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Baby Pants

There are two types of sewists when it comes to sewing things for babies. There are those that look at pattern pieces for pockets and say “That’s silly, she won’t be needing the pockets. I’ll just leave them off for simplicity’s sake.” And then there are those of us that go “Squee!! Tiny pocketses!!” By looking at the photos of Evelyn’s latest pants, I’m sure you’ll be able to guess which camp I fall into :) I know that babies grow in spurts, but I swear I just blinked and all of the sudden Evie only had 2 pairs of pants that fit her.  Since I try to avoid doing laundry every single day (though sometimes that seems to be inevitable), I grabbed the couple pair of pants that fit her from our island thrift store and I made her a couple of pairs myself. Though it is tempting to …

4

Sunday Stash

Today’s theme is basics. Do you stash them? It’s hard to get super excited about really plain fabrics (other than the fact that they are, indeed, fabric). But it does seem that they come in handy with some regularity. It’s helpful to have solid colors around for when you find enough giant-cat-face fleece to make the body of a sweatshirt but need something for the sleeves, or when you have an eensy bit awesome vintage floral that’s dying to become the bodice of a dress but need something for the skirt. I picked up 3 yards of this lightweight denim at the thrift store recently. It’s definitely going to come in handy at some point as denim pairs with everything, I just don’t know what or when that some point will be. The knit is a t-shirt weight and isn’t really my color, but it is the most divine color …

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How to Sew Christmas Stockings with a Faux Fur Cuff

December is here which means it’s holiday season! I’m actually pretty excited that Christmas and Hanukkah overlap this year because we get to have latkes for Christmas Eve dinner :) We’re keeping things pretty simple around our house because we don’t have a lot of spare time or energy this year (and at 7 months old, Evie isn’t going to know the difference). But it is important to me that we have Christmas stockings. Since I was a little girl, stockings have been my favorite part of Christmas. I was allowed to wake up whenever I wanted but I had to stay quiet until 7 am (which usually meant I would sit and stare at the Christmas tree for a couple hours in the early morning). Then I could grab our Christmas stockings, climb into my parents’ bed, and we would open them together. I’m excited to continue the tradition with …

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Sunday Stash

Today’s theme is “Gifts”. First off, a gift for me! My birthday was earlier this month and my awesome fabric-enabler mom bought me a box of Cotton & Steel fat quarters. Yippee! I’m a dabbler-in-quilts, but my mom is a pretty amazing quilter and is doing everything she can to get me more into quilting. I’m certainly going to have to make some more quilts since I have 40 (!!!) C&S fat quarters to use now! I’m not sure what I will do with most of the fat quarters, but I would like to make a tree skirt for our Christmas tree and there are a chunk of Christmas-y fabrics that would play nicely together. We’ll see if that happens in time for this year… The other gift-y fabric is several yards of Robert Kaufman mammoth flannel that I bought from The Confident Stitch when they were just having a …

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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, …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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

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 …

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A Summer Ensemble in Yellow Cotton

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 …

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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 …

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Red & White & Retro Summer Outfit

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 …

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Southwest Eyeblinder Dress

Occasions often inspire my sewing, and there’s no occasion quite like traveling to Borrego Springs, in the middle of the Anza Borego Desert, in SoCal, to visit my mom for a week. I love visiting the desert and I will admit to some slight disappointment when I arrived in the middle of the worst week of weather they’ve had all year! Fortunately, it warmed up by the end of the week and I got to wear my new dress. Of course I had a great time visiting my mom, regardless of weather. Just for the occasion, I sewed Vintage Simplicity pattern 6926, from 1976 (so it’s another Vintage Sewing Pledge). I bought the pattern this winter in New Zealand and happened to find the ridiculous/perfect cotton fabric at the thrift store two weeks ago. It’s so bright and patterned that it’s a little harsh on the eyes, which is exactly what …

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I Am My Own Von Trapp Family

Several sources of good ideas and grand intentions went into making this monstrosity of an outfit. First, I wanted to try sewing another Summer Concert Tee but thought it would be an interesting experiment to use a woven fabric. Second, I seem to be on an orange kick recently and this thrifted duvet cover in my stash that kept catching my eye. Third, Seattle summers are way warmer than San Francisco summers so I actually needed a couple more light-weight cotton pieces to get me through comfortably. Fourth, I’ve been working on high-stress (i.e. wedding) sewing all summer and I wanted a couple easy projects in contrast. Add all these influences together and what do you get? I am a one-person Von Trapp family. When I initially put on the outfit, I thought that I was drowning in fabric and it was hideous. Oversized top and full skirt in the …

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Cotton Lawn Wedding Ties for Groomsmen and Fathers

Since I’m sewing dresses for our female wedding attendants and knitting shawls for our mother figures, I wanted to come up with a wearable gift for the male wedding attendants and father figures and ties seemed the logical choice. Of course, going into sewing the ties, I didn’t realize how handmade they really are – by which I mean every single stitch is sewn by hand! But I’m thrilled with the results – I made a lot of absolutely gorgeous ties! Since our wedding is pretty casual, I bought a gorgeous cotton lawn from Britex with a delicate grey floral print – it’s not a Liberty Lawn (it’s from Italy) like I had in my head to find, but it was filed right next to them and fills the role beautifully. I picked a coordinating color to sew a tie for Adam so that he stood out (he is the …

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Baseball is a Summer Staple Dress

When we first arrived in our summer home, of course I got my sewing machine set up right away. But, despite (or perhaps because) of the giant list of things I have to sew this summer, all I wanted to do was whip up something silly and easy. Certainly influenced by the very summery weather (that I’m not actually used to after 7 years of San Francisco summers), I wanted a sundress. And, despite the fact that I kept out many nice cottons that would have done very well, I got it in my head that I absolutely had to turn this ridiculous 1980’s baseball print that I had found at a thrift store forever ago into a dress. Since I didn’t have much of this print, the dress was going to have to be something without a lot of volume. I ended up choosing the Staple Dress by April …

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Oakshott Lipari Rainbow Stripes Tote Bag and Tutorial

This Oakshott Lipari is OMG gorgeous. They are jewel tones like none I have ever seen. After getting my hands on this fat eighth pack I immediately understood why quilters hoard Oakshott like garment sewists hoard good border prints. I was sent the Oakshott from Sew Mama Sew to make a tote bag, but I immediately started to rethink my original tote design so that I could use less Oakshott so I had more for other selfish projects. And then I had a stern talking-to to myself and told myself that I was being silly and greedy and I should go ahead with my original plan because I can always buy more fabric. Well, that bit about “always buy more fabric” was music to my ears, so I continued on with the plans for a large tote. To make this tote you need: 13 fat eighths of Oakshott Lipari, 3/4 …

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Spring Retro Cotton Pajama Set

With these pajamas I hereby declare it is Spring! I’m putting away my oversized flannel pajamas (even if I do have a couple cute pairs) and wearing this adorable vintage style pajama set. While I am certainly usually guilty of wearing worn out oversize tee shirts and dumpy sweatpants to bed, I like have pajamas that make me feel pretty and composed when I wear them, perfect for wearing when traveling or with company visiting. Or just to celebrate that Spring is here! I used vintage Simplicity 4179 to sew these pajamas. The pattern was one size large for me so I went ahead and cut it as it, figuring that it didn’t matter if it was a bit big since it’s just pajamas. Also, my broad shoulders don’t usually fit well in vintage patterns. Well, there was some funky fitting that resulted. Somehow it’s like the front fits well …

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1959 Bow Neck Thanksgiving Dress

Well, I’m a day late to my own party with this dress. But I think I have a pretty good reason. You see, I sat down to write this post, showing pictures of my Bow Neck Thanksgiving Dress (for my final contribution to my Bow Neck Blouse Sewalong), on the day after Thanksgiving. I found a quiet corner amidst the chaos of a house very full of family.  And then Adam asked if he and I could get a bit of alone time together, maybe go out for a cup of tea, because I had been in the kitchen cooking for two days straight (one day to bake 5 pies, one day to cook our Thanksgiving meal), and he thought a spot of fresh air away from the chaos would be good for both of us. Apparently, the offer of tea was just a ploy, as he took me to …

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Little Birdie Bow Neck Blouse

My first blouse for the Bow Neck Blouse sewalong (oh yeah, there’ll be more!). A little birdie told me to make this one (groan. bad joke, I know). It’s the bow neck blouse pattern from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. I’ve made it before in black rayon blend with big red roses (the same fabric I used for the shirtwaist dress from the same book). The fabric is a quilting cotton that I bought at Joanns quite a while ago. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, and normally don’t like quilting cottons for garments, but it was just too cute to pass up. I made several small changes to the pattern for this go-around. Since I had previously sewn the pattern in a lighter fabric with drape, I went up a size to account for the quilting cotton. I also changed the shoulder shape …

How to Sew a Picnic Set

It may be turning into crisp fall weather in the rest of the northern hemisphere, but here in San Francisco we’re getting our little bit of Indian summer sunshine. We’re covered with fog during summer months, but right now we have a lovely dose of warm weather, perfect for picnics! To celebrate the warm weather, I sewed a picnic set of tablecloth, placemat, and napkins. If your weather is already turning, this tablecloth is a great size for a kitchen table and the placemat and napkins can be used for any dining table. The image above shows the suggested dimensions for how to sew a tablecloth, placemat, or napkin. For the tablecloth, cut it into the largest square that you can cut. Fabrics differ in widths, usually ranging from 45″-60″, sometimes larger for upholstery fabrics. Measure the width of the fabric from selvedge to selvedge and then cut that length …

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Fall for Cotton Sewalong – 1976 Style

For the Fall for Cotton Sewalong I’ve sewn all four pieces from my mom’s 1976 McCalls pattern. I shared them piece by piece (read more about the skirt, pants, camisole, or jacket). Here, I show them fully styled together! I thought that there was no way I was going to wear the individual pieces from this collection together. I thought it would be cheesy and matchy-matchy and old-lady-styled and just really not me. And oh boy was I wrong! I am completely digging the way these pieces look together and I most definitely forsee further wearing of these exact same outfits. My mom and her sister bought this pattern in 1976, when it was released. They both sewed pieces from it although my mom couldn’t remember what they looked like. I was hoping to replicate the pattern cover styling for my photoshoot, but I don’t own espadrilles, I don’t know how to …

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Fall for Cotton Pants

For the Fall for Cotton Sewalong I’ve sewn all four pieces from my mom’s 1976 McCalls pattern. I’m sharing them piece by piece with modern styling (how I’ll actually wear them) before the big reveal of a full-on 1976 photoshoot. This is piece 4 of 4. There is no more way for me to turn into an old lady, other than maybe a few more wrinkles. I knit. I have cats. I’m forgetful. I call everyone sweetie. I like rocking chairs and I decorate with lace doilies. And now I wear elastic waist pants. And I love them. I had a really hard time getting myself to stay true to this pattern and use the elastic waistband. I thought there was no way that I would wear them if they had an elastic waist and it seemed like a total waste of fabric to make them as is. But, for …

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Fall for Cotton Jacket Top

For the Fall for Cotton Sewalong I’ve sewn all four pieces from my mom’s 1976 McCalls pattern. I’m sharing them piece by piece with modern styling (how I’ll actually wear them) before the big reveal of a full-on 1976 photoshoot. This is piece 3 of 4. I’m am so happy right now I’m riding on a cloud. I’ve been jumping up and down around my apartment (terrifying my cats, of course). I’m gushing happiness to anyone that will listen to me. I’m inspired and silly and giddy and excited. I feel like me again in a way that I haven’t felt in years (thank you, graduate school). Of course my emotional high was kicked off by a phenomenal time at Sewing Summit. But every day this week since I’ve been back I’ve gotten a piece of good news towards my dream of being a Seamstress (with a capital S). I …

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Fall for Cotton Skirt

For the Fall for Cotton Sewalong I’ve sewn all four pieces from my mom’s 1976 McCalls pattern. I’m sharing them piece by piece with modern styling (how I’ll actually wear them) before the big reveal of a full-on 1976 photoshoot. This is piece 2 of 4. 1976 meet 1989 meet 1999 meet 2013. This skirt makes no sense, unless you think of timey-wimey as wibbly-wobbly, and then it’s all good. The pattern is from 1976 (McCalls 5088) the fabric is a 10th anniversary 1999 reprint of an 1989 design. And I made it up this year (2013, in case you’ve gotten confused by this point in time). Whew. Somehow, through all this muddling, I think it works. It works as a 1976 reproduction for the Fall for Cotton Sewalong. And it works with modern styling as a new regular in my wardrobe. I adore this fabric. I picked up a …

Fall for Cotton Camisole

For the Fall for Cotton Sewalong I’ve sewn all four pieces from my mom’s 1976 McCalls pattern. I’m sharing them piece by piece with modern styling (how I’ll actually wear them) before the big reveal of a full-on 1976 photoshoot. This is piece 1 of 4. Oh San Francisco, how your confusing weather torments me. Just as the dismal summer weather leaves me sure I’ll never see sun again, and just as I get excited to start using pumpkin pie spices in everything while wearing scarves and sweaters, you turn warm. Warm enough that I can wear a skirt and this 1976 McCalls 5088 cami top a week away from October. The top is cut on the bias and the front is gathered slightly into a triangle inset to give shape over the bust. For the main part of the blouse I used the chambray leftover from my Guatemalan Cowgirl …

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Burke’s Northwest Baby Sweater

I’ve been detailing a bit of the creative process of designing a baby sweater for my soon-to-be nephew Burke, from the initial brainstorm to a first draft and now the finished piece. It’s now done, gifted to his mom (my step-sister) at her baby shower, and patiently awaiting his arrival! I cast on with a brown moss stitch border, knit the body in light blue stockinette, and added intarsia cloud and sunshine with sun rays embroidered on top. I used 100% cotton yarn. I had asked a friend with a 6-month-old if I could take photos of the sweater on her baby, but I finished knitting it at 1 am the night before I flew up to Seattle for Blair’s baby shower, so that didn’t happen! I designed the sweater to be gender neutral but still have some personality. I knit the 6 month size, figuring that a cotton sweater is …

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Dancing Skeleton Circle Skirt of Awesome

Circle skirts make for a pretty simple project but are perfect for showing off a fun fabric of which you have ample amounts. It turns out that I had ample amounts of this awesome cotton print of dancing skeletons wearing converse tennis shoes that I found at the thrift store. The absolute best part, that I didn’t know until I had the finished skirt hanging in the closet and happened to not close my closet door before going to bed – IT GLOWS IN THE DARK!!!! I totally freaked out when I saw that to the point that Adam was scared something was seriously wrong but it turns out I was just totally excited because it was totally awesomesauce! I put in a straight 1.5″ waistband and a lapped side zipper. I opted for it to sit a bit below my natural waist (my natural waist is quite high) so …

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Archer Blouse from Bangladeshi Fabric

I’ve made button front blouses with collars and placketed sleeves before but never this well. This blouse is perfection. Seriously. I set myself the goal of sewing perfect things in 2013 and this makes it high on the list. I’m in love. (My new blouse is shown here with my curtain panel skirt.)

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1942 Hollywood Patterns Shirtwaist Dress

I now present to you my 1940’s dress for Sew for Victory. It’s from Hollywood Patterns (No. 855), from May 1942, endorsed by Betty Grable of 20th Century Fox. Honestly, I’m not that enamored with this dress. I was talked into the fabric, a quilting cotton, by a woman at the fabric store but I really should have stuck to my guns and gone to another store to find a nice rayon. When I first envisioned this dress, I wanted it to be something I could wear to seduce Sam Spade. I feel like it ends up making me look like I should be out back mucking out a chicken coop. I settled on working for the war effort as a compromise.