Monday, April 25, 2016

It's all about the leg..gings: Charlotte Leggings from Laela Jeyne

Nini would live in leggings if I let her, and given these leggings, I don't know why I don't.  She's at a strange point in growing where she is very long and not very big around so she was hopping around happy as a bee in a flower bed when she put these on!  Marisa, from Laela Jeyne, just re-released her free leggings pattern in a bigger size range (happiness for me since Nini is almost at the tippy top of most girls' patterns). 

Let's get some quick details out there:

- Size ranges from 6M-14.  HUGE size range.
- Elastic waist that is sewn on vs enclosed in a casing
- Extremely fast construction...these ones took tops 30 minutes
- Tiled pages for very fast pattern construction
- Layered sizing so you only print what you need
- Very clear and concise instructions with illustrations and pictures
- FREE if you are a member of the Laela Jeyne Pattern Fan Group

Now, this pattern was previously available up to size 6 so now that they go up to 14, we'll be able to get a lot of mileage from these.  My daughter picked out some black and white daisy knit (from Purple Seamstress) for this pair so that she could wear them with her school uniform.  Any leggings and tights have to be in the school colors so these are perfect for chilly mornings.

The fit on these was perfect for my girl.  She has some pretty long legs but she's skinny as a rail so I was able to make these and tailor them to her size.   I can't wash these fast enough for her.  As soon as I take them out of the dryer she hangs them on her bed for the next school day...

This fabric has been sitting in my hoard collection for a while now, and they were the perfect stretch for this pattern.  You'll want a 2 or 4 way stretch with at least 40% stretch.  They're pretty close fitting so you'll want to make sure you have the stretch to get them on and off without looking like a taffy pull.  The elastic on these is serged onto the waist and then folded over which, in my opinion, gives the final product a much cleaner finish.  She's very particular about seams and "scratchy" thread so these were really nice since I didn't gave any parts of the fabric that were bunchy at the waist.  

I really loved the overall fit and look of these leggings.  There wasn't any excess at the bottom or any random folds along the legs so she was able to jump around and play with bubba with no issues!  I used my serger for these, but you can also sew them using a stretch stitch or zigzag stitch on a standard sewing machine.  

And the best news of all for you is that they are completely free if you are in the Laela Jeyne Patterns Fan Group.  If you aren't a member, you can be.  Just follow the link to the group, join, and check the pinned post for your coupon code.  Marisa is also in the process of designing a deluxe pack that you can buy after testing has been completed!  Some ideas she's throwing around are capris, shorts, joggers, ruffle cuffs, and yoga waistband.  In the meantime, head over to the group, join if you aren't already a member, and get your coupon code to get a copy of this pattern for free!  The group is also a great place to get sewing help from other LJ fans and keep up to date on Marisa's happenings!

Happy Sewing and Blessings,

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Nothing plain about this Jane

Look, Mom, they're big enough for frogs!
When Georgianna from Sunday Girl Designs asked me if I would be willing to test her Jane's Plain Dress and Tunic pattern, I was more than happy to try this one out!  My daughter has moved away from ruffles and OTT dresses (moment of silence as I grieve for a second) so this dress was singing her song!  AND, it has pockets "big enough to put frogs in"...yes, that is exactly what she said.  I inwardly freaked out and had little heart palpitations when she said that, and I'm terrified to check her pockets now because I am scared of what I might find in them.
Close up of the pocket

So, as per usual, I like to give some pattern details up front so you know what you're working with:

- Sizes range from 3T to 8
- 2 hem options: scalloped or straight
- 2 neckline options: with or without Peter Pan collar in front
- Button closure in the back so no zippers (BONUS for me because I'm not besties with zippers)
- Optional seamed pockets on both sides of the dress
- Size layering so you can print just the size(s) you need/want
- Very clear, concise instructions with photographs on each step for those who, like me, need to see it to believe it.

So, where do I begin with how much I love this pattern?  I made both of mine with the collar and the scalloped edges.  My daughter asked that I please not put the bow on it.  :(!  SOOO, no little bows, but I might still make one and sneak it in there.  The dress is pretty roomy and comes down well low enough that my girl was still able to crawl on the rocks and run after her bubs.   She also played basketball in the driveway with her tunic on.  Might as well look great while exercising, right?  We did a photo shoot with several clothing changes, and she said, "Oh, this one is just the one I wanted, Momb!" so...winning!!

I made both the dress and the tunic, and the fit was spot on to RTW.  My daughter is moving out of 6 into 7 so she has some spare room in a 7.  These were both a 7, and they have just enough space for her to grow a little...but they aren't so big that she's lost in a sea of fabric chaos.

I did love that the armholes and neck are finished with bias binding because it gives so many opportunities to add some pops of color.  There is also the option to let the binding show or tuck it back when you finish the binding.  I let it show on the dress and tucked it back on the tunic, and we were equally happy with both versions!  When I asked her what she thought of these, she popped two thumbs up and told me, "I think Miss Georgie scored a goal with this one!"  :)!

Now, word of advice here, accuracy is very important as far as the binding because it is narrower so when Georgianna says to try to be as accurate as possible, she really does mean as accurate as possible.  I wasn't when I did the binding on the tunic, and it was maddening to try to get it to work so I ended up frog stitching that one and ripping out the binding so I could make some more and try again.  Second time I was much more careful, and the result was much much better...

My favorite part of this pattern was the scallops...and the collar...and the lace or bias tape at the bottom...and the buttons...and just about everything.  Both the dress and collar came together wicked fast.  I think it took longer to assemble the pattern than it did to sew it.  And, I know the propensity for some of us to cut corners and not really pay too much attention to notches, dots, notes, arrows, etc on patterns, but you will want to pay attention to them on this one.  Those little notches and dots are really important markers for where to place pieces and where to sew/cut seams when you're done sewing.

We added a little flower because my daughter said the horses need something to nibble on...
Overall construction went very fast for me even with the collar and scallops.  I think the tunic took me about an hour and some change to finish, and the dress took only slightly longer just because I had to be careful with the pockets.  I finished the tunic while the kids and their friends were sidewalk chalking our driveway, and my kids are big squirrel chasers so nothing holds their interest for long before they are moving onto another adventure.

Okay, so now for the best part...this pattern will be released tomorrow (16 April) and will be available at a special release price of $4 until Sunday at 10PM CST.  There will also be a tutorial with it to cover how to work with the bias binding method used in this pattern!  You can grab your pattern at Georgianna's Etsy shop, and she has a FB group where you can keep up to date on her happenings and ask questions if you hit a head scratch when you're sewing!

If you've stuck it out with me to the end, I do appreciate you for reading along, and don't forget, this pattern is only on sale for a limited time so don't miss out on getting your copy at the special release price!!

Happy Sewing and Blessings,

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Grabbing a Sammy with my girl

I told my daughter that I was going to make her a Sammy, and she said, "Oh, no thanks, Mom, I'm not hungry!"  She stared at me as I laughed, and then I told her it's a dress not a sandwich...BUT, it's not just any dress.  This is the Sammy Swing Dress and Tuni from Laela Jeyne Patterns...AND, it has a matching Samantha Swing Dress and Tunic for momma!  This pattern is sheer amazing!  It took me longer to put the pattern together than it did sew it up, and I want to sew up one for every day of the month so I can wear this all the time!

Okay, as usual, let's get some basics down:

- Ranges from XS-XXL on the Samantha and 6M-14 for the Sammy (this makes me happy because my daughter is very quickly hitting the top of the size chart for most of the patterns I have)
- 2 styles: sleeved or racerback
- 4 sleeve options: cap, short, elbow, and long
- Sleeve dress/top has options for a regular neck or cowl neck
- Has both a hi-lo and regular hem for the dress and the tunic
- Racerback shelf bra option so no need to buy a special bra on the Samantha
- Detailed fit adjustment instructions for the Samantha
- No trim pages (one of my favorite things about Marisa's patterns)
- Layered printing on either A4 or standard paper (another favorite)

 I wish I had enough words to tell you how much I love this pattern.  I've already made myself a dress and 4 tops.  There is a slight possibility that I might really end up making one for every day of the month!! My daughter has hit that stage where she is kind of done with ruffles and OTT dresses so the simplicity of this one was right up her alley.  I also made tops for her best friend and her sister, and the report all around is can I get another one followed by specific fabric requirements.

I used a wide range of fabrics with these, but I did make sure that they all had at least 50% recovery so we could get these over the head without doing the funky chicken.  This pattern works with heavier knits, drapey knits, sweater knits...pretty much any knit with at least 50% recovery!

I didn't have to make any sizing adjustments for the ones that I made, but Marisa included very detailed directions on how to adjust for different sizes if you need to do that.  I am 5'1" on a good day, and I didn't even need to adjust the length on either the dress or the tunic.  I made all of these in the hi-lo option, and I loved that the lower back offered good rear coverage for me.

I'm kind of loving all things knit right now, and I've worn the ones I made every day until I had to either do laundry or make more to finish out the week. Construction is so incredibly fast.  It took me about 45 minutes from start to finish to make each one, and I was able to make all four of the girls' tops in one afternoon.  Marisa uses no trim pages so that means no cutting!  Even more of a bonus since that's usually the longest part of pattern construction. I just grabbed my glue stick and started putting the pieces together.

I'm very wary of making myself clothes because I usually spend all my time making the item and then I don't love it.  The fit on these, though, fits just about every body type.  I saw a lot of dresses in the test group, and every single woman I saw this on looked amazing in it.  It's relatively relaxed fitting overall with a slightly fitted top to bring you in at the top.  I wore the dress on a date night, and a woman stopped me to ask where I had bought it.  I'm pretty sure that you could have seen my beaming face all the way from space.

I also made my daughter a short sleeve version of the tunic, and bubs was so sad that he can't wear dresses that I made him a matching tee so he could be part of the matching party.  He wouldn't stand still long enough for a good photo, but my dynamic duo get together to discuss when they're going to wear their matching shirts so I'm calling that a win!

I could go on and on about how I love this pattern, but really, you need to just check it out for yourself.  These patterns are on sale now, and you can pick yours up at Laela Jeyne Patterns on Etsy. The Sammy is on sale here for $5.95 (regular price will be $8) and the Samantha is on sale here for $6.95 (regular price will be $9).  You can also bundle up and get both for $11.50 (regular price will be $15.50).  These prices are only good until the 1159 EST on Sunday (10 April) so if you even THINK you might make these someday, this is the time to get your copy!   You can also swing over to the Laela Jeyne Pattern Fan group to keep up with Marisa's happenings or to ask a question if you hit a bump while working with her patterns.  She's very quick to respond and is always happy to help out.  As an added piece of happy, all single patterns are also 30% until Sunday so this is a good time to pick up any of the other Laela Jeyne patterns that you might want!

Well, if you've read this far, I do appreciate you sticking it out with me!  Now go grab your Sammy or Samantha...or both and create some happiness!

Happy sewing and Blessings,

Muscle Madness with Justin and Justine

Summer, summer, summer time!  Okay, so maybe it's not summer yet, but the weather here in Oklahoma sure is getting warm!  AND that means off with the coats and turtlenecks and on with the tanks and shorts!!  I just tested the Justin and Justine Muscle Tank for Snuggle My Baby patterns, and all the kids in my life love it!   I made this top for my kids, my nephew, and my niece.  My niece even wanted to wear it under her school uniform.  I'm going to call that a major win!

Alright, so here we go with some basics about the pattern:

-  Sizes range from 2T-16 so a huge range of sizes (which is good for me because all of these kiddos grow very fast and this will last a while!
-   Your choice of thicker or thinner neck and arm bindings so you can accommodate different preferences easily
-  Super fast construction.  I made 4 of these in a day, and it took me longer to glue the pattern than it did to sew!
- Photos for every step of the process if you are like me and work better with a visual aid
-  And, as always, the directions are very clear and concise

When I first made this for my son, my daughter asked for one too because "girls have muscles, too, Mom!"  I made hers and my niece's tops out of a wondermous, drapey knit so it can easily be worn with slacks or a skirt for Sunday morning church or a daddy daughter date! I got it from Hancock's so I am so sad they are closing.

This pattern does require that you use a knit with at least 50% stretch so be sure to check your fabric before you buy or cut into your hoarded treasured fabric.  I learned my lesson with an earlier top I made that did not have enough stretch, and it was a bear to get that over my daughter's head.

I opted for the wider bands for the boys and the thinner bands for the girls, and that seemed to work out great!  I wasn't sure on the width when I was sewing, but after I got the pieces sewn together, it was the perfect size.  Slightly narrower than a standard tee, but still roomy enough to allow for some skateboarding, bike riding, and dirt mound climbing!
When I was doing the bindings, I did actually zigzag the raw edges together so that it was easier for me to line them up.  This is absolutely not necessary, but I did it just to be lazy...
I was looking at my kids' summer wardrobe and was just a little disheartened at how big they had grown so there was no way to use last year's clothes.  This pattern came along just in time for some major summer sewing!  I am so excited that they all love this top, and we're already in the process of picking out the next wave of muscle shirt madness.
The simplicity of this top lends itself to options for embellishment, too.  I actually freezer paper stenciled on my nephew's and son's shirts, and they came out perfect!

Now for the best part!  This pattern is available now at a special release day price.  You can pick up your copy for $5 for a limited time only.  It's available at Jennifer's Snuggle My Baby Etsy shop and you can join her facebook group to keep up with her happenings and ask for help if you hit a head scratch at any point!

If you've stuck it out with me, thanks so much for reading along! Now go grab your copy of this pattern today!

Happy Sewing and Blessings,