2018 Year in Review

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I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of another year.  It seems like as my kids get older that time is speeding up.  We reached some major milestones this year in our family as my oldest turned 16 (and got his driver license!), my second oldest started high school,  and my youngest started first grade and is gone at school all day now.   They continue to keep me busy and my happy place is definitely watching them do the things they love.  This picture kills me and I love that my youngest three and I are all wearing handmades.

I love to look back each year on all that I’ve sewn and reflect on the big winners (and losers) that have come off my sewing machines.  One of my goals this year was to be a little more deliberate in my sewing, to avoid testing things that I didn’t see fitting in with our wardrobes, and to pick fabrics that could hold up to our lifestyle.

This year I sewed 130 garments for my kids and 51 for myself and just a handful for gifts.  Those numbers kind of amaze me.  I’ve cut my sewing time way down, sewing just a couple of days a week and trying not to sew at night or on weekends when the family is all home.  I tend to gravitate to quick knit sews so those numbers are a big reflection of that.  I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites from this year and a couple that have already been passed along.

DRESSES

 

I could sew up dresses all day, every day.  They are my favorite thing to make for both me and my girls and I know they’ll get worn.  It’s so nice to look in our closets each Sunday and have so many great choices to pick from.  I’m still not a dress during the week gal so I’ve tried my best to only sew up church appropriate dresses for myself.  Sewing dresses for my girls is so rewarding because I can make them long enough for their long legs!  It’s so great being able to blend sizes, creating dresses that fit like a glove.

Patterns and blog post links clockwise from upper left corner: Waterfall Raglan, Larkspur, Modified Blake Dress, Upton Dress, Fringe Dress, Orchid Midi Dress, Manhattan Dress, and Starlight City Dress

LOUNGEWEAR

Between my little man refusing to wear anything besides knit pants and my affinity to joggers, our everyday clothes tend to focus on comfort.  Luckily I think our comfy clothes don’t sacrifice style.  This winter I’ve made my little man a handful of joggers in my hunt to find the perfect pattern for his long legs and tiny waist.  I’m still searching and it’s a challenge I’m happy to continue on as they whip up in no time.

My most used pattern this year was the free Love Notions Leggings pattern.  My oldest daughter can sew them up herself and we’ve made a dozen between the two of us this year.  They pick tunic and leggings outfits almost everyday and I’m all for it.

I reach for my joggers almost every day as well.  I love that they are so comfy for working around the house but I can also run to the store and not feel grossly under dressed.  Brassie Joggers from Greenstyle have become my go-to jogger pattern.  I love the slim but not tight fit and I don’t get the weird crotch bunching I’ve experienced with other patterns.

Patterns and Blog posts clockwise from top left corner: Movie Night Pj’s, Panama Tee and Brassie Joggers, Brassie Joggers and Green Tee, Samson Sweater and LN Leggins, Sloane Sweater and Leggins, Lexi and Lou Loungers and #121 Ringer Raglan, and Mini Hudson Joggers

SWEATSHIRTS

Living in Utah we have sweater weather a good 9 months of the year.  Sewing hoodies and sweatshirts just make sense and they get worn to death!  Everyone in the family got one this year, including my first sews for my dad and my husband.  Nothing beats a cozy top on a cold snowy day!

Patterns and Blog Posts clockwise from top left corner: Pixie Tee, Metro Pullover, Hudson Hoodie, Toaster Sweater from Sew House 7, Jolly Roger Raglan, Sloane Sweater, Brunswick Pullover, Constance Sweater, North Star Pullover

SWIMSUITS

Swimsuits just might be the most rewarding things to sew.  We all hate trying them on in stores and they rarely ever fit me and my girls.  We’ve got long torsos and modest tastes which makes it super difficult to find suits in ready-to-wear.  This summer I didn’t sew nearly as many as in 2017 but I did manage to sew a few new favorites.

Patterns and Blog Posts: Mama Camila, Calypso, School’s Out Shorts and Jolly Roger RaglanCamila Suit and Catalina Swimsuit, and Linden Shorts

MISSES

You’ll notice most of these misses are for me with the exception of the tie for my cute boy.  Sewing for my kids is so rewarding because there are rarely ever fit issues and I know what types of fabrics they’ll wear.  The tie was more of a pattern issue and was a sad waste of fabric.  I’m super grateful for the cute pictures I got of my handsome kid and that all makes up for the lost time and fabric.

Now on to my misses.  This year was a bit of an awakening for me.  After a long winter of not taking care of myself, I’d slowly gained more weight than I did my last pregnancy.  I felt tired all the time and hated sewing for myself as I had to size up all my favorite patterns.  Taking pictures and seeing the unhappiness show through to the pictures was too much.  In May I finally decided to do something about it and started a simple fitness and counting calories routine.  I feel a hundred times better, my anxiety is easier to handle, and I look forward to sewing for me again.

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These misses all came early in the year.  My Phoenix Blouse sat in my closet unworn until I passed it on to my sister.  I love the pattern and would like to give it another go in a different fabric.  This crepe was super drapey and so difficult to work with that by the time I was finished sewing it I was so angry at it!  I added the Amalfi sleeves and realized that I’m not a huge fan of them.

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The Sonata Dress testing was the wake-up call for me.  I was at my heaviest and this dress just felt so unflattering.  I planned to wear it as a cover-up this summer but didn’t really have the opportunity.  It will come with me on our beach vacation coming up and I’m hopeful it will get worn a bit this coming summer as well.

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The Driftwood Top was simply a matter of poor fabric choice for this pattern.  I love the feel of this fabric but it was far too structured for this boho-feel blouse.  This one never got worn but I do hope to make another version in something lightweight this spring.

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I had high hopes for this eyelet Harmony Top.  I’ve been searching for a great woven tee pattern and the Harmony is pretty close.  I altered the neckline to be more crewneck since I don’t really like scoop necks.  The biggest issue with this particular top is that I made it too big to begin with.  I sewed up a medium but I’m happily back to my Love Notions small.   Since the eyelet is lacking drape, it’s very easy to see that it’s just too large.

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The Joy Jacket is my saddest miss this year.  I absolutely adore this pattern and hope I will have the time to make another one this year.  I felt so accomplished after I finished this one and I marvel at the beauty of it. BUT, my fabric choice makes it so unpractical.  I’ve yet to wear it for fear of getting it dirty.  C’mon, if it’s cold enough for a jacket there’s a pretty good chance it might get dirty.  The fabric is a tad sheer and with the seams being unfinished (it’s lined so you wouldn’t normally see them) I’m scared that a spin in the washer will leave me with shredded edges that will show through.  It looks beautiful hanging in my closet and I will never get rid of it for pure sentimentality but it was a big lesson learned for me.

I had so much fun looking back on this year and reflecting on all that I was able to accomplish.  As I look forward to the new year I’m not sure if I’ll make any goals or join any challenges.  I’m hoping to continue my journey to find what works for my wardrobe and what’s worth my time and effort to sew.  I realize that I don’t have to sew everything and I’m ok with not wearing handmades all the time.  I want to continue to sew for my kids since they are the ones that really struggle finding ready-to-wear clothing that fits.  I’m so excited for a new year full of possibilities!

2017 Hits and Misses- Women’s Edition

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2017 has flown by and like everyone we’ve had our share of ups and downs around here.  It’s so nice to sit back and reflect on all our blessings, everything we’ve accomplished, and also the mistakes and trials we’ve had and how we have grown because of them.  For the first time, I’m sitting down and really analyzing this little ‘hobby’ of mine and what I’ve learned this year.  There are a few super memorable makes and a lot of forgotten ones too.  Let’s start with the good things shall we,

1- Velvet Wrap Dress

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This project was one of those that I had in my head for months and it came out even better than my vision.  It was out of comfort zone in many ways.  It was my first wrap dress- I’d never even tried one on, so I was nervous the style just wouldn’t be my thing.  It’s also a much trendier look than I tend to gravitate to.  Despite my trepidation it turned out to be one of my favorite things I’ve ever sewn.  Being able to customize the fit just how I wanted it made this dress perfection in my book.

2- Willamette Shirt

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This Willamette Shirt from Hey June turned into my most worn piece all summer.  I can’t wait to sew up a couple more for spring.  It was a game changer for me.  After sewing this up and seeing how much more flattering this top is compared to my knit tees I realized that woven tops were where it’s at.  I love button ups all fall/winter so it makes sense to want to wear something similar in warmer weather.  I need to fill my closet with these, Key Largos, and Shoreline Boatnecks.  Bonus that they’re pretty quick and easy sews too!

3- Cardigans

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I’m embarrassed to admit that this simple piece is easily my most worn handmade item.  A simple Boyfriend Cardigan in the coziest french terry ever just doesn’t get much better.  It’s a year-round staple and looks great with jeans, joggers, even a cute knee-length dress.

These two new cardigans have quickly become go-tos also.  They are oversized and cozy without looking sloppy- a fine line I feel like I’m always walking.  These three cardigan patterns are essentials in my book and will continue to be must have layering pieces in my wardrobe.

4- Love Notions Bluezette

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While I love to make dresses for my girls, I feel like I struggle finding the right style and fit for myself.  I’ve made dozens of dresses this year and while I still wear a lot of them, many just sit in the back of my closet.  Finding a flattering fit on my body type has proved to be a challenge.  The Bluezette from Love Notions is pretty darn near perfect for me though.  With an elastic casing at my natural waist, a tiny bit of blousiness in the bodice, multiple sleeve lengths, and a pocket modification this dress just gets me.  It’s comfort and style all in one.  This is one I can’t wait to sew up again in the coming year.

5- Camila Swimsuit

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In all my swimwear sewing this year, I made myself four suits and this was by far my favorite.  I can’t say it’s the most flattering (let’s face it though, no swimsuit is going to magically make all my flaws disappear) but it’s the suit that I feel the best in.  The on trend style, amazing fabric, and the option to wear the ruffle off the shoulder or under the arms makes this suit the first one I grab.  It’s such a quick sew too and the first pattern I’d recommend to anyone wanting to venture into swimwear sewing for themselves.

 

You might have noticed I’ve left off all my hoodies and tees from this list.  It’s no question that I’m a HUGE lover of all things french terry, brushed poly and cozy and they are left off the list because they are just too obvious.  Nothing groundbreaking and learned by making my tenth Halifax or Sloane Sweater.  If YOU haven’t made one though I challenge you to add it to your 2018 line-up stat!

 

Ok, are we ready for the misses?  These are things that just aren’t getting the love they deserve.  They linger in my closet, unworn for various reasons.  Some are just not that practical for me.  Some are too far out of my comfort zone.  I will tell you that these are all fantastic patterns from amazing designers but they just don’t work for me.

1- Dresses

I mentioned above how much I struggle with dresses.  I love, love to sew them up and I’m always game to try a new pattern and style.  These dresses in theory should work for me.  Like the Bluezette, the top two dresses feature an elastic waist with a loose fitting bodice.   The Catalina Dress on the upper left is just a matter of fit on me.  The loose, wide neck and arms just don’t work with my modest style.  I wear it with a undershirt and it’s fine but not ideal and so it’s not one I reach for.  The Timeless Dress on the upper right is just a matter of wrong fabric choice I think.  I had visions of chambray and lace but it quickly turned too ‘Little House on the Prairie’ for me and I just can’t get over it.

That Olympia on the lower left is stunning in real life too.  This dress is a matter of tester girl problems.  This was a test dress that has a slight issue in the shoulders that was addressed and fixed in the final pattern.  During testing it’s our job to point out any and all weird fit issues and then when you wear those garments it’s hard to ignore those issues however minor they may be.  The solid color makes the issue harder for me to ignore and also makes any body issues more difficult to hide.  This is a sad one for me to see sitting unworn because it’s a beaut!

The Cadence in the lower right is just a matter of not being my style.  It’s super cute and an easy to wear silhouette but falls into the too casual for church category.  Like my girls, I always think I’ll wear dresses during the week but rarely actually do.  Every single tee-shirt dress I own just sits in my closet reminding me that no matter how much I want to be the cute mom in sneakers and a dress- it’s just not me.  This little rayon dress is a step above the knit dresses I own so I thought it’d be worn but alas, I reach for my other dresses first everytime.  This could be more of a matter of having too many other choices too 😉

2- Tallinn Sweaters

Guys, these two Tallinn Sweaters are so, so good!  Like, I look at these pictures and totally want to wear them everyday.  It’s such a cute style and the pattern is so well done. That pretty cream sweater though brings out my inner toddler.  The turtleneck is buggy and itchy, the sleeves seem too tight and the open flap means I feel the need to wear an undershirt and another too warm layer.  Totally my own issues and not the patterns and I still drool over every Tallinn Sweater I see.  I’m hopeful that lovely blush version will get worn this spring though.   Without the turtleneck and added width in the sleeves it’s comfortable and so cute- problem is it’s a little ‘too cute’ for me.  Not too crazy girly though so I’m not giving up on her yet!

3- Farrah Blouse

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This is another AMAZING pattern by an amazing designer.  The Farrah is one of those patterns that the more I see it the more I love it too.  It taught me a lot though.  It’s so hard to see everyone looking stunning in their garments only to realize it just doesn’t work for you.  I will still wear this cute top but thought I’d share my thoughts on it with you.  First, it’s not very practical for me.  I need to wear sleeves for modesty issues and these cute flutters just don’t cut it.  I wear a cap sleeve undershirt with this and it works but it’s just not comfortable.  My other issue with this top is completely my own body issue.  I struggle with my upper arms and my small chest just accentuates my larger than normal guns (haha- if only it was all muscle ;).  If you notice, I tend to gravitate towards elbow sleeves and shy away from any kind of puff shoulder or cap sleeve.  Add in the fact that the ruffles make it hard to layer with this top and it’s just not a piece I wear.  Sad, huh?!  It’s so hard to not want to sew up every hot new pattern but this has taught me to really think about my pattern choices.  Does it work for my body type and lifestyle?  What I’m really asking is, “Will a lazy, stay-at-home middle age mom really wear this?”

4- Quilting Cotton and Cotton/Lycra Tops

Tell me I’m not the only one that falls for all the cute prints available in quilting cotton?  Whenever a new fabric tour rolls around I always want to sew up the pretty prints for myself.  I think what I’ve learned with the thicker quilting cotton is that they need structure and clean simple lines.  That darling Shoreline Boatneck in the upper left would make a great maternity top judging by the fact that it totally makes me look six months pregnant.  The fabric is just a too stiff for a gathered peplum style.  The Beatrix in the upper right needs just a couple tweaks to really work.  My main issue is where the sleeves hit and that the fabric is too thick at the elbows making it super uncomfortable.

Now onto cotton/lycra.  I really love the feel of it.  Raspberry Creek Fabrics makes some of the best and it’s like the softest stuff ever.  Art Gallery fabrics prints are so beautiful too!  It’s a dream to sew with- nice and thick, doesn’t curl, and presses well.  It makes a perfect fitted tee, problem is I don’t like wearing fitted tees.  My preferred loose boyfriend tee style just doesn’t work well with the thickness of cotton/lycra.  This is a sad thing for me to come to grips with but those unworn tees in my closet just can’t be ignored.  I will continue to sew up ALL the cotton/lycra for my kiddos and I’ll be on the lookout for the perfect top pattern for me too.  Do you have any suggestions?  What’s your favorite adult pattern to use up all those pretty cotton/lycra prints?

5- Floral Jumpsuit

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Oh man!  This outfit may possibly be the most comfortable thing I’ve never actually worn 😉  I’d been wanting to make a jumpsuit and thought a simple knit version was the perfect place to start.  It’s just too much guys- just looking at these pictures makes me cringe.  I was super sick and just couldn’t hide it too.  Maybe that’s why the outfit is tainted for me.  Dressing up and heading outside in freezing temps while feeling icky and out of my comfort zone was probably too much for me.  This print is fantastic but I know I should have stuck with a simple solid when trying out something so new to me.  Jumpsuits looks incredible on the young and hip but this just made me feel old and so uncool.

This is another lesson learned.  It’s so fun to try new things and push our boundaries.  Nothing was really lost in this failure and I get a good laugh when I think about this day.  That’s what sewing is to me- A chance to learn and grow, to find what works for me, to really learn about myself and my own individual style, to try new designers and silhouettes, and to really increase my sewing knowledge.  With every success, I get more confidence.  Every failure, brings lessons too.  Thanks for joining me on this journey and I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!

2017 Hits and Misses: Kid Edition

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I get so much pure JOY from sewing for my children.  I love creating unique, fun clothing that suits their personalities and body types.  In 2017 I sewed more for my kids than ever.  I thought it’d be fun to share some of our favorite most worn pieces as well as those that just didn’t work for us.  Let’s start with the good stuff!

PS- I’ve left off affiliate links in the post because I want you to know I honestly love and use these patterns.  Links to the blog posts describing each piece may contain affiliate links though since I’m not going back and editing them 😉

1- A Tie for the oldest

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I rarely sew for my oldest but this tie was too perfect for him.  Floral ties are a huge trend here and he’s worn this tie constantly.  This Cotton + Steel print was the perfect scale too.  Anytime he actually wears something I made him, I do a little happy dance inside.

(I used this free pattern from Purl Soho for this tie.)

2- Love Notions Sloane Sweaters

These basic tops just get worn- simple as that.  I let them pick the fabric 95% of the time and this time it paid off.  That camo/blush sweater is one of my favorite combos ever!  The options with this pattern are amazing and I will continue to fill their closets with them!

3- Raglans

 

Raglans are such a staple around here- like I feel like a make a new one at least once a week.  My go-to patterns are the Jolly Roger Raglan from Patterns for Pirates (with the add-on pack for extra cuteness!) and the Camden Raglan from Hey June for my girls.  They are so quick to sew and perfect for all the Raspberry Creek knits I love so much.  Add in the fact that they’re perfect for adding a little vinyl to the front and these are the best tops for really showcasing their personalities and style.  Looking at this fun collage gives me the itch to sew up a couple of more- the fact that these are almost instant gratification means I just might too!

4- Dresses

My favorite thing to sew my girls are dresses.  There are just so many different patterns out there and I feel like I want to try them all!   Whether I’m looking for a quick sew or want to take my time and really enjoy the sewing process, there’s a dress for that.  These were our favorites from this year:

Clockwise from Top left: Polina Dress, Avenue Dress, Adelyn, Wendy, Isabel, Larkspur, and Joy.

Do you see a bit of a theme?  Looks to me like we like things simple and sweet.  Tiny details like jewels, ruffles, and bows take them to the next level while still keeping things clean and classic.

5- Swimsuits

Oh swimsuits, how I love thee!  Just looking at these pictures makes me miss the sunshine and lazy days at the pool.  In the slew of suits that I sewed this year, these were the ones that they reached for again and again.  The Mermaid Shores collection just blew my mind- so many darling options!  And that men’s suit for my oldest- labor of love that truly paid off.

Misses

I hate sharing these because it does feel like broadcasting my failures for all to see.  For the most part these are not pattern issues, just things that didn’t really fit into our lifestyle or sizing/fabric choices were off.  It’s great for me to look back on these to really see what gets worn, what designers fit my kids best, and what to sew in the future.

1- Camo Overalls

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Guys, I love these and her styling here.  This is the one and only time she wore them… Not girly enough for this princess.  She’s all about comfort so I was hopeful but these were definitely not her style.  These are already in the donation pile.

2- Knit Dresses/Skirts for the oldest

These have nothing to do with fabric choice or patterns and everything to do with what she likes to wear.  She swears she will wear dresses to school but never truly does.  These knit pieces just sit in her closet sadly.  I’m convinced the dress on the right will get worn again come spring (hello, it’s a raglan!) because she does really love it but she has too much of her mom in her.  I make knit dresses all the time thinking how cute I’ll be wearing them everyday but guess what?  They’re sitting at the back of my closet too!

3- Fiesta too much Fun

This dress was born with the photoshoot in mind.  I’ve decided that those garments are usually the ones that don’t get worn.  When my photographer side takes over the practical sewist side, dresses like this happen.  It’s a super fun dress and I think it pairs well with the fabric but it’s just not all that wearable.  It’s too over the top for church and she’s not invited to too many fiestas at age eight…  Pieces like this are what I want to avoid in the future.  I really started to analyze my projects, especially for blog tours.  I get caught up in the pretty fabrics and pictures and need to focus more on wear-ability.

Do you like to look back on your past sewing projects?  It’s so nice to learn what actually works and where you can improve.  It’s great to find the designers that you gravitate too and what fabrics work for your lifestyle.

Stay tuned for my own highs and lows next week!