Friday, May 31, 2013

Voting Open at Project Sewn

Please take a moment to stop by Project Sewn to vote for this week's challenge: Signature Style. If you enjoyed the Mod Cloth Knockoff I created, I would love your vote. I am #8 in the link party- Thank you for your support.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Project Sewn Signature Style

When I first saw the list for Project Sewn weekly challenges, I was most excited about this final week.

It seems easy for me to recognize things that appeal to my signature style. I am definetly a classic dresser. I love dresses and skirts with clean lines and classic silhouettes. I also love heels. I actually used to wear heels all the time (up until about 8 months pregnant with my first). Since kids, I have modified to wedges and actually have several flat shoes in my closet now (something I never had before!). I also am drawn to basic colors, especially navy blue. Seriously, I have a small weakness for all things navy blue! So, looking through some style icons I guess I could say I love the style of Jackie O. Here she is in a lovely sheath dress:

Photo Source:

Then one day while looking at Pinterest I came across this and I instantly fell in love:

More info on the dress found here

What is not to love? Navy blue with cream, pleats, a lovely silhouette...I had to have it. (oh, and it has pockets...awesome!) So I set out to make it. I bought 4 yards of some inexpensive navy blue cotton from Joanns. It was only $2 a yard (not the highest quality, but I wasn't sure if it would turn out). Then I bought the cream broadcloth (3/4 yd for a couple bucks too.) So armed with $10 in fabric, a heavy metal separating zipper, and 2 patterns from my stash I got started. 

For the bodice I used Butterick 4443. I cut a size 10 and ended up taking it in quite a bit at the chest. I had made this before and found it to be too baggy in the bust. (poor me :( haha) The only downside is I ended up losing the pleating detail at the neckline. I tried to make it work...but it just didn't fit with this pattern. 

For the skirt portion I used McCalls 5591. I used view C and made a view alterations. I cut a 12 and ended up losing quite a bit of fabric to make it work. Similar to the inspiration dress, I lost one pleat in the back and made only two. I also did not use the yoke pieces for the pattern. It took a lot of seam ripping and basting to get the top and bottom pieces to line up correctly, but in the end I am happy with it. I cut off about 4 inches from the hem and added a strip of cream broadcloth at the hemline. 

I tried a new technique with this dress called bagging the lining (or I think that is what this technique is called). I had pinned a link to it and decided to give it a go. I really enjoyed it and it worked great. It helps eliminate a lot of the hand stitching which is always a plus in my book. In the original dress there is no lining, but I added one to the bodice. If I would have had enough fabric I would have done one for the skirt as well, but a slip will have to do. 

I am really excited that this dress turned out. In the future, I will have to trust my sewing skills more and allow my pocket book to be stretched for better fabric or find a fabric store to send me some free samples...anyone, anyone? 

Please stop by Project Sewn to see all the lovely looks people are creating.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Updated 80's- Project Sewn

So, I have to be honest- I was going to sit this round out. The 80's style just didn't seem to appeal to me and I didn't want to make something I would never wear. And I had no idea what to make. But when Elizabeth and liZ posted the description and included peplums...I was totally in. I love peplums right now and had recently made a few. One of my favorites was this lace one that I created using my own pattern. I will post the pattern for the top as a free download soon...but unfortunately, I have still not learned how to grade patterns so it will just be this size.
                     Please check out all the submissions and vote for your favorite: HERE

 My take on the 80s was to use the look of the peplum, paired with a tapered leg pant. In place of lovely little socks with pumps (a beautiful 80s hit) I paired some 5 inch nude stiletto pumps...I love the picture below showing what fun stilettos and rocks are to mix...

And of course the look wouldn't have been complete without a side ponytail. That was one of my favorite looks in elementary/middle school (which was the 80s for me). So, I decided to do a more grown up version of the side pony. 

Peplum Top: DIY (pattern coming soon), Skinny Jeans (Walmart- $5 bucks), Pumps (Target- clearance, $9) Necklace (Clip Clip Hooray run by the very beautiful and talented Bethany).

Now, this is a top I know I will get a lot of use from and hey...if it has a touch of 80s to it, all the better :)


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Poppins Bag 3 Ways

I have recently made this bag 3 times. The first time was for myself and sadly...there were a few changes I would recommend making that I figured out after the fact. The next two were for friends' recent baby showers. I hope this review will help out others who are considering this pattern.

Pattern: Tiny Seamstress Designs Poppins Bag

Did it look like the bag on the envelope when it was completed? 
For the most part, yes. I did not use accent fabric for the scrunch or side panels- I thought it would be too busy. For my own bag, the blue Amy Butler Fabric one, I deleted the scrunch due to a lack of fabric. 

What modifications/alterations did you make?
The biggest change I made was the addition of Peltex. I did not use any additional interfacing in the first blue bag (Amy Butler) and I hate how the sides fold in all the time. It seriously drives me crazy. In the yellow/gray Amy Butler fabric bag, I added the fusible fleece to the center panel and added a false bottom. This helped make it sturdier but on the third bag (Alexander Henry) I added Peltex to the center pieces. This created a bag that could stand up on its own, retained its shape, and the sides don't fall in. I also decided to omit the two fabrics on the strap and use the exterior fabric on both sides. Finally, I added velcro to the underside of the toddler strap in the yellow/gray bag to help it stay up and out of the way when not in use. 

Were the directions easy to follow? 
Well, this is a hard one for me to answer. I wouldn't say they were real clear. There were several parts I had to reread that I think could have been explained better. In addition, this bag would not be good for a beginner. If you haven't made bags before, you could get very discouraged. Some directions are completely missing. For example, there is a magnetic snap mentioned in the supplies needed, yet there is no mention of inserting it in the pattern. There are also no pictures, so the steps that can be confusing are not made easier by having photos. While I like this pattern and obviously have made it several times, I have to be honest and say that the directions could be a little more clear. 

 The above bag is made with Amy Butler Alchemy Organic in Blue Sky Imperial Paisley. My daughter is modeling the toddler handle.

Would you recommend it to others? If you have sewn bags before, yes. I would not recommend it for beginners due to the instructions.

Will you make it again? I am sure...three times so far, I bet there will be more.

This bag is created with Alexander Henry Fabric Mocca in Chocolate with a quilting weight golden rod for the interior. This bag also uses rectangular strap hardware. 

The yellow and gray bag is made with Amy Butler Optic Blossom and DS Quilts Collection-Farm Stand Dots Yellow on the inside. 

Overall, I am very happy with this bag after the modifications. I love all the pockets this pattern includes and the scrunch detail is cute. I hope the new mommies get some great use out of this diaper bag. 


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Project Sewn Voting Ends Tonight

UPDATE: Thank you so much to everyone for voting in the Project Sewn Sew Along Link Party. I came in 2nd place for the sundress competition. I was so happy with the result. I thank you all for your support!

Please stop by and check out the beautiful sundresses everyone made for the Project Sewn link party.

There is only one more day to cast your vote. I enetered my Boden Inspired Sundress. It is #10 in the photos...if you feel it is worthy of your vote, I would love to have it :) Thanks, Shannon

Friday, May 17, 2013

Black and White Striped Maxi Dress

 Dress: DIY (tutorial found here) similar found here, Denim Jacket(old) Polo, gold belt: thrifted, Yellow earrings; DIY

A few weeks ago I picked up this striped knit from Hobby Lobby with the hopes of making a maxi dress. I knew what I had in mind and was happy when I found there was a tutorial already written...why reinvent the wheel? So, please check out this maxi dress tutorial by Mimi G. If you haven't been to her site warned- you will be there for a long time. She is an amazing seamstress and has wonderful tutorials.

While I am not much of a strapless dress person, I do tend to wear this jacket all the time and made it to wear underneath it. This is certainly more of a date look for having 2 toddlers and a strapless dress don't really partner well. I worked hard at matching the stripes for the dress. In order to insure stripes that match make sure you pin it with lots of pins and when you poke the pin through the top layer, make sure it comes out in the same spot on the stripe in the back.

Then do a basting stitch and check your stripes. If they line up, then go ahead and stitch or serge the seam.

You would think with all the careful stripe matching I would have been careful while cutting...but I wasn't. My stripes aren't perfectly straight and this caused some interesting moments while sewing and using the stripe for a guide, but I think with the loose blousy effect it gets covered enough. And it was too short so I added a band of fabric at the bottom. Overall I am very happy with this dress but it isn't quite as flowing at the bottom as other maxis I have made, which makes for a little more constriction while walking. But it is cute, comfortable and great for beginners looking to work with knits.

Happy spring sewing,

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Yellow Boden Inspired Sundress

Last year my mom sent me a Boden catalog...I was in love. I saw myself wearing practically everything in there. I began ripping out pages frantically to see what looks I could try to create myself. When I came across this yellow flowered tunic/sundress I instantly loved it. 

Source: The link is no longer active on Boden's site

I found the mustard yellow fabric (Calico Print) at Joann's on sale and thought it could work. I would have loved it even more in a brighter yellow like the one in the magazine, but sometimes it easier to just use something you can find easily. 

I then used Simplicity 2696 to create the dress. I used View F with a few alterations. I lengthened the tunic to a dress length and added darts in the back to give it a little more shape. I also used the sleeves from my Schoolhouse Tunic pattern. You can see the Schoolhouse Tunic HERE, HERE and HERE. (tad Overall I am pleased with this dress. I kept sewing the front neck slit on crooked and ripped it out several times. In the end, it is still not perfectly straight but I became so frustrated I had to stop the madness and just go with it :) This makes for an easy spring or summer dress to toss on with sandals.'s to hoping the sunny warm weather sticks around...and lots of self tanner to prevent blinding people with my pale legs :) 


Monday, May 6, 2013

Butterick 5877: Spring Time Ruffle Top

A few weeks ago I let my daughter pick out some fabric for a new top or dress. She settled on this cute spring themed bird fabric from Joann Fabrics.


It was on sale along with this pattern that I picked up for a $1.00.

While I am happy with the end product I had two little hurdles in the beginning. First, I didn't buy enough fabric so I had to get some more and secondly, I mistakenly cut the large ruffle with the birds going the wrong direction...uhh, had to scrap a large junk of fabric for that mistake!!! 

Pattern Description: Butterick 5877 Children's/Girls' Top, Tunic Dress, Belt and Leggings, Pullover top, tunic, or dress has lined, back button bodice. A: ruffles, narrow hem. B:bias, self-lined sleeves, C:collar, thread loops and self belt. B and C: lower band Leggings have elastic waist and no side seams, side slits and bow tie with raw edge finish.

Pattern Sizing: Available in Sizes 2-8

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, I used view A.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked that the pattern did not have a ton of pieces and came together quickly. The top is a little roomy but my daughter is fairly petite. 

Fabric Used:
Doodles Collection: Spring Twill Birds Green Fabric
Yellow Broadcloth for lining

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I think this is a cute and easy girl's top and I would like to make the dress from the pattern as well. If I were to make the same top again I would use a thinner fabric so that the ruffles would lay better. 


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Aqua Wrap Top

Cardigan: DIY, Gray Tank: Walmart, White Jeans: Mossimo-thrifted with tags still on!

Early in my sewing days and pre-blogging days I made this knit wrap top. Up close there are many things I can see that I would do differently...but I tend to see that with all my sewing. I think it is a sign that sewing is an art you can always improve upon and learn new techniques, and that is one of the things I love about it. The pattern is McCalls 5241.

This top is nice for wearing long as a drape front cardigan or you can wrap it around you or tie it for a different look. The thing I did not like about this pattern is the way the shoulders fit. They sit too low...but I am pretty sure this was an early sewing mistake. Either I cut the pattern out incorrectly or I didn't make an adjustment where needed. I would love to sew this again but somehow I have lost the tissue pattern and instructions...but at least I have the pattern envelope (cause that is the most helpful part...haha).

This is a quick and easy pattern and great for beginners who are comfortable working with knits.