new fabric, old pattern + a trip to Miami

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I started sewing in 2013 and when I look back at some of the things I made back in those days, I realize not all of them were real winners. In fact some of them I wore once to take photos and then never wore again. You know those times when an outfit just doesn’t fit right, you keep it in your closet, but you never end up wearing it? Yeah. That’s what happened with some of my earlier DIY creations. So I have decided to go back to some of these dress patterns and see where I went wrong. I decided to start with the Tank Dress by Sew Caroline.IMG_0012 I made my first Tank Dress, as seen above, in 2014 and it wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t great. The waist was too cinched in the back, which pulled it really tight in the front, so I tried to cover that problem with a belt. The fabric I chose, while it would of been great used as an accent fabric or a trim fabric for a quilt, was just blah when used for an entire dress. It was also a woven fabric so it didn’t drape and flow as nice as I wanted it to. Also I think my bias tape was thicker than the fabric so it made the neck line pull away from my body. So overall, not my best work but hey, I was still learning! IMG_4098So to address the first issue, I decided to cut the same size Medium for the dress pattern and the elastic casing as I did on my first Tank Dress, but cut a size XL for the elastic piece. This gave it the same nice cinched back but a little more subtle. It was a much better fit. (I don’t have a photo of the back of the dress but you can trust, its much better this way!)IMG_4096For the fabric, I was so excited to cut into this beautiful Les Fleurs Birch rayon challis from the Rifle Paper Co collection for Cotton + Steel Fabrics. This fabric feels like butter on your skin and drapes just perfectly. It found it to be easier to do the rounded hem on the bottom in this rayon than in a stiff woven. And this fabric works great for any summer time dress. Light enough to wear in the hot temperatures, but does not need to be lined like a voile. Please excuse the wrinkles in the photographs. Yes this fabric wrinkles but I was on vacation and who cares! IMG_4095Both fabric and sewing pattern can be found at Indiesew.com IMG_4110IMG_4094 IMG_4101These photos were taken by Will last weekend on our last summer vacation of the year. Will took Liam and me to Miami Beach for a birthday getaway and I wore the dress all weekend as a swim suit coverup on our way to the pool, where we spent the majority of the trip, eating strawberries and drinking smoothies!  I’d like to say I got a lot of compliments on the dress, but when half of the girls at the Fontainbleau hotel were walking around in thongs, trust me, nobody was looking at my hand made dress! And yes I know the fear of Zika virus was in the air down there in Miami, but we like to live on the wild size (meaning we covered ourselves and the baby head to toe in bug spray and we were back in our hotel room before dusk. Like I said, we are wild ones!)

my summer mom-iform

IMG_2137I can’t believe I am using the word “momiform” but it seemed like something a blogger would say so here you have it. This summer I have truly been rocking the same “uniform” every weekend. Because, you see, becoming a mom completely changes your wardrobe. And not in that I’ve-got-to-lose-those-last-five-pounds baby weight kind of way. But the days of standing up, walking tall, and sucking in your gut when needed have totally shifted. And therefore so have your clothing options.  For example.  1- I bend down and pick up this baby 125 times a day and nobody wants to be seeing what’s hanging out my backside. Or my front side, for that matter.  2- making sure my shirt will match the baby carrier I will be wearing today.  Not as important but still something to consider. And 3- the most important factor, can I breast-feed discreetly in this outfit or am I going to have to leave to go to another room and sling this dress over my head? Yeah not worth it.  So my days of sundresses in the summer all day, every day,  are gone. And I’m totally ok with that. I think those days were starting to wind down for me anyways, baby or no baby.  But instead my outfits now consist of jean shorts, sandals, and my favorite flowiest tank top ever.IMG_2090I originally bought a brown version of this tank top from Show Me Your Mumu and I was obsessed with it. I wanted one in each color but of course they are all sold out of the solid colors and I wasn’t too crazy about the print choices. So I decided to make a few DIY versions, using the Mumu top as my inspiration. So far I have made a black one and pink one, but I have two more cut out on my sewing table to be sewn anytime Liam feels the desire to sleep for more than two hours in a row. Any day now, Liam. You just let me know, buddy.
IMG_2135IMG_2093 The black fabric is actually left over rayon lining fabric I had for another project. And the pink fabric is a tencel from Nicole Miller I bought at Joann’.  It has the most amazing drape! And using my 40% off coupon, it ended up being less than $6 a yard. So I basically was able to make two tank tops in under $15. Not too shabby. IMG_2126Liam enjoying his first ride on a boat!IMG_2148 IMG_2101I can’t wait to share with you the next tank top I have cut up and ready to go. This one will feature some gorgeous Art Gallery voile fabric that I am excited about. Plus I will share how I do my spaghetti straps and trim using bias taping. So stay tuned for that!

we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be

This morning Will woke up at 5:00am to use the bathroom and he woke up the baby. I, of course, over reacted and snapped a nasty remark to Will. Because after he came back to bed, I then was awake spending the next hour and a half trying to rock/nurse Liam back to sleep. And as I lay there in the wee hours of the morning watching Liam kick me in my ribs, flip over onto all fours, and babble “glub-glub-glub” over and over again, I suddenly hear Liam let out the loudest baby fart that you ever did hear. Will and I both giggle and it was only then that I realized that my poor husband, whom I had just snapped at, was also awake this entire time. I felt horrible for my reaction and quickly apologized. Liam’s little early morning farting session was the universe’s way of saying “chill out Priscilla. Nothing is worse getting your panties in a wad.” And perhaps we’re all exactly where we’re supposed to be. Wide awake at 5am, in a king size bed, surrounded by the men of my dreams, who are now both equally good at making me laugh. Sometimes, even with their farting.image

A Twist on an Old Favorite

IMG_3912Hello friends, let’s please not dwell on the fact that my hair fell out of its top knot, now resembling a decaying birds nest, and lets talk about how I actually sewed myself something to wear!! It’s been forever since I sat at my sewing machine and made something just for me. So I decided to dip my toes back into the water slowly by making something that I have already made before. So here I present to you yet another  Penelope Peplum top from See Kate Sew. This time with a few modifications, because I never was one to follow the rules. IMG_3904I am still not 100% sure how I feel about peplums. Everytime I wear one I feel like I look like a little girl. Which is not the look I am going for. But then I see other people wearing one and I think, dang that looks good. So I always give it another go.
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Here is where you can purchase this pattern if you want to give it a try for yourself. A few change ups: I added an extra two inches to the length of the bodice and then took off 2 inches off the peplum piece, making it a shorter peplum. Adding the inches to the torso lowered the peplum just a bit, so now it sits at the start of my hips instead of my waist which was a nice change up. I will however admit that since having the baby, I am no longer a size medium. The top is just a wee bit tight around my boobs. Oh the joys of breast feeding. I wish I could go  back in time and tell 13 year old Priscilla “don’t sweat, you’ll have big boobs one day. …and you’ll hate it!”  IMG_3906The fabric for this top is a knit from Art Gallery Fabrics from the Chalk and Paint collection. I bought  2 yards intending to make a dress but I decided on second thought this might be a bit too “youthful” to make into a sundress. I still have a yard leftover so who knows what I will do. I love the quality of Art Gallery knits, but they are a little bit thicker and not as stretchy as a jersey knit, so between that and my mama-jamma boob issue, I really should of sized up to a Large. Ah so much for regrets. 

So here is a round of me in my DIY peplums. What do you think, should I continue my quest or is enough enough?

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DIY Baby “Hot Pants”

In a town filled with little girls in smocked dresses, little boys wearing john-johns until they’re seven, and monogrammed initials on nearly anything imaginable, I find myself to be in the minority when it comes to children’s fashion. And while I was born in the south, I should point out that my first experience with grits wasn’t until high school. And I was way into my 20s before adding shrimp to your grits made any sense. So no I wouldn’t necessarily say I was raised southern. And when it comes to dressing my four month old, I do not usually buy the typical southern attire. So when I am out and about shopping, I have a hard time finding outfits for Liam that I think are cute but still fitting into my “baby style” (if that’s even a thing). So naturally, I decided it only made sense to make him some pants! And these are not your typical baby pants. I am calling these Liam’s hot pants. I have no idea why. But lets just roll the pictures, shall we?

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Both of the white graphic tees where given to us as gifts but I was told you can purchase them locally at a vendor at the Charleston Farmers Market!

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the cuff at the bottom might be my favorite part!

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We must have a stuffed animal on both sides of us when sleeping at all times.

Rather than reinventing the wheel, I am going to share a few links I found through my fellow sewing bloggers that have great FREE patterns and tutorials on how to make baby pants/leggings:

  1. Todd Ah
  2. See Kate Sew (jeggings!)
  3. Baste and Gather (this one is great for cloth diaper babies!)

Once you make one or two pair, you will find how ridiculously easy this is. In fact I made four in just one short evening. (Mind you this was one of those rock star evenings where Liam slept the entire time. Those feel like such a distant memory….)  imageThis was a great quick sew and a great use of remnant knit fabric. In fact I have dresses from both the top two Art Gallery knit fabrics. So perhaps a little mommy and me twinning session is in our future. These last two knits I love because the first one has roman numerals and as you may recall, Liam is the IV generation. And the second one I love because I heart hedgehogs. Shout out to my boy Lionel.

It’s great to be back to my sewing machine, even though the moments are short, I’ll take what I can get. Until next time! Priscilla

Enough is Enough

I decided instead of sitting around and doing nothing, to take action and write a letter about how I feel. I started at the top with our President but I have also written letters to SC senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, and also to Mark Sanford, our state representative. And I wrote all of these  before lunch, while I was breast feeding…I ‘m kinda feeling like super mom today. Here is what I had to say. I’ll keep you posted on if I get a response. And if you think I am totally wrong and you feel differently, then by all means get our own blog and write about it. But to quote James Baldwin “Not everything faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

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Dear President Obama,

I am writing to you today to urge you to help change our laws that make it too easy for dangerous people to get guns. I am not only urging you, I am down on my hands and needs begging.

As you may know, the rate of people killed by guns in the US is 19.5 times higher than similar high-income countries in the world. And when I think of what has happened in Orlando, Sandy Hook, Aurora Colorado, and so many other cities, including my hometown of Charleston, I have to think, what do all these mass murders have in common? Was it terrorists from other countries? No! In fact, majority of these were American citizens. Did the mass shootings take place in “dangerous” areas? No! These were schoolhouses, movies theaters, places of worship, and now even nightclubs! The only thing that we can say for sure that every single one of these mass shootings had in common: they used a gun. Or more specifically, they used automatic assault rifles.

And then in February 14, 2016 something else happened. My first son Liam was born. Now as a mother I want to do everything in my power to keep him safe. Since he was born, my husband and I now eat healthier, we are more cautious with our driving, we lather him up in sunscreen, and we have taken him to each and every doctors appointment. He is our entire world. And I want his world to be a safe one. But I have no idea what to do to keep him safe from shooters. To feel safe to go to school, movie theaters, and churches. America is supposed to be the land of the free! But I don’t feel so free. I don’t feel safe. Not when someone in my own town can drive around with an assault rifle in their back seat and there is nothing the government can do about it. And now I can’t sit around anymore and wait for something to happen to my family. I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of debating this with my friends on Facebook. Instead it’s time I demand we make a change, starting with this letter. Enough is enough.

I am by no means saying we must take guns away from those responsible citizens who use it for hunting and sports. But as of now, anyone in our county can walk into a store and buy an assault rifle. I’m begging you to close this deadly loophole in our gun laws. My suggestions are simple: 1) if you are a suspected terrorist or have a history of mental illness, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. Period. 2) Background checks for each and every American who wants to purchase a gun with yearly re-checks. It makes perfect sense. We renew our driver’s license, our fishing licenses, my yearly license as a practicing speech pathologist. So gun owner should have to have a “gun license” with annual recertification; and 3) take assault rifles off the market. Which is not a hunting gun. It shoots over 40 bullets in under a minute. It is clearly a murder weapon. And it’s out there on the streets. There is no reason. NO reason at all, anyone should be purchasing assault rifles. It’s time to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Thank you for doing what is right not just for me and Liam, but for all the people of the United States.

Thank you so much,

Priscilla Brown

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And for those of you who wish to contact your state officials, here is a great article about how to do so: An Easy Guide to Contacting Your Elected Representatives About Gun Control

Also here is a petition you can sign:  Ban the AR-15 from Civilian Ownership

My Top Five Pieces of Bullshit Parenting Advice

Never in my entire life have I been given as much unsolicited advice as I have now that I am a mother. It’s unbelievable. When I went off to college, when I got my first job, or when I was trying to get out of and/or save broken relationships, no one ever had any advice for me. It was just like, “oh good luck.” or  “Go get ’em Tiger.” or “Eek, sucks to be you.”  But noooo not when you have a baby. When you have a baby, suddenly everyone from strangers at Target who have never met you to your father-in-law’s uncle’s cousin twice removed who read it in a book in 1982, everyone  seems to be an expert in how to raise children. But what’s amazing is how different the advice is from one person to the next. But nonetheless I must share with you my top five most annoying, or shall I say bullshit pieces of advice I have heard thus far.IMG_0770

  1. “Never Let your Baby Fall Asleep While Nursing.”  

This piece of advice came from another blogger who said the reason her baby slept through the night was because  “she learned early on how to fall asleep on her own without having to be nursed to sleep.” Well guess what. Liam almost always falls asleep after a nice breast feeding session. I mean, hello. It’s called “a milk coma” for a reason. And what, you want me to wake him up so he can have this wonderful learning opportunity? So he can “fall asleep on his own?” I don’t think so. Have you ever come home from the bars, fallen asleep on the couch at 3 am after eating an entire frozen pizza, and then your roommate/husband/whoever tries to wake you to get you to go to bed. You know who you are and you know what I am talking about. Don’t do that to a baby. Its just not cool dude.

2. “Never rock your baby to sleep. He needs to fall asleep on his own.”

This again goes back to the “they need to learn to fall asleep on their own.” And while part of me knows that is true, let me ask you this: have you ever rocked a baby to sleep?” Its the most wonderful, magical thing in the entire world. When he takes that final little sigh and lets his body sink into mine, its like rainbows come out, violins start playing, and all my worries go away. Why would I want to give that up? So that he can learn to sleep and I can get a full nights rest? Who cares, I can sleep when he is older. Because this moment is only going to be for a short time. I guarantee he won’t let me rock him to sleep when he is 13. So I will cherish this moment as much as I want and I will rock the heck out of him until he is fast asleep.

3. “Do not let your baby sleep in bed with you or else he will never learn to sleep in his own bed.”

This piece of advice has been given to me from almost everyone when they hear that Will, Liam, and I co-sleep. And yes I do acknowledge that there are some safety factors with co-sleeping, all of which we take very seriously. But co-sleeping has been such a blessing for us and for our situation. Liam never cries when he wakes. He instead will coo for me or even throw his arms over to touch me in the middle of the night if he wakes. And then without having to get up, find my glasses, turn on a light, or distrupt Will, I am able to rub his back to go back to sleep or pull him towards me to nurse. We love co-sleeping and I can say with 100% certainly that when he is ready he will learn to sleep in his own bed happily, And then later down the road he will finish high school, go to college, maybe get married, and find a cure for cancer. And he will not be one bit scarred by the fact that we shared a bed together when he was a baby.

4. “He needs to learn to cry it out.”

No thank you. I will not sit in the other room and act like everything is ok while my baby cries for me. I really have nothing left to say on this matter.

5. Make sure you make a routine and have your baby follow it every day. 

This is just ridiculous. No one does the same thing every day. Some days we are ready for bed by 8pm and some days we go exploring and walking around downtown til 11pm. I want Liam to explore everything there is in the world, and if that means breaking a sleep schedule or skipping a nap here and there, its totally worth it.

In the end, Will and I have decided to always trust our gut. Or “mother’s intuition.” Whenever I am questioning anything when it comes to the baby, Will always asks me “well, are you happy” and “is the baby happy?” if I can answer yes and yes (which I can 99% of the time) then I am doing everything just the way I should be. So my one piece of parenting advice to new moms is “You do you.” Whatever feels right, is probably right. And you may not get a baby who sleeps all through the night but they are only this little for such a short time. Find the good in the bad and you will be thankful one day for this sleep deprived, crazy time in your life. IMG_0784IMG_1418 IMG_0664IMG_1300

Here is little man smiling as he has just conquered his quest of rolling over from his back to his stomach. Oh the little things!

xoxo Priscilla

To the Women Still Waiting This Mothers Day

IMG_3795Being Liam’s mother is truly the most wonderful gift I’ve ever been given and through all the sleepless nights, chapped nipples, and 5 am diaper blow outs, I’ll never take for granted what a blessing he is. Being a mother is all I have ever wanted, but contrary to what you see on TV and in movies, it doesn’t always happen so easy.

My road to motherhood was a long and at times very stressful road. I have always loved the quote  “the sweet is never quite as sweet without the sour. And boy do we know the sour.” Infertility will test your faith, test your marriage, and test your patience. Do I think that everything happens for a reason? No I really don’t. I think some times things just happen, or don’t happen in our case, that are unexplainable. But when I look down at Liam smiling at me, I know what he was worth the wait, despite how awful the waiting felt in the moment.

On my first Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think of all the women who are still waiting. The women who are struggling with infertility. The ones who are still asked “When will you start having kids,” “Why don’t you have children yet?” “Do you not want kids?” and don’t really know how to answer those questions. The women who had a little glimmer of hope and then lost it to a miscarriage. The women who have endured endless negative pregnancy tests. Who have been told “you might have to make peace with the fact that you may never be able to carry a child.” These women are still waiting and still mourning this Mother’s Day. To all of you out there, I’m thinking of you and my heart breaks with you.

IMG_3780These photos are from a random afternoon when Will got home from work. I realized that we never really had a newborn photo shoot. But the lighting was so nice that afternoon in the nursery so I put on some mascara and Will got out the “nice camera” and took a few pics. These are some of my favorite pictures of Liam and I. He is about 10 weeks old and it was the first time we have ever used the crib. Hehe!
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DIY Kimonos and a Tip on Buying Fringe

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I have been on the kimono train for awhile now but mostly in the form of sweaters. I was eager to make the Florence Kimono pattern and try it out in a light weight voile for the summer. And yes we are already having 90 degree weather here in Charleston. We had a nice spring. I think it was on a Tuesday this year.  I made the extra long version of this pattern and the only thing I changed was the sleeve. I graded in the sleeve about 2 inches so the sleeve wasn’t as “kimono” like. Although I like the concept of the kimono sleeves, I wanted to see how it would look if I changed it up and I think the form fitting sleeve suits me better. I decided to wear my new kimono last weekend to a pool party, styled with a one piece bathing suit and shorts. The perfect cover up, which makes me wish I had about 10 more!
IMG_3804 IMG_3815Excuse the wrinkles in this photo above. I normally iron my clothes, but these days, I’m lucky if I have time to brush my teeth! But I wanted to show a close up of the fringe and my blind hemming. IMG_3807I used the Swifting Flora Swell in Voile from Art Gallery Fabrics that I picked up from my local fabric store, Five Eighth Seams. But the best part of this project was the trim. I searched far and wide and could not find any fringe trim that wasn’t over the top expensive. I found some really great fringe from Etsy but it was $30 a yard. No thank you. And then all of the trim at the fabric stores were either lace or pom-poms. My friend Stacy had the great idea to find clothes from a thrift store and repurpose the trim onto my garment. But then I was walking through Walmart and found these “fabulous” shorts for $9.99. I took them home, popped out my seam ripper, and had just enough trim to add to the bottom of my kimono. All without breaking the bank. And on top of that now I also have some awesome jean shorts (size 8 if anyone wants them, they’re yours).
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Maternity Photos + a DIY Lace Dress

IMG_3231 IMG_3225Today I wanted to share a few 32 week maternity photos in my stretch lace homemade dress.  I originally did not want to share these photos because at the time they were taken, I thought I looked so huge, my smile looked goofy, my hair was cray-cray, and my pale skin was almost as white as the dress I am wearing. But now that my pregnancy is over and I am sitting here sifting through these photos, I actually love the way they turned out! I am one of those creepy women who actually enjoyed being pregnant and I loved the way it felt when baby Liam kicked in my belly. So I think despite the goofy grin and my sun squinted eyes, these photos reflect a time in my life that I am so blessed to have gone through. Even though I must say, life is much sweeter with him on the outside instead of in!IMG_3202 The dress, of course, is DIY. Although ironically, I did not intend on making a maternity photo shoot dress. Or even doing a maternity photo shoot for that matter. But one day I was at Jo’Anns and found the most ridiculous clearance bin of fabrics and  fell upon yards and yards of this lovely stretch lace for like $4. No kidding. But I had no idea what to make with it. If you follow me on Instagram you remember that I actually joked that I was making a wedding gown and some of you commented “oooooh ooooh do a maternity shoot!” So I did. The dress was created using the My Dress pattern from my friend Brooke at Debbie Brooke Designs. This is still one of my three favorite go-to patterns for dresses. I created the bodice per instructions and for the skirt, I simply made it maxi length instead of knee length. And despite being pregnant, I sized down since I was using a stretch knit. It was a quick one day sew and now if anyone needs an on-the-fly wedding dress, give me a call, its all yours!! IMG_3185 IMG_3245IMG_3217