Monday, December 2, 2013

Sew and Tell with the Sophia Paper Bag Skirt
It's the most wonderful time of the year!  Hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving!  We're switching gears and going into Christmas-mode around here.  Giving heart-felt and hand-made gifts is something I always want to do each year, but I usually run out of time and hit the stores.  Not this year, ladies!  I'm standing strong and encourage all of you to put your awesome talent to good use and sew up some gifts that are both thoughtful and budget-friendly.  We can do this!
Today's review is the Sophia Paper Bag Skirt from Hadley Grace Designs.  This is an adorable skirt that sews up very quickly and would be just perfect for all those little sweetie pies on your Christmas list!  Make up a Christmas themed one for your own love-bug to wear to your next holiday gathering!  This pattern is available in sizes newborn- 14 years.  Love that extensive size-range!  Head over to Fairytale Frocks & Lollipops and get this pattern for 25% off all month long!! 
The pattern is 34 pages long and is very well-written.  A beginner should have no problem following along with the directions.  The detailed Supply List, helpful Pattern Tips to Remember, and useful Measurement and Cutting charts are included at the beginning to ensure you have all the necessary information to get started.  I'm totally impressed with how thorough the charts are, and you'll have no problems at all deciding which size to make and how to cut it out.  No actual pattern pieces are provided, except a curve for the pocket and a 45 degree angle drawing to aid with the belt ties.  Colored photographs are provided for each step and the directions are very clear.  I've not yet sewn this pattern up, personally, but from reading through it carefully, I give it two thumbs up! 
Let's see what someone who has sewn this pattern recently thinks about it, shall we? 
Hi fellow sewers!  My name is Joy Boath (from Stitchin’ Skilly -, and while my job as a manufacturing engineer, and being mum to two young kidlets (7 year old son and 4 year old daughter) keep me busy, I love to be creative in my down time.  On a recent fabric shopping trip, my daughter picked out some gorgeous quilter’s cotton, and I simply had to grab some more from the range to make a skirt, too. Unfortunately there was no writing on the selvage so I have no idea who the designer is.  When I came across the Hadley Grace Paper Bag skirt, I knew the fabric and pattern would be a great match.  I just loved the cuteness factor of the extra little details in what would otherwise be a basic, quick to make skirt.
I have been sewing since I was a teenager, but haven’t done any classes other than the standard year 8 home economics, so most of my sewing skills are self-taught through experience with different patterns.  Children’s clothing has always been my favourite thing to sew, and having a daughter has really helped provide an outlet for sewing pretty dresses and skirts! 
What I loved most about the Paper Bag Skirt is the simple construction that meant I could whip it up in about 1 - 2 hours including cutting out, but it still has enough detail to turn heads.  The pockets take about half an hour if you go with that option, taking it up to the 2 hour mark.  The pattern is written more like a tutorial, as you cut rectangular pieces following cutting guidelines given for the various sizes, but you can easily pick the cutting dimensions to best suit your child.  For instance, my daughter is very big for her age, so I took the width measurement for a size 7, but the length halfway between the 6 and 7 to best suit her measurements (she generally wears a size 6, but starting to grow into 7).  It isn’t as full as other skirts I have made, but still has enough fullness to give her freedom of movement, whilst still being economical on fabric, and giving a nice ruffle at the waist.
The instructions are very detailed, with photos EVERY step of the way.  This would be a great project for a beginner sewist as the trickiest part is perhaps the preparation of the pockets, because of the curved corners and topstitching. This is still pretty simple, and there is a pocket cutting guide to help get those corners just right. The line on this template is quite thick, so I would recommend cutting the template on the very edge.
I was going to make little bows from the belt fabric to go on the pockets, but laziness got the better of me when I found the perfect buttons in my stash.  I also think the pockets would be really cute with rick-rack or pre-gathered lace sewn to the top, or you could even dress up the hem of the skirt with some contrasting grosgrain ribbon or rick-rack.  It’s a very versatile little skirt.  The only issue I had was that it didn’t look right with the knitted tank top I had made and was hoping to match.  Luckily I had a t-shirt in her wardrobe from last summer that went nicely.  It really needs a top that tucks in to show off the cute ruffle at the waist.  But that’s an excuse for me to do some more sewing.  ;)
This is definitely one I will be making again and again! It looks so adorable on, don’t you think?!

 Oh my stars, that is one precious little girl!  Her curls, the well-loved kitty, those facial expressions... I love it!  And I agree, that fabric is just about perfect for the skirt.  It turned out just stunning! 
Joy made some really great suggestions, too!  The pattern is basic enough that you can really put your own spin on it with some fun embellishments.  Love the buttons she added, and the bows would have looked great, too!  You could increase the width of your fabric pieces to make the skirt a little fuller or cut the fabric pieces a little bit shorter and add a border or a ruffle to the hem.  But obviously, you could leave the skirt as it, and it will surely receive lots of compliments!  It's a really flattering style.  I've considered adding...ahem... a few inches to the largest size and making one for myself.  It's just too cute not to attempt!

Pair it Up! 

Let's check out some tops that will compliment the Sophia Paper Bag Skirt and help make this a sassy little outfit complete.
 The Provincial Top from Terra's Treasures is a classy spin on the basic t-shirt style.  It can be made in sizes 6m- Girls 10.  This knit top is a great beginner's pattern that produces beautiful results!  Love the buttons going down the front!
From one of our newest designers, we've got the Tummy-Topper Layering Tee.  I've recently sewn this top from Burlap Button and loved the outcome!  (It also pairs really well with the Charlie-Mack-a-Doodle Dress!)  There are countless options with this top including up-cycling those cute character tees we all love!  Make this top in sizes 18m- Girls 8/9.   Can those two get any sweeter?
Alright ladies, that's all for today!  Be sure to pick up your copy of the Sophia Paper Bag Skirt for 25% off right now (that makes it only $5.28)!!!!  We'll leave it on sale for all of December, so be sure to pin, tweet, blog, and FB about it so everyone gets a chance to enjoy the savings! 
And I think we're going to start something new.  If you have a photo of your Sophia Paper Bag Skirt you would like to share with us (you can post to our FB page, FB group, email...) we will gladly add those photos to the bottom of our blog post in a sort-of "Fan Gallery!"
Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Go sew something magical!!!

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Biggest Sale of the Year!!!

(This offer has expired.  But please check out the website for tiered pricing everyday!)

I think the sign says it all, lol!
You have until Midnight CST tonight to take advantage of our biggest sale of the year!!  We carry some of the most sought-after patterns from some of the most talented independent designers out there!  Shop nearly 1,000 different sewing patterns from over 50 designers- All in one place! 
Be sure to register a new account or log-in to your existing account so that you can easily access and download your purchases at your convenience- up to 25 times to be exact! 
Have fun shopping, and go sew something magical!!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sew and Tell with the Children's Loafers

Hi everyone!  Who is in a sugar-induced coma right now?  Ha!  Hope you all had a very Happy Halloween!  And no worries because it's all treats over here today.  We've got the Children's Loafers and matching Tulip Baby Loafers featured this month.  Some of you may have ventured into making darling little crib shoes before, but did you know that it's really simple to make shoes for older kids, too?  Lena's Patterns has a nice collection of baby shoes with a few pairs for the older children thrown in the mix, as well!

The tutorials for the baby and children's loafers are short and concise.  The Tulip Baby Loafers tutorial is a total of 12 pages while the Children's Loafers tutorial is 24 pages.  Don't think that just because the tutorial is a bit shorter than most that it isn't a quality pattern-  you just get to print less pages ;)  There are plenty of really helpful photos to accompany the directions given.  Some of the written directions are a little on the scarce side, but you can easily tell what to do by following the photos.  I was quite impressed with how quick and easy she made it to sew up a cute pair of shoes!  These are the kinds of gifts that moms-to-be go bananas over! 

These shoes are available in the baby sizes or the children's sizes and can be made for both boys and girls.  The Tulip Baby Loafers are sizes 0-3m, 3-6m, 6-9m, 9-12m, 12-18m, and 18-24m.  The Children's Loafers are shoe sizes 6 1/2, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13.  There are only 2 pattern pieces to print for each size, and the baby sizes actually print out on only one piece of paper.  The kid sizes print out on 2.  There's a 1/4 inch seam allowance included, or the option is given to add your own.  My daughter wears between a 6 and a 7 in shoes and is 2 1/2 years old.  I printed out the size 7 for her and was really happy with the fit.  I only did one shoe because I was trying to hurry to get this written up (I'm such a procrastinator! Ha!), but I'll post some photos when I get the complete set done.  (Please note, the ones below are not mine.  The ones I made are zebra print, of course, ha!)
I'm really digging the idea of making some more of these up!  I love anything matchy-matchy, so these would be so fun to coordinate with a mommy-made outfit.  It would be a great way to use up left-over scraps after a project.  I also really love anything that's a "blank canvas."  I could totally see adding a fabric flower to the top or incorporating some piping between the layers.  Playing around with some really fun buttons could give these shoes a totally unique look.  Plus, Heather has some really great ideas in her review below, so I'll just let you read those in a minute ;)  Let your imagination go wild!  It will only take you about an hour or two to sew up these little loafers, so you'll have plenty of time to embellish!

To make the older kids' shoes a bit more sturdy for everyday wear, you could use a duck cloth or home décor fabric for the outer fabric and use a quilting cotton for the lining to ensure it's nice and comfy.  To help the shoes keep its shape, I added a layer of stabilizer to the top portion, and for extra comfort, I added an extra layer of batting to the sole.  I tried these out using some of the Anti-Skid Gripper Fabric by Dritz I had picked up at JoAnn last year when I was making the Classic Footed PJ's from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop.  It adds a little bit of traction to the bottom of the soles to help prevent slips and falls.  If you don't have any of that on hand, you could try adding puffy paint to the bottom of the loafers in fun shapes and designs.  Write out your child's name with puffy paint.  They'll love it!  I sometimes let my daughter wear her ballet flats with some of her dresses to church, so these would be comparable to that as far as the durability of the shoe.  If you prefer, they'd also be perfect house shoes!
Let's go ahead and let Heather take it away with her review!
Hi, I recently completed the baby/toddler shoes review for FF&L using Lena's Loafer shoe pattern.  I have been sewing for what feels like all my life!  I started using my own machine around the age of five, when I rejected a toy machine I got for Christmas and insisted I use I real machine.

The pattern is super easy, and it consists of only 2 pattern pieces per size.  The pattern itself only takes about 5-10 minutes to cut out.  I might have taken a wee bit longer to cut out because I wanted to make sure the roses on the toes matched up and that the slippers looked like a matching pair (my granddaughter is a priss, and I knew this would matter to her little 3 year old drama self)!
 I had originally planned to make this for all three of my grandkids.  I printed a size 9 for my granddaughter and grandson (ages 3 and 1.5) and a size 13 for my 5 year old grandson.  But when I held the pattern to the boys' feet I realized there was no way at all that the boys would ever get their feet in these loafers.  So I  was only able to make the one pair for my granddaughter, who has slender feet.  I'd say the loafers will only fit feet that are slender or normal in width. 
The only real change I made was venturing off and doing my own thing on the last part, because I do not like exposed seam allowances on the inside of baby/toddler shoes.  Since I know how to remedy this, I went ahead and changed that myself.  I didn't make a sandwich of all pieces of the sole as the pattern says.  Instead, I did as follows: I put the inner sole and batting right sides together 'under the shoe' (the top and side portion that was previously constructed) and the inner sole over the shoe, then I sewed almost all the way around, leaving an opening for turning.  Then I turned it all, and tucked the inner sole inside, and stitched the openings closed.
The next time I make these, I will change the round elastic I used for the button "clasp" for a goody hair band (the skinny kind).  You can then have a colored elastic, and they tend to last a bit longer I find.  I just didn't have any one hand when I made these.  I would also use batting in the shoe sides to make the slippers warm and snuggly.
The fabric we used was a shirt we recycled.  My granddaughter was supposed to be helping me choose a fabric, and she spotted my recycling pile and said, "I WANT THAT!"  She thought they'd be princess slippers, and I have to agree!  With the fabric being a doe suede, they are naturally slip resistant already, and a great choice made by her!  The buttons were also from the shirt.

My advice for this pattern is to read the directions carefully and look at the photos.  Some directions cannot be understood unless you look at the photos.  For instance, when she calls for 4 inches of elastic, she actually means you need 8 inches, so really 4 inches twice!  I would also recommend that a beginning sewer draw the round sewing line on the "cut" in the shoe top for a sewing guide line when sewing.  And when you lay the elastic down, untuck it from the other side of the fabric and do not sew it into the other side.  Have fun with your fabrics and try and match up your sides so that the shoes looks like they match each other.
Well my goodness, those are some sweet little loafers  :)  She did a great job with the fabric placement, didn't she?  Thanks so much, Heather!  If you want to have a go at making some loafers for your kids, you can get this pattern (either size range- the babies or kids) right now for 25% off!  We'll have the price marked down throughout all of November, so be sure to help us spread the word! 

Pair it Up!
The Banyan Pants/Shorts pattern from Figgy's Patterns is just screaming to be paired up with the Children's Loafers!  These casual pants can be made for both girls and boys in sizes 18m- 8/9 Child.  The pleated flat front, adjustable back waist band, tapered legs, and fully functioning zippered fly all work together to make this pair of pants a MUST HAVE!
What's a great pair of pants with some stylish shoes if you don't have a great top to bring the whole outfit together?  This is the Bateau Neck Top from Wee Muses.  Like all the other patterns we've discussed today, this one can be made for both girls and boys in sizes 18m- 10 Child.  This one pattern contains 4 versions of the Bateau Neck pattern.  It's a versatile style that you'll keep coming back to over and over again! 
Make sure you stop by the website to pick up your copy of the Children's Loafers pattern while you can get it for 25% off!  Be sure you register your account before ordering so that your patterns can be downloaded directly from the site up to 25 times (one less thing to worry about should your computer crash!)  We'd love to see your finished shoes, feel free to post photos to our FB page or our new FB group! 
*** UPDATE***
I finally got around to uploading my photos of the Children's Loafers I made for my little bit.  Here they are!

She loves them  :)
Go sew something magical! 
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Friday, November 1, 2013

Handmade Halloween Costume Contest Winners!!

Yesterday we at Fairytale Frocks & Lollipops wrapped up our 1st Annual Handmade Halloween Costume Contest!  Thanks so much to all the lovely ladies who participated!  There were some seriously adorable costumes we had to begrudgingly choose between, but in the end, there can only be three winners, right?  Our panel of judges consisted of Melissa from Lilac Lane, Dixi from My Childhood Treasures, Marcie from Wonderfully Made 4 You, Robin from Pattern Revolution, and the FF&L Team (Krista, Dianne, and me!).  So without further ado, let's take a look at these little beauties, shall we?

First Place

"Scarecrow" submitted by Shanna M.

Second Place

"Little Red Riding Hood" submitted by Julie W.

Third Place

"Rapunzel" submitted by Alisa K.

A Special Thanks to our Other Participants!


 Everyone truly did an amazing job!  Judging was definitely not easy!  We hope you all will play along again next year! 

All of the winning costumes were made using patterns we've reviewed right here on the blog.  Check them out by clicking on the tab labeled "Pattern Reviews" along the top of the page.


This contest wouldn't have happened without the generous contributions of our fabulous sponsors!!  Please take a second and like them on FB, follow them on Pinterest, check out their shops, and let them know how much we all appreciate them! 
Also, a special "thank you" to Melissa of Lilac Lane for being such a peach and offering all of our contestants a free pattern of choice from her shop! 

Congrats again to everyone!  You're all winners in our book! 

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Sew and Tell with the Maise Cape (Peacock Version)

Just in time for Halloween... this week we are featuring the Peacock Maise Cape from My Childhood Treasures!  Obviously, this gorgeous cape would make for an impressive Halloween costume, but I'd parade my little one around in it all during the chilly months!  What I find totally cool about this pattern is that you also get the original version of the Maise Cape included for free (the peacock version is actually an add-on that's included with the original file).  So you get the peacock version, the Little Red Riding Hood version, and a plain version- all wrapped up into one pattern that we just so happen to have on sale for 25% off this week!  Hurray!!!
If you wanted to use this pattern as a costume piece, I'm sure you could come up with endless uses!  I'm not creative as some of you, but if you made the cape a little longer, it might work for a witches costume.  You could also make it in some sparkly or lacey fabrics and use it as a cover up for your little princesses if it gets really cold while trick-or-treating in your neck of the woods.  We don't really run into that problem in Alabama too often, but some of you might!  A Little Red Riding Hood costume is an obvious choice and would be absolutely darling!  If you wanted to use the Peacock Version as a costume, you could pair it with blue pants and a blue shirt underneath, or do like the pattern suggests and use the Tutu Dress in pretty shades of blue.  Oh, or how about making it in all white while having your child wear all white, and doing black eyes and a mouth on the hood to make a ghost costume?  And let's not forget that superheroes wear capes ;) 
Just some general info about the pattern...  It can be made in sizes 1- 8, and a size chart providing chest measurements is provided.  Since the cape is fully lined, it can be reversible, however it wouldn't work if you did the peacock version because the feathers extend farther down and would be seen from the other side.  A fabric requirement chart is provided, and the smallest size needs a yard for each side of the cape, and the largest size needs 1 1/4 yards for each side of the cape.  There are 12 pages to print out for the cape pattern pieces (which are all nested, color-coded and labeled) and 4 pages for the peacock applique pieces.  A 2x2 inch square is include on the pattern pieces to ensure that your pattern is printing at the correct scale.  There's a convenient "Sewing Terms" glossary at the very end to help you with any sewing terms that you might not be familiar with.  It's a useful reference for any pattern you may be working on!  Please note, this pattern may only be made for personal use.  If you sew for profit, you can contact the designer to inquire about her latest policies in regards to selling the items made from this pattern. 
As far as the construction is concerned, I've sewn up a few things from My Childhood Treasures recently and am always pleased with both the process and the end results.  Her patterns are very well-written and have a nice flow to them.  Every step is accompanied with a helpful photo so you're not left wondering if you're doing it right.  The appliques for the Peacock and Little Red Riding Hood are both done using felt.  The patterns for all the pieces, plus detailed directions on how to construct the appliques are included.  Give it a try, and see how easy it is!
We've got Mary Ann reviewing this pattern for us today.  Take a look at her amazing version!
While thumbing through patterns on Fairytale Frocks & Lollipops, I had to stop and do a double take when I ran across the Peacock Maise Cape (special edition) by My Childhood Treasures!  Seeing that I love peacock feathers and the attractive colors they present, it didn’t take me long deciding to purchase the pattern.  Am I glad I did!
My sewing inspiration was a neighborhood grandmother who made wonderful dresses for her granddaughters.  As a child, I was so impressed since I didn’t have a grandmother of my own (especially one who sews).  Now, I sew for my grandkids.  Hopefully, I inspire others to create beautiful handmade garments for their families and friends.  I am looking forward to opening an Etsy store in the near future.  You are welcome to view some of my first projects at
Let’s get started!  I am so pleased to review such a versatile pattern.  I chose a peacock print lining called Regent Peacock by Alexander Henry Fabrics Collections that I found at Hobby Lobby.  The outer fabric is teal pinwale corduroy found at JoAnn’s Fabric.  Feathers are cotton scraps in coordinating colors.  
Prewashing is a must if you are working with corduroy and cotton.  Tip: Corduroy can be tricky when preparing to cut pattern pieces.  There is a nap so all pattern pieces need to face the same direction on the fabric.  My printed lining was placed in the same manner. 
The directions for this pattern are easy to follow and construction was a breeze.  I’m big on pressing seams as I go along since it makes the finished garment look so much more professionally made.  And yes, the instructions recommend pressing (no wonder the finished cape looks so nice)!  The recommended topstitching is another must for a well made garment.
Peacock feathers… Peacock feathers adorn my sewing room so I found inspiration right at my fingertips.  The pattern designer lists suggestions in lieu of felt.  I chose cotton scraps and Pellon fusible interfacing to back the two larger feather pattern pieces and provide some stiffness.  I lined each feather with the matching cape lining.  The feathers give the cape some weight and provide a nice drape.
What a fun sew!  The pattern also includes a template for a peacock headpiece and instructions as well as an appliqué for Little Red Riding Hood and instructions.  I’m seriously thinking of making a pink flamingo cape!  Soon, very soon!
Isn't that cape stunning?!?  I love that she left the headpiece off of the hood to make it look a little less "costume-y" for everyday wear!  And the idea to make a pink flamingo version... holy moly I want to see that!!  You could do an owl version, too!  The possibilities are endless!  Who knew you could have so much fun with a cape?? 

Pair it Up!

In the spirit of Halloween, we're going to showcase a few trick-or-treat bags you could quickly sew up for our Pair it Up section today!
The Halloween Treat Bag pattern from Charming Doodle can be used to make 5 different styles of treat bags.  There's a cat, strawberry, fairy princess, jack-o-lantern, and monster to choose from.  But as we've learned above, the only limit is your imagination!  Don't let your little ones go out with a generic plastic pumpkin... or worse, an old Wal-Mart sack, ha!!  We've got this pattern on sale for only $5 for a limited time, so make one up to perfectly compliment that handmade costume you've been working so hard on!
The Halloween Bag or Library Tote from Hadley Grace Designs is another fun way for the kids to haul around their loot!  They'll have to trick-or-treat all night to fill that sucker up!  Make it in some spooky Halloween prints and add their initial or an applique to create a customized bag that will receive just as much attention as their costumes!  The bag pattern also works great year round in your favorite prints!
Make sure you go to the website and purchase your copy of The Peacock Maise Cape for 25% off while it's still on sale  :)  Also, be sure to get your entries in for our 1st Annual Handmade Halloween Costume ContestSimply design a Halloween costume around one or more of the over 800 patterns we carry on our website.  We're giving away over $300 in awesome prizes from some awesome vendors!  The last day to enter is October 20th, so fire up your sewing machine!!!  Find the details by clicking on the banner below :)

 Go sew something magical!


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