Monthly Archives: June 2011

06.19.11The Toe the Line Dress Knock Off


Wow. I cannot believe it has been soooo long since I have posted. What can I say though one packed up house, several good bye parties, one 2 hour flight, one 5 hour flight and one 13 hour flight later we are at our hotel in CA! We have found the secret to righting your children’s body blocks in one day. Just get off the plane at 6:30am and be at Disneyland before 10am! The Crawford’s are officially righted ha! This has been soooo much better then on our arrival in Timor where we spent days playing trains and watching cartoons in the wee hours of the morning, ughhhhh. I have some really fun details to share about our last few days in Timor but I wanted to make sure I got this up before we headed off on our Cruise. So here it FINALLY is the Toe the Line Knock Off tutorial.
This is Che Che. She was our amazing housekeeper/ Nanny/ Friend for the entire time we were in Timor. She was so fantastic and was a huge part of No Mans Land. There is not way I could have posted so much if it hadn’t been for Che Che working so hard. I wanted to make sure she had something to remember us by and I had talked about doing a giveaway of this dress I made. I decided to go a head with that idea only give it to Che Che instead of a reader. I asked her to measure her under the guise of making the dress for my little sister. When I finished sewing it was on a day that was particularly chaotic and begged her to let me take a picture of her in it claiming I had no time to ask anyone else. She obliged. When I was done taking pictures she asked if she could have the pictures that I had printed out to help me knock off the dress so she could have one made when she went home to the Philippines. I told her I had made it for her so that whenever she wore it she would think of us and she started crying, I then of course started blubbering and it was a mess ha!
If you would like to make your own it is actually a fairly easy and straight forward dress. The neckline is the only tricky part and that will come together easily as long as you take your time and think before you stitch. I do have to say though that the fabric I used was ordered site unseen. I thought I was ordering a nice Chambray and it ended up being a blend and was chambray but pretty stretchy. Next time around I would certainly use a lawn/poplin cotton or a chambray without spandex in it ha! If you would like to learn how to make the dress click tell me more :) If not then I will see you in a week when my feet touch American soil once again!

What you will need:
3 (or more depending on your size) yards of fabric
A small zipper
Several buttons (depending on how many faux buttons you want)
A small strip of light fusible interfacing (for the neckline)
Sewing Machine
Needle and Thread

The Pattern (this is a size 6 pattern, it was a bit large for Che Che and I ended up taking it in for her)

The first thing we are going to put together is the dress top. Take all three of your main dress pieces. I decided to sew four darts in the dress. Once in each front piece:
And two in the back
You can use the dart guides on the pattern if you would like to include them. I think they make the dress have a nice fitted look and looks more professional. Once you are done attach the front pieces to the back.
Before you stitch decide which side you want your side zipper on and do not stitch all the way to the bottom on that side. Also do not sew ALL the way to the inside of your shoulder seams. We will manipulate these later.

At this point you could stitch this hem in place. I waited and did this on the next step and then looked at my Shabby Apple dresses and realized they do nit on this step. Either will work, just some additional info.
Once you are done head over to the sewing machine
You might need to gather the top of the sleeve slightly. Once you do turn line up the sleeve edge and the arm hole of the dress so that right sides are together. Stitch all the way around.
Once you are done and have pressed your seams and turned everything right side out your top should look like this:
Now we are going to do our neckline. Do this slowly, think before you sew and read the instructions several times and it will save you A LOT of frustration… not that it took me FOREVER to figure this out HA! (it TOTALLY did). I took lots of pictures of the finished product so I hope it helps. Turn your dress top inside out. Line of the ENDS of the neckline so that right sides are together. Stitch across the end so that there is a finished seam on what will be the outside of the neckline. When you are done turn the dress top right side out. Fold down the neckline so that the right side of the neckline is rights sides together with your dress back. Lin up the edges of the two taking special care at the shoulders. Stitch all the way around, iron your seam. It should look like this when done:
Now grab your to neck lining pieces. Cut fusible interfacing to match both and attach to WRONG side. Once you are done we are going to do the same thing to the thin ends of the neckline that we just did to the main neckline. Lay the pieces right sides together. Stitch the ends and open up so you have a nice finished seam. Once you are done we are going to attach it to the main neck line. Lay it right sides together and pin all the way around, lining up the seams you created on the back. Stitch all the way around the edge. When you are done head over to your iron and iron the seam so that the lining is inside the main dress.
Once you have ironed it topstitch all the way around on the right side of the neckline.
When you are done you should have a nice seamless neckline.
The inside neckline should look like this:
Now using your button hole maker make your buttons. I made three functioning buttons and three faux buttons but it is up to you and the size of your buttons.
(Don’t mind that I have already attached my dress bottom, I forgot to take a pic of the buttons until after ha!)
Now we are going to make our skirt bottom. This is mainly just ALOT of pleated fabric. The seam will be on the side of this dress so that you can have a hidden zipper. The type of pleat you do is up to you and how much fabric you have. I tried to follow the dress as close as possible.
When you are done and everything is flipped right side out and pressed your waistline should look like this;
Once you have the top attached to the bottom insert your side zipper.
Once your zipper is in all you need to do is stitch up the side and hem the bottom!!! Woo hoooo! This dress actually does not look that cute without some sort of belt. I just made Che Che a big white fabric belt sort of like the one in the Shabby Apple picture.
I hope I explained it well? I am certainly going to make another one for myself. I want a nice solid bright green one! Maybe I can finagle the pattern to be maternity. We’ll see! For now I have to go organize all our moving luggage for the cruise ha! I hope your week is sunny!

06.09.11My Go To Lens

I swear I am alive…barely ha! I swear there is a tutorial for how to make the Toe The Line Knock off dress coming. It has been a CRAZY week trying to organize shipments to three different locations, selling and giving tons of never used items away, AND doing a photoshoot every single night of the week! Yup, things have been busy. And since it is my policy to have a 24 hour turn around with clients and their pictures (I ABHORE waiting to get my DVD from photographers) I have been spending my “after the kids go to bed” time preparing DVD’s etc. All this photography got me thinking that I haven’t done a photography post in a while. Then I thought about the fact that LOTS of photographers just starting out really struggle with what lenses to spend their hard earned money on. Now of course this all depends on the type of photographer you are, your disposable income limit etc. I am basically a family photographer, specializing in children and newborns.
This means my subjects are wiggle, high energy and a good shot sometimes just means no one if picking their nose and everyone is looking at the camera (although I don’t consider it a successful session unless I get 25 frame able shots)
Shooting families (often with pups as pictured above) means I don’t often have the luxury of switching lenses several times. I have to have a go to lens that stays put until I feel I have gotten enough good shots that I can mix it up, take a break and put something fun on my camera.
This lens for me is the 50mm 1.8.
It is Uh-Mazing…. for the cost. At an average of $110 found HERE on amazon and HERE on B&H Photo for great deals, no beginning photographer should be with out it. All of the above pictures were taken with it. You could go a bit further and get the 1.2 but I find that I rarely go down below 2.8 when shooting children, unless I want that SUPER sharp amazingly clear close up shot.
To be honest I usually save shots like this for the end and snap on the splurge of my photographic career the 85mm 1.2.
This lens is prohibitively expensive and absolutely amazing in its color saturation and clarity. The problem is with family photography the 85mm demands LOTS of space and most of the time you will be shooting at 3.8 or higher so you won’t really use the 1.2 soooooooo much.
If you can, go for it but I am TELLING you 8 times out of 10 my favorite pictures from a shoot are with the uber affordable 50mm 1.8. Which come on is 20% of the time worth 10 times the cost? I don’t think so.
Now in closing I have to admit that I am a prime lens junky. I think the clarity they provide is stunning. The fact that they make YOU move not just zoom in and out means you get far more interesting angles and never stop moving (sounds exhausting ha!) I also shoot exclusively in manual. If you want the most out of the lenses you are spending your hard earned money on you have GOT to learn to use your camera to it’s fullest. Take some courses, read some books, download some online manuals and practice, practice, practice 😉 If you love it, this will never seem like work but always an opportunity to stretch your skills and do something you enjoy ha! Now I promise the next post will be the long awaited for Toe the Line Tutorial… just gotta do the photoshoot HA!!!!!

06.03.11Sewing Remix: Flapper Baby Romper


I have actually been sitting on this project for WEEKS and it has been KILLING me! I am so excited to share it today and be part of Jessica from Me Sew Crazy‘s amazing Sewing Remix series! Me Sew Crazy is one of my fav sewing blogs and one of the few I check very regularly for inspiration, a good laugh and some fun eye candy. My little contribution is the Flapper Baby Romper:
When Jess asked me to be part of Sewing Remix I was pretty excited to follow a pattern. But then I kept seeing little outfits like this everywhere:
Source: Simplicity Photography
I thought, Evie HAS to have one!!! I wanted to stick to the rules though and remix a pattern. For the perfect place to start I headed over to Made to Dana’s free down loadable perfect diaper cover pattern. This gave me a good jumping off point to create The Flapper Baby Romper:
After asking Dana for her permission I morphed the perfect diaper cover pattern into my own Flapper Baby Romper pattern which you can download HERE.  My first attempt was supposed to be Evie sized about 2T… but ended up Carmen sized or about 3-4T
I tweaked it a bit and then shrunk the pattern you can print out by 80% to get my Evie sized Flapper Baby Romper:
I dunno what it is but these little rompers make their little bums look so adorable ha!
It is probably how great Dana’s original pattern is! Carmen’s was a little roomy so in the final tutorial I added an extra step to put some elastic around the waist and cinch it up a bit.
I also added elastic to the back shoulder blade portion to keep it nice and snug
If you would like to sew a long and make your own Flapper Baby Romper
click learn more for all the instructions!! Jessica thanks so much for having me and I hope you are getting some much needed R&R before this little blue bundle of joy comes!
So funny story, we did this photoshoot right before everyone in our family got super sick. I don’t think she was feeling the best this particular day so as a “thank you” for cooperating after pictures we took the kids for milkshakes. None of us were able to finish our entire shake, except for Evie.
Who not only finished her own shake but then proceeded to go down the line and polish off everyone else’s
That night when Finn started getting sick I thought FOR SURE all those milkshakes were going to come back up
But Evie was the only cutie who DIDN’T get sick! Maybe all that calcium staved it off ha!
ANYWAYS on to the tutorial!!!What you will need:
1/2 yard fabric for romper bottom
1/4 yard fabric for romper top
scraps for ruffle and straps
thin elastic
safety pin
straight pins
sewing machine
The Pattern found HERE
If you would like a 2T size of the pattern simply print it out and then copy it at 80%

Getting ready to sew: Print out the pattern pieces, tape together where necessary, following cutting instructions, I like to iron all my pieces once cut. You will need to make your own straps. Mine were SUPER long, I might suggest doing a bit smaller ha! I just cut long strips of fabric, ironed over the long raw edges then ironed the entire thing in half lengthwise, then I sewed up the open side. Easy Peasy. I also did the extra step or serging the arches that would eventually become my leg holes. I did this before sewing anything else, I think it makes the process easier, but thats just me. If you don’t have a serger don’t worry at all and don’t even bother doing a zig zag stitch 😉

Now that you have everything ready lets get going!!

On Carmens romper I made little pleats by lining up the pleat lines on the pattern and stitching. I did not do this on the 2T size, it was not necessary.
I wanted to make sure that the romper didn’t look like a sac on Evie so I added the extra step of sewing a loop of elastic all the way around the waist. Cut a length of elastic a little under half the length of your waist. Start at one side of the waist and topstitch it in place all the way around the waistline pulling the elastic as you sew.
The elastic will naturally coil back up gathering the waist.
Keeping your romper wrong side out we are going to hem over the leg holes creating little pockets for elastic to thread through.
Once you have hemmed them feed a small length of elastic through and all the way around. I tied the ends together but you can stitch them if you like. Let them slip back into the hem and stitch closed your little hole. Repeat on the other leg band. For Awesome pictures and instructions for this part click HERE on Dana’s tutorial. Why mess with a good thing right?
All done!!
Now watch your cutie patootie march around enjoy a comfy little romper!!
Have fun with fabric selection and strap colors!!

06.02.11Scrap Your Stash: BHLDN Knock Off

I am really excited to be part of Susan’s at “Living with Punks” scrap your stash series! Everyone knows a huge part of my sewing is using what you have and saving every piece so this was right up my alley! My actual problem was narrowing down what scrap project I wanted to make! (There are a few I will be doing this summer but they have to wait until I can get specific supplies). With my little sister getting married this summer I have been pouring over wedding sites and of course a personal favorite is Anthropologies BHLDN. I was looking at their table decor and saw THESE fabulous fabric napkin rings:

 Lightening struck and the internet stood still (literally our power went out) and I knew it was PERFECT!! Pretty sure $5 a napkin ring was about $5 to much ha! I grabbed some of my scraps and went to town.
How cute could these be for any family picnic, sunday dinner, classing up a birthday or if you have a TON of scraps a wedding?
So if you would like to learn how to make my BHLDN knock off napkin rings hop on over to Living With Punks or click learn more. And if the thought of rolling paper or fabric napkins makes your tummy turn you can always use them as cut little wrist cuffs ha!!

What you will need:

Small scraps of fabric (I think you could make a whole set out of a fat quarter alone)
Twine, ribbon or twill tape for your loops
Buttons for embellishing
a scrap of medium interfacing
an iron
Roll up your rectangle and wrap around your loop, looping it up and around the button. 
Taddah!! So easy right!!!
I am so excited to make a bunch of these for Evie’s birthday! Fabric stores of America HERE I COME!!
Thanks Susan for letting me be a part of such a genius series!!! 

06.01.11Wild Thing

Evie has never had a haircut. Yeah. She will be two next month and we have never cut her hair. When we moved here to Timor she was only 4 months old.
The only trip we have taken off the island to a place that had a salon was in Italy and at that point she didn’t have enough hair to cut :)
I have been asked how I get her hair in braids, or piggy tails etc. and it is honestly because if I do not put her hair in some sort of “tie” she goes around looking like the shaggy dog (in a super cute little girl way)
Picnik collage
With going on our big family vacation in two weeks I thought it was high time she get a hair cut (that, and her dad asking pretty much everyday when I will cut her hair and Che Che actually jumping and clapping when I mentioned it ha!).
Now the problem is, how in the world do you cut little girls hair? I don’t mean myself by any means, we are taking her to the one Australian who cuts hair even though I must admit I will be paying more then I will EVER pay for a child’s hair cut ughhh.
What I mean is she has such thin, uneven hair with a cow lick that comes all the way from the back of her head. Do any of you have any advice? Fun websites with cute suggestions on it?
I am so nervous about it I feel kinda silly. But as cute as she is:
This hair has got to be tamed! Because when you see this wild thing coming at you from behind the cozy coupe,
you get a little scared ha! Thanks for any suggestions, oh and Evie would thank you too, that is when she is done running me over with the coupe.