Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sew and Tell with the Apron Twirl Peasant Dress

Hi everyone!  Hope you're having a great day!  We've been battling sickness at our house for, oh, the past month now, and I think (knock on wood!) everyone is starting to feel better again!  And the sun has come out!  That puts a big 'ole smile on this girl's face!  Hopefully you've got plenty to be thankful for, too! 

If you're having the kind of day where you could use a smile, the photos from today's review might do the trick!  The dress is gorgeous and the little girl is as cute as she can be!  We are featuring Whimsy Couture's Apron Twirl Peasant Dress.  This is one of those "go-to" patterns because it is so easy to construct, there is such a wide range of sizes, and you can choose from several options to change up the look of the dress.  I always appreciate designers that create patterns where you feel you really get your money's worth.  This dress starts at a zero month and goes to size 12 years.  I know a lot of women talk about wanting patterns that go to larger sizes, so this one's for you, ladies!!  This dress is also suitable year round as you can make it short-sleeved, with 3/4 sleeves, or with long sleeves.  Just pair it with some leggings or ruffled pants in the fall or winter, and you are all set!  Such a sweet dress... you'll be sure to fall in love with this one!  Go ahead and purchase this one for 25% off for the next few days!!   

Take a look at what Laura D. from Bliss Boutiques made with the Apron Twirl Peasant Dress pattern. 
I just started sewing.  I saw a pair of designer ruffled jeans that cost a fortune online that I wanted so bad for my daughter, but just could not spend $60+ on jeans for a 2 year old.  So I decided (on a whim) to learn how to sew and make them myself!  My mother-in-law gave me her old sewing machine, some help with the jeans when I got stuck, and I taught myself from there.  Now I'm hooked and a fabric junkie, lol!  I had only sewn a few things before this, so my review is from a 'still learning' perspective.  And this pattern is truly perfect for a newbie like myself or for the more advanced sewer.  The directions are so clear and easy to follow!  To be honest this is why I prefer PDF Patterns to the pre-printed ones.  I love the step-by-step photo instructions.  It makes it a breeze!  When you are still learning it helps to see what you should be doing and what it should look like!  The printing out and assembling the pattern parts can be time consuming, but I think totally worth it!  In the case of this pattern though, there is only 1 'pattern piece' to print out, the armholes.  The rest are just square pieces, so she gives measurements according to size.  It's nice to skip that step, heehee! 
The most time consuming part for me was probably choosing my fabrics!  That part always takes me hours!  I think fabric choices make the outfit when all is said and done.  So I always want to take my time and think it through.  It took me about 35-40 minutes to cut my fabrics (after the deliberation).  And with a few minor interruptions from the littles (all 3 needed something at some point before bed, which is to be expected) it took me about 3 1/2 maybe 4 hours to make the dress.  I made the dress twice actually.  Yes!  I love it that much!  And I wanted to try the dress using the different variations she includes in the download.  It's really a great pattern!  There are several ways you can do it, such as a top or a dress, short or long sleeves, ruffle or border bottom, apron or no apron.  Not to mention she even includes instructions for a detachable apron pattern that ties in the back!
The 1st one I made I didn't do the apron, and I did a border on the bottom instead of the ruffles.  It took me about as long to do. I think I got faster with the 2nd one, but the added ruffle and apron evened the time out.  I really like how it came out!  I'm a ruffle girl at heart though, so I had to do it again with the ruffle bottom and apron.  The fabric I used on the apron was an extra curtain panel I had from my kitchen sliding glass doors, I thought the eyelet would be perfect for the apron.  And I love the delicateness it added. 
The pattern runs true to size.  My pigeon is kind of little, so next time I might make the dress a smidgen smaller.  The length was great, but on my daughter it seemed a wee bit baggy.  I also had to do the elastic in the sleeves differently.  She uses elastic thread, but I'm not sure if I just bought an elastic thread that doesn't pair well with my machine, or if my sewing machine just doesn't like elastic thread.  I tried all combinations and read some tutorials and YouTube videos online, but still a no go.  Instead I just used 1/4 inch elastic, back stitched, pulled the elastic as tight as I could while I sewed, got to the end of my fabric, back stitched again, and then cut the excess elastic.  I winged it, (as I have since learned another way to do that) but it worked perfectly.
This pattern reminded me of a pricey designer that does a lot of dress like this, which I find myself drooling over all the time, so I was so excited to find this, and I will for sure be making these in a lot of different fabric combos!  It's a go-to pattern that will grow with her and be cute at all ages!  I couldn't be more happy with it!
 Here's a few more because she's so darn cute!

The fabrics used on that dress are stunning!  And Laura is right, the eyelet apron does give the dress a very delicate, feminine look.  Great job!  This is perfect for spring! 
If I had to guess, I would say that Laura used a computerized Brother sewing machine.  They are NOTORIOUS for being bad at shirring.  Notorious I tell you!  BUT, don't think it can't be done!  I've turned into a shirring machine (as has my sewing machine) since I read a blog post about shirring with a Brother.  Check out this post from Creative Heart.  She walks you through each step of how to make your machine play nicely with elastic thread.  I went from being so discouraged and frustrated to having my machine shirr perfectly.  I hope it works for you, too!!  If it doesn't, don't give up!  Someone out there has your machine and has gotten it to shirr properly.  Leave a comment with your machine model, and maybe we can help you out!
If you like the peasant style, here are some other options for you to take a look at...
Say hello to Autumn's Peasant Romper from Create Kids Couture!  The elastic neckline, bell-sleeves, fun mix of fabrics... everything you love in a peasant dress- in a romper!  Super comfortable while still being super fashion-forward.  Your little girl will beg to wear this one!  Available in sizes 18m- 6 years. 
Everyone loves a pretty peasant top!  They never seem to go out of style and are flattering on everyone.  This is the Poets Peasant Top from Ginger & Louise Pattern Co.  It has a sort of Medieval flair about it.  Very romantic and such a classic look.  I love it in the white Swiss dots, but there are so many possibilities with this one!  Soft, small-scale florals would look lovely!  This pattern is available in sizes 2T- 6 years. 
Alright ladies, don't be afraid to shirr (and let us know if we can help!), fill your little princess's closet with cute peasants, and don't forget to purchase you copy of the Apron Twirl Peasant Dress for 25% off.  Now go sew something magical!! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sew and Tell with the Sabrina Shirttail Dress

Hi everyone!  We have such a beautiful dress to share with you today!  Allow me to introduce you to the Sabrina Shirttail Dress from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop!  This is so fun and different from most of dresses out there.  Perfect for those no-fuss kinds of girls who don't want a lot of ruffles, but still enjoy a cute dress  :) 
The bib front with all its pretty pleats is just begging me to sew it up!  And I love the contrasting cuffs!  This dress is all about the details.  There are ribbon ties at the back, so those of you who dislike zippers and buttonholes can breath a sigh of relief ;)  I feel like there are a lot of modifications that can be made to change up the look to make it uniquely yours.  The buttons on the bib are decorative, so leave them on or off.  You can do some fabulous things with the right buttons... they can really make a certain fabric pop if done correctly.  You can play around with the bottom of the dress if you want a hemline that goes straight across instead of the shirttail look.  But, I think it gives the dress a lot of character as is.  Trim your bib with rick rack or lace, finish the back closure off with a button instead of a ribbon, do the bib and dress in the same fabric with only the bib-border a different color... the possibilities are endless!  Now the dress is really calling my name... 
And to further entice you, I have a review with a gorgeous little girl modeling the Sabrina Shirttail Dress.  This review was written by Theresa H. 
I have been sewing for just over two years. I taught myself to sew and sew nearly every day.  I love to sew clothing and test patterns.  I consider myself to be intermediate/advanced level.  The Sabrina Shirttail Dress is a great pattern for both beginning and advanced sewers.  No "special" skills are needed to sew this pattern.  It comes in a wide range of sizes.....3 months to 8 years!
The tutorial/pattern downloaded and printed easily.  The pattern pieces matched up perfectly and are color-coded for each of the different sizes for easy cutting.  A measurement chart is given, as well as directions on how to choose the right size and how to customize fit.  My finished garment measurements match the charts measurements exactly.
The tutorial is very thorough, clear, and easy to follow with detailed instructions.  Color photos are included to aid in the understanding of the instructions.  The pattern runs true to size.  It has a shirttail hemline falling at the knees.  The sleeve length is perfect and includes a placket with great detail.  It has a pleated bib front and a keyhole opening with bow ties in the back.  I used bias tape instead of ribbon for my back ties.  That is the only thing I changed in my version of The Sabrina Shirttail Dress.  I didn't do the optional decorative stitching or use buttons on the bib since I used a fabric with a busy pattern.  The next time I make this, I will probably lengthen the dress a couple of inches which is very easy to do!
I used 100% woven cotton fabric.  For the main dress parts, I used Studio E Bloom Swirls in purple.  For the front bib, sleeve plackets and sleeve cuffs, I used Studio E Bloom Cherry Blossoms in purple. The Cherry Blossoms line is a bit hard to find, but oh so pretty!  I only used two different fabrics but this dress can be made with more if you use different coordinating fabrics for the dress, bib, sleeve plackets, and sleeve cuffs.  The Shirttail Dress is perfect for everyday wear, or you can dress it up with fancy fabric, satin ribbon back ties, and blingy buttons!  It only took about an hour and forty-five minutes to cut out and sew!  As you can see, my daughter loves hers!

That is such a happy dress :)  It reminds me that spring is just around the corner!!  Hurray!!  It would be a great dress for school for the older girls.  It's trendy, not over-the-top, and would be easy to move around in.  Make sure you head to the website to get your Sabrina Shirttail Dress Pattern for 25% off for the next few days!! 
While you are on the website shopping, have a little looksee at The Sewing Loft's Cupcake Backpack.  How cute is that?!  I don't think there is any girl anywhere in the world who wouldn't go crazy over this backpack.  If it's for a super special little lady you could take the time to sew on little pearls or buttons for the "sprinkles!"  Would that not be precious?  Decorate your cupcake however you like!  Fill it with books, crayons, toys, clothes... whatever you need for a trip to the library, long car rides, or weekends with grandma. 
You may have noticed how adorable the little girl in the photos above looked wearing her crotched hat.  Foot Loose & Fancy Free has a really great pattern (several really) that is perfect for beginners called the Cloche Hat with Ribbon.  Whether you crotchet or would like to learn how, this is a great pattern for you that produces beautiful results!  If you don't crotchet, maybe you have a grandmother, aunt, or friend who does that could whip up a few for you.  The pattern is available in sizes New Born- Adults, so this one is perfect for you too ladies! 
Head over to the website and get your copy of the Sabrina Shirttail Dress while it's on sale!  I hate when I see something on sale, and I think I'll just get it later.  Then when I need it, it's not on sale anymore  :(  Leave us a comment and let us know what you think about the dress, about the review, about the blog, about what you had for dinner last night... whatever you like ;)  Hope you all have a lovely day full of productive sewing, fabric shopping, and pattern browsing (possibly my 3 favorite things!)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sew and Tell with the Meghan Peasant Dress

Hope everyone is having a great Friday!!  I just can't help but smile when I know the weekend is so close  :)  Today's Sew and Tell Review is on the Meghan Peasant Dress by Sis Boom.  Some of you may make clothing for yourself, but the majority of you probably only sew for your children or grandchildren, right?  I'm here today to convince you that you need to take a break from those super cute kid's clothes and make something for yourself!!  You deserve it!!  Why should the kids get all the fun stuff?  Designing and sewing your own clothing can be a lot of fun and really rewarding if you have the right guidance, and you will definitely get that from a Sis Boom pattern.  You'll be able to choose your own fabrics and adjust for a perfect fit... can't do that with store-bought clothing!
The Meghan Peasant Dress is a great "gateway" pattern if you've shied away from sewing adult clothing previously.  Sis Boom patterns are very detailed and well-explained.  And, obviously, oh so cute!  We have a beautiful collection of Sis Boom patterns on the website for you to drool over  ;)  This pattern comes in a wide range of sizes from  Misses 0 - 18 & Womens 1X- -3X, has multiple sleeve lengths, and allows for several neckline options.  Since this is a peasant-style dress, you only need to know how to insert elastic... no zippers, darts, or anything else scary with this one! 
Jeanine T. from The Crafting Fiend reviewed the Meghan Peasant Dress for us for us this week, and here's what she had to say about it. 
Hello!  My name is Jen.  I started sewing 2 years ago after I had my first daughter.  I taught myself to sew using free patterns and tutorials I found on the internet because I needed a creative outlet now that my usual pastime (oil on canvas painting) was no longer time-feasible due to a new baby.  I would rate myself as an intermediate sewist.
For my review, I sewed the Meghan Peasant Dress, which is a Sis Boom pattern.  I don’t know if you have ever used a Sis Boom pattern before, but if not let me tell you what a treat their pattern pieces are!  She separates the pieces by size, so you follow the print guide and only print the pieces you actually need!  When it comes to taping them together – they line up beautifully.  Seriously, if pattern making were considered an art form, she would get an award.  The fabric I used is one of a kind and was a gift from my adoptive mother-in-law who brought it back from Africa.
 I made myself a size small since I am just teetering on the edge of being an extra small and a small.  In the pattern she says that if you are between sizes, going up or down a size won’t make a lot of difference, and I would agree with this.  I am very happy with my choice to make the small.  She gives a chart with various heights and drawings of legs so you can pick where you want the hemline to fall on your own leg, and it shows the measurement needed to cut.  I cut my skirt at a 23 inch length.  It is great for getting just the length you want!  
I found the directions very easy to follow.  She is very clear in her directions, provides great pictures to show what to do, and is thankfully not very wordy so you can get right to business.  (Which is what I like.  With having a toddler and a baby, a straightforward pattern is much appreciated!)
I would say my complete time to cut and sew was about 3 hours.   I tend to sew a little here and a little there as the kids allow, but I felt that this sewed up very quickly.  I had a new dress by bedtime the same day I started cutting the fabric, so it’s an easy and fast sew for sure.  I would say this pattern is great for beginning sewists.
I also want to note that I am still breastfeeding my 5 month old.   This dress easily allows me to do so (yay!!!), and my husband even commented positively on this dress!  I cut out the neckline with the lowest scoop option, but if I were making this for a pregnant self (I think this would be a great pattern for 1st half pregnancy sewing) I would probably use the second option for the neckline.
The only adjustment I made on the pattern was to make the cap sleeves shorter by about an inch.  I just preferred it this way.  I had them pattern length before, but felt a little awkward with them being that extra inch.  My friends all said it looked great that length, but I am a bit of a perfectionist.
I think this dress is very versatile as it looks cute with tights and a cardi or by itself.  Since I live in Winterland (aka Canada) versatility is a VERY welcome quality in a pattern!
I think Jeanine gets bonus points for photographing herself in the snow!  She even took her gloves and cardi off.  I won't go outside if it's lower than 60 degrees unless I have to walk to the car.  Looking at her is making me shiver, haha!  And how about this cool fabric from Africa?  I'm digging it! 
If you need something to keep you warm in your Meghan Peasant Dress until spring settles in, take a look at The Ruffled Collared Cape for Women by Seamingly Smitten.  Jenny Hall has some really great women's patterns on the website.  You can make the Ruffled Collared Cape in sizes XS-XL (0-18).  This is a quick project and gives you stunning results!  I've been so drawn to this since the first time I saw it.  I'm sure it has nothing to do with the houndstooth print ;)  Roll Tide!  For all you Bama fans, this would be really great to wear on those chilly game days (hint, hint).  You could even dress the cape up with a nice fabric and perhaps a stylish brooch and wear it for more formal occasions.  Very versatile and oh-so-chic!
 Every woman needs a great purse, and this little clutch is sure to get a lot of attention!  Say hello to the Henrietta by Molly Blossom Designs.  I love that you can mix and match fabrics to create a colorful one-of-a-kind design.  And that bow is just darling!  Don't have a need for a clutch?  The Henrietta also makes a great coupon keeper or cosmetics bag.  A beautiful design! 
Now, go get your copy of the Meghan Peasant Dress for 25% off!  As always, this pattern will be on sale until the next Sew and Tell Review is posted.  If you are looking for other adult-sized patterns, we have a whole section on the website full of great designs for you to enjoy!  Go take a look!  When you finish your creations, share a picture with us on our Facebook page.  We would LOVE to see them!
Go sew something magical!