When I was in Amsterdam with Esther last month, we sat down one evening to make some cute stripy skirts for the girls. (I should clarify – I did a bit of ironing, and Esther did everything else!!). She whipped up three skirts in one evening and I was so super impressed with how quickly you can have results! The girls were wearing their new skirts the following day! Esther explained the simple steps to me… but of course, like with anything else, you can’t fully learn how to do something unless you really sit down and do it yourself. So I was determined to come back to London, buy some cute fabric and learn by doing.
My mom is here visiting us so I figured it was the perfect timing to do so. Together we set up my sewing machine and sat down one evening for a little sewing session. It is surprisingly easy! And I must say, quite addictive!
I thought I would share the steps for how to make a super simple elastic waistband skirt (taught to me by Esther). My sewing lingo is very basic, so I’m not even sure if I can properly explain it… but I figured my basic steps might be helpful for other beginner sewers.
- Cut the length of fabric you think will be suitable for your child’s height. (I’ve made a few skirts now for Ivy and I think my favourite length began with a 46cm length of fabric. The length of the pink skirt in the photo below is longer, roughly 52cm). Remember to wash the fabric first so you know how much it is going to shrink (or allow for shrinkage if you don’t wash it first).
- The width of the fabric will become the waist/width of the skirt (the elastic will determine the size of the waist, determining how much fabric gets scrunched by the elastic). Widths of fabric differ – the wider the fabric, the fuller the skirt will be. (The floral Liberty print skirt pictured above has a 135cm or 54″ width.)
- Fold your fabric width-wise with the inside of the fabric on the outside, matching up the two outside edges. Sew a basic seam along this edge (about 1.5cm from the edge). Now you will have a loop of fabric with one seam. (You can iron the flaps of the seam down so they are flat against the fabric – this help keeps things looking tidy and also helps when sewing the hem and waistband over the seam.)
- Create a hem at the bottom by folding the bottom edge up (about 1cm) once and then folding again (about 2.5cm) to create a neat hem (where you don’t see any of the unfinished edge). Iron the folds, and pin the folding down so that it stays straight and in place. (You can measure while you do this to ensure the hem is straight and remains the same thickness all along the bottom). Then sew the hem in place.
- Create a waist band by doing roughly the same thing as the bottom hem (only it can be thinner, about half the width of the hem). I’ve been using elastic which is 9mm wide, so I just need to make sure the waistband is wide enough for the 9mm elastic to fit through easily). Iron the folds and pin down so that it stays straight when you sew it. Sew it together, leaving a small gap at the seam of the skirt for you to get the elastic band into the waist.
- Insert the elastic into the waistband using a safety pin pinned to the end of the elastic. Work the elastic all the way around the waistband and cinch up to your desired waist size (make sure the elastic doesn’t get twisted). Sew the elastic together so that it makes a loop within the waistband.
- Finish the skirt by sewing shut the gap of the waistband.
And that’s it! It’s so basic. The skirt consists of one seam, one hem and one elastic waistband. Easy peasy! I hope my instructions haven’t confused you. If you have any questions, just ask in the comments section below.
I totally remember tie-dying as a child — it was such fashion back then, and I remember how fun and exciting it was. You never really knew what the results were going to be like! So I picked up a packet of fabric dye from the local drugstore (there wasn’t much choice — I used Dylon dye for hand use, colour Ocean Blue), and a few simple, white cotton T-shirts for the kids (plus a onesie for Casper of course). After pre-washing the shirts, I wet the shirts (or you can just leave them wet after washing), and put the kids around the table with each a shirt to use and a bag of elastic bands. I explained some different folding techniques to them using this page, and we started! For Casper’s onesie, I made a big donut by creating a big rosette and pushing the tip back through the rubber band. For Ava’s shirt, we made a line of small rosettes which we tied together with one elastic band. Pim used the folding technique, making vertical folds and tying them at irregular intervals. As you can see he’s very pleased with the results. And Sara made random circles, bigger and small, which also gave a cool effect I think.
After tying the shirts, I prepared the dye in the kitchen sink and we submerged the shirts in the dye for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally with a big steel spoon. Then, I rinsed with cold water and let the kids untie their shirts with plastic gloves on. The excitement and surprise — they absolutely loved it! After a quick spin in the machine the shirts were ready to wear. With pride!
My son Henrik loves to make tents and forts. He builds one practically every day. This year for an Easter surprise I decided to make my children a tent that they could leave up and play with all day every day. I used the genius tutorial featured on a beautiful mess invented by Rubyellen. I then made some of my own modifications. I added an extra wooden piece of moulding at the bottom of both sides so that the tent won’t slide down and will stay upright on hard wood floors.
I also added a window with a roll flap that snaps open. I lined the inside of it with a blue geometric fabric. I trimmed the window and the outside of the tent in a solid aqua fabric bias tape that I made. I ended up using a small black polka dot fabric for the tent. I cut and sewed the green fabric on the bottom to look like grass and make it feel more like spring. To make the tent more cozy I made a few floor cushions in corresponding colors (even a star pillow).
I think it’s safe to say they love the tent.
I may have also got my children two bunnies. I couldn’t help myself. I had bunnies growing up as a child and had so much fun with them. Henrik named the black one hoppy and Maja named the brown one honey.
Aren’t the bow tie and bow so cute that Henrik and Maja are wearing?! If you’re interested in some for your little ones my sweet friend makes them and you can get them here.
I hope you enjoy!
I have always wanted to learn to crochet! And I was even more inspired to learn when I spent a weekend last year with Emilie and Esther and they were both crocheting the cutest little hats and accessories. They gave me a quick tutorial and it seemed quite do-able. But of course, I came back to London and a whole year has passed and I still haven’t picked up a crochet hook!
But things are about to change! I just received Kat Goldin’s new book, Crochet at Play, and I am so inspired by all the adorable crochet patterns: the sweetest clothing, cutest accessories (a crocheted crown! little hedgehog mittens! adorable baby shoes!), and fun toys. The book offers a selection of 30 patterns with easy-to-follow instructions for making each piece, and everything is so beautifully photographed that I just want to make it all.
I think I’ll start with the little crown. Stay tuned for results.
Last year we had some friends over for Easter with us at home. It was an especially rainy one, so we did some crafts. We loved doing this ones with newspaper.
Great fun we had! And quite easy and cheap!!!
Mikodesign is a small Dutch label owned by the lovely Erika Harberts. Erika lives in Rotterdam with her husband and two darling daughters (who have inherited 100% of their mother’s good taste and creativity!), in a beautifully decorated flat with a little studio space in which she creates all of her amazing dolls, DIY kits, and other cute accessories.
Erika is one of the most creative women I have ever met. She designs and screen prints her own fabrics (look at this gorgeous onesie she made for Casper — it has an Amsterdam skyline on it; bakfiets included!), she keeps a beautiful and extremely inspiring blog, even designed and made an adorable play house in the garden a few years ago. The birthday parties she organises for her two girls are simply AMAZING — I think my favourite must be the Magritte detective party, but this Frida party is fantastic as well (and evolved in a line of beautiful Frida dolls and DIY kits). What an amazing, creative woman! (Who also happens to be super kind and sweet and pretty!)
I have recently been asked by French kids brand Du Pareil au Meme, to customize one blazer of their collection. This is the result of it!
I really enjoyed changing the look of the jacket and I had loads of fun. Nico loves the moustache so we are both happy. It also opened a new whole world in front of me, so now I am always thinking of things to add to Nico’s clothes!!! It can be a bit addictive .
I have decided that the cold winter of 2013 is the right time for my girls to challenge their inner Flashdance and start wearing leg warmers. Leg warmers are actually a highly underrated clothing item, don’t you think? As there is a strong preference for dresses and tights in our house, a pair of legwarmers is actually just the right thing to keep the girls’ legs cozy and warm.
So, as I could only find nasty acrylic leg warmers in the shops, I tried to knit some myself. They actually turned out quite well and where super easy to knit. (BTW I have noticed that everything I knit is a variation of a square for example the snood or the hat; I have no idea how to increase and decrease stitches!)
I used knitting needles size 8 European size and cast on 30 stitches and knitted a rectangle in rib stitch (2 pearl/ 2knit) that was 20 cm in height (great size for Violette who is now 4 years old). I then sewed together the sides to make the rectangle into a tube and repeated the whole process for the second leg warmer.
I got so excited about my new found knitting skill that I also knitted a pair of leg warmers for baby Marlow. Hilariously I forgot that 2-month-old babies are not the same size as a 4-year-olds. Funny how impossible it is to remember how small a tiny baby really is!
As you might remember snoods are an essential part of a Parisian pre-school child’s wardrobe. As four-year-olds have quite a talent for losing any accessorize at any given moment, we have already misplaced one or two snoods this winter. No doubt they will turn up again, but in the meantime I actually have started knitting my own! (BTW Violette only wore her snood under duress, until the day the principle showed Violette’s class her snood as an example of what they should all wear. Now she wears it like a badge of honour…)
I use soft, thick wool – simply because it goes faster. In the case of the snood on the photo above I used European needles size 8, which I believe is a US 11.
The instructions are actually very, very simple: To knit the snood, I casted on 60 stitches and knitted a band that was 17 cm high. I then stitched together the sides to make a snood.
For my most successful model up to date, I alternated between 2 rows of purl stitches and 2 rows of knit stitches. (I hope this makes sense- this is the first time I have ever noted down knitting instructions and it not as simple as it seems!)
This is a very easy DIY perfect for a last-minute decoration. I made it with some wire, wool, and christmas lights.
And here is the result. You could do diferent shapes with the wire. Maybe a star or a christmas tree, or you could even spell out words. I didnt have much time to do this, so I chose the heart, as it is the easiest thing to do . After doing the shape you just twine the christmas lights and the wool in the end to cover the cord.
Hope you like it and give it a try. Christmas is just around the corner!
Today I would like to share the Christmas Cards we made at home this year which I posted in eb&m this week. With craft paper and a sewing machine we made the envelopes, and the cards.
With a snowflake punch I garnished the cards a little bit.
And then Nico painted them!! Now we have to do some more, and we are waiting for the day to send them. I love receiving Christmas Cards in the mailbox. Don’t you?
Many people asked me about sewing paper. If the paper has enough weight you have no problem and it sews just perfectly!
- Maria Cañal
This year I have a new obsession: I’m knitting Christmas balls! My husband gave me the book ‘55 Christmas Balls to Knit’ by Arne & Carlos for my birthday, and after initial scepticism about the exercise (I mean — knitting Christmas balls??), I have now finished my first ball and totally got the hang of it. So I immediately started the second one, with the eventual aim to knit four balls, one for each of my kids. Maybe I can make them a ball each year, so they can grow a Christmas ornament collection of their own…
Oh my goodness, I just had to share this cute photo of darling Casper wearing the little knitted hood hat I knit for him. Isn’t he adorable? Esther just posted it on her Instagram feed, and it made me so excited to see the little hat ‘in action’ that I just had to share it with you.
p.s. The knitting pattern for the hat is here.
p.p.s. Esther is coming to London in a couple weeks with baby Casper and I am so excited to introduce baby Marlow to sweet baby Casper. (We’re already planning their future marriage!) hehe…
This post is not about our favourite take away pizza restaurant here in Paris called Pink Flamingo, but about a Halloween costume!
As you might remember, I am a huge fan of the HM/ Unicef collection that is available at the moment, especially as Halloween is around the corner. The costumes are super cute and Coco wants to dress up as a pink flamingo this year. I thought that was a great choice until we realized a quite important thing: to be a flamingo, you need wings…
With a little bit of internet research, we came across this great little wing pattern on a blog called Llevo el invierno. It was exactly what we needed, relatively easy to put together for me and very easy for Coco to flap her arms around with, pretending to be a pink flamingo. (more…)
Last weekend we celebrated my son’s birthday. Today I would like to share the glasses I made for the day. It is a simple idea that helps the kids keep track of their own glasses!!!
I got the milkshake glasses in “La Fiesta de Olivia“. They are are so nice, remind me of some “old movies”!!. I just added a band of chalk paint to each of them.
And wrote the names of the guests!! It also works well in glass, but in glass the paint will go as soon as you wash it, which is good so you can use it just for the day of the party!!
Last May it was Sara’s 7th birthday, and she wished for a ’sewing’ party with her girlfriends. I suspect this has to do with the craft night I organise with a few of my girlfriends every 2 weeks on Monday night, which involves tea and homemade cake and lots of chit-chat. Sara loves the idea of it — she always lies awake in her bed, waiting until my friends are here and secretly joins us for a bit of cake and some knitting before I put her to bed for a second time.
For her birthday party, I decided to apple-stamp tote bags with Sara and her girlfriends. I prepared the bag linings beforehand (up to step 4 below), and cut and ironed the outside of the bags in preparation as well. At the party, we let the girls stamp their own name and apple design first. When the outside of the bags were drying (see photo) we played games and had cake. Afterwards, we let the girls sew the sides of the bags using Sara’s sewing machine (step 6 below). Nothing but two straight lines, but except for Sara, none of the girls had ever touched a sewing machine before, so this was a big success! I quickly sewed the lining to the outside of the bags so all the girls could take their personal tote bag home. It was such fun to see all the tote bags the next day at school – used as gym, book or lunch bags!
As for the making of — here is a quick how-to. I used this twenty-minute-tote-tutorial from the PurlBee for the basic idea. And in the meantime, I have been making more of these bags for personalised baby presents. Fun!
My husband was class rep of Quin’s class last year, and when it came time to decide on the end-of-term teacher gifts he wanted to make the teachers something special they would treasure (and also hopefully use!). He decided to make them a personalised tote bag with all the kids’ self portraits and names on it. He asked all the kids to draw a picture of themselves and write their names above. He then used photoshop to get all the drawings together, and sent the pdf file over to the printing company. The most difficult part was finding a company with good, sturdy cotton bags, but after lots of research he ended up finding them at The Clever Baggers and they are really great quality.
Aren’t the bags so cute? We gave them to the teachers and they loved them. We then ordered more for all the parents because we liked them so much, and I’ve been toting ours around every day lately and receiving lots of cute comments.
I discovered this hood hat knitting recipe on Pinterest a while ago and immediately re-pinned it. How cute are these hats? And how simple the recipe is! After returning home from summer holidays, I decided to get out my knitting needles and give this recipe a go. I always get inspired around this time of year to start knitting again. It must be the cooler Autumn days and knowing that winter is on its way! Plus, I have so many friends who have had or are expecting babies… so I figured these little hats would make sweet gifts.
The recipe is so easy. Seriously simple! I have changed it slightly to make the hats smaller (I first did exactly what the recipe called for, and it made a hat that would fit my 3-year-old). If you want a smaller sized hat, you can reduce the number of stitches you cast on to 60, and then only knit for about 7 inches. This seems to be a good size for a 6-12 month old. Also, I’ve been using 5mm (US8) sized needles and Debbie Bliss ‘Cashmerino Aran’ yarn… in case you want to do the same.
p.s. There is something so meditative about knitting! I’ve been knitting every night in bed for about 20 minutes, and it’s such a nice time to let your mind unwind from the activity of your day. Being pregnant, I find it a nice time to think about the baby, focus on the little kicks inside, and dream about life when the baby is born…