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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.  πŸ™‚ 

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. πŸ™‚ 

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? πŸ˜€

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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#comfytown

My goal in life is to be comfortable always.  Comfortable with who I am.  Comfortable with who I give my time to.  Comfortable with my choices.  But, most importantly, comfortable in my clothes.  πŸ˜€  If I could work in jim jams, I would.  They frown on that at my work.  You might have noticed that I do my best to make clothes that are comfortable, while still being work appropriate.  My lounge clothes are no different!  So this Rebecca Page Comfy Town Blog Tour is the PERFECT topic for me!!

Nothing is more comfortable than well-fitted, soft, cozy clothes.  Turning over the theme for this blog tour sparks so many options for living in #comfytown.  When I think of Rebecca Page Sewing, the patterns that pop in my head first are beautiful, classic, well-fitted pieces.  Mostly just work appropriate sews.  But, there are soooooo many choices for ridiculously comfortable clothes to be made from these patterns!

Now, I can’t make comfy outfits without including Virginia.  It is a goal in my life to help her feel the true college experience.  This includes studying for hours in your jammies.  You can’t focus on psychology without soft fabrics, cozy tops, and warmth!  So we started with Pippa Pants.  We both LOVE Pippa pants.  I used them to make our Christmas jams last year and I wear mine all the time!!  (I hacked them to shorts, so they’re perfect all year!)  We picked up the ever-coveted Harry Potter Fabric at Joann Fabrics when it finally hit our store (and our sister’s store).  It is the perfect weight cotton lycra for these pants!!  Plus, I made them a little long, so when she curls up with her textbooks, her feet have a bit of extra coverage!

We are doing our best to avoid buying fabric, so we were stash shopping for something for the top.  I found this great burgundy/maroon ish waffle knit that I ordered a while back from Fabric Mart.  Since I picked it up for me, I hope Virginia appreciates my sacrifice. πŸ˜€  (I really am kidding.  We have lots of fabric!  I much prefer using it for the perfect project, rather than having it sit around.)  This waffle knit is PERFECT for the Paris Party Top!  I cut the neckline a bit wide, then took no care not to stretch it out a bit while working with it.  The off-the-shoulder coziness was this delightful end result.  I did bind the neckline, rather than the traditional t-shirt neckband, and love the end result!

But, with an off the shoulder look, we couldn’t not use the Strappy Cami to make a coordinating tank!  Bonus – this black double brushed poly is a scrap from a bundle from So Sew English, that we already used to make a shirt!  That’s right y’all, a quick sew that also uses a tiny bit of fabric!  Crazy.

Virginia is now comfy and ready to study.  Or help decorate for the holidays.  You know, whichever is most important. πŸ˜‰  Now for me!!  I also want Pippas.  Obviously.  But, I’m not much for pants, and we’re in the stage of our house where we are desperately trying to not turn on the furnace, so it is a bit too cold for shorts.  The 3/4 length is exactly what I need!  This french terry has gotten a lot of use in the last month, after sitting in the stash for at least a year.  I’m 90% sure we found it at Fine Fabrics.  (That’s how long it has been in our stash!  I just don’t remember.)

I knew I wanted to try the Strappy Cami with the ruched option.  So I dived into my stash and found this great black mystery knit from a scrap box I ordered FOREVER ago from So Sew English.  I’ve been meaning to make a tank out of it since the box arrived.  I am so very glad I waited!   This tank is PERFECTION!  It fits perfectly.  It is comfy.  It is more than just a layering tank.  With the ruching, I am more than happy to wear it out and about with a cute cardi!

So, obviously I need a new cardi.  I’ve had my eye on the Cora since it released.  So simple, but so beautiful.  The Moms bought this oatmeal sweater knit from her first visit to Fine Fabrics, the remnant section, which I didn’t know existed.  I was so excited about it and KNEW it needed to be a Cora.  I just hadn’t taken the time to print and glue the pattern.  Turns out it was less than an hour from a stack of pages to wearing this ridiculously comfortable cardigan.  I almost immediately made a second one.  And text all my friends to tell they everyone needed this cardi.  I knew it would be comfy, but had no idea that it would be cozy and warm, but cute and easy to wear.  Everyone really needs at least half a dozen of these.  EVERYONE.

Outfits complete, Virginia and I are ridiculously comfortable, but so cute, and ready to tackle anything.  Christmas decorating.  Target runs.  Movie marathons.  Plus we’ve added a few staple pieces that can mix into our regular work wardrobes as well.

If you want to be as comfy as we are, check out the other bloggers on the tour!

Please visit all the stops on the Rebecca Page Comfy Town Blog Tour. Don’t forget to comment on the blogs each day and enter the giveaway posts in our Facebook group for a chance to win some prizes from Rebecca Page.

  1. Monday, November 26: Rebecca Page (Intro), bigflynotions, Stitched by Jennie
  2. Tuesday, November 27: Ropp OriginalsFlaxfield Sewing
  3. Wednesday, November 28: Simply KyraSeams Sew Lo
  4. Thursday, November 29: Seams Like StyleJot DesignsSixth Snow
  5. Friday, November 30: The Sewing UnicornPatchWitch
  6. Saturday, December 1: Sarcastic SewistBellephantPrincesse et Tresors
  7. Sunday, December 2: Liviality, Soul Fed on Thread, The Scatty Sewer

Make yourself comfortable today.

stephanie xx

PS – Even the cats wanted in on this photo shoot.  Keep scrolling for adorableness. <3

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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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!  πŸ˜€  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. πŸ˜‰ )

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

A big thank you to all our sponsors for the Rafflecopter Giveaway!
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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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Me Made May ’18

I’ve been pretty quiet over here. After revamping my sewing room (I can see all my fabric!!!), I just didn’t dive back in to making stuff. I did have fun showing a friend how to make the cutest top and skirt! But other than that, no sewing for Stephanie.

However, it is Me Made May and I am actively participating this year! My goal isn’t a sewing goal or a fabric goal or even a pattern goal. I just want to take the time every day to appreciate my Me Made Wardrobe. Almost everything I wear is me made. I have a few straggler RTW pieces that I haven’t parted with yet and I haven’t tackled jeans or bras (but, they are coming). But the rest of my day-to-day wear and a few fancier pieces are handmade with a little love and some swears.

So, if you follow me on Insta or the book of faces, you might see a simple photo, not even a good one, every single day this month (hopefully!!). And I have to say, I wasn’t sure if I would get much out of MMM, but it is lovely to consider what is in my closet and the thought process behind making each piece. I’ve found myself considering new combinations and pairings and pulling stuff from the back of my closet that hasn’t been worn in a while.

If you are a fellow crafter or sewer, are you joining in on MMM or avoiding the posts because you feel pressured to tackle projects you don’t need? Are you loving the inspiration or annoyed at the extra posts? I’ve seen both comments around our world and understand both perspectives, but I’d love to hear what you think. πŸ™‚

xx Stephanie