Make That Look///January

I love looking at ready to wear clothes, either in stores or on the runway or even in movies, and seeing if I can recreate those looks myself. It always sparks my sew jo and is a fun creative challenge! I’m hoping to have one of these up on a monthly basis, January’s just took a little longer than expected due to shipping delays and then a huge blonde moment from myself! Let’s see what I got up to, shall we?

The Inspiration:

When I was looking for inspiration I was looking for something comfortable. Something that I would actually wear right now but maybe with a twist, but I wasn’t on the hunt for super inspirational or designer wear. I found this layered long dickey sweater dress from Tibi on Shopbop and thought it fit what I was picturing in my mind. I thought it looked chic and cool in the pictures but also would be easy enough to throw on with cosy leggings and use it as lounge wear.

The Fabric and Patterns:

I found this cotton sweater knit on Minerva in the color old green and thought I could start with the Linden sweatshirt as a base. I liked the color of the original just fine but I saw this color and fell in love! I love the new Minerva site that let’s you see other people’s projects with specific fabric. I knew this was a little heavier than the inspiration, but also would be warmer and more wearable for where I live.

I pulled out the Nikko dress by True Bias to use as a guide for length and where I wanted the splits in the side to be. In theory, this simple pattern mashing would have worked perfectly and should have been a very easy sew. However. I made a really stupid error that kind of changed the project completely.

Making It:

My Linden pattern is one of the very first patterns I ever bought. Now when I cut out a pattern, I just cut right into my size. I guess new sewist Whitney did not do that and traced the size she needed. I didn’t think about this at all and just used the pattern pieces as they were. I have no idea why I didn’t notice the number 18 as I was cutting. I have no idea why I didn’t stop and think about why the Nikko pattern was so much smaller than the Linden. And I have no idea why when I sewed it up and it was a giant sack on my body why I didn’t think- huh this is the wrong size- instead of hacking away and trying to fix it.

Once I had realized my mistake, the dress was much shorter than I intended. I went ahead and fixed it, finished the top, and honestly am happy to have it. It’s just nothing like the original that I intended it to be.

The Result:

Here is my finished make! It’s basically a tunic sweatshirt, but I do love this fabric and it’s very wearable. I styled it up with skinny jeans and booties, with my Pietra pants and thrifted loafers, and with warm leggings and thick socks to give you an idea of how I plan to be wearing this!

I wanted to share this make as a reminder that we all make goofy errors sometimes and projects don’t always turn out like we hoped. That’s just how it goes whenever human brains and hands are involved! Like I said, I am happy with my make, I just wish I hadn’t spent so much time and problem solving on what turned out to be a very simple error.

Winter Module Plans

I love sewing in modules, I got the idea from Whitney over at TomKat Stitchery this summer and have been running with it ever since. The idea is you make 1 topper, 2 bottoms, and 3 tops and they can all play nicely together and mix in with what is already in your closet. A mini capsule wardrobe if you will.

I am seeing a lot about spring fashion, but guys, I am not falling for it. Snow is in the forecast for tomorrow and I will not get excited about spring yet to only have my heart broken for at least 2 more months! So to embrace my new home, I decided to have fun and plan myself a winter module. To give myself a bit of a challenge, I am only going to be using patterns from Fibre Mood. I recently subscribed to this magazine and decided to jump in and try a bunch of their patterns at once. My hope is that when I show my full reveal, I can also give you a comprehensive review of what their patterns are like. I’m linking to all the patterns as you can purchase them individually as PDFs off of their website!

I hope to have a post up ever Wednesday sharing pieces from this module and showing how they work with things I already own. To begin, let’s plan it out!

The Dress:

I’m adding in a dress with my plans because I love a cozy sweater dress. This is the Daniella dress and I like how simple it is (re: very wearable) but the details of the sleeves feel fresh. I can wear it now with thick tights or leggings but then also wear it plenty in the spring too! I have this Cotton Modal Jersey in the color Desert Rose planned for this one. A soft, drapey knit that has enough weight to be worn as a dress, I think this will be like wearing pajamas and I love the color.

The Tops:

This print is where I started in shopping for fabric in this collection. I knew I wanted to bring in some more blues and greens into my wardrobe and I love this color, especially mixed with the coppers and blush pinks. This is the Atelier Brunette Rayon Moonstone in the green color way. I think I’m going to make it into a Glory Top. This blouse has some feminine details that I think will be nice but also let the print on the fabric shine. I love those gathers at the yoke and the sleeve detail and the little button placket on the shoulder is a nice touch.

This washed crinkle cotton in copper is soft with some drape but enough crispness to look really nice made up as the Bonnie top. I think the simplicity of the neckline and shape of this top is really nice and I love those box pleat sleeves. The inspiration photos showed it layered over a turtleneck, which looks cool, and also tucked and untucked for completely different vibes. Basically a woven t-shirt with a few more options!

Ok, it looks like the color Dusty Jade is no longer available at Blackbird Fabrics but I’m going to link to their Bamboo French terry because it is so lovely. I’m going to turn mine into the Alice Pullover. Basically a sweatshirt, but with a v neck line that can be worn in the back and that makes it look a little more chic. I’m really loving this color right now (you might see it show up again soon in a different garment!) and like that it will be a great weight for cooler spring and summer days as well.

The Bottoms:

I keep changing my mind on which of these fabrics will go with which pattern, but here is where I’m settled right now! This Slub Texture Linen in the color Spruce is going to be a pair of Benita Trousers. These are an elasticated waist trouser but I love the fit of the leg and the option for that tie belt. These will be so comfortable to wear around the house but can look a bit more dressed up should I need to go somewhere. I’ve been wearing quite a few linen pants this winter and like the weight of them. If it’s really cold out it’s easy to layer thermals underneath!

This stretch cotton corduroy in the color teak is going to be made up into the Bea Culotte. I think the construction on these pants looks interesting (there’s no zip) and the pleats are cool. I will be lengthening these to full, wide leg trousers and I keep going back and forth between the linen for drape or the corduroys for more structure. I think both fabrics work for both patterns, I just can’t decide what looks I’m going for quite yet!

The Topper:

And finally, to top off this collection as well as to play along with my coat making challenge, I’m going to sew up this teddy faux fur in rose as the Frida Jacket. This looks like a classic bomber style jacket, which I do not own!, and I may be late to the teddy bear jacket trend but I’m finally going to jump on board. I think the texture will be fun and the color will be great going into spring.

Those are my plans! What do you think? Have you made anything from Fibre Mood before? Please let me know if you have any questions about sewing with patterns from a magazine, I’d be happy to answer them for you.

Are you done with winter and jumping head first into spring or are you still making/buying warmer clothes? I hope to see you back next week with my first make!

Digital Declutter

I recently read Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport (if you know me in real life you’ve probably heard me talk about this the past month!) and I loved it so much. There are a lot of articles and books about the impact of technology in our lives but what sets this one a part is that the author has a strong premise; we need to start with our values and establish what we want our life to be like and then add in digital tools that align with those things and use them with intent.

After establishing the why of this reasoning, he gets into the nitty gritty of the how. How do we use technology in a way that is not mindless? That serves us and helps us, not taking away from our precious time?

And that is where the Digital Declutter comes in. He suggests taking 30 days and removing all non essential technology from your life. I have taken down all social media and removed everything from my phone that is not text messaging or phone calls or my camera. Nothing I can get on and scroll basically. I am still blogging and emailing, but all from my computer. I only just started and I’ve already had quite the revelation, I don’t actually miss any of the apps. What I miss is picking up my phone and doing something with it.

I’m sure I will have a lot more thoughts at the end of this, but I was surprised that so quickly I don’t care what’s happening on Instagram, I just want to check out and mindlessly look at my phone.

After 30 days you are supposed to assess what apps/technology are beneficial and then set boundaries from there on how to reincorporate them into your life. I’m obviously paraphrasing all this here and I highly recommend this book!

I think this past year we have all had to be tied to technology in ways we never have before and I’m getting burned out with it all. I am excited about this declutter and will absolutely check in at the end and share my thoughts. I just wanted to recommend this book in case you can’t find me on instagram and wonder why or if you are getting tired of the scrolling and the pressure to ‘stay connected’ as much as I am!

Sew the Stash/// February Plans

I started the year with plans to work through my stash and I’m happy to say I made all of my plans in January! Frida got turned into a pouf, I got a beautiful blouse out of that floral fabric, and that pink knit got turned into a cozy sweatshirt for my daughter that has yet to be photographed.

Looking ahead into February, I have quite a few projects planned so I wanted to keep my stash busters relatively simple. I have a gray French Terry that will be made up into pants for my oldest son and maybe a sweatshirt or two. This is a fairly recent fabric purchase and was always intended for sweats, I just want it made up and out of my stash sooner rather than later!

The other fabric is a soft knit in an off-white and mustard colored stripe. I’ve had this for a few years now and never quite settled on what I wanted to make it into. I think I’ve decided on the henley shirt, the Elli, from Seamwork. A great basic that will be cute in the stripe and easy to wear with a lot of other basics in my wardrobe.

These are two easy fabrics to work with and I hope to use these projects in between some trickier makes this month! Stay tuned to see if I get them out of my stash and into some closets!

Week in the Sewing Life no. 4

And just like that, we are through January! This week was rough for me. I had a hard time getting motivated and am feeling a little cooped up. I did get a couple of projects finished and have started on some fun things for next week. But I also just sat in bed during Sam’s nap time yesterday and caught up on You Tube videos. Trying to be honest and keep it real that not every day is inspiring around here!

I found some good stuff to share with you, there are some beautiful dresses just released!, and I hope you find something that makes you want to get sewing this weekend!

New Pattern Releases

French Poetry Leo Dress

Style Sew Me has the Grace Dress and The Giselle Dress

True Bias updated their sizing for the Nikko top and dress, one of my go to makes!

The Dressmaker’s Guild is offering a free pattern in anticipation of their store opening this spring.

Helpful tutorials

Closet Core Patterns has a detailed post on how to take your measurements

The Stitch Sisters have an in-depth series on using PDF Patterns

So Sew Easy has a tutorial on snap fasteners

Fun DIYs

Amy Nicole Studio has a really cute DIY on how to make pom pom earrings out of your fabric scraps.

A patchwork heart pincushion from We All Sew and these Monster Treat bags from Scratch and Stitch would both be great for Valentine’s Day

Sew up some mittens like Bernie or knit yourself a hat inspired by them!

Inspiration

This interview with Stitch Buffalo over at The Sewcialists was great. Interesting to learn about the cause as well as the artists that come in.

It’s Couture Week in the Fashion world! Vogue always has the shows (or photoshoots). These are always so fun to look at and imagine how they are constructed. Even when I don’t necessarily like them (those hulk body suits are super weird…) I like looking at them and appreciating the ideas and talent behind them.

I hope you have a nice weekend however you spend it!

January Refashion///Pjs into Pjs

I want to try and refashion a garment once a month. To refashion is to take something, maybe you thrift it, maybe it’s already in your closet, and turn it (refashion it!) into something you love and want to wear non stop.

I love thrift flips, and that was what I first thought this series would be, but after cleaning out my closet last year, I came up with a pile of clothes that I thought would be great, if only refashioned into something else.

I’m starting with a very simple refashion. I’m taking old pajama pants from Chris and me and very creatively turning them into… new pajama pants for our daughter and son!

The pink pants are old Gap pjs that I’ve had at least since college. I rarely wore them, I think because the elastic is so skinny. They just never fit great or felt very comfortable, but I never got rid of them because the fabric is great. I love the colors and it’s a great weight to sleep in. Soft but not too hot!

These pants of my husband’s are so old, so so old, and I stole them from him in college and wore them to death. Literally the side seams are falling a part and this is probably the only reason I don’t wear them anymore. But the fabric is great and I knew it would make Chris smile to see our son wearing them.

Maybe not the most exciting of the refashions, but I wanted to go ahead and post them because you can refashion basics too! Sizing these down means I’ve stretched the life out of these pants just a little bit longer and that’s always a good thing.

Before you throw something out, give it a second look to see if it could become something useful for someone else!

Whit’s Reviews/// 5 out of 4 Patterns

I have my first pattern company review of the year and it’s a good one! A few people recommended I look at 5 out of 4 patterns, and I’m so glad I did. At first glance I thought, ok, lots of basic knit patterns for the whole family. But upon closer inspection I realized that each pattern is full of options and that these basics are fantastic building blocks for your or your kids’ or your partners’ wardrobe.

I decided to sew the Candy leggings (these also can be made into yoga pants) out of this loud tie dye knit I picked up from Fabric.com. I made the size small and the fit is pretty perfect. I decided to make the Taylor Racerback tank to go with the leggings so I could have a little lime green party outfit. This is also the size small and I’m debating on where I want to hem it. At first I thought it was too long, but after wearing it I kind of like it. I’m going to actually work out in it before I make a decision.

What impressed me with making these patterns was the amount of options for each pattern. The leggings have multiple waistband options, options for a gusset or half gusset, as well as two different options for color blocking or not. The tank can have a gathered back piece, can be an aline dress or a swingy dress. The instructions are fantastic and really clear to navigate with all the options (sometimes I think this isn’t done well with companies and all the options can get confusing). They have an active Youtube channel with sew alongs, a Facebook group, and a membership to help support you. All of that to say I think there is a lot of value in these patterns and I loved that I could get bundles of both of these patterns and will be making my daughter both of these patterns soon.

Ok, so I loved so much about my experience sewing these patterns, but what is the company like? I’m so happy to share Jessica’s answers to our community questions and I think you will love her answers as much as I do. Please enjoy!

What is your design background? When and why did you start making your own patterns?

I am self-taught. I started designing patterns in 2015.  At the time, I was breastfeeding twins and there were very few breastfeeding-friendly patterns on the market. So, my first pattern was the Knot Your Average Shirt and Dress.  I also have a few personal fit issues and loathe shopping, so designing my own clothes was a win-win.  I got to design patterns I wanted to see in the world, but the act of sewing helped calm my anxiety. 

Who do you design for? Who is your Target Audience?

I am very much the girl next door and I design for the practical family.  We may not be flashy, but I love being able to make my children comfortable clothes that fit them.  For myself, I really like the sporty-relaxed look, so I aim for crossover pieces that can be anything from a sports bra to swimsuit to a summer dress.  (Those are my favorite!)

What level of sewer do you design for?

5oo4 has patterns for every level of sewist. I am passionate about helping sewists improve their sewing and encouraging them to sew outside of their comfort zone.  We try and create an experience where they are comfortable pushing their skills to the next level.  We do this through a combination of a Basics line that focuses on new sewists and then encouraging them to try new things through sew-alongs, video tutorials, and our membership, the 5oo4 Family, is the ultimate place for growth. 

What is your price point and why?

For the first time in 6 years, we raised our prices this January to $12 per pattern (and $10 for our Basics line).  All of our patterns include projector files and layers, plus TONS of options.  Most of our women’s patterns include FBA bodices (and we’re updating the ones that don’t) and we have a lot of patterns with both maternity and nursing options included.  We do not offer add-on packs, we pack our patterns with tons of options instead!

What is your size range? Why did you pick this range? What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on? Do you have plans on expanding or changing this range anytime soon?

Our women’s size range is XXS – 5XL. Our main block is a size medium and our plus size block is a size 3XL. We use a B-cup for our regular bodices and a D-cup across all sizes for our FBA bodices. As for height- the easy answer is to say 5’7″, but we really push our sewists to understand that one person’s 5’7″ is NOT the same as another person’s, so please don’t focus on height. We have an excellent resource on our blog about why we educate sewists in this area.  Our men’s size range is XS – 6XL.  Our kids’ size range is 0-3months – 14. We aim to be as inclusive as possible and are working to update our older patterns (that stop at 3XL). 

Do you support Black Lives Matter? What are some ways that you are anti-racist and inclusive in your company on a day to day basis?

Yes, I support Black Lives Matter. I am vocal in my support. As a company, we monitor and deal with hate speech and/or racist comments. We have an open dialogue in our groups and encourage education.

Is there anything else you would like people just discovering your company to know?

We are also supportive of the LGBTQ+ community and welcome testers to test any product they would like to wear. We do not aim to exclude any portion of the community. 

We are hoping to diversify our testing pool this year. If you or a loved one would like to be a part of our tester pool, we welcome inquiries at info@5outof4.com.  

Pretty great right? Go check out 5 out of 4 patterns. There are pictures of all their patterns on all types of people, sizes, ages, I just love it. And after sewing two of their patterns, I can honestly say I love this company too! If you are wanting to add some great knits to you or your kids’ or your partners’ closet, start with them. 5 out of 4 patterns gets the Whit Makes seal of approval!

Mini Me Sewing

I had so much fun sewing for my kids last year that I’ve decided to try and make it a monthly thing. Seeing how fast they are growing, I don’t think this will be an issue!

This month I made my daughter a comfy tie dye sweatsuit. I used the Hudson Minis (I’ve made these now multiple times for all the kids, my husband, and for all of our Christmas pajamas!) for the bottoms and sewed a straight size 10.

The top is a Sloane Sweater from Love Notions in the size 10 with the kangaroo pockets and hoodie options added to version B in a straight size 10. I think this is a little roomy on her, but for a sweatshirt I think that’s fine and she can get more wear out of it.

This fabric is a Telio Rayon Blend French Terry from Fabric.com and it is lightweight but very soft and cozy. I love that the tie dye is a little more subtle (wait until you see my make tomorrow! Tie dye galore!) and she loves the color.

This make took me a couple of hours this weekend and the second it was off the sewing machine she had it on and only took it off when I forced her to bathe! I would call that a success.

I will absolutely keep making these patterns and highly recommend for comfy, functional kids’ clothes that have a lot of options for making different versions.

Documenting 2021

This year I decided I wanted to document our life as it happens. I used to scrapbook all the time but these past few years I haven’t done much beyond printing photo books (which I love and highly recommend!). I realized I missed printing pictures and writing little thoughts or stories that I might not remember later. I have nothing like this for Sam and wanted to change that.

I now scrapbook our week every Sunday morning and the pics above are what I have to show for it so far. It’s nice to reflect on the week, to play with some pretty paper, and then to be able to just put it all away until next time.

I am mostly using stuff I already own- which is a lot- although I did add a monthly subscription. When I saw Kelly Purkey was starting up a subscription again I immediately got on board. Her new shop, Paper Person , is fantastic. I’ve always loved her clean style, how she incorporates current events and fun humor into her products, and I appreciate all the times she speaks out on political issues. That’s a little rare in the scrapbooking world, so I am happy to support Kelly as I’m able!

I’m going to be checking in with this album every month. I’m happy to share any products I love (although like I mentioned, right now most of them are pretty old!) and also want to use this space as a way to check in on myself and keep up with this project.

Week in the Sewing Life no. 3

Oh man- what a week! I’m still on a high from Wednesday!

I managed to finish my coat this week and I absolutely love it. I also loved seeing all the coats at the inauguration, it feels like I could have attended and fit in, no? I whipped up a cute little sweatsuit for Harper that was a nice easy make after such an intense project. I hope to have it up next week!

I started following a lot more sewing blogs and Youtube channels and I thought as part of my weekly wrap ups, I would share my favorite links. These will usually all be fashion or sewing related. Please leave a comment if you have a link (of someone else or your own!) to share. I’d love to check it out!

I loved the Fug Girls wrap up of Wednesday’s events! Amanda Gorman was my favorite part of the ceremony and she looked absolutely amazing. Fashion is not the most important thing, but so much thought goes into these moments and she absolutely nailed it. All the coats were so great!!! I didn’t watch the evening’s festivities, but everyone looked great again. I loved the details about Dr. Biden’s floral dress.

Makes I saw online that made me stop in my tracks:

This Nina Lee Bakerloo blouse from the Polka Dot Palace is so good. I’m seriously considering this pattern after seeing so many people make it their own.

I really like how wearable Allie Jackson’s Wiksten Haori is. Simple and gorgeous and still a staple piece.

Jenny Maker made a beautiful Bonnie Top from Fibre Mood and had some great thoughts and tips on the construction. I have this one planned in my upcoming makes so I appreciated her breakdown of some issues with the sleeve drafting.

And this post from Made by Meg really resonated with me. Chris and I were talking last night about what seeing someone flying the American flag means now a days and maybe it could start meaning something else. Plus I love her Kalle shirt!

There were some really good new patterns released this week too!

True Bias has the Marlo Sweater which looks perfect for being at home and wanting to still look put together but also comfy. I also appreciate that you can get the look of a knitted sweater without actually knowing how to knit.

When I saw Friday Pattern Company’s new pattern, the Heather Blazer, I cheered! I am adding it to my spring make list and it will fit in nicely with my coats section of my Make Nine. Look at this hack Chelsea made, I mean, come on! This pattern is fantastic.

Sew Over It released Salma, a shift dress with some interesting details. Again, comfortable enough to wear working from home but you will look professional on your Zoom calls.

Itch to Stitch released the Lamma Hoodie and Sweatshirt Pattern and everyone is loving it! The style lines are unique and as always, Itch to Stitch has a great size range. I love all the color blocking options and think it could really look ready to wear. Perfect for all my walks this winter!

And for all your cozy needs, check out Helen’s Closet newest, The Jackson Tee and Pullover. It is a gender neutral pattern and while it is certainly simple, looking at the lines and samples I have no doubt this will make a perfect tee every time you make it. Helen has excellent instructions and tips so I would recommend this to all beginner sewists.