Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Jillian Top/Mykonos Tankini Pattern Mashup

Today, we are continuing our sewing of the Women's Bundle Up patterns (sale goes through May 8th). In full disclosure, we were given a complimentary the Real Deal Jeans pattern (review here) & Mykonos Tankini pattern for our review. But that didn't stop us from putting our money where our mouth is. We purchased the bundle so we could feature just a few more of these great patterns. We get no compensation from you purchasing the bundle. We honestly believe you would be hard pressed to find a better selection of patterns & with awesome size ranges! Especially at $4.50/pattern folks. Alright, alright enough with the pitch on to the mash up.
Eeekkk! I am so excited to share this self care sew with you. I've been badly in need of a swim suit ever since I entered motherhood and jumped at the chance to customize the perfect look for myself. The the main inspiration and foundation came from the Mykonos Tankini. I loved the design of the triangle tank option, but ended up going with the peplum version because I knew that accentuating my waistline would look best with my pear shaped body. I also opted for the boy shorts because then I don't even have to wonder if I need to add a layer of shorts over the suit when I go out in public. I guess I just always feel self conscious of my bare legs in moments like that.
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I attempted to make the tankini exclusively using the Mykonos pattern, but it just didn't work for my shape as well as I would've liked. In the last month I have stopped nursing and now there's just not a lot of shape on top to work with. To be honest though, when I first saw the patterns for the Bundle Up I felt a crazy desire to have the tankini and then borrow the neat crisscross design of the Jillian Top. The finished look will be 100% functional for young kids, climbing and pulling on my suit.  I know that uni-boobs are taboo in the fashion world, but I've always seen myself as an athlete with 8+ years of doing sports year round so I actually prefer that athletic look.
As far as construction modifications goes, the biggest things were that I extended the waistline of the boy shorts about 5 inches so that if I was swimming when the peplum floated up that I wouldn't have to deal with my squishy, stretch-mark covered tummy being exposed to the world. I love my body and the joys in my life that came from it, but it's personal and I just want to keep it that way. Because I'm about 1" above average height I added 1" to the bottom of the peplum. I cut the Jillian Tank at the middle of the lengthen/shorten line so that could have it hit me at my natural waistline. I also used swim bra cups so that I didn't have to worry about nipping on cold days because most of my swimming is outside in fresh mountain water.
I was a little nervous to put myself out there with a swimsuit and I had came up with a plan to work out everyday, twice a day, for the next 2 weeks so that I was more toned. Ha, that didn't happen. I only ended up getting through 70% of 1 Jillian Micheal's workout routine. As I looked at the pictures, I found myself surprised by how I look in this swimsuit.

I feel like I look courageous, confident, and strong. Although I have 30+ lbs of extra baby weight around the midsection, it doesn't mean that I'm not beautiful and I can't take on the world. Lately I've had some eye opening experiences about my health that didn't keep me motivated more than a few days to be super healthy and end the end left me searching for the oreos. When I see these pictures, I realize that I am still strong and although I'm a mother of 3 young kids, I haven't lost my identity and it's not too deep to be able to find it further. Love yourself for what you are because that's pretty dang amazing!
 
With Love,
Al
PS. Don't forget to check out the other bloggers on the tour they are making some great stuff!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Real Deal Jeans by Winter Wear Designs

Today we are part of the Women's Bundle Up Tour. The Real Deal Jeans by Winter Wear Designs are the first pattern we have to show you and we have a couple more looks coming to you tomorrow. We have stated our love of all things Bundle Up in the past and these 11 patterns are perfect for women of all shapes and sizes (most of them go to at least XXL). The variety of patterns and styles has you set for every occasion.
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9 months after having my sweet little Sally, I find myself dreaming of the day I can have my body back just for me. A good place to start seems to just be ditching the shapeless basketball shorts and t-shirt and dawning something that shows the curve. Now I feel like I am well on my way thanks to the Women's Bundle Up that is currently going on.
These are the first pair of jeans that I've ever made and although it took quite a bit of time, it was awesome to get that fit just perfectly as I was constructing them. The size was pretty on and the instructions were clear and easy to make the pants turn out looking better than if they were bought at the store. I love that the instructions tell you when to top stitch so they can be so much better than homemade jeans.
To treasure my handi-work I left my autograph on one of my back pockets. Cursive makes for some great clothing art.
And yes, if you were wondering, they are functional, I can easily bend over and pick up my sweet little one.
Now I'm ready for a date or chasing my 3 kids at the park. I truly love this pattern and it has multiple cut lengths (Full Length, Capris, Board Shorts, Shorts with 5 inch inseam, & Shorts with 3 inch inseam). I ended chose the capri for this pair of pants.
If you are looking for more inspiration, there are some really talented bloggers of all shapes and sizes on the blog tour. The variety of styles of this bundle is sure to blow you away so go check them out.
With Love,
Al

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Change of Pace

Hey Friends,
It is Scary, here. A few sort weeks ago I found out I was moving to the town and complex of my dreams. I was ecstatic but at the same time I was completely overwhelmed with what needed to be done! We were able to get in at a great price and the timing worked out perfectly to finishing moving before our little guy get here in one short month.
Ryder's Prince Charming Suit for the Top Stitchers Cinderella challenge.
I know that I promised during the Pattern Revolution Top Stitchers Cinderella challenge that I would have the tutorial on how to turn the 5 and 10 coat pattern into your own shawl collar and I am very much still planning on doing it but it will just have to wait.
This picture is from a couple weeks ago it is the Patterns for Pirates Maternity Layer Me Up Tunic I should have graded out two sizes at the hips but I totally spaced it.
I am only spending a few minutes every day helping Ryder with his pre-school before I log off for the day. Today, I hit the 35 week mark for this little dude and it is a VERY little bit stressful to think that we need to be moved and I need to be ready for him to come in 4 short weeks (I have C-sections so he will find out his birthday this Wednesday).  All this while trying to be a good mommy to the two kids I already have. Oh, I don't know if I mentioned but Slim Jim is still on crutches from breaking on his foot in January so all the moving boxes right now are being moved by big ole' round me. To be honest I am completely at my maximum at time and energy to do more than just the essentials.
 With all that is going on with my family and Al's family (I will let her tell you more about that by herself) we have reached our limit. As much as we believe in Sew-a-bration of Womanhood we are going to have to postpone it till May of next year. Neither one of us could give it the time or attention it deserves. We did it after much deliberation and after we had already started making plans to make it the BEST Sew-a-bration. Don't worry though we will keep our notes and be even more prepared for next year.
Ty and Boston in their Manhattan top from See Kate Sew. They playing dress up so it was very fun to make these matching tops for them. 

After spending a good chunk of the day packing and cleaning I am exhausted. I hope that I will get a chance to visit with you one last time before the little guy comes, but one way or another know that I love you and I am so grateful to count so many of you as dear friends.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Coming Soon: Enchanter's Duel

Later this month I will be participating in the Top Stitchers Enchanter's Duel over at Pattern Revolution. I am very excited I am finally going to be sewing a collection that I have been dreaming of for years. Don't be surprised if it is a little quiet over here until then, because I am going to be very busy stitching and stitching some more.
I am exciting to be dueling against Cassie from Lily Shine Boutique; I have a lot of respect and love for her from competing against each other in Project Run and Play. She is very talented in design and out of the box thinking so I know I have my work cut out for me.

If you would like to read more about the Top Stitchers contest, click here. They are also doing a sew along contest that should have some sweet prizes so look over the themes and choose the ones that fit your style or maybe push yourself to create something out of your comfort zone.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cuddle Monster: Boys Can Wear Pink!

Today I have an awesome opportunity to be part of the Boys Can Wear Pink put together by Kelly of Handmade Boy. Kelly is so crazy talented I am sure you have seen her work around (big thank you to her for patiently waiting an extra day for me to post). She really put together an amazing line up and all of the creations of the series have given me great ideas for pushing the envelope of boys sewing in creative ways.

Even though February has been very busy for my family I couldn't help but join her worthy cause. Ridiculous gender roles stereotypes really get my blood a political science grad mind a boiling. It is crazy how indoctrinated we have let our society become on such silly issue. I felt like though I am a stay at home mom and my husband is the sole bread winner, but who we are would safe guard our kids against prosperous gender inequality. But two recent instances have helped me realize how much we needed something like this to be able to talk about gender roles.


The first was the battle over the fuchsia spoon. A few months back I purchased a single set of kids plastic silverware and bowl set from IKEA. I loved the bright colors and figured it would be fun for the kids to eat in. A few weeks in I began to notice that Boston expected to get the purple and fuchsia stuff because she was a girl, This was even with me mindfully switching up colors for the kids every time. We had to talk about sharing and how everyone should have a chance to try each color.

The other was when Ryder told Boston that she couldn't be Spiderman because girls can't be as good at hanging as boys could be. This declaration nearly made me loose control. This is the first industry I have worked in that is an typical of women's industry (before this I have worked in tech support, landscaping and custodial work). I barked back that men and women can both do what ever they wanted and had a passion for, and the important part is to work hard. It seems like that day we have had multiple discussions on what jobs both girls and boys can do. Since then the only jobs we have come up with that are not jobs for both men and women are women being pregnant and men growing beards.
This outfit really became my representation of that lesson. Boys are told to be tough and strong from the beginning. But Ryder's strongest personality attribute in his momma's eyes his compassion and love for the people around him. His affection is the type that just melts over you and his intuition for others emotions makes him highly compassionate and aware at even the smallest plight of others. He often is found with his sweet smile to say, "Do you want to cuddle?" as he snuggles into his love ones. I don't want to loose this buttery warmness to gender role expectations, this makes him a great older brother. I know this will also make him a great friend, husband and father. I see this same genuine love for others in his dad, Slim Jim.
When I told Ryder about this series and I would be making him a "pink outft" he immediately worried that people would think he was a girl. I reassured them it would be fine and I would make sure that though it had pink no one would confuse him for a girl. I went to work planning the outfit knowing that the Moto Maxx would be the perfect pattern for a boy look. The next morning I showed him my design and he excited confirmed with one small changes I needed a different monster.

Kelly clued me in on Urban Threads which is where I picked up this monster used. I do not own an embroidery machine so each layer of the design was achieved by stacking and applique. This process took me so much longer by days than I thought (yes I said by days, yes I am slow and a bit picky). I love the texture the layering gives it. After making all the layers I stitched and then roughly appliqued around the perimeter and reinforced the back with knit interfacing.

The attention to detail of the Moto Maxx from Love Notions (affiliate link) made it the perfect base for a strong boy look. The only other alterations that I did was taking in the arm cuffs until it was my desired tightness. I sewed a 8 on top and a 7 on bottom according to where he fell on the sizing chart.

Result: He loves it! He doesn't think that it looks like A girl. Boston wants a monster shirt so she can match her brother.
PS. Would you like a chance to win some fun prizes?
The prize package includes:
One yard of Stenzo Pit Stop Poplin in pink from Mabel Madison
$25 gift certificate, plus a surprise fat quarter from Phat Quarter Shop
One yard of solid cotton/lycra & one yard of coordinating fabric from Purple Seamstress
One pattern of choice from Paisley Roots
$20 store credit from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop
One pattern of choice from Patterns for Pirates
One pattern of choice from Mouse House Creations
Bottoms Up Pants Pattern from If Only They Would Nap
One Pattern of choice from Titchy Threads
Giveaway rules:
By entering into the giveaway, you are agreeing to the following rules:
International entries welcome, but winners outside of the US will be responsible for shipping of physical prizes.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winner will be notified via email within 24 hours of the end of the giveaway. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 20, 2015

Extraordinary Girl the Pattern for the Girl on Move

Thanks for all the kind words, we are finally on the mend. Today, we are joining in the Extraordinary Girl top (which is on sale right now $7 instead of the regular $9.95 or $13 for the girls/women bundle) pattern tour. From the moment I first spotted this pattern, about a year ago, I knew it would be such a fun pattern to sew. I love how it is such a great base for color blocking. I couldn't help myself in my fabric choices, now that we are finally coming out of our cold fog and the 50-60s days sunny days. I had to make something bright and sunny to match the way we are feeling. I was able to reach into my stash and find some bright fabrics to accent the stripe fabric. The back is a piece out of a men's tee shirt. I love how this pattern allows you to use your knit scraps.
As soon as Boston saw it she told me it was a shirt for running and jumping. Honestly she wouldn't stop moving all day in this top. As much as I love the frilly sewing it is really rewarding when we both love it and it can be the perfect top for playing (not that she has ever let a dress or skirt slow her down). Her competitive spirit reminds me of her brother and now she is getting tall enough that she is a physical match for him.
Let me tell you real quick tell you about the features of this pattern:
1. Clear step by step color illustrations that are easy to understand
2. PRINT BY SIZE option (I put this in caps because I cannot love this feature enough)
3. Sizes marked by colors and dashes
4. Long and 3/4 sleeves
5. Sizes 12M to 14 (I love when patterns have a large range and after that you can always pick up the Women's version which goes from 0 to 20)
6.  Fabric requirements & cutting layouts for both 1 color and 2 color blocking option
The only change I made to the pattern was accidental, the kids were using my computer when I was stitching it up so I didn't think to look it up. I did my pocket different than it had on the instructions so it is a bit smaller. I also eyeballed my pocket placement putting it where I wanted with the stripes. Honestly it is a straight forward sew that goes together like a dream.

What is on your sewing table right now? Are you sewing for winter still or is your sewing heading into spring? (Just a hint there are more spring sews that coordinate with this look coming up very soon, I really can't wait for you to see).


PS. Before you go, why don't you put in to win some free patterns.

Bundle #1:
  • Filles a Maman 2 patterns winner's choice
  • Sofilantjes - 1 pattern winner's choice
  • Julie pattern by Muffin Head
  • AimeLea & Finn - 1 pattern winner's choice
  • FABulous Home Sewn -1 pattern winner's choice
  • Fancy Schmancy - 1 pattern winner's choice
  • E+M Patterns - 1 pattern winner's choice 

Bundle #2:
  • Filles a Maman 2 patterns winner's choice
  • Sofilantjes - 1 pattern winner's choice
  • Fancy Schmancy - 1 pattern winner's choice
  • MCM Studio Designs - 1 pattern winner's choice
  • MandyK Designs -1 pattern winner's choice
  • Striped Swallow Designs - 1 pattern winner's choice
a Rafflecopter giveaway

To get some great inspiration check out the other bloggers on the tour.

Monday Feb. 16th

Tuesday Feb. 17th

Wednesday Feb. 18th

Thursday Feb. 19th

Friday Feb, 20th

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sew in Tune: Peter Hollens & Lindsey Stirling Inspired

I am very tickled to be a part of Sew in Tune, a series hosted by Melly Sews and Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy. I have watched the series for years but didn't really know how to get involved. After a sewing/YouTube music marathon I decided to e-mail Melissa & Stacy to desperately beg and plead ask them if they had any openings. They were so kind to make a spot for me.
I have to own up to something before we get started it took 3 photo shoots to finally get the photos I was looking for. I am so grateful for my kids and their patience with their mom. As I mentioned yesterday we have been dealing with full cold-pocalypse for weeks this all was happening when I desperately needed to take the pictures for Sew in Tune. (Luckily a large majority of the sewing was done weeks before cold-pocalypse.) It was a little stressful and I was really wanting to be respectful of how the kids were feeling. I really let them decided what level they wanted to take things to. Honestly even though they felt like crud they were really excited to pretend to be their favorite YouTube stars.


This means that we had 1 inside photo shoot inspired by Shadows by Lindsey Stirling. This was really born out of necessity because both the kids were not able to go outside. I am glad that we were able to do it though they aren't my most frame worthy photos, I realized afterwards the kids really enjoyed that photo shoot. That song is one of their favorites. Every time it is on they are always trying to arrange mirrors and lights so that they can make their shadow do something different than what they are doing. I would love to set this sort of scene for them again in the future, all the ones that turned out are great at featuring their personalities because shadows are way cooler than whatever mom is doing with the camera. The only problem I had is they kept shifting the "spotlight"  so not all of them did turn out. This is also the only day I could convince Boston to do Lindsey peacock hair.

Lindsey Stirling
I knew with Lindsey Stirling as my muse I could take it any number of directions since she often does cosplay for her video game covers, but also beautiful feminine looks. After watching days of YouTube videos I decided doing a more casual, layered every day look that shown in Minimal Beat and I loved the flowiness of the directions of stripes on Come with Us. I noticed in most of her videos she frequently wears red, gray and black; Boston doesn't prefer red so the pink in her hair and shoes is a replacement for the red.

For the top: Light weight tissue sweater knit, Banyan Tunic from Figgy's
For the hoodie: 2 Upcycled tees, Bimaa Hoodie from LouBee Clothing (Previously Blogged here)
For the leggings: Scuba knit, Basic version of Dressage Leggings (affiliate link) from Jennuine Designs

Peter Hollens
Ryder couldn't have been more excited to be getting a mommy made shirt. With me testing the Haven Acres collection for the last several weeks he was understandingly feeling like he was getting the short end of the mommy sewn stick. He was pretty stoked when I told him about this sewing project because he likes that Peter Hollens is a Good Daddy (this is a very important characteristic for this sweet boy who's biggest fear for the future is that he won't be a good daddy and his kids won't like him). He thinks it is cool that he likes both Star Wars and Playing X-box.

When ever I put Peter Hollen's playlist on he will settle right down and listen to all the songs. I planned on making him some pants from Slim Jim's old pants using Patterns for Pirates Cpt. Comfort Jeans. I plum ran out of time so instead I matched it with a pair of jeans from Gymboree which have a similar ribbed knit waistband.
I noticed after several Hollen marathons that Peter Hollen wears a gray Raglan sleeve top in a lot of the videos. For the shirt I used the Jolley Rodger Raglan sized up 1 size because this sweater knit had little to no stretch. When Ryder saw the neck band he told me that I needed to make the waistband to match.  I forgot that in sizing it up that I needed to take to take a bit off the bottom. As it currently stands it is a long but he will probably catch up to it in a couple months. The contrasting ribbing is a light gray ribbing. The only modification I made to the pattern was to make the neckband a little less wide, not really on purpose but when I was getting ready to cut Ryder started playing the "what happens if....." game which caused me to loose focus and cut it 1/2" less wide. I like how this looks. I think it really sells the whole sweater look. I purposely cut my ribbing one size smaller because I was using actual ribbing and not just a jersey or interlock. The only thing I would have changed was making the bottom waist band a bit smaller so it would suck in the shirt a bit more. As soon as he put it on he said that is comfy. I was so happy to oblige him!

I love how both these artists have made a name for themselves even though they have been told time in and out that they would never be successful. I really think the reason they have done this is that they work crazy hard and really enjoy their work no matter what. I also love that I can be on their pages and never ever have to worry about profanity or inappropriate videos.  They are example of high standards and hard work gets you where you want to be. All the while they are making great music.

Here are Peter Hollens & Lindsey Stirling collaborations together:  Fields of Gold, Skyrim, Game of Thrones, Star Wars (kids personal favorite)

Thank you so much to Melissa and Stacy for having me. Happy Sew in Tune.

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