Friday, January 23, 2015

New Resolutions & Willow Wrap Dress {Pattern Review}

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#findmein2015
As there was a month of silence from us sisters, I found myself able to find a little time to contemplate 2015 and what I hope to gain from it. Probably the biggest thing is that I want to find me in 2015. Since getting married in 2009, I have got to be pregnant in every year. My life is consumed with my family and I totally love it, but I want to make sure I'm being the example to my daughters of what a woman should be.
1. Be More Professional
I hope to wake up most days and get on some real clothes (not workout clothes, unless I'm actually going to workout), fix up my hair nice, and try to be that classy woman that Samson came to love. I want to treat motherhood like the professional I am. Every professional has to get up and get ready for the day before going to work and I should too.
2. Sew 2 Items for Me a Month
Part of getting out of the workout clothes and into real clothes is to make sure there's clothes in my wardrobe to wear. It's my goal to sew 2 items for me a month so that by the end of the year I will have 24 different articles of clothing in my wardrobe. This may seem excessive to you, but we've been in the poor college student status for over 5 years and had 3 kids so I'm limited on what I have left to wear that is appropriate for the life of a mom.
To start off this resolution I decided to make the Willow Wrap Dress for myself. It just came out on Wednesday and I was lucky enough to get to test it. Tami from Love Notions worked extra hard on this one and its corresponding top. There are multiple ways to mix up the neckline, but my favorite is the lower nursing accessible neckline since I'm a nursing mama and I love my dresses. The pattern includes an optional modestly panel, but I'm pretty partial to my demi top undershirt so I'll probably just stick to that.  If you can't tell from the picture below, I'm crazy about this dress.
The individual patterns get 15% off with the code 'willow' or the bundled pattern (dress & top) can be purchased for 25% off (no coupon needed for the bundle). These sales go through Sunday.
3. Happier and Healthier 
My final goal is just to "try a little harder to be a little better." Find more moments to laugh with the kids and dance with them to the princess station on Pandora. This final one probably has more to it, but I'm in the midst of figuring what it is.

What are your resolutions?

With Love,
Al

Friday, January 16, 2015

Bottoms Up Pants {Pattern Review & Discount}

Hello, all we are finally breaking our virtual silence, the hustle and bustle of the holidays sucked us up and we got out of habit of being here. But don't worry we have some great things coming up in the next month and half. Happy 2015, hope you had a great Christmas!

We are starting the new year by reviewing awesome new pattern, "Bottoms up Pants" by If Only Designs (Pattern is available 25% off through 1/18/2015 no coupon needed). With a new addition growing in my belly I couldn't help but jump at the chance to try out this pattern. The pattern is designed to fit Cloth Diapers which is awesome because I am thinking I might give cloth diapering a go this time around. 
This pattern has a great size range for a baby/toddler pattern going from newborn to size 6T, which I can see as a real asset if your kids are as fast at growing as mine have been. It is designed to have a flat front with light/medium weight woven fabrics and can be used with a full waistband on sturdy knits such as sweatshirt fleece or interlock.
For my version of this pattern I had only a little bit of this fabric leftover from a dress I had made from Boston. I didn't want to have to worry about matching prints on the side seam so I overlapped the front and back pattern pieces and did a full elastic band. Then held my breath that I had enough as I tried to keep the chevrons level across both legs. I was exactly perfect but pretty good for off grain fabric scraps.

I was surprised that the pattern only uses a 1/4" inseam because most woven patterns that I have sewn have at least a 3/8" inseam if not a 1/2". I honestly was a little worried about such a narrow inseam but it ended up working to my advantage because I barely squeaked by with what I had on hand of the fabric. It ended up not being hard at all, I didn't find it difficult to finish the edge with a simple zig zag but it would be just as easy to serge right at the edge not cutting anything off. With the way the pattern is designed there is ample room in the seat that I am not worried about the back seam being stressed and tearing.
Silly Sally even decided to put them to the test by rolling all over the Living Room floor.

I think we better ask Sally what she thinks of her new pants?
I guess she likes them!
We are the last stop on the tour and if your on the fence about this pants pattern just look over all the other awesome pants that have been made on this tour with this pattern.  
Jan 5th --> Sarah at The Crazy Tailor 
Jan 6th --> Melissa at Sew Like My Mom 
Jan 7th --> Ari at Max California 
Jan 8th --> Marissa at RaeGun Ramblings 
Jan 9th --> Emily at Naptime Creations 
Jan 12th --> Courtney at Simple City Life 
Jan 13th --> Sabra at Sew a Straight Line 
Jan 14th --> RaeAnna at Sewing Mama Raeanna 
Jan 15th --> Kacia at Coconut Robot 
Jan 16th --> Scary at Shaffer Sisters

 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ruffled PJs {Pattern Review}

It's the most wonderful time of the year when new pajamas and filled stocking are almost a requirement. This year to start off the season, I made these ruffled pj's for Ty using a pattern from Once Upon a Sewing Machine. They are running a sale through Saturday Dec.6 and you can get it for $5.00 (no coupon needed). Ty is crazy about these pajamas. Since I put them on her 2 days ago she has refused to take them off. They are the perfect mix of functional and girly. She loves the ruffles and flowiness.
My only regret in sewing it up is that I didn't make the skirt of the blouse about 3 inches longer. Ty has a fairly long torso and it doesn't quite cover her tummy all the time. It may be the way the flannel lays that adds to making it too short.
That being said, I love these pajamas. My plan is to take this two part pj's and turn it into two sets of pajamas. The top I'm going to add two more layers of flannel and do a solid hombre effect and turn it into a nightgown. Then I'm going to make a knit shirt to go with the pants.
Since they were ruffled pj's. I decided to go with that theme and do a banded ruffle on the bottom of the pants instead of a straight cuff. I'm glad I did the ruffles on the pants because Ty loves them. If you like this pattern, you should know that the fit on these pants are awesome! There's no weird puckers in the crotch and the length is perfect. I can't say the same thing for all pajama pants I've made in the past. It is currently my favorite woven pj pants pattern and I only wish the sizing went past size 6.
Because I'm a symmetrical kind of gal I did the ruffle on both the front and the back of the bodice. This was another small deviation from the original pattern. The back is finished off with a button enclosure. They are the first buttonholes I've done in a year since my Orchid Damask Coat for flip this pattern. Buttonholes on my machine freak me out. Although I have a one step button hole machine, if everything is not just right on it my machine ties knots. I only had to seam rip and redo buttonholes twice on this project.
I did love how the pattern said if buttons were too frightening you could always opt out and just use snaps instead. It seems like KAM snaps have been my saving grace lately, but since there were only three buttons I decided to take my chances.
The pajamas were made with flannel that recently got for 75% off so it definitely didn't break the bank to make. I'm really, really excited about these pajamas. I think they turned out awesome and I'm excited how well they were received by Ty. Lately she has been pretty picky about what she wears so its nice when she loves something enough to never want to take it off. If you don't have a little girls pajama pattern to turn to, this could be a really good option for you. It can either be used as a 2 part set or easily turned into a nightgown. I have another one cut up ready to sew that is going to be a nightgown with the pants shortened so that they are pantaloons underneath.
You should check out the other cute creations from this fun pattern if you like what you see.
Image Map
With Love,
Al

Monday, November 24, 2014

Father-Son Omni Tempore {Pattern Review}

I'm so excited to share this pattern review with you. It seems I have taken quite the sweatshirt sewing journey this fall to try to make something that will work for Heber. If I include this pattern, I've tried 4 different patterns and I'm happy to say I finally had success. My first challenge was that his head was too big for one pattern. The next two patterns were too fitted for my sway back buddy. He looked like a girl. It wasn't until Scary stumbled upon the Omni Tempore could I actually have a masterpiece.
We didn't have to think twice about getting this pattern and jumped at the chance to join the Omni Tempore Family Tour and knock out two Christmas presents. If you're looking for something special for Christmas, you might take advantage of the fact that for the duration of the tour the Omni Tempore Bundle is 30% off. To buy either the child size or adult size only is 20% off. Only at Sofilantjes.com is no coupon code needed.

To see the full capacity of the pattern you should keep an eye on the tour:

Monday, November 24th 

Tuesday, November 25th

Wednesday, November 26th

Thursday, November 27th

Friday, November 28th

Saturday, November 29th


Prizes list for prize pack #1 and prize pack #2

Prize Pack #1

1.5 meters of fabric from Joy Fits Fabrics
Omni Tempore Pattern Bundle by Sofilantjes
Bustle Skirt Pattern by Koda Baby Boutique
1 Pattern of choice by Filles a Maman
1 Pattern of choice by Serger Pepper
1 Pattern of choice by E+M Patterns
1 Pattern of choice by Striped Swallow Designs

Prize Pack #2

1.5 meters of fabric from Joy Fits Fabrics
Omni Tempore Pattern Bundle by Sofilantjes
Grace Pattern by Rose & Lee Designs
1 Pattern of choice by Filles a Maman
1 Pattern of choice by Madeit Patterns
1 Pattern of choice by Dandelions n' Dungarees

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The fit is great because it's actually designed to fit boys. We checked on this before purchasing. Even though a lot of patterns advertise as unisex, the designer has to choose to either fit for one gender or another. The fitted is great for girls and the roomy is awesome for boys. Sure you can probably use the fitted for a sway back boy, but to do that you may need to add a few sizes in width.
I also got to sew my very first clothing item for my husband. It's been a whole 6 years since the last time I made him something and that was a quilt. I've picked up a few paper patterns here and there, but until now I haven't had the guts to make him anything. This is probably because it takes more fabric to sew for him and if it doesn't turn out I don't know if he will wear it. He's not as starving for nice clothes as the rest of us.
He was starving for this though. We've just started in the bitter cold of winter and although there's no snow in any of these pictures, we have had it and there is nothing like a nice warm sweater to keep away the bite of winter. 
For warmth and added stretch I used cuddle soft fabric. It wasn't in the pattern guide, but I knew it would  be a hit with the men. It's kind of like a thicker two sided minky. Its soft and cuddley inside and out. Lucky for me I picked up my fabric when it was 40% off and I used a 25% off my total purchase coupon. All of which money saving I had not been expecting. If you use this for this sweater don't worry about lining the hood. It's plenty warm already and can end up a little bulking.
I think I'm going to use the pattern blocks to make my husband some t-shirts because I love how it fits him especially for a shirt application. He was borderline sizes and I wish I would have gone up a size for his muscular build and slight stretch fabric. I will also probably do just a little less on the cuffs because they were just slightly smaller than the width of the finished sleeves and waist. I'm used to there being a bigger difference in width so that the cuffs are more snug. Since that's what keeps the cold out, that will be an important modification in the future.
Those 15 years of cow milking muscles make the sleeves snug. So if you sew this and you're borderline sizes, go with the smaller size for a super stretchy fabric and the bigger size for something more stable and outwear.
That being said, I love how it turned out. It still fits him and it is a great starting point for sewing more with this pattern in the future. 
All patterns need a tester the first time and this was my go at it. I did modify the front of the hood meeting the sweater by just straightening it out. That crossover isn't exactly my husband's style.
This sweatshirt has been checked for chasing, running, jumping, and flying. The hood also fits great too, we were just so busy playing at the park that I forgot to get any pictures of it actually on his head.
I'm so excited because now I know what I can do for Heber on top that moves with his ever adventurous personality.
I really love this boy, but I can't seem to keep this 2 1/2 year old boy out of trouble. Just this morning alone he got black eye makeup all over his hands and face, the bedroom floor in the time it took me to help Ty go to the bathroom. Later he took the sewing scissors to some hoarded knit fabric as I was putting ham in the slow cooker. Then as I'm writing this last part he dumped an entire bag of rainbow fruity crisp rice all over the living room and it is now raining rainbow chunks throughout the entire living room. Please tell me this phase doesn't last forever!
With Love,
Al

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winter Weather Belle: Issue 5 One Thimble Magazine Review

Today we are reviewing the Issue 5 of the One Thimble. We first were first introduced to One Thimble a few months ago when Al was trying to find a particular style of dress pattern. The debate was on to buy the complete magazine with many different patterns and techniques or to just get the single pattern that had brought her to One Thimble in the first place. The single pattern was $9 and the entire magazine was $25. Given the tight budget she decided to go with the single pattern, but the magazine would have been a worthy investment when possible.

Since then we have been watching One Thimble to see with what they come out with next. When we had an opportunity to review one of their patterns we jumped at the chance and then the opportunity to review a whole magazine, we not only jumped but ran. There are so many great patterns in this magazine, I can't wait to try them all.

Today, I will be showing you only 3 of the 15 patterns that are included in the digital magazine. I tried to get through more but I am only one tired pregnant woman! The truth is I already have a couple more cut out and ready to sew for Christmas. Before I start into the individual pattern reviews I would like to give you my overall review of the Magazine.
I have never looked at an e-zine like this before but I was really impressed by the extras beyond the patterns. I loved the articles that help sharpen the sewing saw. Example, I loved the Sewing Stretch fabric that went so beyond the basics but covered things like caring for your knit creations and long term storing of Lycra. Other great articles include: Maintaining your overlocker, Trouble Shooting the Neckband (I know even as seasoned sewist I have had some neckband failures) and Overlocking around inner corners. I really learned so much.
Another great thing about buying the whole e-zine verses buying individual patterns is that you really have the ability to put together a whole outfit, verses single pieces.
SWEET GRACE RUFFLED HEADBAND by Snickerdoodle Stew Pattern
This is really a darling tutorial with a cut chart for pieces, and straight forward directions. My only struggles in sewing up this headband were because of my choice of fabrics. My cotton layer was much easier to ruffle than the foil. I am excited for using this pattern in the future for the perfect finish accessory for any girly outfit.
Flipped BONFIRE JACKET by Ainslee Fox Boutique Patterns

I put my own spin on the Bonfire Jacket trimming 1 inch off the inside front bodice piece/front facing to match. I wanted more of a shrug/cardigan than a jacket. So I used the shorten/lengthened line as my crop length. I used the size 1/2, which is what fit Boston's chest measurement with a size 3 length on the sleeve. This was really a simple flip and I loved using the facing pattern pieces for a very difficult fabric. The sizing was right on.
BELLS BEACH DRESS by Ainslee Fox Boutique Patterns

I loved the design of the dress immediately when I saw it. I love the contrasting yoke. I had struggles along the way with my shirring. For me it was easier to do the contrasting yoke by using the facing piece instead of the front bodice piece. Then I just basted the yoke and folded it over, pinned it down to the bodice piece and topstitched. I felt like the design was dynamite and the directions were really well explained but I found myself wishing that the pictures were larger/more clear. I would suggest staying close to the words, so you don't waste your time like I did. I do love how this makes a beach dress for those celebrating summer and a sweet winter party dress paired with a cardigan.

Next on my sewing table is the Reindeer Stuffy, Festival Skirt & Art Caddy.  You should see some of the other darling creations on this tour they have really inspired to try and sew was many as I possibly can. Don't miss out on this great deal for you. 
Saturday 11/15: Handmade Boy
Sunday 11/16: Mimi's MomRebekah Sews
Wednesday 11/19: Made by SaraBee Quilted Beauties

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PS. I loved this photo but the colors ended up being a bit off and pretty grainy so I bring you today's episode of photos that couldn't be on the cutting room floor because I loved it so I am changing it to black and white so it is okay.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

√Čtage Top & Dress {Pattern Review, Giveaway & Coupon Code}

Today is the second pattern of the Sew Straight & Gather  a month and a half ago I tested the Etage Top/Dress pattern for Terri. Even though we were right in the throngs of Project Run and Play, I knew I wanted to get in on this test. I love unique designs and I love the challenge of helping test them.
My first tester version didn't really work out, it will fit Boston next year probably but we both loved the style so much that I knew I wanted to sew it up again (really it was the only way I could get her to stop wearing the one that was too big). Out of this testing experience I really gained a lot of respect for Terri, I have seen designers that have an idea of what they want but stop short of getting it perfect because they are so set on a deadline. Terri is the type of designer tweaked and step back and re-tweaked every element of the pattern until it was perfect. I am so impressed by her work I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.
Let me tell you about this pattern:
Size Range from 12 M-12Y (Chest from 19 3/5"-30 7/8")
Print by Size Option
Fully illustrated instructions *They are beautiful illustrations, I really feel like in the example of this  pattern illustrations are much more helpful than pictures
Dress or Top Option
Half Sleeve, Short Sleeve and Sleeveless Instructions
I am going to admit something before I continue, I had every intention of running a rolled hem on the bottom of each layer but my serger is being silly right now and I was feeling lazy. So I decided to run with the knit does fray crowd on this one.
The way this pattern designed you end up with a beautiful neckline no matter how crazy your knits are. The stacking order is mind altering but with following her instructions you end up with a beautiful garment. I would warn this isn't a pattern that you should sew late at night or when you are too tired to focus on detail.
The movement on this pattern is really stunning. It is so stylish but a design that you aren't going to find among RTW garments. It is one of those that when your friends ask you where you got it and you answer that you made it their jaws will drop. A lot of the ladies in the tester group did prints which were stunning but I love how it looks with just a basic solid.
My favorite pattern is watching Boston move and dance in it. She just can't help do everything she can to make it move. It is classy while being still being child appropriate. You can pick up this darling design or the Uptown/Downtown dress that we showed you yesterday for 25% off this week with the coupon code UPTOWNEXPANSION25 (etsy or her shop).
Fill out the Rafflecopter below to win a copy of this pattern.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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