Shoreline Boatneck

Since the holidays, I have been having a tough time focusing on a project from start to finish (I’d like us not to discuss how many WIPs are hanging in the closet of my sewing room right now). When I saw the call for testers for a re-release of the Shoreline Boatneck, I jumped on it! I knew the accountability [deadline] of testing a pattern would help my sew’jo return {and yippee – it’s back!}.

I’ve tested for Blank Slate Patterns before and I can’t say enough great things about 1) the quality of the pattern designs [& instructions] and 2) how well-run the testing process is!

I’ve been a member of the Blank Slate Patterns group on Facebook for a while so I’ve seen how versatile this pattern is. I knew it would be a great one to add to my stash.

shoreline-boatneck-tracing

Does anyone else obsessively trace their patterns with freezer paper? After reading Addie’s post about pin-free cutting, I can’t stop.

Fabric

I found some denim rayon at my local JoAnn’s to use for testing the Shoreline Boatneck with woven material (the pattern can be made in woven or knit – I told you it was versatile!). It is¬†so very soft. I wanted material that would 1) have a good drape and 2) be a versatile color so I could wear it often ūüėČ

Despite being soft and drapey, the fabric was actually really easy to sew!

shoreline-boatneck-sewing

Length

The original Shoreline Boatneck pattern had the option of being a top or a dress. Originally I was going to make the dress version, but when the option to make a tunic came up, I volunteered! The dress version looks a little longer than would be flattering on my short frame (I’m only 5’1″ for reference) so I knew a tunic would be ideal. I shortened the pattern from the dress hemline by 8 inches to make the tunic (not from the lengthen/shorten line which actually sounds intriguing after someone pointed out that would make the bottom more flowy).

The tunic falls just above my knees so it’s pretty much a dress on me ūüėČ

shoreline-2

Fit

I made a size small based on my bust measurements and it fit perfect on the first sew! The pattern is not a fitted design (no bust darts) so there is some flexibility. I like that it’s a little loose but not in a way that looks like I’m wearing a muu-muu {but let’s be honest: This tunic is so comfortable it basically feels like pajamas}.

Because I was testing, I did not make any alterations or modifications to the fit. Even after testing, I still wouldn’t make any adjustments – it fits perfectly!

shoreline-4

Future Plans {& Inspiration}

There are so many ideas for hacking. Four hacks are included with the re-release!

Melissa has made several variations including the 3 below. Y’all know my love for a dress with pockets AND a cinched waist so you bet the middle one is on.my.list.!

shoreline-hack-ideas

Button-back hack instructions HERE | Details of the middle dress HERE | Hack instructions for the dress on the right HERE

There is something about this pattern – the top and the the dress – that look so perfect with plaids / checkers. I fell for the big gingham print version that Melissa made. I fell even harder when she mentioned it didn’t require a zipper {y’all know my love for slip-on/no-closure dresses!} – you can read more about this hack at the end of this post. The waist & bodice remind me of the Fen Dress a bit but without darts + side-seam pockets, perhaps it’ll be a faster sew!

mellysews-shoreline-dress

Y’all know my love of upcycling. A fellow member of the testing group posted a hack that I fell for! Ellen used a men’s button down shirt to make a Shoreline top and even kept the original hem.

My grandfather passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago. I’m hoping to get my hands on a few of his shirts to upcycle for my sister {who’s due with my nephew¬†any.moment.now!} and I.

ellens-shoreline

Follow Ellen on Instagram for sewing inspiration: @ellen.mchugh

I also like the color-block version that Abbey of Sew Charleston made. Her top looks straight off the RTW rack (in the best way).

abbeys-shoreline

Read all about Abbey’s color-blocked Shoreline Boatneck top HERE

Browse the #ShorelineBoatneck hashtag on Instagram to see even more beautiful versions!

Conclusion: It’s a Wardrobe Staple!

This tunic has been on regular rotation since I finished it. For the most comfortable outfit ever, I’ve been pairing it with my frumpiest [coziest] sweater, leggings, moccasins and my favorite scarf {crocheted by my super talented boss}.

shoreline-with-sweater

Can we pretend this counts as professional wear? PLEASE!

Purchase your own Shoreline Boatneck pattern here. Then come back & share your version with me!

My most worn handmade garments

If you set a resolution for 2017 to build/expand your handmade wardrobe, this list is for you!

With almost 3 years (!!) of sewing garments under my belt, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on my most-worn, most-loved patterns. I have learned a lot along this journey. While some garments were fun to construct [or maybe not so fun], they may not have turned out to be as loved in a day-to-day way.

My goal with this list is to provide you a few pattern recommendations that will surely be worth your time!

handmade-wardrobe

Disclaimer: The list is purely subjective and recalled from memory; not from actual daily tallies of use [but wouldn’t that be a fun experiment?!].

Being that I have avoided adding closures of any kind to a garment thus far {no zippers, no buttons, no problem!}, I would say that all of these patterns are beginner-friendly.

beautiful-things

Along this journey to build my handmade wardrobe, I have discovered “my style.” It’s eclectic {code word for: comfortably weird}.

My style moves on a continuum between dressing like a tween to dressing like a 90-year-old. To be honest: it’s not much a continuum – I mostly cling to one end or the other without much that fits in between. But I think that’s the beauty of sewing your own clothes: You have the freedom to choose¬†exactly how you want your garment¬†to look. You want a dress to match your dachshund? Girl Charlee’s got you covered. Need bright green leggings to make spin class more appealing? Imagine Gnats has you covered.

You’ll see both extremes of my style throughout the list below. I can’t promise¬†my style is¬†in style, but it’s¬†mine. And I’m embracing it ūüôā

iris-apfel

Handmade Garments I wore most in 2016

TRANSITION PIECES

Below are pieces that easily transitioned from season to season [aka: just-add-leggings]. 

Sew Caroline’s Out and About Dress | pattern

out-and-about-dress

The 3 Out & About Dresses I’ve made so far – from L to R: version 3, 1, and 2.

This was the very first pattern I sewed {first dress ever} and it has remained my very favorite! I even turned it into a shirt once.

The dress transitions perfectly to fall with a few layers – just add leggings, boots, a sweater and your favorite scarf!

out-and-about-dress-2

During the cooler weather, I wear my long-sleeved version almost every week.

I just ordered some dark gray ponte de roma fabric from imagine gnats that I’m hoping to turn into my 4th Out & About Dress – stay tuned!

{Read all about version 1 & 2 here and version 3 here.}

Sew Caroline’s Tank Dress | pattern

tank-dress-2

When this pattern was first released, I didn’t think I’d jump on that bandwagon. I thought the hemline was “too trendy” {I’ve already confessed my inner 90-year-old}, BUT I love it. It’s actually¬†really easy to construct since it can be made with a woven [non-stretchy] fabric.

My second version [pictured here] is my most-worn¬†because: I raised the elastic casing on the back of the dress about 2 inches [I think]. I’m petite which often requires altering (usually raising the waistline in dresses works for me). In my first version {mentioned in this post}, I was having some bunching in the back above the elastic because it was sliding up to my waist. It was such a simple alteration that completely changed the comfort and fit of the dress for me.

I wear this dress to work with a simple black cardigan and platforms in the summer and transition to fall/winter by adding leggings and boots. I love the versatility of the dress – easy to layer from season to season.

Fancy Tiger Craft’s Fen Dress

fen-dress

My first version of the Fen Dress [pictured here] is my favorite.

{Read all about both of my Fen Dresses in this post and see my 1st Fen Dress in action in this post.}

Shwin Designs’ Day Tripper Top¬†| pattern

day-tripper-top

I got this pattern¬†a long time ago as part of the Pattern Anthology “Just Add Jeans” collection. Embarrassingly, it’s the only pattern I’ve sewn from the collection so far.

For my version, I accidentally omitted the shoulder tabs and waist band which shortened the top (perfect length for petite frame FYI).

{Read all about my Day Tripper Top in this post and see it in action here, here and here on Thanksgiving.}

 

SUMMER

Sew Caroline’s Magnolia Shorts | pattern

magnolia-shorts

These shorts got some serious wear this summer. In past summers I have¬†lived in my black Patagonia elastic waist shorts. The fabric is great for the heat (light and quick-drying/nearly-sweat-proof). While I¬†love them¬†so¬†much, they make me look like a soccer mom (but not the kind that dresses up to sit on the sidelines. I’m the soccer mom wearing big sunglasses trying to hide the fact that she’s napping in her bag¬†chair).

The Magnolia Shorts helped my summer wardrobe appear slightly more pulled together. I used a crepe fabric that had been donated to my stash from someone’s attic. The fabric was¬†perfect for the shorts – drapey and breezy. It made my version morph into a skirt visually {thus, taking my wardrobe up 10 notches}.

{Read all about my Magnolia shorts in this post and see them in action in this post and here on Instagram.}

*PS: If you’re looking for shorts with pockets, check out the Parkside Shorts {read all about mine here}! I made 2 pairs – you can see the second pair in action at the bottom of¬†this post.

My Refashioned Housedress

housedress_before after

This was one of the quickest, easiest projects so far. It was an easy-breezy hack-and-hem into the most comfortable dress ever saved from a landfill.

{Read all about the project¬†in this post. I’m feeling inspired for more refashions – hopefully I’ll find some fun ones for 2017!}

 

WINTER

Blank Slate Pattern’s Tulip Top | pattern

leopard tulip top

I found 2 versions of the Tulip Top particularly inspiring: Sewbon {I love the textured knit and really like how she lengthened it and omitted the sleeve cuffs & neckband for a whole new look} & Sew Charleston {I loved the short-sleeve hack – we’re both in the always-hot-state-of-SC so short-sleeves get a lot of wear}.¬†I actually copied Sew Charleston’s short-sleeved hack in¬†this version, but unfortunately this version hasn’t been worn as much as it should be.

Fun note about the Tulip Top – it was just re-released with a cross-over back option.

Also: I was recently shopping for my adorably preggo sister at Motherhood Maternity and saw a nursing top (similar) that made me think this pattern might be a fun modification for maternity (cross-over in the back) and nursing (cross-over in the front). I’d love to say I’m going to make one for my sister, but my sewing list is so long my nephew might be walking by then!

{Read more about my leopard print Tulip Top in this post.}

I hope this post has inspired you and given you fresh ideas to build your handmade wardrobe. I’d love to hear what’s on your “to make” list for 2017 – share in the comments below!

Fancy Tiger Crafts’ Fen Dress 1 and 2

I made the Fen Dress quite a while ago, but have been lazy about blogging it (so sorry!). It’s¬†quickly becoming a favorite go-to pattern. So far I’ve made two and have plans for a few more.

fen-dress

The Pattern

I picked up a printed copy of the pattern when we detoured to Finch Knitting & Sewing Studio in Leesburg, Virginia on the way home from our Boston road trip.

fen-dress-pattern

The pattern is really easy to follow. It was the first time I have followed a Fancy Tiger Crafts pattern and I really liked it!

You can order the printed pattern from Fancy Tiger Crafts here.

Version 1

I made View B (dress) with a round neckline in woven fabric. I chose the slight drop hem (ever-so-slightly longer in the rear). I skipped the optional sleeves, but may try those for a fall/winter version later.

fen-dress-1a

Favorite Features

The pockets are amazing! They are at the perfect height and really easy to access. I don’t typically use pockets to carry things (other than lip balm), but I¬†love using them for their original intention: to store my hands when they are wondering where to go in awkward social situations.

fen-dress-1e

See how the pockets fall exactly at my natural waist? Perfect!

There are no closures – the dress has a loose fit so, despite being sewn in woven material, you can still slip it overhead – no scary zipper installation.

fen-dress-1b

Fabric

For my first Fen Dress, I used Robert Kaufman chambray¬†that I snagged from a friend’s destash on Instagram. Here is some similar fabric (perhaps the same?) in the Imagine Gnats shop.

I made this dress around the same time as¬†my Parkside Shorts and was definitely on an accent pocket kick.¬†I used some thin vintage cotton for the pocket linings (the fabric felt a bit like double gauze, but I’m not sure what it really is). I added an¬†extra layer of chambray behind to stabilize it – fusible interfacing probably would have been a better long-term solution, but so far it’s holding up just fine.

fen-dress-1d

fen-dress-1c

I also used this fabric for the neckline. I’m did not follow the instructions for the neckline correctly. As you can see in the photo below, I wrapped the neckline fabric around to the front to expose it. In my second version, I attached the neckline more similar to what I have done with knit patterns. The first method created the best fit for the neckline (not that my 2nd attempt was how it’s supposed to be done either…)

fen-dress-neckline

Fit

With a petite frame, I often have to make adjustments to patterns. Usually with a waistline like this, I would have to shorten the bodice. I’m excited to say – I did not have to make any adjustments to “petite-ify” this pattern!

However, I did grade between sizes based on my measurements which was actually very easy to do with this pattern.

Construction

The skirt piece is not overwhelmingly wide so the gathers are easy to install.

I used french seams throughout which took a little longer than usual, but it’s really my favorite method to use for seams when working with woven material. I did not alter the pattern pieces to accommodate since the pattern has a pretty generous seam allowance. I just shrunk the width of the seam I was sewing.

Here is a great tutorial from Craftsy on how to sew french seams.

Version 2

When I picked the pattern out at Finch, I fell in love with this beautiful peach print fabric that I knew would make the perfect Fen Dress.

fen-dress-pair

The fabric is called “Peaches in Bright Pink” from Melody Miller’s “Fruit Dots” collection for Cotton + Steel in Fall 2015. You can find it for sale¬†here from Hawthorne Threads.

fen-dress-2

After Version 1 proved that the fit was perfect, I whipped up Version 2 exactly the same. The only difference was the neckline. I flipped the neckband up after attaching and top-stitched like I have done with knit dresses in the past (again, pretty sure this was not correct).

fen-dress-2-neckline

This method caused the neckline to be much wider than I would’ve liked with a bit of gaping at the front center. I still wear the dress regularly because overall it is a great fit and I am too lazy to seam rip the neckband and start over ūüėČ

{Pretty sure you’re supposed to use bias binding for the neckline. Here is a tutorial that would’ve been helpful for me to follow if I had actually realized that…}

After finishing version 2, I had enough fabric left over to make my pup her own peach-themed scarf to match!

kimba

She loves it. #DivaDog

In case you’re wondering how to make your pup a matching scarf with your leftover material (it’s no-sew and ridiculously easy): grab your pinking shears (here are the ones I use) and cut a triangle. You want the longest edge (bottom edge if you are looking at it with the point at the top) to be the¬†circumference of your dog’s neck plus a few extra inches to spare for knotting. Tie around your pup leaving enough room so that it can slip over the pup’s head but not so loose it will fall off (you do not want it too tight!).

If you wanted to get really fancy, you could use a second fabric scrap to make it reversible and even add velcro (which, admittedly by this overprotective-former-vet-tech, would be much safer if you are planning to leave it on your pup unattended [aka: a quick release in case it gets caught on something…sorry for dragging you into the world of a¬†paranoid-fur-parent, but welcome!]).

Final Thoughts

This pattern is a definite favorite! It is the exact style that I love: cinched waist, pockets… perfection.

I would say this is definitely a pattern that is appropriate for a beginner. There are no closures (no zippers, no buttons), you can use woven material (no stretch=no stress for beginners!), and there are no set-in sleeves.

Have you made a Fen Dress? I’d love to see your version!

Sewing Wish List: Fall 2016

This month I’ve been participating in House of Pinheiro’s SewPhotoHop on Instagram. I typically stray from the pressure of posting daily, but this has been a refreshing routine. I have really enjoyed following the hashtag and soaking up inspiration from the other sewists participating in the challenge.

Today’s theme is “Wish list” so I thought I’d share a little more detail of what’s on my “to make” list here on the blog!

sewing-wish-list

I have¬†so very many things on my sewing wish list right now, but I’ve whittled it down to only patterns I have already purchased. {If you want to see all the other things I’m dreaming of making, you can browse my Sewing Garments Pinterest Board}

I would¬†love love love to hear your vote on what you think I should make next! Leave your vote in the comments section. I’d also equally love if you share your advice or experience if you have made any of the patterns listed. ūüôā

Without further adieu, here is the [very shortened and in no particular order] list of sewing patterns in my queue…

1. Florence Bra | Seamwork Magazine

florence2

Top: Florence Bra, Bottom: Geneva Panties – both patterns available via Seamwork Magazine.

While on our roadtrip to Boston last spring break, I picked up¬†this beautiful bra-making kit at Mercer’s Fabric. I’ve been dreaming of becoming brave enough to cut into it. I’ve even claimed the Florence bra pattern with my Seamwork Magazine credit. Since this will be my very first attempt at lingerie, I’d¬†love to hear any tips or advice you may have!

2. Harrington Shorts | Seamwork Magazine

The Hubs is probably my most neglected loved one in the sewing room! I rarely make him much and I’ve only ever made him one finished garment {the Finlayson sweater – see it in this post}. He’s one of my biggest supporters (tied with my sister) and endures quite a bit of sewing chatter and frustration troubleshooting.

I think he’s in need of a treat!

The Harrington shorts are meant to be swim trunks, but I think he’ll get a lot of use out of an everyday pair. I really like the linen version [pictured above] by Seamwork.

Since the Hubs is a pretty tall guy (6’4″..), I plan to lengthen the inseam of these shorts.¬†The pattern reminds me a lot of Chubbies (which are basically booty shorts on my long-legged guy).

I suspect that construction will be similar to my Parkside Shorts which came together pleasantly. We both have a deep love and appreciation for elastic waists so I know these would be a closet staple.

3. Out and About Dress | Sew Caroline

Are you tired of hearing about this pattern yet?! It’s a tried and true (proof: here¬†&¬†here). I’ve been really wanting to make a sleeveless version {pattern¬†hack here}¬†– which I know might sound a little late considering fall is approaching, but it’s quite warm here all year¬†and I¬†loooove an excuse to toss on a cardigan!

sleeveless

Isn’t this sleeveless version by Caroline gorgeous?!

I’m also in love with the tulip sleeves on Dixie DIY‘s version {pattern hack here}:

tulip-sleeve

4. Dottie Angel Dress | Simplicity 1080

I just picked this pattern up from my local JoAnn’s a few weeks ago while the Simplicity patterns were on sale. I’ve never made a Simplicity pattern but my friend Shanika loves them!

I’ve been smitten with the Dottie dress¬†for a while. I’m torn between Versions A & B – I’m worried version A will be too long on my short stature, but I’m also worried version B will be too short to qualify as a dress (tunics are often dresses on me ūüėČ ). I may make a hybrid between the two lengths.

While I¬†love big pockets, I think I will omit them from my version for the sake of making it a little less casual. My office isn’t super dressy (or at least¬†I’m not super-dressy at work!) and I like to be able to wear the dresses I make to work since I do spend 5 out of 7 days there ūüôā

5. Peony | Colette

When I saw this dress on sale [an embarrassingly long time ago], I immediately asked my friend Addie if she thought it was a pattern I could handle. With her confirmation, I quickly ordered it.

Then it sat and gathered dust while I have become paralyzed by the fear of installing a zipper {I know, I know…get over it}. It’s one of my favorite dress silhouettes: fitted bodice, pleated¬†waist, flowy bottom.

I also love the pleated shoulders {pattern hack here} in this version:

peony

6. Handmade Style Tunic | Noodlehead

Ever since I got my hands on Handmade Style by Anna Graham, I have had this tunic on my “to make” list! I even had my friend Amber teach me how to use my button hole foot at our last sew-in.

I had plans of following Anna’s sew-along for the tunic, but I fell off the wagon as soon as I selected my fabric (that’s as far as I got…).

noodlehead

Then I saw Anna’s finished version! It looks even more amazing than the gorgeous version in the book (possible?! Yes, Anna is¬†that talented). It’s still on my list! I think I’d wear it quite often through the fall with leggings.

7. View Ridge | Straight Stitch Design

Terri of Blue House Joys (who was one of the testers) promised it the top wasn’t too hard to make so I jumped on ordering it while it was on sale with the release. I am totally smitten with the gathered ruffle in View A and the keyhole back! I have a bag of vintage buttons I am going to plunder in search of the perfect embellishment for mine.

8. Hazel | Victory Patterns

When I saw Sew Charleston’s version of the Hazel Dress I fell head-over-heels!

hazel2

Read all about Sew Charleston’s version here

My mother-in-law ordered this pattern for me from my wish list last Christmas. I even ordered the fabric to copy the cover version…

So which pattern gets your vote? What should I work on next?

I’d love to hear any tips you have if you’ve made any of these patterns. And tell me what’s on your sewing list! Clearly I’m always in search of more patterns to add to my stash ūüėČ

What I’m Lovin’ in January

It’s finally gotten chilly in the south and feels like¬†winter! (Confession: I love cold weather.) I hope you are all staying warm and toasty wherever you are. Snuggle up and share a few giggles with me as you read on through the short list of what I loved about January…
january

1. Cookies made with Chickpeas

Guys!! Before you go rolling your eyes and completely abandon this post, hear me out!

Or just oogle this mouth-watering photo of proof I’m not crazy…

chickpea cookie

{I borrowed this delightful picture from Texanerin Baking. If your mouth is watering (mine is!), click the picture to jump over to the recipe.}

I have a¬†very serious sweet tooth. I am a firm believer that dessert is essential – not optional. I also try¬†purdy hard to stay healthy. So…I seek out “healthy” treats. {Chocolate Covered Katie is one of my favorite resources}

And y’all –¬†these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites are a winner!

The recipe is super easy and fairly guilt-free. {Lazy Cook Tip: If you don’t have roasted peanuts on hand to make your own PB¬†(see #2 below!), Trader Joe’s Creamy, Salted Peanut Butter works great – and the ingredient list is desirable with just peanuts and salt.}

Hubs loves them. And we even made these when my Mom came over for dinner and she was quite delighted and announced that they tasted just like peanut butter balls (which they kind of are, but I’ll let her have that connection!).

PS: If you also enjoy “healthy” [aka: less guilty] desserts, these flourless chocolate muffins are the perfect go-to if you need something easy to take to a party that your vegan¬†and gluten-free friends can enjoy. I wouldn’t recommend the chickpea cookies for parties because 1) they are best served warm and 2) the first batch I made was a bit messy to eat.

2. Making my own Peanut Butter

As I said to my Mom earlier this month: “your generation would probably refer to my lifestyle as ‘crunchy granola’.” I’ll own it. I’m not offended (and yes, I¬†once had a¬†granola-supplier who recently went out of business and I teared up a bit…before ordering 5 bags as stock).

I was destined to be this way: I have a Public Health degree (aka: I was trained to be overly cautious about my health)¬†and I’m a Researcher by trade.

Confession: The context of the statement above was when I was [being very Millennial and calling my Mom to debrief about my doctor’s appointment] after I explained that I told the doctor I had started making my own lip balm because I discovered what I had thought was just petroleum jelly in fact had dyes in it for reasons unknown (I’ve been having some lip issues [and I’ve already told you I’m a) a Public Health nerd and b) a Researcher] and was subsequently eliminating¬†everything funky – including switching my toothpaste to Tom’s without fluoride – in an effort to eliminate triggers. Yep, crunchy granola).

Oh – and if you’re wondering: YES I’m going to share my lip balm recipe with you. I’m still perfecting it so stay tuned!

Anyways, back to the peanut butter!

When I discovered the chickpea cookies above, Texaserin recommended making your own peanut butter for the cookie recipe. She even has a recipe for the peanut butter, but I’ll spoil it for you: throw some [lightly] salted roasted peanuts in your food processor for 4 minutes. THAT’S IT!¬†

peanut butter

I know what you’re thinking: “but does it taste good?!” Yes, folks – it does! So delicious. I kept my batch in the fridge and it lasted about a day before I ate it all (while I seriously considered taking a spoon to the jar, I¬†did not. I used most of it in the cookie recipe and the leftover was used in smoothies).

Next time your grocery store runs nuts on sale, grab a container of roasted peanuts and give them a whirl in the food processor – just for shiggles!

3. Homemade Vegan Korean Barbecue

korean bbq

{Picture borrowed from Brewing Happiness because my food never turns out this pretty. Click the image to get the recipe!}

DELISH!

The flavor is ahhh-mazing. This is one of the Hubs’ favorite new dinners. {Confession: The first time I tried this recipe, I got so frustrated because I was burning the tofu that *somehow* I pulled our junk drawer off it’s hinges and the contents flew all over the kitchen… Thankfully the Hubs was home and willing to talk me off the ledge – and clean up the mess [I’m a lucky gal!]. As a tip: Pre-measure the ingredients that you can and when you start cooking the tofu: stir often/constantly if you can.}

Since I try to keep my time in the kitchen minimal for everyone’s safety, I can’t speak about the taste of the aioli {I hit my ingredients-to-buy/time-I-was-willing-to-spend-cooking limit with the homemade barbecue sauce}. If you try the aioli, let me know if it’s worth the effort!

PS: Another favorite recipe from Brewing Happiness: Baked Veggie Dogs {they were on my September list}.

4. Tea Time

I got a batch of Lady Grey Loose Leaf Tea for Christmas from my step-sister. I’m trying to balance my sweet tooth with hot tea {otherwise I’d probably eat an entire batch of the Chickpea Cookies in one day which would make them far less “guilt free”}.

tea

Loose leaf tea is gorgeous. And I kind of want to learn to make my own blends, but I’m not sure where to start – if you know any good recipes, let me know!

Also Рalong with the tea, my step-sister gave me the most adorable ManaTEA tea infuser!

manatea

I named her Minnie the Manatee

Minnie motivates me to drink more tea and eat less sweets. Like a boss.

PS: I found Minnie’s twin Manny [well, they call him “Fred”]¬†on Amazon if you’re interested in your own ManaTEA.

5. Family Recipes

Some friends invited us over for chili a few weekends ago and I knew immediately¬†that¬†I wanted to dust off Jeremy’s grandfather’s cornbread recipe! It’s always a big hit and we’d just eaten some his PawPaw made at Thanksgiving which reminded me¬†how delicious they are (and that we hadn’t made them in¬†forever).

cornbread

I know you’re shocked: Yes, I own an apron. And yes, the reason it looks well-worn is not because of yours truly – it’s vintage ūüėõ

I weaseled the recipe out of Jeremy’s grandpa several years ago. We used to make them all the time, but it’s been years since we’ve made a batch.

The recipe is more of a Mexican-style cornbread with jalapenos and cheddar cheese. I’m not authorized to spill the family secrets, but here’s a similar recipe you could try ūüôā

6. Our new knit sweaters

Speaking of grandparents, the Hubs has the best! Last week we received two packages from England!

Since we’d just chatted with his grandma, we had an idea of what they were. She has been working on sweaters for both of us since we visited last Christmas. {In fact, she had my sweater nearly done, but when I arrived and she measured me she realized the bodice was going to be too small and unraveled the¬†whole thing! She laughed at my reaction because I almost cried!}

It felt like we’d won the lottery! ūüėČ

sweaters

We were overwhelmed with excitement [obviously], but I promise to attempt a better picture of the sweaters later…

And with the recent cold weather arriving in South Carolina, we’re both pretty grateful for these snuggly new garments!

Isn’t Jeremy’s grandmother SO talented?! She’s been knitting for…forever. This is my third sweater from her. I wear the other two quite frequently when it gets cold and I know this one will be well-loved too!

PS: Did you know that “knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol“?! You can read all about the health benefits of knitting and real stories about how knitting has helped people get through tough times {like having a baby in the NICU and quitting smoking} in this article from the NY Times. Fascinating research!

7. Snow

Speaking of cold weather, last weekend we got snow!

snow

If you look REALLY close you can see the light dusting on the roof {and a fur baby peaking out the front door}

Anyone not from the south is probably laughing hysterically at my claim of snow based on the above picture. I was starting to worry we wouldn’t get¬†any snow this year so I’ll take what I¬†can get!

I did watch some tiny flurries come down from the window in front of my sewing machine and it was lovely (even if they melted as soon as they hit the ground).

Now I’m not wishing bad weather on anyone, but I¬†do wish we’d get a little more snow this winter!!

8. My new accessories for sewing

earrings

Because who doesn’t need to look glamorous while sewing?!

My sweet friend Caroline surprised me with these the day before our first quilt guild meeting this year {so I was accessorized quite festively for the meeting}.

I¬†love them! And I love my sweet friend for being so thoughtful. She’s the best.

PS: My new earrings coordinate perfectly with my new planner from Sugar and Type {it looks like the planners are all sold out which is a shame because it is so useful!}.

9. Paper Piecing

At our Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild meeting this month, our president did a paper-piecing demo.

I’ve been really wanting to try paper-piecing, but was too scared. Amber demystified the process and I went home and gave it a try with the simple diamond blocks she shared with us.

paper pieces

I’m hooked!

What are some of your favorite paper pieced patterns? I’m looking to try more so I’d love it if you left me your favorite in the comments.

PS: If you’re local to Columbia, SC – follow the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild on Facebook and consider joining us! We meet every third Thursday of the month and have a sew-in once a month (so fun).

10. My Double Zip Wallet

doublezip2

I won’t bore you with all the details [because you can read those here], but I’m still lovin’ it.

I think my favorite part are the two zipper pouches. I love zippers because they make your goodies feel so secure {and help you to avoid embarrassing moments when change starts flying out of your clutch like a slot machine}.

This also reminds me that I need to finish that Veronika skirt the corduroy was intended for…

Since I haven’t blogged as much this month, I had a lot to share! Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom – you’re such a trooper!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

 

My Day Tripper Top

I love everything about this top! It turned out¬†nothing¬†like I’d planned, but I’m practically living in it so obviously it worked out great!

day tripper

My Day Tripper Top

The Day Tripper Top has been in my pile of “patterns to make” for a¬†long time. I got the top as part of the Just Add Jeans Collection from Pattern Anthology. I rediscovered it a few weeks ago while reorganizing my patterns (and realizing how many I’d been hoarding that needed to be made!).

My goal was to try to replicate this version (with the fabric I had on hand):

Daytripper3

{Photo via Schwin Designs – click the image to see the source}

Originally I had planned to include the shoulder tabs – I had even bought some cute buttons for it, but completely skipped over the part of the instructions where I was supposed to jump ahead to add them. Oops.

I¬†love pockets so I wanted to include them (and I did…at first). Because I cut the shortest version of the shirt (in an attempt to make a petite version), the pockets bunched up at the waistband and ultimately I ended up spending a lot of time with my seam ripper taking them out.

I also removed the waistband (which was purple to match the neckband) because the purple fabric I chose wasn’t as stretchy as it probably needed to be and made the waistband a little too fitted for my taste. Honestly, I don’t normally love the look of the fitted waist band (like pictured above) on me. It looks great on others (like on the model above!), but it’s not a look I’m any good at rockin’. So it actually worked out well to remove it.

For the bottom hem, I just did a regular ole tuck-and-sew (that’s completely made up and not a real method…as far as I know).

Removing the waistband made the shirt a little short, but it’s actually a great length for me (hits just below the waist of my pants…on anyone else that would be a crop top, but for me it works!).

I don’t normally love high-low hems, but this one is subtle like in the Date Night Dress so it’s just right!

I¬†adore the look of the sleeve bands – I fell in love with sleeve bands when I tested Addie K’s Amenity pattern (which I highly recommend – that was possibly the¬†quickest pattern I’ve¬†ever sewn!) – for some reason I find them¬†way easier than the tuck-and-sew for hemming.

For my Day Tripper Top, I used a floral knit that I found on clearance at my local Hancock Fabrics (it was super soft like a ponte, but light like jersey and not too stretchy, but stretchy enough. It was basically what knit dreams are made of). The purple knit was courtesy of my lovely (and mega-talented) friend, Addie, from the time I tested her Amenity pattern (I know I just said it, but let me say it again: I¬†highly recommend that pattern! Especially with the cool weather approaching. It’s an easy, quick sew that would also make a great holiday gift for someone you like enough to sew clothes for).

Here’s proof of me enjoying my Day Tripper:

day tripper 1

trippin’ through the day with my sister

Oh – and – see those matching bags my sister & I are carrying? I’d love to tell you I made them, but I did not. Last year at Vintage Charlotte, I discovered Sans Maps and have been SO in love with my Chloe Messenger Bag. I let my sister borrow it a few months ago and she was smitten.

I plan to make many more versions of the Day Tripper Top so stay tuned!

Cyber Monday

If you’re not too hungover from Black Friday shopping, there are some really great sales going on today!

As promised last week – I’m revealing Marley Lilly‘s¬†Cyber Monday Special…

If you spend $50 today, they’ll send you this super pretty statement necklace for free:

necklace_11.22

Perfect holiday party bling!

I received my necklace last week and let me tell you: it’s fabulous! The rhinestones are all securely in place [which if you’ve ever shopped for statement necklaces you know how great this is!] and the metal is sturdy – creating a great holiday accessory.

Gather ideas from¬†my Marley Lilly themed gift guide¬†and you’ll be earning that free statement necklace in no time! ūüôā

If you’re in Columbia, SC and looking to do some local, handmade shopping (and I hope you are!), check out Sustainable Midlands’ Holiday Celebration. You’ll find over 40 local artisans selling their amazingly sustainable handmade goods – perfect holiday gifts!

sustainable midlands

{Click the photo to find more information on the Sustainable Midlands’ Facebook page}

What deals are you partaking in for Cyber Monday?