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February Roundup/TBT

It is the last day of February. Which means it is (kind of) my mom’s birthday!! (Happy Birthday!!!) It also means it is time for my February Roundup, to show you guys what I have been up to this month. What didn’t make it into the blog? But, it turns out, I was hella busy this month. I literally spent minimal time behind a machine and am definitely feeling the extra stress from that.

It has been a crazy month. I’ve been working overtime at the day job, and spending extra time trying to improve myself and my skills for my second job. Plus, a cousin was visiting, we rearranged a few spaces in the house, including part of the sewing studio, and I’ve been having some technical difficulties (basically, we moved the Tivo and now it doesn’t want to connect to the internet. How am I supposed to Netflix and sew without Netflix?!)

What I’m saying (and making excuses for) is that…I didn’t sew anything else last month. My Work It outfit and Double Duty zip up. That’s it. That’s all the sewing I did this month other than some alterations and mending (which are terrible tasks that I hate doing). So, instead of rounding up my non-existent sews, I’m going to do a TBT post along with some plans for next month.

I’m throwing pretty far back this week. This quilt is one I designed and made for two of my very best friends when they had their first kiddo. I so enjoyed picking out beautiful, fun fabrics and designing something unique and very them. Then the whole thing fell apart in the final wash, the week I was flying home to see them. (The fabric literally shredded. Never buying that brand again! Never.)

After pulling stitches from a still wet quilt (didn’t want to risk further damage in the dryer and on a super time crunch), I ended up redesigning the back in order to fix it with the scraps I had left, in the time I had left. Thankfully, I really like the end result. It is fun, the details are beautiful (to me anyway), especially those fun stitches I got to use, and after 3 washes, no further damage was noted.

I have no idea if they actually use this quilt, or the second one using some of their favorite clothes from his first year. But, I still haven’t made a quilt for their second little one and I really need to get on that! (Sorry V!! I swear I designed it before you made an appearance!)

I hope your February was more filled with soothing sews than mine (or whatever your relaxation activity is)! And I’m hoping March holds more stitches for me. I do have a couple days off work and am thinking I can get a sew or two in around hanging with the sister. Here’s to some throw back delight and a happy March!

Stephanie

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Rebecca Page: Double Duty

You might have noticed how much I’m loving the versatile, extra useful things in my life lately. When the Rebecca Page Double Duty blog tour popped up, I knew just what I wanted to share with you!!

I hacked the Comfy Cowl Hoodie with a moto style zipper forever ago and just have not had time to write it up. This was the perfect opportunity to make another one and share it with all my favorite people!! It turns out this is a pretty simple hack. I highly recommend making yourself a comfy cowl as written first. This helps make sure the fit is what you’re looking for and gives you a better understanding of the pattern before we go changing it up.

My first Comfy Cowl was a few years ago and I still get so much wear out of it. It is fancy enough to wear to work, but comfy enough to lounge in. Win/win! Since this one fits great and I’m familiar with the pattern, I’m ready to hack away! I traced off a copy of my graded pattern to work with (so I can keep making regular Comfy Cowls!), traced off the mirror image of the front, and marked the center front. From here, I lengthened the front and back pieces. I wanted to eliminate the band at the bottom, though, I do think it would be super cute to leave it on! But without the band, and because I’m 5’8″, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of length for a comfy zip up.

Then I picked up a really long zipper, 30 inches! I used this really long zipper to play with the angle I wanted. Once I had an idea of what look I was going for, I made sure to center it on my front piece. (So the bottom of the zip was the same distance from center front as the top.) I drew in this line, sliced it, and added seam allowance to the new edge. Then I just cut one of each front piece out of my main fabric.

There is just one completely new piece I made for this and it is a little harder to describe, but I promise it is actually really easy! All I did to create this piece was overlap, right sides together, the two front pieces. The part that overhangs is my final piece. With seam allowance added, of course. With this piece, we’ll call it the facing, I cut one from my main fabric and two from my accent fabric. The two from the accent fabric are NOT mirror image. Ask me why I’m emphasizing this… 😀

For the hood piece, I traced off the hood per pattern, but added the same distance from center fold as my zipper, plus seam allowance. Instead of cutting this on the fold, I cut two outer and two inner pieces, each as mirror images. Be sure to transfer all your markings. You can see in the fabric photo below I’ve marked the center front as well as placed a clip along the neck edge.

Other than adding length for the missing cuffs, I didn’t make any changes to the back or sleeve pieces. Just cut them per instructions out of my main fabric.

Now I have all my pieces and am good to start sewing!! I start with the front pieces and the zipper. The right front piece and the facing piece in my outer fabric are layered over the right side of the zipper. I like to line up the zip 1 inch from the bottom. This gives me room for hem and to actually sew the hem without hitting the zip. Since I prefer to work in batches (clipping all the sewable bits, then sewing all the seams), I also clipped the inner fabric facing piece to the outer fabric facing piece along the outside edge, right sides together.

The left front piece is layered with one of the facing pieces from inner fabric, also right sides together.

Once my zipper was installed, I placed each inner facing right side together along the hem to the main fabric and stitched at 1/2 inch. This will created a clean corner for your hem and make it easier to start the hem! Then flip the facings right sides out and press. I chose to topstitch along the zipper edge and down the open edge of each facing. I think it gives it a really beautiful finished look, as well as holding the facing in place! I also basted along the neck edge of the facing pieces, so it would be easier to attach the hood later.

From here, sew the back edge of the hood inner and out as per the pattern. Now, place the inner and outer hood right sides together. Sew from one front edge, all the way across hood edge and down to the other front edge. I did this on my serger, so did three separate seams, but if you use a regular machine, it can be done all in one pass. Flip right sides out and topstitch the edges.

Now we will basically construct as normal. This is a super quick order of operation for how I completed these last steps. Attach front to back at shoulders. Attach sleeves. Sew side seams Attach hood, matching center back and front edges. Hem sleeves and bottom. You’re done!!

There are so many cute ways to wear this thing. I keep saying I’m going to add a button to the hood corners and little loops to attach them on the shoulder seams so the hood can be held in place when wrapped. But I live in Atlanta and rarely need that much warmth. For my next one, I’m definitely adding welt pockets!!

I’ve worn this new one quite a few times already and love it!
Is this a hack you’ll make up? Are you excited about all the other Double Duty posts this week?

Can’t wait to see your version!!

Stephanie xx

More Inspiration

Please visit all the stops on the Rebecca Page Double Duty Blog Tour for more great inspiration:

Prizes

We will be giving away 7 one-month subscriptions. Each one-month subscription prize contains:
  • Ladies XXS to 5XL Strappy Cami pattern
  • Bonus Ladies XXS to 5XL Comfy Cowl pattern
  • 1 pattern credit to use for a pattern of choice during the month of subscription
  • A further 20% discount on any other patterns (including those already on sale) during the month of subscription
For a chance to win a One-Month Subscription, please comment on the blogs each day and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway
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Work It: 12 Months, 1 Pattern, No Repeats

This year is starting off with organization and figuring out priorities.  I know I’ve talked about it before, but I’m bringing it up again!  One of the goals I’m working toward this year is to buy a plotter printer.  My time is scarce, and I spend way too much of it gluing patterns together.  So, I’ll be spending the year saving a bit here and a skosh there until I can order one, with some supplies.  This decision led me to the realization that I, and probably a lot of people in the wonderful sewing community, spend a good bit of time gluing (or taping) patterns, then grading and making alterations for our individual bodies.  Then we just to sew it once or twice!!  Now, don’t get me wrong, even if you sew a pattern once, it is SO WORTH THE TIME to do all of this.  It will fit better, wear better, look better, and feel better.  Better than ready to wear.  Better than a pattern off the block.  But, if I’m spending all that time to get a pattern to fit me just right, why not see how versatile I can make it?  That is how I decided to do Work It: 12 Months, 1 Pattern, No Repeats

Here is the plan.  I’m going to be using the 5oo4 Diane Joggers pattern as a base.  I tested this pattern and loved the fit right off the pattern.  Made just a couple little tweaks and it is perfect!  Every month, I am going to sew up another pair of Dianes.  Some months will be options in the pattern, while other months are hacks, with some great Sly Fox Fabric changes thrown in to show the difference that can be made with choosing the right fabrics.  But the deal is, I won’t be making two of the same bottoms all year.  You will get to see 12 unique pieces, presented one month at a time.  Some will be small changes, some…well, you’ll see.  I’ll talk about what options I chose or hacked, which fabric I used, and my thoughts on the end result.  I’m also going to be pairing each bottom with a great 5oo4 top, because I don’t typically walk around topless, so why not take advantage of the coordinating fabrics Sly Fox shows on their website and making a matching top?

Since I love my readers, I also reached out to 5oo4 and one of my absolute favorite fabric companies to see if they were interested in sponsoring this series.  So, if you love one of these pieces, you’ll get to enter to win a $10 5oo4 credit every single month.  You can pick up the pattern and make your own!  And, I’ll be able to point you to the exact fabric I use, so you can recreate the pieces for your own closet!!

So, let’s talk about this first pair!  We are starting with the basics so I can get a feel for the fit (since I haven’t made them in a while) and show you guys what the pattern looks like without alterations.  We have the joggers in pants length, cuffed, with pockets.  I went for mid-rise with the enclosed elastic waistband.  I even made my own drawstring, so it would match exactly!  (If you don’t know how to do this, I simply cut a piece of my fabric at 1.5 inches wide and the length of the drawstring in the cut chart.  I serged it and flipped right side out.  Trimmed up the ends and done!) The pattern includes tips to get your pockets just perfect like mine (I’m not tooting my own horn here, because these pockets ARE perfect.) She recommends wonder tape, which is my favorite way to install a patch pocket exactly where you want it, without shifting!!

I used this baby French terry and it feels like I am wearing clouds as pants.  So soft, but thick enough to hide…well, what I’d like to hide. It was super easy to work with and I’m so glad I jumped into the pre-order when this color came out.  But guess what?  There’s another pre-order right now!!!  With some absolutely stunning spring colors!  Check them out here.  (Pre-order open until February 3rd.) Between pre-order prices and flat rate shipping, you can buy ALL THE FABRIC!!!

Back to these pants…It doesn’t get THAT cold in Atlanta, but it isn’t exactly warm right now either.  So, I’m really excited to add some comfy, warm pants that I can wear to bed, or even out and about.  Though, if we’re being completely honest, they will probably be my new sewing pants.  My craft room is on the low level of our split-level house, with tile floors (I assume over cement) and it gets downright cold in there. 

I definitely needed a top to match and since I picked this gorgeous olive, the Packer fan in me needed to pick a beautiful yellow fabric for it!!  I ordered these stars on double brushed poly about a year ago and just couldn’t cut into them.  It was finally time…and it was a WIN!!  I used the top from the Molly Pajamas.  Y’all.  It comes with a FBA front!!!!!!  Seriously.  The shoulders fit perfectly!!!!  I love that 5oo4 often includes these little perks in their patterns.  The DBP is a great fabric for this, so while they don’t have this exact one, there are GORGEOUS options to choose from.  Just a little structure, plus so soft and comfy!!  Absolutely wonderful for lounging around the house, but still cute enough to run to the store, or wear with jeans. 

The only thing I changed about Molly is shortening the sleeves.  I like a super short, short sleeve, so, whenever I’m not in testing, I pretty much always shorten them.  I just measure about 2.5 inches from the underarm seam and draw a line perpendicular to the hem on the pattern piece.  I’m definitely going to add just a bit of length to the Molly, for she is true shirt length, I didn’t read the finished length measurement before starting (terrible…), and I like a bit longer of a shirt, then make a few for every day wear!!  It is so comfy, and the neckline is perfect!

So, let’s make this all about you.  Do you need some comfy ass joggers?  Enter below to win a gift card to pick up the Diane pattern, and head over to Sly Fox for all the best fabrics!!  Then follow along all year and add some beautiful pieces to your closet. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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The Things My Sister Makes Me Do

14711507_728065614649_8268011911975841328_oSo, Stephanie thinks a point of view of a non-sewist living with a sewist would be interesting to read, sooo…  my name is Virginia and I am Stephanie’s older, non-sewist sister.  I am the least crafty person in my family.  Still not sure why or how I got talked into writing for a sewing blog, but little sisters know when to pull out the persuasiveness and she definitely whammied me.  While my mom and sisters all have talents in making beautiful objects, I have no desire or skill to do so.  Living with someone with the ability to make clothes can be pretty damn awesome though (I seriously hate shopping and not having to go clothes shopping may be the best thing ever!).  However, you never realize how much room a “hobby” can take up.  When we were house shopping we specifically looked for a house where we could have a craft room.  We found one and have an entire room devoted to crafts, however, it is starting to move into other areas.  It is hard to complain when you get so many beautiful clothes out of it.Stephanie - Avery - Red - Top (2)

This does not mean I do not enjoy the end results of my family’s skills.  I am constantly asking for clothes and afghans to add to my ever-growing collection (I can already hear my mom sighing as I find another color and design for an afghan I want).  My closet is full of clothes Stephanie has made for me, and I am slowly and happily weeding out the ready to wear.  While I can’t say having her make our clothes is less expensive than purchasing them, I can say I am a lot happier with the fit and style of the ones she makes.  Before she started sewing, I would have thought sewing your own clothes was done to save money, it sure did not take long to realize that was a huge misconception.  Maybe a few decades ago but definitely not so anymore.

Watching the process of her making clothes is enthralling.  I don’t know why she asks me to join her in the craft room, when she is constantly asking me why I am watching her.  As someone with no skills in sewing, it is beyond mesmerizing to watch a piece of fabric become an item of clothing.  I have seen her make everything from underwear, to jeans, to a winter jacket.  Very recently she made me a jean jacket.  She doesn’t know I am mentioning the jean jacket today, it is for blog tour and is a surprise!  I feel that since I am writing for her blog I can sneak in a mention or two.  (She may regret asking me to do this)  Anywhos, that kind of skill is just awesome.

Now, all of this and me not being a sewist myself does not mean I do not get involved in the sewing process.  For some reason, Stephanie sometimes asks me to help in the process of making clothes. It is almost like she expects me to help make my own clothes (isn’t this why she has those skills and I don’t).  She will ask me to print and/or glue together a pattern.  I can tell you from experience that gluing together patterns is just about the worst.  The pages never seem to want to stick together for me, my fingers get covered in glue and ink, and the pattern ends up so big I have to cut it as I go or the whole thing falls apart.  I personally would be happy just fabric shopping and choosing what pattern I want with what styles.  Thankfully I don’t have to print much, but man when I do, those patterns are huge!  Since our printer is ancient I have to hang out by it and make sure nothing breaks or dies.  I think Stephanie is secretly hoping I will get fed up enough we can get one of those A0 printers.  I think she should start putting that idea into our parent’s heads for a birthday/Christmas gift (I know at least one of them reads her blog so…hint hint).12508879_10153827694472311_8091317085687337900_n-2391838579-1534789359469.jpg

I will admit fabric shopping is just about the best thing ever and my personal favorite part of sewing.  Of all the parts of sewing Stephanie has shown and tried to teach me, fabric is the one area I absolutely love.  If you ever want to get someone interested in sewing, I highly recommend starting there.  I find myself learning about fabric without even realizing.  When we go to Fine Fabrics I do decent at knowing what a type of fabric is just by touching it, and if I don’t I have no problem asking.  This is really helpful since we love to buy fabric from a few places online as well (company pug here:  Sly Fox Fabrics is my favorite!!!!).  There are so many pretty fabrics it is hard to remember we have a budget and can’t just spend all the money on the fabric.

Stephanie has certainly tried to get me more involved in the entire sewing process, outside buying all the fabric.  I am sure she would be thrilled if I decided to start sewing with her.  Although, then she would have to share her machines and I’m not overly sure how that would go over.  I will ask her questions that she is always happy to answer, but still no desire to sew anything.  I do know how to sew, at least something simple, and if she handed me a garment and said sew this seam, I can do it.  I just don’t have any desire to learn how to put together an entire piece of clothing.  Our grandma and mom taught all of us how to sew at a young age.  Unlike Stephanie, I never caught the bug and only did what I had to, usually just in school.  Anyone else remember having to take a sewing and cooking class in school?  Do they still make you do that?  DSC_0103Anyways.  Stephanie has really found her passion in sewing.  This is probably why she loves doing pattern tests and helping other sewists learn new techniques and improve overall.  I think she is hoping one day I will cave and ask her to teach me how to make clothes.

She has even started to get me to help cutting out fabric.  I can not believe she trusts me enough to help in this area.  I have a slight reputation for sabotaging things I don’t want to do (ask my dad about a lawn mower when I was a teenager), so I don’t understand why Stephanie trusts me with the fabric.  To be fair, she is pretty smart in having me cut fabric for my own clothes as there is an extremely less chance of me messing that up.  No matter how many times she tells me about cutting on the fold, with grain, and a whole lot of other technical things I don’t remember, I can never seem to keep it all straight and ask her the same questions over and over again.  Not sure how she has the patients to deal with that as it would irritate the hell out of me.  She just keeps on trying though.  Keeps telling me, the more I help the more she can do.  And damn if I don’t want some more work clothes and pretty clothes for my wardrobe, so I keep falling for it and end up helping her more and more.  I did help a bit with my jean jacket (mentioned again!).  This time with cutting and sewing.  Anyone else seriously hate ironing?  Such a simple task is just the worst for me.  I will wear an entire wrinkly outfit before I iron.

She has started to do more than just sew (hello blog), so now she is getting me more involved there as well.  I am still not sure how I even ended up writing this for her.  Apparently, she thinks torturing me and asking me to write what amounts to a paper on my summer break is fun.  Oh well.  Life with a sewist is interesting.  She is constantly trying to find time to work her part-time job for a pattern designer, while doing pattern tests, as well as sewing for herself and those around her outside of her full-time job.  If you sew your own clothes, you know people are always just amazed by what you can do and ask you to sew for them as well.  Stephanie is always being asked to sew clothes for people who know her (that is a whole other topic entirely, people really don’t appreciate how much time and work goes into create items of clothing from scratch).  Since I mentioned it, don’t be surprised if you see a post about it from me in the future.

So how am I supposed to end all my rambling thoughts????????

P.S. I don’t really have any of the pics of me or anyone else in Stephanie made clothes so I chose random funny ones. 🙂