Category Archives: sewing

A practice run

I saw this great “post yoga” wrap at a boutique that I loved.

I didn’t love the $142 price tag.

I figured I could make it myself. So I did.

Except I made a mistake with my fabric choice and I have to make it all over again.

Sigh.

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For a practice run I think it looks great! I used a favorite cardigan from Loft as a starting point and made adjustments from there to create my initial muslin piece. I wanted it to be long, drapey, no hood, and I am still undecided on pockets and edge finishing. I was so nervous to cut the sweatshirt fabric, but as I was pinning and cutting, something felt awry. Turns out I failed to buy STRETCH sweatshirt fabric. Which is kind of important when you are making a garment that you want to stretch . I couldn’t get my arms in the sleeves!

It looks like I won’t be wrapping up warm in this wrap anytime this week. However, now that I have effectively made two practice pieces, one, my muslin draft and now this one made from non stretch fabric, once I get the right fabric in my hands it should be a snap to complete the project.

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On Goal Setting for 2015

I don’t always set goals for the new year, but this year I felt inspired to do so.

I usually stick to my 3 resolutions every year- walk the dog every day, sleep 8 hours a night, and wear lipstick- and I restarted those on December 1st and have done pretty well. I like the combination of practical and fun resolutions that don’t require huge changes as I believe that one’s life is comprised of both big and little things. Small changes and habits can pay dividends.

Why the lipstick? I’m not entirely certain where this idea came from, but somewhere along the way I heard that the right lipstick should brighten your whole complexion and your disposition. Combine this fact with my life as a stay at home mom who’s uniform is ripped jeans and a t-shirt, or yoga pants and a sweatshirt, and a little lipstick can go a long way in making my reflection a little more pleasant. Vain, maybe, but it’s an easy thing to do.

I’ve categorized my goals for 2015 into six categories: Faith/ Personal Growth, Marriage, Mothering, Creativity, Fitness, & Others.

So without further adieu, here are my 2015 goals:

Faith/ Personal Growth-

  • Wake up early and read bible while riding my stationary bike for 21 consecutive days in January (once I kick this awful cold)
  • Finish reading all the half read books on my Kindle- read a minimum of 10 minutes a day
  • Use prayer app daily- schedule just 5 minutes a day

Marriage-

  • Plan a weekend trip for 1st quarter
  • Plan a date night per month
  • Workout together once a week

Mothering-

  • Take Savannah to a painting class
  • Visit science museum once a month
  • reinstitute chore packs and cleaning Saturdays
  • develop a homeschool/ enrichment schedule for Luke

Creativity-

  • Participate in the 10 day Do Over Challenge – from John Acuff
  • Sew one article of clothing for myself per quarter
  • try the “Year of Nothing New” challenge for clothing
  • write 50 blog posts this year

Fitness-

  • Cut body fat to under 20%
  • Participate in #30daysnocheats with Jen, starting January 5th
  • Help 2 people in their fitness journey
  • research personal training certificate

Other-

  • Host an IF:Table
  • Host a monthly craft night

I’ll be posting monthly updates on my progress, a-la-moneysavingmom.

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Matching Christmas dresses

I found the cutest dress for my daughter Savannah this summer at a garage sale. It was in pristine condition and was very Madeline-esque.

I decided to try to recreate the dress in size toddler for Sydney, because my aunt taught me very well that sisters. Should. Always. Match. I remember so many memories of my cousins wearing matching outfits. I loved seeing them in their adorable outfits!

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The bow proved to be the most difficult for me; I might beg my friend Leslie to fix it since she has her own hair bow business and has serious bow making skills.

I used a current dress for Sydney to figure out the length and I utilized two other patterns to create the dress- one for a circle skirt and another that had a bodice, zipper and bell sleeves.

I cut off a few inches of the fullness of the skirt to make the finished dress more similar to Savannah’s dress.

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The bottom trim was also challenging because Joann’s was out of the narrow velveteen trim I wanted. The wider band did not bend well on a curved hem. I remedied this by notching the trim every few inches to create a curved effect. It was rather time consuming!

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Those girls are cute.

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I’ll be making them matching outfits as long as they will let me.

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Do you want to build a snowman

I have the opportunity to serve as one of the room parents in my daughter’s first grade class and we get to plan a few parties for the children throughout the year. The kids work so hard all year that it is such a joy to see them just play and have a laid back hour.

The Christmas party, which was totally renamed Winter Party when williamsville schools canned all things Christmas back in the nineties when I was enrolled in their middle schools, can’t have any references to Christmas or any other holiday.

So. We paid homage to snowmans.

In addition to snowman crafts, we created a “do you want to build a snowman” game.

I made a snowman costume that consisted of a body, buttons, scarf, mittens and carrot nose.

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We rotate the kids through several stations so we have about 5-7 per group. One member in the group is the one who gets to be the snowman. The other children took turns throwing foam balls (snowballs!) into containers that had pictures of either a snowman body, buttons, scarf, mittens or carrot nose.

It was a fun and easy activity that the children enjoyed. I was glad to have figured out something that wasn’t a desk activity so they were able to move around and be wiggly little kids that they so often cannot be! My kids are pumped that we get to keep the costume!

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Letting out a pair of jeans

I must have been delusional, buying the size jeans that I did. They were snug in the fitting room, but I had just shed a ton of baby weight after #2 was born and I figured I would keep losing.

Wrong. Well, sort of. I did lose weight, but I also gained muscle, so my thigh circumference remained the same. I have what a trainer at the gym called “diesel legs” the other day. His female colleague smacked him and told him to never tell a woman that; he backpedaled and started stammering about how hard I work out and how strong I am, yada yada yada.

I wasn’t offended. It was funny.

But yes. I have diesel legs. Quads. Glutes. Hammies. They are strong. Thigh-gap ain’t nevah going to happen here.

I’ve had the aforementioned pair of jeans in my closet for about four and a half years. Gone through another pregnancy and birth. And yet did I toss those jeans? Or give them to a skinnier leg friend? No. I just kept trying them on every so often and wind up hopping around in my bedroom trying to will these jeans to shimmy up my legs. I usually ended up falling over in a pile of defeat.

Then one day a few months back, it dawned on me, could I alter them?

I flipped them inside out and noticed that there was more than a half inch seam allowance on the outside seam.

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To alter a seam, you need to rip out the stitches with a seam ripper. Take care not to rip the fabric and be sure to remove the wayward pieces of thread.

Iron your fabric to remove any creases before pinning a sewing the new seam.

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Sew as close as you can to the serger stitches. It helps if your pinning is precise, so you get the maximum amount of fabric added to the width of the pants.

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Wriggle and shake and get those jeans on! It worked!

Except once I had them on, I couldn’t move too well. I probably needed another inch. Oh boo. What’s the deal with me not giving up on these jeans!?! Sheesh.

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Halloween 2014

Halloween was so three weeks ago, but I worked so hard on everyone’s costume I just had to share!

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For the first time in forever, everybody had a handmade costume. Even me and Keith.

It all started with an oops- I purchased a Frozen pattern from Joann’s that had a photo of a child Elsa and adult Anna. As I was cutting out the pattern pieces it struck me that the sizes were in numbers when I was expecting S-M-L and that the smallest size looked huge for Savannah.

Keith offered to go to Joann’s and buy the right pattern. Which was awesome because I was about to cry at that moment.

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I spent every spare minute working on costumes from about Mid October on.

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Sydney’s costume was the warmest and most practical for a Buffalo Halloween. She made a cute Olaf!

My costume was partly following a pattern and partly winging it. I found an image of Anna’s embroidered top and used my Silhouette to trace it and create a freezer paper stencil.

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I used fabric paint to recreate the embroidery on an old gym tank.

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Savannah loved having is us Frozen characters for her class party. Her joy was worth any smidge of embarrassment I felt walking down the elementary school halls with my costume!

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Savannah was one of EIGHT Elsa’s in her class. There are eleven girls in her class: 8 were Elsa, one was Anna, one was a clown and one was a cowgirl.

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Luke was Kristoff. His costume was pretty simple. I used an old t shirt of Keith’s and cut the sleeves and neckline. I added faux fur and trim to the shirt, paired it with jeans and his sisters old wannabe Uggs from last year. I sewed up a set of brown mittens and put a black slouchy beanie on his head to complete the look.

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Keith was Sven the reindeer. His costume was a felt poncho that I hot glued faux fur to. I sneezed all night after making it from all the snippets of fur that flew everywhere!

It was fun, and slightly embarrassing to stroll through the neighborhood all decked out with he kids, but they had a blast and loved that our whole family were characters from the same movie.

I wonder what they’ll ask me to do for next year!!!

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Big Boy Room Progress

My little man is growing up.

He runs, he jumps, he swims, and he climbs (out of the crib). It’s time for the Big Boy Room.

We’ll be needing that crib for the baby soon enough. For the time being, Sydney’s in a basinette in our room.

I found an inspiration room on pinterest and made my own twists on it. We’re going for the “hunter/ explorer” theme and this is the progress we’ve made so far:

Bedding- I bought the bedding from (gasp) Pottery Barn. Honest, it’s the only Pottery Barn purchase I think I have ever made. It was crazy wicked on sale, so I don’t feel too guilty, and making a quilt myself at this current juncture of having a new baby in the house would probably send me to the nuthouse (so said my loving and level headed husband).

I made the throw pillows with some duck cloth I had on hand and stuffed them with an old pillow cut in half! I used my Silhouette and freezer paper to create the name and antler stencils.

Window Coverings- I saved some money by NOT purchasing the coordinating valence from Pottery Barn. I just made my own with $5 worth of fabric.

Organization- I used my Silhouette to make hanging labels for the drawers for organization (more on household organization next week!).

Some things we have left to do:

  • Wall Mural- We’re thinking an acacia tree of some sort. I have a board on Pinterest if you want to weigh in on the candidates!
  • Hanging decor
  • Bear rug- I saw this on the Cabella’s website and decided it was too expensive, so I am going to DIY a bear rug for a fraction of the price.
  • Storage
  • Reading Nook
  • Lighting

Good thing we’re not in a huge rush to get this all done. Slow and steady wins the race!

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