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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).


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)

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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!!!

PATTERN REVIEW: The Fancy Flounce Skirt by Little Kiwi's Closet

By now, you may know both of my daughters are completely skirt-obsessed, and I have to admit, I love making them!  When I got the opportunity to review the Fancy Flounce Skirt by Little Kiwi's Closet, I couldn't resist!  I knew my daughters would love it and I just had to see how it was made.

The Fancy Flounce is quite flouncy -- 16 to be exact!  It's a super fun skirt with an elastic/knit waistband that swishes when you walk .  And construction is easier than you think!

Pattern Details
  • Sizes 6/12m - 12 Girls
  • Pattern pieces: 2 pieces, nested in size categories to reduce pages, minimal color ink usage
  • Tutorial style: Step-by-step with real color photos --- very easy to follow along!
  • Charts/diagrams included: Yardage, pattern layout/print guide, sizing chart, cutting chart (waistband and lining), cutting layout diagram
  • Pattern level: Adventurous beginner
  • REQUIRED: Serger with rolled hem feature

The back looks just like the front.

As I mentioned above, construction is easier than you think.  It honestly, gets a bit rhythmic as you repeat a few processes 16 times!  This skirt has been on my to-do list for a few weeks now and honestly, seemed kind of daunting.  But this morning, with my looming deadline of this post, it was crunch time!  Yep, I cut this skirt out this morning, sewed it up, and was ready for pictures after school all while keeping my 4 year old entertained (which is no easy task... haha). So I cut, I roll hemmed, and I connected 16 times in a row and before I knew it, I was ready to cut my lining!  Although her waist measurement put her in a size 2 (she almost 6... but sooooo slim), I opted for the wide elastic waist option for sizes 5 and up.

There are a few tips/recommendations I have: 1) I'd use the same fabric for both the flounces and connector pieces. (Sorry, I'm OCD..LOL)  2) I'd use fabric that is yarn-dyed so it's the same color on the backside. (again, OCD)  3) I found it easier to hug the curve on the rolled hem if I kept my knife engaged. 4) I starched my flounces and connector pieces and I think it made them stiffer than intended so skip the starch!

Overall, it was faster than I thought to make this skirt, my daughter loves it and can't wait to wear it to school tomorrow. The tutorial was super easy to follow too!  If it's cold where you live, it'd be adorable over the Skinny Legs Leggings (reviewed HERE)  

Guess what?!  There just so happens to be a Sew Along starting up for the Fancy Flounce Skirt in the Little Kiwi's Closet Pattern Group.  It starts the 22nd and runs through the 28th -- join the group for full details!!  And snag the code above to save 20%, of course.

Important links

See ya!!

PATTERN TEST: The Trendsetter Dress by Little Lizard King

Bodice: Simple | Straps: Straight | Skirt: Fancy with Lining


Have you ever looked at a pattern and known exactly which fabrics you'd use -- within mere seconds of seeing it?  Picking fabrics usually takes me f-o-r-e-v-e-r until I saw...

 The Trendsetter Dress by Little Lizard King

I mean, really, this bodice was practically screaming for the scraps of my black and white damask, leftover from my Jenny Dress by Sis Boom (read about it here)!

Bodice: Simple | Straps: Straight | Skirt: Fancy with Lining

Pattern Details:

  • Sizes 6m - 8, plus doll-sized!
  • Bodice Options: Gathered or Simple
  • Strap Options: Straight, Straight with Flutters or Criss Cross
  • Skirt Options: Fancy with Underskirt & Lace, Fancy with Lining, Simple with Underskirt, Simple
  • Pattern Pieces: NONE to print, all cuts are in measurement charts
  • Tutorial Style: Easy to follow, step-by-step directions with real photos
  • Charts included: Size/Finished Measurements, Yardage, and Cutting Charts
  • Pattern Level: Beginner

Bodice: Simple | Straps: Straight | Skirt: Fancy with Lining

Every little girl needs a fancy dress "just because", right?  Haha!  She had fun getting all dolled up, including a little manicure while her big sis was at school.

This pattern has so many options, but along with my fabric choice, I had a vision.  I knew I wanted to showcase the print of the damask on the bodice so I carefully "fussy cut" the front, paying close attention to seam allowances so my print would be centered just right.  Because the back is elasticized, I opted for a solid black back.  The straps are looped in the back and close with a small sewn snap.  The skirt portion is the Fancy with Lining option with two layers of nylon chiffon and has an underskirt of black quilter's cotton.

Bodice: Simple | Straps: Straight | Skirt: Fancy with Lining

But, with a simple switch of fabrics, the swoon-worthy party dress is now a sweet and simple frock perfect for backyard tea parties and playdates in the park!

Bodice: Simple | Straps: Straight | Skirt: Simple

If you didn't catch it, I adore the simple bodice because it allows me to showcase my fabric, such as this adorable little pink alligator.  I also opted to use the simple straps as they are more car seat friendly, in my opinion.

Bodice: Simple | Straps: Straight | Skirt: Simple

For added details, I sewed a tiny white button on the outside of the strap where the snap is sewn underneath, ric rac at the top of the front bodice and a turquoise button to add a pop of color against the light pink gingham. I also cut the pink gingham for the front bodice on the bias for a bit of visual interest.

Seriously, this pattern is FAB!!  You will not be disappointed... pinkie promise!!

Important links: 

*Don't forget about the Buy 4, Get the 5th Pattern FREE (equal or lesser value) deal!

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Join the rest of the LLK Fans and show off your creations, ask questions, and hear about new releases!

SPOTLIGHT: Stitch Box Monthly - Anniversary Edition

Yay for happy mail!!!  Stitch Box Monthly is such a fun surprise and a great way to treat yourself (or your favorite seamstress... hint, hint) to some new sewing yummies.  This is the third box I've received (read about Box 1 here & Box 2 here) and each time, I've received things I've never used before and have now fallen in love with.  Seriously, you need to sign up!!

In case you've missed my other posts (tsk, tsk.... click the links above ... LOL), here's what the Stitch Box Monthly is all about:

  • Stitch Box Monthly is a mystery box of sewing goodies that shows up in your mailbox each month (or however long you have signed up for).  Each box has a theme and the supplies inside revolve around that.
  • Boxes are $35 including shipping (US pricing-recurring subscription), but you can get the boxes as low as $25/month if you prepay for the entire year.   [International shipping also available, see website]
  • Stitch Boxes contain at least $40 worth of sewing supplies -- 1-2 yards of designer fabric, sewing pattern, and a few notions 

Before I get down to the good stuff, this month marks the 1-year anniversary for Stitch Box Monthly!

Eeeks, I can't handle the cuteness!!!  When I tore into opened my Stitch Box Monthly (which was actually a padded poly bag this time since the goodies couldn't fit into the normal box), I loved it!!

Here's a rundown of this month's contents*:

  • 2 yards of designer fabric -- Bandana by Me and My Sister Designs
  • Bonus yard of designer fabric from a previous month -- I received Beauty Queen by Jennifer Paganelli (June 2014 box)
  • Made for Mermaids Sophie Dress PDF Pattern
  • 1.5 yards of adorable flower ribbon trim
  • 2 oz of Grandma's Secret Miracle Moisturizer

*Due to the large number of orders, the first collection of included fabric ran out (Daysail by Bonnie and Camille) 
which was replaced by Bandana by Me and My Sister. 
Some boxes also contained Mary Ellen's Best Press in lieu of the moisturizer.

Wowsers!! After I stopped marveling at my new pretties, and lathering my hands in my new lotion, I set out to get my plan together.  In previous boxes, I've usually just picked one of my girls to sew for, but I thought the two Me and My Sister Designs Bandana prints would make adorable coordinating dresses.  By adding in some solids and dots found in my stash, I was able to s-t-r-e-t-c-h my box as far as it could go.

As fate would have it, I happened to have some scraps of the exact shades of blue and turquoise found in the bow fabric.  My youngest is blonde with gorgeous blue eyes and I knew this would be the perfect pairing for her.  I used the included Sophie Dress  - and decided I would embroider her initial on the center panel.  I chose the Elegant Scroll (Small) Font by Itch2Stitch.

The *one* time I can't get her to show her pretty blue eyes...LOL

I originally made the dress with the included 3/4 length sleeves, but then realized that Easter is sometimes rather warm here in the South, and then remains hot the rest of the summer.  I contacted Megan of Made for Mermaids to see if she had shorter sleeves and they were in testing!!! She was so kind to send the Add-On Pack my way -- thank you soooo much, Megan!!  Because my dress was already complete, the only sleeve option (without redoing the entire bodice) was the short sleeves.  I added a flat band of the skirt fabric to tie it all together.  Now the dress can be worn all summer long!

My oldest is a beautiful brunette with chocolate brown eyes and loves pink so I picked out the cherry print for her (sorry, but the J. Pag Beauty Queen is mine......all mine bahahaha) and just happened to have scraps of coordinating pink/white polka.  The ribbon trim tied her dress all together.  Truth be told, that ribbon trim is glued on.  HA!  I tried topstitching it, but you could see needle marks, so I carefully figured out where I needed it to go, got out my tacky glue, and voila - perfectly trimmed bodice.  I also embroidered her initial on the center panel and sewed up the short sleeves for her with a coordinating flat band.

Since I had leftover ribbon trim, I used a bit to make a little bow for her newly-cut locks.  It was the perfect accessory!

My girls just love their coordinating dresses!  I thought the line of fabric was so fitting for them (Me and My Sister Designs) --- they often refer to themselves as "Best Sisters" -- which makes my heart so happy!!

So, the box wasn't used entirely on my girls --  I have used the Grandma's Secret Miracle Moisturizer pretty much daily since I got it.  I love that it's a lightweight, non-greasy lotion!  There's no overpowering scent either.  And honestly, I have to hide this lotion as my 4 year old is a lotion stealer.

Last, but not least, this beauty of a fabric (Beauty Queen by Jennifer Paganelli) will become something for me.  I haven't quite decided what it will be and with fabric this gorgeous, you can't be hasty in your decisions.  

I was thinking of a Caroline (Mouse House Creations) or possibly a Jenny or Angie (Sis Boom) in tunic length.  Or, I could possibly make it into a purse to carry!  Leave a comment below with your suggestions!

Thanks, Stitch Box Monthly --- I had SEW much fun!!


How to sign up*:

  • Signing up for Stitch Box Monthly is easy!  
  • Head to www.stitchboxmonthly.com to choose a 1, 3, 6. 12 month subscription or choose a recurring subscription every month
  • Add in your shipping info
  • Pay 
  • Wait by your mailbox for your surprises!
*Orders received by the 20th each month are shipped at the beginning of the next month. 
Orders received the 21st or after are shipped out the following month (ie. order March 21st through April 20th to be shipped early May).


*****If you sign up for April's Box, you'll get it just in time for Mother's Day --- seems perfect to me!*****

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

So, I messaged Katie, the owner of Stitch Box Monthly to see if she'd give me any hints for the upcoming boxes!   Soooo, here are some sneaks :)

March Boxes (last day to order is March 20th): Be on the lookout for Australian fabric designers, Ella Blue and one of my favorite pattern designers, Brownie-Goose!

April Boxes (order March 21st - April 20th): Get excited for some yummy fabric by the talented Tula Pink!!!

*Disclaimer:  In exchange for my review, I was shipped a complimentary Stitch Box.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.  I received no further compensation, other than hugs and kisses from my daughters for their new dresses :) 

Top Stitchers: Season 1 Contestant

I've been lucky enough to be part of the Pattern Revolution team since it's inception (nearly 2 years ago).  I often wonder how I got so lucky to join the team, as I had literally been sewing less than a year at that point.  But, maybe, just maybe, it was partly due to my obsessive "hacking" of the only shorts pattern I owned, Brownie-Goose Summer Sailors (blogged HERE and HERE).

Patterns have always been a blank canvas for me.  I've never liked to be contained inside the confines of the box, so to speak (unless I'm testing a pattern, of course).  When Becca posed the question in the Pattern Revolution group, "What is your sewing superpower?", I knew it was hacking patterns.

Sooo, here's my announcement!!  I'm competing in Season 1.  Basically, my challenger (Amy of Friends Stitched Together) and I are given the same prompt (think Iron Chef concept, but involving sewing) and we will be judged on several criteria.  Head over HERE to read the full details!


Here's our 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 should be interesting, seeing as I've never allowed my girls to jump in puddles.  (The mere thought of it makes my anxiety sky-rocket! LOL) 

I've got my ideas brewing and my fabrics picked!  Any guesses to the direction I may be headed?

Stay tuned.... and be thinking of playing along at home!! Each theme will have a linky party :)

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