Wining Wife®

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

Tag: sewing (page 1 of 3)

Bella Sunshine Designs Vintage Grace Flutter Dress

Bella Sunshine Designs Vintage Grace Flutter Dress It’s no secret that I love how Bella Sunshine Designs’ patterns come out when sewn up. I’ve made a lot of the patterns as a tester (Bow Tie Leggings 1 and 2, Kelly’s Twirly Skirts, Coffee Shop Lace Dress, and Sweet Lilly Pintuck Dress), and I’m always impressed with the details in the patterns. So, when I had the opportunity to test the newest pattern, the Vintage Grace Flutter Dress (and top), I jumped at the chance. In exchange for honest feedback about fit and photographs, I was provided with the various versions of the pattern. I first made the top and leggings, and then I made the dress for my little gal (I promise, I’ll get around to making little guy some clothes soon!). 

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Girls’ Club Apron by Muffin Head Patterns

MDisclosure: I received a free copy of the Girls’ Club Apron in exchange for sewing it up as a tester and providing honest feedback about the tutorial and the fit. 

Perhaps you’ve heard of Muffin Head Patterns. If you’re a fan of the baseball uniforms worn in A League of Their Own, you’ll be pleased to know that you can find a pattern for sewing these in girls through women’s plus sizes. In fact, the Girls’ Club Apron is based upon this uniform, and it sews up super-cute. I was using testing fabric I’d picked up at a thrift store to make my apron,  but I want to make another one and order one of the cool women’s ball club patches for the bodice. 

The apron sewed up pretty quickly, and the directions were easy enough to follow for someone who has been sewing for a little bit. There is a lining in the apron, and I suggest understitching it to the seam so that it lays better. You’ll also want to hand stitch the apron lining to the waistband to cover your seam. If you do all of this, you’ll have a very nicely finished apron that you can give as a gift if you wish; the seams in the skirt are French seams. 

I got each of the fabrics used while thrifting. The green boxes fabric is actually lighter weight than I’d prefer if I were to make it again. I wound up not putting buttons on the apron because I couldn’t find the ones I’d wanted to put on easily in my stash. (Everything is still pretty much packed up from our July move). The brownish red fabric came from a box of vintage fabrics as did the green that I used for the waistband and apron ties. 

The pattern goes from women’s small – 3X. I made the 2XL/3XL size given my bust measurement. If you think I look like I’ve lost weight; I have. My jeans are HUGE on me.  The fit was really great b/c I’m breastfeeding Little Man, so I’ve got a bit extra on top right now…making it so my bottoms are all too big and my tops are all too small. I’ll have to uh, make some new clothes and fix that problem!

It was a fun project to work on, and I’m thankful I was chosen to be a tester for it! (Even if I was a little slow getting the test done due to my brother’s passing and a newborn with colic). 

Purchase the Vintage Apron Girls’ Club pattern at Muffin Heads Patterns’ Etsy Store.



Dandelions n’ Dungarees Easy A-Line Skirt

Dandelions n' Dungarees Easy A-Line SkirtThere are only 7 1/2 weeks until my due date. That means I have a lot to do. I’m hoping to share some information about Kansas wineries that I’ve learned while researching. Yes, there are wineries in Kansas! I’m looking forward to learning more about them when I can enjoy wine again. In the meantime, I’ve been sewing a lot. In fact, I have another big announcement you should stay tuned for at the end of this post. Meanwhile, I’m here to talk about my newest addiction: Sewing the Easy A-Line Skirt by Dandelions n’ Dungarees. This is a really simple pattern – and it’s a great girls’ sewing pattern for beginners. I made THREE of these, and I have plans to make two more for my girl – one with a teal corduroy and one with a purple with white polka dots cotton. These are going to be great with tights underneath as we roll into fall. Continue reading

Easy Peasy Skirt and Headband by Mummykins and Me

Easy Peasy Skirt and Knotted Headband by Mummykins and Me

Easy Peasy Skirt and Knotted Headband by Mummykins and Me

I promise, I will have something I made for myself soon. And a wine post, and a post about fall coziness! But, for now, I’d really like to share this skirt and headband I made for my little gal. I have plans to make a few more (don’t I always?). I have made three of the headbands so far. They all sew up quickly. If you need a great beginner pattern, this one would do the trick. You can learn how to do French seams (which are a really nice way of hiding raw edges and ending up with a good, finished look to your project.)  Continue reading

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.  Continue reading

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.*

Kelly’s Twirly Skirts from Bella Sunshine Designs (and a Big Announcement)

So the last post I wrote got a LOT of traffic and attention, and some great comments, and I want to talk about all of that – and I will – in a separate post. Thank you all so much for all of your support and for reading! I feel bad about taking some time to get back to the blog after posting it – but I was struck by a wave of extreme exhaustion that came out of nowhere, so it seemed. I could not, for the life of me, get any energy to do beyond what needed to be done. 

An announcement from Wining Wife

Well, my friends, there’s a very good reason for this. It turns out that our family is growing! YAY! I’m super excited that Toddler Girl will be a big sister.  And PHEW. There was a good reason for the exhaustion, and once I started paying attention to my iron intake it’s slowly dropping off. This is how we announced it and made things “Facebook official” after we talked to family members and close friends. 

I'm expecting!!!!

What this means, dear readers, is that any wine reviews I post from here until the birth of our new little munchkin will be from notes that I’ve made previously. It also means that I’m going to be talking about plus size maternity clothes and sewing them…and preparing for a whole new person to be born…and other various shenanigans.  And well a bunch of other really good things!  Can you tell I’m excited? I can barely think straight! 

Onto the skirts!

Wearing Kelly's Twirly SkirtsSo whew! That’s really really exciting.  In the midst of all of this exhaustion, I managed to sew a little bit. I did a pattern test for Bella Sunshine Designs (affiliate link), which I think came out really well. I tested both the women’s and the girls’ version of the skirts…and what better way to do it than make skirts that would coordinate with one another? 

The fabric for the skirts

Okay, so I’ll admit that my fabric selection process took a little time. I wasn’t quite sure which fabric I wanted to use – and I had lots of ideas for fabrics that would work. Make. All. The. Skirts. Seriously, sometimes it’s really hard to choose what I’ll use for a project. It doesn’t help that my house is like a giant explosion of fabric right now. (I need to organize it soooooo bad…and don’t get me started on the sewing patterns).  I digress. So I’d used the light blue on white print on a top I made for a Cake Patterns top that I’ll talk about in a future post on here, and I had a lot of it left. It’s a really nice, drapy, pretty fabric, that I thought would have good twirl factor.  I still have a little of it left. It was, as you could guess, one of my thrift store finds. $3. I’m not even kidding. I keep meaning to do a thread test on it, because I suspect that it’s silk jersey. Anyway, so I have a ton of this fabric – what better project than making a couple of circle skirts? 

2015-04-09 19.19.11The problem was, I couldn’t decide what should go underneath. For a little bit, I considered a royal blue velour fabric. Yup. That would have been soooo spectacularly awful, I’m willing to bet. Well, maybe not awful, but not as great as the fabrics I wound up with.  Let’s start with the toddler skirt: the bottom skirt is made out of black stretch velvet from an upcycled dress I had. I’d cut the bottom of the dress off to make myself a skirt. The bottom of my skirt is a vintage (as in 35″) knit fabric in a navy blue. I think it’s polyester. It has really awesome drape itself – and is nice and dark since the top fabric is so lightweight. 

The skirt patterns

*All notes refer to the tester version of this skirt. I do have plans to make another set with the final version of the skirt.*

2015-04-09 19.23.51-1The girls’ pattern has modesty shorts underneath – which is great for a toddler who is always very busy investigating things. The women’s pattern doesn’t, but I don’t have any burning desires to randomly pull my skirt up to investigate the fabric, either. I’ll just admire it in other ways. There are four pieces for the girls’ pattern and three for the adult pattern – shorts legs, bottom circle skirt, top circle skirt, and waistband. The women’s has the layers and the waistband. The patterns include sizes 12 months – 14 for girls and 0-20 for women’s. The 20 fit me a little loose, actually (which was surprising since I thought it would be tight…but that works out well for my purposes anyway! Mwahahahah!); the waist is 41 1/2 ” and hips are 50″ and my measurements at the time were 44″ and 53″. I think part of it is the stretch fabric I used, and given the fact that I want to wear this skirt while pregnant, that’s a good thing!

My little gal is in the 12 months size. She’s a little peanut. She’s so petite! So it was a bit big on her waist as well. I added some elastic tape to the inside of both skirts to help hold it up (it has a yoga-style waistband), and that helped a lot! The skirts were easy to sew – I made both of them in an afternoon. Hemming took a little bit, but it always does on circle skirts.

In the pictures, I’m wearing my grandmother’s cardigan and  a camisole from Old Navy. My shoes are from Rampage. Toddler girl is wearing Circo shirts and Mary Janes that we found at thrift/consignment stores. 

As always, thanks for stopping by! I have good things in store for you soon! 



Please, Keep Your Insecurities to Yourself

Being a total diva in my dressToday’s post was going to be titled “Versatile Skirt/Dress Made from Sew Cheeky Fabric’s Retro Doodle knit” or something to that effect.  I sewed up this great dress that can also be worn as a knee-length skirt or midi-length skirt depending on my mood. I did it without using a pattern – go me! And wahoo – not only did it come out well – I LOVE it. 

So, I did what any person would do – I had my husband conduct a photo shoot. He’s become quite adept at getting photos of me. And before you think this is a post where I’m saying,  “I don’t look good, build me up,” let me stop you there. I look freaking awesome in this dress/skirt. We had a lot of fun. I felt like such a goof coming up with my props – but I LOVE how the pictures come out. I look beautiful, and very diva-like in the dress, fun and playful in the knee-length skirt, and cute in the midi-length skirt. I was stoked, and I posted the pictures on my personal Facebook page. 

Now, I’m well-past the age where I need outside validation to know that I look good/that I’m cool/ that whatever. I couldn’t give a flying rat’s hind end whether someone likes me or something I make. So that’s not why I’m writing this now. I’m writing this because there are many other women – those who never take pictures with their kids  (and many who are far smaller than I), those who starve themselves even though there’s no weight left to lose, those struggling with medical issues of very sorts, and those who have had lifelong struggles with weight and body image – there are ALL KINDS OF WOMEN who might post something similar, and who, instead of standing up for themselves, may delete the images they’ve posted, and retreat into the background, hiding their body from further criticism or comment.

So what was the “offending” thing that happened when I shared my fabulous sewn creation?  Someone, a person I’ve not met in person, but whom I know through another person close to me, took it upon herself to recommend that I “like” a Facebook page dedicated to low carb and high protein eating. 

You know? I’d already had so many “likes” on my pictures and posts across the places I’d shared. I get that posting pictures of myself full-bodied and confident does open me up to possible criticism, and I’m good with that. It wasn’t even that such a suggestion hurt my feelings. No, it pissed me off. 

You see, there are a lot of assumptions with a recommendation like that. One is that I don’t like how I am currently. Another is that I want advice on my weight that my doctor couldn’t give me (my doctors have never mentioned my size as a concern to them, by the way. That’s because on paper, I am extremely healthy, healthier than I was, actually, when I was 22 years old and a size 00 would hang loosely from my bony, too-thin body. By the way, when I was that tiny? People kept telling me to eat a sandwich. Sigh. Is a woman’s weight EVER off the table for others to comment on?). A third, more shady assumption is that I just couldn’t possibly actually be happy with my body the way it is.

Here’s the thing, though. I think that this person meant well. She probably really thought she was “helping” me. I think it was coming from a place of her own insecurities. It was a way of her saying “If I were your size, I’d want to look for this solution.”

However, I rather like my body. Here are many reasons why I like this body I have.

  1. I’m a corporeal being. I rather like having a body. If I didn’t, I don’t know that I’d exist. I mean maybe I would be chillin’ in the spiritual realm watching over my family, but my body allows me to do things. I can interact with the world around me. 
  2. My body has nurtured life, twice. It is the body belonging to the mother of my two, very awesome children.
  3. This body has allowed me to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. 
  4. This body has allowed me to hug those who needed hugs – even strangers who were hurting.
  5. This body is STRONG. 
  6. This body has completed several 5K races. While I haven’t participated in one since Little Miss was born, it’s something I want to do again to help raise money for various causes.
  7. This body allows me to get from point A to point B. 
  8. This body survived domestic violence, emotional abuse, and other trauma.
  9. etc.

The list goes on and frankly, you don’t need to know the reasons why i love my body the way it is. You need to know the reasons you love your body the way it is. It’s uniquely yours. It allows you to do all the things you enjoy doing. You, dear reader, are beautiful. I know that sounds like mumbo jumbo hippy feel good crap – but it’s true. We get so caught up in what everyone else thinks or might think or may possibly think about us, that it’s hard to see ourselves through all of that. 

My husband is my photographer (every once in a while Tiger Boy will step in and take a picture or two in his place). That means, the person on the other side of the camera is someone who loves me and who thinks I’m absolutely beautiful as. I. am.  When he takes photos, and I look through them, it’s kind of like seeing myself through his eyes – particularly when I go through the photos and he comments on the ones he likes. Even without him, in those times I try to capture selfies, I find that I rather like what I see – a lot of the time. Now, I’m not perfect. There are times when I don’t feel so great. There are times when someone suggesting a weight loss page could really sting… and that’s why I’m writing this.

In a world where so many women do not take photos with their children because they’re “too fat” or have a pimple or aren’t dressed right, why the HELL would anyone be so stupid and irresponsible as to recommend such a page to any woman who did not specifically ask for advice on weight loss methods or diets? Would you say to someone’s face, “Oh hey, have you heard of Weight Watchers”, right after she said to you, “Look at this fabulous dress I made! I feel so great in it!”? 

On that note, I’ll say to you, look at this fabulous dress/skirt I created. I love it, it’s comfortable, and I think I look amazing in it – especially when I’m wearing it as a dress. I made it using So Cheeky Fabric’s Retro Doodles. I was sent a yard of the fabric’s strike off to review. It was really easy to sew with, it’s stretchy in a good way,  I didn’t use a pattern. Instead, I made it based off my waist and hip measurements (and incidentally my upper bust is the same). I cut the waistband out and sewed it up and hemmed it. It was a really quick sew – partially because I kept the “pattern” simple, but also because the fabric is both beautiful and easy to work with. Here it is. I have three different “looks” I created, and I was goofing off in the back yard while hubby was taking pictures. 

Look 1: “Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market” 

The sweater is Old Navy, tank top is from Gap, shoes are Monolo Blahnik.

Look 2: Coffee Shop Bookworm

Okay, so I’m not *in* a coffee shop. But still 😛 Top is oh gosh, I don’t know. I think I got it from Kohls years upon years ago. The shoes here are also older, I think from Target, actually. The sweater is super-vintage. I’ve had it since I was 16. It belonged to my grandmother before then. There’s one more “look” after this, and you don’t want to miss it.

Look 3: Full-on DIVA

My favorite. The cardigan is older, from Fashion Bug (I actually got it and a couple of tops and some jeans after doing a fashion show as a plus-sized model several years back while still in grad school). The shoes are Gucci.

And so, my lovelies, keep on keeping on. I’m going to head off and snuggle a cute baby. 

Bow Back Beauty by Little Kiwi’s Closet

Little Kiwi's Closet Bow Back BeautyRecently, I had the opportunity to test out Little Kiwi’s Closet Bow Back Beauty. I was assigned to make 2 bodysuit options in the 6-12 month size. I chose a smaller size, because Little Miss is tiny! She’s such a peanut. I figured, based upon the measurements that it would fit better than the twelve month size, and I was right.

Originally, I had planned on sewing with fabrics I’d had in my stash, however, Wining Husband and I made a trip to our local Salvation Army. While we were there, I saw a great red and cream print shirt. I knew that shirt had to be upcycled into this little project. I found a matching cream cardigan, and grabbed those. The second option with long sleeves was made from upcycled turtlenecks snagged during the same trip. 

Sewing the Bow Back Beauties

I eagerly cut up the shirts so that I had my pattern pieces, and I began assembling the bodysuits. They have envelope necklines – which aren’t too tricky, but you do want to make sure you baste well and sew slowly over the bindings that are meant to be tucked under the sleeve fronts. It’s a great advanced beginner/intermediate pattern, and while I think that a beginner could handle it, I think a little experience with a project or two beforehand would be beneficial. 

Always, always, always change your needles

GAAHHHH!!!!I’m a bit of a fanatic about this, generally, and I was changing my needles – but the knits I used for this required a 65 instead of the usual 75 ballpoint I have on hand. After running out to get the proper needles for the project, I solved the problem in the picture you see to the left. Seriously, a new ballpoint in a smaller size was all it took to keep me from screaming at my machine in a rage fit.

Long sleeve one-piece shirt with peplum

The first bodysuit I made used two turtlenecks – one had blue, gray, silver glitter, and pink stripes, the other was a pink that matched the stripes. I really love how this came out.The fit, even though it’s a 6-12 month is a little loose in the back – but honestly, I like the way that the back drapes on her. When she sits, it pulls taught, but in a comfortable way. Like I said, the most difficult part of this pattern is sewing the sleeves on. When it came time to attach the peplum to the bodysuit (when I tested, the alternate instructions were not available yet), I put the bodysuit on Little Miss, and then marked about where I wanted the peplum to sit. I the removed it, turned the peplum inside out, and slid it onto the bodysuit upside down, so that the edge of the peplum lined up just under my mark. I pinned it in place, stretched the suit slightly to align with the skirt, and voilà, done. I hung it up and noticed that somehow, somewhere, my stripes on the peplum moved and were off-center. Because you know how much I LOOOOOOVE seam ripping, I decided that I was okay with the off-center look and that a flower would go above it. Perfect. Love the way this one turned out. (More about bodysuit 2 after the image gallery)

Bodysuit # 2 – red and tan

This bodysuit was much more of a challenge. The fabrics I used were really slinky and slippery. Originally, I thought I’d leave the peplum off on this one. I cut it anyway “just in case.” Because I was upcycling shirts, I accidentally cut the circle across a seam – even though I’d checked it three times to be sure that wasn’t the case.  So…I did what anyone would do when I decided that I did, indeed , want the peplum. I cut the seam off, following the curve of the other side. I also was going to do arm bands on a sleeveless version – but, I decided that it wanted short sleeves. In fact, it needed short sleeves, so that’s what I did. I placed the peplum on with the shorter part on one side, and the longer on the other, so it would create a waterfall effect. For the pictures, I styled it over a Joe Fresh tutu and with Converse baby sneakers. I LOVE both so much. I’m already thinking about doing a third – the full dress version with the high low skirt that comes in Little Kiwi’s Closet’s Bow Back Beauty pattern. The pattern is for sizes NB-14. Designer Lydia Persson really amazes me with her talent.

Those Bella Sunshine Design Leggings with Bows

As promised, here are the pictures of the Bella Sunshine Design Bow Tie Leggings with their bows. This is probably the least you’ll ever see me write in a post. The link to purchase the pattern will be at the end, that way you don’t have to scroll back up to find it. For now, I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.  There are six sets. I love these leggings.



The pattern is on sale for 25% off through Saturday with code “LAUNCHPARTY.” You can purchase them here (affiliate link)

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