big kid backpack.

margot started 'school' this year. it's only a half day, four days a week, but to her, it's the greatest thing ever. classmates, coloring pages, new songs, snack time and a big kid playground. all the things she loves. and since she needed a full sized backpack to bring home all of those coloring pages, i thought it was a good chance to make my second toddler backpack.

once again, i used made by rae's toddler backpack pattern, which is truly a magical thing to sew. it really does make you feel like a sewing ninja to make a backpack! i used the instructions for the school sized version, adding a couple of inches to the original backpack's width and height.

the main fabric is this + that from cotton + steel's printshop collection. i'm pretty sure cotton + steel can do no wrong. i originally bought the fabric to line a jacket a made for margot (which is next on my to blog about list...once it gets to be jacket wearing temperatures) and i had just enough left to eek out the front and side panels for this.

for the rest of the backpack i got creative mixing and matching fabrics from my stash. i think, in total, i used no fewer than seven different fabrics. this gingham on the back is one of my favorites. it was from a stash of vintage fabrics i inherited from my grandmother, and has shown up several times around here, like on this little zippy top and this baby doll bedding. sadly, i think i'm out now.

for the straps, bottom and piping i used this faux leather i got from jo ann's. it made the bag a total beast to sew, caused me to break two needles, and led to more than a little swearing, but it was totally worth it in the end. it really makes the bag, i think.

i also added two side pockets and an inside pocket. my favorite is the stretchy side pocket that can hold a drink bottle. ridiculous.
like the last one i made, i also did a sandwich style lining with bias bound seams. fun fact, the gingham on the lining is actually a different fabric, and i still didn't have enough, so polka dot pairing it was! with all of the layers and faux leather, the bias binding was a total pain. i actually ended up hand stitching down the second side of the bias tape. it's not very pretty if you look close, but it photographs well :)

this name tag holder is another one of my favorite parts (ok...so it's maybe all my favorite). i was really pleased when i realized i could use the plastic-y cover from a pack of twist up crayons to make the holder. upcycle for the win!

my only disappointment is that the shape along the edges is a bit wonky. i used super heavy, sew in interfacing, but i undercut it slightly to not have any more bulk in the seams. i'm not sure this was the best choice (i think it says sew in for a reason...), but it definitely has more structure than the last one i made, which i think is necessary for the bigger size.

margot is a huge fan too. she loves wearing it to school each day, and hanging it up in her room when she gets home.

i think in these pictures she's posing like a super hero...not totally sure though... with three year olds and photo shoots, you take what you can get.

it looks totally ridiculous and adorable on her. gosh, when did she get so big.


my first sewn swimsuit.

i made a swimsuit, folks! an itty bitty teeny weeny popsicle suit. and i'm pretty excited about it.

spoonflower was recently running a special on their sport lycra fabric, especially well *suited* for swimwear, and i couldn't pass it up. especially with this popsicle fabric by the little arrow design company. it just screams summer fun.

*margot's new favorite thing is to 'pose' for pictures. she's great at it 

i drafted the pattern myself from margot's swimsuit from last summer that still fit. i then read and re-read every online kid's swimsuit sewing tutorial ever written and sewed it in my head over and over again before working up the courage to cut into the fabric (that's normal, right...).  i found the awesomely detailed tutorials from creative chicks' blog the most helpful, especially the leg opening and continuous bias strap tutorials. i love that fantastically talented people share their knowledge online. thanks for being awesome!

all in all, it was a pretty straightforward sew. the only thing that almost drove me crazy was that my double needle wouldn't work with the spoonflower sports lycra. no idea why. it would sew a single line, but not the second. it worked just fine with the black fabric, which is from joann's, but a similar weight, stretch and sheen. i spent way too much time trying to figure it out, to no avail. i ended up just using a zigzag stitch around the legholes. but if anyone has any suggestions, i'd love to hear them. i did read that there's such a thing as a stretch double needle, so maybe that'd work.

i did realize after the fact that with the way i attached the elastic (per creative chicks' tutorial), i didn't need to add seam allowances to the arms and neckline, so the neckline is a little higher and wider than i needed it to be. next time.

i'm really happy with the finished product. it really looks like something store bought. the spoonflower fabric is a dream to work with. it's stretchy, but fairly heavy weight, so it doesn't curl or deform while sewing. it also has a 54" printed width, so one yard of fabric would probably make four or five toddler sized swimsuits.

 *fist bump with dad, aka the toddler wrangler during poolside photoshoot

margot is also a big fan. i finished it late one evening, and she insisted on wearing it around the house. and the next day she nonstop asked to go swimming with her new popsicles.

*we named the floaty animal thing (margot says it's a duck...) steve. margot now regularly asks for steve

she likes it even better in the pool. i'm pretty sure this kid is part fish.

anyone else sewing any swimsuits? anyone else fall victim to the spoonflower sport lycra sale? anyone up for a fabric swap? i'm not sure how many years i can make margot a popsicle suit from all the leftover yardage.


watercolor family portrait.

i don't really like pictures of myself. nor do i like portrait studio style photo sessions. i think i still have nightmares about childhood family photo shoots (as does my mom probably)--trying to get five kids to smile simultaneously all while wearing matching denim, color coordinating turtle necks or glitter glue decorated christmas sweaters, all before the advent of digital photography---shudder.  because of this, there are very few sharp family portraits. so, with my recently rekindled love of drawing (thanks to #cbdrawaday) and a newly found false confidence with watercolors, i have made what is probably the first official sharp family portrait.

it still makes me smile every time i see it, which is often because we decided to hang it up right by the front door.

this is maybe my new favorite spot in the house. except for the top of the cabinet is rarely this tidy, as it serves as the landing spot for keys, wallets, mail and the like. alas...

i had a really fun time documenting the process over on instagram. i was really late in the game with joining up, but i've really been enjoying the community of creatives over there.

and the super fun part about this all was that i made some digital copies of it before painting to play around with color options, so now i have a 'sharp family coloring page' that margot really enjoys. she has probably asked for me to print one out three times since putting up the picture last week :)

i think it'd be fun to make a new one every couple of years, working up to having a small watercolor portrait gallery wall. and a 'our family through the years' coloring book. what about you? what's your favorite way to document your family?