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Rebecca Page Beach Bag

The beach is my happy place. Well, the beach or a fabric store. But, the beach!! Virginia and I try to go somewhere beachy at least once per year. We don’t care if it is summer beach, winter beach, or somewhere in between. As long as we can walk along the shore and let the sound of waves wash away our stress. We are hella lucky to have some of our favorite humans living near Jacksonville, FL, quite literally 20 minutes from a beach. A gorgeous beach. One of our favorite beaches. So we get the advantage of visiting friends, and having sand and ocean nearby! Win-win!!

But we also love the pool. Since we’re too far from the beach for it to be a weekend, or daily, activity, our best alternative is the local pool. Again, we’re lucky to have a wonderful city pool. Reasonable price, not too crowded (even pre-covid), comfortable, and lovely. Eight minutes down the road means we can go almost daily, unless the weather doesn’t cooperate! That’s a life choice I am not mad at.

I tell you all of these because we ALWAYS end up carrying 2-3 bags each. Every. Damn. Time. It is exhausting. Making sure we’ve loaded each of them into the car. Then carried them to the pool or chosen spot in the sand. It is the only part of spending time near the water that sucks. Well, and having to leave. But now. This beach bag exists! This beach bag that can hold literally everything we need for an afternoon at the pool.

Right now, this bag has six beach towels, a 1 liter water bottle, two bags of snacks, a book, wallet, keys, sunscreen, two beers, three empty inside pockets, AND room for more. What else do I need at the pool? No really, tell me! I’ll pack it and take it with me.

While I KNOW Virginia is going to make me carry everything from now on, I’ll make her carry the fancy fold-up chairs (which are the one thing that doesn’t actually fit), and she can open doors and whatnot. And drive. Don’t tell her I said that. 😀

So, maybe you’re not as extra as I am. Maybe you only want to bring a towel or two, a book, and some water. I have good news. This pattern comes with a more reasonable size option. It’ll still hold all your needs. And be adorable. And so damn useful. I need to make one in that size just to have. For other uses. For when I go to the pool alone! That’s it. Now I have a reason to make it.

Either option will let you add inside pockets. 7 or 14 on the large, 4 or 8 for the small. I only put pockets on one side of this one because I ran out of the adorable flamingo fabric. But they are the perfect size for really holding everything. Stuff doesn’t tip out! And I’m pretty sure I could get a wine bottle in those pockets…

So what I’m saying here is…this pattern makes me happy. I can’t wait for some time by the water. (Goodness, any water.) And I hope y’all love it too!

Stephanie xx

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Flamingo-ing to the Beach

2021 has officially begun and I am already behind! No surprise there. Despite my lateness with everything, I am ridiculously excited to share this quilt with you!! Two of my favorite humans bought their first house together in 2019 and I really wanted to make them a quilt. I asked first, letting them know there was likely to be a delay. That statement was laughable! But here we are, finally ready to give them this beauty!

I specifically wanted something beachy but fun. Relaxing and beautiful. Something that coordinates with their lovely home and life. Who doesn’t love a flamingo?! And the relaxation of waves on a beach. Sigh. Perfectly relaxing. I also really wanted something they could both cuddle under, preferably with at least one of their gorgeous puppies. So this thing is HUGE. 😀

Quilting is not my favorite sewing project, mostly because they are time intensive! The end result is always so, so satisfying though!! And my favorite part is always giving them away! I love sharing these beauties with loved ones. (Note to self, 2021 should be the year you make yourself a quilt.)

The timing of people able to finally make this was perfect! It aligned with the RP Learn Quilting Summit! So not only do I get to give this wonderful quilt away, I get to show people how to make it!! If you’re interested in the pattern, or construction options, check out the summit. It is completely free for the week it is live, or you can grab the All Access Pass, and watch all year long! Plus, there are some great bonus classes that are for Passholders only! (Secret: One of them is mine too!!)

Be sure to check out all the amazing speakers at the summit and join the RP Learn Facebook group to share your own projects! My kitten, Gus Gus, sure approves of this one! (Don’t worry, my friend has been warned she participated in the photo shoot.)

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New Sewists

One of the questions I see most often is “How do I get started?” and it is one of the hardest questions to answer! There are so many different aspects of sewing that might interest different people that it is hard to answer that question without first asking a dozen opinion questions! Are you interested in sewing clothes? Quilts? Accessories? Home stuff? Do you like detailed projects or want quick and easy? Are you sewing for yourself, family, friends? Have you sewn anything before? What did you like/dislike about it? All of these questions allow me to formulate suggestions and paths that might most suit the asker. But, really, the generic answer is just do it. Just dive in and see what you like! Find a friend who sews (that’s me! I’m your friend. I sew. I want to sew with you.) and see if they want to get together to sew, even if it is a zoom hang! They might even let you borrow their machine for a quick lesson to see if it is something you want to actually invest in!

Then the next step is finding projects that you want to tackle, that won’t be so hard as to put you off sewing forever. I don’t think it matters if you start with a pillow cover, pajama pants, a tee, or a quilt. Just pick something that can be accomplished in a time frame that you won’t lose interest in. If you want something done in an afternoon, pick something that is quick. If you’re interested in a weekend project for the entire month, dive into something that is a little more. Listen to yourself, and your history of tackling projects, before choosing something.

If you prefer to start with a pattern (and unless you LOVE designing, I super recommend this), you can choose between the big brands that sell patterns at your local craft store, or independent designers, where you’ll find their patterns online. Now, I am biased on this, but I super prefer independent designers. I learned how to sew using paper patterns from the big four and … eh. The tissue paper isn’t my favorite thing. The fit tends to be intended to fit a wider variety of body types, so there is typically more necessary adjustments on clothing, and just fewer options for bags and accessories. Independent designers try to stay on top of and in front of trends (some big four patterns are doing decently well on this! I just mean in general.) Plus, they usually offer a group with access to help, suggestions, tips, and other people excitedly sharing their own makes! Also, independent means you’re supporting the small business. The start up. The work from home parents. People like me, because I work for one of these companies, hence the bias.

Try out a few different pattern companies. See what styles you like. Who has instructions you love and can follow. If you’re tackling clothes, who has the fit that needs the fewest adjustments for you? Most independent companies offer at least one free pattern and a lot of them are doing huge sales right now, so it is a great time to try out a few patterns, or just grab the ones you’ve been eyeing but didn’t have the money to pay for! Then, just get sewing.

Ask questions along the way. Take a class. Watch YouTube videos. Follow blogs (Hi! This is a sewing blog!). Find someone who sews things you like, or looks like you (for clothing) and follow them for inspiration. Get on Insta and find some people. Nothing is more motivating for me than seeing other amazing sewists making gorgeous things. And some of my best friends are people I’ve never met who live around the world, but who have shared this passion, and their lives, with me!

How do you get started sewing? There are many paths. None of them are wrong. The end result is joining an amazing, warm, welcoming community of creative, interesting people. Plus you get to make pretty things. I’d call that a win win!!

If you’d like my suggestions for independent pattern companies AND my sources for fabric, check out these posts here and here. I exclusively use Brother sewing machines, because I like them. But you’ll find a wide range of machines for different uses that appeal to different people. And I’m always happy to talk sewing! So if you want to have a sew-hang or sew-chat, let me know! 😉

Stephanie xx

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Patterns

So I wrote this post about fabric forever ago, almost two years, and realized despite me sharing as many makes as I can write about, I don’t have a central post with my favorite companies for easy reference. Since I just did an update to my Fabric post, now felt like a good time for this one. So check out my current favorite pattern companies. If they regularly have sales, or have something happening right now, I’ll link what I can for you!

Rebecca Page

Obviously, I have to start with Rebecca Page. I work for this company, and have for almost 4 years. The team is filled with amazing, talented, lovely people that I am so lucky to work with! One of the things that inspired me about RP patterns, forever ago when I pattern tested, was the uniqueness of the pattern options. RP isn’t afraid of tackling the difficult patterns and making them easy. Those things that are woven, fitted, and have the cleanest finishes. My very first pattern test with RP, she offered up another pattern to use in photos and I was thrilled at the opportunity to make a winter coat. I still have that Amsterdam coat and just love it. But I also love that they are well drafted and require minimal fitting for my body. They offer US letter, A4, and A0 size pages and clear, easy to read instructions with TONS of photos. But, they also have a quick glance page for those that don’t need detailed instructions! It is great for quick reference!!

RP has TONS of free patterns. You just have to create an account and you’ll get instant access! Super easy. This is extra helpful for giving a company a try to see if you like their pattern style, instructions, how it prints, etc. They also offer a subscription! This gives you access to even more freebies, as well as a pattern credit each month to pick up any pattern you like. Plus, they do tons of bundling. The discounts on the bundles are always killer. It is a great way to grab a collection of patterns you might have your eye on.

For December, they are doing 25% off all patterns AND they’ve put together some extra special bundles. So if you’re looking to grab a haul, or want to send gift ideas to loved ones, send them over to check it out!

5 Out of 4

If you are new to my blog, or just not paying attention, 5oo4 is probably my most sewn pattern collection. I was lucky enough to do pattern testing and be on their regular promo team, so I got to sew a lot! I really like the fit of these patterns because they’re always a simple grade for me and adding height and Virginia is a straight size! No grading needed. They also often include a FBA within their patterns. They have a wonderful selection of knit patterns that are easy to sew and wear.

I definitely find patterns drafted by Rachel to be my favorites. I think she leans more toward my style. But I don’t have a single pattern that I won’t make again. Even when testing, my fit garment (that first try to see if edits are needed) are completely wearable and loved in my closet. Virginia as well. Her favorite top, the Jessie, is a 5oo4 pattern and she asks for it regularly.

They have a great regular price on patterns and offer different patterns for just $5 on Fridays. Plus do regular sales throughout the year. Definitely one to keep an eye on. They also recently started a 5oo4 Family program with tips, videos, etc for members. Some great resources and free patterns available on their site and you can’t beat the positivity in their Facebook group.

Patterns for Pirates

This is a company that has some gorgeous quick, easy options! They have a stylish selection that is great for fast sews, little fitting needs, and a huge group for inspiration and feedback! Plus, the owner/designer, Judy, is a gorgeous inspiration. If you’re looking for aspirational looks, she is a great source! And they have the wonderful Katy McKinley on the team. If her smiling face doesn’t light up your day, I don’t know what could. The entire team is supportive, talented, and so helpful with any questions you might have! They typically only do a few sales throughout the year, so when you see one, take advantage!!

Made for Mermaids

Another company with a team of amazing people. Talent, style, hard work, and delight. The patterns are interesting, beautiful, and pretty dang easy to sew! Plus, they work so hard to bring beautiful matching options for moms, kids, and baby sizes! I don’t know how they find so many cute baby models, but it is definitely working for them!! The patterns are easy to follow and fun to wear! Just like P4P, they only do a handful of sales all year, so jump on board when they’re happening!!

Ellie and Mac

This is a new to me company but they’re getting a mention here because I have a list of patterns I want to try from them! They do weekly Wacky Wednesday sales where you can snag a pattern for just $1, so that is always a win in my book! I really like how the hoodie I sewed up came together. Easy, quick, no issues even with my grading. They have some unique color-blocking options and a wider size range, which I love! I’m looking forward to trying more of their patterns.

George and Ginger

If you are looking for unique patterns, drama, delight, flair, this is definitely the place to look. I like their fit and she just expanded her size range! I also really like how she breaks up the pattern for printing. She separates pattern pieces so you don’t end up with 100 pages connected, or having to cut as you go. This doesn’t appear to use any more paper than other patterns, but is definitely a bit easier to manage. She offers free patterns, particularly if you follow her YouTube channel. And deals and bundles as well!

Note on this. I cannot find a single photo I have taken of a George and Ginger pattern. Despite having a handful of them in my closet. I will rectify this. Hopefully soon.

Halla

I think I need to break out a Halla pattern again! I really enjoy the sweet, lovely patterns I have from them. I think they have a great selection of unique, but easy to wear patterns. Plus, they always fit me well and are quick, easy sews. They’re having 30% off right now as well! So that is a win-win!!

Love Notions

This is another pattern company I’ve only sewn one pattern from. But oh boy, did it come out beautifully! They have a free Laundry Day Tee that I have been meaning to try for YEARS. Maybe 2021 will give me the time to sew it up! Either way, I made the La Bella Donna top and it is wonderful. The fit is great! The pattern came together great. And they are expanding their size range to be more inclusive! I’d call that a win!

There are definitely tons of other pattern companies out there! I obviously focus on companies that include a wider size range, so there are some lovely choices that I’ve not tried. I find it best to find a company that fits fairly well to start, which reduces the number of adjustments you have to make before sewing!!

Stephanie xx

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RP Serenity Infinity Dress

Holy balls, y’all. It is DECEMBER. December. How the hell did that happen? With December comes all kinds of things. Decorations (ok, we did that in November), wrapping gifts, frantic sewing of presents I planned months ago and failed to work on. Add in a leaky roof and sneezing cats, and it has been quite a month already!!

Of course, something I always look forward to in December is the RP Christmas Dress. There is always a free version and some sort of add on or bonus that is a paid pattern but packs a punch!! This year is no different!

The free version is beautiful, drapey, and has a faux scarf, so you can’t set it down and lose it! (Is that just a me thing?). And the infinity version is just dreamy. Same great drape, of course! But with length options from shirt to maxi. And this magic neckline.

Not only is the neckline lower, which I prefer anyway, but it has a ton of different ways to move it around, shift the sleeves, all kinds of craziness, to have completely different looks!!

I went for the mid-calf (or midi) version, but it is totally scrunchable to knee length as well!! I tried out a few different options and can’t wait to wear this to something fabulous (maybe the target order drive-up spots) and try a different look altogether!!

I’m so not done yet. Not only is the infinity version just a gorgeous dress with options out the ass. RP put together a bundle with two different fabric choices to go along with it!! The Ivory Ponte is the same that the gorgeous model’s used for the free dress cover photos. And this Burgundy Brushed Sweater is the other option. Plus, you can grab additional yards of either fabric (ivory and burgundy) if you want more than the bundle!

I am obsessed with this sweater knit. It is brushed on the right side, so the softness is insane. The color is kind of a cranberry with black specks, so it reads burgundy from a few feet away. I just love it!!

I’ll definitely add a few shirts and at least one more dress to my closet. And I hope you do as well (wanna be twinsies?) Have an amazing holiday season. Celebrate hard but safe. Sending virtual hugs to each of you!

Stephanie xx