CAROLYN PAJAMAS WITH LIONS

I rarely sew with quilting cottons because I don’t quilt. I have been a little obsessed with some of Cotton & Steels fabric line so I was looking for an opportunity to sew with them. When the Carolyn pajamas pattern was released by the talented Heather of Closet Case Files I knew this was the perfect opportunity.  I ordered my two favorites – the August Lion in coral and the Octopus lawn in teal from fabric.com to make a couple of sets.  I sewed up the lions first and made view C for the first try.

The pattern is marked intermediate and I would say that is pretty accurate, especially if you choose to use piping. The instructions were very clear so it wasn’t hard to put together, but it does take some attention to detail and patience to get the collar right and all of the piping inserted in the right places.  I have not sewn a lot with piping before so I definitely learned a few things.

The fit was perfect straight off. I was really happy about that. Somehow, even though the fit is somewhat boxy, it ends up pretty flattering. This was meant to be a bit of a trial run for when I use the octopus fabric and sew up View B (long sleeves and pants version), but I don’t think that I will need to make any changes to the fit at all.

I didn’t have enough fabric to pattern match all of the seams that I wanted, but I at least got center front and the pocket right for the top, which I think was most important. I do recommend choosing a fabric that does not require a ton of matching.  Especially with all of the cuffs it began to become quite the headache.  You will notice that I didn’t succeed with the matching in a lot of areas, but I am not going to let that bother me.  I love my new pjs and have already slept in them twice.  Now I just need to decide if I should sew up the octopus version right away since the instructions are fresh in my mind, or wait until the weather is getting cold again.

TODDLER SWIMSUITS AND FUNKIFABRICS GIVEAWAY

I have been really drawn to a new trend that I have seen in kids wear (and some adult wear too) lately.  I have seen a lot of highly digital photographic prints being used on clothing and especially swimsuits.  See here, here, and here for some examples.  I think it’s a really fun trend.  Probably something that I am too old to full off myself and so naturally I turn to my child to pull it off for me :)  So when I was contacted by Funkifabrics to try out some of their spandex I decided to embrace the wild and fun which they do so well and make my 5 year old up some swimwear for the summer. We live in swimwear in the warmer months so I knew this would be well worth my effort.

They were kind enough to let me pick 3 prints because I would need such small amounts of yardage for my daughter, which I was super excited about.  I narrowed it down to my top ten and then let me daughter pick three from those.  In the end we ended up with jelly beans, poppy meadow, and galaxy.

When the fabric arrived I was even more excited.  The colors were vibrant and the patterns bold.  The thickness of the spandex was perfect for a swimsuit too.

For the sewing pattern I used a vintage (circa 1985) Stretch & Sew 1270. I liked the simplicity and retro feel of the simple one piece so I went for it.

stretch and sew 1270

Sewing the pattern up went pretty smoothly.  I did do a quick muslin and ended up lengthening the final one and adding a bit more coverage to the bum cheeks. I also opted to fully line the front. If you have never sewn a swimsuit before it really is pretty simple, I barely even used my serger.  You could definitely do it on your regular sewing machine with a stretch stitch. You just need a few simple tools including a stretch sewing needle, twin stretch sewing needle, swimsuit lining (or you could just double up your regular fabric) and swimwear elastic. After making the first muslin the other three all sewed up in about a half an hour each.

Funkifabrics has generously offered to give one of my readers 2 yards of their choice of fabric and free shipping.  And it’s open to anyone wordwide. All you have to do is pop on over to their site and choose what fabric you might end up with if you win and leave a comment with your answer below.  Can I give a couple of suggestions?  Check out this one, this one and this one. The giveaway will end on Saturday night midnight EST after which I will announce the winner via instagram. Good luck!

*disclosure – The fabric for this project was generously provided to me for free from Funkifabrics, but all opinions and reviews are honest and my own.

COCO BLAZER AND A $50 HARTS FABRIC GIVEAWAY

I am a big fan of blazers and have been on the lookout for the perfect little spring jacket pattern for awhile now.  You know, not a serious blazer with lapels and pockets etc… and all of the intimidation that comes with a pattern like that.  I wanted something easy to throw on over a dress or tshirt and not feel all business, just a bit more put together.  So I was pretty excited when I spotted Jolies’s wonderland cat version of the Coco blazer earlier this year.  It immediately when on my “patterns to try” pinterest board to try out.

First let’s talk about the Coco pattern.  It’s from a new to me pattern company out of Germany called Schnittchen.  I think they have quite a few interesting patterns including quite a few unique jackets and blazers.  As you might imagine the instructions are in German.  Luckily for me she recently had the Coco as the pattern of the month and did step by step instructions on her blog.  I have to admit though that I still had to do quite a bit of guesswork.  I’m still not 100% confident that I did everything correctly, but in the end it all worked with a little massaging so I guess we will call it good. I ended up referring to Grainline’s awesome sewalong for her new coat pattern when I was attaching the lining to the shell which proved to be a huge help.  Also, I noticed that Schnittchen’s instructions (which I didn’t use because they were in German) do not include any diagrams so I would be cautious about buying this pattern if you are a true beginner or have never sewn a jacket before.

* update – Apparently the pdf download comes with an English version, but I didn’t read the fine print so I only opened the one in German.  Oh man guys, sometimes I think I am loosing my mind!  So anyways, good news for all of you English speakers out there who want to sew this up.

I did sew up a muslin before using my precious fabric and found that I was feeling a bit constrained across the back so I added about 1/4″ to center back between the shoulder blades which helped a ton.  I had intentions of adding length to the sleeves and making it wrist length instead of 3/4 length, but I totally forgot when cutting my sleeves out and didn’t have enough fabric to cut more.  I really need to stop listening to podcasts when I’m cutting patterns out.

Now we get to talk about the gorgeous fabric.  I had a hard time choosing because the simple silhouette of the jacket could be transformed by a more ornate or simpler fabric choice.  I think that it would be amazing for spring in a simple chambray or even black ponte.  But in the end I couldn’t stop thinking about this one.  The jacquard that I used is marked on Hart’s website as 100% polyester, but I can confirm that it feels very nice on the skin and presses well.  I love the pattern of the fabric and it’s neutral colors, but that it’s still really interesting.  I am always a sucker for black and white prints. To add a bit more structure to the blazer I ended up fusing all of the shell and facing with a lightweight fusible interfacing. I am not sure if that was necessary, but I like that it gave me crisp lines and little bit more shape to the jacket.

The blazer is fully lined with a beautifully soft habutai silk in sepia.  I love how it feels to have silk on the inside of the blazer!  I am on a bit of a black and brown kick right now and I am pretty obsessed with this contrast lining.

Outfit Details:

Blazer – Made by me (Pattern- Coco, Fabric – Harts Fabric)

Blouse – Made by me (Pattern – Sutton Blouse)

Pants – Gap High Rise Cords

Boots – Aldo

 

Harts fabric, a family owned fabric store out of California has generously offered to give one of you readers a $50 coupon to use on their online store!  All you have to do to enter is pop on over to their site here and leave a comment on this post with what fabric you might want to buy if you win.  I will randomly choose a winner once the contest ends on Friday at midnight EST. I will post the winner on Saturday via Instagram. Good luck!

*disclosure – The fabric for this project was generously provided to me for free from Hart’s Fabrics, but all opinions and reviews are honest and my own.

2 MORE MEN’S BUTTONUPS – MCCALLS 6044

I am mostly a selfish sewer, but my husband has worn the shirts I previously made him so much, that I thought it was about time that I sewed up a couple more versions of McCalls 6044.  I’ve made this pattern multiple times before so the nice thing is that I have tried and true pattern that has been tweaked to fit him perfectly.  To make it go faster, I cut out and sewed both of these at the same time.  Luckily, I could use black thread on both too so I didn’t even have to switch that up while sewing.

This first version was made up with some thin cotton grey and black plaid from Mood fabrics.  For some added interest (or because I didn’t want to plaid match :) I did the button band, cuffs, and pocket on the bias.

Although the pattern doesn’t call for it, I added a back yoke and a back pleat to this one (I’ve always thought it was weird that those are not included).  I like the added interest and I would assume that it feels a bit more comfortable.

This second shirt was made up from some heavier weight cotton from fabric.com.  I had originally bought it to make a button up for myself, but thought it was too thick for me.  I think it works well for a men’s shirt though.

I didn’t bother adding the yoke or pleat on this one, just because the fabric was already pretty stiff. I also tried to match all of the checks this time.  I’m pretty proud of how invisible the front pocket is. Just wish I had thought through the cuffs a little more.  Oh well.

You may notice that I put the pockets on the wrong side on both shirts.  Oops!  The jury is still out about whether or not that bothers him enough for me to add another pocket to balance it out.

LBD WITH EXPOSED ZIPPER – MCCALLS 6886

It is no mystery why Little Black Dresses are so popular.  They are super flattering and appropriate for a myriad of occasions.  I pretty much live in blacks and neutrals, so I find it shocking that it has taken me this long to get on the bandwagon and make myself one.

The pattern is McCalls 6886 – a simple knit dress that Sonja of Gingermakes recommended.  I had also thought about using the Nettie because Sallie’s is so awesome, but in the end went for something a little less bodycon.  I was really pleased with the pattern.  I cut a straight size 12 per my measurements, but could have probably gone with a size 10.  I ended up just trying it on inside out and nipping it where needed with pins and then sewing which worked out just fine.

I did make quite a few adjustments for my personal taste.  First of all I used an exposed zipper for center back. This was my first ever exposed zipper and I love the look, but there was certainly a learning curve.  I used this tutorial which meant adding a facing which got a little bulky – I think I would use a lining for the facing next time, not the ponte which I used. To accomodate the zipper I had to cut the back into two vertical pieces instead of just one as the pattern is drafted.  I added a seam allowance  of coarse and it worked out well.

I also made a facing for the neckline instead of the recommended turn and stitch method. I just thought it looked better as I was trying to make this dress a little more dressy and less tshirt dress.  For the sleeves and hem I used a double needle to allow stretch, but still keep it simple.

The fabric is just a black ponte from my stash.  Can’t remember where I originally bought it, but it’s a nicer quality – more rayon, less polyester.  I love sewing with and wearing ponte knit.  It’s easier to work with than most knits, plus it’s thicker so for a slim fitting dress like this one, it feels less revealing than a shinnier or thinner knit would be.

Outfit Details:

Dress : Handmade by me (pattern is McCalls 6886)

Shoes : Nine West Sandal

 

And yes, in case you are wondering, I was absolutely frozen during this photoshoot.

MY HANDMADE UNIFORM – MANDY BOAT TEES & ESPRESSO LEGGINGS

This winter has been brutal guys.  It is not rare for me to go an entire day without leaving the house.  I am going a bit stir crazy and I can not wait for spring.  So, comfort has been the key the last few months.  Along with a lot of Hudson pants and Linden sweatshirts, I have developed a new uniform of sorts that works perfect for working from home and playing on the floor with kiddos, while still appropriate for slipping on some snow boots to go to the store or pick up kids from school.

It’s my two current pattern obsessions – the Mandy Boat tee from Tessuti (which I have already sung the praises of in past blog posts) and the Espresso Leggings by Cake Patterns.

Let’s start with the Mandy Boat Tee.  This time around I made it up in this perfect sweater knit from fabric.com (which they appear to be out of currently).  It has a loose weave and a heavy drape which made it perfect for a boxy fit.  I think I finally have the fit right with this one size fits all pattern too.  I take about 1 inch out of both center front and center back.  This helps it lay nicer on my shoulders.  I also lengthened the sleeves to a full length sleeve instead of 3/4 length.  And then I lengthened the back hem by about 4 inches and the front by about 2.  I curved the hem to connect the two.  I wanted to make sure that the hem was plenty long enough to cover both my butt and crotch since I knew that I would be wearing it with leggings.  Looking at these pics I probably could have gone even a bit longer in the front.

Now for the Expresso leggings by Cake Patterns.  I was a little skeptical at first because the pattern uses a connect the dots type of drafting technique for your fit.  It felt a lot like elementary school and I was sure that there was no way these were going to be professional in the end.  I was wrong.  These are the best fitting leggings that I have ever worn.  I have short legs and so I was able to make the length correct and also have the knee hit at the right place.  I also really like my leggings high waisted so that they act more like a control top.  This pattern lets you choose your waist height which I love.  I made them up in a nice black black ponte knit fabric from my stash.  I love that they are thick enough not to show all of the ripples and lines like a normal legging would plus they are nice and warm for the cold weather.

So there you have it, my new handmade uniform.  I reach for it whenever it is clean.

Outfit Details:

LINDEN SWAP WITH SEW DIY

Guys, I have been in such a blogging funk lately.  I blame it on a few things including being waist deep in my next pattern, some extra pounds to the mid section left over from the holidays, and getting stuck on some difficult sewing projects, but mostly on this blasted winter.  It is just too cold outside and so weekend after weekend it’s just been too cold to get all dressed up and schlep my kids and gear out for a photoshoot.  I am just over it. Yesterday I had finally reached my limit so I did some rearranging in the apartment until I found a spot that I can use for some indoor photoshoots.  It’s not glamorous, but it’s warm, and its practical, and it means I can actually start posting again.  Expect to see this wall a lot in the next couple of months.  Sorry in advance.

Now onto happier things.  I participated in the Linden Swap put on by Carrie of Oh, She Dabbles and Ingrid of We The Sewing.  It was such a great idea.  The Linden is a super fast make, easy to fit, and most of us have enough leftovers in our stash to make it up.  I have made 6 Lindens so far and can say that I am certainly a fan.

When I heard about the swap I knew immediately who I wanted to pair up with – Beth of Sew DIY.  I am a little obsessed with her style and cool haircut.  She makes it look so effortless.  Not to mention her beautiful photography.  Also guys, she just released her first pattern – The Lou Box Top.  It’s one of those effortlessly cool boxy tops that pairs perfect with skinnies.  I’m pretty sure I will be making a bunch of these this summer.

I knew I would love anything Beth made for me and I was not disappointed.  She made me up a Linden in a beautifully soft french terry knit with neutral stripes.  One of the things that I like the most about this version is it is much lighter weight than anything I have made myself.  It hugs the body better and drapes nicer than any of my own versions.  For some reason I just never thought of making one in a fabric like this.  I guess that’s one of the great things about a swap!  I just love it.

For Beth’s version I used some amazing quilted fabric from blackbird fabrics for the main panel and then some organic sweatshirt fleece from fabric.com for the sleeves.  The cuffs and waistband are just a black cotton ribbing (which I am going through like crazy these days – who knew I needed to keep this stuff on hand all of the time).  And because I am a selfish sewer at heart I made myself a matching version too :)  I couldn’t resist.  I just checked Blackbird’s site and they seem to be out of both the white and gray quilted fabric.  Too bad because it’s really nice and soft.

Be sure to check out Beth wearing her Linden sweatshirt and I think you may still have time to participate in the swap too if you want.  Details here.

TUTORIAL : MINI HUDSON OVERALL VARIATION

I’ve had this tutorial ready to go for about 2 weeks.  I’ve just been waiting on taking pictures of my little guy in them.  As you can see it didn’t go well, but I decided that we would just go ahead anyway.  Hopefully this sad, pouty face won’t dampen any enthusiasm for the variation though because I’m pretty excited about this version.  I am a little obsessed with overalls and love how this comfy Mini Hudson version came out.  I took pics along the way so that I could show you all how I did it.  That being said I only made them in a size 2T so if you make these you will want to adjust according to your desired size.

 

Step 1

Sew up the bottom of your pants according to the instructions for your Mini Hudson Pants.  Just don’t cut out or sew the waistband until the next step.

 

Step 2

You will cut out your waistband in two pieces instead of one so that there will be a seam at the top and bottom of your waistband.  To do this add the seam allowance 3/8″ to the top of the fold line and cut off the rest.  Now cut out two waistband pieces at this size.

 

Step 3

Now cut out your front flap according to your desired size.  Mine was 5 1/2″ wide by 6 1/2″ tall plus 3/8″ seam allowance on the bottom and 1/2″ seam allowance around the top and sides.  Fold the seam allowance on the top and sides towards the wrong side and press.

 

Step 4

Prepare a small pocket for the front.  Mine was 3 1/2″ wide by 3″ tall plus 1/2″ seam allowance all around.  Fold seam allowances to the wrong side, press.  Stitch along the top at a scant 1/2″.  Pin to the front of your front flap.  Edgestitch around the sides and bottom.  Stitch down the seam allowances on the top and sides of the front flap at 1/4″.

 

Step 5

Create your straps by cutting 4 pieces of fabric at 1 1/4″ wide and 15″ long plus 3/8″ seam allowance all around.  Put two pieces right sides together, stitch the sides up, and turn right side out.  Press.  Repeat for the other strap.

 

Step 6

With right sides together, stitch each of the waistband pieces into a circle.

 

Step 7

Take one waistband and pin the bottom of the front flap to the top of the waistband at center front with right sides together.

Flip over and pin the two straps (overlapping at a slight angle) to the top of the waistband at center back.

 

Step 8

Put the other waistband piece, with right side facing the right side of the other waistband, sandwiching the straps and flap in the middle.  Stitch together.

 

Step 9

Flip the waistband pieces down to attach the pants.  Finish the waistband according to the instructions for the Mini Hudson pants.

 

Step 10

Fuse small scraps of interfacing to the back of the front flap where you want to put your buttonhole.  Stitch vertical buttonholes the correct size for your desired buttons.

 

Step 11

Finish your straps by tucking the open ends inside the straps 1/2″.  Stitch along all edges of the straps at 1/4″.  Mark where you want your buttons and sew your buttons to your straps.

 

All done!

He should really be happier about these :)

MINI HUDSON BLOG HOP DAY 5

Wow, it’s already the last day of the Mini Hudson Blog Hop.  I’m excited to share two more amazing versions with you today.

Kristen from Skirt As Top is someone that I have followed for a long time.  She is one of those people that I feel like I would be friends with in real life. She is sweet, talented, and has a beautiful blog filled with makes for herself and her children.  I think that my favorite post of all time though has to be this one where her daughters beloved stuffed animal is lost and returned and she sews the hero a clutch.  Something I could totally relate to as a mother.  Now go check out her Mini Hudsons on her blog.

 

Next is Delia of Delia Creates.  You may know her as the talent behind her own pattern, The Pleated Pencil Skirt.  Such a great staple pattern that I need to find time to make! Something else super impressive about her is that she is a knitting wizard as well with a pattern for a super hip slouchy winter hat.  To learn more about Delia and to see her Mini Hudsons click here to go to her blog.

 

And in case you havn’t caught up yet, click on the following links to see all of the amazing blogs who participated in the Mini Hudson Blog Hop.  Thanks for following along this week!

Monday January 5th – Jolies Bobines | Our Family Four
Tuesday January 6th – A Jennuine Life | Feather’s Flights
Wednesday January 7th – Adirondack Inspired | Made by Sara
Friday January 9th – Skirt As Top | Delia Creates

MINI HUDSON BLOG HOP DAY 4

Day four of the Mini Hudson Pants Blog Hop.  Love these two bloggers and their versions so much.

First we have the famous Celina from Petit a Petit and Family.  Even if you don’t have kids you should be following her blog as well as her pinterest and instagram accounts.  She has the best style around and mad skills.  To top it all of she is one of the amazing talents behind the Stylo magazine.  Click here to go to her blog and see more of her Mini Hudson pants .

 

Next we have Mie from Sewing Like Mad.  A cool thing about Mie is that she not only has a degree in professional sewing, but also has had her own small clothing company.  I’m pretty blown away that she decided to use sequins on the Mini Hudsons.  I want some for myself.  Click on over to her blog to see more.

 

Just one more day on the blog hop.  Here is the complete list of participants:

Monday January 5th – Jolies Bobines | Our Family Four
Tuesday January 6th – A Jennuine Life | Feather’s Flights
Wednesday January 7th – Adirondack Inspired | Made by Sara
Friday January 9th – Skirt As Top | Delia Creates