The Willow Kimono from Designer Stitch Patterns

Introducing the Willow Kimono, the newest design to hit the sewing pattern market fromimg_3546 Designer Stitch!

Designer Stitch is a fabulous PDF pattern company from Austrailia and this is the third pattern I have tested for them since discovering them this year. The designer said that she kept thinking of me when she worked on this design. I guess my appreciation of the boho style is quite evident.





It was also an upcycling project for me. This actually used to be a black cotton broomstick skirt that I had from the ’90’s.
I am sorry that I don’t have a before picture, but the process involved throwing it into a pail that had a mixture of bleach and water and then it went into the washing machine. I did it this way because I have a front loading machine. If you have a top loading, you can just fill the washer with water, add the bleach and let it soak until it is the colour you want. This soaked for quite awhile. Then run it through a wash cycle once or twice to wash out the bleach. Continue reading

The Frida Flat Front Shorts from Wardrobe by Me Patterns


IMG_3222I recently had the opportunity to test my first ladies pattern from Wardrobe by Me. (Earlier this year I tested the men’s Rebel Raglan and you can check out that post here.) It was also an item that I hadn’t made for myself yet, and since we are in the midst of our summer here, a pair of shorts was a very welcome addition to my wardrobe.

The Frida Flat Front Shorts pattern features three different lengths; short, mid thigh and Bermuda length. I chose to do the Bermuda length for the test. I went with the length straight off of the pattern, even though I would normally lengthen pants by 1″ to 2″ because of my height. With shorts, however, there is a lot of room for interpretation on proper length, so on me, these fall between what would be a mid-thigh or Bermuda on the intended 5’7″ frame that these are drafted for. I actually like the length that they came out at and I don’t think I would change it on any subsequent pairs that I sew up. Continue reading

Sewing for the Dads and Other Men in Your Life :)

June 19, 2016 is Father’s Day and a perfect opportunity to do some sewing for the Dads (or other important men) in your life. I have been testing up a storm on quite a few pieces for myself, but I also got the chance to get in a quick sew for the man in my life.


This is the same shirt as the one below…just playing around with some filters!


The Rebel Raglan Sweater was recently released by Wardrobe by Me. I was really surprised by how easy and fast this pattern went together.

Pattern: The Rebel Raglan Sweater

Type/Options: Classic raglan

Designer: Wardrobe by Me

Sizes: Boys 12Y to Mens 2XL


Pattern Features: No trim pages and layers so you only print the sizes you need, US letter and A4 paper format

Pros: Very quick sew, large size range

Cons: Hubby would have preferred a smaller neck opening

Price: $9.00 US

This was my first time testing for Christina at Wardrobe by Me. She is a professional designer and was great to work with. This was my first time sewing a men’s garment but the instructions were very simple to follow and this went together a lot faster than I was expecting.

The Rebel can be made out of a variety of knits but is designed for medium weight. I used a fairly thin rib knit and I would go down a size if I were to use the same fabric again. It was my first time using a rib knit so I wanted to err on the side of caution. Even though the fit is pretty good, hubby said he would prefer a smaller neck opening on the next one, which should be a pretty simple adjustment. Christina actually did a hack on the neck(and sleeves) to make a more feminine version of this for herself on her blog. Another tester also made herself one and opted to leave off the neck, cuff and bottom bands, giving it a really casual look because of the natural curl that you get with unfinished knit.


You can get a lot of mileage out of this pattern because of the wide range of sizes and the fact that this is a unisex style. I can even see this making a cute raglan dress by adding some length! Hubby won’t have to know how much you are saving by using his pattern, and your savings can go into buying more fabric!!!

Check out the fun photo shoot we did! My hubby is such a great sport🙂


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Great combo of ham and cheese here🙂


Testing the Lisbon Cardigan from Itch to Stitch

I haven’t been posting much. A big part of that is because I have been testing quite a few patterns. There have been so many lovely designs coming out lately that were too hard to pass up for testing, and the Lisbon Cardigan was one of those.

Kennis Wong from Itch to Stitch is really great to test for. She spends a lot of time getting her patterns perfected before even coming into testing. And she is open to any and all feedback. I don’t hesitate for a minute to recommend her patterns.

There are two things I love to use to make me feel like an outfit is complete; vests and cardigans. I actually had just been wondering the day before the tester call came out if there was a suitable cardigan for doing a sweater set, or twin-set as they are also known as. I was mulling over in my head how I could hack an existing pattern into a sweater as I already have some great tops to go underneath. Then, Kennis came to my rescue!

This was a pretty quick sew for most of the testers. In fact, most of the testers ended up doing 2 or three versions even though there were no major revisions done to the pattern during testing. One tester was able to sew one up in an amazing 70 minutes! I wasn’t quite that quick. My third one was done in 2 hours. That is still a pretty quick sew, though, in my books.

I did end up doing an adjustment to the pattern to make it fit for my body. I have rounded shoulders and a smaller bust. I experimented with a technique that would get the pattern to compensate for those issues and I think it turned out quite well. I am looking forward to trying this adjustment on another project that I did that needed it. No one else in the group needed to do any adjustments, for the record. This is just one of the reasons why me-made is so great. None of us are the same and in ready-to-wear, I would have either have to put up with a garment that didn’t fit quite right or pass it by.

I did end up making three myself. I won’t bother showing the first one, as I didn’t even finish it once I realized I would need to adjust it. That is why it is always a good idea not to use your prized fabric on the first try of any pattern.

The second one I did was a very loose and thin sweater knit. I really like the colour of this, but it was actually pretty hard to work with as the stretch across the grain is 100% and it does not have great recovery. But I really like the looks of it. I didn’t add interfacing or buttons to the front, as this is not something I would button up, anyways. I paired it with another Itch to Stitch pattern, The Hepburn Turtleneck.


Obviously, this will not give much warmth, but I like how it adds a little something to the outfit. We have been having unusually warm temperatures here, so while most of the time I like the extra warmth. it hasn’t been needed lately!

I am looking forward to doing a twin-set with the Hepburn and Lisbon in the future, but since we are now heading into the summer, that will be put on my projects for later this year. We typically have 7 months of winter here, so I am going to ignore the fact that it won’t be long before I will be shivering again!

The muslin that I initially did, was made out a light jersey knit, so I wanted to try something similar to get an idea of how much of a difference my adjustments had made.

The fit is perfect! I decided to play around with the bands and cuffs and use the same fabric I had on my long sleeved top. Itch to Stitch has a top that would be perfect with the cardigan called the Idyllwild. I don’t have the pattern yet, otherwise, I would have made it so as to have a complete Itch to Stitch twin-set!

The good news is that you can get your copy for of the Lisbon Cardigan for 20% off until May 9th, 2016, AND, you can take 15% off your cart from the entire Itch to Stitch shop when purchasing ANY 2 or more patterns with code savemore15! So that means you can make your own bundle and get the Lisbon and Idyllwild for a great price!

What creations do you see yourself making with the Lisbon Cardigan? I would love to hear all of your great ideas!

Happy Sewing!

***This post contains affiliate links that allow me to receive compensation which helps cover some of the expense of fabric and time spent writing this review. If  you would like to support me in my efforts, I would be most grateful if you would be willing to choose to use the affiliate links. Thank you!!!***

Dusting Off the Sewing Machine

I have been sewing and around sewing for as long as I can remember. My mom wanted to be able to stay home after having me, her second baby, but she still needed to work. So she took the experience she had gained working in an upholstery shop and started her own custom drapery and window covering business right after I was born. I learned a lot from her, not only about sewing, but about every aspect of being an entrepreneur. I even developed my love of math, as she did all of her own accounting.

I have sewn on and off throughout the years. Mending, the occasional outfit for one of my kids, and the odd project when a need arose. When my kids got a bit older, mom and I took a sewing class, a McPhee Workshop, and each of us created our own custom designed winter coat! That was a real confidence boost to be able to accomplish a feat like that!

Last year, however, was a game changer for me. I was introduced to the world of indie pattern companies and most of these companies offer their patterns as downloadable pdf files. The patterns are printed out at home, the sheets are taped or glued together and then you have full size pattern pieces. You are free to print these out for your own use as often as you need. The other bonus is that most indie pattern companies offer a full range of sizes in one bundle. Ladies patterns usually start at xs or s and go up to about xxxl. Children’s patterns are a little more varied, but from what I can tell there are infant sizes up to size 2 and then size 2 to up to size 16. What that means is that you can get a lot of mileage out a pattern, as they can be used as your child grows, for multiple children in the same family and they can be very helpful when needing to mashup sizes, because let’s face it, most of us are not the same size all over.

Many indie pattern makers also offer a free pattern (or more than one!) so that you can get a feel for their style, as they all have their own unique flair. I will forewarn you though. Most people I have talked to have fallen in love with pdf patterns and it is hard to go back to tissue patterns! The other part of the indie pattern movement is the community that is formed, as most pattern makers have Facebook groups where you can communicate with the designers themselves, as well as fellow sewing enthusiasts. This is another game changer for me because some of the mentoring that you can get on these groups is priceless!

This is just a brief intro to this new endeavour of mine and I will be sharing some of the projects I have been doing. I hope you will enjoy following along with me on this journey of my old past time that has had new life breathed into it!

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This is a pattern that I recently tested for

Tell People Who You Are, Not Who You Are Not

11154983_880805245336393_4670400523519663679_oI hope you enjoy this guest post! This up and coming writer has a wonderful style and some great insight!

I never really questioned myself when it came to whether or not I was negative. I knew I wasn’t goofy and silly. I knew that I was just a serious person when it came to things that mattered. I never thought I was negative. in fact, in a lot of ways I thought people got the idea that I was really nice. I knew that I wasn’t that nice, but I also didn’t think that I was bad either. People have always said things like, “You have a really peaceful spirit about you,” “You’re really nice to be around,” “You’re a good listener,” and also, “You sparkle/shine.” Hearing those things have never been foreign to me, so it makes sense why I never thought of myself as negative.

I had someone who I sincerely trusted tell me that I was negative, and that was what made me question myself. I started asking (adult) friends if I was negative or not. Most of them agreed that I was far from being negative. I realized because I have strong opinions about particular topics, sometimes I do come across as negative. But if that person really knew me, they would know that I’m not negative.

In a way, I kind of appreciate how people insult me by claiming that I’m something that I’m not. Okay, I know that sounded weird, so let me explain:

One person has implied that I’m “negative” and need to “look at the bright side,” while others imply that I’m “stupid” and that my head is “made out of wood.” The reason I like it when people claim that I’m those things is because I know that they have no idea who I really am. This applies to anyone who has ever insulted me, intentionally or unintentionally. They simply do not understand who I am as a person. Understanding this, I am able to better deal with insults, such as those. I don’t need to be foolish and come up to them and tell them they are wrong. Quite on the contrary, I need to just work on being better friends with that person. If they don’t know who I really am, then I’ll show them. Like a lot of other people, I have had others tell me things about myself that are far from the truth. Many of the people who have made those false accusations are family members. But instead of flipping out and telling them that they’re wrong, I simply try to spend more time with that person so that hopefully they can understand who I really am.

That all leads me to the point of this post: tell people who you are, not who you are not. It is important to both yourself and the other person that we focus on our true identity. Also, if you are a person that is more on the serious side like me, don’t try to change that. That’s who you are. If people call you “negative” or tell you to “be more optimistic,” don’t listen to them. Just show them who you really are by spending more time with them. If they don’t want to hang out with you because they “get a negative vibe from you,” then so be it. That’s their life and they are entitled to choose who they want around them. Just know that there is nothing wrong with you. You are a unique and loved creation, and Abba loves you for who you are more than you could ever know.

“As for you, every hair on your head has been counted. So do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”

– Mattityahu (Matthew) 10:30-31

“Because you are a people set apart as holy for Adonai your God. Adonai your God has chosen you to be his own unique treasure out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.”

– D’varim (Deuteronomy) 14:2

Written by Emily Bowen.

Wandering Off

I have a habit of wondering off from people when I go shopping with them. Then I want to point out something neat I found or get some feedback, and I realize that no one is next to me.

Today I realized that I have the same tendency to do that with God. It isn’t Him walking off from me, because He promises to never leave me or forsake me. I was the one who got distracted by things around me. And then I realize that I need help and I look up. All I have to do I turn around and He is right there, waiting for me.

Today, Father God, I ask you to give a whistle every time You see me start to wander.

Quick and Easy Way to Cut Up a Watermelon!

I made my first youtube video the other day. It was a spur of the moment thing, but hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?

I can’t remember who first showed me how to do this a few years ago, but it is now pretty much the only way I cut watermelon. I love how I don’t have to eat up to the rind. In fact, I like to eat from the outside in, because I think it is sweeter in the middle.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer, so far. I know that after the long, cold winter we had, I am enjoying every minute of it!!!


Are you too broken to be healed?

I wanted to share this following message of healing and restoration that was posted on today. There is also a giveaway of Suzie Eller’s book. I hope this message will bless all who read it.

APRIL 11, 2014

Years ago, when I first met Suzie Eller, I knew there was something special about her.  In a world where it’s easy to only scratch the surface, I knew this woman would never be satisfied with superficial relationships.

She’s one of those friends who when they ask, “How are you?”,  she really wants to know.  And she is willing to stop everything to hear the answer.

That’s Suzie.

So when she started writing about hearts that are broken, lives that are messy and how God can bring healing – I knew I had to share her with you.

Because  some of you need someone to ask “How are you? … Really?”  And have that person care deeply enough to hold your hand and walk with you to the Savior.  I’m sure Suzie would do it personally if she could, but today she’s sharing her care for you through her writing.

Suzie is also generous, and has offered to give away a copy of her latest book called The Mended Heart.  All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog before Sunday, April 14 end of day and we’ll select someone at random.

Now, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Suzie:

Am I too broken to be healed?

by Suzie Eller

Several years ago I was at a Turning Point Conference. At that time I was working with teens, and my church sent me as a conferee. The facilitator flipped the lights off and a film started playing.

The movie was about a dysfunctional family in the midst of a meltdown moment. Mom and Dad were arguing. One child was screaming in defiance. Another hid around the corner in angst. Then I saw her.

The peacemaker.

She was trying to make everything okay. Like a tightrope walker, she asked the screaming teen to stop yelling as she attempted to comfort her little brother. She was trying to keep the pieces from falling all around her, but she simply wasn’t old or wise or big enough.

I heard someone crying nearby.

Wow, that person must have been really hurt in the past to cry so publicly. What isn’t anyone helping her?

Then I realized the sobbing person was me.

I jumped out of my seat, left the room, and found an empty stall in the women’s bathroom. A pair of red shoes appeared, just visible under the door of the stall.

“I don’t understand this. I’m here because I want to help others,” I whispered to her.

The red shoes remained still for a few seconds, and then I heard these words: “Honey, sometimes God lets you remember for a reason.”

The sight of that little peacemaker in the movie had triggered emotions long healed. Perhaps that is the most powerful lesson I took away from that conference, and it’s one I still hold close today. We can become so whole (a wonderful gift!) that we forget the magnitude of what we have been given. God reached down to give me a glimpse into the brokenness I had once carried as a little peacemaker, and to remind me how much He had healed my shattered heart.

Maybe you feel broken. Maybe others call you broken. Maybe it seems like you’ll never get there from here.

May I share something with you? Something powerful. Something transforming.

The Jesus Factor is bigger than the people factor.

You are NEVER too broken to be made whole. You are invited to join in a partnership with God in healing, and He’s bigger.

Sure, you’ve tried to do this on your own, but as you partner with Him, a shift in the way you view yourself begins to take place, as you:

·       Exchange the burden of what people have done or said, with confidence of the changes and growth taking place on the inside of you

·       Strip ordinary people of their power as you realize that people, whether through evil, or selfishness or simply their own brokenness, can shape you, but it doesn’t define you

Write these scriptures on the mirror in lipstick. Or put a sticky note on your steering wheel. Say them daily until they soak into your heart.

No person is greater than your God! (1 John 4:4)

Your heavenly Father loves you unconditionally, right where you are (1 John 3:1)

Nothing can ever separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-39)

Regardless of another person’s brokenness or sin, you are marked with destiny (Isaiah 49:16; 1 Corinthians 2:9)

As we release the people factor to hold close the Jesus factor, something powerful takes place. We no longer look to mere humans to make us feel valued or worthwhile. We stop waiting for another person to be fixed before we run after all that God holds out for us. We begin to see ourselves the way God does.

And one day, my prayer is that you’ll look back, just like I did, and be in awe of all that God has done inside of you and then come alongside others and help them find healing, too.


Thank you, Suzie.

And friends, if you want to win a copy of Suzie’s book, just leave a comment before Sunday night. But if you can’t wait to read it, I hope you’ll pick up a copy.  And we always like to direct people to Proverbs 31 Ministries’ bookstore, where all profits support the ministry.

In His love,


via Are you too broken to be healed?.