Thursday, August 25, 2016

Sew Back To School!

I'm sewing back to school!

Miss Natalie is over the moon excited about her first day of Kindergarten. After a year and a half of preschool, she's been itching to be a "big kid" in the elementary school, get a "big" backpack, ride the bus home...

After searching locally and being disappointed with the selection of backpacks available, not to mention reluctant to buy her something with a particular character on it (they never last - neither the backpack nor the child's love for the characters!), I finally settled on the idea of making her one - never mind that I'm not a bag sewist, at all! But after seeing pictures of the Star Student backpack from Peekaboo Pattern Shop, and having experience with Amy's patterns, I decided I'd better give it a try. Natalie picked her fabric, basing it off her favorite color (pink!) and favorite animal (cow!)

Well, why not. The love for cows is sure to last longer than the love for Frozen!

When I went to grab the backpack pattern, I noticed the Star Student Lunch Box too. And - if you buy both - there's a discount? Oh, well then - if you insist! Spoiler alert: size wise, the backpack seems more intimidating, but it was easier than the lunch box! The backpack was a BREEZE. I was shocked at how easy it was - even for someone like me, who sews clothing primarily and normally doesn't touch fusible fleece or foam - I had the best time sewing! I finished in one day (stopping for momming, you know, with all the kids at home) and stayed up until 2 am because I just couldn't stand to walk away from it.

Don't let me scare you away from the lunchbox, though. That was fun, too! It incorporates Insul-Bright (the stuff found in oven mitts) for thermal qualities, and PUL or something waterproof for the lining (who wants to be washing a lunchbox with spilled applesauce every day?) Both of those CAN be tricky, but Amy's step-by-step made the process pretty painless. The end result is so amazing - and despite the materials not being the easiest, the whole thing comes together in less than 20 steps (and if you make the backpack first, a lot of it will be intuitive)! The trickiest part was my fault (on both bags) - I somehow ended up with two SEPARATING zippers! With metal teeth!

But - we did it. I conquered, and I have to say, those metal teeth look awesome!

I love that the straps are padded on the backpack, all of the webbing ends are neatly stitched inside with a "barn door" or "x box" pattern for stability, and everything is neatly lined, enclosed, and professionally finished. Plus, there's the option to add some heavy duty snaps, so the lunchbox can be attached to the backpack - no more forgetting your lunch or leaving the empty box on the bus! Results to be proud of!

Natalie is so happy, and told her teacher very proudly on Open House night that "Mom made it!" *aww, shucks, kid*

Here's today's Host Post at Lulu & Celeste - make sure you check there for the big sew along link up and grand prize (details here)!! The sew along link up runs until September 4th, so any back to school sewing you're doing, make sure you enter! Also, enter today's giveaway below with the Rafflecopter - you can win 1 PDF pattern from Modkid AND 1 PDF pattern from Audrey & Tiffany!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Today's bloggers have more Back to School sewing inspiration for you - check them out, show them some love!

Create 3.5 - Sew Sophie Lynn - Sweeter Than Cupcakes - The Wining Wife - Paisley Roots - The Eli Monster

Still looking for inspiration? Let some sale codes drive your creativity! Read this post at Sprouting Jube Jube for the details - a lot of wonderful sponsors have offered up prizes and discounts for this amazing tour!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

One Thimble: Issue 12 Review

One Thimble is on Issue 12! I can't believe I'm fortunate enough to review this amazing magazine again - they just get better and better.

Isn't this cover gorgeous? The theme this time around is Watercolors, which brings to mind softness, elegance, and stunning details - all of which are encompassed by the patterns in this issue. I sewed up two of them, the Flutterby Kite by Molly & Mama, and the Azure Party Dress from Ainslee Fox Boutique.

The Azure Party Dress can be made with all cotton or a mix of cotton and special occasion fabrics. I chose to do a single layer skirt, all cotton, for simplicity's sake - that, and the fact that I knew as soon as I finished one for one daughter, the other would be asking! (I was right - I've since made another for my younger girl. ;) ) But even with a simpler skirt, the dress is still a showstopper. The pieced bodice allows for insertion of piping (tutorial included in the pattern) or various trims to make any fabric pop! I love that the solid piping I used brings out the powerful colors in the pattern of my Riley Blake fabrics.

All those pieces seem intimidating, but the pattern is matter of fact and takes the construction step by simple step. Even inserting an invisible zipper is broken down to make it as foolproof as possible - and did I mention, this was my first one? I've had it on my to-do list for so long, and when I saw this pattern had one I had to snap it up. I hope to make them even more invisible in the future, but not bad for a first try!

I made the strap back option (there is also a full back) and loved watching it come together. It's always a little bit magical, like those unicorns, when all those little two dimensional pieces of fabric become something this gorgeous! Of course I had to throw together a quick "unicorn horn" for photos, and Natalie couldn't be happier. She's deemed this her first day of school outfit, though I'm not sure how they'll feel about the accessorizing! ;)

The kites by Molly & Mama are a simple, quick intro to quilted decor that anyone can do. There are two options here as well - strip piecing or a simpler four piece block kite. I chose strips simply because I recently got my hands on a bunch of Art Gallery fat quarters, and wanted to put as many of them together as I could! I used a simple solid cotton (from Wal-Mart!) as my backing, and dug through my little totes of trims for laces and tapes - I had just a little of the gold left, and it makes a lovely tail!

Natalie has also claimed the kite - not to hang in their room, as I'd intended, but to actually race around the yard with! I explained that it's quilted over fleece (for stability) and might be too heavy, but she is unperturbed by that. I love her imagination.

Issue 12 has, as always, a mix of patterns including boys, girls, womens, and decor/accessory. Included are the Cozumel Shirt (beautiful pintucks!) and Oswald, Pond, and Williams Bow Ties (yes, that's three views in one pattern); #111, a sweetly simple knit dress, the Azure Party Dress, the hi-low Brook Blossom Skirt for women and girls, the Melbourne Romper (unisex!), Calla Lily Crop Top, Flutterby Kite, and Darling Daisy bag! That's a total of 10 - plus, if you're familiar with One Thimble, there's a mix of articles, with tips, tricks, and valuable information  - not to mention just some great reading for any sewist/seamstress/sewer/whatever you call yourself!

From Call Ajaire, an in-depth tutorial on making fabric (yes, your own textile) using scraps! That's right, all those little bits your serger cuts off - the selvages or "useless" bits you trim from around pattern pieces...they can all be used to make a textured, interesting detail point on a garment, bag, or whatever it is you'd like to use it on. A must read (and do) for anyone who gets a little sick thinking of all those gorgeous bits that get throw out! A technique like this could really be fun on the Flutterby Kite, too - it'd be so easy to use the included template to design your own kite decor with scraps from previous projects.

There's an article that most of us may find useful (though maybe a little painful) on "spring cleaning" your fabric stash, plus a very handy project chart template to help keep you organized and mindful in your sewing. Also something to use if you're ever feeling uninspired - I know for myself, having a list to fall back on when I just can't think what to sew next helps, even if it's something vague like "pants for Natalie". Just a hint of something one of my kids needs or wants can get the creative juices flowing again and get me started paging through my patterns (or past One Thimble issues) to find just the right thing! Having a chart handy to print and fill out makes it easy to tack or tape on your sewing room wall so you don't have to go searching, and often the simple act of writing things down physically with a pen and paper can help our memories retain and get ideas running.

There are helpful business articles on trending fabrics, exploring the Brother Scan & Cut, tips for any level sewist on sewing with leather and other specialty fabrics, some gorgeous flatlay pics (am I the only one who can't get enough of those??), helpful hints on increasing prices, and making sure your business language speaks to your customers the way you need it to.

The tour continues for a couple more days - be sure to use the schedule below if you've missed a post for inspiration or eye candy, and don't forget to pick up your own copy of Issue 12 if you haven't already!









Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Refashion Month with House of Estrela

Every year, Magda from House of Estrela hosts a refashion month, and this year I took the opportunity to jump in.

One of my favorite things about sewing is being able to save money. Now I know that 90% of the time, I'm not saving money by sewing clothes! Fabric costs are higher, the time you put in, all the accessories and notions needed (or wanted) for the desired effect...but once in a while, you can save some money, and the best way to do that is by refashioning and making over thrifted items.

I, like many people, have fluctuated clothing sizes over the years. Whenever I have an item of clothing that is suddenly too large (or too small), it goes into a bin to be reused (provided it's still in good condition)! Old t-shirts of my husband's, jeans that I've torn too many holes in - nothing is wasted, if I can see a garment hiding in it.

Not even the khakis my husband wore for our wedding! As you can see, they were once nice dress pants. A few years down the road, and they no longer fit him - but the legs, when cut off, made the perfect amount of fabric for a little pair of cargo shorts for our baby son! (I'm sure I had fabric left over from those, as well!)

Pattern: Noisy Dirt Cargo Shorts by Koda Baby
Fabric: Refashioned wedding pants!

Thrift store and clearance sheets are another great way to get a lot of clothing out of a little bit of money. I love to get my hands on discounted sheet sets from Target. The cotton/poly blend is soft and comfortable, and though I don't like to sleep on poly blends, I'll wear them as shirts! My kids as well - can you tell these cute little play dresses were once twin-XL sheets?

Pattern: Dress No 15 by E+M Patterns
Fabric: Refashioned Target sheet set

This grey dolman is still one of my favorite shirts, two years later. It's not a maternity pattern, but it's one of the few items of clothing I have that fits me well through an entire pregnancy! 

Pattern: Delilah by Golden Rippy
Fabric: Refashioned thrift store sheet

A t-shirt that I found on a Wal-Mart clearance rack and decided I didn't like the color on myself became a t-shirt for my daughter. Turning shirts into shirts is the easiest refashioning I've done. The sleeves of an adult t-shirt are usually the perfect size to cut a kid's shirt sleeves out of, and you can retain the existing hem - less work for you!

Pattern: Deep Sea V Neck by Patterns for Pirates
Fabric: Oversized Wal-Mart clearance tee

A post I did a few months ago shows another way to use shirts, if you don't need more of the same. I used up some outgrown t-shirts to make little cotton play skirts for my girls! Since they're little and energetic, they can be hard on clothes, and I love that something I once wore and loved can be worn and loved by them too (and once we do have to throw it out, I don't feel as bad - it's done double duty!)

Pattern: no pattern used
Fabric: outgrown t-shirts

There are more elaborate refashions out there (keep an eye on Magda's blog, for more posts), but I wanted to show just a few of the easiest and quickest refashions you can do, without going further than your own closet!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Make Laundry, Don't Do Laundry Tour: a tunic and bloomers in less time than a load of laundry!

 When I heard about the Make Laundry, Don't Do Laundry Tour, I knew it was perfect for me! I do have a husband who is perfectly willing to wash and dry clothes, but he won't fold them - my least favorite part! More often than not, the clean clothes end up sitting downstairs in baskets until I get sick of looking at them - I'd much rather be sewing new ones!

So - the idea here was for me to take a "fresh sew" - something I'd never sewn before - and time myself, to see if I could get it done in LESS time than it takes me to do a full load of laundry! Now, my washing machine is old, and crazy fast - like less than 20 minutes to wash. The dryer, however, takes about 45 minutes, so with (reasonable!) folding time (about 10-15 minutes per load, depending on the size and how much I have to put away myself), I figured I had about an hour and 15 minutes, give or take...

I chose Modkid's Tandy Tunic, and since I didn't want to do the dress length, I figured I'd better add Winter Wear Designs' Tout de Suite Bloomers to the list for a full outfit! I finished both with time to spare, earning myself this:


The tunic took the bulk of my time - about forty minutes. The style is similar to a raglan, with a separate yoke, and gathered all the way around - so a good chunk of time was just me fiddling with the gathers (and they're still not perfect! Lol.) I love the style - the little fluttery sleeves, that gorgeous crossover front! The yoke is lined, so I used the metallic stripes on the outside of the front and the softer solid gray on the inside for her comfort (the metallic threads make it a little scratchy!)

The bloomers were FAST - I did View A, which is a basic elastic waist and hems. I did everything on my serger, which cut down my time enormously - all but the topstitching on the waist and hems. I even did a fast stretch-and-serge technique on the elastics rather than making casings - that probably cuts elastic application time in half. I think the sewing time spent was only about 20 minutes, and since I took 15-20 minutes putting the patterns together and cutting fabric, that filled my time! Not bad for new-to-me patterns! :)

I didn't finish the sleeves or hem on the tunic, either - the fabric I used is so soft and drapey, I didn't really feel it was necessary! The end result we both love - a sweet summery outfit with a sophisticated color palette. I found the perfect finishing touch, the gold button, in a button jar that belonged to my grandmother.

The metallic stripes were in the remnant bin at Joann Fabrics, one of their clearance fabrics - the gray jersey I had lying in my stash and I'm really not sure where it came from!

Thanks for reading - keep going for some awesome giveaways, a link up to share your own Make Laundry, Don't Do Laundry creations, info on all the amazing prizes, and a tour schedule!

Thanks to all of our amazing sponsors for being a part of this tour.

A few of the designers are having sales for the duration of the tour, so here's the codes!

George & Ginger use code MAKELAUNDRY25 for 25% off her patterns
  Blaverry use code MAKELAUNDRY for 25% off her patterns
  Stitch Art use code MAKELAUNDRY for 30% off patterns
  Paisley Roots use code MAKELAUNDRY for 25% off patterns

 These codes are good through June 12th! Then Laela Jeyne's Emily Womens T-shirt & the Deluxe Charlotte Kids Leggings are on sale through the 11th! No code needed!

 I know everyone loves a good giveaway so here's the prize packages:

Prize Package 1:

1 Pattern of Choice from each of the following:

Patterns for PiratesBrownie GooseMuse of the MorningCall AjaireStitch ArtThe Wolf and The Tree

2 Patterns from each:

Paisley RootsHey June

3 Patterns from EYMM

Prize Package 2:

1 Pattern of Choice from the following:

2 Patterns from Paisley Roots

or right here: An InLinkz Link-up

Link-up Prize Package
Link Up Prize

Here's the full tour schedule for more laundry-avoiding inspiration!


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Thread Faction SS2016 Collection Tour: Romper Hack

Well, I'm here showing off Hatchlings' new face - Thread Faction! Along with the new face is a new collection of children's clothing - SS2016 - all easy, summery, beachy pieces with a casual aesthetic and comfortable fit.

I fell in love instantly with the cropped sweater (#105) - something like this is so versatile, no matter what the season. Here in Windy Wyoming, even the sunniest days can turn chilly in an instant!

Today I'm showing off a pattern hack - I used the racerback pattern (#104), and mashed it with the romper (#110) to create a cute little racerback romper! The end result is sporty, with a playsuit look. I added a couple of snaps at one shoulder so that Natalie would be able to get in and out of it easily. She says it's perfect for gymnastics (and acting out "I'm A Little Teapot", evidently.)

I used a lightweight jersey from Girl Charlee for the romper (LOVE this print ;) ) and an airy loose sweater knit for the crop sweater - I don't remember where I got it from! The thrift store in town, I think. I have found some real fabric treasures there.

Speaking of fabric, there are some wonderful sponsors for this tour! Offering prizes of fabric money well as some amazing discounts! Check in HERE to find all the details and enter the big giveaway! (And read to the end of this post - there might be another!)
Here is the schedule for the rest of tour. There are tons of pattern hacks and summer sewing inspiration promised, so make sure you check them all out!

Still with me? Good! Here's another giveaway for you. Liz has given permission to give away ONE pattern from the SS2016 Collection - your choice! Enter using the Rafflecopter below!