A Lilla Blog

Need a baby shower gift? March 25 2016

It's baby shower season. Eeeeeep! Babies!

Pregnant? Want to add Lilla Barn to your registry? Use Myregistry.com. It's free and you can add anything from any online retailer to your registry. It's pretty cool. I used it when I was pregnant and I loved being able to add hand-made items as well as consolidating stuff from other online shops. 

Need a present for a baby shower and want to shop small? Yay! Here are a few ideas that I would give to anyone. 

Shopping for a girl? Our flora dress is already a fan-favorite. It's available in sizes 6-12 months up to a kid 6! I suggest buying a bigger size so that baby girl has something amazing to grow into. 

Flora Dress

Looking for something sweet and tiny? Our new circle tank or baby art dress come as small as 0-6 months. 

Lilla Barn girl clothes

Waiting to find out the gender of the baby? No problem. We have a bunch of gender-neutral options

Square wrap top and ninja pants

Our square wrap top and ninja pants can be bought as a set (great for a coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit) or as separates. 

Most of our leggings are absolutely gender-neutral. Easy peasy. 

Lilla Barn baby leggings

We still have a handful of stuff on sale as well so you can give a bunch of Lilla Barn goodies. 

Make the perfect little gift with a few of my other baby favorites from these women-owned/founded small businesses. 

Kate Grinold Sigfusson is a #startupmom as well as an awesome person. With each purchase, her company Babies4Babies funds life-saving treatments for babies in developing countries. Cool, right? Plus their baby swaddles are the softest I have ever felt. 

Earth Cadets is a local Chicago business founded by Krissy Callahan that makes hand-printed goodies like t-shirts, baby bodysuits, and more. Need decorations for the baby shower? Krissy makes party buntings as well. Super cool!

Need more suggestions? Email me at bergen@lillabarn.com. 


Zooey x Lilla Barn July 23 2015

Wow, it has been quite a summer! We are so excited to share our collaboration with Zooey Magazine. Lucia Tran from Zooey Magazine and I worked to design these dresses that are perfect for summer play. Make sure to read Lucia's blog post to see how she named the styles.  

The Maisie Dress - sleeveless and sweet with micro gold polka-dots

The Jane Dress - lightweight white and blue with 3/4 length sleeves

These are exclusive designs only available in the Zooey Magazine Shop. Each dress is made-to-order in sizes 6-12 months, 12-18 months, 18-24 months, 2T, 3T, 4T, 5, 6. 

If you do purchase a dress, be sure to share your photos using the hashtag #ZooeyXLillaBarn. You can also find Zooey Magazine on Instagram and Facebook

All photos by Heather Moore Photography. Her daughter, Penelope, is the model. Isn't she amazing? 


Lilla Barn + Indigo & Snow = awesomeness! June 22 2015

You may know this already, but we worked with Annabella Sardelis from Indigo & Snow to get custom hand-dyed fabric for our summer collection. It was our first collaboration with another artist/maker and it was so so great! I thought we could share a bit of the process here.
I discovered Indigo & Snow on Instagram through Hackwith Design House's IG feed. They've worked together in the past, they are both Minneapolis-based, and they both have drool-worthy IG feeds. After finding the Indigo & Snow shop, I bought a pair of her hand-dyed leggings. These, actually.


Awesome, right? Then I reached out to Annabella about working together on custom fabric for our summer line. And she said yes!

Here's how it worked:

I really wanted to work with one woven fabric and one knit fabric and was able to get samples from Dharma Trading. Hooray! We finally settled on a bamboo rayon (that drapes fantastically) and a rayon/spandex jersey that is some of the softest stretch fabric I've ever felt. I ordered the fabric, had it sent directly to Annabella, and she took it from there. 

Here are a few pics of her dying process (taken directly from her IG feed):


Annabella suggested a shibori technique called KIKKO for the bamboo fabric. Kikko means turtle shell. This technique creates an angular design with triangles and it ends up looking like this. See the turtle shell? 


Since it can be difficult to get consistent results using shibori techniques on knit fabric, Annabella suggested a more free-form dying technique for the rayon jersey using clothes pins. Lots and lots of clothes pins. 

Here's what it looked like on the clothesline. 


I traveled to Iowa and Minnesota in April to see family and also got to meet Annabella, see her studio, and see my fabric in person.  We looked at a sample of the dyed rayon jersey and I told her what I liked most. She took that and ran with it. Here's what the sample looked like:

Here's us talking. Super interesting, right?
So what did we make with these fabrics? I wanted to keep it simple since the fabrics really make a statement.

For babies I made a classic, unisex baby t-shirt that pairs perfectly with matching leggings. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, this fabric is perhaps some of the softest fabric I've ever felt. I want to live in it all day. For real. 


These leggings are available in sizes 6-12 months up to a 4T. I love that every pair looks different. 


The bamboo fabric worked perfectly for this little tank available in sizes 18-24 months up to a kid 6. 


And then there's this little dress. The bodice fabric is a vintage cotton that I only had 2 yards of, so there are only three of these dresses. Ever. That's it.


Don't forget the ladies! I made a few women's tops so I could wear them. Then I made a few more. One size fits many (I would say up to a 10). You can find them here

Hooray! Now you know. We can't wait to collaborate again. 


Spring 2015 Shows - Come out and play! April 02 2015

April 19 - Lake FX Marketplace curated by Dose Market for
the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events,
Chicago Cultural Center 
May 2-3 - Chicago Art Girls Annual Spring Pop Up, Bell School 
May 8-10 - Show of Hands Spring Show, Architectural Artifacts 

All of these events are FREE to attend, so come and visit us and see all of the other fabulous makers and vendors! 

Headbands! January 14 2015

We have so many stretchy knit fabric scraps. So many, and I can't stand throwing fabric away, even if it's only a tiny piece. 

So during the holiday when we were up in Minnesota with family, I made a handful of headbands. Then we had a fun cousin photo shoot. So much fun! Haven't decided yet if I want to make headbands like this available online. Thoughts?

Since this picture was taken, I have cut Jo's hair. Man, I miss those curls.

Matching cousin headbands!

Headbands can also be worn as necklaces.


Maybe they were reading here?

I promise they were having fun.
Man, I just love this little monkey.
So, headbands, definitely a success! Hooray! 

Come out and see us! October 24 2014

Want to see Lilla Barn Clothing in person? Want to see fun new things we've been working on? Want to make our day?

Here's where we'll be in the next few months. Stop by and say hi. 

November 22-23 - Show of Hands Chicago

SHOW of HANDS is a 2-day marketplace presented by Chicago design company, OrangeBeautiful, featuring 60 independent artists, designers & craftspeople. This year's show will take place on November 22-23, 2014, the weekend before Thanksgiving, at the Ravenswood Event Center on the north side of Chicago. And it's FREE!

December 6-7 - Renegade Craft Fair

The Renegade Craft Fair Chicago December Market has a new home! On December 6+7 RCF will host its Holiday Market at the stunning BRIDGEPORT ART CENTER, located at 1200 W. 35TH ST.with the iconic Chicago skyline as a backdrop. A unique array of 100+ indie makers will be joining the festivities for your holiday shopping needs! And it's FREE!

December 14 - Dose Market

On Sunday, December 14th get a HoliDose: the food, fashion and gifts to celebrate and give to the ones you love. There’s no better way to buy for everyone on your list!

what: the merriest Dose of the year when: December 14th, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. where: Morgan Manufacturing, 401 N. Morgan transportation: free street parking, $5 lot parking; Morgan Green Line tickets: $8 advance, $10 at the door, both include free drink tickets for 21+ kids: kids 12 and under always free

It's going to be AWESOME!

See you there!  

A peek into our printing process October 10 2014

Lilla Barn is so lucky to have design master Liv Anderson at the helm of our Screen Printing Department. Not only does Liv design and print all of our t-shirts and onesies, she also designed our branding. She's pretty amazing. Disclaimer: Liv is my sister so I'm a little biased. 

Liv came out for Renegade in September and had a little more printing to do. Back at her studio in Iowa she has a fancy press that she uses, but she can basically print anywhere with her portable screens. We transformed my dining room into her "studio" and got to see Liv's process in person. Jo was pretty interested too. 

Here we go. Prepping the screens.  Mixing the perfect teal. 

Gotta make sure the placement is exact. We're a family of perfectionists. 

Add the ink!

Always do a test print. I love this one. Liv even had a Norwegian magazine to test on. 


Triangles were next. I love how you can see the design become visible on the screen. Pretty cool, huh? We sold out of all the mouth shirts that Liv printed for Renegade. They were a big hit. The good news is that we'll have more coming soon for the holiday season. 

In the meantime, we have a few of Liv's designs available on the site now.

The dalahorse is a popular one. Liv has been busy making custom dala shirts in various colors. 

This is our newest triangle tee with yellow triangles on a navy shirt. Yay!

Summer is over, but ice cream is always a good idea. 

There you have it, folks. And just for fun, here's a pic of almost all of us helping out. It's a bit blurry, but I just love it. 


Getting ready for Renegade! August 25 2014

It's been a busy summer and now we're gearing up for Renegade Craft Fair in a few short weeks. 

From Renegade's site:

The 12th Annual Renegade Craft Fair September Market returns to Wicker Park this September 6+7 on Division St. between Damen and Paulina Avenues will be host to one of the largest curated gatherings of indie craft makers in the US.  Market hours are from 11 am – 6 pm both Saturday and Sunday. And it's free!

All three of us (Bergen, Anne, AND Liv) will be in Chicago for this event and we'll have new things you haven't even seen before!

Here's a sneak-peek:

Oh, and there's more...but you'll have to show up to see it.



UB2 - We love you! July 21 2014

Ever since Jo was tiny, I've been a fan of UB2 (Urban Baby Bonnets). UB2 is a mama-founded company that employs work-at-home moms as sewists (which makes them super cool in my book). One guess as to what their product is...HATS! And other awesome things. But mostly hats. 

And these are amazing hats, folks. Cool fabrics. Reversible. Organic options. Multiple styles: bonnets, winter bonnets, caps, and more. On a side note, when Jo was nursing, the bonnet provided the perfect amount of coverage (for me) for nursing in public.  

We've bought a number of UB2 bonnets; we've lost at least one, she's grown out of a few more, and they are perfect for gifts. Here's our most recent bonnet in action. (Photo by Sooz Main)

I recently reached out to Colette (UB2's founder) to ask her some business-related questions. I greatly admire her business and wanted to pick her brain. Although I'd never been in touch with her before, she responded right away and graciously answered my questions. She also suggested that their caps would look great with our Lilla bow ties...and then she sent me a few.

Take a look for yourself.

And the reverse side. 

Jo liked wearing a cap as well. You can see that the caps (as well as all UB2 hats) have a snap strap that keeps the hat on. You can also tuck the straps up into the hat if your little one wants to go strap-free. 

And of course, Jo and Gunnar had a great time together in their caps. I'm actually surprised we got them to sit still for so long. It may have had something to do with gummy bears...

Need more cap and tie styling options?



Huge thanks to Colette and UB2 for the caps and for being so awesome! And as always, thanks to Gunnar and Jo for being fantastic models. 

Product links: green batik tie | UB2 oh those 80's modCap | black and white ties | find more ties here


Self-sewing! July 11 2014

I've been doing a bit of sewing for myself this summer! I'm calling it a self-sewing summer. Lots of flowy tops made out of silky, stretchy rayon. The great thing about sewing with knits is that you don't have to hem the fabric AND they are very very very forgiving. 

Here's a peek at what I've made so far. (side note: taking pictures of yourself is really weird).

Kimono. You know that these are totally IN right now. I used this super-easy tutorial, and it really does only take 30 minutes. I made my kimono a little wider and longer than the tutorial recommended, and I love it. It's big and bright and bold! 

Square Top. I made this pattern based on a shirt that I already own. The pattern is basically a square with a little flare at the bottom and a bit of a dolman sleeve (an itty bitty sleeve). Slips on over the head. Easy peasy. 

Tank Top. Recognize this fabric? I also made this top based on another one that I own (this is an easy way to make your own clothes). If I sew up another one I think I'll make the straps a little smaller and the neck a little rounder. Trial and error...and I get to wear all the results. 

 Next on my list is a pencil skirt...

R&D June 25 2014

I've been working on a few new things, which means that Jo gets new wardrobe pieces. There are still a couple of pattern tweaks I need to do, but am pretty excited about new stuff!

Shorts. Ninja shorts. Working on getting the length and the ninja-ness just right for summer. 

Also figuring out knit tops. Solid colors to go with our pattern-focused pants. 

More to come...including our Summer 2014 line. Yay!

Collaboration with friends June 11 2014

We love our friends over at A Little Photo Studio & Heritage Littles, and we were lucky enough to get to do a super cool photo shoot with them a few months ago. Heritage Littles provided bikes and other fun things, we styled all the babes, and A Little Photo Studio took the pics. Teamwork!

There were a ton of amazing pics, but here are a few of my faves.  

Special thanks to our amazing models: Jo, Gunnar, Milo, Theo, Finn, Ginny, and Sawyer! And to Melissa, Becca, and Hannah with A Little Photo Studio. You guys rock!

Father's Day Event & DIY Project May 31 2014

Father's Day is coming up and we needed a project...so we're really excited to partner with The Land of Nod on a super cool event.

Hooray! Kids get to decorate a free neck tie for Dad (made by us), and you can shop our Lilla Barn clothes & accessories in person (and the other cool things at The Land of Nod). It's going to be awesome! You should totally come. 

When: Sunday, June 8, 2014 -- 11am-1pm

Where: The Land of Nod, North & Clybourn location (900 W. North Ave., Chicago)

Space is limited so be sure to RSVP to nodevents@landofnod.com.

Not able to be there or you don't live in Chicago? No worries, here is a little tutorial on how to make your own tie for Dad. 

(Not crafty? Just want to buy a tie to decorate? You can get one here.)

Sew & Decorate a Custom Tie for DAD!

1. Start with a pattern. You can make your own. Find a tie in the closet and trace a pattern onto paper. You may need to cut the pattern in half if your paper isn't big enough. That's what I did. Then I taped it together to make one piece. Add about 1/4" all the way around to accommodate for a seam. You'll see my pattern isn't super straight. That's totally fine if yours looks like that too. Imperfections are delightful...and expected in handmade items. 

You'll notice that Jo decorated my pattern too. 

Side note: always iron your fabric. I wanted to take a picture right away so I didn't iron my fabric first. Mistake. Don't do it. Iron your fabric. Always

2. Pick your fabric. I used a solid white cotton. You can use any fabric you want. Go crazy! You'll probably need two yards to accommodate for the length of the tie. You'll have leftover fabric that you can make into anything. 

3. Cut. You need to cut two tie pieces, so fold your ironed fabric in half (the long way). Lay your pattern down on your fabric and pin it to keep it from moving around. Cut. 

4. Pin. Right sides together, pin your two tie pieces to each other. If you're using a solid color, you wan't have to worry about right sides. 

5. Sew your pieces together leaving a hole about 2-2.5" wide in the side seam close to the back end of the tie.

6. Trim your corners. This helps make the corners look clean when you flip it. 

7. Flip your tie right-side-out. This took me the longest time. I still haven't found the perfect method of flipping these yet. If you have a great way to do it, let me know. 

8. Dig out your corners. My mama uses a pin to dig them out. I've also heard that some people use a pencil to push from the inside. Do what works best for you.  

9. Iron again. Don't skimp on the ironing. 

10. Hand-stitch up the hole at the bottom. It's going to look like this (tied).

11. Decorate! We used fabric markers that I got at JoAnn Fabrics. Really, any fabric markers will do.  




Wanna see where I work? May 19 2014

My studio needed some work; I had way too much stuff in the room and not enough storage. It didn't feel good to work in there. Soooooooo, I streamlined, put up some shelves, got an amazing new cutting table, and added some new art to the walls. Jo and my mom helped too. It was great. It feels like a workable space again. I want to be there. I want to work there. 

Voila! My new cutting table. It's on wheels so I can move it to different rooms, and the sides collapse down to save space when I'm not using it. It's the perfect height for me so I'm not leaning over a desk or table to do my cutting or pattern making. I also added a new print to the wall. It needs its own frame. I'm working on that. 

Here's the shelf that I hung myself. I used a drill, and a level, and a hammer. Hooray! It's a great place for finished garments and I can store fabric on the top. You'll see I'm really into blues at the moment. Perfect for summer.

My machines have room on the sewing table and it's even cleaned off. I have two old metal Bernina sewing machines. They sew through anything. I love them. My first Bernina was my grandmother's and I bought the second off of Craigslist. My serger is a Juno by Janome and it's amazing.    

I also straightened up the shelves on my east wall. This is where I can find my elastic, sewing machine needles, and other little tools. New art on the wall. Yay!

I removed clutter and cleaned off surfaces. Mostly. I like to have a few things out and about. I think I got that from my mom.  

Then I added a few pictures to the walls. The photographs were taken by the lovely Melissa at A Little Photo Studio. The paper flowers are from my wedding. The Stockholm and Bergen prints are actually postcards that I framed. Super easy and super awesome!

 Ok, now I'm going to work in my studio. 

Get Dosed this Sunday! May 08 2014

We love Dose Market! Don't know what Dose is? Well, you should. It's a super cool local market featuring clothing, accessories, food, and more awesome stuff that you need to see. 


  • What: The best in food + fashion all in one place (dosemarket.com).
  • When: Sunday 5.11, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Where: 1st Ward at Chop Shop, 2033 W North Avenue (chopshopchi.com).
  • Transportation: Ample (+ free!) street parking. Nearest El stop at Damen Blue Line.
  • Admission: FREE! 
And the best part is that we'll be there this Sunday (May 11th) with leggings, and tunics, and memory games, and slouchies, and more and more! You should totally be there too. I mean it. Here are a few of the goodies we'll be dosing:
We'll have baby/kid hats available. The baby will probably make an appearance too.
Leggings and slouchies galore! Like the Spherovelo? You want to check out Heritage Littles

Kimono tops that are perfect for Spring!  

And plenty of new things like these little stripey denim shorts. Yep, they are jorts. And they are cool.

So we'll see you there?

Oh yeah, it's also Mother's Day on Sunday. Are you a mom? Bring your kids. Are you a kid? Bring your mom. Hooray! 

We're on zulily...and it's awesome! April 22 2014

It's Tuesday morning. The sun is shining. And we're on zulily.com (until Friday morning). 

You're getting an inside scoop on pieces that aren't even in our store yet...and at prices that you probably won't see again.

What's new? Well, how about these little shorts...

 And this super sweet little top...

And this awesome little bow tie

And there are so many more things for babies and toddlers and kids in the sale. Seriously, folks. It's time to stock up on cuteness. 

*all photos are from the zulily.com event

Bamboo for me. Bamboo for you. April 11 2014

I started making our slouchie hats in a new bamboo/spandex blend this week. It's mostly bamboo. And by mostly, I mean 95%. And this fabric is AMAZING! Soft. Lightweight. Perfect amount of slouch. 

Anyway, new product means that I need new promo shots. Jo has been camera-shy lately, but I was lucky to get a handful of great pics. And these...

...which in my opinion, are awesome. 

P.S. Please pay no attention to the mess you see in the back room. And if you didn't see it, forget I said anything. 

The babe that started it all April 06 2014

Lilla Barn wouldn't exist if I hadn't had my baby girl, Johanna. 

When I was pregnant my nesting phase manifested itself in sewing. I couldn't find the baby clothes that I wanted for Jo (in my price range) so I decided to make them. And I made a lot of them. I sewed and sewed and sewed and sewed. 

Then I talked with my family about starting an Etsy shop. So we did. And we sold stuff. So we made some more. And we sold more. 

Then we started making connections with other cool people and cool businesses. And then we made more stuff. 

And now it's a business. Neat, huh?

This is my baby. Thanks for being such an inspiration, Jo.

Remember when I talked about meeting other cool people and cool businesses? Well, Melissa from A Little Photo Studio & Heritage Littles is one of those people (who owns a couple of super awesome businesses). She took these pics of Jo at Dose Market last year (another cool business).   

Speaking of Dose. We'll be there again in May! Hooray!

Hey there! April 01 2014

You found us! We're glad you're here.

Want to know a little more about Lilla Barn? You're in luck! (hint: you can also find this info in the About Us section of our site).

Lilla Barn: clothes and accessories with an urban edge for kids everywhere. 

Lilla Barn means 'little child' in Swedish. The folks behind the brand (Anne, Bergen, and Liv -- that's us!) have a rich Scandinavian background so you'll see a lot of Nordic inspiration in what we make. 

Every garment is 100% handmade or handprinted in the USA. You can also find OOAK pieces as well as infant sizes in our Etsy shop

You can always follow us on Facebook and Instagram for news, sale alerts, and cute kid pics. 

Have questions, comments, pics of your kids in Lilla clothes? Send us a note to info@lillabarn.com.