Saturday, August 9, 2014

Shopping for Samson's Sweater

As I was designing the first boy's pattern, the Samson Sweater, I searched high and low for the perfect fabric. In my mind I was looking for a striped sweatshirt fleece or french terry. Apparently, that doesn't exist. At least for us at-home sewers. But what I did find is even more fun AND economical. So, here's a list of ideas to get your fabric shopping on for the first Love Notions boy's pattern!

I suppose I should first list the recommended fabrics, maybe you'll even know of more/better sources these types of knits.

The Samson's Sweater is designed for cooler temps which means it's awesome for layering! It's roomy and comfy without looking sloppy. If you were to use a light or medium weight knit fabric you may want to size down.

Fabric source ideas--
  • The best source I've found may surprise you. Checkout your local thrift shop for men's sweatshirts and hoodies! I found several shirts that worked perfectly at Goodwill. And they were so cheap! You won't find striped french terry and sweatshirt fleece in yardage like Old Navy and Gap use but you can cut up and re-purpose a men's shirt that does have that fabric. The following two shots are of Sam in the size 8. The stripe is from a french terry I cut up from a couple of boy's size 16 Target Circo brand shirts. I was able to get both a front and back out of a single shirt. The hood, elbow patches and bottom bands are cotton knit fabrics I had in my stash.

If you'd like some yardage here's what I've found--
  • Cotton velour would make a very classic shirt. There are several shops online that carry this type of fabric. I personally shop for my cotton/poly velour at Print Knits Studio. She's has lots of colors and ships fast.
  • Bamboo fleece would also make a great sweater/sweatshirt. If you get it in the natural off-white color you can dye it any color (or multiple colors) you want! Bamboo fleece has such a luxurious feel to it and takes dye beautifully. Nature's Fabric has a great selection of bamboo fleece fabric as well as cotton velour (and even a couple of striped velours).

  • Check destash pages on Facebook. Usually, somebody has just what you're looking for in their stash from years ago. 
  • If you're looking for prints, look no further than Landofoh. There's a reason for that name-- check out the selection and adorable prints! Note that this shop is in Korea so shipping times will be a couple of weeks.
Do you have any great sources? Share them with us in the comments!

Samson's Sweater will be released sometime this month, like the Facebook page to get notifications and announcements... and maybe even a coupon or two. :)



Monday, August 4, 2014

Uptown/Downtown Dress Pattern Tour

I've been busy drafting some great fall/back to school patterns but took a little time out to participate in a new designer's first pattern release! Terri Lin of Sew Straight and Gather invited me to sew up her first pattern and I'm so glad I did!


Terri's Uptown/Downtown Dress at first glance may look like "just another another a-line dress" but I assure you it is not. Terri's dress is expertly drafted with great attention to detail with several variations. The quality of instructions is excellent and I loved all the features. Especially being able to print just my desired size with the layers feature. I really, really love that! Printing and piecing the pattern was super quick, I think it took me less than 15 minutes.


I sewed up the size 10 for Mallory who wears 10's and 12's in RTW. I choose to use the french bias neck binding and short sleeves. The one change I made was to lengthen the cap sleeves 1" since I wasn't lining them. Can I just tell you all that I LOVE french binding?! It gives such a nice tailored look, so perfect with this dress style.

The skirt has such a nice drape and fullness. Even this 10 year is not too old to appreciate a good twirling!

The one thing I would like to see with this pattern is an extended size range. I would love to continue to be able to make this dress for Mal, not to mention myself!

Unfortunately, my fabric source (NR Fabrics) is out of this print but she has plenty of other great knits. Good quality knits that aren't so juvenile are hard to come by but somehow Joy finds plenty of great prints appropriate for all ages. I wish I had bought enough of this beautiful floral cotton/lycra to make myself a dress!

Get your copy of the Uptown/Downtown Dress today! To celebrate the pattern tour, Terri has even given us a coupon for 30% off. Use code 'uptowndowntowntour' at checkout.

Annnnnd, there's a giveaway! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Tuxedo Dress- it has it all!

I've been a busy bee drafting and sewing lately. The newest Love Notions pattern officially released last week and it was a labor of love. The Tuxedo Dress is my most ambitious pattern yet with 12 sizes, 2 necklines, 5 sleeves, pockets and ruffle hem option. Before the Tuxedo Dress, the smallest size I had done was 12-18mths in the Everyday Playdress. I heard your requests and graded The Tuxedo Dress to 6mths! It's an adorable dress for the little ones as well as those 'tweens.

My vision of the Tux dress started out with a simple, a-line dress made for knits that was around knee length. It's fitted in the chest and flares out gently to the hem. This dress is so versatile! Perfect for churchwear or playing the yard.

I had over 25 testers help me fine-tune the pattern and they did an excellent job- catching things I didn't as well as making helpful suggestions.

In fact, one of my testers, Chrissy, came up with the brilliant idea to use the bib portion as a face and made a little penguin dress for her daughter. How appropriate considering it's a 'tuxedo' dress. ;)

The Tuxedo Dress has two necklines- crew neck and bib:

5 sleeve styles: Long, bell, 3/4, puff and cap. Mix and match the sleeve and necklines to create a new dress everytime!

A huge thank you to my wonderful testers:

 Meghann Leili - Jerrinne Haas - Katie Pinkleman - Dina Templeman - Rachel Ring -
Chrissy Colbath - Fatima Fraile - Hyde Gonzalez Brown - Deborah Zaleski - Tammie Shipe -
Judit Sikora - Sandy CunhaMairi Rivers - Cecelia Lehmann - Candy Mak - Jamie LynnTerry Steinmetz - Vicky White - Mary Aftowski - Melissa Uhler - Carolyn Moore - Melissa Williams -Nikki Reed - Shaunna Brown 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sewing the Trendy Tunic pocket video tutorial

The Trendy Tunic is rated as an intermediate pattern. Mostly because it calls for knits which are not as commonly used as woven's and because the pocket construction can be a little tricky. BUT, I've made a little video showing how the pocket is done. For those of you who are visual, these videos should help a lot.

Part one: introduction and sewing the pocket lining to the middle front. I used a tripod when filming so I had to crouch to get my face in so that's why you'll only see me in the intro. I figured you were probably more interested in seeing what I was doing than looking at me. ;)

Part two: pining and sewing on the side/sleeve. It's not as hard as it seems!

Part three:

I hope that clears up any confusion! If you're still struggling feel free to post on the Facebook group or email me directly.

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Trendy Tunic- New Release!

After weeks of work the second Love Notions pattern has been released! The Trendy Tunic is made with knit fabrics, has simple lines, inset pockets and short cap sleeves. Pair it with tights, leggings or jeans and you're ready to go! Dress it up, dress it down, use bright, fun prints or do a little color blocking. You can even upcycle adult graphic tees! It's versatile, fun and modern. 

A big THANK YOU to all my testers. They did wonderful work and really helped me fine tune this pattern to be best it could be. 

Purchase your copy at either Craftsy or Etsy

After you've sewn up your Trendy Tunic don't forget to leave feedback and post your creation in the
Flickr group and/or Facebook page so everyone can admire your work!

Erin Biggers - Karyn Proudlock - Kelly Simonsen - Vicky White - April Fosen - Maria Levin - Deborah Zaleski - Ellen Balzer - Sandy Cunha - Erin Kimmons - Samantha Martin - Sarah Ruehle - Alyssa Carrion - Stefanie Ware - Nicole Scott - Shawn Steele - Sacha Thomas - Terry Steinmetz - Deana Wolstenholme - Tara Lee - Nikki Souster - Rachel Ring

Also a note for you ladies who sew and sell from home-- I know first hand how important it is to be able to sell your work. I've worked from home sewing for my custom children's clothing business Dunk-n-Fluff for almost ten years now. Doing this has allowed me to stay home when my children were babies and even now as they're in school all day. So, I know how important it is to have original patterns that support you in allowing your work to be sold without a license (heck, even without credit!). Please feel free to sew and sell from this and all Love Notions patterns. No license or credit required!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Who doesn't love a free pattern?

So now that many of you have purchased your copy of the Everyday Playdress your daughters might be asking for their dolls to have their own dress too. And now they can! Here I will be sharing the steps and pattern pieces for an 18" doll coordinating dress.

This is a simple and quick sew. No serger needed, in fact when I did this tutorial I only used my sewing machine. Use whatever you're comfortable with.

Supplies needed:
  • Approx. 1/4yd fabric. I recommend knit but since this dress closes in the back you could use wovens. You will need to finish your seams differently than I am showing here though. Knits don't fray so I've chosen to just stitch down instead of coverstitching or serging and stitching.
  • 2" of velcro
  • Thread, scissors, pins, iron
  • Download your free pattern here
1. Cut your pieces:
  • 2 crossover bodices, mirror image
  • 2 sleeves
  • front skirt
  • 2 back pieces, mirror image

2.  Fold and press sleeve hems with 3/8" hem and stitch in place.

3. With right sides together, align each bodice with its back piece at the shoulders and stitch with 3/8" seam allowance. Iron seam allowance open.

4. Fold and iron the bodice and back necklines down about 3/8".

5. Stitch the bodice neckline in place.

6. Fold and iron back pieces in about 3/8" and stitch in place.

7. Align two bodice pieces together so you have a complete bodice and baste the arm scythes.

8. Pin sleeves and stitch in place with 3/8" seam allowance. Remove any visible basting stitches from step 7. Do this for the other sleeve as well.

9. Run a basting stitch across the top of the skirt piece, about an inch down from the top. Gather and pin to fit the bodice. This is more for ease than for a gathered skirt.

10. Stitch skirt to bodice and press seam towards the bodice.

11. Align front and back of dress and stitch the side seams starting at the bottom and ending at the sleeves in one continuous line of stitching. Be sure to back stitch when you begin and stop to secure the seam. Trim seam and press open.

12. Hem dress by turning up hem about an inch, press and stitch in place. Attach the velcro to the top of the back of the dress with a zig-zag stitch. The rest of the dress will remain open to make it super easy for little hands to dress their babies. 

And you're done!

You are welcome to sew and sell from this pattern, no license or credit needed (but appreciated). The pattern and tutorial are copyrighted Love Notions Sewing Patterns 2014. Please do not share your free pattern, but do direct interested sewists directly here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Heidi & Finn Cocktail Coat Test & Review

Last week I had the pleasure of testing the Chic Cocktail Swing Coat for Heidi & Finn. My [almost] 10 year old Mallory was the lucky recipient of the cost and she *loves* it! It's the perfect coat over chilly Sunday dresses. Mal wore it last Sunday to church and it worked so well as a dressy coat. Much better than her beat up, heavy winter coat- not to mention CUTE!

The pattern has several options including a hood with bunny ears or mouse ears. How adorable is that?! Mallory thought she was a little too old for those options so we went simple with the collared version and big buttons.

This was a very easy sew, I think it took me less than 2 hours total from the time I printed the pattern to sewing on the buttons.

I used a poly wool suiting fabric from Joann's (that happened to be on clearance- score!) for the outer. The inner is a fun heart print flannel. For the size 10, it does take quite a bit of fabric but it's worth it! 


Heidi & Finn is running a sale for a few more days. You can get it for $4.50 in their Craftsy shop.

Pros: great for a lot of occasions, lots of options, quick & easy to sew (no need for a serger!)
Cons: None! The only tiny thing was the sleeves were a tad short but my daughter is long and lanky so take that into consideration if your daughter happens to have the same build. That's easy enough to adjust when sewing.