Jul 16, 2014

Sugar & Spice Dress and Top Review

The Sugar & Spice Dress and Top is a fun pattern produced by Amy Hindman, of Peek-a-Boo Patterns.
When I was growing up I was a Mariner Scout (part of the Girl Scouting organization) and our Troop was called Blue Madonna (which is a whole different story). Our colors were Blue and Orange. I spent 4 long amazing years wearing blue and orange and this color combination will forever be a part of me! Now I live in the Pacific Northwest and while the ocean is not as close as I would like, our rivers are amazing! In a ode to Portland Oregon, Violet Craft designed a line of fabrics for Michael Miller called An Introduction to Waterfront Park. When I saw the Navy Bridgetown fabric I was in LOVE and just had to have it!
We have a Navy Chevron cotton print in our shop that pairs so beautifully with the Bridgetown fabric that it was a no brain-er to pair them. When thinking about a color to tie it all together I decided to go back to my Blue Madonna roots! I found this awesome coral-orange pipping it was just the pop of color that I needed.
Now that I chose the fabric it was time to turn to the pattern. The pattern pieces were a breeze to put together and the shirt came together rather quickly. Amy's pattern had directions that were clear & understandable. I am a very visual learner and so I enjoyed that Amy drew stitch lines in the photos depicting each step. This was very helpful when it came time to construct the bodice. Amy even took the time to teach me a new technique which gave me the clean, sharp corners in the square bodice that I wanted.
I loved the option of adding the pipping to the panels. It gave the completed shirt a very modern and clean look. I think it also elevated the shirt, giving it a more finished look.

I think that a mark of a good pattern is one that you can make your own. I loved that fact that shirt looks fantastic with a sweet little flora like Heather's of Becker Hill Boutique, a modern geometric like Sarah's from The Crazy Tailor and a solid like Kelly's, over at Handmade Boy. Is it not stunning in it's simplicity! I decided to have my top bodice and the front panel be the same fabric and use the chevron only for the sides and back panels. I think too much more of the chevron would have driven me cross-eyed. I love this top and of course we had to take a family car ride down the road to the river for some really fun photo opportunities!
You should most definitely, click your way over to the Peek-a-Boo Shop on Etsy and grab this pattern before summer ends!

Jun 17, 2014

Seashore Pattern Review & Surprise!

There is a pretty good chance that you could say that I REALLY enjoy testing new patterns! I think it is such a fun way to meet new people, learn new techniques, and of course make awesome clothing for my kids. This week I am back with another pattern from Jessica at Gracious Threads. This is a beyond versatile pattern with FIVE different allowing you to use it over and over again. She calls it the Seashore Dress, Top, and Tunic. I choose to test the Gathered Tunic. It is fantastic! I like that the gathered skirt allowed the finished shirt to be a bit girly and not just another shirt. I also am in-love with the tunic option because of the length it gave to the shirt. I adore tunic shirts because I like things to be a bit off and I think the proportions that Jessica accomplished with the width of the bodice and the length of the tunic were spot on, for my style anyway. But that is what is great about this pattern; want a shorter top make the shirt, wanna dress -make the dress. The choices are yours, the hard work was hers'.
 My favorite part about this pattern, however, is the lace overlay on the bodice. I choose a white lace that was not delicate but still lovely. I wanted the bodice to have a bit of color but I really liked the white paired with the busy blue paisley fabric that I choose for the skirt portion. I was stuck for a moment then I remembered that I had a whole bunch of color waiting for me in my SHOP!
I choose the Yellow Honeycomb Dot by Riley Blake because there was a bit of yellow peeking out in some of the flowers on blue paisley fabric and I felt this was a great match. I was right and I am so happy with the outcome.
I really enjoyed the shape of the bodice as well and the fact that within the pattern Jessica gives you great little tips and extra options like using snaps or buttons for the neck closure. Little reminders like these really help me keep on track and think about my process before I complete it. This means more smiles and less time with the seam ripper! I had these precious red rose buttons just waiting for a project like this. Aren't they amazing!
As far as the flow of the pattern goes, Jessica once again produced a smooth easy to read pattern that is well thought out. I think that this pattern would be a great challenge for a beginner and a fun project for those who are more familiar with their machines. I want to say thank you to Jessica for her amazing talents with designing! Without her skills my children's wardrobe would not be nearly as exciting as it is. I might have two more tunics cut and waiting for me on my sewing table...I hope I can get them finished in time for the 4th of July BBQ because they will be perfect for such a summer night.
Okay ready for the surprise...Jessica has given me a copy of her Pattern to GIVEAWAY and I am adding a half yard cut of Riley Blake's Honeycomb Dot in Yellow to get you started on your own tunic, shirt, or dress, whatever you choose! 



If you want to see more great reviews of this pattern stop by these blogs:
(p.s. they might just have some patterns to giveaway too!)


Jun 12, 2014

The Athena Dress - a Review

What one daughter gets the other wants too! Isn't it funny how that works. When I test new patterns I try and make sure that I spread the love; the last dress that I tested was The Katie Dress, and it was for my 7 year old. So when I had the opportunity to test The Athena Dress and I saw how I could create a more 'grown-up' elegant feel I knew it would be perfect for my almost pre-teen lady, who is 10 going on 14; anyone else have one of these? I could not have been more right!
I enjoyed this pattern for many reasons but the first one I want to share is the process of creating the casing for the neck line. If you have been around here you know that I enjoy a good constrast in my projects and the casing on this dress provided the perfect oportunity to pair this heavenly green Peacock Feather print in Andovers Victorian Modern line with a pink chevron print Michael Millers Glitz line. The pink of the chevron pulled out the pink highlights in the centers of the peacock feathers and I could not be happier with how that turned out. 
 I also feel that the guidance given in the pattern allowed me to create a dress with clean finishes. This is a priority for me because when I make clothing items I know they have to 'survive' more than one child. I serge all my raw edges but this pattern directed me to create my own binding for the armscye (ha, ha - this is my new fancy word meaning armhole, sounds so much cooler huh!?!). I think that the little finishing touches like this, can really elevate your garmet or project.
This pattern by Ori Quintana also allowed me to choose different variations and options. For instance the pattern actually comes with a sash for the waist, but I choose not to use it this time and to leave the elastic gathering plain. I did this because I wanted a more grown-up elegant feel for my daughter and I felt like the waist band detracted from that. I also decided against making my own piping for the neck tie. I choose to use oversided satin ribbon to heighten that elegant look I was trying to acheive.

The last thing I would like to say about this pattern is that normally I would never buy a pattern like this. You see my family beleives that our bodies are sacred and we hold to conservative notions of modest apparel. So this dress being sleeve-less would have never been on my radar. And while I did take these photos of the dress as designed for the designer I was working with, my daughter will not be wearing this dress without an undershirt or a cami. That being said, when the undershirt was put on and the perfect cami found, I was still in love with the dress! I think that a lot of sleeveless dress do not work well with undershirts or the addition of a cami hides delightful details. NOTHING about this dress was diminished by the addition of either. The lace cami that we had made my daughter feel and look like a modern day victorian little lady, with class, elegance, and a whole bunch of style! 

The Athena Dress Pattern will be avaible at Wid Lily and Lace and Etsy.  And of course you can find fabric in our shop Phat Quarters, www.phatquarters.etsy.com. Please take a moment and comment on what kind of patterns you are looking for because I need some new patterns to test and would love to hear which patterns you want to know about. Also jump over to facebook, www.facebook.com/phatquarters, and like our page so that you can get the latest on our products and adventures! See you there.

Come check out the Summer Sewing Linky Party at Project Run & Play to see The Katie Dress and more wonderful children's clothing!

Jun 10, 2014

To the Moon and Back...

A week or so ago we received a Custom Order request from a lovely lady in Maryland, USA. She saw this fabric in our shop and it reminded her of her childhood, when she and her sister would read "The Velveteen Rabbit", by Margery Williams, to each other.
These two sisters are only 20 months apart and now, years later, they have children that are a mere 4 months apart. My heart was warmed by their story. She requested that the fabric be used to make two of our Baby Bandanna Bibs and a Crib Blanket for her niece. I was excited for the chance to create gifts that will forever be tied with sweet memories for these two little cousins and their mothers.
This is one of the things that I love about fabric! It arouses not only your sense of sight but that of memory. Secretly, I will tell you that I still have my baby blanket (next to my bed) and it still brings me comfort and joy. I can look at a piece of my wedding dress and remember how it felt the day I committed my life to the most amazing man! I can close my eyes and see the blanket that I wrapped each of my 5 children in the day they were born! Fabric can express joy, sorrow, pain, love...memories that will last a life time. Memories that are Real.
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
As I was making these gifts and enjoying the beauty of this fabric I was reminded of another character...little Nutbrown Hare from the beloved book, "Guess How Much I Love You," by Sam McBratney. This is a book that I read to my children and now, my oldest, reads it to her brothers and sisters. To catch a moment like that is to reach the end of the rainbow! I hope that my children will continue to grow together, love one another, and share all of the wonders of childhood, parenthood, and life together.
I was so delighted to be able to create something beautiful for these two sisters and their children. I hope that my small part in their story will inspire you to create something for someone you love "right up to the moon and back!"


Jun 4, 2014

Purple & Teal Quilt, just right for the modern baby girl



With many beautiful Yellow Brick Road quilts under my belt, I’ve been ready for another speedy & satisfying quilt pattern.  I found several great patterns to choose from, right in our shop.  Wanting to feature some fabric I’ve been hoarding holding onto for a special project, I decided on Folklore.  Don’t let the name fool you, it’s a fantastic modern quilt pattern that made a quick & eye-catching quilt.

The main fabric featured in this piece is from the Life is Tweet line by Stephanie Marrott for Wilmington Prints.  It has a beautiful collection of feathers in purple, coral, lime & teal on a pale teal background. 
The Folklore pattern requires just over a half yard for the centers & 6 fat quarters to border them.  Additional fabric is also needed for the lattice & the border to complete the quilt top.
This was a delightful quilt to piece together, with the fresh colors of the feather print & the sweet purples that highlighted the print beautifully.
I free-motion quilted the quilt on my home machine (I love my Bernina!) with an all-over meandering design.  Usually, I machine stitch the binding to the front of the quilt & finish it by hand on the back, but I’ve discovered an excellent tutorial that makes a lovely job of fully machine binding the quilt.  I like the method for the simplicity & durability.
I used another prized fabric to bind the quilt, a teal print by Valori Wells from her Nest line.  It is a perfect pairing.  The backing is the same large purple gingham found mixed in with the other purple prints on the front.
This quilt would make a wonderful gift for cuddling a sweet little lady!  You’ll find it listed in our shop.
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