Sew Americana Blog Tour

Whoo-hoo! Katy from Wild + Wanderful is at it again, convincing us all to sew along with her in red, white, and blue for the third annual Sew American Blog Tour! 

I already had my outfits sewn up for the 4th, thanks to strike-off sewing, but Katy went ahead and talked me into making one more.  And inspiration struck in the unlikeliest of places- the liquor store.  I was cruising through to buy adult beverages for our Summer Solstice party, and I stopped in my tracks and did a double take when I saw the cases of Old Milwaukee.  The girl on the cans is super cute, dressed in red, white, and blue, and I immediately wanted to make a copy cat outfit! 


Luckily, the tour sponsor, Sly Fox Fabrics had the perfect fabrics on hand in their Sew Americana Collection- this stretch denim and the stripes rayon spandex. 

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I used the George and Ginger Heat Wave Hot Pants for my bottoms.  The pattern calls for 50% stretch and this was only 30%, so I added an invisible zipper in the back. And for the top, I just winged it, haha. 


The best part about buying case of beer for a prop, is getting to have a beer while you're taking pictures. Mike says that Old Mil shot up to number two on his list of favorite cheap beers now, haha. Oh, behind Grain Belt, of course.  


Of course, I also had to pull out my already-made items, try them on again and give them a twirl . . .


I am SO excited to wear this ridiculous hoodie to our family's progressive dinner on the fourth.  It just makes me laugh. You can't take yourself too seriously. Sometimes you just need to dress up like the Old Mil girl or wear a cat sweatshirt and laugh at yourself. 


I jokingly suggested "Meowica" as the theme for the party, but no takers.  I did however, also come up with the winning theme: Rockin' in the USA! My big kids have AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Beatles, and MTV shirts to choose from, but baby Dane is going to be matching his momma.


But, as for the parade, I'm going a little more classic, and pulling out this dress. 


The problem with sewing up strike-off fabric is how far in advance you get seasonal fabric! I sewed up these latter two outfits in February (fabric is from Vintage Lace), and I currently have Christmas fabric on its way to me! So, it was fun to get back into the summer spirit and sew something new for the fourth for the blog tour.  I know Mike isn't complaining about having some extra beer around the house ;) 

Thanks for letting me show off all my outfits for next week! Make sure to take a look around the other tour stops- I love seeing what people come up with! Have a fun and safe Independence Day <3 

xoxo, Molly

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Into the Blue with Striped Swallow Designs

The Into the Blue monokini is Striped Swallow Designs first swimsuit pattern and my first pattern with Striped Swallow!  I fell in love with SSD's boho designs and especially their Journey Romper (more on that soon), and was 100% on board with trying out this swimsuit!


I have fourteen swimsuits in my closet upstairs, nine of them made by me.  But after testing this one, I'd be totally happy tossing all of them except these two.  I seriously LOVE this pattern. It's so cute AND comfortable wearing on the beach when I'm chasing my kids around.  


It's the perfect combination for enjoying the beach-  high-waisted bottoms, open or full back, and a sweet ruched bodice. I wore these all last weekend at the cabin, and they were great!


When ever I'm at the beach, I play that whole, "Say I'm a bird," thing (from the Notebook), and try to make Mike play along with me, but he never does.  But here I am, being a bird, hahaha! 


Annnd, since it's called "Into the Blue" and I had this blue polka dot swim on hand, I had to make another one: 


This one is actually my favorite! I thought for sure that I'd prefer the open back on my first one, but turns out I like the full coverage back better!


The fit instructions on this pattern are spot on  It was so easy to make a perfect fitting garment from the get-go. 


If you haven't tried sewing with swim before, it really isn't bad! A little slippery (especially the lining) but totally manageable.  But if you have enough of the swim fabric, I like to use the same swim as the main fabric and the lining, instead of using lining, because it stretches differently when it's wet.  And stretch thread in your loopers is a must!


Today is the last day for the release sale! Head on over and save $2 off with the code "intotheblue".  And there's even a girl's version too! 

Get sewing, so you can enjoy this suit all summer long! <3 



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George + Ginger Festival Fever Blog Tour: Part Two

Soooo, on Tuesday, I told you all about my looks for the Festival Fever Tour happening through the George + Ginger Blog (and it you didn't catch it, read about it here).  Well, today, my friend Marta is here to guest blog and show off her own Festival Fever outfit!  I haven't met Marta in real life, but you grow to know the people you sew along with during pattern testing, and she is super sweet, makes stand-out items, has a great shoe collection, and I always know it's her because of her fun and bright door background!  I'm so excited to have her here today, so with out further ado, here she is: 

Hi! I'm Marta, and I'm so excited to be here at Middle River Studio! Molly has graciously allowed me to take over her space for today so I'm going to share with you my new favourite dress.  I have an intense love for all things twirly; so, anything with a circle skirt pretty much has my heart. My daughter who just turned 4 is the same. If I make her a dress and it doesn't "twirl up" I get a VERY unpleasant look! 


So when I was thinking of what I'd like to spend my summer weekends wearing, I knew it had to have twirl. But I also knew that I wanted a bodice with a bit of interest but nothing overwhelming. Something that could be dressed up or down. Enter the Daydream Dress and the Jawbreaker Dress. I just LOVE how flattering the neckline and little almost-sleeves on the Daydream Dress are. And of course the Jawbreaker is a staple in every twirly woman's wardrobe. 


Mashing them together was super easy! I just made the Daydream bodice omitting the band, and attached the circle skirt. They fit together beautifully! I feel like it has a bit of a vintage vibe too, which makes me extra happy.


One of the things I love doing with my family is going to the Aberfoyle Antique Market on the weekends. It's a fabulous place full of treasures. There is a little playground for the kids and always a few food trucks around for lunch. I've scored everything from a WWII helmet to a street sign with my son's name on it. Let me tell you, things that say "Griffith" are hard to find! My kids love rummaging through old Archie comics and my husband is always looking for random pinball machine parts.  My favourite thing is the jewelry. And although we haven't made it there yet this summer, when we do, I'll be wearing this dress and looking to accessorize it perfectly! 


I used a rayon spandex from The Fab Clique and it feels heavenly. The fabric just floats around me and even in the most sweltering of heat waves I feel pretty darn great! It is a bit sheer so thank goodness the bodice is lined!

Thanks so much for hanging out with me today and I hope you have amazing adventures this summer!

xoxo  Marta








George + Ginger Festival Fever Blog Tour

Whoa! Long time no see! If you've been wondering where I am, the answer is: 

a) Running after three crazy kids


b) Hiding out over at the George + Ginger Blog!  

Sewing and blogging time has been limited these past weeks with Baby D joining my motley crew plus I've been getting to do a little side work for my favorite PDF Pattern Designer: Kristi at George + Ginger! So, I'll admit, I've been slacking here at Middle River Studio.  I have to say though, it warmed my heart to get some PMs, comments, and DMs across various social platforms asking how I'm doing, and saying they missed me here on my blog (and I swear, those weren't just coming from my mom!).  

Lucky for you, I have not one but THREE posts scheduled for this week! Granted, I didn't write one of them (wait until you see what my sewing friend, Marta, made and will be blogging about here on Thursday!), but still.  

All the fun and excitement is happening at George + Ginger this week: we're hosting our first ever blog tour!

What's a blog tour? It's just a fun blog party: You get a bunch of sewing bloggers together to sew around once central theme and link up to one another to share the love.  In honor of the fun and festive summer season, the boho trends that are everywhere, and G+G's awesome style, the theme of this tour is Festival Fever! 

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And while I've been working behind the scenes to put this blog tour together, I also knew I'd have to sew up my own outfits to share with you too.  This was too fun to not sew along! 

Summer up here in the Northland is GORGEOUS. And we know how to get our festival on. From the tall ships, to block parties, art fairs, and concerts, we know how to enjoy summer. So, I made two outfits for the tour to help me embrace the festivities, both using the Bonnaroo Bundle hi-low skirt.  


Okay, okay, just stop right there.  Before you get too excited about the shirt, let me tell you, it's from Target.  I only made the skirt.  I completely botched the shirt that was supposed to go with this, and I loved the skirt too much not to share it anyway.  I got a gorgeous coordinating bundle of fabric from Boho Fabrics- this awesome and colorful skirt fabric, and a coordinating peach rayon crepe, which I sewed into said shirt.  Said shirt that is now dead to me.  But hey, I love this one from Target!

So, this is the face you make when you end up wearing a RTW top for your stop of a sewing blog tour:


Soooo, back to this skirt. 

This rayon is divine and drapey, and I LOVE how the hi-lo skirt floats.  It was perfect for my vision of something light and airy to wear for our Summer Solstice party on Thursday! My husband and I have talked about having a yearly tradition of having people over for the summer solstice for a while now and we're finally making it happen! The type of old-fashion, classic neighborhood get-together that just doesn't happen any more. I'm going to feel like I'm floating on a cloud instead of hustling around when I'm playing hostess ;) 


I made a couple of changes to the pattern to get this look: 

  • Elastic encased waistband! I knew I wanted the whole skirt in the same fabric (instead of the yoga waistband or the corset waistband that came with the pattern and would require either a knit or a more stable woven to make). To make it happen, I made a waistband a little bigger than my hips (to make sure I'd be able to get it up over the hips), and then cut a piece of non-roll 3/4 inch elastic to a length that felt comfortable on my waist, which I encased in the waistband when I attached it. 
  • As for length- the pattern is designed to have the skirt sit at the hips and be long enough to provide a bit of a train. I knew I wanted it to skim the ground instead . . . but I also knew I wanted it to sit at my waist instead of my hips.  Soooo, 5'3.75" me didn't have to remove or add any length! Depending on your height and where you want it to hit on your body and along the hem, you might need to adjust. 
  • I cheated and cut my fabric on the fold.  This pattern is a fabric hog, so to get away with less fabric, I cut both the back and the front on the fold.  This means there is less gathering at the waist as well.

I LOVE this whole outfit (Target shirt included!) and can't wait to wear it on Thursday! As for my other look . . . I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good weather over the first weekend of July so I can hit up an outdoor, festival style concert here in Duluth.  

Who's headlining? Trampled by Turtles! 

They're a local bluegrass/folk group.  I last saw them in 2006, in a crowd of about 30 people.  Now, they're famous, have played at festivals all over the nation (including the skirt's namesake: Bonnaroo), performed on David Letterman twice, and you just might have heard them on a Subaru commercial

Sooo, obviously, this was the perfect event to sew up something in the fashion of Festival Fever!  There is a dress floating around on Pinterest that has a hi-lo hem, ruffle, strappy top, and wide, open lace at the waist.  I knew I had to make my own version, using the Bonnaroo Bundle Skirt and the Sincerely Rylee Dress


This rayon fabric came from Sincerely Rylee, and I had the nice, wide lace on hand from Boho Fabrics.   Annnd shout out to Wandering Willow Designs for my boho wrap bracelet (find them here or on facebook).


This was actually my first Sincerely Rylee Dress! I have to admit that the back is my favorite.


This is so easy to accomplish! I sewed up the top as directed, then tried it on and cut is where I wanted it to hit.  The lace was added to the top, and then the skirt was gathered to meet the lace.  I love how it turned out! 


So, now that I've shared my looks, it's time for you to head over and check out all the other AMAZING makes on the blog tour-- these girls are knocking it out of the park!  Get inspired and then get out there and enjoy your own kind of festival!  (Note that while all links are clickable, they won’t be live until the date of their post.)

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Just That Nifty

Back in February, I was approached on Facebook to sew for an up and coming new fabric group.  I was all, "Yeah, I just had a baby, I'm swamped, so thanks, but no thanks."  But then. But then.  The smart girls who DID say yes, started showing off their pictures and I was so stinkin' jealous. The fabric was absolutely gorgeous.  And so, I swallowed my pride and went back to the fabric host.  I told her that I was amazed at what she'd been doing, and I'd love to sew for her, whenever she'd have me.  

Lucky me, she had some extras with my name on them! 

What I love about Just That Nifty is that they're using real artwork, painted on paper or canvas to create their prints.  The goal is to bring high-fashion, runway looks to the everyday sewist.  Plus, they're working collaboratively with two college students to create these stunning designs.  I'm so impressed with what they're doing, and this is definitely a brand I want to stand with . . . so I'm glad she took me back, haha! 

So, since this fabric is so gorgeous, I have to say, the pressure was on to create some pieces to live up to it.  

First up, the George + Ginger RuLo


I finished these projects a couple weeks ago when we were still getting snow in Wisconsin. Today, I'm sitting in a romper, enjoying 70 degrees, sunshine, and watching the ice melt on the lake, so don't worry, I don't have snowflakes flying anymore!


This is the tunic length RuLo.  I just used the top tier of the sleeves from the three tier option, to create this 3/4 length sleeve.  


Both cuts I recieved were bamboo Lycra.  It is SO soft and so flowy.  The drape is GREAT and it's mega comfy.  You really can't say enough good things about bamboo Lycra. 

The applique is from Fab Clique, and I think it's a great touch! Just use basting spray to stick that baby one, and then sew around it.  


This fabric is called Sparks! She also redesigned the artwork into a 2.0 version (that I'm pretty sure I have to buy as well).  The other fabric I got to sew up is called Koi Pond. . .


Pretty, right?! I love, love, love the colors in this fabric! I requested Sparks, but Keanna said she wanted to send me Koi Pond because she thought the coloring would be good for me . . . I never consider stuff like that, but I think she was right!


The pattern I used was the Elise peplum and dress from Halla. It's a cross over bodice, which was super easy to hack into this tie front instead (you can see what the original pattern looks like here). I had soooo many tie-front dresses on my Pinterest, and I wanted to try one for myself. I like that it shows a little skin, but you're not baring everything.

It was suuuuper easy to finagle the cross bodice dress into the tie.  I'm not a pattern designer, but I'll do my best to give you some guidance, haha.  I used the cutlines for the tabbed version (the curved lines at the bottom of the bodice as opposed to the straight across line), because it gives you a little extra fabric, which I wanted to have to make it easier to tie. 

I lined the front and back bodice pieces.  This gave me the finished edges around the whole neckline.  Taking that into account, I folded the front piece like this when I cut the front bodice pieces (because that extra tab on the top normally becomes you back neckline, but I didn't need that.


Then I folded it on the neckline fold guide at the shoulder to blend that edge in to neckline. In general, I wanted that extra inch of fabric, I just didn't want it at the shoulder. 


I used the cross over pattern markings to determine how far over to go with the tie, and where to start attaching the front bodice to the waistband.


Fast and dirty instructions: 

  1. Attach front bodice pieces to the back bodice piece at the shoulders.  Repeat with lining pieces.
  2. Right sides together, pin the neckline of the bodice to the neckline of the lining.  Sew. 
  3. Turn right sides out and press.  
  4.  Use the burrito roll method to finish the arms
  5. Sew the side seams: flip the sides so that front and back lining and front and back bodice are both right sides together. Sew.  Repeat for the other side. 

Now your bodice is complete! Attach the waistband.  Sandwich the bodice between the two waistband layers (raw edges of waistband and raw edges of the bodice aligned.  For most of the time, you'll be sewing through all four layers, except for front and center, where you'll just be sewing through the two layers of the waistband.

After sewing, flip your waistband pieces down.  All the raw edges of your bodice should be encased in that waistband seam. 

On hindsight, I also would have used tank lines on another pattern to adjust the armscyes, but I didn't think of that until it was too late.  You can do that though.

And despite that, I love the finished outcome!


Make sure you pop over to Just That Nifty and check all the awesome, totally original prints! The preorder is closing soon (besides bamboo Lycra, there's a cotton lycra, swim, and a french terry!) so make sure you hurry over.  I cannot say enough good things about this fabric; I'm all about Keanna's mission and am so happy to be supporting her along the way!

Patterns: G+G Rulo, Halla Elise
Fabric: Just That Nifty

Happy Friday! 

xoxo Molly

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Friday, Freebies and Favorite Things!

TGIF! It has been a long, snowy week here in the Northland.  But it's the weekend now, the snow is melting, and I have a few new favorite things this week: Alexa, PDF Plotting, and the new free pattern releasing today at George + Ginger!


Guys, I made a totally spontaneous purchase on Monday, and I bought an Echo Dot from Amazon (it was on sale, so it's justified!).  The reason I bought it: I really just wanted to listen to public radio while I sew.  I realize I could have bought a radio . . . or got techie and figured out away to do it on my bluetooth speaker, but this was so much easier.  First world problems, right? 

But, I've been loving it.  I've asked what the weather is, what's in the news, and requested a joke. Best use yet: "Alexa, set a timer for three minutes for Grant's timeout." Haha! Honestly, I've mostly just been using it for music, but I gotta say, as a mom of three, I'm mostly loving that she listens to what I say and does what she's asked the first time- ha! It's the little things in life. My husband's making fun of me about it, but for $40, I'm sold.  It's been great to have some entertainment when I'm staying up late sewing or home all day with the kids. 

PDF Plotting

I'm starting to get the blog at George + Ginger up and running, and I had reached out to a couple businesses about collaborating.  One of the businesses I approached was PDF Plotting.  My home printer and I fight on a regular basis, and I'd always been interested in using the A0 large format printing that's included with patterns. The customer service at PDF Plotting was fantastic and they're sew up specifically for sewing patterns.  I was so excited to use my A0 patterns this week! It's so nice to not have to tape/glue patterns together-- plus these fold up so much nicer for storing!

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If you're interested in the print services, pop over to their site (use code GG15 for 15% percent off your first order through May 31st) or read more about it on the George + Ginger blog.  The prints are perfect for extra big patterns, like maxi skirts, which brings me to . . .

Pattern Freebie!

Okay, so my favorite thing this week has got to be the new Festival Freebies from George + Ginger!


Part of the Musical Festival Collection, these two free patterns are embracing the boho vibe! The bonnet is perfect for wovens or knits, as long as one layer is nice and stable.  The skirt is made for wovens (knits would be too heavy).  I used a Georgette crepe here, from Sincerely Rylee


The skirt is a true wrap, with buttons or snaps for closures.  I'm planning two hacks-- adding a ruffle and doing it as a tie closure.  


I made a simple crop top to pair with the high-waisted skirt using the Bonnaroo Bundle tank.  I really love it, and surprisingly (considering the weather), I already wore this outfit, paired with a jean button up on top.  I see more of these skirts in my future, that's for sure! I'm not sure if I'll make more bonnets for me personally, but I always say I'll wear anything once ;) 

I can't wait to see your Festival Freebies sews! The pattern is listed at the G+G site, so pop on over and snag your free copy, no coupon code needed. Let me know if your try PDF Plotting and give me your favorite Alexa skills! 

Have a good weekend, 


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