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Top Stitchers Season 2: Coco Chanel


"In honor of the recent Summer Solstice,
we look to the heavens for sewing inspiration! 
Find a "star" who shares your zodiac sign,
and "recreate" (a child-appropriate version of)
one of their iconic looks."

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I am so thrilled to be back for a second season of Top Stitchers!  (Remember my Puddle Jumper entry from Season 1?)  For this season, my category was Stylist -- which Becca describes as:
Patterns are cool, fabrics are too, but to you, outfits are more than
just a sum of their parts. When you see clothes, you see settings, 
accessories, and the emotion that tie it all together. Your objective
is to utilize patterns, fabrics, model(s), props and settings to tell a
story, as inspired by your prompt.

Whoa... I dabble in photography and love thinking through details, but was I ready to delve into this challenge?!  I'll let you be the judge :)  


Eeks!  Can you stand it?!

I. can't. even.


I am a proud Leo and as I Googled, I found myself in good company.  There were several stars that would be fun to recreate, but one famous name stood out (okay, it may have jumped off the computer screen and grabbed me by the shoulders... the details are a bit fuzzy at this point).

There is no one quite like Coco Chanel.  She revolutionized the way women dress, define luxury, and has many words of wisdom.   The little black dress, the Chanel jacket, bell bottoms, Chanel No. 5... she started it all.


The Signature Chanel Jacket
Pattern: Coco Jacket by Heidi and Finn
Materials: Wool Blend Coating (outer), Black Peach Skin (Lining), 
Black Crochet Lace (Trim)  


Trousers
Pattern: Serendipity Trousers by Sewlosophy Pattern Co.  
Materials: White Wrinkle Ease Twill, Black Chain Link, Gold Buckle


Tee
Pattern: Drop Waist Diva by Little Lizard King (modified)
Material: Black Cotton/Lycra from Purple Seamstress Fabrics


Signature Quilted Black Clutch/Purse
Pattern: Self-drafted
Materials: Black Peach Skin, Black Chain Link. Gold Ribbon


Logo Mask
Pattern: Self-drafted
Materials: Black Felt, Wooden Chopstick, Paint


Shoes
Capelli New York (Purchased)


My 6 year old really dove head first into this role.  I seriously couldn't have asked for more!  She far exceeded my expectations and I think this will be one of those memories she keeps forever.  At the very least, she'll be the best dressed first grader at her elementary school... haha


Please make sure you've stopped by FREE NOTION and rate my entry! (Remember, 5 stars is the highest rating I can earn -- there are 4 categories to score: Technique, Creativity, Presentation, and Difficulty).  You can also find more in depth details for each item I made.

While you're there, check out my competitor, Sarah's entry as well!

Thank you so much for your support!!!




BLOG TOUR: Ellie Inspired Summer 2015


Ah, summertime!!!!  This year is our first official year of "summer break".  I love summer -- from the relaxing days without a schedule to the sweet little dresses designed to keep my girls as cool as possible in this humid NC heat.

What better way to kick off the summer than with participating in the Ellie Inspired Summer Blog Tour!  I've gotten the chance to participate in the last several Ellie Inspired blog tours, but this one is special.  This tour is sponsored by Riley Blake Designs -- eeks!!!!  I adore their fabric!!


So then comes the question.... which came first?  The fabric or the pattern?

I actually picked out the pattern first.  This is the Dixie Dress -- a sweet. summer frock that can be worn as a halter or criss-cross ties.  My girls love to wear dresses. especially in the hot, hot summer so I knew this would be a perfect choice.  I actually had this pattern in my stash ... hoard... er, files since the first blog tour, but somehow never got around to sewing it up.

Next came fabric!!  After speaking with the rep from Riley Blake (Hi, Julia!) and getting the list of the possible fabrics, I spent hours mulling over my decision.  Yep, I'm that indecisive.  Haha.  I had a few choices at the top of the list that were fun and whimsical (like the Sunglasses fabric or the Unicorns  -- don't tell my 6 yr old I passed those up!), but I thought I take a little fancier approach.  I kept coming back to this fabric line - La Vie Boheme and I just loved the gorgeous flowers.  It also had colorways that would compliment each girl so they could coordinate, but not be an exact copy.  I chose TEAL for my 4 year old and CREAM for my 6 year old.


I have to admit though, the teal colorway caught my eye first.  My blue-eyed blondie looks fabulous in this color!


I wanted to showcase the two different styles of ties.  This is the halter version.


And here is the criss-cross back.  At the current time, they are just tacked in with safety pins as she'll likely wear it more as a halter, but I wanted to show you both possibilities.  If you want to use this style (and permanently sewn), you'll need to have the child present during sewing so you know at what length you need to fasten the straps.


This bodice is perfect to showcase a large print or an embroidery design.
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If you've been following along for the past couple years, you've heard me talk about mixing sizes due to both of my daughters having very slim measurements for their ages.  Height-wise they are fairly average (my oldest is on the low end for her age).   This pattern contains a finished measurements chart that includes ease.  This means it will be a couple inches (typically - for woven) larger than your child's chest measurement.   This pattern has elastic in the back bodice.  Note:  The finished measurement is measured with the elastic fully stretched (so please take this into consideration).

I've sewn several dresses from Ellie Inspired for my youngest (normally a size 2 width), but when looking at the pattern piece, it looked a bit narrow at the top to me.  So I decided to try a size 4.  After bribing my 4 year old with chocolate chips for a fitting, the 4 was not quite as wide across the chest as I'd prefer, but not scandalous.  Depending on how I situated the bodice, it was either high on her neck or low under the arms, but I really didn't want to start over.  So I increased the SA across the top of the chest (essentially lowering it by 1").  I  had also tried the original bodice on my 6 year old and determined it would be perfect if I added a 1/2" in width to the center to widen the chest coverage.

After talking with Laura of EI, it was determined that my file I was sent last spring was the wrong file....  I am glad that I followed up my sizing concerns though, with the designer instead of simply thinking (and telling everyone) that the sizing is way off.  (NOTE: I have received the alternate copy and it is 1" wider in the bodice :)  )

Even my girls were shocked... haha 

The length was spot on though!  Couldn't have gotten this more perfect!

One of my favorite things about this pattern is the deep 4" blind-hem.  It gives the skirt great structure at the bottom and the blind-hem (or handstitched) is a perfect when you don't want your hem stitching to show.   If you've not yet mastered (or tried) the blind-hem, it's actually mind blowing once you wrap your brain around how you position the fabric.  It seriously makes you want to blind-hem ALL.THE.THINGS!

It's always a contest... LOL

I am so glad I went with my gut and chose the La Vie Boheme line.  I decided against using any coordinating prints as accents because I knew the main print would shine on its own.  I was also very happy to find a flower that I could fussy cut to take center stage on each bodice.  Thank you so much for this gorgeous fabric, Riley Blake!!!!  I hope you love the result as much as I do.

Important Links:





Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sew Coordinated Sewing Kit

{GUEST DESIGNER}

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June 2015 Kit



I am so excited that I was chosen to play Guest Designer this month for Sew Coordinated -- a monthly subscription sewing kit (sign up HERE) brought to you by Mama Made and Beautiful Fabrics.  As you can see, my kit was full of lots of fun and cheerful fabric that I was able to make each of my daughters the dress of their choosing and a matching headband!  I spent the better part of a day carefully laying out my pattern pieces and choosing the best layout to maximize the fabric without altering or compromising any pattern pieces.  I also divvied up the 5 included prints between the girls to best suit their personalities and coloring.  This way, they could coordinate (see what I did there?) without being identical.

... and I was literally left with mere scraps from the 3.5 yards included in my kit!


I'd say I used this kit about as well as it could be.  How about a prettier picture of the fabrics?

*NOTE: Kit is not packaged this way -- staged for photograph

Just look at these gorgeous, fun fabrics by Studio E Fabrics.  This is the Around Town by Small Factory line.  Also included in the kit are 2 buttons by La Moda, fun double-sided ribbon, thread (not photographed), and a clip-on drink holder for my sewing room!


Content details:

  • 1 yard Around Town by Small Factory -- #2941-99  (Houses)
  • 1 yard Around Town by Small Factory -- #2944-01 (Bicycles)
  • 1/2 yard Around Town by Small Factory -- #2945-28 (Dots)
  • 1/2 yard Around Town by Small Factory -- #2942-01 (Pennants)
  • 1/2 yard Around Town by Small Factory -- #2943-90 (Bricks)
  • 2 yards of double-sided pink/lime dot ribbon by Renaissance Ribbons
  • 1 spool of coordinating Gutermann Thread 
  • Clip-on drink holder
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Here's how I used it all!


My 6 year old has been begging me for a maxi dress.  I used the Annabelle Dress by Violette Fields Threads to fulfill her request.  Its chevron-pieced skirt was perfect for showcasing several prints.  Although she's 6, she's small for her age so I made her the size 4.  It's a good thing she's not any taller because the size 4 was the biggest I could squeeze out the Bicycle fabric.


I put the ribbon to good use as bodice detailing and a sash.  One of the buttons takes center stage at the top of the bodice.  I used 3 main prints in the Annabelle.  I used the Bicycle, Dots, and Pennants.  For the center of the bodice, I added a small section of the Houses.   A smidge of ric rac peeks out from her sleeves to bring the hot pink upward.  Lastly, I used a small scrap of the Pennants and a bit of hot pink FOE (fold-over-elastic) for a matching headband!


LOVE is a complete understatement for her feelings on this dress!  I chose these 3 prints for her because pink is her favorite color and being a brunette, these colors compliment her.


My 4 year old loves her twirly dresses.  I had her "go shopping" in her closet to show me what style dress she wanted me to sew.  She came back with the Bubblegum Swing Dress by Candy Castle Patterns which is an add-on to the ever-popular Bubblegum Dress.  The add-on changes the original a-line skirt to a super-twirly skirt.  Her original Bubblegum Swing is getting a bit small on her so it was time to sew up the next size.


For this dress, I chose the Houses fabric and used the Bricks as accent.  She's blonde and blue-eyed and looks fabulous in turquoises and blues.  I made a small change to the pattern and used the width of the sash from the Peppermint Swirl Dress for my wrap-around ties for a bit bigger of a statement.  For this, I chose a navy dotted swiss in my remnant box to bring out the navy of some of the rooftops and the navy in the Bricks.  I used the Sweet Grace Ruffled Headband from Snickerdoodle Stew for One Thimble (Issue 5) for her headband.  It was the perfect place to showcase her La Moda button!


~~~ Best Sisters Forever ~~~



Thank you so much, Sew Coordinated for letting me join in the fun this month!  My girls love their dresses and being sew coordinated!  I love the fact that the kit comes with plenty of fabric that neither girl gets left out.   I'm excited to see what patterns everyone else chooses to sew with their kits!

Meanwhile, I be at my {new} machine, staying hydrated now that I don't have to worry about my drink getting in the way on my sewing table.

Seriously, sign up!  You won't be disappointed!

Look below for Frequently Asked Questions!



Sew Coordinated FAQ:


  • What is Sew Coordinated? 
Sew Coordinated is a monthly kit club! Each month, there will be a brand new kit debuting with coordinating fabrics, trims, and other goodies!These kits are guaranteed to be priced lower than if you would buy all the products separately at retail prices. I am SO excited at what I have to bring you!

  • How much does it cost? 
Sew Coordinated costs $50/month shipped domestically. It will ship in a flat rate padded envelope with free delivery confirmation and insurance. If you are international, it will be $45/month + the cost of a flat rate envelope to you. If you are a member of Mama Made and Beautiful (my fabric retail shop), I am happy to include it with one of your packages!

  • How does it work? 
You can purchase Sew Coordinated as a membership subscription or on a monthly basis. If you choose to purchase on a monthly basis, you do run the risk of the kits being sold out. If you purchase a subscription, you are guaranteed the kit. Subscriptions run for a 6 month time period.

  • What is the cost of being a Sew Coordinated kit club member? 
To become a Sew Coordinated kit club member, you will be charged an initial $10 membership fee. You will be required to pay this fee within 24 hours. After paying the $10 fee, I will send you a link to subscribe to 6 months of Sew Coordinated. You will be automatically billed $50/month for the next 6 months starting immediately.

  • Why is it worth it to become a kit club member?? 
---- You will be guaranteed to get a kit! The first few months of the kit have already been purchased and I only have what I have so if you become a kit club member, you are guaranteed to get the kit during your subscription period! Your kits will come before anyone purchasing month by month!
---- You will get an extra half yard of coordinating solid fabric in your kit every month! The total retail value of this is around $30 for a 6 month subscription!
---- You will have first dibs at all sales, extra kit offerings, and insider info!
---- Because Sew Coordinated is going to be the next big thing and you want in!! There will only be a limited number of kit club subscriptions and once they are filled, you will be added to a waiting list for a subscription!


PATTERN TOUR: Bow Back Beauty by Little Kiwis Closet



I am so excited to be on Blog Hop with Little Kiwis Closet -- sharing my take on the Bow Back Beauty and I'm not talking about my daughter (see what I did there?! Haha).



The Bow Back Beauty is a jam-packed top/dress pattern that you could honestly outfit an entire gaggle of girls ranging in ages newborn through 12 without repeating the same choices.


Here's a run-down of what's included:
  • Sizes NB - 12y
  • 2 Bodice Lengths: Natural Waist and Hip Length 
  • 2 Back Options: Bow or Plain
  • Onesie Option (though 4y): Plain, Bow, or Added Skirt
  • 4 Sleeve Lengths: Sleeveless, Short, Short with Cuff, Long Sleeve
  • 5 Skirt Options: Peplum, Dress, Hi-lo, Double Peplum, Peplum + Skirt
  • Pages to Print: 44 total (TIP: Follow the included print chart to print only the pages you need)
  • Tutorial Style: Thorough instructions, broken into steps with actual color photos - easy to follow
  • Charts included: Fabric (metric and imperial). Printing guide. Sizing chart, Binding cutting chart (metric and imperial)
  • Designed for KNIT ONLY


Here are the options I chose to sew:

  • Bodice - Hip Length
  • Back - BOW (of course ;) )
  • Sleeve - Short with Cuff
  • Skirt - Peplum

My daughter is in Kindergarten and as much I wanted to sew her a sleeveless version, she would not be allowed to wear it to school as it would not follow dress code.  I figured the short sleeve with a cuff would get the most wear year round.  This outfit is actually made from 4 different women's XL tank tops from my local Walmart.  I was shopping one day and saw the hearts tank top and knew it was perfect for my daughter!

I decided to pair the Skinny Legs Leggings also by Little Kiwis Closet (reviewed HERE) with the Bow Back Beauty to complete the outfit.  Because I was upcycling tank tops, I didn't have the height needed to add the ruched panel so I modified it to a non-ruched one and added a little bow at the bottom for extra detail.


My daughter is very slim for her age (age 6) and actually measures about a size 2 in her chest (she's a whopping 35 lbs fully clothed...LOL).  Because of her height, I opted to sew her the size 4 straight and not worry about slimming each piece for her chest.  It's a tad loose, but I think the fit is very comfortable.


I'd like to think that this colorblocking was on purpose, but I realized after I cut out the front from my Walmart tank, that the imprinted sizing tag was smack dab at the top the of the neck -- whoops!  Don't cut at 1am ;)  But, colorblocking saves lots of cutting mishaps!


I also added some ruching (with clear elastic) to her sleeves just because I love how it looks (not included in the pattern).

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BREAKING NEWS: While I was in the midst of typing this post, I realized that I have actually made a mistake in construction.  ACK!!!! The horror!!!



So I'm going to take my mistake and turn it into a teachable moment so you make sure you do NOT make the same mistake.  I blame my mistake on late night sewing, coupled with trying to read the instructions on my tiny phone (in order to give my computer a break).  

In step 3, I did not overlap my bow and front bodice all the way at the shoulder.  I completely missed the fact that the bow piece had a mark as well so my neck is wider than it should be.  While the end result doesn't look horrible, it was not intended and I feel terrible that I made such a big mistake.

So, that explains why my bow is looser :)  I can't wait to sew another one -- properly.


My daughter clearly loves her new outfit ... mistakes and all.  Of course, in her eyes, it's perfect because I made it for her!

P.S. In case you were wondering, I left my skirt unhemmed :)

Important Links: 

Bow Back Beauty Pattern
(Discounted for the duration of this tour - no code needed)

Join other LKC fans for help and inspiration


How about a chance to win a copy of this pattern? 

Enter below and make a wish.... you may just be the lucky winner!





Please visit the rest of the stops for more inspiration!





TOP STITCHER: Season 1 -- April Showers Bring May Flowers




Yay!!! I am so excited to share my Top Stitcher: Season 1 entry with you today!!  I love hacking patterns to get exactly what I want and most of the time, it's pretty painless.

This was not one of those painless times.

But, as Tim Gunn (Project Runway) would say - Make it work.  As the deadline was looming, I was actually near tears -- I had no outfit and everything I was trying was ending in disaster.  For real.

Broken needles, needle pricks, losing pieces. sooooo much seam ripping.... you name it, I likely experienced it. HA!

But I foraged through and here I am.  So let's dive in!

If you missed it, I was given a prompt by the series founder (Becca DuVal of Free Notion) which gave us a foundation to build upon.

Prompt: April Showers

"April Showers bring May flowers" - but why wait a month for sunshine and blooming gardens to look fabulous?? Your child will be the most fashionable puddle-jumper there is when you hack two or more apparel* patterns to create a full rainy day ensemble. *non-outerwear patterns only - let's really challenge ourselves! 

Remember! As a Hacker contestant, your objective is to find the untapped potential in a pattern, and use it as your blank canvas to paint your masterpiece upon.



 This coat, surprisingly, came together exactly how I envisioned it.  Two years ago, I had the notion I'd sew the girls raincoats .. lol (I was apparently extremely confident/gung ho as a brand new seamstress) and well, there sat the laminate, rolled up, in a box, in the corner of my bedroom.  The laminate (Michael Miller Wide Laminate Quarter Dot Aqua) is sadly out of print. but finally got used!!!

Since I couldn't use any outerwear patterns, I had to get creative.  As I was perusing Pinterest, I came across this doll and knew that I had to make this coat!!  The structure of it, reminded me of both the Georgia Vintage (Cottage Mama) and Best Dressed Girl (Little Lizard King).



From the Georgia Vintage, I used the bodice, bodice overlay and the collar (in a size 3 which is larger than she measures, but a coat is meant to be a bit oversized).  Of course, I had to alter the pieces a bit -- I eliminated the buttons in the back and added an additional bodice overlay in its place.  I had to create an overlap in the front.  It's currently about a 2" overlap, but I purposely left the buttons off the the coat can grow with my daughter or if she has extra layers on in the fall.  As she gets bigger, I can lessen the overlap as needed.  I also rounded the collar a bit on the end so I could trim it in piping and also added a portion in the back so it would be one piece.

From the Best Dressed Girl, I needed sleeves, of course and the bodice ruffle and center side sashes were perfect!  I did widen the sleeves just slightly because I wanted them to be slightly loose with a slight gather right at the cap.  I sewed the belt right into the seams in the back where the ruffle comes down toward the waist.

Belt sewn into the ruffle seams

Of course, I had to add some details.... am I right?!


My daughter hangs her coat up at preschool so I added a little hanging loop.  I also added in my shop label and hand sewed an appliqued daisy (looks a bit nicer than her last name written quickly in Sharpie.)

I opted to line only the bodice portion.  In the week leading up to this, we had temps in the 80s already and I knew a fully lined coat would get super hot.



My plan for this portion of my entry didn't start out like this..... at all.  But, my original concept was not panning out, despite many hours of double row topstitching, ripping out stitches, etc.   The problem was, the "May Flowers" portion was this OOP Michael Miller Plain Jane Lil Daisy which I had originally ordered to make myself a purse.  Like a ninny, I ordered just 1/2 yard (2 years ago) and I had already cut into it for my original outfit.

In the end, I ended up hacking the Girls Ruffle Flip Skirt by Pattern Emporium (part of my original plan) and the Everyday Play Skirt by Little Lizard King.

I originally had just the top two tiers (using the tiers from the Girls Ruffle Flip Skirt), but added a 3rd tier with my leftover scraps to add length..  I also lengthened the waist of the Everyday Play Skirt and then folded it over in styling.  To add to the flower theme, I added cutouts to the aqua layers to mimic daisy petals.  Gathering 3 layers onto a knit waistband proved to be a bit of a challenge... especially when you realized halfway through attaching that I was sewing it inside out.  Whoops!

First time I actually let her play in the rain.... too bad she didn't enjoy herself. HA!

I had plans to also sew a tee, refashion an umbrella, add matching undies.... you know, the whole nine yards but sadly spent so much time working on my original plan that I ran out of time.  So,  in order to make the deadline, I grabbed a pair of leggings and a plain white tee, added a couple matching buttons and called it complete.  I also sewed up a couple of quick bows included in the Candy Castle Princess Dress Pattern.

No rain outfit is complete without an umbrella and rain boots.  I found an adorable ladybug umbrella at our local children's resale shop and scored boots from KMart for a great price.  I ordered vinyl monograms in an aqua glitter from Etsy (CaitlynMcDuffie's shop) --- so adorable.  Mother Nature smiled down on me and gave me rain exactly long enough for a photo shoot!





If you haven't yet, please, stop over at Pattern Revolution and score my entry -- it's a star-rating system (5 stars is the highest you can earn) and is evaluated in Technique, Creativity and Presentation.  While you're there, check out my competitor Amy's look!!!


Leave a comment and tell me which part is your favorite!

Thanks for stopping by!!!


 
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