Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Crafting Con Blog Tour: Everyday Mulan and Shang

I am SO EXCITED for this post.  Like dancing around my room, been geeking out to BBC shows while writing, singing Viral Song  in my head...  Okay, well that is pretty clear.  In case you were wondering, we are a family of nerds.  I have as many books as I do fabric, and I keep buying them, because e-books don't have that *smell* that real books do.  Inara and Connor get their names from characters on shows that we love, and if you've seen some of my tester pics, you've seen peeks of the very geeky Dr. Who and Sailor Moon tattoos...

So now that's off my chest - welcome to my post on the CraftingCon - Is My Geek Showing? - Blog Tour.  I am honored and excited to be part of this event.  It is totally up my alley, if you hadn't noticed by the ... Series of Geeky Rockstar Raglans or maybe the Zelda Inspired flailing attempt at quilting.   So when Amy and Tasha of Friends Stitched Together and Maegan and Karen of MaeandK announced their plan for this competition I knew that I had to be part of it.  And to help introduce all of the amazing themes, I have decided to introduce you all to my Disney Heroes...
CraftingCon Disney Heroes by Keep Calm and Carrion
Meet Mulan and Baby Shang (who are seriously impossible to get into a picture together).
We were going for every day wear, with some Disney flare, and I am so excited with how it all turned out.
CraftingCon Disney Heroes by Keep Calm and Carrion

For Inara's tunic I used the Harper from LittleDressPattern as my base.  I flipped the facing to the outside and used a silver piping to give it the neck detail.  I also decided to skip the elastic at the waist and used the sash to tuck in at the sides, giving it a more Mulan-like look.  I also left the ruffle off, since it is much easier to sword fight in a tunic than a dress. 

CraftingCon Disney Heroes by Keep Calm and Carrion
And then I decided that little man needed in on the geek action too.  So he got a comfy every day Shang outfit.  The pants are the Agathe and Theo Slouchy Pants from Filles a Maman and the top is the the Omigami from Opulent Monsters.  He probably could have gotten away with the 18mo in the top, but I keep secretly hoping that he's growing, lol.

CraftingCon Disney Heroes by Keep Calm and Carrion
Mulan and Shang clearly needed to train by fighting each other.  He hasn't quite learned how to outwit her all the time.  Usually he just sneaks up behind her and bashed her in the head with a Minecraft sword, so his head on attacks need work.

CraftingCon Disney Heroes by Keep Calm and Carrion
All good warriors have some team bonding time too - and these two are no different.  They go from full out war to best friends in seconds.  And they totally loved their outfits.  Everyday geekery is something we strive for around here, so this was so much fun for me to get geek them out when given a theme to work with. 

CraftingCon by Keep Calm and Carrion

My warriors also took a quick training break to tend to their garden boxes with daddy too.  Even though it rained that morning, they insist on watering their garden boxes every day.  And it was clearly more exciting than taking pictures!

Thank you so much for stopping by!  Make sure you check out the other awesome bloggers who are showing their geek off!!  And I'll be back in CraftingCon mode in August with an Avengers themed tutorial!CraftingCon Announced! {{ and}}

CraftingCon by Keep Calm and Carrion

CraftingCon by Keep Calm and Carrion

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pattern Review: Sofilantjes Summer Surprise Dress and Tunic

I am actually really excited to chat about this one.  There is something really exciting about being part of the pre-testing and testing process for a designer's first pattern.  It also give a cool glimpse into the designer and what they are like.  Annemieke of Sofilantjes is such a sweet woman.  She put so much time tweaking and re-tweaking and making sure everything was perfect with the fit on the dress.  She even added a skinny sizing to it so that it would be easy to fit for all girls.  
Summer Surprise Dress and Tunic from Sofilantjes by Keep Calm and Carrion
Inara totally loves it.  And we had this random week of gorgeous weather as a nice break from the rain, so we got some great pis to show this one off.
The details:
Available in sizes 6mo to7
Slim and Regular fit
Made for knits
Tunic or Dress Length

Sewing time: about an hour!

Summer Surprise Dress and Tunic from Sofilantjes by Keep Calm and Carrion
 The front of the dress/tunic has one pleat, which gives it a really cute, but simple detail, but the back is the awesome surprise with the dress....
Summer Surprise Dress and Tunic from Sofilantjes by Keep Calm and Carrion
Summer Surprise Dress and Tunic from Sofilantjes by Keep Calm and CarrionSummer Surprise Dress and Tunic from Sofilantjes by Keep Calm and Carrion

How cool is that??  Inara totally loves it.  The lower back stays nicely in place with the bow detail that is added to it.  I wish this came in my size! 

The binding on the dress is done using knit binding (I used ribbing for mine), BUT on the blue one, I decided to be wild and tried it with some FOE.  And it totally works.  You need to attach the bow slightly different in the back, as the FOE doesn't have the seam that the binding does, but otherwise it works perfectly.  I used a cute scalloped edged FOE which gave the dress a really sweet look.  

Summer Surprise Dress and Tunic from Sofilantjes by Keep Calm and Carrion
AND .... if you aren't sold on the dress and tunic...  If you take a couple inches off of the tunic cut line... you get a perfect shirt!

If you haven't picked up the pattern yet, run over to the Sofilantjes Craftsy Shop and grab for $6.30 while it is 30% of.  The sale ends REALLY soon.  Grab it now, and you can whip up a red/white/blue in time for Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sew-a-bration of Womanhood - Sewing for me... and someone special.

When the call went out for Women who wanted to Sew-a-brate Womanhood, I paused for a moment.  It seemed like the coolest idea, but WHAT would I sew??  So I spent a couple days reading and clicking through the Shaffer Sisters blog, and decided that I really wanted to do this!

I had all these grand designs to sew for my new Sister-In-Law or my Mother, but trying to get the men-folk in my family to communicate things in a timely manner is difficult, so I took a deep breath, put those patterns aside to sew before I go visit family next month, and stared in the mirror for a while...
Keep Calm and Carrion for Sew-a-bration of Womanhood

I've been working on losing weight lately, and its been progressing, slowly as these things do, but I still have such a hard time fitting in things, and it frustrates me sometimes.  On the plus side, some things I've made recently are already getting too big, which gave me my idea for this post..  I'm going to save some of the things I've made to still fit.. My Amy Skirt and Aspen Pants from the Greenstyle Essential Wardrobe Tour

My body... In case you were wondering - I have always had hips and a butt - it's genetic, but after two kids, those hips definitely fit the "child bearing hips" description!  I'm a bit smaller on the top, but really it generally means I spend a lot of time mashing sizes if I make dresses.  

Summer Dress by Keep Calm and Carrion
 So I saved my now too big Amy skirt by cutting off the skirt part, gathering it (I collected all the front gathers into one off center spot) and attached it to a RTW tank that I cut off at Empire length.  Then I made big 2" tucks in the gathered area to give it a sort of fun hemline.    

Greenstyle and Pickle Pudding Patterns by Keep Calm and Carrion

The Aspen's were a little easier to save - I took some off along the waist and hip on both legs, and then made them summer friendly - I cut them off in the middle of the curve along the knee area, and turned them 1" and 1" again outward to create a cuff.  And of course they paired perfectly with my Lille Racerback Tank from Greenstyle Creations.   And just for fun I threw in the new Jaqy bag from Pickle Pudding . *Releases Monday as part of the Aspiring Designers Challenge.  

And then I started to feel a little guilty...  I decided that I really wanted to sew something for someone special, and I knew JUST who do it for.  When we lived in Lacey still, Inara had the most amazing nanny.  She was kind and intelligent and had this amazing ability to connect with kids.  My totally clingy kids, both went to her the first day they met without a second thought.  Connor could say "ma-maw" before he could say Connor, and that was after only one visit.  Well next week, we are making the trip back to visit for a couple days.  The kids made her this in ceramics class.

And even though she sews as well, I wanted to make her something special to say thank you, and to let her know that even though we've lived out here for over a year, I still miss her so much, and appreciate all she did... My brilliant headstrong daughter is kind to little kids, protective of anyone smaller, gentle with animals, intelligent beyond her years... all of those qualities, I owe in part to the time she spent with DeLila.  She was like having a mother here when mine is so far away.  And yes, even at my age, some days you just want your mom. 
Jacqy from Pickle Pudding by Keep Calm and Carrion

So Inara and I sat down and picked out fabrics and sewed up the new Jaqy bag from Pickle Pudding for her - the large size, because she nannies for a new little man now, and watches her own grandkids, so she needs the room!

Jacqy  from Pickle Pudding by Keep Calm and Carrion

Goodness, thats a lot of Sew-a-brating, isn't it?  And a lot of story telling. But I had so much fun sewing for me and digging into my creative side, and reminding myself that I do love me, no matter what shape I am!  And even more fun sewing for another woman I love. 

Make sure you check out all the other awesome Sew-a-brating!

The Life Of A Compulsive Crafter | Serger Pepper | House of Estrela | sewVery | Our Busy Little Bunch

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Designer Talk: Dandelions n' Dungarees

I've decided to try something new, and once a week I am going to chat a bit about designers whose patterns I find myself going back to more than once...  And, because they are so fresh in my mind, first on my list is Dandelions n' Dungarees.

The design team behind the name totally enchants me... April (mom) and Elise (daughter) are amazing.  I love my mom and all, but I can't even imagine working with her!! I did that in high-school, and she fired me more than once.  These two though, totally encourage each other and keep each other focused, and some how they keep coming out with these beautiful patterns that each have their own flare to them.  Elise is kind of a night-owl, so when we're both up late I make her ridiculous memes to keep everyone motivated...

The first pattern I sewed from DnD (as I will now be abbreviating it as), was the Old Tyme Baseball Shirt, which is available in three size groups (Baby, Child, and Tween), so if you buy the bundle, you can totally outfit all of the kiddos.  Connor loves Curious George, and I had a couple small pieces of fabric left after making a birthday gift, and it was just enough to make him this awesome top. 
Old Tyme Baseball Shirt from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and CarrionOld Tyme BaseNall Shirt  from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and Carrion

Then came the Retro Frock (available in sizes 2T-10).  Testing this pattern with Elise gave me a new appreciation for what designers do.  I have no idea whatsoever how drafting patterns works, but when it wasn't working the way she was envisioning it, she stuck with it and we ended up with this totally awesome patterns (pockets, can we talk about how much I love pockets???)

Retro Frock  from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and CarrionRetro Frock from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and Carrion

I love the ruffled sleeve option on this one, and am definitely adding in on to my "back to school" sewing list.

And, in case you didn't know, DnD has what may be the most fantastically vintage swimsuit pattern available... The Vintage Bikini.   I was REALLY nervous about testing this one, because, well after two kids, I'm definitely not bikini material, right?  And I don't have a ton of experience sewing with swimsuit fabric, but I followed very carefully along the instructions, and I am totally in love with this pattern...  I *may* wander around my house in this, just because I can... 

Vintage Bikini Top from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and Carrion

Then there are the Baby Girl Bottoms, which is one of the most versatile patterns I've seen.  It runs sizes NB-24mo, and has 2 skirt options, bloomers, pants, shorts (all with two waist options and cuff options), and a diaper cover.  Really, all the bottoms you need for your tiny angel, all in one.  I don't have a tiny girl anymore, but I borrowed one just to make the shirred front skirt and diaper cover... and a pair of pants
Baby Girl Bottoms from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and CarrionBaby Girl Bottoms from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and Carrion

Connor was VERY concerned with making sure that Baby Katie was okay.  How adorable are these??? The diaper cover can be standalone, like I did, or it can be done attached.

I even made a little skirt for Katie's big sister too! 
Baby Girl Bottoms from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and Carrion

And most recently... <swoon>  The Ruffle Whimsy Tunic and Dress.  If you didn't know, making ruffles is not really my favorite thing... but man do they totally make this look fabulous.  I picked the tunic, because I have grand plans to make the Perfectly Pleated Pants to go with these for a stellar outfit.  I just need to find the time!

Ruffled Whimsy Tunic from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and Carrion
 Of course Inara had to choose her own fabric and out came the My Little Pony Print.  Then, miraculously, she said "mom, just make the ruffles pretty colors," and ran off to play.  So I got to pick the ruffles...  I decided on a pink variegated thread to do a rolled hem on them, just to make them a little more girly (like it wasn't girly enough??) and  I am totally thrilled with the result.
Ruffle Whimsy Tunic from Dandelions and Dungarees by Keep Calm and Carrion

That just leaves the Perfectly Pleated Pants for me to sew up, the Vintage Bikini Bottoms (give me like 15 more lbs, and I'll let you know how those go!), and the Classic Ruffle Dress I am going to pick up for my back to school list as well... So then I will have all the DnD patterns, lol.  I have a lot of patterns, from a lot of designers (if you haven't noticed), but there is something that just draws me to the classic look of all of these patterns.  I've seen some sneaks into what's coming up too, and you'll LOVE the classic feel!!

If you're still on the fence, come join the Dandelions n' Dungarees Facebook group and see all of the gorgeous creations people are making with these patterns.  You definitely want to try them out!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Muse of the Morning Pattern Review Tour

When Chrissy from Muse of the Morning posted that she was looking for bloggers to review her patterns, I jumped on it.  I really enjoy reading her cool tutorials on her blog, so I was excited to check out a new designer. (Well, new to me, not new to designing!).  *Disclaimer, I was provided the pattern for free to write this review, but all opinions are my own!

Pattern I chose: Billy Bright Eyes Snappy Tee

Snappy Tee from Muse of the Morning by Keep Calm and Carrion

The details: 
Available in sizes 3mo through 6yrs
Three sleeve options: long, short, and cuffed

Notions needs: snaps and a double needle is helpful

Sewing time: Each one took me about 45 minutes to sew.

Snappy Tee from Muse of the Morning by Keep Calm and Carrion
I started with one for Connor (size 18mo), and went with the ringer sleeves.  I used a cotton-lycra for the shirt (yummy custom from So Cheeky fabric), and a white ribbing for the neck binding and sleeve cuffs.  Connor totally loves ninja turtles, so he was super excited for this... and look at my dorky snap idea:
One for each turtle!

So, important note here...  Chrissy very clearly says how to cut the pieces so your snaps end up on the right side of the shirt... for some reason, if you're me, you read those instructions and then cut both shirts with the pattern pieces face up on the wrong side of the fabric.  The plus side?  I can now tell all of you that as long as you cut both pieces with the pattern pieces right side up and cut them on the same side of the fabric, it will still work out.

Snappy Tee from Muse of the Morning by Keep Calm and Carrion
You want me to pose??!?!  With HER???
Is it just my kids who refuse to be cooperative in photos together?  At any given time at least one of them is upset.  I was going to just make the top for Connor, but when I saw it went up into Inara's size (size 5), I decided to try it out for her as well. Of course she chose her own fabrics - she's currently really into Adventure Time, so we cut into another yummy custom (from The Fabric Igloo), and despite my suggesting pink, she chose the blue ribbing for the neck.  I did the regular short sleeves on hers as well.  Here is the only step I changed on the pattern - I decided that since Inara's sleeve holes would be decent sized, I would prefer to hem them after stitching them closed.  I think that for the tiny baby sizes, you'd be better off following the pattern as written!

Snappy Tee from Muse of The Morning by Keep Calm and Carrion

Thoughts on the pattern... I was kind of surprised that I liked the idea of snaps up in Inara's size, but she thought it was cool that she got to customize her shirt with the snap detail.  The length of the size 5 was a little long for Inara. I cut off 3" and hemmed as written.  In retrospect, I wish I had left that 3" on and stuck leggings on with it, so it was a cute tunic.  (Sometimes the good ideas come too late). 

The 18mo on Connor fits nicely too.  There is a little room to grow without it being too big.    Takeaway?  The size chart is really spot on.  It says to follow go off of chest measurement and you can adjust length if needed.  This was wise advice, and I now have two perfectly fitting tees for my kids.

Snappy Tee from Muse of The Morning by Keep Calm and Carrion

Can you see the little tag on the shirt?? That's my new thing to help the two small ones get their clothes on the right direction.  I don't put tags in their clothes usually, so sometimes they end up with shirts on backwards.... I add the little tag to the bottom front so they know that side goes on the front.  Sometimes it helps.  On a more entertaining note, she's scolding him for modelling wrong.  His response? NO!

Snappy Tee from Muse of The Morning by Keep Calm and Carrion

It's 65 and sunny out... clearly we need the umbrella prop.  I really enjoyed making these tees.  The pattern was easy to follow, with clear instructions along the way.  The pattern pieces all printed with no issues, and went together perfectly.  The sleeve options make it great for all year, and since it goes down so small I can use it for bubby gifts and my kiddos.

Now for the fun stuff...

First, go check out theFirst Day of the Tour so you can enter the AMAZING giveaway, and then scroll around the blog to check out all the other reviews.

When you decide that you're impatient like me, hop on over to the Muse of the Morning Pattern Shop, and pick up all the cute patterns -- you won't be disappointed! AND as an incentive to pick up all the ones you want... use the code BLOGTOUR30 for 30% off your purchase until the 17th of May!

Thank you for stopping by!  And thank you to Chrissy for introducing me to her lovely patterns.  Don't forget to check out all the other reviews. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hope Floats Breezy Blog Tour

Hope Floats Tunic from BebeLambs By Keep Calm and Carrion
What's that?? Over there?!  SUMMER!!  Okay, maybe not quite yet, but between days of gray and rain, we have had some lovely weather here in my tiny corner of the Pacific Northwest.  And summer means light flowy tops, sleeveless, and bright fun prints.  So I was excited to find a spot on the BebeLambs Hope Floats Blog Tour

Hope Floats Tunic from BebeLambs By Keep Calm and Carrion

The second half of this past week was gloomy, rainy, and all around blah.  So I was sort of getting panicky about where we would take pictures.  We had a great backup plan of some leftovers from Inara's Teen Beach Movie themed birthday party (inflatable palm trees, some beach toys, and flower garland things), but I REALLY wanted sunshine.
I have no idea what she's doing here, but she's clearly enjoying the sun.
The details:

Available in Sizes NB-10yrs
Tunic Length top with wide straps and straight front bodice.
Two skirt widths: basic and full
Printable bodice piece/measurements for skirts/straps
Beginner level, *will need to make a buttonhole though*
Approximate sewing time: 90 mins?  (I really need to get a timer!)

Available in the BebeLambs Etsy Shop

Okay... my take on the Hope Floats...
Hope Floats from BebeLambs by Keep Calm and Carrion
For the straps, I decided to pleat them in the middle so they would take up less of the bodice, but still look as full on the shoulders.  I also thoughy my bodice needed a little something extra... so I made a yo-yo flower and used a cute sailboat button for the center.  When sewing this on, I used a tiny flat button on the inside of the bodice to help secure it in place so it wouldn't pull on the fabric. 

The fabric has these darling little paper boats on it that I highlighted by using the same color for the bodice (both fabrics from Joann's).  And to (hopefully) tie it all together, I did my bodice topstitching in blue.

The back of the pattern is done with elastic casings, and after reading through the pattern, I decided to modify a couple things.  If you're new to my blog, my daughter has weird issues with seams (for some reason only on woven fabrics?), and so whenever possible I try to encase my seams. 
So using all the given pieces, I sewed my front and back bodice pieces, and then attached to the lining, so the seams are all enclosed.  I also decided that I wasn't confident enough in my buttonhole foot to do it through the elastic, so I did the casings slightly differently.  The size 5 calls for 3 pieces of elastic, so I did 6 channels all 3/8" wide starting from the top of the back bodice.

  I then inserted the elastic into every other channel, starting with the second one.  I like to do all my elastics at once, so I only have to stitch in the ditch once.
What this did for me was give me alternating channels that were hollow (didn't have elastic in them), so I could position my buttonholer along one of the empty channels to make my buttonhole and not worry about destroying my elastic because my buttonhole foot seems to hate me sometimes and do insane things...

So now that my bodice is all done and elasticized, I attached the two skirt pieces to each other, hemmed and gathered as the pattern calls  for and attached to my bodice... BUT, here I wanted to enase the waist seam as well, so I only attached it to the outer layer, then folded the inner later under 3/8". 

When I do these seams, I find that my glue pen is my bestie.  *Which is a nice change from my seam ripper.*  And I use it to secure the lining over the seam and then I topstitch it in place.  It's a little hard to see here, but it's all nicely hidden inside now, and Inara can wear it all day without getting upset over seams.

Hope Floats from BebeLambs by Keep Calm and Carrion
IHope Floats from BebeLambs by Keep Calm and Carrion

I really love the light summery look of the pattern, and even though we took a step outside our normal prints with this one, she loved it and decided she was the "beach princess" since she was dressed the prettiest at the beach.

 Even Connor got in on the beach fun.  He is really becoming good at the photobomb.  I think he may have found his calling.  And I just love seeing them all dolled up in their mama-made stuff.  I think I need to make her some capri's to go with the top though, since it seems to be longer than her little shorts.

The pattern is available here.  And make sure you pop back over to Lynn's Blog to check out the list of the other bloggers AND to enter to win your own free copy of the Hope Floats!  And then, join the BebeLambs Pattern Group to show off what you make and see what all everyone is making with their BebeLambs patterns!

Thanks for stopping by, and thank you to Lynn for the chance to participate in her tour!

Hope Floats from BebeLambs by Keep Calm and Carrion