Recently in Patterns Category

Oscar style recreated

April 18, 2014


Awards Season is one of my highlights of the year. I crave the inspiration leading up to it and after I spend hours dreaming of the dresses and details that I loved. Incorporating those details in way that are wearable in a more low-key life we non-celebrities live is one of my weekend hobbies. One dress I really adored was the Gucci navy dress worn by Amy Adams to the 2014 Oscars. While I am immediately attracted to any navy garment like moth to a flame I was more taken with the collar detail on the top of her strapless column dress. It was so simple and so striking. I had to recreate it. I picked the pattern McCall's 4440 but any strapless dress would work. The collar is shaped like an over-sized Peter Pan collar. To make the collar I stitched up the top of the dress according to the pattern instructions  but did not yet attach the lining to the bodice. Then I measured the width of the bodice at the top. My size 10 (with ½'' seam allowance because I am between a 10 & 12) measured 38''. I divided that in two since I intended to have the collar be two pieces to accommodate the back zipper. I drew a rectangle 19'' wide (half of 38'') by 6'' high. I then marked the center of the rectangle. One half is the front and one half is the back. The front will be curved like a Peter Pan collar and the back will remain unchanged. Next, I used my french curve to create a gently sloping curve that ended ½'' above the bottom of the rectangle (the ½'' is seam allowance so if you use 5/8'' than add that to your rectangle). If you do not have a french curve you can use a collection of different size upside down bowls and rulers. Be sure your rectangle is sized to fit you and your dress. I cut four pieces (two for each side of the collar) and placed them right sides together and stitched them leaving the bottom open. The curve was notched and so was the corner and the remaining seam allowance was trimmed to 1/4''. I turned the collar pieces right side out and pressed.oscar13.jpgoscar12.jpgoscar10.jpgoscar11.jpgoscar9.jpg

I attached the collar by pinning it to the top of the bodice matching raw edges. Start pinning the collar ½'' from the edge of the bodice (to accommodate the zipper) and leave 1'' at the center and starting pinning the second collar piece. Baste the collar pieces in place and continue assembling your dress.



I used a gorgeous stretch cotton sateen which was amazing to work with and created a beautiful dress. The slight stretch helps the dress hug my curves while still allowing for eating and breathing. The slight sheen was the perfect complement to this more casual approach to a stunning gown. 

Hot Patterns Free Pattern Download: Aspen Cardigan

March 31, 2014

LI-Aspen-Cardigan.jpgIt's time for a new free pattern! It always feels like Christmas or my birthday when we get a new Hot Pattern download to test out. This time around, it's a cardigan with a ruffled peplum, designed for knits.

(Knits, I will never stop loving you.) 

The big draw here for me: There's no hemming or closure notions needed. The edges all around finish with a band of fabric, and it's designed to hang open (though I'll share some ways I played with closing it up wrap-style). Easy-peasy, perfect for a grab-and-go layer in your wardrobe. 

I made two versions of this, both in very fluid and drapey knits. For the first one, I went the ultra deluxe route and used designer knit -- a LIberty of London Dufour Jersey Knit in Darby Blue. It's like butter. 

The second version uses a slub jersey knit in a ballet pink. It's a much more economical option, but it also has a lovely drape. 

The cutting and construction is all straightforward. To cut a size 14, I used a little less fabric than called for on the pattern -- just a little more than two yards.

During construction, the only place I had to really take my time and exercise patience was getting the band that goes around the lower edge, center front and neck edge in place and lying smoothly. The curved bottom front edges were the trickiest bit. Once I had things figured out on the first go, the second one was a much smoother affair. 

The completed cardigan has a soft swing, and the peplum is not as full as I had expected based on the pattern sketch. This is a good thing -- it gives you more of a figure skim and less of a puffy effect. 

1-Aspen-Cardigan.jpgBut then while I was snapping photos, it occured to me that this garment is far more versatile than I had been thinking initially. I cut a strip off of a bit of knit yardage I had on hand and made a quick sash, overlapping the fronts of the cardigan like a wrap. And it is SO CUTE.


The soft pink, which is so girly and perfect for spring, also got a little belting treatment. 


This time, I used a chiffon scarf wrapped from the back, criss-crossed in the front, and then tied in the back. This is a perfect treatment to create an hourglass figure -- use a dark color for your sash and give yourself an instantly nipped-in waist.

4-Aspen-Cardigan.jpgWearing these soft, drapey fabrics in this fluid cut also made me think that it would be fun to make this up as a cover up for pajamas or even for poolside. Another versatile freebie from Hot Patterns! Huzzah!

Get your copy of this pattern here. Happy stitching!

Easter Basket Tutorial


Materials (for one basket):

½ yd. Fabric A Quilting Cotton

½ yd. Fabric B Quilting Cotton

½ yd. Medium weight interfacing

~ ½ yd. of Extra fabric for trim strips and handle

~ 24'' of ½'' diameter plastic tubing (from home improvement store)

All Seams are 1/2 '' unless otherwise noted


Print and cut out the Easter Basket Patterns Easter Basket Pattern 1 and Easter Basket Pattern 2. Cut out your pattern pieces. Fuse interfacing onto the exterior pieces.

With right sides together, pin 2 sides together along the short sides and stitch. Repeat with the other side. Clip the all around the bottom and pin to the bottom piece. Stitch around the bottom and press seams toward the sides. Topstitch to keep the seam allowance in place and trim seam allowance to ¼''. Turn right side out. Repeat for lining.

Place lining inside the exterior with wrong sides facing, pin in place. Cut a trim strip 3'' wide by ~24'' long. Press in ½'' of each long edge towards the center. Pin trim to inside of the basket and stitch in place. Fold the trim over the top of the basket and pin in place just covering the previous stitching line. Stitch in place, leave a 2-3'' gap to insert the tubing. Insert the tubing and cut to size. Stitch the gap closed.


Cut from fabric a handle piece 3'' wide by 20'' long and cut from interfacing 1''wide by 20'' long. Press fabric handle in half longwise and open and press edges toward center seam. Open handle and fuse interfacing to the center of the handle and fold the handle back up and topstitch down both long edges. Fold under raw short ends by ¾'' and pin to the center of the basket side right below the trim on both sides. Stitch in place with two lines of stitching to secure your handle. 


Embroidery Secrets

March 28, 2014


I'm a big fan of embroidery but I haven't always been. I've always enjoyed the relaxing technique, the color choices and the small, quiet, repetitive sounds from needle puncturing fabric but the pattern choices always turned me off. There are only so many mice scampering across 20 yr. old computer screen housing cute witticisms that I can work on before my brain just says "NO, no more!" Even with patterns that I love you can only use them so many times. What if I want to embroidery that flamenco dancer more than nine times? What's a girl to do?

So today I want to share my secrets for creating my own embroidery patterns that you can use easily to break out of the standard pattern rut. These secrets can be adapted for existing embroidery patterns or to make your own. All you need is some muslin/light colored fabric (dark colored or patterned fabric secrets are coming in May), a light box/ sunny window, and a water soluble marker.

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I love to use coloring pages as embroidery patterns because the designs are not overly detailed and look great once worked in embroidery floss. Coloring pages are abundant and easily accessible. You can find any design you want for any project, just type it into the search box of your search engine. Here's an example: if you are looking for a giraffe silhouette just type in giraffe silhouette coloring page into your search engine and select from hundreds or thousands of images.


Print out your coloring page and edit the size on a copy machine, copy center or using photo editing software. Tape your image to your light source. You can use a sunny window or a light box. Lay your fabric over your image (I used muslin). Then using your water soluble marker trace your design. The design should be visible through your fabric. However, if it is a cloudy/rainy day and you simply cannot wait, then use this tutorial to whip up an overhead projector (you already have plenty of boxes around). Once your design is traced you can stitch over your marker and then spray it away when you are done. Simple.IMG_5501.JPG

You needn't be limited to just coloring pages or your old patterns either. I downloaded a picture of a free Sashiko pattern and blew it up 200% to create my 16'' x 20'' design that I plan to hang over my bed. You can use this technique for your children's drawings, handwritten letters or family photos. Just be sure you have plenty of muslin because this is addicting. Don't forget you can easily dye you muslin if you want another color.   


You can find my Family Tree Coloring page here

Explore my other coloring sheet projects

Blog of the Month: Behind the Hedgerow

March 14, 2014

I love stumbling across new blogs every month. I go about it in a haphazard way with the usual being typing random projects that I want to make into Google blog search and clinking on the most interesting (i.e. kids book bag, leggings, sheath dress, etc.). I can't even remember which search words connected me with this month's Blog of the Month (BotM) because it was a longer than normal search. Nothing was really catching my eye and I was not really into it until I found Behind the Hedgerow. This blog really made me sit up and take notice. It was a diamond in the rough. I loved the look of it right off: bright, soft photos, lots of kids and mom projects, interesting subjects and mostly pretty pictures. I love a good fabric shot! I remember thinking to myself: I would really like to sit down over coffee and talk shop with this chic. That's when I knew it would be this month's BotM.

So let's see what we have here. There are tutorials, fun projects that I can see myself making. Lots of good gift ideas; I love making gifts. The Bias Trimmed Circle Scarf is so beautiful and super easy and Mother's day is coming up. This kids' utility belt is just awesome! I know my daughter would love it and I bet all her friends would too. Such a great idea.

She also has her projects categorized for easy searching: Girls Clothing, Boys Clothing, Grown-ups, Toys, etc. It makes is simple if you have a general idea but need specific inspiration or if you know exactly what you want. This kids' PJs are what hooked me. I could see myself making this for both my girls but in short sleeves for the spring/summer season. I love how much she uses Liberty Fabric

Finally, if you are looking for inspiration, keep up on new, hip patterns or just love Top 10 lists, then check out the Top 10 for Tuesday link at the top of the page for all the Top 10 lists that cover summer patterns to sewing for boys. It is a great resource.

Thanks, Laura for such a wonderful blog and look me up for coffee if you ever come to Georgia!

See! Pretty pictures...sigh. 

All pictures are from

Spring Dress: Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress

February 28, 2014

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I am anxious for spring and found my daughter's upcoming picture day to be a great excuse to make the first spring dress of 2014 (side note: did you know that there are two pictures days now!) I decided on Oliver + S Ice Cream dress for two reasons: 

1) It seemed like a comfy, no frills, limited fasteners and with pockets that my daughter requires (her rules, not necessarily mine)

2) It is my favorite dress pattern. I just love the look and styling and knew she would love wearing it. 

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I let her pick the fabric. She decided on gray quilting cotton with dogs playing on it. Gray seems to be one of her favorite colors and I loved that it was an easily matched fabric. Since she got bored after picking the main fabric I got to have my fun picking out the second fabric. But I actually went with two fabrics for the top and border. I layered an eyelet fabric with a colorful polka fabric for a fabulous peek-a-boo effect that toned down the brightness of the polka dot allowing the main fabric to shine and gave some more visual interest to the white eyelet. This is the same eyelet I used for my square top variation. I used the polka dot as the lining and the eyelet as the exterior fabric however instead of having the lining's right side face out towards the inside of the dress, I reversed it having the right side of the lining fabric face towards the eyelet and the outside of the dress so the dots would show through the eyelet. The effect is beautiful and delicious. You can play around with this effect with many different fabrics. Try pairing different fabrics over a bright patterned quilting cotton like sheer fabric, lace fabric, sweater knit or even tulle.

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  My daughter loves her dress and so do I. She is a big leggings and t-shirts girl but she really does love this dress. I hypothesize that it is the loose overall fit and comfortable neckline. She is always asking to wear it and I can't wait for picture day. I just hope it is not washed thin before then.

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Free Knitting Patterns and New Yarn

February 19, 2014

We are constantly getting new, beautiful fabric and yarn stock in at so I wanted to take this opportunity to reintroduce you to our free knitting pattern downloads by pairing them up with some of our newest stock of yarn. Since most you are still in winter's grips it is nice to explore something new if you have cabin fever. For those of us getting a taste for spring's rapid approach (it was in the 70's in Atlanta the other day), we have a taste for brighter colors. So new is needed all around; check it out with me.

Autumn Stars Sock Pattern: more like Spring Stars so let's knit these socks up in brighter hues and sequins.

Beach Pillow Knitting Pattern: Spring Break is coming and many of you will head to the beach. Coordinate this pillow to match your beach blanket or swimsuit in Cotton yarn.

Belle Handwarmers: Who needs handwarmers in spring? Anyone who works in an office, early mornings or night shift. But knit them up in a softer shade and some pima cotton and alpaca.

September Shawl: This is my favorite of the free pattern downloads I've designed for I have made it as teacher presents and gifted it to friends. I love working it in different yarns, fibers, and sheens. This cotton metallic yarn works up with a soft hand and nice drape, espcially if you go up one needle size. The metallic sheen means you can wear this to glam up your tunic and jeans or over a little black dress for a night out.

Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt

January 29, 2014


For Christmas my oldest daughter received a very special quilt from her Bestemor (Norwegian for Grandmother), a Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to share it on the blog. Typically this is a forum where I share my creations but this quilt was too delightful not to tell the world and since has all the Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric in stock it seemed meant to be.caterpillar3.jpgcaterpillar2.jpg

My daughter is over the moon with her quilt; can't spend a night without it. My mother-in-law did an amazing job in creating it.  She uses a machine to piece her quilt tops but always hand quilts the quilt sandwich and hand stitches the binding which just makes my heart melt. Beste (pronouced Besta- short for Bestemor) used the Fons & Porter Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt Pattern but there are several beautiful Hungry Caterpillar quilts using the multi-color transformation panel fabric (which is my favorite) and many of the coordinating fabrics in different configurations. You can get some great ideas just by googling your favorite fabric plus quilt and searching by images. Here is my search results for Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt Pattern. You can find all our Very Hungry Caterpillar Fabrics here. Beste worked on this over several months with her quilting group who helped her along the way. The quilt top is hand quilted with buterflies but hearts, leaves and apples can also be used and be very cute.

caterpillar5.jpgButterfly hand quilting


You can also find the Very Hungry Caterpillar Coloring Panel. It is a great addition for older artist kids or a way to commemorate art from a certain age. I would love to add the multi-color panel to the quilt top and the coloring panel to the back so you can have something you made on one side and the child's contribution on the other. I imagine my daughter will have this quilt for many, many years as I still have the quilt my grandmother made for me. I hope Beste has already started on a second for my youngest daughter who would love her own caterpillar quilt just as much as this one is loved. 


More Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt Patterns here


Knit Yoga Pants from Pajama Pattern

January 3, 2014


I think it is a universal acknowledgment that yoga pants are awesome. I see them everywhere and I know that they are a favorite of every age. My daughters have always had yoga pants from as early as 3 mo (when I first discovered them). I can attest that I have had a pair since yoga hit the scene big. However, my only complaint is yoga pants seem to exist in black only. Black has it place and its reasoning for yoga pants is sound (its slimming) however it should not make up 90% of yoga pants produced with the other 10% being black with a colorful band. Yoga pants should be in a rainbow of colors. The only solution is to make our own. 


I decided on a combo of a Favorite Things Sleep Well Pajama Pant pattern and the band from our own Nancy Dress Free Pattern Download. I used 2 yds of Stretch Jersey Knit Fabric in Royal Blue. First I cut out my pants pattern pieces 2 sizes smaller than I would normally use. This is because the pattern is designed for a woven fabric so you need extra room for ease and movement. When using a woven pattern for a knit fabric than you need to cut it smaller since you want a knit to be fitted especially yoga pants. This will ensure that the pants move with you when you get into different positions. Next cut the band from the Nancy dress the correct size for your measurements. This pattern is designed for knits so don't go smaller. 


Finally, assemble the pants according to the pattern until you get to the elastic/drawstring waist then stitch on the assembled Nancy band instead. These wonderful pants fit like a dream and the waist band is fitted enough to hold the pants in place while also holding in and smoothing any trouble areas. 

Holiday Lace Party Dress-Butterick 5181

December 22, 2013


Lace is all over my favorite stores right now so it inspired me to recreate the look for a holiday party dress. I love all the scallop edge laces we have in stock right now; it creates a great look and saves time on hemming. I chose an easy pattern, Butterick 5181,  to modify with a lace overlay by basically making the dress twice. First, I stitched up a grey dress from broadcloth as the lining then I stitched up the lace overlay but I changed it up a bit. 


After I cut out all of my pattern pieces (more on the skirt pieces in a bit) I trimmed off the remaining scallop edge at 1.5'' to use on the armholes and the neckline. I stitched them all scallop edges together using a french seam and then I added it to the raw edges of the arms and neckline. After I stitched the scallop edge to the neckline and armhole I finger pressed the seam allowance towards the scallop and topstitched it in place. 


When I cut the skirt I placed the pattern piece bottom on the scallop edge but added 2'' to the bottom so it would hang longer than the grey lining and create a peek-a-boo effect. 

Once the dresses were complete except for the zipper,  I layered the lace overlay on top of the grey dress and carefully pinned the waist bands together and topstitched the overlay to the lining to complete the dress. I then inserted a colorful invisible zipper just for a little hint of color and fun. The teal zipper pull looks like a little bit of jewelry at the back neck. 


This lace was a pleasure to work with and looks amazing. The mechanical stretch means that this lovely dress will not be overly stiff and uncomfortable. This is perfect for holiday parties, New Year's Eve, dates or with colorful leggings and a cardi it makes a great girls night out ensemble. Make it your own with your choice of lace and lining. 

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