Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Race for the Cure

Last weekend, a couple of friends and I did the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K to support the fight against breast cancer.  Being the crafty ladies that we are, my friend Jenn (from Fat Cat Crafts) made beanies for us to wear, and I made ruffle scarves.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Totally geeked out

I’ve mentioned before how much I love oliver + s patterns.  They are probably my favorite patterns for children’s clothes.  They take a little more time to make, but her instructions are so awesome and the clothes always have such great little details.  I just love the end product.  So, earlier this year, the designer behind oliver + s released a book called Little Things to Sew, a book of accessories and toys for children.  I resisted getting the book for a while, because I decided I wanted to stick to making clothes.  Accessories (like hats and aprons) didn’t appeal to be as much.  But I finally decided I’d get it.  The first thing I made was this bear hat for the baby girl.  I loved making the hat, but I wasn’t so sure about the purple tweed (spur of the moment Joann purchase).  I wanted to try something more “interesting” than the usual “simple” where my tastes tend to gravitate.  So, I was still unsure of the purple tweed, but I put the picture of the bear hat in my flickr feed, and the designer herself commented that she liked the purple tweed.  EEK!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tutu cute!

One final Halloween sewing project.  As I was making this skirt, I kept thinking, This must be too small for the baby girl.  I must have measured wrong.  But no, it fit her fine.  It’s just that she is small.  :)  To give you an idea of how small, this skirt was only seven inches long.  Teeny tiny, right?

And that’s the fun thing about making kids’ clothes.  They are so wee, and just by being so wee, they are so CUTE!  This little skirt looked adorable just hanging there.  And even cuter on the baby, no?

Changing directions

Pardon me while I change my mind at the last minute and return all these items I purchased for Halloween costumes while buying new items for the costume I’m now going to make.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My wild animals

This weekend, we went to an “after dark adventure” at a local ecological preserve.  It was so fun!  It was a short hike on one of the trails, and along the way, there were “critters” (people--probably volunteers, judging by the range of acting ability, lol--dressed up as different animals that you might find on the trails) who told you a little about the animal they were representing and their role in the ecological system.  It was entertaining and educational, and I liked that it was a non-scary Halloween activity. 

When we signed up for the event, they told us children were encouraged to wear animal costumes.  None of the store-bought animal costumes really inspired me, so I took that as a challenge to make something.  I had bookmarked this blog post that had tips for making simple costumes.  I figured the owl was perfect for a night time hike in the woods.  A little bit of tracing, cutting and sewing, and here’s my version:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Poor blog...

has been totally ignored.

I've been missing the creative life.  For some reason, fall has been busier than even the summer.  We've been camping and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible.  I'm liking the fact that the kids are shaping up to be wilderness kids.  Baby girl loves playing with sticks and dirt.  And the little guy keeps asking to go camping again.  We didn’t do a lot of outdoors stuff when I was a kid, so it’s been fun for me to explore new trails and parks along with the kids. 

We live in a great city, where beaches and mountains are just short drives away, and there’s so much natural beauty to take in.  And it’s cheap entertainment for the kids, too.  :)
I can’t believe it’s already mid-October.  I need to get working on those Halloween costumes! I’ve been trying to get a work project out of the way first.  Pesky work!  Anyway, I had a request for another clue on the Halloween costumes, so I wanted to post for anyone who may be waiting.  :)  I thought my clues from the previous post were kind of vague, but one of you actually guessed it.  You guys are good! 

So, here’s another clue that should totally give it away:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hello, internets!

So...when I started this blog, I intended it to be a little place for me to talk about my sewing projects and share with anyone who might want to read along.  I told a few people about it, but didn’t really “advertise.”  A couple of those friends, though, have told me that I should create a page on facebook, because that was how they get updates on blog posts.  So, I did it.  I’m now on facebook.  Hello to anyone who came over from there.  :)

While I was at it, I went ahead and created an etsy profile, too.  I’ve had several people tell me I should sell my stuff on etsy.  I don’t really have any plans to do that right now.  But who knows, maybe in a year or two, when I have more time to commit to something like that.  But I thought what the heck, I’ll just create a profile now.  Just in case anyone might want to take the name “hidden in the hem.”  lol.

The Halloween debate

Whether to sew or buy the kids’ costumes? 

Sew, of course!  :) 

Trying to plan ahead, so I just ordered some fabric for their costumes.  For a while, I couldn’t get the little guy to commit to a costume.  But I think I’ve gotten him to commit.  I gave him a few options of costumes that will coordinate with his sister's, and he agreed to one of them.  (Well, with some--ahem--politicking on my part.) 

Want to know what I’m planning?  Well, here are a couple of clues: 
Any guesses?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Care package

My boss is going on an important trip, so for her birthday, everyone at work contributed to a care package that she could take with her.  Some stuff people put into the care package was an itunes gift card (for watching movies on the plane), magazines, travel shampoos, snacks.  I made this tote bag to put all the items in:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

And many more!

I’ve had birthday party on the brain.  My son just turned four (*sniff*), and we decided this year we’d do a birthday party, especially because now he's old enough to understand birthdays and feel special about being the center of attention.  For weeks, he kept asking when his birthday was, and we kept telling him a few more weeks.  He would say, “I can’t wait for my 4 year old birthday!”  Oh, such excitement, such build up. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My new love: baby bloomers

I was going to write about these in my previous post, but it got a little long, and I didn’t want these adorable bloomers to be lost in all the toy bag talk.  :) 

Monday, July 18, 2011

The days are long, but the years are short

This is my current favorite quote on motherhood from this book.  Sometimes dealing with the everyday monotony of taking care of little children gets tedious.  But it goes by in a flash, and I’m trying to remember every day to savor every moment.

So...I already felt behind on my summer sewing, and now I’m seeing Christmas fabric on sale.  Christmas fabric?!  I guess it makes sense.  You do have to start early if, say, you have a big Christmas quilt to make or something.  I did briefly consider buying some of that Christmas fabric to make stockings. 

I had wanted to try to sew some stockings last year, but ended up ordering them from Pottery Barn instead.  They turned out to be way too big.  I mean, I hung them on the fireplace mantel, and they almost touched the bottom of the fireplace.  They were personalized, so I couldn’t return them.  In any case, I might try to make some again this year.  But July is still too early to think about this. 

And that’s probably why I didn’t quite get around to making those stockings last year.  heh. 

Anyway, summer is just going by too quickly.  The days are longer, the kids end up staying up later, we’re running around outside a lot more.  And (same old story) I squeeze in sewing time here and there, but never get as much time in as I’d like.  But that’s ok.  The little people are time consuming, but they are also very entertaining.
So, what have I been up to sewing-wise?  I’ve cut out a couple of dresses, and they are waiting to be sewn up (hopefully will be done while she can still fit in them).  My latest completed project is this toy bag: 

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I saw this tutorial a while ago and bookmarked it, because the dress was so cute.  I also loved the fabric, so I later got the same fabric that they used in the tutorial.  So, I was a total copy cat and decided to make the dress in the same fabric. 

The dress was really easy to sew together.  I used a pattern for an A-line dress and just cut a diagonal across the front to create the “asymmetric” look.  It turned out pretty cute.

There were just a couple of things that I would do differently next time.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last days of spring cleaning

I recently had a burst of energy and felt the need to organize.  A couple of weeks ago, I went through our linen cabinets and got rid of some old sheets and blankets that we haven’t used in a while.  That cleared a couple of shelves.  For...

Remember my tub of fabric?  Well, that’s grown a little bit.  I remembered this blog post about using comic book boards to make mini fabric bolts.  I went back to search for it, and ordered a 100-pack of the boards from amazon.  And, ta da!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Little projects

Good things happening lately:
1) We’re enjoying some lovely summer weather around here lately.  (See how baby girl is enjoying wearing her summer hat?)
2) After 13 months, baby girl is sleeping through the night.  After about a week of sleeping through the night myself, I feel like a fog has lifted: less cranky, brain is working a tad faster (you know it’s bad when you forget what the word for “door” is and have to explain to your husband, “you know, that thing you open, with the thing...” oy) and, of course, not dog tired all day long.  Drinking less caffeine.
3) I’m back to working part-time.  I’m looking forward to enjoying the summer with the kids.

I’ve been doing some little projects lately:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

What a week!

My son is having a Beatles-themed play at his preschool, and I made the costume for him to wear.  Which turned out to be kind of a disaster.  Oh, where to start... 

Monday, May 16, 2011


Before I started sewing, the only definition I knew of “bias” was a tendency or prejudice toward something.  But I just looked up the word on and did you know that’s not the first definition of bias?  The first definition is:
1 : a line diagonal to the grain of a fabric; especially : a line at a 45 degree angle to the selvage often utilized in the cutting of garments for smoother fit

Sewers apparently already knew that. 

This weekend’s sewing involved a lot of bias.  Bias tape, to be more specific.  That’s where you cut a bazillion strips of fabric on the bias (at a 45 degree angle) to make into binding for clothing and various other sewn products. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

From fail to fix

Remember the major fail here?  I decided I’d try to fix it.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Major fail!

One of the most frequent comments I get about my sewing is, “I can’t believe you’re a beginning sewer!”  I think sewing is very forgiving, though.  You can make a number of mistakes and still end up with a good looking product. 

Well, most of the time. 

I’m posting this so you all know I don’t always end up with good looking results.  I thought this Leah tunic from Craftiness is not Optional was so cute.  I love the little cap sleeves.  So, I decided to do the sew-along that Jess posted.  Of course, that was a month ago.  I’ve had the top cut out for a while, just had not gotten around to sewing it up.  I finally had the time this weekend.  The hubs took the kids out to the park for a couple of hours, and it was just the time I needed to finish this top up. 

The cap sleeves didn’t turn out quite right, though.  A little too poofy and the armhole was a little too big.  I think maybe I needed to gather them more.

See the little pouf on the shoulders?  My husband says that she needs shoulder pads for her 80s style big shoulders.  (Don't you just love the peanut gallery?)

Posing is so blasé

Apparently, posing for pictures is so 11 months, totally incompatible with being 12 months old.  I tried the baby girl’s bubble dress on her so I could get some pictures of her in it, and she was not having any of that.  Lots of crawling, lots of moving in general and lots of blurry pictures.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A wee dress

for a wee girl who’s turning 1!

I know the lighting in this picture is horrible.  But it just epitomizes the experience of sewing late into the night, the excitement of seeing the little dress you’re making take shape, having no one to share it with, so you snap this picture in the dark. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Oh my gosh, this working full-time thing is totally exhausting!  I don’t know how I did it pre-kids.  Well, I guess that was exactly it.  It was pre-kids.  When I came home, I could just veg, not worry about getting kids fed and to bed.  And I could sleep soundly through the night, not worry about middle-of-the-night wake ups (nowadays if it’s not the 11 month old, then it’s the 3 year old because something is scary, or he can't find his blanket or his baby panda).

Anyway, I finished a huge project at work last week, and Thursday night, I was wiped out.  After putting the kids to bed, I fell asleep at 8pm, despite the 20,000 things on my to-do list.  The baby girl only got up once that night, so I got 11 hours of (mostly) uninterrupted sleep.  I had the next day off, so I took a nap when the baby girl was napping.  Basically, I slept at every opportunity.  And it was glorious.  I’d been running on empty, and my body just shut down and said, You need to refuel!

The funny thing is despite all the sleeping I did, I felt so productive last  weekend.  I guess I just had more energy to spend time with the kids AND get some cleaning and organizing done.  And I got some sewing in, too!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lovely weekend!

Even though it involved very little sewing.

Working more these days makes me want to soak up the weekends with the kids as much as possible.  We had such wonderful weather this weekend.  We went out to the botanical gardens with some friends.  My son loved hanging out with his friends.  He’s at such a great age.  He loves exploring everything and wants to learn about everything around him.

Watching the bullfrog and fish at the frog pond.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Literature lovers in the making

The subtitle of my blog is “Motherhood, craftiness and other stories,” so since I have no sewing to post about, I’ll focus on the "motherhood" and “other stories” part of the blog.  :) 

As a literature nerd, I was happy to see my son devour books from an early age: 

Sunday, April 10, 2011


It’s been a busy week!  I started working full-time this week.  I miss the kids like crazy.  And this work thing is seriously cutting into my sewing time, which was already limited to begin with.  Boo.  But it’s only for the next few months, so hopefully, we’ll all survive. 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sew Lisette Patterns

I don’t have that much interest in sewing for myself.  BUT Liesl Gibson, who designs totally adorable patterns for children’s clothes, just came out with a line for women.  They’re on sale this week at Joann Fabric for $0.99 each.  So, why not?  I got all 4 pattern sets. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ruffles, take two!

Attempt number two at this ruffle dress.  I think it turned out really cute.  Although, I’m still trying to decide if it’s too much ruffle.  Maybe the ruffle on the bottom was too much? 

Monday, March 21, 2011


While blog surfing one day, I came upon this blog post with a tutorial for this totally cute ruffle dress.  It was supposed to be a Hanna Andersson “knock-off”.  I’d never seen the Hanna Andersson dress, but the dress she made was super-cute, and it looked pretty easy to do.  The dress requires a raglan sleeve t-shirt pattern.  I didn’t have such a pattern, but I thought it would be fairly easy to make one by tracing one of my son’s old t-shirts. 

As soon as I sewed on the first ruffle, I knew this dress would be cute.  There’s something about ruffles that makes any outfit so adorable. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The advantage of having a sewing machine

My son is a skinny guy.  It’s really hard to find pants that fit him.  He’s 3.5 and until recently was still wearing 2T pants, because the 3T would just fall off him.  He’d walk around with the Marky Mark look, and Marky Mark is so 1990s.  The 2T pants, though, started get so short, they were looking like flood pants.  It was time to let them go.  Then, I realized, I have a sewing machine.  I could fix those 3T pants so the waist is a little smaller.  These are just his sweatpants he wears to preschool and the park, so nothing fancy.  These are the kind of pants where the elastic is sewn into the pants, so I couldn’t just open up the waistband and shorten the elastic.  So, I ended up sewing both sides of the waistband to make it a little smaller.  Not the most attractive look, but I figure the waistband would be covered by his shirts.  And, more importantly, no more Marky Mark look!

I did about 10 of these in one night.  Whew!

To think, I used to take my pants to the tailor to be hemmed, even my yoga pants.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to the grocery store...

So, while I was out grocery shopping, I somehow ended up at Joann Fabrics.  They happened to have some cute spring fabrics in the store, and a few of these fabrics somehow ended in my shopping cart.  I also somehow happened to have these coupons in my purse.  And somehow these fabrics are now in my house.

Funny how that happens.

As a side note, the lady who cut the fabric for me told me that the white embroidered fabric reminded her of her grandmother.  In a good way, I hope.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sweet little romper

I think babies in rompers are so cute.  When my son was around 12 months, I had about a million of them for him.

While wandering around at the mall, I found this romper for the baby girl:
It’s super-cute in person, but the price tag is not so cute.  And it wasn’t even part of whatever sale was going on in the store.  I went back and forth on whether I should attempt to make it.  I kept looking at it, thinking, It’s just shorts and a top sewn together, but then it had all these details, and I’d have to figure out my own pattern.  I kept telling myself it would be more time-consuming than it was worth.  But, on the other hand, there are some intangibles about making it that might be worth the time, like what about the pride of having made something for my child to wear?  Or what about showing those big store chains that they don’t have the power over me, they can keep their $30 romper, thankyouverymuch.  For those reasons, along with my overachiever tendencies, I dove right in.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why “hidden in the hem”?

When I thought about starting a blog to talk about my sewing projects, all the typical titles came to mind: “i love fabric,” “confessions of a fabric addict,” something using the word “sew,” as in “my sew-called life.”  Well, it turns out other people have thought of these titles, too, and they had already taken them.  So, this required me to think a little more creatively.  I came up with a different title, “More Fabric Please!” but then one day, “hidden in the hem” came to me, and it felt like just the right title. 

So, what is hidden in the hem?, you ask.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you might say more fabric?!  ha!  No, no.

Last summer, after my daughter was born, I was still decorating her room, and I got this idea to hang a peg shelf in her room and hang a cute dress on one of the pegs.  (I totally got the idea from a blog I read, so not an original idea at all.)  My daughter had a little pink tutu onesie that she’d already outgrown that I thought would be cute to display on the peg shelf.  Then, during one of those middle of the night feedings, I got the idea that I would also hang this shirt that my mom made for me when I was little.  My mom had kept this shirt for years and gave it to me to keep a few years ago.  After multiple moves, I wasn’t quite sure where it was.  While my mom is a pack rat, I’m a purger.  I really feared that maybe I had thrown this shirt away. 

But, no, I found it in one of the plastic bins in the garage.  I think it goes perfectly with the tutu onesie. 

Recently, when I started sewing, it occurred to me how special handmade things are.  It’s sad that home sewing is such a dying art, because there is so much personality and character in everything that is handmade.  I mean, there is always a story behind it, right?  Like, the hours that went into making it, the search for the perfect fabric, or all the mistakes made along the way.  Oh, the mistakes are always fun to share, aren't they?

And it brought me back to this shirt hanging in my daughter’s room and the story behind this shirt.  My mom made me this shirt when I was four years old.  It’s the shirt I wore when we escaped Vietnam.  My mom had sewn a gold chain into the hem, so that if we were attacked by pirates (which we were), they would not be able to find it.  And I remember, when we got to the refuge camp, my mom ripping out the seams and taking out the gold chain, which she used to pay for a telegram to my dad to let him know where we were.

So much history in this little shirt.  So glad my mom kept it.  So glad I never gave it to the Goodwill.
It sits next to my daughter’s tutu onesie, so that she’ll one day know the story of the women who came before her, and how far that shirt traveled to hang next to her tutu onesie.

It's held up pretty well, hasn't it?  It has lots of great details, too.

Tilted pocket:

Peter Pan collar:
(I just noticed that the seams are covered.  Wow.)


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Baby pants!

I made these baby pants for a friend of mine who just had a baby.  When I saw the space themed fabric, I thought it’d be perfect for this friend, who is literally a rocket scientist.  (Although, now that I think about it, she probably got bombarded with space themed gifts for that very reason.)  I used Made by Rae’s newborn baby pants pattern and Big Butt Baby Pants pattern.

Both patterns were pretty easy to sew.  But I think I got ambitious with all the embellishments.  I wanted to embellish each pair of pants a little differently, so the project probably ended up taking longer than it needed to. 

This is my attempt at a cargo pocket.
Of course, after I made the pocket, I looked at the pockets on a pair of my husband’s cargo shorts, and these look nothing like those.  Oh well.  Hopefully, the baby won’t mind too much.

More simple pockets and binding at the hem on this one.

I used Rae’s tutorial for pimping those baby pants.  (Love Rae’s blog, btw!)  I need to figure out how to get the corners of the pockets more pointy and square, though.  The binding was one of the more tricky embellishments, lots of ironing and trying to catch all the layers with the sewing machine.  I don’t think it ended up that pretty.  If I were to do it again, I’d probably just use the same method for making a cuff that I did with the pants below, which I think is easier and less bulky.

These are the Big Butt Baby Pants.

Such a fun pattern, and they turned out so cute.  Love the butt panel.  I originally intended to make the main part of the pants out of the blue fabric (it’s super-cute with the rockets), but I cut it upside down. :( And there wasn't enough fabric left to re-cut it. So, I made it into the butt panel and the cuffs.  Ah, this is what nine months of sleep deprivation can do to you.

Overall, I think they turned out well.  They're the first baby gift that I've ever sewn myself.  It feels nice--more meaningful--to make a gift for someone.

Lots of lessons learned, though.  (Like, make sure you’re cutting the pattern in the right direction!)  Next set will be better.  I just need for someone else to have a baby now.  :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Skinny pants

I’ve had pants on the brain lately.  I know pants are not as interesting as cute little dresses with ruffles.  Maybe I’ll eventually get around to that.  Right now, though, I’ve been really into pants.  I used to think pants would be hard to make, but you know, they’re pretty easy.  You just cut out two pattern pieces and sew it up in a few lines.  I’ve been experimenting with some leggings for the baby girl.  And I made these skinny pants from this pattern by Leila and Ben.

The best part was I made them from a pair of my Bermuda shorts that my mom had given me.  A friend hers had given them to her.  Anyway, they never really fit me right, so I’d only worn them a couple times.  But they were so nice, I kept them around.  Making them into pants for the baby girl just seemed better than getting rid of them altogether.  Putting a new use to something old.  Upcycling can be very fulfilling.

I like the fit of these pants.  They have that skinny pants silhouette but they’re not so tight, baby girl can still crawl around in them.

Skinny pants on babies kind of crack me up.