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Handmade Holidays: Tutorial for Sweater Pants

Pants made out of sweater sleeve is a classic in our house. They are comfortable, cheap and easy to make. I always get compliments on them when my little guy is wearing some. When I explained how easy it is, they all say : What a great idea!

This is a very easy and quick project that the even the I-barely-ever-touched-a-sewing-machine beginner can do.

You’ll need:

  • Sweaters
  • Thin or wide elastic for the waist.
  • The recipiant children’s pair of pants for a guide.

Cut out the sleeves of your sweater. The older the child, the bigger sweater you’d like to use.

Fold guide pants in half and place over sleeve. Cut.

Turn once sleeve inside out. Put the right side out sleeve into the inside out one.

Sew along.

For the waist, Method 1:

Serge the waist or double fold it. Sew along leaving a place to insert the elastic.

The elastic should be the circumference of the waist. Insert, sew both ends of the elastic and close the whole.

Method 2 : this one is less pretty, but it’s useful when you know there won’t be enough room for the butt if you fold at the waist. Some might want to use a coordonating color one. You can easily dye elastics. Ultimately it doesn’t show when there’s a shirt over it.

Take a wider elastic and sew ends together. Place wrong side facing elastic over right side facing pants and sew or serge around.

Now you know what to make of that pile of sweater people always give you ( I know I’m not alone! Someone even gave me only the sleeves…) I always make a pair of those for the Winter Solstice morning and they are always a hit.

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What’s New, and, Well, Natural from the Natural Kids Team on Etsy

Welcome! What a great variety I have to share with you this week from the Naturalkids Team on Etsy! Today I’m going to continue my trek backwards through the alphabet to bring the stories of our members and their newest listings. Please enjoy!

The folks at  Seven Acre Toys hail from Providence Rhode Island. As life long creators it was only natural that when their  friends started having kids they skipped the registries, and went straight to the woodshop. After much coaxing from many friends, they now share some of their favorite baby gift creations with the world. They strive for a higher quality toy. “We are committed to environmentally sustainable business practices, and delivering safe imaginative toys to the little ones in your life. For that reason we use no paints, dyes, or film finishes.” Here is a lovely example of their work…the Wooden Egg Baby Rattle.  
 
Rumpos  Is a lovely shop from Columbus Ohio. They describe them selves this way, “Mama, partner to a hairy nerd with glasses, writer, reader, sewster, pediatric nurse practitioner student (spring ’12 grad). I make playscapes to process the complicated and harrowing puzzles of my life–it’s a lovely balm to imagine, create, and work out those tiny little worlds.”

Their work is sturdily hand and machine sewn with all-natural materials including wool, alpaca, bamboo, linen, cotton, and hemp.They are perfect for gentle play with fingers, small figurines, and imaginations, and create open-ended play opportunities and teache about narrative storytelling and habitats. Here’s a wonderful  new work.   Large Playscape for Big Imaginations    

Ruby Slippers , from Bloomington, Indiana, describes herself this way: “Ruby’s Slippers is inspired and named after my daughter Ruby. Ten percent of all sales will be put towards her college fund. She’s only 2, but I figure it’s better to start early! I have been sewing since I was a little child. I have always loved being creative. I enjoy sewing, quilting, knitting, screen printing and embroidery, to name a few. I use natural fibers (cotton, wool, bamboo, etc.) whenever possible. I avoid putting synthetic fabrics on my baby, and assume that many people feel the same way. “

Her  Blue Berries slippers are soft cloth shoes made from a vintage cotton fabric, lined in cotton flannel, and insulated with cotton batting, for extra comfort. The outer fabric is a vintage cotton canvas print. The inside is lined with cozy cotton flannel. The inside seam is cased (with flannel) for extra comfort for baby’s feet. The back of the shoe is connected to the top with elastic, which keeps them snug but allows for easy on/off.

Rjabinnik   Rene Kvicala lives on a farm grouped house in Menik, a small Moravian village (Czech Republic, European Union). He and his wife  left university studies and the city life and moved there 6 years ago. Since then, they have been living by their hand-work with respect to crafts, tapping into the traditions and craftsmanship of their country. Their favorite material is wood.

Their 2 FLY AGARIC TOADSTOOL Friends – is the most adorable wooden carved toy…perfect for little hands and big play, the nature table or just because!

From wooden toys to playscapes to slippers and baby toys, this week’s selection from the Natural kids Team on Etsy offers you just a taste of the natural creations you can expect to find and make part of your life from our wonderful artists and craftspeople. Look here for a full list of our shops!

Thank you for visiting this week. I’ll have more shops to introduce you to next week as I showcase their recent creations. I look forward to seeing you then, in the meantime, our blog has interesting and informative entries each day. Enjoy!

Creatively yours,
Rebecca a.k.a. Nushkie

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Friday Feature with Meadowsweet Organics

Today’s interview is with a new member! Meet Laura, of Meadowsweet Organics. Enjoy!

Tell us little about yourself!

My name is Laura Harris and I live on the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador (most easterly province of Canada) with my husband and two children ages 4 and 7.  After studying Visual Arts, French and Education in university I went on to teach full-time in the public school system. Once my husband and I started our family I decided to stay home to be with our children. During this time I have been able to once again nurture my creative side by taking up sewing, designing and crafting for children and by reflecting on and cherishing our home life through my blog,
MeadowsweetOrganics.blogspot.com.

What do you make and how long have you been creating?

I design and sew toys, accessories and clothing from organic cotton for children and have been doing so for about the past three years.

What inspires you?

My time at home with my children has been a real creative renewal for me. Children are so naturally creative and everything is such a wonder for them that you can’t help but feel inspired. It brings you back to that time when you didn’t feel any inhibitions, you just created for the pleasure that you got from it.

What got you started working with Organic Cotton?

A few years ago when I started to learn about the importance of eating organic and local for the health of our families and environment, I began to think in these terms about our clothing as well. When I
learned that cotton is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world, it seemed that going local and organic with our clothing would make a lot of sense as well. When I started to look for local and
organic clothing I became somewhat discouraged as I soon discovered (at that time) it simply did not exist. Then I discovered Harmony Art’s line of organic cotton fabrics. Her colorful and bold
nature-inspired designs immediately appealed to me and opened up the whole world of organic fabrics to me. I was so encouraged that there were people out that shared my concerns that it spurred me on to
finally take that bold step of teaching myself to sew.

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?

I began on Etsy in 2008 with my first shop, Handmade Naturals. Earlier this year I became Meadowsweet Organics. Etsy has been great for me as it has provided me with a creative outlet that fits in well with my stay-at-home lifestyle. I have also found so many artists and designers through Etsy that inspire me as well. I still see myself in development so no, I’m not making a living from my shop yet, but it is helping me to grow creatively and to interact with others about my
work.

What advice would you have for other Etsians?

Well, the good thing about Etsy is that it can fit into your life however you need it to. Honour your hard work by presenting it with beautiful photographs and value your time as well by not underpricing
your work. If you don’t value your time, no one else will either.

What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?

Meeting and connecting with likeminded people is one of the main reasons I joined Natural Kids. Working from home on your own can at times be a little isolating so I think joining Natural Kids will help open up a new world for me in that way. Perhaps I can provide some insight with the experiences I’ve had, and I hope to gain that from others as well.

What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?

I think that children are naturally creative, we just have to provide them the time and the space to play that out. Opt for open ended play when you can as opposed to prescribed play. As for the importance of natural toys, they are just so much safer for our children and help to an appreciation of our natural environment. I think this appreciation helps to make us more grounded and happier as people. I
can not think of a better gift to give a child.


Your links?
Thank you, Laura!
Today’s interview was by Kat, of kats in the belfry.
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Friday Feature with PurePixie

Today’s feature is with Armelle, of PurePixie. Enjoy!

Tell us little about yourself!

I’m an eco-conscious Mom of two little boys and the aunt of… 8 little girls. I could be busy just sewing for them 😀
I been living in the San Francisco bay area in California for the last ten years. Before that I used to live in Brittany, in the western part of France.

What do you make, & how long have you been creating?

I make organic kids’ clothing: bathrobes, sleep sacks, caps, pants, tops… for little girls and little boys. I’m also starting to design organic fabrics.
I have been sewing since I was a child with my Mom and my Grand’ma both professional seamstresses. An old friend of mine reminded me a few weeks ago that I made my first hooded towel twenty five years ago for her daughter. She saved it all these years and just pull it out her closet for her grand-daughter to be. I couldn’t believe it!

What inspires you?

I love hiking in regional and national parks and always come back with new ideas. I also love vintage drawing and traditional kid’s clothing. They are such a great source of inspiration… in particular for little boys. It is so difficult to find cute outfits for them that don’t look too serious and grown up. I’m developing a new line of clothing for them in the coming months. Don’t forget to come back and check what’s new in my store! 🙂

What got you started sewing Kid’s clothing?
I really got into sewing when I got my first child. The first item I made for him was a pair of linen pants. Because I couldn’t find what I was looking for in stores, I decided to make them myself. Later I started to make sleep sacks and this is when my friends started to push me to make some for sale. And as you can see, they succeeded! 

How long have you been on Etsy, & how has it been for you so far?
I’ve been on Etsy for a little bit more than a year now. Promotion is way more labor intensive than I thought it would be, but it’s a lot of fun!
What advice would you have for other Etsians?
Renew, renew, renew. You will appear at the top of the lists and it will help you get into a lot more treasuries and even sometimes make it to the Etsy Finds!
What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?
This is a great team with a lot of active members. They are always ready to help and have so many great promotion ideas! I love also all the inspiring blogs they publish. I’m doing a giveaway in November and hope to contribute more and more in the months to come.
What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?
This is very important to me. My kids have a few electronic toys but they are by far not their favorites simply because those toys don’t allow them much inventiveness. However they spend hours playing with their wooden toys (trains, blocks, cars, etc.) They make up all kinds of stories and build really interesting buildings. This is what childhood should be about, shouldn’t it? What I also love it that most of the time these toys can be repaired with a piece of a dowel and/or some glue and start a new life after an “accident”. I’ll be happy to pass them onto other kids when mine will be done with them.
Today’s interview by Kat, of kats in the belfry.
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Autumn’s Orange

Autumn is coming in her full array of colors. Mother Nature has one last burst of color before the great sleep under the layers of white. Here are some more wonderful orange items from the NaturalKids Team.

 Autumn Pumpkin by Nushkie 
 
35 inch Playsilk by BeneathTheRowanTree

 
pure NZ merino wool wrap hoodie by MerinoMe
 Autumn Forest Playset by TheEnchanted Cupboard
 
Sweet Acorn Fall Doll Dress by germandolls
 To find out more about the NaturalKids Team Check out or links:
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Autumn's Orange

Autumn is coming in her full array of colors. Mother Nature has one last burst of color before the great sleep under the layers of white. Here are some more wonderful orange items from the NaturalKids Team.

 Autumn Pumpkin by Nushkie 
 
35 inch Playsilk by BeneathTheRowanTree

 
pure NZ merino wool wrap hoodie by MerinoMe
 Autumn Forest Playset by TheEnchanted Cupboard
 
Sweet Acorn Fall Doll Dress by germandolls
 To find out more about the NaturalKids Team Check out or links:
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Friday Feature with Handfull


Tell us little about yourself! 

Rebecca is a self-taught seamstress. She started following music shows in high school and immediately was drawn to the crafty crowds in the parking lot selling their way to the next venue. Rebecca is genetically programmed towards fashion and color. She is a true inspirations in all realms of the word CRAFT. She has sold hundreds of her own creations to adults and is now, as she is raising her daughter, focusing on hand full’s children’s collection.
Susan started sewing at the age of eight. By 18 she was sewing her sisters wedding dress. The dress turned out beautiful; but the experience sent her to do some soul searching in the outdoors. Fifteen years later she gave birth to twin boys and felt it was her motherly duty to begin sewing again. Within months, and yards of fabric, she upgraded her machine and is now stitching and making the patterns you see at hand full.

Rebecca and Susan are long time friends and forever dreaming of what craft to indulge in next. Right now they are dreaming up simple organic clothing patterns and colorful designs.

What do you make and how long have you been creating?


Free-spirited eco-wear for kids!  hand full’s clothes are made of a  blend of hemp and organic cotton hand-dyed in a variety of rich colors inspired by all things kid— red wagon, carrots and bed-time to name a few.   Intentionally zipper, snap and button free, they are roomy and comfortable and made to grow into, out of and passed on.  Pants become capris, dresses become shirts, and all of the clothes are designed to be layered and interchanged.  Every piece of hand full clothes are mindfully made by people who love kids, clothes and each other.  hand full has been in business since November of 2008, although we have been co-creating our crafts since August 13 of 2005–the day we met.

What inspires you?

Our 3 beautiful children!    As we started to design our clothes we wanted them to be kids clothes– not adult clothes made for kids.  We felt like there was plenty of time of our kids to wear  button-down shirts and jeans when they got bigger.  Our clothes are made to look and feel great in the activities we like to do with our kids–hiking, climbing, camping, biking, walking, gardening and of course, playing.  We also wanted our kids to want to put on our clothes on–and to our liking, they do!  They love them and once we made them for our kids, people started to ask us to make them for theirs–and here we are, just making simple, well thought out clothes for kids.

What got you started working with Fabric?

S: I remember first learning to sew when I was 8 years old.  I bought a cabbage patch doll for my birthday and wanted her to have new outfits.  I asked my mother to help me and soon I was on my own creating backpacks, swings, buntings, you name it.  Laura Lynn was going to have it all.  I think I stuck with fabric because of its ease and usefulness.  It does not take long to cut, stitch and have a completed item that you can wear right out of your sewing studio.   Clothing is a basic need, and I have always been grateful that I can make my own clothes.  Not only that, how lucky am I that I can design too?  I cannot remember the last pattern I bought–needless to say, I probably should have bought more…
R:  I love color– and my mom always said that “we didn’t know how to sew.”  Being a bit of a rebel I had to prove her wrong!  I asked my boyfriend’s mother in college to teach me and immediately got my own machine– it was all over.  I love fabric– I collect it and am slightly obsessed.  I knit, crochet, scrapbook, stamp, embroider, bead, make candles etc…. but I always go back to sewing because I love the fabric and like Susan there is a sense of immediacy when creating a garment– you walk into your studio with a piece of fabric and walk out with a pair of pants, that
is so cool.

How long have you been on Etsy and how has it been for you so far?

We have been on Etsy for just over a year now.  It is a fantastic place to showcase our items.  With very little site maintenance we have a great venue that anyone can find.  It also comes with an “Etsy” world of support.  We both enjoy the camaraderie, chats, and our favorite: “live shop critiques”. 


What advice would you have for other Etsians?  


R:  Since my day job is counseling I try not to give advice after school hours.  But, I would say have fun and embrace the community.  Getting to know the community has been so helpful to us.  We are also a big believer in paying it forward, buying handmade and taking risks with new items.


What do you hope to learn/gain/contribute from being part of the Natural Kids group?


s:  Honestly, I can hardly keep up with the Natural Kids group.  I am continually amazed with the energy and integrity of all you creative artists.  (When do you all sleep?)  The Natty Kids depth of knowledge is so helpful to us.  I feel now that I give little and soak-up most.  I do hope to get to a point where I can reciprocate ideas and inspirations. 
r:  I feel similarly to Susan and have been struck by how lucky and honored I feel to be part of such an amazing team.
 

What thoughts do you have for parents on the importance of natural toys for creative play?

s:  A child’s mind is first.  The toys (or clothing) are an extension of the child’s essence.  The energy that comes through the child brings a toy to life.  Therefore, keep it simple and natural and hear the sounds of the child.  Nobody want to hear a noisy toy.


Your items can be found where:

www.handfull.etsy.com

Interview by Beccijo of The Enchanted Cupboard

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Friday Interview with Lalapequenos

Today we get to meet Allessandra, of lalaspequenos , whose shop is full of some of the coolest kids clothes I’ve ever seen! Her bright colors, beautiful natural fabrics, and fabulous designs are really something to see…so here we go!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when did you get started with arts and crafts?
Growing up in Costa Rica, my grandmother was the center of the universe for me. Of course my parents were part of that too but it was my grandmother’s infamous “teas” that led me down a crafty path. During those teas, which looked more like knitting circles, I learned about life. Discussions about children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, recent marriages, awful divorces, and who made what recipe for whom, carried the afternoons into the evening. So it was that in between talking about Elena’s knee operation and my aunt’s graduation that my six-year-old hands learned to knit. Knitting turned into crocheting, crocheting turned into sewing, appliquéing, stuffing, embroidering, quilting, and all around fooling with fabric. To me, crafting is a necessity and part of my social upbringing. It is part of the day like brushing teeth or combing hair. It is a time to learn about life, and now with my own children, to teach about life.

What is the main thing you make and sell in your store? What else do you make and/or sell?
I make and sell children’s clothing in my store. My two boys (7 and 8) are my main inspiration. It is very easy to tell when something I make is not “cool”. I get the stinko face right away! They remind me to think like kid. “You would not wear that if you were me.”
I also make girls and baby clothing. In which case I pretend I had a little girl and go to town!

Who if anyone has been instrumental in helping you hone your craft?
I have a sewing mentor here in the states and she is so knowledgeable about techniques, fabrics, machines- I am so happy to have found her!

Where do you get your inspiration?
Honestly – everywhere! I live an hour from Washington, DC and have access to wonderful museums, libraries, parks, and here in the woods – Nature! My inspiration can come from a beautiful fabric scrap or looking at designs from the past.


What are your favorite materials?
Currently, I found the most wonderful organic Sherpa fabric and have been having the most fun working with it. But I’ll use anything that will help me achieve the look I’m going for.

What advice would you give other Etsy sellers and those interested in opening up a shop?
Go for it! There is nothing more pleasing than to share your work with the world. Get out there and make connections with other sellers. Etsy is a wonderful venue for new sellers because there is information everywhere! Join a team or even start one. The support you can get is priceless.

What advice would you give to beginners in your main craft?
Make sure that you get the technique down first. It’s like planting a tree. If the roots aren’t properly rooted, it will not grow very well. It will always struggle.

What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you?
www.lalaspequenos.etsy.com and the name is Lala’s Pequenos.
You can also find me on Trunkt.com and the recently opened, Handmadefuzion.com
I welcome everyone to visit my shop and say hello!

Thanks for reading !

– Cynthia

http://fairiesnest.etsy.com