Ruby Top customization with pocket download

Hi friends.
As you probably know, I am a huge Made by Rae fan and make clothes for myself and my kids with her patterns quite often. I like her methodology of providing a straight forward / simple pattern that is easy and quick to sew, but also flattering. No potato sacks here please. 

Rubys, Washis, Gemmas, Moon pants, Lunas ...

I've made four Ruby dresses and tops so far, three Gemma tanks, at least five Washi dresses (lost count, could be more), three Luna pants, one Geranium dress for Ruby, and two pairs of Moon pants for Ruby and Mia.  **All her patterns are on the right side bar on her blog, linked above.

Ruby top and Ruby Dress


Geranium Dress

But this is nothing compared to NurseBean---she's been on fire this year with her makes. Probably at least 50 Rae makes so far, if not more. She only started a year ago (ish) too--so it's quite a feat. Go check her blog out.  ;)

I think this proves the point that sewing for yourself doesn't have to be fussy to be successful. There is a time and place for a pattern with 65 pieces, but it ain't in my house! bahahaha

Okay..so let's get to the point here. I made a Ruby top last night and customized it with front pockets so I can stash my Starbursts in there. Or a phone, or tickets to Katy Perry/Snoop Dog, you know...Normal stuff.

I didn't do the inseam pocket style because I don't want any extra padding around my hips. (The horror!) I think the front style is sorta cutesy without being childlike.  These are lined and have binding on the top, so they don't sag or become unstable. 

Here is my downloadable pocket piece pattern if you want to give it a go.  For this tunic style, I made the Ruby top version but added three inches to the hemline for a tunic look. The yoke is made with a white Swiss Dot fabric, and the accent is Cotton and Steel Boo by Rashida Coleman Hale.  I made a Gemma tank with it too, I love Boo that much.

Forgive my late-night photos. 

**I used a 5/8" seam allowance**

 1. Cut out 4 pieces with pattern piece.

2. Sew 2 pieces RST along curved edge, lock stitch each end. Leave the top open. Pink with shears so curve will pop. I forgot to take a photo of this step.

3. Flip right side out and press. Attach binding to top edge.

4. Pin in place securely. I measured 2 1/2 inches from side seam and tried the tunic on for the correct height. I recommend doing this, you don't want pockets in the wrong place. 

5. Sew around curved edge, lock stitch again each start point and end point. Attach other pocket, lining up with the first. 

HAHA here it looks like they aren't even. I broke my shoulder blade something like 15 years ago, so my shoulders sit unevenly now unless I consciously think about it... Well, that's my excuse anyways. Deal wit' it. 

Let's see yours! I bet your pockets will be even!    Bahahahaha


In other sewing related news, I made up this
Book Case in my Car pattern per child request. 

It's a downloadable PDF tutorial in case you need help with keeping your car organized. It could work for magazines, books, files, iPads, whatever. The pockets are nice and deep and it's really easy to customize. 

You'll need upholstery fabric or canvas to make it fast. Quilting cotton would work too but will need interfacing. 


Finally, I have to share my latest adventures in decorating.

I bought this settee at a yard sale for $25 and had it recovered in VELVET Leopard. I mean, can you even?

Yessssssssssssssssssssssss.   I KNOW.

There's Ruby! 


Here's my new Velvet royal blue recliner :
(Another yard sale find I had recovered.) 

It's Lady sized-- not a huge Lazy Boy, but a rather lovely Lazy Girl size. Perfect for pouring over my Love Patchwork and Quilting magazines stash. The velvet is lush- and I got it for a song!

I won't show you the rest of the house, it's a HOT MESS. Let's not think about that. LOL

The pocket piece download link will always be in my TUTORIALS page, linked here. 

Get making! See you soon.



Sew Pro overview and current issues on my desk

Hello Lovelies.
I shared a book review over on my friend Reece's blog. I hope you'll pop over and have a peek. All week long she hosted book reviews from C&T publishing. 

The book I reviewed is called Sew Illustrated and it is a MUST buy. Seriously. Go check it out. 

Sneaky peek:

In other news, I'm fresh back from Sew Pro- the convention held in Chicago hosted by Sara of Sew Sweetness and Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics.  It was a weekend long event to learn about making sewing (or your creative hobby) into a business. I learned a TON. I knew some bits of it, but when somebody else sticks it in your ear it makes more sense, ya know what I mean? It just DOES.   Not only did I learn and relearn, but I met some amazing people -friendships that are unique because these people are my tribe. They understand the need to make (everyday). They know the struggle of trying to make what you "love" your "real job"....like, the kind that provides food and housing.. LOL.

LOL but not LOL.
You know?

Now I'm home again and ready to infuse my essential oils into the air while I create my plans for building my Empire.  Bahaha 

 I mean, Martha has to stop syndicating at some point right? Why shouldn't I take over? Then I can invite all you Lovelies onto the show and we can take over the airwaves from the Kardashians while teaching people how to make a tote bag, or a top, or a quilt that doesn't look like it's from 1986... Just fill in the blank Yo! 

It sounds good to me.

*Nothing wrong with 1986 ---- that was a great year for me personally.

1986 cell phone- I think these had to be plugged in after one use.

My newest pattern:

One thing I noticed at Sew Pro is many sewers call themselves "quilters" or "fashion sewers" or "bag makers".....  

I could never do that because I would want to abandon my said specialty as quickly as I said it was my specialty.

I like moving around and making different things, sometimes my mood is for quilting--sometimes not.  

Do you find yourself specializing in one aspect? What draws you to that? Does fear hold you back from branching out? 

One lady who has it all figured out is MimiG Styles. I knew of her before, but after hearing her speak and meeting her, I want everything she does in my pocket. NOW.  

She has an amazing story, a huge inventory of DIY tutorials and patterns, and a speaking style that makes a person wish she would talk all day.
I'm completely smitten, and you would be too if you had been there. ;)

She had me at the pink walls. Ok?!

Now that I'm working during the week away from home, I'm revisiting the garments I sewed and wearing them to work. 
One of my favorite patterns is the Ruby tunic/top/dress (bottom right corner in collage)  by Rae Hoekstra. It's super simple to sew but has a timeless sort-of Jackie O look to it when complete. I also love the Cappuccino tunic/dress by Oliver & S (top right corner). Liesl's patterns are brilliant.

I post my clothes on IG more than I blog about them, just for time's sake I suppose. 

Another topic repeated frequently at Sew Pro was about sharing personal things on social media. 

Some say "share it once in a while, it shows the human side".

The other side said "if you show one picture of your kids, you'll lose likes"....


When I post, I try to be real. I want to have my stuff look good, but I do try and show my pitfalls and humanity too. I show my dog or my kids now and then. Not to be annoying, but to show I'm a Mom, and a working woman in 2016 feeling all the shi* that goes with that. I'm in my "middle" ages struggling with many different hats to wear.  Suddenly I'm picturing myself in a Peasant bonnet hat with lace...        never mind...

Social Media for me is a place where I go to be inspired by others, and also supported. A validation of sorts, that my need to make things is not selfish----but necessary for self preservation.

What do you think about it?

My mind is brewing many different thoughts.
Calls to action.

But then I think- "Buddha says be still" and I go get a cookie and be still like he says. 

On my list for the next few weeks:

1. Finish designing my skull fabric and order a pattern through Sprout patterns. Have you seen this? It's amazing--order ANY pattern-they print out all the pieces for you on the fabric of your choice, mail it to you, and you proceed to cut it out and sew. SO easy! So much time saved! I met a girl who works for the company at Sew Pro this weekend, and she totally sold me.

Photo from Sproutpatterns.com

2. Register to vote early.
A no-brainer for working Moms, I love voting early. It's done, no lines, no waiting...

3. Hair Tude update.  (Hair makes a BIG difference in attitude.)
I'm going to get my hair professionally cut. I've realized that I'm just not happy with longerish hair. I'm going back to short.
It's weird to me that people comment in this day and age "oh, how nice you're growing your hair out"... I mean...what? (Insert my confused bitchy face).....
Very weird.
Long hair makes me feel like a soccer Mom, and I'm not willing to go there.
Peace OUT mop head.
*Nothing wrong with being a Soccer Mom unless you look like this: (then we need to talk, because I love you and I want the best for you ..)

4.  Read up on current rending topics like this one. This article (and the comments below the article) stung.
How can this honestly be happening in 2016? It's a damn shame people. It's got to shift.

Here's a screen grab from the blog Man Repeller (a fashion blog):

5. (This is actually number one but I wanted to keep it light as long as possible.)  Finally... I'm going to try and calm myself with worrying about my kids and school. I have a sensitive kid, aged 8 1/2 and it hurts me so much to see her try and negotiate this tricky world. I'm standing back, trying to give support without rescuing. But it's really reallllllly hard. Love & Logic has helped give me tools, now I have to stay the course.

Why can't everyone just BE NICE? Confidence is the biggest hugest (it's a word)  thing for young girls. This is where all the bullshit starts. If a young girl is confident in herself, she has a much better chance of making it in life.

In my un-expert opinion.
I sometimes will read through PBS to help me be rational. Right now all I want to do is fly into the school and ask "WHY WOULD YOU hand out sad face stickers?!!!!"    WTF. This isn't a Fortune 500 company. Why is everyone so freaking serious at age 8 and 9? I don't get it. I may be ready to move to Finland.

Read more here about having a relationship with the teacher.

Anywho....I'm sure glad you listened so I don't have to pay for therapy.

This is why I have to sew every day. Even if it's 2 am.

We don't want a crazy Natalie roaming the streets at night okaaaaay?

I'll see you at the  Modern Stitching Affair the 29th of September and we can talk more. 

Still time to sign up!



Summer spoils

I'm very happy to have some projects finished before school begins and The Madness ensues.

I made Mia this Dragon Backpack (by request in blues) using Kristi's geometric dragon paper piecing pattern, combining it with Essex linen in gray to help it pOp. The backpack pattern is Edelweiss by my BFF Sara over at Sew Sweetness. You can pick up these patterns and support Indie designers while also learning a trick or two and feeling pretty awesome in the process. I mean, it's nearly as good as building a rocket (I imagine).  

Every time I have a request from the kids, I take them through the process so they know this sh*t doesn't just magically happen. We start with a storyboard of some sort, inspiration colors/images/Google searches/etc...  It takes them some time, which buys me some time. Win / win.  Know what I'm sayin'?

Inspiration pic for backpack:  

I then sometimes haul them to Target so they can see what is available for $10 (you know, lunch bags made in China and the sort)--complete with showing them the crap seams and sewing execution. I know--it's totally NUTS. But they should know quality, they should realize craftsmanship takes wErk, (attitude with work ethic)--and then appreciate the discipline it takes to complete the job.  

I think a lot of this has been lost in the last 30 years, starting with "more is more" in the 80's. 
Just my 2 cents. You can take it or leave it. LOL!

Mia also will carry her new lunch bag I pieced together crazy style:

It's the Peas and Corn lunch bag by Sew Sweetness
Can you tell I kinda have a girl crush on Sara? LOL  
I can't help it, all her patterns WeRK!

Ahhhh cue Ru Paul!!

Meanwhile Ruby will carry her Cumberland Backpack:

This is Sara's newest pattern release. It's AWEsome, the shape, the pockets everywhere, everything.

Please for the love of God do not feel any twinge of guilt if you don't make your kids their bags. OH MY GAWD nooo. Just don't go there. I only have done this because I have the patterns and I love to sew--A N D I took a break from "selling" my wares this summer. I didn't do anything other than what I wanted to do. It was luxurious and rich, and I think quite possibly the ONLY way to live.  LMAO


Do what you like. Period.  And if that means buying Target products made in China then do it. Ok? Are we clear? We still good?

Speaking of Target... I went there last night after seeing BAD MOMS with my friends and I went NUTZ-O. I was like---high--- or something. I suddenly felt free from all the "perfection pressure" that plagues Mothers. I try to bake home made granola bars, and make my own laundry soap, and infuse oils rather than use medicine but DAMN Yo...sometimes I'm just super sick of that sh*t and go rogue. 

Am I the only one who does this? 

In other news, I think I have Olympics Depression.

I'm not kidding. It was so inspiring and exciting to watch those amazing athletes every day--their stories-their triumphs... I was soaking it up! Not to mention the commercials. Those b*tches gave me goose bumps or had be near tears. "We are all made of Gold...." yeah yeah...I can't go there now, but I know you know what I'm saying.  Here is a link to some of them: Gold is  feeling, Rise, & A refreshing finish.  Not to mention the Galaxy Note 7 advert. Christoph Walz has me in every movie he's in- German born but he can do ANY accent perfectly--- I love him! The message was loud and clear too----Americans DO over task. It's our culture.

This one really hit home- the disconnectedness she describes is right on.
"...you start believing what the world has to say about you, whether it's the world in your head or the world outside"...
In today's hyper connected world I often have to take breaks from social media to feel "right" again. It's a love hate relationship, 100%.

August issue 2016  

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of pluses to social media too. I am loving the Quilt-Alongs I'm participating in this year, and the facebook groups I joined (never knew they were a thing!)..

Finding like minded crafty people is FUN.

Week 15 of the Summer Sampler and I'm not sick of it! That's a reason to have a box-o-wine party right there!

Did you know the Posh magazine REAL SIMPLE listed the top 10 best boxed wines? Well honey I saved that to my Pinterest! Here you go, and you're welcome. 

Which speaking of wine in a box....
I had lots of it while finishing this String Quilt made with all scraps 1" to 1.5" in widths. I'm pretty pleased with it---but I'll let out full disclosure here (embarrassingly)---....
I started this while still living in England. That's almost 2 years ago now.  Geesh!!!!!

I started the blocks (each one has four sections) on a whim one day, and just made a block or two here and there. Then this summer I thought-- this needs to be finished or else it's going to be out of style by the time it's done (in 2 decades)... So I went full blast for about two weeks and there she is.

Never again.
BAhahahahaha Just kidding. But no, she's not for sale and I AIN'T makin' ya one, no matter how long we've known each other! bahahahaha


I've finished a lot of clothes this summer too- thank you Rae!! 
Your patterns are the bestestest! Here is a "Ruby top" in voile, and there are more pics of other finished on my IG feed if you fancy a look. XOXO

I've rambled enough for now, let me know what you're up to, would ya?!