Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Wonderful World of Marcie... with "Wonderfully Made 4 You"

 Meet Marcie Sawyers of 'Wonderfully Made 4 You'
- PDF Sewing Patterns -

(isn't she a doll!)

Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops is happy to be able to work alongside this "wonderful" designer!   Marcie brought 'Wonderfully Made 4 You' e-patterns to FF&L in April of 2013.  Three patterns are currently in her collection.  Designed for teens and ladies - these three patterns are trendy, stylish, and perfect for any and ALL occasions!  Easy to dress up, keep casual, and look fabulous in... the Gracie B. One-Shoulder, Harleigh Sundress, and Southern Charm Top - they are a MUST in all wardrobes! 

Marcie is an absolute sweetheart and a busy family-oriented woman.  She has been married for 16 years to her best friend (Travis) and homeschools their two teenage boys (John-David and Elijah) and daughter (Gracie).  The time she spends with her family is cherished! Her greatest "sanity keeper" is sewing and designing.  

As a young girl, Marcie learned to smock from her mother.  In her teen years, she began sewing on a machine.  Now...  She is embarking on a new journey of pattern making - the sewing world is sure to fall in love with her skills!  It is an absolute pleasure to bring her designs to you.

Here we go with a little 20-question fun
 all about Marcie!

1)  How long have you been sewing?

I have been sewing since I was nine... I'm now 34, so a LONG time.  ;)  I started cross-stitching at nine, then my mom taught me to smock at age eleven.  I paid for all my cheerleading fees and car with my smocking money.  :)

2) What was your first pdf pattern that you created? How long did it take you to "take the plunge"?

Gracie B.'s One Shoulder Dress was my first pdf pattern that I created.   I actually created a shorts pattern for a local boutique since I was making the shorts for their trunk shows, but haven't turned it into a pdf as of yet.  I'd say it may have taken me a few years to actually take the plunge into creating the first pdf.

3) When does inspiration find you?

Usually when I'm trying to sleep.  :)  Or, while I'm sewing and I have some time to think about things.

4) How many yards of fabric would you estimate to have in your stash?

Sadly, I'd have to say hundreds, if not into the thousands... it's my addiction!

5) What was the biggest "light bulb" moment when you were first starting out?

Hmmm, not really sure.  I know just learning how to take the drawn pattern and convert it into a pdf was challenging for me at first.

6) What is something that you can not live without (does not have to be sewing related)?

Jesus and my family, of course!  :)

7) If you could eliminate ONE thing from your daily schedule… what would it be?

Sleep... who needs sleep anyways!  ;)  Seriously, if we didn't have to sleep just think about how much we could get done.

8) Do you speak any foreign languages?

No.  I took Spanish in high school but it didn't stick.

9) Have you ever been told you look like someone famous?  Who? Do you agree?

No.  The closest I've come is a local woman saying I looked like a certain representative for the state of Alabama.  LOL

10) What is the last book that you read?

The Bible.  After homeschooling my kids all day, reading a book is the LAST thing I want to do.  LOL

11) Do you enjoy cooking? If so, What is your SIGNATURE dish that everyone craves? If not, who is the head chef in your family?

I don't mind cooking as much as cleaning up.  ;)  I always cook for Thanksgiving and everyone always requests my sweet potato casserole.  I also cook a mean squash casserole.  :)

12) How many states have you lived in?

One!  I was born in Florida, though, and lived in Alabama my entire life.  We live just 10 minutes from Florida so my mom used the hospital there.  :)

13) What is your biggest pet peeve?

This is a hard question for me.  Nothing really pops into my mind, except I do hate when people smack at the dinner table.  Chew with your mouth closed, people!  :)

14) Do you fall asleep easily or toss and turn?

Depends....I usually try to stay up until I'm about to pass out to keep from tossing and turning.  Last night I thought I'd go to bed when my family did and I found myself playing Candy Crush to make myself tired.  LOL

15) Of all of the seasons… which one do you love the most?

Fall, hands down!  I love coming out of these HOT Alabama summers into fall.  I love everything about it.......Alabama Football (ROLL TIDE), pumpkins, cooler days/nights, Thanksgiving, and getting excited about Christmas!  :)

16) Did you walk to school when you were a child?

Nope.  My mom drove me until I was 16.  There was about a two month time period in 5th grade where I meant to ride the bus with my best friend.  We decided one day to walk home from school instead of riding the bus.  Yep, you guessed it... never rode the bus again.  ;)

17) What do you love most about your home?  Is it in the city or the country?

I love that we live in the country.  I love that we built it twelve years ago and got to choose everything about it.  It was the first home my husband and I bought (we previously rented an apartment) and unless the Lord calls us elsewhere, it will probably be the last home we live in.

18) When you go into stores… do you find yourself "inspecting" things to see how they were made?

Not really.  To be honest, I'm not much of a shopper.  My kids are teens now, so they like what they like and no matter if I inspected it and thought it wasn't made well, they would still wear it.  Although, I will say my middle son is super picky!  He purchased a shirt with his own money and didn't like the way it was hemmed and asked me to fix it.  :)  It was just serged and he was really worried it wouldn't hold up after washing, so I hemmed it for him.

19) What was the last concert you attended?

We just attended the Needtobreathe concert back in November.  It was AWESOME!

20) What can the sewing world expect to see from Wonderfully Made 4 You for 2014?

You can expect to see digitized pdf patterns from me.  I am learning how to digitize.  It's a terribly slow process for me as I just don't have much time to sit down at the computer and learn the process of it.  I am updating my current pattern collection and I have several patterns in the works, for women as well as children, so you can expect to see those released this spring... fingers crossed.  :)

Well, Marcie... Let's see some of the "wonders" of your world!  We are happy to share a peek into your lovely family!  
Marcie and her husband, Travis
Lovely Daughter: Gracie
Handsome sons: John-David and Elijah

The "newest" addition: Perrito

 We look forward to seeing more, more, more!!! 
 If you have not checked out the patterns that are available now... we highly recommend it.  Especially with Spring and Summer sewing just beginning.  You will be glad you did!  If you have whipped-up any of the "Wonderfully Made 4 You" patterns - tell us all about it.  We would love to see what you have to show off!

Thank you, Marcie, for sharing your story.  We admire your family-sense and eye for design.  Keep up the great work! 

Hi there! I'm a wife of 16 yrs. to my best friend and homeschooling mom of 2 teenage boys and one tween daughter. :) When I'm not spending my time with my family I'm either sewing or designing. It's my sanity. ;) I have been sewing pretty much my entire mom taught me to smock as a child and then to sew on the machine as a teen. Now, I'm dabbling in pattern design (I have a lot to learn, but LOVE it)!   TOOK THIS FROM ETSY, SO FEEL FREE TO ALTER IT TO FIT WHATEVER YOU WERE LOOKING FOR!  :)
Gracie B. One-Shoulder Dress
(ladies sizes 0 - 22)
The Southern Charm Top
(sizes: teen/ladies 0-18)
Harleigh's Sundress
(sizes: teen/ladies 0-18)

Be sure to follow our blog!
 There are many more designers to be featured in this series.

Now... It's time to Sew Something 
"Wonderfully Made 4 You!"

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sew and Tell with the Little Chi Pao Dress

Hi fellow sewing-lovers!  New month, new review!  This March, it's all about the Asian- inspired Little Chi Pao Dress from The Measuring Tape.  I've been smitten with this little number since I first laid eyes on it a few years ago.  With so many gorgeous Asian prints out there, you can have a hay-day designing your own jaw-dropping version of this dress!  It would be perfect for special occasions and photo shoots. 

Here's what you need to know about this pattern...

*  The Little Chi Pao Dress is an A-line, half-wrap style dress with a mandarin collar. 
*  The size range is from 12m- 6 Girls. 
*  The entire PDF is 38 pages long.  19 of those pages are the pattern pieces. 
*  The pattern pieces are digitized, color-coded, and nested together. 
*  Seam allowances are NOT included, but recommended seam allowances are provided along with suggestions for how to add them. 
*  Several helpful charts are included such as:  Pattern Markings & Symbols Key, Materials Required (including fabric requirements), Recommended Fabrics, Size Guide, and Finished Measurements.  Page 18 is a wealth of information!!
*  Some of the recommended fabrics include: light to medium weight cottons, medium weight satins, Chinese silk, raw silk, dupioni silk, Thai silk, and Taffeta. 
*  Detailed printing directions are given, as well as a recommended pattern layout to help with laying out your pattern pieces on the fabric before cutting. 
*  Great tips are included to help you adjust the fit of the pattern if needed.
*  Clean, easy to understand line drawings are provided to illustrate the directions. 
Long story short... The Measuring Tape might not be a well-known pattern company, but designer Daljeet Kaur of Malaysia knows her stuff!  I'm extremely impressed with how well thought-out the tutorial is and how easy to read the lay-out is.  Plus, how many patterns for dresses like this have you seen?  It's definitely unique, and your little one will stand out from the crowd!

 Be sure to head over to the website and get your copy of this adorable little pattern for 25% off during the month of March!
Let's take a look at the review sent in to us by Alyssa C. 

Hello everyone!  I’m Alyssa, and my helper and model is my 5 year old daughter, Inara.   We are super excited to be here to review the Little Chi Pao from The Measuring Tape.
I’ve been sewing since I was a kid, but for a chunk of my adult life I was in the Army, and the most sewing I did was shortening my uniform pants or replacing worn out hook and loop tape.  Since I had my daughter and left the Army, though, I’ve done a lot more sewing.  I would consider myself an intermediate seamstress.  I have a small business where I sew custom dresses, baby items, etc.  I’ve even taken on a quilt or two, though in that arena I am definitely still a beginner!
As soon as we saw this dress, my daughter squealed.   It is very much her style, as she loves all things Asian-inspired.  The straight lines and lack of ruffles were a huge draw for us, as little miss wears dresses pretty much daily, and sometimes a bunch of ruffles do not mix well with the playground!  The mandarin collar and A-line shape give it a sophisticated look without having a super fitted shape that would make it difficult to play in. 
The dress took about 2 ½ hours to complete, from cutting out the fabric to sewing on the last button.  *Disclaimer* I sew with two small children underfoot, so sometimes it takes me a little longer to do things than most people!  If you’re in a time crunch this is perfect.  However, I would recommend store bought bias tape if you are in a hurry, as it will be less time than making your own bias tape.
I wanted a satin bias trim on both dresses we made, and if you do as well, I highly recommend NOT buying plain costume satin – the fray makes it harder to work with when making the bias tape.   I used the flannel-backed satin from Jo-ann’s and found that the lack of fray made it much nicer to work with.
I really wanted our fabric choices to enhance the Asian style of the pattern.  For the first dress, I used a gorgeous blue and pink silk brocade, also from Joann’s.  The rich colors drew Inara in instantly, and amazingly, we had fabric picked out in under 10 minutes!  The second dress also has a flannel-backed satin bias trim, and I used this gorgeous Moda print that has been gracing my stash for months: Coquette by Chez Moi.

First, when she says, “Read the whole pattern before starting,” you really should.  I was used to the instructions for piecing the paper pieces to be at the beginning.  The directions are there, it’s just at the end after the pattern pieces.  And it went together well.  You don’t need to cut off any edges when piecing the paper, and I found it was much easier to tape them together up against our big window, so I could see all the marks to line up.
I very rarely choose patterns where I have to add a seam allowance, but there is a nice chart where the designer recommends how to add the allowance, and all I did was tape two pens together and trace along the line for the size 5, and it added a line 3/8” out.   Be careful here to only add seam allowances where they are needed!!
There is one note I need to make here.  A piece of information is missing that will result in your bodice buttoning across the opposite direction than in the pictures.  You need to place your pattern pieces on the WRONG side of the fabric to ensure that your bodice crosses over to the left side.  If you cut your pieces on the RIGHT side of the fabric, the bodice will cross to the right.  
On our first dress we added a double needle hem, and instead of sewing the bias tape on by hand I did an 1/8” seam on the front of it.  On our second dress, I took off a some of the A-line shape by placing the pieces wrong sides together going in 2 1/2" at the bottom of each side and lining my 12” ruler up with the outside edge of the dress and slicing the extra off.  This gave the dress a slightly more fitted look, but kept it loose enough to not be constricting on her.  If you are going for a straighter fit, this worked great for us.  I also did a stitch in the ditch on the bias so it wouldn’t have a seam on the front.
All in all, we love the pattern.  The fit was perfect without any adjustments, and the instructions are clear and easy to understand.   The pattern goes together fast and professionally and looks amazing when it’s done.  My one recommendation – if you are going for a really Asian style dress, I would definitely search out some pretty frog clasps instead of the loops and buttons.  We live in a tiny town and we couldn’t find any around here.   I think I may repurpose some off an old dress of mine to make her another!
Isn't Alyssa a rock star?  She sewed up not 1, but 2 of these sweet little dresses for us to admire!  And she's got a great point about the frog clasps, I think they are a good idea.  It would definitely make the dress feel more authentic!  I did a quick online search and found several tutorials on how to make your own.  Definitely worth checking out if you're interested in making this dress! 

Pair it Up!

 Add a little Asian flair to your kid's closet with these other featured patterns.


The mandarin collar on this peplum top from Lily Bird Studio is the icing on the cake!  Amy's Peplum Top fits sizes 12m- Girls 10.  You can really play up the Asian look with the right fabrics.  This top would look great with a variety of shorts, pants, and skirts.

These sweet little crib shoes from Lena's Patterns are just stunning!  The Baby Kimono Shoes fit sizes NB-24 months.  There is also a Ladies Kimono Shoes Pattern that fits sizes 3.5- 9.5.  You can make these shoes in a coordinating fabric to complement any outfit.  They sew up quick, and you can probably finish them in an hour or two.

Alright ladies, don't forget that you can get the Little Chi Pao Dress for 25% off through March 2014.  We'd love to see any photos of this dress that you've already made or that you will make.  You can feel free to post them in our FB Group. (Just request to join if you haven't already.  We'd love to have you!)   And please let us know if you feel extra creative and decide to make your own frog clasps.  I'd love to see some handmade versions of those, too! 

Go sew something magical!!!

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