At Least You got Him Into It

Dear Erin,

You’re right, I don’t have a sewing machine. I do, however, have a few ways to work around that.

Let’s talk today about something I’ve already created, though.


The sweater!

Poor Little Man doesn’t look very happy, does he? He’s just a little too big for it, although it might do in a pinch for a couple weeks. Maybe.

The pattern is called Sweet William, and it’s supposed to look like this:

Hmm, none of the kids wearing this seem super happy; maybe I should take the hint. So, yeah, that teal blue mess around the yoke is supposed to look like bunnies. The problem is that I’ve never done color work before, and it’s a skill that (apparently) takes some practice to master the muscle movements – specifically, holding the yarns loosely enough to not bunch up the fabric and make it constricting. I’ve more or less mastered the basics of lace, cabling, fabric and (really basic) garment construction. It was time to add something new to the mix.


You can sort of see one of the bunnies here. (If you use your imagination.)

I did enjoy the process, and I liked the pattern, so you might be seeing it again in a couple of years – hopefully better done. I’ve got the yarn to make one for Little Mister in the meantime, so at least I’ll have one more go at it before inflicting it on you again. (I’ve also got the yarn leftovers from this iteration to make a bigger size if you like it and want it redone.)

The yarn is Mirasol Yarns Sulka Legato (in “Taupe” and “Teal”). Didn’t get gauge, as mentioned before, accommodated for that – I thought – and it still came out really tiny. Also: wool, alpaca, and silk, so not terribly practical either, but I JUST COULDN’T HELP MYSELF. The yarn was so soft and pretty and went together so well. Didn’t think they would work for my boy but figured yours could rock the colors.


So here’s the whole thing, and you can see how it draws in around the shoulders, which it’s not supposed to do.

But whatever, it was a learning experience, and it not being perfect is not the end of the world. It’s fixable if we want to fix it and eventually replaceable if we don’t.

Not for awhile, though, because the list of things in front of it is fairly alarming in length, considering my speed (or lack thereof) these days.

And first on the list is that coat, which has an actual deadline, as Charles helpfully reminded me the other day – not a “mostly dead” line or a “not-quite-dead” line.


And They’re Done!

Dear Kristen,

Don’t ask me about making patterns.  I am not capable of doing that well AT ALL.  The very thought that there are people out there who can make a pattern is fascinating to me – so I think yours is awesome!

I will say though, I didn’t know you had a sewing machine….

I just put mine away for the day.  (The sewing table is also the eating table here in our bungalow – and guests are on their way! They will need a place to eat and I doubt they seriously want to eat crammed in next to my machine.) That means, the costumes here are done.  (Sigh-for dramatic effect)





Yesterday, we went to Munchkin’s school’s Trunk or Treat, which I mentioned was the plan.  She loved it.  She got candy, her dad promised to get candy she’s allowed to eat so he could have the candy with red dye, it was a success.  My heart, however, needed to repent a fair amount during the event.

There were a lot of very well put together costumes.  Some were fancy, some were simple, and most were store bought.  And looking at my daughter, I felt self-conscience.  But the Lord is gracious, and by the end of the event He showed me that Munchkin cared NOTHING that her costume was simple and homemade, she cared only about being a part of the event (and getting candy).  And it really doesn’t matter what other people (mostly strangers) thought of her costume or its maker.  (And let’s be honest, probably no one was thinking about it anyways.) It only matters that I know who I belong to and she knows that we love her.

So…by the end I felt the fun and hilarity of making costumes for toddlers and babies and it wasn’t a weight, it was a joy.

Things to Remember in Costume Making:

  1. If you let your toddler pick out her own shirt – it’s probably not going to match.
  2. A baby is NOT going to wear Mickey ears.  He will only want to eat them.  Don’t bother making them.
  3. Hot glue is a wonderful tool – don’t discard it because “you can sew anything.”
  4. If your daughter’s hair is very fine and silky – consider this fact when constructing the Minnie headband.  Otherwise you will be carrying it the whole time. (Which I did.)
  5. Forget about the gloves.  Entirely.
  6. Consider learning how to see in the future so you can buy yellow socks for the Mickey costume in advance.  There will be no yellow socks in the stores in October – except Minion socks.
  7. Your baby may have small feet, but you should still measure them.  Otherwise you won’t be able to get the Mickey shoes on and you will have no more yellow felt left to fix them.
  8. If they have fun and love the costume, its a win.


Lesson for you – no matter how the coat turns out – Little Mister will have a WONDERFUL time, so it will be a success!

Slowly, Slowly

Dear Erin,

Oh my gosh, they all need to go as Doctor Who characters one year, even though they’ll be celebrating across the country from each other. But I can just see a full TARDIS team in my head, and it’s awesome! We could get pictures of them together that Thanksgiving or Christmas. (Now that I’ve imagined it all, this must happen.)

Wait, wait! Us too. I would totally dress up for that.

Munchkin will be an adorable Pink Minnie; that’s much more mainstream than a fairy cucumber. I hope she likes her costume when it’s done as I suspect it will look slightly different from the one in the picture.

As far as Little Mister’s coat this year, this is what I’ve got so far.


So that’s a basic sketch of the desired finished product, a list of measurements, and then an attempt at sketching out the pieces of the coat with the measurements and minimal seams accounted for. I’m not doing a lining – just the coat shell, made out of a camel-colored felt, with the red piping around the edges.

Any obvious mistakes yet that you can see? That’s the neck on the bottom of the last page, with the lapel on the same sheet above it. I really feel like that is not the right shape, but I couldn’t envision it otherwise. What I had to work with was a bunch of pictures of the finished coat and one line drawing of the basic shape. (Research in pop culture / men’s fashion is not my strong suit. – Oops, I didn’t realize that was a pun. Really. Not that I’m going to change it. – Ask me to find an obscure academic article from the 1920’s on Chaucer and no problem, but finding the sewing pattern I want for free with minimal effort, not so much.)

If I crash and burn, I’m out about $7 and some of my pride. LM can go without the coat if necessary, but it’s kind of the statement piece of the outfit.

Oh, and don’t tell Charles, but now that I’m doing this, sewing is starting to sound fun again. Just what I need, another skill / craft I haven’t got time to practice. But maybe someday. It can get in line somewhere around weaving and spinning.

LM is unimpressed with how long this whole process is taking.

LM is unimpressed with how long this whole process is taking.

In the meantime, I know you haven’t gotten the sweater yet, so we’ll put that off until maybe next week. Also, we never made it to the pumpkin patch. It got hot again. But early next week is slated to be cool and overcast, so we’re looking to meet up with some friends and have a fun day of it. Tell you all about it when it happens!

Halloween! Boooooooooooo……..

Dear Kristen,

Sorry for my absence.

But I’m back! And excited to see how Little Mister’s jacket turns out. Halloween time is confusing for the Munchkin over here – and might be the death of me. Metaphorically of course.  (As I am reflecting on Halloween when we were little and comparing it to now – Mom, you were amazing!  The complexity of this years costume is MINIMAL at best.  You far exceeded what I’m about to do 100 times over.)

So we ran the gamut of various costumes for the Munchkin, as mentioned before. She wanted to be a cucumber, fairy, dancer, etc. until finally settling on…

Minnie Mouse.

I think it has something to do with seeing this costume when we were out shopping for pants for her dad.

Image via

From that point on, its been all Minnie – pink Minnie, to be specific. This is the Minnie that appears on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I tried to get her to consider the classic red and white Minnie…nope. Also tried to combine necessities, i.e. pink shoes and cowboy boots that fit (so, pink cowboy boots)…nope.

So, here we are, a little over a week until Halloween and I have all the working for a handmade Minnie Mouse costume. But I actually only have until Sunday afternoon – that’s when her school’s Trunk of Treat is. The key to success? Using things that can be used as other things.

Translation: I’m making her a polka dot skirt which will get done today; the pink top is a shirt she picked out and she WILL wear on a normal day (or else); ears that will take probably 15 minutes to make; black tights and currently non-existent pink shoes. Doable.

Now, Little Man. Poor Little Man. His costume is dependent on his sister. At least for now. I really considered this:

Image via

But, since he was a cow to her cowgirl last year, he will be Mickey to her Minnie this year.

And her cow...

And her cow…

2014 - Cowgirl - Munchkin's choice

2014 – Cowgirl – Munchkin’s choice

To content myself for the time being, I’ve had fun looking at possible things for future Halloweens when I won’t feel pressured by a four year old to match her brother to her costume.


The Doctor

Image via

A Dinosaur

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Or Marty McFly

Happy Back to the Future Day – a day late.

Spooky Night Looming

Dear Erin,

I continue to procrastinate on the Halloween coat, although the rest of the outfit is coming together:


In the meantime, this week is allotted to visiting the pumpkin patch. I think everyone else on Facebook went this past weekend and posted pictures, so he and I will trip-trop down to Morgan Hill for our visit this week sometime. It’s cool and overcast today, so the weather might be more seasonable than it was last year, when this was the only face he’d make for the camera:


Now he’ll probably just refuse to sit still to get his picture taken and will instead keep trying to take selfies and press all the buttons on the camera.

In the meantime, while I’m putting off making the coat, I’ve been knitting again. Finished Little Man’s sweater (which is going in the mail to you today) and moved on to something that is bright, bright pink. Whereas the last project was satisfying in that it challenged me with new techniques, this one looks like it will satisfy through the simple overabundance of COLOR.

More on Friday, assuming you’ve received the sweater…