Saturday, August 13, 2016

Black and white colorblocked top

You guys I swear this is a different top from the last one I posted. Despite the fact that they look a little bit the same, they are TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

I drafted this top loosely using the same raglan tee pattern, creating a wide neckline, wide armhole trim that swoops up to the shoulders and continues down the sides in front and back, and facings for all. The fabric was all found in my stash--I'm trying to burn through some of the excess. The patterned fabric is a lightweight cotton--voile or quilting, I'm not awesome enough to tell. The sides are actually very dark navy chambray left over from a dress I made this summer...not yet blogged.

I'm a bit annoyed that this looks so like the other top, except it doesn't fit as well, since it was so much more work.  I mean, facings, really.

And it's a bit 1980's maternity in this shot, no?

Ah well, the quest to crank out lots of sleeveless tops (a big hole in my wardrobe I've discovered this scorching summer), continues.

Friends, what are you working on? And has anyone ever really been happy with a quilting cotton garment?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Upcycled Plaid-and-Black Raglan

When a very old circle skirt with a plaid lining, and a black nursing tank that's no longer needed, love each other very very much, they have a raglan tee baby!

Here's the skirt, worn lining-side out which is how I generally wore it back in high school when I discovered this gem at a thrift shop. I used to pass it back and forth with a girlfriend (please don't be mad I cut it up, Emily!). It's no longer my style and I've been keeping it in a drawer for over 10 years, unable to part with it.

Upon close inspection, the plaid cotton turned out to be covered in a smattering of subtle stains, as if it lost a fight with a cup of tea. It became clear that I wouldn't have a big enough continuous piece for a top made entirely of this fabric. Enter, a plain black nursing tank, obviously no longer needed.

A quick pinterest search revealed two possible styles for a print and plain fabric sleeveless top:

(Both appear to be from stitch fix)

I chose the latter for my inspiration as I loved the shape that the print made, square on top with the semi-circle below.  I used my Emmeline pattern from The Little Tailoress for the raglan shape, heavily modifying the pattern. I shortened the sleeves and was able to cut the sleeve pieces on the hem of the tank so I didn't have to hem them (win!). I lengthened and slimmed the somewhat boxy shape of the Emmeline, and obviously added the black cutout to the front bodice. 

I was pretty nervous making this top, mostly because I had no idea how to sew something with both knit and woven fabrics. I ended up with a strange combination of straight and zigzag stitching, and finished the raw edges of the plaid with another row of zigzags. I dug out the fabrics last week and let them sit while I pinned and pondered what might work. I am so thrilled with the result!

Friends, have you upcycled old favorites?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Clothesline Baskets!

You may have noticed (or, you know, maybe not) a brief 5-month interlude between posts.  Life, you know, plus I wasn't really sure anyone was listening. I was informed by a two close friends this weekend that they are silent fans, and they encouraged me to get back on the keyboard.  The comment button, friends, is not just for decoration.

Anyhow, CLOTHESLINE BASKETS have been popping up on my pinterest feed and let me tell you I am glad I jumped in! They are as fun and satisfying as you might think.  I've made two for our living room and one, at Soph's request, for her room...

This first one I made is my favorite of the batch, because nautical.

These babies really are dead easy: sew zigzag in a circle until you get the size you desire then turn up to make a 90 degree angle. The bobbin thread becomes the color you see on the outside, though I've also seen these dip-dyed, dyed in patches before sewing, and hand-painted, all of which looks gloriously fun!

Immediately upon completion of my first  basket, Sophie demanded that I make one for her room. 

The size here was determined by the remaining line I had from the skein I used for the blue basket--you can't really join new clothesline, so you're limited by what you have in a continuous length.

I experimented with the handle here, molding it up instead of leaving a space and threading a separate handle through like I did with the first one.  I like this look but it's difficult to end it without drawing attention to the awkward end of the cord just stopping (you can see where it ends in the first picture of Soph cutting the thread, right below the handle).  Of course a leather handle sewn onto the outside would be the super sexy way to go, but lets not get ahead of ourselves here...

Finally this last basket, a bit of an ugly duckling.  I'm not sure what it is that makes this one so...lumpy? I tried to go bigger, and perhaps that's just not an option, or maybe there is a mysterious method to holding clothesline tension. Ah well, it holds things and used up bobbin thread, so I'm not fussed.

And oh yeah, the home for these baskets?  Jon made some built-ins. From scratch. It's kind of a big deal.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Albion Muslin

Friends, I am so excited to dive into another ambitious project! I was totes jelly when I finished Jon's quilted wool vest last fall, and I set my sights on a winter coat for myself. I love Colette's Albion and I'm super pumped to play with it.

I made the smallest size for my muslin. I plan on using thick thinsulate for interfacing, plus a poly/wool lining, so I don't want it to be too fitted.  I think that the shoulders and chest fit nicely, but there may need to be a little extra room added to the hips.

For fabric, I hit up some swatches from Mood.  ALWAYS SWATCH, people! I got three "navy wool coating" fabrics that looked identical online and only one is really appropriate for the project:

While I had planned on navy, I threw the brown herringbone into the cart on a whim and now I think it might be the winner. The darker plaid on the right will be the lining.

And now, some more pictures of the muslin. Because I know you can't get enough of me looking like a sexy* evil scientist...


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Green Sweater Fail

Friends, you know I like to post the fails right along with the successes.  This is another instance of right-pattern-wrong-fabric. After the too-thin leggings and the too-pilly sweatshirt, I feel like I'm on a roll and it's not a good one.  All from one big sale-order from'll teach me! 

 This emerald stuff was meant to be a "sweater knit" but it turned out to be thin, slinky, see-through rayon.  I feel like every time I order a sweater knit it ends up being way too thin.  Mama is cold! Mama wants sweaters!  Guess I'd better get to knitting...

Anyhow, I am happy with the pattern and I think with the right fabric it would be a cute one...I modified my fave tee shirt pattern, going up a size and then adding a tighter wide band at the hips instead of a hem, and adding the keyhole back.

There were also plans for bands instead of hems at the sleeves, but the act of stitching them on stretched out the fabric so much the whole deal had to be cut off! The buttons you see on the sleeves are just there to disguise the fact that I tucked the fabric to hide the stretched gaping. Grr.

Why would you make a fabric that stretches so much it is destroyed by the act of sewing it?!  Darn you sewing gods! Darn you.

Friends, what do you sew when the weather gets cold??

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Daily Valentines for the Kids!

Friends, I am oddly geeked for v-day this year. 

The holiday that isn't a holiday, I was never one to celebrate Valentines, thinking it "forced" and "hallmark-ey".  Perhaps it's the children, or the old age, but I find myself excited about any reason to celebrate lately.

I decided to add a little love to every morning in February leading up to Valentine's, with a little love note taped to their doors each morning.  Jon and I sat down one evening and cranked them all out at once: white card stock cut into squares and stamped with hearts. 

The notes were surprisingly challenging, trying to avoid "you are pretty" and "you are smart"...and there aren't really 14 facets of a 1-year-old's personality that one can compliment, ya know? We ended up with lots of "we love reading books with you," "you are a thoughtful friend," "we love playing games with you," "you give great hugs". 

Slapped up on their door with wash tape (of course), these were a pretty quick and easy way to give some warm fuzzies to my little Valentines. 

The kids love them! Obviously it's more meaningful for Soph, Wesley just likes pulling them down and running around with them, but it's been really fun and I think we'll definitely repeat it next year. 

And it's been good for me to remember all the reasons they are awesome, these little bits of sunshine in this dreary December.

Friends, are you a Valentine's celebrator or a Valentine's hater?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Cozy Hoodie I Can't Stop Wearing

Friends, I heart this sweatshirt so hard, I'm gonna have to make about a hundred more!

A rub-off from my fave Athleta sweatshirt, it's got some great features, like this collar piece that goes inside the hood...

...and this crazy-flattering waistband piece, curved to be wider in the back, and seamed towards the front instead of lining up with the side seam.

The pattern needs some adjustments before I make it again--and I WILL be making it again. The cuffs, which are ribbed on the RTW garment, are too tight to push up my arms and so are already grubby, and the collar stand might be a wee bit tall.

I've worn this baby so much it's already stained and pilled (does anyone know a great source for sweatshirt fabric that won't pill?!).

This was a fun trip to Gym America, a local gymnastics studio that has tot play a few mornings a week.

Soph snuggled up with her buddy Natalie... too cute!

Oh yeah, and in case you're thinking my pics are too peaceful for a mom of two's what it really looks like when I try to take blog pics around here...Soph is trying to get her drawing in the picture, Wes is wandering around looking for lunch.  At a low point I may have yelled "No one is getting lunch until I get these pictures so stop whining and move!"  Super effective parenting, y'all.

Friends, are you sewing anything warm and snuggley this January??