Thursday, December 30, 2010

To: 3,067,591,189

Our family has squeezers, shakers, peekers, lifters and shufflers. So to try to keep the contents of Christmas gifts a secret until the big reveal, I don't put who each gift is for on the package. In previous years, I write the name on the bottom of the wrapped gift in small letters. Usually I can see it, but everyone else has trouble finding it. But my children have all caught on and know to look for names or initials and then they proceed to shake, squeeze, lift, shuffle or peek. So I tried something different this year. I used numbers.

As I wrapped gifts in my bedroom, I'd place the just finished wrapped gifts with a gift tag that said something like, "To: 5, From: Papa and Mama". Then the middles would retrieve the gift and place it under the tree. Except that they had no idea what number they were. It definitely helped build up the anticipation and fun. My children all got me back though. I was given the above gift. 3,067,591,189. That's me. And they sent me on treasure hunt throughout the house and even outside (in the cold, in my robe!) to find my gift.  They definitely had the last say. But I'll do it again next year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

4 Dresses

Well, I did a better job at sewing than I did at blogging. I doubt that you were hanging on pins and needles (no pun intended) wondering if I'd get all 4 dresses done before Christmas Eve.  Well, guess what!

Done! Not without a few problems and delays along the way. (Of course I checked the length of the skirt on Emma before cutting it out. She must have grown 6 inches overnight!) 

I couldn't have gotten them finished without the help of my family - they pitched in with cooking, laundry, shopping, and cleaning while I feverishly worked on the dresses for the girls. I literally finished them an hour and a half before we had to leave for church. Phew!! I still need to adjust the back closures a bit, and the fabric for the sashes never arrived, so I quickly cut a sash for Maddie from some ribbon I happened to have. The other girls looked adorable even without a sash. My only regret was not getting better pictures of all 4 girls in their matching Christmas dresses.

Go ahead. Tell me how adorable they all look.

And since I did the sewing in the middle of all the other Christmas-y things - shopping, wrapping, visiting, caring for sick children (you mean that isn't a Christmas tradition for all families?), schooling, and trying to keep the house from falling apart, I think I'm going to settle down for a long winter's nap!

Friday, December 10, 2010

4 Dresses, 14 days (day 3)

Um. Well. This is where I post what I was able to do on the dresses.  Look at this cool photo my son edited for me: 

Oh, you already saw that? You want something new? Sorry. Between schooling, homing, parenting, etc. there was no sewing accomplished. But that's ok. I spent the day thinking and planning how I would make the bodices fit the little girls. Yep. That's my story.

4 Dresses, 15 days (Day 2)

Wednesday - I traced the pattern pieces I will need for Emma, Sophie and Allie. They're all just about the same size the bodice, so this should be a smooth process.  Then I cut the pieces out in muslin to test and stitched it up, and tried it on Sophie for size. Uh-oh. Apparently I did something wrong. The chest fits pretty well, although a little big, but the waist is WAY too small. So I measured Sophie again and compared her measurements to those on the pattern. Nope, I did it right. The size 1 dress should fit her with a bit of room. So then I looked at the directions and the pieces I traced. Yep, sewed everything together correctly. Yep, traced them correctly too. (Go me!) So I took out my tape measure and measured out the pattern, added it all up, subtracted for seams, and came out 3 inches too small in the waist. Fortunately, Sense and Sensibility Patterns has a FANTASTIC degree of customer service, so I hopped onto the forum and posted my dilemma. A few emails later, and it appears that there's a good possibility the pattern was printed incorrectly.

After taking a dinner break, thank you to my wonderful husband for cooking so I could focus on figuring out how to alter the pattern, I went back to the original, decided to change the seam allowance to 3/8" instead of the allowed 5/8", and slashed the back pattern pieces (there are 3 of them) from the bottom to add 1/4" to each one, which should give me the 3" I need in the waist. (Yes, math really is a useful subject.)  I cut new muslin pieces, restitched it, and tried it on Emma - Sophie was not very cooperative - and it fit! Almost. Now the chest was too big (probably because I changed ALL the seams to 3/8"), but with a tuck here and a fold there, we might have a workable pattern. Woohoo!

(Sorry, no cool photos edited by my son today.)

4 Dresses, 16 Days

I haven't sewn anything other than a quilt for Allie in years. Years. But then I saw this pattern. It's beautiful. And I decided it would be a perfect Christmas dress for my youngest girls, and my granddaughter. I ordered it, I bought muslin, I traced the patterns I'd need. And then I got so busy I didn't have time to work on it. Until I realized that Christmas was coming pretty quickly, and if I wanted these dresses done, I'd better get busy. So I thought I'd blog about it.  And my oldest son even made the very cool photo you see above. Love that boy!

I started working on the dresses on Tuesday, December 7. I wrote a blog post about what I did. And then blogger deleted it. I'm not going to try to rewrite the post, but just know that on Tuesday I worked on Maddie's muslin. It's a little snug over her head and will need some adjustments, but I don't think it will be too bad.


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