Sewing Portfolio Ambassador Project

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Are you familiar with the Sewing Portfolio website? It was started by Candice Ayala, who has been very active in the sewing community. I first came across her work when I was a tester for Sew Much Ado, testing the Magrath Dress pattern. She is an amazing seamstress and I’ve always admired her attention to detail in her makes. Well, she got this grand idea to start a website where sewers could display their work in an online portfolio. The website would work to connect sewers and designers together. Once you create an account on the website, you’re able to join the Sewing Portfolios Facebook group. Here, designers are constantly making calls for testers and other great opportunities. Candice has really big plans and isn’t afraid to dream big, so I really recommend getting in on the action now while the site is growing.

Quite awhile back there was a call for sewers to apply to become a Sewing Portfolio Ambassador. I applied and Yay! got accepted in the first round. All the ambassadors received 2-3 yards of Michael Miller Fabric (1 yard of each print). The exciting part, was that we could do whatever we wanted with the fabric. When I got my fabric, from the How Does Your Garden Grow line (I’ve got all the links at the bottom of the post!), I immediately envisioned a fun bright summer dress. My daughter is 8 and 54″ tall. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric to create a dress using mostly the floral fabric. Don’t you hate it when you have an idea, but can’t execute it?! It seems nearly impossible to change direction. So, my fabric sat for quite awhile. Sorry Candice! Finally, once school started this fall and my mind was able to think freely again, I decided to do a top. I had a few options I was considering, but decided on the Saumur Dress by Lil Luxe Collection shortened into a tunic. 

I’ve made the Saumur Dress before and loved the fit and details of the dress. I knew the lime green print would really pop when used as piping and for the ties. The pattern originally calls for an invisible zipper, but I wanted to break up the loud floral print a bit, so opted to use an exposed zipper instead. I’m super happy I went with that option, because I think it really makes the top special. I didn’t have to  change the pattern at all to add the zipper. I used a combination of directions for applying the zipper. The Magrath dress from Sew Much Ado has great directions for adding an exposed zipper into a lined dress, but the zipper is tucked into the skirt seam on the Magrath. I wanted to extend the zipper past the waist seam since the Saumur is a bit more fitted at the waist. So, I refered back to Megan Nielsen’s Brumby Skirt pattern for her directions in applying an exposed zipper to make sure things were squared off nicely at the bottom of the zipper.

One of the main reasons I chose the Saumur Dress pattern is because of the princess seams down the front and back bodice. I knew those seams would provide the perfect opportunity to add some custom piping. I realized when sewing up the top, it’s been awhile since I last added piping to anything. This make definitely reignited my love for piping! It’s so easy to make custom piping and it always adds such a special touch.

I’m really happy with this top. I finished it about a month ago before it got too cold here. Luckily, my daughter had some time to wear it without a sweater for a little while. It was actually in the upper 70’s when I took these photos in late October! The print is super summery. I’m really hoping it still fits when the weather starts to warm up again this spring. Regardless, bright fun colors are welcome any time of the year in my mind!

Pattern: Saumur Dress by Lil Luxe Collection

Fabric: Michael Miller How Does Your Garden Grow Bellflower Garden and Pebble Path Citron

Zipper: 12″ YKK Brass Teeth Zipper in Hot Pink from Zipit (this shop is my favorite place to buy all my zippers!)

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SLPco Special Occasion Blog Tour

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Every year for Christmas I really look forward to the opportunities to get my kids all snazzied up. Lucky for me, they enjoy it just as much as I do. My boys love to wear vests and my daughter is pretty much a fan of special occasion dresses any day of the year. The good news for me is that my kids seem to grow slow in width, even though they skyrocket up, making it possible to get 2, 3, sometimes even 4 years out of a dress or vest. Since I know I can get multiple years out of a dress, I really don’t mind investing in some quality fabric to make a really special dress. I was so excited when Becca with Simple Life Patterns Co. asked if I would be interested in participating in this fabulous Special Occasion Tour. My daughter was due for a new Christmas dress this year and Simple Life Patterns has so many amazing patterns that would work so well for a special occasion dress.

I’ve been eyeing the Molly dress pattern for a really long time. It’s such a simple but beautiful pattern that will always be on trend and the pattern is perfect to showcase some special fabric. I love special backs and the low scoop back of the Molly dress is so classic and elegant. When I commited to the tour, I knew I wanted to use the Molly pattern, but I wasn’t sure about what kind of fabric I was going to use. Initally, I was considering a brocade with some metallic threads in it. I thought the fullness of the fabric would be especially beautiful and I always love fabric with a lot of texture. While searching for fabric online though, I came across this muted navy corded lace at Mood Fabrics. It was definitely more than I was planning on spending, but the fabric was so inspiring I decided to splurge. Luckily, there was a 20% off sale the weekend I purchased it. After I decided on the lace, I started searching for an underlining and lining fabric. I decided on this navy rayon crepe also purchased through Mood. I wasn’t sure exactly how heavy the rayon would be, but when it arrived in the mail I was beyond thrilled. Sometimes, rayon can be too thin or wrinkle ridiculously easily. This rayon is the perfect weight, barely transparant, and doesn’t wrinkle easily at all. In fact, I really should buy some more of it before it sells out.  

Since I spent so much money on my fabric, it was really important to me that I take the time to do all the extra little things to make this dress really well made. I underlined the lace with the rayon crepe. If you are unfamiliar with underlining, it’s basically just adding a layer of fabric, sewing the pieces together and then working with the layered pieces as if they are one piece. In order to prevent shifting or puckering, I hand basted all the lace pattern pieces to the navy rayon crepe underlining pieces. When putting together the bodice, I understitched with my machine around the neckline to ensure the lining wouldn’t poke out and then hand understitched along the armholes and the back. I also handstitched the lining to the skirt to close up the bodice rather than attempting to stitch in the ditch (I never seem to be very successful at that, plus I prefer no stitches on the inside too). I used french seams on both side seams of the lace and the rayon crepe. I was initially conflicted on whether to sew the two layers together on the sides, but after asking some other sewers (Thanks Sherri!), I decided to sew them separately. Thank goodness that was my decision, because I really don’t think the skirt would have laid as nicely if the side seams were connected. When attaching the skirt, I hand basted the two layers together at the top before putting in the gathering stitches on the machine. I had this horrible vision of the lace shifting and not realizing it until the skirt started to come undone. I highly recommend hand basting when working with lace. The buttons in the back are just fabric covered Dritz buttons I made using the rayon crepe. I considered doing sparkly buttons, but I decided to keep with the simple elegance of the dress.

The Molly dress pattern was so wonderful to work with. It’s such an elegant pattern and who doesn’t love a low scoop back? My daughter’s chest measures at 23.5″ and her waist at 20.5″ and she is 54″ tall. I cut a size 6 and tapered the waist down to a 5. I probably could have tapered the waist down to a 4, but the extra room makes for a more comfortable dress for her. I added 1″ in the bodice for her height and almost 3 inches in length in the skirt. The skirt currently hits right at her knees and as I mentioned earlier, I like to get 2 or 3 years out of these special occasion dresses, so the added length is super important.

I’ve sewn a lot of dresses for my daughter, but nothing this special before and I must say it has been incredibly satisfying for me. I haven’t been sewing as much lately, partly due to busy schedules and a difficult preschooler (his new thing is randomly running out the front door when he decides he wants to go somewhere), but also a bit of lack of inspiration. Working with beautiful fabrics and really taking my time to make a quality garment reignited my passion for sewing. I have a couple things I need to sew first, but I’m looking forward to the next big project already.

Pattern: Molly’s Scoop Collar & Pintuck Top, Dress & Maxi by The Simple Life Pattern Company

Fabric: Navy Rayon Crepe and Muted Blue Floral Corded Lace with Finished Eyelash Edges

I don’t do blog tours too frequently because I can be a bit particular. However, there are some really amazing women in this sewing community who are so incredibly talented. Coming out of a blog tour is always so inspiring because you get to be a part of a group of really remarkable women. Trust me when I say you don’t want to miss a single blog post on this tour, especially if you sew for any young girls in your life. You will be more than inspired by these bloggers and what they have created for this tour. The full schedule for the week is listed below. Also, after viewing all this inspiration you are likely going to want to purchase some new patterns. Lucky for you, and me (I have my eye on a few patterns as well!), all Simple Life Patterns Company patterns will be 20% off this week during the tour with code SLPcoSpecial. And, keep reading for some really great giveaways!

 

November 13 – Kainara StitchesAmmon Lane

November 14 – Sew and Tell ProjectLace and Pine

November 15 – Sunflower SeamsSewSophieLynn

November 16 – Wonderfully HandmadeIdle SunshineI am Mami de Sofiona

November 17 – Pear Berry LaneIt’s Liesel

 

There are TWO ways to win in this giveaway!

While both giveaways are open to everyone, contestants outside of the U.S. will be responsible for any excess shipping and fees and subject to the sponsors’ shipping guidelines.

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win the following. One winner will be chosen at random after Rafflecopter closes.

1 winner of Rafflecopter of will receive:
5 Patterns of choice from Simple Life Pattern Co.
$50 Gift Card from Cotton Coterie with FREE shipping
$50 Gift Card from Little Feather

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Already sewing for the holidays with Simple Life Pattern Company? Share what you made for a chance to win the Link-Up prize! One winner will be chosen at random after the link-up closes.

1 Winner of the Link up will receive:
5 Patterns of choice from Simple Life Pattern Co.
$50 Gift Card to Harts Fabric
$50 Gift Card to Sincerely Rylee
$30 Gift Card to Punkin Head Threads

Can you believe all those amazing prizes!! Thank you to all the amazing sponsors of this tour!!

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Banksia Blouse

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Back in December I got the opportunity to test for Megan Nielsen Patterns. I have sewn many of Megan’s patterns and write for her blog as a contributing writer, but I have actually never tested any of her patterns. I was so happy to have the opportunity to test the updated Banksia blouse. This post and these photos were taken quite awhile ago, but I am so happy to say the Banksia Blouse was just released on Friday! This blouse is a great staple and like so many of Megan’s patterns there are so many options and ways to change up the pattern into something different if desired.

When I signed up to test the Banksia Blouse, I was pleasantly surprised I would have an entire month to sew my garment and give feedback. Having that extra time gave me the ability to really think about what fabric I wanted to do and which version of the pattern I wanted to use. I decided on Version 3 with the peter pan collar and used an emerald green rayon chalice with a black lace overlaid some black rayon for the collar. I’m really loving this blouse. It’s a bit more of an elegant look than I go for compared to my everyday look, but is comfortable enough to wear with jeans on days I want to be a bit more fancy. Or, it looks great tucked into a skirt on date nights.

This was the second blouse I made all the necessary adjustments for my body type. I have wide shoulders, so I extended the shoulders by 1/4″. I lengthened the back armsyce slightly. I did a SBA and added 2″ to the length of the garment. It’s kind of a lot of adjustments, but they are all so worth the extra time. These are all adjustments I should be making all the time, but only recently started taking the time and effort to do so. 

The thing I love about Megan’s patterns is they always fit together perfectly. Plus, there’s consistency in her patterns. The armsyce on the Banksia is the exact same as the Dove. So, yes, that means you can take the Dove sleeves and put them on the Banksia. Your welcome!

So, I’m sure you’ve noticed the wrinkles on my blouse in the pictures. Lets just say I probably learned my lesson. The photo shoot location was just a 5-10 minute drive from our home, so I didn’t think it would be an issue, but my seatbelt did a number to this rayon. Some rayon wrinkles easier than others and this is definitely one that wrinkles easily. The wrinkles usually fall out on their own in time though. Unfortunately, the sun was setting, so pictures were taken wrinkles and all. Can you forgive me mom?

I try to do photoshoots of myself alone. I had a horrible accident about a year ago. I took my youngest with me on a photoshoot. The tripod was set up, I had the remote in hand and I was all ready to take some shots. Before I even got one shot in, my son knocked the tripod over and shattered my camera lense. It was beyond upsetting, especially since the photos were for a feature on another blog so there was a deadline involved. I told myself I would never take the kids with me again. Well, my husband couldn’t get home in time and these photos needed to be taken, so I took all 3 kids with me. They did such a great job. We took some photos all together and I’m actually really happy I brought them because look at this picture. All 3 kids with ME! I don’t know about you, but I have hardly any pictures of my kids with me. It’s not because I don’t want to be in front of the camera, it’s just I happen to be the photographer of the family. Looking back at this picture now makes me realize just how much my kids have grown this last year! My boys especially!

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