Thursday, April 17, 2014

Surprise! Pattern Tour for Sew Like My Mom + New Pattern Sneak Peek

Blogging and sewing have blessed me with an amazing gift of friendship and community.  Honestly, I've never experienced anything quite like it.  Today, a group of friends (myself included) decided to throw Sew Like My Mom a Surprise Pattern Tour because we think she (and her patterns) are pretty awesome!

I had a conflict with the actual posting date for the Surprise Pattern Tour, so my new Sew Like My Mom look is being shared a couple of days late.  If you click the sewVery link in the pattern tour list above, it will show you one of the previous Sew Like My Mom creations that I've made--the Darling Daisy top.  I've also sewn up the Busy Lizzy Dress, and after seeing some of the short sleeved and sleeveless versions my friends have made as part of the tour, I now need to make Ella one, too!

Today, I'm showing you the new Darling Daisy top I made Ella and an exclusive sneak peek at Melissa's soon-to-be-released Oakley Shorts & Capris pattern (she is just now releasing it to testers).

Melissa's Darling Daisy pattern is a quick-to-sew project and offers you multiple looks just by simply adding another layer to the skirt.  There is only one pattern piece to print for the bodice and the cutting dimensions for the skirt sections are shown in tabular form.

For this look, I made a top using the bodice and the first tier fabric requirements.  For Ella's size 6, it took roughly a yard of fabric total.   I used two fun prints, Alexander Henry Kewende in Lime and Art Gallery Studios Safari Moon in Forest Leaves Raspberry, both purchased at The Fabric Studio earlier this week.

I've yet to make a dress because my daughter loves the tops so much, but I think I'll make a dress next time all in one print like Andrea did!  This is such a comfortable design and is great for playing outside on warm summer days.

Now you get the exclusive sneak peak at Sew Like My Mom's latest pattern in development--the Oakley Shorts & Capris for both girls and boys!  Besides Melissa, I'm the only person who has tried this pattern out, and I must admit that I'm very impressed!

I sewed together a size 6 pair of girl's capris using some mocha colored chambray fabric I purchased from  It's a heavier weight chambray than I'm used to, but it worked perfectly for these capris.

The Oakley Capris have lots of details:  faux fly, welt pockets in the back, in-seam pockets for the front, elastic waist, and keyhole cutout and ties at the leg opening.

Melissa's patterns all give great written instructions and show excellent details in the tutorial photos. She even taught me two new sewing methods in this one pattern!  1. She shows you how to make a welt pocket and 2. She shows an interesting technique for sewing on the waistband that I plan to use from now on!

These capris will be great for Spring, and if they survive the Summer, Ella will get to wear them to kindergarten in the Fall!  I'm already planning to make her the shorts version in denim and maybe even make my son a pair (if he promises me he will wear them)!

I hope you enjoyed the surprise party!  If you haven't tried one of Sew Like My Mom's patterns yet, this week is a great time to do so!  Since Melissa discovered our surprise and was so overwhelmed by our gesture, she has decided to donate half of all pattern sales this week to The Young and the Brave Foundation.  You can read all about her reaction to the surprise party HERE.

If you love the look of the Oakley Shorts & Capris, then keep on eye out for the release of Sew Like My Mom's latest pattern in the coming days.

Have fun sewing!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Calling All Kids

Hi, y'all!  Thanks for stopping by today to see what I have put together for Alida Makes' Calling All Kids series.  

First off, I'm beyond thrilled to be participating in her series this year!  I've been reading her blog for years. She's not afraid to be candid or to share stories about both the good and not so good parts of life.  She's relatable.  Oh, and she's pretty awesome at sewing, too!  And did I mention she has four kids who have the most amazing style?

Alida Makes Presents: Calling All Kids

Well, that's how her Calling All Kids series began.  She wanted people to think outside the box and explore styles, colors, and patterns to find and define what clothing traits suit their child's personality regardless of gender.  She and her kids definitely don't prescribe to the mainstream media ideas that all girls should love pink and purple and want to be princesses or that all boys have to wear blue and red and play with toy cars, trucks, and superheros.

Now, there is definitely nothing wrong if your children fit those descriptions.  I'll be the first to say that both of my children love those exact colors and things, but at the same time, my daughter in particular, is so willing to explore and try pretty much anything when it comes to clothing.

If you are a regular follower of my blog, sewVery, then you are familiar with my beautiful daughter, Ella, and pretty much her entire mommy made wardrobe.  Ella loves the clothes I make her, and in general, I usually involve her in the creative process whether it be in selecting the pattern or the fabrics that I use. But she doesn't always want to wear something I've made her. One day, she may be dead set on wearing a fancy dress and pretty shoes with a matching purse, but the next day, all she may put on is a pair of baseball pants, a plain old ugly tee, mismatched socks, and scuffed up sneakers.  And I'm okay with that (most days) to be honest.  She wears what makes her feel comfortable and feel like herself.

One thing is certain about her style though--she loves bold, bright colors, especially pink!  You ask her what her favorite color is, and she'll tell you pink and purple, so my challenge has always been trying to find ways to incorporate those colors and complimenting shades into her wardrobe.  We also don't prescribe to the idea that girls have to wear ruffles all the time.

For the Calling All Kids series, I decided to make Ella another Figgy's Ayashe blouse and skirt.  I made this pattern almost two years ago and absolutely loved everything about it! See it HERE (Ella is so little).  The pattern is very modern and stylish, and the blouse/top in particular lends itself to a more unisex styling, especially when constructed with the mandarin style collar like I used.

I started with the skirt and used a black slub linen from Joann's.  The fabric is lightweight and breathable making it the perfect choice for spring and summertime play.  The buttons were recycled from a black wool shirt jacket that belonged to my mom, and they have a lovely decorative swirl on them along with a gray iridescence.

Although I didn't really get a good shot of them, the skirt does have pleats, belt loops, and pockets. All the little details of this skirt pattern plus the excellent fit make this pattern well worth the price.

Next is the blouse.  I purchased this black/gray/white geometric print last week at the grand opening of The Fabric Studio while on a girl's day out shopping spree with a group of my blogging/sewing friends.  The fabric is called Confetti Noir from AGF Studio's Minimalista collection.

Since the blouse has a yoke panel across the back that wraps over the shoulder to the front, I took the opportunity to add some color to this outfit.  I recently purchased several Echino prints and asked Ella to help me decide which one would look best.  Of course she picked the hot pink, and I admit that it did look the best with the geometric print.  

To tie the pink fabric to the top even more, I alternated between black, fuchsia, and gray thread to topstitch the center detail.

I did the same topstitching along the hem since I chose not to use a drawstring or elastic band at the bottom.

I'm totally in love with this little girl and her new outfit!  The entire ensemble from the colors used, to the prints, to the fabrics, and the pattern truly are calling my kid!

And just because I love all these terrific photos of Ella wearing her modern and hip new digs, I'll post a couple more.  By the way, my sweet friend, RaeAnna of Sewing Mama RaeAnna, was our photographer for the day!  We were meeting up for a play date, and I completely forgot my camera!  Luckily, she brought hers.  Now, I think I may have to buy myself a fancy camera instead of my old point-and-shoot! Thanks again, RaeAnna!

Thanks for stopping by today!  I've had fun shopping for these fabrics, sewing up the outfit, taking pictures with friends, and writing this post.  I hope you enjoyed everything you saw and read and now feel inspired to create something fun, too.

If you need more inspiration, then head over to Alida Makes and check out all the other amazing creations from some super talented bloggers as part of the Calling All Kids series.  Alida also has lined up some amazing sponsors and is hosting a terrific giveaway!  To enter the giveaway, click HERE to go to her blog post with all the details and the entry form.

Have fun sewing!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Selvage Designs Soleil Dress

I've discovered a unique, new Spring and Summer dress pattern:  the Soleil Dress by Selvage Designs. The moment I saw the sample version of Lauren Dahl's design, I knew I had to have this pattern!  

I met Lauren in person last year at Sewing Summit.  At first I thought she was Rae of Made by Rae!  I'm pretty sure I never told her that!  By the second class we had together (and I think we took a lot of the same classes), we finally introducing ourselves, and I learned her true identity!  I had seen her name all over Facebook in the weeks leading up to Sewing Summit, plus, I have a few friends who had used her services for grading and digitizing their pdf patterns.  I knew she was very talented!

Now, Lauren is just the sweetest thing (that's a southern expression I know Lauren will understand).  I mean, how could I not like someone who stopped to tell me that I reminded her of one of Tinkerbell's fairy friends?!  So, despite the fact that earlier this year I decided not to pattern test as often as I have in the past, I filled out the tester form and was chosen to test the pattern! I'm so glad she picked me, because the Soleil Dress pattern was fun to sew up.  The test pattern was nearly flawless and one of the easiest pattern tests I have ever done!

Now let me tell you a little more about the features of the Soleil Dress.  In case you didn't notice, it's made of knit fabric.  For Ella's version, I used a t-shirt weight knit I purchased at Joann's. While this fabric did just fine for the construction of the dress and is actually a nice weight for summer, the hem wants to constantly turn up!  I've never had a problem like this before, I may end up re-hemming it at a later date.

The Soleil Dress has a few distinguishing features that really caught my eye.  The most obvious is the open back detail, but the pattern also includes pattern pieces and instructions for making a closed back version as well.

The second feature that my daughter really enjoys are the large front pockets.  Those pockets are just perfect for the little girl who likes to keep a small toy with her at all times or who just likes pockets.

Next, the use of binding on this dress makes it so, so easy to sew together, plus it can add texture or detail to the overall look of the dress. Lauren encouraged her testers to try things even during the testing phase of the pattern as long as we told her what we tried and how it worked out. For the dress I made, I decided to try fold over elastic (FOE) instead of the ribbed knit binding that I would have otherwise used.   I thought the FOE worked great for the Soleil dress, and I even told her in my feedback that I thought the bodice would be ideal for making a gymnastics outfit or swimsuit using a performance knit and FOE!  The only minor modification I would do to the pattern the next time I make it using FOE is to cut the front neck opening a little deeper.

For Ella's dress, I used the size 6X pattern pieces, and I think the fit is spot on! All I need to do now is buy some more cool knit fabrics so I can make Ella a couple more Soleil dresses for summer!  I think she'll need a new gym outfit, too.  I'll be sure to let you all know how that works out!

Want to win a copy of the Soleil Dress pdf pattern from Selvage Designs?  Simply enter below!  A winner will be chosen at random next Saturday, April 19th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One final thing.  You can purchase the Soleil Dress pattern through tomorrow, Sunday, April 13th and receive $2 off the regular price when you use code SOLEILRELEASE2.  Congratulations to Lauren on her new venture at Selvage Designs!  Can't wait to see what other patterns she develops!

Have fun sewing! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

I'm so excited to be participating in the Perfect Pattern Parcel #2 blog tour today!  If you missed out on last month's package deal, then today's your chance to grab a great set of girl's pdf clothing patterns for not only a great price, but also a great cause!

Before I tell you about the patterns in Parcel #2, let me share a little more information with you about Perfect Pattern Parcel and how it works.

Disclosure:  I was given the patterns in Parcel #2 in exchange for making at least one of the patterns and sharing my honest opinions about the pattern and PPP.  

Perfect Pattern Parcel is the brainchild of Rachel Gander and Jill and Danny Dorsey.  They created PPP because they "are passionate about supporting independent designers in their craft and fostering a community of makers to grow.  Our mission is to offer high-quality pdf sewing patterns written by indie designers while supporting children's education."

This month, Parcel #2 is all about sugar, spice, and everything nice.  It includes five amazing sewing patterns essential for a little girl's spring wardrobe.  These patterns offer both traditional and modern styling that can be easily sewn up to meet your own tastes.

The five patterns for Parcel #2 are as follows:

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

Plus, an opportunity to earn a BONUS pattern: the Prefontaine Shorts by Made With Moxie 

Rachael of PPP asked me to sew up one of the patterns from Parcel #2 and share what I made and my review of the pattern with you!  I had the toughest time deciding which pattern to make first, but I chose to go with the Caroline Party Dress from Mouse House Creations.  

The Caroline Party Dress is the second pattern I have sewn from Mouse House Creations (I made the Norah Dress last Christmas), and again, I am thoroughly impressed with the resulting dress. this dress has comfort, style, and sophistication written all over it!  It's great for dress-up time or even play time which in our case is picking flowers, trying to grab the blooms off a tree limb, or petting horses!

What size to make?  With a lot of patterns lately, I've felt the need to mix sizes to get a custom fit for Ella who is pretty tall for her age.  The Caroline Party Dress pattern instructions give you guidance on how to do this, but in the end, I stuck with the size 6 overall and am very pleased with the fit that has a little bit of growing room in it for summer.

I love patterns with lots of options, and the Caroline Party Dress pattern is full of fun options that give you the opportunity to create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind dress for a special little girl.  It includes a fully lined bodice with faux cap sleeves, peter pan collar, in-seam pockets, belt, belt loops, invisible back zipper, and tulle underskirt.  

Everything about the Caroline Party Dress pattern is absolutely perfect for Ella's new Easter dress this year.  She's just turned five years old, so I chose to keep it pretty simple and made a basic dress that includes the fully lined bodice with cap sleeves, gathered skirt, belt loops, belt, and lapped zipper closure (only because I didn't have an invisible zipper on hand).  Ella looks absolutely lovely and quite sophisticated in her new dress, don't you think?

I may eventually make a separate lined tulle skirt with an elastic waistband that Ella could wear with this dress or another Caroline Party Dress since I know I'll be making more of this pattern! The pattern instructions include how to attach the tulle skirt with an underlining to the dress skirt, but I think having the separate tulle underskirt would make the dress more versatile and easier to wash, too.  I plan to just use the pattern pieces and instructions but add a separate waistband to the skirt.

I was really amazed at how easy the Caroline Party Dress was to sew together!  At first, I was intimidated by the zipper closure since the bodice is lined.  Although I ended up using a regular zipper with a lapped installation instead of an invisible zipper, the instructions included in the pattern for installing an invisible zipper are superb and very thorough. I had never used the lapped zipper installation method, but somehow after reading a few different tutorials, I figured out something that works!  

Curious about the fabrics I used to make Ella's Easter dress?  Well, the bodice is Heather Bailey's True Colors Pop Blossom in Turquoise and the skirt is Heather Bailey's Lottie Da Dauphine in Turquoise. The bodice lining and belt are a cotton fabric I picked up last year that has no selvage information but happened to match the green in the other prints pretty well.  These fabrics are all great quality and worked perfectly for this dress.  I love the large scale print for the skirt with the pop of orchid color in the flowers.

Here's how Perfect Pattern Parcel works.  You get to choose the price!  You decide what to pay for a collection of five amazing digital sewing patterns while supporting independent designers and children's education through Donors Choose.  And with Parcel #2, if you choose a price of $24 or greater, you will automatically receive the Bonus pattern.  Each Pattern Parcel sale lasts only two weeks, so hurry and make your purchase today!

Perfect Pattern Parcel #2

I'm so relieved that Ella's Easter dress is already complete.  Now I can sew her up something more casual for playtime using the Celestial Tee, Hosh Pants, and Prefontaine Shorts patterns--all patterns in Parcel #2!  What a great deal!

Rachael not only helped organize and managed the PPP sale, but she also found time to create a free paper doll printable using the Parcel #2 pattern sketches for the doll clothes!  How adorable is that? Download your copy HERE.

Thanks for stopping by today!  Please feel free to leave me a comment letting me know if you like the outfit and if you plan on purchasing the Perfect Pattern Parcel #2!  Also, to see what other bloggers are making with patterns from this bundle, follow along on the blog tour!

Perfect Pattern Parcel

Shawnta Sews P comme Plimplim CailaMade While she was sleeping YoSaMi stitched together Sew Like My Mom Marina Bebe lexi.made sewVery Call Ajaire I Married Superman Girl like the sea Stitched Compagnie M. Buzzmills floating world fake it while you make it Sewing Mama RaeAnna Our Chez Nous NeurosesGalore Behind the Hedgerow Needle and Ted Kadiddlehopper 2 little hooligans Siestas & Sewing So Cal Sewing Mom lauren dahl La gang à Nat Frances Suzanne Radiant Home Studio Modern Handmade A Jennuine Life It's Always Autumn lea & lars I Seam Stressed So, Zo... What do you know? Andrea's Notebook Steph Skardal Nutta! Sewpony Made With Moxie imagine gnats Inder Loves Folk Art Pienkel

Have fun sewing!  See you again soon!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Reversible Echino Purse

A couple of days ago, I showed you the beautiful new purse and zipper pouch I made for myself using Japanese Echino Fabrics.  Of course, as soon as I finished my new ensemble, my daughter, Ella, asked if it was for her!  Since I had two more prints from the cute fabric shop, Modes4U, I decided to make her a reversible Echino purse of her own!

Side one was made with Echino canvas fabric Buck Stag with Glasses in Blue.

While Side Two was made using forest hart owl turquoise Echino canvas fabric.  I love the patchwork designs on this fabric!

Modes4U sent me four half meter Echino prints in all to try out.  It was a tough decision deciding on just four!

Disclaimer:  I was provided with the fabrics in exchange for my honest opinion about these products.

Some of you may recognize the wooden purse handle I used for this bag.  These were pretty common back in the 1970's, and in fact, this handle is from my childhood purse.  My mom had a larger one just like it that I plan to eventually make a new cover or two for me to use with it.

I wish I had taken a picture of my original purse, but when I found it a couple of years ago among some of my childhood things, it was so deteriorated that I took it apart, traced the original cover, and then trashed it.  Plus, this was before I was into blogging and didn't even consider that I would some day need a before picture!

Since Ella insisted on me making her a new purse as well, I thought now would be the perfect time to reuse the old wooden handles.  I thought for a brief moment about painting or refinishing the handles, but then I saw the wear on the finish that my little hands had created over 30 years ago. Immediately, I decided to leave them as is and let Ella's use of the purse add to its charm. Someday, I hope she'll appreciate the journey this little bag has taken and know how much I enjoyed using it when I was her age.

First, I sewed a new lining using muslin and then had my husband staple it onto the wooden handle. I then stitched eight 1/2" black buttons to it to hold the purse cover in place.

To construct the new reversible cover, I simply cut out two pieces of fabric for each side and fused Pellon Shape Flex 101 to all four pieces before sewing them together.  Lastly, I sewed eight buttonholes (4 on each side) so that the cover could be easily attached and removed from the purse lining.  Simply flip the cover inside out to showcase yet another interesting Echino fabric.

These Echino fabrics are a blend of cotton and linen and are a dream to sew with!  I'm not sure why I waited so long to actually try them, but now I am definitely hooked! They are perfect for making bags and purses and feel very similar in weight and thickness to a lightweight home decor fabric.

Ella loves the deer wearing glasses since it's so silly, but I am partial to all the beautiful colors and shapes used on the reverse side.

It feels great to have used these little wooden handles finally.  I know Ella will love her new bag as much as I did years ago.  I think I'll made her a few more covers to use with it.  They don't take much fabric and are so easy to make.

Be sure to check out Modes4U for all kinds of Japanese fabrics and other fun items like Hello Kitty, washi tapes, bento boxes, and more!

Here's a pic of my entire Echino ensemble!  Be sure to read my earlier post about the purse and zipper pouch I made for myself!

Thanks for stopping by!  Have fun sewing!

Friday, March 21, 2014

A New Echino Purse and Zipper Pouch for Me!

With Spring in the air, I decided it was time to swap out my purse for something new and fresh! I've been dying to try out some of the gorgeous Japanese Echino Fabrics, and making a new purse with them seemed like the perfect project to do just that!

I received four pieces of Echino fabric from this cute fabric shop, Modes4U.  They have one of the largest selections of Echino and other Japanese fabrics that I have ever seen, and it was extremely difficult narrowing my choices down to these four!

Disclaimer:  I was provided with the fabrics and the purse lock in exchange for my honest opinion about these products.

After considering all the purse patterns I already own, I chose to make my purse using a pattern I drafted a couple of years ago.  I call it Pam's Purse since it is patterned after a purse my mom gave me that I adore.  You can see the first Pam's Purse I made HERE.

These Japanese Echino Fabrics from Modes4U are a dream to work with, especially for purses and handbags.  The quality is outstanding, and I love the feel and drape of the cotton/linen blend.  I pre-washed my fabrics and only wish that I had serged the edges before doing so.  As you can imagine, the edges raveled, and I had a lot of strings to trim away.  That's what I get for being so eager to get started!

Even though the Echino fabrics are similar in weight and thickness to a home decor fabric, they still lack the stiffness to give this style of purse enough structure.  Since making that first Pam's Purse nearly two years ago, I've learned an enormous amount of information about bag interfacing, but you know what, I still had to try out a few things to get the front and back of my new purse to stand up like I wanted.

Here's the list of interfacing and other materials that I used to reinforce and support the purse.

Pellon Shape Flex 101 fused to all pieces of the outer bag and lining.  I did trim the interfacing so it was not inside the seam allowance.

Pellon 72F Peltex II fused to the lining front and back.  I carefully fused just one side to the lining and after completing the bag, I then ironed the lining from the inside to fuse the other side of the Peltex to the outer bag.  Without the use of the Peltex 72F, the twist lock and purse strap weighed down the bag and made it floppy.

Pellon 71F Peltex I Ultra-Firm fused to the outer bottom piece.  The Peltex was trimmed down so it was not inside the seam allowance.

Pellon 987F Fusible Fleece fused to the outer bag side pieces to give them more shape without stiffness. Again, trim the fleece so that it is not inside the seam allowance in order to reduce bulk in the seams.

Automobile Head Liner Fabric was basted to the wrong side of the outer bag front and back pieces. This helps give the bag shape and stand up on its own without adding a lot of weight.  I have read that Annie's Soft and Stable is an alternative to use in place of the head liner fabric, but I have never tried it.

I also placed a piece of template plastic between the outer fabric and the lining to help support the bottom of the bag.  It is not sewn or glued in place, but because the outer fabric and lining are fused together, it should stay put.

The outer bag is made using the black Echino birds and berries canvas fabric in cherry with the pink piping accents and lining constructed out of the solid pink Echino canvas.

The inside slip pocket is cut from one of the patchwork sections of the forest hart owl turquoise Echino canvas fabric.

Since I didn't have any pairs of black purse straps on hand, I decided to change up the design slightly and attach a single black leather strap (salvaged off an old purse) to the end pieces and modify the bag closure to include a twist lock flap.

This large rectangular twist lock from Emmaline Bags shop is just perfect for the shape of my new purse, don't you think?  My friend, Janelle, sells a variety of twist locks in her shop, and she has a great tutorial that shows you how to install them.

I also whipped together this simple little zipper pouch to coordinate with my new bag.  I couldn't imagine wasting any of this precious fabric, so I pieced together some larger scraps to make the zipper pouch. Whenever I make a new purse, I always make one of these to help keep the inside of my purse nice and organized.  The zipper pouch is ideal for stowing receipts or coupons, a bottle of hand wash, feminine products, lipstick, and gum.  Plus, if I do need to switch purses quickly, I can just grab the zipper pouch, wallet, and phone and go!

A half yard (or half meter when ordering from Modes4U) of both the outer and lining fabrics is all I needed to make this beautiful, new purse for Spring!  

I enjoyed working with these fabrics so much that I am now shopping for more!  Plus, Modes4U has lots of other great fabrics, adorable Hello Kitty items, as well as the biggest selection of washi tapes I have ever seen!  My daughter and I have a blast just browsing through their website.

I am in love with my new Echino purse, and apparently, my daughter is, too!  I had to make her a new bag as well using the other two Echino prints, so be sure to come back tomorrow to see it!

Until then, have fun sewing!