Peppermint Swirls and other Christmas projects


It's the last day of the year and I decided to count how many things I made this year.  I have a Crafts folder on my computer where I can easily store pictures of my sewing and other crafty projects.  Counting just the sewn items (and grouping things like underwear into one project), I made around 96 items this year! That doesn't count any custom orders in my purse/stocking shops. I'm even more amazed considering I was pregnant for nine of those months, moved to a different state, and spent the first couple of months of the year super sick from morning sickness, flu, and a broken rib.

During December alone I made a bunch of items.  The question I hear most is, "where do you find the time?" Well. I wake up. I feed the baby.  My kids leave for school and I have a whole morning with me and the baby.  He doesn't need to be carried constantly anymore, so if I put him up on a play mat or in his rock n play, I get a good 15-20 minutes of sewing, sometimes much more, before he get bored.  That may not sound like much, but I'm pretty efficient and just chop up projects into small segments.  After not too long he gets sleepy and I put him down for a nap.  At that point, depending on his level of sleepiness, I have 30 minutes-2 hours.  I usually spend some of that time cleaning, eating, and picking up my daughter from preschool, but if I'm driven enough, I can sew too.  My daughter largely entertains herself in the afternoons, so I can fit in some sewing here and there around the baby's schedule.  The day gets pretty busy when my older kids get home from school, but then after their bedtime (which is the baby's bedtime as well), I have several hours where I can sew or spend time with my husband or read.  I feel like I have lots of time! When you take away my preschool music job that I worked at for the previous two school years, my Etsy purse and stocking shops that are currently closed, and my holiday music commitments that I'm not involved in this year, I have had a much less busy December than normal!

Anyway, I have a lot of finished projects from the previous two weeks.  First up are my daughters' Christmas dresses.  I have never actually made them Christmas dresses, so this is a first. I used the Candy Castle Patterns' Peppermint Swirl Dress with Swizzle Stick Sleeves. This really is a darling pattern and so unique.  I altered the necklines because I felt like the original one has the tendency to gape. I used stretch velvet for the bodices but used broadcloth as the lining, and also used broadcloth for the skirts. I slimmed down the sleeves too.  

My girls are in love with the dresses. I struggled a bit when picking fabrics because I wanted dresses they could wear after Christmas and something that was cute for my 4yo while a little more sophisticated for my 9yo. Overall I'm very happy with the results.

Next up, I made a new choir outfit for my daughter and some new pajamas for Christmas Eve presents.  For these I bought shirts from Walmart in the ladies section and cut them down to make outfits for my kids.  The white top for my 9yo is the Love Notions Hazelwood Hoodie, with some extra lace from my stash to make little side inserts.  The skirt is the Leilani Skirt from Violette Fields.  The nightgowns are loosely based on a free pattern I found (that I wish I had skipped, because the sleeves are super long), but I used original hems and necklines to simplify the project.  I used a basic sweatshirt pattern for the shirt for my son, probably a Sofilantjes pattern because that's the pattern that was already cut out on my cutting table.

Next some non-sewing projects.  I decided to make some embroidered candy-cane holders for teacher gifts.  My kids each picked which animals they wanted.  These cute designs came from Emblibrary. Next is a set of coasters made from some beautiful Christmas fabric I've had for years. Unfortunately they ended up kind of small.  This was for a family we were giving service to for "12 Days of Christmas" and I ultimately ended up giving them anyway, even though I was dissatisfied with the size.  Lastly, I had very few gifts for our 3 month old this year, and I had a Christmas fabric panel to make a soft book, the 12 Frog Days of Christmas.  I don't think I'll ever have another year to use that again, so I went ahead and made a soft book for a gift for my baby.  He actually really likes when I read it to him, too!

The last thing that I made was a bunch of clothes! This seems like a lot of work, but I've been slowly cutting out these clothes for probably a month, and so I was able to get a lot of sewing done in little time by assembly-line sewing. I'm going to split it up.  First, for my youngest:  I made her a top in gray quilted sweater knit with pink embroidered heart.  This is a discontinued pattern, the Star top by Blaverry. The neckline is a little different from the pattern to better fit over her head, and I added the fabric on the hem for some interest and so it hopefully lasts next year too. The pink top is the Waterfall Raglan by Chalk and Notch Patterns. This used up a fabric that has been hanging around in my stash for awhile.  That's one thing I love about using scrap stash fabric for kids clothes--it gets rid of it!  I always want to be using up fabric so I don't run out of space, and because it makes it cheaper to be making clothes when I don't need to buy fabric! Last I made her two skirts (discontinued Blaverry Nina skirt). I let my daughter pick the fabric.  This is a simple pattern but I use it a lot and my girls really love their skirts.

For my son, I made three different tops.  I used more of that gray sweater knit plus some other scrap fabric and embroidered some penguins on the front because he had expressed an interest in having a penguin shirt.  For that one I used the Semper Sweater pattern from Sofilantjes patterns but with a band neckline. The green one with turtle strip on each side is the Jackalope Tee from Momma Quail Patterns. The green sweater with hood is the Omni Tempore Pattern from Sofilantjes. I also finished the buttons on two polos for my husband that I started a year ago! I can be very lame sometimes at finishing things, especially if it involves buttons!

Lastly, I made four new tops for my oldest, who has gone through a growth spurt and suddenly outgrown many of her winter clothes. I used the gray quilted knit and some leopard print to make a hooded sweater (discontinued Blaverry Quinly pattern). The leopard raglan is the Waterfall Raglan from Chalk and Notch, but since she went through that growth spurt between when I measured her originally when I printed the pattern and when I started sewing, I cut out a larger flounce too. Then there's a Maggie Peplum from Love Notions made from some fun spandex knit with glittery designs. Finally, another Hazelwood Hoodie, also from Love Notions. I've got two skirts for her already cut out that I plan on finishing tonight. My family is all off celebrating the New Year while I'm at home with the baby because he's not sleeping well and I don't want to deal with that at someone else's house.

Here's to a great 2017! My sewing goals for this year: 3-4 new sewing patterns, weight loss and sewing clothes for myself to celebrate the weight loss, and continuing to use up my scraps.