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Thursday, October 2, 2014

When You've Got the Blues...Not Everything is Black and White (But Somethings Are)

This week's Project Run and Play Challenge was a Denim Challenge. So, I went and walked the aisles of my JoAnns to get inspired. I already had a pattern in mind. The new McCartney Jacket that is part of the newest Pattern Anthology release had been on my mind since I bought the bundle. And check out these pictures and you will see why.

Isn't it awesome? And when I thought denim, I thought jacket (of course, right?) And as we talked about in the last blog post, we are having to move into adult patterns. This one doesnt disappoint either with a size range from XXS - XL. I ended up making her a S so she could wear bulky clothes under it this Winter, although I probably would have been fine with the XS. 

Now, to fabric selection - I used a flocked black denim with an awesome Haunted Mansion-esque damask (remember, I am a Disneyphile) For some reason, JoAnn blew out the color, I guess so you could see the damask, but it is actually a tone on tone pure black (very pigment heavy, think stained fingernails.)

I did the contrast version of the jacket and used a solid white denim as the contrast 

So, here is my denim challenge - in black and white :)

My tips for sewing this one - definitely use a denim needle (especially once you start throwing in layers). And just have patience. The welt pockets are a gorgeous accent. The gathered sleeve option has that 80s throwback feel which we liked. This is a great jacket that is also on MY sewing list. After the pictures last night (yes, I sew at the last minute. I did this yesterday morning/afternoon to get pictures last night. I don't recommend that :)), she didn't want to take it off. She said it was 'so cozy'. And with all of the fabric options, you could even line this in fleece (I live in Georgia, so that would probably be too hot for here), or even a lighterweight flannel if you wanted it for utility. And with all of the cute fleeces and flannels, the lining could really make a statement. I would recommend a decent weight for the outer fabric so it can have the structure it's meant to. And keep in mind, if you make the gathered sleeve option, it is going to add width to anyone with wide shoulders. I would make mine with a regular sleeve because I am broad shouldered. Just some sewing notes I mentally made note of as I was going. 

See the full write up on the McCartney jacket here, but while you are there, check out the whole bundle. It is an awesome collection of womens (and tween) size sewing!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner!

We have a winner for our Jocole blog tour contest!!

Congratulations, Jessica!! Someone from Jocole will be in touch with you about how to redeem your TWO free patterns!!

Thank you everyone for entering. I have loved reading your comments and will be responding to them over the next several days!

Have a great week!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Where the Wild Things Are...A Jocole Blog Tour Post

Well, you probably have noticed I haven't been able to sew or post as much as I did last year. This is for several reasons.

1.) Two kids in middle school involved in several different things equals crazy schedules.
2.) Honestly, my sewing mojo has taken a hit since my mom got sick. I really kind of feel just blah a lot lately. And its not really just sewing, its pretty much in most areas of my life. I am really trying to get back into a groove, but it has been really hard.
3.) Finally, sewing for a developing tween is hard.

Let's focus on number 3, shall we?

So, why did I title this post 'Where the Wild Things Are?', well it serves several purposes. First, middle school is definitely a phase in the lives of our children where things go wild. Hormones are raging, attitudes are fierce, moods are all over the place, and different body parts are growing all our of sync with each other. You get braces and acne, body hair and awkwardness.

Last year, when I was sewing all of her clothes - she fit pretty standard into a 12 all year. She just started developing in the bust but stayed pretty true to fit. Now, her sizing is all over the place. Most of her major measurements put her in a women's clothing category (bust, waist, and hips), but height (4'9) and general proportion (torso length, inseam) keep her in a child size. So, how do you handle fitting a woman-child? I got to face this question head on when I was asked to participate in the Jocole pattern blog tour.

If you haven't heard of Jocole patterns, let me happily introduce you. Jodi Jean Baird is the owner of this amazing line. She has a background in fashion designs and drafts and digitizes all of her patterns. She has an amazing line of patterns ranging from NB all the way up to plus size womens. Many of her patterns are basics that you can mix and match and use over and over again in your wardrobe.

As my daughter's tastes are taking a turn toward the grown up, she has started turning her nose up at the fluffles and ruffles and voluminous frocks of elementary school trending more now toward streamlined silhouettes. She is also very self-conscious both of her developing bust line and her currently round tummy. (Both of my children tend to get a little round in the belly before they have a major growth spurt and slim down.) So, when Jocole asked me to review some of their patterns, it was a definite in my book.

I decided to use two of the newer adult patterns -


On first glance, you might think - how can I make this for a 4'9 11 year old? Jocole has great instructions on how to lengthen AND shorten all of these patterns. And these pants have a super secret. Fits all sophisticated like, feels like jammies. Nice, right? I made the peplum top out of a fierce liquid spandex I found in the Joanns remnant pile and the peplum is a black sequin layered on top of the spandex. The pants are leopard knit with the skinny pant secret knit waistband. You can make these out of pretty much any fabric and you use knit as the waistband, And these can be made in any length from shorts to full. I ended up shortening the bodice of the peplum top and using the ladies petite length for the pants. And what we ended up with is a rocking outfit that is wild, rock n roll and all tween girl. And the flattering fit of the peplum covers her tummy and the lean skinny fit of the pants make her legs look thin and a million miles long. Not to mention since the fall air is making its way in, she can rock her boots with them. Now, I want a pair! And the great thing with this pattern is I can make them for her AND for me! 

Check out where the wild things are indeed

It was awesome to have a fun photo shoot with her where she felt good about herself and felt pretty. These years are hard on pretty much everyone who goes through them. I am grateful to have a skill that I can use to help her feel good and know that she is always beautiful. She truly is a special spirit and it is humbling to watch her grow into this amazing young woman. 

Jocole is such an amazing pattern company to work with that they have offered a prize for my readers. In two days, we will draw for a winner of two Jocole patterns (might I suggest the Ladies Peplum Top and Skinny Pants??)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Jodi, Kara, and the Jocole family for inviting me to be a part of the pattern blog tour! If you have any questions about adjusting these patterns or others for a tween - feel free to ask. I am learning in a trial by fire manner!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Electric Youth - Project Run and Play Week 1

Project Run and Play is back and that means another fun round of friendly challenges and competition. Week 1's challenge was to be inspired by an 80s cartoon and fashion a look based on that. Well, I am a child of the 80s, so this was right up my alley!

I watched all kinds of fun shows in the 80s - The USA Cartoon Express, Reading Rainbow, and of course I can't talk about shows from my youth without digressing a little bit about the Bozo show and the Grand Prize Game.

Yes, I know it wasn't a cartoon, but I sent in postcard after postcard trying to be the at home player. Did I ever get picked? Nope....*insert sad face*....Alas, that is probably something more for therapy :)

So, what was my 80s cartoon fashion inspiration?

Yes, I know it is totally cliche to pick Jem and the Holograms, but it was my show. I mean what was not to like? Business by day Jerrica and rock star by night Jem. It was awesome. However, my palette inspiration came more from their arch nemeses The Misfits. 

I mean, look at those colors! Love, love, love and we all know they were the Misfits and we know they're gonna get us. 

So, without futher ado - my current day look using some Jem from my Electric Youth!

And while this was supposed to stay away from being costumey, I mean, how could I resist at least ONE with the pink wig?? Am I right?

So, this outfit came about from the bones of the Love Notions Mallory Dress 

Someone had mentioned they turned this dress into a skater style by using the back piece as the front as well and just dropping the neckline. So, I did that and then measured the neckline and took 75% of that measurement to cut a neck binding at 2" x 75% of the neck measurement. I used a neon green performance knit fabric with a fluorescent pink fishnet overlay. I did the sleeves in just the fishnet alone and then did two pick ups on the front of the overlay to break up the line of the overlay and give the skirt some texture. To bring in the zebra, I self drafted an Obi belt using the measurement of the front side to side measurement of the front to make the front panel. I then made the straps of the belt long enough to go around the back and then back over the front to tie into a bow. 

Overall, it was a fairly quick sew and the result is something current but very fun. I love the electric look that the fabrics have. 

And, really, shouldn't we all have an Electric Youth??

This entry will be linked up to Project Run and Play for their week 1 blog sew alongs. Check out the contestants and the other blogger entries. It is such a fun contest and an amazingly talented group of people!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Oh, the times they are a changin'

We are finishing up the 3rd week of school (how is that EVEN possible?) And it definitely has been a big change not making her clothes this year. Before I go into the changes, let me address a comment left on the last blog post. I was asked which of the garments we made did we keep. The irony is, even of the ones we kept, we are pretty much at the donate those at this point since most of those were a size 12 and she is now firmly in a 14. I won't post all of the pictures, but she did keep most of the Disney knits that I made towards the end of last year, too.

These were her favorites overall:


Her custom designed birthday dress. She said that was her absolute favorite. And she indeed looked like a princess. Her 11th birthday was actually yesterday and she wore one of my dresses that I will be blogging about soon. It was nowhere near this type of style.


Her second favorite was the dress I made for the plaid challenge.


Her third favorite was the self drafted dress I made her for the first day of school. 

In contrast, here is the Justice dress and vest she wore for her first day of middle school.

I really liked this style on her. She has to wear a vest or sweater with it due to the dress code requirements (3" straps). It has a small pettiskirt built in under the plaid circle skirt. It was very cute. It breaks my heart how grown she is getting. Middle school - ugh! And check out her with my son

He is pretty much a grown man now (or so HE thinks). He is now an 8th grader and has informed me that this time next year he will be in high school AND will be getting his permit...Him DRIVING??? How is that possible that one of my children will be driving next year.

Some of my pet peeves about actually SHOPPING for clothes for her:

* Poor quality of clothing. Most everything is sheer and cheaply made - even expensive things.
* A little too much skin? A lot of the tween skirts are way too short and some of the tops just aren't right for a maturing bust line.
* Not a lot of selection that is age appropriate. She either has to be little girlie or grown. There isn't much in between.

And this brings me to some thoughts on tween patterns currently available. Don't take this the wrong way - I am SO happy there has been an expansion in tween patterns and designs. First, I think it needs to happen because even the younger girls are sizing up faster. An 8 yr old girl in a size 12 doesn't need to be necessarily wearing tween style clothing. However, I have found that a lot of the up to size 14 patterns are now way too young. I knew we were on that cusp last year, but we are definitely there now. I am going to continue to make her clothes, not every day, but often. However, my challenge is going to be to find actual middle school approved clothes. Unfortunately, the ruffles and bows don't fit in there as well as they did in Elementary school. 

Soooo - shoot me suggestions on middle school girl patterns. I already know some that I am going to do, but I am always open for new ideas. Also, I am going to try my hand at drafting some styles that I know look good on her. Ironically, she actually fits into several adult patterns now, so we will be reviewing those this school year too!

So, stick around - lots of great things are on tap for our first year of middle school! Hope you will enjoy the ride with us!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Creating Kids Couture

If you sew for children at all, I am sure one of the things you often get asked to make is boutique style clothes along the vein of Matilda Jane, Persnickety, etc. And if you have looked at all for patterns to make these styles of garment, then I am sure you have come across Create Kids Couture. Create Kids Couture has exploded over the last several years in regard to their pattern offering and size ranges. When I first started sewing their clothes, most of them went up to around a size 8 and I had to upsize the patterns myself. However, now they have grown their design team and now offer tween sizes, womens sizes, plus sizes and even boys.

I was privileged to be able to test two of Create Kids Couture newest tween patterns, the Suzie Tween Twirly Halter Top/Dress and the Briannas tween tiered ruffle pants and capris. You can find both of these patterns currently on sale at the following links

Suzies Tween Halter Top and Dress
Briannas Tween Tiered Ruffle Capris/Pants

Here are the pictures from the pattern

One thing I really like about the Create Kids Couture tween line is that most of their bodices come with a cup size bodice option. This is great because I know some girls are needed the bigger sizes because of just being larger in the measurements and may not need to accommodate booblets yet and they have a regular size option for that BUT if you are battling the booblets *sigh*, then this cup bodice provides the shape the developing tween needs.

Here is our rendition of the Suzie Tween Twirly Halter Top and Briannas Tiered Ruffle Capris

And if you just love that cute retro headband she is wearing, it is actually a free tutorial from the Create Kids Couture blog. You can find the link here Headband Tutorial and here is a picture from it

Aren't they darling? For a tween head, I may add another inch to it as she said this was a little snug, but that will be a your mileage may vary thing based on the circumference of the head. Some adults said they could wear. I have a big melon, so I would definitely have to add some more :)

I hope you have enjoyed today's patterns and we will see you soon!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cherry Blossom Festival

I had the privilege of testing the newest pattern from Mandy K Designs. It is a beautiful Asian inspired dress with amazing details and a beautiful mandarin collar. Mandy K Designs is part of the Aspiring Designers Challenge that is currently being sponsored by Pattern Revolution. This classic stunner comes in sizes 12m - 14 and includes a doll size. Here is the picture from the pattern cover

From the contrast band on the skirt to the ruched sash, you can see this dress is very detail oriented. It would be gorgeous as a dressier dress as well. Here is our version in the girls size 14.

As a new release, Amanda is offering this gorgeous pattern and all of her other patterns on sale right now for 20% off. The price is automatically reflected on Craftsy here Cherry Blossom Dress or on Etsy here To get the 20% off on Etsy use code cherry20.

If you want to know more about Amanda and Mandy K Designs, visit her blog at

Thank you for stopping by! We have been drowning in back to school. We are in our first full week of school this week and OH the homework already!! I will have a blog post about that soon!