Monday, November 4, 2019

Sofinoa Designs Anniversary celebration featuring the Starry Nights pj's.


WOW!!!!! This is a big day for Sofiona Designs.  I remember when these two lovely ladies mentioned their new endeavor and asked for some pattern testers.  I jumped at the chance, they seemed like they'd be fun, and I'd gotten to know them a bit in other FB groups prior.  I HAD NO IDEA what was in store.  It's been an incredible year for them, and I've been lucky enough to have tested several of these amazing patterns.  Just check out how many they released in their first year alone!!!  There's even more coming soon!

I chose the Starry Night Pj's for my anniversary post.  I had ordered this amazing Smore's fabric from Libelle Sewing, and I really wanted to make my daughter some cute pjs.   I had made the nightgown version several months ago, and she loves it.

If your kid is like mine they run HOT!!! Like all year, even in winter, so she was thrilled it was a tank top.  I might end up making a matching Tundra with some coordinating fabric for a cooler day if she wants.

I love the finishings on all Sofiona patterns and this was no different. You may notice that I did not serge my seams, and I never do on nightwear for my daughter.  For some reason, she finds the serged seams annoying, even when I use wooly nylon, so I just don't bother anymore, which turns out fine with knits.

This pattern is pretty simple if you follow the steps and excellent tutorial.  The only 'tricky' aspects of this pattern are the gathering and binding on the armscye but I'll show you a couple of tips to make them a breeze.  So let's get started.

First, the fun part, choosing your fabric.  This pattern is for knits and there a ton of fabric choices out there.  Make sure you find something comfy and give it a good wash and dry then start cutting.   I basted my ruffle to the top of the skirt section, this makes the gathering easier for me.  I use my own
method of gathering with elastic thread.  (you sew over it, you don't use it in your bobbin).

You mark on the elastic the width of each piece.  Zig zag over it on the piece you're gathering.  Then pull it till your dots line up with the edges of your fabric.  Give it a quick stretch to even your gathers, and boom you're done.  Here's the video I did last year that explains it in greater detail,  I swear this method was lifechanging for me.

pinned in place

Once you have your gathers ready, you need to make sure you secure them.  Now get ready to do the binding.  For this, I prefer to sew it with the binding on the bottom, and my armscye on the top.  I find I have better control over curves if I can see them.  I know my binding is straight so that's not going to throw me off if it's underneath and I can better watch the curve on top.  I do this on all of my bindings.

Sewn with binding on the bottom

I learned this when I was sewing bras, you put the piece with the most movement on top to keep an eye on it.  Also, make sure your binding comes all the way to the ends, or else it'll show when you attach it to the bodice.   (don't ask ahahha)

 So then just flip it all over, and you'll fold the binding down halfway to line up with the top of the seam.  I like to put a few clips to hold it, then flip it all the way down to enclose the seam, and make sure it goes past the stitching line so you'll catch it when you topstitch!

Now give it a nice topstitching, I like to use a triple stitch because it looks like a straight stitch, but still have some stretch to it. Nothing is worse than popping seams after all of your hard work.

Now you're ready to attach it to the tops, and do your neckline binding, a quick hem and you're done!!!!

 Pop on over to my blog buddy Dagbjort's Blog, to see her amazing hack of the Starry Night PJs.

Now be sure to comment below if you get this pattern to try, I want to see what you come up with. Don't forget to join  Sofiona Designs Fan Group for other fabulous designs, discount, and Giveaways!!!!

Here's a quick review of my Sofiona Sews from the past year.
Enjoy!!!!  We love them.


Each day this week, two bloggers will pair up to showcase one Sofiona pattern. Follow along to see your favorite Sofiona patterns sewn "as is" by one blogger and a clever "hack" by the other.

Some of our favorite Instagrammers will also be sharing their Sofiona makes this week and they'll be doing the same pairing up to showcase one pattern. Follow them for more inspiration:

Join us in the Sofiona Designs Fan Group on Facebook for more fun and to share your favorite Sofiona makes!

Finally, a huge thank you to ALL the sponsors for joining in our Anniversary Celebration! Please participate in the Rafflecopter below for an opportunity to one of the two prize packages listed below valued at over $150 each and join us in the fan group for daily giveaways next week.

Prize Pack #1

Prize Pack #2

Friday, November 1, 2019

Balsam Bag -- Bag on a Budget

Bag on a Budget

I think a lot of us started sewing to try and save money, or to customize items.  Like I mentioned in my previous post, patterns are like recipes, it's ok to tweak them do to budget concerns, time, what items you have on hand, and personal preference.  That being the case I decided to make an inexpensive bag for my daughter.  I LOVED the angled shape of this bag, and knew my daughter would love it too.  I found some fabric I've had for several years, and now I think she might need a matching pencil skirt, we'll see how that goes.
Dress is the Tide, also by Sofiona Desgins and available on their website.

This bag is quick sew, it's a nice simple design with only a few peices, so it was easy to keep the costs down.  This bag cost me less then $5.   Instead of using D-rings for the straps.  I just used these split key rings from the dollar store.

I used the rings in the tabs and sewed them on as per the instructions in the pattern.  I decided not to do an adjustable strap so we needed to establish our strap length.   I did this by simply using a measuring tape in place of the strap. I used clips on each side to hold it in place, and made allowance for the seams. 

Then I just sewed them on to the rings like I did the tabs.  No need for extra hardware if you don't want to use it.

So now you have no excuse to not give this great pattern a try.  It's a great scrap buster in the smaller sizes.  Head on over to Sofiona Designs Fan Group, to see more examples and inspiration.  Click this link here to buy the pattern  Sofiona Designs. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Balsam Bag -- Upcycled leather bag

From Couch to Bag

Balsam Bag-- Sofiona Designs
Upcycled Leather Bag 

Several years ago we needed to get rid of our old leather couch.  So when we did, my husband cut off all the usable leather, the back was in great shape and the cushions were ok too, just the frame was shot.  I kept the leather hoping to do something with it.  I have NEVER sewn with leather before and know there is a learning curve.  When I saw this bag being tested I realized it was simple enough to give it a go.

I made a smaller angled bag in woven for my daughter to try the pattern and get a feel for it, and then I really wanted to make myself a lovely leather fall bag.  I knew I'd found the right pattern to finally try it out.

I pulled out the two couch cushions and laid them out.  One is a bit more wrinkled than the other but I think it adds character.  I was able to get the straps out of the fabric around the edge, it does have a couple of seams but it still worked out fine.

My rotary cutter worked great on the leather so that was a good start.  I got a heavy-duty needle, I used a topstitching one because I didn't have a leather one on hand, and it worked great. Although I will be getting some leather ones as well.   I also used my Teflon foot to help things slide better, and lowered my presser foot pressure.  I also discovered my machine does a better topstitch in the left-hand needle position.  It tended to skip in positions farther to the right, I usually pop my needle over when I topstitch on the right-hand side, but had to adjust that.

I added the rivets to the pocket because I thought they were cute.  The rivets to the straps were necessary because my rings were quite thick, and I love the look of rivets.  I bought them a while ago so it's fun to have an excuse to use them.  I bought my rivets from Tandy Leather, and now I'm eyeing those pyramid ones!!!!

My only issue came with the straps.  Keep in mind leather and vinyl come in different thicknesses, and the leather I was using was from my couch.  When I tried folding the straps like the pattern recommends it was just way to thick for the slider I had on hand.  I'm not sure if there are other sliders that would have worked better, but I was upcycling off an old strap, so it was what I had on hand.  Here's how bulky my strap ended up being.   Topstitching it would have helped some, but I didn't want to punch holes in it and have it not work.  So I decided to try a different method and I think it worked beautifully.

This is the blog post I followed for my NEW strap.  "How to make (less Bulky) Leather bag straps."  Yes, that is the title of the post, perfect right?? ahaha.  You can see here the difference it made.  Some people don't like the raw edge showing, but I found it lined up so well on the strap, and only on the tabs is it showing, and I kind of like the look, so it's really personal preference.  This was just a practice one, on my real strap I lined up the ends and it looks really nice.  I just wanted to see if this was going to work, and you can see how much thinner it is.

So What I did was cut my strap at 2" so I'd have a 1" finished strap to fit my hardware.  I drew a line right down the center, to fold the straps in half evenly.   Since the raw edge is going to show, make sure you don't have any snags in the leather, I used the rotary cutter, and it left it nice and clean.

 I made the happy discovery that a glue stick works great to hold the strap down.  It was much easier and faster than using a ton of clips.  I only put clips on the seams and in a few places just to make sure I didn't have any surprises when I started sewing.
The next step was to sew down those center pieces.  I sewed from the wrong side, being careful to make a nice straight line by lining up with the edge of the strap.  I sewed each side down, then flipped it over and topstitched along the edges.  This made a super flat and sturdy strap.

I love how well the straps slide through the rings and sliders.  I did the connector straps the same way in the bag.  I used rivets on them to hold them on.

I have to say I'm super pleased with my first ever leather bag. The pattern is great and has several options.  I'm excited to share this pattern with others because I know how intimidating making a bag or purse can be.  But it's really quite simple, and the pattern is well written and easy to follow.

This is the large fold-over bag option, on the Balsam Pattern.

I still can't belive I managed to make a leather bag, and strap for less than $10, by using my old couch, and reusing the hardware from a purse strap.

The Handmade bag bling I got from Emmaline Bags.   And she really has an amazing selection of hardware for bags.  They add so much, and make the finished product look more professional, and one of a kind.

 If the cost of hardware is making you hesitate, keep in mind you can always upcycle items from other bags, like straps and snaps.  And if you don't want to make an adjustable strap you can just make a regular length one, and use key rings for your loops on the ends :D.   Remember a pattern is like a recipe, it's ok to change a few things here and there to match what you have on hand, your budget or personal preferences.  For more cost-saving tips check out more info on my daughter's Bag.  Balsam Bag--Bag on a Budget

So now you have no excuse to not give this great pattern a try.  Head on over to Sofiona Designs Fan Group, to see more examples and inspiration.  Click this link here to buy the pattern  Sofiona Designs. 

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Libelle Sewing Strike Round 5

 Libelle Sewing Round 5 


I'm so excited to announce my first ever fabric strike.  This has been so much fun, and what an awesome team she has.  Stephanie has been the greatest to work with as well, this has been just a great experience.  Now on to the fabric.  I picked the "Retro Cassette tapes" in Athletic, and my daughter fell in love with these Narwhals, which we ordered in swim.  

It's always hard to decide what patterns to use, but what do you do when you have a limited supply, and want to showcase it as well as you can, colour blocking to the rescue!


This has been such a cute suit, she wears it all the time, at least 3 times this week, she has it on now in hopes of running through the sprinkler as well ahahah.  The pattern is my new favourite swim pattern from Pollywoggles, called the Nahanni Swimsuit.  Use code "libellesewing" for 10% at her shop.

 I wanted to make a rash gaurd as well and used a raglan pattern I had on hand, this is the Aurora Raglan from Sofiona Designs.   The only modification I used was to add a band on the bottom to keep it from riding up in the water.

Retro cassette tapes. 

For my outfit, the top is a Stardust and Agnes Mashup, with the centre blocking option (both patterns are free from Halla Patterns).  I paired it with my P4P Peglegs add ons (free pattern).

My daughter's outfit is the Hey June Racer-back dress (free pattern), cut to a top length, and the Halla Knotty Pants shorts for kids, with 2" added to the hemline. 

This is my modified Calista sports bra from SUAT!  and it's so comfortable, going to be making a swim top with this pattern soon. 

I only had a wee bit of fabric left so decided these gals needed some new outfits!!!!  How fun are these, I forgot how much I enjoy making 18" doll clothes.  (I HATE making Barbie clothes!!!!)

This is her American Girl and Maplelea dolls sporting a swimsuit and yoga outfit respectively.

The doll's yoga pants are the Bonnie leggings from M4M.(free pattern)  The top is a hacked version of the swim top I used. I just extended the length of the top and flared it out a bit, and added some FOE on the hemline. 

The swimsuit pattern is from Pixie Faire "Wild waves once piece swimsuit"

Make sure to join her FB group, Libelle Sewing, to see what other people are making.  The round is open until Jul 21st, she also has  CL, FT and Bamboo solids also on pre-order.