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.

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!

KCW Spring 2013 – Day 7

My last project for this round of Kids Clothes Week – Bubble Pocket Shorts, pattern by Elegance & Elephants!

After seeing a pair pop up on Craftiness is Not Optional earlier last week and then Homemade by Jill singing the praises of this pattern as well, I knew I had to pick it up and get on it fast!  Here in SoCal we’ve already had a few shorts-worthy weather days and after digging out last summer’s shorts to find them ALL too small, well let’s just say we are now is desperation mode for comfy shorts.  I had just enough of the super-soft dark lightweight denim left over from the Sailboat Pants and I used a couple scraps of a Robert Kaufman print (Caleb Gray’s “Groove” prints) for the waistband facing.  I adore that print… I’ve sewn bucket hats for the chickadees and PJ pants for some friends’ Christmas gifts from those prints, but I’m totally hoarding the rest of it!

Official verdict: these shorts are so flippin’ cute!  They sewed up like a dream and very quickly also.  I will be honest though, in that I had to finish them up on Monday.  Sunday afternoon hit us, gorgeous weather, and the Hubs put work aside so we all got out of the house pronto!

I will most certainly be making more of these fun shorts very soon!

KCW Spring 2013 – Days 4-6

It took a few days this week to knock out complete outfits for M and C, but success!  Pretty floral Puppet Show Shorts, another Oliver + S pattern, with coordinating Geranium Tops.  This time I went with the sleeveless Geraniums with fuller gathered skirts, and pretty little flower buttons.  I also went up a size to 4T for both the girls, since I want these to last through the summer.  The floral fabric is left over from my previous Geranium tops with Kona cotton solids for the bodice, shorts trim and waistbands.

KCW Spring 2013 – Day 3

By late yesterday afternoon I had dubbed my KCW Day 3 “the day of spinning my wheels”.  On my list to accomplish this week were some easy-breezy peasant tops for my girlies, in gingham.  I’m a total sucker for a gingham, and I have a solid stack of gingham prints in various check-sizes and colors just waiting to be cut up and stitched into cute duds for my kiddos.

Since I didn’t have a peasant top pattern in my stash, I started with the Pierrot Tunic pattern from Made by Rae for the basic shape and made modifications to remove some volume from front, back and sleeves too.  I also upped the size to a 4T since my girls’ 3T Pierrots are now fitting rather small, and I cropped the sleeve pattern to be a cap sleeve.  I followed Rae’s neck facing/elastic casing instructions (which I adore) but I increased the length of elastic a bit for a wider finished neckline.

I was so happy with the result… and then I tried it on M, the slightly-thinner of my twins.  And she was swimming in it, tugging at sleeves and side seams, with an overall “get this off of me” response.  Crud!  Thank goodness for my fabric hoarding tendencies, because I still had quite a bit of the gingham to give it another whirl.

For the second try I did some quick online research to understand what the bodice block for a true peasant top should look like, and thanks to these super-helpful tutorials here and here, and this tutorial & free pattern guide I quickly drafted a pattern and knocked out another top.  Meet top #1’s little sister:

Much better fit width-wise but this time it was way too short!  Double-crud!  Mind you for as petite as my munchkins are, they are both long-waisted – C in particular – just like their mama, but this top still wouldn’t cover the waistband of a pair of pants worn with it.  At this point in my day it was creeping toward the dinner hour and the natives were restless so I had to call it a day and toss the too-big top in the “will grow into” bin and the  girls’ younger cousin will be getting the too-small version.

I will say though that as frustrating and without a final product as this day was I ended it knowing exactly how I need to modify my pattern for the perfect peasant top that I should be able to crank out quickly when the mood hits next.  A step in the right direction for my pattern-drafting skills!

You win some, you lose some.