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April 30, 2014

E&E Spring Showers Jacket {Pattern Review & Discount Code}

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This post contains affiliate links. We only will affiliate with companies & products that we personally believe in and agree with their quality standards. 
Today, I am so pleased to be sharing Ryder's "awesome jacket" (a name given by him).  I have had this jacket done for weeks, I have had to use all my restraint not to show you ahead of time. It was made using Heidi's from Elegance & Elephant's Spring Shower Jacket Pattern (Sizes 2-12). A double layer jacket for Ryder has been on my sewing to do list for a long time and I finally had the confidence to go for it with Heidi's awesome instructions.
This pattern isn't a quick sew but with Heidi's thorough instructions & clear pictures it was not a difficult sew. It was like having your friend hold your hand held through the process (If you have ever had a chance to sew one of her patterns before you know what I am talking about).
I love the little details that Heidi puts in her patterns & how she always gives a ton of options that lend themselves to a custom look. In this pattern there are options for a bill, pockets & drawstring. I opted to leave these out due to Ryder's personality (like sneaking rocks & sticks into the house) and the overall look I was going for.  I do have plans to sew the pattern again for his sister & add a few of these back in.
Jacket inside out.

My very favorite part about her patterns is they always look beautiful from the inside as well as the out. I really think this sets her apart as one of the great indie pattern designers of the day. She even included instructions on how to put a loop for cool is that? Clothing made with her patterns always hang well; making my kids happy & me happy with the results.

The sleeves are supposed to be long enough to fold over showing the lining but Ryder has mom & dad's gorilla length arms. If this is something you are looking for and your kid has crazy long arms you might want to measure from the shoulder cap to the wrist & compare it to the sleeve pattern piece. Usually I sew up a size 6 in most patterns but Ryder was a size 5 in this pattern so that might be the reason.
This jacket was all made from my stash. A couple years ago Walmart had 5 yrd bolts for $5, which is when I attained the outer navy fabric. I had just enough left for this project. The red & white star fabric came from Joann's 4th of July fabric section that I had bought for a project almost two years ago. It was just the right amount, perfect. The zipper I purchase for a sweatshirt repair for my husband that ended up being too long. Yeah, for stash busting!
When I cut down the top of zipper it frayed like crazy (a problem of the zipper not and Heidi's instructions) so I covered it with casing made out of lining fabric. The fabric is acting as a protectant to the fraying zipper, a tie to the lining fabric & a stop to the zipper pull; really a win, win, win. 
I love how long this jacket is in the back. We already have several camping trips planned for the late spring and I know that a rain jacket with a long back will be so nice for keeping him dry and both of us happy. Another functional detail that I love is the zipper shield. We have had commercial raincoats before for the kids that didn't have this that I wish they would have.

This pattern is great if for a jacket beginner like me or if you are looking for a unisex jacket with great customization. The pictures are clear & instructions give great results. On the pattern is pieces themselves she has the option to select a single size for printing, saving you precious ink. She uses both colors & strokes for each size so if you end up printing them all it will be easy to keep them straight.
We love this pattern! Right after I finished Ryder's I ran to the fabric store to make another for his sister. I hope you take the opportunity to purchase it & sew it up. We know you won't be disappointed!

Heidi is graciously offering a $1 off coupon code for the Spring Showers Jacket Pattern to Shaffer Sister readers. It is good through May 1st "TOUR" in the checkout.

And if you need a dozen more examples why you should take the leap and by this pattern head over to Heidi's site for the pattern tour. Here are some of our favorites (here, here, here, or here).
Elegance & Elephants
I love having designer friends like Heidi that I can trust each pattern to turn out awesome. Which designers do you trust to guide you through the toughest projects?

Linked up:
April 29, 2014

Tips and Tricks of a mother of six: Growing Babies

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This momma of six has been a little bit busy lately.  There is a sweet poem that talks about how I am feeling right now.  
Author: Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
    Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
    Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
    Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
    Sew on a button and make up a bed.
    Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
    She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

    Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
    (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
    Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
    (Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
    The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
    And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
    But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
    Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
    (Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

    The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
    For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
    So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
    I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

My big kids are getting bigger.  They are past the point of rocking and snuggling.  They are on to soccer and jobs, late nights, and homework.  They never lovingly gaze in to my eyes to show me how much they love me while cooing.  So, I take these precious moments with the little ones to watch them grow.  Because my friends, babies don't keep.  

April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day: 24 Up-cycled Children Clothing Projects That Anyone Can Do

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Happy Earth Day All!
We thought we would share our most favorite up-cycled projects. I had always thought of up-cycling as a great way to save money but it wasn't until my friend, Jennifer from A Jennuine Life mentioned how great up-cycling was for good environment that I realized I wasn't just cheap and I loved that too that we weren't creating more waste just giving the fabric a second chance. Here are 24 projects that anyone could do and they should be great jumping off points for your own up-cycle projects.
$1 Dollar Little Black Dress (Clearance Castoff Women Shirt) - Upcycled Sharpie Tee (Thrift store T-shirt) - Zip Hangout Hoodie (Women's Hoodie from Clothing Exchange) -
Sweater, Fur Shrug
& 15 Minute fur boots (Women's sweater and fur coat from Clothing Exchange + Cousin Handme down) - Food coloring Dyed Plaid shirt and Sweater (Older Brothers shirt) - Pippa Peplum (Clearance castoffs)

Poppy Tunic (Thrift Store Womens Kimono) - Striped Peplum (Clearance Castoffs) - Sweatshirt Skirt (Vintage Closet find) Sweater & Betty Skirt (Thrift Store Sweater & Twin Sheet) - Ruffle T Dress (Outgrown Bodysuit) - Doman style top (Closet Find Women shirt)
Ananda Yoga Pants (Clearance Castoff Knit Sheet) - Racing Strip Pants (Men's Shirt) - Damask Mock wrap dress (Closet Find 2 Women's dresses)
Polka-dot & stripe boat neck dress (Closet Find Women's Dress) - Bold on a Budget Overalls (Closet Find Twin Sheet) - Newborn Fancy Pants (Closet Find Men's shirt)

Pillowcase Peasant dress (Thrift Store Pillowcase & Closet find Womens Shirt) - Surely Scarlet (queen white sheet & upcycled shirts) - Perpetually Prepared Tunic (Clothing Exchange Womens Shirt) - Sailor Suits & Skirts (Flat Sheet) - Painted Sweaters (Upcycled Clothing Find) - Footless Leggings (Upcycled Socks)

April 17, 2014

Sewing Machine Monogues

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Ever wonder what type of sewing machine we sew on? Today you can find me over at Sewistry reviewing my sewing machine "Elizabeth Ross" who is a Bernina Bernette 56.
If you have a minute you should come over and say, "Hi!"
At Sewistry you can find additional machine reviews of some of your other favorite sew bloggers, technique tutorials, and pattern sales.
April 16, 2014

The BRAVE Journey: Starting Out & Weighing In

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Today, we (Jo & Scary) are putting on our brave faces; we are sharing our weights and measurements with you. We decided that it is honesty time with our weight, our exercise routines, and our health in general.  We have chosen to no longer live in a health fog.  We also decided that we will not subscribe to any embarrassment about our weight or numbers.  We are beautiful women.  We love ourselves and our husbands love us.  We both weighed more than our husbands before marriage.  Our success, beauty, personality, and happiness are not contingent on numbers and they never have been.

When my husband and I (Jo) were first married, we lived in a spending fog.  We would have a relative idea how much money was in the account, and a relative idea of how much we could spend.  After a few mistakes, we decided to take the bull by the horns and figure out exactly how much money we had and exactly how much we could spend.  Rather than going to the grocery store and worrying about whether or not the card would work, I knew before hand.  It was a financial wake up call.  Living with financial blue skies, rather than a financial fog is a very good thing!  So, today we are going to apply the same principals to weight and weight loss.

Height: 5'11"
Bust 48.5"
Waist 37.5"
Hips 54"
Arm 20" inches
Thigh 32.5"
Calf 18.5"
Weight 280 lbs.

Height: 5'11 1/2"
Bust 43"
Waist 40"
Hips 50"
Arm 14.5"
Thigh 29"
Calf 17"
Weight 242 lbs. 

We believe our Heavenly Father made us, and we owe all that we have to him.  This weight loss and health improvement journey is to honor him and this amazing creation called life that he has given us stewardship over.
April 07, 2014

{SOLEIL Dress Pattern Review & Discount Code} April Showers Bring May Flowers

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This post contains affiliate links. We only will affiliate with companies & products that we personally believe in and agree with their quality standards.
I'm so excited to share my newest favorite in Ty's wardrobe. Last week I had the opportunity to pattern test the SOLEIL dress (12 months through 12 years with open and closed back options) by Lauren at Selvage Designs and the finished product was a masterpiece.
I had purchased 3 yards of a solid lightweight coral knit a couple months of ago to make a dress for myself. When I saw the pattern I would be testing, I knew this fabric would be perfect for spring and summer. Since Ty's still little, sharing a some fabric with her means there will still be enough for me.
Although the color is great, it seemed like the fabric needed something to take it from a decent solid to a fun print. I know I've referenced Vera Luna's discharge paste projects multiple times but, I probably wont stop any time soon because it's kept me amazed for over a year. She is my FAVORITE about creating cool prints on fabrics using simple and unique techniques. I'm sure if we weren't so geographically separate we would have a lot of fun creating together and be really good friends.
Anyway, discharge paste can be super cool when you find the right fabric to combine with it. Sometimes the effect isn't as cool as you would hope, but this time it turned out amazing (I tested it on a scrap of fabric before moving forward). I decided to do a bit of color blocking with my created print fabric and the original solid fabric to give more dimension.
I used a styrofoam marshmallow from a Joann's as my stamp and dumped some discharge paste on a paper plate. The process was just a matter of somewhat randomly applying the polka-dots to the fabric. It was fast, easy, and a lot of fun. I wanted the fabric to give the distressed, commercial look. After it dried, it was just a matter of steam ironing, washing it again (to get the fishy smell out), and sewing it all together.
I love the final result! Lauren's pattern was fun to work with as well. I was a little nervous about sewing with ribbing because that's something I've never done before, but it made it all come together easily. I think her pattern is exceptionally well written and easy to follow. I also love the simple lines and modest design of the dress (high arm holes, good coverage in the neckline).
I am a major fan of the opening in the back, although Ty's three and a half year old tantrum stage is not a fan of a hole in the back. I keep telling her that it will get hot soon and then she will be happy for the hole, but the cold rainy/snowy spring causes her to doubt my words.
It was very easy to modify this pattern to fit my tall skinny little girl. There was enough information on the sizing chart to get the fit perfect the first time. I made a 4 width with a 5 length. I only cut the 5 length on the skirt because it didn't make a big difference on the bodice to change the length and I didn't want to make the neckline too low. I'm seriously tempted to make a pile of these fun dresses to get us through the hot summer. Plus I won't have to worry about coordinating entire outfits with a new baby. Yep, I'll definitely be making more!

This pattern is the perfect if you are new with knits and are trying to gain confidence, the ribbing makes the neck, arm & cutout fool proof. It is also great if you are experienced in knit and are looking for a unique & playful summer dress. The diagrams and instructions on this pattern are so professional & easy to follow. Her finished garment chart in the tutorial part of the pattern gives you necessary information for adjusting fit. Not only does she have normal width and length measurements but back waist length & arm hole depth. On most patterns this information could only be acquired by measuring yourself & subtracting seam allowances. It is things like this that really show the deep attention to detail that Lauren has shown while creating this pattern.

Another great feature on this pattern is pieces themselves she has the option to select a single size for printing, saving you precious ink. She uses both colors & strokes for each size so if you end up printing them all it will be easy to keep them straight.

We give this pattern 2 thumbs way up and hope you take the opportunity to purchase it & sew it up. We know you won't be disappointed!

Lauren is graciously offering a $2 off coupon code for the Soleil Dress to Shaffer Sister readers. It is good through Sunday, April 13 at 11:59pm MST just type "soleilrelease2" in the checkout.

April 04, 2014

BIG Announcement: Sew-a-bration of Womanhood

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The Make for Mom Series is going to be known from now until forever as "Sew-a-bration of Womanhood".
Last year we did the Make for Mom Series. It was such a fun way for us to connect with bloggers in a way we have never done before. We felt so accepted & astounded by the lineup we were able to get even though we were a tiny blog.

Make for Mom 2013 Highlights

The last year we have been able to interact & become very good friends with women from around the globe. It seems like the more we interact, the more we are inspired by you. I have had personal experiences where I have been personally moved to change for the better by the bloggers that I have met in person or interacted with over the internet.
It has made me think that I was not inspired by these women (so many of you that are reading this are included in this thought) because they were a Mom, but by the fact they they stand boldly for trying to encourage & inspire others.  Thinking about the last decade of my life I have realized the same is true in real life as in blogging relationships.
Some of my dearest friends to this day are my college roommates. Despite the fact that we didn't share common hobbies, these women were there to listen when I was bummed about bad test grade or a really terrible date. We are not quite as close as we were when we were all under one roof, but I know in an instant they would drop everything to help me & I would do the same for them because I love them.
My senior year of college, when Slim Jim and I were first married it seemed like many of the women that were in our church congregation were always very forward in asking me when we would start a family. I was not in too much of a hurry and was not ready to do morning sickness; all the while doing senior projects, internship & working. I felt like there was a large chasm between them and myself; one that could only be crossed by being a mother. Luckily, there were some amazing women that I was able to get to know even though I wasn't a mother & they were. Watching & interacting with them, helped me be less nervous about the future. Our friendships also help me feel secure in the role of wife.
When Ryder was a baby, I was the sole provider for our family as I worked full time from home at a web hosting company. Slim Jim had to take a multi-year break from employment for medical reasons & to attend school.  I had women in my church congregation again comment, this time remarking how it must be such a nice break from the children to be able to work. These women had no idea that I was nursing while typing up e-mails to customers & answering calls during Ryder's nap time hoping that he won't wake (or at least the customers wouldn't hear him when he did). It was crazy busy and most days I felt like I was going insane, the stress was so hard on me & I would sleep talk tech support.
The best part of that job was a dear friend, Amy, that I worked with. The two of us couldn't be much more different at first glance. Even life experiences, social & religious beliefs would generally put us on different ends of the spectrum. That said for all of our differences there was more alike between the two of us then most people I have ever met or interacted with. I don't know what Slim Jim & I would have done as we worked through all the stress & emotions that often accompany mental illness if it wasn't for her. Every day she was there for me to talk to and when I was ready for it she would often offer up little pieces of advice with no emotional strings attached. For Slim Jim she purchased, gifted & never ask another word, The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook; which gave him the cognitive skills to move forward in his treatment.
All of these women, you & so many others; is the reason that with after much pondering and contemplation we are changing the "Make for Mom" to "Sew-a-bration of Womanhood: embracing our common threads".
We really feel like there is more ways that we are alike whether or not we are mothers, wives or just the coolest woman that you will ever know. It shouldn't matter whether we work outside/inside the home or if we are stay home moms. Let us pull out the white flags of truce from the "Women Wars". Let us stand together, look to each other & try to build one another. Let us truly embrace our common threads this May as we have the best Sew-a-bration of Womanhood yet!
Soon we will be sharing the list of participants this year but also have some exciting announcements coming as well. So pull out your sewing machine & that fabric that you have been stashing to make yourself a ______(dress, shirt, pants, skirt, scarf, purse, etc.)_______ and get it done, then come back in May and share it with us. I promise you will be so glad that you did.
April 03, 2014

Swim Vacation

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This post contains affiliate links. We only will affiliate with companies & products that we personally believe in and agree with their quality standards.

You might have seen part of this project over at Frances & Suzanne Flip this Pattern Series. Today you are going to have all the details. When we did the Beachy Boatneck Giveaway{Closed} I was glad that I wasn't the only one that had big poolside plans this summer. If you are trying to figure out swimsuits for this year this post might be up your alley.

    Alligator Aqua Shirt with Euro Inspired Swim Trunks

    Patterns Used: Beachy Boatneck from Blank Slate Patterns , PAB Alex & Anna Summer PJ's  & PAB Classic Panties
    My zig zagging wasn't perfect but we are going to pretend it was done on purpose like an alligators teeth.And I am going to admit that this fabric was very thin and difficult to get even. 

    Ryder LOVES anything momma made, and he is always pushing the limits of my creativity.  He has a clear vision of what he wants and I try my best to catch up all the details that he gives me. When I get it right he gives me a big hugs, lots of hugs and I feel like Super Sewing Momma.
    Last spring I found some yellow scaley swimsuit fabric in the 50% off red tag area. I knew it would be perfect for a swimshirt for Ryder. The black is a thicker performance knit, that I bought for this purpose and making exercise leggings for me.
    The applique alligator on the bodice help pull the whole thing together (and it was requested by him). I cut a square of fabric out of the black fabric and then ironed Sewable Heat-n-Bond to the back. To make the applique I found an alligator silhouette then put it in the middle of a circle and printed it off. I then traced this on the paper portion of the Heat-n-bond by following the lines of the template with a pink sharpie over the top of the paper. I then tried my best to cut it out. Then I used a press cloth (so not to put a hole in the fabric) to apply it to the shirt and then finished it with a narrow zig zag (but longer than normal applique stitch because I didn't want it to stretch out the shirt).
    Running with Scissors Euro Trunks were my inspiration for the swim trunks, I had originally thought about doing board shorts but couldn't find the right material and now I am glad because Ryder and I totally love these.  For the bottom I used the PAB Alex & Anna Summer PJ's. I color block appliqued across the shorts diagonally much like the Euro Swim Trunks. Instead of doing binding at the legs I just hemmed them at the leg bottoms and the top of the shorts I attached to the bottom of some gray elastic (kinda like you would do with a circle skirt). 
    Then for the swimsuit lining I used the PAB Classic Panties, increasing the rise by 2 inches. This helped keep things in tight and modest (a blushing a bit, so I am moving on). I attached them to the top of the elastic right before the top edge.
    For the moment I am pretty sure it is his favorite thing I have EVER made him. Today he asked me if we could go swimming again, I told him no. He asked if he could put on his swimsuit I said sure. I love sewing for him. It is smiles like this that make it so worth it.
    By far this was his most favorite photoshoot. I think we would both agree it was the perfect way to end to a sewing marathon.

    Paisley/Foil Poolside Pullover with Swim Bottom

    Pattern Used: Beachy Boatneck from Blank Slate Patterns & PAB Classic Panties

    Boston has unique sizing (tall and very slender) so sewing for her is almost a must. Feminine sewing is where I feel most comfortable, so I am always glad to be sewing for her. She has a bit of diva-ttitude and won't let me try stuff on her before it is done, so with the help of my measuring tape I have to get it right. The foil fabric I got from Walmart, I bought it to make a Elza dress, but then I looked at it and decided swimsuit. The paisley print was some that Momma Shaffer gave to me & the same with the fold over elastic (I love fabric handme downs).
    I wanted to make Boston's two sided so we would have two swimsuits in one. Which I am glad that I had that in my mind when I started because both of these swimsuit fabrics ran like CRAZY! I was working against the clock, to get every fabric edged stitched before they would run and ruin it all (just say I learned the hard way).
    Sorry I didn't get a picture of her in this side, but I don't think she would have been
    happy with me disturbing anymore of her swimming.
    I do think this side will get great mileage this summer as well.
    The Beachy Boatneck pattern uses a facing to finish the neckline, which would have been alright if Boston didn't love to put her arm through neckholes. I knew after a few times the neckline would be stretched and all my swimwear work would be ruined. I used flat fold elastic at the neckline to keep it tight throughout the season. I used it at the sleeves as well to coordinate with the neckline. It was a crazy easy to way to finish the sleeve.
    I knew I wanted to put a ruffle on the bottom because I am a sucker for toddler swimsuits with ruffles (or really anything with ruffles). I shortened the bodice to make room for the ruffle.The ruffle was made doubling over the foil ruffle and gathering. I then stitched it to the foil side. Then sewed the two bottoms together from the inside leaving a small whole for me to turn it. Then I hand stitched it close.

    PAB Classic Panties were the base for the bottom. I used the size 2/3T because with a cloth swim diaper her hip measurement fit in that range. Instead of binding I used the same flat fold elastic I used at the sleeves. 
    I increased the rise by 2 1/2" on each side so that it would go higher. I used regular elastic for the waistband. I stitched it to it and the folded it over one time & stitched over it with zig zag stitch.
    She thought the swimming was awesome (she has always loved the water), but she didn't think too much of getting her pictures taken while trying to play. Through out the 2 hour swim she would put her hand on her shirt and say, "Pretty!"
    I love seeing my little water babies in their momma made creations.

    The Dirty Details of Rashguards

    I made them smaller than the sizing chart said because I wanted them to not be weighed down by extra fabric. To determine the right size for a very slim fit, I measured their chest and then divided it by 4, then added 1/2" (seam allowance).

    Equation looks like this:
    (Chest measurement/4) + 1/2" = width needed across the pattern piece.
    I measured the width across one front pattern piece and found the size that was just larger than that number.  To make sure it would have enough room in the arm hole I measured around their armscye and did a similar equation to the width except taking in account that there would be two seam allowances to factor in. I was safely within the limits so I didn't have to drop the armscye, on either one. To make sure it would be long enough I measured from the base of their neck down to their underwear line.

    I also only used the front pattern pieces for both the front and the back. Ryder has a huge head and Boston freaks out about anything that is snug going over her head. I remember as a kid my least favorite part of swimming was trying to get the blasted swimsuit off. The wider neck hole really made it a breeze to come off but because the pattern piece has a very modest neckline they both had great coverage the whole swim through.

    I also shorted the sleeve length for comfort and movement. I determined the length by measuring from the cap of the shoulder down to their elbow, then added 1/2" seam allowance for shoulder seam (and on Ryders 1/2" seam allowance for hem).
    Equation looks like this:
    Shoulder to elbow measurement + 1/2" (shoulder/sleeve inseam) + 1/2" for hem= length from top of sleeve arch to elbow.

    I used polyester thread & simple zig zag stitch with a normal sewing machine to make these. I am really grateful to Delia, Abby,Katy, Heather & Rae for their advice on thread, seam finishes & fabric choices.

    The Beachy Boatneck really does make the perfect rash guard pattern don't you think? I am excited to get lots of mileage out of these this summer in the apartment swimming pool. They have already worn them a few times on our family vacations this spring.

    PS. We have been talking about a free spring pattern what would you like to see? Please leave your suggestions below or e-mail us at

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