Just over four years ago, my sister and I bought a house! A HOUSE!! Super exciting purchase, which is also super scary. We love most things about our house, the kitchen is so much bigger than in any apartment I’ve lived it, there’s a whole room for crafting, we have a fenced in yard, so we can get a puppy, the craft room rocks, no sharing walls with strangers, craft room. You know? Good stuff.
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There were also a few things we didn’t love about the house. Some of them we can change, like the faucets in the bathrooms and the hideous, baby diarrhea color on the walls. But, some of them were outside of our wheelhouse. Thankfully, we have a pretty handy dad! He has definitely helped us with a lot of projects around the house. (To be fair, he also taught us how to change out the faucet!)
There was one safety change that we were actually quite concerned about. Our water shutoff valve was way inside the crawlspace, on the outer wall, in a super dark area, with lots of dirt, and through some crazy narrow space. This is definitely not ideal positioning if we need to turn off the water FAST! You know, in emergency type situations…
This is for sure something Dad can help us with!! (Super Dad to the rescue!) He can install a new water shutoff valve near the door to the crawlspace, within easy reach, without any crawling at all. But…someone is going to have to crawl over to the valve, and either crawl back in when he is done, or chill there for half an hour while the Pops installs a new valve.
Here is where the deal comes in. Virginia and I agreed, she would do the dirty work if I sew her one shirt, one bottom, one pair of undies, and one bralette, with an option for one cardigan added in, if I was feeling it.
Since the valve fixing happened in March, while I was napping post-surgery, I have sewn exactly nothing off of this list. Every time the items made it to the top of the list, I either didn’t have the info on what options she wanted (lists got lost, ok?), or something prioritized higher and pushed it down the list.
But dammit, a deal is a deal! She held up her end, she deserves a whole damn outfit. (Yes, I have sewn MANY things for her between March and now. But, this is a special sew. Not a random sew. Not a test. SPECIAL, dammit.) Since I’ve spent the first part of this year getting myself organized and prioritizing my time and energy, I spent the end of last week making sure I had the list of what she patterns wanted and which options and fabrics she wanted used.
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).
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.
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)
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.
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I’m so excited to be writing about my first pattern test since starting this blog. I have been extremely lucky to test for quite a few different designers. Some of them I stay with for the long haul (as long as they’ll have me), some I’ve done one and walked away for one reason or another.
Stitch Upon a Time is a great pattern company with some really fantastic patterns. I’m not going to lie, prior to this test, I had only tried the underpants. I freaking love the underpants. So to have an opportunity to try out SUAT’s take on leggings was super fun!
Leggings are not new to me at all. And there are so many patterns out there. So, why this one? Well, let me say, Jennifer really cares about getting just the right fit so everyone looks and feels amazing in her patterns! (Let’s say, I hope she let’s me test for her again!) Plus, the time it saves to start with a pattern, rather than hacking a cool feature is tremendous!
The Ursula’s were quick, easy to sew and so pretty! I just love the diamond cutout option!!! Plus, the skirted option is a petal skirt!! So. Much. Fun!!
I kept it simple for my final version with capris in this ridiculous neon athletic fabric from Fabric Mart, which I toned down with some grey topstitching and a contrasting waistband.
One thing I particularly enjoyed about working with the SUAT team, was that I got to choose the details of my final!! Sometimes it is quite nice to be assigned options, but sometimes, I get assigned things I’m not the most comfortable with. This pushes me out of my comfort zone, which is half the point of testing. But, since they let me choose my own stuff, I feel like my comfort and happiness really show in the final photos!
My final was actually my third pair from this test!! And I love all three! I started with the diamond cutouts in this really fun coral print that I picked up from Hancock Fabrics before they closed. (Anyone else still sad about that?)
I clearly love bright colors. They make me happy. And, to be honest, any little happy that is also associated with the gym is a win. When I saw the petal skirt for the first time, I knew I had to go full on ridiculous and once again, add a Wonder Woman inspired piece to my wardrobe! Thankfully, my friends and family have accepted that I’m…awesome…and fully support my shenanigans. Both of these fabrics are also delightful scores from Fabric Mart!
Now I have a great motivation to remember to hit the gym this week! Can’t wait!!
On an aside, the tops I chose to wear with each are the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Agility Tank, a RTW tank from Old Navy that is still hanging out in my wardrobe, and a Patterns for Pirates Essential Tank with a zip-up also from ON. (I clearly need to sew some more workout tops!) They are all really comfy and great for working out or lounging. If you’re interested in any of the patterns or to check out the Fabric Mart, here are some links. Two of these are affiliate links. If you click and end up buying something, the designer sends me a little thank you.