Back To School Blog Tour 2017

Our Back to School this year was a bit rough! We made a huge family move from the state of Washington to the state of Idaho. Sadly things did not go smoothly in the transition from one house to the other so we ended up spending 21 days camping and about a week in a hotel. Why and I telling you this? Because I never really cared about what my children choose for the First Day of School until this year. I never had a strong desire to make a new outfit, we did not traditionally go back to school shopping for clothes or new backpacks, we had a make do with what you have sort of mentality about it all. But this year… I had only packed the kids about 5 complete outfits for what was supposed to be a four day journey across three states simple move.

So when the first day of school came around and we were on day 12 of camping, our five outfits were pretty beat up and dirty, despite the coin laundry service at the campground. Our backpacks and school supplies were ‘somewhere’ in the storage until across town. We had nothing ready! I had no sewing machine! I did not have access to my patterns or fabric, and for the first time, I cared! I all of a sudden REALLY CARED what my kids were wearing to the first day of a new year in a new state, and new school, where they were going to make new friends. Where I was going to meet new parents & staff. I had a prideful moment. I wanted them to know that 70% of all 5 of my kids closets are filled with clothing made from love & care by my own hands! I wanted them to know that the fabrics were curated by me to create a small online family run fabric shop. This is part of who I am. A part of what our family has become and I wanted people to know it….but I had nothing to show for it. So we washed the clothes extra good that night, bought new backpacks and a few supplies, and took our First Day of School picture in front of the 19′ Toy Hauler that we had been camping in at the RV Park by the Fairgrounds of our new city. This year, back to school clothing reminded me of how much I actually do care and am proud of what I can create with my hands and my sewing machines!

Our move is over but the unpacking has just begun. I am finally setting up my home & studio and I realized that School pictures are just around the corner…..SO…

I am finishing up a project that I started before ‘the great move’ for my 1st Graders Picture Day! The pattern that I choose to use is Sis Boom Ethan Button-up Shirt. Jennifer Paganelli, the designer behind this PDF Pattern describes the pattern as a “sharp, tailored shirt. Paired with a tie, it is perfect for dress-up time (an matching sister’s pretty dresses). It is also great for manly work and play with the cuffs rolled up. It can be worn under a sport coat or over a T-shirt, depending on the occasion. This is the shirt that makes these little warriors look sweet and angelic!!! And don’t tell him, but this pattern can also be used to make great shirts for girls as well.”


I enjoyed this pattern. The construction was a bit different than what I was familiar with for this style but I truly enjoy learning different techniques and so for me I found that as a bonus. I do feel that the collar was a bit tall in the neck, however that could simply be a growing proportions thing with my little man. The directions were clear and I was able to walk away from it and come back with ease (a must for busy moms!).

This is my only Sis Boom PDF Pattern so I will need to go back and check out the other patterns available. Right now is a perfect time to do that because you can purchase a new pattern and help out those that have been effected by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico. Head over to Sis Boom for more details.

I choose to make the shirt into a short sleeve simply due to the limited amount of the fabric that I wanted to use.

This was a very simple hack that can easily be done to any pattern with sleeves. The first thing that you need to do is to have your child stand relaxed with his/her arms down to the side. Use a tape measure and place it right at the edge of the shoulder then measure down the arm to the length that you would like to accomplish. Mark this number down, my measurement was 6.5″ (16.5cm).

Now add the seam allowance give in the pattern you are using to the number you measured out.
6.5″ + 0.375″ = 6.875″ (17.5cm)

Next you need to decide how you want to complete the sleeve. I chose to make a simple hemmed sleeve so I needed to add the hem length to the measurement number. I added a 0.25″ fold and then a 0.5″ final fold, SO I added¬† 0.75″ (1.9cm) to my measurement. 6.875″ + 0.75″ = 7.625″ (19.3cm)

This is the location that I marked on my provided pattern piece, using a straight edge ruler, right down the center of the pattern piece and then at both sides. I then connected the dots and folded the excess of the pattern piece up and out of the way (if you cut it off you will have to print off the piece again when you are ready for your next long sleeve shirt – learned that the hard way). Now my pattern piece was ready for fabric!


So let’s talk fabric!!! I LOVE fabric! The fabric that choose to use for this shirt was provided to me by Michael Miller Fabrics through Candace Ayala, Sewing Portfolios Ambassador program. If you want to know more about Sewing Portfolios you should really go it check out. A lot of time, effort, and love has been put into this project aimed to create a strong network and community of avid sewist and trade companies like Michael Miller. The fabric I was given was designed by Sandra Clemons and comes in two colorways, Wine & Teal. It is a very fun collection with vibrant colors and unique shapes mixed into a well loved garden floral theme.

I would normally say that a floral garden theme would lean towards a feminine line of thinking, but the rich and deep notes of the wine & teal colors caused me to breach the gender gap a bit and use this for boy clothing. My little man loves nature and flowers and so we used Garden Patch as our detail print. He is thrilled with his pocket of flowers and fun collar!

While I used the Linger print for a bulk of the shirt I did take liberties with grainline for the button placket and ran the stripes opposite of the main shirt to create more interest!

Michael Millers cotton is great for a button-up shirt like this. It is soft to the touch, can be washed & dried, and irons out lovely. It will hold up to the wear and tear of my little man and it makes my mommy heart so happy! School, especially 1st grade, is fun for running and playing but sometimes, even at school, a momma wants her little boy to look like a little man! I hope you found some inspiration here today. There is a lot more inspiration for your Back to School sewing in the following posts for the tour so be sure to check them out: Back To School Tour 2017


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