Sunday, February 24

Postpartum Dressing with Telio Fabrics

I gave birth to my third child just over 3 weeks ago, and near the end of my pregnancy I began to think a lot of my postpartum wardrobe. Having had two children already I knew I would be slightly uncomfortable with my body for a while even though I shouldn't be. I mean, I did just grow and birth a person with my body and then also feed that person with my body. Its pretty awesome and I think that warrants being able to dress in clothes I like while waiting to fit into my jeans again. I wanted some new pieces that would be comfy and cute with a forgiving fit all while working for the reality of my day to day. Clothes I could answer the door in. Clothes I can run to the grocery store and the doctor in. Clothes that can also still be worn when the baby weight is gone. This means - knits!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may be aware that while mainly a woven fabric girl, I'm also a die-hard fan of a few types of knit fabric, one being this cotton bamboo french terry.  Its great for lighter weight sweaters that are comfy, cute and fit all the time. Its especially fabulous for the postpartum phase I'm in. So today I'm going to talk all about this heavenly fabric and all the things I've made with it. Its a work horse in my closet right now!

Note: I love this fabric and have bought so much of it that I reached out to Telio to see if they would be interested in collaborating. I received this fabric for free but they didn't ask me to rave about it. That's all me!

This fabric is medium weight with great drape but not too much. You know how sometimes when sewing with rayon knits they seem too heavy even they though they aren't? They have too much vertical stretch causing them to grow, getting longer and longer. They also tend to be more thin and clingy and show your whole body underneath.  This does not do that! But its also not as stable as a cotton spandex french terry. It is the absolute perfect hybrid. Buttery soft, just drapey enough and not clingy. And it doesn't pill! As for the stats,  its super wide - 62 inches. Its 67% rayon of bamboo, 28% cotton which adds that little bit of stability and makes it not clingy, and 5% spandex.

I've sewn this fabric up into four different popular but also totally postpartum friendly sweater/top patterns with different types of sleeves so you can see how it looks and drapes. I've sewn a raglan, a set-in sleeve, a dolman, and a raglan/dolman hybrid. Also I sewed these up while pregnant. So in preparation for wearing them postpartum I sized up some of these patterns and not others depending on the finished garment measurements provided in the patterns. My bust is currently larger than any of the sizes I actually made (pre-pregnant 38.5 in., currently 42 in. due to nursing) but since this fabric is so soft, stretchy and drapey they work well now and will just look slightly looser later. This fabric is also the perfect weight for late winter/early spring and layering but could even do well in warmer weather with shorter sleeves.

The patterns I used are:
Set in sleeve - Hey June Union St Tee sized up one to a size XL
Dolman: Megan Nielson Jarrah Sweater in pre-pregnancy size 12
Raglan: Hey June Lane Raglan sized up one size to a size XL
Raglan/dolman hybrid: Elle Puls Bethioua Sweater in pre-pregnancy size 42

Hopefully seeing all of these different shaped tops will give you an accurate idea of how this fabric looks, drapes, wears, ties, and gathers.

As for styling, all of these tops could be worn with jeans, dressed up or down, or layered over other shirts. But mine are all styled alone and with leggings because that's the realty of being 3 weeks postpartum:)

This pattern comes with loads of different neckline and sleeve length options so you can create any type of basic top you want. By doing the long sleeve and crew neck I was going for more of a sweater vibe. I also added my own side vents and ruffles to the shoulders to elevate it a bit. Plus I just love side vents - always. And as mentioned earlier, I sized up one size for postpartum use. But this will still be great later without looking too big and sloppy. You can see in the ruffle (which is two layers of fabric) how well this fabric gathers. It's just light enough to be ruffled and not become too bulky and stiff. I was also able to wear this at the end of pregnancy so - bonus! Aaaaaand I even made my little girl a matching one and she loves it as much as I do:)

This pattern also comes with loads of options. Different sleeve types, a funnel or crew neck and cropped, tied, banded or curved hem. Because the finished measurement in the bust has 8 inches of ease, I decided to make my pre-pregnant size. What I did not take into consideration was the length of this top. It will be great with high waisted jeans but for now I can pretty much only wear it with really high leggings. I should have added at least an inch in length (I'm 5'8"). But eventually I hope to get tons of wear out of it. This fabric is great for the tie hem view. It can still tie up easily and drape well without creating a huge bulky knot. It's also excellent for a dropped/dolman sleeve. Using a fabric that's too thick or stable can create a lot of extra bulk under your arm but in this fabric its just soft, light and airy with the drape of the fabric under there.

Another work horse of a pattern, this has tons of options including a hood, thumbhole cuffs, regular cuffs, and a kangaroo pocket in addition to sleeve variations. It has a slimmer fit and more shaping though the body than the others so I sized up one size again. I also added my own ruffles at the raglan sleeve to once more elevate the casual feel of it and highlight how incredible this fabric is - gathering so well even with two layers. And again I added side vents because #always. A raglan sleeve is another shape that can cause unwanted fabric under the arm or bust area in the wrong fabric, but with this magical unicorn fabric, the underarm fabric isn't noticeable at all. And with the extra room I will have in the top later, I think it would be awesome for layering over a button up collared shirt.

This is such a cool and unique design because in the front the sleeve is a raglan but it attaches in the back like a dolman/batwing sleeve. For a good fit it also comes with a bust dart in the larger sizes, which mine includes though it is not currently in the right place due to my larger bust because of nursing. All sizes have a dart at the neck/shoulder point of the raglan sleeve for a good fit over the shoulder. I made my pre pregnancy size as its plenty roomy and wore this at the end of my pregnancy as well. I actually wore this loads! Again, the drape and weight of the fabric is ideal for this sleeve type, being roomy and oversized without any added bulk.

This fabric really is amazing and could be sewn into tops, dresses, loose pants, nearly any type of kid clothing, etc. I used the sage, smoky, charcoal, and midnight color ways but there are even more colors available and they are all amazing!

So, which top is your favorite? Would you make any of these or sew this luxurious fabric into something else? What it would be - let me know!

Thursday, January 3

2018 Sewing - a year in review

Contrary to my goal this year of slowing down, I sewed a tonnnnn of things this year. And while many would be stoked about that, I'm a little bit sad. I mean not really, because I love them and really made things that work for me. But I like keeping goals, too...

I did manage to keep track of everything I sewed this year; how many yards I sewed, how many yards I bought, how many patterns I bought and how many of those I have sewn since buying. Because tracking keeps me aware and should hypothetically help keep myself in check. Especially as I wanted to sew my stash this year and buy less.  I'll review the progress of all my goals below, but I can say my stash has shrunk a lot. Like a lot a lot. Partly because I just admitted to myself which fabric purchases were duds and aren't my style and I donated them. I donated loads of scraps and full yardage to a shelter down town that teaches refugee women to sew and I feel great about that.

So since this is a review of my sewing for the year, I'll review my goals, my make nine, what I've sewn, who I've sewn for, patterns I've bought, and how I'm feeling about the year.

So here we go - lets start with my Make Nine from last year.

Make Nine 2018

Here is the make nine I created last January:

The make nine has kind of a bad rap this year. Its seems like everyone was exited to jump on board last year but then they didn't succeed at making very many of them so now no one wants to commit to one. Well the make nine works for me because I'm not really distracted by all the new shiny patterns. I know what I like and what works on my body and I pretty much stick to it. So committing to 9 garments at the beginning of the year was easy. I put a lot of thought into creating my make 9 - what patterns I had, what fabric I had, what I wanted to wear and what I needed. And that meant that I succeeded and made all of these! In fact I made all of them by May haha. (I think if I want a challenge I probably need to make a 2019 make 19!)

 Finished Make Nine

The only thing I swapped out was the Sew Over it Alex shirt because I realized it didn't have a collar stand and I wanted a button up shirt with a real collar. So I made the Kalle Shirt instead and I LOVE it. I made 2 and have plans for me. Then, because I loved the shape of that shirt so much I also made the melilot, another dolman button up but with a much slimmer silhouette and am digging it too. I see more of those in my future as well.

I made the knee length shorts version of the Chi-Town Chinos and they also became a quick favorite. In fact, I made two  pairs and wore them all Summer. I also made two Sarah Shirts and two of Mcalls 7380. I think two is a trend for me. I also have more pairs of Morgan jeans planned for this year.

Ok now lets move onto a review of 2018 Goals

1. Sew less. Meaning, slow down and don't sew so many items because I don't need a lot more. This did not happen. Granted, I made much nicer, quality pieces and my old ones have pretty much all been donated, rehomed, or turned into something else.

2. Reduce. Sew up the patterns I haven't ever made and use up my stash. To do this I tried to buy fewer patterns and wait until I'm ready to make a project to buy the pattern. Also I tried to sew twice as many yards as I bought. And I did this! I'm super happy about it. I still probably bought too much, but since I sewed a lot it all worked out. I also did sew up quite a few patterns I hadn't made but owned for years. In a few cases this backfired as they weren't my style anymore, but in some it turned out to be a big win! (Side note - after writing this post I bought 10 yards of fabric - during Boxing Day or end of year sales. But since none of it has arrived and its January...I'm counting that as fabric for this year. That's a cop out I know, but...I'm taking it anyway.)

3. Be patient. Take time to make the right adjustments so that garments turn out better and fit great so that I love them when they're done. This I did, too! I feel really happy with the garments in my closet. They fit so much better and I love wearing them. Im very grateful I took the time to learn the adjustments I need and then actually take the time to do them. And a note on that, you don't need fancy fitting books or to take a class to figure this out. I highly recommend this youtube channel, where I learned all the adjustments I make. Also a lot of patterns, like jeans patterns, come with fitting guides and blog posts to walk you through issues you may be having. You don't need to invest a bunch of time and money to figuring out fitting. Ok so you need to invest some time...but that's it.

Sewing Item Recap

Alright we're moving right along to what I sewed, how much I sewed, who I sewed for, and what patterns I bought, so here you go. Skip this if you don't want a lottttt of info thrown at you...

I have made 140 items (according to list on my phone) that break down to the following categories:

(PS the math isn't even close to adding up with this, but it was a lot of data that I figured you guys won't care too much about so a rough estimate is good enough for me. )

For Husband: 2 items
Cardigans: 2

For my Kids: 33 items
Underwear: 2
Swimsuits: 3
Knit Tops (tees, pajama tops, sweaters, sweatshirts): 8
Dresses/skirts/pinafores: 10
Knit Bottoms (Pajama bottoms/Leggings/Sweatpants/Shorts): 10

For Me: 70
Swimwear: 1
Jeans/shorts: 3
Leggings: 2
Cardigans: 3
Joggers and other pants: 4
Skirts: 6
Sweatshirts/hoodies/sweaters: 8
Jackets/Coats/Outerwear: 6
Tees/gym tanks: 10
Dresses/pinafores: 12
Woven Tops: 17

For Gifts: 20 items
Parents/siblings: 3
Neice/Nephew birthday gifts: 7
Baby Gifts: 10


I bought 88 yards of fabric (yikes) and sewed 177 yards of fabric. I have kept it at a 2:1 ratio of sewn yardage to bought yardage all year and I'm so proud of that. And I'm happy because the fabric in my stash is stuff I love. I have waisted a lot of money in the past buying fabric I later learned I didn't like. So now the fabric I do have is fabric worth owning, sewing, and wearing and that makes me feel good. Its also almost all solid colors which I'm totally down with and different from years past.

Favorite fabrics to wear and sew:
tencel twill
rayon twill
good quality rayon challis
linen rayon blends
heavier weight cotton denims (about 12 oz)
bamboo cotton French terry

Favorite places to buy fabric:
Raspberry Creek Fabrics
Blackbird Fabrics
Fabric dot com
Mood Fabrics
Threadbare Fabrics - for denim and jeans kits

(Those are my main ones, I occasionally check out these other places but rarely buy from them)

D&H Fabrics - new shop- I'll probably buy more from here in the future
Stylemaker Fabric
Imagine Gnats
LA Finch Fabrics

I bought 18 patterns this year and have already sewn up 12 of them (and have 2 more cut out and ready to sew). Also I bought 6 of them since black Friday... I was doing really good till then. I have been trying to not buy a pattern until I'm ready to sew it, but if it was a pattern I've been eyeing for years but can't make right now because of the bump, I went ahead and bought it. And I'm excited about sewing them up in the new year! (Only one of them I regret buying, and its a jean shorts pattern that I realized I should have skipped and just modified a jeans pattern I already have and fits me. Oh well. Maybe I'll still try it. We shall see.)

The patterns I bought were:
Newcastle Cardigan - Thread Theory - sewn twice
Ginger Jean Flares  - Closet Case
Walker Jean shorts - DIBY
Kalle Shirt/dress - Closet Case - sewn twice with two more planned
York Pinafore - Helens Closet - sewn three times
Fiona Sundress - Closet Case - sewn once
Melilot Shirt - Deer and Doe - sewn once
Givre Maternity tee/dress - Deer and Doe - sewn three times
Nikko Top/dress - True Bias - sewn twice
Blackwood Cardigan - Helens Closet - sewn once
Tabor V Neck - sewn once but another is ready to cut out
Berlin Jacket - Tessuti - sewn once
Dove Blouse - Megan Nielson - sewn once but want to make lots more
Kendrick Overalls - Hey June
Brunswick Pullover - Hey June - sewn twice
Lodo Dress - True Bias - cut out and ready to sew
Dawn Jeans - Megan Nielson
Jarrah Sweater - Megan Nielson - cut out and ready to sew

Alright well if all of that info didn't overwhelm you its a miracle! But I like to have this information to look back on and compare to other years. I am still solidifying my plans for this year but since I'm expecting baby #3 in 4 weeks, I want to be realistic about my time and energy, and also what I will wear. So I'm taking my time and being deliberate about it. Same with my goals, but I'll share them when they are all ready!

Monday, December 17

Sewing Hits of 2018

Alright sewing friends, like I mentioned in my Sewing Misses post, this year was so good in the sewing arena. I had so many hits and so few misses that these posts have been hard to write. They were hard to write last year too, but for the opposite reason. So many misses it was hard to narrow it down! 

I spent quite a while narrowing my hits down to five, so these patterns that I'm sharing here are serious winners in my book. There are others I super love and only very narrowly missed this list.

I also must mention - I am the literal worst at getting photos of my makes. It takes so much time planning and with two kids and one on the way its been harder than ever this year. And of course now that I want to snap photos in them for you, I'm way too pregnant to fit into most. So you get some real life crappy photos taken throughout the year in places like Harry Pitter World, random parks, the cemetery on Memorial Day, etc.  You're welcome:) At least its proof these patterns are tried and tested and worn on the daily.

So here we go!

This is a Melissa Watson pattern with Palmer and Pletsch fitting instructions so its easy to get a great fit the first time. Its a shirt dress with buttons down to the natural waist, a hidden button placket, collar and collar stand, 3/4 sleeves (or sleeveless option), a partial elastic back for a comfortable fit, and an a-line paneled skirt with a curved hem.

This dress is so flattering on me and a style I love. I've made these two, both out of rayon challis, but I want to make another one next year in a solid color. Maybe in a tencel twill or rayon linen.  

I did make some alterations to get this look. I added 3 inches to the skirt to get it knee length and added more length to the sides which reduced the dramatic curve of the hem. In the navy one, I altered the pattern to use the short sleeve from the highlands wrap dress, and I did an exposed button placket instead of concealed (although you can't really see it in this busy print.) I have a blog post on it here if you want to see and read more.

 4. Chi Town Chino knee length shorts:

This is such a versatile and useful pattern to have. I have the full expansion pack which gives you mid thigh shorts, skirt, full pants, and these knee length Bermudas. They are a chino style without a true waist band, but a waistband facing that comes together really nice and looks great. They have a center back extension which makes adjustments for all sizes really easy, no matter what your waist to hip ratio is. My only adjustments were to add 1.5 inches to the rise to get a higher mid rise instead of the true mid rise they come with. And I slimmed them quite a bit just because my upper thigh is so much larger than my lower thigh so they were enormous at the bottom. But that is super easy to do. I absolutely love this pattern and wore them loads this spring and summer. Like to my sister's home in California, to Harry Potter World, and everywhere else I went every day. 

 Its shocking how much I wore these tops this year and yet I have no photos. So let these photos suffice. And although that's a horrible quality photo from Harry Potter World (paired with my pink chi town chinos) it shows I really wore these eveywhere. I've made two of these, both in the cropped view with 3 inches of length added. After I have the baby I plan to make the tunic one (in a regular shirt length without such a dramatic curved hem in the back) and the dress. I want all the versions. The cropped ones (with added length) are easy to wear with my gingers, morgans, chi towns, and basically all other bottoms that I have.

There are plenty of options in this pattern but both of mine are full button ups with the collar and collar stand. Maybe I'll make the popover version with a mandarin collar next. And both of mine are made in rayon linen, which I love for this shape. Just enough structure for a button up and to show the body of the pattern, and also enough drape as to not add too much bulk from quite a boxy top. But I think for the true shirt length and dress I'll use something with more drape like a rayon poplin, challis, or tencel.

I made my first Farrow last year and liked it, but it was enormous. I mean, it fit as intended but huge tent dresses don't look great on me. So this year I figured out the perfect fit for me (a 12 graded down to a 6 - I have a whole post on that here) and this year made two more. The navy one I haven't really been able to wear yet. I wore it once but then I was too big for it (I made it while pregnant) so I'm just waiting to have this baby and then it should be the perfect loose fitting postpartum dress. If you go by your measurements and make your actual size, you could wear this your entire pregnancy which would be a plus. My adjustments to this pattern were the sizing changes, a broad back adjustment, shortening the sleeves and adding 3 inches in length.

Favorite jeans ever! Button fly, non stretch denim, cropped length. I absolutely cannot wait to make more pairs next year. I made these in a 10oz rigid denim from Threadbare Fabrics. Next I want to try them in a heavier fabric and with an exposed button fly. I love the rise on these. Its called a mid rise but its quite high on me still and although I always love a a true high rise, I find this rise the most flattering and comfortable on me. I want this same rise on all my jeans. I think I'll try the Dawn jeans next year and do a full comparison for those interested.


Ok,  I know that's five but there are two other patterns I simply can't leave off the 'hits' list. 

I made this back in January during the #coatmakingparty that I hosted on instagram with Rachel and Nicole. I am sooooo glad I made this. It is currently the only coat I own that will still button around my 33 week belly, and its warm, cozy and cute too. I used melton double faced wool from Mood and a Robert Kauffman mammoth plaid flannel from Raspberry Creek Fabrics with rayon in the sleeves. I wore this from January-March and now its back in heavy rotation. 

This was my first real coat is a fabulous pattern to start with. Its a-line so you don't have a lot of fitting to do. It has raglan sleeves so you don't need to ease in thick wool sleeves. Just bust darts and a two piece sleeve for a good fit. I added some fish eye darts in the back of mine because I should have done a sway back, but because the loose nature of this coat, that wasn't even essential, just my preference. I also added two, or maybe three, inches to make it a but longer for me. I seriously love it and wear it all the time.

I tested this pattern back in January/February and then immediately made another. And both are definitely in the 30 wears club. I wear one pretty much daily over a zip up Halifax hoodie to the gym. This is a great casual jacket because its fully lined but loose and doesn't require fitting. It has a hood option, two different pocket options and drawstring options as well. Its a total staple in my wardrobe and if you haven't made one, you should. Also, I blogged about this here if you want to see and read more about sizing, etc.

Ok, now I'm done. Apparently I couldn't keep it to five this year. Just too many things on my 'super successful sews' list this year!

So what's on yours? Did you have any hits you just need to shout about, because I'm all ears! Or was it more of a misses year, like last year was for me? Let me know!