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!


	

GreenStyle Power Sports Bra Workout Top Hack

How I Made A Good Bra “Workout” Better

I was lucky enough to be one of the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra pattern testers.  As soon as I made my first Power Sports Bra, I knew that I was eventually going to hack it into a workout top.  I like pattern testing.  It gives you a chance to try a new pattern, give your feedback on the fit, construction, and pattern directions.   At the end you get to show off your beautiful creations, so you feel like a model wearing something that you made.  I like the fit, style and multiple options on the pattern, and knew that it would make a cute workout top!

I used gray Supplex from Phee Fabrics for the bra portion of my top.  Since the bra needs to be comfortable, supportive, and able to withstand sweaty workouts, your fabric needs to be moisture wicking with good stability and excellent recovery.  Supplex is my go-to fabric for workout wear.   I used tricot for the body portion and straps because it comes in fun colors, and is also moisture wicking and abrasion resistant.  It is important to use powernet when making a bra.  The support and smoothing provided by powernet is, in my mind, essential to achieving a high quality finished product.  An added bonus is that I don’t have to use bra cups when I use powernet!  It’s that good at keeping “the girls” in place.

Omitting the band, I cut out my bra per pattern directions, as well as cutting a layer of powernet for all the bra pieces.  I trim the powernet about 1/8″ smaller on all sides (which is much easier if you have a rotary cutter).  Doing this will cut down on the bulk in your seams.  I then baste the powernet to my lining pieces, and treat them as one piece moving forward.

top cutOther than the straps, I sewed the bra together per pattern instructions.  While I love the look of the double straps, they are more time consuming to construct.  So I still cut out four strap pieces, but used them flat (as main fabric and lining fabric) rather than as double straps sewn to each shoulder.  I used powernet in my straps rather than adding elastic.

top strapsOnce you’ve sewn your main and lining pieces together along the top, try the bra on, adjust the straps to length, then push the straps through the openings and stitch.

top strap finishTo avoid bulk, be sure to trim the seam allowances at the back strap openings on an angle before turning the bra right side out.  It’s important to press as you sew.  It helps everything lay more smoothly, and gives your projects a more professional finish.  See the difference pressing makes between the left and right straps in the photo below?

top press

Now you’re at the part where you would normally add the band, but are instead going to make it a workout top.  I used the GreenStyle Lille Tank as the tank portion of my workout top.

I literally used a Lille tank that I had made previously, but never wear because I didn’t do a good job on the binding.  Since it was just taking up space in my workout wear drawer, I decided to upcycle it by cutting the top straight across below the arm openings.  The extra length gave me the opportunity to add ruching to the sides.

top bodyThe Lille body was wider than my bra.  If I were making the body out of Supplex, and wanted it more fitted, I would have slimmed the top of the body a bit.  Since I was going for a drapier fit with ruching, I just matched up my quarter points and eased the body to fit the bra.

top to braI could have added a band with elastic on the inside at this point, but wanted to try something else.  I used 3/8″ swim elastic cut to fit me at the snug yet comfortable length (just like you would trial fit the wider elastic in the band).  I overlapped the elastic and stitched it together making a circle.  Then I matched up my quarter points, and zig zagged the elastic to the seam allowance.  After that, I flipped the seam allowance toward the bra, and top-stitched it in place.
top elasticTo ruche the sides, I cut two pieces of swim elastic a couple of inches shorter than my side seams.  I zig-zagged the elastic to the side seams and ta-dah, instant ruching!
top backWhen I go to the beach to get photographs in my makes, sometimes silliness overtakes me.  But we’ll just say I was jump testing the workout top to ensure that everything stays in place!

top jumptop laugh

This workout top passed the jump test with flying colors! 😉  Working out is more fun when you wear cute, comfortable, me-made outfits.  🙂

Happy Sewing!

 

*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!

Welcome 2019

The sun has set on 2018 and 2019 is here.  Many people make resolutions of things they want to change or accomplish in the new year.  I remember celebrating New Year’s Eve at our brother and sister-in-laws home maybe 25 years ago when we all wrote our resolutions on a piece of paper, and put them in a shoebox.  Our sister-in-law put the box up on top of the china cabinet and said we should read them in a year.  I don’t recall if that’s what we did, but I do remember that my resolution was for us to buy a house.

It’s fun to recall memories of time spent with people we love.  It may or may not be so pleasant to recall the events of the past year.  Perhaps we have lost someone we care about, or lost a job, had a health scare, or aren’t happy with our current situation in life.  We have little or no control over some of these things, but we can work and make changes to help with others.  Everyone knows that they should eat healthier, and probably need to exercise more.  Taking a different perspective, improving our attitude, and putting in the hard work that is necessary can help us to change things.

One thing though that should be a constant in our lives is increasing our faith and reliance on God.  That may not be a particularly “cool” thing to do in today’s society, where popular culture tells us that even if God is real, we don’t really need Him.  You might think that too.  But what do you do when things are tough?  Who do you rely on?  Who do you thank when things are good and life seems to be going well?

I can tell you that I have faced hard things in life, the deaths of my Dad and all of my grandparents.  The unexpected and shocking death of our 35 year old niece comes to mind.  Like nearly everyone, we have faced financial challenges, health concerns, and dealt with all the normal problems and issues that arise in life.  But the problems have not overtaken me, because I have faith.  Sometimes it seems so hard to put it in God’s hands.  We like to try to control everything.  (Insert sound effect of a buzzer here, eeeee!)  Nope!  We can’t!  I have peace of mind because of my faith in God, in Jesus.  No matter how insurmountable our problems may seem, it will all work out in the end.

If you feel like you’ve lost your faith, or don’t think that you’ve ever had it, I invite you to open your heart.  God does not demand faith.  He doesn’t push His way into your life.  He knocks on the door and waits to be invited in.  That tiny little spark of desire in your heart?  Feed it!  Read the Bible, go to Mass, visit a church, pray, and talk to God.  Nourish your soul.

Go ahead and make your resolutions to workout, go to the gym, eat healthier, lose weight, etc.  But you can accomplish so much more and live a calmer, happier life by increasing your faith.  I challenge you to truly open your heart to God.  Invite Him into your life.  Put your troubles, problems, and desires in His hands.  Trust Him, talk to Him, and let peace and joy enter your life.

sunset 12-30-18

The sun has set on 2018, and 2019 is here.  Let the new calendar year be the beginning of a better year with the peace of Christ in your heart.

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?

 

*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!

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.