11

My Sewing Pattern Storage

I hoard stash pretty much anything related to sewing. Patterns are no exception. I’ve been through a few different sewing pattern organization systems but I think I’ve finally hit on one that works well for me. It’s systematic, thematic, and allows for both easy perusal as well as easy growth (because, let’s be honest, I’m constantly adding new patterns to my collection). I store all my patterns in storage systems meant for storing comic books – cardboard boxes, tagboard backers, and plastic sleeves – and it works a charm. (This is not my original idea. I know I got the idea from another sewing blogger, but I can’t for the life of me remember who!) My organization system goes deeper than just “boxes”, so I thought I’d share in case it helps or inspires anyone else. Since I have a lot of patterns, I have them organized into boxes by type …

Sewing Tools iPhone Covers

The moment I take a new phone out of the box I put a cover on it. Seriously, I have to have a cover ready and waiting next to me before I can open the new phone box. Okay, so a big part of it is that I’m a total klutz and I drop my phone all the time. But a big part of it is the excitement of having a decoration for my phone that makes it uniquely mine. I’ve had many different cases over the years, but I’ve never had one that showed off my love of sewing – so I decided to do something about that! I designed an iPhone case based on the tools of our trade – sewing tools! They feature tailor’s chalk, snips, a tape measure, scissors, a seam ripper, tomato pincushion, and a thimble. They are available with an orange, purple, or aqua …

11

Sunday Stash

Even though the time I have to sew is at a minimum right now, that certainly doesn’t seem to stop me from bringing home fabric to add to my stash. Yes, I’m an unabashed fabric hoarder. I thought it would be fun to share my fabric stash additions and the ideas I have for them and of course I’d love to know if you have any ideas for them as well! (The idea for Sunday Stash themed blog posts was unabashedly inspired by my latest quilting blogger crush Molli Sparkles.) Most of my fabric comes from the thrift store on my island. It’s a fabric hoarder’s dream – every week is a new assortment of all sorts of fabrics, and most of them are $2 a yard. Yes, you read that right! This beauty is silk crepe (yes, real silk at $2/yard – see why my stash keeps growing and …

1

Black and Pink Joggers

So, I’m a little behind on the jogger fashion trend. Yeah, more than a little behind. But I got there. That’s what matters, right? Actually, what matters is that I now have a pair of sweatpants that I can wear in public (heck, that I can wear in front of my husband) without being embarrassed by how grubby and ill-fitting they are. Dare I say it, these things are even kinda cute! I used my jeans block as a base, graded up a size, and added in a little bit of wearing ease. Both the black and pink sweatshirt terry were from the thrift store. I opted to add a contrast trim to the front pockets and was going to have hanging pocket bags, but I got excited and sewed on the contrast trim before I sewed on the pocket – oops. I had to modify my plans to add …

7

Grandma’s Sweater Elephants

Although I am very lucky to have several handmade keepsakes from my recently departed grandmother, I felt inspired to make one more. A few years ago, when I was visiting Grandma, she was sorting through one of her closets. In it was a sweater that she had knit that was quite moth-eaten. She decided it wasn’t worth repairing and was going to trash it. I thought that I’d like to give a shot at repairing it so I took it with me. Well, it turns out that those moth holes were so extensive I gave up on repairs, too. I wanted to use the textile for something special, so it sat in my scrap bin. Fast forward a few years and I knew just what to make from it. I decided to sew a stuffed animal for Evelyn out of the sweater and to make two matching animals to send to …

3

Evelyn’s blankets

Evelyn Rose is lucky to have a giant fan club of people who love her. She is also lucky to have so many crafty people in her life that have made her wonderful keepsakes. I’ve been awed by how many amazing blankets she has been gifted. As a fellow knitter/crocheter/quilter, I know how much time and love goes into such handmade gifts. Evie is in the amazing position to have a quilt made for her by both two of her grandmothers. Adams mom, while she likes to make things, has never been a quilter. However, when she was pregnant, she decided she wanted to make her baby a quilt so she pieced together hexagons into a Grandmother’s flower garden pattern. Adam used the blanket as a baby. 40 years later, Adam’s mom pulled the very worn blanket out of storage and sent it to my mom. My mom cleaned it up, …

7

Evelyn Rose’s Birth Sampler Embroidery

I didn’t make much in preparation for Evelyn Rose’s arrival. I did make a batch of clothes, but not much else. I’m not really sure why. Perhaps I felt a bit superstitious about preparing too much? Perhaps I wanted to get to know her first? Perhaps I was just too worn out by being pregnant. Whatever the reason, it did feel really important to me to embroider a birth sampler for her. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted it to look like, but the more I thought, the more right it felt to make it around a rose for her middle name. I had originally thought that I would decorate her nursery in all black and white and red in a very gender-neutral baby-friendly palette. Well, after I decided to do the rose embroidery that went out the window. The embroidery just felt right to …

45

Nursing Watson Bras and My Post-Natal Body

I never really thought that I would get into sewing bras. I’ve always been fairly small busted and quite content to wear RTW foam cup bras that make my body look a little closer to hourglass than its true pear shape. I’ve loved seeing all the gorgeous bras that sewists have made, but never felt the inspiration strike to make my own. I found a RTW brand that fits me well, bought half a dozen of the same bra, and replace them when they start to wear out. Except for right now I’m not small busted and I’m not fitting the RTW I’ve tried and I’m not stoked on the nursing bras that I’ve found. So what’s a sewist to do? Start sewing bras, of course! The combination of nursing and gaining weight from pregnancy has brought my once ~32B’s up to ~34D’s. Whereas  before, I could go without a bra with …

9

A Few Summer Tops That Flopped

My quick attempts at some summer tops ended up as flops. Oh well. We had some pretty warm weather here last month and I had a grand total of one camisole that fit me, so I thought it would be a great idea to whip up a couple of lightweight linen sleeveless tops to wear in the warmth. I started by drafting a new basic block (since I’m a different size and shape than my pre-pregnancy block) for myself and sewed it up in a salmon linen I had in my stash. It’s okay. I’m not enamored with the armholes or the fit through the upper back, but it’s wearable and decent for a first draft. I’m still exploring what silhouettes work well on my current body and I’m finding that, having gotten back a little bit of waist definition, I want to wear things that show I have a …

4

All For Knot Skirt, Keyhole Tee, and Terrycloth Twist in Sew It All Volume 10

Sew It All Volume 10 is out and it’s got a bunch of fun and easy patterns in it – including three of mine! Even if you thrive on masochistic, overly complicated sewing projects (ahem), sometimes it’s fun to sit down and whip out a project in a couple of hours and every project in this magazine would fit that bill. All for Knot Skirt features a gigantic Chinese-inspired frog closure on a simple wrap skirt. Of course you could make the skirt without the elaborate frog or use the large frog on a different skirt. I used a gigantic wool I-cord that I salvaged from an old RTW sweater but I kinda want to make the skirt again in some fancy fabric with a satin frog. It’s too subtle as is for my taste :) The Keyhole Tee is a simple t-shirt that get’s its bang from contrast bands …

4

Franciscan Starburst Placemats

If I was to buy myself a(nother) set of vintage china, it would definitely be Franciscan Starburst (see a bunch of examples of what it looks like on Ebay). First made in 1954, it’s everything I love about mid-century modern design – space-age, bright colors, and starbursts. I actually already have a complete set of vintage china thanks to my grandmother – the Franciscan Heritage (here’s more of what it looks like) which is also mid-century, but a very traditional design – which I love to use, but which also means I’m not in the market to buy more china. However, there are other ways to bring more starbursts into my life! Adam knows how much I like the Franciscan Starbursts so he bought me a set of salt & pepper shakers for Christmas that live on the dining room table. Since it’s not practical to buy a second set of china, …

11

Coming Back from Maternity Leave

I’m currently easing my way back from maternity leave, dipping my toes into the metaphorical sand (the water at the beach was too cold). Unfortunately, with a crummy pregnancy and then a newborn baby, I’ve been away from SeamstressErin Designs (doing just enough to keep my business from falling apart but not enough to make any steps forward) for a year now. And I miss it! I miss working. I’m still trying to figure out some details, but I have childcare lined up two mornings a week starting today, and I’m very excited to be back. What does this mean for you, my dear friend? Well, probably not much in the short term. Two mornings a week isn’t enough time to make speedy progress on anything, but I have a whole notebook full of ideas and a couple of patterns that I’m diving into and suuuuper excited about. I don’t have …

9

VintagePledge July Dress (Butterick 3068)

To celebrate #VPJuly, I sewed a 1970’s dress (Vintage Butterick 3068) from 1970’s fabric.  To read about the pattern and the vintage aspects of the dress, pop on over to A Stitching Odyssey. (And while you’re there, look at the other inspiring vintage makes she has gathered over the course of the month!) Here, I thought I’d a personal account about why I chose the fabric and pattern. I agonized about whether or not to use this fabric. You see, I totally adore this floral fabric. Like massive #fabriccrush. It’s vintage (from a stash I inherited from a friend who inherited from an elderly friend who probably bought it new back in the day) and the flowers are a combination  of printed onto the thick, loose-weave linen and then painted on top of the print. And it seemed like it would be perfect for the bodice of this dress. So why not use …

4

A Fully Armed Battalion Embroidery

When my husband is into something, he tends to get a bit obsessed. For example, the soundtrack to Hamilton has been on repeat on our stereo for months now. Adam’s 40th birthday was 2 months ago. I wanted to do something really special for him to celebrate, but I couldn’t take him to go see Hamilton in New York since I had our baby 2 days before his birthday and traveling across the country at 9 months pregnant isn’t really feasible. So, to commemorate his big birthday, I embroidered him a love letter in the form of lyrics from Hamilton. “Oceans rise. Empires fall. We have seen each through it all. And when push comes to shove, I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.” I think You’ll be Back is my favorite song from the musical and I thought it a more appropriate lyrical …

How to Embroider the Chain Stitch

The chain stitch is my new favorite embroidery stitch. Sorry stem stitch, I’ve replaced you. I want to chain stitch all the things now! Chain stitch is fun to do and, though it takes a little bit to get used to keeping the tension even, it zooms along once you get the hang of it. It makes an interesting outline and an even more interesting textured fill, like I used on the boat above. To embroider the chain stitch, start with your needle coming up from the bottom of your work. Put your needle back into the same hole or right next to it. Pull the needle to the back side but leave the floss as a big loop. Pull the needle through to the right side of your work at the point where you would like the next stitch to start. Gently pull your thread through until the loop you created …

2

A Delivery Gown to RAWR In!

It’s no secret that I really like to wear dinosaurs on my clothes. (Sidenote: It’s a lot easier to find dinosaurs on baby clothes so I’ve totally been stockpiling dino clothes from the thrift store for Evie and every time wishing that I could get the fabric or the clothes in my size). I figured that, of all times in my life that I might need an extra bit of RAWR to get me through, labor and delivery would be at the top. So I sewed myself a delivery gown out of dino print fabric (an awesome thrift store score). The gown silhouette is essentially a raglan sleeve muumuu. I added fullness for the front (to accommodate a very pregnant belly) by putting a couple of large pleats in the front neckline. They’re pulled pretty taught in this photo since Eloise is larger all around than I am, but there …

5

The Pants Formerly Known As Maternity

I get it now. I succumbed to one of those clickbait articles “Top Secrets of New Moms” or something like that while I was pregnant and the #1 secret was “Maternity Pants.” Moms keep wearing maternity pants after they are no longer pregnant because they are so comfortable. And I was like “No way. Not me. I’m already sick of all my maternity clothes. These are immediately getting passed on to a pregnant friend.” Turns out I was wrong. I totally get it now. Maternity Pants. I sewed these while pregnant and wore them a bunch as they were the only pair of maternity pants I had that really fit me (since they were the only non-RTW pair I had). I used my perfect fitting jeans block, graded up a couple of sizes, and subbed out the waistband for extra-wide elastic. (Side note: I used a heavy-duty elastic and found it …

6

Flamingos Are the New Black Shirt

I have pretty much nothing in my closet I can wear right now. I knew that I was going to need a new wardrobe for maternity, but I gave no thought to my post-natal body. It turns out that it’s a totally different size and shape than my normal body (duh). Combine that with the need to constantly nurse my adorable parasite (making most dresses impossible) and I’m pretty desperate for some clothes. Since I have so little sewing time these days (again, thanks to my adorable parasite), I figured I’d start with some basics – simple staple pieces that I can wear with anything. And this is what I came up with. #flamingosarethenewblack I’m not so sure what to wear to fit and flatter my body right now (which I talked about in my last newsletter. Oh, you don’t subscribe to my newsletter? Fix that here!) so I opted …

5

Baby’s Hope Chest Part 2

Though I knew that my mom had saved family heirlooms for me to give to my baby, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Adam’s mom had as well! She brought us a small bundle of clothes just after Evelyn’s birth and shared their histories. I think my favorite is this adorable green velvet outfit that Adam’s Grandmother Sheila sewed for him (entirely by hand) for his first Christmas outfit. I really hope it fits Evelyn come Christmas because she’s already too big for my first Christmas outfit! (I was a preemie and born in November so mine is tiny). Okay, so maybe my favorite is this jumpsuit that Adam’s mom sewed for him. I love how very 70’s it is and can’t wait for Evie to wear it! I might have to make myself a super 70’s jumpsuit to wear at the same time… Adam’s godmother Caro hand sewed a …

4

Vintage Pink Gooseberry Pyrex Inspired Tea Towels

While the the majority of our house is decorated around a mid-century modern style, I’ve opted for straight up mid-century with a nice dose of kitsch (e.g. my chicken tea cosy) for our kitchen. I think it adds quite a bit of needed cheer to what is otherwise a pretty gloomy room – the small windows don’t get much light, the countertops are dark, and there is dark wood floor, cabinets, and ceiling. Someday we’ll do a major remodel, but in the meantime I’m adding in things that are bright and happy (and by bright and happy I usually mean pink) and it’s already making a difference. My Aunt got me started on a collection of vintage pink gooseberry print pyrex bowls. I’ve kept my eye out at thrift stores and have added a couple more to my collection. They definitely fulfill my kitchen requirements of being cheerful and mid-century, and of …

39

Evelyn Rose’s Birth Story

I’ll cut straight to the punchline, since it’s what really matters. Evelyn Rose was born May 11th at 8 lbs 5 oz, 21″ long. We named her after my great-grandmothers Evelyn and Roseada and Adam’s great-aunts Evelyn and Rosina. She is happy and healthy and we are completely infatuated with her. There are all sorts of pithy aphorisms that I could use to introduce Evelyn’s birth such story as “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. Though I had drafted a pretty thorough birth plan that included many different contingencies, Evelyn managed to make her grand entrance in a way that we hadn’t even remotely considered – she was born in the front seat of our car, 10 minutes from the hospital. On May 10th, Evelyn’s due date, I started to have some cramps that I figured were probably contractions. I could walk and talk through …

8

Planning My Garden

There’s been a whole lot of daydreaming going on around here (from sewing ideas to wanting to make hats) since there hasn’t been a lot of doing, thanks to this pregnancy. My latest daydreams are revolving around my garden, and I’m pretty dang excited to show some absolutely massive changes that have happened to our yard and to share what I want to do now that the changes are in place. When we bought the house last year, we had a list of construction projects that we wanted to (eventually) do in the house to make it our dream house. What we didn’t realize, is that the property needed a major construction project as well. After living in our house for a bit, we discovered two major flaws in the property – 1) It was hard to get into the house. There were steep and uneven gravel paths leading to the …

5

Pillows & Our Mid-Century Living Room

Although our house was built in 1920 and is true to the craftsman style on the outside, it has undergone a bunch of remodels that have dramatically changed the inside. One of the things that we love about it is the wide open living room with tons of windows. The living room was at one point mostly a covered front porch that was the entrance to the house. It was closed in and the front door was moved to the side at some point in our house’s history. At some point in the 1970’s (which may or may not have been when the front door was moved), a built-in couch was added to the living room. I wasn’t totally sold on the built-in when we bought the house, although it’s true to the mid-century modern style that we decorate, but I must say that now that we have lived here …

6

Dreaming of Hats

I’ve never been a huge hat person. With my very narrow face, I have to be careful about what style I pick, and I’ve always had a lot of hair that isn’t necessarily easy to fit under a hat. On the flip side, with my pale skin I need to be careful to keep out of the sun, and I’d usually rather wear a hat than sunscreen (or both, since I am that pale). I tend to steal borrow a hat from my mom when the occasion warrants it (like our trip to Hawaii). However, with Spring sun in full force here and visions of pushing baby in her stroller all around our neighborhood in the Summer, I’ve been daydreaming of owning a selection of giant brimmed straw hats. Once I start daydreaming of something, the first first question in my mind is “Can I make it myself?”. Enter The Making …

2

Baby Girl’s Hope Chest

I am so lucky to come from a line of strong, creative, skilled women who not took the time to hand make things for their families but also recognized the importance of saving them for future generations. My mom has kept a hope chest for me full of things from my childhood and she and I recently went through it to clean and sort things for my soon-to-be-here baby girl. I thought it would be fun to share a bit of what she saved here. I wanted to start by sharing the pieces that my Grandma Currie (my dad’s mom) knit for me because my G’ma passed away two weeks ago. She was a formidable knitter, crocheter and seamstress (which I talked about in my post about my grandmothers). Thinking of her legacy and being excited to share it with my baby has helped me to be at peace with her …

9

Day-Glo Brocade Maternity Coat

Uninspired maternity style, meet your match. This day-glo orange brocade coat is the only thing I have worn during this pregnancy that feels 100% me, and I’m happily wearing it every single day for these last two months of my pregnancy. Seriously, I’m finding excuses to leave the house, just so I can wear this coat! I used Burda 7024 Maternity Jacket/Coat for the pattern with no major changes (other than major fitting changes). I did interline the bodice so it would have a bit more warmth (and if you follow me on Instagram you can see how silly the insides look as I used a bunch of random flannel scraps for the interlining!). I also fully lined the coat (as per the pattern instructions) with a polyester habotai. Pop on over to my post on the Minerva Crafts blogger network to see more pictures and read about my amazing button and the dramatic …

11

Button Storage

I know not all sewists accumulate large stashes of sewing supplies, but I certainly do. Buttons have always been something that have stymied me a bit – how do I organize my button stash so that it is functional? I’ve stumbled onto a solution that makes things both organized and pretty, so I thought I would share! I have purchased almost none of the buttons in my stash – they are the sort of thing that I have inherited from friends and family (including from a couple of my grandmothers). Accordingly, they range from single buttons to sets of more than a dozen. I divided my buttons out by the number of buttons in the set, since I hardly want to dig through all of them if I know I need many of the same button. I put together one jar of single buttons, one jar of sets of 2-5, …

3

Fringed Drape Front Cardigan

I have just finished knitting the ultimate neutral sweater for spring/fall. What? You don’t consider pink, red and orange stripes to be neutral? Come on. Look at all that beige in there. It’s totally a neutral! I started knitting it in the summer for wear this fall. And then I got pregnant and stopped knitting anything that required any mental energy (since this is a bit more complicated than the rectangles that made up my knit-while-pregnant twist front sweater and red shrugigan). However, it seems like, despite a miserable first and second trimester, I’m going to have a third trimester where I feel mostly human (woohoo!), so I was able to rally the mental energy to finish this cardigan just in time to wear for spring. And, since it’s open front, I can actually wear it this spring! The pattern is Fringed Cardigan from Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2015. They suggested …

6

Twist Front Sweater

I laid out my lengthy requirements for knitting-while-pregnant projects when showing off my red sweater shrugigan. This twist front sweater definitely fit the bill (and even more stringently since I actually knit this sweater first and my brain was even less functional at the time). Were I not trying to fill those requirements, I probably never would have knit this sweater since it’s just stockinette rectangles, but I’m pretty happy that I did. I think it’s going to be an even more fun addition to my wardrobe post-maternity and I’m considering exploring a similar shape for a sewn garment or two. The pattern is Drape Front Sweater from Vogue Knitting Winter 2011/2012. I made two fairly hefty (but simple) changes to the pattern. First, the drape is intended to be, well, bigger, and hang down across the whole torso. Since I’ve got a babybump in the way at the moment, …