Wednesday, September 25, 2013

stalling and sewing

and suffering, I suppose.
Sorry.  I'll stop.
But seriously.  Ahh!

Let me just tell you why I'm so lame.
Remember that time you didn't back up your hard drive for 3 months and you started working on a new pattern, and after 3 days of progress in Illustrator your computer froze on a gray screen and never came back to life? And it turns out your hard drive was mostly dead? 
That time?  Yea.  That just happened me.

The good news is, I backed up everything in June.
The bad news is, I backed up everything in June.
And the takehome lesson is....don't feel sorry for me.  This is something we all have to learn and remember.   It's so easy to just click on that little time machine every night and send stuff over to the external drive.  Doi.  It's the little things that can be hard sometimes, right?
So now my laptop is at the data extraction doctor....because 3 months of data was more than I could part with.  Have you ever gone to one of those?  The kind of extraction place that actually opens up the drive in a "clean" room with hazmat suits and junk like that?  It's kind of crazy.  I was expecting a normal computer store front with apple-y signs in a small strip mall.  Instead I pulled up to a medical building, found the company name on the lobby placard, and took the elevator to their waiting room.
And reassuring.  I have high hopes that surgery will go well.
And in a week I should be back up and running.

In the mean time, I'll just keep testing my own pattern! The First Day Dress
Thankfully I had printed one black and white copy of the semi-completed pattern (and rescued the pages from the outside trashcan.  And wiped melty chocolate cake off of the front.  Worth it)
Dude.  By the time this thing comes out you're gonna be sick of it....or itching for it.  But I really think you're going to like it!
And thank you for the input on the pattern name!   You talked me into keeping it as-is.  Because the First Day of anything deserves a special Dress or Top.  Then every time you wear it, you'll remember that first day excitement all over again.   
This time around I used the pattern to make two Tops for Lucy.   
And we both loved them!...despite the fact that I sewed the sleeves on wrong.
I sewed the hem side into the armholes which makes the sleeves flare out more than they should.  But eh.  It works.  And you like it when I make mistakes, right?

I added an extra inch of length to the sleeveless version, since the gray one seems a bit short.
And finished it off with a nice lining and folded hem.
I seriously love this thing.
and hopefully you will too.
Stay tuned!

And have a great Thursday.
And don't go to bed without backing up your computer.
Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One of the teachers at Lucy's school is having a baby this week.  So the other teachers are throwing her a baby shower.  And one of them called me this weekend and asked, "can we buy a gift certificate to your site?" 
How sweet is that?  a MADE gift cert?
I wish I offered that!
The truth is, I just don't have time to take custom orders.  But the other truth is that yes, I love to sew....and it's fun to sew for good friends.....especially when it's a gift....and even more-so when this person already told Lucy that she wants her First Day Dress in her own size!  (hopefully she means her own non-pregnant size).

I quickly grabbed my MADE patterns and started scheming.
I thought it would be fun to sew a few items that the baby could wear over a 2-year span, so the handmade love never ends....well for 2 years that is.
First I made a Baby Circle Skirt.
And in case you're wondering if I can make it in a fabric other than black and white seersucker?
I think I can.  But it's hard to turn down!
Especially with hot pink elastic and a hand-dyed onesie to go along (photo below).  It's the perfect fast, easy, no-fuss newborn project.   This skirt should last for the first 6 months of her big new life.
For the next year, we have a pair of basic KID Shorts.
I love creating/selling patterns because it's so fun to share with you guys.  But I also love how much easier it makes gift-sewing for me (and you!)  Whatever size I need, it's ready.
Happy 12 months old!
And for her 2nd year of life, I had to sew the current pattern I'm working on....the First Day Dress.
(new dress name in the works)
After my recent pattern grading, I was eager to try out the size 2.  And in this bright viney print (from Joanns)...I just love it!  It's probably weird to talk about loving your own pattern.  But the more I make this dress, the more I smile each time at the result.  It's just a happy little thing.
I included a MADE postcard with washing, drying, and size instructions for each item.
And there you have it.  Four MADE pieces.
Hello little baby!   Welcome to the world.

Friday, September 6, 2013

testing, testing? 1, 2, shorts!

One of my favorite aspects of pattern-making is enlisting pattern testers to try it all out, before it goes live.
(above: No Big Dill)
I used to dread that part because I'm antsy, and it adds more time to the overall process.  Then one day I realized how freaking awesome it was.  Sewers from various skill levels were willing to try out my pattern, give me detailed feedback about what worked, what didn't work, and how I could improve it....and then they'd take darling photos of their creations and share them online?
These women are fabulous!

And I couldn't have made the KID Shorts pattern without them.  Their suggestions were spot-on.
And their shorts are adorable. And---btw---the shorts YOU have been making are killing me in the flickr group.  I need to do a You Made it roundup as well....

(top: Craftiness is Not Optional • below: Wild Wandering and Delia Creates)
So here's a taste of what our KID Shorts testers sewed up (click their links for more photos and info).

Tiffany from Craft, Interrupted went for a pirate theme, and made an extra pair for her son (below). Love me some patriotric pirates!
Brandyn, another tester, went with summer white.  Beautiful simplicity.
Kelly Crawford of Wild Wandering made shorts from a sheet!  I want a sheet like that.  And I want shorts like that.  And maybe I want to live in Paris with Kelly and her family.  You must check out her site....all her photos are in the gorgeous locations. 
Ashley from Frances Suzanne sews mostly for her two nieces, and aren't they darling?  A whimsy summer look on the left and eek! terry cloth! on the right.  How cool is that?  I love it.  And with a matching top too.
Palak from Make it Handmade was so super helpful in this process and sewed multiple versions of the shorts, till I got the sizing just right.  I love the simple plaid on her son:
 And this photo of her daughter just makes me smile....the shorty-shorts, the ruffled top, the mint!
Jessica from A Little Gray used the pattern for their Film Petit series, to make a killer Rex Kwon Do and a Llama ensemble---a la Napoleon Dynamite.  Dude.  Check. it. out.
Jessica from Craftiness is Not Optional sewed her little shorts off here and here.  I swear she could win a speed-sewing contest.  She made about 5 or 6 pairs, for multiple birthday parties, and if you follow her on instagram, you know what I'm talking about.  She's always up to something fun!
Hola from Delia Creates!  Don't you love Delia?  Everything she makes is cool, interesting, inspiring, and really well done.  Like the gray shorts below.  Simple, yet totally profesh.  She's a professional.  I'm happy I know her.
Shannon from Little Kids Grow tried out the older kid sizes for me and gave great feedback (in her spare time between 6 kids and early pregnancy pains.  Thanks Shannon!)....and topped it off with yellow piping!  Check out her site for great sewing ideas. 
And lastly, Miss Katy made it no big dill with her signature touches, happy action shots, and all that amazing stuff that makes you want to jump into the computer screen and play at her house for an hour.  Want to meet me there for one afternoon? 
Thank you, thank you ladies for all your help and for sharing your talents with us....and your cute models too.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

one bateau • two shirts • free patterns

If I had to choose a favorite neckline it would have to be the boatneck.  It's just so feminine and classic, and looks good on almost anyone.
I've sewn a boatneck for myself, for Clara, for the dolls, and this weekend I sewed two for Lucy!
Specifically, I tried out the new pdf pattern by Wee Muses: The Bateau Neck Top
And today I'm joining her pattern tour and sharing my creations. 
Okay.  I LOVE this pattern.  Anneliese from Aesthetic Nest did such a wonderful job with it.  It's easy to follow, easy to sew, easy to add your own twists.  It's simplicity is what makes it brilliant.  It's just----lovely and cute.
It's a total go-to pattern.  I'll be sewing many more in the future!
And it works for many seasons.
Whether you're headed back to school or still hanging on to summer, there's a bateau waiting for you to sew.
This is one of those "under-an-hour" projects.  You gotta try it.
And if you've never sewn with knits, this is a great place to start. 
First I made a basic top.  It's hard to tell in the phots but the fabric is a soft interlock knit (from Joanns) sprinkled with silver specks   My instinct was to leave it plain, since sparkles are an accessory in themselves. 
But it really needed a little something more---maybe a small bite of polka dots?  Lucy approved.  How many treasures will fit in 2 x 2 inches?
This basic top came together very quickly, since the neckline is simply ironed under and sewn!  Even faster than the casing I used on Clara's.  And the sleeveless version beat them all.  Super quick. 

The tank top was Lucy's idea.  We tried on the green shirt before the sleeves were sewn-on and she asked, ooooh, is this a tank?? That's really cute.  
You're right, we should make it a tank.
And...we should probably add a bow.  A big oversized shoulder bow. 
"Mom! I look just like Lexi!"
Yes, yes.  I can't get away from the bow! 
And don't worry, I haven't forgotten about making doll patterns.  I've just put it on the back burner since so many of you showed interest in the First Day Dress....which is currently in the works.

The sleeveless version is not part of the Bateau Neck pattern instructions but it's pretty just iron the armholes under and sew them in place like you do at the neckline.  My recommendation is to iron and sew them in place before sewing the side seams.  This makes it easier all around.
Then add a big floppy accessory and you're set.
If you've never made a bow I've got a simple tutorial HERE
For this version I used knit fabric.  And the key to the shoulder bow is placement on the shirt.  Don't sew it right ON to the shoulder, but handsew it slightly below the shoulder, so it drapes more over the front of the shirt than the back.
And just like that we've got more school clothes.  Yay!  I love finding patterns and clothes that are a bit more grown-up but still appropriate and playful for kids----so that they still look like kids. 
Okay, want to try out the Bateau Neck Top Pattern??
Today we're giving away TWO copies!

• Leave a comment, that’s it.
• Only one entry per person.
• Open to anyone!
• TWO winner will be picked via
• Giveaway ends Friday 9/6/13 at 10pm (Central Time)
• Winners will be announced next week

Have a bateau-ish day!