Friday, October 30, 2009


Okay, here is Alice's Halloween costume. (Simplicity 3663) I have wanted to make this for a few years now, but the thought of buying 6 feather boas at $6-8 apiece stopped me in my tracks. This year I decided it was my last chance to influence her choice of costume since I'm sure peer pressure will kick in next year in 1st grade. (ugh!) So I was prepared to bite it and cough up the dough. Luckily I found an online source where I scored 12 boas for $18. MUCH better!

I highly recommend this pattern. First of all, it's hysterical. The pictures are cute, but they don't do it justice. SO cute. It's also really, really easy. It's basically a coat with wings instead of arms. I didn't do any of the finishing the instructions recommended because the feathers cover all that up anyhow and fleece won't unravel. I also didn't line the head piece. I also didn't sew the boas on, I opted for bazillions of safety pins instead. I pinned from the inside. This went MUCH faster than basting, and you can't tell that it's pinned. Also, I used more than 6 boas. I had to order a dozen and I think I used about 9. You wouldn't have to, though. I was just free with the feathers because I HAD them.

I'm trying to think of the "hard part" with this costume, and there really isn't one. The instructions are horrible, as with all the instructions from the big pattern companies. If you can sew by feel this shouldn't be a problem. Obviously I don't have a problem with that since I didn't do half the stuff they told me to do....

Halloween '09
Halloween '09

Friday, October 16, 2009

Annika's Bishop

I chose this fabric at the same time I chose the fabric for Miss M's dress. As soon as I saw this fabric I knew who I would be smocking for. I pleated both dresses at the same time, and, as you can see, this one took me a good deal longer to complete than the other. This one gave me fits. (But I learned a lot!)

My biggest problem was choosing an embroidery color. The background of the fabric is pale pink and the print is tiny red heart flowers. Choosing the color for the smocking was difficult. The little girl wearing the dress is only two, so I really didn't want to smock in red. White was not quite right either. Eventually I settled on a light pink. I smocked a bit and really didn't like it, so I put it down for awhile.

By the way, this is a good sewing tip. If you get frustrated or something just doesn't seem to be working, put it away for a day (or month.).

When I picked it back up I decided the pink was okay so I kept going. I'm happy with how it turned out. The smocking doesn't hit you over the head: it's delicate.

Also, my photo-taking skills are b a d. Oh well.
Annika's dress

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hug your Babies

Today is a day to remember the babies that didn't make it and the parents who lost them. I am no stranger to pregnancy loss. I have had four miscarriages, the most recent just a few weeks ago. The pain and loss is terrific. As much as we've been through and as much as it's hurt I cannot even fathom what it is to lose a baby to still birth or prematurity. There are no words.

Last summer I learned how to smock. Soon after I discovered Wee Care and began making gowns to donate to area hospitals, first on my own and now through an interdenominational group of women. The gowns that I make are primarily bereavement gowns. That really really seems to bother people. They think it's macabre and I'm often asked how I can possibly make something like *that*. Or people will insist that living babies sometimes wear those garments. Okay, if that makes you feel better, yes, sometimes living babies wear the things I make. I wish that were true for all the gowns I made. It's not.

So, why do I make them? I make bereavement gowns because when Alice was born I got a quick glimpse of the hell of prematurity and infant loss. Those mothers deserve the absolute best. There is nothing I can do to take all their pain away, but with each stitch on every gown I pray that having something beautiful that fits their child will bring them at least a little bit of peace.

Here is my most recent bereavement gown (almost done). I used a Lays Stax can for size comparison. This gown will fit a baby that is between one and three pounds.

Wee Care gown
Wee Care