sewing for women

Flowy Tank Top and Me Made May

Do you follow along with Me Made May at all? It’s a challenge to wear something handmade everyday for the month of May. I’ve done it before, but honestly, I’ve rarely committed to wearing solely handmade the rest of the year. My body has changed a lot over the years (hello, five kids will do that to a girl ;) and I’ve gotten rid of many handmade that just didn’t fit my body well anymore. This year, I shared in my Instagram Stories about how I decided to wear almost completely handmade this May, so that I can really see the holes in my wardrobe and finally commit to a handmade wardrobe. 

Of course, there are a few caveats: I only have one or two pairs of handmade pants that fit my body well now. That’s on the list of things to sew, but obviously they’re a little more time consuming, and this season of my life has been all about quick sews. I also don’t currently have any handmade pajamas.

Since I’m home with my boys all day, homeschooling and doing all the mom things, I wear a lot of knit shirts. I’ve already discovered that I need to sew a few more short sleeved T-shirts, since that’s what I tend to wear the most.

This tank top and cardigan have been in regular rotation for awhile. The cardigan is a free pattern here on the blog from awhile back, and I wear it several times a week.

The tank top is a modified version of this free dress pattern from last summer. I cut the back yoke on the fold instead of adding the keyhole to the back, and I actually love it even more than the keyhole version! Plus, it’s really fast.

I had a remnant from Joann’s that I absolutely loved and have been hoarding for awhile now, and it was the perfect size for this top.

The fabric is flowy and super comfy, though the color hasn’t held up incredibly through many washes, which is a bummer. I think I made this one at the end of last summer, but never blogged about it, so it’s been worn quite a lot already.

The thing I love the most about Me Made May is that it challenges me to look closely at my wardrobe. Even though I’ve been making myself clothes for years, all the body changes have made it difficult to fully commit to a mostly handmade wardrobe. But maybe this is the year?? You can follow me on Instagram to see all my handmades this month.

If you make your own clothes, how’s your handmade wardrobe coming along? Happy sewing, friends!

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FREE Women’s Beanie Hat Pattern

Hey friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted! Life has gotten busy, with homeschooling, the craziness of having five kids (and a climbing toddler – oy!), and all the things of life. I meant to share this women’s beanie pattern months ago, but blogging and sewing took a back seat to life. So I’m back with this free knit hat pattern to help you forget my long absence. ;) This one is great for upcycling an old or thrifted sweater (like the one in the photo!) or using any knit or french terry fabric.

All you need is a scrap of knit or french terry fabric that has good stretch and a sewing machine/serger. A sweater headed for the donation bin is a great way to make this hat look hand knit, even when it isn’t.

Let’s get started!

1. Print out the Free Pattern. Cut on the fold. If you are using a sweater, line the pattern up to the bottom edge of the sweater. Instead of cutting on the fold, cut two (one from the front of the sweater, one from the back).

2. Unfold the fabric and re-fold as shown below.  Sew along the long, curved edge (the new fold should be on the left). Use a serger or a zig zag stitch.

3. Fold in half, so your seam is inside.

4. Your enclosed seam will be inside now (you can see it in this photo below on the left). Your hat will be laying flat so that each triangle lines up. Sew the longest outer edge together as seen below. You’ll have four layers to sew together (unless you are upcycling a sweater).  If you’re sewing with a zig zag stitch, make sure that you sew backwards a bit at the ends of your stitches, to secure them in place.

5. Now you will turn the hat and sew the next set of raw edges together.

6. Continue turning the hat and sewing the raw edges together as shown below.

7. Do this until all raw edges have been sewn together. It should look kind of like a star inside your hat (as seen below).

8. Sew across the top and trim to avoid having a point at the top of your hat. Tie or otherwise secure and serger threads and trim them.

Tah-dah! You have a cozy new hat! It goes great with this free cardigan pattern too. ;)

This is a great pattern for using up knit scraps! You could also match with your itty bitty and make a matching newborn baby hat!

Make sure you download your FREE pattern!

 Download your FREE Women’s Beanie Pattern

Happy sewing!

 

10 Skirt Refashion Tutorials for Skirting the Issue

July is such a great month for wearing skirts! They’re perfect for summer, easy to throw on after a day at the beach, and they can take you from the pool to date night with a quick accessory change. The lovely ladies at Simple Simon and Co. have an amazing series that they put together every July called Skirting the Issue. You can read all about it over on their site, but they spend the month gathering tutorials for skirts, pillowcases, and quilts. Then everyone who participates sews something to donate to kids in foster care! I love this idea so, SO much. This year I’ve collected 10 tutorials for refashioning skirts out of other materials, everything from shirts to dresses to pants! Most of these are super easy to sew and would be great for re-using materials that have gone unloved or even some of those XXL garments you find on the super clearance racks!

1.Dress to Skirt

This is one of my favorite upcycles that I did a long time ago! I took a thrifted dress that never fit on top and turned it into a skirt in just a few minutes.

2. T-Shirt to Skirt

This awesome tutorial from my girl Melissa at Sew Like My Mom is quick and can be for girls or women. The best part is that it’s so comfy because it doesn’t have an elastic waistband!

3. Jeans to Mini Skirt

Emily from Life Sew Savory turned a pair of jeans into this adorable mini skirt! It looks super easy, and I could imagine wearing this one at an outdoor summer concert!

4. Shirt to Baby Circle Skirt

How adorable is this little circle skirt?? My friend Dana at Sew Thrifty made this one from a t-shirt:  simple and comfy for little ones! You can use this same idea to make a circle skirt for yourself too.

5. Prom Dress to Skirt

I adore this super fun refashion from Fleece Fun! What a great way to use an old prom dress or even a bridesmaid dress that you normally wouldn’t get to wear again.

6. Shirt to Skirt

Here’s a different way to take a T-shirt and make it into a skirt from Make It and Love It. Re-using the existing hem makes it so fast!

7. Flannel Shirt to Skirt

How fun is this cozy upcycle from Randomly Happy Blog? Take a flannel shirt and turn it into a fall or winter skirt! Perfect for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere right now.

8. Sweats to Skirt

Here’s another comfy skirt from It’s Always Autumn. Take a pair of sweatpants and transform them into a skirt! She also has a tutorial for a kid’s version on her blog.

9. Sweater to Skirt

Since we’re talking cozy skirts, this refashion from Pearls and Scissors takes a sweater and turns it into a warm winter skirt. I’m imagining this with tights and tall boots – so cute, right?!

10. Vintage Sheet to Skirt

Here’s another one of mine that I loved – a favorite vintage sheet turned skirt! I added some doilies as pockets for a functional accent. :)

I love taking a garment that’s lost its luster and using it to create something brand new. It’s a great way to breathe new life into something that would otherwise be bound for a landfill! Search through thrift shops and clearance racks (or the back of your closets!) to find your fabric. With so many skirt tutorials to choose from, you should be set! Now get sewing – for yourself and also for Skirting the Issue! Make sure you pop over to Simple Simon and Co to get all the details on what to do with your skirt and to check out all the awesome ideas and inspiration. Love these ladies and their generous hearts!!

Happy sewing, friends!

Party in the Back Dress FREE pattern

It’s finally summer, so that means it’s time to wear dresses! I’m joining up again with Melissa at Melly Sews for her 30 Days of Sundresses series! You can check out my last year’s post with free pattern here and the previous year’s tutorial here. This year I decided to stick with my knit dress theme (because knits are my jam) and make a cute little sleeveless dress with a slightly gathered yoke and a super fun cut out back. So I had to name it the Party in the Back dress! :) Keep reading for the full tutorial and to download your own FREE pattern!This dress is really simple to sew and SO comfy to wear. The slightly gathered yoke gives it a little bit of interest while still letting the fabric be the focus.

Unless, of course, you’re looking at the back, and then this fun cut out is the focus!

And hopefully the fun cut out in the back is enough to distract you from the weird short hairs that are growing… I blame the baby. ;)

I have a one-size pattern (size medium) free for download. If this size doesn’t work for you, you can use this tutorial to use a pattern you have on-hand to make your own cut-out back dress.

Download Your Party In The Back Dress FREE Pattern

Quick note on fabric: you want a stable knit with good stretch. Really drapey knits will not work well for this dress.

1.Print out and tape/glue together the pattern pieces. The pattern is tiled four across.

2. Gather the front and back pieces. They are very slightly gathered until they match the front and back yoke pieces. Sew the back yoke to the back gathered piece, right sides together, and repeat with the front.

3. Cut out a strip 14.5in x 1.25in for the binding for the back cut out. Sew the binding onto the cut out, the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the cut out opening. 

4. Fold over the seam, folding the raw edge under.

5. Sew the binding down. You can do this with a double needle or a coverstitch. I used a coverstitch with a single needle.

6. Overlap the ends of the cut out about an inch to form the circle. Pin or clip together.

7. Sew the shoulders together, right sides together.

8. Sew the sides together, right sides together.

9. Cut a 24.5in x 1.25in strip for the neckline binding. Sew the short ends together, right sides together.

10. Sew to the neckline as you did with the cut-out binding. *only here, use a 1/2in seam allowance. Make sure you secure the ends of the cut-out binding in your seam.

11. You can hem the armscye with a double needle or coverstitch as I did. Or you can cut a 16.5in x 1.25in binding and sew it like the previous bindings.

12. Hem the dress to your desired length. I took a couple inches off the pattern, because I am short (5’3″) and I wanted the dress to be a fun above the knee summer length.

13. Press the bindings and hems really well.

Download Your Party In The Back Dress FREE Pattern

 This dress is super comfy and is going to be a staple in my wardrobe this summer!

To check out more sundresses, make sure you pop over to Melly Sews to see what everyone else has been sewing.

Happy sewing, friends!

 

 

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Must-have Cardigan Patterns for Women

I love cardigans. I mean, I really, really love cardigans. I wear a cardigan nearly everyday in the fall, winter, and spring. And probably a lot of days in the summer too! I love to have a variety, and I’ve been itching to add a few more to my handmade wardrobe. It probably helps that cardigans are a bit more accommodating to a postpartum mama’s body! There are some awesome cardigan patterns out there right now, and they each have their own unique style. I’ve gathered up some of these must-have cardigan patterns for women, so hopefully you can find one that you like as well!

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1. The Esme Cardigan from Named Clothing is first on my to-make list. I purchased some awesome thick sweater knit that I’m hoping to use for it. I’m planning to make this one a little bit shorter, but I love the pockets and plan on wearing it kind of like a coat!

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2. The Phinney Ridge Cardi from Straight Stitch Designs is such a classic style. I own a bunch of ready-to-wear cardigans in this style, but I wear them so often that some of them are wearing thin and need to be replaced. I might make this cardigan a touch longer. I also really love the elbow patches!

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3. The Driftless Cardigan from Grainline Studio is similar to the Phinney Ridge, but longer and with super fun pockets! I think the big pockets are so unique, and I think this would be so cozy.

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4. The Carrie Cardigan from Delia Creates is the perfect cocoon cardigan! I actually don’t own any cardigans in this style, and I’ve heard that it’s a super quick sew. There are a couple different views of this cardi – long or short length, plus long or short sleeves.

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5. The Ficus Cardigan from Sew Like My Mom is definitely out of the box for me. I usually don’t like peplums, but I feel like as a cardigan, it wouldn’t be quite as overwhelming. I think with the peplum, it could make a casual outfit feel a little dressier!

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6. The Laurelhurst from Straight Stitch Designs has been out for awhile, and this is one of my favorite cardigan styles as well. I have a couple similar ready-to-wear already, but they’re all funky patterns, and I want some solids. Plus, I’m never disappointed with Melissa’s patterns, so I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone on this one. :)

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Clearly I have some lofty sewing goals! And the freakishly spring-like weather we’re having in the middle of February makes me want to sew really quickly, so that I can get to wearing these before spring actually arrives! Wisconsin surely has some winter left, so I need to bust out the sweater knits and french terry while I can.

Happy sewing!

Racerback Maxi Dress FREE pattern and tutorial

Today I’m so excited to be a part of 30 Days of Sundresses series at Melly Sews! I participated last year, and this year I’m bringing you a free pattern and tutorial for a racerback maxi dress that is super comfy and early maternity friendly! But if you aren’t pregnant, don’t worry – baby bellies are not required. ;)Free Racerback Maxi Dress Pattern

Knit dresses are easy to wear at this stage in pregnancy, because a maternity dress isn’t always necessary. I certainly won’t be able to wear this into my third trimester, but I’ll be able to wear it next summer when I’m not pregnant anymore!

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The racerback is so fun for summer!

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Notes on Size: This dress pattern comes in one size, and it is comparable to a ready-to-wear medium. The bust is between a 36-37in. But keep in mind that it’s a knit dress, so you may be able to fudge it a little with the right kind of fabric. I am 5’3 (and a half ;) and I made the dress an inch longer than is good for me, with a 1in. hem. So keep this in mind in case you are taller and want to lengthen your dress.

You will need to use knit fabric that has at least 30% stretch. This is super important. (If you’re a little smaller than a medium, though, you could probably get away with a knit with less stretch) I made one with about 10% stretch and it was a stretch (ha! pun intended!) to fit into it. This dress -without a baby belly- is intended to have a looser fit and not be skin tight, which is why you want more stretch.

Now let’s sew!

1.Download your FREE If Only Designs Racerback Maxi Dress pattern. Cut out your fabric. The pattern includes a 1/4in. seam allowance unless otherwise noted. *Make sure you download or export this pattern to your desktop so that you can print it from Adobe Reader*

2. Place your front and back pieces right sides together. Sew both the shoulders together.DSC_6927 copy

3. Sew down one side of the dress from armpit to bottom with a zig-zag stitch or using a serger. Then sew down the other side, stopping at around 26in. from the armpit. (This is where you are going to create the side slit – I put mine on the left side of my dress, but you can choose whichever you prefer – or both sides!) I used a serger, so I serged off the edge of my dress.

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4. Sew a straight stitch about three to four inches with a 3/8in. seam allowance.

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5. Serge or zig-zag the edges of the fabric from where you left off with your serging/zig-zag until slightly past your straight stitch. (If you choose not to do this, it will be fine, because knit does not fray. But it will look much nicer, especially with a serger) Press this open, all the way down to the hem.

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6. There are two ways you can finish this side slit. You can use a coverstitch (affiliate link – this is what I use and SO highly recommend!! :) Or you can use a double needle. If you don’t use a coverstitch, you may wish to serge the raw edge of the fabric all the way to the bottom.
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7. Fold the bottom up to your desired length and hem with a coverstitch or double needle. I use a 1in hem.

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8. Make your arm and neck bindings. Measure your neckline and armscyes – your bindings should be 85% of these lengths. The stretch of the fabric should go lengthwise. The width of these bindings can be between 1 and 1 1/4in. (I’ll explain which I prefer and why in step 11). Sew the short ends right sides together.

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9. With right sides together, pin the binding to the armscye/neckline. You will slightly stretch the binding.

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10. Serge or zig-zag the fabrics together.

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11. If you are not using a coverstitch, I recommend cutting your binding 1 1/4in. wide. You will bring the binding to the wrong side of the dress, folding the raw edge under. Use a double needle to stitch it in place.

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If you are using a coverstitch, I prefer to use a 1in. wide binding, because it’s not necessary to fold the raw edge under.

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Now you have a lovely racerback maxi to wear all summer long!

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I really think that I could wear knit maxis everyday, because it kind of feels like wearing your jammies all day in this dress! Quick note: I lowered the armscye slightly after taking these pictures.

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This dress is super quick to sew, but watch out – it’s addicting! I already made another and have a third partially sewn. I also included a cut line for making your racerback a shirt instead of a dress. I’ll share a tank top version hopefully later this week!

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Don’t forget to download your free If Only Designs Racerback Maxi Dress pattern, whether or not you’re sporting a baby belly. ;)

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Happy sewing! Make sure you check out the other lovely sundresses as part of the 30 Days of Sundresses series!

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Sewing Myself Some Love

The lovely ladies over at Pattern Revolution are spending the month of February encouraging women to sew for themselves. Despite being in the middle of moving and having a super limited fabric stash, I jumped at the chance to give myself another push to sew something new!DSC_5912 copy

I sewed up the Telluride Top from Terra’s Treasures, and it’s quickly worming its way into my weekly wardrobe! It’s super comfortable and the fit is just lovely.DSC_5946 copy

There are so many different options in this pattern! I chose to sew the faux henley, because I don’t have any shirts that have this unique neckline, and I just love the look of it. The instructions for the neckline were a tad confusing at first, but once I had them figured out, everything came together beautifully.DSC_5925 copy

I also sewed the high low hem, which is another first for me. I’m really pleased with the length, and I may have even chosen to wear this top one day with some jeans that have a hole in the bum that hasn’t been repaired yet. What can I say, I like to be practical!

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And because I’m a cardigan girl, I needed to have one that would cover the back hem! A lengthened Peek-a-boo Cambridge Cardigan was the perfect choice. I left off the button band, partly because I just barely eeked this out of the fabric I had on hand, and also because this way the cardigan can be worn over a dress and not feel too casual.

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Let’s talk fabric: the sweater knit is from Hancock Fabrics (it doesn’t seem to be available online right now), and is pretty lightweight. It’s nice and drapey, and the color will go with just about everything. It’s so soft that I kind of want to wrap it around my pillow. That’s totally not weird, right??
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This floral knit… oh this floral knit! I AM IN LOVE WITH IT. Seriously, I wish I had gotten more! It’s from Girl Charlee, and the weight is absolutely perfect. And those flowers… all the heart eyes!

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If you’re not quite convinced that you need to sew yourself some love too, make sure you check out all these lovely stops on the blog tour. There’s so much inspiration! Every one of these ladies is killing it.SYSLTourLogo-300x300

Feb 1     Sew Thrifty
Feb 3     The Wholesome Mama
Feb 4     Sprouting Jube Jube        
             Sugarplum Cuties
Feb 5     Shaffer Sisters
Feb 8     Mabey She Made It
Feb 9     Rebel and Malice
Feb 12   Hibbadoray
Feb 15   Bee Quilted Beauties       
             Mabel Madison
Feb 16   Sew Starly
Feb 17   All Things Katy            
             Handmade Boy
             Lady And The Gents
             Sew Like My Mom
Happy sewing, friends!

The Denver Tunic

Sometimes you sew something and as soon as you make it, you quickly realize it’s going to become a favorite. This is one of those garments. When the latest Pattern Anthology collection came out, the Denver (affiliate link) caught my eye, and I knew it would be perfect for cozy winter wear. So I sewed it for my post over on Melly Sews, and I might be a little obsessed with it. Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m totally obsessed and wear it all.the.time.Denver Tunic Sewn by If Only They Would Nap

I sewed up the tunic version, and it is SO comfortable! The fit is superb, and it comes together very quickly. I cut this pattern one day, and sewed it up during naptime the following day. There’s nothing I enjoy better than a nap time sew!

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There are multiple views to this pattern, so you can sew a dress or a top, which makes it a wardrobe staple, year-round.DSC_2609

I sewed this up with a thick jersey knit and a french terry, both from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. The floral didn’t have quite enough stretch to be comfortable on its own, but with the french terry, it’s perfect. I had to add a teensy bit of length to the cuffs and the neckline due to the stretch, which made it a fantastic fit. These fabrics by the way? Amazing. This french terry is divine, and I want to french terry all the things.DSC_2579 copy

The deep pockets on this tunic are amazing. I love the look, and they’re so practical for those blustery days or for tossing your phone in your pocket when you don’t want to carry a purse.

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The princess seams make for a great opportunity to showcase two of your favorite fabrics. I love the diagonal of the pockets against the curve of the seams near the shoulder!

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I could easily fill my closet with Denvers… all I need is more sewing time! Currently, you can find this pattern in the Pattern Anthology collection or in the Blank Slate Patterns shop.

Wear to Where: Date Night!

With four littles at home, date night out is a rarity. So when it happens, I need to get my CUTE on! I want to wear heels and something beyond the usual jeans and T-shirt. I want to look good for my guy! When the adorable and amazingly talented Katy of Wild + Wanderful asked me to join in on her Wear to Where series, my Date Night Out look came together in my mind.Wear to Where Date Night Outfit

This series is awesome – fashion and sewing bloggers sharing their looks for different occasions like date night out, sunday brunch, tailgating, and a bunch of others. Seriously, so FUN! I love seeing all the different looks, both handmade and ready-to-wear.

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I’ll admit it: I’m obsessed with this outfit. Am I allowed to say that if I made it? Well, it’s true. I am.DSC_2209 copy
The top is the Lane from Shwin Designs that Shauna was so generous to send my way. The pattern is fantastic and the fabric is amazing. I snagged it from the remnant section of Jo-Ann’s, and it’s PERFECT for date night. Sheer = sexy.

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I only made one slight modification to the sleeve,  elastic at the hem. I love how it turned out! The pattern is so perfect for date night, the way it flows.

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I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the whole top, and I thought it would be fun to do a contrast back. The black is a sheer knit fabric, and ohmygoodness the contrast turned out exactly how I pictured it!

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Let’s talk about jeans. JEANS! I’ve made a couple pairs of jeans so far (see them here and here), and I just hadn’t gotten the perfect fit yet. So I decided to start from scratch and make my own pattern.

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And they are nearly completely perfect. [insert ridiculous girly squeal here]

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The fabric is from Girl Charlee, and it has great recovery. I can wear them all day and they still fit great, unlike some of my previous jeans. I think I’m finally ready to step into the world of pay-through-the-nose denim, which I think will give me jeans that I really, really love.

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And there I go, putting my booty on the internet again… but a pair of jeans that makes your butt look good is important!

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I’ll definitely be perfecting this pattern so that I can make more.

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If I can go out with my hubby and wear jeans and heels, it’s a good night. Now all we need is a babysitter… which may actually be more challenging than making well-fitting jeans. ;)
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Be sure to head over to Wild+Wanderful or Gardening in High Heels to check out the other brilliant bloggers, sewists and stylistas on the tour, as well as be able to link up your own looks and show us what you would Wear to Where!

Now let’s talk giveaway prizes for this tour!!
For the sewists:
Choice of 3 patterns from Cole’s Creations, Choice of 3 patterns from Made for Mermaids, Pattern of choice from Patterns for Pirates, Pattern of choice from Scientific Seamstress, Sewing-tee of choice from Sewing Stadium, Pattern of choice from Simple Life Pattern Co, Pattern of choice from StitchArt

For the Fashionistas: Set of 6 cards from Designs by Nicolina, 30 minute Social Media/Copy Consult by Gardening in High Heels, Tee of choice from Handmade Escapade, $20 Store Credit from Jenny Penny Designs, Tumbler from Joy+Tren

A big thanks to our amazing sponsors!
Cole’s Creations | Designs by Nicolina | Gardening in High Heels
Handmade Escapade | Jenny Penny Designs | Joy+Tren
Made for Mermaids | Patterns for Pirates | Scientific Seamstress
Sewing Stadium | Simple Life Pattern Co | Stitch Art

Click here to enter the amazing giveaway

 

Not just a T-shirt

It seems a bit ironic that right after I posted about my upgraded mom uniform, I post another T-shirt. But you know, old habits die hard. And truth be told, this is so much better than your average T-shirt. I mean, for one, it’s a Union St. Tee (hello…. love the Union St. Tee!). And secondly, this fabric is amazing.
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If you don’t already own the Union St. Tee, I’m not sure we can be friends. Just kidding. Kind of. This pattern is my fave. I’ve made it into dresses and t-shirts (though I don’t think I’ve ever blogged a tee version), and the fit is perfect.

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You know how you have your favorite store-bought T-shirt that you can just grab off the shelf without trying on? That you have a million of in different colors? That’s the Union St. Tee.

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Okay, let’s talk fabric. Because FABRIC. This is the softest knit I have ever worn. Seriously, it is amazing. I want to make all my clothes out of this fabric. It’s April Rhodes Bound Pathmaker in Slate – I purchased it from the Imagine Gnats shop (affiliate link). She doesn’t have it in stock anymore, but as I was looking for it, I noticed you can get 10% off any order of $50+ with code sswfall through 9/30. Side note: Rachael has the best customer service and the fastest shipping.

 

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I made the elbow length sleeve, since it’s fall. Plus, in Wisconsin, an elbow length sleeve can get you through many more seasons than a short sleeve.

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I could seriously sleep in this shirt, the fabric just feels so good!

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The fabric pattern takes it beyond your everyday T-shirt too, in my opinion.

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T-shirts forever. ;)

Happy sewing, friends!