make it perfect pattern parade: nani iro shearwater kaftan & giveaway!

FINALLY!  a lovely double gauze garment just for me!

nani iro shearwater kaftan

i’ve bought double gauze fabric a few times, and i’ve always ended up using it for those pesky kids.  haha.  i actually intended on making something for E with this too, but it was just perfect for my next self-sewing project….even though i had only 1.5 yards of it, about half a yard less than the pattern calls for.  there was a lot of planning before i cut.

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vintage may roundup and giveaway!

well, the third vintage may has come and gone – what a fun and inspiring whirlwind that was!  i hope you enjoyed the retro eye candy and found a couple new blogs along the way.  i wanted to send a special thank you to my co-host Jess.  i love teaming up with her to run this series, and this year was extra special because we got to do a joint photoshoot and she took my photos, too!

i’ve got a roundup of the guest posts, some flickr faves, and a giveaway for you today!  first, the roundup – did you catch everyone’s creations?  click on the link below the image to take you directly to each post – these gals did such an awesome job.

>  > >  WEEK ONE

sadie and em

jess from craftiness is not optional  ::  kristin from skirt as top

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giveaway: a modern thread

Happy Sunday!  Just popping in to share something fun.

I’m a pretty big fan of Pinterest, and even more so right now – there’s always new inspiration to browse when I’m nursing the baby at 1am, or 4am, or whenever!  So today I’m sharing a cool new thing I was asked to be a part of.  Twenty sewing bloggers (myself included) have joined forces to create a group Pinterest board called A Modern Thread. We’ll all be pinning our best sewing projects and tutorials, so you can finds tons of fantastic sewing inspiration all in one place.

We’d love for you to check out the board, and we’re offering a huge giveaway as incentive, with $600 worth of prizes! Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see if you follow A Modern Thread:


If you sew, or want to learn to sew, this board is a great resource. You’ll find new ideas daily – all sewing focused!  On the board you’ll find ideas for sewing clothes, accessories, bags, and home decor, as well as beginner sewing lessons and more. If keeping up with 20 sewing bloggers at once sounds like something you’d be interested in, click the button below to follow along!

Even if you follow me already, you’ll need to click through to Pinterest and hit the follow button to follow this new board:


And if you’d like to get to know the bloggers involved a little better, have fun checking out their individual blogs: Alida Makes | Caila Made | Crazy Little Projects | girl. Inspired.| It’s Always Autumn | {LBG Studio} | Lexi Made | Melissa Esplin | Melly Sews | Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop | Polka Dot Chair | Running With Scissors | See Kate Sew | Sew a Straight Line | Sew Country Chick | Skirt as Top | Shwin and Shwin | Simple Simon and Co | The Sewing Loft | The Sewing Rabbit

Once you’re following A Modern Thread, come back and enter our amazing giveaway, with a combined prize package worth almost $600! We’ll choose 5 winners, so there’s more chances for everyone to win, and the only requirement for entry is following A Modern Thread on Pinterest, so there’s no jumping through a bunch of hoops to enter! Check out the amazing prizes (enter by clicking the graphic below or the link at end of post):


Winner #1 will receive the Grand Prize, which is a $200 gift card to Amazon and a $50 gift certificate to the Ribbon Retreat. One lucky winner will receive a $200 gift card to, which is enough to purchase a brand new SEWING MACHINE or even a SERGER! A new machine can make sewing so much more enjoyable – no more pulling your hair out when you can’t get the tension right or the bobbin thread keeps bunching up. And if you already have a great sewing machine, you’ll definitely want to use the money for a serger – they make sewing knits a breeze! The grand prize winner will also receive a $50 gift certificate to The Ribbon Retreat, an online ribbon, notions, and fabric store. They carry a great selection of quilting cottons and just about any sort of ribbon or trim you could imagine, plus pre made fabric flowers, gems, and all sorts of other cute stuff. Find more from The Ribbon Retreat on Facebook or pinterest.

Winner #2 will receive a $50 gift certificate to & a 5-pack of patterns from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. is an online fabric store with an enormous selection and prices that are well below retail. They offer free shipping on orders over $35 AND free shipping on any returns. It can be hard to tell if you’ll like a fabric when ordering online, but ordering from is worry-free. Find more from on Facebook and pinterest. Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop is full of gorgeous, modern sewing patterns for kids. You’ll find patterns for everything from jackets, pants, and tops to swimsuits, baby necessities, and even doll clothes. The winner will get her choice of 5 patterns, a $40 value! Find more from Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop on Facebook.

Winner #3 will receive a $50 gift certificate to Modern Yardage & a 3-pack of patterns from Blank Slate Patterns. Modern Yardage is an online fabric store with a brand new premise: they print their own fabric on demand on pre-shrunk cotton poplin, meaning they can offer the most current trends in fabric color and design. Additionally, any of their gorgeous patterns can be scaled small, medium, or large, so you can get the print you want in the perfect size. Find more from Modern Yardage on Facebook and pinterest. Blank Slate Patterns offers modern sewing patterns for women, girls, and boys. With looks ranging from casual hoodies and classic tees to pretty dresses and the perfect blazer pattern, you’re sure to find patterns you can’t wait to sew. The winner will get her choice of 3 patterns, a $27 value! Find more from Blank Slate Patterns on Facebook.

Winner #4 will receive a $50 fabric bundle from Riley Blake and the full line of patterns from Polka Dot Chair. Riley Blake Designs offers fabric lines with vintage sensibilities and modern flair. Their colorful fabrics include cottons, flannels, sparkle cottons, organic cotton, knits, dreamy, and laminates, as well as coordinated notions (buttons, ric rac, ribbon, lace, etc.). Find more from Riley Blake Designs on Facebook and pinterest. Polka Dot Chair is a modern DIY and sewing blog, offering 7 different patterns, including an adorable nesting dolls zip pouch pattern and patterns for handbags, shoulder bags, a retro travel bag, and more. Winner will receive a copy of each pattern in the collection, a $50 value! Find all the patterns in the Pattern Shop.

Winner #5 will receive a $50 gift certificate to The Ribbon Retreat, two patterns from LBG Studio, one pattern from Shwin and Shwin, and the Euro Swim Trunks pattern from Running with Scissors. LBG Studio is a sewing, craft, and photography blog offering stunning photos and inspiring tutorials. Winner will receive both the Leather Accent Foldover Pouch Pattern and the 2-in-1 Convertible Clutch Pattern, a $16 value. Find both patterns here. Shwin and Shwin is a sewing blog offering a large assortment of modern sewing patterns for both boys and girls in addition to a wide range of tutorials and nearly 20 free patterns. Winner will receive her choice of patterns, a $9 value. Find them all here. Running with Scissors is a sewing blog with an extensive library of fantastic tutorials and 5 patterns including the Simple Blouse Pattern for women and the Woodland Animal Sewing Pattern for children. Winner will receive the Euro Swim Trunks Pattern for boys, a $6 value. Whew! I told you this giveaway was big, right?

Be sure you follow A Modern Thread on pinterest, then use the rafflecopter link below to enter to win! Must reside in the United States and be 18 years of age or older. Please click through to rafflecopter to enter. Five winners will be chosen at random, and winners will have 24 hours to reply once notified to claim their prizes, otherwise alternates will be chosen. Giveaway ends Sunday, March 9th, at 11:59 pm MST.

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>  >>   Click here to enter the giveaway   <<  <

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JOURNEY blog tour & giveaway (closed)

omigosh you guys, i’ve been bitten hard by the knitting bug, and it’s largely because of this book.

JOURNEY e-book

a few weeks ago, my friend Shannon asked me if i wanted to join the blog tour for JOURNEY, a beautiful new collection of knitting patterns that she co-wrote with her friend Jane.

i nearly spit out my coffee when i got Shannon’s email invitation to the tour.  i mean, did she really want ME, girl who has barely knit a thing in her life, to join a tour of legit knitting blogs?

apparently so!  and now i truly couldn’t be more grateful that she encouraged me to participate in this tour, because very shortly after that email came my birthday, and i took the opportunity to finally take that knitting class i’d been talking about for a long time.

swift hat :: JOURNEY

my journey into knitting has now begun.  like sewing, knitting has undergone a recent resurgence and i just fall in love whenever i see beautiful modern knitwear.  i wish i could just KNOW how to do it RIGHT NOW, how to knit these amazing things i see, but i’m learning to slow down and pick it up over time, building my knowledge skill by skill like i’ve done with sewing over the last four years.  while i first looked at a basic sewing pattern and saw gibberish, that’s how i feel now with knitting.  but i know someday i will get there.

someday, i will knit some Spate mitts for myself.  they look so cozy and warm and fun to wear, and they seem to be the least intimidating pattern for me to follow (meaning they take just one skein of yarn and are knit on not-so-tiny needles).  a couple more projects under my belt and i think i could tackle this one.

spate mittens :: JOURNEY

then, i would knit a Swift hat.  the lace design is gorgeous and interesting, and the project is still small enough in scope not to be super scary (important for me starting out!) but i know i would learn a lot from it.  i don’t really wear hats, so i would likely knit this for one of my sisters or a good friend (or maybe i’d just start wearing hats?  i feel like i might be a more selfish knitter than i am a selfish sewer).

swift hat :: JOURNEY

once i felt ready for a larger scale project, i would knit an Onward shawl.  this is no granny shawl – Shannon’s design is stunningly modern and a treat for the eyes.  i think it would be the perfect gift for my mom, or to throw over a fancy dress, or to run errands, or to snuggle up under next to a campfire on a chilly evening…

onward shawl :: JOURNEY

and then, i would tackle the Climb socks.  i’m totally intrigued by handknit socks.  people seem to swear by them, become obsessed with them, add them to their collection bit by bit.  the retro athletic styling of these is exactly up my alley – if i’m gonna knit me some socks someday, they’d be the Climbs.

climb socks :: JOURNEY

once i was feeling very brave, i would tackle either of the two beautiful sweater patterns in JOURNEY – the arrow-detailed pullover Antrorse

antrorose pullover :: JOURNEY

or the i’d-never-take-it-off Inland.  i am a constant cardigan-wearer, and if i could knit my own cardigans?!  watch out.  i think that would make me feel unstoppable.

inland cardigan :: JOURNEY

that is my hypothetical knitting journey through JOURNEY.  in the time i’ve had the e-book in my possession, i just keep opening it up and scrolling through the patterns, searching to see which i might have the confidence to try first, hoping i feel ready sooner rather than later, deciding which skills i need to get to where i want to be.

it’s an inspirational book by two inspirational ladies, and i’m glad that for now i have something to aspire to as i learn a new craft.

onward shawl :: JOURNEY

>   >  >   ::   <  <   <

the e-book can be purchased on Marian Rae Publications or on Ravelry.  a print version will also be available soon!  thanks so much for having me, Shannon and Jane!

and now, giveaway time!

do you knit?  do you want to learn how to knit?  do you know someone who knits?  then you need JOURNEY.  beautiful projects, stunning photography, it’s just so inspiring.

to enter to win a copy of the e-book, please leave a comment below telling me what crafty skill you are currently working to master – sewing a zipper?  baking a souffle?  screen printing?  knitting?  i want to know!  


> giveaway is open until Monday, December 9 at 8pm Pacific Time.  **GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**
> winner will be selected randomly and notified via email.
> void where prohibited.


*i was provided with a copy of the JOURNEY e-book for free in exchange for this review.  
** all photos in this post were taken by Nicholas Kupiak and used with permission.

sparkle tote bag: book review & giveaway

i’m totes excited about my post today – TOTES!  and look, so is my little sister, Laura!

confetti sparkle tote bag

Laura has been wanting to learn how to sew, so i asked if she might want to tackle a project from Simple Sewing by Katie Lewis of The Red Kitchen with me for this book review.  she was excited to!  Laura chose the fabric and sewed this tote all by herself using the book, with my guidance (mostly tips on how to cut fabric, work my machine, etc.).

i think her bag turned out great and isn’t she the cutest?

confetti sparkle tote bag

the fabric is confetti sparkle in navy, courtesy of Dear Stella (available online here).  i had some leftover from my Everyday Skirt and Laura gravitated to it.

she lined the tote with a navy twill, also from my stash, which gives the bag some nice structure.  smart thinking, girl.  i added medium-weight interfacing to the handles to give them a bit more substance, since i can’t stand it when handles get all bunched up over time.

confetti sparkle tote bag

here’s Laura sewing!  yay!

confetti sparkle tote bag

we had a great time.  Simple Sewing has the byline “30 Fast and Easy Projects for Beginners” which is totally accurate.  it’s the perfect book for someone just learning to sew, where everything is brand new.  the projects are fun and practical, the instructions are clear with step-by-step photos, and there is a low intimidation factor – nothing would be too difficult for a beginner to tackle.  it’s a book full of confidence-builders!

confetti sparkle tote bag

Laura chose the basic tote bag as her project.  some of my very first sewing projects (4 years ago) were tote bags that i learned out of a book, and it’s a great practical starter sew.   i love that the tote bag in Simple Sewing is lined!

confetti sparkle tote bag

her fabric choice really shines, and a basic, functional object is now special because of the taste of the person sewing it.

confetti sparkle tote bag confetti sparkle tote bag

i believe there’s a feeling of power and confidence that comes from being able to MAKE things, ya know?  if you sew, embroider, knit, crochet, craft, build, cook, bake, decorate…it all leads to this sense of accomplishment and ability that’s pretty cool.  for me, being able to help pass those the skills i’ve gained along to someone else (with the help of the right resource) makes me feel extra super good.

Laura was so happy with her basic tote experience, she actually wants us to have regular sewing time together.  dream come true!

confetti sparkle tote bag

if you’re an experienced sewer, Simple Sewing would be a great gift for that person in your life that’s always saying “i wish i could sew!” – maybe include some fabric or a few sessions of personal sewing lessons to get them started?  or if YOU are that person that reads sewing blogs and wish you could do this too – NOW IS YOUR TIME!

you can pick up a copy of Simple Sewing at the following retailers:


Barnes & Noble

Books & Things

OR, you could enter to WIN one!

to win a copy of the book Simple Sewing: 30 Fast and Easy Projects for Beginners by Katie Lewis, click through the link below to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway (open to US residents only, sorry!):

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>   > >    CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY    < <   <

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a big thanks to my sister Laura for joining me for an afternoon of sewing and for being such a fun model!  also, you can check out Caila’s adorable bean bags and Taylor’s holiday placemats and enter to win the book over at their blogs, too!

confetti sparkle tote bag

*i was given a copy of the book to review at no charge.  my opinions are my own.  this post totes contains Amazon affiliate links.