5 out of 4 Patterns is an amazing company. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that before. They are friendly and kind. Ridiculously knowledgeable and happy to share their sewing info with anyone who needs it. They design gorgeous patterns with an amazing range of sizes to be as inclusive as possible. I count myself lucky to be on their testing team.
I have to say I was damn mad that I missed testing the Gloria. Rachelle previewed it and it was instant love for me. But I was having my stupid tonsils taken out and was definitely not going to be up for sewing. But, I knew she was going to make it into my closet eventually!
Oh boy, was she worth the wait! I didn’t quite have enough of this gorgeous Sly Fox Fabrics Moonstruck Liverpool for the hi-lo skirt as a dress, which is gorgeously dramatic and I need. But, I did have enough for a beautiful dress that will be versatile and comfortable. I wore it out today and already received compliments and doubt that I’d made it!
The split sleeve is so fun and surprisingly easy to sew! I went for a band instead of binding on the neckline. The lower neckline is wonderful. Not too low, that it shows off the girls, but I’m not choking on it either. And this half circle skirt is everything. Not as much of a fabric hog as a full circle skirt, while still skimming over my hips beautifully. Plus, the pattern includes a full bust adjustment built in! So, if you need one, the work is already done!! (If you don’t need one, don’t worry! The regular bodice front is there too. <3)
I will definitely be making more of these. With all the options. Peplum tops for work, hell yes! Hi-lo short dress – perfect for date night. Long, dramatic split sleeve, mmhmm! You know it! The elbow length sleeve really speaks to me. It is long enough to provide a little warmth in my freezing office, but I don’t drown in sweat when I leave.
Have you made a Gloria? Because you should. Just saying. 🙂 (Also, it is also on sale today (9/21/18) only!!)
PS – The Moonstruck is sold out in the Liverpool, but they do have it in other fabric bases! The colors in person are beyond gorgeous!!
This post contains various affiliate links. Purchasing patterns using these links does not cost my readers more, but the designer does provide me with a small commission from any sales. This commission helps to fund my fabric addiction and is greatly appreciated.
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.
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.
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
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
This top was so cute, that even with my stupid sprained ankle and not really being ready to jump back to sewing, I threw my name in the hat to test and hoped with all hope that I’d be chosen. Clearly I was, win. And dang did sewing hurt. Worth. Every. Minute. (Don’t worry. Mostly healed now. Also back to sewing too much.)
I LOVE unique pieces. I’m trying really hard to step back from testing the same thing over and over. I just find it difficult to be genuine and thorough while recommending something when I already have a great pattern for. Please don’t misunderstand! I’m not trying to say anything bad about any designer at all!! Just because I’ve found the perfect basic tank pattern, doesn’t mean that pattern works for everyone or has the options everyone is specifically looking for!! So, I hope designers keep releasing all these beautiful patterns until everyone has exactly what they need and want (read: never stop!!! MAKE ALL THE PATTERNS). But for me, if I already have a similar pattern, why test when I’ll have less enthusiasm? The designer deserves more. So does anyone reading my promo posts or blog.
But LOOK AT THIS BACK!!! I don’t have anything like this! So much potential!!!!!! It is so simple, but just fantastic! (Say fantastique with a French accent. It’s better; I promise.) When we started, I was pumped to tackle such a complicated twist (pun intended) on a basic tank.
Like any good tester, my first step is always to read the instructions from beginning to end. Every. Damn. Word. Usually more than once, just to make sure I’m going to sew the way the designer wants me to sew. (This is also one of my favorite ways to learn new techniques.) This initial read made me so damn happy. The twist is super easy!!! It makes sense and isn’t complicated. Construction is clear and I wasn’t going to *need* wine to make it through. (This, of course, does not eliminate wine from being consumed in the sewing process in any way!)
To jump topics here, I have also been meaning to sew more solids. I LOVE PRINTS!! Dots and stripes. Florals and geometrics. BRING. THEM. ON. I wear them on top. I wear them on bottom. I mix and match them. I just can’t get enough. This means I always need some solids to pair with them. Always. I’ve had this green mystery knit for quite some time (pretty sure it is rayon spandex. Too lazy to do a burn test and don’t really care). Whatever it is, I loved it so much, we bought the rest of a bolt when Hancock Fabrics was closing. I used a smidgen for this lovely Made for Mermaids Mama Sommer last summer. (GO PACK GO!!) But, this meant I had quite a bit left over and wasn’t sure what I wanted with it because it is quite lightweight and I wasn’t filling my closet with rayon spandex just yet. This lightweight fabric was exactly what I needed for Avery. Win!!
This was possibly the fastest sew ever. I think it was faster than my usual simple tank. I truly was expecting at the very least, the first one to take a bit of time. Four or five hours maybe. But, Avery went from a stack of pages to this gorgeousness in about two hours. TWO HOURS!!! Quite a bit less the second time (no gluing, since we wear the same size in M4M). And only about an hour for the third. (I imagine this is about as quick as it will get for me. There are only so many steps that can be quicker with practice. Also, I’d bet it’ll actually be closer to two hours each sew unless I’m making multiples in one sitting.) So, if you’re looking for cute, unique, and you have limited time, check out Avery!
Since I loved it so much, I had to make one for the sister. She looks amazing, as always. I do love it in this wonderful Sly Fox Fabrics Brazen single brushed poly. The extra structure hangs so beautifully. I definitely want to try Avery in an athletic fabric. I think the structure would be lovely and it is so fun for workouts! (Cute workout clothes are my favorite motivation to actually go to the gym. Anyone else use this technique?)
Have I mentioned that I have amazing friends? We recently traveled home to celebrate the Fourth of July (check out our matching shirts!) and had to leave our kittens for an entire week. We’ve never left them for this long and were nervous about it. So, a couple amazing friends made time to swing by our place and check on these cute jerks.
But, our other cat sitter loves tanks and unique pieces and peacocks. This fabric seemed a subtle peacock inspired print. Could be flowers. What do I know? (Don’t tell anyone it is called Teal Rose, ok? Definitely Peacock-y.) This tank was perfect for her!! We gave it to her the other night and she tried it on immediately!! <3 Best reaction ever.
Do you need the Avery? Are you going to sew it up? Don’t be intimidated by the fancy twist! Check it out and let me know what you think. 🙂
PS: Virginia and I both paired our tanks with Made for Mermaids Mama Lexi shorts, because we are living in them these days. They are ridiculously comfortable and I talked about them a ton here. My tank is tunic length. Virginia’s is top length. The peacock tank is the curved hem. (BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!) Just in case you needed more. It also has a dress length option. Do remember that the sisters like us to show off our legs, so it is a short dress. I’m not complaining. They forced (ok…assigned) me to sew dress length so often, that I’m much more comfortable showing them now. I’m not perfect, but I am me and that is perfect enough. <3
I have recently had the great pleasure of joining the DIBY team of testers. And I need to share a confession. When I first learned DIBY existed, I thought it stood for Do It Beautifully Yourself. Everything I saw from them was so gorgeous!! Assumptions were made. Oopsies.
Obviously, I’ve become much more familiar with them and I have to say, the design team at DIBY appears to strive to give their customers the best possible fit on every pattern they release. I love that!!! I typically only test more than once with designers that seem to actually care about a pattern working for every body and size that they draft for. If they’ll let me, you’ll be hearing a LOT about DIBY in the future.
The Helen. This dress makes me feel just lovely! I could not be happier with the fit or the time investment to get there. I’m a little taller than most patterns are drafted for (5’8″), so I added height where appropriate and just love how it nips in at the waist and blouses over just a touch!
I also love this single brushed poly from Sly Fox Fabrics! It drapes just perfectly AND is cool and comfortable for these humid summer days! (This is Vivid in Teal, which they are out of. But!! They do still have Vivid in Olive and it is just as gorgeous!!!)
I also ADORE that this doesn’t have elastic in the waist casing. I can distribute the gathers to my heart’s content. Sometimes, I like them evenly gathered. Other times, I focus the gathers more at center back. It also means I get exactly the tight fit I’m looking for! Sometimes elastic is just a smidge loose and I look frumpy. Or I overindulge at dinner and it feels a little restricting.
There are some super cute options available with this pattern. It also includes some amazing customization for fit! If you are scared of a FBA on knit patterns, this is a great starting point!! The detailed instructions are so, so clear!!! I truly think anyone can tackle them!
So, pick up your pattern DIBY Helen and share with me just how beautiful you look in this dress. (This is an affiliate link. If you click it, then purchase the pattern, the designer thanks me for sending you there with a small commission. It costs you nothing extra!)
This TBT thing… not something I’ve ever participated in. But then I realized, I have years of sewing to share and what better way to keep track than picking random projects every once in a while?
I have to start with my favorite make ever. The Patterns for Pirates Sweetheart Dress is super cute and surprisingly versatile. It was actually one of my first knit sews!
Then I was invited to a wedding and needed a pretty dress! The fun begins here. I decided to make one small change to have a strappy back of my dreams!
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Did I mention it was a twirly dress? Every lady needs a twirly dress!!!!
Some super quick instructions for anyone who would like a similar back…
From the pattern, you need the skirt, the front tank piece and the lower back piece. I then cut twelve 1″ wide strips that were way longer than I needed and a facing for both the front and back pieces. (If you need help with these steps, leave a comment!)
I sewed the strips together to make six tubes, then turned them right side out.
Sew straps to the front tank, as central as possible. Mine are slightly overlapping! Then sew the facing to the front. I sewed over the straps a few extra timesfor extra security.
On the back, I laid out the straps in the pattern I wanted.
I played with placement a bit and what worked for me might not work for you! My first strap was 1/2″ from center, then 2″ between each strap.
Sew the back facing on, making sure to secure the straps! I added elastic to the back to help prevent gaping and support this very heavy jacquard double knit fabric! (How gorgeous is this texture?)
Sew sides seams together, and understitch as far as you can.
From here, you can finish the rest of the pattern as per the tutorial.
Now you can have a twirly, strappy dress as well! Who has a fun event to wear it for and can I come with? 😆
PS: I did get to wear this to the a ridiculously fun wedding! It was perfect!!