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{BLOG TOUR} Desert Bloom for Riley Blake Designs

Eeek!  I was so excited to check my email to see that fabric designer, Amanda Herring {The Quilted Fish} had personally messaged me to invite me on a blog tour for her latest line now available at Riley Blake Designs.  Desert Bloom is a collection of both woven and knit fabrics inspired by her home state of Utah.  The color palate is grays, aquas and reds in a variety of blooms, poppies, and birds and more.  

Gorgeous, right?!

As I was choosing fabric, I had the hardest time deciding.  The collection has 7 woven (each in 3 colorways) and 2 knit (each in 3 colorways) designs from which to choose.  For those keeping track at home, that is 27 choices. I wanted them ALL... haha.  But, that would be greedy.  Because I honestly could not decide, I enlisted my 5 year old.  She has recently gotten very demanding opinionated about what she wants to wear so I knew I needed to include her in the process.  She was immediately drawn to the birds {Desert Bird Blue}.  Her requests were -- shirt with sleeves.  To complete her outfit, she wanted cropped, soft pants (aka knit leggings - HA!).  For the leggings we chose Desert Gray Stripe in Knit.

I wanted to make a sweet Summer top that would be both playful and meet the "needs" of my daughter.  I decided to mash the Merry bodice with Kailua Town's front curve (both by Little Lizard King).  For the skirt, I wanted a slimmer skirt so I cut one WOF and then used half for each side.  I used a deep hem to hold the structure a bit at the bottom of her tunic.

I love how cool the back will keep her this summer!

For the "soft" pants, I turned to my favorite leggings pattern, Petunia Petals by LilyGiggle (sadly, she's closed down shop).  This knit is a nice weight with a 4-way stretch and oh so soft!  It washes up nicely too!  My 5 year old's opinion: "I like them soooooo much!"

She is admiring all her birdies and they couldn't help but "tweet" throughout photos.  I think this is a win :)  My only regret is not including her older sis in this tour.  Last June, they looked so cute in coordinating La Vie Boheme dresses also by Amanda Herring {posted HERE}.

Amanda, thank you so much for inviting me on tour showcasing your gorgeous fabrics!  You have an amazing talent and I'm so glad you're able to share that with us. The goody box you sent was the sweetest thing ever!!  And yummy :D

The Quilted Fish

Riley Blake Designs

{BLOG TOUR} One Thimble - Issue No. 11

Hooray!  It's One Thimble time!!  If you're not familiar, One Thimble is a high-quality digital magazine (or e-zine) containing several (typically 10+) patterns, as well as helpful articles and mini-tutorials designed to take your sewing or business to the next level.  You'll also find exclusive coupon codes inside to many different shops!

This issue's theme is URBAN JUNGLE and I'm always amazed at the consistency of the photos and fabric selection throughout the entire e-zine.  It reads just like a real magazine (especially so if you are on a tablet).  When I browse through my issued of OT, I'm sitting in my recliner with coffee in hand and ogling all the new goodies and making mental notes on which patterns to bump to the top of my sewing list.

{Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  By purchasing through my link, I receive a small monetary compensation.)

Before I share the two patterns I selected, here's a rundown of what's included in the latest issue of One Thimble. (SOURCE: One Thimble website)

You will receive the following PDF patterns/tutorials:

– Marty Hoodie (size 1-12)
– Upton Sweater (size 12 months to 14 years)
– Adventurer Pants (size 1-12)
– Hoya Dress (size 12 months to 12 years)
– Crossover Flounce Dress (size newborn to 12 years)
– Wild Things Baby Shoes (size 1 – 5 … approximately newborn to 12-18months)
– Hood Creature Free Motion Applique
– Women’s Hoodie Vest (size xs-xxl ladies)
– Rainbow Wild Animal Cross Stitch*
– Bunny & Bear Quilt
– Felt 3D Animal Puzzle
– Roly Poly Critters

*Requires handsewing
In the e-zine you’ll find the following articles & tutorials:

– Getting sewing for boys right
– How to install double capped rivets
– Tips for getting started with upcycling
– Results of Katie’s pre-washing experiments
– How to make Quilt Block Bunting
– How to make a rag style baby quilt
– How to pattern hack the Scrappies with a rag style quilt panel
– Freezer paper stencilling
– Using Facebook groups for your creative business
– Marketing Do’s and Don’ts
– Trending fabrics and much more

With a price tag of just $25 AUD (Roughly $18 USD), the value cannot be beat.  All in all, there are 12 patterns and 26 articles.  
There are so many great patterns included that it was hard to narrow it down.  A few of the patterns are suitable more for Fall/Winter (current Australian seasons) so I will wait to make those in a couple months.  It's already quite warm here as we are finishing Spring and heading into Summer.  I decided I'd make the Hoya Dress (Little Lizard King) and try out the Felt 3-D Puzzle Animals (Felt with Love Designs).

The Hoya Dress by Little Lizard King is a button down, safari-inspired sleeveless dress (Sized 12m - 12 years).  The bodice is fully lined with all seams enclosed and following the designer's tip in the pattern, I used French seams on my skirt making the inside almost as lovely as the outside.  Two extra large pockets and shoulder tabs stand out in contrasting fabric.

This pattern is very easy to put together.  In a just a few hours time (less if you sew quickly), you will be finished!  Honestly, for me, the most time consuming part is the buttonholes.  I use my embroidery machine to sew them, but due to small embroidery field, it meant I had to rehoop for each buttonhole.  But, perfect buttonholes every single time, make it well worth the extra couple steps.

This is my daughter's 2nd Hoya Dress.  The first one has been worn several times so far! My daughter's two favorite things about this pattern are the POCKETS, and the fact that she can get it on and buttoned all by herself.

I chose the gorgeous Euro poplin in a Parrot print that had been sent to me by my dear friend Rebecca of Candy Castle Patterns.  I think I've been holding on to it for about 2 years now because I couldn't bear to cut into it! - I think this was the perfect project for it.

With my first Hoya, I used a geometric print and paistakingly matched the print across the placket.  When I started to cut this dress, I threw caution to the wind and decided not to worry about matching.  At the last second, I decided to switch my skirt fronts with each other.  I really didn't have any reason, but felt compelled to.  As I topstitched the last placket in place (the top), I was a little ticked I hadn't taken the time to see where the placket would fall and I ended up cutting off the parrots' beaks.  ACK!  So I laid the pieces in place to assess the damage and I ended up staring in disbelief.  MY FABRIC MATCHED perfectly!  Obviously, the sewing gods had seen me slacking and intervened.  I should buy a lottery ticket! HA!

For my second selection, I decided to try out the Felt 3-D Puzzle Animals by Felt with Love Designs.  Included in the pattern are 8 animals - Octopus, Alligator, Unicorn, Elephant, Rhino, Turtle, Giraffe, and Lion.

The pattern is super easy and is a great scrap-buster.  I didn't have any wool felt on hand, but Hobby Lobby does offer some stiffer sheets which I used for the centers.  I also just cut out my pattern pieces and pinned it on top of my layers and used that as a guide for sewing, in lieu of tracing onto the felt.

As I was looking through my stash of random things I've purchased at Hobby Lobby (please tell me all people do this). this glittery sheet caught my eye.  I just had to turn it into an octopus.  The only tricky part of the octopus is maneuvering all those curves.  (I need to practice a tiny bit more).

My 5 year old requested an alligator.  I decided I would add an additional outer layer of leftover knit (designed by Patty Prann Young of MODKID).  Isn't he so adorable?! 

I knew my 7 year old would be over the moon with a glittery pink unicorn.  She was so excited to meet her new friend when she came home from school.

This pattern was so much fun!  I am a preschool teacher and will definitely be making a set or two to add to my classroom.  The 3 year olds in my class next year will LOVE them! My girls wasted no time in rushing off to play with them, creating an entire story line about them being a family.  I couldn't even coax them into changing their clothes to be a bit more "picture-ready" -- I'll call that a win in the pattern column.

Of course, there are TEN additional patterns included -- and wow, what a diverse selection!  I seriously debated sewing up a Women's Hoodie Vest for this tour, but I can't decide on my fabrics (HELP -- what's in fashion?!).  I will most definitely be sneaking in a PANDA Roly Poly Critter for my 7 year old (maybe on Sew a Softie Day - July 16th) and my 5 year old would adore a FROG quilt from the Bear & Bunny Quilt Pattern.  When it turns colder, I will step out of my comfort zone and push my skills with the Upton Sweater.

What patterns are you most excited about? Comment below!

  I enjoyed the articles as well.  It's always so great to see familiar names in a magazine from some of the sewing groups online.  I was very excited to see a tutorial on Freezer Paper Stenciling.  I have never tried, but always wanted to.  I also learned that making a double pull zipper is super easy -- I had no idea!  Reading Sarah Hansen's sewing story was inspirational and reminded me it's never too late to start in on a hobby -even if it's on a whim.    There are so many more great articles and tips in the magazine that I couldn't possibly talk about each one (or you'll be here ALL day).

Have I convinced you yet?!  

Here are some of my sewing friends to inspire you further:

{BLOG TOUR} The Lovebug Skirt by Pattern Emporium

Summer is so close, I can almost taste it!!  (Sending warm vibes to my Aussie friends... haha)

I am so excited to be on Pattern Emporium's first ever blog tour!!  I had been eyeing this Lovebug Skirt since it released and I HAD.TO.HAVE.IT.  In fact, I may have told Kate that I'd sew a bajillion before the blog tour.... of course, I may have momentarily forgotten that I have these little things like kids, a husband, a job, housework, etc... so sadly, I've only finished the one (womp, womp).  But, I do have a 2nd one half sewn! Enough about my woes, though.... let's talk about what I did make!

The Lovebug Skirt is an A-line skirt with loads of options and hacks.  It comes in 3 lengths (mini, knee, and maxi) and covers sizes 2-12.  There are also 2 pocket styles (patch and jean-style), a faux belt, cargo-style button tabs, and a mini Chelsea hack.

If you haven't sewn a Pattern Emporium pattern yet, you need to bump it to the top of your list!  Kate's patterns are so professionally put together, you will think you're reading a magazine.  She has literally thought of everything, but not to worry, it's not too wordy or overwhelming.  She also includes pattern pieces for each piece needed -- even rectangles like waistbands.  On each pattern piece, you'll also find a little picture of what the piece looks like after it's cut.  If it's a mirrored cut (meaning cut a pair), you can easily see what she means by that!  That's so helpful for newer seamstresses.

I drew my inspiration from my daughter's tank top.  As I walked through the living room, mentally browsing my fabric stash, there it sat on top of the laundry.  I stopped, looked, and knew immediately this would be the first Lovebug I'd sew.  Luckily, I had leftover fabric in yellow from a dress I'd made myself last summer and of course, I always have pink here.  The buttons were a lucky find at my local Hancock Fabrics that's sadly closing down.

I chose to sew the MINI length, JEAN pockets, BUTTON TABS, and MINI CHELSEA hack.  I'm so in love.  More importantly, so is my daughter!   She can't wait to wear it to school, but is willing to wait just one extra day because today is ART and she thinks she might be painting.

The details included in the pattern, like topstitching really take this skirt to the next level.    Kate also has detailed instructions on how to blend sizes.  My 7 year old is petite so I blended a size 4 width with a size 6 length and it's a perfect fit!

WARNING: Wearing this skirt may cause wearer to randomly bust out her best ninja moves.  Proceed with caution.

I wish I had gotten my other skirts done in time to share today -- I will say, they look fabulous in my head. Don't worry, I will be sharing them shortly!!  This skirt is so much fun to make.

Kate has generously allowed my to give away ONE copy of the Lovebug Skirt so be sure to enter at the end of the post!

Be sure to visit these links and check out the gorgeous makes from the rest of the tour stops!  So many patterns are featured.

Pattern Emporium Tour Schedule

5/2 Sew Sophie Lynn
5/3 Handcrafted By Red
5/4 Sprouting JubeJube
5/5 That's Sew Kari
5/6 Simple Blessed
5/9 Wally And Grace 
5/10 Free Notion 
5/11 Horris And Deedle 

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{Tadah!} Tea Party Dress


I'm sure you can relate when I tell you I bought this pattern on Release Day (last Fall) and then watched it collect {figurative} dust in my computer archives.  Now, it's not nearly as vintage as some of my PDFs I've collected over the years and have yet to sew, but the Tea Party Dress by Tadah! Patterns was one I was super excited to dive into.

Easter seemed like the perfect excuse to try it out.  I had finished my youngest daughter's dress with weeks to spare so I made sure to procrastinate as much as possible and start two nights before Easter.  Did I mention I also had house guests arriving?  I work best under pressure. HA!

Before I began, my daughter and I sat down together and looked at all of the pattern options and poured through all the tester photographs on Facebook to see how each one looked.  I let my daughter have full design control on her dress and she had so much fun!  She chose: Boat Neck, Cutout Back, Mini Cap Sleeves, High Arm Openings and Circle Skirt.

We had picked out the fabrics at Hobby Lobby -- it was love at first sight!

Per my daughter's measurements, she was between a 2/3 width and a 5/6 height (she turns 7 next week -- HAHA).  With no time to muslin, I went with a 3 width and 5 height.  I sewed during the wee hours of the night, until I got to the last seam.  This construction of the dress is different than I've ever sewed, but it's pretty ingenious.  As I was checking the final fit before finishing, I realized that my daughter's waist was far too skinny for the size 3 width.

I could see straight down the cutout in her back.  Whoops!  It was the day before Easter. YIKES.

The bodice overlap at the shoulders was fine, but the waist overlap needed an extra set of buttons and a full overlap.  So while my daughter slept and dreamed of the Easter Bunny visiting, I cautiously sewed my button holes, overlapped the bodice (and thus the skirt) and prayed she would have a dress to wear to church.   It was a perfect fit.


We are in love!  Please don't let my daughter's abnormal sizing deter you from this lovely pattern -- I'm used to it now and why I have fitting before I finish.  We can't wait to design her next dress together :D

P.S.  The twirl of the circle skirt is a-m-a-z-i-n-g!  I cannot even show the full twirl because I forgot to have her put little shorts on underneath for pictures.  Let's just say, it's full twirl.

{BLOG TOUR} The Naples Dress by Jennuine Design

I am so thrilled to be invited on a Blog Tour by Jennuine Design.  Jenn's patterns are always loaded with options and The Naples Dress is no exception.  

The Naples Dress includes: 

~ Tunic and dress lengths,
both gathered or A-line

~ 4 sleeve options,
sleeveless, butterfly, mid or long bell 

~ Different neckline finishes,
including a free collar,

released earlier in the tour.

~ Sizes nb - 12

Did I mention that the tour is sponsored by Art Gallery Fabrics?  Eeek! We had our choice of a few colorways of Essentials II (new by Pat Bravo), denim, or solid knits.  After reading the pattern, I browsed the fabric and chose Essential II's Intertwill Azur, accented by Streakly Business Azur.  My blue-eyed blondie looks best in blue.  This fabric feels so great and sews so nicely. Thank you so much Art Gallery Fabrics!!

I chose to sew a sleeveless, gathered dress in anticipation of the upcoming summer temps we always encounter every Spring here in North Carolina.  By the time we get to sleeves weather, she will likely have outgrown it.  If you notice in the picture collage above, I opted to sew the bias-bound split back.  Of course, after I sewed my last stitch, I had a brilliant idea ... LOL  I'll save it for next time ;)

As I was preparing my pattern (which prints in layers, by the way!), I decided to line my bodice so I could cut Streakly Business on the bias to highlight the stripes.  I love how it turned out! I, then used Intertwill Azur to make handmade bias tape to complete the neckline.

Save 25% off through Sunday 3/27/16 with code NAPLESTOUR
-- excludes bundles --

Be sure to stop by Filles à Maman, While She Was Sleeping & Czarina's Project for today's other 3 stops along the tour!

In case you missed the rest of the tour, or just want to show these ladies some more love...

That's-Sew-Kari * Czarina's Project

A blog tour wouldn't be complete without a giveaway, right?! 

Enter below to win:
(1) Fat Quarter Bundle of Essentials II from Art Gallery Fabrics
and (3) PDF Patterns from Jennuine Design 

{Good Luck}

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{Color Me} a Pretty Mia Maxi

It's not everyday that you get invited to play with fabric, designed by the very person who inspired you to buy yourself a sewing machine!  I'm so excited to share what I made with one of the newest designs of Color Me by Hayley Crouse for Michael Miller Fabrics.

To give a brief backstory... I "met" Hayley Crouse on the Internet and I was amazed by her sewing talent.... and her witty humor. LOL  The more creations of hers she posted, the more I thought about buying myself a sewing machine.  So one day I did.  That was 3.5 years ago and am so grateful that my online path crossed Hayley's because I couldn't imagine life without making pretty things.

When Hayley messaged me to blog about her latest designs for Michael Miller Fabrics, I couldn't message her back quickly enough!  Because my youngest daughter gets quite a bit sewn for her, I purposely chose Papillon Paisley for my oldest daughter.  I knew the butterflies would be perfect for her Daddy/Daughter Dance at school.

To showcase the fabric, I chose to sew the Mia's Tieback Dress by Simple Life Pattern Co in the tiered maxi length.  I accented it with narrow black bias tape and a black banded waist.

You've probably noticed that I've not colored in any of the fabric.  No, I didn't forget!  For the dance, I decided that I wanted to keep the black/white color combo.  Then, my daughter can spend all Spring coloring in her maxi so that when summer comes, her butterflies will come to life!
Thank you so much to Hayley and Michael Miller Fabrics for allowing me to share this fun fabric!!

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