Monday, April 18, 2016

Pattern Testing the Megan Nielsen Sudley Blouse/Dress

Over year ago I signed up with Megan Nielsen to be a pattern tester.  I had been reading her blog for several years and love her creativeness and her pattern styles.  I bought myself her Brair T pattern for Christmas and loved it, so I was super excited to get a chance to test one of her new patterns!

The Sudley Blouse and Dress is just being released!  Here is what I made to test the pattern:

I made this blouse (version 1) out of a light weight cotton that I had in my stash.  I think the fabric was originally from Walmart at $1-$2 a yard.  The pattern and directions were easy to follow and came together easily, including the collar and the key hole as well as using bias binding to finish the collar and key hole. I love how Megan Nielsen patterns are so well made and professional: sizing was spot-on to my measurements and  everything matched up perfectly! 

As much as I loved the pattern, this blouse is not my style...this fabric, even though a light weight cotton did not have enough drape and the blouse looked too boxy on me. The collar was too big for my taste and the key hole was too big to want to wear it in the front (this blouse is designed to be reversible!).  This blouse was donate to the thrift store, but it was a great "muslin" to test the fit and pattern and the process gave me great ideas in the variation department!  That is another thing I love about Megan Nielsen patterns, so much variation potential!

I love maxi dresses for summer and was inspired to try a maxi version.  I like this one much better!  I used a rayon (I think?) from the thrift store.  The rayon was a much better fabric choice as the drape really helped the style of the pattern shine!  I made the collar and key hole smaller by 1 inch and added a very slightly gathered skirt at my natural waist.  I place 1/4 inch elastic at this waist line to cinch in the dress and added a self fabric belt so it would be a bit more polished.  I really like this dress and can't wait to wear it this summer!  If I were to make this dress again, I would just lengthen the pieces to maxi length instead of adding a separate skirt.  My shoulders are bigger than my hips so the boxy-ness of the blouse has enough room to just lengthen. 

This is my favorite version!  I made view 3 and lengthened to tunic length.  I used a rayon fabric from Walmart and used bias binding and french seams to finish it.  I did take each side in quite a bit in order to give the tunic some shape. 

This will gt lots of use this is comfy and washable yet a bit dressier than a t-shirt.

As I've said, this pattern has so much great variation potential!  I'm thinking about trying to mash-up the Sudley with the Briar for a knit version with the Sudley keyhole and the Briar hem...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Simple Fashion Tip: Hem Your Own Jeans

Jeans are an integral part of my capsule wardrobe.  I have found that I do very well with three pairs of pants/jeans in my closet for fall and winter.  Right now I have two pairs of jeans and one pair of olive green pants/jeans.  I only wear boot cut or straight leg jeans/pants...I keep thinking I'd like to try a pair of "skinny" jeans but every pair I've tried one doesn't look now I looking for a pair of slim but not tight dark wash jeans.  With this amount of regular wear (a couple times a week) my jeans wear out in about a year.  This year I've had to find new jeans more often because while I've only lost about three pounds in the last year, I've dropped two pants sizes.  (I'm not sure how this happens, but I've heard it is a pretty regular THM phenomenon.)

I first try to find jeans at my local thrift stores...and usually this works about 50% of the time.  However, I often end up with jeans that are too long.  I need jeans with a 30 inch inseam.  The last two pairs I've found have been in long length (33 inch inseam).

I've been using this super easy method of hemming my own jeans for the past couple of years now...It is quick and easy and works great!

Here is a before and after picture of the jeans I hemmed yesterday:

Here is some great information about what hem lengths should be for various styles of pants.

So, broaden your options next time you browse the thrift store because you know you can quickly and easily hem your own jeans!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Fabric Stash Busting Dress #1

One of my sewing goals for 2016 is to use up the fabric in my stash and then to only buy fabric with a project in mind...and also to not plan many projects ahead so I actually get them done!

Here is a dress I made for Ruthie with some remnants from my stash:

The navy and white striped fabric is from a thrifted shirt.  I used the sleees to make Hannah a pair of leggings for under dresses and used the body of the shirt for the top of this dress.  The neckband and sleeve bands are a navy and white polk-a-dot knit that was left over from this shirt.  The navy knit for the skirt portion was left over from the same shirt...or maybe from this is the same knit, just got it at two different times!  The bright plum in an interlock knit that has been in my stash for glad that it finally got used!

She really likes it and I like that it is fun and super comfortable!

Yep, it is unseasonably warm right now...warm enough for a few minutes without a coat even though snow is still on the ground!

I'm linking this dress the Project Run and Play for their challenge, "Nothing but Knit".

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sewing Goals for 2016

I have two main goals for is to continue to simplify, the other is to sew!

The more I simplify, the more I discover what I like in clothes, what looks best on me and what works best for my life.  Most of the time it is hard for me to find clothes that I like at affordable prices from companies that follow ethical manufacturing practices.  So I will be sewing!

With some Christmas money I purchased fabric with some items in mind for spring/summer:

1. Chambray Pants & Linen is the fabric and my inspiration pattern:
Blank Slate Patterns Oceanside Pants
Kaufman Washed Indigo Chambray
Kaufman Essex Linen Blend, Putty

I probably won't use this pattern because I don't want my pants to be quite so wide-legged.  I'll do some searching for a free pattern and some pattern-hacking...and definitely making a muslin first!

2. Brown Tank Top and Blue Patterned Tank Top:
Sorbetto Tank
Dark Chocolate Voile Shirting
Kaufman Nautique Chambray Print
I really like this blue boat print!   But it is backordeed until the end of the month...will keep my eyes open and hopefully be able to get some when it is back in stock!
Megan Nielsen Eucalypt Tank
 I will probably just end up buying this pattern since I've tried to pattern-hack the Sorbetto pattern to be similar with OK but not great results.

3. T-shirts:
Megan Nielsen Brair
Kaufman Laguna Stetch Jersey in Chocolate Brown
Coral and white striped knit...from the thrift store!
I love Megan Nielsen Briar pattern!  I just got it and made it once in a micro fleece and can't wait to make more...I think all my T's will end up being a variation of this pattern!

I've also decided that I will be sewing more for the kids, especially Ruthie...but that will have to be another post!

What are your sewing goals for 2016?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hello! We hope 2016 is off to a great start in your home and with your family!

The holidays are wonderful...but I'm glad they are over and we can get back into “real life”.

First, a look back to 2015 and ahead to 2016:

In January we started our “house fire” year...our goal was to get rid of everything that we wouldn't replace if we came home one day and found everything gone. We have made such great progress; the house feels roomier and we feel calmer, but there is still more to get rid of because there is always more coming in...and once you start getting rid of the unnecessary you keep finding more to get rid of! So in 2016 we will continue to simplify.

We made an effort to container garden this year, learned some things and enjoyed our produce. During the 2016 growing season we have plans to simplify the process (don't start things early indoors) and expect to enjoy even more bounty (weather permitting!).
In June we started treating Tony for Lyme Disease with the help of a knowledgeable naturopath. He has seen much improvement and hope to be able to discontinue the herbal protocol in 2016. In July, the “bull's eye rash” appeared on Asher; he was treated and quickly recovered. We are thankful that he has had no extended symptoms!

We continue to homeschool: Ruthie is 7 and in 2nd grade. She is reading very well and enjoys anything artistic. Asher is 5 and in kindergarten. He is a whiz at math and super excited to be learning to read. Hannah is 3 and is enjoying tagging along with school and playing with her tea set, picnic set and stuffed animals.

Tony is still working as Manager at Campfire Bay Resort. The project for the winter is building a rec center.

Beth keeps busy with the kids and homeschooling and is making an effort to find more time to sew.

May God bless you by revealing more of Himself to you in 2016!

Turn2theSimple is now on can follow us there for more frequent updates!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Lilla Rose Black Friday Sale...and other notes

Oh busy, 
so much happens but nothing really happens.  

So much I'd like to blog about:
Lyme Disease and what we are doing about it.
Our "house fire" update...almost 1 year!
A Trim Healthy Mama update...1 year!
What I've learned about exercise these past 6 months.
Green Smoothies and why we love them!
So many sewing projects!

But for today...get ready for the Lilla Rose Black Friday Sale!

Begins Friday, Noveber 27th and ends Sunday, November 29th.
20% - 50% off select styles including all holiday styles!
Free shipping on all orders of $50 or more.

Go shopping here!

I'm planning to stay home (far, far away from the craziness) and do all my Christmas shopping of line this year!  So much easier, especially with kids!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Garden Evaluation

I am not a gardener.  O don't do well weeding.  I don't want to process/freeze/can tons of produce for use through the winter...we wouldn't use most of it anyway!  So my goal with a garden is to have some to eat fresh without spending too much time at it.

This year we put some time and little bit of money into making sub-irrigated planters out of 5 gallon buckets:

This has made watering and weeding so much easier!  Things are finally doing well...and I hope it stays warm enough for long enough to fully ripen!
A couple more zucchini coming...already got one!
 A few tiny tomatoes...these were really stunted by transplanting.
Watermelon...had to prop them up so they weren't too heavy for the vines.
Spaghetti squash, I hope they ripen!
Beans did well; need to plant a couple more buckets next year.
Broccoli and!
Cucumbers...lots of flowers, only one cucumber so far.
Notes for next year:
1. Don't bother starting things indoors early...they just seemed stunted for a while once they were transplanted.
2. Plant two more buckets of beans...and none of broccoli and cauliflower.
3. Spread thing out a bit is getting hard to water without stepping on all the vines trailing all over the ground!
4. Don't put the bucket planters inside the wooden boxes...they look nice, but it is hard to tell when the reservoirs are full when watering.

How did your garden do this year?  What will you do differently next year?