Linden Sweatshirt Styled 4 Ways

Hey there friends! I'm sharing a post over on the Imagine Gnats Blog today with comparison of the Linden Sweatshirt by Grainline Studio in four different knit fabrics. Choosing knit fabrics online is something I've struggled with in the past because I'm such a tactile person, and since the lighting, a garments style lines, and the models body all have an impact on how the fabric looks, comparing fabrics and choosing the best for a given project can be intimidating. I sewed these four Lindens as a sort of experiment- with the same pattern (The Linden Sweatshirt), the same lighting, and my body as the controls. This allows you to compare without any variance in style lines and see how that weight/drape really affects a finished garment. Click over to the Imagine Gnats blog to read all about the different fabrics, how they handled, how they affect the look of the Linden, and also get some pattern recommendations to use each fabric for. 

Which brings me to this post- I've mentioned once or twice that I'm working toward the idea of a capsule wardrobe- a small, coordinated wardrobe of well-made pieces that fit me perfectly. Part of making the most of a small wardrobe is learning how to style things differently, so here I'm sharing how I styled my four Lindens to get the most out of one pattern. 

I'm anything but a fashion blogger- I'm a stay at home mom of 3 small kids who doesn't pay much attention to the runway. My style leans super casual, so while I'm a far cry from "fashionable" I figured I'd share my un-fashion blogger styling for other "super casual stay at home mom" types who also have lots of really important things to dress up for, like me :)

I include affiliate links where applicable to help fund my blogging habit. Any affiliate links are designated with a * before the link. 

I include affiliate links where applicable to help fund my blogging habit. Any affiliate links are designated with a * before the link. 

Each outfit is a Linden and jeans (because I'm all jeans all the time these days) so all that changes are the accessories, which are all kid friendly as well. But really, it was jeans or holey yoga pants. I haven't really tackled the "bottoms" portion of my wardrobe yet. 

First is this grey sweater knit Linden. It's oh-so-comfy and a perfect spring piece since its a nice thin knit. A lightweight infinity scarf (from the Target dollar spot cause I'm classy) and my black leather Sperry tennies (*similar to these, but leather not canvas) make this a pulled together look for doing... whatever it is that I do all day. Errands, school drop off, doctor appointments, and pb&j making. 

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This wool french terry version might just be my favorite. It looks crisper than the others and yet is so cozy. Paired with my camel colored *Sam Edelman booties and a Madre Beads necklace (perfect for babies to tug or chew!), this is my "dressed up" mom look. You know, for play dates at Chick fil a and times when I need to impress other moms. 

Fun fact: I didn't know olive was a good color on me until I designed my personal color palette, and this shirt totally proved it. This cotton lawn infinity scarf sewn in a retro floral print from JoAnn fabric ages ago and *my favorite booties (again) finish this one off. It's equally appropriate for spring or fall as the colors can go either way!

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And my most likely combination on any given day- the sweatshirt fleece Linden with *Sperry's and my *incognito diaper bag/backpack. This sweatshirt fleece is some of my favorite yet! It comes in three color ways so I'm thinking I'll sew a hoodie in the fall! 

So there you have it. Super casual mom styling of four Linden sweatshirts- all kid friendly and wearable, but a step up from leggings and fuzzy slippers. 

I'd love to hear- what are your favorite versatile patterns for styling? Do you get inspiration from casual styling like this or do you prefer to dress up more?

My Personal Color Palette

A while back in one of my favorite sewing related Facebook groups (Capsule Wardrobe Sew Along, hereafter known as "Capsule") someone shared a link to a post about designing your own personal color palette by using a photo of you and essentially using tools to color match and find analogous colors, complementary colors, etc. The original post (found here) is from Seamwork, and gives directions to use free online tools to find your colors.

I've never been one to follow color rules for my clothing, but I have found colors that I consistently gravitate toward in my home and my wardrobe and thought it would be fun to see what it came up with. Over the past year or so, as I've been keeping up with the Capsule group, I've been working toward simplifying my wardrobe (did a giant purge while pregnant with Lucy) and then identifying the silhouettes/colors/fabrics that I like on me so I can create a small, fabulous, capsule wardrobe of clothes I actually like to wear, not just look at. I've had too many flops sewing for my own body (as opposed to sewing for my children who are easy to fit and look cute in everything) so I decided maybe learning how to properly fit my body and sew things I like to wear could help me have some sewing wins. Designing my personal color palette is just one step in the process, and will help me when selecting fabrics, as well as things like accessories and makeup. 

The process was fun! It took way longer to make this graphic than to actually find the colors, but now I've got it as a reference any time I'm shopping. The process naturally gives some duplicate colors which I've weeded out for simplicity's sake. I could probably further pare it down, but I'd already committed to my grid size :) 

I followed the directions in the Seamwork article, making only a few small changes. As I found the hex number for each color I input it in an excel file, with columns denoting where the color came from (eyes, lips, hair, skin) so that in the future if I'm looking for, say, lipstick that brings out my eyes, I could input the hex numbers from my eye column and see what reds or pinks come up. 

Then I sorted it alphabetically to easily see any exact duplicates, which are highlighted below. After I'd sorted them I input each color into my grid in Illustrator (but a free program like picmonkey works too) and since I'd sorted them the colors naturally sort of came out in color family clusters, further helping to eliminate near-duplicates.

All in all the process probably took me 2 hours, which was broken up between naps and meals. Kids gotta eat, ya know?

Now, the fun part is using those colors! I've already noticed my go-to lipstick colors are well represented in my palette, woot! As I'm planning and working towards spring sewing, I've pulled out these colors to focus on based on colors I've already got, like my red saltwater sandals and Madre Beads necklace, camel leather sandals and booties, and the Tamarack Jacket I recently made. I'm branching out and adding some olive and blush to my wardrobe, which are colors I wouldn't have necessarily tried otherwise but I'm finding they look amazing on me! 

So what do you think- are you a believer in personal color palettes? Would you take the time to make your own? Becca has some great tips on her blog for getting accurate colors- definitely check it out if you decide to give it a try! 

Polina Dress from Coffee and Thread

I'm delighted to be able to join the Coffee and Thread blog tour! I've given a fair amount of love to the Ania Tunic this year, like this one I made for Charly's Kindy clothes, and this one I made for Caroline's first day of preschool.  Olga's patterns are well done, and she's got so many adorable dresses!

The blog tour is two weeks long and began on Monday- be sure to check out the list of participants at the bottom of this post! There's lots of inspiration to be had!

In conjunction with the tour Olga is hosting a giveaway for a great haul of patterns and fabric. You can enter by following the link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

AND there's a discount code for any pattern in the Coffee and Thread shop- get 20% off with code 'coffeeandthreadtour'!

SO what did I make for the tour? While I've got several Coffee and Thread patterns on my 'to sew' list, I saw her newest pattern, the Polina Dress, and just couldn't get over the adorable flounce. There are two flounce variations, but my favorite is View B, with the flounce following the curve of the neckline. It is such a fun feminine detail, I knew my girls would go nuts for it as they love anything "girlish" these days.

And boy is it girlish! (See what I did there ? :) While the Polina dress is drafted for woven fabric, I hacked the pattern to sew it in knit. My sister in law is getting married this summer so I'm working on making my girls dresses in the wedding colors, and this super soft plum knit, upcycled from a thrifted Eddie Bauer dress, fit the bill. Caroline is in love with it and feels so fancy with the tulle flounce!

I made quite a few alterations to make this dress work in my chosen fabric, which are all detailed below. I'd love to make another Polina in a rayon challis with the circle skirt option for a super drapey and flowy dress.

Pattern: Polina Dress from Coffee and Thread

Fabric: Upcycled thrifted knit dress

Size: 3

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 21.5

Height- 41

Mods: 

-selected size by comparing bodice pattern piece to a well fitting t shirt

-cut back on the center back line on the fold, creating one bodice back piece instead of two

-cut the skirt longer to allow for elastic at the waist

-cut away seam allowance on armscye and neckline

-cut 16 flounce pieces from crushed tulle and layered them instead of sewing a main and lining

-bound the neckline and armscye using this method from Megan Nielsen

-added 1.5" elastic at the waist (sewn to the wrong side of the skirt) to help support the gathers and form a faux elastic casing, and sewed the skirt to the bodice with no center back closure

-omitted the ties

As you can see there is some gaping at the armscye- I calculated my band length at 90%, and suspect if I'd done them at 85% it would be a bit better. If I make a knit version again I'll likely raise the armscye a bit to help with this to account for the stretch. The dress is roomy enough to allow room to grow, but not so roomy that she's drowning in it. Perfect!

I wondered as I sewed if I'd ventured into clown territory with the amplified flounce, but some kind friends assured me it is rather French looking, or emulates an Elizabethan Ruff. I like the sound of that much better! Sewn in knit, this Polina dress is perfect for my active-yet-loves-to-be-fancy girl- easy to wear and play in, with just the right touch of fluff!

Tamarack Jacket in Maker Maker fabric

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Hello there friends! It's been ages since I've posted, but I'm sewing away and will hopefully have more to share soon! I set a goal this year to sew one item for myself each month to build my handmade wardrobe, and so far I'm doing well! I have yet to share my Lark tee from January (soon if I can manage to photograph it!) and today I'm sharing the Tamarack Jacket I made in February.

This pattern has been on my mental "to sew" list since it was released, but the release of the Maker Maker fabrics by Sarah Golden gave me the kick in the pants to get it made. I first became acquainted with Sarah through Kid's Clothes Week a couple years back and have followed along her sewing and artistic journey via Instagram ever since. She's an amazing artist and I love seeing her work unfold. I rooted for her to sell her hand printed fabrics, so seeing her designs produced by Andover is a dream come true! Sarah was kind enough to send me these fabrics to play with- thank you Sarah! You can see the whole collection here, although the colors look a little off. Better yet, check out Sarah's Instagram to see more (and go ahead and follow her because you want this beauty in your feed). The whole collection is a medium weight cotton linen blend that will be awesome for a variety of projects.

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I used Village in Blue for the outside of my Tamarack jacket. I love that although its a busy print it reads as more of a neutral due to the subdued palette. It is a perfect basic that isn't too basic, you know what I mean? I tend toward simple classic silhouettes, but elevating it with a fun fabric that still coordinates with my wardrobe is a home run.

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I used Pink Lines for the interior fabric. It's such a fun contrast and definitely gives the jacket some personality! Cotton and linen both get better with wear, so I'm excited to see how this jacket wears through next year and beyond.

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The Tamarack Jacket is a simple quilted jacket with welt pockets, curved hem, and bound edges. If you've made the Blue Ridge Dress, you shouldn't be surprised to hear that I LOVE BIAS BINDING. I enjoy doing it and I love the way it looks! Its a totally underrated finish in my book. Since each piece of the Tamarack is quilted before assembling the jacket it gives lots of opportunity for bias binding- and I took every chance I could! I bound all interior seams aside from the sleeves where it added too much bulk. Even the pockets are bias bound. Because if I have to sew slow (because I have three kids and my sewing time is limited) I may as well take my time with finishes so I can really be satisfied with what I make.

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Pattern: Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studio

Fabric: Village in Blue and Lines in Pink from the Maker Maker line by Sarah Golden (you can purchase it on Imagine Gnats!)

Size: 4 at shoulders/bust graded to 6 at hips

My measurements: in inches below

Upper bust-33.5

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Waist- 31

Hip- 39.5

Mods: 

-added a zipper to view A in place of hook and eye

-bias bound seam allowances

-handmade the binding using this method

-Blended from size 4 to 6. My measurements put me in the size 8/10 range, but after making a muslin I found it to be too big so I checked the finished measurement chart and chose my size from there. My narrow shoulders and ribcage frequently require a smaller size than my bust says I should choose, and since there was plenty of ease still I chose a size 4 blended to 6.

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This jacket is already getting lots of wear! Our temperate virginia winters mean I'm regularly switching between a heavy coat and this lighter weight one- you know, until our end-of-february seventy degree weather hit. It has just enough structure to hide the fact that I'm not wearing a bra for school drop-off most mornings, so in that regard this jacket is the savior of my mornings!

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What do you think, is this a style you would wear?

Thanks for reading!

Friday Dress from Petit a Petit

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You know the party isn't over, right? The Sewing Block party, a month long blog tour featuring Petit a Petit patterns, is still going strong!

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In addition to a bunch of gorgeous inspiration sewing from these bloggers...

Nov. 1st – Sweetkm | Nov. 2nd – The Sara Project | Nov. 3rd – La Folie | Nov. 4th – Hello Holli | Nov. 5th – Chalk and Notch | Nov. 6th – Sewing Like Mad | Nov. 7th – Beatnik Kids | Nov. 8th – Stitched Together | Nov. 9th – Coffee and Thread | Nov. 10th – Made by Toya | Nov. 11th – Stahlarbeit | Nov. 12th – Lily en Woody | Nov. 13th – My Petite Sophie | Nov. 14th – Handmade Frenzy | Nov. 15th – Paisley Roots | Nov. 16th – While she was sleeping | Nov. 17th – My Cozy co | Nov. 18th – A Jennuine Life | Nov. 19th – Knee Socks and Goldilocks | Nov. 20th – Sanae Ishida | Nov. 21st – Little Cumquat | Nov. 21st – Needle and Ted | Nov. 22nd – Gaafmachine | Nov. 23rd – Craftstorming | Nov. 24th – Made by Sara | Nov. 25th – Buzzmills | Nov. 26th – Bartacks and Singletrack | Nov. 27th – Moineau & Petit Pois | Nov. 28th – Naii | Nov. 29th – Just Add Fabric | Nov. 30th – Mie Made Memories | Enjoyful Makes | Dec. 1st – Petit a Petit and Family

 ... you can also get 20% off ALL Petit a Petit patterns this month using the code BLOCKPARTY...

...and you can enter the giveaway to win a copy of ALL Petit a Petit patterns here...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I posted at the beginning of the month for my official stop, but I'm coming back to the party today to share these two dresses- a soon to be released Friday Dress, and a Sunki/Friday dress mash up! I had a Friday dress in mind for the tour all along, but since it was still in the testing phase I decided to wait for a few kinks to be worked out before I sewed it up, so instead I made these Ash pants I posted about earlier this month.

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I bought these amazing fabrics, both double gauze, and one other Nani Iro double gauze print, from Imagine Gnats, who is a sponsor of the tour. I love buying from her because I know she stocks quality fabrics and she ships super fast! My qualms with buying fabric online are 1) I'm afraid I won't like the feel of the fabric, and 2) I hate waiting. Since I know the fabric Rachael stocks is quality and she ships so fast, I'm always confident buying from her! I bought my three fabrics to coordinate for family pictures, and while I didn't get to sew the Tip Top romper hack I had planned with the third print (I tried, but Lucy is just too small for the smallest size still... so look for that hack in a few months when she grows in to it!) I still used all three fabrics to coordinate for our family pictures which were taken last week. I love how beautifully the double gauze drapes, how luxurious it looks, and how utterly wearable it is, even for young kids. If you like sewing wovens but hate how wrinkly quilting cotton can be, you should definitely try double gauze. There are lots of options in the Imagine Gnats shop. Thank you Rachael for sponsoring the tour!

So you want to see the dresses, right?

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The Friday Dress is a classic shirt dress with tons of options! I opted for a bow collar and full length placket with gathered skirt for Caroline's Friday dress, but there are options for mandarin, pointy, or rounded collar, A line skirt, full or half placket, back pleat or back gathers... you get the idea. Chary's dress is a mash up, using the skirt portion of the Friday Dress and a modified Sunki Dress bodice. I wanted Charly's to be a bit different so they weren't too matchy for family pictures, but in retrospect I wish I would have done a full Friday Dress because it's just so sweet looking, and the fuzzy vest would have given enough difference to not be too matchy. Full details on each dress are listed below!

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My girls are IN LOVE with these dresses- the twirl factor on the gathered skirt is perfection. I love the shaping of this skirt- everything is impeccably drafted. The back waist is higher than the front as I'd expect on a well drafted pattern, to account for bum coverage. The gathers are expertly placed for maximum twirl without too much bulk... essentially, I'd use this skirt portion for a hack again because I just love the shape!

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Pattern: Friday Dress pattern, soon to be released from Petit a Petit, option B with bow collar, gathered skirt, back pleat

Fabric: Double Gauze light plum from Imagine Gnats

Size: 3/4

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 21.5

Height- 41

Mods: 

-did a narrow hem to add length for my tall girl

-used fabric covered KAM snaps for the closure

-omitted the sleeve elastic

-did an inverted pleat at the back

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Pattern: Friday Dress from Petit a Petit and Sunki Dress from Figgy's mash up

Fabric: Nani Iro Pocho double gauze from Imagine Gnats (this color way is no longer available, but several others are)

Size: 5

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 23.5

Height- 44

Mods: 

-fully lined the bodice and skirt instead of doing a facing on the bodice

-opted for a solid bodice rather than color blocked. I overlapped the pattern pieces and traced to create the new bodice pattern with blocking.

-narrowed the sleeves

I'm definitely excited to have the Friday Dress in my arsenal! I'll sew this one again, for sure! There are few long sleeve woven dresses in the indie pattern world, and to have one so detailed and versatile means this pattern can get lots of use! It would make a fantastic holiday dress.

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As we prepare for Thanksgiving here in the US, I can't help but thank all of you who follow along in my creative pursuits. Thank you for encouraging me, for supporting me, and for being my friends. I'm so lucky to have this wonderful online community! You mean the world to me. Thank you!!

Sewing Block Party with Petit a Petit Patterns

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You know that feeling of being in high school and finally being invited to the cool kid's party? Me either ;) but I imagine it's a little like being asked to participate in the Sewing Block Party- all my favorite bloggers and sewists are sewing Petit a Petit patterns and sharing this month. It's going to be (and already is!) loaded with inspirational kid sewing featuring Celina's fantastic patterns. These ladies have mad skills and impeccable style, so I'm humbled and grateful to be invited along for the ride! If you like sewing or kids clothes (and I'm guessing you do if you're here...) then don't miss the links to the other bloggers at the bottom of this post! There's also a GIVEAWAY of a copy of ALL Petit a Petit patterns, linked at the bottom as well. In the mean time, you can use promo code BLOCKPARTY in the Petit a Petit shop for 20% off all patterns. Phew, what a party, right?!

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I have a list of at least 4 projects I'm hoping to sew up using Petit a Petit patterns in the near future, but for this post I chose to sew up the pants version of the Ash jumpsuit. One of the fantastic things about Celina's patterns is that they're a bit like a choose your own adventure book. They have lots of options and variations to make it exactly what you want. The Ash pattern is really like 5 patterns in one! You may remember in our sewing for kindergarten planning that Charly and I made a Pinterest Board. I'd hoped to replicate these pants for her, and saw potential in the Ash pattern to do just that. I was able to hack the Ash pattern to achieve a similar look with just a few small changes! As you may have noticed, Charly isn't modeling this. She's very particular about things like fit and feel, and she felt these were too baggy, so her (slightly smaller) little sister got them! Charly loved the look of them but she's used to wearing leggings or skinny jeans. She hasn't worn non-stretchy pants...maybe ever...so she just wasn't on board with the fit of these. She also refused to wear some cute joggers I got her from Target, so I should have anticipated her response. I, however, thought the fit was fantastic. Just enough ease through the hip to make them easy to play in without looking baggy. The details about sizing are below, but I anticipate Caroline will grow into these nicely by spring time. They have nearly the same waist measurement and just a few inches difference in height. She's catching up to her sister quickly!

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Pattern:Ash Jumpsuit from Petit a Petit (view F)

Fabric: Upcycled Chambray bed sheet

Size: 5

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 21.5

Height- 41

Mods: 

-Her measurements above put her in a size 2 with length of size 4. As mentioned, I sewed these for her sister originally, so these fit a bit wider/longer than they're meant to. I did remove about an inch of length and tapered from knee to hem, removing 1in of width on each side at the hem, in an effort to appease the picky older child.

-used 1" elastic for the waistband

-cut the waistband with double height to allow room for the ruffle at the top. I sewed the waistband as indicated on the pattern, except I sewed a line of stitching 1 1/8in from the fold of the ruffle to create a channel for the elastic.

-added a bow to the front

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The shirt is purchased from Target and customized using a freezer paper stencil. As the mother of three girls, I've become acutely aware of the messages our culture sends to young girls, and I work hard to make sure they get lots of positive messages about women in our home. I refrain from any negative body talk about myself, my girls, or other women, and I try to educate them on all the amazing women that have made history. This shirt is a nod to some of those women. It's also sort of a wish for the future- that the names of amazing women that have made history can become so well known that we recognize them immediately- that when we hear the name Eleanor we think Roosevelt, when we hear Amelia we think Earhart. Kind of how we just say "Einstein"- the "Albert" isn't necessary to explain who it is. I'd love it if the names of influential female women were household names, and I hope that by educating my girls and making these clever (if I do say so myself) shirts, they can become well known to them. And of course, I couldn't help but add the "me" at the end- I want my girls to know they are brave and capable, too!

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For those who aren't familiar with freezer paper stencils, it is an easy and cheap way to put graphics on fabric. Freezer paper can be purchased at grocery stores and has a thin plastic coating on one side. When you iron that side to fabric it forms a seal, allowing you to paint any areas that have been cut away. There are loads of tutorials on freezer paper stenciling, but I'm including a brief tutorial and a few photos below, along with some tips I've learned! You can click the photos to enlarge. I've included a few affiliate links to the products I used below.

Supplies: 

Freezer Paper

Xacto knife

self healing mat

pen or marker

screen printing ink or fabric paint

stiff paint brush

cardboard scrap at least as large as your design

 

  • Cut your design out of the freezer paper with an xacto knife on a self healing mat. Be careful to cut precisely. Any extra cuts will allow the paint through and make the design appear messy. I used an xacto knife similar to this one and love the swivel capability!
  • Iron the paper onto the fabric, shiny side down. Use the highest heat your fabric can handle and no steam. Take care to iron over all the cut edges to make sure the paper adheres properly. Forming a seal at the edges is what will make a crisp design.
  • Place a piece of cardboard between the layers of the shirt to prevent paint bleeding through to the back. Using a stiff brush and just a little of your paint, gently brush the paint on to the fabric, moving from the cut edges toward the center. If you brush the paint toward the cut edges it can pool and clump. You should be pushing the paint into the fibers of the fabric rather than painting a thick layer. The paint will soften with repeat washing, but if you paint it on thick it will crack and stay stiff.
  • Once you've finished painting and your paint is dry to the touch you can carefully peel your stencil away. After it has fully dried, heat set the paint. For the screen print ink I used this is done by covering with a cloth and iron on the appropriate heat for your fabric with no steam, for 3-5 min on each side. After that, it's ready to be worn!
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And for those who are still trying to figure out who each person is: Frida Kahlo, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie, and Harriet Tubman (although it could also be for Harriet Beecher Stowe!). I had quite the time narrowing this list down- I'd love to hear who you think should be on the list!

Thanks for reading- don't forget about all the fun still going on!

Here is the link to the giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The code for 20% off all Petit a Petit patterns is BLOCKPARTY

And all the other party goers are here:

Nov. 1st - Sweetkm | Nov. 2nd - The Sara Project | Nov. 3rd - La Folie | Nov. 4th - Hello Holli | Nov. 5th - Chalk and Notch | Nov. 6th - Sewing Like Mad | Nov. 7th - Beatnik Kids | Nov. 8th - Stitched Together | Nov. 9th - Coffee and Thread | Nov. 10th - Made by Toya | Nov. 11th - Stahlarbeit | Nov. 12th - Lily en Woody | Nov. 13th - My Petite Sophie | Nov. 14th - Handmade Frenzy | Nov. 15th - Paisley Roots | Nov. 16th - While she was sleeping | Nov. 17th - My Cozy co | Nov. 18th - A Jennuine Life | Nov. 19th - Knee Socks and Goldilocks | Nov. 20th - Sanae Ishida | Nov. 21st - Little Cumquat | Nov. 22nd - Gaafmachine | Nov. 23rd - Craftstorming | Nov. 24th - Made by Sara | Nov. 25th - Buzzmills | Nov. 26th - Bartacks and Singletrack | Nov. 27th - Moineau & Petit Pois | Nov. 28th - Naii | Nov. 29th - Just Add Fabric | Nov. 30th - Mie Made Memories | Enjoyful Makes | Dec. 1st - Petit a Petit and Family

I Knit! Passing Showers Tee

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I knit something!

I'm not a knitter. Well, I wasn't a knitter. I learned a basic knit stitch some time in high school and probably made a washcloth or scarf or something, and then didn't pick up knitting needles again until two years ago, when I won some luscious yarn and a pattern in a giveaway and made THIS:

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Which was a terrible choice for me- I'm definitely not hip enough to pull it off, and a one size pattern isn't the best choice for my petite frame. I didn't finish it off- it's supposed to have braided edges- but instead took it apart because the yarn is way too nice to waste on something I know I won't wear. Since I'm not familiar with many knitting patterns, the yarn still sits, waiting for me to make use of it. If you know a great pattern for this weight of yarn, let me know!

Fast forward to earlier this summer, Kristi offered her new Passing Showers Tee knitting pattern to me (with no obligation to make it or blog about it, btw) and it was too cute to pass up. Those who follow me on instagram have probably seen a bunch progress pics. It's a beginner friendly sweater pattern that I thought may be a good way to dip my toes in the knitting waters again. And I was right! This is a GREAT first sweater pattern! Obviously it's suited to spring/summer/early fall, but since Virginia weather tends to be temperate for most of fall we'll still get use out of it this year, and I'm certain it will fit her next year, too.

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She likes the sweater, she just doesn't like taking pictures. Which is unfortunate for her, because in this house if you want mama made you have to be willing to model it.

I loved knitting this sweater because of it's simple construction (it is knit in one piece then  hand sewn together on the side seams) and because it has just enough little details to make it nicely fitted and a great learning project. As I said, I only knew a basic knit/purl- prior to this I'd never knitted ribbing, done an increase or decrease, or cast off/on mid project. I had read only one knitting pattern before- the warrior vest linked above. While each abbreviation in the pattern was listed at the beginning, I used youtube, online tutorials, and a second hand knitting book I picked up to teach me the rest. It was a great challenge that was not so complicated that I got frustrated but not so easy that I got bored.

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Pattern:Passing Showers Tee by SweetKM

Yarn: Cotton, hand dyed bya local dyer Urban Girl Yarns

Size: width of 3/4, length of 5/6

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 23.5

Height- 44

Mods: 

-cast on stitches according to size 3/4 measurement and followed those directions for any horizontal changes, while following measurements/row count for size 5/6

-(accidentally) made the bottom ribbing shorter than the pattern calls for

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This sweater is far from perfect- I made many mistakes, but I'm immensely proud of it anyway. I cast on a bit too tight on the bottom front, and cast off too loose on the front neckline (I'm guessing that's why my rib is so stretched below). My decrease at the back armhole looks a mess and my gauge is fairly inconsistent. But that's part of the fun of learning a new craft- I've got lots of room to improve!

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As it turns out, there's a reason so many of my sewing friends knit as well. It's a great companion craft. While sewing usually requires my full attention and sitting at the machine, knitting is easily done while watching tv or in the car. For someone who is a busybody like me, this is perfect! It's a totally different pace and feel than sewing but still gives me immense satisfaction and allows me to stretch my creative muscles in a new way. In short: I love knitting and this won't be the last of it! I've already purchased the Simple Ribbed Pixie Bonnet to keep Lucy's little bald noggin warm this winter. It's another simple pattern by Kristi that I can't wait to dig in to!

Sewing for Christmas: Little Cub

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As you may be able to tell from my flurry of recent posts, things have changed a bit around here since I wrote this post venting my creative frustration. With the radical change in our schedule (kids starting school) and a baby who sometimes naps, I'm actually getting a decent amount of sewing time, and even time to blog about it! This couldn't come at a better time, because I'm gearing up for holiday sewing. I'm not usually one to start my Christmas sewing any time before December 1st, not for any reason other than lack of planning and laziness. Well, maybe transitioning to three kids has taught me that it takes some major planning to accomplish things, but I got one gift made before October 1st! Handmade gifts are in the works for my older two girls, but this sweet little doll for little Lucy is done and ready for wrapping!

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I bought the book Storybook Toys: Sew 16 Projects from Once Upon a Time * for the doll I'm making for Caroline. There are of course tons of patterns and books for dollmaking, but I love the vintage look and attention to detail and quality materials that this book offers. The faces are embroidered which hopefully will stand the test of time and lots of play! Lucy's Little Cub doll is from the same book and is a great pattern for beginner dollmaking. It's my first venture into doll territory and there's a bit of a learning curve, so I'm glad I made this one before tackling Caroline's doll, which is much more advanced.

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I used the same fabric for the "fur" of the little cub that I used to make Lucy's lovey that she sleeps with, so it should be a big hit as she finds the soft fabric soothing. This doll features a little hood covering a double faced head- so the doll can be awake by placing the hood coving the sleep face, and asleep by covering the awake face. I'm thinking it'll make a great little first doll for her! She'll be nearly 9 months come Christmas and can enjoy a nice snuggly little toy.

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The hood is lined with a scrap of green gingham. I think the gingham fits with the retro vibe of the toy and gives a fun little pop of color when it's removed! It is fastened with a KAM snap. I got this* KAM snap kit from Amazon and so far found it really easy to use, and much safer to have around babies than a button would be.

Pattern: Little Cub from Storybook Toys: Sew 16 Projects from Once Upon a Time *

Fabric: This minky for the fur, gingham scrap for hood lining, basic cotton for doll body

Mods: 

-topstitched the hood around the face to keep lining from bagging out

My oldest two keep trying to get this doll out to play with, so I feel fairly confident this will be a well loved item in our home! I'm excited to finish up the other toys I'm making for my girls for Christmas- you can follow along on Instagram for frequent updates during the process!

*This post contains affiliate links, denoted by an asterisk. I wasn't paid or asked to review these products, I just really like them. If you want to purchase them, using my links will help support my blogging habit! Thanks!

Caroline's Pre K Ania Tunic

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Can you even handle that cute little girl wearing a giant backpack? Caroline started preschool recently and naturally needed a new outfit for the first day since her sister got one for kindergarten. In true middle child fashion, I'm just now posting about it even though she started two weeks ago. Don't worry- we made a big deal about it for her that day!

If you feel like you've seen this already, it's probably because I've made 2 other Ania tunics recently (here and here)- or maybe because I used this same fabric to make myself a shirt (here). Since I'm finally getting back to my sewing groove (hooray!) I'm making the most of it by sewing the same patterns several times. Is this less exciting for you? Maybe, but it means I spend less time taping and tracing patterns together, and also I get quicker each time I sew, so this is allowing my recent flurry of sewing activity. I don't have any more Ania tunics planned, but I do have more of this gorgeous floral lawn, so you haven't seen the last of it yet!

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Just like my other versions of the Ania, I made a half sleeve because I love half sleeves and because we have pretty temperate weather here and so this will get lots of wear. It's easy to layer a cardigan once things get cold, and wears well on its own for fall and spring.

Pattern: Ania Tunic by Coffee and Thread

Fabric: Regent Street Lawn in Charcoal from Urban Sew

Size: 3

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 21.5

Height- 41

Mods: 

-shortened to a half sleeve and altered the cuff to be narrower

-used my hemmer foot to do a narrow hem

This gorgeous cotton lawn is perfect for the flowy Ania tunic.

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Caroline is loving pre K and thriving having a bit more structure, now that older sister is in kindergarten. We're all adjusting pretty well to the new routine, and I'm enjoying a bit more time with little Lucy and some kid free sewing time while she naps. All in all, it feels like a complete 180 from just a couple months ago when I shared this post- which makes me all the more grateful that I documented that day before our world and routine totally changed.

Thanks for reading!!

Back to School Heartland Tour

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Today I'm sharing two looks I've sewn for the Heartland Back to School Tour, hosted by Karly from Paisley Roots. This blog tour is showcasing the Heartland fabric line from Art Gallery Fabrics, designed by Pat Bravo. Since both of my girls have started new school adventures with Kindergarten and Preschool this was a great chance to sew them something new!

I couldn't say no to this opportunity because

I love the quality

of Art Gallery Knits (their tagline is "feel the difference" and it's totally true!), and because the colors in this line are on trend and coordinate perfectly with the rest of Charly's kindergarten capsule! I shared a few items I sewed for her school clothes capsule

here

and

here

, but the rest is purchased. It wasn't hard at all to find coordinating pieces at places like Old Navy and Target because these colors are everywhere right now! Too often I've sewn something awesome and then can't find coordinating leggings or something because the colors in stores don't mesh with the colors of the fabrics I choose. Not so with these- in fact, Charly's leggings are ready to wear purchased from Old Navy, and she's got another pair that matches as well!

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I'm really drawn to the variety of prints in this line, in scale and in type, i.e., floral vs more geometric. I think it really lends well to using coordinates without looking too matchy.

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Now, a few details about each piece. For Caroline's outfit I sewed the Ania Tunic and Dressage leggings. This is my third Ania Tunic in the past few weeks (I have one more to share!) and I love this pattern.

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Pattern:Ania Tunic by Coffee and Thread

Fabric: Blomma Garden Golden, Heartland collection by Pat Bravo

Size: 3

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 21.5

Height- 41

Mods: 

-shortened to a half sleeve and altered the cuff to be narrower

-used my hemmer foot to do a narrow hem

I had a bit of trial and error choosing the right size of leggings for my tall skinny girl. I originally chose based on her waist as directed (size 2) and lengthened to a size 4, but it was a bit tight in the legs. I opted instead to sew a size 4 and match the elastic length to her waist instead. She wears size 4 from Target and Old Navy, so I'd say these are sized pretty comparable to those. I actually was a tester for these and really love the fit- the waistband shaping is spot on!

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Pattern: Dressage Leggings by Jennuine Design (affiliate link)

Fabric: Unn Cross Pine in Knit, Heartland collection by Pat Bravo

Size: 4

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 21.5

Height- 41

Mods:

-cut a taller waistband to accomodate 1.25" pajama elastic

-measured elastic to her waist rather than using the provided measurement

This is also my third Safari Raglan and I'm really happy with this pattern as well! I could size down for a slimmer fit, but like that my gal will be able to wear this through the spring as well. It's a well drafted pattern with great instructions.

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Pattern: Safari Raglan by Titchy Threads

Fabric: Trekant Rows Candid in Knit, Heartland collection by Pat Bravo

Size: 4

Her measurements: in inches below

Chest- 21

Waist- 20

Hip- 23.5

Height- 44

Mods: 

-none

It's been so fun sewing for school, and I've got one more school look coming soon before I dive into holiday sewing. I'm bound and determined to start early this year!

Thank you to Karly and Art Gallery for letting me be a part of this tour! We're going to get lots of wear out of these pieces! Check out the other stops on the tour below!