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November 2015

kcw: the aftermath

the aftermath

Let’s be honest.  No matter how organized one is for the start of Kids Clothes Week, we all know how things look and feel after the fact. If you’ve been sewing for a few seasons now, you probably have figured out how to prep your fabric and patterns beforehand to maximize your hour each day.  At the start, I imagine, there are lovely piles of pattern pieces on top of beautiful fabrics or at the very least, a clean sewing room with a list of what you wish to accomplish.

sewing notions

Seven days later, I’m guessing that’s not the case. Although I’ve heard the rumors about people who put things away between projects.


I will openly admit that it takes me a week or two to get back into the swing of things both physically and emotionally.  Balancing the normal work load and sewing every day is both exhilarating and simultaneously exhausting.  The sewing room generally ends up looking like a tornado came through as I move from project to project.  While most of the time I’m fairly organized, I rarely put things away during the rush of Kids Clothes Week sewing. The pattern pieces are overflowing from the box that holds patterns, all needing to be filed away in my pattern binders.  The pins are left in a pile, instead of neatly slid back into the pin cushion.  Scissors and rotary cutters languish willy-nilly on tables, under piles of fabric, or on the ironing board.  There are threads EVERYWHERE (heaven forbid I’ve used faux fur or fleece) and the pile of fabric bits around the thread catcher is pretty darn embarrassing. And don’t get me started about the seam rippers. All five of mine have gone missing.


If you continue around the house you’ll find the dish washer  full of clean dishes needing to be put away, the laundry pile is sky-high, and the floors are in desperate need of a mopping. Not to  mention a few buttons or thread spools scattered about. And whether it’s a product of catching up on all the house work, or sheer exhaustion from a week of sewing madness, it often takes me a week or two to get back to the sewing machine.

All of this is caused by the lady of the house taking an hour out of her usual business to sew for her children.  But I have to also admit, I’m not in the slightest bit embarrassed.  As I wander around the house putting away the mess, sweeping away the crumbs, you won’t hear me complaining one bit.  The aftermath is worth seeing smiles light up their darling faces as they pull on that new pair of pants or slip into that personalized pair of pajamas they requested. I’ve accepted and completed the challenge and that in itself is quite an accomplishment.

What about you?  What does the Kids Clothes Week aftermath look like around your house?  Is the aftermath worth it to you?

kcw: overcoming challenges

overcoming challenges

My kids were so kind as to share their stomach virus with me and it hit at the very worst time, day one of Kids Clothes Week. The next day, I got home late from work and discovered that I was missing a part from my machine. What I did find was a half eaten Cheeto where I thought it should have been. After 30 minutes of trying to get my three year old to tell me where he had put the “little white plastic thingy”, it had been recovered but my spirit had not.

The list of makes that I was so excited about, now seemed impossible. I was feeling like a failure before I even began. I kept seeing all this awesome stuff popping up in my Instagram feed and I’ll admit, I was super jealous.

kcw post 2 productivity superstars

1. Party Cocoon 2. Ole 3. Banyan Tee 4. Plaid Playtime

I could let this depressing monologue continue on but let’s get to the point of this post. I’m writing today about how to OVERCOME challenges during Kids Clothes Week. 

For me, it was all about a change of perspective (and a good long nap). In my head I had these items, photographed on clean and smiley children, in perfect light, without a wrinkle or rouge thread in sight. Those beautiful photos would then get posted promptly to await a near immediate barrage of likes and comments. I needed a good reality check. Some of these things don’t even happen in the best of circumstances.

Not to get all Tony Robbins on you, but we really are our own worst enemy sometimes. Although I marvel at some of your productivity, I feel like the real purpose of KCW is just to be purposeful in this strange hobby we love for a whole week. So, here’s some unsolicited advice on how to get out of your own head and regain your sewing mojo.

Pet some pretty fabric. Most of you have a few yards in your stash, yet to be cut, just waiting for the perfect project or until you feel worthy of its use. I have some Nani Iro with a magical ability to tame even my most foul moods and get me inspired to sew again.

fabric pic 2

1. Moonlit 2. Mountains 3. Raindrops 4. Liberty

Go to your tried and true. I hack a pattern every KCW and every time, I wonder why I didn’t just sew the darned thing according to the directions! If I really wanted to minimize stress, I would stick with patterns I’ve made several times before. Here are a few that I think many of us could make with our eyes closed, they are just that good.

tried and true 2

1. Playtime tunic 2. Bimaa sweater 3. Geranium dress

Stop comparing. It’s easy to get down on yourself once you see the quality and quantity that everyone else is posting. Try to just click that little heart, leave a kind comment, and shut out the self doubt that might follow. Meg gives us this encouragement every season and it is always a valuable reminder.

Get some sleep. I make a lot of silly mistakes when I’m tired. Sometimes those late night sessions involve more seam ripping and cursing than sewing and smiling. Honestly, if it isn’t going well, what are the chances you are going to pull it together when you can no longer see straight and you’ve  already drowned your woes in a glass (or bottle) of wine? I say, quit while you’re ahead.

So make a frozen pizza, take grainy pictures of crabby kids, put off bath another night, and embrace the chaos. Try to enjoy the process without stressing so much on the end result. Revel in the fact that you sew your kid’s clothes. You’re kind of a big deal.


kcw: why I sew

why i sew: jess from gracious threads

I’ve been asked many times why I spend so much time and effort sewing my children’s clothing. Many people assume it is to save money; sadly my addiction to beautiful fabrics means I probably spend more on fabric, patterns, and machines than I would buying inexpensive mass produced clothing. I wanted to share with you today my motivation. I sew for…

…clothes that last

Kids should be free to play, explore, and make messes, and I want their clothes to be able to keep up with them. Double stitched hems, durable linings, and high quality supplies are all the ways that I make clothes last, even to be passed on to siblings and cousins.

collage durable


1. Ottobre Jacket, Gracious Threads Everest Pants 2. B*Inspired Scarlett Dress 3. Ottobre Jacket, Gracious Threads Petra Tee, Mem Rose Skirt

…clothes that fit

My first real attempts at pattern manipulation and drafting were inspired by my beautiful oldest daughter. She is very petite (does not take after her mother!), and ready to wear clothes hang terribly, if they even stay up at all! It gives me so much joy to see her wearing age appropriate, well fitting clothes, even if she doesn’t wear a typical size for her age.

 PicMonkey Collage

1. Ottobre vest, Jalie top, Love Notions Maxine Pants 2. Gracious Threads Star Anise Dress 3. Ottobre Tee

…a sane mama

Ok, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I really do feel that sewing has help me keep a healthy balance in life. I am blessed to take a few years away from teaching (except of the occasional substitute teaching) to stay home with my children. While parenting has its own challenges, I enjoy learning new skills and stretching my brain. In the past few years, my sewing has brought me to learn about textiles, pattern drafting, photography, blogging, and running a small business. And it all began with needle and thread!

collage challenge


1. Sisboom Ethan and Charming Doodle Kudzu Cargoes 2. Sisboom Tobago 3. Gracious Threads Rainbow Tee  

It has been such an honour to be part of another season of Kid’s Clothes Week. I loved seeing all your creations and can’t wait to do it again soon!