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why I sew on KCW

why i sew: lisa from mabey she made it

My first word was “pree pree” (pretty pretty). My grandma was a prolific seamstress, and almost every time we went to her house she had a new little dress sewn and hanging in the hall. It wasn’t long before I knew that those “pree prees” might be for me and my mom tells of me standing at the end of the hall with arms reaching toward the newest creation expecting it to be put on me.

I loved the feeling of being dressed up, and I still do. I also love the feeling of satisfaction and pride when I’ve created something pretty. I’m Lisa Mabey from Mabey She Made It, and today I get to share a little about why I sew. There’s something magical about the combination of practical and pretty, and I think that magic is one reason I sew–some of the others are below.

This adorable top was made using the Lillian Pintucked Dress and Top pattern and it's beautiful.9 Tips for Upcycling Clothes | Mabey She Made It

Lillian Pintucked Top || Pattern Mashup

I get to express myself creatively. Sewing fulfills a need to create and includes a way to connect with other women. I’ve always loved to create, and it’s taken many forms throughout the years, but once I started sewing I was hooked. I got a sewing machine for Christmas about five years ago when I became a stay-at-home mom to add stitching on paper crafts, but it only took one project before I abandoned the paper crafting for fabric. There’s something so fulfilling about taking fabric and creating something wearable. Then take that wearable item and add the community of women who sew, and I’m in heaven.

Y is for Yellow Yoked Dress with yo-yos | Mabey She Made ItDesign Your Own Fabric with Stencils | Mabey She Made It | #christmas #stencil #sewingforkids #sewing #blankslatepatterns

Geranium Dress || Little Bow Pleat Dress

I get to show my style (and they get theirs).  When I started sewing I wasn’t a fan of pink clothes in general. But it’s REALLY hard to dress a baby girl and avoid pink. I remember lamenting that there wasn’t much that I WANTED to dress her in. There were a million “cute” things, but they weren’t my style. As my children have grown, their wardrobes reflect my style more than they ever have before.

Muslin Ruffle Dress | Mabey She Made It #sewing #sewingforkids #dressesSuch a sweet classic dress made from an upcycled sheet and curtain. 

Ruffle Dress || Norah Dress

And as they’ve grown, they’re developing their own styles which I can help nurture. They love mama made clothes and most days they wear something handmade. Its also become a tradition that they get to pick fabric for a birthday skirt each year. When its made, they prance around all day–telling anyone who will listen that “my mom made it for me.” Everyone wins.

Easy Circle Skirt by Mabey She Made ItThe Jukebox Dress with Rhythm version from the One Thimble e-zine sewn by Mabey She Made It

Circle Skirt || Jukebox Dress

I get to be the designer. Sometimes its inspiration, sometimes its luck, and sometimes its just plain obvious the choices I make when sewing. I love the feeling of seeing an idea come to life–an idea that started as a pattern and a pattern coming together. I love using fabrics that aren’t typical choices for children’s clothing because it adds a classic feel. And sometimes magic happens when you combine different patterns by different designers into a cohesive look that you’d never find in a store.

Mini Mod Corduroy Suit Girls Bundle Up Tour | Mabey She Made It |#sewing #sewingforkids #isew #9 Tips for Upcycling Clothes | Mabey She Made It

Mini Mod Suit || Potato Chip Skirt

I get to feel pretty in clothes I made. I still love a good “pree pree.” My closet is filled with dresses and skirts because I feel beautiful in them. And I know my girls feel the same way. As my sewing abilities have increased, so has my confidence in the clothes I make and dress my girls in. I know that they’re quality pieces inside and out, and it feels good.

Recreating Kate: Issa Engagement Dress | Mabey She Made It | #katemiddleton #katemiddletonstyle #katemiddletonfashion #recreatingkateExtraordinary Girl Women2

Recreating Kate: Issa Engagement Dress || Extraordinary Girl Tee

In short, I sew because I can. I’ve had so much fun writing, researching, and sewing along with this season, and I’m sad that its come to an end, but my sewing adventures are far from over. See you next season!

kcw: mistakes

mistakes: lisa from mabey she made it

Hi again, it’s Lisa from Mabey She Made It! I’m glad we get the chance to share some mistakes and lessons with you. It’s so easy to believe that great sewists sew perfect garments every time, but the truth is that we never stop making mistakes, but hopefully we learn from them.

There are no end to the number of mistakes I make in any given day. Sometimes it’s frustrating to think about all the time and energy I use up because of simple mess ups or oversights. But the thing that makes me hopeful is all the things I’m learning from my mistakes. (Like never leaving a seam ripper laying around or the dress you just finished might end up in shreds.)

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 10.26.45 PM

You see, I have to believe that mistakes are really opportunities. A chance to rethink, try again, and learn to do things a little better.

I’ve been sewing for about 5 years now, and I’ve learned everything I know from trial and error. And by that, I mean a lot of error. The first project I worked on was putting a binding on a quilt my mom and I tied. She was helping me pin and showing me what to do, and I was amazed at the sense of accomplishment I felt. There’s a spot on that blanket where I totally missed the binding on the back side. It’s a small spot, but it’s there. And although I’ve thought about fixing it many times in these five years, I can’t help but love that it’s not perfect. It was a learning experience and my first project.

After that I started experimenting with different kinds of fabric and projects, but I’d use fabric I found in the remnant bins or had been given by friends. My thought was that I wouldn’t learn unless I was willing to try and (most likely) fail. But at least I hadn’t invested a lot of money into the learning process.

And I did learn. A lot of the clothing I created at first are long gone–I couldn’t look at them or wear them without seeing the poor quality and crooked seams after a while. But all the lessons I learned from those misshapen garments are with me still and have helped me become a better seamstress.

Mistakes are also a great way to get you thinking creatively. When I was sewing for my first Kids Clothes Week, I was cutting a cute little dress out, and all of the sudden I realized I’d cut the tunic length not the dress length for the front. I was so sad! But then I had a lightbulb moment and realized I could use that miscut piece to add extra detail to the dress. I cut an extra band for the back and front panels, and added some piping to the seam to really make that “mistake” shine. It’s something I find over and over again in my sewing. One misstep leads to problem solving and brainstorming.

Evelyn Dress by Peek-A-Boo Patterns | Mabey She Made It #kidsclothesweek #sewingforkids

It has also led me to being more brave about creating my own alterations to patterns. I was creating an upcycled dress, and out of necessity (there wasn’t enough fabric to make the first dress completely, I mashed a couple of patterns together and it’s probably one of my favorites ever.

Pinstripe Dress | Mabey She Made It | #upcycle #sewingforkids #sewing #pr&p

So much so that I created another just like it and I’m positive I’ll continue making this same creation. But it wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t willing to make a mistake, problem solve, and figure out my own style and creative process.

9 Tips for Upcycling Clothes | Mabey She Made It

So I’m grateful for mistakes. For the lessons they teach, for the opportunities they provide, and for the fact that my sewing abilities have grown because of them. So don’t despair when you are reaching for the seam ripper for the millionth time tonight or when you’ve just serged a SECOND hole into your nearly completed dress–there’s always an opportunity in your mistakes!

WILD THINGS: feathers // kid's clothes week

WILD THINGS feathers

Hi again! I’m Lisa from Mabey She Made It, and I’m back for more inspiration fun. This time, we’re talking about feathers on kids clothes. And while my mind automatically goes to Halloween costumes and flapping wings, I didn’t want to focus too much on that aspect. Instead, I wanted to find some other ideas that could be used year round.  I think you’ll have lots of fun looking through the ideas and tutorials I’ve put together for you today.


One of the recurring themes I found while looking for clothes with feathers was creating a feathered look on shirts and fabric using different techniques. It was fun to see the different methods used including a bleach pen, markers, and stamps. I also loved the feel of the fringed sleeve that would flap and flutter like a feathered wing. Ignore the women in these photos, these techniques are great for boys, girls, and babies alike.


1. Bleach Pen Feather, 2. Marker Feather, 3. Fringy Sleeve, 4. Stamped Feathers

And what if you just want to add some feathers along the way? Here are some amazing ways to add feathers using fabric and embroidery. The raised fishbone stitch would be so amazing on a placket or for added detail somewhere on kids clothes and would hold up well in the wash. The turquoise Handmade Feather below would be fun to add onto things like accessories that wouldn’t need to be washed.


1. DIY Fabric Feathers, 2. Raised Fishbone Stitch, 3. Handmade Feather

Winged Boys

How do you take feathers (which are typically light and fluffy) and make them more masculine? How about safety pins, leather, and amazing appliqué that makes being a boy magical and masculine.


1. Safety Pin Wings, 2. Leather Feather Vest, 3. Feather Sweatshirt, 4. Eagle Coat

Feathered Girls

Feather boas and feminine detail are the name of the game here. I think we all know that kids can be hard on their clothes, so incorporating delicate feathers is both fun and challenging, but they’re kind of irrestistable. I love the feathered hemline and skirt of 1 and 3 contrasted with the structured petals and ruffled bustle of 2 and 4. Both sets evoke the feeling of feathers and wings, but in completely different ways.


1. Feather Boa Hem, 2. Petal Dress, 3. Feather Tutu, 4. Bustle Skirt


And last, but not least, let’s add some accessories! Because feathers make me feel fancy and fancy = accessories in my book.


1. Costume Wings, 2. Magical Wing Shoes, 3. Leather Feather Cuff

So what do you think about these ideas? How would you incorporate feathers or wings into your kids clothes?