Good Morning!

It’s Another Beautiful Day

Early morning is a peaceful time to write and reflect.  It brings the promise of a new day no matter what the frustrations of the previous day were.  Yesterday I went to yoga, had just eaten breakfast and finished my chores to settle in for some sewing when the power went out.  Not just a little flicker, but out and didn’t come back on.  Dan was gone on a business trip, and we pay our bill online, so I didn’t have any paperwork to reference for an account number or the phone number to call the utility company.  I used my phone to search and was able to report the outage online, and the power was estimated to be restored in 3 hours.

Normally this wouldn’t be that big of deal, I could go for a walk, read a book, etc.  But it was a windy, chilly 55*F, so a walk didn’t sound fun.  And I am participating in a pattern test, and really needed to get sewing so I could turn in my fit photos on time.  I enjoy pattern testing.  You get to participate in trying a new and possibly challenging pattern.  Your input helps perfect the pattern so that it will fit multiple body shapes and sizes well, and ensure that the instructions are easy to follow and will help give sewists the direction they need to achieve professional results.  I take it seriously and put pressure on myself to do a good job.  Not being able to sew was a bit frustrating.

Fortunately the wind died down a bit and it didn’t get too cold, and the power came on sooner than anticipated.  Things improve.  We experience stressful situations, things don’t always go the way we like.  But every sunrise is a new beginning, a new opportunity for a good day.  I love early mornings.  It’s the perfect time to appreciate life. With coffee in hand and the cat snuggled against my legs I can write, watch the sunrise, and know that it’s going to be a beautiful day!

Lynx 12-6-18

So take a deep breath, forget your frustrations, appreciate your many blessings, enjoy the sunrise, and have a beautiful day!

GreenStyle Super G Tights

Workout Wear Within A Yard

I like yoga.  I love sewing.  Combine these two statements and the logical conclusion is sewing workout wear.  If you’ve looked through an Athleta catalog, or wandered through Lululemon or any other high-end workout wear store, you have probably been a little taken aback by the prices.  There is some justification to their price because high quality performance fabric isn’t cheap.  And you want fabric that is anti-microbial and moisture wicking if you’re planning to work up a sweat while working out.  However, $98.00 yoga tights aren’t within my budget, and the fabric isn’t that expensive!

I go to yoga 4 or 5 times a week, so I need a lot of workout wear.  I’ve made workout leggings out of swim and “Loungeletics” fabric from JoAnn Fabrics, and they are cute and comfortable at first.  But the fabric gets a bit baggy and stretched out after wearing them all day.  And they certainly aren’t moisture wicking.  Which brings me to Supplex from Phee Fabrics.  This is the high quality fabric that the high end stores use for their workout wear.  It is 18 oz./linear yard (400 grams per square meter)!  It holds everything in place, and has wonderful 4-way stretch with excellent recovery.

I recently bought the GreenStyle Creations Super G Tights pattern and was excited to add a new style into my rotation.  I chose the Super G’s because there is a side panel with pocket option.  And we all know that pockets are life! 🙂  Especially pockets that are big enough to hold a large phone in a sturdy case.  I like capri length workout tights because I live in Florida, and Ashtanga yoga is sweaty!  The Super G’s have a gusset that gives the tights excellent stretch and flexibility without irritating seams in sensitive areas.

However, the gusset pattern piece is longer than 36 inches, and I was working with a yard of fabric.  I turned this potential problem into a design element by color blocking my fabric about 3″ at both ends of my gusset piece.  It gave me a fun triangle accent on the inside of my calves.  I used white powernet for the color-blocking and side pocket panels.  It gives my legs a little bit of ventilation as well as being a great accent.

I added an inch to the rise of my tights because I am tall and a little curvy.  Could I have gotten away without the extra inch?  Absolutely!  But I’m sure I’m not the only one who likes a little extra coverage on the tummy!  I also decide to curve in the center back seam a little bit before adding the waistband.  I made sure to alter my pattern piece for future use.

super g cb seamsuper g cb alter

I took larger seam allowances on the contoured waistband to make it a bit smaller as well.  Adjusting patterns to suit your body shape is one of the reasons we sew.  We can customize the fit, and design fabric and color combos that work for us.  The simple gray and white color scheme of my workout tights means that they will match nearly every workout top I own.  And since I only used a yard of Supplex, they are well within my budget!

fold super g
warrior super g

If you haven’t tried yoga, I encourage you to try a class or two.  It’s not only great exercise, but the steady breathing helps bring calmness and focus into your life.  And if you haven’t tried sewing workout wear, give it a shot!  The Super G Tights are a great pattern, and Supplex is a wonderful fabric.  You’ll end up with workout wear that looks like a hundred bucks, but costs you a whole lot less.  And it’ll probably fit you better too!

super g

Now I need to make some strappy workout tops out of Supplex (and perhaps some Tricot).  This ready to wear top with sleeves was way too hot for yoga class!  What is your favorite workout pattern?

A Thankful Heart

What Are You Thankful For?

On this day of giving thanks, it’s not uncommon to reflect on what you are thankful for.  Some families have the tradition of everyone at the dinner table taking turns sharing something that they appreciate.  I am very grateful for the people and experiences in my life.  Even when everything is not exactly how you wish it could be, life is still so wonderful!

For instance, this is the first Thanksgiving that we won’t have either of our children at the dinner table with us.  For the last seven years or so, we have spent Thanksgiving in Tennessee with our daughter and son-in-law and his Mom (and Dad, until his passing).  This year, with the drive being a bit too long to be practical, and flights not working out with Dan’s work schedule, our plans changed.  Our son and his fiancée are out of town for a well-deserved weekend vacation.  So I am grateful that we took them and my Mom (who was visiting us) out to dinner last weekend.

I am thankful that our niece and her family are hosting an extended family Thanksgiving at their home today.  Dan will enjoy the crazy brother bonding time that he doesn’t get to have often enough.  We will be spending time with people we love.  There will be laughter and giggles, food and fun, silliness and seriousness, selfies and photos galore.  We’ll all end up tired, (and perhaps a bit frazzled!) from the noise and inevitable chaos.  But our bellies and hearts will be full after spending time together.

So what else am I thankful for?  I am so grateful for my faith!  Christ has sustained me and my family, and my life is so good because of it.  I think it’s obvious that my family is super important to me!  My husband is my rock, my true love and my best friend.

Dan & I 11-20-18

We have wonderful children (including their significant others) and a granddaughter who brings joy and light into our hearts.  I am also appreciative of every beautiful sunrise and sunset that I am blessed to see in this wonderful, sunny paradise where I live.  The roar and crash of the waves, the gentle breeze, and the soft sand under my toes as I walk near the ocean bring me peace and joy.

sunset 11-20-18

I hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful Happy Thanksgiving!  Take a minute to reflect and please let me know what you are thankful for.

 

P4P SOS Pants Contoured Waistband

Long Distance Pattern Hacking

I received a text from my daughter, “Mom, you’ve completely ruined me for regular leggings!  It’s so much more convenient to have pants with pockets.”  Hahahaha, so true!  I’ve made her Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs with the side panel, pockets and contoured waistband, as well as the SOS (skinny or straight) Pants which have pockets.  While she likes the SOS skinnies, they are a bit too low rise for her comfort.  But she does like the dressier look and convenience of four pockets.

I had ordered some Twill Polartec Powerstretch from Phee Fabrics because it sounded like an interesting fabric, and I thought I would make myself some cute pants or joggers.  But since my daughter actually needed new pants (and I really don’t!) I knew the Twill Powerstretch would be perfect for SOS Pants.

I’ve seen comments on the P4P Facebook group page that the SOS Pants pattern is being updated, but it’s cold now, so I went ahead and cut out her pants.  I decided that making a contoured waistband would be the simplest way to change the rise for her.  It would be easier for me if she lived nearby so that I could measure her, make a waistband, have her try it on, and alter as necessary before attaching it to the pants.  But since she and her family live in another state, I just went with her measurements and requests.

She wanted the pants three inches higher in front and one inch higher in back.  The P4P Peg Legs add-on pattern has a contoured waistband, but are designed with much more negative ease than SOS Pants.  It is a good reference though, to help visualize how to make a contoured waistband.  I laid the pocket on the pants front, and the back yoke on the pants back pattern pieces to help me figure out my waistband shape.

SOS pattern

That helped me get the bottom curved shape of my waistband pieces.  The SOS Pants pattern calls for a 5″ high rectangular piece, which when folded over and sewn gives you a 2″ tall waistband.  Note: I like to use a 3/8″ seam allowance on the waistband, rather than the 1/2″ the pattern calls for, so add 1/4″ to my measurements below if you want to stick to 1/2″ seams.  Since my daughter wanted the front 3″ taller, I made the center front of the waistband 5-3/4″ tall.  She wanted the back 1″ taller, so I made the center back 3-3/4″ tall.  I tapered both pieces to 4-3/4″ tall at the side seams.

Since you are not folding over like a standard waistband you will need to cut out two front and two back waistband pieces on the fold.  One set will be your main waistband and one will be your waistband lining.  I sewed up the pants per the pattern directions, then sewed on the new contoured waistband and sent the pants off to my daughter.

Jen SOS waistJen SOS side

Ta Da!  SOS skinny pants with a contoured waistband and pockets galore!  It’s just what a busy wife and Mama needs.  You can use this hack on other pants patterns as long as you use a quality knit fabric with appropriate stretch and recovery.  I recommend trying your waistband on and making any tweaks before you sew it onto your pants.  Unless of course you are mailing the pants to another state like I did!  🙂

Happy sewing and hacking!

 

Phone Sized Pockets

Because Pockets Are Life!

GreenStyle Creations Brassie Joggers are a quick sew with a comfortable fit.  But they have a small problem- modern technology!  Most women will comment about clothing that “Pockets are life!”  Ready to wear women’s clothing rarely has pockets.  Or if they do, they are tiny little decorative pockets.  About the only RTW clothing item that consistently has pockets are denim jeans.  Real women need pockets!

Menswear has pockets, and I get it that men have to carry wallets, and most women carry purses.  But you can’t carry your purse around all day.  When I go for a walk, I take a house key and my phone (and my water bottle, I get thirsty!)  So I need pockets for my stuff.  And if you have little ones, pockets are a necessity.  “Mama, look at this pretty rock.  Hold it for me.”  Toy cars, snacks, rocks and sticks, you name it, Mama is expected to carry it in her pocket.

The real necessity of course, is your cell phone.  Modern technology has conditioned us to feel lost without our mini-computer.  And if you prefer a larger screen so you can see all those cute photos on your Facebook feed, forget it!  That phone isn’t going to fit in most pockets.  And adding a phone case makes it even more of a challenge to fit.

The Brassie Jogger pocket is a decent size, it just doesn’t feel deep enough to hold my phone securely.  Altering the pocket may sound challenging, but really, it’s an easy modification.  The opening at the top of pocket pieces is around six inches, to give you room to take your hand (and stuff) in and out of the pocket.  So however you alter the shape of the opening, you need to maintain that six inch opening.

Brassie alter

I wanted the pocket opening to start about two inches higher than it does.  The purple pocket edge line shows the original shape.  I lined the pocket pattern piece up under the pants front to maintain the proper hip curve.  Then I took my measuring tape, held one end two inches up from the original spot and curved it up toward the waist.  I maintained the six inch opening for my hand, and traced my new pocket opening.  The new opening is shown in turquoise.

Since I also wanted a higher rise (I am tall, and low or mid-rise pants don’t fit well) I added an inch at the top of my pattern pieces.  The pattern currently has layers for low and mid-rise.  I think I’ve read that GreenStyle plans to update the pattern to add a higher rise, but I want to make this pattern now.  I could have used the slash and spread method to add an inch to the rise, but adding it at the top worked.  Bonus- it also made the pocket an inch deeper!

I also traced my new pocket curve onto my fabric and made a one inch wide pocket facing.  I prefer a facing to just turning the top edge under and stitching.  I think it adds crispness and stability to your pockets.  I lengthened the inseam of my shorts to six inches, as it’s a good length for me.  Other than these simple modifications, I simply followed the pattern directions.

Brassie pocket

When Phee Fabrics started carrying Polartec, I wanted to try some.  It is an interesting fabric, NOT the bulky polar fleece stuff you might be visualizing.  It’s a technical anti-microbial fabric with a moisture wicking “power grid”.

tech-diagram-power-dry.jpg

The power grid design also makes it super easy to see your grainline and ensure that you are laying out your pattern pieces properly!
power grain

The Polartec Powerdry fabric is lightweight and breathable, so I knew that I would be able to make cute and comfortable shorts out of it.  I hope I have enough of this fabric left to make some joggers or lounge pants, because it is comfortable!

If you’re interested, the top I am wearing is made of Phee Fabrics rayon/spandex using the P4P Essential Tank pattern with the curved hemline.

Brassie tank

So go ahead and add some pockets to your life! 🙂

 

 

 

GS Sunday Cardigan and Sinclair Sienna

When pattern companies note under fabric choices that you will need “Any knit fabric like cotton Lycra, double knit, ITY, sweater knit, French terry, etc….with at least 50% 2-way stretch”, I’m sure they must realize sewists are always going to push the boundaries of the intended fabrics!  The listed fabrics for the GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan are generally pretty stable knits, which is why they are great for cardigans.

Which brings me to my fabric choice- a pretty navy blue rayon/spandex from Phee Fabrics.  I live in Florida, so a thick, heavy knit cardigan isn’t likely to get much use by me.  There are chilly days, and restaurants and grocery stores always seem to blast the A/C, so cardigans are a must!  Rayon/spandex is light enough to keep me comfortable without being too warm.  I knew I wanted the duster length cardigan because it would look nice no matter what length of dress I wear, and equally as nice with pants or leggings.

I’ve mentioned before that Phee’s rayon/spandex is much more substantial than average, so I knew it would work for this cardigan, even in duster length.  The GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan doesn’t have bands, all the edges are simply pressed under and stitched.  This makes it a simple sew with a clean look.  I wanted to ensure crisp edges, especially since I wanted the side slits.  My simple solution was interfacing.  I cut 3/8″ wide strips of a light to mid-weight interfacing.  It was probably Pellon Shirtailor, but since all my various weights of interfacing are just in a bag and not individually wrapped with their respective strip of directions, who knows?  It wasn’t featherweight and it wasn’t a stiff heavyweight, so light to mid-weight will suffice!

I ironed the strips along the front edges and along the curve of the neckline, (which was the only place I actually traced the pattern shape).  I just used my rotary cutter and ruler for cutting the long strips.  I also used strips along the low slit edges.  I didn’t need to use it, but it made it super easy to press over the edges without having to use a hem guide and pin all along the edges.  I didn’t bother with it at the hemline, as the fabric hems beautifully.

inter stripsinter neck

Other than adding two inches to the sleeve length for my long arms, and ironing on the interfacing, I followed the pattern directions and ended up with a soft, cute, comfortable cardigan that will get tons of use!

Sunday backSienna Sunday down

 

My other make was the Sinclair Patterns Sienna drawstring dolman top.  I have owned this pattern for months, and this is the first time I’ve made it.  Why did I wait so long?  Probably because every time I’ve tried on a dolman top at a store, I’ve thought they just looked baggy and sloppy on me.  I have got to say that I am really growing to love the genius of Sinclair Patterns fit!  I’ve previously blogged about the Sinclair Kai tee shirts I made for my husband and son.  And I love that Sinclair patterns come in short, regular and tall.  I think that having the pattern in tall is part of what makes this fit so well.  The patterns are also drafted with a shaped hemline, and the design makes them lay well on a real body.

Sienna church

I made the short sleeve version for myself, and wore it with the drawstrings fully extended as a dress.  The winter white rayon/spandex top looks equally as cute with the drawstrings pulled up to tunic length.  In fact it’s so cute, that I texted a photo to my daughter and asked her if she wanted a top.  Her answer?  “I love dolman tops!  I think they’re cute and give the illusion of a smaller middle.”  Not that she’s implying I don’t have a small middle.  It’s pretty obvious that I am not a small person! 🙂  She actually is a small, slender woman, which is why I can’t model the Sienna I made for her.  She lives in a colder climate, so I made hers with the 3/4 sleeves.

Since I didn’t think I’d have quite enough fabric to make the sleeves per pattern (which has the sleeves drawn as part of the body), I cut them at the short sleeve line.  Then I added the seam allowances at the top of my sleeve pieces.  I think it would be easy enough to hack the sleeves to be long using this method.  Since I didn’t have my daughter here to measure for that, I stuck to the 3/4 sleeves.

cut sleevessa sleeve

I sewed the sleeve pieces to the front and back pieces, then just followed the pattern directions.  Her top turned out just as cute as mine and I can’t wait to see her in it!

J SiennaJ Sienna fold

I really like both of these patterns, and want to make them in all the colors!  And I wonder how my sewing list gets so long.  Hah!

Sunday cardi

May your patterns and fabric be plentiful, and your sewing time enjoyable!

Heavy On My Mind

Put It In His Hands

A couple of people that I know and love are going through some rough times right now.  Because I love and care about them, their problems are rather heavily on my mind.  I worry about them, about the impact their problems will have on their respective families, what will happen, whether they are ok.  I don’t live near either of them, so I can’t stop by for a visit, give them hugs, be a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.  The “little mother hen” in me hates that, because I just want to magically fix all the problems in the world.  As if!

Phone calls and texts are my way of being a listening ear, showing support, and offering (perhaps unsolicited :-)) advice.  The other important, actually most important thing I do is to pray for them.  They both know that I pray for them because I’ve probably mentioned it during a conversation.  They may not know what my prayers are, but I hope that they feel the comfort and calm that I hope my prayers bring.

My prayer life has matured over the years and I have learned from different sources and experiences in life.  From strong faith-filled friends, from bible studies, from homilies at Mass, and from reading.  My favorite book on prayer, 13 Powerful Ways To Pray by Eamon Tobin was so enlightening.  It really matured my prayer life.  Some of the important things I learned were to lean on God and let Him determine the way.

That “little mother hen” side of me wants to just fix it, and have things go in a certain way.  But that sure isn’t reality, is it?  I have zero control over either situation, and frankly, who am I to determine the best outcome for either of them?  That can be a hard thing for us to accept.  We need to lean on God.  And sometimes, when things don’t seem to be going our way, perhaps that’s the lesson that we’re supposed to be learning from the situation.  How hard it can be to humble ourselves and ask for His help!

We like to think that we can control every single situation, determine every single outcome, and make things turn out exactly the way we want.  But we can’t.  We (fortunately) don’t have control over others and can’t determine their actions and reactions.  And, how many times in your life have you wished that something had gone a certain way, were disappointed when it didn’t, then later realized that it was probably a good thing that your original wish didn’t come true?  That perhaps something better, different than expected, but better, took it’s place?

Which I guess is my long way of getting around to one of the ways I pray.  Rather than asking God for a situation to turn out a specific way, I ask for the situation to turn out the best way.  I put it in His hands.  I ask for His calming presence to be felt in the lives of the people I love.  I have faith.

I pray that your heart is open, that you let His calming presence be felt in your life.  That whatever is heavy on your mind, the load will be lightened.