Sewing: My Go-to Leggings

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SNOOZEFEST!! Yes. Another pair of leggings. In a floral print, no less. I just can’t seem to wear anything else these days. It’s all about comfy dresses and stretchy pants. I’ve been swelling more with this pregnancy than the last two (likely the fact that this is the first summer pregnancy I’ve had). No complaints, I just have to be mindful of what will and won’t work with my expanding and contracting body.

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I tried to wear jeans the other day, and within 15 minutes I was grumpy because of how restricted I felt. As soon as I switched back to stretchy pants, I was back to my cheerful self! These pants are magical! Family accord is again restored!

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I found this double knit 4-way stretch fabric at the thrift store on a complete whim. It’s very opaque with great stretch. Perfect for passing off leggings as pants. I keep meaning to pick up stretch denim to make more pants-like leggings, but that hasn’t happened yet.

I have only one shirt at this point that covers my backside, so I just own it and look forward to the day when I can dedicate more time to sewing a few tunic tops for the last 10 weeks of this pregnancy. YES. We’re almost in the single digits for weeks left! I can’t believe how quickly this pregnancy has just flown by.

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Time for some nesting. And baby clothes making!

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Outfit details:

  • earrings: Bijou Market
  • necklace: c/o Sole Society
  • top: H&M
  • leggings: handmade
  • bracelets: thrifted
  • shoes: c/o Sole Society
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    Food: Raspberry Cupcakes

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    I’ve been mildly obsessed with making cupcakes lately. I got the right size icing tips* that I’ve been searching high and low for. Getting the right icing consistency and cake density has now been my master goal.

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    I won a cupcake cook book at a blogging event nearly a year ago. I’ve been working my way through the cookbook with fabulous success for each recipe I’ve tried. Chris went wild for the frosting on these cupcakes. He’s been a pretty disciplined eater since January (losing 30 pounds in the process), so I get great satisfaction when I make desserts that are too tempting for him to pass up. I’m such a devil.

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    Since moving to the mountains two years ago (we’re at 6300 ft elevation), I haven’t been able to make a decent cookie, but cupcakes I can do! At some point I will figure out how to make all my mom’s cookie recipes altitude friendly, but for now I’ll just stick to cupcakes. Playing with frosting is too much fun, too.

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    Raspberry Cupcakes

    Adapted from Lizzy Early‘s Strawberry Vanilla Cupcake recipe (Your Cup of Cake)
    Makes 24 cupcakes
    • 1 box yellow cake mix
    • 4 egg whites
    • 1/3 cup oil
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    Gently whisk egg whites, oil, milk, mayo and vanilla in a large bowl, until smooth. Add sifted cake mix and stir until combined. Fill cupcake liners, I used just shy of 1/4 cup batter in each cupcake liner. Bake at 350 for 17-22 minutes – I pulled mine out at 15 minutes and they were perfect. Cool.

    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
    • 2-4 tablespoons raspberry jam**, or raspberry puree

    Beat butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Combine lemon juice. Slowly add powdered sugar until it reaches a thick consistency. Add raspberry jam (**I used Bonne Maman jam. That or a freezer jam would be ideal – don’t use the cheap super sugar stuff or you won’t get much raspberry flavor) slowly until it’s the right consistency. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and serve.

     

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    * Icing kit and adorable milk jars courtesy of Bake It Pretty.

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    1. Heidi Lassila says:

      Such pretty cupcakes.
      Congrats to Chris! My hubby is working on losing that same number. It’s all about resisting temptation!

    Sewing: Penelope’s Bridesmaid Dress

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    Instead of buying a dress, I figured I would make Penelope a dress for my brother-in-law’s wedding. I was already making my own, so I added hers to the docket as well. It was an incredibly quick sew, too. AND SHE LOVES IT. So much so that she’ll wear it while playing with the boys in our neighborhood. It’s adorable to see her hang with the boys in such a girly outfit. That’s my girly tomboy!

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    I used the same printing technique with the front of her dress as I did with mine using a rose stamp borrowed from my friend Miriam. I hadn’t quite nailed down the ink consistency with the imprint, so some of the roses are much lighter than others. I figure she’s going to destroy this dress in a matter of a few wears anyway, so I’m choosing not to care a whole lot about it.

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    I used the Recess Raglan (blogged here and here) as the base, then added a little extra length to the bodice (which I didn’t really need to) and a pleated skirt. I left the edges on the sleeves and hem raw, they’ve curled up nicely with wash and wear. For the pleats I cut a strip of fabric 2 1/2 times the width of her dress and eyeballed the pleats starting from the center front, working my way out; pinning them in place. Super easy, but some good eyeballing required.

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    This girl cracks me up with her sassy posing. She loves being in front of the camera.

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    1. Alysa says:

      She’s so hip! You’re my sewing hero!

    2. phil says:

      very cool !!!!!!!

    3. Heidi Lassila says:

      The drop-waist is adorable!

    Handmade: Letterpress Business Cards + Motivators

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    I had the opportunity to participate in this year’s summer Alt Summit, and boy did it sneak up on me! I barely had the chance to recover from January’s conference.

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    I wanted to do something completely different for this session’s business cards, but I ended up doing everything last-minute. And by last-minute, literally making business cards the night before the conference.

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    The cards have the same general vibe as they did previously, with a little motivator and acrylic stand, but I approached the printing and calligraphy differently.

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    Instead of doing one kind of motivator (“You are awesomesauce”), I decided to switch things up and write out different adjectives. The monoline style is quite different from last time, too. I used watercolor paper and a sumi ink to create moody washes on the backs of all the papers to create a moody texture. Then lettered with white ink overtop. The texture of the black wash gives the card more depth, in my opinion.

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    The printing was a little different as I was using a watercolor paper and not a thick letterpress paper. There’s still a deboss from the printing process, but it’s not as stark. I went with the watercolor so that the lettering on the back would be easier to create. Last time I had a heck of a time lettering on that soft letterpress paper.

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    I also had a problem with the ink in the letterpress printing bleeding, making the hairlines a tad garbled. Above, you can see different experimentations on printing. The top right is using regular letterpress ink, you can’t tell a whole lot from the image, but it’s feathering a little bit on the paper. Then I tried various blind-deboss printing techniques, then applying ink afterward. That didn’t work quite like I had envisioned. Then the top left is when I discovered inking up my letterpress plates with a stamp pad. The stamp pad from Silhouette’s stamp kit is quite tacky and worked perfectly for inking up the plates. The printing was more crisp and the clean-up was a million times easier with the water-soluble ink. Major win! I’ll be using this method for printing with the L-Letterpress in the future.

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    1. Amy W says:

      Just adored those cards. Thinking about framing mine!

    2. Danielle W says:

      Very beautiful! Just curious if you made your own plates through Lifestyle crafts for your L Letterpress? I have one and am considering this for my wedding invites! :)

      • Melissa says:

        Yes! I went through them to create the plates. I think there are other places you can get plates made that should work with the L, but not sure of links or how they compare. Hope that helps!

    Maternity Style: My Mom-iform

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    white-plum

    This post is sponsored by White Plum. Find all sorts of great fashion items for the every day woman at a fabulous price. Use discount code MELISSA20 for 20% off your entire purchase until 7/7/14. 

    I’m officially 25 weeks along now (how is it flying by so quickly?), spending more and more time each morning scouring my wardrobe for comfortable items that will stretch with me throughout the day. I’m finding I reach for my stretchy dresses and leggings more than anything. I’m also finding that I’m running out of shirts that adequately cover my belly.

    Funny how clothes that I thought would fit for my whole pregnancy are already becoming too tight/short.

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    To remedy that situation, I sewed up Megan Nielsen’s ruched maternity shirt in a mint jersey. The mint color is a bit of a gamble for me since I’m prone to stain just about anything lighter than middle-grey. But it’s such a gorgeous color I couldn’t resist.

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    It’s also such a neutral color that I can pair it with just about any of my pants (that still fit). This one-layer wonder is going to get a lot of wear this summer.

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    As all of Megan’s patterns, this was a breeze to sew up and fit was spot on the first try. Adjustments made:

    • lengthened shirt hem by 1 1/2 inches
    • lengthened the sleeve hem by 1 1/2 inches
    • tapered the sleeve at the hem by 1 inch
    • raised the neckline by 1/2 inch

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    I added a raw band to the neckline and sleeve hem, then steamed the bottom hem so the knit would roll nicely. I need to launder the shirt so the sleeve and collar roll a little more, but as the hem is now, it doesn’t bother me.

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    Chris said he liked the ruching. I do too. I’ve tried to sew items that will work for both maternity and postpartum, but this may be the only exception. I don’t see how it will flatter post-pregnancy, because it’s ruched only in the front, but I’m more concerned about comfort at this moment. The leggings will definitely be great after baby arrives, though! I live in leggings these days.

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    Outfit details:

    What are your go-to summer items for comfort? Leggings? Tees? Skirts?

     

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    1. Karin says:

      You look great. I love the colour of the top on you. Very elegant!

    2. Liesel says:

      I have eyed that pattern before! Love the mint! You probably sew everything you wear (!) But I picked up some basic tees in tall from oldnavy.com, and they’re perfect for the end of pregnancy! Plus, I still wear them…a little more tunic-ish now, though.

      • Melissa says:

        Sometimes it makes more sense to buy the basics than to sew them. I’ll definitely be on the look out for those tall tees from Old Navy! Those sound perfect.

    3. Heidi Lassila says:

      The is such a lovely color. I’m with you on the staining though–I can’t seem to keep any light-colored maternity tops stain-free for an entire pregnancy! :)

    4. Nora says:

      Here is a great maternity brand for stretchy basics to go with you throughout the pregnancy and even after! http://storq.com/

      I love these because they can easily be cycled into your wardrobe.

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