Monday, December 30, 2013

FYI: Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas, Friends! I hope you've all been enjoying some time making memories with friends and family. The best part about this holiday for me is gathering. We have spent a lot of time with family making the dishes we've enjoyed for years, eating meals together, singing, playing games--and a first for our girls this year, skiing! 

I was happy I managed to squeeze in some traditional cookie baking so we've had plates of them sitting around to nibble on. I also managed to sew some handmade gifts, which I'll share in a bit. Didn't manage to finish new Christmas dresses so I think they'll be New Year's dresses. (Thankfully they aren't red and green.) But the compromises were worth it for more time with people (a lesson I keep trying to learn when facing a long list of tasks for people!).

We mailed out a Christmas card again this year (one of my favorite traditions)--this time of my own design. You may recognize what the girls are wearing: a combination of Easter dresses and the pom-pom trimmed Bateau Neck Dress

It's a good time of year to reflect on our many gifts. The people who enrich our lives and the blessings we've received and the faith that sustains us. I'm thankful too for the opportunity to make things and share them with you.

Best wishes this holiday season for the things you are celebrating, and happy new year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sewing: Winnie Shrug in Shearling

I'm busy busy getting ready and enjoying time with family this Christmas season. But I wanted to pop in and say hello.

We've had snow upon snow, which is welcome this time of year. Makes me want to stay home and turn up the carols. Hopefully I won't have to venture out again after one last quick(?) trip tomorrow morning. Then I can stay home with the girls, hopefully bake another batch of cookies, and finish the projects I'm sewing this year.

My list of presents to make is a bit ambitious given the timeframe but I'm doing my best. Which for me this year also means choosing the more important things, such as time with family and friends. I had to shelve the Christmas dresses (drat! scrapped them altogether last year...) until immediately following Christmas. It will be OK. They'll work in January. But I did finish this little shrug for Audrey. She was so excited about it because it's cozy! It's a Winnie Shrug--a pattern I've got in the works (Update: now available here!) based on the original boiled wool version I sewed for Tess during Katy's Once Upon a Thread a couple years ago. I also made one for Scarlett a few weeks ago during the Winter Wonderland tour. Hopefully this will be one of the things I finish up at the start of the New Year. Can't believe it's almost here! We'll see what gets done...

Best wishes to you in your hustle and bustle for the holidays.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Giveaway: Charley Harper Bateau Neck Dress Kit

I worked with Birch Fabrics to produce a hotpad tutorial with their Elk Grove decor line earlier this year and at the time I spied a preview of their Charley Harper fabrics. I was smitten! Couldn't wait to get my hands on them--especially the knits because I was all about knits for a couple months there! I love Charley Harper's bird and bug drawings with their color fields and modern lines. What a great thing to apply them to fabrics. So I was thrilled with Birch Fabrics asked me to sew a sample for Quilt Market with a Charley Harper knit.

I picked my Bateau Neck Dress--the elastic waist variation with the traditional three-quarter length sleeves and Charley Harper "Twigs" in tomato. I had been wanting to make this dress in a Fall/Winter version. I think it's cute with boots and a faux fur vest. Looks a bit like Christmas. (Wish I could take credit for that vest but it was a purchase last year.)

While I didn't get to go to Quilt Market it was fun to think of this little number hanging there. And even more fun? I'm teaming with Birch Fabrics to giveaway a kit so one of you can make your own Charley Harper Bateau Neck Dress! 

Just enter below between now and December 23 and after the holidays one of you will receive:

Multiple entries are accepted. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sewing: Prairie Rose Pattern Testing

I was so lucky to have a great group of testers help me finish up my Prairie Rose Set pattern. No matter how carefully I proof my own work it is impossible to catch everything so thank goodness for other eyes.  It's also such great validation to see how other sewers create with one of my patterns. I'm excited to show you what they came up with, starting with Mary Jo from All This for Them (above) who sewed the blouse and pants. The blouse fabric is a vintage sheet--so perfect! Below is Carolina from Dotted Whale who made the dress in this beautiful voile--she calls the dress "Laura Ingalls." 

Leah sewed a blouse and skirt (and she made coordinating pants too) in beautiful prairie-inspired colors.

Carolyn from Moose Mouse Creations added mini pom-pom trim to her blouse and pants! So adorable!

You'll have to click through to see the rest!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Etsy Shop Promo: 20% Off

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. I am grateful to you for stopping by here occasionally, leaving me a comment, and especially for sharing things you've made based on an idea you saw here.  It's such a thrill to think you would like to sew, knit or crochet something after one of my designs! If you are in the mood to get a new pattern or perhaps some party printables I wanted to share the discount code active in my Etsy shops right now.

This code is good for 20% all your purchases through Wednesday, December 4 at:

Wee Muses Etsy Shop (for Wee Muses sewing patterns)
Aesthetic Nest Etsy Shop (for sewing, knitting, and crochet patterns as well as party printables)

Good luck getting back into the groove this week!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sewing: The Prairie Rose Set (Pattern)

Hello, Friends. Gearing up for the Thanksgiving holiday? Or gearing up for the holidays? I am trying to do both, but I've also been finishing up a sewing pattern I've been working on for well over a year (phew! seriously?!). With the help of a great team of pattern testers (more about that in a subsequent post) I am happy to announce it's finished! The Prairie Rose Set is available here in my Etsy shop

So I'm celebrating with a coupon code, THANKS20, for 20% off all purchases in my Aesthetic Nest Etsy Shop and my Wee Muses Etsy Shop. You can use it during this big retail holiday push from now through Monday, December 2. (So that's 11/25/13 - 12/2/13) Enjoy it!

The Prairie Rose Set is the second in my line of Wee Muses Sewing Pattern. It's pretty different from the first--the sporty Bateau Neck Top. This one is all girl. But in the best way: The Prairie Rose Set was inspired by the strong women who rode horses with the men and defended their homes on the wind blown prairie, but also kept the floors swept, loved a pretty new dress, and laid out a gingham tablecloth for supper. This set is ultra-feminine but practical too for running, riding or dancing around--it's got pants.

The Prairie Rose Set is a 75 page PDF file but you only need print the pattern pages I've specified for the item you're sewing. (Note: To save paper printing, cutting and assembly I've included dimensions rather than patterns for the rectangles to cut for the ruffles.) This pattern was tested in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia and is fit to print on letter-sized or A4 paper. 

I love to include a lot of value in my patterns, not only in terms of quality, but also in terms of options and variations. I think this one is a particularly great value because The Prairie Rose Set includes patterns and instructions for:
  • The Prairie Rose Blouse
  • The Prairie Rose Dress
  • The Prairie Rose Pants
  • The Prairie Rose Maxi Skirt

This combination of Prairie Rose Blouse and Prairie Rose Maxi skirt is my latest favorite outfit on Scarlett. There is a lot of fullness, especially with all the ruffles but the skirt is narrower through the hips and the longer length balances everything. She loves wearing it. I've kept it simple in one fabric plus a western belt, but you could also switch it up with different prints for the blouse and skirt, or with a contrasting sash or even contrasting ruffles. 

The patterned is sized for girls 18 months through 8 years of age and I've included all pattern specifications in the traditional English units (yards and inches) as well as metric units (meters and centimeters)--hooray! I've also got a section called "Fit Tips" for extra advice on getting the perfect fit.

You might recognize the blouse from Scarlett's Prairie Rose Birthday Party. She wore it with the Prairie Rose pants for that event, and I made a Prairie Rose Dress for Audrey to wear.  This pattern set offers all sorts of possibilities for your “ruffle and tumble” girl!

As with all of the Wee Muses Sewing Patterns, The Prairie Rose Set:
  • is digitally graded and drafted for the greatest accuracy
  • includes markings and guidelines for easy pattern printing and assembly
  • includes full-color photo tutorials and step-by-step sewing directions
  • has been heavily tested by seamstresses of a variety of sewing levels.

I still love the first Prairie Rose Blouse and Pants set I sewed for Tess and I have more Prairie Rose things in the works, which I will hopefully share soon. But wait until you see what my testers came up with. It's so rewarding to see beautiful clothing sewn with one of my designs. I hope this pattern will become a favorite for many of you.

I've used this pattern for a couple birthday celebrations now, but I was thinking it would be great for the holidays too.

You can find The Prairie Rose Set sewing pattern in my Wee Muses Etsy shop where you can also use THANKS20, for 20% off all purchases.

If you are celebrating this week, please have a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Giveaway: Sucré Macarons

Starting your holiday shopping? Or at least starting your shopping list? I'm trying... In the meantime I have a giveaway that might just help you check something off your list!

Sucré, a beautiful shop in new Orleans, is offering one of my readers in the U.S. their fifteen piece Signature Macaron Collection. Yum!

I love French macarons with their almond pastry and sweet fillings! For what it's worth, I love the coconut variety too. But these are the ultimate sweet thing, aren't they? And so beautiful.

Sucré was kind enough to send me a selection of these goodies so I could give a firsthand report. Yep: delicious! The girls thought so too.

In addition to French macarons, Sucré offers artisan chocolate bars, Big Awesome Cookies, toffee, gourmet drinking chocolate, homemade marshmallows & southern candied pecans. I really wish I could drop in personally. They also offer King Cakes, which are sold every year from King's Day (January 6) to Mardi Gras. I've never tried one. Have you? Sounds like a great way to lift spirits post-holiday. 

Tempted? Click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter by leaving a comment. The giveaway will end next Tuesday, November 26, and the winner will be announced here. Good luck! (this giveaway is only open to residents of the U.S..)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sewing: Winter Wonderland Kid Style (Pattern Anthology Review)

Don't you just love the Winter Wonderland Pattern Anthology? It's such a great concept to introduce a bundle of coordinating patterns at an incredible price. This collection of eight patterns is available at 40% off through November 18--just two more days!

The talented team behind Pattern Anthology put together a great tour of bloggers to introduce Winter Wonderland. You can see all their interpretations in the Gallery here. And today I'm sharing mine.

I chose two of the patterns to sew for my girls' Fall wardrobe. The first is the Juliet Capelet (love that clever reference to The Bard in that name) by See Kate Sew. I fell in love with the pixie hat version of this cropped cape and thought it would be a trendy topper in a bold plaid.

Plaid seems to always be a stylish option but this season it seems an especially popular look. I happened to have this great tan, black and red fabric in my stash. Looks like the British plaids I am so fond of. I love a mix of textures so I paired it with a cotton chenille for the lining. It's cozy and peeks out along the edges. And, I decided to add a classic reference with a bright red "leather" button at the neck. It's actually a vintage wood button I found at this Etsy shop.

Tess is wearing her Capelet with denim skinny jeans (a staple for her) and tall black leather boots. (Wouldn't this Juliet Capelet look fabulous with leather pants or a skirt?)

And she's as happy as can be!

Next, I sewed Scarlett the Holly Trousers from Go to Patterns (The Train to Crazy blog). I love the narrow silhouette of these Holly (Golightly!) Trousers and the retro pleats at the top. I hemmed them a bit shorter and they fit her just perfectly! I will have to sew her another pair. 

I wanted to try them in a bold floral print fabric I received from The Fabric Store (I am dying to visit their new store in person!). I love all the bold, bright prints for Fall and this one has the trendy jewel tones: emerald, teal, gold, and amethyst. I couldn't believe it when these colors came back, but now of course I've embraced them (I personally can't get enough teal). There's a bit of animal print thrown in this mix too! This is such a beautiful fabric--it's a stretch cotton twill with a very silky feel. 

I like to keep the rest of an ensemble a bit simple when there's a bold print involved, so I paired these with a cropped wool shrug (The Winnie Shrug pattern is available here) in a teal boiled wool, but I did pick another more restrained pattern in amethyst for a silky head turban. This accessory is a dressed up version of the one Holly Golightly wore while playing guitar in Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's made from a silky print that caught my eye at Joann: 1/4 yard and done! 

Scarlett is wearing these trousers with gilded loafers I bought last season from crewcuts. This Fall it seems everything has a bit of gilding...

Vintage-inspired is always a great look. But wouldn't these Holly Trousers look fabulous with another classic--the denim shirt? I'm hunting for the perfect one....

For more information about these patterns and the whole collection visit Pattern Anthology here.
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