Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pattern Review: Carousel Top knit shirt

Ahh, summer.  A time for tee shirts and shorts.  Tees can be oh so practical but it is also nice to make ones that have some special details that set them apart.  Today I am reviewing a tee that has some simple but lovely feminine details for your basic tee shirt that your tween can live and play in.

Name of the pattern:  The top is the Carousel Knit Shirt. 

The pattern features:
  • Gathered neckline
  • keyhole back
  • button closure option
  • Gathered, set forward shoulder seams
  • gathered short sleeves
sewing pattern review

Pattern Source:  It is designed by Andrea Pannell for Go To Patterns.

Sizes available:  It comes in sizes 12 months to 12 years.

sewing pattern review
She chose to wear a cami under the shirt and you can see it a bit in the key hole

Special materials required:  The top is designed for knits, and so that is a must.  But the key hole has two options; one with the key hole closed, and one with a button closure.  If you choose the button, you will need a button.

Skill level required:  Andrea labels this pattern as a Beginner and I totally agree.  Her directions are clear and the details are nice but not at all complicated.

sewing pattern review

How you came to choose the pattern:

I do not have enough time to sew all of Abi's summer wardrobe so I decided to make just a couple cute pieces.  I was brainstorming options and that is when remembered this top.  I had sewn it in the past and liked it. 

sewing pattern reviewsewing pattern review

Good:  It is a lovely tee shirt with sweet details that do not take a lot of extra time.

Bad:  I have nothing bad to say.  The pattern is clear and the top is cute and it has a pretty timeless design.

Overall pattern rating:  I give this pattern 5 bolts!  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Making jeans

Lets face it.  As much as we love sewing dresses and seeing our little girls in them, they really live in pants.  And, if you are sewing for boys, pants are truly your main option for bottoms.

So, having a great go-to pants pattern is essential for daily-wear sewing projects.  But, that can seem a little boring.  And, you don't want to make the exact same pant over and over again.

You can always buy a new pattern (and we do want to support Indie designers and others that design for tweens) but our wallets can only handle so much.  Acknowledging this reality, I dedicated this post to showing how a change in fabric and technique can really change up the look of your standard pant.

Last year I reviewed the BurdaStyle dyed pant (After sewing so many burdastyle patterns I decided to be an affiliate and their add is on our page).  It is a great skinny jean pattern with professional finishes (though the instructions leave something to be desired).

burdastyle child sewing

Burda's Girl's Dyed Pant 02/2013

They were Abi's favorite pant that I made so she requested new ones with a few adjustments.  She asked for a pair to have wider ankles, a modified boot cut, and one with more straight legs.

The first new pair I made was out of a white stretch denim.  Not the most practical of pant material for a child, but they have held up well over the last 3 months.  I simply cut the pant more straight by not following the curves and then added some fancy top stitching with metallic thread to make them more special.

burdastyle child sewing pattern

These are simple adjustments and she loves the jeans.

(excuse the Christmas decor, please)

Next, I made some that were inspired by motorcycle riding pants.  On these, I uses some faux leather scraps to create accents on the pockets and fancy buttons to dress them up.

burdastyle child sewing pattern

burdastyle child sewing pattern

The changes I did to the pattern was to lengthen the leg and use some of her boot cut pants as an outline for the last 4 inches of the leg.  That seemed to do the trick though she wants them wider next time.  I also modified the technique for making built in knee patches that I learned from the blog MADE.  Basically I cut out the knee portion of the pattern for the front of the leg and basted it to the top of the front legs before sewing.  Then, I top stitched at angles with a thick top stitching thread to give the moto look.  Abi and I love this look and it is very practical for your rough and tumble kids.
I use variations of this technique on all of my younger boy's pants.

burda style child sewing pattern

What do you do to change up your pants patterns?  Do you have a favorite pattern for boys or girl pants?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Would They Wear That...Boys in Capris?

So this time around, we have a male/boy fashion trend version of "Would they wear THAT?"

Capris....what do you think? Will your male tween go for them?
image source
There seem to be a couple different trends within a trend though.  There is the classic twill version, like the ones above. Kind of like a good pair of khaki pants cut off.
Then there is the more fitted 'skinny' look, as seen below.
image source
There is the cargo pants look, which I personally think is the easiest for men/boys to pull off.
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And finally, the more harem style look...
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So what do you think, will your male tween wear capris...please tell us what you think!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pattern Review: Gloria Dress and Top

Recently I (Major Moma), had a chance to test the add on to the Gloria Dress by Peek-a-Boo Patterns. (affiliate link)  I love sewing PAB patterns, so I felt quite lucky to test this one. It was a wonderful sew and I am happy to review it.

sewing pattern review

Name of the pattern:

The Gloria Dress pattern is a lovely dress that is designed for a lace overlay.  After several requests, Amy designed an add on that gives directions for a circle skirt and a peplum option.

Gloria Party Dress
The dress can be purchased alone HERE.  Additionally, you can purchase an add-on (affiliate links) to the pattern that gives a pattern and instructions for a circle skirt; both at a dress length and a peplum length.  The add-on costs an additional $3.50.

sewing pattern review

Sizes available:  It comes in sizes 3 months to 12.  Picking the size for your child based on their measurements is essential.  My first one I made a straight 12 because I just wanted to get the construction down when testing.  Then, I adjusted the width according to Abi's size.  She runs a couple sizes smaller on the width than the length and that made an amazing difference.  The second run fit her beautifully so that adjustment made a big difference.

sewing pattern review

Special materials required:  The shirt can be made with just knit and be a casual top with a fun peplum.  Of course what is special about this pattern is the lace overlay option.  It has an option for the under layer to cut straight across the the chest or as a tank.  I chose a tank in order to give her more modesty as we are at that space in time when such things are growing more important to her.

sewing pattern review

Skill level required:  The lace overlay may look tricky, but it is not at all.  The pattern is great for beginners as it has no closures and is very simple.

Good:  Simple and beautiful.

Bad:  Here are the shots of my first shirt.  As you can see, the pattern is nice but it looks a bit odd if the width is not right.  But, isn't that the beauty of sewing for our children?  We get to make things custom for them!

Where as in the black lace versions, the cut is elegant, here it looks rather frumpy.  But, she still wears this practice version so it is not a complete loss.

Overall pattern rating:  I love this pattern.  Frankly, it is one of my favorites and I will definitely sew it again.  I give it 5 bolts!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fresh Air by BurdaStyle

Do you have a wedding to attend this summer or is your tween in need of some new dress clothes?

I know Easter is usually the big push for fancy clothes and that just passed.  But there always seems to be events in our lives that we need the kids to clean up and put on something other than jeans and a tee shirt.

BurdaStyle recently released a collection of dressy clothes that fit both tween girls and boys called the Fresh Air Collection. (This post contains affiliate links.)

Boy's Suit Jacket

Let's start with the boys.  Look at this stylish blazer!  I can just see a handsome 11 year old in this jacket with its trendy collar.

Boy's trouser
And to go with the blazer here are some trousers that are not too skinny but still hip.

Lace Dress with Peter Pan Collar

And now for the girls; here is a beautiful lace overlay dress with a peter pan collar and special button up back.

Open Blouse
I adore this open blouse that could dress up any outfit and could be used separate from this fancy collection.
Long Capped Sleeve Dress

And if you are looking for a longer dress, what do you think of this one?  I love the bow at the back too ... very feminine but not too little girl.

If you choose to sew any of these up, we would love to see how they look!  Let us know any tips or tricks you learned.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Haven acres Mini Collection

I recently had the chance to pattern test an entire mini collection by Jennuine Designs. The Haven Acres mini collection is inspired by equestrian clothing and consists of leggings,  blouse, and a hat.  Jennuine Designs is ran by Jennifer and most of her designs are for the younger set.

Until recently, Jennuine Designs only carried patterns up to size 8.  But much to our delight, Jenn has been working hard this spring to add patterns designed for tween sizes and I really want to commend Jennifer's dedication to making this collection work for older girls.

pattern review

Name of the pattern:

There are three pieces to this collection; Haven Acres Blouse, Dressage Leggings, and Sweet Pea Cap.  The top is a lovely peplum blouse designed for woven fabrics. It has a single button closure and elastic at the waist.  The leggings are inspired by riding pants and have an insert in the inner portion of the legs.  The legging pattern also comes with a standard version without the insert (like two patterns in one!).  And then there is a sweet riding hat with little ears on it.  I have to be honest here, even though this hat is sized so that most tweens could fit it, they may not want it.  Abi thought it was very cute, but she did not see herself wearing it.  (But one time she did leave the house in it and someone did give her a compliment.)  My four year old did love it though depending on who else lives at your house, it may be worth the purchase.

Pattern Source:  You can buy all of these patterns at Jennuine designs individually (I have links in the above paragraph for each garment.) or as a bundle.  If your girl is likes 18 inch dolls, she also has matching doll versions of these patterns available.

Pattern Review

Sizes available:The collection is sized from 3 months to 12 years and the hat ranges from XXS to L. 

Special materials required:  For the top, just about any woven would work great and you will also need bias tape (home made or purchased), 1/4 and 1/8 inch elastic, and a button (optional).  The leggings need knit fabric but the inner portion can be successful with a stretch denim or similar fabric if the outer leg is sufficiently stretchy.  And finally the cap needs an outer fabric, a lining and super stiff interfacing for the brim.  Some people used flexible cutting boards and I used an old plastic place mat instead and that worked great.

Jennuine Designs pattern review

Skill level required:  The top is easy but the hat and leggings require a little (not a lot) of skill.  The inserts in the leggings require some easing, so I would not pick this for my first knit project.  But, it is not that hard and a confident beginner could tackle them with success.  The hat is not complicated, but it does require accurate and straight sewing.  So again, not a project for first time sewers but with a few garments under your belt you will do just fine.

I did deviate from the pattern a couple times for the blouse.  The keyhole opening is designed to be in the front and either button or tie closed at the neckline.  However, my daughter is very self conscious about her newly required undergarments and strongly objected to the key hole.  So, I moved it to the back and made it a little smaller.  This adjustment was super easy and did not effect the fit of the top.  Also, on the below version I opted to not use elastic on the sleeves.

sewing pattern review

One tip is to carefully measure your child and cut the size accordingly.  My girl wears a twelve for length but I cut an eight for width.  This is a bit tricky for the inserts but it worked out great for the fit.  I gave her a little more width right at the rear end because she needed it there.  So, as always, sew the size and shape your tween needs.

Good:  The pattern instructions were very clear and easy to follow.  There were colored pictures and lots of diagrams.  She writes clearly and I did not have to read the instructions over and over.  I love the style of the Dressage leggings. The fit was excellent and I think there are lots of fun ways you could use color blocking or mixing of textures with this pattern.  We decided on one with bright colors and one that had a navy knit on the outside and navy stretch denim on the inside.  She wears the navy ones quite frequently.

sewing pattern review

Bad: Abi is not a big fan of the placement of the elastic on the top.  I think she would prefer it to be lower and we both would like the top to be longer.  These are easy adjustments and are a matter of taste though.

Ugly:  Nothing

Overall pattern rating: I would give the hat and blouse 3 bolts but the leggings 5 bolts.