Tuesday, 29 March 2016


So a week or two ago things were just nuts. I was testing 3 or 4 patterns (at once), and all my free time was being spent at the sewing machine (not that I'm complaining).  In the middle of all that, Steph at The Eli Monster put a tester call out. I showed the photo to my work colleague, and she told me that I HAD to apply. Well who was I to argue. I applied, Steph said "yes",  and a short time later Miss 5 was the owner of another absolutely gorgeous dress.

May I introduce The Appelstroop Dress.

Have you seen the back?

There has been a bit of a struggle lately with the process of taking photos of things I have sewn for her.  But not with this dress. It's definitely a hit.

The pattern is available in sizes 18 months to 12 years and is designed for woven fabrics.  Something with a bit of a stiff hand will help with the puffiness (totally a real word) of the skirt.  There is a lot of fabric in that skirt. Pretty good for twirling.

The bodice has a high neckline at the front with a cut-away at the back, and a cute bow to totally ramp things up a notch. I also love the way the waistband sits.

The bodice is lined with a beautifully soft lawn remnant that was sitting in the fabric cupboard.  There are no exposed seams, so no complaints of itching or scratching (always a plus).

The pattern is on sale for it's release, so make sure you head over to The Eli Monster, and get yourself a copy.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Time for some Pickles

Sometimes there is a t-shirt pattern that just nails it. When the designer has really put in the hard yards to get the fit right, provide plenty of options, and get the instructions working just so.

Here's on of those patterns .... Pickle Toes Patterns have started the release of their Pickle Tees.

The first version has already been released, and is available FOR FREE!!! from the Pickle Toes Patterns Facebook Group. It's called the Fried Pickles Tee, and has long and short sleeve options in sizes 2/3 to 16/18.

But there's so much more. If you've got skinny kids like me, or want a bucket more options there's the Dill Pickles Tee in sizes 2-18, and the Cornichon Pickles Tee in sizes NB to 24 months.

So what exactly are the options?? I've made a list:

  • Regular or slim fit (I'm a big fan of the slim fit for my kiddos)
  • Straight hem or bands (for sleeves and bottom of the shirt)
  • Long, short or 3/4 sleeves
  • Tee or tunic length
  • Hood - banded or fully lined
Time has been tight lately, so I didn't dive too deeply into the options. But I love the look the band at the bottom of the tee on this one (the blue on these bands is totally my favourite blue ever).

Miss 5 has a thing about wearing 'plain' clothes. So a patterned interlock was great for this one.

The pattern is super fast to sew up, and a great fit on my kids. This is definitely going to be a staple in their wardrobes.

The pattern is available via the Pickle Toes Patterns shop. And if you're on the fence with this one, make sure you grab a copy of the Free Fried Pickles pattern (via Facebook for now), and try it out.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Bailey Baggie Shorts

Once upon a time I purchased a paper pattern for Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.  Just what every sewing Mama needs for a trendy young boy. But then that boy kept growing, and soon he was too big for the biggest size.

As this Mama watched to last pairs of shorts get smaller and smaller it was exciting to see the tester call for Funktional Threads Bailey Baggie Shorts.  They seemed to be just what I was looking for.

Large size range.... Check -  12m to 14 woohooo!

Comfy...  Check - designed for a solid/thick knit fabric and loose fitting.

Pockets.... Check - slant pockets at the front and a back patch pocket with rounded corners.

Quick to make...  Check. The slash pockets are a great way to include pockets without much fuss. And these shorts are super quick to put together. The pattern is pretty standard with no surprises, so if you've made shorts before it's all smooth sailing. (and if you haven't then the instructions are really well written, and walk you through the process).

Options...  Check -  three different lengths,  colourblocking instructions and good for adding in some cool contrast fabric.

Yes that's right. I  managed to use the aliens cotton Lycra  in another garment (three so far and at least one more in the works).

All up I can see this being a great workhorse pattern. Hello soccer shorts, sunning shorts, all the shorts!  And with a lettuce hem they make really cute shorts for a girl too.

The pattern is available from Funktional Threads Etsy and Craftsy stores. 

Also there is an album of shorts in the Funktional Threads Facebook group. So many different versions!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Diana Dress

Time for some selfish sewing.

When I saw the tester call for Wardrobe By Me's Diana Dress, I was reminded of a jersey wrap dress sitting in my wardrobe that has a very flattering fit, and is really versatile. So I was keen to have a go at making this one (thinking it would be a pretty tricky sew).

Well I have since learned that the dress style was pioneered by fashion designer (and ex princess) Diane von Fürstenburg, and the style is often referred to as a DVF Wrap Dress (sewing is a very educational pursuit).

I also learnt that I was wrong about it being a tricky sew. I have dubbed this my 'two-night dress'. The second version I cut one night, and sewed up the second. And, might I add, I didn't start till around 8 each night, and was finished by midnight. So I reckon if I managed to get the kids off to bed a little earlier it could definitely be a single night dress (especially now the pattern is taped together and pieces traced).

The pattern has a number of sleeve options - sleeveless, short sleeve (like the one above), elbow length (the grey version), 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve.  The length of the skirt is to fall at your knees, and there are instructions in the pattern on adjusting length for a maxi skirt (it's just gorgeous).

The elbow length version is a great transitional piece. I'm looking forward to Autumn arriving (they say it's on Tuesday), so I'll have more opportunities to take this one out for a spin.

So the first version I made up was in some kind of synthetic jersey that I nabbed from the clearance table at Spotlight when all clearance fabric was marked down to $3 (you should have seen my basket/trolley that day!).  The fabric is not the patterns or colours I would normally wear, but I don't mind stepping outside my colour comfort zone every now and then. I'm happy with the result. Just perfect for a morning watching the local triathlon.  By the end of the day, however, the bodice was a little droopy, and the belt/sash wasn't quite holding it all together as well as it started - the fabric had great drape, but not so great recovery. There was no untoward exposure, just a little bit of a close call.

So the next version I made up I used a double ponte for the neckband and sash/ties.  I love the firmness that the double ponte gives (and it also meant that I could sneak out a dress with only 1.5m of the main fabric - even allowing for a bit of basic pattern matching).  I'm keen to keep exploring the knit fabric aisles (and websites) and experiment with different fabrics.

The pattern is currently on sale at Wardrobe By Me, so make sure you get a copy before it's back to full price.

Friday, 11 March 2016

The Sötnos Shirt

May I introduce the Sötnos Shirt from The Eli Monster.

Steph has taken a raglan shirt and really stepped it up a notch.

The pattern has three options. 
The basic (unisex) - straight up and down.  (as modelled beautifully here)

The high-low - an a line flare, out to a hem that dips down at the back. 

And the tunic length (also more feminine, but currently sitting in pieces next to my sewing machine).

The key features of this patten are the facing a round the collar, a button up placket, and hem facing in the a-line style. I really love how they make the top that but more special.

The kids were quite taken with the shirts, and loved the button feature. Mr 7 spent done time figuring out how and why the placket was to the side, and not in the middle. Even the run of hot weather we've had (Autumn is nowhere to be seen) didn't dim their love for their new shirts.

This version is made up in a waffle knit with cotton Lycra facing.  Any chance to use the trimmings from the alien fabric is great.

And the blue flowers are a stretchy but stable knit of some kind or other (purchased one time when Spotlight decided to group fabric by colour not type). The facing on this is a double ponte.

This pattern is great for using up those extra small pieces of fabric that are too small for a sleeve, but too pretty or cool to pit in the bin. 

The pattern is available in sizes 18 months to 12 years. And can be purchased 3 ways. There's the Basic Sötnos Shirt, the Girly Sötnos Shirt or The Complete Sötnos Shirt which has the basic (unisex) and the girls options all in one handy package.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

The Erica Skort

I am on a bit of a skort kick at the moment.  It's been an exciting summer for Miss 5. Just after Christmas she learnt to hang upside down on the monkey bars.  Then for her birthday her grandfather replaced one of the broken swings on the backyard play equipment with a trapeze bar (with rings). Added to that she's started to figure out how to do handstands and cartwheels. 

She's still a fan of dresses and skirts. So when the opportunity to test Funktional Thread's new pattern, the Erica Skort, it was an opportunity too good to miss. And in honour of the new pattern we have a new skill .....

No hands (cue conflicting worry and admiration from parents).

I was a little nervous going into this test, as I was assigned the shorter length, and so far most of her dresses and skirts have hit somewhere around the knee. But I was pleasantly surprised. There's a nice amount of 'pouf' in the skirt (only a small amount of twirl), and it doesn't seem short on her at all.

Which is one of the reasons I like pattern testing. Getting pushed outside of my comfort zone, and trying things I might not normally give a second glance.

Speaking of comfort zones - this girl is pushing mine with her acrobatics. 
I'm pretty sure this was a cartwheel

And this one was a handstand

Of course the Frozen fabric was a big bonus when it came to how much the skorts are loved. This has been either on her body or in the wash this last week.

The pattern has quite a few options. This is the yoked version.  There is also a tiered skirt (3 gathered tiers), and a pieced skirt (16 panels around). All three have the option of two lengths - just above the knee (shown here), or a longer version. The size range is from 12months to 12 years. So there's a lot of value packed into one pattern.

The pattern is available from Etsy and the discount code KW30ERICA will give you 30% off the price

And one more picture before I go. A smaller version, with the pieced skirt, that I've made for my niece's birthday. She's not a fan of skirts. But I'm hoping if we call them Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shorts, then she might agree to wear them.