Category Archives: sewing

Furrowing Instructable

When I posted my photo of Ella’s furrowed sleeve on flickr, there was a lot of interest in how I accomplished the finish.  I am so sorry it has taken me nearly a month to complete the tutorial to share.  I hope you’re not too disappointed at how simple the technique is to achieve!

Sleeve Close-up



Filed under 1000markets, creativity, sewing

My Congressman works for me

I don’t know how many of you are aware of the CPSIA or the potential issues this legislation will cause for small businesses, or even the economy as a whole.  I have been writing to my Senators and Representatives ever since I realized that the solution may do as much harm as the problem where this is concerned….and it’s not only small artisan businesses who will be affected….it’s all of us.

It’s not just small Artisans and custom manufacturers who will be forced to close our doors if this Law (enacted before regulations were even written) is implemented in its current form. All of us will be affected by the Law. Not that I feel the need to “defend” corporations…but if we think about the implications on ALL American families, not only the livelihood of each Artisan (though personally, that is my most immediate concern) we have a lot to fight for. Large manufacturers will be affected as well, and we’ll all have to pay more for unnecessary and unrealistic testing requirements.

Affordable toys and clothing may be a thing of the past. Our entire economy will suffer. Our buying power will decrease, and those who purchase our beautifully-made toys and clothing and toys will have less to spend, because the “basics” will cost disproportionally more.

Also, large European manufacturers, whose products would comply with the CPSIA anyway due to their stricter testing, will pull out of our market (some already have!) because the expense to re-test their toys and clothing will make selling in the US cost-prohibitive.

This battle is not just for the small Artisan, but rather the entire industry, and it will behoove us to ensure that the regulations are written so that we can ALL participate in the market space, making safe and wonderful toys and garments for our children.

I received a form letter from my Senator Debbie Stabenow, which not only did NOT address, my concerns, but appeared that she did not even take the time to read my letter.

Conversely, my Representative McCotter has consistently responded to my concerns from water quality in Michigan, to this very important issue.   I am heartened that Rep. McCotter has taken our issues seriously, and will actually represent me (and all of us who share my concerns).  I find the repeated references to “communist China” to be a bit strange, bt other than that, I’m encouraged that someone elected is on our side. Following is his letter:

Dear Ms. Lepage:
Thank you for informing me of your concerns regarding the recently enacted Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  Your thoughts on this important matter are most welcome and appreciated.

As you know, in 2007, there was an increased number of recalls on children’s toys and other consumer products. Furthermore, forty nine percent (49%) of the recalled toys included lead hazards. In 1972, Congress created the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injuries associated with consumer products. Thereafter, the CPSC decreased the death and rate of injuries from consumer products by over thirty percent (30%). Importantly, four fifths (4/5) of CPSC recalls involved communist China-made consumer products. In 2007, roughly eighteen million (18 million) communist China-made toys were recalled for excessive lead levels; nine million (9 million) were recalled for loose magnets, and one million (1 million) toy ovens were recalled for finger entrapment and burn hazards.
To improve the safety of consumer products, on November 1, 2007, Representative Bobby Rush (IL) introduced H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  As enacted, this legislation bans lead from children’s products; mandates third party testing of children’s toys; increases funding authorization for the CPSIA to $100 million by Fiscal Year (FY) 2011; and increases the cap on civil awards from $1.83 million to $10 million.  On December 19, 2007, with my support the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4040 by a bi-partisan vote of 407-0. Subsequently, on March 6, 2008, the Senate passed this legislation with an amendment by a bi-partisan vote of 79 – 13.  On August 14, 2008, President Bush signed H.R. 4040 into law (PL 110-314).

As per your specific concern, it has become apparent there are several issues with components of this law, primarily with regards to lead regulations and third party testing.  On February 10, 2009, the new ban on lead in children’s products will come into effect; however, the CPSC has ruled this requirement will include both goods made on or after this date and any goods in inventory.  Thus, this regulation will be applied retroactively.  Furthermore, the CPSC has delayed in providing guidelines as to how new lead regulations will apply to garments and footwear, making it difficult for those in this industry to begin compliance.  In regards to the new third party testing requirements, there are concerns the fees charged by third party testers will be a considerable financial burden on many small toymaker businesses.  At present, no legislation has been introduced in the 110th Congress to address these issues within the CPSIA.

Rest assured, I will well remember your thoughts on this important issue during the remainder of the 110th Congress as well as the 111th Congress.

Again, thank you for contacting me; and for all you do for our community and our country. Should you have any further comments or questions on this or any other issue, please contact me at the Livonia or Milford district or Washington
I work for you.

Thaddeus G. McCotter
Member of Congress

If you wish to contact your representatives, you can write to them all at once here:

Find out more about how this law will affect us here
or here.

If you are on Facebook, you can support the cause by joining here

Also, you can go to, and put this issue on Mr. Obama’s plate.

Thanks, on behalf of all of us who create for children.


Filed under activism, community, sewing, work

An incredibly wearable muslin!

An incredibly wearable muslin!

Originally uploaded by Pranamama.

Okay, so this is why I’ve been so late in producing the technique tutorial for Furrowing. Firstly, I have not had any decent light to photograph the fabric for the tutorial.

Secondly, I’ve been working on a prototype for a custom tunic.

I used something I knew would look good on Ella, and made all my mistakes on this version, so she can use it. Boy does she! She wouldn’t take it off for photographs so I had to catch her while she was spinning for joy!

There’s a contrast band around the hem, too. More pictures tomorrow, I promise!


Filed under motherhood, sewing

Birthday Report and Holiday Dress Update!

Didn’t start off great, but when I arrived at my friend Jennifer’s for a play date, she had made me BROWNIES (which I had for breakfast.  I sure needed them after hydroplaning and being on the receiving end of a sloppy now slide from a truck onto my windshield.)

They were the best brownies I have ever had in my life.  Ever. In my life.

The recipe is here.

Ells didn’t nap, even while I was at the salon covering my greys…I’m sure there are only the 4 I saw, but still…


I came home to a pile of presents and gorgeous flowers!  We all went (inlaws too) to eat Ethiopian food at The Blue Nile in Ferndale and it was magnificent.  I love that my children eat exotic, spicy, vegetarian food.  Even the non-veg kids ate only vegetarian food.  It was fantastic!

I finished my niece’s holiday dress.  Ella is wearing it above, in the photo with my flowers.  She wasn’t really in the mood to model yesterday, so I didn’t get a lot of great shots.  I’ll try again tomorrow when she’s in a better mood, before I ship it off to Memphis.

I used my Party Dress pattern along with the Teatime Pinafore, with some modifications.  (You may remember, I made this for Ella’s Birthday, too, in a beautiful Magenta color.)

I used a simple rolled hem on the sparkly organza pinafore :


And trimmed it with ribbons and bows:


I used our great aunt’s buttons on the front of the dress and the back of the pinafore:



I made a puff sleeve and puffed hem out of cotton batiste:


Of course I finished the inside so that Sophia’s skin is caressed with super-soft fabric, and no annoying threads or scratchies!

Waistline – flat-fell seams


Shoulder – turned and stitched seams:


Skirt – French seams:

Sophias_HolidayDress 019

Ella didn’t want to take it off….but hers is next.

Sophias_HolidayDress 006

I’m working on a tutorial to share with all of you who commented on my flickr photostream about the Furrowed Cuff on Ella’s holiday dress.  I’ll have instructions and a photo follow-along tutorial for this technique tomorrow!


Filed under life, sewing

Lazy Girl | Blog » Free Purse Pattern: Noriko Handbag

via Lazy Girl | Blog » Free Purse Pattern: Noriko Handbag

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Filed under creativity, inspiration on the web, sewing

The Inside is as Important as the Outside

We all know that it’s more important to be beautiful on the inside as a person, but did you know that children are happier when their clothing is “beautiful” on the inside, too?

As you may know, Peter has Sensory Integration Disorder and also Asperger Syndrome. As you can probably well imagine, scratchy tags and poorly fitting clothing bothered him as a baby more than it bothered me, and often was the source of irritation for “no reason” (Oh what I wish I’d have known!!) Sometimes he would be upset for “no reason” only to discover that when wrapped in a soft blanket after a diaper change, or put on fleecy pajamas, his disposition would almost instantly improve.

With his condition, he is able to focus intensely on a single subject or aspect of a subject. This is both a boon and a bane, for when he’s uncomfortable in his clothing, he is thoroughly distracted. He cannot concentrate on “important” things, because all of his attention is focused on solving the “problem”of his discomfort. As he grows older, he’s more self-aware of this, and will wear his undershirts inside out under sweaters, so he has no scratchy tags or seams, and requests “soft” clothing. He always prefers mommy-made garments for their consideration of his needs. When I ordered tags for my clothing lines, I was sure to ask for approval on texture from Peter before I placed the final order, because if he’s comfortable, any child will be comfortable!

I have discovered with Ella that I default toward consideration to the most sensitive and high-needs requirements as a matter of course. This means Ella gets very specific directions, and all her clothing is designed for the ultra-sensitive child. J is convinced that it’s for this reason (our Peter-parenting experience) that Ella is such an “easy” child.

Over the years I’ve learned that it’s not only high-needs children who are bothered and distracted by clothing, socks, “hard” seams in jeans, inflexible shoulder seams, exposed stitching, loose threads, etc. Even adults have these issues, and it’s for those people and infants and toddlers that my garments are especially suitable.

Please have a look through the following photo examples and you’ll see what I mean.

Enclosed (French) Seams and flat-stitched hem:


Bound inside hem, Jacket fully lined in fleece:


Bound hem and seams:


Bound seams, inside finish on cuff:

inside_robotpants inside_robotpants2

Turned-and-stitched shoulder seams inserted into yoke lining:


Fully lined tunic with smooth snaps:


Bound sleeve hem:


It’s for Peter and all sensitive children that the insides of my garments are designed to be as smooth and comfortable as possible. Sure, this takes extra time, effort, engineering, and materials, but I think all our little ones appreciate the intent. They may not notice….but that’s the point!

I hope that One Girl Circus and One Boy Circus clothing will be my customers’ favorites. Hers or his because they are so comfortable, and their parents’ because they are so durable, washable, and simple. 


Filed under creativity, motherhood, sewing

Evolution of a custom gift

A dear friend of mine asked me to create a “WOW” gift to give to a family with a small daughter.  I was told the mother’s style is “classic and modern, but a little funky”.  I decided to err on the side of caution and provide a less-than-funky, but sure to please modern “classic.”

She chose the Felted Wool Cut-out Lace Jacket:

OGCwool_lace_cutout_jacket 005

OGCwool_lace_cutout_jacket 004

and asked me to create something adorable to give along with it.  The little recipient of this outfit is just learning to walk.  Is almost a year old and wears a size 6-9m in typical ready-to-wear clothing.  I used a generous sizing method to fit 6-12 months (I hope it works!!) and thought I’d make her a dress.  The more I considered what to make, however, the more I realized that a girl learning to walk might need pants.  Despite the CA location of this little girl,I knew that winter is cooler everywhere, and I wanted something to take her through the seasons, as long as she fit in the clothes.

So, I  decided on a tunic – nearly long enough to be a dress, but not so long as to interfere with the process of learning to walk.  I started with a baby kimono I admired from a book I bought back in August up in Marquette, MI. I made a “muslin” to test the pattern, since I rarely keep a pattern I didn’t make as it is(….actually, I rarely keep a pattern as is even if I DO make it, because there is always room for improvement!)

Here I used a Butter Yellow Tencel with a sweet poplin print on the outside:

OGC_custom_outfit 011

I guess technically, it’s reversible.  Ella loved it, too bad it won’t fit!

OGC_custom_outfit 013

The pattern calls for a ribbon closure, but I imagine ribbon might not be the most comfortable on the inside of a shirt, unless there is a t-shirt under it.  If I sell this, I’ll call it a “Jacket” so no one has an itchy baby 🙂

OGC_custom_outfit 012

I thought the cuffs were a bit clumsy to install, and the binding would have looked nicer installed as piping, but all the way around, or not at all and maybe a clean finish. 

For my purposes, the “shape” was a little lacking.  I wanted less “infant” and more “little girl.” I cut the pattern abut 2 inches under the arms, and attached a skirt from this dress after  I adjusted the width to fit, and the curve to match more nicely as a wrap.

I used some absolutely adorable fabric from Kokka’s Trefle line in a linen/cotton blend and lined the whole thing with a super soft cotton batiste.

OGC_custom_outfit 027

In my new and improved version, I closed with snaps (invisible from the outside) an trimmed with ribbon. 

OGC_custom_outfit 015


I also changed the construction to simply bind the sleeve openings to the inside:

OGC_custom_outfit 018

I had *just* received some gorgeous teal colored wool double-jersey which I had tried to felt, and it simply didn’t want to so I knew it would be *perfect* for kids’ clothing.  Washable, and stretchy!  It just happened to perfectly match the ribbed velvet ribbon I chose for the trim.

OGC_custom_outfit 023

OGC_custom_outfit 022

I struggled with adding a knit item.  Not because I don’t like knits, but because to me, an overlocked seam doesn’t exhibit a “fine” finish.  For knits, it is perfectly appropriate, however, and I just decided to go with it.  I made a flare-legged legging with a matching cuff.  It should wind up to be capri length, and it will show of some super-cute shoes, I’m sure!

My friend is happy with her purchase (it arrived today at her home), and I cannot wait to hear how the end-recipient enjoys the package!

I love it, and I may just make one for Ella in her size!


Filed under sewing