Pleated Tunic

12/26/16



What a fun, busy and blessed holiday it has been!  Yesterday was filled with joy, food, laughs and family while the kids were going crazy with their new toys.  As the year is coming to an end, I know we're finding time to rest and still spending more time celebrating.  This Very Easy Vogue (V8977) pattern is a great piece to add to your colder weather wardrobe as well as being a bit more dressy.  I love these loose tunics because they can be styled all sorts of ways.  But first I want to talk more about the construction of this top.  First, the fabric I choose was from a local fabric store called TexStyles Fabric.  It's a very thin and drapey rayon knit.  What drew me to it was the color, and second was the drape.  I was a little concerned about the stretchiness of it with this type of pattern, but I decided I would give it a whirl.  The pleats, back strap and button band were all easy to sew.  The part that gave me the most trouble was the neck facing.  Because my fabric had a lot of drape and stretch I really had to fiddle with making sure the neck facing was lining up correctly as I sewed.  There are spots along the back where the fabric bunched up (nothing a little ironing out couldn't fix).  I also didn't change the length of the the sleeve pattern before cutting and the sleeves turned out way too long.  So I had to shorten them after they were already attached to the bodice.  I think they still turned out fine.  My favorite feature of this top are the gathers of the sleeves near the shoulder and the sleeve band, I think they add a fun and elegant touch.  I love this pattern and would definitely sew it again but probably with some type of challis fabric with no stretch.

I styled my pleated tunic with leather leggings, open toe booties and gold accessories.  I think this top would also look great with skinny jeans and leggings.  This would be a great look to celebrate the New Year with my family.







Creative Time and Bloglovin'

12/19/16

I wanted to share a blog post that I wrote for my MOPS blog recently.  I wrote it to share my experience of becoming a new mom and reaching a place where I wanted to be creative again while navigating through early motherhood.  I talk about how it's OK to find your way to spending a little time (however few and far between) to do something that makes you happy.  Follow this link to read my post directly from our MOPS blog or scroll on down.

Also, Misty a la Mode is up on Bloglovin'. Follow me over there along with your other favorite blogs.

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"Lose Yourself In Creativity"
By Misty Stafford

A long time ago, way before I started having children I absolutely loved to create, craft and make all kinds of things. I made jewelry, crocheted and learned to sew. I even started an Etsy shop and sold all of my creations at crafts fairs. It was so fun, relaxing and I was so proud that people admired my work and would pay to own a piece.  Those were also the days when my free time was unlimited to work on what ever I wanted. Weekends, evenings, holidays were all used for time to work on my projects, update my shop site and setting up my little table to sell my goods. And then life happened.  I married my college sweetheart, went back to school, and navigated through a career change.  Not too long after came our first baby – and there went all of my free time, and creative time for that matter.  I don’t think I was too sad about not having a lot of time to create.  I was so involved in being a new mom, taking in every milestone of my baby and most importantly, trying to get some sleep. 

As I was learning to adjust to being a new mom I did manage to find a little bit of a creative outlet like the occasional crocheted baby hat, however those moments were few and far between.  Eventually I felt like I needed more.  I missed sitting down and focusing on a project without being interrupted.  I craved to learn a new skill and try a new pattern.  I think most importantly I wanted to feel a sense of self.  Over the next couple of years I learned more about finding balance in my life while being a stay at home mom.  While motherhood is fulfilling as you watch your babies quickly grow and learn, I think for my own sanity I knew I needed to fit in more creative time.  Thankfully with the support of my husband I slowly started taking a couple of sewing classes starting last year.  Getting this opportunity to get back in the saddle of creating I have finally reached a goal of making my own clothes and wearing them.  The classes and time I had to create helped me feel happy and gave me confidence to take on new skills.  I have loved sewing for the past year and I am excited about what I have been able to make considering my little free time.  I recently decided to start a blog (www.mistyalamode.blogspot.com) to document my projects and to share with my family and friends what I have learned and made.  For me, it’s difficult to put myself  “out there” but I have decided not to care if my projects aren’t perfect.  I am grateful to have the support that I need in order to find a space for something I have been wanting – learning, focusing and creating.

While my two sons are my pride and joy and my most precious “projects,” I know that in order to be a good mommy I need to be happy and to be happy I set aside small slots of time in my hectic schedule to do just that.  It may be an hour here, a half hour there but I’ll take it while I share in the joys (and pitfalls) of being a stay at home mom.  It’s not easy being a mom so I encourage each of you to tap into your curiosity and learn that skill you have always wanted to learn how to do.  Lose yourself in those moments, step away from the craziness, ask for support from your spouse or loved one, take a short class (there’s so much online these days) and get to creating.  

Drapey Cardigan

12/12/16


With an endless to-do list and Christmas quickly approaching, I found the perfect pattern that is super quick and so chic.  I discovered this McMcall's pattern while browsing Joann's one morning.  The day I went I really had no idea what sewing projects I wanted to do next.  I aimlessly walked through the fabric isles several times and kept flipping through pattern books.  All of sudden a moment of inspiration hit me, and I was out of the store with this pretty gray stripped jersey knit and McCall's M7441 (and two other projects!).  I went with Pattern A and it is only 3 pieces.  Since my fabric has a subtle stripe, I was very aware of how everything was going to line up as I was cutting out the pieces.  I also shortened the sleeves by 2 inches.  When sewing I used a stretch stitch for all seams and hems (rather than following the pattern instructions for the hems).  I also forgot to mark the places where to tack the front, but when I put the cardigan up on my dress form I just approximated where to tack.

This cardigan is perfect for dressing up or down.  I styled it here with a relaxed fit jersey top and a turquoise crocheted necklace that I made a while ago (back in my crochet days).  I could see this cardigan as a layering piece with a fitted jersey dress too.


Gray Aztec Top

12/6/16


I've been working a lot with knits lately and have really been practicing how I can make easy to wear tops.  One of the first patterns that helped me start working with knits is Simplicity 1062A.  It's from their "Learn To Sew" pattern series.  Last year when I began sewing garments, I made two tops with this pattern.  Both times I followed the pattern instructions exactly as they were written.  The first top turned out cute and fit well.  However the instructions indicate to use a zipzag stitch so the seams stretch with the knit fabric.  I used the zigzag stitch for the seams but used a straight stitch for the neck band and arm band (because that's what it looked like in the pattern instructions).  Later these seams ended up bursting open because there was no stretch.  The second time I sewed this up I used all zigzag stitches but the neck band didn't look right, and I stayed away from those arm bands.  Well, after some knits education, lots of practice and finding the perfect knit for this style of top I decided to try this out on my serger.  Well the results are so much better!  This time around it was so easy to sew up.  I also used a double needle for the top stitching on the neck band and bottom hem.  This pattern is great, however Simplicity should come out with a serger series for this type of project.  The fabric was also purchased at Joann's.  I bought two different knits and used View B in the pattern (contrasting neck and arm band).  I love this top with distressed jeans or a denim skirt and of course finished with booties.



Flannel & Lace Sewing Tutorial

11/27/16


I finally have my first sewing tutorial put together!  I got the idea for this top while looking around at the store Altar'd State.  I thought the idea of adding a bit of femininity to a bit of a masculine shirt was cool.  When I saw this top at the store I knew I could put this together for half the price by using a shirt from a thrift store and everything else from the sewing store.  The flannel was easy to find, I found it at Thriftland in the men's section.  What drew me to it where the colors and pattern of the plaid and it's super soft.  It's also OshKosh, so I knew that this shirt was old and of good quality.  There's also a special place in my heart for the OshKosh brand.  Anyway, the lace was a bit more of a challenge to find.  I didn't see anything I liked at Joann's.  After researching a little about lace and the type I had in mind, I discovered I needed to find a tulle trim with an embroidery on the bottom.  I ended up finding what I wanted on Etsy from a seller in China.  I got 2 yards of the tulle trim for $10. I also decided to shorten the sleeves and adding faux sleeve tabs.  I thought the shirt came together quickly and looks cute.  It's great to layer over a graphic tee with leggings or jeans.  Here is how I put it together:

1. Measure and cut 3 inches from the bottom hem line of the flannel shirt.

2. Measure and cut about 8 inches from the bottom of each sleeve.  For me, this was where the split on the sleeve cuff ended.

3. Next, baste stitch about 1/4 inch from the raw edge of lace.  Gather the lace a little by pulling on the bobbin thread.



4. Press up a 1/2 inch hem on the bottom of shirt.  Pin gathered lace trim to 1/2 inch hem (the edge of raw lace should meet raw edge of flannel). Sew together with lace side up to keep raw edges even while sewing.  Press hem again on flannel side.

5. For sleeve hems, press up 1/2 inch hem,  then sew.

6. For sleeve tabs, measure and cut 2 pieces from scrapped fabric (mine where 8 inches x 1 1/2 inches).  Fold and press length wise, right sides together.

7. Sew one short end of tab, turn corner and continue down long end, leaving about 1/8 inch seam.  The other sort end will be left open.  Turn right side out, clip corners, press.

8. Determine where to place button and sleeve tab.  Measure about 4 inches from sleeve end, mark where sleeve tab will be placed (tab may be longer than needed).  I measured about 5 inches of the tab to come up and over sleeve end.  Sew open end of tab on inside of sleeve.

9. Pull up sleeve tab to outside of sleeve, adjust  how much of sleeve you want gathered, sew button through all layers.






Houndstooth Vest

11/21/16

It's finally starting to feel like fall here in Texas, which is exciting because I can finally put away my shorts and flip flops (no I'm not one of those Texans who wears flip flops year round) and bust out all of my chillier weather clothes.  Since I'm in Texas, it will still get up in the 70's during the fall (and winter) now and again so we're in perfect layering weather.  What better way to layer than with than a vest.  Not those puffer vests, but a cool, classic one like this!  I've had this McCall's vest pattern (M2260) in my stash for years.  I think this was one of the first patterns that I bought when I first got my sewing machine many years ago.  I'm glad that I never attempted this pattern back then because I know I would have totally messed it up.  Now that I've had some experience sewing garments, this was the perfect time for me to give it a go.  It's actually a really simple pattern and great for an advanced beginner.  The fabric I used is a light weight wool blend that I bought last year from Hancock Fabrics.  Two things to keep in mind while sewing this, you may need to allow a very narrow seam allowances for the ties.  I had to do mine over again because my fabric was a little thick and I had trouble turning it inside out the first time around.  Also, be sure when you are sewing down the all of the facings to make sure the fabric is laying down nice and flat so it doesn't shift and not line up correctly.  I'm so excited to wear this super chic vest!





"V' Cut Out Blouse

11/15/16

I found this fantastic Simplicity pattern S0991 while browsing the pattern drawers at my local Joann's.  What drew me to this pattern the most is the "V" cut out on the front.  I can't get enough of  the cut out trend and thought this would be a great chance to try it out.  I went with the easiest view (View F) because I didn't want to run the chance of making a lot of mistakes, plus I wanted to finish it as quickly as I could.  The neckline snaps in the front and there are also two pleats going down the front.  And..uh...mistakes???  Of course!!  It was so funny when I sewed the pleats.  After placing and ironing the pleats I actually sewed all the way down the crease.  Eeek!  Then I realized the boo-boo that I made, took out my trusty seam ripper and made a mental note about pleats.  Anyway, I'm really happy how this top turned out.  And the material and print worked out great.  I used a woven rayon that I found at Joann's.  I think this top would be great for a night out or a special event.  I paired this top with black skinny jeans and open toe booties.  Also, I tried finding this pattern on the Simplicity website to link it and I couldn't find it. I guess it may be just exclusively sold in stores.

 



Here is the package of the pattern:

Velvet Leggings

11/6/16

This week I was so excited to take my forth sewing class at Stitch Lab here in Austin, TX.  The class was called Advance Knits: Leggings Class.  Now, I'm no where near what a seamstress would call "advanced" however I do feel a bit more comfortable sewing with knits, plus I took the prerequisite class a few months ago called Know Your Knits.  For the leggings class we used McCall pattern M6173.  I've been a bit nervous about sewing pants because fit can get tricky so sewing knit ones would be a great opportunity to try it out without a chance of too many mistakes.  Our teacher Channy is a fantastic instructor.  She took us through all the tips on fit, fabrics, and making adjustments based on how much stretch your knit had.  As for the fabric that I chose, I guess I wanted to do something a bit different.  One of the fabric suggestions on the pattern is velvet with stretch.  So when I hit up my local Joann's, they had a pretty decent collection of stretch velvet and for a great price of $4/yard!  Score!  Now I wouldn't feel terrible if I totally messed these up.  It's also a plus that velvet is on trend this season so I went for it!






Wanderlust Tee

10/30/16

There's nothing more that has gotten me so excited about sewing than knowing I can actually wear the clothes that I've made.  When I saw this video tutorial on CreativeBug.com for the Wanderlust Tee I just knew it would fit great into my daily wardrobe.  Plus this was a great opportunity to practice sewing more with knits and a serger, just like I did with the muscle tank.  I love this t-shirt so much that I made three of them! Two of the tees are a solid color and cropped while the third one is striped and I made this one a little longer too.

The gray tee was my first attempt at the shirt.  I found this knit fabric at Joann's.  It's a heather gray with tiny dots of gold glitter.  This will probably be the last time I work with glittery fabric as it gets glitter everywhere whenever I wear it.  Anyway I paired this tee with faux leather leggings and leopard sneaks for a casual/edgy look.

Can you see some sparkle?
The next tee I made was with a mustard yellow double knit fabric.  I've been seeing this color a lot on fashion blogs so I had to give it a try.  Plus I love yellow and bright colors go well with my skin tone.  I paired the tee with a leopard print skirt that I picked up at the thrift store for $6.  Cute for a date night or a night out with friends.


And finally I decided to do a striped tee because it's classic.  Plus here was my chance to practice lining up stripes for a sewing project.  It wasn't too bad, just lots of double and triple checking.  And on the Wanderlust Tee video tutorial, the instructor gave some great tips for this.  Here I paired the tee with distressed jeans and brown booties.  I love this casual "momiform" look.


Denim Midi Skirt

10/21/16

Last year I saw this super fun denim skirt that seamstress/stylist Mimi G had on her blog called the Perfect Denim Skirt.  I just love the vintage look to it and that it's not your typical denim skirt.  To me, it has sort of an 80's vibe to it.  I purchased the video tutorial last Christmas when it was half off.  This was my first attempt at sewing a denim skirt and also putting so many button holes and denim buttons on one garment.  In the tutorial Mimi G talked about how she used tinsel denim for her skirt so it would have more of a flow-y look, but unfortunately I couldn't find that at my local fabric store.  I was anxious to get started on it so I bought the lightest weight denim I could find.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out but I definitely want to make this skirt again with a more flow-y light fabric and maybe try it just a little shorter too.  The versatility of the skirt is great and perfect to transition between spring/summer and summer/fall.



 

Spooky Chic Halloween Mantel

10/18/16


This Halloween season I decided to ramp up the decor in the house.  In the past I usually kept it really simple with a jack-o-lantern and a few fall knick knacks around the house.  After catching some after Halloween sales last year I was able to tuck away a few bigger items to add to the house this year.  I also found some great things at Joann's and Michael's for a steal and you can't forget about the dollar store.  Here's how I put together it all together on my mantel:

I love all things skulls, skeletons, spiders and bats for Halloween.  The mantel shawl is from Joann's.







The filler fabric is from the the dollar store, so are the spiders
That gold skull is from the dollar store! What?!
Nothing says spooky like a glittery spider and web.  The frame I've had for a while, found it at a thrift store.


High Low Knit Top With Crocheted Detail

10/6/16

Over the summer my good friend took me to a clothing store that I'd never been to called Altar'd State.  They had some cute stuff in there, lots of lace and crocheted detailed in their clothes.  My friend described it as kind of a less expensive version of Anthropologie.  She was right however there were a few things that were a bit over the top for my price range.  Plus now that I'm sewing my own clothes lately, I saw there were some pieces that I could try to copy.  Like this cute little t-shirt.  A simple knit tee with a little bit of detail on the bottom hem.  This baby was $50!  Whaaaaat?

When I got home I went through my pattern stash and found Simplicity 1160 for knits only.  Ah-ha!  I knew I had something similar in my stash that I could riff off of.  I headed to Joann's and found a pretty cream double knit fabric along with a coordinating crocheted trim.  I was off to my serger and sewing machine.  I cut pattern C in a size Small.  Again I think I cut have cut a size down.  This was easy to put together.  Since I have been practicing sewing knits more on the serger, I'm still learning how to adjusting the serger for the various knits that I use.  I neck line came out a little too wavy, but its nothing that a statement neckline or a pretty scarf can't hide.  And who am I am kidding?  I'm probably being to knit-picky about it and probably nobody would notice.  I really like how it turned out!  I can wear this top all kinds of ways this fall like layers, skinny jeans and leggings.





Family Dinners: Weeks 6 & 7

10/4/16

The last two weeks have been a bit cray-cray with my son's birthday, family visiting in town and a couple of "moms night out" dinners mixed in.  This means quick meals that leave leftovers and also meals that require very little prep.  With some of the recipes I used, there were hits and misses:

Week 6
Sun. - Citrus Chicken with Slow Cooker Black Beans
Mon. - Black Bean Tacos
Tues. - Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs
Wed. - Leftovers

Hit: The meatball recipe was so easy and turned out delicious.  That was the first time I had ever cooked meatballs in the slow cooker.  The kids devoured them so I'm keeping this in rotation.

Miss: The slow cooker black bean recipe that I used (found on Pinterest) was terrible.  The cooking time was WAY off and were way under cooked.  Little did I know that beans need to cook all day, even in the slow cooker.  Thankfully I was able to save the meal and used the beans for two nights.  Let's just say that I think I'll just be buying my beans in a can and not cook them from scratch anymore.

Week 7
Mon. - Stir Fry Beef and Broccoli w/ Ramen Noodle Cake
Tues. - Creamy Mushroom Meatloaf
Wed. - Easiest Chicken Parmesan with Alfredo Bow Tie Pasta
Thurs. - Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

The stir fry and meatloaf meals were recipes that I used from the All Recipes magazine.  The beef and broccoli stir fry turned out great.  The sauce for the stir fry was the best Asian sauce I've ever made.  YAY!  The chicken parm and burritos were easy peasy meals I pulled out of my recipe brain.  The chicken for the parm were frozen breaded cutlets that were already cooked and the sauces from jars.  The burritos were hocus pocus too (think Chipotle style).

Easy and delicious stir fry.  And anything with Ramen noodles in it is a major plus for me!

Loose Fitted Pull Over Dress

9/22/16

It's still so hot in Texas and it's a shame that I'm no where near thinking about taking out my fall/winter clothes.  *Sigh* I guess this could be used to my advantage to sew more clothes for the upcoming chillier (not cold) months.  Since I'm still wearing all of my summer handmade garments I thought I would feature this pretty pull over dress by Very Easy Vogue (pattern V8968).  The material I used is challis and found it at...you guessed it, Hancock.  It has an abstract, tropical vibe and I love the colors.  I believe this is the second dress I've made for myself and I didn't have any problems making it.    The only part that could have turned out a bit better is the slit in the neck line.  The point at the bottom of the "V" has a small hole because I didn't sew the slanted line far down enough.  Also the flaps of the "V" hang forward rather than staying up.  I also think I could have gone down one size in the pattern.  This dress is so easy! Throw on some wedge sandals and statement necklace and you're good to go.




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