Good Books

Taking a break from social media last month meant I got a lot of good reading in. Here’s a look at the books I read, you can always follow me on Goodreads. I’m pretty regular at updating there and I love reading other people’s reviews!

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

I already talked a little about this book here, but I wanted to mention it again in my round up because I thought it was so good. Equal parts information and tools to take action, I recently finished my digital declutter and have brought back some of the technology I took away, but not all. It’s just a great exercise in being intentional in how we spend our time online!

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

I really liked this one about a girl in Nigeria who refuses to let her dream of going to school die. Her voice and character is so strong, so well written, you are cheering for her from the opening paragraphs. I loved the mix of difficult themes with hope and courage and the ending made me smile.

A Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry and Kali Nicole Gross

I wish all history books were this well written. I learned more about the slave trade in two chapters than I did in the whole of my schooling. The authors manage to bring historical figures to life and make you see them as human, to question them and think about their motives instead of blindly revering them. I would like to read the other books in this series!

Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James

I listened to this one and have to say that the narrator might have been my favorite part, she was outstanding. The book is a fun gothic ghost story and it took me forever to read because I had to pause it when I got too creeped out! ha! Great to get lost in and a happy ending that tied up everything nicely.

March Menu Plan

I have been following a minimalist meal plan the past few months (I got the idea from Miranda at Live Free Creative!) and it has been such a game changer for how I feel about feeding my family every day. I love to cook, but the task of menu planning, grocery shopping, and keeping up with differing dietary needs has been draining me this past year. Now I pick 7 meals for the month and we essentially eat the same thing every week.

At first I thought this would be boring, but changing it up monthly helps us all from getting sick of any of the recipes. Also, on days I have a wild hair and want to try something new, I actually get excited about cooking and have a lot of fun in the kitchen. The monthly plan just saves me so much energy in the long run and has made me not dread meal time.

This month’s meals are:

Monday: Manicotti. I will share my recipe for this later this month! It’s really easy and a great family meal!

Tuesday: Chicken tacos. I plan on cooking the chicken in the instant pot with some seasonings and shredding it up to use throughout the week (Sam loves shredded chicken!). I also always have beans and rice and lots of veggies so everyone can build their own taco.

Wednesday: Greek Pita Pizzas from the Well Plated Cookbook

Thursday: Sheet Pan Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken and Crispy Brussels Sprouts from Half Baked Harvest. I plan to add some other veggies for my vegetarian and serve it all over rice.

Friday: Pizza night! I love to make my own pizzas. The kids’ usually just want cheese on theirs but I play around and make different ones for Chris and me!

Saturday: This no knead bread and stew. Saturdays are usually ski days so I make the stew the night before (basically using whatever I have in my fridge!) and warm it up Saturday night.

Sunday: On toast! Basically leftover night, except with yummy bread from the night before to put things on.

Do you have any tips and tricks for how you meal plan? I’ll be using Tuesdays to share cooking and food here on the blog this month and will be reporting back on any recipes from this month that become our favorite!

Sew the Stash///March

Well I managed to cram quite a bit of sewing into February, but only tackled one of the projects on my sew the stash list. I just couldn’t justify making the kids clothes out of that grey french terry right now. They are growing so much and are not in need of pants at the moment so I’m going to hold off and save that fabric for later this year. I did make the henley out of that yellow striped fabric and hopefully will be able to take a few pictures in it soon!

For March I want to focus on some of the larger off cuts from recent projects. Harper is going to get a pair of yoga pants out of that tie dye fabric as well as some kind of pinafore/shirt situation from the corduroy and striped knit. I’m also hoping those pink and blue knits can come together in some kind of color blocked sweatshirt!

I’m going to be slowing down my sewing plans for March but these all seem like easy, fun makes and I’m hoping to use them as little breathers between bigger projects!

What’s on your list to make this month?

Whit’s Reviews/// Style Sew Me Patterns

I’m here with this month’s Pattern Company Review, Style Sew Me Patterns!

I want to start by saying that even with a crazy month, Style Sew Me is a sponsor for the #BHMPatternDesigners challenge and Eryn the designer got hit by the horrible storm in Texas last week, Eryn delivered these answers to me right when she said she would. I’m actually the one that’s a few days late! I mention this because I have no doubts in saying that the customer service at this company will be top notch and if you reach out with any questions, Eryn is going to get them answered for you!

I had Style Sew Me on my long list of companies to review and when I saw her latest release with the Giselle Dress they got bumped right to the top. I love this dress! It is flirty and feminine and unlike anything I’ve seen out there. I wanted to make a Valentine’s dress and I told my husband the moment it is safe to go out for a date night, this is what I’m wearing.

I ordered a Crepe Leopard print from Melanated Fabrics (it’s out of stock but they have a lot of great prints!) and I liked the pink and orange together and that it kind of looked like lipstick kisses all over, fitting with my romantic theme. It was a pain and a half to sew with, but I think the end result is worth it!

I made a size medium after looking at the finished garment measurements and think the fit is pretty perfect. I didn’t make any alterations and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. I signed up for their newsletter as well and it seems like they offer a lot of great support. Techniques and tips, workshops, and a lot of inspiration to help you get a great finish with your makes.

After sewing a lot of more every day, meant to go with everything pieces, I am absolutely in love with this dress. It’s a statement and I feel fantastic in it! While I was prepping for this review I also picked up the Nikki Blazer and the Erin Oversized Dress. Check out all their patterns. I love the fun details and thought that go into these designs.

Here are the questions you guys helped me come up with and Eryn’s answers!

What is your design background? I am a self-taught designer. I draw inspiration from trends, body silhouettes, and the lifestyle around my ideal customer. 


When and why did you start making your own patterns? I began designing my own patterns in 2016 after a failed attempt at opening a clothing boutique. After the online boutique I partnered with went out of business and did not tell me, I was left with designs that I decided to convert into sewing patterns. 


Who do you design for? Who is your target audience? I design for the fashionable woman on the go who loves a touch of flair with her contemporary pieces. She is extroverted and her calendar is usually booked with family, friends, and organizational events. She enjoys being femine and carving out time in her day to take care of herself – even in the smallest way. 


What level of sewer do you design for? I design for the intermediate sewer, but provide supporting content that empowers a confident beginner to sew my patterns. 


What is your size range? My size range is XS-3XL, which is approximately a 0-26 in US sizing. Our size chart is available on every pattern’s product page of our website.


Why did you pick this range? I chose those size range to cover most standard and plus sizes. 


What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on? Our patterns are drafted for 5’7″ height, C cup, and a 8 inch hip to waist difference. In combination with size, we draft for curvier bodies with a bigger bust-waist-hip ratio.


Do you support Black Lives Matter? As a black woman owned company, Style Sew Me fully supports the pursuit of equal and fair treatment of black people. 


What are some ways that you are anti racist and inclusive in your company on a day to day basis? 
I am blessed to have a community of men and women all over the world and I use my platform to educate and empower without alienating. I use my platform to share content supporting inclusivity and diversity in many forms of conversations, including BLM, racial injustices, and simply sharing and uplifting the content from makers of all shades and sizes throughout the creative community. In our small Team Style Sew Me, we are made up of a variety of ethnicities and are located in different parts of the world. Any team member that comes on board with me, especially those who interact with our customers, are educated on conversations, terms, and events that shape the way we speak to our customers. 

I love it! Have you ever sewn a Style Sew Me pattern? I hope you’ll go check them out and have a look around if not because I think this is a fantastic company and one to have on your radar.

If you like these reviews I’ve started a Krofi account where you can leave a small tip that will go towards future reviews. I know it is a difficult time for a lot of people right now and am happy to do these reviews, but appreciate any support, whether through that account or just by sharing my reviews with anyone else you might think would like them!

I also have a Youtube video with this review if you would like to check it out!

My Winter Module/// The Bottoms!

Today I have the bottoms for my winter module and they are both pants! I’m sewing up this module using only Fibre Mood patterns and will be recapping my whole experience in a couple of weeks.

First I have the Bea Culottes in this slub texture linen. I made the size 38 with no adjustments and am really happy with the fit. I had planned on lengthening these, but due to just a complete brain fart ended up having to cut them to the intended culotte length.

Which actually, I like! These are the most comfortable pants ever and I will be styling them like I would a skirt. I wanted to play with a more monochrome look and paired them with my Nikko turtleneck and I love how it looks.

I like the drape of these pants and they were pretty simple to sew up. The waist band is interesting with the buttons, they just open up completely to get in and out of, and the pleats are pretty in the front with darts in the back for shaping. I will wear these throughout the spring I’m sure!

Ok next is kind of boring, but oh so comfortable and completely wearable. The Benita Trousers are just wide leg elastic waist pants and I sewed them up in a couple of hours start to finish in this stretch cotton corduroy.

These are so basic but I think I will wear them a ton. It’s basically like wearing corduroy pajamas? I lengthened them and worried I should have lengthened them more, but actually this will work well with winter boots and keeping my pants out of the snow.

I’m wearing them with my first and favorite Toaster Sweater. I am warm, cozy, and still look put together. This is fashion in 2021 I think?!

I am always on the look for pants options that aren’t jeans and I’m happy to add these two to my closet! I’ll be back next week to share my topper and then my winter module is complete.

My Winter Module/// The Tops!

Today I’m sharing my three finished tops for my winter module! I’m using only patterns from Fibre Mood and I’m gathering all my thoughts and tips on using this magazine and will be sharing them in a few weeks. Let me know if you have any questions about Fibre Mood and I will either answer them or find an answer for you!

I’m going to go in order from least to most favorite and that means we will be starting with the Glory Top. I sewed up the size 38 in this beautiful Atelier Brunette Rayon and it was a dream to work with. I love the details of this pattern; the sleeves, that placket on the shoulder, and the gathering around the yoke.

However, I don’t really love how these details all look on me. It feels like a lot happening at my shoulder and the sleeves are too short. I have learned that I need to lengthen these patterns as most of them turned out too short. I will try and wear this as I love the fabric, but was a little disappointed with what the silhouette looks like on me.

The second top I have is the Bonnie. I love the color and texture of this crinkle cotton and and I sewed the size 38 with no modifications. This is a simple top and I loved the details of the sleeve and the side neckline. Again, it is too short, but I think the sleeves don’t look bad at this length. The directions for the pleating detail at the sleeve were pretty abysmal and it took searching other makes online to figure out that I just needed to sew them up like normal box pleats. Once I got it sorted out, I do love how they look!

I have it paired over a turtleneck here because I loved how they styled it in the magazine. I like how it looks and think it makes it more wearable for cold weather, but it does cause wrinkles. On its own, that isn’t a problem! I wasn’t sure while I was making this one, but it is incredibly comfortable and I can see myself wearing it a lot.

And my final top is my absolute favorite, the Alice Pullover. I made the size small in this gorgeous bamboo french terry. I would wrap myself in this fabric and just live in it every day if I could. It feels so luscious! This is a really simple pattern, I think I sewed it up in a couple of hours. But while it on the surface seems like just a sweatshirt pattern, the deep V in the back and the wide neckline make it so lovely. It reminds me of something I would wear in a ballet class, I love how it highlights your neck. I’ve been wearing it quite a bit and just love it.

I’m pretty happy with all these makes and it was easy to find pieces in my closet to pair them with, and that’s really the point of this module. Yes, they will all work together, but they need to easily fit into my wardrobe. I like that all three of these tops are different from anything I own and that Fibre Mood is able to take seemingly basic designs and add unique details.

Fibre Mood Issue No. 13

This weekend the latest issue of Fibre Mood arrived in the mail and I thought I would share my 3 favorite patterns with you! If you want to see a full walk through, you can watch the video here. Also check out their social media as they always have a great team on instagram showing their latest patterns and you can really get an idea for what they look like on actual people!

My favorite pattern from this issue is the Rozan Top. I love this so much and will absolutely be making it this summer. I love those gathers at the neckline and I like that there is an option of the flounces sleeves or just straight. I also think this would be easy to lengthen into a full dress.

The Debra Dress is another one I find really appealing for the summer. I like that it’s a basic shift dress but with some interesting panels in the front. The back has a deep v neck and gathers that add beautiful details to an otherwise simple shape. How beautiful would this be in a linen or a fun print? I am adding this to my list!

Finally I have earmarked the Alix Skirt. Again, it looks like a basic pattern, a button up skirt, but I think the fact that it has pleats and not just gathers elevates the look. It would look great in a flowy fabric and also hold up to more structured cottons.

What do you think? Any of the new Fibre Mood patterns catch your eye? I’m almost finished with my Winter Module and can’t wait to share all my thoughts on sewing with this company.

Week in the Sewing Life No. 7

Well guys, not much sewing going on over here this week and I was bummed to ‘get behind’ and not have any posts to share, but sometimes that’s the way it goes! I’ve got a teething two year old that’s tired of being cooped up, one kid fighting off a virus, and a whole lot of worry for all my friends and family back in Texas. Whew. Luckily the sick kid is fine (really it’s more of the whole process now that you have to go through to prove he isn’t Covid sick more than just the little virus he was fighting!), my Texans’ power is returning (prayers that water is back soon and not too much damage left behind as it starts to thaw!), and the two year old… well he’s still teething and into absolutely everything, but that I can handle.

I did sew up a dragon plushie for Harper last weekend that she has promised to take photos of so I can share next week. And I finished another top in my winter module and have plans this afternoon to finish the second one. I finished my first knitting project and have started a second. I found it really soothing this week when I was too anxious to concentrate on sewing and now I am hooked! I want to knit allll the things!

Around the internet I found this great list of over 100 free sewing patterns. I also thought these miniature embroidery pieces were amazing!

This article about The People’s Sewing Army and how you can help with your sewing scraps was really inspiring! As was this make by Erica Bunker. I love Mara Hoffman’s work and Erica did an amazing job recreating it!

The only new pattern I have to share with you this week is the Zadie Blouse by Sew Over It. This looks to be a beautiful, very wearable blouse that could be dressed up or down depending on what fabric you choose. I love the dress length!

I hope you stay safe and warm this weekend and my plan is to be back next week with a lot of fun projects to share with you!

Week in the Sewing Life No. 6

I don’t feel like I have a ton to share with you this week. I did get some sewing done, check out the first piece from my winter module!, and I did organize patterns after filming this pattern haul. I had a lot of fun styling up some of my favorite pants and I’ve even gotten up to 14 rows on my knitting project!

But along with all of that, I had a very busy week with other life stuff to deal with, Tuesday felt like one long zoom call! I’m looking forward to the weekend and I have hopes on finishing my tops for the module and sewing up some sweats for the kids. It’s going to get very cold here so we will most likely been inside a lot, but I have some new games I bought as Valentine’s presents so I’m betting we will still have fun.

Here are the things I found online this week!

Tutorials:

How to make a 3 piece hood out of any hoodie pattern over on Hey June Handmade

How to Sew on Buttons with a Sewing Machine from So Sew Easy

New Pattern Releases:

Moonbow Slouchy Knit Cardigan is a free pattern from Mama in a Stitch

the Bianca Pullover from Greenstyle Creations

Stay warm this weekend and I hope you get some sewing in!

Pattern Haul!

Over these past few months I’ve collected a few patterns, both newer and vintage, and I thought I would share them here with you before I organize them and put them away with the rest of my pattern collection. I haven’t been buying a lot of commercial patterns recently, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on why I purchase when I do and what I plan to make with it.

First up are these vintage patterns I picked up from the Etsy shop Blue Tree Sewing Studio. The top two are 70s patterns and I loved the sleeves on both. The collar in the first one might scream too much vintage for my taste, but I think that would be easy to rework. The wrap top would look just as stylish today as it did then in the right fabric.

The bottom two are both from the 90s and I love all the tops with the first one. I thought there was a fun variety and I think the matching sets with those pants would be great pjs/lounge wear when the weather gets warmer. The romper on the right, well I might have had that as a child honestly, but I love it. I love the shorts version and if you can look past the dated floral prints, I think the shapes still work for today.

These pants from 1985 I picked up on an Instagram destash sale. I love the pleats and those pockets. I think the cropped version would be so cute in a linen in the summer. And check the girl on the left, I cannot get over the styling from head to toe on this one!

I’ve had so much fun sewing for my kids lately that I am always on the lookout for good children’s patterns. I thought M6275 would be a great wardrobe builder for my daughter and goes up to a size 14. B6654 is just a pretty dress with a matching mini me. Both of these I picked up when they were on a pretty big sale.

Another pattern I picked up on sale was M8085. I’ve been eyeing this one since it came out last year. It’s a really simple knit dress but when it was so cheap I couldn’t resist it. I live in these kinds of dresses in the summer and I think the version with sleeves would get worn a lot in the spring and fall.

From the most recent pattern release I bought M8148 as I fell in love with both of those shorts versions. I like that this is a Learn to Sew pattern and features welt pockets. I’m hoping to make these in the spring. M8177 is one that I need you to look past the wild 80s styling! I love the shapes of all three dresses and think these would be so cool and comfy in the summer.

Have you bought any patterns lately? I love looking at style lines from the past and today and always get inspired looking at patterns, even when I don’t end up buying any of them. I try to add to my collection in thoughtful ways and am excited to sew some of these up soon!