Posts Tagged ‘back-to-school’

Kid-friendly Elasticized Sneakers DIY


Penelope starts Kindergarten officially on Monday. We’re all thrilled about this transition. She is ready to face the big wide world of school.


It’s been fun to make and buy school clothes for her. I haven’t been very adventurous in the buying department, sticking to Walmart and Target for the essentials. It’s not like it matters. Yet.

I found these cute sneakers for $5, but they had white laces in them. White laces get dingy and Penelope’s not quite ready to tie her own shoes yet. So I replaced the laces with some fancy-pants elastic. I just threaded the holes and sewed the two ends together. Boom. Done. She’s ready to slip these on and off at a moment’s notice. You can do it too! Try out a cute fold over elastic
or a picot elastic.

Next up: the backpack. We had a fun conversation in the car about what kind of backpack she should get. I think we’ve got a fun little craft project up our sleeves. Looking forward to sharing her creativity with you soon.

What preparations have you been working on for the school year? Any fun crafty projects?

Sewing: Pattern Anthology Tour


Did you ever do that dumb thing in school when you were given practically an entire semester to write a paper, but you wait until the last night to sew it? I mean write it? Then when you sit down to write it, you end up having all sorts of problems with saving the file, printing and your sewing machine . . . I mean computer?

Working as hard as I do on my calligraphy and graphic design business, I really need to get better at “defending my time”, as Chris calls it. He’s right. I need to do the hard things first. And I need to get them done early. That, or I’ll just sleep when I’m dead.


I was asked to participate in a back-to-school sewing tour for Pattern Anthology. I don’t normally accept these things, but since Penelope is heading off to her first year of Kindergarten and our fabric and notions would be provided, I accepted.


These patterns are meant to be blank slates for boys or girls open for interpretation and mixing. It’s been fun to see the other looks roll out thus far and see how much they vary one from another. Some ladies went all out fancy pants for their kids.

I kept things simple with these patterns, omitting zippers and pockets where ever I could get away with. Penelope is terribly rough on her clothes. I don’t want to spend a load of time creating something fancy just to see her rip out a knee just days or even minutes after. Simple it was.


The Recess Raglan was easy. 30 minutes from printing the PDF to a finished garment. I didn’t finish the hem or the sleeves because I liked how the bodice fabric rolled nicely, and I didn’t want to spend more time on the shirt than completely necessary.

Penelope was really excited to pick out the fabrics. I found both at Girl Charlee; the tribal print was just about sold out, I got the last half yard. I just barely squeaked out the shirt and the pant details. I wish I knew the manufacturer’s info on that print. I want some for me.


The BBC Vest was sort of easy. I assumed a 5/8 inch seam allowance (it was 3/8) and ended up making more work for myself with the collar construction. It all worked out though, and I think this vest works adorably for girls or boys. I omitted the peplum cut because I knew this would be the most versatile. I used an amazing chambray from Michael Levine and an un-dyed, lightweight organic cotton voile from Organic Cotton Plus.

Penelope has a little orange hippo button that I’ve misplaced recently. She wants it on the lapel and I’m happy to oblige. Next time, I want to make the front armscye come in a bit more.


The W Pants were easier than I thought, but I overcomplicated in spots. I wanted to use the stripe bandage knit from Girl Charlee, but it’s a bit see-through. Hating to see penelope’s day-glo underwear on display, I lined the pants with more of that white cotton voile. So worth it.


The sizing is big, so I took in the legs and the crotch seam about 1 1/2 inch or so. Next time I’ll size down to a 4T. The instructions for the fly zip are very clear, but I was too tired. Faux zip it was. I spent a little extra time top-stitching each major seam. Coats & Clark has me converted to using topstitch thread. It looks so much more professional.

I have about 3/4 of a yard left of the chambray from Michael Levine, I may have to make a real zip version of these pants for Penelope.


The Study Hall Jacket was a beast. I started it late, just about broke my sewing machine with the elastic and top-stitching thread. But it’s cute. Like little bumblebee cute.

I would reduce the recommended elastic length, it just didn’t gather as much in the back as I would like. I’m not un-picking and fixing, though. I also didn’t really get the lining assembly instructions so I ended up sewing the lining in by hand. Fit is true to size, borderline short in the arms (but I think Miss Penelope has mommy’s ape-like arms). I knew this piece would take me forever, so I made it gender-neutral. A good hand-me-down for Felix.

Penelope sure loves it. I’ve never worked with a separating zip before, but they’re so much easier to install than regular zippers. The jacket doesn’t match the rest of her outfit, but I figured if I was going to spend the time to create a full-on jacket for Penelope, I wouldn’t worry about matching it up to just one outfit. The yellow twill is from Organic Cotton Plus, the rib knit from Girl Charlee and the zipper from Coats & Clark.


Overall, these patterns are a great way to get a solid block for basic kid’s clothes in your library. Thumbs up! You can view/purchase the entire collection here.

My pain points? I dislike assembling PDF patterns and each pattern has different seam allowances. Still, sewing this collection was a good challenge for me to get my butt in gear before school starts.

Alphabet Collection Blog Tour

Check out each interpretation of the collection as it’s unveiled: girl. Inspired.Shwin & ShwinSew a Straight Lineelsie marleyMelly SewsHappy Togethersee kate sew,Elegance & ElephantsI Still Love Youkojo designs, Petit a Petit and FamilyThe Train to CrazyDelia Creates and Craftiness is Not Optional

All fabric and notions provided by companies mentioned above. Enter code PA10 for 10% off your order at Michael Levine and PATANTHO for 10% off your order at Girl Charlee.


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