Wining Wife™

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

Bella Sunshine Designs’ Coffee Shop Lace Dress

2015-08-19 12.41.58-1I’m so excited to share with you this new dress I made for Little Gal. It’s brand new from Bella Sunshine Designs (affiliate link), and yes, I was a pattern tester, and received the Coffee Shop Dress pattern in exchange for honest feedback on the pattern as I sewed it up. I really enjoy Melissa’s designs; you’ll remember I sewed up a bunch of Bow Tie Leggings and then the matching mother-daughter Kelly’s Twirl Skirts. So, when I saw that she was doing a new pattern test, I signed right up. After all, I figured, it would be a good motivator for unpacking my sewing machine. 

I already am planning on making at least one more dress from this pattern – I saw it and I thought, “This would be absolutely perfect as a Christmas dress!” So, you’ll be seeing another dress made from this in the not terribly distant future. 

The pattern directions are easy to follow, it’s definitely a more intermediate level pattern than those I’d tested previously. When you look at my photographs, you’ll notice that my edgestitching wasn’t the neatest it could be. I was able to unpack some of my sewing goodies, but not all…and my wonderful husband had to run out to get me a new buttonhole foot. Meanwhile, I had some bobbin and needle problems that I did solve by the time I got to the hem. When I do the dress again, I’ll size the chest down to a size 12 months (this is the 18 months size on my gal…she’s petite!

In all, I think it’s a super-cute dress pattern. The mistakes are because, well…sometimes you’re trying to sew quickly because it took several days to get in a place where you had the printer unpacked and the sewing machine unpacked…and when you finally clear your schedule…bam…where’s the box with all the feet and extra needles and pins and…fabric scissors? 

My Little gal though? She LOVES this dress. She wore it all day the day I made it, and she keeps rooting through her laundry to carry it around the house and say “Pitty dess!” Silly girl.  I may get her some cowgirl boots to go with it for a wild west thing we’re going to go to next weekend. :) 

Here are some more pictures of her in the dress! Here’s the link – as of posting, the pattern is on sale for $6.50 at Bella Sunshine Designs (the promotion runs through 8/26/2015), and if you enter the code “CAFFEINE” you can save $3 on another pattern purchased at the same time!

We’re Having A…

August_12__2015_at_0730AM (2)Boy! Yup! Baby number 3 is a boy.  I’m excited. I would be excited if we were having a girl. I’m just really super-stoked that we’re adding another little person to our family. So. Much. Love! Here he is, the little man, just hanging out!

Naturally, I’ve already been scoping out boy patterns. We have some left over from when The Teenager was a little guy, so that helps. I’ve also been taking a look at some of the patterns that are done by indie companies like Patterns for Pirates, Sofilantjes, and Peekaboo Patterns  There are a LOT of cute things out there for little guys. I’m convinced that I need to buy a newsboy cap for my little.

August_17__2015_at_0144PMI’ve been gathering up “boy” fabric too. The fabrics to the left I found from various people in a fabric destashing group on Facebook. They’ll make really cute little Oxford-style shirts/bodysuits and rompers, and I plan on using the Mickey Mouse fabric to make a Peek-a-Boo Patterns Romper for the litlte man and Molly Schoolgirl skirt for the toddler.  It will be a lot of fun! I’m almost 22 weeks…so I’ve got a little bit of time to sew goodies up! 

Right now, I’m working on a pattern test for Little Miss Toddler. I’m looking forward to finishing it up and photographing it before I share it with you after its release. 

There’s, as always, a lot going on over here! If you have favorite boy patterns (and boy fabric vendors), please share them in the comments!

The Best Laid Plans…Or…Cooking Light’s Way to Cook Attempt # 2

Well, you all know how I’d made this great meal plan based upon Cooking Light’s Way to Cook? Well, life had other plans for last week and the weekend. I didn’t get around to making *any* of the recipes – partially because evenings turned out to be super busy (we are still setting up a house) and partially because my in-laws are visiting and we decided to go out to dinner rather than stay in. 

11374133_162758020722287_1135919989_nThat’s okay, though! I was being a bit overly-amitious when it came to the meal plan. So, we’ll start with the project tomorrow, with the roasted chicken, oven-fried okra, and herbed rice. Luckily, my ingredients have kept well. I’m going to throw in that eggplant curry I want to make somewhere too, though it’s not in the book. I will update everyone as I go. I’ll finish out this week with the original plan – aaaand then on Saturday post the new plan, still working with Way to Cook for next week. 

Meanwhile, while I don’t have any pictures to share of tasty goodness that was cooked up last week, I do have some pictures of other things we did. Saturday night, we went to downtown Wichita’s Keeper of the Plains  to see the base lit up with fire. This statue is at the place where the Little and Big Arkansas rivers converge. I’m told (but do not know if it’s true) that the way the river’s name is pronounced here is “Are-Kansas.” So, that’s an amusing little tidbit. Each night, given good weather (no wind, no rain nor hail, etc.), the city lights up the base of the statue for about 15 minutes at dusk. It was pretty neat (but the teenager was not as impressed as I’d believed he would be). 

11351998_859584490756297_927497567_nWe went to a block party at one of the local United Methodist churches as well, and the teenager helped to pack meals for those in our community who are needy while we tended to a very curious toddler. She had a balloon animal made (a bunny), enjoyed a pink cupcake (which made it look like she was a toddler zombie when she finished it), and kept my husband and I running after her pretty much constantly. I think that both kiddos had a great time. 

YumWe also discovered a new coffee shop, Reverie Coffee Roasters. We had their coffee when we visited Elderslie Farm a couple weeks ago (I will share about that later this week), and in my husband’s words “It’s the best coffee I’ve ever had in America.” It’s pretty good coffee. We went there, and they definitely demonstrated their mastery of the mocha, and we picked up some coffee beans. Yes, I’m pregnant. Yes, I’m supposed to limit caffeine, no that doesn’t mean giving it up completely. This was a nice little mid-day treat for us. 

IMG_1916[1]We went to dinner at some fun places, last night, it was River City Brewery (don’t worry, I had no beer). When we came out of the restaurant, there were a lot of clouds out, and it was quite pleasant-looking. I had to “dork it up” a little and take a picture. 

20_weeks_3_days__I guess the other big news coming out of the weekend is that on Wednesday, we will be finding out (I hope!) whether we are having a little boy or a little girl. I’m 20 1/2 weeks along, so a little more than halfway to the end of this pregnancy. I have plans to make maternity clothes soon, and I packed maternity clothing patterns separately. I’m looking forward to getting started on that project. For now, I have this picture of me taken Saturday by my husband. I’m looking forward to meeting this little person :) 


A Cookbook a Week: Cooking Light Way to Cook

I have a lot of cookbooks, and by a lot, I mean, it will probably take a good while to cook through them all, like a couple of years. With a cookbook collection that is so expansive, it’s hard to make sure that they all get used! I want to introduce a new weekly feature here at Wining Wife: A Cookbook a Week. Normally, I’ll start this post on a Sunday, and with the exception of this first book, I’ll make recipes from one cookbook for a week. After the new baby comes, I’ll add in my wine suggestions. For now, I’m relegated to unsweetened and non-alcoholic beverages. All of the cookbooks I’ll use are ones that are already in my collection. I’ve picked them up at garage sales, library book sales, and thrift stores. There are a few I bought new, but not very many. I will link to them online for purchase if they are available for your convenience; should you choose to make a purchase based upon that link, I will receive compensation.

The cookbook: Cooking Light: Way to Cook

Cooking Light Way to Cook (Image courtesy of

Cooking Light Way to Cook (Image courtesy of

The first cookbook I’ll focus on is Cooking Light’s Way To Cook (affiliate link).   This cookbook is a great visual introduction to healthy cooking for everyday living. There are five parts to this cookbook. They are:

  • the Cooking Light way to cook – this has all sorts of information from buying healthy fats to choosing cuts of meat to stocking a pantry. I’ll definitely be reading through this section carefully.
  • fresh & fast – this section focuses on easy to make dishes from those one can just assemble together without cooking to those that are stir-fried or broiled in an oven.
  • flavorful & slow – these are dishes that take longer to cook; so dishes from here would be more appropriate for a Saturday evening or Sunday evening dinner. 
  • fire & smoke – I love grilled food, but we don’t currently have a grill. I’ll take a look through this section to see what I can adapt to my oven’s broiler. Also, Williams Sonoma has a really cool grilling pan that can be used on the stovetop or in the oven…I need to get one of those. 
  • oven & griddle – these are those baked goodies that we all love to eat. 

There are also appendices focusing on nutrition, seasonal produce, metric equivalents, and ingredient substitutions. It’s a nice little resource for those who are just learning how to cook and want to focus on recipes that are easy as well as healthy. 

The plan from the cookbook:

Since we just moved, and that means that most of our pantry did not come with us, I’ll need to focus on restocking our pantry in the coming weeks. The great thing about this book is that there are suggestions for a “beginners,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” pantry. Since we have limited space, I’ll focus only on the beginner’s pantry at the moment, leaving more stocking to happen later on as we get more settled and purchase a couple items that will help us to expand our rental kitchen’s usable space. 

We also have a few different farmer’s markets here in Wichita. We’re pretty well stocked until Saturday of this week, when we’ll make it down to the Saturday morning market in Old Town (there’s a guy who has amazing kettle corn there, and another vender with outstanding barbeque sauce made from all natural ingredients – without liquid smoke!) Since I’m starting on a Wednesday (I’ll be making tacos from my own recipe for dinner tonight), I’ll be working from this cookbook from now until Saturday 8/15. I’ll post my menu plan for this week through Saturday, and then I’ll post a second menu plan for the following week next Sunday. 

This week’s meal plan


  • Wednesday: Classic roast chicken with gravy, oven-fried okra, herbed brown rice (switching it up from basmati rice)
  • Thursday: Black bean pork and zucchini (using ground pork rather than pork tenderloin)
  • Friday: Speedy chicken and cheese enchiladas (using leftover roast chicken), arugula, grape, and sunflower seed salad
  • Saturday:  New England Clam Chowder with wheat French bread

There’s a slight chance that the meal plan may get thrown off this weekend, but this is what I’m planning to do with the ingredients we have on hand. Also, I’m planning on making an eggplant curry to serve as our lunches for this week. 

I’ll check back in when it comes time to do so, and I’ll write about my thoughts on each recipe, notes about adjustments I made, and of course, I’ll share pictures. 


Our Move Across the West

Can I just start by saying that I strongly dislike moving? Especially while pregnant. Unpacking is going very, very slowly… very slowly… I do have two boxes of cookbooks unpacked, though, and they’re staring at me. But…there are other boxes of cookbooks, books, fabric, clothing, etc. that all still need to be unpacked and put away.  I mean…while pregnant not only do you have no energy for unpacking such things, but you can’t even have a beer or a glass of wine to celebrate small victories. 😛 Not that it’s that big of a deal. Okay, I’m actually done complaining. (I should put some of that energy in getting my sewing machine out of a box!)

So, we moved from a small college town in Northern California where milk costs nearly $10 for a gallon of organic milk and drinking is a sport to a decently sized city in Kansas where things are quite a bit cheaper…and there’s a lot more family-friendly activities to do…and things for grown ups to do…and it’s just all around a better fit for our family. And hey, we don’t have to make a three-hour round trip drive to find plus-size maternity clothes, so that’s a bonus too. 

11247858_1597730040480213_176478427_nWe shipped our stuff and then my husband drove us out here. Let me tell you, 3 cats, a teenager, a toddler, and a married couple in the car together for looooong stretches of boring can get a little irritating. But…we made it. I had the best minestrone soup of my life in Winnemucca of all places. That was our first night’s stop after taking off from Sacramento. 

It was at a place called Winnemucca Pizzeria.  I ordered a salad too, which was pretty tasty. The soup bowl was so big though, that, well, I couldn’t finish everything. I ate the soup, and then I had to take the salad to go. Because wow. That was a *LOT* of soup.

Time_to_eatOn the way to Winnemucca, before we crossed into Nevada, we stopped at Donner Lake to take turns to stretch (remember 3 cats…so we kept the AC going at full blast and took turns getting out of the car to stretch because yeah, not going to leave my fur babies in a hot car). It’s a pretty place. I’d never been up that way before (or if I have, I was too young to remember it. I took a few photos with my camera before we headed on our way. It was one of the shorter days we had.  

Mote__NV_there_was_a_shack_and_a_bunch_of_telephone_polesThe next day, we went from Winnemucca to Salt Lake City. That was the looooooongest day. I had to stretch that out, because it was a very boring drive. You see, there isn’t a whole lot out there in Nevada. We saw things like this little town called “Mote.” It was a shack and some telephone poles. Now, maybe there was something else hiding somewhere that was more interesting, but Mote, NV cracked me up as we went by it. Just because there isn’t a whole lot out there doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful, it is. But I’m not sure I could ever live in Nevada.

Not only was this the longest day, but it was also the scariest. People in Nevada and Utah drive like maniacs! We actually wound up stuck, after just going through the salt flats and before we got to go into Salt Lake City on 80 behind a pretty nasty turnover accident where the driver was booked on suspicion of a DUI. We’d just missed it happening because we’d stopped at the salt flats rest stop to look around and stretch. Thank goodness we missed it! Yikes! 

I did take some pictures of the salt flats – they’re beautiful. 

Time_to_eat (1)Gumbo_in_WyomingFrom Salt Lake City, we went on to Cheyenne, Wyoming. That was the longest day in terms of distance. We played Mariners Uno (Affiliate link)  while there, and had a lot of fun. Cheyenne seemed like it was a nice place to be. We went to eat at Wyoming’s Rib & Chop House Cheyenne. It was a really good meal. I had Gumbo and Chicken Fried Chicken.  The portions were reasonable, and the price floored me. In California, such a meal…well, let’s just say it’s a lot less expensive to eat and live in the middle of the country.

(And in case you were wondering, the gumbo was really good!)

11351584_932115553520084_1249822092_nFrom Cheyenne, we ventured off to Kearney, Nebraska. By this time, everyone was SICK of each other, the cats were done with being in the car, and the toddler was over it. She even somehow managed to figure out how to unclick her car seat chest strap. That’s how done she was, and she LOVES to “go.” So, we drove, and drove to Kearney, parked for the evening, found a Qdoba to eat at, and called it an early night. We were really happy that we would be able to make the last part of our trip the next day and finally wind up in Wichita.

During that stretch, we pulled off somewhere to grab some iced tea, and we saw a really cool old boarded up church I had to photograph…so I did. There were some other neat historical small towns between Cheyenne and Kearney that we stopped through for coffee, lunch, or stretching. Remind me never to eat at a Sonic again. That was gross. So gross. Particularly for one who doesn’t really eat fast food ever.  Yuck.

What wasn’t gross was this little place we stopped at to grab lunch at between Kearney and Wichita on our last driving day. We’d pulled off in a little town called Belleville and grabbed lunch from the Belleville Food Playing_a_game_in_our_hotelMart. Yes, it doesn’t sound glamorous, but they had some really good fried chicken there! And their mashed potatoes! It was a nice little treat, for sure. 

We arrived in Wichita with a day before we could move into our new place. It sure was nice to just hang out and not have to be in the car all day! Little Miss even got to watch her current favorite movie – Winnie the Pooh, and we played Ticket to Ride Europe (affiliate link) together. 

ChillaxingIt was neat to see all of the landscape between Sacramento and Wichita – but I’m glad that the journey is done. I took a ton of Instagram photos of the trip, mostly because it was something to do while in the car for ten million years.  

I’m looking forward to having the dust settle and getting back to sewing and other things.

So Much Snark: McCall’s and Vogue Have Early Fall Collections Out

Oh boy, so I still have a LOT of unpacking to do before I can sew again. But we’re here; we’re in Wichita (just in time for some street flooding, which we avoided, but still! Hello Rain!), and mid-moving, McCall’s and Vogue came out with stuff for fall. I couldn’t let this release go without saying something, and you know, there’s a lot to say. I’m still waiting to see what Butterick comes out with. Needless to say, when there’s a sale at the fabric stores on patterns, there will be a few that I may pick up. Because you know, packing over 2000 paper patterns wasn’t enough work…or something. 

Let’s start with the McCall’s early fall release

I’m actually going to start with the patterns I had a “WHAAAA???” reaction to…like this one: McCall’s 7211:

M7211, Pet Costumes

Um… I’m just going to leave that right there.

This one, McCall’s 7178 should be captioned, “Grandma called, she wants her bellbottoms back.”

M7178, Toddlers'/Children's Top, Dress and Pants

The kids are seriously cute though.

McCall’s 7181 is a cute top gone wrong.

M7181, Girls' Tops

I mean, what a peplum top that doesn’t hit in the right place *really* needs is a bow on one shoulder in an ill-matching fabric.

And one more, then I promise, I’ll stop picking on the kids’ patterns. Let me present McCall’s 7179:

M7179, Children's/Girls' Dresses

“Mom made me this dress out of the random scraps she had hanging out from that quilt she made Aunt Edna last month.”

McCall’s 7206: 

M7206, Men's Shirts

Chandler called. He wants his shirt back.

If you’re having trouble hiding adult diapers, you may want to consider 7203:

M7203, Misses' Romper and Jumpsuits

I mean???? Saggy butt, and that lovely teletubby effect we all want when wearing clothes. NOT!

M7203, Misses' Romper and Jumpsuits

Might I suggest making it in an orange color? 


7194 isn’t just a top, it’s also a napkin for when you dine in a restaurant.

M7194, Misses' Tops

And View D is perfect for the woman who wanted to be in Ice Capades. 

M7194, Misses' Tops

Not sure if the problem with McCall’s 7191 is the pattern or the execution buuuut… 

M7191, Misses' Tops

It’s a very odd fit around the arms and sides.

I’ve liked the Archive releases until I saw this one. McCall’s 7190:

M7190, Misses'/Miss Petite Tunic, Belt and Skirt

It’s just a bit too costume-y for my taste. 

Now for the few I’ll pick up:

McCall’s 7184:  – both the women’s and kids’ sizes

M7184, Misses'/Children's/Girls' Top and Jumper

I’d do it in a different fabric, of course, but I adore the matching outfits here. Too much cute!

McCall’s 7204: 

M7204, Women's Jacket, Top, Dress and Pants

Love it! I think I could adapt this for maternity wear.

And now…onto the Vogue fall pattern releases

I’m not sure where to start here… I think I’ll start with the ones that make me scratch my head.

Vogue 1458

V1458, Misses' Dress


Vogue 1457 

V1457, Misses' Dress

Is it a scuba suit? Is it a dress? What is it?

Vogue 1461

V1461, Misses' Dress

Alicia Silverstone called. She would like her Clueless costume back.

Vogue 1462

V1462, Misses' Shirt and Camisole

Because giant boob pockets are flattering on a sheer shirt…or something.

Vogue 9122

V9122, Misses' Jumper

Ummm…. I don’t even know what to say about this thing. The neck yoke? What is she holding? It’s just all bad. 

Vogue 9128

V9128, Misses' Top

I didn’t know that holster-chic was a thing.

Vogue 9129

V9129, Misses' Tunic

The sloppy peplum look

Vogue 9142

V9142, Children's/Girls' Jacket


Vogue 9144

V9144, 14

I don’t even know…but they are staring at me, and that totally creeps me out.

Now…for the ones I’ll probably pick up.

Vogue 9141

V9141, Children's/Girls' Dress and Belt

Because: Cute. And a great little dress for Thanksgiving :) 

Vogue 9124 

V9124, Misses' Dress

I didn’t like this one at first, but it grew on me.

Vogue 9126

V9126, Misses' Dress

Oh Vintage Vogue…

Vogue 9127

V9127, Misses' Dress

Yup…you know me well…

Vogue 1467 

V1467, Misses' Jacket and Pants

I’m actually, to be honest, on the fence about this. I’m not sure the double breasted look would be good on my curvy body. I’ll have to try on such a coat first, when I’m not 18 weeks pregnant 😛 to see.

Vogue 1460 

V1460, Misses' Dress

I love this. I will probably alter the neckline just a little bit though.

Which of the patterns did you think were great? Bottom feeders? Post your thoughts in the comments.



MOVING!!!! – Our Home, Not the Blog

Well, it’s official. Not only have I been knocked out for the last few months by first trimester pregnancy woes, but we’ve been packing up our home and getting ready to move next month. Wining Husband has accepted a job offer that offers our family some better opportunities. There’s quite a bit of a move involved in a short period of time, so I’ll be absent, most likely, until August. Meanwhile, if you’ve contacted me about guest posting, etc. Please, know that it will be a little bit before I can get things up. First trimester pregnancy, a toddler, a teenager, and a cross-country move have me slowed down quite a bit! 

2013-02-23 17.01.46

Thus, I’ll be back soon, my dear readers! And I’ll be sharing more sewing adventures, wine tasting notes, book notes, farm tour notes, and other random bits with you from a new location! 


No More French Wine in Pennsylvania?

Photo by:  Maja Petric…or German wine, or Canadian wine, or Greek wine…

As of May 14, 2015, residents of Pennsylvania may find themselves hard pressed to get their hands on their favorite champagnes, Bordeaux wines, and even Sauvignon Blanc hailing from New Zealand. With the passing of House Bill 189, the sale and shipment of any international wines has become prohibited in Pennsylvania. 

According to a press release from the National Association of Wine Retailers, this bill effectively bans 60% of the wine approved for sale in the United States from being available to residents in Pennsylvania. They speculate this bill may generate litigation concerning discrimination against foreign wineries. The following statement was made by NAWR’s Executive Director, Tom Wark:

“America’s wine retailers, not wineries, are consumers’ only source of French, German, Spanish, Italian as well as all other imported, including Australian, New Zealand, Chilean, Argentinean, Canadian and South African wines. Banning out-of-state retailers from shipping into Pennsylvania while only allowing domestic wineries to ship is not only a slap in the face to American retailers, but represents a complete and total disregard for Pennsylvania consumers who expect the long awaited direct wine shipping rights to give them access to all wines—Not just those made in North America.

Equally important, since auction houses that sell rare and hard to find wines and Wine-of-the-Month clubs are classified as retailers, these services would also be off limits to Pennsylvania wine lovers. And since most Kosher wines are produced outside the country, these too would largely be banned from the direct shipment channel.

“Additionally, we believe responsible lawmakers ought to be concerned with the Constitutional and free trade problems raised by the impending ban on the sales and shipments of all non-domestic wines. Banning the sale and shipment of an entire class of wines (imported wines) in favor of another class of wines will only invite lawsuits—as well it should.

“The NAWR urges the Pennsylvania Senate to pass a genuine wine shipping bill that allows shipment of both domestic and imported wines by allowing consumers to purchase from both out of state wineries and out-of-state retailers. If the Pennsylvania Senate follow the path of the House and passes a blatantly discriminatory bill likely to be challenged in court, Pennsylvanians will not have direct shipment access to any wines.”

Originally the bill was set up as a promise to wine consumers that they would finally have that long-awaited privilege of having out of state wineries ship to them directly. However, as bills are wont to do, it evolved and changed into its current, quite prohibitive, state.

Bad for consumers

I don’t need to tell you that this bill is bad for consumers and wine connoisseurs. As Mr. Wark states above, it cuts Pennsylvania residents out of the ability to pursue their own cellar building activities at auctions and other venues. It also makes it so specialty wines may not be at all available to the demographics wishing to consume them. 

HB 189 is also bad for businesses

Businesses will be hard-pressed to provide for the demands of consumers. With the sale and shipment of imported wines effectively banned, they will be forced to sell a smaller variety of wines, thus making it harder for them to compete with neighboring states for wine sales. It’s a bad deal all around.

I’m hard pressed to see how this bill is supposed to help customers (or businesses) in Pennsylvania. I can see it being a deterrent for those who wish to relocate to the state, particularly if they are lovers of imported wines. Like Mr. Wark, I believe that this bit of legislation will lead to litigation. A revision that allows for the import and direct sales and shipment of wines to customers – a privilege enjoyed by many residing in other states – will help boost Pennsylvania’s economy. 

What are your opinions on this new bill? Do you support it? Do you think there are other problems with it not mentioned? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.


Vogue’s Summer 2015 Releases

I’m a bit behind on commenting on releases from pattern companies, I realize that! I’ll have my commentary on the new releases from the other guys soon! I’m playing catch-up since I was wiped out by a wave of pregnancy fatigue so strong…well, you get the idea. This is the pregnancy of fatigue and ravenous hunger. Hah! 

Nevertheless, there were a lot of patterns I really liked from Vogue’s summer 2015 release. Some of them…well I won’t be able to really make/wear for a while, others, I think could be adapted for maternity wear relatively easily. And some, like always, have me scratching my head. I know there’s a market out there for the weird stuff…I’m just not that market.

Let’s start with the pregnant woman friendly stuff

Vogue doesn’t have a separate maternity line. That’s okay, though. In their new releases, I saw two things – possibly three – that I’ll make for wearing over the summer. First up is Vogue 9107.  I really like this – done with the right fabric, it could be super chic – and look at all that room for a growing preggo belly. Of course, when the baby belly gets bigger, I’ll throw some leggings on under since some of that drape in the front is going to pull up and over – but still. It also will be great after baby’s born. I grabbed this pattern and can’t wait to make it up – I just have to decide which fabrics I want to use for it.

V9107, Misses' Tunic, Dress and Pants

I also grabbed Vogue 9117 for the dress and the cardigan. All of the pieces in this collection are jersey, so they’ll have a good bit of stretch, making it easy to wear through the summer. With Little Miss, I wore Maxi dresses and skirts through most of the summer until I had to break down and get some maternity jeans and capris (And I have something special I think I’m going to do for jeans this time using the new Real Deal Jeans pattern from Winter Wear Designs). So I know that dresses are going to be my friend this time as well.

V9117, Misses' Cardigan, Top, Dress, Skirt and Pants

I may also try adding some length to the front of the top and ruching the sides and using the skirt in the pattern as well. 

V9117, Misses' Cardigan, Top, Dress, Skirt and Pants

The third pattern I grabbed, where I’m not sure how well it will work for my purposes – it’s a dress, but come mid-summer it will probably be more of a tunic/shirt – is the DKNY Vogue 1448. I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll play around with this one before summer – but I think if I moved the sash up to right under the bust , it could work. Because of the seams on the mock wrap, I’d have to be real careful about lengthening it if I chose to go that route – but I think it would make a super-cute piece.

V1448, Misses' Dress and Belt

Now for the Vogue patterns I liked and grabbed – but won’t be making for a bit

Donna Karan’s Vogue 1451 caught my eye, and I rather like it. So I grabbed it. I really like the different lines and angles at play on this shirt. It’s just a lot of fun.

V1451, Misses' Top and Skirt

I also grabbed the Guy Laroche outfit. When I make it, though, I’ll be making the skirt longer.

V1450, Misses' Top and Skirt

I also really like Vogue 1446, the Rebecca Taylor dress

V1446, Misses' DressV1446, Misses' Dress

The other Rebecca Taylor dress was really cute as well, so I grabbed Vogue 1449 – again, I’ll have to add a little length to it so it’s not a tunic on my tall body, but I think it’s really cute for summer.

V1449, Misses'/Misses' Petite Dress

The Tracy Reese dress, Vogue 1447 was also worth grabbing. So I did. 

V1447, Misses' Dress

I also felt compelled to grab the two vintage patterns in the collection Vogue 9105

V9105, Misses' Dress and Sash

and Vogue 9106 – I mean both of these dresses make me want to make up a delicious Beef Bourguignon a la Julia Child and welcome my husband home with a glass of his favorite scotch and a peck on the cheek.

V9106, Misses' Dress and Belt

I really liked Vogue 9100, but they were sold out of it at my local JoAnns when the sale was on. I’ll pick it up at some point.

V9100, Misses' Dress

One other dress I snagged was Vogue 9102. 

V9102, Misses'/Misses' Petite Dress

Finally I grabbed this little dress for my Little Miss. Too cute.

V1455, Children's/Girls' Dress

Patterns I’m on the fence about

I keep going back and forth on Vogue 9108. I think it would be really cute done up right, and probably a pretty cute thing to wear while pregnant. It’s a Tilton dress. But I like it. I may just get it at the next sale. 

V9108, Misses' Top, Dress and Leggings

Vogue 1452 is made up in a hideous fabric. It’s really hard to tell what’s going on with it. I’m really on the fence, because I think if it were done up right it would be really cute – and hey it’s a jumpsuit look you can break apart for when that fad is over

V1452, Misses' Top and Pants

Vogue 9116 is really cute, but I’m not sure how long this jumpsuit trend is going to last…

V9116, Misses' Jumpsuit

I really like the kimono top in Vogue 9115 – but I have a couple patterns like it already.

V9115, Misses' Jacket

You know, it’s funny…for once, I don’t really have a lot of patterns (or really any) to poke fun at in this release. The ones I didn’t mention here are ones that are either not my style or things that wouldn’t work on a full-figured woman (I LOVE Vogue 1444 by DKNY, but I can’t see how someone with a bust would work that dress).

V1444, Misses' Dress

Which patterns did you like from this release? Which ones did you think were “meh?” Post your thoughts in the comments. 

Sofilantjes’ Brueram Dress

2015-04-19 19.39.44-1As if my little gal didn’t already have a bunch of dresses (seriously, though, a girl can never have too many dresses, and she loves them!), I made her two more. I was selected to pretest Sofilantjes’ Brueram Dress. This is a cute pattern that comes with top, dress, and maxi options. It was designed for a contest held by the Facebook group, Betties Basket a while back. The contestants could draw and send their design ideas in and designers could choose which ideas they wanted to make into a pattern. 

So, this very cute little dress pattern was created by the talented Annemieke Jacobs. I was excited about the opportunity to test the 12 months size, because it was a pattern I could build skills on. I’d never done shirring before – but I figured it couldn’t be too hard to do.  I wound up making two dresses – because I had trouble with the shirring on the first one. 

My first attempt at shirring

2015-04-14 06.43.102015-04-14 06.43.21 Oh boy. So I read the directions, hand-wound my elastic, popped it into the bobbin case of my Brother SE400, and stitched my little heart out…until I realized “Huh. That’s…strange…there’s no…shirring happening…plus the elastic looks loose.” So, I did what anyone would do. I took pictures of what was going on and posted in the testing group and in the SE400 group on Facebook to ask if anyone knew how to fix it there (see the images to the left), and then I took to Google.  What I found, didn’t seem to bode well for my Brother SE400.

You see…Brother machines with drop-in bobbins are notoriously difficult to use for shirring because there’s no easy way to adjust the tension – or so the story goes.  BUT! Dear readers, I found a blog post with a great video, that would solve ALL my problems – and I was determined (so determined) to make this dress work. I was in love with my fabric combination. The blog post I found was Grosgrain: Shirring With Your Brother

To make the long story short, you want to pull your elastic tight – but not too tight when winding the bobbin by hand (this didn’t take as long as I thought it would by the way) – and you want to tighten your bobbin tension just a bit. How do you do this? Take off the bottom plate and pull out the bobbin case. There will be a little dot of green paint – that’s where your tension screw is. Turn this just a bit to the right, and you’ll have the right tension – practice on scrap fabric first though. You also need to hand feed the elastic into the bobbin case, you’ll feel it click when it’s ready, then you’re good to go. (The video in the above link shows you how to do this really well).

2015-04-14 08.40.02Only…even with doing things right, my fabric still didn’t look as great and stretchy as the other ladies’ pictures looked – and yes, I steamed the shirring and everything. Plus, the fit was off and the bodice was way big on my little gal. I felt defeated – but only for a moment. You see, I idly wondered if my fabric choice (a vintage woven of some sort, a bit heavier in nature than the quilting cotton I used for the bottom) was tripping me up. So, I grabbed a piece of scrap fabric and tried – and it worked! It was WAY more scrunchy and elasticy! It was then I decided that I would take in the bodice on the first dress and make a second dress in lighter weight fabric – so that I could give Anne accurate feedback about fit.

The end results

Both dresses were relatively easy to sew (yes, even with the initial shirring trip up – it’s not hard, just takes some patience and some fandangling to get the hang of it). I’d recommend this pattern for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewer. You’ll want to be familiar with understitching as well as shirring, and you will want to have some patience for hand stitching since the lining inside will be hand stitched to finish (soooo worth the way it looks though). I took in the first dress an inch on each side. Both dresses fit snuggly – so there’s no slipping of the thick straps, which is a good thing when you have an active toddler. When I make the dress again (oh yes, I have plans for this) I will probably go ahead and use the 18 months size since the 12 months bodice was just a little difficult to get on and off of my gal). I hand sewed on a flower from Sunshine Shoppe to each of the dresses, and voila! They were done. 

The pattern is available now

The Brueram Top and Dresses pattern is available from Sofilantjes for $8.95.  You can also join the Sofilantjes Sew & Show group on Facebook. There is a contest starting today at 4pm EST/21.00 CET. Post pictures of your completed Brueram to the giveaway photo album in the group by 7pm EST/ 24.00 CET May 7th and get a chance to win your money back AND an additional pattern of your choice!!

The pictures

*This post contains affiliate links to Sunshine Shoppe and Sofilantjes. Should you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I will receive compensation, which helps me contribute to my family.*

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