Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mushroom Pocket Top

Making clothing for Ella is one of my favorite things to do; it's so rewarding to see her playing while wearing something I've put my heart into! When I spotted some gorgeous toadstool fabric at my favorite local fabric store, Quilting Adventures, I knew it was destined to become some sort of Ella apparel. I later picked up this pattern from the same store:

This pattern is definitely cute, but I'm not a pink and floral kind of gal. I decided to ditch the flower pocket and make an appliqued mushroom pocket instead.

The pattern was well written and very simple, but I have one major complaint: the sizing. I followed the guidelines on the pattern even though I thought a 3T sounded way too big for Ella. Even as I cut it out, I had huge reservations about the sizing. Unfortunately, I never trust myself when it comes to altering sewing patterns. I usually follow the pattern exactly (even with mistakes and/or mis-sizing) and then correct subsequent productions. Not terribly efficient, but I seriously have zero confidence in my ability to judge whether or not the finished product will turn out the way I expect. Anyway, this top turned out to be so huge on Ella that it wouldn't even stay on! I faced a multi-faceted dilemma; I could take this top apart and start over (uh...have I mentioned how lazy I am?), I could put it away and save it for when it would actually fit (I know I've mentioned my impatient nature), or I could find a way to make it work. Can you guess which path I chose?

I really, really didn't want to rip out any stitching, so I decided to add a few lines of shirring. Despite having looked at several shirred projects and tutorials online and having already purchased elastic thread specifically for that purpose, I had never actually shirred a single item. I went to my go-to sewing tutorial blog, indietutes, and followed the shirring instructions from one of her projects. As I was easily sewing along my chalk lines, my mother (who is a product of the smocking generation), giggled and said, "I wonder what lazy person came up with this idea!" I replied, "A very smart one!" She agreed.

Here is what the shirring looks like up close and personal:

If I had intended for this to be a shirred top from the beginning, there are some things I would have definitely done differently, but this worked for my purposes. It was a very quick way (maybe 5-10 minutes from marking the lines to cutting the final threads) to alter this shirt to [mostly] fit my little one! Here are a few action shots:

wandering through the yard

tasting a marigold

browsing at the library

kneading pizza dough for dinner

I should mention that the pre-teen you see in many of the pictures is my niece, Albanie, who is visiting from Indiana. She has been with us for the past 3 weeks (she tagged along with my mom), but she and Mom will be returning home at the end of this week. Ella will miss her Albee very much, I'm sure!  I'll certainly miss her, too; along with being a great kid in general, she's been a wonderful mommy's helper!  Here's she is helping with the pizza dough:

so excited when I reponded "yes!" when she asked if she could toss the dough ball into the air

really getting into the throwing of the dough

I really wish I had taken pictures of the pizza after it was finished, but it went way too fast! It was the most amazing pizza dough I have ever tried, and I plan on making it in bulk and freezing portions. It came from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan with a Vengeance. Here is another blog entry that lists the recipe with a few pictures. I would typically do a cheese-less pizza with veggie toppings, but I was really in the mood for junk food. I bought some Yves meatless pepperoni and Daiya mozza-style shreds. Om nom nom...that stuff is amazing! If you've tried vegan cheeses in the past and have been disappointed, you must try this! It's even soy-free!

Okay, I think I just forgot that this isn't a vegan foodie blog...I'll try to restrain myself from engaging in such tangents in the future!



  1. such a cute top in my favorite fabric!

  2. I have a funny story for you, Erica. Remember when I saw you at the Veggie Fest and W was wearing the pants made out of this fabric? I immediately recognized it from QA, of course, because I love it! I came home, and a few days later I was clearing off my dining room/sewing table, and whaddya know...I had already bought a yard of it! I think that's a sign that I buy too much fabric with no specific use in mind.

  3. I do the same thing! It's just the cutest fabric. I bought like 5 yards total...I'm so in love with it! I think my next sewing project is to make myself a skirt from it! BTW...somehow, the shirring just makes that top! So cute!

  4. Oh! I'm pretty sure I have this fabric too! haha I bought it to make cloth diapers for my little Madelynn.