Not Just for Jewelry

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Patty Young of Modkid just released her mini Jewelry Roll pattern in PDF form. I had the privilege of sewing one up and styling a few other ways to use the jewelry roll.

Modkid Jewelry Roll
My personal favorites, for the teacher or student, make the perfect back to school gifts! If you want to personalize your teacher gift with their favorite colors, don’t forget the teacher’s favorite things printable.
This is seriously a great beginner pattern!! It’s a quick sew and gives a great intro to installing a zipper. I’m thinking it would be a great pattern to teach a group to sew.

Book Review: Basic Black

Monday, August 18, 2014

Basic Black Book Review

Let’s face it black is a staple in every wardrobe. It’s slimming. It’s classic. It goes with just about anything. The latest Japanese sewing book, Basic Black by Sato Watanabe,  released by Tuttle publishing celebrates all things black.

Basic Black Book Review

Of course, you could make any one of the 26 patterns included in any color you’d like, but I love the variety of patterns and textures the book features while sticking to the basic black.

Basic Black Book Review

The button up shirts below show some of the more fitted silhouettes available in the Basic Black book as opposed to the usual loose fitting Japanese styles.

Basic Black Book ReviewBasic Black Book Review

This jacket and vest are two of my favorites in the book. Talk about fun textures!

Basic Black Book Review

There’s actually quite a variety of jacket options from blazers to long overcoats.

Basic Black Book Review

I love how the book shows the same pattern here in two fabric options giving two totally different looks with corduroy or chiffon.

Basic Black Book Review

The diagrams really make the pattern details stand out.

Basic Black Book Review

As with all Japanese pattern books that I have used, the directions for sewing are minimal, but the diagrams fill in the gaps.

Basic Black Book Review

My one complaint about the books is the sizing seems a bit tricky. Sizing options are broken down into three categories noted as “loose”, “garments with darts and shaping seams”, and “fitted”.  The finished size is shown, so you would need to use your measurements and account for the wearing ease you would like.

Basic Black Book Review

All in all, I think this Basic Black Japanese pattern book is a great addition to your sewing library. I can easily pinpoint 3 or 4 patterns I’d like to try!

I received the book, Basic Black, for free from Tuttle Publishing. All opinions provided are my own. I will only recommend products that I would use personally and are good for my readers.

The Sunny Dress by SewVery

Thursday, August 14, 2014


Veronica, of Sew Very, and I share similar backgrounds. We both left careers in engineering to stay home with children, and we discovered a passion for sewing in the process. Her love of sewing has lead to designing her first PDF pattern,and I'm thrilled to be a part of her first pattern tour!

Sunny Dress by SewVery

The Sunny Dress and Top pattern is such a quick and simple sew that I was able to complete it on my Mom's vintage machine with her vintage tools in a few quick sittings. It would have been even quicker if I'd had my turn-it-all tool for those long straps!!


The pattern has several options, dress or top and ruffle neck or no ruffle. I went with the Sunny Dress without the ruffle neck.

Sunny Dress by SewVery

The straps tie off at loops in the back that fall around the bottom of the shoulder blade.

Sunny Dress by SewVery

The sizing is great, and easily adjustable with the elastic in the back. For Avery, I sewed up a size 6 lengthened to a size 7.

Sunny Dress by SewVery
I can't leave you without discussing the fabric! A simple silhouette like this gives you lots of room to play with pretty prints. The Beauty Queen Charlotte print by Jennifer Paganelli really shines in this style!

There's a great line-up of guests on the pattern tour, so be sure to check them all out! During the tour, the Sunny Dress & Top pattern will be 20% off with code SUNNY20. Before you go, be sure to enter to win a copy of the Sunny Dress & Top below!

Knock It Off Hide and Seek Dress

Monday, August 11, 2014

I seem to find inspiration everywhere I shop, store, window, or online. I love the challenge of recreating another look for my own. Heidi’s Knock it Off series over at Elegance & Elephants is what initially drew me to her blog. Now I’m here participating for my second time! I have a Pinterest board filled with ideas and styles I’d love to knock off. The dress I chose to knock off is from this Pin by Max Mara. I can’t find the original dress anymore, but the Max Mara dresses generally run around $500. My version cost less than $20, but the real fun was creating a toddler look based on the adult design.

Knock It Off Hide and Seek Dress

I used the Oliver + S Hide and Seek Dress pattern to accomplish this look. As usual with Oliver + S patterns, I have nothing but good things to say.

Knock It Off Hide and Seek Dress

I made the dress length (View A), but used the shorter sleeves of View B to mimic the cap sleeves of the original dress.

Knock It Off Hide and Seek Dress

I love those welt pockets, and so does Tandy!

Knock It Off Hide and Seek Dress

The main change that I made to the pattern was with colorblocking to create the color variation below the bodice. Liesl had a great tutorial for colorblocking on her blog. You can see the basics below where I cut the pattern piece at the desired point and added seam allowances.

Knock It Off Hide and Seek Dress

Thanks Heidi for including us in this fun series!! There are prizes for sewing along, so be sure to check out Elegance & Elephants for all the details.

Knock It Off Hide and Seek Dress

If you’d like to check out a few of my previous knock-offs, check out the miniBoden skirt, Tea collection dress, Oscar de la Renta dress, and glam shorts.

Nautical Desert Rose

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

When Caila, of Caila Made, sent out the tester call for the Desert Rose pattern, I filled out my info and crossed my fingers that I’d get picked. I had seen her Desert Rose dresses pop up in her Instagram feed over and over, and I knew I needed to make one. This is a seriously sweet look! It has options too. You can choose from tunic or dress length and ruffle or no ruffle neckline. You can also follow a skirt pattern piece for an A-line cut or follow a dimension chart for simple rectangles. I opted for the A-line, no ruffle dress version. She’s even added directions for side seam pockets!

My sister in law generously gave me the nautical print. I think it is a poplin but if you need to know more I’ll have to ask. The dot is an old line by Barbara Jones called Bubblegum Basics.

I scored the adorable buttons at Textile Fabrics in Nashville during a recent trip.

I love the scoop of this neckline, and Avery loves that she can dress and button herself.

And, she highly approves of the twirl factor.

This is the perfect light and breathable pattern for summer sewing, but I saw a few tester’s photos layered with long sleeves underneath. So basically, you could create something year round with this pattern. I see tunics and leggings in our future! You can purchase the Desert Rose Dress & Tunic pattern here.

Sun & Surf Tote Sew-Along

Monday, July 28, 2014

SST-sew-along-graphic

I’m on vacation all this week, but you can find me posting over at Modkid for a Sun & Surf Tote sew-along. Come join us!! If you need any incentive, there’s an awesome prize pack involved!

Knock it Off

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Elegance & Elephants

I get excited every year when the Knock it Off series gets underway at Elegance & Elephants. Just take a look at the line up of guest bloggers! This year there is even a sew along with prizes for participating. So, follow along and sew along to join in the fun! I’ll be back in August with a fun adult style knocked-off for a kiddo. See you then!

Craft South

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This past weekend I ventured north to Nashville for the most amazing weekend. Anna Maria Horner set up Craft South as a means to share her passion and knowledge about sewing and needlework with others. Each weekend has a different theme and guest teachers. As soon as I heard about the garment sewing weekend with Liesl Gibson of Oliver + S, I was dying to go. What a treat to by surrounded by such talent!

Craft South

Fifteen ladies that all share a common love of fabric and sewing. We all speak the same language!

Craft South

Sweet Jenny came all the way from Alaska!! We both shared the handmade bags we were packing for the trip on Instagram, and then spied each other’s bag on the elevator when we first arrived at the hotel. Instant friends! Not to many people model muslins, but we were pretty proud of our hard work. I now have two bodice patterns with great fits. I just need to find the time to sew them in the nice fabric!

Craft South

Liesl did an amazing job teaching, and worked so hard at fitting us all.

craft south

Saturday evening we actually had dinner at Anna Maria Horner’s home. Talk about the personal touch! Her home studios are filled with so many pretty things.

Craft South

Pretty organization is always inspiring!

Craft South

Craft South

Craft South

If you ever have a chance to participate in an event like this, don’t hesitate! From what I understand, there are more exciting things to come with Craft South!

Memphis Botanic Garden

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I have a terrible memory. I mean TERRIBLE. Ask anybody, but there are some days I hope I never forget. This one almost two weeks ago now, was one of those. It was perfect in every way, from the weather to the well behaved children. We started at the Memphis Botanic Garden and ended at the IMAX for Flight of the Butterflies. The kids area of the Botanic Garden is filled with fun swings.

Memphis Botanical Gardens

Some sweet friends met up with us for the fun.

Memphis Botanical Gardens

Memphis Botanical Gardens

Memphis Botanical Gardens

There was even a rope spider web to climb.

Memphis Botanical Gardens

After getting our fill of the kids area, we cut over to the Japanese Garden to feed the Koi. It was intriguing for both child and adult. The Koi swarmed together for a chance at the food. 

Memphis Botanical Gardens

I actually have tons of pictures, but unfortunately there was a random little boy without a shirt on that kept gathering around us. Not necessarily what I’d like to post!

Memphis Botanical Gardens

If I lived in Memphis, I’d have to have a membership here. It would certainly be our go to photo setting.

Avery has always been drawn to butterflies, and she loves learning new things about them. The Flight of the Butterflies movie at the IMAX was amazing!! We learned a few new things, and really enjoyed the experience of the 3D movie. The kids were adorable as they attempted to “catch” the butterflies that appeared to be flying in arms reach.

I’m so thankful for this beautiful day and the experience of it all!

Retro Rucksack

Monday, July 14, 2014

Retro Rucksack Inspiration Tour | Radiant Home Studio
When Sara of Radiant Home Studio contacted me to join her Retro Rucksack tour, I was a bit caught off guard. Me??? I don’t really have a history with sewing bags, but okay. I’m game for just about anything. Remember, I like challenges!?!?

Retro Rucksack

Turns out, the trickiest part was deciding on the hardware. (Oh, and sewing the straps on the right side, but who’s counting that.) The pattern calls for two different strap and hardware sizes, but since I opted to use 1 1/2” cotton webbing throughout for my straps, I purchased all 1 1/2” hardware. Sara gives a few suggestions on where to buy the hardware, but I also suggest checking your local hardware store. I came very close to using some cool clips I found at Home Depot.

Retro Rucksack

The pattern calls for two exterior fabric options, but I liked the idea of using ticking stripes in two different directions.

Retro Rucksack

The back straps really make this bag unique; a bit more on that in a second.

Retro Rucksack

A recessed zipper keeps everything where you want it.

Retro Rucksack

The interior of the bag has a zipper pocket on one side and a large patch pocket on the other side.

retro rucksack carried
Back to those unique straps. The design gives you two carry options, backpack style or tote. Don’t you love my handsome model?!? I cheated in my photo styling a bit, but it comes together here. I’ve actually made this for my sister-in-law to use as a diaper bag. She was thrilled with the backpack option since she’s having twins!! From the looks of this, my brother-in-law won’t feel uncomfortable carrying it either.
Here’s a few pattern tips I noted along the way:
  • If you use decorator weight fabric, I recommend adding interfacing to stiffen things up a bit. I only added it to the bottom accent piece and it seemed like enough
  • It helps to use a zipper foot when sewing on your hardware.
  • After my husbands brilliant suggestion, I added a velcro closure to the large interior patch pocket to keep it from flopping open. (Boy, did he come in handy for this project!)
  • Again, check your local hardware stores for the closures and clips. You might find something out of the box to use!
  • If I sew the pattern again, I will try to find a way to conceal the zipper and fabric edges inside the lining. I zig-zagged the unfinished edge, but it’s not as clean as I would like it.
There is more inspiration to come, so follow along the rest of the tour! I can’t wait to see what these talented folks came up with!

Retro Rucksack Inspiration Tour:

Monday, July 14th Radiant Home Studio || Sweeter Than Cupcakes Tuesday, July 15th Quarter Incher || Dandelion Drift Wednesday, July 16th Glitter + Wit || EmmylouBeeDoo Thursday, July 17th Casa Crafty || Behind the Hedgerow Friday, July 18th SewVery || Raspberry Sunshine Saturday, July 19th Mia's Creations || Made By Sara
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