Friday, July 17, 2015

Blog tour time: For the BOYS!!

For this week's blog tour excitement, I was invited to participate in project from an awesome group of designers at Sewing With Boys - the collaboration is called "S is for Sewing" and includes 4 full patterns that are great for back-to-school. Also included are great tutorials from a number of other designers and bloggers. And it's ALL for the boys - how great is that??! I've mentioned before that I love sewing for my little guy (and the feeling is mutual, so I want to enjoy that while I can!) and it's no secret that patterns for boys are far more limited in scope and design than those for girls. 

All of the patterns included in this e-book look great, but I selected the Radical Raglan hoodie from Jonie of Knot Sew Normal to sew up for A this week. It was a HUGE hit and is jam-packed with options. I sewed up the size 3 based on his measurements (this is his typical size for RTW and handmade) and the fit was great. It's definitely a closer-fitting garment than many boys' hoodies and has great lines. I used microfleece with cotton lycra for the accent fabric. If I used a heavier fabric or one with less stretch, like sweatshirt fleece, I'd definitely size up. The length was good and the waistband was perfectly snug but not tight; I did shorten the sleeves by 1.5" and kept the cuffs - it was good to know that they were a little long so if I wanted to omit the cuffs another time and just hem the sleeves it would work well. 

The front pockets are a key feature of this pattern, and they're great. My guy couldn't keep his hands out of them - I used the microfleece for the pocket lining so they'd be nice and cozy. The size is generous but not ridiculous, and the hand opening is just right for little hands and their cars/Lego/rocks/other assorted treasures. I added a patch to ours, since A loves when I do that - I like to stock up on woven prints like this one so I can just applique a small piece. This particular print is Stenzo, and is still available at Mabel Madison (use the code savemm through 7/31/15 to get 50% off the entire shop!!). 

The main modification that I made to this pattern was the neckline. The pattern is drafted with a cool asymmetrical button placket, and a strap that extends from one sleeve/bodice seam to cross over the placket and snap in place. I COULD NOT convince my stubborn kiddo that the placket wasn't "crooked." I guess 3-year-olds just aren't into design concepts yet lol. So I decided that since this hoodie was for him and I would love if he actually chooses to wear it this fall, I'd just leave off the placket and strap.

Instead of just attaching the hood to the existing neckline, I scooped the neckline and the tops of the shoulders a bit deeper and serged a neckband to the new neckline. I used a 2" wide strip of ribbing, and cut it to about 80% of the size of the neckline. I attached the hood directly to the seam allowance (from where I attached the neckband to the shirt) and then topstitched to help keep the seam allowance tacked down. I left a gap between the ends of the hood at the front so it wouldn't feel constrictive around his neck, and also since I plan on using this for layering over tees when the end-of-summer chilly mornings start showing up around here. 

It's probably pretty obvious by the pics that the finished hoodie was a big hit with my little guy. Taking photos was unusually easy, and he's already asked for another one (he's got specific fabrics in mind, of course!). I'm glad he likes it since I do, too - I love that there are lots of design options included, but the basic pattern itself is so well-fitting that it's easy to customize and make it exactly how my kiddo wants it to look and feel. The pattern was provided to me for my participation in this tour, but all opinions are mine (and those of my little guy, too). He was compensated with a handful of jelly beans, but not the spicy red ones. He hates those. ;)

Make sure to check out the other stops on the tour - today's the last day for new posts, but there are lots of amazing ladies who've already shared their takes on the S is for Sewing e-book patterns. 

July 13th

July 14th

July 15th

July 16th

July 17th

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

It's Blog Tour Time Again - Simple Life Pattern Company Mash-Up Tour!

The Simple Life Pattern Co. has only been selling patterns for the past six months, but they've made a huge splash in the pdf pattern world. And for good reason - these patterns are fantastic! They're well-drafted, stylish, and the perfect mix of frilly (pleases my girl) yet practical enough for everyday wear (pleases me).

When I was invited to join their mash-up blog tour this week, I agreed without hesitation and then turned Miss P loose on their website. To mash-up a pattern, I usually use components from 2-3 patterns and blend them for a new look. I think it's a great way to extend the life of a pattern and get even more use from it without looking like I've made three or four of the same dress. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. We've got plenty of "duplicates" in our wardrobes here - it's just nice to get a little bonus add-on from my pattern purchases, too.)

Miss P immediately fell in love with the Lilly Lapel Dress, and what's not to love?? It's GORGEOUS. I reminded her that we live a pretty casual lifestyle with no upcoming big events, and since it was really the pieced version of the skirt that caught her eye we decided to make it a standalone skirt. It was a no-brainer to pair the adorable Cheyenne Ruffled Top with it for a sweet ensemble that is totally wearable but fancy enough to please my little lady.

To make the skirt, I opted for the smaller of the two sizes I was considering and went with the 4T. It left me without enough ease in the waist/hips for her to still be able to pull it on once I added an elasticated waistband, but was a little shorter and less full than the size 5. I pieced the skirt together per pattern instructions (which are so detailed and easy to follow) and then started to draft my waistband.

You can see in the photo above that I serged along the top of my pieced skirt - there are a LOT of seams involved because of all of the panels, and I found that finishing the top edge just cleaned it up a bit as I prepared to add the waistband. I cut my waistband to the circumference of the top edge of my skirt (plus seam allowance) by 4" tall. I sewed up the side seams, pressed in half along the long edge, and also pressed one edge under about 1/4" before attaching the raw edge to the top edge of the skirt. I pressed that seam up and folded my waistband down along the crease I'd pressed down the midline, and then topstitched the waistband in place, leaving about 2" open to thread my elastic. I used 1" elastic, cut just a touch shorter than my daughter's waist measurement. I also stitched just along the top edge of the waistband, about 1/8" from the edge, to help keep the casing nice and snug for the elastic. I hemmed the skirt per pattern instructions but it would look very cute finished with bias tape also!

For the Cheyenne tank, I cut the sleeveless view in the size 4 with added length since I wanted it to be a nice slim fit to tuck into the skirt. Miss P is right between the size 4 and 5 these days, so I can go either way depending on what type of fit we're looking for. I wanted a little cap sleeve to make this a little more of a transitional outfit since the skirt will be perfect for fall, so I made a faux sleeve from the arm band. I simply serged the band onto the tank, right sides together, and instead of wrapping it to the wrong side to finish the arm opening as binding I just pressed the ends under asymmetrically and hemmed in place. I tucked just about 1/2" under at the shoulder, and then tapered down as I approached the side seam/underarm. At that point there was less than 1/2" of the band VISIBLE as the rest was pressed under. Once I hemmed, I just trimmed away the excess knit. It's subtle but I like the way the "sleeve" extends just a tiny bit beyond the ruffles at the shoulder.

Miss P's next request is for me to use the bodice from the Lilly dress since she loves the lapels - and mash it with the tiered maxi skirt from the Mia's Dress. This girl is definitely not into the subtle these days!

Thanks again to Katie, Kimberlee, and the team at SLP Co. for inviting me to join you this week - this was a lot of fun for us! Make sure to check out the rest of the stops on the tour, too!