Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

Hanami Top or Dress by Straight Grain Hosh Pants by LoubeeClothing Celestial Tee by Figgy’s September Tunic & Dress by Too Sweets Patterns Caroline Party Dress by Mouse House Creations

I'm not sure how anybody reading sewing blogs lately could have missed the buzz about the Perfect Pattern Parcel, but just in case you somehow have, let me tell you about it:

The Perfect Pattern Parcel is this wonderful idea that brings together amazing indie designers, fabulous sewing patterns, and presents them for talented sewists to utilize while all at the same time raising funds for a really wonderful organization called Donors Choose.

With the Perfect Pattern Parcel, you get to name your own price for the included designs.  And, as a bonus for choosing a price of $24 or greater, you get a bonus pattern - the Prefontaine Shorts by Made With Moxie.

Donors Choose is an organization that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors. The funds raised from each Pattern Parcel sale will go to help K-12 students in minimizing educational inequality and encourage a community where children have the tools and experiences necessary for an excellent education.

I have donated to a family friend who is a teacher through Donors Choose to help supply her classroom with needed books.  My next door neighbors are both teachers, and many, many of my college friends are teachers as the University I attended was a highly ranked school for teaching.  I am well aware of the gap between what is needed to effectively teach and what is provided by school funding.  Often, the teachers make up the difference out of their own pockets.  Let's give the people educating our children a little helping hand where we can, right?

LOOK!!!  Jo-Ann Fabric has NEARLY NEON STRETCH TWILL!  Sorry Lauren, I just could not resist!  This is indeed stretch twill from Jo-Ann Fabric, and from the red tag bin, so even better!  This had been in my on-deck cart patiently waiting ever since I received the e-mail inviting me to participate in The Parcel.

Now, let's talk about the great patterns I used from the bundle:  The Hanami Top by Straight Grain, and the Hosh Pants by LoubeeClothing.

Starting with the Hosh Pants, these are so amazingly quick to sew and just hit that mark of perfectly fitting while being really comfy to wear.  I have now sewn from two of Sarah's patterns and I find her instructions to be simple elegance, breaking them down to the essential steps beautifully.  I had to make my own buttonhole elastic as I mistakenly thought I had some on hand, but I can easily swap that out after a trip to Jo-Ann's.  That's why the tush isn't up quite as high as it ought to be!

The Hanami Top or Dress has so many lovely options from which to choose!  I have a thing for great design elements on the back, so I choose to do the cross-backed top with flutter sleeves.  An's instructions are also very clear; you just have to do a little hopping about to chose the directions specific to the style you're making.  The way she's laid out the tiled pattern pieces is ingenious, and she gives specific pages for printing only the pieces you need, saving trees wherever possible.

This photo shoot was a little unusual; I had finished my outfit Monday evening, which meant the only time I had to take photos was Tuesday right after work and picking the girls up from Preschool.  The temps have bounced back down to the 30's here in Michigan, so that left us with the only option being in Hadley's bedroom with the setting sun streaming in through her window.

The little ribbon detail down the front of the Hanami is the result of discovering a giant hole in the fabric of the bodice front after I had begun sewing.  The only fix I could come up with using the scraps I had remaining was to cut two fronts with added seam allowance and sew a strip of grosgrain ribbon down the seam.  It works pretty well, right?

Arden loves her outfit!  Head over to the Perfect Pattern Parcel and get yours today!

Check out the other stops on the Perfect Pattern Parcel tour:

Outfit Details:
Fabric: Floral Swiss dot and NEARLY NEON STRETCH TWILL from Jo-Ann Fabric


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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Willow & Co. - Clover Shorts

I could not resist using a gif to show how happy Arden was to take her new Clover Shorts for a test run!

Yesterday I shared my Fawn Lily top, and today it's time to reveal my Clover Shorts!  These shorts, along with the Persimmon Dress and Top, are designed by Hayley of Mouse House Creations.

We tested and and tried on, tweaked and tried on again, scratched our collective heads a bit, and then Hayley worked her magic and the result was a perfect shorts pattern!  Just the right length, high enough rise for coverage on the backside and nary a wedgie in sight!  Fun details like the button tabs and tie sash with pockets that may just be large enough to stash a frog or two!

This was the second pair I made and I had to grab what I had enough of in my stash that was already washed.  Perhaps not my first choice in fabric combinations, but Arden loves them and that my friends, is really all that matters!  They go together lightening quick - I think I could dash off a pair in about an hour and a half from cutting fabric to snipping the last thread now that I have the sewing instructions memorized!

These are sized to fit girls sized 6 months to 12 years, and they take into account the changing proportions as children get older.  Arden is directly in a size 5T and these fit her perfectly!  We often have trouble with the rise in commercial bottoms with her (albeit cute) little bum doing it's best plumber impression.  Not at all the case with these shorts!

I didn't have quite enough fabric for the sash, so I might make her a little belt to go with these, or leave them as is - they're really cute either way!  There's even an option to add a ruffle to the top of the shorts for a paper bag look.

One more gratuitous booty shot.

So hop! on over to Willow & Co on April 22 and pick up a pattern or two, or all of them!

Outfit Details:
Pattern: Clover Shorts by Mouse House Creations
Fabrics:  Dear Stella Mini Confetti Dot in Peony from, and Birch Fabrics Abacus in Pool from Sew Fine Fabrics (no longer listed)
Shirt: Target
Sandals: See Kai Run


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Monday, April 14, 2014

Willow & Co. - Fawn Lily

So if you've been following along on my adventures in sewing of late, you may have heard me say that I was pattern testing in addition to trying to make my Kids Clothes Week sewing challenge.  I didn't make my KCW goals, but I had a really good reason - I was pattern testing a couple of patterns for the new pattern company Willow & Co!  They're letting the testers have the glory of sharing first from the collection!

I am so honored to get to call the ladies who founded Willow & Co friends and I was very excited to be selected to test two of the patterns.  I tested the Fawn Lily by Rebecca of Rock the Stitch, and the Clover Shorts by Hayley at Mouse House Creations.  I'll share my Clover Shorts tomorrow, but today it's all about the Fawn Lily:

First let me say that Hadley is not always the most excited about photo shoots, but she obviously loved her new top and got right into the action this day!  I had hoped to be able to set up a scene outside, but the weather did not cooperate and I went with my old standby location in Arden's bedroom.

You guys, this pattern is soooo cool!  One of the methods for finishing the faux cap sleeves is one I'd read about but never did and it's seriously like a magician's trick!  Pull a bodice out of the sleeve - Bam!

Now that I'm working on my own pattern I have a new found respect for what it takes to create a great pattern, and let me tell you, Rebecca has it down!  Often pattern tutorials aren't all tied up by testing, but this one was already clear as day and very professional.

With the three areas of the pattern, there are so many opportunities to play with different fabrics.  I used a grey polka dot for the yoke pieces, a solid pink cotton for the sleeves, and plaid shirting for the tunic.

It's designed for girls sized 3 months all the way to 12 years, and you can choose from among a laundry list of options to make your Fawn Lily exactly as you like:

  • Crossover or button yoke
  • Smooth or pleated sleeves
  • Top, tunic, or dress lengths
  • A-line or gathered skirt

The fit is perfection!  Hadley measures at 3T and it is exactly the right size for her.  And I love the little in-seam pockets!

The whole Wanderlust Collection will be released on April 22.  You will have the option to purchase single patterns, the entire collection, or bundles.  Let me tell you, I will be sewing all of these patterns just as soon as I can clone myself a couple of times over so I can get the time.  Oh, but I guess I'd have to buy another sewing machine, too.  Oh darn - wink!

Hadley's saying "Hey!  Make your kid a Fawn Lily, cuz I love it!"

Outfit details:
Pattern: Fawn Lily by Rock the Stitch
Fabrics: grey polka dot quilting cotton, pink broadcloth, plaid shirting all from Jo-Ann Fabrics.
Chambray Shorts: Circo from Target
Tights: Old Navy
Gold Oxford Shoes: Osh Kosh B'gosh


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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Kids Clothes Week Day 7 - Marina Romper

I made another finish I can share during Kids Clothes Week - The Marina Romper by Cali Faye.  So that makes two out of four for my plans for the week.

This is such a fun garment.  Arden immediately began swishing back in forth in the roomy romper.  The fabric is rayon challis and it's so soft and drapey.  The little spots are actually hearts, which scored major points in Arden's book.  I've also made myself a tunic from it when I pattern tested Made by Rae's Bianca.  I haven't yet blogged that one, so watch for that coming up.

I do need to take the bottoms up a few inches.  Even though Arden is above average height and considering they are supposed to blouse at the ankles, they are still crazy long.  The look at the bottom is also exacerbated by my attempt to shirr the bottoms vs. the recommended elastic casing.  No matter how much steam I applied to the shirring, it didn't shrink up enough to keep them on her ankles.  I'll go back and use the elastic as the pattern is written.

A word of warning, the pattern lines are in color without any dashes for differentiation, so if you print in greyscale as I did, you'll be consulting the computer frequently to be sure you're cutting the correct lines.

This pose was all Arden.  What a crackup!


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Kids Clothes Week Days 5 & 6 - Plodding Along

I figured I'd fall off the ball, or drop the wagon at some point during Kids Clothes Week.  I am accomplishing my hour a day, but trying to photograph and post all while working on other projects and at least attempting to have a life just isn't happening.  Obviously.

I did manage to get out for a run with the jogging stroller on Friday morning when Arden goes to preschool and I get some one-on-one time with my little Hadlini.  It was still pretty cold so I bundled her all up with blanket and quilt.  I have not been running regularly, and my booty was sore the next day!

I professed my love of Dritz Easy Turn tube turners while prepping the straps for my Marina Romper.  I finished the romper tonight, but there won't even be a crappy late night cell phone pic to share because folks - that is definitely one outfit that needs a body in it to not look like something I should be wearing vs. my five year old daughter!

I may or may not have tried it on while I was sewing and I could get it on more than you would expect with my less than petite frame.  Hopefully the weather and my five year old will cooperate tomorrow (or I guess that's today...) and I can share two finishes for Kids Clothes Week!  Two out of four?  Not bad, all things considered.


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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kids Clothes Week Day 4 - Ahoy Matey Matinée Dress Finish

Yay!!  It's Day 4 of Kids Clothes Week and I have my first finish!  Arden is doing a happy dance with me - or rather, she's "shimmying" as she likes to call it.  I can only guess she learned it in dance class?

I had hoped to be a little further at this point, but I have bitten off way more than I can chew lately.  Pattern testing for three other designers, participating in a couple of series, working on my own pattern and testing, and preparing to attend SNAP! in a couple of weeks.  I'm a bit frazzled!  And I have a friend I know is even busier - I don't know how she's managing - Supergirl, I tell you!

This dress was made nearly exactly within the hour a day challenge, with some pauses to post on Instagram, or to check in or respond to questions with my pattern test.  About an hour each for the bodice, skirt, and finishing, including cutting.

On that - I've heard pattern testing can be pretty rough from a designer's perspective so I keep waiting for the chaos to commence.  I must have done something right - along with hitting the tester lottery, because so far there haven't been any major calamities and the finished dresses are fitting really well on some majorly cute kiddos!  One of my testers has already posted about her dress - check it (and her adorable little girl) out at Manning The Machine.

Because I was trying to preserve the ship motif on the front of this panel by Michael Miller, I chose not to do the sash that is part of the normal design of the Matinée Dress.  Instead, I used grosgrain ribbon I got from The Ribbon Retreat as my prize from Project Run & Play.  It still functions to keep the back closed, but leaves the front of the dress uninterrupted.  When I ordered I chose a few colors I thought might work with this dress and this aqua was a perfect match!  I'm planning to include this and other ideas to customize your dress in the pattern.

I am still on the fence about keeping the selvage.  I like the look of it, but the skirt is a couple of inches too long.  So, do I keep it knowing she'll probably grow into it by the end of the summer when she's hit her sunshine growth spurt, or hem it so it looks right now?

I had planned to go down to the riverfront and take pictures near the tall ship Appledore which is docked there, but it was grey and rainy for 95% of the day.  This was one of like two breaks in the clouds so we dashed outside and took some pics on the front porch while Hadley watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I'll probably head down there another time when things settle down a bit so I can get some great pictures to use in the pattern and listings.

Gotta include the pockets, amiright?

Here's the left side of the dress where I pattern matched across the seam.  Ahoy, Matey!

I'm adding this dress to the Project Run & Play sewalong for Signature Style week.  If my own pattern isn't my signature style, then I don't know what is!


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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kids Clothes Week Day 3 - Ahoy Matey Matinée Dress

One of the added challenges of participating in Kids Clothes Week for me is that I work Monday - Wednesday, so that means I'm doing my hour of sewing well after dark and the kids are in bed.  This equates to crappy late night photos of a hanging garment that I post to Instagram hoping you'll all Ooh! and Ah! over it.

So now I'm posting my crappy late night photo from Instagram on my blog hoping you'll Ooh! and Ah! over it!

I added the skirt to the bodice I finished the day before.  I matched up the line of the anchor from the bodice to the skirt, which meant there was a little extra gathering between that line and the side seam.  I'm so happy with how this is turning out!  I haven't had a chance to try it on Arden for length, but if it's anywhere near the right length like this, I'm giving hard considering to keeping the selvage a la Made By Rae like she did here.  If it's not long enough, I'll add a hem band, which is an option I'm offering in the pattern.  The uncertainty of the skirt length is because I'm constrained by the gorgeous Ahoy Matey panel fabric from Michael Miller - I wanted the boat to end right at the waistline which left only so much of the waves below.


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