Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maggie Elizabeth Designs

You may or may not be aware that it has been a goal of mine for a number of years now to learn to sew. My mother sewed a lot of things (in my mind, anyway) when I was little, and both of my grandmas are excellent seamstresses; my mother's mother especially has always been incredible and can do just about anything she wants to do with fabric and thread.

A dear local friend has been working with me here and there, helping me learn the basics on my machine and putting together a medium difficulty dress pattern. Our meetings are few and far between most of the year though, and I've found it necessary to supplement outside of my friend.

Maggie Elizabeth Designs to the rescue! I was excited to find Maggie's site (she also has an Etsy shop), as she has her patterns labelled by difficulty and available as PDF's. I contacted her and am blessed to be able to share a product review of some of her items with you, and I sincerely hope you will visit her pretty little page and find something you'll enjoy making. Her site proclaims Jesus as Lord, and I'm thrilled to let you all know about her patterns and complete sewing kits!

Ms. Maggie sent me two projects, and I've been pressed for time to complete them but finally got the one finished! I must first rave about the project I haven't yet completed, though, because of the fantastic kits she has available for some of her patterns. Just look!

This kit comes complete with everything you need to complete the project. The fabric is exquisite; even my local seamstress friend was impressed with it and commented that this is no “bottom of the barrel” sample she has sent me.

The pattern itself is one big sheet, not small pieces to be taped together like I'd wondered. That's a huge plus to me over even the store-bought ones, and though I haven't seen all the patterns to know if some of them may have more than one piece, the large, hardy sheet I was sent is enough to convince me of Maggie's attention to detail, ease, and quality of her products.

Maggie also includes the thread, elastic, and anything else called for in your chosen pattern project. She even sent a cute bow to coordinate with the outfit – an adorable extra that I hadn't expected! These kits are reasonably priced at just under $50 and are available with most of her patterns. Keep an eye out after the first of the year, when I'll update on having completed this pattern with kit!

You can also purchase any pattern without a kit. Patterns are available in the printed version that will be shipped to your door, or as a pdf download for a reduced cost. I love all the options!

Now, on to the project I actually did complete. The pdf tutorial wasn't so much a pattern as it was detailed instructions. Being a visual learner, I really appreciated the individual pictures for each step! If I'm sewing or doing some other project, I don't find it convenient to also be at the computer. We only have one computer and while I understand there are all sorts of free tutorials on the video streaming sites, I just can't make it work to use them practically. (No worries, I'll have my tablet soon enough, I hope!) These instructions, printable at my own convenience, were absolutely perfect and well written.

As a greener beginner than I'd really realized I am, I found the instructions clear and precise as to exactly what I should be doing. IF there was any confusion at all, the illustrations made it very clear for me. These aren't photographs or complicated diagrams; instead they are simple shape computer drawings that are easy to see and understand what is what and where it should go. I was thrilled!

The instructions I received were for taking a pair of jeans and making them into a skirt. Now, I do have a pair of jeans I think would make a good skirt, but the first instruction said that they should fit at the waist and the ones I have do not. Beyond that, I wasn't sure my machine and beginner skills could really handle the denim material just yet, so I used a soft pair of slacks instead. I wasn't sure how much this would matter, and maybe it did a little on the measuring and such, but it turned out fine with a few of my personality tweaks and general understanding.

Before, as pants:

After, as a skirt:

Keep in mind that this project was the pdf tutorial only, not a kit, so all materials and the mismatched threads are mine – and my fault. (HA!!) This wasn't a pair of pants I ever wore outside of the house, and I knew that as a very first completed “by myself” project that I may make mistakes, so I wrote this one off from the start. It actually turned out quite well!! I now have a cute skirt to wear around the house, and if I need to wear it out it is still decent, even if it's got three colors of threads making up the hems. Now I understand how that part works a little better, as well! I'm glad I did it that way, with different colors on top and through the bobbin. As visual as I am, it really helped me “get it.”

This was a perfect project for me, and I'm so excited about how it turned out. It really helped my confidence to be able to do this one 100% by myself without help or even much input, and Maggie's excellent tutorial is definitely to credit for that.

I know you all love to work with your hands, and as Ms. Maggie's goal is for us to enjoy doing just that, she has chosen to do a giveaway! The winner will receive a pattern of their choice from her site, or if you'd like a kit she will credit you the amount of the pattern towards that cost. What would you pick? Don't forget to enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway