Inspirited Mama Living and loving life to the fullest Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:53:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 61014950 Slim Fit Raglan SAL – The FrankenDress Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:50:09 +0000 The FrankenDress is a perfect example of having a vision for something, executing it, and realizing that it doesn’t work for you.

The Pinsperation:

I got the dress completely finished, with the drop-cold shoulder sleeves. And realized that I hate that look on my body. After mulling it over for a little bit, inspiration came in the form of one of my favorite retellings of King Arthur, Mists of Avalon.

I’ve spent years adoring the fashion in that movie and wishing people dressed like that these days. My solution for this dress was a simplified version of the sleeves on Anjelica Houston’s dress (blue one). So, the finished product:

The end result is that I am in LOVE with my new tunic dress. It’s flattering, comfortable, and fits my aesthetic perfectly. After wearing it yesterday, I did decide I’m going to put the same lace trim that’s on the bottom around the hem of the sleeves as well. But on to the construction!

As you can see at the bottom of the picture, the knit I am using for this is very seethrough. Rather than changing up the slips underneath I decided to line the dress. If you’re using a more opaque knit just ignore the lining, it’s not necessary for the construction of the dress. I will also show pictures of how I constructed the initial drop cold-shoulder.

Bodice Construction

(skip this step if doing an unlined version)
For my lining I cut out the regular slim fit raglan so that it would skim closer to the body and leave the lace knit on top to drape freely. Sew the front piece to the lining at the arm seams. The lining fabric that I used was a rayon knit from Nature’s Fabrics that was largely the same on the right and wrong side, but I decided to put wrong sides together. If you’re doing the drop cold-shoulder, put right sides together, sew the arm seams and turn the fabric inside out. Now you have a nicely finished seam.

For the unlined version the finishing comes after attaching the arm and for the Mists of Avalon sleeve it’s not necessary.

Apparently, my camera ate the photos I took of the next few steps. But we’re just sewing the two sides together. How we do that will change based on which sleeve we’re adding, so skip to the sleeve you want for more instructions!

Drop Cold Shoulder Sleeve Construction

Taking the regular SFR sleeve piece, fold down the pattern and cut a straight line. As for how far down you want to fold it, it depends on how much of a cold shoulder you’re looking for. Remember that you need at least some space above the bottom of the arm to attach the sleeve to the bodice. For mine, I went for roughly 3 inches.

I also went for a wider sleeve. Starting from the bottom of the armscythe point I drew a straight line to the bottom of the sleeve, rather than tapering in.

Press the top seam down and topstitch.

Now the sleeve is ready to use, and we’re going to insert it much the same way you’d insert the full sleeve piece if making a normal SFR. Attach the sleeve to the front and back of the garment.

For an unlined version, once the sleeve it attached, fold down the seam allowance of the cold shoulder part and top stitch down.

Once the sleeve is attached, sew the sides of the garment the same way you would normally for the SFR. For the lined version, sew the outer fabric first, then sew the lining. You do not want them attached at the side seam!

Cut out the neckband and sew onto the garment, making sure to leave space over both arms (remember on a normal raglan the sleeve forms part of the neck!) I clipped the neckband as shown, with right sides together (not folded). Then folded it over and top stitched the entire neck down near the bottom of the neck.

Mists of Avalon Sleeve

Cutting the sleeve in half, lay it out on your fabric as shown. Rather than having two seams, one for the cutouts and one under the arm, I decided to reverse the pattern so there was only the top seam.

More camera eaten photos, so I will describe what I did, sorry! Next time I will double/triple check my photos before moving on!

Once the sleeve is cut out, on the outer edges (what would have been the middle of the regular SFR sleeve – top and bottom in the photo above) fold over 1/4″ press, and another 1/4″ and press. Now top stitch.

For this version of the sleeve, the attachment is backwards. Sew the side seams of the bodice together first, making sure to sew the lining and outer fabric separately. Fold the sleeve in half and make a small notch at the half-way point. Align that notch to the side seam and clip the sleeve to the arm seam of the bodice.

Once attached, bring the top of the arm together and hand tack the front and back of the sleeve together (this makes it easier to attach the neckband. Now just attach the neckband as normal.

I tried the garment on at this point and with clips, marked where I wanted the cutouts to be. Then I hand sewed the sleeve for 1/2″ at each of those points.

And that’s the dress!

I apologize greatly for the lack of photos. If anything is unclear, please message me on Facebook or leave a comment here and I can try and sketch something up or explain it better (it always makes sense in my head, lol)

On Monday I’ll be showing the last hacked garment, the grommet hoodie!

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Slim Fit Raglan SAL – Men’s Hoodie Tue, 21 Mar 2017 22:51:27 +0000

I have a confession to make. The boho dress sleeves and I have had a misunderstanding. Overall the construction is sound, but I’m just not feeling the way it looks on me. I have a solution in mind, so I will be posting that. But in the meantime I have woe-fully not posted on this SAL because avoidance is next to godli- No, that’s not right. I’ve just been avoiding it. That’s what. So, that’s a thing. Anyway, in the meantime, let’s finish up the Men’s Hoodie.

Over on Kelly’s Blog she has done an amazing job of showcasing the construction of the SFR. So today I’ll just be touching on the hood and the kangaroo pocket.

The best time to do the pocket is before any of the assembly has been started. Don’t be like me on other projects and decide once it’s all finished and done, band and everything, that you want a pocket on it. Just… trust me, don’t do it. So, knowing that we want a pocket on it, mark the halfway point on the bottom of your front piece, and on the pocket.

Now we’re gonna hem the pocket. For this, I love hem tape. I think I use Dritz, I forget. It’s wash away tape I got on Amazon and I love it. I put the tape on the hoodie pocket, then top stitch it down.

Once that’s done, it’s back to the hemtape for the top seam. Press 1/4″ fold, and apply hemtape to the seam part shown here:

That will hold the top of the pocket onto the garment. Using the bottom notches at the midpoint as a guide, place the pocket onto the front of the shirt and clip the bottom seam.

Sew the top down with a topstitch of your choice, then baste the bottom to keep it in place. When the band is put on the hoodie the bottom of the pocket will be included in that seam, holding it down.

Now for the hoodie! Personally, I really like lined hoodies. I like the weight of it, and the chance to use two different fabrics for an added pop. Sew the lining and hood separately, then, right sides together, sew them together. It’s important to note here, make sure you’re not using the bottom of the hood (that attaches to the shirt). I can’t tell you how many times I have done that. It’s a lot.

Grade that seam you just sewed. By that I mean, cut the seam allowance of the lining fabric close to the stitch line, with the hood fabric seam allowance being left longer. This helps the lining fabric nestle inside and the hood fabric to roll over it a little bit, giving a nicely finished look to the garment.

Turn inside out so your right sides are showing now and press, clip and topstitch if desired.

I attached the hood by putting right sides together, sewing, then top stitching the seam allowance down. This matches the top stitching done along the raglan sleeves as well and gives it a nice look. Then, just attach the band, and voila! Hoodie! Apologies for the lack of model showing the finished garment, the recipient is in the military 🙂

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Slim Fit Raglan SAL – Pattern Mashing Thu, 16 Mar 2017 19:17:42 +0000

Welcome to my first official sew along post! Here’s a quick list of all the previous posts, so you can get caught up.

Kelly will be showcasing the overall construction, going into amazing detail that will help you produce a finished garment you can be super proud of. Meanwhile, I’ll be using the Raglan Add-on Pack (good for the Slim Rit and Regular Raglans), and hacking and mashing patterns and generally flying by the seat of my pants. The two patterns I plan to mash with the Raglan are the Free Spirit Tank, and the Men’s Henley. But the methods I’ll be showing will work with any combination of patterns and I hope you’ll be inspired to create your own unique looks!

The Stitch Hoodie – Men’s Henley / Relaxed Raglan

Not going to lie, I’m completely cheating here. I want to create a men’s hoodie with raglan style sleeves, but I don’t own such a pattern. Now, I know that there are lots of such patterns out there, I just down own one, and at the moment I don’t want to buy one. I have these two though, and like them both. So… pattern mashing! I’ll be taking the upper bodice/sleeves from the Relaxed Raglan and adding it to the lower body of the Men’s Henley.

Personally, I keep my paper patterns as master sheets and use dollar store tracing paper to trace out the pattern sizes I need. This makes grading patterns easy (and let’s face it, very few people fit just one size), as well as hacking. Because I can always refer back to the unaltered master sheet.

The Franken Dress – Free Spirit Tank/Slim-Fit Raglan + Cold Shoulder, Flared Sleeves + Boundless construction

My Pinsperation

I’ve spent a fair bit of time looking through the line drawings of the P4P patterns. Each one comes with several options and they’re designed to work together. Now, when I see a RTW (ready to wear aka store-bought) garment, a lot of the times I can break the construction apart in my head and assign it to one of the many P4P patterns in my arsenal. So, let’s take a look at the inspiration photo.

First thing I notice is the raglan sleeves. Yes, they’re missing a chunk out of them, but the sleeve connects to the neckband, so I know I’ll be going raglan. If I wanted to create a more exact replica of this shirt, I’d probably stick with the Relaxed Raglan, slashing and spreading the pattern out and then gathering it a little to get that draped look. But, I know for me and my shape, it’ll wind up looking like a tent, which is not the silhouette I want. Enter the Free Spirit Tank. It has the loose, comfortable drape around the stomach and a bit of definition in the waist and fitting across the bust. Lastly, the fabric I want to use for this garment is see-through. I could just make it as is, pairing it with long tanks underneath it, but I kind of want it to be a complete piece. So I’ll be lining it in a similar way to the Boundless (another dress from P4P). ** You don’t need the Boundless dress for this mash, it simply gave me an idea for the construction.

The bottom line with replicating things you find pictures of is to familiarize yourself with the patterns that are out there. As I mentioned, I like the line drawings for this because it’s the simplest version. It lets me see the shape, the basic construction, etc without fit and fabric getting in the way. P4P is my favorite pattern line for doing this, because each of their patterns has so many variations it’s rare I can’t find a base for what.

Onto the Mashing!

Alright, first things first. This is my very first sew along, and I probably didn’t take as many pictures of the process as I should have, lol. So I apologize in advance. If you have any questions at all about these mashes, or other related issues with the patterns, please don’t hesitate to drop a comment on this post or reach out to me on Facebook. Plus, sometimes it was difficult to take photos as I want to be respectful of P4P and Judy and not post pics of whole pattern pieces, so forgive me <3

Starting with the Men’s Henley, I traced the front and back pieces. When it came to the armscythe, I used dots to mark on the paper where the line was, for reference, but didn’t want to confuse it later when I was cutting it out. Then I overlaid the pieces onto the Slim Fit Raglan (SFR) pattern. I like to use the bottom of the armscythe to match things up when doing mashes like this, because it leaves the bodice fitting the way I want, and lets me alter the sleeve and neckline as I see fit.

Using my friend’s measurements I determined which SFR he would fit into. I placed the traced pattern over the master sheet, and drew in the arms and neck. Repeat for the front and back.

I’d completely forgotten to take a picture of this step (genius I know). So I am showing the already cut out pattern piece on top of the master sheet here. (forgive the spots where the Sharpie has bled through the tracing paper onto the pattern). See how the sleeve cut line matches up, but the pattern drops straight down instead of curving in like the SFR does.

Now we trace the sleeve pattern for the corresponding size raglan. The rest of the construction for the hoodie will be the same as sewing the SFR (slim fit raglan), and I’ll be showing in a later blog how I like to do kangaroo pockets and attach the hood.

We’re going to use pretty much the same technique to combine the SFR with the FST (free spirit tank) and this time I remembered to take a picture so hopefully that will clear things up a bit. However this time I started with the SFR, tracing out the armscythes and using dots to show where the bodice is. Overlaying that onto the FST I drew in the rest of the pattern.

Forgive the purple pattern, it was the only paper I had when I printed out the FST pattern.

We’ll cover the sleeves in a separate post as they aren’t so much mashed as hacked!

That’s it for the first day of our hacking and mashing. Hopefully I explained it alright, as I said it’s my first time guest-hosting a Sew Along! Please drop any questions into the comments, email me or poke me on Facebook and I’ll help as much as I can 😀

Watch for Kelly’s post tomorrow covering how to do the neckline triangle patch and elbow patches! And then on the 18th I’ll be showing the sleeves and construction for the Frankendress!

Slim Fit Raglan Sew Along – And the Winner Is… Mon, 06 Mar 2017 21:32:28 +0000 Congratulations Jan Crawford!

Thank you so much everyone who entered, I’m really excited to see the beautiful creations we’re going to make! The Sew Along starts on March 15, so there’s still time to get the pattern and wash that fabric. If you have any questions, feel free to ask here on my blog, or over on Kelly’s as well.

Save The Date – A Slim Fit Raglan Sew-Along Tue, 21 Feb 2017 05:38:17 +0000 Last summer, the lovely Kelly Hogaboom, code named the Vegan Tailor introduced me to sewing with knits through her Jalie Swimsuit SAL. She was so very kind, responding to my half a bajillion questions, even taking the time to Skype with me about all sorts of projects. We’ve since bonded over our love of bespoke clothing. And I do believe it was she who introduced me to one of the loves of my life, Patterns 4 Pirates. Which brings us to March’s endeavor:

When Kelly told me she was looking for someone to host the Slim Fit Raglan Sew Along with her I was ALL over it. What better way to celebrate my birthday month than with a sew-along from one of my favorite pattern companies? If you’d like to join us and get all the email updates, click on over to the Save the Date post on Kelly’s website.

Patterns 4 Pirates (affectionately known as P4P) makes up most of wardrobe these days and a good chunk of my daughter’s. Not only do the patterns include a range of sizes from XXS to 3XL, but they are showcased on all the different sizes. For that simple reason alone I am a huge fangirl. I also love the versatility of their patterns. Each one comes with a few different options when making it up, allowing for a variety of garments.

Kelly plans to showcase the regular Slim Fit Raglan and her post has all the details and basics about P4P, so I won’t re-invent the wheel. Meanwhile, I’m going to be using the add-on pack, as well as some pattern mashing to create a few garments based on “pinspirations”. My plan is three shirts:

  • a man’s hoodie – made from French Terry. Raglan sleeves mashed with the Men’s Henley
  • basic hoodie – French Terry and lace sleeves with a lowered neck placket that laces up through some grommets
  • a hacked boho tunic dress – cold shoulder/flared sleeves, mashed with the lower part of the Free Spirit Tank

Giveaway Closed

My goal is to show just how awesome the P4P patterns are, and encourage more people to hack and mash to create truly original garments. To help with that, I want to host a giveaway to kick things off! The winner will receive a gift card for $9 (enough to purchase the featured pattern). All you have to do to enter is comment on this post with a picture of the fabric* you’d like to turn into a Slim Fit Raglan before March 1st. I’ll pick a winner on my birthday, March 6. Good luck!

*If you don’t have a picture of the fabric, a simple comment will do, but I doooo love to see the pretties!

Next Up: Pattern Mashing

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Lemon Cream Chicken Tue, 06 Sep 2016 04:32:22 +0000 IMG_20160904_175132

I think this recipe is going to quickly become a family favorite. I love it, because it’s one pot and super simple. Plus, it’s tasty, full of flavor.

Lemon Cream Chicken
  1. Melt butter in an ovenproof skillet and sear chicken 2-3 min on each side. Set chicken aside.
  2. In the same skillet, add the flour and whisk until thick.
  3. Add the garlic, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn. If using dried thyme, add it now, warming it up. Stir in broth, yoghurt, lemon juice.
  4. Bring to a boil, add spinach then reduce heat to simmer for 10 min.
  5. Return chicken to the skillet, top with parmesan.
  6. Cook in a 400F oven for 25 min.
  7. Serve over rice.
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Yoghurt Wed, 06 Jul 2016 19:00:08 +0000 IMG_20160326_200714

A little while ago I posted my recipe for granola and all the reasons I prefer something else for breakfast over cereal. Basically it comes down to health and bang for your buck. Most cereals are not very filling. Whereas a bowl of yoghurt and granola will keep you going for while. Personally, I make my yoghurt unsweetened. We have lots of jam preserves so people can flavor as they wish. And I’ve been enjoying experimenting all the ways I can use it. Everything from muffins to mixing it up with some balsamic and sundried tomatoes as a “mayo” for a steak sandwich. I’ve also used it as a cream for butter chicken.

The idea of making yoghurt used to intimidate me quite a bit. Any time you’re talking about heating and semi-fermenting milk products, well… it can get scary. What we’re doing is trying to grow good bacteria. But of course you can’t just tell the bacteria that you only want the good ones to grow. So, it made me nervous for a while. What I have come to discover is that yoghurt is actually fairly forgiving. I’ve accidentally heated it to 200F, even 210Fish and quickly stirred it down, lowered the heat and it still set properly. It can incubate for 5 hours, it can incubate for 9. I’ve left it going all night and I’m sure delayed putting it into the fridge for a bit. The measurements I use are rough estimates. And it always seems to turn out just fine!

Cost-wise, homemade is a lot cheaper than store bought. I use whole milk, which here in Canada is about $5/gallon. And use about 1/2 gallon to make roughly 7 cups of yoghurt. A good quality brand at my local store is about $10+ for the same amount. Plus you have the benefit of homemade, which is worth a lot in my opinion. The time investment isn’t too bad, although you will want to be near the stove as it heats and holds to maintain the temperature. The more I’ve been making it the more I’m able to set my stove exactly right and it requires less and less fiddling to keep it in that 170-180F sweet spot. Nowadays I’ve gotten it down where I can make a batch of yoghurt and a batch of granola at the same time. Sometimes if I’m feeling really ambitious I can add in some bread as well!

There are methods to make it that don’t involve a yoghurt maker, but I’ve never tried them. This method is what I use with my Euro Cuisine incubator, and I have to say, I -love- it.


It came with little jars, which I do sometimes use. But more often lately I make it in a large pyrex. I prefer quite thick yoghurt (Greek style), and so after incubating I pour through a muslin/cheesecloth to drain some of the whey before storing in a hermetic jar in the fridge. That step is extra, you can make perfectly good tasty yoghurt without it) and just something I personally prefer.

Another method regarding thick yoghurt, more in the commercial style, involves letting the yoghurt simmer at 170-180 for 20-30 minutes. There are many other methods to increase the thickness of the finished product, but having tried several of them, it’s the only one that consistently works for me. Again, this step isn’t entirely necessary and is just something that I personally do because that’s how I like it!

The longer you let it incubate for (mine has a little timer dial on the front) the more tart and thick it will be. Also, the less lactose the yoghurt will contain. As someone who is lactose intolerant, I tend to go for quite long incubation times, 8-9 hrs typically. But it can vary person to person, to play around with how tart and thick you like yours.

Regarding the milk and starter yoghurt:

There’s a lot of debate about raw vs pasteurized, etc that I won’t get into here. Don’t use ULTRA High Pasteurized (UHP) because you won’t have quite the same results. It’s been heated so high already that the process won’t work. The brand of milk I use is Dairyland and I haven’t had a problem with it. But just check your labels, sometimes it’s called UHT (ultra high temp).

As for the starter yoghurt. We use it to give the milk an inoculation of good/healthy bacteria so it cultures the way we want. You can lose leftover yoghurt from a previous batch as the starter, or buy a small amount of commercially prepared. Just make sure it is unsweetened/unflavored, and contains live bacteria cultures. Astro Balkan style is my personal favorite.

Servings7 cups
  • 1/2gallon whole milkNOT Ultra High Pasteurized
  • 1/2C yoghurt(unsweetened and unflavored) w/ "live bacteria/cultures"
  1. In a large pot (a bit larger than you need because high temp milk can foam up quite a bit) heat the milk on medium, stirring occasionally to 170-180F.
  2. Hold the milk at 170-180F for 20-30 minutes for a thicker result.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to 110F.
  4. In a small bowl (I use a liquid measuring cup), whisk together 1/2 C yoghurt with ~1C of the heated milk. Pour back into pot and whisk through.
  5. ** If desired, strain the yoghurt carefully using a fine mesh sieve and cheesecloth to drain off some of the whey. Leave for 15-30 minutes.
  6. Pour into small jars, or a large glass bowl and put into the yoghurt maker for 5-9 hours. Chill 2 hours before serving.
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Banana Yoghurt Muffins Wed, 06 Jul 2016 03:00:09 +0000 IMG_20160611_190820


We go through bananas in this house like crazy. I can buy 20 in a week, and by Friday evening when I go to make a smoothie, they will all be gone. So if I want to make banana anything, I usually have to buy and hide some specifically for that purpose! But recipes like this are a great way to use up leftover bananas that have gone a little too soft to eat. Overripe bananas add a bit of extra flavor, so letting them go a bit brown is definitely worth it.

This recipe is pretty adaptable. Try substituting the chocolate chips for something less sweet such as nuts, blueberries, or cranberries! Store in an airtight container, or wrap tightly and freeze.

Banana Yoghurt Muffins
Recipe adapted from The Homemade Kitchen by Alana Chernila
Servings18 cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Mix oil, honey and eggs in a bowl. In a separate bowl mash the bananas and add vanilla. Combine the two.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the large ingredients. Add the wet mixture and fold carefully, do not overmix.
  4. Scoop into muffin cups (I use about 1/3C each) and bake until a toothpick or knife comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Roughly 30-40 minutes.
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{meal plan} May 9-15 Tue, 17 May 2016 00:46:54 +0000 Except for Monday, this week was entirely new recipes for me. After being sort of lazy last week (oops) I was wanting to branch out again into the wide world of new recipes. This week I also jumped headfirst into the world of fermented sodas. What’s this you say? If it turns out I’ll be posting about it. For now, here’s a little sneak peak…



stuffed chicken and steak with twice baked potatoes



smoked turkey and apple panini with broccoli soup



beef noodle bowl



mom’s house


beef and broccoli



pizza rolls



leftovers <3

Like the recipes? Most photos are clickable and will take you to the corresponding page! Some of them are not recipes created by me, so will take you to a different site. I’m not affiliated with these sites in any way, I just like their food!

Pizza Rolls Tue, 17 May 2016 00:44:26 +0000 IMG_20160516_160632

All hail the might egg roll wrapper. Seriously. Where has this been my whole life?? I made these for dinner on Saturday and have honestly been daydreaming about all the other things I could put inside those little crunchy sheets. These ones were so quick and easy, and a delicious dinner/snack to nom on after the virtual race I ran.

What’s a virtual race you ask? You sign up, usually get some swag sent in the mail, and commit to running the allotted distance within a certain time frame. This particular race was the Zombies, Run spring race. It is not, as my mom thought, a video game where you go running, lmao! The race date for it was actually back at the end of April, but I was recovering from a nasty bout with viral fatigue syndrome back then that had seen me sleeping more hours of the day than waking. Between that and the car accident, it took a while to get back on track!

photo of a shirt that reads: by the order of the UK emergency government you are commanded to provide the wearer with all the necessary military support. biohazard symbol. if you can read this text the wearer is still human

Back to the food, these were delicious, served with a side of warmed marinara sauce. You could fill them with all sorts of pizza toppings, and I bet they’d freeze REALLY well. Then you could just pop them, frozen, into the oven or toaster oven and voila, tasty noms! For this version you want egg roll wrappers, not wonton, but as an appetizer, the little wonton wrappers would be perfect for bite sized deliciousness.

Pizza Rolls
The recipe was inspired by an idea over at emily bites.
  1. Take the egg roll wrapper and place the pepperoni and mozza in the center.
  2. Fold one corner in, then the sides, and roll closed, using a bit of water to seal.
  3. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes.
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