Real Life, Real Sewing

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Well it looks like I’ve been bit by the blog tour bug! The good news is it doesn’t hurt too bad, and the better news is that (I think!) I worked out most of the kinks in the last go-round, so this one should go a lot more smoothly than my first blog tour post!

The challenge from Roxanne at PenSeb&Rox and Sew20 is to show that you actually wear what you make – Real Life, Real Sewing. No staged photos are allowed, just pictures of us in our creations, doing our everyday thing. It can be a new item, or an old favourite that gets lots of wear. Oh yeah, and questions! She gave us questions to answer. So thanks for joining, sit back & relax with a coffee (or keep telling your baby not to eat your phone because you’re trying to read), and enjoy!

1. What do you look for when choosing a sewing project?

I like to ask myself “Will (insert name here) wear it?” The same question applies when buying fabric, but for patterns it’s really the most important question, because to me there’s no use having it if it’s not going to be used. (See what I did there?! Use, and used. Never mind, carry on…) The whole point of sewing for my family is to make clothes that we love and will wear, and that fit us properly. As much as I love sewing, there is no point spending the money on supplies, and time on assembly, if we won’t wear it – because that would be money and time better spent somewhere else, like with my family (who will then be naked because they won’t wear the clothes I made?!).

But the clothes that I have made are actually our most-worn items, and it’s such a relief – because let’s be honest, how many of us have closets full of clothes & think “I have nothing to wear!” Yep, guilty. Right here. That’s definitely me. If there’s something me-made in there, though, I never hesitate. And I want that feeling when I pick a project – I want to love the fabric and the fit of the pattern, and I want to want to wear it every day. Like if all my clothes were dirty and I had to pick something from the dirty laundry pile to wear, would I pick that? If the answer’s yes, it’s worth making.

Other things to consider are whether I can alter a pattern that I already own to be similar to save on the expense of buying a new one, and how many projects I already have on the go (will it get done any time soon, or can I wait to buy it later when I actually have the time to use it?). Also worth factoring is how much have I spent on fabric lately? Since I don’t (usually) sew to sell, there has to be a plan for any fabric or pattern that comes into the house.

Oh, and is there a nursing version/hack included or out there in the Facebook sewing world that I can use/I like, or can I figure out my own hack? The perfect example is this Agility Tank from 5 out of 4 Patterns. In the original pattern there is a clip-down nursing option, but I altered how the bra is constructed to make it a lift-up option since the tank is already open on the sides/has access to the bra without lifting the whole tank up.

2.  Is there anything you would like to (or wish you could) do differently when selecting projects?

Yes! I wish I could sew faster to get more done, and not have a budget. Then I’d never have to think about what I would do differently, and my husband wouldn’t panic every time he sees new fabric on the table! haha.  

3. What is your most used/worn sewing project? This either could be of all time or currently.

The first thing I thought of was my black & camel striped Layer Me Up (LMU) tee from Patterns for Pirates (P4P) – this is the first item I ever put a full bust adjustment (FBA) in, and I wear it ALL. THE. TIME. Like, if it’s not in the dirty laundry pile, it’s because I pulled it directly from the dryer to put it on. In fact, it has already put in an appearance on the blog! As with anything I’ve made for myself, though, it rarely makes an appearance in a picture unless it’s a selfie or it’s a planned photo shoot.

But then, I remembered the collection of pants that Baby Rydz has, and thought for SURE those get worn all the time, because they always seem to be dirty! The reason I even started sewing with knits at all was so he could have some affordable Maxaloones to fit over his adorable, fluffy cloth diapered bum. Then I moved on to Yoggers, because who doesn’t love little baby harem pants?! Then I discovered custom print knit fabric and the world of Facebook sewing groups, and all hope was lost. BUT, if the temperature is cool enough you can be guaranteed to spot #BabyRydz in some me-made pants, a bibdana, or the occasional shirt a few times a week. Our very favourite is this pair of Maxaloones made from a sheriff/cowboy/Texas Ranger print.

4. Do you have a project that you thought would be used/worn frequently but just did not end up working out?

YES! There are a bunch, but most of them can be taken apart, altered, and put back as something that I’ll wear pretty easily. Recently there was a case of serious “mom brain” around here & there was a pair of Mamaloones that were beyond saving. I had measured myself, cut, and taped the pattern just a couple weeks after Baby Rydz was born, because my maternity clothes were cutting into my c-section incision & my pre-pregnancy sweatpants either also cut in, or were still just waaaayy too small. But the project was put on the back burner, and months later I remembered that I still REALLY wanted this comfy pair of ‘loones for myself, so that I could have a bum circle too (yeah I’m dorky like that, it’s ok). Plus kind of, I was excited that my booty would fit into a pair of sweats without them stretching tight across the bum. #BigBumProblems 

Anyways, I forgot that I had measured & cut according to my size so soon after birth, PLUS I had been lazy (read: still on pain killers & really shouldn’t have been assembling pattern pieces on the floor) & didn’t bother shortening the pattern to my 5’1″ frame. By the time I was done, they were about 2 1/2 sizes too big, and a good 8″ too long. And they were entirely serged. I thought about fixing them, but was just so exhausted from a crazy day with the baby & the amount of work involved seemed too ridiculous. So I offered them to the ladies in my book club & one of them generously offered to buy them from me. Then she told me how incredibly comfortable they are, and how she wants more for herself & her daughter. Yeah, thanks. You know who else wants incredibly comfy Mamaloones? THIS MAMA! Haha. But the good news is that someone loves them & wears them often, PLUS just last week I finally made myself another pair. Another 3 months after sewing up the first pair. There’s no pictures of me wearing them other than the fit pics though, since I spilled food all over them the first time I wore them, and they’re light coloured. That’s just how I roll…

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5. What is your favorite tip or quote that applies to sewing for real life?

If you can dream it, you can do it. So often a friend will ask me if I can make something, or if it’s possible to re-create something they’ve seen online or in store, and it surprises them that the answer is always yes. Yes it’s possible. I may not want to, I may not have enough time, it may be easy, or quick, or cheap, or hard, or fast, or expensive. It may be worth re-creating, or it may just be worth buying it from the store, but the answer is still yes. So if you’re looking at a pattern thinking “I love it, but…” just remember that it’s within your power to change it! The beauty of sewing for ourselves is to make something exactly how we want, and if we don’t like it, we don’t have to make it that way! I love that this makes clothing shopping so much less stressful, because I don’t panic when I can’t find what I want, and in the end I have a closet full of clothes that I love and that actually get worn.

Do you have any examples of Real Life, Real Sewing to show off? You can play along by using the #realliferealsewing on social media. You can also win one of two $25 gift cards. More details at Sew 20.
Be sure to visit the other participants on this tour!

6/20 | Sew 20 Tour Kick-off | The Wholesome Mama | Wild & Wanderful | Randoms by Rydz

6/21 | Daydream Believers | Sugarplum Cuties | Friends Stitched Together | The Inspired Wren | PenSeb&Rox

6/22 | Sewstarly | Very Blissful | House of Estrela | The Berry Bunch | Musings of a Seamstress

6/23 | mahlicadesigns | sewingbyti | Candice Ayala | Call Ajaire | Sunflower Seams

6/24 | Beri Bee Designs | Lulu & Celeste | FABulous Home Sewn | Mae & K | Sew 20 Social Media Round-up

6/25 | Sew 20 Tour Wrap-up

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Make Laundry Don’t Do Laundry – the Lady Hazel Top

Note: George & Ginger kindly gave me this pattern for this blog tour, but they have no idea what I made or wrote. The faith they have in their pattern says everything – thank-you for your faith in me too!

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When I first started blogging I remember thinking “Definitely, I will never be up for doing a blog tour, it seems like SO much work. I don’t know how those women do it – I can’t even keep up with the laundry, never mind professional blogging!”

Well, I haven’t jumped into the world of professional blogging, BUT when I saw a call for this tour where women would rather make new laundry than wash the dirty clothes, I knew I had to jump on! Karly, Jeanine, and Cassandra put out the challenge to prove that sometimes, it’s actually faster to make new clothes than it is to run a load of laundry through the washer and dryer. Though I’m pretty sure in our house, it’s ALWAYS faster to make new clothes – even if it’s a project that I procrastinate forever and delay finishing!

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Exhibit A: the Lady Hazel by George & Ginger took me 3 days. THREE. DAYS. to complete. Is that actual sewing time? No, because if it were I would never try to sew again. But it IS how long it took from the time I started until the time that it was ready to wear in public. Because life: Baby Rydz demanding attention, poopy bedsheets, a monstrous spider invading my car, Bible study, hemming all 87 feet (!!!) of a prom dress, Baby Rydz puking on the sewing table (no, I don’t want to talk about it), and every other interruption you can imagine. You know, life things. But then that’s the point of this tour, right? When we’re made to choose between family time, sewing, and laundry, it’s family time & sewing that win. Unless there’s poopy AND pukey baby laundry. Sometimes, the laundry has to win.

But my reality is this: I am not one of those organized bloggy moms who gets a load of laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away every day in order to reduce the clutter/stress/chaos/wasted time/sanity/whatever else their Pinterest tag is peddling. I am that almost-losing-her-mind, way-out-of-her-league, totally-disorganized-FORGOT-TO-PACK-DIAPERS mom who just had a poopsplosion happen in the middle of playgroup.  Which means more often than not, it takes a good 10 days for laundry to get done around here. And no, I don’t mean all of the laundry gets binge-washed every 10 days (if it does, that’s probably because my husband has gone on a crusade, or I’ve had a REALLY good night’s sleep!).

It’s more like:
Day 1: Put laundry in washer.
Day 2: Don’t think about laundry.
Day 3: Remember laundry when we are across town & won’t be home for another 3 hours. Make mental note to switch load when we get home.
Day 4: Remember to switch load. But now it smells funky, so re-wash instead.
Day 5: Husband goes looking for soccer clothes, switches load to dryer but still doesn’t know where his favourite shorts are.
Day 6: Make mental note to wash load that has husband’s soccer clothes from last night before they get funky. Must also find other probably-funky load with lost soccer shorts.
Day 7: Husband takes load from dryer & puts in basket in middle of living room, as a passive-agressive attempt to get me to fold it. He puts baby load in because baby no longer has any clean towels for bath time. Or has made a mess of every crib sheet we own. Or both.
Day 8: Chase baby away from laundry basket 8 thousand times so he doesn’t drool on clean clothes, rather than take 10 minutes to fold it.
Day 9: Find wet swim clothes in swim bag that was used on Day 2, throw in washer & fold drool-encrusted load from living room basket so basket can be emptied/used. Empty said folded laundry to bench at the foot of the bed.
Day 10: Dress self, husband, and Baby Rydz using clean clothes on bench at foot of the bed. Realise we are all short on clean clothes, so print a PDF pattern to make. Put swim clothes in dryer, throw a new load in the washer, and re-start at day 1.
And now, an interlude of Baby Rydz, with a background of piled-up living room laundry, just to prove my point. Why is there ALWAYS laundry haunting the background of otherwise cute photos?! Oh right, it’s because I haven’t done it yet…
For anyone who neeeeeeeeeeds to know, this is how much time it actually took:
Day 1: Printing, taping, cutting pattern & cutting fabric – 1 hour, 30 minutes. But that’s not *really* accurate, since part of that was spent chasing Baby Rydz away from the pattern pieces, taking breaks to hold him, and trying to work one-handed. Not to mention snack & rehydration. It’s always important to rehydrate…
Day 2: All of the sewing except hand-stitching & hemming – and including seam-ripping one arm hole because I sewed it in backwards due to lack of caffeine – 45 minutes. Note to self: properly caffeinate before operating sewing machinery in order to avoid do-overs.
Day 3: Hand-stitch & hem. I didn’t time this part, but I was done by the time hubby was done cooking a 1/2 pack of bacon.
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So why did I take so long? First, it’s a new pattern. I’ve never made a G&G pattern before, so it’s getting to know the designer’s style and the pattern instructions. Second, it’s the hand-stitching. I HATE hand-stitching. Seriously, it took me 2 days to work up the courage to get to it. And in the end, it took less than 10 minutes. Was it worth it? To be honest, no. I’m not completely sold on the style, even though I was convinced that I would love this shirt. My husband says it looks weird, and wants to know why I call it “done” when there are no sleeves? Whatever. But my least favourite part? The fabric I picked needs to be ironed. Badly. From the pictures you can’t tell that I’ve ironed it repeatedly, but I have. In the end a drooly baby rolled all over it, and I decided to go with it because what’s an honest post about hating laundry if we don’t talk about avoiding the iron too?!
What I do like, is how airy/flowy it is – I’m sure this will be comfortable & light for summertime, even though there are 2 layers of fabric. I think I will give this pattern one more try, but now I’m on the hunt for juuuust the right fabric. And next time, I think I will cheat and alter the arm holes so that I won’t have to hand stitch at all. It won’t look as pretty, but since it’s just for me, I don’t mind. It’s not my absolute favourite top for this summer, but it’s a nice change from my usual “momiform” – which, if I’m being honest, will always be my absolute favourite.
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Thanks for following along on his leg of the Make Laundry, Don’t Do Laundry tour! Don’t forget to sign up for your chance to win some amazing prizes, AND get some amazing discounts from our sponsor designers, including George & Ginger, designer of this Lady Hazel!
My favourite part of a blog tour is discovering all of the new-to-me blogs. Be sure to check them out – some of my serious girl crushes are on this tour – it’s like I’m mingling with the celebrities! HAHA! So really, go look around!

 

Thanks to all of our amazing sponsors for being a part of this tour.

A few of the designers are having sales for the duration of the tour, so here’s the codes!
George & Ginger use code MAKELAUNDRY25 for 25% off her patterns
Blaverry use code MAKELAUNDRY for 25% off her patterns
Stitch Art use code MAKELAUNDRY for 30% off patterns
Paisley Roots use code MAKELAUNDRY for 25% off patterns
These codes are good through June 12th!

Then Laela Jeyne’s Emily Womens T-shirt & the Deluxe Charlotte Kids Leggings are on sale through the 11th! No code needed!

I know everyone loves a good giveaway so here’s the prize packages:

Link-up Prize Package
Prize Package 1
Prize Package 2
Join the Rafflecopter fun here:
And don’t forget that there’s a prize pack for linking up your Laundry creation! Link Up at Pear Berry LanePaisley Roots, or The Crafting Fiend