October 28, 2014

Pattern Parcel #6

It's time for another Pattern Parcel! If you don't know what that is, you can check out this post. Or this one.

I made the Julia Cardigan. It's a fairly simple and quick sew. The instructions are super detailed, so I found myself scrolling a lot, but it would probably be a good one for beginners. It definitely holds your hand through the construction process.

I made mine with a lightweight, striped sweater knit that I've had forever. It was almost enough. I wanted this to be a long sleeved sweater. I barely squeezed out half sleeves. But I ended up really liking it that way.

It's super cozy and comfortable. And I can wear it with a loose-fitting shirt, to hide that mommy tummy. Sort of.

I felt like it needed a necklace, but I didn't have one that matched. Okay, really, I rarely do, because I have so few necklaces. But this shirt I'm wearing with it has some pleat details at the neckline, so it was perfect. I also wore a pair of green flats that I got on clearance for $1 (yes, I know, I love bargains). 

I love this outfit. It makes me feel put together, which is saying something, since right now, most of my clothes don't fit very well. 

October 27, 2014

Mermaid Costume Tutorial and Free Pattern

First off, can I just say that new babies are hard to take pictures of? They don't make very good models. For one thing, they are too wiggly. Every time you get something positioned the way you want it, those little arms and legs get going and mess it all up. And for another thing, they can't stand. So everything gets all scrunched up.

So here is a picture of the subject of this post, sans the baby it was made for.

And here it is on the adorable baby. I love the idea of a baby as a mermaid. Since they can't walk, you can just make the tail. I made mine from minky to give it some texture, but you could really use just about any fabric.

I used this seashell stencil to cut seashells out of felt, then just appliqued them to a body suit.

I also cut a starfish shape out of felt and blanket stitched around the edges. Then I glued it to an elastic and she has a cute starfish to wear in her hair.

I also have a tutorial and a free pattern for the mermaid tail. It's just hand drawn, so it probably won't line up exactly, but it's a mermaid tail, not legs, so it should be pretty forgiving. It's also pretty roomy on my baby, who is a 0-3 months size, so I'm pretty sure this will work for a baby up to six months.

You will need:
mermaid tail pattern
about 1/2 yard of fabric

October 25, 2014

Little Red Riding Hood Costume

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. If you purchase through these links, I earn a portion of the sale price. Thanks for supporting this blog!

This year I was really trying to talk my daughter into being Belle for Halloween. I think she looks a lot like Disney's Belle, and it was just going to be perfect. But she said no. And kept saying no, no matter how many times I brought it up. So when I saw a cute idea for Little Red Riding Hood in a sewing group I'm in, I decided to suggest that. To my surprise, she went for it.

 (So if this costume looks really familiar to someone, it's because it's pretty similar to my inspiration. If you're the creator of the original and have a place I can link to, I'd love to credit you!)

I made the cape with the pattern in the book Growing Up Sew Liberated. It had a cute little pointed hood that I loved.

For the dress, I used the Perfect Peasant Dress pattern. I added an underskirt with a ruffle. The corset I just drafted myself. It's just a rectangle with loops for the tie, which is just a length of grosgrain ribbon.

The cape is made with some faux velvet. It's cut in a circle, so it's nice and full.

I really love how this whole costume turned out. We used the basket for a prop for the photos. I told her she could use it to get her trick-or-treating candy in but she said she wants to use her pumpkin, because it's more spooky. Happy Halloween!

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're going to ask your friends instead of strangers, 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. Keep in mind, though, that newer designers might have more kinks to work out.

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 sometimes, 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.