Friday, August 5, 2016

Blog Tour: Sew Ready for Fall (a.k.a. "Time to Ditch the Flip-Flops")

Are you ready for the transition into cooler weather?  I have been inspired by the ladies who have presented so far, and even more great bloggers are lined up for next week.  

Stylish Fabric sponsored this blog tour and after a lot of deliberation I ordered the Seafoam Light French Terry fabric for my look.  This fabric has just a touch of spandex involved and drapes so nicely.  There are many other colors of this lovely fabric and I'm pretty sure I will be going back for more.  It is so, so comfortable.

Once we transition into fall, I take on many different roles and I want clothes as versatile as the places I need to wear them.  With this in mind, I first started in on a knit blazer once my package from Stylish Fabric arrived.  What I really wanted was a SECRET SWEATSHIRT to wear from summer to fall.  Something as comfortable as my favorite hoodie but would still help me look more put-together.  But I should have know better--this stretchy french terry fabric is meant to be loose and flowy, fantastic as a dress or skirt. Not as a knit blazer that requires some structure.  It is good quality fabric, not the cheap french terry that can be as stiff as cardboard.  

My sweet husband tried to encourage me after this sewing fail with the quote of the day:

"Hey, you took something you totally messed up and made it into something wearable!  That's where your real talent lies!" 

Yep, that's my story and I'm going to run with it.  After some knit blazer deconstruction and creative piecing of fabric, I got back to work and ended up with a princess-seamed Greenstyle Creations Laurel tunic.  I love the versatility of this tunic--I can wear it to kid soccer games with some woven joggers, to lunch with a friend while wearing jeans, and even to more formal occasions like church or a job interview paired with a pencil skirt.  

And speaking of going back to work, I plan to dive back into the workforce as a pediatric occupational therapist this fall after 7 years of being a stay-at-home mom.  I was looking for an addition to my wardrobe that would help me feel confident during job interviews and complement my new tunic.  I picked out some proper blazer fabric this time (a beautiful iridescent navy stretch denim from a local fabric store) and made the Giverney blazer from Winter Wear Designs.

The pattern calls for a Hong Kong finish on all seams (i.e., enclosing the seams in bias tape), but I opted to fully line the blazer instead with a lightweight broadcloth.  I felt like a bit of a rock star as I even managed a bagged lining, with a few glances at the sewing tutorial for the Little Gentleman Suit Jacket from Peekaboo Pattern Shop to remind me of the technique.  

What began as a sad tale of a knit blazer that never came to fruition ends with two garments that are a welcome addition to my fall capsule wardrobe.   

There is a gigantic giveaway as part of this blog tour and the details to enter can be found HERE. The grand prize is a new sewing machine!    

Catch up on the other sewing adventures from the entire blog tour using these links:

August 1st
August 2nd
August 3rd
August 4th
August 5th

August 8th
August 9th
August 10th
August 11th
August 12th

*Stylish Fabric generously provided me with 2 yards of fabric for this blog tour, but all opinions are my own.  The french terry with spandex really is that awesome.*

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Pattern Favorites: Gingercake Crayon Art Folio

My kids have been invited to a plethora of birthday parties this year.  What's a crafty mama to do?  I pick a pattern to use for the entire year and customize it to each recipient.  This year's pattern is the Crayon Art Folio from Gingercake.  The more I sew the particular pattern, the easier and faster it gets.  So when you find a birthday party invitation in someone's backpack the night before the party (thanks to your 1st grader who forgot to pass it along!), you can keep your cool and get to work.  

I finally remembered to take pictures of one of my recent creations.  My preschooler was invited to a birthday party last week and the birthday girl's favorite colors were teal, pink, and purple.  I was able to easily incorporate all of the colors into the gift!  Add 12 crayons (I use half of 24-count box, check for back-to-school sales on school supplies), a few sheets of stickers, and a small notepad to complete the gift.  

I made 2 other crayon art folios earlier this month in Jack and the Neverland Pirates fabric for a Jake-themed preschool party, and in a green fabric with a Creeper appliqued on the front for a Minecraft-themed party.  I should have take pictures of those creations too, but most of the time they are finished and wrapped with about 1 minute to spare before the party starts.  #busymama

I looked around our church congregation last Sunday and saw multiple kids entertaining themselves with the birthday gifts they'd received from our family, so I know the crayon art folios are being put to good use. Any gift that is kid-approved AND parent-approved is a win in my book!  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Guest Post

I am so giddy today--not only did I finish a new Christmas dress for myself early, but I get to post about it on the Scientific Seamstress/Sis Boom (the designer's) blog.  Go HERE for the details.  Merry Christmas!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Gingercake Sleep Over Tote

Don't let the name fool you--this tote is a fabulous item for grown-ups too.  I recently got to test the soon-to-be-released Sleep Over Tote pattern by Gingercake and was so pleased with the results.  

I absolutely love how this bag looks.  There are lots of special details that differentiate it from a basic tote (i.e., the style of the handles, the drawstring, the interior pockets, the darted bottom) but it was still very easy to sew.  

I especially liked just working with the width of the fabric I had instead of having to make a million measurements.  It was great to have to print out just 2 pages for pattern pieces as well.  

I used quilting cotton for the exterior and lining, corduroy for the handles, and some chambray scraps for the drawstrings.  

This picture with the little hand trying to grab the tote cracked me up!  It symbolized the fight that had been going on in my house over the finished tote--my kids were trying to claim it for themselves, but it was mine, all mine! 

This pattern is well-written and easy to follow.  I just realized I own 2 other Gingercake patterns purchased as part of previous Sew Fab pattern bundles.  What?!?  Now that I know how great these patterns are, I am itching to sew up the others in my collection.  

I added the optional interior pockets for more versatility and organization. 

And we're off!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Skirt that Made Me Want to Tuck in My Shirt

Do you tuck in your shirt?  I never did growing up, because I was a tomboy and could care less.  These days I never do either, but now it's to cover up the infamous mommy pooch that comes as a result of childbirth.  Until this pattern came along--the Pleated Pencil Skirt from Delia Creates.  I am a tall, full-figured woman and I never would have imagined this fitted style of skirt would be flattering on me.  It hugs in all the right places and the fit is perfection, especially in all of the typical lower body problem areas for women.   It actually makes me want to tuck in my shirt to showcase my curves!  

I got to participate in the testing process, and make my skirt out of a cheerful green corduroy with a black corduroy waistband.  I have sewn up my share of PDF patterns over the years and the pattern itself is one of the loveliest I've seen, with clear photography and clever computer illustrations.  Like most anything Delia does create, this pattern is a work of art!  I thought the tester version was great; with the post-testing revisions the pattern is now fantastic.  

The result is a fully lined skirt with professional finishes and easy-to-follow directions.  I wore my skirt to church the following day and no one could believe I made it.  But most of all, I felt chic, sophisticated, and put-together wearing my new pencil skirt.  And you can't put a price on that!

Purchase your own pattern HERE.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Run Jump Hop Skip Shorts/Pants

Welcome, Stitch it Now friends!  My name is Emily and I am a temporarily retired pediatric occupational therapist turned stay-at-home mommy to 2 young kids.  All of the creative energy I used to pour into therapy sessions with special education students I now put towards making handmade items for family, friends, and charity organizations.  

We recently relocated from the cool, rainy Puget Sound (Seattle) area of Washington state, USA to the hot, dry desert of Utah, USA.  This meant my kids needed new shorts PRONTO!  May I introduce my new favorite shorts pattern, the Run Jump Hop Skip Shorts/Pants?

Run Jump Hop Skip Short/Pants Pattern - Children sizes 1-10 - Instant download to digital PDF sewing pattern.
image source:  Stitch it Now Etsy shop
The international flavor of the online sewing community is wonderful!  I found out about the Australian shop Stitch it Now through a Facebook post asking for testers for the shorts/pants pattern.  All it took was a picture or two of the completed garments and I immediately threw my name in the pool of potential testers.  The extra details like the faux fly, pockets, and topstitching take it up a notch, but the elastic waist means my 5 year-old son can put them on and take them off independently without having to fiddle with buttons or zippers. Yay!

My son's measurements were within size 6 parameters, but I was sorely tempted to size up for more growing room.  After some consultation with Debbie, the mastermind behind Stitch it Now, I agreed to make the size 6 for for testing purposes and I'm glad I did!  They fit perfectly and will be worn constantly this summer.  

Without being too loose or baggy, there is plenty of room to do exactly what the pattern describes:  run, jump, hop, skip!  Feel free to add bike riding, going down the slide, bouncing on a trampoline, riding a scooter, chasing frogs, and pretty much anything else active children enjoy.  

The only thing I would do next time is to finish my inner leg seam differently.  In my excitement to see the finished product, I did a general seam finish.  Sure enough, after a few wearings, this seam needed to be reinforced.  When I mentioned it to Debbie, she said she usually finished her inner leg seam with a French Seam, and promptly updated her instructions.  This addition will not only give you a very professional-looking finish to your garment, but it will help you create shorts/pants that are sturdy enough for active play. 

Come this fall, my little guy is headed off to kindergarten.  The Run Jump Hop Skip pants will make a great addition to his school wardrobe!  Sewn up in a khaki twill, these pants would work well for a child who attends a school requiring uniforms.  Our neighborhood school doesn't have a dress code, giving me the freedom to accommodate my son's interests and preferences through different color and fabric choices.  Anyone up for some back to school sewing?

Not only is a fantastic pattern now available for purchase at Stitch it Now (go HERE to grab your own copy), but a fun giveaway is also going on to celebrate the pattern release! Visit the Stitch it Now blog for details on how to enter the giveaway. Up for grabs are copies of the PDF pattern, a fabric gift card, or your choice of either boy or girl inspired Japanese Echino fabrics. Good luck and happy sewing!

*I was given this pattern for free in exchange for testing, but all opinions are my own.*

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sis Boom Angie Dress

One of my sewing goals this year has been to make a functional wardrobe for myself that fits and flatters.  And boy, has it been fun!  My default is to sew clothes for my kids since 99% of the time their items fit without any issues, but this little goal of mine has helped me produce some great pieces of clothing that I enjoy wearing.  

Sis Boom patterns have been on my radar for a while and the Angie dress in particular, but I needed to have a traditional sleeve if I ever wanted to wear it without cardigan.  Then someone in the Facebook group posted the genius idea of using the sleeve piece from the Washi dress and all of a sudden I knew I could make it work. 

The Angie dress doesn't require any closures thanks to the elastic in the back waist.  I did make things more time-consuming by fully lining the bodice and sleeves, but the finished result looks so nice.  Otherwise, this is a quick sew!  The original pattern calls for finishing the arm holes and neckline with bias tape, but because of the bodice lining I didn't have to worry about this step.  

The pattern also calls for darts, but they are the kind that come from the waist and are so flattering.  I didn't have enough peacock fabric for the entire skirt, so I got creative on color blocking the bottom with some coordinating pieces of Kona cotton.  Thank you, Jo-Ann remnant bin!

The verdict?   It's a win!  I already have plans for more Angie dresses.  The pattern was only $5 on sale, I only had to print 7 pages for the bodice, and I got to use a fun print I've had in my stash for a few years.  Plus, I felt fantastic wearing this dress all day long, which really is the best stamp of approval in my book.