Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter! Savannah dress from Peek a Boo Patterns

I had visions of a sweet, white eyelet dress for the Bug for Easter this year.
One trip to JoAnn's and my hopes were crushed.  
First, my JoAnns had ONE eyelet. ONE. And it wasn't cute.
But they had rows and rows of sparkly chiffons and shiny satins... so you can imagine where the Bug's eyes went immediately.  She couldn't be swayed.

This is the blessing and the curse of taking your child to the fabric store to pick fabrics with you...
You can be reasonably certain they will like the finished product because they had a hand in it but your own creative vision?? You can pretty much forget about it.
Turns out, my own creative vision aside, this kiddo has pretty good taste... most of the time.
We wound up with a pretty coral satin for the underlayer and a shiny iridescent polka dot organza for the overlay.  When I saw the two fabrics I just saw SHINE, SHINE, SHINE but somehow they turned out so soft and ethereal.  I'm still not quite sure how that happened.
The dress pattern is the Savannah dress by Peek a Boo patterns.  I picked it because I loved the detail of the small pleats on the neckline, and if I'm honest, because the cover photo grabbed me 
(Yellow eyelet! Hello gorgeous!).  

Because I couldn't really iron the organza much, the pleats end up being much softer and less structured than the original dress but I kind of love that.

The sash is a bit of grosgrain ribbon that just happens to match the satin perfectly.
Because I can't have TOO much of the matchy matchy, we chose these blue sparkly buttons for the back.  Blue is the Bug's favorite color but I vetoed all blue fabric for Easter since she chose blue for her Christmas dress.  One can only use so many fancy dresses of the same color, right?  I really love the pop of color on the back.

I actually took the Bug's measurements before sewing and cutting this time. Imagine that! She measured around a size 5 bodice... I couldn't imagine sewing the bodice two full sizes smaller than she wears in ready to wear clothing so I split the difference and made a size 6 bodice with a size 7 skirt.  You can see the buttons pull a little when she pulls both arms forward, making me wish I'd not measured and just gone with my gut. I think a 7 all around would have fit better. Live and learn.
This is kind of how I feel about sewing these "special occasion" type fabrics.  They are slippery, stretchy and the organza snags easily.  It took some extra work to make French seams where I could and just very neat seams where I couldn't.  That hem?? Don't get me started.

But she loves the satin, shine and sparkle. And really, there probably aren't many more years she will want to be so over the top girly so I've determined to let her go with it whenever it's feasible.
For Easter Sunday it will likely be styled with this gold cardigan.  I'm hoping it's warm enough for the gold sandals as well.  (No more SNOW Mother Nature!! Got it??)  She is not really one for accessorizing or doing anything fancy with her hair so we will keep it simple.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Willow & Company--Aster Cardigan Pattern Test

I had a chance to test a second pattern in the Wanderlust Collection by Willow & Co, the Aster Cardigan.
Willow & Co. is a collaboration of several different PDF pattern designers who are working together to put together this collection. The Aster Cardigan was designed by Vanessa of LBG Studio.  
The Bug was in no mood to model and this was one of the most ill fated photo shoots ever but we managed to snap a few pictures to give you an idea of the fit and style.
The Aster is a sweet little cropped cardi with a bit of a retro vibe.  It has a really nice swing and drape to it.  It has two collar options, a regular Peter Pan collar (which I made) or one with faux piping.  The sleeve are 3/4 length which makes this a really nice cardigan to carry us into summer.  I made the size 8 so hopefully it will still fit in a few months to carry us OUT of summer and into autumn... but I don't want to think about autumn right now, ok?
Vintage buttons are from Grandma's button jar.
Check out that stripe matching across the front (pats self on back)! The side seams are pretty darn well matched too (humbly takes a bow).

I did a quick running stitch with some pink embroidery floss around the Peter Pan collar just to accent it and tie it in to the body of the cardigan.
My fabric is a midweight terry knit with the most bizarre slight diagonal stripe to it. I found this in a remnant bin and totally thought it was a horizontal stripe until I went to cut and saw the way the grain and the stretch went.  I don't love the diagonal from the back, had this not been a pattern test I would have cut the back piece in half and made a chevron.  I think it ends up looking like I cut the pattern pieces wrong but I promise I did not!

Things you can't see... the collar is nicely finished inside with a contrasting binding.  There is nothing I hate more than visible seams in a handmade garment. The binding makes things look neat and tidy.  Also, the placket is very nicely interfaced and finished.  This garment should stand the test of time.
Despite the awkward smile and hands, the Bug love this little cardigan. One never really knows with her but I think this might get a good deal of wear.  She likes to layer so a good cardigan is essential.

As for the pattern itself... this was one of the best patterns I've tested for the ease and accuracy.  I have purchased finished patterns that have more typos and less helpful instructions so I'm sure once Vanessa puts the finishing touches on things this pattern will be top notch.
The patterns in the Wanderlust Collection will release on Tuesday, April 22nd so get your copy then at


Monday, April 14, 2014

Willow & Co. Fawn Lily Tunic Pattern Test

Several weeks ago, I responded to a call for pattern testers for this Fawn Lily top by Willow & Co. It was a super busy time for me but I couldn't pass it up.  The design was unique and really cute. I didn't think I'd get chosen. These calls for testers can go either way of course. But I DID! Hooray! I'm so glad!
I pulled a few fabric options out of my stash and let the Bug choose. This is the best way to assure she will wear it. I never in a million years would have thought she would choose this Heather Ross Nursery Versery Country Mice linen but my heart leapt when she did.
The striped sleeves were made from scraps from an old sheet. She chose that too.  I didn't notice until it was finished that my stripes go different directions. Ooops. I'm going to pretend that was a conscious design choice, ok?

The mini pompom "piping" may be my favorite part. I love the way it highlights the unique cross over bodice.
Did I mention this tunic has pockets? Yup. It's pretty much perfect in every way.
The cross over bodice style means no fasteners in the back.  Easy dressing for this independent young lady.

The sleeve construction on this pattern is so unique.  It's part of the reason I wanted to test this pattern (beyond the undeniable cuteness). I'm always game to learn a new skill. Not gonna lie, it had me stumped and I used my seam ripper a few times but I eventually got it.
You can tell she loves it.  She also loved the fact that it was warm enough out to wear a short sleeved shirt on it's own.  You can totally date this photo by the piles of unmelted snow still lingering and the progression of those two front teeth!!  Several weeks ago! The show is gone (Hallelujah!!) and the teeth are almost all the way in.

Hopefully she will have lots of opportunity to wear this top this summer.
I would highly recommend this pattern.  It was well written and results in such a nicely finished end product.  The patterns in the Willow & Co. Wanderlust collection will go on sale Tuesday April 22. You can find them at and keep up to date with Willow & Co. on their facebook page.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Baby Quilt

I made a quilt!
It's a small baby quilt, just 36" x 44" or something like that. I could get used to making quilts this size.
The design was based off this Around the World quilt.  Colors were chosen to go with baby boy's room and simply because I like the way they look together.

I have never been much one for baby-ish things so I love how graphic and modern this looks. Not a pastel duckie in sight!
Construction was pretty simple. I cut 2.5" strips width of the fabric and worked from the center piece out, log cabin style. I used my 1/4" foot for the first time and glory hallelujah it is a gift straight from Heaven.
I played around a little bit with some quilting options but in the end I used my walking foot to stitch in the ditch (or close to the ditch--it's a skill I could use practice on). I usually love the look of heavy, very obvious quilting but for this graphic quilt top, I didn't want anything marring the impact of the simple lines of color.

I used a fusible bamboo batting in between. I love bamboo batting and fusible rocks my world because I am no good with quilt basting.  The photo here is the quilt unwashed so those weird ripply wrinkles should go away after a wash or two.

Binding is lovingly hand sewn.  I thought at first that I'd leave a bit of the binding showing on the front of the quilt but I ended up preferring it turned back to the back completely.

I do enjoy a good hand sewing project every now and then. I did this during an episode of The Following or maybe it was Blacklist... I don't remember, but the point is, small quilt=hand sewn binding in one hour. Happy seamstress.
Fabrics used are all Kona Cotton Solids purchased site unseen from I live on the edge like that you know?

I'm quite pleased with the graphic impact of this.  I learned a lot and tried some new things that I'm excited to try when I finally finish a certain housewarming quilt now three years in the making...

Welcome Baby Bennett!!
May you feel wrapped up in love and prayers when you use this little quilt.  You are a gift.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Into Art!

This is a busy week for me at my real job. 
I'm one of the coordinators for a big library fundraiser called Spring Into Art.  It's a great little art show with lots of stuff for the kids and bunches of free workshops where you can try your hand at making real art.

The Bug loves Spring Into Art. She looks forward to it every year and she takes sweet pride in the fact that Mommy helps plan the event.
I'm glad it's something she enjoys since it takes a lot of time and I'll be working odd hours this week because of it.
This year, she asked me if she could have a Spring Into Art tee shirt. 
We don't have kid sized shirts because the shirts have only been for staff and volunteers in the past. 
But she wanted to represent and that my my heart happy. So.....
I cut up one of my old shirts that after a few years of wear had shrunk up a little funny and was no longer comfortable for me.  I used a tee shirt of the Bug's that fit her well and cut around it, leaving a fairly generous seam allowance and then I reassembled the shirt--in miniature.
This was a really quick project. I used the existing sleeve hems and I reused the ribbing on the collar. I didn't bother with a bottom hem since it's knit and won't fray. If it starts to look sloppy after a while I can always put a hem in.

And there you have it, a simple little project that made Momma and Daughter ridiculously happy.

If you aren't busy this weekend, think about checking out Spring Into Art


Monday, March 17, 2014

New Sewing Space!

You may not have noticed, but I haven't sewn much in 2014.  I've had a bit of a creative block I guess. It was post Christmas exhaustion paired up with a healthy dose of the blues over the fact that The Bug is getting to be harder and harder to sew for. And the snow. Heaven help us the snow put me in a funk unlike any other funk. AND quite frankly, the sewing room had gotten way beyond out of control. 

We had similar "out of control" issues in the downstairs "play room".  Both spaces needed a major clean up and purge because neither were functioning for us any more.  But more than a tidying up that was needed.  The Bug is growing up you see. Despite my denial of it.  She never played in the downstairs playroom anymore. She always played upstairs in her room where she has "privacy" (she is only 6... going on 16). And my upstairs sewing space, which was once a nice spot to work while waiting on Baby Bug to fall asleep was now feeling really far removed from the living space.
So we switched the two spaces!
They are approximately the same size rooms but it was a challenge to get everything to fit in a way that was functional. I'm loving it so far though.
My work table is a family heirloom. You can't see it here because it's buried in fabric but it has such a neat texture and personality from years of use. I usually have my cutting mat and ruler up here. The blue basket holds scraps, the trays hold WIP's and the wicker basket hold scissors, rotary cutters and other little things that come in handy when cutting.
I've "hidden" all kinds of stuff under the table. There's fabric paints and interfacing in the two bigger blue bins. The stacking bins hold trims, elastic, bias tape, zippers, etc.
I've got this old microwave cart set up as my ironing station. Underneath, the shelves hold my knit, wool, corduroy, fleece and laminated fabric. The three drawer unit holds scraps. It needs to be purged because it's out of control. Baby steps though.

On top there you see my thread. I could probably use another of those holders, huh?

The little blue metal bucket holds fabric markers and chalk. The hoops on the wall were just sort of half hazardly flung there to use some nails that were there from old art work. I may add some more into the mix. I kind of like the effect.
Around the corner is my sewing desk.  The chair is the one I remember sitting at my grandma's sewing machine. I made a little cushion for the seat to make it a bit more comfortable.

My batting and fiberfill are in a big bin that is tucked back in the corner. It's not pretty but it's fairly well hidden back there.

 The top shelf of the desk holds some office supplies and some tins with vintage pattern covers printed on them that hold my old 4-H project patterns. Up on the white shelf there are several antique sewing notions that I've collected over the years.  The "Sew Door Key" art on the wall is temporarily hanging out on an existing nail. It will move eventually.

The sewing basket was from my Grandma when I first started sewing. The blue file box holds more WIP. It used to hold my pdf pattern collection but it's outgrown that little bin and now resides in a file cabinet in the closet. There are some side shelves on the desk that house my button jars and some other random things.
This cart will eventually be replaced with something a little nicer looking but it works for now. It holds all kinds of little things and craft supplies. There's velcro, D-rings, glitter, magnets, clasps, embroidery floss, buttons to be covered, glue guns... Everything miscellaneous lives here.

It's all organized in little plastic drawer organizers that I picked up at the Dollar Store. The under the table bins and the blue metal buckets were all purchased at the Dollar Store as well.
These built in bookshelves have enough room for all of my sewing and crafting books with a little room to spare!
And the bottom shelves hold the rest of my fabric stash.  I weeded out three garbage bags full to donate. It was painful, but necessary and in the end, it felt good. We took the fabric to a thrift store here that has a fabric section. It helped me to know my fabric would be going to others who have a similar appreciation/obsession.

I made the curtain to hide the fabric shelves. They are organized now but they might not always be! The fabric was something I ordered from that didn't quite work for the project I intended it for but is absolutely perfect for this. (It looks like it's no longer available! Boo) I slipped it onto a tension rod for a very simple, pretty little curtain.

As soon as everything got set up I sat down to sew. I've sewn more in the last week or two than I did in the last two month.  I like being able to do a little work here and a little there as I have time during the day. And it's nice to at least occupy the same general space as my husband in the evenings. It makes me feel like we are hanging out even if we are each working on our own things.

It was so much work, but definitely time well spent.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

In the Shadow of Jezebel Scavenger Hunt Blog Hop

I don't often (o.k. ever) do things like this since this is primarily a sewing blog, but when the opportunity came along to take part in this blog hop/scavenger hunt to help promote Mesu Andrews' new book, In the Shadow of Jezebel, I knew I wanted to be part of it.

Mesu and I met when my husband was called to be the youth minister in the small town in Northern Indiana where we currently live. Her husband was the Associate Pastor at the time.  Mesu welcomed me with open arms, in a way no one else really did.  In the first few months after moving, Mesu took the time to show me how to get to Target, JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby.  I am eternally grateful (and lighter in the wallet).  Is that enough of a sewing tie in?? Whether it is or it isn't, I hope you will play along.

We are having a scavenger hunt! Wanna play? Read the rules and then jump right in!
Somewhere in my review below, there is a single word that is in BOLD AND ALL CAPITALS. Write it down. Then, go to the other stops to find more hidden words. Once you have all the words, unscramble them to find a verse from the Scriptures. You can enter it into the Rafflecopter on any of the stops to have a chance to win a great prize from Mesu herself!
In the Shadow of Jezebel
Scavenger Hunt Blog Hop March 1-4

About the Book

Title: In the Shadow of Jezebel
Author: Mesu Andrews
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Revell
Print Length: 417 pages
Summary (Amazon):
Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel. Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel's strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh's high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh's temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family--and the nation--she loves? With deft skill, Mesu Andrews brings Old Testament passages to life, revealing a fascinating story of the power of unconditional love.


In the Shadow of
Jezebel book cover
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My Review of this Book

Confession: I have never loved reading the Old Testament. History is not my thing and it's always kind of seemed like a dry old history book.

I love reading people's stories though.

Mesu's books bring life to the Old Testament.  She has a gift for story telling that accentuates what is already there by engaging the imagination.  She paints beautiful, detailed pictures of Biblical lives and times that make me want to dig into the Old Testament Scriptures and remind me of the beauty and wonder that is within.  

God worked and spoke In Old Testament times too, in different ways, but in ways NO less beautiful or miraculous.

I am always impressed by the extensive research Mesu obviously does for each book.  I've read all of Mesu's books voraciously cover to cover.  In the Shadow of Jezebel is no different.  I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and once I did I could not put it down.

We all need to be reminded how much God loves us and how He gently pursues us.  We need to remember the strength we have in and through Him to be people of destiny, to change the landscape of the world we live in.  We need to remember that our past doesn't define us, God's grace does.

The Buzz - Praise for Mesu Andrews' Biblical Fiction

"Mesu Andrews has pieced together Scripture's truths with historical supposition through her masterful, research-based writing and captured the spiritual climate of those ancient days."--CBA Retailers+Resources on Love in a Broken Vessel "Andrews weaves a beautiful tale and takes readers to an ancient Jerusalem rich with history and customs and a culture that struggles to follow the one true God."--RT Book Reviews, 4½ stars, on Love's Sacred Song

About The Author

Author Mesu AndrewsMesu Andrews is the award-winning author of Love Amid the Ashes, Love's Sacred Song, and Love in a Broken Vessel. Winner of the 2012 ECPA Christian Book Award for New Author, she has devoted herself to passionate and intense study of Scripture, bringing the biblical world vividly alive for her readers. She lives in Washington.

Mesu's Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Stops on the Scavenger Hunt

Got all your clues? Enter the giveaway here!

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