Operation Beautify: Making Progress!

This is going to take forever! I have made quite good progress already but this is pretty intensive. It has already taken me several hours and I’m not even halfway through this flower, the smaller flower of the two in the piece.

For the purple flower, I’m using the long and short stitch. You can see where I start to get more comfortable with it as it blends together more and creates a smoother transition between colors. I used all 6 strands for this and have noticed that using more strands is really the only way to go for anything other than backstitch. It just makes everything fuller, neater, and easier to manage.

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You can see towards the top where I started and how it looks less blended than towards the bottom. 

I also finally put some beads on one stem and one line of the large flower. They are put on very differently. The yellow beads are smaller so they are just all on one strand. The lines are also smaller and so are easier to manage. The green beads are larger and over longer lines so I used a stitch I found in my new book! It is called the Coral Stitch and it is a knot stitch. I really like that the knots make it easier to put one bead on at a time without doing anything odd like backtracking. It also looks like it’ll be a great stitch for filling or outlines. Something to add a bit of texture. Either way, I like it!

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I really like this Coral Stitch! You can somewhat see the knots, and how the lengths between the beads aren’t so even. That’s ok, they’ll get more even as I practice.

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I’ve only got the one line of yellow beads so far. I like them, I wonder if doing the beads before stitching will be harder, or if it’s easier. I’ll find out!

I also got these really great mini hoops! They will be a gift, I think, I just have to figure out which way to go with it. I got them from Dandelyne on Etsy. She’s in Australia so it took them a while to get to me but man it is worth it! She’s not only such a great shop owner who communicates and provides a high quality product, she’s incredibly inspirational. I follower her on Instagram as well, where she is always posting about other people’s work for inspiration. She is such a positive person. Check her out if you are looking into some mini hoops, she has several options and you can make necklaces or brooches with them. Really, the possibilities are endless!

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I can’t wait to get more and make such cute gifts!

That’s all I’ve got this week! I’m still finishing up my Fable Dress version 2 and aside from work, have just been trying to get enough sleep.

What are your favorite embroidery stitches?

 

Oh! And one last thing – my posts don’t contain affiliate links. If you notice me linking to other people’s sites and products, it is just me sharing what I personally love. I don’t make money if you click the link and buy anything, I don’t even really know how that works. I just wanted to make that clear, everything I share is shared only to show my appreciation of a product/shop/person/whatever. Thanks!

 

Until next time,

—Bethany Out

 

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Operation Beautify: The Saga Begins

Hello!

So I’ve already mentioned this on my Instagram but I have started on Operation Beautify in an attempt to make my house prettier and nicer to be in. Plain white walls just don’t cut it for me and I’d like to add some oomph to my surroundings. After all I am in my apartment for the majority of my day and I deserve pretty walls, damnit!

So my plan is pretty basic: take some amazing embroidery patterns, stitch em up, and put them on my wall! There is a caveat of course, to challenge myself. I’m doing that from the get go with this first pattern. I’ve chosen this great flower pattern from Urban Threads, an amazing site with such fantastic patterns for hand and machine embroiderers alike at great prices (typically $1 a piece, with ‘packs’ available at a discount). No, I don’t get a commission, I just really love the site and their patterns. Just a happy customer sharing their love of a brand.

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So pretty! A perfect first project.

The pattern itself is pretty straightforward so the challenge comes with the size (about 11″ tall) and with the stitches I’ll be using. I’ve ordered a new embroidery book of stitches to browse through so I’ll be using something other than a regular backstitch. I also got some amazing beads to use! I’ll be putting beads on the leaf stems, the large flower highlights, and the center part of the small flower.

 

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This book so far has proven really informative. I like that there are sections on blackwork and other types of embroidery. I’ll do a full review later.

I’ve already got the supplies and the pattern has been traced, I just need to get started! I need to finish the final touches on my new Fable pattern makes first since that project has a deadline and then I’ll get to work. I’m really excited about this as it is a long term project I’ll not only enjoy doing but I’ll enjoy the final product and I’m glad I know what I’ll do with the finished pieces.

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The beads up close! I got different sizes based on what lines I’m going to use them on.

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Some of the threads, the bigger flower will be yellow and the smaller flower will be purple. As of now, at least.

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I even already have it traced out, I just need to actually stitch it up. I do have some other projects I’d like to finish first though.

Speaking of finished pieces, I found this amazing stuff for your finished needlework designs of all kinds. It is a glued foam board, so you can just stick your design to the glued side and do with it what you will! I’m excited to use it and I’ll let you know how it turns out. I have a feeling though it will make framing my finished pieces a lot easier and give me some leeway with how I use the finished pieces in general. Say I can’t frame it right away but I don’t want to leave it just laying around to get crumpled, I can stick it on this backing and file it away! That sounds neat to me. Either way, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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This stuff seems pretty awesome, there are even other similar options!

What are your favorite or unexpected embroidery tools, pattern sites, or books you love? Please share them with me, I’d love to add new books to my library, have new sites to browse, and tools to use. Share in the comments or follow me on Instagram to share with me!

The Fable will be out soon, today is photoshoot day and then BAM, release day! So stayed tuned for that.

Until next time,

— Bethany Out

Bridesmaid Dresses!

I have finally started on my bridesmaid dresses. My best friend wants us to wear tea length dresses with layers of lace and silk or taffeta. So what we have so far agreed to is a dress made up of three pieces: a basic dress made of silk or taffeta, a lace overlay dress, and a petticoat with lace trim to peek out from the bottom of the dress. Why three pieces? Well the other bridesmaid and I would like to wear these aside from just today so breaking things up into pieces makes them more useable. For myself I know I want the lace overlay in a million colors to wear with plain dresses underneath and shared plans about that in a previous post along with a fabric haul. So I will really get a lot of use out of this myself. I’ll probably make a long petticoat for the wedding and then shorten it to wear with my regular dresses because tea length is not a common length for me. I usually wear my dresses right above the knee or shorter.

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My very poorly sketched idea.

For the lace overlay I’ve already made progress! I started out with McCall’s 6646 and did a mockup to see how it fit. I was concerned it wouldn’t fit me because the smallest size is a size bigger than I usually go but McCall’s came through and the smallest size was quite snug! I went with the size larger because overlays don’t need to be that tight. Once I got the size I wanted I changed the neckline. I did this because as much as I love high necked dresses, I wanted more of a boat neck this time around which meant I needed to shorten it. I’ve noticed too that while I am petite, I tend to be petite in my bust to neck measurements, rather than in my lower torso. I don’t need to really shorten anything but the neckline, which is odd. It’s fine with me though!

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You can see the changes I’ve made based on the mockup.

What’s challenging about this fit is that the shoulder straps are now nearly non-existent. This means that I really have to make sure it’s a tight enough fit to ensure the straps will stay put without making the lace overlay too tight. I’ve also changed the armhole based on a pattern with a perfect fit for me so that is a nice change. Of course I’ll do another mockup before cutting the real fabric but this should do nicely. I may add elastic to the straps just in case as well depending on how it ends up fitting.

Now I’m testing the fit for the bodice of the real dress. I tried the McCall’s included bodice…and it was too big. Like I thought! So the overlay was perfect, the real dress was lacking. Figures. Thankfully it is just a typical princess seamed bodice of which there are many patterns for. I’m trying Simplicity 1606 next but am having trouble finding the right cup size. The wiast measurement is always so large compared to the bust and is always a good 3 inches bigger than my actual waist. It’s quite a pain getting that down, especially because I’m no busty girl. I am a b-cup and so why it’s so difficult to get a decent waist on these things is beyond me.

I haven’t started on the petticoat yet but I did get a pattern for one which is a start.I’m using Simplicity 5006. I know you can make them without a pattern and that it is just a ruffled rectangle at the bottom made of tulle/netting to get the poof you need. However, I’m not sure how much tulle I need or what skirt shape to go with. It’s a circle skirt dress which would make me think I need a circle skirt based petticoat but I’ll probably play around with it to see. Anyone else have experience with petticoats they would like to share? I’m open to most anything!

In other sewing news, well, I have started on a vintage shirt pattern, Simplicity 1590. I’ve been looking to make more separates and I feel this is a great basic that I can make in a variety of fabrics for casual or more business appropriate looks. I sewed up a quick mockup for fit and I’m not surprised it fits great in the waist and boobs but not the shoulders. The fit is way too tight across my shoulders and so I may have to size up and see if that helps. Thankfully it’s such a cute pattern it seems worth the fuss.

I’ve also got a new couple pieces of gear. I got a new zipper foot, much narrower than my previous foot. I’m hoping this will help me feel more motivated to finish my pink plaid dress as well as my pink dotted dress. I haven’t finished them because zippers are such a hassle and I have tried so many ways to put them in to no avail. Perhaps this narrower foot will help make things easier. I’ve also got a new way of storing fabric, a lovely closet hanging thing from IKEA. I love IKEA I really do. This helps me sort everything, keep it out of the way, and it is actually quite sturdy.

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Pretty huge difference if you ask me!

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So handy to have around and in a cute purple to boot.

 

The new Vesta Pattern the Fable will be out soon and I’m getting great shots of my finished pieces while the weather is still great. Have a great week everyone and as always,

Until next time,

—Bethany Out

Fabric Haul, Future Plans!

Since I can’t share any pictures with you on The Fable progress, I might as well share some ideas I have for projects to work on when I’m done!

I keep buying more fabric even though I haven’t been working on anything but I’m happy to say I’ve been working harder on making sure I buy only what I know for a fact I will wear and enjoy. We know how things go: we see a beautiful fabric, take it home, and never use it because it turns out it isn’t actually our style and it sits there while you feel guilty for every buying it. I used to do this constantly. I have an entire stash of fabric I home that I haven’t even missed (aside from the faux fur) that indicates my buying habits need to be altered. I have been so good lately about buying more solids for separates and what prints I do buy are a healthy mix of professional and novelty that express my more fun side without making me feel too odd about wearing them.

I also am buying patterns to replace patterns that I like but don’t love enough to make them. Some patterns do just need the right fabric for inspiration so I haven’t gotten rid of them completely but I recognize that I didn’t pick them realistically.

Here’s the new fabrics and the patterns I bought recently as well as ideas for what to do with them.

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Top left: cotton novelty fabric with sewing notions (I also have the matching reusable bag) Top middle: sheer brown poly with a fun lion print down one side      Left middle: cotton with oranges and pinks that look like brushstrokes, also the rose rayon from Gertie’s fabric line    Middle right: sheer poly with red flower motif that feels like velvet   Bottom: solid green poly blend   Bottom right: blue/green plaid wool blend  Right: black faux fur

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I may have a lot of new patterns…

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The only “modern” patterns I bought. I love the knit pencil skirt of the left pattern and that is a nice jacket pattern as well. I have a similar pattern for wovens so this is a good counterpart. The middle dress might actually become my bridesmaid dress since the other one doesn’t go to a small enough size. The right pattern is just one I’ve been eyeing for a while and I’m excited to try something new.

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Some 40’s patterns. I need to start getting separates and this shirt has buttons, my new favorite closure method (die, zippers!). I also love the skirt yoke on the dress, the only reason I got it.

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50’s patterns of course. I love the bodice darts and gathering on the dresses, and the long peplum is just too darn adorable.

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60’s! This dress is stunning and I am so excited for this cape. The pockets seem really convenient and doesn’t take up too much fabric compared to some cape patterns.

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This seems a bit of a stretch for ‘retro’ but I want to actually make both of these garments and try to style the skirt in a more modern fashion. I haven’t figured out how I’ll do it but I will!

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I also got some costume patterns! I decided that the only ‘resolution’ I have for this year is to make a costume of some kind. I don’t know if it will be fantasy or historically based but either way I will be prepared! I picked these patterns for their pieces and therefore versatility. Some of the pieces I’m incredibly excited for, like the collar ruff. Having a pattern for this will make my job that much easier.  

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For the wool and faux fur I want to make a coat! I got this pattern for the great collar that is also a hood and it seems like if I finish off the inside seams nicely enough I can leave off with the lining! I haven’t decided on that detail though so we’ll see.

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I didn’t think about this rayon for this dress at first but it really yells at me to do it. It isn’t silk rayon but being rayon should work well enough I think. I’ll do view A for the cute bow!

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This green fabric will be a basic circle skirt with princess seam bodice. I thought this green would be great for under the black lace, so it will be the basic layering dress that can stand on its own.

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Since this pattern uses buttons, I’m going to use this cotton. I know a lot of people dislike quilting cottons for garments but after washing they are quite nice and aren’t too stiff. I think it will be perfect!

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This seems like an odd combination but…this novelty print seems like it would make the perfect view C! I’ll make a contrasting belt instead of the novelty fabric but still, how cute!

So that’s it! The new fabrics, some ideas for the future, lots of fun stuff! I don’t know what I’ll do with all of my new fabric and patterns but that’s ok. I think that’s normal for us sewists, don’t you?

I’m quite excited to finally get to share the Fable patterns with you. I’ve finished two; one for the hell of it (and my first true run through with real fabric) and the second for the walk through blog post I’m writing to go with it. It is a great garment and I’ll be making more after this definitely. I do want to get my coat finished, and insert the zippers on my two pink based dresses before starting on more but I can honestly say I love this pattern. I think you all will too and I am just so excited to share it with you. So stay tuned! Vesta Patterns will be adding the Fable within the next couple of weeks and you’ll be in love at first sight!

Until next time,

—Bethany out

 

So Much NOT Done This Week

So this week was very much a dud as the title implies. I didn’t get to sew anything and my plaid dress still sits unzippered and unfinished. It’s so close too it’s supremely annoying to not be able to wear it. Not that I have anywhere but the house to wear it to anyway.

I haven’t been sewing mostly because of work but also because I’ve been doing a craft swap project. I am currently in two of them and one of them has been a little tough. My partner got dropped for lack of participation (it’s a good thing she got dropped!) so I got a new partner…and so started all over. There is a shipping deadline of February 7th that is fast approaching and I need to get this finished. It’s a cute project and I think they’ll love it but it’s more time consuming than some other ideas I had so of course I’m now in a crunch. I’m doing a little bit every day and even then it looks like I’ll send out part one on time and follow up with parts two and three after. It’s technically a surprise so I don’t want to spoil it in case my partner manages to see this (highly doubtful).

This craft swap thing has been an interesting idea but I’m not sure I’m sold. I am also in an apron swap and honestly I’m not excited about it. While I’m glad to be making for someone, I keep seeing all of these…issues pop up with others related to swaps like these. People complain about their partners, what they’ve received, things like that. So I’m trying to stay positive but after these two swaps I may not do them anymore. I also hate working on a deadline, no matter how much time I have it seems! At least, not if I’m not getting paid, wink wink.

Speaking of deadlines and getting paid…my days off this week are being spent finishing up the Fable pattern! I’m sewing it up all day today and tomorrow and it will hopefully be launching early February.

 

So I’m sorry for the lack of fun pictures and progress, but next week (or the week after) will have The Fable pattern and I’ll hopefully have my plaid dress done! I also have some new fabric and patterns so I’ll post those soon too.

 

Until then,

—Bethany Out

Making Headway on This Dress

Hello!

 

So last time I shared part of my fabric haul, so here’s the rest. This haul is from Mood Fabrics and strays from what I’d usually get. I’ll share the project ideas for some of them below, but first, the fabrics!

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Now the projects I have in mind are hopefully going to work. I am a tad bit nervous about the lace, mostly about wearing the lace rather than working with it. I’m absolutely terrified it’ll rip or get ruined while I’m wearing it because this lace isn’t reorderable. Considering this lace is absolutely perfect, that’s a major concern.

For both the lace and embroidered cotton I’d like to make them overdresses. The cotton isn’t as shear but it still either needs a lining or a slip, so I’ve decided to opt for a slip underneath. My ultimate goal is to have slips in lots of different colors to wear underneath these two overdresses to have fun with the shear capabilities.

I’ll be using McCall’s M6646 if I can get it to fit. It’s actually the dress I’ll be using for my bridesmaid dress but I noticed the pattern only goes to size 8 where I usually need a 6. A little bit of adjusting may be in order then but I think it’ll work out alright. That’s why we always do a mock-up!

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The dress in question, which will have layers of lace and satin at tea length. The colors will be grey and dusky rose. I’m quite excited.

For other projects I’m actually making great headway! It’s amazing what you can do when you work only one job and don’t feel so worn down/tired/stressed all the time. I’ve still not finished my pink polka dotted dress but to be honest I think that has more to do with not loving it as much as I thought I would. Each time I try it on I am just not pleased. Still, I’m going to finish it because I’m so close and I’d really like to see what happens when it’s finished. Maybe being able to zip it up versus pining it up will make a difference, who knows.

I’m also in the midst of sewing up Butterick B5603. It’s a great pattern, but I have had some issues, thanks to the fabric I am using. I forgot that there is a tad bit of stretch so now I am having issues with it pulling slightly where it shouldn’t. I’ve resewn the bodice to the skirt a bazillion times now and I still get the same issue. I’ve got reference pictures here to show you. Considering it’s only noticeable at the front (it makes the plaid slightly crooked) I may just leave it and call it a day. It fits well, everything else is where it should be, and no matter what I’ve done I can’t seem to fix the issue. What do you think lovely sewists?

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Close up of the wonkiness. See the off center plaid right in the middle front panel? Ugh!

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The middle back panel does it too. No damn clue as to why or how to fix it. Losing my mind over here!

Something you’ll notice about this dress is I didn’t pattern match…and I don’t care. Most people do pattern match plaids but I simply didn’t have the fabric or the pateince/care to do it. In fact, I had so little yardage I had to alter how I cut the bodice! Instead of cutting the front and back bodice pieces on the fold (only 2 bodice pieces, amazing) I had to cut them with an extended seam allowance and sew them together. It was easily done, I was only just barely unable to cut on the fold. Slightly annoying but an easy fix at least. Thankfully the dress also looks good with a center seam, I was worried that adding the seam would throw off the look but I find it to be just fine.

This dress is also interesting because of the front darts: it really needs a petticoat. Most vintage dresses I wear without or would wear without because they don’t really need them. They are just large circle skirts after all. The darts in the front side panels on this dress however give it that interesting shape if you can tell in the pictures. That’s fine though because my last trip to Joann Fabrics I bought tulle! I need to make petticoats for the bridesmaid dresses anyway so I will just make one as a test run for this dress and make duplicates after that if I like it enough. I haven’t worked with tulle before so this will be fun!

I also used my new cutting mat! It was a tad bit awkward but I think I do like it a lot. You can’t really do smaller curves so armholes will still have to be done with scissors. I’m glad I finally got it though and it made things much easier for me in many ways. I would highly recommend one.

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For my last work in progress – The Fable – I am nearly complete with the muslin! It’s turning out really well and has so far been a very easy sew. Whitney is so great about feedback as well, making this whole process a lot less scary than I thought it could be. I really enjoy working with her and this new pattern is really amazing. I can’t wait to show you all! It’ll be coming out soon remember, but just in case you need a reminder, head on over to Vesta Patterns to sign up for emails about new things happening with Whitney’s patterns.

What are some projects you’re excited about? Anyone sewn a petticoat before that has any insight/experiences/tips they want to share? Let’s chat in the comments.

Until next time,

—Bethany Out

Exciting New Things!

Hello everyone!

 

Now that the holidays are over and settled down…I’m still making Christmas cards! I know, they are terribly late but I figure I’m just extending the season of happiness. I’ll post once they’re finished of them all but the pictures won’t be mine because up until now I’ve kept forgetting to take pictures of them before sealing them away. Typical! Still, they have been turning out great and I’m happy with them. I hope the recipients are as well.

As for the new and exciting news…I’ve started working with the most amazingly talented Whitney of Vesta Patterns [Instagram HERE]. Mostly I’ll be pattern testing her newest design, called The Fable, and helping her get her patterns distributed. I’ll be making up the pattern, along with a detailed walk through, which will be launching in early February-ish.

You may have seen Whitney’s first pattern, The Grail, a simple t-shirt with different necklines and sleeves options. What’s so nice about her patterns is that she is has the measurements based on real bodies. That means your measurements are based on your hip/bust/waist ratio, so you can worry less about fitting into a 14 for bust, but 12 for hips or some such nonsense.

She explains the shape groups on her website but just to give a short recap here:

The ‘A’ shape is for a smaller bust, larger hips, and a serious waist curve.

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The ‘S’ shape is more of what we know of as the hourglass – full bust and hips with a more defined waist. I’ve put myself here because my irregular measurements fit best with a small.

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The ‘E’ shape is for people with no huge difference between their bust, waist, and hip measurements. It’s definitely the most common shape, a general catch all if you will.

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What’s great about these patterns is Whitney’s serious effort to step away from sizing ideals and dilemmas that are common for us sewists today. It seems that with the big 4, and even other indie designers (no one in particular, I haven’t had any issues with indie patterns as of yet), that sizing is stagnant and there is always some huge adjustment to make to the pattern. Mostly bust adjustments or issues with shoulders. Whitney is working hard to change that and to make patterns more fun and easier to size. She’s also staunchly against body policing or negativity. It has been very clear to me she wants people to feel more comfortable with themselves and not feel obligated to be a certain shape or that any one shape is worth striving for. In fact, she doesn’t like calling people by shape names like ‘apple,’ ‘pear,’ ‘hourglass,’ and so on. That’s why the shapes have simple letters. It’s to help remove the stigma and baggage associated with shape names today.

Side note, I also adore the names. The Grail, the Fable…wholey moley these names are fantastic, right?

I’ll be honest here though…I haven’t actually sewn up The Grail yet! I just ordered a printer yesterday to print out the PDF and get going. Since my measurements are a bit on the edge, I may even sew up two or three between them all just to see what the differences come to and give people perhaps a better idea of where they can go. It won’t need a tutorial, it’s a simple knit t-shirt for crying out loud, but it’s nice to see how sizing changes between shapes.

I’m so incredibly excited to work with Whitney and get her new pattern up and going. She’s very passionate about sewing and pattern making and is working hard to give the sewing community something new, especially for those of us that don’t like some trends like shift dresses or beginner based patterns. Her patterns are more for intermediate sewers that know the basics of construction and sewing, with the instructions being only one page. The Fable isn’t her final pattern either, this is only the beginning of something spectacular.

So while I won’t be giving away any spoilers about the new pattern, I do want to assure you all of Whitney’s enthusiasm and my dedication to being honest about The Grail and The Fable and how they sew up/fit in relation to what they promise. I know once someone is paid for things like this you have to take what they say with a grain of salt but not with me! Whitney doesn’t want me to hold back just as much as I don’t want to. She’s equally dedicated to providing new patterns that fit well and are fun and interesting to add to your wardrobe.

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Fine…just one spoiler…here are the fabrics and buttons I’ll be using!

In other exciting news…or at least news in general…I’m taking this next semester off of school, and I quit my teaching job. Teaching English is great is some aspects but I am so worn down by it and it really stresses me out. Something that I feel no one really talks about is how poorly humans treat each other in any sort of service industry. These were other adults I was teaching and the majority of them were very rude and made the experience incredibly negative. So after 2+ years, I’m done. I quit, I’m moving on, and I’m so relieved. I’m also taking a break from school because it’s just as stressful and doesn’t mix well with me working more than 40 hours a week. I have had all of one full day completely off once in over 2 months, and that was just yesterday on Christmas. Yowza! So school can take a break and while I have less work to do I am going to really work on improving my sewing.

Here’s a breakdown of what January – approx June will bring me:

Testing The Fable and sewing my own Grail shirts.

Learning how wholesale works and actually make sales…

Sew up my first fitting of the dress I’ll be wearing for my best friend’s wedding and the first fitting for the other bridesmaid.

Sew my first petticoat, then another based on how well it works for the two bridesmaid’s dresses.

Sew up a couple of shirts using chambray and double gauze for the first time. (just wait till you see the fabrics I got!)

Sew with lace for the first time as well for some (hopefully) 20’s inspired 50’s dresses. I’ll explain more later.

I’ll be posting what fabrics I got with my fabric money from Christmas soon. I got the lace, chambray, and double gauze mentioned above as well as a few others. I’ll wait for that post though until I actually have the fabrics so you can see how amazing they are for realsies and not through website photos.

Stayed tuned for The Fable and Grail posts and thanks again for tuning in! Don’t forget to check out Whitney’s website, sign up for the email updates on The Fable and other new patterns, and check out her Instagram while you’re at it.

Have any fun projects coming up? Let me know in the comments!

 

Also, how do you like the new layout? Let me know, I’m on the fence…

 

Until next time,

— Bethany Out