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Family Picture T-Shirt Re-design

Every year around this time we prepare for taking our family picture. You know, the one that will be featured on our yearly Christmas Card! We pick a color and try to find tops to fit the bill. This year we chose navy blue so I went out to the stores to see what I could find. Let me tell you, there is almost nothing for a toddler girl in navy blue, especially mostly solid navy blue! So after two stores I decided it was time for a DIY. I bought the softest, biggest shirt I could find and decided to try to use the Maggie Mae pattern to create something my little girl could wear. T-Shirt Remake: Before

I used just the top yolk piece to cut a boatneck style top and then cut off the existing sleeves at the very bottom to add since the rest of us all had long sleeves. Then I cut the bottom off the shirt to gather to the yolk. It didn’t matter how wide the original shirt was since I wanted a gathered look. I just kept the factory hems on the sleeves and the shirt bottom.

T-shirt remake: cutting out

I used some scraps to create a neck “ribbing” to give it a finished look. It went together in no time!

T-Shirt Remake: Finished

She was comfy and cute. Here’s the best pic to show off the shirt:

T-Shirt Remake: On the Model

And here’s the Christmas Card Pic!
The Winner

A big thanks to Michelle Kaufman for taking our photos again this year. Always a great job! Check her out: Photography by Michelle

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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