Wining Wife®

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Tag: Toddler sewing

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

Patterns for Pirates’ Grandpa Cardi & Cpt. Mack’s Cardis

Who doesn’t love a good cardigan? I know I’m a big fan, and I wear them a lot of the year. When Judy Hale at Patterns for Pirates did a tester call for a cardigan pattern for women and children, I was really excited and had to sign right up. I had some more of the houndstooth fabric left from when I made the Phresh Jeggings, and I figured it would make a great cardigan for my little gal – and – one for myself. This was an easy pattern to stitch up, and the fabric I worked with (from Hancock Fabrics) was amazing. I’ve found myself addicted to their knits, actually. They sew up really nice and feel great. Plus, I’ve found the customer service at our local Hancock Fabrics to be above and beyond what I’ve experienced in the past at fabric store chains. Continue reading

Phresh Jeggings by Winter Wear Designs

Winter Wear Designs Phresh LeggingsMy gal has way too much fun – and she’s a lot of fun to sew for. I have a lot of recent makes (one thing I made for myself) to share with y’all (we had a gnarly cold run through our little house), but I’ll start with these “Phresh Jeggings” designed by Winter Wear Designs. I really love how they came out. They’re a lot of fun. I used a ponte knit for the main part of the leggings and then a regular black knit that I ran through my machine’s fancy stitches for the pockets and waistband. (I know I need to work on my band skills on getting my seams lined up perfectly on my bands. Tips? Please put them in the comments.  I’m always open to learning more about how to do what I do better!) 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! 



Bella Sunshine Designs’ Bow Tie Leggings

Baby Girl modeling my make of Bella Sunshine Designs' bow tie leggings

Baby Girl modeling my make of Bella Sunshine Designs’ bow tie leggings

Brace yourself for too much cute. 


I pattern tested for new designer Bella Sunshine Desings recently. She has these great ideas, by the time I finished sewing 7 (yes 7) pairs of leggings, I had them down to a science. The bow tie leggings are easy to sew, and they are a really nice kids’ wardrobe builder. They come in two styles – slim fit and traditional legging fit – and four lengths – shorts, knee-shorts, capri, and full length. That gives you a lot of options. 

Five of the seven pairs I made came from shirts and a maternity dress I had. The other two pairs were made out of thrifted fabric. Thus, aside from needing to buy elastic to make these, I spent under $5.00 for the entire set. That’s not bad considering how expensive one pair of baby leggings can be at retail price. 

These leggings are so cute. I love the little bow tie details on them. I hand stitched all of the bows so that they would look great. The pattern uses so little fabric that I was able to use size small shirts that I’d ehem outgrown, to make her some leggings. 

2015-02-09 13.44.50The pair with the pandas was the first pair. The fit on them was solid, but since it was the first version of the pattern, they were just a tiny bit loose. I made them wtih the blue and white plaid and panda bear fabric you see in the image above. The bows were made from the same fabric I used on the bodice of the Sofilantes wrap dress I made last week.  They were easy to make and sew into place and oh-so cute!

Valentine's Day Shirt

Valentine’s Day Shirt

When I went to make another pair – because these are so easy they are addictive, I decided I wanted to dig into my bin of clothes to cut up. In that bin are a few of my favorite shirts, including the one to the right – that’s me wearing it while I was getting ready for my first Valentine’s Day with Wining Husband – as a dating couple – just over three years ago.

2015-02-20 18.12.17When you become attached to something, it’s so scarey to cut into it! But I did. I cut right into that shirt. After all, it doesn’t currently fit me, and I’d rather it become something useful rather than have it hang, unworn, in my cloeset reminding me of days past. 

This blue shirt became a pair of shorts. I may actually use it for something else as well since there's a bunch of it left.

This blue shirt became a pair of shorts. I may actually use it for something else as well since there’s a bunch of it left.

I think the shirt made some super-cute leggings. There they are in the photo to the left, before I sewed the bows on. I used another shirt, one I wore a bunch, including while I was in Seattle, to create a pair of legging shorts and the bows for this pair. 

377523_10100397335279019_914101241_n2015-02-20 18.19.15I used a purple maternity dress for a third pair, and my favorite brown shirt for a fourth pair. A shirt I wore for salsa dancing lessons (to the left) became a pair of capri pants. The final pair was made from some royal blue stretch terry I found while out and about. 

It was a lot of fun sewing up the pattern in the different lengths and fit styles. I photographed a lot of the leggings before I sewed the bows on, and because she’s been turned around on her sleep schedule (we’ve been vampires over here 😉 ) I haven’t managed to get the pictures with the bows on the upcycled pairs yet. I’ll be taking her out in the morning to get those. So you’ll get a special treat with a double post about these fun leggings! 

Meanwhile, enjoy the preliminary pictures – and be sure to scroll through to the end so you can grab a code and purchase the pattern if you’re interested.

Black and white check with pandas with black bows

*These photos are from the upcycled shirts. They don’t include the jersey pair or the bows yet. Come back tomorrow for those pictures. The bows really make the leggings into something truly spectacular (and supremely cute!)




 *This is an affiliate link. Should you click on it and make a purchase, I will be compensated. I shared the information about this pattern, however, because I believe it’s a great pattern for beginners. Use code “LAUNCHPARTY ” to receive 25% off your purchase of the Bow Tie Leggings.   Click here to go to Bella Sunshine Designs and purchase the pattern.  I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

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