Monday, February 18, 2019

Sewing Spring Dresses - Sofilantjes Vallis + Foras

I am dreaming of Spring... Watching my garden wake up, the kids riding their bikes outside, digging in the dirt, long walks. the cool mornings, and, of course, wearing dresses!! It is so close I feel like I could taste it. When Mandy Pickle from Made Whimsy sent me these stunning strike off fabrics to sew, I just could not stop thinking about Spring dresses. I made a dress for myself and for my youngest daughter and absolutely love how they turned out!!



For my daughter's dress, I used the Sofilantjes Foras dress pattern. It starts at 12 months (the size I made) and goes up to size 12 years. I made my oldest daughter this dress last year and have been waiting until the baby fit on the size chart so that I could make her one too! She is finally on it!



Even though I am dreaming of Spring, the weather still has not caught up to my dreams. It was a rather chilly winter day out so I made my daughters dress in the 3/4 length sleeve and put some leg warmers on her so that she wasn't miserable during photos. I am glad she had them on too because she tripped a few times, and they saved her knees.



The fabric that I used for both of our dresses is a cotton lycra with 92% cotton and 8% lycra. It is super soft and soo adorable. I had to throw in a splash of my dress fabric on the pockets to give her a pop of pink. The yellows in my dress fabric also were the same yellows in the honeycomb so I thought they worked well together. Aren't those bees adorable!?



The pocket on the dress is a functional pocket. She does not understand yet just how great pockets are, but I still took the time to do the pocket because I absolutely love the colorblocking it adds to the dress.



The Foras has an optional gathered skirt or a full circle skirt. I did not have enough coordinate to do the full circle, but I had just enough for the gathered skirt. All those little gathers were worth it because she is so cute in this skirt!



This little princess has my heart! She brings so much joy to our entire family, and I just cannot imagine life without her. She is in that fun stage where she loves to see cause and effect. She dumps, investigates, rearranges, throws out, and has the busiest hands. I never can get over the curiosity and determination of a person entering toddlerhood! It's nice to have her brothers and sisters around to help me keep up with her!



For my dress, I used the Sofilantjes Vallis dress. I tested the dress this summer (You can read that blogpost here), and I have wanted to make another one ever since. The fit was just perfect, and it has been my favorite dress that gets the most wear. I immediately knew it was the dress that I wanted to make again when I saw this floral.



The Vallis has a low back that makes Texas summers bearable and that I find very stunning! Most garments with low backs have a higher front neckline, but this one has a low enough neckline in the front that I can still easily pull it down and breastfeed in it without modifying it.



I picked my bodice size based off of my upper bust and picked my skirt size based on my waist measurement. I did not grade for my hips since the skirt is full. The only change I have to make to this pattern is to do an FBA (Full Bust Adjustment), which is really easy because there is a bust line and instructions on how to get an accurate front piece. My bust has decreased slightly since I made the dress this summer so I just pivoted my FBA piece in slightly based on the measurements I am now. I made the natural waist bodice with skirt A (the half circle). The pattern also includes an asymmetrical handkerchief and handkerchief hem for the natural waist bodice. If you are pregnant, the pattern has an empire bodice with a gathered skirt also included.



Pockets! Do you see how cold I am in this photo too? Ha. It still is not spring, but a girl can dream (and quickly put her coat back on when photos are over!)



I feel like we are ready for a vacation in these photos. Or to go to a wedding? I am not sure where we will be going yet, but I do know that if someone invites me to a fun event, I will not be up until 1 am the night before making a last minute dress!


Resources

1. The fabric for my dress and my sweet princess's dress came from Made Whimsy. Both fabrics are currently open for preorder through March 5. You can order them here.
2. The pattern for my dress is the Sofilantjes Vallis dress. You can purchase the dress here. You can read my previous blogpost on the dress here.
3. The pattern for my daughter's dress is the Sofilantjes Foras dress. You can purchase the dress here. You can read my previous blostpost on the dress here

Thanks 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: I received both patterns for free as part of the testing process to give the designer feedback about the instructions and fit of the pattern. I received this fabric for free so that I could sew it up and provide modeled photos of it. 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.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

A Greenstyle Stride UPDATE + A New Jillian Tank + More Fitcapsule Sewing

I am in full blown fit capsule wardrobe sewing mode. My Type A personality is thriving on all this planning and execution. When I did Step 1 (the cleaning out your closet and pulling out your workout clothes part), I was quite surprised that I already have a definite color scheme. I took a sigh of relief and was excited to see I had such a nice base. (You can read the details of my fit capsule planning in this post.) It became very apparent to me, though, that I have a few favorite pieces that get so much love; so, obviously, I needed to make more of them! 

Today's project that I am crossing off of my fit capsule sewing list is a Jillian tank and a pair of Stride tights. I also decided to dress like a crayon, so bear with me. 


More Jillian Tanks Please

I absolutely love the Greenstyle Jillian pattern and still need several more of them in my closet. I have only made the Jillian as a tank once, and it reminded me exactly of a store bought tank that I own - with one exception - the back of my store bought tank is a thin racerback that is also attached to the bodice the same way the Jillian is. Since both tanks are exactly alike, I knew the Jillian would be very easy to modify to get the same look. 



Sizing and Modifications

I made a XXS and removed 1 inch at the lengthen/shorten line. I am currently in between sizes and thanks to breastfeeding can measure to be a XS bust before breastfeeding and a XXS bust after feeding. I went with the smaller size since I know that a sports bra keeps me in the XXS size, and I did not want any looseness in my tank after nursing the baby. 

To modify the tank, I removed 1 inch from the top of the straps on the front of the Jillian (the inner tank). Instead of using the straps in the pattern, I grabbed my Lille Racerback and copied the racerback top to get the neckline correct. Then, I thinned the racerback to where I wanted it. 


Binding

To calculate the neckline binding, I made the width 1.25 and the length 85% (plus seam allowances) of the finished neckline. I did not calculate the armhole/back binding. Rather, I just cut one long strip 1.25 wide and started at the bottom of the racerback, went up towards the shoulder, down under the armpit, across the back, up the shoulder again, and finished at the bottom of the other side of the racerback. I made this entire outfit out of a yard, so by the time I got to binding, I had to piece my binding. 

When applying the binding, I applied the right side of the binding to the right side of my shirt. I quartered it for my neckline, but since I just had one long strip for my armhole/back (around 60 inches long!), I had to wing it. When winging binding, you have to think about where it needs to be stretched and where it doesn't. The bottom of the armhole and concave areas need a little bit of stretching, while areas like the back that is a straight line, you just need to keep it firm. You can tell it is stretched too much if you see puckers. You can tell that you did not stretch the binding enough if you have gaping. Every fabric has different recovery as well so you need to test on a scrap piece to see how you feel your fabric will lay.

Once serged on right sides together, I wrap my binding around the back and fold it under (like I am quilting) and then use a twin needle to topstitch it down from the right side. I still have not invested in a cover stitch and hope to one day have one! Until then, my twin needle and I are getting along rather well. 



Why did I put the Jillian at the top of my list of tanks to sew? Because it is my favorite tank to RUN in. I use the shelf bra that is included in the pattern and wear the Greenstyle Power Sports Bra underneath that, and I get ZERO BOUNCE. Just in case you missed that.. ZERO BOUNCE!! Ya'll I have breastfed 5 babies so when I run, they need all the "staying put" power they can get. I also don't like a lot of movement in my chest when running. The one time I sacrificed this and wore a non-supportive bra/tank combo to run in, I got a breast infection/clogged duct. It was really painful! Lesson learned.  

I also love the Jillian because it holds me in and does not swish all over the place when I am running. I also like to use fabrics that don't have a lot of drape and are more on the firm side like cotton lycra, supplex, or any light to medium weight athletic fabrics. When I was matching fabric to pattern when planning for my fitness capsule, my flowy, light fabrics were put in a pile for the open back tank, solo, or Xpress tank. The lighterweight supplex, cotton lycras, and less flowy fabrics were put in the pile to be made into Jillian tanks. I seem to use both types of fabrics on the Lille though just depending on what type of tank I want it to be (the Lille also has a shelf bra so I like to use a firmer fabric on it too when I do a shelf bra or want to use it for running). 


The Strides are UPDATED!!

The Greenstyle Stride Tights pattern was released in the summer of 2015, and since being release, cell phones have gotten bigger and bigger. An update was in order; so, Angelyn increased the width and depth of the pocket to accommodate the newer, bigger phones that many of us now have. The pocket is also placed higher and easier for my arms to access. If you have already made the pocket on the Super G tights, it is now the same size as that pocket. 

The Stride tights have magic booty lifting properties. Seriously. I think the pattern lines make your backside look good. They are my "go-to" tights when I have a nice contrasting fabric that I want to use for colorblocking. I used the oval gusset included in the pattern and like the range of motion I get in these too!


Fabric

The fabric that I used for this set is all supplex from the Styled Magnolia. I really like their supplex because it is not that heavy. I live in Texas where the heat can be brutal during the summer, and it is the perfect weight to be comfortable in outside. I also think that it is still very opaque despite not being heavyweight. It has a firmer stretch than some of the other supplex fabrics I have tried, which I found really nice because it did a great job of keeping everything very smooth. I feel that sometimes I go for heavier weight fabrics in hopes that they won't show every lump and bump, but I was able to use a fabric that was not as thick, and I still feel nice and supported. 

This is the festival color of their solid supplex, and it is sold by the half yard. The floral print will be coming to their custom order supplex line soon, so join their Facebook group here or subscribe to my blog, and I will let you know when. I am wearing a power bra that I made out of their custom supplex under my Jillian tank, and I really can't wait to share it with you!!  



Resources
  1. The Jillian tank pattern can be found HERE.
  2. The Stride tights pattern can be found HERE. My last blogpost on them is HERE.
  3. The Power Sports Bra pattern I am wearing underneath can be found HERE. I have blogged about it before HERE and will hopefully be blogging about this one soon.
  4. All of my fabric came from the Styled Magnolia
All of Greenstyle's athletic patterns are marked down 25% as part of the Greenstyle Fit Capsule Challenge. Come join me in the challenge in the Greenstyle Facebook Group. Don't forget to download your free fit capsule planning worksheet in my planning blogpost

Thanks for reading! I hope I have inspired or encouraged 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.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Greenstyle One Button Cardigan + Buttonhole Woes + More Fit Capsule Planning


I made the coziest wrap cardigan!! I am in super planning mode as I plan for my Fit Capsule. (You can find the details of said plan and challenge HERE.) and one of the items I have been wanting to make is the Greenstyle One Button Cardigan. It is a wrap cardigan that is absolutely perfect for the weather where I live and is such a great layering piece to throw on over my tanks and leggings for before and after work outs.


I started this cardigan a few weeks ago in anticipation of sewing for my fit capsule. This one is my test version to get a better feel of the pattern before using fabric in my color scheme. Now, don't be fooled, this fall inspired, rust orangish UT looking-color IS NOT in my capsule plan and IS NOT a color I ever buy. I picked up this fleece in a local destash, and I HAD to have it! As my hands brushed by it, I all of the sudden no longer saw color. It felt softer than a kitten... so squishy, plush, and warm. My daughter begged me not to cut it but to let her use it as a blanket. It is some type of sweatshirt fleece. The fleece side is more like minky but just as easy to sew as any stable knit. I feel like I am wearing a blanket!


Even though I say it is not one of my normal colors, I was absolutely surprised at how many things in my wardrobe this went with. I grabbed my favorite yoga pants (that I blogged about HERE) to wear with it for photos, but ya'll, I was so excited to see how many outfits this cardigan went with! (Don't worry about my decision not to change serger thread, just pretend you don't see that!) 


Pattern Review 

The One Button Cardigan pattern has the option of a straight front or an angled front. I spent way too long trying to decide which one I wanted and really couldn't tell from the tester photos which view was which. So, I made the angled front, which is more apparent when I have it closed how the front angles to one side. I think I will make a straight front on my next one, just so I can have the two photos side by side. 

I made the regular length on the pattern. There also is a longer length included. 

I made a size XS/S, which is the smallest size in this pattern. The pattern fits bust sizes 33 to 49. The pattern is drafted for knits with at least 25% stretch. The fleece I used has about 75% horizontal stretch and no vertical stretch. It also is very structured and does not have the drape like the pattern recommends. I feel like the pattern has plenty of ease for those thicker cardigan weight fabrics that do not have a lot of stretch.

The pattern has optional patch pockets, which I have not added. I am already regretting that decision because pockets are a must for me.


I did not follow the pattern recommendation as to where to put the button. I put the buttonhole at the top corner of one of the front panels and put the button on the side of my collar. I wanted the fleece to feel like a scarf around my neck and to have the cardigan feel more closed in the front. I loved how this placement turned out. 


Can we talk about button holes? I interface, test on a scrap, take a deep breath.... and AHRGH... Get out the seam ripper, say a prayer. My machine hates the buttonhole to be near any thick parts of the garment. This is the lesson that I have learned from this cardigan: buttonholes BEFORE hems. My machine does so much better when it is not moving the fabric around with a bulky hem anywhere nearby to trip it up. I had wanted to have the buttonhole a little closer to the edge, but I had to move it farther in. It all worked out, but I had to work on it longer than I had planned. Am I the only one who feels this way about buttonholes?


This fabric is really thick for the open front view. My waterfall is not as "cascading" as the pattern intends, but I really love it anyways. I also did a mitered corner for my bottom hem and regretted that I did not for where the collar meets the front edge. Another lesson learned, and I am so glad that I made a muslin!


Look how cozy the back collar is!


The One Button Cardigan is on sale!! All of Greenstyle's athletic patterns are marked down 25% as part of the Greenstyle Fit Capsule Challenge. Join in the challenge in the Greenstyle Facebook Group. Don't forget to download your free planning worksheet in my planning blogpost

Thanks for reading! I hope I have inspired or encouraged 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.  





Photo Credit: My sweet daughter, who instantly stole my cardigan once the photoshoot was over!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Sew Your Own Activewear Capsule Wardrobe + a FREE Planning Worksheet

Imagine a closet full of clothes that you love. You quickly get dressed because every item that you grab has many other items in your closet that work so well with it. and. make. you. feel. good. I have a concept to talk to you about today - capsule wardrobing - and a FREEBIE to get you started!

When I first heard about the concept of a "capsule wardrobe," I was actually very skeptical and rather resistant. It just seemed too minimalistic and limiting. I sew a lot and enjoy buying fabric. Despite how many clothes I have, though, I still have those moments where I stand in my closet and say "I have nothing to wear!?!"  Or, sometimes, I finish a garment and realize that I have nothing in my closet to wear it with. Yikes!

So, I have been thinking a lot about capsule wardrobing and finally realized I needed to somehow adapt some of its principles to my life. Of course, I am adding my "avid sewist" spin on the concept. Greenstyle Creations has an annual capsule wardrobe challenge for athletic clothes that starts today. You can join in the fun HERE, and you can read the post with all the contest details HERE. So, I started to do my research to see how I could have a more streamlined closet, and I think starting with just my athletic clothes and giving myself a month to work on it is a nice, doable goal for me.


What exactly is a capsule wardrobe? It is just a fancy way of saying that you have coordinated and versatile clothes in your closet and that you can get multiple outfits out of each piece. The focus is on selecting top-quality, long-lasting pieces of clothing that you love, that match your lifestyle, and that you feel good in. You may invest more in each piece, but you save money in the long run because you do not have an overwhelming amount of clothes. When done correctly, you have a closet full of clothes that bring you joy and getting dressed is not full of tears. 

A lot of the resources I have read focus on limiting the number of garments in your capsule to a set number (usually like 24-37). You have a certain amount of bottoms and tops and then there is a grid that looks like math. AND THERE YOU LOST ME. I like math. Don't get me wrong, but I felt like I was getting lost in the weeds and nothing was sinking in. I will never have a complete wardrobe, and I will never limit myself to only a certain amount of pieces. I enjoy sewing too much and will continue to buy fabric and sew despite how complete my wardrobe may be. So, don't worry, I just cannot tell you that 37 items is enough (at least not today!). 

I think the point of this capsule challenge for me will be (1) to add more mindfulness and planning to my fabric shopping and think twice before I grab fabric just because it is on sale. (2) to be more mindful of sewing patterns that are more functional for my lifestyle (as opposed to jumping at every trend - my time is precious!), and (3) to reduce decision fatigue when I get dressed. The more streamlined my wardrobe is, the more I am not staring at a bunch of clothes that don't match or fit me correctly!

So without further ado, let's get started!


If you are participating in the Greenstyle Fit Capsule challenge with me, I have created this fun worksheet for you! You can Download and Print Your FREE Greenstyle Fit Capsule Planning Worksheet here. If you want a blank planning sheet to fill in your own patterns, you can Download and Print Your FREE Blank Capsule Planning Worksheet here

Step 1: Let's Purge!!

This is that fun step where we are going to pull out all the fitness clothes in our wardrobe. You can do it Marie Kondo style and put them all in one big pile. Go through them, try them on. Think about what you love about each piece and what you don't. Divide these clothes up into three piles: (1) keep (it's in great condition, and I love it!), (2) I am not sure, and (3) toss/donate/recycle.

For pile #1, make notes in your worksheet about what you love about each item. Think about the colors you gravitate towards and the styles that make you feel your best. Do you have a select few pieces that get the most wear?

Now, let's decide what we are keeping from pile #2. I think it is helpful to make lots of notes on your worksheet for this step. At the bottom of page 2, fill out all those empty lines with your notes from your purge. Make notes about color, how often you wore it, why you are not sure of it. If it is an item that you really do love but is worn out, make notes to replace it. If it is an item that can be altered, send it to your sewing room to be fixed. If it is an item that you love but are no longer that size, have a storage bin handy to store it out of your closet. I have a hard time parting with maternity clothes (the last time I threw them all out I got pregnant!).

Step 2: Pattern Choices - What Do I Have and What is Missing?


Keep your worksheet out for this one too. You have 4 categories to keep track of: tops, bottoms, undergarments, and layering items (sweaters, pullovers, etc.). I did not include accessories (shoes, hats, gloves, etc) on your worksheet, but feel free to include them in your style notes if that is an item you need for your fitness lifestyle. Make careful notes for each category as to which pieces you have and which ones you need to add. Do you have 20 pairs of leggings and not enough tanks? Are you wearing the same few bras repeatedly? Is your favorite top pilled and worn? Write down real numbers.

Your list of items that you need to add to your closet may be rather bare bones right now so this is the step where we translate what we need to actual patterns. If you need 5 tanks, this is where you decide which tank patterns you want to sew. Maybe you want them all to be different patterns. Also, don't be swayed by having a closet full of trends. Make sure you are also picking staple pieces that are useful and match your activity level and lifestyle. 



Step 3: Let's Decide on Color!!

If you skip any step, do not skip this one! This is probably the most crucial step that will reward you greatly when this process is over. Before you even start to look at fabric, we have to decide on colors. Let's start by looking at what you kept in Step 1. What trend do you see? Do you already have a special item that you want to build your wardrobe around?  Look through photos of yourself. What colors make you look good? What colors wash you out? What colors do you always grab first? 

I went through lots of capsule wardrobe plans and so many of them were so.... well, blah. Their color choices and lack of brightness and prints made me want to abandon the whole process before I started. They were not ME and looked nothing like fabrics I would buy or wear. So, make sure that you aren't so busy focusing on what you think the right answer someone else would pick or your favorite Pinterest pin looks like. Pick YOU and what you know you will wear. 

I found this Color Guide very helpful. My favorite color is pink, and surprisingly, it's suggestions were pretty spot on for me! If you want to do more research into what colors look good ON YOU, I found this article to also be very helpful.

Step 4: Fabric, Fabric, Oh My!


Now that you know what patterns you need and what your color palette is, it is time to pick fabric. Pull out all the fabrics from your stash that go with the color palette you selected in Step 4. Take each item you are planning to sew and pair it with a fabric. Pay special attention to balance. You do not want all prints or all solids or all one color in any category. The exception to this for me is that I notice that I am more likely to wear a layering item if it is a solid because it will go with so many more outfits. 

Use as much of your stash as possible, but if you do not have it on hand, now is the time to go fabric shopping! That part is always so much fun, but be focused and stick to your plan. Only get what is on your list! Don't get distracted with buying something just because it is on sale, and don't get swayed and buy all prints. Remember: balance and stick to your plan.

Step 5: It's time to SEW!


It's time to execute your plan!! For the Greenstyle FitCapsule Challenge, you can win a prize each week by participating! For Week 1, print off your worksheet and start planning. Post in the group what you are working on. Ask questions. Let's sew our capsules together! To be eligible for the Grand Prize at the end of the challenge, you need to have sewn at least 3 new items using Greenstyle patterns that are part of your new athletic capsule. 

Need some Inspiration? 

When I started working on my plan, I looked through photos of some of my favorite athletic Greenstyle makes that I wear often. Also, to help you get started with your capsule sewing for the fit capsule challenge, Greenstyle is having a 25% off sale of their athletic patterns for two weeks (no code needed).

(1) Tops (from left to right): Solo tank, Tie Back tank, Xpress tank, and Lille Racerback tank.


Tops (from left to right): Jillian Tank with the included built in shelf bra and Lacy Slope Tank.


(2) Bottoms (from left to right and top to bottom): Brassie joggers, high rise Super Gs, Inspire tights, modified Super Gs, capri Stride Tights, midrise Super Gs


Bottoms (from top to bottom): Brassie jogger shorts and Moxi Shorts.


(3) Layers (from left to right and top to bottom): Lacy Slope Hoodie, Studio to Street Hoodie, Pacific Pullover with Hood, and Midway Bomber Jacket.


(4) Undergarments (from left to right): No Show Thong and Power Sports Bra


Now that you have seen a few of my Greenstyle makes all together, do you see my color scheme? Can you catch what does not belong? Just putting these photos together made it really easy for me to see the items I need to replace and what I need to make for this challenge.


Thanks for reading! I hope I have inspired or encouraged 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.