I have completed Phase 1 of my Maternity Wardrobe! I say phase 1, because of course I already have plans to expand it and include more 🙂

When planning, I took into account a few things.

  • I don’t currently own maternity clothes (purged with the move).
  • I’m a stay at home mom so I already wear a lot of things that could work well for awhile (leggings, jogger pants, slouchy tops).
  • I live someplace cold, but will be travelling while pregnant (Mediterranean Cruise! and a month in Florida) so knew I would need clothes that work for variety of climates.
  • I didn’t want to make jackets, sweaters, etc that are dedicated maternity items, but instead plan to use existing ones I own and layer up.

This is my fourth pregnancy so I know what I like to wear later on….some tops that will cover my belly and not ride up and dresses that are easy to throw on are must haves, as well as at least one pair of full belly panel jeans. I also knew that I wanted clothes to be somewhat nursing friendly so that they would work postpartum as well.

Here’s what I came up with! Just imagine a huge belly for all of them instead of my “I ate a few burritos too many” look.

First up, the jeans. I used the SOS pants pattern from Patterns for Pirates with the over belly maternity band from their pirate peg legs pattern. The fabric is denim look french terry from LA Finch. I wish I had way more yardage of that french terry. It is slightly stiff so it looks and feels like denim from the outside, but it’s slightly stretchy and soft like a sweatshirt on the inside. Perfection. For the belly band, I used some performance knit athletic wicking fabric from LA Finch, so breathable and soft but nice firm hold so they stay up great.

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These are by far the most perfect pair of jeans ever. I have already worn them a couple times and my non maternity jeans still fit just fine (I pushed out belly for pics haha)

Next, nice comfy dress. I went with the Boundless dress from Patterns for Pirates, tank option. It has sleeves available in the pattern but wanted more versatility and figured I could easily layer. The floral is double brushed poly from Knitpop and the cream is bamboo jersey sheets from target (I bought a sheet set years ago on clearance for the sole purpose of using the fabric). It has nice roomy pockets also that I put a little lower than the pattern suggests because I was worried about having them too high with a growing belly….I maybe shouldn’t have lowered them as much as I did though. They are definitely still functional.

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It was from this dress that I made most of the rest of the fabric choices….so next up, I made a pair of Layer Me Up tank tops with the maternity add on (sides are ruched with elastic and there’s more space for a bump). Really love how these turned out. The teal one is luxe rayon from LA Finch, the other is some viscose jersey from Minerva Crafts.

My favorite maternity t shirt through previous pregnancies was a simple black v neck. Perfect for when you dribble food on your belly because you are too awkward to eat like an adult (only me?), so I used the Favorite Tee pattern with the LMU maternity mod to make my own (luxury viscose jersey from Dress Fabrics).

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I felt pretty good about basics at this point. With these tops and some existing oversized tunic ones I own, I can make a lot of outfits happen. On to some outerwear to layer over them!

First up, the Mama Claire hoodie. I love my other Mama Claires I’ve made and know from the roomy fit I didn’t need modifications for maternity (when you sew it up with drapey fabric that is, fabric like cotton lycra or brushed poly hugs the body more). It’s sparkly gold/beige sweater knit from Dressfabrics.ie that reads a little olive in my opinion, so layers well with everything so far.

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I wrote a whole post on how I hacked this already.

Next, Pumpkin Spice Dolman. It’s a super neutral taupe french terry (Also from knitpop) so think it will match everything. This is an incredibly roomy fit top so I didn’t do any modifications for it, either. I hate the pocket so let’s ignore that for now…it’s being removed later. For both of these, I went with the banded hem to help anchor it under the growing belly.

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Last, some more bottoms to pair with all of these. The Pirate Pencil skirt is maybe not so functional here in Ireland, but it will come in handy on the cruise and in Florida. Also, it can be styled as a scarf or tube top according to a huge mega clothing company, so I went with it. I added a modified maternity band to it, kinda like a contoured waistband for a little extra space. I don’t remember where this fabric came from either…feels like a not very stretchy cotton lycra.

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And last, some athletic leggings. I have had this issue with my gym leggings not fitting so well over my burrito belly so needed some gymwear….but figured they could also double as just fun leggings for later on when the gym is not so attractive to me. I used athletic nylon spandex from LA Finch so they are super breathable and comfortable to wear, in all weather. I did the low waist maternity band from the peg legs pattern.

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And yeah, they are covered in martinis and wine glasses…so maybe not a maternity print per se, but I can think of drinks I once used to enjoy?

Now, the fun part. Here’s some combinations I came up with using all these pieces. I tried very hard to make sure they all worked together and feel I achieved that. I have existing clothes to mix in also, and plans for future items already but it feels pretty stand alone as is. Should make packing easy!

Any other combinations you see? What else would you include? Next up….Mama Isabel dress/duster cardi out of some taupe/black/teal/mustard print…another favorite tee in mustard luxe, some brassie joggers in a floral mustard/black print, a Kingston jacket in denim, maybe with french terry sleeves and a hood, an Emma top in navy/flourescent yellow print, some white skinny jeans……okay, maybe overly ambitious. We will see what I manage to finish!

**This post contains some affiliate links to help fund my sewing addiction….opinions are always mine though!

In my last post I talked about the Capsule Contest from Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates. I am preparing all my pieces now for the fall contest and decided this time to make them all maternity friendly since I have ZERO maternity clothes. And will need them very soon. I thought ahead to nursing and tried to pick things that would work postpartum also. The Claire definitely checks both boxes, and I have already made a couple. But more on that later….first, I’ll share a quick tutorial on one piece I made for my capsule!

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I saw a shirt on pinterest that looked like the coziest wrap hoodie and knew I could recreate the look with the Mama Claire from Made for Mermaids. Hoodies are perfect for Ireland since they are #1. warm and #2. help keep the drizzle off of me. It’s not really rain here…Florida rains. It just sort of mists at you and if you’re like me and have big hair once it gets slightly humid out, a hood comes in handy.

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I chose some sparkly sweater knit from Dress Fabrics. First, I cut 2 2″ tall bands from the full width of the fabric to ensure I’d have long pieces for the new neckband piece that would incorporate the hood. I wasn’t sure how long they would need to be yet and didn’t want to run out of long strips. Next, I cut out all the pieces I would normally need for the Mama Claire, plus a hood.

For the hood, I chose a crossover hood I had in my pattern stash (I used the riviera raglan crossover hood from New Horizons). I will explain later how I trimmed it to fit the Claire. Any oversized hood will work. You can always trim it down later on in construction.

Start with preparing the hood. You will need to attach the hood sides together along the center seam. I chose to do a french seam so that there wouldn’t be a serged edge visible when the hood was down. Start with fabric WRONG sides together, sew, trim the seam. Then press it with fabric RIGHT sides together and sew again to encase the raw edge (There’s videos available out there if that’s not making sense…or feel free to ask me for help!). I topstitched that seam down as well, but purely optional. **You could also just do a fully lined hood or line the whole thing for extra coziness, no bands, and lots of warmth! Kelly over at onwednesdayswesew.com did exactly that.  Just double your pieces and use the bottom band to attach it all after you flip right sides out.

Next, I sewed the shoulder seams together for the bodice like the pattern has you do first, and pressed them towards the back.

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I then found the center of the back, matched it with the center seam of my hoodie, and pinned it around. I checked fit and thought the hoodie needed to have a little less….so this is the shape I ended up with.

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You could easily use the Henley or Slim Fit Raglan hood from Patterns for Pirates with the slight modification shown and it will get you to the same shape!

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I didn’t stretch the hood as I pinned, and also made sure that it came around in the front to stop in the same place on each side. Go ahead and sew the hoodie onto the bodice now.

(apparently I stopped documenting every step right here)

(I used a serger for construction, but you could also use a zigzag stitch on your sewing machine–this is my favorite setting for sewing stretchy knits on my sewing machine)

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Next, the band. I measured the length from one end of the bodice crossover, around the hood, to the other end. Mine for size purple was 66″…I multiplied that by .9 to calculate the band length. Usually for neckbands I use .8 or .85 depending on the stretch of the fabric, but I went with .9 because I wanted a looser more relaxed feel. Thankfully, I didn’t need to join two pieces together because my fabric was wide enough to get it out of one piece. If it wasn’t, I would have divided that measurement in half, added .25 for seam allowance, and serged two long pieces together.

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To attach the band, I found the center and pinned it to the center seam of the hood (if you have two pieces joined together, you’d want to match that seam here). I then continued to pin around the hood without stretching my band at all. When I got to the seam to the bodice, I pinned at each end, found the center, and pinned again so that it stretched through the bodice piece. Attach the band, nice and slowly. Lots of pins. Then, press the seam allowance in and away from the band. You can topstitch if you’d like, but I didn’t.

The rest, you sew up just like the pattern says. Attach sleeves, sew sides, hem or attach a bottom band. I went ahead and centered the seam of the bodice band on the back instead of the side since this Claire is most definitely not reversible….unless you’re into the hood over the face look. I remember someone did that on Project Runway once but I’m pretty sure he went home for it….

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Don’t forget to weave in those serger tails! I also shortened the sleeves on the pattern and added some armbands instead of a hem, too. Nice and cozy!! Much better pictures, and how it looks with the other pieces are to come.


Let me know if you try it out and ask if you have any questions!!

 

Back in Spring, Patterns for Pirates and Made for Mermaids announced a contest to sew a mini capsule using their patterns. I joined in because I love a challenge, and was intrigued by the capsule idea. I am currently sewing furiously for their fall contest so thought I’d go back and share the last one here.

So let’s back up….what’s a capsule? It’s a collection of basic pieces that are easily mixed and matched to create many looks with only a few pieces of clothing. It started as a minimalist movement really….and it would be amazing if that’s why I sew capsules….but if I’m being honest, I do it because I don’t want random pieces in my wardrobe that match nothing else. I am plagued by this problem because of sale shopping….I buy random things, don’t think about what I actually need in my closet, and then feel like I never have anything to wear. Then I started sewing for myself instead but the same thing happened….I tried a pattern using fabric I like…move on to the next….and then nothing really matches and I just have more clothes and still that dreaded nothing-to-wear feeling. By sewing a capsule, I’m forcing myself to think about what goes together and what I need to mix and match. It also streamlines shopping for shoes and accessories.

For my first capsule, I started with a print I liked (the floral for the dress) and chose coordinates from that. I then picked patterns best suited to each fabric and started sewing. All fabric was from my current stash (aside from one upcycled item) so no need to deal with shipping.

Sweet Tee (hack from a pinspiration) using double brushed poly, some striped knit from Hobby Lobby, and suede scrap, Timeless Tunic (upcycled from a dress I found at Lidl, with some modifications), Layer Me Up/Pirate Pencil Mash out of french terry, Layer Me Up Tee from So Sew English rayon spandex, Mama Isabel (hacked into a cardigan) out of Joanns French Terry, Mama Isabel Dress out of rayon spandex, Peg Legs, Peg Legs (both double brushed poly from LA Finch, and SOS Pants out of denim jegging from Hobby Lobby




I was pretty happy with how it all turned out, so I decided to make a capsule for Charlotte also. For hers, I chose a floral print once again and picked solids and a stripe to coordinate.


She ended up with a Sugar Pie Tee, Bonny Skirt, Infinity Scarf, Bonnie Leggings, Chloe Skirt, another Sugar Pie Tee, Isabel Dress, Bonnie Leggings, and a hoodie made from the Jolly Roger Raglan with add-on pack. She absolutely adores this capsule months later and loves how she can mix and match pieces and get dressed quickly…so much so that she bragged constantly to her brother about how easy it was to pick what to wear….and then I ended up making him a quick capsule also. Of course.

His was all tops because a) I didn’t have a boys pants pattern from either company and b) I chose all the tops based on a couple basic pairs of pants he has…namely some black joggers, jeans, khaki pants and mario joggers I made him previously. The idea was that he could mix these tops and hoodies with those and be all set.


He received a few Jolly Roger Raglans and Yo Ho Henleys…and I just did tons of variations for each to make them all unique. Plus, I threw in some Nintendo fabric to help him want to wear it all. He is still very much in love with each of his pieces too and that’s a HUGE win since he’s of the age and opinion that homemade is not cool.

There you have it….three mini capsules in 2 weeks. Thankfully M4M and P4P make some quick and easy patterns! I can’t wait to share the next capsule….only one this time though 😉

 

**this post contains affiliate links to help fund future pattern and fabric purchases but all opinions are my own!

Summer in Ireland is FULL of festivals everywhere, and one of the largest in Galway is the Galway Races. It is a week solid of horse races with lots and lots of high fashion and hats. What better way to immerse ourselves than do some ridiculous family outfits?

Doug convinced me to sew up formal wear for this. He is one of my biggest sewing supporters as he doesn’t bat an eye over fabric I buy and willingly purchases machines I beg for, so I couldn’t let him down. He decided I needed to sew up a few suits however. Now, to someone who doesn’t sew it does not seem like such a monumental task. But sewing up a men’s suit?!? Uh, no. Not in my skill set. He kept begging however, and purchased all I needed (from Minerva Crafts, thanks to their cheap Ireland shipping) so I took it on. And by took it on, I mean I sewed up EVERYTHING ELSE first because I was terrified of sewing menswear.

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First up was the littlest guy’s suit. I thought it would be a nice introduction into how a jacket is constructed, and if I messed up beyond repair it was only a 3t amount of fabric and not a huge loss. I went with Burda 9443. When I started sewing, I used lots of paper patterns (I didn’t know PDF ones existed yet) so wasn’t too intimidated by it, but it has been so long since I’ve used one! It was a challenge, but I made it through. His suit came complete with welt pockets on the front, full lining, and welt and slant pockets on pants along with a fully functional fly. I was pretty amazed I completed it. I went with a straight 3t for the whole thing despite his measurements being ALL OVER the place on the chart (9-12m for most, 4t for belly, 2t for height…) I decided trying to figure out how to grade that many sizes on something with such complicated instructions was too hard. Fit was great though, aside from sleeves a bit long. Pants were long too but I just hemmed them up.

Next up was the oldest, since I used the same pattern for him. I whipped up the second pair of pants like a pro. I do wish I sized up on the vest, but it works. Pants fit him so well without any adjustments so I was very pleasantly surprised. He is super skinny and RTW clothes tend to be too wide and short on him…so if you have a kid with a similar build, this is a great formal wear pattern to have.

With some of the tough sews out of the way, I concentrated on Little Miss C’s look. She wanted a maxi dress, and she absolutely loves the Annie dress from Violette Field Threads, so I combined it with the Emmaline dress to do a tiered skirt. I used some of the cotton linen fabric along with some satin ribbon for the braided straps, and the paisley is a voile. Simple and straightforward to make because I’ve made her countless dresses before. Since I knew she was going to be cold in a strappy dress out of lightweight fabric, I whipped up a Seville Cardigan from New Horizons Designs to go over it. The fabric is a scuba knit and did not have good stretch for the bands, so I just hemmed the curved edges on the coverstitch.

For myself, I wanted to do an off-shoulder dress with  a flounce so immediately thought of the Mama Cassie from Made for Mermaids, with the flounce hack from the blog. I was going to mash with the Pirate Pencil from Patterns for Pirates but decided to go with something a little less fitted (reason why to come) and instead mashed it with Sew Straight and Gather Uptown Downtown dress (I didn’t want a seam at the waist). I also used the pockets from the UT/DT because when you’re making your own dress, it NEEDS pockets. Fabric is scuba (same as Char’s cardi). I just wish I had done something to weigh down the skirt somehow so that it would have been more practical for West Ireland winds!

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Last, and I mean very last….like I waited until the week of the races to start….was the suit for Doug. I chose Vogue 8890 and started on the pants first, thinking they would be similar enough to boy’s pants that I could handle them. I had to grade between sizes to accommodate his measurements but after 2 days, I made it through and he had nicely fitting, functional pants. So.many.pattern.pieces. I then tried to convince him that pants and a button down would be great, and maybe I’d even make him a tie….but no dice. He insisted I take on the coat. So another 2 days later, I did it. I made a men’s suit coat. That fit. I still cannot believe it.  I did do some small modifications (I didn’t have hair canvas laying around since I’m not a tailor, so used interfacing….and left out pockets in the interest of time)….but it fit. And no one would think it’s homemade from first glance. He absolutely loves it, too….so I think I’m on the hook to make him more clothes in the future.

I had to modify some storebought hats with scrap fabric and paint to coordinate (well, Doug did the painting for me), and added some coordinating ribbon to Char’s fascinator to jazz it up….but then we were off to enjoy the races! Kids had a blast picking horses to win, and taking in the excitement of being there. We had some pretty amazing weather considering it has been pretty rainy here lately (and chilly for Floridians….around 18 degrees Celsius). I even picked the winner for the last race so we ended on a good note!

In the process of making all these outfits happen, we ended up making a little something else too…..and the reason I went with a less fitted dress. Baby #4 is due to arrive in early 2018!

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**This post contains affiliate links to help fund further fabric and pattern purchases

I was recently chosen as a Brand Ambassador for Rebecca Page patterns and it’s kind of a dream job. I get to sew up lots of patterns from a designer I love before they are released?!? Yeah. I know. I’m cool.

Anyway, my first sew was the Riviera Ruffle. It comes in adult, kid, and doll size…so I went with kid because I had this awesome Michael Miller medallion fabric that is so bright and cheery….and when you live someplace where skies are pretty gray a lot, bright and cheery is nice 😂

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The pattern has options to have contrast side panels, ruffle or not, and flutter sleeves or not. In order to convince little Miss Char to wear it, I let her choose every option herself. So she picked all of them. At least she has strong faith in my sewing skills?

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Her measurements put her in a 3/4 for width so I cut a 5/6 length and graded in the sides for a slimmer fit. Not much growing room but fits like a glove.

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I especially love that the sleeves and ruffle do not require gathering. Just magical sorcery to look so fluffy (or math. Whatever).
Plus, all seams on inside are French seams. So pretty and neat, no serger needed. Love it.


When I make another, I’d maybe serge the side ones instead of French seams there. I had a hard time getting those to look how I wanted. Or maybe I’d leave off the contrast…though it seems like it looks slimming for adult sizes to have them….tough call.

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I can’t wait to make some more awesome Rebecca Page creations!!
**this post contains affiliate links that help fund my fabric obsession.

First step to keeping my life organized is planning out my meals, so here’s the menu for the week! We are currently cleaning out the freezer to sell it before the big move, so as much as we can cook from there the better (Remember, we buy meat from local farms in bulk, by the animal, so there’s some cuts left in there to use up!)

Monday: Chicken fried cube steaks with roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes

Tuesday: Salmon with swiss chard and walnut pesto over barley

Wednesday: Grilled chicken breasts with leek and bacon risotto

Thursday: Smoker day! We will smoke all the hams and beef roasts in the freezer to have smoked meat on hand in the small freezer, and sell off the smoker. Served with whatever veg is in the fridge.

Friday: Grilled cheese bar with tomato soup (I’ll bake up some homemade bread earlier in the week)

Saturday: Raid the fridge for leftovers!

Sunday: Trunk or Treat at church so I’ll leave this open 😉

What are you having this week?? Any tips to clean out all the food in the house before a big move without starving in the meantime??

So it’s been a few years since I have written on the blog (or accessed the dashboard to do so….holy moly it looks intimidating) but it’s time for my triumphant return. First, let’s take a look back on some things that have happened since my disappearance, shall we?

  1. A huge reason why I stepped away in the first place was a little guy I was growing. Remember that birthday party I didn’t have the heart to do much for? It was because I was so.sick all the time. Funny how I went as a house for Halloween that year…I was perhaps hiding a bit of a bump behind it all 😉  After the first few weeks of the pregnancy, things did improve dramatically. Baby Heath arrived in June 2014. He’s a little firecracker now of course.img_1698
  2. While pregnant with Heath, we of course took on the kitchen renovation. And by pregnant, I mean 9 months along. I had called and asked for some shelving to organize the kitchen a little in a nesting rage…and that night the husband starting knocking out  walls. Anyway, it turned out gorgeous.
  3. We’ve done plenty of other house projects too, including both kids rooms, front door, and backyard. Maybe I’ll write about them one day. Probably not.

    4. I’ve still been cooking and sewing and schooling nonstop throughout it all.

    5. And we have done a few ridiculous birthday parties…12238248_10107734921237651_4402035916461737501_o6. As well as epic Halloween costumes…

    The biggest news of all though is what is yet to come, and the reason for my return to the blogisphere. We are embarking on the next huge chapter of our lives–a move to IRELAND! What?!? So in an effort to document that journey, I am back!

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I’ve made quite a few ring slings. It has become my go-to baby shower present, mostly because it has been the most useful baby item for me personally. Since I’ve made so many, I’ve learned what I like when wearing one and have developed a different way to sew it up, but I was originally inspired by Sleeping Baby Productions and Jan Andrea’s awesome tutorial for a pleated shoulder ring sling.

Let’s get started! This tutorial will make a one size ring sling with two pockets.

You will need:

2 1/4 yards of solid fabric (I suggest Kona cotton)

2 1/4 yards of print fabric (quilting cotton)

A pair of rings (I prefer large aluminum rings from slingrings.com)

fusible lightweight interfacing

Thread

**Sew and use at your own risk!! Read this. There are also directions on how to properly wear a ring sling on her site. Safety first!!

First, pre-wash your fabric. I just do express wash on my machine with a little vinegar in it, dry on medium in the dryer. Next, you will cut the extra width of your fabric. Your fabric will be 44/45″ wide when you purchase it, but I find that around 30″ wide is comfortable for a ring sling. So to make this step easier, I fold the fabric in half and then in half again so that the selvages (the factory edge of the fabric, not the edge that they cut in the store) are lined up.

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Then I measure and mark 12″ from one selvage and cut through all the layers at once.

Fold up your solid fabric the same way, lay your print on top and cut it to match and you should have two pieces that are 2 1/4 yard x 32″ and two pieces that are 2 1/4 yd by 12″.IMG_0054

Put the larger pieces of fabric aside–they will become the body of your sling. Next we will cut the pockets from the 12″ wide pieces. I firmly believe that every ring sling should have at least one pocket, but prefer they have two (when wearing a ring sling, I rarely bother with a diaper bag or purse. My wallet, phone, and keys fit nicely in one pocket, the other pocket can usually fit a diaper if necessary, or burp rag, or snack, or whatever you feel you must carry around. I like two pockets so that if I have a dirty diaper it doesn’t have to hang out with my cell phone!)

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Cut two pieces of fabric that are roughly 9″x6″ and two pieces that are 8″ x 18″. Really whatever size you want though. The larger pieces will be folded in half to form the pocket, the smaller ones will be folded in half to form the envelope style top to the pocket to prevent things from falling out. Yes, you can do zippered pockets or some other style that close in some way, but this is the absolute easiest way to get a pocket that things won’t fall out of.

Let’s start with the smaller pieces. Fold each individual piece right sides together along the short side so that the long edges line up. Sew starting from one short side, pivot at the corner with needle down, and sew halfway along the long side. Stop, leave a space for turning, then sew the rest of the long side and the other short side. I used 1/2″ seam allowance for everything, by the way.

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Clip at the corners as shown, then turn right side out and press.

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Top stitch along the side with the opening to close the opening.

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Repeat with other small piece, and do the same thing for both of the larger pieces as well (you’ll be folding them in half to make rectangles that are roughly 9″x8″).

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Now we will add some interfacing to the sling pieces where the pocket will attach so that it won’t rip over time from the abuse that pockets tend to get. On the WRONG side of each of your 2 1/4 yd x 32″ pieces, iron a piece of lightweight fusible interfacing startingabout 10″ from the short side and centered. It should be bigger than the pocket pieces you created, so I used a piece about 10″ square (lay your pocket pieces out to be sure you have enough). Do this to your solid piece as well.

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Now flip it over so right sides are showing and pin the larger pocket piece where the interfacing is. The stitched side should be on top (the ‘top’ being the side where more fabric is)

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Flip it over and make sure you are going to sew it so that it’s on the interfacing!

Stitch around the three sides (left, top, and right in the above picture).

Make sure to back-stitch really well at the corners!

Next, overlap one of the smaller pieces over the open edge of the pocket. I went with a solid pocket and print pocket top for this one, but it’s totally up to you. It should overlap just about 1/4″-1/2″ Stitch that down along the three sides (not the pocket side….you don’t want to close up the opening, of course).

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Now you should have a pocket!

Repeat for the solid piece to add another pocket if you’d like.

Now that the pockets are on, it’s time to sew up the body of the ring sling! Place both of the large pieces, right sides together (making sure both of your pockets are on top of each other and not on opposite ends). Sew starting from a long side AWAY from the pocket, then down along the bottom short end (where the pocket is) and up the other side, leaving the last short side open. I used 1/4″ seam allowance, but use whatever you prefer.

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Clip the corners at the bottom, and turn the whole tube of fabric right sides out.

Get your iron hot and ready! It’s time to press this whole beast.

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Make sure that as you press, the seam is pulled all the way out and you aren’t leaving fabric folded in.

After it’s all pressed, you can top-stitch all the way around for a more finished look.

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Now let’s deal with that raw edge. We are going to sew the rings in. Place it print side up on your work table and measure how far across it is. It should be around 31″ roughly, depending on the seam allowance you used.

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Mark the center.

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Fold the sides in toward that center mark.

 

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Measure and mark every inch on the folded pieces.

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Starting on the outside, fold into the first mark.

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Then fold from the outside in one more time to the second mark.

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Make sure that your pleats don’t overlap on top of each other. You don’t want to have more than 6 layers of fabric in any one spot.

Press well with the iron to help hold your pleats, then use a basting stitch (longest stitch length you have) to baste about 1″ from the raw edge and again about 6″ from the raw edge. you want the pleats to be slightly wider at 6″ down so it’s okay if they spread a little as you go.

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(Oh, I serged my raw edge too. You can use an overlock or zigzag stitch on your machine to finish that raw edge if you don’t have a serger. It won’t be visible but you don’t want it to unravel)

If you haven’t already, now is the time to switch to a heavy duty needle. You will be demanding a lot from your machine here getting through all these layers!! IMG_0110

Put the rings in, and fold over (the solid fabric will be on the outside and print on the inside). Pin in place. It’s a good idea to draw a nice straight line to follow for this part (I followed my basting stitch), but you will start by just sewing with a straight stitch close to the rings….use the longest stitch length you have here. We are just basting and making sure it is all looking good.

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Make sure everything looks good at this point…that you caught all layers as you went.

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Next, use a strong stitch and go over the last line you made (or directly next to it if you want to stitch rip your first line out). One of your decorative stitches is fun to do here. It might be easiest to leave long ends and tie the ends of by hand instead of backstitching since your machine will already hate you enough for having to go through all of that fabric.

And that’s it!! Go back to that link on the top for how to thread and wear your ring sling if you aren’t familiar with them. It will be a little stiff, but after you wash and dry it a few times it will be super soft!

 

 

I was on a cruise ship all last week so now it’s time to get back to reality!!

Here’s our plan for the week:

Monday: Beef Bolognese with Linguine (I’ll freeze leftover sauce to make a quick future meal)

Tuesday:  Charlotte’s new ballet class is now in the evening, and this week is also T-Ball registration after ballet…ugh, busy night.  Back to the crock pot for help.  Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs (as suggested by a friend)  with homemade ranch seasoning mix.  I’ll serve with steamed broccoli and golden skillet potatoes, all prepped in advance, of course.

Wednesday:  Mongolian Beef with Bok Choy, originally inspired by this but with tons of substitutions.  I should write a new version perhaps.  Served over brown rice.

Thursday:  Doug informed me that his work is having him go deep sea fishing and out to dinner.  Seems a bit suspicious, but elaborate enough that I’ll just go with it.  The kiddos and I will have Cheese Ravioli with Mushrooms and Spinach.

Friday:  Date night!

Saturday:  Lamb Meatballs with Toasted Orzo (and a vegetable to be determined by whatever farmers market I scout in the morning).  Side note, this is the only meal this week involving the oven on purpose since mine caught fire.  We are taking our time to replace it apparently…anyway, hopefully I can adapt to stovetop.

What are you having this week?

Last minute as always, family pajamas are complete.  Charlotte gets a twirly nightgown, Dexter has some cozy pants (he already has a long sleeve red shirt to complete the look), Daddy got some basic pants, and Mommy got some pants with a yoga waist.  All ready for tonight!

 

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And a look through the years….

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Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!