Lula Who?

dsc01074I am sure I am not the only one who’s Facebook news feed is full of invites to online parties selling LuLa something or another brand clothing.  My sister bought a pair.  I was intrigued and asked to check them out.  Yes, they were soft.  Almost everyone I ask who “loves” them just comments about how soft they are.  I was just sure that there was a fabric out there available to purchase that was similar if not the same to make my own leggings.  Luckily once I started looking I realized there are so many options to buy double brushed polyester lycra knit and that it is very affordable.  The best part is that instead of having to fork out $25 for a pair of one size fits all leggings, I could make a custom size for myself for under $7!

First, you need to find a pattern.  Luckily, with the recent popularity of leggings there are several pattern designers who offer their legging pattern at no cost.  The pattern that I used for today’s blog post is the Ninja Pants Pattern by 5 Out of 4 Patterns.  Depending on your body type and your personal preferences you might find you like another pattern more than the other, which is totally ok!  For me the Ninja Pants work the best for everyday leggings.  There is just the right amount of negative ease to fit snug but not distort the fabric pattern.

dsc01075Once you have your pattern you can begin to select your fabric.  I have found 3 great retailers that sell double brushed polyester lycra blend knits at great prices.  Love Adore Knits has the largest selection at great prices if you are looking for prints…especially florals.  She also carries a heavier weight solid double brushed poly that is just amazing.  The black top I am wearing in the pictures here is an example of that.  The fun french fry print and the floral in these photos was purchased from Print Knit Studios.  All three fabrics were $7 or less per yard and each garment only took 1 yard of fabric!  Purple Seamstress also has a great selection of double brushed poly.  She has 14 solid colors she keeps in stock for only $7.50 per yard and will occasionally post prints on her Facebook page for sell.  She can also send you a swatch card of the solids so you can match your prints before you buy!

dsc01076Now that you have all your materials squared away we can take a look at the pattern. In a previous blog post I went in detail reviewing the Ninja Pants if you would like more information on the pattern.  The French Fry pants in my photos are high rise waist and capri length.  The floral pants are high rise and ankle length  The pattern does not call for elastic in the waistband.  I have not noticed any slipping down of my ninja pants, but I also make the high rise so they are sitting above my hips.

The top I am wearing in both my photos is also a pattern by 5 Out of 4 Patterns called the Nancy Raglan.  I use the v neckline and used the tunic length.  I am very happy with how this top pairs up with leggings.  It is not baggy, but not too clingy either.  It is just long enough to cover my rear end.

I have been running around all morning in my Lula Who tunic and leggings.  It is actually cool here in FL today and I have found my double brushed poly leggings to be very comfortable.  I can definitely see the appeal for those who don’t have the luxury of sewing things themselves to have comfortable, one size fits all clothing in fun prints.  That being said I think I will stick to sewing my own in a size that is just right for me.

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Agility Tank and Ninja Pants by 5 Out of 4 Patterns

dsc01057Now that the holidays are over and the kids are back in school I finally had some time to sew something up for myself.  The first item on my sewing list for the new year was an Agility Top and Ninja Pants.  I like to go to Spin Class every week.  I only have two pair of spin pants and it always seems like they are both in the laundry bin when it is time for class.  This outfit has been planned for a long time.  I have had the fabric for this outfit in my stash since July!

The pink fabric is an “athletic knit” that I found in a clearance bin in Hobby Lobby in July.  The black is a light weight athletic polyester knit from Joann’s.  After all is said and done this outfit costs me less than $15.  You can’t even buy a sports bra for that price anymore!

dsc01058Let’s talk about the patterns.  The Ninja Pants are actually a free pattern.  (How cool is that?)  If you join the 5 Out of 4 Facebook group you can find a free pin code for the pattern.  I know there are a lot of free patterns for leggings out there right now, but for my body, this one works best.  I went with the high rise on this pair.  As you can see in the picture, the waist hits my true waistline.  I think this helps them stay put.  The pattern includes several waist options, including maternity.  There are also several lengths to choose from.  This length is the “pedal pusher” length.  I also really appreciate the gusset that is included with this pattern.  The pattern pieces print out very easily.  The pattern has a layer option so you can chose just the size/s you need to print.  There are very few pattern pieces since the leg is all one piece.  My ninja pants took less than an hour from printing the pattern to clipping my last thread.  I will definitely be making more of these pants in the near future!

Now on to the Agility Top.  I will be the first to admit that I have been really intimidated by this pattern.  I really have no idea why that is.  I bought the pattern the day it was released.  I actually feel quite silly now that it is all sewn up.  It is actually a pretty quick sew!  I really think that this pattern works perfectly with the Ninja Pants…mostly because I could cut the bra out of what was left of the fabric after cutting out my pants!  The Agility pattern has so many options to choose from.  First of all you can choose to use the overlay or not.  Then you can chose to make a dress or a top.  You can chose between a T back or a strappy back.  Finally, you have nursing options as well.

dsc01056This pattern is also very easy to print out.  There is a great printing guide to help you print only the pages you need for the options you chose.  Again, there are size layers so you can print only the size/s you need.  Once I had my pattern together and pieces all cut I grabbed my ipad and pulled up the pattern so I had it right there with me while I sewed.  I read this pattern several times before I sewed the first stitch.  I recommend you do the same.  It will make the whole process much easier.  I chose to sew the overlay option with a T back and bottom band.  The top did take a bit longer to sew up than the pants, which is to be expected.  The most time went into applying the binding.  I can’t stress enough to just go slow and take your time.  This will help so much.  One final thing I wanted to mention is that I did not use my serger for my Agility Top!  I just found it much easier to sew on my regular machine.  So don’t let a lack of serger stop you from trying this pattern.

Overall, I honestly couldn’t be more pleased with my new Spin outfit!  As you might guess from my appearance in this picture, the pictures were taken “post class” today.  Today’s class was brutal with lots of jumps out of the saddle.  These pants stayed put the whole time.  My other pants (one pair is sewn and one is store bought) never stay up the whole time.  I had plenty of support for my chest and stayed very comfortable the whole time.  There was no chaffing around the top or pants.  I think this outfit has become my official “Spin Outfit” from here on out.

 

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Women’s Henley by Patterns for Pirates

p4p_henleyAfter being sick for over a week and doing little to no sewing I decided I needed a project today.  I wanted something new to me that I would really have to follow the directions for.  As I was going through my patterns and fabric stash I came across the Women’s Henley by Patterns for Pirates.  Luckily I had just enough fabric to get started right away!

The Women’s Henley is full of options.  You can chose from the henley style button closure, traditional neckband or a hood.  There are short and long sleeve options.  You can also chose how you finish your sleeve.  There are instructions for hemming, cuffing, using a button tab and even thumb hole cuffs.  The bottom of the top can be straight hemmed, curve hemmed, or banded.

The fit of the henley is a bit more relaxed than some of the other Pattern for Pirates patterns.  Even so, I chose to do a Medium this time.  My measurements put me in a small for my chest and hips and I usually just grade out at the waist to a medium.  Since this was a more easy wearing style I just went all over medium.  I do not feel like it was too big and will probably continue to make it this way.  I do think I need a petite adjustment above the bust as I am getting some wrinkles there.  Next time I will probably take off 1/2″ horizontally above the bust to correct for this.

Onto the construction…my pattern printed out pretty easily.  There are no layer options on my copy.  I believe this pattern has been updated to include them, but I have just never went back to re-download the pattern.  Even without the layers it is easy to follow the size patterns to cut out the size you need.  I print in black and white and have no issues deciphering between sizes.  The pages are clearly labeled so you know what page comes next when you are gluing them together.  I had my pattern pieces ready in no time.

p4p_henley_backI chose to do the placket neckline, button tab sleeves and the regular straight hem.  There is no pattern piece for the placket, there are measurements to cut this on the chart that is printed on the front shirt pattern piece.  I used knit for my placket and used a light interfacing on the back of it as the pattern instructions suggested.  Once the pieces were cut and my interfacing fused I was ready to get started.

First step was to complete my placket.  The first time I pressed my folds I did it the wrong direction (I put the shortest side vertically instead of horizontally!)  I quickly realized my placket was not matching the pictures and started over.  Second time was a charm.  I did not find the process of the placket difficult.  It ended up being difficult for me due to my fabric choice.  I had so much bulk to work with.  The bottom of the placket is just not as neat as I would like it to be.  I think next time I will use a woven fabric instead of medium weight cotton lycra to reduce some of the bulk.  Once the placket was in the rest of the process was the same as any knit shirt pattern.

The fabric I used for the top was from Print Knit Studios.  It is a very nice medium weight cotton lycra knit.  I used plastic Kam Snaps for the placket and the sleeve tabs.

Overall, I am very pleased with my new shirt.  I really like the fit of this shirt.  It is just enough ease to be comfortable but still have some feminine shaping.  Once I make my usual petite adjustments this pattern will become a staple for me.  Next time I will try out the traditional neckband and some short sleeves.

 

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  One of my favorite parts of fall is Halloween because that means I get to sew costumes.  It is so fun to see how their costumes come alive from their original idea to the finished product.  This year we have Ash Ketchum and Lilo.14853292_10103270765037744_2453509553112901168_o

Let’s look at Lilo first.  To make Lilo’s shift dress I used a combination of two Jalie patterns.  I used the top portion of the Women’s T-shirt pattern 2805 and the bottom of the Women’s Maxi Dress and Shawl-Collar Shrug pattern 3246.  All the white leaves were cut from white cotton lycra knit, fused to the dress, and were appliqued to the dress with a zig zag stitch on my machine.  It sure did take a lot of time but the results and smiles were worth it!  The red cotton lycra knit and the white cotton lycra knit fabric were both purchased from Purpleseamstress.

14855954_10103270765032754_6263513498694398867_oI have used the Women’s T-shirt pattern many times in many sizes as my girls have grown.  It has become a staple for us.  The fit is slim, which means I don’t have to alter the pattern.  This was my first experience with the Maxi Dress pattern.  I did like the fit on my daughter.  I was afraid the siloutte would be to slim after seeing the picture on the pattern cover.  The finished dress had plenty of ease and still gave us the look we were going for.  The dress is a bit of a challenge for my daughter to walk in.  I was surprised a dress this long would not have some sort of slit.  I do believe I will add at least a small one before I sew it the next time.

On to the Ash Ketchum costume.  This costume was not entire made by me.  I did purchase the hat online on Amazon since my embroidery machine will not take hats.  She is also wearing store bought jeans.  I did sew the shirt, pokeball and the fingerless gloves.  The shirt was made from the Bowling Shirt pattern by Scientific Seamstress.  I made an unlined version in a size 9/10 with the longest length.  I didn’t really do much to this pattern to make it look like Ash.  I made faux welt pockets by simply appliquing yellow rectangles to the front of the shirt and bound the bottom with yellow instead of hemming.  I also omitted the buttons and button holes since the character does not have them on his shirt.  I made a faux button tab at the neck that is not functional.
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I have made several of these bowling shirts and they always come out great.  It is the perfect pattern for beginners and is a great way to use those busy character fabrics kids love.  I would measure your child before you start since sometimes I feel this pattern can run a bit short in length.  It is however extremely simple to add length to this pattern since the pieces are straight at the bottom of the shirt.

The pokeball was made from a free ball sewing pattern I found on the Stitches and Love blog.  To get the two seperate colors I cut 3 pieces of white and 3 pieces of red.  I hand stitched a black band around the center between the two colors and hand stitched the circles to the front.  It turned out to be a really quick and fun project!

The fingerless gloves were completely 11th hour improvisation!   I traced around my daughter’s hand, added ease and a seam allowance.  I sewed up between her thumb and hand and along the sides.  No hemming or any finishing.  They aren’t perfect, but work just find for a night of trick or treating.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween and I can’t wait to see everyone’s handmade creations!

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Jam Jam Sleepwear Collection by Love Notions

dsc00994I admit that I have had this pattern for quite some time now and am just getting around to sewing it up.  For some reason it is hard for me to use cute fabric on pj’s.  However, a few weeks ago my girls saw a very cute Pikachu print they had to have.  It was a thin poly knit that was a bit too see through for every day wear…especially for bottoms.  PJ’s were the perfect project for them!

The Jam Jam Sleepwear Collection includes a short sleeve top and choice of either shorts or capri length pants.  I made one of each pant length.  Sizing runs from 2t-14.  I made sizes 5t and 10 for my girls.

Printing the pattern was very easy.  This pattern features the layers option so you can print only the size you need.  There is also a great printing chart so you know which pages you need to print for your size and view.  I had both sizes printed and glued together in no time.

The pattern does not use very much fabric, which is always a plus in my book.  I was able to get both bottoms from 1 yard of the Pikachu print and both tops from 1 yard of yellow knit with plenty of left overs.  I will note that the back yoke does come to the front of the top.  So if you use a directional print like I did it will be upside down on the front!  Ooops!  Luckily the girls didn’t seem to mind too much.

The top fits the girls great.  The back is gathered at the yoke for plenty of wearing ease.  There is also gathering on the front at shoulder for even more ease.  I did find the rise in the pants to be a bit shorter than I expected.  I think this might be due more to the fact that my kids seem to pull up their pants to their natural waist.  Other than that there is nothing I would change.

For the front of the tees I hand drew the faces onto Heat ‘n Bond Lite.  I fused it to the back of some quilting cotton scraps and ironed them onto the front of the tee.  I used a tearaway stabilizer on the back and appliqued them onto the tee with a zig zag stitch on my regular machine.

I admit that sewing pj’s is a tough task for me, as I mentioned before I really hate using cute fabrics on them.  I am however so pleased with how these turned out and my girls love them.  I definitely think there will be more of these in our future.

I purchased the solid cotton lycra knits from Purple Seamstress.  The Pikachu knit was purchased from Print Knit Studios.  You can find the Jam Jam Sleepwear Collection here on the Love Notions website.

 

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Shenanigans all around!

5oo4_shenanigansskort_xs_sportyspice_1inshorts_leftFor the past few weeks there have been a lot of shenanigans in our house…Shenanigan Skorts that is.  This is the fantastic new pattern by 5 Out of 4 Patterns!

The Shenanigans Skort is available in both women’s and children’s sizes.  Each pattern includes 3 skirt lengths with two hem options (regular hem and flounce).  There are also several lengths of shorts for under the skirt.  I am a runner and have bought many running skirts over the past 8 years or so.  I always hate spending so much for them.  I was so excited to see this pattern being released and even more so when I saw a kids version was in the works as well.

5oo4_shenanigansskort_xs_sportyspice_1inshorts_backThe first skirt I made was for myself.  I made the shortest length “Sporty Spice” with no flounce.  The shorts under the skirt are also the shortest length.  I made sure to take current measurements before printing and was a little apprehensive to make an XS when I usually like to buy Medium running bottoms at the store.  I trusted the measurements and printed out the XS.  I appreciated that the pattern had both a printing chart and utilized the layers option.  There were not that many pages to print and they all fit together with ease.  I made my skort from a 1 yard cut of athletic knit fabric from Joann’s.  I had no problem fitting all the pattern pieces on the yard of fabric.

5oo4_girlsshenanigansskort_10_highwaist_midthigh_strongposeI found the directions very clear.  I first tackled the shorts.  There is a gusset included with the pattern.  I was a little nervous about how it would go in.  It turns out it was very simple.  I am glad I used it because I do find it very comfortable while wearing.  I hemmed the shorts on my coverstich machine.  Next I put the skirt together, easy peasy.  The hem turned under nicely and was stitched on my coverstich.  Finally I put the waistband in.  That was all she wrote.  This was a very quick sew!
5oo4_girlsshenanigansskort_10_highwaist_midthigh_frontThe second skirt I made was for my oldest daughter.  She fell in love with some black and grey athletic fabric I had used a few weeks ago for some workout leggings.  I had just enough left for her skirt and waist band.  I used black swim wear knit for her shorts.  For her skort I went with the midthigh length.  She said no to the flounce ruffle, which was ok by me since I was really short on fabric.  She really loves this skort.

dsc00982The third skort was just sewn up this weekend.  We had a birthday girl in the house this weekend and were planning a surprise trip to Walt Disney World.  I whipped up a Shenegans skort with knit cotton lycra for her to wear to the park.  I made the mid thigh length and used the flouce ruffle.  I really love how it turned out.  It was very comfortable for her to wear all day in the hot sun and for the car ride there.

Overall, I am very happy with how all three versions of this pattern turned out.  We have spent a lot of money at Target over the past few years buying women’s and girl’s running skorts.  I am so happy to have found a pattern to make them myself that fits just as well.  I have tried mine out on a 5 miler so far with no irritation.  Next I am hoping to try a longer version with some french terry for a non-workout skort for wearing out to the ball field  this season.

Right now 5 Out of 4 Patterns is having a shop wide sale of 20% off with code GIRLSSKORT, good through Sunday Sept 25.  So hurry and get your copies while they are on sale!

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Solis by Sofilantjes

dsc00747While everyone else in the US is transitioning to fall, Floridians are still embracing their tank tops and flip flops.  It is still reaching 90 degrees every afternoon.  That why I am still sewing for summer.  One of my favorite girl’s dress pattern from this summer was the Solis dress by Sofilantjes.

The Solis is a knit dress or tunic pattern sized from 12m to 14yr.  There are two skirt options with the pattern.  The first is a pleated skirt with pockets and the second is a full circle skirt.  The bodice is close fitting with a unique raceback style back.  I have made both versions for my youngest daughter in size 6.

dsc00745Once you have your pattern downloaded the fun begins!  The Solis pattern uses the layers feature and has a printing guide.  This makes it so easy to only print excatly what you need.  The pages all fit together perfectly.  In no time I was ready to pick out my fabric.

For my first try I made the pleated skirt option.  I only had a small amount of the bow fabric left.  I was able to get the entire skirt from half a yard of fabric!  For the bodice I was able to use scraps of solid cotton lycra knit from other projects.  The solid fabrics all came from Purple Seamstress.  The bow fabric is also medium weight cotton lycra knit and was purchased from Print Knit Studios.  I know many people are intimidated by pleats, but there is really no reason to be.  The pattern pieces from the skirt are very clearly marked.  dsc00979The smaller sizes have 4 pleats on the front and back while the larger have 6.  Once you have them folded and basted you just treat the skirt like any other skirt.  The bodice is fully lined and the side bodice seams are fully enclosed..  This is perfect for adding appliques to the bodices because your child won’t have to have the scratchy back side of the applique against their skin.  Be careful to follow the order of the bodice construction.  The back panel of the racer back has to loop around the neck band before it is sewn into the seam!

dsc00977Most recently I tried out the full circle skirt option.  It is hard to believe how quick this version works together.  I used a directional interlock knit from Print Knit Studios for the skirt.  Because it was a directional print I added a seam to the sides of the skirt.  If you do go this route be sure to add your seam allowance while you cut it!  The bodice was once again made form cotton lycra knit scraps from other projects from Purple Seamstress.  I chose to do a rolled hem on my serger for the skirt edge.

Because a few people have asked, I just wanted to mention that my appliques here are not done on an embroidery machine.  I trace the pictures out on heat n bond lite and cut out each color of fabric seperately.  I then zig zag around each piece to make the applique on my regular machine.  Maybe someday I will do a blog post on applique to explain it further.

I am very pleased with the outcome of both versions of the Solis dress.  I love the simplicity of the design and the different looks of each skirt option.  The bodice is ideal for applique or heat transfer vinyl designs.  If you are heading or staying in warm weather or heading off to a warm weather vacation, you can’t go wrong with the Solis Dress.

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