Tuesday, July 26, 2022

taking the plunge

Here's another item I made for our vacation! This is the Take The Plunge swim suit by Patterns for Pirates. The swim fabric, lining, swim cups, and power mesh are all from Fabric Fairy. I made the low back with cross straps and non-ruched bottom in size small at the bust and hip graded to a medium at the waist (based on my measurements 34-28-37.) Next time I'd probably just grade from a small bust to medium at the hip and waist for simplicity.
I assembled the entire suit with the sewing machine on a 3mm zig-zag stitch. I heard some stitches popping the first few times I tried it on, so maybe I should try different stitch settings, try twin needle top stitching, or use the serger.

The only fit issue I have is with the torso length. I suspect a combination of two causes: 1) the power mesh is overly restricting the vertical stretch of the swim material in the bottoms, and 2) I am in denial about the length of my lower torso. Even though I'm only 5'2", my measurement from front waist between the legs to back waist was 27". The pattern is drafted for this "crotch length" measurement of around 25". I assumed that my measurement method was just off somewhere since I'm not used to being too "long" for any pattern, but I think this suit would be more comfortable with an extra 1" in length added to the front and back bottom pieces! As far as the power mesh issue, I think I would omit it next time. I'd prefer if the top was less "minimizing." Between the power mesh and the suit being too short, it flattens the bust just as much as it flattens the tummy!
This project was surprisingly fun! Sewing all these tiny pieces of slippery fabric and elastic was less frustrating than I expected. I'm already envisioning my next swim sewing project... maybe a rash guard and some swim bottoms? I've also seen a lot of cute animal print versions of this suit online. So many possibilities!

Saturday, July 23, 2022

meadow shelby dress

I have a few handmade items to share from our recent trip! First up is the dress I wore for the rehearsal dinner. This is the Shelby Dress and Romper pattern by True Bias. The pattern includes a dress or romper in mid-thigh or mid-calf; I opted for the short dress version. The pattern is described as "a serious nod to the 90s with a modern fit." I like to read other sewists' reviews of a pattern before I sew it, so i can see what kind of fit adjustments are common and get ideas for fabrics. I found a lot of dresses sewn up in true 90s fashion: ditsy florals styled with Doc Martens. (I also found one blogger who was especially excited to try this style because she wasn't alive in the 90s. We won't discuss how old this made me feel.) I didn't want to go full-on ditsy floral so I chose this more modern Meadow print rayon from Art Gallery Fabrics. (Do you recognize this fabric? I already made a Biscayne Blouse from it!)
After my experience fitting the princess-seamed bodice of the Jessica dress, I thought it would be wise to sew a muslin of this dress. I also wanted to check the length since the “mini” version looked a smidge shorter than my preference but is designed for a model about 3” taller. I made a 4 in the bust graded to a 6 in the waist and hip based on my measurements of 34"-29"-35". Fortunately the bodice and length fit well. The only issue (and it was a big issue) was that I could barely move my arms. I did anticipate this issue based on Heidi’s review of this pattern, looking at the fit on other sewists, and the fact that my upper arms are proportionally large compared with the rest of my bodice measurements.

I removed the sleeves to verify that the bodice and armscyes fit well (they did), and the only issue was the sleeve fit. I modified the sleeves to have a shallower sleeve cap using a really helpful blog post on Ikat Bag about sleeve drafting. It demonstrates different sleeve shapes by fitting paper tube "sleeves" onto a tissue box "torso." I added a bit of ease to the bicep, 1/2" of length to the sleeves, and a tiny bit of ease to the seams in the upper back bodice.
I added a pocket (using the pattern piece from the Suki Robe) and followed a pocket assembly tutorial from @birdy_sew_obsessed, featured on her Instagram stories. It resulted in a nicer finish of the inside seams and was pretty easy to execute. I also extended the waist ties so they can wrap around the front and give the effect of a belt. Lastly, I raised the v-neck 1.5” to prevent it from gaping when I inevitably bend over to pick up kids or toys.
Because this dress is short and made from a very lightweight, floaty material, I was a bit concerned about the effects of a sudden breeze on my skirt! I decided to make some navy undershorts using the free Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs pattern (size small, shorties length.) I sewed these up in just one evening using a poly/spandex knit from Joann. This pattern is a keeper; I'd definitely use it again for leggings.
The shorties actually came in super helpful while we were getting ready for the wedding the next day. Due to her growing baby bump changing the placement of her dress slit, the Maid of Honor was showing a bit more skin than desired. The shorts matched her navy dress well and prevented any wardrobe malfunctions!
Remember that family photo we took at the rehearsal dinner? We liked it a lot so we turned it into a puzzle for Batman's birthday. Here's what my dress looks like as puzzle pieces!

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

wedding trip part 3

The day after the wedding was Colin's birthday! We were dragging a bit in the morning after getting to bed well past midnight and waking up at Colin o'clock (6 a.m.). After brunch with Jim and Ed, we gathered up all our stuff and drove to the beach. Everyone fell asleep except on the way (except me... but it was a struggle to stay awake to drive). We collected a few more license plates for our sticker game.
I baked cupcakes and we celebrated Colin's birthday with a pizza dinner. We got in a little beach time that evening, even though we didn't bother to change into our swim suits!
Mae spent almost every waking minute at the beach. She jumped in the waves, splashed around on the boogie board, dug holes, and defended her picnic lunch from the seagulls. She is a beach kid for sure.
Colin spent Monday morning at the beach. He loved digging in the sand and being towed around on the boogie board by Batman. At one point he was sitting up too high and at risk of tipping off the board, so I said, "Colin, lay down" thinking he would lay on his belly and prop himself up on his elbows. Instead, he spent the rest of the time being pulled around with his face flat on the board!
Unfortunately Colin got sick Monday night and spent the next couple days nursing a fever and a stomachache. Fortunately no one else seemed to catch his germs. Colleen came downstairs to check on us after we (Dan) got him cleaned up Monday night. Colin was sitting on the couch holding a bowl (in case he got sick again). He just looked at her and said, "I bucket." So heart wrenching. I'm glad he got a little time at the beach at least!
We carried on our sand sculpture traditions: sea witches with David and mermaid tails with mom!
Thanks for an amazing wedding and a great beach trip!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

wedding trip part 2

We spent most of Saturday getting all dolled up for the wedding! We lounged around in our matching pajamas (thanks, Colleen!) while the hair and makeup team worked their magic. Even Mae got a touch of sparkly eyeshadow and an adorable braid!
We headed to the venue which had a beautiful wooded outdoor area for the ceremony, two amazing patios for cocktail hour, and a big reception hall for dinner and dancing. It was sunny and beautiful for the ceremony! Colleen looked absolutely beautiful, and I loved the men's dark green suits against the bright green backdrop of trees. I can't wait to see pictures from the photographer!
Our bouquets were made of wildflowers and were all slightly different, so we had fun choosing which one to carry. Dan and Colin escorted GranE to her seat. My boys looked so cute in their matching ties! (Can't believe I forgot to take a picture of them together.) Mae looked very sweet as a flower girl.
Tim officiated the ceremony and gave lots of cute details about how Colleen and Bobby's relationship grew since they met in 2020. We all giggled a little when Tim welcomed everyone to the ceremony and Colin cheered, "Yay!" from the front row. I don't usually cry at weddings, but I did get a little misty-eyed during the vows Colleen and Bobby wrote!
During the cocktail hour, we enjoyed catching up with Dan's family. It's been a long time since we've seen many of them and a lot of the cousins have grown up! Guests sipped on their signature cocktails named after Colleen's beloved dog, Pepper. Colin hid under my dress eating mini-hot dogs. Mae ran off somewhere to play and I barely saw her.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner along with donuts and cheesecake for dessert. I snuck out around 8pm with the tired kiddos and left them with a babysitter so I could enjoy the rest of the reception!
The reception finished around 10, but we continued the festivities at a nearby bar. I was so excited to stay out late and party! It was such a fun event and we had a great time.
Congrats to the happy couple!!!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

wedding trip part 1

Colleen and Bobby are married!! We had an amazing time at the wedding and a great trip to the beach afterwards. This is one of those trips that needs multiple posts to cover all the good parts! We arrived to GranE and Batman's house on Thursday after a long drive. Both kids did well in the car! Colin spent hours looking at books and Mae spent hours staring at her new Kindle. We also played the license plate game and kept track of all the states we saw using a sheet of state stickers that came with Mae's Highlights magazine.

We used Friday to finish some last-minute wedding prep. Colleen and I got our nails done while Mae and Colin helped deliver guest bags to the hotel with GranE and Batman. Dan helped Batman pick up donuts for the wedding reception. So... I got pampered while everyone else did chores.

Friday evening we went to the rehearsal dinner. I took a lot of family photos, which was good since I have almost no photos from the actual wedding! Our favorite is this big family photo. Tim jokingly captioned it "Coming this fall to ABC."
Look at this adorable, happy couple!
I insisted on taking family photos as soon as we arrived (before kids got covered in dirt, ketchup, etc). We are so rarely all dressed up together! Three out of four looking is pretty good!
The venue was a beautiful outdoor garden with patio and lawn. We really enjoyed milling around and visiting with everyone before dinner. Colin and Mae are happy anywhere there is fruit and fresh mozzarella.
We enjoyed all the food, drinks, and speeches. After dinner, GranE and Batman made a little presenation of silly/sentimental gifts to Colleen and Bobby. Mae ran around catching fireflies with the other kids. Colin spent most of the evening playing in the ice bucket.
It was fun seeing all the bridesmaids again. We were all so excited to celebrate the beautiful bride on her wedding day!!!
I took a bunch of photos but here's a few more of my favorites from the evening. Stay tuned for more photos from the wedding and our trip to the beach!

Friday, July 1, 2022

cat cat

Prepare yourself for some seriously cute photos. Our neighbor was fostering some tiny kittens for a few weeks, and she invited us over to help socialize the kittens. Colin is obsessed with cats and screeches with excitement every time he sees a “cat cat.” He was in heaven surrounded by these four furry friends! He especially loved teasing them with the feathery lure and watching them chase it.
Mae is a bit skittish around all pets, but generally prefers cats to dogs. She spent most of the time perched on the loveseat so the one bitey kitten couldn’t get to her feet. She snuggled the sleepy black and white cat who just wanted to curl up and take a nap in her lap.
So glad we got to meet these sweet kittens!
In other news, I tested positive for COVID (again!) the evening these photos were taken. I missed a couple days of work, but everyone else (including my neighbor) stayed healthy. I’m suspecting that the rest of the family might have had a mild case the previous week, but we blamed the symptoms on Dan’s positive strep test. Fortunately we were all healthy for Colleen's wedding last weekend... many more photos to come!!