Friday, November 6, 2015

How to use a Digital Pattern

Using a digital pattern for the first time can be a bit tricky.  So I thought I would throw together a quick guide to help with any confusion out there.


Your awesome new pattern should arrive in a pdf.  When printing check your settings to make sure that the computer is printing the graphics at 100% rather than fitting them to the page.  That way your garment will come out true to size rather than sucking.

this is an important square
On the first page there should be a calibration square.  Mine measures 5cm by 5cm.  The first thing you should do is measure this square to make sure it is accurate.  Otherwise there was something wrong with your settings and you'll have to print out the pattern again


The pages of your pattern are meant to overlap a bit, to help limit assembly errors. For me this overlap is exactly one centimeter, but there doesn't seam to be a industry standard.   I've also put a column and row designation on each page in case they get mixed up by mistake.

I've added marks on one side and the bottom

I've found that it's helpful to go through and mark one centimeter in on one side and the bottom of each page. That way you don't have to finagle with a ruler while lining up the pages.  You just slide them into place, and tape them down.  A self healing cutting mat keeps the pages from slipping at the last moment.

A couple of tips: Don't cut out the pattern before you've taped the pages together.  Otherwise you'll loose the orientation of the pages and the order, and it'll be like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that has been out in the rain for a week.

Also,  tape the pages together on on each pattern piece, because otherwise they would fall apart once you start cutting the pattern out.   ...I bet you can guess how I figured that one out.


Now you should have a beautiful  pattern all taped up and ready to go.  From this point on you can treat it like a tissue pattern that you would get from the store. The pieces are a little fragile, so I try not to assemble the pattern until right before I'm ready to cut out the fabric.

This is actually the pattern for my Great Coat Sew Along.  It's a little messy because I left all of the construction marks in.  After all, I'm the only one who is ever going to use this thing.

I haven't gotten a lot of feedback about wether or not you would like to see how I constructed the pattern.   If you would like to see all the "interesting" details then speak now or hold your peace.  I'll be constructing the muslin over the next week.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Great Coat Sew Along

I've been talking about making myself a coat for a really long time now.

I've drawn designs, I've done mountains of internet research, I even bought most of the materials about two years ago.

And- I never even made the pattern for it.

But this year--this year I'm going to do it.  I'm going to take those sketches, and I'm going to take that super expensive material, and I'm going to make myself the most beautiful and warm winter coat in existence.

It's going to be great.

In fact, it might even be so great that I end up with two coats!  Or ten! Who can tell?

And you get to come along for the ride! Hooray!

Let's get started with the design.

I'm really short.  As in:  I regularly get offered the children's menu at restaurants.  To combat this I try to accentuate my curves as much as possible to make myself look less like a minor.  I guess I'm mainly worried that somebody is going to call the police on my husband one of these days for kissing a "preteen" in public.

So my coat is going to have at least some minor shaping.

An empire-waisted coat was an option for a long time.  I look awesome in empire-waisted shirts so I'm sure it would look like sweetness.

Here's a good example of a double breasted empire-waisted coat.

Why yes, I am still working on my drawing skills.

However, I was thinking that I would like my coat to be knee length, since I get cold very easily. Unfortunately, empire-waisted things don't look as good when they are both that bulky and that long.

At least- not on me.

So I decided to go with something that's belted at the natural waist, with some some additional shaping.

I really like this design because it's feminine while still have super simple design elements.   I  know for a fact that I can make this coat, I find that fairly reassuring.

I'm still debating sleeve types.  It might be nice to have a subtle flair, outlandish steampunk cuffs, or even a bulbed end.  Just something to give the coat something uniquely me.

I'm also debating belt types.  I'm overly found of having an Obi-belt type affair.  I could also go with a more traditional belt, or even a sash.

This is going to be great.

How nitty-gritty you want me to get in my posts?  Do you want me to show you how I construct the pattern pieces from a basic block?  Or would you rather just have me get strait to the most interesting sewing bits?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tulle Skirt Pattern Giveaway

For the first post-launch addition to my Etsy store I decided to pull out something fun and classy.

This lovely tulle skirt

This is a fun and slightly dressy style that goes well with either a simple t-shirt, or a tank.  It's casual enough for a day out, and dressy enough for a date.

The skirt also super fun to wear.  I feel pretty, and just a little bit flirty, when I wear my candy apple red version.

This pattern has a few more components than the other patterns in my store, and it's just a touch harder to sew.  Even so, I think that this skirt is firmly in the grasp of the average beginner.

Since I'm launching a new pattern, you lovely people get a new giveaway.  Click here to go to my Facebook page and check it out.  The skirt will go live on my Etsy store at the end of the giveaway in a couple of days.

Consider liking my Facebook page as well, since there will be a lot more giveaways in the future.

What do you think of the skirt? What pattern would you like to see next?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Free Pattern: Mason Jar Cozy

I drink my smoothies out of mason jars these days.  I like doing it for several reasons, but those reasons are all pretty boring.

Instead of talking about plastic I'll get to the problem I've found with using mason jars for smoothie cups:  my hands get cold.

To fix this little problem I decided to make these little insulated mason jar cozies for the two of us.  I also wanted to share the pattern with you lovely people.

I used some scraps of cotton and quilt batting, and they get the job done beautifully.  My drink stays cold, and my hand stays warm.  I think it would work for hot chocolate or tea as well, but that's a different time of year entirely.

Click Here to get the Pattern

The pattern is meant to be printed out on your home computer.  There are some pattern pieces that wont fit on a single page, so there will be a little bit of assembly.

Over lap the pages by one centimeter in each direction and tape them in place. The two main brands of jars have two different sizes, so there are two sizes for each pattern piece, just cut out the correct one and leave the other.

It'll look like this
You'll need two of the bottom and side pieces in your cotton.  One of each in the batting, and one trim.

I used a contrasting color for the trim, and quite like how it looks.

Assembly Instructions

1. Sew the batting to the wrong side of one of your side and bottom pieces (this will be the inside of the cozy,)

2. Trim the excess batting away

3. Sew the short end of the two side pieces together, right sides facing

4.  Sew the bottom pieces of the cozy to the respective side pieces.

5. Nest the inside and the outside of the cozy together, wrong sides facing.

6. Take the trim and press both of the long sides under by one centimeter

7. Fold the trim in half lengthwise and press in place.

8. Sew the short ends of the trim together

9. Sew one side of the trim to the inside of the cozy, matching the edge of the cozy with the center line of the trim.

10. Fold the trim over and sew the other edge of the trim to the outside of the cozy, sandwiching the top of the cozy in the trim. (steps nine and ten can be done in one step, but it is easier this way)

11.  Enjoy your cute new cozy!

Let me know if you end up using the pattern. Or if you have any questions.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Digital Pattern Giveaway

As you may have noticed I changed up the blog a bit, and gave it a new name.

This new design and new tittle feed directly into my new news.

I'm opening an Etsy shop early next week.

I"m selling digital women's clothing patterns.  I have three patterns with limited sizes going live next Monday.   I have plans to add new patterns and additional sizes every two weeks.  I'm looking forward to updating it that often.

Anyone can learn to sew.  Sewing is just strait lines and following directions, and it's even easier than that sounds.  It's liberating to have clothes that flatter and fit you.  I hope to supply the patterns to get you started on your custom wardrobe.

I'm hosting a giveaway to celebrate the grand opening of my store.  Enter to win below, and on Monday I'll randomly select a winner to receive a free custom pattern of their choosing.

There are three options:

First there's the infinity dress pattern with a bandeau top.   I made this dress for my anniversary and it's still my favorite.  It's so flattering and comfortable. I wear it everywhere.

The second option is a basic drawstring peasant skirt.  It chinches at the hips and falls to the ankles.  This skirt is just perfect for summer.

The third option is a basic knit half circle skirt with a wide, low waistband*. This skirt can go with any outfit.  I wear it about as often as I wear my jeans.  It's comfortable and flattering

Enter to win on the rafflecopter widget below.  There are a couple ways to earn an entry.  The winner will be announced on my new Facebook page on Monday

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Edited to add:  The giveaway seems to be a little counter-intuitive, so I thought I would add a quick series of screenshots to help you out.

 Log on, via Facebook or email.

Click on the dropdown option for either Mountain Rose Designs or Little Shire Farm.

Click on "Visit Us" it'll open up a tab and bring you to my Facebook page.  You're not entered yet though, you have to come back to this page and click "I Visited" for it to count.

 This is what it'll look like once you've entered.  Notice the "1/2"  fraction in the upper right hand corner. That means that you've completed one of the two available entries. Feel free to repeat the steps for the second entry.

Comment and tell me what pattern you would choose if you won. And, be sure to tell your friends about me as well.

*I'll be sure to post a picture when I have one: trust me though, it's cute.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How to Wear an Infinity Dress Modestly

I think I may have just made my all time favorite dress.

It's fun and twirly, slinky and sexy, flatters my body, and I can wear it about a million different ways.

Plus, it has pockets.

And it was about the fastest dress I have ever sewn.

Infinity dresses have been around for a while, but they tend to show off a lot of skin.

Last year I saw this tutorial on Pinterest and I was hooked. It was so smart to extend the waistband into a bandeau top, I  eventually just had to make myself one.

To make this dress you'll need five measurements, some large pieces of paper (wrapping paper of newspaper work well), and anywhere from a yard to two yards of good stretch fabric in a nice pattern or color.

My sewing  tutorial doesn't have any pictures, so feel free to hop on over to the original for the instructions

You can do these measurements yourself, but they'll probably be more accurate if you con a friend into helping you out.

(A) Natural waist

(B) Natural waist the the finished length of the skirt

(C) Natural waist to the top hem

(D) Center of the chest to the side seam, going over the fullest part of the bust

(E) Height

There are plenty of instructions for making a circle skirt out there, but I recommend going to this web app, which will do all of the math for you.  My dress has a 1/2 circle skirt, because I think it has plenty of twirl and conserves fabric, but you can do any type of skirt really.

Follow the instructions to make yourself a pattern piece, but remember that you're going to want to have two side seams in order to put pockets in.

Trace your hand liberally on the pattern making paper and then trim up the pocket piece.  You want to use the angle of the skirt pattern to determine the angle of the top of the pocket. You can also pretty up the bottom if you want, but it's probably not necessary.

This is also when I figured out where a good placement for the pockets would be on the skirt and marked the pattern

Make yourself a rectangle that is 1/2 (A) by (C) be sure to give yourself seam allowances of about 1/4 inch.  If you desire to finish the top edge take that into account as well.

You can make a pattern piece of the straps if you want, but I found it was easier just to measure the fabric before cutting and behaving accordingly.  The straps need to be one and a half times your height and as wide as your breast measurement  (1.5 * (E)) by (D).

So to review, you have a tracing of your hand, a circle skirt pattern piece with two side seams, two rectangles that make up the bandeau top, and two really really long and awkward straps.

Cut out your fabric and pin the pocket pieces to the skirt (right sides facing). Then sew them on.

Now pin your two  pocket/skirt pieces together so that the right sides face together again, the pockets should be  sticking out.  Sew the two sides together, going around the edge of the pocket. This website has a good tutorial on in seam pockets.

Now, arrange the two strap pieces so that they overlap by about five inches.  You can sew them together, or just baste them at this point.

Trying to match the centers, pin the conjoined ends of the straps to the top of the skirt and sew it into place.

Now sew the two top pieces into a tube and sew that tube to the top of the skirt, sandwiching the straps between the two layers.

You should now have a dress with two weirdo straps coming out of the belly.

You can finish the edges if you want, but I didn't.  I really like the light and airy raw edge look, and knit fabrics shouldn't unravel anyways.

Welcome to happiness. Happiness with pockets.

This dress is already much more modest that the typical infinity dress, but I wanted to take it a step further because as a member of the LDS church I've covenanted to wear garments and be a little more modest than most people.

I've achieved this in three ways so far.

The first way was to simply wrap the dress in such a way that it covered all of me.

Flip the straps over your shoulders, keeping them flat.

 Cross the straps high on your back,  keeping them flat again,

One at a time, layer the straps over your breasts, this high angle keeps your upper back covered.

You can now start layering the rest of the straps across your belly, it doesn't matter if they bunch up now, but it might look a little thick.

I like to tie my dress in the back, but you can also do this in the front.

As you might be able to see in the picture this did leave little pinpricks in-between the adjacent "x's" that we were making,  I solved this by pinning the straps into place where necessary. I wore this look our anniversary date.

I didn't want to be locked into essentially one way of wearing the infinity dress, so when I wore the dress again later that week I pulled out the big guns.

I wore a T-shirt.

Now I know that I lot of people don't like this style. My husband even told me that he thinks women look like insecure preteen girls when they put a shirt under a strappy dress, but it can work if you do it correctly.

First, choose the right shirt.  It shouldn't be a thick, unflattering camp shirt,  it should be flattering on you and made of approximately the same material as your infinity dress.

Second, choose a good color. Avoid white where possible because white is the color of those infamous preteens. (Although that does go with everything in it's own way).  My dress is a nice, warm plum color, so this beige shirt contrasted the dress, while still being complementary to the overall look.

There are major benefits to going with a t-shirt rather than a bolero (the other type of add-on sleeves pictured above.)

First, a bolero will shift around and make you readjust all night long, even when you safety pin it into place. I hate having to worry about my bra-straps and other assorted goods while having a date-night.

A shirt will not move. you can dance, you can climb trees, you can have fun for the entire night without once worrying about whether or not your system of pins, pulleys, and other various hardware is going to stay in place.

Secondly a bolero alters the look of the dress, while an undershirt preserves it.  Your dress could have an elegant set of straps or a sexy halter top, but the second you slap a bolero on that baby it just becomes a dress with sleeves on it.

With a t- shirt you can still see the intended style when you where a well chosen t-shirt, and the dress still carries that elegance or sexiness with it.

I like wearing t-shirts under my sleeveless dresses so much that I'm actually planning on making myself a bunch of demi-tees for this express purpose. I'll even post a pattern draft for all of you lovely people.

But first I think I'm going to make myself this dress about a thousand times over.

What do you think? Bolero, t- shirt, or sleeved dress?