Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wordless Work in Progress Wednesday: Sneak Peeks!

Since it's "wordless" I can get away with not telling you what these are for. ;)

It's a dress. I'll give you that much. ;) You have to wait 2 more weeks!!

And this...I'm not even saying yet. But if you want a mini tutorial on that cool fabric weaving, come back tomorrow!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Circle Time!

Finally - it's Mystery Challenge time in the Sewing/Craft/Creative Blogger Facebook group! (If you fit in any of those blogging categories, go join! Great group, full of opportunities and great people, and run by the tireless, super organized, super sweet Stephanie at SwoodsonSays!)

We've been brainstorming, trading themes, and working for a month, and now it's time to share!

The challenge: make something, anything - a piece of clothing, a craft, whatever you like - based on the theme you're given.

My theme (given to me by Amy at Friends Stitched Together): Circles! They're everywhere, they're infinite, and they appear a lot in my hobbies - think of all the "circles" you see while sewing/crafting! Spools of thread or ribbon, buttons and snaps, dials on your sewing machine/serger, paint bottles, bobbins...

I decided to make a piece of clothing, since that's my crafting focus. Plus, I just love to sew for my girls, even if they're not fully appreciative. ;) In this case, I left the finished top on the floor for Natalie to find, so it was "her idea". Sure enough, she brought it to me - "Oh, pwetty CUTE Mom! Put it on!"

So I did. She's right. It's pwetty CUTE.

I came up with this beach coverup/swingy top mostly by accident. I'd considered a simple circle skirt; a dress with circle pockets; even dreamed of making a circle skirt constructed entirely of smaller circles! 
Mostly I procrastinated.

Finally I Googled "circles" (yeah, I know, broad enough search term?) and found these pictures (below) in the images. Color wheel! Of course! A circle made of circles.

I cut out a simple a-line tunic from some cozy white sweatshirt fleece I had sitting on a shelf. Natalie loves anything knit, since all she likes to wear are pajamas. Then I cut up a rainbow of colors to applique on the front, to make the color wheel. Going through my collection of fat quarters to get a large enough selection was fun!

After trying and failing to finish the edges of the straps a couple of different ways (bias tape was too stiff to go around the small curves properly, fold over elastic wouldn't behave itself), I said "Forget it" - and cut them off. Suddenly my tunic was a top! I added bias tape straps, knotting them over the shoulders for a playful summery look. Now what to do about the hem?...

I don't remember what gave me the idea, but I ended up cutting strips of the sweatshirt fleece from the scraps left, and braiding them together. I had to hand stitch the braid on, since I'm pretty sure my sewing machine would have no idea what to make of it! Finally, some 1/8" elastic stitched around the neckline, and a bit across the back to pull the whole thing in - it was a bit too wide for skinny Natalie, but pulling in the back made it the perfect size. It also has the added benefit of giving the skirt a faux-circle-skirt appearance!

It's far from what I imagined at first, but Natalie looks adorable in it, and since it's so hard to get her to wear anything I make, the best part is that she loves it!

Go check out the other Mystery Challenge bloggers as well!

Amy @ Friends Stitched Together

Stephanie @ Swoodson Says & Fenna @ FABulous Home Sewn

Tasha @ Friends Stitched Together & Irene @ Sugaridoo

Shawnta @ Shawnta Sews & Jessica @ Make Me Crafty

Carmen @ Mar Abierto

Kelly @ Kelly J Designs

Becca @ Becca Duval Photography & Lisa @ Stubbornly Crafty

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pattern Review: The Love Me Knot Shorts by GYCT

How cute are these shorts?!

Chelsea from GYCT Designs/Get Your Crap Together has just released probably the cutest shorts pattern ever - the Love Me Knots! They can be purchased on etsy or craftsy.

Even for a slowpoke like me, these shorts are still a quick sew. From printing and taping the pattern together, to the final stitches on the keyhole bias tape, I think they took me an hour. Hour and a half, tops. And like I said, I'm a slow sewer. Sewist. (Why doesn't someone come up with a better word? Quick!)


Natalie's giving me the "scary eyes" here - "I'll show you for making me model again, Mom." Don't let that fool you. She loves these shorts almost as much as I do! Which is good, because she's the one wearing them. That's not to say I wouldn't, if they'd fit me. (ha!)

This is the first shorts pattern Chelsea has released, and what a success! Being part of the testing process was great fun, as always. I can count on - um - one finger, actually, the number of times I've made shorts or pants, even though I have an embarrassing number of patterns for them. Bad news for all those patterns now, because I'm pretty sure Natalie just needs about 20 pairs of these.

(okay, maybe not 20)

Miss Sassy Pants Shorts here was surprisingly agreeable to putting on her purely coincidental carefully thought out outfit (that tee just happened to match the bias tape. Good thing it still fits, barely ;) ) She didn't say anything when I showed her the shorts, but she did raise her eyebrows and shuck off the pants she was wearing pretty quickly! I took that as a good sign.

These have a flat front and an elasticized back, easily customizable for the perfect fit! Natalie's elastic could be taken in just a wee bit more, but this was the first sew. Even so, they fit wonderfully! The waist is just snug enough that I don't feel like they'll fall down when she's running (which is basically all the time), and the hips are just loose enough to allow for freedom of movement. Plus, the leg openings can be gathered as much or as little as you like, to customize the "bubbliness" of your little girl's shorts!

I love, LOVE that keyhole detail.

Bias tape on the hems and around the keyhole openings makes for a quick and easy finish - plus it's so easy to make your own, to match or coordinate with your shorts fabric perfectly. 

And how about those pockets? A little piece of 1/8" elastic stitched inside gathers the top, adding another sweet, girly detail. And what little kid doesn't love pockets?

I have nothing against a full elastic waistband, especially on kids' clothing, but the flat front of these shorts has such a classy look! Taking things a step up over at GYCT Designs - go grab your pattern now! (psst...if you go purchase on etsy, use code LOVEME for 30% off! Good until Saturday!)

**This post has been linked up to Make It and Love It's Saturday linky party, as well as We Did It! Wednesday @ SewMuchAdo

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Two birthdays, two dresses

My girls were born two years and one week apart, which is fun. For now. I imagine at some point they'll get sick of sharing birthday parties and demand their own lives, because sheesh, come on Mom, we're not the same person. Separate celebrations, please.

But for now, we make it easy with one party. They do, however, get their own presents - although I think Natalie imagines that they're all for her, and Sam can just share when Natalie's feeling magnanimous.

This year I was determined that they should have "birthday dresses", though neither one of them got to wear them on their actual birthdays - in both cases, I was a day too late in finishing. (Again, not sure they care. Sam, because - well, she's a baby - and Natalie, because she never wants to wear anything I make her. Come to think of it, she doesn't really want to wear much, period. She might be three.)

So happy birthday to my girls! I just can't believe I have two toddlers.  Sort of. I still think of Sam as being a "baby", though she really isn't. She's standing on her own more and more, and taking a few tentative steps when she thinks of it. Gotta keep up with Natalie, who's faster than a speeding mom or dad. I like to think their dresses say something about them.

Sam's dress is from a free pattern, the Bella dress (available in size 4T, but for a limited time it was available in extended sizes, and I managed to snap it up!) from Handicraftiness blog. I got my hands on just a half yard of Wee Wander - Wander Woods - in Petal (Sarah Jane Studios for Michael Miller), and found some Timeless Treasures Sketch in Pink to coordinate. Both fabrics are light, sweet, and just have Sam's name all over them. She's such a sweet, calm little girl (I'm really not sure where she got that.) This dress makes her look even more like the sweet princess she is, with the dainty flutter sleeves, gathered skirt, and ruffle accent on the bodice.

I had an oops! moment with the sleeves, forgetting that they were supposed to be lined (that's a sewing late at night/not reading carefully mistake!) so I did a narrow hem instead. They don't look quite as nice, but it works! Plus, I think it gives the edge a little waviness to add to the girly feel (at least that's what I'm telling myself! ;) )

(I have no pictures of either girl actually wearing their dress, so you can't see that I took in the bit under the zipper on the back a little too much, and that the shoulders on this pattern are a bit too wide for little Sam. Just pretend it fits her perfectly, because it looks oh so cute. ;) )

I found Natalie's Clifford fabric on ebay, and a blue and white dot to coordinate. She loves Clifford (this picture is from her first Christmas - my sister and brother-in-law gave her a stuffed Clifford and some books. She "attacked" the stuffed dog, shrieking and giggling and hugging, and she's rarely been without him since.)

This dress is the Gem dress from Brynberlee Designs on etsy. Must give a shout out for her customer service, as well - when I bought the dress, Sarah was running a BOGO sale for a group I was in on Facebook. I bought the Gem dress, and another (the Katelin) - but the Gem listing was wrong, and I got the Katelin and Faith instead! After messaging Sarah, she not only assured me she'd fix the problem, but sent the Gem dress to me free of charge! I've since bought the Lindsey dress, as well as the Erin skirt. Brynberlee patterns are adorable, and I can't wait to have some time to sew them all!

I love the one shoulder look, with the thinner ruffly strap on the other side. It's the only pattern I own with this unique silhouette, and I love the "sass" that it brings to the look - it's Natalie, all over. The double ruffle on the bodice makes the party look complete, and the elastic bands around the neckline and waist ensure a perfect custom fit. I didn't follow the instructions on the pattern for the strap and ruffles exactly, but I came out with the same effect. Plus, the dress can be worn with the strap on either side! I did a little decorative stitching on the hem, too, to echo the feel of the dots and ruffles.

I tried, and I think I succeeded, in capturing my girls' personalities in their "birthday" dresses - I'm excited to make this a tradition to continue, to attempt to capture them in a special outfit for their special day each year!

Friday, March 28, 2014


No, we're not talking soccer. One of my personal sewing goals was reached this past week! I have officially sold doll clothing. :D (And she said she loves it, so I hope she meant it! haha!) Oh, my confidence got a boost! Always such a wonderful feeling when your work is appreciated, isn't it?

So, here are some pictures of the wardrobe that went out this past week!

Abigail in a bright, spring peasant dress with some Easter friends, and having a Princess Pony Party in a pink and purple party peasant dress! Say that last bit 10 times fast! ;)

Abigail, if you remember, is The Plush Plum's "prototype" doll, the first one ever made, and I have the honor of having her model for me.

Here is a kimono sleeve party dress, complete with a red satin sash - who doesn't love a big bow?

Two retro A-line dresses, and two more with kimono sleeves! 

A tee and pants set - perfect for a zoo picnic!

 And finally, a pretty tee and shorts set, great for walking the dog on a warm day, and a funky nature print set with capris!

I have more planned, and I can't wait to finish more styles for Abigail and her doll friends!
See these and follow along with future updates (including 18 inch doll clothes, coming soon) on my Facebook page!

*Pants/shorts/capris made with a self drafted pattern block. Shirts and dresses are made using modified Dolls & Daydreams or Bit of Whimsy patterns*

Monday, March 24, 2014

Little Kiwi's Closet: Bella Bolero Review

LKC again! I love Lydia's patterns!

A while ago, I made four of the Tara Tiered Sundress (buy it here), but for some reason it still isn't warm enough to wear them. At least, not without some tights, and a sweater of some sort - which is where the Bella Bolero comes in!

Bella comes in three styles, with four sleeve options! So many mix and match opportunities to create the perfect finishing touch for all those gorgeous spring dresses.

Here are a few that I made during the testing process: View A, with long sleeves on Sam, and 3/4 sleeves on Natalie. View A is a classic bolero style, where the sides curve outward over the chest. (These two pictures made the tutorial and tester pics, too - :D I'm ridiculously happy about that. It might not be a big deal to some people, but it is for me - first time that my tester pictures have been shown!) They're also showing off two of their Taras here, as well.

View B, with the sides curving inward, and a tie at the base (long sleeves for Natalie this time) - excuse the outfit. She, um, chose it herself. ;)

...and View C, a ballet wrap style with long ties! The wrap can go to either side, depending on preference. This is the sleeveless option, which is great for those sleeveless dresses on a warm-but-breezy day. Plus, it has a little bit of a "sporty" look! Sam's wearing a store bought dress, here.

 This is an all-knit pattern, with the option of using fold-over elastic for the edges and ties. I used old t-shirts and sheets for all of mine -a great way to upcycle and create something new out of those old, worn-in pieces you have sitting around! Plus, they're nice and cozy - my girls love them!

See how happy she is about her Bella and Tara?

Sunday, March 16, 2014


The create3.5 facebook page is up and running! Well, it's at a slow jog anyway. ;)

Click over and follow me there! I'd love to hear suggestions and requests!