The Positive Side

Sometimes when Dan and I go for a sunset walk, we know that we’re unlikely to see a pretty sunset.  It may be an overcast cloudy day, or the skies are just gray and misty looking.  Sometimes there is a large bank of clouds blanketing the horizon, so you know that the sun is unlikely to make an appearance.

That doesn’t stop us from walking, feeling the breeze on our skin, enjoying the sound of the waves, and breathing in the fresh salt air.  It is therapeutic to walk out in nature, to absorb the beauty of God’s creation.  Occasionally we’ll feel the need to quicken our pace, to hurry and try to “beat” an approaching rain shower.

rain cloud 5-1-19

We usually make it home long before the rain hits.  Once in a while we are treated to a little shower when we have gotten too far from the park entrance and can’t make it back in time.  Sometimes we’re pleasantly surprised when the sun peeks out or drops below  a bank of clouds and we actually get to see the sun set.

sunset 5-8-19

When the world seems to be swirling around you, and you feel a bit overwhelmed, where do you turn?  Are you grounded in your faith?  Do you know, honestly know and trust that it will all be ok because God really is in control?  It can be hard to do, because we like being in control, feeling like we have power over our world.  And we do, because of free will.  We choose the paths we take and are responsible for the consequences of our actions.  That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have faith, and trust and lean on God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, to help and guide us.  It’s more that when we feel overwhelmed that we do turn to God as our first line of help and support.

It can seem easier to turn toward the world, to hear that it’s not our fault, to “drown our sorrows” in unhealthy ways, be they alcohol, drugs, bad and dependent relationships, or whatever other source of fleeting pleasure, yet long-term sorrow or pain that we burden ourselves with.  Know that you can always change.  You can always open your heart, and let God in.  There is always room for healing, for forgiveness, for moving forward into the light.  You can let go of the burdens that you’ve been trying to carry on your own.  They really do become lighter when they are shared.

Open your heart, listen, and pray.  Look for the light and the beautiful sunsets.  God is always there, always waiting and calling out for you.

sunset 4-24-19

GreenStyle Jillian Tank

Powernet “Colorblocking” And A Hidden Seam Pocket

I love sewing workout wear for several reasons.  First of all, I need something to wear to yoga class.  Secondly, I am far too frugal to spend $50 or more on a cute workout top.  And last but not least, I can customize my makes to suit my style and color preferences.

I have had the vision of a white workout top with powernet inserts floating around in my head for a while.  I just hadn’t gotten around to sewing one up.  Enter the GreenStyle Jillian Tank (on sale for 15% off as a May 2019 “Pattern of the Month”). 🙂   The pattern is loaded with options: a bandeau top; an inner tank, with or without a built in sports bra; and an outer tank that can be made with knit or woven fabric.  I chose to make the inner tank with a built in sports bra.

I used white Supplex and white Powernet from Phee Fabrics to make my Jillian Tank.  I like the simple design of the Jillian inner tank, because it gives the powernet inserts the opportunity to stand out.  Adding inserts is really easy, it’s basically a simple color blocking technique.  I cut two right angle triangles out of my powernet, being sure to cut them straight on the grain, with the greatest stretch going side to side.  The sides of the L part of the triangles were 7″ long.  I laid the triangles on the bottom corner of the tank front, and trimmed off the excess powernet to match the shape of the corners.

Jillian triangle

I marked the tank front 6.25″ up and 6.25″ over from the bottom corner and using my quilting ruler and rotary cutter, cut off the (smaller sized) triangles from the bottom corners of my tank front.  Then I laid the powernet triangles on the tank front right sides together and stitched them together.  I pressed the seam allowances toward the Supplex and top-stitched them in place so that you wouldn’t see them through the powernet.

Jillian power

I like to walk the beach whenever I get the chance.  Since I don’t want to have to carry my phone and keys, I need pockets.  I put pockets in all my workout tights and shorts, but occasionally, I’ll find myself wearing something without pockets.  So why not start adding pockets to my workout tops?  A hidden seam pocket gives cleaner lines than a patch pocket, not to mention how much easier it is to keep straight while sewing!

I cut a 4.5″ wide by 8″ tall rectangle out of powernet.  I made it that large to ensure that my phone would stay snugly in place, yet still be able to reach in and grab a key or lip balm from the bottom of the pocket.  I folded the top of the pocket down and stitched it in place.  Then I laid the pocket right sides together 3.75″ from the right edge of the tank back at the bottom corner.  I stitched along the right hand side of the pocket.

Jillian pock 1

Then I flipped the pocket over and basted it along the side seam, and zig-zagged it in place along the bottom of the pocket.  (Had I cut the pocket a bit longer, I would have lined it up with the bottom of the tank and just basted it in place.)  When the tank is hemmed, the bottom of the pocket is securely sewn in place.

Jillian pock 2

After these simple modifications, I just followed the pattern tutorial to complete my tank.  I made another small adjustment to the pattern out of necessity.  The pattern calls for double straps threaded through the top of the front shoulder strap.   Rather than cutting and sewing the straps, I used plush bra strap elastic to speed up my sewing time. Since my strapping was wider than the sewn straps would have been, I went with a single strap.

Jillian back

I love having a solid white workout top to mix and match with my Super G‘s.  The powernet inserts and pocket give the simple lines a little extra pizazz.

Jillian G frontJillian G side

I can style it with a skirt or shorts for a completely different look.

Jillian hand

I could see myself using this simple color-blocking technique to add in coordinating fabrics if I were trying to match workout tights with color-blocked side panels.  The hidden seam pocket can be customized to fit whatever you want to carry.  It’s so much more useful than the tiny little key pockets you find on ready to wear!

Go ahead and sew all the workout wear!  After all, it is #memademay.

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing and pattern hacking. 😉

5oo4 Escapade Experiment

From Ties To A Strap, And A Little Ventilation

I literally cannot seem to stop myself when it comes to hacking patterns.  I’ll buy a pattern because it’s a cute design, or has lots of options, and I may or may not make it as written.  Then I’ll start thinking, “Maybe it would be fun to add…” or, “What if I changed that into…”  There are some really talented .pdf pattern designers out there, and I am so impressed by them, because I don’t have the talent to design a pattern.  They’ve done the hard work of figuring out fit and design.  And I get to do the fun part of personalizing patterns to suit me, or fill a need in my wardrobe.

I bought the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Escapade Top and Dress pattern months ago, and hadn’t gotten around to making it yet.  I love all the options: bikini top; tankini style top, and dress.  When I first bought the pattern, I think I planned to make the dress first.  I love dresses.  And since the Escapade has a built in bra, it’s an easy way to get dressed in the morning!  But I usually go to yoga class 4 days a week, so a workout top was a bigger need than a dress.  Which is what led to my experiment.

The Escapade is designed to have a drawstring style strap that can be tied halter style (handy if you are nursing or want to easily adjust the strap length), or tacked in place as straight or criss-crossed straps.  Since I enjoy Ashtanga and Power Flow yoga classes, there is a lot of movement involved, and I do NOT want any movement or shifting of my straps!  There is also a center front tie that gives separation, shaping, and lift to the bra front, but I didn’t want to feel the tie when we do upward bow or other floor work.  So that’s what led me to my hacks.

I made my Escapade using Supplex and Powernet from Phee Fabrics.  Supplex is hands down my favorite fabric for workout wear.  It’s moisture wicking and antimicrobial, so you don’t feel all sweaty or get stinky clothes from your workout.  High quality powernet is essential for good support when you’re making bras, so I always use it in the front and back of my workout bras.

I cut out all my pattern pieces except for the drawstring strap, since I made that by cutting two 1.5″ x 30″ strips of Supplex and one strip out of powernet.  I sewed them with the Supplex right sides together and the powernet on top along the two long sides.  I used a safety pin to turn the strap right side out, then pressed it flat.

Esc turn strap

I basted the powernet to the wrong side of the bra front and back lining pieces, then sewed the lining together at the side seams.  I also sewed the bra front and back together at the side seams.  I turned the bra right sides out, and slid the bra lining over it, right sides together.  I pinned them together along the top edge, then sewed along the top edge leaving an inch in the center back, and an inch at the bra front top points open.

Esc pinnedI used a strip of powernet 1.5″ x 4″ to make my center back strap loop.  I folded it in half lengthwise, and sewed it with a 3/8″ seam allowance.  I turned it right side out, made a loop, slid it inside the center back opening I had left in the bra, and stitched it in place.  Then I sewed 1/4″ clear elastic in the seam allowance along the top of the bra using a zig zag stitch.  I stretched it slightly from the side seam up to the bra front points.  I also stretched it slightly along the center front from point to point.

Esc elasticStitch one end of your strap in place at one of the bra front points, turn the bra right sides out, string the strap through the loop and try it on.  Adjust the strap length to fit you comfortably, while still feeling supportive.  Then turn it inside out again to stitch the strap at the appropriate length, and trim off the excess.  I think I ended up cutting a couple of inches off of mine.

Esc strapsBecause I didn’t want the center front tie, I just made a gathering stitch down the center front of the bra top, and stitched my gathers in place with a zig zag, followed by a stretch stitch to ensure that my gathers stayed in place even with the frequent wearing and washing my workout tops get.

To add interest and a little ventilation to the back of my top,  I marked a spot 5.25″ down from the top of the center back bodice, and 2.5″ from the center back fold and cut this triangle off with my rotary cutter.

Esc cut triThen I cut a 6″ triangle out of my powernet.  You can use the triangle you cut out of the bodice, (adding 3/4″ on the two sides to give yourself a seam allowance) as a pattern.

Esc triangles

Stitch the powernet insert in place on the center back, taking your time when you get to the point, lifting your presser foot, and swiveling to continue the seam up the other side of the triangle.  I’m not going to lie, my triangle shifted a bit while sewing, and I seam ripped and resewed the point more than once.  Oh, the joys of perfectionism while sewing!  Use lots of pins to hold things in place, take your time, and hopefully you won’t have to seam rip and resew like me.  Press the seam allowance toward the Supplex so that it won’t show through the powernet, and topstitch in place.

You can follow the pattern tutorial at this point to finish up your top.  I wore my top to Ashtanga yoga class yesterday, and appreciated the ventilated triangle in the middle of my back.  It was a great, rather sweaty workout and I felt cute and comfortable.

I paired the top with my GreenStyle Super G’s, which have powernet side pocket panels, so my new Escapade top gave me a cute matching workout outfit.

Esc frontEsc back full

Don’t be afraid to try a hack to make a great pattern suit your needs.  I will definitely use this pattern again.  I think I will try the dress version next.  Maybe in circular knit, or tricot… Which do you think?

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing and pattern hacking. 😉

 

5oo4 Zen Pants Made As Shorts

And An Internal Patch Pocket Hack

Summer time means shorts, and nothing screams summer like bright, white shorts.  They look great with any color tank or tee, or thrown on over a swimsuit.  In my quest to use every pattern in my collection I decided to try the 5 Out Of 4 Patterns Zen Pants, using the shorts cut line.  The Zen Pants are a slim fit with optional front and back patch pockets and a side cargo pocket.  There is also an optional faux fly, and drawstring waistband.

I like my shorts to be a smooth line under my tanks and wanted a dressy casual look, so I wanted to streamline as much as possible.  Pockets are an absolute necessity, so I decided to turn the large patch pockets into smaller internal patch pockets, and to forego any other ornamentation.  It’s fun to customize patterns to suit my needs, and I’m never afraid to try a simple hack.  As I have noted before, I don’t show full pattern pieces to protect designers intellectual property.

The first step of altering the pocket was to decide how wide I wanted it.  I laid my phone on the pattern pocket piece and knew that I could slim it down to the width of the X-small pocket.  I laid my traced out pants front piece onto the master pattern pocket and used a pencil to draw lines from the hip up and from the top out to the outer top corner.  I also curved the pocket side to follow the curve of the hip on the pants front.  I am pointing to this area in the photo below.  (The dashed line is the original pattern shape of the outer top corner of the pocket.)

Z pocket alter

Laying the pants front on the master pattern pocket piece allowed me to trace the curve to make the pocket opening on the pants front.  That small piece in the upper corner of the photo below is the piece I cut off and discarded.  I also hacked the pocket facing, (which is used to reinforce the pocket opening.)  I like my pocket facings to be about an inch wide, so I traced the top curve of the pocket facing piece and just made it an inch wide.

Z pocket fac

Next I laid out all my pattern pieces and cut them out my fabric.  You could use a ponte or one of the other recommended fabrics, but I find that shorts made of ponte make me feel too hot and sweaty.  I love making my shorts out of Supplex.  It’s moisture wicking, so it really helps keep you cool.  And since it washes and wears so well, you don’t have to worry about using white Supplex to make shorts (or anything else for that matter!)  Because I love the consistently high quality, I buy all of my Supplex from Phee Fabrics.  It is a substantial 18oz., so I never have to worry about it being sheer.  And, it took less than a yard of fabric for my shorts.

Place the pocket facing on the pocket opening right sides together, stitch, then flip the facing to the inside of the pocket.  Give it a good press, then topstitch.  The photo below shows what the facing will look like on the inside (or wrong) side.

Z pocket

Place the pocket right side up, to the wrong side of the shorts front, lining up the top and sides.  Baste at the top and side seam, and pin the curved inner edge of the pocket to the front.

Z pocket baste

Use a zig zag, decorative stitch, or cover stitch to sew the pocket to the front.  I used one of the “overlock” stitches on my sewing machine.  Take your time sewing around the curve to make sure you are catching the pocket as you sew.  Press everything smooth.  From this point you’ll be able follow the pattern directions as written to finish your shorts or pants.
Zen back

I like the idea of the back yoke/waistband on the Zen Pants, because it curves down to meet the pockets at the side seams and gives your shorts or pants a flattering shaped look.  It does however take longer to sew than a simple rectangular or a contoured waistband that’s even along the bottom edge.  I also like that the pattern tutorial gives you photos, drawings, and tips for some common pants fitting issues.  I may try to scoop out the back crotch curve of my shorts a little to fit the shape of my bum.  This should correct the wrinkles I seem to get on all pants patterns, (so I know that it’s my body shape, versus an issue with patterns.)

I love being able to make cute, comfortable shorts that will help keep me cool during the heat of summer.  It’s nice to be able to customize them to suit me by choosing from all the pattern options and by a simple hack for the pockets.

 
Zen shorts

Now I need to search through my patterns to see what else I need to make!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and sharing my love of sewing and pattern hacking. 😉

A Little Help

My daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter flew down for a visit this week, so we took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent the day at the beach.  We walked the beach, built sand castles, played in the ocean, and were enjoying the wonderful day.

ocean play

A couple in their young thirties were walking past, and I complimented the gentleman on his cool track chair.  I like seeing people who are differently abled have the tools and technology to be able to enjoy something we take for granted, like enjoying a day at the beach.  He asked my husband and son if one of them would be willing to carry him into the water.  He explained that he would drive his chair closer to the water so it wouldn’t be so far, and his wife demonstrated the proper lifting technique.  Our son quickly stepped forward and helped his wife carry him into the ocean.

Everyone enjoyed playing in the water, and the gentleman tried to give me tips on mastering the boogie board.  “Start swimming before the wave gets to you so that you’re going the same speed as the wave.”  I did more bobbing like a cork than truly riding the waves, but it sure was fun!  I was truly impressed by his swimming skills because the waves were quite strong and breaking pretty hard.  Even when they washed over his head, he continued to swim with just the use of his arms.  His wife frequently walked up to shore to check on his sweet service dog.

When we took a little break, our son let the dog sniff his hand, gave him some pets and back scratches, and the dog backed into his legs for more pets and attention.  He obviously sensed that our son loves his own dogs and knows just how to give a proper back scratch and rub! 🙂  The couple spent an hour or two playing in the surf before our son helped carry him back to the track chair.

As a rather shy person, I was thinking about how hard it has to be to ask someone, a complete stranger, for help.  Especially asking them to do a more physically demanding and personal task like carrying you into the water.  How hard is it for you to ask for help?  Is it easier for you to help others than to ask for help yourself?  We all need a little help sometimes.

Life can feel challenging at times, and that is the perfect time to pray and ask God for help.  If you’re not used to prayer and talking to God, it can be awkward because you may feel like you don’t know what to say.  I think just having a conversation like you would with a friend is a great way to start.  Say what’s on your mind (it doesn’t have to be out loud, it can be a conversation in your heart).  God listens.

I am loving being able to spend time with my family, and build precious memories with my granddaughter.  I hope that you are enjoying some conversation with God and Jesus, are willing to ask for help, as well as to step forward and help.  We had a wonderful Palm Sunday, and look forward to Easter.  Enjoy this Holy Week in anticipation of the glory to come!
Lila shovels

 

Pace Skirt

Tips For Pretty Pleats

Like many (most?) sewists, I like looking through patterns, and thinking about new clothing I can add to my wardrobe.  I have eyed the GreenStyle Pace Skirt several times, and even when I’ve made bulk pattern purchases to get the discount, I’ve hesitated on the Pace Skirt because of the pleats.  Pleats may seem intimidating, but you really can sew pretty pleats!  I want to share some tips for making pleats, so you won’t be afraid to try this fun pattern. *update: the Pace Skirt is on sale for $8.50 for the month of April!*

The Pace Skirt has a plain front and pleated back, with optional attached briefs, or shorts with pockets! 🙂  Secret hidden pockets to carry your keys and phone?  Not having to worry that a big gust of wind will come along, or that you’ll have to perform some kind of quick un-lady-like move while chasing a little one around?  Sign me up please!

The pattern is drafted for a stretch woven skirt, with a stretch knit waistband and briefs/shorts.  Since it can be challenging to find a stretch woven fabric, GreenStyle has a note in the directions that you can use a stretch knit by sizing the skirt portion down a size.  I have learned to trust the extensive testing and excellent pattern drafting, follow my measurements, and make the recommended sizes.  I like to print and tape a master copy of my patterns and trace out my size on waxed paper.  That way I’ve always got my master pattern to go back to, even if my pattern pieces get torn or a bit crinkled up from use.

So here is my first tip: pay attention when you are tracing your pattern pieces.  Because I was using a stretch knit, I had to remember to trace a smaller size for the skirt front, back, and upper back pieces, while using my measured size for the waistband and shorts pieces.  This is also the time to lengthen or shorten the pattern pieces as needed.  I am tall, so I added 1-3/8″ to the skirt length.  I also used the high rise waistband pieces rather than the standard pieces.  Can I just add here that I love that both rises are included in the pattern?  I didn’t have to worry about adjusting the pattern to add to the rise, and those that prefer a shorter rise also have the appropriate pattern pieces.

Tip #2: Make sure that you are laying out your pattern perfectly on the grain.  Grainlines and direction of greatest stretch lines are included on patterns for a very important reason.  They help you line up the pattern with the fabric so that your garment will hang properly on the body.  This is super important on the skirt back piece, because you will want to reference the grainline when pressing your pleats.  If you cut it out on grain, it will make it so much easier to get perfect pleats.  If you cut it out crooked, you will get crooked pleats if you follow the grainline while pressing.

Tip #3: Mark the pleat lines on the skirt back.  The pattern piece is clearly marked with how to fold your pleats, so they go from the center outwards.  You could use tracing paper or a disappearing pen, but I found it easy enough to use pins and clips.  I placed pins along the top of the skirt at the pleat marks.  And where each pleat folded over, and the next pleat started, I also added a clip.  That was my reminder of where the pleat ended.  In the photo below, I’ve already pressed all the pleats on the right outward toward the right side of the skirt.  (I used the metal hem guides to help hold my pleats in place while I made the folds to pleat the other half of the skirt back.  You could also just use pins or clips to accomplish this.)  Since I had made sure that I cut my pattern piece on the grainline, it was easy to follow the grainline to press the entire length of the pleat down to the hemline.  And obviously, I need to clean my iron, because little white specks of build-up have flaked out of the steam ports! 🙂

pace pinned

Tip #4: When pattern directions suggest that you baste, take the time to baste!  The small amount of time that it takes to baste, will save you so much more time when you are sewing your pieces together.  Once all of your pleats are pressed, pin them in place so that you can baste them down before sewing on the upper back piece.  Check out those pretty, pressed pleats!

pace pleats

By following the pattern directions, you will end up with a fun, flirty, pleated skirt!  It can be casual everyday wear when paired with a simple tank top.  In this case, a rayon spandex GreenStyle Staple Tank.

pace sidepace back

You can use the built-in briefs option if you prefer it when playing tennis or golf.  If you’re like me and want pockets to hold your stuff while power-walking, I recommend the shorts.  I love the “secret” pockets!

pace pocket

I also love that you can change the vibe and wear the Pace Skirt for dressier occasions  by wearing a chiffon top, or adding a jacket or cardigan.  This RTW top had been languishing in my closet because I didn’t really have anything to wear it with.

pace black

I am very happy with my new skirt.  My husband complimented me on it, and said that he loves the pleats.  ❤  Even with the built-in shorts, I don’t feel overheated because I used Phee Fabrics circular knit which is moisture-wicking and super comfortable.  There’s no need to feel intimidated by pleats.  If you have any questions about sewing or pleats, feel free to comment and I will try to help you out.  Take your time, use my tips, follow the pattern directions, and add some cute new skirts to your closet!

 

*This post may contain affiliate links.  This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links.  As always, I only give my honest opinion.  After all, it is my blog, which represents me!  Thank you for reading and supporting my love of sewing!

 

What Would You Do?

We All Have A Choice

My husband and I were heading out for a walk late yesterday afternoon, when we found a wallet at a crosswalk.  We had already pushed the button for the flashing lights, and traffic had stopped, so we quickly walked across the street.  I said “Let’s see if there is any ID or a phone number inside so that we can contact the owner.”  We checked the wallet, but there was no identification, and no business or credit cards.  Just a few faded out receipts and some cash.

We live in a neighborhood of mostly mature population, (in other words, older people). 😉  People are very active, with a pretty steady stream of bicyclists, walkers, and runners.  You sometimes see people pushing a stroller, (and I don’t know what it is with this phenomena), but there can as likely be a dog in the stroller, as a child.  I had never seen a dog stroller until we moved to Florida, but apparently it is a thing!  I thought the whole point of taking your dog for a walk was to let your pet walk.  I also see people “walking” two dogs, and frequently they will stop, pick up, and carry one of the dogs.  I have a cat, so perhaps I just don’t “get” the dog life!  But I digress.

Since there were some larger bills in the wallet, it’s quite likely that the wallet belongs to a local in the neighborhood.  I’ve noticed and heard my children and others of their generation comment that they don’t carry cash.  They just use their debit card.  Since most people use direct deposit, it is indeed easier to just use a debit card than it is to go to the bank, and withdraw cash.  Which leads us to believe that the wallet belongs to an older person who prefers using cash.

We tried to think of the best way to try and return the wallet to its owner.  There is usually someone from the Sheriff’s Office up at the City Hall Building.  I think they may have an office there?  Since it was evening, City Hall was already closed for the night.  Our neighborhood is on the NextDoor app, so my husband posted it on the app.  Hopefully the owner makes contact soon, and if not, we will take it up to the police.

I was thinking about it, and wondered how many people would try to return a wallet, and how many people would just pocket the cash and toss the wallet.  I think that most people are basically honest and good, and would try to find the rightful owner.  Maybe I am a Pollyanna and see the world through rose colored glasses?  I am sure that there are many places in this country and the world where the cash would be quickly pocketed and spent without a second thought.  But the wallet doesn’t belong to us, so we didn’t even consider keeping it.

Is it just our faith that sets us apart?  I know that faith calls us to be virtuous, to not lie, or cheat, or steal.  God blesses us with a conscience, and hopefully our parents raise us in faith, to teach us to understand right from wrong, and kindness, thoughtfulness and charity.  We live in the world, but don’t have to be of the world.  People of faith are different.  We are still subject to the temptations of the evil one, but with the grace of God, we choose to not fall into the temptation.  We sometime fail, and sin.  Thankfully, we have the sacrament of confession to rid of us our sins, and bring us back into grace.

When we think about the fact that God loves us, and Jesus died for us, hopefully it is easier to choose love and goodness over temptation.  What do you choose?