willow & co patterns. . .

It's been a little quiet here on the blog lately but there's a good reason for that! I, along with the rest of the Willow & Co ladies, have been working so, so hard to get our pattern collection ready to release. That day is near! To find out when the shop opens and the patterns will be available, head over to the Willow & Co blog here. Exciting stuff, people! Make sure to sign up for the newsletter while you're there to stay up to date and be the first to know about any sales/discounts/goodies. 

michelle patterns | anniversary sale. . .

*sponsored post

Hey! It's time for the anniversary sale at Michelle Patterns! 23 of her fabulous patterns are on sale for only $5 each. I've said this before - I pretty much learned to sew from these patterns. The instructions are incredibly well written and I always learn a new trick or two. If you're new to sewing bags, accessories, etc - these are the patterns for you. If you're not new to sewing - these are the patterns for you. Seriously, at $5 it would be silly not to get one or more! Over the years, I've used these patterns to make things for myself, to give as gifts, and to sell in my shop. Below are some photos sharing some of my favorite projects! There is also a Flickr group where you can check out 4000+ photos of projects made using Michelle Patterns

Secret Pocket Envelope Clutch I made these to give as gifts to friends of mine. The pattern includes several sizes and flap options. I love the jump snaps on these!

Idea Pouch This pouch is a multi-tasker! It can fit an iPad or other tablets, notebooks, pens, and more. It's perfect for anyone that wants to be able to work, sketch, write, and more on the go. It's a great way to feature some of your favorite fabric too. 

Padded Camera Pouch This cute little pouch is really padded and has a drawstring closure as well as a flap. Great for storing and carrying smaller electronic devices. The pattern includes several sizes. I made this to give to my mum - she uses it to carry a small video recorder. 

Keychain Clutch They're pretty tiny but you can stash some money, lip gloss, etc in them! I added some contrasting fabric and buttons to these.

Make sure to check out the sale here: Michelle Patterns
Sale ends 4/8/2014

life in black and white | april. . .

What can I say. . . I love these photos. I laugh every time I see them. These two have a serious love hate relationship thing going on, the result of which can be absolutely hilarious at times. Of course other times it's totally annoying but we'll focus on the good times today! They were being cute one Saturday while we were just lounging around at home so I grabbed the camera to document this happy little snippet of time. 

To check out some more black + white photography, stop by Shoots and Roots!

oliver + s | garden party blouse. . .

Can you believe that this is the first Oliver + S pattern I've sewn up?! Seriously, it's kind of ridiculous. Not sure what took me so long! I've actually had a few in my stash for a while but never got around to using them for one reason or another. Now, I can happily say that I've got one under my belt. Thanks so much to Liesl for sending this cute pattern over so that I could try it out. It's part of a new collection!  I received a pdf version of the pattern but there are also paper patterns available. 

Talk about a well put together pattern. . . this blouse sewed up like a dream. I chose to do the sleeveless version but that pattern includes cap sleeves as well. I love the little details that add up to a super polished garment. The inside is just about as pretty as the outside. I tend to shy away from illustrated pattern directions - my mind just doesn't work that way - but luckily everything was clear enough in the Garden Party pattern that I was able to get through it with a minimum of fuss. I learned new technique too - the button closure is made using a thread chain. Pretty cool stuff. I love the gathering on the front as it makes the blouse flare out a bit which is pretty and the square neckline is so flattering.

I had a different fabric picked out for this top but I ended up changing my mind. That happens a lot! I've had this voile sitting around for a while and thought it would work well. Since it is such a bold print (and kinda hard to photograph), I opted to use all the same fabric for the blouse instead of doing contrasting bands on the front and back. Fit wise it's pretty spot on. According to measurements I really should have gone with the size 4 but went with 5 instead. My kiddo is pretty skinny and I probably could have even made the 3 with added length for a fitted look. It's a little roomy in the underarm area but I wanted to make sure there would be some room to grow. If I make it again, I'll probably add a little more length to the top since my child pretty much lives in leggings. 

 garden party dress + blouse | oliver + s      hearts voile | drygoods design    leggings |  johnny mango seed

Want to see more versions of this blouse/dress? Stop by the blogs below. . . 

flip this pattern | beachy boatneck. . .

I participated in this month's Flip This Pattern series over at frances suzanne. Voting is this weekend so go vote for your favorite 'flip'! The dress I made is based on the Beachy Boatneck Top pattern by Blank Slate Patterns. I used the bodice of the pattern to create a sleeveless high low dress with a button placket. The fabric is a really soft and drapey rayon that I've had in my stash for ages. I am in love with the print and had a hard time cutting into it! I lined the bodice with a knit for extra softness. Make sure to head over here to see all the entries and vote.

studio tour. . .

Finally! This post has been a long time coming and am so glad I can finally share my little sewing space with you. I started the make over process some time ago but just put the finishing touches on the room this week. It's been quite the process but sooooo worth the time and trouble. When I first moved into this house, I wasn't sure what we were going to do with this small quirky space. I put my computer desk in it to start with and eventually added a "craft" table. I didn't get into sewing until a few months after moving in and once I bought a sewing machine, the room went downhill quickly. Fabric and chaos took over. Fast forward about 4 years and I couldn't take handle another day in what I felt was the world's messiest and ugliest room. I bought paint, bought new furniture, and made plans to tear out the carpet. I spent many hours on Pinterest searching for ideas (you can see my office space/studio board here) and walked the aisles of Ikea for hours trying to figure out what would work best in my space. My room has its fair share of challenges. . . it is small, there is either a window or door on each of the 4 walls, and there is only one outlet for the whole room (right by the entrance.) I ended up with a very Ikea studio, which works for me because I love the Scandinavian aesthetic and made the makeover feasible budget-wise. It is light and bright, it is really organized, and the room finally reflects me!

While I usually love seeing 'before' photos of a room makeover, I didn't include any before photos  here because I only had a few iPhone pics and they are just plain depressing. Let's just focus on the after. I am in serious love with my new desk. Those drawers. . . they are perfect. I no longer spend 20 minutes searching for my seam ripper because it's got a spot in a drawer now. I grabbed several organizer trays from the Ikea kitchen section which just so happen to fit these drawers perfectly. All my office supplies and sewing notions are stashed away neatly. The black dressers are the only thing from my old room to be transitioned to the new. They hold the hubby's clothes and the tops serve as my cutting table. I got a new bookshelf and a new cabinet with glass doors to contain my fabric. I got two new chairs since my old rolling desk chair died. I tried out just about every chair at Ikea and ended up with the Tobias chair for my desk. It is comfy! I got a less expensive folding chair to use while sewing. 

The floor. . . I had originally planned to paint the concrete floor after pulling up the carpet but decided that it would most likely result in a nervous breakdown. It was going to be way more work that I had energy for so I left it as is. Apparently whoever painted the ceiling before laying carpet flung paint all over the place but hey, it adds a little character to the room!

My tour is part of a series over at 2littlehooligans - make sure to stop by there to check out more sewing spaces!

diy tee shirt featuring handmade charlotte stencils. . .

Not too long ago I was contacted by Kollabora and asked if I wanted to do a project using some goodies from Handmade Charlotte. They kindly sent me some really neat peel and stick stencils and paints. The tee shirt above is what I came up with! I wasn't sure what I was going to do at first but since I'm a fabric lover I was leaning towards doing something involving clothing. I then came across this post in my blog reader and just knew I had to get some white paint!

I've never really done any sort of stenciling on clothing and was pretty nervous. I did mess a up a spot on the tee-shirt but was able to fix it by mixing up a bit of grey paint to use as a cover up. It worked surprisingly well as I can barely see where I messed up. I think using a heather grey fabric was a wise choice as it hides little imperfections well. The peel and stick feature of the stencils really came in handy for this project because I was able to get really clean lines. 

white acrylic paint 
fabric medium
freezer paper
paint sponges and brushes
cardboard to put inside shirt
t-shirt *

*I used made by rae's flashback skinny tee pattern to make my own tee shirt. To speed up the process I used an extra large women's shirt and cut my pattern pieces to make use of the existing hems. I also used a seam ripper to remove the neck ribbing and reused it.

I used freezer paper to create frame - the kiddo picked a square. Once the freezer paper frame was ironed onto the fabric, I simply placed the stencils onto the tee shirt and sponged or brushed on paint. I let the paint dry for just a few minutes before peeling off the stencils and placing more until I was happy with my design. Once completely dry, I heat set the paint using my iron. I love the cute garden motif - flowers, bugs, leaves, etc!

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