Wednesday, April 30, 2014

lotta dress pattern tour on CompagnieM.

The new Lotta Dress pattern by CompagnieM. was released this week and I am thrilled to be both a tester and part of the pattern tour!  Here's a little sneak peak of the dress:

Make sure to head over to CompagnieM. to see more of my dress (and Mae's new haircut!) along with all the other beautiful dresses that are part of the tour!  But first, enter the giveaway below to win your own copy of the Lotta Dress pattern :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

refashion - from adult sweater to toddler dress

I just have a simple little project to share today.  Some of you may have seen a preview in Instagram.  If you didn't, and would like to follow (the totally new at it and pathetic with technology, what happened to the techno geek I once was?) me on Instagram, just go here.  I won't promise that I will keep up with posting stuff over there, but I will at least try :)

Anyway, back to today's project.  A few months ago, my sister-in-law was getting rid of a bunch of clothes and asked my oldest daughter if she wanted any of it.  I not-so-patiently waited for Ruthie to go through it, and then I picked out a few things that I thought would work for refashions.  One of which was this sweater with the cute ruffles:

I started with the Nessie Pattern by Craftiness in Not Optional for the basic size and shape.  I used the existing length of the sweater to preserve both the hem and the ruffles at the neckline.  Also cut the sleeves using the existing hem.  Then I appliqued a cute little heart from the template in this post just to make it a little more toddler friendly :)  This really was a simple project ... the only sewing involved was the shoulder and side seams and the applique.  And now Mae has a cute new dress!

Sweater - Refashioned
Heart - Riley Blake

Friday, April 25, 2014

i need your help ... and another giveaway!

I'm asking everyone reading this for a little help in determining the direction of my blog. I originally started the blog to share my sewing projects, but after a year I have more sewing projects than I know what to do with, so I need something new :) If you could take a couple minutes out of your busy day to complete this questionnaire I would really appreciate it.  And as a thank you, I will be giving away two yards of new fabric (of their choice from the selections offered) to one person for every 50 responses I get.  Just in case that last sentence wasn't clear, if I can get 100 responses, I will give away two yards of fabric to two different people, 200 responses would result in two yards to four different people, etc.  Make sure you include your name and email address on the survey if you want to be entered in the giveaway!

I used to own a fabric shop so I have quite a lot of fabric available for this giveaway.  And I know my husband would love to see some of it leave the house, so please encourage as many people as you can to complete this survey :)

And here are a few of the lovely fabrics.  These are totally random choices, but my collection includes Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler and more ...

Thank you!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

instagram, a few sneak peeks, and a winner

Congratulations to Nadya for winning the giveaway!!! And for everyone who didn't win this time, it turns out I really like doing giveaways, so watch for more in the future :)
Since I don't have anything else new to share today, and just announcing a giveaway winner doesn't seem like enough for a whole blog post, I guess I'll show you a few of the things I've been working on lately:

If you want to see more follow me on Instagram! I've finally decided to make my way into the 21st century (there may have been some kicking and screaming involved!) and joined Instagram last week :). Then it took me a full week just to post my first picture. I'm going to try to add pictures a bit more frequently than that, but I'm not making any promises! Also, the content will not be limited to sewing like my blog. I intend to share a lot more of the day-to-day activities at our house, similar to today which included a routine (for us) hospital visit. So if you just want to see sewing stuff then the blog is probably still the right place for you, but if you aren't afraid of the really messy behind-the-scenes chaos that is my life, head on over to Instagram!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

made by you - izzy tops

I love seeing all the Izzy Tops that pop up in the Flickr group and on Facebook!  Here are a few of my favorites :)

Fort Firefly by Call Ajaire, Pieced Yoke by The Itinerant Seamstress, Chambray and Flowers by Lucinda,

Take Me to the Zoo Panda by House of Estrela,  Izzy Tops for Twins by bookofmormanwoman,

Ruffled Bodice by Not So Normal, Lovely Yellow Izzy by Jennifer, Floral & Houndstooth by Nicole

And an incredible 9 (yes, I said 9!) Izzy Tops by PiePie Designs found here & here

A giant Thank You to everyone who (featured here or not) shared your version of the Izzy top!  Keep them coming :)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

pr&p week 4 - signature style

I actually started sewing this outfit a few weeks ago with the hope that if I made summer clothes it might actually warm up around here :)  No such luck!  It snowed another 2" this week which resulted in just enough snow to set the all time snowfall record for a single season.  I am so ready to move south!!!!

Anyway, back to the outfit :)  I knew I wanted comfy cropped pants that were still really girly.  I chose this lovely floral from Joann's that is some kind of super soft and stretchy denim/twill.  I really don't know exactly what it is, but it washes up beautifully without any wrinkles and is incredibly soft!  And any fabric that doesn't require ironing is my kind of fabric :)  For the pattern I started with the free Elegance & Elephants Retro Sweatpants.  I cut the size 12 months, took 2" off the bottom hem and about 1" off the front rise. Then, instead of using a cuff, I sewed 16 pintucks around the bottom of each leg and finished them with bias binding.  It was a real pain, but I love the faux cuff look!  I also included the side seam pockets because they make the pants poof out around the hips which looks so cute :)

The top is self drafted and based on my free basic bodice pattern.  It's a simple bubble tank with a keyhole back upcycled from an old maternity top of mine.  I added the cream pocket and bias trim along the bottom just for a bit of contrast.  My favorite part is the plum colored vintage button used to close the keyhole opening!  You can see it better in one of the pictures below :)

To finish the outfit (and make it slightly more realistic for spring in Michigan!) I made a hooded sweatshirt from Ottobre Autumn 4/2011.  This was my first time sewing an Ottobre magazine pattern and all I have to say for now was that it was an interesting challenge!  I'll do a proper pattern review later with a bit more info :)

The purple fabric is a really nice medium weight ponte knit from Joann's.  It has a slight metallic sheen and the reverse side (cuffs and hem band) is a lovely micro stripe.  The accent fabric used for the hood, snap placket and mini sleeve pocket is an old top of mine that I didn't really like anyway.  Trust me when I say it looks way cuter on Mae's sweatshirt :)

This is probably my favorite outfit ever!  It is practical, comfortable and really cute!  Plus Mae gladly wore it all day without a single complaint ... which is amazing when you consider that she would rather be naked all hours of the day :)

I had to include this last picture!  She was so happy to have her picture taken with her Horsey (pronounced ho-shee in Mae speak) which some of you might recognize if you were part of the 1980s Cabbage Patch craze :)  It was mine once upon a time, but Mae has claimed it for herself.  In fact, she loves it so much that Horsey went to Target and the grocery store with us today.  Properly buckled in to its own seat I might add :)  What can I say, Mae loves seat belts too!

Pants - Stretch lightweight denim(?) from Joann's
Tank - Upcycled tee
Trim/Pocket - Bamboo french terry from Nature's Fabric
Button - Vintage
Sweatshirt - Metallic Ponte knit from Joann's
Sweatshirt Lining - Upcycled tee
Snaps - Kamsnaps

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

525,600 minutes ... and a giveaway!

I'm sorry, but the giveaway is now closed!

Sorry about the Rent reference, but when my son was listening to Seasons of Love the other day I couldn't help wondering how many stitches I have sewn in the last year :)

A year ago today I decided to fulfill a promise to myself and published my very first blog post.  Nobody read it!  But it didn't matter because slowly but surely people began reading what I wrote, and as a result my sewing has evolved more in the last year than it did in the 15 years before that.  In one year I got over my (substantial!) fear of knits, I shared my self drafted patterns for the first time, and I met a lot of wonderful people who love to sew as much as I do :)

Although I have no idea what the next year will bring, at least I know what I want to do today, which is better than most days :)  To celebrate a year of blogging (I honestly didn't know if it would last this long!) I am giving away some fabric!!!

Here's your chance to win 1 yard of the out-of-print (and hard to find) Wizard of Oz fabric from Cosmo Textiles!  It is a twill canvas heavyweight fabric.  It would make a lovely bag or even a kid's coat.  At least that's how I plan to use the rest of it :)

To win simply enter the Rafflecopter raffle below!  Good luck!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

close ... but not quite

This tunic turned out nothing like I expected, but I thought I would share anyway :)  I was originally going for this look, but a runaway serger (that's my story and I'm sticking with it!) and not enough length for a proper tunic resulted in this instead!

I really disliked sewing the side panels on this dress.  Tight curves that curve in opposite directions are never easy to sew together.  And then on top of that, I ended up catching the top of the bodice while serging the curved seams and had to improvise the shoulder design to cover my not so little oops!

Once I finally got the tunic put together I realized I didn't like the length so I added a bottom band making it look even less like the original inspiration.  Oh well, it's still cute on Mae and it stood up to an entire day of playing outside.  What more can I really ask for :)

Solid - Kaufman Essex yarn dyed linen in black
Print - DS Quilts Collection for Fabric Traditions from Joann's

Friday, April 11, 2014

pattern review - hosh pants by lou bee clothing

This will be a very simple review since I don't have much to say other than Love them, Love them, Love them!!!  I am talking about the Hosh Pants by Lou Bee Clothing.  I know lots of people raved about them awhile ago, but for some reason I didn't get the pattern at the time.  But when I saw that the Hosh Pants were included in the Perfect Pattern Parcel #2* (along with other patterns I wanted to try!) I went ahead and bought them.  And then sewed up my first (and second!) pair that same day :)

* If you want to order the perfect Pattern Parcel #2, it is available through Friday, April 18, 2014.  Or you can purchase the Hosh Pants pattern directly from Lou Bee Clothing at any time.

You can see my first pair here.  I used the size 18 months with 2T length for that outfit.  But this time I wanted the pants just a little looser making it easier for Mae to dress herself, so I made the size 2T.  They are ankle length which is really cute, but I think I may try the 3T length next time anyway.  It's such a habit to cut the size 2T, but I have to remember that buy 3T pants from the store now, so I should probably make that size too :)

I love basic patterns that fit well and are easy to make, and the Hosh Pants are perfect!  I can see myself making several more pairs :)

Pants - Stretch sateen from Joann's
Top - Bamboo french terry (blogged here)
Shoes - Target

While we were out taking pictures we found a visitor in our garden.  He (or she, I have no idea how to determine that in a snake!) was just under two feet long and not at all happy that we were wandering around on his turf :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

tutorial - how to tie dye a heart (or other shape)

As I stated in this post, I never tie dye, so it's quite possible that there is a better tutorial out there somewhere, but this is what worked for me :)

The pictures pretty much tell you everything you need to know, but I did learn a few things along the way, so I will include a few notes.

1.  Draw your shape on your fabric with a washable marker.  And then don't forget to wash out the marker before putting the rubber band on in step four.  Trust me, I learned the hard way that once you tie dye washable marker in boiling water it is no longer quite as washable :)

2.  Stitch around the shape with a simple running stitch.  I found that my stitches were a little to close together and that I could have saved some time by spacing them out a bit more.  It still worked, but it could have been easier.  Make sure that both ends of the thread are on the back of the fabric.  Also, use a thread that matches your fabric.  I used a contrasting thread for the photos but in the end a little of the color permanently transferred to the fabric.

3. Pull the strings to gather the fabric along the shape.  You can leave the thread in the fabric while you tie dye and it will not affect the final product.

4. Wrap the rubber band tightly around the gathers.  Try to make sure that the gathering stitches are right under the rubber band or your finished shape may end up a bit wonky :)

5.  Tie dye using the method of your choice.  I submersed the whole thing in a single color, but you could also dye the heart a different color than the rest of the fabric and it would probably be even cuter :)  Make sure to rinse your fabric thoroughly according to whatever tie dying directions you are following before removing the rubber band and gathering thread.  Then you are done!  Or, if you are like me, you just started since you still have to sew an entire outfit :)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

project run & play week 3 - design your own fabric

Let me just start out by saying that I don't design my own fabric!  I figure there are so many sources for beautiful fabric that is already well designed and ready to sew that there is really no need to make my own :)  But challenges are always fun, so I decided to play along anyway.

And then I decided to play along some more and made not one but two shirts.  And although I didn't change the fabric much for the second one, it's perhaps a bit more my style!

I found this beautiful organic bamboo french terry knit (in one of my overstuffed filing turned fabric cabinets!) and decided I would make the entire outfit from this single piece of fabric.

I started with a self drafted pattern for the sweatshirt.  I've been wanting to make Mae a slouchy, oversized sweatshirt tunic for a while, and had even drafted a pattern several weeks ago but then never got any further than that.  So I dug out the pattern pieces ... like seriously dug them out.  I have no idea how things can get so buried in just a matter of weeks :)

I decided to try my hand at tie dying which is something I have not done since a rather botched attempt when I was about six :)  I googled how to tie dye a heart shape and found some generic directions but then ended up just trying my own method instead, which, much to my surprise, actually worked pretty well.  I'll try to throw together a basic tutorial later this week.

I've always been fascinated with natural dying techniques, so instead of store bought dye I pulled my tin of turmeric out of my cupboard.  I added about 1/4 cup to about 3 gallons of water, brought it to a boil and then removed it from the heat.  I dipped my bamboo fabric in cold water, wrung it out and then put it in to the turmeric bath.  I let it soak for about 30 minutes and ended up with a very vivid yellow color.  So to tone it down a bit I immediately tossed it in the washing machine with a bit of Tide powder.  Then it turned dark pumpkin orange!  Apparently the turmeric and Tide react with each other and produce some kind of chemical reaction that I should probably understand since I took several years of Chemistry :)  Fortunately after two rinses I ended up with this lovely warm yellow color.

After I sewed all the pieces together I still felt like something was missing so I individually attached gold sequins to the front.  I figured my kids love bling so it would probably be a big hit whether I liked it or not :)  And by this point in time I was so far out of my comfort zone anyway with the tie dying that a few sequins certainly weren't going to change anything! 

After the tie dying adventure I moved on to the pants.  I grabbed the Hosh Pants pattern by Lou Bee Patterns (which is great BTW) and cut out a size 18 months with the 2T length.  Then I used painters tape and fabric paint to create 1 1/2" stripes.  Other than the time it took to dry the whole process was quick and simple!

Since I wasn't sure if I actually liked the tie dyed top at first, I opted to make one more tunic, this time using the Nessie Top pattern from Craftiness is Not Optional.  I made a size 3T since I wanted a loose fit and used the colorblock bodice option so I could add some embellishment.  I pulled out the sequins again and this time just attached them in a basic grid pattern.

The only changes I made to the pattern were to widen the sleeve a bit and to add little side vents along the hem.  I loved the shape of the rest of the pattern too much to make any changes to it ... at least this time!  This top is much more representative of my usual style and will probably get worn more often than the first one, but I really do like them both.  And, just as a side note, I am now jealous of my two year old because I really want this second top for myself :)

Fabric - Bamboo French Terry from Nature's Fabrics
Sequins - Joann's
Boots - H&M

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

project run & play week 2 - the french countryside

Since we already traveled (literally) to Florida for winter break, Mae and I needed a change of pace for spring break, so we ventured (figuratively) into the French countryside :)

As soon as I saw this Impressionist, Monet inspired print at Joann's I knew it would make a perfect Easter dress for Mae!  At first I had no idea what dress style I wanted so I literally just started cutting a bodice using the Beachy Boat Neck by Blank Slate Patterns.  I chose this pattern simply because I liked the boat neck and I was too lazy to draft my own :)  I sizes down to an 18 months for a fitted bodice (this fabric has some stretch to it) but I left extra length because I thought I might make a drop waist dress. And then I cut off the extra length because I decided to make a puffy layered skirt instead :)  The fabric was just too dark and heavy for Mae and I thought a bright poof of a skirt might brighten it up a bit!

After I cut out the bodice I added a scoop back.  And although I loved the scoop back, it still seemed a little too simple, and simple was definitely not the look I was going for, so I added a ruffled collar and sleeves because, after all, who doesn't love a two year old in ruffles!  Once I finished the top half of the dress, I left it alone for about a week since I didn't have time to get to the store to buy fabric for the bottom half anyway :)

For my birthday I decided to ignore any obligations I may have had and instead treat myself to a trip to Joann's to pick up everything I needed to finish this dress (and perhaps a few other things as well!)  I knew I wanted a poofy skirt, and I had pink or maybe sapphire in my head, although I wasn't set on any one thing in particular.  Well, my Joann's doesn't exactly have the largest selection, and sapphire was no where to be found, so pink it was!  In retrospect I'm glad I got the pick because the contrast with the green really makes the dress :)

The skirt is made from two layers of organza with rolled hems layered over a single layer of costume satin.  I have to be honest here ... I really hate gathering skirts, so I really found this dress to be a chore since I needed to gather three skirts rather than just one :)  I know I could have gathered them all as one layer, but I wanted all the volume I could get so I attached them separately.

This dress is way out in left field compared to most things I sew, but every once in a while I need a project like this to remind me that sewing is supposed to be fun!  Besides, Mae won't be this little forever so I should dress her up like my own life sized doll as often as I can :)

Top - Stretch sateen from Joann's
Waistband (& skirt lining) - Costume Satin from Joann's
Skirt - Organza from Joann's
Snaps - Kamsnaps
Tights - Old Navy
Shoes - Target