Featured · Reviews · Sponsored Post

Just for Kids: Crayola Virtual Design Pro Review

Crayola

A little departure from the usual crafty sewing posts to share this cool little thing we got in the mail recently. Long ago I was a contributor to hdydi.com, which is a blog for and by twin moms. I ended up on a list at Crayola and they sent these kits out to bloggers with kids. Here’s our little review. Full disclosure, I was not paid for my review, though Crayola did send a box with two different products for us. We received the Crayola Color Alive Star Wars Virtual Design Pro and Crayola Frozen Color Alive. (Affiliate links.)

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First of all, this kid would love ANYTHING Star Wars. I know, I have tested it. Soup? Yep. Cereal? Also Yep. Waxy mediocre Valentine chocolate hearts in a Storm Trooper tin? You Betcha! So of course as soon as he saw this he was ecstatic.

He set to work right away coloring and designing his ships. The general idea is you can color the ships and scan them into an app, which transfers your design and you can fly your vehicle through different levels.

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The Star Wars kit came with both markers and colored pencils, and I was happy to see the books had nice thick paper so markers didn’t bleed though to the back.

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When you’re done coloring, you scan your design into the Virtual Design App, which is a free download for iOS and Android devices. I really wish it worked on the boys’ Kindles, since I would love if I didn’t have to hand over my phone for them to play.

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Once scanned, you can see the details of your coloring, wrapped onto the ship you colored. My only real complaint about the whole process is in the scanning. You have to line up all four corners, there are squares you have to match and every time we got three of four and the fourth was tricky, and took a while and I think just dumb luck. I tried different lighting and flattening out the book and I didn’t notice much of a difference. I do know the kids couldn’t do it themselves, we had to help.

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You can see how cool the ships look in the game. The boys loved playing it and designing ships. If it were on their device instead of mine I think they would play with it all the time.

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The other thing in the box was the Frozen Color Alive set, which they weren’t as into as the Star Wars. I decided to try it out myself. I maybe should have picked a picture with more color, since while Olaf is cute, he’s pretty white. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I colored the castle and snowflakes, but they don’t really do anything for the app. You can see how my Olaf came to life. He was kind of weird though, he seemed to give me the stink eye at one point, or maybe it was my imagination. I think my kids would have been more interested in this one if they were into the characters more. They like Frozen OK, but aren’t huge fans like they are of Star Wars.

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Overall, I think both of the products are cool and I would definitely recommend them to people with kids. They add another level of fun to coloring and my boys liked experimenting with how things would look when they were scanned into the app. If they could use their Kindle Fire instead of my iPhone or iPad, that would be even better!

Thank you to Crayola for including our family!

Featured

Craftingcon Competitor Interview

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I am competing again this month in Craftingcon. You might remember my Avengers entry last year, this time around the theme is Studio Ghibli. (Check back tomorrow to see what I made!) In the meantime if you want to learn more about me and how strong my Geeky Side truly is, check out my interview over at Craftingcon.com

Featured · Holidays

Boys Can Wear Pink: My Two Adorable Valentines

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I present my humble contribution to Boys Can Wear Pink Blog Tour presented by Handmade Boy. If you haven’t already, you should check out all the cute boys in pink posted so far! My duo has become accustomed to special outfits for every special occasion, so when I saw this adorable Conversation Hearts fabric, I knew I wanted to make something for them for Valentine’s Day. The Modkid Dapper Bowite and Suspenders was my first choice. I might be a little addicted to making bowties and suspenders, I think I have made them at least a dozen times since I first made them back in November. I love that they are adjustable so they can wear them this year and for years to come. And I love that they can be dressed up or down. Plus, is there anything cuter than little boys dressed up like old men? I don’t think so.

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The hardest part was getting these two to cooperate for a nice photo together. Individually they shine, but together they make goofy smiles and eventually end up with one in a headlock.

But seriously, I can’t handle this kind of cuteness.

I am so lucky both these little guys call me their Valentine.

Make sure you check out all the other Boys Can Wear Pink contributors and enter to win the giveaway!

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Featured · Holidays · Projects · Tutorials

Easy Snowman Tote: 12 Days of Christmas Blogger Challenge

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Way back when it was still warm out and the sun didn’t set at 4:30, I was invited to participate in Sew McCool’s 12-Days of Christmas Blogger Challenge. I had big plans to finally finish the advent calendar I have been “going to make this year” for the past three Christmas seasons. This post is not about the advent calendar I made. Yet again, I didn’t get it made. Instead I did a cute craft with my kids. This was crazy easy, relatively inexpensive and turned out adorable. These would be so cute as teacher gifts, grandparents or even to use as gift bags.

For this project you will need:

  • Plain White tote bag. (I bought a blank one at a craft store but you can find about a bajillion tutorials on Pinterest if you would like to make your own.)
  • Scrap of Orange Felt or Fleece
  • Random Assortment of Black Buttons
  • Some sort of super strong adhesive. (or a sewing machine or needle and thread if you’d rather stitch the face on.)
  • Two Scraps of holiday fabric, cut about 2 inches x the width of the bag. Fleece would work well, I used woven cotton and pinking shears on the edges.
  • Small helpers (Optional.)

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I am not a kids-crafting blogger. Or a kids-crafting expert. Or even a regular kids-crafting participant. I tend to lock myself away for my crafting and sewing projects, it is my time away from my kids. Lately, though, they have been begging to help, keep picking out fabric they want made into various things, and are becoming more curious about my sewing projects. This project is definitely one that requires close supervision due to the glue. You could use a regular child-safe glue stick and then stitch the items where the kids placed them, but I just let them arrange things then made them sit back and did the gluing myself. If your kids are older they might be OK but I definitely advise adult supervision with this project.

The first step was arranging the face. I let them try different arrangements, and they actually worked together to decide where the buttons should go and what direction the nose should point. There was some discussion that the snowman should have a mad face, but I convinced them that he should be happy.

 

Once they had the buttons and nose placed, I glued them down. The adhesive I bought said industrial strength, and should hold well without additional stitching, but if I were going to make several of these I might just stitch the buttons and nose on. The “scarf” was the last part and we just glued the ends of each side of the bag. Once it was dry I tied it in a knot in the middle.

 

And that’s it. Simple and cute. My total cost was under $6, and that included the glue, which you could easily do several bags with one tube. The kids loved making the face and asked if they could make another one.

 

Thank you to Deanna at SewMcCool for inviting me to participate and definitely check out all the other projects in the challenge.

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Don’t forget to visit all of the bloggers who are creating tutorials for the Sew McCool 12 Days of Christmas challenge! Voting will begin on www.sewmccool.com on December 13 and go through 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern time on December 20. The blogger with the most votes will win $100 – just in time for Christmas!

December 1

Ren @ The Inspired Wren * Stephanie @ Swoodson Says * Alicia @ Felt With Love Designs

December 2

Natalie @ Sew Outnumbered *Deby @ So-Sew-Easy * Ajaire @ Call Ajaire

December 3

Amy @ Friends Stitched Together * Maris @ Sew Maris * Gemia @ Phat Quarters

December 4

Amy @ How I Make Stuff * Michelle @ Falafel and the Bee

December 5

Beth @ Beth Jarrett * Jen @ Just Joshin

December 6

Lauren @ Molly and Mama * Krista @ Bee Quilted Beauties

December 7

Vicky @ Vicky Myers Creations * Deb @ Sprouting Jube Jube

December 8

Addie @ Addie K * Michelle @ Not My Tree

December 9

Ula @ Lulu & Celeste * Sara @ Made By Sara * Chelsea @ GYCT Designs

December 10

Nichole @ Bluebird & the Boy * Darcy @ Ginger House Designs * Shelly @ Coral & Co.

December 11

Amy @ Britches ‘n Bloomers * Kelly @ Kelly J Designs

December 12

Maegen @ Mae and K * Jess @ Gracious Threads * Jone @ Knot Sew Normal

Featured · Holidays · Projects · Sew Alongs

Modkid Dapper and Riley Sew-along for the Holidays

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Recently, I was able to team up with Whimsical Fabric to put together these samples for the December Sew-a-long. The patterns called for a brother/sister set so I borrowed a friend’s twins. Another gracious friend took these photos when my own kiddo got sick and we had to cancel our photoshoot last minute. It takes a village, as they say.

This Brother/Sister set is comprised of two Modkid patterns: The Dapper and Riley. Both patterns are available individually or as part of a kit for the Sew-along though Whimsical Fabric. The Sew-Along starts December 1 and includes prizes for participants, so hurry and order before the Thanksgiving break! Use the code MODKIDLOVE when checking out to receive a discount.  The code is good through Sunday, November 30th.

And now for some twin cuteness!

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The Riley Dress was easy to follow and is very cute. The front panel is perfect for showcasing a favorite fabric. The bow allows for some cinching in the pattern so it can be worn for a while, even for growing kids. The dress pattern is size 2T to 10. It can use from 1-3 fabrics for the front/back/sides and has optional hems or ruffles for the bottom and sleeves. The pattern also has short and long sleeve options. I did a hemmed sleeve but added a ruffle to the bottom.

 

 

And the Dapper. OMG I love this. As a boy mom and someone who makes mainly boy clothes I am over the moon about this. (I have already made multiple sets of these!) The suspenders and bowtie are to-die-for cute and all adjustable so they fit nearly anyone. The pattern includes instructions for kids or adults, so everyone can have bow ties and suspenders! The hardware is available from Whimsical Fabric too. I can definitely see lots of these in my future for holidays and birthdays! I mean, seriously, look at how adorable these are!

 

I was invited to participate in sewing up samples for the Whimsical Fabric Sew-Along and received the pattern and fabric at a discount, but I was not compensated for this post. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Featured · Pattern Test · Projects

My Little Superheroes Blog Tour

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Calling All Superheroes! This Dynamic Duo is about to turn FIVE. All the fingers on a hand! In a couple more weeks I will be the Mommy to two five year olds. When I got the opportunity to test out the new My Little Superhero Set from EYMM, I knew exactly what to make: Birthday Boy capes! We have a superhero party planned in a couple weeks and though we are the proud owners of several capes and superhero costumes, I loved the idea of special birthday outfits.

I used the cape pattern in the size 4/5 which is plenty long and I was able to make each side from 1 yard of fabric. My boys are different heights, but wear size 4 and 5. The next size up would have been too wide and would require more yardage. Unlike other capes I have made, this one is very wide, maybe even wider than it is long, and has great drape and flow. It has a nice wide neckline that rests on the shoulders more than across the throat, which also makes me feel better as a paranoid my-kids-are-gonna-choke-to-death Mom.

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I took my boys with me to the fabric store to pick fabric, one wanted green and one blue, I even managed to find those colors in the same zigzag pattern. I had planned to use something more superhero-ish for the reverse side but didn’t find anything I loved so I went with grey dots. I used an embroidery frame I had in the keystone shape and text that says “Birthday Boy” on each in the opposing color.

The birthday shirts are the Peekaboo Grand Slam pattern (affiliate link), which I added the appliqué to as well. I was planning to just buy long sleeve tees but couldn’t find any that I loved. I made these from grey jersey knit and the sleeves and collar are blank adult shirts I cut up. These are casual enough they can wear to school on their birthday and beyond, and they have already asked if they can wear their Birthday Boy capes to school for their birthday too.

The cape pattern also includes a mask, belt and wrist cuffs, also. It comes in newborn to size 10 and a bonus doll pattern too. If you buy it before 10/21 you can save 40% with the coupon code HEROSET on EYMM.com. I received a copy of this pattern in exchange for this blog tour.

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Featured · Holidays · Projects

Halloween Hack: Baby Strongman Costume

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You might have seen this little guy before, and he’s the lucky recipient of his very first Halloween costume. His mom Amanda is my closest friend and my own personal professional photographer. He is the subject of much affection from my boys, who can’t wait to teach him all. the. things. (Like hide and seek and how hilarious the word butt is.) For now, though, he is 9 months old and ready for his First Halloween.

Amanda asked if I could make him a Strong Man costume. I immediately thought of the Scientific Seamstress Reversible Romper pattern I used to make his Star Wars romper. It would need some modification but I was up for the challenge. Who knew the hardest part would be finding the right fabric. We both agreed it should be vertical stripes, so I searched high and low for red and white stripes. Eventually we found red and black in the Halloween section. It isn’t the best quality fabric, but the price was right and it fit the bill for a short-term-use item.

The romper pattern, like all the Scientific Seamstress patterns is versatile and easy to follow. I have made it a few times in baby through toddler size and it always turns out adorable. It is designed for woven fabrics and fully reversible so it is like two outfits in one.

For the Strong Man, I made a few modifications to the pattern and I actually ended up making two versions. I let her decide which would work best. Both versions I elongated the U shape in the front, which is normally around chest-level, making it much lower. I also shortened the straps and stitched them closed, rather than using buttons or snaps like the pattern suggests. I lined it, it would be completely reversible, but the inside is just grey jersey knit for softness and stretch. Both fabrics stretch enough that I used the size 6 month pattern, even though he is closer to 12M in size to achieve a snug fit.

The outrageously addable baby and the mustache though is all Amanda’s doing. I can only take credit for the little outfit.

Definitely check out all these other fun costumes on the blog tour, and make sure you enter the giveaway! I was not compensated for this post, I purchased the pattern and the opinions are my own. Photos taken by Amanda at Loch and Key Photography.

Blog Tour!

Wednesday, October 1st: Rebekah Sews & Dog Under My Desk Thursday, October 2nd: Friends Stitched Together & Sew Pandi Friday, October 3rd: That’s What She Crafted & Everything Your Mama Made & More Monday, October 6th: Shawnta Sews & Handmade Boy Tuesday, October 7th: Muse of the Morning & Swoodson Says Wednesday, October 8th: Call Ajaire & Sew McCool Thursday, October 9th: Once Upon A Sewing Machine & imagine gnats Friday, October 10th: The Sewing Geek & Feather’s Flights Monday, October 13th: Get Your Crap Together & Needle and Ted Tuesday, October 14th: The Shaffer Sisters & The Inspired Wren Wednesday, October 15th: Pattern Revolution & Just Joshin

Scavenger Hunt!

Time to go trick or treating! Use the Rafflecopter below for a digital scavenger hunt. You’ll be looking at each blog’s posts for the month of September to find this icon: for a chance to win one of THREE awesome sewing prize packs! Three winners will be chosen randomly (and their form completion verified) and emailed within 3 days of the hunt’s closure. A big thank you to all the sponsors who donated prizes! Pack 1 { $30 to The Ribbon Retreat +2 patterns from GYCT Designs + 1 pattern from Dog Under My Desk} Pack 2 {$30 to The Fabric Fairy + Kids Pattern Package from imagine gnats} Pack 3 {$30 to Fat Quarter Shop + 2 patterns from Everything Your Mama Made & More +Ramblin’ Raglan Mega Pattern Pack from Muse of the Morning} a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Featured · Holidays

Halloween Hack: Here Comes Santa Claus

I have a confession to make: I didn’t make my kids’ Halloween costumes this year. (Please don’t revoke my crafty mom card.) Both my boys spotted the Star Wars costumes at the Disney Store months ago and have never once wavered from their desire to be a Storm Trooper and Darth Vader. While I could probably have made them, the Disney Store ones are nice, have lots of detail, and I would have spent twice as much money and infinite frustration on creating them, so I feel OK about it. Plus they LOVE them, and they play dress up daily with a dozen clearance rack store-bought costumes so I know they will get used beyond Halloween.

While I didn’t make my own kids’ costumes,I did make a couple Halloween costumes for other kids, so I guess I can keep my crafty cred. I am thrilled to share these. The first is one of two Halloween Hack PDF Costumes and might be one of the most original requests I have had to date. A few months ago a college friend contacted me and said her 7-year-old daughter wanted to be Santa Claus for Halloween and could I make her an outfit she could wear for Halloween that could also be Christmas pajamas. Hmm, sure, why not? Then I spent a few months thinking about the logistics of such a request.

I decided on the Scientific Seamstress Bowling Shirt and Easy Fit Pants, both of which I have made dozens of times so I know the patterns well. I was able to make some adjustments and I love the way it all came together. The bowling shirt pattern is short sleeve, so to start, I lengthened the sleeves and added a cuff. I dug through my printed patterns to find one that was a similarly sized long sleeve and franken-patterned a sleeve by folding the long sleeve and taping them together in the middle. Very low-tech. Because it has a fleece cuff I didn’t have to make a sleeve placket. The main fabric of both the shirt and pants is solid red flannel, which should be soft and warm as pajamas later on. The trim is white fleece.

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In addition to elongating the sleeves, I also added a few inches to the length of the bowling shirt and extended the placket a few inches too.  In addition to the 4” I added in length, I also added a 4” band around the bottom before I added the placket. I just measured the finished length before I cut the fleece plackets. I skipped the interfacing that is normally in the placket so keep it soft and fluffy.

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The Easy Fit pants make awesome flannel PJ/Lounge pants, and I did them with the standard directions plus the cuff. It should add longevity to the pants since it can be unrolled for a few extra inches in length. The whole thing should be roomy enough to layer or stuff a pillow in for trick or treating, then cozy up around the tree come Christmas.

Since I live in Chicago and the little girl I made this for lives in Kansas City, a local friend kindly borrowed me her similarly-aged-but-slightly-smaller son who was willing to model. (Thanks, P!)

And just like that, Ho-Ho-Ho! I hope she absolutely loves being Jolly this Halloween. Check back tomorrow to see the other Halloween Hack costume. You won’t want to miss it!

Definitely check out all these other fun costumes on the blog tour, and make sure you enter the giveaway! I was not compensated for this post, I purchased both patterns and the opinions are my own.

Blog Tour!

Wednesday, October 1st: Rebekah Sews & Dog Under My Desk Thursday, October 2nd: Friends Stitched Together & Sew Pandi Friday, October 3rd: That’s What She Crafted & Everything Your Mama Made & More Monday, October 6th: Shawnta Sews & Handmade Boy Tuesday, October 7th: Muse of the Morning & Swoodson Says Wednesday, October 8th: Call Ajaire & Sew McCool Thursday, October 9th: Once Upon A Sewing Machine & imagine gnats Friday, October 10th: The Sewing Geek & Feather’s Flights Monday, October 13th: Get Your Crap Together & Needle and Ted Tuesday, October 14th: The Shaffer Sisters & The Inspired Wren Wednesday, October 15th: Pattern Revolution & Just Joshin

Scavenger Hunt!

Time to go trick or treating! Use the Rafflecopter below for a digital scavenger hunt. You’ll be looking at each blog’s posts for the month of September to find this icon: for a chance to win one of THREE awesome sewing prize packs! Three winners will be chosen randomly (and their form completion verified) and emailed within 3 days of the hunt’s closure. A big thank you to all the sponsors who donated prizes! Pack 1 { $30 to The Ribbon Retreat +2 patterns from GYCT Designs + 1 pattern from Dog Under My Desk} Pack 2 {$30 to The Fabric Fairy + Kids Pattern Package from imagine gnats} Pack 3 {$30 to Fat Quarter Shop + 2 patterns from Everything Your Mama Made & More +Ramblin’ Raglan Mega Pattern Pack from Muse of the Morning} a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Featured · Projects

BundleUP Boys LumberJack Shirts and Field Research Pants

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Have you seen the awesome BundleUP boys pattern bundle? It’s available today (and only for a limited time) from Pattern Revolution. The bundle has so many cute boy patterns from twelve incredibly talented designers. You can get it until August 29th and if you sew for boys, you will definitely want to check it out. I know I have been itching to get it. 

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I had a chance to preview two patterns from the bundle and I am thrilled show them off. I made the Lumberjack Shirt by Patterns for Pirates and the Field Research Pants by Scientific Seamstress. Since I have twin boys I made two of each. I am so excited to finally share these, it is so hard to keep a secret like this! They turned out so great, and I can’t wait to try out the other patterns in the bundle, so many cute boyish options!

The Lumberjack Shirt has tons of options: lined and unlined, hood or collar. I used a thick, incredibly soft flannel from the Primo Plaids collection. I left these unlined so they can be layered for Fall and Winter. I did add a jersey knit lining to the hood for a little contrast. The two plaid fabrics I used are both from the same collection so they work together without being too matchy. I cut out each shirt and then swapped the yoke lining and the cuffs for a little pop of the other pattern without being too much. I have already set aside some more flannel to make another set of these shirts for this winter.

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The hood lining is thin and lightweight but soft. I folded it over the seam so it created a trim around the hood, which I think really adds a nice detail. I love hoods for fall and winter, much easier to keep track of than hats, for sure.

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This was the first Pattern for Pirates piece I have made, so I followed the pattern pretty much exactly, except I added kangaroo pockets which were not in the original. When I told my boys I was making these shirts, they specifically asked for “those pockets that go across your tummy” so I used a general pocket shape from another pattern, though it would be easy enough to draft a kangaroo pocket. The pockets are bias-cut like the chest pockets, and are also jersey lined. I was worried the plaid on plaid on plaid was going to be too busy but when I cut out the pockets and arranged them on the table to see how they would look, one of my sons came in and said, “This is perfect! Just like I wanted! Can I wear this camping it looks like nature!” So they stayed. And I have to say whatever reservations I had, once they were done I knew they are perfect for these shirts and for my pocket-loving boys. 

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I love the details on these shirts and I think they turned out perfect. They are warm and comfortable, but rugged just like my boys. 

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The Scientific Seamstress Field Research pants complete the look perfectly. I have made most of the Scientific Seamstress patterns, but I think these take the cake for options and details. I don’t know that I have ever spent as much time on a project as I did making all the cargo pockets for these pants. I used an entire brand-new spool of thread just on creating and topstitching the dozen pants pockets. Each pair of pants has six pockets: two inset hip-pockets and four cargo pockets. Add to those the two kangaroo pockets and the two chest pockets on each of the shirts and I made a total of twenty pockets this week! Was it worth it? Absolutely. My boys are loving all the pockets. When I had them try on the outfits for the first time, they ran over and stuffed them full of action figures. They’ve already put treasures and rocks and sticks in them. I can’t wait to see what I find in my laundry! 

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The Field Pants pattern includes options for pants, shorts or zip-off-leg convertibles. We are still in Summer for a little longer, but Winter in Chicago is long and cold, so I opted for the pants in heavy denim. I also think they would be easy to make lined in flannel for extra warmth in winter. With all these options, they are great all-around boys’ pants. (The pattern also includes belt loops which I did not add since my boys don’t own belts.)

I won’t lie, I don’t make a lot of pants for my boys, they are hard on pants and I can still find a relatively decent selection at thrift stores and resales in their sizes, but I can definitely see making more of these. (Maybe with reinforced knees!) All the store-bought 4T pants from last year are way too short, but I was able to use the 3/4 size pattern and the longest length (I actually added about an inch for room to grow.) and they fit well. I roll-cuffed them on one son but he’s growing fast so by winter I am hopeful they will fit nicely. These pants are a slim fit, with nice straight legs and a classic, casual look. The waist is elastic in the back but has a flat front with a faux fly option, easy on and off, comfortable for exploring and plenty of storage for treasures.

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These patterns combined into perfect outdoor-exploring, running, playing, rock-throwing, frog-hunting, treasure-collecting, walk-in-the-park-with-your-brother outfits.

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You will definitely want to check out what the rest of these talented bloggers have done with these patterns. I am seriously in awe of the other projects I have seen so far, and I am honored and humbled to have the chance to sew along with these ladies.



I was not compensated for this post. I did receive free copies of the two patterns featured, but all the opinions and experiences are my own.