sewing

Greenwood Tank: a wardrobe staple

I’ve been thinking to myself lately how much I needed a good knit tank pattern. Luckily for me, Straight Stitch Designs is releasing the Greenwood Tank today!
Greenwood TankWarning: if you sew one Greenwood Tank, you will be unable to stop and will need to sew more. As part of the testing team, I’ve already sewn three! It’s such a fast sew, pretty soon I’m going to have one for every day of the week.

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The Greenwood Tank comes with options for a regular high back or a low back that mirrors the front of the tank. I chose the low back option (even though I failed to actually take a picture of the back!).

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I shortened the straps a bit, but this is something I have to do quite often with ready-to-wear clothing and PDF patterns. Once I did that, the fit was fantastic. Also fantastic? This knit from JoAnn’s. I’m in loooove with this floral!

DSC_6510I had a little bit of this luscious Anna Maria Horner knit left from this dress, and it was perfect for this tank! This will definitely be an everyday wear this summer.

DSC_6559This tank really is a wardrobe staple. Depending on your fabric, you can dress it up or down. The knit binding on this tank is one of my favorite ways to do binding. Kimberly has a great video to walk you through this if you’ve never done it before.

DSC_6497I loved the Capitol Hill and the Ballard, so I knew right away I would love the Greenwood. Kimberly’s pattern instructions were easy to follow, as always, and it came out with a superb garment!DSC_6352So what are you waiting for?! Hop on over and check out the newly released Greenwood Tank! It’s 30% off through Sunday, and if you’re anything like me, once you start sewing them, you won’t be able to stop :)

Happy sewing, friends!

Disclosure: I received this pattern as part of the pattern testing group, in exchange for my feedback.

Super Skinny Pants over at Melly Sews

My post for the Blank Slate Sewing Team is up, so head on over to Melly Sews and check out the Super Skinny Pants I made for my little man!

super skinny pants

Unlocking a New Sewing Level [a pattern review]

With each baby I’ve carried, my body has changed a little bit. My hips have grown wider, my belly softer – marked with stripes that are the evidence of these little loves. But this ever-changing body has also produced an ever-changing wardrobe. Under my bed I have clothing for every stage: pre-baby, post-baby, post-post baby. Because rarely do I find the perfect fit – the shirts that hide the belly that once carried my boys or the jeans that are the perfect balance of respectable mom-of-four-kids jeans, without venturing into “mom jeans” territory.

Real Deal Jeans and Pier 7 Top
Last year, I made a promise to myself that I would sew more for me. I’m making more brave choices and not settling for ill-fitting clothes anymore. And with the help of the Women’s Bundle Up sale from Pattern Revolution, I’ve added two more lovely pieces to my wardrobe. In fact, I think I’ve unlocked a new sewing level!

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I chose to sew two patterns from the Bundle: Terra’s Treasures Pier 7 Top and Winter Wear Designs Real Deal Jeans. (Both are currently available only through the bundle sale… they will be available later this month at their respective shops)

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I’ve been holding onto this fabric (a peach skin from Girl Charlee that isn’t currently in stock) for awhile, but I just hadn’t found the right project for it. As soon as I saw this pattern, I knew it would be a perfect match! First of all, this print. THIS PRINT! So fabulous. The drape is phenomenal, and it feels so good when you’re wearing it! Dreamy, actually.

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One of the things I adore about sewing is taking a pattern and modifying it so that it fits you perfectly – your body and your style. I love the pleats in the front – a great detail in the pattern that will likely make you crazy when using a fabric like this that’s slippery as all get out, but will be so worth it in the end.

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I altered a few simple things about the Pier 7. I left off the sleeves and finished the armholes with bias tape. The pattern has two options for the waist: shirring or elastic. I chose the elastic, but finished the waistband with a method not offered in the pattern, giving it a slightly different look.

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The pattern is really easy to follow, and I am definitely going to try it in a knit fabric soon. I know that this top will be really easy to dress up or to wear with…

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My new skinny jeans! What??! I made jeans. JEANS!DSC_5902

Sewing jeans for myself has been on my sewing bucket list for awhile now. The pattern makes more of a straight leg jeans, and I wanted some skinnies, so I did a lot of alterations in the calves to get the perfect skinny fit. But now they’re exactly what I wanted! I constructed the pants a little differently than the instructions in the pattern. To be honest, I didn’t really look at them closely – I’ve made a lot of little-people pants, so I did my own thing once I had the pattern pieces in hand.

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Now repeat after me: a muslin is your best friend. Definitely muslin before you cut into your good fabric. You’ll be able to check the fit and see what kind of alterations you need to make right off the bat, especially if you need to blend between sizes. I snagged this (freaking adorable) denim from JoAnn’s. I thought it was a great denim for my first pair, since it’s not super expensive. It’s certainly not the highest quality fabric, but they’re super comfy, and I think they’ll wear well.

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Here I go, putting my booty on the internet again… but seriously, I love the way my butt looks in these pants! I always struggle with store-bought jeans, because well, I don’t really have much of a butt. This seems like it would be a good problem, but not when it comes to picking out jeans. Jeans are made for people with a booty! But after some minor alterations, they fit perfectly, and I’m pretty sure I may never go back to store-bought jeans again.DSC_5823

Let’s take control of our wardrobes! Let’s embrace our bodies and sew clothes that make us feel good about ourselves! Because as I said before:

Life is too short to wear clothes I don't like

You can find these patterns and more on sale at the Bundle Up Sale now through May 8th, and individually later this month.

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And be sure to head over to Pattern Revolution and check out all the other Bundle Up tour stops, as well as reviews on each of the individual patterns.

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 Disclaimer: I was given these patterns in exchange for this post. I receive no compensation from this sale. All opinions are my own.

Quilted Camera Bag (that’s actually a diaper bag!)

A couple months ago, I shared this Quilted Camera Bag (affiliate link) that I posted over at Melly Sews as part of the Blank Slate Sewing Team. My mom-purse was starting to fall apart, and I needed a new diaper bag. Then I realized that if I left out the camera padding, this pattern would be perfect!

Quilted Camera Bag that's actually a diaper bagI can’t even tell you how much I love this pattern. Well, maybe I can… it’s amazing. In the few months I’ve been using it, I’ve gotten more compliments on it than anything I’ve ever made.

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In true Melissa form, the pattern is incredibly well done. The instructions are very clear. The pattern is a bit complicated (it’s rated intermediate to advanced, and I’d say that’s accurate), but if you’re a fairly experienced or even adventurous seamstress, I think you could tackle it. Just give yourself a lot of time, as there are a lot of pieces and steps. I also recommend using these Wonder Clips (affiliate link) to keep the many layers in place.

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The finishes on the bag are incredibly professional. Melissa guides you through everything, so even if you haven’t made bag this complicated before (which I haven’t!) you shouldn’t have a problem.

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The pattern comes with two zipper pockets – one larger outside and one smaller inside. I ended up putting both of them inside the bag, because I decided I’d use it much more that way.

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The strap in the pattern is designed to be adjustable, but I prefer them to be a fixed length, so I took about eight inches off and left off the slider.

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The length is absolutely perfect – it hits me at the right spot, and I can still wear it across my body (great for those times when you need to hold three hands at a time across a busy street).

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The pattern includes padding to surround your camera pieces and laptop, so if you’d like to use this pattern as a diaper bag or purse, just skip those steps (including all the velcro). The bag is nice and roomy, so there’s plenty of room for diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, or whatever else you might need.

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The front pockets are perfect for my sunglasses and my phone wallet. Though if I had to re-do it, I’d use magnetic snaps for these pockets as well, just so I can access the pockets faster while wrangling the kids.

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I used one of my decorative stitches for the first time to quilt the top flap, and I LOVE how it turned out. It adds a super fun detail to the bag!

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The lining fabric is Cotton + Steel (which I adore) and the outer fabric is a fabulous table cloth that I found on clearance at Target that ended up not fitting our table.

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I’m so happy with my bag. And the bright fabric added some sunshine to our gloomy winter days and feels so springy now that warm weather has arrived!

DIY Diaper Bag

You can find the Quilted Camera Bag HERE in the Blank Slates Pattern shop.

Make your own diaper bag

DIY Reversible Mouse Pad: a tutorial

I love when I can take a little bit of fabric, a short amount of time, and come up with something that can brighten up a space. When I got sick of looking at my plain, black mouse pad, I decided to sew up a new one that would bring a little color and fun to my desk. It only takes a small amount of fabric, so its a perfect scrap buster project – great for those scraps that you’re hoarding and you can’t get rid of… you know what I’m talking about. Plus, this is a great beginner’s project to try!

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Supplies:

  • Two pieces of non-stretchy cotton fabric – size can vary, mine were approximately 8.5in x 10.5in.
  • Slightly smaller piece of fusible fleece (such as Pellon TP971F Fusible Thermolam Plus – affiliate link)
  • sewing machine, thread, etc.
  • scissors
  • iron

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1. Cut your two cotton fabrics to your desired size. I cut mine to be approximately 8.5in by 10.5in. Round the corners.

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2. Cut two fusible fleece pieces at least 1/2in. smaller than the cotton fabrics. Iron one piece of the fusible fleece to the wrong side of each fabric piece (be sure to check the instructions that come with your fusible fleece).

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3. Pin the two fabric/fleece pieces together, with the right sides together.

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4. Sew the pieces together, using a 1/2in. seam allowance. You want to sew around the fleece, so it’s not caught in your seam allowance. Leave an opening of about 2 inches as shown above.

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5. Clip the fabric around all the corner curves, as shown above. This will help your corners not to be bulky.

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6. Turn the fabrics right side out, using that small opening. Press the seams with your iron.

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When you are pressing your seams, make sure that the fabric around the opening is pressed under.

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7. Topstitch around the entire mouse pad.

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That’s all there is to it! In a short amount of time, you can brighten up your desk. No more boring mouse pad! And now you have yet another excuse to keep all those pretty fabric scraps. As if you needed another excuse. ;)

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And you can flip it over when your mood changes and you’re looking for something new. This would make a great gift for anyone who works at a computer – dads, husbands, teachers, or a blogging bud!

DIY Reversible Mouse Pad 2Happy sewing, friends!

 

FREE Yoga Pants Pattern!

Today I’m over at Melly Sews sharing my Zinnia Jacket as part of the Riley Blake Knit Love blog tour. I’m super excited to take part in the tour on Melissa’s behalf and have the chance to play with some super yummy Riley Blake knits. You can read all about the Zinnia Jacket over on Melissa’s blog, and if you keep reading, you can make your own yoga pants by grabbing your FREE pattern!

FREE Women's Yoga Pants Pattern from If Only They Would Nap

When I decided to make the Zinnia Jacket, I quickly realized it would be a perfect pair with yoga pants. And obviously exercise is so much easier with a cute outfit. The Riley Blake knits are fantastic for this!

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You want to have a solid knit with 40-50% stretch and a good recovery. You can sew this with a serger or with a regular sewing machine, using a zig-zag stitch.

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These pants have an oh so ridiculously comfy fold over yoga waistband and are super quick to sew together. Yoga pants aren’t just for yoga, you know… have you ever slept in yoga pants? SO comfortable! I love that the waistband also gives you a chance to play with accent fabrics, like these fabulous triangles. DSC_4677

Knits are my jam. If you don’t sew with knits often, don’t be scared!! Just give them a try. If I can put my booty on the internet, you can try sewing knits. ;)

You can download your FREE PATTERN here in size medium.
Finished length: 40in. from bottom of waistband to finished hem

After you print and tape your pattern together, cut your fabric out. If the size medium doesn’t fit you, you can use these same instructions to put together your own self-drafted pattern. Just copy a pair of pants you already own and you’ll know they fit you. Just remember to add in some seam allowance.

1. Lay your front and back leg pieces right sides together. Zig-zag or serge along the inseam and the outside of the leg. Repeat with the second leg.

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2. Put the two legs together and line up the crotch seams, right sides together – make sure that the front and back line up. You can easily do this by putting one leg inside the other, right sides together. Sew the two pieces together.DSC_4855

3. Cut two rectangles for the waistband 10.75in (length) by 16.75in (width) – make sure the stretch goes along the width. Sew the short ends together, right sides together.DSC_4858

4. Fold the waistband over.DSC_4859

5. Slide the waistband over the pants and pin together. Sew with a serger or zig-zag stitch.DSC_4863

6. Hem with a one inch hem (or more/less according to your desired length). You can do this with a coverstitch (affiliate link), a double needle, or a stretch stitch.

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Then go for a run! Or cozy up with a good book… I won’t judge. Either way, feel good about your new pants!

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Download your FREE yoga pants pattern here

Happy sewing, friends!

Hack a Full Zip Pattern into a Half Zip

Today I have an easy tutorial for hacking a full zip sweatshirt pattern into a half zip. I used the Zippy Jacket (affiliate link) from Blank Slate Patterns, as this post was originally posted for the Blank Slate Sewing Team, but you can do this to any zip-up pattern.

Hack a full zip pattern into a half zip

I originally had no plans to modify this pattern, but I really wanted to use a red zipper. I counted four 7inch red zippers non-separating zippers in my stash (why??) but nothing long enough to make the jacket. But perfect for a half zip!

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I made the size 7/8 for my tall seven year old. The fit is just perfect, and he says it’s really comfortable. It must be, because he wears it all the time.

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The pockets are my favorite feature of this pattern. You don’t find a lot of sweatshirts with these rounded pockets, and they give you a great chance to give a little peek of an accent fabric.

If you too have a stash of way-too-short zippers (or a little one who does better with a pullover), turning the Zippy Jacket into a half zip is really easy.

1. Instead of cutting two separate pieces for the front, cut one on the fold.

DSC_07502. After sewing your pockets, begin your zipper install. Draw a line from the neckline about five inches. (You may have to adjust the length if you are making a very small size – this one was size 7/8)

DSC_07783. Cut down your five inch line. Fuse a small square of interfacing to the back, allowing your interfacing to go over your cut. Then make a slit thorough your interfacing, like in the above photo.

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4. Fold the front piece in half, right sides together. Sew a basting stitch from the neckline down to the bottom of your cut. Lay it right side down and press your seam open.

DSC_00315. Lay your zipper down on the seam. You want the bottom metal part of your zipper to be just below the end of your seam. Your zipper will be sticking out over the neckline, and that’s good. You can tape or pin your zipper in place. I like to put a couple of pieces of scotch tape on the back and then pin a couple times on the front.

DSC_07966. Turn the front piece over and stitch around the zipper with your zipper foot. Make sure you leave about an inch at the top (as you can see in the photo) to attach the collar. Then use your seam ripper to open up your basting stitch and remove the stitches.

*Truth be told, I like to remove my basting stitch first, before I stitch around the zipper. I like when the zipper is a little bit more exposed, when I’m using a colored zipper like I did here. If you do that, just make sure you pin around your zipper to keep it securely in place. So my picture above shows more zipper than yours would if you did yours the way I originally described. But I’m a sewing rebel like that..

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Then, complete the rest of the pattern according to the instructions, except for the waistband. Attach the waistband as you did the sleeve cuffs (I did not alter the waistband’s size), since there is no longer a zipper going to the bottom.DSC_0860

This is really a must-have pattern! I may or may not have have squealed with joy and sent pictures to a sewing friend after I finished it.

DSC_0922The main portion of the jacket was upcycled from an XXL sweatshirt I picked up at a thrift store. With the zipper and pockets in the front, I used the original front of the sweatshirt and made it into the back. We gotta show our Wisconsin pride!

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I’ve already dreamed up three other Zippy Jackets (affiliate link). Good thing I have three other boys who also enjoy a good mama made garment!

Happy sewing, friends!

Reversible Mouse Pad for Craftaholics Anonymous

Today I’m over at Craftaholics Anonymous with my first post as part of the 2015 Creative Team! Head on over for an easy tutorial to make your own reversible mouse pad!

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Happy sewing!

 

DIY: Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag for baby

In late September, my family decided we were going to take a camping trip. The weather forecast was predicting amazing fall weather – in the 70s – but being that we live in Wisconsin, it was still going to fall into the 50s at night. Since we were tent camping, I started thinking about how to keep the kids warm at night. This was pretty easy for the big kids – fleece jammies and sleeping bags, maybe an extra layer underneath. But the baby? That wasn’t going to work. He doesn’t use a blanket in his bed, and the sleep sack he had been using (affiliate link – seriously my favorite not handmade sleep sack ever) was definitely not warm enough. Then I remembered this blanket that we had that would be perfect to turn into a wearable sleeping bag!

Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag

The blanket I used is not super fluffy. It has a layer of batting inside, so it’s warm, but doesn’t have a lot of fluff or feathers or anything that would make it too difficult to sew.

DSC_0341I also made it reversible, because I like options. ;)

It’s really simple to make your own – all you need is:

  • a blanket (fabric/batting that you quilt yourself)
  • thread/sewing machine/etc.
  • double fold bias tape
  • KAM snaps (affiliate link)

DSC_05321. Trace and cut out the shape of your sleep sack. I used the bodice piece of the Kudzu Coveralls to start, since the back straps are longer than the front ones. I traced a sleep sack I had on hand to get the approximate shape. I added a little width and length, since I want it to last all winter. If you don’t have a sleep sack on hand, use a pair of pajamas to help you determine the length. You will want the back straps to be slightly longer than the front.

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2. Place the two pieces wrong sides together – or whichever fabric you’d like to be on the inside should be facing each other. Sew the two pieces together, starting at one armpit to the other. You can do this with a serger, zig-zag stitch or even a straight stitch, as these seams will be hidden.

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3. Now take your bias tape and pin it over the seam you just sewed. Open the bias tape and pin one side along the first fold line. Sew along that fold line.

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4. Now fold the bias tape over to the other side. Pin and sew it down. The top of your bias tape (at the armpit) will be hidden, so don’t worry about finishing it.

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5. Repeat step three along the armhole and the neckline – open the bias tape, pin, and sew down along the first fold line.

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6. I used the edge of the blanket for the top of the straps. If you didn’t, you will also need to enclose that in bias tape. Fold the end of the bias tape under.

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7. Fold over the bias tape edge over to enclose the seam (making sure the end of the bias tape is tucked under), pin, and sew it down. Remember to do this for both the armhole and the neckline.

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8. Add snaps to both sides of the straps. I added two sets of snaps on the back strap, so that if he grows I can adjust to a longer length.

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Now your baby will be warm and cozy all through the winter!

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This wearable sleeping bag worked perfectly for camping, and now that the weather has turned cold, we’re using it at home too. I don’t have to worry about having blankets in the crib, and I know that he’s super toasty warm.

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And we can flip it over when we feel the need to change it up.

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And flip it back again. Because that’s how we roll.

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Happy (warm!) sewing, friends!

Why I’m not waiting for perfect anymore

Life is too short to wear clothes I don't like

I find myself buying fewer and fewer pieces of clothing for myself, because I look at them and think “surely I can just make this for myself instead!” But the thing is, I’ve been saying that for a long time. And I keep holding back, waiting…

To find the perfect pattern.

To be done breastfeeding.

To not be pregnant.

To finally lose the baby weight.

To find the perfect fabric… And then never cutting into it, because there’s no pattern good enough for this amazing fabric.

To have perfected all my sewing skills (ha!)

The past few days, I’ve been taping patterns and choosing fabric for dresses and shirts that I’ve been wanting to sew for awhile. But I keep getting hung up on my fabric choices, hesitating to cut into fabrics that I love, because what if I suddenly lose ten pounds and it doesn’t fit anymore (that’s a lovely dream, isn’t it?) Or what if I decide I don’t like it, and then I’ve used this expensive or hard to find fabric on something I’m never going to wear?

There will always be excuses to keep me from sewing for myself. But really, now is the perfect time. Because there is no perfect time. If I keep waiting for the stars to align and for life’s circumstances to be exactly what I hope they will be, I’m never going to do it. Today I’ve decided that I’m not going to hold out for perfect. I’m going to embrace the imperfections of my life and my circumstances. I’m not going to save my favorite fabrics for someday. I’m going to sew for myself, even if I haven’t met my “ideal weight.” I’m going to sew garments that aren’t perfect, but that I feel good about wearing, because they were made by me. And I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to “waste fabric” as I try new things.

Because life is too short to wear clothes that I don’t like and to spend my days waiting around for someday. If (when?) I lose that baby weight, I may have to make myself some new clothes.. but then I get to make myself new clothes. And they’ll probably be better, because with each garment I sew, my skills improve and I learn how to fit my body. And goodness, there will always be pretty fabric. I do love buying new fabrics.. :)

So over the next few months, you’ll be seeing more sewing for me. And if you don’t, you have permission to yell at me. Well, gently remind me of this post anyway.

Will you join me?

Happy sewing, friends!