sewing

Why I’m not waiting for perfect anymore

Life is too short to wear clothes I don't like

I find myself buying fewer and fewer pieces of clothing for myself, because I look at them and think “surely I can just make this for myself instead!” But the thing is, I’ve been saying that for a long time. And I keep holding back, waiting…

To find the perfect pattern.

To be done breastfeeding.

To not be pregnant.

To finally lose the baby weight.

To find the perfect fabric… And then never cutting into it, because there’s no pattern good enough for this amazing fabric.

To have perfected all my sewing skills (ha!)

The past few days, I’ve been taping patterns and choosing fabric for dresses and shirts that I’ve been wanting to sew for awhile. But I keep getting hung up on my fabric choices, hesitating to cut into fabrics that I love, because what if I suddenly lose ten pounds and it doesn’t fit anymore (that’s a lovely dream, isn’t it?) Or what if I decide I don’t like it, and then I’ve used this expensive or hard to find fabric on something I’m never going to wear?

There will always be excuses to keep me from sewing for myself. But really, now is the perfect time. Because there is no perfect time. If I keep waiting for the stars to align and for life’s circumstances to be exactly what I hope they will be, I’m never going to do it. Today I’ve decided that I’m not going to hold out for perfect. I’m going to embrace the imperfections of my life and my circumstances. I’m not going to save my favorite fabrics for someday. I’m going to sew for myself, even if I haven’t met my “ideal weight.” I’m going to sew garments that aren’t perfect, but that I feel good about wearing, because they were made by me. And I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to “waste fabric” as I try new things.

Because life is too short to wear clothes that I don’t like and to spend my days waiting around for someday. If (when?) I lose that baby weight, I may have to make myself some new clothes.. but then I get to make myself new clothes. And they’ll probably be better, because with each garment I sew, my skills improve and I learn how to fit my body. And goodness, there will always be pretty fabric. I do love buying new fabrics.. :)

So over the next few months, you’ll be seeing more sewing for me. And if you don’t, you have permission to yell at me. Well, gently remind me of this post anyway.

Will you join me?

Happy sewing, friends!

Striped Neptune Tee

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know my love of all things Pattern Anthology. Four of my favorite designers put out a collection of patterns together for a limited time discount, then the patterns go to their individual shops at regular retail price. Every single time a new Pattern Anthology collection comes out, I’m so impressed. There’s usually some squealing involved. (You can see a few of the things I’ve sewn from previous collections here) The ladies have just come out with another fabulous women’s collection, 8 Days a Week, and I sewed up the Neptune Tee.

Neptune Tee

I sewed the simple version, but the pattern comes with these amazing triangle cutouts.

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A T-shirt and jeans is pretty much my mom uniform, and I love the fit of this tee. I brought mine in around the hips a little bit, but made no other alterations and it fits perfectly.

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The pattern comes together super quickly – a naptime sew (yay!) So basically it’s quicker to make myself a new shirt than to wash one that’s dirty. Hmmm….

DSC_0102I especially like the armbands. … and this fabulous GLITTER striped fabric that I’ve been hoarding (from either JoAnn’s or Hancock Fabrics a couple years ago) Since my life is all superheroes and Thomas trains, a boy mama needs a little glitter fabric in her life, am I right?

DSC_0027While you’re looking at this gorgeous tee, you can also notice that I have to remove my stove knobs … life with a toddler, my friends.

DSC_0054I was given the Neptune Tee pattern in exchange for testing, but I always stand by my reviews – and I super love this shirt. You can get yours along with the rest of the 8 Days a Week collection until October 6th, or from See Kate Sew after that date.

Happy sewing, friends!

Kudzu Coveralls Dress

Last weekend, I went to my cousin’s baby shower and she’s having a GIRL! Since my world is all boy sewing, I was a little giddy with excitement at the idea of sewing a dress – the Kudzu Coveralls Dress from Sew Like My Mom!

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Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking these links, I receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting this site!

I picked up this butterfly corduroy at JoAnn’s in the remnant section awhile back. Since I don’t have a big need for girly fabrics, I like to scour the remnants and find smaller pieces that hide out in my stash for just these situations.

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The sweet little gathers in corduroy! Is there anything cuter?

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I lined the bodice with a vintage floral and used Kam Snaps. Just like the overalls, the dress version of the Kudzu is super easy to follow and comes together so quickly. And the itty bitty dress that comes out is freaking adorable.

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I also made a little headband, using some fold over elastic and this super easy flower tutorial.

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I can’t wait to see this little cousin wearing this sweet little dress! (wait, if she’s my cousin’s daughter, what does that make her to me… once removed? second cousin? I truly have no idea..)

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This, my friends, is more pink than my sewing machine usually sees.

Happy sewing!

DIY Extra Large Beach Tote + the most stylish baby wipes I’ve ever seen

When you head to the beach (okay, when you head anywhere) with kids, you end up bringing a lot of stuff for all the inevitable messes and disasters. Diapers, wipes, sunscreen, snacks, extra clothes, sunglasses, water bottles, towels, toys… basically everything you own. I knew I wanted to make an extra large beach tote for these occasions – one that you can stuff to the brim with all the necessities – and bonus points if the necessities look super cute, like these ridiculously stylish baby wipes from Huggies. Because just like I can’t pass up fabulous fabric, I love when the things I have to carry with me look adorable.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Huggies. I received compensation for this post and these products. All opinions are my own.

DIY Extra Large Beach Tote

Making a tote bag is super easy – it’s similar to my simple tote bag tutorial, but I’ve added a lining and an extra long strap. And pockets. But you can make this in any size, for whatever toting needs you have… farmer’s market, weekend trips, anything!

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I have yet to meet a mama of little ones who doesn’t use baby wipes on a daily basis. I take these everywhere – I even find myself using them when I don’t have my kids with me. But the regular crinkly plastic that wipes come in is not my fave. So when I first picked up this new Clutch ‘n Clean from Huggies, I was super impressed with the durable non-crinkly material. Hello, who hasn’t cringed as they’ve pulled out the noisy wipes in church?? It’s reusable, so you can leave the not-so-stylish containers under your changing table and refill this one when it’s empty.

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There are several designs to choose from, and I actually stood in the aisle for a full five minutes trying to decide which one was cuter. But in the end, I’m always drawn to the stripes! I also really love that the colors are bright, so I can easily spot them in my bag for those wiping emergencies. We have a lot of them, friends. And then when you need to run to the restroom, they have a super convenient strap, so you don’t have to bring your entire tote with you.

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Now grab some sturdy fabric from your stash so you can make an extra large beach tote too. :)

Bag dimensions

1. Cut your outer and lining fabrics (two of each). My approximate dimensions are in the photo above. You can make it any size you want, really, just be sure to make the lining an eensy bit smaller than your outer fabric. I suggest using a more durable fabric.

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2. Cut out your straps – again, the length is up to you. I made mine extra long to accommodate my tall husband, in case he needs to carry the bag also. Cut a strip of fabric that is double the width you want. (Mine was about 70in. long and 6in. wide, before it was folded.) Then sew the long end, with the right sides together. Then turn it right side out, press, and pin it to the outer fabric as seen in the picture above. Repeat for the second strap and second outer fabric piece. (you can see detailed pictures on how to make a strap in this tutorial)

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3. Stitch down the sides of the straps (you are only sewing through one layer of outer fabric at this point). Stop sewing about an inch from the top. Repeat for the second strap.

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4. Pin the two outer layers together – right sides together. Sew all around the three edges (not the side where the straps stick out).

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5. If you want to make pockets, now is the time to do it. Whatever size you want your pockets to be, cut your fabric twice the size of the pocket. Then fold it in half (right sides together), and stitch around the edges, leaving a small opening to turn the pocket right side out.

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6. Turn the pocket right side out, press (folding under the little section that you didn’t sew), and stitch down the three sides onto the right side of the lining fabric. Repeat this for any more pockets you want.

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7. If you want to divide a pocket into two, simply stitch down the center, making sure to back stitch at the top and the bottom.

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8. Now place your lining pieces together and stitch the three sides, just as you did with the outer fabric.

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9. Press down the top of both the outer fabric and the lining. You can finish the edges with either a serger or pinking shears (I would actually recommend doing this earlier, but if you do it now, make sure not to cut through your straps!)

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10. Pin the lining inside the outer fabric and topstitch along the top. You want to stitch over the straps, otherwise you’ll have a gap between your straps and your outer fabric.

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Now pack your bags and head to the beach!

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I love having everything I need all in one spot.

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The one thing I can never have enough of is tote bags. Okay, and fabric…

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You can find Huggies Natural Care® Wipes in stylish packaging in grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide.

Simply Summer Romper – Tutorial and Free Pattern!

This week is Romper Week over at Sewing Mama RaeAnna, and at our house we love a good baby romper. I have a super easy tutorial so that your baby can be as adorable as mine (well… I’ll still think mine is the most adorable, if that’s okay ;) as well as a free 12 month size pattern!

Simply Summer Romper - free pattern and tutorial

If you have a baby wearing a 12 month size, you can download my free Simply Summer Romper pattern here (affiliate link). If not, you can still make one. :) When sewing with knits, you can use a serger as I did, or you can use a zig zag stitch to construct the romper. This post is full of great resources for sewing with knits.

Making your own pattern pieces (if you’re using the free pattern, skip down just a bit, because you don’t need this part):

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Take a romper of your own and trace it – allowing for seam allowance. You could also put a T-shirt and a pair of shorts together and trace them as if they were one piece.

DSC_0306I like to cut out half of it and then fold it over to make sure the left and right sides are going to be exactly the same.

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I cut this romper out of an XXL T-shirt, so I left the sleeve hems in tact. If you don’t do this, make sure you leave some extra length for hemming.

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Make sure you trace the snap facings. Your back and front ones may be a bit different, depending on how the pieces look. You will want to cut two of the front facings.

Putting together your romper:

This pattern includes 3/8in. seam allowance.

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1. Put the two back pieces Right Sides Together (RST) and sew.

DSC_03112. Pin the back and front pieces RST at the shoulders and the side seams.

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3. Fold the sleeve piece RST and sew along the short edge (mine is hemmed in this picture, but yours won’t be, unless you are upcycling a T-shirt). Repeat with the second sleeve.

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4. With the romper inside out and the sleeve right side out, place the sleeve inside the arm hole. Pin the bottom point (where the sleeve meets the underarm) and the top point (where the sleeve cap meets the shoulder) then carefully pin the rest of the sleeve. Sew around to attach the sleeve and repeat with the other sleeve.

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5. Cut a 1in x 16in rectangle of ribbed knit (mine in the picture above is folded). If you’re upcycling a T-shirt, cut off the neckline and use it!

DSC_03166. Fold the ribbing with the short edges together and sew. Then fold the wrong sides together and press.

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7. Pin the ribbing along the outside of the neckline as pictured and sew.

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8. Then flip the neckline inside. You can topstitch if you’d like.

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9. Pin the back snap facing to the bottom of the back romper piece, RST and sew.

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10. Sew the two front snap facings together with RST.

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11. Interface one side of the front snap facing and half of the back snap facing.

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12. Fold the front snap facing with right sides out and press.

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13. Sew the front snap facing to the outside of the front romper piece. Press the snap facing down flat.

DSC_033214. Fold and press 1/4in. of the back snap facing down and then fold and press the whole facing in half toward the inside of the romper. The raw edge should be tucked in. Top stitch it in place.

15. Hem the bottom and sleeves.

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16.  Attach your snaps according to their instructions (I like KAM snaps for their ease of use, but I think that regular metal snaps give the garment a more ready-to-wear feel). That’s it – you’re done!

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Rompers in the summer are our favorite!

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This romper is a super quick sew, and is so comfy for these little playful bodies!

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Don’t forget to download your free Simply Summer Romper 12 month size pattern here! (affiliate link)

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Head over to Sewing Mama RaeAnna to link up your own romper and win some amazing prizes! But if you don’t have a romper to link up, you can still enter to win some great prizes :)

 Click here to enter the giveaway

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And make sure you check out all the other fun rompers this week! Like my friend Melissa at Sew Like My Mom who has something ADORABLE to share today!

 

Happy sewing, friends! :)

Oakley Shorts Pattern Review

Awhile back, my lovely and wonderful friend Melissa from Sew Like My Mom sent me her newest pattern, the Oakley Shorts and Capris. Since I loved her Kudzu Coveralls, I knew that I was going to love this pattern too.

Oakley Shorts

Being the fourth boy, this little peanut has gotten his fair share of hand-me-downs. But sometimes they don’t quite make it that far.

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Like all of Melissa’s patterns, this one comes together beautifully. It comes in sizes 12months – 8years, and has some adorable capri options for girls!

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I made the 12month size, and the fit on my little man is perfect. He’s wearing disposables here, and they are a little tight when he wears cloth. If you’re a cloth diapering family, I would size up or add a couple of inches to the rise.

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These are the absolute perfect summer shorts!

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You can find the Oakleys (and the rest of the Sew Like My Mom patterns) here. Come back tomorrow when I’m going to share some secrets about this photo shoot… including what the first one looked like, and the tips I used to improve it!

Happy sewing, friends!

Adelaide Top

I’ve kind of switched gears a little bit in my sewing and have been sewing a lot more for myself. And it is so fabulous! I had the super honor of being an early tester for one of See Kate Sew‘s new pattern – Adelaide. Friends, I’m in looooove.
The Adelaide TopThis pattern is oh so lovely. It is a really fast sew, and like every one of Kate’s patterns, it’s incredibly well put together.

adelaide3This yoke detail is so fantastic. The pattern comes with a ruffle piece for the yoke, or you can use a pre-made trim like I did. I used a vintage eyelet trim and these fabulous vintage yellow buttons. The fabric is also vintage – a linen that I found at a thrift store awhile back. I basically love everything about this top.

adelaide2The darts on this early test version are a little high, and they’ve been adjusted in the final pattern.

adeladie4I hand sewed the hem with a blind stitch … and my six-year-old photographer got this excellent shot of it. ;) I am seriously addicted to sewing for myself now. And between this one and the rest of Kate’s new Garden Party line, I could be busy for awhile.

adelaideYou will adore this pattern as much as I do. The sleeves, the yoke… sigh. Perfection.

Sew-a-bration of Women: shoreline boatneck tunic (take two)

When I’m shopping and I find something like a t-shirt or a cardigan that fits my body and I feel great in, I like to buy more than one. The same thing goes for a handmade wardrobe, which is why this is take two of this gathered tunic.

shoreline boatneck tunic

The first gathered tunic I made was a modified Shoreline Boatneck (affiliate link) from Blank Slates, and this one is too. (Though the pattern is fantastic without modification, as all Blank Slates Patterns are :)

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Today I’m posting as a part of the Sew-a-bration of Women at the Shaffer Sisters and Call Ajaire. It’s an awesome celebration of sewing for women – no matter your body type or age. Celebrating YOU!

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I’m still carrying a little post-baby love around my middle from my sweet baby number four, and this style of tunic is super flattering and hides that problem area better than some others. If you’re hesitant to sew for yourself because you haven’t lost the last ten pounds or are still nursing or whatever… just think of it as practice. Try out different styles to see what works for you, and the more you try, the better you’ll get.

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This tunic is long enough to wear with leggings (because leggings are not pants, my friends… cover up the booty is all I have to say), and the fabric from Girl Charlee is the perfect weight for summer, even with 3/4 sleeves. And pasty white legs, but you know, it’s spring in Wisconsin, these things happen..

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You can find the full tutorial for this tunic here and can use it to alter any shirt pattern to this style of tunic.

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You can gather it more if you like a fuller skirt, but I love just a little bit – and also, I hate gathering fabric. It’s a good thing I live in a house full of boys. ;)

Check out some more Sew-a-bration inspiration at these other blogs and get excited to sew for yourself!

DIY geometric typography tee [a tutorial]

My friend Stacey at Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy asked me to join in on her Fashionable Type series – celebrating all kinds of typography in fashion. I had a few ideas right away, but with the Straight Lines and Angles series still in my head, I decided to go geometric again.

geometric typography tutorial

I was inspired by this amazing typography, and I used some scraps of striped knit to create a similar design.

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I made my T-shirt out of some absolutely delicious Ponte de Roma knit from Girl Charlee, though this could be done on a store-bought tee as well. Here are the super easy steps…

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1. Cut out the letters from knit scraps and iron lightweight interfacing on the back.

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2. Trim any extra interfacing

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3. Pin the letters onto the shirt’s front. If you’re sewing the shirt, do this before you sew the front and back together. I like to pin the corners to keep the letters from shifting around.

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4. Then carefully top-stitch the letters onto the fabric. Go slowly and carefully so they don’t shift out of place. Since knit doesn’t fray, you don’t have to worry about finishing the edges of your letters. A ready-to-wear shirt will be a little bit trickier to maneuver in your machine, but if you go slowly, it should be no problem. :)

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A couple notes about this knit… I LOVE Ponte de Roma knits. They’re quickly becoming my favorite. They sew together gloriously and are super comfortable. My tunic that I made out of stripey Ponte de Roma (also from Girl Charlee) is one of my favorite handmade garments. Plus, how fun is this vibrant orange?!

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Funny side note: I actually made this shirt for my two-year-old. But trying to get a two-year-old to wear something when he doesn’t want to… yeah, that’s not a battle I’m willing to fight. Lucky me, I have another boy waiting in the wings who is more than willing to let me take his photo and just a wee bit taller than the aforementioned toddler.

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This is fun, right? ;)

The Fashionable Type Button

Now make sure you pop over to Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy to see the giveaway for Dead Ringer Designs, which has some sweet t-shirts, and to enter the link party.. and see what kind of typography fun A Jennuine Life for the series today too!

Spring Showers Jacket Tour

This week’s forecast is calling for a LOT of rain. So it’s a good thing that we’re prepared with our new…

Spring Showers Jacket

Spring Showers Jacket, from Elegance & Elephants!

Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate of Elegance & Elegance and this post contains affiliate links

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This pattern is nothing but fantastic. It has everything your kiddo could want in a raincoat (or even just an everyday coat).

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I picked up a tablecloth at Target in the clearance section quite awhile ago. It’s some kind of polyester… not stiff at all, and super wearable. I had in mind to make a jacket out of it, so when Heidi came out with this pattern, I knew it was a meant to be!

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My six-year-old calls it Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors, which is obviously the perfect name. :) The fabric is not 100% waterproof, but I plan to scotch guard it (thanks to Alida’s suggestion). I lined it with red flannel, since we don’t get a lot of rain when it’s super hot out. And it was the only solid color that I had enough of in my stash…

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I love how Heidi even thought to include a way for your little one to hang up their jacket! I used some twill tape, though there’s directions in the pattern for how to make your own.

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I just adore the hood. The visor is awesome. It keeps the rain – or sun! – out of their eyes. I would love to make a fall coat, without the visor, using a different fabric.

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And just because I can’t help but share… epic pattern matching!

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The pockets are so great – they are nice and big. You could easily snap or button them down if you want too.

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We’re big fans of pockets. :)

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This jacket is SO comfy. Perfect for running and playing. He seriously wears it around the house, he loves it so much! A stiffer material might be different, of course, but I love how Heidi designs with real kids in mind.

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Real, giggly, playful kids. :)

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The Spring Showers Jacket pattern is available for sizes 2-12, and is perfect for girls or boys! You can see this and all of the Elegance & Elephants patterns here.

Elegance & Elephants

You can get your pattern for $1 off with the code TOUR. Make sure you check out all the other Spring Showers Jackets on the tour – there are so many great boy and girl versions!