Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 All Stars

I LOVE doing a year end "review" and looking at my sewing projects I didn't like at all and looking at my favorites. It really helps me to plan better for next year, learn from my mistakes, and have a closet full of clothes that don't make me cry when I get dressed in the morning. I am also a rather sentimental personal and love to look back, remember, and think about how my opinion on a subject may have changed over time. 

I am so excited about this post. This is the post where I spill the beans about what I REALLY wore.  I enjoy pattern testing and try to push myself to try new styles and colors, but sometimes that means I make stuff that I don't wear. You can read my round up blogpost of sewing fails from this year here. 

I have 5 categories of favorites to go over with you today (and a bonus quilt category). I had a hard time picking just one winner on some of the categories, but since I make the rules that is ok. To be listed as a favorite, though, the item had to be worn ALL the time and made in 2018. It had to be picked first when cleaned, well loved, and make me happy every time I wear it. My 5 categories are tops, pants, shorts, gym clothes, and outer layers. I also found it hard to limit this post to only 2018 makes. I still had several 2017 makes that were in constant rotation this year. 

(1) Tops

5 out of 4 Camilla. At the beginning of the Spring of this year, I made the 5 out of 4 Camilla in the sleeveless view and have worn it NONSTOP. It is so easy to breastfeed in and comfortable to wear. I think it is also one of my favorites because of the color. I wear all shades of pink first. I wear white and black just as much when a shade of pink doesn't go with my bottoms. Then, when all of my pink (or white or black) shirts are in the laundry, I look through my other tops.

I initially blogged about the Camilla here. Then, it made its second appearance on my blog paired with a Linden Skirt. You can read that post here

Then, once it was fall, I paired it with a cardigan in this blogpost. I still wear this Camilla all the time. I am so glad I made it sleeveless so it works throughout the year.

Also worth mentioning is the 5 out of 4 Mabel. I just made this top at the beginning of November, but I have worn it every week since. I blogged about it here.

(2) Pants 

Greenstyle Brassie Joggers and P4P SOS Pants. It is no secret that I love the Brassie joggers. They are my ultimate comfort pants that I wear more than any other bottom. I already gushed a ton about them in this post so I won't repeat everything I said. My most worn pair so far this year has been this olive cotton lycra pair.

I also really felt comfortable in and wore my SOS Pants by Patterns for Pirates a lot so I wanted to include them in my favorite bottoms category. They had pockets and felt like real pants but were essentially leggings. You can read my initial post on them here. I have worn the distressed blue knit pair the most.

(3) Shorts

Greenstyle Taylor shorts and Sew a Litle Seam Linden Shorts. I couldn't pick just one favorite shorts pattern so I will include both. My most worn pairs were my grey Taylor shorts and my navy Linden shorts. They were both sooooo good. I can't wait to make more pairs next summer.

Here are my navy Linden shorts. You can read my initial blogpost on them here.

Here are my favorite grey Taylor shorts. You can read my initial blogpost on them here.

(4) Gym Clothes

Greenstyle Xpress tank, Power Sports bra, and Super G Tights. Besides my normal everyday clothes, I separately (try to) work out a lot so I do a lot of activewear sewing. For the gym, my favorites makes from this year are: Xpress tank (top), Super Gs (leggings), and the Power bra. I think this was my favorite outfit of all of them, but I also have a navy Xpress tank I wear just as much with my rose or orange colored Super Gs. 

The awesome thing about the Xpress tank is that it fit me amazing post partum. I must have been crazy because I tested the Xpress tank and modeled pics when my baby was only 2 weeks old! I still felt so squishy and had zero sewing time, but I ended up making 3 during the test because they were so quick and made me feel like I was back to sewing again. I needed the mental break but definitely couldn't handle a project that took any amount of time or lots of thought. 

The good news is that all the tanks I made newly postpartum still fit me now even though I have since lost all that pregnancy weight. I just tie the back a little tighter. Here is the navy one I wear all the time. 

You can read my initial blogpost on the Xpress tank here. You can read my post on the Super Gs here, and my post on the Power bra is here

(5) Layers

This category was hard for me because I wear my RTW coats, cardigans, and sweaters about the same amount as I wear my me made! I feel like a traitor on this category! Having said that, the most worn me-made layering item from 2018 was the Greenstyle Pacific Pullover (and in close second place is the 5 out of 4 Elenore Cardigan that I was wearing above with my Camilla top).

During testing, I made all three versions of the Pacific - the collar, a neckband, and a hood. My favorite of all three was the hood. I think I would be wearing it more than my store bought layers if the zipper went down far enough for me to nurse in and if it was in a color I liked. I much prefer pink or navy. So, sometimes I would go to grab it, and it didn't match me at all.  It also fits me much better now that my bust has shrunk. After this photo, I learned to take photos of my makes AFTER I nurse the baby. 

So, for 2019, I plan to make a Pacific Pullover that will go with more items in my closet, have a hood, and have a longer zipper. I am not sure why I didn't initially put in a zipper that was long enough for breastfeeding (my fault not the patterns), but now that I know better, I will do better. Speaking of plans, I have some big plans coming for 2019 so follow along for that post. 

You can read my initial blogpost on the Pacific here.

Also, do you notice anything about what colors I came back to over and over.... I think I need to pay some serious attention this next year as to which colors I grab the most and buy (and sew!) more of those!


I also must mention that I finished a quilt this year! Yes, just one, but I think I spent more time on clothes than quilts this year, and the quilting projects I have chosen are either massive multi-year undertakings or are being done mostly by hand. This year's favorite (and only) quilt finish was a hand-pieced Grandma's flower garden quilt all out of 2 inch hexis. It was such a great car project that kept my hands busy when I was bored. 

I already have my next English Paper Piecing project picked out, but it may need to wait a few years before I get to it because there are about 5 quilts in the queue ahead of it!

You can read my initial post on this quilt here

Thank you for reading my post today. I hope that I 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, and it gives me money to buy more patterns and fabric!  Any and all opinions expressed are still my own.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Ellie and Mac I Love the 90s Tunics PDF Sewing Pattern Review

It's Wacky Wednesday at Ellie and Mac!! Every Wednesday Ellie and Mac marks a select number of patterns down to only $1 for one day only. This week the "I Love the 90s" Patterns for Girls and for Women is part of the sale! 

I made two of the girls' version of the pattern - one for my oldest daughter and one for the baby. My oldest daughter wanted hers to be tunic length. The pattern comes in a dress length so I removed 5 inches of length from hers to get the length she wanted. I made a size 10 and made no other adjustments. 

The baby doll look on this pattern is absolutely adorable. Also, this was really a quick sewing project since the bodice is lined. The back has two options: one that dips down to make it lower in the back or one that curves a bit upwards to make the back even with the front.

I used rayon spandex on hers and did the lower dip in the back. She was so sweet to help me try to get photos of the baby in her dress. 

The baby turns one in about a week and still has not started walking. She does not want help standing either. Look at the quick progression of tears when asked to hold hands!! 

On the baby's dress, I used a cotton lycra. I removed 1.5 inches in length to make it easier for her to crawl in. I really like the fit on her! 

Her favorite part of the photo session was getting to walk along a rail by herself. She kept stomping and dancing to the beat in her head. She loved this idea, and it was nice to get a shot of her dress from the front!

  1. The I Love the 90s pattern for girls can be found HERE
  2. The women's version is also on sale and can be found HERE
  3. You can find all the patterns that are part of Wacky Wednesday (and free patterns) HERE
  4. The fabric for my oldest daughter's tunic is from Mily Mae.
  5. The fabric for my youngest daughter's dress is from Made Whimsy.  
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: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link.  

Friday, December 21, 2018

2018 Sewing Misses

I sewed a bunch in 2018. I set a goal at the beginning of the year to sew as much of my wardrobe as possible and make as many things for my kids as they asked for. The great news is that I was able to do just that, and I had way more successful projects than failures, but as with every thing, I definitely had some FAILS.

I decided to share those fails with you when a fellow sewing Instagrammer, Tiahna Conrad, inspired me with the lessons she learned from her fails on her blog (You can find that post here.) I really agree with Tiahna that you learn a lot about yourself and your personal style by doing this, and the goal is to learn from your mistakes so that you make less of them!

Let's get in to my top 5! These are ordered by date (not by how much of a failure they were) with the most recent one being the first.

(1) The Shhhout Apen. You can find this pattern on Makerist here. I purchased this pattern when I was pregnant in 2017 for 2 Euros during a sale. I thought it would make the most perfect nursing top and planned to wear it postpartum. I made a size 36, View B.

It took me forever to make, though, and I didn't finish it until last month (when my baby was around 10 months haha!). I think it took me forever because the instructions, even when translated left a lot to be desired. Then, when I did make it, the notches didn't line up in the front for where you attach the cross over into the side seam. I had to rip off the front and figure out how to line it up to where the hemline was even. Once finished, there is too much fabric hanging in my middle section. I could have worn this when I was 40 weeks pregnant.

I really like the fabric that I used and probably would have still worn it, but it just has way too much drape in the neckline and the cross over at the top constantly falls under my bust, which is not a pretty look. I think it looks ok for standing still for photos, but once I moved, it fell under my bust. 

I am undecided what to do with the shirt now. Should I gift it to someone? Should I rip off the front again and take in some of the excess front? I really like the back and sleeves. The fabric is a super soft rib with great recovery. I bet it would work if the neckline was finished with a band to keep it from falling under my bust. 

 (2) Petite Stitchery Symphony Athletic top. I blogged about it here.

I think I have worn it one time since I made it, which is so sad, because again, I love the fabric I used. I haven't worn it because the neckline is way too high and chokes me. I planned to wear it as an over layer for a fitted tank to the gym, but that just hasn't happened because a lot of my gym tanks aren't more fitted than this top. AND I would never work out with an open back and long sleeves. SO? I am not sure what to do with this one.

(3) The Striped Swallow Summer Dawn in Woven. I blogged about this one here when I initially made it. I LOVE the print on the fabric, but I absolutely cannot stand the way the fabric feels. After wearing it for a few hours, it just had a weird texture and just was not comfortable close to my skin. THIS WAS NOT A PROBLEM WITH THE PATTERN. Sorry to yell at you, but I just wanted to make sure it was clear that this one was on the list due to poor fabric choice. I need to remember not to be swayed by a pretty print when it doesn't feel good next to my skin.

I also learned from this dress that I am not a big fan of wrap dresses. One gust of wind, and I am exposed. This isn't a pattern problem because I have yet to meet a wrap dress that didn't make me feel that way. Have you? Is there some style of wrap dresses that feels more secure?

I really loved the pattern. The sleeves were beautiful and the lines were so good. I loved how the tie worked and it was so professionally put together. I think this is the one dress that made me sad to put on this list, but I never wore it for more than a few hours so I had to fess up.

(4) The Bella Sunshine Amelia Dress. This one I haven't blogged about. I made it to wear on a trip to visit my inlaws in February that was scheduled exactly a month postpartum. We had to attend a church service as part of the trip, and I needed a dress that I could easily breastfeed in and that was hopefully flattering on my postpartum body. 

The bodice is fully lined and crosses over in the front and looks really pretty in the back as well. I made the size that I measured at the time. 

The part that I did not like about the dress was the middle black band. It was really uncomfortable to wear and the bottom of the band flared out at the bottom and made me look pregnant again, but I wasn't and really didn't want that look. It was easy to nurse in so I was happy about that, but once I got home, I never wore it again. I later gifted it to my mom. 

(5) The One Puddle Lane Miss Maggie. Right after Hannah was born I was desperate for more nursing tops. I needed a quick sewing project because my time was limited with 5 kids (with one of them being a nursing newborn). What I didn't realize when I bought this pattern was that it has a seam line in the middle of the front where the modesty panel and cowl are connected to the skirt. Since they were connected, I couldn't pull the cowl down to nurse. I know I could have hacked that modesty layer to move up, but I had a nursing newborn and wanted something quick. 

I really was hoping that the cowl was not too deep and immodest. Well, I was wrong, and to make matters worse, my fabric had really bad recovery and seemed to grow as the day went on. Haha! So, without a cami, this top was a no-go. Even with a cami, it just looked awkward. I wore it around the house a few times, and never really felt comfortable in it. 

The pattern has a center seam in the back that gives the back a nice shape. I think the pattern was really well written and would probably work fine if I used a fabric with great recovery and included the modesty panel as the pattern was written. 

So there are my fails. What did I learn? Sewing for a postpartum body can be tricky because you want your clothes to fit, but then again, if they fit, they won't fit for very long. If fabric does not feel good next to your skin, don't buy it. I am not a fan of wrap dresses, and I don't like too deep of cowls. I also don't like wide bands around my waist with a skirt that has dense gathers. I also learned A LOT about color. I will address that more in my sewing successes post that I am working on. That one is taking a bit longer because I have sooo much more to talk about!

Thank you for reading my post today. Be on the lookout for my next end of year post where I feature my all star patterns from 2018.

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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with the 5 out of 4 Sydney Dress

It's the most wonderful time of the year! I love Christmas! Even though I love this season so much, I am not a big decorator or party planner, and I do not sew a lot of gifts. My traditions are a bit slower because I really love to take a step back, rest, and enjoy. Thanks to Amazon prime, I really don't even have to brave a mall. I may watch Home Alone and Elf a few times, bake cookies with my kids for the neighbors, and attend a Christmas party with family, but my one goal is usually to NOT do a ton. 

I did, however, make this one sweet girl happy by listening to her request for a maxi length princess Christmas dress! For today's blogpost, I will be reviewing the Sydney pattern by 5 out of 4 Patterns and talking about what Christmas means to me! Sounds fun, right!?

I had thought about taking a break from pattern testing for December, but this one sucked me in when I saw that it met exactly what Tabitha had been asking me for! I am so glad I obliged because it was rather quick to put together, and I had a lot of fun taking photos with her. 

The Pattern Review and Dress Details

The Sydney Dress has 2 skirt options and 4 skirt lengths. The circle skirt can be a peplum or knee length. The half circle skirt can be peplum, knee, tea, or maxi length. I made Tabitha the maxi length half circle, and I made myself the Tea length half circle. I initially planned the maxi for myself as well, but I would need to cut a half circle maxi on the cross grain to do so, and I really preferred my print on the grain. Thankfully, I could get a Tea length in my size when cut on the grain. 

The pattern can be made sleeveless or with short, elbow, three-quarter, or long sleeves. Since it is winter in my part of the world in a few days, I opted for the long sleeves on my daughter's dress and chose the 3/4 length for myself. 

The Sydney dress has 3 neckline options for front and back (V-neck, scoop neck, and jewel neck). That's right, you can have a V, scoop, or higher neck on your front or on your back, so there is a lot of mixing and matching you can do to get the look you want on the neckline. The bodice is intended to hit at your natural waist and is completely lined. I made the V neck front with the jewel neck band and made her the scoop neck front with the jewel neck back. 

Since the bodice is lined, you use clear elastic to stabilize the neckline. Due to the clear elastic, though, even if you use a lower neckline on the women's, you cannot pull it down to nurse in. So, the pattern has a nursing option where you pull up an over layer. The under layer has cut outs that come from the side and can be finished with your serger. I appreciate it not having boob circles and found it really easy to nurse in.

Our dresses took 3 yards each so they are quite the fabric hogs. They were so worth it, though, because I love the fullness of both of our skirts. 

Tabitha loves that her dress covers all of her legs so she can wear leggings underneath and be very warm. She is always sad in the winter when she has to put away all her girly summer dresses, and she never really likes to wear leggings or tights under shorter dresses. 

POCKETS! Of course, there are pockets!

I think this dress can be made elegant or casual. Everything came together really easily, and I think having so many skirt lengths really helps to make it work for whatever fabric amount I have or look I am going for. A lined bodice is a much quicker way to do a V neck than with a facing or with a neckband. 

I made an XS for myself and graded my bodice to an XXS a the waist and used an XXS skirt. For my daughter's I made a straight size 7 based on her measurements. For fabric, I used double brushed poly for both of our dresses, but you could also use stretch velvet, liverpool, cotton lycra, or rayon spandex. On Tabitha's dress, I love the way the stripes look on the sides and how easy these stripes were to match because of the way the print is. 

The Meaning of Christmas

I began this post with talking about how this is the most wonderful time of the year. I understand that the holidays might not be so wonderful for everyone, especially if you have experienced the loss of a loved one. A lot of my childhood Christmases greatly involved my stepmother, and when her and my father divorced when I was in my mid-20s, it really put a damper on Christmas for several years for me. I really had to refocus myself and my energy to enjoy it again. It helps that I now have little ones of my own to celebrate and create traditions with, but I will forever remember the place she held in my life and the example she set. She was a wonderful mother-like figure to me, and I especially think of her every Christmas. 

So now you are thinking, how could this be the most wonderful time of the year for me?! HA! Well, it is because I celebrate the miracle of Jesus' birth during Christmas time. Jesus' birth is the birth of my Comforter, my Prince of Peace. We wouldn't need comfort and peace if we did not live in such a broken world where things don't turn out as we expect. So, instead of filling myself full of expectations of how I wished things would go, I like to think about the miracle of finding hope and comfort and being made whole because of what He has done. 

I am still working out how this looks for me each year as far as traditions go. Do you have any favorites that you do with your family? I would love to hear about them!

  1. The Women's Sydney pattern is available HERE.
  2. The Girls' Sydney pattern is available HERE. If you put both in your cart, you will get a coupon for $2 off. 
  3. The fabric for Tabitha's dress came from Knitpop. I won it in an auction that they have in their Facebook group. 
  4. The fabric for my dress came from Wherehouse Fabrics Dallas.
Thank you for reading my post today. I hope you have a Merry Christmas!! 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, and it gives me money to buy more patterns and fabric!  Any and all opinions expressed are still my own.