Saturday, December 17, 2016

Halfway Through Dressember!

December, and thus Dressember, is just over halfway through, and I have managed to make it this far while wearing a dress every day. If you are able to donate to help victims of human trafficking, you can find my fundraiser here.

Honest? It's so weird. I don't actually wear dresses that often at any time of year, and if it's cold? Fugeddaboutit. So this has definitely been a challenge, and way out of the norm for me. Some days it's actually fun, and I've tried out some funkier style choices. Some of them I think I'll probably wear again. Other days? I really, really just want to put on my jeans and a t-shirt, especially when it's below freezing. Those days, choosing from my limited supply of dresses can be very hard. But no longer do I find it weird to layer a sweatshirt over a dress! The best thing I ever did, though, was buy fleece lined tights. They are so cozy, and warmer than my leggings. These tights have made this challenge bearable.

I attempted to hem a dress that I didn't like the length of. It's a brown sundress that I've had for years, I think it was maybe originally a swimsuit coverup? I don't remember. It cannot be worn without a layer underneath at any time of year, or being chilly would be the least of my problems, so I haven't worn it much. But I got a bit ahead of myself, mismeasured, and sliced off about twice as much length as I should have. I'm not convinced it still qualifies as a dress until I fix the length again, but I wore it as one anyway, over my brand new Peg Legs in Serenity fabric. No brown coat, so a brown dress had to do.

One new dress has been made so far this month! It's nothing fancy - I used the Patterns for Pirates Layer Me Up Shirt and just flared it from the waist and lengthened it to be a dress. I used a black bamboo knit that I've been hoarding for the last year or two, and it's sooooo soft and comfortable. It clings more than I hoped around the middle, but that's what I get for winging it. It's still super comfortable, and it works really well for layering a t-shirt over. And it's the only long sleeved dress in my closet right now, so I guess I just need to remember to do some more planks! ;)

Most of my dresses are store bought. Thrown in are the new one, a polka dot Lady Skater, and my fox Free Spirit Tank dress. I've also gotten a lot of use out of some handmade layers. My Layer Me Up Shirts have put in appearances, as have my Women's Raglan and Julia Cardigan. I've so far been successful at switching up the layering so that I haven't worn the same outfit twice. Still two weeks to go, though. Follow me over on Instagram if you're curious to see my daily selfies before the end of the month!

Friday, December 2, 2016


Have you ever heard of Dressember? Until yesterday, neither had I. The Dressember Foundation was created to raise funds to end human trafficking. All money raised goes to International Justice Mission and the A21 Campaign. There are millions of victims across the globe who have been trafficked into slavery. Every one of them deserves freedom and justice.

I may have missed the first day, but as of December 2, 2016, I'll be participating by wearing a dress every day for the month of December. If you'd like to donate, you can find my fundraising page here. For daily updates, follow me over on Instagram.

How is this sewing related? It isn't really, except that I found I only own a handful of dresses. There are a couple of new ones on my to-make list, and while they encourage wearing the same few dresses for Dressember, I'd like to have a couple more to stretch my laundry days! Plus, I may need to make a few new layering pieces to wear with said few dresses. There, now it's sewing related!

Today I'm wearing a storebought dress with a Julia Cardigan

So check out Dressember and get involved!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Nightmare Before Christmas Costume Details!

I know it's super late, but I'm finally getting around to posting more about this year's costumes, with the good pictures! Hey, at least it's vaguely appropriate for Nightmare Before Christmas to be posted between the two holidays, right? In addition to Halloween, we're also occasional con goers, so our costumes lean slightly towards cosplay so they can be worn again if they haven't been outgrown - and now my kids expect detailed and accurate costumes. No idea how that happened... But I'll be incredibly lucky if the suit still fits the next time we head to a con! Anyone know of any in the near future? ;)

Last year, they found The Nightmare Before Christmas on Netflix, and became totally obsessed. It was too late to do it last year, so THIS year they decided to be Jack Skellington and Sally.

The first challenge was finding fabric for Jack's suit. I had assumed, silly me, that some sort of stripes in an appropriate fabric would be much easier to find. Instead, it took forever to find the right fabric. I'd seen some people make theirs from black and draw the stripes on, but I really wasn't up for that. Eventually I found exactly what I was after at a local salvage place that carries fabric. After hacking the Little Gentleman Suit Jacket from Peekaboo Patterns last year to have tuxedo tails, I used essentially the same alteration to make Jack's jacket, and just changed the tails to look a little more tattered. He wore a basic white tee under the jacket.

I only used one button, but did keep the jacket length to the waist in the front, since my son is not a skeleton, nor will he be persuaded to wear pants that cover most of his torso. My go-to for pants to use with the jacket are the Classic Chinos, also from Peekaboo Patterns. For the bow tie, I used this tutorial and left off the stripes - I tried them with the first one, and didn't like how the puff paint was coming out.

Tackling the Sally dress was more difficult. I looked up dozens of pictures and watched part of the movie with the kids. The movie version has very washed out colors, while most of the available merchandise and art uses bright colors. When I went fabric shopping, there was very little that was anywhere near resembling the patterns and colors from either version, so I bought a bunch of solids and a fabric marker. I started with the Very Shannon Sally Dress pattern - fitting, right? - and redrew the neckline to be rounded in back and a vee in front. I made a muslin to check that it would still go over her head, then sketched the shapes onto the inside of the muslin with pencil and traced them into pattern pieces. After I went back and used the original pieces to redraw the armscye so that the sleeve piece would fit in cleanly, I cut the pieces and drew the fabric patterns on in marker. The patchwork pieces are sewn together like a crazy quilt, and then the black stitching was added with embroidery floss. I left the sleeves and bottom unhemmed to let it look more raggedy.

To make the arms and legs with stitching I bought a white leotard, gloves, and tights, then drew the stitch marks on with the aforementioned fabric marker. I cut off the feet of a pair of black and white striped knee socks to make her leg warmers.

I'll admit, I rolled the dice on whether to go faded or bright. I ended up choosing bright, but the first time Ellie saw the finished dress she had a fit that the colors weren't right and it wasn't the one she saw in the movie... Oops. Mom fail. In the end she came around and she loves it, but I'll know better next time.

In the end, they're thrilled with the costumes. If I'm lucky, they'll still fit the next time we go to a con, and maybe I'll even win the argument about wearing makeup - Ellie usually will, but Cy adamantly refuses after enduring last year's makeup. If I win that fight, I'll be sure to post pictures on my blog!

I hope you enjoy our costumes, and if you'd like to see some previous years, you can check out The Joker and Harley Quinn, and Harry Potter (which also has a picture of the 10th Doctor costume from the year before).

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

This is Halloween!

Okay, so technically yesterday was Halloween. But today is when I get around to sharing.

I'm really pleased with how these came out. And so far, they've even held up to being washed. The kids wore them for Cy's Halloween themed birthday party last weekend, and they ended up covered in dirt and smeared with makeup, since we actually did the makeup for the party. The edges of Sally's dress look even more frayed, and while I don't actually know what the fabric content of the suit fabric is, it cleaned up really nice.

The suit jacket is fully lined, and I pieced the inside front so that part of the lining is actually Nightmare Before Christmas fabric. It's also the pants pocket linings, but that was ridiculously hard to photograph, so you'll have to take my word for it. The pants are also fully lined in rayon jersey, so they're super soft and just that much warmer. Halloween gets pretty cold up here in the northeast.

The hand stitching on the Sally dress was actually harder than I anticipated. While I would never claim that I'm an amazing hand stitcher, I do tend to make fairly even stitches. I also have a habit of making my hand stitches reeeaaally small. So trying to do make large, uneven stitches was surprisingly hard. My mom helped with some of the hand stitching when I got tired, since I was finishing down to the wire - her stitches are usually much neater and more even than mine, so it was equally hard for her to make them intentionally messy.

I sewed on the patch by hand - in hindsight, I should have used something to iron it on first, but so far it seems to be holding up just fine.

Thanks for taking a peek at this year's costumes. I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween

Monday, May 9, 2016

Me Made May - Week 1

The first week of Me Made May was, well, mostly successful. I wore handmade every day, and a couple of days I wore more than one handmade item. There were even a couple of new things since last May! But I didn't manage to wear a whole outfit last week. My lack of me made pants was an issue with the cool weather that decided to come in, and I run so cold these days that I really didn't want to wear skirts. This week, I will attempt to make up for it and have two outfit days instead of just one, even if I have to dig out some tights to do it.

For those who don't follow along on Instagram, here's a round up of this week's photos:

Day 1 - Layered Patterns for Pirates Layer Me Up Tees

Day 2 - Patterns for Pirates Free Spirit Tank and Mouse House Creations Julia Cardigan

Day 3 - Greenstyle Creations Open Back tank and another Mouse House Creations Julia

Day 4 - Patterns for Pirates Free Spirit Tank and my trusty (second) official N7 hoodie

Day 5 - Golden Rippy Cinnabar Sky top

Day 6 - Patterns for Pirates Raglan with hood and thumbhole cuff add ons. Plus a matching one in Ellie size!

Day 6 - Gratuitious second photo, not because it's a great one, but because look at that adorable dimple!

Day 7 - Patterns for Pirates Layer Me Up under a RTW Batman tee for Free Comic Book Day

Overall, I'm pretty happy with week 1, even if I didn't quite make my goal. It has already highlighted some of the holes in my handmade wardrobe, and I need to tackle fitting pants. Especially since I actually wore the same pair of pants all week, as even my store bought pants wardrobe is pretty darn small. Does anyone else only have a couple of pairs of pants that fit?

As an extra goal for this week, I will commit to at least muslining a pants pattern. I also need to do something about my selfies, because that mirror is in really terrible shape! Those pictures are after I washed it...

Are you participating in Me Made May this year? Have you made any revelations about your wardrobe, or were you totally prepared?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Momma Quail Billie Jeans

As promised, I recently was lucky enough to test the next jeans pattern from Momma Quail Patterns - the Billie Jeans! These have all of the same amazing details and easy to follow instructions that every one of Amy's patterns has. The Billie Jeans have classic five pocket jeans styling in a slim and skinny fit, meant for stretch bottomweights, and seven(!) length options - short, mid thigh, knee length, below the knee, capri, ankle, and cuffed. They have a working fly, back elastic for an adjustable fit, and a tutorial on how to modify the rise. With a size range of 12m - 14, this is an amazing pattern that will last a long time, and is great for both boys and girls.

I tested the skinny fit, and did two lengths. These are the first pair I made, in a stretch fashion denim from JoAnn's. This is the mid thigh shorts length. They were perfect for riding the old fashioned merry go round at a nearby park.

The second pair is also the skinny fit, knee length this time. These are a stretch denim from my stash, and the top stitching came out much more visible on these due to the contrast. I think for the next pair I'll make sure I do two lines of top stitching, unless I use a twill.  I love how these came out, and she loves the contrast coin pocket with the kitty peeking out.

Now it's time to run over and pick up your copy! Plus, in celebration of spring, for this release Amy is offering the code HAPPYSPRING for 25% off of the whole shop until 4/24.

Don't forget to check out the other tester versions, too.

KopyKat & Kidz

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Me-Made May '16!

It's time for signing up for Me-Made May again!


This was a great challenge last year - the beginning of the month was pretty easy, but by the end I struggled a little to choose Me-Made every day. I'm honestly not sure that I've done very well at filling some of those holes - I've yet to take the plunge on making more pants or shorts, which was one of the hardest parts last year. However, since I was  able to complete last May without too much trouble, I felt like I should increase the difficulty a bit this year. Otherwise it's not much of a challenge, right?

I, Kate of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '16. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2016, and at least one full Me-Made outfit each week (and photograph daily).

For accountability, I'll be posting daily shots on Instagram. There are still a lot of pieces from last year in my wardrobe rotation, but there should be some new things that are yet to be blogged as of now. While there isn't supposed to be a panicked rush to get ready, I'm planning to participate in the Back to Basics sew along next week to help round out some of the places my wardrobe is lacking. (But Shhh! I haven't managed to actually make a plan for what I'm making. I guess that needs to go on tomorrow's to do list!)

In honestly, lately I've felt a little bit lacking in creativity and drive to sew. I've been really struggling to get out of my own head, and in spite of the onset of spring (finally!) I haven't felt like doing much besides hiding on the couch in my favorite sweatshirt. I had a much needed kick from pattern testing (post coming in a day or two!), and this week has been better so far. Hopefully this will help give me the push I need, and I am looking forward to focusing on myself a little bit before I need to start in on the (long) list of things for the kiddos. So tomorrow I will aim to get myself back on track to be successful in these upcoming challenges! But tonight, I think I'll head back to the couch until bed time. ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

For the Love of Legends: King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake

Today, I'm one stop on a blog tour hosted by PhatQuarters and CraftingCon, all about the Love of Legends! When I was invited to participate, I signed up right away. As I'm sure anyone who has read much of my blog, I love to participate in anything and everything from CraftingCon, and usually I have no problem coming up with ideas. Legends are awesome, but this time...? Nothing was igniting that spark of inspiration. I sketched, I googled various legends, and simply "legends", and nothing hit. Until I saw a quote pass by from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and suddenly I just had to do King Arthur! So now I present, King Arthur and the Lady of the Lake.

I redesigned the Lady of the Lake dress several times before deciding what I wanted. Initially I tried to come up with a slightly more casual inspired look, but I just couldn't. Since Ellie loves her fancy dresses, I decided to just go for it. I used the Made for Mermaids Grace Dress, and some cotton voile from my stash (bonus for using at least one stash fabric!). It was too light, so I unearthed some darker blue dye that I had laying around and dyed it darker, and I love how it came out. For the sleeves and overdress I bought some iridescent, sparkly netting. There was no sun for days, so the pictures really don't do justice to the sparkles and colors.

You can't have the Lady of the Lake without King Arthur, so Cyrus got his first ever Charming Doodle Knight Hoodie. I used light gray sweatshirt fleece to invoke the look of polished steel plate or chain mail. This is such an awesome pattern, and comes out looking great with the armor details. After the Lady bestows it upon him, with Excalibur in his hand, he looks armored and ready for battle!

The Lady of the Lake is heading back into the water, and Arthur is running off to fight for good in the world. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed my King Arthur inspired looks! Don't forget to check out the rest of the bloggers on this tour, and enter the amazing giveaway!

And be sure to check out our giveaway sponsors and enter below!
Prize Package 1:
Phat Quarters: $20 Gift Card
Momma Quail Patterns: 1 Pattern of Choice*
Bella Sunshine Designs: 1 Pattern of Choice*
Handmade Escapade: 3 Digital Downloads of Choice
Sewing Mamma RaeAnna: 1 Pattern of Choice*
XO Jessica: 1 Custom Shirt
Knot Sew Normal: 1 Pattern of choice*
Prize Package 2:
Phat Quarters: Legendary Pattern with 3 piece FQ Bundle
One Thimble: 1 Magazine Issue
Modern Yardage: Paul Bunyan FQ
Love Notions: 1 Pattern of Choice*
Beatnik Kids: 1 Pattern of Choice*
Swoodson Says: 1 Pattern of Choice*
GYCT: 1 Pattern of Choice*
Call Ajaire: 1 Pattern of choice*
Skirt Fixation: 2 Yards of Fabric
*Excludes bundles
We will draw a random link-up to win an issue of One Thimble Magazine!
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Monday, March 7, 2016

Momma Quail Walker Jeans

I've been pretty busy, but I'm so excited - I made jeans!! Lucky me got to test Momma Quail's new pattern, the Walker Jeans. As full disclosure, that means I get the pattern for free, but I'm pretty sure I'd love these jeans even if I'd paid for it. Amy is an amazing designer, and I have and love several of her patterns. Each pattern has clear, detailed instructions that are easy to follow, and she is responsive and helpful if you have questions or issues arise during construction.

This pattern is for a slightly relaxed pair of jeans. It has traditional 5 pocket styling, an adjustable elastic back waist, and professional finishes - that means there is a whole lotta topstitching, but every moment is worth it. (I've told my husband that I need a second sewing machine that I can use just for the topstitching details on Momma Quail pants patterns so I don't have to keep stopping to change my thread!) There are two leg options, straight and a narrow boot cut. There's also a shorts option for both styles, which is great since spring is finally showing signs of coming, which around here means that summer won't be far behind. I used stretch denim that I bought ages ago for a project I didn't do, and made the boot cut option. This is also only my second ever zip fly, and I'm not sure why I never did them before, because it came out great.

Don't be intimidated if you've never made jeans. I've been sewing for years, but I'd never made jeans before. Can you tell?

The Walker Jeans release today, and are 20% off until 3/14, so go grab them and make your kiddo some really awesome looking jeans!

Also, Batman commands that you go check out what some of the other testers made! All of them came out great!

Knot So Normal

Cindy Parrett

Jungle Pearl