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November 25, 2013

Penelope Peplum from See Kate Sew: Pattern Review

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I am going to make a few good excuses for my pictures: 1. I am never in front of the camera. I am always behind it and I feel way more comfortable there, that sad Al did a great job trying to help me loosen up. 2. It was super cold (just above freezing) and raining when we took pictures, which makes it even harder to look relaxed. 

If you follow us on instagram you might have seen the pictures of the Penelope Peplum that I was able to test for See Kate Sew. I am going to share with you my favorite things about this pattern:

Looks good on all body types
I will be the first to admit I have a little too much round at the front part of my tummy but this pattern was great for masking that. This top is now my very favorite thing in my wardrobe.

I love that this pattern has a large range of sizes. My chest measurement is a 43" though and I sewed the XL (my hip and waist measurements were a little larger than her sizing diagram suggests but because of the peplum it didn't much matter). I felt like the sizing was right when compared to a commercial garment.

It can that it can be sewn in a naptime!
When I did my first muslin it whipped right up. My real fabric took a little longer because I sewed the lace and lining pieces together before I stitched the shirt up. I was still able to sew it up in a few hours even with the added time.
I know you can see in this picture that one of my buttons has fallen off my jacket, I promise I will sew it on today it was just really cold.
Great Customization Options: Three Sleeve Choices and a shorten/lengthen line
Her pattern includes 3 different sleeve lengths; cap, bicep and half. I love this because it makes the pattern perfect for any season. I am planning on making my mom the half length because she is always pushing her long sleeves up to her elbow. I will probably also use the lengthen line to add extra length she has a long waist.
Great Instructions
The directions are easy to follow. She has cute (which makes it even more fun) diagrams that are easy to dissect as well as concise directions that a beginning sewer could follow. She includes a stretch guide on the pattern so the fabric can be checked before sewing (something that I know I have been a little disappointed with the lack of in other indy patterns I have tried)

Professional Finishes
I think one of the most challenging things when doing selfish sewing is that I want it to reflect my personality but not something that screams HOMEMADE. The instructions and neck facing give a handcrafted boutique look and for this Momma that any personal clothing purchase feels like a splurge (even Wally World) it felt awesome to be in something made high quality and professional looking. 

From the tested pattern to the final results Kate added 1" extra length to the bodice pieces as well as a bow piece for attaching. Kate will be releasing a little girls version of this pattern in the near future and with the purchase of the Penelope Peplum you will get an exclusive introductory coupon code for a discount on the little girls version.
I love this pattern a whole bunch and can't wait to make more. There is some pin dot fabric at my local fabric store (similar to this one off of Girl Charlie) that I can't wait to snatch up and make next pay day.

This is my most favorite thing I have sewn for myself in 10 years. What is your favorite selfish sewing pattern? I would love to boost my wardrobe.

Fabric used:
The bottom knit is a Sew Classic Cotton Lycra blend that I picked up from Joann's. It is buttery but has decent weight to it.

And the top fabric is this fabric, I purchased it through Amazon but the seller was
November 22, 2013

Party! my sewing machine is fixed.

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Back in September I was making a super fancy sequined top for my niece.  She loved it!  But, my sewing machine hated it!  It broke.  The needle clamp just fell apart.  My sisters and mom have been on my case to fix it, but with everything going on, I just never made the phone call.
The other day I was on the phone with Momma Shaffer.  She asked me if I had called the sewing shop yet. "No", I said, with a list of 10 excuses to back me up.  "Well", she said, "just do it.  I will wait on the phone, while you look up the number, and then after you have called, call me back."  So, I did.  It was providential.  The shop is a 10 hour drive from me, but, the lady who answered was coming to my town the following day.  She offered to bring the part with her.  It was such a sweet and thoughtful gesture.  The cost of the new part was only $8 and replacing it was seamless.  (see what I did there?)  Sew( haha),  I had to check it out, and make sure it worked.
A few hours later, and Rogue had a new shirt, and skirt with a yoga pant waist band, and Iron man has a new cool dude sweatshirt, plus I patched his pants!
this is a yucky stained white turtle neck, that we refashioned with a kangaroo pocket and some fabric paint

This is Rogues fall outfit, from left over scraps old clothes and fabric paint.  So fun!
here is the back.
Ironman's new sweatshirt, with a snow boarder and some fabric paint.  I also, totally love the collar and sleeves!
I sewed a draw string into the waist band, and I wanted to keep with the snow boarder feel, sew I added a cotton dust band on the bottom.

This is the perfect fall sweatshirt for my ALL boy.
This was the perfect creative outlet, and my superheros loved getting out for the photo shoot!

We are all happy.  Now, I can make those Nativity costumes I signed up for :)
with love,
November 21, 2013

Katy Zipper Hangout Hoodie

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When I started working on the dress I was trying to think why the Black & White stripe with Orange combo seemed so familiar to me. I knew I never had used it before and as soon as attached the hood it hit me. This dress looks like one of Katy from no big dill's rugs. It was strange for me to realize because I have never been in Katy's house (or ever met her) but a majority of her instagram posts drip with black, white and orange. In honor of that subliminal inspiration I am naming this flip after her. 
I am going to give the details of this refashion but if you are just here for the pictures that is okay too.

It seems like the last couple of weeks have been a real whirlwind with only a few hours spent at the sewing machine (which is very unique).  I have had in my mind since the beginning I would like to do the flip for the Hangout Hoodie. I have had half a dozen ideas floating around in my head but nothing solid, and the deadline was quickly approaching. I didn't know that I would have time to finish a flip before the deadline. 
Then other day I was sorting through fabric and getting it organized when I came across a black and white striped Liz Claiborne sweatshirt that I had picked up at a church swap event. I loved all the details (metal clamps on the pull string, metal holes for the pull string, pocket and zipper) that were in the original sweatshirt and wanted to use as many of them in my design as possible. I told myself after I got through my obligations last night I would spend some time sewing. Sometimes last minute sewing doesn't work out but this time it did. Here are the details:
To make sure the stripes matched up perfectly instead of cutting on the fold I printed two of the dress pattern pieces out and mirrored one and placed together. Then I used the front as my pattern piece for the back. 
My favorite part was the orange zipper. As I went to seam ripping, I fell in loved the construction of the top. I almost felt bad tearing it apart (but not bad enough to stop). My favorite part was the facing that made the zipper and hood lay flat, which I decided to keep and only seam ripped to the zipper so I could put it back in when it was time to put the hood in.
The shape of the top and the hood where more slanted and built up, or not as round as the Hangout Hoodie pattern pieces. Which I couldn't change if I wanted to keep the bright orange zipper. To make up for the difference I cut the back pattern pieces down at the same slope as the front was too high. I also wanted to use the metal holes and have the pull string so I added extra for what the front ribbing would have added. All of this was done late last night and I honestly was just hoping it would work. Happy enough it matched up perfectly.
For the sleeves I measured Boston's arm and then added 2 inches to the length of the sleeve because I wanted the sleeves to cover her hand similar to a fingerless glove. I added additional length to the dress because Boston is a 18 month across in Peek-a-Boo pattern measurements but a 2T+ in length.
I removed the metal clamps from the pull string and then cut the pull string down to the correct size and placed them back on the new ends.
On the original hoodie the pocket had been up on the cap region of the sleeve. It was attached very thoroughly and would have been impossible to seam rip and place (I am sure it would have destroyed it if I would have tried). So instead I cut around it narrowly and then placed it near the bottom of the skirt. I used the fabric that was attached to pocket as a guide (matching white stripe with white stripe and black stripe with black stripe). I then did a short stitch around the edges of the pocket.
This project was one of those where I had to keep repeating, "I think I can, I think I can". I broke 2 needles attaching the hood back on and had to do a little hand sewing to finish around the zipper. It was by far one of the most challenging sews I have done in a while. I really didn't know if it would be something Boston would even like, so I was pleased when she was so happy to put it on when it was finished. And raced me out the door for the photo shoot even though it is freezing today. She was even more excited when she realized I had sneaked in a few orange M&M's in her pocket. Now that is what I call a win-win!

November 20, 2013

Hi Lo Cherry-O Dress

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This post was originally shared over at I'm Feelin' Crafty as part of the Sew Ready to Play Series, but we are bringing it home today.
I came here today to share something with you that was inspired with my three year old daughter in mind. Ty is outgoing, fun, and the ray of sunshine in my life. She loves games, but her favorite is Hi Ho Cherry-O because it is hands on and requires counting. The purpose of the game is to get all your cherries picked from the tree and into the bucket. As you're filling the bucket a bird or dog may take your cherries or the bucket may get knocked over.
When Louise invited us to participate, I was so excited because I knew I had to run with a Hi Ho Cherry-O theme. I decided to use red, yellow, and blue for my base colors because they showed up throughout the game and brought back flashbacks to childhood and primary colors. It took days before I came up with the design of Hi Lo Cherry-O, but even still it was modified all the way up to the very end. Like my sister Jo says, "Never, never, never quit until it's a masterpiece."
My second to last design for this involved stamping and dying, but didn't bring the bold on a budget look I love. What was supposed to be dyed a bright royal blue ended a light periwinkle. The cherry stamped fabric ended up looking more like a summer camp project than a clean, beautiful textile. In a state of emergency I sent a text to my sister, Scary, in the middle of the night and the next morning drove to her home to get moral support and a fresh twist on my design.
I had already designed and tested my pattern pieces for this dress when I made the Starburst dress, but I don't really like to make the same thing more than once. So here I am with a modified pattern of the high-low dress. I turned the sleeves into side yokes and used a button enclosure in the front instead of a zipper in the back.  I color blocked the bodice of the dress in the shape of a bird's head.
After the previous fabric fiasco I went through our fabric stash and selected a white-on-white polka dot fabric and picked up a royal blue cotton from JoAnn's. Once the front of the dress was together, I took advantage of Scary's background in embroidery and her willing and helping hands. After I sketched out the desired image on the fabric, Scary got to work placing a bird's beak with two cherries hanging out of its mouth. She used a satin stitch which goes fairly quickly and can leave a big impact.
Running away from the photo-shoot to the nearest tree.
Apparently High Low Dresses are great for climbing trees too.
After I had the image on, I was only a few steps from completion and success. What do you think? If you've ever played the game Hi Ho Cherry-O it's not hard to see the connection of the game to this Hi Lo Cherry-O Dress. Once she outgrows it I will pull this dress aside and put it in the pile of figurative jewels to someday fill her hope chest.

With Love,
November 20, 2013

Jo's Favorite Baby Shower Gift

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With all of the sewing and cooking we do on this blog, you might think that is something I would give a new baby, but- think again.  
I go to the store, purchase a bag of diapers and a bag of rubber bands.  If I am out, I get cute ribbon.  I also get a bag of socks (6 pairs is about perfect), a couple cheep soft rattles, and a bag of chocolate (Lindtt truffles are my favorite)
Then I go to work.  In about 20 minutes I have a baby shower gift that is really just chocolates, diapers and socks, but so much more fun to look at!

What is your GO-TO baby shower gift?

With love,
November 19, 2013

What will this birth look like? MARVELous Birth Story Series

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If all of my plans go according to the plan, I will be having this baby at home! Call me a hippy, go ahead, I won't care.
I hired a midwife in mid-september.  I paid all of her fees by the first of October, and she will be coming to my home the first of November.  This is my sixth baby, and this time around we did not find out what we are having, so you all will be as surprised as we are.  We did not have an ultrasound.  I didn't even have to drink that syruppy drink!
Having a home birth is completely non-evasive.  Unless I ask her to, she dosn't even plan on checking me, to see if I have dialated.  Amazing right!  After reading all of my birthstories, can you believe I am here now?
I will tell you some of the things that I have done to prepare for a home birth.
First, there is a list of supplies that you need to have on hand.  Everything from pads, to the mesh undies, to a thermometer, to the tape to measure the babies head.  I have that all prepared in a giant tupperware at the foot of my bed.  Next I bought some sheets from the thrift store, and a plastic sheet, to protect the mattress.
I washed all of that and put it away.
Then, of course there is all of the things that the baby will need, like clothes, diapers, nose snuffer, carseat, etc.
Of course we will all need to eat.  So, I have about 30 meals in the freezer.  Plus we have made lunches, and some quick breads and muffins for breakfast.
Lastly, because the baby will be born here, and because I have a family of 7 already, my home needs daily cleaning.  This is something that can only be accomplished if everyone is helping.  So all of the kids have about 10 jobs each.  They work so hard!  That has made it so that all I have to do is the dishes, the cooking,  laundry folding, and help with homework.
Now that all seems prepped and ready, we are settling in to wait for the baby!  Contractions started a week ago, and baby is still not here, but they are not hard or consistent, so I am content to wait.
With love,
November 18, 2013

Its hard to give a baby a super hero name Marvelous birth series

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Baby number 6 arrived.  A boy!  Let me fill you in on the details.
At about 8 pm I decided I was going to start timing contractions.   They were coming fairly regular at 5 minute intervals.  So, I called the midwife, and let her know.  I told her to go to her office, and I would call her when I had 3 consecutive contractions at 3 minutes apart.  Captain America proved to be a much more detail oriented contraction timer than me.  He followed me around while I did the dishes, showered, folded laundry and straightened the house.  I would say, "Contraction", and then when it was over I would tell him.  He had all of the seconds figured out.  
I was on my last load of putting the laundry in the dryer, when I realized, this was it!  Transition.  I didn't care what his paper said, I was in real labor!
I called the midwives at midnight, and let them know that I was intervaling at 3 minutes.  They came to my house at about 12:30.  
This is the first home birth for me, and it was wonderful!  Every time I had a contraction, I just kneeled over my recliner, and breathed into a blanket.  I was in a zone.  Some unreachable place, where I ignored everyone, and their questions made no sense to me.  
At one point there were four people sitting in the living room laughing, so I got up and walked to the bedroom.  I looked at the clock and it said 1:43.  I kneeled down at the foot of my bed, and realized I was pushing!  So, I asked Captain America to let them know.  The relaxation between contractions was amazing and complete.  I was so greatful for those intervals.  At 1:51 our new little man came in to the world.  I delivered him standing up!  It was really a neat feeling to do the whole thing undirected, and just listen to my body. 
Of course I was crying and the midwives were so sweet.  After we got all cleaned up, I laid in bed and nursed him.  Captain America laid next to me, and neither of us moved from that spot until about 10 the next morning.  They checked everything, and left us at about 3:30 am.  
Little man was 7lbs. 11 oz.  He was 20.5 inches long.  
Now he is a healthy 8 lbs. 8 oz and growing!  We are totally in love.  Thanks for putting up with all of my MARVELous birth stories!
With love,


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