Sewing Eyes – Beginning with Hand Embroidery

Sheesh, has it been a while or WHAT? 

I’ve been busy being a mommy and trying lotsa new things. Like pixel art (more on that soon) and embroidery! 

I’ve had this idea for a while now that I would really love to try to make some dolls. Like, really cool, weird dolls. And Halloween is right around the corner so I can totally justify this conquest with the fact that it may in fact produce some cool critters to sit on my shelf. 

So, I bought a tiny embroidery hoop (I’m actually going to see if I can find a tinier one, because I’d like to be able to do this face stitching after I sew the head pieces together. I think the one I have might be a tad too big. 

Anyway, my very first attempt is in this photo.

beginner hand embroidery eyes character doll faces
That green egg-shaped blob at the top was my first attempt at something dumb and I quickly realized I didn’t like that approach.

I’ve been sketching concepts for months and the eyes are super important to me because along with the general shape of my dolls, I think the faces will set them apart. After all, embroidery like this enables me to basically draw with thread which is pretty dang cool.

We’ll see how it goes. 

Also, there is a 85% chance that the blog will turn into a bit of an outlet for my more… artistic endeavors and less of the mommy blog that it has been. I still plan to offer free downloads and quirky holiday printables, but we have created a family blog elsewhere, so PIXELPLEAT can just be weird Drea-stuffs.

The Girl Needed Unicorns, OK? // Birthday Sewing

Birthday Sewing Shwin and Shwin Sewing Patterns Dress Top Tunic Toddler Project

Over the summer, my mom started a sewing club for my cousin, sisters, aunt and myself. I wanted to share my sewing patterns, because I’ve got so many, especially for kids and my sister-in-law has small children like me. In the process of creating a sort of digital catalog for everyone to look through I realized a few things.

First, apparently I am a compulsive pattern collector. 

Second, I need to sew for myself more. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Third, after perusing the long list of really great patterns I do have for children, I realized I have definitely not been utilizing nearly enough of them.

I’ve gotten into some kind of sewing rut and stopped trying new patterns. The variety of dresses I could have created for Vi if I had been venturing into unknown territory is sickening. And why haven’t I made Parley any of the skinny jeans from the pattern I had coveted for months before finally purchasing it?

Well, that was enough of that. I decided was going to start sewing things I hadn’t made before. 

So, about a month before Vi’s birthday, I started making a plan for what I’d make for her “birthday clothes”. I chose two patterns I had been wanting to try and coincidentally, they are both by Shwin and Shwin.

Birthday Dress – Shwin and Shwin’s Jane Dress

This was my first experience sewing really good quality cotton. I’ve always been really “cheap” when it came to fabric. I re-learned how to sew by making clothes for my kids with mostly knit fabrics from Girl Charlee, which are very reasonably priced. And you typically get a lot more yardage when you buy knits because they are usually much wider than woven fabrics. 

So spending $10/yard for this fabric made me sweat when it was time to cut into it. I know that’s not outrageous for good quilting cotton, but I was really nervous I wouldn’t have enough fabric and one little blunder would ruin the whole thing. 

Fortunately, that wasn’t an issue. I even had a little left over that I might piece together to use for the baby. 

Birthday Sewing Shwin and Shwin Sewing Patterns Dress Top Tunic Toddler Project

Fabric: “The Lovely Hunt, Unicorn Purple” from Fabric Worm (Similar // Here)
Pattern: “Jane Dress & Top” by Shwin and Shwin


I just love this fabric so much. And won’t hesitate to order from Fabric Worm again, because the quality of this garment cannot even be compared to what I have made in the past using cheap cottons I’d scraped out of the selection at Walmart. 

As usual, I included my little “PIXELPLEAT” clothing label on these, which makes me feel like a hot shot. I ordered them from Ananemone on Etsy and will definitely be reordering soon.

I wore that headband to my wedding, so it made me smile big time that she actually let me put it on her for these pictures. She ended up wearing it as a belt with the second piece. 

Birthday Top – Shwin and Shwin’s Apple Lougewear Top

This second pattern is one I’ve had since Parley was really small, back when I started sewing. I believe I originally bought it for the leggings pattern which is included, but the top is really stinkin’ cute and Vi love wearing this one. It’s really comfy and roomy.

I had a couple hang-ups with this one, but they were 100% percent because I wasn’t paying attention when I put it together. I was over confident and messed the neckband up a bit. No biggie, though. 

Birthday Sewing Shwin and Shwin Sewing Patterns Dress Top Tunic Toddler Project

Fabric: “The Lovely Hunt, Strawberry Purple” from Fabric Worm
Pattern: “Apple Loungewear” by Shwin and Shwin

The contrasting knit I used for the cuffs and neckband were just a double-knit I picked up at Hancock a long time ago when they were doing one of their huge sales. 

I think my favorite part of this pattern is the fact that you can use a knit or a woven for the main fabric. I just love stuff like that. 

The fabric is from the same collection as the previous one, so they coordinated really well. I used a little bit of the unicorn fabric for the cool little pockets. I think next time I’ll use something with a bit more contrast, because you can hardly tell the pockets are even there. Built-in pockets really are the best feature ever. 

This top has a super cute hi-low hem which is my fave on Vi’s diaper bum. 

Baby Shoe DIY – An Awesome Pattern

Like every other human on earth blessed with ovaries, I’m a big fat sucker for baby shoes. I love supporting small businesses, especially handmade, so I’ve bought a few when affordable.

Lately, I’ve been really loving the ones with a combination of leather and other fabrics. Or just unique looking materials in general. Look at these beautiful examples I’ve been eyeballing.

Seriously, those boots. Oh my gosh.

I was about two clicks away from buying these the other day, but had to stop myself when I realized I had a whole buckskin in the cupboard above my desk and fabric coming out of my ears. And then I almost bought them anyway. 

Baby Shoes are Easy to Make, Right? HAH.

You see, about two years ago, when I was pregnant with Vi, I bought the cutest baby shoe sewing pattern. I had found it on Etsy, it was a great deal, and I was on a sewing spree. Basically, I was unstoppable. 

Let me tell you, that is still to this day, the most frustrating thing I have ever tried to sew. I’m a pretty determined person, especially with sewing and I’m well acquainted with my seam ripper. We’re buds, me and the little blue stabby thinger. But these baby shoes. Well, they pushed me over the edge. I almost threw my sewing machine across the room and started crying.


Instead, I just vowed that booties, especially the tiny newborn variety, was not something I was into.  

Round Two

Then about a year later, I decided I was definitely too frugal to pay $35+ for shoes for any of my kids. But I wanted some of those dang moccasins for Parley. They looked comfy. And cute. So I drove down the street and picked up a deerskin while they were on sale at Tandy Leather. I had found yet another pattern on Etsy for moccasins which was easily modified to look just how I wanted them. 

Again, I was pretty pumped and knew I couldn’t fail. The good news is, I didn’t exactly. The moccs came together, but not before I had to try it more than once on more than one sewing machine. Leather is NOT easy to work with. You can’t use pins. You need a sharper needle. The stuff stretches and sticks worse than any knit I’ve ever sewn up. And there’s no guarantee your dumb sewing machine can handle it in the first place.

The moccasins were cute and Parley really enjoyed them, but they were not worth the time OR the money. 

Which, as you can imagine, is why I was super hesitant to try again with the whole baby shoe conquest.

But I had all the stuff to make these shoes I had in my head that weren’t quite all leather. The question was, Am I up for trying to sew tiny shoes again? It was iffy, but I decided to give it one more shot. 

I’m so glad I did. Those two years of sewing practice definitely contributed to the success of this project. They didn’t turn out 100% perfect (nothing ever does), but they did come right together. I think I made them in under an hour and look at how cute they are. I’ve been showing them to everyone I can since I made them Sunday evening. And Parley’s been toting them around the house like an excited big brother.

diy baby booties

I’ve Conquered the Baby Shoe

Here is the pattern I used: Baby Shoe Pattern – Slipper by Petitboo

And the most exciting part for me: This pattern goes all the way up to size 13 for kids. (There is a version for babies which is $4.50 and a version for bigger toddlers/kids which is $5.50.) Parley is currently in an 11, I think. You mean, I can make these for all of my kids? SOLD. 

That’s exactly what my thought process was. So, I bought both sizes and prayed I could pull it off this time. 

It was a lot of fun and I’m definitely going to be making these for all my babies for Christmas. I’ll probably put the leather on the soles for the two bigger kids. These being fully lined means you can totally add leather without the headache of the leather actually touching the plate on your sewing machine, which in my experience was the most annoying part because it sticks so bad. It just requires a little planning. 

Anyway, this pattern totally gets five thousand stars ★ from me.

Now, I’ve just got to figure out how to make the boots. (And I definitely want to place a Spoonflower order, now! I’ve got to get my art on some of these tiny slippers!)

Have you ever been so stumped by a sewing/crafting/any kid of project that I promised yourself I wouldn’t do it again? What was it? Did you end up trying again?

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