Celebrate the Holidays: Sewing with Good Intentions

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Hello there friends! This post is part of the Celebrate the Holidays: December Sewing by Ti Blog Tour. Say that 5 times fast! 😉 I’m so happy to be a part of another Sewing by Ti Blog Tour and hope you’ll enjoy reading this and all the other posts this month. See the bottom of this page for a full listing of all the awesome blogs on this tour.

I had this vision. I wanted to make special family Christmas PJs. We’d be all adorable and matchy and my hair would be perfect and we’d have a picture with all of us looking at the camera and smiling – like a Pinterest Christmas card! Now if this were Pinterest, I’d have lovely pictures for you of a charming, happy, smiling family in pajamas made of organic wool that I harvested and spun myself, and then sewed together in my immaculate and organized sewing room on my machine that never skips a stitch.

I had such good intentions, but this is Sew Like a Sloth, you know that’s not how it goes! 😂 Here’s how it worked in real life:

*pause to comfort my crying baby who just fell on her face for the millionth time because she has decided at not-quite-8-months-old, crawling is for chumps and she wants to walk*

 

Look at us. Totally Pinterest worthy, right? (Incidentally, I am wearing my first ever Greenstyle (affil link) tester creation – when I was just a little baby brand new sewist and tester – the one button cardigan. I wear this fleece cardigan All. The. Time. around the house when I’m cold. Which is all the time right now in Michigan.)

Confession: Last year I also had grand plans of sewing for the holidays. Last year I was pretty darn pregnant, and having complications, and totally burned out. Last year I gave my husband a bag of fabric and called it the gift of good intentions. 

My internship ended December 15th. I planned to work furiously on the PJs after that to be ready for Pinterest perfection December 25th. Great. Good plan.

…But I didn’t have the fabric I wanted…and I couldn’t get it in time. Bad planning and indecisiveness on my part.

…also, my family wanted to enjoy this unique opportunity to spend time with me.

…and, to be honest, I had a case of the Christmas blues. 2017 has been such a hard year. Money is really tight and I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do for my family. I know the holiday isn’t about presents, but I love my family so much, I just wanted to do some nice things for them. I couldn’t do that this year.

…and then this strange thing happened, my body gave up on me. I was exhausted. I had been pushing and pushing myself and telling myself that I just had to make it until break. Apparently, my body took me at my word. I just could not get the gumption to sit down and sew a family’s worth of pajamas.

What to do with all these good intentions and no energy to conjure them into actual creations? I did not want to give another bag of fabric! I did not want to give up on my cute PJ pictures!

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They’re plotting something here, right?

I took Tim Gunn’s advice. We could still have handmade touches to our holiday! The kids could still look cute in Christmas PJs together. I could “make it work”.

I made Wholiday tops for the kids earlier in the year because I’m a nerd and I’m raising my kids right. And, because sometimes I’m smart, I sized up for the baby in the hope that the shirt would fit her properly at Christmas. It did! Go me! I used the Brindille & Twig free ringer tee pattern for the baby. It’s a good, quick and dirty sew. I wouldn’t say it’s amazing, but it’s free and it does the job.

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I used the Duck Butt Designs Treasure Pocket Tee (sans pocket) for my son. I really like DBD for panels and kid patterns. The fit on this is very slim, be aware. He’s a bean pole and it’s definitely snug on him, and I sized up. I find that with DBD patterns, it’s best to just go with the RTW (ready-to-wear) size for your kid.

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The fabric from Moon Beam Textile Company (affil link) is glorious (solids from Purple Seamstress). I particularly love the panels. (I probably have a couple stashed away in Caroline size for next year.) I’m not sure that there is any left for retail, but if you’re a Who fan, it’s worth checking when the shop reopens!

We enjoy presents in our own way – opening them or eating them!

The baby also loved the taggie blanket that her brother made her (fabric also from Moon Beam Textile Company). She tried to eat all the wrapping paper anyway, alas. Not quite as distracting as I’d hoped.

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It wasn’t family PJs and the pictures may not be Pinterest worthy, but the kids had a fun Christmas. And I did get some pictures of my babies together, in their matching geeky tops, that I will treasure…and that I can embarrass them with when they’re older. 🙂 Let’s be honest, the best Christmas present for me wasn’t under the tree. It was the present arrived in May, that completes our family, that made me a mom again, and made my son a big brother. Seeing my children together this Christmas was the best gift I could have hoped for. And I technically made them, so…I’m putting this holiday down as a win in the handmade holiday column. 😉

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Check out the rest of the amazing bloggers in this tour!

December 1st Sewing By Ti (intro), Octaves of Color

Sunday December 3rd, Me Made
4th: Sew Sophie Lynn
5th: Hazelnut Handmade
6th: Tales from a Southern Mom

Monday December 11th, Tenille’s Thread
12th: MNW Sews
13th: Mahlica Designs
14th: Very Blissful
15th: Stitched by Jennie

Monday December 18th, Kate Will Knit
19th: Sewing by Ti
20th: Vicky Myers Creations
21st: Margarita on the Ross
22nd: Auschick Sews
23rd: Shalini’s Blog

Tuesday December 26th: Seams Sew Low
27th: EYMM
28th: Sew Like a Sloth
29th: Sewing By Ti
30th: Kathys Kwilts and More
31st: Embrace Everyday

 

 

Sunday Everyday!: Greenstyle Sunday Cardigan

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Who’s ready for a White Christmas? Me! I’m a regular Rosemary Clooney in this pic!

Look. I love a duster cardigan. I mean, LOVE. Cozy, sheik, elegant – a duster cardigan is all of these things. I can pretend I know something about fashion when I wear one and be wrapped in a cocoon of warm happiness. WIN. So, when I had the opportunity to test the new (affil link) Greenstyle Sunday Cardigan, I jumped at it! Lucky me! I was selected to test. Unlucky me: I did it again somehow, friends. I chose devil fabric. Lucky me again: It looks awesome, so nobody has to know how evil it was to work with. 😂

You know me, folks. It’s just not a sewing project without some kind of failure. I hate to let you down! 😂 I had this fabric in my stash for a bit – in fact, I was about to destash it. I ordered it with one idea, and when it arrived, I realized it wouldn’t work for the project I had planned (story of online fabric purchasing life, amiright?), so I put it into the hoard collection and it sat there for a long time. As you know if you’ve been reading for a bit, we have a (relatively) new baby in the house. And, as you also know if you’ve ever spent any time with babies, they have a knack for making everything a giant mess. I originally signed up to test thinking of a certain sweater knit I have. Well, I couldn’t find it. 😂 #Realmomlife #fabrichoardingproblems #babiesmakeeverythingchaotic Then I found this mystery sweater knit and thought, “this is perfect!” And it is! But it was not perfect to sew. Oh no. Sewing it was like wrangling an angry badger. It also attracts hair like a magnet, which is super convenient since I have a chihuahua that sheds approximately his body weight in hair everyday. It’s an actual scientific mystery how he is not bald. Anyhoo, I used this sweater knit to make a duster length, split hem, standard sleeve version of the Sunday Cardigan. Size large. Because I like donuts and I had two babies who wrecked the place and I’m not apologizing for it.

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My head is cropped out of this for a reason. It was super bright out and my face is equivalent to a shrieking raisin shriveling in the sun. 😂 Sweater looks good though!

The amazing thing about this pattern is that it is so good, it made the evil fabric transform from demon into angel. When I put it on, a ray of light shines down and I can hear singing. True story. It’s amazing and cozy and the PERFECT color and I will love it as soon as I stop being mad at it for being so darn stubborn to sew.

Pattern attributes and options, of which there are many:

  • No trim and layers!
  • A0 version available
  • 50% stretch required
  • ~3 yds fabric needed for full-length
  •  Options (so much bang for your buck!):
    • knee length & duster length
    • side splits or no side splits
    • regular sleeve, cuff, or super sassy lace up cuff
    • pockets (I don’t actually consider these optional, because why wouldn’t you want pockets???)
    • hood or no hood (I only didn’t do a hood because I didn’t have quite enough fabric, but obviously I’ll choose hood in the future because I will always choose the most Jedi-like option in a pattern.)
    • Vest or LS cardigan. WHAT?! All the layering possibilities

I love this pattern so much I want to marry it. It is exactly what I have been looking for and fills a necessary hole in my made-by-me wardrobe. You may remember that we briefly had our own LuLaRoe business. We had to close the business for health reasons, unfortunately, and I’m moving more towards a me-made wardrobe anyway (more on that coming soon!). But, friends, I love Sarahs and Joys. Love, love them. They’re a fantastic layering piece! But I just can’t justify the cost. I’m not here to badmouth LLR because that’s not how I roll, but I also know if I make it, it will fit better. Because of course a custom made garment will fit better than a commercial one. Duh. Well, now I can make my own. And I can make them with even more options and tailored to my body. It’s a Christmas miracle! Thank you, Angie!

Bottom line: Why have you even finished reading this? Go get yours. Now! 😉 I’d love for you to use my affiliate link: here.

Note: I would suggest sizing down if you are in between sizes, especially if you’re using really stretchy fabric. My bust is between L and XL and XL was too big on me. L is a much, much better fit. But that’s just my two cents!

P.S. If you’re wondering about the difference between this and the GS Capsule Cardigan, you can check out Sarah’s comparison of them here! I tested both and I will say that it didn’t even occur to me that I didn’t need both. They’re two different sweaters that both have a place in my wardrobe. (But I’m a cardi girl – layering power!)

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Thanks for reading!

 

Love Notions Handmade Holiday Tour: The Gift of Sewing

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Learning to sew. (With my handy dandy reminders taped to my serger in the background – haha!)

I love making handmade gifts. I feel like they have a little extra sprinkle of love and joy in them. Luckily, my family appreciates gifts I make, which certainly makes creating them more enjoyable. 🙂 But I’ll be honest, sometimes the making of the gift defeats the purpose of the gift. I get a little perfectionist about my creations and spend a lot of time making them, maybe stress about them a bit. And then I emerge from the sewing table, with crazy eyes and disheveled hair, fueled by caffeine and over-exhaustion and profanities, and hand the gift over grumpily. “HERE! Enjoy it.” Sprinkled with extra  hatred love.

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You better love this stupid gift!

It’s not always pretty. So, I’m trying something different this year. I’m passing on the gift of frenzied gift making to future generations. I’m teaching my son to sew. I swear this was his idea!

As you may already know, I’m in graduate school. I’m a mom, a wife, a student, a researcher, a clinical intern, a person trying to make her way through life. I’m busy. Lately, my son has been expressing his sadness that I have to go to work and I have to go to class. “I don’t want you to go, mommy,” he exclaims as he clings to me. “I hate that you have to leave.” I hate that I have to leave too, sweetheart.

“Will you be done with school soon?”

He calls the nights I have work and class “stinky Wednesdays”.

He’s over this whole mommy-is-gone all the time thing. And it just so happens that he wants to learn how to sew. So, sewing it is!

He’s been “helping” me sew for a little while. He steps on the pedal while I sew; he helps pick fabric and patterns, etc. I started officially teaching him by having him sew lines and line drawings on paper. He did a fantastic job! I was so impressed. (Pics of his progression below)

Then, we moved on to a simple sew. He made a little softie fish from the DIY Mermaid & Pirate softie kit (affil link) from Peek-A-Boo. This was a GREAT idea for a beginner. The directions are pretty simple, everything is all laid out, and you can still kind of sew by following the lines. He is in love with his fish and has happily added it to his MASSIVE collection of “friends”.

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Mermaid & Pirate DIY Softie Kit from PAB. Picture of kit from Peek-A-Boo’s Fabric Shop. (affil links)

But my boy has a giving heart. He wanted to make something for someone else. It’s almost Christmas after all! He asked to make a gift for his sister. I still wanted it to be semi-simple, so I suggested a taggie blanket. I admit I never saw the point of these things before. My son was not much of a tag chewer. Baby girl, on the other hand…she can’t get enough of those tags. Her favorite snack is the tags on her bibs! He thought the blanket was a great idea. He picked out the fabric, the ribbons, and sewed the blanket together. I did the topstitching. I let him pick minky as the backer, which was of course, stupid of me. If you’ve ever sewn with minky, you know that stuff is a pain. Slippery little devil! But it’s his favorite fabric and he wanted it for his sister, and who am I to say no to that. Oh well! 🙂

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This is a Christmas present and my son was adamant that baby sister couldn’t see her present early. I had to sneak this pic when he wasn’t looking. 😂 I’d say she likes it!

I wasn’t the best teacher. I was sometimes impatient. I sometimes stepped in and took over when I should have let him keep trying. But we had a lot of time together. Unadulterated time. Time when he asked questions and told stories and had my undivided attention. I didn’t have to do homework or go to class or hold his sister. I just had to sew with him. The time goes by so fast – if you’re a parent, you already know how painfully fast it goes. Just yesterday it seems he was the baby in that picture. I blinked and now he’s an eight-year-old boy. I meant to give him the gift of sewing, but it may have been more of a gift for me. The gift of time. Just me and my boy. I’ll take that time as long as I can get it. ❤️

Check in with these other fabulous ladies on the Love Notions Tour for more Handmade Holiday fun!