Tuesday, December 19, 2017

New Horizons Andover Pullover

Earlier this year, my dad made a trip to Niger and brought me back some waxprint fabric. It was absolutely beautiful and I wanted to make something that would do the fabric justice. I wasn't sure what that was, so I sat on it for a while. 

While the fabric sat untouched, my dad made another trip to West Africa, this time to Togo. He brought me back a couple more waxprints fabrics and a light weight cotton piece. So now I have a small collection of gorgeous West African fabric. Thanks dad!

I wanted to find a pattern (or patterns!) that would showcase these fabrics in a way that they could speak for themselves. And if you know me, you know I wanted a practical pattern. Something easy to wear, and would be useful in Eve's closet. 

Why Eve? Because obviously Eve, my 8 year old, needed something made in at least one of these fabrics. For a while now, she has wanted to visit Africa and I hope she gets to someday. She hopes to see giraffes in the wild and she is jealous that her poppy, my dad, got to experience that when he was in Niger. Hopefully someday Eve!

When I saw the Andover Pullover and Jacket by New Horizons Designs, I knew this would be perfect! I could think of a couple patterns I could use in the summer months, but with this pattern I wouldn't have to wait for warmer weather.

I let Eve "shop" from my waxprints fabrics and she chose the brightest print, the one from Niger. Good choice!

I went with the lined hood pullover option. 

The pattern features:

 - Inverted box pleats, box pleats, a placket (pullover option), and a button tab on the front. 

Sorry it's hard to see the pleats with such a busy fabric!
- A hood with a straight edge on top, which I found to be a fun change from the traditional rounded hood.

- Front rounded patch pockets with elastic gathered opening.

Eve was cold and wouldn't keep her hands out of her pockets the whole time we took pictures. I would say the pockets are a hit!
The other views in the pattern are a fully lined zip-up jacket or a pullover with an unlined hood.

Eve and I are both happy with it! Her older sister is a little jealous, but maybe I'll have time to make her one soon.

This was my first time sewing with waxprint fabric. I normally sew with knit or drapey apparel wovens, so this was not my usual make. I'm no expert on this type of fabric, especially since it comes from another part of the world, but my description of it is that it's a heavy weight and colorful cotton woven. The front and back is the same, I honestly couldn't tell them apart. I would love to learn more about these fabrics and it's uses! From a sewing perspective, it was easy to work with. 

Thanks for stopping by! Hopefully soon I will be able to share more projects from these fabrics. Just wait until you see the giraffe print! It's a lightweight cotton though, so it will have to wait until it gets warmer. I bet you can't guess which child of mine has already claimed it! :)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Handmade Holiday Tour

The "Handmade Holiday Tour" is happening this week at Love Notions! It's full of inspiration for holiday sewing, including some fun freebies! I'm most excited about the free doll pattern: the doll version of the Lil' LDT. My girls have been asking to try to sew doll clothes, this will be perfect for them!

To be completely honest, I don't sew a lot for the holidays. This is such a busy time of the year!

That isn't to say that I don't sew anything for the holiday season. I just keep my to-do list as manageable as I can.

Last year, I made my mom a Whistler Sweater (affiliate link*) and I made my three older kids mermaid blankets. That was my entire list, definitely not too much. And it was a hit. My mom has even asked for more Whistler Sweaters, so guess what she is getting for Christmas this year? I would say don't ruin the surprise for her, but I took her fabric shopping with me, so she knows.

This year so far I have made my oldest, Kylie, a dress. That's it so far, although I do have a little more on my to-do list. (Mainly those Whistlers for my mom. Hi mom!)

Last weekend, Kylie had a regional honor choir concert and she needed a new dress. The dress code was for white, black, or grey on top and black on bottom. It could have been a dress or pants. I'm sure we could have pulled something together from her closet, but I was so proud of her for making the honor choir that I felt I should reward her with something special. 

Actually there is no way we could have pulled together an outfit from her closet, since last time I took her clothes shopping she threw a fit that I wanted to buy her a basic pair of black pants. Apparently basic black pants are terrible and I was a terrible mom for trying to buy them for her. True story.

I used the Posh Popover pattern by Love Notions (affiliate link*) and fabric from Simply by Ti. The white is stretch lace and the black is cotton Lycra

Kylie has a similar pink and black store bought dress that she loves. It's a maxi dress with a crop overlay lace shirt. The only problem with it is that it fits her more like a knee length dress than a maxi dress. This girl is tall and lanky. But she loves that style so I knew I wanted to recreate it. 

The dress that I made her is size 7 with size 12 length. To get a good fit, I lengthened both the dress and crop top, I lowered the arsmscye*, and I lowered the waistline** all to the size 12.

*The Love Notions blog has a good tutorial on how to adjust the length of armscyes. The tutorial is for a sleeveless top, so just make sure that if you are putting sleeves on that you add the extra length at the armscye seam as well. 

**The dress starts to flare out at the waistline, so getting the waistline at the right height helped get a good custom fit.

I seriously couldn't be happier with the fit and Kylie couldn't be happier to have a maxi dress that is long enough for her. 

Let's all place bets on when this dress will no longer be long enough to be considered a maxi dress on her.

The fabric was perfect for this dress. I was surprised by how easy the lace was to use, it gave me no problems at all. Besides adjusting for length, which I have already covered, the only changes I made to the pattern were:

-Understitching the seam allowance at the neckline instead of topstitching. With the lace, I just thought it would look nicer without topstitching, but it probably wouldn't have been noticeable, but I have no regrets because the neckline turned out great.

-For the hems on the lace (sleeves and bottom hem) I turned it 1/4" and then 1/4" again simply to give the open weave a little more body.

Obviously the changes I made were extremely minor and didn't change the look of the pattern, but I wanted to point them out in case anyone wanted my take on sewing with stretch lace. Everything else was sewn exactly to the pattern instructions.


Lace hem

Kylie's choir performance was beautiful. It was obvious that all of the kids who participated had put in a lot of time, dedication, and talent. The whole choir sounded wonderful! I was so happy I could make Kylie something special to wear for the occasion. 

Here she is on stage after the show:

This will also be Kylie's Christmas dress, and maybe even birthday dress since her birthday is in mid December. I'm sure this will get worn a lot this holiday season and even beyond.

Actually she will most likely wear this until she grows out of it. It's not Christmas specific, I like versatility.

So place those bets on when she will outgrow this!

Here are just a few more pictures of our Posh Popover. The pattern can be viewed here*, with even more inspiration.

*Affiliate link, should you purchase the pattern after clicking on the link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote patterns that I love!

Don't forget to check out the rest of the bloggers on the Handmade Holiday Tour, there are lots of fun ideas, inspiration, and even freebies!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Thankful Sewing

Today I'm blogging for another "Sewing by Ti" tour. This month's theme is "Thankful Sewing." Although I have much to be thankful for year round, I appreciate this season and it's reminders of the spirit of thankfulness.

In my sewing journey, I have many people to be thankful for. My husband is encouraging, my kids appreciate their handmade clothes, my dad brings me fabric from his travels to African countries, my mom and sisters enjoy what I make them...

But today I want to dedicate this blog post to a very special person. Without her I don't know if I ever would have picked up sewing in the first place. This is a hard post to write. It's personal, and I don't always do personal very well. 

Today I want to talk about my Grandma Ginny, or GG as we used to call her. My kids called her GGG, for Great Grandma Ginny.

GG passed away a little over a year ago and I miss her terribly. I am very thankful for the time we had together and how encouraging she was to me. 

A little over six years ago, I had two toddler daughters. I decided I wanted to learn how to make them hairbows. Although I have always been creative, I was never very crafty. But I thought this would be a craft I could get into. 

As I was researching how to make hairbows online, I stumbled upon sewing blogs. I was instantly hooked. The clothes I was seeing were adorable! I thought of all the possibilities if I could make my girls their clothes. I wouldn't be limited on what the stores were selling. 

I remember coming over to my grandma's house with fabric and two toddlers in tow. I asked my grandma if she could teach me how to sew. Of course she agreed, because she would do anything for her grandchildren at the drop of a hat.

She asked if I had a pattern. The blogs I had read online were creating their own patterns, so I told her that was also my plan. No pattern, we can just make our own, can't we? GG didn't make my idea seem crazy, even though it was.

She helped me make a pattern and taught me how to use her machine. I needed her help for every step of the way, but she was patient and happy that we were doing this together. 

It took me several days of spending time at my grandma's house, but we finally finished that dress. 

It was supposed to fit Eve, but was a little big on her and fit Kylie perfectly. Maybe I should have used a pattern. Regardless, they are only a year apart in age, so it wasn't too far off. The main takeaway was that I was instantly hooked. I made that dress! What a feeling of accomplishment! From that day on, I sewed. 

Throughout the years, GG was my biggest cheerleader. She always acted impressed with everything I made. Coming from her it meant a lot. She was an experienced seamstress. She used to sew clothes for her own five children. She was head of the quilting group at her church. She even had the nerve to act like my sewing was better than hers. I knew it wasn't. She swore it was.

My mom and my Aunt Sara told me that when they had sewing projects from home ec. or 4H or I can't even remember, that GG, their mom, would tell them to rip stitches out if it wasn't perfect. She would make them do it again until it was. She never did that to me. I guess you treat your grandchildren differently than your children.

I always loved showing GG my new projects. Every time I would make something, I would get excited thinking about showing her. Her reactions never disappointed me. 

One project in particular is especially special. Last year, GG had just given me several fabrics that she found when she was going through her storage. I didn't waste any time sewing up a cardigan out of a mystery pink knit. 

I blogged about that cardigan here. This is how I styled it in the blog post.

Although I have worn that exact outfit once or twice, I typically wear the cardigan over a t-shirt with leggings or jeans. I actually wear this cardigan a lot, especially since it reminds me of my grandma, and it's usually styled like this:

But there is more to this cardigan than just the fact that it was fabric given to me by my grandma.

Shortly after making this, GG suffered a stroke. The stroke affected her speech and she was not able to speak after it happened. She was also mostly unresponsive. She never recovered and passed away a couple weeks later. 

One of the first days that I went to visit her in the hospital, back when hopes were still high, I wore this cardigan so I could show her what I had just made out of her fabric. When I showed her, she became very alert. Like I said, she wasn't very responsive most of the time, so this was a big deal. She just kept looking up and down at it. This was the most I had seen her move her head the whole time.

Finally she locked eyes with me and I could tell she was wanted to tell me something. I could tell she was trying to move her lips but couldn't. The look she gave me will forever be locked in my memory. She liked what I had made with her fabric. I just squeezed her hand and I can't remember what I said. 

Sewing is not the only bond I had with my grandma. But it was one thing that was special between us. Honestly it wouldn't have mattered what my hobby was, she loved everything her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren did. She was everyone's biggest cheerleader*. But I'm thankful that we could share that hobby, if only for a little while. 

I have a whole lot more I could share about GG. She was hilarious, a prankster, the friendliest person, the worst secret keeper...  I should write more about her if only for my own memory's sake. But I'll stop now, my eyes are watery. I miss her, but I'm thankful for having her in my life. 

*I mean, she even showed up to watch our intermural flag football team play** in college. (My cousin and my now husband were both on the team with me.)

**And lose.

As part of the blog tour, there are lots of bloggers also sharing about being thankful. Check out the schedule below. But first, there is a giveaway this time as well. Click on the rafflecopter link to find out more and to enter to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thankful Sewing Blog Tour
Intro to the tour
November 1st: mahlicadesigns Sewing with Sarah

Week 1:
Nov 1st: Tenille’s Thread
Nov 2nd: Candace Ayala
Nov 3rd: Hazelnut Handmade
Nov 4th: Musing of a Seamstress
Nov 5th: Sewing Portfolios
Nov 6th: mahlicadesigns
Nov 7th: Seams Sew Lo

Week 2:
Nov 8th: Margarita on the Ross
Nov 9th: Stitched by Jennie
Nov 10th: Sewing with D
Nov 13th: 5 outof 4 Patterns
Nov 14th: Tales of a Southern Mom

Week 3:

Nov 15th: Hazelnut Handmade
Nov 16th: Octaves of Color
Nov 17th: Kainara Stitches
Nov 18th: Kutti Couture
Nov 19th: The Petite Sewist
Nov 20th: My Heart will Sew On
Nov 21st: Needles to Say

Week 4:
Nov 22nd: Back 40 Life
Nov 23rd: Lovemade Handmade
Nov 24th: Sewing by Ti
Nov 25th: On Wednesdays We Sew
Nov 26th: Paisley Roots
Nov 27th: Mermaid Mama Designs
Nov 28th: Sew Haute Blog
Nov 29th: Ma Moose Handmade
Nov 30th: Everything Your Mama Made & More

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Sloane Blog Tour

My oldest daughter, Kylie, started off this Fall with barely any clothes for the cold weather. I sound like a broken record by now, but it is hard to find this girl clothes that fit! I try to make her as many clothes as I can, but with four kids with lots of activities, I am limited in time. I'm sure most people can relate. 

Enter the Sloane Sweater by Love Notions. It's a quick pattern with great results! There are a lot of options included in the pattern, but if you stick with the most basic ones, you can whip out a sweater in no time at all! 

Thanks to recently testing this pattern, and this blog tour, I was able to make Kylie four cozy shirts to kick off her Winter wardrobe. 

I can't pick a favorite and neither can she. In fact, she was driving me crazy trying to pick one to wear for school yesterday.

But before I show off her new sweaters, let's go over the pattern real quick. I love that it is drafted with sweater knits in mind. It's not the only fabric you can use, by far, but I do love sweater knits!

There are two views, both are perfectly slouchy but view A does have some shaping where view B is a straight boxy cut.

View A has a slight curved hem, and view B is finished with a band. Both have long sleeves finished with a cuff and a slight drop shoulder. 

Options include: kangaroo pocket (view B), hood or neckband, yoke, elbow patches. A thumbhole cuff is another option featured on the Love Notions blog.

First up, here is view A, no options with a neckband.

I have been holding on to this sweater knit from Joann for a couple years now. Funny story... when I bought it I envisioned a cute slightly slouchy sweater, but didn't have a pattern in mind. I had the Sloane pattern for women. I actually helped test it and it's what started my love affair with Love Notions patterns. I thought if only LN would put out the same pattern in girls' sizes, it would be perfect. I'm so glad I held on to this fabric, it was worth the wait!

Kylie and I both especially love that the heart of the fabric fits perfectly on the cuffs:

The slight curved hem is flattering and easy to sew since it's not a very dramatic curve. The back is also slightly longer, but only very slightly. 

This will be a great sweater for Kylie this Winter!

Can you spot the IKEA sign and building in the background. I didn't notice it when taking pictures, oops! But it makes me smile, we love IKEA!

Next up is view B, also with a neckband and without any options, with a sweater knit from Sincerely Riley. 

I love this one so much. It's effortlessly chic and cozy. I did lengthen the band a little bit because her hip measurements put her in a bigger size than her chest measurement and I didn't want it to be tight on her hips. The band isn't tight to begin with, but I added just over an inch which made it almost a 1:1 ratio. Besides adjusting for her height, which I do with anything I make for her, I didn't make any other adjustments. 

I love the fit of the cuffs, they are tight enough to hold the sleeve at the wrist but aren't too tight to be uncomfortable. 

View of the neckband and the slight drop sleeves. 

I couldn't leave this picture out! We had a fun photoshoot! 

This third one is view A, also no options and with a neckband. I didn't use a sweater knit for this one, it's some type of polyester knit from a mystery box from Pretty Posh Prints. 

I made this "sweater" during pattern testing. She has worn it on a weekly basis since then. I also made myself one during testing, since the women's pattern was tested again for an updated release at the same time. I'll have to share my versions a different day! The only thing I will share now is that I used a brushed polyester knit which turned out great for this pattern.

Finally the fourth one is view B, with the yoke and hood. I used a Liverpool fabric which was in the same mystery box as the previous one. Actually make that the previous two because mine was from the same box. Pretty Posh Prints has the best mystery boxes!

I almost decided not to share this version because I made it very early in testing and the pattern has been tweaked since then. But Kylie has worn this more times than I can count since I tested this, so I felt like it was worth sharing. Just keep in mind this one is not the final pattern which was released. The changes were all small, but I can't even remember what they were at this point. Love Notions pays huge attention to detail during the testing process so I just know small tweaks here and there were made. 

The optional yoke is a fun touch! 

The yoke wraps around to the front:

Congratulations if you made it though all of those pictures! I think that is a record for my blog posts. 

The fun doesn't have to end here though. Check out all of the other bloggers on the tour, there is a lot of fun inspiration for the Sloane Sweater for both girls and women!

And if you want to check out the actual pattern, you can view them here*:
*Affiliate links. Should you purchase a pattern after clicking on the link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only promote patterns I love!

Love Notions Blog Tour
November 6 - November 10:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Monster Mash

It's my turn today on the Monster Mash blog tour hosted by Sewing by Ti. This blog tour is all about Halloween costumes or mash-ups of patterns, however you want to interpret "Monster Mash."

The only problem? I still haven't sewn our Halloween costumes this year. 

It's been a crazy busy month, which was true for the last two Octobers as well. The last two years I have not sewn our Halloween costumes, but I really thought I would get around to it this year. Early even. Ha, what was I thinking? 

We have had birthdays, school plays, theater class productions, soccer games, an out of town wedding, other family events, even a beloved pet passing away... Not to mention, we love going to the Halloween events at Worlds of Fun, our local theme park. We have gone every weekend in October, sometimes more than once! Kylie has even discovered the fun of haunted houses this year, which are present at Worlds of Fun in October, and it's been a blast taking her. We were worried she wouldn't be old enough to go, but she has really loved them.

So here I am, with Halloween right around the corner and no costumes made. Eve and Kylie, our oldest two, have store bought costumes, but I still need to make costumes for the younger two. Emmett, three years old, wants to be Link from Zelda. Mabel, two years old, is set on being a baby bear. And I have to make them. It's not that those costumes don't exist in the store, it's just that the prices are more than I want to pay. 

Since I don't have costumes from this year to show you yet, I will show instead costumes from 2014, which was the last year I made costumes. I have not blogged about these before, so it works out well. I still hope to make a Link and a baby bear costume for this year, so check back after the weekend to see them!

In the meantime, I bring you... Ariel, Belle, and a sumo wrestler. Just three costumes because Mabel wasn't born yet. 

Kylie went as Ariel.

To make the Ariel costume, I used the Alex & Anna PJ pattern from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop for the top. I used a nude colored interlock and purple sequined dot fabric, both from Joann. I simply cut out the purple fabric in a sweetheart cropped shape and sewed it unto the front piece of the shirt and finished the shirt as normal.

Tip: When sewing the sequin dot fabric, the glue from the sequins can gum up your needle. To prevent this from happening, place wax paper over the fabric/seam while you sew and tear it away when you are done. If you have small pieces of wax paper stuck in the seam, use tweezers to get it out. It will save you a lot of trouble. 

For the skirt, I used green interlock from Joann and this tutorial from Girl Inspired. Super Easy!

The red wig was from Amazon, I don't have the link of this exact one. I remember it wasn't too expensive. It held up well for Halloween, but after a few months I was tired of cutting red hairs out of the vacuum cleaner and finding them all over the house so I get rid of it. But the wig was perfect for what we needed it for!

The best thing about blogging about these outfits long after the fact, is the chance to look at pictures I haven't seen in a while.

I found this one and it cracked me up. This was Kylie just acting like the Little Mermaid, I'm sure. She's our child who is in theater, in case you can't tell. 

And I found this sequence of pictures. I don't remember this happening, or why I continued to take pictures as Kylie was losing her wig. So funny. 

Next up, Eve was Belle, from Beauty and the Beast.

For Eve's costume, I used this free pattern from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop. It only comes in one size and it fit Eve well at 5 years old, maybe even a little big, but perfect for a costume. She ended up wearing several layers under this dress as it was frigid on Halloween this year. 

For sizing reference, she is very petite. She has caught up some in the last few years, but as a kindergartner, she was especially small for her age. 

I used cheap satin type fabric, tulle, and a premade flower, all from Joann. I remember this dress going together quickly. I liked how the skirt gathers were sewn with elastic. 

Lastly. little baby Emmett was a sumo wrestler. 

He wore cloth diapers that were solid colored and he had just started toddling around. I thought it would be great if he could wear nothing but one of his red cloth diapers and we could say he was a sumo wrestler and call it a day. But it was too cold for that. 

I used the leftover nude colored interlock from Kylie's costume to sew the Classic Footed Pajamas from Peek-a-Boo pattern shop. Then I cut out a red fleece diaper using one of his cloth diapers as a guide. I used velcro on the tabs to keep the "diaper" on him. 

Unfortunately, it was way too cold for him to trick or treat this year. We took him to a few houses and then I brought him home while Jason took Kylie and Eve trick or treating some more. They had to wear a lot of layers and their winter coats, and even then they came home early. It was not a great year for trick or treating. 

Don't forget to check back in a few days to see if I was able to make Emmett and Mabel their costumes this year! 

Thankfully the other bloggers in this blog tour have knocked it out of the park! Go check out what they have made and forget all about my faux pas.

October 1st: Sewing By Ti Intro
Monday, October 2nd: Sewing Blue
3rd: That's Sew Lily
4th: Hazelnut Handmade
5th: Seams Sew Lo
6th: Sewing By Ti

Monday, October 9th: That's Sew Amy
10th: Stitched By Jennie
11th: Hazelnut Handmade
12th: Seams Sew Lo
Friday the 13th!: Crafty Like a Rox

Sunday, October 15th: Mermaids Den
16th: Very Blissful
17th: Robynne and the Bobbin
18th: Sewing By Ti
19th: Octaves of Color
20th: Tenille's Thread

Tuesday, October 24th: Adventures with Bubba and Bug
25th: My Heart Will Sew On
26th: Ma Moose Handmade *** You are here.
27th: EYMM
28th: Mermaid Mama Designs
29th: The Fairy Dust Bin

Monday, October 30th: Doctora Botones
Happy Halloween, October 31st: Sew Like a Sloth