Blogiversary – Giveaway CELEBRATION!

2017 was the year of the blog for me.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and dove right into social media, my sewing and my fitness.  There were a lot of growing pains and times were I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep going.  As I began to learn more and more and really hone in on what works for me I found my groove in this unknown virtual space.  However, it wasn’t possible without the support of a wonderful sewing community that got me there!  Now that it has been a few weeks past my blogiversary, I want to say a big THANK YOU to all who have followed me and supported my year of blogging!

Saying thank you isn’t enough so I’m going to host my very first giveaway!   A couple weeks ago I shared a pair of vintage inspired polymer clay earrings that my dear friend Jessica made for me as a Christmas gift on Instagram.  I love them so much and there was such a great response to them that I asked her if she could make a pair in honor of you!  She said yes, of course!  So one lucky individual will be getting these earrings! (Allergy alert – they are silver plated earrings hooks and the spool is made out of polymer clay with regular all-purpose sewing thread)

Spool Earrings Sewing Unaffiliated Giveaway

That’s not all though!  I have one more announcement to make.  I’ve been working away for the past several months putting something very special together.  It has been a labor of love and I’m so happy to finally have it ready for all to enjoy.

So…what am I talking about?! Well…

At First Blush Patterns Be Bashful Bikini

I would like to introduce the At First Blush Pattern Company.  A pattern company that will focus on lingerie patterns with a mix of fitness patterns (hopefully in the future).  I’m a one woman show so I won’t be able to pump out a ton but they will slowly trickle out into the marketplace.

As a thank you to all who have supported me, my first pattern will be free!  I call them the “Be Bashful Bikini” – a pair of panties that feature a low-rise waistline with semi bottom coverage.  They are a comfortable everyday pair of underwear that offer the right amount of ease and support throughout your day.

Be Bashful will be available in time for you to sew them up before Valentine’s Day! Once this pattern is available you will see a buy button for them on the sidebar of this blog or you can head to my Facebook Shop (not open yet)!  The checkout process is super simple and Be Bashful will be yours!

I truly hope you enjoy this pattern.  Thank you again to all who have supported me!  I can’t wait for the wonderful things 2018 has in store. 🙂

Stay tuned for the launch of At First Blush Pattern Co. and the Be Bashful Bikini!

Back to the giveaway!  Head over to my Sewing Unaffiliated Instagram page (@sewingunaffiliated) where you will see the earring photo above.  In order to enter for a chance to win you will need to go to my At First Blush Patterns Instagram page (@atfirstblushpatterns).  Just like the earring photo there and follow the At First Blush Patterns page for your chance to win these cute spool earrings! (Shipping only to US and UK)

Good luck to all and THANK YOU!

Eleonore Pull-On Jeans by Jalie Patterns

Do you like sewing pants?  I’m not the biggest fan.  It’s not even the pants, it’s the hemming – ugh I hate hemming pants.  I can never get it polished enough like a real tailor would.  Since I’m picky when it comes to sewing details this is one thing that stops me from sewing pants.  But guess what?!  I sewed up some pants! Haha

Eleonore Pull-On Jeans by Jalie Patterns

I’ve been on the hunt for a good pair of pants that I can wear to work all the time. My requirements include but are not limited to – stylish, comfortable and a comfortable waistband as to not irritate my stomach incisions.  I would love more functional pockets so I don’t have to think about where to put my phone when I’m walking around.  I also would love to find a great pair of pants that can fit into or over my Chelsea Boots – this is an ongoing life struggle. 😉

I tried the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers but the fit wasn’t quite right although I do love the look of them when they are not on me or when they are on me and I am not moving. Lol.  They have no pockets though, which I thought I would be okay with but let’s be honest…  I need pockets.  I avoid carrying a purse if I can and I’m a fast walker so pockets are key for keeping me on the go.

Eleonore Pull-On Jeans by Jalie Patterns

In comes the Eleonore Pattern by Jalie Patterns – a pair of easy to wear pull-on jeans for everyday or in my case the office.  My dear friend, Helen of Valentine & Stitch happen to write a blog post about these pants at the same time I was on the lookout for a comfortable, functional and stylish pair of work pants.  Serendipitous? I think so! Plus don’t they look great styled with my Valentine and Stitch Dune top?

Here’s the rundown of my Eleonore sewing adventure:

Eleonore Pull-On Jeans by Jalie Patterns

The Process:

I will not lie I was a bit overwhelmed by all the sizes available. It was a little hard to see where my size was but little did I know I could print this pattern by size.  When printing, I was in a bit of a rush so paying attention to those details went out the window! Once I cut out Size “S” I followed their instructions on how to make your Eleonore pants into skinny jeans.

See the image here from their blog:

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I was very concerned about this as I thought this opened up the opportunity to ruin a pair of pants.  Even so, I decided to take them in about ½ inch on each side.  I wasn’t sure if that was enough but I rather too much room than having to squeeze my calves through a tiny hole.

Eleonore Pull-On Jeans by Jalie Patterns

I chose a black ponte roma fabric from Stylish Fabrics.  Except for struggling to tell what the wrong side and right side are the sewing of these pants was pretty uneventful.  I read the instructions through before I even began and re-read them several times during the process.  At first glance, it seems like there will be a ton of steps but really it’s just that they have the instructions in English on the left side of the page and in French on the right side.  What a relief!  Furthermore, I love how they match each step with a figure number making it extremely clear.  No room for ambiguity which is perfect in sewing!

I also love the story behind Eleonore – it’s about a very picky daughter of 4 ½ years who needed the perfect pant to fit her needs which really ended up being the needs of all of us! 🙂 You should give it a glance if you’re thinking about sewing up this pattern.

The Fit:

 

So what’s the verdict – did they hit my criteria?  Yes!  Surprisingly I made a pair of pants that I love! Stylish, comfortable, they don’t bother my stomach incisions, they have sizable back pockets that fit my phone and they fit over my Chelsea boots. Woohoo!  I wish you could see the details a bit better but this black color is so rich that it’s too hard to tell.  They turned out well nonetheless. 🙂

The verdict on the hem:

Last but not least, the hem looks great.  They don’t give away that they are handmade which means I will be wearing them again and again.  I gotta say these are the pants of my life! 🙂

Eleonore Pull-On Jeans by Jalie Patterns

Happy sewing! 🙂

Feel like pinning? Click below to head over to Pinterest:

Eleonore Pull-On Jeans by Jalie Patterns

 

2 Rounds of BBG in 2017 and SWEAT APP for 2018 Goals

Photo above – Me at my peak fitness in 2017 and one of the BEST days ever – swimming in the Mediterranean sea on the coast of Monterosso, Italy with my husband (forgive the pale legs – that was amended as the trip progressed lol)

Yes, we are over halfway through the first month of the new year and I’ve just gotten to my 2017 fitness review lol.  Better late than never! 🙂

2017 was a great year for fitness:

  • 2 rounds of Bikini Body Guide – total 32 weeks
  • 1 round of Tammy Hembrow’s Booty Guide – total 8 weeks
  • 2 weeks off while on vacation in Europe (although we walked an insane amount!)
  • 2 post BBG rest weeks
  • Then 8 consecutive weeks off for my laparoscopic myomectomy surgery/recovery

40 weeks total of exercise – 4 weeks of rest – 8 weeks of recovery

I also used the My Fitness Pal App to track my calorie intact as I was trying to gain weight during my Tammy Hembrow workouts/BBG workouts.  I successfully gained 5 pounds of muscle.  Not that impressive but it’s hard to eat a ton.

I also incorporated kettle bell training/yoga as the third day of BBG for my HIIT/LISS exercise.

Eventually, I moved onto running for my HIIT training in the 12 weeks prior to my surgery where I ran two speeds for 20-30 minutes twice a week.  This was in preparation to shed fat from my stomach as I wanted the layer of fat the surgeon had to cut through to be minimal.  I lost 5 pounds but didn’t lose any muscle.

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Me about a month before surgery – Please forgive the background clutter LOL! Especially those cat litter containers… 🙂

Post- surgery I lost another 5 pounds unfortunately and haven’t taken a photo of myself without them.  So that means my….

2018 Goal is:

Gain 10 pounds of muscle! 🙂 YAY!

I started my workout regime for 2018 on January 3.  I decided to start with BBG pre-training which is meant for people who haven’t exercised in a while.  It helps your body ease into a more strenuous routine. I told myself I would only do half which is about 15 minutes of working out and 5 minutes of stretching.  I needed to test my limits in particular with my core strength as I have 5 incisions on my stomach and one large internal incision.  After the first workout, I did feel some pulling across my abdomen.  It wasn’t terrible but it certainly was noticeable.  I also was incredibly sore throughout my body for the next 4 days. I pushed forward and worked out again on January 5.  I have kept consistent at the two day a week/half workouts since then.

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Recently, my sister found that the Sweat app by Kayla Itsines (BBG founder) is $1 for 3 months total.  It is usually $19.99/month.  It includes not only there traditional BBG workout but their BBG gym format, yoga, post-pregnancy and a power program.  It also includes meal ideas and recipes, activity schedules and all sorts of goodies.  I promptly signed up for this to help me reach my 2018 goals.

Since I have signed up I made the decision to follow their yoga program.  I haven’t focused on yoga for so long but I think it would be a nice change of pace so stay tuned for those results! 🙂

I’m very excited to get back into my routine as exercising just motivates me to accomplish so much in all avenues of my life.  I love all those endorphins flying around my brain!

How about you sewing friends?  Did you do anything fitness related in 2017 or have plans to kick butt in 2018?

Piedra Dress by Seamwork Magazine

Happy New Year!!  Wishing everyone all the BEST in 2018! 🙂

Have you ever used the hashtag – seamworkmag on Instagram?  Well, if you do you could potentially be chosen as a Seamwork favorite for the month and win a prize!

Surprisingly, I was chosen as one of the three finalists for the month of November for my Aires Leggings.  I posted about my leggings for #bpsewvember and although I didn’t win the big prize, I won my choice of 2 yards for jersey knit fabric from their new fabric shop.

They had three colors available Dusty White, Pale Blue, and Terracotta.  I never sew anything up in white so I thought to myself this is a great time to step out of my comfort zone and go for the Dusty White fabric shown in the Seamwork image below:

Piedra by Seamwork Magazine

What did I sew up with my Seamwork prize?  A Seamwork pattern of course!  I looked through the Seamwork pattern selection and at their suggestions on the fabric’s description page and decided to go with their knit tent dress aka Piedra.

Seemed to me to be a nice classic dress that I could add to my work wardrobe.  Although wearing a white dress to work isn’t always ideal it is a nice change of pace from my normal dark colors.

The Low Down

Piedra is knit tent style dress that was designed with the changing seasons in mind.  It is a perfect mild winter dress especially for warmer climates where our winters are not terribly cold but there is still a chill in the air.  It pairs perfectly on its own or with tights.  I paired my Piedra dress with a long necklace and my wearable toile of the Seamwork Jill Coatigan.

Piedra by Seamwork Magazine

The Process

I started sewing up my Piedra dress about a week before Christmas.  I was really hoping to wear it for the holidays but it didn’t work out that way.  I decided to use a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine but found that the feed dogs were stretching out the fabric.  At first I thought maybe a good press could take care of it but I was completely wrong.

So… no Christmas dress for me! Oh well… the other issue was that although I cut Piedra out in an XS it was much too big and I needed to refine the size.  But what was going to be the point of cutting this fabric to fit me properly if I didn’t have a machine to sew it up with properly??

There is always room for a Christmas miracle right?  Well, Christmas morning I received a Brother Lock 1034D from my very sweet husband. Problem solved! 🙂

In order to fix the stretched seams which at the time was the back seam, the sleeve caps and one side seam I just cut the seams away.  I evened out the side that I never sewed by cutting to match the other side then I sewed this dress using my new overlock machine!  I adjusted the feed dogs as I felt this fabric was a bit on the stretchy side and by the end of Christmas I had my new dress!

Piedra by Seamwork Magazine

(Side Note: I wish I had some “process” photos but unfortunately I haven’t been able to sew with natural light with the time change unless I do all my sewing on the weekends so no “process” photos for this post!)

Hiccups

  • Besides stretching my seams, I messed up on the neckband a bit.  The directions tell you to sew the neckband seam to match with the right shoulder seam.  I didn’t like how this laid on my shoulder so I ended up cutting the neckband out with a rotary cutter and moving the neckband seam to match with the center back seam.  I think it looks a lot cleaner this way but that is just my preference.
  • Another thing that didn’t work out so well is the back of the sleeve cap pops out a bit too far.  I needed to narrow this area on the pattern before I cut into the fabric as it is just too big for my frame.  Luckily, it isn’t noticeably in the front and if I pair this with a cute cardigan or jacket it covers it up just fine.

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Recommendations

  • Seamwork’s sizes run a little big so if you are on the petite side I would recommend making a toile or doubling checking your measurements against their chart.
  • If your fabric is on the stretchy side use an overlock machine if you have one.  I absolutely LOVE the Brother machine my husband bought me for Christmas!  I wish it was in my life sooner! Lol!
  • Sew the neckband seam to match the center back seam.

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Happy Sewing in 2018!