Author: Christina B

FO Friday: Plantain Tee

white woman facing camera in magenta tshirt and jeans

Pattern: Plantain Tee from Deer and Doe

Fabric: Lightweight jersey in magenta

Size: 50

Started: August 10, 2019

Completed: August 10, 2019

white woman facing the camera in magenta tshirt and jeans

This summer I realized that one think I was lacking as a sewist was a go-to t-shirt pattern. I wanted something to allow me to quickly whip up some basic tops. I was drawn to the scoop neckline and slightly flared shape of the plantain tee and decided to sew one up!

white woman at 3/4 angle wearing magenta tee and jeans

Just as I hoped, you can make one of these tees in a few hours and it’s perfect to toss on with jeans or leggings. I made this version as a straight size 50 with no mods, and I will definitely want to make some changes to my next one. I’m planning to go down a size, and also narrow the shoulders so the hit me at the right place – you can see in the photos that they’re a bit dropped. I would also shorten the sleeves an inch, as I think that would be a better proportion for me.

white woman facing away from the camera in a magenta tee and jeans

It is finally starting to cool off here, so I am planning to make a couple long sleeve versions this fall. I’m hoping that this will become my go-to but I am thinking I might try some others. Do you have a favorite t-shirt pattern I should try?

FO Friday: Swing-y Tank

a white woman in a knitted blue tank faces the camera

Pattern: Tarmac Tank by Anna Maltz from Pom Pom Quarterly Issue Summer 2018

Yarn: YOTH Best Friend in Oyster (trim color) and Mint.

Needles: US2 (2.75mm)

Size: 3 (37 3/4″ bust)

Ravelry Link: here

Started: September 10, 2018

Completed: September 10, 2019

white woman in blue knitted tank leaning against a wall with her back to the camera

In my continued quest to expand my warm weather me-made wardrobe, I made this swing-y tank out of a cotton/wool blend. It’s so pleasant to toss on in the worst of the heat and still feels cute. If you’re going to sweat on your clothes, natural fibers make it a more comfortable experience.

a white woman in a blue knitted tank with her side to the camera

My one complaint about the pattern is that the armholes are much too big. I had read this in the project notes on Ravelry, but entirely forgot to compensate for it when I was knitting. Since taking these photos I have been wearing it with a cute bralette like my Josephine Swing Top and I am finding I like that look better. The oversized armholes definitely are not going to keep me from wearing this top a ton!

white woman in a blue knitted tank with her back to her camera and her face turned towards it, too

I really like how the stripes worked out. I’m not sure how well it reads in the pictures, but this tank is knit from a pale blue grey and a mint-y blue in single row stripes. I like how it reads as solid-colored from a distance and the colorwork is only visible once you get nearer.

Are you a fan of colorwork with colorways of similar values? Let me know!

FO Friday: Josephine Swing Top

a white woman in a blue lacy bra and a white woven tank top with pale yellow and neon pink dots on it from behind with her face turned to the camera

Pattern: Josephine Swing Top from Yarn Exploder

Fabric: Nani Iro double gauze in Neon Meadow in the Peach colorway

Size: M/L

Started: August 8, 2019

Completed: August 9, 2019

a white woman in a blue lacy bra and a white woven tank top with pale yellow and neon pink dots on it facing the camera

A wonderful thing that has happened for my sewing life this year is that my very talented best friend, Jacki Schaefer, has started designing sewing patterns. Between our shared climates, lifestyles, and tastes, it means that I have access to a great new source of patterns that are right up my alley.

a white woman in a blue lacy bra and a white woven tank top with pale yellow and neon pink dots on it from the side looking at the camera

A flowy tank in double gauze fills the Texas wardrobe need for items to wear when it’s too hot for clothes. I have to leave the house with something on, and this top is cool and breezy in a way that doesn’t add to my summer discomfort. I like to style it leaning into the fact that my bra will be visible by wearing a pretty bralette I’m happy to show off.

a white woman in a blue lacy bra and a white woven tank top with pale yellow and neon pink dots on it with her back to the camera

The sewing of this top was incredibly easy, save for a nightmare of my own making. I zipped through the two side seams and the hem and wanted to finish my delicate double gauze neck and armholes with coordinating bias binding. My first run I somehow managed to make bias tape that wasn’t cut on the bias. My next run I decided to make 1/2″ bias tape so it wouldn’t make the straps much narrower. This was a mistake. Once your 1/2″ bias tape is double folded each edge is 1/8″ and that is not a fun seam allowance in the fabric. I ended up having to use Wonder Clips to hold everything in place and continually tuck bits of fabric under with my seam ripper tip just before sewing. I still have a bunch of places where the edge wasn’t caught and the binding is sticking up. Next time I think I will double the width of the straps so that I can use a thicker bias tape and finish my edges more comfortably.

Oh, and I decided to be proactive and make a bunch of that too skinny bias tape so I’d have it on hand for future projects. So I have about 20 yards of it hanging out I need to find a different use for. Any suggestions?

FO Friday: Marie-Josée Undies

Two pairs of underwear folded in half on a wooden background.

Pattern: Marie-Josée Underwear by Jalie Patterns

Fabric: Leftovers from my stash. The blue is from an Ebony tee and is more structured, the green is much drapier, maybe a bamboo blend?

Size: Z

Started: September 4, 2019

Completed: September 4, 2019

the lower torso and upper legs of a white woman in green underwear.

Making my own lingerie has always felt like a big sewing milestone, and I was pushed to cross it by the recent release of the Jalie Marie-Josée underwear. What set this pair apart? They come with an optional pocket for an ostomy bag. I have an ileostomy and was excited to see a pattern come out designed for my body. I have tried commercial ostomy underwear and been disappointed, so I was hopeful that making my own would be more satisfying. Happily these have worked out beautifully for me!

Inside out blue underwear showing pocket for ostomy bag.

The pocket sits at the front of the undies and is cut so that it can accommodate a bag on either side of your torso, and while I’ve only tried it with my bag mostly straight up and down, it feels like it would easily fit a bag at 45 degrees for those that wear it that way. The pattern suggests doing the pocket piece in power mesh, but I chose to use fabric instead because I didn’t want to feel my bag against my skin through the mesh. I was thrilled that once they were one they really stayed put over my ostomy appliance.

Torso and upper legs of white woman in blue underwear with ostomy bag hanging out over undies.

I really like these for wearing under dresses. It helps smooth things out and hold the bag in place so it doesn’t flop around as I move. It’s much more comfortable that simply tucking the bag into my underwear against my skin.

The bum and upper legs of a white woman in blue undearwear.

I am planing on seeing how many more pairs I can knock out from my knit scraps, a drawerful of these undies is definitely in my future! If any ostomates have questions about fit, my flange size, etc. please do reach out as I am happy to share!

FO Friday: Giovanni’s Quilt

baby quilt - a muted rainbow with white strips between the colors

Pattern: 2″ x 1/2″ stripes

Fabric: some shot cotton and plain cotton from my stash

Size: baby (I forgot to measure before wrapping it)

Started: May 18, 2019

Completed: August 4, 2019

back of baby quilt - navy blue fabric with various-sized white polka dots

I am not great at baby presents. I want to give every baby in my life a handmade gift, but in reality deadline crafting makes me feel sweaty and nervous and so I generally opt for purchasing something instead. But on a night I was hanging out with a very pregnant friend I got a text from another friend saying she had found the quilt I made for her son years ago and they still loved it. Feeling inspired, I decided to make a similar quilt.

baby quilt hanging over a chain link fence - close up of the white free-motion quilting on the rainbow stripes.

I love this simple pattern – make a rainbow out of show cotton strips and stripe it with white of a different width in between. Then once the top is finished I lop off about 1/3, flip it around so the rainbow goes the other direction, and stitch together. It’s simple but with some fun visual interest. I decided to go for some pretty close together free-motion quilting, which is why it took so long to get this tiny quilt finished. It always felt arduous to set up to work on it. I love how it turned out and am so happy to give it to the mama (and her 3 month old).

corner of baby quilt - close up of free motion quilting and binding that has a corner made up of the backing fabric.

My favorite part of the quilt is this happy accident. I made what I thought was enough binding, but wound up a few inches short at the end. So I tossed in a bit of the backing fabric and love how it adds to the overall quilt.

Are you a big baby gift crafter? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Why Do We Fight Ease?

I am lucky enough to know many talented knitwear designers, as well as many talented knitters. And for the most part the only thing that separates those groups is that one publishes patterns and the other doesn’t. But there is one topic that I have found these two groups tend to treat differently – garment ease.

What is ease? Ease is the difference in size between the finished object and the person wearing it, generally measured at the bust. So positive ease means the garment is larger than the person’s bust, no ease means they’re the same size, and negative ease means the garment is smaller.

Generally, I see designers embracing ease. They publish patterns with many inches of positive ease and encourage their customers to knit with the designed fit. And I see so many knitters nervous about following the suggested ease. They feel like they’ll drown in an oversized garment and knit smaller sizes they feel comfortable with.

I think many knitters are uncomfortable with ease because they think a larger garment will make them look fat. They find it scary to make a garment as big as an oversized one. First of all, this belief is false and oversized garments do not automatically make a person look larger. And second of all, so what if they do? Why is it so important to signal thinness?

The other thing I think knitters who reject ease end up rejecting is comfort. Garments with more ease are literally easier to move in. The word “oversized” immediately conjures images of sweats, worn while lounging. Don’t we all deserve, and need, more comfort in our lives? It is such an act of self-care to spend time crafting something that will bring you comfort each time you wear it.

There are many wonderful styles of clothing in the world, and I want more of us to consider positive ease as part of our sartorial playbook. It can look put together and fashionable just as much as close-fitting clothing – that comes down to proportions and fit in specific areas like the shoulders. I want us to worry less about looking fat in our clothes and focus more on how they make us feel. I want us to clothe ourselves so we can move freely and feel enveloped in comfort. I want us to be at ease.

FO Friday: Cat Tank

Blonde girl in black tank top with white cat faces on it has her back to the camera and her face turned to it smiling.

Pattern: based on bodice from Building Block Dress by Oliver + S

Fabric: Cat-finity by Alexander Henry

Size: 8

Started: May 29, 2019

Completed: May 29, 2019

Blonde girl in black tank top with white cat faces stands in front of white tiled wall with arms stretched out.

“Mama, will you teach me how to sew?” are words I have been dreaming of hearing my daughter utter. So when she actually said them earlier this summer I leapt at the opportunity to make something together! I had earmarked this cat fabric for her as soon as I bought it, as she is deeply obsessed with our pet cats. After I showed it to her she drew a simple tank as what she wanted to make, and within a couple hours we had a finished product!

Blonde girl in black tank top with white cat faces stands sideways to the camera and grins.

I used the bodice in her size from the Oliver + S Building Block Dress book as my base. Once that was traced I flared the bottom to be as wide as I could get from my >1 yard cut of fabric, as well as lowering the neckline based on my preferences. I loved centering the start of the cat spiral on the front and while it isn’t what I would have planned, I think it looks cool to have all the big cat faces on her back. Once the fabric was cut we sewed together 😍 – my daughter controlled the pedal and we pushed the fabric through together. Once we had sewed the side and shoulder seams she declared it complete, declining to finish any of the raw edges. I wasn’t going to get in the way of her artistic vision, so that was that!

Blonde girl in black tank top with white cat faces stands with back to camera and hands on hips.

Since finishing this top my daughter has consistently reached for it as soon as it is clean from the laundry! She hasn’t requested that we make any more clothes together, but I am hoping that she asks again soon and we can sew something else wonderful for her. Maybe a trip to the fabric store together would pique her interest.