Category Archives: Babies and children

Monkeys for my favorite little monkey

I wish I had a picture of my favorite monkey wearing this cute new raincoat. But toddlers are not noted for being highly cooperative. With photo shoot sessions, or much else, for that matter, so you will just have to use your imagination.

McCalls 6392 by SewMaris

All I can say is this fabric choice is perfect for my DGD. She is my favorite, super-active, always-moving, hilarious 3-year-old. And more fun than a barrel of monkeys!

McCalls 6392 by Sew Maris

The pattern for this cutie is McCall’s 6392 (OOP). I stitched up only the raincoat and drawstring backpack—who the heck gives a 3 year-old an weaponumbrella? I contemplated making the hat, but figured that was just one more thing to lose. The backpack will probably get lost too, but since all little ones LOVE bags for their very important stuff, I made one up for DGD. I don’t care that much if she loses something that took 15 minutes to sew.


This fabric is laminated, so it actually is pretty waterproof, but I didn’t do anything over-the-top-crazy like seal the seams. (This is for a 3 year-old.)  A teflon foot helped when sewing on this fabric, especially on the laminated/shiny/stickier side. Maybe the ole’ cellophane tape on the bottom of the presser foot trick would have worked,too,  but I have a teflon foot so I used it. Reduces the accessory presser foot cost/miles sewn, right? 😉

McCalls 6392 by Sew Maris

Of course, I had to make a few changes to the pattern. I added a bit of elastic to the hood so hopefully it will stay on her head. I also lined the hood with Polar Fleece 100 so it is cozy and warm around her ears. How do you like that “designer” neckline binding to hide the SA, and the coat hook loop. Snazzy, eh?

McCalls 6392 by Sew Maris

Just to add to my aggravation working with this laminated fabric, I felled the seams. The old-fashioned way with a regular presser foot, wrong sides together, and trimming one seam allowance before turning and topstitching. I know. Only a grandmother is this crazy. But I wanted the inside totally finished and clean. And it is!

McCalls 6392 by Sew Maris

Must.Have.Pockets. That kiddo is obsessed with pockets. I drafted fairly large ones,and like the rest of the coat, trimmed them with narrow (purchased) bias binding. I love the contrast detail of the binding! And those KAM snaps totally rock. Many thanks to my friend Krista who loaned me her press and piles of leftover snaps! I think the  snaps make the coat look way more RTW than Velcro, which is what the pattern suggests for closures.

McCalls 6392 by SewMaris

This is where there a pix of my DGD wearing her cute new raincoat belongs. Squint! You can see her in it, right?

Maybe I can snap one someday soon and show you (again) how cute the little monkey is.

Happy sewing!






Double the skirt delight

For my money, sewing clothes for little ones must be quick-to-make and stinkin’ cute. I am pretty sure this little skirt qualifies, and BONUS! It is reversible!

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

I love the bright color palette of this variegated chevron fabric. Just add a bit of rick rack and print FOE, and you have an almost-instant-skirt.

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

Doesn’t that orange and pink elastic just set off the colors in the fabric?

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

I adore rick rack on children’s clothes. It’s a little retro, but modern and fresh at the same time. Can’t.get.enough.rick.rack.

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

And if the chevrons weren’t enough, this bold floral is screaming “SPRINGTIME”!

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

Sorry. Just wanted you to see that adorable rick rack again.

Reversible skirt drafted and sewn by Sew Maris

There it is! An easy peasy lemon squeezy reversible toddler skirt. Wait! Where is the toddler? Well, she refused to model her new skirt. For all of you who have experienced toddlerhood this is not at all surprising. It may happen later. But I had to show you this pink and orange cuteness right away. I am pretty sure you are going to ask me for a tutorial, aren’t you?. You might need to beg a little.;-)

Happy sewing!



Stripey Oliver + S Playtime Dress and Leggings

You might think that I have been sewing non-stop for my only grand-daughter since she was born. Well, you would be wrong. I have made her a few things, but I am not that enthralled with making baby clothes. They grow so quickly that you can barely get something off the sewing machine before it no longer fits. IMHO, buying used clothes from a consignment store is a much better way to dress little ones. Especially ones who go to daycare and return home almost unrecognizable they are so dirty.

Oliver + S Playtime Dress made up by Sew Maris

But now that my DGD is almost 2 1/2, I am starting to get a little more enthusiastic about spending my sewing time on her clothes. Plus I have been waiting to jump on the Oliver + S bandwagon, so I started with the Playtime Dress and Leggings in a soft, navy and pale grey striped knit. I am not sure of the fiber content as a friend gifted me with this fabric.  I thought little red ladybug buttons were a great embellishment, and decided to use the  “wrong” side of my coverstitch for hemming the skirt and sleeves. My DGD is a sporty, playful little gal, and this dress suits her down to a T.

Toddler wearing Playtime dress by Sew Maris and sitting in toddler chair

There was enough fabric to also make a pair of leggings, which she LOVES wearing. At least today. She is a toddler, after all, so tomorrow could be different. 😉

Toddler wearing Oliver and S Playtime dress by Sew Maris and checking out the pockets

Ohhh, pockets! Someone LOVES pockets!

Back view of toddler wearing Oliver + S Playtime dress by Sew Maris

This dress is soft and comfy, Nana!It is really fun to stroll around in it!

Toddler running wearing Oliver + S Playtime Dress and Leggings by Sew Maris

And if I put on my favorite boots I can RUN in my striped dress and leggings!

Toddler playing around wearing Oliver + S Playtime Dress by Sew Maris

Hey! There’s something on my tummy! Can you guess what it is?

Toddler playing around wearing Oliver + S Playtime Dress by Sew Maris

Hehe! I bet you wish you had an elephant tattoo on YOUR tummy!

This little outfit sewed up quickly, and is adorable. Of course the model is even more adorable, but I am really happy with this Oliver + S pattern for my DGD. She really couldn’t get any cuter, but I love the playful, comfortable vibe of this fun little dress.

Have you made up any Oliver + S patterns? What did you think? I am a fan!

Happy sewing!












An actual Oona sighting!

DGD wearing her new leggings

Looks to me like some little mischievous imp is ready to cause trouble at daycare, but at least she is wearing her new leggings Nana made for her. I think the bows on the back (the ones that aren’t visible!) are adding that special feminine touch to her ensemble today. Don’t you agree?

Still. Cutest. Best. 2-year-old. Ever.

Love you, goofball!

Happy sewing, and have a great weekend!



Toddler leggings are fast and easy

Blue and black leggings for a toddler

It seems my darling granddaughter is low on leggings that fit, so you can bet I jumped on that task immediately! Thank you, Oliver and S for the cute Playtime Tunic & Leggings pattern.

The best part about leggings for little ones is you can make them out of remnants from other garments. Yep, that’s exactly what these leggings are made from – remnants. I am pretty sure that qualifies as stash-busting, right?

One pair of very plain, and very versatile, black leggings. One pair of hootchy, black lace leggings. NOT! Think of them as tights to be worn under dresses. Oh, wait. Oona isn’t wearing dresses these days. Well, maybe these tights will spur her to don a dress. Or not. And finally a pair of blue leggings with striped blue bows on the back. Someday there will be a Oliver & S Playtime tunic made out of the same blue striped fabric that can be worn with these leggings. Hopefully this tunic will magically appear before DGD falls down and rips a big hole in the knee of said leggings.

serger elastic casing

I didn’t pay any attention to the instructions. These are leggings for gawd’s sake – one pattern piece. Serge the inside leg seams, the crotch seam, apply elastic with the serger using the 3-thread overlock stitch, and finally coverstitch the elastic waist and those teeny little leg openings. DONE! People who think sergers are optional really must be living on another planet, IMHO. Could.Not.Sew.Without.A.Serger.

I know, I know. You want to see a picture of DGD in these leggings. Have you ever tried to take a picture of a 2 year-old whose favorite word is “NO!”? Wish me luck, but don’t hold your breath.

Happy sewing!



Have crazy fun making Halloween baby clothes

What is cuter than an adorable little one in custom-made Halloween outfit? Not a costume, mind you, but an actual outfit that can be worn more than once!


I will likely whip out a Halloween costume this weekend, but I won’t spend too much time on it. If we can wrangle the no-is-my-favorite-word toddler into wearing a costume at all it will be a small miracle, so I am not spending much of my sewing time on that chore. But a cute Halloween jumper that I can embellish? I’m all over it.


My DD loved a dress on Pinterest that featured a candy corn appliqué, so that element became the design focus. How did I manage to have some candy corn print cotton in my stash? That became a ruffle at the hem edge. I wrapped the seam allowance in orange bias binding so there are no raw edges. I know. Overkill for a child’s dress.

I bought some yellow and orange rick rack, and decided that looked best sandwiched in the seam allowance. Of course. I couldn’t just slap it on top, right?


McCall’s 6193 was the base for this outfit, and I didn’t want to use contrast fabric for the pockets, but liked the touch of rick rack along the edge. My DGD LOVES pockets right now, and really, who doesn’t? 😉


Just to top off the craziness, I added 3 candy corn appliqués to the front of the jumper. Which of course means a multiple thread changes  to accomplish white, yellow and orange stitching in the appropriate places on each applique. Just shows how far you will really go for a grand-daughter.

McCall’s 6193 is a very simple pattern, and the perfect foil for an embellished garment like this Halloween jumper. I have no idea if the instructions are any good, since I never opened them. If you are not a nut like me, I would imagine you could whip one of these out in a few hours. But if anyone knows how to complicate a simple sewing task, I am a top candidate for that honor!

I REALLLLLLLY hope my DGD deigns to wear this outfit. More than once. For the rest of you, you still have a few days left. Get on it and whip out some cute Halloween baby clothes, and then share a picture of your creations!

Happy sewing!


Jumper and jacket for fall

There is nothing like a huge thunderstorm to make you want to run to the sewing room and hunker down. You don’t even have the excuse the yard work needs to get done, so sew guilt-free.

McCalls 5836 and Sew Cute Couture

Oona’s jacket and jumper are done, and ready for some prime-time wearing. She is chasing some of her old friends around McCarren Park in Williamsburg for a few days, so the fit-check will have to wait for her return. I am pretty darn happy the way this outfit turned out, and hopefully she will agree to wearing it. She is going thru a “dresses only please” phase, so I plan to take advantage of that!

Sleeve lining detail corduroy jacket          Hanger loop on corduroy jacket

I decided to line the sleeves with a poly fabric I had in my stash, since my favorite DGD is very likely to squaw loudly if her t-shirt hangs up on the jacket sleeve when trying to get it on. And I remembered at the last minute that she hangs her coat up at daycare, so I added a loop for hanging ease. She’ll never lift the collar to see the bar tacks on the back, will she? 😉

Corduroy jacket back detail

I LOVE the pleat in the back of this little swing jacket! I think it gives it a bit of a vintage vibe, don’t you?

Jacket binding front on round corner           Back binding closeup

The binding on this jacket went on super easily. I made it from the leftover lining fabric, and used my Clover binding-maker tool to create 1″ wide binding. After stitching it on and pressing on the front side just 1/2″ shows. It is always looks a little wonky when you apply binding around a rounded corner after finishing up just the stitching and pressing steps. But you can see that when you roll the binding to the backside everything smoothes out and lays perfectly. The magic of bias, right?

McCalls 5836 jumper front

OMG, doesn’t this jumper just scream “wear ME on the first day of school!”? I should probably go buy Oona some knee socks and saddle shoes to wear with it, right? The pattern I used is McCalls 5836, OOP, but still seems to be available on the Web site. There are so few patterns for little girls with PLEATS. I sense a business opportunity here.

McCalls 5836 jumper front detail

See that little bit of bodice lining peaking out? Adorbs. And color me totally shocked when I actually found cute buttons that exactly match the dress & jacket, came in 2 sizes, AND cost only a few bucks! Normally I end up buying uber-expensive-but-ohh-so-perfect-ones that cost a small fortune EACH. I am actually feeling like this whole outfit is practically free because I bought the corduroy in France so long ago I have no idea what it cost. If it ages in my stash for ANY length of time it auto-magically becomes free fabric.

What fun things are you stitching up in your sewing room? Is the weather conducive to your sewing bug, or is it calling you outdoors? I am taking off later this week for the Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, so a few more days of warm weather are still in my future.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen




Blue bees for springtime

Blue Bee Dress started

I bet you thought I forgot about you. Maybe it even crossed your mind that I don’t care about you anymore.

Well, you would be wrong on both counts. I have missed you and our chats. I want to know what is on your sewing table. Mine has been overflowing with pillowcase dresses for Dress a Girl Around the World, a few pairs of knit pants, and some new knit tops. Sew Expo also came and went, and my teaching schedule has been over-full. As usual, I have spent not-nearly-enough time in my garden coaxing early spring vegetables to sprout and grow. Yes, dear readers, life has indeed gotten in the way of our relationship.

But here is something fun for you! I found this sweet and  (sort of) simple dress pattern in an old Sew Beautiful magazine (yes, I still have all my old copies!) last summer. I thought it would make an adorable dress for my DGD, so I ordered the perfect bee print fabric from an Etsy seller to honor her middle name,which is  “Buzz”. I say “sort of simple” because lining up rick-rack over the seamline and then binding all the seam allowances does not really qualify as simple in my book, but the dress pattern design lines are simple and there are only 4 pattern pieces. Soooo, simple design lines, with a fairly fiddly construction. And of course purchased seam binding was not going to do for this dress, either, so I made it from a complementary print.

Bee Dress pattern

I hope to get this dress finished this week even tho it will be too cold to wear it for some months around here. Maybe with some leggings and a T-shirt underneath it could work before August!

Blue Bee Dress closeup

What are you sewing these days? Share your sewing adventures, I’d love to hear about your projects!

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen



Two summer dresses for Oona

Sewing for little ones is so rewarding. Generally projects can be made fairly quickly (OK, unless they are smocked!), they don’t take a lot of fabric, and there are so many cute ways to embellish them. My DGD is now getting old enough (8 months today!) that the sewing opportunities and pleasure will only increase.

I am not one for making PJs and onesies for babies. Not enough enjoyment factor to spend my sewing time this way. But a little onesie with an attached skirt to make it all girly and cute is a totally different story. I had some sweet yellow cotton knit that has been aging in my stash for just such an opportunity. Love this dress!

Yellow cotton knit dress

Sorry for the weird angle on the above shot, but the dress is already on its way to NYC so no chance for a re-shoot. Check out the convenient little attached onesie part. Cool, huh? I think the dress will stay “put” on a wiggly baby who is not yet walking.

Onesie under skirt

Of course the pink dress took more time, but I just love smocked dresses on little girls, especially bishop-style. Oona is going to have a smocked dress in every size at every age – I really hope she likes dresses!

Full view pink cotton bishop

My smocking is not that perfect these days, as I am definitely out of practice. I see that changing soon, though, as Oona is getting into a “prime dress wearing age”. You have to take advantage of this time, since she might hate dresses once she starts school. Hope she and her momma like this one!

Pink smocking detail

LOL! These bloomers are huge! Well, I have enough fabric to make another pair, since I am pretty sure her momma could wear these.  Need this baby to live closer so I don’t have fitting issues. That’s a good reason, right? 😉

Pink granny panties

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen



Missing in action

Dear Readers,

So sorry that I have been missing in action around here the past couple of weeks. Evidence of the reason for the blog post shortage below. I know. Adorbs. 🙂

Oona 7 mos

I think my DGD is almost ready for sewing lessons, right? And she is definitely company in the sewing room, especially if Mommy is with her.

Oona and Erin

Back to my semi-regularly scheduled posts next week.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen