Pattern testing: Desert Rose Dress by Caila Made

Today is the official release day of a fabulous pattern by Caila Made – the Desert Rose Dress!  I was so excited to be chosen as a tester for this pattern back at the beginning of June, and let me just say that this dress is so much fun!  A very quick sew with an empire waist and wide scooped neckline with simple button closure.  This pattern can be dressed up or down through choice of fabric and dress vs. tunic length.  I chose the dress length and went with fun bright florals and prints paired with glittery polka dots, for “nicer” dresses that we save for special occasions (like their 5th birthday coming up next week).  Yes, you read that correctly – big prints and GLITTERY dots… so NOT my typical, but man oh man does it work and my girls went completely nuts over the end result!

The fabrics used for these dresses are quilting cottons purchased from Hobby Lobby, and I found the buttons at a local shop, Jackman’s.  I’m not usually one to think much about buttons, but the navy blue buttons on C’s dress have a lovely little intricate design that seemed to be made to be paired with this fabric.

We completely lucked out with a break in the weather for these photos, cooler temps after several days of rain.  And of course it just wouldn’t be these two without the intermittent goofy faces and random singing of ‘Let it Go” at the tops of their voices.

Caila has done an AMAZING job with this pattern!  The entire testing process went so well and I was very impressed with everyone in the tester group.  Caila’s attention to detail has resulted in an extremely well-thought-out and well-designed dress, particularly from the fit aspect.  As you can see from Caila’s release post, the final pattern version released today has a slightly modified height of the scooped neckline, which came from multiple testing runs and plenty of constructive and kindly-provided feedback by the group.  I must say again, SO impressed with my fellow testers!

Thank you so much, Caila for selecting me to participate in the Desert Rose pattern testing!



Easter Geraniums and a Repurposed Romper

This year, my sewing for Easter a couple weeks ago was a bit less time-consuming, as my girls’ dresses were actually sewn last summer for our maternity/family photo shoot.  I’m so glad they still fit!  My little ladies are growing like weeds, particularly C, and nearly all of her dresses from last year are fitting more like tunics, if they even still fit under the arms at all.

These are yet again the fabulous Geranium Dress pattern by Made by Rae, with the cap sleeve option and pleated skirt.  I believe these were both size 4T, but since I’m not so great at actually labeling sizes of what I sew for the kiddos, well I’m just going off of foggy late-pregnancy memories of last summer sewing.  The coordinating prints on these are Moda Vintage Modern with the bodice lining in Confetti Dots by Dear Stella.





For baby boy’s first Easter, I made this adorable romper using one of my husband’s old dress shirts that I saved from the Goodwill pile, and a solid Kona cotton for the facing.  I used Simplicity 3808 (which I’ve been holding on to for ages!) and left off the front pocket, and while I’m not much of a fan anymore of commercial patterns, I was pleasantly surprised with this straightforward and speedy sew.  I also really like the snap tape for the inseam closure, even though my adjustable zipper foot and I have a bit of a love-hate relationship (read: it gets the job done well but I nearly sew through my finger every.single.time I use it).  The dress shirt used for this is a Brooks Brothers non-iron, and while the wrinkle-free aspect of it is convenient, it wouldn’t hold a pressed edge for anything.  A small hiccup to deal with for a meaningful ‘first’ for the boy.




Pattern Testing: Bohemian Babydoll Dress

I’m back!  Or more accurately, I’m still here!  I’m finally revisiting the ol’ blog after a rather lengthy hiatus (new baby, new house, attempting balance amidst the chaos, etc.) and what better way to kick off a return to the blogging world than with this adorable dress!

I had the great pleasure of participating as a pattern tester last week for the new Bohemian Babydoll Dress pattern from Elegance & Elephants.  I saw the Instagram post for testing and jumped on it, as I am a BIG fan of Heidi’s designs – remember those bubble pocket shorts?  The girls nearly wore through them last summer – love ’em!

The Bohemian Babydoll dress is a very quick sew, easy fit with no closures, a gorgeous slightly squared neckline and high-low curved detailing on both the bodice and the hem.  The dress can be made as a top and also without the ruffle sleeve to change it up a bit.

For my girls I chose the dress version with the sleeves, and grabbed these coordinating Moda “Hoopla” tulip prints from my stash.  For M (in the green) I sewed up a size 4 and for C a size 5.

The girls LOVE their new dresses and had a pretty good time with our little photo shoot/mini dance party too.

It just wouldn’t be C without a goofy face thrown in for good measure!

Go check out this new pattern – it was released yesterday!  And many thanks to Heidi for the opportunity to test this lovely new dress pattern.

Itty Bitty Sewing

I had the great pleasure of attending a baby shower yesterday for my good friend, Jennifer, who will be welcoming a baby girl just a couple weeks after our Little Man is due.  This friend and I have similar histories and have traveled long roads to reach parenthood, and I couldn’t be more thrilled for them and their little one on the way.  And I especially couldn’t wait to unpack my sewing machines and get to work on some sewing for baby girl!

First on the list – the Divided Basket pattern by Anna at Noodlehead.  Her pattern is fabulous and  it was such a quick project.  I even took inspiration from her posts and photos here and here by filling one section of the basket with a simple flannel receiving blanket and some pre-fold diaper burp cloths, per this tutorial/idea from Probably Actually.  From my experience with my girls, I share Gail’s sentiments on wanting to maximize the usable surface area of a burp cloth, so the trim idea is right on target.  Into the other section of the basket I included a stack of newborn-sized diapers (not shown).

Jennifer’s nursery theme is travel and they’ve chosen a lovely neutral palette with little details of vintage postcards and script and a little pop of color from some adorable mini turquoise suitcases.  I’m super-pleased with the fabric choices for this basket (thank you, Joann Fabrics!)

Next on the list is a teeny tiny Geranium Dress, pattern from Made by Rae, paired with a matching diaper cover from the tutorial and free pattern at MADE, both in size 0-3 months.  The pale pink print is an Anna Griffin print that I picked up on one of my last runs to M&L Fabrics before we left SoCal, and the lining for the bodice is a simple black with tiny white polka dots.

Very satisfying sewing for a sweet baby girl on-the-way!

Sweet Little Tunics

I don’t know about you, but I love a good sewing success after a flop.  Remember this black and white gingham tunic fiasco during KCW?  Here is take two (or is it take three, technically?) – gingham tunics for my lovely girls, and they FIT!  Yippee!  And all thanks to the Leila & Ben Sweet Little Dress pattern.

I had completely forgotten about this pattern when I was searching for cute peasant top inspiration, until I saw it referenced a couple of times in various blog and flickr posts after KCW.  Great pattern and SUPER fast to cut and sew.  The directions are a bit different, as they suggest you iron your neckline and sleeve casings and bottom hem before sewing everything together.  I wasn’t sure about that, so I did a little experiment… the blue tunic I made by sewing first and then ironing, but for the pink tunic I followed their directions and ironed first.  I have to say it went much faster the second time.  I also shortened the dress pattern to a tunic length, keeping the same hemline curve and shape.  M and C love these tops and we will definitely be adding a few more – both tunics and dresses – to their summer stash!

Dressing the Bump: The Maxi Skirt

When I was pregnant with my girls four years ago I was working full-time in a rather conservative corporate environment, so my day to day maternity wardrobe mostly consisted of the typical dress pants and woven blouses that I had nearly all outgrown by 32 weeks.  Lots of polyester and less than comfortable ensembles overall.  This time around my days are spent out and about on errands during preschool mornings and  running a household and chasing those little girls around the rest of the day.  A lack of comfort just isn’t an option.  Bring on the maxi skirts!

I’d been eyeing the Maxi Skirt Tutorial by Leanne Barlow of Elle Apparel for awhile, even before the need for comfy maternity clothing came around, so finally I jumped on that purchase and started measuring away (eeeek!) to draft my pattern.  I have a few rayon blend jersey knits that I bought from way back when, which are perfect for this type of skirt.  The waistband of this skirt not specifically drafted for maternity wear, but it is easily folded down to work around the baby bump, so I expect to be able to wear it post baby as well.

This tutorial is very well-written and easy to follow, and I like that you draft it yourself based on your own measurements.  It sews up very quickly (I think I drafted, cut and sewed it up in maybe three hours… pinning the hem took the longest) especially when only using a serger, and the a-line design is probably pretty adaptable to a shorter skirt as well.  Maybe I’ll give that a try too!

These photos were taken about five weeks ago, around my 25-week mark but it still fits great and will work perfectly for the remainder of this pregnancy.  Another successful maternity wardrobe staple completed!

It’s in the bag

I feel like I’m racing against the clock lately… we move in two weeks, and my sewing room has to be mostly packed by the end of next week… and I still have projects to finish!  First and foremost, a Quiet Book for my lovely little niece, of which I hope to be sharing pics very soon.  I made two of them a few years back but I seem to have misplaced the memory of just how long it takes to knock out the details.  A labor of love most definitely, but time consuming.

Speaking of labor, I’m now 28 weeks pregnant and I have a wicked cold that my munchkins passed onto me about a week ago.  I very rarely get really sick, but this thing has truly knocked me on my arse.

In the midst of my usual chaos however, I was able to knock out a couple of cute chevron totes last week for Teacher Appreciation week for the girls’ preschool teachers.

I was inspired to do tote bags with that cute little “pun” tag from an Instagram post by Homemade by Jill, and the bag pattern is the Reversible Tote tutorial (minus the color blocking) from MADE.  I scored this fun chevron print duck cloth from Hobby Lobby and the lining is a basic bottom-weight twill.  I was in such a hurry when I cut these out that I didn’t do the best job of matching the chevrons on the side seams, however by happy accident the straps ended up perfectly on the diagonal.  Score!

Allow me to digress here momentarily to talk about this tote tutorial.  I’ve been following Dana’s MADE blog for years but recently my sister-in-law refreshed my memory about this tutorial.  It is fabulous!  My first try at it a couple months ago, using the color blocking detail, resulted in this lovely little pink and green number.  I even added an interior pocket, perfectly sized for a cell phone.  It’s such a roomy bag, and when made in heavier duck cloth/canvas it is super sturdy!  It would be a great beach bag… if we weren’t about to move away from the beach.  Boo!  😦

But back to the chevrons… I was able to get two totes of each color from the yardage… so to go with the second red one I made this cute little open wide zippered pouch from this fun tutorial by Noodlehead.  This tote and pouch set made its way to my bestie this week as a very belated birthday gift.  I won’t say just how belated it is… it’s downright embarrassing.  And now I have one tote left… and I may just keep it for myself.

Now back to Quiet Book land…