Day Tripper Top – Shwin Designs

Photo Nov 08, 9 28 31 AM EDIT2
Dolmans! Everywhere I look there are dolmans. It’s not part of my regular tv show rotation, but I love this one Allison Janney wore on Mom. Actually, she rocks a lot of dolmans on that show. Not that I would know, because it isn’t one of the shows I normally watch or anything…. Ok! Fine! It’s a guilty pleasure. Much like toasted coconut cashews are my cheat snack. I’m getting off topic. Focus people. I recently sewed up two different dolman patterns. One was the Day Tripper by Shwin Designs. Let’s have a look at the pattern in the same way I broke down the Parisian by Go To Patterns last time. I’ll share with you my thoughts as well, and let you know the little flubs I made. That’s right, I’m not perfect. I make flubs too. And I’ll put them on display momentarily.
Also, much like my post about the Parisian Top, let’s get the blah blah blah out of the way. Guys… This is totally a copy and paste, because I’m lazy like that. I’m a Brand Ambassador for Go To Patterns. I know, I’m oh so professional with my previous “blah blah blah.” It’s just how I roll, guys! I received this pattern for free, but all thoughts, opinions, and whatnot within this blog are my own. Also, links to Go To Patterns website are affiliate links. Basically, I get a little kickback when you purchase patterns through those links. However, it doesn’t hurt my feelings if you don’t want to use an affiliate link. I totally get it. No hard feelings. Still besties! The links in the first paragraph are non-affliate, just in case you want those. Alright, let’s get in to it!
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PDF Overview
– The Day Tripper Top by Shwin includes a few different options. Short or long sleeve. Both options are banded. I do wish there was a ¾ length sleeve option, but went with the long sleeve. Optional shoulder tabs. I opted to leave them off. It features a slight hi-low banded hem line. It’s very slight, in my opinion. There are three different lengths included – 24, 26, and 28” lengths. I made the 28” length. There is also an optional side seam pocket.
– The sizing for the pattern is women’s XXS (bust 30-31, hips 33-34) to XL (bust 41-44, hips 43-44). The sizing information is included in the pattern listing on Go To Pattern’s website. Handy! I like being able to see a size chart before purchasing a pattern. **I fell within the Medium size range, and that’s the size I made.
– The size chart also includes finished measurements for the bust and hips. Having these measurements can allow for customization of fit, depending on how much ease you want in your final garment. If I were to do it again, depending on the fabric that I use, I might size down to a small. There is a significant amount of ease.
– The pattern is rated as an intermediate skill level, according to the pattern listing.
– The pdf is 33 pages. The first 5 pages include (these aren’t listed in order): the cover page, size chart, fabric requirements and suggestions, tips for working with knits, tips and terms for sewing the pattern, and how to select the perfect size. The next seven pages are the main instructions for the pattern. Then there is a printing guide page, right before the pattern pieces. The pattern pieces take up the last 20 pages.
– As mentioned above, the fabric requirements are listed within the pattern. They’re listed within the size chart. You’ll need 1.5 – 2 yards of knit fabric to make the top. It’s noted that medium weight cotton spandex have the best results. You’ll also need 1/8 yard fusible interfacing and two 1” buttons if you do the shoulder tabs.
– A cutting guide is not included within the pdf.
– Photographs are used throughout the pdf, except for the two diagrams used to illustrate how to select the perfect size. I generally prefer illustrations over photographs, so this is a win for me.
– The actually assembly instructions start on the sixth page.
– The seam allowance is 3/8” and is noted on page 3 as part of the “Tips and Terms for Sewing the Pattern” section. The seam allowance is not noted on the pattern pieces.
– All measurements within the pdf are imperial. Sorry metric users! I’m Canadian and on the metric system and I sew in imperial, so the use of imperial only doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
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Pattern Pieces Overview (pages 14-33)
– The pattern pieces are included at the end of the instructions. No separate files. The pieces start on page 14 and run through the end of the pdf at page 33. That’s 20 pages to print. The print guide is included on page 13.
– There is a 1″ measuring square included on the first pattern page.
– A sizing key is not included within the pattern pieces. You’ll have to refer back to page 2 before selecting and cutting your size.
– The sizing is differentiated by different colored lines, and not a varying dashed/solid lines system.
– The pages are not no-trim pages. You’ll have to trim a side and a top/bottom. OR, if you have a light table, or big window, just use that. That’s what I use.
– Each pattern piece is labelled with the pattern name (The Day Tripper Top), the designer name with logo (Shwin Designs), piece name, cutting directions, fold lines are marked, direction of stretch is marked on all pieces with two exceptions: it is not noted on the pocket piece, and the shoulder tab, both of which make sense to me. The seam allowance is not noted on any of the pattern pieces.
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A few more notes and thoughts
– I’d mentioned in the preamble of this post that I’d share my flubs with you. Well, I’ve made this pattern twice. First I made the sliver, glitter stripe, and then I made the purple sweatshirt. For the glitter stripe, I really was not paying attention to the instructions. Which I’m often guilty of. When it came time for the neckline, I folded my neckband in half, and attached RST to the neckline. Errrr! Wrong! I couldn’t figure out why it looked and laid funny. I figured that I had measured the piece wrong and cut it too big. That might still be a possibility. When I’m cutting stripe fabric I never cut anything on the fold, so I measured the pattern piece, doubled, and cut. Could be a bit of math/measuring error there. BUT, I also ignored the instructions which have the neckband attached as a single layer (not folded in half) right side, to the wrong side of the neckline. Then folded, folded again, and sewn. That’s the quick and dirty explanation. The pdf obviously explains it much more eloquently.
– I also flubbed on my purple sweatshirt and accidentally stretched out the bottom hemline which attaching the hem band. UGH!! It would be perfect if I hadn’t made that rookie mistake. And if the thread I used to sew down my neckband had matched better. Those two things, and it would be perfect.
– The pattern skips about a bit in the instructions, which is mildly annoying. The instructions are only 7 pages long, so it really isn’t that big of a deal, it’s just mildly annoying. For example, at the end of step 1 it mentions to skip to steps 22-24 for the shoulder tab. After that you’ll want to check out what step 2 is, right? Right at the top of step 2, it states that if you are doing pockets to do steps 25-26, and then continue to step 3. I should note that step 1 is for the short sleeve option. If you are doing the long sleeve option, you’ll start on step 8, and do all of the above jumping about again. To be fair, you’ll only jump about if you are including the shoulder tab and pocket options. And it is only 7 pages of instruction total. Aaaaannnnddd. I’m probably being far too picky.
– Melly, of Melly Sews, made a Day Tripper in an awesome floral print as part of the Pattern Anthology Just Add Jeans blog tour. I wish I knew where you lands on the size chart and what size she made. Her top looks like it has less ease in it than mine.
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Would I make it again? Would I make any changes?
Yes, BUT, I think I would size down to the small and see how I like that. As mentioned previously, there is a significant (6-7”) amount of ease built in to the pattern at the bust. By sizing down to the small, there would only be 4-5” of ease throughout my bust. I’d just like to try that, as I feel like it’s a bit too much ease for me as is. I love longer tops, but the 28” cut line might be slightly long for me. I’d try the 24” cut line next time. I’d also try not to flub the neckband and stretch the hemline. I might try a different length as well. This pretty much sums up how I feel about my sewing flubs.
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I’m going to throw some links your way, just so you can stay in the know.
Day Tripper Top (affiliate)
Go To Patterns website (affiliate)
Day Tripper Top (not affiliate)
Go To Patterns website (not affiliate)
Go To Patterns Facebook Page
Go To Patterns Group *while the pages are handy to know about sales and stuff, the groups are far more interactive. I prefer groups to pages.
Go To Patterns on Instagram *check out those awesome shirts! I want them all. Feel free to send me a handful.
Andrea Pannell on Pinterest *say goodbye to your afternoon if you click this one.
Go To Patterns on Twitter *I don’t Twitter, or tweet, or twerk, or whatever the cool kids are calling it.
Sign up for the Go To Patterns newsletter *It doesn’t matter to me either way. But, the newsletters do have cool things in them
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Shwin’s website
Shwin’s Facebook Page
Shwin’s Facebook Group
Shwin is having a huge sale at the moment. Today, you can get the diamond dress pattern on sale when you use the code DIAMOND. You can see the diamond that I made within the pattern listing. I’m wearing the orange dress on the bottom row.
Photo Nov 08, 9 28 57 AM (1)

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Parisian Top – Go To Patterns

Photo Oct 15, 3 21 47 PM edit2
A little self-care sewing going on in my house this week; in the form of the Parisian Top by Andrea Pannell for Go To Patterns. I needed a break from the madness that is Halloween costume sewing. Seriously, guys, my 3 year old wants to be Gruff the Neverbeast. How am I suppose to do that? My brain needed a break.
Before we get in to this post too much, a little blah blah blah first. I’m a Brand Ambassador for Go To Patterns. I know, I’m oh so professional with my previous “blah blah blah.” It’s just how I roll, guys! I received this pattern for free, but all thoughts, opinions, and whatnot within this blog are my own. Also, links to Go To Patterns website are affiliate links. Basically, I get a little kickback when you purchase patterns through those links. However, it doesn’t hurt my feelings if you don’t want to use an affiliate link. I totally get it. No hard feelings. Still besties! The links in the first paragraph are non-affliate, just in case you want those. Most important thing I want you to take away from this blog post – #audreycatburn. I’m joking. But, it might be my new favourite hashtag ever! It’s all over my instagram at the moment. Alright, let’s get in to it!
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PDF Overview
– The sizing for the pattern is women’s XXXS (bust28-29, waist 22, hips 28-30) to XL (bust42-44, waist 38, hips up to 48). The sizing information is included in the pattern listing on Go To Pattern’s website. Handy! I like being able to see a size chart before purchasing a pattern. **I fell within the Medium size range, and that’s the size I made.
– The pattern is rated as an intermediate skill level.
– The pdf is 39 pages. Pages 13-16 are the main instructions for the pattern. Pages 17-39 (that’s 23 pages) are the pattern pieces. The first 12 pages include (these aren’t listed in order): the cover page, index page, measuring chart and information (including a diagram), fabric requirements and suggestions, fabric cutting guide, design ideas to get those creative juices flowing, simple full bust adjustment, how to lengthen the bodice (*note that I lengthened mine 3″), printing and pattern assembly, and tips for working with knit fabric including information on stretch percentage and recovery.
– As mentioned above, the fabric requirements are listed within the pattern. They’re listed as 2 yards of knit fabric with at least 25% stretch. A suggestion of fabrics is included. 1/4 yard of knit interfacing is listed as an option. No. Not an option. Get some. Use it! Your collar will thank you. Woven fabric can be used for the collar.
– There is a cutting guide included. I really appreciate a cutting guide that doesn’t have the top of my front bodice one way, and the top of my back bodice another way. I like my fabric to all run in one direction, even if that fabric is a solid print. I feel like there is a difference, like my one piece is cut upside down. I approve of this cutting guide.
– Illustrations are used throughout the pdf. There is a photo on the cover page, as well as the index page. I generally prefer illustrations over photographs, so this is a win for me.
– The actually assembly instructions start on Page 13. Right at the top of this page the seam allowance is noted, as are the definitions of RST (right sides together), WST (wrong sides together), and what the shading for the illustrations mean.
– All measurements within the pdf are imperial. Sorry metric users! I’m Canadian and on the metric system and I sew in imperial, so the use of imperial only doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
– Andrea provides her email address at the end of the tutorial, should you need any further assistance!
Photo Oct 15, 3 23 27 PM edit
Pattern Pieces Overview (pages 17-39)
– The pattern pieces are included at the end of the instructions. No separate files. The pieces start on page 17 and run through the end of the pdf at page 39. That’s 23 pages to print.
– There is a 1″ measuring square included on every single page! Handy!
– The pattern pieces are broken up in to sections. A – front bodice, and neckline – 6 pages. B – back bodice – 6 pages. C – sleeve – 6 pages. D – collar – 2 pages. E – sleeve band – 1 page. F – hem band – 2 pages.
– Since the pattern pieces are broken down in to sections, it makes taping/gluing easier. You’re not trying to tape all 23 pages in one shot. You can break them up in to little groups. I think this makes user errors less likely, and the accuracy of taping a little better.
– There is a sizing key chart in every section. That’s 6 key charts!
– The sizing is differentiated by varying dashed/solid lines. The sizes are not colored. All lines are within a gray scale.
– The pages are not no-trim pages. You’ll have to trim a side and a top/bottom. OR, if you have a light table, or big window, just use that. That’s what I use.
– The front and back of the sleeve are labelled. There is a notch at the front sleeve, as well as a coordinating notch on the front bodice armscye.
– There are marks on the sleeve to note where the gathering threads will go.
– There is a note to mark the center of the front bodice on your fabric. Do it. It will come in handy when you want have to position your collar.
– Each pattern piece is labelled with the pattern name (Parisian), the designer name (by Andrea Pannell for Go To Patterns), piece name, cutting directions, the seam allowance is noted, fold lines are marked, direction of stretch is marked on all pieces with two exceptions: it is not noted on the collar piece, which makes sense because a woven can me used, and it is not noted on the neckline trim piece, which I think is an oversight.
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A few more notes and thoughts
– Step 1 (page 13) has a little tip to stay stitch the neckline. Don’t skip this. Do it. You’re going to be man handling the neckline a lot, do the stay stitching so nothing stretches out. For me, I like to stay stitch directionally. I start at the shoulder seam and then go to the center front and stop. I start again at the other shoulder seam and stitch to the center front again. Then I repeat for the backside. It’s the way I was taught. It’s ingrained inside me.
– Step 2 (page 13) mentions that the easiest way to gather the sleeves is to run one row of gathering stitches. Do two. It is easier to do one. It looks nicer to do two. It does mention this as well. You could even do three if you really wanted.
– It isn’t mentioned in the pattern, but I understitched my collar within step 8 (page 15). I think it makes the collar sit a little nicer, and you can’t see any of the stitching from the topside, so it doesn’t ruin the look.
– The pattern comes with a 3/4 length sleeve only. I would love long and short sleeve options.
– The top is finished with bands on the sleeves and hem. Love hem bands! Band all the things!
– I added 3″ of length to my top. I just love longer length tops – it’s a body awareness thing for me. I don’t think adding length is necessary though.
– My sleeves really are banded. The pictures don’t show them well. I always push my 3/4 length sleeves up to right above my elbow. The sleeves come down just past my elbow when they’re not pushed up. Where the sleeve and band meet hits right at the bottom of my elbow, if that helps give an idea of how long the sleeve actually is.
– The collar piece is a cut on the fold piece. Because my fabric is directional, and I didn’t want #audreycatburn to be upside down, I cut my collar pieces out as two pieces. If you are going to do this too, don’t forget to add a 3/8″ seam allowance, or your collar will be too short. I still cut my interfacing as one piece on the fold, and attached it once I had my collar sides joined.
Julia Bobbins made the Parisian a few times as part of Pattern Anthology’s Just Add Jeans blog tour. Don’t know who Julia Bobbins is? For shame! Get thee hence to her blog!! Anyway. In her post she says “I made the top in a small size as I likes my stuff nice and fitted.” The statement makes me think she successfully sized down. It isn’t meant to be an overly fitted top. Mine does look looser than hers. If you’d like a more fitted top, I’d say you could easily go down a size and be just fine.
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Would I make it again? Yes. Delia, of Delia Creates, made one for the Pattern Anthology Just Add Jeans blog tour. She used a stripe fabric that I’m fairly certain I have. Or, it’s close at least. I love her’s, and might just make one similar to it. Different collar. I’m not a total copy cat. Would I make any changes? I’d keep the length that I added. Again, that’s a me and the level of comfort with my body thing. I’d maybe be brave and try a smaller size, just to see how I like it. But if we are being honest, making a size M instead of my normal XL made me nervous enough as it was. Other than that, or anything mentioned previously, no. I think it’s a fairly solid pattern as is.
Photo Oct 15, 3 22 27 PM edit
I’m going to throw some links your way, just so you can stay in the know.
Parisian Top (affiliate)
Go To Patterns website (affiliate)
Parisian Top (not affiliate)
Go To Patterns website (not affiliate)
Go To Patterns Facebook Page
Go To Patterns Group *while the pages are handy to know about sales and stuff, the groups are far more interactive. I prefer groups to pages.
Go To Patterns on Instagram *check out those awesome shirts! I want them all. Feel free to send me a handful.
Andrea Pannell on Pinterest *say goodbye to your afternoon if you click this one.
Go To Patterns on Twitter *I don’t Twitter, or tweet, or twerk, or whatever the cool kids are calling it.
Sign up for the Go To Patterns newsletter *It doesn’t matter to me either way. But, the newsletters do have cool things in them. I signed up today (shh, I was neglectful with my sign up), and the special offer included in my newsletter is the Belinda Dress ($9) and Go To Leggings for Girls ($10) for $8 bundled together! That’s more than 50% savings. So, sign up for the newsletter.
Photo Oct 15, 3 23 38 PM (1) Simplicity liked and commented on this photo on my instagram. Yeah. THAT Simplicty. I know, I’m a pretty big deal. Not!

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Benylin and Sewing: A Cautionary Tale

This post originally appeared Crafting Con for the My Little Pony theme on July 10,2015

Hi, I’m Laura from Manning The Machine. Back again. Sick of me yet? You might remember me from Disney (Non-Princess), Doctor Who, and Harry Potter. Now I can add My Little Pony (MLP) to my CraftingCon score card. While this guest post is suppose to be about my MLP inspired crafting, and it will be, it might as well be renamed “Benylin and Sewing: A Cautionary Tale.”

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I signed up for MLP month with plenty of time to hash out my plans for this month’s make. I actually didn’t even need to think about what I wanted to create. Cutie Mark Crusaders (CMC) capes! I have three girls, “we are three little ponies…” It just made sense to me to make the girls some CMC capes. Maybe make some cute accessories – like a red Apple Bloom worthy hair bow. Unfortunately, I ended up with time for only one cape. Because… Life! When I finally had a chance to sew my capes, I had the worst cold, and was in a Benylin induced haze.

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Let’s just say I don’t really do well with any sort of “fix ya up” medication. Baby Tylenol makes me feel stoned. It’s for babies, guys, come on! When they gave me the little blue pills before my wisdom teeth removal, I was hallucinating about blue and yellow bears on roller coasters. I lost a week in my time line thanks to the post-op Tylenol. Do you understand what I’m saying? My deadline had suddenly arrived, and I was hopped up on Benylin.

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Firstly, I have never cut myself on my rotary cutter before. I’m sure we’ve all heard the tales of people slicing finger tips off with them. I often shake my head as to how this happens. Now I know. These people are rotary cutting in a cloud of Benylin. That must be it! Thankfully it wasn’t my fingertip, just a huge slice down my thumb nail. But still… Ouch!


Next, pinning the cape together. Oooh, why is this edge not matching up? That’s ok, I’ll just pin it how it does line up and trim the excess off. What? No! I should have stopped here, and double checked everything. Benylin Laura also decided to serge all the way around the cape. Yeah. I can’t do little curves on my serger at the best of times. Unless you are some sort of wizard who can serge those little curves flawlessly, just follow the instructions.


Don’t even look at my topstitching. It’s the worst. I did however have enough mental smarts to not bother stitching around the appliqué. I should go back and do it once I’m better. If I had done it in the moment it would have been a hot mess. Also, I burnt myself on the iron while putting the appliqué on. That was my breaking point.

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For the cape I used EYMM’s My Little Super Hero Set. Do not judge the pattern based on my hot mess of a cape. I’ll make this pattern again when I’m no longer sick, post it on my blog, and you’ll see the difference. My hot mess of a cape is entirely because of the Benylin fog and not the pattern. The designer, Kymm, is awesome and knows what she’s doing. She’s also the Boob Queen. Seriously, if you ever have a bust fitting related question, I am sure Kymm would know the answer.


For the appliqué, I found a CMC emblem on google, and blew it up until it was roughly the same size as the appliqué pieces from the EYMM pattern. I traced it right from my computer screen. Very carefully. Very lightly. No pixels were harmed in the tracing process. I split the emblem in to three parts – pony, background, outline – and put each on some lite Heat N Bond. Have you noticed that my emblem is actually a mirror image of what it should be? I forgot to reverse my image while tracing it out on the Heat N Bond.


Lesson learned: Benylin and sewing don’t mix! My cape is a hot mess! But Elle loves it anyway.


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Mandy K Designs – Knock off & Costume Hacks Blog Tour

I’ll admit that shortly after signing up for this blog tour, I was completely uninspired. Why did I pick The Princess Party Dress?! Why?? Our house already looks like the princess aisle of Toys R Us threw up all over it. Did I really need to add to the princess-fairy-unicorn-pink-purple tornado that is our current existence? I sat my girls down and asked them what they wanted to be for Halloween. River, my 4.5 year old, “A fairy! A butterfly, princess, fairy!” Greaaaaaat! Elle, my nearly 3 year old, “Tinker Bell and a Neverbeast” “So, Tinker Bell?” “No! A Neverbeast. Gruff. I be Gruff!!” Wow! Creative! Unexpected! Doesn’t work with a princess dress pattern. Moving on. “Danica, what do you want to be?” Brace yourselves for the princess response from the 6 year old. “A vampire. I want to be dark and scary. With teeth. And blood.” THAT, I can get behind!
Isn’t she terrifying?! Oh my goodness, Danica perfectly captured the look I was going for in these photos! Wait. Wait, wait, wait! Or…. In the words of The Doctor “Shut up! Shut up, shut up, shuttity up…up…up!” More pictures, and then we’ll carry on.
Ah! I just love them all so much! Normally doing a photo shoot with Danica is so much work. There’s a lot of “please, please smile, Danica, please.” And convincing her to do the poses that I need. Not this time. She was perfect. A natural, terrifying, little demon! As previously mentioned, I used Mandy K Designs Princess Party Dress to make this Halloween costume. If you check out the pattern link, you’ll notice a few minor changes. Let’s break it down!
hack steps
The original Princess Party Dress features a bodice and skirt with that triangle piece. Very princess worthy. Step 1, chuck the skirt curve piece away. It didn’t work with the look I wanted to capture. Step 2, toss the upper and lower front bodice pieces away too! I decided the original curved lines on the front of the bodice also weren’t working for my edgy little vampire. Just a little too princessy. I also tossed the upper and lower back bodices pieces away too. I used the back lining piece for both my main and lining fabric. Step 3, since I nixed the skirt curve, I also needed to nix it from the bodice. Fold the triangle of the front bodice piece (actually it’s the front bodice lining piece) up, so that there’s a nice straight edge there. Step 4, trace the bodice so that it is one full piece. Step 5, slash it! Now there’s left and right bodice pieces, instead of the original upper and lower pieces. Step 6, add seam allowances along the slash. Don’t accidentally add them to the bottom, like I did on my right bodice piece. Step 7, cut fabric, sew, follow the pattern directions, blah, blah, blah. Step 8, admire your work! Any of that make sense?
Oh wait…. There’s more. My skirt is way fuller than the one the pattern suggests. For started, I only followed the length measurement. My width is a bit more, making the full width of my skirt a little more that 3.5 times the width of the bodice. It is A LOT of skirt to gather. Here are my gathering tips! Divide your skirt in to eighths. Run two lines of gathering stitches along each section. Yes, two. For even nicer gathers, be bold and do three. So, start with long thread tails, do a line for one eighth section, stop, leave long thread tails, go back to the start of that section, and run another line about 1/4 inch away from the first line. Do that for each of the eight sections. It’s tedious. Very, very, very tedious! But, I promise that when you go to gather the skirt to the bodice, it will be less frustrating, and the end result will be so lovely. One more suggestion. To keep all those long thread tails in check, knot them. I knot mine before I even start a line. Just tie the top and bobbin thread end together. Do a line. Snip. Tie the end that are attached to my skirt. Tie the ends left at the machine. And then I tie the two lines together. Check the above picture, you can kind of see what I mean. Or maybe it just looks like a mess of thread?? Like I said, tedious. Tedious to the point of obnoxious. But the end result is worth it. My skirt is also different, because instead of cutting one front and one back for the skirt, I cut 8 pieces, 4 fronts, 4 backs. I have a layer of the red satin that matches the bodice. That’s more of a burgundy, isn’t it? No matter. I have two layer of black netting. And then I have the black and gold overlay. Lots of width to my skirt. Lots of layers. Makes for one giant skirt! Love it!
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She had a whole backstory for herself during these photos. Her name is Sienna, and this is the place that her mother is buried… Oooook.
That was her Dad’s photo idea. You should see the first one.
Ok. Back to blog tour business. Today is the last day of the blog tour. You can check out all the participating blogs at their links below. Head on over to Mandy K Designs website, if you’d like to make your own vampire worthy costume, or a princess dress, or a Christmas tree, or Cleopatra, or you just want to add to your pattern library in generally. Use the code MKDblogtour2015 for 30% off your purchase. The code is valid through October 11th.

Quick notes on my accessories. The cape is from Meg McElwee’s book Growing Up Sew Liberated. Instead of adding the hood, I cut the collar the width of the neck opening, by 5 or 6 inches tall. I can’t remember which and it is tucked away in the bedroom of a sleeping vampire right now, so I can’t check. I curved the short edges of this piece inward, starting 3/8 inch (seam allowance) from one long edge. I made mine out of felt, so there was no need for sewing anything right sides together and turning. Except for when I attached the collar to the cape, because I wanted that seam hidden. The collar is five layers, to help it stand up – two red, fusible felt, two black. It would have been fine without the fusible layer in the middle.
The “bat” wings are actually dragon wings from Bobbin for Appliques. There are bat wings, but I loved the look of the dragon wings the best. These were done in a 4×4 hoop. Next time, I’ll make them bigger. If you have an embroidery machine, check out Bobbin For Appliques!
Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my hack of Mandy K’s Princess Party Dress. Thank you Deb and Amanda for having me along on the blog tour. But mostly, thanks for letting me bombard you with pictures. Here’s a handful more, just because I love them all!
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Alright. Alright. I’m done. There’s more over on my instagram if you want to check those ones out too.

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EYMM Hoodie Blog Tour

BAM! I made a hoodie for myself. Check it out!!
blog tour teaser

How awesome is it?? So freaking awesome, that’s how awesome. I found this fabric at a for charity sale that happens right around my birthday. Fabric is donated and priced at $1 per meter. This fabric was $2! TWO DOLLARS! Holla! I love it. I’ve been waiting to turn it in to a hoodie for myself ever since I got my hands on it in April. The EYMM Hoodie Blog Tour was the perfect opportunity to bump this project up to the top of my sewing list. Cheers to selfcare (or selfish, however you want to look at it) sewing!

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I used a zipper that was a little longer than I actually needed. When you reach the zipper construction portion of the instructions there is a link to Threads Magazine’s tips to shorten a zipper. I had a plastic zipper, and the article mentions using “nippers” to remove the excess zipper teeth. My initial thoughts: “Who the heck has these “nippers” just laying about? Crazy people, that’s probably who.” And off I wandered to my husband’s man cave beside my sewing room, doubtful that I’d find what I’d need.

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Yeah. Count my husband as one of the crazy ones. Just a few “nippers” laying about.

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During the sewing process, I posted a few photos on my personal Facebook and Instagram. When I posted the final hoodie someone asked if I was a baby carrying Mom. Truth be told, only occasionally. With four little kids, I probably should baby wear a lot more than I do. The question did get me thinking… How does the Asymmetrical Hoodie stand up to baby wearing?

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Not too shabby, actually. The fit of the hoodie isn’t form fitting, as it is meant to be a unisex garment. My chest measurement puts me in a women’s large (or D, since the pattern uses a letter sizing system). There’s enough room, and enough stretch in my fabrics, for me to wear my 13 month old, Jackson, in my Ergo carrier. However, it is a snug fit, so if you’re planning on making the hoodie or vest with the purpose of baby wearing, I would maybe go up one size.


I love it. There are a few things I’d switch up for next time though. Thumbholes! I need them! I’d make cuffs with thumbholes next time. Also, it can be pretty freaking cold here, even in the fall. I might line the sleeves next time, just for the added warmth factor. Other than that, there isn’t anything I’d change.


A few quick details about EYMM‘s His & Her’s Asymmetrical Hoodie & Hooded Vest:
SIZING: Womens: XS-5X (A-J), Mens: XS-5XL (C-K)
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate to Advanced
16 pages of directions including 2 pages at the end with more detailed directions for attaching the lining to the main outer shell. (Those extra two pages are super handy!!)
119* professional digitized pages that you assemble to make the full sizes pieces. (* Note: Actually, a few quick notes. I counted the pattern pages as 121, not 119, so there’s that. For sizes A-F, you’ll only need to print 52 pages. For sizes G-K you’ll print 69 pages. The layer function is also available on the pattern to help you have on ink.)
And although I haven’t sewn it up yet, here’s a few details on EYMM‘s Zander’s Hoodie & Hooded Vest:
SIZING: Infants: 0-3m, 3-6m & 6-12m, Toddlers: 12-24m & 2/3, Youth: 4/5, 6/7 & 8/10, Tween: 12/14 & 16/18
SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate to Advanced
13 pages of directions 34 professional digitized pages that you assemble to make the full sizes pieces. (The additional two pages from the His Her’s with the more detailed directions for attaching the lining are also included. Again, super handy pages!)

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Want to WIN a copy of either EYMM‘s His & Her’s Asymmetrical Hoodie & Hooded Vest, or Zander’s Hoodie & Hooded Vest pattern? Just leave a comment! I’ll pick a winner using at the end of the blog tour.


Make sure to visit the other stops on the tour to see more versions and hoodie inspiration! Many are giving away a copy of the pattern! (Psst … check out the awesome savings listed after the tour links!)

*NOTE* The links below won’t show the tour posts until 7am PST on their day of the tour, BUT you are welcome to click through and check their blogs out at any time.


Blessed X Five and Capture, Craft, and Cook


The Wholesome Mama and EYMM


Rebel & Malice and Manning the Machine


Welcome to Our Crazy World and Connected by a Thread


Pretty & Precious Clothing and Boutique Birdie

Hop over to the EYMM shop and use code FALLHOODIES2015 to save 50% on either hoodie pattern! Coupon is good for Zander’s Hoodie & Hooded Vest (newborn-18tween) or His & Hers Hoodie & Hooded Vest (adult XS-5XL) and expires 11:59pm PST on Sept. 29.

*NOTE* These two patterns are INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED sewing level, as they include zipper installation and some unique assembly techniques.

What is this face? Seriously!


UPDATE: Winner!

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CraftingCon July – My Little Pony

Hey! I’m guest posting over on CraftingCon today – they’ve got a shiny new website!This month’s theme is My Little Pony. You’ll have to head over there to see what I sewed up for this month.


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Sofilantjes Summer Surprise

Welcome! Bienvenue! On the 23rd Sofilantjes turned one year old! Bonne fête, Sofilantjes! Wow, look at all those exclamation marks – it’s my favourite punctuation. Where was I? Oh yes, it’s Day 3 of the Summer Surprise Annniversary Tour for Sofilantjes.

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The Summer Surprise was the first Sofilantjes pattern, so what better way to celebrate than give it a bit of love?! Oh, and there’s also a new giveaway every single day, thanks to some wicked awesome sponsors. I guess it does get better. So, why not throw a little more awesome your way? Anne, the designer behind Sofilantjes, has revamped the pattern and made it all shiny and new. Big pay attention spot coming up…. NOW! If you have previously purchase the Summer Surprise through Sofilantjes site, the updated version should be in your account. Easy peasy. If you purchased through Etsy, if you previously tested it, or if you won it, please email Anne with the subject line Summer Surprise to to get your updated copy. Did I mention there is a discount code?! I didn’t. Shame on me. Use the code ANNIVERSARY on Sofilantjes website to receive 25% off the Summer Surprise pattern.

I had a ton of ideas for what I wanted to do with the Summer Surprise pattern. Unfortunately, life has just been getting in the way lately, and I was only able to execute one of them. Sorry River and Elle, yours are next. Danica and I are both loving circle skirts on her right now. Danica loves how they twirl. I love how easy they are to sew up. I’ll leave the tutorial writing to the designers, but I can give you a rough idea of how I hacked the pattern a bit.

The pattern comes with top, tunic, and dress lengths. I shortened the top length, I want to say 8 inches, but that could be wrong. My notes just look like scribbles. For the circle skirt there is a bit of math involved. Scroll past if math makes your eyes glaze over. I measured my bodice pieces (excluding seam allowances) to find out the circumference I needed for my circle skirt waist. I took this number and divided it by 2π, (or 6.28). This gave me my radius. The I grabbed a piece of paper, a ruler, and a pencil to make a little pattern for my circle skirt. Nothing in this paragraph is very exciting is it? No. It’s not. I like math and even I’m all like, “pi r squared, cake r round…mmm…cake!

Oh look, giveaway! Today you can have the chance to win your choice of pattern from each of the eight following designers: Stitchwerx Designs (you should get the Tiddly Wink Toppers it is Elle approved), Gracious Threads (there’s a huge baby shower going on over there with lots of great giveaways!), Striped Swallow Designs, FABulous Home Sewn, MCM Studio Designs, A Sparkly Baby, GYCT, and Sofilantjes. Make sure you enter Thursday’s and Friday’s giveaways too. And Tuesday’s should be good for you to enter as well, depending on what time you’re reading this post. Each giveaway is open for 48 hours.

11350461_10152770806070764_1495897584975973658_nGiveaways are way more exciting that math. But since we are speaking of math…. Circles! Once I had my skirt cut out, there was a little circle left over. Instead of having it go to waste, I used it as my back bow! That’s why mine might look a little “off” in comparison to some of the others you’ll be seeing on the tour.

editDSC_0025One more little change I made to my Summer Surprise was to line the bodice, and omit the binding around the neckline. I lined the silver dotted stretch velvet, (I assume that’s what it is – it was inherited so I am not 100%), with purple fabric. Danica is all about purple dresses right now, and I thought she’d like that fun splash of color inside. I had originally planned not to bind the armscye either. But my brain was mushy, and I opted to use black fold over elastic (foe) on them. I used the same foe on the bow too, yo!

editDSC_0125Congratulations Anne for hitting this milestone. I can’t wait to see what this year will bring for Sofilantjes. Thank you Anne and Deb for having me as part of the tour!10270773_10152770806055764_3918757254610573879_nNow go and check out the other blog stops on the tour. There are some seriously awesome Summer Surprise hacks being done.


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Doctor…. Who?

This post originally appeared on Friends Stitched Together in January as part of CraftingCon’s Doctor Who month.

Hey Everybody! I’m Laura, I blog over at Manning The Machine. I’m ridiculously excited to be a contestant as part of this month’s CraftingCon. Doctor Who – the possibilities are endless. I bounced around a lot of ideas – including Twelve’s awesome red lined jacket. But, I felt my ideas were veering towards becoming too costumey and cosplay-like. I decided to take a completely different approach.


My parents are Whovians, and all I got was this stupidly AWESOME t-shirt!!!! I made eight shirts – two each for my four kids, as well as legging for my girls. I had to enlist the help of the nieces to take photos of all the shirts. Thankfully they’re all about the same size. It’s cold outside. Like, freeze to death in the tardis while dreaming of drifting towards a cold burning star kind of cold. We headed to the library for photos. Don’t worry, we counted the shadows while we were there – all clear for Vashta Nerada!


For the leggings, I decided to go with a silver-grey fabric. It made me think of space pants… also of Cybermen. And through the shirts, I wanted to try and represent each of the modern Doctors and their adventures. Since time is a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff, I’m not going to show them in order of Doctor. See if you can figure out which Doctor and adventure each shirt is representing.


An adipose shirt and matching stuff, Baby Adi, for my Elle-Belle. She loves her Baby Adi, and takes him everywhere.


Allons-y! This shirt is actually for my daughter, River, but Rachelle was kind enough to model it. River needed this shirt – she has a pillow of the Tenth Doctor with the 3-D glasses on.


Oh, yes, did I not mention I have a daughter named River? Couldn’t miss an opportunity to make River a River Song reference shirt, now then, could I? Hello, Sweetie!


I wanted to be a little more subtle about my Doctor Who reference with this shirt. Bow ties are cool, and perhaps, if Eleven had been a girl, she would have thought that bows were equally as cool. I made the bow hair clip to go with it, because my husband suggested the shirt seemed slightly Sailor Moon-ish. Rude! This shirt is for Elle, but Aylah helped out with showing it off.


A Bad Wolf shirt for my Danica. She is the Bad Wolf. Actually, she was for Halloween, which is probably why I chose to make her the Bad Wolf shirt. I create (it) myself.


It might not seem obvious, but this is actually a nod to one of Twelve’s adventures. But, I know not everyone has seen all of season 8, so SPOILERS! I’ll try and talk in code. You might need the TARDIS’s translator circuit to figure it out though. It’s a Cyberman shirt. A pink Cyberman shirt. A pink Cyberman shirt that I made for my daughter, Danica, who unfortunately we never nicknamed Dani (Danny). Do you get it? Do you? You’d know if you did. Keltie was awesome, and modeled this shirt while we were at the library.


“Are you my mummy?” Yes, yes Jackson, I am your Mummy. Oh gosh. That episode was equal parts creepy and heartbreaking. And of course, a nod to Gallifrey, with a little Gallifreyan writing. Want to know what it says? The TARDIS’s translation circuits can’t translate it, but I’ll tell you what it says. “I love you.”

And I’ll leave you with this silly little sleeping Time Lord, Hailey! I don’t want to go, I’ll always remember when the CraftingCon competitor was me! Ha! Thanks for having me! (Sing it to Sleepy Kitty)


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Where’s Perry?

This post originally appeared on Friends Stitched Together in April as part of CraftingCon’s Disney Non-Princess month.

Hello all! It’s Laura from Manning the Machine. Yep, I’m here again. You might have seen me back in June for Harry Potter and January for Doctor Who. I’m back again for Disney month, and have chosen to focus on a show that our whole family likes watching together. That’s right, even the husband and I like it. I had a lot of fun creating my look, and writing the post that will follow this little intro. I’d thought about creating a little video of me singing it to you, but I am sure the ladies of CraftingCon don’t want to lose all their guests. So, I will provide you with this handy little video link, so you can hear the tune, and maybe sing along while you read. Enjoy!


There’s just 30 days of CraftingCon April,
and May comes along just to end it.
So the current problem for this Sewing Mama
is finding a good way to craft it.


Like maybe….
Looking at patterns
And checking out Craftsy
And heading to the fabric store


Discovering that I have enough yardage (Hey!)
Or maybe I should buy some more!


Printing pages
Reading pdfs
And locating my scissors and tape (They’re over here!)


Finding the cutting mat
Cutting the fabric out
This skirt has a really nice drape (Danica!)


As you can see
There’s a whole of stuff to do
Before April ends with May (Come on River!)


So stick with CraftingCon April cause
We’re gonna craft it all!
So stick with CraftingCon April cause
We’re gonna craft it all!
(Kids! I totally rewrote a title sequence!)


Was that fun? Did you like it? Haha!

I actually really did have fun creating this little look for my oldest girl, Danica. I used the Audriella dress pattern by Rose & Lee Designs for her Phineas inspired dress. The Agent P headband and Perry the Platypus hair clip, (that Elle was nice enough to model), are both clippie designs by Frou Frou by Heather Sue.

Don’t want the Phineas and Ferb love to end? Want another song? Here’s my two year old’s favorite Phineas and Ferb related video. Enjoy…… Waahaahaa!

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Women’s Bundle Up Blog Tour – EYMM and LLK

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Are you ready to BUNDLE UP? The current Bundle Up is live and it is all for women!


I had the opportunity to test the Women’s Everyday Essentials by Everything Your Mama Made (EYMM). I would say “that’s me, in the middle of the cover photo.” But, let’s be honest. What I should really be saying is “those are my boobs, smack in the middle of the cover photo.” Ha! I decided to give mine a break from the spotlight – I don’t want them to get an ego or anything – and whip up the pattern for my sister for this blog tour. This made me slightly nervous for two reasons. 1 – I only ever sew for my kiddos and myself. The kiddos are always so easy to please and never notice any sewing boo boos. 2 – Boobs. Sewing for women can be tricky. Fortunately, Kymy is the Boob Queen. I mean that in the best possible way. She understands that fitting for this area can be tricky, and she makes it as painless as possible. If you ever have a boob fitting question, I bet Kymy would have the answer.

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The Everyday Essentials pattern is like a bundle on its own. The pattern includes: half slip in two lengths, sleeping bra, cami, two different length gowns. Lots of options! There are also options when it comes to fitting. The pattern, which is sized XS (over bust 32”) to 5X (over bust 59.75”), offers different cup sizes – small, average, and full. For the front bodice, you have the option to gather under the bust, or omit the gathers and cross the front over more, which provides a bit more modesty. I made myself the sleep bra, or as Jackson might call it, “the easy access to the house white” bra. Everything stays in place during the night, but it’s easy enough he can almost self serve and I can keep sleeping. TMI? Oh well. Now you know. I also made the cami option, which can be seen front and center of the pattern’s cover photo. And finally I made the above the knee length in a sexy black and gold stretch lace. For all of mine, I opted to do the bust gathers. For Sarah, I figured she might want a bit more coverage so that she’d be comfortable wearing it out. I omitted the bust gathers and crossed the front over a bit more. While the Everyday Essentials are meant as more of an undergarment, given the right fabric, the cami makes a cute stand alone top. She loves it. I did take it back from her after photos. I decided that the top should be hemmed, instead of leaving it raw, as it’s just too lightweight. Easy fix.

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My sister is a pear shape. When I told her that I was going to make her The Petal Perfect Skirt by Little Lizard King (LLK), she made a face at me – it wasn’t pretty. She explained that because of her shape she has a hard time finding skirts that fit properly. And then she complained about her hips, and I tuned her out. Ha! Love you, Sarah! She got in to my head a little bit and made me nervous about making her a skirt. Little Lizard King is also a new one for me. It can be a bit nerve wracking to try a new to me designer. Hips and new designer = stress levels rising. Sister freaking about her hips = stress level rising even more.


I had nothing to worry about! Crisis averted. Obviously the designer understood that we are all shaped differently, and took this in to account. The sizing for LLK Petal Perfect skirt ranges from 0 (waist 26 1/8” hips 34”) to 20 (waist 40.5”, hips 50”). HOWEVER, you can select one size for your waistband and another for you skirt options. Oh gosh. I love a pattern that is customizable in a no brainer way. My sister’s waist is 27” which puts her in a size 2 for her waistband, according to the chart. She has 39” hips, or maybe 38” hips. You know when you write a number down, and the scribble another number on top? Well. I don’t know if I had originally written 39” down, and written over with 38,” or the other way around. I decided to err on the side of safe and go with 39” which put her in a size 8/M for her skirt, according to the chart. Looking at it, I’ll size her down to a 6/S for next time. She agrees. Better safe than sorry. Sarah asked for a taller waistband for the skirt. Fortunately, the designer included a suggested measurement for the taller waistband – no maths involved!


Late the day of our photo shoot, she sent me a text. “Picked my outfit for tomorrow. Make me a million more skirts. I love it!” She was rocking her Petal Perfect skirt. Fear of a new designer – overcome! Fear of “big” hips in skirts – overcome! Fear of sewing for others – a little less fear than before. Two patterns that make fitting easy – win! Two pieces of clothing sewn up in less than three hours (that’s fast for this dawdler) – awesome!


Check out some of the other bloggers on the tour. If you are a plus sized gal, and would like to see how the Everyday Essentials look on a fellow plus size gal, head on over to The Wholesome Mama. I love the version Courtney made. She is also rocking the Real Deal Jeans by Winter Wear Designs. Darcie, of Mimi’s Mom, blogged about The Petal Perfect skirt as well. She used mint green stretch vegan leather for her skirt. FUN!


The Women’s Everyday Essentials by EYMM and The Petal Perfect Skirt by LLK are available from May 1 – 8, as part of the BUNDLE UP SALE.


OH! I also tested the Jillian by Greenstyle. I made Sarah throw on my testers super quick. These are early phase testers for my much fluffier frame. I mostly just wanted to show off her awesome arms. She’s getting married in September and has been putting a lot of work in to them. “Welcome to the gun show.”

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