Twice in One Week!

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Blog, Helen's Garden, Les Monsieurs | 2 Comments

Just had to take a micro moment of your time to toot my own horn, ’cause this surely doesn’t happen often.

Castle Blocks - Multi

While browsing the ever-influential Print & Pattern blog on Wednesday, I came across an image of one of my fabrics, Castle Blocks from Les Monsieurs, in a post about her “faves”. I thought “… well, that’s pretty cool!” and went about my business.

But then this afternoon, just a mere 2 days later, look what else was there

Enchanted - Plum

In a post with an intro that went like this: “… for our regular Friday eye candy (where we post designs just for the enjoyment of gazing at lovely patterns)”.

For any of you who aren’t familiar with her blog, Bowie Style (not her real name) writes one of the worlds most influential design blogs. The biggest names in design-savy manufacturers and retailers keep a close eye on her leads.

Well, thank you for ending my work week on a high note, Print & Pattern!

And thank you, dear readers for indulging me if you’ve made it to the end of this post! Have a great weekend!

{ Happy Sewing } … Quiet Time & Les Monsieurs Pyjama Pants

Posted by on Feb 23, 2014 in { Happy Sewing }, Blog, Les Monsieurs, Quiet Time | One Comment

pyjama pants

A fresh pair of spring pyjama pants (I know, it’s only February, but a girl can dream) for my little monsters in cheery colours and patterns.

I followed this tutorial. The only adjustment I would make, especially for a boy with no hips, is to use elastic in the waist instead of the cute drawstring tie.

les monsieurs pyjama pants

pyjama pants detail

I asked them both to choose their fabrics. For Em it was Freckled in Coral & Sky from my Quiet Time collection, and Max opted for Monsieur Blocks in Sky & Tire Treads in Wave from Les Monsieurs.

So easy to make, I made a few for nieces, too.

quiet time pyjama pants2

princess & the pea pj detail

quiet time pj detail

All fabrics in these two are from Quiet Time. There’s Princess & the Pea in Robin’s Egg paired with Freckled in Lilac and Quiet Time with Sweet Dreams in Orange.

{ Happy Sewing } … Les Monsieurs Skirt

Posted by on Nov 7, 2013 in { Happy Sewing }, Blog, Les Monsieurs, Tutorials | 4 Comments

I promised this tutorial, and finally, it’s here! So … without further ado … The Les Monsieurs Skirt

What I used:

This was made for a 7-year old. For a younger child, I would just cut the shorter measurement of the 2 main pieces each a few inches shorter, but still use the full 45″ fabric width, as full = fun.

All fabrics used are from my Les Monsieurs collection in the Retro colourway:

A – 13″ x width of fabric (45″) Gentlemen Start Your Engines

B – 45″ long x 16″ wide Tire Treads in Wave (This print runs vertically, hence the direction I cut the fabric. For other horizontal prints, ex, Scribble Cars, simply cut 16″ long x width of fabric)

C – 2 pieces, 6″ wide x 2″ Scribble Cars

D – 2 pieces, 8″ long x 6″ wide Tire Treads in Wave (again, this print runs vertically. If using a horizontal print, switch the dimensions accordingly)

– Approximately 48″ of 3/8″ wide elastic (double the wearer’s waist measurement, plus a few inches extra).

What I did:

First, the pocket: Fold up ¼” to the wrong side along lower long edge of both C pieces. Press. Lay pieces right sides together & using a  ¼” seam allowance, sew around the 2 short edges and the top edge. Clip corners, turn right side out & press.

Lay your 2 main pocket pieces, D right sides together. Using the following diagram #1 as a guide, cut the curved pocket shape. Keeping right sides together, using a ¼” seam allowance, sew the entire way along the long curved edge. Clip curves and turn right side out. Press.

Using #2 in previous diagram as a guide, form a symmetrical box pleat in top edge of pocket so that it fits into the opening of C pieces. Place it all the way to the top of C. Pin in place. Top stitch 1/8″ from folded edge, as in #3.

Locate the horizontal centre of piece A. Measure 3½” from top edge & mark with a pin. Position centre of top edge of finished pocket at this spot. Pin the pocket in place, allowing centre-top of pocket to pucker out from skirt a bit (room for a little hand or a secret treasure to get in easily (so that top corners are about 4 3/4“ apart). Pin in place. Top stitch all the way around pocket, except top edge, 1/8” from edge.

Serge or zigzag raw edges of pieces A & B. Right sides together, fold piece A in half horizontally. Using ½” seam allowance, stitch side edges together to form a tube. Turn right-side out. Repeat with piece B. Insert tube A inside tube B. Right side of A should be against wrong side of B. Using a ½” seam allowance, sew top edges together. Iron seam toward A. Turn right-side-out. Pull A fabric an extra 1/8” to the inside (so that the seam lies 1/8” down on the inside). Press.

Top stitch 1/8” from top edge, all the way around. Form 2 elastic channels by stitching another line ½” below this line, and again ½” lower. Measure your little one’s waist & add 1”. Cut 2 pieces of elastic this length. Open the side seam at each channel to insert elastic with a bodkin or safety pin. For each piece of elastic, overlap the ends by 1” making sure the elastic is not twisted in the channel. Stitch a few zig-zag lines to securely fasten ends together. Finish stitching the channel closed.

Now just the hems. Press to wrong side ¼” all the way around bottom of A, then turn under again 1/2”. Stitch in place. Repeat with the 2nd hemline.

{ Happy Sewing } … Les Monsieurs Reversible Cape

Posted by on Sep 16, 2013 in { Happy Sewing }, Blog, Les Monsieurs, Tutorials | No Comments

You’ve been asking for it, so, without further ado, here is the promised reversible superhero cape for your little one.

What I used:

Keep in mind, I made this cape for my five-year old son. It should work fine for a child between about 4-6 years. If making it for an older child, I might lengthen it by a few inches, and perhaps even make it a few inches wider. You will still be able to make it from a width of fabric. Keep the neck opening as is, just place the bottom corners a bit further apart & a bit lower down.

All fabrics used are from my Les Monsieurs collection in the Retro colourway:

1 yd Scribble Cars

¾ yd Racing Stripes

1 yd Castle Blocks

 An 8″ diameter circle of unbleached cotton

 A 7″ diameter circle of quilt batting

 An 8″ x 5″ scrap of charcoal flannel (felt would work just fine, too. This is for the hair & facial features, so dark brown or black would also work)

 A large velcro dot or a cut velcro strip approx. 1″ long.

What I did:

I used 1/2″ seam allowances everywhere.

Fold Scribble Cars fabric in half vertically (tip: Position your fold so that it runs through the centre of a column of cars. This way, your racing stripe won’t cut into any cars).

Use the following cutting guide to cut the basic cape shape. Measure & mark as indicated and connect your markings with smooth curves. The neckhole is a perfect circle, so you can use a compass or search for something you have around the house that’s the right size.

Now use this cut piece as your pattern to cut the same piece from the Castle Blocks fabric.

Cut a 3¾” wide strip from the entire length of Racing Stripes (tip: I positioned mine so that the dashed black line is centred on the strip).

Press under ½” of fabric along both long edges of strip. With wrong side of strip on right side of cape, lay the Racing Stripes strip up the centre of the Scribble Cars cape piece, using your centre fold line on the cape as a guide. Pin in place. Top stitch ⅛” from the edge along both long edges. Trim any extra length of the strip that extends beyond the cape piece.

Clip into the ½” seam allowance all the way around the unbleached cotton circle and press seam allowance to wrong side. Insert the batting circle under the pressed edges on the wrong side. Centre circle, right side up, on right side of Castle Blocks cape piece, with the top of the circle about 5″ down from the bottom of the neckline. Pin in place. Use an invisible stitch to sew in place. Using the following template as a guideline, draw hair, eyes & a mouth onto the flannel. There are no seam allowances here as the flannel or felt will not fray.

Carefully cut out & position pieces on cotton circle. With matching thread colour, stitch in place with a small running stitch. There is no need to stitch this all the way through to the cape fabric, just catch the cotton circle with the needle as you go through, then come back up.

With right sides together, pin the two cape pieces together all the way around. Starting halfway up one side, sew all the way around, stopping about 7″ from your start point (to be able to turn piece right side out). Clip all corners & curves. Turn your cape right side out. Close the opening with an invisible stitch. Press all the way around so your edges are smooth.

Position velcro so that the two cape tabs overlap. You don’t want any rough velcro edges along your little one’s neck, so be sure that there is a comfortable amount of fabric around each velcro piece. You will have one velcro piece on a Scribble Cars fabric side and the other on a Castle Blocks fabric side.

Pin them in place and top stitch all the way around each (tip: Keep in mind that the cape is reversible, and will be seen from both sides. Choose a thread colour that will disappear on the back fabric for each one. Don’t worry about the stitching being visible on the velcro, as it won’t be seen).

And there you have it. One reversible Les Monsieurs cape, ready for action!

{ Happy Sewing } … Les Monsieurs For the Girls!

Posted by on Sep 6, 2013 in { Happy Sewing }, Blog, Les Monsieurs | 5 Comments

Who says cars are just for boys? Not this mama! While I designed Les Monsieurs for my son, I thought it would be really cute to make something for the girl in my life with some of her current favourite colours. She is all about blues these days.

I had designed this skirt for a Spoonflower contest a year or two ago and thought I would revisit it with Gentlemen Start Your Engines. It sews up easily, shows off co-ordinating fabrics well, is really comfy and the best … has a nice deep pleated pocket for a couple treasures or an idle hand.

I will post a tutorial here shortly, so stay tuned!

Kid approved!

Guest Blogging Again at Michael Miller

Posted by on Aug 25, 2013 in Blog, Les Monsieurs | No Comments

A quick note to say I have done another guest blog post on the Michael Miller blog, introducing Les Monsieurs.

And yes, once again, there is a giveaway!

So, head on over …..

{ Happy Sewing } … Little Backpacks Tutorial

Should be organizing, making lists, trying to switch gears to be ready for a new school year. My disorganized self still has oodles of books, pencils, crayons … you name it, to buy. So, why not procrastinate with the necessities just a bit longer and instead make a few easy, cute, soft backpacks for gym clothes instead? I’m in!

What I Used:
One 13″ wide x 30″ long piece of fabric for exterior. Note, if your print is a directional one, like the Monsieur Blocks green bag, you will want instead two pieces 13″ wide x 15½” long so that one side of your bag doesn’t have upside down little men or castles on it.

One 13″ x 30″ piece of fabric for lining. This could be a basic solid colour fabric, but I prefer the added little surprise for the recipient of having a contrasting lining.

Three meters of cording or soft (but strong) ribbon. A not-too-wide gros grain would work well.

What I Did:
Unless otherwise indicated, all seam allowances are ¼”.

If you have two pieces of exterior fabric, place them right sides together with both prints facing the top, and stitch across the bottom 13″ with a ½” seam.

If you are going to add any decorative patches or stitching to the front, now is the time to do it. I centred the patches I used horizontally and placed them about 6″ from the top. On the Scribble Cars orange bag I used a small narrow zigzag machine stitch to attach the patch. On the Faceted Flight triangle print, I embroidered the patch on with small buttonhole stitching.

Here are the visuals for the following instructions:

Right sides together, place lining fabric on exterior fabric and sew two short ends (see A). You should have a tube.

Keeping right sides together, arrange the tube so that those 2 seams you just made are lined up in the centre. Mark 1″ from each end on each side, except on one lining end, mark about 5″ from the end (to turn fabric right side out). Also mark centre seam and ¾” from centre seam on each side of exterior fabric (to pass the cord). Sew from each mark to the next along the long sides (4 lines of stitching in total) (see B).

Turn fabric right side out. Top stitch 5″ opening to 1″ from folded edge (see C).

Insert lining into exterior fabric. Sew all the way around top, ¾” from folded edge to form casing (see D).

Cut cording or ribbon in half. If using cording, lightly scorch ends with a flame to stop them from unravelling. Using a safety pin or bodkin, insert one end into one side of casing and pass it all the way through to exit at the same edge (see E). Repeat with other side.

Insert ½” of 2 cord or ribbon ends into the 1″ opening left at the bottom edge of the bag, passing through opening in lining as well. Top stitch the opening a few times. Repeat with other side.

All done!


{ Happy Sewing } … Monsieur Pocket Pillow Tutorial

Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in { Happy Sewing }, Blog, Les Monsieurs, Tutorials | 6 Comments

My son loves arranging things (pillows, stuffed animals, etc) on his bed and he’s been asking for a personalized pillow for some time now. My Les Monsieurs fabric line offered the perfect inspiration. I decided to be really playful with the personalization aspect, and created a soft 2-sided doll. One side is Max today, the other side is his dream of being a race car driver/pilot.

What I used:

A 16″ x 24″ pillow insert (available at IKEA). The finished pillow will be smaller than this, resulting in a nice full pillow rather than a floppy one.

Fabric pieces that can all be cut from a fat quarter of each of the following prints from the Aviator colourway (letters refer to diagrams & tutorial instructions):

A – Les Monsieurs en Ville

B – Castle Blocks

C – Tire Treads (orange)

D – Monsieur Blocks

E – Tire Treads (yellow)

F – Gentlemen Start Your Engines

A 4.5″ x 9″ scrap of natural cotton

A bit of extra stuffing (I used fiber fill) for the doll

White thread

Acrylic or fabric paints and a few paint brushes in varied sizes


What I did:

I used 1/2″ seam allowances everywhere.

First, cut pieces for the front of the pillow as follows:

A – 25.5″ wide x 15″ high. Then cut this piece vertically 15″ from left edge. You will have 2 pieces (one 15″ x 15″, and another 10.5″ x 15″), with the pattern continuing across them.

C – 2″ wide x 15″ high

D – 10.5″ wide x 6.75″ high

Here is a diagram for placement:

For the pocket, fold under 1/4″ along the top edge of D, toward the wrong side of the fabric, then fold again 1/2″ down. Sew a line 3/8″ from the folded edge. This creates the finished edge of the pocket.

Place D on top, all the way to the bottom, of the smaller piece A, lining up bottom and side edges. (Wrong side of D against the right side of A). Pin in place. Now position C on top of these two, right sides together,along the left edge. Pin and sew from top to bottom. Open and iron seam toward C. Position larger piece A on C, right sides together, along the left edge. Sew from top to bottom. Iron seam toward C.

Now cut your pillow back, B, 25.5″ wide x 15″ high. With right sides together, place B on pieced-together front, matching edges. Pin and stitch all the way around, leaving an opening along the right side large enough to insert the pillow. Clip corners and turn right-side out. Insert pillow. Using an invisible stitch, close the opening. Push the pillow all the way to the left of your cover and machine stitch a line from top to bottom about 2.5″ from the cover’s right edge to create a decorative flange.

For the doll, cut one piece each 6″ high x 4.5″ wide from fabrics E and F. Using the following diagram as a guide, cut the top corners to form rounded shoulders.


Cut 2 circles with a 4.5″ diameter from the natural cotton. Now the fun part … the personalization. Keeping in mind your 1/2″ seam allowance, use a pencil to draw a simplified version of your boy’s face and one of the imaginary race car driver/aviator on your circles. Below you can find a bit of visual inspiration. It’s really not hard, just stick to basic shapes to mimic hair style, add a few small circles for eyes and a little mischievous grin.

Now the paint. Use a test scrap of fabric first to get the feel of the paint. You really don’t want to use much water, as that will cause your paint to bleed on the fabric. Just fill in the shapes you have drawn and co-ordinate the helmet colours with the fabrics. Let them completely dry.

Clip the curves at the neck edge of the face so that you are able to turn the seam allowance to the back smoothly. Using an invisible stitch, sew the neck edge of the head to the top of the body. Repeat for other side. Right sides together, sew the doll front to the back, leaving an opening at the base. Clip curves and turn right side out. Stuff and close the bottom with an invisible stitch.

Place the monsieur in his pocket and you are all done!

{ Happy Sewing } … Desk Chair

Posted by on Aug 8, 2013 in { Happy Sewing }, Blog, Les Monsieurs | 2 Comments

Le petit Monsieur in my life was the oh-so-happy recipient of a cute wooden desk I had found on the roadside recently. I figured he needed his very own personalized chair to go with it.

I asked him to choose which Les Monsieur fabric he would like me to use (I was thinking just one piece), and my sometimes very vague boy described what you see below in such specific detail, I had to oblige. The centre print is Castle Blocks, the more open ground green is Monsieur Blocks, and the orange and white diagonal stripes are a fine cut of this Tire Treads chevron, all in the Soft Top colour way.

It was a really simple project. I removed the old upholstery fabric and used that as my basic template. I cut my strips of fabric (keeping in mind 1/2″ seam allowances), trying to keep the monsieur’s in the prints centred. I stitched them together, added a fresh layer of batting over the existing seat foam, pulled tightly on the fabric for a nice smooth surface and stapled away underneath.

I then had to add a little something extra, because sometimes more is more. I was inspired by this gorgeous chair I had seen on Pinterest. A word of warning … keeping all that yarn smooth and tight while wrapping … well, that’s why I stopped where I did.

Oh, and the castle painting in the top photo is one I did for Max 2 Summers ago, which was also partial inspiration for the fabric collection.

A Bow Tie?

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in { Happy Sewing }, Blog, Les Monsieurs | 3 Comments

Gotta love a kid’s accessory that’s dapper, yet still fun and young. Oh … If only we had more dressy events to attend. Though, truth be told, Max would wear these with a t-shirt to go play at the park given the chance.

I loved making these and playing around choosing which motifs to highlight from each and every print in all 3 colourways of Les Monsieurs. There are even a few double ones in there. A fun and quick project for fabric scraps.