Monday, January 26, 2015

Testing, Testing - Bundle Up for Girls!

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Miss P and I have been super busy lately, starting off the new year with lots of fun testing opportunities. We have been fortunate to test pretty regularly for a few designers, and also to be invited to test for others for the first time. In preparation for this week's Bundle Up Sale, sponsored by Pattern Revolution, we got to join two different tests - the Jam Jam sleepwear pattern by one of our favorite designers, Tami Meyer of Love Notions Patterns, and the Cecille Dress and Top by LilyGiggle Patterns. I've sewn a number of LG patterns but have never tested for Beth before, so I was excited to be included in this one.

Tami's sleepwear pattern is adorable, and makes me wish it was drafted for moms, too! Miss P loved it, and has worn it several times already despite it being the middle of winter here. We made the top and capri version, although there are shorts included as well. The top, with its sweet yoke detail would make a cute spring daytime tee as well. The fit is roomy and comfy for sleep but not overly baggy, and the ruffles on the pants are a really cute finish. I used a lightweight floral baby rib knit from Fabric Fairy, and cotton lycra for the red contrast. I think this was a Laguna Jersey that I got from, but my go-to for good quality solids lately has been Purple Seamstress (Melinda Dozal) on Facebook.

I sewed a size 4T for P, and didn't make any alterations for the pattern other than to add a little extra length to the top due to her height (43.5") and her long torso. She's sort of between sizes these days, her hips and chest measurements still put her in a 4 in a lot of pdf patterns, but she's well into the size 5 range for height.

The Cecille dress began as a top pattern with a gathered peplum or a flounce, and then Beth kept adding more and more options. This pattern includes short, 3/4, and long sleeves - and the full sleeve is so sweet with the cuff. It also includes measurements for doing a full gathered skirt to make it a dress rather than a top. I made one of each - a long sleeve top with a double layer flounce, and a 3/4 sleeve dress with a gathered (woven) skirt. Miss P loved both of these, and has worn them both already. I know she really likes something I've made for testing when she asks to take photos immediately - it means she wants to wear it right away and knows I usually won't let her until we've taken pics!

This pattern was a great fit as well - I sewed a size 4 with extra length in the bodice, and made no other alterations. For the top version, I used two knit blends from Girl Charlee. I loved the colors and that print, and although the fabric doesn't have a lot of stretch (and was really challenging to do a nice rolled hem), it sewed up nicely and fits well.

"Is this...BLUE??!"
For the dress version, I used a Robert Kaufman chambray that I had been saving for something fun. Miss P doesn't usually like fabrics like this (too blue! and no print!), so I knew I needed to pair it with an interesting bodice fabric. I ended up using a cotton blend jersey sheet from Target that had a super fine orange and white stripe. For the buttons, I used two little denim appliques that I had in my hair clips/bows stash and two mother of pearl buttons that were my grandmother's. She had pearl buttons in every size, it seems, and many many of these little teeny ones. They were perfect for this project!

The Bundle Up sale runs from January 23 - February 2, and includes 11 brand new patterns for girls. The more you buy, the more you save!

I posted my tour patterns earlier this week, and please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour - there are so many awesome and creative versions of these patterns to see!

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Bundle Up for Girls is here!!

Bundle Up is BACK, and it's fantastic!

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The Bundle Up sale is sponsored by Pattern Revolution, and can be found here. This edition is just for girls, and includes 11 brand new patterns by some of your (and my) favorite designers.

I was so excited to be invited to join this tour and sew up a couple of the new patterns. (Disclaimer: these patterns were provided to me at no charge. All opinions, both mine and Miss P's, are 100% ours.) I opted to work with the Jocole Wideleg Pants and the Modkid Rachel dress. I've sewn patterns from both designers before, and love their style. Miss P is a tunics-and-leggings kind of kid, and she was a little skeptical about the wide leg pants at first, but we both loved them. (She was won over by the doll size pattern that's included with the pattern. Once she saw that she and her doll could have matching outfits, she was sold.)

So here's the thing. Next month, my sweet kiddo is having surgery on her legs, and will be in casts for about a month. Leggings are not going to work, and my husband and I have been chatting about what I can sew for her that will fit over the casts but still be comfy for her and appropriate for school - and warm enough, since it's the middle of winter here in the Northeast. These wide leg pants are hands-down a winner, and the fact that she loves them (and has been wearing them!) already bodes well for her post-surgery wardrobe.

They're easy to customize to fit various body types - I cut the size 4 pants with the size 5 length, and shortened the waistband a tad to fit just right and stay on her waist. I think the waistband ended up somewhere between the measurements for a size 3 and a size 4, and was a perfect fit. I really love how they turned out, and thought they'd make great pjs too, so I made a pair in flannel.

Perfect for dancing, playing, and photobombing little brothers!

The grey pair is a medium weight french terry that I got from, and they have a nice drape for this type of pant. I think the trick to having these look just right for Miss P and not lose her in the fabric is to hem them to just the right length. Besides the fact that my clumsy kiddo would be tripping all over herself, the silhouette seems to get a little lost when the pants are too long. It took me a couple of tries to get the hem to a perfect length for her, but I'm so happy with the outcome.

It's too cold here for dresses sans leggings right now, so I thought I'd adapt the Rachel dress to use it as a top with the wide leg pants. I'm so glad I did - it's a great slim fitting bodice and the optional ruffle is adorable!

I cut the size 4, and made the first version (the pjs) from cotton lycra with no added length. I just wanted to see the fit, and figured if it was a little short (and it was), it's not the biggest deal for pajamas. It seems like Miss P is outgrowing her pjs constantly lately (she's been growing like a weed!), so she's got lots of short shirts in her drawers! ;) The only change I made was to the waistband - I cut the same shape as in the pattern piece, but cut it on a fold vertically so I could have the folded edge as the hem.

For my second top, I used a cute jersey print and pink cotton lycra for the bands. I love the wider neckband and the little cap sleeves. This time, I made a traditional hem band by cutting it a little shorter than the bodice width so it would gather in a little - I thought it would be cute over the wide leg pants. For the size 4 (and I added about 1.5" to the length this time, and would still add a little more in the future), I cut my band 4" x 20", so the final hem band was about 1.75" once I folded it and attached it to the bodice.

The Modkid Rachel pattern starts at a size 2T, but I knew I wanted to make a matching doll shirt to go with the wide leg pants. I used the free dolly t-shirt pattern from Peekaboo Patterns as a starting point, and then adapted it a little bit to mirror the Rachel top. Miss P was thrilled with their matching ensembles, and loved getting to take pics with Olivia, her doll (who was fairly cooperative once we realized we could move her head around a bit). :)

Once spring arrives I know I'll be making the dress version of the Rachel for Miss P, but I'm happy to have been able to adapt it so she'll be able to wear it now. We're not very patient over here. ;)

Check back here on Monday to see my tester versions of the Jam Jam sleepwear pattern from Love Notions, and the Cecille Dress and Top from Lilygiggle. And of course, please make sure to check out the other stops on the tour to see lots of great looks and inspiration photos. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks to Pattern Revolution for including me!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Looks like one of my resolutions should be something about keeping up over here a bit more, huh? (My husband thinks so too. Thanks honey.) I agree. Last year was a whirlwind of sewing and pattern testing - and my first four contributor posts/tutorials for the Peekaboo Patterns blog. I tested nearly 50 patterns in the second half of the year alone (!) and began sewing for myself for the first time, too. I took thousands of photos of my kids (and thousands of fruit snacks were likely consumed by said kids as payment), and worked to improve my photography skills both indoors and out.

It was a lot, and I really, really enjoyed all of it. Here are a few frames from the highlight reel (and holy moly, my kids grew a lot this past year!):

The Trendy Tunic from Love Notions Patterns - the first test I did for Tami, and have completed 14 more since then!

The Peekaboo Patterns Audrey Dress - Miss P and I both loved this one, and I loved how fancy she felt every time she wore it. <3

The Schoolboy Vest from Sew Much Ado - the first pattern test that really encouraged me to sew more for this character. We had fun with this one!

The Aloha Surf Suit from Peekaboo - the first swim suit (of many!) I sewed, and this test was done on a snowy February day!

I modified this Rio Racerback dress for the PAB sewalong this summer - and it led to my first tutorial for the Peekaboo blog :)
I made a LOT of dresses for that tutorial, and then took a break from gathering for awhile.
This was one of my favorite outfits - the Aster cardigan that I tested for Willow & Co., and the peplum I adapted from the Kitschy Coo Skater Dress pattern (also a favorite as written). I love the colors, the style, the fit, everything about this - and wish it came in my size. :)

Halloween was fun this year - the kids wanted to be Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, and my nephew spent his first Halloween as a cute little garden gnome. My sister crocheted his hat and beard, and I sewed the jacket. 

I made birthday gear for both kids - this guy turned 2 in May, is obsessed with cars and other vehicles, and got a LOT of car shirts this past year.
This little lady turned 5 in November, and was so excited about these dresses. I used the Charlie Mackadoodle dress from Burlap Button for the "five" dress, and the Town Square dress from Terra's Treasures for the "birthday girl" upcycle - both tees came from Old Navy. Both of these patterns are among my most-used and most-loved patterns. 
This was my second tutorial for Peekaboo, and I made a huge dent in A's wardrobe while writing it up. I sewed a lot of functional, everyday play clothes last year and had fun doing it. It was great to make clothes that the kids got lots of wear out of and were comfy in.
And sometimes it's fun to make things that aren't so everyday. :) This is the Blissful Blazer from Love Notions, was one of my final pattern tests of 2014, and one of my all-time favorite sews. 
What's in store for 2015? I just got a new sewing machine after the untimely demise of my last one and am going to spend some time getting to know it, since it's a bit more feature-rich than my original machine. I'd like to work on my photos some more, especially taking pics of both kids together (and actually getting them both in focus for a change), and begin to use Lightroom, which my husband bought for me as a Chanukah gift. I'm planning to make more of the kids' faves, of course - upcycled t-shirt dresses and lots of knit tunics for my girly girl, and more shirts with cars and trucks for my little guy. And, in perhaps what will be my biggest challenge, I'm really working to keep my office space a bit more....organized. We shall see....