Tag: sewing

FO Friday: Higher Rise Ginger Jeans

white woman stands with her back to the camera and face turned towards it. she is wearing a yellow and white striped sweater and has her hands in her back pockets.
photo credit: Chaitanya Muralidhara

Pattern:  Ginger High Rise Jeans by Closet Case Patterns

Fabric: Cone Mills lightweight denim in Indigo

Size: 14

Started: March 4, 2020

Completed: March 4, 2020

the bottom half of a woman. she is wearing jeans and you can just see the top of her sweater.
photo credit: Chaitanya Muralidhara

I made my first pair of Ginger Jeans last summer at a retreat at Fancy Tiger Crafts and it was an amazing experience that changed me as a sewist. I wear the resulting jeans all the time and they’re so comfortable. However, just as my instructor, the lovely Lauren Taylor, aka Lladybird, warned, with repeated washings they have shrunk a bit vertically. That was just fine for my hem, which I left long, but has been a problem at the rise. It has lowered it just enough that it no longer entirely covers the medical device on my stomach and I find myself tugging on them constantly to keep it covered. So, I decided to make myself a new, even higher-rise pair and I am thrilled with how they turned out.

shoulders down of a woman at a 3/4 angle with her back to the camera. she is wearing a striped sweater and jeans with a hand in the pocket.
photo credit: Chaitanya Muralidhara

I measured the different between where my current Gingers fit and a good clearance above my medical device (to account for future vertical shrinkage!) and came up with 1.5″ as the amount I wanted to add to the rise. On the front it was easy to add it at the point indicated on the pattern. On the back I knew I wanted to split it between the pants piece and the yoke and could not find much guidance on how to do so. I took a random guess and put 1″ in the pants where indicated and .5″ in the yoke where it would hit the most width and I am really pleased with the fit I got in that area. I plan on using the same split for future pairs.

The only other modification I made was to remove 2″ from the length where indicated in the pattern. After sewing them up I decided to cut off another 1″. That still leaves enough length for me to fold up the cuff after hemming. This meant I didn’t need to take in the legs around the calves like in my first pair. Looking at the fit in the legs now, I can see that I could have taken in a few places to remove wrinkles, but I just can’t get bothered about precisely fitting stretch jeans.

waist up of a smiling woman. she is wearing a yellow striped sweater and jeans with her hands in the pockets.
photo credit: Chaitanya Muralidhara

I could not believe I was able to sew these together in a day. It helped that I topstitched in the same thread I used to sew, so I didn’t need to switch machines or rethread. It still feels so powerful to be able to sew my own jeans. With two new pairs in my wardrobe I am set for a while, and I get to enjoy wearing them. To anyone on the fence about sewing their first pair, I really want to encourage you to go for it! Like most sewing, if you take your time and follow the instructions, you can 100% tackle jeans. You may need to do some basting and rip some seams, but luckily denim is a sturdy fabric that can take it. I’d love to hear about your first jeans in the comments below.

FO Friday: Denim Persephones

white woman stands in front of brown chest of drawers, lit from atop. she is wearing a green tank top and light wash high waist wide leg jeans and has her hands on her hips.
photo credit: Chaitanya Muralidhara

Pattern: Persephone Pants by Anna Allen

Fabric: Non-stretch denim from Joann’s

Size: 14

Started: March 2, 2020

Completed: March 5, 2019

a white woman stands at a bar, her body sideways to the camera. she is wearing a tank top and jeans.
photo credit: Chaitanya Muralidhara

Ever since I made my first pair of Persephone Pants in a twill I knew I wanted to make a pair in denim, too. I love the fit of these pants and wanted a jeans-like pair for everyday wear. I learned quickly that my first pair ended up roomier than I would prefer, especially with the stretch that happens with wear, so for these I went down a size. I think ultimately it was the right choice but I am not enjoying the breaking in phase at all.

a white woman stands at a bar, her body facing away from the camera and head turned to smile at it. she is wearing a tank top and jeans.
photo credit: Chaitanya Muralidhara

When I immediately finished the jeans I could just barely get them zipped up. They were definitely not the easy daily wardrobe staple I had been imagining. A friend recommended the old trick of taking a warm bath in the jeans to stretch them out, and then letting them air dry. It was not my favorite bath (and actually the fly facing ripped out of its stitching and had to be redone) but it worked wonders in getting the jeans to be comfortable enough to start wearing. As I have worn them I am finding they are stretching out where I need a bit of extra space (the hips) and are more and more comfy to wear.

a white woman stands at a table, her body facing away from the camera. she is wearing a cabled sweater and jeans.
photo credit: Chaitanya Muralidhara

Overall I do really love the whole these pants fill in my wardrobe. They are so perfect with my new Pamplemousse sweater and I can picture a ton of other tops they will be great with. The only modification I made was to remove 2″ from the length, and I am happy with the just cropped length I ended up with. If I made another pair I would grade out a bit at the hips. I think I have enough of this fabric left to make some shorts for this summer, so I will keep that in mind. These are well on their way to being tried and trues for me. Do you have any patterns that you can see sewing up and perfecting more and more? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

FO Friday: Maypole Quilt

a quilt laying on concrete. the quilt has overlapping lines that look woven in white, browns, and greens.

Pattern: Maypole Quilt by Suzy Quilts

Fabric: Michael Miller Couture Cotton in Sage, Kona Cotton in Seafoam, Kona Cotton in White, Kona Cotton in Lingerie, Kona Cotton in Suede, and FIGO Desert Wilderness Circles

Size: Crib (40″ x 45″)

Started: January 18, 2020

Completed: February 8, 2020

close up of a corner of a quilt on concrete. the quilt is folded over so the front and back are both visible. front has strips that look overlapping and woven, back has dots right next to each other that look like water colors. both in green, brown, and white colors.

I love making baby quilts, and no matter how early I plan them, I have an uncanny knack for starting them while the mom is actually in labor. I have wanted to make this pattern, the Maypole Quilt, ever since it came out and was thrilled with the fabrics I picked out. But I still finished it after baby’s arrival . . . the good news is kids don’t outgrow quilts.

a quilt on concrete. back is visible with a fabric that looks like watercolor dots right next to each other in browns, greens, and black on a white background.

Before I get into making the quilt I need to give a shout-out to Fancy Tiger Crafts, where I got the fabric from. One of the colors I ordered online turned out to sell out in their store while I was checking out and so wasn’t available for my order. One of their staff members took pictures of similar fabrics they had in stock next to the rest of my fabrics to help me pick out a substitute, and they didn’t charge me the price difference between what I paid for and the substitute. It may not be local to me, but Fancy Tiger is a local fabric shop and it shows in details like this.

close up of a corner of a quilt on concrete. it shows the quilting on the front - straight lines across the strips of fabric that appear interwoven.

The Maypole Quilt pattern was really easy and came together incredibly quickly. I cut and pieced the top in an afternoon. As always, then I found out the baby had been born and without the pressure of getting it quilted before the baby arrived I procrastinated on quilting. I decided to follow the example in the pattern and do straight line quilting along the strips. This is my first time not doing free-motion quilting and gosh is this so much quicker. It took me a few attempts to figure out how to make reliable straight lines at thirds in the stripes. I tried at first with that attachment you can put in your foot that sticks out a set amount. I couldn’t figure out a way to screw it into place on my walking foot so it led me astray. I had much better success with my hera marker and a ruler (it makes a physical impression on the fabric that fades/washes out, rather than coloring on it).

another view of the whole quilt top on concrete.

I am totally in love with how this whole project came out. I am pleased with the colors I picked out for the top based on looking at pictures of the backing on my computer. The brown could be a little redder, but everything else feels great. And I like the texture from the quilting and from not pre-washing my fabrics and then washing the finished quilt. I hope the mom loves it as much as I do!

FO Friday: Persephone Pants

a white woman in mustard pants and a white tshirt that says "just for fun" with flowers among the letters stands with legs crossed and a hand on her hip

Pattern: Persephone Pants by Anna Allen

Fabric: Stretch Twill in Mustard

Size: 16

Started: November 27, 2019

Completed: November 28, 2019

One of the patterns I have heard recommended nearly unanimously on the Sewing Internet has been the Anna Allen Persephone pants. They’re supposed to be incredibly comfortable and universally flattering. That is a lot of hype, and I was not sure these would live up to it for me – this is not a silhouette I can ever remember wearing and after a life of mostly RTW I generally assume most pants will not look good on me. I am so glad that sewing has pushed my outside of my comfort zone here, because I love my first pair of Persephones and plan to make many more!

a white woman in yellow pants and a white tshirt. she is standing sideways looking at the camera with her back hand in her hair.

The unusual thing about this pants pattern is that they don’t have an outside seam. You cut out the pieces and they look totally unlike pants. I found the instructions to be incredibly clear, though, and they came together really quickly. The pattern is drafted for a button-fly, but I hate those so I used the zipper expansion pack which made a scary step super easy. I made a sad zipper mistake – I trimmed it and then zipped my zipper pull right off! There’s no way to recover from that mistake, unfortunately, so I had to rip out my zipper and replace it with a new one. I truly thought I might lose the pants entirely and was shocked at how simple the process was. Sewing is pretty amazing in that way, you can recover from so many mistakes!

a white woman in mustard pants and a white tshirt with her back to the camera. her arms are above her head and her hip is cocked as is she was caught dancing.

One thing I was worried about in terms of these pants being flattering is that they have no back pockets. I do think a lot about the underwear I wear with these, but I think that may especially be an issue because this fabric is on the thinner side of bottom weight and is lighter colored. I plan to experiment with adding pack pockets to my next pair as I use them a lot in my clothing and the front pockets on these are cute but not super convenient to use. You can’t see the front pockets in any of my photos, I realize – they sit between the belt loops on each side and are just big enough to hold my phone.

a white woman in mustard pants and a white shirts stands at 3/4 to the camera holding and looking at a black cat.

A local stray cat joined us so we decided to include her in our photoshoot. One choice I made that I regret was not interfacing the waistband. The interfacing I had would not stick to the fabric and in a fit I just tore it off and sewed on the piece without it. The waistband crumples down a lot and would definitely look nicer if I had taken the time to try again rather than being so impatient. The other thing I would do differently if I were to redo this pair is I would go down one size. These pants are drafted for non-stretch fabric. I thought the 3% spandex in my fabric wouldn’t be a big deal, but I think it makes them look a bit stretched out and messy at times, and I think a slightly smaller size would have mitigated this.

a white woman in mustard pants and a white shirt stands on one leg with the other behind her and her hands out, open-mouthed smiling at the camera

My favorite thing about these pants is that they are truly high-waisted – they sit at my natural waist. One of the hardest things about dressing with an ostomy is getting waistbands to hit in a comfortable place. This is the first pair of pants I have found that are high enough to entirely cover my bag, rather than bisecting it, and one of the reason I plan to make them a staple of my wardrobe.

Do you have a pattern that works just right for your body that you make over and over? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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.


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.


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.


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!