Recent Make/// M8174

Today I have my last summer make to share with you and it is in the running for my favorite make of 2021. The day of our 15th wedding anniversary Chris kissed me good bye and told me to be ready at 6pm because a baby sitter was coming and we had dinner reservations. I mean, is there any better gift?!

So I did what any normal girl would do and I made myself a damn dress.

I had M8174 sitting on my ‘to make one day’ shelf along with fabric and went to work. I made this dress in one day, start to finish from prepping my fabric to hemming the final piece! This is a simple make, especially when you make the strappy version, and I liked some of the details they included with the instructions.

I made the size 14 and ended up needing to take in the bodice quite a bit and should probably take it in more. Next time I would size down to a 10 in the bodice and keep the 14 for the skirt, this should be fairly easy to do as they are all separate pieces! It would mean a little grading at the top of the skirt or bottom of the bodice just to get everything attached smoothly.

I love that the bodice is fully lined and I liked the instructions for adding elastic to the waistband. This really helps the dress keep its shape and prevents the skirt from weighing down the top.

I also liked the assembly of the skirt. Basically it’s two front pieces that overlap and I love the ruching on the side. It could be a bit tricky assembling the skirt, keeping track of left and right can be confusing, but the instructions are crystal clear. Just take you time reading them!

I made this dress out of a gorgeous bamboo jersey from Blackbird Fabrics in the color ‘blood orange.’ This material is clingy- so keep that in mind with a dress like this. You’re going to be able to see any lumps or bumps from underwear and need to plan accordingly!

I am in love with how this dress turned out. I feel beautiful in it and it’s so comfortable. I paired it with gold heels for my date night but like it with more casual sandals too. I think the longer versions would be amazing for a beach trip and the knit makes it easy to pack!

Inspired By/// @theravelout

If you’ve followed me for awhile you know I love to take inspiration I see in the wild- ready to wear/fashion shows/tv and movies- and figure out how to recreate those looks myself. Well I thought I would take that concept further and include other creatives that I follow online. I love the Instagram sewing community and have an entire folder saved of outfits that inspire me.

Today I want to talk about Sylvia, @theravelout , and one of her outfits this spring that got stuck in my head and I couldn’t stop thinking about. Her feed is bright and colorful with feminine silhouettes in fun prints. She started the hashtag #memadeonrepeat and I love how she shows her makes styled up in different ways. If you aren’t following her already, here’s a link to her profile again!

She posted this outfit way back in March and I just loved that polka dot skirt. I needed a polka dot skirt! I hunted for fabric and finally found this cheery rayon challis at Minerva. I knew right away that I would use the pattern V9090 because I’ve made it before and it’s a perfect simple skirt to show off a fun print. I sewed up the size 10 and honestly may need to size down next time, or at least make adjustments, as this is still a little loose in the waist.

I love the way Sylvia styled hers with a sweater, and I may have to try that in the spring, but I knew I wanted a simple white blouse to wear with it and decided to make the square neck top by Friday Pattern Company out of some white cotton in my stash. I made the size medium with no adjustments and really love this for a woven top. There is a knit option as well that I may try and squeeze in with my t-shirt making if I have enough fabric!

I love how this turned out and can’t wait to wear this more in the spring and next summer. I’m thankful to Sylvia for the time she puts into sharing her makes because they are an endless source of inspiration!!

T-Shirt Month/// The Lark Tee and The Classic Tee

I’m back with my first two t-shirts to dive into for t-shirt month. Check out my post from last week to see my plans and what I’m trying to accomplish here!

I’m going to be looking at the Lark Tee and the Classic Tee. I put these two together specifically to compare what would probably be called a ‘classic t-shirt.’ Later in the month the patterns I show won’t really be for side by side comparison, but these two are definitely close enough to examine and compare a bit. I’ll talk about the pattern, the versions I made, and then I will talk a bit more about fabric towards the end of this post. Please let me know if you have any questions about the patterns or fabric and I will try to answer them in a later post! Let’s get going!

Pattern One: The Lark Tee

Pattern name and designer: The Lark Tee from Grainline Studio

Size Range: 0-18, a 32″ bust to a 44″bust

Pattern Details and Options: From the Pattern Description, “With a modern, slim fit ideal for layering, the Lark Tee is your closet’s new best friend. It’s great on its own or under your favorite button up, sweater, or blazer. All four sleeves are interchangeable with each of the necklines resulting in 16 potential different tees in one pattern!”

There are options for a crew, scoop, V, and boat neckline and cap, short, 3/4, and long sleeves.

Fabric used: This pattern recommends using knit fabrics with at least 20% stretch. I made two versions, one in a luxury viscose and one in an Amsterdam jersey (details and links at the end of the post)

Thoughts on fit: This tee is closer fitting with a small size range.

Thoughts on style: Classic t-shirt styles that you can mix and match, basic but with options.

What I don’t like: I don’t like the more form fitting look of this shirt. For a t-shirt to wear every day with jeans I think I prefer a looser fit. I wish the size range were bigger and that there were cup sizes.

What I do like: I do think the snug fit would work well for layering. I also like all the options and that each neckline has a completely separate pattern piece.

Here is my first version in the luxury viscose. I went with the crew neck version in the size 6. I had to shorten it but only due to the fact that this was the amount of fabric I had. I chose to make a version of both tees out of this fabric after the fact so had to make it work! I shorted the sleeve length about half an inch because I thought the short sleeve hit me at a weird spot, especially with the tighter fit.

This is an incredibly simple make and the instructions are clear and easy to understand. I was able to get a nice finish using a zig zag stitch and my regular sewing machine. I did have a little pulling around the neck band.

For the second version I used the Amsterdam jersey and made the boat neck with long sleeves in a size 8. I prefer the fit on this one and appreciate the length of the top and the sleeves. I don’t know that I love the wide neck line and was a little bummed that the finishing was simply to turn under the neckline. I think a facing would have given a more professional finish.

Pattern Two: The Classic Tee

Pattern name and designer:The Classic Tee from Love Notions

Size Range: XS-5X, 33″ bust to 57.5″ bust

Pattern Details and Options: From the website, “The Classic Tee sewing pattern is a semi-relaxed tee with just the right amount of ease where you need it. Choose from three neckline options: crew, scoop and v-neck. Also included are four sleeve lengths: short, elbow, 3/4 and long. This tee is a great beginner project, especially for an introduction to sewing with knits. A full bust piece is also included.”

A basic tee with options in a big size range.

Fabric used: This pattern recommends light to medium weight knit, jersey, rayon/spandex, modal, cotton jersey, and recommends that for more stable knits to size up. I used a luxury viscose, rayon spandex, and cotton modal in my versions

Thoughts on fit: Really enjoy the looser fit of this t-shirt and after playing around with the necklines I found that the scoop neck hits me at the perfect spot.

Thoughts on style: Basic style that you can make over and over again.

What I don’t like: Would like a couple more neckline options (boat neck maybe?) but otherwise no complaints.

What I do like: The size range, the price, the ease of fit right out of the gate.

My first version is the crew neck in a size medium from that same luxury viscose as earlier. I immediately loved the fit on the body and sleeves. There was again some pulling at the neckline (possible user error, possible it was the fabric) and I didn’t love the crew neck on me. After trying other versions I ended up cutting this one into a scoop neck and I much prefer that.

Version two is the scoop neck, long sleeve in a size medium sewn out of rayon spandex jersey. This may be my idea of a perfect t-shirt. I love the fit, I love the neckline on me and where it hits, and this fabric is incredibly soft with a perfect amount of drape.

My last version is again a medium, this time scoop neck with short sleeves in a cotton modal. I think this is my perfect t-shirt! I love the fit and can see myself making up as many versions as I need throughout the seasons.

Thoughts on Fabric.

The Luxury Viscose is from Minerva and is about $24 a meter. It’s 94% viscose, 6% elastane with a 35% stretch. It has a lovely drape and is very soft. It can go a bit clingy and was the most slippery fabric I used. I love that they sell this in so many colors and for a drapey t-shirt I think it’s a good fit!

The Amsterdam Jersey was from Surge Fabric and was $7.99 for a half yard. This is a 86% poly, 10% Rayon, and 4% spandex with a 50% stretch one way. It was lightweight, soft but not as soft as the others, and is a rich saturated color. This was my least favorite fabric to work with. The polyester makes if feel less breathable and the texture of it makes me wonder how it will hold up in the wash. The weight is great for t-shirts though and reminds me of some RTW shirts.

The 2 Tone Choarcoal Rayon Spandex Jersey is from Surge and is $7.49 for a half yard. This is 96% Rayon, 4% Spandex with a 50% stretch. Soft, light weight, and with a beautiful drape, I loved working with this fabric and because it is breathable and cool to the touch, I have enjoyed wearing it as well. One of my favorites from the bunch.

And finally, the Cotton Modal Jersey from Stylemaker Fabrics is $18.99 yard. There wasn’t a percentage make up on the website, only that it is cotton, modal, and spandex. It comes in a wide range of saturated colors and is a bit thicker than the others but still has drape to it. Modal is touted as being more sustainable since it comes from Beech trees and used 10-20x less water than cotton. It is breathable and biodegradable and feels so good on the skin. I loved working with this one.

I have four more patterns and at least 3 more fabrics to make shirts out of so stay tuned for more next week! I will compile final thoughts and comparisons at the end of the month. I hope this was helpful for you, I know I am very excited to have found the t-shirt pattern I was looking for.

Favorite Books I Read This Summer

I read a lot this summer and I thought I would share the best books that I read. I always share titles on instagram and keep up with my Goodreads if you want to follow me there too! Here are my top three from June through August!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

I loved this one so much. The first quarter of the book stressed me out but then, magic happens, and I couldn’t put it down. I am smiling writing this just thinking about the story and what it means to love and live well. Highly recommend if you want to get lost in a story this fall.

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

A gorgeous, gorgeous book. The writing is so lush and the story is historical fiction about a place and people that have recently been in the news cycle. You will be heartbroken for the main character and for Afghanistan and cheering them on at the end.

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith

A wonderful comfort read. Trigger Warning for talk of suicide but an uplifting book about love and friendship and trying to navigate this lonely world. This book takes place over Halloween weekend, so while I read it over the summer, I say save this for the fall because the cozy, crisp images and descriptions would be wonderful to savor under a warm blanket.

The Hallon Dress

Last summer when the Hallon Dress by Paradise Patterns came out, I immediately fell in love. It is my favorite kind of summer dress, loose and flowy (dare I say nightgown adjacent?) and the back is just incredible. It’s so simple but makes a big impact and every version I’ve seen looks fantastic.

I bought this cotton double gauze in the color solid rust from Stylemaker Fabrics earlier this summer and only just now got around to sewing the dress. This gauze is gorgeous, so soft and drapes really nicely. It was a perfect match for this pattern.

I made up the size 6 of version A and ended up having to take it in a bit. Next time I will either do a straight 4 or maybe even sew a 2 in the bust and grade to a 4 everywhere else. I sewed this one up very quickly, you can watch me make it here!, and the instructions are top notch. Lots of detail for beginners and really clear diagrams for each step.

I will probably not get too much wear out of this right now but am happy to pack it away and pull it out next summer. I’m sorry it took me so long to get around to but am in love with the end result so it was worth the wait.

This was a fairly simple make but I’m happy to answer any questions I may have not covered! I have a few more summer sews to catch you up on next week and then I’m ready for all things fall!

September Meal Plan

Since school is starting and weeknights get filled up with music lessons, homework, and early bedtimes, I thought I would jump back into my minimal meal planning. This concept is one I learned from Miranda Anderson over at Live Free Creative and if this sounds good to you I highly suggest checking out her mini course!

The idea is simply that we repeat the same meals every week. I’m leaving weekends open because those are the days I like to experiment and play around in the kitchen. I also set these up as monthly plans just so we don’t get bored or so if there’s something new I want the kids to try I can keep mixing it up!For me these meals must all be simple, have a vegetarian option, and be something all 5 of us like to eat. Here’s what I have planned with links where I can! (NY Times Cooking links require a subscription, but you can also do a free trial period and search out recipes. I find all of their recipes to be really good and worth subscribing for!)

Mondays: Two Corn Chowder with Green Chili and Scallions This is an easy instant pot meal from Milk Street and I love that it hits that balance of end of summer flavors with a hearty soup for cooler nights. I buy crusty bread to go with this one and send leftovers with Chris the next day for lunch.

Tuesdays: One Pot Rice and Beans. Easiest way to cook quick rice and beans, I just omit the onions for the kids. Usually I add in protein that was grilled the weekend before- steak or chicken- and add a lot of topping so everyone can build a bowl or taco however they like. Charlie especially loves to have this the next day for lunch too!

Wednesdays: Sheet Pan Spicy Roasted Broccoli Pasta Really easy and hearty and you could add in whatever vegetables your family likes to eat. This one has toasted cumin seeds but those would be easy to substitute with something else or leave out all together depending on tastes and what you have on hand.

Thursdays: Chana Masala I honestly don’t know where my chana masala recipe is from, but this one looks good and there are a lot of Instant Pot versions out there (do you notice how much I love my instant pot?!) I serve this over white rice with naan bread and everyone likes it!

Fridays: Pizza night! Lately we’ve just been ordering in and have our Domino’s preferences down to a tee. Feels like a nice treat after cooking all week and gets me excited to bust out the grill for the weekend!

T Shirt Month

I have been thinking about my fall wardrobe and what is really missing from my closet and the answer is t-shirts that I love. The ones that feel good, have the perfect neckline, and look great with a pair of jeans. I’m leaning into a uniform of sorts and t-shirts and jeans are what I will most likely be wearing on a daily basis this fall.

I am planning on trying out a few different patterns and fabrics and sharing my thoughts each Saturday here. My hope is to come away with great t-shirts as well as a tried and true pattern or two.

Here are the patterns I’m planning on trying!

The Glenelly by Love Notions I love this for a bit of a twist on a standard t-shirt. I think the square neckline is beautiful and would be fun to try in some bolder fabrics.

The Breckenridge Henley by Love Notions I love a Henley and I think this one has some really great options. I want to try the one with the cuff for this exercise and then find some waffle knit and make the long sleeve version for when it’s colder.

The Classic Tee by Love Notions So many people have recommended this pattern and I’m excited to try it! There are a lot of different necklines and options and I think this could be a great starting point in finding the perfect t-shirt.

The Eliott Sweater and Tee by Helen’s Closet I originally bought this pattern for the sweater option- I love that big turtle neck!- but in looking through my patterns I realized this little raglan sleeve tee could make a great staple.

The Lark Tee by Grainline Studio This is one of my first sewing patterns and I wore the heck out of this shirt. In fact, I wore it when I was pregnant with Sam so much and stretched it out that I had to get rid of it. I’m looking forward to revisiting this one and there are so many different options you can really make just about any t-shirt you want out of it!

The Briar Sweater and T-shirt by Megan Nielsen Another early sewing project for me and I finally had to get rid of this one because the fabric was looking so sad. I like the longer version and it will be interesting to compare the quality of my sewing from when I started to now.

I will share the fabrics and their contents/qualities as we get sewing. I think it will make more sense to dive into them when I have a finished garment to show you!

I’m also trying to put together a summary of points for each shirt so we can really compare. Let me know if you would add anything to the things I mention below. I will be back next week comparing the Classic Tee and the Lark Tee!

Pattern name and designer:

Size Range:

Pattern Details and Options:

Fabric used:

Size made and version made with any adjustments noted:

Thoughts on fit:

Thoughts on style:

What I don’t like:

What I do like:

Monthly Goals: September

Every year I’m so glad it’s summer and then every year I’m so glad summer is over and we can get back to our routines. My goals this month revolve around the idea of routine and getting us all feeling good and comfortable with work and school and new activities.

*Morning routine for myself: I would love to have a bit of time in the morning to just take care of myself. Whether that is a cup of coffee in peace or getting my workout in I’m not sure yet, I just know I can be a more relaxed mom getting us all out the door if I build in that time for me.

*Mile a day: I want to walk outside (weather permitting!) at least a mile a day. For physical and mental health.

*Writing schedule: With all three kids in school at least part of the day (hopefully, we all know this is not a given anymore) I’ve worked out how I would like to divide up my writing time between stuff for the blog and for my book. I would love to find a flow that really works for me and makes me feel like I have room in my day for writing.

*Working out: I did a 90 workout challenge that I absolutely loved this summer and I want to keep it up! My goal is to plan out my workouts for the week every Sunday and remember that I feel so much better when it’s a regular part of my day.

What have you got going on this month? Any changes with the season that get you excited? I feel like even thought I’m not in school anymore, the beginning of the school year still feels like a fresh start.

What I Wore: Aug 9th-13th

Today I have a post I hope to make a monthly thing, What I Wore This Week. It’s just like it sounds, I’m going to check in every day and share what I’m wearing. Where I can I will link previous blog posts or shops.

The purpose of these posts is not to flaunt my high fashion style, because that’s pretty laughable when you see what I’m sharing today! Instead it’s really me trying to lean into sustainable fashion and showing how I wear my handmade clothes and also how I wear the same things over and over again, like we all do! Brand new and shiny is fun, but that’s not how we all dress in real life. If you like this idea you should also check out the #memadeonrepeat hashtag on instagram to see more sewists wearing their clothes in every day life!

This week I’m sharing August 9th-13th which was our last real week of summer. I was home for most of the week doing things around the house and I also was working out every day so there are outfit changes. The special thing that happened this week was Chris and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary and I had fun whipping up a dress to wear for a surprise date night out! Otherwise, this is pretty much what I’ve been wearing all summer long.

Monday: I started the day in some handmade workout clothes. This summer I did the Summertime Fine 3.0 90 day program from Sydney Cummings on Youtube and I loved it!! I’ve been putting my workout attire to good use and this set was a part of my Workout Collection last year, and I’m happy to say all of these pieces get worn a ton and are holding up well. Click that post for all the details on patterns and fabrics!

Tuesday: I got out for a meeting in the real world today so got dressed in one of my outfits from my summer capsule. This is an old t-shirt from Target that I’m thinking I need to recreate, I love the fit of it so much. These are these pants from Amazon. I can’t say I love the fabric, and they would be very easy to make on your own, but I have been wearing them quite a bit. A great comfortable pair of pants that are cool and still easy enough to play on the floor with the kids in. These shoes are one of my favorite purchases this summer, they are this Franco Sarto pair from DSW.

Wednesday: Chris surprised me with a date night to celebrate our 15 year anniversary! I whipped up McCalls 8174 and loooove how it turned out. I will be making a whole post for this dress.

Thursday: More workout gear and a lot of cleaning around the house. You can find info on this in that same blog post about my workout collection!

Friday: And here is a pretty good look at what I’ve mostly been wearing this summer. These shorts from Madewell that you should probably size down in but I actually love them a little loose and have been wearing non stop. This Tyra t-shirt from Just Patterns was one I made and wasn’t sure about and now I reach for again and again. It’s got me wanting a lot more basic t shirts in my closet so look for some plans coming up on how to make that happen!

Thanks for following along with me this week! Let me know if there’s any links or info I missed. I hope these posts normalize wearing the same things over and over because we all do it and it’s honestly the most sustainable option we have in our closet!

Hello Again!

Well hello there! How have you been? I am excited to be back writing and creating in this space and I’m so glad you’re here.

We had a summer full of fun things to make up for all the cancelled things last year. Kids will be starting school this week and I should be back in full force with the beginning of September. My plan for this space is to have a post up every Tuesday and Thursday that has to do with lifestyle content and then Wednesday and Saturday you will find sewing/sustainable fashion content and hopefully a video to go with it.

I didn’t sew much a t all this summer but these past few weeks I’ve been cranking out a few things that have been in my head for awhile. I’ve got a clear picture of what I want to be making for the rest of the year and I can’t wait to share it with you!

I also want to share snippets of my life and things that make life easier for me. I hope you’ll enjoy all I have planned and I look forward to sharing and talking with all of you this fall! If you want to make sure you don’t miss anything you can subscribe the blog (over to the right there!), follow me on Instagram, and also subscribe to my YouTube channel if you like sewing videos!

See you next week!