Arizona Zippy Top

While I’m in California on our crazy family trip (which at the moment includes very limited cell phone service and internet so hopefully this updates ok!), I have a few unblogged things to share with you- starting with this new top.

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In addition to the half yard bundle of Arizona quilting cottons that I bought (and used in my cargo duffle) I also bought 1.5 yards of the voile triangle tokens print because I just HAD to try out the Art Gallery voiles while I was at it. I mean, metallic gold triangles?! So good. (out of stock at fabricworm but I see Hawthorne Threads still has some) I debated on what to make with this print but when Kate ran a sale on the zippy top, I snatched it up and tried it out with my voile. I had loved this version that Heidi made so I knew it would be a worthwhile pattern.

zippy top (2 of 6)The pattern is pretty easy and straightforward. I knew that the voile would be see-through but I planned on wearing a tank underneath it so I was ok with it. My one complaint is that I don’t like the look of the facings with a see-through fabric. I think that they would be fine in a more opaque print, but with this fabric, the facings make the shirt look more home-made and less store bought. I have a similar style shirt to this that I bought at the store earlier this year and it uses bias binding for the seams. I think if I make this top again, I will attempt the bias binding for a neater finish.

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I do love the zipper in the back! This was my first time inserting a zipper like this, and it was relatively painless. It is a little bit wonky at the bottom but not too much where anyone would notice, I think. I’m not a huge fan of the zipper facing either so like the neckline facings, I think I would copy the same bound edges method that is in my store-bought top. I don’t think any of the facings would be a big deal if the material weren’t so see-through though.

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We took these pictures on a recent weekend anniversary getaway to Charleston. I apologize for the wrinkled shirt but that’s kinda what the voile looks like after a few hours. I love how breezy and flowy the shirt feels though! It was the perfect complement to the heat and humidity of Charleston in the summer. The voile is super light-weight. And don’t you love my cute new bike? My birthday present this year and was so fun to use to bike all around downtown. I’m not sure what’s up with my face but I promise I was really much happier than the picture below appears!

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Modified Cargo Duffle (with a mini tutorial on adding a long strap)

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Tuesday we leave for 3 weeks on the west coast! Yeah, I know we might be partly crazy to be attempting this long of a trip with two young children, but there’s no time like the present, right? Well actually my brother gets married on Friday in California so we figured if we were going to have to make the trip out there we might as well make a big trip out of it and go all out. I’ve been to California before but it’s my first time to visit the Pacific Northwest and I am so excited. My luggage is pretty old and falling apart, so I decided that I most definitely needed a new bag for this trip. Also we are trying to pack very minimally (carry-on only) and a cute new bag to fill would help me stay motivated to bring only the essentials! Don’t worry I’ve got an extra bag stashed to help me bring back all the fabric I may or may not be planning to pick up along the way at the amazing west coast fabric stores I cannot wait to visit! ;)

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I have been wanting to try out the cargo duffle pattern from Anna of Noodlehead ever since she released it. Bonus being that it’s a FREE pattern! How cool is that? I did some extensive research into this pattern before I made mine because I wanted this duffle to actually be big enough to fit my needs, but not too huge to disqualify it as a carry on. I think this is one of the first times that I have felt confident enough in my skills to make some extensive modifications to an existing pattern in order to make it fit my specifications exactly. It was a pretty liberating feeling and made the construction so fun! Totally worth the effort that went into it.

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Main fabric used is from the Arizona line by April Rhodes for Art Gallery Fabrics. I got the main print at Five Eighth Seams during a weekend trip to Charleston several weeks ago and accent Arizona prints are from a 1/2 bundle I bought of the entire line (I just couldn’t resist this line) at Fabricworm. Bottom accent and strap fabric is essex yarn dyed linen in black that I think I picked up at Pink Castle Fabrics (sold out there now but a google search shows some available at  a long time ago.


The original cargo duffle pattern includes sides that finish at 6″ wide. I wanted my sides to be 10″ wide so I cut the bottom gusset 10.5″x30.5″ and the zipper gussets 5.25″x27.5″.

I added a lining to the interior and used Kristin’s mini tutorial as a starting point. Because I added so much width to the duffle, the lining sagged pretty badly so I couldn’t just tack it into place, and it look good. I ended up sewing the lining to the duffle right above the pockets following the outer quilting lines and that worked pretty well to make the lining a bit sturdier and hold everything in place.

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I wanted lots of pockets in the inside of the duffle to help with organization. I added two welt pockets to the front side and a long pocket that spanned with width of the back side. I ended up stitching this long pocket down about 1/3 of the way down the length of it because it was flapping open pretty badly. I used Delia’s tutorial to figure out the welt pockets. This was my first time making welt pockets and they went pretty well but turned out a bit wonky in between the pockets. I’m thinking that was partly due to the fact that I made two right next to each other and that I need some more practice on them.cargo duffle (6 of 11)


I also knew that I wanted to add a long strap to the duffle. I cut off the hardware from an old backpack strap and used another duffle of my husband’s as a guide for how to construct the strap. I got a lot of questions about the long strap when I posted the pictures on Instagram so I made a mini tutorial for all of you. Hopefully I will make sense and you can follow my thought process. Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section if something doesn’t make sense. I took some closeup pictures to try to help clarify things.

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  • I made a short strap (about 5″ long) for the side rectangle rings, threaded the strap through the ring, folded one end under, and stitched it down to secure the ring. Then I attached the other end of the short strap to the bottom gusset before I sewed the bottom gusset to the zipper gusset. I wanted this seam to be really strong because of all the weight it would need to carry so I sewed the seam about 5 times and then zigzagged the edges to prevent any fraying. Repeat for both sides.cargo duffle (8 of 11)
  • I made the long strap the same width dimensions of the top straps but changed the length to 65″.
  • I interfaced the strap pieces with SF 101 and then a 1.25″ width of fusible fleece and added the canvas strip as suggested in the directions for the top straps.
  • For one end of the long strap, I looped it through the rectangle ring, folded the end under and stitched it down. The other end I threaded through the strap adjuster, looped it through the rectangle ring, threaded it back through the strap adjuster, folded the end under, and stitched it down right below the strap adjuster. It really helps if you have another adjustable strap in your house that you can look at while you do this part!

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In my cargo duffle research I read another blogger who added Peltex 72F to  the bottom gusset and decided to do that also (she gave me the idea of expanding the width of the duffle too). I highly suggest that you add this interfacing if you want more stability to your bag. I’m very happy with how sturdy it made my bag and it really wasn’t horribly hard to sew the extra bulk- as long as you use the size 16 needles that Anna recommends!

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And now the longest blog post ever is over! If you stuck around this long- good for you! I cannot wait to put my new duffle bag to the test as we head out on our trip tomorrow and I’ll be sure to keep you updated as to how it holds up as a real luggage piece.

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Cow Appreciation Day 2014

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I’m back to share with you the other project that I sewed in advance for Kids Clothes Week. It feels kinda like cheating to share something I made 2 weeks ago but an hour a day is the same even if it’s completed before the actual sew along week, right? I knew I wouldn’t be able to get much done this week and I couldn’t not have something to share! I think this one goes well with the kid art theme too since the tank graphics look like kid writing.flashbank tanks v2 (2 of 7)

Every year in July Chickfila hosts what’s known as Cow Appreciation Day where if you dress like a cow, you get free food. We are a bit of Chickfila addicts around here so this is one of our favorite days of the year! Continue reading

Striped Star Wars Tanks

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It’s Kids Clothes Week this week and since I knew that I was going to be out of town the beginning of the week, I made up a few outfits in advance. Actually these tanks were supposed to be the boys’ 4th of July outfits but I ran out of time to finish them so they ended up wearing them without the graphics. Which now that I’ve finished, I think I liked them better without the graphics. Win some, lose some.

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These tanks are a hack of the Flashback Skinny Tee. Fabric is a cotton/spandex knit from Girl Charlee. Eliot’s is an 18M with 1.5″ length added and Oliver’s is a 3T with 1″ length added. I used Tara’s tutorial as a basis for how to make the tank out of the tee pattern but ended up changing it up even more. Continue reading

All About Boys: Fall Sewing Plans

Today I’m back to share with you some of my fall sewing plans. These are all patterns that I currently own but have yet to try. You will notice a heavy Oliver + S theme going on here. I’ve been collecting some of their patterns when they run occasional sales and have GOT to make some of these this fall before Oliver sizes out of the patterns I bought! The ones I got only go up to size 4! FYI if you sign up for their email list, they will run sales several times a year and it’s a great time to stock up on patterns you’ve been eying since their patterns are not cheap- but totally worth it!


Oliver + S School Bus tee- I actually bought the family package of these tees so I have the entire size range and the women’s and men’s patterns. Excited to try all of them out this fall for family tees! I’m curious to see how I like this pattern compared to the flashback tee.

cardiganGreenpoint Cardigan- It is unisex even though the pattern picture is of a girl. I got this during a bundle sale last fall- I think the Sew Fab? Anywho Oliver is definitely getting himself a cardigan this year. Won’t he look so cute in it?


Field trip raglan t shirt- I actually just bought this during their 20% off June sale and thought I bought the larger size range but I didn’t- boo. Oh well. I’m hoping that I like this raglan pattern better than the one I’ve previously used from Sewing for Boys. I’ll be sure to let you know my thoughts when I make it.

Sailboat TopSailboat Top and Pants- I am hoping to make a top for both boys from this pattern and a pair of pants for Eliot. You notice I don’t have much variety in pants patterns because I like to stick with the basics but I think this one would be cute for E. I’ve actually had this pattern for several years and have put off making it. Really, Brooke, what’s wrong with you?!

Hawthorn-Half-Zip-Stripes-512x768Hawthorn Zip Up Sweatshirt- Got this during the Willow+Co Sale about a month ago. I’m thinking this would make a really comfy sweatshirt for Oliver. Gonna try to find some cool knit to make it in.

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Nature Walk Pullover- Another cozy outer layer. We spend a lot of the fall in layers so it’s nice to have several options to throw on the boys over their tshirts. I’d like to try out the knit pants too for some wearing-around-the-house pants.

So now that I’ve gotten this list all made, I realize how many patterns I own that I haven’t used yet. Now I’ve made a promise to myself to try all these out before I am allowed to buy any more. And I’m putting this list on the internet to keep myself accountable to you all! Be sure to ask me how I’m doing on this goal if you think of it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week that has been all about boys. We are excited to continue this series and are brainstorming some fun ideas for this fall. Think: awesome theme, sew along, maybe some fun prizes…Hopefully we can continue to develop this series and encourage everyone to sew more for the boys in their lives. Make sure to check out what Heidi and April have to share with you today!

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All About Boys: My Favorite Patterns

I hope you enjoyed seeing how the three of us interpreted the 2 free patterns in different ways. I know I really enjoyed seeing what April and Heidi came up with! It’s so fun how the same pattern can look completely different with just a few adaptations. Make sure you check out Heidi’s second look she has featured today! (She outdid us all and made 2 separate outfits!) April has a pattern round-up for you as well today so I’m excited to see what she has to say.

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To round out this week of boy sewing, I want to share some patterns with you. Today I’m sharing a list of my favorite boy patterns (though all of these patterns are in reality unisex so these could be used for girl sewing as well) that I’ve actually sewn and the corresponding outfits that I’ve made from them. I have them listed in order from easiest to hardest (in my opinion). The links on the pattern names will take you to the blog/online store where you can purchase them. If you click on the picture, you will be directed to the blog post where I wrote in detail about them. Tomorrow I’ll be back to share with you some new sewing patterns that I would like to try out this fall. Note: none of these are affiliate links in any way- just giving you my honest opinions. :)

KCW Spring 2014Flashback Skinny Tee- seriously y’all. My go-to t-shirt pattern. The end.

Continue reading

All About Boys: Modern Handmade

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The last blogger I have to share with you this week is April from Modern Handmade. She made this seriously cute outfit for her little man- I mean hem tabs on the shorts. Why didn’t I think of that? Seriously gonna use that idea ASAP! And she made SHOES! She has inspired me to finally try to recreate some shoes of my own- something I’ve been putting off doing for a while. Make sure you head over to her blog and get all the details on her outfit. And check out more pics of Mr H while you are there. What a cutie!

photo 2I’ll be back tomorrow to share with you some of my favorite patterns for boy clothing to give you a little more inspiration to sew some fun things for your own boys!