Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Made For Mermaids - Charlotte Top and Samantha Skirt

No matter how hard I try, I think I will always be playing catchup with my blog posts. This is an outfit I tested last month for Made for Mermaids. It's the Charlotte Collar Top and Samantha Suspender Skirt. The skirt is the button front option without the buttons or suspenders. Miss Maddie loves this look. She's always had a preference towards classic and clean lines but still girly. 

These two patterns are great because the possibilities are endless. They both go from 1/2 to 14 which means we should still get a couple more years out of them. Maddie is rocking the size 10 here. The top can be made with or without a collar and the skirt has a ton of options as well. 

I have plans for the suspender version for Abby but Maddie asked that I not include them on hers. I learned years ago to take there preferences into account if I ever want them to actually wear what I make for them. ;)
For our outfit I went with a grey plaid for the skirt with light blue and magenta stripes through it. The top is a white and black polka dot with chalkboard fabric as the collar. Why? Why not, right? In reality, all the fabrics I chose were either on red tag clearance at Joann Fabrics or from the remnant big. That's where the chalkboard fabric is from. I could have swore I had some black leather in my stash but all I could find when I was making this was the chalkboard fabric. 

We did try chalkboard markers on it after school one day but I forgot to take pictures. It came right off in the wash so I know we will be adding it to other outfits in the future. 
I'm finding it more and more difficult to find patterns that fit that in-between sizes when they are growing out of the little kid phase and into the tween one.  Patterns like this are awesome to make her feel grown up while still keeping her looking like my little girl. We paired this outfit with knee high magenta socks (yes they are socks, she chooses to pull them well above her knees) and Mary Jane style shoes. 
The skirt is a flat front, elastic back. This is probably the most comfortable and stylish option for most kids. 

My Maddie will be 8 soon and I can't believe how fast she is growing. If you are like me and still love sewing for your school-ager, I have created a facebook group called School Age Sewing as a resource to find patterns and get inspired by others who sew for their 'big kids'

Happy Sewing!!

Friday, February 27, 2015

My Sewing Story

I have had this blog for almost 3 years now and while I post a good number of sewing projects I've never actually shared my sewing story. If you ask pretty much anyone who sews whether it be quilts or clothing or home decor they will usually tell you that they sew for the love of the craft and the ability to create something beautiful and practical. How each of us got to this point is usually different.

I'll be the first one to admit that I was that weird, nerdy kid that had to be making something all.....the.....time! Like constantly. I don't come from a crafty family so I used whatever I could get my hands on. I ripped apart old school supplies, stashed away used gift wrap like it was gold and spent hours stuck in my head where all the beautiful ideas where. If you stick around I may throw up pictures of some early projects. They are comical at best. 

When I was about 8 I went to a friends house for a sleepover. Her mom has a sewing machine and fabric and showed us how to hand stitch pillows for our barbies. I was hooked! I begged and begged for fabric when I got home and I finally got a yard of fabric with carousel horses all over it for my next birthday. In the mean time I grabbed old jeans and rags and put together barbie outfits, bedding, purses. I was an upcycler way before it became the thing to do. ;) Once I had my fabric my parents told me that they actually owned a sewing machine. WHAT!!!! They bought it when I was a baby with hopes of making clothes for my big sis and I to save money. They made exactly 1 dress for me.

I begged for them to take the old Singer out of storage and from about age 9 on I would spend hours in my room stitching away making pretty little things. I used my allowance money to but thread, needles, whatever I thought I needed. No one ever taught me about proper techniques, fabric selections that there were different needles and notions for different projects, but I LOVED sewing and giving away what I made. 

I started making and selling purses that I designed in high school for gas money. I learned to quilt pillows from pictures and altered my own clothes. Looking back they were imperfect but until I had my oldest daughter in 2007 I didn't even know patterns existed, paper or PDF. Call me naive but who was supposed to show me? 

I started out making photo prop outfits for my baby and dresses that out little one income family couldn't have afforded otherwise. I finally upgraded to a brother computerized machine in 2008 and really got into sewing for my little lady. I found out about the online sewing community in 2011 when my youngest was almost 2. I stalked a number of ladies that I still stalk today and learned a TON! I started my blog in 2012 to have a way to look back over things I made for my house and for my girls. A virtual scrapbook if you will. I started pattern testing shortly after. I got in way over my head a few times with patterns that I would find ridiculously simple now but I learned new techniques and finishes and ways to make the beautiful things that I had always pictured in my head.

Sewing is my mommy super power. I know the days of my girls walking up to me and asking for a seemingly impossible outfit or costume are limited. The look in their eyes when I hand them something I created from their vision is priceless. Both of my girls have already caught the love for sewing bug. I plan to nurture that love and encourage every crazy vision they ever come up with. 

My family may never quite get why I NEED to create but they love what I make and encourage me to continue. That is how I view the online sewing community. Like my not-so-little crazy sewing family. I want to encourage those just starting out and look up to those who have come before me. I don't want my love for the craft and my skills questioned because my story isn't your story. If you were lucky enough to have been taught the craft from a family member, friend or institution you should know how truly blessed you are. Please use that as a way to guide the rest of us not tear us down. After all, we are all just here for the same reason. 

Happy Sewing

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Boys CAN Wear Pink Tour

I have two little girls so I'm very used to sewing pink things. When Kelly posted that she was having a month long blog series of pink clothes for boys I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I asked my 8 year old nephew if he was interested and he was happy to help. 

Kaleb is the sweetest little boy I know and a little on the shy side. I knew I didn't want to go crazy in your face pink with him because I wanted him to feel comfortable wearing the shirt. This top is the Bowling Shirt by Scientific Seamstress. He's a little small for his age so I went with the 5/6 and I love the fit. 

The dark brown is a broadcloth and the floral fabric I picked up on sale at Walmart last spring. I made my Maddie a dress using the same fabric and this was what was left over. I think it was the perfect combination for this little man. 

After participating in the Boys Can Wear Pink Tour I now have a new found respect for mom's who sew for their boys. Patterns for girls are so easy to come by and I almost never give a second thought to what fabric I choose aside from if I or my girls like it. I'm glad that I was able to participate in a tour that is helping to break down those stereotypes. 

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Potato Chip Skirt from the #BundleUp collection

 I was excited to get the opportunity to test the Potato Chip Skirt from Tie Dye Diva as part of the #BundleUp sale that is currently going on. Maddie loves simple skirts, pockets, horses and dogs. Simple enough right? Even better when you can get that all in one skirt fit for a soon-to-be 8 year old. (Can you believe she's almost 8?!?! I can't. )

The patterns runs from 12 months to a 13/14. I love this because Maddie wears a 9/10 and we can still get a couple more years of this pattern for her. You can do the simple unlined version, lined version or the reversible version that I went with. It has inset pocket with the option for piping as well.

The main side of Maddie skirt is a denim with little white hearts in it and a horse applique that I added using my new embroidery machine. :) I used a bright pink polka-dot material for the pockets for a nice contrast.
The reverse side does not include pockets but the seams are fully enclosed and the finish is awesome. I used the pink from the pockets as the waistband so that it would add a little color. This side is a white lightweight corduroy with little pink poodles all over it.
This is a closeup of the skirt and the horse design. Maddie actually cut all the pieces out for me and watched while I stitched the design. She was sew excited that she cut all the doll pieces out as well and stitched the horse on the doll top all by herself. I only helped with threading the machine a couple times. Proud mommy moment for sure.
 The doll version comes a set with a peasant style top and the same options for the skirt. We went with a fully reversible skirt to match Maddie's version. The fit was perfect for Miss Kit.

Are you planning on bundling up? What pattern are you most excited for?

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Tie Dye Diva Pattern Review - Storybook Pinafore

Have you ever looked through your post and realized you have a few that never got published. I used to skip over then because they were a different season or an old project but there are a few that I loved and I still want to share them. 

This is the Storybook Pinafore from Tie Dye Diva Patterns. I was part of the testing process last year. This is Maddie in the size 9/10 I believe. I had this rose printed quilting cotton that I've had for years and this seemed like the perfect fit for this. We were encouraged to be inspired by characters from childhood books so I went with Heidi.

I just put a pleated skirt and polo underneath but the results are ADORABLE!

The pinafore ties at each side and I absolutely adore the flutter sleeves. Oh those freckles......I just want to squeeze her!!

We pull this out if the closet every once in a while and she always gets noticed in this number. :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dear Seamstress on your high horse

This isn't directed at anyone person but this has been on my mind for a while and I thought I would share. 

I'm on a few different Facebook groups related to sewing and embroidery. I use these to educate myself and learn something new or make and meet other sewing gal pals. Sometimes it's also just fun to sit back and watch the drama play out that naturally comes when groups of women come together. 

There are a few things that irritate me in these groups. One of these is women who claim to have been sewing their entire lives that trash pattern designers or talk down to others in the group who are asking question they feel are silly or the person should already know. Here's why I think this way: 

  1. I am 100% self taught. I started teaching myself on a machine I found in my parents stuff (that they never learned to use) when I was 9 and have been working at improving myself ever since. The person asking questions may have just opened up their machine today and your snide comments may make them want to box it up and forget about trying again. 
  2. I have never met another person IRL (in real life) that also sews. I know I can't be the only one like this. When I am stuck and I can't YouTube or Google my way out of a sewing issue I ask questions. That's what these groups were formed to do. Help each other.
  3. Paper patterns suck are really confusing. PDF's can be difficult to read too. Sometimes your vision is a little bigger than your skill set. So what!! I'm impressed you are giving it a shot and your should be proud of yourself. 
  4. It's easy to over analyze or over think directions that seem sure easy and confuse yourself. Sometimes screaming kids, lack of sleep or a number of other reasons make seemingly common sense and logical ideas completely impossible. You may ask a question that you read the next day and laugh at yourself. So what! It didn't hurt anyone, I promise.
  5. We all learn at our own pace. It may take you a week to do the same pattern it took someone else 2 hours to complete. You don't know what their schedule is like at home, if they have free time or help or even if they have been sewing for years. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS!
  6. Some designers are self taught and sew and instruct in their own way. Some of us appreciate and even prefer this style of pattern writing and construction. If you are more advanced than the directions and you want to do it a different way, go for it. That doesn't mean a pattern is bad because you find it beneath you.
  7. Some designers write for those who have never made anything ever and not for those or have expert skills. Designers have to start designing somewhere as well. They improve as their patterns go. They get better testers, better writing and improve a ton. Give them some slack. Most of them are moms and have families just like you and me.
  8. If you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all!

I think anyone who sews can remember the feeling they got the very first time they made something usable or wearable. It doesn't matter if your first project is at the age of 9 or 99. Even with all it's mistakes it was still perfect to you. If you are someone who is just starting out, don't get discouraged. We all started somewhere. Some people forget from time to time they were once beginners too. It 's better to try and fail then never to have tried at all. 

Happy Sewing