Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Year in Review

Hello everyone!

This year has been one that has pushed me in more ways than one.  If I had to look for an overarching theme, I would say PERSEVERANCE.  While I was able to get a fair amount of sewing done, behind-the-scenes I struggled to balance my life as a stay-at-home mom with my dreams to SEW.  And, I will say was not easy. was worth it!!

All the late nights

All the sleep deprivation

All the bouts of sickness

All the unexpected situations

All the mental exhaustion

All the times I PRESSED THROUGH!

That pushing is what allows me to share my finished works with you.  I have learned so much.  I have grown so much.  And I look forward to much more.

For 2017 I made a total of 15 garments for myself!  That works out to MORE than 1 a month! Yay!  My grand total for the year, including things sewn for my family, is 20!

They consist of:
Dress 1
Cardigan 3
Family/Kids 5
Tops 9
Jacket 1
Tunic 1

I am so pleased with my productivity because I honestly received more wins than fails.  Here are the categories I came up with to re-cap the highlights of the year:


This is an easy one!  I made S8337 quite a few times!  It is a cold shoulder top that fit beautifully!  My three different variations have received heavy rotation as well as compliments.  This pattern taught me to SEW MULTIPLES!


The Aurora top by Seamworks was a super easy sew that yielded lovely results!  I loved playing around with coordinating fabric colors for the yoke, and the gentle gathers held nicely.  It is a perfect summer tank for sure!


Little did I know that adding a ruffle and V-neck to the Piedra Dress would result in such a beautiful collaboration! Sometimes you win, and this was definitely one of those cases.  Moving forward I am surely interested in adjusting more patterns to suit my personal style.


I wanted to love this top, really I did.  The challenge is the fabric I used, as well as the bra I need to put this top on.  The fabric is a bit more clingy and the fit just seems off.  I may re-sew this pattern, and close the panels up a bit more, or try something else.


Ideally, every single item I have sewn for one of my kids is spectacular.  But, the truth is that M6837 wins the prize for the best!! It was an easy sew that looked so beautiful once it was finished with the lining.  I loved seeing my little man with it made him look so grown up!


It should come as no surprise that the winner for this category is my Kelly Anorak.  Of all the items I have sewn this year, none has stretched my sewing skills as much as this jacket.  But, not in a bad way, where I was struggling and stressing.  There were so many helpful tools that enabled me to get this jacket done.  And for me, it has opened the door to a whole new world--outerwear!!  There will be more outerwear to come!


It was so awesome to go to the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo wearing my sewn Burda cardigan, and getting a chance to meet Meg Healy, one of the Burda instructors!  It was a day of sewing inspiration, and lots of smiles.  I loved the Burdastyle runway show, and had to be there once I found out about it.  I hope to go to more sewing outings in the future!

So, here are how my goals for 2017 held up:

  • Use what I have! I never fully avail myself to the sewing resources I already own: Burda, Ottobre, My Image, and Sew Now magazines, Sewing books with patterns inside, and patterns from the Big 4 (WHEW, that's a lot!)  COMPLETED SO FAR: Simple Zoe Tunic, Burda 117A
  • Sew something for my kids every couple of months. They love it, and so do I! COMPLETED SO FAR: Ottobre Minnie Overall Dress, Ottobre Hot Shot Tank, New Look 6406 Pajamas, and Mccalls 6873
  • Sew for my husband! He has expressed his desire for ties, and maybe a vest or shirt.  I avoid his requests at times because he is picky!! But, certainly starting small wouldn't be bad. COMPLETED SO FAR: OTTOBRE 06/2016
  • Sew for life events. This year has a few special times that I would like to create something for. My brother is getting married in October. I will definitely need a nice formal dress for then. Also, I used to sew my daughter an Easter dress. That would be nice to do again. I also would love to sew some items for our holiday photo in December, and possibly my birthday in June. COMPLETED SO FAR: Burda 117A
  • Finish at least four of my Craftsy classes! Again, I have a lot of great resources, including some Craftsy classes I have piled up from sales over last year. It is time to get movin'!COMPLETED SO FAR: The Classic Tailored Shirt with Pam Howard
  • Copy RTW styles I love! I don't know how many times I have seen a style in the store that I knew I could recreate at home, with a better fit.  
  • Enter a Patternreview contest. I participated in one, and submitted a cute top and legging set I sewed for my niece, but I haven't entered one since. It would be fun, and there are lots of different themes.
  • Draft a pair of pants. If you remember, I have a Craftsy class for that, and am really interested in learning basic drafting techniques for sewing.
I effectively finished FIVE of my projected EIGHT goals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Not bad at all!  I decided to roll the three unfinished goals into 2018 so I still have the opportunity to complete them. 

So I am now ready to share my BIG news for 2018!!!!!

 I am participating in the 2018 Ready-to-Wear Fast!!!!

Hosted by Sarah from Goodbye Valentino, it is an invitation to sew all of your clothing for an entire year.  I participated a couple of years ago with success, and decided that now is the time to try it again.  Hopefully, my experience from before will guide me this time too!!

With this upcoming challenge in mind, I am naming 2018 as a "year of learning."  Here are my aspirations, and what I hope to accomplish:

  • Sew all of my own clothing (excludes underwear and socks)!!!
  • Draft slopers according to my measurements for bodice and pants.
  • Enter a Patternreview Contest.
  • Copy RTW styles that I love (a must now that I will be sewing everything I need)
  • Finish at least FOUR of my Craftsy classes. 
  • Sew for life events.
It's going to be a GREAT year!  I hope you are expecting great things too!

I will be back soon to share some tips to help in planning and finishing sewing projects.  If you are ready to be more productive in your sewing journey, you will want to see some of the ideas I have picked up, and look forward to implementing.

Have a Happy New Year, and stay sew-filled!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Pattern testing for Empty Hanger Patterns

Hello everyone!

I am happy to be sharing my pattern testing experience for Empty Hanger patterns today.  To me, it is always an honor to be a part of someone's vision or dream.  That is definitely one of the main reasons I decided to pattern test for Emily of Empty Hanger patterns.  First, I love her designs! Second, I enjoy supporting new things that others are doing--especially when it is sewing-related!

As a mom with a busy schedule, I had a two week timeframe to complete the gorgeous Tomi dress that Emily sent to me:

I got started as soon as I got the pattern because if I didn't, I knew something would "pop" up in my household.  And yes, surely enough, the night before the deadline my youngest son got hand/foot/mouth disease.  Thankfully, I was done with the dress at this point, and only needed to put it on and take pictures. Crisis averted!!

Here is the description for the Tomi dress that I tested:

"It’s the perfect knit fit-and-flare dress: the fitted top shows off your bust and waist and then widens into a classic full skirt. And the best part: no waist seam, so nothing to pull uncomfortably if you decide to have seconds (#perfectholidaydress). The elbow-length sleeve finishes in a fun split-cuff detail. You can choose from two pockets, a patch pocket with a split echoing the sleeve, or a roomy in-seam pocket."

First, I absolutely LOVE this dress, and plan to make more in the future.  I wasn't sure how the fit would be, so I chose a size 38, and used a lightweight lace print ITY knit that I purchased from Fabricmart fabrics some time ago.

The instructions were very easy to follow.  There is an order of sewing included for intermediate to advanced sewists.  That makes it very easy to skip over parts you are familiar with, and concentrate on the techniques you need more hand holding on, if any.

Also, the Empty Hanger patterns contain cutting and stitching lines, clearly marked.  The cutting line has the seam allowance included, and the stitching line does not.  So, you can use the stitching line, add your own seam allowance, and check the fit all in one.  Because I did not want to use a 5/8" SA, I chose to add 3/8" to the stitching line for my size.  It worked like a DREAM!

Better than that, I was so impressed that I did not need any back adjustments.  My only issue was the pockets.  I inserted them per the instructions, and could not get them to lay flat without any gaping.  I tried interfacing the front and back where they joined, but that didn't help.  So, at the last moment, I decided to take them out.

Now that they are gone, this dress is one I will easily wear over and over.  

In fact, I forgot about my favorite part, the split cuff sleeves:

I hope you can see the cuff in the photo.  I used interfacing for the neckline and cuffs, and they looked great.  The neckline in particular, was the EASIEST V-neck I have ever constructed!  It was a different technique used (I believe one that is mostlly used in wovens), but it did the job for this knit dress too.

Overall, I would highly recommend this pattern for anyone looking for a staple wardrobe dress!  It fits well, works with other garments, and has just enough features to make it special, like the split cuff sleeves/additional pocket.

If you are interested in this style of garment, head over to Empty Hanger Patterns and give this dress a whirl!  I think you will find it to be an exceptional pattern!

I will be back tomorrow with my Year in Review  and my goals for 2018.  There is some wonderful news I will be sharing too!

Stay sew-filled!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Hello everyone!

I hope you enjoyed your holiday!  I happily ate quite a bit of food, and indulged in time with family members that I don't get to see often.  It has been one of the most relaxing, amazing times that I have had in a while, so I am grateful for that. Also, thank you for the kind comments on my first jacket in the last post!  I was truly overwhelmed, and appreciate all your thoughtfulness.

I have finally finished the projects on my plate, and it is time to turn my attention to what I REALLY want to do--make a Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe!!

My capsule will consist of 10 pieces that I may or may not sew multiples of.  I expect to take the next two months and work on everything to completion.  Hopefully, that will take me nicely into the beginning of the year, with enough time to consider the pieces I will sew for spring.  Also, I will be using a couple of pieces from my closet that I have already purchased--namely a white button down shirt, and my black leggings.

Thanks to Ann at Sew Baby News, I discovered a color palette website to help direct me in choosing my capsule colors.  Here is what I chose:

I will be using this palette as a guideline, and not a strict set of rules.  I want a set of colors that work together in harmony, yet still evoke this time of year.  I don't plan on veering off (ha, ha) but will closely stay with warmer tones.

Are you ready to see my choices???

It breaks down to:
  • 1 Dress
  • 1 Tunic
  • 2 Pants
  • 1 Blazer
  • 1 Vest
  • 1 Blouse
  • 3 Tops (1 basic, 1 peplum, 1 wrap)

Let me start with one of my most popular picks!  The Sewaholic Renfrew!  I have had this pattern for a little over a year, and I am so ready to crack it open and sew it.  I love the V-neck, but will do long sleeves.  Also, I may try the cowl neck too.

Next up is another popular-to-sew pattern: the Moneta dress!  I really wanted something to wear over leggings, and since I already have access to this pattern through my Seamworks subscription, I jumped on the chance to add it to my list.  I think I may copy the dress on the model and make one in mustard.

This blazer has been on my list for a while too!  I just love the lapels, AND the fact that it is from Burda.  Also, this will be an opportunity for me to finish my first blazer.  I am a little nervous about the fact that this is a Burda Young pattern, and it may need more finessing for fit.  I am not sure if their "Young" version has a narrower cut, so I may have to muslin this one first to get the bare bones of it.

I had to try my hand at another Burda pattern once I found an adorable tie blouse in the 08/2009 issue of my Burda magazine.  The picture above closely resembles the version I saw, and it is rated for an intermediate sewist.  I love that the tie blouse is so feminine and classy.

Do you see what I see?  A pair of pants! I am finally going to try my hand at pants again.  These slim cigarette trousers by Love Notions patterns are a good one to start with.  If I can figure out a good fit,  I will definitely sew more than one pair of these.

My next choice is the Burda 6838 Wrap Top.  I caught this one on sale a week or so ago, and immediately put it into my sewing plans!  I just knew I wanted to make it due to the design and style of it.  It is so ME, lol!  

This next tunic is a pattern I have in my stash.  I got it as a free gift from an overseas sewing magazine, and I am a bit apprehensive about the fit.  I used this pattern company before for the dress I was sewing for my brother's wedding, and I had a lot more fit issues than I've had with other patterns. So, I will give this a try, but will surely switch out for another pattern if this one doesn't work out.

This pattern was just released by Love Notions and I will be sewing the version with the pockets outlined in bias binding. I LOVE seeing this style in the Fall/Winter season, and  already have an olive green vest in my closet.  I still need to source fabric for it, but can't wait to use it as an accent to clothing I already have!  

It's another Love Notions pattern!  This is one I planned to do, but got sidetracked.  I haven't figured out which view I like yet, but I am leaning toward the princess seams with a gathered peplum.    Thinking about my closet, I don't own any peplums, but I do like the style.

Lastly, I really NEED dress pants!  I mean, I haven't bought a pair in years.  Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I really haven't had much use for them.  However, who says being a stay-at-home mom means you can't dress up?  I love going to the grocery store and having someone ask me where I work, lol!  Besides, sometimes I dress up because it feels good, and each new day is a gift that I will cherish.  So, these pants are on the list!

Here are the fabrics I have pulled:

I still need more fabrics to complete my capsule, but these will get me going.  I haven't decided what I will start on first, but it's going to be SO much fun figuring it all out!  Lately I have been sewing up to two projects at a time, depending on whether or not they are easy or hard.  I will definitely check in on a weekly basis and let you know how things are coming along.

Also, you can always follow me on Instagram, where I post things I am doing more frequently.

In the meantime, I plan on posting about my pattern testing experience on Friday!  Here is a sneak peek of the dress in case you didn't see it a few posts ago:

Stay sew-filled!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

My Kelly Anorak unveiling

Hello everyone!

I hope you are all getting a chance to enjoy Christmas Eve with family and friends.  We are away with family, so I am using this opportunity to squeeze out some blog posts before the New Year starts.  I HAVE SO MUCH I WANT TO SHARE!  However, let's start this post off with the very item I have been working on for what seems like MONTHS, lol!

Here it all it's Kelly Anorak:

I finished all of the sewing about a week and a half ago, and had to work up the courage to put the snaps in.  I mean, I tried not to hyperventilate while applying the snaps through all the layers of fabric (jacket, lining, interfacing), and it all went surprisingly well.  In fact, even with all my stressin', it took me less than an hour to get them in!!  

And once I did, I had a moment.  My first jacket.  Angels were singing.  My heart was welling up with JOY. 

 I MADE IT!!!!

I let out a whelp, put it on, and didn't want to take it off!  

Okay, so let me fill you in on the details of my Anorak.  I made a size 8, which I still can't figure out how I chose that size.  I remember checking the finished garment measurements, and thinking about how much ease I would like, and must have chosen an 8.  My muslin was nice and roomy, but with the flannel lining added, my jacket is definitely more fitted, though not uncomfortably so.  So, I will size up the next time, unless I choose to do an unlined version.

The fabric for my jacket is Robert Kaufman Ventana Cotton Twill in Navy. It was recommended in a blog post by Heather of Closet Case Patterns, and I went with it.  It turned out to be a DREAM to work with!! It pressed beautifully, and was the perfect weight--not too light, or too heavy.  Even with the added plaid flannel lining from Hobby Lobby, I was able to easily sew through all the layers--and my sewing machine can sometimes get finicky.

The lining is by far my FAVORITE part of this jacket!! Can you believe I had a different one picked out when I first started this project back in September?  Somewhere along the way I realized my original lining would not add any additional warmth, even though it was cute.  Since I wanted to wear this garment during the cooler months in Georgia, I knew I needed to make an adjustment.  I happened upon this flannel in Hobby Lobby, and just KNEW it was the one when I saw it.  It just adds such an element of brightness to the jacket that I truly adore.

And the hood!!!!! I love that I chose to sew the version with the hood.  I don't think it will help me much in any torrential downpours, but it is perfect for this mama on the go who wants to forgo an umbrella in light rain.

One thing I also like is the pockets. They are huge, and can hold a number of things.  I was able to put my phone, keys, and gum in them, and still have room for more items.  While I am not a fan of pockets in dresses or tops (I know, I know), I do love the size of the pockets in this jacket.  

Also, the jacket looks good open or closed!  

I fully admit that I made an "oopsie" on the right lower placket that I somehow cut too short.  I ended up sewing a small scrap of fabric as an extender so that I would have what I needed to finish the bottom of the jacket.  Thankfully that worked!  AND, because my boo-boo is located at the lower edge of the jacket, I don't think people will notice.

The only place I went rogue was the hem.  It is still finished off in a clean way, yet not in the way of the instructions.  I just turned up the jacket, turned under the lining, and stitched about a 1/2" SA.  I love the results, but my lining does hang closer down on the jacket than what is intended in the instructions.  

My only alteration was to add 1" to the length for my longer torso, and an additional 1/4" to the side seams for room.  

Overall, I am pretty sure I will make another Kelly Anorak!!!  Though I had a pleasant experience sewing this pattern (despite being a novice in jacket-making), I am going to take a small break, breathe in a bit, and plan another one next year or so.  I really wanted a bright colored spring version, but spring is around the corner, and I don't know if I will be up for it quite so soon.

If YOU are thinking of a jacket worthy of sewing, I HIGHLY recommend this pattern!  I consider myself an advanced beginner (growing day by day), and this jacket was right at my skill level, yet still pushing me to learn new things.  Since I had taken Pam Howard's shirtmaking Craftsy class, I was already familiar with the shirtmaking techniques used in the instructions.  That made this sew much more pleasurable than if I were to dive in totally unfamiliar with what I was doing.

Lastly, for ALL of you who have followed my crazy jacket dream from the very beginning, thank you!  I hope that as you saw me do it, you realized that you can do it too...if you want to.  And if you have already sewn a jacket, then you totally understand the feeling of bliss I have right now! 

I will be back to share the dress I pattern tested after Christmas.  

Merry Christmas to all of you celebrating this beautiful day!

Stay sew-filled!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sadie sweatshirt

Hello everyone!

Have you ever had one of those moments when you sewed a garment that looked exactly like the pattern envelope--only you didn't like it????

Well, that is a little bit of what happened to me.  You see, I saw the Sadie by Seamworks sweatshirt and knew I wanted to make it.  I was drawn by the element of cozyness, and I thought the funnel neck collar appropriately screamed "fall."  What could go wrong, right?

I chose a gorgeous houndstooth print I had in my stash, and got to work.  The fabric is a ponte roma knit from Girl Charlee, and it is soft, smooth, and lovely.  I knew the houndstooth would look busy, so I also chose a black rayon knit to balance out the silhouette on the neckband and cuffs.  I sewed a size S since the design had loads of ease, and ended up with a super roomy shirt that was LONG.

So, after taking out some ease from the side seams, reducing the hem length by an inch, and re-sewing the neckband with a ponte for more stability, this is what I ended up with:

I don't think it is bad, it's just not my favorite.  It's kind of like going to the store, seeing a shirt you LOVE on the rack, but realizing it doesn't have as much appeal on your body.  Does that ever happen to you?  

I think it is absolutely wonderful to sew all kinds of styles and silhouettes, but this time I didn't achieve the idea I had in my head.  I love the funnel neck, but didn't like this one on me.

For now I will put this top on the side and see if I can remedy the collar to a place I would like.  I put some tacks on each side to see if that would help, but it only created this funny shape.  If I figure it out, I will gladly show you an updated photo of what I did.

Overall, I found out that this pattern isn't for me, but it IS a QUICK sew that is perfect for Fall and Winter! I think a drapier fabric would also be lovely--just be mindful that this will affect the funnel neck as well.

In the meantime, I have some random sneak peak photos to show you!  The first is my Kelly Anorak:

I am near done, but got stuck on joining the hood lining to the jacket body/lining.  I couldn't wrap my brain around the instructions, even though I know I was able to complete it with my muslin.  I ended up emailing Closet Files Patterns, and got such a wonderful response from Alexis.  She was thorough, and kindly explained the step I was stuck on.  I was super impressed!!! Though I did have to read her email a few times, I finally got it!  You should be seeing a finished result sometime this month.

Also, I am doing my first ever pattern test!  Usually, due to my schedule and overall busyness, I shy away from this kind of thing because 1)I don't like to sew for deadlines 2)My family is priority, and I don't like the added stress of trying to balance everything.  But, this particular pattern is an awesome knit dress, and the pattern creator assured me I would have plenty of time to sew it up and provide feedback.  So far I am a little ahead of schedule, which I like!  

I am free to share info about the pattern, so once I finish and send in all my feedback, I will post a review for all of you.  But my early opinion is I LIKE IT...A LOT!!!!!

Lastly, I noticed that there has been a lot of holiday sewing going on! I can't say I have any holiday sewing for others, but I may make something holiday-themed for myself.  For some reason, I didn't even think about sewing gifts this year.  Maybe next year...But I do love seeing all the things others are creating!  

Stay sew-filled!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

November Recap and Finishing WELL

Hello everyone!

It seems like it has been a moment since I have posted a finished item for you...but today I will show you all the things I have been working on!  However, if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of them already.

For November, I kept my list of items relatively short because I knew I would be working on my jacket.  I did get a chance to finish two items from the list, and they are as follows:

The top on the left is the FIRST one I have ever made for my hubby!  Now, don't think I never asked him.  Oh, I have asked...and asked...and asked!  When I started sewing things for our children, I told him I could easily whip him up a shirt, but he said NO, lol!  You see, he is very particular, and wanted it to be "just right."  So, being married as long as we have, I just left him alone about it.

Until now!  He said he was open to me giving a shirt a try, and I ran with it before he could change his mind!  I grabbed some gorgeous, soft, Ponte knit from Fine Fabrics with a beautiful drape.  It has a slight sheen, but not TOO much--his kind of thing for sure.  And, he loves it! Just loves it!  Everyone at his office couldn't believe I made it for him.  Don't you just love to sew?

So, yeah, now I am recruited to sew more shirts for him.  But, I also have a reason to go to the fabric store too!  I don't think he thought about that when he started requested more custom-made shirts. The pattern is Ottobre 06/2016, and it fits him well.

He definitely has a more athletic build, so he needs room in the chest and shoulders.  The silhouette of this top really fit the bill, and there were only four patter pieces! My only variation was to draft a neckband instead of doing a binding.  Overall, it took me a couple of hours to serge and finish for him to wear the next day.  We will definitely repeat this top SOON!

My next top is the Sadie by Seamworks. I started out so excited about this one, but (spoiler alert) now I am not so sure. The neckline isn't what I expected.  It came out exactly like the pattern image, but it just doesn't look as good ON ME.  So, I will probably rework it into something I like a bit more.  I plan on doing a proper review soon with pics of me in it so you can let me know what you think.

As we go into December I am reflecting on the goals I set out to accomplish.  Those goals were created in January with such an optimistic mindset.  Though I am realizing I won't cross off everything off like I wanted, I am AMAZED by what I have accomplished!  My goal for December is two words--finish WELL!

I refuse to drive myself crazy over all the things I have left on my list.  Instead, I will cherish this time of year, and reach for the goals I can obtain.  Above all, I will finish well.  I will cross the finish line of 2017 with my head held high, a smile on my face, and a song in my heart--grateful for all I have obtained, and welcoming the year that is to come!

I hope you will join me!

Stay sew-filled!