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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Greenstyle Chelsea Pants Pattern Review and Maternity Tutorial

Today, Greenstyle is releasing their new pattern - the Chelsea Pants. These pants are drafted for stable fabrics that have at least 25% stretch. This means that stretch denims and stretch wovens work for this pattern as well as stable knits like ponte, velvet, French terry, and double knits. The Chelsea pants also work great for maternity! I will be giving my tips at the end of this blogpost if you need to make adjustments for maternity like I did.

It is hard to pick a favorite when it comes to jeans that are comfortable, but I think this pink stretch denim pair might just be it! This was a remnant from Joann that is no longer listed on their website, but you can find other 7 oz stretch denims just like it here. For the waistband, I used cotton lycra from Made Whimsy

Next, I wanted to see how these pants looked in a French terry. This pattern is not intended for fabrics with drape; rather, you want a fabric that holds its shape so that it bells out at the bottom. Light weight French terries with rayon will not work for this pattern. The green French terry I used is a pretty stable thicker cotton one I found at Wherehouse Fabrics in Dallas. These turned out super comfortable!

I also made a pair of Chelsea pants out of a stretch terry performance fabric that is in the loungeletics section at Joann Fabrics. This fabric is smooth on the outside but has a diamond terry pattern on the inside. These will be very warm pants and perfect for this upcoming winter!

The black tank modeled with my pink, green, and blue pants above is my Lago tank that I made very early in my pregnancy. I made no adjustments to it for maternity. I had just found out I was pregnant while making that top! The rayon fabric that I used has had the perfect stretch to accommodate my growing belly and is still holding on at 26 weeks. It is a free tank pattern and has been in heavy rotation in my closet this entire summer. 

Lastly, I made a pair of Chelsea pants out of Ponte. Ponte is a great fabric for this pattern, and I am really happy with how these turned out. I am wearing them with my Cheyene Tunic from Hey June Patterns. I made this top in testing during the winter of 2015 and think it is going to be a wonderful button down for breastfeeding my new baby this winter. 

Of course, one of my favorite parts of pattern testing and taking photos is when I get to do it with one of my sweetest friends, Aimee of Capture, Craft, and Cook

Maternity Tutorial

Before attaching the waistband, you will need to try on your pants and see where the top of the pant meets the bottom of your belly. Fabric with a lot of vertical stretch will be higher up on your waist than fabric with little to no vertical stretch. You will want to take out any excess fabric that rises over your belly. Here is a photo of me doing this with the ponte fabric. I needed to take 1/2 an inch out of the rise where I have clipped. I only took out of the front of the pants, not the back. I did not need to take out any with the stretch denim because it had very little vertical stretch and landed right under my belly.

The Chelsea pant pattern comes with the option of three different rises on the waistband piece - low, mid, and high. I did not need to make any adjustments to the waistband piece when I made the low rise. My pants were a size medium, so I used the medium waist band exactly as written on the pattern. The pattern does, however, allow you to use whichever fabric you used for the body of the pants on the outer waistband piece. I only did this if the fabric had at least 50% horizontal stretch. If it had less than this (which was the case with the stretch denim), I used a cotton lycra for both the inner and outer waistband.

Low rise waistband with ponte on the outer waistband and brushed poly on the inner waistband
Medium waistband graded to a large for the top
If you are using the mid or high rise waistbands during pregnancy, you will need to grade up a size or two to give your belly room. The bottom of the waistband that attaches to the top of your pants needs to be the same size as the pant that you made because the waistband is not stretched as you attach it. To grade up in your waistband, simply draw a line from the bottom of the waistband starting at the size of pant you made and draw the line to the size you need to grade up to at the top of the waistband. You need to do this on both the front and back waistband pieces. Also, the type of fabric you use will make a huge difference in how comfortable your waistband feel on your stomach. Stretchy fabrics with good recovery are key. I like to use cotton lycra or  nylon lycra for waistbands. 

Always try on your waistband before attaching it to your pants!! You will save yourself many ripped stitches if you get a comfortable fit prior to attaching. When pregnant, I usually go for bands that do just enough to hold my pants up without putting pressure on my stomach. Your personal preference may be a higher rise with more compression. The waistband is very easy to modify on this pattern. If you need extra height in the rise, simply add the amount of inches you need at the top.

You can purchase the pattern for the Chelsea Pants here. It is on sale until Friday, October 6. I hope you enjoy making yours as much as I do. I was surprised at how quickly they came together!

Thanks for reading my blog, and I hope I have inspired you. You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook.

Photo Credit: My wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson of Capture, Craft, and Cook

Disclosures: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Cloth Diapering

Lately, I have been super focused on sewing cloth diapers; so, today's post will be about my adventures in cloth diapering and include my tips for helping cloth diapers work for you. I have had quite the range of experiences in figuring out how to diaper! My oldest baby will be 9 right around the time my current baby is due to arrive. Our new bundle will make five children in our home!

In the beginning ...
When I began researching cloth diapers when I was pregnant with my first child, I was so excited to find out how much cloth diapers had changed since my younger siblings were in diapers! After much research, I thought I had exhausted the world of opinions and came to the decision of the best cloth diaper. I did not sew more than a pillow at the time; so, I purchased 24 all-in-one Bum Genius organic diapers. I had received several packages of disposable diapers as well, and at first, alternated between disposables and cloth diapers. However, I quickly hated disposable diapers after many explosive poops landed all over my daughter and me. For some reason, this usually happened out in public, at a restaurant, and when I was totally unprepared. The cloth diapers held it all in wonderfully, though, so they always became my go-to diapering solution.

Next up is baby 2...

When my first daughter was 13 months old, I found out I was pregnant with baby #2. I noticed the stash of Bum Genius diapers I had acquired for baby #1 were starting to be very worn, and before my due date arrived, they were completely useless. They were full of holes on the absorbent part. I had spent close to $400 on all these diapers and was told they would last through more than one child. I was so frustrated! I completely gave up, and just switched to disposables for baby #2. Thankfully, I was more prepared and did not have as many public blow outs with this baby. 

And here comes baby 3...
When my second daughter was 11 months old, I found out I was pregnant with baby #3! I realized my family was growing very fast at this point and that I need to make this cloth diaper thing work! I had begun sewing with baby #2 but did not even think to make my own diapers at this point. I still wasn't sure what worked and had not tried many different diaper types. While I was still early in my pregnancy, I began ordering just a few of several different brands of diapers. I ordered as many brands were available from the Jillian's Drawers Gently Used section. I mainly stuck to pockets and all in one styles. I was not ready for the world of fitteds and covers. It was great for me to get a few of each brand, rather than put all my eggs in one basket as I had before. I quickly found out which diapers were the better quality and fit my baby the best. By the time baby #3 was born, I had a stash of 36 fully functioning diapers and was ready to have 2 in diapers. 

And another baby makes 4...
You know how this narrative goes - And, when my third baby was 13 months old, I found out I was pregnant with baby #4. At this point, I had been sewing since I was pregnant with baby #2 and had such a better idea of what cloth diapering was about. I had been washing diapers every other day for so long that it was part of my routine. 

I bought Jalie 2907 on paper at my local cloth diaper store. I had several different diaper brands where the elastic was shot (I learned the hard way that vinegar ruins cloth diaper elastic!) so I took those apart and compared them to the Jalie fitted pattern. Jalie was spot on with some of the better brands. For baby #4, I mainly wanted to get better at diapering the newborn stage. A lot of the diapers I had found worked did not begin fitting until my babies were about 3 months old. Jalie's pattern had a fitted diaper pattern that was broken down into NB, 0-3, 3,6, 6-12, etc. I knew this would be perfect! It takes me about an hour and a half to make one diaper, and I ended up being able to make enough 0-3 month diapers to make it through to wash day for baby #4 . I added a snap down rise so that I could get away with only making a few sizes. The 0-3 month size (with snap down rise) fit from birth until 3 months. The 6-9 month size fit from the time the umbilical stump fell off until 9 months. 

A few of the diapers I made had a PUL outer and an organic bamboo fleece or terry inner. The rest of the diapers that I made for baby #4 were fitted diapers with a knit outer and a bamboo or cotton velour inner (with bamboo fleece as the absorbency). A fitted diaper does not have PUL to prevent leaks so it requires a cover. As a cover, I raided thrift stores for large men's wool sweaters, felted them, and turned them into wool shorties using this free pattern here. I found that I liked my leg cuffs and waistbands to be taller than what the pattern called for; so, often, I would add a few inches if I had the extra fabric to do so. Here is my little Aaron sporting his fitteds with a wool diaper cover. 
0-6 month wool shorties
6-12 month wool shorties with taller bands, which help to prevent leaks

And finally, Baby 5!

My baby #4 had just turned 3, and I thought that we were surely done. I began expanding my non-maternity wardrobe and was happy to have a waistline that stayed the same size month after month. After experiencing pregnancy loss, I also felt emotionally done with everything as well. And then, after getting rid of so many baby items, we found out we were expecting baby #5! Thankfully, after baby #4 was born, his diapers were borrowed by 2 different friends and were kept out of reach from my constant purging of baby stuff! When I received those back, I was so happy to see what great condition everything was in and was excited to sew a few more for baby #5! Now onto some photos of what I have been sewing lately..

0-3 month fitted diaper with snap down rise

All-in-one style 0-3 month size diapers using Jalie fitted pattern with a PUL outer and a bamboo fleece inner
6-9 month all-in-ones
When I sew cloth diapers, I prefer to only use snaps. Velcro diapers are much quicker for diaper changes, but I learned that Velcro can become worn and also makes for a naked toddler. All my babies figured out how to take a Velcro fastened diaper off quick! To put snaps on, I used Kam Snaps with a hand held snap press. I placed each snap 1 inch apart (measuring from the center of one snap to the next).

Also, here are a few of my favorite (and not made by me) Alva pocket diapers that I purchased from A Touch of Love. They are really inexpensive and usually cost around $5/diaper plus insert. These diapers do not fit until my babies are about 3 months, but once they do fit, they last until potty training. 


(1) Diapering requires: (a) an absorbent part and barrier outside of the absorbency to keep it from leaking out. Natural fibers are absorbent (cotton, bamboo, hemp, etc.) There are also unnatural absorbent fiber blends (like zorb and microfiber) that can hold moisture. (b) a waterproof barrier on the outside of the diaper keeps it all in. PUL is a laminated polyester-type (synthetic) fabric that is the most leakproof but not as breathable. Wool is a wonderful fabric that is natural and breathable. It absorbs and does not leak liquid. However, it can leak once it is at its max. (c) You may also need a layer next to the baby that is stay-dry. This will be an unnatural fiber that wicks the moisture away from the baby and into the absorbent part of the diaper. If your baby gets rashes, she may not be able to handle moisture staying next to her skin for very long..

(2) If your diaper leaks, check that the diaper has enough absorbency and make sure the leg and back elastic fits snuggly around the baby. If it is a good fit and is not gaping, you need more absorbency. Too stiff or too wide inserts can make it hard to get the elastic to fit well around the legs. When sewing cloth diapers or replacing elastic, I always measure the area that needs elastic and cut my elastic at 50% of this measurement. This makes for very nice fitting elastic!

(3) Clean diapers do not stink. Check your wash routine if you have stinky diapers. My favorite cloth detergent brand for my hard water is Rockin Green. It also comes in a classic formula for those who do not have hard water. Do not use vinegar to freshen up your diapers! It will ruin the elastic. A diaper with shot elastic does not work. The sun is your friend and will "bleach" out a stained diaper. Just hang it to dry outside, letting the sun hit directly on the stain. Cloth diapering can be trickier in a front loader, but I have learned how to make mine work -  I add a small amount of detergent to the prewash cycle.

Upcycled wool sweaters used on baby #4
(4) My favorite online place to buy fabric for making cloth diapers is Simplifi Fabric. They have the softest organic fabrics that take all the heavy washing of cloth diapering and hold up year after year. There are also Facebook groups dedicated to buying cloth diaper supplies at discounted prices to stock up on items such as snaps and elastic.

(5) I like to buy my wool at thrift stores. I look for large sweaters that are soft and have at least 80% of the fiber content in wool. I give them a good wash and dry to felt them. Once the weather turns cooler, I plan to find some pretty pink sweaters to upcycle for diaper covers. To care for wool, I used this video from our local cloth diaper store. It made the process very easy.

(6) Don't put your eggs all in one basket. Never fully invest in one system or brand of diaper. You can end up spending lots of money on a diaper that someone else loved but does not work for your baby.

(7) Have enough diapers on hand that you can wash diapers every other day (about 24). You can get away with less and wash every day, but it is so nice to have back ups if life does not allow a laundry day. Do not go more than 3 days without washing, though.

(8) Get a diaper sprayer for your bathroom to help with clean up when your baby is not exclusively breastfed anymore. I ordered one similar to this one on Amazon. It was super easy for my husband to hook up and still works great after using it all the time for over 6 years!

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have any questions or problems I can help you navigate.

Disclosures: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Greenstyle Centerfield Raglan - Maternity Edition Tutorial

My favorite style of top to wear when pregnant is a more fitted top with side ruching. I especially prefer the bottom to be fitted underneath my belly. A more fitted top (especially one fitted under your belly) really helps to avoid the tent look, even in later pregnancy. It also means you do not have to constantly put your hand under your belly to show that your belly is not from overeating but is from a growing baby!

The great thing about this top style for those who sew is that you can pick your favorite tee shirt pattern and easily alter the pattern yourself. There is no need to buy a special pattern just for maternity. I own LOTS of raglan patterns and used one of my favorite - Greenstyle's Centerfield Raglan. The reason I like this raglan pattern so much is that it is so flattering in the bust area and is a more fitted raglan. (You can scroll to the bottom of this blog for a tutorial on how I did it!)

Raglan #1 - My first top was made out of the rayon spandex from Made Whimsy. I made a size XS. My first tip to sewing for your new maternity body is to always re-measure before using your pre-maternity patterns. I normally have a 32.5 inch bust, which puts me in the XXS in this pattern. At the end of my first trimester, though, I was already up to a 34.5 inch bust. 


And, of course, I wear my Moxi shorts a lot in pregnancy because the knit waistband is perfect for a growing bump!

Raglan #2 - For my next raglan, I used my Nala Cotton Lycra from Sincerely Rylee and sized up one size to a Small. The pattern recommends sizing up for a looser fit, and I know this top will definitely make it through the last stretch of pregnancy when I am needing all the extra tummy room that I can get. Also, cotton lycra is one of my favorite fabrics for this pattern. 


I also had several sweet photobombers throughout my photophoot! These pictures were taken almost a month ago, and I have gotten so much use out of my tops! I am also a bit bigger in the tummy and filling them out nicely.


Now, enough gushing over my tops, let's talk about how easily you can change your standard tee pattern to a maternity top. 

(1) Find your shorten/lengthen line for the bodice. If your pattern does not have one, this will typically be at the smallest point between the bust and hips. 

(2) Cut at the shorten/lengthen line on both your front bodice piece and your back bodice piece. You may choose to only lengthen the front bodice if you do not like the fabric gathers on your back. I find tops where there is length added on both bodice pieces to last longer and give you more growing room throughout pregnancy. 

(3) Add length. I am 5'2" so I only needed to add 4 and a half inches. You may need to add more if you are much taller. I added length by putting a piece of paper underneath the pattern at the point where it was cut into two pieces, and then, I cut the side seam to where it was straight and smooth between the two points. 
(4) Mark two points on your front bodice and back bodice pattern pieces on the side seams. The first point will be at 5 and a half inches below your armpit and the second point will be at 5 and a half inches above the bottom of the side seam. 

(5) Cut your fabric according to the pattern directions, transferring the markings with a washable marker or fabric chalk. 

(6) Sew your top according to the pattern directions. Stop right before you get to sew your side seams. You can skip steps (7) and (8) if you only added length to your front bodice. 

(7) Cut out two pieces of quarter inch elastic that are both 8.5 inches long. I used braided. If you added more length to your top than me, you may need to add longer elastic. A great way to know this before cutting out your elastic is to try your top on and pin it in place. Measure exactly how much ruching you want.

(8) Add the elastic between your two markings. The elastic will be encased in this seam by your serger. I use a clip or a pin to hold the beginning of the elastic at my first marking and then to hold the end of the elastic at my second marking. Using your serger, slightly stretch the elastic to make it fit. Do not start stretching, though, until you notice the elastic is secured in the seam at the top. I sew slow on this part to make sure all three pieces (the front bodice, back bodice and elastic) line up evenly. Skip to step 9.

(9) If you did not do steps 7 and 8 (because you only lengthened your front bodice piece), you need to do a gathering stitch between your markings on your front bodice only. Sew your side seam with your front bodice piece gathered. No need to add elastic if you are using this gathering method. 

(10) Hem and finish your top per pattern instructions. You are done! Enjoy your top!

Thanks for reading my blog. You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook. Need help with my instructions, please ask! I would love to help.

You may purchase Greenstyle's Centerfield Raglan here. It is such a flattering pattern that works well with stretchy fabrics like cotton lycra. 

Photo Credit: My wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson of Capture, Craft, and Cook Disclosures: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Greenstyle Brassie Joggers and Shorts Pattern Review

It is probably not a secret, but I have this huge thing for Greenstyle Creations patterns. One of the first patterns that I tried from Greenstyle was their Brassie Joggers pattern, and this pattern got me hooked! I had 5 pairs in heavy rotation this past fall and winter. They were hands down the most comfortable pants ever. Once the summer began, I knew I needed several short pairs to keep me comfortable. I really only feel comfortable in a knit waistband when pregnant so these shorts work perfect. The pattern was written to include a casing with elastic, but I did not put elastic in any of mine. I did, however, still make buttonholes on some so that I have the ability to cinch them in when I am not pregnant.

The first pair that I made this summer is out of the Zenith and Quasar athletic brushed poly. This fabric works great for this pattern and fits the comfort bill perfectly.

Next, I made two pairs out of French terry. The light grey pair is made with a baby French terry and the red is a regular French terry, which is a little thicker than the baby. Both fabrics work great for this pattern. The grey was a remnant, so I did not have enough fabric to make it the regular shorts length or to use on the pocket. I also made the grey pair with a pocket bag instead of the pocket being attached to front with decorative stitching. The red French terry is from Made Whimsey. I also used their solid red cotton lycra for the waistband.

These make great lounge shorts

I used a mustard cotton lycra for my next pair of shorts and paired it with a cotton lycra stripe for the waist band. I used my double needle to topstitch the decorative part of the pocket on this pair.

This top is made using the Museum Tunic Tutorial on Anna Maria Horner's blog.

 I also wanted to include a few photos of the joggers that got the absolute most use in my wardrobe this winter. One was made in a Zenith and Quasar lighter weight athletic brushed poly. This weight is no longer available on the website, but I would buy too much if she listed it again, so that may be a good thing! On these I altered the pattern to have contrast binding around the pocket edge and to have a pocket bag instead of the regular pocket style.

 I am 14 weeks along in the above photos, and so, as you can see, some of the non-maternity shirts are getting a little short. The next photo is taken from Instagram of my pre-pregnancy self this winter. I wore these cotton lycra joggers all the time and could not get over how comfortable they were. Here, I am wearing them with a Sew Over it Molly Top in a rayon lycra. 

The hardest part about writing this post was to know when to stop making joggers and stop long enough to write my thoughts on this pattern! I have already made two since I took photos for the blog and plan to make many more. Hopefully, I can share those with you in upcoming posts.

Thanks for reading my blog, and I hope I have inspired you. You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook.

Photo Credit: My wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson of Capture, Craft, and Cook

Disclosures: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Hey June Mountain Pose Pants Review

Today, I get to share with you some of the exciting things I have been up to since my last post in May. After my last blog post, I found out we are expecting a baby! The best way to get pregnant seems to be to declare you are finished having kids and to give away most of your maternity wardrobe and baby gear and clothes. (Don't panic I kept my carriers and strollers!)

Once the morning sickness and exhaustion set in, my amount of energy left to sew was scarce, but I did have time to plan. The second trimester usually greets me with more energy, and this time it did not disappoint. My first requirement in maternity wear is that it cannot feel like it is touching my stomach. To stay up, though, most waistbands do exactly that - touch me. When I saw the Mountain Pose Pants by Hey June, I knew they would work perfect. These are not designed for maternity but work perfect for the occasion. Look at all that comfort, and yet, they stay up perfect! Not only are they drafted so well, the pattern is free! It is a great introduction to other Hey June patterns, which all come together very easily due to her wonderful instructions and diagrams.

I made a size small in the Mountain Pose Pants. My hips measure at a 36.5 and my waist measurement is constantly growing. I like how the pattern recommends trying on the waistband and getting the perfect wrap around fit for your waist. I made a charcoal pair and a black pair that are both in a cotton lycra and at capri length. The pattern has a defined knee so it is really easy to measure to get the length where you need it to fall. I knew these would need to be in heavy rotation and that these colors would go with so many of my tops. The pants begin to flare out right where my calf is and give the perfect amount of breathing room for the top of my calf.

The tank top I am wearing with the pants is the Pony Tank by Chalk and Notch. It is a very quick sew as well and works perfect for hiding the baby bump in those early months. I made one tank top in a burnout jersey knit, and the other is in a floral whale print brushed poly from Zenith and Quasar.

 Look at that stripe matching!

I also had a chance to make one more top to pair with my new pants. This is the Hamburg Dolman from ShwinDesigns. It is a loose slouchy top that I knew would work great for a growing bump. I used a rayon spandex bundle that I had gotten from Made Whimsy. This rayon spandex is very soft and has great drape.

Thanks for reading my blog, and I hope I have inspired you. You may follow me on Instagram or receive updates by liking my page on Facebook.

Photo Credit: My wonderful friend, Aimee Wilson of Capture, Craft, and Cook

Disclosures: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small compensation when you purchase via my link. There is no cost to you. Any and all opinions expressed are my own.