Friday, August 1, 2014

Pattern Review: McCalls 6548 view B

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I wanted my kids to wear something special as they said goodbye to me before I left for Afghanistan.  I decided to make them coordinating outfits and embroider a seahorse on the front of their shirts.  You see, my unit’s patch has a seahorse prominently displayed (The history of the seahorse is linked to engineer amphibious roots in WWII.) in the center.
Pattern review
This picture was taken shortly before I left for Afghanistan.  That is my amazing husband on the left.

I did not want the outfit to really look like the patch, but having a large seahorse done up with red, white, and blue sent the message pretty clearly.
The skirt I made was from a tutorial by MADE.  It is a fabulous tutorial and I make all my circle skirts using her instructions.

The pattern was view B McCalls M6548.  I have been pretty unhappy with McCalls lately but this pattern is a WINNER! I used it for my son for view B also and for Abi view A.  I like the t-shirt best of the two shirts.
Sizes available:  This pattern comes in sizes 3 through 14.  And since it is unisex, it is extremely versatile for sewing for a family.  I frankly have a different raglan t-shirt that is my favorite from another pattern designer, but it does not come in a size higher than 8.  So, this is a good second choice if you have a tween.

pattern review

Special materials required:  View B calls for knit fabric.  I finished the neck edge with the same knit as the body but you may choose to use ribbing or fold over elastic (something I tried with my son’s version and it looked great!)

Skill level required:  This shirt is most certainly a beginner level top.

pattern review

Good:  The instructions are clear and the pattern is basic.  This is the type of top that you could do a million times with different fabric and for different children.  It is just a great go-to t-shirt pattern.
Bad:  I don’t know if it is bad … but it does run wide.  I took it in a couple sizes in the width for my daughter and it is still fairly loose.  But, if you have a plus size child, this negative is certainly a positive.

Overall pattern rating:  I give this pattern  

   (4) bolts.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Harem Pants--Patterns to Make

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So now if you asked your tween whether or not they'd wear this style and they said yes, we thought we'd share some links of how to make them yourself.
7 best harem pants free pattern and tutorial -
We haven't tried any of these out, but I read through them and they seem pretty straight forward.
Just click on the 'Source' to be taken to the tutorials and if you make some, we'd love to see them! Just post it on our facebook page or link up at the linky party in August (yes we are bringing it back so spread the's been a crazy summer, but we really want to see what you've been sewing!)
And if you are interested in buying something here are some patterns that might fit the bill (We have not tried any of these and receive no compensation for referring them...they just fit the description of 'Harem Pants' and therefore we are including them in this post).
Lazy Days Lounge Pants pdf sewing pattern 2T-12
Lazy Days Lounge Pants
Holiday Harem pants pattern - PDF pattern - NB to size 12
Rabbit Rabbit Creations Holiday Harem Pants

Monday, July 28, 2014

PJ's Pattern Review

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 I had the chance to test another pattern, this time pajamas from GYCT Designs. It was a great pattern for some basic pajamas...and perfect for those of you that might have a fear of knit.  
 It comes with 2 top options as well as the option to color block or not. And then it comes in shorts and pants'll have the whole year covered with these. Depending on which options you chose, will determine how much fabric you need so check the chart first. Other than fabric you'll need some elastic for the waistband...that's it!
Chelsea does a great job walking you through the steps and the assembly is very easy. I whipped up a pair from cut to finish in 1 1/2 hours.
For the nice finished product, ease of assembly and well written instructions, I give this one 5 Bolts!
If you are interested she's got them in her shop HERE and HERE and they'll be on sale for the next couple of days. So if you are in the market for a new pj pattern, go check them out!  She's also giving away 2 copies of the pattern, so check out her blog for that as well.

Disclaimer: Pattern was given to me for the purpose of testing, but my opinions are all of my own and were not influenced in any way.

Harem Pants--Would They Wear Them?

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We thought we build on the jumper post and do a little on going series/post idea calling it "Would they wear that?" all in the idea of getting a discussion going about tween fashion. Also thinking that a discussion like that would help the pattern designers out there know that maybe just sizing up a pattern isn't the answer...tweens just might have different ideas when it comes to fashion. So not only will we be tackling the trends but some of the common things out there.  

So go ask your tween..."Would they wear harem pants?"
Source--Bonus Points for this one because they are a jumpsuit too!
I think it would date me if I said I can't think of these as anything but MC Hammer pants...but that's besides the point.  These pants seem to be quite the trend, even returning to the Fall/Winter lines of some of the bigger designers.  What do your tweens think?  Are they digging the look or passing?
Jersey Harem Trousers with Printed Front
While I don't think I can get over the saggy diaper look I kind of think the pink paisley with the bow are really cute and they look comfy too.
These seem to be the extreme to me...but to a tween they might seem a little different and totally on trend.
Down in Australia they seem to be a little less extreme in the sagginess...these are what they are calling harem pants Down Under.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Skirting the Issue With an A-Line Skirt

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The lovely ladies over at Simple Simon & Co have a wonderful thing they do every year called Skirting the Issue (read more about it here). Basically, they are encouraging us all to make skirts and donate them for girls in foster care who might not get to go clothes shopping for back to school. To do this they are having a month of skirt tutorials over on their blogs. Here is my little addition of how to make a great skirt for a tween or teen.
So I love the easiness of making a simple elastic waistband skirt, but I think girls get to a certain age and want to look a little more grown up and a little less girly. That's why I love the simplicity of an A-Line skirt. All it takes is a simple side zipper (I'm partial to an invisible one...but any would work) and length of fabric needed to reach the right length of your girl.
Here's a quick rundown of how to figure out an A line skirt. Get a low waist line measurement...about an inch below the belly button (since you are adding a waistband) and a hip measurement (the biggest measurement around the hips area) and then I add a couple of inches to each because I don't like my clothes too snug. Take a waist to hip measurement...that would be from your waist line to just where you took the hip measurement. 
Now you are set to "draw" your pattern out on your fabric. 
I'm making one for each of my daughters. The one on the right is cut out according to measurements and the one on the left you can kind of see my marks before soluble pen is running out of ink. And I was actually able to get 2 skirts (size 10 and 7 out of a yard of fabric!
Make sure you take your fabric and fold it in half twice (you need the front and back piece). Take your  low waist + 2 inches (blue line) and hip + 2 inches (red line) measurements and 1/2 them (remember your fabric is folded...). Now take the number you now have for your waist and measure and then mark it on the top of your fabric (blue line).  Take your waist to hip measurement (green line) and mark it down from your waist measurement. From the fold take your hip measurement number and mark it at the bottom of your waist to hip line (this becomes the red line).
With me so far?
Now just figure out how long you want your skirt(purple line) and mark that, measuring from your waist. Then all I do is gradually extend the line from the end of your waist measurement line to the hip line and then to the edge of the fabric or however far out you want it to go...for someone smaller you wouldn't go out too far.  This is what becomes the bottom of the skirt so it depends really on how full you want it to be.  I also cut out a 3 inch in width and natural waist measurement + 2 inches in length waistband (all one piece if I can get it out to the fabric).
  Once I get it cut out, I add the zipper to the left side,
 finish off the left side,
 check to make sure the size is about right and then finish off the right side.
 After that I add the waistband and finish it off.
First pin the waist band right side to the wrong side of the top of the skirt, leaving about 2-3 inch over hang off of the front of the skirt (really depends on how big your button is). Sew together.
Then press the band up, and press 3/8ths inch under on the top of the band.  You also want to fold in the ends. For the end that will get the button hole, if you leave a little extra you can fold a little extra under which will make it stronger and so you really don't need interfacing.
You can see in this picture that you don't want the zipper stop all the way at the top of the skirt need room for a seam allowance.
For the other end you want it flat with the zipper, just fold to enclose the rough edge.
Now you fold down the waistband, making sure to cover the stitching line from before. Pin in place and iron the top of the waistband.
Finish off the skirt by top stitching the entire rectangle of the waist band, adding the button and button hole and hemming to your desired length.
If you want to see the skirts I've made following this principle you look: HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE
And for another more "grown up" looking skirt, check out my tutorial HERE