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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Lovely Lennon - a pattern test for Brownie Goose

We all know I have a love for all things Brownie Goose- and Amy's latest creation did not disappoint! I am always thrilled to get the opportunity to test for her! The latest from Brownie Goose is the Lennon- and let me tell you she is fabulous! She has a beautiful bias rolled neckline, pleated skirt, & a gathered sleeve- swoon!

I chose to use an ivory sateen for the bodice with a pale pink Kona cotton layered with vintage cluny lace for the waistband, and the same mustard interweave chambray by Robert Kaufman for the skirt that I used on the Schoolhouse tunic by Sew Liberated I made for myself recently.
The pattern has options for both the dress that I made and a lovely blouse version. The blouse is written to have a button/loop closer at the neckline and the dress is written for a zipper. Amy does a wonderful job at explaining the zipper installation for any first timers! I wanted the best of both worlds- I just adore that back neckline with the button closure AND I adore that pleated skirt, so I opted to do the dress version with a button closure.
This may not be the best option for everyone- it does make it a little harder to get on/off but I adore the look! One of the other testers suggested doing a short zipper and then the opening so that you get the best of both worlds- FABULOUS idea for those of you that want to try it out!

Ok so a few important things to note about the pattern:
- Sizes 6-12 month up to size 12 (size chart included)
- Chart for materials needed
- Digital pattern pieces organized by color/size
- Quick print guide for printing only the pages you need
- Optional tutorials for lengthening a curved hem (on the shirt version), lengthening sleeves, and alternate construction for sleeves
- Optional tutorial for adding a bow to the blouse or dress
- Glossary of sewing terms used in the pattern for those new to sewing

This fabulous pattern will be available soon for purchase in the Brownie Goose shop on Etsy. I promise it will not disappoint!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Schoolhouse Rocks!

I was thrilled to be asked to sew up a pattern by the talented folks over at Sew Liberated. I had such a hard time deciding which one to review- so much cuteness available on their site! I can't wait to dedicate a little more time to sewing for myself and try out a few more of their ladies designs. <3 For now I give you the Schoolhouse tunic- which totally makes me think of the show "Schoolhouse Rocks" from my childhood- anyone else remember that??? I digress...

Well when I was first asked to review this pattern, I was like- "Sure I would love to- I will have TONS of time to sew once the kiddos are all back in school"... then we got the phone call- the "we want you to move across the country like next month" phone call- so needless to say life has been a little wacky these last few months. But I am determined to get this done before we move. Ha! (There might be packers busily boxing things in the background while I type!)

So on to the important stuff! The Schoolhouse Tunic Pattern  fits sizes 2 - 20 and is available in paper form from the Sew Liberated website. I will be honest- it has been a while since I have sewn up a paper pattern- I have been all about the instant satisfaction of downloading a PDF pattern these days, but I will admit I did not miss taping together all those pages it takes to sew up a ladies pattern! Ha!

The pattern includes excellent instructions for constructing in top or tunic length. I chose to do the tunic length in a mustard interweave chambray by Robert Kaufman that I picked up from the Bailey Girls Fabric Shop over on Etsy. I absolutely love this color for fall!

The tunic was a relatively easy sew- I should have paid a tad more attention to the recommended measurements... I chose to make my normal size without really double checking against my current measurements and it was a little snug around the bodice seam which I would have realized had I paid closer attention and sized up- but thankfully it is still wearable! A word to the wise- measure yourself ; )

I opted to do a simple hem on the sleeves although the pattern does give an option for an elastic sleeve. I think either option is super cute & had I sized up, I probably would have done the elastic on this one.

I paired the schoolhouse tunic with an ivory lace dress extender and boot cuffs from Grace & Lace. It added the length I needed to pull it off as a short dress- I am relatively tall at almost 5'10" so things tend to run a tad short on me. ; ) I also plan to pair with skinny jeans and boots for the fall!

The back has one simple pleat in the center and the bodice features two pleats making this a flattering shape for most body types. Have I mentioned how I wish there was an "iron" feature in photoshop ; )

A special thanks to my friend Amy over at Blink Life and Clothing for taking the pics for this review! Off to pack a few more boxes and prepare for the cross country journey- meanwhile you really should stop by the Sew Liberated page and pick up your own copy of the Schoolhouse Tunic! I promise you won't be disappointed!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

the fiona shorts- with a cherry on top

I love testing out new patterns! Did you hear me pattern designers???? I really do LOVE doing it! It is so fun to see a pattern come together and then get to head out and take pics and provide feedback to the designer. This go around I was testing the "Fiona Shorts" for Talia of Honeydew Kisses Patterns. She is a relatively new pattern designer to me- but I was not disappointed at all in this pattern. Can't wait to see what she creates next!

These are the most adorable little shorts complete with functional pockets, suspenders, and loads of optional accessories. Does it sound like I am selling a car? These cuties can be made with or without the suspenders, add a bow in the front or back (it's reversible), or add an optional flutter to the straps. For those that know me well it may be a little shocking that I opted not to do a flutter on these! Ha!

I used a Moda print from the 30's Playtime by Chloe's Closet line with the sweetest little cherries on it. I decided to pair the Fiona shorts with the Madelyn top by Violet Field Threads modified just a tad so that it didn't button all the way down the back. I thought there might be a little too much party going on in the back with buttons and suspenders.

The only oversight in my pairing?? The fact that the VFT Madelyn's collar is sewn into the shoulder seams. That just didn't bode well with suspenders when I was hoping to "tuck" the straps under the collar. Still turned out cute though despite my mishap. 

I also think they look adorable without the suspenders- they unbutton to remove for a completely different look. This way we get multiple ways to wear it! I also made a little sash to tie around the waist when we aren't using the suspenders but my daughter was having no part of putting it on. Ha! She has become quiet the little diva now that she hit 3! I am thinking about making a button on "tab" that would just attach to the inside when not wearing the suspenders so you still get the look of the cute buttons. 

A little bit better shot of the modified back on the Violet Field Threads Madelyn top:

And here they are all cute with the sash in the grass since no one wants to actually put it on ; )

So a few important details about the pattern you should know:
- Sizes 6 months to 10 years
- Nested pattern pieces in color & a variety of dots/dashes for those that prefer to print in B&W
- Cutting chart for those rectangular cuts to save paper
- Detailed instructions with pictures
- Loads of options: suspenders, suspenders with bow front or back, flutters, or just adorable shorts

The pattern is set to release on August 24th. Feel free to like the Honeydew Kisses page over on facebook for more information on the upcoming release. The pattern will be available in the Honeydew Kisses Pattern Shop on Craftsy and the Etsy shop so get ready to get your Fiona Shorts sew on next week!

And just because... a few more outtakes from our photo session ; )

Head on over and snatch up your Fiona Shorts pattern as soon as you can- it will not disappoint! I can assure you I would have made another pair had my machine not decided it needed a little vacay at the repair shop!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Lily Giggle is back and better than ever!

I was tickled to be invited to do some top secret testing for Lily Giggle's grand re-opening. She has the most wonderful knit patterns full of wonderful tips for sewing with knits and ideas for upcycling!

My assignment- a precious little layered ruffle skirt- the SASSAFRASS! This version has an over skirt so you aren't sewing ruffles for days but it still looks like you did!

I chose to use a mustard knit with ivory scalloped ruffles I found at Hobby Lobby as part of their fall 2014 collection. I paired it with a plain solid ivory knit. Let's all pretend like I ironed the tiny scalloped ruffles to lay down flat before we took these pics ; )

I thought it would be great for layering in the fall- even though we are still in the heat of the summer here in the Washington desert!

The pattern covers sizes 2 through 12. It includes instructions for easily printing just the size you need or all of the sizes nested. How fabulous is that!!! 

The start of the pattern has "quick sew" instructions for you seasoned pros that don't really need the step by step, followed up with the step by step picture tutorials that really walk you through making this skirt easy peasy! It really looks way more complicated than it is to make. 

Run as fast as you can to the newly re-opened Lily Giggle shop at to snag this SASSAFRASS skirt pattern and all of her other great patterns revamped and now available once again!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Rompin' Around in the Hummingbird Romper- a pattern test for Rabbit Rabbit Creations

I was thrilled to be chosen to test for Austrailian pattern designer Rabbit Rabbit Creations. This was my first time to test for her- although I do own and love several of her other patterns. When I first saw the testing call I thought my daughter would be too big but luckily once I checked the size chart she fit right in!

I tested the size 1 for my super thin 3 year old. The pattern includes instructions for tailoring the size to fit your child- adding length to a smaller size bodice if needed. The bodice of the Hummingbird romper goes together like its big sister pattern the Hummingbird dress which is a must have if you don't own it yet!

The pattern includes instructions for the basic construction as well as some great "extras":
- Adding a flutter to the straps
- Adding a snap crotch
- Fully enclosing the bodice seam

I chose to use some gorgeous Japanese Lecien fabric I have been saving for just the right project paired with a simple ivory kona cotton and cluny lace added to the bodice and straps.

I thought it was adorable on the hanger- but really loved it once we put it on!

What the pattern includes:
- Sizes Newborn to 3
- Pattern pieces in color by size
- Step by step instructions with pictures
- Optional add ons: flutters, snap crotch, hidden bodice seam

We had fun romping around out in the desert in our Hummingbird Romper! Available for purchase in the Rabbit Rabbit Creations Etsy shop starting 7/4/14- hopefully!

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Bay top- not just for kids anymore!

Oh how I adore the Brownie Goose Bay dresses that I have made for my daughter. I was thrilled to test the pattern a while back- see that post here- and have made several more since then! But, with every Brownie Goose  Bay dress that I make for a little girl I keep thinking, man I wish I had a top like this... and then I came to the realization that this pattern runs a little on the large side and I wasn't that far off from the chest measurement of the size 12 so I thought hey why not give this a try!

I started by tracing off the size 12 with the drop waist option and made up a quick muslin by just sewing the shoulder and side seams- no lining just quick and simple. I tried it on for fit and realized the armholes were a little snug and that the top should probably come down a smidge in the front and of course the back needed to be a little deeper and more dramatic... so off with the ruler and marker and scissors I went : )

I dropped the scoop in the back by two inches and just rounded it out to keep the same strap width at the top. I trimmed it off and tried it on again to check the fit before adjusting my pattern pieces. I did the same thing in the front scooping the front neckline down about 1.5 inches. I also scooped the armholes down about an inch as well to make room for my arms! I ALSO ADDED 8 INCHES IN LENGTH to the size 12 to make it long enough for me. I am about 5'9" these days- I appear to be shrinking in my older age, ha! 

Once I was happy with the way my muslin fit I cut into my "real" fabric which was a Kaufman Carolina Chambray in Black. I fully lined the bodice in the same fabric but it would be fun to do a fun print on the inside too! Once I had my two front and four back pieces cut I stitched them together per the pattern instructions at the shoulders then pinned and stitched around the neck and arm holes per instructions. I went ahead and did my side seams after that as well instead of following Amy's fabulous instructions.

I cut my peplum pieces from the same fabric making them about 1.5 times as long as each section of my top (front and 2 backs). Forgive me for not ironing before pictures!

I used the template from the pattern to cut the curve of the peplum and then assembled them per pattern instructions by sewing the lining and main pieces together first then stitching around the entire peplum piece. I decided to add a double needle top-stitch to the bottom just to add a little something there.

At first I gathered and attached the peplum but could not stop thinking that it looked like a jumper for a ten year old headed to private school so I ripped it off and decided to pleat it instead. Here it is with the ruffle. Try to control your laughter ; )

I wish I could say I carefully measured and calculated my pleats but I did my best to just evenly space them and hoped for the best! I added four buttons on one side and opted to do snaps on the other to hold that other back piece in place. I found that I also needed one snap down at the very bottom to keep that peplum in place. 

Now if only we could convince the fabulous Amy of Brownie Goose to upsize this one a little more! If you wanted to attempt to make it a little larger I would try adding a little to the sides of the front piece and back sides and go from there. I think this would be an adorable top even for a tween! I also considered just hemming it up as a top without a peplum or adding a band at the bottom. Get creative and have fun!

And a special thanks to my friend Amy over at Blink Life and Clothing for a fun dinner date and photo shoot!