Children's Hackers: April Showers

This week we have Kari and Amy facing off in another Hacker's duel! This time, our hackers are sewing for kids, and they're stretching their sewing limits creating outerwear.... out of non-outerwear patterns. Check it out! Some seriously stunning detail work awaits... :)

"April Showers bring May flowers" - but why wait a month for sunshine and blooming gardens to look fabulous?? Your child will be the most fashionable puddle-jumper there is when you hack two or more apparel* patterns to create a full rainy day ensemble. *non-outerwear patterns only - let's really challenge ourselves! 

The challenger's objective is to find the untapped potential in a pattern, and use it as a blank canvas to paint their masterpiece upon.

Amy's Topstitcher Entry:

I am ridiculously thrilled to be here sharing my Top Stitchers outfit today! I could not be happier with both the challenge and the prompt - I love hacking patterns and I love making outerwear! I also love that once you start mixing patterns together, you can add in details that are all your own. I'll start with the fedora - I used this Fedora (Elegance & Elephants) and the ears from theSweet Pea Cap (Jennuine Designs) - they turn into perfect fox ears when you don't pleat the bottom. I used the same lining for the fedora as the jacket - this is a fox-eared fedora lined with foxes wearing fedoras! You can hop over to Friends Stitched Together to see the proof! 

I knew right away I wanted to make a jacket that incorporated princess seams, raglan sleeves, and pintucks. I turned to my favorite shirt pattern, the Rival Raglan (GYCT) to start with.Chelsea happened to mention that she was working on a dress with princess seams, but couldn't decide if she wanted to go ahead with it. I selfishly begged and pleaded with her to finish it - the Happily Ever After Dress was just what I needed! For the sides, I pintucked several feet of my fabric and then cut the panels out. I actually made them too short (and was notgoing to pintuck all that a second time!), so I added a bottom band. It ended up looking perfect with the zipper shield and cuffs, so I'm pretending I planned it. I used the Lumberjack Shirt(Patterns for Pirates) to get the width of the jacket, since I like the relaxed fit. I also incorporated the back yoke, the sleeve cuffs, the pockets, and used the collar stand as a Mandarin collar. I used brown leather and piping (in almost every.single.seam. Seriously, this thing took forever) to really bring out the green of the jacket. As a nod to the "April Showers" half of the theme, I added raindrop shaped elbow pads on the sleeves.

The pants are a mash-up of the Kudzu Cargoes (Charming Doodle) and the Twisted Trousers(Titchy Threads). I've made both multiple times and I knew they would go together well - essentially, I used the top of Kudzus and the bottom of the Trousers. I like the triangular accent of the leg on the Kudzus and incorporated it for the front and the back of one leg. The "twist" is my favorite part of the Trousers - I applied the bias tape to the seams using the directions from the Coastal Cargoes. The seams are hidden in the bias tape, so there's no seam allowance on the inside, which is kinda cool. I used the leather from the jacket to accent the back pockets. The cargo pockets on the leg are fully lined, so the leather makes the contrast with the way they're folded.

Even though our challenge was to create an outerwear look, I just couldn't resist doing a full outfit! I mashed the Patrick Curved Raglan (Fishsticks Designs) with the Wingman Tee (Patterns for Pirates) to make a hooded tee shirt. I added a band around the hood with a leather cord for a drawstring. Even the embroidery is a mash up of two Urban Threads patterns: Cherry Blossom Ship and Lost at Sea! I love the almost quilted look of the sails of the one and the flowers (to fit with the "May flowers" half of the theme) of the other. Also, "May flowers"... Mayflower... I know. I'm hilarious ;) I spent every evening for a week and half hand embroidering that shirt. John keeps asking if he can wear his "beautiful shirt", but he wore it for these pictures and Easter and now it's going in a shadow box on the wall - ha!

(I have to admit, after all the work I did on this outfit, the lining fabric I used in the jacket just might be my favorite part! My local JoAnns got a bolt of this "Fox and the Houndstooth" and I bought almost the entire thing...) I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of the challenge as much as I enjoyed making it - you can hop over to Friends Stitched Together to see more pictures!

Kari's Topstitcher Entry:

Whew - it's finally time to put down our needles, turn our machines off and share!!  If you follow me at all, you know, I can almost never resist adding my own spin on any patterns I sew.  I started hacking patterns before I even knew it was a thing.  LOL

I decided to try and stretch my hacking ability.... and it nearly broke my sewing spirit.  Some of what I spent countless hours on is not pictured because it looked so much better in my head and didn't quite translate.  BUT, I am in love with what I actually created!  So I will focus on that - oh and the fact that just moments before pictures, it actually began to rain!!! Hooray!

I have a confession to make -- my girls have never played in the rain, jumped in puddles, or even owned rain boots.  Yes, I'm "that" mom. HA!  The mere thought of playing in the rain in a brand-new outfit about sent my anxiety into overdrive.  But, I digress….

Let’s get into the details, shall we?  

For my raincoat, I was inspired by this doll on Pinterest and knew just the patterns to make it happen.  [Remember, we were not allowed to use any outerwear patterns to create our rainy day ensemble.]

  • Patterns I hacked: Georgia Vintage by The Cottage Mama and the Best Dressed Girl by Little Lizard King.  
  • Pieces I used:  Georgia Vintage: Front and Back Bodice, Bodice Overlay, and Collar; Best Dressed Girl:  Bodice Ruffle, Center Sash Ties and Long Sleeves

Because it gets rather hot here in NC, I lined only the bodice portion of the coat and added a coat hook strap and my shop label, along with a hand stitched daisy from her skirt.

  • Fabrics used:   Michael Miller Wide Laminate Quarter Dot Aqua and Michael Miller Mini Mikes Dot Duo Red (both are out of print – I had ordered these over 2 years ago)
  • Pitfalls: You cannot iron laminate which makes sewing and hemming a bit trickier, especially on the flutter ruffles. You also need a non-stick foot for your machine.
  • What I love: It turned out exactly like I had envisioned and fits great!

The outfit is where I had my setbacks and my original outfit, well….. I may try to salvage it someday, just not today :P  But, I was able to use a portion of it and turned it into a fluffy petal skirt.  

  • Pattern I hacked: Everyday Play Skirt by Little Lizard King and The Flip Skirt by Pattern Emporium
  • Pieces I used: Everyday Play Skirt: Waistband; Flip Skirt: I used the Double Ruffle Measurements and added a 3rd row
  • Fabrics used: Michael Miller Plain Jane Lil Daisy (out of print) and Michael Miller Quarter Dot Red (, Knit Lycra Blend in red from Purple Seamstress
  • Pitfalls:  I only had a ½ yard of the daisy fabric and had to get creative to put it to maximum use.
  • What I love: My 4 year old LOVES skirts so this fluffy petal skirt will get a lot of wear here.

Additional styling:  I bought adorable red rain boots (Kmart) and added a vinyl monogram in turquoise glitter (CaitlynMcDuffie on Etsy).  I also sewed two bows using the medium bow from the Candy Castle Princess Dress. The tee and leggings were purchased from stores (and are not included in what I sewed).

Be sure to hop over to my blog for more photos and details!

Until next time….. Kari <3

Before we give them their marks, let's have a refresher of the rules, shall we??:

  • Please rate each challenger, and every category. Max of 5 stars, 5 is highest.
  • Challengers will receive an average score for each category, and an average score overall. (You can see an example here)
  • Your feedback helps each challenger recognize areas that they can improve their craft, and celebrate those areas that they already excel. 
  • As such, please submit your feedback for each contestant only once. Admittedly, I cannot enforce this, but the objective is for each contestant to receive a thoughtful rating, not skewed scores. 
  • It is SUPER DUPER NERVE-WRACKING to put work on display for others to judge, so let's remember to leave some love and encouragement for our challengers in the comments!