Friday, August 30, 2013

Loving who you are...some Mommy sewing (Special Friday Edition)

I don't like to sew for myself. Why? Well, I'm sure if you have been around the Blog block a few times, you have probably noticed most of the more popular sewing blogs are written by women who are unbelievably stunning. Like sz 2, perfect hair, makeup. Well, Im more of a size 2 with a 1 in front of it and some days Im more of a 4 with a 1 in front of it. I don't love my body right now....Anybody else in my boat? And as the mom of a tween, boy that's a rock and a hard place. We traveled a lot this summer, 3 weeks of which were on a cruise with all you can eat anytime you want to eat and while we were in the different European cities, we wanted to eat their fares. So, we all came back heavier. Right now, I really could stand to lose about 30 lbs to be back at a normal weight for me. I have started running again and will hopefully be trained up enough to run the Soldier Half Marathon I do every year. I also am trying to commit to eating better as much as possible. I have a daughter who watches me and hears all of my 'Im too fat' moans and groans and I have to stop and think, what does that do to her? I need to teach her that she is beautiful all the time and while there are times we have to be healthier when making eating choices and exercise choices, whether you are a 2 or a 22, God made you who you are and that girl is a beautiful princess. So, I kind of need to practice what I preach. So, when the opportunity came up to test a women's pattern, I took it. I tested the size Large which is a 12/14 and today I am going to own my size because I am a work in progress and I am a loved mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. Where I may want to be 30lbs lighter and around a size 8, that's great to work toward, but I'm here today where I am and if today is my last day, I have to love that woman I am - no matter what the scales say or the size label reads. So, I am here today to promote this women's pattern to you. It is a fast sew, it takes about an hour from cut to finish, maybe less if you use store bought bias. The instructions are super easy and you can make something for you and hopefully you will feel beautiful in it. So, here is me representing the size 12/14 ladies in the Seamingly Smitten Julia top.You can find it in the shop at https://www.etsy.com/listing/161202727/instant-download-the-julia-top-shirt?ref=shop_home_feat

Fabric: Anna Maria Horner voile. Photography by: BFJ Photography https://www.facebook.com/BFJPhotography

Seamingly Smitten has all kinds of patterns for Women and Kids. The Audrey dress is one of my favorites for adults. This is one of their pictures of it

They also have kids patterns up to a sz 10. You can see their Etsy store at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SeaminglySmitten and visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeaminglySmitten.DownloadableSewingPatterns?ref=br_tf AND if you are interested in any of their patterns, today through Monday they are offering 40% your entire purchase using code HAPPYLABORDAY40 at checkout. This would be a great chance for you to get some Mommy sewing (and kid sewing if you have little ones) for a great price. I promise you, you will be shocked how fast these patterns come together and how polished they look.

Love who you are today, no matter what the mirror might say!

Have a blessed and safe Labor Day weekend!

Till next time,
Christie

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Calorie Free Deliciousness!

Yes, it is 8:21, so I have 40ish minutes till it's time for my man, Tim Gunn and the protegees of Project Runway, so let's get today's blog on the road and in the books.

Today's outfit is a product of a pattern test that I was super excited to be picked for. You may know Candy Castle Patterns from some of their previous pattern releases that are super dee dupity cute. She has the Bubblegum Dress and the Magic Gumdrop Bubble Dress, so I knew she was going to be up my alley talking about all of this sugary sweetness. You can check out her Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/groups/176890032483583/. I think you may have to ask to join the group, but it is soooo worth it. Her shop is down right now as she is getting ready to kick off a major fall reopening. One of the awesome patterns that will be available is another delectable dessert - The Triple Layer Cake Tunic. I tested the sz 12/14. It is a well written pattern that can be dressed up and made from silks or satins or made more casual in cottons. I made mine from upcycled Sari fabric. I got the inspiration from one of my husband's coworkers. She is Indian and wears the most AMAZING clothes. One day she brought in some silk sari yardage for me and I fell in love! I so want to go to India and shop their fabric markets. It would be off the chain, right? Since flying to India wasn't in my cards, I hit up Etsy and found sellers that sell bundles of Sari scraps that have been cut up of old Saris. They ship directly from India, so don't buy these if you are in a hurry, but go right now and check out Etsy. Search for Indian Sari Fabric and see the results you get. And these silks are sooooo silky (no pun intended :) ). The bodice is lined which I used a cream colored cotton and the a-line base that the ruffles are built on are a black cotton. You button this in the back or you can use snaps for those who aren't comfy with the button holer. And, hey, I totally get that. I mean you put buttons on typically last and if you screw up there - thats a lot of seam ripping. I have had to do it myself. I actually had to do it on this tunic and was TERRIFIED the silk was going to be in shreds. I have no idea why but one of my buttonholes got all possessed and drove off on its own making it slanted?? But, there aren't many things a seam ripper can't fixed so nobody sees the oopsy now! The sash on this is made of dupioni and the pattern has the option to tie it in the front or in the back. To complete this ensemble I made a pair of Jocole's skinny pants which you can find here on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/listing/119400002/skinny-minnie-pants-instant-download-nb?ref=shop_home_active. I made them out of a black dupioni which had such a cool sheen. They almost looked leather. Anyway, she totally rocked this outfit. At school today, one of her classmates asked her if she could have it. See - you SO can make cool clothes for your tweens. 

So, I present to you Candy Castle Patterns Triple Layer Cake Tunic. I hope you will consider this pattern and "bake" up one of these confections for your little miss!!







As usual, the pictures are brought to you by her talented daddy/photographer BFJ Photography https://www.facebook.com/BFJPhotography

Tomorrow is Spirit Day, so she will be wearing a school shirt BUT I have a special blog post for you tomorrow featuring a Mommy pattern. Now, I will tell you in advance, I am NOT one these super skinny gorgeous mommies that are on most of the blog. I am working on my weight but I am where I am right now and I want to show you that you can make clothes for YOU too and you can feel beautiful no matter what size you are. 

See you tomorrow - now go watch Project Runway :)

Till next time,
Christie 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Yes Sir - we are back at Hump Day!!!

You made it through hump day, so it's all downhill from here. AND on top of that its Labor Day weekend which means the end of summer cook outs, pool parties and no school/work for most people on Monday. Our week is trucking along pretty well. Tomorrow is Project Runway which is of course my Mommy TV watching guilty pleasure. Did you see it last week when Tim Gunn (who I ABSOLUTELY adore) saved Justin. Did you not almost cry?? It was amazing. I so agreed with that call. The group went glamping and had to be inspired by nature for their garment. Here are the final two. You have Justin's

that incorporated hot glue (huh? but thumbs up for creativity). His inspiration was the water foaming in the stream. I believe it was Heidi who likened it to a foaming Va-jay-jay....wow....yeah well still giving it a thumbs up for creativity. The other designer in the bottom 2 was Karen and here was her look

Ok, I appreciate that she dyed what looks like a sheet and went for an ombre effect. But, I mean, come on, you are on PROJECT RUNWAY! You need to do more than gather a rectangle to a belt at this stage of the game. So, I was fla-fla-flabbergasted when they sent Justin home. I mean, he put out effort and took a risk that didn't work. I personally would rather err on the side of creativity than win on the side of blah and safe. So, I was stellar thrilled when Tim stepped in and saved him. Yay! So, tomorrow night I will definitely be tuning in to see what's next! (all pictures from projectrunway.com and are their property)

So, that brings me to tonight's design. Our designer in the spotlight is Go To Patterns.  I am all about a pattern that gives me a bang for my buck. I featured Funktional Threads Rachel a few days ago and this one is another one of those that gives you an arsenal of looks for one price. Between the two of these patterns, I think you could outfit your child in a different outfit every day for maybe a month? Go To Patterns can be found at http://gotopatterns.com/. They have patterns for boys, girls, women, bags, accessories, toys and they are really GOOD patterns. Have you ever bought a pattern that burned you because it was poorly written or drafted - you aren't going to get that with their patterns. Today's dress is the Go To Signature dress. This dress can be a tunic, knee or maxi. I think it basically has every type of sleeve option ever invented. You can shirr it, add an elastic casing or leave it loose. You can have inset seam pockets, exterior pockets, fun patches. *WHEW* are you tired yet? You won't be because while the finished product looks like you just bought it from the store, it doesn't take you a ton of time to sew one up. I cut it and had it sewn last night. No kidding (remember, I told you I was behind this week :) ) Check out the collage on this dress from their page

Aren't they all cute as a button?? And before you get all crazy nervous about knits - DO NOT FEAR THE KNIT! Knit is nowhere near as scary as you think it is. Really I think the hardest part of this pattern is probably setting the neckline ribbing, but that isn't bad as long as you make sure you get a knit with enough stretch and recovery and you don't freak out the first time you do it because you think there is NO way this is going to fit all the way around. And I like the way this pattern handles the neckline. It has you only sew one shoulder seam and then set your neck. I like it. And your next comment about the knits is probably where do you find super cute knits? Yeah, yeah...its hard to find good quality knits at the local big box fabric stores. I feel you. Although, I have to tell you JoAnn's and Hancock have both had some very nice knits lately and JoAnn has a 60% off fabric coupon through tomorrow (Thursday). The knit from this dress is a very nice one from Hancock who also has some nice knits. Yes, knit is more expensive than woven, but also remember you are getting 60" width rather than 45" so you are actually getting more per yard. Also, at the end of the day - Kids <3 Knits. Don't get me wrong, I love a beautiful woven outfit with piping and rick-rack and all the trimmings but I about die when she goes out on the playground with it on. Don't lie, you do too. We all have all of these beautiful dresses that we are terrified to put on our kids! But, also, typically if you give your child a choice of what to wear they gravitate to the knit. As a matter of fact, look down at yourself right now - bet 95% of you are wearing knit (I have on a tshirt and woven khaki shorts, so Im 50% knit :) Don't let me know about your unmentionables, this is a G rated blog! So, where to find cute knits 100% of the time? Check out Girl Charlee at http://www.girlcharlee.com/. Look at this sample from their page - can you say super cute? 

and I really like the Etsy shop Eurogirlsboutique https://www.etsy.com/shop/EuroGirlsBoutique?ref=l2-shopheader-name. They have bundles and yardage. Look at some of these cutie pies - 

So, now you have no excuses. Go get this pattern, get some knits, (get a serger if you can - you dont HAVE to have one, but it makes sewing knits so much easier. AAANNNDDD...if you can, get a Babylock with jet air. I get NADA from any of these folks. (though, if Steve Jeffries from Babylock would like someone who owns pretty much EVERY Babylock product to pitch his wares, I am SO his girl. Babylock, for the love, Steve, for the love). Babylock just released their new Ovation serger at their Tech week this week. Swooon 

No, really though, you can always grab a ballpoint needle and your machine's zig zag stitch and do just fine. 

Tonight's dress was photographed over two venues. Im sure you have figured out most of our pictures are taken at around 7am before school in our yard. Well, she was slightly crabby this morning AND I wanted to try to mix up the pictures some, so we went downtown to our local University's art school's sculpture garden. The only comment I have with this dress is I think I did a size too big. The neckline and the armscye are a little gapey (she wore a cami under it) which means I am probably safe making this in a 10 which also means this pattern will last longer for us (hip hip hooray!).

Here we go - The Go To Signature Dress by Go To Patterns - Maxi length option, flutter sleeve option, in seam pocket option, elastic casing waist option. Fabric Turquoise and white zebra interlock from Hancock Fabric http://www.hancockfabrics.com/Turquoise-and-White-Zebra-Print-Knit-Cotton-Interlock-Fabric-Fashion-Knits_stcVVproductId153250349VVcatId538899VVviewprod.htm with turquoise ribbed knit for the neckline









And my favorite picture of the night - behind the scenes. Brother is the lighting assistant. They are the two best kids.
And as always - fantastic photography by BFJ Photography https://www.facebook.com/BFJPhotography
Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again! Have a great evening!

Till next time,
Christie

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sewing it up Zombie Style!

If you will remember yesterday I hadn't even started on today's outfit as of my blogging (which was pretty late). I usually have a surplus built up, but with her birthday party and birthday itself, time got away from me and I had nada extra for this week. So that equaled sewing SUPAH late. I went to my go to quick sew - the upcycled shirt. Again, we had our JoAnn's tshirt that I cut 4" below the underarm. I cut two rectangles of fabric 22" long (I think, it was late and I used my PGM sz 12 dress form as a model) by the waist to basically have 2 rectangles that width wise were twice as wide as my waist. Then I cut 4 3" long strips of fabric the width of the fabric to make a ruffle. I steam a seamed the bib on the tshirt itself after drafting around the neckline and then added a ruffle around it. And voila - at around 1:30, we had a perfectly presentable dress :) Im frankly sure I wasn't conscious for about half of this.



I would also like to thank everyone for wishing her a happy birthday. She had a great day (even though she still had to run 2 miles at cross country practice after school). Here are some pictures from her pool party that she had on Sunday. She had a blast!






Fortunately, tomorrow's outfit is done, so I won't have to stay up until 1:30 tonight! I hope you all had a wonderful day.

Till tomorrow,
Christie

Monday, August 26, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PRINCESS

I promised everyone a special post today and I am here to deliver. Why is today so special? Today is my baby princess's 10th birthday. We have had a CRAZY weekend. She had a blast at her pool party Sunday and had ice cream on the playground at recess today. But what does this have to do with the blog? Well, she designed a princess dress to wear to school today. Her criteria was it had to be blue and she wanted something that was flowy and made her think of water. I made the mistake of taking her to JoAnns to pick out her own fabric and walked out really poor even with coupons! Ombre satin, glitter tulle....We used a commercial pattern as a jumping off point. It was Butterick 3714 View B size 12.


I really only picked this pattern because a.) it was 1.99 at Joanns and b.) it had a similar bodice and circle skirt so I wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel. I did a freeform ruching overlay on the front bodice and embellished with some aqua sequin trim. The back I just cut the tulle the same as the back bodice. I did a gathered tulle overlay skirt over the main skirt. I was riding a wing and a prayer with it, too. With as crazy as this weekend was, I got the bodice finished on Saturday evening and the dress completely finished last night. I didn't make a muslin, so I was crossing my fingers because commercial patterns can go all over the place with sizing. Fortunately, it fit perfectly *whew*. I handstitched the lining down last night and around 11pm, all was done. Of course, you realize what that means, right? I have to get something made for her tomorrow tonight! So, as soon as I post the blog post for tonight, its off to sew sew sew! 

So, may I present to you - Her Royal Highness, the Birthday Princess in her Water inspired gown




This one above is my absolute favorite of the group. I feel like it really embodies the water/flowy feeling she was going for. She said she felt beautiful and that means the world to me.

Happy birthday, sweet beautiful girl. May the next year be full of blessings and wonder as you grow. Your mommy and daddy love you very very much!

So, I guess I need to go make something for tomorrow :0 Do you have any go to quick sew patterns for tweens? If so, share them here. I would love to know some for backups!

Till then (and wish me luck),
Christie

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Be strong and courageous, dear daughter...

Boy, having a child in their tweens is sure a tough time. They are teetering on the edge of independence and responsibility, but they still have some child left in them that needs molding and looking after. As much as my daughter is mine, she is a child of God, too. Today's outfit really means a lot to me for multiple reasons. It is an upcycle of one of my old t-shirts. The front of it reads: Strong and Courageous Joshua 1:9. The actual bible verse for Joshua 1:9 reads:
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Man, aren't those amazing words? He is telling my sweet daughter, his child no matter the situation, be strong. No matter what she does, where she goes, she is never alone and He is with her. AND he is telling me the same thing. I have to be strong enough to begin to let her go, but I can take comfort in knowing that even when she is away from me He is with her. I think as a mom, I need to hear this type of verse sometimes. I have dedicated almost 13 years of my life to raising kids and, frankly, sometimes it scares me to think that in five years, my oldest will be a senior. Letting go comes whether you are prepared for it or not and we are commanded to be strong and courageous. She has to be strong enough to go. I have to be strong enough to let her go. Man, that is some deep stuff tonight.

So, are you ready to see the dress that inspired this? It is a pattern by an amazing designer who does a lot with knits. And who doesn't like knits, right? Ok, hold on, some of you are having tremors thinking about sewing knits. I PROMISE you, it will be ok. Check these patterns out and you will be whipping out comfy, unique, one of a kind clothes for your little on up to the tweens in no time! So, the designer is (DRUM ROLL) Funktional Threads. Here is her etsy shop link: http://www.etsy.com/listing/151376483/instant-download-rachel-knit-dress-diy?ref=shop_home_feat and she has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/453727554678876/. And let me just say - Lisa is amazing. Again, she probably doesn't know me from Adam and I get nothing over here for recommending her patterns, but I will always give props where they are due. Here is her picture for the cover of the pattern I used for today's dress - The Rachel (and come on now, you had the hair, now you can get the dress!) 

It goes up to a SIXTEEN! and had options for a slimmer fit. AND if has SO many options. You can have a hood, flounces, paneled skirts. You can jazz this puppy up as much as you want and I don't think I have ever seen a bad one. Lisa also just had a sew along to make the Rachel sleeveless. You can find it on her Facebook page. 

So, here is my strong and courageous young woman in her Funktional Threads Rachel Knit Dress








It's bright, its fun, it twirls, it means something...does sewing really ever get any better than that? 

So, week 2 of the 

is in the tank. Tomorrow is Friday, so it is spirit day at school - which means Chick Fil A biscuits for breakfast, school tshirts and a football game tomorrow night. We will be back at it on Monday with one of the most special dresses I will make this school year. You will have to swing by on Monday to check it out. You won't regret it! (I hope, right? Being that right now its just fabric...;) ) Have a blessed and safe weekend and get out your sewing machine! There is someone who would love something handmade from you - even if it is YOU!

Till next time,
Christie

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A little Camel told me what day it was....

We have all seen the commercial now, right? Well, if you haven't seen the commercial, someone on your Facebook has posted. Every Wednesday - its the Camel bringing forth good tidings of Hump Day!
And to give Geico their due, you can see this commercial here on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWBhP0EQ1lA

So, the week is half over and we actually only have one other outfit after today for this week and boy do I have to hustle the rest of the week to get things ready for next week. I didn't get to sew all day yesterday because of work being done in the house and we had more work done today so I am just getting to cutting my pattern out! However, I am testing an AMAZING pattern, buuuuut its still under wraps right now, but it will be my blog feature when it is released. I also have a custom dress to design for her by (get this) Monday because my little princess will be 10 on Monday. That's right - the double digits. Where did time go?? So, the parameters for designing this dress? 'Um, I want blue and I want it to be flowy like the ocean.' Yeah, makes that one easy (Insert anxiety here!)

So, today's dress was a simple but goodie no pattern required dress. Upcycling is a GREAT way to re-use clothes and save money on fabric. Today's dress takes a JoAnns plain t-shirt that was 3 for $9 and is a youth medium 10/12. I cut it 2 inches below the underarm and then added the skirt. The skirt is 6 panels of half a fat quarter. You can measure the width of the cut off area and just multiply that by 1.5 or 2 to determine how much fabric you need to make a gathered skirt. Once I sewed the skirt panels together, I added a ruffle at the bottom - again, no rocket science, just figure out how long you need it to be. This dress ended up being a empire style with a full gathered skirt. On the shirt, I gathered 2x the length of the center of the tshirt to make a ruffle and the ruffle was 2.5" wide. I rolled hemmed both long edges to prevent fraying. Then I put a strip of ribbon down the stitch line of the ruffle and stitched 4 buttons on. You can do so much with this and it looks great. She got three compliments after I picked her up from school today. A lot of high end designers have this type of dress style and they are charging $50+ for it. I may draft a tutorial for the weekend edition to show you how to make your tween (or younger child or YOU) a similar dress. 

So here we go!



Oh and another tip for this style of dress, either when you are serging the raw edges after sewing together the skirt and shirt or after, stitch clear elastic (found in the notions section of your local sewing supply stores - JoAnn, Hobby Lobby, Hancock) on the bottom side of the seam. It will help hold the shape. I actually feed it in while I am serging keeping it taut/lightly stretched.

Supah cute, Supah easy - Never hurts to have those go to patterns you can whip up quickly but still look cute.

Tomorrow, I am in LOVE with the dress (little hint there!) So, be sure to check back in!!

Till then,
Christie

PS - We didn't have cross country practice today so I didnt run, but I am back on the trail with her tomorrow for 2 miles. Wish me luck and no scratched.
PPS - If you are of the praying kind, please say a prayer for one of the 8th graders at our school. His dad passed away unexpectedly last night. That has been weighing on my heart because he is only a year older than my son and his dad was very young.