Getting Strong

The weekend just gone, while we searched for autumn colours and crunchy leaves, we also found a fabulous playground as well. The kid played ofr a long time, hopping too and fro from one piece of eqoipment to the next. Swinging, hanging, balancing and jumping. What she likes to call ‘getting strong’.

Recently (while practicing the splits) she ernestly told me that she wanted to be a ‘skinny girl’. I think my jaw hit the ground and I looked so shocked she thought I was cross.
I wasnt. Not at all. But I was concerned and saddened that at 5 year old and not yet in school, the concept of body image was already a part of her life.

We talked about it. The use of terms like ‘thin’ and ‘skinny’. How in this family we prefer not to use them. Of what we want for ourselves and our bodies. The idea that we want to be strong and fit. Flexible and energetic.

I’m not sure if any of it sunk in. Or if I made a bigger deal out of it than was necessary. Do you tackle it head on, guns blazing. Or just accept its something they hear, repeat but dont really understand. Should I have just ignored it completely and changed the subject?

How do I raise my daughter to be strong, both physically and mentally? To be driven but not overly competitive. To take care of herself and her body, but not to be obsessed with self image? I want her to enjoy playing and climbing and using her scooter and bike in activities for themselves. Not toward an end goal.

In the end I think all I can do is to instil a sense of worth that is not tied to physical looks or capabilities. A unshakable sense of self esteem and confidence in themselves.

Choose Your Own Adventure (tee and dress)

The Choose you Adventure Tee and Dress is the newest release from LittleKiwiCloset. It’s a really fabulous unisex (dont be fooled by the ‘dress’ part in the title – its just as perfect for an all boy family)

With winter coming, and our trip to Alaska, I made the hooded cowl, top length, long sleeved version with colour blocking on the back and pockets.

It came together fast even with all the options – I love a really good printing guide. I’m fairly new to sewig knit and this would be the most ‘complex’ pattern I’ve tried. And I didnt find it hard. It was actually a very enjoyable sew. Somehow Lydia has manage to make a really professional looking garmet while keeping the construction super straightforward and simple.

I used a winter weight jersey with a soft almost minky inner. ‘Snuggly’ as the kid calls it. But you could also use lighter t-shirting, or a knit merino (ooh that would be delightful). Basically as long as the fabric has stretch in it.

I have had lots of comments about the first top in this post and ended up making a second straight after! And there may well be a 3rd – and slightly different .. short rouched sleeves, cowl neck – on my sewing table.

There are so many options in the Choose your Own Adventure Tee and Dress it really is one to check out. Three neck lines, long and short sleeves of different types (short, rouched, bell, cuffed and plain) as well as colour blocking options for the front and back, pockets and dress length. There is also the cutest key hole back that some of the testers did which is just simply to die for!

If you still not 100% sure have a swing by the LKC FaceBook group and see what the testers did. There are so many options in one pattern its mind blowing. And Fabulous!

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At the skate park. Celebrating her greatness. And the greatness of the Choose your Adventure Tee and Dress by LKC. I got to test this and her genuine delight at the finished garment was magic.

Sometimes, as they grow. We are lucky enough to see little peek of the teenager and adult they might become. This one likes music with heavy beats. Going fast. Friends.

Orange and Red

At the weekend we decided to have a bit of a road trip. Not that far really. A town about 45 mins away that has a great park with amazing autumn colours. We weren’t disappointed. I really do love Autumn. The smalls the colours, the crunchy leaves.

We walked, chased ducks. Ok, that was the kid, not me. Took pictures and generally really enjoyed the mellow day with no schedule or place to be. Soon we will be off on holiday and its nice to have some time mindfully appreciate the changing seasons and not always focusing on what is ahead of us.

Sewing For Kids

There is no secret that I love to sew for the kid. Her appreciation for what I make is mixed. Which I hear is totally normal for 5yr olds. But still feels rather like being slapped in the chops when a slaved over garment gets the old ‘no, I don’t like it’.

This make is a teeny tiny size 1 for a friends little girl. It is a Pixie coat from the genius of Big Little. It’s a pattern that I’ve sewn a number of times now and one I really love. Its simple, well written and comes together beautifully

One thing that comes up quite a lot is how to make garments look ‘handmade’ rather than ‘homemade’. Neither is wrong, obviously. And there are a fair number of clothes in the kids closets that I’d rather you didn’t look to closely at. That are very definitely ‘homemade’, and we love them for that.
But there are a few things that can really make the difference (I cannot, hand on heart, say I always do these thing .. truth) but they really do help.

Iron as you go. Actually, steam the s&*t out of every seam and fold. Seriously, iron that thing.
TOP STITCH. Top stitch.
There are instances where you wont need or want to – for example the hem of this coat isn’t topstitched. But round the hood, the front – where you want a crisp clean line. Dress bodices, skirt waistbands. Top stitch – if your feeling really adventurous invest in a double needle

Thread match … actually I’m horric at this – I’m lazy. But do it. Spend 5 minutes winding a bobbin with matching thread. Dig through that box to find the closest match. You’ll be so pleased you did afterwards. Spend time choosing the right buttons/trim/lining. Often its the little details that give it away. Or make it amazing.

Did I mention ironing? Steam that sucker.

Sleeves with hidden or inner seams (often known as the drainpipe method) can make the garment look great. Some coats look so nice with a little underfold of the outer fabric into the sleeve. When you fold them up it’s a lovely detail.

I am really pedantic on clipping my corners and curves too, it just really helps things to lie nicely, sit well.
Preparation. Cut slowly and carefully.

French seams take a super easy skirt from average to amazing. The same for a good chunky hem. Don’t scrimp on the turn up, nothing helps a skirt or trouser hang better than a little weight at the bottom.

A little tag at the neck is functional for hanging and also for little people to recognise the back from the front. The kid gets extremely cross if I don’t tag skirts and trousers.

For me a part of keeping on sewing things the kid loves has been making sure that what I sew has a purpose. Making things that she needs as well as wants. The truth is that our lifestyle doesn’t really suit multiple pretty dresses made from amazing woven cottons. One or two will do.

And thats where patterns like the Pixie Coat come in, I prefer to sew one coat that gets lots of wear and love. Also biting the bullet and learning (rather under duress) how to sew knit and jersey fabric has opened up a world of comfy and easy to wear clothes for a picky 5 yr old.

Look at whats in trend in the shops. What are the kids wanting. How close can you get to that while still maintaining that individuality.

And Topstitching where the instructions say to? … It’s been added in there for a reason 😉

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She has more determination in her little finger than I think I have in my entire body. Its 95% awesome. And 5% really really annoying.

Sunday Steam










A local Steam fair. Celebrating steam vehicles of all shapes and sizes. We only really go for the little mini trains which the kid adores.
The big train (full size steam train) is fun but the ear piercing whistle offends her.
She likes to run about and look at everything – the hugeness of the traction engines, how robust and eternal they look.

I marvel at them. 100 years old some of them. Where will be be in another 100 years. Thankful someone decided they were worth saving and treasuring.

Around the House

Autumn is here, cooler nights, bonfires and woodburners going. Fruit and veggies form the garden. Peppers, courgettes, spinach and kale. Carrots and peaches.
Sunny days outdoors, sidewalk chalk and bike riding. The chiminea burning rosemary twigs and scenting the washing.

The kid found a Mantis who was aggressivly studied (poked and prodded) before being released. I doubt he’ll stop by this house again!

I have dug out the winter merino and down jackets. A wooly hat on my crochet hooks. Wood is dry and ready to burn. Kindling being chopped almost daily.

A holiday in 3 week. Much excitement. In between cold meds and rest from the first bug of the season.