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Monday, November 12, 2018

Sew Thankful



Today is my stop on the Sew Thankful Blog Tour being hosted by Sewing by Ti. I always enjoy when I get to participate in fun blog tours, and I have been looking forward to this one ever since I signed up. One of the best ways to lift your spirit is to take a moment, stop, and think about what you are thankful for. I will be reviewing the two Greenstyle Men's boxers patterns in this post, so keep reading (or skip to that part) to get to the juicy details. 

I am SEW grateful for sewing. It as an amazing hobby that is so fun. It has introduced me to people I would have never met without it. My wonderful, amazing friend Aimee whom I absolutely treasure came into my life from a fabric destash group on Facebook! I planned to get photos with her for this post and talk all about how I feel she is one of my biggest cheerleaders. Seriously, she has been around me in the sad times and the great times, the boring times and the exciting times. Sadly, we did not get finished with what we had planned to make in time for this tour (how did November sneak up on us so fast!). Don't worry, though, I am sure we will get to do another pattern test together soon and get to take photos for it.  Here is one of my favorite photos with her that we took this past summer for a pattern test. You can read her post for this tour here


Since I didn't get to take photos with Aimee for this blogpost, I went back to the drawing board to think about who else I am thankful for that I could relate to my sewing. Then, I remembered the multiple times my husband has asked for boxers recently. I told him I would make him a few more pairs if he would model them and let me tell you guys about the patterns I use for his boxers. He reluctantly agreed because I think he knew he would get a lot more and quicker if he modeled! Haha! I am so glad he agreed and hope it encourages you to make some for your husband, brother, or father (or yourself if you are a guy reading this)!

I am so thankful for my husband. He is one of my biggest supporters of my hobby of sewing, blogging, pattern testing, fabric collecting, and everything crafty I do or buy. He knows how much I enjoy creating and does everything he can to make sure I have time to do it. He cleans up after dinner, plays ball with the kids, and bathes my little ones in the evening if I want get away to the office to sew something or write up a blogpost. If I have a pattern test with an upcoming deadline, he will take all the kids on a walk or to the gym. He is always asking me what my schedule is like and letting me know when I have overcommitted myself, and he wants more time with me. He is my best friend and has been for 16 years (we have been married for 12 of those!).

He does look at me like I am crazy sometimes .... I have learned to never tell him I am going fabric shopping while sitting in the office where all my fabric is stored. He looks around at the shelves full of fabric and then looks at me like I am an addict. His jaw literally almost drops. Haha! He says that Aimee and I need to get together and do more sewing and less shopping! I do learn something from her almost every time I sew with her, so that is not such a bad idea. 

Sewing Men's Boxers

For this post, I used two different boxer patterns for my husband: the Greenstyle Walbrook and the Greenstyle 400 Oak Street. For both patterns, you measure the part of the waist where the waistband is at, not the natural waist. The 400 Oak Street fits waists from 28 to 48 inches, and the Walbrooks fit waist measurements from 28 to 50 inches

Let's start with talking about the 400 Oak Street. The 400 Oak Street boxer pattern is a looser fitting boxer pattern drafted to work in almost any fabric you want to wear as undies. Use knit or woven. Use an old t shirt, quilting cotton, cotton lycra, jersey, bamboo... You get the point. As long as it is soft, breathes well, and feels nice next to the skin, you are good! I made my husband 2 pairs of the 400 Oak Street boxers for this blogpost. The top pair is in a charcoal cotton lycra, and the mustard pair is in quilters cotton.  I made the XL for the mustard pair, and I sized down to a large for the knit pair *BUT I used the XL waist elastic on both pairs.*


The 400 Oak Street has only two pattern pieces: a front and a back. The back is cut on the fold and does not have a seam. The front has a functioning fly. I added a button closure to keep things together. The pattern also includes a side vent for woven fabric. I did not use the side vent on the knit boxers. The instructions include exposed elastic or enclosed elastic.

Now, let's talk about the Walbrooks. I have made several pairs of these for my son (I blogged about those here). The Walbrook Boxer Briefs are a fitted boxer brief that are meant for cotton lycra knit fabric. The men's Walbrooks pattern is a fitted boxer with a gusset between the legs and a fly that can be functioning or not functioning. The pattern has two lengths: a shorter length and long length. I made the longer length for my husband. 

For the Walbrook pattern you will need to cut out 3 pieces: (1) a pattern piece for the main body that is cut on the fold so there is no butt seam, (2) a pattern piece for a gusset for the long length boxers or you cut out the gusset for the short length boxers, and (3) a pattern piece for a functioning fly or for the nonfunctioning fly. The pattern also includes a fourth pattern piece for the binding for the functioning fly. The fly and gusset can be made out of contrasting fabric, which is great to use up fabric scraps. 


I asked him which pair was his favorite, and he told me that he loved them all. I love that on the 400 Oak Street that I can use pretty much any soft fabric, and I love how nice his butt looks in the Walbrooks. The 400 Oak Street are really easy to construct since there are only two pattern pieces, but I also love how the Walbrooks are great for scrap busting and offer 2 lengths in the pattern. What I love about both of them is that they are both very inexpensive patterns and can be sewn pretty quickly! 

My husband was so appreciative to have some soft new comfortable boxers. I love how grateful he was for them, so maybe I should sew for him more often!

Resources
Visit all the other wonderful blogs on this thankful tour and see what they are thankful for too! Here is the schedule: 


Week of November 6th:

Week of November 11th:

Week of November 18th:

Week of November 25th:


Thanks so much for reading! I hope I have inspired you. You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook. If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest. You may also follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Disclosures: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.




Tuesday, November 6, 2018

More Mommy and Me Sewing with the Mabel Ruffle and Cowl Tunic by 5 out of 4 Patterns



I have become a sucker for mommy and me sewing and am excited to get to share today's project with you. A year or two ago I posted in a few PDF Pattern groups on Facebook asking for pattern recommendations for a top with a drop waist with a ruffle detail at the bottom. I posted a photo of my daughter wearing a store-bought one, and I wanted to replicate it for me and her. I didn't get much response, but I did try the top that was recommended to me. I liked it, but my heart was not quite satisfied so I have been waiting for a pattern designer to come out with a pattern like I initially envisioned. 

Well, Jessica from 5 out of 4 Patterns did, and I went a little crazy and made four!! I made one for my 7 year old, two for the baby, and one for myself. I think I need a dozen more now! I feel like every fabric in my stash may become a Mabel. 


Options 

The Mabel Tunic has the perfect high low hem that curves in the front and dips in the back. As the name suggests, the Mabel Ruffle and Cowl Tunic, features OPTIONAL ruffles and cowls. You could make a plain tunic without either from this pattern, but that is no fun. I still have not made the cowl version because I couldn't quite squeeze a top for myself and daughter out of 2 yards if I made cowls. My next top will have the cowl. Other options: short, 3/4, or long sleeves. 


How to Work this Tunic

I made a size Small and graded my waist to a XS and then graded back out for my hips to a Small. I also removed 1 inch of length to get the ruffle to start at the right place on me. I think there are two big keys to liking this tunic on you: (a) grade for every measurement that you need to. If your waist or hips fall in another size, make sure to grade for each because you need the ruffle to be swingy and not clingy, and (b) remove or add length to get the ruffle to not get stuck under your butt. You need the ruffle on the front to hit around your belly button or a little over it, and you need the ruffle in the back to hit around your upper butt area. Do you see where the tunic lands on my back? That is what you need!


Baby Sewing

I made two Mabel Tunics for my baby and cannot get over the cuteness. I made one in her measured size of 6-9 months with length added (the blue floral tunic) and a second one in the next size up (the striped rayon spandex tunic) so that she can have one to fit her a bit longer. Babies grow so fast so I want to be ready for the next growth spurt. The baby version does not include the cowl (because it might not be safe for a baby). 


I find that with babies I usually grab onesies first when getting her dressed because they don't show tummy when she is held a bunch. I also don't gravitate towards her dresses for everyday wear because she is a crawling ninja at the moment and needs all the mobility she can get to explore. BUT, and a big but! I love a girl in dresses. I love the ruffles and the pink. It is the fun part of having girls. So, let me tell you, this tunic is the perfect compromise!

I absolutely LOVE the length of this tunic on her. She gets the frills of a dress, but can move all over the place. The tunic is longer than a top so her tummy stays covered when she is picked up so it is just as good as a onesie (maybe better because I don't have to snap it back after diaper changes!!). Let me tell you, this girl gets picked up all the time and tries to escape diaper changes so I feel like a total winner. 


Big Girl Approved 

My 7 year old (who turns 8 in 2 weeks) loves bows and dresses and frills, and she loves her new Mabel tunic. I absolutely love it when I can make her something that satisfies her girly nature and is practical at the same time. You have no idea how many arguments we have had over appropriate dress in the winter. She wants to wear all the dresses and frills and is ok to freeze while doing it. Well, this winter, I am coming prepared with tops that she can wear with her jeggings. She is happy because she feels pretty, and I am happy that she is dressed for the right season. 



She is the biggest help with her sister. In fact, she is playing with her right now while I write this all out!

 

I made my top and my 7 year old's top out of double brushed poly from Knitpop. I played a bit of fabric tetris with it and got 2 long sleeve tops (both with a ruffle) and a pair of baby pants out of out of just 2 yards of fabric! Woohoo!

Resources
  1. Pattern: Women's Mabel Ruffle and Cowl Tunic by 5 out of 4 Patterns and Girls Mabel Ruffle and Cowl Tunic by 5 out of 4. If you purchase both, you can use a coupon for $2 off! 
  2. Mustard floral double brushed poly fabric on my top and my oldest daughters was bought from Knitpop. You can find it here.
  3. Striped fabric for the baby's 9-12 month top is rayon spandex from Sincerely Rylee. I got it in a scrap box from Black Friday last year. Those are SUPER cheap and come packed.
  4. The Blue and Pink Floral for the baby's 6-9 month top is a jersey from Wherehouse Fabrics Dallas.
  5. Pattern for Baby Pants: Juniper Joggers by Striped Swallow
  6. Baby's Headband: a strip of scrap fabric that was 3x30 inches, sewn right sides together on the length of the fabric, turned right side out through a 2 inch hole, and tied in a bow on her head!

Thanks so much for reading my blog! I hope I have inspired you. You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook. If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest. You may also follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Disclosures: I received this pattern for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. This post also may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.


Here are all the photos that I just loved so much. It is so hard to pick favorites of photos of your kids!! Getting all 3 of us in one photo was challenging, but I got a few that at least one of us was cooperating for. 


Monday, November 5, 2018

Color Blocking with the Around the Block Hoodie Pattern by Ellie and Mac


I am a quilter at heart. I'm always working on a quilt and have a design wall for them in my sewing room. I have more design ideas than time, though, and it takes me YEARS to finish a quilt. I also really enjoy sewing clothes so I really love it when I can combine my two hobbies and do colorblocking on clothes! 

When I first saw the design of the Around the Block Hoodie pattern by Ellie and Mac, I have to admit that I squealed a little bit. It mixes a cozy hoodie, warm scraps, pockets, and fun design lines all into one project that I can finish in under two days. YES!


Decisions, Decisions

I immediately dumped my bin of French terry and sweatshirt scraps on the floor and started auditioning them all next to each other to see which combo was my favorite. My favorite way to audition fabric is to take a photo of each combo, and then randomly look through them on my phone throughout the day, delete the photos that seem boring, and see which one makes it to the end of the day. If all else fails, I message a friend. The hood takes the most fabric since it is lined, so I used the scrap that I had the most of on it. 


The Pattern: Sizing

The Around the Block Hoodie Pattern has a very wide size range from XXS to 5XL, which covers bust sizes 29 inches to 60 inches and hip sizes 33.5 to 63 inches. I made a size XS, which is a size down in the bust from just a few months ago. My bust is in a weird place right now because I have been nursing for 10 months. It is no longer in its full postpartum glory, and it is starting to go back to its normal (not very big) size. My waist measurement is actually in the small size, but I did not grade up because the hoodie is not fitted in the waist. My hips were exactly in the XS size range. 


The Pattern: Options

The pattern has the option for top length and a longer hip length. I made top length because I am only 5'2" and like where the top length ends on me. If you want a longer hoodie to cover your bottom or are tall, you will be happy to have a longer length hoodie 

Pockets!! Yes, please. I love big pockets. I notice if I don't add pockets to a hoodie, dress, or pants that I just won't wear it as much, and when I do wear it, I constantly look for where the pockets should be. This must mean that I have sewn for myself long enough that I am so spoiled and expect glorious pockets in everything I wear. 


Modifications

The pattern includes directions for a hood with faux drawstrings with a patch and 3/8 inch grommets. I really like REAL drawstrings so that if I am out running in my hoodie or doing anything else active, I can keep the hood on. I notice that hoods that don't cinch just bounce all over the place and then fall back and choke me. Maybe I am being dramatic? Anyways, it is such an easy change to the pattern that it is hard to really call it a modification. 

When you cut your drawstring, just add 30 inches to the distance around the edge of your hood. I think this made my total drawstring around 58-60 inches. I used the pink French terry from my bottom tier on the hoodie to make my drawstring, so I cut out a strip that was 1.5 inches wide by 58 inches long. I probably had to sew 2 strips together to get the length I needed. I then sewed the tube together on the length of it and then turned it right side out. 

When I was topstitching the hood, I topstitched 3/4 inch away from the hood edge to create a channel for my drawstring to go through, BUT I left about an inch not topstitched near the grommets so that the drawstring could find the channel, casing, or whatever you want to call it. 

Women's Color Blocked Hoodie PDF Pattern

Will I Make it Again?

This pattern is going into my winner bin! I have 3 bins where I store adult patterns: (1) the naughty bin, (2) the indifferent bin - patterns that are ok but that I won't probably make again, and (3) the winner  bin. The winner bin is mostly filled with Greenstyle patterns and then a select few from other designers that I want to make again. It takes a lot to go in my winner bin. The pattern has to get worn a ton and grabbed out of the fresh laundry quick. I may have to do a blogpost round up at the end of the year telling you what made the winner bin this year (or do you want to know what is in my naughty bin? Haha!)

This pattern is also going to keep my scrap bin low. I hope they come out with a kids' version so that I can really bust through more scraps and have fun hoodies for my kids. 


Resources
  • Top Pattern: Around the Block Women's Hoodie by Ellie and Mac. It is on sale for $3.85 for release.
  • Top Fabric: The mint French Terry is called Aruba Blue and is from Joann Fabric, the blue is sweatshirt fleece from my friend Aimee, and the pink is a mystery scrap of French Terry that I have no memory of ever using, so it may have came from Aimee too.
  • Leather Grommet Patch: I used the darker brown  Kraft Tex washable paper. It sews and washes like fabric but looks like leather. I got the sampler pack and plan to use some for bags too. 
  • Bottom pattern: Super G Tights by Greenstyle
  • Bottom fabric: Heavy Black Supplex from Zenith and Quasar


Thanks so much for reading my blog! I hope I have inspired you. You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook. If you want to take a look into the things that inspire me, you can follow me on Pinterest. You may also follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Disclosures: I received this pattern for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. This post also may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Photo Credit: My sweet 9 year old daughter, Abigail.