Monday, October 5, 2015

The Fear Fabric Challenge!

It's that time of year again! Time for the Fear Fabric Challenge! I admit, with a new baby I've totally slacked and done nothing to make this an event like in years past. But I hope you'll still play along! All you have to do is choose a fabric that scares you, and sew something. I've previously sewn brocade and lace, and learned a lot from those challenges. This year I'm tackling a finicky monster--faux fur!

I've sewn faux fur once before, and I'm pretty sure it broke my walking foot. So I've had good reason to avoid it. But it's time to get over my fears and try again. As Daniel Tiger says, "just keep trying, and you'll get better". Good advice whether you're 3 or 30. I'll be posting my creation at the end of October.

And a little housekeeping, my husband is on vacation this week, so you won't be seeing any more of me. Hooray for awesome fall weather (oh hey, and it's our anniversary...better get on that...).

Will you be participating in the Fear Fabric Challenge? What fabric scares you?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Cambridge Cardigan

Last week I debuted my Momiform MAKEover outfits, and today I'm reviewing one of the patterns I used, the Cambridge Cardigan.

My love for Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop is well known, but usually I sew Amy's kids' patterns. The only other women's pattern I've used is the Bahama Mama Tankini, and that was a maternity version. I was excited to try this cardigan since I knew I had a hole in my wardrobe in this area. Originally, I wanted to pair the cardigan with my Willow Wrap Dress, but when it was done it looked way too casual with that dress. 

Styling fail.

I sewed a medium based on my bust measurement. It's true that my bust falls in the medium range, but the rest of my body does not. So while the cardigan closes over my chest, it's kind of baggy everywhere else. This is the life of a nursing mother. 

Anyway, rather than take it in everywhere, I decided to leave it as-is and style it more as a Grandpa/boyfriend cardi instead. If you need inspiration, I saved a few images on my style pinboard that helped me figure this out.

The fabric is a navy ponte from Girl Charlee, with heavy duty ribbing from The Fabric Fairy (loooooove this stuff). The navy is two different shades, but whatever, it still works. The button band is reinforced with knit interfacing. The buttons are from my stash and aren't anything special. I went seriously neutral for this cardigan so it would work with a lot of different outfits.

The pattern came together well and the instructions were clear. However, I do sorely miss pockets. They're something I'll add if I make this again. The sleeves are also pretty long, FYI.

This is a great basic pattern and it would look good in a variety of knits.

Don't pay attention to the wonky pulling on the top button. I realized when I was taking these pictures that I sewed the button on too close to the edge. Fail.

I received this pattern for free as a part of the Momiform MAKEover tour. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


I've had really boring hair my whole life. Straight, parted down the middle. For.e.ver. Proof:

I'm in the middle. The oldest, but the middle. You get it.

In college I had a perm (hey, I liked it, so suck it) and after that it's been kind of wavy. Not straight or curly. Sometimes I've had bangs, but my husband hates bangs. The only thing I particularly liked about it was the color, blond. I've always liked being a blond, probably because I connected it with those beautiful Disney princesses like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Blond=better is how petty I've been my whole life.

The perm. You know this is an old photo
because it has a cool 2000's timestamp.

But then I got older. And had one kid. And another kid. And suddenly, without doing anything, my hair wasn't quite so blond anymore. In fact, upon asking my 3 year old, she said my hair was brown.


I do not have brown hair. At least, my self-image does not contain a person with brown hair. My personality doesn't go with brown hair. I am not a person with brown hair.

Or am I?

Seriously, what color is this?

When you start becoming unsure of your own hair color, life becomes unnerving. Especially in the year you turn 30. So last week, reminiscing about a picture I saw in a book of a similarly neither-here-nor-there hair-colored woman, I decided to dye my hair. Platinum blond.

When I picked up a box of hair dye, my daughter got very upset. She told me to leave my hair alone and not to make it look "like an old lady". I was a bit taken aback. I didn't realize a 3 year old would care about such things. I decided to just dye it when she wasn't home and see if she'd even notice the change. Note to self: next time, take her advice.

This was actually not my first stab at this hair color. The first time was two years ago, when my husband was on a business trip in Germany. I didn't tell him I was doing it, because I figured I had enough time to go get it fixed before he got back and he'd be none the wiser. It ended up not being much of a change, my hair just looked a little lighter. This time I went for it, and the results were...not pretty.

After first box

The first pass made me look like a tiger. No joke. There were great big places where I'd missed (have you ever tried dyeing your hair without someone helping you?) and the roots were a noticeably different color. Bad bad bad. And nothing scissors could even save (I considered it). The next day I promised my husband beer in exchange for helping me fix it, which he did. And now? Still bad, but at least uniformly so?

After second box

It's MUCH brighter in person than in this picture. And of course, all this was happening just before my Momiform MAKEover post was due. Hence what prompted the change in the first place. But I hadn't banked on the change going so terribly wrong. Suddenly, these new clothes I was pumped about rocking made no difference to me. I wanted to pull out of the tour. I wanted to never leave the house. I almost didn't order pizza delivery one night because I felt like it looked that bad (for the record, I did order pizza, and the delivery guy had a mullet, and I laughed at myself for feeling so foolish).

It's even bad in a ponytail.

On the advice of a friend and Mr. Google, I've ordered some purple toning shampoo and it should be here this week. Supposedly, the purple cancels out the brassy tones and will result in a more ashy/white-blond look, which is what I want. In the last week and a half I've basically been wearing my hair up and avoiding mirrors. I'm really super frustrated, because I feel like I've spent the last 3 1/2 years of mom life rebuilding my self-image and confidence (oh, you didn't know? becoming a mom screws with your identity). With one little box of hair dye it all went off the rails.

So cheer me up! Have you ever had a hair disaster? How did you recover? I know this is only temporary, but I think it's safe to say I'll be leaving the dye to professionals from now on.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Project Runway recap

We're halfway through this season. Thoughts? This seems like a highly forgettable one. I don't love anyone. I don't hate anyone. The designs are kind of boring. What a shame, because the challenges are interesting for once.

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: I liked this challenge, despite the shameless plug for Finding Neverland. I've seen worse cross-promoting, certainly this show is famous for it.

I like that Edmond bought feathers that he didn't use. Why not? Isn't it better to have a lot of crazy options, as long as you do have the ability to edit?

Worst moments: A few weeks ago I said that I like Swapnil. I don't know now. He's becoming fairly cocky and arrogant, and when he was in the middle he got all whiny about it. I think he needs to get his head out of his butt and stop listening to everyone telling him how talented he is.

Best garments: Um...I didn't have a favorite this week. Sad.

Worst garments: Wow, Ashley's was a hot mess. It takes a special kind of fail to make something that's both too big and too small.

Even though she won, I thought Candice's dress was way too costumey. Am I crazy? It did look well-made and complicated, though.

Laurie's "garment" was beyond awful. It was so, so, so bad. I don't understand. The boobs were supposed to be out? She didn't have a plan for that? And what is her obsession with hot pants? The fabric looked like upholstery. It's embarrassing that she didn't go home for that.

Best quote: "I was inspired by the pictures I saw on the wall...when I was waiting for the bathroom." --Kelly

My husband asked me if the designers are really scored on each week's challenge, or if it's cumulative over the whole show. I see what he's getting at, if they were truly judged week-to-week then Laurie should have been out. I think the judges were just tired of Lindsey, and frankly, she seemed quite tired of them.

Next week: School? Is it the design your own print challenge?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Momiform Makeover Reveal!

When Lauren of Baste+Gather put out a call for moms who wanted to make themselves over, I jumped at the chance to be a part of the blog tour. Baby H turned 4 months old this week, and with fall approaching I knew I needed a kick in the butt to refine my style. Big life changes can inspire more changes...or allow certain areas of your life to fall into a rut. So here's my attempt at staying away from ruts!

The Momiform MAKEover is all about Style, Comfort, and Wearability. Twice a week I have to haul two kids across town to preschool drop off for AB. I am required to actually get out of the car (what a drag). A lot of the moms I see there are in jeans...but the majority are wearing the ubiquitous black yoga pants. I know it's hard to hear, but yoga pants are not dress pants, even if they are black. I get it. My uniform is nothing special and is downright embarrassing. If left to my own devices, there is no doubt in my mind I would show up looking like this:

Here's a good rule of thumb: if the sum total age of your clothes is higher than your age, your outfit fails. I'm never going to stop wearing jeans and tshirts, but I wanted a way to refine the look into something presentable. I also wanted a nicer option for the times I felt like wearing a dress. Bonus points if I could use patterns that will work over and over again (hence the "Momiform").

These two outfits are entirely handmade! On the left is my casual jeans look, and on the right is my dress look. Yes those are two different garage doors. We have two garages. Deal with it.

I'll start with the casual look because it's definitely my favorite!

I wanted to avoid hoodies at all costs, so my alternative is the Cambridge Cardigan (affiliate link) from Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. I sized up to a medium in order to go for that slouchy, boyfriend cardi look. It's made from ponte so it's just as comfortable as a sweatshirt, but with lots more style. The solid navy color will work with a lot of different outfits, so it's also very wearable.

To prevent myself from throwing on an ancient baggy softball tshirt, I went with an equally comfortable hack of the Willow Wrap Dress, from Love Notions, by combining it with the Renfrew from Sewaholic. I need nursing access and the wrap top is the cutest way to do it. I love that I can take off the cardigan as the day gets warmer, and still look great. And who doesn't love a fun jersey print?

The jeans are from the Jamie Jeans pattern, from Named. This is my very first pair of me-made jeans, and they were desperately needed. A year ago I put on 10lbs (on purpose) and outgrew most of my jeans. Then I got pregnant. At this point, I have two pair of skinny jeans that fit (including these) and the rest are a hold-your-breath-and-don't-eat sort of situation. The holey jeans above are held together with the good ole hair tie trick. Not good. But now I have the confidence to #sewallthejeans. A full review on these will be coming soon.

Look number 2 is a Willow Wrap Dress and an Astoria sweater. I previously reviewed the Astoria here. Who doesn't love a good wrap dress? And when it's made in a polyester ITY you can literally pull it out of a heap and still look fabulous (wearable! stylish! comfortable!). I usually choose to dress this down even further with slip-on chucks. Ideally, I'd go with navy Toms, but I'm still shopping around to score some used ones. It would also work with flats and tights when the weather cools down.

The print is busy, I know.

You might have noticed that both outfits fit the same color scheme. A year and a half after doing the Wardrobe Architect project and I'm still in love with navy/grey/pink/black. I'm starting to have a seriously coordinated wardrobe and picking a color scheme is the best thing that ever happened to my sewing!

Sooooo you might have noticed something odd about my hair in these's different in every single outfit! More on that later, because it's a not-so-funny story and I feel like blabbering on about it in a separate post.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to enter the massive giveaway below, including a chance to win one of my Sewist's Notebooks!

The Willow Wrap dress and Cambridge Cardigan patterns were given to me for free as part of this tour. Everything else was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Momiform MAKEover

REMEMBER: Scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the two separate Rafflecopters! 50+ winners will be selected! Get 10% off your fabric order from now through October 1 at Michael Levine/ with code: Makeover10

Get 20% off your pattern order now through October 1 at UpCraft Club with code: MOMIFORM Are you MAKE-ing over your Momiform? Join the fun on Instagram with hashtag #momiformmakeover


Be sure to check out all the awesome series participants to get lots of momiform inspiration!

Reyna Lay Designs | Call Ajaire | Golden Rippy | Love Notions Sew Not Perfect | Scientific Seamstress | Rebel & Malice Creative Counselor | Mabey She Made It | If Only They Would Nap | Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts Shaffer Sisters | FABulous Home Sewn | Fa Sew La | Baste + Gather Lulu & Celeste | Swoodson Says | Phat Quarters | Hey June Climbing the Willow | Everything Your Mama Made & More | Näh-Connection | 110 Creations A Jennuine Life | Straight Stitch Designs | Sew Straight & Gather | KZJO'STUDIO Wild & Wanderful | Mae & K | Handmade Frenzy | HattieLu Handmade




momiform major sponsors

Special thanks to these major sponsors who generously donated the following items for the giveaway:

(There will a different winner for each line item so we can spread the love around!)

Janome - One Skyline S5 Sewing Machine* Indiesew - Four $50 gift certificates (four separate winners) Michael Levine / Low Price Fabric - Four $25 gift certificates (four separate winners) and 10% discount for readers through October 1 - code: Makeover10 UpCraft Club - Two $25 gift certificates (two separate winners) and 20% discount on patterns through October 1 - code: MOMIFORM

And the following pattern designers who graciously provided patterns for the series participants and/or contributed the following items for the giveaway:

Grainline Studio - Two patterns of your choice True Bias - Hudson Pants & Southport Dress patterns Colette -Two patterns of your choice Closet Case Files -Two patterns of your choice Sew Much Ado -Two patterns of your choice Sew Straight & Gather - Three patterns of your choice Golden Rippy - Two patterns of your choice 110 Creations: A Sewist's Notebook Patterns for Pirates - Two patterns of your choice Itch to Stitch - Two patterns of your choice Mouse House Creations - Two patterns of your choice Hey June Handmade -Two patterns of your choice Peekaboo Pattern Shop - Three patterns of your choice Go-to Patterns - One women's pattern of your choice GreenStyleCreations -Two patterns of your choice Puperita - One pattern of your choice Sofilantjes - Two patterns of your choice Charlotte Kan - One pattern of your choice So Sew Easy - Two patterns or one bundle of your choice OUSM Designs - Women's Thumbs-Up Tee pattern E-Beth Designs - Two patterns of your choice Muffin Head Patterns - Any pattern of your choice up to $10 GrayDay Patterns - Sandpoint Top or Athena Top pattern (your choice) Scientific Seamstress - One pattern of your choice Stitch Upon a Time - $20 gift card 5 out of 4 - Two patterns of your choice Frianki Patterns - Two patterns of your choice KZ Jo Studio - Two patterns of your choice Straight Stitch Designs - Full collection of patterns Sewing Patterns by Aivilo Charlotte - Two patterns of your choice Striped Swallow Designs - Two patterns of your choice Rose and Lee Designs - Two patterns of your choice Sewing Geek Patterns - One pattern of your choice Filles a Maman - One pattern of your choice Bella Sunshine Designs - One pattern of your choice Liola Designs - One pattern of your choice Cali Faye Collection - One pattern of your choice Tinman Patterns - Orbit Skirt pattern Felicity Sewing Patterns - Two patterns of your choice Winter Wear Designs - Two patterns of your choice Ellie Inspired - Three patterns of your choice Love Notions - One pattern of your choice a Sparkly Baby - Two patterns of your choice Terra's Treasures Designs - Two patterns of your choice

*Janome giveaway winner must be located in U.S.A. and is therefore on a separate Rafflecopter below. Machine must be picked up at a local dealer; it cannot be shipped.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This second Rafflecopter includes all the other sponsor items since they can be awarded internationally! You must enter both Rafflecopters in order to be entered to win both the sewing machine and the rest of the giveaway items. All patterns awarded will be in PDF format. Enjoy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to Look Put Together...When You Feel Like Falling Apart

You heard about the Momiform Makeover Series, right? This blog tour is full of classy ladies reinventing their style, and I'm so happy to be a part of it! When you become a mom, you become the ultimate multi-tasker. "Style" starts moving rapidly down the list of priorities in the face of things like doctor's appointments and preschool snacks. I can't speak for everyone, but the more I've got going on, the more scattered my brain feels. Over the years I've come up with a few quick, easy ways to look like I've got my act together...even when I'm falling apart!

Have a Plan

This is a sewing blog, so let's start with clothes. Resist the urge to pull a wrinkly sweatshirt out of the laundry basket. Resist! The smell test is not good enough. If I know I have to be out the door early, I lay out my clothes the night before. My 3 year old helps me, and on a "school night" she looks forward to selecting her outfit, my outfit, and what baby H is going to wear. We even lay out our socks and underwear. All three outfits are together, so we can get dressed at the same time without leaving the room to search for something. Ten thoughtful minutes are way better than five frantic ones!

Have Go-To Statement Pieces

Let's say you forgot to lay out clothes, and you did throw on something only halfway presentable. Add a statement item that will distract everyone and make it look like you tried. These could include:
  • A stand-out piece of jewelry (not the whole box!). Mine is a pair of pearl earrings my husband got me for my *cough* 30th *cough* birthday.
  • Glasses (if you normally wear contacts) or contacts (if you normally wear glasses).
  • Lipstick in a bold color and minimal (or no) other makeup.
  • A fun scarf.
  • Edgy boots.
These are all things that people will notice instead of your messy hair or inside out shirt. They're easy to do and some can even be kept in your car for emergency fashion disasters. Spit up on your shirt? Cover it with a scarf.

Have Two Makeup Routines

This tip has been a lifesaver for me. I don't like leaving the house without makeup on, it definitely makes me feel less confident. But sometimes I can't get even ten minutes of peace to "put on my face" as my mom would say. Rather than skip makeup altogether, I developed a "quick" routine and a "slow" routine.

The quick routine gives me just enough to feel human. For me, that's foundation or BB cream, blush, mascara and an eyebrow pencil. The slow routine is more involved (obvs) and is the same as the quick routine, except I add eyeliner, eyeshadow, and concealer if I need it. If you're not sure how much time you'll have, start with your quick routine. You'll at least cover the bare minimum. When you're shopping for makeup, look for shortcuts, like this foundation and applicator in one, or this eye shadow stick that doesn't need a brush (affiliate links).

I've also been known to throw my makeup bag in my purse and apply it in the car when we get wherever we're going (no, not while I'm driving!). I find that having the kids strapped in their car seats makes application much less stressful, because I'm not stuck in the bathroom wondering if someone has climbed on top of the kitchen table and is swinging from the ceiling fan (OMG I have to move my kitchen table...).

Whether you're a mom or not, we're all short on time and motivation. Do you have any quick tips to look put-together and polished? 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Project Runway recap plus Momiform MAKEover kickoff!

Sometimes 3 year olds are very challenging. And sometimes they're so cute you want to die. I was sitting on the floor, cutting and taping a pattern together while watching this episode, when AB came up to me with a blanket and draped it around my shoulders. "It's time to go down to the runway!" she said. Oh m gee.

Spoilers ahead...

Best moments: No Blake! Seriously, wasn't that a relief?

Worst moments: Jake and his dog...ugly cry. I kept waiting for them to show a clip of someone dissing his decision, but they didn't. Thank goodness, or it would have been insta-hate. Why can't dogs live forever? Seriously?

Not too keen on another unconventional challenge. Does Mood hate them?

Best garments: Edmond's dress was so cool and looked like neoprene. Ashely's was fine. Too short. Kelly really did a lot with two tiny pieces of pipe. I admit I couldn't see what she was seeing when she picked those up, so kudos to her.

Worst garments: I know everyone was raving about Candice's dress, but have they never watched this show before? It's been done to death.

Best quote: "I feel like I'm dating the judges...and it's not going well." --Lindsay

I think this was the first time an eliminated contestant said something super smart. Joe said that he wasn't sure he deserved to go home, but that he also wasn't sure he deserved to stay. I think he hit the nail on the head. He was just kind of blah this whole time.

Next week: I already forgot. Neeeeed more coffee.

One last thing! Head over to Baste+Gather to read about the AMAZING Momiform MAKEover series that's happening this week. There are a gazillion prizes you can win, including a new Janome sewing machine! Watch out for my post on Wednesday, where I debut my very first pair of me-made jeans! Eeek!