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!

 

 

Hey June Phoenix Blouse

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Well, be prepared to buy another pattern.  The Hey June Handmade Phoenix Blouse is here and it’s perfect for summer (and all year really!).  It has all the same great quality you’ve come to expect in a Hey June pattern- amazing instructions, excellent drafting, and incredible style.

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The pattern features a loose fit, front yoke with slit, and a back yoke.  There are sleeveless and bell sleeve views.  The best part for me was the fact that the Amalfi Dress sleeves fit perfectly with this pattern- hooray for even more options!  I used the flutter sleeve from the Amalfi for my version.

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I love the breeziness of this whole blouse but those sleeves take it to a whole new level!

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I’ve had this fabric forever!  I found it years ago in LA at Michael Levine’s Loft where you pay by the pound and since it was such a lightweight fabric I got yards and yards of it!  I love the subtle print and drape.  I think it’s a rayon crepe and it’s just a bit sheer.  While I think the finished top is amazing in this fabric, I did have to walk away a couple of times during sewing as it put me through the ringer!  I think my next Phoenix will be in a sturdier fabric but those flutter sleeves just needed something that would flow and I knew this would be perfect.

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The back yoke construction is genius!! As with all Hey June patterns the insides look just as pretty as the outsides and that yoke is a little mind blowing.  It’s a simple to do technique that hides most of the yoke and shoulder seams.

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Make sure you grab your copy of the Phoenix Blouse!  It’s a wardrobe MUST for sure!

Lana Top and Dress from Coffee + Thread

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The Lana Top and Dress is the latest pattern from Coffee + Thread.  It’s such a cute, on trend style and so quick to sew up!

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This pattern is a knit dolman bodice with a ruffle sleeve with both top and dress options.  It comes in sizes 2-20 and a big bonus is that a top can be made in just a yard of fabric for most sizes!  You’ve got to be like me with a huge stash of one yard cuts that you’re not sure what to do with.  This pattern is perfect for them and you can sew up a few in just an afternoon, my kind of pattern for sure!

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I really like the fit of this top, not too fitted and loose in all the right places.  It’s perfect for those hot summer days!

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Like most tests I do, I sewed up an early tester version with all intentions of making a great final version also but yet again time got away from me.  Daily life with five kiddos sometimes puts a damper on my sewing time, lol!   The pattern was lengthened  after my version but otherwise the fit was pretty great from the get-go.  I used a yummy soft rayon spandex from an LA fabric shopping trip and it worked great for this pattern.  I love the ruffle sleeve in a lightweight fabric!

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I’m thrilled to have the perfect summer top and definitely need to sew up a couple more!  You can still grab the pattern on sale through May 10th!

 

Patriotic Starlight City Dress

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The new Patriotic CLUB line from Raspberry Creek Fabrics has me feeling so inspired.  Corinne really did an amazing job creating this line and I can’t get enough of it!

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I had big plans to use this rayon challis print for myself but had a change of heart when this little miss struggled to find a warm weather dress that still fit- darn growing kids!  I absolutely love the Starlight City Dress from Lil Luxe Collection (you can see our other version here) and knew it’d be stunning maxi-fied.

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That back is just so fun and it’s such a quick, easy sew too since there are no closures!

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I modified it just a bit using the width of the fabric for the skirt and adding length to make it touch the floor.  She is a 7/8 width with a 12 height but I didn’t alter the bodice piece so it hits a little higher on her chest.

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We both love those pockets!  Seriously, there’s nothing more comfy than a soft maxi dress with pockets.

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I did have to be a bit creative with the pattern placement with this print.  You don’t want to end up with medallions is the wrong place on the chest, if you catch my drift.  It’s not such a big deal on my little miss but when I make my own top I think I’ll try to do something similar to this bodice.  Aren’t those colors just so pretty?!!

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You can grab this fabric and the whole patriotic line on sale through the end of today, 5/7.  They’ll stick around in the shop through July 4th so you can get your fun summer clothes ready!

Megan Nielsen River Dress and Top

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I’m so excited to finally get to share these makes with you!  I was thrilled to be a tester for Megan Nielsen’s latest pattern, the River Top and Dress.  This dress was one of my most worn this winter and it’s been torture not to be able to share it with you all!

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This pattern includes so many options!  It’s a fun reversible raglan sleeve top or dress that can be made in both knits or wovens.  It can be worn with the v-neckline in the front or back making it so versatile!

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The relaxed fit made it so perfect for hiding all those holiday pounds and for keeping me comfortable all winter long.  I loved pairing it with tights and a cardigan for an easy casual church outfit.

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I made this version out of a thick plaid double knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  I absolutely love this fabric and it was perfect for this pattern.  It has both structure and stretch and is so soft.  It’s no wonder I couldn’t get enough of this dress.

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I also did a top version in a houndstooth ponte (from my stash) that I just love!  The cropped length was so flattering and made me feel slightly edgier and way cooler than my normal jeans and tee 😉

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There is a cuff option for the sleeves that I absolutely adore!  Digging up these pictures again has me convinced I need to make another brighter version for spring.

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Head over to Megan Nielsen stat to pick up your copy of this fun pattern and you’ve got to check out the Ash Jeans that also released this week.  So much goodness in the shop!