Back to school around here always brings up moans and groans about going back to uniforms every day. I used new outfits for "casual day" to gen up excitement about school, but it was met with lukewarm reception so I threw in some new backpacks and hoodies to try and sweeten the deal a little. I was already starting to dread back to school when Deb Zaleski announced the dates of the Lulu and Celeste, Sprouting Jube Jube Productionsback to school tour. Even the kids were excited to jump on board this year! I made several items for the tour since I was already thinking about school clothes and how to get the kids motivated. I’m going to break them up into sections to keep myself from rambling aimlessly through my own “purple crayon world”. I do want to apologize in advance, this post is going to be long. :/! Sorry, but I got so excited that I sewed up a whole bunch of stuff!
Star Student Backpack
Every year for the past three years now, the kids get to trade in their old backpacks for new ones. Every year, without fail, they pick a theme that I am NOT going to find in the stores so I make their backpacks and lunch sacks. This year, my son wanted something with astronomy while my daughter (who is obsessed with Dino Dan) asked for dinosaurs. I went with the Star Student Backpack from PeekABoo Pattern Shop. This backpack is the perfect size for my 2nd and 3rd graders. There’s a main bag area with a smaller zippered pocket on the outside. I also chose to do the mesh water bottle holder since they are now allowed to have water bottles in class (this was a big deal because only the “big kids” get to have those in class).
I will admit that it would have been cheaper to run to the store to get them the standard store bought packs, but these bags have lasted the kids through the entire school year every time so I figured the intial cost up front is well worth not having to replace them midyear. I did use regular quilting cotton for the entire bag so I used interfacing to strengthen the pieces that called for a heavier weight fabric.
The pattern includes very clear instructions and photos with every step (which I like because I’m more of a visual person). I would definitely recommend some experience with sewing before taking on this project because of the zippers and all of the little pieces that need to be placed on the pack during construction.
Waste Free Lunch Bag*
We scoured patterns for a lunch bag that both of them agreed on, and we landed on the Waste Free Lunch Bag from Ginger Cake Patterns. The original pattern calls for a flap that you close with Velcro, but both kids asked for zippers so that nobody could sneak in and steal their food. Is that even a thing?!? I think there's actually a tutorial that shows you how to make this a zipper closure.
Construction was essentially the same for the bags except that I sewed a zipper in between the main and lining layers to accommodate their request...again, if I would have looked there is already a tutorial on the Ginger Cake blog for how to do this. They really love the divider on the inside of the bag, and I used PUL for the inside to prevent leakage if something busted. We’ve already had a couple of mandarin orange or apple sauce blow outs that were so easy to clean up when they got home.
The instructions on these were so easy to follow along (with photos if you’re like me), but I do recommend you label the pieces as you cut them so that you don’t end up wondering what this little square thingie is (ask me how I know that might happen :/)! Virginia also includes a cutting layout diagram that shows exactly what pieces you should have once all of the cutting is done. Again, really appreciate the visual because I need those when I’m sewing.
My son even makes his own lunches because, well, that’s HIS lunch bag so he wants to fill it. Score!! He also really likes that nobody has one like it so he can always find his lunch on the shelf.
The kids’ school is pretty strict on what color hoodies/jackets they can wear while they are in class. This makes it a little difficult for us because the classrooms get cold enough to hang meat in them, and we can't just pack any old sweatshirt. This year, they decided that they want to do something different from the standard hoodies that you can buy from the school so I went with the Knight Hoodie from Charming Doodle. The pattern calls for sweatshirt knit, but we were kind of limited on what we could find around here so I got some fleece from JoAnn’s and tried that. Perfect!! I didn’t size up on either size, and they still fit perfectly.
This pattern has a very large size range starting at 2T and going to a size 10. This gives us a little bit of mileage, and when they outgrow those, Elisa designed an adult version of the hoodie! I think I’m going to buy that one and make myself one with sparkles! HA!
Again, a great pattern. It’s so well written, and as daunting as I thought it would be to take on this project, it came together like a dream. It looks as if it would be terribly complicated but it really isn’t. I was so excited by how quickly and easily it came together.
I decided that doing the accessorizing parts in fleece would be too bulky so we used regular quilting cotton for those. The buttons are decorative on this so my daughter chose some fairy style buttons while my son decided that he wanted shields on his because that was more “manly”, and he’s a big man now.
If you decide to take on this hoodie, you’ll definitely want to pay attention to lining up the two sides to make sure they are even when the hoodie is zipped up. I was a little bit off on my son’s, but he didn’t even notice so I pretended it never happened. A few of his classmates told him that they are going to ask their parents for a knight hoodie for Christmas, and he was so mad that they might have the same one that he told them the stores don’t make them anymore. That kid makes me laugh with the stuff he comes up with.
Right now, my son is all about sweatpants and knit wear so I chose the Domi Sweatpants from Sofilantjes for his pants. My version of the pattern was in English, but you also have the option of getting the pattern in French. My son is pretty short statured for his age so we made a size 5 length and a size 6 waist for him, and they fit him perfectly. He’s a collector so he also loved the pockets. I loved the contrast of the pocket to the pants.
I did the round pocket for him, and it’s a little shallow so that might be something to remember if your little likes to stuff a lot of things in their pockets. He was a little put out that he wouldn’t be able to put a frog in them, but this momma was pretty happy about that revelation.
You’ll get a large size range on these pants, starting at 12 months and topping out at a 14. To be honest, that means my son will be able to have Domi Pants through his entire school career if he continues the trend of being a little shorter for his age, and I appreciate that greatly because he wears these every chance he gets.
The pattern also includes three lengths: Bermuda shorts, ¾ length, and long length. My daughter loves capri anything so these will be perfect for when she needs some quick sweats in a little shorter length. The circle pocket version was so quick and easy to make, and I was able to knock them out from cutting to construction in about 45 minutes.
I didn’t put a drawstring on the ones I made my boy because he would end up pulling them off somehow, but you do have that option on the front of the waist. The tutorial includes both illustrations and photos, and the directions are very clear and easy to understand.
I chose the Marc Shirt from Filles A Maman (this pattern is also available in French), and it’s rated as an intermediate pattern. I absolutely agree with that because the shirt is a mixture of cotton woven and knit with a placket at the shoulder. This pattern, like the Domi, starts at 12 months and tops out at 14, so we’re pretty happy that this shirt will carry some mileage with it as well. My son chose his own fabrics and beelined it for a pretty colorful knit that I got from Sincerely Rylee. It was a relatively lightweight knit, and turned out perfect for this top.
You also have a choice of long or short sleeve on this pattern. The pieces are layered so you only have to print the ones that you need if you are wanting to cut down on ink usage. I would definitely read through the instructions at least once before starting to make sure you understand everything.
I would also definitely recommend not skipping the interfacing on this one. I will admit that there have been times when I’ve been lazy or impatient and skipped them on some things, but save yourself some stress and definitely take the time for this shirt. I feel like it gives the shirt some added structure and support because you are using two different fabric types that tend to act very different when you’re sewing them up.
My daughter is so iffy about clothes so I was really surprised when she chose dresses for her back to school outfits. The first one we picked was the Beatrice Dress from Handmaiden’s Cottage. I love, love, love the neckline on this dress. Actually, I love the bow in the back and the princess seams as well so really, I love this dress all around. I let her pick the fabrics she wanted, and I have to admit, she did an amazing job matching fabrics.
I made a straight sz 8 for her, and it fit like a glove. The pattern starts at 2T and goes through size 12 so we have a chance to make a few more of these. There’s also a bloomer pattern if you want to make something to go under the dress, but we didn’t make those for my daughter.
You have the option of sort puff sleeves or long sleeves, and we did the short sleeve version. I kind of celebrated a little inside because I love the puff sleeves. I worked myself up into a worry about doing them because of the gathering (I am terrible at getting my gathers even), but man oh man, it was so easy to do!
The pattern came as a ZIP file, and you can either open the file with all of the pieces on it or you can use the individual size files to only have the one that you need. As with all of the patterns so far, the instructions were so clear and concise and made it so easy when it came to construction. Plus, photos! Still one of my favorite parts about PDF tutorials! The Beatrice is also currently 40% off at the Handmaiden's Cottage website and Etsy shop! (Just sayin'...)
This dress did take me a while to finish, but it was so worth it when it was done because it’s beautiful! AND, buttons in the back! I don’t mind zippers, but I really do love when the pattern has buttons because I’m uber lazy. My daughter loved the twirl factor on this dress. She said she felt like she was in a fairy tale because she could twirl her fancy dress. For a kid who likes to skip rocks and climb trees, the fact that she wanted a dress was pretty huge. And she’s already worn it several times so #winning!
I somehow ended up signing up twice for the tour, and that meant the bonus of the Duchess Dress from JillyAtlanta! I have loved this dress forever, and this was absolutely a momma pick when the tour came up. I was actually biting my fingernails just a little that she wouldn’t wear this, but she loved it. We used sunflowers for this one, and she was all about her special fall dress. She told me that it was perfect because she has a fall dress to go with her winter dress (I’m guessing she dubbed the Beatrice her winter dress?).
This dress has the classic A-line silhouette that never goes out of style. I didn’t add bows to the sides like the pattern calls for but I did add a removable ribbon bow to the front in a completely different color than anything on the dress, and I really liked the contrast once it was done! There are some little side pleats that add a little extra sophistication to the overall dress.
I was so taken with the unique bodice and really loved how it came up to a point at the front and back. My girl is at that age where she doesn’t want anything that makes her look too young, but she’s not quite ready for too grown up so this dress fit the bill like it was specifically designed for her.
Like the other patterns, this one has a very large size range of 2T to 12. It is also a button closure with one sweet little button at the top of the neck. When putting the bodice together, definitely take your time because you want to make sure that you get the points really sharp on the front and back. Jill does a phenomenal job at walking us through what we need to do to make sure that we get that part right, and she has photos of every step so we can see what she’s wanting us to do.
My daughter was so excited that she can still run along the lake and skip rocks with her brother. I guess you can put her in a dress, but you can make her stop being a little bit tomboy. I’m actually okay with that, to be honest.
I really had a blast sewing up things for this tour! The kids are enjoying their new duds and cannot wait to wear them to school, and I had the chance to work with Lulu and Celeste, Sprouting Jube Jube Productions again! We’ll be having stops along the tour all week, and we’d love for you to stop by and let us all know what you think of our back to school creations! If you’re wanting to see who’s on deck for the rest of the week, take a quick look at the schedule. Stop on by and show all of the designers some love!
Monday, September 25, 2017
Sewing by Ti * mahlicadesigns * Momma You Can Make It * Kutti Couture * MoonStar - Wondermirakel * Call Ajaire
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Host: Lulu & Celeste
Sew and Tell Project * From-a-Box * Ronda B. Handmade * MeMade * House of Estrela * My Heart Will Sew On * Tales From A Southern Mom
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
mahlicadesigns * Gracious Threads * Adventures With Bubba and Bug * Elli & Nels * Bellevi * Little Heart Threads * Sewing By Ti * Lulu & Celeste
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Host: Lulu & Celeste
Paisley Roots * The Crafting Fiend * Sewstarly * It's Liesel * Tales of a Tester * Kaleidothought * auschick sews
Friday, September 29, 2017
SewSophieLynn * Sew Haute Blog * mahlicadesigns * Sew and Tell Project * RP Custom Fabrics Blog * FABulous Home Sewn * Sewing By Ti * Phat Quarters
Also, I do want to say thank you so much to the lovely pattern designers who donated patterns and sponsored this tour so that we could share some of our back to school outfits with all of you! I do want to post a disclaimer here that the patterns marked with a * were provided to me free of charge, but the opinions expressed in this blog are completely my own. This was such a fun tour to sew for, and I’m so excited to see what you think of everyone’s creations!
Thanks so much for reading along! Now go grab yourself some patterns, stop by some of the other stops, and show us your creations if you decide to sew up some happiness of your own!
Blessings and Happy Sewing,