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Week 33, “Lady in Red”

Back in December a group of friends and I went to a piano bar.  My girl Candace was sporting a red top with some frill on the sleeves.  It was a super cute top, and I wasn’t the only one that noticed.  Soon the pianist announced to our table of eight women that a song had been requested for us.  As he began crooning out the tune, soon the chorus announced to us all that we were not the object of inspiration but rather, Candace was.  “The Lady in Red” by Chris De Burgh will now forever stop me in my tracks and transport me back to that night, laughing until we cried and watching Candace turn the same hue as her shirt.  Such a fun night.

So when I saw this fabric I knew I must have a Candace top.  She is a show stopper and my muse for this top.

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This Vogue top is fun to make but needs to come with a BIG warning.  I added TWO inches to the length of this top and it’s not enough.  The pattern front only has drawings and all the drawing give the illusion that the top goes to the top of your pants.

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There is simply nothing about this pattern front or description that screams halter top, but it is.  I’m wearing a black tank top in the above photo and a black knit skirt to bridge the gap that would otherwise broadcast my midsection to the world.  I loved making this shirt, I love the structure in the sportswear fabric I chose, BUT the length makes it tricky. I feel like I need to make a slip dress for this and that wasn’t part of the original vision.

It’s so pretty, and it really did sew up nicely.  I did snap a couple of photos without the tank top so that you could see wear the shirt falls normally in proportion to the top of my skirt line.

Showing my midsection isn’t a feature of my personal style and even if it was, this is A LOT of midsection AND I added two inches to the length already.

I love it with the tank under it and can’t wait to wear it on my next girls night out.  Here are a couple of photos I threw an Instagram filter on for effect.  See you next week!

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Week 32, another one yard project

I’m determined to find a cute, comfortable shorts pattern that I can use over and over.  I hate shopping for shorts because the styles change and showing my entire thigh up to my crotch has never been something I’ve been keen on.  When the styles migrate back down to a more acceptable length then there isn’t an issue, but there have been years where finding shorts was infuriating.

Here is shorts pattern number three . . .

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I made size 16 out of the leftover fabric from my project for my boys, so it’s a stretch denim.

The zipper is on the side this time and it goes through the waistband, both features I like. Here are the shorts on, what do you think?

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And here are some closer photos . . .

Overall I’m happy with the fit.  I’d do the cuffs a little different next time but I really prefer the zipper on the side over the up the back of the butt like the second pattern I tried.  Here are the three patterns next to each other which do you prefer?

I love my floral shorts but I don’t love the linen pair I made from the same pattern, I like how the floral fabric lays.  I love the front of the blue pair but prefer the enclosure style of the gray denim pair.  I think I will try to adjust the blue pattern to absorb my preferences from the recent make.  The gray pair also doesn’t have pockets which I’m not thrilled about.

Oh!!!  I almost forgot.  I’m getting so sick of hand stitching facings in place.  With the newest gray pair I stitched in the ditch to secure the facing and it worked awesome and was really fast!  Definitely a hack I’m utilizing more often when I can.

Happy sewing, see you next week!

Week 31, a one yard shirt

So I love taking a look through the remnants and see if any catch my eye.   Then, it’s fun to see if you can make a garment out of one yard of fabric.  It’s a little tricky at times but it’s been a fun challenge and a good way to test out patterns without great expense.

I found this one yard piece and it was just enough to make this vintage Simplicity pattern.

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Size Medium, View A

The back of the neck has a split that required you to sew it and then cut it.  It all involved precise sewing and cutting so instead of trying to transfer lines I simply made a copy of the pattern piece pinned it in place and sewed and cut over it.  Then I ripped the pattern piece away to reveal perfect stitching and cutting.  It was such a great hack!

This pattern was pretty easy to complete and didn’t take too much time.  So what do you think of the result?

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The shirt has ties that hold it in place.

It’s such a fun, unique way to enclose a shirt.  This is definitely not something you can find on the rack today.

I can’t wait to wear it out.  It’s such a fun piece and so bright and springy.

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Week 32 is shorts again.  I’m determined to find the perfect shorts pattern and would welcome recommendations.  Anyone know a good indie pattern I should try?  See you next week!

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Week 30, Summer Shorts

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Making pants was a glorious disaster for me the four times I tried, yes four.  I decided shorts are a much better challenge for the moment.  I love the other pattern I tried (Simplicity 1887)  and I love both pairs I’ve made.  I bought a cute pink bodysuit to go with the floral pair and even wore them to a dinner I had in Jamaica.  I wish I would have snagged a pic then, but it was a chaotic night.

So it was time to test out another pattern, this time I went with McCalls M6930.  It doesn’t call for stretchy fabric, but I found this knit that almost had a denim weight to it.  It was one yard in the remnant bin at Joanns, so with all the discounts the piece was less than $7 and a perfect investment for trying out a pattern for fit and preference.  I prefer jeans with stretch and I can see that that preference is also taking over shorts.  With a slight stretch in the fabric it can compensate for minor fit issues, there’s just a little bit of grace.  I like a lot about how these turned out but the back still has some issues that need some troubleshooting.

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Clearly making a body suit that is out of better quality knit is next up!

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I made size 14.  I think the fit in the front works.  I don’t have many complaints.

Even though I followed directions the back enclosures need further attention and the zipper up the crack is still in great debate in my mind.  Zippers at the side and crotch might just overall be a better idea but I like the front enough to rework the back and try to make it more successful.  I also think it might be better to have the zipper part of the waistband too.  I’m really not loving hooks and eyes as closures.  I’m going to see if I can come up with a better solution.

I’m still on the fence about this pattern due to some of the issues with the back but I will give it another try.

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I’ve looked through all of the big pattern company patterns and have bought the only shorts patterns that interested me, so I have three or four.  This might be the avenue in which I try my first indie pattern.  Do you have any recommendations?  Any indie shorts patterns that you love?

Kentucky Derby Week 29

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My MOPS group decided to do a Kentucky Derby themed tea party for the end of year meeting.  I happened to be making this dress and felt it was perfect for the occasion.  I also took a piece of pink scrap and whipped up a shrug to go with it.  AND I glued some flowers and feathers to this hat to create an ostentatious hat for the occasion.

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The final look with hat!

The pattern was easy enough to follow but my choice of fabric proved problematic.  The rayon print has stretch and I really didn’t realize it, so this dress is a one and done.  I wore it to my MOPS event and will never again.  It stretched as I made it and more so as I wore it.  I would like to retry the pattern with a sturdier fabric because I think it’s a great dress.  This fabric was originally planned for a flowy kimono style garment, but I pivoted it to this dress much to my disappointment.

Overall, it was a huge learning experience and some of them are that and not much more.

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Week 28, using up my stash

I know I said I need to stop making dresses, but I am also trying to sew what I have before I buy more fabric.

This fabric I bought about a year ago with the intention to make a dress.  I was wearing my brown jacket when I bought it and I thought it contrasted with the jacket amazingly.

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Simplicity 8511, view A, size 14

I thought this pattern sewed up pretty easily and I’m happy with the result.  The darts in this dress were new to me and I think they are fun.

I’m a huge fan of the statement sleeve trend and I’ll be disappointed when it’s not a trend anymore.  I think all the possibilities are fun.

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A summer romper, week 27

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Finding one piece swimsuits and romper style outfits is problematic for me off the rack.  My torso is just that much too long.  I always need about another inch.  It was fun to make this pattern and make a custom outfit that it just the length I need.

The romper trend is a cute one but one I’d really have to sit out if I couldn’t sew.  I did find one that was amazingly cute off the rack but it shrank when I washed it.  I didn’t dry it, I washed it in cold water and followed all the instructions and now it’s too short in the torso.  I was pretty devastated and I paid $160 for it at Anthropolgie.  It was adorable, before washing (Pictured below with my mom and sister)!

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So I’m loving making them with my own fabric that I make sure I pre-shrink and have ready for the sewing process to ensure that the perfect fit can’t be washed away.

I love the neckline of this one and can’t get enough of sewing up unique sleeves and necklines.

Some reviews from my husband and friends weren’t very positive for this make.  The color and fabric choice weren’t their favorite but I originally bought this fabric for a different project, a pants project.  Pants projects and I are on a break.  They haven’t been successful.

So here is week 27, what do you think?

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On side note.  I added one inch of length in the torso area.  I had to recut the pockets because I failed to add it to the top of them and that was definitely a problem.  Luckily, I had just enough fabric to fix my mistake but it was a good object lessen, because I even sewed them to the shorts before fully realizing my mistake.

Halfway Done!

Here are the projects so far!

I started this challenge because I reached a point in life that I was so stressed and empty. Three cross country relocations, inheriting two children in a will, an unnecessary and costly custody battle to get them, and the natural growing of our family to three boys was a lot to cover in six short years.  I’m of the mindset that when life gets hard, you just dig deeper and so I did.  Year after year, I dug deeper.  I’d rise up again and again to each challenge, but what I mined away at to gather that strength was myself.  Last summer, I came to the shocking conclusion that there was nothing left to chip away at.  I was snappy and short with everyone.  My existence was one of scarcity.  There was so little left to give them all that I clung to it and protected it.

Rebuilding is always hard.  At 36 years old, I felt silly not knowing how to fix myself and restore myself, but it was a problem I had no choice but lean in and solve.

The first question was, “What recharges me?”  That shouldn’t be a complicated question, but for me it was.  I spent months pondering that question and the usual answers didn’t fit.  Getting pedicures, massages, or girls nights out, away from the kids, generally had little to no affect.  They were nice and pleasant, but what I really craved was a creative outlet.  When I started sewing again, the pieces fell into place.

Being a stay-at-home mom is an awesome calling and a privilege, but let’s face it nothing about cleaning up the kitchen for the 80 millionth time or arguing with a four year old about wearing shoes in the winter feeds the deep parts of your soul.

Sewing, painting and gardening backfill the parts of who I am that stress and motherhood have eroded away.

People often ask, “Make me one too!”  when they see a project they like.  I know it’s a complement and I take it as such but I have to giggle about it.  In my case it’s like telling a friend on their way into see their counselor, “Hey, could you ask them about my problem too!”  I named the blog appropriately, Sew sanity.  When I sew it’s to restore and heal.  It’s to de-stress and pour in to myself.  It’s awesome that I have a lot of fun new clothes but those are just a by product of what’s really going on, restoration.

When we lived in Georgia I gardened.  It sustained me in ways I can’t express.  I didn’t realize what a powerful form of self care it had become.  People would complement me on my yard and flowers and my heart would whisper, they are watered with my tears.  They were, I planted and poured out my broken heart.  Those plants carefully collected my heartache and grew from it.  I cried so hard when I left that yard.  I left a place and a trusted haven that held me when I walked through a painful season.  In Utah, gardening wasn’t a craving I could satisfy.  Sewing has replaced it and I’m so grateful for it.

I hope you have enjoyed the journey as much as me.  I’m truly loving each project and more importantly feel so much healthier than I did six months ago.  Find what restores you and pursue it, you are worth that time.

Are you ready for some sun? I am! Week 26

I’m half way through my year long challenge!  Can you believe it?!?!?!  26 weeks!  I’m pretty excited about it and the progress I’ve made.  26 to go and I’m enjoying all of them so much.

Week 26 is this fun sundress!

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Simplicity 2250 View A Size 14

When I first saw this pattern I fell in love, the bodice was so unique and looked challenging so I wanted to try it.  It was definitely different,  and not as hard as I anticipated.  If you take your time and read carefully it really isn’t very difficult it’s just time consuming and requires patience.  The bodice front is in three pieces and has at least six darts and three pleats.  It went together faster and easier than I thought.

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No matter how many times I sew something I’m still in awe that a pile of pieces transforms like this.

 

The bodice is double lined and the back has ties and a zipper.  All of it was new and different construction but nothing too challenging.

 

I added a couple of inches to the length and have no complaints, I’m in love with the details of the bust and the construction.

 

What do you think!?!?!?  Are you ready for Spring?

 

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Bohemian Top, Week 25

When I first saw this red fabric, I instantly fell in love.  I envisioned it as a bohemian style top.  This was the pattern that met that vision and thus the project was planned.

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Working conditions around here are hazardous.

This pattern has SOOOOO many pleats.  Nearly every piece of this piece has at least three pleats, but I really enjoyed making this.  The details were fun and something I hadn’t tried before.  I wish I had added length to the sleeves and the body.  I’m not sure why I didn’t.  Adding length to the sleeves and body should by now be a go to move for me.  I did enjoy making this because the fabric was challenging and the pattern had extra detail that was also challenging and new to me.

It’s finished and frankly it’s not my favorite piece I’ve made, but I have two patterns on my Make 9 that also have these pleats so this was great practice.

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My 2018 #make9

 

Here are a couple of during construction photos.

I do love the detail of the shoulders.  This view was supposed to be laced and I chose not to do that.  Also the front neckline calls for interfacing but this is a sheer fabric and that would have looked horrid so instead I added stitching around the entire neckline to secure the facing and I like the look it created.

I don’t love the fit and cut on my body and I’m not likely to make the pattern again, but that’s more about my body than the pattern.  Overall, I think I’d recommend this to a more petite figure.  Even where the line is across my back doesn’t quite fall where it should for someone my height.  If you are above 5’5″, I’d recommend making a muslin prototype for proper fit before diving into an expensive fabric.

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