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Motherhood & Sewing // #easeintomotherhood

Thursday, July 20, 2017


Today I'm honored to be a part of the July blog series called Ease Into Motherhood. Ease Into Motherhood is a sewists' celebration of motherhood and the changes it brings to our lives.


I can actually thank motherhood for bringing sewing into my life. I learned how to sew pretty early on by watching my mom sew. *It's amazing how much you pick up by just WATCHING!* I had a tiny sewing machine of my own when I was little and would sew scraps together. I don't remember ever making anything tangible, in fact, the thing I remember the most is my thread constantly getting tangled up in that little machine. Lol.


In high-school, I took a home ec. class that solidified the basics for me. After that, I hardly touched a sewing machine until I was married. I attempted a quilt top after being married for a year or so (I had the itch for a hobby), that quilt top still languishes unfinished in a box somewhere in my attic. I did manage to make some very simple curtains (completely straight panels with a rod pocket), with the help of my mom. Thanks Mom!


After my first child was born, I made a few more very simple projects. I remember making a small foam pad with a pillow-style envelope cover for his pack and play.


I mentioned earlier feeling an itch for a hobby. I worked outside our home up until I had my first child, then became a stay-at-home mom. This was something my husband and I wanted and planned for before we were married. It was all I ever dreamed of. I just wanted to be a mom. I thought that would be everything; my fulfillment, my purpose, my calling. Being pregnant for the first time, my mind was consumed with all things baby and I thought once he arrived, that would be my "thing". And it is. All of those things. All moms know, this is a 24 hour job, there is no off time, ever. And hard as it may be, as much as I feel like I want/need a break sometimes, it is the most fulfilling thing I could ever imagine doing.


Now, looking back, I realize even after Baby #1, that itch for a hobby really was an urge to MAKE. At that point it didn't really matter what it was, I just needed to MAKE. I discovered blogs while pregnant that first time, and started to soak in all the inspiration and creativity that I could. I started my own little blog at that point, filled with total randomness. No one read it. Haha! :)


After my baby was born and a few months old, I needed a project. It needed to be something that could be done in short bursts and still give me that satisfaction of completing something I MADE. So I started a little personal project to bake my way through Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and blogging my progress. It was a fun little project, but life happened and we made a big move and life continued to move on. My new project became fixing up the house we bought and starting over socially and building new friendships and finding a church family.


Fast forward to becoming pregnant with Baby #2, I became even more obsessed with fixing up the house. Finding out a little less than halfway through the pregnancy that Baby #2 was a girl had me thrilled with all the girlie things I could make. By this time I had discovered Pinterest and ideas were never ending. I also picked back up with sewing a few things here and there. I made curtains for the nursery, frilly this time, and all by myself because my mom was hundreds of miles away. I was so proud of them! They were made from a clearanced sheet and an old skirt of mine. I also made a car seat cover and a nursing cover. I was so excited about those tangible projects, I just kept going. I made more of those things for friends, and also made a few drawstring bags for my almost 2 year old son and some for the new baby. I also made headbands for her.


Then baby girl was born and life was amazing. I had the smartest, cutest little 2 year old boy and the most precious little baby girl I had ever laid eyes on. A few months went by and the euphoria wore off. By the time she was 6 months old, I felt like all I was doing every minute of every day was feeding two mouths or diapering their bottoms.


At that point I was feeling very unsettled and depressed and felt lost as to why.? I mean, this life is what I always wanted, right? I went to the doctor to make sure all was well on that end and it was, we made a few tweaks, but overall everything was healthy and as it should be.


A short time later I finally pin pointed that I felt like I had lost myself. Who was I anymore? I mean yes, I was a mom, I was a wife. These things I still loved with all my heart, but who was "I"? I cried out to God in those lonely times and the answer didn't come right away, but soon I started to feel the urge to make again! And it started to make sense. I NEEDED to make. I needed something that would let out this energy I felt like was trapped inside.


Around the time she was a year old, I was so inspired by Pinterest and all the amazing (yet simple) clothing sewing projects I was seeing that I decided to give them a try! I remember setting a goal for the month of January 2013 to sew as many clothing pieces as I could. I called it "Sewing Month". (so original) That month I made 2 simple maxi skirts for myself, a peasant dress, a pillowcase dress, and a ruffle skirt for my daughter. I made a pair of kid shorts by MADE and an embellished tee for my son, 5 more carseat covers and a baby blanket. I was on such a high after such a successful month! Now granted the maxi skirts for myself were a bit of a flop because I had no idea about fabric choices at that point. But all the rest of the projects were successes and the clothes I made for my kids were worn and worn and worn.


After that, "Sewing Month" turned into "Sewing Year", which actually means "Sewing Never Stops". I was happy again. My kids were happy too, when Mama's happy, everybody is happy. This is all too true. My kids loved it when I presented them with a new thing to wear, and they were willing photo subjects as well! *I also started my blog around this time, so if you're interested to see some of my first sewing projects you can browse the archives!*


About 2 years after I started sewing and blogging, I became pregnant with my 3rd baby. During pregnancy the sewing slowed a little bit because of lack of energy and also my nesting instincts come out in the form of "PAINT THE WHOLE HOUSE". I'm pretty sure Baby #3 is my final, so... Sorry house, looks like you won't be getting painted again, maybe ever. :)


After he was born though, the sew-jo returned rather quickly. I had that urge to MAKE again, and I knew I had this thing to fall back on this time, not to mention I recognized what the feeling was. The transition was so much smoother this time. I had that thing that made me feel like "ME", and it was there any time I needed it. Around the time he was a year old, I started sewing much, much more for myself. This was partly driven by the fact that taking 3 kids to the department store and trying on clothes was just literally more than I could handle most days. And online shopping also yielded in major frustration because so much didn't fit and then I had to fuss with returning to the store anyway or sending it back, sometimes with return shipping costs.


My oldest is going into 2nd grade this year, my daughter is starting Kindergarten and my "baby" will be 2 1/2 at that point. We are currently in the midst of summer "non-schedule", and sewing time can be hard to find sometimes. I also have a garden and do lots of canning in the summer, so that takes away from it too. I can find that frustrating, because I want to accomplish all these sewing projects, but my kids all want all the things. Like eating, all the time! Or swimming, Mom, please come in the pool with us! Or just plain old couch-sitting with them. So hard (I'm being sarcastic here). So really, my frustration is self imposed, because all the rest of the things are SO GOOD. And the canning also satisfies that need to MAKE. It makes me so extremely happy to open up my pantry and see it chock full of food that I have grown and preserved to feed us for the rest of the year. I'm not going to mention anything about the state of my house. It's chaos all the time right now, but I've given myself permission to let it go until they start back to school in a month. Then I will purge. And find more consistent sewing time again!



I really can't complain about the number or quality of the projects I've made this summer, they've been great, but us sewists' like to set lofty goals for ourselves!


So in summary. Motherhood brought me sewing. And sewing brought me that "thing" that made me feel like "ME" again in the midst of this glorious, wonderful, hard, thing that brings us the title of Mom. It's truly the best job in the world. *All the puffy hearts and tears right now* I'm going to go kiss my babies.





Thanks to Jodi, Erin, and Monserratt for hosting this series and making me stop and think about how rich my life is. 

Thank you for reading! If you made it to the end, you are the best of the best!! :)



How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Hi friends!

If you have ever sewn with knits, particularly the lightweight variety, then you probably know that hemming them with good result can be tricky! There are those who are lucky enough to have a coverstitch machine included in their arsenal. Someday I hope to be one of those lucky ones... But for now, my Bernina 350 and my double needle and I seem to get along just fine.

Today I'm going to show you the method that I use.

*These photos are all from my phone, so bear with me!*

The tools I use are, my walking foot, my double needle, Sewskeys Fusible Knit Stay Tape, regular thread (I don't use wooly nylon), and a little tweaking to my tension and stitch length.

So to start, fix your machine with a walking foot if you have one. If you don't, I can't recommend it enough for lightweight, slinky knits. Then install your double needle. 

I have had the best luck with THIS size (2,5/75 - in the photo) on lighter knits. Some thicker knits might take a larger needle (4,0/75) a little better. Just play around on some scraps and find which works better for you.

*UPDATE: The 2,5/75 Stretch Twin Needle is also available HERE!

**NOTE: Make sure the double needle you are using says STRETCH. This makes all the difference!

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Next, I adjust my tension by lowering it slightly. My machine is typically at 4, I lower it to around 3. Then adjust your stitch length to slightly longer. My machine is digital and is set at 2.5mm, I bump it up by 3 notches to 3mm.

Next you'll want to prepare your fabric. To do this, I serge the bottom edge of the hem. This is super important because it stabilizes the edge and gives something with some heft for the double needle to sew on top of later on. If you don't have a serger, you may want to try applying the stay tape to the very edge and folding under 1/4", then your remaining hem allowance to give some good stability to the edge that will be sewn on top of.

*Serger tip: For lighter weight fabrics, it may be necessary to adjust your differential. Check your manual on how to do this. On my serger, lightweight knits are a lower number than heavier knits. I have a little cheat sheet where I jot down the differential number for different types of knit, and then test each knit on a scrap before starting the project.

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Next, apply the fusible stay tape. I use the 1/2" wide variety, but it comes in several different sizes!

Find it here.

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

I apply it by lightly pressing with moderate heat and some steam.

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Next fold up the edge of your hem and press well. The stay tape provides a really nice guide for this!
How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Now we go to the machine and stitch! I like to use my fingers to feel the serged edge and make sure that the double needle is sewing right on top of this. Try not to let one side of the needle fall off the side of the serged edge as this can cause the dreaded tunneling. 

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Give your hem a final steam press and then admire your work!!

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

No tunneling!

**NOTE: This method works great with lighter and slinkier knits such as rayon spandex (shown). If you are using a heavier, more stable knit, such as ponte, for example, you will probably be able to get away with just a serged edge or just the stay tape.

***This post is not sponsored or affiliated, I just happen to love these products and use them all the time. Just sharing the love!

How To Hem Knits with a Double Needle // Sewing Tips & Tricks

Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful for you!








Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

So, the Pony Tank. Oh, the Pony Tank, y'all!!

It is the knit tank of dreams I didn't even know I had. It hugs in all the right places and skims over all the rest. Can anyone else relate to the mom-tummy that is left after 3 kiddos? This, my friends... It is just the most flattering top!

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

Taking care of the info... This tank pattern is designed by Gabriela of Chalk and Notch, and also comes with a tank dress option. Both views feature a v-neckline and hi-low hemline. The neckline and armsyces are finished with traditional knit bands.

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

The recommended fabric for this pattern is rayon, bamboo, and modal jerseys. I don't know about you, but I have amassed a decent collection of rayon spandex jerseys, and while it is a great fabric, I'm not that huge of a fan of standard t-shirts made from it. I find that it can be clingy to all my lumps and bumps. Well, not this pattern! It swings away from the lumps and bumps, all while draping beautifully. I have found the holy grail for my stash.

Oh and did I mention (with my 2 inches in length taken out) it only takes a YARD of fabric???? I hear angels singing.

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

Gabriela also has a super informative post about different fabric types you can use for this pattern here, plus loads of inspiration photos.

Have I convinced you yet that I love this pattern?

Let me show you the back!

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

I love the shape of the back, it is cut in far enough to be super flattering, but not far enough to require a racerback bra.

The underarm coverage is perfect as well.

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

So let's talk a little bit about sizing. I sized down one size, just to have a slightly more fitted look across the top, and shortened the top by 2 inches. These are both just personal preference in how I prefer things to fit my body. Because I sized down, the back fits a little tighter than designed and sometimes my bra strap does like to peek. Nothing a simple bra strap holder doesn't fix!

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women


Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

This shibori fabric is rayon spandex from Joann's. This is actually the second tank I made, the first being a black rose floral from Raspberry Creek Fabrics (similar here). She has some of the loveliest florals in her shop (see this section here for rayon spandex florals)! After I made the first one, I wore it, no joke, five days out of the six following that last hem stitch. It is true love. 

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

I have it paired here with a brand new pair of Chi-Town Chinos, which I also believe, to be a match made in heaven! I'll be posting all about those next week!

Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women


Pony Tanks // Sewing For Women

Thanks for reading! Have a great week, friends!

Gemma & Willow // Sewing For Women

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Gemma Tank // Sewing For Women

Hello all!

I am popping in today with a short and sweet little post. I'm keeping it short and sweet because I have a full-on comparison post of the two tank patterns you see here, up on the Imagine Gnats blog today.

The tanks are the Gemma Tank by Made By Rae, and the Willow Tank by Grainline Studio.

I'm posting these photos here as a reference, because these are my wearable muslin versions and you can see the second versions up on Imagine Gnats blog, along with alllllll the fit details and the nitty gritty of all the adjustments I made. 

Willow Tank // Sewing For Women

I'll list the adjustments I made here to the patterns before ever even cutting into fabric.

Gemma Tank // Sewing For Women

Gemma Tank // Sewing For Women

First up is the Gemma Tank, made in double guaze (from fabric.com, no longer available). I did a 1/2" sway-back adjustment and shortened the length 1", I did narrow the back piece at the hip because I ran out of fabric, oy. But that was it, short and sweet. As you can see, the dart hits me perfectly on this version, but there are major gaping issues going on up top that I addressed in my next version (see post here).

 Next up is the Willow Tank, I made the cropped version, using the tutorial here.

Willow Tank // Sewing For Women

I made this version in Brussels Washer Linen (also from fabric.com, see here), and other than cropping, the adjustments I made were to move the dart up a whole inch, scoop out the arm holes a bit and a 1/2" swayback adjustment. As you can see, the fit here is pretty near perfect! But in my final version I have quite a bit of pulling at the upper bust. I think this is due to the nature of the fabric, this fabric relaxes quite a bit.

Willow Tank // Sewing For Women

What do you think of the monochrome look? I love it on Pinterest! But I'm not sure I love it yet on myself, lol.

Below is a peek at the final versions I made for the comparison post over at Imagine Gnats! Be sure to head over there for tons more details!

Gemma & Willow // Sewing For Women




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