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Sisters and Support

It has been a crazy month or two. I’m working hella too much. I’ve gotten to see an old friend and have a fun visit. I’ve been planning a trip back home for my 10 year college reunion (how has it been 10 years?!). I’ve been quiet on here and not sewing or posting as much as I’d like. My family and friends have been super supportive while I’m overbooked. Reminding me to take breaks and making sure the downtime I do take is delightful!

So when my sister told me she wanted to start working out again and needed some new workout pants, I knew she wouldn’t be asking if she didn’t really need them. I am all about the support and all three of us are now having fun with sharing and comparing our steps and workouts. Counting calories and jumping right into exactly the encouragement we all appreciate in making healthy choices.

I know she heard the begrudging agreement in my voice (probably because she called while I was working and my brain was focused on upcoming tasks and timelines) and I sincerely hope she knows I am so excited to give the support she needs, especially from afar.

The conversation was very entertaining to me. I asked how many pairs she was looking for. She said 5, but 2 extras would be ideal so she could do laundry and still workout every day. (I have to say, she has really stuck to that schedule and worked out 30 of the first 33 days of this new undertaking! I am impressed!!). I asked if she needed workout tops too. She honestly told me no, though she always prefers me made to store bought and would love some.

Of course I said yes, hopefully not with a sigh. And chatted with Virginia about when we could fabric shop and if she wanted to help pick out fabrics for Vicki. We made a plan and went to the fabric store. While we were there, of course we grabbed some gorgeous swim knits for ourselves (I already used some in a pattern test), and actually picked up some fabric for Christmas presents and other projects we already knew were coming up.

My favorite part about shopping for Vicki is that she is super open to ANYTHING. She isn’t a huge fan of orange, but otherwise, almost everything is on the table. Solids are ok. Prints are a huge win. Colorful, fun, variety. Those are the key points. So we are sending her photos and trying to get her opinion on what she wants. All of them. She likes every fabric we show her and is completely useless at making decisions.

We decided we would choose for her. She didn’t get to see any of the fabrics chosen ahead of time. She has no idea that we made sure to buy some overlap in what we wanted. We did this because we like sister matching, especially if it isn’t the same piece. But, also, it means buying a little less fabric, since we can share a little yardage. So, she got fabric for 8 workout bottoms instead of 5-7!!!

She asked for a nice mix of leggings and more yoga pant style. Thankfully, I have made both the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs and the Rebecca Page Pippa pants for her before. So I already have patterns made up and graded to her size. She prefers “shorts”, which I’d call knee length, which also helped us reach those 8 pairs.

Now the fabric is bought and washed and just sitting there mocking me. Not being sewn up or cut out. Looking all pretty and touchable. So I quit work a little early on a Sunday and cut out ALL EIGHT PAIRS in just a couple hours. I paired and clipped the seams that needed sewing as soon as I finished cutting, because batch sewing is my jam.

Then, they sat. And sat. And sat. Dang. What am I doing that I can’t just sew these damn pants?! I made Virginia help me choose which ones could be sewn with which serger thread colors. (I’m cool with coordination, but not outright looking bad together.) I stacked them in these piles and just waited until I had a free hour.

BOOM!! Eight pairs all sewed together and ready for hemming! I bet you can guess what happened next. Yeah. They sat. They moved in a pile from my cutting table, to my ironing board, to a chair. They were a cat bed for a bit after a tough vet visit. This was going to take a few more thread colors than I used on the serger and I just didn’t have the motivation for that many thread changes. Even though I knew four of them would be hemmed with the color that was ACTIVELY ON MY MACHINE! How lazy am I?!

It wasn’t until I was prepping to do another project that was a tight deadline (2 days!!), and needed to change the color that I stopped and hemmed those four pair. I wasn’t going to change colors and have to change back!! It took maybe 20 minutes. Seriously. Why was I just putting this off?!

Now, I have finished all 8 pairs. I’m packed and flying home. This blog will go live as soon as she sees them and I can’t wait to see her thoughts on all these beautiful fabrics!! I also can’t wait to see how she puts them to work and we all continue to encourage and support each other through workouts and smart, healthy choices.

Sisters really are the best.
Stephanie <3

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5oo4 Laura Swim

Hell yeah! Swim!! I love sewing swim!! It astounds me every damn time just how simple the techniques are. To be fair, it also astounds me to have a suit that actually fits! One that isn’t too short so it pulls down for more cleavage than I expected or ride up for the terrible beach wedgie. Nobody wants that. So when this beauty came up for testing, it was irresistible!!

This pink version on me was an early version, so a few things changed before Virginia’s polka dot one. (That’s why the backs are slightly different.) I love the coverage this one provides. The ladies aren’t on display, though if you want them to be, there is an option for a lower neckline! The back also has two options! I didn’t have any clasps on hand, so went for the tie option. Plus there is a cute little button option if you want to add it!

I truly expected to be uncomfortable with such an open back. I almost always pick swim patterns with higher, less strappy backs. I’m pretty squishy and don’t typically feel comfortable with that squishiness strapped down and…well…squishing places. But some combination of this one having all the straps hit all the right places and finding myself surrounded by amazing, supportive, body positive people, has given me the confidence to just rock this!!

So glad there weren’t many changes to this one in testing (Rachelle just rocks), so I could make my final for Virginia!! She picked the same options in this lovely dot fabric! We used the reverse for the band and tie to give it a bit of contrast and fun pop of pink!

This was a surprisingly quick swim sew, especially the second one. I already have another one (or three) planned and can’t wait for some pool time!! Plus, as a bonus, when we were being tourists, we knew there was some fountain time in our day, so I wore this like a bodysuit with a circle skirt and was ready to get wet!! I was comfortable all day (even with the confetti) and my suit dried so conveniently quick after splashing in the fountain and having fun!

Grab your copy here and don’t forget to share in the 5oo4 fan group on facebook!!

Stephanie xx

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Spectrum of Shapes

One of the things I have been noticing as I am helping other people find the fit adjustments they need for their body, is just how much measurements overlap but shape is COMPLETELY different. This regularly amazes me. Two people with almost identical measurements, but vastly different shapes don’t need the same types of alterations and fit adjustments to achieve that perfect fit. This realization is what sparked this blog series.

Together with a few awesome friends, who happen to have near identical measurements to my own, but who look very different, we dived head first in. All of us completely gorgeous and unique in our own ways. When we tackle a pattern, we all have different points of view for what we consider common adjustments. Sequoia and Chaney have already talked about what adjustments they make, so I’ll just dive into what I do.

I count myself super lucky. Usually, the only adjustments I make to a pattern is grading between sizes and adding height. Every once in a while, I need a full bust adjustment. But these two quick adjustments are typically all I need to make a pattern fit me well! This is obviously helped by the fact that I don’t buy patterns from designers that don’t cover my size. Also helped that I prefer to use patterns that are drafted for an hourglass shape to begin with. This prevents a lot of the adjustments some need to make to even match the pattern block a specific designer uses.

Now, back to adjustments…DIBY includes a TON of adjustment and fitting tips in all of their patterns. They also have a super inclusive size range. This helps eliminate a lot of fit issues you might come across, which means it is a great start to this series! Simple changes to achieve a great fit!

All I’ve done is grade and add an inch of height. Super simple, even with this fancy hem! I used an ITY with fancy texture to it that I found at Fine Fabrics, so it is light and flowy, which helps this boxy shape work for my body. For my shape, I need to show at least some of my curves or I feel like I’m in a tent. It doesn’t take much, but it I don’t have some fit somewhere, I’m just feeling blah. I definitely don’t feel blah in this super cute top!

Be sure to check out the other gorgeous bloggers sharing their gorgeous shapes with all the right alterations of this lovely DIBY Adrianne!

Sequoia Lynn Sews

Twinkle Toes and Company

Sarcastic Sewist

Don’t forget to enter to win a free DIBY pattern, so you can sew up your own DIBY to fit your lovely shape here!

Stephanie xx

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THE DEAL!

I’m baaaackkk!!!!!!!

So, a while ago (months and months and months ago) I made a deal with Stephanie for an entire outfit.  I am talking, bra, underwear, pants, shirt, cardigan, an ENTIRE outfit.  In order to get this outfit, I just had to do one itty bitty teeny tiny little thing.  So, a little back story just to drag out the suspense.  Stephanie and I bought a house four years ago.  When we purchased the house, we looked for one specifically with a room dedicated for crafts.  Hence, a part of the reason we choose the house we did.  Like all new homeowners we learn new things every freaking day about house repairs and whatnot.  One of those things, which is what led to our DEAL is, we learned where the placement of our water shut off valve is.  We discovered, much to our dismay, that the valve was located in our crawl space in a horrible place almost impossible to get to.  Especially if we needed to turn off the water in a hurry, which while we never want to happen, is always a chance.  Sooooo, Stephanie and I made a deal that if I worked with our dad to move the water shut off valve, I would get this entire outfit.  This involved crawling into the crawl space to turn off the water so the valve could be moved. 

I beyond earned this entire outfit.  I spent a great deal of time sitting in a tiny area in a crawl space while moving the shut off valve.  Now, here I must give fair kudos to our dad, because without his expertise we never would have been able to move the valve.  I won’t share the horrors I lived through, oh wait, yes I will because I EARNED that damn outfit.  There were bugs, spiders, dead and alive, cockroaches (my absolute worst), and even a dead rat in a trap.  I highly recommend a pest and rodent service to every single person in the world.  I would never want to deal with any of them on my own.  I firmly believe our service is worth Every.  Single.  Penny.  I had to sit in the smallest space, where I had to wiggle on my stomach to get to.  There were issues cutting the pipe, so I had to wait while dad found our pipe cutter.  Let me tell you, I am extremely glad to never have to do that again. 

Rafiki and I posing for another picture!

Now, I made this deal a while ago with Stephanie.  Our dad came down in March, so this is when we were able to move the water valve.  And today, January 15, 2019, I have my full outfit.  FINALLY!!!!!!! 

I have the most beautiful cardigan, an amazing shirt, and pants, the most comfortable underwear, and a bralette if I was a little braver, I would share while wearing it on this post.  I guess this means I am not able to nag her about the outfit anymore.  I am sure she is happy to be done with it.  As always, the pieces she made are absolutely gorgeous.  She always does an amazing job and I never have a single issue with what she makes me.  The clothes fit perfectly (you have to love how well custom made clothes fit), and the fabric is exactly what I want.  Anyone else hate some of the fabric chooses companies make on the clothes they sell?  I have not bought a single ready to wear clothes for myself in an extremely long time.  Not that I did it a lot previously.  I hate clothes shopping, partly because of how crappy the clothes always fit from the store.  Stephanie is usually the one who buys my clothes when we actually buy ready to wear.  I am so not a standard size, in any shape or size.  Clothes never seem to fit me comfortably or properly. 

Getting the outfit took more than time.  Stephanie kept getting me to sit down with her to pick out fabrics and what I wanted.  Then…she kept losing the lists!!!  I finally gave up telling her what I wanted and when she sewed everything up, she picked what she thought I would want.  Now she has this handy dandy book she writes everything down in!  I may need to steal the book one day and add a bunch of stuff just for me to it.  With her giant list I am not sure she would even notice if I added anything to it.  Hmmm, I better make sure she doesn’t read this post, too, or she might pay close attention to her to do list. 

For all those who are reading this and are not the sewist in their family, I highly recommend making a deal for a full outfit, but I don’t recommend something as gross as getting into a crawl space.  I now have an amazing outfit, well, I’m sure you can see they won’t actually work as an outfit together, but I have a whole bunch of new articles for my wardrobe.  One day I will show you all the amazing wardrobe I have because of Stephanie.  I don’t have to many outfits that are still ready to wear.  It.  Is.  Awesome!!!!!!!

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Sewcation, Mistakes, and Overbooking

This year has been full of ups and downs for me, as I’m sure it has been for most of you.  Between surgery, long weekends, a whole week off for the Fourth of July, and losing my Grandma, I have taken a lot of time away from the office this year.  Which is weird for me.  And to top it off, I’m using a TON of leave around the holidays this year.  Most of this is just for me.  We are flying my sister down after Christmas to spend some sister time and just hang out.  Though, she wants me to sew her an entire new wardrobe while she’s in town, so there will be lots of fabric time too.  But the two weeks I took off in between Veteran’s day and Thanksgiving were mine.  I really wanted a break.  A real break.  Time to sleep in, lounge around the house, sew whatever I wanted.  Hoped to have no deadlines to worry about.  

Yeah.  If you’ve ever met me, you know that was a laughable goal.  If I see a break in my schedule, I immediately fill it.  So, the 17 days away from my day job quickly filled to the brim.  I ended up stressing myself to the max and working tons of hours for my second job.  Does anyone else do this?  I stressed myself so much, I made a TON of sewing mistakes.  Real ones!  I picked up the recommended fabric for one project, plus an extra 1/2 yard, just in case.  Got home, washed it and realized it was 52″ wide instead of 60″ and I was WAY short.  Back to the warehouse for me and hopeful to find the same fabric (which is almost impossible).

This lining makes my heart happy.  🙂 

On the SAME PROJECT, I cut directional fabric upside down for half the damn pieces.  What am I even doing with my life?  Off I go, to a weird Joann’s, since I already cleaned out my Joann of this fabric.  I mean, the end result was WAY worth it.  This is the SUAT Riding Hood for a friend to keep her baby bump warm during the cold Philly winter.  I quilted the kick-ass Wonder Woman liner with some batting for more warmth, and it is so very soft.  A few extra minutes to add that layer really took this from comfy, cute to a cozy, effective winter jacket.  I love the designer’s self-welting pockets and the little sleeve ties.  Just a really nice layering piece with super cute little details.  Plus I made a cute little key fob to match!  (Which I forgot to take a pic of.)

Then I was working on some Christmas jammies and cut two left legs.  What am I even doing here?  I had just enough fabric left to cut a right leg and have the scraps left for the little projects we wanted to do.  But, damn.  I did use the Patterns for Pirates Walk the Plank pattern.  It is free and quite the quick sew.  Perfect for very beginners!  I’ll share pics laters. 🙂 

This isn’t to say I didn’t have great successes while I was on my sewcation.  I sewed all the pieces for the #comfytown blog tour early on.  Then lived in those pieces as soon as we took photos.  After making that super comfy Cora, I immediately made a second one.  (You’re getting craft room, jim-jam, 2 AM pics of this one!)  That’s definitely my new fav cardi pattern!!  Everyone needs a Cora in their life.  I also finished off a couple of pattern tests and a pre-test.  I forgot to blog about them, but you might have seen me sharing my Made for Mermaids Jamie Poncho and Hudson Hoodie.  If you need some comfy, warm, cute pieces, these are lovely choices!

A few Christmas presents were also sewn, which I obviously can’t share yet, as well as a few more pieces for my Philly friend (with another cutting mistake, ugh), including a little set of Cora cardis for her and her two little girls.  Totes can’t wait to see how she likes her box of goodies!  And I really need to figure out some cute guy gifts I can make.  I always feel bad leaving Dads out of these little matching sets.  Maybe I’ll ask Bruce what he would want.

Look at this TINY Cora!!!  It’s just so small.  <3 

I also managed to CLEAN the craft room.  Reorganize everything.  As well as finally tackling the scrap pile.  It was INSANE.  And now it is so neat and easy to find what I need and what is useful.  The only downside is that Gus Gus really liked sleeping on the pile.  Now she feels she has nowhere to be comfortable.  Despite the multiple cat beds and comfy places I’ve set up to keep the kittens happy.  They are too expected for this little mischievous bugger.  She’s been awkwardly moving about, trying new, ridiculous places to sleep.  Then STARING at me with disappointment in her eyes, clearly blaming me for her missing comfy spot.  

The to-do list didn’t really get any shorter, so I’m hoping to not pick up any other deadlines before the end of the year.  We’ll see how successful I can be with that goal.  But, I’ll try!  Even without a shortened to-do list, I am working through the projects.  Virginia is helping where she can.  A few more Christmas presents to sew first.  Gotta get those in the mail.  Then, a few promo patterns to sew up that I’m just really excited about!  I love trying new patterns and these should be fun, so I’m hoping to write up my experiences with them as well!  Keep an eye out! <3

Now we’ve made it to December.  I have a few weeks to prep some patterns for the sister, so we can power through some beautiful pieces while she’s in town.  She always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to my sewing time.  She doesn’t live with me, so it is harder to fit anything that isn’t knit and forgiving.  Plus, I haven’t found a designer that drafts just so, that matches her shape, like I have for Virginia and I.  This means a good bit of altering before I start cutting.  Which is a much bigger time commitment and since she isn’t sitting there with the sad eyes, making me feel guilty, her projects end up near the bottom of the to-do list.  I’m truly a terrible sister.  (LOVE YOU, VICKI! <3 <3)

Virginia helping.  Not being sarcastic.  She hung out even though she was tired. <3 

Here’s hoping the next few weeks can be a little calmer and a little more productive.  I really, really, REALLY want to have patterns prepped and ready to go, so as soon as Vicki walks in, she can just pick a project and we’ll start cutting!!!  Anyone want to come help? 😀

As the year wraps up (seriously, how is it December?!), it is great to look back at what we’ve done and what is still to come.  I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions, but, I do like to evaluate goals and priorities moving forward.  So, I’d like to blog a little more, celebrate little things a little more, and sew a little bit more in the coming months.

Focus on you today.

stephanie xx

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.