Monday, March 5, 2018

Spring Into Color Blog Tour

While we've had an extremely mild winter here in Southern California, especially compared to the rest of the country, I'm still excited for Spring fashions and to move into a brighter color palette! So, let's kick it off with a Sewing by Ti Blog Tour with the appropriate theme of "Spring into Color."

The Pantone color palette for Spring 2018 includes lots of beautiful bright colors and a few neutrals to anchor it all.

I find that I always wish I had more short spring and summer dresses in my closet as I like wearing them to meetings and events when the weather is warm. Something that is appropriate for a lunch date or a meeting at church tends to get worn the most, so I kept that in mind as I headed into this challenge. 

Last fall, I bought a 1 yard brushed poly panel print that featured cherry tomato poppies against a light blue sky and green grass from Smoogie Fabric and Designs.

This panel screams SPRING to me so I tucked it away with plans to make a dress in 2018. You can find cherry tomato and hints of little boy blue in the print, so this blog tour was definitely the right time to pull it out and sew it up!

I have made a couple of skirts using the P4P Sunshine Dress (afflink) pattern hack in the past few months and have been pleased with them. Pockets can be tricky on me because I carry my weight in my hips and thighs, but these pockets sit flat on the front of the hip and then the front and back of the skirt is gathered around it. It's not only a cute design, but also quite flattering. I wanted to finally make a dress with this skirt, but was looking for something a bit more basic for the bodice than the options that come with the pattern itself.

I've used the P4P Layer Me Up (afflink)shirt as a dress bodice in the past with great results and opted to pair it with the Sunshine skirt to make a LMU/Sunshine Dress mash-up! I found a cherry tomato red organic cotton spandex jersey at Mood Fabrics LA and used that for a solid bodice to pair with the panel print skirt.

This skirt is A LOT of print, but I love how the solid red on the bodice anchors it and keeps it chic.

I hemmed the skirt so that it was above the knee, which tends to be a good length on me. I also made sure to have a sleeveless bodice so that I can either wear it solo or with a cardigan layered over it depending on the weather. Spring weather in LA is a mish mosh and I like having the versatility of different shoe and topper options so this dress would be appropriate across a range of temps.

And did I mention this dress has *pockets*?!? I mean, who doesn't love a dress with pockets!

And now I'm ready to sew all the spring garments! LOL

For more inspiration for Spring sewing, be sure to check out the rest of the awesome bloggers on this tour. You can find the entire month on the list below:

Thursday, March 1st: Sewing By Ti- Intro

2nd: Tenille's Thread

Monday, March 5th: Confessions of the Pink Obsessed

6th: Sewn By Lone

7th: Sewing By Ti, Stylin Stacy

8th: EYMM

9th: Stitched by Jennie

10th: Elli and Nels

Sunday, March 11th: Make it Sew with the Bear and Pea Atelier

12th: Very Blissful

13th: My Heart Will Sew On

14th: Sewing Blue

15th: Seams Like Style

16th: Kate Will Knit

17th: Twinado Alley

Sunday March 18th: Mermaids Den

19th: My Sewing Roots

20th: Our Play Palace

21st: Kathys Kwilts and More

22nd: The Fairy Dust Bin

23rd: Oak Blue Designs

24th: Aurora Designs Fabrics

Sunday March 25th: Flaxfield Sewing

26th: Seams Sew Lo

27th: Ma Moose

28th: Back 40 Life

29th: Auschick Sews

30th: Manning the Machine

31st: Mermaids Den

Friday, March 2, 2018

Pattern Testing: P4P Go To Jacket - Women's and Youth editions

Anybody else love outerwear? Living in Southern California, my need for true coats and heavy sweaters is limited, but I can always use a light- to mid-weight jacket for layering when it is chilly in the mornings or evenings.

The P4P Go To Jacket (afflink)is a staple casual jacket that includes a bomber style as well as a 3-piece hoodie option. Choose from shirt or tunic lengths; inseam or kangaroo pockets; hemmed, cuffed or cuffed with thumb hole sleeves; an optional drawstring and lining for the hood and a zipper guard piece that helps protect your chin from the top of your zipper.

I used a graphic floral quilted poly knit fabric from So Sew English with black ABP accents from Zenith and Quasar for my first tester version - a shirt length, lined hoodie jacket with kangaroo pockets and cuffed sleeves.

I LOVE the 3 piece hood - it fits on the head really well, but also lays nicely on your upper back when worn down. I did add optional topstitching to help the seams lay flat and give it even more of a ready-to-wear look.

The sleeves are relaxed enough to easily layer over a long sleeve top, but not too oversized to look silly if it's only worn over a tank top.

Worried about installing the zipper? No need! The pattern comes with links to 2 videos: how to shorten a separating zipper and how to install the zipper using the zipper guard piece as well as very detailed instructions in the written tutorial. I've installed several separating zippers before this jacket and I think the method included here is one of the best I've seen. 

I love this little hoodie so much, that when they were looking for a few more testers for the youth version, I signed up my oldest son. Here he is modeling HIS first tester version - shirt length, lined hood, kangaroo pockets and cuffed sleeves - both fabrics are french terry from Sincerely Rylee Fabrics.

Y'all, his faces about killed me in this shoot - my baby is growing up!

He loves this jacket and I plan to make several more later this year when both of my boys need fall sweatshirts. 

For our final versions of these patterns, I knew I wanted to do a Mommy and Me set. I've had some custom cotton lycra fabric from MK Designs in my stash for a year now, just waiting for the right project and this was it!

I used the same options as our first versions because I knew they would get the most use from both of us. These lightweight hoodies will be perfect for cool evenings when we visit Disneyland and need a light layer to keep the chill off.

I have more fabric to make my younger son and husband matching pieces, too, so we'll be quite the sight strolling around the parks. ;)

The Go To Jacket also includes a Men's version, so you can make jackets for the whole family! Grab the Go To Jacket pattern for Women, Men or Youth OR the complete Bundle (afflinks) starting today - the sale prices are good through 3/8 at 11:59 US Central time zone. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sewing Activewear - Green Style Creations Xpress Tank and P4P Mama Bear Joggers

I really love cute gym clothes - I chalk most of this up to years of dance lessons where creative expression is not only through your movement, but also what you wear. The high end activewear market has been churning out all sorts of interesting and fashion forward workout gear for years now, but I've been slowly dipping my toe in the water of sewing my own.

I love the tie back tanks that are all the rage right now and they seemed like something that should be fairly simple to sew. I can't remember how I stumbled upon the GreenStyle Creations Xpress Tank, but I loved the interesting cross back so much, I bumped it to the top of my sewing list.

I cute a straight S for this tank and used a light weight Athletic Brushed Poly (ABP) from Zenith and Quasar in coral. ABP is a tech fabric that is moisture-wicking, breathable, soft, stretchy and has great drape for the lighter weight version. I've really grown to like this fabric and it's something that I'm looking forward to using for more workout tanks in the future. Z and Q does pre-orders for ABP throughout the year as well as retail sales after pre-orders have been filled. Be sure to keep an eye on their site as the fabrics and colors they stock do change from time to time.

This pattern is *literally* one piece. That's it. The shoulder seams get stitched together and then all of the raw edges are turned and hemmed. The biggest downsides to the pattern are
  1. You absolutely need a full 1 yard cut to make this tank as drafted - I'm a master at playing pattern and fabric tetris, but you just can't do it with this one.
  2. You are pinning and hemming for a while. It says this is a 20 minute project, but it took me longer than that. Maybe I'm just slow at hemming, but this one felt like it took forever. 
See? SO many pins.

All that being said, I love the finished product and am planning to sew at least one more. It's light, comfy and feels sporty, but cute for the gym. I might size down in the bust for the next one, but the fit through the hip was great. I've worn it to BodyFIT360 and Groov3 and it works well for both. These pics were taken as I was on the way to the gym, so no cute hair and make-up here - lol!

I also finally got around to making a pair of P4P Mama Bear Joggers (afflink) for the gym!(see the above pic) I used a heavier ABP from Zenith and Quasar in basic black. I've already blogged about my love for the Mama Bear Jogger pattern here and there were no changes except to add a band to my cropped length so they look like a true cropped sweatpant. Aside from the pure comfort factor, the style is something I've wanted for a long time, but could never find in the stores. Another reason why it's so great to be able to sew - you can make exactly what you want, when you want it! While I specifically made them for the gym, I haven't ruled them out as a perfect home lounge pant. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

2018 Sewing Goals and January Recap

Happy Monday folks! I realized after I started writing again in this space that I never wrote out my goals for 2018. I have them in a super cute little sewing notebook, but if I actually put them here, it might be some additional motivation to stay the course.
Love this vintage pattern cover notebook - perfect for all of my sewing lists for 2018

My biggest goal for this year was to join the 2018 Ready To Wear Fast that is hosted by Goodbye Valentino.

What is the Ready To Wear Fast? Great question! I, along with hundreds of others have pledged to not purchase any clothing for 2018 - if I want or need it, I need to make it myself. Kind of crazy, right?! Exceptions include undergarments, shoes, bags, jewelry. The reality is that the second half of 2017 was already trending in this direction for me anyways, but this is a great challenge to really stretch my sewing skills and examine my shopping habits. We're almost 1.5 months in and while I haven't been tempted, I have learned a lot about myself already. More on that later.

In addition to the 2018 RTW Fast, I am also participating in the 2018 Make Nine Challenge. Basically, choose 9 garments/sewing projects you'd like to complete in 2018. I keep lists throughout the year for my sewing, so it was kind of weird to just choose 9 things I really wanted to make, so I tried to stretch myself a bit for these. Here they are in no particular order:
  1. Bathing suit 
  2. Men's Raglan
  3. Men's Basic t-shirt
  4. Casual pants for my boys
  5. Jeans
  6. M4M Darcey Cardigan
  7. Woven shorts
  8. Woven blouse
  9. Workout leggings
This list was influenced heavily by the RTW Fast Challenge - we have a couple of trips on the schedule that will require shorts and a swimsuit and I would like to at least try to make myself a pair of jeans since I won't be buying any this year. Eeeeek! I have already tackled 2 of the above with some success and will cover them more in the next couple of weeks.

I'd also like to try at least 1 new to me pattern per month. I LOVE sewing TNT patterns because they are my closet workhorses and always give me a great fit, but if I don't continually try new things, I won't find other patterns that I love.

January 2018 Recap
I had a really strong start to the beginning of the year! Not only do I sew garments for myself, but I also tend to sew quite a bit for my sons and also a fair number of gifts throughout the year. The number of garments I create each month are fairly high and I realized within a couple of weeks of restarting this blog that there is no way I can photograph and blog every single thing I make. Instead, I'll do monthly recaps and individual blog posts for the most interesting garments, pattern tests or the things that have a good story attached to them. Even that will be a challenge, but at least it will narrow down what I feel compelled to share in detail here in this space. Also, I'll post pics of new garments on Instagram (see my feed on the right) as much as possible, even if they don't have a blog post attached to them.

Now let's talk numbers. I made 20 (!) garments in January. A good chunk of that was what I consider utility sewing - basics for me and for my boys that sew up incredibly quickly and are closet staples. They break down as such:
  • Gifts - 2: a workout tank (P4P Essential Tank afflink) and cardigan (P4P Cocoon Cardigan afflink) for my friend and fitness mentor (the white top was actually sewn and counted at the end of 2017)

  • Husband -2: yes, I finally sewed my first garments for my husband!! only took 8 years, but here we are. More on this in a separate post.
  • Boys - 5: all long sleeve t-shirts (P4P Jolly Roger Raglan and P4P YoHo Henley afflinks) that they needed to make it through the rest of winter and into spring.

  •  Me - 11: One pair of casual wear joggers, 3 hoodies, 3 tops for a pattern test and 4 basic tops 
I also tried 2 new to me patterns - a pattern test (George + Ginger RuLo Top and Dress) and a pattern that I had purchased last year for my husband (Cole's Creations Jerry's Raglan).

Needless to say, it was a good month and a great start to 2018. What are your goals for this month or for 2018? Drop me a line and let me know what you're working on!

    Monday, February 5, 2018

    P4P Woman's Henley Shirt

    I've had a very productive start to 2018 when it comes to sewing and one of the patterns I used the most was the Women's Henley pattern from P4P. (afflinks) I completely overlooked this pattern originally because I had zero interest in wearing a shirt with a button placket after coming off of nursing my youngest. Once I realized it actually includes a basic t-shirt neckline as well as the placket, I scooped it up! I made 4 tops using this pattern in January and they give 3 very different looks:

    Basic Long Sleeve
    I started the month by sewing up 2 basic long sleeve versions in some awesome aqua/white and grey/white striped cotton lycra from TKB Prints. TKB is actually known for their star fabric, but I absolutely adore her custom yarn dyed stripes as they are great for both me and my boys.

    I had this photo saved on Pinterest and wanted to make my own version.The original is a raglan cut sleeve, but I opted for the inset sleeve of the henley instead.

    I sized down for this one because I like my basic tees to be fairly close fitting. I used a plain white cotton lycra for the neckband and for the cuffs (made slightly taller than the pattern calls for) and added a vest because it's cute for winter. I love this look and it's something I wear often during the week because it's simple, comfy and put together.

    The grey and white stripe has hemmed sleeves and a neckband in the same strip fabric as the body of the shirt. Super simple, but a great closet basic. 

    Raglan Colorblock Sleeves
    P4P ran a Henley Sew a Long in January on their blog and introduced a free add-on to the pattern for a raglan colorblock sleeve hack. I had been sitting on some charcoal dot and red buffalo plaid french terry from So Sew English just waiting for the right raglan colorblock pattern to come along. I used my measured size for the bust and sized down for the hips for a close fit banded long sleeve tee.

    Adding the little raglan accents is pretty straight forward and the blog will walk you through the construction, but you do need to own the Henley pattern for everything to work correctly. I love how the colorblock accents dress up an otherwise plain shirt and it's a great way to use up leftover fabric scraps.

    Henley Sweatshirt
    I've had this charcoal Blush Lilly Stripe french terry from So Sew English since the fall, but just could not figure out how I wanted to use it. I finally decided on a hooded sweatshirt and opted to use the Henley pattern with hood option. I lucked out and had *just* enough pale pink jersey leftover from another project to use for the cuffs/band/hood lining. It was a perfect match to the pale pink in the flowers.

    Again, I cut my measured size for bust and sized down for hips, which makes this a slimmer fit sweatshirt for me (my desired fit for this piece). I also added a kangaroo pocket, which is from the Raglan Add On Pack (afflink), but easily works on any shirt pattern. Can we also take a minute to talk about the stripe matching here! It's hard to see, but it's stripe matched to within an inch of it's life and I'm super happy with it.

    This is a casual piece, but I love the fabric and it will be something I reach for often. I'm all about stripes and florals right now, so when you combine them? LOVE!

     Needless to say, I love the Henley pattern as a basic long sleeve block that can be customized in all sorts of ways. You know I love my TNT patterns and this one easily falls into that cateogry. I am hoping to play around with a short sleeve version for spring - maybe with a lowered neckline and a cap sleeve. Endless possibilities, I tell ya!