Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Squishy and Blazers

So tonight I logged in to write and announced happily "I almost have 1000 views on my blog!" to which my darling dearest replies "is that you looking at it 900 times?" 

I tried to look mad, but it was kinda funny....

Yesterday he looked at me like I had two heads when I suggested trying the Potty Training in 3 Days thing... I think it was the idea of making up a potty song that we all sing when ANYONE goes potty that pretty much killed that idea in the house.  But imagine how fun public restrooms would be?  Especially since Inara is still on her crusade to use EVERY one in America. We could bring potty success singing to random strangers all over the Olympic Peninsula!!

So I have one great tester to share, and a mini alteration... Let's do alteration first, cause babies are cute...
This is baby G, or as I call him, Squishy, my friend's little one... (wearing an outfit I made him a while ago)
Squishy got the following Carter's outfit for Christmas from his gran, but it was a bit too big...
I had pretty much a day to size it down and I was a bit stumped on how to size down a onesie, so I asked mom and she ok-ed my making it into a shirt... but really, the outfit wasn't complete without the finishing touches..... So I added a hat.... I just used standard head measurements and took off 1 1/2" for stretch and drew it out right on the fabric hoping it looked like I pictured in my head... 

I took the waist elastic in on the pants, shortened them and added the cuff.  I took some length off of the sleeves and added cuffs, and also changed it from a onesie to a shirt... and of course the hat...  Then the next evening we were talking about not having shoes/socks that matched.... so I grabbed the Precious Boot from Precious Patterns and made these real quick and dropped them in her mailbox late that night. 

I don't keep velcro around, so I used snaps... There are some things I would change in the future with this pattern, as I'm not a big fan of the exposed seams, but they ended up cute, I thought...  And here is Squishy all dolled up... don't you LOVE those chunky cheeks!!!

Okay... and I've also been working on testing a jacket for My Little Plumcake.  The Canaan's Incredible Blazer (so named by the tester who had the most GORGEOUS jacket and her son totally rocked his photos too) was just released yesterday and is on sale for a short time more... but even if you miss the sale, this is totally worth it at full price.  While you're there pick up the Ruby Reversible Skirt and the Jack and Jill Sailor pants (these are a slim fit, so make sure you check measurements). 

So this was a totally positive testing experience.  Michelle, the owner, was very sweet and receptive to input and the jacket went through two rounds of testing to ensure it was perfect.  Here is my jacket from round one....

This one is in suedecloth with flannel lining.  We had some sleeve issues along the way.... but clearly it's a hit since he insists on wearing it for naptime.   I did a couple little things differently because I HATE slip-stitching... I left the turn-gap in the pocket on the side, so I could stitch it closed when I attached the pocket.  And, this nifty trick made me happy... I left the gap in the lining to turn the jacket, and then realized I could pull the lining out through the sleeve to sew the gap closed before I hemmed the sleeve to the lining.  Here was my entertaining moment.... topstitching tiny sleeves is hard!  But totally 100% worth it for the best look...
So after round one input is in, Michelle made some changes and called for some testers to ensure she caught everything from round one... so I decided Inara needed one of these and I totally wanted another one for Connor.
Inara's was done in Corduroy for the outside and facing and a knit interlock for the lining.  And Connor's is in Corduroy for the outside and Oooga Booga velour for the inside.  I think this is one of the reasons I love this pattern so much.... the variety of fabrics make it so versatile and it can be good for a light spring blazer or you could do it in some nice thick fabrics for winter (though it is intended to be a slim fit, so you might want to size up if you do this).  A couple testers even added to the length to make it a little longer, which looked awesome as well. 

So first, here is Inara...being... Inara... I did talk her out of a neon yellow lining... you all know how she insists on picking her own fabrics, but I thought it was a *little* bright. 

I added the Simple Skirt from Dana Made It in the Corduroy from the facing to complete Inara's look.

 And Connor being Connor....

And Connor got a quick pair of Chapsters from PetitBaby to complete Connor's outfit.  How pretty is the view in these pics??  We just went down to the waterfront in town. 

Anyways, go check out the Blazer.  I highly recommend it, and pattern group for My Little Plumcake has lots of great women there for advice and help if you need it! 

And how priceless are picture where they are BOTH smiling!!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Twirls and Trees

So I've been busy with orders and testing lately, but I wanted to update you all on both...

First, I wanted to show of this cute firefighter set... cause I love it, and I totally love these two patterns together...  The Hangout Hoodie from Peek-a-Boo and the Chapsters from PetitBebe.  There are just so many great ways to customize both.
I even included my mini shop logo on it!  Have I shown you guys my logo?  I love it... I had originally paid a gal to do it, and we were just in different universes when it came to design concepts, and the communication was really shoddy, and all in all I was just really unhappy with the drafts, so I tried to be fair about it and asked for 1/2 my money back and let her keep half for the work she had tried to do.  Anyways, I decided then to make my own... and here it is...

 And moving on...I've been busy testing some nifty patterns, yes I said nifty... Only one is out so far, so I wanted to share it because over in her Candy Castle Patterns Group there is a mini-sew along this week!

The dress is the Peppermint Swirl Dress - available now on her new website http://www.candycastlepatterns.com/

Testing this dress was so much fun, it really is sort of neat how the skirt comes together... but first... here was my fabric:

It's hard to tell, but they all sparkle.  Now, I tend to rush into patterns, so PLEASE take time to read how to lay the fabric to cut out the flounces, why you ask?  Because you need 7 of each color (if you do 2 colors), but you cannot cut the fabric if its folded... only stacked...  So what I ended up doing was tracing the pattern pieces onto one piece and then cutting out the fabric into the same size area (FQ for size 5) and stacking 4 at a time to cut).

So here are some progress shots....

This was the night before Thanksgiving... So I was baking and sewing... Connor stuck his finger into the crust :( 

HOW COOL IS THIS?  sorry, but it totally floored me to see it once I got done connecting the pieces.  Now, about 1/2 the testers just serged the pieces together, but I'm sort of skittish with my serger still, so I sewed then serged all my seams, and it really didn't seam to add too much time. 

And this is where being a tester gets sad... I was sitting on the couch, watching TV and using my handy dandy glue pen (instead of pins) to put my bias on, and this is the moment where I realized that the original estimate for how much to get was short... I was like 17" short and I had none of the same pink to make any... which did two things... made me very sad because I wanted to finish AND sent me to Joann's the next day... my first time ever Black Friday shopping...and I picked up a nice little stash, waited one person to get it cut, and was out of the store in an hour.  

So back to my dress.... Ta-Da!

The longest part of the dress was cutting out the flounces, I think.  They took at least 4 Netflix episodes of HIMYM.  After that, you'll be amazed at how fast it all comes together.  I think if I had the ability to sew uninterrupted, it would have been maybe 3ish hours?

The best part of this dress? Like the absolute best part?


We also took some time last week to go to the city tree lighting!  Where they did this thing... that I will not make jokes about, but will say the name and if you snicker than you are clearly as mature as me... it was called the "Ball Drop" and they advertised it as they would drop 300 balls into a parking lot and everyone could go rush and get their three dropped balls...  Ok, so the balls were pingpong balls dropped from this firetruck:
And they had discounts and free prizes for the local shops on them.  The kids got balsa gliders that lasted all of 10 minutes (go figure, right?), and we hung around for the tree lighting... to which Santa arrived on a motorcycle drawn sleigh where the riders all had antlers on their helmets... seriously, how cool is that?  The kids were excited to see HoHo (as my friend's little one calls him) and we almost got some decent tree pics...Sigh

Anyways, grab your Peppermint Swirl pattern and run on over to the group for the mini-sew along -- it'll be fun AND if it's cold where you are .... the sleeves are all interchangeable with the Candy Castle Princess Dress, which you should totally get too, because its gorgeous!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pants and Pants and Pants and Shorts

I had the awesome chance to test for PetitBebeCreatioNZ.  As the name implies, she's located in New Zealand.  A friend had commented that she was in the group and there was a cute pair of pants going in for testing, and I had been searching for something just a little different for the kids as winter is coming and pants can be SO BORING.  So I asked to join and volunteered to test for both Inara and Connor (there's the first plus - any pattern that I can use for both genders is awesome).
Meet the Chapsters.  Pattern available here !
What you can't see here is her complaining MOM no one wants to see my BUTT!

 This pair was the second pair I made -- they are a combo of a cool double knit and cotton woven. -- I will say this combo removes the issue that you'll have with overhang if you don't pin properly.  Pin properly?  What could that possibly mean? First, you need to see the front... Here's the first pair I made Connor as well.
We will call this the failed modelling session.  Out of like 30 pictures, this was one of the best!
So the pants are constructed by sewing the two curved pieces together, both of which are sort of cut along the bias.  This means two things... even the wovens have a little bit of stretch, so you need to be careful not to distort as you sew, and sewing two inverted curve pieces together takes a little bit of pinning.  I usually reach for my wonder clips, but this pattern is definitely easier if you pin.  Because of the curve you need to pin both ends, the mid point of the curve, and then ease the pieces together and fill in the pins.  It sounds more confusing than it is... these pants start to finish an under two hour sew... and that includes cutting, stopping to snuggle the baby, pinning, stopping to play ABC mouse, sewing, stopping for Veggietales dance party.... etc...

**point of clarification.. that includes printing/pattern piecing/cutting/sewing (and the at least 45 minutes of interruptions)

So first note, I love this pattern. The testing process was extremely thorough - the sizes were checked, adjusted, and checked again, so the fit is great on them.  Right now they are available in NB-5yrs, but she is working on grading/testing up through 12yrs.   You all know I LOVE picking out fabrics and mixing and matching, so this pattern was right up my alley.  It can be made in knits, woven, or a combo of the two.  It also has a shorts and pants version, which is good in New Zealand, since it is summer, but here the shorts version is making some great PJs for my small children who always seem to be hot.  I made a bunch of them during testing, and more afterwards, so get ready for a TON of pictures...

 Note:  These are on a cloth diaper and the fit is still great!

 I have no idea what she's doing here...the back of these is Hello  Kitty
 These were a tester size 18-24 months which my new friend Heather volunteered her crazy cute little man to model for. 

These are RUGRATS!!!  (and Flannel) but RUGRATS!  Or as Inara calls it "the baby show."  

 These are the first round of shorts, that ended up being a little too long, so they were shortened, but the kids love them and they are Wow Wow Wubbzy (thanks Megan for the fabric!)
I have since upgraded my measuring tape... (awesome right? - this one was just stuck down with double sided tape, and held up pretty well until the kids decided to cut it in like three places...)

This set is a size 3-6mo pant and a size 6mo  Peek-a-Boo Hangout Hoodie (we all know how much I love this pattern) with a lined hood.  This is for Heather's other little cutie and I LOVE how it turned out.  I've been hoarding these skulls for like a year too! 

 ANNNDD finally here are the shorts... they are like a board short length, and made super cute jammie sets for the kids.. I just did quick appliques on a couple of $2 clearance tees from Joann's.  Inara was so sad that her's didn't glow in the dark like her brother's, but she said the print was too "boyish."  So then this last week I found a pretty glow in the dark sky print that is just stars, so now she has been BEGGING for a pair, which as soon as I can get through the PILE of stuff on my cutting table that is screaming SEW ME! SEW ME! I will get right on them, lol.

Say hello to my cutting table... it is pretty useless at the moment... and my ironing bin is full of washed stuff to iron and cut...  Okay, off to get the kids to bed so I can whittle down the to-dos!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Super girl and genetic coordination.

While I'm doing some tester talk catch-up, I wanted to talk about another pattern from Candy Castle Patterns.  I love testing for Rebecca; her patterns are always so well written and incredibly cute.  I also love having patterns that have a variety of options within them.  The pattern I tested was the Candy Waltz Collection, which you can buy as one set or the separate pieces if you only need part of it... personally, the whole set is so versatile that I don't think you can go wrong by buying all of it, especially since the sizes will fit you smaller women out there!  And really, who doesn't need some crazy cute leg warmers?!?!

So while I am pretty comfortable sewing with knits, there are a couple of fabrics that make me cringe.  First of these is fleece.  Why you ask?  Because for some insane reason, every time I sew with fleece I manage to sew THROUGH my finger.... how is that even possible?  Straight through, pull the needle out, blood on my fabric.... (which is really the most upsetting part of the ordeal, right?).  So when I was reading through the suggested fabrics for the top and saw fleece, I shuddered a little, but then by some twist of fate, when I went to the store, they didn't have the color I needed in fleece, so I decided on micro fleece.  In case you were curious, I am MUCH better at not sewing through my finger with microfleece.

So I decided to do two different sets with this test... one that was going to sort of cater to Inara's wild side, and one to highlight the sweet femininity of the set.

So here are the two fabric piles....
Here's my sweet set... a beautiful textured purple knit for the sweater, this AWESOME voile that I got from the clearance section, and some solid pink interlock.

Okay, so I was sort of unfocused when putting this set together, but I think it came together well...  

 So, the instructions, as usual, are totally clear and easy to follow, and the fit is spot on.  Inara is a pretty standard size 5, and everything fit her so nicely.  Here's the end result for the first set....

She LOVES this outfit. I think it's cool how her hair accents the outfit.  Here is the second set...

 So I did the ties on this one in yellow FOE to coordinate with the lycra I used on the waistband and legwarmers.  And I bought the embroidery design off of Etsy and did four of them and sewed them into double sided patches... Inara ran around as "Kara Zor-El" for the rest of the day, even though it is like 45 degrees out in the pictures she refused to ruin the look with a shirt.  I will say, the combination of the lycra waistband and satin skirt was probably one of the most frustrating combinations I've done... there was definitely a bit of swearing, but it worked out in the end.

And, of course... I must leave you with a giggle... If you know me, you know I am TOTALLY uncoordinated... Do we all remember the broken ankle from the foxhole incident?  Well my totally coordinated, beautifully graceful daughter stated "I'm a ballerina! Look mom!"
Totally my kid. 
Stay tuned! I have some neat crafty stuff and a cool pair of pants to show off AND a dress!