38 Trips Around the Sun

Instead of being like a thousand other bloggers, I decided to write my New Years Blog Post for my Birthday! Yep, today I am 38. I am not usually one who gets crazy about turning a year older, except when I turned 25…”It was¬†dark times Harry, Dark Times…” That was a rough one! When I think about the things I have done in the last year, I am pretty happy. I switched positions at my job, I bought my first brand new car, I realized it is ok to do fun things alone, upgraded to a new DSLR camera, took my first photography class and I even had time to sew some awesome clothes. I rediscovered my love for geocaching and hiking as well. Overall it was a good year, but I want to make this year even better.
I have spent several weeks/months really thinking of the direction I want to take my blog. I am just like every other blogger, I want to grow my audience and reach more people. I have noticed a lot of new faces following my social media accounts and for that, I am so grateful. It feels good to be noticed. I don’t know if the average person realizes how much work goes into being a sewing blogger. Pick a pattern, sew it up at least once (typically more), photos, photo edits, write blog posts, then share. ūüôā I do enjoy it though. I like knowing there is a record of my progress. I often look back at blog posts to remind myself of the changes I made to a garment and if I liked the fit or not. I love that other people will randomly find a blog post and leave me a message or pick up a pattern I haven’t mentioned in months. It makes me feel good knowing someone saw the joy in my blog. It also makes makes me feel good when I see kind comments from someone I don’t know.
Being a sewing blogger isn’t all sunshine and flowers though. Every single post is a risk. That seems a little odd, but it is true. Every post we make, every share we do, puts us up for being judged. Readers, I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel good to me. The comments people make shock me sometimes. For the dozens of good comments, there are always some bad ones. “Your shirt is too tight.” “You would look better with heels.” “You would look slimmer if…” “That color was a bold choice.” “Prints make you look bigger.” “Plus size can’t wear stripes.” and the list goes on…it is a long list. Note to crabby readers…your comments about me will never be harsher than my own thoughts. Why do people do this? Golden Rule, Folks. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. As a sewing blogger, I have gained some confidence though. Sometime,s I even dare to say my outfit looks cute or nice. Baby Steps.
So let’s talk about goals for the next 365 days.
*Do more quality sewing. I do a lot of quick sews, well in the past I did a lot. I have greatly reduced the number of tests I am doing. I want to sew things on my schedule for what I want to sew.
*Learn new things. Master my fit issues ehm… pants, bras, etc. Somethings scare me to sew…Bras…tried it once and quit! Pants are a work in progress. For me, I need to realize my body isn’t a normal feminine shape. Most patterns account for hips and booty and I lack in both. But I am making huge strides in preparing to sew my own jeans!!
*Write at least 5 blog posts for designers or for blog tours. Always on the look out for blog tours!! Tag me if you start one. I want in!
*Test less, Upcycle more. I have seen several mentions lately that plus size upcycling isn’t as popular as smaller sizes. I do agree with this in a way, but I have been upcycling for YEARS! When I began sewing, I started by thrifting for anything with great fabrics! I made some cool stuff, now I have more sewing skills I should be putting to use! As a bonus, we are saving a little space in the landfills!
*Continue to be a positive influence online. I shouldn’t need to explain this one.
*Learn to say No!
If I haven’t lost ya yet, thanks for sticking around! This is going to be an awesome year and I can’t wait to update this post on my next Birthday.¬† Don’t forget to give my blog a follow and leave me a comment! ūüôā
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 As always this blog contains affiliate links, which is a small commission I earn when you make a purchase from my blog links. Thank you for helping to support my sewing.

DIBY- Stevie Jumpsuit / Romper

I know it was just a few days ago when I said I don’t wear rompers. Has it even been a week? At the last minute, Jessica at the DIBY club asked me to join in for a romper test. I agreed because she works very hard to be super inclusive for the plus size body. Her sizes go up to a DIBY size 36 which is several sizes past me. In most sewing groups, I do sew near or at the top of their size charts. Companies all have different size ranges and and none of them compare to clothing you buy at the store.¬†
DIBY Stevie 30 graded to 26 (3)
So let’s talk about the Stevie Jumpsuit! I planned to make the most basic jumpsuit. I made the shorts pattern for the pants. Again because it was so last minute, I omitted the pockets and the waist tie sash. When I tried on my suit and it fit so well, I was immediately annoyed at my own laziness and wished I would have done both!
In addition to the shorts, there is an option to do a loose fit pant or a slimmed leg that gathers at an ankle cuff. Honestly, I love that look and am thinking of making those pants!   Actually, I am already thinking of making them as pants and not attached to the jumpsuit!
DIBY Stevie 30 graded to 26 (1)
 This is the only style for the bodice, but it is so cute, I am ok with it. The loose V shaped neck line is easy to achieve! My sleeves required a 1.5 inch bicep adjustment. I think a 2 inch adjustment would have made this a little easier to slip on and off. I will remember for the next time. I also added 2 inches to the bodice length to get some more room. I would I would have added maybe 2 more and removed a bit from the height of the shorts. It is very important when making a romper that you measure and account for the trunk measurement. No one wants a wedgie! I like to let my readers know how I adjust the patterns to fit me. It is normal to make adjustments, that is why our clothes fit so well. A good reason I began blogging is so I would have a personal journal of what I am making, how I am adjusting, and what I should do for the next time I make a pattern.
DIBY Stevie 30 graded to 26 (6)
This fabric is double brushed poly and I picked it up at a fabric warehouse in Amish Country. I do happen to know that Stitchin’ Pretties carries this same print in an Aqua and orange colorway that is absolutely amazing. The print is called Annella and you can pick it up here! I have some of it in my stash already and may use some of it on a test that I just joined! Stitchin’ Pretties always has amazing sales and super fast deliveries! I highly recommend them!
DIBY Stevie 30 graded to 26 (8)
When I took my new Stevie over to my mom’s to get some pictures for you, I realized I had forgotten my swim suit at home. No worries, into the pool I went! PSA: I don’t suggest using double brushed poly for normal swimming as it has zero support, clingy as heck and honestly, I am not sure how well it will hold up to Chlorine! Do as I say, not as I do. I would be 100% ok with slimming these shorts down and making a body swimsuit!! I can see vintage style bathing suits in my future!
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Are you ready to pick up this pattern? I thank you for using my affiliate link. This just means I receive a small commission from the designer for testing and sharing.
DIBY Stevie 30 graded to 26 (7)

Spectrum of Shapes ~ DIBY – Adrienne

Several months ago, The Sarcastic Sewist and I were chatting about how to keep our blogs rolling during the new year. We decided that we would do a bit of a comparison on how we, as curvy sewing bloggers, are adjusting patterns to fit our bodies. We spoke with another curvy blogger, Chaney of Twinkle Toes and Company, and she hopped on board with us. We choose to work with the Adrienne from DIBY.Club. This pattern is cute and fun. DIBY also has the largest size range that I personally test for. Our rules were simple. Make the pattern and adjust it to your liking and for your personal fit. We plan to do this quarterly so stay turned for the Spectrum of Shapes tour!

DIBY Adrienne (2)

I knew I would need to blend sizes, which is often the first step in getting a custom fit. At the Diby.club, I am a 30 bust and a 26 waist and hips. Here is a great link to the DIBY blog about measuring. I printed my pattern and followed the fit advice included with the pattern on grading. I knew that I wanted to add some length to the top because the side detailing makes the open sides pretty high up on me and I don’t want to show my business or my belly to the world. I added 3 inches to the length. I added this above the bands so I didn’t have to work out an adjustment for that, but DIBY explains how to do it in the directions. I am kinda lazy at sewing and was also in a hurry so… LOL Anyhow pattern adjusted and sizes blended next up, I am ready to sew. If you want to see my first round of making the Adrienne, here is that link.

DIBY Adrienne (6)

I used this great Shark/Underwater print for my top. It is a Cotton Lycra base which means is has excellent recovery. The pattern called for very drapy knit with low recovery actually. I tend to avoid things what don’t bounce back from pulling and stretching as I am kinda rough on clothing. I believe that is why my shirt is more structured than most others.

DIBY Adrienne (8)

I chose to make the crew neck this time as my previous one has a cowl which makes it a little heavy for warmer weather. This top features a center back seam that allows the shirt to have a little more contouring and makes it super easy to cut out especially when you have small amounts of fabric! That was not my case as I bought the entire bolt of this print!

DIBY Adrienne (5)

I also made the elbow sleeve option and added a narrow band instead of the larger cuff. I love the overlapping side bands and with the video on the DIBY blog they are super easy to install.

 

Overall, I am happy with my top, but wish I would have gone down one or two sizes. I think it is this fabric which makes it appear a little bulkier than I prefer.

DIBY Adrienne (7)

If you would like to pick up the Adrienne pattern from DIBY club feel free to use my Aff. Link here . If you need more convincing… just visit my friends below over the next few days! Also be sure to sign up for a chance to win a free pattern from the DIBY Club down at the bottom.

Be sure to check out the other gorgeous bloggers sharing
their gorgeous shapes with all the right alterations of this lovely DIBY Adrienne!

Sequoia Lynn Sews

Twinkle Toes and Company

Sarcastic Sewist

Don’t forget to enter to win a free DIBY pattern, so you can sew up your own DIBY to fit your lovely shape here!

I have shared my Aff. Links in this post. That means I make a bit of a commission onany patterns you purchase. It doesn’t change your price at all, just shows me your love. ūüôā

Are you following me on other social media? Here are my links.

  • You can follow my blog by clicking the Follow button on the right side of my blog.
  • You can follow me on Instagram by clicking¬†here.
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Hacking Nora and a Sale!

Did you all go buy Liverpool yesterday? No? It is still on sale at Amelia Lane Designs. Save 15% off! Better not wait too long because some of it has already sold out!

Liverpool Promo Hanna

So the fabric I am using today is Hanna. Hanna is another beautiful floral print on Liverpool. My original plan was to make an off the shoulder top as several have popped up in my social media lately and I was sorta loving it. I checked out the new releases and they weren’t in my size range. This annoys me so much. I understand that not every company can make every size and style and not everyone will be happy, but may I hate when I want something and can’t have it…so I am hacking Nora. I have made one other Nora from the DIBY Club. You can see it here.

ALD- Hanna Liverpool (4)

So the first thing I needed to tackle is the Off the shoulder look. Nora doesn’t come this way, but I am using it because it is a great base pattern and I hadn’t used it is so long.¬† I had decided I was going to size up two sizes. I did this for two reasons. One- Liverpool is much less stretchy than most knits and Two- I wanted the comfy slouchy look. The first thing we need to do it make a full pattern instead of using the “Cut on the Fold” technique is open up the neckline. I just printed it again, assembled another half, cut it out, and flipped it over and taped the halves together. I didn’t remove the seam allowance because I intended to make this shirt oversized anyhow. I wanted only one shoulder to be slouchy so I used my rotary cutter to widen the neckline. My pattern then looked like this. I used this as a guide to make the Back Bodice match, but be careful you are adjusting the correct shoulder since the back has a seam. I choose to do elbowish length sleeves with skinny bands. To recalculate my neckband I simply measured around the opening then multiplied that number by 85%. Whaaaala! ūüôā Now cut fabric and assemble as usual.¬† I did the split side seam option instead of a band and added 3 inches of length to the pattern to continue my slouchy look!img_3701.jpg

Ta-da Now you have a great slouchy one should hack!

ALD- Hanna Liverpool (2)

Here is a direct link to the New Arrival Sale at Amelia Lane Designs. This print is called Hanna. You only have one more day to shop! Don’t miss out! ALD offers super fast shipping and of course beautiful fabrics!

Pattern Details:

This is a HACKED Nora from DIBY Club.

I am wearing it over a Virginia Tank. My favorite tank by 5oo4.

ALD- Hanna Liverpool (3)ALD- Hanna Liverpool

Tutorial – How to Sew a Buttonhole

How to Sew a Buttonhole

If you have checked out my last blog post, you know that will you need to sew a few buttonholes to run your drawstring through on the Diane joggers. I am also currently in the planning phase of making a coat which has many buttonholes. 27 of them actually. I never really thought about the fact that maybe some people don’t know how to sew buttonholes until recently a friend said she had no idea. My machine sews automatic buttonholes with the push of a few buttons. If your machine doesn’t do this, it is ok. Just read your manual to see how you begin the process.

  1. I always do a practice hole. I do this for two reasons, to remind myself which way the buttonhole will be stitched and to make sure I am happy with the final product.

 

  1. Always use interfacing on the backside of the fabric where the buttonhole will be. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions and the proper setting on your iron.

 

  1. Use your pattern to mark where the buttonhole placement is. I just poke a pin through my paper pattern at the start the buttonhole. I then use a marker to put a dot there. I use the marker mostly so I can see it.

 

  1. If you are making a buttonhole for an actual button, measure the size of your button. My machine has a buttonhole ruler at the base of the machine for convenience. I held mine in place with a piece of tape so that I could take a picture.

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  1. My machine has several options for buttonhole style. Select your buttonholes final look and size. I am able to enter these options in my computer settings, but your machine may be different from mine. I have a 12 MM button in this example. I also chose a basic buttonhole since I am only making holes for a drawstring.

20190210_090233.jpg

 

  1. Hold your fabric straight and begin your stitching. Let the machine do the entire buttonhole without moving your fabric. When finished clip your threads.

 

  1. To open your buttonholes, I place straight pins at the start and stop of the stitched buttonhole. Sometimes, I will place two at each end for extra security. I carefully use my seam ripper to poke between the two seam lines and then push it towards the pins at each of the ends. The pins will stop you from ripping through the buttonholes. Take the 5 seconds to do this, trust me. From experience, I know.

20190210_090654.jpg

 

  1. Ta-Da! You have now sewn a buttonhole! Some of my favorite garments I have made with buttonholes are listed below!

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Roxanne Top

5oo4 Roxanne 4x (6)

Anna Skirt

anna skirt diby (1)

Diane Joggers

5oo4 Diane Joggers and RP Paris Top (14)

 

In process: The Taylor Trench
Show me what project you have been avoiding because you don’t want to sew a buttonhole.

 

  • You can follow my blog by clicking the Follow button on the right side of my blog.
  • You can follow me on Instagram by clicking¬†here.
  • You can follow me on Facebook by clicking¬†here.

This blog post contains Affiliate Links. This means that when you make a purchase from one of my blog links, I receive a small commission. This doesn’t change the price for you, but is a little Thank You to me! It also helps me to buy more fabric to show you new and upcoming patterns. So thank you!!

Lucky Girl

Are you a LUCKY GIRL? Are you wearing the Lucky Girl Top? Lindsey and the tester team worked hard to get this great top ready for you. This is the first test I have been able to do for Ellie and Mac in a few months. I feel like I am back in my game!

eam lucky girl top (8)

So let’s talk about my shirt and  its options first! I made the tunic length because that is what I am most comfortable wearing. I also have made the split banded sleeve. There is an option to do a tie sleeve if you prefer. The step by step directions made it easy to make these sleeves. I used my serger to finish the edge of my sleeve opening and then my sewing machine to top stitch it. I often find the serged edge makes it easier for me to fold over and hem anything.  I graded from a 4x armscye to the 5x at the bicep then back to the 4x at the elbow. I didn’t want to work out a bicep adjustment for this type of sleeve honestly. I don’t even know where Id begin, unless I put the two pieces together, then bicep adjusted, then split again. That would probably work. Not sure, 4x to 5x worked too. eam lucky girl top (1)

In addition to the sleeve options, you can choose from 3 length options plus you can do bands on the hem lines. So potentially you can make 6 different lengths! The top comes in PDF download form in sizes XXS to 5X.

eam lucky girl top (7)

I got this print fabric from KSews. I believe it is a rayon poly blend jersey. We think. ūüôā It has a nice two way stretch, but I think the pattern called for 4 way. I love the black and white stripes and the little red cherries that pop out everywhere.

eam lucky girl top (5)

If you love this pattern also, you can pick it up here!

Lucky Girl is on sale for $3.85 AND  When you are adding this pattern to your cart, be sure to add the Feel Frisky Panties. They are free with any purchase through tomorrow, Jan. 31. So 2 patterns for under 4 bucks!

Have you signed up to win free patterns from DIBY and Red Apple Sewing yet? The raffle link is HERE.

Also don’t forget you can save on one pattern purchase from DIBY using this code. ūüôā

hoc diby

 

  • You can follow my blog by clicking the Follow button on the right side of my blog.
  • You can follow me on Instagram by clicking¬†here.
  • You can follow me on Facebook by clicking¬†here.

This blog post contains Affiliate Links. This means that when you make a purchase from one of my blog links, I receive a small commission. This doesn’t change the price for you, but is a little Thank You to me! It also helps me to buy more fabric to show you new and upcoming patterns. So thank you!!

HOC Week 5 – Red Apple Sewing and DIBY Club

I can’t believe we are at Week 5 of #Breakallthedamnrules already. January is zooming past and we are closing in on February. Another morning of snow falling here in Ohio. It looks nice, but we already have way too much. School was closed everyday last week and the weather channel says record breaking lows this week so at least we have that to look forward too!

HOCDIBYRAS

This week our give away sponsors have both offered up a free pattern of your choice so let’s talk about them for just a minute!

Red Apple Sewing is a new design company just starting to get their feet wet. I have made 4 of her patterns already and have loved each one. She even drafted one on the fly for me because I wasn’t able to find what I needed. RAS patterns are drafted specifically to your needed size. No more making bicep and bust adjustments. No more grading. No more guessing on length. Jessica does all the work for you. You choose printer set up, stretch percentage, fabric type and sleeve lengths and also give her a list of your measurements and she will draft it for you. It really is a sweet deal! Give her patterns a look and let me know what you think!

DIBY.Club¬†is a wide range, meet all your needs kinda place! They offer both men’s and women’s patterns in trendy stylish designs. She has a nice selection of free patterns and thehoc diby¬†largest size range¬†of the companies I sew for going up to sewing size 36. I have sewn many DIBY patterns as a tester and on my own. I enjoy the well written patterns and the videos when I need help. In addition to offering a free pattern for the giveaway, DIBY was kind enough to offer a special discount to all my readers. 25% off one pattern of your choice if you use the code HOC19 at checkout! It is like creating your own sale!

Please support both of the businesses and show them some love!!

Don’t forget to visit the Raffle link at the bottom of this post to sign up to WIN 2 amazing patterns!!

We already know I recently did a #breakallthedamnrules post with this plaid RAS vest! You can read it here. I still love it!! The pattern is still in the works as Jessica got a new grandbabe this week. ūüôā

ras vest eam dashing dress (6)

Here are two examples of my adding an ‘almost solid’ contrasting color to a busy floral print while wearing DIBY patterns. You can read my post about The Mae Poncho here and The Adrianne here.

But my wildest print matching was the Anna skirt is a wild floral matched with subtle pink and white stripes. I planned to link you to it but apparently my post has gone MIA. My photos are in my gallery, but no post to be found. So today, I will blog about Anna. ūüôā ETA: Lucky for me with some additional digging, I found the blog post I had written, discovered it was done during a blogging time out I took and just missed posting it. So here we go…

anna skirt diby (4)

Picture this….In a time, long ago….before there was 20 inches of snow in my front yard….the sun was shining….the birds were chirping…and I was rocking this A-line skirt with sandals! That is when I wrote this post Mid October…

anna skirt diby (2)

……So¬†you may have noticed I took a little mini break from the blogging and sewing world, sometimes it is necessary. I needed a few days away to do some¬†non-stressful¬†sewing. I finished some blocks for a quilt block swap and am about 95% done with a¬†T-shirt¬†quilt. I have a few tests in the works, but I have several things I haven‚Äôt shared with you yet.

Today, I am sharing the Anna Skirt from the DIBY.club. I have seen literally dozens of people asking for a denim button down skirt in sewing groups and I think this one will fit the bill. 

 

anna skirt diby (1)

I didn’t use denim, but my fabric is a woven. It is heavier than quilting cotton, but not quite home dec weight. If you have seen some of the other testers, this also looks amazing in a stretch corduroy. I bought some recently, but have my heart set of making pants with it.  

anna skirt diby (6)

 

I sewed up the size 28 and made zero adjustments. I love when that happens. I do, however, have a confession to make. I sewed this entire skirt with the wrong seam allowance. There is a ton of top stitching in this pattern. In the end my skirt was something like 5 inches longer¬†than my¬†waist¬†band. Trust¬†me,¬†you can‚Äôt ‚Äėease in‚Äô 5 inches on a woven skirt. Out came the seam ripper and I set to work, kicking myself the entire time.¬†Double¬†checking the seam allowances and getting back to stitching. This time went more quickly as I knew what to do.¬†

 

 

  • Print-at-home PDF pattern files in both women‚Äôs misses and plus sizes (sizes 00-36)¬†

  • US Letter, A4 and A0 Copy Shop formats¬†

  • No trim pages¬†

  • Size layers so you can print only the sizes you need¬†

  • Complete sewing instruction¬†ebook¬†with our Perfect Fit custom fit adjustment tutorials¬†

After purchase, your PDF pattern and instructions will be available immediately in your DIBY Club account. 

anna skirt diby (7)
This is why I can’t wear skirts in public. ūüôā


 

PATTERN OPTIONS 

  • Lengths: Mini // Knee // Midi // Maxi¬†

  • Rise: High Rise // Midrise¬†

  • Options: Patch Pockets // Belt Loops¬†

SUITABLE FOR 

  • Experienced beginner¬†sewists¬†and beyond¬†

  • Bottomweight¬†wovens¬†with no stretch or stretch fabrics with strong recovery¬†

Here is the link to pick up your copy of Anna.

Don’t forget to use the exclusive HOC19 code to save 25% on any pattern you choose.

Here is this weeks Raffle Link.

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

 

Blogger Collab BLACK

HOC #Breakallthedamnrules Intro

I apologize for blowing up your inboxes and dashboards, but I have a lot of amazing stuff starting tonight with the #sewinthenewyear and then tomorrow begins my month long run of House of Curves #Breakallthedamnrules!

BTR

On this post, I will tell you about #breakallthedamnrules. I am a plus size girl, making clothing for my plus size self! Sometimes, the ”Fashion Police” think and say that curvy gals shouldn’t do this or that. (Insert giant side eye emoji)¬†The gang over at House of Curves isn’t buying it, so we are Breaking All The Damn Rules! We have a years worth of rules lined up to break! In addition to the fun, we are giving away some great prizes!

Blogger Collab BLACK

Each week I will show you a few outfits I have made, mixing and matching, and sometimes clashing, prints! It is going to be so much fun. I want you to join in on the sewing and share with me either here, on my Facebook, in the House of Curves Hangout Facebook group, and/or Instagram!!

 

In the following weeks, I have all these prizes to give away!

HOCBSD

HOCEAM

HOCDIBYRAS

HOCSFF

 

So stay tuned, set your alarm and stop back tomorrow for my first outfit!

  • You can follow my blog by clicking the Follow button on the right side of my blog.
  • You can follow me on Instagram by clicking¬†here.
  • You can follow me on Facebook by clicking¬†here.

This blog post contains Affiliate Links. This means that when you make a purchase from one of my¬† affiliate links, I receive a small commission. Your price isn’t changed at all, it is just an extra “Thank You” for keeping my testing and blogging going. So Thank You!!

Hooded Infinity Scarf

Does it get chilly where you live? Is it already chilly? It is cold here! Two nights ago, we had real deal, scrape your windshield, frost! I am not mentally ready for winter, but the latest release from DIBY.club is getting me physically ready! The Hooded Infinity Scarf is up for grabs- AND IT IS FREE! Yes, you read that right. FREE!!

Hooded Scarf DIBY (3)

It is designed to be made with woven fabrics and it is double layered. I love that because it becomes reversible with all of the seams hidden! The hood is assembled with three panels so it fits nicely around your head to keep you snug and warm!

I used a warm fleece as my purple plaid layer and a regular weight quilting cotton for the liner. When it gets even colder here, I can reverse it and have the warm layer against my skin!

Hooded Scarf DIBY

This hood comes together pretty quickly and is very easy to assemble! I used my serger, but it bogged down a little sewing the thickest layers. The scarf tails were hand stitched, but I bet you could even do a wide zig-zag to put them together. You can make a few in an assembly line in an evening…Hello, Christmas Gifts!

Click here to download the FREE Hooded Infinity Scarf!

House of Curves – Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the House of Curves blog tour. You have already met two pretty amazing, curvy bloggers and now it is my turn to introduce myself.

I am going to take you back to the beginning…

Growing up, my mom had a sewing machine and several times I attempted to learn to sew on it. Something was weird with that machine and we never did get it to work right. Home Ec class came in schoEAM Sitting Pretty Top and Wrap Skirt 2ol and my heart shaped lacy pillow was oblong and ugly and my felt football was lumpy and dumb. Why did I need a felt football anyhow?? Fast forward about 15-20 years, I mentioned to my grandma that I wanted to learn to sew. Actually, I think I wanted to hem my own pants and stop paying someone to shorten them for me. My grandma made wonderful things and always had a sewing machine out. She picked me up an antique sewing machine at a yard sale and promptly informed me she didn’t know how to use it. ūüôā The outfit to the left is made of the Sittin’ Pretty top and the Wrap Skirt. Both are from Ellie and Mac.

Since I also didn’t know how I sew, I learned by winging it! I watched a lot of youtube clips and read a lot of books. I made a very, very wonky quilt on a machine that didn’t reverse, zig zag, or even make a nice straight line. I finished my first quilt top on that antique machine, but within a few days, I bought a new machine! I spent a few years making lovely quilts before I started refashioning thrift store clothing. Some things would be almost wearable, some not at all. I had no 5004 Virginia hi front low back 4x & hi front and hi back XL 9understanding of how to make clothing to fit, how to sew properly, or how to size things. I bought a few patterns when they were on sale and I always sewed the largest available size option. Still nothing fit correctly. I didn’t realize most of the paper pattern companies drafted for a B-C cup. I didn’t realize my biceps were larger than normal in my size and that my hips are butt were less curvy than other ladies. (ok, I did know that.) In the PDF world, a few designers are drafting with a full bust adjusted pattern included. That just means they saved me some of the work. 5oo4 patterns and Bella Sunshine Designs both do this. Momma and Me in matching Virginia Maxi Dresses from 5oo4.

Why did I begin testing?

When I stumbled on plus size sewing groups on Facebook I knew I was ready to learn. I commented on another seamstress’s outfit one day and we hit it off. We now refer to each other as “bestie” and she has really been a sewing mentor for me. We both just wanted to help plus size ladies feel good about themselves! When I got my serger, she stayed up and talked me through setting the tension right and threading and it was a very long night!¬†She also got me into testing. Maybe I should be blaming all of this on her!!

First Test

My first testResized_20171001_160514-1 was at Bella Sunshine Designs in October of 2017 and it was the Sahara top. I asked 739 questions during the test, but I really wanted to learn. I kept apologizing to them, but I wanted so badly to get it correct. This was the first test I applied to and was lucky enough to get in. I think I have either tested or sewn every plus size pattern of theirs since. I was SO PROUD when my garment fit. Just shy of a year later and I am still wearing this one. I love it as much now as the day I took this pic. I learned how to do a bicep adjustment on this pattern and that made a world of different in my sewing. Several months later, I made a video to teach others how to do one also. Right after this test, I did another Bella Sunshine Designs test, The Apple Cardigan. To date, this is probably the most expensive fabric I have used. I picked it up in a destash sell from another seamstress now designer. We also became friends and recently met up to go shopping. The Camo dress above is The Sahara by Bella Sunshine Designs.

With two successful tests under my belt, I applied to test for Ellie and Mac. I believe Picture 3they were just starting to expand into my size range, so I figured I would give it a shot. This test was totally different from my first two. I ended up with two wearable garments, but not sure if I was ready for a group without as much support as BSD. I ended up sticking around because I wanted the experience of testing and to continue to learn. Now EAM is one of my favorites. I test for them several times a month and recently began guest blogging for them. In the last year, Ellie and Mac has come a long way into the curvy world and I have sewn at least 30 of their garments. By far, they are my most sewn up pattern company. This is the 24/7 top which I love!

What I am doing now?

I actively test for 5 designers, but have tested for 10 different ones. I am a brand ambassador for one company and recently got accepted into a pretest group. I also sew and promote fabric for 2 different companies I believe in. A few designers have come and gone in the last year. I tested for one company who said they were expanding to plus sizes. They invited me to join their team and have yet to makeDIBY Malala 30 1 (6) another pattern in my size. One designer I really loved testing for, but she sold her business to someone else. Another one just popped up, had a nearly terrible test, and disappeared. As with anything in life, you have good and bad experiences. Sometimes. you ruin the pretty fabric and sometimes, YOU LOOK AMAZING! Take the risk! This picture is me wearing the Malala. Way out of my comfort zone, but I feel lovely.

I haven’t had a ton of trouble getting into tests, but honestly I think it is because of my size. I fall in the upper range of tests for the most part. It is getting more difficult now to get into tests, but it is wonderful to see more curvy ladies getting on board. This shows all the designers there is a market¬† out here for their patterns and they need to be more inclusive. If you are interested in testing you should give it a shot. There is almost always someone around who can help you if you need it. Plus you can always tag me on Facebook.

DIBY Helen 30-28 11The best thing about sewing custom clothing is everything fits. I know slender folks as well curvy folks all have fit issues, we just have different issues. People will sometimes ask what size I am in ready to wear. I have no idea! Honest! I haven’t bought and worn an off the rack dress since I got boobs in about 3rd grade. My pants vary between an 18-22, but always need to be hemmed. I am only 5’1. I have been only 5’1 since about the 5th grade. They are most likely tight on my stomach and baggy in the butt. Also, it is impossible to find a nice button down shirt to fit my bust and biceps. I have never owned a button front shirt that doesn’t gap open. These are things that lead people to have issues with their bodies. When you feel uncomfortable in your clothes, it shows. I have never in my life thought, “Dang, I look good.”¬† I am not that kind of person, but at least now know how to get my clothes to fit. In school, I wore a lot of boys clothes, I wore men’s jeans for years. The fit better for some reason ( probably because I have no hips or butt) and I just wanted clothes to fit.¬† Now, I really like the girlie stuff. Give me flowers and dots, and pretty colors! I think if I had a job that allowed skirts and dresses I would totally wear them more. Since I make my clothing, I can now be as girlie as I want! The above floral print dress is the Helen by DIBY club. This was for my first ever pretest and also the designer took the time to draw out step by step how to do a proper bicep adjustment for a Dolman sleeve. She didn’t have too, but she did!

So along with the good, there is the bad. Sadly, most of the “bad” comes in the form of feedback from the ”online sewing community.’ Typically, testers promote the new Picture 5patterns and if someone uses their affiliate links, they earn a small commission. Trust me, I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon. ūüôā So testers spend all the time and money making a beautiful top or well fitting pants or gasp¬†even a swim suit and we share them with our blog readers and on social media. Mostly, we share to show others they are not the only one in their size range and it is ok to be curvy and cute! Nevertheless, I have gotten some nasty feedback.

I have been told ‘plus size ladies should be modest.’ Thank you, but I am very modest and insecure, so again Thanks for reminding me.¬† ¬†¬†Plus size people shouldn’t wear prints or colors.”¬†Thanks, but I prove you wrong on my blog often.¬† ¬† “Your large scale print looks good because your body is large.” Thank you, I hadn’t realized¬†that was a fashion rule.¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†“You should wear heels with dresses.” Thanks for your input,¬† but I can’t stand in heels. In this community, I feel like we should be building people up, not tearing them down. So the next time you have a rude comment, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think about how you would feel. The outfit above was put together for my first ever guest blog post for Ellie and Mac. The hummingbird print top is the Sunny Day by EAM.

Thanks for stopping by to hear my story. Follow the links below to meet the other founding members of House of Curves.
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Monday, Oct 1: Seams Like Style
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