Monday, April 12, 2010

A Little Help From My Friends...

We spent all day Sunday outside and my goodness it was wonderful. We all played and worked in our back yard. I was able to get back to work on a couple of my stumps and some other sanding projects while Kevin worked on ripping up more of our deck (We want to see as much nature as possible everywhere we can). The girls went back and forth between helping us out and climbing trees.



During our outdoor time Kevin found this tiny lizard on one of our trees. He showed us and we all fell in love. We took turns gently holding him.



K was first. I think she was the most excited out of all of us. She had never seen a lizard before. She giggled with delight as he ran back and forth across her hands



...and up her arm. She didn't want to have to put him down. She really has a love for everything in nature - big or small, cold or warm, slimy or furry. I have to say, that makes me quite proud. She truly is living up to one of the many meanings of her name : One who is close to the earth.



C was excited to hold him, too but once she felt how cold and sticky he was, she quickly changed her mind. She liked her view next to K holding him better.



Seeing my girlies outside enjoying nature while in their play dresses reminded me of my newest obsession. I thank (*cough* blame *cough*)Mary and Renee for it. They have me wanting to sew all my girls clothing now. I love the idea. It seems like the best way to go, too, because then I know their clothes will be more modest.
I thought I would seek your insight, resources and thoughts, if you don't mind.

I love the idea of the girls being in dresses as much as possible, at least for 3 seasons out of the year - I am uncertain about winter, yet. I am thinking sweet, old fashioned 'Little House on the Prairie type' dresses. Problem is, patterns for such dresses seem to be a bit hard to come by. Have any favorites you'd be willing to share?

Then I was thinking, since my girls are monkeys and always climbing trees they need bloomers to wear underneath but where would I find a pattern for bloomers that is made to fit a child instead of a baby?

Lastly, I want to make sure this is cost effective for us as well, so I need to use relatively cheap fabric. Especially since some of the dresses will get covered in mud and grass stains. I want to be able to enjoy seeing them play outside without thinking about the cost of what they are wearing...know what I mean?
I also only want to use natural fibers and simple prints. Where would you suggest I look? Have any good resources? I have been checking local thrift stores but no luck so far. I was thinking maybe of using some vintage sheets but then wondering if that was taking it a bit too far...Hmm, suddenly I feel like singing songs from the Sound of Music.

Those are all of the questions I can think of right now. I sincerely appreciate any help you might be able to give me. If you prefer not to comment here you can e-mail me at: farmergopi@yahoo.com. Thank you so much!!

Wishing you all a week of outdoor fun!!

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45 comments:

boatbaby said...

Mary's dresses make ME (who can't sew) want to sew dresses for my SON! :lol
Yes, they are gorgeous and she is inspiring! I don't have any ideas for fabric, but I can't wait to see what you come up with. May I ask, why dresses 3 seasons a year? Is there are particular reason other than being crazy cute?

Joy said...

I've done very little in the way of making clothes, but I have a friend who designs and makes baby clothes (www.hootbabydesigns.com). I think she started out making bloomers by tracing existing shorts and using a french curve to fill them out, then putting elastic at the bottom. Does that make sense? Good luck on your quest! Those pictures of K with the lizard are adorable. :)

CHILDHOOD MAGIC said...

Lizard love. Very sweet!

Mat. Emily said...

My friend's mother made her daughters bloomers using white cotton pants (pajama or legging-type). She cropped them to the length the she wanted and added some elastic and lace. They were so cute!

Thank you for all the sweet comments you leave on my blog! They mean a lot!

Grace said...

I went to the "pound shop" at a thrift store where you buy clothes by the pound. For $1.79 I got 6 womens size large t shirts and made skirts for my 7 year old. Yes, that is 6 skirts for $1.79. There are tons of tutorials on line for turning a womens L shirt into a skirt (basically you cut it off under the arms and turn under making a tube for the elastic. The bottom of the shirt becomes the bottom of the skirt So the longer the T shirt is the longer the skirt will be but generally on a 6 to 7 yr old they will be right at the knee). I embellished some with freezer paper stencils, ruffles, etc. All you need is some elastic and a sewing machine! I also made a long skirt out of floral pillowcase that I got at the thrift shop for 59 cents. Vintage sheets would make great PJs and shorts and blouses (but I have not gotten that far....)

Good luck.

Julia said...

Nicole.

I would totally be like you if I had a girl.

Little House and me = true love.

My mom sewed Laura and I matching dresses as little girls and she saved them for us in case we had girls. Your girls will be lucky to have dresses made by you, you have great style. I will try to find the pattern that Laura adjusted and used for sewing dresses for our shop this past summer, they were so pretty and very easy.

PS, Your fabric is going out today in the mail.

Hugs, Julia

Genevieve said...

When my daughter was younger I sewed most of her clothing as well. Most of the items I made then out of vintage tablecloths from the thrift shop (the linen ones were incredibly durable). I also found most of my patterns at the thrift shop as well. For my daughter's bloomers I actually took apart an old fashioned pair and used the peices as a pattern.

kate said...

I felt much the same way and have made a LOT of my daughter's clothing. My favorite pattern has been New Look 6745. Trace the pieces onto Pattern Ease (get it at your local fabric store) and then you can use all the sizes over and over. For bloomers, try McCall's 4505. Two others I will be using for my daughter's kindergarten wardrobe are Simplicity 5483 and 5827. And if you can get your hands on Simplicity 5830 (out of production), you'll love that one for modesty too. Oh, and for modest nightgowns, Simplicity 9292 is so easy! I've made it in red flannel with lace trim and pink dot flannel; it is VERY "Laura Ingalls!"

Just a word of caution: commercial patterns tend to run big. My very petite and thin daughter swims in some of these, so take careful measurements! She is 5 and I am now making size 4 dresses and lengthening them for her.

Other than local stores, I like Fabric.com and thousandsofbolts.com for linen, corduroy, wool, and good quality cottons.

Naturalearthfarm said...

Hi Nicole,
Here is a link http://www.modesthandmaidens.com/
It is so wonderful that you are starting this while your girls are young... so sweet.
Warm wishes, Tonya

tulsileaf said...

I am no seamstress by any means (knitting is my realm) but this looked super cute
http://butterick.mccall.com/b4054-products-591.php?page_id=378

Very Little House on the Prairie. And it says it is easy. I like the dress underneath and I really think the pinafore look is very sweet.

I do have a question though. What is modesty to you? I see around on other blogs about modesty and I would like to think that I do dress my own daughter by a more modest way than most modern people. (no halter tops, longer dresses, no belly baring shirts)but I also live in a climate that is so hot wearing long sleeves in summer is almost deadly!
I am inspired by the post to attempt to sew my own dress for my daughter.
Warm Wishes!
Kristen

Marina said...

Oh how I LOVE this post! K is a girl after my own heart with her love of nature!

I love that you want to make their clothes! My mom used to make mine until Jr High when I thought it wasn't cool anymmore. Looking back now, I see how lucky I was and the first quilt I ever made was out of the dresses she sewed for me. Sorry I don't have any answers for you, but I do have a huge stash of calico I'd be happy to send to you...

hugs and less than 3 gajillion, dearest friend
Marina

Dawn said...

Your ideas for your girls' dresses sound cute. I don't have any ideas for fabrics, but I hope you post pictures of what you make when you're done. :)

Lynnette said...

I know I have seen bloomers for girls so I will hunt it down if I can and send you the web address. I have a one-year-old and she loves being outside (getting dirty) too. I am still new to sewing but would like to make some of their clothes too.

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

I have a great love for nature too, but sure don't want a lizard running up and down my arm! Glad you all has such a happy outdoor weekend though.

We do dresses in the winter too with pants and long sleeves underneath, cardigans over, only when playing out in the snow does it not work, dresses hanging out of snow jackets quickly become soaked of course...

Keep an eye out at the thrift store for older patterns too. I'm still not having any more fabric thoughts...

I accept the blame, it's worth it to have a newly obsessed sewing friend :)
xoxo

Kelly and Kelly said...

I think that's a sweet idea. It takes me forever to sew a dress for my girls so I couldn't pull it off!

No idea on patterns. For fabric though I would look at goodwill or similar for fabric or old sheets. Or even other old clothes that could be changed/cut up into fabric. Or the sale rack at fabric stores.

good luck!

Kelly and Kelly said...

I just had another idea - I would search ebay for vintage patterns. Stuff used to be more modest 'back in the old days'.

*Michelle* said...

Your best bet may be repurposed clothing & sheets from the thrift store. You can find fabric there, too, if you keep your eye out for it. Jill made a really cute pinafore/tunic out of a men's shirt for one of her daughters-- cuts down on the sewing, too, as some of the seams are already done for you. Buying fabric & sewing yourself can be much more expensive than buying. It's kind of sad. And keep in mind that most fabric is produced in China now.

cat said...

if you get any suggestions, pass them this way..hahah

J said...

Nicole you read my mind! Finding my five year old modest clothing of simple designs and natural materials in sizes above 5T has been like mission impossible. Since we are on a budget anyway and my daughter LOVES dresses I thought making clothing would be a wonderful option. After researching I found this great link to dress and skirt tutorials from sew mama sew http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=212. For us, I think the pillowcase dresses seem like the best option. They are easy and inexpensive to sew. They can grow with the child as they can be worn as a shirt later or be paired with layers to adjust for weather. And best of all modest, well at least the until the monkey business starts anyway! If you find any bloomer patterns please share!

Susan said...

You may already read Alicia Paulsen's Posy Gets Cozy blog, but I'll post a link here: http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/posie_gets_cozy/baby-things/

She is hoping to adopt a girl and has been doing a series of posts on little girl's dresses that are exactly Little House on the Prairie style. I highly recommend checking it out - she uses vintage patterns, but for each post she lists the pattern and the fabrics that she uses.

Good luck!

Susan

Susana said...

Hi Nicole,
Here is a link to a pattern that I bought to sew for my sweet Lilia some day (I don't know how to sew and follow patterns very well!). I think you'll really like it. It's by Sandi Henderson and the line is called Portabello Pixie Boutique Patterns. This particular one is called the Claire: http://portabellopixie.typepad.com/portabellopixie/2008/07/portabellopixie.html

Also, for the colder months, I will put a cute jumper dress on my daughter with jeans or cotton pants underneath. Lilia is 2 and a lot of dresses are so short! I make them work my layering them like I mentioned above. It looks cute too!

Lara Katherine Mountain Colley said...

My daughter has been wearing skirts, bloomers and old fashioned dresses all her life (she's 8). I actually am not a skilled seamstress, so most of these outfits came from yard sales and thrift stores. Pioneer style kids dresses were popular in the 60's and 70's, so I have found a lot of nice handmade stuff that is still vintage, but not really pioneer vintage. I have made bloomers by sewing the ruffled sleeves from blouses onto the bottoms of pants. My friend got a halloween Little Bo Peep pattern to sew bloomers for her daugher. A fabric (and blouse sleeve) source you have nearby is the Goodwill bins on Ochoco street. Vintage sheets, clothing, and fabric is sold by the pound! There are also lace, trims, and notions. You just need to give yourself a lot of time to sort through the bins, and probably go without kids. I found a woman at our local Saturday Market who sews cute bloomers for kids all the way up to size 8 for a really resonable price, and I have bought those for my daughter. If you ever come to Eugene on a Saturday, check out the Watermelon Kids booth. We have found second hand pioneer dresses at Frontier Fairs before that Civil War reenactment folks were selling and my daughter wears them to school! Your plans to hand sew some dresses for your girls are wonderful, and they will love them!

nonsonoitaliana said...

cool! but that little guy sure looks like a salamander or newt to me! a wonderful book for the girls now would be "the salamander room."

Kari said...

Wow a salamander! You are so fortunate to have a yard full of beautiful trilliums and a salamander. I haven't seen a salamander since I was young. we live in Washington and my boys and I often search the leaves for them. Fantastic!

Saartje said...

This dress pattern from Oliver + S has a pattern for bloomers to go with it (sizes 2T-5):
http://www.oliverands.com/patterns/dresses/patterns2.phtml

And here is a free pattern for bloomers (scroll down a little) in sizes up to 12 months:
http://mci.blogs.marieclaireidees.com/archive/2008/04/12/les-patrons-du-hors-serie-bebe.html

I made a pair of bloomers for my daughter when she was about 12 months, using a pattern from the French book 'Intemporels pour bébés' by Astrid Provost. At almost three years old now, she's still wearing it! So I think it might be worth giving a smaller pattern a try for your bigger girls. The book is wonderful for other patterns too, and the author also has a book with patterns for older kids, called 'Intemporels pour enfants'. You have to be able to read some French though, to understand the patterns (but with my high school French -I'm Dutch- and a dictionary I've been able to understand enough). Good luck!

Lise said...

I would definitely go with thrifted sheets! Or duvet covers (tons of fabric there) or big adult clothing, cut up for the fabric.

Anonymous said...

I fould a Little House on the Prarie dress at a thrift store and my daughter practically lived in it last year! I'm thinking you could use one of those costume patterns for western costumes. I know Joanne has pattern sales every now and then for 1.99.

akramesh said...

Nicole -
I am hoping you will find as I did that the Waldorf Community at your school will be very helpful with clothes. My daughter is swimming in beautiful lovely, modest clothing loved by the bigger girls at my son's school. You could put a notice in your paper that you are looking for hand-me downs and list that you could trade for smaller sizes that your girls have outgrown.
Dresses in winter time are fabulous - just some good tights (and this is where I do spend a little money) and leggings under a dress with a turtleneck are great. I do find Hanna Andersson clothes sometimes at thrift stores. Their line is very durable, good and modest and will go easily through both girls and then some. Best of luck!

Krista said...

I think these would be a very easy project. http://amoretti-designs.com/products/skirty.php for bloomers I think there is a tutorial in the creative family to make pants from a t-shirt. then you could just make them short with some lace or other trim.

angie said...

Nicole,
McCall's # 4505 is the bloomer pattern you might be looking for.
Also, is that a lizard or a newt?

Mist said...

Delurking for this, Nicole. Hello at last. :)

I rather like the patterns from Sense and Sensibility Patterns (especially the Romantic Era girls) Not exactly Little House on the Prairie, but modest nonetheless:

http://www.sensibility.com/pattern/main/?page_id=39

The customer service is absolutely wonderful.

5orangepotatoes said...

Love the salamander and the little ladies so intrigued with the salamaner. They are such cool little creatures.

Go with the vintage sheets! I LOVE the look of them. I used to dress my girls in dresses ALL the time. Now that they are older, it's a little more difficult to persuade them; especially with my youngest!

Love your comment today, I always get excited when I see your husky and german shep. as well. I also told my hubby about all our parallels and show him the pup pics. Just so he knows he's not alone when the 2 little girls, 2 dogs, cats, and wife are driving him crazy! :)

Now to go see Mary's blog.
lisa

Ana said...

I vote for winter dresses, too. I prefer to wear skirts and dresses, and I find I'm warmer with good quality wool tights and boots than I am with pants.

P.S.: I found your blog recently and I love it.

Singletons said...

A great pattern that I found thanks to http://creativechicksatplay.blogspot.com/ is Simplicity 4927. Simple but very versatile. Also a friend of mine shared with me that she cuts the legs off her daughter's old tights that are too small. She then uses the "seat" as bloomers and the legs you can turn into knee highs with a little elastic at the top! Great way to recycle that favorite pair of tights.

gr8tfulmom said...

Areas of the thrift store I hit first for soft fabrics; PJs, sheets, lg Tnecks and crazy tees. Maternity stuff is great as it usually gets less use. Many of Taite's shirts are recons. I think you would looove sense & sensibility patterns for sure.

I have a ton of dress patterns in the 2-8 range that I was going to get rid of - if you want them zip me your addy :)

Linda said...

What a wonderful experience of discovery for your girls experiencing a little lizzard. We have many in our garden and my children just love watching them scurry about in and out the rocks. How lovely that you will be making clothes for your girls, I have also wanted to do this for quite some time and and think the time has arrived:)
Happy day to you Nicole, looking forward to your sewing projects:)
Warmly
Linda

Ginny said...

Hi there, this is my first visit to your blog (I think I came via Joy's)
I really like the pants pattern in Carefree Clothes for Girls. It is rather wide legged and if you leave off the lace that the pattern calls for they are just below the knee in length. I am thinking that I am going to try making them and then adding elastic around the legs about 2 inches up from the base to make them into bloomers. My daughter likes to wear dresses all the time and also plays outside all the time so pants or bloomers are a must. I am planning on making them using Kona Muslin from JoAnn. It never goes on sale so you can always use a coupon making it pretty cheap. I will probably sew a pair in white and a pair in natural to match everything. I will let you know how it goes, maybe I will get around to sewing these up tonight!
There's also nothing wrong with using vintage sheets-my issue is that all the ones that I find at thrift stores are a polyester blend and I hate polyester!

Melissa said...

Hi Nicole, I didn't read your other comments, so you may have already gotten a boat load of suggestions. I would personally buy patterns from thekingsdaughters.com Check them out! hugs, Melissa

mary said...

hey there... Love this post and your momentum! I like the idea of buying clothing at thrift stores for the fabric. Men's dress shirts are a nice source of fabric, have a large solid piece and can be perfect for girl dresses. They are usually some really unusual prints for girly dresses as they are mostly striped, checked, etc. so might be really cool and refreshing and simple looking. You can also sweeten it up with ribbon or "fabric ribbon" from your more precious stash fabrics. Also, as far as bloomers, my thought is to just use a basic pj pants pattern and elastic up the bottom. I actually took the "bloom" out of a pair of bloomers which Eden used to wear so Elijah could wear them as regular pants and that is basically what they were- pants with elastic bottoms. I have found some great sales on Etsy as well as some reasonably prices vintage sheeting. More people buy the flat sheets, so the fitted sheets are usually a little cheaper. Does that help? I didnt read all of your other comments, so perhaps this stuff has been said already. I am so excited to see what you make and for you to inspire me back! :) oxoxo

Lynnette said...

I cannot believe I actually found the exact post about bloomers. I have been through so many 'rabbit holes' and here it is for your viewing pleasure, http://www.frogcreekcottage.com/2009/03/bloomers/

So, not so much a detailed tutorial but the groundwork for you to use what you can find.

Busy Mommy said...

We love this site for modest girls dresses :)

http://www.daddys-little-princess.com/collections.html

Annie said...

I am not a good enough seamstress yet to make full blown dresses, and I can't read patterns.... but little skirts and bloomers are easy to wing. An easy skirt is to make panels (are they called gores?) sewn together to make kind of a circle, with a folded over waist, insert an elastic waistband, and either hem the bottom or add a little ruffle. Depending on how short your girls are, you can often make skirts from recycled adult clothing found at thrift stores. Search for large sizes of shirts and skirts and you might be surprised what you find! You might even get some other repurpose-able materials out of it like zippers, buttons, and elastic! Good luck!

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

I haven't read all of the comments, so I am sure you have gotten these suggestions, but...
I use vintage (or not so vintage, but thrifted anyway) sheets for most of my sewing, kids clothes especially. It is the fabric the keeps on giving. $2 can buy yards and yards of fabric.
And for girls patterns/tutorials up the wazoo, check out Made By Lex (formerly My Mama Made It): http://www.madebylex.com/
Oliver + S has a cute, easy free skirt pattern. I have a tutorial on making a girl's dress from a man's shirt. The possibilities for frugal homemade kid clothes are endless. Seriously endless.
Have fun!
Nicola

fiona said...

http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/6624
this look perfect!
Warm wishes, Fiona

Fiona said...

oh- I came across the book here- Nicole- scroll down to the near the bottom....Fiona

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