Here there be Mermaids

The Girl has been reading a mermaid series that she really loves.  It is the Waterfire Saga and it currently has three books in it.  The age range for it is 12-18 years, and she is 10, but an advanced reader.  To say she is obsessed with mermaids would be putting it lightly.  She really, really, really wants to be a mermaid right now.


As I like to stoke the fires of book addiction, I purchased some different mermaid fabrics from Amazon and Etsy.  Initially, I was going to make a mermaid blanket out of some of it, and then I was thinking a mermaid tail to use with her swim fin she got from Santa.  Not sure if I will do that yet.  Depends on if I think she will drown in it or not, but she is a good swimmer.  We’ll see.

I decided to go the simple route and make a shirt and leggings to wear in the meantime.  The fabric here is from Amazon at $11/yard.  I only got a yard and it was a few inches longer and just enough.


The Hibernis top worked great with these fabrics, yet again.  I love how I could add the saying to the front panel and have some of the mermaid fabric show up in places.


The leggings are a modified Oliver + S leggings.  I make them longer, since their size 12 is not long enough here.  This is not super thick material, so I would say a tunic length top is a good idea.


I asked her what she wanted on the top, and she thought the “Mermaid in Training” sounded good.  I just did the words in the Silhouette design program and cut it out on iron-on glitter HTV.  The black fabric is a warm performance knit, so it has a bit of a low loft fleece backing to it.  Nice and warm.


She loved it and got loads of compliments, yet again.  Now I need to make her a fleece robe, since it is really chilly out now.  Definitely not mermaid weather!


Phoenix in flight

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to make my strike-off’s up in, so as I was thinking about it a pattern test came out from Sofilantjes.

It is called the Hibernis Cowl Shirt, and it was perfect for this fabric.


I wanted to color block, and this just turned out so well for my fabrics.  It can be plain or with princess seamed sides.  You can have both pockets or no pockets, and it has a removable cowl.  There is a variety of sleeve lengths, as well.  It is pretty versatile and an original pattern from what I have seen lately.

Seriously, do we really need to see another t-shirt pattern?  The answer would be, “No. No we do not.”



The shirt goes up to a size 14, and the size I made was a size 10 width and size 12 length.  She probably could have done a 10 on the torso, but arms needed a 12 length.  I made it with all of the options and it makes a really interesting looking shirt.


I used my fabrics for the side panels, arms and main body, with some cotton lycra for the pockets, bands and bindings.  The cowl is a cotton lycra and sweater knit.  The tabs keep the cowl in place.

She does really like this…it was just…morning time.


This top is really fantastic.  I made another one that I will post later, too.  Both turned out great and she got lots of compliments.  She’s all about the compliments. 😉


The leggings are Oliver + S Playtime leggings, lengthened by about 2-3 inches as their size 12 is too short now.  I need to make things with growing room for my kids, as they tend to shoot up occasionally.  The tuxedo stripe down the side is a fold over elastic that I sewed down on both sides.


I would definitely recommend this shirt.  It would also work great if you have a panel of fabric for the front.  Lots of options with this one!

Deets on the pattern:

The pattern will be on release sale for two days only (starting today). Pattern sale price is $5 (excl. eu taxes). (Normal price is $8.95). Pattern comes in sizes 12m/80 to 14/164. In Dutch and English. The pattern contains: Instructions with both pictures and graphics (+ video link), a summary in writing and a summary in graphics, A4 and leter size trimless pattern pieces and a A0 file.

Finally got my fabric

My fabric finally arrived on December 13th.  Well, at least the strike-off’s arrived!  I gave her my digital files on September 27th.

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This is not a speedy process.

I ordered the 5 yard minimum of these 4 different prints, and they are $17 yard, so not cheap.  I really do like the quality, but not sure I will be doing much more like this.  I am not normally noted for an overabundance of patience, and I will wager a guess that it will take another 2-3 months to get my fabric.  That is a 5-6 month turnaround.  Meanwhile, I will have to sew up something small in these prints.  There was a nice large square taken out of the sides of these yard-sized pieces, which I assume is the printer taking a sample for when they print the main order.

I put a color catcher in the wash and it was needed (cold water wash and dried in the dryer).  They are a really nice weight, and something I can make leggings with since they are heavier and have good recovery.

Sorry – crappy cell phone picture


I really wish the timeframe for ordering this was more reasonable, or I would likely order more.  At this point, though, I will get my current order in to cure in my stash and call it good.

Pro:  The fabric weight and quality is great for the cotton lycra, and the printing is crisp and clear.

Con: 5-6 months to get your fabric.  Oy.

Loom beaded bracelets

Over my Christmas/New Year’s break I had time to sit and do some loom beading.  When I string my loom I tend to try to do as much as I can, since it takes a lot of string to get it set up.

So…first I loomed all of these bad boys, and then I put them on leather bracelets.  I used E6000 glue to attach the beading to the backing of the bracelets and then stitched around them.  The stitching only really works on the ends, as the sides don’t have anything to stitch.  You have to make sure they are glued well.

20151230_4311-1 20151230_4313-1  20151230_4317-1Now for the concho snap, this is something I found online.  You can change a regular concho into a snap with a kit from Tandy Leather.  You just use the little screw, and the washers, if needed, on a regular snap.  It worked pretty slick.

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I also got a few small beadings completed, so I can put them on spur straps.  That is still in process, since I need to get different buckles.  I have several, but of course, they are not the right size.  *Sigh*  Off to Tandy again, but at least I can bring them with to make sure they fit!

Year in review

As I didn’t get much done over my annual two week break at the end of the year, I shall give you old stuff!

I like to look back and see what I got finished in the past year.  It was a fairly decent year, but no where near my most prolific.

Stuff for the girl:

Stuff for the boy (yes, the poor thing did not get hardly anything in comparison):


Clothes for me:

I guess that is a good synopsis.  Not everything, but I managed to get some projects completed.

Over break my daughter and her friend wanted to make pillowcases for Conkerr Cancer, so her mom and I worked with the girls and we got 11 finished in an afternoon.  The girls did a great job and much better than the high school kids in the manner of paying attention.  We all kept on task and got some really cute pillowcases completed.  I will try to get pictures of them before sending them off.

Happy New Year!

Formal concert dress

My little sugarplum fairy is now playing the viola in the orchestra class at school. I am so happy both my kids picked up string instruments, as it is a personal favorite of mine.  The Boy is playing the violin.

They had a concert tonight, so nice formal clothes were needed.  Last year it was a little depressing seeing how the girls were dressed.  The Boy was in dress slacks, a button-up shirt and suit jacket.  The girls were in leggings and knit tops.  Only a few were actually dressed up.  This year was much better.

As usual, I had to make something dressy for the girl, as she will not be wearing leggings to the concert.

20151214_4242Yep, growing up a bit too fast!

I had had this velvet languishing in my fabric closet for a few years.  As it had no discernible purpose prior to this…I enthusiastically, and naively, decided to make my daughter a dress with it.  Add in some satin, and my insanity level increased!

20151214_4238I began by measuring her to get the right bodice size.  Once I drafted the basic bodice, which I added some shaping, I made it have princess seams.  It also had darts in the back.  I made a muslin to make sure of the fit, and then onward to the velvet and satin.

In the princess seams, I added some bias cut satin to spice up the top.  It was a huge PITA.

The back is zipped up, so I added 1″ to the center back to account for the zipper.  I built in about an inch of ease into the pattern.

black velvet and satin dress outside

The skirt I drafted based on the waist measurement on the bodice, and made it as wide as I could.  I only had about 2 yards of fabric, and I couldn’t do a circle skirt like I wanted.  She requested the high-low mullet hem.

20151214_4241I lined the entire dress with satin, as I don’t think the velvet was very soft on the inside.  Lining the entire dress and enclosing all the seams was another measure of my insanity.  This entire process was not the most pleasant, but it looks great on her and fits her well.

black velvet and satin dress insideThe poor Boy did not get anything other than hemmed pants for the concert.  I bought him a size up in dress slacks, since I knew with the way he was growing he would barely getting any use of them.   At least he should be able to wear them for the next concert.

Got to save some money some where!

Leather snapped knitted infinity cowl – a tutorial

As there was some interest in how I made my cowl, I decided to do a tutorial on it.  It wasn’t hard to want to make another, since I love how these turn out!

I won’t go into the actual knitting, as YouTube has tutorials already that cover this aspect.  Here is one.  I knitted this on a green Knifty Knitter loom that is 17″ long.  I used two skeins of Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick in Desert.  It was 174 yards of yarn.

20151202-DSC_0081The knitted part ended up at 24″ long by about 15″ wide.

Next, we move along to the sewing part.  I have made three of these so far, and I had to cut the leather at different lengths.  I knitted them all on the same loom, so it probably has to do with the recovery on the yarn and how tightly it holds together.

I have acquired a little stash of leather.  The apocalypse comes, and I’m all set!  I decided on the cream leather and black snaps.


Some tips for sewing with leather

Continue reading Leather snapped knitted infinity cowl – a tutorial

Leather cross body bag

In keeping with my last-minute making things, I made this Saturday before going out with some friends.  It took me about two hours or so to get this done.  It is pretty simple bag if you don’t “dress it up” at all.  I didn’t line it.  If I had used a softer lambskin I may have sewed it so that was possible, but this was a heavier cowhide.

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I took photos while making it, so if you want to make one yourself here you go!

Continue reading Leather cross body bag

Cross-front top – a wardrobe staple

These tops are ones that I wear fairly often to work, and are great layering pieces.

A few years ago I made a tutorial on how to draft and put together a sleeveless version of this top.  Here is that tutorial: Sleeveless Cross-front Top

This version is a little different, since I extended one side of the front by 3″ and added 3 small pleats about an inch apart.  This gives it a little pleating on the front to hide the effects of holiday eating….and drinking.  Let’s not forget the wine, shall we?

20151201-DSC_0038Here is my first top out of a nice weight poly lycra knit.  It has a great hand to it.  I noticed a few issues with my pattern in this version.  My shoulders needed to be wider, the arm piece was too big and the back was too small.  I also didn’t pull the binding enough, and it gapped a bit in front.  Still wearable, but not ideal.  The binding starts at 6″ on the fold near the neck, and narrows to about 2″ on the fold at the waist.


The back is a bit tight, and shows a bit too many rolls.

20151201-DSC_0027Here is the second top after I reworked the pattern a bit.  I narrowed the arms, widened the shoulder by an inch, pulled the cross-over part up by an inch or so and added some width to the back.

20151202-DSC_0058Still not really perfect, but I think I like it a little bit better than the other one.  The sleeves are short, as I ran out of material.  I had already made a tunic out of this material, so I got two shirts out of my 3 yards that I bought.  This is the same material as the top above (poly lycra knit by the Worth Collection).

20151202-DSC_0065The collar binding on this starts at 4″ on the fold and narrows down to 1.5″ on the fold at the ends.  I was running out of fabric, so I had to make do with what I had left.  I had to cut the binding in two pieces, and they are joined at the back neckline.

Here was the outfit I wore.  I made the jacket this summer, and it is a great lightweight jacket.  It is only in the 30’s right now, so perfect for current conditions.  The skirt I made last year.  I also had a purse I made.  Love it when my outfit is mostly me-made!


I know, not the most exciting colors or anything, but I can wear them with so much in my closet.  I tend to like solid colors and neutrals.  I have a lot of big jewelry, so that usually is the star of my outfits more often.

I am prettttttty sure I will be making a few more tops. 😀

Tribute Hoodie

As I clearly do not have enough on my plate, as is, I volunteered to test another pattern.  Luckily it was a quickie, and luckily the Boy got something out of the pattern testing this time!


This is the Tribute Hoodie by Little Finch Patterns.  It is very quick to put together, and the sizing was fairly good.  The Boy exceeded the height requirements for the size 16, so I added an extra 2″ to the body of the gray hoodie (made the blue one first).  She has also widened the arms on the final pattern.


The hoodie here is made out of gray and black fleece and a cotton lycra knit for the patterned fabric.  I was trying to use up some bits and pieces of fabric, so that is why there are many different ones on this pattern.  The black fleece is two different fabrics. 20151121-DSC_0009


This hoodie is made out of a blue fleece and a cotton lycra knit for the patterned fabric.

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Just a few notes:

  • She widened the arms on the final pattern for the larger sizes, which was needed.  Unless I missed it no one tested the widened arms.  I looked at the final pieces and they look wider than the initial one, but just check to see if it looks reasonable against a shirt that you know fits.
  • The hood is basically the same depth for a 12-18 month size as the size 16.  Big, big hood on little ones.
  • On the placket attachment, it is squared off on the pattern piece, but she has you just go around the whole thing in one shot.  That rounds the edges. If you want it to look squared off like I did, cut a diagonal slit at the bottom of the square on the front piece.  Pin and serge one at a time, the bottom piece and then the rest of the way around.  Topstitch.

She wanted some girl tunic tests, too, so I made one for the Girl.  Again, the arms were too tight on the tester version.  Still, a cute hoodie and should be nice and warm.

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Now I need to focus on getting some gifts made and some dressy clothes for the Orchestra concert next week.  Lots of irons in the fire, as usual!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 😀