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It's Business Time - February JLV Patterns Update

Saturday, February 28, 2015

What a quick month it's been, I feel like I only just wrote about January and now it's nearly March - time just keeps speeding up on me!

Again, it's been another busy month around these parts, both business wise and personally. We finally had the scaffold go up around our house on Tuesday for new insulation, rewiring and finally, a new roof! The only issue with this is that none of these things you can actually see from ground level. So, it feels like we're spending money on nothing. But, I'm looking forward to feeling the difference in warmth come winter time (which is fast approaching round these parts). Our house is already a really warm one, but I think adding good quality insulation into the ceiling will make it even more efficient, and will stop us using as much of that big pile o' wood we had delivered the other day with the wood-burner going over winter. But, I'm looking forward to snuggling up on the couch with some knitting, a toasty fire and soon (much sooner than I realise!) a little one.

Business-wise, which is actually the whole point of these posts, is swimming along. Most of the goals I wrote about in my January Update are either started or completed.
  • Organisation and the Great Sewing Room Tidy - this one I'm really excited about. It's taken a bit longer than I expected to tidy my sewing room, mostly because I've ended up switching things around in there quite a bit.

    It's not quite finished, but it looks great! A sewing room tour is most definitely in the cards, now that it's not one of 'those' rooms you don't let people into because as soon as you open the door, you're bombarded with an avalanche of fabric and pins and notes scribbled here and there.

  • Re-branding - this has begun and I'm jumping out of my seat excited! I feel like sometimes re-branding is much more exciting for the person actually doing the re-branding than it is for the person's audience. But, if it makes that person more confident moving forward, then it can only be a good thing at the end of the day.

    There is still quite a bit to do, as we're only in the early stages, but I hope the blog rebrand will be complete by the end of March or beginning of April.

  • Release The Felicity Dress pattern - tick!! I love this dress pattern and I'm really sad that I won't be able to wear my dresses for too much longer with a growing bump.

    But, I've started writing all the Sew Along posts to go with it which will hopefully get me through my officially-can't-wear-anything-without-stretch-in-it phase. Who knows how long that will last, but probably much longer than I realise, what with the whole needing easy access to my chest area post-birth thing.

    Sew along dates will be posted next week.

  • And although I had tied this goal in with my re-branding, The Bronte Top pattern is nearly ready to be re-released with the two extra sizes having been added to the upper end of the range. I've also added in Final Measurements, which are currently not included in the pattern as it stands.

    I'm also writing a tutorial on how you can turn your Bronte Top into a Maternity Top once the updated pattern has been released, so, watch this space.

Phew! Busy month! But, I can't linger on February for very long, as March is hot on our heels. So, what's in store?

  • Sewing Room Tour - this is the only room in the house that hasn't been painted yet, and I have a feeling it won't be done for some time. So, once I've got it organised to a point that I can take some photos, I'll be taking you all on a wee tour.

  • Re-branding - March is the month that I really want to focus implementing the re-branding throughout my website and Etsy shop. Right now everything is really disjointed, with old banners and colours still lingering.

    Once that has been done, planning my paper patterns can officially begin and I can start to re-lay my patterns and the instructions for print. It's going to be a busy and probably really intense time that no one but me will see, but I'm really looking forward to it.

  • Re-release the Bronte Top Pattern - see last bullet point in my January re-cap above.

  • Start the Felicity Dress Sew Along (with a difference) - again, dates will be posted next week.

  • And last, but certainly the most boring, taxes. March is the end of the financial year here in NZ and so I'll be doing my first ever business taxes. I haven't been totally lazy on this front, just mostly lazy, so I really do need to start looking at this and getting on top of it (firstly by finding all those receipts that I know I've kept, but kept in all number of 'safe' places around the house). Ugh...

I also enter my third trimester in March, and with that brings a whole new world of panic as I realise I haven't started stitching up any of the things I meant to and need to before a little one arrives. Curtains (oh the curtains!!!), wood basket liners, soft storage boxes for toys and books, a quilt I want to make for David's and my bedroom, drafting some quick pj pants for my third trimester belly, stitching up some toys, making a Newcastle Cardigan for David... etc. And that's just the start of the sewing list, I can't even begin to think about the non-sewing list right now...

So, sewing pals, how was your February? Any grand March plans?


Me Made Maternity: Week 26 - Thinking Twice

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Hello everyone!

Ahhh, week 26 - only two more weeks and I'll be in my third trimester. Gulp.

I've been wearing my Felicity dresses quite a bit over these past few weeks, trying to get as much wear out of them as I can until I can't fit into them anymore. I wore the pink version to a wedding and the green version out to lunch on Valentines day (we went back to the place we got married - we hadn't actually been there since) and I thought it'd be fun to take bump photos wearing it this week, compared to the ones we took a few weeks back for the release post (and thank you so much for your lovely comments on the Felicity Dress Pattern by the way!).

I'm actually a little bit amazed at how many of my pre-pregnancy me-mades still fit me. There are also a tonne that don't, but most of my tops and blouses fit, as well as (obviously) my knit Vogue dresses and Bronte tops (watch out for a maternity Bronte hack in the near future!). And Felicity of course. I may have cheated a tiny bit there though, because when I made my samples, I did end up shortening the bodice by 5mm and grading out at the waist to not-quite the next size up, just to make sure I'd still fit the dresses for a few more weeks - I knew I'd still want to wear them with all of the gorgeous weather we've been having lately and Felicity really is such a quick wee summer dress to stitch up that is pretty and comfortable (if I may say so myself...*blush*).

I've been busy working out the dates for the Felicity sew along and all the posts that will go into it - the dress, while quick to make up, really does lend itself to so many sewing techniques that can be translated into other patterns. So, I'm excited to share them all with you, and I'm planning to do that in an ever so slightly unconventional way.

Ha! I'm making it sound way more exciting than it is, but, nothing like a bit of suspense right?

Also, apologies that this post is a wee bit late, that is mostly due to a headache. Yes, a headache. When you're pregnant, you should generally try to avoid taking any medication other than what you need to take (like, you know, if you're taking heart medication or something, you should probably keep taking that I'm guessing...). While my midwife has said paracetamol is okay to be taken occasionally, it's best to try to get rid of headaches in other ways first, like drinking water and laying down in a dark place.

We took these photos, as we do all Me Made Maternity photos, on Sunday. I didn't quite get around to editing and writing a post on Sunday afternoon because I was finishing some non-selfish sewing, thinking I'd get around to the bloggy stuff after dinner that evening. Well, my head had other ideas, and suffice to say, I ended up going to bed really early. On Monday, I tried to avoid screens as much as possible since the headache, while not as bad, was definitely still lingering in the background.

Being pregnant really makes you think twice about things you would normally just do - if you have a headache, you take a nurofen. If you want something heavy moved, you move it etc, and while I actually generally do still move heavy-ish things around (sometimes you want it moved and there's no one else around to move it!) I do try to wait until David is here to do the big things. 

But there are just so many little things you shouldn't do when you're pregnant - it makes you feel ever so slightly incapable I have to admit. Depending on others for silly little things like moving a box can get a little tiresome. Though, I suppose I should milk it while I can - I am enjoying not having to change the cat litter, let's be honest :)


New Pattern Release! The Felicity Dress...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Okay folks, here it is... The Felicity Dress pattern is here!

Felicity is the perfect, easy summer dress, with gentle gathers shaping the bodice and fun all-in-one yoke pockets adorning your choice of a simple gathered skirt or 3/4 circle skirt.

Finished with contrast (or matching) binding on the neckline and arm holes and with a lapped zip to tie everything together, Felicity is quick to make and flattering on all shapes (including baby bumps!).

The dress is designed to be stitched up in light weight woven fabrics like cotton voile and lawn, linen and polycotton, but if you're a little more advanced, rayon, crepe de chine and silk would all make for a gorgeous garment.

As with my previous two patterns, I've included the two extra sizes at the upper range, so you will get a pattern that ranges in size from an NZ size 6 (bust size 79cm or 31in) right up to an NZ size 24 (bust size 124.5cm or 49in).

Felicity is designed with adventurous beginners to intermediate seamstresses in mind, though if you are a real beginner, there are only two darts (on the back) to stitch in, so if you're feeling up to it, I would certainly encourage you. 

I'll be running an in-depth sew along for Felicity, with dates to be posted soon. It'll include things like selecting the right fabric, tutorials for inserting a lapped zip and attaching bias binding, as well as lots of other useful information on construction and pattern modifications you can make. 

Oops, I may have run out of fabric for my pocket piece, hence I had to cut it off grain - 
oh well, I won't tell if you won't *wink*

This idea for this dress was originally based on a vintage dress I made a few years ago but with major updates. It has undergone some big modifications to ensure it fits the modern seamstress including a complete re-draft of the bodice and adding completely new skirt patterns (with pockets! Because who doesn't love pockets?).

Felicity is a lovely, breezy little number to start of your spring sewing if you're in the Northern Hemisphere and something to add to your late summer wardrobe if you're down here in the south with me. Though personally, I'd be wearing it year round, turning it a cool weather appropriate dress with some tights and a cardi (but I doubt I'll fit into my samples come winter, so I've been making the most of them over the past few weeks). 

For a larger image of the fabric requirements and the sizing chart, please see image number 5 on the Etsy listing. I'll be back with sew along dates very soon.

So, what do you think?


Me Made Maternity - Week 25: The Conversation...

Monday, February 16, 2015

So, it went something like this...

"Hey Hun? Can we take bump photos before you leave your pregnant wife to go and play video games with your friend?"

David, looking up from having just finished the vacuuming, "Oh, yes, of course..."

Click, click, clickety-click

"Okay, I think we have enough Head to Toe's, can we do the close up's now?"

"Mmmm hmmm."

Pregnant lady turns to the side and puts hands over and under belly.

David "Oh, I forgot you were pregnant. It looks like you just shoved a pillow up there..."

That, my friends, ain't no pillow. No lovely, soft pillow that I know of could kick you from the inside, cause sleepless nights from heartburn, not let you sleep on your back, give you achy-restless legs...

I can, thankfully, control the heartburn since after a little experiment, I discovered that it's probably a teeny little bit too much sugar causing it (with my small passenger being the initial catalyst). But it's such a cruel cruel thing, especially when I just wanna eat all the chocolate...

Other than those few annoyances, the pregnancy seems to be going a long just fine. He's very very wriggly, and will let me know when I'm in a position that he doesn't approve of. We also have the name. We've actually had it for a while, and I have to be honest, I do have to stop myself blurting it out to people accidentally since David and I call him his name when we're alone.

The other conversation went something like this...

"Hey Hun! Did you know that the baby is now the size of a cabbage this week, and my uterus is the size of a soccer ball?'

David, staring at my stomach, "But....where does everything go?"

My point exactly!!


A Busy Week...

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Last week was a busy week, so much so that we completely forgot about taking photos for Me Made Maternity Week 24 - oops!

We went to a friends wedding on Saturday and I was still able to fit into one of my new dress pattern samples. It was really nice to be able to wear the dress somewhere before it got to the point that it was just too tight. The image above is a little sneaky peek of it...

I'm still working away on the final tweaks for the dress pattern, but I've had a few other projects that I've left sorely hanging that desperately need to be finished, then I can work out the last few details, and have the pattern ready for release on Wednesday next week. Woot!!

We also had to decommission our kitchen for the first half of last week due to getting new flooring in. There was dust everywhere and we had to cover everything with plastic drop cloths to try to keep the dust off our kitchen things. But my goodness, what a transformation! It really does look amazing. We also sanded and varnished the little built in wooden shelf and the window frames in there and after nearly a year, the kitchen is finally coming together. A new housey-post is due soon I think - I feel like we're finally moving in, after, oh, you know, only a year...

And paper pattern-wise? Well, I've just started the tentative first steps towards this wee goal last week too. It involves new a logo and blog branding - watch this space (er, blog...).


Me Made Maternity: Week 23 - But Where do your insides go?

Monday, February 2, 2015

I can't quite seem to find the words today. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my insides are slowly being pushed out of the way for an ever expanding baby. I've noticed this past week that I can't eat the usual amount of food I normally would at each meal due to my stomach being slowly evicted of more and more space. This leads to a really full stomach much sooner AND I find it harder to breath as my fuller sooner-than-usual stomach needs somewhere to go, so it in turn squishes my lungs out of the way.

Sort of reminds me of a kid's tune "There were lots of (important) organs in the body and the little baby said, roll over, roll over..." or something like that.

Having to determinedly breathe my way through 2 pieces of toast (or a bowl of cereal and yoghurt) and a small coffee each morning, is not my usual, relaxing, breakfast routine. And it's not exactly the biggest breakfast ever - especially when you'd actually prefer a large cup of coffee...

And yes, having smaller meals at a more regular interval sounds like a great idea in theory. But in practice, when you have pregnant-lady appetite, even after you've breathed your way through breakfast and are full to exploding and pretty much can't breathe any more, you still feel the never ending need eat MOAR!

Quite the turn around from the first trimester, I must admit. And I still have roughly 17 weeks of expanding left to do (yikes, when you look at it that way.... man the panic stations please!!).

This week I am wearing my trusty denim-bought-from-Paris Cressida skirt. It still fits. It might be straining slightly at the waist band, but by golly, it still fits. And if you were worried about the inseam-pockets gaping on the pattern, I did design the curve at the waist very carefully and specifically not to no do that, but also, photographic proof that a pregnant lady can wear it and still not have gaping pockets.

Just in case you were wondering :)

Right, where are the snacks...


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