Month: May 2014

Perfect Picnic Outfit – Sewing Serendipity by Sewlosophy Patterns

The Perfect Picnic Outfit happened when I was fortunate enough to test the Serendipity Blouse and Trousers & Capris Pattern from the newly launched Sewlosophy Pattern Co. (use SEW10 for discount until June 2nd)

After putting together a couple of blouses and trousers for the testing effort, I ventured on to the capris and then a no-sleeve version of the blouse… and created the outfit perfect for the first spring picnic on Mercer Island.

Since it was still cool in Seattle, the tall socks were necessary…

I love the opportunity to add embellishments and my own details to the Serendipity patterns. Oh, so many options and ideas to enhance the classic patterns…

The creator behind Sewlosophy Pattern Co. is the fabulous Destri! She is a beautiful, creative mama who has such a sweet nature in addition to her brilliant fashion style. Her first pattern collection is the Serendipity Collection complete with a blouse, trousers & capris, swing coat, and a beret. She offers the collection at a bundle price and individual prices. And you have to check out her catalog photographs… the models and her creations are GORGEOUS!

If the patterns were not fabulous enough, Destri offers instruction videos with each pattern!!! The pattern instructions are clear and helpful and plenty to create beautiful outfits – but then you have the videos to make the creation of outfits even easier! In addition to how to better create from her patterns, I learned several tips and tricks from her video. And you get to meet Destri, virtually in person, for an extra dose of inspiration from her infectious passion to help you make clothes for your girls.

So thankful Destri jumped into pattern designing… I know her collections will be some of my faves!

I found the stripe fabric at Joann’s in the remnant bin – I am a sucker for remnants! It is a heavier cotton, just a bit lighter than a canvas. The bodice is lined with bright yellow gingham from the stash and the sleeves are finished with orange bias tape matching the piece of orange braid on the front.

The gathers are pulled to the center of the front and back bodices rather than spread out across.

And the one orange star button on the left shoulder looks like a starfish to match the embroidered sea life in the capris fabric. 

For the capris, the embroidered fabric is a dark denim picked up at Hancock’s a few years ago. LOVE this fabric with all the sea creatures – isn’t the octopus so cute…

There has to be a bucket hat for a picnic… this is my go-to, reversible, self-drafted bucket hat pattern.

I was so happy to find these fabrics in my stash… I think it all came together ‘perfect’ for a Perfect Picnic Outfit!

To celebrate the launch of her Serendipity Collection, Destri is offering a 10% discount until June 2nd on her Sewlosophy Pattern site using “SEW10”.

Outside the Box Adventures: on Tour in Basque Country – Part bi

(bi = two in Basque language… my first post about Basque can be found HERE)

Our tour of Basque Country started in Bayonne France, then moved to San Sebastian Spain, and finally ended in Bilbao Spain. Plus our adventure included visiting several towns along the way. These pictures are our most special sights of Basque Country.

Cathedral in Bayonne France, Basque Country

In Bayonne, the tour group and guide were met, wine and food was shared, instant friends were made, and we jumped into ‘touring’.

The Basque culture was most interesting in that is has existed for thousands of years amongst the changes and turmoil, high times and low times of European history. The people continue to have their own language and own traditions. The tradition of family – of the family being stronger than any each member – is fascinating. The tradition of the first born, whether girl or boy, inheriting the responsibility and representation of the family is remarkably modern. The devotion to faith, custom, and practicality is heartening. Getting to know the Basque was thought-provoking, captivating, and set memories for us to share and enjoy.

Typical Basque house in the tradition red and white colors…
Basque sheep represented in plastic cups and tin buckets

One of our day trips was to St. Jean Pied de Port, where we brought supplies and hiked to the 17th century citadel for a picnic, and a fabulous view of the town.

While we didn’t attempt the complete 300+ mile pilgrimage on the Camino De Santiago, we were able to experience some of the walk in Spain. It was a reflective walk where we meet several pilgrims, heard the significance of their journeys, and gained a new level of respect for those on The Way – oh, and captured great pictures of the countryside! On the flight over, I watched the Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen film The Way to get some background for the area.

PINTXOS (Tapas) Bar Crawl!!! Tapas in Basque language was a super fun night where we visited several bars in San Sebastian to try out different small plate foods and wine. I don’t think I will attempt to cook beef cheeks at home, but WOW they were yummy in Spain.
Top, left to right: Squid (duh), ‘Fish Discard’
Bottom, left to right: Beef Cheek and Brie with Plum Sauce, Txakoli wine

In San Sebastian Spain, after touring the town and the museum, we hit a market for picnic fare and hiked (read: climbed) a hill to the castle and statue of Jesus. The climb was sometimes steep, and longer than we expected. It was HOT and super windy. But while others in our tour group shopped and rested, we hit the hill and were rewarded with fabulous views of the Atlantic coast and the town roof tops. 
And I feel we are stronger as a couple now having survived the adventure with only 2 arguments and one wandering off from (read: deserting) the other.  Like I said, it was hot and a long, steep climb 🙂
snapshots of the hill hike in San Sebastian Spain – gorgeous views of the town and the coast!

This was the first half of our tour… and it was so wonderful – great food, interesting sights and facts, and lovely tour friends to share it with… Such a unique culture and people!!!  If you are interested to visit the Basque Country, I recommend it, especially on the Rick Steve’s Tour. 

Snappy Dapper Suit… a flipped romper pattern

So, for my final link up to the Flip this Pattern series on Frances Suzanne, I present the Snappy Dapper Suit modeled by my adorable little cousin, Kent.

When I saw that The Cottage Mama’s Run Around Romper pattern would be the selection for the May Flip this Pattern series, I knew I wanted to participate. Kent was drafted to be my muse and model. After the first Puppy Pocket Romper was made and sent to him (see HERE), I started on the super-flipped version of the romper pattern.

I wanted to transform the romper into a suit with a vest for 11 1/2 month old Kent.

The vest has added welt pockets on the front sides, and a faux-fastener in the back. To set off the vest, piping was added on the edges and four buttons are lined up down the front. The vest pattern was self-drafted after some trial-and-error.


The romper pattern was altered to seam up the right shoulder and add snaps to the left shoulder.

Based on feedback from Kent’s mom, snaps were added to the romper legs for easy changing – making it ‘Snappy’.

The hat is the Oxford Cap pattern from Peek-A-Boo patterns, and was absolutely needed to complete the outfit making Kent look ‘Dapper’.

A short piece of elastic was added to the back of the hat to make sure it fit Kent. Without having access to him to fit the romper and the hat was an added challenge.

The vest is stitched to the romper suit as one piece.  And, just as Lindsay’s (aka The Cottage Mama) pattern specified, the romper is fully lined, so it can be super comfy for Kent.


To make the outfit ‘meant to be’ for cousin Kent, I found the fabric at Running Stitch fabric store in Kent, Washington. It is Bee My Honey by Mary Jane Butters for Moda. This is the same line used in my daughter’s Flip this Pattern romper HERE.

That makes 3 flipped rompers for the May 2014 Flip this Pattern Sew-Along on Frances Suzanne! I had so much fun playing and admiring the other sew’ists creations. 

Can’t wait to see what the next pattern selected is…..

And, thank you cousin Kent! You are a handsome little dude and I love you much!

oh, and Zazzles the cat liked the Snappy Dapper Suit too!

Outside The Box Adventures: on Tour in Basque Country

Bonjour friends and family… we are in Bayonne France – we, as in me and the hubs – about to begin a week tour of the Basque Country.


Highlights so far include…
A TGV (train) ride from Paris to Bayonne where it is hot like Texas! and not in a good way.  There was a super fluffy sweet dog under the seat ahead of me on the train. Facinating how Europeans travel everywhere with their dogs.  Dogs that behave better than most kids including mine on some occasions. 



Last night late late dinner at a Brasserie (Pub-like) with a giant meat & cheese platter, basket of pain (bread), pints of beer, all chased with chocolate dessert crepes… this was a well deserved meal after a freak out when I realized I forgot the camera charger.



Hubs-Carlos actually hugging the man at the camera store on the Champs-Elysees once he finally understood after an hour+ of us pacing the store that we needed a charger not a battery, and there was a universal charger in stock.  This saved us the €799 that we were about to drop on a new camera (glad we left Paris today, camera man was either going to find Carlos to date him or take out a restraining order to keep Carlos away… I couldn’t read the man’s face exactly during the hug to know which way it was going to go).


Walking Paris in the late afternoon… sunshine, nice breeze, good conversation.

A nice 4 hour nap in the Paris hotel to get some stamina back for our holiday together after a long 11+ hour flight from Seattle alone since Carlos was already in France for his conference… well deserved nap since the flight included a full blown panic attack and an actual fainting spell in the back gallery of the plane. Thankful to the cardiologist and the internalist that answered the flight attendant’s request for a ‘doctor on the plane’  (announcement made in both English and French) that helped me recover.  While this was never on my bucket list, I will check it off the list and take full credit for that surprise episode.


So we find ourselves in Bayonne now… cant wait to see what we see next.


Honey Bee… another Flipped Romper

The Honey Bee Flipped Romper happened because the flipped romper that was intended to be linked up to FrancesSuzanne’s Flip This Pattern is delayed due to postal service me.  I mailed in the wrong envelope, which means Kent didn’t get the romper until Monday, which means his pictures in the romper wouldn’t get to me for another week — dang!  {see the Puppy Pocket Romper HERE for the first romper for Kent}

So, I flipped the Run Around Romper pattern from The Cottage Mama again… this time for my daughter!

I used the Bee My Honey fabric line by Mary Jane for Moda Fabrics.  This fabric is perfect for the spring time that seemed to never come this year.

For the pattern flip, I knew the romper needed to be made into a separate top and bottom for my pre-school girl, but it should keep the romper look. And I wanted ruffles!  I wanted to use my ruffle foot!  Then I saw a dress somewhere that had a boxy look with top stitched boxes… and that was my inspiration.


The pattern was cut in half.  The top shoulders were sewn together.  The arms were re-cut at right angles.  The bottoms were cropped ready for more ruffles.

The top and bottom are lined with gingham – my fave for linings.  And because my daughter ‘has’ to wear pink, the waistband casing is a pink fabric from the stash.  The pink heart is appliqued on the lining to be next to her heart when she is wearing it.  (just a little ‘from Mom’ touch)

The ruffles on the top are made with 2 pieces of fabric cut as ‘wings’ and serged with a rolled hem on both sides – loving that bright yummy yellow thread!  then the ruffle foot made the pleats. 


Once the ruffled wings were sewn onto the top, the boxes of top stitching was done in gray, blue, and more yellow threads.  I think the top stitching was my favorite part of the creation.

The ruffles on the bottom are made with a single piece of fabric serged with a rolled hem, and then ruffled on the machine to match the top’s wings.  Because the bottoms are lined, the ruffles on the bottom were sewn on inside out making a clean finish at the hem.

There’s an elastic casing waistband on the bottoms – Covered buttons down the back of the top, cause covered buttons are so cool!  And because the top turned out a bit short on my girl, the additional band of yellow fabric was needed.

Such a fun project… and I am very happy with the flipped creation that resulted.

And, I still have the romper from Kent to come…

Puppy Pocket Romper… so flippin’ cute!

As soon as I saw that the May selection for the Flip This Pattern series on FrancesSuzanne would be a pattern by the lovely Lindsay, aka. The Cottage Mama, I knew I had found my next project.  But, then I saw it was the Run Around Romper… uh-oh… the one and only pattern by The Cottage Mama that I don’t own, and didn’t think I needed since I don’t have little kids anymore – my youngest is 4 almost 5.  But never to be left out, I found a way to play.  I drafted my newest little cousin in Texas, Kent, as my model and muse.  He is about to celebrate his first birthday, he is cute, cute, cute, and I hadn’t had a chance to sew for him yet.  His Mom and Dad were happy to play along.  We agreed to a schedule so I could make a romper, mail it to Kent, get feedback and pictures on the fit, then make my entry romper for the Flip This Pattern challenge.  So, that’s what we did… and then some…

Here is the ‘test’ romper to try out the pattern and to try on Kent.

And it turned out so cute, flippin’ cute to be exact, so I linked it up to the challenge as well.

As for the actual pattern flipping, there is only one flip – I added the embroidered puppy dog on a pocket right in the middle of the romper tummy.

It was a simple flip… or maybe barely a flip to really count as a flip… but the romper turned out flippin’ cute! so that counts!

And look at my little cousin!  how adorable is he!  all that blond hair, big blue eyes, sweet face, and precious toes!  Isn’t it amazing how much you can instantly adore a new little cousin from the very moment he comes into the world — but back to the pattern flipping.

Now that the test flip was complete, and I had feedback from Kent’s Mom and Dad, I went to work creating my next flipped romper. 

Stay tuned for more Flip This Pattern creations.

Flared Top Basket

Need a place for the remotes?  Need a place for your crochet project?  Need a place for the little toys?  Probably YES, then you need some good looking baskets to gather these things!
I was a lucky lady to test the new Flared Top Basket PDF Sewing Pattern from Around The Bobbin and to have my basket featured on her blog found here(that makes me proud!)
And to celebrate the release of the basket pattern, Lisa is offering a discount code for 20% off the pattern!!!  Just enter FLAREDTOP25 at her Around the Bobbin shop.  (expires May 9th 2014)
The basket comes in 3 different sizes – Small, Medium, and Large – and is a quick fun project that is functional and decorative.  Lisa says it best: “Sometimes a basket is just as much about decorating as organizing.”  And I agree!


I chose quilting fabrics in my stash in bright spring colors to make the large basket.  I have plans for all 3 basket sizes in 4th of July fabrics next.  Won’t that be a nice decorative addition on the kitchen table to celebrate July!
The pattern is a simple layout with straight-forward instructions including color photographs.  Because you want the basket to stand up sturdy, you use some heavy interfacing.  As I am not experienced with interfacing, this pattern was a perfect opportunity to learn how to sew through the several stiff layers.
Here is how I had the basket into the sewing machine… 
I also found that sewing through the corners of the baskets was tough, until I remembered the rubber mallet trick… you just have to beat the fabric down a bit to make it soften up just enough so it will behave.  But be careful you don’t soften it too much or the basket will look wimpy and not crisp like you want it.
Another trick is to press with starch after the basket is made.  This gives it that smooth finish!
It is great for TOYS… Stitching Projects… Bath Organizing… and so, so much more!

Check out the Around the Bobbin shop and blog at
And remember to use discount code FLAREDTOP25 in her shop for the Flared Top Baskets… you will be decorating with pretty baskets and getting organized at the same time!