secret tote bag swap

I am very excited to be a participant in the Secret Tote Bag Swap over at Lia’s Handmades.   This is an international Secret Santa style swap.  The deadline to enter is May 29th, and we’ll be secretly sewing in June, and enjoying our customized gifts in July.

This will be my first every swap.  So I’m excited and nervous and can’t wait all at once.  I haven’t had the best luck with bag making in the past, so I’ve definitely been spending some of my nervous energy scouring the interwebs for ideas and patterns.

Here are a few of my favorite tutorials so far:

The Madeleine @ Imagine Gnats – I’m sure I’m going to make this for myself as a purse very soon, but I also think it could be easily modified into a gorgeous tote sized bag.  I adore the shape and the pleats.

Pleated Lined Bag @ Wharehouse Fabrics – …and then I got lucky and found this lovely and larger pleated bag.

@ Sew, Mamma, Sew! – I really like the shape, the super-cute gathered pockets, and the inside slip pockets.

Petal Tote via Craftsy – I like the uniquely curvy design and I’m always a sucker for pockets.

Shoulder Bag @ Tiny Happy – This is one of the most simple patterns for a lined bag, and turns out very nicely.

Skill Tutorials

Lining @ Sew, Mamma, Sew!

Zippered Pockets, Slip Pockets, & Magnetic Clasps @ Sew, Mamma, Sew!

Quick Boxed Bottoms @ The Haby Goddess

Concealed Top Edge Zipper @ U Handbag


I’ve been collecting my color ideas over at Pinterest.

undergarment undertaking – the why

…Or How I Decided To Make My Own Bras

My bras don’t fit me.

I have lots of them that I love.  In fact, I have a giant box of expensive, well-chosen, and gorgeous lingerie that fit me…more pounds ago that I’ll willingly admit.  (A combination of hormones and other medications induced a silly giant and lightning-fast weight gain a few months ago.)  I was already edging on the large size of my body comfort zone.  In coming to terms with my body feelings (why use “issues” and label them all icky?), I realized I’d love (or at least like) myself and my new figure a lot more if I had clothes that actually fit me instead of cramming myself into stuff way to small or currently unflattering.  While it sounds simplistic, this whole “gee, I think I’d feel more confidant and attractive in comfortable, attractive, and well-fit clothes” idea really hit home.  And my word, did it work!

I did not go out and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars either.  A friend took me out to a thrift store, and I spent $65 on four pairs of jeans (stretchy and not) that were comfortable and flattering along with four medium weight sweaters that were a gap in my wardrobe.  Also, there are some continuing projects to make some fabulous garments for myself.

I still have grumpy days.  (That’s probably a given for anyone, no matter what size and shape they are.)  But more and more I look at myself in the mirror in clothes with enough room for me and say, “Wow, that just feels and looks right.”  Or “Gosh, you look curvy and lovely today.”  I’m much happier.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the last canyon dividing me from figure comfort and happiness is still foundation garments.

I’m embarrassed to say it’s just more comfortable not to wear anything…or to wear a shelf camisole or my lovely and flattering lulu lemon workout top that is magically still supportive and flattering than delve into the abyss of bra shopping.  However, my successes in other aspects of dressing were winning me over.

And I randomly came across someone online who made her own bras.  And said it was easy.  And fast.  I don’t honestly recall who started the avalanche of BRABLOGNESS.  But I am definitely tumbling down the canyon…

I have a pretty small budget.  And a quite large bosom.  My starting guesstimates are a UK 34G (Bratabase), 36FF (Bare Essentials by Jennifer Lynne Matthews-Fairbanks), and 36FF or 36G (My Best Guess After Weeks of Reading bra blogs.)  We’re not exactly talking about an easily available size.  My last trip to Nordstrom and Victoria’s Secret several sizes ago were not exactly the most fruitful.  I love sewing.  And so…it’s time to give making my own bras a shot.

I’m thrilled.  And intimidated.  And completely overwhelmed at how gigantic those cups are.

energy meets inspiration

I’ve got to admit to being a little distracted.  Not from sewing.  I’m more distracted by all the things I’m dying to make right this second.

I do have every intention of posting more as I actually finish projects.  Some of those are five minutes to wrap something up, but others are weeks worth of work.   To that end, here’s a list of what I’m passionate about at the moment…and what might turn into a post sooner or later:

  • Bra Fitting and Design – My bosom has gotten not just a wee bit bigger recently, and its definitely time for some better support.  However, instead of the misery and expense of traditional bra shopping, I’d like to try my hand at making my own lingerie.  Status: enraptured in theory, researched materials and sourcing, started sketching.
  • Serging – I just got my very own serger, so obviously one of my goals is to gain comfort and skill in utilizing this fabulous tool.  Status: Threaded and working!  First garment in process.  More advanced techniques to come.
  • Update to My Colors – I’m a Warm Autumn, and I’m having trouble with the Spring colors out there right now.  I want to incorporate some colors for this season, and yet keep things flattering.  Status: Notes taken, need to write post.
  • Comfortable Everyday Clothing for Spring and Summer – Another significant goal of mine is to fill in the spring and summer holes in my wardrobe with comfortable basics in flattering styles and colors.  Status: One garment in process (see above), some thrift shopping done, and fabric chosen for a few wrap skirts and drapy tops.
  • Gorgeous Velvet Going Out Skirt – I want to make a slightly larger, stretchier copy of my favorite  skirt.  Instead of lace with a satin lining, I chose a lovely silver velvet.  Status: Fabric in hand, time to draft the pattern.
  • DIY Dress Form –  To spare my partner the frustration of trying to be my third and forth hand for fitting, I really want my own dress form.  Status: I’ve picked my method, waiting until I make a bra that fits to go under it, and waiting a bit to see if my weight stabilizes.

Here’s hoping I’m brimming with as much energy as I have inspiration in the next few weeks!


I’ve always done crafty things.  I just always have.  I only vaguely remember learning to sew.  I was five or sixish, and I helped my aunt cut and sew pieces for samples, and made simple little things, and watched avidly as she whipped up gorgeous Christmas dresses for me.  I really have no idea how that morphed into adult sewing skills, but I’m glad to have them.  I’m a bit obsessed with sewing right now, but I also enjoy finger weaving, knitting, block printing, paper making, crafting bath products and candles, decorating, etc.  Well, and cooking.  I love cooking, especially when my boyfriend does all the work and I sit on the counter or sofa and say, “You’re doing it wrong!” or taste test.  To sum up: I like learning new things.

My current inspiration is to sew, knit, thrift, or otherwise acquire an everyday wardrobe that fits me.  Since my weight has been fluctuating  and hopefully my Grand Plan to get rid of some of it will be successful, I’m sticking with forgiving stretchy fabrics for now.