October 24, 2014

Pattern Testing 101: Part One

I am in a couple of facebook sewing groups, and a complaint from sewists that I've seen more than once is that designers tend to pick the same testers over and over and over again, so other people who would really love to test never get chosen.

I've tested for several different designers (as evidenced by the gazillion blog posts about patterns I've tested) and I also dabbled in pattern designing about a year ago. While I am by no means an expert, I thought I'd take some time to write a couple of posts about pattern testing-how to get chosen, and how to be a repeat tester once you're chosen.

So up for discussion today: How to get chosen as a pattern tester in five easy steps.

1. Make Friends!
Several of the writers of blogs I follow have started designing patterns, and they've either approached me with the opportunity to test, or picked me when I have applied. Think of it this way: when you need help, you go with your friends first, right? So if you've commented on blog posts and interacted with the blog author on social media, they're more likely to know who you are, and want to pick you to test if/when they start designing. And even if they don't, it's fun to make new friends!

2. Join Facebook Sewing Groups

Obviously you can't follow every sewing blog out there. There are just too many of them, and that would just be crazy. Indie pattern design is really big right now. Lots of new designers are cropping up and they need help testing their patterns. I see a lot of testing calls from new designers in the larger sewing groups, because they don't have a large enough following of their own yet to get a good testing pool. If you start with them right from the beginning, you're more likely to get picked. Fewer applicants=better odds of getting chosen.

3. Display Your Work

Whether its flickr, a facebook page, instagram, or a blog, make sure that you have somewhere to display pictures of things you have sewn. A lot of designers will ask for examples of your work, and it's easier for them to see it if you have it all in one place. Bonus: you also have a place to show off your interpretation of their design.

4. Take Nice Pictures

This goes along with number 3. By nice photos I don't necessarily mean professional photos. But do make a little effort.  A picture in a dark room with a flash isn't going to show off your work. Take pictures outside in natural light. Or if the weather isn't nice, take them inside, away from clutter. We all have messy houses, but you don't want to show your messy house, you want to showcase your beautiful work. Pick up all the clutter within the frame of your shot and shove it behind you. A blank wall makes a better backdrop than a bunch of unfolded laundry.

5. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Not everyone will be picked for every testing call. But keep trying, and eventually you'll get that email saying you've been chosen to help test.

Next time, I'll be talking about how to be a great tester!

All the pictures are patterns I've tested (except the tee x 3). From the top down they are:

Rose T-shirt
Perfect Cartwheel Shorts
School Day Skirt, Tee Times Three, and Pristine Swing Dress
Lulu Dress and Top

October 21, 2014

Tooth Fairy Pillow

We've started losing teeth at our house. Since the tooth fairy likes to not wake the kids up, I made this tooth fairy pillow to make her job a little easier. It also keeps potential lost money catastrophes from happening. 

When our daughter lost her first tooth, she was so excited to leave it under her pillow and get a surprise from the tooth fairy. The next morning, however, she came into our room, very disappointed, saying that the tooth fairy hadn't left her anything. Well, I was pretty sure that the tooth fairy had left something, because I know her {or in this case, him} personally, so I told her to go look again. But with this pillow, she can hang her tooth on her bedpost, and the tooth fairy can slip the surprise into the tooth pocket, with no worries about it getting lost {or waking her up}.

Here's how I made mine. I did an etsy search to get some ideas {and there are pages and pages of tooth fairy pillows} so head over there if you want some other ideas {or want to buy one instead of make one}.

October 14, 2014

Grace Ladies Top and Dress

This is the Grace Ladies Top and Dress from new designer Rose and Lee Designs. I was a tester, but rather than sewing the pattern up as designed, I altered it a little to make it maternity-friendly.

It has lots of different option. Because I'm lazy, I'm just going to quote the pattern description. Here you go: 

Grace is a beautiful pattern, designed for knit fabric, with a deep-v yoke that will flatter your shape without showing too much skin. With length options including top, tunic, knee length dress, and petite, average, and tall maxi and 4 sleeve options including sleeveless, short sleeves, 3/4 length sleeves, and long sleeves, this is an extremely versatile pattern you can wear all year!

This pattern is great for any body type and comes in a wide range of sizes from XXS-XL Misses and 1x-5x Plus! 

To make it maternity friendly, I took my bust and waist measurements. Then I used the size indicated by my bust measurement, with one exception. I altered the front piece only (not the back piece) to my pregnancy waist size to give my belly some room. So I ended up making a size M, and blending up to a size XL from a little above the waist down.

I made this near the end of my pregnancy, and it worked great, so I would say this is a pattern, with some simple alterations, that would be great for the whole nine months, and even beyond.
This shirt also works well for postpartum. The loose fit from the larger waist area makes it perfect for skimming over a post-pregnancy tummy.

October 10, 2014

Welcome Baby!

Back when I made this family for my daughter for Christmas, I also got an additional wooden peg doll. Since our real family has grown, it was time for the wooden family to grow too. I painted her to match the newborn outfit my daughter picked out for her.

Here's the original. Isn't she adorable? The whole family loves her.

Speaking of the whole family, here she is with the whole family.

And here is our updated family portrait. For now. Maybe we can use this for our Christmas cards this year if we don't get around to getting an actual one. I'm not the best at family portraits. Last year, it was just the camera on a tripod with the automatic timer.

October 02, 2014

Elf Shoe Pattern

I was a pattern tester for this cute little Elf Shoes pattern that is a quick sew. It would be so cute with some new Christmas pajamas, or you could get it now and use it for Halloween too. With the movie Frozen being so popular right now, I'm thinking this could make some great Kristoff shoes.

I sewed them up for the newest addition to our family, and they look so cute and cozy on her tiny little feet!

The pattern is on sale for 40% off through Saturday. There is also a matching elf hat that you can bundle with the shoes. Check out Kelly J Designs here.

September 30, 2014

Pattern Parcel #5

Disclosure: I received these patterns for free in exchange for my review. I also get entered in a drawing for free fabric if you click on the links. I don't get any other compensation for this post.
It's time for another Pattern Parcel! This one is for toddler, girls and tweens! If you haven't seen a Pattern Parcel before, it's a great way to support Indie Designers and also give to classrooms in need. You name the price you pay, and also choose how much of the price goes to the designers and how much goes to donorschoose.org. 
I chose to sew up the Playhouse Dress. The long sleeve version seemed like the perfect choice for fall. Also, I've sewn a Fishsticks Designs pattern before, and liked the results.

And I wasn't disappointed. This is a cute, comfy fall dress. I changed up a couple of minor things from the original pattern, but it's sewn basically as the pattern instructs. I added a bow in the front, and I cut the neckband and wristbands on the bias, mainly because I really like how striped neckbands look when cut on the bias.

When she saw it, my daughter's response was: {Gasp!} "Is that a twirly dress? I want to wear it for the rest of the day!" So she did. Until she got dinner all over it.

 It was a fairly simple sew. The side seams did give me some trouble. With the curved bottom of the bodice, it is kind of finicky. Just make sure you pin and check what you've pinned to make sure everything lines up and lays well.

Also, the pattern does suggest hemming before you do anything else if you're using knits. I've never done that before, and I didn't end up doing that, because I didn't check the finished length (the pattern does give finished measurements), and wanted to be sure it would be long enough. It hits right at the knee, which is exactly where I wanted it.

The patterns included in the bundle are:
Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

Want to purchase? Click the link below:

Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win
If you pay $28 or more, you automatically get the Bonus Pattern. This time its the Sunki Dress by Figgy's.

Pattern Parcel #5: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Check out what these other fantastic bloggers have been sewing!

Parcel #5 Inspiration Tour Schedule:

Friday, September 19 Pienkel || Cookin' and Craftin'

Saturday, September 20 Sew Busy Lizzy || The Life Of A Compulsive Crafter

Sunday, September 21 Keep Calm and Carrion || Felt With Love Designs

Monday, September 22 Radiant Home Studio || Sewing Sober

Tuesday, September 23 Sew Fishsticks || La Pantigana || Amanda Rose

Wednesday,September 24 Shawnta Sews || Sprouting JubeJube || Knot Sew Normal

Thursday, September 25 Make It Perfect || Mimi's Mom || Climbing the Willow

Friday, September 26 Needle and Ted || Our Family Four

Saturday, September 27 Froo & Boo

Sunday, September 28 Stitches by Laura || Vicky Myers creations

Monday, September 29 Cookin' and Craftin' || The Crazy Tailor

Tuesday, September 30 mama says sew || FABulous Home Sewn || The Inspired Wren

Wednesday, October 1 lady and the gents || That's-Sew-Kari || Sewing Sober

Thursday,October 2 Gracious Threads || Blogs Like A Mother || SewsNBows

Friday, October 3 sew chibi || Lulu & Celeste || Made by Sara

September 24, 2014

"W" is for Wardrobe

This is a repost of a tutorial for The Ribbon Retreat as part of their A-Z Series. Thanks to them for providing the supplies for the project.

Also, go check out their blog. There are tons of free tutorials that you can use to create with their products.

Hey everyone! I'm Terra and I blog over at mama says sew. I'm excited to be here at the Ribbon Retreat Blog as part of this fun series today!

When I got the letter "W", I wasn't coming up with anything other than watermelon. So I did a quick search for words that start with "w" and one of them was wardrobe. Well, every little girl needs some skirts in her wardrobe, and I thought it would be fun to do a color-blocked one that she could wear at school.

Since it was going to be for school, I wanted to include some shorts. These are sewn right in to the skirt, so on busy school mornings, she doesn't have to search for both the skirt and the shorts.

And every good wardrobe needs accessories. So I used some other supplies from The Ribbon Retreat to make a flower headband to match the skirt. The flower is on a clip, so she can wear it in her hair (like the picture below) or on her skirt (like the picture above).

It is attached to a glitter elastic headband. And the flower comes with some bling!

Here are the supplies I used. 
(The skirt I made was about a girls' size 6. Your fabric requirements may be more or less depending on the size of skirt you make and the number of colors you use.)