A Flannel Voila Blouse

Heeeello friends!

I’m back today with a project for me.  This is the Voila blouse by Cali Faye Collection.

This is the second voila that I’ve made.  I took pictures of the other one as well, but I’ll save it for another post so I don’t inundate you with my awkwardness all at once…tee hee.

Anyway, this version is my favorite of the two- which ended up surprising me because it’s flannel and I had no clue how it would hang in this style.  But, it is THE COMFIEST. And, it just kind of goes with my winter wardrobe (a.k.a. jeans + cardigans + runny noses).

I cut my pattern between the M and L lines, which is generally what I’ve been doing when sewing for me.  The bodice fits great- most importantly, it feels perfect around my arms and chest…it doesn’t pull tight when I reach for things, or when I’m bending down to get something.  Really, it’s just a nice, forgiving fit.

Now, the skirt piece.

Holy lotsa fabric! Would you believe me when I say I narrowed these by cutting 8 inches from the front piece, and 8 inches from the back? Can you picture this with 16 more inches of width?!?!! I know!  It’s nuts… I’m not sure there is a perfect fabric out there that would look okay with all that width.  Luckily, the flannel isn’t all that billowy, but I think you should also consider narrowing the skirt pieces significantly, regardless of your fabric choice if you happen make this pattern.

Oh, and I did lengthen this because I lengthen everything.

I purchased this flannel locally at Les Fabriques, and it was a no-namer.  I liked the thin yellow lines running through, and I happened to have a yellow gauze shirt in the same shade, so I hacked up for the bodice lining.

I love how the neckline is wider at the back.  Thank you, old self for not tattooing anything scary back there!

So, I would definitely recommend this pattern to a beginner.  It’s really an easy sew.  However, the directions are a bit sparse.  No one is telling you to press anything or finish a seam, so you just have to use your common sewing sense- no biggie, but I could see how that could bother some of you type-A’s out there.

I’ll be back soon with another Voila (hint: first ever double gauze!).

Ciao!

-Erin

A Stolen Nessie

Happy almost 2015!

I thought I’d pop in here with one last little post for the year.  This is a Nessie top in a size 6, made a couple of months ago.  It was intended for Ellery, but Coco laid eyes on it as soon as it was done, and snatched it up as her own before Ellery got home from school one day.  I never know which handmades the kids will love- I was surprised how quickly Corinne claimed it her own!  And not to cause any drama, I told Ellery it was a shirtdress for Coco because I could see her eyeing it.  She bought it. Reluctantly. Oh, Sisters….

Anyway, It’s a great little pattern from Jess of Craftiness is Not Optional.  In fact, this is the 4th Nessie I’ve made.  I got kind of addicted to making them one day, and just busted them out like a motha.

The other 3 are in such heavy rotation, that they are pretty much always in the dirty pile, and I keep forgetting to get pictures!

It’s such a fast sew, and I really like the shape of it.  It’s sort of swingier-looking than a regular old tee, and I love the 3/4 sleeve option- which is what I did here.  Though, it’s sort of a funny length on my Coco bean.

The floral knit is from Girl Charlee, and the dark teal is from my homie, Joann.  I used it in a little corduroy-knit top for one of my first ever KCW posts back in 2011.  I feel old!

 It’s funny- I remember racing through the sewing of this one because we had to get Ellery off the bus- I didn’t even hem it.  But, Corinne wears this all.the.time. And I think I actually like it sort of oversized on her skinny frame.  I’d like to make a few more of these for her in a smaller size, but keep the length.  I just love that she loves it!

Thanks so much for reading our blog- we love you!  Happy New Year!  See you in 2015.

-Erin

Sewing to Sell Blog Tour {& giveaway}

When Erin and I were invited to join the book tour for Virginia Lindsay’s Sewing to Sell, we were totally pumped.  Virginia has been selling her adorable handmade goods and patterns long enough to have learned a thing or two about the process.  You should check out her blog, Gingercake if you haven’t!  In her newly released book, she gathers what she has learned from experiences and hands it to you.  Here ya go future-Etsy-store-owner, or wanna-be-craftshow-vendor, its all right here!  In Sewing to Sell, you will learn about knowing your market, maximizing your time, pricing your product, and packaging, so that your hardwork and love (because there is always love in handmades) can actually PAY off.

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Oh and there’s one more thing, actually 16 more things- this book includes 16 PATTERNS (copyright free- to help you get your shop ready)!  Lunch bags, pot holders, tablet covers, and so much more.  I mean, even if you are not ready to put your goods out there for sale, this book is still worth the purchase!

Check out what I made!!!!!!!!! Can you tell I’m excited?

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When I looked through the patterns in my eBook copy of Sewing to Sell, I kept coming back to the Great Big Tote.

Can you believe I have never sewn a bag of any type?  I have no idea why.  I love making useful items, and also showing off my handmade work, so it was high time that MAMA GOT A BRAND NEW BAG.

 Make that two brand new bags!

One for the market, and one for the beach!

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I took Virginia’s advice about taking an assembly-line approach when sewing multiple products.  The repetition of each step helped me to keep my head in the game and to sew more conscientiously.  There was zero seam ripping, and zero curse-words with this approach!  I truly enjoyed the bag making process, and watching it literally unfold (through a four inch hole that you will later topstich close ;)) was fascinating!

Bag making is so cool!  I’m hooked!

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Here I am pretending that I just plucked a bunch of green onion out of my winter garden.  Tee hee.

Erin was helping me with the photo shoot.  She had to put her foot down when I told her to take my picture while I pull a carrot out and feed it to her neighbor’s horse.  What?  Too contrived?  Fine.

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We sure had fun styling the bags for the shoot.  I am shocked how much stuff can fit into these things!  The mommy-market would be all over this tote.

Look out L.L. Bean!

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Virginia suggested using painter’s drop cloth canvas for a sturdy bottom and lining (It’s super economical).  I still had a bunch left over from when I made 3 bedskirts out of this stuff, so that worked out!  It actually sews really nicely through the machine.

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The coordinating fabric was handed down to me by a friend who is just an occasional sewer (Mermaid Play by Michael Miller).  The chicken fabric was purchased for a different project, and the pockets were scrap.  So, both bags, cost me nothing to make! Okay, wait, I bought some interfacing for a few dollars.  It’s a little hard for me to clock my hours when they are all just stolen moments in the midst of parenting, but I’d guess roughly 6 hours was put in to make both.  I am a very slow sewer.

Sewing to Sell offers advice on pricing your items so that your hourly wage doesn’t become peanuts.  Or in my case, Skinny Pop.  I’m so addicted, they’re gonna have to change the name to Chubby Pop.

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I still can’t get over the fact that I made a really nice, durable tote bag!   The pattern instructions were clear and uncomplicated.  The only tough part for me was at the very end, sewing up those corners.  There was a good bit of fabric to get through at that point.

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But hey, we are humans, not machines.   I’m pretty sure I’ll still be turning heads at the kiddie pool next summer!  Heads of moms…who want my bag.

See ya there!

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Virginia is graciously offering a free hardcopy of Sewing to Sell to one of our readers (within the continental U.S.).

Just leave a comment below!  The giveaway will close Sunday 12/7.  And if you don’t win, follow the blog tour for more opportunities!

Thank you for entering!  A winner has been chosen at random, congratulations lisacrafty!  Enjoy your copy of Sewing to Sell!

~Caroline

Blog Tour

Birthday Dress (a little late)

Avery turned 5 a couple weeks ago!  She is such a dynamic girl.  There are many dimensions to my girl Avery: smart, determined, tenacious, dramatic, hilarious, honest, sweet, loving, mysterious and wild (good luck future boyfriends).  This face kind of says it all…

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She recently started watching the runway portion of Project Runway with me. I know she has craftiness in her future, its in her DNA, so I thought I’d jumpstart her interest in sewing by letting her watch the show.  She really likes it.  She asks me, “Mom, which girl do you want to win?”  I explained that those girls are just wearing the clothes that the people made, they are not the ones who will win.  “Oh…I want to be one of those girls,” she says.  “A girl who wears the clothes and walks in them,” I ask?  “YES,” declares Avery!  Great.  I just helped my daughter aspire to be a walking mannequin.  Fabulous.  She will have to work at that modelling career, because this was about the least awkward pose she was offered me during our shoot.

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We headed to the playground to try for some candids.

DSC_7734 (2)She was dying to show me how she learned to use the monkey bars!

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DSC_7726 (2)That’s my girl!  She is really athletic, and she loves to wear DRESSES!  I knew that the skater dress would be an instant hit in the comfort department.  I sewed a size 5Y/6Y and I am so glad that it is roomy enough for her grow into it.  I increased the width of the skirt pattern piece and gathered it before it was attached.  Avery really appreciates a dress that she can twirl in.  What 5 year old girl doesn’t?

photo (3)If you’ve seen this dress before, its because Rachel from Stitched Together made an almost identical one before I got to it.  Ha!  I didn’t mean to be a copy-cat (even though I’d copy what Rachel makes all day long if I could)!  When I bought this knit months and months ago from Girl Charlee, the skater dress was on my agenda.  But, alas, my sewing productivity is very low these days! DSC_7737

Thank you for stopping by!

~Caroline

 

Caroline Blogs (+ a giveaway)

Hi everyone!  It has been about 5 months since my last blog post, when I sewed costumes for Jet’s 7th birthday party.  That was right about the time when symptoms of Wes’ cancer began.   As most of our readers know, in February, my youngest child (at age 15 months) was diagnosed with stage IV, high-risk, neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer of the nervous system.   Our lives changed forever.  I have a new blog now- the kind you never wanted to have-  that chronicles our family’s fight for Wes’ cure.   You are welcome to join us on http://www.caringbridge.org.  Just log in and search for Wes Chang.

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I don’t want to get into the horror, the hardship, the grief, the joy, the crazy emotional rollercoaster that comes with having a child go through cancer.   Its something I would not wish on my worst enemy.  But somehow, many blesssings have home out of it, and I have a renewed sense of purpose, and new perspective on life’s importances.

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To tell you the truth, I have been avoiding this space.  Writing my posts on caringbridge (along with living our new normal) takes a lot out of me.   Its just so emotional that it exhausts me.  Actually, even here in the past, blogging did not come easily for me.  I am extremely self-critical and perfectionistic.  I sew slowly, and I write slowly.   And now, I simply do not have time for any of it.  I still crave sewing.  I miss it.  I yearn for it.  But my priorties have shifted, and the sense of satisfaction I get from crafting a wearable garment, is replaced by taking the best care of Wes that I possibly can.  Add NURSE to my resume, because I’m pretty sure I’ve earned my degree!

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To catch you up to date quickly, Wes has undergone 5 rounds of intense chemotherepy since his diagnosis.  He had tumors (or “lesions”) in several places in his head, also in his lungs, and, signature of neuroblastoma, a primary tumor on his right adrenal gland (which sits above the kidney).  His bone marrow was also infected by the disease.  After just two rounds of chemo, the visible tumors on his head and face were diminishing, and bone marrow biopsy was clean.  Wes just underwent scans after round 5, and the only remaining visible disease  is the primary tumor (1/3 of its original size)!  It will be surgically removed on Wednesday.

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His progress has been amazing!  His expert oncologist actually used those words.   Wes has stayed extremely healthy through this process, and we have been living at home as normal most of this time.  I can assure you that this is not the norm for kids with neuroblastoma and other devestating cancers.   He is making this look easy.  But it is not.  The stress, the worry, the time it takes, and the toll it takes on the family dynamic, is extraordinary.  Please understand, that if this could happen to our family, it can happen to yours.  Please support the research, support the families, the events, the races, the blood drives.  I never thought we’d be the recipients of so much kindness and generosity.  I never thought we would need to be.  We are humbled indeed.

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I’d like to thank my sister, and co-blogger, Erin, for all that she has done to help our family.  Thank God we live in the same town!  She has had to swoop in a ton to help with Jet and Avery, but has also managed all the wonderful friends who have wanted to help.  She (and the rest of our extended family) has also dealt with a lot of emotions when learning the devastating news about Wes.  Our mom was still in treatment for her own recurred cancer.  But, Erin had to be my liaison to the people.  All of the calls and emails went through her.  I simply could not talk to people.   She organized a donation website that just exploded with funds to help us financially.  It’s been a long  road, and we are only at about the half-way point with Wes’ treatment, but we are in a much better place now with Wes doing so well!.  Lucky doesn’t even cover it!

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So, this summer has been a nice change of pace.  Not having to get up early to send the big kids off to school has been a sweet relief.  I found ourselves having a slow week recently, and was able to dust of my sewing machine.  An email came from Dana of Made,  asking us to test her First Day Dress pattern.  How exciting to have an assignment from an industry big-wig that we have worshiped since the beginning of time!  Erin and I both jumped at the opportunity!

I chose to sew the simple A-line option for Avery.

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Excuse the ‘tude.

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And the pool hair.

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I chose the 5T size for my solid 4.5 year old, Avery.  The fit is perfect!

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 I took Dana’s suggestion and used a home-dec fabric.  How cute are these chickens??  The fabric, called Barnyard Dance Speckel,by P Kaufmann, was at our local U-fab store, which also sells online.  It is a lovely weight for this project. Plus, you get 10 extra inches on these bolts.  I have plenty for another project!  Even with the cotton sheeting I used as a lining, it is super soft and drape-y.   Another bonus is that this fabric is stain resistant.  It will totally hold up in the fall when we throw on a cardi and some leggings.

Hopefully you saw Erin’s version last week!  She made a peplum convert out of me!  There are so many adorable options to choose from in Dana’s pattern.

Please leave a comment at the end of this post if you would like a chance to win a copy of this PDF pattern!  Giveaway will close Thursday July 17 at 8:00 pm.

Even if you are not interested in the giveaway, we invite your comments!   I know this post is major heavy.  Erin and I want to extend our gratitude to our devoted readers, and blogger friends, who always “like” us on instagram and continue to show your support for #hungiegungie and #teamwes.  We love you!  I hope to not be a stranger for too long!

Lots of love,

Caroline

 

 

OPEN 24/7.

 

 On a bit of a whim, I opened an etsy shop.  I have always tinkered with the idea, and then at the beginning of the year started making some things, but sort of set it all aside for a while.  A month ago or so, I picked it all back up and just started sewing like a crazy lady.  At the moment my kids really don’t need any more clothes, so it was fun to focus on producing things for others.  My angle was/is to just make the things I like.  That’s it.  If they sell, then I’ll make more!  Of course, it’s summertime, and you all know I fell in love with this pattern, so I pumped out many of them.  I think they’re perfect summer attire.  I hope my buyers love them.  I am considering making a few pairs of these for the boys out there, and I’m thinking already about items for Fall.

I will mention that part of the reason for opening the shop is to blow through some of my current fabric stash.  I want to sew a lot, but I simply cannot afford to buy all the fabric to just make things for my family.  It just feels excessive when my kiddos have hand-me-downs galore!  I hope that after a few more sales (I’ve already had two- wooohoo!) I can go back to doing what I do best- late night online fabric shopping.

Anyway, hope you’ll check it out!

-Erin

 

hummingbird

I have been sewing like a crazy person, a.k.a. Jesse Spano, a whole lot this past month.  Like cutting out several projects in one fell swoop, labeling fabrics, staying up late, watching 19 Kids and Counting (OH C’MON… you watch it too)/Intervention (the girl who huffs computer duster. YIKES.)/Inside Amy Schumer, and sewing until my back hurts.  Hey, sometimes you got it and sometimes you don’t.  It’s rare for me to be on a straight-up sewing binge, but currently I am.

(And lest you think all I do is sew and watch trashy TV all night…I don’t.  Though sometimes I accidentally put on Peppa Pig, not realizing that my kids are in BED and ASLEEP… and it’ll just play for like 10 minutes before it occurs to me.  Do you ever do that?  Turn on the old boob tube after the kiddos are down, and immediately hit up Nick Jr? What the?! Anyway, I also enjoy the occasional TED talk or Creative Bug on youtube… I love the meet so-and-so videos.  And sewing in the daytime calls for Pandora.  Moving on.)

One pattern that I’ve been pretty smitten with lately is the Hummingbird dress by rabbit rabbit creations.  I stumbled upon it one night while searching around on Etsy and I bought it right away.  I’ve already sewn several variations, but this one here is a fave.

p.s. that mole in the middle of her back is also my fave. :)

I love the fitted bodice and the elastic casing in the back which adds comfort and a casual vibe.  There is the option of adding flutter sleeves to the straps, but I am all for the clean look of this for now.

As for the fit, it’s just perfect.  I sewed a 6 (Ell is a new-ish 6 year old), and it’s right on the money.

(update: there are couple of glitches in this pattern.  first, at the back bodice piece- which is a long rectangle- a 1/2 should be added to the width (not length!) of both the outer and the lining back bodice piece,  because when attaching it to the front bodice at the underarms, it is too short and doesn’t quite match up with the width of the front bodice piece, which then requires you to adjust some things when attaching the skirt to the finished bodice. second, the instructions suggest that you can enclose the gathered skirt piece into the bodice and the bodice lining so there is no raw seam inside… however, this is incredibly hard to do once the elastic is already in the back bodice piece.  I recommend you try attaching the skirt to the bodice and lining first, but leave the sides at the underarms unattached- then thread your elastic in, and finish enclosing the rest of the skirt. I decided to just attach the bodice to the skirt without enclosing and I am more than happy with my result, but I did want to include that in here for you in case you make this dress and want a very professional look inside!)

I’ve been really drawn to color in the last few months… I used to buy a lot of prints, but realized that I tire of them really quickly and they don’t seem to get much play at my sewing machine.

You already know that I’m a cotton couture lover (no really, Michael Miller… where’s my sponsorship?!!).  It’s just the perfect weight, has some sort of sheen to it, and if you look closely and compare it to say, Kona cotton, it seems more tightly woven, which really seems to give it this softness factor.  I used it here in watermelon for the skirt, and in gold for the sweet little straps.  The bodice is a solid voile in coral (lined with cream cotton), I’m sorta/kinda/alotta in love with this combo.

This dress is actually not for my Ellery (Sorry, kid).

  But more on that soon…

-Erin