The More You Break, The More You Learn

You may notice the website is a bit broken.  Somehow I managed to delete or move my entire contents folder last night.

Thankfully my husband is brilliant so he figured out how to get the website to actually display.

I managed to only lose the photos uploaded in July!

And as luck would have it I am out of town for the weekend.  So there will be some posts without images until I can get them fixed on Sunday.

I made sure to fix the post on my pattern, the Mae Tunic so head over there and get your few pattern.

I may even take this opportunity to finally get my new website up and running.  So watch for big changes around here in the next week.

Gnome Pants

Lets just file this blog post under photos taken 3 months ago and never blogged about, and it was a pattern test to boot.  Those are my favourite things to blog about so I am kicking myself that I never did this one.

Lately it is a very rare opportunity that I actually sew or blog about something I made for Benny, something I hope to change in the coming months.  But in the meantime here is a fun pair of pants that I made for Benny that not only I adore but both Benny and Sophie love.  Ben asks for his man pants to go with his man shirt all the time.

 

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Goodness that boy is adorable!

When Shelley of Ginger Baby Patterns asked me to test her pattern, Active Classics Everyday Pants, I was excited to make some comfy lounge/every day pants for Benny.  Since I still have insane amounts of this gnome fabric I thought why not use it again have it coordinate with his gnome shirt.

Can’t you just see the mischief in his eyes.  I think he was just excited to be the subject of my photo shoot since it is his favourite past time to photobomb his sisters photo shoots.

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This pattern is really great with so many options whether it is shorts or pants and available in so many sizes from 3 months to 12 years.  If you are nervous about sewing with knits Shelley gives you so many tips through out the pattern that you will be an expert sewing with knits by the end.

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This pattern is such a quick sew that your little one will be running around in their new pants in no time.

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Is it crazy that I kind of want my own pair of gnome pants.  I may just have to get the Hudson Pants pattern by True Bias and make myself a pair.

Do you sew and take pictures of your kids and then never actually blog about it?  Do you find you sew more for one child than the other and feel guilty about it?  I want to hear your sewing confessions.

Mixing Patterns and Forcing Photoshoots

If there is one thing I have learned since I started sewing clothes for my kiddos it’s that you should never force a photoshoot.  Not only will you end up with force smiles but you will probably have tears at some point.  And really, is a pattern testing deadline or blog post really worth forcing your child to stand still and smile just for some photos.

Absolutely not.

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This was one of those days where I was feeling the testing crunch and was extra busy with life and just needed Sophie to cooperate for a few pictures.  She wasn’t having it at first but once I let her have fun with it I managed to get some great pictures of her showing off her new shirt.  Do you see that tear under her eye, yeah not a proud mommy moment.

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I had the pleasure of testing another one of the patterns in the Mini Me Collection by See Kate Sew.  I talked about the other pattern I tested, the Harper Top on the blog last week, go check out why I can’t sew while I am sick but how my loss was my sisters gain.

IMG_9374This top I put together for Sophie is the new Mini Maia and is seriously adorable on her.  The instructions are just as amazing as all of Kate’s patterns and the end result is a lovely top.  The pattern lets you do some pattern mixing by using a different fabric for the collar and if you take the time to make your own bias tape it gives you the added personalized and fun detail.  Plus if you are lazy like me it saves you a trip to the store to get bias tape, which is not nearly as nice as handmade bias tape anyways.

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The most fun detail on this shirt is the zipper at the back.  While I would consider myself a novice at zippers, they are just so intimidating so I usually avoid them, Kate does a great job of explaining how to install this zipper.  I even surprised myself at the end result while by no means perfect it still looks pretty darn good so I call that a success.

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The only change I would make next time I sew this up, and believe me there will be a next time, is to make it one size smaller for the bodice at an 18 month but 1 size bigger in length up to a 3T.

I highly recommend you heading over to See Kate Sew and grab this pattern and the rest of the Mini Me Collection, they are all amazing patterns for your little one.  And while you are at it pick up the Women’s versions of these patterns as well.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I want to hear from you, have you forced your kiddos to take photos when you are on a deadline? Or am I the only mean momma that has done that?

 

 

Pony Coachella Shorts

When Mandalynn of Striped Swallow Designs posted a picture of her first pattern, Coachella Shorts, I jumped at the chance to test them.  They are seriously cute and I was excited about supporting a fellow Pattern Workshop student.

Since I do my best sewing while the kids are napping I decided to see if I could get the pattern completed from start to finish while the kids were down.  You know what it was easy peasy to get done and I even had time to spare.

With only 5 pattern pieces to put together you get to cutting fabric and sewing so much quicker.  And Mandalynn’s instructions are so clear and easy to follow that anyone could make these shorts and be left with a fun pair of comfy shorts for their little one.

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The pattern is written for woven fabric but I decided to give it a go with knit.  And since my little lady had picked out this fabric that had just arrived I knew it was the perfect choice for these shorts.  I didn’t have to make any changes to the pattern to make it out of knit and that just shows the strength of the pattern that you can move between fabrics and the pattern flows seamlessly.

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The sizing based on her waist was spot on for Sophie.  There was enough ease through out that the shorts are really comfortable while not being too wide.  With the 18 month shorts being the correct size for Sophie based on her waist they ended up being a bit short.  In the final pattern Mandalynn does an excellent job showing you how to adjust the shorts to get the best fit for your child.

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With the many different variations you can do with this pattern including using your favourite trims and fabrics you will never get tired of creating new versions of these shorts.  I highly recommend you heading over to Striped Swallow Designs and getting your hands on the Coachella Shorts it’s a really great pattern.

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Do you ever challenge yourself to finish a sewing project in a very short amount of time?  Tell me all about it.

Twirling in the Park with the Mae Tunic

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The day is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited to share with you the pattern I have been working on thanks to the help of the always amazing Lauren Dahl and her course on Pattern Workshop (affiliate link).  You can check out my review of the first half of her course here.  I hope to have a review of the second half of the course in the next few weeks, but you know I actually have to finish the course first :)

I figured there wasn’t a better way to debut my first pattern on the blog than to offer it for free to all of you lovely readers.  Doesn’t everyone love a free pattern, I know I sure do!

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Sophie has always been my biggest cheerleader and advertising agent.  She will tell anyone and everyone she sees that I made her shirt/dress/skirt.  And she doesn’t just tell them she beams with pride every time she mentions it.  Just yesterday while we were rushing from swimming to the store so we could get home for dinner she proclaimed from the backseat that she loved her new shirt.  I am telling you I should pay this girl for the things she says.

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So one day when she is all grown up she can look back and see that the very first pattern I created was in honour of her, my little Sophie Mae and her love of all things handmade and her pride in wearing mommy made clothes.  I hope that love of handmade continues as she grows up.  Maybe even soon she can begin creating her own clothes with me.  Mommy/Daughter sewing team coming to the blog soon :)

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This shirt is designed to be a flowy relaxed tee with a wider neck and shirt tail hem.  What sets this pattern apart from other tee patterns out there is the fun pleating detail on the back of the shirt.  I know that pleating can be a bit intimidating so I hope you find my instructions and illustrations help take the fear out of pleating.  You will be a pleating maniac when you are done, seriously I want to put pleats on everything now.

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The most important thing about this shirt to me was that it allowed your child to be a child while wearing it, no fuss while still being cute.  They can run and climb at the playground and spin to their hearts content and watch that shirt float around them.

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If you are new to the blog you may not realize my love of pattern mixing, check out the sewing I did for myself mixing patterns here and here.

This shirt allows for doing just that.  Why not do floral and stripes and while you are mixing patterns mix the fabric as well.  This pattern works great for all types of knit from your lightweight jersey to cottom lycra and even hacci sweater knit.  The purple top in the pictures above is a sweater knit and it worked amazingly well.

I think we have gone over everything you need to know to get started on your Mae Tunic

Oh one last thing, how about a little pre-sewing rundown of supplies first.

  • 3/4 of a yard of knit fabric.  As mentioned above it can be any type of knit you would like, just make sure the fabric you use for the neckband has enough stretch.
  • Chalk, Fabric Marker or a sharpie if you are lazy like me
  • Pins for keeping all those pleats in place
  • Double Needle
  • The other usual suspects; sewing machine, thread, scissors and tape.

Drum Roll Please…….

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Once you click on the image above your pattern will open in another window.  Hover over the bottom right corner and click on the image of the disk to save it to your computer.  From there you can print it.

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Last thing before we start sewing.  The shirt is best made based on your childs chest measurement.  The pattern is nested so if you need to cut out a 2T shirt but in a 3T length it is easy to make that adjustment.  If your child is between sizes I recommend going up to the next size.  Through out this tutorial the right side of the fabric will be shaded grey and the wrong side will be white.

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Now to begin sewing:

1. We are going to start by hemming the bottom edge of your sleeves.  Fold under the bottom edge of the sleeve 3/8″ towards the wrong side of the fabric and sew down with a double needle.  This can also be done with a zigzag stitch or coverstitch machine if you have one.

* To keep from having to change out your needles back to double needles at the end you can hem the bottom of both the front and back piece at this time as well.

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2. Take your back piece and transfer the lines from the pattern on the right side of the fabric.  These are the lines you will use to create your pleating.

maetunic-04 3. Start at the center pleat by bringing the two center lines (which I have labelled 1 and 2 in the top diagram) together and distributing the fabric evenly behind it.  Pin down both sides of the pleat.

4.  Work your way from the center to the outside using each set of 3 lines which I have labelled 1, 2 and 3 in the diagram below.   Start by bringing lines 1 and 3 together and putting line 2 away from the center.  This leaves you with pleats moving towards the center pleat from each side.

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5. Once you have all of your pleats pinned down you need to run a basting stitch across the top of the pleats 1/4″ from the top to hold them in place before attaching the bodice piece.

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6. With right sides together sew the back bodice piece to the back piece using a zigzag stitch or serger.

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7.  Take the front and back pieces right sides together matching at the shoulders and sew together using a zigzag stitch or serger.

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Lets add the sleeves.

8. Take your sleeve piece and with ride sides together matching the top center of the sleeve with the shoulder seam you just sewed and pin in place.

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9. Carefully pin the rest of the sleeve to the shirt starting at the outside edges.  Sew sleeve to shirt with either a zigzag stitch or serger.  Repeat for other sleeve.

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10.  With right sides together sew side seams together starting at the sleeves and go down the sides.  Repeat for other side.

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The next few steps will finish off the neckband.

11. Take your neckband piece and fold in half right sides together matching short ends.  Fold in half lengthwise with wrong sides together.  You should have a complete circle that has the right side of fabric out.

*For a little added ease in attaching the neckband to the shirt you can press the neckband piece.

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12.  Take your shirt and flip it right side out.  Line up the two raw edges of the neckband you just created with the raw edge of the neck on the shirt.  I find it best to pin the neckband down in 4 places equally around the shirt to have equal stretching of the neckband to fit.  Start by lining up the seam of the neckband with the middle of the back of the shirt.  Then pin at the front and both sides.

13.  Sew all the way around the neckband with either a zigzag stitch or by using a serger.

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14.  Congratulations you have now completed your Mae Tunic.

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I hope you have enjoyed making your very own Mae Tunic, I would love to see what you have created.  Please share them using #maetunic and tag me in the picture, you can find me on instagram @thenestcreations

Sewing When Sick…

As any stay at home parent can attest, when you are sick you rarely get time off.  A few weeks ago we were going to go on a last minute trip up to Vancouver to see my brother and sister in law.  The night before we left, which was about 5 hours after we decided to go I came down with a nasty cold.  The kind of cold where all you want to do is lay on the couch and watch tv.

My brave husband decided to still go on the trip which left me with 2 days to myself to get better.  I haven’t had this much time alone in almost 4 years so it felt a bit strange but lovely at the same time.  Between laying on the couch and switching from movies to tv I decided to get a bit of pattern testing done that I hadn’t gotten the chance to do during the week.

What I learned though is that sometimes you shouldn’t sew when you are sick, mistakes happen…

The always lovely Kate of See Kate Sew was getting ready to release her Mini Me collection and I was helping by testing the Harper Top.  I had a great time testing the Garden Party Collection for her recently so I knew this one would be just as great.  Read about the two patterns I sewed up from that collection here.

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I decided to use some of the Riley Blake fabric I ordered ages ago but haven’t actually gotten around to using.  It was the perfect choice for this sweet top.

 

This pattern has all the elements of the womens pattern but on a small scale and just plain adorable.  The little cap sleeves make this top for me, they are the perfect coverage for little shoulders in the summer and such a fun shape that sets them apart from your typical cap sleeve.  The pattern for these sleeves is also pretty genius and come together like a breeze.

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The front yoke has the option of adding a ruffle along the bottom but can also be swapped out with your favourite trim or left out completely.  I opted for a sweet simple look and used lace which I thought complimented the fabric perfectly.  The back has a button closure which makes getting over their little heads super simple.

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Once the pattern was all put together and Sophie got home I quickly put it on her and was baffled that it was too small.  Kate is usually spot on with her patterns.  After a few days of wracking my brain about this pattern I decided to submit the tester response form and let Kate figure out why it was so small across the chest.  I was two questions into the form when I realized I had sewn up an 18 month instead of 2T, no wonder it was too small it wasn’t Sophie’s size.

Goodness, such a tester fail.  Thankfully Kate has other people for each size and is just so sweet it wasn’t an issue.  Clearly I shouldn’t be sewing when I am sick because I can’t be trusted to actually sew the right size.

As luck would have it my super cute and feisty niece is just the right size for the shirt and was super excited to pose for some pictures with me at the zoo.

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I think we have a little model on our hands, it helps that her dad is a photographer.

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Despite the mistake on my part I had a great time sewing this shirt up and I am sure there will be many more of these made but this time I will make the correct size.  Make sure to check back next week for the second pattern from the Mini Me Collection I tested, the Maia Top and Dress.

Have you ever made a silly mistake when you are sick and still trying to sew?  I would love to hear what you did!

 

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Beach Treasures Necklace

Do your kids come home from the beach with pockets full of treasures?  To my 3 year old everything from a super small rock to a big shell are her treasures and they must all come home with her so she can sleep with them that night.  Yes my child puts them in a tupperware and sleeps with them.  Because obviously you sleep with your treasures.

While I was home sick nursing a nasty cold this weekend Sean and the kids headed up to Canada to visit Sean’s brother and sister in law.  They live right across the street from the beach so there were many treasures to be found.

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Normally we just slowly collect more and more treasures and eventually I thin them out to make room for new ones but yesterday Sophie asked me to make a necklace out of the shells she found.  Sean and I started talking drills and dremels for the best way to cut holes in the shells and it just seemed like overkill to me so I headed to my sewing room to see what I had.  Sewing room to the rescue!  I shouldn’t be surprised there are way more things in that room than any one person should have, just ask Sean.

The best tools for the job are scissors, elastic thread, a sewing machine needle and an old self healing mat.  You could use your normal self healing mat I am just not sure if it will heal holes put into it like it does the cuts so I went with an old small one I had.  A small hammer would also work as a substitute for the scissors as you just need a little something to tap the end of the needle to get it through the shell.

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All you have to do is get a pile of shells and choose where you want the hole to be.  Hold the needle in place and tap the end of the needle with the side of your scissors.  Once it has poked through wiggle the needle around to widen the whole a bit.  Repeat until you have holes in all of the shells you want to use for the necklace.

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Grab your elastic thread and thread all the shells on and tie the two ends together.  And voila you have a Beach Treasures Necklace!  Easy right?  If you child is a little bit older they can even help with the shells.

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Its a quick and easy activity that is a fun way to keep some of your favourite treasures long after your visit to the beach.

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I learned something vital taking pictures of this sweet girl last night, Dad needs to be involved in all photo shoots he gets the best pictures out of her.  I wish we had a camera shooting him while all this was going on, he was getting his workout for these smiles.

IMG_0893There is a little sneak peek in these pictures of the new pattern by Caila Made, the Desert Rose Dress.  I hope to be sharing my many versions very soon on the blog, but for now you can enjoy this little peek.

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Do your little ones ask you to make things with their treasures?  I would love to see them.

 

 

 

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Mommy Uniform Upgrade

The more I get to know Lauren Dahl the more I am blown away by her.  As I talked about in my big reveal post about my newest hobby Lauren is busy running a blog, a course for creating pdf patterns AND she is also designing patterns for her label Selvage Designs (affiliate link), she is a busy lady who clearly loves what she is doing.  Her newest pattern, the Foxglove Tank was released yesterday as a pre-order through Indie Sew and I had the pleasure of being one of her testers.

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I love Lauren’s philosophy on her patterns, she wants to design patterns for clothes that she actually wears, that are comfortable and have a variety of options.  That is a philosophy I can get behind.  Who doesn’t love comfort and something you will actually wear on the regular.

As a stay at home mom I find myself wearing the mom uniform and rarely branch out from there.  This top fits right in with my ‘uniform’ but is so much more of a fun option to wear.  The tank top is super comfortable with a hi-low hem detail and a racerback, which is an all time favourite style for me.

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I think this tank can be worn casual with shorts and flip flops or dressed up a bit with some skinnies and wedges.  The tank can be made in both knit and woven and Lauren gives you so many fun and different options for sewing it together including using french and clean seams as well as front and back seams and a blocked back.  There is such a wealth of knowledge included in this pattern as well as clear steps that leave you with a great finished tank.  The pattern also comes in sizes 00-20 so it fits so many different women.

 

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For my test I decided on a fun neon coral and white striped knit that has been sitting in my stash for a year.  It just screams summer and I knew would compliment the pattern perfectly, I think everyone needs a little neon in their life.  I used knit strips to bind off the neckline and armholes, which is super quick and easy.  And as you can tell I got lazy and didn’t finish the bottom, which I tend to do with knit tops because lets face it I don’t have to and I am lazy at the end of a project :)

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This pattern is such an addition to my collection, I can’t wait to attempt it in a woven fabric, how glorious would it be in a voile!

Right now you can get it exclusively at Indie Sew and there is an added bonus, if you purchase it as a pre-order you get 15% off your next order at Indie Sew.  How great is that.  There are so many amazing patterns for sale there I know you will be able to find 1 or 5 more patterns to add to your collection.

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Serial Hobby Pickeruper

I am what my husband would call a Serial Hobby Pickeruper, and yes I just made that up.  It’s not uncommon for me to pick up a new hobby on a whim and be obsessed with it for a few months, like completely obsessed.  Some of the hobbies last and other do not.  Who would have thought a year and a half ago when I decided to dabble in sewing kid’s clothes I would be here.  It’s exciting when you find something that you love to do.

A few months ago when Lauren who is behind the blog Baste + Gather and the pattern company Selvage Designs launched her newest venture Pattern Workshop (affiliate link) I was instantly interested.  I had recently picked up knitting again after many years so I thought it would be a bit much to jump right into another hobby, plus my husband had put a month hold on any new hobbies.  I am serious people I have a problem with starting new hobbies.

Just before Mother’s Day Lauren put out an email saying she was offering a discount through the Mother’s Day weekend for the course.  It just so happened that my husband and I were going out of town for the weekend and would have some one on one time to talk.  Sean is very supportive of all the crazy ideas I have so I wasn’t surprised when he said to go ahead and register for the course!  The second we got home from our weekend away I instantly registered.

I am still working away on the course but I thought it would be fun to give everyone a glimpse into what I have been working on.  I decided to take my first pattern and offer it for free in a few sizes on my blog.  At some point I may expand that pattern to all the sizes but at this point it will just be sizes 18M to 3T.

I would like to introduce you to my first pattern, The Mae Tunic!

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The Mae Tunic is a crew neck short sleeve knit top with an optional pocket on the front.  The front and back hemline are mirrored in a low hem coming up on the sides slightly.  (Is there a name for this?  I have no idea)  The back has pleating detail that could also be done with gathering.  The sleeve cuffs and bottom cuff are finished with a double needle or cover stitch machine if you have it.  The neck has a narrow band to finish it off.

I am pretty excited about this first pattern, it is sure to be something that Sophie wears all the time.  Watch for this pattern to be released in the next month right here on the blog.

Now that I have let the cat out of the bag about my new hobby and the result of a few weeks in the course I wanted to give a little bit of a review on the first half of the course.  Once I release the pattern I should have a review of the second half as well.

Originally I was worried that without any sort of pattern design experience or knowledge I would be overwhelmed and unable to follow along with the course.  A few weeks before actually registering I emailed Lauren to ask some questions about the course and how it would be for someone like myself who had no experience at all.  Let me tell you, she was so sweet and encouraging and I left from reading those emails completely empowered to do the course.  That level of commitment and enthusiasm for all of us in her course hasn’t changed.  She is always there to help both in the Pattern Workshop Facebook group as well as by email.  Lauren has created a community around this course where you are surrounded by a group of encouraging and supportive classmates who are there to cheer you along as well as give you the kick you need to keep moving on the course.

This course is full of such amazing information and Lauren does a great job of showing that she is also learning more about it every day.  She is so relatable you just want to go over to her house and hang out with some coffee and talk about crazy kids and sewing.  She has struck a great balance of information and fun in all of her videos.  You don’t feel like you are taking a course, you really do feel like you are hanging out with a friend on skype talking about drafting pdf patterns.

I can only imagine the amazingness that is in store for the second half of this course and I look forward to plugging through it all so I can get the Mae Tunic released to all of you.  I highly recommend checking out Pattern Workshop even if you were like me and had no experience and worried about being overwhelmed by the information.  You will not regret the decision to take the course with Lauren.

Are you a serial hobby pickeruper?  I would love to hear the hobbies you are into.

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Turn a Bad Day Around

Being a stay at home parent to two kiddos under 4 can lead to some challenging days.  Some days I deal with it gracefully and then other days I am crying to my husband over google hangouts while he is trying to work.  Not a proud mommy moment but when it comes to naps I depend on them and the little bit of a break I get in a day.  Today was definitely one of the crying days when naps just weren’t happening.

Once the kids finally went down, one on the couch and one in the guest bedroom, I knew what I needed to do to change a bad day around.  Make myself a dress!  I had a preschool meeting to go to this evening and it is always fun to have something new to wear when you are going somewhere without the kiddos.

With the weather warming up I have been itching to make a maxi dress out of this amazing blue and white jersey I got from Girl Charlee.  I knew the Out and About Dress by Sew Caroline was the perfect pattern for it.  You may remember when I proclaimed my love for this pattern and all things peplum here.  I honestly didn’t think I could love this pattern any more than I already did, but this dress proved that I didn’t even know the half of my obsession with it.

Seriously people this pattern is amazing and so versatile.

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If you remember this pattern is for a dress with sleeves but since I was going for a comfy summer dress I decided to just leave the sleeves off and finish the neckline and arms with a double needle.  I couldn’t believe how easily this pattern came together, I managed to get it cut out and sewn long before the kids woke up from their naps.

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There are many times when I am sewing a pattern that I am reminded of just why I love making clothes for myself.  Making this dress was a perfect example for the value of making your own clothes.  I may not be super tall but at 5’9” I am tall enough that maxi dresses are usually not quite long enough for me, I always end up with sort of an ankle length dress.  But when you make your own dress you can control the length and that is such an exciting feeling.  I actually was overly generous and hadn’t accounted for the skirt weighing the dress down and ended up taking 5 or so inches off the bottom so it wasn’t dragging on the ground.  But what a great problem to have, a too long dress.

IMG_9475 My preschool meeting wrapped up early tonight so I was able to pop over to my neighbours driveway and snap some pictures.  Don’t you just love unlikely places to do a photo shoot.

Little did I know my husband was spying on me from our upstairs bedroom and I managed to catch this picture of me seeing him watching from the window.  While not the most flattering picture of me, it makes me giggle when I see it because posing for pictures does not come naturally for me, and having an audience makes me even more uncomfortable.  I think it would have been worse if the neighbour had come out and caught me in his driveway :)

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Have you ever tried making something for yourself to help change a bad day around?  I say do it, it doesn’t have to be a dress but I promise you that when you are done you will forget what you were upset about and feel so much better.

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