Category Archives: Review

Velocity Girl Bag from Sew Sweetness

Recently, Sara of Sew Sweetness sent out a call for pattern testers for her Velocity Girl Bag.  I really enjoyed the process of working through a pattern and taking notes on where things could be improved or spots where the instructions became confusing.

Velocity Girl bag from Sew Sweetness

What a lovely bag this is, though!  I made mine from an upholstery remnant and a coordinating solid (for the lining).  There’s a small touch of coordinating fabric across the front too, in the form of faux piping.  I used Pellon Thermolam, a fusible batting, to give the bag the body it needed.  I also quilted the main body pieces to help with stability (according to Sara, Thermolam gives a slouchy result).

There are a total of 9 (yes really, NINE!) pockets in this bag!  Three across the front, one in each side placket, another 3 open pockets on the inside and a large zippered pocket, also on the inside. The purse closes with a magnetic snap and has an adjustable strap.

Velocity Girl pattern

You can see more examples of this an other purses on the Sew Sweetness flickr group or you can buy the newly released pattern from Sara here – it’s just $8!

Birthday Bag & Matching iPad Cover

birthday bag & matching ipad cover

A few weeks ago I attended a special birthday party for a friend of mine.  As adults, we don’t get parties and special gifts as much as we did when we were kids, and I always think that’s sad.  Enter: The Birthday Bag.

I bought this pattern several years ago in A.C.Moore – it is actually called the Serendipity Bag.  It’s meant to be used with a jelly roll and at the time, I had a jelly roll that I wasn’t sure what to do with.  Needless to say, I have made quite a few of these bags and I still have that jelly roll…

birthday bag

The pattern is simple to translate to a solid piece of fabric and makes such a great impact!  Plus it only takes a couple of hours to complete, if that.  You need just over a half yard of the outer fabric and just a half yard for the lining.  You could use a bit more and add a pocket to the inside if you like.  It’s large and deep, so if you wanted it as a purse, it would probably be a good idea to add a couple of pockets.  I like to use an upholstery/canvas remnant for the outer fabric so that it’s nice and strong and has a little body, and a coordinating cotton for the lining. I always fancied it as a shopping tote – but not for stinky, leaky groceries…the kind of shopping that you want to show off.  ;-)

At the last minute, I remembered that this friend was set to receive an iPad from as her ‘big’ gift this year and I thought, wouldn’t it be nifty to make her a matching iPad cover as well? After a quick search for a pattern, but found just the right one:

ipad cover

Even with the quilting, this took me just an hour to whip up.  I can’t remember the name of the blog where I found the pattern right now, but I will remember and I will post it!  It has double thickness batting for extra padding and extra room in case the iPad in question has a hard cover.  The flap secures with  hook & loop. Perfect!

Edit: I found it!  The awesome tutorial can be found at one shabby chick.

ipad cover

Nintendo DS Carry Case (a project from the summer)

Nintendo DS carry-case

Over the summer my friend sent me a tutorial for a Nintendo DS & DSi carrycase from Christine at From an Igloo and asked if I wouldn’t mind whipping one up for her son.

Being a Lego enthusiast like my own kiddo, I used yet more of that brilliant Lego fabric I picked up from Spoonflower for C’s birthday party.  The inside and the strap are solid blue cotton and I found in my button stash a nifty blue hand for decoration.

I love, love, love the perfect little zipper pocket built into the back on the case for games.  It’s perfect for the games and the construction is simple, effective, and looks really spiffy.

Nintendo DS carry-case

The only thing I didn’t love was that the inside was not seamless.  She mentions it in the tutorial so I was well aware ahead of time, but  I would still have  liked to have a seamless option.

Nintendo DS carry-case

Otherwise, I would highly recommend this tutorial!  A good afternoon of work for a nice little pouch.


Pattern Review: McCall’s Pattern 5214

Cross posted from

McCall's pattern 5214Pattern Description: (from the pattern envelope) MENS’, CHILDREN’S AND BOYS’ MUSKETEER AND PRINCE COSTUMES: Tunic-length, lined doublet has collar, long sleeves and cuff variations; doublets A, B have belts and cap sleeves; doublets B, C have contrast sleeve and cuff; doublet C has contrast collar; loose fitting, pullover, lined tabard has mock sleeves, applique and back opening slit; cape E has contrast lining; all garments have purchased trim; doublets A, B have purchased crowns; doublet C, tabard D have purchased hat with feather and sword.

Pattern Sizing: Boys’ sizes 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; Mens’ sizes S, M, L, XL. Pictured/reviewed is a modified version of doublet A in boy’s size 7-8.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? yes/no. I made significant modifications to the pattern to get a specific look – but it looked just like I imagined it when I purchased the pattern.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were very easy! I bought the pattern in a 99 cent sale intending it to be a quicky halloween costume. It wasn’t as quick as I had hoped, because of all of the steps, BUT, the instructions were good and easy to follow.

Caleb as Green ArrowWhat did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like how cleanly the pattern went together even with my modifications. It gave me exactly the look I wanted. I have to say I was annoyed when I looked at the length of the instructions, but it went together so easily, I quickly forgot my annoyance. I could wish there were less darts since I find putting together darts a very tedious process, but when the results are this nice, I can’t really complain.

Fabric Used: Kelly green corduroy for the outside, kelly green cotton for the lining.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: My son (4-year-old) wanted to be the superhero, Green Arrow, for Halloween. Here’s a picture of Green Arrow if you don’t know what I’m talking about: Green Arrow Model Sheet. My goal was to make something that was easy and comfortable for him to wear, satisfied my concerns about him being warm enough AND was simple enough for the teachers at school to handle. I decided to just make a doublet that could be worn over a shirt or jacket, and he could wear whatever pants he was comfortable in. That way he wouldn’t need to change completely while at school and he wouldn’t have to wear a coat over his costume when we went trick-or-treating. The picture here has him wearing it over his very heavy lined sweatshirt: Caleb as Green Arrow.

Green ArrowFirst, I shortened the doublet “skirt” to be more like a peplum (I think I went to about 4 inches, unfinished). I thought about not lining the doublet because I didn’t think it was necessary, but it actually made the pattern go together more easily. I left off the full sleeves, just using the little cap. I ended up binding the arm sythes to finish them. And lastly, I used grommets and lacing for the front of the doublet instead of buttons to be more “authentic”. It really needs one more set of grommets at the very bottom before the peplum, but otherwise, this is pretty much exactly what I wanted.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will and I do!

Conclusion: This was a really nicely built pattern with a lot of room for modifications so you can get the look that you desire. Recommended for beginners with a little experience to experienced sewers alike.

Like Father, Like Son

My boys

I wanted to make a tie for Caleb for the wedding and then I thought to myself, why not make one for Bill as well? I’ve had this nifty Alexander Henry dragon print lying around for ages, and I thought it would make a nice tie. I like the scalloped design in the background.

tie close up

I already reviewed the Burda Osman Tie pattern I used for Bill’s tie in my post Holiday Gifts: Necktie.  I went ahead and left out the tie interfacing/interlining as I did in the last version, again this was quilter’s cotton, though not as heavy as the pirate ship cotton from the last post.  Bill commented that he really liked the way the tie tapered a little in the middle, it made tying it easy and made a nice looking knot.  All in all, the tie took me about an hour to make. Easy Peesy Lemon Squeezy.

tie close up  tie close up  tie close up

Caleb’s tie was even simpler.  For his, I used the Ottobre Designs Boys Tie Pattern. Once again, take the time to copy it out nicely onto pattern paper – you’ll thank yourself later.  Note that Ottobre Designs does NOT include seam allowances, you will have to add your own (don’t forget!), depending on what you’re most comfortable with. I added just a quarter inch, standard quilting seam allowance.  The toughest part of this pattern is turning the whole tie tube inside out after you’re done  sewing. I don’t know why I have such a hard time turning tubes. I have any manner of tools to help me with this task and they never seem to work right. I always end up picking the tube out with a pin! At any rate, that is really, really the toughest part.  I promise. If you have a little boy, I encourage you to make this tie!  The tail end sticks out because Caleb kept “adjusting” it. In truth, I think he liked it that way. The tail is a little short to put inside a keeper, I might lengthen the pattern next time so the tie will be long enough for a keeper. 

Burda Osman Tie Pattern: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ out of 5. Easy, free and yeilds professional results.

Ottobre Designs Boys Tie Pattern: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ out of 5. So easy and free as well, but it needs to be a couple inches longer.

Isn’t he a cutie pie? Yes, I’m biased.


PS. Yet another To-Do-list project down!