The Perfect Spring Jacket

This post is by Betsy Smith from Illinois. 

Window shopping one day, we were so taken with an adorable spring jacket hanging in the window of a childrens store; we just knew we had to buy it.  But once inside looking at the “designer” price tag, we said what we always say in those situations … ”we can make that!”. 

So the search began for a similar laminated cotton fabric and we found it in Anna Maria Horner’s Small Gathering – Citrus from her Good Folks Collection.  We lined the jacket with a high-quality interlock cotton knit that gives perfect body to the jacket and just the right warmth and softness.  This combination made for a waterproof children’s jacket that isn’t stiff and “vinyly” like many you see in stores.

We chose Sew Baby’s Petal Jacket for the pattern.  What I love about this pattern are the clear instructions, ease of construction, and the unique silhouette – a hybrid jacket/poncho that is perfect for a growing toddler.  The jacket’s open sides allow it to fall freely and not bunch up in the car seat. The sleeves roll at the cuff to grow as the child grows.  A lined hood, with soft ribbing around the face, is a nice touch that keeps baby comfortable.  The finishing touch is the over-sized flower buttons we chose (easy to button on squirmy child).

We get compliments every where we go with this jacket.  The jacket is cute but the little girl who wears it is even cuter!


We interrupt this sewing blog for.....Spring!

I just have to depart from sewing talk, and share some images from my garden today.  It's just sooo beautiful.
White Bleeding Heart

Purple Tulips- these used to be solids, but now have developed feathered petal sports.

White Crabapple Tree and Purple Sandcherry-I love the contrast of these together.

Littleleaf Lilac-this is the best lilac ever- it repeat blooms in the summer

Charles Joly Lilac-outstanding French lilac variety that never fails to produce big, beautiful blooms.

Sensation Lilac- a stunning bicolored hybrid- has little lilac smell.

Lavender Azalea

Flower Arrangement by my daughter

Hope your Spring is as beautiful, wherever you are!


Spring Wardrobe Plan update

It was just about 3 months ago, that I posted my Spring Wardrobe Sewing With a Plan (SWAP for short).  Although I haven't been blogging much about it, I have been plugging away at sewing it, and I wanted to share with you what I've got done.  The plan was to use navy, white and grey fabrics to create an interchangeable wardrobe.
 So far,  I've made 2 woven shirts, 2 knit shirts, 2 skirts, 1 trench coat, 1 dress, 2 jackets and 1 vest.  I've still got more fabric to go from my original swap pile, but I think that this is probably as far as this SWAP will get. I'm really switching moods and have already started sewing summer dresses.  Looking at these pictures, I realize that I kind of got stuck on the navy blue, with only one white thing and one grey.  Oh well!  At least I didn't have to change my serger thread often. 

I'm really happy with this SWAP!  Unlike my last SWAP- my Green Goddess Wardrobe, this one is super versatile- all three colors are neutral and go with everything.  I already had plenty of grey, blue and white pants in my closet, so I didn't need to make pants, which is my least favorite thing to sew.  I still want to get a colorful purse- maybe a lime green or a fuchsia pink to add a pop of color to all of the outfits. 

If you have a stash of fabrics, I think this is a great way to get started sewing it.  It takes some planning, but it is really fun to do.  

New SewBaby Sweet 16 Contest entries

I just had to share some more of our Sweet 16 Design contest entries with you.  These incredibly cute creations are all from Julie Lundquist.  Julie is an amazing seamstress who has her own custom childrens clothing business- Ladybugs and Tigertails in North Carolina.  I love Julie's Mission Statement for her business:
To make children happy with comfortable clothing they love that is unique and expresses their personalities.

To make parents and others who buy for children happy by providing excellent value in fashions that are well finished for durability and long use and made using safe, practical, and and comfortable materials.

To provide clothing that is unique and special as an alternative or addition to everyday big-store retail garments.
This first one is from our Double Fun Reversible skirt pattern.  I love her choice of fabric and the rickrick trim on the bottom.
Julie made this gorgeous dress at the left from the Quilter's Quarters dress pattern by Chanana designs.  This one uses fat quarter cuts of fabric so it is perfect for quilters.
She made these stunning pink roses sisters' dresses  from Izzy and Ivy's Princess Bella dress pattern. 

And she made this bright and cheery jumper using the  SewSensible Faith Double Layer Dress top.   Here is what she said in her product review of this pattern: This is probably my favorite children's pattern of all! I cannot say enough good things about this design. It is quick and easy to cut out and construct, and it is so versatile. It is very adjustable with the elastic at the chest and back straps that cross (or not, if you prefer) and tie to fit each little girl perfectly. And it starts out as a short dress length that can still be worn a year or more later as a smock top.
Thanks Julie for sharing your creations!  You can see all of the entries submitted so far on our Facebook Sweet 16 album. 

To enter the contest, you need to:
1.  Make something using either a pattern or fabric purchased from SewBaby.
2.  Send us a picture of the project along with your name, e-mail address and the product that you used. 
3.  Write a review of the product(s) used on our website-just go into the product page, click on reviews, and you can add your own.  
4.  You can make as many entries as you have time to make!

Please e-mail your entries to

We will be featuring entries on our blog throughout this time.  Shirley, Emily and myself will choose the winning entries and will announce our selections the first week of May.  We are looking forward to seeing lots of great projects!

First Prize- $100 SewBaby gift certificate
Second Prize- $50 SewBaby gift certificate
Third Prize- $25 SewBaby gift certificate

Wedding Shower Aprons

One of my friends' nieces is getting married soon, and her grandmother wanted to give her the famous Betty Crocker cookbook and an old fashioned half apron.  Well, she had no luck finding a half apron, so they came to me and asked me to craft one for her.  The bride-to-be's favorite color is pink, and my friend wanted something dressy for special occasions, so the first thing that came to mind was this beautiful pink eyelet.  I made this from one yard of the eyelet, just gathering the full width of the fabric to fit a straight waistband.  So easy! 

Then I spotted a remnant that I had of a Patty Young cotton print that also had pink in it.  Since I was on a roll, I decided to make Simplicity 3752 for an everyday apron too.  This one is super easy because you don't even have to make the ties or waistband- it uses bias tape for that!

I think that this is a great shower gift idea and I plan on making it for my niece for her bridal shower this summer.  However, just about everybody that sees these says, "I prefer the full length aprons".  So, what do you think?  Full length or half? 

Meet Dawn from Olabelhe patterns

We are happy to be offering Olabelhe downloadable patterns.  These are BEAUTIFUL designs and Dawn Hansen, the designer, was kind enough to answer questions about herself and her patterns for me to share with you.  This is Dawn in the photo at the right!

Me:  Where did you grow-up, where did you go to school, where do you live now?  Tell us about your family.
Dawn:  I grew up in Upstate New York in a wonderful loving home with both of my parents and one younger sister. Until the age of six I was an only child and spent tons of quality time with my mother and grandmother. I can vividly remember them dressing me up and taking me into the “city” for luncheons and tea. Those trips always included visiting numerous fabric shop where my mother and grandmother would shop for fabrics to make me beautiful clothes. I was one of those little girls who never wore the same thing twice and always looked like a living doll. At, the age of 5 I started learning how to sew and would spend hours sitting beside my mother and grandmother sewing right along with them.

After graduating from high school I moved to Washington D.C. to take my first job as a nanny and then after that I moved to Boston to continue my career and go to college. I attended Wheelock College in Boston and received my degree in Elementary Ed. while continuing to work as a professional Nanny for a highly respected family. It was during my time in Boston where I met my husband. When we met he was finishing up his Ph.D at MIT and was getting ready to move back to Germany. Needless to say that never happened as we fell in love and he was offered a fantastic position at a National Lab here in Virginia. 
My children are the light of my life and I am so fortunate to be blessed with them. We have so much fun together and our house is always filled with laughter. Each of them are so special in different ways and I love that they are all so full of life and genuinely nice people. My husband and I have been married for 13 years and look forward to many more years together. 
 Me:  How did you learn how to sew, and what kinds of things do you like to sew now? 
Dawn:  As I mentioned above, I learned how to sew when I was a little girl and my mother and grandmother were my teachers. Currently my favorite thing to sew is little girls clothing. I used to be an avid quilter and I’m sure one day I will pick that up again but right now I am having too much fun dressing my little girl and designing patterns.
Me:  What advice do you have for beginning sewers?
Dawn:  I think the best advice I can give to new sewers is to be patient and practice a lot!!! Don’t be afraid to try new things or to think outside the box. Another great idea is to start  a sewing journal, notebook or inspiration board to keep clippings of ideas that you love, make notes or to organize tour own ideas such as sketches or lists of things you would like to try. I know for myself I have at least 10 new ideas everyday and it’s nice to have a place to keep all those thoughts together.
Me:  When did you start designing sewing patterns?
Dawn:  Believe it or not, I didn’t start designing patterns until just this past summer. I had never really thought about having my own line of patterns but when I started getting tons of requests from people I thought that I should give it a try. It’s been so much fun and an amazing learning experience. 
Me:  How did you decide on your business name? 
Dawn:  How I came up with the name for my business is a really great story! 3 years ago when i started my blog i wanted to have a fun name that meant something to me and that was easy to remember. It also had to be unique! I messed around with lots of ideas but none of them were quite right. Then I came up with the idea of somehow using my kids names in my “name”. After all, they are the loves of my life and my greatest inspiration. Hence the birth of Olabelhe. This funny made-up word is the first two letters of each of my 4 children’s names. OLiver, ABigail, ELliott and HEnry! Pretty clever, I love it and it works!! Plus so many people have commented on it and are always curious about where the word comes from. 
Me:  What makes your patterns unique? 
Dawn:  I want my patterns to be fun and easy for people to make. I think the worst thing any new sewer can experience is not understanding “pattern speak” So many of the patterns available today use terms that most new sewers don’t understand. I explain things in everyday language and try to add humor here and there to ease people’s anxiety. There is nothing worse for a new sewer than becoming frustrated and feeling failure. Thats why I think you can find so many sewing machines in garage sales and in thrift shops. Too many people who had a bad experience with a complicated, poorly written pattern. I really wish I could be there with each and every person who sews-up my designs to help them and make them feel at ease. However, that’s a little impractical so in my patters I make the instructions as easy as possible with lots of colorful illustrations and diagrams to help you. No fancy words or confusing instructions rather, it’s just like having a friend there sewing with you. 
Me:  How do you make time for everything you want to do?
Dawn:  Honestly, it’s not easy. Being a wife, mom, clothing/pattern designer and teacher to my 4 children is exhausting. Sleep is optional a lot of the time, but I think one of the things that saves me a lot of the time is the fact that I am very organized. I make lots of lists and I budget my time so that I can squeeze it all in somehow. Plus, I truly love what I am doing so it makes it a easier! However, I am thinking I may hire a cleaning service to help out around the house with a few things I wouldn’t mind giving up, but knowing me I would be the crazy lady who cleaned before the cleaning people came! 
Me:  What are your other interests?
Dawn:  Along with everything I do I also love to cook. I am a trained chef so preparing wonderful meals for my family is also important and relaxing for me. I also enjoy reading, photography and anything crafty. 
Thanks, Dawn!   

Stylish Sprouts Winner!

Congratulations go out to Sonia Showalter who is the winner of Power Sewing's Stylish Sprouts contest! Aren't these Easter Dresses amazingly beautiful!  We sponsored this contest and Sonia will be getting a $30 gift certificate to SewBaby, as well as a 3 month subscription to Power Sewing WebTV Show.
Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry.  You can see all of the fantastic entries here.

You still have time to enter our own Sweet 16 Anniversary contest- the entry deadline is April 30th.  Prizes and entry rules for this contest can be found on this post. 
Check out all of the entries so far on our Facebook Sweet 16 Album!