Watercolor Dress {and tips for painting fabric}

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

So I have exactly one project coming out of this Kids Clothes Week, but I’m pretty damn excited about it!  The (optional) theme for this season was Kid Art and while this dress was probably the last thing I needed to make, I got really excited by the idea of getting Yuki involved in creating a one-of-a-kind garment for herself.  I had all sorts of idea like fabric painting, stenciling, iron on transfers, etc.  But I knew I didn’t have much time so I could only pick one thing.  If you know me, you know that I looooove fabric painting (like this cardigan, this hat and bag, and this dress) and I thought Yuki should have a go at it since she loves painting too!

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

I went through my stash looking for plain white knit, but I didn’t have enough.  Then I found this cream double gauze that Frances sent me awhile back.  Ooooh, I knew it was perfect!  Whenever you’re painting or dyeing fabric, it’s best to work with natural fibers since it holds dye the best.  I knew the double gauze would be a great canvas to paint and make a comfortable dress to wear.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

I use these Pebeo Setacolor Transparent Fabric Paints (affiliate link) and I absolutely love them!  I love the watercolor effect and how it doesn’t leave the fabric stiff.  This is not a sponsored post of any kind, I just really enjoy working with these paints and I’ve learned a lot each time I’ve tried it so I thought I’d share some tips.

I knew I couldn’t just give Yuki the paints and let her go to town – I’m just too much of a control freak to do that.  Plus, the paints are permanent and I knew I wanted to approach the project as something special so she really took her time on it, instead of just slapping paint all over and calling it done.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

The first thing (and possibly the hardest) is to balance having control with letting go.  This is especially helpful when painting with a preschooler, but also something I try to keep in mind when I’m working myself.  Things don’t often come out as I want them to.  It’s never going to look “perfect” or precise, but that’s part of the beauty and quirkiness of this kind of paint.  I’ve had plenty of failed projects as well as creative discoveries.  It’s really an experiment every time.

The first few times you work with these paints, just play around and explore.  Different fabrics, different amounts of water, different types of brushes, will all affect your result.  Be sure to wait to see how it looks when it dries too.  Colors will often appear lighter when completely dried, so keep that in mind.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

Be sure to put everyone in clothes that can be stained or an apron/smock and work on a surface that won’t be stained.  Finding a large enough surface is really hard, since the paint will easily soak right through, but I have this old cutting mat that was warped from heat and I’ve started using that as Yuki’s “art” mat.  It is plenty stained and cut up and works perfect for this kind of project.

Next, I recommend cutting the fabric to the general shape and size that you’ll need for your project.  Painting a huge piece of fabric is a bit daunting and difficult.  It helped to break it into several smaller pieces.  It helps to tape the edges of the fabric down to keep it from moving.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

I told her that we could only pick three colors and I showed her an old painting of hers that I wanted to use as our palette inspiration.  But as soon as I took out the paints she grabbed the neon pink and bright yellow (the neon pink is not a part of the set, I bought it separately - affiliate link).  So I suggested turquoise as the third color, mixed it up and we were good to go.  I introduced one color at a time which I think worked pretty well.  It kind of explains why the first piece (front of the dress) has distinct color blocks while the back (the second piece we painted) is a little more color-all-over.

With these paints, the amount of water you add will dramatically affect the way it looks and behaves.  The less you add, the thicker the paint and the more distinct your strokes will be, the more opaque the color.  The more you water it down, the more faint the color will be and also the more they will bleed together.  So it’s really up to you and the look you’re going for.  I like something in between so I add a bit of water to the paints and also spray the fabric down with water before we start painting to help get that water color look.  Again, you’ll have to play around with this before figuring out what’s just right for your project.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

You can see how the diluted paint bleeds when applied to the damp fabric.

Yuki pretty much painted the first rectangle by herself (front of the dress), then by the second rectangle she started to lose steam so that was more of a collaborative effort.  Then she needed a break and we were going to come back to paint pieces for the bodice and straps.  But she was over it and never returned to painting.  So another tip, if working with kids, is to keep the activity short.  I could tell that if I tried to get her to do more painting it would be forced and not be fun for anyone.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

Once you’re done painting, you’ll want to let it dry completely.  If the fabric is really wet, I leave it flat to dry.  If it’s not too wet, I hang it up to dry.  You don’t want to hang up really wet fabric because the paint will bleed downwards and drip all over the place.  When it’s completely dry, it needs to be heat set.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

Heat setting is what will make your paint permanent and not bleed or fade when it goes through the wash.  Obviously a very important step.  Read the directions carefully, but basically you need to iron the entire painted area, which is another reason why it’s easier to work with smaller cuts of fabric.  Set your iron on the highest setting that is appropriate for your fabric.  I place a thin cloth over my painted fabric because I have noticed paint getting on my iron otherwise.  Hold your iron over each section of the fabric for 30 seconds.  IT TAKES TIME.  A boring step, but you don’t want to skip it.  If I have a really large piece of fabric, I iron it and then, just to make sure, I’ll throw it in the drier on high heat for a cycle (by itself, not with any other clothes or fabric)!  I have no clue if this is helpful or necessary, but I figured it couldn’t hurt :P

And you’re done and ready to sew!

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

I used my Fluttering Fields Sundress tutorial to make another dress for Yuki.  She loves the first one and I’ve been wanting to make another.  I made a few changes to the shape of the bodice and then I shortened the ties because the first ones were too long.  But now the back ties are TOO SHORT!  I could barely tie them.  Bummer, I’ll get it right one of these days.

When I saw how bold and stunning the skirt pieces were, I decided to go with a plain solid bodice.  Otherwise, I thought it’d be a little overwhelming.  I think I made the right choice.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

This double gauze is so soft.  And I really love the contrast of the natural and neutral cream bodice with the bold and bright paint.  I don’t say this very often about my projects, but I really love how this turned out.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

And I think Yuki does too!  It’s exciting for her to see something that she helped make.  I hope that we can take care of this dress and keep it around for a long time.  And maybe someday she can pass it on to her kid!?

I wanted to have the artist’s signature on the dress somehow and I asked for suggestions on Instagram and Facebook and got a lot of great suggestions!  I ended up using a fabric marker on a piece of wide bias tape.  Worked well!  I originally wanted to write directly on the fabric but the ink was bleeding too much in tests and I didn’t trust Yuki to take a pen to a finished dress.  No way!  The back of the tag has the date and her age.

Watercolor Sundress and Tips for Painting Fabric // you & mie

And that’s it!  Yuki’s Watercolor Dress.  It was a really fun project to work on together and I’m really glad that KCW give me the push to try this.  I think I should collaborate with the little artist more often!

How’s your KCW going?


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Strawberries and Edelweiss

So I’ve got a new project for you today.  But when I say new project, I mean it’s never been posted before, but it’s something I actually made a year ago.  And then photographed a couple months ago.  And I’m just finally getting around to blogging it now.  Oops!  Better late than never right?

Strawberry Edelweiss Dress // you & mie

I call it the Strawberry Edelweiss Dress because, well, the strawberry part should be obvious and you may recognize the pattern as the Edelweiss Dress by Hey June.  This dress is actually a knock off of a dress I saw a little girl wearing in a picture.  I’m pretty sure it was a store bought dress and I thought it was adorable and I immediately realized the Edelweiss pattern would be perfect to recreate it.  Later on I saw a little girl wearing the same dress in blue at IKEA, so I’m thinking the original may be from a big company like Carter’s or something, but I don’t have a picture of the original.

Strawberry Edelweiss Dress // you & mie

Anyways, I made this dress a year ago just as Yuki was about to turn three.  She’s always been petite for her age, and the size chart told me I should sew a smaller size, but I just got excited about her being three and made the dress in size 3 and of course, it was way too big.  So I put it in the closet without even showing her and almost forgot about it.  Then a couple of months ago, Yuki started loving dresses and I pulled this one out and it fit!  She liked it and wore it a bunch at first, but now it’s kinda fallen out of rotation again.  Not sure why . . .

Strawberry Edelweiss Dress // you & mie

All the materials are from Jo-Ann Fabrics (except for the flannel I used for the applique and stuffed strawberry).  I used eyelet trim for the ruffled straps and bottom hem.  I also added some decorative buttons in the front (the aren’t functional).  And of course, added pockets.

Strawberry Edelweiss Dress // you & mie

The strawberry applique is based completely off the picture I had seen of the original dress.  I hand cut pieces of flannel and used fusible web and a tight zig zag stitch to attach it to the dress.

Strawberry Edelweiss Dress // you & mie

Pockets are kind of a must for me/my kid.  I’m not exactly sure what happened (I made this dress a year ago, so all the details are a bit fuzzy), but when I gathered the skirt and attached it to the bodice, the side seams of the skirt (along with the pockets) ended up closer to the back than the front.  I’m thinking that the front bodice piece is actually wider than the back, but I’m not entirely sure.  Anyways, the pockets are a little far back, but it’s nothing that my kid notices or minds.

Strawberry Edelweiss Dress // you & mie

Testing out the skirt twirlability.

The pattern is great and has soooo much room for creativity and making yours unique.  I remember back when they did a Edelweiss Pattern Tour, each one was so different and I really loved seeing all the versions.

Strawberry Softie // you & mie

This stuffed strawberry is one of the most random things that I’ve made.  I think I was inspired by a new set of bedding that Yuki had just gotten from IKEA and some matching stuffed veggies they sell.  I used this tutorial for the basic construction of the strawberry but drafted my own pattern pieces based on the amount of fabric I had and embroidered little seeds on it.  It was fun and easy to make.  And completely silly.

Strawberry Edelweiss Dress // you & mie

She was having quite a bit of fun pretending to eat the strawberry.

Anyways, I’m glad that this dress finally got worn some – it’s really a great summer dress.  And I’d definitely use this pattern again.  It’s so sweet!

This week is actually Kids Clothes Week, didja know!?  I’m kinda half in this time.  Not fully committed, but hoping to make at least one thing.  The theme is Kid Art, which I love.  Of course, you don’t have to go with the theme, but I love the idea of involving Yuki in some aspect of the creative process.  So today I let her paint some fabric (you can see a preview here) and I’m thinking I’ll make her another dress.  I think she’s going to be so psyched to wear something that she helped create.  I can already imagine her telling everyone at school that she painted her dress.

Are you sewing along?  What do you have planned?  Any kid art in your projects?

Triple Gauze Sleep Sack and Blanket

This month I’m taking a bit of a blogging break and enjoying time away from the computer.  I’ve done a lot of sewing recently though, so I’ll have a lot to catch up on when I’m back!  Reposting this project, originally published here, as part of the Miss Matatabi Makers series.  Mmmm . . . triple gauze . . . 


Ooooh, do I have some amazing fabric to share with you today!

Triple Gauze Baby Set

TRIPLE GAUZE.  Did you know it existed?  I did not, until very recently, and I am now a huge fan!  If you think single gauze is lovely and double gauze is dreamy, well, triple gauze is downright heavenly.

The triple gauze available in the Miss Matatabi Shop is reversible, which makes it even more awesome!  Before I washed it, it was smooth and soft.  When it came out of the wash, it was like a fluffy cloud!  Double and triple gauzes are multiple layers of gauze fabric that are attached every couple of centimeters, essentially basting or quilting the fabric.  After washing and drying, the fabric was already like a perfectly lightweight quilt.

Triple Gauze Reversible Dots from Miss MatatabiThe three layers of gauze give this fabric the perfect amount of thickness, but it is still so light and breathable.  It’s perfect for warm or hot weather.  And because it’s loosely woven, it’s got a nice amount of give to it and it makes a wonderful blanket for swaddling a baby or for just a light cover.

The first project I made with this lovely fabric was a baby sleep sack using the Lua Sleep Sack Pattern by An of StraightGrain and fellow Miss Matatabi Maker.

Triple Gauze Lua Sleepsack2

The pattern is great.  Simple and easy to construct and I ended up with a practical and adorable sleep sack for my baby!  I didn’t add piping, which is an option, but I wanted to showcase the double sided nature of the fabric and flipped the fabric for the top portion of the sleep sack.

Triple Gauze Lua Sleepsack1

The lining is not from Miss Matatabi, but is a double gauze fabric I picked up from Tomato, a fabric store in Japan.  So yes, that makes FIVE LAYERS OF GAUZE on this puppy.  What can I say, the stuff is amazing!  There is a layer of cotton batting in between as well, since we don’t really ever have hot nights here in San Francisco.  This thing is SO COZY.  Like sleeping in a cloud.  Honestly, I’m jealous.

Triple Gauze Lua Sleepsack3

Triple Gauze Lua Sleepsack5

The only modification I made was to shorten it by a few inches, but it’s still got plenty of growing room for my petite babe.

Triple Gauze Lua Sleepsack4

Triple Gauze Blanket1

The other project is a blanket – suuuuper simple, but so practical and adorable.  I took 1 meter of the triple gauze and rounded the corners (I used a glass jar to trace the curve).  Then I serged all around the edge of the fabric, and that’s it!  A blanket!

Triple Gauze Blanket2

Because the fabric is reversible, there is no wrong or right side.

Triple Gauze Blanket3

I seriously love this blanket.  It’s so cozy and soft, but perfectly light and breathable.  It’s the kind that I can imagine carrying around with us everywhere in the warmer months – to cover the baby during a nap at the beach, or throw over the car seat to block the sun, or over us while nursing, whatever!

Triple Gauze Blanket4

Need a gift for a baby, or have a baby of your own?  These triple gauze fabrics are perfect!

And check back in later this week for a baby/kid related giveaway!!

Starry Night Washi Dress

Bringing home this post from March, originally published here, as part of the Miss Matatabi Makers series.  This is the THIRD Washi Dress that I’ve made (see 1 and 2), not to mention, the wedding dress I made from a hacked version of the pattern!  Can you tell I love it?  By the way, this fabric is still available in the Miss Matatabi shop!


When looking through Frances’ fabulous shop, this gorgeous cotton voile caught my eye. It’s called Starry Night and comes in several beautiful colors. I knew immediately that this lightweight fabric would make something wonderful to wear for the upcoming warm weather months.

Starry Night Washi Dress by you & mie

The pattern is the awesome Washi Dress by Made by Rae, with the large bow from the Expansion Pack. I absolutely love this universally flattering, easy-to-wear dress pattern!

Starry Night Washi Dress by you & mie

I made this dress for a wedding that I was attending and it actually has a little secret that is hidden. Can you guess what it is?

Starry Night Washi Dress by you & mie

Can you see it now?

Starry Night Washi Dress by you & mie

Ok, ok, I’ll tell you. It’s nursing friendly! I needed a dress that I could nurse in and unfortunately, the options are pretty limited out there. So I had the brilliant idea of adding an invisible zipper to the bodice. Well, it turns out that Rae herself had the same idea and not only beat me to it, but she even made a tutorial for adding a zipper to a Washi (or any dress bodice, really)! Lucky you!

The black fabric, plus the large bow, make the zipper completely undetectable! Of course, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to photograph any of the details of this dress because of the color, but trust me, the fabric is wonderful!

Starry Night Washi Dress by you & mie

The fabric is very lightweight and has a beautiful drape. It is slightly sheer, so I lined the entire dress with a tan/nude voile I had in my stash. But because of the dark color, it actually wasn’t as sheer as I thought it would be. I think it could make a great unlined top, if you are going to layer it with a camisole underneath.

Starry Night Washi Dress by you & mie

I made the Washi in size large and added 1 inch to the bottom of the bodice just so it would hit a little lower. Well, the truth is, I originally added 2 inches to the bodice, but in a complete sewing fail, I sliced my bodice with my serger blade while finishing one of my seams. THANKFULLY, the fabric was cut 1 inch above the bottom of the bodice, and I had added that extra length, so it was easy enough to save. Phew!!

I also added a little width to the front skirt piece and gathered it (instead of pleating). I pleated the lining so that it would lay nice and flat and not add anymore bulk to the waistline. I made a double elastic casing in the back instead of shirring, since I still haven’t unlocked that secret on my sewing machine yet.

Starry Night Washi Dress by you & mie

I love how versatile this dress is – I can dress it up or down. And I plan on wearing it long after I’m done nursing. I hadn’t used voile to sew for myself until know, but it was so easy to sew with and I love wearing it! I highly recommend this fabric, especially for your spring/summer wardrobe. It would make a perfect lightweight tank, blouse, or scarf. And I love the other colors, especially the bright and cheery yellow! I could definitely use a Wiksten tank in some of that!


Happy Homemade Sew-along // day one

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

It’s here!  We are FINALLY starting the sew-along!  Are you pumped?  I know I am!

First of all, it was brought to my attention that in my original sew-along announcement, I said that the deadline to enter your pull-over pictures into the Flickr group was June 30, instead of June 23.  Unfortunately, I listed the wrong date and I’m soooo sorry if this caused an inconvenience to anyone!  :(  The correct date is next Monday, June 23.  Of course, you can enter pictures into the Flickr group anytime, even if you can’t finish it by next week!  But if you’d like it included in the drawing for the prize or our round-ups, your pictures will need to be uploaded by next Monday.  Sorry again!

Today we are going to be locating our pattern pieces, tracing and adding seam allowance.  Honestly, these first few steps are often the most confusing and intimidating for me when I use a Japanese sewing book – even more than the actual sewing steps!  Using the English version helps A TON here, but it can still be a little confusing since it’s so different from using a PDF pattern, for example.  So I’m going to walk you through the steps and the great news is, this will help you with not only this book and pattern, but you can apply these tricks and skills to any Japanese sewing book since they basically follow the same format!

Anyways, let’s get started.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

On the directions page for the pull-over parka, it’ll list all the pattern pieces you’ll need.  For this pattern there is the back, front, sleeve and hood and the pattern label is “s.”  That letter is going to help us locate everything we need for this pattern.  First I’m going to go through all the steps using the English version of the book since I think that’s what most people are using.  But if you’re using the Japanese version of the book, I’ll help you locate the pattern for that book at the end of this post.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

Pull out your pattern sheets.  There will be two double-sided sheets labeled Pattern Sheet 1, 2, 3 and 4.  Each has a table of contents, if you will.  And you’ll see that the pattern pieces for “S” are scattered, one piece per sheet.  The back piece is on sheet 1, the front piece is on sheet 2, the hood is on sheet 3 and the sleeve is on sheet 4.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

I’m going to show you the front piece as an example. That is located on Pattern Sheet 2.

Unfold the sheet and you should be able to find the “S FRONT” pattern right next to the table of contents.  The lines are burgundy and all the S pattern pieces will be in that same color, which will make it easier to find and distinguish from the other overlapping patterns.  Congrats!  You’ve completed step one – finding your pattern piece!

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

Now before you begin tracing, take a look at this diagram that is on the directions page of your book (below).  This little picture has a ton of important information and you’ll find yourself referring to it quite a lot.

Super crucial note – Japanese patterns DO NOT INCLUDE SEAM ALLOWANCE.  You must add it yourself!

Even though I know this and have known this forever, I still forget sometimes.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve traced my pattern pieces super close together or close to the edge of the paper only to realize that I need to add seam allowance and have no room.  LEAVE ROOM FOR SEAM ALLOWANCE!

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

Take a look at “front” pattern piece on the diagram.  It’s on the bottom right corner and you can see that it is placed on the fold.  The other edges will need seam allowance added.  The standard seam allowance is 3/8 in or 1 cm.  If there is no number specified in the diagram, you can assume that the seam allowance is 3/8 in (1cm).  Looking at the front piece, the only edge that has a different seam allowance is the bottom edge where it says 1 1/4 in (3cm).  Be sure to leave room for seam allowance when you trace your pattern piece.

There are several ways you can add seam allowance to your pattern.  Some people like to do it while tracing.  Meg shared a SUPER awesome and simple tip on one way to do that in her post during the Japanese Sewing Book Series.  There are also some tools that add seam allowance as you’re cutting.  I just do it the old fashioned way of tracing the pattern first, then measuring the seam allowance and drawing those lines separately.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

Trace your pattern!  I lined up the edge of my tracing paper with the edge of my front pattern piece that is on the fold, since that side does not need added seam allowance.  Making sure I had room on the other sides for adding SA, I traced the lines for size 2.  Be sure to trace any markings from the pattern as well.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

Use a ruler to measure 3/8 in (1cm) from the side seam and draw a line.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

For curved edges, I measure and mark the seam allowance every centimeter or so and then connect the dots.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mieBe sure to label your pattern with the name of the pattern, which piece it is, what size and also label any edges on the fold and trace any other markings.

Woohoo!  One pattern piece down, three more to go!  Follow these steps for the rest of your pieces.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

The other night, I got an email from Gail asking specifically about the sleeve pattern piece.  At the bottom of the sleeve, it tells you to add 1 1/4 in (3cm), but the seam allowance flares out at an angle.  The pattern doesn’t give you any information about how to determine that angle or why you’re doing it that way.  Since I was pretty stumped, I consulted my Japanese pattern gurus, Sanae and Frances to find out more.  Frances located this helpful link and like a light bulb, it suddenly all made sense.  That site is in Japanese, so I decided to make my own little diagram to help explain . . .

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie


If you add seam allowance to your pattern piece and it continues to angle inwards at the bottom, when you fold it up to hem, you won’t have enough width.  Your hem will be narrower than the sleeve and you’ll have trouble sewing that hem down without stretching or some pleating of fabric.  No good!

Instead, you want the excess fabric at the bottom of the sleeve to angle outwards so that when it’s folded up, it is at the same angle as the sleeve.  That way you’ll have enough width to reach the edges of the sleeve and hemming will be a breeze!

Does that make sense?

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

Still, it doesn’t tell you exactly how to create these lines and honestly, I just eyeballed it.  You could fold the paper at the bottom of the sleeve to trace the sides (the bottom edge is slightly curved, but I think you could ignore that and it’d still be fine.  Either way, I wouldn’t stress about it too much, just do your best :)

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

If you’re using the Japanese version of the book, all the steps are exactly the same, the only difference is that the pattern sheets are a little crazier and finding the pattern pieces you need is more difficult.

Up at the top of the directions, it tells you where you can find your pattern pieces.  In this case it’s on “side A.”

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

Side A of the pattern sheet lists the four “S” pieces you’ll need – back, front, sleeve and hood.

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

This is what that crazy mess of a pattern sheet looks like.  Look for the letter “s” and you’ll notice that all the S pattern pieces are green.  Others are black and some are shaded in green – this will help you tell the patterns apart.  Dig around – you’ll find all your pieces!

Happy Homemade Sew-along // Day One - Tracing the pattern and adding seam allowance // you & mie

Yay, there they are!

Then follow the rest of the steps above.

Once you’ve traced your 4 pattern pieces, added your seam allowance and labeled the pieces, go ahead and cut them out and lay them aside for Day TWO!  Also, if you haven’t yet, be sure to wash, dry and iron your fabric so you’ll be all ready to cut and prep for sewing tomorrow.

Be sure to share any in progress photos on Instagram (#happyhomemadesewalong) or the Flickr group and if you have any questions, leave a comment!  Can’t wait to see yours as it comes together!

Tomorrow’s post will be up on Meg’s blog.  See you there!

Happy Homemade Sew-along // elsie marley and you & mie

 See the rest of the sew-along posts here:

Happy Homemade Sew-Along // where to buy the book

Happy Homemade Sew-along // elsie marley and you & mie

Thanks to everyone for entering the Happy Homemade Sew-Along Giveaway!  The three lucky winners are:

Shanna R.
Annette H.
Stephanie S.


Now if you didn’t win the giveaway, but still want to participate in the sew-along, but don’t yet have the book . . . well, you better get moving!  If you’re ordering online, you’ll need some time for shipping.  So where can you get one?  I’m here to help!

But before we get to that, I just wanted to talk to anyone who might be on the fence about getting this book . . .


This is definitely one of THE most popular Japanese sewing books and for good reason!  It’s packed cover to cover with really great, classic styles that you can use over and over again.  See more pictures in my book review and Meg’s (she has a ton of photos of all of the amazing things she’s made from the book).  And it’s not even expensive!  The book has 20 patterns.  I’ve seen the book priced between $13-17 and even with shipping costs, we’re talking maybe $1-2 MAX PER PATTERN!  That’s an amazing deal.

Sew Chic Kids Review & Giveaway // you & mie

Now that you’re ready to buy it, where should you start?  Well I find online shopping super convenient, but sometimes I don’t like paying for shipping and handling if I can avoid it.  If you’re interested in the English version, Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids, I’d call your local bookstores.  Larger chains might carry it or maybe your local sewing/fabric shop.

If you’re interested in buying online, I’ve found a few places you can try:

Tuttle Publishing
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Bookworld (Australia)
Penguin Books (Australia)
Amazon UK  (Oh hey!  The book is in French!)

HappyHomemade Vol2

If you are up for a challenge, and want to buy the Japanese version, Happy Homemade Vol.2, the best bet to buy it locally is at a Japanese bookstore like Kinokuniya.  Some Japanese supermarkets have book sections, so you can always try those as well.

As for online sources, here are some links:



Ok, it’s time to get shopping!  You gotta make sure you can get the book in your hands by Monday, June 16th when the sew-along begins!

*Edited to add: a couple of people commented that they found the book at their local LIBRARY!  That’s brilliant!  What a great way to check out the book and see if it’s worth buying.  So definitely check there first if you’re still on the fence about buying the book*

Do you know of any stores, local or online that sell either version of the book?  If so, leave me a comment and I’ll add it to the list!


Sidekick Mini Mini Suitcase

I’m posting over at Miss Matatabi today with my May Miss Matatabi Makers project.  Errr . . . let’s pretend it’s still May, ok?

Mini Mini Spring Patch Suitcase // you & mie

I made a MINI Sidekick Mini Suitcase with this adorable Nesshome Cheater Patch fabric.  It was no small feat and I thought I might never finish, but a few nights worth of hard work and I’m reeeally quite happy with how it came out.  The inside of the case is lined with some super soft double gauze too.  Go and check out all the details and plenty more pics at Miss Matatabi!

And did you catch my Happy Homemade Sew-Along announcement??  Be sure to get all the details there AND today is the last day to enter the giveaway for a copy of the book!  Go now and enter!

Happy Homemade Sew-along // elsie marley and you & mie

Frozen’s Elsa-Inspired Dress


Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

Every.  single.  day.  Yup, we’re still living in a Frozen obsessed world over here.  You know, we actually held out (and still do) when it comes to letting her watch “princess” movies.  Frozen is the first and really only that she’s seen, but she has dove head first into obsession and we’re just kinda going with it.  What’s the point of being a 3 year old if you can’t be an awesome ice power yielding queen.

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

After my last blog post, I decided that I wanted Yuki to earn the dress since she’s so used to getting things all the time and she’s starting to think that things come so easily.  So I created a little sticker chart and told her that she needed to help out around the house to earn stickers and when she got 10 stickers she could have her dress.  She did things like putting away everyone’s laundry, hanging diapers for drying, setting the table and wiping it clean after dinner, etc.  She didn’t complain too much about doing the work and was super psyched to earn each sticker.

Earning her Elsa dress with chores // you & mie

And she was reeeeeally excited to finally get her dress!

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

Ok, on to the dress . . . this is inspired by the dress Queen Elsa wears when she “lets it go” and embraces her ice powers.  It’s definitely not a replica of what she wears in the movie, but heavily inspired by it.  I had a few criteria when designing the dress in my mind.  I wanted it to be knit – comfy and easy to put on and take off.  I wanted it to be easy to clean.  And I wanted the materials to be inexpensive.

At preschool, there is a group of kids that is REALLY into “dress up” and almost every time I go to pick Yuki up, she’s got a raggedy piece of tulle tied around her neck or head or wherever and she’s walking around like she’s the queen of the world.  It made me realize that these kids don’t need some fancy expensive costume to make believe – they can pick up any simple prop and turn it into whatever they see in their fantastic imagination.  So my goal was to make it special, but keep it simple.

I went to my favorite cheap fabric store, Fabrix.  It carries “off-price surplus and closeout fabrics and trims” so it’s hit or miss what you’ll find in there, but sometimes you come across something perfect for a really low price.  I get a lot of my solid knits there when I find good colors.  Anyways, I walked in hoping to score some blue knit when I laid my eyes on this:

Frozen fractal fabric from Fabrix

And the words that immediately popped into my head were FROZEN.  FRACTALS.

Now, I have no clue what frozen fractals even look like, but if you’re familiar with the song, “Let it Go,” Elsa belts those words as she is constructing her beautiful ice castle at the climax of the song.  Here are the images from the movie that I think of when I see this fabric and what became the inspiration behind the dress.

Let it Go - ice castle scenes

I actually went back to the store to see if I could buy more yardage to give away to one of you, but it was already gone!!  :(

And that’s the actual Queen Elsa dress.  So with those images in my head, I went to design a simple and kid friendly dress.  Along with two yards of that frozen fractal knit, I got two yards of whatever sparkly tulle they had and a little bit of trim, all of it costing about $2.39 per yard.  Score!  For the sleeves and top of the bodice I used leftover burnout knit that I think probably also came from Fabrix, but I used in this shirt here.

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

I started with the ever awesome Flashback Skinny Tee pattern by Made by Rae for the bodice.  I widened the neckline to more of a boatneck shape, but I think I went a little too wide and deep.  I brought the sides in a little, rather than slightly flaring out at the bottom, shortened the bodice and changed the shape of the bottom to a slightly curved V.  I cut the pattern along the colorblocked lines that you see and added seam allowance to attach the pieces.  The sleeves are unmodified.

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

I was just going to make the dress purely knit and leave off any tulle so that I could throw the dress in the washer and dryer without working about it.  But I worried that it looked too plain and not special enough, so I gathered some of the tulle and attached it with the skirt.  I like the way it looks, but it does make cleaning the dress a bit harder.

Elsa Inspired Dress by you & mie

Watch out!  Ice power! 

With the rest of the tulle, I gathered it a bit and zig zag stitched it to a piece of sparkly elastic from Jo-Ann, to make the cape.  Elsa doesn’t even wear a crown for the second half of the movie, but Yuki wanted one, so I sewed some trim onto a piece of craft felt, and folded and sewed the bottom 1/2 inch to make a casing to slide a headband through.  Took me just a couple of minutes – yay!

She loves it.  She wants to wear it every minute of the day.  She’s started telling people her name is Elsa.  I’m happy that she is happy, but I really hope this phase doesn’t last forever because I can really only handle listening to “Let it Go” so many times.

Queen Elsa does her chores // you & mie

And the Queen does her chores.  She wore her well-earned dress to a Sing-Along Frozen showing at the Castro Theater over the weekend.  Her classmate wore a beautiful mom-made dress as well.  They got to walk across the stage in front of the entire theater with all the other kids in costumes.  She belted out the words to her favorite songs and stuffed her face with popcorn.  She said it was the best day ever :)

Queen Elsa and her baby sister // you & mie

Lullaby Layette Baby Jacket

Oliver + S Lullaby Layette Jacket // by you & mie

Did you hear?  The new Oliver + S spring patterns have been released!  There are two adorable spring dresses/tops, and a baby/toddler layette pattern set.  I’m so excited to help roll out these patterns by sharing a couple of things I made.  I looove the dresses, but was eager to give the Lullaby Layette patterns a try first.  The set comes with 4 views – a bodysuit, a shirt, pants and a jacket and covers sizes 0-24 months.

Oliver + S Lullaby Layette Jacket // by you & mie

The first thing I made was the raglan style, reversible jacket (View D).  I’m always looking for cute outerwear for Kaya.  She’s got plenty of onesies, but it can get chilly in all seasons around here, so a jacket is always a must.  The pattern calls for wovens, but says knits can be used too.  So I definitely wanted to give the knits a try – it just seems like it’d be warm and cozy.

I made size 3-6 months for Kaya who is approaching 6 months.  I debated whether I should go with the 6-12 month size for longer wear, but the smaller size still has plenty of room to grow.

Oliver + S Lullaby Layette Jacket // by you & mie

The pattern, as you can expect from all Oliver + S patterns, is wonderful.  I love the glossary of sewing techniques that they include at the beginning of every pattern – you can learn a lot just by reading that part alone!  But then this set includes 3 separate patterns (one that can be made in 2 ways) and each has well written directions with great diagrams.  You always get really professional quality clothes when you use O+S patterns and you learn a ton of great sewing skills.

The construction of this jacket is pretty simple and it comes together quickly.  It is raglan style, with a simple pleat in the shoulder.  You make the jacket and the lining in the exact same way and then attach them together (in a seemingly) seamlessly way that doesn’t require any flipping inside out and hand stitching closed.  The hardest part of the whole process was attaching the snaps.  I had a helluva time with them, until I realized I was doing it wrong.  Once I figured it out it went a little better, but I had one fall off after I thought I was all done.  I used the “Easy Attacher” (affiliate link) which actually helped a lot, but Kristin said that the snap fastener pliers (affiliate link) are even better.

Oliver + S Lullaby Layette Jacket // by you & mie

One of my goals for 2014 was to try use more fabric from my stash, and though I haven’t stopped buying new fabric completely, I am trying to search through what I have before I buy more fabric and notions.  And it’s been fun finding old fabrics and giving them new life when paired with something unexpected.  Both this jacket and the bodysuit that I’ll share later this week were completely made with stuff I already had at home!  Yay me!  :P

Oliver + S Lullaby Layette Jacket // by you & mie

The mustard knit is from Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley and I bought it awhile back to make Yuki a cardigan.  I cut it out and everything, but it never got made.  I don’t even know what happened to those pieces, but hopefully I’ll find them again in time for Kaya to wear.  Anyways, there was enough fabric left to cut out this jacket!  It seemed perfect for baby outerwear – a sturdier, thicker knit, but still had some stretch.  Someone on Instagram asked me if it was “ponte,” and I don’t actually know what that is!  But I looked it up online and the description seems to match pretty closely.  Anyone else have a guess?

Oliver + S Lullaby Layette Jacket // by you & mie

The other side is a white/black striped knit that I’ve also had forever and used for the shirt in this outfit.  It’s pretty thin, so it was nice to be able to pair it with the thicker mustard knit.  And the pink bias tape was originally going to be used to bind a baby blanket/quilt that never happened.  I do love this kinda funky and modern combination of colors.

Oliver + S Lullaby Layette Jacket // by you & mie

So now Yuki – eek, Kaya!  I honestly just typed Yuki’s name.  Do you guys mix up your kids names all the time too!?  Anyways, Kaya has a new jacket for this transition into spring.  Oh and yes, spring!  It’s coming, can you feel it!?  Soooo exciting!

I’ll be back with a truly springy/summery bodysuit for Kaya later this week.  What are you sewing for the spring?

*This pattern was generously given to me for this review, but all opinions are, as always, 100% my own.*