Saturday, May 27, 2017

No weeping for this Willow (Willow Dress and Tunic from Petite Stitchery and Co.)

My daughter has finally grown out of ruffles and ribbons so I am constantly looking for patterns that she is willing to wear, especially when it comes to dresses!  When Deb Zaleski from Lulu and Celeste, Sprouting Jube Jube Productions asked if any of us had tried out Petite Stitchery and Co, I got a little excited.  Was it possible there was a designer out there that I hadn’t tried yet??  Surprisingly, I had NOT tried any of their patterns, and after looking at their catalog, I still don’t know if I could pick a favorite.  I finally landed on the Willow Dress and Tunic (DISCLAIMER: I was provided the pattern free by Petite Stitchery and Co. but my thoughts are my own.)


Let’s go over some quick pattern details before I get too far along:
- Large size range: 2T through 12 (I appreciate this since my daughter is going to be topping out on the size range of many patterns I own)
- Rated as a beginner pattern
- Two length options: tunic or dress
- Three sleeve options: long, 3/4, and short
- Two neck options: simple or tie closure
- Layered pattern pieces so you only print what you want/need


Based on the measurements, my daughter was a size 7.  The sizing for this was spot on for ready to wear, and the fit was perfect on her.  We urgh’ed and argh’ed over fabric for a hot minute and finally landed on a drapey black with pink medallions.  I tried to talk her into a second color for contrast, but Nay was having none of it so we ended up doing the whole dress in the same fabric.  The pattern itself has panels in the back so it lends itself to colorblocking or an overlay on the back. 


We also opted for the ¾ length sleeve.  That’s usually the standard when I ask Nay what length she wants.  The ¾ length is almost perfect for us right now.  It’s the end of May, and the temperature was almost up to 100 degrees today.  Like I stated above, there are also two other sleeve options you can choose from.  You can also choose to add a sleeve cuff, elastic, or standard hem.  Nay chose the standard hem on her sleeves.  I also chose to do a simple finish on the neck due to my daughter’s sensitivities with things against her neck.


I really love the fabric for this dress.  The drape gives the dress such a dreamy feel.  The pattern calls for lightweight fabrics like cotton lawn or voile.  I wish I would have paid attention to what this fabric is when I bought it from SincerelyRylee a couple of months ago.  It was perfect for this pattern and sort of just flowed when Nay put the dress on.  There are also tips in the pattern on how to make fabrics less sheer if you have a somewhat see through fabric that you want to use for the dress.


The pattern is rated as a beginner pattern, and I do wholeheartedly agree with that!  If you know how to gather fabric, that’s the most difficult part of construction.  I think this dress came together in about 2 hours for me, so it was a relatively quick sew.  The tutorial was very well written with clear, concise instructions and photos for each step so you can compare your steps with what it should look like during the process. 


Overall, I loved the pattern and was very pleased with how easy it was to follow along.  I am so excited to have a new company that I can get patterns from as my little becomes not so little.  You can check out the Willow and all of the other patterns in the Petite Stitchery and Co. lineup at their webstore: Petite Stitchery and Co.  You can also follow all of the designer’s happenings by following their Facebook page: Petite Stitchery and Co FB.



Thanks so much for following along!  Now, go check out some of the amazing patterns at Petite Stitchery and Co, and sew yourself up some love!

Thanks again and Happy Sewing,

Kim

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Happily Ever After...(JenLee Fairy Tale Dress from Snuggle My Baby Patterns)

Oh, mylanta!  I don't know where to even START with how epic the JenLee Fairy Tale dress is.  I cajoled my daughter into wanting not one, but TWO of these dresses.  She begrudgingly agreed to model these dresses and told me she doesn't have to like it, but whaddaya know, she LOVES them.   My heart is full...ha!  I'm not sure what's not to love about this dress...seriously.  It's ahhhmazing!

Alright, so what do you need to know before I start raving again?  Lemme tell you about this pattern:

- Size ranges from 2T to 12
- Unique back bodice straps
- Draped tulle skirt (so no gathering of the tulle)
- Layered pattern pieces
- Photos for every step of the tutorial (I use these pretty extensively since I'm a visual learner)
- Clear, concise directions for each step

So, I made two dresses for the test.  The first one started out as a steampunk style dress but kind of turned into a steampunk/romantic floral type dress.  I did add the non functional straps and some doodads from Hobby Lobby to the front. (The pattern is drafted as a plain bodice so there is a ton of room for creative license.)  It's just an embellishment so it serves no function except decoration.  I also made some satin flowers and just attached them to the waist of the dress with some ribbon streaming from the bottoms of them.  This isn't part of the pattern but there are tons of tutes online about how to make satin flowers.  I felt like it needed something for N's head so I made her a hat fascinator.  I slightly modified the materials to make the fascinator so that it would be a little more sturdy but the basic design is the Broadway Fascinator from Snazzydrawers.

This dress calls for 60 yards of tulle so I just ordered two bolts of tulle from a place called BBCrafts.  I got two bolts of tulle from them for $17, and it was on my doorstep within a week so I was pretty stoked.  You can also find some pretty smokin' deals on Amazon for bolts of tulle.  If you're going to make this dress, two things: plan ahead and order your tulle from online.  This dress requires A LOT of it so that you get that fairy tale effect on the skirt.  I paired this first dress with some microsuede from the costume section of JoAnn's and it was perfect!


The overall construction of the dress was very fast and very simple.  It doesn't require a lot to make this dress pretty amazing.  I think it took me about 3 or 4 hours from start to finish for the second one. Most of that was time spent cutting the tulle down to the measurements I needed for my daughter's dress.  I did use all 60 yards, and when I was done, the skirt did, in fact, stand on its own.  I kept wondering if I stood there and chanted " Treguna Mekoides Trecorum Satis Dee" if it would get up and start dancing with my son's slacks or something.

We picked a pretty windy day to do photos, and because it IS tulle, the wind will pick this up pretty easily so be prepared that you will have to smooth it out a bit if you're out on a windy day.  Small price to pay for beauty and fashion, I say.


My favorite part is the back of the dress.  There are two straps that cross over each other and snap at the sides of the bodice and it's such a unique look.  I was worried about the open back and my daughter (she's pretty conservative), but once she had the dress on, she was over the moon so that didn't even factor into her mind.


The second dress was pretty fun to shoot!  I went with a black nubuck (I got it from Hobby Lobby) for this dress and appliqued a spider to the front of it.  I used the Easy Day Tee (also from Snuggle My Baby) to make my son a shirt that had a spider on it as well.  My daughter agreed to do this dress because the black widow gets to stomp on the boy spider, and well, the boy spider was her brother. Go figure.


My little love said this dress makes her feel like the spider queen and she even made up a song about what the spider queen does and says, but she refused to sing it for the camera...

We picked another windy day for this dress (it's Oklahoma, in the spring.  The wind really does whip across the plain.)  I let the kids have some fun with this photo shoot so they had a chance to play around a little bit with the photos...



They had a blast with these so I thought I'd go ahead and include them in here!  :)!  The underskirt on this is still wide enough that she was able to run around after bubba and play with him.  Even without shoes on, she didn't have much of an issue with the tulle getting underfoot so it was the perfect length.  She's a size 7 in RTW, and this dress was a size 7 and true to size like most of Jenn's patterns.

As I said in the beginning, the skirt construction is pretty simple, and it's put together in such a way that the tulle drapes versus gathers so there's no niggly tulle gathering to contend with.  I think this second dress took me about 3-ish hours.


I got a little more creative with this dress and ordered some red LED lights from Amazon that I attached using mini pockets for the battery packs.  I just safety pinned those to the inside so that I could remove them if my daughter decided she didn't want them anymore.  This is, again, not a part of the pattern, and I only decided to add them after a challenge was laid at my sewing machine. It worked out beautifully, and I seriously love this dress.  It might possibly be one of my favorite, if not the most favorite, project I have ever made.  I almost didn't recognize my little girl as my "little" girl anymore after seeing the pictures from these two shoots.


This dress is perfect for so many things.  You can make dress up clothes, flower girl dresses, Daddy Daughter dresses, costumes...so many different occasions.  We already have this one in mind for the Daddy Daughter dance next year.  She's debating colors right now, but I do believe this pattern will be the one we go with.  I might even do lights again!! :)!

Now, if you are looking at this and thinking, "meh, I really don't need a dress pattern", one of the options is just the skirt!  So, you don't have to plan for a dress if you just want the fairy tale skirt. That's possible, too, and it's equally as amazing!

Okay, so if you've read this far and you HAVE to have this pattern, here's what you do.  This dress released today at Snuggle My Baby Patterns, and you can head over to Jenn's webstore to get yourself a copy at a special release price of $5.  This price will be good until May 3rd so don't miss out on the chance to grab this pattern for yourself!  Just click here: JenLee Fairy Tale Dress. THEN, head over to the Snuggle My Baby Patterns group on Facebook and join us there!  Here, you can ask questions, get inspiration for your own creations, or share your creations to inspire others!  You can join the group here: Snuggle My Baby FB group.  Really, you need this pattern in your life! :)!


Thanks so much for reading along!  Now go grab yourself a copy of the JenLee and sew up something beautiful.

Blessings and Happy Sewing,
Kim

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Knock It Off Tour (Lulu and Celeste, Sprouting Jube Jube Productions)


Today, I'm one of the stops on the Knock It Off Tour sponsored by Lulu and Celeste and Sprouting Jube Jube.  The challenge: create a "me made" item inspired by retail items.  I spent a good chunk of time looking through Pinterest and Googling different stores to figure out what exactly I wanted to make.  I landed on two outfits: a Dolce and Gabbana cocktail dress and a more casual retro style dress from Alexander McQueen.  Both were way out of my budget, but hey, that's the beauty of being able to sew!!

The first dress that caught my eye was a simple cocktail dress with a lace overlay skirt.  I found a striped floral lace dress on FarFetch.com, and it appears that it is now sold out. However, at the time, it was listed at $3,495.  Just a little out of my price range.
Dolce and Gabbana striped floral lace dress (photo credit:  FarFetch.com)
I took a look at the patterns in my stash and found the Talia Fitted Dress from Laela Jeyne.  It had the option of both a round or v-neck bodice, and it's already a sleeveless dress so it was perfect.  The pattern doesn't call for an overlay on the skirt, but that was an easy enough mod to do.  I also left the skirt as drafted with a little less gather on it since I didn't want to add bulk around the waist. I opted for a red satin as the underskirt since I made this dress for the annual ladies' tea at my church and wanted it to match the "Shine" theme.  I also opted for smaller stripes on the bodice!


Not exactly the same as the D&G dress, but I definitely love the pop of color in the skirt! I also made a teapot clip to go with my dress using the Mad Hatter Tea Set from Super Pop.  The original pattern is for a fabric tea set, but I just used some polyfil to make the teapot into a stuffie that I could attach clips to.


In total, this dress cost me about $25 and two hours to make, so I would call that a win!

After I found the D&G dress on Google, I stumbled onto another dress that I was over the moon for. It was a retro style plaid dress by Alexander McQueen.  The top caught my eye because it reminded me of the inside of my favorite Burberry's coat.  Then, I saw the rest of the dress and was sold.  When I looked at the price tag on this one, it was $1,095 on Lyst.com.  Of course it was because I liked it...back to the pattern stash.  

Alexander McQueen plaid retro dress (photo credit: Lyst.com)
Alexander McQueen was known for his crazy and wild designs, and I've always loved his creations. This dress, however, spoke to me.  It didn't speak loud enough for me to spend over a thousand dollars on it, but it spoke loud enough to inspire me to make one similar to it!  I found the Santa Fe Scooter dress from Bell Bottom Girl.  The original pattern has a longer torso and a shorter flounce than my inspiration dress, but I simply shortened the top by 6 inches and added that to the bottom of the flounce.  The pattern also didn't call for a zipper but I added one into the back seam allowance and didn't need to modify the pattern at all to make that happen.  

I also opted to keep the bias tape finished armholes and neckline of the pattern and went with a purple plaid since I'm just slightly in need of some sun after the winter.  I was concerned that a tan colorway would blend into my skin so purple it was.  I also didn't put a faux belt on the waist so that attention wouldn't be drawn to my waist.

The fit of this dress is relatively loose so there is plenty of room to move around in it.  I love the overall look and fit of this dress, and I do think that I will probably be making a few more of these before the end of the summer!  

For this dress, I spent about $15 for materials and an hour of sewing time.  I would say that $40 and about three hours of my time is a win for two new dresses that would have cost me over $3,500.  I told my husband that I saved him thousands of dollars by spending just $40 at JoAnn's.  I don't think he's convinced, but I'm standing by that statement. :)!  

Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting today!  We're only on Day 3 of the tour so there are plenty of designers still to come.  You can also visit the designers from Day 1 and Day 2 by following the links below!

Monday, April 24


Tuesday, April 25


Wednesday, April 26


Thursday, April 27


Friday, April 28


Thanks again for stopping by today!

Blessings and Happy Sewing,
Kim

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jade's Crop Top from Snuggle My Baby Patterns


It may be April, but summer is practically here already in Oklahoma.  My kids have pretty much checked out of school, and I'm pretty much right there with them (just being real...:)!)  I just had the opportunity to test the Jade's Crop Top from Snuggle My Baby Patterns, and my daughter loves it. She wants me to put tulip sleeves on every shirt she owns now.


Okay, so pattern details!!

- Sizes range from 2T - 16.
- Two sleeve styles: fairy wing or tulip
- High-lo hem
- Key hole back tie so no buttons or zippers!
- Layered printing
- Quick and easy sew (took me about 45 minutes from cutting to final stitch)

This top was such a quick sew.  I made this one in a size 7, which is my daughter's ready to wear size, and it was a perfect fit.  I did use the measurement chart to figure out her size, though, because she grows so much between tests that I never know for sure what size she's in.  This one, however, is true to size for ready to wear.

We took a look at both sleeve styles and opted for the tulip sleeve.  After she put it on, Naomi decided that she wants every single shirt to have tulip sleeves from now on.  Since she doesn't typically like anything girly, I was pretty excited that she loved these sleeves!


The back has a keyhole closure at the top with ties so it's pretty easy to put on and take off.  While I am happy to do buttons and zippers, I was kind of happy to see the ties at the neck.  It's a pretty simple way to finish the hems, too!  The ties and neckline are all one single strip of bias tape so that made it quick and easy to finish.  I opted to make my own bias tape, and I did a 1/2" finish (or a 2" wide strip).  You can use any width bias tape that you want for this part so that gives some flexibility when picking the bias tape you want to use.

There were only three pattern pieces so there isn't a lot to assemble and cut out.  The top itself is pretty free flowing so my daughter had plenty of room to run and play when we were at the park. She's pretty particular about anything that clings too tight, so this was right up her alley!  We already have several more of these planned.  Hopefully, I get to them before she grows again!  HA!

"Sooo, how do I get a copy of this pattern?" you ask.  Let me tell ya!  This pattern just released, and it is available for a special release price of $5!  This price is good through May 1st so don't miss out on your chance to get this while it's on sale!  Just head over to Jenn's webstore to grab a copy: Jade's Crop Top.  Jenn also has a Snuggle My Baby Patterns support group on Facebook where you can get inspiration, ask questions, or just hang out with other sewists.  You can join the group here: Snuggle My Baby Patterns FB page!  Thanks so much for reading along!  Now go grab your copy of the Jade's Crop Top and share your creations with us on the FB page!

Blessings and Happy Sewing,
Kim

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Just kicking it with Kelcee (Kelcee's Wide Leg Bottoms from Snuggle My Baby Patterns)

My daughter is somewhere between tomboy and pretty in pink right now.  I think she likes the idea of skirts and dresses, but if she can't climb a tree in it, all bets are off.  Usually, we end up with sweaties and tee shirts so I was pretty excited when Jenn Gunn from Snuggle My Baby Patterns showed us a sneaky peeky of her new pants pattern.   My daughter looked at them and said, "Ehhhh, yeah, I'll wear those, I guess."  That was enough for me to hit submit on the test application.  After I got the pants on her, she didn't want to take them off and was very upset that she has to wear a uniform to school.  But seriously, these pants are so perfect for pretty much any style outfit.  Some testers even used home decor and denim weight fabric, and they were FABBBBULOUS!

So, as per usual, pattern specifics:

- Large size range: starts at 2T and goes through size 12
- Three length options: shorts, capris, trousers
- Unique high waist design
- Shorten and lengthen instructions so you can tailor to your child's height
- Layered patterns so you only print the ones you want/need
- Photos for every step of the tutorial for visual reference

I opted to make a girl's tux and a nautical number with a crop top for the test.  My daughter acquiesced to this and told me she gets fabric picking choice so off we went! She picked a pretty bright coral for her tux, but that just made it all the more awesome for me because seriously, a coral tux...nuff said.  I also modified Katie's Crop Top and and Vicky's Button Up PJ Top to pair with the pants version of the Kelcee.  It was magical when she put it on.  The pants hit at just the right spot that you could still see the high waist and buttons, and the wide leg bottom was perfect for her to still be able to run around.  My girl is a little on the tall side so we went with an 8 length and a 7 everywhere else.  This is standard for her when I buy ready to wear pants so I'd say this is spot on for store bought sizing for us.  She even let me put her hair in "piggy butts"! (My niece sometimes does her hair in piggy buns, and Naomi calls them piggy butts...).

For the second pair, I went with the capri option and modified the bodice of the Bella Party or Play dress.  Again, these bottoms were perfect.  The simplicity of these bottoms really lends them to going dressier or casual depending on what you need.  They are have this wondermous vintage feel to them. Naomi actually picked the colors for this outfit, too, and I'm kind of impressed with her fabric picking choices...proud momma moment.

The front of the pants are flat front with an elastic in the back to bring the waist in.  There are also button tabs at the front that add to that vintage feel while still providing comfort and ease of movement.  You do have the option of using snaps for the front, but I really wanted the buttons because I would add a bow and embellishments to everything if I could.  With three length options, these pants really are a staple for any season, and you can use pretty much any type of woven fabric. As I said, during testing, there were all types and weights of fabric with these pants, and every single one of them turned out amazing.
This time around, my son was a little bummed that he didn't have a new outfit so I made him a matching nautical set with Jenn's Dominic Board Shorts and Easy Day Tee.  He was pretty excited about having a matching outfit and hammed it up pretty hard.  I promised him that I would share his outfit so here are just a couple pictures of Bubba matching the Bug!

Okay, so how do you get YOUR copy of this pattern? Easy peasy...this pattern is now live at Snuggle My Baby Patterns, and you can get your copy at the release sale price of $5 (this price will only be good until the 11th of April so don't miss out)!  You can grab your copy here: Kelcee's Wide Leg Bottoms.  You can also scope out some of the photos from the other testers at this link!  Jenn also has a Facebook group where you can get info on her happenings, get help if you hit a headscratch, and grab some inspiration for your own creations!  Just head here to join in: Snuggle My Baby Patterns FB.

Okay, one more photo of my two loves before you click over to get your own copy of Kelcee's!!

Thanks so much for reading along about our latest sewing adventure!

Blessings and Happy Sewing,
Kim



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Putting some pep in my step (Ladies Peplum Tank from Snuggle My Baby Patterns)

So, I'm usually pretty wary of anything that has a full skirt on it because I really don't feel like I need anything else to fill out my shape, but seriously, the Ladies Peplum Tank from Snuggle My Baby Patterns really knocked the fear right out of me.  I'm kind of obsessed with this top right now, and I've already made 6 of them.  It looks pretty amazing on pretty much ANY body type!

Alright, so, let's break down the pattern specifics real fast:

- Very large size range:  This pattern starts at size 2 and goes all the way up to a size 32
- Instructions on how to size blend, how to accommodate a longer torso, and how to do a full bust adjustment
- Two styles:  banded torso or simple torso
- Easy binding instructions that make for a beautiful finish
- Extremely fast sew.  I made two tops in about an hour and a half
- Layered printing so you only print the size(s) you want/need
- Photos for every step so that those of us who like the visual can compare our top to the tutorial
- Clear, concise step-by-step instructions
Here are my llamas after they had recovered from their late night celebrations
Okay, so as I said, in not so many words, I love this top.  It kind of makes me feel like I'm stepping back into the 30's or 40's when I wear these tops, and I really love the fashion from those decades. The peplum skirt really draws the eye upward to give the illusion of a smaller waist by draping over the hips.  I really didn't think that was going to be the case when I saw it on my mannequin, but I was sold after I put it on.

I fell between two sizes for the measurements so I blended from an 18 bust to a 22 waist.  I also made one in a size 18 bust and a 20 waist.  Both size blends fit me extremely well and gave a little different look with the different skirt sizes.  It was a really easy process to blend it out after I glued all of the pattern pieces together.

I also used the slash and spread process to make the torso just a little longer for me.  I have to do this with a lot of tops I make, and it's really what makes me just rather sew for myself than to try and buy something off the rack in stores.  Again, this was a relatively easy process, and I ended up adding 3/4" to my torso on these tops.  I would strongly recommend doing a muslin first so that you can figure out what adjustments you might need to make, if any.

I used several different knits for these tops, and I found that the more stretch it had, the looser it fits. You will definitely want at least 30%, and for my personal preferences, anything above a 40% stretch was a little too stretchy.  Also, make sure you plan accordingly for directional prints.  I did not so on one of my tops, it looked like my llamas had been partying too hard the night before and were all now sideways...darn the luck, had to go back to the store for more fabric...

However, once I got the muslin figured out, this top fit amazing!!  It's designed to follow your curves but it won't be extremely snug so there's plenty of moving around room.  With a 6 year old and a 7 year old, I can appreciate a top that lets me run after them.  I actually paired these tops with both a pencil skirt and a pair of jeggings, and both outfits looked fabuloso so this top really is very versatile. I even managed to squeeze Mickey Mouse into a date night outfit, so really...versatility.
Had to snap a selfie of me and the Mouse
I originally cut two tops thinking I wouldn't have time for more than that, but after I sewed up two in an hour and a half, I had to raid the stash for more fabric.  I have a pretty significant knit collection, and my groom was ecstatic to see it dwindling a little.  just. a. little. (I did order more knit to fill the void, though...he'll find out about that next week sometime. 😐.  I even managed to make a Wonder Woman inspired top that I seriously want to wear EVERYWHERE!!!

Alright, enough of me talking about how awesome this pattern is.  Time to get you some info on how to get your own copy so you can see for yourself why you need this top in your life.  The Ladies Peplum Tank released this week and is currently on sale for only $6 (regular price: $12) at Snuggle My Baby Patterns.  You can grab your copy here: Ladies Peplum Tank.  Jenn also has a FB group that you can join.  You can ask any questions you might have when you're making your creations or hop on to get some inspiration from the ladies who have already sewn up some amazing things.  You can join the group here: Snuggle My Baby Patterns.  Aaand, if you want to just peruse Jenn's collection of patterns, you can go to her webstore and take a look at what other patterns she has already released: Snuggle My Baby webstore.  Alright, so I'm going to stop rambling so that you can hop over and get your copy before the sale ends on the 28th of March.  Then, hop over to the FB group and show us whatcha made because we want to see it!  Thanks for reading along!

Blessings and Happy Sewing,
Kim