Monday, May 28, 2018

Day Dreamer

I'm back for another Winter Wear Designs tour - Romp On! It's all about the rompers, but I took a different spin on it. My girls are old enough now where wearing rompers isn't all that practical - especially when they're out and about, or at school. My preschooler goes through July, and needs clothes that she can manage herself, so we went with separates instead!

Day Dreamer is perfect for separates. With multiple top and bottom options, it's easy to pick and choose an outfit that looks beautiful in one piece or two. I made a sleeveless top that snaps easily up the front, with a simple drawstring waist for a little "design flair" (and in keeping with the romper pattern details). The bottom I kept very simple - it's a gathered skirt (which is a pattern option, but SO easy to put together on its own!) I cut the full width of the fabric for a lot more volume and "twirlability".

Even with creating my own bias tape, I used under a yard of rayon challis for this top. The skirt was one yard exactly, so this is a pretty fabric-economical outfit, even in the larger size range. Making bias tape with rayon challis is tricky, but I'm so glad I did it - self-binding is so polished. I love the pintucks in the bodice of Day Dreamer; one of my favorite design details in a top pattern.

She loves the outfit - kept it on all afternoon after photos, and wore the skirt again to church this morning with a different top. Making separates means twice as many outfit options, which is always a bonus for this girl!

Don't miss any of the spectacular rompers
 on the Romp On Tour!!!






Wednesday, May 16, 2018

One Thimble Issue 19: Playtime!

It's Playtime with One Thimble Issue 19! I sewed three patterns from this issue, and I'm showing you those today along with a review of the magazine. There is so much, I hardly know where to start!

My 3 year old is named Ethan, and somehow or other since he's been a baby this has morphed to Efan (Big Sis #1), Beefin (Big Sis #2), Beeps, and Beepin. I knew I had to make him a "Beep Beep Sweatshirt" from Made by Jack's Mum, and I have a special love for cool joggers with fun details, so the Alfie Sweatpants from Ainslee Fox Boutique Patterns were perfect - with their quilted knee patches, faux drawstring, and *swoon* front welt pockets, how could I resist?

The third pattern I chose was the Take and Play activity wall hanging from Kaela's Patch - there are 12 activity blocks to choose from, and I chose nine to work with materials I had (and modified here and there!) It was such a fun sew - choosing fabrics, buttons, and I even enjoyed the quilting it all together!

The Beep Beep Sweatshirt comes in sizes Prem (Premature/Preemie baby) - 12 years. At it's base, it's a simple, comfy sweatshirt, with side panels and optional pockets for a loose, easy fit - and a little playful toy storage! Along with the pattern, you get an applique file for the "road" pieces, should you decide to make the sweatshirt as featured on the pattern cover. I used half of the road piece to go just over the front of my sweatshirt, and painted "bricks" on the Yellow Brick Road. I used a fun floral interlock for the side panels and pockets, imagining the fields of flowers covering The Land of Oz (or the poppy fields that the Cowardly Lion fell asleep in!) A bright green was perfect for the rest of the sweatshirt, and I was so glad to find a photo of some perler-bead characters while googling - finger puppets would have been fun, but I didn't think I'd have time to think up a design, pattern it, and hand stitch them! Good thing I got my photos with my bead pieces right away, because they've all been loved to death in the last week! I'll have to remember to melt them better next time.

I quilted the knee patches on my Alfies just one way, using fleece as my "batting" so it would still have some stretch to it. The more I sew welt pockets, the more I love them - while they are a bit trickier in knit fabrics, these pants went together so well and the end result is just amazing. I love mustard/grey as a color combo! I made the cuffs with twice the required height, so he'll be able to wear these for a while - the waist is actually a bit bigger than he needs right now, and he seems to be on a steady track of growing up faster than out! The Alfie Sweatpants include sizes 3-12y, and have 4 different views - so you'll never be bored making them!

Finally, the Take and Play. I decided not to trim down my blocks as much as suggested, and ended up with a slightly bigger mat - instead of finding a hanging rod, I went with a quilt style so it can be floor mat! I love the different activity squares included - you can make it geared toward curious bigger fingers, learning to lace and tie, or button or zip - or toward tiny fingers that just like to feel and pull. I did a sort of blend - the felt flowers, for example, do come off of their button centers, and the zippers all work - but instead of the ties, I secured the laces and slid buttons on them, for baby fingers to grasp at and slide back and forth. I also did one Velcro activity, and lots of ribbon, felt, and ric-rac for texture exploring.

The pattern is a great jumping off point for anything else you can think of - snaps, buckles, matching colors/shapes...the possibilities are really endless and whether you go with your imagination or the pattern, you know the end result will be fun and engaging every time.

I love the sewing scrapbusters tutorials included in Issue 19. You can make a "fancy" hair scrunchie, a toy wallet (my girls are all about Littlest Pet Shop right now, and those tiny things are hard to keep track of! But no more!), and a scrappy doll quilt. These little projects are not only great for keeping your "sewjo" going when you're spinning your wheels, but they're perfectly designed for kids who want to sew. I think I might carve out some time for my 7 year old to pull her little machine out again this week!

Mr Fox's article made me laugh - I'm sure my husband would echo his views! I have an unfortunate habit of purchasing fabric to make him "something" - only to get distracted, forget about it, use "his" fabric for something more "fun" - lather, rinse, repeat every few months. As a result he really never gets anything new, but the intentions are there! Never mind the mending...

Issue 19 is a great one for beginner sewists - and beginner business owners. Some articles for beginning sewists include Tips for Sewing with Knits, Kids Can Sew!: A Guide for Teaching Children the Sewing Basics, Sew Like a Pro: A Guide to Sewing Classes and Lessons, and Their First Sewing Machine. For the beginning business owner, there are articles on Facebook Analytics, and algorithms, by editor Jen Kennedy. There is also a wonderful checklist for a beginning business owner!

Lindsey Essary of Ellie & Mac Patterns wrote an article that I had a few thoughts on - it was about adding people to her team, instead of scrambling to be everything by herself. It's a great reminder that while you're helping yourself, you can help others too - you don't have to "do it all", and you're often more productive if you know your limits! I thought to myself - This is true not only from a business standpoint but also as a hobbyist. Sometimes you need to go support another business owner, and let someone else make you that new wallet or pair of slippers! It's really easy to start thinking "I can do that, I can learn that" - and get overwhelmed very quickly. Then you risk losing yourself and your own love of whichever craft you started with!

Issue 19: Playtime! also includes 7 more patterns - a fun variety, too! A plush chicken - traffic sign cushions - a pullover sweater with different neckline options - a dress, a pinafore with some surprising details, a bag, and a felt activity board. There is something for everyone here - all kinds of crafters, all ages, can enjoy Issue 19. If you need more inspiration and fun (and of course you do!) make sure you didn't miss any posts on this tour! Links below!








Monday, May 7, 2018

Boys in Summer Blog Tour

Summer! It's finally here - well, nearly. The weather is warming up, and when that happens we're never so happy to have a backyard, ample sidewalk space for chalking, and wheeled toys to zoom around with! Summer for us means lots of playtime - and the more outside, the better! My little guys would live outside if I let them, and the dirtier they get, the happier they are.

This is a Sewing Blue blog tour, hosted by Made for Little Gents. I'm Meriel, and you're visiting Elli & Nels. Today I'm showing you a classic summer outfit for my "big boy" (all of three years old!)

Boys in Summer Blog Tour: Part of the Sewing Blue Blog Tour series hosted by Made for Little Gents

A small confession - the shorts aren't new, technically. They are actually my first pair of shorts from testing the Kayak Boardshorts (Love Notions Patterns). They turned out so well and fit him perfectly, but I hadn't shared them along with my finals. When I started thinking about summer clothes for this tour, I realized that I had the perfect bottoms - so I put together a cute top to go with!

The shorts have a nautical theme in the contrast fabric, so I played off of that and went with a casual denim/Americana feel for the top. I had a black jegging fabric I got from a friend, which I'd previously used for - well, jeggings! - for my daughter. The remnant was just enough for this adorable Hooded Vest (Brindille & Twig). The hood and pocket lining are cotton spandex from Girl Charlee (a 1/4-yd remnant pack purchased last year!)

I really liked the vest listing photos with a brightly colored snap used, and was very tempted to do yellow, but it really didn't go with the rest! I settled for white - I like how they look against the black fabric. I flipped the pocket flap to show the contrast for a tiny pop - the hood lining really isn't visible while it's up. I am a sucker for hooded vests, especially with drawstrings - and with our windy Wyoming weather, a hood is always an asset! Even on the warmest days, your ears start to beg for a covering after a while.

On chilly evenings, the vest can easily be layered - during the warm daylight hours, wearing it alone is perfect. I love the classic, easy style of the vest and shorts, both with their own stand-out details - and when there's chalk involved, easy wash and wear is where it's at! He was out for no more than 5 seconds and managed to smear the entire front of his top with chalk dust. Not the neatest model, but one of my more patient ones!

Looking for more summer boy inspiration? Follow along on the Boys in Summer Blog Tour hosted by Made by Little Gents by clicking through the links below.

Thurs. May 10 Phat Quarters | Dreams & Stitches