Just Keep Swimming: Summer Swimwear Tour 2016



Welcome to my stop on the Summer Swimwear Tour! This tour showcases patterns from Jess of Gracious Threads, Ajaire from Call Ajaire, and Saskia of The Wolf and the Tree. Sponsoring the tour is Rachel from Imagine Gnats, who generously provided fabric for the bloggers on tour.

Just Keep Swimming rashguard pattern from The Wold and the Tree

I sewed the Just Keep Swimming rashguard and shorties pattern. The rashguard includes 3 sleeve lengths or sleeveless options, a solid or color blocked variation, and 3 bodice lengths. The bottoms include high waisted or regular briefs, and high waisted or regular shorts in 3 lengths. That’s over 160 combinations!

Just Keep Swimming rashguard pattern from The Wold and the Tree

I made 2 pairs of the short-length shorts to match Bella’s cropped rashguard. I love mix and match sets; I have at least 2 swimsuits in every load of laundry.

Just Keep Swimming rashguard pattern from The Wold and the Tree

These are great for cheer and gymnastics too. I plan to make solid black pairs for the girls to wear under their cheerleading uniforms next month. They have the perfect length and butt coverage for spanky pants.

Just Keep Swimming rashguard pattern by The Wold and the Tree

It’s worth a mention that the colorblocking option is perfect for older girls who may need fit adjustments up top. Princess seams practically do the job for you. This rashguard is sewn with no adjustments (and fits great) for reference. Rest assured it will be cake to add some more room later if needed.

Today is the last day to take advantage of the great deals offered by the Summer Swimwear Tour hostesses. Designs by Call Ajaire is offering 20% off all patterns in her Etsy shop using the code SWIMTOUR, Gracious Threads is offering 15% off the purchase of 3 or more patterns in her shop (no coupon needed), and The Wolf and the Tree is offering 15% off patterns using the code SWIMTOUR. So take a few minutes to patron these awesome designers!

Summer Swimwear Tour 2016

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Lazy Day Lounge Pants & My New Fabric Design!

Lazy Day Lounge Pants Pattern by Gracious Threads | Organic Cotton Interlock Knit

I made Bella these joggers for her birthday. I’ll tell you all about her Lazy Day Lounge Pants, but lets look at my first print available at My Fabric Designs.

Lazy Day Lounge Pants Pattern by Gracious Threads | Sleepy Pandas in Organic Cotton Interlock Knit from My Fabric Designs

Introducing Sleepy Pandas! This fabric is available in 26 different types of fabric, including the organic cotton interlock knit that I’m using today. (It’s divine!)

Sleepy Pandas by Amy Mayen, available in 26 fabrics at My Fabric Designs

I made the panda bear faces using Photoshop Touch on my iPad. The graphics measure 6″ which makes a very simple design feel bold. I chose white because Bella has been wanting to try some different dye techniques. She’s testing swatches to decide what method of pants-painting to use. So cool, right?

Lazy Day Lounge Pants in Sleepy Pandas organic cotton interlock knit from My Fabric Designs

My second design is also available now at My Fabric Designs. Instead of uploading a design, I made a seamless print using the free Fabric Pattern Creator. I can’t wait to show you how easy it is to use, but that’s another post. If you want a peek, click to see Dusty Mountain Trail. Now onto the sewing before you get tired of me!

Lazy Day Lounge Pants

This is the Lazy Day Lounge Pants pattern from Gracious Threads. The size range is 2-12. They are a very slightly dropped crotch jogger pant with cuffed ankles, elastic waist, inseam pockets and a drawstring.

Lazy Day Lounge Pants in Sleepy Pandas organic cotton interlock knit from My Fabric Designs

Fabric reccomendations are fleece, cotton fleece, French terry, or a heavier interlock knit. The ease of these pants really lend to experimenting with fabrics outside of the reccomendations, just make sure you have enough stretch to slip little feet through the bottom cuffs.

Lazy Day Lounge Pants | Sewing Pattern from Gracious Threads

I normally avoid jersey in really light colors, because colored under garments can show through. So far these have passed the underwear test, and I won’t worry at all once the panda pants are dyes. I’d call the organic cotton interlock from My Fabric Designs a medium weight. It’s the perfect weight and stretch for T-shirts, and there’s good “coverage” even in lighter colors.

Lazy Day Lounge Pants in Sleepy Pandas organic cotton interlock knit from My Fabric Designs

I give Lazy Day Lounge Pants all the gold stars. I’ve sewed several pairs and they are always in heavy rotation. Jess from Gracious Threads gets most of the credit for my love of sewing knits. Her New To Knits blog series really got me comfortable in the world of stretchy fabric sewing. I own several of her patterns and love them all. I’ve had my eye on the Jasper Joggers, which are another unisex jogger designed for lightweight wovens.

For this pair, I omitted the drawstring and opted for 3 narrow casings for skinny elastic. I like the way 3 elastics give a really custom fit in the waist.

Elastic Waistband using 3 channels for skinny elastic

I got to use my new coverstitch machine for this project, topstitching the cuffs, waistband, and inseam pockets. We used white since we’ll be coloring them.

Lazy Day Lounge Pants in Sleepy Pandas organic cotton interlock knit from My Fabric Designs

I’m still on a learning curve with my Brother 2340 CV. There’s no back stitch, so I tried lifting the pressor foot and turning the hand wheel a few times to lock it in. You can see below it didn’t work. I’ve read that one can tie off or tuck the thread tails into the seams of the garment. (I seam ripped it to re-do and the recovery is great. No puncture marks or distortion at all.)

Coverstitch coming undone

I do have 2 small regrets with this project. I didn’t match up my print at the seams, but the color will camouflage it some. The second is, when my daughter saw the pandas I designed…She insisted that they are polar bears. If you look at it; of course it’s polar bears! Fortunately she loves polar bears too. Ha ha!

Do you have a favorite technique for dyeing fabric? I’d love to hear your ideas, since my baby is so excited about coloring them.

My Fabric Designs Logo

Click the image above to check out the high quality apparel fabric, shop designs, and design your own fabric at My Fabric Designs. 

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Back To School Tee + New Glasses

What an incredible summer! Is anyone back to school sewing yet? I started with a basic tee; the Seena Dolman Tee pattern again.

back To School Sewing: Seena Dolman Tee by Gracious Threads

Our back to school routine means shopping for jeans and tees and getting an eye exam. Last year I spent over $500 in glasses…several pairs. Bella has gotten better about taking care of them (since I had a fit), but she’s 10 and things do happen.

Where To Shop For Back To School Glasses

I consider myself a frugal person, but I used to buy her the designer glasses. My theory was that they were made better and would last longer; saving me money. But the truth is, expensive glasses get lost and stepped on just as easily as the rest. So this year I skipped the name brands and went to Firmoo.com, where most glasses average between $20-$40.

Where aTo Buy Kids Glasses For Cheap

Cool dragon, right?

Firmoo sent me this pair to show y’all, and I was happy to since I own a pair myself. They tend to be lighter weight plastic frames, which Bella prefers over the metal frames with nose pieces. You enter the prescription and pupillary distance and they make them. Simple. Plus there’s a nifty “try-on” tool so you can see the frames on your face.

Back To School Tee | SewsNBows

Glasses: check. T-shirts…we are in dire need. Looks like I need to bump Bella’s Seena Dolman Tee pattern size up to a small from the women’s XS. Gaw they grow fast. I plan to sew several of these and a couple of Jalie Raglan Tees. Is it bad that most of Bellas shirts are the same 2 patterns? She wears them, so I’m sticking with it. I’m too poor to waste fabric on anything she won’t wear.

Seena Dolman Tee sewing pattern for back to school tees

Did you notice it started to rain on us during the photoshoot? I’m always happy when I don’t have to water all the crops. I say crops to sound like a real farmer…but it’s actually a few large gardens:)

Add a patch pocket to ant tee for a cute wardrobe update

In other news, our 4th of July party was a bangin’ success. I’m sorry I didn’t get any pictures of my decorations. I wanted to show you so bad! It’s been a #struggle to get much blogging done at all. I promise to set up early next year and take pictures and be a good blogger. Scouts honor.

Anyhow, Bella’s back to school tee may not fit when school starts, but it sure is cute. I’ll be back as soon as I can with another make!

Back To School Tee | SewsNBows

Pattern: Seena Dolman Tee by Gracious Threads
Mods: omitted sleeve and hem bands, added length, added patch pocket
Fabric: stripes from Girl Charlee
Glasses: Firmoo.com

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My Style DeEvolution | Me Made May

Seena Dolman Tee | SewsNBows

I made another Seena Dolman Tee for Me Made May. It’s one of those projects that take less than an hour and I wear it a lot.

Fashion De-Evolution: How Farm Life Changed The Way I Dress

I wrote about this great pattern when I made my Hacci knit version; so today I want to talk about my style de-evolution. This month, I’ve been really thinking about how neccesity has changed my style this year. I told  you in my last post how I can’t do dresses anymore living on a farm. There are a whole lot of other other wardrobe changes too.


You see these boots? They have walked through fire and tramped through forests. I have another pair that’s equally beat up, and I’m trying to save the rest of my boots so they don’t become work boots too. But they all become work boots here, sooner or later.

Seena Dolman Tee for Me Made May | SewsNBows

My whole life I’ve always felt like accessories make the outfit. I’m a 90’s kid through and through, and I like big. Big earrings, big bags… Even in sweatpants I felt fabulous as long as I had some statement accessories…but none of that works now. Even my staple comfy knit dresses are off the table.

Seena Dolman Tee in bamboo jersey knit

I used to wear hundreds of bangles. (Well, tens of bangles.) I like the jingle when I move around. But bracelets get caught in brush when I’m clearing land. Big earrings don’t work  either; they’re a fire hazard. It can be really dangerous trying to be cute! So my jewelry sits sad and neglected until Sunday.

My Fashion De-Evolution Fir Ne Made May | SewsNBows

Small cross body bags are my new BFF. This bag is perfect to hold my phone while I’m driving the tractor. Things tend to fall out of pockets while mowing the pastures, and the cross body strap keeps it close to my body. I keep my debit card and license in there too. For a while I’d take my big purse when we went out, but I got annoyed and just carry this one lately. Now I wonder what I was doing with the enormous bags…traveling? What was I packing for? Guess I don’t need all that stuff.

Oatmeal Colored Stetson | SewsNBows

This photo makes me sad. You are looking at what used to be a pristine, oatmeal colored Stetson. In days of old, I wore this hat just to decorate my head. Now I know what they’re actually for. Sunglasses aren’t ideal when working outside because I get sweaty and they slip down. The hat is sun protection, plus more. When I mow and grass comes toward my face, I just angle the brim in the direction it’s coming from. Same thing  when smoke, wind, or ashes are coming at me. It’s like a hands-free shield.

Seena Dolman Tee for Me Made May| SewsNBows

What I need now is very simple clothing. Fabric can’t be wispy or tear easily. No bling or sequins or beads. Nothing that will blow around and get caught on something. Things that stain easily are not for me. Dual purpose is great; if I can wear it around town plus work in it- I’m thrilled. Ain’t nobody got time to change clothes all day! While I’m not happy about trading my signature style in for a more practical one, I do have one consolation.

Sewing For Me Made May, and Thoughts on Farm Fashion

Belts can be as big and gaudy as I want!! They don’t seem to get in the way at all, and they hold tools! Let me tell you, I have some big, ridiculous belts. And I will be wearing them to get my bling fix. I may have chicken poop on my boots, but an awesome belt sort of cancels that out.

How has your style changed over time, or by necessity?

Pattern: Seena Dolman Tee by Gracious Threads
Modifications: added 1″ to hem
Fabric: bamboo Rayon/cotton jersey (amazing btw) from Louseau

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Seashore Dress pattern by Gracious Threads

Seashore Dress pattern by Gracious a Threads: in vintage mint fabric! Love this pattern.

This is the Seashore Dress, Top, & Tunic pattern by Gracious Threads. Here’s my review!

Seashore Dress pattern by Gracious a Threads: in vintage mint fabric! Love this pattern.

I’m obsessed with Gracious Threads patterns. I’ve made the girls and womens sizes; and the Lazy Day Lounge Pants.

Here's a cute girls dress pattern to sew: the Seashore Dress by Gracious Threads. Shown in vintage mint fabric with pink accents by SewsNBows

I actually forgot I owned this pattern. Can you believe?! Either I won it a long time ago in a rafflecopter, or maybe it was in a pattern bundle. I think it’s an older pattern because the newer GT patterns have a photo and technical drawing, while the Seashore Dress just has a photo. I’m drawn towards digital illustrations because it’s easier to see seams and construction details. Maybe that’s how I passed over it for way too long?

Seashore Dress | Girls Sewing Pattern from Gracious Threads

I chose this minty green vintage fabric. It has a teeny print with pink flowers that is very hard to photograph. I’m still shooting in automatic…and I’ll probably never take the time to learn manual. I’ve just accepted it. Sigh.

Seashore Dress by Gracious Threads

I wanted a pattern that wasn’t too busy. Something with clean lines to really show off my fabric, nice construction methods, and not plain or boring. The Seashore Dress pattern delivers all that! (It’s the perfect design for border prints too.)

Shoulder Seam Button Closure: the Seashore Dress pattern by Gracious Threads

My favorite detail is the 4 button closures on the shoulders. I made a size up (5) so it’s a little big for Sofie- and I probably could’ve made one side decorative buttons only. Just a lazy girl suggestion if you cut corners like I do.

*I should’ve pressed after finishing this dress. Skipping ironing= not a good corner-cut.

Seashore Dress pattern by Gracious Threads: this pattern has clean simple lines without being boring. This would be perfect for border prints, and the shoulder details are so pretty.

The neckline is finished with bias tape. This keeps the dress really light and airy. It would be very simple to line it if you prefer. I let my bias tape hang over the edge a bit for a bit of contast, and used it to finish the sleeves as well.

Cap sleeve and button closure shoulder detail: a Seashore Dress pattern from Gracious Threads

Speaking of the sleeves, those are my next favorite thing. It’s…the perfect amount of capped-ness. I love capped sleeves but I don’t like them too cappy. This dress pattern is classic.

Seashore Dress: pattern by Gracious Threads

Confession: these images are over exposed so eyes look dark. This picture was so creepy I had to crop it. In this particular photo; my niece looked like a scary little girl that crawled out of a well. You saw that movie, right? I really should take a photography class.

Seashore Dress pattern by Gracious Threads

If you’re a regular visitor here, you may have noticed Sofias expression is somewhat pensive. She’s normally super smiley and pretty much a total ham. That’s because she had an ulterior motive. The entire (4 minutes) duration of this photo shoot, she was edging closer to the tire swing.

Seashore Dress pattern by Gracious Threads

My poor baby. It’s almost never left unattended; so she had to seize the opportunity. She worked her way toward it slowly, under the guise of taking pictures of her new dress. If she had made a run for it, it’s a certainty that her bigger, faster brothers and cousins would’ve beelined and got there first.

Tire Swing

I don’t stage photos real well, preferring to keep it quick and let the child be the creative director. I really enjoyed being behind the camera on this one. It was fun to watch her strategy. Her sneakiness was military level. I was impressed. If you scroll back up and look at her face, you’ll see what I’m talking about! She was on a mission to get that tire swing.

Seashore Dress pattern by Gracious Threads

Pattern: Seashore Dress, Top, & Tunic by Gracious Threads; size 2T-8
Fabric: vintage mint floral from stash
Details: bias tape neck and sleeve finishing, pink buttons for shoulder closure. I made size 5, model is size 4 according to size chart.

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