Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Empress Shirt, Tunic and Dress - a pattern review and "bling" transfer tutorial

My oldest daughter isn't into dresses anymore. The A-line swing dress aka Lil' LDT with cowl neck from Love Notions is the only dress she is willing to consider. She does like to jump and twirl, however as all gymnasts do.
So, what's a great alternative to a twirly dress? A great peplum top, of course! When A Sparkly Baby recently came out with the Empress Dress pattern, I admit, I said "not another twirly dress!". But after testing it, I realized I was wrong!

First of all, there are so many t-shirt top, twirly circle skirt dress patterns out there. What grabbed my attention is the empire waist a-line tunic option. My daughter, wanted a "twirly" top, however.
The end result is a shirt length, peplum top with 3/4 sleeves and petal ruffle trim - perfect for spring!

I can see myself using this pattern again and again. First of all, the sizing is very generous Preemie to Size 14! I love, love when designers include all sizes and I don't have to purchase  multiple copies for my girls.
The skirt options include circle skirt, hankie hem, a-line in tunic, shirt and dress length.
Sleeves: short, 3/4, long, hemmed, ruffle, petal ruffle (my favourite!)
And, of course the ever popular hood. Definitely worth the price!
Use coupon code "EMPRESS" to save 30% on any pattern in A Sparkly Baby pattern store (I am not an affiliate, just love these patterns!)

How to make a custom Iron On (Hot Fix) Rhinestone Transfer

I used Hot Fix Trasfer Film Roll from my favourite supplier in China, you can see it here

Step 1: Print out your desired design, letter, initials, etc. Important! If your are using letters, print "mirror reflection" or flip the design horizontally in your Photo Imaging software. (mine is not flipped or mirrored.

 Step 2: Remove, but do not discard white textured backing from your hot fix transfer film

Step 3: apply the clear film to paper, sticky side up, securing on sides with masking tape.

Step 4: Bling you design! Apply your hot fix rhinestones, glass side down and glue side up.

Step 5: Cover the design with white texture backing, adhere slightly, flip over and admire!
adjust slightly if necessary, re-position rhinestones.  Oh, look, my design is flipped! That's what happens if you print out your design incorrectly!

Step 6: prepare your garment piece. Press with hot iron, find and mark horizontal and vertical center (if you want the design centered on your piece).

Step 7: center the design  on your fabric piece, film sticky side down.
Cover with 2-3 layers of cotton woven fabric and press lightly for 10 seconds.

Step 8: Flip the part over and press for 30 seconds from the wrong side to secure the rhinestones. Let cool, remove film. You are done!

What happened with my "wrong" layout? I turned it 90 degrees and pretended it spells "e.s." which works for us!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Mackinaw Coat by Designs by Call Ajaire


I definitely sew many easy, fast, comfy pieces and outfits for my kids and myself. That's how we like it. Easy on and off, easy care, great for layering knits, tops, sweatshirts, leggings.

But once in a while I love to make a structured garment. First of all, I get to "dust off" sewing skills I haven't used in a while, think of creative solutions to sewing problems and enjoy the process.

The Mackinaw Coat allowed me to do all that. First of all, the testing was fun! I've tested a few indie patterns and this designer stood out with attention to detail. Once you see the pattern, you will understand.

It was a pleasure to sew, the instructions are fantastic, and very detailed with full color illustrations.

And best of all - my daughter is very pleased with the coat! As a matter of fact, she has requested another one, black with black fur collar of course, since black goes with everything!

I made the dramatic collar version in Painting Red Rhinos baby corduroy with a fleece collar, bound buttonholes and cotton hot pink cheetah print lining.
The fit was excellent and true to size, nice shoulder definition and roomy enough through the sleeve to add insulation, if the need arises.

An adventurous beginner/intermediate sewist  would have a great time making this coat and learning new techniques. And if you want easy? Just follow the instructions, omit bound buttonholes and replace with regular buttonholes or even KAM snaps (large plastic snaps) and you are done!

Options include: dramatic or regular shawl collar, built in loop detail, sizes 12 month to 12 years for both boys and girls, buttoned belt and bound buttonholes, front pockets with optional placket.

I would love to try out a denim version as well - it would look fantastic in dark denim with lighter fleece collar, topstitching and brass jeans buttons.

Pattern Release Promo
Currently use coupon MACK15 to receive 15% off from Designs by Call Ajaire Etsy Shop though February 21st or join Designs by Call Ajaire Facebook Group for a special 25% coupon and a sew along starting February 23rd. I am planning on joining the sew-along just for fun!

Head over to Call Ajaire's Facebook Group to see fabulous versions other testers made.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Spring Sewing for girls: Adorabelle Twirl and Swirl Dress

In the last few weeks, not a day goes buy that I don't work on testing a sewing pattern for independent pattern designers.
Some of them have been released, some are in final stages and a couple don't even have a release date yet.
This also gives me an opportunity to start on spring sewing for the girls (and the Little Tornado).

I have been thinking on creating a Girl's  Clothing Capsule for Spring, but my approach is to sewing (and crafts in general) is so organic that I don't think I'll stick to strict pattern/design guidelines in my capsule. Also, my younger daughter is still at this age, where I can get away
with fun, bright prints and colors.

One of the patterns I tested this week was an "Adorabelle Twirl and Swirl Dress"  by Pickle Toes Patterns. This one was fun to make! It has so many options, ruffles, the very popular Pixie Hood, short or long sleeves, flutter sleeves or sleeveless, Peplum top, tunic or dress length, plain front, or panel front, with or without pockets, and I sizing 12m-12T.
I love that designers are creating versatile patterns, with so many options and possible combinations. Thinking of capsules, patterns like this can be used to create anything from a T-Shirt, Tunic, Dress, Peplum Top, Skirt and even and Undershirt.

Here is my version with bell sleeves, flutter, round neck, double twirl skirt. Go check out the designers blog for inspiration! I've seen testers make such fun garments with this pattern.

I used a panel from Peek-A-Boo, color-blocked on the sides.
Fabrics used: navy blue and yellow interlock and cotton lycra panel for front.

Daughter approves, loves the colors (what a nice departure from our usual pink-purple-lilac-fuschia-hot pink-you get the idea) color combination. makes her fly!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sewing Pattern Testing

Well, these have been busy two weeks: I tested not one, not 2, but 4 different  sewing patterns for 4 different Independent (Indie) Sewing Pattern Designers.

How does pattern testing work?
From time to time, sewing pattern designers announce a "Tester Call" - search for sewist(s) to "test" out their new pattern, following instructions completely and submit relevant feedback, pertaining to size, fit, details, instructions and cutting layout, among the rest.
The "testers" are of different skill levels and sewing backgrounds are are able offer insight and information to the designer in return for a free finished pattern, advertising exposure and sometimes, payment.
This is a great way of  learning new sewein skills and techniques as well, as the tester support groups are full of helpful information from different members as well.

So, what have I tested recently? Some of the patterns have no release date, and I can show you sneak peeks and description, but not the whole garment (at least not yet!)

Girl Coat:

This was incredibly fun, albeit an involved garment to complete.
Some of the detailing:
  • double bound buttonholes
  • full bagged lining
  • hidden pockets
  • hidden belt guide 

Here is a sneak peek of the dramatic collar version
The fabric is discontinued PPR (Painting Red Rhinos) corduroy and coordinated fleece 

Slim Fit Girls' Raglan by Hey June Handmade

This pattern has not been released yet, and I love the details and options!
There are many raglan sewing patterns on the market, but none are tailored for girls like this one:
Slim fit with waist shaping throughout, long, short or elbow sleeve options, hooded or jewel-neck, with optional sleeve stripes, rounded hem or banded. Many possibilities.
Well loved and worn repeatedly!

A Sparkly Baby Ultimate Tee Pattern
(this is the only one released as of right now)

Tons and tons of options. As far as I can tell, if you sew for kids, this is the only basic Tee pattern you need. Versatile and Unisex for sizes Premiee-14.
I am also currently testing the Candy Pocket Twirl Dress version based on the Ultimate Tee pattern.

For this tee, I used Ultimate Tee pattern, Adult T-Shirt and charcoal cotton/lycra fabric for the neck band and bottom band. I cut the sleeves, using the original sleeve hem. Very easy and quick upsycle with no hemming!

And the fourth pattern I can not mention yet, because it's in pre-testing!
So, that's what I've been busy with.
Hoping to get back to my 2016 "resolution sewing" soon.