  I guess it’s the little things they enjoy sometimes.  And even though these barrettes can be on the verge of annoying (to me that is), it was my pleasure to grant her this request.  She will probably be in this zone for a little while, especially when she has braids.  How precious are our little ones?  Very!

This is how we’re clothing Curly Cutie for the summer!