Tag: patterns

Beyond Modern Style for Girls

Beyond Modern Style for Girls

I don’t know that I’ll ever stop hacking patterns, especially my own. I get bored making the same thing over and over again, so tweaking things here and there just helps keep things fresh.

When I was working on Modern Style for Girls, I kept thinking of new ways to hack the patterns in the book. At times, I had to force myself to stay focused because an idea was so appealing that I wanted to get started right away!

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One of my ideas was this sweet party dress. I actually made and photographed this one as an extra style shot for the book but it didn’t get used. There’s only so much room! But that just gives me the chance to share it with you and give a little more information about how you can use Modern Style for Girls to make one for the girl in your life!

This dress uses the same Basic Bodice but the full length instead of one of the alternate cutting lines. There’s still an invisible zipper in the back, so no change there. I paired it with the short sleeves and the collar from the Collared A-line Dress (make sure you use the correct neckline). I actually flat lined the collar with a piece of ivory lace I had in my stash. If you do this, make sure you pay close attention to where you apply the lace. I find it easier to lay out the collar as it would be on the dress so that I don’t accidentally flat line the same side of the collar pieces.

For the skirt, I used a beautiful sheer cream fabric with a rolled hem and a cream lining fabric for a nice double-layered look. Because the invisible zipper ends above the waist, I could cut the same size pieces for both the front and back of the skirt (you can use the back skirt measurement from the Wrap Top/Dress as a starting point). Since these fabrics are so lightweight and gather easily, I cut them a little wider than I would have if I used quilting cotton or something a little heavier. The lining is a hair shorter than the exterior skirt but you could make them the same length, if you prefer.

Voila! A picture-perfect party dress!

P.S. There’s still time to get an autographed copy of Modern Style for Girls before Christmas!

Myla & Me

Myla & Me

The biggest downside of writing a book is that I’m left with pretty much zero time for sewing for myself. But it’s February and the obligation sewing is long finished, so when I had a day off from work, I was ready to whip up a little something for me.

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I prefer tracing off patterns so I can make modifications more easily.

I’ve had the Myla Tank pattern from Sew Liberated for a while now (just because I don’t have time to sew for myself doesn’t mean I don’t collect patterns and fabric for future use) and when I saw the gorgeous Speckled navy lawn by Rashida Coleman-Hale for the newest Cotton+Steel line, I knew I’d found my match. The fabric reminds me of malted milk Easter eggs, which I love. Also, navy with splashes of aqua — my two favorite colors. *swoon*

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Sew Liberated Myla Tank made with Speckled lawn from Cotton+Steel.

The pattern guides you through finishing all the seam allowances with French seams. Since I have a serger (purchased because I’m too lazy to do French seams), I finished my seam allowances with it instead. Even with the French seams, though, I’d say this is a pretty speedy pattern to sew — with the exception of binding the neck and arms.

Ah, teeny binding. Not my favorite, for sure. But I think a wider binding would be far too bulky in those spots. I’m half tempted to make another but add a seam allowance around the neck and arms and do at least a half lining. On the fence about that, though, because …

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Sew Liberated Myla Tank made with Speckled lawn from Cotton+Steel.

I like the top and I’m going to wear the heck out of it but I’m not sure it’s the best fit in the chest-al region or the most flattering style for me. There’s just enough gaping around the arms that I will have to wear a tank or other top underneath. I do like the length, especially because I wear skinny jeans or leggings fairly often and this would work well with both.

But first I’m picking up more of that gorgeous lawn (maybe in the purple colorway, too) so I can make more pretties with it.

 

Patchwork Duffle

I don’t have PS on my laptop. I use my iPhone for maybe 99 percent of the photos I take these days. I’m waving the white flag and giving up on any pretense of polished perfection in favor of actually writing more than one blog post a year. So if less-than-perfect pictures offend you, you probably want to stop reading my blog.

Life happens. A lot. So here I am, seven months since my last blog post, trying to start anew. So how about I just dive back in?

At Quilt Market in Portland this past spring, I snagged a copy of Bari J‘s Holiday in London Duffle Bag. Bari is one of my favoritest people ever and I really love her aesthetic, so I pretty much had to pick up one of her awesome bag patterns, especially one that had the potential to become my go-to travel bag.

I was itching to make something with a gorgeous range of Michael Miller fabrics we had at the shop. Norwegian Wood plus a bunch of other gorgeous, graphic brights. Elizabeth Hartman’s patchwork Weekender came to mind but I didn’t want to make the Weekender so the patchwork Holiday in London Duffle came into being.

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I picked up 10 fat quarters plus extra cuts for the handles, strap and binding. Oh and separate lining fabric. Yeah, not doing twice the patchwork. As it was, the patchwork, quilt-as-you-go method probably added about eight hours to this project. Why? Because I’m slow and sometimes mess things up and have to figure out a fix midstream.

Holiday in L

I did an easy piecing job by using strips of different widths to fill the space. If you do this, you’ll want to cut the Soft n Stable at least an inch larger all the way around to compensate for how much it pulls in during the quilting process. I forgot this on a couple of pieces and so my bag turned out a wee bit smaller because I had to trim things up to get them to fit together properly. Whoops!

Holiday in L

I tinkered with the straps and handles (and tabs) and just made them into casings to slip cotton canvas webbing through. I really like using webbing for the durability factor and having them covered with fabric pulls together the whole look. I also used my favorite, favorite, favorite Fuse n Wrap piping because it is one of the best inventions ever. Seriously. (Soft n Stable falls under that category, too.)

The instructions were easy to follow and I like how the seams are all encased. If I make this again (and I probably will because I think it will be a great graduation gift), I will attach the bag bottom a little differently because I’m too lazy to do the hand sewing. (What? Have you not met me?)

Holiday in L

I skipped the “faux piping” step at the end because it’s a little on the bulky side and I just wanted to be done with it and start using it. I immediately took it upstairs to show off to Miss L and my Honey because nothing says “I’m done!” quite like show and tell. Ok, I really wanted someone who was not me to ooh and aah over it because it is FABULOUS. I love, love, love it and am so glad I put in the extra effort to do all that piecing and quilting. If you’re thinking about making this bag, I highly recommend checking out Bari’s fantastic sew along.

Quilt Market Recap

Another trip to Quilt Market is under my belt. This is my sixth Quilt Market (I’ve only missed one since my first Fall market in ’08) and I feel like I’ve finally gotten settled into a routine of sorts. It’s kind of a grueling routine (some days we are on the go from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.) but it’s a heck of a lot less overwhelming than that first show three years ago.

My POV as a Market attendee is really from the retailer side more than the vendor side since I’m there with my friend Sarah to order for her store. We don’t have much downtime and what little we have is spent recapping what we’ve seen, planning what we still want to see and discussing the merits of different products and whether or not they fit into the shop. It’s not easy and there are times when I absolutely love something but have to concede that my tastes run counter to what most customers will like.

There are plenty of places that do a much better job than I ever could of covering what’s at Market, especially when it comes to fabric, so I’m just going to focus on a few of the patterns I saw (and loved) in Houston. (I queried the folks on the blog’s Facebook page and that was the direction that seems to be of interest.)

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My Favorite Things has two new duffel coat patterns out, one for women and one for kids, and the timing couldn’t be better. I snapped a quick photo of a sample at the Checker booth but it really doesn’t do the coat justice.

Such Designs won me over with the look of their patterns. Ellen of The Long Thread asked if I saw them when I ran into her at the Moda booth (be sure to check out her fab new fabric, if you haven’t) and I completely agree with her take on them.

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Embroidery patterns are on the rise and I’m going to have to get my hands on the ones from Penguin & Fish (so glad Sarah plans to get them and also ordered the ones from Sarah Jane). Oh and Lecien was showing off the coolest linen cross stitch/embroidery “tape” that I can see so much potential for.

In the world of quilt patterns, I’ve previously expressed my love for Jaybird and Lizzy House and that’s not going to change anytime soon. I’m also completely, utterly blown away by Thomas Knauer’s new patterns. Like, total awe. I “met” Thomas on Twitter and have been so thrilled to follow his journey to fabric designer (Andover! Pear Tree! Won a fat quarter bundle in his Schoolhouse!) and his patterns do not disappoint.

You can see all my Market photos on Flickr.

Bag Lady Returns

I haven’t been blogging much lately but I have been sewing. I guess it’s a trade off sometimes and I’m certainly enjoying the productivity.

I’ve been itching to make the Pink Chalk Mail Sack ever since I saw Kathy Mack carrying one around Market. I love the styling and the cross-body handle is especially appealing to me. The hardest part was deciding what fabrics to use! Ultimately I decided to sew it with the bright, fun Gypsy Bandana by Pillow & Maxfield for Michael Miller Fabrics.

Can you say “Yummy!”? Totally loving how it turned out. I did substitute fusible fleece for the interfacing recommended for the bag exterior, mostly because I had it on hand and prefer a little softer feel sometimes.

In retrospect, I wish I’d used a smaller print for the bag yoke and handles but I can live with this combination. It’s a nice size, very generous, and I like that there are plenty of pockets I can fill with all my necessities.

Little Girls, Big Style: The Giveaway

I have been working on this giveaway forever. Like, since I started working on Little Girls, Big Style. I have always loved hosting giveaways and this one is even more special to me for rather obvious reasons. And I’m especially excited to be taking part in Sew, Mama, Sew’s annual Giveaway Day (be sure to check out the link and see all the amazing blogs/shops taking part).

Here’s what you’ll be winning from me:

• An autographed copy of Little Girls, Big Style.

• Two yards of Pellon Easy Pattern for tracing the patterns in the book.

• Some fun trims from my stash for using with some of the projects.

• A Clover Chaco Liner chalk marking pen.

• Three one-yard cuts of fabric (fun multicolored owls on white 21-wale cord by Robert Kaufman, Euro-style mermaids from JoAnn and the prize from my stash: Little Elfi from Germany).

• ModKid Little Chef pattern, which I tested for the lovely Patty Young.

• Indygo Junction Petal Blossom Bag designed by Violet Craft, which is the most recent thing I’ve sewn.

• A Starbucks Frappuccino cup and gift card. Starbucks was my office-away-from-home while I was working on the book and I spent many an hour there, writing without the distractions of home (or the Internet).

• An autographed copy of Jenn Cristy‘s Hotel Confessions. Not only was this the soundtrack of my book-writing days but I actually did the photography, CD packaging design and merch design while I was writing the book. You say “crazy;” I say “multitasking.”

This giveaway is open until U.S. residents until Dec. 17 at which time I’ll select a winner using Random.org. (Sorry, international friends! I will do a book-only giveaway just for you after the first of the year.) To enter, all you have to do is comment on this post. Yep, it’s just that easy.

And don’t forget you can still enter the giveaways on the Little Girls, Big Style blog tour (continuing through Dec. 15) to win a copy of the book. Check out these blogs for your chance to win there:

What are you waiting for? Get commenting!

Run Like The Wind

I have this thing about cute, comfortable, modest workout clothes. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that everything meet that criteria. Sadly, many pieces of workout apparel seem to be designed for 6-foot-tall 12-year-old girls, meaning it’s not only unflattering on me, it often leaves my pieces parts exposed to the world.

Oh, I left out one other criterion: Cheap. Because, yes, there are beautiful, comfortable, fully-covered-up workout clothes out there, but they often are not a price I’m wiling to pay.

My latest obsession has been finding a suitable running skirt/skort. After checking out a variety of options at stores around town, I finally hit the web and found even more — but nothing that met all four items on my list. “Man, I wish I could just make one,” I groused to my husband.

Um, why couldn’t I? A search for “running skort pattern” led me to Jalie 2796. If you’re not familiar with Jalie, it’s a Canadian pattern company that makes a variety of patterns but is probably best known for it’s figure skating offerings. Many of the patterns are sized from little girls all the way up to full-figured women, which makes the price even more of a bargain.

The pattern got nice marks at Pattern Review, so I took the plunge and ordered it, then hunted down some cotton/Lycra fabric to make what I hoped would be a wearable muslin. The reviews I read mentioned adding length to the skirt for extra coverage, so I added 3 inches to each of the skirt panels. There are two waistband options and I went with the wider one, simply because I wanted to make sure I had enough coverage in the back.

I was fully prepared to make a different size for the waistband and the skirt and compression shorts but was pleasantly surprised to see that my measurements were in line with the Y for all pieces. I did deviate from the pattern by hemming the skirt panels before I attached them to the side panels. This was not the best move — my hem is not quite right on one side — and I will do it according to the directions the next time I make this.

Yes, the next time. I’ve already bought some more fabric — this time cute melon and sorbet wicking Lycra — to make two more skirts. I’m contemplating trying the bloomers instead of the compression shorts next time. I’m finding that the shorts tend to creep up a bit when I run, which annoys me. (It doesn’t happen so much when I’m on the elliptical machine, though.)

Overall, I think the skirt is super cute and flattering (even though I think I look something boxy and chunky in that picture), easy and quick to sew (definitely a plus) and something I can see making again and again.

Houston Round-Up: Patterns

I intended to blog from Houston but technical difficulties prevented that. So I guess I’ll just try to muddle through and remember all the details from three jam-packed days of fabric, patterns and friends.

I’ve tried to do a chronological Market round-up the past two visits but I think I’m going to try a thematic approach this time. First up: Patterns!

Because I sew clothing, I’m always on the lookout for cool, new patterns to try and there were plenty to choose from at this fall’s International Quilt Market. If you follow Patty Young’s blog, you already know she’s got some new patterns on the way. I loved seeing them in person and have really enjoyed sewing her patterns, so the new ones definitely will be added to my collection.

Fellow Michael Miller fabric designers Paula Prass and Sandi Henderson also have new patterns on the way. I loved Paula’s new bag pattern but the jacket and dress patterns really caught my eye. Just a really great aesthetic, kind of an updated retro vibe. I’m pretty excited that Sandi’s adding some adult patterns to her repertoire. The wrap skirt looks so pretty and romantic and I think the ruffled pants for women will be well received, too (although I’m not sure I have what it takes to pull them off LOL). She’s also got a new pattern for boys with her own little guy modeling.

Chelsea of Pink Fig showed off her new patterns and I can already guess the Nie Nie Skirt is going to be huge. The story behind it is so touching and Chelsea’s donating a percentage of the pattern’s proceeds to the Nie Nie fund.

Her aunt Lucy debuted her new pattern line, Hot Scott, which should make those moms of boys happy. Yes — a line of patterns for boys! Lucy is such a sweetie and I’m so excited to see her Market debut. The patterns are cute and I saw a lot of traffic at her booth.

Speaking of new pattern line debuts … My beautiful friend Sheree had her first booth at Market for her new pattern line, Sheree’s Alchemy, which will be out in November. I have always loved her aesthetic and can’t wait until these patterns come out. The girls’ clothing ones are kind of “classic contemporary,” very refined and age appropriate. And her home sewing patterns are just as cool as she is. I totally understand why she had a steady stream of visitors to her booth!

Kay Whitt at Serendipity Studio never ceases to amaze me with her designs. This Market was no exception with six new patterns, including a sweet, modern tunic/dress pattern that I had to snatch up on the spot. Seriously. I’m planning to hit the shop this week to buy some fabric for it; I love it that much. The new bag and skirt patterns are also really cool and I’m sure they’ll end up in my collection before too long.

Is there anyone on the planet who is not aware of my love of all things Melly & Me? Melly and Rosie are just so incredibly sweet and talented, and it’s impossible for me not to love everything they do. Which probably explains why I walked away from their booth with a new Rosalie Quinlan Design’s quilt pattern, two new bag patterns and Melly’s first book, Kaleidoscope. I probably would have bought more except I already own most of it! LOL!

The talented Amy Butler has a couple of gorgeous new patterns coming out, including a shirt dress and a coat. I want them both but after seeing the dress on Amy, I’m not sure if it’s going to fit my curvier self. Of course, I’ll probably give it a try anyway! LOL!

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Indygo Junction patterns. The fit of the women’s clothing patterns is sometimes a little boxy but I keep buying and sewing them because I do like them. I think the new Bell Sleeve Blouse is going to change my opinion for the better. I checked out the samples and the darts and cut seem to be much more figure flattering. They didn’t have any available at Market or else I’d have grabbed one to try. However, I know Sarah ordered it so I’ll be buying it as soon as it’s in.