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Sweet Innocence Christmas Dress

Sweet Innocence Dress Pattern by MyTreasuredHeirlooms | JameSews

Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoyed your time with Family & Friends – we’ve had a full week of celebrations!

Sweet Innocence Dress Pattern by MyTreasuredHeirlooms | JameSews

A couple months back, Annastasia,  the designer at My Treasured Heirlooms, announced she was in the process of updating her Sweet Innocence Dress and she was looking for a few seamstresses to sew it up and help spread the word! I instantly fell in love with the look of this pattern. It’s so classically girly and feminine and I thought it’d make a great Christmas Dress. It was a little cool the day we took pictures so DD insisted on wearing leggings underneath and turns out…while she has some great handmade clothes…she’s lacking in the dress shoes department so boots were the closest acceptable footwear available. HA! We’ll just pretend it’s purposeful and call it “Country Christmas” Sweet Innocence Dress Pattern by MyTreasuredHeirlooms | JameSews

When I walked into F&M Fabrics (online at www.thefabricmarket.com), they had just gotten these Christmas prints in and I was immediately drawn to them. This cotton has a little bit of polyester in it so it’s easy to work with, but has a great drape and a soft feel (not to mention less wrinkling).  A few weeks later when I was actually ready to get to work on this pattern and needed a fabric for the underdress, I was directed to their poly cotton solids. Again I love the benefits of this blend for garments – easy to work with but not as stiff as quilting cottons. Thefabricmarket.com has a great selection of colors at a great price – see them all here.
Sweet Innocence Dress Pattern by MyTreasuredHeirlooms | JameSews

The Sweet Innocence Dress Pattern includes patterns for 3 dresses, 2 under dresses, and pants in 2 styles and comes in sizes 2 to 10. The updated version offers 4 different sleeve lengths! I chose view A with the cross over front and I just love it. The fullness of the skirt and the ruffle gets me every time – so precious.  This would make a great Easter Dress or Birthday Dress too and with all the options, no one dress would ever have to be the same! I hope you’ll check out the Sweet Innocence pattern, as well as the rest of My Treasured Heirlooms‘ shop!

Have a Happy New Year!Sweet Innocence Dress Pattern by MyTreasuredHeirlooms | JameSews

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MCM Studio Designs’ Estherlyn Jumper Tutorial

Today on the blog I’ve invited Linda Lehn of MCM Studio Designs to share a tutorial with you! Hint: She’ll show you an easy alternative for making ruffles! Take it away Linda!

Thank you so much, Jaime, for allowing me to write a guest post!  I am delighted and honored to be here.

Today I am excited to share a tutorial for a modification that can be made to my Estherlyn’s Jumper pattern.  The pattern is available through Craftsy, my Big Cartel Shop and my Etsy Shop.

In this tutorial I will show you how to add ruffles to the front and hem of the jumper.
Thank you to Lily AnnaBella, Faith and Kristie Mason Photography for the modeled photos.
I have had this idea in my head ever since I first drew a sketch for this pattern.  I was really excited to get a chance to give it a go!
So here’s how you do it.
After cutting out the pattern, you will need to mark placement lines for the ruffles.
First make marks 3/4 inch (2 cm) above the bottom edge of the fabric at the center and side of the skirt piece. Do this with the skirt piece still folded in the center.

After that, to determine how far apart to draw your placement lines, measure from the mark at the center to the center top of the skirt piece.  Subtract 3/8 inch (1cm) for the seam allowance at the top.  This distance will vary with different sizes.

I decided that I wanted nine ruffles in between because I wanted my ruffles to be 2 1/2 inches (6.4 cm) wide. Nine ruffles that size gave me the closest to an even measurement that was slightly less than the 2 1/2 inches (6.4 cm).  This distance needs to be a slightly smaller width than the ruffle itself so that the ruffles will overlap.  It wasn’t exact, but it was close enough. It took a little calculating to get a measurement that was easy to work with.
Dividing that measurement by nine gave me approximately 2 1/8 inches (5.4 cm).
Take that measurement and measure up from the first line at the center and make a mark.  Do the same at the side edge of the skirt piece.  Continue making marks like this until you get to the top of the piece.  Once the right side done, flip it over and make marks along the other edge as well.
Use a design curve ruler and draw lines to join them.  Mark from the center to the righthand side.
Keep the marks on the design curve as close to 90 degrees at the center and side edges as possible.  Each row is slightly different.  You will need to move the ruler just a bit for each row.
Continue all the way up the front piece.
Flip it over and do the left hand side as well.  For the left hand side, the ruler will need to be flipped over as well.
You will also need to make a mark where the seam allowance will be on each side of the skirt pieces.  This will help you know where to begin and end gathering the ruffles.  Measure in 3/8 inch (1 cm) from the edge to place these marks.
At this point it is a good idea to finish the bottom edges of the front and back skirt pieces with a serger or other edge finishing method.
Cut the ruffles slightly wider than the measurement between the lines.  My lines were 2 1/8 inch (5.4 cm) apart, I cut the ruffles at 2 1/2 inches (6.4 cm).  The ruffles should be cut as width-of-fabric strips if you are using a ruffler foot.  If you are gathering by hand, you may want to calculate the length of the strips by measuring each line with a measuring tape and then using a 1.5 or 2:1 ratio to determine the length.  Each row as you go up will require less fabric than the one below it.
You will also need to cut two additional pieces for ruffles for the bottom hem of the skirt.  For mine, in addition to the nine that were needed for the rows in the front, I needed to cut two more, one for the bottom front and one for the back.
I used my serger to roll a hem on both long edges of the ruffles. You can also create a narrow hem on a regular sewing machine.  If you make a narrow hem, the strips will need to be cut even a little wider than I cut mine to accommodate for the hem. The width of the hem will determine how much wider to cut the strips.
Now you are ready for the fun part, adding the ruffles to the skirt piece.  I use a ruffler foot to attach mine.
This is how I line up the line on the skirt piece with the edge of the ruffle strip.  I keep them in line with the hinge on the ruffler foot.  This gives me about a 3/8 inch (1cm) allowance from the top edge of the ruffle.
When using my ruffler foot, I always set it to 0 tucks per stitch until I know that I have passed the seam allowance.  This keeps the fabric within the seam allowance flat and makes it much easier to sew the side seam of the dress.
Once I know that I am a few stitches beyond the seam allowance, I stop with my needle down and set it to 1 tuck per stitch. When I get to the mark for the seam allowance at the end of the ruffle, I stop and set it back to 0.
The markings on the ruffler foot tell you how often it will add a tuck.  Zero means that it will not add any tucks at all, 12 means that it will add one tuck every 12 stitches, 6 means one tuck every 6 stitches and 1 means that there will be a tuck for every stitch.  The amount of fabric that will be tucked is determined by how tight the screw at the top of the foot is turned.  Tighter means it will take a bigger tuck, looser means it will take a smaller tuck.  Stitch length plays a big part in the amount of gathering that will go into the ruffle as well.  I usually have to play with scraps a bit to make sure that I have the amount of gathering that I want.
It takes a little practice to learn how to use the ruffler foot. Your two pieces of fabric move through the machine at different rates.  I use my left hand to guide the ruffle and my right hand to guide the piece to which I am attaching the ruffle.
Start with the bottom ruffle and move your way up to the top.  The ruffle at the top should be flush with the top edge of the skirt piece.
There will be a lot of leftover ends to the ruffle pieces hanging over each side of the skirt.  Carefully trim them off.  This will be much easier to do from the back of the piece.  For the bottom ruffle, just extend the line from the side of the skirt.
Pin and then baste them down inside the seam allowance in order to make it easier to sew up the side seams of the dress.
Once the front skirt piece is finished, add a single ruffle to the bottom of the back skirt piece.  To do this, once again, make a mark 3/4 inch (2 cm) above the bottom edge of the back skirt piece, draw your line, attach the ruffle and trim it accordingly.
Once those pieces are complete with ruffles, finish sewing up the dress as the pattern is written using the partial lining option and omitting the hemming steps.
Instead of doing two buttons on each side, I decided to get really crazy and make my own buttons out of polymer clay and just put one large button on each side.
So, there you have it… a fun, cute way to snazz up your next Estherlyn!  Thanks for reading and I  hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial.
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Handmade Easter

For those who celebrate, I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend! As a little girl I always got a new spring dress to wear on Easter Sunday and it’s a tradition I just can’t shake. The past few years, I haven’t been able to get a new outfit for Easter for whatever reason, but this year I was determined to not only make something for the kids, but to make something for me too. You’ve seen sneak peaks on instagram and facebook if you follow me there, but I wanted to do a round up here with all the details.

I posted a while back about pattern testing the Lorelei dress from E-Beth Designs. I had another dress/fabric picked out for her, but since so many people commented that this one would make a good Easter dress, I went with it!

Lorelei Dress | JaimeSews

The fabric was an Alexander Henry I got at JoAnn’s, along with the matching Kona Cotton solid. You can get the Lorelei pattern here.

Lorelei Dress | JaimeSews

For my son, I used the Classic Oxford Pattern from Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop {affiliate}.

Classic Oxford | JaimeSews

Mr. T picked out the fabric and buttons at F&M Fabrics himself (now online as thefabricmarket.com) and we were pleasantly surprised that he almost matched his cousins exactly!

Classic Oxford | JaimeSews

Then…at the last minute, I was able to pull a dress together for myself! I got my fabric from F&M Fabrics in the same shopping trip as my son. I had taken another dress pattern to the store but when I saw this fabric, I really loved it and decided it didn’t fit the dress pattern that I originally had in mind.

Garden Party Dress | JaimeSews

I ended up using this free multi-sized pattern (did you hear that, FREE) by Honigdesign. It’s called the Garden Party Dress. You’ll want to click here to see the original versions. I altered the neckline and made it sleeveless, but the original pattern has some great features and it’s a dress you can make in different fabrics and sleeve lengths to wear year round! Believe me, you will want to have it in every color!

Garden Party Dress | JaimeSews

It was a wonderful day with an outside service at church, time with family and yummy food. I hope your day was just as great! I’d love to see your handmade Easter outfits too – feel free to leave me a comment to let me know what you made!

Happy Easter 2014 | JaimeSews

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The Josephine (Christmas) Dress

Have you entered for your chance to win a Kate Spade Wallet or a $50 iTunes Gift Card?!? If not, Click here to do so, then come right back for today’s post!

Well, I know that Christmas is over and the New Year is here, but I wanted to share with you today the Christmas Dress I made for my daughter this year.

When we found out we were having a girl almost 3 years ago, I was a little freaked out. I was always a tom-boy and wasn’t sure how I’d handle relating to a girl when I had always been one of the boys, so to say. Well, it has truly been a blessing to have our little miss Elise. And I’m here to tell you, while she loves the color pink, she is definitely a girl I can relate to and admire.

Josephine Christmas Dress | JaimeSews

You see, she refused to have her picture taken until there was a sword in her hand. WARRIOR PRINCESS! YESSSsssssss! Ok, on to the dress. This is yet another FooFooThreads dress. (Click here to see the fancy FooFooThreads dress I made for her Halloween Costume.) You know I’m a former tom-boy when I say, if I could, I would dress her in a FooFooThreads dress every day. I can’t get over the cuteness. But my very favorite part is that while it is beautiful, it is equally practical.

back

The front looks well fitted, but the back is completely elasticized. This is awesome for several reasons: 1) No closure (zipper, buttons/buttonholes) to sew. 2) Elastic means comfort. What woman doesn’t want to look amazing and be comfortable at the same time ?! 3) She can wear it much longer since there is so much give. In fact, since Halloween, she’s requested to wear her Pretty Pretty Pink Princess dress several times in dress up and it still fits even though it is a size down in the bodice from this dress. 4) It’s SOoooo easy – all you do is hand wind a bobbin with elastic thread and sew rows back and forth at an equal distance. The closer together your rows, the more it gathers and if you need a little more, a shot with a steam iron pulls it up even more. Seriously. Elastic thread in the bobbin, sew, and it magically gathers just.like.that. EASY! As I did for the Halloween dress, I made her size in the bodice, but a size 5 in the length. I wanted it to be ankle length and it’s perfect – she can run around with ease, but it has the formality of the length. Since it’s made from cotton, it’s easy to wash & wear.

sadsword(Are you done yet? )  Anyway, here are all the details:

Pattern: Josephine Dress from FooFooThreads

Main Fabric: Christmas Peace by Windham Fabrics

Sash, Red & Gold Ruffle Fabrics: From F&M Fabrics locally

Elastic Thread: Wawak Sewing

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Fancy Maggie Mae

If you follow me on facebook, you saw a (blurry) pic late last week of my Fancy Maggie Mae in-progress.

FancyMaggieMaein-progressAs you know from my last post, I am in LOVE with Maggie Mae and as I considered all the possibilities, I envisioned this Audrey Hepburn style, fancy version in black satin & sheers. I knew I had to make one up before Halloween because it would make the most adorable little costume for any Audrey-aspiring little girl. However, when I got to this point in the construction, I knew it hadn’t quite achieved the look I had in my head. I’m no artist, but the lines of this dress are simple enough that I decided to put to paper what I had in mind.

sketchI really want the back sheer to be bound in satin as the neckline and armholes are, with a little elastic loop and satin button at the top. I think this will be enough room to get one’s head through so instead of coming up with some alternate closure for the lower bodice (satin portion), I want to try to cut it all one piece. Then, I felt like it needed a little more of the sequined sheer somewhere, but in my head it wouldn’t look right to put at the bottom as the Maggie Mae pattern has traditionally. So think I’ll try a thin strip of it, over the satin, as a kind of built in belt around the waist. I have already purchased an adorable flower to add to the waistline as well. Lastly, I am going to cut the skirt longer, but still gather it and attach it to the sequined band. Then…it just might be perfect.

So after taking it apart, I re-cut the satin back bodice piece to be the same as the front. I cut off some of the sheer in order to bind it and reattach and this is what I got:

FancyNewClosureThen I moved on to constructing the waistline band. It was pretty quick to cut and baste the two fabrics together. Here it is attached to the bodice:

FancyBodiceI cut the skirt longer and installed the pockets and then attached it to the dress. Now THIS is more like I envisioned it!

FancyFront

FancyBodice

FancyBack

The bodice is lined in cotton for comfort and the satin binding  and chiffon are also nice against the skin. Any princess should feel comfy and glamorous in the Fancy Maggie Mae – and can’t you see it is any color satin to match any flower girl to any wedding party?!

The Fancy Maggie Mae is available for custom order in my Etsy Store!

If you like the Fancy Maggie Mae I’d appreciate help in spreading the word – please like on facebook or instagram, share on pinterest or twitter, or let any brides know of this adorable flower-girl option. Thanks in advance!

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Why I Love Maggie Mae or My Return To Etsy

I know I was a BABY!!!
I know I was a BABY!!!

(Note: This post includes some affiliate links)

Sewing has been a part of my life since high school when my mom pulled out her old sewing machine, took it to get serviced for me, and gave me free reign to spread fabric all over the dining and living rooms. With my new driver’s license, I drove myself to the only little fabric store I knew about in town and purchased supplies to make summer dresses, quilts and even made it down to the hill to the “big city” (I use that term loosely) fabric store for satin and chiffon I used to make my Junior year homecoming dress. Nothing I made fit perfectly but I was excited by the possibilities that making-it-yourself offered and I was dying to learn more.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to add various skills to my sewing repertoire. I earned my degree in Home Economics/Family & Consumer Sciences with an emphasis in Clothing & Textiles. This allowed me to add proper technique to what I had learned through trial & error. I’ve worked for sewing machine companies and learned how to use the many functions of modern machines. I interned in college making costumes for the local ballet and was able to get some valuable feedback from a seamstress far above me in skill & experience. I worked in a quilt shop and learned about accurate cutting, piecing, quilting and long-arm quilting, binding, the use of a walking foot and was able to try my hand at teaching. I’ve worked in a bridal alteration room, where I learned industry techniques to speed up and simplify my sewing. I took apart wedding dresses and put them back together again and got to see how each one was made. In 2008, my son was born and I gained a new interest in baby and children’s sewn-items and opened my etsy shop.

Probably the cute model adds to my inspiration...I'm just sayin'
Probably the cute model adds to my inspiration…I’m just sayin’

However, with these various & wonderful experiences, I wasn’t sure where to land! I couldn’t decide what I loved to sew the most and I felt a little all over the place. What I was making in 2008 didn’t excite me, which is part of the reason why I went inactive for a few years. (Well that, and having children and working full time). 🙂 Now this may be a little dramatic, (although if you know me personally, that’s not too surprising) but all this seemed to change with the making of my first Maggie Mae.

Since I opened my shop in 2008 a wonderful slew of independent pattern designers have rushed in to fill, in my opinion, a huge gap in the sewing industry: Modern, well fitting, attractive and comfortable children’s clothing. Maggie Mae by ShwinDesigns is one example, but any of the patterns from Go To Patterns, Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop, Blank Slate Patterns (where I got the Coastal Cargos pattern), See Kate Sew and other smaller designers on Etsy are offering beautiful patterns that fit the bill.

Spooky Maggie Mae
Spooky Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae inspires me because I am not a super frilly girl myself and I like that Maggie Mae communicates a similar style. She’s fun, stylish and practical, easy-going and comfortable, simple and modern. Every cute fabric I see I think immediately – that would make an adorable Maggie Mae. I can see it done in formal wear (think flower girl) in satin and sheers with a more gathered skirt and, of course, keeping the pockets. Maggie Mae can be made in denim & print, solids and florals, festive holiday prints, as a dress and as a tunic. I plan to experiment with long sleeves in the near future & who knows what else will come to mind! But one thing I know, this little pattern excites me – I could make it day and night and pull it off the ironing board every time and adore it’s cuteness.

So if you see my shop filling up with variations of Maggie Mae, now you know why. I absolutely love it and all it’s possibilities. And don’t worry – I’ll try out some other patterns to see if they capture my heart like this one did, but this time around, I’ll only keep making what I really love and hope you love it too.

Maggie Mae Goes Back To School
Maggie Mae Goes Back To School
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Spring Weddings Maternity Dress

6001We were so excited to find out my Cousin Jason and my husband’s long-time friend Jason (not the same person, despite the sharing of names) were getting married this last May and June, respectively. Both wedding colors were orange and blue and my husband was a groomsman in one of them, so I wanted to make a comfortable dress that coordinated, but didn’t make me look like of of the bridesmaids either! I found a summery knit print on fabric.com (LOVE them!) and got it just in time to make my dress.

I chose a New Look pattern, 6001, which isn’t a maternity pattern, but lent itself very easily to what I needed. The only alteration I made was to add 1″ (to make 2″) on the center fold of the skirt, just.in.case. I probably didn’t need it but it didn’t hurt either! I also made a slip for underneath since the knit was very thin. Here are some pics of the dress in action.

(Right to left) My sister, Mom and Me!
Hubby and me

So Congrats to Jason & Eleanor and Jason & Jovina! Thanks for the opportunity to make and sport a new dress!