My latest pattern has been a long time in the making, and I am so excited to have it finally ready for publishing!
The Wild Rose Dress & Romper is named after the official flower of my home province: Alberta, Canada. The pattern features 4 views: short romper, long pantsuit, short dress, and long dress. The bodice has optional flutter sleeves.
The top of the dress or romper is sewn from knit fabric. I recommend a very lightweight woven for the bottoms (such as voile, lawn, or challis), but a lightweight knit could be used as well. The flutter sleeves can be sewn out of either the knit or the woven fabric.
The bodice closes with a henley type placket and snaps. The functional placket is necessary for the romper views, but can be simply sewn closed for the dresses. The front opening for the romper means that children can easily take it up and down for dressing, and the snap closures make it easy for little fingers.
As with all my patterns, the Wild Rose Dress & Romper features no trim pages as well as layers so you can only print the sizes you need. The rectangles for the skirt pattern pieces are given as measurements so that you save on paper and time taping.
My daughter is over the moon with the romper (I’ve also sewn her both the dress versions), and loves how it can be dressed up for going out or dressed down for going to the beach.
I love sharing freebies with you all, and I’m excited to share with you my latest: comfortable and casual knit, pull on shorts for a toddler. I’ve included sizes 18 m – 4t. While I drafted them for my little guy, they will work equally well on a girl. The generous rise is designed to accommodate a diaper; you may want to size down if you child is potty trained.
For the free printable pattern, head on over to Fleece Fun.
There is something so satisfying about sewing ‘dressing up’ clothes for little boys. Over the past few weeks, I slowly worked on two Sunday outfits for my little boys, who will be 1 and 3 years old in a month. And excuse the less than stellar photographs…photographing an uncooperative baby and toddler is beyond my skill!
For their shirts I used the Sisboom Ethan. I’ve sewn this shirt up quite a few times now, and I’m always happy how well it goes together.
My toddler is also wearing the Coastal Cargos from Blank Slate. The cargo pockets give it a bit more of a casual look, but they have a proper fly and back welt pockets. A little funny, but I was always scared to do double welt pockets, so up till now I always swapped them out for single welts. Well, I decided to give it a go, and really couldn’t believe how easy they were! I did add a little button loop and button so that they wouldn’t gape open. The instructions are well written and easy to follow.
I really like how the bias tape is done on the outer and inseam so that there are no raw edges showing when the cuffs are rolled up. I just love seeing his little ankles and just need to buy some sandals so that he can wear them like this.
The pattern is split into 2 size ranges (18m-4T and 5-8). The only caveat I would give about this pattern is that the hip measurements for sizes 18m-4t are all the same (just the length of waist elastic is shorter) so if you are sewing for a smaller child who doesn’t wear a diaper you may have to make some alterations.
A quick look at the pattern for size 18 month showed me it would swim on my baby (currently in 12 month pants) so I choose a shorts pattern from Ottobre 3/2012 instead for him. They are cute with the double stitched outer seams and the larger cargo pockets. The pattern as written includes grommets and shock cord through the bottom hems, but the linen, even with interfacing, was too thin to support the grommets so I ended up just cutting them a bit short and doing a regular hem. The fabric for both bottoms is Essex Linen in Taupe, also purchased from Fabric Spot.
Overall, both outfits are full of time consuming details, but I love how sharp both boys look!
Recently, in the Gracious Threads facebook group, we held a sewing room clean up contest. I was quite embarrassed to share mine, because when I am in ‘project mode’ I tend to just create and not worry about cleaning up after myself. My space was such a mess I couldn’t even relax in it anymore so I knew it was time to clean! Quite a few of you joined me, and I’m happy to announce that Carolyn V is winner of the $15 gift certificate to Phat Quarters and $15 to Gracious Threads!
So while my room is clean, here is a peak into where I do all my designing and sewing! If you wanted a Pinterest worthy room, this isn’t it, but it is practical and works for me now. Maybe one day I’ll invest in a more beautiful space 🙂
My sewing space is not a separate room, but rather the back 1/3 of our large rec room. I love how the kids are able to play while still seeing me, but the shelves and baby gate keep them from getting into my things or hurting themselves with the machines. My husband nailed paneling to the back of the Ikea Kallux shelves since my toddler was having a lot of fun pushing through the shelves to the other side!
I have a large Ikea table that I use for my machines. From left to right, I have an Elna 444 coverstitch machine, a Husqvarna Emerald 183 sewing machine, and a Brother 1034D serger. Underneath the table is my old White sewing machine that I got from my parents when I was 12, and a 1970’s Kenmore I got for free that my girls use when I sew. Also on the table are jars with my pens, scissors, tags, ribbon, and zippers. The small bookshelf has all other miscellaneous bits, including my buttons, snaps, grommets, tools, and quilting supplies.
Above my ironing board are 3 thread racks that my talented hubby made me. I made a hanging organizer for the supplies I like to keep on hand, and my rulers hang on the wall as well.
My shorter Kallux shelf holds all my Ottobre magazines, drafting textbooks, other sewing books, as well as interfacings, elastics and other random things in the lower bins.
Like many of you, I have a TON of printed out pdf patterns! I store them all in this filing shelf, sorted alphabetically by designer. I would like to get an actual filing cabinet one day, but this works.
In the corner I have all my woven fabrics in bins: apparel fabrics in the large bins and quilting cottons in the two smaller bins. My large roll of black fleece (a steal on our local buy/sell) and my roll of tracing paper also hang out here.
In the large Ikea Kallux shelf I have all my knits. They are organized by colour for solids and purpose for prints (myself, boy, girl, stripes, swimsuit, fleece, etc). On top of the shelf are all my Ottobre tracings, Jalie patterns, and a few big 4 patterns that I have.
My cutting table is also from Ikea. It was our old dining table and I used bed risers to make it a comfortable height for cutting. My large cutting mats stay on the table all the time. Underneath the table I have my scrapbooking and other paper craft supplies. I rarely use these now, but my girls like to go through it for their crafts.
Thanks for taking a look! As you can see, my space is nothing fancy, but it is very functional and I love spending time there!
I recently had the opportunity so sew up a strike off from True North Fabrics. They are a lovely Canadian company that prints custom knit fabrics. The custom printed fabric world is new to me, but I’m happy to share a very positive first experience!
This star print is part of a larger collection called ‘I See Stars’. The base fabric is a very nice cotton lycra fabric. It has a good weight and excellent stretch and recovery. I would recommend this fabric for any of my patterns that call for light to medium weight knits. For more information on True North Fabrics, please check out their facebook group. (Disclosure: I received the fabric for free but am not being otherwise compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.)
I used a modified version of my Henday Zip Up Hoodie. I sized down 1 size for a slimmer look, added 1″ of length to the overall length and sleeves, and switched the zipper welt pockets out for circle pockets since I didn’t have any small zippers that matched. I’m going to try to do a quick tutorial on how to do this style pockets; check back later this week!
This pattern comes with two views; a cropped sweater with a bottom band and a full length version (which I sewed up today). I’m really happy with how it turned out and it will be the perfect layering piece for spring and summer. This truly is a Canadian project: Canadian fabric, Canadian designer, and a pattern named after a Canadian explorer!
I recently had the pleasure of sewing up the Jukebox Duet Everyday Dress by FLOSStyle. You can find this pattern as part of issue 7 of One Thimble (affiliate link). I chose do do the ‘Disco’ view, which is sewn from woven fabric.
The pattern itself is quite simple; there are only 2 main pattern pieces. The construction, however, is genius. When I first read the instructions for the back placket, I was really apprehensive. I usually like to visualize each step before I sew (and cut!) but I had to blindly follow the instructions and can’t be more pleased with the final result.
Of course, each project can’t be completely without mishap, and my serger blade nicked the front neckline as I was finishing up. So instead of scrapping it all, I sewed a small decorative placket on the front to cover up the gash!
The fabric is some beautiful quilting cotton from a brand new store to me, Zoey and Bean Fabrics. The greatest part about them? They are local to me (but they do ship)! They carry a variety of high quality designer cottons and curated collections. I chose ‘Steel Hearts’ and ‘Fox Heads in Steel’ by Dear Stella. I can’t wait to plan another project so I can buy some more of their gorgeous fabric!
I love learning new skills, and at the recent quilt retreat I attended, I saw a friend show off her english paper piecing project. At the time I thought she was crazy for doing that much sewing by hand when she had a very nice machine, but later I was intrigued and did some more reading about it. I decided I wanted to try it and searched until I found a project that looked small enough to be doable. I purchased the Flower POW Mug Rug patytern by CraftyPod. The pattern was a delight to work with; everything was clearly laid out and there were even video links for some of the trickier parts. Although this pattern was designed as a mug rug, I know it’ll just get coffee stains and cookie crumbs on it so I think it’ll stay on my bookshelf.
Overall this project wasn’t that difficult, just time consuming. I really noticed my hand stitching improving as I worked through the steps. The entire project is sewn by hand. The mug rug is hand quilted with some embroidery floss and attached to the wool felt backing with a blanket stitch (a new skill for me!).
It took me three evenings from start to finish. I really enjoyed being able to sit upstairs and chat with my hubby while I sewed, rather than hiding out in my basement sewing space. I don’t think I’ll ever to a full size english paper pieced project but I really enjoyed this one!
Recently I shared with you the amazing day I had at our annual Quilty Pleasures retreat. I worked on one project most of the day: a quilted wall hanging.
I wanted something that was modern looking and not too fussy. I like clean lines and found this quilt via Pinterest that was designed by Brigitte Heitland for Zen Chic. (I apologize, I can not find the original photo anywhere. If any of my readers can direct me to it, please do!). It grabbed my eye because it was exactly the colours I decorated my great room in. The quilt was orignally published in Modern Patchwork, but you can buy a pdf copy of the pattern here. I had hoped to use the fabrics that were used in the original quilt, but since the line is a bit older my local quilt shop was sold out and I substituted similar colours.
The final quilt measures 50″ square. I wish I made it slightly bigger to fill up the space above my stair case, but I think it still works.
The actual piecing was very straight forward, although I did have to be careful not to stretch the bias edges of the triangles.
I quilted it by going around each triangle using my walking foot as a guide. It took over 30 minutes per triangle so you can imagine I was glad when it was done! I did a triangle design on the wide border around the edges.
The back is pieced with a strip down the middle so that I only had to purchase 1 length of batting.
I’m very happy with how it turned out. Huge kudos to my hubby for hanging it up (and scaring me half to death by rocking the ladder!).
I’ve been really enjoying quilting lately, so you’ll probably see more projects from me soon!
Sewing baby clothes is so much fun and I’m happy to share with you a free pattern for a baby tee that I drafted for Fleece Fun. I am making it available in sizes 3 -18 months. Click on the picture to get your free copy!
Every year I look forward to February when a group of wonderful women from our local area get together for a quilt retreat. We come together for 12 hours and have fun sewing, socializing, and eating! Here are just a few pictures of the ladies busy at work.
One of the highlights of the day is the door prizes. A huge thank you goes out to all our generous sponsors!
Another important part of the day is working on quilts for our local Pregnancy Care Centre. This year everyone brought a block in grey/pink and blue/pink and they will be combined into several baby quilts.
Here is just one of 4 quilts that were made out of the blocks from last year.
People also were encouraged to bring other projects to donate to the Pregnancy Care Centre. Here are just a few of the beautiful quilts that were donated!
I sewed up a quilt for the PCC out of a jelly roll that I won last year. I also used the thread that was in my door prize from 2 years ago to quilt it. This was my first time using such thick cotton thread, and even though it took a while to get the tension correct, I am very happy with the result.
I had an amazing time (a huge thank you to my mother in law for babysitting my 4 kids all day!) and got a lot done. I hope to show off my project in another post. I’m already looking foward to next year!
Recently I shared with you the softshell jacket that I sewed for myself. (You can read all about the jacket here). I had a lot of questions about how I finished the seams, so I thought I would do up a quick tutorial. This technique will work on nearly any garment; my Gracious Threads Henday Zip up Hoodie is a great project to use it on.
I did a mock up with the softshell fleece. You’ll also need a 1″ strip of fabric (preferably on the bias, but cross grain works too) as long as the seam.
Sew the seam as usual right sides together. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4″.
I’ve labeled the squares as ‘hood’ and ‘body’ as you would sew a jacket, but you can use this technique for any part of the project. With the right side of the binding facing the wrong side of the ‘hood’ side, align the raw edges and stitch it in place over the previous stitching line. Leave 3/8″ tail at each end if you want a clean finish.
Finger press seam allowances up and fold in raw end (I only did one side).
Fold seam allowances down and tuck other raw edge of binding under the seam.
You can pin it in place, but softshell is difficult to pin (and it makes holes in the fabric) so I just hold it in place. Stitch close the the folded edge.
This is what it should look like (but use matching thread!).
From the right side you only see one extra seam.
Hope this helps someone!
I wish I can say that I haven’t blogged lately because I’ve been too busy behind my sewing machine… sadly teaching part time and my 4 wonderful kids have really cut into my sewing and designing time recently. However, I did make some time to sew myself a spring jacket. Spring has come early to northern Alberta and most of our snow is already gone. The warmer temperatures mean I can put away my bulky parka and wear something lighter and more flattering!
I chose Ottobre 2/2015#20 for the pattern. It is supposed to be sewn out of ‘techno jersey’, a fabric I am not familiar with, but I took a chance and bought some beautiful softshell fleece from Marshall Fabrics, my local fabric store. Softshell is wonderful to work with. One side is a waterproof and breathable smooth surface, and the back side is soft fleece. The beautiful colour is called ‘petrol’ and is a nice change from my old black coat while still being neutral enough to pair with almost anything.
(haha, see my good looking photographer in the image above 😛 )
This jacket is a simple design with under 10 pattern pieces. I didn’t have any difficulty with the construction, except for the front pockets. The inseam pockets became quite bulky, and if I were to do this project over, I would use a much thinner fabric for the pocket bags. I cut a 44, but did a bunch of shaping in the side seams around the waist after the jacket was completed. I think a size 42 with a full bust adjustment would have been a bit of a better fit, but altogether I’m happy with the way it fits.
The seams are finished off with contrast bias tape. I really like how it gives the coat a finished and professional look. It can be a bit tricky to figure out at first, so I created a step by step tutorial for you here! Clicking on the image above will also take you there. I used a two way separating zipper so I could unzip the bottom part while sitting in the vehicle. The hood also features shock cord and barrel locks. When the coat was nearly complete, I realized the sleeve length was perfect WITHOUT being hemmed, so instead of a hem I did a facing to finish off the sleeves and keep as much length as possible.
I’m very happy with how this project turned out, and hopefully will get more sewing time in soon!