A Season for Sewing

Sewing, it turns out, is a good way to spend the morning for a pregnant mama and her daughter.  Over the past few months, Ella has gone from mildly interested in spending sewing time with me to attempting to run our house like a sweatshop.  As in, “Mama, no, we can’t take a break for snack – eat your snack in here . . .”  She sits by my side watching my every move, sometimes trying to tell me how to sew, sometimes just memorizing.  She’s taught herself how to thread the machine, to my total surprise.  Sometimes she dresses up in scraps, practices using the seam ripper, or attaches fifty safety pins to a piece of fabric.  You never know.

Currently, we’re deep in the midst of making her Halloween costume, which I am ironically trying to sew as slowly as possible so that I don’t finish it before the big day.  But in the meantime, we’ve made quite a few other things, which I thought I’d share.



We’re working on making a big pile of baby wipes – made from old t-shirts and flannel pajama pants.  I simply cut out a rectangle (two layers), and for the t-shirts, I just sewed a zigzag stitch around the edge and called it done.  So simple, and so satisfying to use old soft clothes to make these.  For the flannel, I turned the right sides of the fabric together, did a straight stitch all the way around except I left a 2″ opening.  I turned it right side out, folded in the 2″ raw edges and then did an edge stitch all the way around.  (I could’ve just stitched the hole shut, but Ella insists that it looks prettier this way.  What can I say?  She’s right.)



This is the dress that seems to have kicked off the sewing frenzy for Ella.  She wanted to make a dress for the baby (no, we don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl), but when we got into the sewing room and started looking at fabric, she said, “Actually, Mama, can we make a dress for me?”  So we did, using Simplicity pattern #2684 (which I used to make this adorable shirt year before last) and some vintage reprint fabric that I adore.  It was nice using a pattern I had done before – much smoother the second time around!   I think she’s finding it really reassuring to have me making something for her.  So, while I’ve been mixing it up with a little bit of projects for baby or myself, we have mostly been sewing for her, which I think is pretty great.


We made this “morning bag” to hold her pajamas.  (I used the pattern for the bedtime bags in The Creative Family.)  In the morning, I’m usually downstairs when she wakes up, and in the past months she’s changed (without any sort of prodding from us) from waking up crying for me to waking up, putting on clothes, and coming down the stairs to greet me with a huge, proud smile on her face.  At least, she was until the cold came, and then last week she was coming downstairs naked, shivering, and wicked crabby.  So, a morning bag, which hangs on the doorknob waiting for her, with cozy warm pajamas so that she can climb out of bed, put on the warm pajamas, and come down.  So far it’s worked great, and she was super thrilled by the bag, wanting to show it off to everyone who came to our house.  I told her I was making a surprise, had her choose the fabric, and then sewed it right up – that was fun.

I made myself some new pajama pants, too.  I was really bummed at first when I realized this year that all three of my pairs of flannel pajama pants had huge rips in them.  I sewed the holes shut, but they ripped open again.  Then I realized these pajamas were at least ten years old, and I didn’t feel so bad.  I ordered some organic cotton flannel, and traced my old pairs for a pattern.  The first pair came out too small (forgot to leave enough seam allowance), but I think they’ll fit once I’m not, you know, 7 months pregnant.  The second pair fits, hooray!


Phew, and I think that’s it!  Oh wait, we made this shirt together.  It’s from Meg’s fabulous new book, Growing up Sew Liberated, which I received as an early birthday present.  The reason I got this one (instead of just checking it out from the library) was because it includes several basic knit patterns like this.  Which is just so awesome, because they’re the sort of clothes that you know you’ll be making over and over for your kids for so many years.  The only bummer is that even though I measured Ella and thought I was tracing the right size, it’s way too big – it might fit her next year.  Oh well, back to the sweatshop to sew the right size . . .

12 Responses to “A Season for Sewing”

  1. 1
    Holly Malinowski

    Seems like you are doing great in the getting ready for the new little person!!!!! Its awesome you are teaching Ella how to sow,I was an adult who had to teach myself!!!!Hope you are feeling as good as you sound,hugs,Love,Hol

  2. 2

    I’m about to sew the sleeves on the envelope tee from Growing Up Sew Lib…I have to say, I’m learning a lot from her, and also making so many mistakes! The seam ripper is ever-ready. It’s all practice to get ready to sew some merino jersey long underwear for the girls. Love the little dress for Ella!

  3. 3

    I miss sewing, seems there isn’t time between a full time job and farming. Just curious what kind of sewing machine you are using. Modern or treadle.

  4. 4

    awesome!! i LOVE ella’s dress. my friend nicole is coming out with a book from storey publishing soon all about sewing with jersey (i.e. upcycling old t-shirts from the salvation army). her stuff is awesome, and i think you would like it. you can check it out at http://ourimprovdiary.wordpress.com/

  5. 5

    Ella is right though about the baby dress. An infant gown is a very traditional piece for a little one, boy or girl. I do some heirloom sewing on occasion (hand smocking, linen, lace insertions). Give the dress a chance! It is also very easy to change or clean baby, and if you need to cover their legs for warmth, just make it long enough to go past the toes. So many blessings in your house!

  6. 6

    So sweet!
    Could you write more about EC sometime? I had never heard about it until you mentioned it the other day and I’m so curious. I know I could google it but I’d love to hear about it from you.

  7. 7

    Hi Adrie,
    I love the fact that you sew with your little girl! That’s how I learned and now I’m a costumer!
    As such I thought I’d just offer a bit of advice. There’s a failsafe mesurement you can take to make sure a top will fit. Mesure from the middle of the back at the waist to the tip of the sholder down to the middle of ones tummy on the waistline as well. tie a little cord around the waist to make sure you take the mesurement at the right level. If that mesurement fits in a pattern so should the body! For pants, there’s also a diagonal that’s helpfull: hip-crotch-hip…
    Have fun!!

  8. 8

    Thank you Holly, it’s hard to learn as an adult, isn’t it? I knew the basics, but that was all.

  9. 9

    Oh yes, the seam ripper and I are good firm friends. :) I definitely want to start making long underwear, how awesome.

  10. 10

    Using a modern (probably from the 70s) singer. Still need to repair my treadle!

  11. 11

    I want that book, how awesome! Thanks for the link.

  12. 12

    Your sewn creations are so cute and also so practical. My favorite kind!

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