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Back To School With Made For Mermaids

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Hey Guys,

I joined the Made for Mermaids Back To School Blog Tour! We are mid-school-year here in Australia and our children actually wear compulsary uniforms, but I thought – why let that stop me? I have 3 children in school, but Miss 10 here is the trickiest to sew for (Master 9 and Miss 7 wear  a tee and shorts pretty much year round outside of school). So I thought why not take on a challenge that might help you all with your tricky customers too?

I gave her the M4M website to browse the patterns and I already had this fabric set aside for an Isabel Wrap Dress, so when she pointed Isabel out as her favourite I was pretty happy.

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Let me give you a basic run down on how school works here in Oz. I know it’s different in many parts of the world and it is interesting to see how we all operate…

Preschool is for children 3 – 5 years old, with lots of play based learning and social skills in preparation for Primary School.

Primary School starts with Kindergarten, which starts at around 5 – 6 years of age, and also includes Years 1 – 6.

High School includes Years 7 – 12, for ages approximately 12 – 18.

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So Miss 10 is in Year 5 in Primary School here. She actually had an out of uniform day this day, as a reward from her teacher for achieving her silver award in class. She so badly wanted to wear this outfit, she was swishing around everywhere, but I sized up a little and made this Isabel a little longer than the pattern and so I suggested she keep it for another day. So mean I know!

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Isabel is a fantastic versatile pattern. You can make it tunic length, dress length or Maxi length. I thought it was great as a back to school pattern with all those options. You can even wear it open like this (with the ties tied inside the dress behind your back), which makes a super cool duster cardigan.

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It would work in all lengths for this look. We agreed on the maxi with the tulip skirt, she loved the dress on the cover. You also have options for sleeves. You can make it sleeveless, short sleeves, 3/4 sleeved or long sleeved. Again we agreed that 3/4 looked awesome! I must be getting the hang of tween fashion, I’m all over this…

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And doesnt it look stunning as a maxi dress with tulip skirt! I used a rayon spandex from Wicked Fabrics I had been saving for this very dress for quite some time! It is super drapey and soft to wear. She looooves it! The drape probably added a fair bit to the length when I think about it! I should have left it per the pattern!

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It’s winter here and it was pretty cold and windy for these early morning pics! She had a red nose and squinty eyes pretty quickly from the cold wind!

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The pattern itself was really easy to follow and faster than I expected to make! I like that it includes sizes 1/2 through to 14, because I think this pattern will be used again and again here!

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You can picture this as tunic length worn over shorts, jeans or tights can’t you?

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Or here you can imagine it as a knee length dress, it works beautifully too.

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There is that show stopper Maxi dress though! Look at that rayon spandex in the breeze! Isn’t it stunning!

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I can tell this dress will be her new favourite! She absolutely loved it. The only question I have is – should I re-hem it or make her wait to grow into it? Ok I’m kidding, that would be torture, I’ll re-hem it, I promise I’m not that mean!!

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What’s on your back to school sew list?

Perhaps these blogs might give you some inspiration! Go check them out!

Remember f you are doing some back to school sewing, post a pic in the Made for Mermaids Facebook group with the hashtag #m4mback2school2018. You may just win a prize ❤

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Warmest wishes,

Brooke x

Idle Sunshine

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Little Lizard King Bristol & Newport

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Hello everyone! I’m so excited to share these pictures with you! I made this sweet set using the Bristol & Newport patterns by Little Lizard King and I can’t wait to show you how cute they are together!

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First up let’s look at the Bristol! It’s a woven top & dress in sizes 12m – 12 years. The dress version includes a simple skirt, ruffle skirt and double layer skirt options. I chose to make a tunic length top to pair with shorts.

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It has a curved front bodice, which creates a high-low hem, perfect for showing off your favourite shorts.

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It’s winter in the southern hemisphere right now, but this makes the perfect outfit teamed with tights, boots and a warm hat! It would also look great with a pair of leggings or jeans in winter! I can picture a faux fur vest over the top for a little extra warmth too.

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I love the 3/4 sleeves with ties, it’s such a cute feature. This gorgeous floral print fabric comes from Dizzy Daisy Fabric and is called Hannah Blue.

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The pattern calls for buttons & buttonholes, but I have an assorted rainbow of Kam snaps on hand which I love to use! Snaps are so easy and fast to apply, they are great to have in your stash.

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The ties in the sleeves are a great match for the tie sides of the Newport shorts.

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The Newport shorts can be made in the same great size range 12m – 12 years. They have a flat front waistband, elastic back and a bubble hem with 3 choices of hem finish.

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They can be made with a regular straight cuff, a button tab hem or the ties that I chose to make.

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I used a Linen-Look Cotton called Mellow-Yellow from Dizzy Daisy. I find it a little scary trying to guess when ordering coordinating fabrics online, but I think these two fabrics work beautifully together!

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Just look at those bows! Don’t these patterns work beautifully together?

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I tell you what else works beautifully with this outfit, how gorgeous is this hat? I bought quite a few balls of this mustard coloured wool last winter for my lovely mother in law to make me a crocheted necklace I had seen a pattern for. I bought way too much wool so I have a full collection of mustard accessories now!

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My MIL loves to crochet and knit and recently asked what else she could make from the left over wool, so I suggested a “slouchy lacey hat”. She didn’t have a pattern that would work, so she ducked next door to her neighbours house. She found a great lacey hat pattern deep in her files (the suitcase in the spare room) and added a little extra to get the slouchy look I requested.

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It is exactly what I imagined and it looks like I either have to buy more wool or share it! You definitely have to wear your hair out under a hat like this and I didnt want the outfit entirely covered by her hair, so I got the curling wand out to shorten it up!

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Oh hang on a minute, there’s 3 Kangaroos and 5 deer watching us! We shot these pictures at the end of our street where there are often deer wandering around.

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I only had a 28-75mm lens on me, so I can’t show you any closer, but look at that white deer! We have a few of them.

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Ahhh! Then some other mysterious creature kept making noise in the long grass behind me and she got out of there quick smart! Look at her move! That’s Australia for you my friends! 😉

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Out of the long grass, feeling safe again!

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Oh look, you can actually see she has on some little brown boots. These were a recent purchase and they are getting a workout! Brown boots were really hard to find this season, but they really are the most versatile shoe for winter!

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Oh this girl is such a gorgeous spirit! Don’t worry, we didn’t let the curls and outfit go to waste, she insisted we take her out for dinner so she could show them off! I couldn’t argue with that request! ❤

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Warmest winter wishes!

Brooke x

Idle Sunshine

Winter Sewing with The Material Girl Australia!

I love sewing fabric strike-offs for fabric goddesses! A suprise parcel arrives in the mail and I get to choose what I make with the pretty contents inside! I always have a huge list of makes on my to-sew list so I usually get to tick a couple of them off in the process!

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These pretty fabrics arrived recently in a parcel from The Material Girl Australia! They are available as a Pre-order – open now until July 14th, 2018. They are both cotton lycra 220 weight, but are available to order in a great range of bases including cotton lycra 180, cotton lycra 260, woven, minky, swim lycra, peach skin, french terry, double brushed poly, sports performance and rayon.

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I put my hand up for a couple of prints, but I didn’t really know what was coming until it arrived. I really hoped I would snag this gorgeous Design 14 – Birds print and I was lucky enough to get 2 metres to play with!

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I immediately had this combination in mind for a Ainslee Fox Bonfire Jacket, which was released in One Thimble Sewing E-zine Issue 5, and it turned out just as amazing as I imagined! I have had the Bonfire Jacket on my list to sew f-o-r-e-v-e-r! It feels good to tick one off and I can assure you it won’t be my last.

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I lined the body with a thin polar fleece for warmth, because where we live we need more than a light jacket in winter sadly. The ribbing is actually a double knit from my stash, which is fairly stable but it works well and looks amazing with the birds!

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When I cut out the jacket I knew that I was also going to be left with enough fabric to make a beautiful twirly dress. It was the other design that popped straight into my head when I saw this print.

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I used the Simple Life Patterns Skyler dress pattern which we tested recently and introduced on their blog! If you know me at all, you’ll know that I can’t leave a good pattern alone! I hacked the Skyler dress by slightly curving the corners of the low square back to create a low scoop ballet back. Isn’t it gorgeous? ❤

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I used the circle skirt for maximum twirl and it makes such a fast sew. The Birds print is a directional print and so I could not cut the circle as a whole piece (unless I wanted upside down birds on the back), so I cut two semi-circles adding seam allowance for the side seams.

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This dress is what little girls dreams are made of! Stunningly beautiful, yet comfortable as your pyjamas at the same time!

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Print number two is Design 39 – Floral Deer. This is a sweet pastel print suitable for all ages! I can picture even a baby romper in this!

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My brain went straight away to a pretty dress for this print, but I didn’t want to pigeon hole it. I knew it was more versatile than that, so I challenged myself to make something my big girl would wear.

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This is a Little Kiwis Closet Cuffed Dolman. This pattern is my most often made pattern for myself and my girls closets are catching up! I used the long sleeve version as it’s for winter and I hacked the cutout back!

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I used the scoop back from the Skyler dress I made above as a guide for the depth, and cut the scoop from the back piece of the dolman. I measured the neck opening front and back, minus the seam allowances and calculated the binding at 90% of the opening. After I completed the top, I created a strap for the back by sewing a long strip right sides together into a tube. I turned it right way out and pinned it across the opening a couple of inches below the shoulder seams. I adjusted the length of the strap until I was happy it held the cutout shape nicely and top stitched it behind the binding.

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What’s your favourite winter pattern for knits? These are just a few I thought of to showcase this fabric. I hope you like them as much as these cheeky girls do!

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Warmest wishes,

Brooke x

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

Introducing Skyler! By Simple Life Pattern Company

We are excited to be featured on the

Simple Life Pattern Company Blog today,

introducing the new Skyler knit dress, top & tunic!

Click here for the full post, details and pictures.

Skyler-Cover

Little Lizard King Malibu

Oh gosh it’s good to see the sun shine! It’s been a rainy, miserable couple of weeks here. The rain has been lovely, but we are pretty soggy now. It would be nice to be able to send those rain clouds west for a good drenching!

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I hate to send my kids out to freeze for the sake of a blog post, so I delayed taking pictures of this pretty set until today. The sun shined all day, the wind finally dropped from the gale force it’s been blowing and this gorgeous hedge down the end of our street is blooming right on cue! I wish it bloomed all year round, it is absolutely stunning (and would make a very convenient backdrop for me haha)!

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I made this gorgeous top from the Malibu pattern from Little Lizard King. It can be made as a dress as well, and while my girls don’t wear many dresses, I can definitely picture them both wearing this! I am picturing a cool blue, maybe a chambray, but the options are truly endless. It comes in sizes 12m – 14 years and also has optional flutters for the straps.

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This set I made is an upcycle! I upcycle all the time, but until my previous post I had never thought to record the before and after. I love that idea, so you will see it a lot now! You can see I started with this thrifted chiffon dress ($1), ladies pants ($3) and some yellow & white voile from my stash. I purchased the thrifted items years ago and I am enjoying attemping to shrink my upcycle pile.

I paired the Malibu top with the shorts from the Little Lizard King Charleston set! They are adorable! I love the tulip style hem and the wide waistband. The ladies pants I cut them from were made from a heavy stretch fabric, so these are very comfortable! I added some buttons as a feature that also came from St Vincent de Paul. I believe they were also upcycled from a garment that was unfit to sell. You can also see the tiny rolled hem I kept from the hem of the original dress.

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I love the back of the Malibu! This chiffon version is very soft and drapey, and I also sized up a little so that it will still fit when summer rolls back around here. The ties pull it together nicely at the back though and this set will fit her for a year or two! She is very happy with it and is still wearing it at home tonight (with the fire going don’t worry)!

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How lovely is this bow tie back? And how lovely is this hedge? She had a lovely time playing with the flowers and the petals that carpetted the ground.

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Look what I found just for you Mum! ❤

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I really enjoyed making this set and my girl assures me she loves it! It all came together perfectly with excellent instructions. I can’t wait to make some more dresses, tops and shorts for summer! Bring on summer already!

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Bring on sandals, bare legs and braids. Sewing for summer in the middle of winter is tough!

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Let me know what you want to see next?

What inspires you to sew? Is it the pattern, the fabric, the season, or the occasion?

Warmest wishes,

Brooke x

 

 

Candice Ayala’s Upcycling Challenge – Little Lizard King Lexington & Ibiza

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Will you look at that pretty washing hanging on the line! I have quite a collection of items to upcycle in my stash, so when I saw the Upcycling Challenge set by Candice Ayala, choosing my “fabric combo” was not an easy task! I knew this was my kind of challenge though.

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If you follow me, you will know I do a lot of upcycling when sewing. It’s a really cost effective way to source fabric for starters! You can upcycle unwanted items from your own closet, or you can purchase clothes, sheets, curtains, quilt covers, blankets, tablecloths and more quite cheaply from thrift stores to be used as fabric. I upcycle as often as I use new fabric!

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It’s also a great way to reduce landfill! In Australia the average adult purchases 27kg of textiles each year and throws away 23kg! I’m trying harder and harder to purchase less clothes (fabric surely doesnt count right?), but I am definitely an expert at repurposing things we no longer need!

 

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I had been wanting to make the new Little Lizard King Lexington pattern, but my girls are very “anti-dress” at the moment, so I thought why not make a top version and pair it with some cute shorts! I wanted an elastic waisted pair, but I have had no luck finding a woven shorts pattern, with pockets that doesn’t have a flat front. I spotted the Little Lizard King Ibiza pants pattern and thought it would make a super cute and easy pair of shorts!

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It all came together quite easily, with great instructions and fit, but playing with lace meant a few tweaks were needed.

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For each of the crossover front bodice pieces and the bodice back, I cut a main from lace, a backing piece from poplin and a lining piece from poplin (instead of a main and lining only). I basted each lace piece to a backing piece to be treated as the main piece from that point on.

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The only other change needed was to line the skirt part of the top. I cut the lace pieces carefully to match the scalloped bottom at the side seams and cut the lining to be the same length. I sewed the side seams of the lining and the lace with french seams and hemmed the lining. Then I basted the lining inside the lace ready to be gathered and attached to the bodice.

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The shorts were a really easy hack. I just compared the pattern pieces to some shorts from my daughters wardrobe, added a little extra length for a hem and cut! I made sure the length of the side seams and inner leg seams matched between the front and back pattern pieces to work out my straight line to cut for each pattern piece. Otherwise I sewed them up per the pattern instructions. I love those cute pockets.

 

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For the back straps and loops I could not stomach fiddling with the lace for starters, and I also thought it could feel a little scratchy on her back (see that tulle/netting type base in the pic above?)… So I searched my garbage bags full of remnants (thanks Mum for that buy – lots of random pieces of every fabric type and colour purchased from a fabric store employee) and I found some ivory chiffon! Now that thought might scare some people, but I have used chiffon for straps before and found it a snack. All I did was overlock the selvedge off the edge, then overlock just a little more than an inch from that over locked edge. That cuts the strap from the fabric, so you then need to overlock the other edge of your strip and repeat. You then have 2 long overlocked edged strips, which you fold inward twice to hide the overlocking (like double fold bias) and topstich. I use loads of wonder clips to hold it as I go. Easy peasy and faster than it sounds!

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I love how this set turned out and so does Miss 10! These little customers of mine are getting harder and harder to please! It’s so hard to listen to them when they say “no” to pretty dresses – I mean have you seen the amazing dress versions of the Lexington? This top is pretty stunning though, so I guess we’re all happy today 😉

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Fabric Covered Bunny Ears Tutorial for Easter!

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I made these sweet bunny ears to go with our One Thimble Trillium by Petite Stitchery and Twig + Tale Pixie Shorts outfit last year. It was the Michael Miller Saturday Morning Fabric Collection that took me there! Those bunnies are perfect for Easter!

This little project is quite quick and easier than it might look, but I got so many comments, that I thought I had better write a quick tutorial to show how I made them!

The bunny ears came straight out of my children’s dress-up box from a previous Easter, and the flower is on an alligator clip and also has a brooch back. You might have picked up that I am all about sustainability and versatility, so I love that the flower can be used as a hair clip or pinned on any other accesory or outfit.

I didn’t have another pair of ears on hand so I called in to Big W and grabbed a pair. I’m sure wherever you are in the world you will have a department store or bargain store that will have these in stock at this time of year for a dollar or two.

Materials needed:

Paper

Pencil

Scissors

Fabric (I only needed a piece 20x20cm or 8″x8″, but it will depend on the size of your ears)

Iron

Needle and thread to match your fabric

Method:

  • Lay your headband down on a piece of scrap paper and trace around the outside of the ear shape.  Make sure to extend down to the headband, this will give you a seam allowance to play with all the way around.
  • Cut out your pattern piece and use it to cut 2 ear shapes (mirrored if they aren’t symmetrical) from your chosen fabric.
  • Take your 2 fabric ears to the ironing board and iron a 1cm or 3/8″ seam allowance under to the wrong side.
  • Pin your fabric ears to the ears on the headband, covering the inner ear (the pink section in this case). I just hold it there, but I’m a rebel, so you might like to use pins!
  • Hand stitch your ears to the headband, starting from underneath the fabric ear so that the thread tail is hidden between the furry ear and the fabric. You might like to tie a knot in the tail so it doesnt pull though, or wing it like myself and just tie it when you’ve stitched all the way around and back to the beginning! I just use a running stitch, but i travel most of the distance around the ear between the fabric and the headband ears so as not to have big stitches visible. Come up through your fabric from the bottom and back down through the fabric only 2mm from the point where you came up, then down through to the back of your bunny ears and back up only 2mm from the point where you came down. Then use the needle to travel 1cm (3/8″) along in between the fabric and the ears before you come back up through the fabric and repeat the process. It’s not important to be super careful, because your stitches aren’t seen through the long fluff on the back of the ears.
  • Just align your fabric so that the folded edge lines up with the seam of the bunny ears (where the pink inner ear meets the white fur), all the way around as you sew. Your fabric might not be exactly the same size as the area you are covering (that will depend on the design of the ears you have purchased). You might find you need to fold a little more of the fabric over than the 1cm seam allowance we pressed to make it match up, but you can just adjust that by hand as you sew and it will all work out just fine.

Boo Designs Dynamite Activewear!

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This was a fun assignment! Kristie Gilbert (Spandex Queen and Pattern Designer from Boo Designs), asked if I’d like to test her new pattern? Let’s be honest, she had me at “Activewear”!

My girls are completely OBSESSED with activewear so it was a no brainer! The new Boo Designs Dynamite Activewear pattern will blow your mind, just take a look at the options it has!

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I have a few thousand photos to share, so I compiled a few collages to save you some scrolling. First up is a Cutout Racerback Flared Tank in the February Pattern of the Month Club Fabric, trimmed with Solid Black Spandex. Her leggings are Solid Black Spandex Sports length, with a Snake Leg Splice in Black Power Mesh.

Her little sister wears an Infinity Back Crop in the February Pattern of the Month Club Fabric, trimmed with Solid New Royal Spandex. Her Leggings are Full length Dynamite Spliced with the February Pattern of the Month Club Fabric, Solid New Royal SpandexSolid Desire Spandex and Solid Aqua Marine Spandex.

I love how these outfits turned out and am honoured to have my girls as cover models for the pattern!

 

Next up are these bright sets I made earlier in testing. The marled, supplex-type fabric for each set was cut from a couple of pairs of ladies size 26 leggings I found on a $3 rack at Best & Less! I’d had them in my stash for so long, that my littlest model was starting to get cranky with me! I told you activewear was high on their demand list!

Her Infinity Crop and Dynamite Spliced Leggings set is teamed with some crazy colourful dance spandex and solid black spandex.

The Big Sister’s Cutout Racerback Crop and Dynamite Spliced Leggings set is teamed with some Boo Designs Purple Bubbles fabric from the Pins Sewalong (that I never quite got around to joining) and some solid pink spandex.

 

To show a little versatility, I made this next set from cotton lycra. Both of these pretty fabrics came from Wicked Fabrics, from a scrap bag I nabbed. This simple Racerback Crop and Jazz length Shorts could be cut from around 35cm length of fabric (full width of fabric) for a size 6. How great is that!

I decided to switch up the waistband facing and waistband pieces to get this peekaboo waist band feature. She loves it!

I also made a simple plain white cotton lycra Racerback Crop and black Jazz Shorts, which she loves to wear under her school uniform. So simple and no photos of that one, but I’m sure you’ve seen enough for today!

 

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I’d love to hear what you think! Are you as pumped as I am about this new release? I have another set stuck in my head that I have to make ASAP, so I will add that one too (as soon as I can)! This pattern leaves you feeling like a sewing superstar! It really isn’t as difficult as it looks, so give it a go!

Warmest wishes,

Brooke x

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

Little Lizard King Bellevue Dress

I’m excited to show you all this gorgeous dress, made from a new pattern by Little Lizard King! It’s called the Bellevue and the exciting part is that it is the first design by the lovely and talented Natasha Chrismas of Ellie’s Handmade! I’ve been a long time fan of Natasha’s work (if you are a handmade enthusiast I’m sure you are too), so I was thrilled when she asked me to take a look at her first release!

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The Bellevue was a double release available in a dress and romper version. The dress includes sizes 12 months – 14 years, the romper in sizes 0-3 months – 4 years.

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Photo credit – Natasha Chrismas

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It has these gorgeous cross back straps with the option of single or double ruffles. You might have noticed my girls don’t wear many dresses these days, but Miss 6 is turning 7 next week and she decided she wanted a birthday dress. Seeing as though I was sewing for my little firecracker, I decided to experiment and leave the ruffles out of the equation. She loves it and I am happy knowing it will be worn more than once! Why, oh why must they grow up and ditch the dresses and frills?

fullsizeoutput_7e38 I could have moved the straps over to meet the edge of the bodice, but that might have left them too wide on her shoulders. I could also have trimmed down the bodice to meet the straps, but I quite liked the idea of this modern look.

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The straps cross over and tie in the back through two loops, it also has an elastic casing across the back. Both these features allow for a comfortable and adjustable fit, that will grow with your child.

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It has a nice full gathered skirt, with the option of a double ruffle hem or a contrast band.  I made a simple skirt, but made it for a size 9 (the bodice I made for their chest measurement which was a size 6). It is designed to be a retro above knee length, but I made it so it would fit both my girls, and being an adjustable fit bodice it will fit them both for a while with this added length.

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I bought this quilting cotton fabric to make myself a dress, I loved the birds and flowers in the print. I think I might have enough still left for me… I hope! It was printed off grain a touch, which made cutting tricky for this OCD pattern matcher, but I got there in the end. It would have been really obvious if I hadn’t gotten that hem straight in this print!

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We gave it the twirl test, even though it is a gathered skirt, it still passes!

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I said to her as she was running down the stairs before we left to “Slow down”. It’s something I say a thousand times a day to her, usually right before she falls over… I kid you not, her response was – “Life wasn’t meant to be slow Mum”!!!

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Miss almost 7 is clearly growing up… #mouthfullofmissingteeth ❤

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Have you made a Bellevue Dress or Romper yet?  You know if my girls weren’t almost 7 and 10 already (with opinions and long legs), I’d be squeezing them into that romper with ruffle sleeves and a ruffle butt!!! IT IS ADORABLE!!!

Some of those awesome features that might get you over the finish line:

  • PDF Printing Layers
  • Measurement Chart for Rectangle Pieces
  • Line Drawings
  • Recommended Fabrics
  • Table of Contents
  • Glossary of Terms
  • Printing Layout
  • Print Guide
  • Fabric Requirements
  • Size Chart and Finished Measurements
  • Cutting Chart
  • Cutting Instructions

Congratulations Natasha on your new position as a designer with Little Lizard King and your first pattern releases! They are absolutely gorgeous, with clear and comprehensive instructions. Highly recommended.

Warmest wishes,

Brooke x

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