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Coming Home (and Sneak Peeks)

I am definitely not getting enough sewing time lately. This failure falls on me having too much on my plate and not prioritizing sewing projects over other stuff. Life, right? But I had some deadlines approaching, and some pretty hard excitement about an upcoming pattern, which means sewing finally made it to the top of my to do list!! (This is where Gus Gus has decided she needs to sleep in the sewing studio. The guilty face is because she KNOWS she isn’t allowed on the table. She was promptly removed. From the table, not the room.)

This means I got to spend Friday evening and ALL AFTERNOON Saturday with my sewing machines. Just me, the cats, and the beautiful things that surround this hobby/life/skill. It was seriously amazing!! I had my priority list, a bunch of glue, patterns, and clean fabric, and I was ready to go to town. I gotta say, I made it to town. And really lived it up while I was there. 😀

I know I mentioned the priority list…I’ve got a lot of stuff coming up and I’m honestly really excited about all of it!! I’ve joined up with a couple ladies to sew up the Halla Agnes in our own ways (coming at you this week!) And I freaking love how mine turned out! A little sneak peek for you. I’m going to share how I created a quilted yoke!

Then a surprise delivery of some gorgeous strike fabric from Threaded Candy Customs! I had no idea this was on it’s way until I got the shipping email and, obviously had made no plans for what to sew with it! I am always blown away when I open packages from Threaded Candy. The fabric is inevitably more vibrant, lovely, and soft than I expected or remembered. This was no exception. The preorder round is open now and you need it!! This one is called Navy Daydreams, in cotton lycra. It is dreamy. I managed to make one really beautiful tank for me and one equally lovely tank for Virginia out of a two yard cut!! I’ll share the whole process and the patterns soon, but here’s a preview!!

I always want to sew up every Rebecca Page pattern that goes into testing. I rarely have (ok…make) time for this. But, I couldn’t wait for this! Now, I’m definitely going to blog about it, so you’ll see the whole thing (it is totally already written and waiting for photos and release). It finally inspired me to use this bundle from So Sew English that has been in my stash forever. (Virginia held onto her bundle of this stuff for a long time too! When we finally used it, it turned out sooooo pretty!!) This pattern is releasing this week, so I can’t sneak it for reals. But look at this fabric!!!

But wait, I’m not even done!! It was only 6:30 on Saturday. I paused for a shower and some food. But then dove into my outfit for this month’s Work It post!!! You’ll see the entire thing later this month, but look how gorgeous this Sly Fox Fabrics DBP is!!!! It is such a fun print and oh so soft to work with!! I’m completely in love with this shirt and can’t wait to share!! (Can you guess what it is? As always, it is something from a 5oo4 pattern.)

Sharing all the sneaks is really just my way of remembering how much I love these afternoons. (One of my Me Made May goals, if you remember.) The kind that stretch unrealized into evening and night. It feels like coming home after a long trip. The trip was great, but this is where I belong.

Can’t wait to share all the details of these lovely sews! So keep an eye out. And I hope you’re making time for your coming home moments as well.

Stephanie xx

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TCCF Spring

Do you ever find yourself in an uninspired slump? Nothing is jumping out and inspiring you. Deadlines are maybe getting you down a bit. That’s where I was last month. Just doing what absolutely had to be done. For me, it was a combo of too much on my plate (working overtime usually ends up killing my creativity, and energy), lack of time (again, with the overtime), and the priority projects not exciting me.

When I signed up for this fabric, it was so pretty!! I thought I’d make a cute little clutch, a wallet, maybe a key fob. Just a happy spring set of fun! But, this beauty arrived and it just had to be something I can wear!! That spark of creativity and motivation was reignited. This cotton from Threaded Candy Custom Fabrics is perfect! Not too stiff. Quite soft. Plus, it didn’t shrink AT ALL!!! Not even half an inch!!

I scoured my pattern collection to narrow down options. Then I bugged the crap out of some of my favorite sewists (Becky, over at Big Fly Notions, and Sequoia, from Sequoia Lynn Sews) to help me narrow it down further. They were super helpful! We decided that with the yard that I had, and this white star fabric from my stash, I clearly needed to hack the Patterns for Pirates So Classic Sundress into a shirt!

I adore the fit of the top of this dress. I wanted the button placket, but left it non-functional. (I really dislike functional button plackets with elastic backs. It just feels like asking for a problem!) I just measured how long I wanted the shirt from my natural waist, then added seam and hem allowance. And I got to use this really cool button placement tool that was an amazing Christmas present! I just adore it!! Super helps me visual where I want buttons placed without having to transfer any marks!

I’m so happy with this fun, springy top! It is perfect for date night, or with a cardigan just about anywhere else! Plus, I had just enough fabric left for a cute little bow clutch! Super simple, but so fun!

You should definitely check out this collection and let me know if you’re as inspired by this Spring Love line as I was!

Stephanie xx

DISCLAIMER – This Spring Love fabric was sent to me for free. The sewing, opinions, and recommendation that this fabric is amazing, come completely from me.

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Grief and Beautiful Fabrics

Sewing is my stress relief. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said this. Even when I’m stressed about the sewing (because deadlines and overbooking my time), it relieves stress in other areas of my life. But, when my Grandma was lost to us earlier this month, I wasn’t sure how to start the grieving process. My go-to is the craft room. But the first project I tackled, a super cute wallet for my sister, took forever! Every step was a reminder of the calm patience she wore like perfume while teaching me how to sew.

Checking my grainlines reminds me of her explanation of the importance of truing them so nothing twists while wearing. Picking up my good scissors (thanks family!) amazes me at how free she was with any of the scissors in her sewing space. At least for me. She never told me to use a different pair or not to cut this or that with the beautiful shears. Should I use binding on the inside of the wallet, or just finish the edges with my serger? Vicki goes through these wallets so fast, I’ll just serge them. But, oh, I have this bin of bindings that Grandma gave me when she couldn’t sew anymore. Now I need to sit for a bit and have a good cry.

The first sew took forever, and wasn’t easy to focus on. So glad I picked a project I’ve sewn a million times. But, as I worked through the first wallet, then the two others, with matching key fobs, I had planned. It got easier and I was able to find the joy in sewing once again.

Then I had to tackle the project with a real deadline. This beautiful Sly Fox Fabrics Heavy Ponte de Roma, in dark rose needs to become something beautiful. This was Grandma’s favorite color. Ok, had a good cry about that as well. Plus Mom telling me she feels Grandma is with me while I’m sewing. Yeah, that helped. I want something I can wear regularly, not a special occasion piece. I was thinking pants, but I adore the new Made for Mermaids Dione Jacket. Grandma would have loved seeing me in this! She would have touched the sleeve and told me it was beautiful. Decision made! But, this two yard cut shrank. Significantly! Now I can’t quite squeeze this out!

Instead of moving forward and picking something else, I blanked and reached out to a friend. Becky suggested a color blocked jacket! I’d been meaning to make one with black on shiny black, so let’s see what I have on hand. Oh look! I have this great charcoal Ponte de Roma, also from Sly Fox, that I already made a Dione out of for Virginia!!! Just enough scraps for the facings and some sleeve color blocking. Plus, a bonus skirt!!

This is the Rebecca Page Peggy with just a few changes. I obviously color blocked due to fabric limitations. The waistband is the gorgeous rose, then I couldn’t quite get the bottom front and back pieces cut on the fold. So, instead of adding just a bit of seam at the back, I made it a focal point! I cut at an angle across where the center fold would be, hemmed that edge, then aligned the center back on both rose pieces as well as the main skirt piece before attaching. I LOVE how this turned out. It is a bit sassy and super fun. Plus, way easier than most vent construction, so if you’re scared of vents, this is a great alternative.

The only problem with this project? Other than the tears and distracting memories, of course. I ended up hemming everything by hand. I didn’t want the smoothness of these pieces to be interrupted but hem lines and my machine blind hem stitch just did not like this fabric. I think it was totally worth the effort!! YAY! I’m done!!

Now, what the hell do I wear this with? I had planned on a solid jacket that matched a few of my other Sly Fox Fabrics floral tops. But, with the color blocking, I’m not in love with the pairing anymore. So, back to the fabric cabinet to see what matches. Low and behold, I have this great glittery black knit from the same order as the charcoal ponte! What?! And I know just what pattern will be great with this!

I’ve been wanting to make a Rebecca Page Chloe Cami since I first saw Becky wearing one in testing. I was scared of it until then. SHE IS STUNNING IN HERS!! And I already had it printed and handy. This pattern is drafted for wovens, but, this sparkly stuff (ok, so it is black and silver metallic jersey.  Sly Fox has black and gold right now!) doesn’t have vertical stretch, so as long as I cut my straps with no stretch, I won’t have to stabilize them.

I am so pleased with the entire outfit. And how easy it is to mix and match with other pieces (like the DIBY jeans above). The whole process was rather cathartic and really helped me keep moving while waiting for our flight home. While I was initially nervous that the reminders would be too much, jumping right into the sewing room really helped me feel connected and loved.

Hold tight to the ones you love.
Stephanie <3

DISCLAIMER – The dark rose ponte was sent to me for free. The sewing, opinions, and recommendation that this fabric is amazing, come completely from me. This post also contains some affiliate links. These don’t change the price for you, but the designer does give me a small percent if you buy something. I use this to buy more fabric.

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Sly Fox Fabric – Back 2 School Celebration

I love reading Back to School blog tours and posts.  It means Fall is upon is (and we all know how I feel about fall!).  Kids are jumping back into school.  Temps are maybe thinking about possibly starting to drop (dammit Atlanta!).  Football starts up.  Everything is great!  But, I never know what to say for back to school blogs.  I don’t have kids.  No nieces or nephews either.  Graduated from my master’s program a couple years ago.  So, I was going to write about Virginia going back to school.  Her being out of the house more, and generally more busy, and what that means for me.  But, I realized today, back to school does mean something to me.  It is a reminder of how much I love school.

I might be in the minority there, but school has always been something I enjoyed.  When I was young, it was exciting to go every day and see my friends; learn something new.  As I got older, it was a way to get out of the small town I grew up in.  Experience more of the world.  And now that I’m in my 30’s, learning new stuff is still one of my favorite things.

So, I’m taking this opportunity to remind myself (and all of you) that learning doesn’t have to stop because we’re not in school anymore.  There are so many resources available to learn new things.  I don’t mean signing up for another degree (though I’ve considered it).  But, small, everyday things to learn and grow.

Sewing

I’ve transitioned a bit in the tests that I’ll tackle from any and everything to more challenging sews.  If there is a new technique, or a cool feature, I’m in!  If I know the designer will help me with better fitting tips or has a really unique construction for something, that is the best!  I love trying challenging patterns that push me to try something new.  The best part of this – the technique doesn’t even have to be new for me to learn something!  Maybe I’ll be able to try a new shape for me.  This dress is certainly out of my usual comfort zone!  Maybe I’ll see a different combination of basic shapes.  Whatever allows me to expand beyond what I know.

Beyond tests though.  I love learning new techniques and always enjoy taking classes.  Craftsy is my fav place to learn new sewing techniques.  It is where I learned most the techniques I’ve picked up as an adult.  YouTube is a wonderful resource for random things.  Reading other bloggers!  They have such great tips and resources to expand what’s available.

Sewing-ish

I am always trying to improve my photography.  It is so helpful to the designers I test for if my pictures can just be a little better than they were for the last test.  Or if you can see the fabric just a bit clearer, brighter, more true to color.  I love reading tutorials about my camera.  How different settings change my photograph.  And now I’m jumping into Photoshop.  I haven’t dived into post-processing pictures since college.  My time ended up filled with other things and I stepped away from it.  But, I still love it!  Small tweaks here and there to really make a photo shine.  And Adobe has some awesome tutorials available to really help me get comfortable with the software!

Fabric too!  I’m loving diving deeper into how fabric is made.  The different types of weaves are endlessly fascinating.  The Sly Fox reveal videos lit a fire in me to learn more and share that knowledge!  (Seriously.  I’m doing fabric how to videos in the Rebecca Page Facebook group.  What?!)  How is this fabric made?  What patterns will be a perfect pair?  How does weight related to drape for different types of fabric?  Endless questions, with answers available with just a few google searches!

Even blogging is something I’m spending time learning new techniques to improve on.  I started this so I can look back on projects and enjoy where I started and how I improve.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want to bring creative, useful content to those that read it though!  And reach more people who might find it useful.  So, I’m reading all about SEO and what people want to read.  Social media is an ever changing area, with so many resources to learn how to better interact with other people around the world.

Not-sewing At All

Stepping outside the craft room altogether!  What else can I learn?  What other resources are available to frugal (ok, cheap) Stephanie to expand interests and keep learning?  Little things?  Big things?

I LOVE cooking!!  When I’m sewing (I know…I said not in the craft room), I usually have a TV program on in the background.  I’ve been loving the Netflix cooking shows!  No commercials, but I get to see fun new techniques.  Back to google for a recipe or more in depth video, and I’ve learned a new technique or recipe!!

But also, Netflix has a great nature program called Round Planet that I HIGHLY recommend if you like sarcasm and animals.

Speaking of google.  How many resources are available online to learn all kinds of skills?  There are free coding classes.  I’ve got Bruce for my website needs, but it is still fascinating.  Lynda.com has tons of classes on Microsoft and various software.  Want a step up at work, check that out!  The internet has woodworking videos, gardening videos, workout videos, organization videos.  Literally anything you want to learn is available.  (What a fascinating world we live in.)

Prefer to learn in person?  Google some classes!  I love paint nite.  Bring a bottle of wine (or two) and paint with your friends and some strangers.  It is fun, you get to learn new techniques, while supporting an artist, and bring home some cool shit for your walls!  Take a cooking class in person.  A friend of mine did an ax throwing class.  You read that right.  She learned how to throw a damn ax!  Step outside your comfort zone and remember that nothing keeps you young like learning new stuff.

To bring this full circle, if you haven’t tried binding, or working with Liverpool, this could be a fun project for you!  The 5 out of 4 Jessie is a super versatile pattern (one of Virginia’s favorites) that I hadn’t sewn for myself yet.  This GORGEOUS Sly Fox Fabrics Mad Love Liverpool needed to be a dress to really show it off.  So the Jessie as a fitted dress (oh my) is perfect.  I’ve got more evenings free with Virginia back in school, so it is fantastic for date nights.  I get to show off a little of my tattoos, which I always love.  And it is the perfect length that I can throw a jacket on top and wear it to work!

Have you worked with Liverpool?  It is one of my favorite fabrics!  I was just talking about it with a friend (hey Sequoia!) and realized just how much I use it!!  It is easy to sew and easy to wear!  Plus it is tough!  It has outlived all my other knit pants.  If you haven’t tried it, I definitely recommend it.  (Pants are my fav in it!)

So, welcome back to school.  Don’t forget to learn new things, right along with your kids, if you’ve got them.  And I’m not talking about that common core shit, either!  Learn something fun.  Something that sparks your soul.  <3

stephanie xx

PS – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Sly Fox Fabrics is an amazing company.  They are doing an entire Back 2 School Celebration.  There are giveaways in the Facebook group.  I highly recommend you check them out.

 

I received the Mad Love fabric for free in exchange for sewing and photographing it.  The rest of this mumbo jumbo is all me and not influenced by the perk at all.  This post does contain some affiliate links.  These don’t cost you anything, but if you click them and buy something, I receive a small commission.  Which I use to buy more fabric, so I can keep sewing and writing about it. <3

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Two Yard Cuts

SFF Unforgettable (9)1One of the most common questions I see in so many fabric and pattern groups is, if you don’t have a plan for it, how much of a fabric do you buy?  I’ve also seen answers that run from 1/2 yard if it’s for the kids or 1 yard for me, to, I just buy X yards, just in case.  There are SOOO many answers that can be helpful.  Is the fabric knit or woven?  Are you sewing for an adult or a child?  Is it bottom weight or top weight?  And, honestly, there is no right answer that works for every person for every situation.

SFF Unforgettable (6)1For me personally, I most commonly sew for my self and my sister.  And I most often sew with knits these days.  Unless I’m planning a specific project, I almost always prefer 2 yard cuts.  Now, this is mostly because I sew curvy sizes.  I can’t quite get every top out of 1 yard, so I need a little extra fabric.  (Ok, there are a few fabric companies that I KNOW send generous cuts.  Sometimes I order 1 yard cuts if I know I want a simple top.)

SFF Unforgettable (5)1This is the downside for having a bit extra time in my hourglass. 😉  So, I am always keeping an eye out for patterns that take less than one yard.  Now, one of my absolute favorite basic tee patterns is the Favorite Tee from Patterns for Pirates.  I adore the fit.  It is hella flattering on me.  And is has some great options to fancy it up, if I’m in the mood.  Of course, it is takes just over one yard…

However, I’ve now found a couple of patterns I can sew up out of just UNDER one yard!  Now that is winning!!  AND they aren’t even tops. 🙂 My default was to check if I have enough for a Made for Mermaids Mama Chloe skirt.  I just need enough fabric to get a length I am comfortable with.  Plus, the waistband can always be a different fabric, since I never wear it out anyway.

SFF Unforgettable (10)1Now, though, I am living in Made for Mermaids Mama Lexi shorts.  I LOVE THEM!!!  They are comfortable, super fast to sew, have pockets, and I can get an entire pair out of just about one yard of fabric.  This one also falls in the waistband can be a different fabric category!

So, how in the world does this pertain to the outfit I’m sharing today?  I got this GORGEOUS Sly Fox Fabrics Unforgettable double brushed poly and started weighing my options. I considered quite a few different patterns.  Some that would just squeeze out of the 2 yards.  Some that would comfortably fit and leave me with tiny scraps.  I hemmed and hawed while it was shipping to me.  Then while I was washing it.  Then I sprained my damn ankle and couldn’t sew.  So, more time to consider, I suppose.

I sewed up a practice top to see if it is what I wanted.  While I love it, it wasn’t quite right for this fabric.  Back to the drawing board.  Then, I realized I knew exactly what I wanted.  This DBP was the perfect weight to flatter and be comfy.  I can wear it in this hot Atlanta summer without melting.  Obviously, I needed another (non basic, but fabulous) basic tee.  And I hoped there would be enough to squeeze out a skirt or some shorts.  I need more summer bottoms in my life.

Now, I knew I needed a top that would match these gorgeous new summer bottoms and I had the perfect Sly Fox Fabric in my stash!  The Peach double brushed poly matched perfectly and it meant I got to sew up something from my shelf!  Plus, the Made for Mermaids Mama Ava is another of my favorite go to basic tees.  Win.  Win.

SFF Unforgettable (8)1So, now I have three lovely new pieces in my closet and I can’t wait to start mixing and matching them to everything I already had.

stephanie xx