Posted on

Sew What Do I Wear? Winter Professional Mini “Capsule”

Thanks for stopping by as part of the Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates Sew, What Do I Wear? Professional Edition Blog Tour! I have been working on a winter mini capsule that can be worn in the work place (with a few great date-night pieces, too!).  I know lots of people ask what sort of me-made outfits make appropriate work attire; I’m happy to share some of my favorite options with you!

The easiest part of a capsule for me is always the actual garment construction; the hardest for me is always choosing fabric and patterns! If you read about my fall or my spring capsule, you have a pretty good idea of how I plan my mini capsules. This one was slightly different – I made a no-floral rule (๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ), and set a goal of including at least two woven patterns.

Fabrics

As in the past, I chose my two busiest fabrics first. The diamonds are a double brushed polyester spandex from Love Adore (just a note – their beloved founder, Kim, passed away a few months ago. Kim’s family opens up shop periodically to continue her legacy. Join their Facebook group to keep up with their schedule. I love to support them any time they’re open for business!). The animal print is a rayon spandex from Sly Fox Fabrics.

After I chose my two busy prints, I decided to stick to mostly neutral colors with just a little pop of color. I picked a bright blue knit (I think it was a french terry blend) from a clearance sale Knitpop, and a blush pink chiffon from Hobby Lobby.

The remainder of my fabrics were a variety of neutrals, including a great dark gray yoga knit (also from Knitpop), a gray and white striped rayon spandex, a gorgeous sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee, and solid black double brushed polyester. 

Choosing Patterns – 

After fabrics, I planned out which patterns I wanted to use. I usually plan 3 tops, 3 bottoms, and 3 layers, but I strayed from that a little this time for a total of 12 pieces. The two things I considered when choosing patterns for a professional setting were neckline for tops and length for dresses/skirts. I find almost all of the Patterns for Pirates and Made for Mermaids patterns to be work appropriate, but always check with your individual employer/existing dress code before you plan your own professional wardrobe.

One last thing to consider if you’re working on a capsule over a longer period of time is to take your measurements multiple times, especially if you usually hover between two sizes, and definitely before you cut woven pattern pieces since you don’t have the wiggle room you do in a knit pattern. I’m SO glad I measured again before I cut out my woven pieces; since I worked on this capsule over a period of two months, my measurements changed just enough that if I cut my “normal” size I would’ve  been unhappy! I still went with the same size for the knits I had already cut out/finished, but definitely consider measuring frequently!

Featured Patterns – Mama Isabel with Mama Quinn


Mama Isabel is true love for me because of how versatile it is. I love the option to wear it as a dress, a long cardigan, or over/under other skirts and tops. My fall capsule had several different ways to wear Mama Isabel, but one of my favorites is wearing it as a cardi. I made this one with 3/4 sleeves and dress length tulip hem.


One of the two woven patterns I included for this capsule was a dress length Mama Quinn, made in a cream chiffon with a lace (non-stretch) trim from Hobby Lobby.

This was a great way to provide a higher neckline and more coverage at the hemline without needing a ton of layers. Depending on your specific dress code, an infinity scarf is another great way to work with lower necklines! This hemline may still be a little short for your work place, but both Mama Isabel and Mama Quinn can certainly be altered to have more length! Quinn would also make a great cami-style blouse to wear under cardis, but the chiffon I used was a little too sheer to wear like that!

Tops- Mama Tara, Mama Mya,


I LOVE the Mama Mya pattern. It’s one of my most used patterns. It’s a quick and easy sew; even though it’s casual enough to wear with jeans or leggings on the weekend, it can still work in a professsional setting. I made the one above in a light gray & white striped rayon spandex. I used tunic length and 3/4 sleeves, with no height adjustments. 


Mama Tara is another quick sew, with a drape detail that gives it just enough of a boutique-feel. This Mama Tara is a lightweight sweater knit from Sincerely Rylee Fabrics. I LOVE the coziness of the sweater knit paired with heels and some chunky jewelry!

Dresses – Mama Mya with a Mama Kourtney inspired knot, Brunch Blouse, Mama Nina


The Brunch Blouse was the other woven pattern I knew I HAD to make. I had this beautiful blush chiffon in my stash left over from my fall capsule, and later ordered these rose gold sequins from Etsy to use as accent pieces. The finishing touch was two rose gold buttons I found at Hobby Lobby. The Brunch Blouse is just perfect in dress length. Mama Quinn also worked great as a slip underneath this, too! I also tucked the dress into the Pencil Skirt, because you know I like my clothes to pull double duty. I made this Blouse with the dolman short sleeve, dress length, with cuffs and button tabs. 

Of course, I couldn’t just make ONE Mama Mya, so I made a second in dress length in this gray knit that I believe came from Knitpop . This might not be dressy enough for all work places, but the length and neckline are both great if you have a less formal dress code. I loved the knot detail on the Mama Kourtney, so I added that to Mama Mya to give it a little something.


Finally, I made a Mama Nina in a black stretch velvet from Hobby Lobby, with a stretch lace neckband and trim (also from Hobby Lobby). I know winter comes with plenty of Holiday parties, concerts, dinners, plays, and all sorts of other events, so I wanted to make an outfit that could be worn to work, but also to those types of events (and around the house just for fun, because stretch velvet ๐Ÿ˜). For this version, I shortened the back so the hi-low hem is less drastic. 


As a side note – when you’re not quite in love with something you’ve made, make sure you try it on COMPLETELY before you throw in the towel. This velvet Nina looked awful when I tried it on with my wild mom-bun and bare feet, but I liked it so much more once I tried it on again with a pair of shoes and jewelry that I would actually wear with it if I were going out in public and not just back down the hall to my sewing studio.
Bottoms – Peg Leg Leggings, Pirate Pencil Skirt, SOS Pants


The BEST part about the Pencil Skirt and the SOS pants is that I used a heavier yoga knit from Knitpop, so even though I look dressed, I’m literally wearing yoga pants. How’s that for a momiform?


The Pencil Skirt is one of my favorites because it’s so quick to make, and always looks so classy and timeless (pssst! I also sometimes wear them as a scarf or a strapless top!).


The skinny SOS Pants were much easier than I anticipated. If you must know, I did accidentally sew the front pockets on to the back (don’t even ask how that happened – I still don’t know!!), but was able to fix my sewfu (get it? Like a snafu? ๐Ÿ˜ฌ) without too much trouble. I love that they look like dress pants, but are comfortable enough that they feel like sweats. I used a yoga-style waistband folded over once on mine, but the pattern calls for elastic in the waist band.

Last but not least, basic black Peg Leg Leggings to pair with the dresses when it finally gets cold out! I know a lot of employers have banned leggings without sufficient booty coverage, so I personally wouldn’t wear Tara or a top-length Mya with them to work (but at home or on the weekends, game on!!). However, they make a great alternative to tights or hose, because nobody’s got time for runs in those!

Layers – Grandpa Cardi, Cocoon Cardigan 


The bright blue of this Patterns for Pirates Grandpa Cardi is such a fun pop of color for a winter capsule! I love how fresh it looks against all the neutrals. This is perfect for winter, but also great if you work somewhere that likes to keep their AC cranked year round. I added 6 inches in length to the cardi. 

I also can’t get enough of this animal print Cocoon Cardi!  The Cocoon Cardi is another layering piece that’s great for the colder months, but also great for the AC months if you don’t get to be in charge of the thermostat. When I taught elementary school, I always kept a “school sweater” or two in my classroom! You can usually find another two or three in my car. I like to be prepared ๐Ÿ™‚ For this version, I made tunic length with tall bands and no cuffs. 
Shoes & Accessories – 


I tried to stick to MOSTLY neutral colors with a few pops of color to make the shoes/accessories as versatile as possible for all the outfit combinations.

Shoes – animal print flats from Crocs (can you even believe that??); nude heels from Old Navy; faux suede booties from Amazon.

Bags – red wallet/clutch by Coach; bag by Michael Kors (printer ink stain on the interior bag is by me); faux suede clutch is an Old Navy clearance find

Jewelry – top was purchased at a craft show years ago; middle by Kendra Scott; bottom by Noonday Collection

Although it pained me a little to set all my florals to the side for a bit, I had so much fun putting together some dressier, professional looks in a more neutral palette. Here are just a few of my favorite looks: 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the ladies on the blog tour:

If youโ€™re not into sewing, go through your closet and look for nine or so pieces that can be used in similar ways. Start with the same concept of 2 busy prints, 3-4 coordinating colors, and 3-4 neutrals; youโ€™ll be pleasantly surprised with how many combinations you can come up with!

If youโ€™d like to have a capsule designed and/or made just for you, come visit me on Facebook or Etsy. 

*post contains affiliate links*
Photo credit: Megan of A Beautiful Moment Photography

Posted on

Made for Mermaids’ “All Dolled Up” Week

My Bee LOVES all of her baby dolls. I have such fun memories of playing dolls and Barbies with my friends when I was little, and I love sharing that with my girl. I have never pushed dolls on her, but if you’ve met her, you know it’s in her top three favorite things (with pumpkins and any sort of ball filling the other two spots). 


I was happy to test three of Made for Mermaids’ Dolly patterns as part of their “All Dolled Up” release & giveaway week, and even more excited to sew up a few new outfits for my girl to match her babies. Be sure to check out their blog for all the giveaway details! 

The first dolly pattern we tested was Dolly Ainsley, featuring a knit bodice and woven skirt, with Velcro closure in the back. It’s available in 14″, 15″ and 18″ doll sizes. The Ainsley has optional sash ties and elastic in the back on the girls’ version; for the dolly version, I opted for ribbon in lieu of the fabric sash ties, and did not use any elastic. If you use ribbon, just make sure it’s the correct width!

Don’t forget to grab the girls’ Ainsley pattern, too! It’s such a sweet and surprisingly easy/quick sew. 

The second pattern we tested was the Dolly Mya (shown with the Dolly Bonny Leggings). The doll is wearing top length with short sleeves and a cowl neck. The black floral is a rayon spandex, which is what I would recommend for a true cowl look. The solid mauve is a french terry bodice with a double brushed polyester cowl. The french terry looked like a turtle neck, so I removed and used a close-match DBP instead. It still did not drape as well as the rayon spandex, but certainly better than the french terry! No velrco on this pattern, but it is easy enough to take on and off. My Bee is wearing the girls Mya in tunic length (pink with and added ruffle) and top length (black and floral). Both Bee and her baby are wearing Bonny Leggings (and of course, Dolly Bonny). 

 

Finally, we tested Dolly Kourtney. Doll is wearing tunic length tank with no knot option. The back does have Velcro closure, though it would be easy enough to omit if you prefer no velcro. Bee is wearing the dress length Kourtney. Made for Mermaid’s Joy has been my go-to pattern for a while now, but she’s had to move over to make room for Nina and now Kourtney. โค๏ธ 

Like all of the M4M patterns, all three of these Dolly patterns come loaded with options and little details that give them a trendy, boutique feel. These patterns come at the PERFECT time for sewing up some cute Dolly and Me sets as Christmas gifts for your little doll lovers (or big doll lovers; my sister and I love the American Girl store way more than is probably acceptable so I certainly don’t judge ๐Ÿ˜‚). 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the dolly patterns on the blog, and grab the girls’ patterns too! 

This post contains affiliate links.

Posted on

DIY Fall Mini Wardrobe

This past spring, I participated in a mini-capsule contest hosted by Made for Mermaids and Patterns for Pirates. I had SO much fun creating different combinations with the nine pieces I made (plus a pair of jeans). When they made an announcement that they were hosting another event for the fall, I knew I had to create more! My husband says I didn’t HAVE to, since I really didn’t NEED 9 more pieces of clothing, but anyway ๐Ÿ˜œ

Here’s a quick look back at my spring capsule:

For the fall capsule, I picked my busiest fabrics first. I had already made a mustard floral wrap dress/short sleeve cardigan using the Made for Mermaids Mama Isabel pattern; I chose my remaining fabrics with that floral and one other burgundy floral in mind.

I find that a good rule of thumb for fabrics for a mini capsule is to choose 2 busy prints that wouldn’t be worn together. In this case, I used essentially the same pattern for both – the only difference being sleeve length – so naturally, I wouldn’t plan to wear them together. Next, I opt for 3-4 neutral colors or patterns (I’ll just go ahead and tell you that I count thin stripes and baby pinks as neutrals in my closet!!), and then 3-4 coordinating colors pulled directly from the patterned fabric. My neutrals overlapped with the pattern coordinate colors, but pink, olive, cream, and brown are all found right in the two florals.

Choosing patterns is always a little harder for me than choosing fabrics. It’s important to balance tops and bottoms, even though I’m so tempted to just make a million tops!  For this capsule, I opted for three bottoms, three tops, and three layering pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tops:


 For tops that are specifically designed to be tops, I went with two Made for Mermaids Mama Ninas, one with short sleeves in top length (pink), and one with 3/4 sleeves in top length with a modified curved hem (brown).

I sized down a little for both Mama Ninas for a slightly more fitted look. I just took a larger seam allowance; it ended up working out to about 1″ on all seams instead of the 1/2″ per the pattern.  Eventually, the pink Nina will be replaced with a Patterns for Pirates Everyday Elegance top in the same color; the pink cotton lycra I used is definitely comfy and looks cute knotted, but it’s not as flattering since I didn’t use a drapey fabric.

I also made a Made for Mermaids Mama Joy Peplum Top (gray). I left off the neckband and just did a quick cover stitch. I’ll pretend it was intentional, but it was really just because I ran out of this triblend!


Pink top – M4M Mama Nina in cotton Lycra from knitpopBrown top – M4M Mama Nina in a $1 slub style knit from Walmart. Gray top – M4M Mama Joy peplum top, no neckband, gray triblend. I don’t remember where I got it, but it may have been Knitpop!

Bottoms:

I’ve gotten tons of wear out of the two skirts I made for my spring capsule, so I chose two skirts for this capsule too, plus a pair of basic black leggings. I used the Patterns for Pirates Pencil Skirt pattern (stripes), as well as Made for Mermaids Mama Joy separate skirt (olive) and Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs (black). The Mama Joy skirt is pleated, but I made my yoga waistband really tall so when folded over, it covers up the pleats. Unfolded, the pleats do show. I have used the Peg Leg waist band measurements in the past, but I just decided to wing it for this skirt!

Striped skirt – P4P Pencil Skirt, liverpool from Knitpop. Olive skirt – M4M Mama Joy Skirt Separate with yoga style waistband, double brushed poly from Knitpop. Black leggings – P4P peg legs, double brushed poly

 

 

 

 

Layering Pieces:

I used Made for Mermaids Mama Claire  (cream), Made for Mermaids Mama Isabel  in long sleeve/tulip hem (burgundy floral), and Made for Mermaids Mama Isabel  in short sleeve/tulip hem (mustard floral). I avoided both the Claire and the Isabel for a looooong time because I just felt like the crossover sat funny on me, but it appears I’ve been converted!

Cream long sleeve – M4M Mama Claire in $1 sweater knit from Walmart. Burgundy floral – M4M Mama Isabel, double brushed poly from KnitpopMustard floral – M4M Mama Isabel, rayon spandex from Sly Fox (sold out, but they have other gorgeous florals!)

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus Wears!! 


My very favorite part about designing a capsule is coming up with different outfits, and thinking of new ways to wear a staple item! Here are some of the “bonus wears” using my nine fall capsule pieces:

Mama Joy skirt with a Mama Joy bodice separate (lengthened by about 4″-5″ so it will stay tucked in better) to create a faux dress look, Mama Joy skirt as a drapey infinity scarf, and Mama Joy skirt as a skirt! It could also be worn as a strapless top. I’ve worn pencil skirts as scarves, but I hadn’t thought to wear a Joy skirt as a scarf before! I just love how it looks with the gray peplum.

Mama Isabel as a cardigan, a dress, and a top! I used no specific modifications to wear it as a cardigan; I just pull both ties behind me on the inside of the Mama Isabel, pull through the same hole, and tie loosely on the outside. Made for Mermaids has additional hacks for a true cardigan/wrap dress mash on their blog! This burgundy floral Isabel will get some MAJOR wear this fall!

Pencil skirt worn as a “slip” under mama Isabel, as a strapless top, as a skirt, and as an infinity scarf! I’m especially excited to wear these stripes under both Mama Isabels that I made. The tulip hem is perfect for date night, but I find it too short to wear if I have kids to corral. The pencil skirt “slip” makes it wearable for me, even with kids in tow!

Last but not least, the Mama Claire can be worn two ways with no extra creativity involved!

If you’re not into sewing, go through your closet and look for nine pieces that can be used in similar ways. Start with the same concept of 2 busy prints, 3-4 coordinating colors, and 3-4 neutrals; you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how many combinations you can come up with!

If you’d like to have a capsule designed and made just for you, come visit me on Facebook or Etsy.

*post contains affiliate links*

Posted on

Made for Mermaids Nina and Mama Ninaย 

I was SO excited to test the two newest patterns for Made for MermaidsNina and Mama Nina. There are few things I love more than a cute, comfy swing dress, and Mama Nina is just the one I’ve been searching for my whole life. Please don’t tell my husband. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mama Nina and Nina both feature several options, making it the perfect addition to back-to-school wardrobes for every age. AND! The raglan style sleeve is a PERFECT way to create some mommy-and-me looks with your boys. Made for Mermaids  also offers the Rowan Raglan tee pattern, which would tie in beautifully for you boy moms that are feeling left out of the fun!

During testing, my little and I tried out top length, curved hem tunic length, hi-low dress length, short sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, long sleeves, pocket, and no pocket! Whew! I wasn’t kidding when I said I was in love! My favorite for my daughter is the tunic length; it’s the sweetest little top in any sleeve length.


Burgundy floral – DBP from Knitpop. Tunic, 3/4 sleeves, size 1

Pink stripes – DBP from SlyFoxFabrics. Long sleeve, tunic, size 1

Of course, we can’t get enough of the option to wear mommy-and-me Ninas either!

I wanted so badly for her to love her sparkly gold sleeves, but they are itchy and awful! I’m going to have to line the sleeves, because it’s just too cute not to wear. Speaking of fabric choices, definitely follow the fabric recommendations in the Mama Nina/Nina patterns. The gray & gold I made turned out super cute, and mine is extremely comfortable, but the cotton lycra is definitely not the most flattering. I also tried out liverpool – it was way too hot for July in the south, and it doesn’t drape in a flattering way AT ALL. Our favorites fabric choices were double brushed polyester, and rayon spandex.

ITY / poly spandex blend from JoAnn’s (!!!!). Size blue, long sleeve, dress length
Finally, Mama Nina in top length made great last minute additions to my fall mini-capsule. Look for my capsule post later this week!

Pink Floral DBP – Size 1, long sleeve, dress length

You can purchase each pattern individually for $7 each, OR grab the LIMITED TIME bundle- BOTH patterns for only $10. Made for Mermaids  only offers bundles at release! Sale and bundle ends Sunday 8/13/17 midnight cst.

Bundle

Mama Nina 

Nina (Girls)

Hack Blog Post

Rowan Raglan – Not included in the bundle/sale, but an awesome way to include those boys in the mommy-and-me fun!

*post includes affiliate links*