Welcome to The Alderwood

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It’s been a little quiet around here lately because I’ve been working really hard on my next adventure in creating and crafting. I am fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to design patterns with the wonderful Gemia of Phat Quarters PDF Patterns & Sewing!

With her help, I’m proud to introduce you to my first PDF sewing pattern, the Alderwood!

Read more about it over on the Phat Quarters blog, here. Or purchase it here!

 

Until next time, happy crafting!

 

Wendy

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The Natsu Shorties

To my daughter’s delight, we had the pleasure of sewing up the Natsu Shorties by Sew Chibi Designs to celebrate their release in the Project Run and Play pattern shop! During this celebration all new patterns will be on sale! Make sure to snag them quickly because the 20% off discount is only good through October 14th.

Now that we’ve got that info squared away, let’s take a look at the Natsu Shorties!

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I love how these came together so quickly and easily, but in true Sew Chibi fashion there’s a bit of fun injected in each step. To start off with, the pattern features layers which allows you to print only the size(s) you need. Many designers use circles or triangles to help you line up your pages, but Sew Chibi used her own personal touch to make taping or gluing the pattern together more interesting. (If you have a Sew Chibi pattern already let me know if you’ve seen what I’m talking about!)

After and easy assembly, I began laying out fabrics and prepping my pieces. I love that the pattern encourages creativity and color blocking each of the separate pieces to create a truly unique look. It may or may not have taken my daughter and I longer to figure out what fabrics to use where, than it did to assemble the shorties as a whole.

I used an Elli panel from Aurora Design Fabrics along with some of their heathered French Terry and pink DBP for the waistband and leg cuffs. I love being able to use panels for the leg pieces, as well as scrap busting a bit from my stash.

I did make a change to the pattern when it came to the drawstring. Instead of adding buttonholes as suggested, I opted to add in some grommets since I had a few laying around from my last grommet project… (you read about that project here.)

untitled (11 of 11)Overall the fit is great, the pattern was quick and easy to put together, and the length is one of my favorite features. It can be harder to find shorts patterns for girls in particular that align with our preferred length.

My daughter finds them super comfortable and can both lounge around the house or jump around and play with no problems or complaints. I can easily see making these for any of my kids, for easy summer time looks, or fun comfortable lounging wear.

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I hope you enjoyed our take on the Natsu Shorties by Sew Chibi Designs. Be sure to check them out and the other new patterns releasing this week over at the Project Run and Play pattern shop.

Comment below for your chance to win a free copy of the Natsu Shorties! Winner to be picked 9/15.

Until next time, happy crafting!

Wendy

 

The Valencia Dress Hack

Please note: this post contains affiliate links noted by (aff) following the link. If you use this link to make a purchase, it will not cost you anything extra, but I would receive a small commission on the sale. Thank you for visiting and enjoy the post!

After all the sewing I have been doing for my kids with Project Run and Play, I decided it was time for a little selfish sewing. I’ve had my eye on the Valencia by New Horizons Designs (aff) ever since it released, but never had the opportunity to snag it and sew it up. Now that I found myself with some extra time, combined with the need for something fun for an overdue date night, I decided to give it a go… with a bit of a twist. Here’s how I hacked the Valencia into a stunning faux wrap dress.

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Before cutting out my final pieces I graded my sizes based on the instructions included in the pattern. The final look required a few more alterations, but by grading before I cut fabrics I gave myself a head start on achieving my desired fit.

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After my pattern pieces were graded, I laid them out on my fabric. I used this soft, navy stretch velvet from Aurora Designs Fabrics (aff). It had the perfect amount of stretch to fit the pattern, and the color and texture added to the luxuriousness I feel when wearing it.

To transform this top pattern into a dress, I used an existing body con dress I had in my closet to help me extend my pieces to a dress length. Be sure to add in seam and hem allowances when tracing an existing piece.

The front was pretty simple, but the back pieces required a little figuring out due to the gathers on one side. I used the body con dress to match the length of the front on the side where they would meet. Then for the gathered side I followed the pattern piece and then went straight down to match the hem length. (If I do this again I would probably angle this cut out and add a little more flare to the angle which will help the crossover pieces not pull the side seams to the back – I’ll explain why that’s important in a min…)

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Here you can see I used the lengthened front piece as a guide for the side seam of my crossover back pieces to ensure the hemlines met up properly.

After all my pieces were lengthened and cut, I assembled the pattern per the instructions. I used a basting stitch to gather the sides of the crossover pieces and then put it on my mannequin to see where I wanted them to sit and how gathered it should be. I then basted the side seams together and tried it on for a fitting.

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As you can probably see by now, my crossover doesn’t quite match up with the original pattern. When I had this hack planned out, I intended to keep the crossover in back as per the original. Unfortunately because of how I angled my cut following the pattern piece for the gathered side it caused the crossover back to pull the side seams to the back, which didn’t flatter me quite as well as I’d hoped. But as Bob Ross says, “We don’t make mistakes. Just happy little accidents.”

6B815E0A-6F8A-445E-AF07-9CFB1E6C92F6In a moment of curiosity I flipped the dress around and had the crossover in the front… then bam! It was love. Now that the orientation was set, I decided I wanted the top of the dress to be a little more fitted. So I pinned the seams to my desired fit, then I messed with the gathers a little to make sure they all fell the way I wanted. Finally I was able to sew up my side seams and put the finishing touches on this piece.

Here is my finished look!
Valencia (6 of 7).jpgI’m all set and ready for date night!

I’d love to hear what you think and if you’re interested in trying this hack for yourself. Let me know in the comments below! Also, check out another New Horizons make I did earlier this year here.

Until next time, happy crafting!

Wendy

Rays of Color

This week brings us to week 3 of Project Run and Play: Stroke of Genius – art inspired looks. Unfortunately after last week’s results I won’t be sharing our look with the rest of the designers, but I did finish one of my planned pieces and wanted to share it with you.

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For this week’s look I took inspiration from the beauty of stained glass windows. I love how colorful they are and the stark contrast of the black against the lit colored panes of glass. When looking for inspiration I saw a quilting technique using black bias tape to set off the individual cut strips of the panels creating the look of the lead. By using multiple colors of Batik prints I was able to capture the feeling of the color variegations within the glass itself.

The bold look the chevron paneling creates along the bodice is framed by a pop of white along the sides of the bodice to lighten the overall feel to all the black and add a modern touch.

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For the skirt, I wanted to add a reference to the light by creating a full voluminous skirt using lightweight chiffon. Each individual panel is lined with horsehair braid to give added shape and dimension, creating a cascading ruffle effect. My model loved the look and the twirl factor. Finally, by keeping the skirt a solid color it helped allow the colors of the bodice shine.

I hope you enjoyed our look this week. I’ll be joining the other at-home sewists following along this week and linking it up here. For your chance to win some great prizes be sure to add your look too!

Until next time, happy crafting!

Wendy

 

 

Perfectly Penguin

Week 2 TitleWelcome to our week 2 look for Project Run and Play. This week’s theme was Flights of Fancy and while we may not have hit the second part of that with our chosen inspiration bird, we sure tried to make up for it with the fancy. This whole concept started with the idea of taking the idea of a “penguin suit” aka tuxedo and putting my own spin on it.

FOF Singles (20 of 26)I started his look by creating a woven pair of harem pants, using a pair of knit joggers he already had on hand as my guide.  I wanted to create a modern take on a traditional tuxedo pant so I wanted to use the harem shape to change up the silhouette, plus it reminds me of the shape of penguins and how they waddle when they walk. There’s no need to waddle in these pants though with their a tuxedo stripe running down the leg in classic tuxedo fashion. The black of the stripe contrasted nicely with the printed suiting I got from CaliFabrics. The pants also have a full length gusset which I did in the black as well to echo the lines of the outer seam stripe. The pants were finished off with a set of pleats in the front and back to allow for a contoured waistband without limiting the volume and comfort of the harem style. A front fly makes getting them on and off a breeze which is appreciated by any kiddo.

The next piece in his look was based on the Berkshire Blazer by Blank Slate Patterns. I added my own color-blocked front and back yokes to create the same contrast between the black and the print. A couple of added welt pockets helped polish off the front of the jacket. I had to do quite a bit of alterations to get the fit of the shoulders and sleeves while maintaining the fit of his waist. The pattern goes up to size 8 which he fell within for chest/waist measurements, but his tall frame had wider shoulders than the pattern accounts for. A few muslins later I was happy with the overall fit and look.

Finally, I used the Birch Button Up by Sew A Little Seam as my starting point to create his shirt. This pattern is so versatile and has so many options, but I ended up going a bit rogue with it and added my own touches. I angled the back yoke and eliminated the back pleat. Using contrasting fabrics for the sleeves and back panel added a pop of fun and color when he removes his jacket, yet maintains the classic look of a pure white shirt while it is worn. This is known as a party shirt in the military circles. (To see how to make your own “party shirt” using an existing shirt check out my two part blog here.) I also modified the cuffs to be French Cuffs to elevate the overall style of the shirt. Since he had been wanting a pair of suspenders since this season started, I figured now was the perfect time to give him some. Using some black elastic to give some comfort and flexibility, plus a bit of black leather, I was able to make my penguin man happy.

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For my daughter’s look I knew I wanted to make her a dress to coordinate with her brother. Once I found this gorgeous lace with scrolled black flocking from CaliFabrics I knew I had to get it and use it. I drafted a button front collared dress and overlayed the lace to create a beautiful design on the bodice. Since penguins natural coloring has white towards the center and black to the outside I wanted to keep the same feeling. Her black sleeves feature in inset panel in yellow, pulling in the same fabric as her brother’s sleeves. The peekaboo pleat on the sleeve may be one of my favorite things about her dress.

The bodice leads down into a satin sash which tops the six paneled skirt. I used this online circle skirt calculator to help me quickly and easily figure out all my measurements. Again, I used the lace to overlay the center panel to pop against the white. The final touch for her look was to add inset pockets on either side. It’s amazing how such a small thing like adding a pocket can make something go from awesome to amazing!

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We can’t wrap up this week’s look without talking about one of the coolest elements. SHOES!! I made shoes this week!

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Using a tutorial I found on the Sky Love Creations Facebook page, I grabbed a pair of Airwalks from Payless and got to work. The entire process was a huge learning experience, but I am so excited and proud of the outcome. By disassembling the original shoes, I was able to create a pattern, sew them together, then use some heavy duty Shoo Glue to attach the new perfectly penguin creations to the original soles. Now I feel like I can consider myself an expert grommet setter considering I had to set 48 grommets between the two pairs of shoes.

I think the shoes perfectly capture the fun and whimsy of making children’s clothing. Kids grow up faster than any of us would care to admit, so I am glad mine are still young enough to think it’s cool to rock a pair of penguin shoes that their mom made.

FOF Singles (1 of 26)Thanks for reading along, and please make sure you head over to Project Run and Play and vote at the bottom of the post!

Until next time, happy crafting!

Wendy

Wonderfully Wonka

Welcome to our Wonderfully Wonka look as part of our first week over at Project Run and Play, Season 17! We had so much fun putting this look together, and we *may* still be on a sugar high, but without further ado, here is our modern trio of Wonka kids.

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Once I heard that our first week’s theme was Willy Wonka, I knew our look wasn’t going to be complete without making sure we had a touch of the main man himself in it. I reinvented his classic suit jacket and pants into this self-drafted modern, purple suede moto jacket. I loved putting in the details such as the welt pockets, zippered breast pocket, and lots of snaps to create a fun and functional look.

I paired the jacket with my new take on the Portlanders by New Horizons Designs. Instead of using knits, I altered the pattern to make our out of woven twill I purchased from Colorado Fabrics. Then, I eliminated the side seams of the pants to make way for contoured seaming along the front and back of the legs. Finally, I added back pockets because any good pair of pants needs some pockets.

And of course, you can’t be Wonka without adding a little (or giant) lollipop, right?

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The next little lady in our set is our own Violet Beauregarde. I loved the idea of playing with volume for her look as a nod to her bloated blueberry state in the movie. I took the Grow Fonder pattern from Apple Tree Pattern Company and turned the shirt into a dress. The bubble hem along the bottom gives a fun, full look and to compliment the mini bishop sleeves I created by using the slash and spread technique. Lastly, I added a ruched sash and large bow in the back for a final touch of whimsy. I just love how this turned out and had just the right amount of added volume without overwhelming her small frame.

She was very excited to take photos that she (and I) didn’t pay attention to making sure her shoes were on the right feet… haha.

Finally, no story, or set, is complete without a hero. In our case, that hero is in the form of a modern Charlie Bucket. In the movie, this humble character wears a basic navy turtleneck and plain grey trousers. I wanted to keep the same color palette, but give his look a little more interest. I started his top using the Everette by Phat Quarters and added a cowled neckline in place of the standard V neck it is drafted with. I also added a couple of buttoned plackets to the neck and flank to add subtle detail to the look. Because who doesn’t love a good thumbhole, I kept those from the pattern to the great enjoyment of my Charlie.

 

He was also very excited to pose with some soda a la Charlie and his Fizzy Lifting Drink from the movie. He may not have flown like Charlie, but he definitely got a sugar high.

The shirt tops a pair of self-drafted front zipper fly pants, made from some grey stretch denim. The fit and fabric of these pants make for some comfortable bottoms for him. Being tall and slender, most pants are too large at the waist with the size he needs for the length. With these, he is able to forgo his usual belt. The front pockets have inset zippers to keep any treasures safe and sound, while the back pockets got some cool topstitching and rivets.

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I’m so pleased with how our overall look came together, and I hope you enjoyed it too! Now you can head on over to the Willy Wonka post over at Project Run and Play, look at all the designer makes this week, then cast your vote at the bottom of the post here!

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Thanks so much for reading and until next time, happy crafting!

Wendy