Tuesday, December 15, 2015

This Post is No Fun

There's only one thing worse than not blogging, and that's not blogging because you have nothing to blog about. You may have noticed a large dip in the amount of posting I've done. It's not you--it's me. At first, adding a second child into my routine/life wasn't too bad. Newborns really do sleep a lot (it's SO awful but it is true...comparatively). But age has caught up with both AB and Baby H. Nap time, that most sacred time to any stay at home mom, is elusive. AB is almost 4 and doesn't nap every day. Thus, she is awake and loud and temperamental when I need the baby to sleep. "Nap time ping-pong" is what I call it, bouncing between children so that they sleep in 20 minute increments.

No surprise, but sewing has taken such a backseat that it's not even in the vehicle anymore. I think I've made one garment in the last month. I've stopped buying patterns. I've stopped buying fabric. I've stopped reading blogs. And obviously, I've stopped blogging myself.

This is not even mentioning the weeks I've spent sick this fall. I swear I'm going to start sending AB to preschool in a bubble.

It's not fun. It's not glamorous. But it is a season. I waver between packing it all up and forcing myself to forget sewing, and feverishly ignoring my housework so I can find ten minutes of sanity. Like all parts of mothering, it's mostly an exercise in expectations.

Can I sew as much as I used to? No. Not even by half.

Can I blog? No. What is there to blog if I'm not sewing?

These are hard realizations. Sewing found me at a time in my life when I was redefining my identity. It's been a passion for almost four years. The thought of putting that on hold, however temporarily...sucks.

You may think that you're raising children, but really, becoming a mother means raising yourself quite a bit as well.

So it's time for adulting. That terror of terrors. Time to pull back on me and focus on my family. When your plate is too full, you have to take some things off. That's just how it is. And I like sleep, when I can get it.

If you see less of me in this corner of the internet, please forgive me. It's not that I don't want to be here. I just can't right now, emphasis on the right now.

Use your best Arnold voice..."I'll be back."

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Holly Hobbie Vintage Toy Sewing Machine

Thanksgiving brought me some very tasty food, but also a new toy (literally?). My in-laws enjoy going to auctions and shopping for antiques, so they're always picking up vintage sewing items that they think I might like. May I present my new machine!

Okay, so it's not super impressive haha. You can see my Brother machine in the background for scale, and the squares on my cutting mat are 1". The decal says Holly Hobbie and I assume this is a toy. It's dated 1975 and is mostly plastic. The sad thing is, I cannot figure out how it works. Google isn't even helping me. If you're familiar with toy machines I would love some help! As you can see above, the bottom separates from the top once you loosen about 7 screws.

Here it is without the throat plate. There are feed dogs and a place for a needle. There was a broken needle in it when I got it.

The reason I can't figure out how it works is because there is no bobbin. No post for a bobbin (that I can see). There is only this weird copper piece below the feed dogs.

I don't see anything that would hold bobbin thread or move it up to connect with the needle.

Any ideas? Of course, there is the notion that it doesn't work at all. But it seems like it has all parts for a functioning top thread. There's even a tension knob. When you turn the handwheel, the whole thing appears to be doing SOMETHING. 

I would love to get this working and have AB use it. She's going to break my machine if she keeps trying to sew on it. I like the idea of it being hand-powered so it can't run away from her.

I also scored a box of vintage presser feet.

A few are duplicates of what I already have for my Singer 15-91, and a few appear to be for a different type of machine, But still fun to have!

Kids have restricted me from much antique shopping or thrifting, so I always appreciate when someone gives me items like this. Do you shop for vintage sewing items?

Monday, November 30, 2015

Cyber Monday sale on A Sewist's Notebook!

Today only, save 25% on all versions of A Sewist's Notebook! Use code ONEMOREDAY at checkout. Valid until midnight eastern. Need some convincing? Check out Very Purple Person's recent review of the book, here.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Belle-inspired Halloween costume

Did everyone have a good Halloween? Yes, I know it was two weeks ago. But how am I supposed to post about something I'm sewing if it's not done until the last minute? AB is quickly approaching 4, so she finally is old enough to understand "dress up day" (thanks Daniel Tiger). For weeks leading up to the 31st, I grilled her about what she wanted to "be". She kept saying things like Spider-man or Iron Man or The Hulk. Those weren't exactly costumes that I wanted to (or could?) sew. We settled on buying her a Spider-man costume, complete with fake muscles and mask. Immediately after we dropped all that money on it, she became obsessed with Beauty and the Beast and asking for a Belle dress. This mommy couldn't say no, and I ended up sewing her exactly what she requested.

Don't worry, Spider-man served her well at her preschool "pumpkin party" and I was glad that she had a more, er, janky costume to wear there. Let's just say I'm not a fan of letting my creations out of my sight and into the paint-splattering hands of her preschool. Anyway, the Friday before Halloween, our city had a really cool event where local businesses had candy to hand out. We could walk around our town square in broad daylight, with lots of other families, and with reputable businesses handing out the goods. Since our neighborhood doesn't have many kids and we have no family in town, this kind of event was perfect for a worry-wart mama like me.

To make this Belle dress, I used Amy's tutorial and pattern here. I did make some modifications. I color-blocked the front bodice so that I could use a nude fabric for the shoulders, giving the illusion of an off-the-shoulder dress like Belle's original.

I also cut the skirt differently since I wanted more fullness. I almost made a circle skirt, but after chatting with a good sewing buddy she suggested just adding more skirt panels. Genius! I did narrow the top of each panel to accommodate the fact that there were more of them needing to be gathered and sewn to the bodice.

I also added a crinoline underneath, because what's a Belle dress without a lotta lotta poof? I admit, I took a shortcut here and used the crinoline I wore when I got married. It had already been borrowed one additional time after I wore it, so I figured it had been used plenty and could be sacrificed to the cause. I ended up simply cutting off the bottom tier and finishing those hems with my serger. Then I gathered the top portion and sewed elastic to it in order to fit my daughter's waist.

Even more brilliantly, I added snaps to the top of the crinoline and the skirt seam allowance, so the crinoline could snap to it and stay securely in place.

Finally, my last change was to NOT ruche the center-back of the skirt with elastic. This decision meant that the dress had a slight train. Any excess gathering that I was having trouble easing got put in the back of the dress as well.

I also made gloves. I can't say I followed a good tutorial, I kind of just hacked away at them until they fit. I did a combination of tracing a snow glove and tracing my daughter's arm. The gloves are made from jersey knit so they can stretch and move. The knit was in my stash and the color match isn't exact, but it's close enough for horse grenades (Parks and Rec anyone?). The costume satin I ordered from Mood and they sent me approximately 38 extra yards for no reason, which was awesome. I still have a ton left in case I want to make an army of Belles. With a matching yellow ribbon in her hair and her enchanted red rose, this costume was pretty much to die for, if I do say so myself.

Don't worry, baby H got in on the fun and wore AB's old Robin costume. Daddy dressed like Batman (I was sewing him a mask up until right before we left!) and I think most of the kids thought he was the actual Batman. Mommy...failed and didn't make anything for herself. Next year I won't be so neglectful of me!

Did you have a me-made Halloween or go the store-bought route? I can't say I'd blame anyone for buying a costume, they are so. much. work. to sew!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Project Runway recap

If you missed it on Instagram, my daughter has now gone from commenting on the runway shows, to creating her own. I don't know how to break it to her that the season is over!

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: No weird crazy drama. Everyone finished. And they didn't even need to bring in helpers like they usually do.

Worst moments: You know what I'm going to say, right? The collections were SO BORING. I miss the days of Seth Aaron or Mondo, when you didn't know what to expect and saw something new in every garment. 

Also, the models were the worst (with the exception of Ashley's). They all looked so angry/mean that I wanted to run away from them AND the clothes.

Best collections: It was clear to me that Ashley and Kelly were the top two. They used the most color and had the most cohesive collections. (But Ashley's finale look with the glued-on flowers was the ugliest thing I've ever seen...I thought it HAD to be some kind of joke.) When it came down to the two of them I did think it was a crapshoot as to who the judges would prefer. They weren't breaking any molds in terms of silhouette. Kelly had better fit but her pieces didn't look as expensive. Given that Ashley had had the courage to show PR's first plus-size collection, you had to know that would put her over the edge. When Gretchen beat Mondo we all learned that there is more at work here than who shows the best collection. I don't know that we've ever been given the criteria the judges use, anyway. For all we know, they put the names in a hat.

Worst collections: Edmond's was disappointing. I'm going to assume that he meant to show a collection of pieces that met the quality of the bow dress, which I thought was beautiful. But somehow he couldn't get there. He had a lot of throw-away looks (including the LBD that Heidi loved). And there was too much black. 

Which brings us to Candice. She listened to the judges and toned it down, but that didn't really help her. She probably should have done what she wanted, which apparently was to put on a spectacle. What irks me the most about her stuff is her unrelenting use of leather and black. She had a lot of good ideas or good pieces that could have worked perfectly fine in other textiles. It would have made the collection more interesting and less bondagey/hooker. I get it, she thinks it's her signature, but you really need to be more varied than that, I think. Your ideas should be your signature, not your textiles.

Overall, this was a lame season and a predictable winner. My only hope is that Ashley does something meaningful with her win, that whether or not she deserved it she puts her winnings to good use. Poor Kelly. Her disappointment was hard to see. Reunion show this week!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Elephant Dress

I wish I had a more clever title for this dress, but sometimes a name just sticks in your head and that's that. Earlier this year, I received some free fabric from Organic Cotton Plus and made the awesomist Easter dress for my oldest daughter. It's held up amazingly well, despite many washings the color hasn't faded and the fabric hasn't thinned. So I was thrilled to be able to do another review for Organic Cotton Plus. This time, I decided to make a dress (and the headband!) for our newest family member, baby H.

It turned out pretty cute, but I may be biased based on the model :) I went with this elephant interlock, and chose some pink rib knit for the trim. A word about the elephants: I definitely thought, looking at the image online, that they were pink. Hence the pink trim. But they are off-white. Luckily, the colors still went together really well, and probably it's even better with only a touch of pink.

I wanted to use this flutter sleeve tunic pattern from Brindle and Twig, but I'm trying to go on a pattern freeze. I knew I could probably figure out something similar with a pattern I already have. I ended up with the Gloria dress from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop, but I added the flutter sleeve (slightly modified) from the Oliver+S Badminton Dress, the same one from the Easter dress I mentioned before. It's basically just a long skinny oval, pointed on the ends, folded over, gathered, and basted to the sleeve head before it's sewn into the bodice. Easy peesy!

This little chunk is only 5 months old, but this is a 12 month dress. I did shorten the skirt 2" and this is the 3/4 length sleeve. I added pink cuffs at the wrists and also on the hem of the dress.

The rib knit was a dream to sew, and both fabrics finger-pressed very well (important to a busy mama who can't leave her iron on all the time). The interlock seemed to want to stretch out a lot, but I've found that to be true of all interlocks. However, they're much easier to sew than jerseys that roll on you.

Organic Cotton Plus has some of the most amazing lace trim. I've seriously been thinking about it for the last six months, because I couldn't figure out a way to incorporate it into my last review. I decided to try my hand at making a headband. Of course, all the laces are non-stretch, so I had some puzzling to do in order to make it work. I looked at a few of my store-bought headbands and decided on an elastic back. To keep it looking pretty, I also made a casing from the pink rib knit. 

I'm excited for baby H to wear this dress for the rest of the fall/winter, because I know it's going to hold the color well and stay super soft. Get yourself over to Organic Cotton Plus and get some cozy fall fabrics for yourself!

The fabric for this post was sent to me for free in exchange for this review. I would never endorse a product I don't love, and all opinions are my own. The patterns mentioned were bought by me.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Project Runway recap

Will you be watching Project Runway Junior? I'll admit, the most I've seen about it is one commercial watched on mute (this is what happens when you turn off your cable). Someone give me the details so I don't have to look it up. But first, let's get oh so close to finishing up this season!

Spoilers ahead...(see, fans of TWD, that's how you warn people, not by posting crap on Facebook for those of us who are behind or don't watch live...but I digress...)

Best moments: Edmond is, predictably, saved by Tim Gunn. I don't think even Edmond was surprised, but still, yay!

I loved that Edmond didn't take his looks out of his garment bags when he got to the workroom.

I was VERY happy that there were no eliminations or shenanigans. Make one new look (kind of a given) and that's all. Get feedback. All good things, unless you're Edmond and left yourself a bunch of work.

Worst moments: Home visits always make people more real, and therefore, usually more likable. I don't think it worked that way with Candice. I'm just totally turned off by her now. 

Best mini collection: I thought Kelly's was so cool...until the judges saw it. Then I realized how right they were, that it wasn't luxe/high fashion/expensive. Maybe that's not who Kelly is, soooo does that mean she can't win the show? Are we suddenly living in a world where Ashley can make her 1,000,000th ill-fitting bustier and that's okay?? I do give Ashely props, however, for her use of color and for using "plus size" models. I think it's super cool that she's brave enough to pursue that when its so against the grain in the industry.

Worst mini collection: Ugggggggh why so much black Edmond and Candice? I mean, okay, I wear a lot of black myself, but using it for an entire collection is so boring. In fact, I feel like a boring person when I wear black. And adding leather makes it so bondagey and Tim was right to tell Candice that it looked like streetwalker-wear. I guess she's not going to listen. And she's not going to win (I hope?).

Best quote: "I mean, I might be making this up, but I'm pretty sure he loved everything." --Kelly

Wow, the judges were pretty brutal with everyone. Probably a good thing, since they all seemed to think they had it in the bag. But I'm going to turn down my expectations a notch (even more than they already were) for the finale. Any predications?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fear Fabric Challenge Reveal!

Have you all been dying to see what I was sewing with that crazy faux fur? How about we start with what I was TRYING to sew:

I pinned this coat, from Urban Outfitters, probably a year ago. Unfortunately, it's sold out, but it's been in the back of my mind for a long time. I decided to try creating my own. The silhouette is fairly simple so it seemed do-able. Spoiler alert: it didn't work out. Please be kind when viewing these photos!

Mistake #1: Wrong fabric choice. I had sherpa fabric in my cart (at Jo-Ann's), and ended up putting it back for this faux fur. The fur is super soft and pretty, but when it's all over your body, there's no way to see anything other than a sheep. Yes, sherpa is more coarse and looks dirty easily, but it was probably right for this look.

Mistake #2: Wrong pattern choice. I went with the Hyde Park Hoodie by Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. This pattern had just come out and was getting crazy good reviews in the PABPS Facebook group. It appealed to me because there is a hack out there for the shawl collar (like my inspiration piece) and because it's nursing-friendly. However, it's not long enough to balance out my proportions when there is SO MUCH FUR happening. Somehow it looks very wide at the hips, this might be the pattern or it might be because sewing fur is not an exact science and I screwed it up. Who knows. Either way, we end up with the same look: sheep.

Between those two mistakes, there really isn't much that can go RIGHT. I had this beautiful dream in my head, of a detachable hood and these cool wooden buttons and blah blah blah. But after two weeks of fur flying (literally) in my sewing room, I had to call it quits. As of right now, this is a UFO. I somehow don't have a zipper stop at the top of my zipper, the hood lining needs to be handsewn shut, and the sleeves are just serged at the ends. I very rarely get this far and don't finish an item, but I see very little point when I know it won't be worn. I can't even bring myself to add ears to the hood and turn it into a true sheep costume, but maybe I will for this weekend, we'll see.

How did your Fear Fabric Challenge work out? I definitely learned a lot about sewing faux fur (mainly...don't!).

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mood Board of the Month: Cold Snap

// Patterns //
I kind of want to make all five patterns I'm featuring today! The Lola Tunic by Victory Patterns is one of my favorites (I think I've made it four times) and even though it's usually casual, it would work for the office given the right fabric choice and perhaps omitting the pockets. Pair it with the Ooh La Leggings from Papercut since Lola is pretty short. Top it all with the Grace Transeasonal Coat from Style Arc. When it's time for a weekend full of apple orchards and hot chocolate, try the trendy Bristol Button Up from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. And I kind of want a whole closet of Simple Skinny Jeans from Sew Liberated (faux front pockets, faux fly, knit waistband?? sold!).

// Fabric //
For your extra-special Lola, make the best tunic ever using this lambswool interlock from Nature's Fabrics. You'll get your pop of color in your leggings with this red ponte from Style Maker Fabrics. And this wool twill gabardine from Mood will keep that drizzly rain away. Rock this plaid flannel for your Bristol, from the Plaiditudes Collection at Jo-Ann's. And check out this affordable stretch denim from Lura's Fabric Shop.

This post is not sponsored by any pattern designer or fabric seller. I wish. I just have too much time on my hands and love planning wardrobes! I am an affiliate of Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop but have not used an affiliate link here. Check out my Mood Board of the Month Pinterest board for all the links to my inspiration.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Project Runway recap

Only a few more episodes to go of the most forgetable PR ever. Should we be concerned that they've tapped the market of talented people willing to go on this show?

Spoilers ahead...

Best moment: A red carpet challenge! Like avant garde, this is a challenge that everyone should be able to do. It's a pretty basic fashion design lesson. 

Worst moment: Tell me if I'm imagining it, but was Candice being a little condescending towards Ashley? Like, you do RTW so well...now go home. She had this mean little smirk on her face every time she was talking about Ashley.

Best garments: I was cool with Kelly's but I wasn't into the color, it was kind of dull. I can't believe she did all that appliqué in a day.

Worst garments: Everyone should watch this show with a 3 year old. Especially the runway portion. When Edmond's look came out, she said "Who made that?! She has wings!"

I disliked Ashley's and I really thought she'd be in the bottom. This is not the first time she's made a poorly fitted corset. Maybe she should stop doing that.

Candice's was safe and boring, but very well made. And I'm with Ashley, it's another black dress. Blah. And no, one red dress (last week) that would have been the same in black does nothing for me.

Best quote: "I made it sound like it's my deli...it's not my deli!" --Kelly

Okay, let's talk about the ending. Did "they" (Lifetime? the producers?) think we wouldn't notice that the show just weirdly ended? That we can't guess that Tim comes out and uses his save on Edmond (who deserves to be saved, btw)? That was so bizarre. Edmond IS going to be saved, right?

Next week: Home visits!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Quilted Union St. Tee

Yesterday I posted about all my yummy French terry and the zillions of sweatshirts I have planned. But before I could get sewing I wanted a TNT pattern. Believe it or not, it is almost impossible to find a basic crew neck sweatshirt pattern that is NOT raglan sleeves (this was before Sewaholic released the Fraser!). Based on feedback from other sewists, I decided to try a basic tshirt pattern and upsize it. I had recently won a gift card to Indie Sew, and I used it to purchase the Union St. Tee by Hey June.

Now I apologize for the pants I'm wearing in these photos (Hudsons). They do not go with the shirt at all. But when it came time for the photo shoot, I realized that my jeans were in the room with the sleeping baby. Ain't nobody gonna risk that.

This was my first Hey June pattern. Lots of likes! Instead of giving a sizing chart, she only provides a finished garment size chart. This forces you to pay attention to your fabric and how stretchy it is, and choose a size from there. I also like the 1/4" seam allowances. On a sewing machine this would be super annoying, but with a serger it's ideal. No wasted fabric. There are also layered sizes, 3 sleeve options, and 2 necklines. It's a lot packed in to one pattern. My only dislike is that the notches weren't noticeable until I was looking for them, and only because the directions mentioned them. Not a deal breaker but hopefully I saved someone else from that extra step.

Swayback issue?

I made a size medium which is bigger than I normally would. It ended up looking more like a mistake than a sweatshirt, so I went back and resewed it with a deeper seam allowance. I will make a small next time and know that it will give me a tshirt look. The only other change I made was to sew on the neck binding, then fold it over and around the seam allowance and topstitch it down. It looked kind of floppy and weird before I did that.

But enough boring stuff...this fabric! It's a quilted knit from Fabric Mart and it's super cool. A little scratchy on the back side, but I'll always be wearing a cami underneath so it's fine. The sleeves are black French terry and very cozy. The top is inspired by a similar one I saw at Target probably a year ago...I'm so happy to finally create my own! By the way, if you don't have a coverstitch already...get one.

Am I the last one on earth to try this pattern?

Update July 2017: This post contains affiliate links. Text of the original post remains the same!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Peek at my Stash: French terry

Unless you've been under a rock, you've probably noticed French terry eeeeeeeverywhere lately. It seems like this once hard to find fabric is finally making its way into more shops. I've been hoarding different cuts of it, and I'm itching to have an entire closet of warm, snuggly sweatshirts.

In case you're not familiar with French terry, it's basically like any other good ole knit fabric. It has a smooth, regular knit side and a loopy back side. Some terrys are called "double terry" or "towel terry" and they have loops on both sides (y'know, like a bath towel). It's similar to sweatshirt fleece, the only difference being that on sweatshirt fleece, the loops are cut, creating a "pile" or "fleecy" surface. French terry is almost always a natural fiber like cotton or bamboo, often mixed with spandex or a little polyester for stability. The loops generally ensure that it's plush and thick. No wispy paper-thin jerseys here!

So how about a few stats on my FT stash?

Number of cuts: 9

Amount of yardage: About 11 yards!

Oldest cut: I believe it's the white bamboo, probably 3 1/2 years old, making it one of the first fabrics I ever ordered!

All have a purpose?: Mostly!

Number of "what was I thinking??" cuts: Zero!

Wow...until I lined them all up, I didn't realize quite how much I had! Isn't it always the way? And I didn't even pull out the navy scraps I used last year for my Hudson Pants. The white cuts are partial yardage that I've had for ages. I've used them for cloth diapers, nursing pads, cloth wipes...they're the gift that keeps on giving. The grey one is set aside to recreate one of my favorite RTW skirts (yes, you read that right, a French terry skirt!).

You can see a lot of other solid neutrals. I plan on sewing a bunch of sweatshirts with fun details, to keep it interesting. Pinterest has given me a lot of good ideas. 

And of course, when a fabric becomes more wide-spread, you get a chance at fun prints, like this floral from Raspberry Creek Fabrics on Etsy (side note, Etsy seems to have a crapton of cute printed French terry).

I'm not much of a floral person, but I thought I'd take a chance on this one and see how I like it. Worst comes to worst, it will make something cute for one of my daughters.

But I've saved the very best for last.

I can post now, because I received my order, and I'm no longer worried about it selling out...this is wool. Wool French terry. Striped wool French terry!!!!! From Mood. Dying. And it is SO soft too. It's hard to tell from the photo (and IRL if I'm being honest) but the darker color is navy, not black. This is one of those fabrics that makes me get project paralysis; it's so perfect I don't want to screw it up. Hopefully with a few sweatshirts under my belt I'll settle on the best use of this most delicious fabric. I already have the Fraser Sweatshirt from Sewaholic traced and ready to go!

Do you have any French terry in your stash?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Project Runway recap

Did anyone else know that Tim Gunn does a voice on the kids' show Sophia the First? Last week, my daughter was watching cartoons and all of a sudden I hear Tim's voice. So weird! Guess he's gotta pay the bills for all those months that PR isn't on TV ;)

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: This is my favorite part of the show, when there are so few designers that you get to see everyone. Wouldn't it be cool if they had a show with only 5 designers, and nobody got eliminated, they just won points or something every week? I'd watch it.

My husband has done quite a bit of work with 3D printers, so it was cool to see it in action in a fashion sense. That's not an application I had thought of during all our conversations about it. I guess I'm not creative enough :P

Worst moments: It made me sad to see Merline fail at a challenge that should have worked for her. Pretty much what happened to Ashley last week. Other than that, this was a decently enjoyable episode.

Best garments: The mask definitely helped keep it avant garde, but I liked Edmond's. The cool thing about Kelly's bridge dress is that you could remove the "panniers" and it would be suitable for a regular runway show. So while I wasn't in love with it, I thought it was creative and I was proud of her for taking a risk.

Worst garments: I had a very bad reaction to Ashley's cape. Maybe it was the color, or the fact that the whole thing was one color, but I thought it screamed "superhero" rather than "avant garde". All of these designs (with the exception of Kelly) were BORING. Avant garde? Yeah right. I feel like a broken record.

Best quote: "If I could do a backflip and then a moonwalk, I would." --Merline

This was the last chance for these designers to prove they aren't the worst, and they failed. Let's just get this season over with, shall we?

Next week: Red carpet! Finally!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Willow Wrap Dress and Top

Believe it or not, I'm still catching up on full reviews from the Momiform MAKEover tour. My primary goal with the tour was to find a TNT pattern for fall that was nursing-friendly. Nursing in the fall/winter totally blows, because you need to somehow stay covered up and warm, but also pull out your boob at a moment's notice. Sorry for the visual, but y'know, it's true. In my experience, a cross-over or wrap top+a cardigan is the best way to go.


As part of the tour, I received the Willow Wrap Dress pattern for free. I then hacked it into a top by combining it with the Sewaholic Renfrew, but you can also buy the real top pattern here. Or bundle them together! You will not be disappointed in this pattern, because it features two of the world's best things: layered sizing and trimless pages. You heard me. Once you've selected your size, you can "turn off" the other size layers you don't need (don't worry, there are instructions on how to do it). Print it out, and the pages don't require trimming. Just tape it together and go! This was easily the best PDF I've ever used, and I've used a bunch of them. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Top, fabric from Nature's Fabrics.

Another reason to love the pattern is that it comes with options. Short-sleeve, 3/4 length, or full-length. A high neckline or low one for easier nursing access. A modesty panel. A skirt or peplum. All kinds of ways you can customize it.

Sorry, this print makes it hard to see any details.

I made a size small and it fits great. Normally I make an adjustment for narrow shoulders, but I didn't need it. I did make one silly change to the dress that I will not do in the future. I added clear elastic along the neckline, since the fabric is a slippery ITY poly knit (from Fabric Mart). It probably would have been fine, but I stretched it while sewing, and now my neckline is too tight. It pulls at the side seams. So take my photos with a grain of salt.

On the top, I didn't use any elastic and the fit is more accurate. One thing to note, the neckline is simply turned down a single time 5/8". This seemed like a lot to me, I thought it would be hard to ease, but it was fine as long as I pinned carefully and sewed slowly. I used my coverstitch on the neckline.

I definitely found my TNT nursing pattern! Depending on fabric choice you've got all kinds of possibilities. I'm sure you'll see this pattern again. It's really flattering whether you're nursing or not, and knit tops/dresses are oh-so-quick and easy when you have a serger and coverstitch!

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