sewing activewear · Uncategorized

28 & Feeling Great

Happy Monday! Today is a happier Monday than most because it’s my birthday! I don’t usually talk about getting a year older, but I am looking forward to a really great year!

Today’s post is about a subject I’ve been super nervous to share. I’m always having an internal debate with myself if I should overshare parts of my life or not but I’m finally in a place where I want to talk about what life has been like the past couple years.

{If you don’t care to know about what’s been going on with me personally, you can scroll down to my active-wear sewing inspiration, I won’t be offended! :p)

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Living a creative life isn’t always fun. It isn’t always designing and sewing and taking pretty pictures. It can be lonely, terrifying, and if you aren’t careful, you can get sucked into the black hole of self doubt. I’ve dealt with these feeling for years, but for the last few years, my mental health has taken a huge toll on me and started affecting my physical health.

When I get into these dark periods, I tend to shut down. I get into a vicious cycle of telling myself I need to work harder, produce more content for my blog, make more bags for my shop, get more wholesale orders, post more on Instagram, forget to eat, and what business woman has time to workout? I tell myself that I’m not good enough, and it can get really hard to see other makers getting more followers and “likes” and then looking at your own content and feeling depressed.

Being a full time maker is hard. Working from home, sewing all day, browsing pinterest, wearing pajamas, fabric shopping, all sound like great things right? And they can be. But when you add in things like, spending every day by yourself with no one to talk to, handling every aspect of a business alone (making, photographing, listing, shipping, customer service, SEO, marketing, blogging), having creative blocks,  to-do lists a mile long, and don’t forget you have to make enough money to pay your bills. Sometimes it gets very overwhelming. And sometimes the last thing you want to do is read a nasty comment that was left for you on a blog post you worked really hard to create. (yes, it’s happened, yes I ignore them and delete the comments).

I try to push these feeling away when I’m with people, or when I write blog posts because you come here for inspiration and sewing projects, not to hear about how low I’m feeling that day. But at this point, I think it’s important to share my feelings because I’ve been working so hard to get to a good place and I finally found something that is working for me.

Flashback to earlier this year: I had an event to go to, and was reaching into my handmade wardrobe to pick out a dress. Five minutes later I was sitting on the floor crying surrounded by the contents of my closet because not one of my handmade dresses fit me. I spent years building pieces for my body, and they no longer fit.

I never wanted to admit that I was gaining weight. But it’s pretty hard to hide when you are 4’9″ and gain an extra 5-10 lbs. I could see it in my face, in my arms and definitely in my gut. What’s worse is that I could feel it. I was tired all. the. time. and I kept loosing motivation to do something simple like go outside.

My mental problems were finally interfering with my outward appearances and I couldn’t ignore the problems anymore.

Just over two years ago, I ran my second half marathon, and it was the worst race I’ve ever run. It was raining for roughly 20 miles, and at mile 5 I could feel my body wasn’t into it. But I pushed myself across the finish line because I didn’t think I could look at myself knowing I just gave up. After that race, I stopped running. I felt like such a failure, and instead of working harder to be better, I quit. It’s like a mental block came over me and I let it effect all parts of my life.

I didn’t think about gaining weight because it’s something that never happened to me, but it’s inevitable when you get older! Once it finally caught up to me, and my clothes didn’t fit, I knew I had to make a change. Physically, mentally, emotionally, I needed a re-boot because I was so tired of being tired.

When we moved into our new house in April, we got a Peloton bike, because I had been looking into one for a few months. I really wanted a treadmill, but we decided to wait after hearing Peloton was coming out with one of their own.

I started riding a few times a week, but also started having those same mental spurts come up about needing to work instead of workout. Then I starting riding with one instructor, Christine, who helped me flip my thinking. Every class starts with the phrase, “Drop your shoulders, drop your baggage” and exercise started becoming a release for me again, not just something you “should” be doing.

I’ve been feeling incredibly stressful over the move, and working on my etsy shop, while trying to make wardrobe pieces that I really want to wear, and taking care of an entire house, and producing content for other sites, but as soon as I get on that bike, it fades away. And after my ride, I feel relaxed, clear-headed and ready to take on what I need to.

I had forgotten how much I loved being active. And how much the activity helped with my mental health. And every day I look forward to riding and feeling sore! But I knew that being active wasn’t the only part of my life that needed to change.

My life the past few years (actually the past 7-8 years) has been surrounded by coffee and energy drinks. In college I survived on energy drinks and the older I got, the more coffee I consumed. I always vowed to eat good food, and since my parents own a farm, I’ve always had access to healthy meats and produce, but didn’t always prepare myself to eat right. (I have a strange obsession with potatoes in any and every form!)

I had been wanting to go on a cleanse, or diet plan, but was really looking for a complete lifestyle change. After doing some research, I decided to go Paleo. For those that don’t know, Paleo is the “caveman diet”, where you cut out all processed foods, sugar, beans, dairy, grains, and you are left with raw ingredients.

I’ve been Paleo for two months now and it has been amazing. After two weeks I started feeling a difference in my energy level, and at two months in, I barely have the cravings I used to get.

Paleo has forced me to plan my meals, and spend time in the kitchen cooking. It’s made me read labels, understand nutrition, and look forward to new recipes. It’s been hard to go out to dinner, and finding new ways to make my coffee without sugar has been…interesting…but I feel wonderful, and don’t have plans to stop soon.

With these changes, I’ve also made it a really important point in my life to slow down my sewing. I used to rush through projects because I wanted new pieces to share. I thought if I wasn’t making new things every week, people wouldn’t want to follow my sewing journey, but in reality I wasn’t always making pieces I loved. I also found myself getting super frustrated when projects didn’t work out!

Now I’m taking my time. I’m enjoying the process of a project coming together, not just rushing it along, and if I can’t find the right fabric or pattern, I wait until I do – because loved clothes last and I want to be 100% happy with my wardrobe.

I’ve also decided to reach out to get help with my etsy shop. I am really bad at SEO and marketing myself, and it’s only hurt my business. I’m re-focusing on my goals and patterns and working towards creating a sustainable and profitable business. I’ve signed up to be part of an “Etsy Tribe”, and I’ve learned that spending money on a program is much more motivating to do the work than finding free tutorials online.

I’m also very excited about moving my workspace into our attic. It’s another slow process, but I’m taking time to plan where to put my machines, what sewing table I want to get, and the best place for photoshoots and a real shipping station!

I am still very new in my journey, and while I am no expert in getting out of that mental block, I found what works for me. And now that I finally got all that off my chest (WHEW!) I’m excited to share more aspects of my personal life. And if you don’t want to read those parts then just scroll to the projects! =)

If you actually read all of that, thank you! I hope if you are feeling similar, feel free to reach out, I’m always willing to talk! (and if you don’t want to leave a comment, use the contact page!)

But since this is a sewing blog, and that was kinda heavy stuff for me to talk about all at once, I want to share a few projects I hope to get to soon!

  1. Joggers (is this the right word?) : After my workouts I want to curl up in comfy clothes, but not pajamas. I bought a really beautiful knit from JoAnn’s a month or so ago and am looking to make a knit version of Seamwork Moji!

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2. Sports Bras. I’ve made a few in the past but I’m ready to jump back on the wagon, and try out a few different patterns.

  1. Kaye (another Seamwork Pattern): I would be interested in adding cups to this one, but I love the longer length. The pattern also has a racerback variation which would be cool.

sw3078-kaye-01-large-fd603720b14733aa8030b941f5b1bb8e6ef374307dc97ca0a4df55196759fc6c2. I’m LOVING this design from Simplicity, and think the cropped top is cute too, but not sure if I would actually wear it!

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3. Leggings. I love wearing shorts for running, but every time I ride on the bike, my shorts ride up really quick. So I need more leggings!

  1. See Kate Sew has a cute tutorial for lace up leggings.

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  1. The Petite Sewist has a great pocket tutorial that I think would add an awesome design detail to a pair of leggings.

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Do you have any active-wear sewing plans on your list? I’d love to hear about them!

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Mental health is SO IMPORTANT. I also think it’s important to do something about it if you are feeling stuck. I’m thankful to have a great support system. A fantastic boyfriend and wonderful parent’s and sister. And today, on my 28th birthday, I had my 50th ride with Peloton in my handmade leggings, and I am so happy to be on this journey. 

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handmade wardrobe · sewing · sewing activewear

Purple Floral Workout Gear- Sports Bra & Leggings

Three posts in one week – I’ve been on such a sewing kick that I want to share what’s been going on in my little world!

I’ve been saying for a long time that I’ve wanted to invest in making activewear. It’s one of those projects, much like jeans, that comes with fear. I need activewear that’s going to work – like really work. I need comfortable, durable and proper fit. As a runner, it is so hard finding supportive sports bras at a reasonable price, and while leggings are a dime a dozen, I need thick, moisture wicking pairs and they have to have a pocket.

The absolute most difficult part about sewing activewear is the fabric. Recently, JoAnn’s has been offering amazing active fabrics, and I’ve picked up a few different pieces. Before that discovery, I bought from a couple online stores and was pleased with the materials as well. I tend to stay away from materials that are too thin, because the finished product can feel cheap, and the thinner something is, the less likely I am to wear it on a constant basis.

The second most difficult part about sewing activewear is finding the right pattern. I made the Pneuma Tank, but discovered that it really isn’t as running friendly as I would like. There are a ton of leggings patterns, and I’ve made a few, but have come to love Sloan Leggings because of the pocket option. I love the design lines, because they don’t cut off horizontally, but rather vertically, which is petite leg friendly.

I’m still working on making tops, and have a couple patterns to try out but I wanted to test a new sports bra first. There are a few sports bra sewing patterns on the market, but many of them look weak (meant more for yoga or walking, not high impact). I snatched up a copy of Simplicity’s latest sports bra pattern #8339 and tested it out with some leftover active fabrics and am very happy with the result.

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I made view C, but it’s actually difficult to figure out what view is what based on the envelope. I made the version with skinny straps, lower back and no bra closure. I followed the instructions on measurements and based on my size, made a C, and cut out pattern pieces for size 30. If you plan on making this bra, it is SO important to follow the pattern sizes and not your typical bra size. The fit came out so well for me and if I had sewn my ready-to-wear size, it would have been way too small.

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I’ve mentioned in the past that my bras need a layer of padding and I feel very uncomfortable without one. This pattern makes it pretty easy to add cups but no, this bra does not come with instructions for adding cups – I’m still waiting for a pattern like that! Luckily there is Petite Josette’s tutorial for adding bra cups, so I took that base and remixed it.

I did not make the cups in this bra removable. If you don’t care that your cups are removable, there are just a few steps to adding them to this bra- I’m planning on writing a small tutorial post for those interested.

The skinny straps on this bra are rather supportive, but I wouldn’t wear this if I was going out for a 10 mile run. I haven’t tested it yet, but I’m sure it would be great for a shorter 3-5 mile run. When I’m going on longer runs I like to wear clothes I would wear for race day, and I think the thicker strap bra would be a winner for that. I didn’t make the thick straps because I like the lower back of view C but plan on making view B for my next bra. The strap support of view B has major potential to be my go to sports bra pattern.

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Now I need to be honest here, I wear my sports bras for more than running. I wear them as often as I can, because regular bras are a pain. In my everyday life I’m pretty active, with working on the farm and constantly moving around in my sewing studio, that the need for a real bra only exists when I go out. Mind you, I’m a small B, so I also don’t need to constantly wear a super supportive and fancy real bra. So this bra is not just for running – it’s just an added perk that I can wear it for multiple uses. If you are a bra specialist, I apologize, I’m sure this is a HUGE no-no – It’s just what I enjoy wearing!

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This pattern is a definite keeper. It’s cute, comfortable, comes with various sewing options and it’s supportive. This version also matches one of my favorite pairs of Sloan Leggings!

Details:

Plum Active Fabric: Sold out from Imagine Gnats but there are other colors available!

Floral Cotton Lycra: Sold Out from Spandex World but this site has a ton of fabric options.

Pink Waistband Elastic: Joann Fabrics

Grey (straps): Joann Fabric

I can sometimes be on the fence with bigger pattern companies, because sizing can be so off on my body. I encourage you to give this pattern a try if you are looking for a good sports bra. Next on my pattern wishlist is a pair of double running shorts (bike shorts underneath a pair of regular shorts). This is my favorite style of running shorts and they are SO difficult to find! Guess I have to make my own pattern!

Have a great weekend!

handmade wardrobe · sewing · sewing activewear

Aires Workout Leggings

The latest issue of Seamwork Magazine came out right before leaving for vacation and I instantly fell in love with the workout leggings on the cover. Maybe it’s because I was starting marathon training again and quickly running out of clothes to wear, or because I had the perfect fabric in mind for these pants-whatever the reason my mind gravitated towards these, and I had to make them ASAP. So, the day after returning from the Bahamas, these pants had begun.

I made Aires out of some performance fabric I bought from Fabric.com. This fabric was heavier than typical active fabrics I’ve worked with- which I’m hoping translates to “warmer” as I’ll be using these for outdoor runs. I do wish the fabric stretched a little more, as the pants are tighter than I would have preferred – but I think working them in will help. I made the XS, as per my measurements, but the hem on my calves are so tight they have to be worn a little higher. If I make these again, I will be leaving my calves a little more room.

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I love the design detail on Aires and had been wanting to use a swatch from Spoonflower on a pair of leggings but wasn’t sure how to incorporate it, and this was a great chance to show it off! Aires also features a small pocket on the back waistband which is the perfect size for a Gu, which I like to carry for a shot of energy.

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I definitely recommend the pattern. It’s a quick sew, and a great chance to use some fun fabrics!

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I wanted to photograph these pants against the New York skyline because I always feature my parent’s farm in photo shoots. I live about a 10 minute walk from the pier in Hoboken and the view is always spectacular. I’m also not used to people being around when taking pictures so these were taken 7:30 Sunday morning so no one would see!

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This morning was particularly cold so my actual run for the day I wore fleece lined running leggings and a few more layers on top so I can’t yet comment on the fabric and it’s wicking capabilities but I’ll wear them this week at the gym for a test.

I’m also looking to make Rio, the t-shirt pattern from the same Seamwork issue, but need to find some colorful fabrics for that one! Seamwork has been a great resource. The articles are fantastic and the patterns are cute, and usually quick makes. (I’ve made the Nantucket Shorts previously). Check it out if you haven’t already!