Monday, December 4, 2017

Happy Holidays with Love Notions Patterns!

How is it December already??! I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like it was JUST Halloween! The costumes are long since packed away, and it's time to get to work on those gift lists. Being creative at the holidays is really a blessing and a curse - I love coming up with ideas for our family and friends and the excitement of getting it *just right* is so much fun. But the amount of time I end up spending often threatens to exceed the number of hours in a day, and then I end up exhausted and stressed - and much more Grinchy than I'd like to admit. 

In the end, my desire for handmade holidays always wins and I have found that using tried-and-true patterns helps the process for me tremendously. I'm not sure why I'd think that using a new-to-me pattern (usually at the last minute lol) is a good idea, but for years I found myself doing that. I've had much better outcomes and far less frustration when I turn to my favorites for the people on my list. Love Notions never steers me wrong, and the fit is always spot on - whether it's for ladies in my life, the kids in my life, and now, even their dolls. Miss P and her friends are still completely obsessed with their American Girl (and other 18") dolls, and the doll size Everyday Playdress was actually the very first dolly dress that I ever made. This fall, Tami included a doll version (the Peanut vest) with every copy of the Acorn Vest for girls, and that makes a super cute (and easy - it's just three seams and no hems!) faux fur vest. And now, she's brought us the blockbuster Laundry Day Tee for DOLLS! I agree, Tami is the best. 

I sewed up this one from double brushed poly and the drape is great. If you want to make a tunic or tee version, just trim from the bottom before you finish the hem - I'd recommend trying it on the doll if you have one handy since the weight of the fabric may affect the finished length of the dress. I made one in velvet for Miss P's BFF recently and the dress became tea length from the weight (and stretch) of the velvet I used!

I also wanted to add a quick hair accessory to match since the girls are always styling their dolls' hair and are suckers for a cute bow. This one was super quick! I cut two rectangles 3" long by 4" wide, and a strip that was 3" long by 1.5" wide for the bow center. Sew the rectangles RST and leave a small opening for turning; turn right side out and press. Topstitch if desired or just close the opening with a few stitches by hand. 

(For the bow center, fold RST lengthwise (like a hot dog bun) and sew or serge down the long raw edge. Turn right side out and press with the seam centered along the back. This is shown in the last picture above.)

Next, pinch the bow to the shape you want and wrap the bow center around, marking where you'd like the seam to close the bow center. 

Take the bow center piece and match up the short ends, RST, and sew that edge. Turn right side out (you'll now have a loop) and guide the main bow piece into the bow center loop. 

You can use hot glue to attach to a hair clip or barrette (or even a pin back if you'd rather make a brooch), or make a headband like I did. 

For the headband, I cut 11" of fold over elastic (mine is 5/8" wide), and just slid the elastic through the bow center at the back of the bow. Bring the short raw edges RST and sew (or use a dab of hot glue) to close the ends so you have a loop.  I adjusted the elastic so that seam ended up under the bow center also, and used a few hand stitches to keep the bow placed where I wanted it on the headband. 

And that's it! Dolly's got a new outfit for the holidays and I've just checked another gift off the list.\ With only a week until Chanukah starts this year, I've got my work cut out for me! (No pun intended lol)

Thanks for stopping by - and please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour, too!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sewing for Kindergarten: A Blog Tour

I've been following this series for the past couple of years, and when Jenn asked if I wanted to participate this year I jumped at the chance. This boy has been so excited and proud to start kindergarten, and I knew he'd love to do this blog tour to show off a bit.

Our town has full-day kindergarten, and he only went to preschool part-time (last year was two full days and two half days) but I knew he was ready to make the leap. He had a fantastic teacher last year who really connected with him and encouraged him, and he felt really confident when school finally started this September. He's excited to be in the same school as his sister (she's in second grade), and has been really enjoying all of the activities they do each day. We're extremely lucky and our kids have gym class 3x/week, as well as weekly classes in art, music, library/technology, and STEM. There's a designated playground for kindergarten, so recess is chaotic and fun, and he even admitted to dozing off during rest time after all of the excitement that came before.

He also started taekwando lessons this summer,
if you couldn't tell. ;)
I'll admit to being a little nervous - sometimes you just don't know how your kids will react to a big change, you know? He has the same teacher his sister had (and whom we all adore), so that familiarity was helpful. But still, I wasn't expecting him to just march right in on the first day and ask why we were still hanging around! 😂

Dressing for kindergarten has been a bit less interesting than it was with his sister, since he really just prefers to grab a pair of shorts and a graphic tee and head down for breakfast. I've made a lot of clothes for him over the years, but lately I find myself making fewer of the staples and more of the "special" but less-worn items - think oxfords and ties, lined zip-front hoodies, etc. He's pretty tough on his clothes but still loves for me to sew for him, so it's been a bit of a balancing act.

For this photoshoot, he had asked for a new pullover hoodie so I used the Samson sweater pattern from Love Notions and upcycled a men's quilted sweatshirt that I'd found on clearance at Kmart last year. I decided to challenge myself to do a pair of jeans, too, and used the Moto Maxx pattern (also from Love Notions) for that. I've made several pairs of these pants for him, but always from supplex or french terry and not from denim. This denim was also upcycled, and is a thick knit that was formerly a pair of men's plus size pants. The fit of the pants is great in this fabric, and although I'd like to add more detailing to the waistband, I'm happy overall with the outfit and I know he'll get a lot of use out of it.

This guy has always been my one-word answer kiddo when it came to questions like "how was your day?" and "what did you do at school?" Until now, that is! He's been such a chatterbox about school and all of the things he did and learned and played with. I love his energy and enthusiasm - and we've all been sleeping well since kindergarten began!

That face. <3
Please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour this week, too - I love seeing all of these newly minted kindergartners in their handmades! <3

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Love Notions Hip Hop Tank Blog Tour - another old favorite revisited!

The Hip Hop tank was another early pattern that Miss P and I tested for Tami, and it was high time to revisit it! A friend of Miss P has a shirt that had a contrast triangle sewn into the back, and I've been wanting to recreate it for awhile now. The basic view A was the perfect base for that - I simply cut the back pattern into pieces (cutting the center triangle on the fold and mirrored pieces for the back sides) and added seam allowance before sewing the pieces back together and assembling per pattern instructions.

I love the fit of this tank on Miss P - the chest is a fairly slim fit, and it flares ever so slightly toward the hem. It's not too flowy and not too tight; this pattern really is a great staple to have in my kiddo's (and my) wardrobe. I love the slight racerback, too! I added the little pocket to the front to balance the back with a little visual interest, and it was a great way to share my hoarded plaid from Raspberry Creek Fabrics without giving the whole yard away to her. ;) 

Oy, this girl. She is looking much too grown up lately, but is still happy to pretend-text her buddies on an old battery-less Blackberry.  😂

Make sure to enter our giveaway for LN credit, and check out the other blogs on the tour this week!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Love Notions Bluezette Blog Tour - an old favorite reinvented!

Wait, what??! Two blog posts in one week - and I've got two dresses to share for this one, too! Miss P has been asking for a fancy dress for some time, and our casual family life just hasn't obliged. Cue a bat mitzvah invitation for my cousin's daughter, and my girl was beside herself with excitement. The Bluezette was a great choice, and was versatile enough to be easily modified for different fabric types. The light aqua dress was her "real" dress for the party, but I felt like I needed to sew up a sample before I cut into those fabrics.

Miss P and I agreed that the gathered skirt from the Bluezette needed to be amped up into a twirl-worthy circle skirt. I used the skirt from the Cartwheel Collection (also by Love Notions) and compared waistlines to make sure the widths were compatible. Lo and behold, it was nearly a perfect match! I lengthened the two edges of my skirt pattern piece along the double folds to make sure the skirt was long enough.

For my practice dress, I used about a yard of this bright coral knit and about 2 yards of the soft nylon tulle (a clearance find from Joann Fabrics) - this dress was a huge hit with Miss P and it cost me less than $12 to make! I made the underlining per the Bluezette pattern, since the tulle was sheer even with two layers. I basted the three skirt layers together at the waist, and attached to the bodice per pattern instructions. Since the waist seam was a bit bulky, I pressed it open and only sewed the bodice portion of the seam up and in place to form the elastic casing. The elastic gently gathered the waistline and there was still plenty of ease for comfort.

For Miss P's "real" dress, I found these beautiful light aqua fabrics in the Casa Collection section at Joanns - the special occasion fabrics are organized by color, and since they introduce new colors seasonally, you can often get great deals on discontinued colors.

There are always basic fabrics like the stretch taffeta that I used to line the skirt, but there are often a few exciting options in the color family. In this case, the net overlay had chiffon flowers and little swirls of sequins, and Miss P nearly lost her mind.

I used a yard each of the two skirt layers, and skipped the underskirt since the taffeta was opaque. For the bodice, I used about a half yard of stretch lace and lined it with cotton lycra. Super soft and definitely more comfortable than most of my own dressy dresses! This time I didn't add the waist elastic and just left the seam with a little more ease - since the skirt was woven and not terribly stretchy (and I was also adding a chiffon sash), I thought it would be more comfortable for Miss P that way.

She was thrilled, and the dress was perfect for the occasion. Dressy without being over-the-top or out of place, and certainly age appropriate and full of twirl. She wore it "backwards" since the weight of the skirt pulled the bodice down a little too low for our liking - so versatile!

Poor little brother got a new tie, at least. ;)
We tested the Bluezette before its release two years ago, and Miss P wore her dresses from testing a fair amount. It's a versatile pattern with a great fit, and I'm glad we could use it to make a perfect party dress, too!

If you'd like to purchase your own copy of the Bluezette (also available for ladies!), both size ranges are on sale this week. You can enter below for a chance to win a shop credit at Love Notions, too!

"Rafflecopter code: a Rafflecopter giveaway"

And last but not least, please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour this week!


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fighter Tee Blog Tour - a pattern fundraiser for St. Jude's!

No better reason to dust off this ol' blog than to support the fundraising efforts of a good friend, Kelly of Handmade Boy fame! Kelly is a runner who will be running in the St. Jude Peoria run this summer, and she had the brilliant idea to combine her two loves of sewing and running for her fundraising efforts. With drafting donated by Tami Meyer of Love Notions, Kelly developed and tested the Fighter Tee, a relaxed fit tee with contrast side and sleeve panels.

The fit is awesome for my little guy - he got two tees during testing and requested this pattern for his birthday party shirt, too. We had a Japanese lunch and DIY bubble tea bar at our house for family last weekend, and the Fighter Tee was a great way to highlight this cool sushi print fabric.


I designed the vinyl in Silhouette Studio and after a brief debate over whether it should say "miso awesome" or "miso cute" instead, we settled on "miso cool." Cool, indeed. Also cool in this guy's book is his Flash tee from testing, which he grabs from the laundry pile to wear as soon as it's clean.


Want to get your own copy? The pattern is just $5 on Etsy, with all proceeds going directly to St. Jude Children's Hospital - all patients are treated at no charge, so fundraising is essential to their mission and their continued success.

Make sure to check out the other stops on the tour this week for some more Fighter Tee inspiration, too!