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When you wear a full length yo-yo Kimono to Quilt Market, you are bound to connect with fabric loving people. That is what happened when I went to the Riley Blake Designs booth last Fall. I talked fabric with many of the designers and daydreamed of projects to make with all of their fun and interesting designs. I spent considerable time with Gerri Robinson of Planted Seed Designs. I enjoyed seeing her earlier collections and I fell in love with her newest collections Gem Stones.


These designs are fantastic! The prints feature an ombre confetti pattern that runs from selvedge to selvedge. There is a kaleidoscope of color choices with an underlying texture and metallics.

My excitement for this collection was evident and we discussed a collaboration to trumpet the release of the collection which is now available!

From the collection, I chose Multi Blue Raspberry though I LOVE every color and variation. I am obsessed with the vertical direction of this ombre design and the saturation of the colors. I chose to make Simplicity 8146, an easy summer sundress.


This simple dress pattern showcases the fabric without being busy or having complicated pieces.


The layout of the fabric required some thought to maintain continuity of design. 


I tied it all together by choosing the darker section of the fabric for the front and back ties and shoulder straps. 


I made the size medium of the pattern and did not like the bodice fit. The dress is meant to have a blousing effect in the bodice. The medium was too big and required the insertion of 2 darts in the underarm seams.  On the inside, I folded in 2 inches at the top and tapered to a point at the waistline. It was a quick fix to remove 4 inches from the side seams.


Slight fit issues aside, this is a fast dress to make and will be a summer staple for me. 


My son did not see me make this dress, only the completed photos. His first question was to ask if I dyed the fabric myself because it "looks just like something you would do"! That made me so happy! I was drawn to it when I  saw it and love the dress I made with it.  

Happy Sewing,
Bianca

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Oh my goodness, I love this jumpsuit! 


I had big plans for my most recent acquisition from Natures Fabrics.  I ordered three black and white prints with large Polka Dotslarge stripes and micro stripes . My plan was to incorporate these three fabrics into a fun outfit. I planned on a slim leg stripe jumpsuit with a fun polka dot over-skirt.


I chose to sew Simplicity 1158, but when I saw the wide leg view, my '70's soul child spoke up and I made a switch up. I loved the dramatic vision of the over skirt, but as I thought about practicality, I couldn't go through with it. I have skinny calves and couldn't see myself wearing the slim leg jumpsuit without the over skirt. I also couldn't see myself wearing the dramatic combo in everyday life.

                         
I decided to go with a simpler, yet wearable look. I went with the micro stripes for the bodice and the large stripes for the pants, the yoke and the back ties.


 To pull it all together, I made the waist tie with a solid black cotton from my stash.


The pattern construction was straight forward, but I made a few tweaks. The pattern is drafted for woven fabrics, but I used knits. Both are very stable with good recovery. This allowed me to cut them on the cross-grain to showcase vertical stripes.
Laser-cut pattern weights available in my Etsy store.
I added a bias casing to accommodate the elastic instead of using the suggested, folded up seam allowance casing. Such narrow casings are ridiculous to me. With the added bulk of the pockets, it would be a task to get the elastic through without a headache; I wasn't about to fiddle with that. I centered the casing over the seam line and stitched the edges down leaving an opening for insertion. 


This change allowed me to use wider elastic and makes for a more visually prominent waistline when it is not belted.
  

I shortened the "sleeves" by 1 1/2 inches. After construction, I felt it porturded too far giving a 80's shoulder pad vibe. I cut them down and re-hemmed with my cover stitch machine. 


The change to a knit fabric meant there is more flexibility and ease of getting in and out of this. The back overlap is secured only with the neck ties to allow for getting in and out easily with a woven. It is unnecessary with this fabric so I will stitch across the back overlap so it goes not fall open with wear. 

          
Every time I make a jumpsuit or see one on social media, there is a comment about the impossibility of using the bathroom while wearing one. I don't understand that. I have been potty-trained for 40+ years. I know when I need to go and how to hold it if the restroom is less than ideal. "But you have to get naked in the bathroom!" If I didn't wear underwear daily, I still wouldn't be concerned, the bathroom is the most (second most?) naked friendly room I know of.


There are probably larger issues behind the jumpsuit objections, the ones I can come up with are all medical. If health problems are the root of these objections, I will mind my own business.



Jumpsuits have been around and keep coming back around into fashion and I am here for it! This is my second jumpsuit of the year and I foresee more to come! This pattern has been in my stash for a few years and I am glad I made it up. I think I will get lots of wear with this one. I will be making  assorted waist ties to add pops of color versatility for greater use.


On which side do you fall in the jumpsuit debate? Do you wear them or is it a pass for you?

Happy Sewing,
Bianca
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Do you have a sewing task that you have avoided because of repeated failures? For me it has been sewing buttonholes. When I started sewing all those years ago, I wanted to make all the things! I had a good foundation in sewing and did not expect problems not of my own making. No matter how well prepared I was, I would have one or more failed buttonholes. It got to the point where I just decided it wasn't worth it to try and fail with them. I have a new sewing machine with digitally calibrated buttonholes. I figured it is time to tackle my fear.

Looking through the Riley Blake catalog at the Sweet Stems collection, I was inspired to make a floral shirt-dress. I was drawn to Sweet Stems Main Dark Blue and  Sweet Stems Dots Green. The beauty of these prints could surely get  me over my buttonhole aversion. 


 
I wanted a pattern to use both of my fabric choices and reached into my vintage pattern stash and found Mccalls 4992.


This maxi shirt-dress pattern with its back/shoulder yoke and waist tie was a perfect canvas for these fabrics. The construction was a breeze and the buttonhole anxiety was much ado about nothing! All of the buttonholes sewed effortlessly on my Bernina 535. After stitching, I added Fray Check to the front and back of the buttonhole, allowed it to dry, then cut them open with my buttonhole cutter. This gives a cleaner cut to the threads and prevents frays over time.


I wanted to bring in a bit more of the contrasting fabric to the front of the dress. I used a button cover kit to make my own fabric buttons. It was a quick and easy process and a fun addition to this dress.


I am working on making a wardrobe of interesting yet, everyday wearable pieces. I love that this dress can serve as a layering piece over my staple of jeans and a t-shirt.


I love the ample crescent shaped side pockets that eliminates the need for a handbag for quick trips to pick the kids up from school.


I added simple thread carriers to the side and center back seams. Though not functional when worn open, I like the look of the belt tied in back.


The contrasting fabric balances the bold floral by adding an unexpected interest.



When I need to be more than casual Mama, I love wearing it as intended buttoned-up and with its' twice wrap around belt tie. 



This is a slight departure from the dresses I normally make and I am liking it loads.

The belt pulls in the fullness in the back for a nice silhouette. 


I love this dress and how I feel triumphant in finally getting past my problems with buttonholes. 



What sewing related task do you avoid because of fear or failure? It took a machine upgrade to get me through it. What do you think will get you past yours?

Happy Sewing,
Bianca

                                   
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Little Miss and I were sorting through her wardrobe to pack away clothes that she has out grown. I got sappy and nostalgic reminiscing about the projects she has inspired over the years. She asked what my sad face was about. I told her it was a mix of her growing up so fast and outgrowing me-made before they were worn out. She immediately reached in the storage bin, pulled out a dress and said, "What do you mean? My daughter is going to have the cutest clothes!" Proud Mama win!!!!

She then went on to remind me that we have a stack of Riley Blake Fabrics, she is still growing and my hands aren't broken! In other words, get to making her more clothes! The Serenade collection will be releasing soon and I am always surprised by her choices! This time she went with:
Serenade Bouquet Tide
Her garment tastes are a blend of twirling flowy pieces with the added practicality of play.


She wanted decided she wanted the tunic in Mccalls 7888 view A. She likes the style and the fact that the model looks like her was a deciding factor. Another  bit of proof that representation matters!
She loves the feminine fabric with the security of the elastic of the on or off the shoulder neckline. It keeps her secure with her active play.


To increase longevity of wear, I went up a size to a 12 and added elastic to the back waistline seam to gather in the extra fullness. 



For my top, I went way back in my time machine for a pattern that I could use to mix prints. 


The vintage Simplicity 8587 is a simple pattern to showcase the coordinating Serenade Dot Tide print I chose.


 It is a fast and easy make and in line with my goal of making everyday pieces.



I love that is a good stash busting pattern and how cute is that little tie?  




Little Miss has advised me to enjoy this shirt, wear it well and keep in mind that she gets all of my hand-me-downs! "I do want my daughter to have cute clothes, right?"  


Happy Sewing,
Bianca

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Will this weather make up its' mind? We go through the 4 seasons in a week on the Texas Gulf Coast. These indecisive weather changes has helped me identify holes in my wardrobe. I am in desperate need of separates, specifically tops in fun fabrics.

The Bliss line by Riley Blake Designs is full of designs that foot the bill.
 
From a few of my previous collaborations with Riley Blake Designs (Let's Be Mermaids, In Bloom ), you will remember I love the metallic fabrics they offer and I gravitate to them every time.




I used Simplicity 8137 to make this fun peplum wrap top.


It is just enough shine and sparkle to jazz up a pair of jeans.


I love the fit and cut it straight from the envelope with no major adjustments. I only added a hook and eye closure to the wrap front to keep it from gaping. If I made it again, I would lengthen the peplum by about three inches.


I used the black sparkle stripe to make a pair of shorts to wear with the top. I used Simplicity 1464. I have recently introduced the kids to Family Matters, we love it, but I think it subconsciously influenced my shorts choice. After I made this, I saw Laura in a very similar outfit! I couldn't believe I was channeling my '90's! I couldn't bring myself to wear it here!  


I think it works together, but I will likely not wear it like this. The shorts look great with a black tank top and when it warms up again, I will share that pairing.


Blissful Sewing,
Bianca

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There are some fabrics I buy, hold onto, and treasure for years without cutting into them. I may fear ruining them, cannot decide how to use them, or want to enjoy the dreamy limbo and promise of indecision.  

When I saw Hedge Rose by Kelly Panacci I knew I would be propelled in the opposite direction. The direction of wanting to immediately wrap my entire body in the fabric as soon as possible!


I absolutely love the roses against the rich navy in this floral design. The background texture really adds a depth to the print that I just love.


I knew I wanted to make a garment that took advantage of every available fiber!

  
I chose to make a maxi dress using Simplicity 8635. I thought the roses were a lovely compliment to the sweetheart neckline and shoulder straps.

The pattern is very straight-forward to sew with no surprises

Laser-cut pattern weights available in my Etsy Store.
I had concerns about coverage and the strength of the straps for the bodice. I made no adjustments to the pattern and it has me well-covered. 


I got dressed and took these photos alone. There is slight pooling of fabric above the waistline because I tied the dress myself. This resulted in my pulling the bodice down. When hubby helped me before, it fit perfectly without the issue.


I like how the loops and tie secure the back above the invisible zipper.


If I am going to make a lined dress in fabric I love, the only thing that makes it supreme is, pockets!  


I love this fabric! I love this dress! Hubby has plans for seeing it as is, on date night. I also have plans for pairing it with a leather or denim jacket for a girls night out!


This fabric was released this month and should be at quilt stores if not now, soon. When you get ready to buy, be sure to get a bit more than you think you will need; you will not regret it!

Happy Sewing,
Bianca
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I have confession, I felt a bit guilty about sharing this early Spring make.  I see my friends blanketed in snow, making Blackwood Cardigans and Toaster sweaters with no promise of the weather changing for the better. I wondered if it is impolite or bragging even, to bask in the sun with 60 degree temps? I considered waiting to share this until the national forecast improves.



Then my brain kicked in. None of these friends were complaining about the weather! They were not sulking in their cozy beautifully made clothes! They are not policing whether (hahaha!) I, or anyone, is making seasonally appropriate clothes! I totally projected my miserable Midwestern winters onto people! I would resent happy sunshiny clothes if I were freezing, but I can be petty when I am miserable. I am trusting that you reader, are more adult than I and will enjoy this dress regardless of your temperatures. 




I bought the Mccalls 7894  pattern as soon as it was released! I fell in love with the seam lines and saw the potential for color-blocking and hand-sewing in organic cotton jersey.   
                             
I love the wide assortment of colors of jersey available at Nature's Fabric. I am working my way toward using all of them in time. Figuring out the combination of colors to use with this dress was the hardest part.

Laser-cut pattern weights available in my Etsy Store

In the end, I chose Coral (1 yard), Mustard (1.5 yard), Sea Blue (1.5 yards) and Off White (.5 yard).
         

The pattern is designed for woven fabrics and with a side invisible zipper. I wanted the style of A with the length of B. I made a few simple modifications to adjust it for sewing this jersey fabric.  I sized down to account for the stretch of the fabric and body skimming, but not clinging, ease. In the interest of time, I used my serger for the internal seams reserving hand-sewing for the visible seams. 

Here are the changes I made:
  1. Sew the bodice darts on lining back
  2. Stitch bodice lining front to back at shoulders, press seams open
  3. Using a wide zig-zag stitch, sew clear elastic to the wrong side of fabric along the length of front and back neckline  
  4. Stitch sides together from seam top to bottom ignoring zipper opening  
  5. Repeat steps 1,2 and 4 on bodice front 
  6. Continue construction for view A from step 5 to 22
  7. Sew skirt panels together, ignoring the zipper opening
  8. Using a wide zig-zag stitch, sew clear elastic to the wrong side of fabric along the waistline top 
  9. Continue sewing per pattern instructions
I love the look of hand-sewn stitches and with this color-blocking I could not resist adding them here. I folded the seams to one side and with button and craft thread and a hand-sewing needle, stitched them down. I used a double strand of button and craft thread because of its strength and weight.  I did not apply these stitches to the waistline or neckline because it would reduce the stretch.


Brace yourself, I am giving you a close booty shot next. Not a normal angle for me, but the lines of the blocking work really well in the back.


Because the jersey does not fray, I left it raw to curl in time.  


This turned out exactly as I expected. I am on the fence about how I feel about the sleeves, however. I have a baby face and I am often mistaken for much younger than I am. The gathered sleeve cap and elastic casing with these crayon colors feels a bit "sweet" to me. I may remove the casing  and let them flow loosely. What do you think?


This dress is very comfortable to wear, it is like wearing my favorite t-shirt with a twist. I am thrilled with this final color combination and see the potential for another, maybe in maxi length, on the horizon.

Happy Sewing,
Bianca




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A couple of weeks ago, my Little Man had a free dress day at school. He could ignore the dress code and wear whatever he wanted. Without hesitation, of all the clothes in his closet, me-made or ready to wear, he chose a pinstripe blazer! It was the most natural looking thing for my suave guy.

The new "Sweet Baby Boy" fabric line by Riley Blake Designs is so adorable and made me nostalgic for the years gone. When I showed the designs to him and asked which he wanted, I expected the most playful designs for his staple of pajamas.  
 

He surprised me by choosing the most "grown-up" options with the stars motif to be made into a "man outfit." I offered to make a vest, set of suspenders and pants. He thought I was overdoing it and instead decided he wanted 


a bow-tie (Simplicity 1506)



that used both fabrics

   
 Pants with pockets for keeping important things (Mccalls 6222)


 with a bit of contrast fun inside



And some fancy pants with turned-up cuffs  



He is dressed for success in his new clothes and fully-equipped for making moves. 

My Little Man is the funniest person I know. He is one of the few people in the world who can genuinely surprise me. He is decisive, driven and smart as a whip. I am so grateful I to get to make clothes that he thinks will help him change the world. Any changes he makes will be for the better.

Happy Sewing,
Bianca

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I am a bit obsessed with fabrics with metallic accents lately. I don't know if my fabric tastes were going that way or if those fabrics produced by Riley Blake Designs, are feeding that obsession.  


For this project, I chose the In bloom Gold Dot Sparkle and In bloom Gold Stripe Sparkle with the plan of making Butterick 6351 in the jumpsuit pictured in view D.
When the fabric arrived, I was double teamed by the Littles! Both kids loved the sparkle and dots and stripes and asked (cute puppy-eye pleaded) for me to switch my plan to include projects for them. My jumpsuit plan needed a switch up.
  

I stuck with the pattern and decided on the dress from view C. I used the stripe for the front of the dress,  



and both the dots and stripe for the back




This dress style is a departure from my usual and I like it; the saturated gold is so beautiful. 


The children, proud of their victory, chose coordinating shirts with their share of the fabric.



Little Miss chose a tunic from Simplicity 8105. The insets were perfect to add stripe accents to contrast the polka dots.


The Little Man is on a never-ending quest to always wear pajamas! He chose the top from Simplicity 8806 and added a stripe pocket. The back and sleeves of both are made with a plush knit from my stash. 




I have been told that the days of them wanting me to make their clothes will come to an end. When we are scrapping it out over fabric catalogs and fabric deliveries, I can't see it. It brings me such joy to hear their input on their style, color choices and reasons behind them. They are so proud to wear the clothes they "designed" and I make for them. I will sacrifice any amount of yardage to hold onto those moments and share this process with them!

Happy Sewing,
Bianca
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Little Miss loves for me to sew for and with her. Lately, she has gotten very vocal about what she does, and does not want me to make. I used to be able to make something for her and receive a grateful smile and thanks. Now, as she is getting older, we discuss her tastes, preferences and her role in the sewing process. She says she does not want me to waste time making something

Today, I am sharing  Lets Be Mermaids   a collaboration between Riley Blake Designs, Little Miss and Me.

                   
The Lets Be Mermaids collection is a fun line with designs we both loved! It has that perfect mix of feminine, cute, whimsical designs in a Springy range of colors. We were immediately drawn to the beautiful Scallops Periwinkle Sparkle with its' vibrant gold accents.The Let's Be Mermaids Main Mint
is a fabric we both squealed about when we saw it. The racial diversity of the mermaids spoke to this Bahamian island girl and meant we had to have it. 


I gave her creative control of this project and loved that she chose a jumpsuit (New Look 6389). It is perfect for the rambunctious play she enjoys while showcasing her personal style. 


She is a girl who loves frills and fluff, only if it does not get in the way of her fun. 
She chose this pattern because of the bodice flounce option and the shoulder strap style that suits her taste.         


This was a fast project to make and she was anxious to take it for a spin.

To complete her outfit, I designed and made this interchangeable bag for her. It is a child version of my Girls Night Out Tote bag that she can play with.


The body of the bag uses the Let's Be Mermaids Main Mint (silver metallic Essex linen for the front panel).
and it is lined with Scallops Periwinkle Sparkle with the Mermaids for a pocket to store the dress-up pieces.
She can dress her up as a mermaid 
or a regular girl. She can change her hair and clothes for endless hours of fun! 
We love this collection and have clearly been inspired by the lovely fabric. She wants lots more rompers in the other prints in the collection and personalized bags for all of her friends. 

If you would to make a bag for your little mermaid or merman, please tell me in the comments. I will be writing the pattern and seeking testers for girl and boy variations of the kits. If you would like to be considered as a tester, please send me an 

Sign up to follow the blog or follow on Instagram to stay up to date on all of the happenings.


May your weekend be filled with lots of fun and the whimsy that can only come from the thrill of letting go to be mermaids. 

Happy Sewing,
Bianca and Little Miss



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