Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sewing: The Bateau Neck Top (Pattern & Giveaway)

Well lookie here! I almost can't believe it. Today is the day I am introducing a new pattern. And not just a new pattern, but a new line of patterns! With one for you to win! (See below for giveaway details.)

Please let me introduce you to Wee Muses Sewing Patterns

As you might guess from the name, these patterns are inspired by my own three girls. Few things bring me more joy than sewing beautiful clothing for them! I love European children's clothing, the beautifully illustrated clothing in classic children's books, and all clothing that respects what is beautiful and magical about being a child. I want to create timeless designs with quality-construction for my girls to wear and hand down, and I hope to share these designs with you.

These ideas are not really new for me, but Wee Muses Sewing Patterns offer a new level of quality to go along with them. The first PDF pattern I am introducing today, and all those that follow: 
  • are digitally graded and drafted for the greatest accuracy
  • include markings and guidelines for easy pattern printing and assembly
  • retain the full-color photo tutorials you have seen from me previously, and 
  • are heavily tested by seamstresses of a variety of sewing levels (look for an upcoming post showcasing them!) (UPDATE: See what my testers sewed here) .

Phew! It's been busy. But worth it I hope! I am excited to see what you think. 

The Bateau Neck Top is a pattern I've been working on for some time (you may have seen a few peeks over the last months) and it's a staple I've come to really appreciate. What is more classic than this boat-neck, three-quarter-sleeve top?

I have always loved the simple, enigmatic shape. Sporty yet feminine on girls, strong yet casual on boys. Practically a requirement for the seaside but perfect for school days too. It’s as comfortable as a t-shirt but with a bit more tailoring. The three-quarter sleeves bridge the seasons. What could be better? 

The Bateau Neck Top pattern includes this classic, which is perfect for girls and boys (boys!), and it also includes some fun variations.

With this one pattern you have so many options:
  • Classic Bateau Neck Top
  • Bateau Neck Top with Pockets
  • Ruffled Bateau Neck Top
  • Pleated Bateau Neck Top
  • Button-Back Bateau Neck Top

And then there are the fabrics! This pattern was design for knits of a wide variety, including fleece and boiled wool. And the Button-Back Bateau can also be sewn with woven fabrics. I include Tips for Sewing with Knits in the pattern if knits make you nervous (as they did me when I first sewed with them!). The Classic Bateau Neck Top is a great place to start if you've been thinking about trying knits.

I've had so much fun playing around with these tops. I love them in bold prints like these dots and stripes (ordered from this Etsy shop). And they look entirely different and a bit more dressed up in solid boiled wools. I could sew a whole wardrobe for my girls with this pattern, and just about have! But that doesn't stop me from having another set of variations planned for the next few months for both warm and cool weather.

If you'd like a look back at some of posts about this pattern while it was in the works you can check out the blue wool Bateau Neck Tops, this chevron Button-Back Bateau Neck Top, this yellow fleece version, the ruffled one I made for Tess's Easter ensemble, oh, and this mini-striped Bateau I snuck in with Audrey's quilted skirt.

The Bateau Neck Top pattern includes sizes 18 months to 10 years and is a 43 page PDF including 16 pattern pages for printing. It was tested in the USA, Canada, Europe and Australia and is fit to print on letter or A4 paper.

You can find The Bateau Neck Top pattern and subsequent releases here in my new Wee Muses Etsy shop.

And what about my Aesthetic Nest Etsy Shop? It's still here and I'll continue to offer printables, knit and crochet patterns (and who knows what else) as I develop them for my home and family. I will also continue offering Aesthetic Nest sewing patterns, but plan to retire many of them and offer them new and improved through Wee Muses. We'll see how quickly that goes!

If you have any questions please let me know. In the meantime we'll be celebrating (one big hurdle cleared and, happily, more to go) and giving away The Bateau Neck Top pattern to two readers!

Please click through for the details and to enter the giveaway.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Review: Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids Book (Giveaway)

I was so excited to receive a copy of Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids but I was barely able to glance at the cover before Audrey seized it, ran with it to her room and curled up in her chair to start looking for a project!

She was completely enthralled and I couldn't help smiling as she talked out loud about the fun ideas she was viewing. It didn't take her long before she'd found the perfect one: make a softie based on your child's drawing.

"Why not?" I said. Seemed perfect to me too. So Audrey grabbed her sketchpad and drew (of course) a dog. A cute cartoonish, purple dog with blue and pink striped ears and diagonal slits for eyes and a smallish red nose. I photocopied her drawing twice to make a pattern for the body and two for the unsymmetrical ears. I found the perfect corduroy textured knit fabric from my stash. And then she had to wait...

She was pretty patient about having me finish up some things first, for a couple days. She even wrote in a deadline on my calendar--she knows me too well. And then we were able to sit down together and talk about sewing. And it was so much fun!

She was so excited about it. And I told her my very first sewing project, when I was close to her age (probably a bit older actually) was a stuffed animal. Do you remember those fabrics printed with softie designs? I made a turtle and a lion and a cute Matroyshka. I still have the turtle.

I didn't have Audrey try the sewing machine yet. But she pinned the pattern to the fabric (with Scarlett as her assistant handing her pins), cut it out, pinned the fabric pieces together, and then after I stitched it, she did the stuffing.

She did the embroidered face too, after I got her started. Pretty darn cute for her first project! Wish I'd been able to find my embroidery floss, but we made do with sewing thread. The best part about it is how thrilled she is with the finished puppy. She hasn't set him down since we finished him. And she has asked, "do you think I'll be as good a sewer as you, Mom? Do you?"  That totally made my day! (And she also just happened to be wearing the sailboat t-shirt I made her--unsolicited. I love it when that happens.) Oh, and we finished this project before the deadline she had imposed! 

Now that I've had a chance to look through the rest of the book I'm so impressed by the breadth of ideas in Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids. It is chock full! There are toys, like the tin can dog Audrey would like to make next, and gifts to give. Many which older children could do on there own and lots for parents to do with them.

I remember the cross stitch family portraits from the magazine. I love these! Maybe someday I'll make one. Or maybe one of my girls will!

Would you like a copy of this book? The Martha Stewart Crafts team is giving away a copy to one of my readers. And, even better, the team is throwing in a few goodies from her Martha Stewart Crafts line! What a package! This giveaway is open through next Monday and then one winner will be selected and announced right here.

(If you can't wait to get the book you can view the new collection of Martha Stewart's Crafts for Kids videos online right now.)

Please click through to enter.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sewing: Georgia Vintage Dress (Cottage Mama Pattern Tour)

Today I'm sharing a Georgia Vintage Dress for Tess. Love that rhyme. I'm such a sucker for things with a classic southern air so, busy or not, I couldn't resist Lindsay's invitation to be part of her pattern blog tour. I just loved this Georgia Vintage Dress pattern! In fact, I'd been pinning some children's dresses things with similar ruffled sleeves and apron skirts, so when I saw it, I thought, "here it is!"

Lindsay has been busy! This pattern is one of four new Cottage Mama patterns she is releasing in both printed and PDF versions. (You can shop for them here.) And she has a book of classic sewing patterns coming out soon too. 

I enjoyed everything about sewing with this pattern. Especially the high-end details, such as french seams on the skirt. But I agonized about selecting my fabrics! I nearly gave up in fact--I just couldn't find the right combination. I wanted the dress to look sweet and old fashioned.

Luckily, on Sunday evening I pulled this combination together from my stash. I had the floral striped fabric from a Home Fabrics purchase. It's a lighter weight home decorating fabric with no info on the selvedge sadly. It's a beautiful embroidered piece. You'd have to hold it to appreciate the detail. I love the yellow, pink and white together. Perfect for this dress, but I could imagine it in some Austrian interior. Wouldn't it be great over a goose down duvet?

The pink floral fabric I used for the blouse portion is a JoAnn exclusive fabric. I only had 1 fat quarter, which I purchased a couple years ago. I was so happy it was just enough!  

Because these fabrics are so closely matched, which I love, I opted for a bright white collar. And then I had to add the baby rickrack. I think it's just the right amount of contrast and detail. 

I love Tess in her pinafore dress. 

You should see the other beautiful things being sewn on this tour. Check out the schedule below and visit The Cottage Mama for the roundup.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sewing: Sailboat Applique T-Shirt (Template)

We have been having an "electronic-free" Summer so far. Well, I guess it's obvious that some of us are still plugged in. I should say the girls are "free" this summer. Free of TV and computer and iPod and phones except for family and friend movie times. And it's going amazingly well! The first few days were hard, especially for the littlest...

But after that it's gone as I hoped. They fill their time with being kids. Just as it should be. 

They are amazing at entertaining themselves, inventing games and running around outside. Especially with some structured activities mixed in. We're doing a lot of swimming, some dance and a few half-day camps. Fridays are field trip days.

I didn't do much summer camping as a child. I would have done more and I still love the idea of it. Friends of ours take their whole family to a "sleep away camp" for a week at the end of the summer and I think it sounds dreamy.

I would say we've found a good balance this summer between fun obligations and free time, but it still seems to be going by so quickly and I haven't tackled much on my list. I guess it's a good thing I didn't even write down the list. I

To make myself feel better about the lack of creative output (which really shouldn't be a high priority anyway, but I do love it...) I decided to whip up something quick and easy to show for myself. So I appliqued some t-shirts for the girls with a simple sailboat design. Check!

A different sailboat for each girl. It was fun, and a bit tricky to come up with the right combinations of prints. (And I was again reminded of what a great job is done by Mini Boden!) I used all knits and was happy to find I had enough scraps.

I used double-stitching this time and I like the look. I was thinking about using some embroidery floss and hand-stitching because I love that big color contrast but who was I kidding? It was a late night as it was. Maybe next applique idea...

If you are looking for a quick project for your girl (or boy!) I've got a template you can download and a few how-tos after the jump.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sewing: Fourth of July Madras Dresses

Hello, Friends! I'm still here. Busy working on some left-brained stuff (my old marketing life revisiting for a bit) and busy working on some fun right-brained stuff: new patterns and pattern updates. I have been learning new programs so I can create computer graded and drafted patterns. It's slowed me down quite a bit but I'm really excited about being able to share patterns of this quality. The first is in testing so it's close! Stay tuned.
Oh, and of course I've been busy with these three! Enjoying summer things such as swimming and hiking and field trips to local attractions. And gathering with friends and family. We celebrated Independence Day with just such a gathering. If you were celebrating on the 4th too I hope yours was a great one.
We started off the Fourth of July with some swimming lessons. Not quite the same as going to watch a small town parade (in my mind the ideal way to start off the day) but I'm so grateful my girls have the opportunity to participate in sports and challenge their physical selves. I would sign them up for every lesson available if time allowed. I'm grateful too that girls here are free to seek an education and develop their minds for great things. I so love learning and there is nothing like seeing your children enjoy learning new things too. It inspires me all over again.
In the evening we gathered with friends for a traditional Fourth of July barbecue. There were BBQ ribs and salmon and lots of good-tasting side dishes. I brought a green salad based on this green bean, sweet corn and tomato combo. Yum! We are so lucky to have great neighbors who love us and include us in this tradition. I missed our family who weren't with us, though. I don't know if it's age or wisdom, but there's no group of people I would rather be with on a holiday, or any day.
I did a bit of patriotic sewing just in time for the holiday. This patchwork Madras seems just perfect to me--in that East coast preppy way, which is a fun throwback to my school days. Audrey's dress is one I made her a couple years ago--you might remember it from this Madras post. Still fits! Just shorter.
I sewed new dresses for Scarlett and Tess with my Ruffled Chemise pattern. Tess's version is exactly the current pattern--Scarlett's is a new ruffled placket variation I'm playing with. I found the patchwork fabric at Hobby Lobby last year (same source for Audrey's dress a couple years ago) and need to go back to see if they are stocking it this summer. I can't believe it's July already! I have so many summer sewing ideas and it seems is slipping away already...!
I love the idea of patriotic outfits for Independence Day. If you want to see some things I've sewn in the past you can check out:
2012 (Kangaroo Pocket Knit Skirts)
2010 (Patriotic Pillowcase Dress)
2009 (the Summer Set prototype!)
2009 (Patriotic Prairie Dresses)

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