Monday, October 20, 2014

Love Notions Sale: Happy Birthday to one of our Favorite Designers

Today is our dear talented friend Tami's Birthday. Her patterns are our among some of our favorites. Just when we think that she has topped herself she comes out with a new design that is just as amazing as the one before. The first pattern we tried of hers was the Hip Hop Top as part of the Pattern Revolutions Women Bundle Up sale. I knew then and there I had found a designer that I loved.  She is having a great deal today only where she is offering all of her patterns for 36% off.

Moto Maxx Pants & Tee (full review, coming tomorrow)

For today only, you can get any of her patterns at a discount of 36% with the code 'birthday36'. Also in honor of the newest release of her Moto Maxx set the pattern will be discounted 15% off through Saturday the 25th with the code 'motomaxx'. If you're able to, seriously consider taking advantage of this sale; I promise you will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Spider Costume - Speedy Gonzales Halloween Hack & Giveaway

Today we are participating in Swoonson Says Halloween Hacks Blog Tour there have been some amazing creations in this tour that you really should check it out.

So I am going to set the record straight from the beginning. I am not a super mom when it comes to holiday's we nod at them as they pass by with little effort. I am a bit of an all or nothing personality. Last year our Halloween costumes all came from the kids closets or dress up bin. I believe we attended 3 different Halloween parties/activities and for each one the Ryder had a different costume; sailor, leaf monster & builder. Boston's costume was a mix of clothes that were too small for her and a silly pair of earrings. I will totally own up to my inabilities but I also have frustrations with the lack of decision making on the part of my children. It seems like for 3 months proceeding Halloween they come up with a different idea for a costume, which could be frustrating if I was in the middle of a project only to have them change their mind.
I let them choose their costumes this year but I set a two rules before we started, I know these might seem a bit unreasonable to you but I really feel like this give us a good foundation for the future:
No Characters: This gave me the power to block having to Green Ninja and a Spider Man Costume in my house that would result in broken things. It also made it so I didn't add to the number of Elsa's would be running around this Halloween. I know this makes me a very mean mom. It really boils down to I would rather my kids think of Halloween in a more creative way and not play the part of some character.
Locking in Costume ideas by October 5th: I want to raise the kids to have appreciation for me and my time. I really could whip out both their costumes in a day or so but I want to have the option to do it at my leisure.
 I thought that Boston would have a hard time coming up with a costume idea so I gave the suggestion of a princess, because there for several months she would introduce herself as such. To this suggestion she sharply answered saying, "No, something scary!....Like a 'pider, with lots of arms" Her eyes open twice as she explained it to me. After that her brother decided on a ghost. I teasingly joked that I didn't know how to make one of those so he would have to help me. I think I can handle that one but I think I am going to have him help so that he has ownership of his costume. 
Back to the spider, with lots of arms. For this costume I used a Size 3 Bimaa Sweater with a lined hood. This was originally created for her cousin but it was too tight so she got it instead. But if you don't sew or don't sew costumes you could just pick up a black hoodie. For the Pants I used the Size 3 EYMM Jocelyn Leggings. I thought about making a smaller size (18-24 M) based on her width measurements but it was my first time sewing the pattern so I didn't want them to be too small so I just made the size 3. I am a little disappointed in myself for not going down because I think it would have really helped with the slouchy crotch part. Oh well. This is another part where you could pull leggings out of your kids wardrobe or pick up from the store.
Now for the "lots of arms" part. I really was feeling lazy and I didn't want to go to the store so I shopped my stash and stitched up the bottom of a pair of Speedy Gonzales footless tights that no longer fit Boston. Then I filled the legs with batting and then cut them off at the top of the leg and stitched them close. I didn't have another pair so after looking around I found a small amount of faux suede and fashioned another set of legs to match. They ended up being the same width but were a bit longer. I decided to use these as the bottom legs since they would reach down further to her actual legs. Using the legging material I made two bands that would tie around her back and positioned the legs so they would match the position of her arms.
To giver her control of all her "arms". I used yarn to make a web on the outside. This was a pretty quick adjustment done with a few loops. I am so glad that I could something that she could love and would make her so happy, but didn't break our bank or make me crazy. If you took the short cuts in clothes I think this costume could really be a 30 minute project. Giving you more time to jump in leaves, make pumpkin cookies or just enjoy your sweet babies.

Would you like the chance to win a prize? I thought so. Here are the prize packages being offered:
Three winners will be chosen randomly (and their form completion verified) and emailed within 3 days of the hunt's closure.
A big thank you to all the sponsors who donated prizes!
Pack 1 { $30 to The Ribbon Retreat +2 patterns from GYCT Designs + 1 pattern from Dog Under My Desk}
Pack 2 {$30 to The Fabric Fairy + Kids Pattern Package from imagine gnats}
Pack 3 {$30 to Fat Quarter Shop + 2 patterns from Everything Your Mama Made & More +Ramblin' Raglan Mega Pattern Pack from Muse of the Morning}

To see some truly amazing costumes visit our fellow blog tour members. These ladies have done some fabulous work and I guarantee that you won't be disappointed by what you see:
Wednesday, October 1st: Rebekah Sews & Dog Under My Desk
Thursday, October 2nd: Friends Stitched Together & Sew Pandi
Friday, October 3rd: That's What She Crafted & Everything Your Mama Made & More
Monday, October 6th: Shawnta Sews & Handmade Boy
Tuesday, October 7th: Muse of the Morning & Swoodson Says
Wednesday, October 8th: Call Ajaire & Sew McCool
Thursday, October 9th: Once Upon A Sewing Machine  & imagine gnats
Friday, October 10th: The Sewing Geek & Feather's Flights
Monday, October 13th: Get Your Crap Together & Needle and Ted
Tuesday, October 14th: The Shaffer Sisters & The Inspired Wren
Wednesday, October 15th: Pattern Revolution & Just Joshin

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cash Cab Inspired Dress

This is a was originally posted over at I'm Feelin' Crafty as part of her Sew Ready to Play series. But is coming home today.
We are so tickled to be back at Sew Ready to Play. The parameters of this series always make it easy to say yes. Despite the fact that we love it, it always takes us forever to decide on project.
I love this series because each year it gives me a great opportunity to reflect on my kids and family together time. Life with kids is like getting to see the full spectrum of colors. Without them in my life things would be much more bland and predicable, but with them there is a flooding of emotions. Moments to treasure like a first smile, or something that becomes funny just because of your child's uncontrollable laughter that leaves everyone feeling good inside.
Lately things have been crazy busy and it has been hard to notice those glorious moments in the stress of deadlines. But I was given my glimpse of heaven this week as my husband came home from school and began playing with the kids. They didn't need a special toy for entertainment, just the presence of someone they special giving them love and attention.
To be honest this dress only came after 3 failed attempts to make my son, Heber, a sweatshirt that I could make Uno themed. It was going to be witty and funny, but it didn't work out. He has a sway back and massive head so each pattern I attempted either didn't fit over his head or they had such a narrow fit that they almost looked girly.
Right now is such a busy time with real life, a new baby, and Project Run and Play that I really didn't have time for these failures. Scary offered up the idea of a Pictureka as a final backup plan and I thought that we could put the "girly sweatshirts" on Boston who is a girl and have her model it. But I was feeling so down. The option felt plausible but was also a let down to the creative process.
So I went back to the drawing board and figured out this look. Without a doubt, of all the games our little family has, Cash Cab is definitely the most used and loved. The kids don't yet get the trivia of it, but they love rolling the dice, moving the cars around to different destinations, and playing with money. I have to keep this one at the top of the closet because it is so interesting to the kids.
I love how fun and modern this look is. I feel that if you didn't have the context of cash cab you could still really like the dress. The design of the skirt was inspired by the logo on the TV version of Cash Cab. I made it by just doing a little math and planning out the exact size I wanted of my finished squares. Then I added seam allowances and cut out my pieces. It's a little complicated, but if you take the time I'm sure you can figure it out. After piecing the skirt together, I pressed open my pieces and top stitched inside each box with a coordinating thread.
I made it using the Caroline Party Dress (affiliate link) from Mouse House Creations. I thought the lines of it could read city if it was paired with the right fabric. It was a first time sew for me and I seriously loved it. The pattern (affiliate link) gives such a nice finish and fit. It's wonderful to have the capped sleeve as just part of the bodice. For the most part, I'd rather make dresses with some kind of a sleeve so I don't have to find a sweater to pair it with later.
The skirt was lined with the same mustard yellow as the squares to give it a stronger color and stability to the piecing. All the fabric was just basic colored broadcloth that you can get at about any fabric store for pretty cheap. I loved using it because I was able to go to the store with an exact plan and be in and out in about ten minutes as opposed to walking the rows of fabric debating the right one for an hour. Works better for 3 kids don't you think? Also I didn't have to spend a lot and feel guilty about it later.
P.S. I have a funny story I want to share that came up in creating this project. When the last sweatshirt didn't work out, I realized that I wouldn't be able to have Scary around to take pictures. I would have to resort to using the camera on my phone.
When I told Ty that I was making her a dress and that I would be taking her pictures, she got this confused and slightly betrayed look on her face and said, "Not Scary?!" I told her I could take pictures, but I think in her mind Scary is her own personal photographer. You can't take a model away from their photographer. I love four-year-olds!
So instead, the kids woke up at 5:50am so that we could drive to Scary and be at her house in time for good lighting and to get this blog post done.
Here is a picture with the little darling and her photographer on their way back from the photo shoot.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jocole Crossover Dress with a Twist for my Sister

I was suppose to share this a few weeks ago as part of the Jocole Blog Tour, but real life really got the best of me in every way (but more on that tomorrow). The sweet ladies from Jocole couldn't have been more genuine and understanding in giving us a deadline extension. I love working with people who are not only talented at the pattern designing but are genuinely kind and helpful.

I was so tickled when we were asked to be on the Jocole Blog Tour I was so excited. The skinny jeans I made as part of the Women's Bundle Up is my favorite pair of jeans and I always remember to do laundry when those are dirty. In all my excitement I knew that I wanted to turn my efforts outward and take this opportunity to use my skills to sew for Jo. Our dear sister, Jo, is a mother of 6 and has pretty much been changing diapers nonstop for the last 11 years. She is so busy with her day to day responsibilities and still finds time to talk to her sisters on the phone and serve those in need with love and kindness. Although life is definitely stressful for her, her countenance shines bright with the love of life and God. You'd think she'd be tired with all of her responsibilities, but without fail anytime she comes around she ends up running around outside with our kids making any game fun. As the big sister, she has always served and looked out for us. Her experiences have made it so she is a great voice of council. The experiences she shares with us help to prepare us for what we will be going through when we have children that age. She is just incredible!

I discussed one on one with her what her perfect outfit would have: she wanted a tea length dress with nursing access and 3/4 length sleeves, she also requested a Demi top to keep her modest while bending over. Her extensive wishlist was easy to attain with mixing and matching the Jocole Patterns. I was surprised to find how easy everything came together. I am used to mixing and matching options but I never have had it be so easy. I have included a few mini-tutorials about how I used the Jocole Patterns so if your interested you can make a similar adaption.

The first adaption I made was using the Easy Cap Sleeve tee for a Demi Top. I initially thought this might take me a bit of work but with the premarked Empire waist line it was crazy easy. I chose to use the front bodice piece for both the front and the back so she didn't have to worry about which way was the front or the back. Also if one side got a stain (as sometimes happens in a mom's life) she wouldn't have to throw it away, she could just keep wearing it. The advantage of a Demi top for layer over a regular cap sleeve tee in this instance is that it kept similar lines to the Crossover Dress and would be easy to move out of the way when it came time to nurse. I initially thought I might need elastic so that it would stay in place but after working on it, it seems because of the great fit of the Easy Cap Sleeve movement wasn't a problem. (PS. Can I tell you a cool fact about the Easy Cap Sleeve? It has 3 different necklines which is like getting 3 patterns in one)
I don't know what is happening with my equation line but I just don't have the brain power to fix it so I am going to let it go.
 Jo is pretty tall like me and most of her height comes from below her chest. She had told me that she wanted the dress to be a mommy friendly tea length. Giving her great back end coverage when she went to bend over to help one of her kids. I added 10 extra inches to help her get to a length she would be happy with.

For the last adaption I used the Mix and Match Empire bodice & the 3/4 length on the Classic sleeve to modify the Crossover Tunic. Once again I went in thinking this was going to be a hard modification but it was a cat walk. Everything matched up perfectly and I was able to get right on sewing. I didn't do a tutorial for this one because Jocole actually has a great tutorial for this adaption (it is where I learned I could do it) so forgive me for not wanting to recreate the wheel. (PS. I have used this combo to help me with other patterns from other designers that don't have the sleeve that I am looking for, I used example I used it here).

Sewing for ourselves can be a real struggle with fit issues and making modifications for our specific needs. I was worried it would be abundantly harder making something for someone who lives 5 1/2 hours away from me. The Jocole patterns really made this project a breeze for me, because the fit is right and the construction is a breeze. I am wanting to sew more things for the women in my life this upcoming holiday season and I know that the Jocole patterns will be leading the way in many of my handmade Christmas gifts. I know that one I can't resist purchasing right now will be the Classy Cowlneck bodice and at $5 how can I resist. 

It was so neat to finally be able to give this to Jo on her birthday weekend, it was great to give back to a woman who means so very much to me.

To make this outfit we used the following Jocole Patterns:
Easy Cap Sleeve tee
Crossover Tunic & Dress
Empire Waist Bodice
Classic sleeve 

It was disappointing when we missed the blog tour because I always enjoy being part of a group and seeing what my fellow bloggers made. This tour was fabulous and all the ladies that participated did an astounding job, you should check them out (Shannon's Skinny Pants, Audrey's Yoga Skirts, RaeAnna's Skinny Pants, Sabra's Running Leggings, Melissa's Skinny Pants & the awesome tween outfit Christie made for her daughter).

We were compensated for our time by complimentary patterns but our opinions are our own. We strive to only work with companies & products that personally believe in and agree with their quality standards, to read more about our promises to you click here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thank You

There is a 50% coupon code THANKYOU available on the Betty Skirt this week (valid 10/3-10/9) as a gift to our supporters.

Dear friends,

We are grateful for all the support we have received from friends and family, which after this experience we know is much greater scope than ever before. We have been overwhelmed with gratitude each week by the kind words, the supportive gestures that have been made by our friends in our behalf across the web. Supporters came out of the wood work and helped boost us and keep still while we watched the voting. We are very grateful for the understanding bloggers that have been patient with us as we may have missed one or two guest post deadlines, without this flexibility we surely would have broke.

Until this experience you may say that we were bit of closet bloggers. Often many of our real life friends don't know what is going on our blog (or some didn't know that we even had one) so it was really different to make public calls of attention to our work. We were overwhelmed by the kind words and support that our friends and family gave us, taking time from their busy lives to vote and share our projects.

Thank you to our fellow competitors, you have brought your best work each week. We watched in amazement to see the ways which we differed or were alike in our approaches to the themes. We learned and have grown as designers because of you. You made it difficult for us, which we wouldn't have had it any other way.

A big thank you to Elizabeth & liZ for inviting us to participate in this contest. It fulfilled a dream for us. It is still such an honor to be Project Run & Play Alumni. Thank you for being the legs behind this contest and creating a community of support and love. We have made some very dear friends from this community you have grown. 

From this experience our sisterhood has been strengthened as we learn how to navigate the in's and out's of advising, supporting and trusting. All of our personal lives are a bit crazy right now (more on that in a future post) but this experience really taught us how to communicate and rely on each other. Each look that you saw designed these last three weeks were developed by a different sister, but in multiple ways we worked as one machine; whether it was sewing, photographing, editing pictures, promoting or writing we were together as one. 

Mom & Dad you deserve a special shoutout as you let us come crash Mom's birthday weekend. You did a great job as support crew as we were able to get through several pieces of clothing & two photo shoots. The kids were so happy to play in the backyard together as the mom's busily worked. Thank you for always encouraging us to chase our dreams and being our biggest cheerleaders while we try our best. 

We absolutely would not have been able to make it through this experience without the support of our immediate family. Our spouses have always been our emotional and mental support, but without them these last two months we would have surely cracked under the pressure of PR&P. We are grateful for the blind eye you have shown to the growing mounds of unfolded laundry/sinks of undone dishes. Patiently waiting for pictures to be edited, even when there was a vacation to go on. The help around the house or dinners you have picked up when we just couldn't do it all did not go unnoticed. Above all you have been the pick me up when we get to the point we are pulling our hair out.

To our kids, most of you are too little to read this now but maybe one day you will read this and you will know how much we love you. You have been measured/remeasured and measured once again just to make sure and you have excitedly embraced each measurement taken. You have tried on pieces over and over again as we make adjustments. You have exercised patience with us while we trying our best but were being spread much to thin. Your random displays of affection have given us the boosts that we needed to keep pushing. Beyond all that you have been our inspiration, you are the passion to our sewing fire. We desperately wanted to create something that would show who you were because merely making a trendy clothing item isn't enough when you are dressing a masterpiece.

Our hearts are full of love and gratitude today, now to get started on folding that laundry.
With Love,
Al, Jo & Scary

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Darling Denim: A Modern take on Classic Style

We would love your vote if you can give it to us, voting closes at 8PM MST on Thursday, Oct. 2.
To be honest this week gave me a real run for my money several pieces that were sewn never made it to pictures. Several photoshoots were done with only turning out. I know usually you just see the finished products that we love but I want you to know we have our share of failures too oftentimes we stumble around until we finally pinpoint our vision and we work hard to get it right. With all that said I couldn't be more pleased with the results. I wonder if the journey I went on with this project adds a bit more joy to seeing it completed. I am going to be a bit long winded about the process and the adaptations that I made but if you are just here for the pictures that doesn't hurt my feelings.

Modified Patterns Used:
For Dress: E+M Dress Pattern No. 13 with arm hole from MHC Caroline Party Dress
I wanted to approach denim from an out of the box perspective. Denim seems so stiff and masculine, but I was out to prove that it could be soft and feminine.
The color scheme and shapes of this outfit was inspired by one of my childhood landscapes; the sunset on the craters during the winter. The colors are so vibrant and the sharp edges of the craters contrast directly to the soft gentle snow that serves as it blanket.  (I forgot to upload my own before leaving on my family vacation, but here is a fabulous example by this great photographer.  He has taken lots of pictures of our home area that you should check out cause they are amazing).
The vibrancy and sharpness and represented in the dress. Slim Jim called the vibrant floral denim, old lady couch fabric. But I didn't let that get me down I love it and this fabric is really the star of the show. It really helped pull all my materials together.  Once I had it I was on the road to a solid design. The black stretch denim was leftovers that I had from this project and the gray was leftover from this project. It is one of the few fabrics used in this project that was not denim it is a twill instead (the other non denim is the coat lining). I really like how both of these fabrics match the rose fabric without detracting from the design or floral fabric.
To make the cuts for the dress I printed two of the front bodice pieces and pasted them together on the fold line. Then using a ruler and a rotary cutter I cut across the dress diagonally from top left shoulder to bottom right hem. Then I purposely made the second cut uneven division for the second and third pieces. Due to the construction of the dress the back pieces of the dress had to be symmetrical knowing this I choose to add interest by switching the colors around from right to left side. I added seam allowances to each cut by using the same seam guides I did in week 1. Go here to download them.
Each seam on the dress is a French seam, so there would be no itchy seams or need for lining. I chose to do a double pink top stitch close to the seam edge on the floral and on the gray I did one top stitch close and one wide in black. I chose these different stitches so it would look as though they had been pieced from two different pieces of jeans as a nod to the denim patch work trend. I love the visual interest this adds to the dress and how it keeps your eye in one continual round.
I modified the back neckline dropping it down by 1 1/2 inches. I also shaped the dress to fit her body since I did not use elastic to pull in the waist. I used the arm hole from MHC Caroline Party Dress.  This gave more space in the arm hole to slip it on. The neckline and arm holes were finished using single fold bias tape. I sewed the size 2 selected by her chest measurement, under most circumstances I would have done a size 3 in height (as corresponds to her height on the pattern) but I knew that she would be wearing hers with tights and it would better match my vision of a 60s mod shift dress if it was just above the knee.
One of the pieces I really struggled in getting right was the jacket. I sewed one up that I thought would work with the dress but it was a flop. After looking at pictures from the first photo shoot, I knew my sister's were right and it didn't work (I am very stubborn so I didn't listen at first).
I went back to the mental drawing board, thought of my inventory (after a few failures this look was getting to expensive for my tastes) I kept coming back to the oatmeal colored denim. Every time I would think about it I would quickly push it away because the thought of a cream jacket was boring to me. Until I thought to myself what would Alexia do? (Valid question right, I am sure I am not alone in asking myself that from time to time). I knew she would pull out some sweet colored denim that she had picked up at Michael Levine or somewhere else in the fashion district and make an awesome jacket.
I didn't have awesome colored denim but two bottles of Rit dye (Purple & Fushia), some color experimenting and 30 minutes of constant stirring transformed the denim into a soft heathered orchid. The lining was a white on white quilters cotton with miniature polka dot dyed in the same dye bath after the denim. I love how this color takes me back to my inspiration for color scheme so many times right before the sun light completely disappears from the craters that is one of the last colors you see.
The dye really highlights the softness of the fabric. Before the dye you would only be able to see by touching it, but now just by looking at it you can get a sense of texture. This reminds me of the soft texture of the snow over the craters.
As soon as I saw the finished fabric I realized which pattern I would start with. I knew it would be the cadette coat stripped of the military styling with a hood and long sleeve added. I never had sewn that coat pattern before so was unaware of fit or trueness of size. The only person I knew that had was Alexia, so I asked her about the fit didn't tell her about what I was up to or my what would Alexia is do moment but instead am choosing to embarrass her now. When she came back with the answered spot on I knew I was on the right trail.
Since I only had a limited amount of fabric and I had an early disasters I opted to make a bodice muslin, I am so glad I did.  It was crazy tight across the shoulders. I couldn't think how it could be so off. But after reprinting to go up two sizes I quickly realized what had happened. My printer settings had gotten off somehow and it had scaled the pattern pieces off by 1/8 of an inch per 1". I print so many pattern pieces that often I forget to test my scaling square.  After reprinting it right!
I went ahead and made the size 3. Her chest measurements matched up with the size 2 but since I was using thicker fabric I sized up according the pattern instructions. I added several inches to the sleeve, I determined the correct length by measuring from her sleeve cap to her first knuckle and then added an inch for seam and hem allowance.
I also modified skirt and sleeve hem instructions so there would be no poking out of the lining. This was done by just taking the lining in deeper. For the sleeve this was a 1/4" and for the skirt bottom this was 1/2".
I knew all along I wanted this look to have a hood, because my little Boston loves hats. And I adore the coziness that they bring to a design, perfect for fall when the weather can't make up it's mind. I used the size 5 hood from Willow & Co. Mullberry Tunic. I chose this size because it matched up perfectly with the neck width of the jacket.
The final adaptation we made was the use of KAM snaps over buttons. Right now Boston is in such a go go go stage that having the snaps is perfect for getting it off in a pinch.
I hope you adore this denim inspired look as much as we do. We sure would appreciate your vote, every week has been so tight and we feel so lucky to be still be in the game we couldn't have done this without your support, thank you!
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