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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.

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Dry Spells

I sew every week. Some weeks, that is every day. A little bit of prep after work. A seam or two in between other tasks. A full day of just for fun sewing. Whatever time I’m able to commit, sewing is always a priority in my life.

Unfortunately, it can’t always be the highest priority. Now, I just got to go on vacation, which makes me super lucky. But, there has been no sewing since before vacation!! Nothing. Haven’t glued together a pattern. Haven’t washed any pretty fabric. Haven’t even online shopped patterns. And, damn, it is starting to get to me!

The last two weeks of no-sewing have been filled with work and connecting with people. Usually, I’m not much of a people person. I love my people, but the general population isn’t typically my cup of tea. But every once in a while, I need to reconnect and re-center with my peeps.  Catch up with one-on-one time and make sure they know I’m always here for them.

Working is always there. Whether it is something to look forward to or something to check off the list. Vacation always makes work build up while simultaneously throwing off my work rhythm.  Playing catch up and finding my groove has been much slower work than I expected.  Maybe partially because I almost never take a “real” vacation from both my jobs.  Maybe partially because I could have used a longer vacation.  (And couldn’t we all use a nice, long vacation?)

So, what do you do when you just can’t make time to sew? When other priorities just rank higher on the list? For me, I focus on the other joys in life.  Those connections are a bright spot.  I love being fully immersed in experiences with the people I am lucky enough to call friends and family (even those friends I haven’t met in person yet.  Hey sewing peeps!!)  Stepping back from my hectic schedule allows me to focus on the rest of my life.

I have been thoroughly enjoying cooking and planning a few birthday celebrations!  Prepping for the holidays, right around the corner.  Organizing and cleaning out my home space.  (I removed 3 huge bags of …stuff from my room/closets and feel so much better for it!).  All of these little things that I tend to neglect when I have a million deadlines looming and barely a moment to spare a thought for.

Also, fall really has finally started showing up here in Atlanta.  I am so enjoying the open windows and cool evenings.  I’m thinking I need to get a few lovely walks in, in the evenings, when I can take a deep breath and just be.  October is my favorite month, for many reason, and it is almost half gone already!  I still need to convince Virginia that we should start hanging twinkle lights early this year and work out the details of our sister visiting at the end of the year. (YAY!!!)

But, I am ready to throw myself back into the craft room.  I don’t even think I’m going to clean it first!  I have work sewing to do, but really want to carve out an hour to sew a shirt for Virginia.  I’ve got new fabric to wash up!  Have I mentioned that I won some GORGEOUS fabric from Surge Fabric Shop?  I ordered some great cotton lycra and lace and desperately want to jump in and start sharing how beautifully it sews up!  Christmas sewing is looming over my head.  Plus, some great ideas to sew for loved ones.  And I’m pretty sure I actually do have a deadline looming that I need to remember.  Whoops.  (Isn’t this why I have a spreadsheet?  I should pull that up…)

So, I’ll be back to the grindstone as soon as I find my work rhythm.  And of course, sharing away all the pretties I make!!  What do you do when you just can’t make time to sew?  Let me know and share what you are working on right now!!  I’d love the inspiration!

Stephanie <3

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House of Curves – Personal Stories – GIVEAWAY

I hope you’ve been reading from the other House of Curves bloggers this week!  It is always interesting to see how others got started and move about in this crazy sewing world we are a part of!!  (Plus, there’s a giveaway!!  Read to the bottom!!!)

How did I get started, you ask?  Ok, you didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell you anyway!  😀  Way back in the way back, my grandma taught me to sew.  I vaguely recall her explaining how paper patterns work.  What all the markings mean.  How to measure for sizing and fit.  All the good stuff that formed a solid base for me jumping all in to the sewing world!  She helped me make this simple dress and I loved it!  We jumped back in a few times throughout the years.  Plus there’s always home ec in school.  But I didn’t really jump into sewing as a hobby until college!

I decided I HAD to make a quilt while sharing a 12 square foot room with a great friend.  Mom helped me with starter supplies and stuff for my birthday and I sewed by hand.  It was exhilarating!  Being able to take a design from paper to fabric was exciting and oh, so satisfying!!  The downside…I decided it had to be HUGE!  Bigger than king size.  Why?  No clue.  But, I went all in.  Ended up commandeering a common room for an evening, pushing all the couches to the edges of the room, just to pin the layers together!!  Thousands of french knots later (it seemed like the prettiest quilting option at the time), and I was hooked.  Though I might never do a french knot again.  Then there were all the lap quilts and pillows for friends and family.

I’m sure everyone in my family has a shitty project from my early days and I so appreciate the support and excitement for the crap I just had to make.  <3  (I also appreciate that they constantly ask for more, even when I’m ridiculously slow to deliver.  Sorry guys!!)

Once I made it to the real world and discovered there was this thing called free time (a rarity/non-existent in college), I started to become more and more interested in moving beyond quilts.  I started making up my own patterns, picking up $1 patterns during sales, and discovered Craftsy.  (Amazing classes to learn all kinds of art related things.  Even cooking!)  I ended up testing purse/wallet patterns for a company I don’t remember (and I feel terrible for forgetting.  She was a lovely designer and I so enjoyed working with her) and just LOVED it!!  It was so fun to learn new techniques and have input on instructions.  Plus I got to sew for some of my favorite people in the process.  This is where I learned about PDF sewing patterns and the many, many Facebook pages to support them.

What is this magic?  Patterns that aren’t drafted for the exact same body shape?  Patterns without so much extra ease that fit is just ridiculous?  (I completely know that paper patterns have changed significantly and there are so many options now!  Please don’t judge me for previous opinions of older patterns.  Or do, but keep it to your damn self. 😉 )

An entire group of like-minded people to share and be inspired by?  Oh yes!  Found my happy place.  That’s for sure!  I learned that lots of companies used testers.  Since it was something I so enjoyed in the past, I figured if I upped my game and started taking better pics to show off my stuff, maybe I could do that for fun.  And it happened!!  Turns out when you’re at the edges of size ranges, it is hard to find testers.  So, I started with Patterns for Pirates when they needed a fill in.  It was delightful!  Such a fun group of women to work with.  Then they asked me again.  Hell yes!!  Finally got added to the regular testing group and I was in heaven!!

From there, I spiraled.  I started testing for any and every designer who needed/wanted me.  If they asked, no way did I say no.  If I saw a tester call, I applied.  Even if I didn’t like the designer’s style.  Mistakes were made.  Beautiful garments were also made.  It was so fun!

Now, I’m a regular tester for quite a few groups.  Some who asked me, some I applied for.  I always try to test patterns that let me learn something new.  (I’ve ranted about this before…).  Since there are so many sewists who want to test, I try not to test for things just to be testing.  If I’m not in love with the design, why not let someone else enjoy that experience?  If I’m testing for a designer, I love working with them and their team!  The “payment” of the pattern for free at the end isn’t much of a payment (if you want to test just for free patterns, it is cheaper to just buy them!).  So, the experience is what I’m in for.  Great people, fun groups, new techniques.  These are the things that keep me in the testing world.  Plus, I’m a procrastinator.  I need deadlines to accomplish things.  Otherwise, I’m down for sitting on the couch, reading a book or twiddling my thumbs.  Now I keep an excel spreadsheet to keep track of the tests and promos.  All the deadlines.  And I love every minute of it.

Testing has also lead to some amazing people.  Not just designers, but other testers and people asking questions on my promotion posts.  I love when you connect with a stranger and they become someone you can chat with.  Reach out to for questions.  Complain about your shitty day with.  Be there for them, whatever they need.  I’ve been lucky to make friends with people all over the world and I can’t imagine my week without them!!

Overall, my world has improved significantly since finding the PDF sewing community and jumping into testing.  I hope your journey has been just as fun and continues to provide satisfaction and much needed relaxation.  Now, tell me how you made it here!  How did you start sewing?  And don’t forget to check out the other bloggers on this great blog tour!  (And enter to win some great prizes below!!)

stephanie xx

Check out the stories from all the House of Curves bloggers!

Monday, Oct 1: Seams Like Style
Tuesday, Oct 2: Twinkle Toes & Co
Wednesday, Oct 3: Sequoia Lynn Sews
Thursday, Oct 4: cut.sew.make
Friday, Oct 5: Sarcastic Sewist

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So, this is happening…

I finally decided to start a blog.  It will be lovely to have a place to gather all my sewing shenanigans in one place.  If you’re in the market for hacks, reviews, patterns, fabrics, sarcasm and delight, you might be in the right place.

The reason this has taken so long to start is that I am always working from a to-do list I’ll never finish.  Why not add one more thing?  Maybe it will help me keep things a bit more straight.  😀

A warning for any who read this… I have 4 cats (yes four) and love sharing pictures of them.  I also use profanity freely and will likely forget to edit it out from time to time.

If there is something you’d like to see or hear about, drop a note!  I’d love to hear from you.  On that note, let’s get started!

This fun top is the Rebecca Page Comfy Cowl Hoodie. It is aptly named and I love it. <3

This post may contain 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.