Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fleece Jacket: A Guest Review

Today we have a guest review, by Rachel a mother of 7 (with 2 sets of twins!!!!). She's here to share her thoughts on the Happy Camper Jacket and share her amazing creation for her son.
Hi, my name is Rachel. I'm a stay at home mother of seven, two sets of twins! I have 6 sons and one daughter. I have sewn all of my life and love to make things for my children. The biggest problem I run into is finding patterns suitable for my teenage boys. I made this jacket for my 12 year old son. I decided to make it in his school colors and added his name embroidered to his chest. It's a great feeling to make something that they are proud to wear, even in public, lol.
I mainly sew clothing and items for my family and as gifts, though I do sell memory quilts through word of mouth and my Facebook page, quiltsbyrachel. I hope to become a more true, focused business when my youngest set of twins enters kindergarten.

by Peek-a-Boo Patterns (affiliate)

Sizes--6 month to 12 years

Special Materials--a light weight fabric (sport nylon or such) and a fleece or micro fleece, a reversible separating zipper

Skill Level--Advanced Beginner

 How did you choose the pattern--I did a pattern test for the release of the pattern.
Did you deviate from the pattern--Yes, I increased the size of the pockets and added embroidery.

 The Good--It is a well written pattern with easy to follow directions. The jacket is great for boys or girls, and the style is classic.
The Bad--Working with sport nylon (non stretch and slippery) combined with micro fleece (very stretchy) was difficult. Need to go very slow to ensure everything lines up.
The Ugly--Not much! I only found the pockets to be a little small, the rest was pretty awesome!

Overall pattern rating: 4 Bolts

Thank you Rachel for sharing this review of the Happy Camper Jacket.  It looks like a great pattern!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Extra Extra Read All About It--Pattern Review of Simplicity 4762: A Vest

Sophia wanted to be a newsie (go check out the musical by the same name---the movie of it is a lot of fun) for Halloween this year. She's kind of at that age where she wants to dress up without looking too dressed up.  The wool hat is what inspired it all.  To complete the outfit she wanted a vest and knickers of some sort. Here's the almost complete outfit...we're still working on the shoes.
 And now I'll review the vest pattern that I used.
It's Simplicity 4762 and comes in Sizes S-L/S-XL (that's kid/adult), which is awesome that you get so many sizes in one just means there are A LOT of pieces so check and double check that you have the right size before you cut out.
I made the child's large for Sophia and it is just right on her.
As for extra materials, besides the fabric and buttons (which I didn't use) you will need a 1" slide buckle.
For Sophia's vest, I used some wool I had laying around for the front and tabs in the back. The lining and the back are some checkered plaid wovens I had laying around.  The wool was tan and wovens black and tan, so the sepia tone of the pictures really didn't take away from the actual colors of the vest.
 I would say this would be an advanced beginner sewing pattern. There are some interesting things like darts, button holes and interesting seams that require some more advanced skills.
Like I said, I picked this pattern because I already had it in my collection and needed a vest. I've made it once before, which you can check out here. This time around I sewed view C and I changed it up a bit. I didn't do the welts, darts, didn't add buttons and for the life of me, I still couldn't get the flipping of it right, so I ended up leaving the arm holes open and then top stitching them closed once it was all flipped and right side out.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to flip something through the side seam, please let me know. I can not wrap my brain on how I'm supposed to pull it out and have it be right. Because I already top stitched the armholes, I top stitched around the rest as well, just to make it look a little more uniformed...this wasn't a step in the pattern.
 The Good: This pattern is a great basic pattern that can come in handy for both genders and different situations, both formal and casual. And the fact that you get so many sizes with one pattern is a super bonus in my eyes. If you ever have to make multiple vests (like I did if you check the link), you only need to buy one pattern for all those different sizes. Think weddings, Christmas/Easter outfits for all the guys in your's a good thing.  There are also 4 different versions of a vest included and a tie pattern.
 The Bad: I'm not sure if there is really anything bad about the pattern.
The Ugly: Because of my ineptitude when it comes to turning something right side out through a side seam with all of the other seams finished including the arm holes (that's what it showed), I had to unpick the armhole seams and then top stitch them after I turned everything out. Really, if anyone knows a trick or can guess from my ramblings what I do wrong...please let me know. It would make my life easier:)
Other than that, there were no problems. It's a great staple of a pattern.
I give it .

Friday, October 25, 2013

Holiday Wear Round-up

One of my (Major Moma) favorite things to sew are special outfits for the holidays.  I especially like making coordinating outfits for the family.  I don't know how I became one of "those moms," because mine certainly never was, but it happened.

But you have to be so much more careful when doing that with tweens.  And a big puffy dress that spins or a cute tie is probably not going to appeal to your pre-teen boy or girl.  But there are several wonderful options of varying formality for tween holiday wear.  We have created this round up of some for both boys and girls.  Some of the pictures have younger children as models, but all of the patterns have a tween size range.

Phoebe Dress
Cosette Maxi Dress
Trousers and Waistcoat
Knit Jacket

lace bodice dress
long fringe jacket
embroidered dress

long sleeve bohemian dress

Elaina Pintuck Party Dress
Little Gentlemen suit jacket AND vest and pants

classic Chinos

Nora dress

Each caption has the link to where you can purchase the pattern, so shopping is easy.  (We currently are not affiliated with any company, but just believe in helping each other out.)

We hope you liked some of these and if you make one, please let us know how it went!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

burda kids 9483 view C

For this pattern review I am showing off what my daughter chose to wear on her first day of school.  You know you did something right when something you made gets to be worn for a big event.  She was about to enter 4th grade at a new school so she was quite nervous.

The Review:

The pattern:  Burda Kids 9483; view C

Pattern source: You may purchase this pattern at a sewing store or buy it online.  This is an envelope pattern, not a pdf from

Sizes available:  This is truly a tween pattern; it is sized from 7-13.  It also has a generous fit and flowing volume so it should be able to accommodate curves.

burda kids 9483 view C
She styled it with a RTW hoodie making sure the bow stuck out.

Special materials requiredYou will need some ¼ inch elastic for the neckline and either buttons or snaps for the cuffs.

Skill level requiredThe pattern is labeled very easy and accurately so.  Burda does not have a great reputation for its instructions but a beginner would do just fine on this pattern and someone who is experienced would likely not need the instructions at all.

How I came to choose the pattern: I bought the pattern from Joann for Abi’s 2013/14 school wardrobe.  I figured it would be a good staple tunic and I plan on sewing all views.  I will let you know how those go too.

burda kids 9483 view C
the cuff is functional and has a slit placket

Did you deviate from the pattern?  If yes, how?  The only deviation is that I did not hem the top as I used a slinky knit that would be slippery when hemming and the raw edge looks perfectly good.  I also chose to use snaps instead of buttons on the cuffs.

burda kids 9483 view C

Overall pattern rating:  This is a bolt pattern.  It is a great quick and easy tunic that can be dressed up or down based on your fabric choices.  I think I will try it in velour too … as it suggests on the pattern envelope.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oliver & s Knit Pants Review

nature walk pullover + knit pants sewing pattern

I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of Oliver & s patterns for $2.  Amazingly this pattern goes up to size 12, so it would work for a tween. 
This time I tried the knit pants. Sophia said she wanted some black yoga type pants that she could wear for one of her dance classes.  I looked and looked for some black knit with a little spandex in it that would work, but wasn't able to find anything. So we settled for pajama pants instead.  The pattern is a great pattern, but knit pants with an elasticized waist band wasn't really my tween daughter's thing. She's kind of outgrown them and prefers her jeans.  
And here is my review of the Oliver & s Knit Pants:
You can find the pattern on the Oliver & s website and either purchase the paper pattern or download the digital.  This pattern goes from size 6 months to 12 years, with the pattern being divided with 6 months to 4 years on one and 5 to 12 years on another.
Materials Needed: For the pants you will need up to 1 1/4 yards of fabric that is interlock, jersey, textured knits, lightweight double knits or matte jersey with at least 25% stretch. You will also need 3/4 inch elastic long enough to go around your child's waist.
Skill level: On the Oliver & s scale, this pattern(top and pants) is rated as 2 out of 4 scissors for difficulty. The pants themselves are not that difficult and from start to finish went together in about an hour. I would say a beginner, comfortable working with knits, would find this pattern on the easy side.
 I picked this pattern because both the top and the bottom seemed like comfortable things my daughters would wear. Plus every time I've sewn with a pattern from this company, I've loved and come away having learned something new. The fact that I was able to buy it for $2 didn't hurt either.  As I sewed it up, I did do a size 8 waist and a size 10 length. My previous experience with Oliver & s patterns is that they run a little small. This time was a little different though. I picked those sizes based on my daughters measurements, but the waist was a little big and the length was a little short. The waist can be fixed by adjusting the elastic though. Other than picking the 2 different sizes, I sewed the pattern as instructed. And again the instructions are clear and easy to follow.
The Good: Quick and easy to sew. The instructions were clear and well put with detailed pictures and helpful hints (what I've come to expect from Oliver & s). I also really liked learning how to put on this type of waistband. Plus my daughter says they are really comfortable.
The Bad: On the envelope it is listed that you would need lightweight fusible interfacing for the pants but there is no mention of it on the pattern pieces or in the instructions. I probably wouldn't have used it anyway, because I don't like putting interfacing in waistbands that have elastic, but it was confusing to see it listed as a notion but never mentioning it again.
The Ugly: This part is more my personal opinion with a little of my daughters as well. The style works well for a yoga type athletic pants, but not really for a casual pants for this age group. It also made great pajama pants. My daughter pretty much said she wouldn't really wear this style to school though, unless maybe it was in solid black. We chose this fabric with the intention of being pjs and that worked though. The other thing was the sizes didn't seem true to what my daughter measured, so I would double check the next time around with actually taking my tape measure and measure the actual pattern pieces as well.
So with all of that being said, I rate this pattern  and 1/2. It was very easy to make and my daughter thinks that they are very comfortable, but had that mistake about the interfacing and I just don't think they work as casual pants for this age group...but for pjs and athletic pants they work well.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween Ideas for a Tween Round Up

 Halloween...that holiday coming up can be a tricky time when you are a tween (I've had 2 go through this phase already). Too young to dress up cute and go door to door, but still young enough that you really want to and can pull it off for another year or two.  I don't know what your house rules are, but we said the cut off was 12...then you were too old to go around begging for candy (unless they are willing to take the younger ones around so mom doesn't have to:).  That being said, it's still fun to dress up and get together with friends or go to church trunk or treats or enjoy the neighborhood party.  
But when it comes to costumes, it's got to be something that isn't too childish and it's better if it's something least that's been my experience so far, but not too weird because then people might think they're get my point. So I thought I would round up some costumes that are age appropriate, not too hard to pull together and might be a little clever too.

Speaking of age appropriate:
This is what came up when I typed in homemade Halloween costumes for a tween
Do you see something wrong with them?  I do. So here is my more age appropriate costumes.

Fortune-teller Costume
Kids Gypsy Halloween Costume
Bag of Jelly Bellies
They didn't have a fire one, but wouldn't it be cool for a group of 4 friends to go as Earth, Wind, Fire and Ice?  It wouldn't be too hard to come up with a simple but cool Fire one to go with this theme.
Hair Ice Costume
Detective and Hound or Sherlock Holmes
Book week dress up
So that is just a few...each of the sites I linked to has a ton more ideas so go explore and let your tween come up with something do-able, cheap and age appropriate.  They'll only be this young once.
And another thing I've noticed with this age group is that they don't really want to "dress up" so much as they want to have a costume. Why not come up with something where they can wear normal clothes, but add a prop or embellish it some how. Some of the ones above fit that bill.  I'm thinking:
+ = 
cloudy with a chance of meatballs costume
(just wear normal clothes and hang the food from the umbrella) 
brown clothes and a brown cloak and you are now a jedi (my boys use this one a lot still)
jeans, button up shirt and polka dot bandanna tied around your head and you've got Rosie the Riveter (and a great history lesson)

Just let them create something and you might be surprised what they come up with!

So now if you've stuck with me through this whole post, I have to share the funny thought that kept running through my head the whole time I was working on this.  It's from the movie Penelope...don't ask me why but this scene just popped into my head and stuck. It's at the end of the movie where she is a teacher and it's Halloween.  All the girls in the class are dressed as Penelope with a pig nose and there is one girl crying in the corner. She has 'laundry' stuck all over her. Penelope goes up and asks what is wrong and the girl says something like "Everyone else is dresses as Penelope and I'm just stupid static cling." To which Penelope answers, "Frankly I find you refreshing." I guess that's how I feel about these costumes over the ones you find in a store.