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!
Hello! At the start of 2018 I didn’t want to set any goals or make any plans. I was living with a lot of unknowns and wanted to avoid adding self-made responsibilities to my plate. As 2019 dawns I have answers to many of those questions and they make me want to approach this year differently. I try to keep this space devoted to my crafting, but I’m going to briefly share an update on my health, as it’s the motivation behind all of this. I have chronic colorectal cancer, which means that my at least with current medical treatments my disease cannot be cured. I’m going to be doing chemo every other week for the foreseeable future. There’s a rhythm to the cycle, and I’m ready to have some goals to work towards, wherever I may be each day.
I love crafting books, and I’ve amassed a huge collection of unread ones. This year I’d like to get through all my unread paper books, most of which are craft books. You can see the list of all these books on the associated Goodreads shelf here. I’ll be sharing some of my favorites on the blog, starting with Kate Davies’ Handywoman later this month.
Thanks to a night of sleeplessness earlier this week, I went through my entire pattern and fabric stashes and set up an exciting queue for myself. Sewing has been hard for me the past year – between pain and exhaustion it has seemed out of reach to accomplish the physical tasks involved in getting projects going. With the mental work of this queue done, I am ready to tackle my fear and go for these projects. At a sewing weekend later this month I’m hoping to add some much-needed knits to my closet with a new dress and a couple new tops. My goals for the year include a jumpsuit and pants, both firsts for me.
My knitting was side-lined last year when I developed carpal tunnel (Listen to your bodies, y’all! Don’t push through pain!). I took 2 months off entirely, and since then have been working on it in PT. I can do some knitting know and hope to increase my stamina in the coming months. For the Ravelry Project Challenge I set a goal of 6 projects – definitely on the list are a bunch of boxy cropped sweaters and I’d also like to knit up some accessories with some kits and other perfectly matched skeins in my stash.
To make sure I hit new year’s blog post bingo, I have to include that I would like to blog more regularly this year 🙃. But truly, it is one of my goals to get back to weekly posting. I’d like to include more writing about crafting, and not just my personal projects. If you have something you’d like to hear my thoughts on, you can tell me in the comments below or email me from the contact section!
Looking forward to another year with you, dear readers! And, if you do want to keep up with my health, you can read about that on my cancer blog at bearingthewait.com.
Pattern: purchased shirt with embellishments and skirt
Fabric: shirt and skirt are cotton, trim is unlabeled
Started: October 26, 2018
Completed: October 27, 2018
Y’all, this is the worst thing I have ever sewed. When my daughter decided she wanted to be Eliza Hamilton (Alexander Hamilton’s wife) for Halloween I knew it was time to sew my first costume and was psyched to pore over pictures and plan. But when it came time to sew I had so little energy and time and just had to dig deep and make it happen at the last minute. I want to show you all the issues with this dress. The skirt is backwards and also needs more volume. The neckline is a mess. The hem flips up. The buttons don’t line up. But the second I presented it to my daughter she swooned: “it’s so beautiful!” As soon as she put it on she carried herself tall, clearly feeling so beautiful and proud.
My daughter’s love for the dress makes me uncomfortable. It doesn’t look like what I imagined and it feels like a flop. I was embarrassed to say yes when adults asked if I made it. But my daughter loves it and feels like a founding mother and can’t wait to keep playing Hamilton around the house. She feels special that she has a mom that can make her things. So do I want to focus on the ways I feel like I failed or on the joy I brought my favorite 7 year old? Am I going to tell her that no, this dress isn’t amazing, it’s full of flaws?
She felt great and had a blast Trick or Treating, so I can’t call this anything but a success.
Y’all, I am so good and consistent at blogging. Here is a dress I finished last summer and photographed almost exactly a year ago. But I still love and wear this dress a ton, so I want to put it up! I had made severalbutton up shirts before, but the Kalle was my first shirtdress. I adore them, and this pattern looked so accessible as a first one – the ease meant no fitting changes were necessary, and also make for a gorgeous silhouette.
Def wish I had ironed this before taking pictures 🙃I made a straight 10 and am happy with the fit. I’m about 15lbs heavier than when I made it and it still fits well enough that I get complimented on it regularly. The back definitely billows out – I’m not sure if that’s the box pleat or the cotton lawn.
I really love how the yoke flows into that sleeve.
When I look at my sewing queue it’s clear that this is just the start of a shirtdress obsession. I have, uh, 5 that I have fabric picked out for. Would y’all be interested in a post about my shirtdress dreams? Do you have a kind of garment you keep coming back to?
I am a sucker for anything with buttons down the back. It think it is such a beautiful, interesting detail. I loved that the Trevi Dress page has a sample in this same fabric in a different colorway, so I knew that it was a good canvas for this gorgeous print. I love how it came out grading 3 sizes from the bust to the hip. I think it skims my shape beautifully and I feel great in this dress. One of the things I liked about this pattern is that it came with a version with the FBA built in. I used that one and while I know the fit would be better if I had done my own, I’m pretty pleased with it.
I enjoyed the construction of the dress. It’s straightforward with the button plackets part of the back pattern pieces rather than separate. I think it makes for a cleaner and more comfortable look for the back of a garment. I’m torn on whether I should have lowered the front neck a bit. I always look at the dress and feel like it is going to be uncomfortable there, but in actuality it is not.
My sewing queue is all summery dresses and the weather is still meltingly hot here, but I am dreaming about more cold weather garments. Have you made the seasonal switch in your crafting or not yet?
My daughter loves Alice in Wonderland, so of course we had to get some of the Rifle Paper Co Alice in Wonderland fabric when it was released. There were two patterns she loved so we got a bit of each. I chose the Sally Dress because it has no closures – my daughter prefers dresses she can pull on straight overhead, and I wasn’t sad to skip installing a zipper. I also loved that the pattern had a fully lined bodice, which gave me an opportunity to use both beloved patterns. And then it occurred to me that it wasn’t much more work to add a skirt to the bodice lining and make a reversible dress!
The reversible dress meant I could show off the beautiful lining fabric, too! Making it reversible didn’t take much longer, and the ease built into the dress means that there’s plenty of room for two skirts. I tried to construct the pockets like a RTW reversible dress we own and that added a lot of time (and no, I didn’t figure it out). But it has pockets and two sides and I think it is super pretty.
I am particularly proud of the pattern placement on this dress. I managed to center Alice on both bodices, and on the blue side she’s also at the top of each shoulder framed by metallic laurels. I managed to estimate the seam allowances correctly, which is a skill I am working on.
The final thing I want to talk about with this project is a mistake I made and how I recovered from it. When I was serging the blue bodice to the skirt, I accidentally caught part of the bodice fabric and made a hole (and yes, Alice’s surprised face right over it makes me laugh). At the time I had recently learned about the Japanese practice on Kintsugi – repairing broken pottery with gold. It is a practice that sees flaws as part of the history of the object, rather than something to hide. I channeled this and mended the hole with some gold embroidery thread I had on hand.
What do you think about this practice? Would you be willing to beautifully repair broken things to show off this part of their history?