Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolutions, part 1

Happy New Year to everyone! I figure it is New Year's Day already in much of the world, even if it is still December here in the Pacific Northwest.  I want to wish everyone a grand 2014, full of health, happiness, joy, success, not too much failure (because we do grow from those experiences), and much crafting.  Do you have resolutions? I have three!  

One, two stop feeling and being dumpy. I am going to reclaim my spirit and exercise and eat better and be the active, energetic person I feel I am in my heart.  

Two, I am going to sew and craft more, at least an hour a day.  

Three, I am going to blog more! I love reading craft blogs and I enjoy the connection I make to others so I pledge to increase that communication. 

These are three manageable goals, I believe, so I WILL be able to meet them. 

Here's a snippet of crafting to come at Handmade Dress Haven

First of all, I am going to sew mostly from my stash. I have enough fabric! I can sew a lot from only my stash, minor exceptions, and, to further that goal, I have joined the Stash to Cash 2014 group on Facebook. 

Minor exception is for more Jennifer Paganelli fabric so I can make this lovely group she gifted me into something for me. Perhaps a Sisboom Jenny!

This is going to become a baby outfit for a neighbor! 

Some tops for me!

From this pattern, Mamu Designs Ulla.

As I get down in weight, these patterns are waiting for me!

First off, however, is some clothing for my 10 year old tween. She fits kinda into larger Ottobre sizes, kinda into extra small Ottobre woman sizes. She's growing up too fast!!  At least, she lets me sew for her still.

Happy happy to you!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jennifer Paganelli-inspired holiday decorations

Do you love Jennifer Paganelli's SisBoom blog and fabric? I do!  And now, thanks to my lovely friend Jenny, of Sew Pretty Dresses, I get to participate in The Twelve Days of Jennifer Blog Tour!  For twelve days, some of us crafters/bloggers who also love Jennifer's crafts and fabrics are going to use her as inspiration for holiday sewing and crafting.  

First up, my JP connection.  I "met" Jennifer through Jenny. Jenny and I have been blogger buddies for a few years now, back from when I had my old blog, Too Many Hannas (because my girls had too many Hanna Andersson dresses). I started the Facebook sewing group, Handmade Dress Haven, and Jenny joined up and, at some point, added Jennifer and, at some point, she and I also became Facebook friends.  I have run the Facebook group for about four years now and I cannot remember exactly when this all happened, but, suffice to say, once you are friends with Jennifer, she becomes one of your cheerleaders and you cannot help but do the same with her. She is just THAT sweet and THAT inspirational.

So, for the last two months, I haven oohing and aahing at Jennifer's Facebook feed, full of lovely holiday craft items, mostly for sale at craft fairs near where she lives in Connecticut.  Since I literally live on the other side of the country, I have been only ogling them until the last two weeks.  I finally decided to do something inspired by her and now, with this blog tour, I get to share. I made three things, all inspired by Jennifer.

My big project is this little quilt!  Isn't it sweet!  I do not quilt, so this little quilt was a big deal for me.  As I was scrolling through the Sis Boom Blog, I found this post, from 2012. It totally inspired me to want to do something like a quilt.  I googled and googled and googled until I found this cute, free, quilt pattern.

And here is the result:

I chose this project because when I was a small child, my family lived in Panama for a few years.  One of the items we brought back with us is a wall hanging of a woven christmas tree. The bright colors always made me happy and I wanted to make a christmas tree wall hanging for my family. 

First step, I cut and arranged all the little squares and triangles and rectangles. 

The colors and patterns look so pretty together! They are not all from the same JP fabric collection, but they still look great side-by-side. 

I am not a quilter and do not have a walking foot but I think I did pretty good sewing it all together. The lines are almost all straight!!

I like how the bottom turned out, with it looking like a tree trunk. 

The extra fabric I used, from Joann's, is shimmery!  
It's like the tree is in a shimmery, fairy forest. 

The other projects I did are here. I have a lot of Natasha, in green, from Crazy Love, and I decided it would be lovely as ornaments. 

For this little wreath, I cut one inch long strips of Natasha and wound them around a small floral wreath. Tip: Put the glue on the wreath, not the fabric, and then gently pull on the fabric as you wind it around. That will make the fabric fit snug against the wreath and you won't have gaps. I would ric rac around it and added this little fabric strip "poinsettia" at the top. It's cute, huh?

I did something similar with this foam ball. I had planned to put a lot of sequins all over it but those dang things take a long time to push into the foam so I settled with four sequins in each section.  

Shimmery! Festive! Fun!  Just like Sis Boom!!

Please join the rest of the tour to see how others use Jennifer's inspiration for holiday sewing and crafting.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

30 days until Christmas! New Millie Rose Pattern

Did you know that there are 30 days until Christmas!  If you celebrate this holiday and you are a crafter, this is a big deal. This means you only have 30 days to finish your crafts!! Ack! This year, I want to do a lot of sewing and crafting so I plan to be very busy from here on out.  Technically, I started a week ago by making my youngest daughter this cute Christmas dress from the soon-to-be released Millie Rose Pattern.

Isn't this fabric fun! This is all Riley Blake fabric I got over a year ago and have been hoarding.  Last year, at this time, I had BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo) and was unable to do much sewing. So, this lovely fabric has been waiting for a year to be made into something fun. 

And here it is.  This new pattern is a flutter-sleeved dress with sleeves that meet in the middle in the back. It has a sash and several tiers to the skirt. Each tier has a ruffle. It is a fun pattern, pretty to make and wear.  As soon as it is released, which should be any day now, I will share the link to the pattern. You will love it!  My friend Melissa has a sweet and fun way of writing her patterns and they are a joy to make. They are well edited for fit and sewing technique and a pleasure to sew. Highly recommended.

Here are some photos of the dress in action. 
My daughter is wearing the dress with a top I made from an Ottobre pattern. 

Twirl factor is important!

Fun dress, fit is good! I made the size 7 so I expect it to fit this holiday and next. 

Hope you enjoyed reading this! 

I have lots more Christmas sewing to come and am looking forward to sharing!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Cottage Peasant dress by Handmaiden's Cottage

This week, I had the real pleasure of pattern testing for the lovely Lynn of The Handmaiden's Cottage.  She has a new dress pattern coming soon that she is going to call The Handmaiden's Cottage Peasant Dress.  It is a great pattern that makes a beautiful dress. 

Here is my version!  Isn't it gorgeous! This is my cutie patootie 6 year old modelling it.   This is a peasant dress pattern with faux apron in the front. It is has 3/4 length sleeves that have a casing just above the elbow.  My daughter loves to wear pretty dresses but they have to be comfortable. This one passed the comfort test!  Unlike some peasant dress patterns, this one's bodice pattern pieces are slightly different front and back so you get a great fit. The skirt is meant to be slightly long, at about high shin lenght.

It has a sash that ties in the back. 

Here is a closeup of how the faux apron meets the skirt, in the front.  Can you see that the skirt has one long ruffle and the faux apron has three ruffles? Such a pretty detail!

 The sleeve has a pretty casing detail.  You can see it here in the mostly turquoise fabric that matches the sash. 

I have had these fabrics in my stash for years, literally, waiting for the right project and finally I found it. The sleeve, bodice, and skirt fabrics are all from Timeless Treasures and the ruffle and sash are by Michael Miller fabrics.  The MM line was called The Big E but I don't recall what the TT line was called and it wasn't named on the fabric itself. Just said by Timeless Treasures. 

As with most young girls, twirl factor is very important!!

Head on over to The Handmaiden's Cottage Facebook page and give Lynn some love! The pattern will be released very soon. I will let you know when! You are going to love it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Vintage fabrics and shopping bags!

My lovely local friend, Margo, gifted me some great home decorator fabrics last week. Most of it is very vintage-y in feel.  I have not yet heard the story behind this gift but hope to do so soon. In the meantime, I decided to make her two of my great reusable shopping bags.  I updated the tutorial here.

Here's what I got! A big bag full of fabrics.  Isn't she sweet!

And here is what I made her. I made two. The orange feed sack print fabric came from her and the multi-colored is from Joann's Fabrics.

Thanks Margo! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Millie's Flutter dress and the challenge of what to wear to school

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of pattern testing for my friend Melissa of Millie Rose patterns.   Her Flutter dress is a pure confection, so frilly and pretty. I love it! 

 More recently, I have taken the pattern and made it some minor changes to it. I love to personalize patterns in this way, to make them fit either my vision or that of my daughter of both.  The first new version was made as a dress-up dress for my 6 year old daughter.  She is very sensitive to seams and fabrics and wanted something that was comfortable. Most store-bought dress-up dresses are not comfy, so this was made to be super comfy. All the seams are contained and the fabric is quilting cotton. The pink unicorns are from Timeless Treasures and the skirt fabric is Michael Miller, from the Fairy Frost line. It is hard to see in the photos, but these fabrics sparkle! 

 She wanted a long skirt but one that ruffled up in the front, for easy walking.  To make the skirt, I just played around with making two curved front pieces, with ruffle attached, and used them as the the front part of the skirt.   I made the whole dress a size larger than she usually wears so it will last a long time. She can wear it with a t-shirt underneath.


More recently, I used the pattern again, this time for a halloween dress. The inspiration for this dress comes from the very talented Jeannine at Kinder Kouture. Her Cinnamon Avalon dress is so pretty! And everything she makes is lovely!  It is also made from the Millie's Flutter pattern, but with a pretty, faux bow in front. 

I winged it on the bow and it turned out pretty cute! I got this cute fabric off ebay and then used scraps from my stash for the rest.  I had just enough of each for what you see.  It is very long, which she usually likes, but apparently it is too long for school. So, it will be shortened and, hopefully, worn to school tomorrow. Again, it is a is bigger so she can wear it longer.  

Elwood had to get into the picture! He's our super friendly kitty.  She's not pulling his tail.  She was just petting it! He will let you pet every single part of him, he is so easy going.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blogging mojo and the Knottygirl Boho

 It's been a while since I blogged last! I lost my mojo. A lot of personal stuff overtook me, from being sick myself to having sick kids to being busy with the kids' school and more.  And I just couldn't find it in me to write a post. 

But I am back! And I have a lot of sewing to share!


First up, I finished up a special project.  Last May, a friend I made online, Carole, passed away from TTP (Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura). I do not begin to understand what that means except that it was pretty sudden. Carole was a fun online friend and I knew her from sharing a love of the same girl's clothing brands and for sewing. She was in my Facebook sewing group and we chatted often via personal message. She was a fun gal.  Her death left a hole in my heart.  

When she died, she left behind a burgeoning sewing business called  Kook's Closet. Kook was the nickname her grandkids gave to her.  She also left behind a stash of fabric.  I offered to help her grownup daughters identify and sell the fabric and ended up getting involved in making them some special items from their mother's fabric.

Here are the Knottygirl Boho hobo bags I made from some of their mother's fabric and some of mine.  First of all, if you are not familiar with this Red Label Patterns bag pattern, it is great!  It is a lot of fun to make and use. Heather, the designer, did a great job making this pdf pattern simple to use and read. It has a lot of pictures and easy-to-follow instructions. I highly recommend it. I have made, as of now, four large bags and one small. Fun stuff!

First up, this teal and red beauty.  I was sent the florals and added the dots and stripes.  The white ribbon was my touch and, as you can see above, the girls sent me their mom's tags to add as a final, loving touch.  The bag is 19.5" x 15" x 6.5" in size. 

Full view

Inside has four pockets!

This orange and blue on is going to be a diaper bag for a baby boy.  If you cannot tell, this is Goodnight Moon fabric. I added the orange straps and the inside pocket fabrics. 



And here is the one I made for me! They sent me some fabric, too, of my choice and I chose this lovely kitty fabric from Alexander Henry.  I added some Moda PB&J fabric and had some fun with it. 

Closeup of details. 

Pocket. I played with some fancy stitches. 


Last, but not least, the final bag I made for the girls.  I was sent the blue and yellow fabrics and added in the blues. 

They also sent me some custom Kook's Closet buttons, which I sewed on each bag. Such a sweet touch. 

This was a fun and sweet project.  RIP Carole