Around the world blog hop

www.pensebrox.com

Laura of Porcupine Stew invited me to join the Around The World Blog Hop! If this is your first time seeing the hop the blogger invited answers a few questions about their work and invites a few blogger to post the same the following week. Laura’s post can be seen here.

1. What am I working on?
I’m trying to finish the dress for Pen’s costume in time for Halloween (see above photo). I ordered the fabric in early September with the intention of sewing it during the month of September but shipping kept getting delayed. Hilariously, I had to make a “temporary” costume for Pen to wear at an event two weeks ago (see cuteness below) and my only motivation to finish the dress I’m working on is the fact that I already spent the money for the fabric and I already cut the fabric!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I tend to let my use of scraps and salvaged material from clothing dictate the style of patterns I use.

Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com

3. Why do I create what I do?
I like things to be useful which is why I’m drawn to creative pursuits that have a dual purpose. The finished project looks nice and you can wear/use it too!

Pen's Nook : Pen Seb Rox

I’m inviting for next week Starly @ Sew Starly. I met her, and other fabulous mommies, through an online due date club while pregnant with Seb. She has a super cute daughter just a few weeks older than Seb and I’m always in awe of what Starly makes. Be sure to check out her blog.

KCW: Wonderland

Penelope // www.pensebrox.com

With a party to attend this upcoming weekend the current Kid’s Clothes Week theme of “storybook” inspired me to whip up a quick dress for Pen using a fabric I purchased way back when I was still pregnant with her. The dream-like forest critter print I though was perfect for the theme. Penelope and her wonderland!

Wonderland // www.pensebrox.com

This was my second time working with the Create Kids Couture “Baby Tabitha” pattern. The combination of knit and woven fabrics makes it a breeze to whip up. With a bodice that does not need to be lined and using knit trim for the neckline and sleeves it feels like a much faster project without the dreaded hemming. A woven fabric for the skirt adds some body and I personally find gathering woven fabric much easier than knit – for whatever reason. The pattern only comes with a short or sleeveless option but it was not that hard to extend the sleeve length since we are at the start of several months of long sleeve weather. Since I up-cycled an old navy blue with white stripes maternity shirt for the knit portions I did not get to make as full of a ruffle as the pattern calls for but I think the moderate ruffle suits the dress.

Wonderland // www.pensebrox.com

For Pen’s 4 month photo I created my first Tabitha. When salvaging the pre-existing hem, to save myself some time, from the shirt I was up-cycling for the knit portions I was inspired the use the “casing” created by the hem to gather the end of the 3/4 length sleeve. Again, I had to alter the pre-existing sleeve on the pattern but the only catch was trying to measure the arm of an extra squirmy baby!

My only other big plan for KCW is to finish Pen’s Halloween dress. Seb’s costume is already completed as well as the hat for Pen’s costume.

Wonderland // www.pensebrox.com

Why hello there…

Bear Pen // www.pensebrox.com

Long time no see! August was the start of a downward spiral. Each week someone new in the family was ill and then once again during the month of September. Various life duties started to pile up and I took something of a creative hiatus. Well now I’m back… miss me?

Three Months // www.pensebrox.com

During my time away Pen turned 3 months and now she is just a few days away from 4 months. My first completed project in a long time is a special dress for her 4 month photos.

4 Month Dress // www.pensebrox.com

This afternoon I also made some simple headbands with the Hello Kitty ribbon I found over the weekend.

Headbands // www.pensebrox.com

Next I’ll be working on Halloween costumes. Seb has changed his mind multiple times over the past few months but now is stuck on being a “Spooky Halloween Ghost” – which means he wants to wear a white sheet. Yup.

Bears // www.pensebrox.com

Despite all the recent chaos, I’m glad I remembered to get a photo of Pen (bottom) wearing Seb’s (top) bear hoodie. Seems silly but with both my babies growing up so fast I do like indulging in a bit of mommy sentimentalism on occasion.

Pen is two months and what I’m working on…

Two Months // www.pensebrox.com

Pen has hit the two month mark and is already out growing a lot of her clothes! With cooler weather just around the corner I’m considering August to be the official kick-off month for fall sewing projects. I made quite the haul last summer in regards to finding 4T clothing at yard sales for Seb so most sewing for him will be for fun. Pen will be in need of some basic layering pieces and I’m using Seb’s 4th birthday as an excuse to make her a party dress. Most of all *I* am in need of some wardrobe updates and hope to make much of it myself. My plans so far…

With a deadline
- Halloween Costumes (mid-October)
– Party dress for Pen (early November)
– Knight Hoodie (early November)
– Seb’s birthday invites (early October)

 
Without a deadline
- Casual dresses for me
– Casual shirts for me
– Explorer hoodies for Seb (x 2)
– Leggings for Pen (x6)
– Tunics for Pen (x4)
– Coat for Pen

Besides sewing with fall on the mind, I’ve been working on a project for a mystery challenge which will be revealed later in the month!

One Month // www.pensebrox.comTwo Months // www.pensebrox.com

July Roundup

July Collage // pensebrox.com

It’s August already and the summer seems to be flying by. Caring for a newborn and a pre-schooler still occupies a lot of my time so July was more time spent planning and less time doing. Even with my hands full I did accomplish a few projects this month.

Saturday Skirt // pensebrox.com

July was the month for pattern testing and blog tours. I had fun testing out Darcie’s first pattern release the “Saturday Skirt”. It was also my first post to this blog involving something I sewed for myself. While I did not mention it at the time, mentally it was a big deal for me to publicly post photos of myself with my post-baby bod. Especially since I’m not one of those women who slims down immediately. Heck, as the day of me righting this I’m still rocking an extra 40 pounds. I do have plans to start sewing more for myself in the near future and subsequently there will be more posts involving me.

LOL Swing Top // pensebrox.com

With the help of Pen, I also tested the LOL Swing Top by Jennuine Design. The results are adorable and I’m sure will be a staple for years to come. Already have plans for new versions including one that will be the basis for a Halloween costume! For just a few more days you can get an extra 20% off the pattern if you use the code “LOLRelease“. The discount ends 8/7.

Adventure Tee & Explorer Hoodie // pensebrox.com

The summer edition of Kids Clothes Week also happened in July. I used it as inspiration for my project for the Stitch Swap I participated in. The apple print knit fabric sent to me by Stephanie of Swoodson Says was perfect for creating both an Adventure Tee and Explorer Hoodie that I had purchased as part of the latest Pattern Anthology collection.

Shwin Helter Skelter Tee // pensebrox.com

This time around KCW had the theme “kids art”. Knowing the theme, I knew I had to do something collaborative with Seb for at least one project. Using fabric pens he created an abstract city on white jersey and I turned his creation into two colorblock tees using Helter Skelter Tee pattern from Shwin Designs.

July Roundup // pensebrox.com

My garden started producing in July but sadly the baby watermelon that I posted about was stolen by wildlife just a few days later. Pen also hit the big “one month” and it is hard to believe in just a few days she will already be TWO months old. Eep! At the start of August I have several projects at various stages right now and can’t wait to see what else the month brings.

 

Pattern Tour: LOL Swing Top

LOL Swing Top // pensebrox.com

Meet the LOL Swing Top, the perfect girls’ top with a bit of swing and racer back detail. Oh man was I thrilled to be selected to test Jen’s (owner of the blog A Jennuine Life and Jennuine Design) latest design. If the cuteness of the top were not enough,  it can also be made with woven or knit fabric! I tested the woven version which also features bias trim and a button (I used a KAM snap) closure. I found the top a breeze to make and would be a great project for a beginner.

LOL Swing Top // pensebrox.com

SONY DSC

The pattern covers from newborn all the way to 12 years. When looking at the other testers’ finished projects, I was amazed how seamlessly the top transitions between age groups and looks great no matter the age of the wearer. As kids get older proportions change which I imagine makes designing something to work for both an infant and tween is some task. Not to mention the top looks adorable on small children and chic on the older crowd. Even though Pen is pretty immobile as a newborn the top still has some swing to it. Since the top is sleeveless it is perfect for warmer weather but with fall just around the corner I plan on whipping up a few more to throw over a long sleeve shirt and leggings for the chilly months.

LOL Swing Top // pensebrox.com

LOL Swing Top // pensebrox.com

The LOL Swing Top is a fast project, designed to work with woven and knit fabrics. It’s available in a wide range of sizes and totally cute – I consider this pattern to be a must-have for anyone sewing for a young girl. In a just a few more days the pattern will be released and you can acquire your own copy but until then be sure to check out the other testers on the tour to see more.

Edit 7/31/14: The pattern is now available for sale at Jennuine Design’s shop. Use the code “LOLRelease”  by 8/7/14 for 20% off the pattern!

 

LOL Swing Top // pensebrox.com

Stitch Swap: Apple tee and hoodie!

Adventure Tee & Explorer Hoodie // pensebrox.com

Boy was I trilled when I saw the red (and green) apple knit that Stephanie of Swoodson Says sent as part of the Stitch Swap in which Bloggers exchanged one yard of fabric and the challenge was to create something using the yard you received. While we are still in the throes of summer the apple print just screamed themes like “harvest” and “back to school” to me so I was inspired to pair it with a plaid print that nods to colder times that I’m sure will be here before I know it!

Adventure Tee & Explorer Hoodie // pensebrox.com

Besides making the awesome Adventure Tee from the recent Pattern Anthology collection, I had plenty of leftovers to also create a coordinating Explorer Hoodie also from the same collection. Both patterns are quick sews (made them both with two of my hours during Kids Clothes Week) and has plenty of options to customize.

Adventure Tee // pensebrox.com Explorer Hoodie // pensebrox.com

Thank you so much Stephanie for sending such an inspiring fabric to work with! Today is the last day of the Stitch Swap tour so be sure to check out all the fantastic creations made by the other bloggers on the tour. I sent fabric to Emily of Tangible Pursuits who is also posting today and I can not wait to see what she makes!

Monday July 21st
Stephanie — Swoodson Says
Jamie – Salutations Louisville
Ashley — Sewing Sober
Kathy — Handmade Dress Haven

Tuesday July 22nd
Tasha — Friends Stitched Together
Janelle — Emmaline Bags
Kim — Sew & Tell with Mama Eggo
April– Open Sky Creations

Wednesday July 23rd
Amy– Friends Stitched Together
Danica — The Sewing Sparrow
Bethany — Two Novembers
Jessica — The Berry Bunch

Thursday July 24th
Chrissy — Muse of the Morning
Fenna — Fabulous Home Sewn
Melissa — Rebel and Malice
Irene — Sugaridoo

Friday July 25th
Jess — Gracious Threads
Emily – Tangible Pursuits
Roxanne — Pensebrox
Megan — Upcycling? Refashion That Idea.

Adventure Tee & Explorer Hoodie // pensebrox.com

 

 

Kids Clothes Week: Neon Lights Tee

Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com

Today marks the start of Kids Clothes Week! I figured I’d be lucky to squeak out a single project from conception to completion this week so I’m taking every opportunity for a little bit of spare time I can get. Even though it’d be nice to get a head start on fall sewing, the “Kids Art” theme really inspired me to focus on collaborating with Seb.

Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com

For our first project, I stretched a piece of 100% cotton jersey over Seb’s table and let him go to town with neon fabric markers I had recently purchased. He literally went to “town” because when the fabric was finished I was told that he made a city for his cars.

Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com

The diagonal color block on the Helter Skelter Tee by Shwin Designs seemed like the perfect compliment for our custom fabric. Despite it being my first time working with the pattern, it came together quickly. On the blue tee I did royally bungle the neckline. PSA: If you are going to whip your head around to tell a 3 year-old to stop trying to sit on top of the ac window unit while serging, you should not keep on serging at full speed. To quickly fix the “oops” I went around a second time making the neck binding narrower and the neckline  slightly bigger.

Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com

Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com

While the fabric markers are not my preferred medium when decoration textiles they are something I’d use again if working with a young child. Just be warned that the markers we used (Graffiti) were not exactly up to aggressive amounts of pressure and Seb knock a few of the tips off. They still worked but without the fine line.

Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com Neon Lights Tee // www.pensebrox.com

The Olive Green Thumb: You say tomato…

Tomato // pensebrox.com

 

Sugar Baby  // pensebrox.com

 

Since the birth of Pen my garden has been pretty much left to its own devices. This included not tilling my two raised beds until well into June. I was pleasantly surprised by this stealth Sugar Baby watermelon plant (second photo) that popped up on its own. It even has a tiny watermelon! Last year I planted a few watermelon seeds that never came to fruition. My other bed also features a mystery plant that cropped up on its own. My vote is cucumber but we will see.

Most of my 12 tomato plants are doing well and some are even sporting fruit (first photo). This weekend I hope to get out in the garden and give everything a bit of tlc.

One month already and future projects…

One Month // www.pensebrox.comSummer seems to be flying by and would you believe that as of today Penelope is already ONE MONTH OLD? Gah! Already a good sport, she has been helping me test two super awesome patterns for designers that I’m a huge fan of. Both projects will be revealed later in the month! Once Pen is beyond the itty-bitty stage I’ll miss making clothes from little more than scraps. Also coming up is the results of an exciting exchange I took part in. Who knows if I will get anywhere participating in the upcoming summer Kids Clothes Week but I’d like to at least give it a shot. Especially since the theme (kids art) has so much potential!

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