Patterns released!

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In the last month, I have tested two patterns for two fabulous bloggers/designers. Let me tell you, sitting on the pictures after I test a pattern is hard! I always want to show off something that turns out especially cute, but I was a good girl and I waited. Turns out that one pattern was a part of the newest Pattern Anthology colllection, the Alphabet Collection. And really, I could not have been more pleased to be a part of it.

The first was a pattern from Shwin&Shwin, The BBC Vest.

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I asked him to make muscles for me. Eh, close enough.

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Micah is a pretty true 4T, though he tends to be on the slim side. I cut a 4T and I guess Micah grew, because it was a little short/narrow. That's what pattern testing is for! It still turned out really cute, and he loved it, so I will be making him more of these in the future.

The second was a pattern from Melly Sews, the Tee x 3.

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This was fantastic! My mom bought some cute jersey with an elephant pattern from Joann's about a week before I volunteered to pattern test, so it could not have been better timing. I drafted the pants myself from a pair of Micah's existing pajamas, and I chose the long sleeved version of the Tee pattern for the top. My dad thought I bought them at the store. That's always a flattering thing to hear, but the pattern could not have made it more easy. I'm still learning to work with jersey, but it's a very forgiving fabric. I knew not to pull it through the feed dogs, but it still gave me some wavey seams. Once on, you couldn't really tell, and I am pretty proud of these.

Go buy them! You won't regret it.

Selfish Sewing Week

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I entered a contest awhile back (I forget what it was even for - it's been awhile), and one of the entries included Liking a page on Facebook. That is how I found imagine gnats. Is that not the cutest blog name ever?

imagine gnats is about to start Selfish Sewing Week.

I think it's really easy to get stuck in a rut sewing for your children instead of yourself, because they are smaller, quicker, easier to fit, and so cute you can't stand it. I know that's pretty much what always happens to me. Plus it's more expensive to sew for myself because I need three times as much material for even the simplest of items because I am just bigger and taller. (Not for long - when I hold Micah his feet touch my knees. Seriously. He's enormous.)

A little over a week ago I bought a couple yards of some truly beautiful satin though. Literally the most gorgeous fabric I have ever owned. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it...but it's currently sitting in a puddle on my dining room table because I haven't had the time to get to it. This week has been full of pattern testing and pajamas for Micah, both of which take precedence because I have no restraint when it comes to stuff for him.

Thanks to Selfish Sewing Week, I now have a good excuse to set other things aside, and have some fun for myself. I will be back after the weekend with a completed outfit unless something crazy happens. Fingers crossed.

Come and join the fun!

Flickr group
Selfish Sewing Week Flickr group

Wedding sashes (and how much I hate this fabric)

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A co-worker of mine got married the 1st of June. Her wedding was really beautiful (judging by the photos - I had a paid photography gig that night so I had to miss it), and the best part was that her entire female wedding party wore sashes I had made for her. My first big paid custom work, actually. I was SO super proud of the way they turned out!

They look pink in this picture, but they were a really vibrant, true red. And I was rather proud of my work when I saw the first pictures of her wedding party (and herself) in them. Photography by Genesa Richards.

Looking at the finished product, they look so simple and pretty, nothing but straight lines.

But oh, you would be SO wrong.

They are all FOUR YARDS LONG. And I made SEVEN. The flower girl had one that was only three yards long, but the bride had two different widths to be sure she had what she liked, and they were a whopping FIVE yards long.

And this material, while beautiful and satiny soft, frays like mad. In long strings. Everywhere. It also slips and slides all over the place as you sew, and cutting such a long piece presented problems I had never come across before. Thankfully, she bought it by the bolts, so I just unrolled it as I cut, which helped tremendously. But still...SO LONG.

In the end, it was worth all the curse words I spat at my machine. And the Ibuprofen after turning seven sash tubes right side out. Really, it was.

It's weird being the one in front of the camera

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I don't think I have ever really mentioned this here, but I am also a photographer in my (little) free time. It's mostly a hobby, but to keep my skills sharp I take little paid photo gigs on occasion. I like to shoot family portraits, especially children.



A few weeks ago, a photographer friend of mine got an idea to do a photo series of people she knows, called Overexposed/Underexposed. The point was to take one photo of something special that everyone knows about you, and one that not everyone knows but is important. After some thought, I chose to use photography/sewing. I have been a photographer since 2007 (holy cow, I just realized how long that is), but I have only been sewing since 2011, and mostly for myself and Micah. So when people think about needing a photographer, they would likely think of me, but if they needed pants hemmed, they likely wouldn't. In my social circle, that is.

The final photos of me will not be public until the whole set has been shown in a gallery somewhere here in Albuquerque, but in exchange for my (rather lacking) model skills, Minie took some pictures of me at my machine that I could use as a headshot/profile image online in places where I talk about my sewing. Like here!

I haven't changed my pictures everywhere yet, but my Pinteresting Mommy Facebook page is using it, as well as my Kids Clothing Week profile.

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And you guys? I have never liked a photo of me as much as I like this one. I am used to being the one holding the camera, not the one posing, and I felt super awkward. But Minie makes me look thoughtful and awesome, so she gets a ton of kudos. In fact, you should go hire her if you are local! She will work her magic for you.

Did you get photos taken for your online presence?

Sewing up a storm!

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I may not have posted in awhile (nor had the time), but I have been trying to sew as much as possible on my weekends. It still takes me ages to finish stuff that is more complicated than a paid of sleep shorts or a crib sheet, but even if it takes me three weeks to get a blanket done, at least I finished it!

I cannot tell you how often I wish I could work from home. Seriously. I daydream about winning the lottery and being able to sew as much as I wanted all the time. But I digress.

My two biggest undertakings in the past few months were paid custom work. A classmate of mine from high school is having a baby in August. She posted a picture of a really pretty crib set on Facebook, lamenting the price ($300). I looked at it carefully and then offered to make her a similar set if she bought the fabric, and then charged a small price per piece since it was the first set I had ever made, and I didn't want to completely jip myself. She brought me the material and ribbon to make two complete sets (one mini-crib, one standard crib), and I went to work.

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Mini-crib blanket.

It. Took. FOREVER. Mostly because I was uncertain of myself because I hadn't sewn a crib set before. The sheets went quick and easy, but I had some serious issues with the minky for the blankets, and then the skirts ended up being too short so I had to add material to both. One of the crib sheets I had to "side" with the blanket material because the piece she bought was too narrow.

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Full size crib blanket.

In the end, they turned out so cute. And I offered to take newborn photos for free so I could have some shots of the cribs all made up with a sweet little baby in them. Those will be forthcoming, as she is still baking that baby girl. I can hardly wait to see her in her fancy new cribs.

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Schedule not conducive to fun

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Once again, slacking on the blogging front. I will always wonder how earth other people update multiple times each week, especially with projects. When do they find the time??? I'm pretty sure my goal to be like Dana of MADE is never going to happen. I know I have a day job and many mommy bloggers are blessed with the option to stay home with their kids, but even with a nap time I wouldn't get nearly as much accomplished as they do. Every day is a fight to be productive, without completely burning myself out. A regular day in the life of me goes something like this:

4:15am - Wake up, take a few minutes to stretch and feel alert, then force myself into the shower to wake up fully.
4:45am - After dressing, doing my hair and brushing my teeth, plus getting my lunch together, I go pry Micah out of bed. Poor guy has a hard time waking up some days, but he's an early riser by nature so this hour is not terrible for him. I get him dressed and we go to my mom's.
5:40am - After eating breakfast at my parents house, I kiss Micah goodbye and head to work.
6:02am - Clock in at work. (Yes, the the 2 minutes is always the same. They don't let the doors open until 6am on the dot, it takes two minutes to get up to the 3rd floor and log on.)
6:02am-2:32pm - Work at the day job.
2:45pm - Get to my mom's for dinner and to pick up Micah. I usually eat with them since my husbands schedule is all over the place and he fends for himself for dinner. I would be angry ALL THE TIME if I cooked and he didn't get home until hours later, since he doesn't like reheated food usually.
5:30pm - Get Micah to sleep. He goes pretty early so he can rise as early as we do, plus by this time he is starting to get cranky and rubbing his eyes. He usually falls asleep on the way home from my moms. He stays up later on the days I don't work, usually until 7pm.
5:30pm - 8:30pm - This is my only free time of the day. I know it's three hours, but this is when housework/cleaning/exercising has to happen or nothing gets done. This is also my only chance to just sit and unwind, even if it includes watching My Cat From Hell (I love this show SO much). I am usually so wrung out by this time, that the thought of sitting and sewing makes me feel even more tired, even though it's my most fun hobby.

So you can kind of see where I literally have no time during the work week to get anything done. I can, sometimes, but it's rare. I am also not one of those people that can run on very little sleep. I will be absolutely miserable the next day, especially since I have a desk job that means I sit still a lot, so I can't even keep moving to keep my eyes open if I overdo it. Weekends are a little better if my husband isn't on call, but Micah is a pretty demanding kid and he won't play by himself for big chunks of time, so if I need to do something, I send him off with my husband to go play somewhere out of the house. If they stay at home, Micah will come see what I am doing multiple times. He's my baby, and I love him so, but he doesn't let me do much!

One of my favorite shop mommy's, Amber of RockerByeBaby, often posts about being awake at 4am sewing and packing up her shop items. Two of her kids are older so I'm sure they entertain themselves well, and they go to school most of the year too, but her youngest is small enough that she needs more attention. How does she function?! I would be dead after less than a week of a schedule like that. Seriously, I would probably fall into a coma.

So, you super-productive mamas? Yeah, you are my hero.