Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day?

I never really spent time with children before I had Cordelia and so I never really understood how literal they are. Today I struggled to explain the 29th of February to Cordelia and I just couldn't get it across. She understands that there are seven days in a week, and that there are months, but we are still working on how it all works together. 

In the end Cordelia decided that Leap Day was just about "leaping". And really, that works for me. 

Cordelia picked out her Halloween Spider costume to wear so she could be a "leaping bug". We spent our time outside (in the amazingly beautiful weather), naming and drawing animals who "leap". We came up with rabbits, praying mantises (her pick, I am not sure they actually leap), monkeys, frogs, lemurs, and kangaroos. What leaping animals can you think of?

I can't remember our last leap day- it is obscured in the brain fog of early parenthood, and this leap day caught me by surprise so I didn't have anything fun planned . Do you have any leap day traditions?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Wedgwood Skirt by Straight Stitch Designs, Pattern Review

Most people who know me probably feel I have a "look" I love bold prints and colors and I have an almost gravitational pull to skirts and dresses. I just love the ability to put on a skirt or dress and just feel really pretty and pulled together. My first sewing project for myself was a skirt, and they are still one of my favorite things to sew. These days most of my sewing time has been take up with sewing things for Cordelia- and I really enjoy sewing for her, but I was really excited to sit and sew something for me! 

The Wedgwood Skirt pattern by Straight Stitch Designs covers sizes 0-24 which covers waist sizes 24" to 44.5", and comes in two lengths- knee length and a midi length. I opted for the knee length - at 5' 5" I think the midi might just be too long for me.  I was between sizes 18 and 20 and after test fitting my waist band I was still nervous the 18 would be a hair too small so I sewed up a straight size 20. In this fabric I would have been totally ok with the 18 and I ended up having to move my button in further in the waist to bring it in a bit. However I would much rather do that then have a skirt that was too small!  I think in a thicker fabric I would stick to the size 20 because the waist band would have a little more bulk and a little less give to it. I think this is a good instance to be mindful of your fabric choices and always test fit your waist band just to make sure it's perfect. 

This skirt features good classic, flattering pleats with some really fun details- including these darling button tab pockets! I decided to make my pocket tabs contrast the skirt but I really love the tester versions that used the same fabric which makes the detail more subtle. You can also always leave off the flaps if you want! 

Another fun detail is the exposed zipper and a button tab. I have never sewn an exposed zipper before (I'm actually surprised I haven't!) and I found the instructions really easy to follow. In fact all of the skirt instructions are really easy to follow! If the exposed zipper thing isn't your "thing" then no fear because Straight Stitch Designs will have a post this week detailing how to add an invisible side zipper instead. I've seen pictures of her test skirt with the invisible zipper and it is really lovely.

All in all I really love this skirt and I will totally be making it again. My only complaint is that because of the pleats the pattern piece is rather large in the plus sizes and needs to utilize 60" fabric or be cut cross grain. Not a big deal- but something to keep in mind  I cut this skirt cross grain and it worked out great- but so many fabrics in my stash are 45" with very directional prints. My biggest piece of advice for this skirt is to make sure you test fit the waist band  to get the perfect fit. The waistband is rather straight so if you are a little more lumpy in the middle it might need a tiny bit of shaping to get the perfect fit- which I might do on my next one. That is the best part of sewing- you don't have to be shaped like everyone else to get the perfect fit!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Mackinaw Coat Pattern Review

One of my 2016 sewing goals is to challenge myself more- to take on more sewing projects using skills that push me. When Ajaire, from Designs by Call Ajaire, put out the tester call for the Mackinaw Coat I jumped at the opportunity. I love testing for Ajaire because I learn soo much, and it really forces me to sew outside of my comfort zone. 

The Mackinaw Coat uses so many great techniques that I am not well practiced in- including bound buttonholes and a bagged lining (which I adore). And just look at this collar! Doesn't it look soo snuggley! The coat also includes welt pockets, that can be sewn with our without pocket flaps. 

This pattern covers sizes 12 months to 12 years, and with four different style options it is easily customized to suit any girl or boy. You can pick a pleated or flat front "skirt" and either a large, dramatic collar or a smaller collar. The dropped armscye allows for a great range of motion for play which has made this coat a go to in Cordelia's wardrobe. 

Mackinaw Coat Pattern Review

Pattern designer? Call  Ajaire

Where to buy? Etsy

Size range? 12 months to 12 years

What size did you make?  size 5 with no modifications 

What did you think of the instructions and the construction process? This is not a coat for a someone new to sewing, there are a lot of steps and advance techniques that could be very overwhelming. In fact I was overwhelmed at times and I am no way new to sewing! The illustrations were are a great help to me because I am a very visual person, but the instructions are also very detailed for people who do better with words. 

What fabric did you use? I used home decorator fabric- light weight upholstery/ drapery cotton, and costume fur that wasn't what I had in mind but Cordelia fell in love with it. The coat is lined in teal flannel for added warmth. I did choose to color block the coat, which isn't a suggestion included in the pattern, but I like how it breaks up the busy print.

Will you sew this again? Yes! 

Any adjustments for next time? Next time I would like to size up in the length and either use a heavier fabric or interface the coat with a fuse-able fleece to make it warmer- because it was later in the season when I started this coat I decided it make it lighter so that she could wear it into the spring, but I know this would be excellent as a really heavy duty coat. 

Any advice on this pattern? Don't rush it! Jackets take time and attention to detail. I often rush through projects or leave them to the last minute and you really can't do that with something this detailed. Make sure you take the time to transfer all of your pattern markings and cut all of your notches- I get lazy with this but they are incredibly important in this pattern. Also- be sure to check out the sew-along starting February 23rd on the Call Ajaire blog

Be sure to check out the other amazing tester versions- it's so inspiring to see so many beautiful versions of the same jacket! I don't have links to all of their posts yet, but I will add more as soon as I can!