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
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.
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).
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!
“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!
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!
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.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to go to Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver to take a jeans retreat with Lauren Taylor, aka Lladybird. These jeans are now my favorite item of clothing and I wish that I could wear them every single day. They’re so comfortable and it feels so dang cool to know that I made them.
The retreat took place over 2.5 days. Lauren, the instructor, came prepared with samples of the jeans in every size in the pattern, so the first task was to try them on and figure out the right size for me to make. I fit the straight 14s really well and my denim was similar in stretchiness, so I decided to make them as is. Some of my classmates got notes from Lauren about fit adjustments they’d want to make as they went on, so we’d each come out with a pair that works for us.
As you can see, I had fun adding lightning bolt detailing to my jeans. I added some decorative stitching to my back pockets, and then echoed that in one of my bar tacks on the front of my jeans. There is a lot of room for fun little detailing like that on jeans, which I had not appreciated beforehand. I didn’t go in with a plan beyond the back pockets, but it turned out that my top-stitching thread didn’t make nice bar tacks so I used some other thread in the studio and that led to some little touches. I enjoyed it happening organically and plan to approach my next pair the same way and let inspiration strike while I sew.
While I fit a straight size well I did make a few adjustments to the pattern. Once my legs were stitched together I lopped 2″ off the bottom. I ended up hemming them at that length even though they’re still long enough to cuff 2″ because I expect them to shrink in length with subsequent washes. I also adjusted the shape of the lower legs. I think because I didn’t remove length at the lengthen/shorten line the calves of my jeans were much looser than the rest. I removed ease from the knee down to make the fit the same along my leg. Next time I’d like to remove my length from higher and see if that helps. Finally, I made pocket bags rather than pocket stays to accommodate the extra space I like to have around a medical device I wear on my stomach.
Now that I have sewn jeans once with an instructor I feel like I could definitely do them again on my own. I look forward to my next pair! Have you ever sewn jeans? How was your experience?
Fabric:Soy Jersey by Pickering International in Chili
Started: January 26, 2019
Completed: January 27, 2019
My wardrobe is short on long-sleeve tees, so I was happy to find the Aomari Twist pattern for one with some visual interest. It is a quick sew with an interesting construction, to get the keyhole twist to work. Although I love this top in theory, in practice I am not enamored with my FO for a couple reasons.
I wish I had taken the pattern company’s advice that “drape is king” more seriously. I used a soy jersey for this and I just don’t love how the twist falls when it’s on. I also wonder whether I would be happier with it a size down. It feels big and sloppy when I’m wearing it. Due to the construction it is difficult to take in without taking apart the entire top and I just don’t have the energy for that. It is a good top for days I get my chemo – it leaves my port easy to access and then if I like I can turn the shirt around and hide the pump I leave attached to. I do like the reversible nature, too, I wear it backwards as often as I do forwards.
My other big complaint is the sleeves. As you can see in some of the pictures, they come down past my wrists. I am happiest in a bracelet length sleeve and I find these annoying. They’re too loose to stay up when I push them up. The pattern as written finishes the sleeves with a band and I have the top in my mending basket to add that band, I wonder whether it would make the whole top feel a little neater if I felt like the sleeves fit better.
Overall I still find this a promising pattern. There’s a sleeveless version for wovens, and I might do a summer version in a smaller size and give it another shot. Have you ever remade a garment in a different fabric or size and loved the later version more?
In November I had the pleasure of visiting Fancy Tiger Crafts for the first time, and I went in with the plan to hit their fabric section hard. I am happy to support online fabric stores, but there’s nothing like getting to touch the bolt in person to help you pick a match for a pattern. That was certainly the case for this fabric – I wouldn’t have looked twice at this on a website, but in your hands this tencel french terry is incredible – soft and cozy and delightful. I had wanted to sew Tacara since it was first released, and this was perfect for my vision of a thick, snuggly fabric.
The pattern was super quick to sew up and my only modification was to remove 4” from the length (hi, I’m 5’2”). One change I wish I had made was to place the pockets higher – I have to slouch to get my hands into them currently. Next time I will try to remember to try on the dress once the shoulders are sewn so I can check pocket placement in the mirror.
One fun thing about this pattern is that I was able to borrow a coverstitch machine while I was working on it. I had never used one before, but it sure does make my hems look gorgeous. I normally use a narrow zigzag on my knits, but I think I’m going to get serious about saving up for my own coverstitch to be able to add that touch more often.
Today is the first day of a cold front here, so I’m looking forward to snuggling up in my new dress!
I love matchies. I love matching mom and daughter sweaters. I love matching kid and doll clothes. So it is no surprise that I love a matching hat and cowl set. What is surprising is how few of them I had in my wardrobe, so I set out to fix that with these accessories.
I fell in love with the Snowshoe cowl pattern as soon as I saw it – a big reversible cable and garter stitch are what my knitting dreams are made of. I went shopping specifically for this pattern at Rhinebeck 2015 and came home quite happily with 2 skeins of Foxhill Farms Cormo Silk. It is a luscious yarn, soft and drapey and such a gorgeous natural shade. I looked a little bit for matching hat patterns, but quickly decided I’d rather make up my own based on the Snowshoe pattern so they’d match perfectly. I’m so pleased I did, I adore how they go together.
Are you the kind of maker who loves a neutral matching set, or do you love the opportunity to show off lots of different colors and textures at once?
When one of your best friends is pregnant you want to send as much love as you can. When that friend lives in another city you have to be crafty in finding ways to send your affection. I knew I couldn’t be there in person to snuggle Mary Heather’s baby, so I decided some special knitwear was the next best thing.
I started with yarn, selecting my favorite – Jill Draper’s Windham. I think merino is generally overrated, but this one is so bouncy and just pleasant to feel in your hands as you work. Jill is a mutual friend of Mary Heather and I, so adding some more friend-love to the gift was a bonus. I selected a mixed color bundle at Rhinebeck; I was so excited by all these yellows and the chance to make a bright baby knit.
Choosing a pattern worked out similarly – Mary Heather and I both love garter stitch, babies in shawl collars are adorable, and Kate Oates, the designer, is another friend of ours. I was short on white yarn for the collar so it’s a little sad, I wish I had had a bit more to beef it up with. I love the detail of the knit stitch column at the sides, like you can see in the photo above. The pattern is written for a solid and I just picked a random number of rows to knit to make the stripes. The other modification I made was to reduce the number of sleeve decreases because they looked tiny.
The best of knitting a love-filled sweater for your best friend’s baby is that you get pictures of said baby in said sweater. It was thrilling to see sweet Adisa grow into (and eventually out of!) the sweater. I’m mostly a selfish knitter, but this baby/mom pair is quite knitworthy. Have you made a beloved project for a friend far away? Tell me about it below!