The Maker's Tote: a pattern review

It had been a long time since I'd made a bag, much less two of the same pattern! I wanted to make a special gift for a friend, though and had pinned this Maker's Tote pattern by Noodlehead recently and I knew this was what I wanted to make. 

Luckily, my Hawaii fabric store sells a lot of Cotton & Steel prints! I picked out a few favorites and got to work. Here is how my first version, the larger option, turned out! 

I absolutely love it and what's more, I loved making it!! There was nothing frustrating about this pattern, everything fit together just like it was supposed to. This is pdf pattern and you don't even have to print and tape a bunch of pieces! She includes measurements for cutting, so you will need a rotary cutting set. And there is a template for rounding the corners. 

And the inside!! Let's admire these fab pockets, shall we??

So many great pockets! There's also a zipper pocket on the back exterior that I don't have a photo of. The purpose of this tote is obvious by the name, I think. I made my friend the large one because I think she'll use it mostly for larger projects, like quilts (it's that big!) She'll be able to tote projects around and work on them anywhere. 

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A few things to note. First, I added the little tab on the end of the zipper. The pattern calls for a separating zipper, but it's really not necessary that it separate, a normal zipper will work as long as it's long enough for the bag to still open fully. Second, the pattern calls for fusible flex foam in the interior. I don't have access to that here, didn't have time to order it, and I like to use what I have on hand anyway. I just used cotton batting. It worked fine, although I'm sure fusible flex foam is a great product. 

I made little zipper pulls from the selvedges because Cotton & Steel makes their selvedge edges too cute to scrap!  

Since I loved how this one turned out so much, I decided to get to work right away on one for myself! I chose the smaller version this time, because I want to use it for knitting and crochet projects, which are what I work out when I'm waiting at dance or golf. 

I chose another great Cotton & Steel print and then made it work with fabrics from my stash. I LOVE IT! I've used it quite a bit already and shamelessly showed it off to everyone I saw, ha! 

I used a few products making these that I think you'll find useful. (FYI these are affiliate links).

  • YYK handbag zippers. These zippers are the absolute best!!! They have come in handy time and time again and they come in beautiful colors. 
  • Babyville snap plyers and snaps. Another investment that has been well worth the money, I use these snaps on everything. Again, so many pretty colors. 
  • I can't say enough good things about sewing clips, they're so useful! Definitely used them a lot in this project. 
  • And here is that fusible flex foam that I didn't use this time, but would love to try next time.
sewing clips! 

sewing clips! 

That's all! I wasn't given this pattern or asked to review it, I just really love it! I know I'll try more Noodlehead patterns in the future because this one was such a delight to sew :) 

Oh look, I found a photo of that zipper pocket! A tad blurry, but that's ok. 

Cheers! Happy sewing :)

 

How to Sew a Scarf Shirt! A Video Tutorial

I'm so excited to have our next YouTube video tutorial up and running! Learn to make a cool shirt or cover-up out of a scarf. We plan to go to our thrift store for more scarves to play with because these are so fun and easy. 

Video Tutorial

Video Tutorial

We hope you enjoy! We are having so much fun making these videos and I hope you'll subscribe to our channel and share with your sewing friends. If you make a scarf shirt, please show me, somehow! Maybe tag me on Instagram?? I'd love it :) 

Here's the tutorial! Enjoy

Sewn Valentines

Happy Valentines Day! We had a couple Valentine themed sewing classes this past weekend and even though my Valentine is two oceans away, I still love getting in the spirit! 

I always plan two projects for my three hour classes, one more time consuming one and one for the extra time we may have. I thought sewing felt hearts onto actual paper cards would be fun for our extra time project and my students really got into it! 

Here are some samples I made:

Sewn Valentines

Sewn Valentines

I had some heart patterns from our bigger project and I also got a few stamp phrases and ink pads out for them to use, plus a couple letter sets so they could make their own words. 

All the girls got so creative with these! 

Our main project for this class, though was Valentines zipper pouches, using this tutorial on The Polka-Dot Chair.  Zippers and boxed corners were new techniques for them and they did such a great job! 

Notice both Leah's headband and her t-shirt tassel on her pouch, both things she made using our YouTube video tutorials! Aw :) 

These were a really fun project and I always love how differently everyone's turns out! Kids are so creative. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! :)

Weekday Sewing & Why I Love Jalie Patterns!

I've been parenting solo for about three weeks and have about the same left to go. My mother-in-law visited us this past week, which was an awesome break up of the time Casey's gone. It was nice to have some adult company and we even took a break from school and homeschool co op while she was here, which was also nice. My sewing machine was happy to see me back yesterday, though! 

I was being a little short on patience with my kids and knew I was craving time alone in my own head and that it would help to put my ear buds in and sew and nicely ask them to not ask any questions of me unless someone was dying, for at least two hours. It worked, I felt a ton better after that and have this AWESOME shirt to show for it! 

Jalie hooded tee

Jalie hooded tee

I had the girls snap some pics for me during Kelby's golf lesson today. Sorry to my winter friends who hate me for my palm trees. 

The pattern is the Jalie hooded tunics and tees. As usual with Jalie patterns, I absolutely love this and will get a ton of use out of it! I bought the pdf and taped. I don't mind the taping process, I think it's kinda fun. The fabric is an amazing French terry from Girl Charlee. After making a dress and a skirt from French Terry recently (which I just realized I haven't blogged about!), I had to get my hands on some more French terry and I really loved this print. It's actually darker gray than it looks in these photos, more on the charcoal side.

Jalie hooded tee

Jalie hooded tee

Jalie hooded tee

Jalie hooded tee

This is my second completed project that is on my  2017 Make Nine to-sew list! I do like having that list made, because when I'm looking at what to sew next, it's a good reminder that there are things I really need in my wardrobe and patterns I've been wanting to try. 

Let me just rave about Jalie's sizing real quick! You cannot beat the accuracy, my measurements fell right into one size AND it's the size that corresponds to my ready to wear size according to their chart! And this top fits me absolutely perfectly. ALSO, their pattern include the sizing for children up to adult, so I can use the same pattern to make my girls some tops without having to purchase another pattern in their size. Awesome. 

I have plans for another version of this, but long sleeved. Maybe out of this sweatshirt fleece? I also think the tunic length will be cool in colder climates after we move, with leggings!

Can't wait! Before I go, Layla snapped this photo of a cardinal at golf today! So pretty. 

Soft Headband Tutorial

Our newest video tutorial is up! Layla and I are going to show you how to make soft headbands in any size.

How to Sew a Soft Headband

We hope you're enjoying these tutorials and if so, that you'll subscribe to our channel and share with your sewing friends. Part of the reason we started the Pin, Cut, Sew YouTube channel is because there just isn't a whole lot out there specifically directed at kids who want to sew. I know many of my local sewing students have been watching our videos and trying the ideas, so that alone makes the effort worth it! But these tutorials are also good for adults, I really try to span the ages :) 

Enjoy! 

My girls are really loving these and they're sooo easy. I hope if you make some, you'll show me by commenting here or on YouTube or tagging me on Instagram! I would truly love to see. 

How to sew a baby bib (a beginner friendly tutorial)

I made some little baby bibs for a baby shower recently and decided to make a video tutorial, as beginner friendly as I could make it, showing others how to make them too! I've included a free pattern if you scroll down, AND I've shown you in the video how to adjust this pattern to any size! 

HOw to sew a simple baby bib. Free pattern and video tutorial

HOw to sew a simple baby bib. Free pattern and video tutorial

I've been making these for many years, I'm pretty sure I traced a baby bib I had at the time for this pattern. They make great little gifts and they're so easy! A few links to supplies I refer to in the video (these are affiliate links and while I wasn't paid to recommend them, I truly love and use these items and do earn a small percentage should you purchase them through these links). 

Wonder Clips! These are awesome, I use them all the time, wish I'd had them sooner. 

The Babyville snap plyers

And the snaps. These come in all kinds of great colors, but also in white. 

So, without further ado, here's the video tutorial! Enjoy :) 

And here is the free pattern. Just click, save to your desktop and print. Be sure and click "fill page" on your printer settings, otherwise it may print a bit too small, because printers like to add borders and this pattern took up the whole page from edge to edge! 

If you can think of other baby item tutorials, you'd like to see video tutorials on, will you let me know in the comments? And if you make some bibs using this pattern, I'd love to see them! 

Do You Dream Board?

So my husband will be gone for the next six weeks and I was pondering this morning how I can make sure we don't slip into the survival mode mom and kids that we sometimes do when he leaves and I'm parenting alone ... the kids who spend too much time on YouTube and Minecraft and the mom who allows it because she's wiped ... have you met that mom? Yeah, that's us if I'm not careful. 

So I'm going to make the meals, not order the pizza. That kinda thing. 

I had a lightbulb moment and thought it would be fun for the kids to make Dream Boards, or Vision Boards, if you will, to try and pinpoint some goals they have and maybe next time they're board or playing Super Mario, they can instead ask themselves, "Is there something else I could do?" They loved this idea and we go to work. We got out file folders, magazines, scrap paper and Sharpies. 

What I didn't expect is how much fun and eye opening this activity would be FOR ME. I'll get to why in just a minute, but first, here's my finished dream board: 

It's not fancy. And these aren't goals with any specific time frame, although I feel like they're mostly things that I'd like to accomplish within the year. 

I'd like to read ten biographies this year, and this is the part when I tell you why this was eye opening for me. Today I took the kids to the pool and we had the place to ourselves (homeschool perks) and I was reading while they played. I was finishing up The Magnolia Story. Sometimes I feel like my time would be better spent getting things accomplished at home than sitting by the pool, but reading that book while there, after just having finished this dream board, reminded me that I was actually doing something in that moment that fit into a goal I had. It was not a waste of time! And, in those moments when I really am wasting time, it will hopefully be a reminder to me that I could be utilizing that time to do something that meets a goal I have, even if it's just reading.

Here are a few closer looks: 

And to explain a few things: 

  • I'm trying to memorize the book of Ephesians. I'm slow at memorizing! But there's an app called Verses. So helpful! 
  • I'm doing the 28 day barre program on SuzanneBowen.com. Love her!! I've been taking an adult ballet class for several months, and can tell I've improved a lot since starting her program at home.
  • I want to find ways to serve Casey in little ways. Like taking the trash cans to the curb sometimes. Because yeah, that's a guy's job, but I can do it and bless him in the process. Or maybe not sigh when he asks me to iron his Class B pants. Ha! 
  • I have goals for my home sewing class business and also for monetizing this blog and my YouTube channel that require some specific online actions and I'm working on those steadily. It's important to me that that growth happen in an authentic and honest way, which makes growth slower, but I'm fine with that. 

The rest is pretty self explanatory. But here are the kids'! They each turned out so differently. They really had a lot of fun with this, I highly recommend you try it with your kids! 

Natalie's:

This is Layla's. She really loves Nerdy Nummies on YouTube so I encouraged her to start trying some of the recipes. She wants to save for the book and we're going to gather some cake supplies to get her started. Also, she means memorize the books of the Old Testament, not the entire Old Testament, haha. 

Annnnd Kelby's. His makes me laugh, I think it's so cute. You can see today he's very into Meccano. Yesterday this dream board could have been all about Legos and tomorrow it could be about Minecraft. But, today it's Meccano. And golf. He has a golf goal, so he gave one robot a club and ball. 

Have you made a dream board? Is this something you would try? I think it's the visual person's spreadsheet, HAHA! If you do this yearly, or regularly, or just for business, or spiritual goals, or if you try it with your kids, I would love to hear about it! 

Archer Shirt and thoughts on Indie Patterns

I don't buy indie sewing patterns very often, not on principle, but mostly because I tend towards getting more for my money and the Big 4 pattern companies are so, so cheap. However, my wardrobe has become quite small, as I gravitate towards items that are lasting, timeless and that I will wear over and over. Something has shifted in my style and my closet and I have less these days, but wear what I have more often. And I love it ALL. I don't keep things I don't love (I let the kids cut them up, ha!) 

Anyway, I committed to the 2017 Make Nine challenge and purposefully chose nine indie patterns that are basics and hopefully that I can sew over and over again. I started with the Grainline Archer. Before I launch into my thoughts on the pattern (I had issues!), here is my end result, which I really do love. 

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I've had this great plaid fabric for over a year, knowing I wanted to make a long sleeved button down, but not really needing one here in Hawaii. Now that we're moving back to the mainland soon, I thought it was a perfect time to make it happen. I also love that I can use this here in place of a cardigan or sweater (because, you know humid states and their air conditioning). 

You can read my entire review of this on pattern review, but let me just tell you that I had some issues. First, the sizing chart is not accurate. My measurements fell right into the size 10, but I ended up taking a full inch out of the shoulders AND a full inch out of both side/sleeve seams! It was huge. Also, the instructions on this pattern are severely lacking. I had to look up the sewalong on the Grainline blog to figure out the placket application, only to find out it's the same application I've always used with other button down patterns, just horribly explained. The instructions have very few pictures and the wording is just confusing. I have made many button down shirts, but if I hadn't, or if I were a beginner, these instructions would have been seriously frustrating. I didn't even use the instructions after that, I just did it how I know to do it and it looks great. But somehow I doubt they got better. I'm not sure why no one is talking about these poorly written instructions. 

So, my question for you is: Do you think we give indie designers more of a pass because they have faces and are real people who might see what we have to say and be hurt? What are you thoughts on this? I feel bad even asking this and posting these semi-negative points, so I think I've answered my own question. 

That said, in the end, now that I have the fit right, I will make more.  I already have another one planned. But first, I have eight other patterns I'm committed to making this year! Here is my Make Nine list:

  1. The Kelly Anorak Jacket. Moving to Utah will mean I really need to beef up my outerwear collection and I really love this pattern! I intend to hunt for the perfect fabric soon. 
  2. Style Arc Rae Tunic. Looking at this again, I think it might get replaced. Haha. Not sure what I was thinking that day.
  3. Style Arc Josie Hoodie. I'm seeing this in a French Terry! 
  4. Wonder Unders. I need some good slips in my life and this pattern is versatile so I think I'll get a lot of mileage out of it. Looking for a good silk and a silk jersey for slips! 
  5. Archer Shirt. Check! 
  6. Morris Blazer
  7. Knotmaste yoga set. Love those pants! 
  8. Jalie Hooded Tunic. I've had great luck with Jalie Patterns. I'd do this in a French Terry.
  9. Sew Over It Heather Dress. This dress will fit my lifestyle nicely, I think. I enjoy her Youtube channel and I'm eager to try one of her patterns. 

You can find many, many other lists like this by searching the #2017MakeNine hashtag on Instagram! It's fun to take on a challenge like this. I don't usually plan my sewing, but now that sewing is also my business in many ways, I'm finding it's neccessary to schedule in my personal projects, which are really what I love sewing the most! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

DIY t-shirt tassel tutorial

A new tutorial is up on the Pin, Cut, Sew YouTube channel and this one contains plenty of family antics as I teach my girls to make cute tassels with their old t-shirts. Tune in and please subscribe to our channel!! I'm discovering there is a whole world of sewing vloggers out there that I didn't even know about! I plan to create a blog post about some of my favorites in the near future. Until then, enjoy making some t-shirt tassels and then tell me, which kinds of sewing projects would you like to see a video tutorial of? 

Cheers and happy sewing! :)

Textured t-shirt Technique and YouTube announcement!

Pin, Cut, Sew is on YouTube, you guys!!! I'm so excited, making videos is suuuuper fun. I had so many ideas when I was trying to get started and I found it helpful to write down a few purpose sentences to help myself focus. Here's what I came up with: 

At Pin, Cut, Sew Studio, we believe:

  • Anyone can sew! Kids included. 
  • Any age is a good age to start.
  • Anyone can sew with basic equipment. 
  • Sewing is cool again! 

Please subscribe to our channel and tune in for weekly how-tos, tutorials, tips and general sewing news! My first video is a fun tutorial on making textured DIY scrappy t-shirt fabric. Enjoy! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

Upcylced t-shirt technique tutorial

Upcylced t-shirt technique tutorial

A parade of handmade gifts

I was so honored to receive several handmade Christmas gifts this year! I took some photos of them today so I could show you (and just to show them off because they're pretty darn cool!) 

My friend Jenn made me this absolutely adorable mini quilt. Isn't is GREAT!? 

She said it should serve to remind us as we move over and over again, that "home" is wherever we're together. The house is pretty irrelevant, I have learned! 

Next up, my friend Felicia took the time to make me such a thoughtful gift! She made a little cork board for us to use as a prayer board: 

And then added these prayer cards from notconsumed.com, which she couldn't have known I've been wanting to order myself! I would really love to focus on prayer this coming year, it's the only New Year's goal I've come up with so far and I think these will be a great asset as we incorporate more prayer into our homeschool and our family life. 

Lastly, my very talented sister sent me a gift that I LOVE. She is a super talented water color painter and she created a beautiful set of Scriptures to be clipped to a clip board AND several smaller verses to stick around my house (anyone else have Bible verse index cards plastered all over their walls? These are so much prettier). 

So beautiful!! I know how special it is to receive handmade gifts and I feel so honored to have received such beautifully and carefully crafted things. 

Did you get any handmade things for Christmas? 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! :)

A Christmas Day Dress for Me! Butterick 5706

For at least four years in a row, I have worn the same black lace top to Christmas service, so since I had the time this year, I decided to make myself a new dress! I pulled out a pretty black lace that my mom gave me and a pretty lining color that another friend gave me (thank you, Megan!) and got busy making Butterick 5706

Butterick 5706

Butterick 5706

I spent extra time on the fit and I tried a hand picked zipper for the first time. I am the worst at zipper application! I do better with invisible zippers, but this dress had too much bulk for that and since there were stripes involved in the lace, I hand picked it and it turned out great. My best zipper ever! Here is a good tutorial for the hand picked zipper. 

Butterick 5706

Butterick 5706

I think I achieved a nice fit and I felt great in at church on Christmas Day! I'm not sure how much I'll be able to wear it because things are so casual here, even at church, but I'm still glad I took the time to make something nice and it's good to have something sophisticated like this in my wardrobe. One of my Instagram friends suggested that this will work great in colder weather with tights and boots and a cardigan when we move from Hawaii, which happens to be in six months, when the Army life will be taking us to the Salt Lake City area! Any tips from Utah dwellers on the area? 

Do you find it worthwhile to take the time to sew nice things that you may not get a lot of chances to wear? 

Props to my photographer Layla and our furry assistant. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing :) 

 

Sewing is for boys too!

I had the pleasure of having a pair of brothers in my Christmas stocking sewing class last week! This isn't the first time I've had boys and of course I've taught my own son too and every so often we plan a class that Kelby really wants to join in on, like the emoji pillows (click here for my free templates for those!) . He made several of those, he loved it! We also designed a Minecraft Creeper pillow for the only boy in one class. I should really do a tutorial on that. 

These boys chose some great hunting fabrics for their stockings and they turned out so cool! 

While we were sewing, their mom mentioned something about there not being a lot out there to inspire boys to sew, so I set out to hunt some resources down! I had recently discovered the Man Sewing YouTube channel, so I promptly told her about that. Here's an example of some of the cool stuff he teaches you how to make: 

Beyond that, I really couldn't find much at all geared toward boys and sewing!! Plenty out there for women to sew for their boys, but that's not what we want this time. I guess I need to get cracking on that Creeper Pillow tutorial! 

But, I still want to help, so I'll tell you some of the things Kelby has enjoyed sewing or would like to sew. 

First up, he loves his handmade pillow cases and really likes picking out fun fabrics and even made one himself. 

These are especially fun for boys if you check out all the awesome licensed prints out there, like these Star Wars fabrics at JoAnn! Casey actually has one I made him from this print (that's right, I make my husband cool pillow cases and allow them on our bed): 

One time we used an old t-shirt of Casey's and Kelby and I collaborated on a little t-shirt tote bag for him. He loves it and calls it his gamer bag because the shirt had a bunch of gaming controllers on it. Here he is working on it. I can't find the finished project photo, darnit!

Boys also like these name buntings. They are so customizable if you just change up the fabrics. I had a boy at class who chose an Army fabric for his and it turned out super cool. 

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And here's Kelby's out of that same Star Wars fabric!

There are endless things for boys to sew if they think outside what the fabrics in the tutorials and patterns may be geared toward. Drawstring bags from cool t-shirts, blankets from Superhero prints, wallets, tote bags, dress-up capes, Harry Potter scarves, pajama pants, and of course, they could make gifts for all the ladies in their lives ;) 

I'll leave you with the precious video that had me in tears! I love it so much. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

Sewing Doll Clothes With Commercial Patterns

Well hellloooo and how are you? I make no excuses for absence because my busyness has been very much sewing related! I'm working on photos to show you of the costumes I worked on for the dance production, so stay tuned. The show is amazing, by the way! If you're local, you should go see Creation this weekend! 

Anywho. Last weekend, my son started golf lessons so the girls and I took advantage of the girl time to pull out some doll clothes patterns and sew! This was their first time using real patterns, so they were excited. 

They chose a fun romper pattern and they turned out super cute. 

I have so much fun sewing with them and I have a couple tips to share if you have trouble getting up the courage to sew with your kids. First, be patient!! Sewing with kids requires a lot of patience. If you get frustrated with them, it really sucks the fun out of it for everyone. Sometimes it's hard to get in the mood to sew with kids. It qualifies as what we in the sewing community call "unselfish sewing", but it's always fun and rewarding once you get started. I find it really helps if we set aside a time with a specific project planned. I love to sew with my kids when we have planned on doing it, but don't love dropping everything when they feel like sewing on a whim. This realization has helped us a ton. Second, if they're struggling with a part, offer to do it for them. Yep, I said it. Don't get so caught up in it being a "sewing lesson" that you make them do it all themselves, even if they're frustrated. They'll get there, and will be able to do more and more on their own each time. 

Back to doll clothes! I love the Big 4 pattern companies for doll clothes patterns. They go on sale for so little money and come with so many great little pieces on each pattern. For these rompers we used Simplicity 8191. 

Simplicity's American Girl line has soooo many cute choices. We also have this one, which is in Natalie's to-sew pile: 

Today we were at Target and the girls spotted this Our Generation sewing set in the doll aisle. Oh my goodness, I LOVE it! I wish there were a good reason for me to buy it for myself, ha! (affiliate link). 

Are you sewing any doll clothes for Christmas stockings?? 

 

Felt Food: Resources and Inspo

I've been a little quiet here, but trust me when I tell you it is not because I haven't been sewing. Quite the opposite! If you know me at all, you know I love sewing costumes, it's my absolute favorite. Not only is it Halloween month, our dance studio is busy preparing for an original production called Creation and I have been tasked with many of the more complicated and bizarre sewing projects for that. So, in the last month I have made, partially made or altered: a sloth, five iguanas, five monkeys, two trees, an angel, a dragonite Pokemon and a peacock. Whew! And it has be SO FUN! I love sewing wild weird projects with uncommon fabrics. 

I'll have photos of the costumes later on, but today I want to inspire you in the felt food department. In September's sewing class, we spent a whole class making felt food and it was definitely one of the most fun projects to date. 

I scoured Pinterest for ideas that were simple enough for the kids to make and this pattern pack by AliboopBoutique on Etsy was exactly what I needed. 

Photo and Patterns by AliboopBoutique on Etsy

Photo and Patterns by AliboopBoutique on Etsy

We made the breakfast foods and the juice pouch, and the brown "paper" lunch sack. We had intended to make the popsicles, but I forgot to buy popsicle sticks, oops! My kids continued to both make food and play diner for several days after that class, it was so fun. 

Pinterest has wealth of ideas for felt play food! I have an entire board dedicated to it, which you can find here. Play food is one of those toys that my own kids and their friends never seem to grow tired of or too old for. Don't you love toys that have that kind of longevity? I think this makes felt food worth the effort to make for the little ones in your life. 

I think for Christmas I'd like to make this amazing movie food set for my kids, since movie theater is another one of those games that they never tire of. This pattern can be bought from BuggaBugs on Etsy

Photo and pattern by buggabugs on Etsy. 

Photo and pattern by buggabugs on Etsy. 

As for supplies, here are my recommendations. While for class we used regular felt sheets from the craft store, we have in the past used this thicker sort of felt for these kinds of projects. You can buy this big stack on Amazon. These sheets are sturdier and will hold up better over time, while pilling less. 

There are some pretty great books out there for making felt food too! Click on the images to purchase from Amazon. 

And how cute is this!? This would be an amazing gift for the little sewer in your life. 

And of course, if you'd prefer your felt food already sewn together, there's always Melissa & Doug, ha! 

Or this cool set! 

I hope you're inspired! I know I am. So many great ideas. 

Cheers and Happy Sewing! 

Nikki 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that while I am not paid to recommend these products to you, I do earn a small amount when you purchase them, which helps me keep this side gig going :) 

 

 

Costume Throwbacks

October is a very busy sewing month for me! As always, I have costumes planned for the kids (and hopefully there's time to make myself one too, fingers crossed), but I also volunteered my sewing skills to our dance studio, as they prepare for an original production in November/December. It's a good thing that sewing costumes is my FAVORITE!

Tomorrow I have a monkey tail tutorial to share with you ... you know, in case you ever need to make one. And in the works are an angel costume, a Pokemon Dragonite costume and a peacock costume, but those are all in progress. 

I got to looking through old blog photos, though and pulled these gems to reminisce about past years of handmade costumes. *sigh* looking at old photos of my little kids gets me all weepy, haha. 

I'll start with one of my all-time favorites, Buzz Lightyear! I didn't use a pattern for this (other than the hat). Just a pair of swats, foam board for the jet pack, a pile of felt, my scissors and glue gun. And probably Gilmore Girls and a beer, ha! Oh, and puff paint. 

Sweet Natalie as Belle. I used to eye roll when I found out I had to make a princess dress and now I wish they'd pick a princess dress because it's been too long since I've made one. I just can't be made happy. This pattern is out of print, but that' probably a good thing because the sizing was terrible, I had to take it in a ton. I think they replaced it with McCall's 5494.

Layla was an Egyptian princess one year. This one was fun to make, such fun fabrics! That's part of why I like sewing costumes, because I get to play with fabrics that I'd never get to otherwise. Pattern is Simplicity 2329.

Kelby was a dinosaur that same year. He loved this costume so much, he continued to wear it daily and/or as p.j.'s until finally, we moved to Hawaii, it was way too small, had holes and I was afraid he was going to sweat to death ... and I tossed it. I'm using this same pattern for his Dragonite costume this year, only I had to acquire a new pattern because I cut the bigger sizes off. Who knew I'd need it again? The pattern is Simplicity 1765.

Two years ago, my girls chose these monster girls, McCall's 6816. They were really fun to make! That was our first Hawaii halloween and it really bummed me out how much a paid for those fabrics that are super cheap at JoAnn's at the mainland. #paradiseproblems

Kelby was The Flash that year. I'm not sure I used a pattern for this, I think I made it up on the fly. Or should I say, on the flash. Hehehe, I crack myself up. 

I absolutely loved Layla in this Merida costume. This was our Virginia Halloween and we had the prettiest woods behind our houses, which made the photo shoot extra fun. The pattern is McCall's 1557 and I've actually used the cloak pattern included here many times. Costumes, birthday gifts, dress-up cloaks and a Kylo-Ren cloak for Kelby. I can make this sucker in no time flat! 

Natalie was a Renaissance Princess that year.  McCall's 6141 is out of print, it seems, but you can find it on Etsy and even Amazon. (Same cloak as above!)

And Kelby was Mario. I only made the hat (McCall's 6814), but he was adorable. Everybody said "Hey, Mario!" when they saw him, of course. 

There are more, but those are some of my favorites! Are you sewing costumes this year? What should I be? Last year I made myself a Minion costume. It was awesome. This year I'm thinking Amelia Bedelia, but I don't want to be mistaken for a plain ol' maid. Do kids all still know who Amelia Bedelia is? Mine do, but I wouldn't consider us mainstream, we're a little weird, haha. 

I'll leave you with one of my all-time favorite photos of my kids and me. I was Supermom, of course. Fake it til' you make it ;)

Pig Neck Pillow * Free Templates

I finished a great month of sewing classes today. This month's theme was softies! Our first week's projects was these awesome pig neck pillows. I saw this idea on Pinterest, but it didn't link to a tutorial or anything related to the neck pillow, actually, so I drew the pieces myself and thought I'd share them here for you. 

This isn't really a tutorial because I didn't have the foresight to take photos as I was making the sample (bad blogger, I'm sorry!) but basically, this is what you do: 
 

  1. Go over to The Crafter Gemini Creates and snag her fab neck pillow pattern and watch the tutorial if you need to. I tried several kids neck pillow patterns and this one is the best! Once you have the pattern, cut it out of your pink prints. 
  2. Print my free pig part template below (just right click and save, then you can print) and cut those out of the right colors of fleece (or felt works too, but is not as soft on the neck as fleece). 
  3. Stitch the face pieces in place on one neck pillow piece. Assemble the ears and baste those onto the top where you want them (facing down so that they'll poke up when you turn it right side out. 
  4. Stitch the front and back together, right sides together, leaving an opening for turning. Clip inner curves to stitching.
  5. Turn, stuff and hand sew your opening closed. 

There are my super lame-o picture-less instructions. Note to self, always photograph the process ;) 

Free Pig Neck Pillow Pattern by Pin, cut, Sew Studio

Free Pig Neck Pillow Pattern by Pin, cut, Sew Studio

My students really enjoyed making these pillows! I think they would make great gifts and you could really get creative with different animals or funny monsters. 

I hope you can make use of this idea! If you do, I'd love to see it, especially if you make some with the kiddos in your life. 

Cheers and happy sewing!

Nikki

Hidden Gem, McCall's 7472

I know I'm not the only seamstress out there who feels like it's Christmas every time new patterns are released as the seasons change, right? I remember last year I hardly bought any from the Fall lines, just because I live in Hawaii and didn't see much that would work for my weather, but this year, I bought several when they went on sale! 

A hidden gem in the new McCall's line was 7472, which I would have just glanced right over and probably did several times, until I noticed view B! 

I got so excited about a short sleeved button down with raglan sleeves! I've seen a few around in ready to wear and have been hoping to find a pattern similar. Here is my first version:

I'm really liking this top a lot, I've already worn it a couple of times. It's fitted, but loose, if that's even possible, and the lightweight cotton voile makes it that much more dreamy in my tropical climate.

The only adjustment I made was to sew the side slits closed about another inch. Didn't want to show any stretch marks, I mean skin, ha! I think next time I'll take the sides in a little too and possibly shorten by one inch. But I'm gonna leave this one alone, it's just so cool! It's been hot and muggy here, can you tell by how often I'm mentioning the coolness of this shirt? 

Incidentally, I made this skirt too, it's a favorite, I've gotten lots of wear out of it. 

I've already planned another version of this pattern out of a dark gray rayon with yellow lace pockets! Can't wait. 

Cheers :)

DIY Emoji Pillow, Free Templates

It's been about a month since I had an emoji pillow sewing class for kids and my own emoji pillow is sitting on my bed, making me laugh on a daily basis, so I thought it would be a shame not to share the templates I made for the class so you can make your own! 

I'm pretty sure this is what expression is in my mind, if not on my face, most of the time these days. 

This is not an official tutorial, but I'll give you the basics. I made a circular pattern that was 15" in diameter, using the old string taped to a pencil method. Then, we cut and arranged all our pieces and appliqued them on with a zig-zag stitch. We didn't use any fusible web or anything, but a regular old glue stick can help the pieces stay in place a little better than pins can. I use this trick a lot in my kids' classes! 

Here are the templates we drew! With any luck, you should be able to right click, save and print. They're not perfectly drawn, hence the free price tag, ha! 

Of course there are many more emojis you could make! We freehanded several other pieces, but these are the most common. 

I didn't manage to take many photos during this class (things get crazy!) but here are a few pics of my students working on their pillows. 

Kelby got in on the fun this class. It's my "policy" to always allow my own kids to sew with my classes if they want to, even if I'm totally full. Natalie joins us almost every time, Layla about half and Kelby a little less than her. He got really excited about these pillows and even made a few more after the class was over. 

We had enough time to make some mini versions too. Kids gets so creative, I just love it. The mini versions would make great ornaments that kids could give as Christmas gifts if they wanted to, just add a ribbon to hang! 

If you use my templates, I'd love to hear about it! 

Cheers and Happy Sewing :)

 

I entered the Pattern Review Sewing Bee!

Patternreview.com is having their own version of the Great British Sewing Bee again this year (if you haven't heard of the Great British Sewing Bee, run, don't walk, to YouTube and binge watch, you will love it!) I didn't enter last year because I didn't feel like I had time to participate, but this year when the first challenge (shorts or capris with a closure) was announced, I knew I could fit that in. It doesn't hurt that I can always use more shorts living here AND that I wanted the chance to perfect a shorts pattern. 

Here is what I entered into round one:

I used the Chi-Town Chinos pattern by Alina Design Co. I love supporting a fellow military spouse and that is made super easy when she produces such a stellar pattern! For reals, I love this pattern. 

I don't have a lot of fabric options at my local store here, but I went in hopeful that I'd find something. I didn't want to use denim for this pair, but I wasn't liking any of the cotton twill colors. I settled on this linen. In the store, I thought it was black. In the car, I decided it was more of a charcoal. Once I made the shorts, I realized it's brown. But when I went outside to photograph them, it looks almost purple/brown. Ha! It's magical. 

Alina's instructions for the zipper fly are on point! I found this vintage button in my big button bin and it's perfect. 

Pattern Review will announce who gets to move on to the next round on the 13th. Fingers crossed! But, even if I don't make it, I have a great pair of shorts! 

Cheers and happy sewing :)

Sewing Bee 2016 - Round 1