Book Review: Sewing for Your Girls

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It has been a while since I sewed from my growing collection of Japanese sewing pattern books, so when Tuttle Publishing contacted me about reviewing a couple of recent English translations, I jumped at the chance. Today, I have the opportunity to show you a peek inside Sewing for Your Girls by Yoshiko Tsukiori. 

The premise behind this book is there are "eight basic patterns that can be used in endless variations to create many different styles."

Each pattern starts with a basic pattern, then gives an applied pattern that includes variations on the original. By changing up the length and collar on the blouse, you arrive at the dress, but all the work has been done for you.

With that sweet collar and button placket, how could I not sew up this dress?!?

I went with a simple chambray and switched the buttons for neon yellow snaps for a not so traditional sailor style.

The placket came together just beautifully.

That collar! Swoon!!

Here are a few more sweet tops with interesting collars. 

If I though Tandy would wear them, I would totally make these overalls. It's a battle to wear pants around here, so it's just not worth the risk!

The beginning of the book is filled with detailed steps for basic techniques. This books really makes an effort to accommodate a new sewist.  

Here is a glance at the instructions for the pattern I sewed up. As you can see, there is a lot of flipping back and forth to other sections of the book to complete a majority of the steps. Finishing the neck opening was quite different than I'm used to, since the author uses part bias tape and part facing instead of all one or the other. The only variation I made to the pattern was to encase the arm openings in bias tape instead of using arm facings.

Sizing on these Japanese pattern books can be quite different, so these measurement guides are very helpful. There is a good range of sizes available in the book. I made the size 110 for Tandy who is 3 1/2.

The quote on the back of the book pretty much says it all!

I received the book, Sewing for Your Girls, 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.

Mod Owl for Foster Care

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Why the sweet little owl?" when my usual focus is children's clothes, you might ask. I saw a little mention of a Foster Care project on Instagram, and I immediately headed over to Sew Mama Sew to see what it was all about. The awesome people behind Sew Mama Sew are collecting handmade softies to distribute to foster care children. Cool, right?!? 

This little owl is the Modkid Mod Owl Stuffie. I happen to think it's perfect for this project! It can be made for a boy, girl or gender neutral, and I think it works for older kiddos too. The front pocket makes it perfect for a tooth fairy pillow, or stuff the pocket with an occasional note or treat. I used mostly Josephine Kimberling Caravan Dreams fabrics.

I attended a foster care meeting a while back, and a foster dad of more kids than I can count mentioned a funny thing. When he went to pick up his first foster child they almost needed a u-haul for all the stuff he had been given. I am sure this is not the case everywhere, but it made me think harder about this gift. I realized it wasn't the object that I was sewing that would make a bit of difference, it was the prayers I was praying over it and its future owner that would have an impact. Prayers of comfort, love, bonding, peace, healing, and the light of Christ in the child's life went with the stitches. I keep trying to think of a good bible verse to include in the pocket, but it hasn't come to me yet. Feel free to share any suggestions!

I'm not sure I've done the best job of explaining foster care to Avery, but she got excited about sewing an owl herself for another child. Here's her progress so far. We will be praying over this one together even if it's not during the actual stitching!

If the soft toy drive isn't your thing, there is one more reason to sew a Mod Owl Stuffie. You can enter in the Spectacular Softies Contest, but hurry the contest ends on April 5th. You have until April 30th if you are donating something to the toy drive.

Modkid Tandy Tunic and Dress

Monday, March 23, 2015

Today, I get to announce the release of a new Modkid pattern that is dear to my heart. (Be sure to read to the end to see the sale details!) One Sunday afternoon, I sent Patty Young an email about a tunic for possible inspiration. It was one I'd been dying to make, but hadn't figured out how. Drafting is certainly not a strong point, yet. Patty and her assistant had actually worked on a similar design in the past in woven fabrics, but hadn't finalized it. By Friday that same week, despite a crazy amount of other projects, Patty was sending me pattern pieces to try out. I almost fell out of my chair! It was practically instant success!  

The tunic version is my favorite. The cross over yoke is so easy to sew. The fullness of the top makes it super comfortable too. After sewing Avery's I noticed a small hole in my fabric, so the hot air balloon applique made the perfect disguise.

I know I'm getting repetitive, but I just love the shaping on this yoke even in the back.

I've been saving one other special thing about this pattern. The pattern is named Tandy!! Well, here's sweet Tandy in her Tandy dress!

Here's a little side story to attest to the comfort of this dress. Tandy loves to dress up each and EVERY day. The funny thing is, that it is always the same dress. It is one of the Target princess nightgowns, so it's super soft and comfy. She has 3 of the same type, but she goes for Rapunzel every time. The day she wore her Tandy dress, she never took it off to dress up. That may not mean much to you, but it makes a statement in our house!

My sister took these sweet photos of Tandy while she was in Texas.

Patty has a release special for the Tandy pattern for the next 24 hrs!! It's only $5!! Half off!! 

Mississippi Snow 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

I may be stating the obvious, but we don't get a ton of snow in northern Mississippi. What we do get is a whole lot more than I got living in Texas. We thoroughly enjoyed our two snow days, so I have plenty of pictures to document it.

Tandy wouldn't hold still long enough, so I captured the snow angel attempt...

... and snow painting. We love to add liquid watercolors to a spray bottle for a bit of fun.

These two worked pretty hard to achieve the perfect snowman!

 Day 2 way just as fun.

Here's my attempt at a timer shot to prove I was there too!!

Ok, that was fun, but BRING ON SPRING ALREADY!! This Texas girl is ready for some warmth to go with the sun!

A Sickening Green Bimaa

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

If you are a fellow blogger, do you ever sit down to write a post and feel like you have nothing really interesting to say? You've got the photos you wanted, you completed what you intended to write about, but what to say about it alludes you? 

That's me tonight, as I try to write something, anything. Maybe it has to do with the cold making me grumpy. This Texas girl does not handle cold well! And, don't get me started on the school closings. I mean, a delayed start today with absolutely nothing on the roads followed by an early closing for the 2.5 minutes of snow this afternoon. Seriously?!? My northern friends would laugh at this stuff!

Ok, Let's just take a moment to look at this girl's smile. There, that's better!

So, how about I just tell you about this little outfit?!? The skirt is the Potato Chip skirt by Tie Dye Diva made up in a Jennifer Paganelli print. It is a super quick sew with great pockets. I used a bit of knit from the top with interfacing to create some piping at the pockets. Simple and cute. 

 I've been wanting to sew a Bimaa sweater for quite a while now. The 3 neck options, cowl neck, shawl collar, and hood, give you variety. I've always loved the cute tighter fit on toddler bellies. Of course, it made me realize Tandy doesn't seem to have a toddler belly any longer. Oh no!! But, I love this top! I love the fit, and I love the pretty emerald Robert Kaufman knit. I could live in a top like this! Well, the tighter fit wouldn't work so well for my mid-section, but you get what I mean.

Tandy on the other hand will not live in this top. Let's suffice it to say cowl necks are not her thing. Somehow she managed to forget about it during the photo session, but as soon as we got in the car, well, we couldn't get it off fast enough. She is now terrified of it. I even tried getting her to play peek-a-boo in the cowl. No such luck!

Sometimes, that's the hard thing about sewing. You can't return it to the shop. After the hours and the fabric you put into it, you just have to let it be. There are somethings you can "fix", but others you have to let go. I was a little sick over this one, but I'm just going to hope my niece will appreciate the never really worn hand-me-down. It's all a part of this little creative journey!!

Flip This Pattern: Free for All

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ashley and Emily always seem to have something new up their sleeve with each "season" of Flip This Pattern. Their February season does not disappoint! 

This month's challenge is to create something using a free pattern or tutorial. What better way to collect inspiration and resources for all the free stuff out there?!? Who doesn't like free?!?

I chose to sew up the Modkid Sunny Days Tank. I hope you weren't thinking the Sunny Days Tank was only for WARM, sunny days! The tank works perfectly layered for cool, sunny days.

I only made a couple of simple "flips" to the free pattern. I lengthened the tank to more of a dress length. Then, I added the pockets from the Modkid Bridget pattern. 

I can't rave enough over the new Patty Young Vivid knits for Riley Blake. They will be available soon, so be on the lookout! The Marigold Leilani is such a great yellow I would venture to say anyone could wear it. And that's somewhat hard for a yellow! Hopefully you can tell from the nice lettuce hem, that the stretch and recovery in this knit is superb.

Be sure to check out all of the FREE patterns on the tour! Because, as we already stated, who doesn't love free?!?

Modkid Melanie

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I am quickly using up the remains of the Vivid Firworks Knit I was sent to sew the Rachel Dress for Tandy. I paired it with a Robert Kaufman Laguna Solid from Imagine Gnats.

The dress pattern is the Modkid Melanie. The pattern includes some cute pockets on the side panels of the dress, but I opted to omit those this time. I will definitely need to include them on a future version however!! The pattern comes with three sleeve options, short, elbow, and long. I think these elbow length sleeves will work perfectly for spring and summer.

I took these photos over a week ago. The past three days Avery has been super sick. Today she stayed in her pjs all day, but yesterday she opted for this dress. You know it passes the comfort test!

KCW: 50's Look

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I admit it; I'm a little crazy. There, I said it, so it's out of the way. Avery has Spirit Week next week at her private school where they normally only wear uniforms. Spirit Week involves a different theme each day where kids can "dress up". Monday is 50's day. So, Saturday I started thinking about her outfit. We were planning on a cardigan with rolled up jeans and bobbi socks. Done! Well, I just couldn't leave it alone!

Suddenly, I was grabbing an old gingham tunic of mine and thinking about how it would make a cute skirt. And, how that would fit in so well with the Upcycle theme of Kids Clothes Week. Then I was thinking about my favorite cardigan pattern, and that I could probably make one out of an XL sweatshirt from Walmart. You guessed it. Once it was in my head, I had to make it happen. It doesn't scream 50's which is just fine with me, since I want her to wear more than just the one day.

I chopped off the bodice from my tunic and made a simple elastic waist skirt. Then, I made an Aster Cardigan using the XL sweatshirt. The cardigan is a size 8 and fits my 6 year old perfectly, so I would suggest sizing up unless you are using stretchier knits which the pattern does not recommend.

I used the faux piping option for the collar, but I only used a thin jersey knit for the under collar. With the thickness of the over-collar, the "piping" barely peaks out, but I'm still liking the effect.

I've admitted before, that I don't normally enjoy upcycle projects. When you are as limited as I am with fabric store options and you need a quick fix, an upcycle is just the ticket. It's just a bonus that the whole outfit cost $5. 

So other themes for the week are favorite book character and favorite sport / athlete. Who knows what we'll come up with for those!!

Canvas Penny Coat

Monday, February 2, 2015

What goes great with a Modkid Rachel dress in the new Vivid knits? A pretty coat new coat in Patty Young's new Vivid canvas for Riley Blake!!

These lattice prints are bright and modern. They would work well in coats, purses, and home decor to name a few things. 

The coat pattern is the Penny Vintage Coat by Ellie Inspired as part of the Bundle Up sale. This coat has some fun details like the the rounded collar, belt, and belt loops. It is not a difficult sew, but it is one of those projects that takes a bit more time. I would recommend adding more than the 1/4" seam allowance for thicker fabrics. The pattern offers different options for several of the steps based on the level of sewing skills. For example, a beginner can choose to sew button loops for the closure. Then, you have more advanced options of standard button holes or bound button holes. 

This coat is certainly a sweet vintage style, and I can see one in every color of the Vivid canvas!!

Today is the finally day to purchase the Girl's Bundle Up Collection, so grab it while you can!

Fireworks Rachel

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pinch Me!! I couldn't believe my good fortune when Patty asked me to pick from her new Riley Blake knits to sew up a Rachel Dress for the pattern cover and quilt market. Patty has all the details of her latest fabric release on the Modkid blog today. These knits were a dream to work with. They are super soft with great stretch and recovery. I used the Vivid Fireworks in Grape.

I've already told you here and here how much my daughters' and I love the Rachel pattern, so I won't gush anymore. Except to say that I love the idea of using the pattern with a couple modifications as shown here to make separates. A summer shirt with some Zoey shorts would be so cute! Or, vice versa, a skirt with the Zoey top. Hmmm.......

Tandy hasn't realized yet, that she won't be able to wear this again until after quilt market. She has become quick attached to dresses and nightgowns lately!! Hopefully, the slight Cheetos mark on the inside will go unnoticed. ;)

Don't forget the Bundle Up sale ends Monday, so grab these great patterns at a great price while you can.
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