When I left off a couple weeks ago, we were in the throes of packing/moving/home renovation.
I won’t say moving during a pandemic was the hardest thing I’ve ever done…but it’s definitely in the top 5. Everyone keeps asking us if we are “settled now”- this is the equivalent of asking a mother of a 3 week old baby if she’s sleeping well. Hell no she’s not! She’s exhausted beyond all imagination…but she’s also absolutely adoring every minute with her precious newborn.
Right now, this house is a little like a newborn baby- there are many projects that are in variuos stages of completion, and we are learning how to live amidst the chaos. I will say, without reservation, that I love our new home, and the chance to customize it to our style is something I’ve dreamed about doing for years. Much like sewing, I’m learning to trust my design instincts, consult experts when needed, and take a leap of faith here and there.
For example, when we bought the home, it had this lovely paneled wood ceiling….but I hated it.
I knew the house would feel so much brighter if we could paint it white, so we splurged on professional painters to throw a prodigious coat of white over nearly every paintable surface. Half of you are probably gasping with horror at this point (like hubby did), and the other half might be nodding your heads, understanding my need for as much brightness as possible…
And here’s the result! I love it, hubby loves it, and it has the exact effect I was trying to achieve- the entire home is lighter and the ceilings feel much taller now.
I’ll share more home renovation projects as we go along, but for now, let’s switch gears and check out a couple new makes that I managed to put together in my new sewing space (photos of that to come, when it looks like more than just a random assortment of half emptied boxes…)
Jalie Stella Leggings
The Stella leggings were a part of the newest Jalie collection, and I was eager to try them after my success with the Clara leggings and the two skirts I posted about a couple weeks ago. The Stellas are unique in the Jalie line-up because they don’t have a side seam (whereas the Clara’s don’t have a center front seam), and use encased elastic for the waistband, rather than a contoured fabric band.
What the Stella’s don’t have is a gusset, and honestly, I was really concerned about this- every other pattern I’ve tried without a gusset has been an athletic fail, but I was willing to give Jalie the benefit of the doubt and see how it went.
After a couple runs/wears I can say that they seem to be holding up really well, and I don’t feel like my movement is restricted without the gusset. I do think I prefer a gusset in general (there’s just something about a gusset that gives me that feeling of security about not splitting my pants during a yoga move), but that won’t stop me from making these in the future if I need a quick, easy leggings pattern, especially for everyday wear.
The Stella pattern also includes instructions for a running beanie, and a separate running belt for holding your phone or other essentials. I can’t see myself making the running belt, because I really prefer a pocket to be integrated into my tights, but I can see making the beanie once the weather gets cool again.
For now, though, I whipped up the Stellas in my usual size Q. The legs fit fantastically, but the waistband was high. Like up to my bra high. I don’t have the longest torso in the world, but these were insanely high- I cut 3″ off the rise, and still felt like it was too tall. In the end, I took off even more height, and put on a waistband from my TNT Greenstyle Inspires, with a zipper pocket in the back.
I made my daughter a matching pair of Stella shorts, and found her waistband really high as well- I cut a few inches off, and used the elastic method recommended in the pattern to finish. She’s wearing a size H, and is a pretty standard height/weight for a 4 year old girl- I like the length of the shorts on her, because they provide more sun/bug protection- something we are needing quite a bit these days as we enjoy afternoons by the creek.
I can’t let too much of this post go by without mentioning this awesome fabric- it’s from Sew Dynamic Fabrics, and while the design is really cool, the source of the fabric tells an even more interesting story. It’s made from Repreve- a fabric made from recycled plastic bottles- 16.1 of them per yard, in fact. Before getting this fabric in the mail, I was a little skeptical about whether it would “feel” the same as other high quality athletic fabrics, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only does it feel amazing, it also wears and sews on par with any other high quality athletic I’ve experienced.
This is the fabric equivalent of gluten free/vegan/dairy free cookies that taste like regular- you know you’re doing your body (or in this case, the planet) good, and it’s even more satisfying when you can’t tell that you’re doing it.
Being the nerdy homeschool mom that I am, I had to take the opportunity to encourage my kids to research some sea creatures- including the Octopus, who has some really cool adaptations that allow him to survive and hunt in the ocean for food. Did you know the Octopus has three hearts? Or that it is considered one of the smartest invertebrates? The grammar nazi in me now knows that saying “octopi” is incorrect- one should refer to the tentacles as “arms” and a group of them as “Octopuses”. Hey, we’re all homeschoolers now, right?
I also signed my kids up for this Outschool class (pro tip- if you sign up using this link, you get a $20 credit for your first class, and I get a $20 credit to use for my kids too!) near national oceans day (June 8), so they can learn about recycling, and the journey their “stuff” goes through via google earth. How cool is that?
Jalie Valerie Rashguard
I still had some scraps leftover from my original yard, so I decided to make my daughter a matching rashguard. Despite the fact that this fabric is not technically “swim” material, I expect it to hold up just fine to a summer’s worth of use, and decided that Sophia needed a new swim shirt to help keep her sun and bug safe this summer.
I used the Jalie Valerie Rashguard (size H), view C.
If you’ve ever tried to get a sopping wet swim shirt over a toddler’s head, you’ll understand why I went for the zippered view- and I added in a zipper guard to help keep it comfortable against her sensory sensitive skin.
I also did a reverse cover-stitch on all the seams so they wouldn’t chafe or cause irritation- no excuses not to wear this one!
It turned out just perfectly, and she loves it- and mama loves that she won’t be complaining about mosquito bites all day!
I think I’m going to need one for myself before too long…
Of course, as soon as we were done with photos, she had to really put the fabric to the test and create a “dust angel” in the dirt right above the creek.
It’s a good thing I accepted long ago that any clothes I made my kids were MEANT to get dirty, or I’d really be freaking out…lol
She then jumped in to wash it all off, and splashed away at her brothers, as they took turns doing cannonballs off the big rock.
Yes, it’s super cold water, in case you were wondering. Doesn’t seem to stop them though!
We finished up the photo shoot with a family bike ride- I absolutely love that we can get right from our front door to the park in less than 5 minutes.
Well, that wraps it up for today, but I’ll be back soon to share some more projects! What have you been working on? Tried any new patterns lately?
I’d love it if you had a minute to drop me a comment- I always love hearing from you! I know I’ve been a little slower to respond lately (would you believe I actually lost my charging cord for the laptop for a week?!) but I sure love reading them. You can also follow me on Instagram here, or subscribe to the blog here.