Browsing Category

Projects and Reviews

Pattern Review: Peasant Dress

Posted on March 21, 2017 in Projects and Reviews

In my quest to use up some of my fabric stash, I’ve been all over Pinterest looking for ideas. I saw quite a few pins pointing to free patterns, but in my experience free patterns can be a mixed bag. I was happy to find this one that worked out very well!

Peasant Dress sewing pattern review.

Peasant Dress by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom — sewing pattern review.

The only caveat to the free pattern is that you have to fill out a form and sign up for a newsletter. Considering that the pattern runs from size 12 months to 10 years, and patterns like this can cost over $10 to get all these sizes, this isn’t a bad compromise. Plus, if you are not enjoying the newsletter, you can always unsubscribe.

I decided to make the 12 month size, which worked out well for the piece of fabric I had in my stash, and also because I have a little friend whom I could test the finished product on.

Peasant dresses are pretty uncomplicated as long as you have basic sewing skills. What is nice about this pattern is that she gives you instructions for different options for finishing the sleeves, and two sleeve length options. Not bad for a free pattern! A lot of free patterns are only for one size (which can be frustrating!) and they rarely have options. I went with elastic casing for the sleeves, but I’m thinking of trying the shirred sleeve next.

In regards to the dress length, Jamie strongly recommends measuring the intended recipient. That wasn’t possible for me, so I went with the standard measurements provided. As it turns out, it did mean that the dress was more tunic length, but it worked out nicely as this little one is still crawling and just taking her first steps, so there was no long skirt to get tangled up in! It paired nicely with leggings, too.

I’m looking forward to trying more of Jamie Sanders’ patterns!

Verdict: I would definitely use this pattern again, and the price really can’t be beat. It took less than an hour to cut out and sew this, so it’s perfect for a last-minute gift. Tip: Definitely try to measure the recipient so you can make the correct length.

Details: You can find the pattern here: Peasant Dress by Jamie Sanders of Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom. Fabric used is: Moda Simply Colorful II by V&Co, XOXO in Magenta

OMG, Sloths!  Baby Girl Gift Set

Posted on February 26, 2016 in Projects and Reviews

My friend is having a BABY GIRL! After a long, long stretch of boy babies, I finally have a reason to use up some of my fabric stash for dresses and girl outfits! Well, and maybe just make an extra purchase for sloth fabric, because this momma loves sloths.

I made this little top & bloomers set by mixing and matching two patterns, and also, by altering the top pattern a bit.

Sloth set for baby girl.

If you haven’t gone to Oliver & S yet to check out their range of free & paid patterns, head over there NOW. I’ve used quite a few of their patterns and find them useful and easy enough that I use them over & over. I think I’ve made a dozen of the bucket hats! Another favorite is the Popover Sundress, which is the basis for the top in this set.

By just taking off a few inches from the bottom and adding a split hem, I altered the sundress became a top. I also added a little bit of elastic to the very top to make it a little stretchy. And, after learning to make my own bias tape at a quilting class, I’ve never second-guessed choosing a clothing pattern that uses it.  If you’ve never made your own bias tape, it really is a very useful thing to know and really is not as difficult or time-consuming as you might fear. (And yes, I put all of my store-bought bias tape into the donation bin. I’m not turning back.)

These sloths are ready for their close-up.

For the pantaloons/bloomers I used another favorite — Tie Dye Diva Patterns. Total confession, making bloomers are not my favorite thing in the world because of the leg elastic. But these pantaloons with their slightly longer leg and elastic covered by bias tape or ribbon are super cute and much easier. The less I fight with elastic, the better.

I can’t wait til baby arrives and the weather warms up enough for her to model her sloth outfit!

Fabric: Cotton & Steel

Designer: Sarah Watts

Collection: Honeymoon
Top: Lazy Day in Neutral/Blue
Bottoms: Palm in Dusty Blue.


5 Knitting Tools I Can’t Live Without

Posted on February 2, 2016 in Projects and Reviews

5 Knitting Tools I Can’t Live Without

1: A Swift & Winder

Yes, it may be daunting to spend a chunk of cash on something that seem so utilitarian (read: boring), but I’ve used this tool more times than I can count. (Because in order to do that, I’d have to add up how many skeins I’ve gone through, and no one needs that kind of accounting in their lives!) After trying to wind skeins by hand a few times — and causing my husband to run into the man cave when he saw me contemplating having him hold his hands up while I wound), I realized that a swift and winder would pay for themselves in time saved (less time winding = more time knitting). It also keeps skeins from getting tangled. Total cost for both was about $75 — and yes, that would buy some lovely skeins of yarn. But are you going to use those skeins if they aren’t caked? Or are they going to sit in your bin. P.S. — these make great gifts!


A yarn swift and a ball winder makes winding skeins of yarn simple.

A yarn swift and a ball winder makes winding skeins of yarn simple.

2: {Circular} Needle Sets

After my first year of knitting, I realized a basic truth. I hate straight needles. Hate. I am so much faster and relaxed with circulars. Inevitably, though, I never had quite the right size for whatever project I was working on next. this investment came with a carrying case. If I need more cables, they are easily found and added. Hint: I realized after the first few times that you really do need to use the T pin to tighten them, or else they slowly loosen after each round, no matter how tightly you think you attached them. Try a few individual circulars to find out what you like best — wood, metal, etc— and then invest in a decent set.

A set of knitting needles means you are always ready for any project.

A set of knitting needles means you are always ready for any project.

3: Ravelry

Where do I start? As if the extensive pattern database to the ability to join a community dedicated to knitting, crocheting and fiber arts wasn’t enough, it also serves as a knitting journal that is easily shared with others. Oh, and did I mention it’s essentially free? (There is a $5 yearly fee if you want to be able to upload photos from your phone — I find this useful & the cost more than reasonable). One rainy day i even decided to add my entire stash into the database, with photos, and now, when I search for a pattern, it can automatically tell me if I have a possible contender in my stash that would work for the pattern. Ostensibly, this means fewer irrational purchases or orphan skeins, but let’s be realistic here. Impulse purchasing isn’t going away when it comes to yarn. At least for me.

4: YouTube

Ever forget how to ssk? Can’t quite remember how to start the kichener stitch? There is someone out there knitting tools — often multiple someones — who has put a video on YouTube to help you out. A related tool is the KnittingHelp app by Outer Media. It’s $10 and works offline so it’s perfect for traveling especially if your destination is international and wifi is spotty. Yes, I’ve brought my knitting to the beach. In Aruba.

5: A crochet hook and large needle

Nothing picks up a dropped stitch better than a crochet hook. Luckily, as a former crocheter, I’ve got every size imaginable, but a good G hook should work well for you. If you often knit with lace or fingering weight, get a smaller hook, too. They are inexpensive enough that you can buy two or three for under $5. I prefer the metal hooks.

A few crochet hooks in your knitting bag can be a lifesaver.

A few crochet hooks in your knitting bag can be a lifesaver.


Back to top