Friday, November 29, 2013

Catching Up and lots of Pattern Testing

As per usual, I've been sewing up a storm but not blogging!  So I thought I would catch you all up on my latest projects.  I've been doing a lot of pattern tests lately.  It's fun, gives me a goal and a deadline, apparently things I need to stay motivated, plus I'm helping out fellow sewists and designers.  So here are some highlights!



Ok, that's enough for today.  I have so much more to show you but now I have to go peruse the Black Friday deals.  Most of these pattern shops are having spectacular sales today and this weekend.  Go check them out! 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pattern Anthology's Winter Wonderland Collection


You guys, I don't know how this happened, but I got to test not 1 or 2 or 3, but 4 of Pattern Anthology's Winter Wonderland Collection.  First up is the Holly Pants, designed by Andrea of Go To Patterns.  These pants were originally made for B in a size 4.  They were a little too loose and long on her, so I tried them on S, and whadda ya know, they fit her perfectly.  I think this had something to do with the fabric that I chose--a really soft brushed cotton with silver thread running throughout.  Although not a stretch fabric, there is a lot of give in the looser weave.  I love the pleats and tapered legs, the belt loops and flat front and elasticized back waist.  So stylish and comfy at the same time.    

Next up is the Sweet Bonnie Top from Shwin Designs.  In the process of testing this top, I actually made two, one in interlock knit and the other in rayon challis.  B is wearing the knit version.

Honestly, I just can't resist a peter pan collar.  The back has an exposed zipper that gives this top a modern flair.

Here's the woven version that I made for S.  She didn't like the top at first, because, gasp, there was no pink or purple in sight.  It took about a day, but she came around eventually.  

And one of my favorite items that I've ever made, this is the Amarylis Dress by Blank Slate Patterns.  I just happened to have this black and white gingham taffeta in my stash.  The construction of this dress is absolute genius.   And bonus,  it's totally reversible!  If there is such a thing as perfection, this pattern is it for me.

I love the back equally as much as the front.

Ok, back to Shwin Designs.  When Shauna asked for volunteers to sew up the size 8 for the Johnny B Good Hoodie, I had to give it a try.  It's such a cool shirt, and surprisingly easy.  The hood, the cuffs, the shoulder placket, I just love all the details.

I made this for my nephew.  He's such a cool dude in his hoodie.

Well that's it!  You can find the Winter Wonderland Collection here.  There are 8 patterns altogether; the complete collection comes out to be $5 per pattern, a really great deal for all the mix and match options you get.  Since the tops have both long and short sleeve options, and the Holly Trousers also can be worn as shorts, these patterns really will carry you through all the seasons.

Phew, it was so much fun sewing up these patterns.  Thanks to the designers for such an awesome collection and for letting me be a small part of the process.

Monday, October 28, 2013

KCW Fall 2013: The Tinny Dress

Last day of KCW was yesterday; I actually finished this dress Saturday night.  This is S's costume for Halloween.  In case you are wondering, she is a Rockford Peach, made famous by the movie A League of Their Own.  The Rockford Peaches were part of an all-girl baseball league that played during World War II.  Their story is pretty inspiring and empowering for little girls.

When we started brainstorming Halloween costumes, I showed her a picture of this dress, from the blog, One Little Minute.  She was on-board immediately.  The hardest part was looking for a pattern that would work.  I searched for a while, and found one on etsy that was $15 (yikes!!!), but the cost was too steep, especially from a designer that I didn't know very well. 

Then I remembered the Tinny Pattern, from Straightgrain.  The pattern had all the features that I was looking for, the circle skirt, a fitted bodice, and even an option for an open collar.  Plus it was already a part of my pattern library.

I changed up the bodice to include the asymmetrical buttons on one side.  I did this by simply cutting the front bodice pattern piece down the side at a slight angle.  I then cut two mirror image pieces using the off-center pattern piece, and another set for the lining.  Because of the opening in the front, I omitted the invisible zipper in the back and instead cut the back piece as one, taking out the seam allowance.


I also added the belt loops and a red belt.  Let's not forget the Rockford Peach logo in the front and the patch on the arm.  A quick google search led me to etsy and this shop.

I spent most of the day working on B's costume.  More on that coming soon!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall 2013 KCW: Stripes and Flowers Bimaa Sweater

A super-quick sew this morning while the kids were in school,   this is the Bimaa Sweater by LouBee Clothing.  Be warned though, this sweater is slim-fitting to the point of tight.  I made a size 5, since that was what S measured on the size chart.  Next time I will size up to a 6 for sure.

The floral knit is a thin, t-shirt knit and might be too thin for the cowl; it's a little too droopy in my opinion. 

But S loves it and so do I.  Cute and quick, what more can you ask from a pattern?
S is in desperate need of some pants.  I can't decide whether to go the quick route and make a few pairs of leggings, or spend a little extra time and make her a pair of peekaboo skinny jeans.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Some Selfish Sewing in the Midst of KCW: Blank Slate Rose Tee

From time to time, I get to test patterns for Blank Slate PatternsMelissa is one of my favorite designers and is so generous with her talents.  She has  a bunch of freebies on her blog, including this blazer that I plan to make one of these days. 

This is the Rose Tee in women's sizes.  You can read about the little girl's version, the Pristine Swing dress, that I made here.  I actually bought this pattern a while ago, but when the opportunity to test the new and improved version came along, I had to jump at the chance. 

This is really an excellently written and drafted pattern.  The fit is perfect and flattering for a lot of body shapes and sizes.  It's basically a comfy dressed-up t-shirt and fits right in with my mommy wardrobe. 

Ok, back to kid's clothes, maybe.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall KCW 2013 day 1: Brownie Goose and the Mean Princess knit dress

I am so behind on blogging my creations.  Technically, These dresses were finished in early October, but I'm still gonna count it as part of KCW.  I followed the directions for Amy's (of Brownie-Goose) sewalong almost to the t.  The only thing that is different is that I cut the normal waist instead of the drop waist.  The dresses are a mash-up of the lazy susan by Brownie-Goose for the bodice and the Taylor Dress by the Mean Princess for the paperbag skirt. 
  I had a little bit of trouble with the ruffles on the neck staying upright.  Someone suggested on the B-G fb page that a little bit of elastic would hold up the ruffles, which worked like  a charm.  Although the ruffles were a bit of a PIA, I love how these dresses turned out and the 50's ladylike vibe.


By the way, S's leggings are the Fancypants Leggings by Titchy Threads, the best-fitting leggings out there, in my opinion.

So hopefully I will post again tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Catching Up: Kikoi Patterns


Have you heard of Kikoi Patterns?  Susan, the designer, has some really cute patterns on her etsy shop, simple and really sweet.  This particular dress is called the Red Dress. 

This is a really quick and easy sew.  The wrap can go in the front or the back of the dress.  Personally, I love it in the back.

These pictures are a couple of months old.  I miss the sunshine already.   Below is a more recent sew from the same designer. This one is a winter coat, made of wool suiting in a lovely lavender herringbone and faux fur trim on the collar and cuffs.

If you are  a visual person, you will love her patterns.  All the steps are accompanied by a picture.   

My goal this year is to transition S's wardrobe into all handmade.  I've been collecting patterns for all seasons.  So far this school year, she has worn at least one handmade item everyday. 

I'll keep you posted as the year goes on.  Happy fall sewing!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Shwin & Shwin's Fall Patterns

 Now that both girls are in school, I have 3 days a week to myself.  This first week was occupied with sewing up Shwin Designs' new fall releases, which I was lucky enough to test. 

First up, the Madonna Ruffle Top.  This is the short sleeve option using a light-weight floral knit I found at Girl Charlee, part of a birthday shopping spree from last spring.  I love the flowy, fluttery look created by the dolman sleeves.  And of course S loves the layered ruffles on the bottom.  The top is meant to be worn with bottoms, but, lengthened a couple of inches, could easily work as a dress too.

There is also a three-quarter sleeve option, which is my favorite.  I think I might have worn something similar back in the 80's!  The full gathered sleeves strike a perfect and totally unique silhouette.  I really, really love this look.

Next is the Paperback Cardi.  I made mine using a white double knit which is on the heavy side.  The contrast shawl collar is a jersey knit from Heather Ross's new Briar Rose line that I found at Lima Sews.

This looks equally stylish unbuttoned!  It's the perfect transition piece between fall and summer, when the mornings are crisp and cool and the afternoons are in the 80's.

Like Shauna, I thought that the cardi paired with the ruffled top is just perfect.  The whole outfit called for a side pony.

And finally, the Apple Loungewear.  I found a really soft and cozy boucle knit at JoAnn's and paired it with this purple and gray leopard print for the leggings.  There is a little metallic sparkle in the sweater that I knew would appeal to S.    

There are peekaboo pockets on the side that matches the leggings.  I love that both pieces are so comfortable and casual, but stylish all at once.

All these pieces are great for mixing and matching and layering.  Stylish, comfy and versatile; I find myself jealous of S's fall wardrobe. 

So that's it!  Hope your weekend is lovely.