Rebecca Page Back to School Drawstring Backpack and Pencil Case

A couple of months back the call went out by Rebecca Page, formerly known as Mummykins and Me by Rebecca Page, for Brand Ambassadors. I quickly applied since I have mentioned previously that I enjoy pattern testing and also to know you have a monthly project is great motivation.

Each month we have a selection of 4-5 projects to chose from. These are completed patterns ranging from kids to women’s wear, costumes,accessories, toys etc.

                  

Unfortunately things didn’t start too well for me as the first project I was very late with as the due date was right when we had our family holiday. Fast forward to Augusts’ project. I chose the Back to School Drawstring backpack (**aff link) for a different type of project. The special launch price is only $3.50, and the regular price $5 after the sale finishes (sale prices expire 11.59pm GMT Saturday 26th August 2017) and as a bonus if you buy the backpack, you get the pencil case pattern for FREE!

Both patterns are designed for woven fabric and are trim-free, A4 or US letter size, layered PDF patterns. There is also an AO format (pattern pieces only. The backpack comes in Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large sizes.  Both items are a great way to use up fabric scraps and are quick and easy to sew up.

My 4 year old picked these fabrics out, probably not my choice, nonetheless I used some pink Indonesia Batik tie-dye (100% cotton) and pink broadcloth (100% cotton). I used eyelets for the backpack and a vintage pale pink zip for the pencil case, both from my stash.

 

These are indeed fast patterns to sew up. Just taking a look at the tester photos will show how versatile they both are. The backpack can be used for school, shopping, swimming and a trick-or-treat bag for halloween. Likewise the pencil case is great as stationary storage or even crochet or sewing storage.

 **This post contains affiliate links

 

 

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OMG!!! I am Wearing Shorts …. Intoducing the Harper Shorts by Megan Nielsen

I haven’t worn shorts since way before I was married, actually probably not since high school, and that was for sport or swimming. Well, that is a teensy lie, do culottes count?

Harper shorts front 1

                                                              Harper shorts front 2

This was probably a really inappropriate seasonal pattern test* that I did during winter, but I signed up because the two pairs of Tania culottes by Megan Nielsen, which I love, are the only pairs of shorts I have worn since my younger years. Is it cheating a tiny bit though since they look like a skirt?

I love Megan’s patterns and have accumulated a fair few that I am yet to sew up. The Harper shorts and skort are lined, so they feel a bit dressier than the run of the mill sports shorts and I guess for that fact could be worn during winter with tights. I love pockets in anything so these are an extra great feature and the skort option is fantastic as it’s a 2 looks in one pattern. It was a bit difficult to get my head around sewing shorts during autumn now but I’m considering it good planning since the warmer weather is very,very slowly starting to creep into the southern hemisphere.

Harper shorts back 2

Harper shorts side

My tester version was made using some long time stash olive broadcloth (100% cotton) and black pongee lining (100% polyester). I found the fit spot on and love the invisible back zip closure. These aren’t my normal choice of attire but think they are extremely appropriate for taking kids to the park or beach. I was hoping to get the skorts sewn up before this blog post, which mind you is already months overdue, but life has kept me busy. The skorts are a longer cut and probably most suited to my current lifestyle. Stay tuned for those some time in the probably not so near future!!

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Jolie Skirts for My Girls by Filles a Maman (FAM)

This is the first pattern I tested* for 2016, called the Jolie skirt by Filles a Maman (FAM). I can’t believe I am only just writing about it considering it was designed to be Issue 10 of the One Thimble e-zine. At the time I had to be secretive about it until the official release but that has long gone now. If you haven’t seen One Thimble yet and sew for children I think it’s a must have, it’s great value and Issue 10 alone has 11 patterns and 25 articles.

I was drawn to this pattern as it is a basic a-line skirt with two design options, either with or without a centre pleat. It can be made in either woven or knit fabric and there is an elasticised waistband which is secured with three rows of top stitching plus it caters for 12 month to 14 years, a lifetime of wardrobe staples!

My oldest daughter is growing at a rapid rate at the moment and desperately needed new skirts. Thanks to this pattern I was able to add 2 new ones for her and also for miss 2.

There aren’t very many pages to print and assemble as far as PDF pattern goes, so it is a very fast process. There are pictorial instructions, accompanied by clear written instructions. I found the measurements to be pretty spot on for my kids. Some testers added a contrast fabric to their pleat which is a really nice effect. The tie at the centre is for aesthetic purposes and doesn’t have any function. There is a nice 1 inch hem and the waistband is top stitched which subsequently avoids the elastic twisting.

The first version for miss 4 was using a duck canvas navy/white stripe (100% cotton) I’ve had in the stash for ages. I only just had enough for this skirt but if I had more I would have made the stripes go horizontal instead. I used some cord for the tie as it felt like a bit of a nautical vibe.

Blue white stripes

Version 2 was made from some lightweight rustic print floral denim (cotton/polyester). I wanted to personalise this skirt a bit so added lipstick broadcloth (100% cotton) self-drafted pockets with a pleat design to match the skirt.

                              Denim floral with pockets

Version 3 was made from wool blend mixed boucle in black and white (8% wool/92% polyester). By this stage sewing them takes no more than 30mins from cutting the pattern to snipping that last thread. Such a satisfying sew which the girls love.

This boucle fabric comes from my Big Little classic ladies cape and I knew at the time exactly what I was going to sew with the scraps and that is why I kept them. I barely had enough to cut this skirt out though and had to cut the back in two pieces, added a 1cm seam allowance. It worked perfectly!!

                                                      Black boucle

I did have to serge all the pattern pieces before starting construction as this fabric frays like crazy, which is why I chose this pattern. There are minimal pattern pieces and it is such a fast sew that the fabric doesn’t require a lot of handling.

For miss 2, my version 4 I used some light weight summer vintage flower african wax print denim (polyester/cotton) and sewed on a ribbon for the tie.

                                                    Printed flower denim

Last but not least, version 5 was made from some black and gray flannel check E44 (unknown composition). Nothing Black plaidnew to say other than I had to serge all the pattern pieces prior to assembly because my fabric frayed so much.

This is really a no nonsense skirt, quick and simple to make with lovely results.

Don’t forget to check out One Thimble and subscribe to their Newsletter to get updates.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

The Chambray Clarissa Dress

The Clarissa Dress by MCM Studio Designs is the perfect classic, trans-seasonal dress for the little girls in your life. There is a long and short sleeve option with a button back closure. I recently tested* this pattern and although normally I like to make a second version before blogging, I ran out of time. There haven’t been any major changes to the design itself, more so just to the written instructions.

I chose to make mine in some chambray (100% cotton) which is a great choice for the spring/summer, but no so practical for colder weather. I made the long sleeve version while testing for the purpose of adding winter appropriate clothes, and using some white broadcloth (100% cotton) for the sleeve extension, but the two fabrics just don’t work well together. The photos below show what it looked like originally, but I have since removed the sleeve extension and will think more sensibly about fabric choices for the next one.

                 Clarissa side Clarissa front Clarissa back

The pattern and instructions themselves both go together well and are well written, supported by good pictorials. There is a lovely pleated bodice and gathered sleeves with a ruffle trim. It is an empire waist silhouette with a slight upwards curve at the front and back, with a gathered skirt.

I will be making more but first I need to sort out the correct mash of fabrics 🙂 I also love the idea of shortening it to a tunic. I may just also shorten this version to knee length when spring rolls around.

The Clarissa Dress pattern is being released on Thursday 12th May (US) and from the 12th -21st the introductory price is $5.00 (half the regular price), a perfect time to buy it!

www.themerrychurchmouse.com
www.mcmstudiodesigns.etsy.com
http://www.craftsy.com/user/714750/pattern-store…

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Comfy Cozy Pj’s by Laela Jeyne Patterns

I love Pj’s, but not enough to wear them around as lounge wear but probably because I haven’t owned a new pair for goodness knows how long. And when you are struggling to find co-ordinating sleep wear in the cupboard it’s time to invest in a new pair.

I tested* the Comfy Cozy Pj’s by Laela Jeyne Patterns in December 2015, which was perfect timing to have a new pair for christmas morning. I liked that there were options for short and long sleeves, a 5″ inseam shorts length and options of 28″ or 30″ inseam pants length. You can also choose to make the bottoms in high or mid rise. Both sleeve lengths have cuffs and optional breast and inseam pants pockets. ALL in the one pattern. If you don’t like printing, cutting and taping PDF patterns this one is a no trim pattern and makes assembly quick and easy.

As it’s summer for christmas in Australia, I used this floral spun rayon (100% cotton) from my stash with white rayon (100% rayon) for the shirt and switched up the colours for the cuffs and breast pocket detail. I cut the 28″ inseam long pants with the elastic measurements for the low rise option and added in the inseam pants pockets. All seams were neatened with the serger.

                                pj version 1 side                       Pj version 1 back (2)

They are super comfy as the name suggests and pretty easy to sew up. I have found mine to be pretty baggy/roomy although I have worn them as often as possible and not sure if it’s party related to the fabric composition because after laundering they seem to fit better.

I wanted to make a second pair with the final released pattern which was more shaped at the waistline but also went down a size from my tester version for a better fit.

I used pink broadcloth (100% cotton) and white prima homespun (100% cotton) hoping I’d have some semi co-ordinated separates. Look away now if pink isn’t really your colour, I keep thinking that they look like a pink pair of scrubs, if scrubs were pink that is!

Pj version 2 frontPj version 2 back (2)This time I only added 5 1.5cm round buttons as the recommended 7 I found a bit busy for me.

The fit is definitely better going down a size, but the difference in fabric also affects how they feel and hang. The only thing is I forgot to increase the leg length as I made the 28″ inseams length like last time but since these were a size smaller, naturally they came up shorter and I like my bottoms to bunch up slightly. Considering this is sleepwear I’m not too fussed though.

I have quite deliberately made both pairs in light fabric with short sleeves to wear in the warmer months of an Australia summer and have been wearing both pairs quite a bit since completion. I need to check my winter pj inventory but I’m almost certain I will be adding a flannel pair to my wardrobe before winter sets in.

                                   Pj combo 1 front                          Pj combo 2 front

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Simplicity 1354 Dress in Navy Broadcloth

Another item finished in 2015 but just getting blogged. Last time I made this Simplicity 1354 dress it was in a fancy fabric for my friends wedding, kind of a test run for my version for the SWAP 2015, although probably makes more sense to do it the other way around next time. I really like the fit of the dress and it’s kind of boring from the front, party at the back.

I made view A again and don’t have much else to say this time around except I went down a size as I had to take in the first version quite a bit and didn’t line this version. This pattern comes with the various cup sizes and I kept the cup size the same as last time. I used some navy broadcloth (100% cotton) instead of black as originally planned, as I wanted to change it up a bit although looking at my back log of recent sewing projects I have enough blue items to last me a lifetime. I also wanted a light and cool summery dress which this fabric definitely is. I constructed everything as specified, leaving the side seams until last to refine the fit, as per the amazing fit “motto”.

Simplicity 1354 side                       Simplicity 1354 front 2 Simplicity 1354 front

I didn’t have enough fabric to make the armhole facings so used 12 mm single fold navy bias binding to finish off the armholes. The dress fit well after construction but after wearing it a few times I felt it had stretched out, probably due to the loose weave of the broadcloth. Anyway, I had to take in the bodice by 2 cm on each side so it was more fitted, and that is what you see in these photos, the “after” alterations.

I didn’t have enough fabric to make the skirt as gathered as I would have liked, nor make big pleats as my original version so I just made two small pleats at the front and back to minimise bulk. I also lengthened the skirt by 15 cm. The pockets were made using some navy nautical voile #2 (100% cotton) scraps left over from my Sewaholic Lonsdale dress. Have I mentioned how much I love pockets? Well I really do!!! I serged the hem and turned it up 6mm and then by 1 inch and stitched.

The back has button closures at the neck but I found I could get the dress on and off without having to undo them so I sewed the neckline closed and sewed on three 1 cm white pearl buttons. There is a 12 inch (30cm) navy invisible zip and I have stitched on a hook and eye at the top of the zip although I couldn’t do enough gymnastics to do it up myself for the photos, thus the little gap. Keep that in mind when making this, ensure the zip does in fact go to the top and doesn’t have a gap like mine did. The pulling visible in the photos isn’t there in real life, I think it’s the way I’m standing.

Simplicity 1354 back

This dress has had a lot of wear already. I have worn it “dressy” as per the photos but mostly with sandals as day wear.

I’m really happy in that my SWAP 2015 was mostly complete, especially as I often sew what I feel like and didn’t think that I would complete the majority of what I planned.

Bella Sunshine Designs Sweet Lilly Pintuck Tunic and Dress

This pattern could not have come by at a better time. I have been searching for a button up bodice with a gathered skirt since I bought this fabric a month ago, and then when I saw the tester* call for The Sweet Lilly Pintuck Tunic/Dress by Bella Sunshine Designs I was very excited. There is a slight vintage feel with this pattern.

I made a size smaller than normal as per our aligned sizes because it’s a semi-fitted bodice, but went with my daughters usual length for this dress. The fabric is cream Gertie printed crepe de chine (CDC) cherries. I used lipstick rayon (100% rayon) for the waistband and ruffle accents with hot pink plain chiffon (100% polyester) for the sleeves and white top pop poplin (80% polyester/20% cotton) for the lining. Although not instructed to, I lined the skirt with poplin because this fabric is very light weight and see-through.

Pintuck tunic front

Pintuck tunic back

This pattern requires precision with the pintucks and top stitching. Given it is a kids pattern there are some very fiddly, small pieces, particularly for the sleeve construction. I made it harder for myself by the fact I chose chiffon and CDC to work with, very slippery indeed. I ended up doing french seams for the sleeves as the chiffon frayed and to keep it all nice and neat.

As this is the tester version, a few tweaks have been made prior to release. Mainly the bodice was taken in and was offered as a tunic and the original lengthened by 3 inches to make the dress version.

Miss 4 was happy to gift it to miss 2 as she thought it looked “cute” on her. Miss 2 was also happy with this transaction. The girls pretty much have the same chest measurement at the moment which is why it fit my youngest so well.

IMG_1435 (2)

I quickly made a second version for miss 4 in the dress length this time. I used some petal metro linen (100% linen) with eyelet lace for the bottom band of the skirt portion and white broadcloth (100% cotton) as a contrast. For lining I used white top pop polin (80% polyester/20% cotton). At the centre ruffles I used a small border of lace to match the hem ruffle and tied the whole look together with square pink buttons. I only added three to the back as opposed to four but that was the last packet at the store.

Sweet lilly pinctuck front

Sweet lilly pintuck side

Sweet lilly pinctuck details

I’m very lucky to be a mother of 2 beautiful girls. The clothes in our house are truly loved and well worn so I figure all my time and effort is well worth it.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.