You know how they say that you can build an entire wardrobe by building on a couple simple pieces? That was, in part, the inspiration for my newest pattern, Aurora Belle. That... and a little girl who likes to layer many different tops and bottoms together to create her own (very eclectic) look!
Aurora Belle offers a simple summery design that can be used as the starting point for a whole variety of different looks by changing the skirt length, adding layers, or making separate pieces. I hope that you will agree that this one pattern is a great basic for any girl's wardrobe!
Aurora Belle starts out as a skater style peplum or dress with a fitted bodice and half-circle skirt. This skirt offers the perfect balance of flare and twirl with a smooth un-gathered waistline. The sweetheart neckline has an elastic halter, which makes for a safe comfortable fit on the back of the neck without knots or long ties, and the back of the bodice can be shirred or made with elastic casings. The instructions include both methods. There is also a link in the pattern to my Shirring: Testing & Tension blog post if you want to learn how shirr.
This pattern includes three length options. The peplum falls to below the hips and is very stylish with shorts or capris. The mid-length comes to at or just below the knees and is perfect for everyday wear. And the full maxi length skirt makes for a beautiful formal option. Even better, these three skirts can be layered however you want so you can mix together different fabric types or prints. My daughter loves to mix, match and layer to her heart's content! Included in this pattern are options for an exposed or covered waistband option for making a separate skirt... which means that you can make the peplum and add however many different skirts to wear underneath!
This pattern is lovely in cotton, but it's also perfect for different woven fabrics. The bodice is lined and with the layered skirt it works beautifully for thin, sheer, slippery, or drapey fabrics. Try it with eyelet, rayon, charmeuse, or voile. The pattern includes instructions for how to do a bias tape or facing for the skirt hem, or you can use your preferred method for hemming curves.
Aurora Belle is definitely going to be making up a lot of my daughter's summer wardrobe this year. Pick up your own copy in the Pattern Shop for the special new release price, today through Friday March 17th. Dresses for church on Sunday and peplums for every day, this pattern has us covered! Now all my little girl needs is a shrug or bolero to take this pattern from one to three seasons... good thing I have my sketchbook handy to start working on my next design idea!
One of the things that first inspired me to start designing was how much I enjoyed taking nothing more than an idea and turning it into some REAL. Sometimes it's a matter of discovering a need and making something perfectly suited to meet that need, or maybe it's a fabric or color or texture that sparks inspiration. Then, sometimes, it's both.
I bought myself a new Bible for Christmas this year. Suitably, it is called 'Inspire', and for a creative person like myself, it couldn't be more perfect. Big margins so I can make notes, and also lots and lots of drawings to color. Since getting it, I've been taking it with me to church Sunday mornings so I can color and listen at the same time. Those kids that you see doodling on the backs of the church bulletins? Yeah, that was me. I can concentrate better on listening when my hands have something to do.
But carrying my pencil crayons wrapped in an elastic band has been getting a bit annoying, and last week my 4 year old got hold of the elastic and was stretching it from hand to hand. Um... yeah... that was just asking for trouble. I can picture the look on our Pastor's face if suddenly struck in the forehead by a flying elastic band... at least he has sons of his own and I'm sure would understand it wasn't meant as a comment on his preaching. But the elastic band had to go.
So what is a creative girl to do? Check her fabric stash of course... whereupon I discovered the most "inspiring" rainbow fabric and the idea for the perfect bag for my Bible AND my colored pencils.
I love designing something without a pattern. It's fun to just see where things take you. I had one meter of this bright Robert Kaufman print and as soon as I saw it I knew I needed to make it work. I wanted a bag that fit my Bible comfortably, with a little extra room in case I needed to put something else in the bag (because with kids of course you never know what they are going to hand you and say "can you carry this, mom?") It also needed to have room for all my favorite colored pencils so that I can see and put away each one quickly and quietly. On the outside? Yes!
You know what is perfect about stripes? And particularly ideal about stripes that are about 3/4" wide? They are exactly the right size for colored pencils... and you don't have to worry about making them uneven or taking the extra time to draw straight lines!
First I cut the fabric wide enough to wrap around the front, back and spine of my Bible. Added an inch on each side for extra space, and seam allowances. I cut everything double so that I could fully line the bag. I cut the strips for the sides and a long piece for the shoulder strap. Then I needed to figure out how to make the pockets for the pencil crayons. I have 23 that I use, which was too many to fit across the front... hmm... why not wrap the pockets around both short sides too? Wouldn't you know, that exactly the right size for half of the width of fabric so I can line the pockets too... have I said perfect enough times yet?!
A basting stitch along the bottom of the pocket panel and a teensy bit of gathering brought the width of the pocket panel in to just the right size (with the added bonus of giving each pocket a little more room for the pencil to fit). With the pocket and side panels in place, I stitched between each stripe (making a teensy little bubble shape with each one), and VOILA!
I had a couple inches of fabric leftover, so with the contents of my button box dumped on the floor I rooted through them to find a beautiful vintage button that looked like the perfect compliment to my new bag. Make flap, add button hole... and it's absolutely perfect.
Coloring in church this Sunday with my new bag was definitely better than dealing with that bunch of elastic-wrapped pencil crayons (though I expect my son would disagree). I'm looking forward to bringing along my "bag of many colors" to many more places!
Today I published the new Creative Kids page here on my website and I'm super excited to kick it off by sharing with you the latest project my son and I put together. I'm one of those moms that has been blessed with a Lego-kid. His creativity and attention to detail never cease to amaze me, and I myself enjoy getting down on the floor to rifle through our mountain of bricks with him when I can.
Quite some time ago, I stumbled across an image of a little sewing machine designed out of Lego. I don't actually remember which version was the first one I saw, but there are a few of them out there, including some pretty elaborate ones. I filed the idea away in the hopes that at some point I might try making one of my own..
My son came to me with the idea of making a video of him assembling something made of his beloved bricks, and I remembered the little sewing machines I had seen. Inspiration! I agreed that this would be fun... and suggested we design something brand new for this project. With thousands of bricks spread across the floor, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work! Several hours later... our Sewing Machine was complete..
As you can see, our version is very colorful. Wouldn't it be fun if there was a full sized model this vibrant?
There are a couple things I especially love about our little sewing machine. The foot petal, how cute is that? And we found a little hammer in our collection that made a perfect presser foot. We used an old window (this one is vintage... quite a bit of my son's Legos are the same ones my siblings and I played with when we were kids!) to use as an electronic control screen. The hand wheel on the side actually turns, and the thread on top can be changed out for different colors. There is even a bobbin winder and buttons.
This machine my son and I made together. I needed his input to make sure it would be one that other kids could make too, and as such we tried to use not too many pieces and only ones that are quite common. I think we succeeded, so I've put together the instructions for you, which you can download or follow along online!
And what about that video my son wanted to make?... We did that too!
If you have a minute (well, a minute and a half, to be precise), have a look. He's super proud of it, it's really fun, and I'm sure it will make you smile.
Inspired by our cute and colorful machine, a few nights ago I got busy digging through our bricks once again to see if I could make a little more "grown up" looking version using our basic design. Here's my modified version, in classic white (mostly):
This version uses a number of more specialized pieces, including flat tiles and slopes. The window is wider, and the buttons on the front are horizontal instead of in a square. I have to admit... I'm kind of in love with this little thing!
So now it's your turn! Grab some bricks, and start building!
Lego Sewing Machine Tutorial...
I've set this up as a slide show. Click on the right side of the image to advance, or choose a thumbnail below.
To download a PDF version, click here.
That stuff I should probably mention: This project is in no way associated officially with the Lego company. We just love the bricks and wanted to build! Shown here are both Lego brand and BricTek.
Autumn Grace is a staple winter pattern for my daughter. The many options this pattern offers means you can make a lot of different styles using this one base. New for 2017, an addition to the existing pattern is being released today and it is one that I'm sure you are going to love! Introducing... the Autumn Grace Split Collar.
This Add-on is available for free. For those who already have the Autumn Grace pattern and expansion pack, simply add it to your cart here on the website and check out. If you don't have Autumn Grace yet, you will need to purchase the original listing (which includes all the other options in the Expansion Pack that was released last year!).
Plus, today through Christmas Day, you can get 10% off Autumn Grace with the coupon code COLLARHAPPY.
Autumn Grace Split Collar Add-On
Original Autumn Grace & Expansion Pack
The instructions for this collar include measurements and details for how to make either a basic split collar, or the trimmed version that you see in all these photos. When given the option to choose which style during final testing, everyone who saw this collar wanted to try the trimmed one in spite of a few more steps being involved.. The result is unique and looks amazing!
I hope you all enjoy this new addition to the Autumn Grace options. I'm definitely looking forward to making many more myself!
A new addition to my Tips & Tutorials page today is a video showing exactly how to do the wrapped fleece binding technique on my Autumn Grace pattern. I LOVE this technique, and you'll see it in a few of my patterns that are designed for fleece. I'm hoping this video will explain this method clearly to those of you who might be unsure quite how or why this technique is used.
The main reason that I love using the wrapped fleece binding method for hems, cuffs, and even collars when working with fleece is that it takes some of the bulk out of the seams. When you are working with a thick fabric, the more layers of fabric in the seams, the thicker and stiffer those seams end up being. By removing as much bulk as possible, you allow the fabric to hang better and keep the seams nice and soft.
Clicking the image below will take you to the Tutorials section of my website where you will find the video showing how to wrap, pin, stitch, and trim the bottom hem on an Autumn Grace tunic. It also shows how this technique can be used in a similar way on wider pieces, such as the collar of the Finley & Quinn robe pattern.
I hope that this video is enlightening to those who have never used this method before, and that it will inspire you to give it a try!
Thank you so much for stopping by my little corner of the digital world. When I'm not designing (or, more likely, attempting to keep up with housework or schooling my three rug rats!) you'll probably find me with my nose in a book, escaping for a few precious moments into a world of fiction or learning with single-minded focus about my latest interest. Here, I'd like to share with you some of the things that I'm currently working on and a bit about all the ways I like to keep my creative juices flowing!
10OFF20 - 10% off orders over $20
15OFF25 - 15% off orders over $25
20OFF35 - 20% off orders over $35