Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Tic Tac Toe Dress - PDF Pattern by SewPony

After no blog tour experience, I now find myself part of two blog tours within a week!! Uncanny! Although, I must profess, I don’t consider myself an expert at this!
But on to the fun bit!! Australian designer Suzanne of SewPony has just released her stately new dress pattern – the Tic Tac ToeDress!!

This is the second dress pattern that I’ve had the pleasure of testing for SewPony – the first being the Miss Polly.

Like Miss Polly, Tic Tac Toe has a very classic, vintage-esc feel to it. With piping, pockets, comfortable fitting bodice & a slightly gathered skirt. The pattern includes sizes 12 months to 10 years  (approximately.)

Half collar with bodice view "C" & gathered rectangular sleeves

There are 3 different bodice options, but many ways to make your dress unique. The two dresses I made, use bodice “B” and bodice “C” – as I’m rather partial to piping! Bodice “A” is plain, but perfect for adding some FMA (free motion appliqué) or embroidery!

View from Kings Park - Western Australia - The location for our photos this day

Sleeve options are coming out the whaazoo with this dress!! You can choose sleeveless, gathered rectangular, small rectangular, puff sleeves, ¾ length & full length sleeves! So many ways to make this dress suitable for all seasons!
Add to those options, full collar, half collar, epaulettes and a front or back tie and two back bodice options (regular & “v”.) You really have a full arsenal of options! And during this blog tour and the testing, there have been many wonderful variations and I hope you will have a look at the other bloggers versions too! So inspiring!

Pockets for those treasures or feathers!

This dress will suit sewers of intermediate experience. The back bodice closes via invisible zip – see my invisible zip tutorial for some extra help! Piping may seem challenging if you’ve never worked with it or made it, however, the Tic Tac Toe pattern gives clear instructions on how to install and even make your own!! Please also visit my previous blog post on how to make your own! #pipeallthethings

This beautiful, bright print is a soft cotton drill

Nothing says Summer like Summer fruit!

SewPony provides clear, well written instructions which will provide you with the guidance you need to sew up your own stunning dresses!
Until Friday 24th November 2016, with coupon code TICTACTOE10, you can receive 10% off the purchase price of the Tic Tac Toe pattern! This is a pattern you need in your digital stash, timeless, adaptable, elegant! Everyday or special occasion, Tic Tac Toe is the pattern.

For all the inspiration you could ask for, please visit these amazing blogs!

Nov 23 (TODAY!!! YAY!!) Needles to Say - Liivi & Liivi - ME!! ---- ^ ^ ^ Soul fed on Thread

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Finley & Quinn - Robe Pattern by PollyWoggles - Blog tour

I'm probably more of a blog "tourist", because up until now, I've never been part of a "Blog Tour." So please excuse me if I just bumble my way through this! But I'm first cab off the rank as it were (after our esteemed designer - Heidi), so let us begin!
It's time for something a little different! But perhaps apt for those who are now coming into winter in their parts of the world! Pollywoggles has just released a “dressing gown” pattern (this is what we would call it in Australia!)
And.......wait for it...... if you join us over at the Pollywoggles Sewing Circle  (Facebook group), you can get the coupon code to get this pattern for absolutely FREE!!! Yes! You heard me!! FREE!



The Finley & Quinn robe comes with sizes 12 months to 10 years included. It is a unisex pattern and with the right fabric selection can be made very girly/masculine or gender neutral.


Fleece is probably the best option to make this robe a fast, super warm sew. However it would also look amazing in minky or if you are looking for a lighter weight option (like me), the robe also works very well in flannel.


I love flannel. Firstly because it is 100% cotton, secondly, it is still very warm & cuddly, and lastly, flannel has some great print options!


The sew itself is a great beginners pattern. If using fleece, there is also no need to finish edges! No serger (overlocker) required!

I was surprised at how quickly the robe came together & how wonderful it looked! The pockets are a great feature, useful & attractive.... although, you could leave them off if you chose (or were struggling for time.) I colour blocked the top of my pockets – this is not included in the pattern, but very easy to do. I simply folded over the pocket edge where I wanted my white fleece to start & added 6mm seam allowance. I cut my flannel to my fold line (plus 6mm). Then cut my fleece (plus 6mm) using the smaller remaining template piece.


I chose fleece as my collar/cuffs (and colour blocker) as it provided a nice contrast to the fun cat print flannel. It is also super soft!


You will find that the collar is the trickiest part of the pattern, however, if you proceed slowly, read the instructions at least 10 times first (and as you proceed), you will have no trouble!


Pollywoggle’s patterns are very thorough, and as such, have plenty of written instructions (accompanied by step-by-step photographs.) Do not be intimidated by all that writing! (lol) I can assure you, it is not scary! “Heidi’s Helpful Hints” are also a fantastic little extra that I really loved seeing throughout the pattern.

I love the attached belt (no loosing pesky dressing gown ties!) And the easy hook loop – no excuses kids for not hanging up that gown!

Matching pyjama's are Once Upon a Sewing Machine's  ruffled PJ top (minus the ruffle) and pants are Carla's Pantaloons by Grammies Dolls.
To find out more about Pollywoggles, please click HERE 
To read Heidi's (the brains & beauty) behind Pollywoggles blog post, do so HERE

Let the tour continue. . . . . . .

Next up.....
Saturday 19th November: What's Mummy up to?
Sunday 20th November: Lunatiek
Monday 21st November: Biezonder
Tuesday 22nd November: That's sew Venice

Band add-on Tutorial

Now, my dressing gown also has a little extra. You may have noticed the fleece band around the bottom of my gown?! Well, that isn’t in the pattern folks, BUT, I’m about to tell you have to add your own! Super easy peezy!
At step 27, instead of hemming your gown, STOP! Leave it raw and go ahead and finish the rest of the gown as instructed.
When your gown is complete – save for the hem, measure that bottom edge of the gown. Using this measurement, add ¾’  (or 2cm) to this measurement. This is the length of your band – which now includes a seam allowance. The height of your band can be your own choice, but consider that it is a folded band, so you need to double the height you’d like it to be (and also consider it will need a seam allowance.) I chose to make my band 5’ (13cm) tall. So when folded it would be just under 2.5’ when the seam allowance is deducted.  


Take your band, fold it in half, so long edges are lining up and RIGHT sides are facing.


 Sew the short edges using the 3/8’ seam allowance.

Remove the bulk and turn the right way around. Use a chop stick or your preferred turning device to pop out those corners.



Now take your band and pin it to your gown – lining up those raw edges. Be extra careful to make sure the short edges of the band line up perfectly with your gown! You don’t want that band protruding once it has been sewn on!


Sew your band on! There is no need to finish your edges if using fleece, however, if using flannel (or even minky) finish those edges – a zig-zag stitch or serged edge works best.
Now turn down your band – carefully press or pin up your seam allowance (so it faces upwards towards the top of the gown.)


Top stitch your band. You can choose to “stitch in the ditch” or 1/8’ above. Just make sure you catch the seam allowance.

Done! You are now complete! Try that robe on your little one and see their face light up!


Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Testing for One Thimble Ezine – Vol 13 and my Invisible Zip Tutorial

Only having discovered the amazing world of PDF patterns a couple years ago, I was pleased when I found that there was also an online version of sewing magazines! So let me explain about One Thimble – the online sewing mag.
Packed full of useful tips, One Thimble also boasts a host of amazing patterns in each issue. At only $25(au), which includes usually at least 10 PDF patterns, this is a bargain of massive proportions!


Orbis Skinny Harems – pattern by Sofilantjes.

I was lucky enough to test not just one but TWO patterns that are included in Vol. 13 of One Thimble. I’m starting with the Orbis skinny harem pants (or jogging shorts.) This pattern is by Dutch designer, Sofilantjes.

The pattern includes sizes 12months to 14 childrens. It is a uni-sex pattern and suits boys & girls alike. The slim fit makes them perfect for sport or high energy activities or even just for weekend wear.
The Orbis pants have beautiful rounded, functional pockets that wrap-around front to back.

The waist band is elasticised and the pattern includes instructions on how to add a drawstring. You may choose to use buttonholes or grommets for your drawstring. As I hadn’t tried grommets before, I decided I should test my skills and give them a go!

I purchased a tool and the grommets from my local sewing shop and all that was required was a hammer to fix the grommets. I love the professional finish the grommets give the pants and highly recommend giving them a try!
These pants can be full length or knee length, I opted for full length and used ribbing for my cuffs, pocket binding and waistband.

The Orbis pants also have a faux feature fly, which you could decorate with buttons or snaps – I didn’t love my fly enough to feature it! There were many other lovely tester flies.... I just wasn't happy mine!   (  *) – (  *)
To see more from the other testers, please visit these wonderful blogs....
I had been interested in Sofilantjes patterns for some time, so I’m so glad I was able to try the Orbis pants! If you have been eyeing off Sofilantjes patterns too, this is the perfect opportunity! I love the pattern and something very different from my usual sews!

Raglan Party Dress – Pattern by Designs by Call Ajaire

Having tested for Ajaire previously, I knew this dress was going to be amazing! I wasn’t disappointed!
The Raglan Party Dress features a skirt with beautiful wide pleats, a feature cut bodice, raglan sleeves and an invisible zip. I will also include a mini tutorial on how to install an invisible zip! Once you go invisible, you’ll never go back!

The dress pattern includes sizes newborn to 12 girls.   

Invisible zip & gold pleather trim
I would rate the pattern as in intermediate sew. The trickiest step is the invisible zip, however the pleats require a level of preciseness.
My favourite part of this dress is those amazing pleats. Colour block to make your fabrics pop!

I made three dresses over the testing period. Each different and fun! There are 3 different views, A, B & C. I made two A's and the above dress is view B. (View C is pleated with no colour blocking.)

Make your dress fancy, sporty, or every-day neat.

I know... very grubby knees.... toddlers and dirt! Like coffee & chocolate - can't have one without the other!
I added a faux gold pleather belt to my Christmas Raglan party dress and a simple sash to my sporty “Australia Day” style raglan! Make the pattern your own!!

I had such fun sewing these dresses and I know you will too!! You can't beat Ajaire's patterns for details on fit and clear, well illustrated instructions!
The Raglan dress by Call Ajaire had some amazing testers who have also blogged.... if you would like to see more, please visit their blogs


Invisible Zip Tutorial

Do not be afraid of the invisible zip! I prefer them over regular dress zips. They create a seamless finish, while being very functional.
You may use the Raglan dress or any garment really, but we will be assuming you have sewn the neckline (and sleeves if applicable) on the bodice. It is important to leave approx 1 inch (2.5cm) un-sewn on each side of the back neckline.

Now place your invisible zip (and do make sure your purchase an invisible zipper), right side of zip to right side of main bodice. DO NOT CATCH YOUR BODICE LINING. I like to sew the right hand side of the zipper first. So the right hand side of the zipper needs to be pinned to the LEFT hand side of the bodice.

With your invisible zip foot in your machine (you can use a regular zip foot if you are a confident sewer and don’t have an invisible zip foot.) You will need to unzip the zipper and sew as CLOSE AS YOU CAN to the zipper teeth – hold them away carefully so you can do this.

Once you've sewn down your first side, if you turn it over and zip it up, it *should* look like this.

From the inside of your dress, the zipper should look like the above picture.

Repeat for the opposite side – the zipper will look a little twisted at the bottom, however, it is important that you sew that second side with the RIGHT side of the zipper facing the RIGHT side of the bodice! Please also note, be careful to line up the bodice joins at this point! It does not matter if the zip over hangs unevenly at the top! I like to do up my zipper & mark with a washable marker the bodice line, then unzip and pin, using the join as my first pin.

Make sure you mark your second zipper where it should line up at the bodice-skirt line

Once sewn, your zipper should zip up & down with ease - showing no zipper teeth/edge.

If you pinned your zipper on correctly, the two bodice pieces should line up perfectly.

Next is the lining – the easy part! Turn your bodice lining over the right side of the bodice – so the right side of the lining and the right side of the bodice are facing.

Next, using the zipper foot, stitch the bodice lining to the zipper. There is no need to be as close to the zipper teeth as with the main – you will need to be able to open your zipper after all!!

You will likely have zipper hanging out below the bodice lining – no need to stress over this!
Exchange your zip foot for your regular machine foot. Using the seam allowance, sew up your bodice neckline (where you left your gap to insert your zip.)

Trim the corners so your dress will come out crisply when turning the right side. Turn the right side.

Invisible zip inserted!!

Inside view of invisible zip now completely sewn in
Finish your zip sewing the remainder of the skirt together at the back. Be careful to move the un-sewn zip tail out of the way and line your stitching up with your zipper stitching. I like to tack that “loose” remaining zip down to the internal seams, but you could also trim & zig-zag or sew up a zipper tail pocket/cover.

Sew bodice lining to dress & hem and your done!