Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A New Chapter

This is a day I never expected to come. But before I explain, let me take you back to last summer......

I was overwhelmed, in a good and bad way. You girls were shopping like there was no tomorrow and I was sewing like a mad woman. It was a blessing to our family for me to be able to stay home with my kids and do something I loved.  The flip side was that I was in my sewing room WAY too much. It was starting to wear on my family. I had to cut out most of their extra-curricular activities because I had so much on my plate. It was providing financially, but I hated how much time I was having to spend away from them. You all have kids too. You know how fast they grow! That was hurting my heart that I was missing out on so much.

In August, Wes and I decided to start a 40 day prayer challenge. (If you have never read The Circle Maker, I highly recommend!) We were praying about several things, but one big one was my sewing business. We asked God to either flood my business so much that I would move to the stage of being able to afford to hire help to take pressure off of me, or either close it down and open another door for us. Things were going so well that I never imagined the second option would be what He would choose. I believe when you ask God for a specific answer and really listen to Him, He will give it to you. And He did. I went from having 30ish orders on my book at one time, to maybe 5. Part of me was sad that this was the answer He choose, but as He has opened doors, we have had so much peace.

In September, I went to a doTERRA essential oils class. I was intrigued by the products and decided to try a few out. I saw immediate results and was really excited so I decided to host a class at my house to share this info with some friends who were also interested. My friend Julie, who was going to teach, called me the morning of the class and asked if I wanted her to come early to talk to me about doTERRA business. I laughed and told her "no thanks! I've got so much on my plate. There is no way I can do anything else". After my class that night, my husband asked me if I thought this might be God's answer to our prayers of another door opening. I was still unsure, but we decided to pray about it. Julie got the last laugh. Before the week was over, we had decided this was something we should look into more.

Here I am 7 months later and my doTERRA business has flourished more than I could ever imagine in this short of a time span. It is very clear to us that this was a direct answer to our prayers. I have more time to spend with my kids and this is actually a family business for us now. My kids love to help and I love that we can do this together! And the biggest blessing is seeing these products help so many of our friends. When you find something that changes your life, it's so rewarding to share it and see it change others lives too. Sewing had it's own set of rewards, but this is way different for me. I never in 1 million years imagined that this would be the answer God would give us. But I'm so thankful! It has changed our lives, and so many people around us.

So what does this mean for Cotton Belle Boutique? It means my etsy shop is now on vacation mode. It means that last week I had to make the hard decision to leave all my sweet friends at the Brownie Goose Online Showcase. My fb group and page will remain open for now. I won't be listing items, but if I have time I will be doing some custom orders now and then just to keep my creative side alive. I still love to sew but it's moving back into the "hobby" category for now. I knew if the time came to make this transition, that I would know it was right. I've had so much peace the past few weeks. Bittersweet as one chapter closes, but exciting to see where God is taking us. I can't thank you all enough for what you helped me create with my little boutique. I have loved sewing for your children SO much!! And all the friendships I have made in this boutique community have been priceless. Thank you in all for supporting my business and my family!

If you are interested trying out essential oils and see what they can do for your family, I would love to send you a free package of samples to try out. They have changed our lives and I would love to help you find natural solution for your family as well. Please feel free to message me on fb, through my business or personal page, or email me at elizabeth.doterralife@gmail.com.

I love you all and thanks for being a part of our lives for the past few years. I hope to continue this journey with many of you in this next phase of our lives as well.

Much love!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Sketchbook Blog Tour- Day 3

Welcome to day 3 of the Sketchbook Blog Tour for the talented Sharon Holland! I'm so excited to participate in the fun this week and see what my sewing sisters have made as well. Yesterday my friend Raedene from Chasing Mermaids did a cute outfit for her daughter with a matching doll outfit.

If this is your first time to my blog, I'm Elizabeth, and I'm addicted to Art Gallery knits. I sew with knits a lot so when I found AGF I fell in love with their soft cotton/lycra. The biggest frustration in sewing knits is finding good prints. Art Gallery Fabrics won't disappoint! They have quite a selection to choose from. Today I'll be using Ink Outburst Atelier and Doodlie Meander from Sharon's new line Sketchbook.

It's still in the 90's here in Georgia, but I'm trying to pretend like fall is coming soon. My daughter loves knit tops and leggings in the fall/winter. I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted the top to look like so I decide to use the Secret Garden Dress from LilyGiggle with some modifications.

I changed up several things on this pattern. The original dress has the neck and arm bands sewn a little differently where a raw edge is showing. I love that look and made several last year but I was after a little more of a sleek look on this top, so I did them as you would normally attach a neck band. (Zinnia is a great reference if you need one!) I also changed the ruffle up from being attached on the outside, to being sewn on the inside.

My favorite modification was curving the back pattern piece to make a hi-low affect. Look at all those pretty details on that fabric!!!

My daughter is very thin and petite, so we have a real struggle every year trying to find pants that fit her. The Petunia Petal Pants have been my go-to for her. My one problem is that she is obsessed with boots, so I have lengthened my pant pattern and left off the petals so that she can wear her boots.

This was my first time trying to yoga band option for the waist (as shown in this tutorial) for her. I've made it several times for customers but decided to try it for her since she is all about comfort. Not only does she like the feel better, but it took about 10 minutes off of my sewing time, which probably means all her pants will have yoga bands from now on. :)

She told me that you can't show your belly button on the internet (little does she know!! *gasp*) but you need to see this band so please don't be horrified by that cute little belly button . :)

I think this fabric fits the "sketchbook" title perfectly. It makes me think about when I used to doodle on my paper during math lessons. (Maybe that's why I'm no good at math.) Except Sharon is an artist so her doodles are way better than anything I ever drew! I hope my photography has done justice to the floral because the colors are so vibrant in person.

I hope you love what I did with this fabric. There are many other beautiful prints in wovens and knits that you can check out here.  Thank you Sharon and Art Gallery Fabrics for letting me participate in this blog with all my talented sewing sisters!!

And now for the really fun part--- Sharon is GIVING AWAY 10 yards of fabric!!!!  Did you hear me!!??  10 yards!! I'm kind of jealous that I can't participate. But you can, so go over to instagram and share a photo of your favorite thing in the blog post so far and use hashtag #sketchbooktourgiveaway to enter. You can see all the details and even find some photos to regram on Sharon's Instagram.  Can't wait to see who the lucky winner is!!

Be sure to check out tomorrow's blog stop at Snickerdoodle Stew to see what my friend Jessica is making! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Back to School

Back to school....
It's time for new pencils, glue, scissors, cute backpacks and new shoes. But a mother's main concern is the outfit that her child will wear. :) Admit it! You've spent a good bit of time looking for that perfect outfit too. Since I'm a seamstress I dug through all my patterns trying to find the perfect one. My daughter is in a phase of wanting to wear lots of knit so when I saw there was a new knit top pattern coming out from Little Lizard King I thought it would be perfect for her. Meet the Road Trip Racerback Dress.

 This pattern features 5 skirt options-- top, tunic, dress, maxi and even a strip-work option. I choose the dress length. There is also an option for flutter sleeves. The size range is 12m- 14 years! The back is a racer back, which was new for me since I had no other styles like this in my pattern collection.

 The pattern contains details on stabilizing your knit, as well as other tricks for sewing with knits. A good steam iron is worth it's weight in gold when you are adding those neck and arm bands! Be sure to use the size chart provided to ensure a great fit. I found it to be spot on!

I decided to add a fun little pocket to our dress. This pocket was not included in the pattern and actually came from the Emory dress from Izzy & Ivy.

That beautiful fabric is from Moda's line called PB&J. It's been very popular the past few years but sadly, it's getting very hard to find. For my bodice, I used a solid navy cotton/lyra knit from sweet Ms. Mel over at The Purpleseamstress.

The best part about this dress is that she wore it until bath time last night and when I finally took it off of her she said, "This is my favorite school dress ever!".  Thank you LLK for this great pattern that is cute AND comfy!

Here's to a great school year for all our children!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Is In The Air

If you have followed me for very long, you know that three of my favorite pattern designers are LilyGiggle, Brownie-Goose, and Mouse House Creations.  Brownie-Goose is what inspired me to begin this fun adventure in the boutique world; LilyGiggle taught me to sew with knits, and Mouse House Creations always takes me back to my old school roots with her great techniques. I thought it might be fun to take some patterns from all three designers and pair them together for a photo shoot. I started looking for fabric and came across a few lines that I really loved from the very talented Bonnie Christine of Art Gallery Fabrics. I really loved the Winged Collection and thought it would be perfect for a spring photo shoot.

The first outfit I made was the Lillian Pintucked Top from Mouse House Creations. I love the bodice detail on this top. If you have never done pintucks before, don't let them intimidate you. They are really quite easy. Hayley has great directions in her patterns and if you aren't half asleep when you are sewing, you won't even sew them in backwards. Yeah, I have this *ahem* friend--- she was drinking coffee and sewing late at night and had to take out her pintucks. I told her not to sew when she was tired. She never listens. 

I love the vintage look of this top. This fabric was so perfect for this pattern, like a match made in heaven. The back has a small key whole opening with a bias trim tie. 

This pattern seems to be very time consuming with the details and the bias neck binding, but it was actually a very quick sew. I enjoyed making it and loved the end result. This pattern also comes in dress length and I plan on making one soon. I paired this top with the Ring of Ruffle Pants from LilyGiggle in capri length. 

This pants pattern comes in full, capri, and shorts lengths. They are a very quick sew and this pattern has some great tips for gathering those ruffles quickly. You can get creative with these pants and add as many or as few ruffles as you want. Isn't that knit so pretty? I'm seriously thinking about making myself a top for summer with it.

Next up is a darling set featuring the Seaside Shorts from Brownie-Goose. For some insane reason, I've had this pattern since it was published but have never made it. I assure you I will be making these in many colors for my daughter's summer wardrobe. I love that they are a little 
different that just plain ole' shorts. 

These shorts have a cute bias trim around the edges. You can make your own, which I did, or even use prepackaged bias trim. The pattern also has button options up the sides, but this fabric was so cute that I decided buttons may distract, so I left them off of this pair.

The Seaside pattern has a flat front/elastic back waist band option and also an option for the entire waist to be elastic. I choose the flat front option.  I think this outfit would be super cute on the beach with the ocean blue and coral colors. So pretty!  I paired these shorts with the Fiddlehead Flutter top from LilyGiggle. I love everything from LG, but this is probably my favorite pattern. I'm really obsessed with the sleeves. You will be too after you make one!

I do my flutter sleeves on my regular sewing machine for this top, but you can also do them on a serger. I really love quick and easy things when I'm sewing for my daughter and this top comes together in less than 45 minutes.The pattern includes long sleeve and 3/4 length sleeves as well as the sleeveless option. Great for the whole year! (P.S. There is also a sew-along to make it into a dress!!)

The last outfit I did for this shoot was the Cecille dress from LilyGiggle. The bodice is knit and I used this beautiful soft orange print from the Winged collection. The skirt is woven and the waist band can be made with either woven or knit. I chose to use a woven for my waistband. The waist band is also optional and can be totally left off if you choose.

I love this skirt fabric. I wish you could see it in person. The computer screen really
 doesn't do it justice. 

My favorite feature of this pattern is the sleeves. This pattern also has a long sleeve and 3/4 length version as well as the short sleeve, shown here. 

The Cecille pattern also comes in a peplum top option, which is really cute over some leggings or shorts for summer time. 

I hope you have enjoyed looking at these gorgeous fabrics from Art Gallery. I had a lot of fun working on these outfits. I hope this has inspired you to be creative and pair different patterns together to make your own creations. I had so many ideas for this collaboration from these three designers that I could have made several more outfits.  Check out all their great patterns and see what you can come up with! 

And here are a few more photos because my photographer really killed it,
 and we both have beautiful children.  :) 

Thank you MaddyEm Photography for the great photos!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Things of 2014

It's New Year's Eve. It's time to reflect on the past year and make your plans for the year ahead.  I was digging through photos on my laptop this morning and thought that I should blog about some of my favorite sewing related things from this past year. 

I'll start with one of the biggest-- In the first few months of 2014 I begin a great friendship and work partnership with a sweet lady named Beth, who is the creative lady behind LilyGiggle pattern company. Beth hired me to be her assistant/social media coordinator. I have enjoyed this job so much! Beth's patterns are so fun and creative. 

This may be one of my very favorite patterns she has done this year-- the Fiddlehead Flutter top. The sleeves on this top just make me smile every time I look at them.  

Here are a few more she has done this year that I have had fun with. 

I've changed up a few of these for some different looks. The Jujube is an eye catcher with those beautiful ruffles down the front, but this dress is also just darling without them. When you leave the ruffles off you can make this dress is under an hour. Seriously. Super fast and super cute! 

I make the Zinnia a LOT. I mean a whole lot. I can't even tell you how many I've made.  I LOVE the petal sleeves on the original pattern, but I switched this one up and little and added some cuffs and a ruffle for something different-- and so all of my daughter's dresses didn't look exactly alike. ;)

This dress brings me to another favorite thing from 2014-- Art Gallery Fabrics. I've used their fabrics on and off for a while now, but this year they have really come out with some KILLER fabrics. My addiction has almost gotten out of control. The photo above is from their line "Utopia". Below is "Indelible".  I have to say that there has been very little that has come out of my sewing room this year that hasn't been Art Gallery.

Their cottons are so soft. The Art Gallery motto "feel the difference" is totally true. You can feel it and tell that their quality is exceptional. And then the knits-- wow. Should I tell you
 that I have a shelving until full of BOLTS of their fabric?
Yeah, I told you it was an addiction. I really can't help it. 

Two more great patterns came out this year that I really fell in love with. The Bay Dress-- 

And the Lennon-- Both from Brownie-Goose

Both are unique and really cute! If you are a fan of Brownie-Goose you know that's the norm for her! 

Some of my customer's favorite items this year have been the Princess Dresses from Made for Mermaids. There were several times this year that I never wanted to see anything princess again after making so many dresses. But they sure are cute!

Another big seller for my shop was the Tilly Top

And lastly, a new favorite for me and my customers-- the Elise.

Now to talk about a few sewing items that I have found helpful lately. The first one is knit interfacing. I've sewn more with knit this year than with woven so this product has really proved itself to be invaluable. I use it all the time. It's great for stabilizing the bodice of a dress to add a woven skirt. It also works great for hemlines if you don't have a cover stitch machine. 

The next product I have just started using is wonder tape. This was a lifesaver with all those ruffles on the Jujube dress! Also great for holding hems in place without 9 million pins. 

So there is a mini review of 2014 from my sewing room. What about 2015? I'm really hoping to sew more things for myself. I made a few things I really loved this year, but I need to try more.  If you are looking for some great women's patterns, so far I can recommend The Pumpkin Spice Dolman, the Julia Cardigan, and The Ladies Caroline Dress
Here is a recent picture of me in the Julia Cardigan.

Hopefully my favorite thing of 2015 will be my new Bernina Coverstitch that my husband just got me for Christmas. I'm having fun learning, although I kinda feel like a space ship landed in my sewing room. :)

 Happy New Year!! I hope 2015 is better than you can even imagine! 


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


The newest pattern in the LilyGiggle collection released today!

The dress option for this pattern features a knit bodice with a darling bow accent at the neck and a woven hi-lo gathered skirt. There are three sleeve options to choose from- short, 3/4 length, and long sleeve to make this dress perfect for any season. Sizing for this pattern is 2-12.

The hi-low skirt is subtle, yet adds a twist unlike any other dress pattern from LilyGiggle. 

I added some extra details to mine with the addition of a band around the bottom and some 
cluney lace trim.

This beautiful fabric is from the Indelible line by Art Gallery Fabrics.  If you read my blog much, you know I have a love affair with Art Gallery. :) 

 The second option from this pattern is the peplum top. I haven't had the chance to make this, but my sweet friends Alexis from My Sweet Sunhine, and Natalie from The Sassy Pumpkin both did a great job with it! Alexis made the size 7 peplum top from some more beautiful fabric from 
Art Gallery Fabrics.

I choose to do my bow in the same color as my bodice since my skirt had a lot going on, but I love the accent of the bow here in this photo. So many options and ideas!! 

Natalie made a size 2 peplum top for her sweet girl in this beautiful fabric from--- you guessed it-- Art Gallery Fabrics! We all have an addiction. Please send help. Or money to buy more fabric. ;) 

Natalie paired her top with one of the patterns from the earlier days of LilyGiggle- The Beehive Bloomers. Aren't they such a cute pair together?

I hope these beautiful photos have convinced you that you really need this pattern. Great dress and super cute top to pair over-- well, anything! We even had one tester put it over a gathered skirt and it was SO adorable!  You can find more cute tester photos in the
  LilyGiggle Pattern Group on facebook. 

I saved the best new for last. This pattern is on sale right now for only $7! A dress AND a top pattern for one low, great price! Run and get your copy before the sale is over! :)