Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Harem Pants--Patterns to Make

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

 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?

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

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Great Summer Skirt

You know you've found a great pattern when your tween wants to wear it all of the time. That is the case with this newly released pattern from EYMM. It's called the Calla Lily Skirt/Skort and it is by far one of the easiest sews ever! I had the privilege to test it and really loved the end result. 
 It comes in two styles: high/low and fish tail and 3 waist band options.
You'll need knit fabric (the skirt is all one piece so the amount will depend on how long you have to make it) with a good drape...although I had the orange fabric with a tiny bit of stretch but was really a woven that had a flowy drape and it worked out really well too.
 The waist band can be a yoga style just out of knit fabric (something with lycra or spandex works the best) or you can use 2" elastic. 
 Really I only have good things to say about this pattern, except for the frugal side of me says I would not like paying almost $10 for such an easy pattern. If you want to justify it, you get the sizes from newborn to 18 teen (and there is a women's version as well).
If you are looking for a great summer skirt pattern though, I would say go for it! It's an easy, trendy pattern that I'm sure will get a lot of wear and use. And since there are so many great knit options out there now, it could be a very versatile pattern. 
I give this one 5 lightening bolts!

Disclaimer: This pattern was given to me for testing purposes and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pattern Review: McCalls's M 6689 view E

I have previously reviewed M6689 using view C as a dress (HERE) and now I thought I would do a review of the pants; view E.  I sewed them as shorts, but the only modification I made was the length.

I loved the pattern as a dress and I am sure I would like the view as a top since it really is the same but shorter.  But I was not as happy with the pants.  They did come together well and the fly zipper did not use my favorite construction techniques (I am a complete fan of the way Burdastyle constructs their zippers) but it turned out fine. 

But, as I have found frequently with the McCalls pants patterns, there was way too much ease.  I slimmed them down two sizes.  And by this I mean my daughter by height wears a size 12 but I cut the width of a size 8 in order to tailor it to her.  Normally, this is enough to not make a good fit.

I did use some different fabrics and decorative stitches to jazz up these standard jean shorts.

I give these shorts only (3) bolts.  The fly is pretty nice and the pattern was straight forward, but the fit really was not that great.  And, look at how these pants look when she pulled them up; the high waist is not in line with today's trends.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sewing for Mallory ... one mom's story

Today we have wonderful guest post from Tami. She has a great Etsy shop as well as a facebook page (Love Notions) so should check out what she is up to!
It’s hard to believe that I have a ‘tween, it seem like she was just born last year. Time really does fly when they’re little. My ‘tween is a ten year old named Mallory. She’ll be starting 5th grade in the fall. We've been blessed with an awesome magnet school she and her younger brother were accepted into and since Mallory’s been in school, I've been in and out of her school helping with class parties, field days, conferences and field trips. Because of my passion for sewing and design I always notice what the other kids are wearing so when I get to peek in the school you can bet I’ll be checking out what the kids these days are wearing. Mallory probably dresses the most ‘different’ of her friends. Sure, she’s got Target t-shirts, Old Navy leggings and Kohl’s shorts like the other kids but she’s also got a drawer full of Trendy Tunic’s (her favorite), a closet filled with Cartwheel Collection pieces (soon to be released), Hip-Hop Tanks, Tuxedo Dresses and other random pieces I haven’t released yet.

I design with her specifically in mind about 80% of the time. I’ll sketch something up and yell for her to come look and ask what she thinks. The most requested thing from her-- “does it have pockets?” She’s such a willing, if sometimes long suffering, model. I've been known to wake her up at 11PM to try something on. She doesn't usually remember those times. ;)

The very first piece we worked together on was a dress I named for her: The Mallory Dress. I actually haven’t released it yet, but look for it in the fall.

With all the pieces I design I keep a couple things in mind-- would I let my child wear this, would Mallory like it and is it comfortable? You’ll find that I mostly design for knits, they’re so much more practical, not to mention comfortable. I have sewn up my fair share of patterns that used cotton wovens but I don’t reach for those nearly as much as the knits. No ironing needed when dressing with knits!
Mallory modeling an early Hip-Hop Tank prototype

Another thing I keep in mind when I design is modesty. Mallory is only 10 but we want to instill good habits and that means how she dresses now should be how she dresses for life as far as modesty goes. You won’t find me designing super short shorts & skirts, backless dresses or low-cut tops. That doesn’t mean she’ll be wearing turtlenecks and jeans, that just means we’re a little more careful about how much skin is showing. I currently have a pattern in testing with a small peek-a-boo back opening. Just the right about a fun and modesty, in my opinion.

My 'tween niece Jill modeling the dress from the Cartwheel Collection (soon to be released)

Mallory is a confident ‘tween in that she really doesn’t care what other people think about how she looks. I love that about her and I hope that attitude lasts forever. She’s definitely more of a trend setter in that way. Now, if I could just get her to brush her hair… ;)

Mallory modeling one of the first Trendy Tunic's made. Still her favorite thing in her closet.
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Pattern Review: McCalls M4762

Abi needed some summer pants and I did not have a lot of time so I tried out these pants from McCalls M4762, which was a recent acquisition of mine.  I thought the tank top was pretty cute and Abi has been asking for more pull-on pants.

Pattern Source:  I picked up this pattern on sale while I was a Joann Fabric and Crafts. And boy am I glad I did not pay full price.

pattern review

Sizes available: This pattern comes in sizes 3 to 14.  But it runs very large.  It has a whole lot of ease and would be a better pattern for a plus size gal or one with some curves.  Even after I slimmed down the pants a couple sizes, they are way too big.

Special materials required: The pants are fairly basic and you only need pant weight fabric and elastic.

Skill level required:  A beginner could sew these up as the are not complicated and have no special details.  But I am not sure it is a good idea.  I don't want a beginner to be discouraged by the poor fit.

I deviated from the pattern a bit by adding the ribbon belt. I later added belt loops for the belt after seeing how bunched up the front was.  I also shortened them to be capris for the summer.

Good: Ummmm, I did not like these pants so I don't have really nice to say.  ...they were easy.
Bad: The pants are very plain and should have been a great basic pattern. Instead, the fit was so far off, the look a bit ridiculous.
Overall pattern rating:  Therefore, I give these pants 2 bolts.  I had high hopes for these capris but I am very disappointed with the fit.  I am not saying it is a terrible pattern, but you should be ready to make some modifications if you choose to sew them.