I’m Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

christmas-top-6

This is not the year for fancy Christmas party dresses. However, I can’t let the holiday season go unmarked by some thematic outfit because, well, I just can’t! This top came together in a matter of minutes and I know it’s going to get some pretty solid wear until Christmas. The bodice was originally a maternity shirt and had long ties that wrap around the belly. I wore it once and hated but I adored the fabric so I just couldn’t let it go. I cut off the ties and sewed down the cross-over but it’s kind of an awkward cropped length so I didn’t wear it. The red stripes were scraps left over from my 80’s striped dress. I had to piece together several scraps to make this skirt (and I wish I had had enough I could have made it dress length!), but I saved every little bit of …

10

Smile Together Sweatshirts

cat-sweatshirt-simplicity-1317

Even in challenging times, especially in challenging times, we must continue to create things of beauty and joy. I fully admit that these sweatshirts aren’t works of beauty. But they are certainly joyful. I know nothing about the politics of the man working the checkout counter at Target, the woman waiting for coffee in line next to me at Starbucks, or my neighbors taking their dog for a walk. What I do know is that this sweatshirt made them each smile. We shared in a moment of togetherness, of community, of joy, because of giant furry cat noses. And I guess that does make this sweatshirt something beautiful. If you can believe it, this ridiculous cat fabric came from the thrift store this week. Total serendipity and exactly what I needed. The contrast is a heavy t-shirt weight double knit I bought at Joanns and stashed forever ago, knowing I’d …

6

Floral Plantain Tee

floral-plantain

Fall is here and with it comes long sleeve tees, flannel shirts, denim, vests, boots, and pumpkin spice all-the-things. Well, it should come with all of those things. But, at 5 months post-baby, my garment pickins are pretty slim (I’ve got plenty of boots and oh boy do I have plenty of pumpkin spice!) . Time to sew is pretty slim as well (I know I keep saying that), so I figured I’d start with the long sleeve tees as they are fastest item on the list. I chose Deer & Doe Plantain tee to start since I’ve made it successfully a couple of times before (with distressed bindings and as a maxi dress). Sewing for my current body is an unfamiliar and moving target (I keep changing size and shape, being 5 months post-baby) but it was pretty easy to try on the shirts I already had to see …

1

Black and Pink Joggers

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 …

40

Nursing Watson Bras and My Post-Natal Body

watson nursing bra green stripes 2

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

basic woven tank top

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 …

9

VintagePledge July Dress (Butterick 3068)

Butterick 3068 vintage 70s dress 4

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 …

2

A Delivery Gown to RAWR In!

dinosaur hospital gown 2

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

flamingo print shirt 3

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

flamingo print shirt 5

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 …

9

Day-Glo Brocade Maternity Coat

orange brocade maternity coat 4

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 …

3

Fringed Drape Front Cardigan

fringe front striped sweater

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

grey lace weight knit 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, …

2

Red Knit Shrugigan

open cardigan yoko hatta front

A silver lining to being stuck on the couch all the time is having a plethora of time to knit. Right now, any project I knit is limited by a few serious design constraints: 1) I want the knitting to be something I can wear as soon as it’s done, so it has to work on a pregnant body 2) I want to be actually want to continue to wear it after I’m done with this whole pregnancy thing so it needs to fit into my non-pregnant wardrobe 3) my brain is mush these days so it can’t be particularly complicated (which is what I usually prefer to knit) 4) the yarn needs to come from my stash (well, it doesn’t really have to, but I’m trying very hard to finish getting my studio in awesome organized shape, and it would really help if my yarn stash actually fit in …

7

Fancy Fox Diaper Bag

fancy fox diaper bag

I’m not feeling all that cute these days. This pregnancy continues to be rough and it’s hard to feel like you look cute when you feel crummy. I hear that cute may be a little hard to come by after baby arrives as well as I’ll be sleep deprived and covered in baby’s body fluids. But you know what will be consistently cute? My new diaper bag! I mean seriously, look at these foxes. They are so. darn. cute. And the polka dots and bright orange contrast? Yeah, it makes them even cuter. I know. All of the fabrics came from Minerva Crafts. The foxes are from the Frolicking Forest by Heather Rosas line of quilting cottons. The body fabric is their spotty cotton canvas, a midweight canvas that’s a good weight for purses and bags. The orange is their plain cotton poplin, which is exactly what it sounds like – a …

7

Some Jersey Knit Maternity Clothes

raspberry jersey maternity dress

When I ordered my latest assortment of fabric from Minerva Crafts, I had visions of assembly-line sewing an assortment of loose fitting raglan tees – fast and easy to sew, easily wearable post-pregnancy, but still with a bit of fun since I could make the sleeves contrast the bodies. As you see, I followed none of my plans. It turns out that my body (especially my belly) is changing size and shape faster than I imagined (I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve never done this whole pregnancy thing before!) and if I wanted to get at least a few months of wear out of what I sewed, then my original plan wasn’t going to work. So I made 3 completely unrelated garments (because I never can do things the easy way). We’ll start with this dress which is a success in my book. The main fabric is a lovely …

3

Striped Shift, Striped Shorts, New Glasses (and Glasses Coupon)!

purple striped staple dress maternity 3

Last week, Adam and I spent a week in Hawaii on a babymoon (i.e. a vacation before baby arrives). We took advantage of a gap in Adam’s work schedule and used a bunch of airline miles and hotel points so that we could have a relaxing escape together now that I’m feeling a bit better. Apparently we weren’t the only ones with such a great idea, as it seemed like every third woman at our hotel was pregnant! While I was able to raid most of what I wore from my mom’s closet (thanks mom!), no vacation would be a true vacation without some frantic last minute sewing for it, right? I grabbed some purple striped cotton-blend from my stash and whipped up a little shift dress and a pair of shorts. I sewed a Staple Dress by April Rhodes since my Baseball Staple Dress is the only woven garment in my …

9

Red and White Stripe 80’s Dress (that’s surprisingly au courant)

mccalls 7849 vintage maxi dress front

When Minerva Crafts sent me this gorgeous red and white stripe knit I knew I was going to do something with it, since it was exactly the shade of red that I adore and a great stretchy knit. However, I had a giant list of ideas and couldn’t settle on any of them. I thought of making some super basic tees in no-, short-, and long-sleeves because I could really use some wardrobe staples. And then I thought of finally making a Drape Drape garment that would show off the stripes to their full advantage. And then I thought of a pattern that I’m currently working on, but it’s not far along enough that I’m ready to offer sneak peaks. And somehow I settled on a vintage dress pattern from 1981. I willingly chose to make a 1980’s dress even when faced with a plethora of other ideas. Never would …

7

A Summer Ensemble in Yellow Cotton

simplicity 1426 and simplicity 1166 vintage

I’m not sure why, but this was a summer of yellow clothes for me. I made and adored this outfit (and then took forever to get photos onto the blog) which is obviously very yellow. And I wore any little bit of yellow I could find out of my existing wardrobe. And then bought a dozen yards of a yellow and white stripe knit that I’m sewing up as samples for a someday-to-be-released pattern. And I find this all very amusing because I’ve never actually liked yellow that much before (probably in good part because it’s honestly not the best color on me, but let’s not go there). The super-high-waist and crop top is a recurrent theme for me this summer too as I started the summer with my red and white versions of this same outfit (top is Simplicity 1426 and skirt is Simplicity 1166, both 1950’s re-released vintage …

4

Bonnie Birdie Socks

bonnie birdie socks 3

I’m not great at knitting in season. Well, maybe I’m not great at finishing knitting projects in season. Because I seem to start them when they are seasonally appropriate but by the time I finish them, the season has passed. So, I may not get to wear my Bonnie Birdie Socks from Knitting Knee Highs by Barb Brown immediately, but you sure can bet that I will be wearing them as soon as the weather cools a little! (Or in the evenings between dinner and bedtime, because I just can’t restrain myself from wearing new things!) I haven’t knit any other patterns from the Knitting Knee Highs book, but I am a junkie for knee high socks (even if my Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee Highs are the only other handknit ones that have made it on to my blog) so I definitely see using more patterns from the book. There’s …

11

Pink Elephant Bonnel Dress

pink elephant bonnel dress

I adore this almost-finished dress, but it’s going to have to spend a bit of time in the naughty corner of my sewing room before I actually wear it. This dress is the Dixie DIY‘s most recent pattern, the Bonnel Dress, that I sewed out of some adorable pink elephant print cotton that I bought in Thailand. “Why the naughty corner? And why are you showing it to us now?” you might ask? I’m showing you my dress now because I’m helping to spread the love about the Sewing Indie Month Pattern Bundle 1 that’s for sale now until Wednesday, August 12th. It’s a bundle of patterns from independent sewing pattern designers. Including Dixie DIY,  Waffle Patterns, Jennifer Lauren Vintage Patterns, Muse Patterns, Sew House Seven, Blueprints for Sewing, Seamster Sewing Patterns, Lolita Patterns, True Bias, and Sew Over It. An awesome selection of patterns by an awesome selection of designers! Act fast since this awesome bundle doesn’t last …

19

High Waist Light Denim Jeans

high waist light jeans with cuff vogue v8201 3

The moment this denim arrived from Minerva Fabrics I knew that this project needed to jump ahead of my entire sewing queue because it was going to become the jeans that I had wanted since high school when I dreamed of being as effortlessly rock star as Gwen Stefani. (Okay, maybe a big part of it at the time was that I wanted to marry Gavin Rossdale myself.) I swear that I remember her wearing a similar pair and I totally ripped a picture of it out of a friend’s copy of Seventeen Magazine, although my googling abilities haven’t been able to find it again. I’m afraid that I look a little more Annie Hall than Gwen Stefani, but Annie Hall was sexy in her own right and I’m in love with these jeans regardless. I used Vogue v8201, an out of print pattern from 2006. I think I picked it …

15

Strawberries and Gingham Vintageish Sundress

So here’s a hypothetical question for y’all – where’s the line for calling something vintage? Or even vintage inspired? Because I just drafted this dress (and it’s 2015, in case you forgot) but it strikes me as 70’s does 50’s. As I was working on this dress I realized that with every decision that I made it looked more and more like Vintage Simplicity pattern 6926, from 1976, that I used on my Southwest Eyeblinder Dress. I pleated a dirdnl style skirt instead of a 4-panel A-line and I pleated the ruffle instead of gathering it which give it more of a 50’s feel. Oh yeah, and I added a waistband. And the straps are different. So I guess that just means that what’s similar is the fact that it’s a sundress with a princess seam bodice that dips down a little in the back. Is this dress a modern …

11

Pink Anchor Dress I Will Never Wear

simplicity vintage 6934 made modern

I guess the title kinda gives away the punchline, no? I do adore the dress in the photo above. But before I zoom in on its faults, let me step back a bit and tell you why I sewed this dress. Everyone has their least favorite tasks when sewing. Many people complain about cutting fabric, which I actually happen to love. My least favorite part of sewing is fitting. I do not have a straight-from-the-envelope body which is one of the major reasons I started sewing, so I spend a fair bit of time fitting every new pattern that I sew. I also tend to sew a pattern once and, even if I love it, never get around to a next time. Well, recently I had this revelation that if I sewed a pattern more than once, I wouldn’t have to spend time fitting it on any future versions. Duh! …

8

Happy Hippo Dress

happy hippo kat dress 4

I know that just about every time I sew a new dress I go on about how it’s my favorite. And I totally recognize that the sillier the fabric I use for the dress is, the more I rave about how it’s going to be a wardrobe staple (e.g. my Farm Animals dress, Southwest Eyeblinder dress, or Baseball Staple dress). And, recognizing my behavior patterns, I’m going to repeat them. Because OMG look at this dress! It’s my new favorite thing and I’m going to wear it all the time!! For serious! So where do I find all this amazing/ridiculous/awesome fabric? The thrift store. All of those amazing/ridiculous/awesome dresses were sewn from fabric I bought at the thrift store, most from Granny’s Attic, the thrift store on my island. When I lived in San Francisco I didn’t have nearly such good luck finding awesome fabrics at thrift stores because everything was …

11

Red & White & Retro Summer Outfit

simplicity 1426 1166

We’ve had some sunshine and warm weather the last few days that make it feel like summer is definitely on it’s way, and I can think of no better way to celebrate the arrival of summer than with this sunny outfit! I sewed the outfit from vintage reproduction patterns from the 1950’s – Simplicity 1426 and Simplicity 1166. The fabric was provided by Minerva Crafts for being a part of their blogging network. I made the top from a lovely polka dot print cotton poplin. The poplin isn’t opaque, so I lined it with a white muslin since if I self-lined it, the polka dots would have showed through. I made the skirt from a solid cotton poplin. The color was called “claret” which I think is a good description of the true color, although I was hoping it would turn out a bit more true red like the polka-dots since …

10

SATC Skirt

fuchsia tulle skirt twirling

I’m calling this skirt Silliness and the City (or SATC for short). Because clearly, the thing that I needed in my wardrobe to prepare for a week spent in New York City is a puffy fuchsia tulle skirt. I wore it almost every day and absolutely adored it. It’s the perfect wardrobe staple that carries from daytime wear with a t-shirt and slip-ons to a night on the town with a sexy top and heels. Okay, I understand it’s not a wardrobe staple for everyone, but for me, this is gonna be a workhorse! The fabric was given to me by White Tree Fabrics. It’s a circle skirt with a bottom layer of cerise poly satin and 5 layers of tulle (what they call hexagon pure net) on top. White Tree has an overwhelming selection of nets, but I emailed with them about what I wanted to sew and what …

8

Stretch Denim Capris

dark denim capris

Only fellow sewists would understand the reason why I sewed these capris – I wanted to work on my crotch. Most of my sewing projects are inspired by certain fabric or a certain pattern that simply must become a garment I can wear. Occasionally I recognize a gap in my wardrobe and seek to fill it. In this case, it wasn’t so much inspiration or even a need for the capris as a desire to put the dreaded crotch curve in its place that drove my sewing. The couple of times that I’ve sewn stretch denim jeans I wasn’t terribly happy with the crotch curve, especially the front crotch curve (first with my vivacious pink jeans and then my giant cuffed gingers). I think it comes down to being afraid of over-fitting, but if I try on the couple pairs of RTW jeans I have that sorta fit, I have …

9

Red Plaid Bruyere Flop

unhappy face in red plaid bruyere

This is my unhappy face. This blouse had every potential for being a a perfect addition to my wardrobe, but (like a recent sweatshirt), it just doesn’t do it for me. I love the pattern (having made a chambray bruyere already) and I perfected the fit on my last blouse. Moreover, I LOVE this fabric – it was part of the box of my Rambo fabric, and I’ve since used it on my favorite romper and the sample blouse I wore on my SewItAll TV appearance. It’s a heavy gauze and paired with the black Kona quilting cotton as accent (and for some strength on the waistband and button placket), would make the perfect spring blouse. The problem with the fabric is that I had just barely enough to eke out this blouse. I was able to do a bit of pattern matching (like making the left front match the …

14

Purple Wool Jersey Vintage Simplicity 6934

purple wool jersey dresss 2

This luscious fabric, given to me by Minerva Crafts, is a wool blend jersey. I originally had visions of making the world’s comfiest harem pants (Don’t laugh! Every other tourist was wearing them on our trip in SE Asia and they got into my psyche. Okay, go ahead and laugh.) to wear around the house, but the fabric was just too nice to never be worn in public. Then I had visions of a wrap dress, but I hemmed and hawed about buying a pattern or drafting one and I’ve always felt that wrap dresses were hit or miss on me. So finally I ended up on a vintage Simplicity pattern from my stash – Simplicity 6934 from 1975. The pattern is written for wovens, but I knew that it would look lovely in a knit. The only thing that gets lost in the knit is the slight gathers above …