Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Norah Dress pattern tour + Flutter Sleeve tutorial

I am super excited to be a part of the Norah Dress and Tunic pattern tour today at Welcome to the Mouse House. As some of you may know I really love this pattern! This is the third one I've made. 
I also thought it would be fun to throw in a flutter sleeve tutorial for you :)

I will get to the tutorial momentarily. First, I would like to tell you a little bit about this dress.

 This dress was made with a beautiful, rich plum colored linen blend fabric. It's delicious!

The accent fabric is a pretty satin that I picked up from the remnant bin at Joann's a while back. I added piping to the collar. Then, to tie it all in, I added a strip of the satin and piping to the bottom of the dress.

 I made a size 6 in hopes that it would last through summer, but at the rate this girl is growing I will be lucky if it lasts through spring! That just means I will have to make more Norahs...woot!

This Norah is a sleeveless version with collar and cincher options. And, as you may have noticed, I added a sweet little flutter sleeve to this Norah!

The flutter sleeve works wonderfully with the classic style of the Norah pattern. Let me show you how I made it! Tutorial time; woot, woot!!!

First, I will show you how to draft your own flutter sleeve, then I will show you how I made mine. There are lots of different kinds of flutter sleeves. This one is a flutter cap sleeve with shoulder gathers. So now that we know what we are making, lets get started!

The "proper" way to draft a flutter sleeve is to use the slash and spread method; may also referred to as cut and spread method. So let's start with that.

***Free flutter cap sleeve pattern! Available for download HERE.***

Repeat the same process for your other sleeve. 
That wasn't too bad, eh? It will seem easy after you've done it a couple times, I promise!
Oh, and those with a keen eye may have noticed that I sewed my center back seam before attaching my sleeves. DON'T do this! I t makes it very difficult to turn. I had to rip this seam before I could turn my dress. Haha!

Thank you so much for having me on the tour Hayley! 

You can visit all the other super amazing Norah dresses and tunics on the pattern tour by clicking through the links at Welcome to the Mouse House ;)

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Playhouse Dress

Fishsticks designs has recently released some great new patterns; as always. 
I was one of the lucky, lucky testers for The Playhouse Dress. I have been waiting so long to be able to tell you about this one! Okay, it just feels like forever when it is something that you love. And, oh, how I do love this dress pattern!

Seriously, it is one of my most favorite handmade dresses Keilana has right now. It is easy to see why...

The curved bodice; the puff sleeves; the cotton woven and knit combo that work beautifully together.

(A sun glare washed out the colors on the bottom of the dress in this picture. I promise you, they are very vibrant in real life.)
This dress can be made with all knits, or with the woven and knit combo like I used. The bodice, neck binding, and sleeve bindings are made with knit. This was a yellow cotton interlock. 

The skirt and sleeves are made with cotton woven. For these I dipped into my beloved, and much hoarded, Dear Stella fabric. This print is from the Piper line. I picked these prints up from Once Upon A Yard. I have been buying from Melissa of Once Upon A Yard for years and she is super awesome!

The dress comes with long or short sleeve options. I made this one back when the weather here was beautiful.
 I am now going to take a moment to soak up that green, green, grass; and the warm yellow sun rays in these pictures....Aaaaahhh! Okay moment done. Now back to the snow and ice covered scenery here in southern Oregon right now. Not that it isn't beautiful, in fact the snow sparkles and glimmers, but its COLD!

The knit bodice on The Playhouse Dress really allows for a comfy, easy fit. The woven skirt and sleeves allows you to showcase some of your beautiful prints. With a dress like this Keilana just wants to dance, dance, dance!
<3 Love it! <3

As always, Bonnie's designs are easy to sew and come with wonderful directions. The Playhouse Dress pattern is fantastic. Check out the pattern listing *here* to see the long sleeve version (more suitable for this cold time a year :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Nessie Top from CINO

I recently had the awesome opportunity to test the Nessie top pattern from Craftiness Is Not Optional. I think it pretty much goes without saying that the pattern is simply wonderful!

I am a long time follower of Craftiness Is Not Optional and I just LOVE all of Jess's designs! (I think my heart may have skipped a beat when I signed up to test!) Naturally, the Nessie top became an instant favorite.

 And...what should a girl pair with a red shirt with lace color blocking? Why, leopard print jeggings, of course!

The Nessie top has a hi-lo hem and comes with three different sleeve lengths - short, 3/4, and long. It also has color-blocking and peter pan collar options. For this red shirt I used stretch lace with the color block option and backed it with a creamy white jersey. The lace backing doesn't show through much but was done mostly for comfort.

Can I share a dirty little secret?...I have been a bit slow to catch on to the hi-lo hem craze. I might just be a new hi-lo fan club member though. On the Nessie top it totally works and I love it! The two main reasons why it sold me is 1) the hi-lo hem gently tapers, and 2) a girl can play, ^^^or climb all over a rock^^^, without worries of skin peeping out. Not that I have anything against plumbers ;)

For my second Nessie top I used a jersey weight cotton thermal knit in this pretty flower doodle print. I chose a 3/4 sleeve option to mix things up a bit. I may just love this one more than the first. They are just fun and quick to make!

 Since I am sharing secrets today I will admit that I made a size 5 when I should have made a size 6. Oh, yeah; I forget how fast she is growing! I have also been fighting some icky bug germs going around for a while now and my brain just isn't functioning at full capacity for the moment. Ugh. 

Actually, I think it worked out pretty well though. Winter weather is already hitting here in southern Oregon, so these shirts will likely be used as a base layer rather than stand alone tees. They are pretty awesome either way!

 Yep, completely awesome!
Okay, enough tooting about the Nessie top...just go buy it already!

Thank you so much for letting me test, Jess!

^^^Scenes from our end of photo shoot backyard chase^^^

Monday, November 25, 2013

Announcing...Willow & Co

Have you heard?! Willow & Co is coming!

I am over the moon excited to finally be able to announce this awesomeness! 
I am working with 9 other amazing and super talented bloggers to bring you Willow & Co. Our pattern collective will be launching this spring! Woohoo!

More details will be coming soon. To get the inside scoop, find out about giveaways, and get awesome freebies, sign up for our newsletter:

In the meantime, please come follow us! We are on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Apple Lunch Box and Purse- free pattern and tutorial

A few months back I had the special honor of being a guest at The Cottage Mama blog. There I shared a free pattern and tutorial for an apple lunch box. With the holiday season approaching I thought an adorable apple lunch box would make a great gift. So today I am bringing it home!

I also think that this would make a sweet apple purse!
*Modifications to make an apple purse are below the lunch box tutorial.*

This tutorial will guide you through, step by step, how you can make your own insulated apple lunch box. It features a cotton laminate fabric for the exterior (I found this cute Greenhouse Laminate by Erin McMorris for Free Spirit at, a durable Peltex interfacing, an Insul-Bright thermal insulation layer, and a nylon lining (I prefer Rip-Stop nylon) that is easy to wipe clean.

Puny lunch boxes need not apply, this tutorial makes a mama sized lunch box measuring 11" wide (at the widest point) by 3.5" inches deep. The pattern is available for free download here. So let's get started!
  1.  Print pattern at 100% (no scaling) and cut out all pieces as directed. *Tip: Cut apple piece from Peltex first an you will have a durable shape to trace onto other fabrics.
  2. Lay your Peltex apple piece, fusible side down, over your laminate, right side down, and fuse together with iron. Repeat for other side.
  3. With laminate side of apple still facing down, lay Insul-Bright on top with shiny side up. Then lay your nylon lining over those and align all layers.  
  4. *Tip: Holes in laminate and nylon will be visible. "Pin" layers together with paper clips to avoid unnecessary holes. Other common household items suitable to "pin" with include hair clips, bag clips, and fridge clips.          
  5. Edge stitch to secure all layers together. Repeat for other side. 
  6. Set apple shaped pieces aside. We will now assemble the top and zipper panels. Start with your 3" wide zipper panels first. Layer your pieces over each other and align one long raw edge in this order: Insul-Bright shiny side up, nylon lining, zipper right side up, laminate right side down. Sew together with 1/2" seam allowance.                                                                       
  7. Trim seam allowance to 1/4" with out clipping through zipper. Fold layers away from zipper and topstitch 1/4" away from zipper.
  8. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the 1.5" zipper panels. *Tip: If using a zipper that is longer than your panels you can unzip it all the way to the end before sewing. This will place your zipper pull out of the way when attaching panels.
  9. If you used a longer zipper, secure it near the panels short edge and trim excess.
  10. Align your top panel pieces over one short edge of your zipper panel in this order: Insul-bright shiny side up, nylon lining, zipper panel, laminate right side down. Sew together using 1/2" seam allowance. Trim seam allowance to 1/4".
  11. Fold top panel pieces away from zippered panel and topstitch in place.
  12. Align raw edge of top laminate panel with raw edge of zipper panel with right sides together. Your zipper panel should now be folded to make a loop with the top panel. Push the folded/looped end to the side and pull your Insul-Bright and nylon lining layers of the top panel up to match raw edges. Stitch raw edges with 1/2" seam allowance. Trim seam allowance back to 1/4".       

  13. Flip panels so all layers are right side out. Topstitch the top panel 1/4" from seam we just made. 
  14. Align cording down center of one Nylon webbing strip.  
    Place second webbing strip over the top, sandwiching the webbing between. Stitch near ends of cording to hold in place. Then stitch along the long edges. Gently melt the unfinished ends to prevent fraying. This can be done by holding ends just above the flame of a candle or lighter (do NOT touch flame to webbing).
    Attach the handle near the top panel seams.
    Your top and zipper panels are complete! Now let's start putting it all together.
  15. To find center of top panel fold it in half lengthwise, matching seams where they attach to zipper panel. Mark center point on both raw edges.
  16. Align center point of top panel with top center of apple shaped piece with nylon sides together. Pin in place. Continue to pin all the way around apple piece. Baste together using scant 1/4' seam allowance.
  17. Repeat for the other side.
  18. Set aside the lunch box. Press bias strips to make tape as follows: fold in half lengthwise and press, open up fold and turn long raw edges in to meet at center and press, fold in half lengthwise again and press.
  19. Open up folds at short ends and align with right sides together. Sew together using 1/4" seam allowance. Press seam open. You should now have a continuous bias tape loop.
  20. Repeat steps 18 and 19 for other bias strip. 
  21. Place bias tape over raw edges of lunchbox. You should have to stretch it slightly. This will help it lay flat around the curves. Sew bias tape in place. Repeat for the other side.
    1. **Optional** To make leaf shaped zipper pull simply lay leaf pieces over each other, right sides together, aligning all edges. Sew together with 1/4" seam allowance, leaving opening on one flat side of leaf for turning. Trim seam allowance to 1/8". Turn leaf right side out, fold under opening, and press. Topstitch close to edge around entire leaf.  
    2.   Loop stem through zipper pull. Fold end under 3/8" and then fold another 3/8" and secure to stem

    All done. Hooray! Time to start packing a lunch because you now have a cute new lunch box!

     ***Apple Purse***

    To make this lunchbox into a purse it just requires a few small modifications. The main differences are - 1. The zipper and flat panels are reversed in position and length (The zipper will be where the flat panel is in the lunchbox, and the flat panel will be where the zipper is.); 2. The zipper panels are equal in width on the purse; and 3. Instead of the small handle the purse has a shoulder strap.

    The purse pattern is available for download here.

    Cut your fabric pieces according to the pattern. 

    To make the strap fold and press in half lengthwise. Open your fold and turn long raw edges to center fold and press. Fold back in half lengthwise and press again. Edgestitch 1/8" on both long sides. Your strap is ready.

    Assemble purse following lunchbox tutorial with the following differences:
    *When attaching flat panel to zipper panel on short ends place one end of shoulder strap centered and sandwiched between the right sides of panels. Do the same thing for the other end of the shoulder strap and panels.
    *Center zipper at top of apple shape (rather than the flat panel as is in the lunchbox) and attach in the same manner as lunchbox tutorial. 

    And that is it! You will now have a super cute apple purse!