Tag Archives: completed

Completed: The Watson Bikini

11 May

I don’t know about where y’all are, but swimsuit season is BASICALLY upon us over here. Sure, they haven’t opened the pools – yet (that always happens on Memorial Day weekend, coincidentally right around my birthday as well. Pool parties every year for this kid!) – but it’s only a matter of time. Plus, I want to be ready when the water is warm – and not be scrambling to finish something the night before I hit the pool. Last-minute sewing is for people who work well under pressure. Which is not me.

Watson Bikini

So, anyway, I made a bikini! Yeah!!!

Watson Bikini

If this pattern looks familiar, it’s because I’ve made it before (not to mention it’s made some ROUNDS ’round the internet). It’s not a swimsuit pattern, per se – it’s actually a lingerie pattern. This here is the Watson Bra & Bikini pattern from Cloth Habit, modified into the swimsuit you see here. And yes, I realize that these pictures basically mean y’all are seeing me in lingerie. Whatever.

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

I have made this pattern before a couple of times (see one and two), so I knew I was good with the fit and I had strong feelings that this pattern would work equally well as swimwear with a few modifications. It was just a matter of finding a good swimwear lycra and figuring out how to stabilize that cradle in a way that wouldn’t deteriorate in chlorine and salt water.

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

Since I’ve gone into detail about the making of this pattern before, I won’t talk too much about the sizing or construction outside of making it into swimwear. I sewed my regular size – the 30D – and the fit was good except a did have a bit of gaping right between the side of the cup and the underarm. I think it has more to do with my elastic application – it might not have been stretched enough – but it was on both sides so I dunno. It may have been due to the stretch of my fabric, but the rest of the top fits great and the 4 way stretch is similar to the millskin I used for my first Watson. Anyway, I fixed it by taking in a dart and topstitching it down (at this point, the swimsuit was complete so there was nooo way I was unpicking all that shit haha). Not the most elegant solution, but the print is super busy so you can’t really see it, plus it’s right at my armpit. If anyone is looking and notices that shit, we’ve got bigger problems on our hands.

Other than that, the fit was good! I add a little bit of extra to the bottoms – about 1/2″ extended out from the back for more butt coverage, and about 1/2″ extended at the top to make them slightly higher. They’re still a little cheeky, but I think it’s pretty cute :)

Watson Bikini

Like I said, there were a couple of things that needed to be addressed in order to convert this into proper swimwear. For one, I knew it needed lining (maybe you wear unlined swimsuits, but I don’t!). I cut an extra of every piece out of swimsuit lining, and was able to origami it so that there aren’t any raw edges, except where the cups meet the band. Couldn’t figure that one out, so I just serged the seam. I also needed to change out aaaall that elastic to be swimsuit elastic- the picot and lace edges elastics that you use in lingerie are beautiful, but they aren’t made to hold up to salt water and chlorine (not to mention, they totally make that shit look like a bra). This was easy – I used braided swimsuit elastic and attached it opposite of how you attach lingerie elastic. Meaning, you sew the first swipe on the inside of the garment (I used my serger, but you can zigzag this), and then fold it one more time and zigzag topstitch. I did this everywhere except at the top of the cups, where I sewed it as you normally would for a bra (hadn’t thought that far ahead, whoops).

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

The strapping at the back band also totally stumped me for about a month. In the pattern, the top of the back band is finished with strapping that extends to go over your shoulders. It’s beautiful, but it’s not really good for swimwear (again, can’t stand up to the elements/chemicals, and – again, looks like lingerie). Of course, you can just finish the top edge with elastic the same way you finish all the other edges – but I liked the look of the strapping, plus, I have a feeling it’s sewn that way to help with the fit. After a bit of thought, I decided to do elastic covered straps and apply them the same way that the strapping is done on a regular bra. I used Ada Spragg’s tutorial on making elastic swimsuit straps (GIRL THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS SHIT), and they turned out pretty nice! I left off the adjustable sliders since the elastic was so thick, but I did keep the little O-rings at the top.

The only downside is that I wasn’t quite precise with my seam allowances, so one strap has a tendency to twist (I’m pretty sure that’s from the elastic inside trying to roll up). It’s annoying, but not enough to make me unpick and start over. We’ll see how I feel after I get back from the beach :P

Watson Bikini

Watson Bikini

Another thing that needed to be addressed was changing out the hook and eye for something that looks, you know, not like a bra. I used a swimsuit hook and eye – I know it doesn’t match, but it’s all I had on hand and anyway, you can’t really see it when it’s on – and just adjusted the back to fit the hook. I did this after the swimsuit was assembled, but before I attached the straps. There’s a tutorial on how to do this over at Cloth Habit, it’s for a bra, but same concept. For the opposite side, I just folded over the edge and sewed it down to make a tunnel for the hook to go through. Easy!

Watson Bikini

Finally, I had to figure out a way to stabilize the cradle while still making this thing hold up in water. For most lingerie patterns, this might not be a problem – but with this particular pattern, the cradle (the part of the band that attaches to the cups) needs to be stabilized so it does not stretch. The pattern has you use lightweight tricot, but I wasn’t sure if that would deteriorate over time. Instead, I cut two pieces of heavy powermesh running in opposite directions, and stacked them on top of each other with the swimsuit lycra on top and the lining on the bottom. Powermesh is water-friendly (well, so I’ve been told!) and it does a pretty good job of keeping everything stable.

Watson Bikini

The rest of the bikini was as straightforward as making lingerie. All pieces are cut from swimsuit lyrcra and swimsuit lining (other than the powermesh to stablize the cradle), and I included lots of zigzag topstitching to give it a sporty look.

In case you were wondering, my swimsuit lycra is from Spandex House in NYC. I bought it while I was in the Garment District in March. My lining is also from Spandex House, and the elastics I used are from Joann’s. I think the bra rings came off an old bra, and I don’t remember where the swimsuit hook is from. Other than using the serger to attach the elastic, I sewed everything on my sewing machine. Even with me stopping and researching and scratching my head, this shit only took a couple of hours to make. And just like that – I’m ready for the beach! Yay!

Oh, and how ’bout that AWESOME necklace I’m wearing?? I can’t take credit for choosing that – its from Rocksbox, which is a new online service where you rent 3 pieces of jewelry every month, chosen for you by a stylist. You can swap out the jewelry as much as you like during the month, and any pieces you buy are discounted. I’ve been trying it for about a month and it’s really fun – and definitely got me wearing jewelry that I otherwise neverrrr would have picked up. I was given a couple of months free by the company to try it out, but I’m seriously thinking of maintaining the account afterwards because I like this shit waaaay more than I thought I would! It’s only $19 a month, the shipping is free both ways, and I’ve received (and bought :I) some really cool pieces! So there’s that. Anyway, bringing this up now because you can use the code lladybirdxoxo and try your first month of Rocksbox for freeeeee. Who doesn’t like free, amirite? Also, SHINY.

Watson Bikini

Can’t wait to try this bad boy out in the water when we go to the beach in a couple of weeks! Also bonus for having a suit that no one else will be wearing (I used to buy aaaall my suits at Target. Do you know how many Target swimsuits run up and down Santa Rosa Beach? Do you know how many of those said swimsuits look better on the other person than they do on me? The shame.). I have tons more of this lycra – the minimum cut was 1 yard and you really only need like 1/4 yard to make a bikini – so I’m already trying to justify having a fleet of geometric swimsuits. We’ll see!

Completed: Some Tshirts, + thoughts on Me-Made-May

5 May

Good morning & happy May, everyone! Today we are gonna talk about my tshirts! I briefly touched over this pattern in my last post (and also when I made this ~heart-on~ sweater), but I’ve done some more tweaking to my pattern so I thought I would share some updates.

My first renditions were pretty awesome as far as the fit of the body was concerned, but were quite lacking in the neckline department. I love a deep scoop neck, but something about that neckline was practically square and it just drove me way crazier than it should have. I ended up retracing my pattern and substituting the Briar neckline and binding, which I think makes for a much more flattering scoop neck. I also lengthened the body just a bit more and copied the hem off the Ensis Tee because I really loved that subtle curve.

Just to be clear – I did not do ANY drafting with this pattern. I’m not a pattern drafter; I’m a copier and a tracer and I loves me a good Frankenpattern. I copied the body and cap sleeves from the Lady Skater. Obviously this pattern is just for my personal use, but it’s pretty easy to hack out your own if you’ve got patterns on hand with elements that you like and want to mash up into one pattern :)

Soooo anyway, here are my finished tees as of these latest adjustments. I used a few different types of fabrics, so they’re all slightly different looking and feeling (probably not so much in the pictures, but definitely so much in real life).

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THE PINK LADY: This is the first one I made – I used some fabric in my stash that I only sort of cared about (cared enough to wear if it worked out, cared little enough to not cry if it didn’t) to make sure my adjustments all translated into something cohesive at the end. I bought this fabric at Textile Discount Outlet when I was in Chicago like… 2 years ago. Eep. It’s a soft poly knit that was pretty inexpensive but has held up surprisingly well and resisted pilling. I actually bought enough to make a maxi dress – I 100% blame this on the girl who was cutting it, because she told me she would make a maxi with it and then that’s all I could see for the rest of the day – and then I cut said maxi dress and SOMEHOW LOST THE BACK PIECE. I honestly have noooo idea where that piece went. I literally crawled around on the floor of my sewing room like a dog in search of it. It disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle or something, idk. I’ve even purged my sewing room and moved since them, and still can’t find that damn back piece. No idea, y’all. No idea.

Also – green hair & different background! How old is this picture?! Ha! Before you get all up in arms about how bad my hair looks – I know it looks bad. This was during the very end of my green, when I was intentionally fading it so it would be easier to color correct at the salon.

Some flat shots:

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To make these, I just whip them through my serger and use this method to apply the neck binding. The hem and sleeves are finished with a twin needle. Super easy!

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THE WALDO: To be honest, this particular tshirt is 100% the reason why I was hacking around with this pattern so much. The fabric is an amazing rayon/spandex that I bought/splurged on at Cloth House during my big shopping day with Tilly (don’t ask me which Cloth House; we went to both but I can’t remember which one ended up taking my money haha). It was pretty pricy – I think around £18 per meter – but I only needed a small amount to make a tshirt, so I justified it. Also, it came in an adorable little bag that made me feel like I was carrying around a present, so that was nice haha. It’s a thin knit, but it’s not sheer. The added spandex gives the fabric a bit of heft, so it kind of sucks in and holds up and doesn’t really drape. It also holds it’s shape REALLY well. I wish I had more of this fabric in every color of the rainbow, it’s incredible.

ANYWAY, I have a similarly-striped vintage Henley that has 3/4 sleeves (well, long sleeves… but it’s child-sized, so 3/4 sleeves on me, ha) that I love wearing, but it’s falling apart so I’ve been looking for a replacement ever since. This is not an exact replacement – lack of Henley buttons and short sleeves and all that – but it’s a bit more appropriate for the climate I live in, as I can wear short sleeves almost year round. Awesome.

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THE BLAQUE: I’ve been lacking a simple black tshirt (and white, for that matter) for a looong time, so obviously that was the next wardrobe filler to make. This fabric is from Metro Textile, and I bought it back in March. It’s another rayon/spandex, similar to the Cloth House fabric, but a little lesser quality (that’s not to say it’s bad quality – but nothing can compare to that striped dream above. Nothing.). It has the same sucking-in and holding-it’s-shape qualities as the striped rayon, but it has a little bit of a drape. The fact that it doesn’t bag out over the course of the day means that this one will get a lot of wear. Hate having clothing that grows 3 sizes by the end of the day.

Also, um, sorry bout the deo stain by the hem. Whoops. At least you know my pits smell fresh.

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THE WHITE W(H)INE: My least favorite of the bunch, if only because of fabric choice. It’s funny how you can make the same freaking pattern and still have each finished garment look different depending on the fabric you used. This fabric was also from Metro Textiles, and it’s also a rayon, but it’s lacking that sweet, sweet spandex. As a result, the fabric is very lightweight, borderline sheer, and drapes like a dream. It also meant that the shirt was a bit too big, especially around the bicep. I tried it on before hemming and sucked in the side seams about 1/2″ on each side and took about 1″ off the sleeve circumference. It’s still a little loose – and the lack of elasticness in the fabric means this will grow over the course of the day – but I think it looks all right. Next time, though, I’m sticking with knits that have some spandex.

Couple of other things – my shorts are linen Thurlows from a couple of years ago. They’re a little big in the legs, but the looseness is ok for now because that is a pretty fresh tattoo you’re seeing on my thigh. No close-ups because it’s in the gross peeling stage right now, but here’s a shot taken immediately after it was finished.

So anyway, going back to the title of this post – Me-Made-May has just started, and my Instagram feed is delightfully full of endless selfies featuring handmades. To those of y’all who are unfamiliar with MMM, it’s a month-long challenge to get you wearing your handmades and figuring out wardrobe gaps (check out the link; Zo does a much better job of explaining it than I do). I have participated for a few years now – 2012, 2013 and 2014 – and I always enjoy it, except for the whole daily photo part :P This year, though, I have decided to opt-out.

For one, I make everything I wear now. I own very little RTW, and none of it is new – it’s just stuff that managed to survive several closet purges. Wearing handmade is something that I do daily, from my pajamas to my jeans to my tshirts to even my freaking underwear. It seems a bit silly and redundant to spend a month documenting it at this point. There’s nothing novel about it for me, it’s just my daily life. Also, I HATE taking daily photos. Gets old after about 3 days.

The bigger reason why I’m choosing to opt out is because my participation has given me this weird complex about repeating outfits. I don’t know why! Outfit repeats used to be a big part of my style (I like it and I latch onto it, ain’t no shame in that) – but something about spending a month documenting your wardrobe and trying to intentionally wear different outfits every day really started to make me feel like I *needed* to always have something fresh and new. That’s not really a sustainable way of dressing – and having a giant closet of things I only sorta like is surprisingly stressful. I went down a weird rabbit hole of not ever wearing my favorite pieces, because I wanted to “save” them for… something. Which is REALLY stupid! I wear (and make!) clothes because I like them and I feel good in them. If I want to wear the same dress three times in one week, I should just do it. If anyone notices that I’m wearing the same dress 3x in one week, then that’s their problem, not mine. Unless I smell, which in that case someone should definitely say something.

While I love and appreciate what Me-Made-May stands for and how it helps people get out of clothing ruts and determine wardrobe holes, it’s just not working for me. So I won’t be participating this year, and y’all can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that you don’t get blasted with 31 extra photos of my mug this month :)

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On that note – how’s your Me-Made-May going? Are you participating? Have you opted out? Are you enjoying the daily updates of outfits as much as I am?

Completed: A Cardigan, a Skirt, and a Tshirt!

30 Apr

Woohoo y’all get a damn TRIFECTA of garments for today’s post! Lucky you!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

For my monthly Mood Sewing Network post, this month I wanted to focus on that amazing striped sweater knit that you’re probably staring at (you should be staring at it, it’s fucking awesome). But I felt really boring just making *a* sweater (a sweater that took maybe 2 hours, tops, to complete), so I overcompensated and made my entire outfit. Yay!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

We’ll start with the cardigan because it truly is the star of this outfit. It’s another SBCC Cabernet cardigan, this time with my minor adjustments made to the flat pattern (you can see my leopard Cabernet cardigan here, btw!). Since I’ve already made the pattern once, there’s not really anything new to report in terms of construction.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

I bought the navy and white striped fabric while I was at the Mood Fabrics flagship store in NYC in March. I got soooo much good stuff while I was there, but this particular piece really takes the cake. I swear, if the bolt hadn’t been so heavy, it probably would have jumped off the shelf and fallen directly into my arms. We were like star-crossed lovers when we caught sight of one another.

ANYWAY, gushing aside – what we have here is a cotton double knit that works and feels like the perfect sweater knit. It’s wonderfully thick and squishy, and while it does drape a little bit, it also hold it’s shape quite well. It was really the perfect fabric for this pattern, as it responds really nicely to pressing and topstitching. I was careful in my cutting to not only match up the stripes at the side seams, but also the stripes blending into the sleeve cuffs and hem bands. The neckband is actually the same striped fabric – I just positioned the pattern piece so that the widest navy stripe was the only thing that showed when it’s folded in half. I knew I wanted a solid color at that neckband, but I didn’t want to try to color match, because nope.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Because the striped knit is so thick, it was a bit of a beast to manhandle. Cutting it was painful (I REALLY need to get my scissors sharpened, dammit!) and the sewn seams were lumpy and wavy before I pressed them. It’s super important to press if you’re dealing with a fabric like this – the flatness is what makes the finished piece look so polished. Topstitching down the seam allowances also helped. As with my last cardigan, I used the straight stitch on my machine and a walking foot. The rest of the seams are serged.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

The skirt is another one of my beloved Hollyburn skirts. I cannot stress this enough, but I LOOVE this pattern. SO MUCH. As soon as I finished the denim polka dot Hollyburn, I started lurking hard for a yellow twill to make another one. I really love this neon delight of a yellow, but it’s hellish looking against my skin – so obviously, the next best thing is a skirt.

I found the fabric also while I was in NYC, also at the Mood Fabrics flagship store (sorryyyyy not sorry). I actually spent a good deal of time looking for this one – I knew I wanted yellow twill, but the stuff in the twill section wasn’t quite up to snuff. Too pale, too lightweight, too much of something. This particular fabric was actually located in the denim section – I imagine there is someone, somewhere, who has made an amazing pair of jeans with this fabric.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

This is a stretch cotton twill with lots of lycra in the content, giving it a super heavy stretch. Even though it’s on the lighter side (heavy enough to be considered a bottomweight, however), it has plenty of body that gives this skirt a great structure. The only downside to all that lycra is that it made the fabric really hard to get a good press. I ended up topstitching all the seams to keep them flat, about 1/4″ distance (as opposed to my usual 1/8″). The wider topstitching paired with this fabric really gives it a nice denim-y look, which I like. I thought about topstitching around the pocket bags to give those definition too, and “thought,” I mean I tried it and it looked absolutely terrible so I ripped it out. Don’t do that.

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

The back closes with a simple lapped zipper, and all the inside seams are serged. Basic stuff!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Finally, the most basic of the basics – my tshirt!

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

This is SUCH a simple tshirt that it hardly bears a mention, however, we’re here and it’s here so let’s just roll with it. The fabric is this sheer white slubbed rayon jersey, which was WAY more sheer than I was expecting but it’s sort of awesome. It’s suuuuper soft, drapey, and the texture of the fabric makes it a tiny bit more interesting than your average plain white tshirt. I used my always-tweaking-almost-done-tweaking Frankenpattern’d tshirt to make this. The neckline is bound using Megan Nielsen’s bound neckline method, which is hands-down my FAVORITE way to finish a neckline on a slinky knit like this. It just looks really really good, and it’s nice and sturdy. I love the traditional method, of course, but some of the more drapey fabrics don’t do so hot with that method because you have to REALLY stretch them to keep them from being floppy, which ends up with a tight neckline that’s practically gathered.

Speaking of slinky knits, binding that neckline was about the only easy part of sewing this tshirt. Talk about the slinkiest knit ever! It was worth it, though, because I can always use more white tshirts. Even if they are see-through. And yes, the pocket is totally in the wrong place and I’m totally not picking it off because I don’t think the fabric can survive that kind of trama.

Detail shots:

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

(that’s a Sewn with Mood Fabrics tag, by the way! :) )

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

PHEW.

Ok, one more picture:

Striped Cabernet Cardigan + Yellow Hollyburn

Only including this one because I look like I’m about to eat whatever is in my line of vision haha.

** Note: All fabrics for this project were provided to me in exchange for a review post as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Linen Carolyn Pajamas

27 Apr

Let’s start this post with the shocker: I don’t really care for linen.

Carolyn Pajamas

I know, I know. Linen is supposed to be a rite of passage for Southern gals – it’s cool and breathable, and the wrinkles are supposed to be there. Well, I HATE the wrinkles! Wrinkly fabric drives me insane, makes me feel rumply and unkempt. I just can’t get behind a fabric that wants to wrinkle the second I look at it, much less wear it around for a few hours. Nope nope nope.

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That being said – I really want to like linen. Seriously! I love the idea of a fabric that gets softer with every wash, and as someone who could probably work up a sweat in the middle of the Arctic (I don’t even know how that’s possible, considering that I’m ALWAYS cold, but leave it to my body to fuck up my heating and cooling system), I’m always on the hunt for light and breathable fabric to wear during the summer months. Linen was my nemesis, but I was willing to extend the olive branch and make an effort at friendship.

Also, I’ve been eyeballing that striped linen fabric for months now at the studio (and probably for more months to come, since stripes just launched at Elizabeth Suzann woohoo!), and I knew it needed to be in my life/on my body. Linen wrinkles be dammed.

Carolyn Pajamas

There are many, many, many important things I’ve learned through my sewing journey. One of the biggest ones (well, other than not sewing over your pins. STOP THAT RIGHT NOW) is not to fight against your fabric. If your fabric is drapey, don’t try to sew something form-fitting with it. Alternatively, fabric with a lot of body needs to be made into something that will work with the shape. And if you are sewing linen but still hating on the wrinkles… make pajamas. No one cares if your pajamas are wrinkled (and if they do – get out. Get out right now while you still can).

Also, have you slept in linen pajamas before? LORD HAVE MERCY.

Carolyn Pajamas

Making proper pajamas has been on my sewing to-do list for aaaages. I love wearing matching pajamas sets, even if Landon does think they are dorky (I did compromise and get rid of the hot pink cat pajamas though. Relationships, man!). My mom actually buys me a new pajama set from Victoria’s Secret every year for Christmas (not the hot pink cats, those came from my AWESOME Mamaw). Still, I’ve always wanted to make my own so I could have – what else? – complete control over every aspect of the design, color, and fit. But I’ve never really found a suitable pajama pattern that didn’t look like something more appropriate for an 8 year old boy, so I held off on that dream.

The winning pattern you see here is the newest pattern from Closet Case Files, the Carolyn Pajamas. I looooooved this pattern the second it graced my inbox – the slim, feminine cut of both the top and bottoms, as well as the inclusion of the piping (I mean, I know how to sew piping, but it’s pretty nice to have a pattern that was designed for optional piping, if you get my drift), were what really got my gears turning. Also, Heather Lou looks amazing in those product photos, doesn’t she? I could steal that hair right off her head. I won’t, but should it ever go missing, well…

Carolyn Pajamas

I really enjoyed sewing this pattern! While I wouldn’t exactly call the linen easy to work with (it was a shifty little bitch and was prone to constant fraying), it did respond beautifully to pressing and took all the piping and topstitching like a champ. I recall when Heather Lou first released this pattern, she mentioned how much she labored over the instructions – and it really shows. Everything is very clearly laid out with beautiful little diagrams and helpful tips, and it’s about as hand-holdy as you can get with a pattern without actually having it be part of a sewalong (there’s no sewalong for this pattern, however, there are a few posts on the CCF website to guide you through the trickier steps if you need it!). I’m especially impressed with how nice my collar turned out – piping and all!

Carolyn Pajamas

Carolyn Pajamas

I made the size 2, based on my measurements and following Heather Lou’s advice. I reeeeally wanted to make the 0 because the ease just seemed excessive, but I’m glad I followed along faithfully because this fit is pretty spot-on. It’s sleek and somewhat fitted (I mean, fitted as far as pajamas are concerned), but there’s juust enough ease to make them super comfy. I did trim about 2″ off the legs, but that’s about it. I feel like there could be some tweaking with the armhole – it seems a bit low and pulls when I reach forward – but that may just be because I’m used to wear shirts that are a lot more tailored. It’s not uncomfortable or restrictive by any means.

I chose to make the long pants with the short-sleeved top. I was originally just going to make shorts, but my new digs are in a basement (I mean, it’s a happy basement with windows and a door – but it’s still a basement, with basement chill), and it’s a bit chilly down here right now. I added piping to the pocket, cuffs, collar, and leg side seams. The piping is self-made – I used more of this glorious linen fabric in the opposite colorway, and cut bunches of bias strips and sewed it around yards of cording. I prefer self-made piping, not just for the color/print selection, but also because it tends to be a lot softer than the stuff you can buy (well, I’m sure you can get awesome soft and flexible piping at some place like in the Garment District, but here all we have is that Dritz stuff in the packages and that stuff is AWFUL if you try to sew it to a drapey fabric. Again – don’t fight the fabric!). I didn’t have wide enough elastic as was required by the pattern, so I sewed an extra line of stitching about 1/4″ away from the top of the pants edge and inserted the elastic below, resulting in a frilly little gathered edge (some of my RTW pjs have this feature and I’ve always loved it!). Here’s a post about elastic waistband finishes if that doesn’t make sense.

Carolyn Pajamas

As I mentioned, I got my fabric from Elizabeth Suzann, because I work there and I get awesome employee benefits like wholesale fabric prices (don’t be jealous). It’s striped 100% linen (I’ve seen similar fabrics to this rolling around on the internet, but most are referred to as a cotton/linen mix. The stuff I have here is definitely all linen) and it is GLORIOUS. It also wrinkles, frays, and shifts like crazy. It wasn’t the most amazing piece of fabric to work with, but I’m glad I powered through because it is pretty amazing to wear. I made sure to finish all my seam allowances with the serger to keep the fraying down (for the front facing, I just serged the edge instead of doing a rolled edge, since I thought the bulk would show through). I didn’t realize how sheer the fabric is, so some of the dark piping shows through on the right side. It’s super sheer and everyone is absolutely aware of the color of my underwear when I wear these pants, just so we’re clear (I’m wearing nude undies for these photos, to save your eyes). It’s also, like I said, super shifty – so my pocket is really wonky. I’m going to call it “charming.”

Detail shots:

Carolyn Pajamas

Carolyn Pajamas

Carolyn Pajamas

Carolyn Pajamas

Carolyn Pajamas

Pretty good stuff! I love my new pajamas and I definitely feel like a Classy Adult when I wear them, wrinkles and all. I definitely want to make a flannel pair when winter rolls around – finally, I won’t be at the mercy of whatever pink shit they’re selling at VS, woohoo! Too bad my mom is going to have to find a new Christmas gift to buy for me. Sorry, mom! Maybe I’ll make you pajamas instead :P

One last thing – the giveaway winner from last week! Random number generator says…

winner1

winner2

Woohoo, congratulations Kayse! I’ll be in touch to get that gift certificate out to you ASAP. Can’t wait to see what you make with your fabric :DDD

Carolyn PajamasFinally, this would be my senior picture, if I was still in high school and did things like senior pictures. The end.

Completed: Be-Zazzle’d McCall’s 6887 (+ a GIVEAWAY!)

20 Apr

I shared a little sneak peek of this dress in my last post (which, by the way – if you haven’t browsed through the comments, you absolutely should! I LOVED reading everyone’s stories!), and I had quite a few comments and emails from people asking what the pattern was and where I got the fabric. I’m sorry that I had to hold out on y’all – photography was just NOT happening that day – but I’m happy to be able to share the whole shebang with you today! Hopefully you’ll think it was worth the wait ;)

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Introducing – my first make for Summer 2015, the Be-Zazzle’d Pineapple dress :D I don’t ever name my makes (partially because that would be a LOT of names to come up with, and partially because, well, as you can clearly see – I’m not very good at naming things hahaha), but naming this one was just toooo easy. Sorry if it made you groan. DGAF.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

I guess we should talk about the fabric first, because it’s slightly more of a focal point than the pattern (tho I promise we will get to the pattern soon!). It’s hard to see from these far-out pictures, but my dress is covered in tiny pineapples! Cartoon-y pineapples, to be exact, since we all know those are the cutest pineapples. And, unlike cherries, I actually really really really love pineapples. I have been known to eat an entire pineapple in one sitting, and I have no regrets. Well, maybe my mouth does, but it has learned to deal.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Here’s a close-up of the fabric. Isn’t it so awesome? It’s definitely a cutesy little novelty print, but it’s not quite so in-your-face as some of the novelty prints you find on quilting cottons. It’s a little more subtle (well, as subtle as you can get with cartoon-y pineapples on a watercolor turquoise blue background), and it’s just pretty. I love it so much!

The fabric is called “Tropical Summertime Watercolor Pineapple,” and it from Zazzle. Did you know that Zazzle prints custom, on-demand fabric? Neither did I! This is a new venture that they’ve recently rolled out, and they offered me a few yards to try out and see if I liked it. Um, you guys. IT IS AMAZING. Granted, most of the fabrics offered are Home Decor weight, but they do have a classic combed cotton (similar to quilting cotton) and a Pima cotton, which are both suitable for apparel. I decided to go with the Pima cotton, and I chose an existing design. You can absolutely design your own print – I just didn’t want to go that route personally because I don’t really have a good eye for things like fabric design! I’d rather let someone else handle that part and let me make the dress ;)

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Pima cotton is very easy to work with – it’s similar to quilting cotton, just lighter (but not quite as light as, say, voile). It doesn’t fray much and it cuts and sews like a dream. It doesn’t press quite as well as some other cottons – I just used my clapper to hold the seams down while they cooled, and that worked fine (your hand also works in place of a clapper, but don’t burn yourself! Ask me how I know. Also, ask me why I ended up getting a clapper, haha). The only minor downside is that, since the fabric is printed, the design only shows on one side – so the wrong side is white. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it’s certainly something to be aware of when choosing a pattern. You don’t want to use one that will show the wrong side of the fabric, unless that’s part of your ~design inspiration.

I pre-washed my fabric before sewing it, and I definitely got a little bit of color fading. Not as much as you’d think – the colors of the fabric upon arrival weren’t quite as neon as they are in that product photo! – but they are a little muted. I actually like them better this way, so I’m ok with that! I washed the fabric on cold and dried it on low, same as I pre-treat all of my fabric. Going forward, I plan on washing this as infrequently as I can get away with (I mean, short of stinking up a 5 foot radius around me or anything like that) and when I do wash it, I will turn it inside-out and hang it to dry on the line. I imagine if this was hand-washed and hung to dry, it would probably retain it’s colors a bit better, but I’m a woman who ain’t got time to hand-wash her clothes (and, tbh, I only line-dry because then it means I don’t have to iron hahahahahaha), so I can live with a little fading.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Now for the pattern! Since the fabric has a good amount of body, I wanted to use that to it’s advantage and make something with a bit of sleek structure. I used Mccall 6887, which has front princess seams, a scoop neck, a flared skirt – and this awesome back detail:

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

WHICH IS BASICALLY MY FAVORITE THING EVER AT THE MOMENT.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

For sizing, I cut the bodice in a size 6 with an A/B cup (I don’t 100% understand these cup sizes because I definitely don’t wear anything close to an A/B cup in real life, but whatever. The sewing pattern fits and that’s all that matters, I guess.) and graded out the waist and hips to the size 8. I chose these sizes based off the finished measurements, and I’m really happy with how the dress ended up fitting (my measurements put me in a “suggested” size 10, which as you could see here would have ended up way too big. Use the finished measurements, y’all! Trust me!). It’s actually pretty perfect straight out of the envelope – I didn’t have to do anything! Even the straps are a good length, which is really surprising to me as I usually have to shorten them. I cut about 3″ off the skirt length because it was otherwise unflatteringly long, but that’s typical for me.

In the future, I am going to re-draw the curve at the bottom of the back cut out, because it’s not quite in the right place. My bra tends to poke out just slightly from the bottom :( It’s not the worst deal – honestly, I’ll probably just make a cute bra to wear with this dress bc that’s how I roll – but it’s annoying nonetheless. I tucked it out of the way for these photos, which is why you don’t see it, but I’m pretty sure it’s just gonna hang low and be free when I’m actually wearing it.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

I love the style of this dress, but I don’t completely agree with the construction methods presented in the pattern – some of them seemed needlessly complicated. The dress is designed to be worn with a lining, which finishes the neckline, arm holes and back all in one swoop. Awesome, I guess, but I definitely want to be wearing as few layers as possible during the summer! Instead of lining this dress, I finished all the openings with self bias facing. It was a slight puzzle to figure out the bottom of the back opening and dealing with that zipper, but it turned out pretty nice!

I also did not actually sew button holes to the back – I just lapped those two pieces over each other and sewed them down. The buttons are there strictly for decoration. I had every intention of adding the buttons- there is interfacing there and everything – but I realized that the buttons would gape open and look stupid, and also, they’re hard to close by myself because they’re in that weird spot in the middle of my back that I can hardly wash, let alone button. So this dress just slips right over my head. It’s a little bit of a wiggle, but it’s not too bad.

Oh, and I added pockets! The pattern doesn’t come with them, so I stole a pocket piece from another dress pattern in my stash.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

There’s an invisible zipper at the center back of the skirt, which helps with getting everything on. I actually had this zipper in my stash – it’s one of those dumb metal invisible zippers (seems like a good idea, until you try sewing one and realize that it’s basically impossible for it to be concealed, which is the WHOLE FUCKING POINT of a concealed zipper. And now we all know why these zippers don’t exist anymore), which I hate, but it was the perfect color, so I took one for the team and made it happen. Also, check out my matching serger thread – also from the stash! I love it when that happens :D

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Here is the bias binding. There are two lines of stitching because I understitched the facing instead of pressing it with the first pass (here is my method for adding bias facing, if you missed that post!). Also, I cut a metric shit-ton of the bias tape and only used a fraction of it, so expect more pineapple bias facing in future blog posts.

I don’t really have anything else to say about this pattern, so have another photo of the back:

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

OH YEA.I definitely love this dress and I definitely plan on making more – I don’t even care if the open back is super one of a kind and that it’ll be obvious that I have several of the same dress. Whatever!

Ok everyone! So, as I mentioned in the title of this post – it’s time for another giveaway! Yay! Zazzle has generously offered to give one lucky reader a $75 gift certificate to spend on the ~custom fabric of your dreams~. You can design your own, or choose from the thousands of designs that they have available, and $75 is enough to get at least 2 yards out of most of the available designs. Below are some of my favorites (I seriously spent about 2 weeks agonizing before I finally settled on the watercolor pineapples), you can also see my entire wishlist here.

Citrus Lemon fabric

Citrus Lemon fabric

And, my personal favorite: this is what I found when I searched for “Butthurt” (look – I was waiting on car repairs and I was bored, and the Zazzle app is really entertaining, ok?):

All right! To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment on this post (PLEASE include an email address where I can reach you – you don’t have to enter it in the comment box, but it needs to be at least viewable to me from an admin end or I can’t count your entry :( ) and let me know what fabric you would choose if you won. If you want to tell me what you’d make with your amazing fabric, do that too! You know I like to be nosy :) This contest is open WORLDWIDE, but you must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will receive the equivalent of $75 USD and are bound by the T&C of the Zazzle gift certificate. Entries will close one week from today, MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2015 at 6:30 AM and the winner will be drawn at random.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Good luck, everyone!

** Disclosure: Zazzle provided me with this fabric free of charge, in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own, though! Also, I am an affiliate with Zazzle, so any purchases you make at Zazzle by clicking the links in this post will net me a small percentage of the sale. Which I will likely use to buy more custom-printed fabric from Zazzle. The end! :)

Completed: Leopard Cabernet Cardigan

13 Apr

Good morning, everyone! Lots of changes happening in my world over the past couple of weeks – as you know, we moved out to the country, about 20 miles west of Nashville in beautiful Kingston Springs, TN. Our house sits on a 5 acre plot of land surrounded by woods, and wow, spring is gorgeous here! The leaves are finally starting to poke out – I can’t wait until all the trees are green! As I mentioned before, my best friend bought the house, and Landon and I are occupying the lower level apartment. We are still settling in, but making good progress. I promise I will share sewing room photos as soon as the space is ready. It’s still a work in progress – for one, I need to finish painting (I mean, Landon needs to help me finish painting because I am SO OVER painting by myself!), and I need to get some rugs because the floors are coooold. So it’s not quite ready for it’s ~big reveal~, but it is totally usable for makin’ shit! Which is what I’ve been doing since the second the space was finally unpacked. And here is evidence of my first completed garment in the new place! It’s not anything fancy, but it fills a fabulous gap in my wardrobe ;)

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

Oh, right, that’s the other big change – I changed my hair color back to something a bit more normal! :) My stylist and I have been talking about this for a few months – even before I went to London in November, we were planning. I was starting to get really sick of doing the upkeep myself – redying the roots, dealing with fading, hair color rubbing off on everything, etc etc – and I knew I wanted my hair to look relatively normal for when we go to Peru in June. I actually had all this done the day before we moved at the end of March. It took about 7 hours (woof) and we’re still not done – there’s a little bit of green showing through in certain spots. I need to go back later this week and get another fill or whatever, but my scalp was just done. I gotta say – I’m REALLY happy with how the color turned out! My stylist is seriously a hair magician. And while I’m not delusional enough to think that my hair is 100% undamaged as a result, it’s still in pretty outstanding condition, considering what we put it through. Eventually, I’d like to lighten everything up to a brighter, more coppery red (still natural, but less brown), as well as let her do some fun stuff with highlights. But that’s all in due time! For now, I’m loving this red-brown :)

Ok, back to sewing stuff!

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

This leopard beauty is the Cabernet Cardigan from Skinny Bitch, Curvy Chic patterns. I was REALLY excited when this shit was released because I love wearing v-neck cardigans. I really like the way they look both buttoned and unbuttoned – which is the one minor complaint I have about my Jenna cardis – the crew neck just feels like it looks really weird when it’s unbuttoned, at least on me. Also, this pattern very closely mimics the poor v-neck cardigan I ripped up to use as a pattern (which was totally in vain, because that shit DID NOT WORK. But I guess it’s ok bc the cardigan in question was destined for the scrap heap anyway, since it was holey-er than, like, the Pope at that point), so yay! V neck cardis all day, erryday!

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

See? Looks totally legit unbuttoned. Also, I promise I’m wearing a shirt under the cardigan – it’s just a white v-neck, and the sun was VERY bright that morning. So I look nakey, but honestly, I’m not that exciting of a person.

You can’t see much of the details of this piece due to the (admittedly fabulous) fabric that I used, but it has some nice and simple finishing. The sleeves and hem are finished with a wide band (same with the Jenna cardi) and the neckline also has a folded-over band. The difference between this cardigan and the Jenna is in the neck band – on the Cabernet, it’s one long piece that is interfaced only where the buttons/button holes go, and stretched just at the back of the neck. It’s also a wider band than the one on the Jenna, which means the button holes were a helluva lot easier to get in there without fucking them up.

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

This cardigan also features the cutest little teensy pockets! Yay pockets!

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

Not a lot of changes went into the sizing of this pattern. SBCC drafts for petite proportions, so the length of both the body and the sleeves are pretty spot-on for me. I cut the size XXS, based on the pattern suggestion, but ended up taking about 1/2″ out of each side seam because I felt that even the slim version was still a bit boxy on me. This was totally a hack alteration – I’d already finished the cardigan at that point (and Instagrammed it, so you know that shit’s forreal), and rather than pull off the bottom band and do things properly… I just nipped in the sides with my serger and continued the seam down to the bottom of the band. Better to have a slightly subpar finish than a cardigan that I never wear, right?

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

Since this was my first rodeo with the pattern, I followed the instructions as written. I topstitched everything with a straight stitch, as recommended – I was afraid it would look kind of homemade and tacky, but I think it actually looks really nice! Since the cardigan is an easy fit that doesn’t reply on much stretch (unlike, say, a tshirt), I don’t have to worry about the stitches popping. Everything else was finished on my serger, and I used regular lightweight fusible woven interfacing for the neckband. All in all, I think this took maybe 2 hours to sew, start to finish. It’s a quick little make and it’s already getting very regular rotation in my wardrobe.

Also, speaking of instructions – the booklet that comes with the pattern is super cute! (well, the printed version, which I’m totally glad I sprang for the couple of extra dollars because yay for not having to print and tape PDF patterns!) It’s about the same size as a standard piece of paper, and the pages are stitched together along one edge. The illustrations are large and very clear, and the instructions are very much direct and to the point. There are no cutting layouts included, and not a lot of hand-holding involved (i.e., no beginning section telling you how to work with knit fabrics, for example. Kind of refreshing, honestly! I think there’s enough of that out there as it is, ha). So if you’re a super beginner and want to try this pattern, but need some help with sewing knits – definitely research beforehand. It’s an easy pattern, though, and I think it’s totally doable for the beginner knit-sewer.

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

The super fabulous leopard print ponte was one of my scores from when I was in NYC last month. It was one of the very few things I had specifically on my list to pick up – leopard print ponte, yellow stretch twill, and stone washed stretch denim, to be precise (sadly, I did not find the stonewashed stretch denim. Everything available right now is dark indigo or black – wtf? Do y’all seriously not want me 90s-mom’ing it up or something?). I actually met up with Renee during my first shopping expenditure that weekend (who is just as awesome in real life as she is on her blog – maybe even more so, actually, because she came bearing a selfie stick), and while we were in Metro Textile, I asked Kashi for leopard print ponte and everyone laughed at me for being way too specific. Well, joke’s on all y’all because I found my damn ponte the next day – in Mood Fabrics, no less! (although I did get some amazing shit from Kashi. Just wait for it.). This ponte in particular is a bit more lightweight than usual, which is nice for this warmer weather. It’s stretchy, but it’s really easy to work with. My scissors did not particularly enjoy trying to cut through all the thickness, but I’m pretty sure it’s because they desperately need sharpening.

I also realize and completely acknowledge that this v-necked leopard print cardigan kiiiind of makes me look like one of those Ladies Who Lunch, but I’m totally ok with that. I like eating lunch with my lady friends.

SBCC Cabernet Cardigan

So yeah! So much newness up here today – new cardigan, new hair, new background in mah photos. I am LOVINGGGG these woods; it’s so quiet and serene out here, and you can actually see the stars at night. And we’re still a relatively short drive from Nashville, which is nice for when I need my hot chicken fix :P

One last thing – the Sewing for Fashion Designers giveaway winner!

winner1

Congratulations, Vickie C! I will be in touch to get that book mailed out to you ASAP :) The rest of y’all – as always, the book can be pre-ordered on Laurence King’s website and Amazon :) Thanks for your support, y’all are the best!

Completed: Polka Dot Denim Hollyburn Skirt

23 Mar

Hey y’all! I just got back from a fabulous weekend in New York – in addition to teaching a very successful Weekend Pants-Making Intensive at WORKROOM SOCIAL (seriously, my students were total rockstars and sooo much fun to chat and hang out with!), I also managed to take in a pretty good fabric haul. It was a very fun, very delicious weekend in the city, but I gotta say – I’m so happy to be home, back in the lovely 75* weather. Oh, Tennessee, how I have missed you! Today, we celebrate with my new favorite skirt, which is perfect for wearing with bare legs. Yay, no tights!

Denim Hollyburn skirt

I figured it was time to revisit the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt, so here she is! I’ll confess that I actually finished this skirt a few weeks ago, but I haven’t actually worn it until the same day these photos were taken. It’s just been too dang cold here to wear skirts with bare legs, and I was bound and determined to wear the skirt without tights. Now that the season of bare legs is starting to creep in (watch, I bet I just jinxed it with that announcement), imma wear dis shit with PRIDE and JOY.

Also, you’ll notice in about half these pictures that the sun was sooo bright, I could barely hold my eyes open. Ain’t complaining.

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Anyway, right, Hollyburn! I love this pattern so so much (see previous versions: one and two), so naturally I had to make a new version for 2015. This skirt pattern is probably my favorite, at least for right now – nice flared shape (without being so flared that it looks costumey), separate waistband with belt loops, back zip, and those wonderful pockets. I think it’s a great, solid wardrobe basic, so it made sense to add a couple more to my summer wardrobe.

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Denim Hollyburn skirt

For this version, I changed up just a couple minor things – just enough to warrant a whole blog post about it (JK I’d post about this anyway because IT’S MY BLOG AND I DO WHAT I WANT lolz). The fabric I used is a medium weight stretch denim that is printed with thousands of tiny polka dots – if it looks familiar, it’s because I made a pair of Jamie jeans with it. I LOVE putting my leftover yardages to good use, and I really really loved this fabric, so double win! Since the fabric is a stretch denim, I changed up the cutting layout just a little and cut the waistband so the stretch ran the entire long length (aka, around my body when I’m wearing it). The waistband needs to be interfaced, so I used a fusible tricot interfacing, which gave the waistband a little bit of structure but didn’t compromise the stretch.

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Also, I wanted this spotted baby to be pretty short, so I cut a few inches off the length. Yeah buddy!

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Good thing I don’t work in an office anymore, because I could not see this length (or lack thereof) being suitable for work! Ha! But isn’t it cute? The structure of the fabric really works well with the shape, which is extra exaggerated the shorter it gets.

There’s not much else to say about this skirt, so have some flat shots:

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Denim Hollyburn skirt

Construction was plain and straight forward – all seams were serged and pressed open, and there’s a bit of topstitching at the hem and waistband (not that you can really see it against this fabric, but, know it’s there). And, I gotta say, I’m super pleased with how nicely that invisible zipper went in. Look at that beautiful seam match and the sharp corners at the top!

Denim Hollyburn skirt

I’ve been meaning to remake a new denim skirt for AGES (sadly, my Kelly and Hummingbird are both way too big at this point, and have thus been passed on to eager friends with grabby hands), as it’s a good wardrobe basic to have that goes with pretty much everything. Actually, prepare for me to sound like a broken record for the next few months because that’s where a lot of my sewing is headed – no, not more denim skirts, just more wearable basics to replace the pieces I had that don’t fit anymore and/or are due to retire. And maybe more denim skirts. I can’t make any promises here. I actually just bought a great yellow denim at Mood this past weekend, so you can at least expect a sunshine Hollyburn in the future ;) yay for summer clothes and summer colors!

Oh, and in case you were wondering – my Merchant and Mills tshirt is from Uniqlo! You’ve no doubt already seen these aaaaall over Instagram, but I thought I’d point it out because we don’t have a store here and I didn’t even realize you could buy that shit online. You can see the entire collection of available goods here – and, ugh, now I’m kicking myself that I didn’t see those tote bags! Oh well! I bought 2 tshirts – which, considering that I don’t buy new clothes anymore (except for underwear, and a new pair of jeans in both 2013 & 2014), is a bit of a big step for me. I feel very strongly about fast fashion and knowing where my clothes come from and aaall that good stuff, however, I also tend to see things as very black and white with no grey area and I’m trying to get past that mental hurdle. Sometimes, you just gotta choose your battles and know when to compromise. Two little tshirts don’t make me a terrible consumer, especially since it’s not like I plan on dumping these when the season ends. For the most part, I try to shop locally and ethically, and be aware of where my food and goods come from. But every now and then, you just want to buy something mass produced from China. At the very least, at least it’s supporting (or advertising) Merchant and Mills, I guess, which makes me feel a bit better.

Anyway, that’s about it! I’ll be packing and moving for the rest of the week, and hopefully by this time next week I’ll be settling into my new house IN THE WOODS. Cannot wait! :D

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