Sweater Weather: A Review of the Julia Cardigan

The weather here in Charleston has been so unpredictable. 70 degrees on Sunday and now 30 degrees today. Who knows what is going on. I have been wanting to make some new sweaters/cardigans that I can just throw on really fast as I am walking out the door. I recently purchased the Julia Cardigan by Mouse House Creations. This was part of the Perfect Pattern Parcel #6 however it is no longer available. But you can purchase this pattern on Indiesew.com for only $9! I decided to make not one, but two cardigans.

The first one using a new Art Gallery Knit from the Priority Square Collection from Katy Jones that I purchased at Five Eighth Seams. I love love love how soft this knit is! And I am all about loud and fun prints! For this one I did not make any alternations and sewed it as is with the hemmed collar. I cut a size large because I wanted the sleeves to be extra long and also since I have a long torso I wanted it to be able to cover up my bum. I liked the way it turned out but it is still a little short in the front. Perhaps one of these days I will come up with a tutorial on how to extend the length of the front of the cardigan. I think that will involve making a new pattern piece of the collar, but I think it is do-able.
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For my second cardigan I went with a red and black Buffalo check knit from Girl Charlee.It is part spandex and part so so soft and has a nice drape to it. I love this print but I am not a big fan of the typical flannel button up, collar shirt. so this cardigan was the perfect pattern for me to cut into this fabric. For this one, I did also cut a size large but did the double over collar, which takes a lot more fabric but is totally worth it, in my opinion.  Another thing I would like to add to my next Julia Cardigan is pockets. I am a sucker for a good pair of low set pockets in my sweaters.

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Buy or DIY? An Anthropologie Dress

anthro inspired dress 2For anyone else out there who loves to shop at Anthropologie but just doesn’t have the budget for it, well you can always do as I have done and attempt to make one for yourself. And yes while this isn’t exactly like the original, I played around with different fabric selections and lengths to come up with my version of this dress. The inspiration Anthro dress is a printed rayon dress with a midi asymmetrical length skirt and a fitted bodice with a back zipper. I saw this in the September catalog and immediately fell in love with it. $158 wasn’t a bad price but still isn’t cheap by all means. So I decided since I had 3 yards of this amazing voile from Art Gallery fabrics that I would tackle making one on my own! And here is how it turned out:

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The Pattern: I knew I wasn’t going to find a pattern that exactly matched this dress, so I decide to make up my own, but using bits and pieces of other patterns that I have used before. The bodice front and sleeves were made using the pattern piece from See Kate Sew’s Penelope Peplum top (minus the peplum piece). The back bodice piece was a mirror image of the front but I added an extra 1/2 inch on each side to accomidate a zipper. I also cut out a size XL since my fabric was a voile and the Penelope pattern piece is made for knit. How did I come up with going from my size Medium in knit to an X-Large in voile? No science behind this.  I simply cut out a muslin out of voile scraps I had and did a test run to discover that XL would fit the best. I also included back darts to make it a little tighter around my waist.

For the skirt, I had no idea how to make a midi length skirt with 4 opposing apexes. So I consulted my sewing pals Brooke and Daniela over at Five Eighth Seams and they both suggested immediately that I make a rectangle skirt. And it worked like a charm. To make a rectangle skirt, use the same principal as you would making a circle skirt but cut it into a rectangle instead. (here is my tutorial on making circle skirts). 
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The Fabric: When I decided to recreate this Anthropologie dress, I didn’t have to go far for my fabric choice. Art Gallery Fabrics has recently decide to make several of their designs into both knit and voile substrates and my local fabric store Five Eighth Seams is great and always keeps these on stock. If you follow my blog, you know I mostly do apparel sewing so this really appealed to me and I couldn’t be happier to see some of my favorite prints in a soft, flowy voile! I had recently purchased 3 yards of this print from Leah Duncan’s Gramercy collection for Art Gallery Fabrics. Leah Duncan is hands down one of my favorite and I have used her fabric designs here, here, and here. This print is called City Lights and if you look closely it resembles the lights on sky scrapers. I spent some time in my early 20s living just outside of New York City. And although I love Charleston, there is something about the lights and sounds of this busy city that never sleeps that I really miss. IMG_0135IMG_0136

I wore the dress this weekend to a wedding. It really is a great a feeling when a stranger approaches you in the ladies room to ask “where did you get that dress?” and you can stand tall and reply “I made it!” Something about that makes me feel proud of myself. And for someone who in the past has lacked self worth, it’s a great feeling to have. Especially because less than 2 years ago, I would of never imagined this would be me. But anyways, here are a few photos of Will, his parents, and me at the wedding.

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Here are a few photo outtakes from our attempt to take pictures on the harbor with 10 mph winds.  #fail
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What do you think? Better to buy or DIY? I really hope you like this dress as much as I do. Thanks for stopping by!

xxoo Priscilla

What We Did This Summer

September has come to an end and gone is another hot and humid Charleston summer. Will and I had to remind ourselves the other day that even though summer 2014 was a rough one for us, it wasn’t all sadness and teardrops and we did have a lot of great adventures along the way. Here are just a few of our adventures from summer 2014 for you to enjoy.

photo 1My nephew came in town and we searched for dolphin in the harbor. Its like having a free zoo in your back yard. I mean seriously, I live here?!

photo 2Will didn’t get to go fishing that much but the times he did, he always came home smiling. Like he always says, even a bad day fishing is still better than any day at work.

photo 3  Gio practiced potty training and we got to be his witnesses. I promise if my godson ever runs for Senator I will remove this photo immediately :)

 photo 5 Charlie the dog met Charlie the baby for the first time. It was love at first sight.

 photo 1 Legolas celebrated his 11th birthday with a Low Country boil surrounded by family and friends. Yes my dog is a human.

 baby charlie beachWe went to the beach more times in one summer than I have ever been in my life. But taking a 10 month old and a 2 year old the beach gives you a much different perspective than the typical boozing and bocci that normally goes down at Folly.

We also did quiet a bit of traveling at the end of the summer. We visited with Will’s sister and her husband in Texas and traveled throughout New Mexico, parts of Utah, and parts of Arizona. We put 2000 miles on a rental car, ate more Mexican food then I care to admit, and took about 200 photos. Here are just a few of them. I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves.

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Hope you all had a great summer! xxoo Priscilla

The Weekender Travel Bag

WeekenderToday is day three of Selfish Sewing Week and I am so excited to FINALLY be posting my Amy Butler Weekender Bag. I finished on Sunday night, after having started it, oh, 4 months ago! This bag can be used just as the title says, as a weekend getaway or overnight bag. But it also can fit a standard size Brother sewing machine and I used it last night to carry my machine over to my latest sewing class! Continue reading

How to Eat Sushi in Your New Kimono Sweater (a free pattern from SewCaroline.com)

kimonoI can’t tell you how much I love saving money. For those of you who follow my blog, you know that the two things rocking my life right now are my sewing and my fertility treatments. Both cost money. Both are expensive. Anyone who says that sewing is a “cheap” hobby sure ain’t doing what I am doing. Continue reading

How to Makeover a Dumpster Chair

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Hopefully the word garbage didn’t gross you out and you decided to stick around and read this post! I didn’t actually pull this chair out of the garbage. Not that I’m past it. But I did find him on the side of the road. Continue reading

Friday Finds: Four Coats That Think They Are Blankets

 Imagevia Desigual

Imagevia Ralph Lauren

leona wrap coatvia Tabitha for Anthropologie

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via Burberry Prorsum

The weather here is not yet feeling like winter, or fall for that matter. No where close to be exact. But with New York Fashion week coming to an end, I decided to look back over the runway shows for Fall 2014 to get an idea of some trends for this fall. For outwear, I am seeing lots and lots of big fluffy, throw over your shoulder jackets. And I must say, I am loving it. Similar to the capes and ponchos I saw a lot of last fall, now I am seeing a big jackets with big sleeves, big collars, and tons of ways to keep me warm.  I kinda dig it.

Fall Fashion + Indiesew

fall fashion

My favorite time of year is upon us: fall!  I love decorating my house head to toe in burlap, planning my annual Halloween party, walking out of my front door without sweat dripping down my back, and catching back up with my television shows that took long breaks over the summer. I mean come on, will Emily Thorne finally get her revenge on the Grayson family? The first week of September is always my favorite week too because its Mercedes-Benz Fashion week in NYC, so I get to spend countless hours watching live-stream runway shows from all the big designers. Lots of inspiration right there for me and lots of torture for Will.  Also the first week of September is resturant week here in Charleston which is a great excuse to get dressed up and go out for a meal. But this year, thanks to the amazing team over at Indiesew, I am loving September even more! Last week, Indiesew.com launched a collection of six indie sewing patterns that all mix and match to create a fall wardrobe.  I have teamed up with Indiesew for this week’s blog hop and was given the opportunity to pick three patterns from the collection to create and style for the fall. Of course I couldn’t stop at just one of each and instead I have created 5 different pieces that I am excited to share with you today. All five of these pieces are from patterns within Indiesew’s Fall collection and can be purchased individually or as a bundle. For those of you who don’t know about Indiesew, let me give you the low down. So many great sewing patterns for sale, all made by indie designers, and all located in one spot. My favorite part about Indiesew is how other seamsters can upload their finished creations so you can see how the pattern looks in person. How would it look in a size small? Or with a print fabric? Or with a longer bodice? And so on and so on. This if their first time selling a collection as a bundle. As for the fall collection, let’s see what I did:

Outfit 1 –  Sunday funday brunch with my main squeeze wearing The Natalie Top and Sew Simple Leggings

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The Natalie Top is a long-sleeved top with a pleated front detail and rolled up sleeves with button tab. For my first look I went with my favorite color combination: chambray and black.  The chambray is from Robert Kaufman. The top took me three evenings to complete. The leggings took maybe an hour and a half. They really are “sew simple,” pun intended. For the Natalie Top, I followed the pattern without making any adjustments including leaving the length as is. I know there are a lot of haters out there who say one should never wear leggings as pants without a long tunic or dress to cover your rump. But I have never followed that rule. I like to live dangerously. Now do I think tights should be worn as pants? No. But can leggings? Sure. But only if done correctly. For these Sew Simple Leggings, I used a very nice black jersey knit fabric that was pretty thick. Plus paired with the high boots and the looseness of the Natalie top, I think the leggings work in this situation. What do you all think?

Outfit 1 details

Top: The Natalie Top by Liola Patterns   -      Pants: Sew Simple Leggings by So Sew Easy   –       Boots: Mossimo (similar ones here)     –      Bag: American Eagle (similar one here

Outfit 2 –  Dinner with the girls wearing a Natalie Top and a Commuter Cowl

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For my second outfit I decided I wanted to try the Natalie Top in a shorter sleeve. Here in Charleston it doesn’t get that hot in the fall, so sometimes just a thicker short sleeve shirt will do the trick. I found this cobalt blue fabric that is part poplin and part stretch knit. Not sure the exact material but it has a nice stretch to it, which worked out so well for this top since I went down a size to make it more form fitting.  In addition to this Natalie Top I added a black with gold polka dot scarf using the Commuter Cowl pattern, also part of the Indiesew collection. The fabric is from Camelot fabrics. I have made several infinity scarfs out of stretch knit before, but this was great to find such a well designed scarf pattern that calls for using cotton. I am not a quilter so I always have lots of large sized scraps of cotton fabric. Perfect for the commuter cowl. And I love how this pattern is so much more than an infinity scarf. At first glance, the twists and knots might seem overwhelming but the instructions and photos along the way made this pattern a breeze to finish in just one short evening.

Outfit 2 details

Top: The Natalie Top by Liola Patterns    –   Scarf: The Commuter Cowl by Very Shannon   –   Pants: Joe’s Jeans   -    Pumps: Nine West    –   Clutch: Hobo

Outfit 3 –  A trip to yoga class wearing the Sew Simple Leggings

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At first glance you might think that this last outfit was an afterthought but actually these pants were the first piece that I made for the fall collection. In my yoga classes lately, solid tops and loud bold print pants/shorts seem to be the go-to outfit for all my fellow yogis. And when I saw this fabric, I couldn’t resist. Sometimes I try to start trends…other times I just follow the pack, what can I say? What is so great about the Sew Simple Leggings pattern is you really can dress them up with a tunic or dress, or do as I have done here and where them as active wear to your yoga or pilates class. Or even as lounging around with a hot pumpkin spice latte if that’s your jam. That is the wonders of the fall season. You don’t have to exercise if you don’t want to. You have about 8 months until bathing suit season comes around again. Embrace it.  Eat a few donuts. Put on your new leggings and have an Orange is the New Black marathon. Do your thing. For these leggings, I used a ponte de roma knit. So even though they are not as stretchy as the black jersey knit that I used in my first outfit, they still have a good stretch to them as I move. And with the elastic waist band, it fits nice and snug on my waist as I moved and stretched. Again this project took me maybe an hour from start to finish. People are always asking me what would be a good first time project for new sewers. Well I think I found it. For all you newbies,  Deby from So Sew Easy has also made a video tutorial with step by step instructions on how and where to measure yourself to get the perfect leggings. Pick up the pattern from Indiesew.com and then head over to the video tutorial if you need an extra hand. You won’t fail. I promise.

Outfit Number 3 details

Pants: Sew Simple Leggings   –    Shoes: Nike (similar ones on sale here)    -   Bag: Jo’s Totes   –   Work out top: Target

If you haven’t stopped reading my blog by this point and rushed over to Indiesew.com then I highly recommend doing so now!  You can buy any of the three pattens seen above individually or you can buy the entire Fall Collection Bundle and save 10%!

Thanks for stopping by! xxxoo Priscilla

Disclaimer:

All fabric was purchased by me from a local fabric store, Five Eighth Seams in Charleston South Carolina. 

All three patterns were provided to me by Indie Sew as part of the Indiesew Fall Collection blog hop. But as always, all opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

Pink Dresses and Crab Traps

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Will and I love our evening trips down to the yacht club. And whats not to love. The beautiful sunset. The regular dolphin sightings. The $2 draft beer. The all you can eat popcorn machine. That’s what I call winning. And sometimes if the tide is just right, we can throw out a fishing pole or crab net and see what comes back. Well lately my nephew Gio has been coming along with us. If you have been following along my blog this summer, than you know we have been fortunate enough to have my sister and her kids in Charleston while they are working on closing on their new home in New Jersey. Gio has his own little “fishing net” and although the popcorn doesn’t entice him nearly as much as it does me, the crabs are always a big hit with him.

On this particular evening, I was wearing my pink Jorna dress. The fabric in the Ripples in rose from Bari J. for Art Gallery fabrics. I just love how soft their knits are! I have made this dress before (click here for a reminder). I love love love my first version and have worn it so many times that Will has even made that sarcastic “oh cool, that dress again” comment when I go to wear it. Ha. Whoops. So I was eager to make another. My first version was just a little short, so I decided to make it a little longer by adding two inches to the length line but did not change up anything else. Well…hmm.. maybe not such a good idea. The way the sides feel down on my hips I looked like I was carrying two saddle bags on my outer thighs. And not in the sexy Jennifer Lopez way. In the thunder thighs, we hope Jane Fonda workout tapes come back in style way. So I decided to redo the side seams in the skirt part which took out some of the extra fabric from the sides of the skirt. This seemed to fix the saddle bag situation. And whalla! you have it. A pink dress fit for catching crabs!

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Take Nothing to the Grave

I have had a lot of people be impressed shocked when they read my blog posts. “You really do put it all out there” was my sister’s comment. And she is right. I decided about a year ago that there was no point in keeping this infertility thing “a secret” that just Will and I had to keep locked away. I’ve always thought the more people who know about what we are going through, then the more prayers, more love, and more positive energy that can be sent our way. And more love is always better than less love. I have met a lot of great people online through other blogs, both “sewing” friends and also bloggers who are dealing with the same infertility woes that I am. And on top of that, its funny to find out that friends or people you have known for years went through the same things we have, but did so privately.

But lately all I’ve done on this blog is ramble about fabric selection, new sewing patterns, and the Charleston weather. I’ve been avoiding talking or writing about one big thing that happened to us this summer. To preface, let me just state that July 2014 effing sucked. My best friend’s father died and the weekend of his funeral, a weekend where I should of been there crying and reminiscing with one of my oldest friends, I was at home instead. I woke up that Saturday morning cramping and bleeding. I was 9 weeks, 2 days pregant. And I was having a miscarriage. He or she was the size of an olive. We had seen a heartbeat only one week prior. And after two years of trying, four IUIs, and thousands of dollars in fertility treatment, this little ray of light which had given us so much hope was gone in a day. It hit Will and me like a bolt of lightning. I had done everything right: limited my exercising, took my vitamins and progesterone pills daily, and gave up alcohol and all the foods on the “do not eat” list. But it still happened. There was nothing we did wrong. Nothing we could of done differently. But I still look back and question my every move. The Thursday evening before the miscarriage I colored my hair. The pregnancy had me bloated, my skin was breaking out like a teenager at a school dance, and my gray roots were popping out everywhere. So I thought a little makeover would look good. I had wavered about if I should do it or not. All the articles I’d read online said it was safe. I bought the organic ammonia free stuff and opened all the windows. At my follow up appointment, my doctor reassured me that me coloring my hair did not cause the miscarriage. “Some times during the fetus’s development, things go wrong,” the doctor told us. “The pregnancy wasn’t meant to go on.” This baby just wasn’t meant to go on. But I wondered, what if it had gone on? Would it of been a boy? Would he have grown up to cure cancer or be the first man to walk on Mars? Probably not. Would I color my hair the next time, if we’re lucky enough to get pregnant again? Probably not. But did I do anything wrong? I don’t think so.

So that’s my story for the month of July. Maybe by writing it down, by putting it in my blog, some one else out there is able to get something from my story. And if not at least I could get my last “secret” out into the world. A clean slate as we leave for our next big adventure this weekend.

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