As some of you may know, we are trying to figure out, as a family, how we can make travel a more regular part of our lives.
While the naysayers suggested that this year’s epic Summer Trip (see parts One, Two, Three and Four on the blog), in which we spent two months traveling the American Southwest, living in under 250 square feet with three kids and a dog, would cure us of any future desire to leave our 2600 square foot home and comfortable lifestyle, they couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
Sure, we got on each other’s nerves, and I had several instances in which I gave myself a “sanity time-out” from the family and holed up in the nearest Starbucks, but overall, we loved it, and look forward to future adventures on the road.
The less glamorous side of this, however, is trying to figure out what to do with all of our STUFF. We’ve spent the entirety of our married adult lives accumulating things, and are now in the very unusual position of trying to pare it down small enough to fit our new goals. It’s stressful, freeing, and an incredible amount of work.
One of the biggest areas that I need to tackle is my sewing room. Once you get started on this hobby, it’s easy to amass a magnificent amount of fabric, notions, and accessories… but so challenging to let them all go! I have more than I could ever use, but have difficulty parting with fabrics especially, knowing not only their expense, but also recognizing the potential for each cut to be turned into a favorite garment someday.
The solution to this, of course, is to sew more of what I love! My stash is about 50% athletics, so that was a great place to start, and I grabbed a few recent purchases, as well as a few new patterns I’ve been wanting to try out, and got to work.
Set #1: Marble Crop and Super G Tights
My first set was made from this pastel marble print from the Styled Magnolia. This fabric caught my eye immediately- I love the dreamy color combination, and I thought it would be fun to use the Effie Crop Top from Evie La Luve to accent it with some teal lace and fold over elastic. (Note: This print is currently sold out, but available from the “pick a print” library here).
I’ve made this pattern before, here, using the side cutouts and decorative elastic. This time I chose to use a solid fabric covered band for the bottom, and added the diagonal lace accents to the front. I also shortened the shoulders on this one, taking off about 3/8″ from each piece. Evie drafts for a C cup, and removing some height from the shoulders (which would be needed, if I had a larger bust) is a quick and dirty way of accomplishing a small bust adjustment in this simple style.
The lace has a big impact, but is really easy to sew, using washaway wonder tape and a zig zag stitch right aroudn the edges. The top isn’t lined, which feels a little funny to me- I’d really prefer to have my inner seams covered, and will likely change the pattern a bit in my next version to accomplish this, cutting a second front and placing them wrong sides together before ataching the foldover elastic and band.
Those straps are pretty narrow, but if you added seam allowances you could probably burrito roll the whole thing and create a fully lined front, if that was your preference. I have a love/hate relationship with foldover elastic (you have to get the tension juuuustt right and can’t take your eyes off it for a second!) but it was worth the effort this time, since it matched the lace so well.
I especially love the deep scooped back- in addition to functioning really well as a light sports bra, the Effie also looks seamless under tank tops.
To add more support, you could sandwich in a layer of power mesh or tech sheen, and could even throw in some cups (for those really cold mornings!)
The bottoms are the Super G tights from Greenstyle Creations (catch the SewAlong here). As the weather cools down, I’ve been feeling a lack of full length athletic tights, and knew the Super Gs would help carry me through the winter in functional style (nothing beats that handy pocket and long gusset for mobility!).
Set #2: Soccer Girl!
My second set was made from this striped print athletic brished poly (currently on preorder from Styled Magnolia). Ok, ok, technically this didn’t come from my “stash”, since it was a strike off, but since it got sewn quickly and didn’t make it into the stash, I’m calling it a win for whittling down my fabric hoard, ok?
The leggings are another pair of full length Super Gs.
I swear this pattern has magic butt-lifting properties. I don’t have much to speak of back there, but the pattern makes it look like I do!
I went with the side-seam-less view this time, so I didn’t have to interrupt the stripes, and sewed in a back zipper to stash my phone during long runs (hack tutorial here)
A little fabric trivia for you- whenever you order a dark, custom print, it is printed on a white base. This is true across every fabric group I’ve ordered from, and I typically steer away from dark customs because I don’t like the white that shows through when they are stretched.
This set is an exception, because the heathered grey at the top (where the fabric is stretched the most, to fit over my hips and bum) makes the white show-through invisible. Further on down my legs, less stretch is required, so it’s not noticeable, and though you do see the white a tiny bit when I bend my knees, or on my hardcore runner calves, its hardly noticeable as I streak by (I did use a solid black coordinate for the gusset).
I feel a bit like a soccer player in this set- a sport I haven’t ever played, except for one brief fall season when I was five. They required us to wear what I would generously term “puke yellow” jerseys, and my fashion sense was so offended, I refused to play again.
The same thing happened with girl scouts, come to think of it- WHY, OH WHY do they make the uniforms such an ugly brown?! I’m hoping by the time my daughter is of age, they’ll start allowing a nice shade of aqua, or she may follow in my footsteps, and reject the activities out of vanity. Everyone has their secret downfall, OK? Mine is ugly uniforms.
The coordinating sports bra was made from the Jalie 3247 pattern- one I’ve had in my stash for a while, and never made. It’s a shame though, because the fit is excellent, and I was able to change the construction a bit to suit my preferences and create the ideal racerback sports bra basic. Rather than using FOE for the neck and armholes, I added a self fabric binding, an athletic front underlining, and a wide exposed elastic band, which offers great support.
(If you’re curious about the mesh tank I’m wearing in these photos, it was blogged here)
The back is a single layer, sewn from Greenstyle laser cut mesh– I really like the fit and feel of this fabric. It has a nice tight weave, without being too compressive (I stopped using powermesh for leggings accents, because it always felt like it restricted my movement and cut off my circulation).
Set # 3: Neon Yellow and Stripes!
The third set I have to share with you today is another striped number. This time I went a little wild and included neon contrasts for the Power Bra straps and topstitching (check out he Power Bra SewAlong here), and used the full front hack (tutorial here) to eliminate the front princess seams.
I also played with the back strap placement a bit, keeping two of the straps straight and crossing the others. This neon yellow soft bra strapping came from somewhere during our summer trip- though the exact source now escapes me! Maybe I need to start a fabric/notions purchase log? The stripes I used for this set are in the pick a print library here.
I didn’t have a neon yellow zipper, and I was trying not to be tempted by the fabrics at JoAnns, so I went with a nice, bright red- hopefully they don’t clash too much.
The leggings are the Inspire Tights (SewAlong here) with the no-side-seam hack. I couldn’t quite get the back zipper pocket stripes to align with the waistband, but I’m going to give myself some sewing grace there, because I love this set, and wanted to get it made, more than I wanted to get it perfect.
Well, that’s it? Tell me, am I alone in having way too much fabric? If you HAD to sort through your stash and donate 90% of it, what would you choose to keep and why? Or, if you’re awesome and never buy more than you can use immediately, tell me your secret! I do have a sewing space in our RV, but its teeeny tiny…so I need to develop some strategies for resisting temptation!
Oh, and since quite a few of you appreciated the recipe in the last post, here’s my latest kitchen creation: GF/DF Pumpkin Muffins! I substituted the flour in the recipe for Bobs Red Mill 1:1 Flour and Almond Flour (purchased from Costco). I upped the amount of pumpkin, and added another 1/2 cup of almond flour to keep it from being too moist. Cashew milk was used in place of dairy, and though we used eggs, you could easily use egg replacer (this is my favorite kind) if you are so inclined.
They required an extra 10 minutes in the oven, but after that the kids (and hubby!) gobbled them up!