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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Free Spirit Fringed Maxi

Welcome to my 30 Days of Sundresses post! I was so honoured to be invited to be a part of this fantastic lineup. And then for a while I was a bit paralyzed with fear, because hello, have you seen the participants? Many of these women I would consider my friends but I also consider them to be on a whole 'nother level.
Then life got insanely busy and one day I needed to just spit out something fast and fun for a little creative release, and I took pictures along the way just in case and here we are! The Free Spirit maxi was inspired by my daughter Olivia. It's purple - apologies to, well, you know who you are, twitching away - which she loves, and it's also comfy and sassy and fun and free. And just a bit wild... which could be describing my wee girl, if I was puttings things mildly.
Free Spirit fringed maxi
The Free Spirit whips up in an hour - really, this blog post will be way more time consuming than the dress - and the fringe is on-trend and super easy. For this size 5 I used 2 yards of knit from Girl Charlee. Anything bigger than a 5/6 and you may need to double the yardage of whatever dress length you are creating, to cut a wide enough dress. You want something medium weight to medium-light. If this is your first time using knits, stick to medium. If you're a little more masochistic comfortable with knits, this is really fun in something a bit lighter.

You're also going to want a tank top that fits the wearer well, not too snug but not oversized, either. You'll use this tank to draft/freehand the dress. Ready to take a walk on the wild side with me? Let's go.
There are two ways to do this, super quick and easy and a little more properly but not too properly so we don't lose our bad-boy reputation. The easy way would be to layer your front and back pieces and cut both identically on the fold, using the front neckline of your tank as a guide. Feel free to do that, following these directions otherwise. The biggest difference will be a lower neckline in back and your shoulder seam may fall a bit differently. If this is a child's dress (oh yes, my friend, theoretically you could do this adult sized) this will not have a huge impact on fit. Otherwise, I would like you to lie your fabric folding the selvedges on each side into the centre to create two folded ends, then carefully fold your tank to trace and cut around the neck and arms - leave a seam allowance - then flare out to create the widest dress possible. You can see here my shape is awful - you want a straight line, and I do fix that later. Bear with me, I was winging this. Do this for both the front and back to create your dress pieces.
After you've got front and back pieces, lie them on ttop of each other with the seams lined up at the underarms.
Now you can go back and neatly ensure your side seams are in a nice straight line.
While you're at it, measure and check the length of your dress. Use fabric scraps to cut strips of fabric about 1" wide and as long as your fabric allows to make facing strips. Sew or serge your shoulder seams together, right sides facing.
Take one of your strips and cut about 1" less than would go around your neckline.
Sew your strip into a circle, right sides facing, then sew the facing to your neckline right sides facing. Use a stretch stitch or a long zigzag.
Then fold and pin the strip to the inside of the neckline and sew it with a stretch stitch.
Trim down the excess.
You've neatly and easily finished the neckline! Sew or serge the sides of the dress and then use this technique to finish the armholes. Or if you prefer, finish the armholes and then sew the side seams, if you're more comfortable with that method. You can see below that my bobbin threads are white and my needle thread is black. This is almost probably for demonstration purposes and not because I'm a lazy bobbin changer.
At this point you'll be done sewing your dress! Wait, what? I'm serious! Finishing the hem is all about the scissors, baby. Check the fit of your dress, the length shouldn't be any longer than grazing the feet of the wearer. Then lay your dress flat on a table and brandish your scissors menacingly.
Find the centre of your dress and start there, cutting strips 1/2" wide. I cut about 6" up through both layers. I'm going to ruin some blog magic and confess I cut 1" wide strips, finished all the steps, then went back and cut each strip in half because it wasn't enough. Trial and error - you get to skip that.
After cutting your strips, give them a good tug to get them to curl. When you've done that, your dress will be ready for anything!
Way to go!
Now take a break, you've earned it, and be sure to enter the 30 Days of Sundresses giveaway-o-the-week here for your chance to win $24 worth of Blank Slate patterns!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

10 Things Every Child Needs to Hear

It's the hip hop happenin' thing, so I figured I would throw my hat into the ring with my own list of 10 things every child (in my house) needs to hear (CONSTANTLY.) If you're looking for a deep and meaningful list, there are plenty out there and I don't really want to beat a dead horse. However, if you'd like to grab a cup of coffee and some head-shaking empathy, I'm here for you.

above photo is by Melanie Reimer

  1. GET OFF YOUR BROTHER. This applies to both the two year old, who, granted, probably took one of your things and ran off with it so I can see where you're coming from, and also to the baby, who appreciates your affection but also oxygen.
  2. GET OFF YOUR SISTER. I do realize that both the four year old and the seven year old often have it coming, or were having fun with this about half a second ago; but ear-splitting screaming is a solid 'no, I am not enjoying this game' so move along.
  3. BATHROOM TALK IN THE BATHROOM. As fascinating as your private parts are, and as hilarious as the noises they can make can be, we don't discuss face-farting at the table. I'm looking at you, girls.
  4. PUT YOUR PANTS ON. Okay, the baby is exempt, because that's probably my bad. But the rest of you, pants, skirt, leggings, whatever; you're making the pizza guy uncomfortable.
  5. YOU'RE NOT BLEEDING. This is a critical bit of assurance, often followed by denial of a bandaid. Bandaids don't grow on trees, and we both know that you intend to rip it off the second you leave my line of sight, then somehow sneak back and place it on the bottom of my sock.
  6. WOULD IT BE FUNNY IF I KICKED YOU? No, it really wouldn't be, it would hurt and it wouldn't be nice and nobody would be laughing. The police would probably get involved, even. So why do you think it's funny that you've kicked your brother?
  7. NO STANDING IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW NAKED. We live right on the 't' of a 3-way road so at night, with curtains open and the light on, your butt can be seen from a solid block away. I don't care if your dad just pulled up, he doesn't want you standing in front of the window naked, either.
  8. SIT WITH YOUR BUM ON THE SEAT. Perhaps I seem like a cruel and relentless dictator of a mother, but we started getting really strict on this rule after a fall from a chair, fork in hand, ended with a flesh wound. This was naturally the same child that has been the star of every near-death experience that our family has encountered so far and is solely responsible for taking several years off of my life, at least double the four short years she has been around.
  9. BRUSH YOUR HAIR OR I'LL CUT IT SHORT. What, is this not the motto of every family? It's not an idle threat, either, just ask Nicole. Short hair is not doom and gloom, I think a well-done short do is quite cute, but if it's not your cup of tea you're going to need to get up close and personal with a hairbrush once in a while. Do as I say, not as I do. I have more hats than you do.
  10. OFF. Off your uncle, off your dad, off any poor bystander who looks strong enough to withstand you taking a running leap at them. It is not considered socially acceptable to literally jump on people without at least clearing it with them first.

(I'm assuming it's clear here that I'm being tongue in cheek, but just in case this disclaimer is necessary, I love my children to bits and I am eternally optimistic that they will someday grow up to be kind, thoughtful, witty, and productive members of society. Hopefully all of those in one, but I'll settle for one of each too, as long as the productive one can afford to pay someone nice to change my diapers some day. Y'all owe me, I've seen some things.)





Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Quick and Tasty Banana Protein Pancakes

Are you looking for a quick and tasty kid-friendly breakfast that not only makes your tastebuds dance, but is also actually pretty good for you? Then welcome to the world of protein pancakes, my clever friend. Don't be turned off by the name, these babies - made with cottage cheese, not a protein powder - are succulent little mouth morsels, and the hint of banana really takes it to a magical place. You can top it with fruit and a little whipped cream (or go with a coconut whip, Pinterest has your back) or drizzle it with some maple syrup. This recipe makes enough for a small herd of children, or enough to freeze for another day for an adult.


My kids absolutely gobble these down, and they're a quick enough make that they're in my school day breakfast rotation. (Just not necessarily during this first week back at school, ha.) If there's leftovers, they can be stored in fridge or freezer.


And a note for my gluten-free friends - sub out the flour for oat flour, which you can make by first putting oatmeal in your blender and dumping that in a measuring cup before going ahead with the rest of the recipe.



Quick and Tasty Banana Protein Pancakes

  • 1 large banana (the browner the sweeter)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour (or oat flour for GF)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

First, preheat your skillet. Then put your wet ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth. Add your dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of your blender if needed. Once your skillet is ready to go, pour directly from blender to make small or regular sized pancakes. If your mixture seems a little thick, feel free to thin it out a bit with some water, a little at a time. Cook to light brown on both sides; because of the cheese, your pancakes will look a little shiny on the edges. They should have a nice moist cakey texture.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Testing and Holiday Greetings


Hey baby, we're coming to you from an iPad today via Blogsy app! I've finally made a decision regarding replacing my burnt-toast laptop and this app was a big factor in that so I'm really hoping it lives up to my expectations! Baby Dash is 4 months old now and I'm hoping to get back on the blogging miniature pony. Not quite ready for the whole horse yet but I can probably handle a tiny and adorable version thereof.

And since it is New Years Eve I will wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from my family to yours!!



Friday, December 5, 2014

Soother Leash Hack

Here I am out of the blue with possibly the lamest post in the history of ever, but someone commented the other day on my quick fix for Dash's soother. I had purchased a few styles of soothers to figure out what he preferred, and I had also picked up some soother leashes that were supposed to be universal. Unfortunately when he settled on his favs and I went to attach them to the universal soother leash, the attached plastic bit didn't fit onto the soother! I was on the run out the door and didn't have time for shenanigans, and so I just took the hairband off my wrist and used that. It worked great - especially with the thicker elastic, it fits snugly and has never given me any problems. I know this is totally not some dramatic problem, mothers all over the continent rolling about in anguish because the soother leash they bought didn't work out, but hey. I figure if it saves another person or two from tossing some cute soother leashes in the back of the drawer to (never) return or loosing precious soothers (WHERE ARE THEY?! WHERE DID THEY ALL GO? BABIES ARE NOT EXACTLY WALKING OFF AND SHOVING THEM DOWN REGISTER VENTS!) then yay.


And for the record, my laptop has been busted for ages, and not even taping it is helping, and my software is not on my hubby's computer. Since I was busy with a new baby, I wasn't in too much of a hurry to get a new computer and go through the long and dramatic getting-to-know-you phase that entails. But soon, my loves, soon! Meanwhile you can get lots of doses of my delicious fatty fat baby and my exciting (that's a nice word for WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE) older children on Instagram!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beyond Naps : How do you sew with kids around?


I, like many others, got into sewing as a hobby when my first daughter was a baby. She was one of those majestical creatures who napped daily well into her threes. However, the days of pure unadulterated nap time are far behind me now, and it’s rare to have time during the day when everyone is sleeping.

DSC05080 (1)

my now nearly 7 year old in the first thing I ever sewed her during naps

If you’re just entering this phase in life, or if your kids are home from school for the summer, you might be wondering how on earth to get any sewing done while maintaining some semblance of control. I’m not going to pretend that my house is always pristine with a 5-star dinner in the oven on really productive sewing days. If you aren’t already aware, I’m in the final month or so of pregnancy with three kids at home – on unproductive sewing days it’s rare (like how unicorns are rare) for my house to be pristine with a 5-star dinner in the oven at the moment. However, I can share with you a couple of tips on how to sneak in some sewing.

1) Food Prep

Wait, don’t leave! I love you! I promise I’m not hijacking you! I’m dead serious here. If you follow me on instagram you already know I’m a big fan of this. Whether it’s meals or snacks, I like food prep. Well, I like the results of food prep. Whether you go full on freezer meal mania like I tend to, dump some stuff in the slow cooker, or simply slice apples or pop some popcorn before getting to business, having some sort of a plan as to what to feed the munchkins can do wonders.

2) Simple Activities

You can search Pinterest for ideas, but some of the best ones are the classic things your kids already gravitate towards. Playdough, colouring books (yes, enjoy my Canadian spelling), sorting buttons, putting stickers on paper. Choose things that your kids will do for longer than it takes you to set up and clean up, this is always a stipulation for me on the ‘worth it’ scale. Upon occasion I’ll do something that takes me an hour to their 15 minutes of fun but only if it makes them think I fart glitter and burp rainbows, and I get to watch them enjoy it. For sewing time, stick to what you know your kids love so you can know in advance how long you’ve likely bought yourself.

3) Take it Outside

This is one I haven’t done myself this year, but if you’re blessed with a backyard and have a table available, consider parking it outside. You can do your cutting/prep, your hand stitching, or even haul out an extension cord and your sewing machine.

4) Do What You Can, When You Can

I have a child that I love and adore with all my heart, and I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her. She has on and off days (today she got into nail polish and motor oil both by 9am, and once stuffed our Jack Russell Terrier into the front loading washer and tried to turn it on.) and while she’s getting old enough now that I can upon occasion take my eyes off her, I’ve spent a lot of the last 3.5 years trying to maintain eye contact. So, sometimes I pull my sewing machine to the kitchen table to sew, but I’m not hauling up that and my serger and all my other tools too, so often I just do all my prep work. In fact, my giant cutting mat is stored behind our living room couch, not in my craftroom, and my good rotary cutter is kept in a special little high-up cupboard in the kitchen. I work with pdf patterns a lot, and as many of you know sometimes only 20% of the project is actually done at the sewing machine. I’ll get my pattern pieces together and cut my fabric and have everything ready to go when bedtime rolls around.


In case you thought I was kidding about the motor oil

5) Give Up

What?! Yes. Sometimes. Sometimes, especially during summer holidays, the best thing you can do is give up and go to the park, the splash pad, the beach, or grandma’s house. If it’s just not happening, you’re getting frustrated and the kids are getting into trouble, go have fun with them instead. Wear them right out and come back the next day and your kids might just be in a quieter mood. They’re only going to be little for so long, and if the project is important and has a deadline then you may just have to either hire a sitter or burn the midnight oil, because you committed to them long before you likely committed to that project, and I’m willing to bet they give better hugs.

I would love to hear your tips and tricks for sewing (or getting things done period) with kids around! Please share in the comments below, and if I get enough I’ll do a follow-up post with your tricks. Also please share if you have any tips for removing nail polish or motor oil from clothing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nicole’s Bohemian Babydoll Top

I had the pleasure of pattern testing the Bohemian Babydoll Top (6m-9yr) for Elegance and Elephants a few weeks ago, and wound up making a top for Nicole. It wound up being part 2 of a coordinated set of pretty tops for my girls that they wore on Easter.


Nicole thinks its a very pretty top. She does ‘feel naked’ in it, which makes me laugh, because lately it seems if it’s not a jersey knit tshirt, she “feels naked.” So she wears a tank top under it so she feels covered – this one she feels naked with because it’s loose and flowy and after a long cold winter of tshirts and sweaters that feels strange to her.


As you can see here, the armscythe was a bit generous in this version but it has been modified since then. As to a general quick review of this pattern, here goes:

I found it a relatively quick sew for the most part. It is a loose fitting top with a lined bodice and no buttons or anything, it just slips over the head. I found attaching the little sleeve ruffle fairly easy, although I did find sewing together the lining and bodice at the armholes a bit finicky and time consuming compared to the rest of the pattern. I wouldn’t say it was hard, I would still rate this as an easy pattern. Just that one bit was a little fussy to press and sew, but not challenging to understand. I want to try this method by Colette Patterns blog for a clean finished lined armhole next time I do it. It’s a similar principle done differently. Everything else is pretty much long easy lines and smooth sailing. I like that the pattern is faced instead of hemmed; it’s the second top/dress pattern with a facing instead of a hem that I’ve tested recently and I love the clean and fast finish that facing provides. It also means you can eke just that much more out of a precious fabric.


Much like the name suggests, this top is fun and fancy-free. I can definitely see myself sewing more of this top in the future for my girls, I’m sure once it hits 30 degrees Celsius my darling daughter will find a sudden appreciation for clothes that make her feel naked, ha. As an added bonus, these cute little ruffle sleeves make this top fall under Approved Dress Code for her school, without being stifling. I think it would be fun to do the sleeve ruffle in a lace or sheer as well, perhaps a lace sleeve with a bit of lace on the bodice seam? Or with pompoms in between the facing and main fabric at the hem? There are plenty of playful summery possibilities here. I bet it would pair beautifully with another favourite E&E pattern, the Bubble Pocket Shorts which I sewed up last year for Olivia and blogged here. It is high up on my summer sewing to-do list to make some more of those!

Monday, February 17, 2014

$5 Off Sewing Patterns

Hey guys! Things have been a bit hectic around here since my hubby broke his finger, and I haven’t found any sewing time, but I’ve been living vicariously through others and planning my next projects. I was just browing over at Go To Patterns (affiliate link) and saw that for the month of February, you can get $5 off of a $40+ purchase by using the code FEBRUARY5 at checkout. If you use bundles especially you can get a really good haul that way! If you’re curious what exactly I was looking at, it was the new patterns, especially the purses. I’ve been considering giving that a go. If you do purse/bag sewing, let me know your recommendations for an intermediate sewist who is a bag beginner!

If you’re interested in becoming an affiliate for Go-To Patterns & Co yourself, click here.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pinky Swear

It’s been a weird week. On Monday, my husband slipped and fell while working on his crane truck, and while falling is never a good time, he unfortunately wound up having his pinkie catch somehow as he fell and basically just destroyed it. He was fortunate enough that he didn’t actually lose it – a moment while we all feel queasy – but he ripped it open, chipping one bone badly and just shattering the tip, losing a hunk of skin and muscle in the process.


Obviously he went straight to the ER. At the moment he has stitches and is on antibiotics, but next week he’ll be going in for surgery so they can see what they can do with it. Finger breaks are always tricky, since they’re such small bones and pretty impossible to cast. We’ve been keeping an eye on it and worrying a bit, changing dressings and all that, and our schedules have been really weird. The whole thing is a bit surreal and out of nowhere.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bond, Jackson Bond


I’m always excited when I get invited to play with a new pattern, whether it’s testing or pattern tours or just trying it out. And I adore Stacey for her dry humour and luscious eyebrows, and her boy-centric sewing always inspires. But for some reason I hesitated a moment – just a brief moment – when she invited me to the Bond pattern tour. The Bond really struck me as a reflection of Stacey’s fresh, modern style, and I wasn’t sure I was could do it justice. I mean we all know I am hip with the times, lol to my homies and all that, but I wasn’t sure if I could keep up to the pack. But I decided to go for it anyways, and try make it Jackson-flavoured, and man in the end it was more Jackson-y than I could have imagined.

Bond. Jackson Bond.

I was very excited to sew my first garment for Jackson since the wee shorts I made when he was too small to fit in most store-bought clothes. I decided to go with a warm brownish-grey Riley Blake diagonal plaid pirate themed fabric paired with a dark brown tissue knit. I wouldn’t really recommend tissue knit if you’re not super comfortable with knits, I am and I still cringe a bit because if you mess up or the sewing machine starts to gobble it up, kiss that ish goodbye and start over. After I was finished I found an almost identical thicker brown knit on my desk and had words with myself about cleaning my craft room.

Beatnik Kids sewing pattern Bond Top sewn by www.onthelaundryline.com

So at the beginning of January I had my fabrics picked out, I printed out my pattern, taped it, cut it. Then the closer and closer I got to the placket, the more freaked out I became. You see, when I was a newbie sewest sewer when I was a sewing baby, I did not know what was supposed to be scary. I’ve used knits from day one because I didn’t find out they were hard until after I’d already been using them for ages. I’d added a collar onto a shirt that was absolutely terrible but the collar turned out just fine, no problemo. I always assumed it wasn’t them, it was me, when I had difficulties, so I just kept trying. But I never got a chance to try a placket before I got wise enough to taste fear. And taste it I did. I sampled and nibbled and procrastinated actually sewing this top until two days before the blog post was due. Thus effectively not giving myself very much time to start over if I did mess up. Clever.

 Beatnik Kids sewing pattern Bond Top sewn by www.onthelaundryline.com

Early this week I read and re-read the instructions for the placket, then went and read a few other placket tutorials I dug up on the internet. When I had read enough of them that they started to make sense and I could see the steps coming together and a bit of the what and why, I was ready to try. Later. So on Tuesday, I went to my sewing machine and iron, put on some Katy Perry, and Roared.

Beatnik Kids sewing pattern Bond Top sewn by www.onthelaundryline.com

And here’s a secret. It wasn’t so bad. I’m a huge baby. And I wish I’d tried one before. I feel like trying this pattern will open a whole new world of placket-y goodness for me, which is totally awesome, because I absolutely adore a good placket. I instantly instagrammed my placket, and my IG sewing friends rejoiced with me. Then I went and showed my husband my placket, and he glanced at it for half a second and grunted acknowledgement. I was taken aback.

“No, dear, it’s a placket,” I gently explained. “It’s awesome. I did an awesome thing. Look at my placket.” He did not look at my placket, involved as he was watching a Disney Princess movie with our girls. I decided to forgive him and maybe eat crackers on his side of the bed.

In his favour, he did admire the finished shirt, even if he thought it was for Olivia. In his defense, though, she did declare it hers the next morning, and then insist that I immediately make her an identical one when I put it on her brother anyways and pointed out the sizing.

Beatnik Kids sewing pattern Bond Top sewn by www.onthelaundryline.com

In the end, I am so so glad I said yes to the dress. I mean, to the pattern. It is so completely perfect for Jackson. This shirt, like Jackson, looks Serious Stuff but is in reality playful and fun. He took a hissy fit when I shoved it on and buttoned it up, then stared solemnly at me for a moment after he was fully dressed. After deciding I wasn’t going to change my mind and let him be naked and free, he jumped onto the bed to roll and tumble and play with his dad in his new cute but very tumble-friendly shirt.

Beatnik Kids sewing pattern Bond Top sewn by www.onthelaundryline.com

I do have to hem it yet – I put it on him to check and wasn’t able to take it off. I also made a few tiny mistakes, including topstitching the collar upside-down, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t had white bobbin thread. D’oh. And initially I put the placket in facing the GIRL way, and almost left it, but it was a super duper simple fix and considering how particular I had been thus far, really worth fixing. (And then the white topstitching on just the collar. Again, d’oh! I will probably pick that out and redo when I manage to pry the shirt off of him.) But I’m even happy with it as it is, and keep swooning over it and its perfect match to my playful sweetheart with the serious packaging.

Beatnik Kids sewing pattern Bond Top sewn by www.onthelaundryline.com

Be sure to check out Sabra of Sew A Straight Line’s version of the Bond Top (and she is a way more experienced boy-sewperson than I am so do check hers out!), as well as the rest of the tour. If you hadn’t heard already, in honour of Kids Clothes Week and the pattern tour, you can use the code BONDTOP here to get $2 off this $8 pattern. Whether your style is fresh and modern, fun and funky, or a bit more subdued like Jackson’s here, the Bond Top is probably right for you. It’s definitely an advanced beginner / intermediate pattern, so if you are just starting on kids clothes I could probably suggest a few other places to start. But then again if nobody tells you this is hard, you might just try it, and it might take two tries to get something you’re delighted with, but you could totally do it. Just go for it!


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