Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sewing: Mod Shift Dress (Tutorial)

As many of you do, I love love love vintage patterns! I don't know what it is exactly, but I often find myself late at night trolling for patterns on Etsy and eBay in a nostalgic haze--a combination of good memories of sewing and visiting pattern shops with my mother, and the more idyllic times the patterns suggest--times when little girls dressed like little girls and their mothers dressed like ladies. The question for me when Jessica invited me to participate in Vintage May at Craftiness is Not Optional a few weeks ago was what sort of vintage clothing to sew...

I have sewn a lot of dresses for my girls from vintage patterns of the 40s and 50s. Lots of smock stylse and full dresses with Peter Pan collars. And it seems much of my sewing from contemporary patterns or those I've designed have a heavy vintage influence. I just love classic styles.

So for something just a little bit different I decided to go for more mod than classic and chose the 60s as my inspiration: the simple a-line dress with or without sleeves, plain or with applique, or rufflle or inverted pleat. And of course a few inches above the knee! This basic silhouette has a lot of possibilities.

Then I saw a little dress in Mini Boden and decided to do a tipped and rick-racked version of the mod shift dress in a bold print. Reminds me of the bright pop art of that era too. And, even better, I had the right fabric in my stash: Michael Miller Punchy Pique. So here it is, my Mod Shift Dress:

The perfect dress for warm summer weather in cool treat colors!

I like it so much I may have to make two more for a set of three! It just says "play" to me, especially with a pair of shorts underneath. And it would make my girls easy to spot on crowded summer field trips.

Want to go mod? I've got a tutorial to show you how to add tipped neck and armholes and rick-rack trim to an a-line dress pattern.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crochet: Ruffled Summer Scarf (Pattern)

A summer scarf? I think if it's cotton then "yes." Especially if it's ruffled cotton. This Ruffled Summer Scarf uses a mercenized cotton in a finer weight and the bright white just screams summer. To me anyway.

This is a different take on the Spring Frills Scarf of last year, with more generous ruffling and a bit more "air" in the stitches. I like it. It's feminine but also a bit ropey which makes me think "nautical" too. I love the texture and I think this would be gorgeous with white on white on white...

It is about two yards long and can be worn many different ways: wrapped a few times loosely with the ends pulled through,

...or wrapped and left long...

...or even piled cowl-like. I'm sure you could come up with others!

This is a great, easy project for using double-crochet. (See my how-to on double-crochet if you are learning crochet.) If you're interested in the pattern it's in my Etsy shop. (And, you may remember from this post, that I am running a coupon for 20% off everything in my shop to celebrate June. You're got just a  f e w  m o r e  d a y s....)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sewing: Fleece Camping Pillowcases

I had some leftover fleece from my cape costumes of a few weeks ago and a spare thirty minutes before leaving on our family's first camping trip so I decided to make some pillowcases! It was only an overnight trip with no food preparation required but I was still felling unsure about what to pack. So when in doubt, sew, I guess! It wasn't so much that we needed pillowcases, but I think this blue and white polka dot is cheery, and the fleece seemed cozy for a cool night outside. My girls agreed, and it was lickety split to new pillowcases.

Turns out a half-yard of sixty inch wide fleece is perfect for a queen sized pillowcase. I just folded the fabric right sides together, perpendicular to the selvedge, and sewed the two side seams. Then I turned under the selvedge edges one half inch and zigzagged the hem of the cases. I like the zigzag showing. Makes sense for this casual fleece I think. Took about five minutes.

The girls liked the fleece pillowcases so much they've been camping indoors too. Given all expenditures versus outcome I would say this is my most successful project this year! Maybe there is something to be learned here...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Craft: Scribble Initial T-Shirt (Tutorial)

My girls seem to love drawing more than ever right now. All kinds, all tools. Audrey spotted some "Stained by Sharpie" fabric markers at our local office supply store the other day and by the next day we had a set of Scribble Initial T-Shirts.

This was such a fun and easy project! It made me think I need to spend a lot more doing creative things with my girls, not just for them.  The really great thing about this particular project too was that my girls' uninhibited scribbles resulted in much better looking t-shirts than my more controlled pattern. So much for the worry about giving up control to them!

Wouldn't this be a great project for a birthday party? Or to make as gifts?

 I love seeing the different colors Audrey and Scarlett picked for their shirts. Each shirt is an original--just like the artists.

Have a little artist who wants to make a Scribble Initial T-Shirt? Click to view the full tutorial.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FYI: Posting for Color Your Summer Today

It's been a lot of guest posting lately! So many fun series. I am so happy Delia invited me to participate in hers: Color Your Summer 2012!

Last year I participated in Color Your Summer too, but I appeared on KoJo Designs with this Rainbow Wrap Skirt. Delia and Kojo are a great team for this and it's fun to be doing the other half of the series this year--and again with a skirt! Check out my Tie-Dye Tissue Hem Skirt right here. And scroll through to see all the other amazing projects these talented women are sharing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

FYI: Posting for Once Upon a Thread Today

I love the Once Upon a Thread series conceived and hosted by Katy at No Big Dill, and today, she's hosting me! Hop over and take a look at the book I chose and the outfit it inspired. Since finishing this project I keep thinking about other book and sewing pairings. Such a great concept, don't you think?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hand in Hand Book Winner

I keep thinking about where to hang some hand painted lanterns such as these featured in Hand in Hand... What about you? Do you have your list of projects for the summer?

Well, one of you will have the new book, Hand in Hand: Crafting with Kids to get you started. I loved reading all of your comments on the review. So many great ideas, fun projects (from simple coloring to Peter and the Wolf productions and dioramas!) and motivating approaches (supplies at the ready; scheduled craft days; etc.).

The winning comment, courtesy of,  is #45:

Lynn said...

"i subscribe via email to Aesthetic Nest (and so appreciate it) thanks!"

Congratulations, Lynn!

FYI: Celebrating June with a Shop Discount

School is out for us, Memorial Day has passed, it's June, and so it feels like the start of summer, even if it isn't official. June very well may be the best month of the year--not too cool and not to hot, and roses all in bloom, and it's also my birthday month. So to celebrate with you, my blog readers, I'm activating a coupon in my shop for 20% off off everything.

If you are interested in any of my patterns or printables June may be your lucky month! Before checking out, look in the Etsy shopping cart for a blue text link saying "Apply shop coupon code." Click on that link and enter the coupon code: BIRTHDAY20 

Have a happy June!
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