Holiday Debut Blog Tour
December 7, 2015

Welcome to the first day of the Holiday Debut Blog Tour!

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The holidays evoke feelings of love, joy and excitement – A chance to celebrate with family and friends and a time for traditions and making memories. You can find holiday spirit everywhere you go … even T.V. commercials are more tolerable when set to holiday tunes.

The holidays are also a perfect excuse for creating beautiful outfits for your little ones to wear during the holiday festivities. This year, the Holiday Debut Blog Tour is arriving at the right time to inspire your holiday looks.

The Holiday Debut Blog Tour celebrates the end of the debut year for three new and fabulous designers: Saskia Smith of The Wolf and the Tree, Gabriela Longfish of Chalk and Notch, and Holli Coats of Hello Holli. (Read the designers’ intros here to learn more about each of these lovely ladies: GabrielaSaskiaHolli).

During the tour, patterns from each of the three designers are featured in holiday-themed looks for girls. The Holiday Debut Blog Tour runs from December 7-12, with bloggers each day sharing the holiday looks we’ve created from these patterns. And if that wasn’t enough excitement for your week, there are over $300 in prizes up for grabs and discounts on the featured patterns (see details at the end of this post).

Check out all of the amazing inspiration this week through the blogger’s links below:

Monday, Dec 7th: Willow & Stitch | East & Eden | In a manner of sewing | Climbing the Willow
Tuesday, Dec 8th: Kaleidothought | Feathers Flights | Connected by a Thread | Call Ajaire
Wednesday, Dec 9th: Rebel & Malice | Free Notion | The Whole Sh-Bang | House of Estrela
Thursday, Dec 10th: Candice Ayala | Cindy Parrett | Hi and Hello | Made by Toya
Friday, Dec 11th: Just Add Fabric | Conversas de Hermanas | Glitter+Wit | Sew Starly
Saturday, Dec 12th: 
Paisley Roots | Petit a Petit + family | Life With Zeke | Made by Sara

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Ok .. now that we have gotten through the nitty gritty, let’s get into my interpretation of the patterns. Each of the bloggers are featuring at least two out of the three patterns on the tour. I chose to sew up a Blue Ridge Dress from Hello Holli and a Fishtail Kimono from Chalk & Notch. I would have also sewn up the darling Abby Footed Tights, but I simply ran out of time with all of the holiday sewing projects and holiday activities already gearing up. My daughter and I chose to go with a “Holiday Glam” theme as she loves all things glamorous and never passes up an opportunity to get dressed up.


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First up is the Fishtail Kimono by Chalk & Notch. I was lucky enough to be a tester for this versatile pattern. Gabriela has designed a fashionable top that is a quick sew, is perfect for layering and leaves a big impact. The Fishtail Kimono can be made of knits or wovens.  The pattern comes together easily and the instructions are fantastic. My daughter practically lives in the first one I made her, so I knew a “Holiday Glam” version would be equally loved. We decided to go with a super soft faux fur in ivory.


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I made a couple of simple changes to the pattern in order to execute the look. The first change I made was to crop the sleeves 4″ above the pattern marking  (for the size M). I figured the shorter sleeves would reduce the bulk of the faux fur and also allow for a layering look, showing the sleeves of the garment worn below.


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I also cropped about 2″ off the overall length to help with proportions when wearing the kimono over a dress. This was also a decision made due to a shortage of fabric … eek.


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To follow with the dressy theme, I added satin ties at the chest that finish in a simple bow. I also chose to fully line the kimono by simply cutting out all of the body pattern pieces out of lining, assembling per the instructions and then sewing RST around the border, leaving a small opening for finishing the sleeves and then turning the entire kimono right side out. The final result is a super cute piece that can be worn over a fancy dress, yet also look great over a long sleeved tee and jeans. We adore how it turned out and I will love it even more after I finally get all the pesky faux fur fuzz off my face and sewing table!


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The second garment I made for the tour is the lovely Blue Ridge Dress by Hello Holli. When Holli first released sneak peeks of this pattern, it was love at first sight! I applied to be a tester, but alas, was not chosen. Fate brought the pattern back to me when I was invited to be part of this tour. I knew I wanted to do something unexpected to continue with our “Holiday Glam” theme. In order to do this, I did make a few modifications (don’t get me wrong, the pattern is absolutely, totally fabulous as is, I just like to add a unique twist to everything I do … It’s not you Blue Ridge Dress, its me). The first modification was to add sleeves. Our Chicago winters generally require a little more coverage than the original pattern allowed for, but adding sleeves was a snap. I extended each armscye about an inch toward the shoulder then used a sleeve pattern piece from a different pattern that had a very similar armscye shape. By using a stretch velvet, easing the sleeves in was a breeze.


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The next modification was to cut the hem into a high-low shape. I wish I could take credit for this design element, but it was all my daughter. She suggested, “Mom, why don’t we do a high-low hem to match the line of the bias tape at the chest?” Why, yes, 6 year old daughter, that does sound like the perfect idea …. #futuredesignerinthemaking!!! Her eye for fashion often amazes me … and yet sometimes leaves me in a state of bewilderment 😉


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Ahh, yes, the beautiful curve of the Blue Ridge Dress bodice.


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The biggest surprise of our Blue Ridge Dress has to be the open strappy back. The dress is a bit of a fashion mullet … business in the front, party in the back 😉 The straps attach in between the outer and lining back pieces and are brought together under a bit of crystal glitz. When in doubt, put diamonds on it.


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She’s so sophisticated, glamorous and comfortable in her holiday Blue Ridge. Needless to say, she loves it. She would have slept in it tonight if I would have let her …. maybe on Christmas Eve, babe.


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The gathers on the Blue Ridge Dress pattern really are sweet. I used a slightly different bias tape method due to the back construction. I didn’t want to leave the bias tape off all together because it is a perfect design element that accentuates the bodice lines.


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And another look at the back because one look isn’t enough 😉


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On a personal note, after months and months of no front teeth, little miss finally has teeth coming in!! I guess we won’t be singing “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”. Instead of wishing for teeth, we will be wishing for more amazing patterns from Gabriela, Saskia, and Holli in the year to come!


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And now for the prizes … make sure you check out the posts throughout the tour and enter via Rafflecopter. Winner will be chosen at random and announced at the end of the tour. Don’t fret if you do not win, all of the patterns in the tour are 20% off now with the code HOLIDAY.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Fabric Shops Gift Certificates:
BWD Fabrics & Supplies | $50 Imagine Gnats | 20 EU Girl Charlee UK
Sewing Patterns:
Hello Holli-Blue Ridge Dress | The Wolf and the Tree-choice of pattern | Chalk and Notch-Fishtail Kimono | Baste+Gather-Copy of all patterns | True Bias-Men’s Hudson Pants | Jennuine Design-choice of pattern | Sew Sweetness-choice of pattern | Radiant Home Studios-Highland House Pattern | Paisley Roots- copy of all patterns | Atelier Louise-Silver Sans Sandal pattern | Tinman Pattern-choice of pattern | Pattern Pieces-Fun Tee Pattern | Lorelei Jayne-Tech Pouch pattern | Designs by Call Ajaire-choice of pattern | The Ruffled Stitch-Flower Stripe Top/Dress pattern | Petit a Petit Family-choice of 2 patterns
$25 Sew Sew Rachel

Good luck, happy sewing and happy holidays! – Vanessa

Halloween Sewing: Vampiress
October 13, 2015

Henry Dress for Halloween Square copy

Looking for costume inspiration for your little one? Read today’s UpCraft Club blog post and get your imagination revved up. The Henry Dress might be the key to the perfect costume … it was for my little vampires!

Click here to head to the UpCraft Club blog and read all the details.

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Halloween Sewing: Dracula
October 12, 2015

Haven Acres Top Charlie Dress Mashup Square copy

Well … it’s October and Halloween is right around the corner! Have your kids decided what they want to be? Do you need some inspiration? There are many patterns in the UpCraft Club catalog that can be easily adapted for costume ideas. Today I will be focusing on the School Boy Vest pattern by Sew Much Ado. I also have a step-by-step tutorial on making an ascot for your own kiddo.

Click here to head to the UpCraft Club blog for all the details on our Dracula costume and for the free ascot tutorial.

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The Julia Cardigan
October 5, 2015

Mouse House Julia Cardigan East & Eden Square

The Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations makes a fabulous addition to your fall wardrobe. Click here to head to the UpCraft Club blog and read all about my version.

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Lakeshore Crop Turned Riding Jacket
September 26, 2015

Lakeshore Crop Hack Riding Jacket square copy

Looking for a cute layering jacket for fall for your little one? How about a hacked Lakeshore Crop? Riding jackets are all the rage right now. I love the look of the Lakeshore Crop, but I wanted to make my daughter something a little longer to cover her bum for the cooler fall weather. The Lakeshore crop has great “bones” and with a few modifications, you can turn it into this fabulous, on-trend, high-low hem riding jacket.

Head to the UpCraft Club Blog now to read all the details and follow the tutorial to make your own riding jacket!

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Haven Acres Charlie Dress
September 21, 2015

Haven Acres Top Charlie Dress Mashup Square copy

What happens when you take two awesome patterns from two fantastic designers and smash them together??? You end up with a totally fabulous new wardrobe look. Today I’ll be showing you how to make an adorable girls dress using the Haven Acres Top pattern by Jennuine Design and the Charlie Dress pattern by Mingo & Grace, both available in the UpCraft Club Catalog. It’s a simple equation with a lovely result.

Head to the UpCraft Club Blog to read all the details!

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The Aberdeen Jacket
September 18, 2015

Aberdeen Square

Today I’m talking about the Aberdeen Jacket over at the UpCraft Club blog. Get the details on updating your fall “Momiform” wardrobe with this on-trend versatile pattern.


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Chiffon Back Union St. Tee
September 14, 2015

Chiffon Back Union Square copy

Check out the UpCraft Club Blog today for my tutorial on another Union St. Tee pattern hack … a chiffon back! It’s like a fashionable mullet – business in the front, party in the back 😉

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Open Back Union St. Tee
September 11, 2015

Open Back Union Square

I’m at the UpCraft Club blog today leading a tutorial on how to adapt your Union St. Tee to have an open back and wider neck. Check it out and make one for yourself!


The Persimmon Dress
September 6, 2015

Persimmon Square copy

Head to the UpCraft Club blog today where I’m showing how to transition the Persimmon Dress from summer to fall.

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