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Erin from Our Family Four for KCW
spring

kcw trends: patterns

There were so many incredible projects in the Kids Clothes Week project pool this year!!  It appears that everyone was eager to dive into their spring sewing, regardless of what the spring weather looked like for each of us.  Here are a few patterns that kept making the rounds this season.

The Geranium.  So classic, so many options, just do it.  Everyone else is and they won’t even mind if you’re late to the party.

Ribbet-collagegeranium.jpg

(clockwise) graypiped, cars, navy,

The Skater.  It’s a comfy, awesome, staple.  Easy, fun, and you can peplum that baby out if you’d like even more options.

Ribbet-collageskater

Blue, Feather, Pink

Small Fry Skinny Jeans.  It appears that several of us came off of that SFSJ pattern tour inspired to try this pattern out for ourselves, and it showed in the project pool.

Ribbet-collageskinny.jpg

Here, star, teal

It wouldn’t be a kids spring sewing session without a few jackets, and the options that were linked up are all drool worthy.

Ribbet-collagejacket.jpg

StarboardStudy Hall JacketSecret Agent TrenchJacki Dress

The Sally Dress.  Spring is here and your little lady needs some huge pockets to stash flowers, rocks, candy, toys, and other outdoor treasures.  There is no dress that can hold so much loot and look so cute at the same time.

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

Red, Navy, Pink

Shorts.  True, summer is just around the corner, but for some of us, the spring weather has been calling for shorts.  Luckily there are shorts options like crazy in the project pool.

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

Kid ShortsPrefontaine ShortsBubble Pocket ShortsCoastal Cargos

There were collections of patterns from several lovely designers, like See Kate Sew‘s items below.

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

Aztec Hooded VestPippaRecess Raglan

The Flashback Skinny Tee.  Again, another pattern with options for customization as far as the eye can see.  Make it cool for your little dude, girly for your little lady, or something in between.

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

(clockwise) Triangle, Scalloped SequinsBlue FloralNinja Turtle,

Another love I have for the project pool is clicking around at designs that are new and fresh.  We’ll just go ahead and call them future front runners.  This was the first season I had seen any of these patterns and I love them all.

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

(clockwise) Paris skirt, Shearwater Caftan, Owl Princess TopGirls Style Book Dress

You just can’t beat when a beautiful bundle has just been released the week before KCW?  Am I right Perfect Pattern Parcel?  It appears that many of us were sewing our way through these a few weeks back, and though the bundle has expired, as all good things do, each of the patterns are still available from their individual designer.

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

(clockwise) Celestial Tee, Hanami Dress, Hosh PantsSeptember Tunic

 Speaking of designers, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea to do some pattern testing for new patterns during KCW, as several of us did with the darling Matinee Dress.

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

(clockwise) AhoyBlue, Gray, Yellow

Some of us were sewing the scrumptious new Shandiin Top and Tunic (available soon from Lou Bee Clothing).

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

(clockwise) Summer, Yellow, Gingham, Floral

Others were busy pattern testing for Willow & Co‘s new line.  This full line, plus others, is now available for the rest of us as well! 🙂

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

(clockwise) Aster CardiganPersimmon Sundress, Kudzu CargosClover Shorts

My other weakness during KCW is discovering gorgeous gems of clothing that have been self drafted by the sewer!!  Ahh, I have such envy for ladies who can think something up, sketch it (maybe?), and then sew up a beautiful masterpiece.  So much inspiration!

kcw pattern trends: april 2014

(clockwise) Easter DressMatilde Dress, Denim Skirt, Color Block Cardi, Linen Cargos

What about you, what patterns stood out to you this season?  Did you jump over and purchase any new ones after seeing a beautiful example in the project pool?  I did!!

But the real question is, which patterns have you been sewing since KCW ended and you got the feeling back into your fingers?  Or are you holding out for summer KCW?

Erin from Our Family Four for KCW
spring

PATTERNS: what makes me commit

Why would I pay for a pattern, even an adorable one, if there are so many free patterns and tutorials available online?

This is what I used to think, before I started sewing clothes.  What I know now that I didn’t know then is, those pattern-makers have done so much of the hard work to make it easier on me!  They’ve translated a concept into a reality, and can lead me to that beautiful reality with lots of hand holding: colored photos with little arrows, glossaries of terms, and pattern pieces that will go from being a random jigsaw to a beautiful final piece.  Thanks pattern designers!  You guys rock.

BUT…how do you choose between them?

One incredible thing about being involved in the online sewing community is seeing fresh new patterns popping up regularly from designers that I already know and trust because so many of them are fellow bloggers!  But choosing between the many different designs and deciding where to invest my money and time can be overwhelming.  There are just so many options, how do you choose between them?

Over the past year I have come to recognize the 6 biggest factors that will make me put a pattern right into my cart AND checkout, now.  :)Do you have any patterns that fall into these categories? 

1.) The “Seemingly Endless Possibilities” Pattern

 The first pattern that I ever bought was the Geranium Dress.  I had seen a few of my favorite bloggers making their versions of this dress and I could not deny that it was adorable, but I was trying to resist.  But what tipped me over the edge was when I saw Delia’s 5 Geraniums post.  There was just such a fun range that I couldn’t believe it was all from the same pattern.  I wanted my daughter to have a wardrobe of cute dresses and tunics like that!

I bought the pattern and made 4 Geraniums for my daughter: 2 dresses, 2 tunics, 2 gathered skirts, 2 pleated skirts, a sleeveless, a ruffled sleeve, a cap sleeve and a puff sleeve with Peter Pan collar detail.  I made 2 dresses for baby gifts.  I also have a different option plotted for this year’s spring KCW Geranium.  I can’t get enough.

Geraniums

Popsicle Geranium, Flutter Geranium, Floral Geranium, Peter Pan Geranium

Friends, I was hooked.  The part of me that wanted maximum bang for my buck was just so happy:) A few other “Seemingly  Endless Possibilities” Patterns.  (I dare you to click through and see all that you can do with these patterns!)

Options

Tinny, Natty Janes, Roller Skate Dress 

2.) The “Give You Some Control Over Your Kid’s Unusual Shape” Pattern

If you stand for 10 minutes in a children’s department, you will hear this conversation.  Maybe you are the one saying it.

It’s just so hard to find jeans/shorts/pants that fit.  He has such a little waist and these long legs!  She’s thick around the middle but then the legs of the pants are too wide!

For me it was one day when I was out shopping for my petite 2 year old daughter and couldn’t find a pair of shorts to fit her tiny little booty. The 2 year fell off, the 18-24 months still slipped down, the 12-18 months were baggy and the 9-12 months were too.  The mom guilt was too much for me to handle (it must be my fault that she’s so tiny!) so I left the store with nothing but a lump in my throat.  I came home, purchased and printed the Bubble Pocket Shorts, and sewed them completely while she napped.

When she got up she was no longer my little peanut swimming in too-big shorts, but just my sweet little girl in some sweet shorts.  As she should be.

Shorts 5

  Bubble Pocket Shorts

Bottoms can be tough to fit.  Buying a pattern that helps you take control of the waistband, leg width, and inseam can make such a difference!

 A few other “Give You Some Control” patterns.

Pants

Clean Slate Pants, Skinny Jeans, Kid Shorts

3.) The “This is a Staple” Pattern

The Roly Poly Pinafore sold me immediately.  I saw only a few stops on the tour before I was convinced that this was an essential summer staple, yet could easily be layered in the fall and winter, and the 2-dresses-in-1 tapped right into the part of me that is looking for a deal. Sold.

Roly poly pinafore

Summer/Cloud Roly Poly, Retro Reversible Roly Poly

Our kids need easy to wear, easy to mix items in their wardrobes.  If you find a good pattern in a size range that will carry you through a few years with your child, then you’re golden.

 Other “This is a Staple” patterns.

Staples

Greenpoint Cardigan, Berkshire Blazer, Fancy Pants Leggings

 

4.) The “You’ll Learn a Lot” Pattern

One thing that I kept hearing (reading?) about Oliver + S patterns was the phrase “you’ll learn a lot.”  I bought my first Oliver + S dress during their summer sale and sewed it up during fall KCW.  Guess what?  I learned a lot.  No, seriously.  The instructions are very clear and great lengths are taken to make sure that things are just right.  I love all of the dresses that I’ve made for my daughter, but I think that her Family Reunion Dress looks like it should be on a display.  It’s just SO professional looking.  It was not a quick sew, but a fulfilling sew, worth the effort, and I added several tricks to my sewing arsenol.

Minty Family Reunion Dress 4

Minty Dress 

Other “You’ll Learn a Lot” Patterns.

O+S

Book Report DressSunday Brunch Jacket, Jump Rope Dress

5.) The “Unisex Love” Pattern

Pattern tours are just such a good idea because seeing so many different takes on a single pattern can give you 150 ideas for pieces that can go directly into your kid’s closet.

But when they give you 150 ideas for both genders?!  That’s a whole new story.  My first experience was with the Recess Raglan.  I’m still experiencing this one.  Such a great pattern, can’t stop sewing it up for both of my children.

Recess Raglan

Red Poppy, Floral, and Boy Blue Raglans, Minty Mod

I did the same with the Bimaa.

Bimaa

Floral & Stripe, Hooded Lightening Bolt, Upcycled Cowl

One pattern for two kids?  Again, you cannot beat the “maximum bang for your buck” factor.

Other “unisex love” patterns.

Unisex

Bimaa Sweater, Harem Pants, Banyan Tee,

 

6.) The “Just Get It Already” Pattern

When I first saw the Knight Hoodie pattern I gasped because it was just so amazing.  Then I tried to talk myself out of it. “Erin, your son has tons of hoodies already, there are no inexpensive places nearby to get sweatshirt fleece, you will not make him multiple varieties of this pattern…”  But even I knew that logic wasn’t going to work.  (How is it that this was going in one ear and out the other when it was all in my head?  Hmmm…)

I have a  5 year old boy.  He will think this is awesome.  We live in London for crying out loud.  Every church nearby looks like a castle, and there are actual castles, so the photo possibilities are endless.  And I really want to make this.

Knight+hoodie

Sometimes there is no reasoning with yourself as to why you shouldn’t get a pattern.  You need to just get it already.  Am I right?

Other “Just Get It Already” patterns.

Just buy it

Ballet Sweater, Marina RomperSwing Coat

Tell me, are any of these your main criteria for purchasing a pattern?  What are the things that you just cannot say no to, and must buy and sew immediately?  I’d love to hear!!

Erin from Our Family Four for KCW
spring

KCW Plans: Erin

 Hello there, it’s Erin.   I know it’s only been 2 days since we talked about the best details to add to your kids’ garments, but I think it’s time we chat again. 🙂

I am so ready for Kid’s Clothes Week!  Although, I guess I’m more ready in principle than I am tangibly.  But I ordered more printer ink and a new double needle last night, so I’m nearly there!

Yesterday it was 66 degrees here in London.  The sun was shining, the kids were barefoot at the playground (despite our best efforts) and I was dreaming of spring.  I was also dreaming of summer if I’m being honest, but luckily the clothes that I was dreaming of will work for both seasons.

Califaye

images via Cali Faye: left, center, right

Nothing can get me into the mood to do some springtime sewing like some new spring patterns, am I right?  I adore these three above from this season’s KCW sponsor Cali Faye.  Loose, billowy, sweet, and they all look so darn comfortable!  Basically I want all of these items for myself!!  Now to decide between them. Repeat after me, Erin. Do not buy every beautiful pattern that reminds you of spring time. Do not buy every beautiful pattern that reminds you of spring time

Amelie clothing

images via Amelie Clothing: left, center, right

I started off browsing Cali Faye and ended up getting sucked into Etsy in the end.  You all know how it is.  Etsy has been the wonderland of internet eye candy since before the days of Pinterest, and now is no exception.  I found these darling patterns straight from the Netherlands via Amelie Clothing.  A swingy little tunic dress, a modern shaped tank, a reversible spring coat…how to decide?  One of these will definitely be on my list, but I still have a few weeks to make my decision…

Now, it’s about time that I make a confession.  I do have plans for KCW: There is stack of patterns, a stack of potential fabric, and a few weeks to go back over them all.  BUT, on Thursday of this week I’m headed to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia, London.  (Come if you’re local!)  I’m not sure exactly what all it will entail, but there is one thing that I do know: It is a convention center with a lot of fabric, patterns, and notions.  All of that to say, there is a good chance that my KCW plans will be completely different by Thursday evening, because sometimes you buy a new pattern or fabric and it immediately moves to the top of the priority list.  Does that happen to anyone else?  Some things just cannot be ignored, and that might be the case.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest (whew!) here are my priorities at the moment.

8291079781 75748d609f b

image via Made By Rae

A spring Geranium.  It’s a staple that I know and love, which is evidenced by the fact that I made four for my daughter last summer.  Last year’s Geraniums are a little faded, a little snug, and we need a fresh version or two.  It’s such a versatile pattern that almost every time that I pull it out I end up cutting two different versions, and I don’t see any reason why this spring should be any different.  So we’ll say, one-two Geraniums.

OLV OS042PT Garment

image via O+S

Leggings, specifically O+S Playtime Leggings.  I’ve made the tunic, now it’s time to make the other half of this pattern.  I already have a sweet floral knit cut out in my daughter’s size, so these just need to go into the machine.  I have never made leggings before, although they seem pretty basic, and I imagine that there will only be a few tweaks to get the fit just right for my girl.  But I need a few rounds of these to go underneath all of those flowy tops and tunics that I’m sewing her, right?

Il 340x270 515559841 dylo

image via Sewpony

A Debbie Dress.  I bought this dress pattern immediately when it came out because I was already in love with it from an example that I saw during Summer KCW.  Suz  had posted a version before it was officially a pattern and I was swooning in a major way!  I got on her blog and was like, “Where and how can I get this amazing pattern?!” and she was like “I’m working on the pattern right now, stop stalking me!”  (Not really, she was perfect and gracious, that’s just how it was in my head.)

I started a Debbie Dress last fall, tried to add sleeves, and it ended up ruining the look.  Shortly after my sewing instincts had failed me, I received a fresh copy of the pattern in my inbox which had been tweaked slightly in a few different places.  I’m excited to give it another try and promise to follow the instructions this time!  I already have the new version printed, cut, and waiting for the perfect fabric.

Sally

image via Very Shannon

The Sally Dress.  Can I make (yet another) confession?  This pattern was the one that pushed me over the edge to buy the Sew Fab Bundle last fall.  I was obsessing over this darling dress when the pattern tour was going on, but I kept telling myself not to bite because I already had several dress patterns.  But when I saw that I could have it along with all of those other fun patterns, I was sold.  I was saving the pattern for the perfect fabric, which I recently acquired, and now I just cannot wait to put this gorgeous dress together!!

Pattern Page Front Image jpgacabd87e257c1daa9d92a7cfc35ade24 1

image via Small Fry

It would be difficult to image that the group of blog-reading sewers who are reading this right now have missed out on the Small Fry Skinny Jeans pattern tour that is going on.  If you have, you must see all of the inspiration here, and get yourself a copy of the pattern here!  So many gorgeous takes on a great staple.

At the beginning of the year I set a few sewing goals for myself, and sewing a pair of jeans was on the list.  Let’s be honest, my girl is going to need more than just a few pairs of leggings for when she’s scurrying around the playground, and these jeans seem just about right.  Also, since she wears a 2T for pants I have lucked into a FREE version of the pattern.  Do you have a 2T kiddo to sew for?  Then you can get a copy too, at this link.

Ribbet collagelego

image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Around this time, some of you (one of you?) might be thinking to yourself, “I thought this contributor had a son too?  No sewing love for the boy?”

I do have a son, and I just made him this supercool Batman flip doll, BUT I rarely sew clothes for him.  He wears a school uniform five days a week, and on Saturday his loyalties lie with his comfiest pants and a select few U of L Cards t-shirts.  So that pretty much leaves me with one day to dress him up like the coolest little handsome dude that he is.  Since he is a five-year old, there is a pretty obvious way to his heart right now, the well-loved Lego.

I think I’ll be taking my own detail advice and doing some freezer paper stenciling for my son.  If I can pull off anything with that little yellow dude on it, my son will be wearing it all day and night.  Note to self: buy freezer paper and fabric paint.

IMG 1394

I’m hoping to have as productive of a KCW as I did last year, when I cranked out a ton of projects in a very short amount of time, and managed not to sacrifice my husband time** in the evening.  I wrote about my routine here, but I would love to hear yours!  How do you prioritize for the week?  How do you finish the job, alongside the “mom jobs,” and “house jobs,” and “job jobs”, and still stay sane?  Do tell!

**By “husband time” I don’t mean husband time, just plain old husband time.  Get your minds out of the gutter, it’s Monday morning for crying out loud! 🙂

Are you planning to sew any of these patterns?  Do you have a new spring pattern that you are dying to dig into?  I’d love to hear about them!

Stop by Our Family Four to say hi, or I’m always on Pinterest and Instagram, just like you are.