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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soooo….remember my sheet as top? it ended up winning reader’s choice for week 2 “top of tops” over on made by rae! yahoo! thanks so much to rae, the judges that selected me, and everyone who voted. i didn’t make that top with a hope of winning anything – i was just testing my limits, excited to have a kick in the pants to sew for myself by one of my favorite bloggers. but i must say, never having won a thing like this before, i’m kind of giddy! my prize is $30 to modern fabric studio, and there’s so much awesome fabric over there i’m not sure how i’m going to spend my winnings! don’t worry, i’m sure i’ll figure it out. 😉 the judge’s choice this week is my pal sophie! funny thing – in her tribal trending tank post she mentions MY wiksten tank, and in my sheet as top post i mention her pussy bow blouse! i guess it’s kind of perfect that we ended up top of tops together this week…and we live halfway around the globe from each other! man, isn’t the internet cool?


did you see that season 4 of project run & play is now underway with a whole new group of fabulous designers? it’s so fun to watch these gals compete, now knowing what it really takes to execute these types of incredible looks. always fun to be inspired, too. week 1 was a remix of dana’s circle skirt which i’ve used quite a few times for my twirly girl, and the entries were so great. check out the rest of this season’s topics here (MOVIES! COLOR CHALLENGE! so jealous!). i plan to sew along in a “just for fun” capacity this season whenever the inspiration strikes and i have the time (and i hope some of my season 3 peeps join in too, wink wink!!). check out the rest of the sewalongers in the PR&P flickr pool.


also, i finally got it through my head how to make a button for my blog (over there in the sidebar) and how to organize my tutorial page so it’s MUCH easier to navigate. check that out here, with more to come! i might repost my guest tutorials soon just to have them all in one place…fair warning. 🙂


now one kind of annoying piece of business. i use flickr to host the images for this blog, and apparently flickr and pinterest are working out some kinks right now. i found out that most of the recent images on my site suddenly turned “unpinnable” on thursday, the day i posted a tutorial (of course)! i think it’s working now so a few photos from each post are pinnable, but please let me know if you ever have trouble with it. i’m a big pinterest fan – i’ve been on there since the very early days (2010!) and it’s great for keeping track of inspiration, recipes, and tutorials. i crop my kids’ faces out so i’m fine with anything on this site being pinned. i guess i just wanted to put that out there – i like pinterest, i’m not trying to hamper pinning, and please let me know if you want to pin from my site and can’t. if you’d like to follow me, my pinboards are here!


finally, the photos you’ve been seeing throughout this post are of the superhero cape i sent off to willa, daughter of reader jill, who won my first blogiversary giveaway a few weeks back! i sewed it in willa’s (errrrr jill’s) favorite colors and topstitched it with silver thread, which looks pretty darn cool when it catches the light. enjoy your cape, willa! Em tested it out for you and it flies just fine.


that’s it! thanks. stuff just had to be said. i feel better now.

PR&P week 5: japanese tea party

we’re getting down to brass tacks here on project run & play! it’s week 5, and in case you may have missed it, last week’s outerwear voting (and judging) was so close they decided to make it a non-elimination round. that means this week is a DOUBLE elimination round, heading into the finale next week! eeps!

one thing that i’ve tried to be conscious of throughout this competition is remaining true to my aesthetic. it’s surprisingly easy to start feeling swayed by what other people are doing in a situation like this, especially because i tend to design things that are much more understated, normally. so i have worked hard to keep to my own look while still pushing myself to add “wow.” i think this week is my best example of that balance. the jacket has clean lines and is very wearable, the pink shirt and ballet skirt are more elevated from the everyday. most of the time i’m sewing what i hope she’ll want to wear anyway, and using pink, elephants, and ballet stuff are always a good bet!

for initial inspiration, i couldn’t stop looking at this lovely loveliness. it guided me to make the skirt, textured top, and use olive green tones.

source: pinterest, original site appears to be defunct

i did a bit more sleuthing around on the skirt and i believe it’s from shabby apple, although theirs only looks to be in white. regardless, i had to make it for my ballerina girl. it’s a batiste circle skirt on the bottom, then three layers of cream tulle, also circle skirts. gotta admit, i felt pretty smart when i realized i could cut them that way and avoid hemming the tulle!

oh and the shirt! did anyone recognize it from Em’s birthday???

i even used the same petal template! it’s all pink voile (the birthday pinata is tissue paper). i hand cut the 65 petals and decided to leave all edges raw for a fluttery look. i lined them up in a row, stitched them down, layered the next ones on top, stitched those down, etc. i then sewed the front and back parts of the shirt together, bound the neckline and armholes, and hemmed the bottom. pretty easy, but a really nice textural effect and added the dose of pink that Em loves.

here are my initial drawings of both:

so i had the general concept down and knew i wanted a textured shirt, but didn’t have the idea for the kimono jacket until monday this week! that morning, feeling a little stuck, i asked Em what she wanted me to make her. she told me she wanted an elephant coat with elephant buttons (i’d shown the buttons to her before)! i thought a kimono would add to the japanese vibe of the peony shirt, so once again, i hit the fabric store on my lunch hour. i don’t usually drive to work, so i walked to the only fabric store near me, which is smallish and has just a little of everything. jackpot, though – they had this dark olive sueded twill. i paired it with the kona olive that i keep on hand because it’s my favorite, and i thought the tonal effect was pretty magical.

i’m now calling this her “ballet ninja” jacket. other PR&P post titles i considered this week were “tea for elephants” and “skirt as top’s skirt and top,” but i chickened out. 🙂

for the jacket pattern, i took the one i made for little red and shortened it, slimmed it a bit, and shortened the sleeves by a couple inches. then i drew a subtle curve from one shoulder to the other armpit, similarly to how i drafted my sweet tartan dress. so the pattern is still originally based on the oliver + s sunday brunch jacket (out of print but can be found in stores, and they’ve been realeasing lots of out of print patterns as digital ones lately), but the only original elements left now are the armholes and shoulder seams! it closes with three of those cute little elephant buttons.

and yeah, i totally hand-finished the whole neckline and sleeve bindings with a blind stitch. i wasn’t going to, but at 10:30pm the night before i planned to take photos, i decided it was a must to preserve the cleanliness of the jacket. i’m so glad i did, even if it meant another late sewing night.

the lining is marrakech elephants by valori wells. i’m sure Em wishes it was on the outside. hehe.

all photos were taken here, which turned out so perfectly – i had forgotten that their house was the same colors as the jacket! my lovely host was thanked profusely and gifted some special fabric for the trouble.

i got waaaay too many great photos, so please forgive the overload!! oh just one more thing: the pretty little orchids in her hair came from the same florist that did our wedding flowers, and i just happened to go get them ON my 8 year wedding anniversary! i thought that was kinda cool.

i’ll stop now so you can head on over to project run & play to vote! japanese tea party! double elimination! vote here!

domo arigato!

**Voting is now closed.**

psssst…want EVEN MORE photos??? check out THE OUTTAKES!

glow stick swimsuit bath

i love going swimming in the wintertime.  blame it on my 4 years of varsity high school swim team (don’t get too impressed, we were a total joke and never won a meet), but when the weather cools down, i crave the pool.  this morning, i suited both kids up, layered sweats and a bathrobe on top, and hopped in the car with the intention of taking a dip in a wonderful outdoor soaking pool nearby.  it’s almost as warm as a hot tub – glorious.  but it was CLOSED!  something about regrouting.  BOO.  Em was really excited to go to the pool, so we tried pool #2, a bit of a drive.  no luck – no open swim on wednesdays!  finished with driving the kids all over town (and the baby in a not-so-absorbent swim diaper with lunchtime fast approaching), i tried to think of something to make up for this double disappointment.  my mind went to…glow stick bath!

have you seen this on pinterest?  it’s been all over lately.  you crack open some leftover halloween glow sticks, toss them in the bath, and the kids go nuts.  this was the first time i tried it, and both kids LOVED it.  i let them both wear their swimsuits in there (i remember it was fun when my mom let us do that), and they stayed in longer than they would have swam!  we don’t have a window in our bathroom, so it worked even in the daytime.

pinterest saves the day!