Testing: Bowmont Tee

I volunteered to test for Get Your Crap Together (GYCT) Bowmont Tee (aff link). It is a little different than some of the unisex tops out there and I loved that it didn’t scream boy or girl to me.

I really wanted to try making something for my son, but they already had plenty of testers in the 2t range so I was able to test using my daughter’s size instead. She is tall and slender, which usually means I have to grade patterns for her over 1-3 sizes depending on the pattern designer’s sizes. For this one she comes up at a 5 in the chest and a size 6 in height.

Printing and taping is never much fun, and I do wish that GYCT had layers, but at least all the different sizes are easy to identify, which makes the cutting or tracing process much easier. I also only print in black and white – my laser printer only uses black so it works for me – and thankfully it was brought up during the testing process that some colors were not easy to see when printed in only black and white. I really appreciate that the designer was very understanding and adjusted her size coloring to make it easier for black and white printing. Some of the sizes came pretty close to the edge of the printing area, which can make things a little tricky, (I try to avoid tiny pieces of paper with a toddler, he tries to run off with them) but because all the sizes are well marked it wasn’t an issue.

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After finishing up making my daughter’s top, I decided my little guy could use one too. I used the Comic Crew print from Sweet ‘N’ Charmed (aff link) for the body.

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It’s always easier to sew something up after all the kinks have been worked out, which is why it’s nice to buy a finished and complete pattern. But I do enjoy the testing aspects and I really enjoy trying new things that I may not otherwise be able to try.

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If you give this pattern a try, let me know what you think of it.

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Testing: Wild Wide Pants

I tested the Wild Wide Pants pattern (aff link) just released by Ellie and Mac. I signed up to test this pattern before I realized the pattern included a drawstring and grommets. I had absolutely no experience with grommets so that was a little surprise, but I’m always up for a challenge. I also didn’t realize that the cuffs on the pants were a false cuff, but I loved the way it looked, so I figured, why not?

My son is still little so he doesn’t get much choice in what I make for him, colors, prints, etc. He gets what he gets and doesn’t throw a fit… not yet at least. We leave most of that to his older sister. I knew I needed to something that I would love seeing on him more than anything. So I opted to go with this adorable rainbow strip and star from TKB Prints.

This was fairly easy to cut out. I managed to not pay attention to the number of each item I needed to cut and had to go back and cut additional pieces for the pockets. Note to self: reading helps. I also had to remember to follow the directions on how the designer wanted the pattern sewn up. It is so easy to fall into habits on pattern construction until you realize that you expected true pants cuffs rather than a faux cuff. One thing I did not follow was the velcro on the pocket. I am not a fan of velcro and because of that I didn’t have any on hand – again, reading can be important. So I opted to reinforce part of the pocket flap and the pocket to use a KAM snap instead. I really love the way that came out. I do wish I would have reinforced across the whole pocket and I could have put multiple snaps in to prevent that flap flare happening, but that is something I can do next time. I also opted to use a drawstring rather than sewing up one. I burned the ends a little to reduce the fraying and then tied a knot.

The second pair I made using a Baymax print I had. I have no idea where in the world I got it from, but my kids love the movie so I knew the pants would be a winner in this print. For this pair I opted to leave out the drawstring to see how they fit without it and if I liked the look. I do enjoy the drawstring look, but I also like that it doesn’t change the fit of the pants without it. I also used KAM snaps on the pockets for this one.

Overall, I really like the look and fit of these pants. They fit well over his cloth diaper and do not look overly tight or otherwise uncomfortable. My son enjoyed running and playing in them, so that’s always a win for me. He promptly got both pairs dirty, which usually is a sign he’s happy and comfortable. What more could a mom want?

I know I’ll likely be sewing up a few more of these in the near future. If you opt to grab the pattern, let me know how you feel about it.

 

Testing: Going Home Sweater

I tested the Going Home Sweater (aff link) from Ellie and Mac. I absolutely loved this top and dress. There are many different women’s raglan patterns out there from nearly every pattern designer, but I wanted to give this one a try to see if I felt more comfortable in it than any others. I was not disappointed. I adore how this pattern fits me.

I was unlucky enough that this pattern testing was during the time when my family was hit with an ugly stomach bug. Thankfully that bug was short lived and this is such a quick sew that I didn’t miss out on the opportunity to test.

I was assigned to test the short sleeved version. Which didn’t bother me at all considering we still have highs in the high 60s to low 70s. I thought winter had come, but I am still left waiting… it’s January, maybe we won’t be seeing much of winter around these parts. With the short sleeved version, I chose the shirt length to see what I thought of it. I tend to prefer the tunic length, but I am always open to trying something different. The short sleeved version fit me nicely and I will likely be able to wear this particular version nearly year round. I chose a nice double brushed polyester. It may be a little warm in the summer for our high heat, but I will see how that goes come March/April when summer starts here.

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I opted to also make a 3/4 sleeve at tunic length because I could. This one is made out of a lovely stretch french terry and a white polyester I got from a mystery box. I believe these came from Sincerely Rylee. I actually wore this top to my dental cleaning and felt very comfortable. Now, I am on the short side at about 5’1″ so the tunic length could have been shortened a little to achieve the desired look, but it felt comfortable so I left it without shortening the length.

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Lastly I made a long sleeve, dress length with a cowl. I never used to be a fan of the cowl, but I have come to appreciate and even love how they look and feel. This was made out of a double brushed polyester I got from So Sew English. I believe it was one of their Monday Madness bundles – sometimes they sell 3-4 yards for $15-20 plus shopping. Not a bad deal at all. This dress took a little more than 2 yards so I still have quite a bit left over to make something else with it.

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As always, I truly enjoyed testing this Ellie and Mac pattern. They always make the testing process easy and are quick to update patterns based on suggestions and feedback from the testers. If you give this one a try, let me know your thoughts on it.

New Year, New Goals

I know many have the idea of setting New Year’s Resolutions with the idea of getting healthy, doing better for themselves, saving money, getting out of debt, etc. I opt to set goals, instead of resolutions. Every year I want to do something better, learn something new, expand my comfort zone and continue to not only improve myself and my experience, but also to say I tried something – regardless of whether or not I was successful.

This year I want to try and make a purse. I am not a huge fan of zippers, although I can and will sew them when I want or need to. I have not really worked with vinyl, but I want to give it a try. Some day – well let’s be realistic, some week in the near future, I want to try sewing a purse. It may be ugly, frustrating, messy or it may be a work of art (insert scoff here), but I am going to give it a try.

I also want to do more sewing for my own personal wardrobe. I want to have less ready to wear items and more made by myself. I have found that not only do the clothes I make fit me better, but I can also find something in nearly any color, fabric type, etc. I want and make the clothing item I want.

My daughter, who watched me write out some goals for myself decided she also needed some goals. She decided she wants to take the time to learn more about sewing. She was very interested in sewing last year, so I gave her the chance to sew up a shirt. I did about 65% of the work, and she helped sew parts of it up. This was usually in my lap while she was either driving and I was working the pedal or I was driving and she was working the pedal. For a 5-6 year old, I was not expecting much. If she wants to learn, I will help her learn. I personally think knowing how to sew is a great skill. I hope my son is interested in it as well, when he’s a little older. I am terrified at the thought of him working my machines at only two years old.

I have a few other, smaller sewing goals such as making at least 100 items this year. I want to run a sew a long each month. I will try to make it a point to post a blog about each sew a long. I also want to participate in other sew a longs that other groups host. I am very excited about this year and all the potential possibilities.

Do you have any sewing goals you have set for yourself this year? If so, feel free to share them! Happy New Year to all and happy sewing!

Holiday Season: Gift ideas for your sewing friends, family, and loved ones

With Holiday Season in full swing, I have had a few people ask me what I recommend as gift ideas for sewing. The list is a little long and most of it comes from Amazon. I love Amazon’s Prime shipping options. If I don’t have to take two little ones out into public, especially when they’re having a rough day, I won’t!

The below are affiliate links from Amazon.

My Machines:

  • The serger I currently use is a Brother 1034D. I love it. It takes a while to get used to threading, but now, after two years, it’s a breeze.
  • The cover stitch I use is a Brother 2340CV. I love it and it has changed my view of hemming.
  • The sewing machine I use is a Janome HD1000. My husband bought it for me for this past Mother’s Day. He definitely made a great choice because I love it!
  • Always remember machine oil to oil your machines.

My Fav Tools and Notions:

  • This little tool is handy when cleaning out the fabric dust and pieces from your machine, especially the sergers.
  • I use maxi lock thread more often than not. I do occasionally get it from Amazon, or from wawak.com.
  • I use Schmetz needles. Make sure you check if they are Universal, Ball Point, etc. and use the appropriate one for the fabric you are using.
  • Don’t forget your cutting mat, bigger is almost always better. I hate having to move the fabric and the pattern around as I’m cutting.
  • If you have a serger, they tend to vibrate and make a little noise. I have found that putting a smaller cutting mat under them helps reduce this by quite a bit. It also helps me when I need quick access to a ruler or other measuring device.
  • Quilting rulers save my life. I can’t cut a straight line without them. I love the 6″x24″ and the 3″x18″. I am looking at possibly getting the 6″x12″ but we shall see.
  • I use my rotary cutter more than any other cutting tool. I made sure to also stock up on my rotary blade replacement blades.
  • I love a good pair of scissors. I purchased these gingher dressmaker shears and they are a bit heavy, but they cut like a dream.
  • I don’t like leaving my good scissors out where others can use them to cut paper (we all know this is a big no-no). So I keep these gingher thread clippers by my machines. I love that they have a top that is a little difficult for my two year old to remove.
  • I use clips more than pins but I do use both. I love the wonder clips. I’m less likely to poke myself and if a little one gets a hold of it, they aren’t likely to hurt themselves either. When I do use pins I prefer to use these longer 1 3/4″ pins.
  • And always a measuring tape! I prefer to get something with more than 60″ on it because I like the flexibility of using it whenever I need it. Having a husband over 6′ tall and a 62″ chest means I can’t use a standard 60″ measuring tape when sewing for him.

Miscellaneous:

  • I always use color catchers when washing fabrics for the first time. Red and black almost always tend to bleed, especially when they’re solid colors.
  • Wonder tape can be awesome for help make sure lines are even.

Testing: Boys Zayne Hoodie

I got to test Ellie and Mac’s newest Hoodie the Boys Zayne Hoodie (aff link). It has finally started cooling down here and I realized that my little guy didn’t have much in the way of hoodies so I figured I would volunteer to test this pattern.

I love how the pattern is specifically for color blocking. Color blocking helps me bust through any scraps that I have, especially with his clothes still being fairly small at 2T.

This first one I made, I used all the same fabric as it was a fit check. The overall fit was nice, I thought the hood should be a little deeper. The designer updated that and I loved the pattern even more. This fabric I got in a mystery box of french terry from So Sew English. I wasn’t sure what to do with it or if it would even look good on my son. I was surprised and now I know he can definitely rock camouflage print.

This second one I made was using more scraps than anything. The main print is from Sweet N Charmed Fabrics. The stars are from TKB Prints and the yellow solid is from Purple Seamstress. These together are like a match made in heaven. They are work so perfectly with each other.

My son absolutely loves these hoodies and I am considering making him a few more as I continue working through my sewing list for the month of December. I am working on Christmas presents and PJs for my kids. I will have a blog post up soon about PJs for the kids.

If you do decide to grab the Zayne Hoodie, please know that it is currently available for presale, and will be available in the next few days. Ellie and Mac is also offering 50% off any pattern with the exception of the Wacky Wednesday patterns.

Testing: The Aubrey Dress

I got the chance to test this lovely pattern from Ellie and Mac called the Aubrey Dress (aff link). It is super cute and my daughter adores her new dresses.

I made this dress with a beautiful hacci and a hot pink rayon spandex, both from So Sew English fabrics. The instructions are very easy to follow and made the testing process a breeze. Sewing the dress was pretty smooth going, and I put this together in just a couple hours from cut to finish. My daughter couldn’t wait to put the dress on and put it to her “spin test.” Just as with any circle skirt, it passed this test with flying colors.

DSC01278.jpgDSC01281.jpgIf you decide to grab this pattern let me know what you make from it!