Sew Americana

Welcome to the Sew Americana Tour hosted by Wild and Wanderful!  I’m super excited to join in on the fun this year!


Sew Americana TourI really wanted to make coordinating tops for Girly and E for this year’s Sew Americana Tour because at 8 and almost 11, there isn’t much time left to get them to be all matchy-matchy for photos.  I got all excited about my plan and told the kids about it.  Girly was all in.  She loves having her picture taken.  But E was not into it.  Sad face.  Maybe next time, right?  Sly Fox Fabrics graciously provided some AWESOME navy heather and red heather tri-blend jersey.  I haven’t worked with them before and will say that they ship super fast and even provide a Shout Color Catcher for your prewash!  I like when companies think about little things like that.

What did I do?

I wanted to go through some of our older patterns that maybe needed a little bit of love so I picked the ever quick Ijsje Top as Girly’s project.  It’s so casual but put together and works great with 2 different fabrics.  It offers sizes 2-12 years and looks super fun with bermuda length shorts.  I love the simple gathered detail that is girly yet fuss free.  It’s very versatile, depending on what fabrics you choose.  I tend to gravitate towards heathers or graphic prints.

I chose blue to be the main color because Girly loves blue.  If I had any scrap white jersey, I would have used that as the binding but I think it looks great as is.  I usually like lining dresses and tops but when it’s hot (and it’s finally HOT here), I like a single layer that’s preferably just grazing the skin to keep as cool as possible because our little log cabin doesn’t have air conditioning.  The binding is pretty easy and doesn’t need any special feet or tools.  I just cut a strip, sewed it on with a stretch stitch and then tucked the raw edge under and sewed it up again.  I didn’t even use pins.  It all just folded into itself and made the whole process easy peasy.

The husband dude LOVES fireworks and this year the region is under a pretty strict fire ban due to drought.  So we’re going to have to travel somewhere to see them this year.  We’ve watched fireworks on a bridge over the Mississippi River in Downtown St Paul and all the way down to the other end of the Mighty Mississippi in New Orleans one year.  The man really loves his fireworks…

Monday, June 25:
Wild + Wanderful | Marvelous Auntie M | Handmade Boy
Phat Quarters | Call Ajaire

Tuesday, June 26:
Musings of a Seamstress | Sea of Estrogen | Sew and Tell Project
5 out of 4 Patterns | Little Heart Threads

Wednesday, June 27:
Middle River Studio | Elli & Nels | SewSophieLynn
Pear Berry Lane | The Eli Monster

Thursday, June 28:
Auschick Sews | EYMM | Mama & Leia
Seams Sew Lo | Stitched by Jennie

Friday, June 29:
Stylin’ Stacy | Rebel & Malice | On Wednesdays We Sew
FairyTale BT | That’s-Sew-Kari | Very Blissful

The Great Upcycling Challenge FREE Headband Pattern

Hi guys! My other Upcycling Challenge post was getting a little long so I thought I’d post this FREE headband pattern in a new post to organize things a bit better.

These headbands take about 10 minutes to make and are the perfect project to use up all those tiny bits and pieces of fabric leftover from your main project. This headband has exposed elastic because it’s slimmer at the nape of the neck and the rubbery bits inside the elastic grip the hair and hold the headband into place. Girly has straight, fine hair and the bulk of the fabric covered headbands makes a weird lump and they always slide right out of her hair. So I eliminated that and left the elastic exposed. Elastic comes in a variety of colors nowadays (fold over elastic options are vast and FOE works well for this project).  You can make your free headband pattern in reversible or regular, depending on if you use 2 or 1 fabric print.


  • FREE Reversible Headband pattern piece (for Child and Adult sizes)
  • Scrap of main fabric (about 4″x13″)
  • Scrap of reverse fabric (about 4″x13″)
  • Scrap of fusible interfacing (about 4″x13″)
  • Scrap of elastic (about 3-6″)


  1. Cut out all pieces. You will have 2 headband pieces, 1 interfacing piece and 1 piece of elastic.Free Headband Sewing Pattern
  2. Press interfacing to the wrong side of main headband print (it doesn’t matter which print you choose to be your “main” print).Free Headband Sewing Pattern
  3. Lay your 2 headband pieces right sides together. Slide your elastic into one end of the headband. Pin.Free Headband Sewing Pattern
  4. Starting at the short end opposite of the elastic, sew around the long curved edge, the short end with the elastic and the other long curved edge. Keep the elastic-free short end open.Free Headband Sewing Pattern
  5. Clip corners and seam allowance around the curves.
  6. Turn right side out. Press.Free Headband Sewing Pattern
  7. Now tuck the raw edge up inside the open bit of the headband piece.
  8. I like to try the headband on and measure exactly how much elastic needs to show in the back. Wrap your headband around your head (or the head of whoever it is being made for) and mark where your elastic meets the headband. I like to stretch the elastic every so slightly so it hugs the head and stays on better.
  9. Slide the free end of the elastic into the open part of your headband up to the mark you just made on the elastic.Free Headband Sewing Pattern
  10. Sew the open end of the headband, securing the elastic.
  11. Sew the opposite end of the headband, making the project symmetrical and reinforcing the elastic.Free Headband Sewing Pattern
  12. Enjoy!!!

I love making these headbands for birthday presents or whenever I have a lot of little scraps to use up. I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do!

The Great Upcycling Challenge

Hi all! You might be asking WHY is that poor girl wearing that and trying to hide it under this beautiful fabric???, Candice Ayala, Michael Miller Fabrics and Baby Lock USA have teamed up to sponsor the very first Great Upcycling Challenge! I was crazy excited to be chosen as one of the first 4 SP Diamond Ambassadors! That means I get to bring Y’all some new projects pretty regularly! Check out Candice’s post from yesterday and be sure to see the rest of the ambassador’s posts all week long!

When I was approached to participate in the kick off week blog tour, I had mixed feelings. I don’t like upcycling when it’s needlessly done (I’m looking at everyone who is taking gorgeous dressers and carelessly slapping on some paint and calling it “upcycling”). But I DO like upcycling when I think about the old garments as raw fabric. When I was in college, I would shop hardware stores for raw materials that could be made into something else. I watched a lecture by a prop maker once and he called it “shape shopping” and I knew other people did the same thing and they actually had a clever name for what I’ve been doing for years. So think of your soon to be upcycled garment (or sheet or whatever) not in terms of what it is now but what you can get out of it in the future.

Michael Miller Fabrics sent me some amazing fabric and, combined with a scrub top, I created this retro and mod babydoll dress using a highly modified Kosmos Dress pattern, cutting it at an empire waistline and adding a super full high/low skirt.

I liked using a totally utilitarian scrub top (and a boring one at that; no fun print or anything) and transforming it into something for a special occasion. The deep, deep black was perfect to pair with the über adorable fabric from the Glam Girls collection (available in August 2018). I wanted the focus to be on the print so it became the majority of the dress. And, in true Stephanie fashion, I created a deep 3″ hemline with a coordinating print from the same collection as a hem facing. I just love hem facings! They’re so incredibly easy and really take the outfit to the next level.

How did I upcycle this?

I essentially only used the shoulder shape from The Kosmos Dress sewing pattern and cut off the integrated collar to reshape the neckline and then CHOPPED off the rest of the dress to create an empire waist. I then made a super full skirt (it’s 80″ around) that has a high/low hemline. Making the hem facing was super easy. I traced the bottom of the skirt portion onto the hem facing print. Then I moved my piece up 3.5″ and retraced the skirt again. Hem facings are that easy to draft. I didn’t even make any paper pattern pieces!


I think the hardest part about this dress was matching up the print at the side seams. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty darn close.


I was on the fence about adding some patch pockets to the dress that I picked off of the top. They were super cute but I think they detracted from the overall design. I ultimately left them off.

Since I had a little extra fabric left over from sewing, I thought a headband to match the dress was the perfect accessory. It goes wonderfully with Girly’s little beehive hairdo! I’ve made a FREE PATTERN for the headband!!! It’s the perfect accessory to make with those little bits and pieces you have leftover after a project. And what little girl (or grown up girl too…) would love to have a matching headband to go with each of her bespoke outfits???

Sounds exciting, right? If you want to join in on the fun and try to win one of the amazing prizes, SUBSCRIBE to for The Great Upcycling Challenge and get all the nitty-gritty details. If you’ve already signed up, you will get an email letting you know a new post has been published each day this week. The contest opens up May 11th and runs through May 31st. And look at those prizes! That’s nothing to sneeze at. A Baby Lock sewing machine included in 1st place (I’ve had my eye on their Coverstitch machine for a while now)!

Let’s Celebrate!

Quietly overnight, The Eli Monster reached 10,000 followers on Instagram and I thought I’d celebrate so many people interested in sewing and making things so I thought I’d have a MASSIVE GIVEAWAY in addition to a MASSIVE SALE (keep your eyes peeled for that announcement…squeeeeee)!  While you check out all our $5 patterns, take a look below and enter to win one of many sewing patterns and gift cards from a team of wonderful designers.  Hang out in their groups for a bit and get to know any of the designers you aren’t familiar with.  I’m just so excited to host this sewing pattern giveaway!

Sewing Pattern Giveaway


If you are new here, take a peek around our patterns and blog and be sure to join The Eli Monster’s Show and Tell Group on Facebook and ask any questions you may have.  I’m always happy to help!

I’d love to know one sewing technique or idea you want to know more about!

I am just so so SO excited to announce this amazing giveaway featuring some pretty darn amazing fellow indie PDF designers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Take a peek inside an Eli Monster PDF sewing pattern!

There’s been discussion floating around the internet about quality PDF sewing patterns and what makes or breaks a good PDF sewing pattern.  I thought I’d let y’all take a peek at the inner workings of our patterns and see for yourselves what we put in to each of our designs.  This idea has been rolling around in my head for a while and Jenn from Sew Jennuine Design just posted about what makes her patterns so awesome (they super duper are!) and it lit a flame under me to get writing on what sets our own patterns apart.

If you want to look at a real pattern before buying, we have a few freebies right HERE (I suggest signing up for our newsletter and snagging your own copy of our Totally Free Sleep Shorts in sizes 2-16).


Using Adobe Acrobat, you are able to select the size you want to print (don’t forget to keep the Information layer on!) and print only the size you need!

Almost all of our PDF patterns (except for our knitting patterns, obviously, and a few of our very first PDF sewing patterns which are getting upgraded and converted) have layers.  What does this mean?  It means you only need to print out the layers you need, saving time, ink and confusion.  The worst part about patterns from the “Big 4” is tracing and following the lines for the size I need.  I absolutely LOVE being able to just print out what I need and skip the rest.  And mashing 2 sizes?  Not a big deal when you only have the two sizes printed out!


Uneven Grading

This is a pretty heated debate amongst some designers.  I am firmly in the Uneven (or Natural) grading camp.  Even grading is when all the sizes are perfectly spaced from the smallest to the largest size.  For example, every size gets 1/4″ taller and 1/8″ wider (or something to that effect).  This is great for adult sizing because that’s generally how adult measurements for each size works.  But kids have periods where they grow really tall really fast and then fill out (lather, rinse, repeat).  The husband guy worked in a human factors lab in school and would bring home all this really cool information about kid specific measurements and we’d geek out over it for a while.  So, after getting really into the human factors side of making clothing, I decided that I would join in on the uneven grading side of the argument.  Generally, kids have a big growth spurt between the ages of 3 and 4 so it makes total sense (to me) to have a bigger gap in sizes between those two than other sizes.  Uneven grading creates more usable sizing right out of the box, without needing to tweak the pattern to fit your child.


Step by Step Photo Illustrations

I like bright sewing lines and special notes about each important step.

Some designers draw illustrations for each important step of their instructions and some like to use photographs.  I like photographs.  I find that I can best show how the pieces are put together with photographs (and I couldn’t draw my way out of a paper bag, TBH).  In addition to photographing each step, I like to draw seams and other important information right on the illustration.  Either drawings or photographs definitely have an advantage over no illustrations at all commonly found in the instructions of paper patterns.  And in addition to illustrated instructions, I like to break down more complicated steps or techniques so you can learn new things while sewing up your awesome new garment!


Additional Information and Mashing Sizes

All of our patterns come with important notes including seam allowance and other information pertaining to your pattern

We include both Imperial and Metric measurements in almost all of our patterns, with the exception of a few of our very first ones.  They include full Size Charts and cutting charts for any rectangular pieces (I like to give dimensions instead of drawing out a bunch of squares to save paper).  ALSO(!)  I like to add a little notes box to our pattern pieces so you can jot down what size you need to cut a skirt or a bow or whatever you need to make a note about.

A nice handy place to add any notes you may have.

I also give instructions on how to mash sizes.  Sometimes your little one (or you, if you are making one of our adult patterns for yourself) is one size in height and another in the waist and another one in the bust and it could get confusing trying to mix and mash all those different sizes together.


The Eli Monster PDF Sewing Patterns include instructions for lengthening or shortening patterns as necessary.

An Amazing Support Community

In addition to our patterns, The Eli Monster has an awesome Facebook group that you can join and ask any questions you may have or browse other creations!  I think this is one of the best benefits of buying a PDF pattern in general (besides automatically downloading and printing and sewing right away) is the support you have from small independent designers and the communities we build around our patterns.

I hope you liked a quick tour of our PDF sewing patterns and what you would expect when opening one.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions and I will be happy to help!