Friday, 27 May 2016

Summers Breeze Jacket - Pattern by Grammies Dolls

I've been delighted to test a few times now for Theresa at Grammies Dolls. The amazing patterns she creates reflect years gone by, when children dressed like, well, children!

This adorable shrug/crop jacket PDF pattern comes with sizes 1 - 16 girls included. I would rate it between adventurous beginner & intermediate. If your making your own piping and adding ruffles, lining and all the extras - which I chose to do with my jacket - it can be an involved sew.

The jacket comes with many options! Short puff or long sleeves, lined or unlined, ruffles or no ruffles! Ribbon tie or leave it open, optional piping & collar!!

I chose to make mine with all the options - just to showcase them all!! Plus, they do look very cute! I'm rather partial to piping!!

Here in the "Land Down Under", we are heading into winter, so I decided to line my jacket with fleece. It is cosy warm and with an outer quilting cotton, the jacket is still charming enough to show off any cute dresses!

This jacket is really very versatile & I will be making more in the summer months for sun protection. I was impressed with the test versions that featured the cute puff sleeves - they looked very princess like in my humble opinion! 

Grammies Dolls patterns always feature fantastic illustrations of each step, so are easy to follow.  

I have come to appreciate any PDF pattern that comes with layering of the pattern pieces. It just saves so much time & trouble! GDs doesn't disappoint! This pattern was very easy to piece together with minimal cutting & of course selective layering.

I intend to re-visit this pattern in summer & hopefully show off some summer crops! For now, I'm rather content to sew a couple more of these winter versions!
If you would like to find out more or purchase the pattern please visit Grammies Dolls HERE 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Secret Garden Girls Coat - Foo Foo Threads - Pattern Review

Over the next few months I hope to try out a vast selection of girls winter wear. Finding trendy winter clothing for girls is a challenge! Kicking off this winter peregrinate, is this gorgeous "Secret Garden Coat" - pattern by Foo Foo Threads.

Before I delve into this pattern, I want to share my new toy - I mean - TOOL, with you! It's a custom made seam ripper! Made right here in Australia, completely handcrafted. I love love LOVE it! The weight and quality is just superb! If your interested in having your very own seam ripper made, please visit Alan's Pen Making You won't be disappointed! (Even the best seamstresses need a good seam ripper!!)

The Secret Garden Coat is a PDF pattern by Foo Foo Threads and comes with sizes 6 months to girls size 8 included.

This pattern is suitable for intermediate sewers, there is no one particularly difficult step, it's just a very involved sew. The coat is fully lined & has optional ruffles which I chose to have on my version. Above is to show you my very "interesting" pattern match! Franken-cat is alive & well!

Approximately half a million pieces are required to be cut out..... no not really, but there are a lot of pieces! I kept different fabric pieces in separate piles, as I had three different types of fabric. I chose this groovy cat drill for the main, a simple quilting cotton for the ruffles & lower skirt layer, then finally pale green minky dot for the lining. Minky makes a wonderfully soft lining.

My button hungry inner sewing beast couldn't help but choose some bling, antique-look buttons to finish this coat off! You have two choices for button closure, tabs - as I've chosen to do, or button holes.

You may also chose to leave the shoulder or hood feature ruffles off. The sash tie is also optional, but I really enjoy the finished look it gives the coat. It can be neatly tied at the front or back.

The hood can be replaced by a ruffled collar, which also looks very sweet, but my 2yr old fashion diva must have a hood!

The skirt has two layers which creates a beautiful gathered skirt, a real feminine touch.

The pattern instructions themselves are detailed for the most part, although could come across as overwhelming for some. I found some of the write up could have been simplified and some of the illustrations presented in a more finished manner. None the less, anyone with prior sewing experience could complete a beautiful garment.
The fit itself is fairly generous, I chose a 2T length with a 18 month width and there is still plenty of room to grow with the coat.

My coat came together very well and I was pleased with the result - as was Miss Two!

A side note on the backdrop! We visited a beautiful apple orchard and were able to go in & pick our own delicious apples! The kids had such a fun time & the autumn colours really shone. 

I would recommend this pattern to anyone who is ready for a great sew! Not a quick sew. Take your time & you'll be rewarded with a delightful little coat.
To find out more about the Secret Garden Coat and Foo Foo Threads, please click HERE

Friday, 20 May 2016

Fiorella Halter Dress - Pattern by Whimsy Couture - Review

I had already been following Denise over at her DIY Crush creative blog/webpage and immensely enjoyed all the free patterns and nifty ideas. So when the opportunity arose to test one of her lovely patterns, I couldn't resist!


This is the Fiorella Halter Dress. The PDF pattern comes with sizes 12 months to 16 girls included.

This stunning dress is a super easy sew & would suit beginners! If your afraid (although you shouldn't be, because its SUPER easy) of shirring, you can follow the elastic casing option for the back bodice. That is quite simply the hardest part of this dress and by gosh its not tricky!

The dress features a gathered skirt, lined bodice, shirred back (or elasticated) & halter tie straps for ease of adjustment. A summer staple waiting to happen!

I chose poplin & quilters cotton to make this dress and at the request of my model, found what I had in red!

The front bodice can be decorated as you wish, a faux bib, buttons, applique, embroidery or simply left plain for the dress or fabric to speak for itself!!

The instructions are clear and easy to follow. There are options also for belt loops and a sash or to turn your skirt into a bubble skirt!

To find out more about this pattern or to purchase, please click HERE
A special thanks to Jane and Miss D! 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Adventures of a pink cat! Hooded Animal Scarf & Animazing Skirt - Patterns by Big Little & LLK

My daughter absolutely adores cats. She loves other little cute furry animals too, like bunnies, but cats are defiantly #1! Despite her worried look in this photo (she had just had enough of being behind the camera!) She actually LOVES this hooded scarf-hat.
Today I'm going to talk about two patterns, which I chose for my daughter in mind, because as much as I love vintage florals and quaint clothing, she really loves FUN!
So here is my review of the Animal Ears Hooded Scarf - pattern by Big Little & the Animazing Suspender Skirt - pattern by Little Lizard King (LLK.)

Animal Ears Hooded Scarf - Pattern by Big Little


Lets talk about the hooded scarf. This PDF pattern by New Zealand designer Big Little Patterns comes with sizes 3 months to adult included. Great value! I mean, when I get around to a "selfish sew", this will be on my "Make it" list!

This pattern comes with three different views to choose from, a hooded scarf - which has a full length scarf to wrap around ones neck. Or a hooded cowl, which fixes with buttons (or snaps) at the throat and lastly - the version I chose - the hooded crossover. The crossover has short scarf ends the fix together with a single button.

Once you've selected the size & style, then you can select your animal! Really only your imagination limits you on this one, however the pattern includes ear patterns & tutorials for a fox, cat, giraffe, horse, unicorn, donkey, lion, mouse, bear & rabbit.

The scarf is fully lined and you could just about choose any fabric you wish to construct it, however it would be advisable to choose something heavier than poplin. I selected a very soft faux fur - which was an up-cycled throw blanket! (So much softer and cheaper than faux fur by the metre!) Then I lined it with a quilters cotton.

It is a straight forward sew, although I advise you not to start construction at 11pm! (Yes, I did need to unpick and re-sew the ears 3 times.... no mean feat with faux fur!) This pattern would suit a beginner.
I added a stiff iron on interfacing layer to the ears, just to give them a ridged shape & so they would stand up nicely. I feel the front of the hood could have done with a layer of lighter weight interfacing too, just to give the brim a bit more shape - I would strongly recommend this for softer or lighter weight fabrics.
Add a feature button to close the scarf & you really have a stellar little hat! My daughter is thrilled to bits with hers and hasn't removed it all day!! (I think this one is going to be constantly in the
 wash with all the wear its going to get!! Better make two.......)

Little Lizard King's Animazing Suspender Skirt 

I've made several of these cute suspender skirts now & their sister - the Timeless Treasures Suspender Skirt. Each one is unique and quirky! This PDF pattern includes sizes 12 months to 14 girls.

Just like Big Little's Hooded Animal Scarf, the Animazing skirts are only limited by your imagination. While the pattern comes with templates for a fox, rabbit, cat, mouse, dog and bear, you can choose to create any animal you can think of! Not long ago I participated in the Animazing Sew along over at LLK's fan page. I saw MANY amazing animals.... including a jellyfish!!

I love adding texture to my daughter's more fun outfits and it was a fabulous excuse to use more faux fur! I decided to use an external lace zip to close the skirt - as opposed to buttons, I've also done a shirred back one - my own modification - it worked well also!
You can choose to tie back your straps - like mine - or add elastic internally. The skirt is super easy to just pull up - no need to go over heads (a bonus in my books!)

I also chose to modify the skirt and used WOF (width of fabric) skirt layers and doubled the layers. I used pink poplin for the bottom layer and topped it with white lace.

The bodice is quite fitted, so always measure your intended wearer! Make the size that suits the waist measurement of your child. It is very simple to blend sizes with this pattern. The only print off pattern pieces are the animal features.

I would rate this pattern as intended for adventurous beginners. The instructions are clear and well thought out photos of each step provided.
The designers are also very responsive & I would suggest you join the Facebook fan group.  

I did not pattern test either of these garments and all my views are purely my own. I own several LLK patterns and I hope to show you more of their lovely designs!
If you would like to find out more or purchase your own copy of the Animazing Skirt, please click HERE

Or alternatively, if you should wish to find out more about the Hooded Animal Scarf or purchase the pattern, please visit Big Little HERE
The fur was flying - literally - with these ones, but it was worth it for the look of utter delight on my daughters face!

What is a cat?

Gentle eyes
that see so much,
paws that have
the quiet touch.
Purrs to signal
"all is well"
and show more love
than words can tell.
Graceful movements
touched with pride,
a calming presence
by our side.
A friendship
that will last and grow -
small wonder
why we love them so.
Author Unknown


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Petal (& Lily) - Patterns by Pumpkin & Bunny

Petal is a sweet 'A' line tunic top/dress that I recently had the pleasure of testing for Sparrow at Pumpkin & Bunny.

I paired sweet Petal with Lily - a semi-lined cropped jacket, also by Pumpkin & Bunny. The weather here in Oz is actually cooling down (we aren't always desert-like in climate! Only 6 months of the year...... give or take!! Well.... some places any way!)

Petal is a great quick sew & any beginner sewer could achieve a beautiful garment. There are of course little extras you can do to add that special touch - and I will share a little tutorial on how to add piping to your Petal! Pockets and or sleeves.

Petal comes with a HUGE size range - from Newborn to 14 and would make a great investment. Everyday playwear made stylish - by you!

The optional pockets are super sweet and just like her name-sake, are petal like in their cross over feature. Although you could omit them & the pockets completely if you chose to do so. The sleeves also reflect petals with a cute cross over. Adding piping to them really makes them *POP*!

The back keyhole closure makes getting dressed a breeze, while being a great excuse to put a bow in there! (I really love bows!!)

The whole PDF tutorial is well written & easy to understand. It includes fantastic, clear photos of each step. I needed to blend sizes (a 2T but required a 18 month width) and this was also easy to achieve with layered pattern pieces. I simply selected the size 1 & 2 and only printed those sizes.

I have now sewn a couple of Pumpkin & Bunny's patterns and each one has always had such wonderful insights on how to achieve beautiful finishes without the use of a serger/overlocker. With French seams, binding & a semi-lined bodice, this dress is as beautiful inside as it is out.
Piping Tutorial for Petal

I made two Petal dresses for this test and on each one I decided to add piping to the dresses. The first dress as shown above, has piping on the pocket & sleeves. My second dress I chose only to put piping on the sleeves. I believe it just added such a refined finish. Don't be scared of piping!! You can buy it ready made or make your own.

I like to make my own and if your VERY keen, you could also make your own bias binding too! That way you could create the exact look you wanted. For size 2, you will need 1.5m of either 20mm or 25mm bias binding tape & 3mm piping cord. If you are only doing the sleeves, then 1m is enough. For larger or smaller sizes, more or less will be required.
To make your piping place your piping cord into the centre of your bias & fold the bias over. Pin the cord in place at the top. Make sure you fit your machine with the zipper foot. Then carefully sew in the cord, folding the bias as you go & making sure the piping stays in the centre. Take your time!
**HINT: Set your machine needle over so it sews as close to the cord as possible.

Once your piping is made (or use your bought piping instead), pin your piping on to the main sleeves or pocket pieces. Make sure your piping is facing inwards and allow for your seam allowances. When you sew the linings onto the main pieces, where your cord is, is where you will be sewing, so be careful that it is not too close to the edge! Baste your piping to your main pieces, again using your zipper foot.
Once your piping has been basted on, place your bodice or pocket lining on top - with right sides facing. Pin carefully.

With zipper foot at the ready, carefully stitch your lining & main together, go slowly and feel where you are sewing - so you don't just jump over the piping or go wayward and have uneven piping.
Once sewn, trim with either pinking shears if you have excess fabric or simply just clip around the corners.

Turn your pocket piece or sleeve out the right way & press well. I find with a good pressing, there is no need for topstitching. Continue to follow Petal's complete instructions to finish the garment.  

Petal with Lily

This is my second Petal with a custom made Lily jacket to suit - which is also by Pumpkin & Bunny. This pattern is completely FREE! I could hardly believe it, as its such a beautiful jacket design, perfect accompaniment for dresses or pretty tops.

The Lily jacket comes with a huge size selection too, 6 months to 14. It is a fitted jacket, so be very careful when selecting the size you need. Measure your child first! If in doubt, size up!! It needs to be quite fitted, as there are no closures & loose jackets are not conductive with busy play.

Lily is semi-lined, and features a beautiful ruffle that acts as a collar also. Sleeves are puffed at the top & fitted at the bottom.

I made this jacket from a velour stretch and lined it with the cotton canvas that the Petal is also made from. Believe it or not, the canvas was quite soft, although thick, so great for cooler weather. It also provided some structure that the velour lacked.

In closing, I really love Petal & Lily together - well thought out patterns and designed to be worn. You will not be disappointed with the finishes on any of the Pumpkin & Bunny patterns.
If your interested in purchasing or reading more on Petal, please click HERE
or to view the Lily Jacket, click HERE