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Two Cheers for Made for Mermaids Women’s Avery

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.

I wanted to say thank you and the best way I can do that is give them my time and fabrics.  One sitter loves black and red and sleeves.  So, I went with the Patterns for Pirates Slim Fit Raglan and this lovely striped French Terry from Fine Fabrics (an amazing local place).

 

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. 🙂

stephanie xx

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

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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

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Halla Elise in Sly Fox Fabrics Spring Gingham

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My absolute favorite thing while sewing is when a fabric tells me exactly what it wants to be! There is no question and no hesitation to cut when it just feels right!!

When I saw the amazing Katy wearing the Spring Gingham in a reveal video a few weeks back I knew I needed it! When I was lucky enough to get two yards, I immediately balked at the thought of messing it up. It arrived and was thrown unceremoniously into the wash to delay the decision making process (have I mentioned I hate making decisions? It is the worst!!)

Well, it came out of the dryer (the one and only time it will be there on purpose) and the time had come. No more delays or excuses. I pulled it out and expected nervousness and apprehension. But something magical happened! As this gorgeous single brushed poly (SBP) is flowing through my hands, I am enjoying the buttery softness and the vintage vibe to the gingham and BAM!!! The Halla Elise pops into my head.

I just tested this top and am COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH IT!!!!! I cannot emphasize enough that I would likely wear an Elise every day if it wouldn’t be weird. It has the great vintage feel to compliment that gorgeous gingham. It is simple, but packs a punch. And I feel amazing wearing it.

Decision. Made.

Now for the fun part. Got my pattern all put together and cut out, I’m now getting nervous that this wonderfully flowy, soft and lovely SBP is going to be a bit of a pain to cut out. Have no fear!!! It is the easiest fabric to work with! It didn’t stick to itself, but also didn’t slide around while I was cutting. The pattern is perfectly on grain, so lining everything up wasn’t fiddly and annoying. Basically, it was a dream to work with.

And now, I have an amazingly comfortable top that makes me feel gorgeous and ready to tackle anything!! If you’re looking for a shirt or dress that looks like you spent forever adding the little details that really pop, but really you made in one interrupted afternoon, the Halla Elise is perfect. And Sly Fox Fabrics really killed it with this perfect Spring Gingham SBP.

xx Stephanie <3

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Check out Sly Fox and be sure to sign up for their serger sweepstakes! They give away a serger every single month AND you only have to enter once to be in it to win it for the rest of 2018!!

If you want to go directly to this gorgeous fabric, I’ve got that link for you as well! Spring Gingham

Also take a peek at Halla Patterns. They have beautiful choices and put so much time and thought into each pattern to really give you what you need in every one. Plus they have a couple freebies. 😉 Halla Elise (This is an affiliate link. If you click through here and end up purchasing something, the designer sends me a small portion as a referral thank you. It costs you nothing, but helps fund my fabric addiction.)

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Fabric

Buying fabric might be one of my favorite things. It is so fun to wander a warehouse or a website and find beautiful, unique, hopefully soft fabrics of all sorts. I love the unfettered possibilities at hand!

I’d like to say that most of my fabric comes from a local place that has an amazing selection and better prices, but alas, I often succumb to the gorgeousness filling my Facebook feed. The trouble there is that is can be scary buying from a new fabric company! I’ve seen so many people scammed and cheated out of their money over fabric.

So, I’m going to break down where I spend way too much money and share some of my favorite fabric sources!

One of my new favorite places, is Love Adore Knits (loveadoreco.com). They are such a sweet company, have gorgeous fabrics and amazing prices. They have frequent sales and super fast turnaround time for shipping. I am obsessed with checking out their website and planning an entire closet full of gorgeous pieces. Their website is available Wednesday 5 pm to Saturday 5pm. Then they close down, clear out and ship all those orders. If you order multiple times, they do combine and refund overages, which is always nice. Also, from what I can tell, they do sales A LOT!! So their already low prices are even better!

All three of these gorgeous fabrics are from Love Adore Knits.  I am always impressed when the color matches so spot on when I actually receive fabrics.  Photos are hard, man.

Talking about new obsessions, Sly Fox Fabrics (slyfoxfabrics.com)is killing it with beautiful prints, bold colors (if you haven’t noticed, these speak to me), a wide selection of types of fabric, and wonderful prices. Plus, Katy does a reveal video of new fabrics every week and gives them away!! Now, I never win anything (like, in life, I’m just not the lucky one), but it is fun to connect with the shop owner, see all the fabrics and pairings and chat with other fabric lovers. And she often does a Sly Buy!! The Sly Buy is one fabric, offered at $5 a yard for just one day, or until is sells out. Pro-tip – IT ALWAYS SELLS OUT!! Because it is always gorgeous.

A very small selection of fabrics from a recent order from Sly Fox Fabrics.  I haven’t sewn any up yet, because, time, but I can’t wait to start cutting!

Another place I recently started shopping is Knitpop (knitpop.com – this one is an affiliate link – if you buy something after clicking it, they send me a small portion of the sale – it adds nothing to your total, but is appreciated on my end!). Talk about inexpensive fabric!! Wow! They have a wonderful selection and low, low prices. I was thrilled when we loosened the purse-strings a little earlier this year because they still had the snowflakes I had been dying for all winter!! Now that I have a few yards in hand, no idea what to make!! But in general, gorgeous prints, fun custom fabrics and great quality. Also, damn, the turnaround time is ridiculous.

This is the glorious snowflake french terry we splurged on.  What does it want to be?!?!

We spent a long time eyeing up Sincerely Riley before ordering. Not because she’s shady, but because her gorgeousness sold out before we could get our hands on it!!  Darcey has amazing taste and puts together beautiful mystery boxes.  She often posts an inspiration pic and you get fabrics that coordinate with the photo.  We ordered some of the sweater boxes and let me tell you, they are effing gorgeous. (sincerelyrylee.com/)

This is the first fabric we ever ordered from Sincerely Riley.  It is a gorgeous border print woven that I just don’t know what to make yet!!  I have sewn up a fabric from Sincerely Riley, but the pattern hasn’t released yet, so no sneaks!

A not-new favorite has to be So Sew English Fabrics (sosewenglishfabrics.com). I swear half my stash is from So Sew English. So is half my closet!! 😀 They have fun, trendy prints on ridiculously soft fabrics at reasonable prices. What?! The thing that they ALWAYS get me with (like every effing time) is the gorgeous bundles Chey puts together! Sometimes the fabric isn’t available by the yard, sometimes it is. But every time, I lust and send pictures to my sister hoping she’ll cave and buy more fabric. Plus they are now doing a deal of the day! They reduce the price of one or two fabrics for just one day. I need a third job…

This is Virginia rocking fabric from a bundle from So Sew English.  They just coordinate so well!

Also not-new to me, but damn, have I been ordering from them for quite a while is Fabric Mart (fabricmartfabrics.com). Now, my Facebook feed isn’t filled with them (probably a good thing) and I don’t see a ton of social media in general, but they have AMAZING fabrics and the best prices. Seriously. They do flat shipping, so I always order when I can order too much, to spread out the cost (it is only ten bucks, but still). They have the best sales. Every day, new stuff goes on sale or drops into the various clearance sections and they have a Sue’s Pick deal. Guys – they have an entire section of $1/yard fabric. And it isn’t terrible, gross, ugly, not-usable fabric.  The other half of my stash is from here. They have amazing quality at how-do-they-stay-in-business prices and really fast shipping! If you aren’t buying from them, sign up for their emails and see if they can’t tempt you.

The fabric used in these leggings is one of MANY I’ve gotten an amazing deal on at Fabric Mart.  Plus, if you saw my first TBT post, that gorgeous twirly dress fabric is a Fabric Mart find, in the $1 section, y’all!

Those are my main online shops. I do branch out when I want something specific, or a new shop has something I just can’t pass up (after doing ample research, of course). And I do buy online at Joann and Fabric.com and window shop at Mood.com and a few others.

I also shop at Joann Fabric in person, sometimes. I find they are getting more frustrating to deal with, the more competition they have. Their cuts are often short, most fabrics shrink a lot and they just don’t have the selection or competitive pricing I’m looking for. Sometimes they have something I just can’t get anywhere else in a timely fashion and every once in a while they have something I HAVE TO HAVE!!!! Did anyone score the Harry Potter Maps cotton lycra? I asked about it and was told they haven’t had it since the 70s and it wasn’t orderable. Um, what?! So, their customer service is also leaving me wanting. But, they are still a solid standby and for those not lucky enough to have room to stash fabrics, or have access to the warehouse I’m about to mention, it is a great option for something close and convenient.

This lovely black athletic fabric is from Joann Fabrics. The blindingly bright coral is from Fabric Mart.

Atlanta is a great place to need fabric though. We have tons of shops for anything you could need!! Cute little quilt shops? Check. Small, crazily “organized” apparel fabrics? Check. GIANT WAREHOUSE OF APPAREL FABRIC? More than one option!! My favorite is Fine Fabrics. Its about 15 minutes from my house (with light Atlanta traffic). Most their knit fabric runs 4-6 bucks a yard, they are super generous with their cuts and they have literally any type of apparel fabric I could want. (I’m lusting after some of those flipping sequins that change colors right now to make a bomber jacket. That’s normal, right?) They also have walls and walls of zippers, elastics, stretch lace, and thread cones. All at prices that make me grab stuff, just in case I might need it. Now, it has downsides. They don’t list fabric content on anything. Nothing is organized. It is loud and crowded. Not everything is price tagged. But, the customer service is killer!! They are beyond helpful, friendly and knowledgeable!

Both fabrics, the lace and the elastic are all from Fine Fabrics.  This whole outfit could not have cost more than $25 for the supplies.  And there is leftover of everything.

I hope this small breakdown of just a few options is helpful to at least a few people! If not, it makes me happy. 🙂 HAHA

What are your favorite places to shop?!  I’d love some suggestions for more or to hear your thoughts on these places!