Thursday, November 27, 2014

Military Inspired Sleeveless Coat | DMK Pattern Flip

 When I was trying to decide on my final plan for Frances Suzanne pattern flip I stumbled upon a sleeveless coat and fell in love.  So much so I almost gave up my original plan.  So, you can imagine how happy I was when I realized I had enough material to do both.  My original plan for my big girl and the sleeveless jacket for my little.

I started with the Dear My Kids, Trendy Unisex Pea Coat, when cutting the body of the coat I simply did not cut our the arm wholes.

I followed the instructions fully but when it came to adding sleeves I left them off.  I added the pockets, the collar and a rectangular shoulder before sewing the liner in. When sewing the body shut, I left hole from the bottom of where the original sleeve would end down 3 inches.  To finish the arm holes I folded the outside fabric (wool) and inside liner in a 1/4 of an inch and top stitched all the way around.

The Collar
For the collar I used the 6T length but the 2T width.  I cut 4 individual pieces rather than 2 on the fold.  I ended up having to piece this together a little bit because I was using left over scraps.  I didn't mind this at though because it gave the more military look I was going for.    I also added 2 pieces that were 4 inches each giving me an approximate finished length of 18 inches.

The Pocket
To add detail I added a pocket to the front.  This was much easier than expected.  I decided where I wanted to place the pockets then cut a straight line through the outer layer of the jacket, in my case the wool. I cut out two pieces of the liner and placed them right sides facing on each side of the slit.  I then sewed a straight stitch to hold them in place.  I then pulled the two pocket pieces through the slit and sewed around the outside of the pocket with the right sides together.  The bottom left photo shows how it looked completed.  I then folded a piece of fabric together and to stitched it to create a small rectangle.  I then hand stitched it to the front of the pocket hiding my mess giving the military look I was going for.

This coat was a simple sew with a large impact.  The details gave it a fun boutique look.

Then my little model went to town.  Anyone ever try to photograph an 18 month old?  Yeah they don't pause, or ever stop moving!


DIY Bubble Pea Coat | DMK Pattern Flip

This round of flip this pattern made me nervous because a coat seemed like a big commitment.  Expensive materials, a large project and lots of room for error.  After stressing over it I finally decided to give it a go.  My final product was a Bubble Pea Coat and I could not be more happy with the final product.  The Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Swing Coat was a great pattern.  I loved the cuff detail and collar.  The directions were easy to follow and a quick sew.

I really wanted to do a long pea coat because I love little girls in pea coats.  Growing up my parents did not have tons of money but we always had beautiful pea coats, or what we called a "church" coat.  It was the coat we wore when we were dressed up or going somewhere special, like church.  I spent some a lot of time on pinterest looking at different coats and picking out elements that I really liked.  At the same time, I was pattern testing for Heidi and Finn's bubble dress.  The slim fit version is already available in her store but for the more full figured baby girls (like mine) a regular fit will be released later this week.  I have seen a few high end coats that are similar for adults and thought how adorable would this be for a little girl.

 I extended the length, added a bubble bottom and added darts to the front and back to give a more fitted look and make the bubble more dramatic.  I cut the original pattern pieces from both the coat and the dress and laid them on top of each other to create the new pattern.   My favorite detail is the bow on the adorable.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween| Brownie Goose Pattern Flip

Flip this Pattern- Brownie Goose, Hattie

April was the first time I ever participated in a "Flip the Pattern" with Frances Susanne and it was so fun!  You can see my flip here.  It truly inspired me to do more and while I've had every intention to do the next and the next and the next, we decided to move from Toronto to Florida and my life is currently chaotic. I have checked in monthly, voted for my favourites and longed for a time I could rejoin.  And, while my life is still spread across two countries, my parents home, my in-laws home and a storage unit, Halloween always gets me sewing for my girls and getting creative.  In fact,  Halloween 2011 was my very first "Flip the pattern" ever, even though that wasn't a thing then.  I used a Heidi and Finn pattern I loved and altered it ever so slightly to make a Shamu costume for our whale loving daughter. 

This year I was worried she would want to be Elsa and look like every other child trick or treating in 2014.  She actually settle on Rapunzel which I thought could be fun, naturally baby sis would be pascal.  She then changed her mind to Aurora.... this actually shocked me because Aurora is the one princess I know very little about.  I wasn't sure where she was coming from since there hasn't been much hype about her until...the re-release of Sleeping Beauty on DVD October 7.  My girl is ahead of the curve.  So while everyone else will be Aurora in 2015, my girl will be leading the charge on the next big princess.

Once we decided on Aurora I set to work trying to figure out who Baby sister would be and decided on Merryweather.  Nothing could be more perfect!

And here's how we ended up with our flip.  I had already purchased the Brownie Goose Hattie pattern and was dying to give it a try.  I absolutely love the vintage vibe it has.  When I saw it was this months flip, it was the right motivation to print that Hattie and get one made.  So Merryweather's costume was inspired by the Hattie.  The gathered sleeve and the stand up collar are the perfect Disney costume details.  

I didn't make huge didn't need huge changes.  It fit so perfectly for what I had in mind.  I started with blue broadcloth, this was not a recommended material and I would not recommend using it for this pattern, but it was cheap and this was a costume not an everyday dress.  The fabric was thin so it was difficult to get the structured look that I love about this pattern, but again for a costume it did the trick.  I used tulle instead of fabric for the collar and doubled the width of the neck ruffle to 4 inches to make it larger and more Disney like.  I also used the selvage length and didn't cut it down nearly what I says in the pattern as tulle is much finer than other fabrics and I wanted to give it a fuller look.  I added tulle to the bottom of the skirt and then put a tutu our daughter already had under the dress to make the skirt appear fuller (although our almost 18 month old has a fairly similar shape to Merry Weather to begin with!).   I added sequence to the neckline and a sequence and ruffle embellishment to the bottom to give it the fairy detail and make it special for Halloween.
I added a cape by purchasing I meter of broadcloth.  It was a super simple construction, again relying on embellishments to give the fairy costume look.  Here is what I did. 1. Folded the fabric in half 2. Then I traced two semi-circles at the top sides then trimmed the outer edges to leave the semi circles at the top.  3. I stitched it up leaving a small opening to turn it inside out.  4. I then folded the top section (the semi-circles and across to create a collar).  I then used a basting stitch to gather it and create a flowy look.  5. Cover the basting stitch with a ribbon or an extra piece of fabric.  See the terrible diagram below (I did feel like pictures helped explain my process).

The final touch....her hat.  I purchased a mini-brown cardboard witch hat from target and covered it with remaining fabric from the dress.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pattern Tester | Gardenia Dress By Cali Faye Collection

  I was recently selected to test the women’s Gardenia Dress by Cali Faye Collection.  I was so thrilled to get the email that I had been selected since I love her designs!  Knowing I would be on a serious time crunch, my husband was flying in for 4 days (He's moved for business, we will eventually join him), I set to work right away. 

  I was surprised at how easily the dress came together.  As I have said many times before, I am mainly self taught and I generally only sew for my kids, but the instructions were clear and easy to follow.  One of the things that impressed me the most was how not "homemade" it looked. This is my biggest fear sewing for myself and what has held me back from doing much of it in the past. Kids look cute in homemade, moms look frumpy.  This is not the case at all with the Gardenia Dress.  It is well crafted to look professionally finished and stylish.

  I used a sturdy jersey knit with lots of stretch and 100% recovery.  I was actually so impressed that my local fabric store had a great weight and colour in the fabric I was hoping for (this is not always the case for this store).  I selected a midnight blue colour with flecks of black with the hopes of styling this dress with boots and possibly a scarf here in Toronto for the colder weather or flats and a clutch when our family moves permanently to Florida.  

  Sarah was so gracious and sweet to work with, and responded so quickly to any questions I had during construction.  My only complaint with the pattern would be that the neck seemed rather large.  I am fairly flat chested so I have this problem a lot and felt as though I could have maybe gone down a size in  the top section.  The design is to be flowy but not too big.  Sarah took a look at the pattern and has reworked the scoop of the neck with her final release.  So, if you're worried it looks too low, it's been adjusted.

So now it's your turn!  Go ahead and grab this dress, a staple for anyone on the go wanting to look put together when really you only had 5 minutes!

Congrats Sarah on an great pattern, and thanks again for granting me the honour to help test!

The Gardenia Dress pattern can be purchased here and be sure check out her facebook page here to grab your 20% discount until Sunday, October 12th 11:59pm EST (Monday, October 13th 1:59pm AEDT).!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Gap Knock Off Project

I recently completed my first ever knock off pattern (if you missed it you can find it here) and ever since I've had the bug to try again.  Mix in a giant move from Toronto to Florida, plus immigration, plus flying between Toronto and Florida for the next 6 to 8 months and it took a little longer than hoped.  At any rate, I had a few minutes so I sat down to knock off this Checkered flannel dress from the GAP.  I loved the dress, I love the GAP, but again didn't love the price tag.  With a growing girl, I find myself purchasing an entire new wardrobe each time the weather changes therefore I need to plan carefully and stretch my dollar as far as it will go.  What I wanted was a $40 dress from the GAP, what I got was the exact same dress for $8.

Original- GAP $40

My original plan was to up-cycle a plaid shirt, but since I didn't have one already and was visiting Florida at the time, I visited Jo-Ann instead.  With a 60% off coupon in hand I found exactly what I was hoping for and was able to purchase the 2 yards I wanted for just $8 total.  I already had a zipper and a pattern used from a previous project so I had everything I needed.

To make the dress, I used a dress pattern that I have made before a know fits her well.  I used The Adelaide A-Line Dress by Seamingly Smitten.  I made a few tweaks to suit my purpose, one of which was making the arms a little bit skinnier than the original pattern,  but overall I was a great shell for what I was doing.   The neck was a little more scooped than I wanted but I was able to fix that with a small dart in the front (I should have thought about this sooner, so if you are make the neck smaller, you can use a favourite t-shirt as your guide.  I also just cut the back as a scoop mirroring the front rather than a "v".  (Total side note: I love the "V" detail on this dress when I made it for my daughter, the detail is adorable, just not what I needed for this dress). 

Another change I made was I cut the length of the dress shorter than normal (approx 14 inches, from her shoulder to hip) to add the drop waist.  To make the drop waist I cut a piece of fabric that was 8 inches long by double the width of the completed dress top.  I simply hemmed one end of waist fabric (the bottom) and sewed the two short edges together to make a circle. I then baste stitched the top to allow for sinching.  When it was sinched down to size and to my liking I attached the the skirt to the top hiding the seams on the inside and placing the seam at the back under the zipper.

The pattern I used also did not use a zipper, but I find dressing a dancing spinning 4 year old is always easier when she can step in and zip up.  While adding a zipper seems scary it was super easy.  I simply cut the back piece of the dress in half and followed this tutorial here. The video is the directions that come with a zipper when you buy it, sometimes its easier to do once you've seen it. 

This dress was super easy!  Pair it with tights or leggings, some cute boots and you have a comfy, cozy and super durable dress for cool fall days.  Add a vest and this girl's ready for the ski chalet!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

J Crew Knock Off Project

Flip this Pattern~ Heidi and Finn Colorblock Dress

I am self taught when it comes to sewing.  I learned the basics from my Nana when I was 7 or 8 when she taught me how to make an apron for my mom for Mother's day.  After not sewing for almost 20 years I picked it up again and have tried a few different projects.  I'm not perfect, but the more you sew the better you get right?

I am a huge fan of Heidi and Finn patterns, I've made them here, here, and here and I've had my eye on the Colorblock dress for a while now.  I found Frances Suzanne's linky party by chance, and decided it was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.  I bought the pattern and after making the Colorblock pattern for my nieces and spending sometime on Pinterest I decided I would "Flip this Pattern" for my oldest daughter.  I saw this J Crew Dress and fell in love with it, with two girls who are growing faster than weeds the $70 price tag was out of my budget.

 I took a look, got out my crayons (like any great sewer) and set to work.  Here's what I came up with.

Here's how I did it! 

Rather than using three colours or materials as suggested, I used white broad cloth and some chambray I had.  You could easily up-cycle an old pair of jeans for this as well if you wanted to.   Another change I made to the original pattern was that I did not continue the chambray stripe all the way to the back, I only did the stripes on the front section. To do this I just used the liner piece provided and cut 4 pieces for the back half of the dress instead of 2 as per the directions.  The final change I made was I used a size 5 pattern but used the size 4 length. Probably a terrible thing to say as a mother, but I prefer my girls dresses to be short, I think they seem more playful that way.

Before cutting the chambray for the centre section, I got out my daughters crayons and figured out my measurements.  The body length for the 4T was 11 inches long.  After measuring it out I decided I wanted my stripes to be 1 inch wide giving me 2 x 1 inch stripes at the top, 7 inches of chambray in the body, and 4 x 1 inch stripes at the bottom.    To accomplish this I needed to add 6/8 of an inch to each one inch stripe  as the pattern uses a 3/8 seam allowance. 

Once it was coloured it was time to cut.  I cut the centre section out of the chambray, then cut 2 inches off the top and 4 inches off the bottom.  I then trimmed the 2 inches down to 1 6/8 and the bottom 4 inches into 2 x 1 6/8 pieces.  I then cut three pieces of white cloth 8 ish inches by 1 6/8.  I sewed all my pieces together and ironed all the seams toward the chambray and top stitched.  This will ensure you can't see seams through your white.  Once all the pieces were together I  folded it in half, put the middle pattern piece back on, and trimmed it down to size (You will just be trimming as you started with the section mainly in tact.  From there I followed the Colorblock pattern exactly.


I wanted the belt to be 2 by 46 inches when I was all done.  I like working with 1/4 seam allowance (I think I'm the only one) so I kept this in mind while cutting my pieces.  Once all your pieces are cut, add the white and chambray to each end of your longest piece of chambray.  Fold your belt in half, sew all the way around leaving a small hole to flip it right side out.  Trim it up, flip it right side out, iron flat and then top stitch all the way around closing up your small hole. You could easy switch this around to make it longer or changer proportions but this is what I used:
  • 2 white 5 by 4 1/2 inches
  • 2 white 3 by 4 1/2 inches
  • 2 chambray 3 by 4 1/2 inches
  • 1 chambray 31 by 4 1/2 inches

It was super easy and super inexpensive!

Thanks so much to  Frances Suzanne and Heidi and Finn for the chance to sew along!  I had a great time and love my end result.  Check out what others did here.