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Book Review and Giveaway: Sewn Hats

Sewn Hats is a fantastic collection of hat designs from a who's-who of pattern designers and edited by Carla Hegeman Crim (The Scientific Seamstress). If you've ever wanted to sew a hat, the pattern is in here. Really, it is. For girls, boys, men and women, it's all here. Fun, party, work, whimisical, sun, winter it's all in here. Skill levels run from beginner to advanced, so there's something for everyone. 

Here's a gallery of the hats featured in the book. 

Excellent instructions and diagrams are included.

What do you think? Does this look like a book you'd love to have? If yes, leave a comment on this post about a hat you'd like to make! Comments close Sunday, September 16. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced next week. Good luck! 

Little Kukla by Suzy Ultman

I adore these colors for fall! The collection does take me back to my childhood in the seventies a bit, but in a 2000s sort of way! Little Kukla by Suzy Ultman should be available in stores next month! Robert Kaufman's Swatch & Stitch blog will have a tutorial put up for the quilt today, as of this posting it wasn't up yet, but do check back with their blog if you are interested.

(All photos are from Robert Kaufman's Swatch & Stitch blog.)

Back To School Sewing Round-Ups

Are you doing any back-to-school sewing? Or are you like me, hoping find time after school starts? Either way, here are a few tips and round-ups to help you with your plans.

And some of my past Back-To-School Round-Ups:

Book Review: Fabrics A to Z by Dana Willard

Fabrics A to Z is a fantastic little sewing reference book by Dana Willard (you may know her from her blog, MADE). I would highly recommend it to anyone who sews, especially those who sew garments, accessories and/or home decor. 

The book is really straightforward and easy to use. The fabric sections are divided between wovens, knits, specialty, blended and patterns. The reference page(s) for each fabric type not only explain what the fabric is and its properties, but (my favorite part) what type of needle, thread, interfacing, stitch length to use and more (under "working with"). Oh how I could have used this book last week when standing in front of a shelf of interfacing, trying to figure out which one to buy! Or, how about when you go to the fabric store with a certain fabric type in mind, only to fall in love with another and wonder if it will work for your project. Or, there's a really good deal for a certain fabric and you're wondering what you could use it for?

At the top of the reference pages are little symbols indicating what this type of fabric is used for (garment, home decor or craft/quilt). Very handy! 

There's another section all about notions and tools (again, who hasn't stared at a notion wall, wondering which one to buy?) 

The book is a convenient, small size so it will fit right into your purse or bag. Above, I placed it next to a typical paperback so you can get an idea of the size. 

Basically, I think this book is a perfect, little sewing reference book perfect to take along on your trip to the fabric store, at home buying online and when you're ready to sew that fabric up!

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(Full disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the book for the purpose of a review. All opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own.)

Romper Revamp - not yet

Today is my turn on the Figgy's Patterns Romper Revamp except for one tiny thing. I haven't finished my homework yet. Sigh. I took a full-time (though temporary) position with a really wonderful company and I haven't had time to sew. I planned to work on it last weekend, which I did, but other things needed to be done, too, and I didn't finish.

I encourage you to come back next week to see the finished romper - my daughter is so excited for it! But in the meantime, here's a little information (and a discount for you!)

The romper revamp is a step-by-step video by Shelly Figueroa (Figgy's Patterns) of popular "Zephyr" pattern. The video covers:

  • Making a stylish romper-based outfit for girls ages 18 months to size 8/9
  • Taking accurate children's measurements and adjust for a perfect fit
  • Selecting appropriate fabrics and featuring details for comfort and seasonality
  • Adapting the basic pattern to create five pattern variations from pants to a dress
  • Creating a boutique-chic look that your child will love

To be honest, part of the reason I didn't finish yet was because I watched the videos, which is time consuming but SO INFORMATIVE. Taking a Craftsy class is really like taking a class with a real, live teacher. Instead of just flying through the pattern and trying to make it as fast as I can, I want to take my time and really learn how she does things.

And, if you'd like to check out the class and maybe take it yourself, use this link for a special discount: Kids Romper Revamp: A How To Creative Sewing Pattern Adapting Class.

So, stop by next week to see our finished romper and also stop by some of the other stops on the tour:

July 31       All Buttoned Up
August 1    Sarah Jane
August 2    Luvinthemommyhood
August 4    Sew Much Ado
August 6    Noodlehead
August 7    Betty Crocker Ass
August 8    Imagine Gnats 
August 9    A Sewing Journal
August 10  Susan Beal
August 11  Such Designs
August 12  Kelly Hogaboom
August 13  Bolt Fabric

Back To School Sewing Round-Up: 9 Backpacks to Sew

If you've ever thought about sewing a backpack, there is no shortage of inspiration around the web! Here are a few of my favorites:

Clockwise from top left:

 

Pattern Review: The Daydreamer Dress by Tie Dye Diva

The Daydreamer Dress is a PDF pattern by Tie Dye Diva. It makes the perfect summer (or spring!) dress. With the many different pieces, there are ample opportunities to customize the look and make it yours. I used fabrics from Sweetwater's Lucy's Crab Shack fabric collection.

There are only two pattern pieces and only one needs to be put together (it was very easy). There are a lot of rectangles to cut out, but the pattern reminds you right away to label them immediately so as not to get them mixed up!

The instructions are extremely clear and easy to follow with a photo for almost every step of the way. I made no modifications to the dress, but if I made it again I might make it a bit longer. I ended up making a 2T for my 5-year-old (she's tiny), but she's taller than the average 2-year-old so I often run into things being a bit short. However, I really like this length for a summer dress. I would recommend this dress for the confident beginner with the most difficult part being all the gathering - especially for the bottom ruffle. 

Tie Dye Diva has a wonderful selection of printable PDF sewing patterns for girls, boys, babies and more. Also, check out the Tie Dye Diva blog for new pattern announcements and details, free tutorials and more.

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(Full disclosure: as a sponsor of A Sewing Journal, Tie Dye Diva provided me with a copy of the pattern for the purpose of a review. All opinions expressed in this reveiw are honest and my own.)

Go To Signature Dress Pattern Review

Andrea of The Train To Crazy has released her first sewing pattern, the Go To Signature Dress pattern. First, let me say that I'm a fan of Andrea, I admire her sewing skills and she's just THE friendliest person on Twitter and Facebook. (I bet she's just as great in real life!) Second, I was so excited to see this pattern. It can be a regular dress, maxi dress or tunic. Long sleeves, a variety of short sleeves or two sleeves. Many pocket options. There are so many ways to make this dress that no two ever need to be made the same. Unless you want them to be. The sizes go from 12 months to 12 years. So, let's see: 3 lengths, 7 sleeves, 4 pockets (oh, and a hood option). Also, there are 3 different waist options as well. It really is a perfect "go to" dress pattern.

The dress is made with knit fabrics, so it goes together quickly (no seam finishes!) It is a pdf pattern, which means no waiting for the snail mail! There are over 20 pages of pattern pieces and putting it together is a bit like a puzzle, but my girls thought it was great fun. And, it's really very easy.

I made this pattern for my 11 year old, as we have a tough time finding sewing patterns she likes. There are so many options with this pattern that I knew we could make something work. She fit the 11/12 size easily.

I used Patty Young's Seaweed Wrap knit interlock fabric with a coordinating Michael Miller jersey (both medium weight). Note the perfect match with her knit shorts from Target. Nice coincidence!

And, also note that I invented a new neckline for the dress! I call it the "flash dance" collar (any children of the 80s here?) I wish I could say it was intentional, but alas it's one of those "alls well that ends well" type of things. I was hugely distracted while doing the collar (never a good thing when making collars with knit fabrics) and I didn't gather NEARLY enough. I should have figured it out when the ribbing wasn't big enough, but, no, still distracted. But the GOOD NEWS is that my 11 year old loves wearing her shirts this way. It's really in style in these parts. Phew. By the way, it wasn't that stretched out at first, she pulled it more stretchy.

So, our options were: tunic length, no waist, flutter sleeves, kangaroo pocket. I would agree with Andrea that this pattern is perfect for the adventurous beginner and up.

This post is a part of the Go To Signature Dress pattern blog tour! To see more versions of the dress, follow along!

 

(Please note that I am a part of the Go To Patterns affiliate program and this blog post contains affiliate links - which means that I earn a small commission if you buy something after using the link. Would you like to become a Go To Patterns affiliate, too? Follow this link for more information: Go To Patterns Affiliate Program!)

Inspired By: Sewing with Vintage Sheets

Today I'm feeling inspired by these lovely sewing projects made with vintage sheets.

Clockwise from top left:

 

Sewing Patterns To Do

So many things I want to sew, so little time...

I'm working on (and by working on, I mean, in the planning stages):

  • Sandpiper Capri & Top by clever charlotte
  • Shearwater Kaftan by Make It Perfect
  • Hannah shorts & cropped top by modkid

Well, I'm actually "working on" a few other projects, too. In my mind, anyway ;)

 

Easy To Sew: PJ Shorts

You know, I'm calling this "easy to sew", but somehow I always, always, sew shorts and pants together upside down or backwards the first time. But I know it's only me - that never happens to anyone else ;) Other than that, these were really fast and really cute, I think. (They're for my 11-year-old). I used Pajama Elastic which sped the project along. (And yes, I know, I started these a month ago, but the hold up was our busy schedule and not a complicated project). Also, when your daughter picks out some really cute Jennifer Paganelli fabric and you only have a half yard, it's really fun to use another half yard of a coordinating print. I love how they turned out!

The pattern is Butterick B5153, but I can't help but think that the instructions are overly complicated (and it's a "Fashion Express 1 Hour Pattern). Also, there was a problem with the back pattern pieces and I checked, double checked and triple checked to see if I cut it right. The back was about 6 inches longer than the front. Weird. Luckily, I could just cut that off. 

Do you have a go-to pattern for PJs?

Round Up: Tutu DIYs

Aren't these pretty? I haven't made any tutus (yet...), but these beautiful versions make me want to give it a try! Have you ever made a tutu?

Clockwise from top left:

Clockwise from top left:

 

Round Up: Tea Towel Tote Bags

I love picking up tea towels, both vintage and just "pretty", when I see them. I was thinking about how fantastic it would be to use them to make tote bags and I found plenty of inspiration on the web.

Clockwise from top left:

Clockwise from top left:

 

 

Seersucker Pants & Crafty Onesies for Baby

Here is what I made with that stack of seersucker fabric. Easy-peasy pants for a baby boy (I used this Free Simple Baby Pants Pattern from Make Baby Stuff).

I teamed them up with some embellished onesies the girls and I made together and gifted them to my sweet little nephew.

We dyed the onesies following these instructions on MADE. I have to say, though, the dye was still running even after five washes so I warned my sister to only wash them with darks. We stenciled designs using freezer paper and fabric paint (again, using instructions from MADE). There were a few issues with the paint given that I allowed the girls to paint the shirts themselves, so they have a definite homemade look. The girls also drew pictures on one onesie with fabric markers. 

All in all, it was a fun project and made for a pretty unique gift!

Bright Dresses

I am checking out for the next week or so as we are going out of town and I won't be able to update the blog. I'm leaving you with this photo of my girls in their handmade dresses (save the one on the left which is store-bought) in front of the Wisconsin capitol building. Have a great weekend!

Pajama Elastic

 

Have you heard of pajama elastic? (Also known as underwear elastic.) This is new to me, but I have confidence that at least a few of my knowledgeable readers know what this is. 

It is elastic that is sewn directly to the inside of the pants or shorts - no casing needed. It is usually used for pajamas or other garments where having exposed elastic is not a problem. It is soft enough to be comfortable against the skin.

I'm beyond excited about this as I'm in the process of making three pairs of pajama shorts for my eleven-year-old. This should make the process so much faster (no elastic to thread through casing!) As with all new techniques, my first attempt is a bit shaky, but it's very easy. You make a casing like usual, but you do not need an opening. Make sure your finished casing is a quarter- to half-inch wider than your elastic. Then you stitch along the channels on the elastic. I used this You Tube video from VanillaJoy for guidance.

Have you used pajama elastic for PJs?