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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."


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)  

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

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

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.

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



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

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!

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