Posted in Uncategorized on August 30th, 2009 by misha – 1 Comment

IMG_0872I offer timeless children’s clothing, bows and princess cosplay, fashionable aprons and home goods, baby and gifting products, and appliqué and monogramming services. All my products are made to order and special orders are welcome. Visit The Crafty Contessa on facebook for the most recent photos and information on my latest projects.

Peppy for Pepper

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9th, 2016 by misha – Be the first to comment

_dsc0644Oh Pepper!! How we love thee! How better to “bridge” into fall than with a stunning wardrobe staple. A simple yet classic beauty, Pepper is the answer to all your fall sewing needs.

_dsc0654Pepper is showcased through her classic Peter Pan collar and vintage dress length. I embroidered my daughter’s collar with elegant florals and her initials to make her Pepper more personal. The bodice is finished off with two matching blue buttons. For the skirt, I trimmed off one half inch at the hem and made bias binding in yellow, to elegantly contrast the blue of the skirt.

_dsc0653Pepper’s sleeves may be made at either three quarter length of full length to customize comfortability according to the seasons. It can also easily be modified to fit as sleeveless or short sleeve with a little extra work on your part. And how about those pockets! Who doesn’t love pockets?! I always add pockets when it is an option. These I made in yellow to contrast the blue polka dots.

_dsc0656Pepper is fastened in the back with a row of buttons. I totally cheated and used kam snaps instead. Hee hee. I find myself more and more forgoing the traditional set of circular fasteners and sewing machine for the quick set in and snap of the kams. Pepper is available for purchase here in sizes two through ten and also through their shop on etsy. I may find myself making half a dozen before winter is out, will you?

Slip turned nightgown

Posted in Uncategorized on May 4th, 2016 by misha – Be the first to comment

Nightgown I have recently been going through both of my kid’s closets and have purged a plethora of clothing that no longer fits. I have had to pass on all of Bug’s pajamas!! None of them fit, including her very favorite nightgowns. One night while she was distracted, I surprised her by making a nightgown. We both loved the end result and I especially love how fast it was to make. Since then, I have made many more and made adjustments to make it better.

_DSC0133I am going to teach you how to turn the Violette Field Threads Rosemary Pinafore slip into an easy-breezy A- line nightgown. The first thing you will need to do is buy the pattern. Follow the sizing chart to choose your child’s size. You will also need a package of store bought double fold bias binding, or you can make your own.

IMG_3177Cut out and put together your pattern pieces. We will need to make a small adjustment to the pattern pieces to make it “bed ready.” The first nightgown I made, I did not add any extra room at the bottom and the side seams split from the hem to about 3″ up each side. With all of the tossing and turning that Bug does in her sleep, I added a little room at the bottom and it works better. So, tape some extra paper to the side of the pattern that is NOT on the fold. Bug is almost six and wears a 5/6, I measured out at the bottom arrow (at the hem) 2.5″ (giving a total of 5″ more room) and took a ruler, starting at the hem where I made the new marking and tapered it to the top of the side seam right under the armsyce. Cut out two, one front and one back.

IMG_3178 Now that you have cut out your front and back, transfer the markings on the top of the neckline from the pattern. You will now use a basting stitch and cinch some of the fabric in. Follow the instructions in the tutorial. I chose to make the back piece a little wider, to give it a definitive front and back. You definitely don’t have to.

IMG_3179Cut out a piece of bias binding slightly larger than the width of the basted neckline and attach it to the neckline by pinning then sewing. Do the same for the other side.

IMG_3180For this next step, do not follow the pattern. We are going to sew things a little out of order. Now, you want to put the nightgown front and back right sides together and sew up the side seams using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Be careful to not sew the armsyce closed. Zig zag stitch, serge, or use an overcasting stitch to finish the raw edges.

_DSC0130Now we are going to attach the rest of the bias binding to the armsyce. For Bug, I cut off two 30″ piece strips. It does not allow for room to tie a bow, but to make a double knot. You may choose to cut your strips longer. You can always shorten later.

IMG_3182Take one of your bias binding strips and find the middle. Make a crease. Attach the strip where creased to the bottom of the armsyce at the seam and pin in place. Pin the strip to the armsyce from the middle where creased to the top edge of the front and back. Starting at the very top edge (where not attached to the nightgown), backstitch and sew the bias binding strip closed. Start from the top edge, around the arm opening, to the top edge on the other side. You can fold the top raw edges in first and sew, but I chose to make a little knot instead. My machine kept eating the strip despite using a stabilizer. Plus, the knot makes it look more vintage-y. Repeat for the other arm opening.

_DSC0131Now all you have to do is hem the nightgown. Fold the bottom raw edge up 1/3″ and iron, fold again another 1/3″ and iron again. Topstitch the hem closed. And that’s it! It will take you well under an hour to print off, cut out, and sew a nightgown. I have even made one while Bug was in the bath! 25 minutes!

Madison

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28th, 2016 by misha – Be the first to comment

Madison front pocketWelcome Madison to the Violette Field Threads family! This newest pattern designed by Alexis Wright has sunshine written all over it. It has such sweet details that make it a one of a kind summer hit.

Madison close up pocketMadison has some pretty sweet detailing, like a pleated front bodice, pockets, a faux button placket, small cap sleeves, and a “V”shaped collar.

Madison double pocketYou may choose to sew buttons down the front and we chose 12 bright and bold contrasting blue buttons to really stand out. We chose to use “less busy” fabrics so the pleats and faux button placket would really stand out. It gives it a sweet, vintage look.

Madison backThe back bodice features a keyhole cut out design and closes with trim, fabric ties, or ribbon. The roominess of the bodice allows for easy on and off and you don’t have to worry about zippers or button closures. The front and back skirts are gathered and the length stops at the knee.

Madison peoniesSweet Madison is now available and on sale here. Pick up your copy and sew one up! I’d love to hear from you and see your version. Happy sewing!

Mila & Grace

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5th, 2016 by misha – Be the first to comment

_DSC0012 (1)Three more patterns releasing this week from Violette Field Threads and I had the chance to test two of them. Up first is Mila, a sweet bubble shorts romper (or an 8 paneled dress) with button front straps, poofy bubble shorts that are fully lined, and 3 rows of elastic and shirring for the back bodice.

_DSC0043 The back bodice features a wide strap with cute little ruffles on each side. It’s perfect to mix and match whichever fabrics to really make your Mila pop.

_DSC0038 The criss crossed straps attach in the back and button at the top and very bottom of the bodice front with 4 buttons and buttonholes. If you choose to use a thin woven cotton, like I did, make sure to use interfacing to help hold its shape.

_DSC0075The Mila romper and dress are available in sizes 2 through 10 and come with clear instructions, detailed photos, and amazing customer service from the VFT girls.

_DSC0064And I know everyone wants to know, the Mila stays well in place and doesn’t shift, even while stomping :)

_DSC0338Here comes Grace! A perfect summer staple. Grace is a fast sew and comes with many different options, scalloped or zig zag bodice, vintage length skirt or maxi length, and fabric or ribbon ties.

_DSC0272Grace is such a precious sew and a real updated spin on the pillowcase dress. Elegant and easy for the summer and beach weather.

_DSC0285Our Grace is maxi length, skimming the top of the foot, with a sweet scalloped bodice. We actually used bias tape for the ties. I folded the edges together and zig zag stitched it closed, then knotted the ends after threading the ties through the bodice.

_DSC0343Such a beautiful dress and still fun to run in!

Sunday Girl Design’s Odette

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25th, 2016 by misha – 1 Comment

I had the pleasure to test again for Georgianna of Sunday Girl Designs. A little more than a year ago, I tested the Lily Rose dress pattern, which was a hands down favorite of ours, until she outgrew it. Georgianna’s patterns are very well written without being wordy, and all seams in her patterns are trimmed in bias, finished nicely, or well hidden.

_DSC0247The Odette pattern was originally released as a blouse and capri pants or shorts set. It is being re-released to include some great add ons like a contrasting center pleat for both blouse and dress length. If you already own Odette, you can purchase the add on here.

_DSC0233The Odette pattern includes a lot of fun options like blouse or dress length, collar, front bow, bias lined petal sleeves, and also comes equipped with shorts and capris.

_DSC0218The back of the Odette blouse and dress is closed with a button and loop and trimmed out in a placket. But don’t worry! This placket is super easy and seam ripper free. The arm (for the sleeveless version) and neck openings are finished off with either store bought or handmade bias trim and makes for such an elegant look.

_DSC0249This goosy girl choose to have her dress made with no collar, no sleeves, and dress length with a contrasting pleat. We just love how it turned out. You can really have free reign and choose a bold color to pop out, like we did.

_DSC0247The Odette is now available in the shop for $7! It is a great summer staple and can be worn year round with all the fun options!

Bostons on parade

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2nd, 2016 by misha – Be the first to comment

_DSC0160When I saw this Boston terrier flannel at Jo Ann on clearance, I knew immediately what I would do with it. I have had The Cottage Mama’s Georgia Vintage dress in my arsenal of patterns for years but have never sewn it up before. The pattern includes 4 different views and lots of options, ranging in sizes from 6 months through 10 years. We chose “view A” and opted to use just one skirt, since it’s a flannel and heavier than a standard quilting cotton.

_DSC0182What I love best about the dress is the full collar and those sweet flutter sleeves. The dress could also easily be made sleeveless. The back ties are slightly wider than the sash and make for a big, full bow when tied. I just love dresses with sashes and ties. So sweet.

_DSC0165We had so much fun with this little photo shoot and it was all too perfect to use our own Boston terrier, Piper. Needless to say, it was very hard to get photos of those two, they were twirling and running around everywhere!

_DSC0174Bug was too excited and also needed a lesson on how to properly hold a dog. Poor Piper! She was a good sport and got lots of love and attention during and after the shoot.

_DSC0187This shot was just sheer luck with perfect timing! The look on Bug’s face is priceless. Everyone needs to own a Boston, they have the cutest little personalities and are loyal to their “children.” Piper sleeps all day when the kids are gone, but as soon as they are home from school, she livens up and jumps and plays with them until bedtime. True puppy love.

The Magrath

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2nd, 2016 by misha – Be the first to comment

IMG_2768I tested for a new-to-me designer and was so pleasantly pleased. Abby from Sew Much Ado was a true treasure to work for, she was very involved, friendly, and open to suggestions. This pattern completely blew me away. Her attention to every little detail is unprecedented. Included in her pattern and tutorial are measurements for both imperial and metric systems. Who else does that?!

IMG_2770My favorite part about The Magrath is the sweetheart bodice. There are instructions on how to omit that part, but why would you want to?! It’s so precious and lends the idea of princess cosplay like Rapunzel or Ariel. The Magrath has 3 sleeve lengths, short, 3/4, or long. We chose to sew up the long sleeve version since these pictures were taken in early February. And Bug has almost no long sleeve in her closet…

IMG_2772The back detailing of the bodice is quite accomplished. You may omit the detailing and make a plain bodice back or make the bodice back pieced like I did. It was a perfect opportunity to sneak in some different coordinating fabric. Abby’s instructions on zipper instillation are GENIUS I tell you! It makes this dress easily a beginner friendly pattern.

IMG_2769Finally, the Magrath may be made tunic or dress length. It was a no brainer for us. No little girl can have too many dresses, believe me, I stopped counting. I used some very special Hawthorne Threads fabric, Fawn in tulip, that was gifted to me by my favorite VFT girls. With so many options, you can create many different looks with one pattern. (Pattern sizes are 12-18 months through 12 years.)

Miss Maisie

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2nd, 2016 by misha – Be the first to comment

MaisieWhen I was asked to test the newest release from Violette Field Threads designer Bernadette, I did not hesitate. Her designs are classic and elegant and stay true to the brand. I was also not disappointed that the Maisie top and dress is finished off with a zipper!

_DSC0124This sweet top or dress has delicately puffed sleeves and two sleeve lengths, short or at the elbow, and is finished off with a little keyhole and bias binding. You can make your own bias to coordinate your fabric or use store bought pre made double fold bias, as I did. We also chose the longer elbow length and I love how the bias ties just right below the elbow. There is plenty of room for her to move around and play.

_DSC0080Maisie may be made into top length or dress length. We chose top length and decided to pair the top with Fawn, a pleated bubble style short released by Bernadette a few months earlier. The skirt on Maisie may be made full, or slim (selvage to selvage). Included in the pattern are sizes 12-18 months through 10 years.

IMG_2763The bodice back of Maisie has a low scoop and finishes off with a zipper. If you haven’t tried a zipper yet, don’t fear! Bernadette’s instructions are well written and I promise you will have no trouble. My favorite part of Maisie’s design is the scoop of the bodice back. It is so delicate yet stays well on the shoulders and is perfect for play.

_DSC0114And look how happy my girl is! She loves her new outfit. And the best part, I picked up these fabrics from the thrift store. The headband, top, and shorts were all made for under $5, you can’t beat that!

A trio of reviews {VFT}

Posted in Uncategorized on November 24th, 2015 by misha – Be the first to comment

Violette Field Threads is getting ready to unveil 7(!) new patterns just in time for Black Friday 2015. I tested 3 of the 7 and I think you will be blown away with all 7 of them. They each have their own charm and personality and many of them can be mixed and matched or worn together.

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First up is Molly. Molly is an earlier pattern from Violette Field Threads and is just getting an update. The pattern originally came in a 3/4 sleeve and hip length option and is being updated to add a longer length, with the hem hitting at 3-4″ above the knee, and also adding a short sleeve and longer sleeve option.

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For our Molly, we used printed duck for the outer fabric and a thick, warm fleece for the lining. It makes for a toasty warm and elegant but off beat Molly. Molly has an ease of 4-6″ which allows for a variety of fabrics to be used such as wool, velvet, upholstery, woven cotton… the options are limitless. It can be made to look elegant for a special occasion or everyday to match that favorite party dress. We paired our Molly with Loralie.

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Molly has a beautiful symmetrical Peter Pan collar that can be made from a number of different fabrics such as faux fur, woven cotton, upholstery, or just about whatever you wish. The finished jacket can be left open with no buttons, buttoned all the way down, or just a few at the top. We chose to use a snap and a decorative button to close the top of the jacket and allow the A line shape of the main body to stand out. Grab your copy of Molly and get sewing!

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Next up is Emma. Emma is an off beat asymmetrical blouse or dress with an off center collar and delicate pin tucks. Emma is designed by Alexis Wright, who is quickly becoming my favorite designer. She designed the Genevieve, a beautiful plain hem or bubble dress with a bias-cut bodice flounce. The Emma also has an option of becoming a drawstring dress. It features 3 sleeve lengths: at the elbow, 3/4, and long sleeve. The main body of the blouse/dress is meant to be an easy fitting swing style with plenty of ease for jump and play.

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The back of the Emma dress or blouse features a gathered back skirt which I think gives it that delicate “feminine” touch. It can also be altered to have a straight skirt (but why would you want to do that?!) The hem should stop at the knee.

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How about that collar! I love the off center collar of the Emma. It is spaced perfectly to allow for a little hand made bow if you wish. I see many more Emmas in our future. Get your copy and get sewing!

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I saved the best for last. Meet Violette. A ballerina inspired full tulle skirted gown with an optional peplum. She definitely lives up to her name, one of elegance and grandeur. The Violette may also be made with a slimmer tulle skirt or a full fabric skirt. The pattern is full of directions and special tips to help guide you.

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The bodice of the Violette features a low scoop back with enough closure to allow for 2 buttons. We choose to use a decorative button for the top buttonhole and a snap at the bottom of the bodice back. The bodice front features well placed princess seams and a wide, boatneck-like neckline giving it a delicate look.

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When we chose the colors for our Violette skirt, we wanted an array to make the layers stand out. The lining is a light pink, the netting is a fuschia or hot pink, the first tulle layer is platinum, and the top tulle layer is a soft baby pink. The bodice and peplum are a black with white dot made from woven cotton. We accessorized the Violette with a bow topped Russian veiling, hand strung white pearls, black lace gloves, and a vintage Avon purse from the 1940s. I am so excited to share our Violette with you, please share photos of your finished Violette with us!

Tie Dye Diva “Garnet”

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20th, 2015 by misha – Be the first to comment

_DSC0753What can I say about the newly released Garnet? There are too many awesome things, the list is too long! And I love testing for Jen of Tie Dye Diva, she works hard on her patterns and it shows.

_DSC0776Garnet is esentially 4 patterns in 1. It can be a long sleeve or short sleeve top, a circle skirt with yoga band (paneled or from one fabric) or a dress with a paneled or plain skirt. You can make the Garnet with a mix of knit and woven, or make it all out of knit. And as you can tell, the twirl factor of the skirt is amazing!!

_DSC0769 We choose to make our Garnet from knit and woven. The gray knit fabric I picked up from Hobby Lobby. The paneled circle skirt and collar were made using scraps I had stashed. Using scraps is a great way to save money and use up leftovers from previous projects. It is such a quick and satisfying sew, and a definite must have pattern staple. Buy the pattern here and as always, happy sewing.