Maggie's ugly pattern

“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge: Maggie from Smashed Peas and Carrots

Hello!  Today we have the lovely Maggie with us from Smashed Peas and Carrots to share with her Ugly Duckling pattern transformation.

Here is the pattern that she chose to update:

Maggie's ugly pattern


And to see what she did with it you can head on over to her blog:  Smashed Peas and Carrots!


(Is it wrong that I want that wiener dog transfer applique that was included with the pattern?)


A Girl and A Glue Gun Logo

“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge: Kimbo from A Girl and A Glue Gun

Today we have our good friend Kimbo from A Girl and A Glue Gun with us today for our Ugly Duckling Pattern Challenge.

A Girl and A Glue Gun Logo

You’ll have to head over to her blog to see what she did with this crazy pattern!


Oh my gosh!!!  Seriously!  This pattern just gives me the giggles…I don’t know which part is funnier the front, the back, or the fact that I would have totally worn this in high school!  But now I’ve got to head over to A Girl and a Glue Gun and see what she’s done with this glamorous little Ugly Duckling!


“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge: Amber from Crazy Little Projects

Today our Ugly Pattern Challenge comes from Amber at Crazy Little Projects, who we adore.  We participated in her “Learn to Sew” Challenge and had a blast and today she is back with us for the Ugly Pattern Challenge.


Amber is known for her softies patterns…so she of course started out with this not-so-modern-looking doll pattern.


And you now need to go to her blog to see the results!!!!!  Click HERE to see what Amber made it into….


“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge–Terra from Momma Says Sew

Welcome to Day #2 of the Ugly Duckling Pattern Challenge…..where some of our friends are now taking “not-so-fashionable-vintage-patterns” and turning them into modern swans!

Today we have Terra from


joining us and showing what she did with this great 80′s pattern.

IMG_0709 copy

And  you are just going to have to go to her blog to see the “after” because it is sooooo cute!!!!  She did an amazing job.

See how Terra took this pattern and modernized it HERE!!!

ugly pattern challenge

“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge—Elizabeth

Today we are excitedly kicking off one of our absolute favorite series of the year, the “Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge!!!!!  I think it is our favorite because it gives new life to some “otherwise never used” patterns that are sitting in thrift stores or attics everywhere…..and maybe the fact that we believe every vintage pattern has some redeeming qualities about it.  (Which is probably why we are hoarding so many…)

ugly pattern challenge

Take for example a million of these bad 80′s patterns like this beauty that I chose for my ugly duckling (I think I can safely say that because I had a quite a few of these dresses ;).  Just look at view C; a high lace collar, drop waisted, curved waistline, asymmetrical hemline, huge puffed sleeves AND ruffles all rolled into one little girls’ dress pattern (never mind the fact that it doesn’t fit the poor girl and—clothes were wayyyy baggier in the 80′s) but it STILL has some redeeming qualities.

Need a great peter pan collar?  For fifty cents—you got one!  Or a basic bodice pattern?  Yep, take away all the other crazy embellishments and you’ve got it!

And here’s what I made…..

white lace dress from 80's pattern

Taking inspiration from the lace collar itself I decided to make the whole dress out of lace. I also adjusted the waistline up to a more natural waist (although I really did think about keep it dropped—but I figured with the lace it might not show as well) and then cut the skirt in one piece instead of adding the ruffle.white lace dress from 80's pattern---sleeve detail

I also left the sleeve length as view C, but modernized it by taking all the puffiness out and leaving them just in the lace.white lace dress

And the dress was a hit!  Nevermind the fact that we did a photoshoot in 30 mph winds…and are trying to block them by hiding behind a public restroom…the dress has been claimed and declared that “she loves it”  especially with the gold sparkle belt that we found for $1.97 at Old Navy last week.  And I agree with her…I do think it makes the dress.white dress bodicewhite lace dress--full dress

So dig through mom’s or grandma’s attic and see what you can come up with for your very own “Ugly Pattern.”  We have an Ugly Pattern linky party going on here and a contest on instagram as well with the hastag #uglypatternparty—-both of which will have some awesome prizes!!!!

(You don’t have to sew up the patterns….we just want you to take a picture of the ugliest vintage–pre 1989 pattern you can find and link it up!!!)

And we have lined up a bunch of other friends who have their own “Ugly Duckling Patterns” that they have made into swans—and we CAN NOT wait to show you what they have done.  You are going to be amazed!!!!


In the spring quote

Spring Break


In the spring quote

We aren’t sure where you are right now or what’s going on in your world but here in our neck of the woods it’s Spring Break…which means we are busy spending more time outdoors with the kids than indoors with our sewing machines.

(Which is how is should be.)

So we apologize for the silence here on the blog for the next few days…but we are going to be out getting dirty…

We will be back though, bright and early Monday morning with day #1 of our “Ugly Duckling Vintage Pattern Party”!

See you then!


pintucked skirt real

An announcement and a pintucked skirt…

pintucked skirt real

Today we are so excited to announce our new partnership with our friends at


and we couldn’t be more thrilled.  Even their motto “For the Love of Sewing” fits into our everyday lives and the family-run company has a history of encouraging that love of sewing for over 40 years!

And today we are happy to help them celebrate National Serger Month.  National Serger Month is a month filled with projects that you can make on your serger and you even have a chance to win a Babylock Ovation serger.  Head to for all the details and to enter to win your very own serger!


We have had the chance to test drive our new Babylock sergers and have been so impressed with the quality.  And the jet-air threading is probably the coolest thing I have seen on a serger—-EVER!  At the class we took, we couldn’t believe how easy it was to thread the machine….it’s a dream.

And so the first project was to make a simple skirt all on the serger!  And even add some pintucked details with the pintucking foot that you can attach to your serger.  (Another amazing foot, I tell you!)

Here’s how I made the skirt:


  • Baby Lock Serger
  • Pintuck Foot for Serger
  • 1 yard chambray fabric
  • 4 Spools Maxi-Lock serger thread
  • 1 Spool all-purpose thread
  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Quilting ruler for cutting fabric
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk or water soluable marker for marking pintuck lines
  • One piece of elastic 2 inches smaller than waist measurement
  • Large safety pin for threading elastic through casing


1.  Using the tape measure, find a waist measurement and a waist to knee measurement for the person you are making the skirt for.

2.  Cut your skirt fabric into a rectangle with the following measurements; Waist to knee measurement plus 3 inches for the height and doubled waist measurement for the length.

3.  Serge all four sides of your skirt rectangle.serge up all four sides

4.  Using your fabric chalk or water soluable marker, mark where you want your pintucks horizontally on your skirt rectangle. mark chalk lines

5. Place your pintuck foot onto your serger with Guide A in place.  Sew the three rows of pintucks.  Here is a great video if you need some help.add pintucks

6.  After making the pintucks, place right sides of the skirt rectangle together and sew up the back seam of the up side seam

7. Turn over the top of skirt to form a casing for the elastic.  Press and stitch leaving a 1 inch opening to thread elastic through.  Using the large safety pin, thread elastic through casing and stitch together.  Then stitch the casing closed.fold over top and make casing

8. Hem the bottom of your skirt.

fold over and hem skirt

And you are done!




Velvet Ribbbon Bodice Tutorial

This week over on Project Run and Play the weekly challenge is to sew something from fabric that you have designed or created and I wanted to play along.  See, when we came up with this challenge awhile back I got really excited about all the possibilities of creating your own fabric and got to work.  And the very first project I made while thinking about this challenge was a bodice for Grace using some amazing velvet ribbon from The Ribbon Retreat.
Here is the project that I made.  It has already been posted over at The Ribbon Retreat but I am bringing it home for today.  I hope you like it!
I’m liZ from over at Simple Simon and Company and I’m happy to be here at the Ribbon Retreat today!
Right now two of my favorite things are velvet and stripes so when I saw that the Ribbon Retreat had velvet ribbon I knew exactly what I wanted to make:
A striped velvet bodice for my Grace!
 It was such an easy project and I like the results so much that I’m sure there are more of these in our future…pink and white…grey and yellow…brown and ivory…
Anyways, if you’d like to make one similar here is the how to:
Let’s start with the supply list:

The only other item not listed in the photo is your pattern…I used the bodice from our upcoming pattern but any bodice pattern you have will work for this project.  Also note that the ribbon amount may vary depending on the size of the bodice you are creating.

Now, once you have your supplies you need to cut your ribbon.

(Essentially you are making a piece of velvet ribbon fabric that needs to be as tall and as wide as your front bodice piece.  So for my bodice pattern I needed to cut 8 pieces of both the black and the white ribbon and each piece was cut 7 inches long.)

Once your ribbon is cut you can start sewing!

Repeat this process over and over again until all of your ribbon pieces are sewn right sides together and make a flat piece of striped velvet.
***Note:  When I finished sewing my ribbon pieces together I gave them a good steamy ironing.***




And you are good to go!
Just finish up your pattern as you normally would.
(Just be sure to line the inside front of your cute new bodice!)
It was easy and I LOVE how the striped velvet looks!!!

Thank you to The Ribbon Retreat for inviting us over here today…it was so much fun to create something with your ribbon!!!


Simple Simon and Company

Ugly Pattern tulip swin suit

Your Invited to an Ugly Ducking (Vintage) Pattern Party!


Today we’d like you all to join us for our second annual Ugly (Vintage) Pattern Party.

As you all know Elizabeth and I hoard collect vintage patterns.  And we LOVE them.  It is from vintage patterns that I really learned how to sew…the fit, construction, and instructions are the best.  Those ladies back in the day KNEW what they were doing.  Clothing construction was an art and they were masters.

And aside from vintage patterns being awesome…which they are (seriously there is no school like the old school)…vintage patterns have also made sewing affordable for me.  I can buy a pattern for less than a dollar at a thrift store.  And at less than a dollar, I am free to experiment with all different styles, patterns, and techniques.  Really, vintage patterns have taught me how to sew and I am a loyal advocate of their greatness.

That being said….there are some really ugly vintage patterns….really ugly…HOWEVER…we feel like no matter how terrible/outdated/scary the pattern is there is always something there to salvage.  Those patterns are just waiting to be turned into swans!

For example last year I chose this pattern for our “Ugly Duckling” pattern party:Ugly Pattern tulip swin suit

It still makes me laugh…oh my goodness…even the girl wearing that suit thinks it’s hilarious!  Anyway…so I took this pattern…salvaged what I could…and made Ruth a breezy little top that she wore all summer.  (To see what it looked like click here:  A Tip Toe Through The Tulips. )

No pattern is completely unsalvageable.  In fact, most patterns you may initially think are terrible just need to be sewn up in modern fabric….and maybe with only a few minor changes.

Take this pattern for example:Ugly Pattern Seersucker Shirt


I need minute.

Ok…I’m ready…No, I’m not….that fabric combo and that tie…it’s like the uniform for the Easter bunny’s mild mannered alter ego….and I can’t stop laughing…

Whew…ok… so…look past the fabric choice and look at the “bones” of the pattern.  It really isn’t a bad shirt…shrink the collar a bit, maybe tweek the cuffs, and lose the tie.  And now not only is it something that I would totally wear but it also a teaching tool that will walk me through how to make a placket, evenly space button holes, and sew a dart.

SO today…we’d like to invite you to celebrate ugly vintage patterns with us.  The official party begins next Monday but to get us in the mood we are going to open up a linky party to get us all in the mood.

Do you have an ugly vintage pattern?  If so, take a photo of it and link it up!  We’d LOVE to see it.  Come on!  These patterns need to be shared!!!

(Just one rule…please only link up “vintage” patterns.  We know that there are a lot of possibly unsavory current patterns…but we would like to only stick to patterns that are 25 years (1989) or older.  We want this party to be in the spirit of good fun and not hurt anyone’s feelings.)

P.S.  You don’t have to sew up the pattern….we just want to see a picture of the “Ugly Duckling” in all its glory ;)