Feature Pattern Post: The Spirited Dress from Candace Ayala Patterns

Good morning all!

Last week was spent very slow dealing with illness and this week was spent catching up on all my work😊.

So today’s post is focusing on a brand new pattern designer- Candace Ayala Patterns. If you are a pattern tester or strike off sewist chances are you are familiar with Candace Ayala via another Facebook group – SewingPortfolio Community. And if you aren’t you should totally join the community. Candace has been instrumental in building a community that focuses on portfolio building for sewists. In the Facebook group, there are both fabric and pattern calls for new talent frequently. On SewingPortfolio.com, you can organize your sewing work, keep track of your progress and growth as both a sewist and photographer plus apply for a variety of tests. It was through SewingPortfolio.com that I answered the call for a promo/blog hop that brought me to Candace’s first pattern.


So here we are ready to focus on the pattern. This pattern is named The Spirited Dress for the high spirit of her daughter, which fits right in to my style of sewing for Sweet Pea. This, as a first pattern for a designer is pretty great; sizing runs 2-9, it has a beautiful Queen Anne neckline, the option for facings or a full lining (which I prefer), circle skirt, and a bonus undie/panty shorts pattern that works wonderfully over Sweet Pea’s diapered bum.


I love the idea of reflecting your child’s spirit into the dress. Sweet Pea’s spirit is high flying, wind tangling her hair and constant joy lighting her face so I knew it was time to finally use our paper airplane fabric I had gotten during a destash. She has been begging me for weeks for “HHHUUUUUUGGGGEEE paper planes momma” and this was definitely our opportunity.


It’s a great first pattern for a designer but even more exciting is the fact that this pattern launches in One Thimble Issue 18 * is a huge deal. Grab your pattern from the One Thimble link above while its on sale there.

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Week 8: Upcycle something

This week’s challenge was upcycle something. And the perfect week to finally alter this shirt my mom got Sweet Pea in Ireland. When I asked her what she wanted a shirt or dress she opted for Bella Sunshine Designs Maggie top and dress in the tunic length. Sweet Pea then picked a fun floral with varying shades of green and blue and insisted on it being included in her new top.


I got to work cutting carefully along each of the seams to cut apart the neckband and sleeves then finally the side seams.

I cut the sleeves out on the sleeves of the tshirt, using the hem so I wouldn’t have to hem them. Then opted for a pop of color blocking just above the hemline creating a fun cuff look.


Next, I cut the bodice piece under the armscye and added a 1/4 inch seam allowance to the new top and bottom pieces and cut my fabric. I sewed the top and bottom pieces together then continued with construction as directed from there. I reused the same neckband from the original shirt because it was a fabulous tubular knit.


I love how it turned out and I am pretty sure that Sweet Pea likes it too since she just had to wear it to see the Trolls movie.

MCM Tilly Dress

This month has been busy. Busy with illness, busy with pattern testing and busy with trying to find a rhythm for my sewing. This is a special bonus post for a pattern that I started testing a while ago with The MCM Studio Designs. Linda Joyner Lehn has fabulous dress patterns with classical looks. If you are looking for lovely woven fabric patterns, MCM is the place for you.


The Tilly Dress is listed as an intermediate pattern since it uses methods such as burrito method for lining the bodice and sewing curves. The dress has a kimono inspired bodice with sleeve flounces and the option of a single or double layered skirt with ruffles. A very nice feature of the dress is the fact there are no zippers or buttons making this a relatively quick sew, even with doing hand gathering for the skirts and ruffles😊.

I had originally planned on using my tester version and upcycling and altering it to focus on hacking the pattern because while Olivia loves the dress as it is, she keeps wanting to wear pants with it (silly Sweet Pea). But honestly with me getting flu that has lingered so much longer than has expected, and a seriously lack of awesome woven pant patterns on the market, I just had more ideas in my head and not enough time to work! So I may do another bonus post next month and feature the hack then😉


It really is an adorable dress with lots of twirl factor and is sure to make your little one feel like a princess. This pattern is temporarily on sale for $5 and youcan get a code for an additional 10% off by heading over to the MCM Facebook Group.


Week 7: Sew something with Hearts

***** This post is a week behind due to flu in the house!

This week I used a new fabric place for my 52 Week Sewing Challenge, Seweird Fabric Shop. I was so lucky to win a random drawing from the group and was sent some really lovely lightweight coral color cotton lycra with fun mint colored hearts and realized it was the perfect fabric for Sweet Pea’s Friendship party at school this week!

I was lucky enough during the grand opening week to win a yard of a beautiful lightweight coral fabric with mint colored hearts.


My son picked these fabrics for his shirt because he wanted to match his sister. For both shirts I used Pickle Toes Patterns. For my son, I used the Taylor tee since he chose multiple fabrics. For Sweet Pea I used the Sweet Pickles tee but made quite a few modifications to create a slouchy sweatshirt style top.

For the Bear’s top he decided he wanted the gummy bears to be the main focus with the heart fabric more on display at the top shoulder. I cut the Taylor Tee out which comes with 5 panels for the front shirt. We figured out together that he wanted pieces 1 and 2 paired together, pieces 3 and 4 together and 5 to be left as the stripes to tie the sleeves and neckband into the shirt. I removed the seam allowance then taped the appropriate pieces together, from there it was normal construction of the Taylor tee.

For Sweet Pea, I wanted a baggy cozy sweatshirt feel. So I took the Sweet Pickle Tee and had fun playing with it a bit. First, I cut 2 backs for the shirt. I did this because I knew I wanted a boatneck style neckline and it made altering the neckline I wanted easier to use 2 backs, since I needed them to be the same dip and length. In the construction process, I had to sew one shoulder first then apply the neckband, rather than applying it in the round so that it was closed on the opposite shoulder (this made it so I did not have to do any math for the neckband). Next, I used the long sleeve to draw out a bell shaped sleeve because I just love this style of sleeve on the little one. Finally, I doubled the height of the waistband. Then I called the top finished. Both kids love their new shirts and were so excited to wear them for their friendship day parties!



Challenge- Sew something with hearts- accepted

Fabric- Seweird’s Fabrics for the hearts, Stripes Kimmy Snabric, gummy bears purchased on destash

Patterns- Pickle Toes Patterns Taylor Tee, Sweet Pickle Tee

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Week 5: Something from a Newly Purchased Pattern

Sew something from a newly purchased pattern is on the schedule for this week and quite honestly I have so many patterns that I had quite the time trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to make. I rarely buy patterns for myself but had received a couple from a good friend. So off to figure out what I wanted to make. I ended up settling on the Cozy Wrap Cardigan from Halla Patterns.

I opted for this pattern over a stack of others 1) because I live in Vermont and I am always cold, 2) I recently lost 40lbs and I need new cardigans and warm layering items because most of my stuff is 2 or 3 sizes too big now.

So next it was off to pick fabrics. I opted for a cozy wool blend lycra I got from Central TX Fabrics (hi Brehan and Justina) that I had been hoarding from one of my first purchases with Central TX. It is lightweight yet cozy and the most brilliant shade of green. For the cuffs, waistband and collar, I chose to use a fabulous print that I was lucky enough to win, called Unicorntopia from MK Designs.


I jumped right in, without making a muslin and it was a HUGE mistake. Completing the first version of this top took maybe 30 minutes of sewing time since I was using a serger.  The adjustments I had to make to the top however took quite a bit of time and unpicking bleeping serger stitches.

In the end I started with the size 20 based on the measurement chart provided but it was so big and sloppy. Typically, I have to do a full bust adjustment but with where my measurements fell according to the chart I should have been fine. I unfortunately was not. I won’t say that this is a pattern issue because had I done a muslin; I would have known that the size 20 is way too big and that I would ultimately change the depth of the armscye as well as the shoulder width and take in the waist and hips. I also found that the band was way too long initially causing rippling and for the band to poke out in a strange way (I really wish I had taken photos and not a video since I cant post a video here). In the end I probably need to go down two sizes (and that was with the fabric I was using having two way stretch), but I made the adjustments so the fit is good for me and I am very happy in the end with the finished product. So how did I fix it, I took apart all the seams and basically started over. I did leave the neckband on but I think in the future I will fold over the neck cowl rather than gathering it because I found the neckline to be a bit floppy rather than laying neatly. I cut the depth I needed for a narrower shoulder and using the pattern as a base was able to use my new armscye to create a longer piece (I added approximately 2 inches to the height of the armscye over all). I took away close to 3 inches in the waist and almost 4 in the hips. In the end the overall result has me quite happy. What do you think?

I finally did it, I am done!

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