Lent Has Arrived

Forty Days Of Preparation

Lent is a time of preparation.  Catholics (and other Christian denominations) use this season for prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as we look forward to the celebration of Easter, Christ’s resurrection.

You may think of  almsgiving as just giving the sacrifice of money.  But consider it as an opportunity to give of yourself.  Give your time, or share your talents, in the spirit of Christ’s love.

I pray that you have a fruitful Lent.

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Cardigan And Again And Again

Because A Cardigan Goes With Everything!

I have grown to love cardigans.  It’s not that I haven’t always liked them, it’s more that I didn’t know how to rock one.  In the corporate world, I was more of a suit or dress and jacket kind of girl.  If only I had owned this pattern then.  Because a duster length cardigan over a dress is a great look!

I’ve made the GreenStyle Sunday Cardigan before, and I’ve even written about it in a previous post.  I just keep on making them because I love the look.  The pattern has several options: knee length; duster length; sleeveless; cuffs, lace-up sleeve cuffs; two sizes of pockets; and a hood.  You can get so many different looks with this pattern.  But I have to admit that I keep making the duster length because I just love the simple drama of it.

I live in a state without a real winter, am “of a mature age” and easily overheat, so I have no need for a hood.  But the hooded version made in a soft hacci would look so cute on my daughter, who lives where it still snows.

I remember reading a discussion on the GreenStyle Facebook group page about whether you can rock a long cardigan with shorts.  The answer is yes, you absolutely can!  I think the key is using a lightweight fabric to keep it flowy and seasonally appropriate.  I used a fun purple waffle mesh from Phee Fabrics for my latest cardigan.  I purchased the fabric late last year knowing that I wanted to make this cardigan with it.  (The purple is no longer available, but there is some magenta left in the last chance section!)

mesh cardi rightmesh cardi leg

A sweater knit version would look great with jeans or pants.  You could rock it with boots or flats.  I wear my navy rayon spandex Sunday Cardigan with dresses, or thrown over my workout wear if it’s chilly on my way to yoga class.

Sienna Sunday churchSienna Sunday down

Other than workout wear, dresses are a big part of my wardrobe, and I like the duster length because it looks great with any length dress.  Longer dresses, short dresses, even a high-low hemline.  I can rock them all with this cardigan!  This foil-print fabric was a JoAnn clearance rack find last Spring.  It may be a little dramatic and over-the-top, but sparkly is in, right?

foil cardifoil cardi1

I can’t control the wind, but at least I can look cute in my cardigans!  Even when I use the same version of the pattern, I end up with a new look every time because I’ve used different fabrics.

My husband commented that I was looking a little slimmer (thank you yoga class and power walks!) so I cut my pattern down a size and I love the slightly more fitted look even more!  I may have to change the title of this post and add another “and again” because I know I’ll be making more.  What fabric should I use for my next one?

 

*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!

So Many Things

How Much Is Too Much?

I spent last week helping my Mom try to prepare to sell her house.  My Uncle is helping her by fixing things, cleaning out the garage, etc.  But they are both in their 70’s, so they needed more help.  My brother flew down, and we spent the week hard at work.  We got the exterior of the house caulked and painted.  We took load after load, after load, up to donate to Goodwill.  We filled the trash can and recycling bin, along with the trash cans and recycling bins of nearly every neighbor on her street.  Neighbors commented on how nice the house looks with a fresh coat of paint, cleared out garage, and maintained lawn irrigation system.

We spent an entire day clearing out closets and spare bedrooms, carrying unwanted items downstairs.  Now that the obvious junk is gone, Mom is left to sorting through all the things.  My brother and I tried to help her as much as we could.  “Do you want this, need this, have anywhere to put this if you keep it?”  If the answer was no, then we donated or trashed it.  But there were so many boxes and bins of “I want to look through that to see if there’s anything in there I want.”  Old paperback books and magazines, VHS tapes, knick knacks, etc., some of which had just been boxed up and  brought over to her house when my grandparents had to sell their home and either go into assisted living or move up to Michigan to live with Mom so that she could take care of them.  So much stuff!

And I get it, I really do.  We attach memories and meaning to things, because we loved the people that they belonged to.  But we cannot keep everything a person we loved ever owned or gave us.  There’s just no room in our houses or lives for so many things.  Too much stuff is just clutter, and leads to anxiety just having to look at all of it sitting there in our space.

After Dad died, Mom told all of us that we could go through Dad’s things and take any mementoes we wanted.  I chose his old slide rule (for those of you under 50 years old, with a calculator on your phone, it was a tool to help you do calculations back in the days before calculators, but long after an abacus!), an old Timex watch and retractable keychain I remember him wearing during my childhood, and a pair of funny pajama pants he wore all the time during the last months of his life.  Everything fits in a little 12″ x 12″ box.  Mom kept asking if there was anything else I wanted, but I have the memories of the things we did, the time we spent together, the quiet conversations, of the person he was, and I don’t want any more things.  I would like more time with him, but that will have to wait until I see him in heaven.

I painted the laundry room, cooked meals and cleaned up the kitchen, and started painting the door frames.  But Mom is basically down to what is to her, the hard part.  Sorting through the stuff and deciding what she wants to keep.  My brother and I can’t help her with that, because as we joked, we’d just order a 30 yard dumpster and clear it all out so that she can sell the house and not have to worry about it any more!  Once she gets to the point of actually packing things up, I’ll be able to help again.  I can cook, clean, carry, pack, and paint.  But I can’t sort through her memories and decide what has meaning to her.

How much stuff do we all carry around in life?  Whether physical things, or worries and regrets.  We can sort through the physical stuff, and get rid of the things that clutter our space.  It’s even easier to sort through the worries and regrets, because we do not have to carry that burden alone.  God has an ever listening ear, and wants us to share our problems and burdens.  Talk and pray with Him, and lighten your load.  Ask His forgiveness for any wrong you’ve done, and that weight can be lifted from your shoulders and soul.  Open your heart, and let Him in.  That’s the kind of peace and calm we really need in our lives!

It might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s easier than standing outside The Home Depot and choosing what color to paint the house!  Let go of the things, and welcome God into your life.

 

Hack At It

GreenStyle Lille Tank + Norah Nightgown = A Fun New Workout Top?

I’ve made the GreenStyle Lille Tank before, and it is a great basic racerback tank.  I use the optional built-in bra on mine.  I could share a pretty modelled photo, but I like this outtake photo better.  I really can do a nice Dancer’s Pose in yoga class, despite my laughing and falling out of it while doing photos!  I thought it would be fun to hack the Lille with the Norah Nightgown.  Say what?  This means I can avoid doing binding (which is a win in my sewing book!) and use two great patterns to make something new.

Lille outtake

When I do a pattern hack and it turns out successfully, my creativity seems to spark and I like to see what else I can come up with.  After hacking the Norah Nightgown to be more supportive and loving the outcome, I figured I could easily mash it into a workout top.  I used the same method as in my previous post here, so I won’t repeat myself by showing all of the steps in this post.

Because I am making workout wear, moisture wicking, antimicrobial, and supportive fabric is a must.  I used Supplex as my main and lining fabric with Powernet sandwiched in between.  The Supplex from Phee Fabrics is my favorite workout fabric.

I made one additional change to the Norah front bodice.  I measured 10″ up from the crossover point and made a mark.  When cutting out the bodice pieces, I used my clear ruler and rotary cutter to cut a straight line from the point up to the 10″ mark.  This gives the bodice a bit more coverage.  I also decided to not use the dart or gathers so that I could overlap the front more.  I ended up overlapping by 7.5″,  This gave me good coverage, and lined up nicely with my band pieces.  It’s a good measurement to start with, but you will want to pin or baste, and try on for the best fit.

N cup alter

I used the Lille Tank pattern for the main body portion of my top by using the bottom 14″ of the tank pattern, cutting straight across the top.  This ends up being the perfect length for me, you may want it a bit shorter or longer.

N Lille pieces
I used powernet in the bodice front, back, and straps.  As with my nightgown hack, I used 3/8″ elastic along the front 10″ of the bodice, and along the front armpit curve.  Because you want lots of support while working out, I gave the elastic a little more pull while sewing this time.  When laid flat, it looks rather gathered.  But on the body it comfortably hugs and supports the bust.  It’s also important to use elastic in the band.
N Lille flat

Then it’s just a matter of sewing the Lille front and back together at the side seams, and attaching it to the band.  To find the perfect length to hem your top, here’s a tip I picked up from Beth Doglady: “Spread your legs in a standing A shape.  Hem it where it rolls up to.  This way it won’t roll up on you in workouts.”  Brilliant!

Lille N treeLille N back

 

I tested my top with some Vinyasa Flow and everything stayed comfortably in place, even during inversions.  Now I have a fun new workout top for the GreenStyle Fit Capsule Challenge.  The Lille Tank, along with all the athletic patterns, are ON SALE for 25% off through 2/25/19.  Since working out is more fun when you’re wearing new workout wear, I need to do more sewing!  Which pattern should I make next?

 

*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!

GreenStyle Norah Nightgown

My Middle-Aged Version of Sexy 😉

Sometimes you come across a pattern that you don’t know you need until you stop and think about it.  It’s always fun to try a new workout wear, or cute top or dress pattern.  But when I thought about what was missing in my wardrobe, (really, what needs to be replaced in my wardrobe!) it was summer nightgowns.  I live in Florida, so summer nightgowns get worn probably 10 months of the year.  And some of my ready-to-wear nightgowns are starting to show that wear.  I scrolled through GreenStyle’s patterns, and noticed that the Norah Nightgown looks quite similar to two of my favorite RTW nightgowns.  Time to start sewing!

I used some purple rayon spandex from Boho Fabrics that’s been in my stash for my first version.  Since I didn’t have any lingerie elastic, stretch lace trim, or lingerie elastic to finish the bodice edges, I decided to “go rogue”, use powernet, and do a lined bodice.  I cut the bodice pieces out of the rayon spandex and out of powernet.  After sewing the bodice fronts to the bodice back, I laid the rayon spandex (main fabric) and powernet (lining fabric) bodices right sides together, stitched and turned them right side out.  I crossed the front over and pinned it and the straps in place and tried it on.   It was comfortable and would have worked just fine as a nightgown.  Since I was trying to manipulate the pattern into being more dress-like, I wanted it more fitted.  I took in the bodice side seams, and while I had it inside out, sewed some 1/4″ elastic along the seam allowances at the center front crossover edges and along the front underarm seams.  Making the bodice more fitted gave me the look I was going for!  I used elastic in the band, which also added support.  This nightgown will get worn all the time.

Norah bookNorah hair

Once I figured out my method, it was time to move on to some fancy fabric.  Valentine’s Day seems like the perfect time to try something sexier.  This makes me laugh, because “sexy” is not my style.  I like simple, clean lines, and am about 30 pounds and 30 years past dressing sexy! 🙂  Whatever!  Embrace where you are in life and go for it, right?

I saw the pretty, wide nude lace in one of Phee Fabrics Facebook posts and immediately wanted to use it.  I am not a lace person at all, so this tells you how pretty I thought the lace was!  Nude, natural colors seem to be the trend right now, so I was happy to note that Phee Fabrics also has nude circular knit.  I placed my order and impatiently waited for the USPS to deliver everything.

I prepped my pattern by tracing the bodice front and bodice back side seams one size smaller.  I also moved my bodice dart 1/4″ closer to the side seam so that it would better line up with the bust apex.  Because I was working with fancy lace yardage, it made sense to fold the bodice straps down 8″ and cut the back straps as separate pieces.  I cut the bodice pieces out of all three fabrics: the wide lace; powernet; and circular knit.  The lace was cut on the bias in order to have the lace edge along the center cross-over.  I cut the skirt out of the circular knit and powernet, trimming just the bottom hem with the lace.

Norah piecesIf the lace and circular knit were an exact color match, I would have just used one layer of fabric for my skirt.  If you’re going for sheer and sexy, you could just use the powernet.

Baste the powernet to the bodice lining pieces (in this case, the circular knit).  If you want to add removable bra cups or a prostheses, don’t baste the powernet at the bodice front side seam. N side bodice When you sew the side seams together, sew all layers at the top and bottom for about an inch, leaving the middle 2 to 3 inches of just the front bodice lining free so that you have an opening in the side seams.

Sew the back straps (strips of fabric 8.5″ x 1.5″) to the front straps.

Norah straps

Sew the bodice main fabric and lining layers right sides together, along the side of the straps down the front, and down the other side of the strap and across the back.  Don’t forget to leave openings in the back to insert your straps!  I found that I like my straps to start about 2″ from center back.

N back strap

Sew 1/4″ or 3/8″ wide elastic along the center fronts and along the front underarm area stretching slightly as you sew.  It’s going to gather your fabric a little bit, but that’s ok, it’s going to look fabulous when it’s on your body!

N elasticThen turn your bodice right sides out and press.  Don’t forget to press all seams open as you sew.  This helps reduce bulk when sewing your layers together, as well as giving your garment a more finished look.  Cross the bodice fronts over as per the pattern markings and baste in place.  Pin or baste the straps in place and try on for fit.  You may want to shorten your straps or move them closer to the center.  Maybe you want to cross them in the back.  The best part of sewing is that you make garments that fit YOU.  Once you’ve decided on strap placement, stitch the straps in place.  Lining up the bottom edges of your bodice main and lining fabrics, baste the layers together.   This makes it easier when you sew on the band.

Norah bodiceN skirt

Sew on the band according to pattern directions.  Cut the band elastic to a snug yet comfortable length and insert into the band.  Sew the skirt according to pattern directions.  I changed this version up a little bit by gathering a wider section of the center for a softer look.  You could also gather the entire skirt, then attach the skirt to the band.

And that’s how I ended up with my middle-aged version of a sexy nightgown!  Made in a different fabric, I would totally wear this as a dress.

Norah sit

See what’s missing in your wardrobe and give it a sew!

 

*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!

 

 

 

Lila Prints

Clean it up Grandma!

We recently replaced the trim around our mirrored coat closet doors.  While wiping down the filled nail holes so I could paint, I looked at the mirrored doors once again.  It’s not that I don’t see them every day, because I do.  I walk past them probably 20 times a day.  And I once again glanced at the Lila prints all over them.

I know that I should clean them off.  Some people might be horrified by the fact that I’ve left dirty fingerprints on my closet doors for nearly two months.  But they’re a tangible reminder of Lila’s last visit.  And I miss that baby girl!

Jennifer is very good at Facetiming with us on a very regular basis.  In fact, we got to see and chat with her and Lila earlier today.  It is awesome to have the everyday technology to be able to see and hear people you love by simply making a phone call.  I love the way Lila’s face lights up as soon as she sees me on the screen.  I enjoy seeing her run around the house (with Mama chasing after her to try and keep her in view!)  It’s fun to see her pull book after book off the shelf to look at, “read”, or just toss on the floor.  She played with a new wooden puzzle this morning, and carefully removed and replaced the pieces.  She likes her stuffed lambs, and it’s cute to see her hug them and carry one around.

We are blessed to have the technology to keep the connections.  I love being able to see Lila wave “bye bye”, and to blow her kisses when we have to say goodbye.  I love that she tries to reach through the computer to touch me.  And I so wish that I could reach through the screen and have her here with me!  But for now I have to content myself with the Lila hand and foot print ornaments from the last two Christmases.

Lila ornaments

These simple little gifts are so precious!  They are a reminder of just how little she was that first Christmas, and how much she has grown in the past year.  And since I have them, I guess I really should go clean the Lila prints off the mirrored closet doors!

Lila 1-18-19

Grandma loves you baby girl!

GreenStyle Studio to Street Top

Change the fabric, change the look!

I am always excited when I am chosen to test a pattern.  I don’t apply to test that often, and I only apply when the pattern looks like a style that I would wear.  You’re generally expected to make two or more of the item, so there’s no point in applying if it’s not something you want in your closet!

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a “trendy” person.  I tend to choose clothing that is classic, simple, and that I can wear for years.  My career wear leaned heavily toward suits, and dresses with a jacket.  Athletic wear now dominates my wardrobe.  I go to yoga class 4 (or more) days a week, so other than my weekend shorts, tops, and dresses, you’ll generally find me in workout wear.  Which brings me to the GreenStyle Studio to Street Top.

I’ve stopped by the grocery store on my way home from yoga class on more than one occasion.  While it generally doesn’t bother me to walk around in workout wear, stores in Florida, and grocery stores in particular are cold.  They seem to keep the A/C cranked down towards refrigerator level.  While I appreciate that they are trying to keep the food fresh, I don’t like freezing while shopping.  So the Studio to Street Top is perfect for popping on after class, looking “put together” and completing your errands in comfort.

My measurements put me in a size Large, so per testing guidelines I made a size Large, adding 1″ to the length to account for my height.  For my first test version I used some rayon spandex from JoAnn Fabric that I had in my stash.  I chose the V-neck split-band bottom with a crew neck back. (This pattern has so many great options!)

sts v1It could have been the super stretchy fabric, but the size of this trendy style felt a little too slouchy for me.  (Hey, I lived through the ’90’s already, the Flashdance look just isn’t my personality!)  So for my next two tops I sized down to a Medium.  That, and using high quality fabric, was just the change I needed to fall in love with this top.

Winter white rayon spandex from Phee Fabrics is the perfect fabric for the V-neck, split-band front, full length V back version.  It’s a trendy, yet classic top that fills a hole in my closet.  I can throw it on over my workout wear to run errands, and it’s long enough to cover my “assets” if I want to wear it with leggings.

sts necklace

The pattern has sleeve options to cover all seasons.  Long sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, short banded sleeves, or you can just hem the sleeve openings.  Since it’s usually warm in Florida, I decided to go with the banded sleeves for my third version.  I wanted a dressier top that I could wear to church or out to dinner.  Circular knit from Phee  Fabrics gave the V-neck, deep V back, full length top the perfect element of dressiness.   It’s super comfortable and breathable, with just the right amount of sexiness.

sts turq msts turq m deepv

The deep V back looks sexy (but can be worn with a regular bra!)  Or you can totally change the look by wearing a fun strappy bra (hello, Power Sports Bra!)  I will wear this with skirts, shorts, or thrown over my yoga wear all summer long.

I didn’t make a cropped version because it isn’t my tall girl style.  But a cropped sweater knit version would look adorable on my daughter or one of my nieces who live in colder climates!  With so many options (hmmm, I didn’t make a crew neck front yet..) and clear, easy to follow directions, the GreenStyle Studio to Street Top is a pattern worth owning.  Using different types and weights of fabrics will give you so many fun styles it will become a staple in your closet!

As an interesting side note, both the skirt and Super G Tights are made of Phee Fabrics Supplex.  Obviously it is my favorite fabric for workout bras, tops and multiple styles of bottoms!

 

*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!