Berlin Winter Coat – pattern by Straightgrain

 

Alix (1 of 1)-6

This is the Berlin Winter Coat from StraightGrain.  It had been a while since I had undertaken a more complex sewing project… and I loved every second of it.  The finished product is impeccable, and something to be very proud of.  It’s described as a warm winter coat but in Ottawa, it makes a perfect spring jacket, ideal for a temperatures between 0 and 15 I would say.  Alix has been wearing it everyday this spring, as Canada is still quite chilly.

Alix (1 of 1)-2

The Caroline Party Dress for the Birthday Girl

Caroline Party Dress 1

Alix turned 4 this past Saturday.  I’m sure many would mourn the end of the baby years, those first words, those first steps, those toothless grins. But not me.  I’ll be honest.. those years were tough.  Like really really hard.  Maybe it’s me.  Maybe I’m not maternal enough (someone said that to me this week).  Or maybe I’m just a bit too critical of myself.

But now, I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Alix is funny; like hilarious; we can have real conversations; she listens well; she wants to please; she can dress herself and has an opinion as to what she likes and what she doesn’t like;  her idea of helping is actually helpful at times;  taking her shopping no longer results with me loosing my shit in the produce aisle, abandoning the cart and crying in the driver’s seat of our minivan (with Alix safely buckled in of course).  Yep, four will be a good year!

Caroline Party Dress 2

So to officially welcome this next year of Alix’s life, I went hard to work in my sewing room and created a birthday dress for Alix.  Do you recognize the pattern?  It’s the Caroline Party Dress my Mousehouse Creations.  Although I have used the bodice pattern in the past to make Alix’s Downton Abbey dress, I had made serious modifications to the entire pattern and had therefore not followed the instructions.  But this time around, I made almost no modifications.  Let me say that this is a really well drafted pattern, with clear and precise instructions.  Loved it!

Caroline Party Dress 8

What’s cool with this pattern is that depending on the fabric you choose, the dress will either look comfy and casual, or uber chic!  I went as girly and princess-y as I could muster.  I don’t think I’ve ever made anything so delicate looking!

The bodice fabric is a soft corral silk which ended up being easier to manipulate than I expected.  The outer skirt fabric, on the other hand, was complete hell.  But so beautiful, no?  Love those little gold specs on cream chiffon  Very sweet.

Caroline Party Dress 3

Caroline Party Dress 4

Do you like that lining fabric?  It’s Honey Honey by Kate Spain for Moda, purchased locally.

My friend Stacey pointed out recently that a beautiful lining fabric poking through showed the love that went behind the creation of the garment.  She’s so right… there’s so much love that goes behind these hand made garments and I like to think that a beautiful, soft and special lining is hugging my little girl.  She’s smart that Stacey!

Caroline Party Dress 5

Due to my choice of a transparent chiffon, serging the seam allowance was not an option.  Friends, I did my first French seams!  There will be more of those in my future!  Another slight modification I did was to stop the zipper at the bodice/skirt seam, otherwise the corral coloured zipper tape would have shown through the outer skirt.  Luckily, the pattern includes sufficient ease that shortening the zipper does not pose a problem in terms of putting the dress on or taking it off.  Good to know in case you run into the same issue..

Caroline Party Dress 6

Garment Characteristics

Pattern: Caroline Party Dress size 5 with collar and full lining

Fabric: bodice main– corral silk (or is it satin?); bodice lining – Honey Honey by Kate Spain for Moda; skirt main- cream chiffon with gold dots; skirt lining- cream silk fabric

Caroline Party Dress 7

Caroline Party Dress 9

Caroline Party Dress 10

Caroline Party Dress 11

Yep, I think the photo shoot is done.  Caroline Party Dress 12

Bonne anniversaire ma belle grande Alix!  Maman t’aime!!! XXX

 

The 12 Days of Christmas Sewing Series

Twelve Days of Christmas2

 

I recently participated in a sewing series called The Twelve Days of Christmas and as the creators of the series, Laura and Suz, are doing a round-up today, I thought I was the right time to recreate my post here.  Check out Craftstorming and Sew Pony to see 24 inspirational festive clothing creations made from sewists from all around the world!

*Oh, by the way, I received many questions about the background used for the photo shoot.  I’m working on a post that will let you know exactly how I did it… look for that shortly after Christmas.  

 ** And NO, I am still not done Maïan’s holiday dress… it’s presently spread out across my sewing table… fingers crossed it will be done before the 24th, gulp!!!!!

Alix and Gaëlle’s Holiday Dresses 2013

The holidays are a BIG DEAL for us and there will be many occasions to wear a pretty dress in the coming weeks.  So I made Gaëlle and Alix festive dresses BUT casual enough so that I wouldn’t completely freak out if they started rolling around on the floor (which they tend to do… a lot!!!).

Here they’re looking rather angelic, no? Not always so…

The 12 Days of Christmas3

Can you guess which pattern I followed?  It’s the Tinny Dress from An of Straightgrain.  I loved how many options An had injected into her pattern and felt that it allowed me to personalize the dresses for each girl.

For Gaëlle, I chose a Peter Pan collar, tulip sleeves, and a gathered skirt.

The 12 Days of Christmas9

The 12 Days of Christmas7

The 12 Days of Christmas2

To bring up the festive factor, I added a layer of tulle that peaks out at the bottom of the hem.

Twelve Days of Christmas5

Even though the pattern didn’t call for it, I lined both bodice and skirt in order to ensure that it would be warm enough for Gaëlle.  There was a bit of head scratching going on in my sewing room when came the time to attach the lining to the invisible zipper but I figured it out!

Twelve Days of Christmas7

This was my first time using piping!  I struggled a bit at the beginning (that’s putting it mildly… I am sure I made every possible mistake known to sewists) but I persevered and am super thrilled with the result.   Oh, there will be more piping in my future!!!

Twelve Days of Christmas4

For Alix, I opted for a sleeveless and collarless version of the Tinny dress.

The 12 Days of Christmas8

The 12 Days of Christmas6

Alix had requested a dress that would twirl so I went for the circle skirt option.

The 12 Days of Christmas5

Alix’s dress is also fully lined (now that I had figured out how to attach the invisible zipper to the lining!) with a fabric of her choice.  I have to admit I wouldn’t have matched the outer fabric to this particular lining fabric but it was important to me to make her something that she would love so I didn’t hesitate…

Twelve Days of Christmas8

Twelve Days of Christmas6

To bling up what would normally be a simple dress, I added a beautiful lace ribbon and a glitzy belt buckle.  The ribbon is sewed in place so that it doesn’t move around or fold over when she moves.

Twelve Days of Christmas3

I tried various options for the back but settled on two simple knots.  I didn’t feel anything more was needed.

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And these will be Alix’s and Gaëlle’s outfit for this holiday season!

Twelve Days of Christmas 1

Now I feel a bit guilty as I don’t have two girls… I have THREE girls!  Poor Maïan’s dress isn’t even started… but do not fret!!!  She will get something lovely too and for those interested in sewing for tweens, I’ll make sure to post that on my  blog shortly.

Our French Canadian Holiday

Suz and Laura asked us to share a bit of family Christmas traditions.

Our family does not practice any religion so our holidays are more cultural and are all about family, food, gift giving, outdoor activities, and of course “le Père Noël” (Santa Claus)!  Here’s an overview of our holidays:

December 1st to 23rd:  There will be various parties and celebrations on  the weekends;  at Chaughan’s workplace, the association puts together an amazing Christmas party for the children, complete with lunch, gifts, a magician, bagpipes and of course, a visit from Santa!  At daycare, the girls will be putting on a sweet Christmas concert, complete with dancing and traditional French Canadian songs.  We’ll also have a pre-Christmas dinner at my parent’s condo on the 22nd.

December 24th:  I am working but will bring the girls in with me as the office organizes a kids party;  we are normally told to go home early, around noon.  After a quick nap for Gaëlle, we will get all bundled up and head off to my brother Alain’s place where we will celebrate with his family as well as with my parents.  There will be lots of eating, drinking and gift giving.  There is also bound to be lots of traditional French Canadian music being played and sung! (If you’re curious as to what that might sound like, click here to see a Youtube video of traditional French Canadian music…)

We’ll be getting home late that night and once the little ones are in bed, Père Noël will stop by to lay out gifts under our Christmas tree (always a real tree!), as well as stuff the stockings hanging by the fireplace.  Maïan will insist on leaving Père Noël a glass of milk and some cookies, as well as some carrots and lettuce for the reindeers.

December 25th: I expect to be woken up waaaaaay too early, as Maïan and Alix in particular will be excited to open gifts.  We’ll make some coffee and hot chocolate, turn on some traditional tunes, and the gift opening will begin!  It will be crazy and chaotic but it is most definitely the best part of the holidays!  That evening, we will head over to Chaughan’s side of the family and celebrate with them.  More eating and drinking and gift giving for sure!

December 26th to New Year:  We’ll be scoping out the sales in stores and on the Internet;  we plan on doing lots of outdoor activities, like skiing, skating and tobogganing;  plus there is sure to be more eating, drinking and gift giving, ha!

And then it will be back to work on January 3rd!

Here are a few scenes from last year…

12 Days

So with that, I wish you Happy Holidays my friends!!!

Natalie

A little preview…

The last two weeks have seen a crazy flurry of activities, both on the home front and  at work.   My head is swirling from trying hard not to drop any balls… I’ve only been partially successful so far but am not giving up (like that’s even an option, ha!).

I’ve had periodic occasions to spend time in my sewing rooms, generally late at night or with a toddler hanging around my feet.  But I have been able to finish off a few pieces.   Sadly, time to photograph, edit pics, prepare posts and publish has been non-existent. Booooooo…..

So here’s just a tiny little preview of a recent creation for Alix.  I’ll have more to come about this little number shortly but I just wanted to give you some indication that I was still alive!

In stressed out solidarity,

 

A Sundress for Alix: Japanese Sewing Pattern

Japanese Sewing Pattern from www.natandgang.blogspot.com

I’ve fallen in love with a little Japanese sewing book called Girls Style Book (love the simplicity… why mess around?)  Every single dress in there is sweet, simple, pretty and beautifully displayed.  Perhaps I’ll try to make all of them!

Japanese Sewing Pattern from www.natandgang.blogspot.com

Here’s what I chose as my first one.

Japanese Sewing Pattern from www.natandgang.blogspot.com

It’s called the Straight-line Sundress.  I’ve never incorporated lace into my sewing projects before and I really enjoyed it.  Hides a multitude of sewing sins!

Japanese Sewing Pattern from www.natandgang.blogspot.com

I’m so in love with the result!  So pretty, so summery… and bonus is that Alix loves it!

Japanese Sewing Pattern from www.natandgang.blogspot.com
Japanese Sewing Pattern from www.natandgang.blogspot.com

Now here’s where the story gets a bit wonky.  I failed to read the instructions in great detail and missed the fact that it called for cotton.  For some reason, I thought the fabric used in the picture was something silky or satiny.  And I happened to have a great silk emerald green fabric that I was dying to use for something special.  So I did!

And then I showed Chaughan the finished dress.  The conversation when a little something like this:

Me: What do you think?
Chaughan: Wow, really pretty!  But… is it lingerie?
Me:  Whaaaaat?????  Lingerie????  It’s for Alix!!!
Chaughan:  Yeah, I thought that was a bit weird.
Me: (Picking up jaw from floor)

So there you have it.  I apparently (and for the record inadvertently) made lingerie for a toddler.  *Sigh*.  So in fear of being known around daycare as the the crazy weirdo mom, Alix will only be wearing this sundress (or maybe we can call it a nightgown?) in the confines of our property.

Japanese Sewing Pattern from www.natandgang.blogspot.com
Japanese Sewing Pattern from www.natandgang.blogspot.com
Japanese Sewing Pattern from www.natandgang.blogspot.com

 

Painted Bamboo Utensils: Gifts for Teachers and Caregivers

La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils

I’ve been spotting this latest trend all over the blogosphere… it seems that all wooden utensils are getting a facelift by us DIYers… and why not!  It’s about time they received some love too!

So with five end-of-year teacher and caregiver gifts required, I jumped on the painted wooden utensil band wagon.

La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils

I found these cute bamboo spoons at the downtown Dollar Store.  I was scratching my head trying to think of an original way to wrap them up when my friend Lucie came through for me by suggesting I place them in these pot holders, also from the Dollar Store.  Thank you Loulou!!!

La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils
La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils

This project couldn’t be simpler.

Here’s what you need:

* wooden utensils (mine are bamboo)
* pot holders
* various acrylic paint colours
* sponge brush
* water-based interior gloss Verathane
* whole puncher
* gift tags

Here’s what you do:

1. Tape off.

La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils

2. Paint with white acrylic paint and let dry.  Apply second coat if necessary and remove tape before the paint dries to avoid peeling paint. (Trust me on this one!!)

La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils

3. Tape off an inch or so higher than the previous line.  Paint with second colour and let dry.  Apply second coat if necessary.  Remove tape before paint dries.

La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils

4. Brush two coats of water-based Verathane all over painted area.  Let dry.

5. Once completely dry, wrap up the bamboo utensils with the pot holders using twine to keep the little package all nice and snug.

La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo UtensilsLa gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils

Don’t you just love the gift tags?  They’re designed by Amy Moss at Eat Drink Chic.  They’re so adorable and completely free! Click here to find them.

And as the five teachers and caregivers are all francophone, the “Bon appetit!” is perfect!  Merci Amy!

  La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils

So there we go… a quick and thoughtful gift for the teachers and caregivers in your life.  Alix was quite proud to be gifting them!  Total cost?  Aside from the paint and Verathane, which I had left over from other projects, under $10!

La gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo UtensilsLa gang à Nat: Painted Bamboo Utensils

Ginger from Gingerly Made has featured my bamboo utensils!  Thank you so much Ginger!!

Gingerly Made
Great news!  Kelly from the Smart School House is featuring my project this week!  Check it out here!
Smart School House
Just heard… Brandi from The Creative Princess has chosen my bamboo utensils as her project of the week.  She recreated her own set of painted utensils and did a fabulous job.  Go check it out!!!
The Creative Princess

I’ve been featured by Julie on…. White Lights on Wednesday!!!

Featured Button

Mandy from Sugar Bee Crafts is featuring my little project.   Check it out!

Sugar Bee Crafts

A quilt for Alix : A Meet the Gang strip quilt

I’ll come clean.  I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times.  But not always.  I am realist enough to know that perfection is not always achievable.  But mediocrity is just plain not acceptable.  So when I looked back at a few of my first posts, I shuddered but I saw the pictures of the first quilt I ever made.  Beurk.  Those were bad pictures.  I knew I could do better.

I grabbed my camera.

And voilà, for my own piece of mind, I offer here a few more pictures of Alix’s quilt.  A tad better, no?

A quilt for Alix: Meet the Gang strip quilt for kids
A quilt for Alix: Meet the Gang strip quilt for kids

 

A quilt for Alix: Meet the Gang strip quilt for kids

The main fabric with those sweet and quirky characters is Meet the Gang by the incredibly talented Marisa at Creative Thursday (her blog is soooo beautiful! And I am just noticing that she has started quilting as well!)

Love love love the fabric and so does Alix who sleeps with this quilt every night!  And now that it’s been washed a zillion of times (adventures in potty training!), it is so soft and comfy.

A quilt for Alix: Meet the Gang strip quilt for kids
A quilt for Alix: Meet the Gang strip quilt for kids

And here’s the obligatory full frontal (Bahahaha…. FULL FRONTAL… giggle giggle!!!):

A quilt for Alix: Meet the Gang strip quilt for kids

And the back:

A quilt for Alix: Meet the Gang strip quilt for kids

As this was my first quilt ever, I had no clue how to piece in a little patchwork strip.  So I ended up just top stitching the strip to the back piece.  You know what, I kind of like that!  It’s fraying and rolling a bit, and I love it!

And here’s a picture of the quilt in Alix’s bedroom.  I am showing the bedroom as I am planning a little makeover in the next week or so.  (Don’t you think  her doll needs a matching quilt?)

Stay tuned for that!

A quilt for Alix: Meet the Gang strip quilt for kids

Have a great week!

Thank you Susan from Oh My! Creative an Kelly from Smart School House for featuring Alix’s quilt!

Alix’s quilt has been featured on The Life of Jennifer Dawn. Thank you so much!!!

Rachel from Adventures of a DIY Mom has featured Alix’s quilt! Very cool! 🙂

Alix’s quilt was featured by Debi and Charlie at Adorned from Above!

Adorned From Above

Keep Calm and Craft Stuff

Time seems to be zooming by at break neck speed lately.  Hard to believe we are already reaching the end of June.  Maïan has one more week of school and grade 5 will be a thing of the past.  And Alix has but just a few days and will be done daycare for the year and will start summer camps for the next couple of months.  As for Gaëlle, with Chaughan back at work, she will be nannied by her cousin Gaelen for the summer.

With the end of the school year winding up, I find I haven’t been blogging as much as I normally do.  As always, that realization makes the guilt creep in.  But this time around, I am working on convincing myself that less blogging can actually be a good thing.  Less blogging means more time in the sewing room creating;  it means more time around the house crafting and painting;  it also means more quality time with the kids where I am truly focused on them and on the moment (instead of mind-drafting my next blog post).  So even though I still feel a bit guilty for not putting content on the blog two or three times a week, I am prioritizing other things, other more important things I would say.

That said, I thought I would show you a snap shot of what I have been up to in the last couple of weeks.  (Funny enough the things you can accomplish when you are not on the computer, ha!)

I finally managed to snap some brand new pics of Alix’s quilt (the pictures I posted before were baaa-aaad!!):

La gang à Nat project

 

I am in the process of completely revamping Maïan’s bedroom (my birthday gift to her) which includes this upcycled chair …

La gang à Nat project

… And this new upgrade of her plain Ikea curtains.

La gang à Nat project

More pictures of her full bedroom makeover coming soon!

I’ve also been sewing tons of tote bags as gifts… I hope to have a tutorial ready to post soon!

La gang à Nat project

Remember my little poppy teapot?  She clearly needed cups, no?

La gang à Nat project

Have I introduced you to my little deer before?  She lives in my dining room.  Her antlers get makeovers once in a while… we’re going orange this summer! Isn’t the colour just amazing against the blue wall?  Unfortunately, one antler broke so it’s presently in my crafts room waiting to be super glued…

La gang à Nat project

Another project in the works… an Ikea lazy susan getting all dolled up!  Turning out to be trickier than I thought so it’s moving slowly…

La gang à Nat project

Wow, it’s so cathartic to post these completed (and some not-so-completed) projects here…

I’m planning on posting more pics or full tutorials for all of the projects listed above real soon!

Have a great week!
 

A Jacket for Nate

I don’t get the chance to sew for boys very often… so when my friend Natasha invited us over for her little guy’s second birthday, I jumped at the chance to sew a sweet little jacket for Nate.
A quick Etsy search later and my pattern was found:  The Monster Hoodie by My Childhood Treasures.  Dixi has come up with some really sweet and vintage looking patterns.  And lucky for me, a few were specifically for boys.  Now this particular pattern was meant to have a lovely boy-pulling-a-monster applique… and I had every intention of of sewing it on.  But at the last minute, I changed my mind.  It might have had to do with an email exchange with Natasha earlier in the day, where I was telling her that I was sewing a little something something for Nate, and that I was steering away from anything too cute.  She responded by telling me that Nate had tons of clothes with trucks and such on them, so please go cute!  So cute I went!
A Jacket for Nate by Natalie at La gang à Nat - sewing for boys

For the fabric, I chose a navy blue corduroy for the outside, and a soft grey fleece for the liner.  Both fabrics were upcycled, the corduroy being a former duvet cover, and the fleece a little baby blanket.  I love giving cloth a second life!

The sleeves and the inside of the hood are the same striped jersey fabric that I had used for Alix’s dress a few months ago.  Some blue and orange pieces of felt were used for the hearts, and a little blue button was sewn on top of the flap (which actually closes with velcro – much easier for little Nate who is just learning to dress himself… and much faster for parents too!)

A Jacket for Nate by Natalie at La gang à Nat - sewing for boys

And here is sweet little Nate sporting his new jacket! Thanks Natasha for the amazing pictures… he looks darling!  And I’m so happy to see that the jacket fits just right!

 A Jacket for Nate by Natalie at La gang à Nat - sewing for boys

This kid is just soooooooo cute!!!! In French, we say “Il est croquable!”, which translates to “He is bite-able”….  I know, kind of a weird thing to say in English, but I think you get what I mean!

A Jacket for Nate by Natalie at La gang à Nat - sewing for boys
HAPPY 2ND BIRTHDAY NATE!
A Jacket for Nate by Natalie at La gang à Nat - sewing for boys

Nate’s little jacket has been featured on these amazing blogs:

Featured ButtonThe DIY Dreamer

Mama cat and her little kittens

As mentioned in my post about the bunting flags, I have been busy in my sewing room this week in an attempt to crank out a second little project in time for Alix’s birthday. And voilà! I got her done just in the nick of time, as today is her birthday! Please meet mama cat and her two skirt dwelling kittens…

The pattern comes from a little Etsy shop called Tumbling Blocks that I discovered while searching for a stuffed toy PDF pattern. I thought Alix would get a kick out of the little kittens and the fact that they can hide in their mama’s skirt.

I struggled with the faces, as you can probably tell.  Looks like mama cat was poked in her left eye and she wincing in pain, poor dear. Chaughan thinks she looks a bit angry.  But I don’t think Alix will notice much.

I still plan on making a big sister for those two little kittens.  As I have three girls, it just seems wrong to me that this mama cat would have only two little ones.  So a third is in the works… it will just have to be a delayed birthday gift.  Is it me or are those little turquoise eyes just a bit too close together?

You can sneak a peak of my sewing room in the background… it has been going through a remarkable make-over, thanks to my friend Lucie who has been putting some serious time painting (love that minty wall) and organizing (stacks and stacks of fabric, notions and other crafting paraphernalia).  It’s almost done and I’ll make sure to post some before and after pics soon…