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

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?

Fashion Sewing | Piedra Dress by Seamwork Magazine

Fashion Sewing | 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!

Tutorial: How to Sew Underwear Using What’s Already in Your Fabric Stash

Tutorial: How to Sew Underwear Using What’s Already in Your Fabric Stash

Hey All!  I had the opportunity to share a post on sewing up your own underwear by copying a pair of RTW undies and using leftover fabric in your stash for Sewalicious.co.uk.  I’m sharing the post here on my blog but don’t hesitate to head over to their site and check it out! 🙂

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I’m very excited to share my first guest post for the Sewalicious blog!  We are going to do things a little differently and blog about a really fun idea to downsize holiday fabric waste.

As sewist you all know what it’s like to have several pieces of fabric leftover that just aren’t big enough to do anything with.  Well this won’t work for every piece of fabric but it might for those stretchy knit fabrics.

Today I’m going to give you a step by step guide on how to take that leftover fabric and create a cute pair of knickers using your RTW knickers as a copy. (You can use one of the many underwear patterns available online as well – many are free!).

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Fortunately, I was lucky enough to use this gorgeous Traditional Floral Cotton Stretch Fabric from Sewalicious.  Hopefully you will have some gorgeous Sewalicious fabric in your stash too!

Step One: Find yourself some stretchy knit fabric and if you have some picot elastic even better!  Mine is from Tailor Made Shop.

Step Two:  Dig through your drawers for your favorite pair of undies (of course not just favorite – make sure you still like how they fit!)  Try to use fabric that has similar stretch to these for a good fit.

Step Three:  Take out your tracing paper and a pencil.  I use a roll of medical paper and sometimes kraft paper but any paper will suffice.  Place your knickers down with pattern weights of your liking and trace your underwear.  Make sure to trace the front, back and lining.  Be sure to trace the front and back piece by separating them at the seam.  My seam is in the back so that will be where I draw a horizontal line to match both sides of the back pattern piece. My front pattern and lining pattern are one piece but I will draw a line on the pattern piece to indicate where the lining begins so I can also use the lining area as my guide to cut out a lining piece of fabric.

Step Four:  Once completed remove your undies from the tracing paper and smooth out your traced lines with a marker or pen then add seam allowance. 1/4”-3/8” should suffice on all sides – remember you’re adding elastic to the waistband and leg openings so your seam allowance depends on the width of your elastic.  I’m using 3/8” wide picot elastic.

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Step Five:  Cut out your new pattern and lay out your fabric.  Place your pattern pieces on the fabric following the direction of most stretch (I’m cutting on the bias) then cut.

Step Six:  Measure the length of the waistband and leg openings to determine how much elastic you need for both then cut. You will have three strips of elastic.

Step Seven: Time to sew! Using an overcast stitch sew the raw edge of the narrow side of the lining.  Take the front piece, the back piece and the lining and sandwich the front piece between the two with the wrong side of the front piece facing the wrong side of the lining piece.  Sew the three pieces together using a zigzag stitch then overcast stitch the edge.  Press the seam toward the back piece then using a zigzag stitch, sew the seam allowance to the back piece.

Step Eight: Flip the front piece and lining piece so that the wrong sides are facing each other then baste the lining edge to the front edges.  Using a zigzag stitch, with the right sides of the front and back pieces facing each other sew the side seams.

Step Nine:  Sew your elastic to the leg openings and waistband.  For picot elastic, line up the straight edge of the elastic with the right side edge of the leg opening.  Make sure the smooth side of the elastic is facing the fabric and the soft side is facing you.  Sew using a zigzag stitch.  Flip the elastic inside so just the picot edge is showing and sew in place using a zigzag stitch.  Repeat for the other leg opening and the waistband.

Step Ten: Flip your knickers right side out, press and enjoy!

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Viola!  Now you have a pair of holiday knickers!

If you like this idea head over to my Pinterest page and “Pin It” to your favorite “Sewing” Board!

How to Make Knickers

Fashion Sewing | The Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

Fashion Sewing | The Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

The Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over ItI have been slowly putting together a work wardrobe but I had yet to add pants to my collection.  I saw several cute versions of the Sew Over It Ultimate Trouser on Instagram so I thought I would give it a try. 

The Low Down

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The Ultimate Trouser is meant to be simple pattern for advanced beginners.  There are only four pattern pieces and an invisible zipper.  It is a slim-fitting trouser that hits the ankle although you can make it shorter or longer depending on your taste. 

Materials

  • Your choice of woven cotton, corduroy, wool crepe, or denim
  • 9” invisible zipper

Purchased from

DTLA

The Process

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The Ultimate Trouser is meant to be sewn up pretty quickly.  I was intending on sewing this up over the week before I had major surgery but life had other plans.  Instead I sewed this up over several weeks as I wasn’t physically capable of sewing for a good portion of November.

The Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

It was a pretty simple pattern and the directions were just adequate.  Based on the measurements I sewed this up in a UK size 10 – this ended up being way too small for me to my surprise.  I ended up having to undo the center and side seams and use the seam allowance to make the appropriate adjustment.  This also threw off my invisible zipper installation which did not turn out so well.  I also chose fabric based on the recommendation which means there was no stretch so even though they fit when I sit down my body is very constricted by the fabric.  One source of disappointment was the pant hem.  I need to work on my technique or something because they truly give away that they are handmade.  They also do not taper below the calf to the ankle as nicely as all the images on their website which just makes it feel like a standard men’s trouser to me.

The Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

All in all they look nice on the hanger and they look okay on but they are not nice to wear.  I made a few style adjustments in my photos so that they are wearable but I’m not really sure when I’ll be able to wear these as I can’t imagine wearing these for hours at work. 

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I’m not sure if I will give these another try but I think I would like to use fabric that has a little stretch instead.  I definitely wish they would list an appropriate stretch fabric in their recommended fabrics. It also really bothers me that they do not taper correctly.

Hiccups

The Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

  • Wrong size
  • My invisible zipper isn’t invisible enough

Recommendations

  • Double or even triple check your measurements
  • Leave enough seam allowance in case you have to make adjustments
  • Try a fabric with some stretch for a more comfortable fit

The Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

Happy Sewing!

If you feel like pinning please do!  Click below to follow me on Pinterest!

The Ultimate Trousers by Sew Over It

Fashion Sewing | Edie Cardigan by Valentine & Stitch

Fashion Sewing | Edie Cardigan by Valentine & Stitch

Cardigan Sewing Pattern

Fashion Sewing | Edie Cardigan Sewing Pattern

***Valentine & Stitch patterns are sadly no longer available in the marketplace***

Today on the sewing blog I will be sharing my review of the Edie Cardigan pattern by Valentine &  Stitch.  This past August I had the opportunity to participate in SleeveFest hosted by Helen of Valentine & Stitch and Diane of Dream Cut Sew.  I entered a kimono pattern with a flutter sleeve hack.  To my surprise I was chosen as one of the finalists for the grand prize!  What an honor it was and although I didn’t win the grand prize all the finalist were prize winners of the Valentine & Stitch Edie Cardigan.  This was my first time winning something via an Instagram competition so I was pretty excited and with fall just around the corner it was the perfect prize! 

Fashion Sewing | Cardigan Pattern Review

Cardigan Sewing Pattern

Edie is an open-front cardigan with two length options from the pattern designing husband and wife duo Valentine and Stitch.  The pattern is meant to be sewn with a variety of fabrics depending on the season or occasion.  The two lengths lend itself to a variety of outfit options.  This includes the “standard” length which hits around mid-thigh and is perfect for any occasion including the office or the maxi length which adds a bit of dramatic flair and can be belted and worn as a dress.  

VS logo

Materials

Sweater knits, stretch jersey such as cotton jersey, viscose or rayon jersey or bamboo jersey.  For the “coatigan” version use a more stable fabric such as sweatshirting, scuba or ponte.

  • Stay Tape, clear elastic, twill tape, or grosgrain ribbon
  • Ballpoint needle
  • Twin needle (optional)
  • Coverstitch machine (optional)
  • All-purpose polyester sewing thread

Purchased From

Los Angeles Fashion DistrictFabric for both projects was purchased in Downtown Los Angeles.  I typically purchase my knits from Angel Textiles.  I purchased my thread from joann.com – Gutterman 506.

The Process

Cardigan Sewing Pattern

I decided that I would sew up both the standard length and the maxi length but I would start with the maxi length.  I love a bit of drama whenever I can get it in my clothing and the maxi option has that “wow factor” which I absolutely love!

Cardigan Sewing Pattern

Edie comes as a printable PDF as will all Valentine and Stitch patterns.  Read the instruction manual carefully so that you only print the pages you need.  Helen and Rich are committed to reducing paper waste and have constructed their patterns in a way that minimizes the amount of pages needed to be printed. 

Cardigan Sewing Pattern

If you are cutting out the maxi length pattern keep in mind that this is a large pattern and you will need an adequate amount of space to lay everything out.  It will also take a bit longer since it is several more pages.  From there you will need to look at the cutting layout to make sure you make the best use of your fabric.  Since I was making the maxi length I cut my pieces out on a single layer rather than on the fold.  One thing that made this easier was to trace the mirror image of my sleeve onto tracing paper and taping the mirrored side to the original pattern resulting in the whole sleeve as one pattern.

Cardigan Sewing Pattern

I made my Edie in a size small and cut it out with a center back seam.  I ended up having some thread tension issues with my machine that delayed me so I ended up just using a different machine entirely.  I think some of the issues could actually be attributed to the original needle I was using and the weight of the jersey knit.  Once I got this figured out sewing up Edie was a breeze.  I used stay tape at the neckline as directed then sewed the shoulder seams, hemmed the sleeves and attached them to the bodice.  Next step was sewing the side seams and then the most complicated part of  sewing the hem around the perimeter of the cardigan.  I was hoping to do a rolled hem but the presser foot I have was not cooperating with me so I used a regular presser foot and a zigzag stitch. 

Cardigan Sewing Pattern

Hiccups

My only hiccups were due to my machine – tension issues and presser foot issues.  If you can get that figured out then Edie will be a very quick and fun sew!

Cardigan Sewing Pattern

Recommendations

  • Clear a large space to cut out your PDF pattern
  • Only print what you need
  • Edie comes with the sleeve pattern to be cut on the fold.  I suggest tracing the mirror image to create one whole sleeve.  It will be easier to cut out your fabric this way.
  • Remember you are sewing with knits so don’t stretch your fabric as you are sewing or it will distort the final garment
  • Cut off the extra seam allowance after you sew your seams if you find it necessary
  • Go slow sewing around the curves of the hem so that you have a really nice final drape
  • Finally, have FUN – Edie is a great pattern that you will want to make again and again!

Cardigan Sewing Pattern

Happy Sewing!

Check me out on Pinterest!  Click on the Pin below:

Fashion Sewing Blog

Fashion Sewing | Bare Essentials Bra Pattern from Jennifer Lynne Matthews-Fairbanks

Fashion Sewing | Bare Essentials Bra Pattern from Jennifer Lynne Matthews-Fairbanks

Isn’t funny how you can look at something and be totally mystified by and it then try it out and realize you absolutely love it!  That is how I felt about bras.  They always seemed insurmountable to me (no pun intended haha) until I tried making a few on the simpler side and really fell in love with the process.  So much so that I bought books on how to construct my own bras and starting spending all my free minutes on reading said books, and blogs and tutorials or just admiring everyone’s handmade bras online.  I’m passionate about sewing but for some reason bras excite me more than anything! 🙂

This new found love lead me to Bare Essentials – Bras: Construction and Pattern Drafting for Lingerie Design by Jennifer Lynne Matthews-Fairbanks.  I also took the Craftsy.com course, Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit with Beverly Johnson.

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These got me started on a serious bra-making journey.  For my first “serious” bra I used the pattern provided by Bare Essentials.  I measured myself just as instructed and low and behold I have been wearing the wrong bra size my whole life.  Go figure…  No wonder the straps always hurt or the band popped up in the back or didn’t lay correctly against my chest.  I’m sure you ladies know exactly what I am talking about.  Going to the store and getting measured is awkward and a bit confusing.  You have to rely on someone who may not have the proper training to even measure you correctly then buy what best fits even if it isn’t great.  Let’s not forget to mention the exorbitant prices on a necessary piece of clothing that doesn’t even fit right!  More reasons to make your own bras right?

Lets talk fit: 

To get the right fit you must be braless for at least one measurement (this is optional of course).  Going braless is a bit awkward to do with a stranger so make sure you really understand how to do it properly yourself or ask for the help of someone you are very comfortable with who will do a good job.  Both Bare Essentials and the Beverly Johnson course go over in detail how to measure yourself.  Bare Essentials even talks about how to measure yourself after having a baby which is really helpful for many women.

As for my measurements, I measured at a US 32 for the band and “C” for the cup.  I typically wear a 34C which clearly means my band is too big.

Materials:

On to my fabric… I had leftover fabrics from other projects but I really wanted to experiment a bit more so my dear friend and I went downtown to do a little shopping.  I will say that things got a bit overwhelming as I couldn’t find the right sizes and matching colors of straps and elastics.  I definitely need a better plan next time.  I did pick up this beautiful floral mesh fabric and some deep blue picot elastic and light blue strap elastic among the underwire, underwire channeling and hook and eye pieces.  I realized that I could match these with some leftover viscose fabric from my Araine Slip from Seamwork magazine.  I also had some tulle that I could use as a stabilizer for the front band since the viscose has some stretch.

Here is how it went:

I made copies from the back of the book then cut out my pattern and laid out my fabric/patterns as the pattern pieces directed.  I used fabric sheers but honestly I needed to use a rotary cutter.  (I have one now!)  After pressing my pieces and allowing them to cool I used a fabric glue stick to attach the stabilizer pieces.  I then sewed the two cup pieces together, trimmed the seams (a small detail scissor would have been great for this) and added stay tape for added comfort and stability.  Next, I attached the picot elastic then started my work on the band.  I call this “band practice” haha.  I edgestitched the center front, and front side band pieces.  I didn’t need to edgestitch the back side bands so I sewed them on and reinforced the seam. Then I sewed the picot elastic to the bottom edge of the band.

Next, I attached the cup to the band but to my dismay the cup was much bigger than the actual band (as you can see in the photo the seam line hits the top of the band when it should be about an inch lower).  I thought this was odd and double checked that I cut out the right pattern and I had.  I decided I would just alter the pattern a bit so that band would be flush with the top of the cup and went ahead and sewed it on.

This would have worked but once I tried it on the cup was much too big and the bra would not have been the least bit wearable.  Maybe the underwire will fix this I thought!  LOL so I decided to add it and guess what?  It still didn’t work out SO… in comes the seam ripper, wasted thread and wasted time.  (Howard looking at the wasted thread with dismay).

My next course of action was to cut out a cup in muslin fabric on the bias just to be sure the I cut out the pattern correctly.  As it turns out I did, I just screw up the fabric.  Upon further investigation there are two reasons why my cup was too big:

  1. I didn’t use a rotary cutter AND
  2. There were too many wrinkles in my fabric that ended up distorting the final size once re-pressed (is that a word in sewing? Haha).

Moving forward, I used the new muslin cup as a guide to trim off the excess fabric for my big ol’ cups.  This worked out quite well and viola the cup actually fit the band the way it was supposed to!  More importantly it actually fit me!  Check it out:

Off I went to sew on the underwire, insert the underwire and add on the picot elastic.  There was still one more problem though… The band was too long!  Ugh… not again.

I thought I cut it out correctly.  No, no I did not for the same reasons as above.  Out comes a RTW bra for my guide, my rotary cutter, a lot more patience and some problem-solving skills. 😉

Once that was measured and cut I was able to attach the last piece of picot elastic to the back.  These piece of elastic is intentionally longer so you can create a loop for the strap ring to attach to the band.  I made the straps and attached them (be careful not to twist the strap before you sew the elastic loop to the band).  Finally, I attached the hook and eye pieces.  My first “serious” bra was now complete and boy did I learn SO MUCH! 🙂

But how did it fit…?

Well it actually fits quite nicely but I’m a bit picky and of course I can see all the mistakes as any typical sewist would in my position.  My biggest complaint is I am not a fan of the horizontal seam line over the apex of the bust on the cup.  It could be that I’m just not used to wearing this style but I don’t feel it suits me.  Otherwise, I would like to use a stiffer fabric for the front band next time rather than a fabric with 20% stretch backed with a stabilizer.  The stabilizer did its job but the stretch fabric ripples since it can’t stretch.  I don’t like how that looks though it lays properly against the body.  Finally, now that I’ve sewn this I will know what to look out for and have a better handle on the precision needed for lingerie sewing.

Recommendations:

  • Please whatever you do use a rotary cutter (18mm or 28mm for detail cuts) and a cutting mat and press your fabric before you do!
  • Also, bra making takes time so be patient with yourself.  You won’t regret it. 🙂
  • For your cup and front band DO NOT use a fabric with more than 20% stretch – this is imperative as the size will be distorted and you will not be happy with your bra
  • Use a stabilizer fabric if you have any stretch on your front band fabric (of course the stretch should still be no more than 20%)
  • Your back band should have no more than a 50% stretch – any more will distort your bra
  • If your machine has the option use a 3-step zigzag stitch – it allows for the best amount of stretch which is perfect for lingerie
  • Be careful not to twist your straps before sewing them on
  • Take it slow and have fun most of all! 🙂

Happy Sewing!

Be sure to check me out on Pinterest – click on the pin below!

Bare Essentials Bra

 

Fashion Sewing | Tracy Bee Top from Seen and Sewn Patterns

Fashion Sewing | Tracy Bee Top from Seen and Sewn Patterns

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Fashion Sewing | Tracy Bee Top Sewing Pattern

I had the chance to connect with Areille of Seen and Sewn Patterns over Instagram and was able to see her efforts into creating and launching her first pattern – Tracy Bee!  That is quite a feat so I was definitely impressed.  We got to talking and Areille so kindly gifted me her pattern that I will be reviewing here and hopefully inspiring some of you to try out for yourself!

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Fashion Sewing | Top Pattern Review

Tracy Bee is a fun swing top pattern that lets you explore your creativity from the handmade revolutionist Areille of Seen and Sewn Patterns!  Tracy Bee is a printable PDF pattern that comes in two versions – an A-line shaped top and crop top length with three sleeve options including long, short and sleeveless.  This top is visually striking with two triangle inserts near the shoulder and v-shaped back neckline.  This pattern would be great to dress up for the office whether you go for the A-line or wear the crop with a layering tank underneath.  You can easily dress this up for a night on the town or feel spunky while casually strolling around town.  The design opportunities are endless with the two triangle inserts!

Click on the picture below to order your Tracy Bee pattern from Seen and Sewn Patterns:Seen and Sewn Logo

Materials:

The pattern booklet recommends lightweight woven fabrics, quilting cotton, voile and rayon

  • Matching all-purpose polyester sewing thread
  • Universal needle
  • Marking pencil
  • Single-fold bias tape for the sleeveless option

Purchased from:

LA Fashion District

I purchased my fabric from Downtown LA of course… 😉

The Process:

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

The fabric hunt took me a bit as I wasn’t finding the inspiration I needed until I came across this sage green polka dot gauzy goodness just flowing in the breeze outside of one the fabric shops downtown.  It was hard to resist and after a bit of bargaining I got it at a great price!  I decided to go for black for the triangle inserts because they would match the polka dots and I want this top to be versatile.  These colors lend itself to that so it’s a winner for me!

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Tracy Bee is a beginner’s pattern so if you have experience with woven fabrics it is an uncomplicated sew. What you really need to pay attention to is making sure you cut out all the pieces correctly as there are several small pieces – including the inserts and the facings.

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Tracy Bee has 11 steps.  I was able to complete this over a course of 5 days doing one step at a time.  It probably took me about 3 hours in total to complete from cutting out the PDF pattern to hemming the top.  It would probably take less time if you worked straight through and didn’t have a kitty trying to eat your thread and pins. Haha

First you sew up the darts.  I used to love sewing up darts in college!  It was something about getting the right mark every time.  I haven’t sewn a dart in a while so this was a nice treat.  I clipped all the notches as instructed but just to be sure I used my tailors chalk to outline where exactly the dart should lie so I could hit it as precisely as possibly.  I wasn’t as successful as I had hoped but let’s just blame that on the gauzy fabric shall we?

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Next up- you attach your triangle inserts to the front main fabric which is less complicated then it seems.  Then you attach your center front yoke to the inserts and the front main fabric which can be a little tricky to keep everything lined up so go slow.  I feel like I overestimated the seam allowance on the center front portion of the yoke and main fabric so it ended up popping out a bit instead of lying flat against my clavicle.  To fix my mistake I pressed it down and sewed on an edgestitch so it wouldn’t pop out.  That seemed to work out just fine.

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Your next few steps are to attach the back main fabric then sew on the facing and complete the facing with an edgestitch so it lies flat.  Then you’re in the home stretch!  From here all you need to do is attach your sleeves, sew up the side seams and hem your new top! But take note that Tracy Bee has an asymmetrical hem and therefore you will need to pay special attention along your side seams to make sure you sew a clean rounded edge.

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Now Tracy Bee is ready for action! 🙂

Hiccups:

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

I mentioned a few in “the process”

  1. The gauziness of my choice of fabric made my darts not as stiff and precise as I would have liked 😉
  2. I overestimated the seam allowance while attaching the yoke to the main fabric – a simple edgestitch was the solution
  3. To make up for my darts I had to use a little more seam allowance on the sides for the top to match up correctly

Overall, it didn’t take away from the integrity of the pattern as it turned out true to form!

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Recommendations:

Please use a stiffer cotton than I did!  🙂

Also, be sure to trace out your darts (especially the center line) on the wrong side of the fabric – this will help you immensely especially if you are new to darts.

Tracey Bee Top Pattern

Tracey Bee Top PatternHappy Sewing!

BBG Fitness, Blue Apron and Fitness Sewing Patterns

BBG Fitness, Blue Apron and Fitness Sewing Patterns

A workout update is long overdue.

As of writing this I am currently in week 6 of my second round of BBG (Bikini Body Guide). That means I am about to be officially almost halfway through.  Luckily this second round hasn’t been as tough as the first one but that isn’t saying much because it’s still pretty hard.  I end up sore the next day after every workout.  I gotta say that I like being sore though because I feel like it’s proof that the 30-40 minutes went towards building a better me. If I’m not sore I feel like I didn’t challenge myself.

Some of the other things I have incorporated on an on and off basis are kettlebell exercises, yoga and 5 mile walks or HITT (BBG calls for LISS or HITT on your off days).  This may sound like a lot but instead of doing the optional 3rd day of BBG I do a kettlebell exercise or yoga instead.

Here is the kettlebell exercise I’ve been using from BodyFit by Amy:

 

Here is the yoga exercise I’ve been using from Fitness Blender:

 

I tried this HIIT workout – which is tough so I most definitely did not do it perfectly.  I’m not much of a runner even though I try every so often.

Interval Training – Kick Your Ass and Kickstart your Metabolism in 20 Minutes

Other changes to my diet and fitness have been due to time constraints.  My husband and I decided to re-join Blue Apron.  We used to get their meals then we had a few weeks where we just weren’t enjoying them as much so we stopped.  It worked for a while but our schedules can be kind of hectic which leads to poor eating habits including not buying healthy meals at the grocery store, eating out or not eating enough.  To combat this, we re-activated our account and it’s been such a relief to have the ingredients for three dinners a week delivered straight to us.  It’s also really nice to cook interesting meals together too!

Some of the other things I wanted to touch on that are fitness related are sewing a fitness wardrobe!  I’m far from it but I wanted to share a few patterns that I’m hoping to sew in the future.  My list is quite long and I’m currently trying to sew together a casual work wardrobe but that is for another post. Check out these cute patterns! I hope to get to at least one very soon. 🙂

Endurance Sports Bra by GreenStyleCreations

Endurance

Purl Soho City Gym Shorts – Free Pattern

City Gym Shorts

What have you all been up to fitness and health wise?  I would love to hear your tips!

As of posting this I just entered week 8 of BBG!  🙂  Yay!

Fashion Sewing | Dune Top Pattern Hack by Valentine & Stitch

Fashion Sewing | Dune Top Pattern Hack by Valentine & Stitch

Fashion Sewing | Dune Top Sewing Pattern

***Valentine & Stitch patterns are sadly no longer available in the marketplace***

I think at this point you may have a suspicion that I love patterns from Valentine and Stitch… or maybe I wasn’t obvious enough!  I didn’t venture too much into knits until I started sewing up their patterns.  It’s really been great and has given me a lot of confidence in sewing stretchy fabric.  My most recent make was the Dune maxi which you can read about here.  My next course of action was the Dune top which was my intention from the beginning.  I even bought fabric for it way ahead of time!  I was planning on sewing it one weekend and realized that I didn’t have it printed out which lead me to stumble upon my Deer and Doe Plantain pattern which you can read about here.  I’m currently putting together what I think would be a versatile casual work wardrobe for the office.  I have two shirts down – Deer and Doe Plantain and I just completed two more of the Dune top.

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Fashion Sewing | Top Pattern Review

Now, I did this one a little differently.  I created one Dune based on the pattern (you will notice that this fabric matches one of my Plantain shirts) and one I hacked!  Why would I hack a perfectly good pattern you might ask?  Well it really had nothing to do with the pattern but more so with my fabric options.  I wanted to sew up my second Dune in a lightweight gray jersey but I was short a few inches on my fabric.  Then I took out some extra black jersey knit fabric which I had plenty of but once I saw it laid out I thought to myself I need a little oomph! So I looked through the rest of my stash and realized I had some matching fabric in pink, purple and blue.  What could I do?!  Color blocking naturally 😉

The pink and black color block Dune was born!

The Low Down:Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Dune is a summery top or maxi dress from the lovely Helen and Rich of Valentine and Stitch.  Dune is a printable PDF pattern with the option of sewing the top or the dress with a round neck or a scoop neck. This garment is meant to be flowy and flattering as it drapes away from your body but still hugs you in all the right places.  You can sew your top or dress in a stretch jersey or light cotton jersey.  This is a very versatile pattern that can be enjoyed while hanging out at the beach our dressed up for a party or even dressed professionally for a day in the office.

VS logo

Materials:

Stretch jersey such as viscose or rayon jersey, bamboo jersey, and silk jersey OR light cotton jersey with a good drape or for a more stable fabric use a heavier weight cotton jersey, crepe jersey or a scuba

(*If you are using a fabric with less stretch, you may wish to lengthen the neck and arm bands slightly.)

  • Ballpoint needle
  • Twin needle (optional)
  • Coverstitch machine (optional)
  • All-purpose polyester sewing thread

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I purchased my fabric from the Los Angeles Fabric District.  I purchased my thread from Joann.com – Gutterman 10 and 307.

The Process:

Here is what I did-

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

I used my dress form and my first Dune to get an idea of how high I wanted the apex of what I will call the bottom portion of the top.  On the small sized pattern, I decided to measure down 7″ from the center back and 6 1/2″ from the back side seam then I connected the points.  For the center front I measured down 6 inches and 6 3/4″ from the front side seam then I connected those two points as well.

I cut the pattern on the new line and attached the pieces to tracing paper where I added a 3/8” seam allowance like the pattern calls for.  I trued the sides and cut the new pieces out.

I pinned the top pieces to the pink fabric and the bottom pieces to the black fabric.  I was sure to start my color block below the sleeves so that I wouldn’t have to deal with a multi-colored armband although I’m sure I could have gotten away with one color.

Next, I cut all my pieces out and sewed the two front pieces together and the two back pieces together being very careful at the apex not to have a weird ripple.  I then sewed everything as the directions explained.

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

This probably isn’t something I would usually do but I really like how it turned out.  I am especially happy with how the color block seam lays and how the apex hits right at the bridge of my bust.

Hiccups:

My only complaint is that I think my fabric stretched a little too much around the neckline but I think pressing it was a good remedy.  This fabric is quite stretchy so some unwanted stretch is inevitable.

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

My other hiccup wasn’t on this hack but on my first Dune top and that was because the fabric wasn’t as stretchy so the side seams pointed out a bit more than I was used to. This also became a problem when sewing on the neck and arm bands.  The directions state to cut your bands longer if you have less stretch in your fabric which I forgot about. Ultimately it turned out fine because once I wore it the fabric softened up a bit and the sides and bands became more flattering.

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Recommendations: 

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

One thing that I did was I trimmed the excess seam allowance from the neckband and the armband before I attached them to the bodice.  That way they would lie flatter and not get stuck under my presser foot which is a problem I tend to have.

Also if you do plan on doing the hack be sure measure where the seam line will hit your body best so it is most flattering.  Please use a ruler for precision!!

Otherwise have fun sewing up Dune!  You won’t be disappointed! 🙂

Tank Top Sewing Pattern

Happy Sewing!

Fashion Sewing | Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe – Free Pattern

Fashion Sewing | Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe – Free Pattern

I’m currently on a kick to sew up practical pieces for my work wardrobe.  There is so much to sew and so little time so I kicked off my first work wear pattern with the Deer and Doe Plantain Shirt Pattern with a ¾ sleeve and no elbow patches.

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

I recently was able to enjoy a three-day weekend at home and while I was planning on sewing up a different pattern I realized I didn’t print it out.  Luckily while I was looking through my pattern stash I found the Deer and Doe printout that I almost forgot about.  I continued on to my fabric stash and found I had some extra fabric from making my Valentine and Stitch Angelina dress.  Time to make a new shirt!

The Low Down:

Plantain Shirt

I haven’t even mentioned that this pattern is FREE!  You can download the PDF pattern by clicking on the photo above that will take you to the Deer and Doe pattern shop.

Deer and Doe

It comes in short, three quarter and long sleeve options.  The latter two having an optional elbow patch.  It is fitted at the shoulder and around the bust then flares at the waist.  It’s very flattering!

Materials:

  • Recommended fabrics: Lightweight jersey knit (cotton, rayon, linen, wool) with 40-50% stretch
  • Optional: 10” clear elastic and twin needle

Purchased from:

LA fash District

I used leftover fabric from my V&S Angelina project that I bought in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Process:

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

The Plantain T-Shirt is a quick sew.  If you have a couple hours to spare, you’ll be able to get this done and wear it right away.

The directions are straightforward.  I’m not used to European measurements so I measured myself and went with a size 38.  It fits perfectly.

I cut my fabric out using pinking shears although it isn’t necessary with a jersey knit since it won’t fray. Since I was using spare fabric I didn’t have enough matching thread so I went with a softer pink.  It is more visible especially if you mess up but not noticeable unless you are looking for it.

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

Also, this pattern calls for a 5/8” seam allowance which is pretty substantial.  You end up trimming the allowance down per the directions.

There are a total of 4 steps.  Shoulders/neckband, sleeves, side seam, hem.  Finished.

 

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

 

 

I’m hoping to wear this tucked in and un-tucked with work trousers or a mid-calf skirt and a fitted knit blazer with loafers.

Hiccups:

I had to undo some stitching around the neckband that got a little wonky but no other issues otherwise.

Recommendations:

Definitely measure yourself beforehand as this is a form fitting blouse.  You want to be comfortable around the underarms and bust when wearing it.

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

Take it slow when pinning the neckband, sewing it on and finishing it.  I cut a small clip on the center front neckband to make attaching it to the neck easier.

Look!  I even made a second one just a few days later!

Plantain Shirt Pattern from Deer and Doe

Happy Sewing!