Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blue Star Sundress

I made a few changes to the sundress pattern. I also copied and shortened the pants pieces to make shorts. To be active and running around she definitely needs the shorts! I like this one so much better for several design reasons. I lengthened the back two inches and moved the straps some. The front underarm of the bodice is still a little weird -- but I'm not sure what or if to do anything with it. It is size 2 (so was the other one) so she will be able to wear it for a while as she is just barely fitting her 18 month clothes still and moved on to mostly 2T clothes.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

some things I love lately..

Esme can grab something at a store or garage sale and give it a good look over and not HAVE to take it home. That is so nice after seeing my sister's kids freak out over the concept of not having everything they touch. And - she did it mostly herself - it's just not in her nature to want to take everything home, unless it is really really interesting. However, if I take something away before she gets her thorough examination of it done - she does cry and scream. Once her examination is done she will hand it back to me and sometimes say 'all done' or 'bye bye.'

Esme is getting to her next language spurt so every day she repeats something new or puts something together in a new way.

We went garage saling again today and she has to wave 'hi' and 'bye' to all the friendly-looking people. We shared a shake again on the way home as it was very hot out. Later she saw her sippy cup and tasted the water and said to me over and over '*slurp* shake! sha--sha-shake! *slurp* (hopeful look)* HAHA not all of the time kid. Yet she drinks all her water and milk fine for the rest of the day - was asking 'just in case.'

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sewing toddler clothes for Esme again

Most of the patterns I make now I get on Ebay or at the thrift store. Some of them are older than I am - but if all the pieces are there then I can work with it. Some have summer and winter versions in the same pattern (dresses that can be long sleeved or shorts and pants). It really is possible and affordable to make your own toddler clothes! It does take time though, these 'easy 1 hour' usually take longer than that. Also, use recycled old clothing and cheaper 'clearance' rack cloth as you start out so you have the willingness to scrap a project or two along the way and start over. Mistakes are learning opportunities. When you are sure of yourself then spend a little more on the fabric to get character designs etc... Also it's never a bad idea to take a size larger for a children's pattern.. but a size smaller may end up in a garment that doesn't fit by the time you finish it!

In this case (33 months old) a modern pattern was used but the sizing chart showed her measurements as a size 1!

A size 4 vintage dress pattern seems to fit her well at 39 months.

She fit size 3 vintage patterns for more than a year, much longer than she fit size 2 patterns.. always check the 'inches' measurements. Now at 3.3 years she is 'ok' in a size 4 with a size 3 being iffy depending on the cut of the arms. I really don't think kids are that much larger than they used to be... she looks normal three-year-old size to me!

My lens on vintage patterns

March, 2010

In contrast, this was a vintage size '4' when she was smaller. I purposefully made it with some room to grow in. This dress still fits her now. Sometimes I also take pictures of her in the dress after it is made to 'analyze' later and decide what might need to be changed about the pattern. The light blue dress with long sleeves above was one of those - and five more were made similar until I got a great working pattern. Of course... she could grow out of them before long but I count it all as a learning experience.

Link: step by step directions on how to construct a dress

Link: pictures of how to finish facings

I started out making her clothes when she was 5 months old - and have improved greatly since. Now I make about half of her clothes, and the other half are garage-sale or clearance rack. She really loves to pick out her own fabrics for the handmade clothes, and to watch me sew.

Buttonholes and zippers were something I avoided for a long time - but have now mastered by hand since my machine is tough to work with on those regards. I found it best to work a few patterns the size she was - to perfect my technique, then start working on similar patterns one size up because she will grow into it.

I really prefer older pattern from the 1970s.

1971 pattern that has short and long sleeved tops and pants.

The designs were simpler and more practical. Some recent patterns that don't cost a lot have simply drawn instructions but depend upon a lot of notions, elastic or specific fabrics. They often care more about the 'look' than the practicality of putting the child into the clothes - or washing them. A pretty dress is not worth a thing if your child's arms can't fit into it easily, and they cry every time you try to get it on/off.

homemade shirt and pants for toddler
the shirt pattern was 'combined' from two patterns
one was raglan sleeve but not the right size.

You might need to try quite a few times to get something 'just right' - a shirt that buckles at the neck, like this:

might need to have the neckline on the pattern cut a bit deeper, and then try again. I took seven tries on this raglan sleeve pattern until I got it 'useable' and still have trouble with some of the thicker fabrics on the neckline, mostly when she raises her arms like this... but she can still wear them and they still look cute and wash well.

Original post:
As it gets closer to real hot weather and Esme gets closer to growing into size 2 clothes and out of size 18 months I've made some time to try sewing again. I was complaining just the other day I haven't been crafting much - so hopefully this breaks that streak.

Here is a little jumper I made today after work. The pattern was three dollars and Esme had grown out of the old pattern (plus I lost some pieces). I had made her some stripey pants last night that are already in the wash.

Esme definitely knows what a phone is for (has for a while) but this is the first time I've given her a 'real' phone in months. Usually she tries to call people on her blocks or a ring toy she has. She was wandering around Grandpa and Grandma's house yammering and carrying on a conversation with thin air.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


So cute tonight Esme went to hide behind the oven like she usually does but I didn't play along. A few seconds later I hear a singsong mimicry of 'Esme where are you?' from her (just the 'melody' - not the actual words) And I stifle a grin and ask 'Esme where are you?' and she comes running out and I say 'There you are!' while she giggles at me.

Silly girl.
She is such a cool kid.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A softies creator with little time and inspiration

I haven't sewn much in the past few months. I sat down to think about something to make today but no thoughts really came to mind. When I have the time I don't have any inspiration. The fact that the sewing machine is right next to Esme's crib and play area makes the time I do have short and usually full of pleas for attention.

I have been knitting a dinosaur, and that is turning out quite well. I have to solve how to knit his head now, which might take a few days still. I got a few new pieces of fabric today hopefully meant for Esme pants - but we'll see when that happens.

Most of the time I have off work I spend with Mark and Esme, just chilling, visiting or going to town etc... Sometimes I wish I was 'crafty' again. Maybe it just has to store up for a while again.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

18 month developments

(Pictures are from yesterday)
We don't let her have the pacifier outside her bed usually but she was very cranky that morning before seeing Grandma and Grandpa and I let her have it for a while.

Pretty shoes - please?
These are the sandals she calls 'pretty shoes' as compared to all her other shoes which are just shoes. She is also pointing to some of her clothes she thinks are pretty and asking me about them, but usually after she is already dressed in something else.

We got this toy box and a push-around vacuum toy when out at garage sales again. Esme likes them so much. She was out playing in the mud today and got it all over both arms, in her hair and down her back. I called her a little Mud Princess. She got a bath after that and had a discussion with me about the water getting in her ears when it was too deep. It was really interesting - she doesn't have the words yet but still made an effort to explain to me (with hilarious expressions) that when the water is deep it gets in her nose and mouth and ears and makes her worried - so she has to climb up on me - and wants some water to go 'bye bye' before she'll play again. We tried to learn more about hot and cold in the faucet too - which is why the water got deeper than usual. Every time we get out of the tub we pull the plug and tell the water 'bye bye.' Sometimes she goes into the bathroom just to lean over the bathtub and say 'bye bye?'

We took her to town on our post office run and grocery store today. We got her a whole chicken leg of her very own at the chicken place and she was remarkably good at eating it by herself. In the store she also told me that Daddy didn't come with us out of the electronics section and we should go back and get him. That was funny because again she didn't use a lot of clear words besides Daddy and looking and pointing but I understood exactly what she meant. She tried to eat a sticker off the bananas I let her hold - and had a tantrum because I told her 'no.' On the way home with all that chicken in her tummy she fell asleep and was asleep again within about fifteen minutes of getting in the house.

Other things she has done recently:
  • She learned to sign '1,2,3' on her fingers.
  • She is playing 'peekaboo' with her hands over her eyes and not just a blanket.
  • She is mimicing 'Achoo' if anyone sneezes and she thinks it's funny.
  • She puts things in cabinets/boxes/containers and closes them and then is super-excited it is still there when she looks again
  • She says 'owies ow ow ow' now everytime she stumbles or bumps into something and looks for sympathy
  • I ask her 'you okay?' and she answers with a nod or crying
  • She is almost nodding her head 'yes' at other questions, but isn't quite sure yet
  • Using 'uh uh uh' to tell the animals not to do things
  • She will look through cracks and mesh nets in see-through cloth and tell me 'I see you'
  • Getting the concept of her 9 piece puzzle more but still unable to put more than one piece in the right place

I'll post more as I remember it...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pretty flower and chasing puppy

I took Esme out for some playing in the sunshine. She found this clover flower and was telling me it was pretty. She chased Iggy around the road but Iggy wasn't big on moving quickly but really wanted just a shady place to lay down. Iggy is becoming quite the hound dog now and really growing!

Grandpa and Grandmas House

petting Iggy with Grandma

playing tug-o-war with Grandpa's pillow

Esme loves this musical instrument in Grandpa & Grandma's cupboard

She likes to carry this around

Little people bus

Another garage sale find - a little people schoolbus with a few figures. Esme likes to run it around the room.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

a few new words

we've been noticing 'whee', 'wow' and 'you-okay?' lately. Esme is also doing more 'mini-sentence' babble like 'I see it - doggie, pretty doggie, Iggy doggie, uh uh doggie, owies! bad doggie' etc etc... 'I see it', 'I hear it' and 'you-okay', 'i get it', 'i did it' etc seem to count as one word each for her, as she says them as full phrases each time.

She's getting lots more ideas as well that she wants to share with us and plans she wants to do. She piles things up, sorts toys and will carry two separate things together in order to do something with them across the room. Mark and I often find ourselves just sitting back and watching her execute her plans shaking our heads and wondering how she came up with the idea to find a small box and put a rattle toy in it and then go bang it on something to make a bigger noise etc etc...

When she sees something she thinks is great, like her bath toys all piled up and waiting for her or a plate of food when she is hungry she'll happily stretch out the word 'WOW' just like I do.

Other words 'chee(wee-oh)' (cheerios), di-oh-saur (dinosaur), tigger, ball, shoes more clearly but not often, saying 'milk' more often and making the slurpy noise I make for drink. She's been saying 'all done' often for more than just being done with food, and sometimes she will add 'yea' on the end of something she wants like 'cheerios YEA' or 'All Done YEA' She is also running to the fridge each time she sees a sippy cup and pulling on the door hard and furiously wanting to help us with the next step to everything (and that extends to everything else too - cooking, brushing teeth, laundry, dishes - she knows what comes next and wants to help out)

Friday, May 15, 2009

rummage sales

We took Esme out to rummage sales today. She grabbed a pair of Fisher Price roller skates from a box of toys. I thought at first they would be 'too old' for her - as in she would need to grow into them. However, then I remembered that there were often times I thought back to items I wish I would have bought and saved for later. When we got home she wanted to put them on her feet. When we did put them on her she cried and screamed to have them back off, but is happy to vroom them around like a car.

We also found a Tigger doll and a few other random toys for later. We bought Esme a shake and some chicken which she ate and drank like a big girl in her car seat. I was quite impressed with her eating skills. She fell asleep halfway home with a french fry still sticking out of her mouth. I wish we could have gotten a picture of it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Esme is a ham

And Mark gave me a really nice gift for Mother's Day (besides Esme) - some yarn and candy and a copy of the Goonies. Thanks Mark ;) Now I have to think hard for Father's Day.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Rainy weekend and 18 month stats

climbing and coloring on boxes in a junk corner of the workshop after her bath

It was raining all weekend, and with the fears of getting sick going around we opted for a weekend at home doing nothing much. Esme was pretty upset about not getting to go visiting or outside - she brought me her jacket and shoes many times. We went to Starfall a lot, drew on the easel and played with letters in the kitchen. She is making some progress on different letters than 'E' and 'O'!

Mark gave her a 'stylish new look' the other day in plaid and a black belt (of mine). The handiwork on the easel is not all hers, the spirals on the right were drawn by me.

And she has grown out of her 18 month old sleepers. It has been cold so I dug out this 24 month one that was stashed in the 'future' box. She thought green stripes was really cool!

some things I heard from her this weekend 'book' (not just her 'read this' approximation), 'ear', 'pat kay'(patty cake), 'green' and 'orange' again - it's been a long time since I heard her say any color words. We were going through crayons in the bathtub and later I was showing her all the green things that matched her new pajamas.

Tomorrow she is 18 months old! We did her 'stats' at home - 26 lbs, 31.5 inches (maybe a bit more but she is still wiggly) and 19 inch head circumference, not a lot of difference physically from her 15 month stats. But wow - she has come a long way in three months! Her vocabulary has more than tripled and she understands so much more about how things work and how to communicate what she wants to do/have etc...

Note: She has grown out of those sleepers - so she has to be a little taller than before, right? She fit into them fine then and now they are too short on her. She almost fits into her 24 month pants but they are just a little long on her. We're going to have to pin her down and measure her better ;)

More childrens songs

There are two songs I have heard two different versions - of course they are very common children's songs so you may recognize one or the other of the versions as the one you grew up with.

Patty Cake (yes!) - Esme really likes this now so here are the two versions I've heard.
'Patty Cake - Patty Cake, Baker's Man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can,
Roll it up Roll it up, put it in the pan,
Patty Cake - Patty Cake, Baker's Man'

Patty Cake - Patty Cake, Baker's Man
Bake me a cake as fast as you can,
Roll it, and pat it, and mark it with a 'B',
and put it in the oven for Baby and me (squeal and hug baby)

My mom told me the second version and Mark's mom told him the first one. Esme likes both of them.

One, Two, Buckle my shoe
Three, Four Out the Door
Five, Six, Pick up Sticks
Seven, Eight, Lay them Straight
Nine, Ten, Do it Again (do it a-gain...)

And the other version
One, Two, Buckle my shoe
Three, Four, Out the Door,
Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks,
Seven, Eight, Shut the Gate,
Nine, Ten, A Big Fat Hen!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

A little stunned

I took the puppy out this morning after the rainstorm that had lasted all day yesterday. It was before anyone else was up - except the puppy of course. She woke me up by whimpering by the side of my bed and trying to wake Esme up in lieu of us. I slipped in the mud and fell backwards onto a tree - slamming pretty hard under the back of one shoulderblade. I'm glad that was the place I hit - as I'm just a little stunned with a sore back. If I'd hit my head that hard on the tree I'd probably still be out there lying in the mud *whew!* I'm also glad the puppy didn't get in the way when I was falling - that would have been awful too!

Friday, May 01, 2009

The Other day at Grandma's House

The other day at Grandma's house I thought we had a different kid! Not really, but Esme showed a few new abilities and tendencies. She drank from a straw for more than just 'by accident' - and was happy about it. She also said (although not very clearly) a word that sounded like Gramma, but she said it for Grandpa too. She also sat at a chair to eat some pudding from the table height - and was very very proud of that. So proud that ever since she did that up there she has been getting into a chair here and pounding on our kitchen table. We don't eat at that table - and the chair isn't quite the right height for her, but she tries anyway.

Esme also did something very strange while sitting at Grandma's table. It took a few days for me to get a good explanation of it. I put her Cheerios on a napkin and she put the napkin in her lap and wiped her pudding-covered hands on it. That looked like a very grown-up manner she would have not seen in our house, or even in Grandma's house. But she did it anyway, and repeated it here at home as well when I put Cheerios on a paper towel. I got an explanation yesterday - Mark has been putting a paper towel in her lap in her 'high' chair here at home to catch spaghetti sauce etc... so Esme took the napkin on the table as needing to go in her lap like Daddy had done. I hadn't seen that habit either as he usually does it when I'm not home -- when I'm home she gets messy and I take her off for a bath immediately after supper.

She is turning into such a "little person" - with lots of habits, thought processes and ideas about how the world should work. She knows about faucets and doorknobs and cabinets - about the refrigerator, dishwasher, dryer, ziploc bags and shoes - toys and books and how to get Mom to sing songs and visit and how to get a piece of paper and put it on her easel etc etc... it is so hard to believe sometimes that a year and a half ago she was a tiny little 8 lb baby unable to even hold her head up!