Doll dresses and my mom's first apron

Well hello again my friends, I really appreciate that you keep reading my posts. Thank you for coming back for another installment of "What is Jami thinking about and/or making this week?"

So I've already made far more this year than I realistically thought I would accomplish, and that is very exciting to me. The last week my sewing escapades have really been all over the place. My mom mailed the girls little Holdie Folk dolls, and they are so cute. (I've included a link to their website. I am NOT affiliated with this company, we just like their toys. This is not in any way a paid endorsement). I can vouch for the quality of these dolls if anyone is interested in getting one or a few for the little people in their lives. They are heavy, and dense and well made. Each doll comes with a little outfit. Well, my kids needed multiple outfits for their dolls. So we sat down one afternoon and meticulously unpicked one dress, ironed it flat, and then traced around the dress to make a pattern. Then the girls went through my bin of scraps and fat quarters of quilting cotton. Each of them picked out fabric for 6 dresses for their dolls. The seam allowances on these doll clothes are so small everything has to be stitched by hand. The dresses are taking me about a half hour to stitch. But over the course of 12 dresses that still comes out to 6 hours of sewing! So I'm tackling one a day, they'll get done eventually.

I also started working on a dress for myself, and it has turned into an ordeal, so I am going to save it for a future post where I will go into all the gory details of my "learning experience".

And then right when I was feeling the doubt about being a sewist start creeping back into my mind, I asked my mom if I could sew her anything and she saved the day by asking for an apron. She told me that she had never owned an apron before. I was kind of shocked, an apron seems like such a basic thing to have in the kitchen. But she was always so meticulous about making sure we (4 kids plus all their various pets) had everything we needed that there really wasn't much leftover for things she deemed "frivolous". So the challenge was on, could I make my mom her perfect apron?

I immediately called my local fabric store, Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, and made an appointment for in-store shopping for the following week, and then started planning. I found a simplicity apron pattern that I liked (and already owned!) and then decided I was going to go with "view C" but with the skirt/hem of "view A". I started thinking about the things my mom likes: bright colors, cute little things, glitter. glam, flirty feminine details... This was going to need at least 3 coordinating fabrics, plus a minimum of 2 different trims.

I love my mom, and its hard living on opposite sides of the country. I don't get to see her very much, and we don't video chat nearly as often as we should, so I really wanted to pour all of my love and "missing her" into this apron. I wanted her to feel like she is wearing a hug from me every time she puts it on.

I have gotten a lot more organized about planning projects and buying fabric than I was 4 months ago. I started my sewing journey by buying a crapload of fabric and sewing patterns without thinking about what was going to go with what, and so far I've been able to work through my fabric stash reasonably well. But the majority of my fabric purchases were based on what I want to wear, so a lot of wool wovens in neutral tones. Great for me, not so great for mom or the kids. Recently, I downloaded the free project cards from Grainline Studio, printed like 15 of these out and got to work. If I have to make an appointment to get into the fabric store, and the fabric store is an hour away, I need to make my shopping trip worth the time and effort.

So I measured the kids, wrote their measurements into the appropriate spaces on the project planners, went through all the patterns I am going to make for them this year and sketched out views, wrote down what I needed for each project in regards to fabric and notions, stapled swatches of fabric I have at home to the projects that they will go with, then added a printout of a photo of each finished object. I walked into the fabric store on a mission, with an exact idea of what I needed for each project in order to shop wisely. It really helped me not get distracted by fabric I loved but was not practical.

With my stack of folders and project planning sheets in hand, I walked into the store at my appointed time. I shopped for one project at a time; I took my papers with the bolts of fabric to the cutting counter one project at a time. As each project got cut and folded, I added the project planning sheet to the top of the stack and each pile got neatly stacked in my basket. This helped me and the person at the counter not get overwhelmed, and everything went into my shopping bag at check in the same order.

Once I was back at home, the fabric for the apron came out of the bag and went straight into the laundry. I ironed it as soon as it was done in the dryer and then cut out all of my pattern pieces. It has been a fairly straightforward project to sew, and I've really enjoyed seeing it come together. I did end up splurging on a roll of cork fabric, and I bought an extra cut of fabric that I really did not need.... I found this absolutely darling "tiny monkey" fabric on a bright blue background and knew it had to be a part of my mom's apron. My brother was obsessed with little monkeys all his life. It was the only pet he ever wanted, and had hoped to have one at some point in his life. Unfortunately he never got his wish, but we now see little monkeys and think of Ryan. I knew my mom would understand why I put the monkey fabric on her apron even though I doesn't really match. I decided to sew a little zipper pouch using the leftover monkey and cork fabrics, and pack her apron in it.

I decided to add bobble fringe to the apron instead of lace as the pattern requested. Bobble fringe is not difficult to add on if you use a zipper foot .

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