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.