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!
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.
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?
Fabric: Nani Iro double gauze in Neon Meadow in the Peach colorway
Started: August 8, 2019
Completed: August 9, 2019
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 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.
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?
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?
Started: September 4, 2019
Completed: September 4, 2019
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!
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.
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.
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!
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?