Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2017: A Year in Review

Wow! I cannot believe the year is almost over. It seems to go by faster every year and I just want time to slow down. I thought I would join in with sharing my top five sewing hits and misses for 2017. I'll start with my top five hits for sewing.

First up, my Marigold Dress.

I made this dress to wear for Easter, but it also got lots of wear throughout the spring and summer months. It started with the fabric - the Art Gallery rayon challis was just so lovely and I had to have it! I decided on the Marigold because I had made it before and it is a style that I always enjoy wearing. I wanted this dress to be perfect because I loved the fabric so much, so I really focused on getting the fit right. I lengthened the bodice and it is much more comfortable than my first Marigold dress.  

This dress taught me so much about my sewing skills and opened the door for endless possibilities! I was able to take the Novelista shirt pattern and make it into this dress. It was a lot of work, but I learned so much and sometimes the best sewing is the kind where you take your time and focus on the details. I haven't worn it as much as I wanted to but now with the subzero temperatures we've been having, I can wear it again! 

Next up is my unblogged Lane Raglan. 

I never blogged about this top, but I wear it all the time. I love how the ruffled fabric takes the shirt up a notch. It is perfect for everyday wear, but makes you feel a little more put together. The Lane Raglan is also one of my most favorite patterns for both me and my sister. I have made it countless times this year and I wear a Lane at least once a week. 

Fourth, is my Fringe Blouse

Until making this top, I never really wore woven tops. This is mostly because in the past the woven tops I made were quilting cotton, and quilting cotton is just too structured for most apparel garments. This top is made with rayon challis and is just so soft and wonderful to wear! The Fringe pattern might be my favorite pattern this year. I used the dress version to make my Christmas dress and will be sharing pictures of that soon! 

Last, but certainly not least is everything from my experience on Project Run and Play!

If I had to choose just one sewing highlight for the entire year, it would be Project Run and Play. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine being a designer for any type of sewing competition. It was an amazing experience and I am grateful to have been apart of it. I did a lot of sewing for my siblings throughout the year, but my best sewing for them was during the weeks of Project Run and Play. I even tried sewing for my brother and his outfit is one of my favorites! I love sewing, and I love seeing the joy on my siblings faces when they see I made something for them. 

Now, I'll move on to my sewing misses or fails. In my opinion, even if something doesn't work out, it's never a fail because there's always something to learn. I have sewing failures for several reasons. Sometimes it's the fit, the wrong fabric, or it's just not my style. I would rather always sew great things, but then I wouldn't learn from that. 

First, is my Daintree skirt. 

This was never blogged, but you can see it on my instagram here. I made it during a pattern test for Melissa of Blank Slate Patterns. I love the pattern, but this one just doesn't get much wear. During the pattern test, we discovered that a panel was missing from the pattern pieces. It is intended to be a half circle wrap skirt and it's designed to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions. However, mine still flashes open if it's windy due to not having that extra panel. I would like to try making this pattern again, especially now that I have a serger to do a rolled hem. 

Second, is this unblogged Wildflower Top. 

I really wanted to like this red and grey Wildflower Top and I made it with the intention of filling a wardrobe gap. To be honest, the day this picture was taken was the only day I wore the top and that was back in May. Now, it sits unloved in a dresser drawer. I have made this pattern before and I really love wearing the turquoise one I made, but this red one just doesn't feel right when I wear it and I'm not sure why. 

I will combine my third miss into this same picture. It is the Janie dress my littlest sister is wearing. We love the pattern and I have made it many times for her. It has even been the pattern for her Christmas dress for the last two years. However, the one she is wearing in the picture above was hardly worn. The fabric has very little stretch, so I think it just wasn't comfortable for her to wear and it was really tight around her head. That being said, I will continue making this pattern for her because it is definitely a TNT!

Fourth, is this Jalie Nico Shirt I made for my brother. 

It is a good pattern and it was my first time sewing for my 20 year old brother. He had requested a shirt made by me and even paid for the fabric. The fabric is the reason this is a sewing miss. When I was finished sewing it, I discovered a small hole in the front center of the shirt. I was able to fix it by sewing on a faux button placket to the front and my brother wears it all the time. This shows that quality fabric makes all the difference! Now, when my brother wears it, my youngest sister calls him "cool guy" and this is his "cool guy shirt". 

My final sewing fail is my Blackwood Cardigan

This is a sewing fail again due to fabric choice, not pattern. Before I say anything else, I must say that this is a new favorite pattern of mine and I have another one planned for myself in more suitable fabric. I also made this pattern for three people for Christmas and it was a hit all around. This fabric may have been okay if I used a serger. However, at the time I made it I did not know I would be getting a serger and sewed it on my sewing machine. The fabric is really thin and loosely woven so all of the seams stretched out. I was able to steam most of the seams back to normal, but there is still noticeable waviness along the front band. None of this has stopped me from wearing it and I will be making another one soon! 

Finally, I just want to share a few non-sewing related highlights from my year. As much as I enjoy sewing, it's not all I do with my life. 

In October, I completed a bucklet list item by running my first ever full marathon! It was definitely a top highlight of my year. I have been running for seven years now, but a marathon is the farthest I've ever run. I'm not sure if I will do another one, but it was an incredible experience and I got to do it with my brother. It challenged me in so many ways, both physically and mentally and I will never forget the experience. 

My sister and I took a road trip to De Smet, SD in July to visit the homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We have been wanting to go for a long time so we finally made it happen. It was fun just to spend time together and we even made prairie skirts to wear on our vacation. Our cabin was shaped like a covered wagon too!

I have been playing the violin since I was six, but hadn't taken lessons since high school. In February, I started lessons again and it has been fun learning new skills and playing new pieces. I am enjoying it!

In August, my brother and I took a road trip to Missouri in an attempt to see the eclipse. Unfortunately, it ended up being cloudy and rainy where we were, but it was still fun. We saw parts of it and made the most of our little road trip. There is always next time!

Finally, this summer I had the opportunity to plant a garden and it did very well! I rented a plot in the town where I live and had great success. It was fun to watch it grow throughout the summer and I learned a lot. It was my first garden and I loved having fresh vegetables. I think I have enough zucchini in my freezer to last almost a lifetime though! 

This has been fun to look back on my year. 2017 was a great year in so many ways and I can't wait to see what 2018 will bring! Thank you all for reading and I hope you all have a Happy New Year! Merry Christmas! 


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Lane Raglan Hoodie

Meet my new favorite Lane Raglan! I don't wear hoodies often, but this one is just my style! 

I have made the Lane Raglan many times before, for my sister and I. It is one of my favorite patterns to make when I need a quick project. This was my first time making the hooded version, however. The pattern does not come with instructions for lining the hood, but it was an easy change and I wanted the extra layer. I followed this tutorial for lining the hood.

This was also my first time making thumbhole cuffs! Usually I just make the normal cuffs, but I wanted to try something different. My hands are always cold too. I also have a RTW jacket with thumbholes that I really like, so I wanted to try sewing them! If you are a visual learner like me, I would reccommend following this tutorial from the Hey June blog. I was so lost trying to follow the instructions in the pattern, but the pictures in the blog tutorial really helped make things clearer. 

The fabric is French terry from my favorite fabric store, Raspberry Creek Fabrics. It is so soft and amazing to wear! 

This hoodie will be perfect for layering this winter and for transitioning into spring. I might live in it all winter!


Friday, November 17, 2017

Project Run and Play // Recap

I cannot believe it, but Project Run and Play Season 14 is over. What a ride it has been! Honestly, I never imagined I could be a designer for Project Run and Play. It was something I only dreamed of and as I have learned over the past month, dreams do come true!

The competition is over and I will admit that I am both relieved and a little sad. Relieved because this was one of the most stressful months I have ever been through. Planning, coming up with designs, sewing, taking pictures, writing blog posts, making deadlines, promoting my designs on facebook and instagram. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes too and I am so grateful to all the ladies that make Project Run and Play possible! Without them, there would be no competition.

I am also a little sad, because it has been an amazing experience and I had so much fun! The other designers will understand what I mean when I say that it was stressful and fun at the same time. I had the honor of sewing with and competing against some amazing ladies. You are all very talented and I feel so honored to have been a part of Season 14 with every one of you. I can't wait to see what you continue to sew and I am so glad to have "met" you this past month! It is true that we were all competing against each other, but I was always sad to see someone go each week and I truly wanted everyone to win.

Even though the competition is over, I can't stop talking about it and I don't think I will stop talking about it for a long time. I learned so much about myself and my sewing skills in the past month. I was challenged in so many different ways and I know this will help me in the future. As part of the competition, we are allowed to use patterns but as "designers" we are supposed to make them our own. This was a huge challenge for me. I normally follow a pattern word for word and don't make any changes! I want my sewing projects to turn out right and with veering from a pattern there is a risk of it not turning out! However, I am happy to say that I surprised myself! Project Run and Play really pushed me to do my best and be as creative as possible. I would've never made any of these outfits if not for the competition. Now, I am excited to see what I can do with my sewing in the future! 

Project Run and Play taught me to love blogging again! Honestly, I have not been blogging much this year even though I have been sewing more than ever. I have been sharing my makes on my instagram account but I had no motivation to keep up my blog. I was seriously considering closing down my blog when I got the message from Audrey of Skirt Fixation inviting me to be a part of the competition! I'm so grateful for that because I still enjoy blogging! I can't promise I will post every week or post about everything I make, but there will be more from me here! This blog isn't going away anytime soon! I hope you will stay with me for the ride! 

Week 3 was my favorite look by far! It challenged me on so many different levels and I am really proud of the jacket. I used a dress pattern and took my chances with making it into a jacket! It worked out better than I ever thought it would and I am a little bit jealous of my sister's awesome new wardrobe! 

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on my posts and encouraged me along the way! It has been so much fun sharing this adventure with you and I can't wait to see what the future holds! For now, I will be tackling some projects for myself on my fall sewing list! I have loved sewing all month long for my siblings (and now my sister has an awesome new wardrobe) but I want to catch up on some sewing for myself! On the list is a plaid flannel Cheyenne tunic, and a Lane Raglan hoodie!  After that, I will start on Christmas dresses! 

I will leave you with some outtakes from our photo shoots. It was so much fun taking pictures of my siblings each week and I am so thankful that they put up with my many pictures! My sister certainly makes me laugh every time! 

I told her to smell the flowers, so she plugged her nose instead!

Thank you again for joining me on this journey!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Blackwood Cardigan

I finally sewed something for myself! I needed a quick project requiring no thinking after all my sewing for Project Run and Play. The Blackwood Cardigan from Helen's Closet was the perfect thing! I bought the pattern back in September and planned to sew it up right away but then life  happened and it got pushed to the side. I'm glad I finally made it! I'm always cold, and living in Minnesota this time of year makes cardigans an essential wardrobe item!

I've been trying really hard to use my stash whenever possible. I bought this hacci sweater knit fabric from Girl Charlee two years ago. I didn't buy it with a project in mind, so it's been sitting in my stash for these last two years waiting to be sewed. Luckily I bought 2 yards, which is the exact requirement for view A in size medium!

The pattern is designed to be open at the front and it is perfect for layering. There are two versions - the hip length or the mid thigh length with patch pockets. I made the longer version but I left off the pockets because my fabric was not the best to work with! It was super stretchy and the pockets were not laying flat when I attempted to pin them on, so I thought it would be better to leave them off. I think they would be great on a more stable knit.

I wear a cardigan or sweater almost everyday in the winter time! I've been wanting a longer cardigan, so this was a perfect pattern to try. The directions were simple and straight forward as well. Helen offers a lot of tips for sewing with knits which is great if you haven't sewn knits before. I also like that there are no buttons in the front. I rarely wear my cardigans buttoned up.

I really like the extra long sleeves of this cardigan. Usually I have to lengthen sleeves, but I made no alterations to this cardigan. This cardigan layers great under a coat and you can pull the sleeves down to cover your hands.

Unfortunately, my tripod broke right before I started taking these pictures! Fortunately I was by a bridge so I just set my camera on the ledge and used my self timer. It seemed to work pretty well!

I layered the cardigan over my favorite Lady Skater dress with boots and a scarf. This is a pretty classic look for me this time of year! It was cold and windy, but I stayed fairly warm during the photoshoot with my cardigan and fleece lined leggings. 

I sewed this cardigan on my sewing machine, but would have loved to use a serger. The front band got a little wavy and stretched out, but I steamed it enough that it's not too noticeable. A walking foot may have helped some too, but I was going for quick and easy while sewing this project!

I decided to use the wrong side of the sweater knit for the bands. I like the different texture and subtle detail it adds. This knit is really soft and I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it this winter! 

Funny story about this photoshoot - the bridge is by a walking trail and there were a few people out while I was taking pictures. While I was checking my camera to see how the pictures were turning out, a guy walked by and saw me with the camera. He told me he just saw a bald eagle in a tree on the other side of the river. He wanted to show me, so we walked a little farther down the bridge and I was able to zoom in really close and get a few pictures! The guy kept on with his walk after he had showed me and told me to have fun. Haha! If only he knew the real reason I was out taking pictures!

I had fun sewing something for myself and I definitely want to sew this pattern again. I really like the long cardigan, but I want to try the shorter version as well. 

Do you have a favorite cardigan pattern? What do you have on your sewing table now? 


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Project Run and Play Week 4 // Totally Turquoise

Wow! I am so excited to be back for the final week of Project Run and Play! I never imagined making it to Signature Style week. It has been an amazing experience and I have enjoyed every minute! It is truly a dream come true to just be a part of this competition! Thank you so much for reading my blog posts, commenting, voting, and supporting me these past few weeks! A huge thank you to my family and friends who have put up with my nonstop talk about Project Run and Play too! 

Signature style was not an easy challenge for me. I mostly sew for myself and my siblings and my style can be different depending on who I am sewing for and my style also depends on the season. I drew up six different designs before scrapping them all and coming up with this look. Turquoise is my favorite color ever and I knew it had to be part of my design, so when I found this wool turquoise in my stash it was perfect! 

I am a skirt girl, so I knew I had to make a skirt as part of my design. I love the classic look of circle skirts too, so I used the circle skirt from the Janie dress pattern to make my sister's skirt. I lined it in a bright pink floral because my sister's favorite color is pink. All of the seams are enclosed, so the skirt is reversible if my sister wants to wear it with the pink side facing out. 

The big floral design inspired me to do some embroidery on the wool side. I like adding details to my designs, and the solid turquoise was the perfect canvas for some embroidery. I chose to embroider some of the big pink flowers along the hem of the skirt. I didn't have any embroidery thread, so I used grey topstitching thread and it worked just as well! 

Here's some up close pictures of the embroidery. I chose to use a chain stitch for most of the flowers. I used a stem stitch on a few as well. This took the most time, but I am happy with the final result!

 The grey shirt also started with the Janie dress. I used the bodice and lengthened it a few inches to make it shirt length. I also widened the neckline by five inches so I could add in some gathering.  I love the subtle detail it adds and it really takes the shirt above t-shirt level. I used turquoise knit for the neckband to tie it in with the rest of the outfit. 

Her poor little nose was getting red from the cold, but she did so great putting up with all my pictures!

I love wearing scarfs, so I made my sister a simple infinity scarf using this turquoise and orange floral rayon challis. This fabric was going to be the skirt when I first started. However, it was so off grain that no matter what I did there was no hope. Fortunately, it makes a cute scarf!

My signature style look was going to end with just the shirt, skirt, and scarf. However, the Minnesota weather suddenly turned colder and I decided my sister needed something to keep warm! 

I started with an old sweater of mine, that I have been holding onto for a few years. The buttons were falling off and it had a missing snap. It also didn't fit me right, which is why I never wore it, but I loved the details so I kept it hoping for the perfect project.

I decided to use the Friday dress bodice to make a jacket. I cut the bodice in half, close to the armscye. Then I cut the bottom of the sweater to add the length back in. I wanted to use the collar and the sleeve cuffs from the sweater because I loved the details. I used the long sleeve pattern from the Friday dress pattern, but I cut them shorter so as to add the cuffs. I like how the cuffs add almost a bell like sleeve to the jacket. For the collar, I pinned it on to determine how much I needed to take off and then sewed it on. 

I added some decorative topstitching to the shoulder seams and I double topstitched around the collar. I also sewed both buttons from the sweater onto the collar. I decided on snaps for a closure so it will be easy for my sister to dress herself. 

This jacket was not planned at all when I started sewing my signature style. However, it is now my favorite piece of the whole outfit! My only regret is that it is not my size!

Finally, the earwarmer completes the look and will be perfect for keeping my little sister warm on these brisk and cool winter days. I was inspired by a similar one that I made for myself a few years ago. I used the same pattern from Kay Whitt's book, but I resized it for my sister. I used pink fleece for the bottom layer and the turquoise wool for the top. I love the little flower and it goes great with my overall floral theme. 

Here are a few more pictures we took indoors at the library! 

I hope you enjoyed seeing my signature style! It's totally turquoise, and totally my style. I love how versatile these pieces are and my sister will be able to mix and match with the other outfits I made! Thank you again for joining me on this journey!

 Don't forget to head over the the Project Run and Play blog and vote!