LLK Sanibel, Coralie and a Piccadilly hack!

Confession: I was not a knit girl. Sewing with it scared me a bit and I found it always seems to stretch weird.

So when the Little Lizard King Sanibel came up for testing I was nervous but wanted to give it a go. Always good to work out of your comfort zone and try new things right?

Well I think it’s love!! The right material really helps. The solids were swim remnants I bought at Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA. The light purple is a swim mesh, I’m guessing meant for coverups, but layered on top of the solid looks awesome! They all have 4 way stretch and great recovery and are a medium weight so they didn’t curl too much at the edges and get caught in my machine.

In total I think this suit cost under $10!

I also got to test the newest LLK doll Coralie!

coralie upclose.jpgcora and coralie.jpgcora and mermaid.jpg

These colors were actually inspired by this crazy sequin fabric Cora picked out at Sewfisticated Fabrics in Framingham, MA.

It looks like mermaid scales so I hacked the Little Lizard King Piccadilly skirt into a mermaid tail!!

HACK: sew up the Piccadilly per the directions. I didn’t hem the bottom but instead picked off any sequins that would be in the 1/2″ seam allowance. Sew a line of gathering stitches. Put aside.

Next, I made the mermaid fin shape. I used the LLK Coralie and Caspian Doll mermaid fin as a reference. Then I traced with a washable marker onto the back of the sequined fabric 1/2 the fin, then flipped and traced the other half the tail. I used scissors to cut out the tail so I could save any sequins overhanging the edges of the skirt. I made a size 3 and the mermaid tail fin measures about a foot wide and the upper part is about 5″ once cut and unfolded.

Next I gathered the skirt bottom the same width as the top of the fin. I was lazy and safety pinned the fin on but a quick run through the machine would permanently fix it.

and DONE!

Here are some more photos from our shoot as well as my attempts as photoshop editting!

mermaid tail2mermaid1coralie and sanibelsanibel mermaid tail

Happy sewing!




Test Fitting My Gingers Jeans

Well luck was with me and this weekend my son was sleeping in his crib while my daughter was playing outside with her dad and I took this brief yet lucky opportunity to finally baste my cut out Ginger Jeans together!  This video was very helpful in figuring out how the heck I was actually supposed to do that.

They actually came together pretty quickly and when I finally tried them on I am surprisingly quite pleased with the fit!  Obviously it’s not perfect and there are a couple of adjustments I will attempt to make, but it could have been a lot further off.  My measurements fell between size 8 and 10 for this pattern and I decided to size down and go with the 8 because it seems to be recommended to size down (especially for the hips- lots of people comment on the generous hip allowance in the Ginger Jeans) for this pattern plus my fabric is so lightweight that a loose fit wouldn’t look right for this pattern (part of the problem with current RTW jeans, they are too loose and look a bit strange on).  I also hoped that the stretch in the fabric would make it more forgiving which it seems to do!

I was a little nervous sizing down for the waist because she doesn’t recommend doing that but it seemed a lot of work to attempt to grade between the sizes (something I have not yet done) so I chanced it and just cut out a size 8.  The seam allowance is large enough I figured I could fudge it if they ended up being too tight.  Surprisingly, the hip and bum area seemed to fit pretty well and the waistband is a bit loose.  There is a bit of gaping around the back of the waistband which seems to happen fairly often to me with pants and is likely because I don’t have a tiny bum.  So apparently this can be adjusted with something called a sway back adjustment.

I also have ‘smile lines’ on the front of the pant which seems to mean that I need to lengthen the crotch curve.  Oh the things you learn about you own body by attempting to learn how to fit it!  My plan of attack is to undo the inseam and see if I can work out how to sew the front crotch curve with the adjustment by just changing the seam allowance differently where the adjustment should be (since the fabric is already cut) then put it back together and try it on again to see if it helps at all.

See my initial fitting pictures below. Don’t mind my little assistant who makes the occasional appearance and moved things around as I took photos…

In any case, this is actually pretty fun to try and figure out and no matter how these jeans turn out, I am learning a lot getting myself through the process!

Update: I lengthened the front crotch slightly and re-basted them together. I think it looks better and have decided I’m not going to adjust the waistband as it’s not terrible and I kind of want to see how they wear when it’s all put together. You be the judge!

After all, this is my wearable muslin and I don’t have a single pair of jeans that fit me properly at the moment so if it looks half decent I’ll be thrilled. Plus I’m eager to actually get sewing as this has dragged on for ages and would like to make some progress in any small pocket of time I can carve out to sew!

Also I realize it’s very easy to be much more critical of the things you make versus what you’d buy in the store. Looking at the fit with a shirt hanging down like normal, I’d probably be really happy with the fit if I tried these on in a dressing room somewhere.

Right, on to construction!! (Finally…)

Pattern Tests / Collaborations


So as I’m scrolling though IG, I pass some gorgeous colors of a new fabric line and an “apply if you want to be part of my blog tour…” message and think “might as well give it a shot”. Wow, wasn’t I pleasantly surprised when I opened my email and Jessica Swift had invited me to sew up her new line, LUGU for Art Gallery Fabrics!

Jessica let us pick anything from her new LUGU line and sent it directly to us. She even had Art Gallery send us solids to match!

AG fabric is so nice feeling. These were all 100% premium cotton. Smooth, soft, with a beautiful drape. The colors are vibrant, and the AGF solids match LUGU perfectly! LUGU for Art Gallery Fabrics has 2 colors ways and a ton of sweet designs that are inspired by Lithuanian folk art.

I had to decide fast what I would sew, so I reached out to my fav designers at Little Lizard King for some suggestions. I just love their patterns; simple directions and great fit, and the nicest group of designers and testers! Their style is on point with my aesthetic and I find myself gravitating to those patterns more often then not. I ended up using a pattern that’s been in my collection for awhile but that I haven’t sewn yet, Malibu (yeah for progress towards another goal!) It’s a fan favorite in the LLK sewing group and perfect as we head into summer here in Massachusetts.

I choose Lumina Dusk and AG PURE Solids Verve Violet to coordinate. I choose this fabric over the others as I loved the vibrant teal color and the different phases of the moon printed all over the fabric. Cora tells me she was “on the moooon” (I wish you could hear her say it) before she was born, so this fabric was fitting.

I modified the pattern just a bit so I could get a contrasting bow and I used the width of fabric for the front and back for a fuller skirt to maximize the twirl. That is the only criteria for dresses these days and it MUST be met (did I mention she’s 3? 🤣). I was originally going to mash a circle skirt but this pattern has inseam pockets and I knew Cora would love those! The back of this dress is a showstopper but so simple to construct. I sewed a straight size 3, but per her measurements, she is an 18 month width and 3 length. I love that the tie and elastic allow this dress to “grow” as she does This will easily fit Cora next year, but probably as a tunic/shirt.

I also sewed up a LLK Charlotte Doll, with some mods of course! This is my second and I got a little crazy with the embroidery. We were on vacation and I decided that since I couldn’t sew, I would embroider her face and hair. Not bad for winging it but man that was time consuming. Next time I’ll try yarn hair, there are tons of great YouTube tutorials.

Cora was ecstatic to see a matching doll the morning after I finished. She just kept exclaiming “is that me?” in her little 3 year old voice. Then she demanded to put on her matching dress. Needless to say she loves them both!

Thanks for following along! Click here to see the whole blog tour line up and what all the other amazing people made!

Thanks for having me Jess!

To see more of what I’m up to, visit www.littlepinkpamplemousse.com or follow along on FB or IG.


I’m still here…

So, it’s been a while since my last post.  That’s mostly because not a whole lot has been happening around here sewing-wise.  Between work, the kiddos and general craziness of life, I haven’t spent a whole heck of a lot of time in my sewing space.  And not that things are expected to calm down anytime soon with spring around the corner- our new baby chicks arrived last week, the seed starting has been in full swing for a month or two now and so much to do outside with the yard/garden clean-up before everything springs to life around here.  But anyways, that is no excuse and this space is about sewing which I need to carve out more time for.  (If only I could get my one year old to sleep in his own bed, I might be able to get a little precious me-time before the kiddos wake up, but I digress..)

Maybe it’s because I’m slightly daunted by making jeans (seems far too advanced for my current sewing skills….) that I’ve been dragging my feet a bit.  The good news is that I have all the pattern pieces traced and cut out which is often the most cumbersome and time consuming part of making a project for me.  So now onto the fun part- actually sewing!

Well, sort of.  For this particular project, I’m first going to baste the jeans together to test for fit to see if any adjustments have to be made.  Which basically means I’ll sew all the main parts together and then rip it all out.  It sounds like a hassle but then again going to all the work of sewing jeans and then having them not fit properly seems like it’d be pretty defeating (and expensive!) so the extra time will be worth it I think.

This was originally intended to be a wearable muslin but there don’t seem to be a lot of fabrics that mimic stretch denim well, so I picked up this stretch denim at JoAnns for about $15/yd and since I’m going to all the trouble of making them I might as well finish them off.  The only pair of jeans I currently have fit me horribly, so what’s the worst that could happen?  The fabric is very lightweight- 7 oz so it is on the lowest end of the fabric recommendations for the Ginger jeans and is almost jeggings territory. Hopefully they will look okay. Next up, baste together my pieces.

Since I don’t have a whole lot to report, here are a couple of late Christmas presents I’ve finished off in the last couple months (yup, still finishing off gifts from 4 months ago- that’s how I roll…).  I finished Joe’s Christmas hat after realizing I’d misread the directions and made it way too long.  Held my breath ripping out all those stitches and weeks of knitting after I worked up the courage but it turned out okay in the end.  The pattern was a free pattern I found on Ravelry for a Men’s Basic Hat and the yarn was Lion’s Brand Fisherman’s Wool in Nature Brown.

And this Nature Pals Woodland Set had been finished since before Christmas but just waiting or me to stitch a couple of rings on the back to hang it on this wall.  So cute, this project was a Creativebug class by Kata Gilda. It wasn’t too complicated, just lots of pieces. And I wouldn’t have gotten the hand cramps from all the embroidering if I hadn’t left it until a day or so before Christmas to do the background. Still am really pleased and think it came out adorable!

L’s cardigan is still a work in progress, just finishing up the second sleeve and then need to figure out how to do the front edge and buttonhole/buttons.  Hopefully it’ll be finished before it gets too hot out and will actually fit her!

And since I’m going back to things I made for Christmas, here are a couple of other things I actually finished on time- a heavy baby doll for L (a class her preschool had) and a baby quilt for T. I’m a big time planner and dreamer but sometimes struggle with the follow through and meeting deadlines. Hence the point of this blog to help me with accountability and keeping track of my makes.

More to come with jeans fitting…

Pattern Tests / Collaborations

Project Run and Play

I took most of January and February off from sewing for others after a busy November/December. I was fortunate to be able to test for not 1, not 2, but 3 different designers in that time! (goal 1 almost complete!)

Little Lizard King Brunswick
Bebekins Luella & Bella
Little Lizard King Princeton
Little Lizard King London Leotard

One of those was for a collaboration collection between pattern designers for Project Run and Play . If you haven’t checked out PR&P on IG and FB, it’s usually a 4 week elimination contest between designers, each week has a theme. This time they did something a little different and had the designers work together to create a collection of patterns that fit the theme Farmer’s Market!

Bernadette, the mastermind of Duchess & Hare, masterfully crafts truly vintage inspired outfits for the little girls in your life. The D’Anjou dress is no exception and exactly what a warm summer day calls for!

Duchess & Hare D’Anjou Dress

My husband calls this her Dell’s Lemonade dress, but I’ve been hoarding this fabric from Riley Blake for awhile, just waiting for the right project. The bodice is white with yellow words and drawings like “Farmer’s Market” and “Homemade Jam”. We even made it to the Project Run and Play Lookbook (page 176)! Check out all the patterns here.

Looking forward to more pattern tests and collaborations in the future!

– Betsy


2019 Goals – better late then never!

As a busy mom of 2 young kids, it is hard to find ME time. Self care is incredibly important when so much of your day is consumed by taking care of others. The saying is true, the days are long but the years are short, but it’s hard to see that through the fog of little sleep, never ending colds, endless snacks, and feeling touched out.

When my daughter was almost a year, I finally busted out my sewing machine after only dabbling the past few years and I found a spark I had been missing. Making kids clothes was satisfying. They were small, take minimal fabric, relatively quick, and once you complete a project there is a sense of accomplishment. Something in my life was actually finished! Amid the piles of laundry, mounding toys, and boxes of diapers, I was actually able to complete a project and it felt good.

For me this snowballed quickly into a small business, and Little Pink Pamplemousse was born.

Kelly has been sewing right along side me since the birth of our daughters (they are 3 months apart just like Kelly and I). I was so excited she approached me at the end of 2018 with the idea to start a blog about friendship and sewing. Here are some general goals for the blog we came up with for 2019, our year of self care sewing!

1. Actually carve out time to do personal sewing and knitting projects

2. Hold each other accountable for self determined deadlines with projects

3. Sharing patterns and companies we like

We made these in January but it took us til now to get them up (cuz…life 😜). We will see how well we do at the end of the year!

For myself, I jotted down few goals for the year.

1. Pattern test for at least 4 different companies. I find the process so interesting and always pick up new techniques. The people in the sewing groups associated with these patterns and the designers are a wealth of knowledge and usually extremely helpful. It also gives me hard and fast deadlines, as well as the opportunity to make a new pattern!

2. Work on my photography. With my business and for pattern testing, final photos are extremely important. I’ve got a lot to learn about editing!

3. Make something for me. For all the kid outfits I’ve made, I’ve hardly made myself anything. I must change that! I hope to make at least 3 items for myself this year.

4. Sew some of the patterns I own that I’ve been collecting. I have a lot of pattern, I don’t even want to count. I’m sure in my haste I’ve even ordered 2 of the same pattern on 2 different occasions. Now it’s time to make at least 5 of these by the end of the year.

Thanks for coming along on this journey with us.

– Betsy


January Roundup

January was a mix of productivity and inaction.  The month started out promising, I had tidied my whole sewing space (much more manageable than the rest of my house) and was full of enthusiasm and gusto to try to accomplish my myriad of goals for the year in small increments.  I luckily had a weekend or two of getting things accomplished  and somehow did meet my first clothing goal of the year and completed a pair of self-drafted leggings!

Aside from that big accomplishment, a lot sat undone.  I still have several knitting projects that were meant to be Christmas presents that have sat nearly untouched for the entire month of January. (misread a pattern and accidentally made Joe the biggest hat in the world so working up the courage to pull out weeks of knitting to get it back to normal, wearable size..).  And L’s cardigan is still unfinished so finishing that is next up after the hat.  Outside of creative pursuits, my job has been particularly busy this month along with trying to take care of two tiny humans, I was feeling a bit zapped.

But enough of that, back to this month’s make!  Don’t be fooled for a second and think I’m clever and a drafting natural, I’m just a direction follower.  And I have a Creativebug subscription that has an online class with Cal Patch on pattern drafting and then making the pair of leggings.  So it was a step by step process of listening what she had to say, taking some measurement, doing a bit of math and voila- leggings!

Somehow they turned out a bit longer than I anticipated, which was no big deal I just hemmed them a bit more.  And since I didn’t have an elastic on hand, I opted to make a band for the waistline.  In the future, I’ll probably go for an elastic though just so they feel like they’ll stay up on my waist a bit better.  The fabric was some cheap black fabric I picked up at Walmart a few years ago with the intention of making a tee shirt.  I have no idea what the fiber content is, but I’d bet it’s mostly synthetic.  I don’t think I got the thread tension exactly right for a balances stitch on my serger (my first time using wooly nylon in the loopers- boy was that hard to get through the eye!) and I sewed it with a 3 thread narrow so we’ll see how they hold up in the future.  But overall they’re a nice, functional pair of black leggings to throw on for just wearing around the house or under dresses and long tops in cooler weather.  Below is after a couple days of wear so the fabric is getting a bit baggy around the knees.  Will have to work on taking better photos in the future…

Next up on my hit parade is the Ginger Jeans!  I’m skipping ahead a little bit because I’m desperately in need of jeans and also the pattern is already printed out.  This will be a challenge for me for sure and might take a while… updates to come..


A New Year…

I’ve been sewing more regularly for a few years now with the intention of making clothes for myself.  Partly because I hate shopping with a vengeance and partly because I enjoy making things.  But while I have made a few things for myself, for one reason or another (two pregnancies, lack of time, making things for other people) it just hasn’t really happened.

A couple of months ago I had a bout with cancer (melanoma) and while the outcome of my surgery was good, it shocked the hell out of me and was quite a wake up call.  There is no point pushing things off to the future that I would like to do.  Now is the time in all it’s imperfect glory.  I read a quote the other day that said “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good”.  So even if my skills could be better and I can dream up an image of myself sewing a perfect fitting pair of jeans, it will only be that (a dream) unless I actually cut into that fabric I’m hoarding and just get out there and do it, mistakes and all.  Even though my few handmades are probably riddled with errors, they are still my favorite things to wear.

So I plan to use this space to try and hold myself accountable for all the ‘selfish’ sewing projects that I would like to do.  Don’t get me wrong, I love making things for other people- particularly my kids and husband- but in this space I’m gonna focus on making clothes for myself so hopefully I get something accomplished in that area.  Plus it gives me a chance to talk more sewing with Betsy- not that we have a problem there to begin with!

I’ve never been much of a resolutions person but then again I’ve never really gotten a lot accomplished for myself as I’ve said, so let’s try something new in the new year.  To lay out some of my personal (ambitious) goals for 2019 (if only I was more technologically literate I could make one of those lovely ‘makenine’ photo blocks like I see all the time on Instagram) I’m hoping to attempt the list below learning new skills as I go along and working towards the more complicated projects.

  1. Self-drafted Leggings (Creativebug Class)
  2. Lark Tee by Grainline Studios
  3. Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns
  4. Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti Patterns
  5. Oceanside Pants/Shorts by Blank Slate Patterns
  6. Gemma Tank by Made by Rae
  7. Lander Pants by True Bias
  8. Cheyenne Tunic by Hey June
  9. Cascade Duffle Coat by Grainline Studios

As if this list wasn’t ambitious enough, as a knitting goal I’d like to try and knit myself a sweater- or more specifically the Ramona Cardigan by The Brown Stitch.  That is once I’ve finished finishing my daughter’s cardigan and husband’s hat that were supposed to be done for Christmas (*ahem*).  Anyways, my list of makes is mostly functional because of my lack of a decent wardrobe and the Ginger Jeans are moved closer to the top as I only have one pair of jeans without holes.  Hopefully spending a little time today cleaning up my ‘studio’ space (aka a divided off part of my living room) and maybe cleaning out my machines and then off we go with new goals for 2019!

Oh and I finally took the plunge and bought the sewing machine I’ve been eyeing up for the past few years.  Don’t get my wrong, I still love my basic machine and it’s served me very well but there are a few functions it was lacking (ie presser foot pressure adjustment).  Also if it’s gonna be my year of making jeans, might as well take the plunge with the heavy duty machine of my dreams for all those denim seams to come.  Merry Christmas to me!