One of only three recognized women to be a part of the Impressionist movement, Cassatt is remembered as a champion of the heart and the home long before casual moments were considered important enough to document. I think her work is especially fresh today, when we are constantly bombarded with staged photographic images of mothers and children in the media. She was also ahead of her time in her determination to succeed as an artist on her own terms - her life was fascinating!Read More
The holidays are upon us, and with them come a lot of moving parts—cooking, cleaning, hosting, feeding, buying, wrapping, giving—the list goes on and on. While the holidays can be wonderful, they can also be stressful—and not just for the adults. With grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins coming and going, children can also get overwhelmed by it all.
A great way to give the kids some much-needed down time is to set up a cozy reading corner nearby but separate from all the action. That way, the little ones can take breaks to read, either on their own or with each other, and older relatives can also sit and read to them. That’s some true quality time!
Even if you already have a well-loved book nook, a little bit of effort can make it new and fresh for December. Setting up a reading corner is simple. Identify a spot in the house that won’t see traffic, or create one by building a small, fort-like area. Be sure to include some big, comfy pillows or bean bag chairs, soothing lighting (think lamps, not overhead), and perhaps a cozy blanket. If you want a little inspiration, take a peek at our Cozy Winter Reading Nook board on Pinterest.
A simple tent canopy can make any comfy chair or canopy into a secluded niche; here's a great DIY Tutorial from MommyMakesThings which would be sweet stamped with little gold stars instead of dots. Add a strand of twinkling lights to make any space even more special! Another fun idea is to turn a closet (perhaps the one the Christmas decorations came out of?) into a reading nook like these on Apartment Therapy. Whatever you choose, it needn't be elaborate, or permanent.
Now - how about stocking that nook with some brilliant books?
Before the festivities begin, plan a trip to the library with the kids so they can select books that interest them and books they think their relatives might enjoy.
Holiday classics like The Night Before Christmas (we love the Tasha Tudor version) are a hit with young and old. Whatever your family's go-to holiday favorite is, make a notation in the front cover each year of who reads it to whom - your great grandchildren will delight to see they are reading the book that you read to their parents!
If you need to muster enthusiasm for reading, one of my favorite ideas is to make a Reading Advent Calendar or Holiday Countdown Calendar. Find, borrow, (or check out of the library) 25 books and wrap each one in paper. Number each wrapped book 1-25 and place them in a pretty basket in the reading nook. Each day, kids will get to unwrap a book to read with a loved one - a basket of "presents" is hard to resist - and there are few gifts that will serve them as well as the gift of reading! Here some great holiday-themed book choices to add to your collection:
The Snowy Day (brilliant illustrations, great for very littles)
The Secret Staircase (my favorite!)
With all these options for quiet time and quality time, it’s easy to forget the TV—a reading corner will reinforce family connections and forge new ones, which is, after all, what the holidays are all about.
Oh - one final thought - in Iceland, there is a tradition of giving and receiving books on Christmas Eve. Then everyone goes to bed to read with a cup of hot chocolate. Sounds just perfect to me!
More than any other holiday, Thanksgiving is a day we have designated to pause from our busy lives, gather with loved ones, and honor the human bonds which support us through a nourishing meal. In reality, most of us associate the day with travel stress, cooking stress, or managing the logistics of complex family relationships. Children and older adults can sometimes be left on the fringes of the activity when they are indeed the heart of this special day! Make this Thanksgiving a memorable one by connecting with each other in a time-honored way. A Thanksgiving Poem is a simple tradition that focuses on bringing children into conversations and activities instead of keeping them separated in another room or at a different dining table.
Long before television, iPads and Xboxes, families gathered for storytelling. This almost lost art was centered on an elder sharing a tale, sometimes in verse, with a descriptive setting and a cast of characters. Children would delight in the story and eagerly anticipate the vivid details. It developed active listening, imagination, focus, and attention span (skills from which modern children still benefit!).
This Thanksgiving, awaken the love of language and the bond of storytelling with your children through poetry. Here are my simple suggestions for poetic memory-making this Turkey Day.
1. Invite an older family member to read a well-loved poem out loud while younger children illustrate their favorite parts. Family members can talk about the meaning of the poem and share their thoughts to help with illustrations. Finished drawings can be collected in a binder and added to each Thanksgiving, or gifted to friends or relatives as a remembrance of the day. Here are two of my favorites which are perfect for Thanksgiving: The New England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day (Lydia Maria Child) and Come Little Leaves (George Cooper)
2. A day or two before, have younger children memorize and recite a short poem to share with relatives before or after dinner. The site in the link above has some great memorization techniques to try! Autumn: A Collection of Poems, Songs and Stories for Young Children (Jennifer Aulie, Editor; Margaret Meyerkort, Editor) is filled with a variety of short, simple rhythmic poems which conjure the season of Autumn no matter where you live. For visual little ones who like pictures to go with their verse, Fall Leaves (Lorette Holland) is filled with magical illustrations.
3. Encourage older children to read a poem while younger children act it out. They can practice together while everyone is cooking and then perform after the traditional meal. Add costumes for extra fun!
4. Create a family anthology of favorite poems or poems written (cool link there for creative writing worksheets!) and illustrated by family members in a blank book. Have plenty of pens, crayons, stickers and other embellishments on hand for decorating. Family members can add to the collection each year.
One of our family favorites is a book of poetry for all ages called The Waldorf Book of Poetry. Filled with hundreds of poems by both classic and modern poets and divided into sections like seasons, fables, animals, and history, it's easy to find something for everyone in your tribe to get excited about. Our copy is dog eared and has weathered a few spills, but the words inside still inspire. This week we will be selecting several verses to learn to celebrate Christmas. My husband's parents live in London and won't be with us in person this December, but a Skype recitation of a poem by my son on Christmas Eve will delight them!
I believe poetry is a priceless gift which nourishes the heart and soul. I hope I have inspired you to blend it into your Thanksgiving holiday if it did not have a seat at the table already. Does your family have an unusual Thanksgiving tradition? I'd love to hear about it!
Happy Thanksgiving from the Goodall family to yours!
I love a good cape. One of my earliest memories of a garment are of a brilliant red wool cape my Aunt Sallie had in the 70's - I think it was lined in red gingham. She is only 14 years older than I am, so she was more like a cool big sister, and I remember the cape because it was something I had never seen before. Swingy like a skirt, not quite a coat, with mysterious slits for hands to slip out of. Very cool. Whether worn by a classical heroine or superhero, a cape is a garment that invokes a bit of cozy magic.
Last year when I came upon a remarkable group of wool wovens at a favorite fabric source, I knew exactly what I'd like to do with them! As a designer, I am always striving to improve on each garment while honoring the classic, which is how our Capelets evolved. What is a 'capelet' you say? It's a little cape, covering the shoulders, that's more streamlined and (in my opinion) more versatile than a coat or fleece. Our capelets button under the arms so as not to get twisted around the neck like a traditional cape. They are also shaped at the arms, to facilitate ease of movement and active play. The generous fit allows comfortable layering over other clothing while avoiding that "stuffed sausage" feel I remember so clearly from childhood. Large buttons are easy to work by little fingers, pockets allow for hand warming or mitten storage.
While all these things add up to a little garment which packs a lot of cool weather punch, we still added in a bit of whimsical luxury - with a super soft faux fur lining here:
And a faux fur collar here:
And while we're at it, why not a grosgrain ribbon bow?
Lastly, I turned to my sketchbook to create some special embroideries as a finishing touch. My friends Lynette and Gene took my drawings and color selections and embroidered them onto the wool.
We used a sepia toned backdrop to create a sort of Victorian portrait feel when Sohostory photographed the capelets for us; it was great fun - especially making the headpieces we styled each capelet with! And there is a nod to the modern as well; each of the models wore the capelets layered over jeans, sweaters, and knit turtlenecks.
In terms of versatility, these are sized in two year increments, for longer wear - each capelet can be worn for two or even more winters, before being handed down to a little sister. The largest size will also fit a petite adult!
I'll close with a bit of fashionable etymology - cappa is the Latin word for cape (cloak or head covering), forming the base for the word “escape,” which comes from ex cappa. We hope our trio of Capelets will inspire imaginative outdoor escapes, winter wanderings, and creative adventures!
Are there any winter garments which you remember loving (or hating) as a child?
On cool fall days, the carved faces of pumpkins peek around many doorways. Traditional pumpkin carving began with an Irish tradition of carving and lighting gourds to ward off evil spirits. When the tradition was adopted within American families, the pumpkin made a better canvas on which to carve spooky Halloween creations.
While the final result of carving is spectacular – should all go as planned – the process can be challenging for some of the more imaginative and younger family members to accomplish independently. To keep the spirit of pumpkin magic in your family’s fall festivities, try a project the whole family can enjoy together: craft a Pumpkin Fairy House! Complex cuts aren’t required, so even your smallest family members can join the excitement.
Last year when faced with the annual question of what to create for the school jack-o-lantern display, my six year old son came up with the idea of building a pumpkin house. As we began to work I was amazed at how he loved making the tiny furniture and ladders from twigs and glue, running from the yard with new natural building materials he discovered. He was so much more involved than in previous years, when he pretty much watched me carve after helping clean out the pumpkin interior.
Think you might like to give it a try?
Begin by taking the whole family for an autumn hike (or explore a wooded park) to find your essential crafting materials. Watch imagination ignite when your littles find acorns, twigs, leaves, and moss that will make marvelous furniture for their fairy house!
Parents’ jobs are simple: cut open and clean out your pumpkins, then make a few windows and doors. Using a hot glue gun or thick craft glue (like Tacky Glue - allow furniture to dry completely before adding), piece together twigs for ladders and tables, while your children add flair to the interior with mossy carpets and walnut chairs. Budding artists can draw postage stamp sized pictures on scraps of cardboard to adorn the walls. Use stiff twigs as nails to attach items to the interior or exterior of the pumpkin. A little creativity goes a long way - this is one dreamhouse where ideas are not limited by budget!
Once the pumpkin has been decorated with your rustic furniture, light from within with battery-operated votive candles or fairy lights and allow your little ones to admire their exquisite creation. Cleanup is simple - when fall is over, move your biodegradable pumpkin house into a cozy spot in the woods for the fairies or gnomes to move in! The natural materials will provide food for birds and squirrels during the winter.
For a fun group event, encourage your neighbors and friends to craft their own pumpkin fairy houses. This year my son's school created an entire pumpkin fairy village! Each family made their own pumpkin house, then they were nestled among leaves and logs along a wooded path and lit by battery operated candles. There was a fairy schoolhouse (complete with playground), a fairy apothecary, two fairy restaurants, and even a fairy bookstore in a giant squash. The finished effect was pure magic, and something no one will soon forget!
Lighting jack-o-lanterns may have impeded evil spirits once; however, pumpkin fairy houses on your doorstep can invite the warmth of fairy glow and glee to your home and family. From the gathering to the decorating, the whole family creates new memories and new traditions together. If you need more inspiration, check out my Pumpkin Fairy House board on Pinterest. What are your favorite family traditions for fall? I'd love to see your pumpkin creations!
I've been dreaming about these headbands for quite some time. This tutorial is meant to be a jumping off point for your creativity, as there are so many variations on this theme which would be charming.Read More
I always strive to include playful elements in my designs, and this Limited Edition Cat and Mouse Dress is one of my all time favorites.Read More
Happy 2014 friends!
The last half of 2013 was an absolute whirlwind for me at the studio, with many exciting (and unexpected) projects which I'll be sharing with you later this year. The first of which is really sort of a big deal to me:
Simplicity Pattern 1477
I have had a lifelong love affair with sewing patterns. As a child with limited allowance and unlimited time, I was struck with the idea that I could combine fabric and thread into something which could then transform me into something magical.
"The Wind", the first costume I designed and sewed (age 6) - no pattern required.
As I grew older I was allowed to ride my bike to the local Piece Goods Shop, where I would pore over the glossy pattern catalogs for hours and make wish lists on slips of paper with the little red pencils provided for the task. I waited for the 50% off sale day, then used my allowance to buy my favorites. Somehow just owning the pattern to make something was as good as having it in my closet.
Modeling a simple blue chambray dress I made from a Vogue Pattern at 16. The collar has vintage lace trim.
As a teenager, sewing was a medium to explore and develop a style which was unique to me. It was definitely a learning process! There were tears over a party dress which was not going to be finished in time for the party, and a purple panne velvet catsuit that is definitely best left to fashion history. My Mom and my Uncle Chapman (an amazing designer and FIT Grad) bailed me out on several occasions. But there were many successes and triumphs, and each one started with a little paper pattern envelope.
My Senior Prom dress, made by combining several patterns, with the help of my Uncle Chapman. I hand pieced and beaded the bodice, the skirt is knee-length. My Mom told me at the time that I did not need the gloves and tulle wrap, she was right.
When I got to college I learned to draft patterns myself, but I still collect vintage patterns for the beauty of the illustrations and the detailed technique descriptions. I love to find ones with notes in the margins - the names and measurements of the children it was made for or fabric swatches with rusted pins embedded in them.
Recent mother/daughter finds at a flea market
You can imagine my excitement when Simplicity Patterns contacted me last year to license styles from Little Goodall.
I love this for two reasons : There is nothing more special than a garment handmade for you by someone you love, and it makes my coats available to many more people.
The style they requested was the Fox. This was the second coat style I designed (the first was the lion) and made, on my dining room table, for my little son. Making it was an important creative moment for me at a low point. I was a stay at home mom who had recently closed the children's art studio she had nurtured for five years, and who was struggling to find her feet again. If I told her today that there would be a pattern out there with her name on it, she would have fallen off her chair.
Making things with your hands can be powerful!
The folks at Simplicity were a delight to work with, and the end result is in stores worldwide wherever Simplicity patterns are sold. It is not yet available on their website, I am told because they are making some changes (to the website, not the pattern) but should be available there soon.
That is my son modeling the Fox Coat, and my friend Wendy's daughter Quin in the Raccoon Coat. They had lots of fun at the photo shoot with the big red balloon!
I cannot wait to see what everyone does to customize the coats when they sew them - if you give it a try, please share photos with me!
Also, I am curious to know,what are your favorite sewing pattern memories? And what other Little Goodall styles would you like to see in a pattern?
I recently indulged in a little Mommy DIY to help cope with a rapidly growing boy's need for a more grown-up room. My husband was demo-ing a garage which was full of old (decrepit) furniture, and I was able to salvage a little table and dresser which had interesting lines. After a good power washing and several good coats of paint, the dresser was beginning to look better:
I decided to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for the fun parts, as it is easy to clean up and has excellent coverage. Small pots of Emperor's Silk and Pure White were just enough to do the job. I enlisted a lot of painters tape and a junior apprentice to help.
Many layers of tape, paint, and a lot of waiting to dry followed. We finished with the recommended wax and waited two weeks for the paint to cure.
The finished furniture, in situ:
The table is just the right height for my son's little record player and record collection, one of our most loved eBay purchases. Way more satisfying to a four year old than punching play on an MP3 player, and surprisingly durable.
The dresser was a bit tricky with the diagonals, and there are a few drips, but I think they look sort of rock-n-roll. The Dulceria watercolor is from a series I painted of Tijuana, the little jumping fox garland at the left from nicholduenes on etsy, and the little needlepoint chair was my father's.
We sanded and then rubbed an old candle along the drawer edges to help them glide smoothly. A little more storage is always a good thing!
By the way, have you entered our Triple Crown Giveaway at littlegoodall.com? Enter to win your three favorite Little Goodall play crowns by pinning them to Pinterest or sharing on FB. Only nine days left!
As you might imagine, we have a lot of wool felt around here.
So last year, when my son asked me to make him a birthday crown, I pulled out the scrap bag. It was an unusual request as he is not really into headgear, but he wanted everyone to know it was his special day. He picked out a color for the background, we added a golden "4", some leaves (for my expert tree climber), and since it needed a little kick, red wooden berries. I finished it with a piece of elastic in the back for easy on and off. The whole project took about an hour.
Of course, crowns aren't only for birthdays. They can inspire creative play in everyday life. Often a simple accessory is all it takes to send a little girl deep in the sea as a mermaid adventuress:
Or high in the sky as the queen or king of the dawn (first one up gets to wear the crown!):
The addition of lingerie elastic (purchase on etsy in a myriad of colors or find at your local craft store) makes these crowns more versatile as they tie on and then stretch to fit different head sizes. I make my crowns with a layer of fusible interfacing sandwiched between two layers of felt.
This is a great project to get older children involved with, cutting the felt shapes and gluing or hand sewing them on. I love the idea of using a child's whimsical drawing as the template for a crown. Draw a crown shape full size on paper and let them design the details, then cut apart as a pattern for the felt version. When a well-loved crown gets a little dirty, toss it in the washer and then lay flat to dry.
Really, isn't childhood a series of small celebrations?
What sort of crown would most inspire your little one to dream?
As opposed to a whole coat foxy, of course.
Recently I have been working on some toddler hats, inspired by our coats. This is my 4 year old son testing out the fox. He gave it high marks because he could put it on himself and, "it stayed the wind out of my ears".
Lined in warm fleece, they have an adjustable chin strap which closes with velcro, and should be available in sizes S,M,L by this fall. Ideal for little ones who want to be a different animal each day of the week!
Wait until you see the lion! And the owl, and the bunny...
This is a short post this week as I am up to my ears shipping bunny coats in time for Easter, but I promised to announce the winner of the two little skirts from last week's tutorial:
Congratulations Jenny! I'll be in touch!
Curved shirt tail hems are having a fashion moment this spring, so I thought it would be fun to upcycle some actual shirts into skirts for little girls.
It's a super easy sewing project (no hemming!) which you can do in an hour or two, and requires little more than a nice cotton shirt, matching thread, a length of 1" elastic, a swatch of fusible interfacing, and maybe some fun buttons. If you find shirts large enough and are not super tall, you can make one for yourself as well!
This is a really cool design in that it is completely clean finished inside and out - no raw edges to serge - and the built in placket makes a sweet detail. Scroll to the end for photos of the finished project which will make the long tutorial worth it!
Quick note - I am having camera issues and apologize in advance for the different brightness in each photo.
1. So, first, find a shirt. Men's shirts tend to be made out of nicer cottons than most things, and maybe Dad's Easter shirt from last year was a fun gingham or pastel stripe. Look for nice shirt-tail details. I went to my local thrift and picked up an lovely XL pale blue woven windowpane shirt with a basic notch hem, and then checked out the ladies section for a peach gingham with stripe insets at the side seams (bonus!). Ladies shirts will work fine as long as they do not have princess seams or darts.
2. Now, a bit of measuring: Find out how long you want the finished length of the skirt to be, from belly button to hem. On my sample it was 11". Add 2 1/2" to this for the waistband, so mine is 13 1/2" for the total length. Neatly lay out your shirt flat. Measure the total length up from the hem, continue the measurement all the way across, and cut. This is the "skirt" part of the skirt.
Now comes measuring for the waistband, which is a band on the front and elastic in the back. Make sure to read through the following steps before cutting anything, there is method to my madness I promise.
Turn the skirt inside out and lay it with the back (side with no buttons or placket) up. We're going to do the marking here so it won't show on the finished garment. Here I'm starting next to the side seam to mark the waistband across the back. This photo is just to show the placement:
And in the following one you can read what the measurements are. You don't have to mark them all, I'm just outlining what each section will be used for. You really only need a line 2 1/2" from the top.
3. Flip it over so you are looking at the wrong side of the front. In my picture here you can see the side seam where the front meets the back. Mark off 2" from the top and cut it off, leaving the selvedges of the side seams attached to the back. This is where we will attach the waistband to the front. Below this we are left with a 1/2" seam allowance.
Turn it right side, press it, and this is what you should have now:
4. Put in the elastic back waistband:Measure the little one's waist. I'm using a little girl with a 20" waistline for my sample.Cut a piece of 1" wide elastic half as long as the waist measurement plus 1" for seam allowances. Mine came to 11".
To create the casing: Fold to the inside the 1/2" seam allowance at the top back of the skirt and press. Then fold down another 1 1/4" and press. It is easier to work on this part if you open up the buttons and lay it flat.
Stitch 1 1/8" from the folded edge to create the channel for the elastic to go through. Using a loop turner or safety pin, pull your measured length of 1" elastic through and pin it on either end to hold in place.
A full view from the wrong side:
Back waist = done! Set it aside for the moment.
5. Sashes: Skirts are more fun with a bow or knot in the back, and ours here serves the dual purpose of neatly covering the elastic waistband. Find the top portion of the shirt and cut those sleeves off.
Cut them open along the underarm seam, cut off the cuff, and iron them out flat. Mine had little tabs with buttons which I also had to work around and remove.
Fold the sleeve with the right sides together so we can mark the sashes. Marking directions in just a second....
A brief digression on styles of sashes:Your sashes can be any width you like, but the wider they are, the longer they have to be to make a bow, and the length is limited by the length of the sleeves. On my blue skirt, I made them wide to tie in a layered knot:
On my peach gingham skirt I made them only 1 1/2" wide and they can be neatly tied in a bow:
So, on the fold, mark each sash the width you prefer plus 1/4" seam allowance. I like an angled end on mine:
Cut, and sew, leaving the non-angled end open. Clip your corners.
Use a loop turner to turn them, then neatly press and topstitch 1/4" from the edge. Make sure they are the same length! If not, trim the open ends so that they are..
Make a pleat in each so that the ends are 1" wide - the same as the waistband.
Pin each on top of the ends of the elastic on each side, and sew in place through all layers with a 1/2' seam allowance.
6. Sew the placket closed. We are going to sew the front placket closed so this skirt cannot open at center front anymore. Now is a good time to go ahead and remove the buttons if you plan on replacing them. Pin the placket closed, and topstitch a straight seam on top of one of the placket seams to about 3" away from the hem, so that it looks like it still works.
7. Gathering the front of the skirt: To get ready to attach the front waistband, set your sewing machine to the longest stitch and sew two parallel lines of stitching along the front edge of the skirt, one 1/4" away from the edge and another 1/2" away from the first. Do not backstitch at the beginning or end and leave the threads long.
Take hold of the long bobbin threads and gently pull from each end to gather the front of the skirt. Try to keep the center placket flat and not gathered. This is a view from the right side.
Now we are ready for the almost last step, the front waistband!
7. The front waistband: Find the top back of the shirt and cut it off below the yoke so you have a flat piece of fabric. We are going to make the waistband here, the measurements are coming up next. If you plan on making several of these skirts from different shirts, you might want to make this as a paper pattern.
Remember the little one's waist measurement? Divide the measurement in 2, then add 1" (two 0.5" seam allowances) - so my front waistband will be 11" wide, and the height we need for a 1" waistband is 3 1/4", as detailed below:
Cut a rectangle of fusible interfacing 2" by half the width of the waist measurement, and press it on so that it is centered 1/4" away from one long edge.
Fold down the 1/2' at the top and press, then fold down 1 1/2" and press, like this:
Turn around and line up remaining 1/2' seam allowance with gathered edge of skirt and pin, leaving 1/2" free at each end.
Stitch 1/2" from raw edges, again leaving 1/2" free at each end. Remove gathering threads and folding 1/2" edges to the wrong side, fold waistband up and around to the inside of the skirt. This encloses the gathered edges inside the waistband, as well as the seam allowances from the back of the skirt. Pin in place - it should look like this from the front:
Carefully stitch the ends in place through all thicknesses, then stitch in the ditch along the edge of the gathering to hold the waistband down in the back and finish the inside. Pin it before you do this and go slow for best results!
Give it a good pressing all over.
Finally, I like to topstitch along the waistband 1/4" from the edges for a neat look, and you can sew your cute buttons on now.
More pretty buttons:
Et voila!!!!! So cute!!!
See the curved side hem?
This one is a bit longer and has a 1950's feel:
Have you visited Coaters?Coaters is the darling webshop of our exclusive distributor for the Netherlands and Belgium. At the beginning of the year, Gitta, the owner of Coaters made a special request for an orange lion. An orange lion? It seems that orange lions are close to the hearts of many in the Netherlands. Deeply rooted in Dutch history, lions are featured prominently on the country's coat of arms. The royal arms were adopted by the first king of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, William I, Prince of Orange. Every ruling member of the Nassau family uses the motto "The Princedom of Orange". The history is fascinating! Accordingly, a fierce orange lion represents the Dutch national football (soccer) team. My husband, who is from the UK and soccer mad, confirmed this and we went ahead with our Dutch Lion prototype (now he wants a lion for England too).
Around the studio we are wild for this little guy with his thick orange mane and super cozy 70% wool felt body.
Did you know all the beautiful wool felts we use at Little Goodall are made right here in the USA?
As a happy coincidence, there seem to be many Dutch Lion FC soccer teams across the US also with orange lions as their mascots. We can just imagine a little team outfitted in these over their soccer kit:
By the way, the swingy lion tails are detachable - for bike riding around the Netherlands of course!
If you are in the EU and need a Dutch lion, do contact Coaters.
If you are in the US, drop me a line!
Growing up, it always seemed that the first sign of spring was a new dress for Easter. Before these days of fast fashion (the bikinis are in stores in January), when you were absolutely sick of your heavy winter clothes but still needed them, the Easter dresses would sprout in the department stores amongst rows of marked down winter merchandise like crocuses in old snow. Discarding coat, hat, scarf, mittens, etc. in the dressing room to try on pastels and florals with wide satin sashes was like morphing from a snowman into a princess. The resulting purchase carried home in a dress bag was a promise of warmer days to come. Sometimes my Mom or grandmother made my Easter dress, which was equally exciting with trips to the fabric store and numerous fittings required to complete the project. In any case, when the big day finally arrived, the main event for littles was always the egg hunt. Shoes were shined, dresses pressed, hair curled or braided, and when we were finally ready to go....Mother Nature somehow had not received the memo and that little cotton cardigan was not going to do the trick. So more often than not, out came the winter coat, and I was forced to hunt eggs as a bizarre winter/spring hybrid, much to my shame until I discovered all the other egg hunters were in the same boat.
These ruminations were the inspiration for my latest, the Honey Bunny. Honey because it comes in classic shades of champage and camel, and bunny, because, well...
I feel we walk a fine line with rabbits because they are so darn cute and kiddos are so darn cute and we therefore risk cuteness overload. So this bunny has clean, classic styling to enhance and not overwhelm. Those sleeves? They fold down for a perfect length for several years. The beautiful welt pockets fit a chilly hand or an Easter egg each and are lined in the contrasting color. And the ears?
They speak for themselves! Four vintage horn buttons keep out the wind, and the length is cropped to show off a twirly skirt or pressed trousers. Trousers, because this is also available in a beautiful Peter Rabbit blue and camel combo for little boy rabbits.
So that's the latest from Little Goodall - for beloved little bunnies everywhere, available in limited quantities in sizes 12M, 2T, 3T, and 4T.
This is my mom, Mary Scott, in her Easter finest. I love the little corsage.
I think she wants a bunny coat!
Paleontologist, that is! Last fall I received a special request from a mother in New York City. Her little girl was dinosaur obsessed, but also a lover of all things pink, as many girls are. She liked our green dinosaur coats, but could we possibly custom make a version for her lovely little monster in shades of pink?
We chose a classic pink felt for the body, a lighter peach for the belly and fins, and a coordinating petal pink charmeuse for the lining.
We thought pink dinos would probably have green eyes.
And dainty white claws.
The result was pretty sweet. And when it was delivered in the mail? She was tickled.....PINK!
It seems to me that there might be some other little ones out there who might like their dinosaurs to be pink, so we've just added them to our regular line as alimited edition.
Do you know any pink dinosaurs?
What are your wee ones crazy for? I'd love to know!
As my thoughts turn to designing our (first ever) Spring/Summer 2014 collection, it became glaringly obvious that the studio needed some serious editing. Fresh space, fresh ideas, right? Here is what the work table used to look like:
Needless to say it does not look like that now. We are about halfway through the re-organize, I'll share a snap when it's done. ANYWAY, in the process I came upon a stash of my old design portfolios from college which provided a diversion from the (daunting) task at hand. I thought you might enjoy them too. Don't laugh too hard, these are from 1996-1997 so the clothing styles are definitely dated.
So this is the cover page of my senior year childrenswear portfolio - sort of like a designer's resume. The cover page is meant to serve as an intro to the style of the designer and can be playful. My maiden name was Baver (see why I went with Little Goodall?). It seems I was already more interested in drawing animals than regular clothing, I just hadn't combined the two yet. I'm loving that ostrich.
A group of party clothes in pleated and quilted silks, modeled by some romantic mice. My son just asked me if it was Angelina Ballerina. I don't know if she was around back then, but they aren't far off.
These are all drawn in pencil and painted with gouache. Look at those two gossiping in the back!
A two page spread of infant playclothes, styled like paper dolls.
With fabric and knit swatches, of course.
And for the boys!
Shamrocks and stripes from a few years later - playing around with some summer ideas for girls.
The shamrock pattern was clipped from my friend's wedding invite. I still like that little pink jacket...
..and that green jacket! No longer sure about the circus tent of a striped dress.
Love the girlie on the end with the sunglasses and pigtails. She looks like summer to me.
So back to the present, I've ordered some beautiful linens and soft cotton prints for next spring, beyond excited for them to arrive. In the meantime - I'll have a new coat style in the blog next week.
Oh yes! The winner of the Heartfelt Valentine's Jumper, drawn at random by my four year old is:
Congratulations Jennifer! I'll be in touch for your address!
And a heartfelt thank you to all who commented, I plan on many more giveaways in the future of this little blog. You are so sweet to stop by!
Welcome to Little Goodall! As a mother and designer, I am looking forward to bringing you day to day news from the Little Goodall studio as well as content from the wild and wonderful world of kids design. Let's kick things off with a fast and fun tutorial. Do you sew? I hope you do! This jumper is simple and fun and super quick and made of one of my personal faves, felt (get it? heart-felt? tee hee). It's gotta be fast because you need all the time you can get to give those little ones some Valentine's day love (and probably help them make their V-day cards for school). Also, you can win my sample!
Heartfelt Valentine's Day Jumper Tutorial
Let's get going!
1. Pattern and Fabric: I used a vintage pattern, but any simple jumper shape with shoulder buttons will do, like Simplicity 4927 for sizes 3 and up or Simplicity 2900 for Infant and Baby sizes. You may also be able to trace around an existing jumper for a pattern if you are clever. The red felt is from my local Jo-ann Fabric store, they carry red wool felt in stock year round (the wool felt will look way prettier than acrylic although it's more expensive). I used 1.5 yards for my size 1-2 jumper. You will also need some matching thread and tiny rickrack (ribbon, or seam binding also will work ok) for the heart "strings", and thread to match that as well.
2. Additional Materials: Pull out your scrap bag and dig for cute fabrics for those hearts - I used wool felt again, but you can experiment with knits or cotton prints for some super cuteness (if you go with a woven, either make peace with the fray or seal the edges with Fray-Chek or a similar product).
3. Cut the Pattern: We're moving right along! Open your pattern and find the front and back, it's all you will need. Mine are cut on the fold. Cut it out as is, with seam allowances. You should end up with one jumper front and one jumper back.
4. Seam Allowances: Next we've got to get rid of the seam allowances on the hem and neck/armholes area. We don't need them because we're using felt and going fast fast fast! Find a fabric marking pencil (a white colored pencil will do in a pinch) and a ruler, and check your pattern for the seam allowances - mine are 2" at the hem and 5/8 around the neck. Mark them on the WRONG SIDE of the fabric with the pencil and ruler.
Then cut them off!
Then do the neck and armholes. Don't do the side seams, you will need those! When you are finished, press the front and back so they are pretty and flat. We are almost to the fun part.
5. Hearts!: Find a piece of scrap paper and draw some hearts, then cut them out. I like the old-school method of folding it in half and cutting them freestyle, but you could trace around something heart-y you have around the house or print a million off the internet. Just find three sizes so you have some variety. Trace them onto the wrong side of your fabric scraps (ballpoint pen works great on felt if you haven't a fancy fabric marker, pencil works well on cottons) and cut a bunch out. I cut two at a time, it is nice if you have extras to play with to get the best layout.
6. The Fun Part! Create the Design: Open your package of rickrack and iron about a yard of it. Cut it into three or four lengths and arrange them on the right side of your jumper front. Go crazy with the hearts - move them around until the mix of colors works for you. Put them on the strings and have some flying off into space. If you have a crafty little one, they could get involved here too. Share the love! Little girls love color and texture and hearts, so you can't go wrong.
7. Stick and Stitch: Once it's perfect, pull out your cell phone and snap a photo for reference as to what goes where. Lift off the hearts and set aside. Use a glue stick or disappearing fabric glue to tack the green stems in place. Thread your machine with the green thread and stitch in place with a single straight seam down each one. If you are really short on time or really hate to sew, you could also use washable fabric glue and glue them down flat out. Now pull up that cell phone snap for a guide and use tiny dabs of glue to tack the hearts in place for stitching (just a tiny dab! you are only holding them in place so they won't move around while sewing).
Stitch down the hearts, just a single seam down the center so the edges are loose and 3-D. I used contrasting thread but you can match the colors if you like. Be sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of each one so the threads won't come loose! Production tip: As you sew all the hearts, leave the threads long after each one. When they are complete, go back and clip all the threads from the front and the back of the fabric. Carry the whole thing to the ironing board and press it from the wrong side. Turn it over and admire!
8. Side Seams: Put the right sides of the front and back together, and stitch up those side seams. If things are not matching up exactly after sewing, just trim off the extra bits. To reduce bulk, lets also trim those seam allowances down to 1/4" and angle the corners in for a clean finish since we will not be using facings. Press the seams open.
9. Reinforce Shoulder Closures: Whether you are using buttons and buttonholes, snaps, velcro or even ribbon ties, reinforcing the shoulder straps is a good idea. Take a small felt scrap and cut it to fit the shape of each shoulder strap. If planning on using buttons, make sure it is at least 1" wider than your button from the tip of the strap to the inside edge, so the entire buttonhole will comfortably fit on the reinforced part. I just pinned it in place (to the wrong side of the fabric) and cut around the edge, using the strap as a pattern. This is easier if the jumper is still inside out. Once it's done use a dab of glue to hold it in place, or a pin, whatever you are most comfortable with - it just needs to stay put until the edge finish is sewn..
10. Finishing The Edges: So you have a lot of options here - if you love to hand sew, use a blanket stitch with embroidery floss. If all you have is a straight stitch machine, a neat topstitch 1/4" from the edge will do. A zig-zag looks nice as well. I still sew on my workhorse of a Kenmore 10-stitch I received for Christmas in the third grade, so I used this as an opportunity to try out some of the "fancier" stitches. Those of you with embroidery machines, you know who you are. Use a scrap to try your options and see which one you prefer. I liked this little scalloped edge:
Go ahead and use whatever finishing stitch you prefer on the hem (work from the right side of the fabric) and then all the way around the neckline and armholes in one continuous seam, starting at the side seam of one armhole. Take your time, love is in the details!
11. Almost finished! - Closures: This is another place you have a lot of options. I went with a basic buttonhole on my machine. Mark the beginning of your buttonhole at least 1/2" from the tip of the straps on the back of the jumper. Since we are using nice felt, you could also straight stitch a long narrow rectangle and slit it down the middle for your buttonhole, or blanket stitch it, whatever. Felt will not fray and you have two nice layers you are stitching through.
If you are going with snaps, velcro, whatever, this is the time to do it.
Finally, fold the back straps over the front straps and mark through the buttonholes where the buttons should be sewn.
Sew your buttons in place. I covered buttons with contrasting felt (if you don't know how to do this and want to, Google "make covered buttons" - there are a million tutorials out there). Any cute button will work, you don't have to do the covered ones, and since you only need two this might be a good time to sort through your button jar.
Now head to the ironing board and give the whole thing a final pressing.
Voila! Your are finished! Find your little sweetheart and try it on. Darling over a little turtleneck or peter pan collared blouse with a pair of tights and Mary Janes.
Would you like to win my sample? It's a size 1-2 and measures 26" around the chest. Just leave me a comment if you would like to enter and I'll announce the winner next Thursday (Valentine's Day!).
Thanks for stopping by, please come back! I am new at blogging and I promise I'll get better!