Toddler Backpack

toddler backpack using made by rae pattern {chirpy threads}

So this may sound kind of lame, but this backpack was made a few months ago (way back in 2012)!  I didn’t have the time to blog about it then but here it is now!

I was super excited to have finally bought the toddler backpack pattern by Made by Rae. I had been drooling over these backpacks for the longest time! I don’t know why I waited so long to get it – but it’s a good thing because Rae had updated it with instructions for adding a lining and enlarging the pattern.  Yay!

toddler backpack using made by rae pattern {chirpy threads}

I used this little cars fabric by Kokka Japan that I had purchased from a local store called Momen+ but Fabricworm has a great selection of Japanese import fabrics too.  It’s so hard to find cute fabric for boys so I instantly fell in love with this print at the store.

toddler backpack using made by rae pattern {chirpy threads}

I just love little backpacks on kids.  It’s the most adorable thing ever!

Anyway, many firsts happened for me here!  It was the first time I ever sewed piping.  And it was the first time I sewed a zipper.  And I think it went pretty swell!  I was totally nervous about screwing up the piping so I looked up tutorials and found this awesome one.  It was so helpful.  I prefer to join the cords together rather than overlapping them for a cleaner look.  Plus, it was so much easier to do it this way!  So proud of myself.  Of course, I was also sewing at the slowest possible speed.  Ha!

toddler backpack using made by rae pattern {chirpy threads}

The backpack turned out just a little bit floppy (even with the lining) but once it’s stuffed, it looks fine.  Next time around, I will add interfacing.

This is such a great pattern to have on hand.  It was $8 but so worth it, especially since I’ve decided that this would be my go-to gift for all the little toddlers I know!

xoxo, Jen

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Felt New Year’s Eve Party Hat for Toddler

NYE party hat

Wow…this is it — my last blog post of the year!  In case you didn’t know, I’m a very last minute person.  We went to a party store just today to look for party hats and favors and, not surprisingly, they were sold out of many New Year’s items.  They don’t make much for little ones either.

So we dashed home so I could make Ethan a hat before we went back out for New Year’s Eve festivities.  I really wanted to make a classic black top hat, but I didn’t have any black felt on hand (boo!) so I used light heather gray instead.  The letters were cut using my Silhouette Cameo machine.  It’s actually the first time I’ve used it and I’m in love!  No more tedious tracing and cutting out letters for me again.  Yay!

I used these instructions here and here to make the hat.

NYE party hat

Now I'm ready to party like it's 2013!

Now I’m ready to party like it’s 2013!

Happy New Year!  Be safe!

xoxo, Jen

Royal King Costume

This year, Ethan all of a sudden turned into an opinionated and imaginative little boy.  When we asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween, he insisted he wanted to be a dinosaur… that lasted for about one week.  He changed his mind several times after that — a doctor, then a monster, then back to a dinosaur.  Since I was too lazy to make him a dinosaur costume (they’re a lot of work!), I scoured the net to find him the perfect dinosaur costume.  I finally found one at Pottery Barn Kids, only to find out they were out of his size!  Ugh.  So I asked if he wanted to be a dragon instead and he willingly agreed.  I ordered it from Old Navy.  Done!

So when we had a Halloween event to attend and the dragon costume hadn’t arrived the day before, I panicked … just a little.  It was a costume party and my little boy didn’t have a costume to wear!  I thought fast and came up with something fairly easy – I’ll make him a crown, cape, and pants, and he will be a royal king!  He could always wear these simple pieces again when playing dress-up!  This was actually already on my project list, so it was one thing I could finally cross off.

For the crown, I used felt, muslin, and elastic for the band.  I made up my own pattern for this one.  I traced my pattern onto the felt, cut out two of the same pieces and sewed them together.  I cut out three diamond shapes and sewed them on to the front of the crown for a regal look.  I also sewed some pretty gold rickrack along the bottom of it.  I then made a muslin tube and ran elastic through it for the band. It was super easy.  I know I’ll be making more of these in the future.

The cape was made out of a crushed panne velvet found at Joann – on sale and super cheap.  It’s basically a big rectangle with elastic for the neckband.  I sewed some of the gold rickrack along both sides of the cape.  Simple and easy and it looks great!  I’ll probably be making more of these in different colors too.

The pants were made using the simple pants pattern by Lotta Jansdotter in her book Simple Sewing for Baby.  It’s basically two pieces sewn together along the outer sides and inside curve of the pants.  When I first saw this pattern, I couldn’t believe how simple it was.  They really are simple pants!  I only made a few changes.  I sewed the casing for the elastic a half an inch from the top of the pants to create a little ruffle effect at the top.  I did the same for each of the pant legs so that they could be hiked up just below the knee.  Of course Ethan didn’t like this idea – he kept trying to pull both pant legs down so they ended up being an awkward length!  But I think they still looked cute on him.

And that completed the outfit!  I didn’t have time to make him a scepter like I planned – but he wouldn’t have held on to it anyway!  Total cost of costume was less than $5.   My kind of project!!

Happy Halloween!

xoxo, Jen

Simple Art Smock / Apron

Yes, after a crazy long hiatus from blogging and sewing, I am finally back in the game — and it feels so darn good!

The last few months have been pretty chaotic – we moved from Michigan to California and have been acclimating to the area and culture out here – but I’m happy to say that we are mostly settled now.

And that means… back to sewing!  Yay!!  Now let’s get to the important stuff.

I recently enrolled Ethan into a Messy Art class and he is loving it.  I thought I’d make him his very own art smock or apron to wear to class and also at home on those crafty days.

There are so many amazing toddler patterns out there to choose from but in the end, I decided on something simple — just your plain old classic apron that ties in the back.  So I created my own.

I love the photo in the middle.  That was Ethan “striking a pose”!  Gotta love the mind of a toddler!

The apron was super easy to make.  I cut out the shape of the apron and then sewed bias tape around the entire thing.  I even added a pocket at the bottom to store his little goodies (which are mostly rocks these days).

I took Ethan to this cute little fabric store I discovered in the area (called Momen+) and he chose the laminated monkey fabric for his apron.  I was ecstatic – I loved the fabric too!  It’s from the Urban Zoologie collection by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman.  The entire collection is super cute.  I was excited to find fabric that I actually liked for boys.  Total win!

I was a little nervous about sewing with laminated fabric but the bias tape made it a little easier as I didn’t have to sew directly on the laminated surface.  My needle did break for the first time though – and I wondered if it was because the needle type wasn’t compatible with the fabric.  But it was an easy fix – luckily I had one more needle at hand!

I’m pretty happy with the results.  It fits Ethan perfectly.  I sewed at night and wasn’t able to get his measurements so I took a t-shirt and based the sizing on that.

This is really such an easy project – perfect for beginner sewers!  I think I’ll be making more of these in the future!

And I leave you with a picture of Ethan getting busy in his art class! MESSY!!!

xoxo, Jen

Coolest Piggy Bank Ever

Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve last blogged (over a month – whoa)!  Totally unacceptable, right?  It’s been sort of a crazy month for me with my sister visiting, Ethan’s birthday (he turned TWO on Tuesday!), and making plans for the future.  We’ll be moving to LA from Ann Arbor this summer and it’s been pretty stressful trying to plan out the move, especially since I’m so comfortable here in Ann Arbor now.  But that’s life, eh?

Anyway, I thought I’d share with you the impulse purchase I made today at a local toy store, Mudpuddles, in Kerrytown, Ann Arbor.  Ethan loves that store.  I always take him there to play after I get my java fix at Sweetwaters downstairs.  They have an awesome train table there and also lots of floor samples to test.  We stumbled upon some cute wooden piggy banks that depicted various animals.  The coins are inserted into a small opening in its mouth and funneled down to its belly.  Ethan had a blast feeding (all my) coins down each animal’s mouth.  It was the cutest thing ever.  And so I had to get one for him (even though it is half the size of him)!  This is how I justified it – it keeps him entertained, it is a great piece of room décor, it is made out of wood and beautifully handcrafted, made in the USA, and it will be used for many years as a bank.  Done!  It was a very close call between the alligator and the giraffe but Ethan ultimately chose the alligator.  Perfect.

I also researched the company who makes these banks at the store (iPhones … gotta love them) while Ethan was rummaging through my wallet for more coins.  The bank is made by Big Belly Banks, a small family business – which makes me like them even more!  They have a bigger selection of banks on their site – go check them out!  I’m pretty satisfied with my purchase!

xoxo, Jen

One Teaspoon Full

Ethan requested his colorful Cheerios cereal and blueberries for breakfast this morning.  I gave him one of his usual spoons to eat with. Yes, with a 21-month-old, this was a disaster waiting to happen!  And sure enough, the little monster made a huge mess.  Milk was all over the place.

But I didn’t blame him.  He was using the spoon correctly.  The spoon was just a little too flat for scooping up milk and cereal.  I looked through all of his other spoons to find a better one.  Hmmm, they all looked about the same.  Pretty flat and not rounded or deep enough for holding liquids.  Then it hit me — I’ll give him a measuring spoon!  I could only find a clean teaspoon one, so that’s what he got.  And I have to tell you, it worked like a charm!  The cereal rings and blueberries stayed on the spoon.  So proud of myself for quickly thinking on my feet – because I rarely do that anymore since having a baby.

another spoon added to the collection

Anyway, this will be his new go-to spoon — and I didn’t even need to spend a dime!  Perfect for macaroni, peas, rice, mashed potatoes, ice cream (yes, he eats ice cream sometimes – with sprinkles too!), and everything else!

and here he is, testing out each of his spoons, eating his pretend “mac-mac”

Happy Leap Day!

xoxo, Jen

Oliver + S bucket hat

We are going to Cancun in a couple weeks for a friend’s wedding.  I’m excited since I’ve never been before.  It will be so nice to be in warm weather and see some sun, sand and water!

I’ve decided that it was time to make Ethan the bucket hat from the Oliver + S Little Things to Sew book.  I thought, Ethan could use a sun hat while down in Mexico.  I love when I come across things that I just “need” to make.  🙂  By the way, this bucket hat pattern can also be found here for free.  I came across it while searching for images of other bucket hats for inspiration.

This was a fairly simple project.  The pattern was pretty straightforward.  The only part I had a little trouble with was the hand blind-stitching at the end to finish off the hat.  The hat is reversible, but I think Ethan will only be wearing one side of it (the side that wasn’t hand stitched).  Hehe.  I made the hat in a size 12-24 months and I think it’s a tad small on Ethan’s head so I plan to make him another one in a size 3-5 years.  That sounds so big (for a 20 month old) but I think the sizing must run small. Or perhaps I should have measured his head before I started the project!

And here’s one more picture of Ethan.  Yes, he was giving me the puppy dog face.  I think he was done and wanted me to stop taking pictures of him!  He wasn’t in the mood to model unless he could play with his pretend food (and have his pacifier).

xoxo, Jen