Striped Swallow Designs Starry Night

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As part of the Striped Swallow Designs Promo Team I have the opportunity to sew up a SSD pattern a handful of times a year.  It’s such a great push for me to sew up all those pretty designs I’ve been crushing on.  This round I finally sewed up a Starry Night Sweater for myself.  I’ve made one for my girly and we both absolutely adored it so it’s about time I got one of my own.  I now need one using the little sleeve hack I did on hers too!

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For my version I used a super soft grey hacci sweater knit from Raspberry Creek Fabrics.  I worried that it’d be too boring but I also know that I pull out ‘boring’ looks more often than the flashy prints I fall in love with.  This simple grey sweater will go with everything and looks great with jeans or even a cute skirt for church.  Versatile pieces are treasures to me!

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The Starry Night is a drop shoulder with a gathered bishop sleeve.  This look is EVERYWHERE right now and I’m so on board that train.  I love a full sleeve with a gathered wrist (that cinched in wrist makes it so practical).  These sleeves are gathered just at the center top making them just the right fullness.

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The pattern includes both hemmed and banded bottom options as well as a top and dress length.  I did the banded bottom and love that the band doesn’t cinch in keeping the relaxed silhouette.  It works so well for my habitual front half-tuck!

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Taking blog photos when it’s 40 degrees is totally a first world problem but I’ve got to give huge props to my cute eleven-year-old photographer for braving the chilly air with me.  I love scrolling through all the pics for the ones where my nose is the least red and my chin doesn’t look like it’s quivering!  This pic is the clenched teeth, trying to look as natural as possible despite freezing our boots off look 😉

Make sure you check out Striped Swallow Designs!  I love their boho-vibe and the patterns are so easy to follow.  If you’re looking for unique, on-trend pieces for you or your little girls, SSD is the place to be!

Striped Swallow Apres Ski

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In planning my fall sewing, I’m really leaning towards basics in solids, stripes, and easy to wear prints.  One of the first pieces I tackled for myself is a top that I know will get tons of wear- the Apres Ski from Striped Swallow Designs.

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I was immediately drawn to those sleeves (you might remember I used the girl’s version for yesterdays post).  The full bishop sleeve is so on trend and I love the detail it gives an otherwise simple design.  I scoured the internet and looked at many different versions and was really hooked on the solid versions that really let those sleeves stand out.

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I headed to my favorite fabric shop, Raspberry Creek Fabrics, and picked up this beautiful Dana Cotton Modal in Huckleberry.  The color was just perfect for fall.  This knit is lightweight and has amazing drape which really suited this style.  I love the feel of this fabric- so soft and heavenly!

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I made a small with the banded hem.  The only adjustment I made was to make my bottom band a couple inches smaller to really cinch in the bottom.  I’m such a fan of raglan tees and sweatshirts and know this pattern will become a new go-to.  I love that those sleeves give it a little more personality but are not over the top.  I think this top really embodies my classic, comfortable style.

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I’ve got a few more things on my selfish sewing list this fall.  I’m really hoping to conquer some woven bottoms (I think I’ve got the jogger thing down, lol).  What’s on your sewing list heading into fall?

Retro Tees with the Cricut Easy Press 2

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This post is sponsored by Cricut.  I received the Cricut Easy Press 2 in exchange for promotion.  All thoughts in this post are my own.

It’s no secret that we’re huge Cricut fans in our house.  We’ve all gotten spoiled and love to create looks that we dream up ourselves.  As a seamstress, I love to create clothes and pick out pattern and fabric combos that suit both me and my children.  The Cricut Maker, Easy Press 2, and sewing products help us take our handmade wardrobe to the next level.

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I’ve been absolutely loving all the rainbow and vintage vibe tees and sweatshirts that are everywhere these days.  It was so much fun to come up with our own sayings and designs and use our handy Cricut tools to create looks that fit their personalities.

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The Cricut EasyPress 2 makes ironing on your vinyl designs such a breeze.  I’m loving the new vibrant color and three different sizes that will suit all your needs.  The small 6″x7″ size works great for baby clothes and little projects.  The medium 9″x9″ size is super versatile and a great all-purpose machine.  The large 12″x10” has been fantastic for our family.  It’s great for youth and adult clothing and has been getting a work out at our house.

The EasyPress 2 is easy to use and is so quick and handy.  It heats up so fast and the ceramic coated plate produces smooth, even heating (something my iron sure lacked!).  I use mine on my kitchen table and I know that it’s protected from the heat by the insulated safety base and the EasyPress Mat.  It gets up to 400 degrees and irons on your designs in no time.  The easy to read digital display makes it easy to set the temperature and timer to suit your iron-on material and fabric.  And I love that it’s easy to store on my shelf and is light and portable.  Phew!  So many great qualities!  I honestly don’t know how I lived without mine.

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When creating these looks I turned to Cricut Design Space and the loads of fonts at my finger tips!  You can create this look for yourself here.  I used the Playroom Sampler pack, with Kelly, Orange, and Sky but I think it’d look amazing in an array of Glitter Iron-On as well.

I’m a Cricut Iron-On convert.  After using different brands I’ve been thrilled with how well our Cricut brand makes have held up.  Cricut has introduced the StrongBond guarantee that will give you the confidence and peace of mind that your iron-on projects will last and last.  The StrongBond guarantee means that if your Cricut iron-on products are used as directed and you’re not completely satisfied, Cricut will replace it for free.  Cricut Iron-on products are made to last 50+ wash and dry cycles and I’m here to testify that ours have taken a beating and still look amazing.  That’s a big deal with kids- their favorites can stick around until they’re outgrown!

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I used the Samson Sweater from Love Notions sized up one and with an extra wide bottom band to give it that oversized look.  This french terry from Raspberry Creek is one of my favorite fabrics for fall.  (I love it so much I used it for my little guys joggers too!)  It’s nice and thick and worked wonderfully with the iron-on.

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This Legendary tee was another fun design.  This kiddo has certainly reached ‘legend’ status at our house so this tee was just too perfect for him.  I used the Boho Sampler pack of Everyday Iron-On for this look.  I used the #121 Ringer Raglan pattern from Thread Faction- I can’t get enough of that slim fit!

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I used the Lexi and Lou Loungers from Made for Mermaids for his pants.  I added a long vinyl stripe down the side and in the pocket for a touch of color.  The large EasyPress made ironing on the stripe simple and easy!  One bonus of making a garment is that you can iron things on flat, before they get completely sewn together.  I sewed up the pockets and side seam, EasyPressed the stripes on, then continued with the construction.

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This design is a trial and error look.  I’m always trying to come up with new ways to use my Iron-On materials and this one was a fun one.  I took strips of each color and taped them together using transfer tape on the plastic backing.  I cut the design out in white iron-on and applied it to the sweatshirt.  I then cut the design out of my rainbow piece and applied it directly on top of the white lettering.  It’s far from perfect but that just means I get to keep trying it until I get it just right!  I love the look and used the same technique here too.  You can get this design in Design Space here.

Her top was made using the Striped Swallow Designs Apres Ski.  Those big full sleeves take this sweatshirt from boring to brilliant.

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I’m thrilled with this whole Retro Rainbow collection and love how quick and easy it was to make with our Cricut products.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Sewing for my favorite season

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The kids are back in school AND Raspberry Creek Fabrics released their new fall line.  You know what that means, right?!  Let the fall sewing begin!

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I started off my sewing binge with a little something for me.  The Greenstyle Brassie Joggers are a staple in my wardrobe.  I wear them any chance I get.  I have a handful now and whether I know my day will be filled with running errands or spent at my sewing machines, my Brassies are what I reach for.  Comfort in all things.  This pair was made using this floral french terry (I love the prints on the grey base in the new line!).  I paired it with a teal Panama Tee, my favorite pattern for more stable fabrics like cotton lycra.

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Another staple in our house is the Camden Tee. Do I sound like a broken record here? If you can believe it I’d never done the sleeve stripes before and I knew they’d be perfect for this version.  This retro stripe is just perfect for fall.

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This Windowpane Plaid is such a great transitional fabric.  I love the bright colors and it’s so cute with jeans.  I used the Willow Raglan from Striped Swallow Designs.  I love all the options with this pattern.  I hacked it just a bit into a hi-low peplum (a straight peplum top is included in the pattern).  I used the 10 top length for the front peplum piece and then blended the back piece from the top to the dress length.

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The keyhole back neckline is super fun.  I love playing with plaids and stripes on the bias and this bodice just makes me happy!

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My little guy got a couple new tees too!  This one is the Helter Skelter Tee from Shwin Designs.  I love colorblocked tees and especially love when a pattern does all the work for me.  And how cute are these little buddies?!  He loves when photo shoots include friends (the one on the left is my darling nephew and on the right is the amazing Anna from Kainara Stiches son).

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The Skiff Tee from Jennuine Designs is another fun color blocked tee.  It has the cutest hidden pocket in the bodice seam too.  He was a super fan of that pocket!

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I’m dying over this amazing quilted knit!  It’s so cozy and that color is just stunning in real life.  I love it paired with the blush and burgundy floral (my secret favorite from the whole fall line, shhhh, don’t tell the other fabrics!).  I used the Ebony Sweater from Shwin Designs.  The relaxed fit just makes it so much cozier don’t you think!

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The leggings are Love Notions free Leggins’ pattern.  It’s the leggings pattern I use the most for my girls.  I love the yoga waistband and the slim fit just works so well on my girls.  I’m going to need to sew a big batch of them for fall.

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One last look to get our fall sewing started.  The Hey Juniors line from Hey June Handmade is something I couldn’t live without.  I used the Morrison Tee here and it was great to break out a pattern I hadn’t sewn in awhile and realize I’d been missing out.  We were hoping for a boxy sweatshirt look and this pattern was just what we wanted.

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This Floral French Terry just needed to shine on it’s own and I think this simple silhouette really helps it out.  It’s bright and bold and paired so well with her new jeggings.

It felt so good to churn out some much needed fall wardrobe pieces.  I love sewing with CLUB knits and the quick cute projects I can do with them!

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!

 

 

Striped Swallow Hideaway

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I’m always on the hunt for quick, cozy top patterns and was excited to try out the Hideaway from Striped Swallow Designs.  I think it took longer to decide on fabric than it did to sew up this cute top!

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This pattern is meant to be off the shoulder but I used a simple hack Mandalynn posted on her Instagram.  I simply skipped cutting the neckline and hemmed the neck opening 1/2″ before sewing up the shoulder seams.  Since it’s a dolman top and only four pieces, it came together in a heartbeat!

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This reverse french terry I picked up in LA was perfect.  It has excellent drape and I love the muted camo print.  Funny story and bonus for all you local peeps: I wore this top out running errands and stopped in to my local fabric shop, Fabric Center on Redwood Rd.  They totally  have this exact fabric in stock!  It felt a little like when you’re shopping at Target and walk past the display only to realize you’re wearing the same top as the mannequin- doh!

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I love the silhouette of this top and that it’s a bit out of my comfort zone.  I already want to sew up a few more to get me through our cold winter months.  I’d love a cozy sweater knit version and you can never have too much french terry!

Dreamy Velvet Wrap Dress

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This is the dress dreams are made of.  It’s one of those things you feel fabulous in but is also so incredibly comfortable you contemplate wearing it everyday- it’s totally appropriate for the soccer field and a Target run, right?!!

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My journey for this dress began back in August when I picked up this luscious olive green velvet from Stylish Fabrics.   I knew immediately it needed to be a dress for me and couldn’t get a wrap dress out of my head.  I searched and searched for the perfect pattern- I really wanted a higher neckline but couldn’t find one that looked right.  The details on the Striped Swallow Designs Summer Dawn were exactly what I wanted though.  Those sleeves are just about the most awesome things ever and that shoulder gather is perfection!  I grabbed it and then sat on this project while I tried to figure out all the alterations I’d need to do to make it work for me…

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The changing leaves really motivated me to get this thing done- I NEEDED a gorgeous fall backdrop to really do justice to this dress!

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With a few modifications this dress is all I had hoped it would be.  I’ve never even worn a wrap dress before and now I want to fill my closet with them!  This style is just my cup of tea- comfortable and classic but with a bit of wow thrown in.  I’ll let you in on all my tricks to get the perfect dress for me!

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The modifications I made were only to the bodice and straps.  In making the alterations I did need to change the construction a bit also.  My main goal was to raise the neckline.  Every version I’d seen was way too low for my tastes and needs.  I’ll be primarily wearing this to church and on the rare special occasion so modesty was key.

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I took my front bodice piece and first extended the bottom to fit my front skirt piece.  I then drew a line straight up to match the line marked in the picture.  From there I extended the diagonal out for more coverage.  It didn’t need too much extra.

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When I attached the neckline binding piece I folded it in half then serged the whole thing on, creating a neckband instead of the hidden binding in the pattern.  This added even more coverage.  I sandwiched my waist ties in the binding/bodice seam and tacked them down.  The pattern calls for one tie to be placed in the side seam and then sewn across the waist.  I knew the velvet would add too much unwanted bulk and chose to simply trim my tie and sew it into the binding instead.  I also left the sleeves unhemmed, wanting to preserve the flowiness and not add the bulk of a hem.  These might be easy alterations for some but it really took some thinking for me.  I’m a rule follower and have the hardest time figuring these things out sometimes!  It all worked out beautifully and now that I’ve done it once I can easily whip up a few more!

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My cute husband was a gem and met me after work to get these pics.  I sure love his creative composition and I know it’s not really part of the marriage package to be the on call photographer.  He did a fantastic job even though velvet is just about the hardest thing ever to photograph!  Now we just need a killer date night where I can wear this out on the town!

 

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