We have had a really busy few months, we moved in March then had to get the kids re-established at new schools and doctor’s offices. We had to find housing and get settled (we still need to finish unpacking but the house is finally starting to look like a home again.) And in between all that, Papa Bear and I are trying to find a good working rhythm so I can sew while he works from home- often using my sewing space to work from and leaving me going back and forth or having to schedule my actual sewing days! I must say that I am looking forward to the day when he is back in the office full time so that I can have my space to work in freely.
I have managed to finally get in some pattern testing, which admittedly is still very rare (I have cut back on my sewing to focus more on working with strike offs.) One company that I am always excited to work with is Eunoia Patterns and I was really excited to not just sew the Thalia Dress but also tested the Providence bag (which will be another post.)
Thalia is the perfect summer sundress pattern and perfect for beginners with no zipper or buttons. The single layer dress has amazing twirl, add a second layer and you get both fluff and twirl!
2 Dress Lengths
bloomer pattern included
Sizes 2T – 20
Projector file with layers and both flat & on fold pieces and an optional black background.
No Trim Pages
This is a great dress for kiddos that want something lightweight and twirly. The options are endless for the types of trims and fabric and weights one can use. I really love the spring time look of this large gingham seersucker, but I also look forward to completing one in a slightly heavier fabric to wear with a turtle neck for the winter time.
The most time consuming aspect of this dress is all the gathers, since the bodice goes together rather quickly. But with the double layer skirt there is a really lovely twirl factor. The vintage length is really adorable especially paired with the bloomers but we opted for the longer length because Papa Bear prefers the longer length for more wearing time for the tiny one.
I also opted for the bias tie on this round and after seeing everyone else creating large bows from their sashes I think I might opt for it the next time I actually add a tie.
We already have a few more of these dresses planned because they check all of the boxes that make the little one the most happy when it comes to dresses. If you’re looking for a great dress to make then this is for you!
I have started off this year in a bit of a fog, both feeling relieved that 2020 has closed and 2021 has begun and feeling slightly overwhelmed by events and some known coming changes of the year. Prior to the year closing out, I had decided that I would join the #Sew365Project on Instagram. In this challenge, you commit to getting to your machine each day, presumably to sew a small project such as a quilt block. Because of my mental health and an upcoming cross country move, I had already decided to place less pressure on myself making this challenge a bit more my own. And that as long as I am working on a project, not just at my machine that I am accomplishing the spirit of the challenge. I would post all my makes at the end of the week on IG. I decided to approach it this way because some of my upcoming projects involve applique and just cutting all the pieces then mounting can be time consuming, and while I am not at my machine, I am working in my sewing space and creating.
Additionally, since I dabble in mixed media work, I figured I would include those projects as will since I often use many hours of a day working on them and often find that I can only work on this project for a few days in a row.
I have also committed myself to really work on quilting this year. I have signed up for a quilter’s swap, started a temperature a day block (I assume I will work this project weekly or at least a few days at a time, since I tend to cut then sew.) I did figure out I need to change up my colors because this first 3 weeks has been boring with colors😂
I sewed masks this month for Sweet Pea and now need to work on sewing up mask panels for the Bear. His are a bit more work because of his sensory issues and he needs wire in the nose piece. I’ll get his figured out soon and probably posted during a monthly catch up post like this one later!
As usual I will be in the 52 Week Sewing Challenge and may or may not actually post my makes in the group (I do usually forget but the plan is always to fall along and pray I don’t fall off before May.)is usually always organize your sewing space.
1 Jan 4-10 Organize Your Sewing Space
2 Jan 11-17 Sew a WIP/UFO 3 Jan 18-24 Make a pattern you already own but have never sewn 4 Jan 25-31 Sew Something for Your Feet or Head
Week 1 usually always consists of a sewing room clean up. This year I am in the middle of a move and don’t actually have a dedicated sewing space so I will enter it during the makeup thread.
Week 2 and 3 are a bit combined for me as I have both a WIP started AND have a pattern that I own that I have never made before (Sweet Pea typically does not like jogger/sweatpant style pants.) A WIP or UFO is the favored abreviations for Work In Progress or UnFinished Object. My WIP is a choice that I had cut the pattern but not the fabric as it arrived Monday. I used a couple of patterns from the Sofilantjes brand The Semper Sweater and Domi Sweatpants. These patterns will be featured in an upcoming showcase with Sew PDF Showcase. Speaking of the Sew PDF Showcase….I have a profile listed that’s new and will be working on guest blogging over there every now and then….which is very exciting!
I participated in the last Sew PDF Showcase, featuring the I Glove You pattern from Make It Last Patterns- you can find my blog post on it here! This makes a super cute gift for someone and goes together really rapidly!
I’m working on the another Sew PDF Pattern Showcase plus the Free Bingo that closes at the end of this month which will get me my week 4 entry that I am super excited about. You can find information about the 12 Freebie bingo on the Sew PDF Pattern Showcase Blog.
Sew I think I have caught you up on all my sewing…though I also have a couple of other projects that didn’t get listed because they are gifts and I’m not sure if the person reads the blog.
Here it is the beginning of another year and I made the promise to myself I would be gentle with myself this year and not feel bad about the lag of posting as I have in the past years. I always start out ready to be all in then end up giving up to manage my mental health. This year, I’m hoping since joining the Sew PDF Pattern Showcase I will be more inspired to share here!
As we start January off right, the Featured Pattern Showcase this week is the I Glove You Mitten from Make It Last Patterns. I was pretty excited to get to sew it up for my kids since I have made both the cufflet and the cufflet with phone add on as well received gifts for swapping! My littlest has low vision and so I was intrigued hoping she can hold hands walking around our property, so this would not only be a fun sew but also very functional for us living in New England!
The children picked a cotton lycra outer with a bamboo French Terry cuff and lining. Both fabrics come from Shear Madness Fabrics. The murlocs are no longer available but there are other WOW inspired prints still available, you can find those here. The digital blocks will be available for retail soon (the round just closed last week or so.)
I really enjoyed sewing this pattern. It was a very quick sew. I love it when it takes me more time to cut out the actual fabric than to sew the pattern together. Total sewing time (including cutting, sewing, and interruptions from kids) ran roughly 40 minutes.
This pattern comes in 3 sizes:
Small- child sized or small wrists
Medium- fitting an average sized wrist
Large- for larger sized wrists
Sweet Pea is very small (her wrist size is about 4.5 inches) and the Bear is starting his teen growth spurt so he actually falls between being a small adult and more average sized wrist. I opted to go with the small sized mitten but do the medium sized wrist band for him. The fit was expected for Sweet Pea, a tad large, and for Bear, which was right on the perfect size for him so he won’t get much use out of it once he has the next growth spurt. But he has asked if there is a way for me to keep the small size for her but make his whole side the medium.
I told him that since it is a cut on fold pattern, I should be able to modify it so that he has something he can use for a longer period of time with his sister. I think this is a fun couples gift and makes the perfect Valentine or accessory sew that you never knew you needed!
Otherwise known as time of year that PDF pattern companies end up offering freebies! This year I will do my usual sewing from Winter Wear Designs because there are always soo many great freebies… further down the blog you’ll find links to past freebies I have sewn from WWD.
I get incredibly excited this time of year when practical gifts come out as freebie patterns. This year, I was soo excited to see that bowl covers were on the list for WWD! We have been trying to make the transition to using more sustainable items for our home, we are really working this year to cut out plastic bags. Try as I might, breaking my tiniest one from plastic bags has been HARD. She has become compliant and happy using containers and snack bowls but we struggled with the 1 gallon size bag the most. Her favorite daily snack is popcorn and she happily pops the corn and leaves it in a bowl for me to put in the ziploc because she won’t eat it if it “goes stale” but I HATE the plastic. So I figure this might be the prefect way to wean her off of going through a box of 1 gallon bags a month!
The standard bowl we use is roughly 9 inches in diameter and was happy to see that there were multiple sizes. I really also loved the fact that there are multiple options for construction. I went with the serged version so that it would mean I could avoid a casing. I chose some vintage fabric that I have had for quite some time because it has some of her favorite colors (and I have found over time using fabrics she likes has been key to the transition of helping her make a change!)
I love the fit on both our smaller bowl AND larger one! AND amzingly enough because I picked the serged option, I spent more time measuring my bowls to know which size to pick and cutting out the fabric than actual sewing. This would be an awesome gift for anyone that works on sustainability as you could very easily batch cut and sew and have I would say be able to sew 10-15 in 30 minutes…..Guess what my kids teachers are getting, also any last minute gifting needs as I can whip up a few and just have them on hand! Also you can pair them with the Totally Tote and Produce Bags amd have a perfect gift to encourage sustainability!
She looks really happy, so lets see how long she uses it!
I recently joined the Sew PDF Pattern Showcase as an affiliate so I now get the opportunity to sew lots of small independent pattern companies. As an affiliate I will be receiving a small commission for any sales generated through the links posted.
I’m posting this late so the sale that ran for Buttons and Bibs Versitilitee no longer is running (sick kids and spouses make you loose track of time.)
I was dying to try this pattern because I wanted to use my wine fabric I had been keeping for a bit and I wanted a new lounge shirt (that will go with quarantine loungers soon hopefully.
Sizing runs 00-38+
Front Neckline options: Boatneck, Scoop and V-neck
Back Neckline options: Boatneck and V-neck
Sleeve options: Sleeveless, Short, Elbow, 3/4, long with ruching options for 3/4 and long sleeves.
Side Rouching option
Full Bust Adjustment piece included
Thoughts on pattern fit: I enjoy the overall fit of the pattern. I love that a full bust adjustment is included so that means the only alterations I needed to do right away are for my height. I added 1 inch in the shoulder and 2 at the waist since the pattern is drafted for 5ft 5. In the future, I should do a narrow shoulder adjustment as the shoulder seam sits a bit wide on my shoulders (it is not unusual for me to need to do a narrow or round shoulder adjustment.) Though with knits I typically don’t worry about it, I am pretty happy with the width of shoulder coverage. In the end this pattern will be a keeper to make more in the future for myself.
In the previous post, I mentioned that if your machine came pre-threaded and with the needle inserted into the machine it would be a good idea to to remove the needle and thread so you can learn how your particular machine needs to work through your thread guide. In this post I’ll cover what my grandma always called her rules for sewing. Then we’ll get into how to change your needle, then how to wind a bobbin and finally how to thread your machine.
There are 2 “hard rules” I was raised with when I was learning to sew. I was genuinely shocked to find this advice is not given to people today the way it was constantly reminded over my sewing learning. I think this may be a generational thing because I follow lots of sewists and I’m not sure I have seen these points mentioned a small handful of times.
DO NOT EVER TURN YOUR HAND WHEEL IN A CLOCKWISE DIRECTION, your hand wheel should always be turned toward you (in an anti-clockwise position.)You can ruin the motor of your machine if you turn the hand wheel in the wrong direction too many times.
DO NOT PULL YOUR THREAD BACKWARD OUT OF THE MACHINE. Always cut the thread above/behind the take up lever and pull through the machine if you need to retread the machine. If you pull the thread out through the top of the machine it can cause lint to lodge into the machine and eventually cause problems later.
This is one of the best images I could find for showing you all the parts of your sewing machine. ⁹
***Make sure your machine is turned off when working on the machine such as changing needles, threading and cleaning your machine.
Let’s start with inserting the needle. Your machine most likely comes with a universal needle, which will work fine while you are getting started on projects. You may even have a few extra needles thrown in there. When you go shopping for needles, it can be very confusing the first time (I’ll cover the different types of needles and projects they should be used for in the future) but if your machine came with several needles, they are usually adequate for working with a variety of different types of fabrics.
******The general rule of thumb is to change your needle every 2-3 bobbin changes OR after every project that can quickly dull a needle (thick items; like fleeces, leathers and faux leathers, all dull needles very quickly.)*****
When changing your needle you may want to remove the presser foot so it gives you more room to work with the needle placement. I usually put the presser foot down. Most machines come with a small screwdriver, you may need to use it to help loosen the needle screw the first time you work with this area. You’ll loosen the needle screw (turning the screw toward you loosens the screw and away to tighten) then insert your needle.
When inserting the needle into the machine, you’ll put the needle’s flat side of the shank to the back of the machine. Slide it up then tighten the needle screw, replace your presser foot if you removed it, and now we are ready to move on to threading and bobbin winding.
Next, we are going to load the bobbin. I have included a video link, if you’re a visual learner, it does cover both threading the machine and winding the bobbin. I like to thread my bobbin first and would have done a video using my actual machine but I found a very clear video so I’m happy to use it instead of creating my own.
You’ll put your thread through the bobbin guide, threading through the hole in the bobbin. Place the bobbin on the bobbin pin, pull your handwheel out to the right and push your bobbin (with your empty bobbin) to the right. Holding the end of your thread up you’ll press down on the presser foot until the bobbin is full, machines stop once they are fully loaded. Clip your threads, remove bobbin and make sure to push your bobbin pin and handcrank back into the sewing position. Pop your bobbin into the bobbin casing, make sure to follow the thread path indicated on the machine.
Now we are ready to thread the machine. Most machines come with a thread guide/path on the actual machine for you to follow. You will follow that path in order to correctly thread the machine, again this video clearly shows the threading of my machine, your own machine might vary slightly.
What an exciting time for you! And with the current Stay-at-home orders currently being extended in many places, sewing could be the perfect hobby to get started with. Over the years, I have had several friends purchase machines, people ask me to teach them, and just a ton of questions about how to fix, grade or correct a pattern to get a good fit. I decided it was time for me to go ahead and give a series of lessons and that the best way to do this is via my blog and Facebook page (any live feeds will be added to my YouTube channel with closed captioning with a brief post here to let everyone interested it has gone live.)
This is a project to help out friends getting started with the wonderful world of sewing. I am accomplished in the sense that I have been sewing off and on for over 30 years but really got back into sewing as a regular hobby when my youngest was born. I grew up consistently wearing handmade items from my mother and grandmother. And year after year, I was roped into gift making and crafting throughout my school days. As a young adult, I always worked, rarely giving myself time to indulge in any kind of crafting except handmade cards for people for birthdays and gift giving. Take a look at the photo archives for some of the creations, I have been wearing handmade virtually my entire life.
Once Sweet Pea was born, we realized it would be easier for me to stay home and I set about to figure out a way to enjoy being at home with her when she was napping and between therapies and appointments (one can only nap and read so many books.) Joseph happened to have a small, very cheap and basic sewing machine and I remembered basic sewing skills from all the years off and on. I set about to remember the things I forgot and that is now 6 years ago.
So now that you know my history, let’s talk about you and your new machine. Whatever machine you have purchased it’s really important to get to know your machine, what type of stitches it performs and how to maintain the machine to get the best use and life out of your machine.
Over the years I have seen are 3 different types of people when it comes to getting a new machine:
1.) People that rip into the box and pull the machine out and start fiddling with settings
2.) People that go right for the instruction manual and read it thoroughly before or after pulling out the machine
3.) People that may or may not read the manual but leave the machine in the box for months and months sometimes afraid to get started
I am a #2 person, I get excited and slightly terrified to open and begin using the machine but feel a ton better once I read the manual several times. Which kind of person are you?
Let me start with saying that if your machine comes with a manual that is your best resource when your machine begins to act up.
Let’s assume you have already read the manual and you are ready to get started playing with your machine. Many machines come with starter thread and needles (some even come pre-threaded.) If your machine comes with this set up, I would recommend taking out the thread, bobbin and needle if you are new to sewing so you can practice threading and changing the needle. The next post will cover changing the needle, threading the machine and bobbin.
Take a look at what else comes with your machine. Many machines have a storage drawer either containing a few extra items, sometimes the extra items are bagged separately.
I have a Viking Emerald 116, it is a “basic” machine- meaning it is all manually adjusted. My machine came with a removable machine extender that includes a small storage space plus some additional tools (your machine may come with some of all of these pieces plus small screw drive, small brush for getting lint out of the machine):
What kind of tools or extras came with your machine?
Our next post I will be talking about getting to know your individual machine, how to change your needle, load your bobbin and thread your machine.
I know it’s been a bit since my last post. Quarantine life has been complicated and getting into ANY KIND of routine is hard. I have been sewing masks off and on but I did take some time out to sew for my sweet girl.
We celebrate May 4th in this house like we celebrate a birthday— fun foods, new clothes. With the quarantining we had to go super simple and Sweet Pea was bummed she didn’t get to go to school wearing her new dress.
I participated in the George and Ginger Sew Along for May 4th, which had lots of people sewing a variety of patterns with varying levels of love for the Star Wars franchise.
We love the angled hemline so when Sweet Pea asked that we use this pattern with some modifications, I said sure!
The Emilia has lots of features and was formerly the Gingersnap Dress by George and Ginger.
Sizing now 0-3m through 14. Sleeve lengths include sleeveless, short sleeves, 3/4 and long sleeves.
From the website:
“The Emilia Dress is a mini dress (hitting well above the knee at center front and back) that looks great with leggings, or on its own as a dress for those who are comfortable with the length.
The loose and flowy fit is very stylish and lends itself to a “grow” style—being worn for years, first as a mini dress and then as a tunic. There is a grow cuff option for the long sleeves, allowing them to be folded up at first and then unfolded as the child grows. Other sleeve length options include short, elbow length, and sleeveless.”
I used double brushed polyester (DBP) from Boho Fabrics. They do have a delay on shipping do to the current quarantine but they shipped within the time frame stated on their website. This DBP has a thick in hand feel and lovely drape.
I used a new htv vinyl my husband purchased from Walmart because I couldn’t find what I needed for curbside pick up from Joann Fabrics and I noticed after a few days of wear I need to reapply the heat press. It is very thick vinyl and with applying to DBP I used a lower temp and it’s possible I did not use enough timing for the heat application.
I added length just under the armscye to take the dress to floor length and added a snap on cape.
We finished up the look with a felt mask from a shop on etsy and went outside for a photo shoot!
Oooh it’s been a minute- I have been sewing weekly but it is that chaotic time of year where it’s the perfect storm of sport seasons changing, annual appointments for all of Sweet Pea’s specialists and now with the self quarantining and having to teach school. I’m going to be doing something I have never done before and if you read all the way to the end AND COMMENT, I’ll draw a name for a free pattern from Goober Peas Designs Patterns (the pattern company I used for this post today!)
I love when spring comes. It feels so delightful to be outside with a light weight jacket after being bundled up for so many months on end. But with that shift in weather comes digging through my children’s closets to ensure they have what they need for the weather transitions.
This year Sweet Pea asked for ALLLLLL the dresses. Which isn’t all that unusual for her, she loves dresses. She added she wanted length and twirly to the request.
So this means figuring out new patterns or even better, with all the uncertainty currently going on, digging through the depths of all my patterns and creating fun mash ups.
I decided to fill the request of the wee one I wanted to use bits and pieces of a couple different patterns from Goober Pea Designs Patterns to create a whole new look for her.
I started with the Hip 2 B Square tee which has a ton of features:
Youth sizing of 0-3mo to size 20
Short and long sleeve options
Sleeve colorblocking with optional venting
Full or partial color blocking of the bodice
I opted for the short sleeve (Sweet Pea is not a fan of long and it would have been my preference due to the time of year but she was having none of that) with colorblocking of the sleeve and bodice. I left off the bottom colorblocking panel on the bodice and trued the back to match since I was attaching a skirt to the hemline. I also lengthened the sleeve a bit because Sweet Pea prefers elbow length sleeves.
Next to work on the twirl factor and make a dress from the top. I could have gone with the Addison/Sadie add on pack that would have added a circle skirt but I knew with the request of maxi dress length it meant making an adjustment. So I decided to hack/mash it with the Talia Tiered Dress (which is free to newsletter subscribers.)
Talia has a few fun features:
Sizing from 0-3mo- size 14
Sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves
1,2 or 3 tiers to make peplum, tunic or dress length
Since the 3 tiers puts the dress at close to a tea length, I knew it would be easy to add a 1.5 inches to each tier to get close to ankle length. It was soo much gathering. I also added clear elastic when attaching the skirt because I was worried about the weight of the skirts with the added length.
She literally wore this dress for a week straight once it came off the machine so I would say this ended up being a successful mash up!
Welcome to the Spring Fling Blog Hop!
Sew Much Charm kicked off the Spring Fling with the Spring Fling Giveaway! A huge congratulations to the winners: Lorna P. of England & Patti V. of Texas! Each prize package had a retail value of $191!
Let’s keep the fun rolling this week with more sewing and more fun. Sew Much Charm is now also hosting the Spring Fling Blog Hop and I’m going to introduce to you our Bloggers for the Blog Hop!
Be sure to check each day by 6AM (Central Standard Time)! Each day there will be a blogger (or more) doing a giveaway! So be sure to check each blog post & just comment on their blog post from this blog hop and you are entered to win!