Viva, The Rainbow Nation!




Week 3 is here and I am so very glad to still be here – Thank you! This is my favorite week – Celebrations around the world. You didn’t doubt me picking South Africa, did you? I was very fortunate to be right in the middle of the action ( I was in matric/senior in High School) when South Africa became the Rainbow Nation. Unfortunately 6 months short of voting age but exciting nonetheless

Freedom day – 27 April 

South Africans do love to celebrate and it almost always include a braai (barbeque) with lots of meat and good friends around the fire. Is there anything better to celebrate than FREEDOM?

Freedom day in South Africa celebrates freedom and commemorates the first post apartheid elections held on that day in 1994. The elections were the first non-racial national elections where every one of voting age (18 years and older) including foreign citizens permanently residing in South Africa, were allowed to vote.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others” – Nelson Mandela


DSC_0629-2 (1)So much thought and emotions went into this outfit so I will try and take it piece by piece. South Africa is very rich in Art and have very vibrant creative people, so I went big on color (just like I like it)


The Jumpsuit ( which she can rock at any Barbeque ) –  South Africa went from a 3 color flag to a very vibrant 6 color flag in 1994  to represent the people as a new nation so for my jumpsuit I used a golden yellow (South Africa is known for gold  , in fact my dad worked in a gold mine all of his life and I grew up in a miners town) , white and black linen. If you look at the flag you see where the two green lines from the outer corners joins and become one ( which represents the people from South Africa before apartheid  and the togetherness as one after 1994)  I replicated the symbolism of that in the bodice with the color blocking. To add a bit of blue I added denim. Patterns used was the Friday dress by Petit a Petit and the Graphite trousers by Made by Toya. (two great patterns collided) I used the short sleeve version and for the pants I took away the pleat and widened the bottom legs quite a bit. I finished the whole suit and my girlie loved it, but it felt very boyish to me with the sleeves so a week after finishing it, I  decided to just chop them off and used the gathering method that is used in the LOL swing top  to make the fit perfect around the shoulder blades. There is snaps so she can get it off easy at school and belt loops for THE BELT the belt,the belt, how I love the belt. I think it’s my most favorite part. I hand embroidered( Hand embroidery is very popular amongst South African women) those colorful geometric freehand shapes on black linen over the past ten days, during piano-, dance lessons and netflix and I am so glad I started early enough and finished. Fully interfaced so it goes through the buckle and stays in and it is still easy for her to get on.




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The Jacket – Oi this was my challenge piece but my non-negotiable piece. Bella saw and fell in love with a navy blue adult version at the  J. crew outlet and I thought how awesome a velvet green and gold bomber jacket would be to go with this week. ( If you earn National colors for Rugby in South Africa you earn your green and gold jacket) After sanctions was lifted in 1995 South Africa played their first Rugby World cup in a very long time, South Africa hosted and won the Rugby World Cup. It was the biggest celebration I have ever witnessed. I searched far and wide to get a non-stretch green velvet and finally found some on fabric wholesale direct. I hoard African fabric like its nobodies business and these zebras was perfect for lining. I should have just used a pattern but I wanted a specific look so I used my block to draft and cut the fabric. Fully lined, metal zippers with the pockets and I could not for the life of me find ribbing to go with it for the collar (If I can’t find anything in local shops , my next option is always second hand clothing stores but couldn’t find  anything there either)  and had a genius idea of using gold and black wide elastic and it worked out brilliantly. I used the moto jacket pattern by Jennuine design to check my fit and proportions, struggled with that zipper on velvet about a thousand times but succeeded, added my label and a hook to hang it on and voila.


DSC_0644The skirt was a self-drafted 10 panel skirt, with flat panel in the front and elastic in the back waistband with leather belt loops WITH POCKETS (YAY) and horse hair braid in the hem. Again the fabric was some ankara out of my stash with the perfect colors to represent the flag. Blue was missing so I made a fitted blue Shirt to match.

I also finally perfected the flounce I have been wanting to make on the shirt ( I’ll have to make a tutorial for that) and even changed all my serger thread to royal blue to make the lettuce hem around 2 layers of flounce and my insides all were blue.






Accessories – I got so inspired with this outfit that I made some leather and seedbead earrings and bracelet/necklace to compliment the outfit ( beads are very popular to use in crafts as well as hand embroidery amongst South African women) Made her a head wrap, watched a couple of youtube videos on how to get the headwrap on and she was ready to take pictures. This has been the hardest outfit to keep clean and not have her wear it outside to spoil the reveal so now she can finally wear it . You can find more pictures on my blog here I hope this outfit makes you as joyful to look at as it does me.

VIVA the RAINBOW Nation ( Viva means Long Live)

You can vote over at Project Run and Play Here



The “Fall”ing layers of Change……


Week 2 is here – Nature inspired. The Thought process: This one I immediately knew the direction I wanted to go. My very favorite thing about nature is how the leaves change color in the fall and one of my favorite sayings is this

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go!” – anonymous

Isn’t it awesome and magnificently beautiful how the trees’ leaves just start to change colors and then let them go,  and next spring they grow those beautiful green leaves again?! No matter if it was a bad year, next year is a brand new start. I’ve had the fall rust colored fabric I used for the shirt in my stash forever ( 4 years maybe?!) but that’s where I started . My vision was  a very chic blouse that was princess-style cut with the three panels in the front and instead of the seam lines to go in the direction of the armpit, I directed them to the neck , left a bit open so my girl can get it over her noggin and added a neck tie collar, puffy sleeves with wide cuffs around the wrists with buttonholes (and I didn’t swear) and buttons.


The layer-shedding dress in my head was color blocked panels to resemble the leave color change – in linen fabric ( love the crispness of linen just like fall ) I had some in my stash but had to purchase some more colors  from a local shop. For each challenge I try to incorporate something creative,functional and something that requires some skill. So for the layer shedding effect , I added two open ended zippers so it can shed the skirt just like trees looses their leaves. For this challenge the whole outfit was self-drafted and adapted from a single basic bodice block. I had to make sure the two zippers will fit in correctly in the layer so there is no gap where they meet on both sides and added bias binding to finish it off on the inside. Let me tell you the zipper was not as hard as getting those bottom three layers to match up and still have beautiful matching sides but I channeled my inner Tim Gunn and persevered. The way the colors are matched was not exactly how I wanted it in order but I had to work with the amounts of fabric I had and made it work. TIP of the WEEK – We know we have to pre-wash fabric but sometimes we don’t because we get so excited. If you work with different fabrics in one garment, like this dress and especially the heart shirt I made for week 1 -WASH those fabrics before hand. The fiber content of different fabrics shrinks in different ways, If you want your garment to last, pre- wash at least once, for the heart shirt I washed all my fabrics twice and tumble dried on high so it can get all the shrinking done before you cut.

At this stage the  multiple layering process was born. I also made some fall colored pants in a love soft DBP for a more casual look. This outfit solves our issue of the girl who loves a dress in church and at events and restaurants but immediately dresses in pants when we get home. For our photo shoot she just put everything on at once and dropped layer by layer. Timing for some fall colored leaves couldn’t have been more perfect. We headed out to Warnecke woods right here in Princeton, IL and also some at home as I forgot to do the shirt with vest and pants and Wrinkles wasn’t ready yet with out first photoshoot. Wrinkles’ dress is made of all the scrap fabric and some leather scrap from the earrings, metal zipper like Bella’s dress and a off-set neck tie collar.

I made some leather earrings (which I am keeping for myself) and a soft wrap headband to accessorize. I only have one child in kid-age clothes so to show you all the looks I had to clone her (Thank you Photoshop) Even with pulling off layers we managed to get in and out of those woods in 10 minutes. On top of all these possibilities, I know that when summer swings around I will add a tank to wear under just the dress and then as she grows just the dress. I love to sew dresses that can be worn with something underneath so we get at least 2-3 years out of it. The tulle skirt she already wore  under another long dress so I know we’ll use that one plenty .

Patterns used: the shirt and the bodice of the dress I used the Building block Dress by Oliver and S ( This is an awesome book to start with your own designs or you don’t want to draft your own pattern. Skirts – self-drafted. Math is everywhere and I try to remind my kids every day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked up how to calculate the radius of a circle. Pants: do you have the Graphite Trousers pattern by Toya yet? GET IT – My girl loves the fit. I used the top half and used leggings fit for the bottom part.


My fabrics came from Cali fabrics who sponsored a big chunk of what I had to purchase, some out of my stash, Joanns and wholesale fabric direct. And now for an overload of pictures to enjoy. Bella is such a nature girl and especially loves to be in it in a twirly dress so the picture taking for this one went extremely smooth.


She was very excited that she can just zip off her own skirt


Here you can see how the front seam lines turns inwards towards the neck.


She can twirl her little heart out in this dress


Wrinkles is digging her new outfit.


My focus on my camera got very distracted with all the pretty leaf colors in the back, I had to take some more at our house


I took these pictures on Halloween and I can almost not believe how quickly it has changed and gone brown in 5 days so I am glad it worked out like it did.


Voting link will be open from Tuesday 7am EST  and closes on Thursday 8pm (8th of November)CLICK HERE TO VOTE

The world through Rose-colored glasses…..


I have to start out by saying I am ecstatic being here right at this moment. It was perfect timing as my girl is old enough to design with me and young enough where she still absolutely adores me sewing for her. When I get the themes so many things are going through my head and I need at least a week to process (It’s my favorite part) before I do my first cut into fabric. Let’s talk theme –  My girl is both outspoken and love designing. She sees the world through rose-colored glasses. She’s all about the love ( The shirt definitely was going to have a heart)  laugh, color and lots of hugs ( Even if you don’t want them,  it’s like she senses who needs them more) She’s my sunshine child  ( hence the bright yellow jacket )


The Process – The ribbing of the jacket was our color inspiration. When I pulled the ribbing out of a package a while back, she immediately grabbed it and exclaimed ” All my favorite colors all in one” , so we went from there. The Shirt was my first item and my design and then it just flowed. My mom made this amazing satin ribbon pillow when I was just a little girl that she entered into a competition and I can still picture its’ beauty in my head so for the heart I used the colors from the ribbing in fat quarters and weaved them on a white linen heart and did the inlay on the shirt ( it sounds so easy right now 🙂 ) She wanted a shirt type vest so I did just that. In the summer she can wear it as is and in the winter she can either wear a jacket or wear a shirt underneath. She really wants all the pencil skirts but with her activity level it just isn’t feasible so I went for a denim pleated skirt ( lots of pins and ironing)  It has all the goodness you can possible want from a denim item.- pockets and more pockets, a zipper, topstiching and elastic in the waistband. Well-fitted around the hips with lots of pleats for movement and denim goes with EVERYTHING! Tip of the day:  buying denim needles and denim thread is worth it.


The jacket had to have a zipper so she can pull it on and off for school or dance or crossfit or soccer, it had to bright and fun to match her personality, hoodie to save the buns from the wind and pom poms on leather strings to play with if she’s bored, minty striped pockets to keep her hands warm (Honestly I want that jacket for me)  The Socks and Wrinkles’ outfit –  Wrinkles is Bella’s best Lovie that she found at a flea market 4 years ago and they are almost always together so I drafted her a little t-shirt with rainbow applique and a matching pleated skirt with a hole in the back where her tail fits through. Dots, hearts and rainbows are popular in Bella’s sketches so we went for gold htv dots on super soft DBP and coral ribbing for the socks.


I could never have done this without fabulous patterns from designers that I adore and love using their patterns as a starting point because I know they fit her well ( Why fix it when it ain’t broke)

The Skirt – Small Fry Skinny Jeans from Titchy Threads ( The details and fit of these jeans are top notch) The Hoodie – the Pixel pullover from jennuine Design ( Just like Titchy threads I love all of Jenn’s patterns- the sleeves on this caught my attention ❤️ And I opened it up in the front and added a zipper) socks – cozy critters socks by Peekaboo pattern shop


Pictures were taken in Ottawa, Il in front of our favorite painted wall.  I thought the kid playing marbles was very suiting for this challenge.

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Above is one of the many pictures I pull from her backpack after school


If you’ve never sewn along or maybe you have but stopped, please join – It is so much fun. You will meet amazing people that share your love, hobby, creativeness and will provide an awesome support system.

follow along HERE


Fabric used from Joann Fabrics, Cali Fabrics (Who very generously hooked me up with fabric for this season and an all-time favorite) , Raspberry Creek Fabric ( another favorite and sponsor of my sew-along win) and Jumping June textiles



Here is the heart process. It was at night so the pics are not perfect. For the heart the shirt is fully lined in the front so there are no exposed seams.



About me


Hi there,

My name is Carin and I live in Princeton, Il with my hubby and 2 kids where I am stay-at-home mom as well as wearing many other hats. We moved here a year ago via  a few states and 3 continents.  Interesting fact about me is that I am more African than American. I was born in South Africa and for generations my family has become very rooted there.  I love that I can be both a South African and American at the same time. My roots and change over years has grown me into the creative person I am today and I am very privileged to be part of this Project Run and Play season. I have been sewing along since 2014 some years more than others but always loving it.

My love of Sewing? The phrase “I got it from my Mama” rings very true here. I grew up in my Mom’s sewing room. She is a self-taught amazing seamstress that went from sewing for herself, us and many other people into teaching sewing classes out of her garage. I have a B.Sc in Home Economics and even though the art of sewing,designing etc. was a huge part of it, my love and skill comes from my wonderful Mom. 

Most of my sewing in my early years was just sewing for myself using patterns from fabric shops.  In College I mostly did sewing for myself and some formal dresses for some of my dorm mates.  Then “ adulting “ happened and fast forward 10 years and some, I started sewing again, just a little in the beginning and when my youngest daughter turned 1, it turned into my full on passion and therapy . There is something so beautiful about creating.  If I am not sewing, I am probably thinking of what I am going to sew next.

Project Run and Play sewalongs played a big role in me getting back to sewing and designing. I loved the idea of “themed” sewing to build on my own skill as well is building my daughters wardrobe.

My style includes lots and lots of color, I love technique and always try to improve on my own. I love old-fashioned sewing with a modern twist. I view every item I sew as a piece of Art – from the moment I put it together in my head, to picking out fabrics, sewing and pressing the very last hem.

When designing I either use my own block I made with my daughter’s measurements via the Aldridge method but mostly I use patterns from indie pattern designers that I love and who I know encourages flipping their pattern. I hope to use as many of my favorite Indie pattern designers as possible during this season with my own spin.

I am very excited about sharing my craft with you and seeing everyone else create. 

You can follow my makes  on FB here and my blog here on IG at  carinberg

I hope you sew along………

African Belle….




I was asked to sew something for a local  fundraiser that included a silent auction. Because Arukah is such a great support for our community, I myself go to yoga classes there, I was very happy to do so. Other than sewing for my Bella, sewing for a good cause is my favorite kind of sewing. I love one-of-a-kind items, it’s like a piece of art. It happens to fall right in with this week’s Project Run and Play theme. This is definitely my signature style. I love color, african fabric to represent my african heritage and the patchwork on the bodice brings in some part of artistic play on the dress. I used the bodice pattern I blocked a couple of years ago and used the lil luxe dress as inspiration for the skirt. Unfortunately Ankara fabric is very narrow and I had to wing a 1 and a half circle skirt with just two pleats on the front and back, added pockets with some gold bias trim as well as on the bodice between the patchwork pieces, invisible zipper in the back, two layers of tulle, horse hair braid in the top layer skirt and tada……. the African princess dress was born…








IMG_E4130Hopefully with the next round of Project Run and play , I can get my act together and sew along for all 4 weeks.

Till next time……..

The Graphite Trousers and Shorts….

Definitely time for me to fire up the old blog again. Instagram makes things so easy to share and find inspiration so I get a little lazy. Testing the new The Graphite Trousers and Shorts Pattern by Made by Toya was the perfect pattern to get back into blogging. I don’t test patterns often but if there is a call from certain designers I jump on it and Toya is one of a handful.

My girlie was also in desperate need of more pants – something stylish yet moveable and this patterns cover all of the bases. I have made 5 different versions already and have many more planned as well as modifications which this pants are perfect for.


This version is the long version and I made it in an Art gallery voile from my stash. I added a belt buckle to the ties for a different detail. My girlie falls right into the 5t size measurements for width and 7 for length and I had to make no adjustments for the fit to be perfect which is a sure sign of a well-drafted pattern.


This is the short version without ties and I added panda buttons.


The Graphite Shorts below was made in an ankara ( waxed cotton) zebra print. This version has cuffs and was one of the first versions.


The instructions are very clear and if you have the waist elastic method down you will be able to sew a well-fitted, stylish pair of trousers in a jiffy.


It has pockets – yay!!!!!! Who doesn’t  love pockets.

The panda pair is my latest and I tried it in a euro cotton knit and added ribbing for a cropped version. I sized one size down in the width and it came out perfect.



The Pattern is well laid out yet simple with not too many parts. Illustrations always perfect from Toya and you get the short,cropped and long version all in one which make printing and cutting out very easy.


The blue dotted version is probably my favorite and I can’t keep up with washing this pair or photographing it for that matter – if girl-child see it’s clean she pulls them on. It is full- length with a fold over for a cuff and the front tie.


so go grab a copy. It is so worth it. For this week only use code GRAPHITE10 for a 10 % discount.


I am looking forward to more patterns from Toya. If you don’t follow her yet on Instagram now would be a good time to start.



Till Next Time……

Sewing for Kindergarten


I haven’t blogged in a while 🙂 The intent is always there but the time escapes me. IG has definitely made it easier to follow and see what my favorite creators are up to so I have become lazy with blogging. Mie from  Sewing Like Mad is probably one of the first bloggers I started following years ago when I started sewing back up again, and was quite honored when she asked me to participate. Mie has this beautiful style and precision in sewing that attracts me to her work – go check out her beautiful work. She also has amazing tutorials.


Mie asked us the following questions – This might get long 🙂 Schooling has been THE topic  that has been taking over my head in the past 5 years for both the kids and definitely the thing that added a few grey hairs. We have only had great experiences in schools we have and are attending but it is the decision making that makes it so hard.

Is this your first time sending a child to Kindergarten? If not, which number child is this?  No, This is my second and last child.
Do you feel like crying or celebrating? And what about your child?Both for me. I knew she would love school and it is great for our relationship. We both grow while she is in school and then when she gets home we love those precious times together and really talk about what she did and experienced. I do worry about her a lot – in a safety kind of way. She is the fearless child that does things that makes you tremble if you think about it, so for her I pray – A LOT.
What kind of school does your child attend? (Public, charter, private or homeschool) Ha , here’s the thing that gave me all the grey hair. She goes to Public and we absolutely love it. When my son went to Kindergarten we had full intention to send him to public school, but a couple of weeks before he should have started I panicked, visited a Classical education Christian school and he attended there, we moved a LOT in the past few years so by Grade 2  I decided to Homeschool, something I thought I would NEVER EVER do, but I did and for the past two years I have loved it for him for the moment. When time came to send Bella – again we looked into all options but there was no reason why I wouldn’t send her to public school. I did have SO many fears because it is our first experience with public school and those first ten days were rough for momma. I decided she will not be riding the bus ( we live 5 minutes from the school but because of the route she would be 1 hour on the bus before she gets dropped off) and on day 2 she got put on the bus – I full on panicked and it was  the longest hour of my life but we were warned that once in a while in the beginning of the year that might happen but there are systems in place that insures the child safety  – and there is and for that I am so grateful. Another lesson learned by me – She got off that bus and she absolutely loved it and has been riding that bus ever since. We love the bus driver, she made friends in the neighborhood on the bus.  I have to say I love, love, love public school , she goes to a wonderful school with loving and caring staff. She also goes to a school with very strict rules in a loving environment – She thrives there .
Question to your kindergartner: What have been the best and the worst part so far?

” PE!…and art….and music…..oh, and story time, Recess….FRY tests so I can get gum and I love the science stuff when we look through a microscope, not the one that you look in the sky, the one that you look in on the table ” 🙂

worst part: ” mmmmmm….. let me think about that…..Lunchtime…. except on Fridays when you give me money for an ice-cream. ”


On to the Kindergarten wardrobe for girl child. I started doing this last year for her for preschool. I try to pick a color scheme and use lots of neutrals and basic patterns so I can mix and match. I went for Blue and yellow and greys and denims this year. Yellow makes me think of Bella – She has this wonderful, brightening personality and you sure know when that girl enters a room. She loves to look “Beautiful “- She loves dresses (the longer the better) but she loves to run and climb and does not sit still. We love the same things so a lot of the things I make for me, she wants too. I love that she still wants to do that so mom sews if Bella says “sew”.


COVER YOUR BUTT Pants is and essential part of our wardrobe – The girl love dresses but she also loves to be upside down so I sewed many of these. It is a perfect use for all those scrap pieces of knit fabric that you have. I use the go-to-leggings pattern and just cut it short like bike shorts.


The pieces I have currently is a great base that I can build on. My favorite knits are european knits from Jumping June textiles. I love double gauze, denims and then my favorites are shwe shwe and Ankara fabrics for wovens. The patterns I use are usually basic ones from designers I adore and then I adjust them to different looks and then some are self drafted. I used the rowan tee and the small fry skinny jeans pattern from Titchy threads – can’t go wrong with any of Laura’s patterns – Love them. The Satya Romper and The Naples dress are both patterns from Jennifer of the  Jennuine design Pattern shop – another designer that you can not go wrong with. I used the romper pattern for both the pants too.


I have a few short sleeve shirts and then a lot of 3/4 sleeves for fall and winter. I am waiting on a denim woven to add a winter coat to this collection. I love to sew rompers in the fall a size up so she can wear a tight fitting long or 3/4 sleeve shirt underneath and by the time summer rolls in next year it fits perfect to wear without a shirt – that way I don’t need to sew a summer and winter wardrobe – we love to layer to keep things simple.


This is her at Open house in her Satya romper meeting her teacher and new classmates…..


This is her yesterday just before school, She couldn’t wait to wear this one. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays they have PE and she wears her favorite nike leggings for that but she assured me that she could run in this and she did – she says the skirt runs so fast 🙂


My favorite dress is the Naples dress from Jennuine design and I used this beautiful Ankara from  Reflektion design ( STUNNING- go check her out). She wore this for Picture day and apparently all the teachers were very jealous .


She was pretty happy to go to her school on a Sunday for some pictures……





” Look Mom, I think Mrs Adams is at school, can we go say Hi?”


Pop on over to Sewing Like Mad and go check out these amazing bloggers as they are sewing for their Kindergarteners.


Till next time………