Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Visions of Sugar Plums

Since I have two sons, I need a "little girl fix" every so often and Christmas sewing for little girls is just the answer for me. I have so much fun planning and sewing for them.

I have three nieces to fill my needs. They are all cousins and not sisters so they are special to each family. The first one is 15 and totally into fashion, so I shop for her these days. (Are you reading this, Mollie?) In the past I have made doll clothes, dresses for her and when she was eleven I made her a purple quilt. These days I feel safer buying clothes for her along with a gift receipt, just in case. I will say that she dresses quite appropriately, but very chic for her age.

The next one is my great niece who is also totally into fashion. Sydni just turned 5. This young lady was picking out her clothes at one years old. It's just in her. Her mother is lovely, dresses very nicely, but is not a shopaholic or fashionista so we don't know where her daughter got this need for fashion. Miss Syd prefers dresses to pants, and knows how to coordinate her clothes. She loves to tell you what she is wearing and why she picked out that day's clothes. She also enjoys dressing her dolls and is quite the young mother to them all. For Christmas I bought Miss Syd a hot pink Ralph Lauren dress, a Fancy Nancy book and made a pink & white apron from Simplicity 3949. This pattern comes with adult and children sizes, so I think I will make one for myself, too. She loves making cookies with her Grammie Steph, so now she will be able to protect her dresses while she cooks.

Then there is the youngest great niece, Maggie, who is 2. Her Grammie Carole gave her a Bitty Baby for Christmas, so this gave me the opportunity to sew a wardrobe for this doll. Three years ago I sewed the same patterns for Miss Syd and she still dresses her Bitty Baby in them (I wish I had pictures to show). I sewed a purple dressy-dress, two sundress/jumpers, a pantie to wear under the three dresses and a pair of overalls with a knit top which can be worn with the jumpers. These were made from McCalls 4338. The bodice on the dress is lined and the jumpers and overalls have substantial facings. I used batiste for the lining and facings since it did the job without creating bulk in the tiny seams. All clothes have velcro closures in the back, so no little loose buttons will create any problems. These dresses and overalls take about two hours each to make, so this is not a quick gift, but is fun to sew.

I also sewed a polar fleece bunting so that Bitty Baby can go outside in the winter. The bunting was made from the same pattern as the diaper bag I created.

And I just love this bag! I used Amy Butler fabric for the outside and polka dot flannel for the lining. This pattern is a discontinued Simplicity Sewing for Dummies pattern. The instructions could have been better, but the pattern is so cute. The outside has two large pockets on one side and the other side has a fold out changing pad. With the left over flannel fabric I made a pillow and blanket for naps. The clothes, bunting, blanket and pillow store very nicely in the bag so it will be easy to keep everything together.

I purchased all my fabrics from E-quilter. The service was extraordinary. I placed my order on Cyber Monday, December 1, and had them by December 5. The really great feature of the site is that after you place items in the shopping basket, you can go to the design board to see how they coordinate. If you don't like any of the choices together, just remove them from the basket and add more.

One of my nephews, Scott, is engaged and his fiance is now part of the family. We draw names for the adults in the family, so each of us is responsible for a gift to one other adult. My husband drew Ashely, Scott's fiance. She loves to cook, so I made her an apron which I drafted myself. I like these fabrics very much and they look quite contemporary to me. We will also include in her gift The Splendid Table's How To Eat Supper which I just love and want a copy for myself, along with a silicone spatula. I just hope she likes everything since I am still trying to figure out her style.

After I finished the doll clothes and Miss Syd's apron, my serger broke. Great timing! This forced me to make Ashley's apron with all enclosed seams, so the finishing on this apron is really thought out. I brought my serger in for repairs, but it appears that the motor may need to be replaced. The cost for fixing would be around $400, so I brought it home and my husband will take a look at it when he gets a chance. Looks like I may be in the market for a new one instead. This happened just a little too late for a Christmas present, darn!

I also hope to make pincushions today for my two sister-in-laws and my sister. Now I am off to make my Christmas cookies.

To everyone, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may your New Year be filled with nothing but joy!