Posts Tagged ‘pattern tour’

franklin dress -- probably actually-3There are so many kids’ clothing patterns out there. I mean so, so, so many. I get dizzy just thinking about it, so I usually just stick with the ones I know and trust – Oliver + S, Made by Rae, Make it Perfect. There are other good ones, of course, but I get nervous – sewing is such a huge time commitment, and I have no extra hours or patience for things to go wrong. So I tend not to stray. But when Erin of Brooklyn Pattern Company contacted me and asked if I’d like to try her first pattern, the Franklin Dress, I have to say I was intrigued. She has a 15 year background as a patternmaker for Broadway, ballet, theater, and circus, so while she’s new to kids’ clothes, she’s certainly been around the pattern making block a few times. I decided the Franklin Dress was worth a shot, and I joined the tour.


I’m glad I did! The result is a sweet and simple dress with some really nice little details, like a pleated, button-up yoke, gathered sleeves, and side seam pockets. Sizes range from 6 months to 8 years. Lila fell into the size 4 range, but I chickened out and made a 5 – I think either size would’ve been fine.

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I totally had my heart set on making this dress in baby wale corduroy, but I checked two local stores, and the color options were abysmal. I gave up and chose a Kaufman chambray shirting, this one I think. The shirting is soft and lightweight, and has a kind of sheen to it. I used the reverse for the bodice facings and pockets.

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The trim at the hem is one of Anna Maria Horner’s new designs for Renaissance Ribbons – they have an amazing selection of ribbons by some really great designers, and I’m always looking for an excuse to use one.

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Before I added the buttons or the ribbon, Lila was skeptical. Here I was thinking the chambray highlighted the pleats so nicely, and the best she could say was, “Hmmmm. It’s really…..this color.” Which I guess it totally was. Kind of dark, kind of plain. But hopefully the shiny pink buttons and the trim jazzed it up a little. A zinnia probably couldn’t hurt, either.

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About sewing the pattern – my experience was really good overall. The dress came together without any hitches. Taping the PDF together was a breeze, and all the pattern pieces fit together just right. There were dots and notches, hallelujah! It was polished and professional, and I think the design and the fit are spot on.

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I’d say there were a couple spots in the directions that were a little sparse, and a few places where an extra illustration would’ve been helpful. I made a few inferences, and they happened to work out just fine, but I could see where that could cause frustration. From Tara’s post it sounds like Erin is very receptive to filling in those gaps, which is so great.

franklin dress -- probably actually-2And one thing the pattern didn’t say (but I would suggest) is to add interfacing beneath the buttonholes. My machine makes much prettier buttonholes with interfacing, and luckily I remembered to add a strip between the bodice and facing before turning the bodice right side out. And I’ll admit that I longed for buttonhole placement markings on the pattern pieces – I’m not a big fan of measuring and drawing them in myself because chances are I won’t place them correctly and I’ll have to rip out a buttonhole. Or two buttonholes, as the case may be.

franklin dress -- probably actually-1BUT, like I said, everything came together quite nicely, and I love the end result. If you’re a fan, there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway on Erin’s blog for a chance to win a copy of the Franklin Dress pattern. I’m really excited to see what Brooklyn Pattern Co. has in store for us next!



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Today is my stop on the Willow & Co. Glamping Tour!

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Laura (of Craftstorming and Titchy Threads) kindly invited me along, and anything she’s involved in is automatically legit in my book. I’ve been so impressed with her patterns (Small Fry Skinny Jeans!), and I figured she’d only take part in the most awesome of pattern collectives. And once I read more about Willow & Co. and looked through the collection, my assumption was confirmed.

Choosing from all the patterns wasn’t easy, but I thought Oscar would look pretty cute in the Hawthorn Zip-up Sweatshirt.

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The Hawthorn jumped out at me as being both practical and stylish, and that it happened to be Laura’s pattern was the icing on the cake.

hawthorn sweatshirt -- probably actually-14It’s a perfect little collared sweatshirt that can be made in a full or half zip, with options for side seam pockets or a split side-seam with lower back hem. A basic, well-designed zip-up sweatshirt is such a useful pattern to have in your collection. The fit is great, the details are professional, and what kid wouldn’t want to wear it? This one is a total crowd pleaser.

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And back to those details – Laura does them so well. I’m somewhat of a zipper novice, and I really appreciated the directions for inserting the zip – the Wonder Tape (I used this stuff) really did work wonders, and the interfacing kept everything hanging straight.

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I did the full-zip version with the pockets, and used a soft, lightweight french terry (smooth on one side, loopy on the other) from a men’s Target sweatshirt.

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I have such trouble finding good knits locally, and I hate ordering online without seeing and feeling the fabric first. I always check Target and Old Navy for pieces to re-purpose, but I’ve noticed lately that a lot their sweatshirt and jersey knits are cotton/polyester blends. You really have to search for the 100% cotton stuff, but that’s what I prefer to use when I sew for kids. This one fit the bill – the quality was surprisingly good, and I liked the minty-jade color. For the pockets and facings I cut up an old hoodie of Lila’s from Old Navy.

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One nice thing about using a ready made sweatshirt is that the existing ribbing could be re-purposed for the cuffs – and it all matches. That’s my other gripe about knits – every variation of every hue is available when I shop for woven solids, but when I’m pairing up knit fabrics, I usually feel pretty lucky if I find a random contrast color that doesn’t totally clash.

((Oh hi, Lila. How’d your dress get so short?))

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Anyway. Can we talk about “glamping” for a moment? That’s glamorous camping for those like me who were not in the know. I am not in the know about 7/8ths of all pop culture references, so it was no big surprise that I had to turn to the Google for guidance. I must say though, I can get behind glamping. I grew up in an Indoor Family. We read books and played Boggle and we were all proficient with rubber stamps, but we did not camp. Roughing it is definitely not in my blood. I did marry a camping enthusiast though, and we recently acquired a pop-top camping van. Sleeping inside this hunk of German engineering has to be more glamorous than the hard ground in a tent, right? Now that we’ve got the van AND proper glamping attire for the boy, I think we’re set for the summer. See, Oscar says, “Let me in! Let me glamp!”

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Okay, enough already. Go check out Willow & Co. if you haven’t already. The lookbook is overflowing with Vanessa‘s beautiful photography, and it’s sure to inspire you. So many patterns, so little time. The Fawn Lily dress and the Senna Tote are next on my list.

And for even more inspiration (just a few days in, and so much gorgeous stuff already!), here’s the full tour schedule:

glamping tour

Happy sewing, happy glamping, and thanks to Laura for having me along!

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1 small fry skinny cords -- probably actually-3

I’ve been following along with Laura (of Craftstorming and Titchy Threads)’s Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern tour this week, and the theme I’ve noticed among participants thus far seems to be “Holy #@!%, I just made JEANS!” Well I’m here to echo that same statement – I can’t believe I made these puppies.

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I really can’t take any credit, though – Laura has created a pattern with all the professional details and finishing techniques of store-bought jeans, and she tells you exactly how to make it happen. It’s a commitment, but it’s so completely worth it. The whole process was kind of exhilarating, and I feel a little giddy just thinking about those flat-felled seams. Granted, I haven’t accomplished a whole lot in my life – but I’m telling you, finishing these pants felt kind of huge.

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Don’t worry though, there was nothing inherently difficult about making them – it’s all very approachable, and you can dial in your own difficulty level by choosing from the multiple options included with the pattern.

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I went with the half-fly (zip fly is another option), the inset and coin pockets (patch pockets are also included), belt loops, and all the top-stitching. BTW, I came dangerously close to running out of top-stitching thread. Listen to Laura when she tells you to buy two spools.

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Anyway, yes, these were time-consuming. Cases in point: I marked a lot of my top-stitching lines with a fabric pen to get them even. I performed a multitude of thread changes between regular and top-stitching thread. I pulled to the inside and tied off my top-stitching threads to avoid back-stitching. I stayed up very late.

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I know this type of thing is probably not for everyone, and that a lot of people might say it’s ridiculous to spend three nights on a pair of pants you could buy for $12 at Old Navy. But I can’t help it, this level of detailed sewing makes me happy. I caught myself smiling and feeling all accomplished as these came together, and I’m pretty sure no Old Navy jeans that could evoke any of that.

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I don’t have any details about the fabric – it’s just some plain old brown corduroy with a little stretch. And I made them in 18-24 months to make sure there was plenty of ease around his chubby belly and thighs. I love how they fit.

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Oh – and one last brilliant feature of this pattern is that you can now print each size separately (here’s how).

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Laura is offering 20% off the Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern during the tour – enter TOUR20 at checkout to get your discount. Personally, I think this pattern is well worth it’s $10 price tag, so I’d cash in on the discount while you can!


Paisley Roots RebekahSews Handmade by Brienne If Only They Would Nap Mingo & Grace La gang à Nat Lexi Made Sutures & Sandpaper Elsie Marley Probably Actually Groovybaby and mama 2 Little Hooligans Sew Jereli Kitschy Coo Sew a Straight Line A Jennuine Life Lauren Dahl Miss Matatabi Welcome to the Mouse House Things for Boys Skirt As Top sewpony Charming Doodle EmmylouBeeDoo Caila Made Heidi and Finn Max California Petit à Petit and Family Sewing Like Mad I Seam Stressed

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I only recently discovered the talented Marte of Compagnie-M – it was this spectacular version of her Mara blouse (made by Laura of Behind the Hedgerow) that first caught my eye – and while it was that crazy-amazing Liberty animal print that drew me in, I was really excited to uncover Marte’s blog and pattern shop as a result. Not long after I visited her blog, she emailed and asked if I’d like to make her new Swing Skirt – and I definitely did. I loved the skirt the minute I saw it.

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There are so many great details – the big wrap-around pockets, the piping, the box pleat, the invisible zipper. I’ll admit I was a little nervous about sewing it – there was that zipper (my first! and it was no big deal, though tragically mine came out a little uneven at the top), and just the fact I’d never sewn one of Marte’s patterns, which meant I was going to have to think a little more than usual. I also knew I’d be sewing it very last minute because the past week has been a whirlwind first birthday around here.

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And last minute it was – I woke up the other morning at 2:45am and decided to capitalize on a few quiet hours and sew this skirt. It’s never really a great idea to sew at that hour, and a few mistakes were made, but I’m happy to report that Marte’s directions are solid – she even goes into extra detail (should you need it) with tutorials on her blog for the piping and the zipper and the optional adjustable waistband. I had a little trouble printing out the pattern – a couple pages printed with the very top cut off, but I was still able to piece them together just fine by leaving a little gap between the connecting circles.

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Also, my waistband ended up a tad too small for the skirt, which caused a little puckering and seam ripping, but it all came right in the end. And while there was really nothing too tricky going on, I will admit that I longed for a few notches while sewing this up – I know not all pattern makers use them, but they really take the guess work out of putting pattern pieces together, and I do love it when they’re there.

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That said, it was really fun sewing from a new pattern maker – everyone does things differently, and while I’m accustomed to a certain style of sewing, picking up something new is always a good thing. Marte has you finish all the raw edges of the pattern pieces first – which, admittedly, I thought was insane as I was doing it, but once I started sewing and had zero seams to finish? Well then it seemed completely brilliant.

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I made a size 3 lengthened to a 4 based on Lila’s measurements, and the fit is really good. A little big maybe, but she likes to wear her skirts low, so it’s just about right. With the invisible zipper there isn’t much room for error in sizing, but there’s also an option to make the waistband adjustable with elastic, so that’s another way to go. One thing though – if you end up lengthening the skirt, make sure you also lengthen your pockets and pocket facings. When you hem the skirt those are supposed to be tucked inside and sewn down with the hem, but mine weren’t long enough.

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And last, the fabric…you probably recognize the blue as Essex yarn-dyed denim (again, yes), and the pocket fabric is Windmarks from Leah Duncan’s beautiful Tule line. I picked up some fat quarters from Lima Sews awhile back, and had hoped to squeeze the box pleat and the pockets out of one of them, but it wasn’t quite enough. So I settled for just the pockets. But not before cutting the rectangle for the box pleat…then sewing it back to the fat quarter so I could cut out two pockets. These are the things that transpire at 2:45am.

compagnie-m swing skirt -- probably actually-1138And there’s my wonky zipper for the all world to see. I don’t care, I still love this skirt 🙂

Would you like a chance to win a copy of the Swing Skirt pattern? Just click on the link below and you’ll be directed to Rafflecopter, where you can enter the giveaway. It’s open through the 9th, and a winner will be chosen on the 10th!

Swing Skirt giveaway!

That’s all, folks. Visit Marte at Compagnie-M if you haven’t before, it’s worth a trip. And if you’d like more Swing Skirt inspiration, here’s the pattern tour line up – lots of great skirts to behold!


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I’m excited to be the next stop on Laura’s Fancy Pants Leggings pattern tour!

I first discovered Laura last spring during KCW when she made these wonderful pajamas for her boys, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Her blog, Craftstorming, is full of sewing and crafting and baking inspiration, and she’s recently started selling patterns at Titchy Threads. The Fancy Pants Leggings are her first pattern, though you’d never know it – it’s one of the most thorough, professional patterns I’ve ever used. The leggings are so quick and easy to sew, and come together so nicely – I highly recommend this pattern!

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The size range is 0-3 months to 4T, and I tested a size 3-6 months for Oscar. He’s a tall, skinny 5 month old in these photos, and the fit is perfect (and still is today at almost 7 months). This was my first attempt at sewing a bum panel – it’s such a cute feature and allows for some extra diaper room, as well as an opportunity to use a contrast fabric, which I’d love to try next time. For these I used a thrifted gray and white striped knit (subconsiously trying to channel Laura’s striped jammies, I think!) with an aqua cotton/lycra blend for the leg and waist bands.

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In the final version of the pattern the waistband for this size is one inch wide rather than the two inches you see here, but it would be super easy to customize the size of both the waist and leg bands should you choose. You can also hem the legs instead of adding bands, or use exposed elastic for the waistband. And there’s a shorts version, too. Lots of options, and they’re all explained very clearly, with plenty of photos and detailed instructions. And if you’re new to sewing with knits you’ll find lots of helpful tips within the pattern. It’s rated “Confident Beginner” – even if you’ve never sewn with knits, you can make these leggings!

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You can get your copy of the pattern here, and check out all the stops on the pattern tour below – lots of fabulous Fancy Pants Leggings to be seen!

20th – Abby from Things for Boys
21st – Rachael from Imagine Gnats
22nd – Celina from Petit à Petit and Family
23rd – Jane from Buzzmills
24th – Heather from Feather’s Flight

27th – Stacey from Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy
28th – Gail from Probably Actually
29th – Jenny from The Southern Institute
30th – Ros from Sew Delicious
31st – Carla from Small + Friendly


Oh, and you can win a copy of the pattern by liking Craftstorming and/or Titchy Threads on Facebook and leaving a comment here that you did! The giveaway will be open through Friday, May 31st – just make sure your comment is linked to an email address so that I can contact you if it’s your lucky day 🙂

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