But what do you wear to a cookie exchange?

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My husband & I both come from families who love to love their holiday traditions – especially at Christmas. One of my favourite traditions of all time is Christmas cookies. I LOVE cookies! And I LOOOOOOOOOVE cookie exchanges, so the idea of tying in a virtual cookie exchange with a sewing project is really my style.

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A few years ago a friend & I put together a Christmas cookie exchange, and it was as fantastic as I had dreamed. To exchange our cookies we all got dressed up & came together for a fancy potluck Christmas supper. We spent the evening relaxing, eating, socializing, and being merry, then went home with several dozen delicious cookies. Yes, we were clearly all without little kids at home!

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Over the years the group of women that I exchange cookies with has changed but the baking, the good company, and the giant pile of cookies are all there in the end. This year’s cookie exchange is with other moms from our weekly drop-in playgroup. Because we’re all busy moms with young babies & preschoolers, there won’t be a fancy supper or an evening to ourselves – just a gym full of our tiny humans who will be even more hyped up than usual on cookies & hot chocolate. Let the good times roll!

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My all-time favourite shirt to wear to play group (or anywhere that involves chasing/refereeing/herding/supervising my kids) is a Weekender Tunic that I made a long time ago:

It’s the perfect amount of length to cover my bum (sorry, I am firmly in the camp that says leggings aren’t pants!) without being so long that it looks like a dress. It has enough ease for motion & to be gracious to my postpartum belly, but not so loose that it looks frumpy. And of course, Dolman sleeves without looking like I’m about to fly away. Basically, if I’m feeling “bleh” it’s my go-to, and always seems to be just what I need to feel comfortable in my own skin again. It’s also super simple to whip up, I was able to go from cut to finished in 2 hours (accounting for 1.5 of those hours being interrupted by a toddler pattern weight & a sick baby). So obviously,  I need 68975322579053 of them in my wardrobe…why do I only have 1?!

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This cookie exchange/blog tour was just the excuse that I needed to make another, but this time I added snaps partway down the side seam to make nursing access simpler. I used this single brushed poly from my stash – the floral print is beautiful & I thought the single brushed would be comfortable to wear. Originally this fabric told me that it needed to be a raglan nursing top, but I didn’t listen…lesson learned, because I find that it changed the fit drastically enough that it’s not as flattering or as comfortable as my cotton/spandex version. That said, even though it’s not what I had dreamed, it IS still cozy & fantastic for today’s rainy day weather – it paired perfectly with some leggings, a zip-up hoodie, a vest, and my Bogs. Because this is Ottawa, everything needs to be layered on rainy fall/winter days!

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Want to try making a Weekender Tunic of your own? Comment below with either your favourite Christmas tradition or cookie recipe (a link is great!) and I’ll pick a winner at the end of this tour to get the pattern for free (graciously donated by Jessica from 5 Out of 4 Patterns). Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more hidden pattern giveaways!!!

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Oh, and which cookie am I making for the exchange, you ask? My favourite, with a little vegan twist. Thanks to my babies both being born with a milk protein allergy, we’ve nailed down a delicious version of almost everything dairy free – and by default, usually vegan as well. Bon appétit!

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Blog Tour Schedule

December 1 – <a href=”http://marvelousauntiem.com“>Marvelous Auntie M | <a href=”http://www.ah-baby-custo<a href=”mdesign.com/kissthisstitch/“>ah baby! Custom Design

December 2 – <a href=”http://www.elliandnels.com“>Elli & Nels in Stitches | <a href=”https://sewnatseams.wordpress.com“>Sewn at Seams

December 3 – <a href=”http://www.patternrevolution.com/blog“>Pattern Revolution

December 4 – <a href=”http://myheartwillsewon.com“>My Heart Will Sew On | <a href=”http://fabuloushomesewn.blogspot.ca“>Fabulous Home Sewn

December 5 – <a href=”https://wonderfullyhandmade.com“>Wonderfully Handmade |<a href=”https://randomsbyrydz.wordpress.com“>Randoms by Rydz

December 6 – <a href=”https://sewingwithd.wordpress.com“>Sewing with D | <a href=”http://octavesofcolor.com“>Octaves of Color

December 7 – <a href=”http://www.turtlebirdies.com“>Turtle Birdies

This post (and shirt!) has been baby approved

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Fabric: Water Tower Textiles Canada

Pattern: 5 out of 4 Patterns

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Pattern Love: Maxaloones

When our eldest was 3 months old, we decided that it was time to dive into the world of cloth diapers. It was an interesting adventure, but most interesting of all was figuring out how to fit his pants over top. We use one size pocket diapers – if you don’t know anything about cloth diapers & don’t ever care to, all that means to you is that the smaller the baby, the bulkier the diaper. Exhibit A: a tiny chunk with a huuuuuge fluff butt.

One day I asked a friend & fellow mama about the pants that I always saw her son wearing – adorable “manly leggings” is what I think I called them, and they fit over his cloth diapers. Then I found out that they’re actually “grow with me” style pants that will fit for several years. Whaaaaat?! I was determined to set out to find us a hundred pairs of these magic pants when my friend mentioned that since I sew, I should just buy the pattern off of Etsy & make them myself – it would probably be cheaper.

Usually, people who say that are not crafters themselves, and don’t always value the time that it takes to make the item. Even then, some crafters don’t value their time enough. But as a fellow crafter & mama with a young baby of her own at the time, I thought if she was making the suggestion then it must be worth investigating. And so we quickly descended down the rabbit hole of knit fabrics & sewing clothing for my family.

We are coming up soon on the 2 year anniversary of that life-altering conversation, and I would say this pattern has more than paid for itself. My first-ever pair with awful fabric & embarrassing mistakes are still in rotation in 2Point0’s wardrobe, and the first pair that I ever made with quality fabric are still worn regularly by both kids.

My sewing & photography skills are way better now that I’ve had a couple years of serious practice, so if I gifted you something I made a while ago, I’m sorry!!! Haha. While I was making the most recent pairs, it struck me that the day is already here where our boys are wearing the same size grow with me. How did that happen so fast?! #2 can still fit the size smaller, but it’s not worth making that size since he also fits the bigger pair, and they’ll last longer. So instead of making adorable big & little brother “twinning” pants, I found other ways to tell their pants apart.

I also thought as I was sewing them that BigBrother is probably over these pants & wanting to dress more like his dad (yes, we’re at that stage!), but the idea of wearing “boat pants” blew his mind in a way I never expected (thank-you, Moana, for the boat obsession…).

Since the first day we put them on him for pictures, my demanding toddler has asked, begged, pleaded, cried, and insolently demanded his “boat pants” more than once.

This mama, for one, is over the moon that there’s a fabric & style we can both agree on. I’m not sure how long it will last, but I will gladly take it while I can!!!

Pattern: Max & Meena Maxaloones

Fabric: Fabric Crush

Men’s Halftime Hoodie Release

Hi there Internet world! I know it’s not been my thing lately to post outside of Sundays, but the ladies over at 5 Out Of 4 Patterns have been working hard to release the Men’s Halftime Hoodie today, and I want to give them a quick shout-out. PSSSSTT…be sure to read all the way through, there’s a discount code at the end of this post that’s good for ALL 5oo4 PATTERNS AAAAAAND a chance to win $50 in free fabric!!!

 

This has been the easiest pattern test for me so far. Despite a house full of illness (myself included), I didn’t feel manic or rushed at all, there were very few drastic changes in the size that I was making (medium), and the two that I made are completely wearable. For the first I used bamboo stretch fleece for the entire sweater, including cuffs and band, and a plaid cotton to line the hood (more on that later!) – it is exactly as the final pattern is written. For the second I used brown sweatshirt fleece for the body and hood outer, with green bamboo french terry for the cuffs, band, pocket, and hood lining. This one is made from a previous draft, where the body of the pattern is a smidgeon different from the final pattern, so fits a little baggier than you can expect from the purchased pattern – but the hood, sleeves, pocket, and band did not change between this version and the final, so it is very close.

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The options for this pattern include hood or crew neck, tall or regular pocket, and thumb hole or regular cuffs. Based on my husband’s personal preferences, both of these have the tall pocket, regular cuffs, and lined hood.

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I used grommets for the drawstring holes, rather than sewing on a button hole, and I used non-stretch spaghetti strap as the drawstring itself.

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Although the pattern isn’t written that way, two of us testers used woven fabric as the hood lining, and the other woman even used woven as her pocket – time to break out all those wovens you’ve been hoarding, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for! Here I chose a brushed cotton plaid, cut on the bias (because pattern), to line the hood.

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This is the perfect casual, relaxed hoodie – it’s a simple, easy to follow pattern for a beginner (though a word of caution if you have never sewn thumbhole cuffs or installed grommets before: watch the videos!!!). Be sure to use a thicker sweatshirt material and avoid drape-y fabrics like french terry for the body & sleeves, unless you’re going for a very oversized shirt. Otherwise, you might want to think about sizing down.

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Overall, this pattern gets the thumbs-up from my husband, which means it’s a thumbs-up for me!

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With the weather soon turning cold all day long, this is a perfect addition to your man’s wardrobe. Or, if you’re the kind who likes to snag a sweater from the other side of the closet every now & then for those extra-cozy days, this will do just nicely! I might need to make one for myself so that he can have this one back…

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If you’re looking for the pattern you can find it here at 5 Out Of 4 Patterns, and be sure to join their Facebook group for ideas, tips, suggestions, and free pattern support directly from the designer herself! The discount code HALFTIME is valid for 20% off all patterns until Sunday, October 9, 2106. 

Need fabric to start creating? To celebrate the launch of this much-anticipated (by our men) pattern, 5oo4 is having a drawing for a $50 Purpleseamstress Fabric gift certificate! To enter, make sure that you purchase your pattern TODAY, Thursday, October 6, 2016. Happy sewing!

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My Favourite PDF Pattern Designers

The #1 rule of Pattern Club, is you don’t talk about Pattern Club…

This is going to sound totally ridiculous if you’ve never lived with a sewist (or sewer, seamstress, tailor, quilter, or whatever else they choose to call themselves), but the fabric & pattern world is a cutthroat business, with all sorts of copyright battles, cat fights, embezzlement, & huge drama. Think of a profession that is almost exclusively women, then add teenage angst, PMS, and menopause to a mob mentality. On the outside it’s pretty, but on the inside it is nothing but darkness and drama if you don’t work hard to push back against it.

Since I don’t design or sell fabric or patterns, I’m able to steer clear of the insanity & choose to remain a casual observer (read: lurking to ensure that none of the people I order from are either psycho or a huge fraud). Really, my favourite part of “Pattern Club” is to see what others have been creating, and to get ideas for my own creations. What was most confusing when I first started this journey is that *sometimes* it’s ok to ask the poster which pattern they used & where they got their fabric, and other times it is totally inappropriate, and they will become very angry or frustrated with you (and the 40 million other people who want to know) for asking.

The main reason for this is that anyone who sews to sell (most are Work At Home Moms – WAHMs) does not want someone to go out and reproduce their one-of-a-kind creations & suddenly become the competition, or start under-selling them. The other reason is that while their item may be made from a base pattern, it’s likely that at some point they have mashed two or more patterns together, or used a pattern of their own creation, to design the item, and sharing that information with you for free in a public forum would again create competition, but also discount the tons of hours they put into testing to get it just right. Really, the seriousness of Pattern Club, right here. So you can imagine the drama when someone goes ahead & copies/scams someone else. Ugh.

ANYWAYS. While I’m also not willing to share every little detail of everything that I make, I do love sharing some of my favourite pattern shops, because these owners deserve some crazy credit for being as awesome as they are! In no particular order, here we go:

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Patterns for Pirates – this is the only affiliate link that I have on my entire blog! But also, I’m am in LOVE with her patterns, they are so easy to alter for the perfect fit (I’m short, so there is no perfect fit for me without alterations), and even easier to sew up. The Facebook page is here if you want to see what people are up to with her patterns, or if you need some help putting one together. If you’re going to get anything from Judy, please use my link & help feed my sickness addiction pattern collection!

Max & Meena – most of these pants patterns have an option for cloth diaper bums and disposable diaper/slim fit bums, which we love. Plus you can’t argue with a pair of pants that will fit your kid from 6 months to 3yrs old. #MaxaloonesFTW
The Facebook page is here for ideas & help.

Made for Mermaids – she is actually the sister of Judy from Patterns for Pirates! Their style is similar, but different, and if I’m sewing for myself I will almost always choose a P4P over a M4M – but for the kids, it’s one of my go-tos. This one is especially great if you’re sewing for a whimsical, girly-girl little girl. Facebook group here.

Beautiful Pie Shop – one word: slippers! Really, enough said. Other than here‘s their Facebook page.

Stitch Upon a Time – seriously, these are THE most comfortable underwear you will EVER wear in your life. After my c-section every single waist band on every single pair of underwear I had dug into the incision, and no matter where it fell on my belly, it would settle itself in that exact spot. Scrundlewear to the rescue! And their Facbeook group, here.  One of their dresses is next on my must-try list this summer, whenever I get around to finishing some of the projects I’ve already started…

Did I miss one of your favourites? Maybe I just haven’t tried them yet! Leave a comment to let me know – I’m always on the lookout for designers to love and promote!

XOXO