Thursday, July 14, 2016

Acorn Valley Knit Dress

Today we're a stop on the Acorn Valley blog tour!

We used knit fabrics from the Acorn Valley collection (Riley Blake Designs). Eliza and I chose to use the Flutter Multi and Bloom Dot Red fabrics. Patti Young was gracious enough to send us our choice of Mod Kid patterns along with the fabric, and I thought the Abigail dress would suit Eliza best.

The Fabric

The colors are vibrant and withstand washing. The fabric is soft and of an ideal weight for children's clothes.

See that center gore piece? It took me ripping and reassembling the front and back gores at least 4 times to get the bodice seam lined up properly. This knit fabric was stable enough to handle that ripping, tugging, finagling. I was shocked. (I serged the whole dress, so seam ripping was pretty tough on it.)

The Pattern
SIZE: 3t width, 4t length
FIT: Overall I was pleased. The sleeves seem to run big. I had to shorten the neck and sleeve bands, which is to be expected as stretch varies with knit. The neckband is wide, so consistent and accurate stretching while sewing is crucial, and it still may not lay perfectly flat. 

The length is great - the 4t hit right at Eliza's knees. (She's probably the height of a 4-year-old.)
INSTRUCTIONS: Again, I was pleased overall. Word to the wise: Make sure to line up those center gores carefully so that the bodice seam is lined up on either side of the center gore, otherwise you'll be doing lots of surgery. 
LIKES: This is an ideal pattern for showing off different fabrics. It's also super comfortable and great for play.
DISLIKES: This is my second time doing a banded short sleeve on a knit dress without using rib knit, and unless it's snug to the arm, I just don't like this style of sleeve. It's a preference thing.

This was my first time doing a lettuce edge hem and I LOVE IT for knit dresses. It's going to be my go-to hem now as every time I do a twin needle the hem falls out, and every time I do a basic fold over, it doesn't want to lay flat after a wash. Rolled hem all the way, baby.

There are also flannels in the Acorn Valley collection, and Patty is giving away a box of 1 yard cuts. Click on the Rafflecopter giveaway to enter.

Here are the rest of the stops on the tour!
Monday 7/11: Riley Blake & Modkid
Friday 7/22: Ameroonie Designs

Thanks for reading! I'll be back next week with some Big Girl clothes, including a bathing suit! Have a great weekend, everyone. xo

Monday, July 11, 2016

Completed: Emily Maxi Dress

Hello, friends! It's been a while! How are you? 

Eliza went and grew up while we were gone. It's heartbreaking how they do that, isn't it? On the one hand, they can wipe their own rears. On the other hand, I can't even lift Lee any more.

The good news is they ALL still love some mama mades. Eliza is learning to sew herself this summer! She's made a little pillow for her bearded dragon, Diamond. Next week we'll head to a fabric store so she can pick something to make into a skirt.

I hope your summer has been as lovely as ours. For homeschooling families, often the summer is even busier than the school year because it means we leave the house more than usual. That's been the case for us, but it's been nice to get back to moving and shaking like we did in Black Mountain. We missed going and doing and seeing and adventuring these past couple of years. (FUN MOMMY has returned! Woo to the Hoo!)

Enough catching up, here is my latest project! Not to be extreme, but THIS IS MY FAVORITE FINISHED DRESS EVERRRRR.

It's the Emily dress from Violette Field Threads, and I bought it immediately upon release. Eliza was into maxis at the time, and I had this fabric left over from when we lived in Black Mountain. It's quite possibly the perfect fabric for Eliza's skin tone and coloring. I've used it for a blouse, a romper for my adorable niece, and now this dress used the last of it. 

Here are all the pictures ---- scroll to the bottom of the post if you want the logistics and review. xo

Violet Field Threads Emily
The pattern has several options - including a tiered skirt and overlay. I chose the straight skirt option.
Shame on Me for Not Saving the Selvage bought on clearance at Carolina Foam Fabric and Home Decor way back in 2013.
3t width with 4t length 
It was a tad snug through the bodice, but overall we were pleased with the fit. The length was perfect for her.
The instructions used the burrito method to sew the sleeves closed. I don't know what it is, y'all, but I'm convinced someday I'll come across The Perfect Way to Sew a Lined Bodice. This wasn't it, but it was preferable to the way the Carly Bubble Romper was assembled.

Overall the instructions were easy to follow.
To be honest, there is very little (beyond the burrito) that I don't like about this pattern. I like the tiny ruffle at the neckline. I like the length, and I LOVE the little cap sleeve shape. I like the narrow tie and the amount of gathers at the waist. It's a very tasteful, classy dress with just enough drama.
The instructions call for sewing the bodice to the skirt all as one seam. For a more finished look, I sewed only the MAIN bodice fabric to the skirt and then slipstitched the lining over the seam to conceal it. (If I were really good, I could've topstitched along the outside and caught the lining fabric in the topstitching, but I can't ever get that to work.)

Have a great week everyone! I'll be back later in the week with a more casual dress as part of a tour.


Monday, November 30, 2015

Completed: Holiday Party Ensemble

The holiday party season begins tonight for us! My closet was lacking holiday wear, so when the team at ModKid invited me to sew up a pattern with a holiday twist, I gladly accepted the challenge.

The Nettie bodysuit has been on my to-sew list for a while. I've been wanting to pair it with a gathered skirt, and the ModKid Wrap Skirt was perfect for it!

The Nettie has several different necklines and backlines. I  chose the high front neckline and middle depth for the scoop back. 

The back of the Nettie is my favorite part. I went with the built-in bra because anything else would have been highly visible through the knit.

oooh was it windy! no wardrobe malfunctions occurred!
The Wrap Skirt is a very easy sew. There are no pattern pieces - just dimensions and measurements. Mine was a little more complicated because of the plaid, but it's still straight seams. No fitting required!


Fabric: Kaufman House of Wales Plaid in black purchased at
Size: based on waist measurement
Pros: simple construction; no pattern pieces to print, tape, or trace; works with a variety of fabrics; opportunities to dress it up or down; no fitting required.
Cons: gathers -- gathers are my nemesis.
Thoughts: As long as you read the instructions, this pattern is an easy sew great for beginners and veterans alike. (I didn't read the instructions carefully and initially cut the ties the wrong size.)

Pattern: Nettie Bodysuit by Closet Case Files
Fabric: Kaufman Laguna Jersey purchased at
Size: 4
Pros: bodysuits are awesome; the back is neat; there are several options for sleeve length and front/back neckline
Cons: it would be tough to keep the shoulders up if you made a scoop front and low backline; it's very hard to keep things modest without using a thicker knit
Thoughts: I'll try this again, but with a raglan sleeve. The shoulders and armholes are pulling, and I'm too lazy to figure out if it's because they need to be moved forward or backward or enlarged. Plus raglans are more comfortable for me.

There will be lots of great inspiration for holiday looks on the rest of the tour this week!

Monday, November 30th

Wednesday, December 2nd

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tested: Birkin Flares by Baste & Gather

I wear jeans every single day. A few years ago I finally bought two pairs that fit properly; both were "designer" jeans.

They lasted 2.5 years, which didn't justify the cost. The knees blew out and the seams started shredding. They were too much Designer and not enough Work Horse.

I need jeans that'll survive my crawling around cleaning under beds and hanging out on my knees cleaning toilets. My jeans have to be comfortable enough to sleep in but sturdy enough to wear camping.

High Quality + Durable + Excellent Fit + Under $50 = Must Sew Myself

My ideal is two pairs: a wide leg and a narrow leg. NOT skinny jeans. The Gingers were close to right, and the tutorial and sew-along for those is stellar. But they weren't just right.

So when Lauren started posting teaser photos of her new pattern, the Birkin Flare jeans, I sent her an email and begged to test them.

I do not apologize for VPLs. 
The testing process itself was fun, especially since we all chatted in a Facebook group along the way. And once I slid these babies on, I'm pretty sure several angels got their wings.

She's made several tweaks and has plans to do another round of testing. The crotch depth and shape is perfect for me, which is hardest for me to alter. The waistband hits just below my belly button, and I didn't have to adjust anything! (These are size 24 and my measurements are 26" waist and 34" hips for reference. She narrowed the yoke and waist to fit a 24" waist in the second version.)

In addition to the rise, I really like the illustrations for this pattern. They're line drawings and very clear and easy to follow.

There are a few things I'll do differently next time: for example, I've got a pocket template for just the size I like. I'll use a different fly method, but the one in the pattern is adequate -- just not my preferred way of doing it. I'll narrow my fly topstitching; the belt loop, pocket, and fly topstitching are crowding each other in my version. (I didn't follow the template she provided with the pattern.)

Finally, I'll loosen things up 1/8" at each side seam. I'm one turkey dinner away from busting out of these puppies. They'll stretch over time, but my Cone Mills denim will have less of that bagging out effect.

Victory! I'm ready to cut into my Cone Mills denim!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sewaholic Dunbar, Jalie Tights, and GreenStyle Jillian Tank

I've had a couple of weeks to test out my first handmade athletic ensemble, and I'm still on the fence about it. My ambivalence isn't entirely the fault of the patterns, though, so I'll go ahead and review them.

How's that for a rousing introduction?

I'll start with my favorite piece of the outfit: The Sewaholic Dunbar sports bra. I wholeheartedly love this sports bra. The unique style, the pockets for modesty lining panels, the construction -- it's my favorite sports bra right now, and that's saying a lot for a girl who owns at least 10 sports bras in various styles and fabric.

Fabric: Wickaway Lycra from Rose City Textiles (aka Fabricline)

  • Added length to the body of the bra - which means adding length to each piece.
I added 1.5" to the bottom of each pattern piece to allow for 1" elastic (wider than the 3/4" in the pattern) and because the top was entirely too short. My ladies are tiny and they were threatening to break free.
  • Raised the neckline 1/2". 
I highly recommend doing a quick muslin of the top before cutting out the final fabric. There are several pieces, and it's frustrating if you assemble the whole dang thing and realize the fit is way off. (Ask me how I know.)

awkward running shot. because why not?
Also, take a close look at the envelope photos. You can see it's a low-cut, not-very-long sports bra. If you're like me and wear your sports bras out in the open and desire something substantial but not full length, you'll probably need to make adjustments.

I've got intentions of making the long version, too, for treadmill runs at the gym this winter.

The next piece is Jalie 2563 running tights. I used the same fabric for these and made no modifications to the pattern.

They've got a gusset that doesn't quite make it far enough forward in the crotch seam. Maybe? I don't know. I generally wear track shorts and not tights.

There's also a lining, but it's not sewn down and the placement makes it awkward to go without underwear.

I used an elastic with silicone around the leg cuffs to keep them from riding up, but in hindsight could've used something similar on the waistband to keep it from sliding down.

I'll wear these when I go to cycling class, and maybe I'll be a tights convert, but for now I'm "meh."

The last piece is the GreenStyle Jillian tank. I've been eyeing this tank since its release in a pattern bundle.

I used a recycled lycra for this top (same source), and the only modification was to tack down where the overlapping layers meet so the top doesn't flop open while I'm running.

The pattern was straightfoward and super easy to sew. There aren't many pieces at all, and even for The World's Slowest Sewist (me), it was quick to put together.

I'll make this one again, but with fold-over elastic as the back strap part.

That's it! Just one more thing: the only thing more awkward than standing in the middle of your street and posing in a bathing suit is standing in the middle of your street and posing in running clothes.

we love this cat so much! his name is George.
another awkward running shot. because one isn't enough.
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