Monday, August 11, 2014

Sewvivor Challenge #1: El Capitan Quilted Blazer

Sewvivor: Quilter's Edition has begun! The very first challenge for us is Nautical. We needed to sew something that is both nautically inspired and quilted, but not necessarily a quilt. I chose to make this classic navy fitted blazer, but a quilted version. I love it so much that I named it El Capitan!

The blazer is made with a navy suiting fabric and, combined with batting and linings, is the perfect weight for a fall coat. The main part of the blazer's front and back are quilted with a 2-inch diamond pattern while the sleeves, pockets, collar, lapels, and facings are 1-inch diamonds. As a starting point I used this Burda blazer pattern, although I altered the length, lapel shape, and added my own design elements like the pockets and back strap.

For the 20+ pieces of this pattern I first cut out a piece of suiting large enough for the pattern piece, then drew my quilting grid on each. I sandwiched these pieces with batting and a thin lining, then quilted, then subsequently cut the pattern piece from the quilted suiting. After all that quilting it felt so good to start constructing the jacket, matching seams, and watching the garment come to life. Lastly I lined it for a perfectly polished look.

A nautical blazer wouldn't be complete without gold buttons and you can find them on the sleeve vents, pockets, back strap, and front. I am so so proud and in love with this jacket.

Now I need your vote!!!

Head over to see what all 16 contestants sewed up for this nautical challenge and cast your vote HERE!

I believe 6 of us will be voted off after this week and I hope it is not me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sewvivor Auditions- Strip-Pieced Shift Dress

I really tried not to audition for this competition. I mean right at this moment my family is in the middle of a big move. Last night we finished loading the U-haul, cleaned up shop, and today my husband is driving through New Mexico, Texas, the Oklahoma pan handle, and just into Kansas... halfway to Iowa City. I decided a couple weeks ago I wasn't going to audition because July is just crazy, but I just couldn't get it out of my head.

Or this dress. I couldn't pack away my boxes (and boxes and boxes) of sewing stuff until I got this dress out of my head and onto my six-year-old.

And this competition just sounds SO much fun. I'm bursting with ideas!

My idea was to piece together this dress in strips, using solids to create a patchwork that looks almost like a textile itself. I mean I would totally buy this fabric if it existed and I didn't have to spend hours piecing it all together.

For the silhoette I wanted a loose shift dress and I already had the perfect pattern for it, the Norah dress by MHC. It is an amazing pattern. See the Norah I made as Drew's Christmas dress last year! I did slightly modify the shape this time by adding length for my tall girl, lengthening the sleeves, and cutting down some of the A-line.

I also constructed it slightly different this time and I LOVE the results. The back of the original Norah is made with two pieces and has a slit at the neckline, but I didn't really want to cut up my pretty strips into two back pieces. So I cut my back as one piece, cut a line down it just where the slit was supposed to be, and when it was time to attach the lining I completely attached it all around the neckline and slit. After pulling the lining through and pressing, I got this cute little keyhole type slit. (For the slit, imagine how you would sew a welt pocket.) The neon shoelace trim was the perfect way to close it up.

This wasn't the most convenient time to sew a dress such as this, but so worth it. I hope I make it into the competition!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Glamping with Willow & Co

I grew up and have such fond memories of camping with my family. Our family owned land up in northern Arizona with no cabin or anything but a large open-walled ramada where all the cousins would pile our sleeping bags and sleep in the open air. We would only sleep though after playing Kick the Can in the dark and hanging out around the campfire. Jason and I have camped many times together as well. He even proposed to me during a hiking/camping trip we took in the Grand Canyon! I am no stranger to the rough and tough style of camping.

But glamping.

That is also something I could get very, very used to.

By now I am sure everyone has heard of the new pattern collective group, Willow & Co. They released their first collection of patterns called Wanderlust for Spring and Summer, a Glamping Edition. These patterns are designed for children who need things casual, practical and able to run, jump, kick the can, or whatever they want to do. But comfort is definitely not going to take the place of style and special unique touches.

You guys, these patterns are amazing. So well made.

When Mie asked me to "go glamping" and join this blog tour, I was thrilled! I wanted to make every pattern from the collection but eventually narrowed it down to an outfit for each of my kiddos... including Kendall, who has yet to be introduced on this blog! (If you follow me on Instagram you've seen a lot of her :)

Kendy is coming soon, but first up is this Persimmon Dress I made for Drew.

The Persimmon can be either dress or top length and also has the cutest pocket option (which I didn't include this time). I had about 15 different ways I planned to make this dress but eventually narrowed it down to using this super thin white cotton voile with a grey lining underneath. Would I let Drew wear a soft white dress camping? Heck no. But for glamping it is definitely okay!

The center panel is this strange cut-out fabric I've been hanging onto for a long time that I got at a discount fabric store. You can see where I used the fabric to make a little cropped cardi in my final Project Run & Play look.

Using the sheer voile and this cut-out material made things a bit tricky and I'll be the first to admit this is not my best technically made piece. I used french seams throughout the dress and also hemmed the right and left panels before I attached it to my center panels so there would be no raw edges where it meets those cut-outs. I didn't account for the hemming when I cut the dress though so it threw off my pleats a little bit and you can see they are not looking so hot.

But Drew never once said, "Oh man mom, those pleats look terrible," so we are still okay. She loved it so much!

The neon pink straps are actually a shoelace trim! I got it at that same discount fabric store and you can see a different way I used it here in this top I made for KCWC a couple years ago. I added the extra straps to the front just for fun and tied them all together at the back of the dress instead of on top of the shoulders. (Just realizing I don't have a pic of the back of the dress dang it!)

Keep reading if you would like to meet my beautiful baby girl, Kendall Mae, and see what I made for her!

Kendall got her very own Ash Jumpsuit, which is a must have pattern. Seriously. The sizes range from 6-12mo through 12 years. But when you have a chubby wubby two month old she can fit into size 6-12mo. And make it look good!

I made my Ash using this knit fabric that doesn't have very much stretch and it worked great. I love how soft it is.

The pattern itself was so very much fun to make. The directions are clear, the sew is quick, and the results are so gratifying. Like I said, it is a must have pattern.

She definitely has a modeling future for me. See she already has the far-off gaze into the distance down pat.

Another first here today is that I sewed actual clothing for Nash! I've made him Halloween costumes and pajamas, sure. But I have the hardest time being inspired to sew for boys.

I made Nash a Mulberry Tunic and some Kudzu Cargo Shorts. Like the other two patterns I made from the collection, they were very well written and easy to follow. And they both have many unique options that you end up with a creation that really feels like your own.

I decided to make my Mulberry tunic out of knit material too, which is probably only okay if the knit is not very stretchy. The triangle fabric is from Girl Charlee and the green and stripe fabrics are upcycled from old t-shirts of mine. The tabs are supposed to go on the sleeves but on a whim I decided to move them up to the shoulder seams just for fun. My next tunic will be for Drew. Love this pattern!

And here is the best shot of my Kudzus I could get. I guess it's payback for never sewing for him that Nash just lays down and ignores me when I ask him to model. I got this thick teal legging fabric from Joann's in the bottom weight section and these shorts are oh so soft and comfy. Especially because of the knit waistband. They are seriously a cool pair of shorts. I love all of the lines. For the fall I plan to make many Kudzo pants for Nash and Drew. If he will shape up with his modeling.

For summer sewing it is all about Willow & Co.  I promise you will not be disappointed with the quality and professionalism they put into their patterns!
And thank you Mie for inviting me glamping!
Don't forget to check out what all the other glampers are making!

Image Map

Monday, May 12, 2014

Soleil Dress

I am part of the Soleil tour today showing my version of this perfect summer dress! Lauren has all these pretty amazing things going on with her Pattern Workshop and Selvage Designs and it was no surprise to me that this first pattern of hers was perfection. I feel like it was made for Drew. She is all about comfort and simplicity, but she also wants things to be pretty. So this sleeveless, knit dress with pockets and an open back option seriously fits the bill.

It doesn't hurt that I emblazoned it with her favorite theme song either.

And the back. For the top I used an icy blue stretch lace piece. Since it is see through I had to top stitch the seam allowance up into the binding instead of down from the binding as you normally would. For the rest of the dress I used this shimmery blue knit from Joann's that is so buttery soft and is covered in sparkle.

She puts this dress on almost every day. She wore it to school (with a black shirt underneath for dress code) and all of her friends asked her if I could make them one. Her response is my favorite... "This is a one-of-a-kind."

But pretty much anything to do with Elsa is going to make little girls go wild. I told Drew that I use to belt out and sing my heart out when I was a little girl too, except for me it was Ariel. We are both off key though so have that in common.

See the sparkle in the fabric?

Lauren really knocked it out of the park with her first pattern. I need to make fifteen more of them. At least.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

And here is my second swimsuit with fabric I designed and had printed! I use the word "designed" loosely with this one because while I did create the pattern in Illustrator, I copied the idea from this print. I'm not selling this fabric or anything so I felt okay recreating it for personal use.

I added the black fringe along the top and the contrasting black ties. There are so many ways to embellish a swimsuit. They are one of my favorite things to make.

And what is this next pose all about? I can't even control her posing these days.

Check out the first suit I designed fabric for here.