Chalk and Notch Pixie Tee and Dress

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Gabriela at Chalk and Notch does such a great job at making me feel like a million bucks!  Her patterns are always on trend with classic lines and great details.  The new Pixie Tee is no exception.

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The best part- This pattern is free for a limited time for Chalk and Notch newsletter subscribers, just make sure you sign up before Sunday, June 24th.  Hurry over here and click the little Newsletter sign up in the left top corner.  Easy Peasy!  Do it now so you don’t forget, you will not want to miss out on this one!

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This pattern is super versatile and so cute.  There are hem band and hem tie options and multiple sleeve lengths.  There are also top and dress lengths.  You can make a comfy knit tee dress, chic date night top, and cozy sweatshirt all from the same pattern.  I chose to do the hem tie, short sleeve, top version and love, love, love it!

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I used a beautiful double brushed polyester from Raspberry Creek Fabrics (this print is currently not available but there are a ton of other cute options!).  I love the weight and drape of it for this pattern.  There are pattern pieces and instructions for making your own woven ties but there is also an option for ribbon ties.  I used a pretty velvet ribbon for mine and love the texture it adds.

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My plan as I sewed this top was to wear it styled exactly like this.  Who doesn’t love a good jeans and tee combo?  I love that this feels a little elevated than my basic momiform and would love to make a couple more.

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I tried this tee on right before heading out the door for church and just really didn’t want to take it off!  I threw on a skirt and loved that I was able to easily dress it up too.

I can’t wait for you to see all the tester versions.  There was a huge variety and each one was so cute!  Cozy french terry versions, pretty dresses, and fun fabric combos.

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So did you get all signed up?!! Make sure you head to Chalk and Notch so you can grab this as soon as it’s released.  Such a fun new pattern!

Watch my Instagram feed for a chance to win a Chalk and Notch pattern of your choice too!

Movie Night Pj’s and a Lesson Learned

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Is there anything better than new pajamas?!! I don’t think so!  I love my kids in fresh pj’s but chances are you’ll catch them sleeping in old tees and thread bare bottoms (if they even manage to change out of their clothes they wore that day).  New pajamas are almost irresistible and I can guarantee they’ll reach for them any chance they’re clean.

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This kiddo was especially in need of summer sleepwear as he’s had a major growth spurt and none of his fit from last year.  The free Movie Night Pajamas from Sew A Little Seam (grab the code in the Facebook Group) were exactly what I was looking for.  I decided to sew up a batch all at once and knew I could count on Kelly’s pattern to come together great.  Here’s where I learned my lesson…

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I have been sewing PDF patterns for about 5 years now and it’s about time I made this mistake.  As the school year was coming close to an end I wanted to pack in as many projects as I could into my last few afternoons alone.  I printed off about 8 patterns and assembled a handful to be ready for some serious sewing time.  I cut and sewed two sets of pajamas and couldn’t figure out why they were so big!  He tried on the yoga waistband mid-sew and it was huge.  I naively thought it was just his little waist and took in the band a couple of inches.  I completed both sets and just thought the pattern must run a little on the loose side.

It wasn’t until a day later as I was assembling another pattern from a different designer that it dawned on me how unusual the pattern had printed, leaving almost nothing to trim off the edges.  I FINALLY got my ruler out to see that everything I’d printed had been printed to fit the page, not actual size like they should be.  Duh!!!  I rarely check to make sure the correct settings are selected because I’m the primary user of our printer.  You better believe I’ll do it every time now.  My 1 inch square was just 1/16th off, not a big deal, right?!!  Well, now I know exactly how much that 1/16th can affect the body of a pattern piece.

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I just had to go back and do another set so I could get a true sense for how it was supposed to fit and to see just how much it had affected the final product.  I’m super happy I caught it before I had assembled the rest of the stack of patterns I’d printed and so glad I made the mistake on pajamas, a garment that is still totally wearable even if it’s a little big.  You will see in this post the difference in fit between the planes and bears, the ‘bad’ versions, and the mustard stripes, the correct fit.

You can see that the fit of the planes isn’t terrible just looser and wider than expected.  The stripe pj’s fit him like his favorite ready-to-wear ones, close but not too snug.

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Don’t you just love them though!  These fabrics from Raspberry Creek and Riley Blake are just so soft, they make the perfect pajamas!  My kids reach for their RCF pj’s over and over and I feel like they never get worn out.  I also love that they can pick cute novelty prints for them that I might not be drawn to for everyday clothes.  This little guy has been wanting that bear fabric ever since it released so he’s one happy camper!

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Please tell me I’m not alone in getting all the way through constructing a garment before figuring out my error.  What has been your biggest “Doh” moment while sewing?  I know we all make mistakes (What would we do without out our handy seam rippers?) and I’d love to hear your stories.  I love that through our mistakes we can learn and turn those ‘What was I thinking?’ instances into ‘I’ll never do that again!’ lessons.

 

LOL Swing Top and Expansion Pack

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Our weather has gone from spring to blazing hot summer this week!  It was the perfect time to sew up the new LOL Swing Expansion pack for the LOL Swing Top from Jennuine Designs.  The fact that this pattern can be sewn up in both knits AND wovens meant the sky was the limit!

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The first version I made was an easy knit version using this darling Lemonade Stand print from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  It was the perfect pairing to create the essential summertime top!

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We used the new pinafore option available in the expansion pack for a darling open back look.  She loves the breeziness and didn’t want to take it off after our shoot on this 90+ degree day.

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I think this will get worn mostly on pool days or lazy days around the house.  It’s not up to school dress codes and knowing this little lady we’ll have to be careful because she’s always cartwheeling and flipping any chance she gets!  This top is definitely not ‘tumbling’ proof 😉  I do think the pinafore options looks especially adorable on babies and toddlers!  All that cute baby chub is too darling in this top!

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I did skip the neck gathering on this version (not necessarily a design choice but trying to get it done quicker) and it still turned out so nicely in front.   I seriously love the volume and swing this top has!

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The second version I did was using the dress expansion.  Again, the swing of this pattern is everything!

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I used a large scale buffalo plaid I got from CaliFabrics last year and played with the direction of the print a bit.  I love the bold black and white print with the pop of color from the bias binding.  The pattern calls for narrow bias binding but I really wanted it to pop so I used 1/2″ bias for this version.

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I’m always nervous sewing up tank patterns that the underarm coverage may be lacking.  I love how this pattern fits though!  The racerback style and thick straps keep everything where it should be.

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The knit version can easily slip over the head but the woven version calls for a simple shoulder button.  This makes it easy on and off and keeps the construction clean.

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The dress version includes pockets and I had a hard time deciding whether or not to add them here.  We LOVE pockets but this fabric is slightly sheer so I chose not to do them this go round.

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You can get your copy of the LOL Top here, the Expansion Pack here for just $2 if you already own the LOL Top pattern, or get the bundle here on sale through Sunday June 10th.

Love Notions Willow Wrap Dress

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The Love Notions Willow Wrap Dress (affiliate link) is new and improved!

This post contains affiliate links.  In return for purchasing through my links, I receive a small portion of each sale.

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The pattern features a dress and peplum length, optional bodice gathering or pleats, two neckline depths, and multiple sleeve options.  There’s even an optional neckline ruffle that is so pretty!  Like all Love Notions patterns, it’s available in sizes XS-XXXL and is so flattering on all figures.

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I sewed up a size small with elbow sleeves (no surprise there) and a pleated bodice.  I also chose the higher neckline.  I used a gorgeous Art Gallery cotton spandex knit, Lantana in Cobalt from Katarina Roccellla’s Mediteraneo collection, that I got from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  I love the weight and drape of Art Gallery knits and it worked so well with this pattern.

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I have been hesitant in the past to try wrap dresses, thinking they just weren’t right for my figure.  Most wrap dresses seem to be cut really low and that just doesn’t suit me.  I knew I could trust Tami at Love Notions to make a pattern that was both modest and flattering on all body types.  I was nervous to try on the finished dress but fell instantly in love!

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The shaping of the bodice and a-line skirt are so nice.  I measure into a medium at the waist but didn’t grade out because of the flare of the skirt and I like the finished look.  I will grade out next time for my arms- I always forget to do that!  This fabric is nice and stretchy though so I will still wear this a ton.  I actually think my next version will have the flutter sleeves.  They make this dress so sweet and feminine.

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I’ve also talked in the past about my plethora of unworn knit dresses in my closet.  I think this dress is dressy enough for church and other formal functions.  The bonus of it being super comfortable means I’ll reach for it again and again.  I’m planning to get lots of wear out of it!

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You can grab the Willow Wrap Dress on sale today and tomorrow for just $6 then it will be $8 through Monday, June 4th.

 

 

 

Violette Fields Pixie Dress

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Last post I mentioned we had the pleasure of doing a fashion show as part of UQSM.  Since it was sponsored by Cotton + Steel I decided to sew up a dress so my oldest could join in the fun.  (My youngest daughter wore this dress and was in heaven walking the ‘runway’!)  I picked out this Amalfi Herb Garden cotton from Fat Quarter Shop with more Project Run and Play winnings and knew I wanted to make this sweet girl a dress.  The fashion show was just the deadline I needed to actually get it done!  I have such a love/hate relationship with deadlines- I hate the pressure of HAVING to sew something but I LOVE actually getting a project done.

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I used the Pixie Dress from Violette Field Threads (another PRP prize) and love, love the result.

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The dress came together so quickly and I love the simple style.  The bodice features dolman sleeves and a center panel.  The panel seams are the perfect place to add lace or trims and I just had to add this pretty crochet trim from Hobby Lobby to the bodice.  I love little details like that!

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The back has a v-shape with shoulder ties to keep it in place.  The fact that there are no zippers or buttons makes for a quick sew.

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We both just love this sweet style and she’s already requested another one.  We both absolutely love the stripe versions on the patterns cover and I can’t wait to recreate it.  I think this style is such a great one for tweens.  It’s not too young-looking and it’s so comfortable.  She was so eager to wear this to church after our first photos.

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I love that sweet smile from my girly!  She feels happy and confident and that’s worth it all!

Cotton + Steel Fringe Dress

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I think I’ve died and gone to dress heaven!  This dress is seriously everything I could possibly want in a garment; comfortable, chic, on trend, and makes me feel absolutely amazing!

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I was lucky enough to be part of a fashion show at UQSM (Utah Quilting and Sewing Marketplace) and the generous folks at Cotton + Steel sponsored our show.  It was so fun to shop their giant collection of fabrics.  I struggled picking something from all their amazing lines.  I’m a sucker for the Rifle Paper Co. lines but knew they’d be well represented by the other ladies in the show.  I knew I wanted a rayon and fell hard for this pretty butterfly print from Melody Miller’s Flutter line.  I think that it’s bold and subtle all at once.  The colors are so very me and the print is a little different from my normal floral, stripes, or gingham but still not too crazy.  It feels very seasonless to me too and I’ll wear it all year round, with sandals in warm weather and booties and a cardigan come fall.

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I was beyond impressed with the weight and feel of this fabric.  It sewed up easily and the drape is just beautiful.  I’ve been spoiled working with it and now can’t wait to use it again.

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I sewed up the Fringe Blouse and Dress from Chalk and Notch using the maxi tutorial from the Chalk and Notch blog.  Why have I not sewn up this pattern before now?!!! I am so in love with it! It was such a fun sew.  The instructions are fantastic and the finishing is superb.  It was also a fairly quick sew, I was able to make it up in a day full of lots of family interruptions.  I did view B, the popover version, and already have a view A set aside and ready to go.

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I added the ties to the back darts and I love the little bit of shaping they give.

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I was honestly a little nervous that this style would look a little ‘maternity’ on my body type.  I’m very rectangle with no chest and a belly and it’s really easy for tops and dresses to accentuate those features.  This pattern did the exact opposite in my opinion.  The lower neckline draws the eye up and the ties and waist shaping actually give me the illusion of a waistline.  The waistline gathering isn’t bulky and hits at that sweet spot of my natural waist.  I’m so glad to have given this style a try and now will fill my closet with this pattern and similar styles!

 

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Can I get a little real with y’all?  I know my job as a sewing blogger and pattern promoter is to look pretty and tell you all the great things about my latest sews.  Part of that ‘job’ is taking fancy pictures of myself and posting for all the web to see.  I wish I could let you all see me as I sit here in my jammies writing this, having spent a totally lackluster day running errands like oil changes, grocery shopping, and soccer games.  The sunglasses in all my pictures are to hide the undereye circles from the lack of sleep and also the fact that I have an uncanny ability to close my eyes each time the shutter goes off.  You rarely see back shots because I have a silly insecurity about my elbows… I think staring at pictures of yourself can bring out all kinds of funny negative body thoughts.  It is fun to pretend to be a beautiful supermodel for a few minutes but just know that most of us in front of the camera are dealing with the same insecurities and daily life that you are.  I wouldn’t trade the everyday moments of motherhood for anything!

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It takes a really amazing garment though to really make me feel like a million bucks and this dress does just that.  It hits that sweet spot of feeling like your most comfortable pajamas while looking like a chic garment.  Doesn’t get any better!

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Sewing WITH Kids

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As my kids get older they’ve caught the sewing bug.  They get an idea in their heads then just have to get it sewn up right then- sound familiar sewists?!  Today I’m going to share a few of their favorite makes and our tips for a happy sewing experience.

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This guy just dives right into each project with absolutely no fear.  I never really taught him how to sew and remember the day when he was about 8-years-old and I caught him mending his socks with my serger.  No intimidation with this kid!

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My older kids are not really interested in sewing up pillowcases, bags, or other standard beginner projects.  I think since I sew primarily clothing, that’s what they want to sew too.  He really wanted a hoodie like his older brothers and we sewed this up in an afternoon.  Hoodies are a go-to for me when teaching my kids to sew.  My oldest has made a couple of Greenstyle Hudson Hoodies and my younger kids love the Hey June Hatteras Hoodie.  The bands make it easy to finish with no knit hems and I think a hood can be even easier to do than a tricky knit neckband.  For the most part hoodies can be done on a serger which makes for a more professional finish that they’ll be proud of.  Another bonus with hoodies is that french terry is a great fabric to work with.  It’s nice and thick and doesn’t curl as easily as thinner knits.

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He made this last fall and wore this constantly all winter long!  A couple other easy projects I’ve made with my older boys are t shirts (this one from Jalie or the Jolly Roger Raglan from P4P are favorites), joggers (Boxwoods from Sew Like My Mom and Mini Hudson Pants from True Bias), and pajamas (the free Walk the Plank bottoms from P4P).

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This sweet girly loves to sew as well.  She took a sewing class last summer with her best friend and I’ve been super grateful she did.  She was able to learn all the proper techniques and gain the confidence to really tackle projects on her own.  During her class she used a regular sewing machine and made bags, pillows, and pajamas.  They taught her how to cut out patterns and which stitches to use.  For her first big project at home she also sewed up a Hatteras Hoodie with her brother.  It was so fun having them working side by side!

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She loves to sew birthday gifts for her friends.  She makes backpacks, sleeping masks, and hair things.  We love the Made for Mermaids HUGE collection of Free Patterns– there are tons of great beginner projects and loads of things perfect for gifting.

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Her latest sew was a fun one!  We sewed the Mainland Collection from Striped Swallow Designs together.  She sewed the Rhapsody Joggers and I did the Highlander Dolman.    She picked these darling fabrics from our Project Run and Play winnings from Riley Blake Designs.  They are so cute together and such a great weight, making them easy to work with.

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The top is also another great beginner project that I think she could do on her own next time.  We changed a few things with the patterns to make them even quicker, easier sews.

We did a wide yoga waistband on the joggers and a wide band on the bottom of the top.  She plans to wear this set primarily as lounge wear so comfort was key!  It also made construction even easier.

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The pocket construction on these pants is super fun and quite easy for her to figure out.  I love the oversized look of them too!

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I changed the sleeves to have a wide cuff, one of my favorite features on tops lately.  I think it adds a cute detail to this top.

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I think the most difficult part of this top is the bound neckline and optional ties.  It’s such a nice finish and she’s so meticulous that I’m sure she could handle it next time.  It’s definitely my favorite thing about this pattern!

mainland5Here’s a breakdown of some of my tips for sewing with older kids:

1- Let them pick their project.  They’re more likely to finish a project they’ve picked themselves and will be proud to wear the finished garment if it’s something they’ve been eyeing in stores.

2- Pick fabrics that are easy to sew with.  I like thick knits like cotton/lycra (Raspberry Creek, Art Gallery, and Riley Blake are perfect!) or french terry (Raspberry Creek has you covered!).  For wovens, I love Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannels for pj’s or quilting cottons for household projects.  Good quality fabric might be hard on the wallet but it’ll make all the difference in how easy it is to sew and how well the finished project will hold up.

3- If you’d use a serger on the project, let your kids use it also.  I know that blade is scary but I’ve found my kids are cautious and careful around it.  We use clips to hold pieces together and they work great at making sure they sew nice and slow too!

4- Go easy on them but also make them unpick when necessary.  When I learned to sew as a teen I was so resentful of my seam ripper.  My mom made me unpick things until they were perfect.  Guess what I’ve learned- perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!  If it’s close enough and won’t cause problems further in the construction, let it be.  Sometimes though a little seam ripping just needs to be done.  When sewing these joggers my daughter sewed a cuff on with the seam on the outside.  She quickly ripped the seam out and had it sewn on correctly in no time.  Lesson learned!  We grow the most from our mistakes so don’t deny them that opportunity, lol!

5- Have fun!  It’s hard not to think that you could probably finish the project in half the time but sit back and enjoy those moments with your kiddos.  They go too quickly!