Saturday, May 26, 2012

Down for the count.

Last Friday, Joe had his "observation day" at his new preschool, so he and Steve were there for a whole morning. Joe did great, and had a blast.

A few days later, though, Steve was sniffling and sneezing, and a few days after that, I succumbed to the ick as well. As of writing this, Joe has a runny nose and a cough.

This is no ordinary head cold. This is one of those head colds that reduces the victim to a sniveling, sniffling, pathetic lump of flesh. One of those really nasty head colds that thrive in day care and preschool environments the world over.

Unfortunately, I couldn't even take a day off work to lie around and be whiny this week, as one of my colleagues recently left me in charge of his clients and workload while he vacations in Europe, lucky duck. So I'm doing his work as well as mine (or at any rate, spending half of my days trying to pawn off his work on other people, which may actually require more effort than just doing it myself), and I cannot call in sick right now.

And being pregnant, I am not allowed to take most cold medication. I am expected to muscle through this dreadful virus with nothing but a little saline solution. A cruel joke!

Needless to say, no sewing or anything else requiring effort (outside of my job) happened this past week. The dishes are piled up in the sink, the house is a mess, and I am still too sick to care. (Incidentally, is a bowl of yogurt and a couple pieces of cheese an acceptable dinner option for a three-year-old? I think so too.)

But it hasn't all been misery and hard work, either. I did enjoy watching the final episode of Sherlock, Season 2, twice (okay, not true, but I am a little embarrassed to admit I watched it three times because I am pretty sure that makes me one of those crazy Sherlock fans).

Somehow, despite casting Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson as young men in present-day London and taking significant liberties with plot, Sherlock manages stays exceptionally true to the spirit and energy of the original stories, making this fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle very, very happy.*

Even in the midst of a very bad head cold.

* And perhaps mildly crazed.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pina Dress.

There are several ways to cope with sewing failure. One is to throw the crappy item into a closet and take a couple days' (hopefully not years') break from sewing. Another is to immediately start a new project, in the hopes of quickly replacing bad sewing memories with good ones.

After my struggles with the ring sling, I seriously considered the former, but opted to try the latter instead. After all, I've been on a major sewing roll lately, and without a project in the works, I'm not quite sure what to do with myself on a weekend.

So yesterday, I cut out and sewed Megan Nielsen's Pina Dress in a coral cotton knit that I got at deep discount because of some sun-fading (which ended up being pretty difficult to work around, so I guess you get what you pay for).

Megan Nielsen's Pina Dress
31 weeks!

So here it is! Let's talk about the great things first: This is a really cute pattern, pretty easy to put together, and makes a great nursing top/dress to wear over a nursing tank. This bright coral I chose/dug out of the bargain bin is a bit more saturated than the colors I usually wear, but I like it!

Okay, now the nitpicking. It's a little too small! Especially in the bust, but it's also a bit snug in the belly. I cut this out in a size Medium, which was perfect for the Ruched Maternity Tee, but for this dress, I clearly need a size Large to accommodate my currently ... ahem, abundant state.

Because, uh, I'm not going to be getting any smaller over the next nine to eleven weeks.

Megan Nielsen's Pina Dress
Squinting at the beautiful sunlight! In another couple of weeks, this will officially be too small.

And because it's so snug, it's also not the most flattering piece of clothing I have worn. This thin jersey is a bit sheer and clings in all of the wrong places. Without going into too much detail, we're talking VPL City from behind. Not cool. Definitely not work-appropriate.

The good news is that my current state is a temporary one. This will probably fit better after I have this baby. I know my nursing tanks will! And who knows - without the giant belly, the skirt may skim my curves rather than clinging to every little thing.

Right now, I think this would probably be more flattering as a top, rather than a dress. But I haven't given up on it as a nursing dress, so I am loathe to lop off a foot and a half to make a top that will only fit me for a few weeks longer look better in the short term. So I may just wear it as a nightie for now. That sounds like an admission of failure, but actually, this is a really cute, cheerful, colorful, and comfortable maternity nightie, and it will make an excellent nursing-friendly nightie - the kind of thing I practically lived in during my early postpartum period after Joe was born. A decent nursing nightie is practically a wardrobe staple for the new mom.

If I make this again (and I might! especially as a nursing dress, rather than a maternity dress), I will definitely size it up, especially in the bust (which is also, ahem, not going to be getting any smaller over the next couple of months), and use a heavier knit that won't show every lump and bump.

Meanwhile, I've already cut out another Ruched Maternity Tee using this coral knit (I'm getting a workout trying to salvage this faded yardage, for sure!). The lightweight knit will be perfect for a t-shirt, and I know that the style flatters me right now.

With that, I'll leave you with the most epic dining room train track set-up ever. Harpal and Joe worked on this yesterday, and I've been stepping around it for two days, because it is just that cool. Special thanks goes to my mom, who found Joe a huge box of track at a yard sale and gave it to him for his birthday. I'll probably never be able to walk across my house in a straight line again, but Joe is seriously loving his gift.

Epic Train Track
Tunnels, bridges, and loops: These are a few of Joe's favorite things.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Garden Tour: Mid-May 2012.

Well, I finished sewing my ring-sling, but I am really unhappy with the results. This was supposed to be an easy project, but due to a combination of factors - the thickness of the linen I used, the topstitching thread I chose, the style of pleat I finally selected, and the limitations of my sewing machine - the pleated shoulder looks like a hot mess. I ripped it out and redid the whole area several times, and it still looks like total crap. So I wadded it up and shoved it in a corner for now. I'll take it out and consider my options at a future time.

Ugh. Whatever. You win some and you lose some. It's a little embarrassing that such a simple project (billed as easily do-able even for folks who have little to no experience sewing!) totally derailed me, but so it goes.

Right! So let's talk about the garden, shall we? After a lot of rain in April, May has been warm and beautiful here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Aaahhh. Sunshine. It has been glorious, I tell you.

And there's nothing like a lot of rain and then a lot of sun to make the garden grow (and the lawn turn a lush green) ...

Raised bed.

Our raised beds are now overflowing with vegetables! This is our tomato bed, with beans at the right end (and some marigolds for color and companion-planting purposes). I've staggered the tomato planting, so the tomatoes (all heirlooms this year) are different sizes right now, but I expect that will even out by later in the summer. I built very simple trellis for the runner beans (some of which I'm growing from seeds collected from last year's bean crop!), and then Steve extended it with clothesline up into the branches of the Gingko tree above. Now the beans have a whole lot of room to grow!

Raised bed.

The bed to the right is in partial shade, which has proven to be the perfect environment for a messy and haphazard mix of chard, arugula, beets, and carrots. There are also some basil plants in there, although I don't think they're thriving in the shade like the other plants are. Here's a shot of it drinking in a shower of water from the hose.

Raised bed.

The back bed gets morning sun and partial afternoon shade - it's exploding with lettuce, summer squash, mustard greens, and peas.

Raised bed.

Truth be told, I seriously need to harvest the beets (and beet greens), mustard, and at least some of the lettuce to give the other crops some more space, but eating all of that food is an overwhelming prospect! We've already eaten quite a lot of mustard greens this year, much to the delight of my midwife (my iron levels are great this pregnancy!), and the household is starting to tire of dark leafy greens (translation: I am the only one who will eat them at this point). So I'm desperate for some new recipes calling for greens, because even I'm getting a bit tired of them. Either that, or someone needs to come over and take some of these greens away!

I've also been eating salad frequently, which has actually been perfect for all of his hot weather, but I need to eat even more! It turns out the secret to getting Steve to eat salad is to let him grill some steak to throw in it. I haven't figured out the secret to getting Joe to eat salad (or really, anything green yet), but I keep putting it in front of him hoping to convert him one of these days!

The San Francisco Bay Area may not be the ideal climate for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and watermelon, but boy, oh boy can we grow greens. Lordy.

Some other random sightings in the garden include a dozen strawberry plants that I planted earlier in the spring. Joe may be skeptical of green leafy vegetables, but he loves berries. So he and I have been enjoying eating a strawberry or two most days this past few weeks. There's nothing quite like eating a strawberry straight from the garden, warm from the sun. Next year I am planning to double the size of the strawberry patch, because, uh, yummy.


The grape vine (a purple seedless table grape) I planted two months ago is looking lovely. I can't wait for it to grow up on that fence, and best of all, start giving us some grapes!


It's only May, and my cilantro is already bolting. Does anyone else have this problem? My cilantro bolts less than four weeks after I plant it, every single time. Is it because it's been too warm? I don't want coriander, I want cilantro! Tips, please!

Bolting cilantro.

Steve is delighted that this little poppy volunteer is growing between the cracks in our cement patio. Stubborn little plant! We've been sneaking a little water to it here and there. I can't believe it has survived the dogs and foot traffic so far.


This lemon balm, which is part of my hummingbird/butterfly/bee attracting bed (still in the works), is thriving and threatening to take over the whole bed, making me wonder if I will live to regret planting such an invasive mint-relative right into a bed! I better start making some tea!

Lemon Balm.

The borage is going crazy in the same pollinator-loving bed, and sure enough, the bees love it! Borage self-sows and can be a little invasive too, but when you're looking at a brand-new, bare garden, more greenery seems like a good thing.

Borage gone crazy.

We even set up a very small, modest composting area. I have more ambitious plans for the future, but this will do for now.

Modest composting.

And last but certainly not least, here is a random sighting of Joe, who is currently working on potty training. This translates into a lot of time with nothing on his lower half but Thomas undies.

I can't say Joe has figured out the whole potty thing yet (or even started to figure it out), but at least he's willing to run around in his undies here and there, which is an improvement on a month ago. Joe understands that the adults in the house wear undies and use the potty, but when I ask him when he'll start using the potty, he says "Soon." In Joe-speak, much like politician-speak, "soon" translates to "maybe one day" or "on my own sweet time, thank you very much," or, in extreme cases, "forget about it, mom, it'll never happen." But at least he's thinking about potty-training, right? Baby steps.

Meanwhile, I can't stand how cute he looks in his big-boy underwear!

Potty training ...

This has been the first year that Joe has really participated in the garden. In prior years, he enjoyed hanging out with us while we worked, but his role was more destructive than helpful. This year, Joe is grasping the concept of gardening. When I get home from work in the evening, he runs out back with me to "look at the baby plants!" Never mind that most of the "baby plants" are all grown up now - Joe now understands that we are trying to grow the baby plants, and that they need water and attention.

Joe loves to help water the plants, dead-head flowers (although he's not always the best at distinguishing spent flowers from new buds, it's not for lack of trying), and harvest vegetables (we run into similar issues with harvesting as dead-heading, but he's catching on!). And of course, he loves to play in the hose, push his toy diggers around, and get dirty.

If there is anything at all to astrology (which remains to be seen), Joe, my little earth-sign Taurus, will be a gardener.

Sad to say, this idyll of sun and warm weather is likely to end quite soon, when inland California heats up, sucking air from the Pacific Ocean over the coastal regions, resulting in the advection fog that the City of San Francisco is so famous for (I bet you didn't know it's "advection fog"? oh, you did? hi Bay Area friends and coastal dwellers from around the world!). While Oakland is warmer than San Francisco (one reason I live in Oakland!), June and July in the East Bay are often characterized by never-ending overcast and chilly breezes.

We can but enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. And there is always September (our other warm month) to look forward to.

How is your garden growing?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Flashback Tank Top.

This past Saturday was a lovely warm day, so I took a short break from baby pants to make Joe a little tank top using the Flashback Skinny Tee pattern. And then we took Joe out for some ice cream at Fentons, where he proceeded to get a ton of food on his tank, making for a fun, but not necessarily pristine photo shoot.

Fentons May 2012
As you can see, Joe and I have matching tops now.

I was totally inspired by Kristin at Skirt as Top's awesome Strong Boy outfit, but my fabric choice - a thrifted men's polo shirt - does not have the same vintage appeal as her stripes. I did, however, follow Kristin's suggestion to narrow the shoulders a bit. And I just have to say, this tank top was super easy. The whole thing, cutting, sewing, everything - probably took an hour. And what could be cuter than a three year old with chubby arms and dimpled chubby hands in a muscle tee? Well, pretty much nothing.

Fentons May 2012
That's my little red-headed niece and brother-in-law across the table.

Nerdy sewing note: The stripes on the thrifted polo shirt I harvested this fabric from were actually vertical, even though this was perpendicular to the stretch of the knit. I suppose for a loose man's shirt, you can get away with this! Fascinating! The fabric does have some two-way stretch, but since this is a pretty snug t-shirt, I sewed up Joe's shirt with horizontal stripes, to stretch across the width of the shirt.

And I had just the right dark purple ribbing to finish the job. This top was so, so easy (oops, I already said that, huh?). I am already planning on sewing up more of them.

Fentons May 2012
And that's Steve eating a chili dog back there. Hehe.

And here's Joe, food-encrusted and none too pleased to be heading home from the ice cream place. Not the best photo, but at least you can see the whole top.

Flashback Tank
New top, complete with fresh ketchup and ice cream stains!

After making five pairs of baby pants and a quick tank top for Joe, I turned my sewing attentions to making a ring sling for carrying the little bambina around in. Now, this should be a very straightforward project, right? If anything, I was expecting such a basic sewing project to be boring. Which is why it's funny that I have completely stalled. The issue is the pleating at the top of the ring sling, where you thread the fabric through the rings. The instructions I was following just weren't working out and I couldn't get that area to look right, so I did a little internet research on the topic, only to discover that there are a million different ways to pleat a ring sling, and each method features an intimidating list of pros and cons. So now I'm overwhelmed and paralyzed with indecision. Over a project that basically consists of a single rectangle of fabric. Go figure.

Can someone knowledgeable about ring slings come along and just tell me what to do? I may not be much of a sewing pioneer, but I promise, I take direction very well!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Baby Pants Sewing Spree.

Baby Pants Spree May 2012

Baby pants are like potato chips - you're not going to be able to stop at one (pair). They are super fast and easy to sew (especially compared to sewing clothes for my preschooler or myself), a great way to use up treasured or not so treasured scraps of fabric, and they are cuh-ute. Making them is also a great way for a pregnant woman to "nest" and prepare for her new baby without any actual cleaning involved. Win!

Newborn Knit Pants

These knit pants were made using the free Newborn Knit Pants pattern and tutorial on the Handmade Baby Clothes blog. I compared these with some pants Joe wore in the 0-3 month size, and they look just about right for that size range. With this pattern, I have finally discovered a use for small scraps of knit fabric! They work perfectly for the cuffs on these pants. I also think it would be really easy to enlarge this pattern for sizes up to six months or even more, so these probably aren't the last pairs of these you'll be seeing from me.

Rae's Newborn Pants

The green pants with floral trim were made using Made By Rae's free Newborn Pants pattern. Again, this pattern is an awesome stash-buster. I might have to make more just for the satisfying feeling of having finally used something in my ginormous fabric scrap box. The next pair will have (completely useless to an infant but nonetheless adorable) pockets.

Big Butt Baby Pants Front

The two on the right look pretty normal from the front ...

Big Butt Baby Pants Back

... but from the back, they are unmistakeably Made by Rae's Big Butt Baby Pants.

Yes, those are horses on the butt of the red pants. Horse-butt. Hehe. I'm easily amused.

These are also both size 0-3, but I gave the denim ones deep cuffs so they are longer. It's hard sewing for a newborn you haven't actually met yet. Hopefully all of these pants will fit at some point.

Sewing baby pants is addictive. I can't promise that I will stop at five ...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ruched Maternity Top.

When I heard that Megan Nielsen, clothing designer and purveyor of awesome maternity patterns (including the Rie Dress, which I used to make a top a while back), was moving back to Australia and closing her shop for a month, I decided I better buy a couple more of her patterns before I was too pregnant to care about making my own maternity clothing anymore. I skated in right under the shop-closure deadline (in case you are in the market for maternity patterns, you can still buy her patterns through several retailers who carry them), and was pleased to receive a little package in the mail the other containing patterns for the Ruched Maternity T-Shirt and the Pina Dress. Exciting!

Not coincidentally, I had just bought a couple yards of a lovely green printed rayon knit that I found for only $8/yard at my favorite Berkeley hang-out, Stonemountain & Daughter. I know, I know, new fabric! I am so incorrigible! But in my defense, while I am practically buried in stashed wovens, I do not have much of a stash of knits, so ...

In order to justify these purchases, I wasted no time sewing up the Ruched T-Shirt for myself. After all, I have only ten to twelve more weeks in which to enjoy wearing maternity tops (to the extent one can "enjoy" wearing maternity clothing), so some hustle is required.

So. Wow. I love this pattern.

Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Top
Right after this shot was taken, I headed off to work, not realizing my skirt was so wrinkled! Oh well.

It is so easy to sew up (especially now that I have conquered tricky rayon knits) and it fits like a dream! This is a size medium (based on my current bust size; I dare not measure my "waist" at this point), with zero changes or modifications. Perfect (with room for expansion). How often does that happen?

Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Top

I have to say, I really love this knit, too, and I can't believe it was such a score. Finding lovely knits, especially printed knits, is not easy, especially when your tastes are as particular as mine! This stuff is soft, light, and diaphanous, although thankfully not as difficult to wrangle through a sewing machine as another rayon knit I've worked with. And I love this abstract green print - somehow, it helps makes this casual style seem a little more work-appropriate.

Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity Top

And here's a detail of the ruching along the side. This top is nice and long in the front, which means I still have quite a bit of room to expand before this top starts inching up over the big belly. What you can't see in this photo are the now very visible (and okay, slightly freaky if you're not used to such things) movements and kicks of the baby girl within! It has been party-central in there lately. Baby girl has been keeping me up at night with her gymnastics.

So now I'm torn: Part of me wants to make like four more of these, because this is just the best maternity top pattern ever. But part of me wants to move on to the Pina Dress, because that pattern looks awesome too! Both of these plans probably involve buying yet more fabric.

Luckily, I have arrived at a (temporary) solution: Do neither. Make a billion pairs of baby pants.

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A big year for Joe.

The past few weeks leading up to Joe's third birthday were very busy for us because Joe was getting evaluated by the Oakland Unified School District to see if he qualifies for speech therapy services through the school district. The Regional Center, which has been providing Joe with in-home speech therapy for the past year, only provides services to children under three. After that, the school district takes over.

As you might expect from a school district, OUSD's assessment process is a pretty formal and bureaucratic. I'm pretty sure I signed at least a hundred forms, all seeming to say the same thing (yes, you can access and review Joe's files! yes, I understand I have the right to file a grievance! yes! yes! yes! you'll never believe this, but I actually want Joe to get into your program!).

After two meetings and a ton of paperwork, there were two assessments: one at our home, and one at the local school district preschool center. As mentioned in a prior post, Joe did not exactly "perform" at his highest abilities for these assessments. Joe was having none of this testing business. While we have seen Joe's vocabulary and expressive abilities really explode over the past year, and over the past six months in particular, hardly any of that came through at the assessment. Instead, Joe got really shy, totally clammed up, refused to answer questions, and restricted his utterances largely to squeaks and squawks. When he did speak, he would speak in a strange whiny baby talk that he (thankfully, shudder) rarely uses in his everyday life.

Basically, he regressed about six months and totally refused to cooperate. As you can probably imagine, this was not fun for us parents. After listening to Joe point out every single stop sign, fire truck, construction vehicle,  delivery truck, mail truck, BART train, dog, and a good number of flowers and trees on his way to the appointment, it was a teeny tiny bit frustrating that he limited himself to squeaky baby talk once we arrived.

And then, of course, he talked our ears off on the way home from the appointment, too. Sigh.

Luckily, this sort of thing is apparently quite common when assessing three-year-olds (Whew! Thank goodness it's not just my kid!), and the school district speech language pathologist who assessed him was very understanding and willing to work with Joe to get what information she could. And she asked us a lot of questions and consulted with Joe's regular speech therapist to get a better idea of his progress.

Last week, Joe had his last session with Sarah, his speech therapist through the Regional Center, and I attended a meeting at the district to discuss their recommendations and Joe's IEP.

After those difficult assessments, I wasn't sure what to expect! But the district SLP was really positive and upbeat about Joe's progress. According to her evaluation, his receptive (understanding) abilities are almost within the normal range for his age. His expressive abilities are still delayed, but not significantly enough to qualify him for school district services without additional issues. He qualifies for continuing speech therapy primarily because his articulation/pronunciation is uh, a bit garbled.

Now, Joe-speak is pretty awesome and fun, and I highly recommend learning it (note: "toy" means car, "tunnel ga-ga" means fire truck, and "gulk" means milk), but you know, it would be nice to not have to puzzle over half of Joe's utterances, trying to figure out what the poor child is trying to say. Even Steve and I, who have undergone immersion learning in Joe's unique version of English, struggle to understand him quite a bit. Supposedly, a lot of these articulation and phonological issues will begin to correct themselves (with or without speech therapy, but help is awesome) around three years old, so we'll see how that goes.

But basically, he's doing great! He's saying a ton of stuff. Our next goal is to understand more of it.

So Joe has a big year ahead. We have said goodbye to Sarah, Joe's lovely in-home speech therapist, and we are about to start some new adventures: Joe will be receiving speech therapy at our local elementary school twice a week. And later, Joe will be starting at Peter Pan Cooperative Nursery in September.  This place is awesome and I think Joe is going to have a blast (you should see their train table!).

Finally, there is the small matter of a new sibling arriving later this summer ... I have been trying to prepare Joe for the big event by talking to him about his baby sister and reading him books about new siblings, and I think Joe understands some of it. He really likes babies (at least in theory), so that's a start. But really, when it comes down it, he has no idea what is in store, poor kid! (Honestly, Steve and I have only a slightly better grasp of what's in store for us, so you can't blame Joe if he is blissfully enjoying his only-child status for now.) Of course, it will be a wonderful change - for all of us - but I expect there may be some adjustments that will have to be made - for all of us. Ahem.

With that, I'll leave you with some photos of my three year old, enjoying throwing rocks into the San Francisco Bay.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Maternity Dress Refashion and Other Practical Sewing.

I am the lucky recipient of a ton of hand-me-down maternity clothes. Between the clothes I bought when I was pregnant with Joe and the hand-me-downs I've received from my sister and friends, I haven't needed to buy any maternity clothes for this pregnancy, which has been wonderful.

I did get a few hand-me-downs that made me raise an eyebrow, however. Like this Old Navy Maternity dress. This giant tent dress really takes maternity muu-muu to a whole new level. It is supremely unflattering (I will spare you a photo of how it looks on me; I don't want that image on the internet). I tried it with a belt, and that looked awful too. I can only assume that it looks brand new for a reason: no one wore it.

Old Navy Maternity "Tent Dress"

It is made from a very lovely, soft black cotton knit, however. And the style of the dress means that it contains an ample amount of fabric. Now that the weather is warming up a bit, I have been feeling the lack of skirts in my maternity wardrobe (remember, Joe was born in May, so I didn't need many warm weather clothes for that pregnancy). So I decided to repurpose this dress into a simple black knit skirt.

Knit maternity skirt.

And this is me at 29 weeks pregnant. I've officially reached the point where well-meaning friends crack jokes about how they can't believe I still have almost three months to go, and I have started to hear the question "Are you sure you're not carrying twins?"


No, no, people, this is just what I look like at 29 weeks pregnant with one average-sized fetus! I'm a fairly petite person, so there's just nowhere for this baby to go but outward.

And if you think this is huge, check back in 10 weeks, when I will be visible from space!

Ahem. Moving on!

So I just totally made this skirt up, figuring that nothing I could make would be as ugly as that dress. I kept a lot of the width and vertical seaming of the dress, which had princess seams in front and a two piece skirt in the back, with the result being a very swingy, a-line skirt that feels very light and summery despite the dark color.

Knit maternity skirt.

I also kept the hem line of the dress in tact. Easy peasy. This skirt is a bit longer than my ideal knee-length (it's more "midi" length), but of course it will be shorter post-pregnancy, when I can wear it closer to my natural waistline. So I've decided it will do for now.

Knit maternity skirt.
Unfortunately, this soft knit picks up lint and dog hair like you wouldn't believe.

The waistband is simply folded over, with some wide, soft elastic inside to keep the skirt up. I had to piece it from several areas of the dress, so it's not the most professional looking thing I've ever made, but it stays up and the waistband is not meant to be seen anyway.

It's not a particularly exciting garment, but I think I'll be wearing it a lot this summer.

In other sewing news, I made a few fixes to my KCWC garments for Joe. First up, I did rip out and redo all of the ribbing for Joe's Flashback Train Tee, shortening the sleeves by an inch while I was at it (the sleeves being too long was my fault, by the way - I misread the pattern instructions). I followed Rae's advice to shorten the ribbing pieces considerably. But despite all of that, it looks pretty much exactly the same after redoing it! Oh well. So it goes - that ribbing is probably just too soft and stretchy for this type of application. But Joe likes the shirt and it's soft and comfortable. Onwards.

Flashback Train Tee and Sandbox Pants

More successfully, I de-bugged Joe's new Sandbox Pants. These pants turned out awesome - except that the crotch was way too long for Joe, and the drawstring waist just wasn't working: Joe kept yanking on it and undoing it. So I took the waistband off, removed an inch from the rise all around, and sewed it back on with the outside facing in, and thus no drawstring opening. Then I inserted a wider, stiffer elastic (to keep the pants up better). This alteration drastically improved the wearability of these pants, and I'm very happy I took the time to do it. When I make these pants again (I will definitely make them again!), I will shorten the rise even more - I couldn't shorten it too much this time because I wanted functional front pockets - or, better yet, use the Sketchbook Shorts to draft a new crotch curve and rise for these pants that will provide just the right amount of ease for Joe.

Flashback Train Tee and Sandbox Pants

So there we have it: A week of very practical sewing.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Three years.

Joseph Roscoe turns three years old today. (Insert sappy cliche here.)

A couple weeks old.

(Where did the time go?)

One year old.
(When did he get so grown up?)

Two years old.
(It seems like just yesterday that we brought him home from the hospital.)

Three years old.

Happy birthday, Joe!