Pattern Testing NoWhere Man Pants from Shwin & Shwin

13 Jan

Since I love Facebook so much, I make sure to like all of the pages of the sewing blogs that I follow and it paid off big time last week! First I won a huge Fat Quarter Bundle of Redwork Renneisance from the Fat Quarter Shop. And then I snagged a spot as a pattern tester for the NoWhere Man Pants by Shwin & Shwin!

image from

I think I’m going to try my first quilt with the Fat Quarter Bundle.

But back to the pants now.

The selling points for these pants were the pockets and the use of a twin needle to make them look kind of jean like.

I told them what sizes my kids were and they asked me to test the 4t, so that meant they were for Isabelle. Since we didn’t have fabric at home at that would work for this style of pants, I took her to the fabric store and let her select fabric from the corduroy and denim sections. She opted for a purple cord. I am psyched because now I can use the leftover fabric to make Lelia her very own Dora backpack and today is purple Friday in honor of the Baltimore Ravens.

So Iz got to wear them to school today with her awesome angry Ravens shirt! (We aren’t very into football in our house but my kids love dressing for purple Friday.)

Iz also selected her buttons. I convinced her to go with roses in honor of her middle name instead of the puffy I’s that really looked like sticks instead of letters.

I picked the candy dot fabric for the pockets as a surprise for her and then got to work cutting and making the pattern.

My hats go off to anyone who makes a pattern to sell. There are so many details involved in the process. At first glance this pattern seemed perfect, not only were there lots of directions but there were also lots of pictures. At least one photo for every instruction. But as I progressed I noticed little details missing, which is why they ask people to test them before they gland sell them.

And let me be the first to tell you that I could NEVER write patterns.     Soo.      Many.    Details.      Seriously.     Part of the reason I like sewing is because I like that I have to focus on the little things. It helps me work on my lack of attention to detail.  Therefore it would not be an easy undertaking for me to think it out enough to actually tell someone else how to do it.

As you can see by the photos, when left to my own devices, things go a little awry and pants pockets, even though I tried to make them even, get sewn on a little wonky.

Overall, I’m psyched to have a copy of this pattern and will surely be sewing them again, maybe in the linen suggested, for summer and spring.  Wondering too if I can enlarge the pattern to my size 😉  Cuz they’d look cool in a solid linen with a fun pocket accent.  Tho I’d probably ditch the back pockets and belt loops for my version.



A Line for Iz

12 Jan

I had a little of the Heather Bailey Pop Garden Zig Zag fabric leftover and I finally bought the Alexander Henry Lemon fabric from Joann’s that I drooled over during several visits. So I combined the two to make Iz a fun, funky, a line of her own.

Lelia will get one too, but here’s will have a yellow and white chevron print to go with the Lemon print.

Once again, I’m using the Carla C A-line Jumper Pattern for this dress.  It has got to be one of the more simple dresses to sew, I’m fairly sure I knocked this one out in under an hour.

The spring wardrobe is coming together for the girls!  They’ve each got 2-3 dresses now and more coming down the pike!  There are several more patterns that I’d like to try my hand at for spring, and then there are some one’s I’d like to kind of create on my own for the girls.

Again, I have to say that this really is a nice creative outlet for me and it’s so satisfying to see a project through from start to finish.  Plus I love that my girls have clothes to wear that were made with love.


Test Bag

11 Jan

I worked all weekend making dresses for my girls, so I rewarded myself Sunday night by making something for me. I have been sketching a bag concept and pinning like crazy, to come up with my idea of the perfect bag.

This weekend I decided to test part of it to see how it turns out.  I took part of the Oliver + S Messenger bag from Little Things to Sew and part of the {LBG Studios} 2 in 1 convertible clutch and combined them to make this bag.  I used piping for the first time too!

I contructed this one properly, so there aren’t any exposed seams. I had to think about the construction and make sure I sewed everything in the right order.  Since I didn’t use binding, I had to sew right sides together, unlike with the Oliver + S Messenger bag.  There were no gussets this time around to get backwards, but I did have to remember which parts not to sew individually (like the flap) since you essentially sew two bags in order to construct a finished inside.

In the sewing journey, my lines are getting straighter, I can sew closer to the edge, and I’m really noticing an overall improvement in my skills.  It didn’t hurt that the project before this bag was the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress, and Holy Details Batman!!

As far as the final product goes, I’ve decided I need to make some changes.  It needs to be a bit wider from front to back and I’d like smallish side pockets, as the front pockets are a hair taller than I’d like for my phone and chapstick. I’ll carry it around for a couple weeks and see how it feels otherwise.


Outside pockets covered by flap


Inside pocket

Inside full of stuff


Adjustable straps using buttons




Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress by Isabelle

10 Jan

I have been so excited to try the Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress pattern and this weekend I finally did it!  I fawn over pretty much every pattern on their site and I am in love with their book,  Oliver + S Little Things to Sew: 20 Classic Accessories and Toys for Children.  The pattern’s aren’t inexepensive so it was a treat to buy and try this one.

Let me tell you, that the price is worth it for so very many reasons.  First and foremost, the patterns aren’t printed on your typical brown tissue like pattern paper but are instead printed on a much sturdier translucent white paper.  Second the pattern directions are thorough and easy to understand. No detail is left undone and the result is a finished product that is of a boutique quality.  Seriously gorgeous stuff.

That being said, I’m sad to say that I let my wild and crazy 5 year old dresser, select the material that would be used for the dress. Over Christmas, the Fat Quarter Shop ran several awesome sales, and I used it to buy some fun material for me and the girls. I could not resist this Timeless Treasure Retro Candy Dot fabric (Seems to have sold out at the fat Quarter Shop so the link is to an Ebay listing) for the girls as they love dot candy. I really had no idea how to incorporate it into a non costume outfit, but I was ready to try! And a while back a purchased some Sarah Jane for Michael Miller, Children at Play Pink Hopscotch fabric that I used to make the girls their American Girl Doll sleeping bags.

Isabelle decide to combine the two for this dress. And boy is she happy with the finished product!



Do you see those pintucks? There are three on the left and right side of the front AND back of the dress.  There are also 6 buttons up the whole back of the dress, a finished hem and that great circular collar!

I’ve never sewn a pintuck before, but I think I did a decent job. My was it ever so tedious.

The collar was not so hard to sew but it took me several reads of the instructions to really understand how it was going to come together.

The finished hem is still a question to me.  First of all, I had seen the dress constructed with a border at the bottom, like my version has, but there were not instructions as to how to do that so I just kind of figured it out.  But what really through me off was this facing that had to be cut for the hem.  I have always just folded a 1/2″ then folded another 1.5-2″ to make a hem.  This had me fold the facing in 1/2″ and then add the facing like you would on a collar, and then sew it down.  I got it kind of wrong and I don’t see the value in this.  If someone would be so kind as to explain a finished hem made with facing, to me, I would be ever so grateful.

I must be honest and say that I haven’t yet sewn the buttons up that back yet. I really dread sewing buttons on.  Button holing is easy, but hand-stitching buttons is a pain.

When Isabelle asked for these fabrics, I agreed and cut out the same fabrics for this pattern in Lelia’s size too, but after this dress took me something like 7 hours to complete (including cutting out both pattern sizes and materials in each size) I’m a little weary about starting in on Lelia’s version.

I’m happy that Isabelle is happy, but I have to say, if I had known how long it would take me to make this dress, I would have insisted on picking a much prettier fabric, one that would have really shown off the details and finish of the dress.


Ruffle Tiered Dress

7 Jan

Today, I attempted a dress sans pattern and it actually turned out how I wanted it too!  I used the top of the precious dress pattern and then took a dress that Lelia already had in her wardrobe from Old Navy to configure the bottom half of the dress. I cut out an aline front and back skirt piece and used what what leftover from the width of the fabric for the three layers of ruffles.

I constructed it a little differently than I had the bustle part of their Christmas dresses.  Instead of stitching the ruffle layers on right side to wrong side, I sewed them on with right sides facing, which meant the ruffles were upside down when I sewed them on.  It provides for a cleaner finish.  I also, for the first time, used the rolled hem feature of my serger to finish the edges of the ruffle layers.

Since it’s unseasonably warm today, I got Lelia to model her dress outside in the sunshine and therefore got some abfab shots of her in it.  She loves it!  BTW, the fabric is Dena Designs London Blue.




Project Run and Play Junebug Dress Pattern Remix

5 Jan


Since I started on this sewing adventure, I’ve found many, many cool blogs.  Most are written by mom’s across the country and provide tutorials, patterns, how-to’s and lots of support and motivation to keep sewing and keep learning.

One of the coolest blogs that I stumbled upon was Project Run and Play.  It’s a play on Project Runway and the contestants are many of the bloggers that I now follow.  Season 3 kicked off this week and as a new twist, anyone can play along! The first week is a pattern remix.  They provided the Junebug Dress from Craftiness is Not Optional as the pattern, and to enter you have to put your own spin on it.  I decided to go for it and use it as one of the first dresses for Spring that I make for the girls.

I used a tiny floral print, and since I haven’t made too many dresses, I didn’t venture too far from the pattern. I added some ric rac to the top, and only put 2 buttons on instead of 3 per side.  I also made some pleats instead of gathers, and made the dress rather long. For a first time sew along and remix, I thought I did I nice job.

Then to enter, you upload your photos to the  Project Run and Play flickr group.  Let me tell you that my dress truly looks like amateur hour compared to some of the beauties that are included!  Alas, I’ve only been sewing for a couple months, so mine is good enough.

Isabelle got a black eye on a bunk bed this weekend, and then she applied a band aid to her neck overnight. A picture perfect model!




Oliver + S Messenger Bag from Little Things to Sew

3 Jan

Before we left for our weekend away, I spent Friday morning whipping up a purse for myself. I used leftover wool from my cape, and upcycled the strap from an old cross body bag that I had.

It was my first project from Oliver + S Little Things to Sew. I made the small messenger bag with a few changes. I left off the pocket covers and the inside pocket is sewn on the back side instead of the front.

That is due in part to the fact that I made some errors along the way and sewing it on the front became impossible. I sewed the lining incorrectly, so the inside has raw edges. I also must have cut a gusset out backwards, because I had two facing one direction instead of one in each direction.

The best part of the bag is the bias trim. I made my own tape as per the directions and I love it! it’s also the first time I have correctly sewn bias tape on a project. As it turns out the correct way is much easier than the way I had done it on the doll sleeping bags.

The bag is just the right size and fits my ipad nicely.  It’s the perfect thing to get me through the winter until I make a new one for our Florida trip. I’ve been designing the perfect bag in my head and it will take elements of this one with it!