I did it, y’all.

I made my own bikini.

Plaid Fabric: Nylon Spandex || Lining: White Techsheen
Notions: Amazon

One of my Me-Made-May 2018 goals was to create something that I’ve never made before. Phee Fabrics issued the challenge and made it easy to find all of the fabric that I would need. Jalie provided the pattern and amazing instruction. Wine gave me the confidence to take these photos.


{Just kidding... I didn't really drink. Much.}

In going through this process and preparing for Phee FabricsSwim Week, I’ve been more aware of the gorgeous women in my sewing groups – real women – of all ages and body types, rocking their “me-made” swimwear with confidence and glamour.

What really takes these swimsuits up 10 notches is that they are custom made to fit each individual’s curves – or in my case, lack thereof. How lucky are we, as members of this international sewing community, to have the basic skills to make our own swimwear?! We’re not confined to the pre-sized boxes that the fashion industry tries to place us in!


 It’s pretty darn empowering. And soooo much easier than I expected.


In my heightened state of swimwear awareness, I was pretty upset by the recent ageist drama over the Instagram post of 47-year-old Kelly Ripa in a bikini. One comment read, "Kelly's gorgeous, but isn't there a cutoff age where age appropriateness comes into play? Just because you can rock a bikini, doesn't mean you should."

I’m sorry, what?

Having just turned 40 myself, I began to reassess everything… is there some implicit code of swimwear appropriateness for women over 40? Who makes these rules? Would I suddenly be shunned at the pool for my love of playful prints, obnoxiously bright colors, and – yes – bikinis?

That moment quickly passed as I came to my senses and, ultimately, felt really sorry for the person that posted that comment. Age isn’t really the issue here. You know she’s struggling with her own ready-to-wear swimsuit. Gaping cups, see-through fabrics, and bottoms that ride up are definitely worth getting mad about.


I’ll think about her as I’m rocking my own wedgie-free bikini on the beach this summer… at the age of 40.


No more excuses, ladies! You can do this, too. Visit the Phee Fabrics blog during Phee Fabrics Swim Week to see more inspirational swimwear, read about others' tips and tricks for sewing your own, and buy all of the yummy fabric you need to make it happen.

Go forth and make yourself a swimsuit!!!
Does it seem to everyone else that the stuffy days of suits and pantyhose in the workplace are falling by the wayside? I know opinions about this vary, but I ab-so-lute-ly love it.


I've recently transitioned from a more "buttoned-up" workplace to one that allows me to dress for the day ahead. If I'm meeting with clients or representing the company, I tend to dress more traditionally professional. If I'm attending a community event, I dress for photos. If I'm planning to sit at the desk and slog through a mountain of work, I'm dressed for total comfort.

And jeans or leggings on Friday... lawd... I love my Friday leggings.

My current obsession with sewing knits lends itself nicely to this shift in the work-uniform dynamic. I can create pieces to dress up or down depending on my needs. And I never, ever sacrifice comfort!

That's one of the reasons that I'm in love with the full suite of patterns from Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates. They are all designed with those must-haves in mind.

First up is the Patterns for Pirates Everyday Elegance dress... How beautiful is this dress??


(all the heart eyes is the perfect reaction!!)

It is full of little details that make it so special - yoke pleating, gathers at the shoulders, a buttoned tab sleeve... and such an easy make! I'll admit that I may have had to make it twice because of lazy poor  construction decisions... costly mistake but it was worth doing over again!



If you've been following the tour all week, you may recognize this perfectly fall-ish ghost crepe from Vinegar & Honey. While a departure from my knit-kick, it was the ideal woven for this silhouette.

Next up is a total comfort look - the Made for Mermaids Mama Joy with the Patterns for Pirates Cocoon Cardigan.


I made the dress to wear during the warmer months and paired it with this amazing cardigan for the recently cooler weather. You could literally whip both of these garments up in an evening. They are both such easy makes. Perfect for beginner and seasoned makers alike!



And... how can you go wrong with sweater knit and double-brushed poly? I snuggled all day in this outfit and it was work appropriate! Win-win!! The sweater knit is Girl Charlee and the DBP is Knitpop.

(I could seriously live my entire life in DBP... it's that ridiculous.)

And, finally, a winning casual Friday look. To be honest, I'd probably wear this gorgeous outfit during the work week, too. Actually, I did. On a Thursday. It's got all of the scandalous parts covered, right?


This cardigan is the newest Made for Mermaids release, the Mama Darcey. I've paired it with the Mama Courtney (sans knot) and the Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs. All SUPER easy makes and separates that can work in any number of outfits.



Holy moly... I love this sweater. I'm wearing leggings and knit from top to bottom and I feel GLAMOROUS!!!



You can find this sweater knit and wine cotton spandex at Girl Charlee and the distressed knit at So Sew English Fabrics.

I hope you've enjoyed our week of work wear during this blog tour! Which garments do you plan to incorporate in your professional wardrobe? If you've missed any of the days, you can find the posts here:

Day 1  |  Day 2  |  Day 3  |  Day 4  |  Day 5

Now, bring on the weekend!

XXOO
Admittedly, I'm easily impressed. However, it takes a lot to knock my socks off.

Earlier this year, I discovered PDF sewing patterns and had that moment of, "Holy. Cow. This is freakin' genius!" One file... every size you could ever need... yours to print as many times as you'd like... and, I'm soooo late to the game!

Needless to say, I've been making up for lost time and have quickly fallen in love with a few designers. The sisters behind Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates have quickly captured my heart. Their designs are timeless, easy, and packed FULL of options. If you've never used PDF patterns, these ladies have generously provided a few free patterns to get you started (and they are pretty fabulous!!).

It was a magical moment for me when I was invited to test the newest addition to the Made for Mermaids collection - the Mama Kourtney.


The pattern features options for tops, tunics, and dresses in sleeveless, short- and long-sleeves. There is even a girls' pattern!

I'm still blissfully living in my "leggings are pants" fashion world so the sleeveless tunic was a perfect match for my current lifestyle. Not to mention that it's still a bajillion degrees here in the south.



I used a cotton rayon blend from Girl Charlee that had just the right amount of drape. I think the tiny flower print gives it a great vintage vibe.

Overall, this make couldn't be simpler. From cut to hem in less than an hour! That is, if you don't sew the arm binding to the neckline and the neck binding to the armscye. With a serged seam. And solidly impale your finger with your seam ripper. Then, it might take you a few hours longer.

Don't sew when you're exhausted, friends. Just don't do it.

The feature that elevates this pattern is the sexy little hemline knot. Looks complicated. Is actually super simple. The directions are very easy to follow and Megan provides the perfect video to make it even simpler.


Made for Mermaids patterns are color-coded, rather than sized with traditional numbers. I cut a pink for this top and made no alterations. It's a little large for my taste under the arms so I will likely take it in a bit for my next make.


You can download this essential pattern here. It's on sale separately and part of a bundle with the girls' pattern.

Grab your pattern today and be sure to share your makes with me! Happy sewing!!
This is certainly one of those seasons that enjoys messin' with our emotions, isn't it?

Hot... cold... rain... more rain... frigid... then a sunburn the very next day!

Well, on the warm days, I have certainly enjoyed pulling out these hippy-dippy shorts. I actually made them last year and never got around to photographing them.


Simplicity 1373 is, unfortunately, now out of print. But if you have it in your stash, you'll want to jump on it as soon as you can. It includes an adorable top, shorts, and pants options.


The shorts came together without a hitch. What I love best are the darts that help to elevate this simple design. And they work up very quickly! You can have these ready to go in an hour or two.

One word of caution: be sure you know how to tell the front from the back. Use a garment label or something. I don't know why I find this so confusing. To make matters worse, I installed the zipper on the wrong side of one of the pairs. Gah!


Maybe it doesn't matter if I wear them backwards? Hmmm...


This particular pair seems to fit a little more snuggly than I remember them... I'm going to blame that on all of the "muscle" that I've built from running over the winter.

**wink-wink**

Also, this particular woven fabric is not ideal for form-fitting garments. It has little memory so I'm expecting to see a little "droop" over time.

Or, maybe they'll fit a little better. Ha-ha!


First a bit of personal news... I finished all of my academic requirements to apply for the CPA exam!!!! This came as a surprise to me because I thought I had 2 more semesters left. I was so surprised that I emailed the evaluation agency to ask, "Are you sure?!" They confirmed that it was true.

Hallelujah!!!

So, after sitting around like a bump-on-a-log, decompressing, for a week after my last classes, I unpacked my sewing supplies and got back into the swing of things. McCall's 7313 came just at the right time. I needed a quick, gratifying make to reignite my enthusiasm.



Following my recent trend, I made this dress out of a Girl Charlee cotton/spandex blend and - holy cow - it feels amazing! I have another yard of this yummy goodness and I might make pajamas out of it. It is that soft!

I wish I had a sewing disaster to share with you because they always make great stories, but I don't! This came off without a hitch.


I did alter the pattern a bit. It called for an elastic waistband. After consulting my community of makers, we all agreed it wasn't necessary. I decided to take in the top and skirt about an inch on both sides and eliminate the elastic. I think it gives the dress a cleaner look (and it's certainly more comfortable!).


A few people have asked about how I managed such a great finish on the neckline. I honestly think that dumb luck has a lot to do with it, but here's my process: I serge the raw edge, turn under 1/2" with Wonder Clips, and finish with a twin needle. Using this process, I've never had any issues with puckering.


I absolutely love this dress. Even my husband, who never has much to say about my sewing habit, says that this is the "most beautiful dress" that I've made. That is a high compliment coming from him. I think I need at least two more...

I'm assuming you sew - or have an interesting sewing - if you're here. I often think about WHY I sew as I'm working through these projects. Here are three hard truths:
  • Clothing is never perfect. Even ready-to-wear (RTW), designer garments have flaws - seams that are a little wonky... hems that might wave a bit... slight differences in fit. It's just the human influence of the process. If you've never sewn, I challenge you to pull out a few of your favorite items and closely examine them - you'll see what I mean.
  • Custom sewing is a slow process. If you want it to be right, it takes time. Many talented makers create a test garment, called a muslin, before even cutting into their "real" fabric. Yes - they make the pattern twice. There is nothing worse than working hard on a garment, only to find that it doesn't fit when it's complete. I once considered myself a lazy maker, but I've come to realize that sewing is only worth doing if the end result is something you can be proud of (and wear!).
  • Sewing is expensive! No one sews to "save" money. Even time carries a value. With the exception of a few recent projects, I'd say the average make takes me 4-5 hours from start to finish - longer if there is handwork required. I'm slow and careful. If I assign a minimal value on my time - say $10 an hour - and I have $20-$40 (or more!) invested in fabric, I have a finished garment that costs $60-$100. Depending on the project, it could be more or less.
So, why-the-heck do I do it?! It it truly for the love of the craft.

Here's what else I know to be true - custom garments fit in ways that RTW can't, giving them an expensive look and feel. People take notice of what you're wearing when it's well-made. Even strangers approach me on days that I'm wearing "me-made." They want to know where they can purchase or how they can steal it from me. There are a lot of reasons to feel good about wearing clothing you've made, including avoiding some of the fashion industry's ethical issues.

I'd love to hear from you - why do you sew? If you don't sew and are interested in starting, what do you find appealing about the process?