Sunday, August 25, 2013

Texas Rose by Ellie Inspired

I was thrilled to open my email and find a message from Laura over at Ellie Inspired asking if I wanted to test her new pattern. The answer was 'yes!!'  I love Ellie Inspired patterns. They are sweet and unique and well written. Plus, I had seen previews of The Texas Rose and it was already on my list of must-haves. You can download the pattern here.

The dress is gorgeous and it is loaded with options. Ruffles down the front, short or long sleeves, tunic length, The Texas Rose even comes with a ruffled pants pattern to go with the tunic option, all in a huge size range of 1-16.  What a bargain! Every little girl needs a shirt dress like this and I can't wait to make more. 

I especially like the look of the dropped waist and layered ruffle skirt. Jaidyn rocked the dress, but I couldn't get her to put the phone down. I have plans to make a few of these in the long-sleeved dress option as well as the long-sleeved tunic and pants option for fall this year. A huge thanks to Laura for letting me test this pattern, it's absolutely perfect!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Blank Slate Patterns Sew-Along

Mothers of little boys, especially older little boys, know how hard it is to find good patterns that your little man will wear. That's why one of my most favorite pattern designers is Melissa from Blank Slate Patterns. She has a wide variety of patterns perfect for a trendy boy, whether they're a toddler or an older school-aged fella. She has a gorgeous pattern for moms and some adorable patterns for little girls, also (I've got a few for Jaidyn waiting on the perfect fabric).

Melissa had a sew-along on her Facebook group, Blank Slate Patterns and her blog, Melly Sews where she provides tips as she sews along. If you haven't yet, you should definitely join the Facebook Group. Melissa is on there often and is always happy to help if you have any questions. Plus you get to meet lots of fun ladies who share a love of Blank Slate's PDF's.

For the sew-along we made the Coastal Cargo's. You can purchase the pattern here. I love this pattern!  You can roll them up for a long beachy type pair of shorts and roll them back down for cool summer evenings.  They have a bias binding detail down the side and inseams that serves two looks cool and it hides the raw edges on the inside of the pant leg, so when you roll up the pants you don't see any seams.

Landen loved them so much he asked to wear them on his first day of 1st grade. 

The pattern pieces taped together perfectly once printed. The pants were so easy to sew. Melissa's patterns taught me how to install a front-fly zipper and welt pockets. Even a newby can accomplish these daunting sewing tasks with Melissa's fab instructions. 

I made my son a size 6 in the waist, and a 7 in length. I LOVE that they are long enough for him but they aren't sagging in the waist. That's the benefit of sewing your own cloths. If I buy him RTW pants, either they are baggy in the waist and long enough, or they're too short but fit him in the waist. He's tall and skinny. I'd say that these pants fit true-to-size. 

The most difficult part of the pattern is sewing the inseams, and that's just because you have to sew in a tight spot. Melissa was kind enough to shoot a video to show how to do this, for those of us that are visual learners. You can find her tutorial here

Aren't they just so cool rolled up?  I made these out of linen because it's still so hot here in Florida. I hope Landen isn't too rough on them. I love this pattern and can't wait to sew up many more!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Nova Top/Dress by Popolok Designs Review

I was asked by Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops to write a review for one of their available patterns.  They have a wide variety of pdf patterns from several designers.  It's your one stop shop for PDF patterns.  

I chose to review The Nova Top/Dress by Popolok Designs.  You can purchase this pattern here at Popolok Designs on Etsy or here from Fairytale Frocks and Lollipops, where you can browse several talented designers in one place. Alviana knocked it out of the park with this one.  It's a stylish top or dress that is a pretty quick sew.  It has a cute sweetheart-illusion yoke with options to add a gathered cap sleeve.  The bodice is fully lined and all seams are encased in the lining.

I decided to sew the sleeveless top variation and completed it in one sewing day.  Minus all the breaks I took taking care of my minions it took about 3 hours from cutting the pattern pieces and fabric to the final hemming.

The Nova Top was pretty easy to sew up.  The most difficult part for me was attaching the front yoke to the main front fabric.  I've always had a problem sewing concave and convex curves, but if you follow Alviana's instructions, you'll get it.  I think a beginner could make this if they are good at following instructions and if they have the basics of sewing down.  There are colored photos for every step of the way.  Even though there is  an invisible zipper on the back and the bodice is fully lined, I believe it would be good practice for a beginner, especially since the instructions to attach the lining and zipper are so easy to follow.

The pattern is beautifully put together.  Alviana has little boxes spread out throughout the directions with an adorable little bird providing helpful tips.  The directions are clear, concise, and well-written.  The steps are numbered as well as the pages.  You will receive two separate PDF's, one PDF for instructions and one PDF for pattern pieces, so it's a breeze to print only the pattern pieces.  The pattern pieces were clearly labeled and numbered and the pages were easy to piece together once printed.  Just match the labeled triangles and tape.

I love the way The Nova Top looks on my daughter!  I made her a size 3.  I think I could have used a size 4 in length because she's so long, but the 3 fits her perfectly width-wise, and she wears a 3 in RTW garments.  The finished top measurements match up with Alviana's measurements.

I found this Riley Blake 'Promenade' Blue Main Fabric on Etsy with Southern Seams Fabrics and thought it would be just perfect for this stylish peplum top.  The necklace, I custom ordered from Jax & Jewels on Facebook.  Both shops were super quick with shipping.

I can't wait to sew up another Nova Top for my little girl.  I love that it's a big girl style with sweet, unique features.  I've been eyeing a few other Popolok Designs patterns and think Alviana's style is different from anything I've seen, and that's why I love it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Welcome To Sew Charming!

Hello, and welcome to my new blog, Sew Charming!  My name is Stephanie and I'm a SAHM to two adorable little minions (we love Despicable Me around here). Landen will be 7 in just over a month (7???) and Jaidyn turned 3 in June. They really are my whole world in two teeny tiny little bodies.

I grew up watching my mom sew quilts. She didn't have the patience to teach me and I didn't have the patience to learn (I was 6! Barbie was calling my name!). With my dad in the Navy, we moved around quite a bit and my moms Singer 6212c sewing machine eventually ended up in an attic, dusty and neglected and completely forgotten.

Fast-forward a few years, I had a baby of my own and had just discovered scrapbooking. In this age of digital cameras where one can take tens of thousands of photos I needed something to do with all these pictures of my new baby boy.  I learned a new technique which required the use of a sewing machine and I was just dying to try it. So I called up my mother and asked if I could take her old machine out of the attic. Of course she said yes.

I brought the machine home, dusted it off, learned how to thread and oil it by reading the manual, and started sewing paper together. And that's all I used it for. For four years.

Then Jaidyn came along. A cute bundle of girly cuteness. Most moms who have their boys first know what I'm talking about. That moment you discover you can buy pink!  Hallelujah!  One day when Jaidyn was about a year old, on a shopping trip to Joann's (shopping for scrapbook paper) Jaidyn pointed to some adorable bird and birdhouse fabric. I bought a yard and brought it home. And had absolutely no clue what to do with it. Thank goodness for YouTube!  I watched video after video on how to sew, and then I googled toddler dress tutorials. And I started sewing and kept on sewing late into the night. I moved my sewing machine into the closet sometime during the night because I didn't want to bother hubby while he slept, but I had to finish the dress that night. It was worth it.

When Jaidyn woke up the next morning and I slipped that bird dress over her head she was grinning from ear to ear. I was hooked!  I may have been obsessed. I might still be obsessed if I'm going for honesty here. So now I sew clothes for both Jaidyn and Landen. Both kids still show lots of appreciation when I finish a project for them and I eat it up.

Since then, I've gotten my own machines and have even gotten my daughter her own Hello Kitty Janome. Can't leave little bit out.

So that's my sewing story, I'd love to hear yours :)