Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Gifts

I'm resurrecting this one from the archives! Christmas gifts from 2014! Wow.
Freezer paper stenciling is the bomb.
I personalized the aprons for a couple of grill masters on my shopping list. I'm always surprised by the crisp detail of the freezer paper stencil.  We packed these with Mook, Oink, Cluck and Swish homemade rubs.
I had a little too much fun making small things for my sweet sassy niece.  This peasant top is great because the fit is so generous. It starts out as a dress and as she grows it will go to a tunic and then a cute little top.
This top is the Hazelwood Hoodie from Love Notions made in a knit from Joanns.
The leggings are the Go To Leggings pattern from Go To Patterns. It's my favorite legging pattern. They just fit right every time. The pattern has a great range of sizes and tons of options.
This might be one of my favorite gifts I've made. My nephews love to go fishing so I made the littlest a fishing game.  Each fish is a sandwich of fabric and batting with a strong magnet inside.  The fishing pole has a magnet on the end of the line.

I made this by looking at several different blogs and combining their ideas and advice.
This little vest was a free pattern from Love Notions, The Dashing Vest.
The vest was upcycled from his uncle's polo shirt (see photo). They don't get much cuter. He calls it his fishing vest.

The best thing is, most of the gifts are still being enjoyed a year later. Handmade gifts are the best.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Jammies

This year's Christmas jammies were made from blue penguin flannel from Joann Fabrics.  The Bug didn't want a button down traditional flannel top so I stitched up a quick Nessie top (by CINO) and appliqued some of the penguins on the front.
 I'm having a bit of a love affair with this Nessie top pattern and I'm bummed it only goes up to size 8!! I've made the Bug several warm fleece tops for winter using this pattern. It's such a nice, simple, classic shape and it goes together so quickly and easily.
These pants are generously sized and should fit for a while.
The pattern is from Peek a Boo patterns, the Pajama Party Pants.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Rondje top

 This is the Rondje top from the Eli Monster.
 It's a very simple off the shoulder cardigan.
In it's simplest form it's a circle of fleece with sleeves.  The edges are left raw since fleece doesn't fray. It fastens in front with a button or two.
 It was such a quick thing to sew that I made a few. This one with the patterned fleece I used fold over elastic to encase the raw edge.
 It's a cute sweater but I decided I liked the raw edge better.
 I made this one with a lining. I think this is my favorite way but it takes twice the fabric and a bit more time.
 We like the huge button.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Reislust Top Pattern Test

I did this pattern test in the fall. 
It's the Reislust top from the Eli Monster made from a cute owl flannel I found at Joanns.
The top has a bit of a boat neck, 3/4 sleeves and a slight A line.
The back has a unique cross over design.
The shoulders overlap and fasten with buttons or snaps.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Nightie Night

We've got one from the archives here...
I made this nightgown for the Bug quite a while ago.
I made up the pattern from a handful of other patterns I had on hand.
The fabric is a super soft, light weight knit.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Driehoek Dress test for the Eli Monster

I don't usually take pattern tests so close together but the opportunity to test the Driehoek Dress by the Eli Monster popped up just as I was finishing the last test and I couldn't pass up the chance.
The Driehoek is a short and swingy dress with a fun, unique bodice shape.
I picked out this fun black and white rose print from my stash of vintage fabrics. I really love the way it works with this design.
The bodice is fully lined so there are no itchy seams up there.
I knew the black and white would be a real stretch for the Bug so I made the bow pink. I do like the way it really "pops".
This dress is so fun and fluid. It hits just above the knee. We added leggings underneath, making it more of a tunic. The leggings were basically to cover up the eight neon band aids covering all of the mosquito bites on her legs. Those things are terrible this year.
I love the fit of the bodice. It's just right. Again, I made the size 6 bodice with size 7 dress length and it was spot on. I love when there is no gap under the arms.
The back closure is an invisible zipper. I used a hot pink one to match the bow... but I did a better job of actually making it invisible this time.
I had her dance around quite a bit to make sure we didn't have any wardrobe malfunctions with the top but the fit is so good, it stayed put.
The Driehoek Dress is available from the Eli Monster at a reduced price through this Sunday. It's recommended for an intermediate sewing level (which I think is pretty accurate) and comes in size 6 month to 12.  If you are a sucker for unique designs like I am, this is a great pattern to add to your collection.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Feestje Dress by the Eli Monster

I was chosen to test a pattern for a new to me PDF pattern designer, The Eli Monster.
This is the Feestje Dress, a fun, full party dress with a bit of a retro vibe.
The Bug's chest measurement put her in a size 6 bodice and her height in a size 7 so we mashed up the two. It was hard, knowing that I usually purchase size 8's for her in ready to wear and often sew 8's as well. But I'm glad we stuck to the measurement charts. This bodice fits with just enough ease that she can get it on comfortably and not so much that it gaps under her arms.
It has a very full, gathered skirt that is right above knee length. She is wearing a petticoat underneath to add some volume in these photos.
One of the really unique features of this dress is the collar and the accent piece.  While the Bug doesn't like that part (there truly is no accounting for taste, is there?), it's really what makes this dress special and different.
The finishings in this pattern are nice. I like that she uses an invisible zipper closure and not buttons. (Even though I stink at making invisible zippers invisible, I think it still looks nicer) 
The seam that attaches the skirt to the bodice is encased in bias tape and the bodice itself is fully lined so there are no exposed seams there. The only seams that are exposed are the skirt side seams and those would be super easy to make french seams if you wanted.
I didn't have any issues printing or assembling the pattern. The pattern is not layered, which I would have preferred but it's not a deal breaker for me.  Dimensions are given for the rectangular pieces which saves some work (and ink) when assembling the pattern.
The size range of this pattern is pretty good. You get size 6 month through size 12 all in one pattern so you could have party dresses for years to come!
The instructions are given alongside clear photographs of the process. Sometimes photos can be a little harder to follow than diagrams, but these are clear and really help guide you through if you are a visual person.  

The layout and design of the pattern is pretty standard of PDF patterns. 

This is listed as an intermediate level pattern and I think that's a fair gauge of difficulty. While not a tough sew there are some things (like the invisible zip) that you need to have a bit of experience under your belt to feel comfortable with.
And now for my secret...
This fun circle print fabric used to be my drapes. When we moved into our house they didn't really work but I loved the print so I saved them. I think it's such a great print to make this retro dress a bit more modern.

You can get your own Feestje Dress pattern at the Eli Monster website. It's on sale for $7 today through Friday. And while you are there, check out her other patterns. They have a really fun retro modern feel to them and I'm excited to try my hand at some more.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Urban Garden Dress Pattern Test

It seems I can only blog lately when testing a pattern. Can you believe I still have draft posts from Christmas? Ridiculous.

This month I had the opportunity to test another pattern from Sew Straight and Gather, the Urban Garden Dress and Tank.
This dress has a knit bodice with a racer back. The skirt can be knit or woven and it has a hi low hem.
The front neckline has an optional ruffle.

The pattern also had a tank option which has a sweet gathered peplum, rather than the hi low skirt. You can see photos in the pattern listing or on the Sew Straight and Gather Facebook group.
I sewed up this pattern in a size 8. The Bug is just a hair over the chest measurements for a size 7 so the bodice on this has a little bit looser fit than was intended.
For my first Urban Garden Dress I fell in love with the combination of the narrow stripe knit with this floral woven (both from my stash). The pattern is designed for a more stable knit that has a bit better recovery. I wasn't unhappy with this version of the dress but I knew it wasn't really a great "test" since I used a type of fabric that wasn't recommended.

I still love it though. I love pairing up patterns like that.
The Bug loves it too. That lightweight knit is her favorite since it's so soft and comfy.
I decided to sew up a second test with a more stable knit on top.  Even so, you can see the fit is still loose under the arms. I probably should have attempted a size 7.  Maybe next time... or maybe she will just grow! 
 I really like that this pattern doesn't take a ton of yardage.
I was able to make both of these dresses from fabric found in my stash.
I love this pattern. (Did I already mention that?)
I like making a dress that looks like I could have purchased it in any store.
I'm not a fan of the "boutique" style stuff with all of the over the top ruffles and flounce, nor do I like the skimpy, midriff showing stuff on the other end of the spectrum.
Terri strikes a nice balance her with a modern classic that is simply beautiful.
The Urban Garden Dress PDF pattern has an unheard of range of sizes, 2Y to 16Y. It's layered so you only have to print the size you want. I love that.  

And the style is actually cute on that whole range. You know how I know? Because she actually put a picture of  5 different sized girls on the front cover! This is awesome because I can show this to the Bug, who is a 8 going on 15, and she can see that the dress looks nice on a girl her age and a girl older than her which seriously ups the "cool" factor and makes her way more likely to wear what I make.
I'm not sure when she started looking so grown up.
Like I said, 8 going on 15.
Like all of Terri's patterns, this is one quality product. It is full of hints, tips and suggestions to help make your sewing a success. The layout looks nice, is clear and progresses logically through the steps.  She uses drawings to help visually guide you through.
The Urban Garden Dress and Tank releases this week.  It is on sale for $6 right now. I promise, it is a tremendous value even at full retail. (But why pay more? Am I right?) If you sew for girls, this is a great pattern to have in your collection.
What are you waiting for?