Sis Boom Pattern Co.’s “Kelsey” Pattern


Sis Boom “Kelsey” in “Color Brigade”

Recently, I had the pleasure of doing some more pattern testing for Sis Boom Pattern Co.. The Kelsey is one of my favorite girls’ patterns ever! There are several style options in this one pattern. You can make it hip-length, tea-length, or a maxi, with or without a ruffle, and mix and max fabric to your heart’s content!


Sis Boom’s “Kelsey” in “Color Brigade”

The size ranges from 6 months to size 14, and the elasticized back grows with your child. I’m confident the dresses I made for my daughter and nieces will still fit them beautifully next year. You can layer a tee underneath for more modesty and warmth, or leave as is and wear to a summer tea party. My daughter likes to wear a tea-length version as a beach cover-up.

Every time my little kiddo wears one of hers in public, she gets numerous compliments. I’ve had several requests from friends to make one for their daughters! This cute PDF pattern is sure to be extremely popular for spring and summer sewing. You can buy it online here:

I’ve already made half a dozen, and plan on making at least that many more!


Sis Boom “Kelsey” in “Color Brigade”

Scattered, but Pushing Through

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes it seems like I tackle too many projects at once, but whenever I pare down and just focus on one thing at a time, I can’t focus on it. It’s like trying to look directly at one star in a crowded sky–it disappears the instant my eyes lock on it. It’s as if my brain needs distractions to function.

I have been working on two sewing projects while trying to clean my house, chip away at the novel I’ve been working on for over a year, raise two young children, and learn how to create sewing patterns using Adobe Illustrator. I was having some sort of mental block and the online instructor’s videotaped words held no meaning for me, but I pressed through and kept watching and reading, and something “clicked” and it’s all starting to make sense to me again.

I really hope that happens with my novel soon. I’ve written about two hundred pages, but have only been writing an average of a paragraph a week for the past few months. Sections I’ve written that seemed so full of promise a few months ago seem dull and mediocre now. I must keep reminding myself that this is only my first novel, and it’s only my first rough draft of it. It’s my “practice novel”. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or even close to perfect. It’s just something I have to push through to do what I have longed to do for almost three-fourths of my life, and that is write books.

I feel I should mention that my romance novel is going to be pretty tame as far as those sort of books go. You see, I want to publish it under my real name, and it would never do to have one of my aunts or ministers or (Heaven forbid) children read it and stumble upon a sex scene. I’m sure I could write a good one if I tried, but I’d just rather not. I don’t enjoy reading that sort of thing, myself. (I feel all embarrassed, like I’ve been caught spying on someone in a hotel room. Also, sex just looks really corny in black and white letters. Just my two cents). My heroine has fairly old-fashioned values and cares a lot about doing the right thing, which is great, but I’m concerned that she’s coming across as priggish or saccharine a lot of the time. However, when I give her the exact thoughts I’d be thinking in some of her circumstances, she reads like a real bitch. That may or may not be a good thing. Very virtuous people are often quite boring. I just don’t know if I’m a skilled enough writer to make her sweet, neurotic, sarcastic, sincere, jealous, generous, a little judgmental, and lovable all at once.

I’m not really sure what genre my novel is going to fit under. I don’t want to make it a Christian romance novel, because I’d have to clean it up a bit, and I like the swear words and unrepentantly bad attitudes where they are. Besides, I have read dozens and dozens of Christian romance novels, and only a few were any good. The obvious moral extractions took so much fun out of things. So, I don’t want to write a book that will fit in that particular niche. There’s no way my book is going to belong in the Harlequin bodice buster category, either.

All I can do is try, and chip away a few sentences at a time until the story falls into place for me again.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s practice. It’s practice. It’s practice.

A New Language

So, I’m learning a different language, and that is pattern drafting on Adobe Illustrator. I’m taking a course that is pretty good. Exciting in places (the exciting parts are where I imagine myself making adorable outfits from my own patterns that end up becoming wildly popular and profitable, and using the profits to buy myself ridiculous amounts of unique and overpriced jewelry. Ahem! …And donating to charity). When I’m not doing the daydreaming, the course is a wee bit maddening. I hate watching someone click and click and move lines around a screen, saying things like “That doesn’t look quite right to me”, “Now it looks good!”, “No, I need to just move it up a little more. There now!”. This isn’t learning to paint happy little trees with Bob Ross. This is creating sewing patterns digitally. Black and white lines. With math.

Sometimes my mind starts to wander, and I realize I have no idea what the instructor been trying to teach me for the past ten minutes. I am learning a lot, and I sure wouldn’t do as good a job trying to teach an online video course on any subject, let along digital sewing pattern drafting, but still, the monotony is driving me crazy. What is also driving me crazy is that I sometimes have the feeling she is explaining a really simple process, but my mind just draws a great big blank. I can’t make it make sense in my head. There’s just a blank space where comprehension ought to be. No lightbulb turning on. Just a weird staticky noise.

I’m going to figure it out eventually. I suspect I’m going to come up with my own mumbo jumbo way of making patterns that produces pretty good results, but I won’t be able to tell anyone for the life of me how I achieved them. It reminds me of my daily torture sessions, a.k.a. “high school Algebra”. I could arrive at the correct answer, but couldn’t explain how I got there, and certainly couldn’t get there by using the sole teacher-approved formula. So, I’ll just chip away at learning pattern drafting and hope there isn’t a pop quiz with an “explain your steps” question at the end.


Playing “Fashion Photographer”

12009587_10153210057176245_5247593270830494000_nEvery now and then, I get the urge to play “fashion photographer”. I’m the kind of person who always has to be imagining something, or life seems a little flat. Sometimes I like to imagine I am a soon-to-be highly acclaimed photographer and designer, seconds away from being discovered and whisked away to work for Elle or Vogue magazine. Fortunately, I have some dear friends and family members who humor me by letting me dress them up in clothes I’ve made (I let them keep the clothes) and costume jewelry, and pose patiently while my camera snaps away.

Of course, I need to take about thirty photographs to get one good one, especially when kids are involved. It is difficult to get your adult subject situated in the most flattering light when your children are grabbing hers by the hand and leading them toward a muddy river bank. It is near impossible to get small children to hold a pose, especially when they would rather explore the scenic area you want to photograph them in. I resort to bribery, and when that fails, I chase them around, taking photo after photo, hoping one of them turns out well. I try to photograph all my subjects between 5:00 and 7:00 PM, when lighting is the best, so at least I won’t have harsh shadows or washed-out faces to deal with, but that isn’t always possible. People have schedules to work around.


Some children are easier to photograph than others. My daughter is always ready to turn on the charm and is usually very amiable about posing, but my son often turns sulky when I whip out the camera. I’ve given up trying to get him to smile and either photograph him stealthily or just accept that he is going to look sulky in his new outfit.

I feel very blessed to have such photogenic family and friends who let me imagine I’m some big shot photographer as I take their pictures with my oldish, reliable point and click camera. Maybe one day, I’ll take a class or two about photography and invest in a better camera, but in the meantime, I pick up tips on Pinterest and do the best I can. It’s lovely to have some great pictures of the people nearest and dearest to me. Thanks for the fun times, guys!



Queen Bee


My beautiful little daughter, Zee, is four going on fourteen–an especially cranky version of fourteen. A version of fourteen that can’t be reasoned with, refuses to put on shoes, has completely forgotten how to say “please”, and runs about, peremptorily making demands as though she is a queen and I her lowly scullery maid.

“Mommy, you work for me now,” she informed me this morning. I would have laughed, but she was perfectly serious, and apparently took for granted that my answer would be: “Sure thing, your Highness. How may I serve you?”. We had a little discussion which began with me explaining that I was the mother and therefore the boss, culminated in her screaming that I would do her bidding, and ended with my threatening to put her remaining toys in the attic. Three fourths of them are already up there. Time-outs don’t always work, spankings (though rarely employed) only succeed in making her vengeful, but incarceration of the dollies is proving a pretty darn effective tool.

When Zee isn’t planning a household coup, she is lovely to be around. She has this way of giving hugs where she just melts into you. She cries in sympathy when one of her little friends skins a knee. She puts on plays with her dolls that are full of mayhem and gore, but always end with air kisses and apologies. She chases her brother around and squeezes the breath out of him when he gets tired of running. She grabs my hand and invites me to dance with her. She tells me: “Your eyes are like stars and your lips are like roses and I love your heart”. She creeps up behind me, jumps on my back, and kisses me. She is the world’s best cuddler. She draws pictures of people with spidery eyelashes and makes up exciting stories about them. She wants to hug all the Disney princesses “’cause then they will be happy”. She sings sweetly to the flowers as she waters them.

Then she orders the brightly shining sun to go behind a cloud, and is shocked when it doesn’t obey. She finds a way to blame her brother for the light glaring in her eyes, and orders him to make the sun obey her. He laughs at her, and she quivers with rage.

Never have I met a child with such a relentless drive to be in control. It’s pretty clear that she was born to rule. It’s just my job to help her become a leader instead of a dictator.



The “Simply Sweet” Gets Frillyfied

My husband and I took our kids to watch the New York Theatre Ballet put on “The Nutcracker” in Keene this afternoon. The ballet was condensed into an hour-long production to make it easier for children to sit through, and one of the reviews raved about the relaxed atmosphere. Perfect for my kids, I thought. Maybe no-one will mind their lack of volume control.  I had made Bubsy a vest and bow tie for the occasion yesterday, but didn’t have anything special for Zee yet. Okay, that isn’t true. Zee has a bazillion pretty things I’ve made her or found while thrift shopping. I just wanted an excuse to make her something new.

I have long been inspired by Hickity Pickity. They make these diaphanous little girl dresses with tulle overlays. I decided to try my hand at something similar. I used


The “Simply Sweet”

Scientific Seamstress’s “Simply Sweet” pattern with the halter top option. I flipping love this pattern, because it is so versatile. It comes with several strap, bodice, and length options. Here are just a few variations possible from this one pattern, which is available for purchase on Scientific Seamstress’s Etsy shop.

Here’s the link to this pattern and dozens of others:

I used fabric Sis Boom’s gloriously classic “Caravelle Arcade” line.

For my daughter’s first visit to the ballet, I decided to add a tulle overskirt. It was a little time consuming to cut out, as the tulle kept shifting around and getting snagged on my engagement ring. I cut it and the fabric underskirt to wider dimensions than the pattern called for to make it extra full. I stitched the overskirt and underskirt at the sides separately, then put the layers together when I gathered the top of the skirt. I attached it to the bodice, and decided that was a good stopping place for the night.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the morning, I hemmed the underskirt, so the tulle overhung it by about two inches, contributing to the “floaty” effect. I knew I wanted to add a sparkly button, but I also needed to cover up the basting threads on the skirt. Normally, I would remove them, but I thought I would tear the delicate tulle in the attempt. So, I covered them up with some glitter ribbon my daughter picked out. Covering up mistakes sparks some of my best ideas. I attached the ribbon and added an acrylic rhinestone at the top, but the dress looked off-balance to me. Even though the tulle skirt made the dress look ethereal, it still looked a little bottom-heavy, like an triangle. So, I made an inverted triangle out of some pale blue glittered ribbon on the bodice to counter the effect.

As you can see, Zee felt absolutely beautiful. I’d like to say she behaved beautifully throughout her first ballet, but that would not be strictly true. While she was enthralled with the perfectly executed choreography and the elaborate costumes, she did burst out laughing at the men’s form- fitting tights. “Heh, heh, heh. I can see their BUTTS!”, she cried. Over and over. And over. Punctuated with lots of “heh, heh, heh”s. She reminded me of that inane show from the 90s, “Beavis and Butthead”.

Bubsy was traumatized by the life-sized mice and began begging to leave, so I escorted him out. Zee made it almost through, but ten minutes before the end, she decided she’d had enough and announced her desire to leave,”Right now!”, in a loud voice.

As the four of us made our way back to the car, my husband asked Zee how she liked the ballet. She giggled and replied: “I saw butts.”


Scientific Seamstress’s “Simply Sweet” in Sis Boom’s Caravelle Arcade


The End. 


The Festive Vest

We’re taking the kids to see The Nutcracker tomorrow, and my five-year-old son, Bubsy, needed something a little bit dressy to wear. His little sister will be wearing–what else?–a tutu, and I was just going to plunk Silas into a sweater and jeans, when I realized he’s been looking a little jealous of all the homemade loot Zee’s been getting lately. Honestly, I don’t usually enjoy sewing for boys very much. It feels more like work than it does play. I’m all about the ruffles and floral fabric, baby.

However, I remembered I had the Scientific Seamstress “Festive Vest” pattern on hand. You can get your pattern here:

I’d already made one vest–airplane themed–for my little boy. Here he is, with the Scientific Seamstress “Easy Fit” pants.

This time, I thought he’d like one with his new favorite person, Santa Claus, on it. I made it reversible, Santa fabric on one side, and red, green, and white stripes on the other. While I was at it, I also snapped up the free “Bosco Bow Tie” pattern from Sis Boom.

The bow tie came together in about fifteen minutes, and the results are absolutely precious! I can see adapting this pattern to make cute little bows for barrettes or to accent a handbag. The vest came together in about 45 minutes, start to finish. He’s also wearing some navy blue Easy Fit pants, but he insisted on tucking them into his beloved galoshes, so I didn’t get a full shot of them. The Easy Fits take only about fifteen minutes to make, and come with a ruffled and cuffed version, too.

My son is on the ASD spectrum, and despite his high level of intelligence, it’s very difficult for him to tell the back of his pants from the front of his pants. I LOVE that the back is exactly the same as the front in this pattern. One less thing for him to struggle with. So without further ado, here are some photos of my little love bug in his new duds. Baby sister crashed a couple of shots.

It’s difficult to see, but Bubsy is holding a stuffed reindeer made from another Sis Boom freebie, the “Rachel Reindeer”.


P1019156.JPGOur tree has half a dozen. My kids love them and are always taking them off to play with them. I’ve made over a dozen of them for teacher’s appreciation gifts and have promised to make some for relatives, too. Absolutely in love with that little pattern.

Get it here:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!