Tag: sewing

2020 Goals

I love the process of setting goals and assessing how I progressed towards accomplishing them. I have more uncertainty in my near future than average, thanks to my chronic colorectal cancer, but I find I can’t quit planning for the best case scenario. So, here is what I would love to accomplish this year.

Sewing

Top of my list are the 3 outstanding projects I have for other people. I started a quilt for my husband’s 40th birthday, which was back in 2015. I also promised my sister a dress for her birthday last January. And finally, I am making a baby quilt for a friend who is due next week. I need to get those finished before I make anything for myself. Once I do knock those out, I have a long queue of projects planned. I’m most excited about a pair of Persephone Pants in denim, and a Wilder Gown in ochre gauze. I also want to make a few new to me items – a jumpsuit and a bra.

Knitting

I am feeling really excited about knitting lately and have been tearing through my latest project, a Pamplemousse sweater. I have Arete in my queue as well as socks for my husband and some little crocheted bowls for the house. I set my goal for the Ravelry Project Challenge to 6 projects, which is what I aimed for and hit exactly last year. I would love to knit mostly from stash, though I am not going to make any vows not to buy new yarn, just to check first to see if I can use what I have.

Reading/Learning

I still have a large pile of unread crafting books – 30 according to Goodreads. I am going to get through as many of those as I can this year. Next on my list is to research color, finding my colors, and building my wardrobe using that info.

What are your goals for 2020? Learning something new? Improving a skill? Just enjoying the ride? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

2019 In Review

One of the highlights of my 2019 was how I grew as a crafter. In June I went to a jeans-making retreat at Fancy Tiger Crafts and while there was no flash of knowing I was changed, I can see since coming home the difference it has made in my sewing. I made underwear and overalls, both of which I would have assumed were beyond me. But I made jeans! So I can figure out underwear (which, it turns out, are actually really simple!). This was also the year I began to feel more comfortable making pattern adjustments – grading between sizes and shortening pattern pieces.

Above are the 16 projects I completed and shared here this year (there are 3 more done but not blogged, but that’s a different story). I have sewing, knitting, and crochet projects. I’m sure this is the first year in my crafting life that my sewing projects outnumber my knitting, and I suspect it will continue that way in the future.

As I sometimes touch on, I am living with chronic colorectal cancer. This year I received 21 doses of chemotherapy, will continue to get treatment every other week for the foreseeable future. Every stitch I hooked and sewed and knitted this year was with cancer in my lungs and bones. These pictures are celebrations on days that I felt good. I think crafters in particular know the joy that comes with finishing the creation of a tangible thing and while I will never lose that, I want to value the days where I make nothing but carbon dioxide as I exhale.

I’ll be back soon with some thoughts and goals for 2020. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along here. If you want to keep up with my health, I have a cancer blog I update (more) regularly (than this one).

FO Friday: Yanta Overalls

white woman indoors in pink overalls

Pattern: Yanta Overalls from Helen’s Closet

Fabric: Plaiditudes brushed cotton in Ivory & Pink Herringbone

Size: 14 graded to almost a 16 at the waist

Started: October 16, 2019

Completed: October 16, 2019

3/4 view of view woman outdoors in pink overalls

These were panic overalls. In the week before this year’s Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival I looked at the weather and got nervous about being warm enough. So three days before my flight I decided that I needed to sew myself something warm and cozy; I armed myself with this delicious brushed cotton and the pattern that day. I gave myself two days to sew, but was pleased to find they came together in just one. And on the Sunday of Rhinebeck when it was cool and wet I was so so glad to be in my newest make.

the back of a white woman in pink overalls

I cannot recommend this pattern enough. The instructions are super clear not just in how to construct the garment, but also in what sort of pattern alternations you might want to make before beginning, as well as how to assess proper fit. On these I graded the hips out not quite a full size, as well as shortening them at the middle. There are three shorten/lengthen lines – on the bib, in the middle, and on the leg. Due to my height (5’2″) I would normally have shortened at all three, but I left the bib alone because my cup size is larger than the one drafted in the pattern, and at the legs because the pattern is drafted to be a little cropped and I wanted full length. All of this advice I got from the pattern and it was spot on, I am really happy with the fit.

As mentioned above, these came together super quickly. There are certainly things you can nitpick, but for me these feel like one of my best sews to date. Between the fitting and how nice they look, I definitely felt like I leveled up as a sewist on these. Even at the beginning of this year I would have felt like overalls were a stretch for me, but I was totally able to conquer them.

close up of the bib of the pink overalls showing the torso of the white woman

I haven’t worn overalls since middle school and had forgotten how incredibly comfortably they are. I also love how many pockets they have. The top one is the perfect width for my phone, though in practice I don’t use it much for that because this fabric doesn’t have great recovery and it leaves the pocket looking sad and saggy when I take my phone out.

white woman indoors wearing pink overalls making a silly face

As I mentioned in my earlier post about my underwear 🙈I wear a medical device on my belly that changes in size throughout the day. I had stayed away from loose overalls like these because I was sure that they would make my device noticeable. But instead I have found they are one of my most discrete items of clothing, you nearly never see the bulge of the device at all.

These are definitely going to be one of my favorite makes for the year. I threw them together for Rhinebeck both for warmth and because in many ways it is a big fashion show. I wear them every week until I inevitably spill food on them and am forced by shame to wash them. Anything you thought was a risk – for your silhouette, for your skills – that turned out to surpass your expectations?

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: 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!