6

Wool, Silk, and Leather Luxe Fumeterre

I started this skirt at the beginning of the year. I meant it as a replacement of an old high-waisted wool maxi skirt that I loved in theory, but I had made it so long ago that the shoddy construction I used back then drove me crazy now. I used Deer & Doe’s Fumeterre skirt pattern for a replacement wool skirt. I certainly could have drafted my own 8-gore maxi skirt, but I just couldn’t get over those delicious front pockets. Again, I could have figured them out on my own, but Eleonore had already done the work to get the proportions perfect and I like to support indie designers so I went ahead and bought the pattern. This is a very deluxe skirt that also happens to be quite frugal. I used a gorgeous wool crepe that I picked up at the thrift store for $2/yard, a silk crepe de …

9

Green Jasper Sweater Sweatshirt

It’s about time that I sewed a Jasper. I’ve adored this pattern from afar since Lisa released it but my sewing queue is always so gigantic and I’m so easily distracted by shiny things (literally and figuratively) that even my grandest intentions often go a while before being fulfilled. Speaking of intentions, I do intend to sew this into a dress this winter too. Come on self – make it happen! I call this a sweater sweatshirt because the I was drawn to the sweatshirt fleece for how it looked like a sweater knit (and for how it was bright green, if we’re being honest). Something about the prominence of the knit stitches and the heathered green makes it almost look like it could be a nice heavy knit. In fact, it’s a cheap sweatshirt fleece from that big box sewing store we all love to hate. I bought it …

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 …

7

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 …

3

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 …

2

Sewing Indie Month – Pattern Bundle & Contest!

Yay! Sewing Indie Month is here! I’m super excited to participate in Sewing Indie Month this year. There’ll be all sorts of cross-pollinated indie pattern designer love going on throughout the month. I can’t wait to share my interview with Peggy of Sew House Seven, my pattern hack tutorial for a Blue Prints for Sewing design, a pattern hack on my Conifer Skirt pattern from Mari of Seamster Patterns and I’ll be interviewed on Closet Case Files – all sorts of good stuff yet to come including (…drumroll please…) a contest and a pattern bundle! There are 3 contest categories this year – The Dressed to the Nines sewalong contest is led by the inimitable Laura of Lilacs and Lace, the Everyday Casual sewalong contest is led by the lovely Mary of Idle Fancy, the Pattern Hacking sewalong contest is led by the talented Rhonda of Rhonda’s Creative Life. Additionally, …

11

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 …

16

Chambray Bruyere

Chambray bruyere has a nice lilt to it. And I think it makes for a pretty nice blouse. I adored this pattern the moment Deer & Doe released it and, given that I need to make myself some winter clothes, it seemed logical for it to jump to the top of the queue when I finally got my hands on a copy. I struggled to decide on the fabric for this blouse and had considered trying it in a nice plaid flannel (since I’m obsessed with plaid flannel right now), but I was worried that with a bulky flannel the bottom of the blouse wouldn’t have had the right kind of drape for the volume. I happened to have some chambray in my stash that was almost enough for this blouse, so rather than continue to search for the absolute perfect fabric, I went stashbusting. I didn’t have quite enough, …

8

New Life for an Old Archer

I call his heavy forest green rayon challis Archer old because I sewed it almost 2 years ago, but it’s got a lot of life left in it because I barely wore it in its original incarnation. Why? Because I had the genius idea to add 9″ inches to the bottom so that it could be a dress. Except for it never looked like I was wearing a dress – it looked like I was wearing a nightgown. Not good. So, rather than let it languish in my closet, I decided to cut off the length that I originally added. And *bam* I have a new blouse. Yay! As you can see, I originally sewed the blouse too large – although the Archer is meant to be loose fit, I have a ton of extra room in the shoulders and bust. I don’t know why I did that. To give …

4

Lightweight Lilac Linen Archer

I brought a very small selection of clothes on our giant honeymoon. 4 months worth in one small backpack. So I carefully considered every single garment, bought a selection of fabric so that every piece coordinated, and then ran out of time to make most of the “perfect travel wardrobe” that I had envisioned. (I decided that finishing my bridesmaid dresses was more important). However, I did get the chance to sew an Archer blouse out of a lightweight lilac linen and it has definitely been getting its share of wear! It has been the perfect shirt for keeping the sun off of my pasty white fair skin. It’s so lightweight that it doesn’t add much warmth to wear and it’s light in color enough that it acts like a white shirt, reflecting the sun. And the great thing about traveling in linen (in my opinion) is that when it’s …

8

1940s Sailor Style Denim Skirt

These pictures saved this skirt’s life. I made it up at the same time as my sailor girl shorts (much earlier this summer) from the same Wearing History pattern. And I put it on and looked at myself in the mirror and hated it. I liked the idea, I just thought that it was too big and stiff and that it made me look gigantic. So I put it into the WIP pile to turn it into a pencil skirt. At some point I grabbed it in a stack of stuff for a photoshoot, thinking it would be good to have the failed “before” pictures of the refashion. Except for looking at these pictures, I really like the skirt! Maybe it’s just the pretty photos and artsy sun flare that have me fooled, but all the issues that I had with this skirt in the mirror seem to have disappeared in …

6

Prefontaine Shorts for Perfect Pattern Parcel #3

I know that I just sewed a pair of shorts all while talking about how I don’t wear shorts and here I am sewing up another pair of shorts, but bear with me on this one. While I may not wear shorts out in public, a pair of comfy shorts is the best possible garment for cleaning the house. I’d rather wear a skirt if I’m just loafing around, but shorts just make more sense for cleaning. So that’s what these are, my new “I’m getting stuff done around the house” shorts. I had a pair of ratty denim cutoffs that were my “get things done” shorts, but they’ve seen better days. Funny story – they started as a pair of jeans that belonged to my locker mate in 6th grade. She decided that they weren’t cool enough (she was one of the cool kids and didn’t have a choice who …

82

My Ph.D. Dress

I did it. It’s done. I finished my doctorate. On Friday I gave my exit talk so I am now officially SeamstressErin Ph.D. After 7 long years, I can shout to the world that I am doctor! I have worked long and hard and am shouting to the rooftops my accomplishment because I am so dang proud of myself. I want to take the chance to reflect a bit on my journey and, of course, share the dress that I made for the occasion. In the sweet words of my fiance, “Who else do you know who both: 1) has a PHD in molecular biology, 2) gave her exit talk in a dress she made the night before?” I’ve grown in so many ways over the last 7 years. Of course I’ve developed as an academic and a scientist. Graduate school is not easy for anyone. I had a particularly …

12

Sew For Victory Sailor Girl Shorts

I had big ideas for Sew for Victory this year, but ended up with one pair of shorts. Fortunately, they are darn cute, darn flattering, and I’m pretty darn happy with them (although definitely a little jealous of the Pinhouse Playmate for making a much more awesome version!). Generally, I abhor shorts. I’m not one to judge them on other people, but I really, really hate the way they look on me. The only pairs you’ll catch me wearing are heavy and layered for winter (and both of those I actually just donated because I found I didn’t wear them at all this winter). But something about the high waist and full leg on these takes them out of mental short status and makes them feel like a skirt, so I’m sold. These shorts are from the Wearing History 1940’s sailor girl pattern. I intended to make the full shorts, …

12

Betty Bowler Bag in Pink and Green Floral Vintage Barkcloth

I feel a little greedy to admit that most of my sewing is Selfish Sewing.  Sure, my mom gets blouses and dresses, Adam got a Newcastle cardigan, my girlfriends are getting quilts (oh yeah, and then there’s all the sewing and knitting I’m gifting for my wedding that are still in progress). Hmmm… Maybe I’m not so selfish. That’s a nice realization! To celebrate Selfish Sewing Week, I was given the Betty Bowler bag pattern by Swoon and promptly sewed it up for myself! Proudly selfish on this make! I love the fun shape and perfect size of this bag (yes, I like big bags and I cannot lie). The vintage-y shape seemed like the perfect use of this gorgeous pink and green floral barkcloth that I had in my stash. It was clearly once a pair of curtains and had snags, stains, and fading. But boy-oh-boy does it make a …

30

Pink and Green and Floral and Sexy Ceylon

The sexiest attribute that I can imagine? Self confidence. Forget body shape, size, height, musculature, eyes, lips, whatever. If I can see that someone feels confident in their own skin, I am attracted to them. This dress is my Sew Sexy Sewalong dress because I feel hot in it therefore I am hot in it. While such a modest dress may not be what most people think when they think “sexy”, and honestly, it’s totally not on my first train of thought either, this dress makes me feel so good! The shape is great at highlighting my attributes (defined waist, slender neck),  minimizing my not-as-strong points (hips), and giving the illusion of other strong points (bust gathers FTW). And have I mentioned that it’s a pink and green floral print dress! I love pink! I love pink and green! I love floral print! I love dresses! (Enough with all of …

14

Ava Blouse. Meh.

Spring really needs to hit. Because I seem to be filling my wardrobe up with black and neutral pieces. Which is fine. They’re interesting and wearable and all that. And very appropriate for dreary winter weather. But I just dug through my whole closet and man is it gray! {Major note to self: Add some brights and florals, ASAP!} This Ava blouse, part of the first Perfect Pattern Parcel, is another in my apparent recent trend of neutral. I feel about the blouse like I do about the winter weather – it’s better in my head than around my body. I love both the fabrics I used. The tribal print contrast was a gift from a friend (thanks again Dawn!) and what I used to face my black velvet trousers. I picked up the main fabric at a flea market in Guernville, CA. I love that the geometric design looks …

16

Hand Embroidered Rigel Bomber Jacket

I dreamt of a peacock. Floating feathers, cascading flowers. Striking stitching on a simple jacket making it unique and wonderful and one-of-a-kind. (I already detailed the process of the embroidery, if you’re interested.) I love that the Rigel Bomber jacket is fairly simple, making it wearable with so many outfits, day after day. But my stitching makes it completely unique at the same time. I’m a jacket junkie and this is pure manna for my addiction. The outer wool is from a vintage pashmina. I bought the pashmina along with a stash of vintage fabric from a flea market in Guerneville, CA (mostly 70’s fabrics, including the fabric I used for the bodice of my Thanksgiving dress). I pulled it from my stash for this project because I knew it would be a dream to embroider on because of the relatively loose weave. I bought the ribbing and perfectly matching zipper from Britex and the …

16

Hot American Summer Concert Tee

This Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY may be the most aptly named sewing project I’ve ever made. The moment I finished it I wanted to put on some daisy dukes, salt water sandals, and get silly, dancing in a grassy field to some booty-shakin’ music. Since it’s winter and I’m in the middle of San Francisco, I’d had to make do with a pair of high waisted jeans and blonde highlights in my hair. I was given this pattern as part of the inaugural launch of the Perfect Pattern Parcel. Their goal is to help bring business to indie pattern designers and benefit charity in the process – pretty great goals if you ask me. There’s a great selection of patterns for a very limited time (Accordion Bag by Sew Sweetness, Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY, Ava by Victory Patterns, The Skater Dress by Kitschycoo, Dandelion Dress & …

21

Graphic Neutral Jacket and Cooper Backpack

I grew obsessed with this fabric. I didn’t order it in my first 3 months of blogging for Minerva and it haunted me. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and look for it in their store, making sure that it was still there. I’d have dreams where the black squiggles squiggled their way across any blank surface, with rows of humble x-es x-ing their path above. I thought in stripes, I yearned for layers of neutrals. And this obsession confused me and scared me. It wasn’t scary to be obsessed with a piece of fabric. That’s happened plenty of times. What was haunting was that it was such a neutral print. No trace of pink and certainly no fuchsia. No gigantic floral print. What was going on in my head that I could be posses by something so unprepossessing? But I succumbed, and I’m so very happy …

10

Plantain Maxi Dress with Braided Collars

I’ve never been one to gracefully back down from a challenge. I’m stubborn. Really stubborn. I come by it honestly from both sides of my family. My Great Grandma Roseada and my Grandma Jimee were probably two of the most stubborn women to ever grace this planet. (And oh my goodness my someday children are going to be stubborn nightmares as well because Adam’s Grandma Sheila gives them a stubborn run for their money!). When Deer & Doe released their free plantain tee, I thought “oh that’s nice” and made a tee-shirt with slightly unusual distressed binding and moved on with my sewing life. But somewhere in the back of my head the “Plantain Challenge” kept repeating. Challenge. The challenge issued was to create a unique version of the Plantain. And since I can’t back down from a challenge, this dress is what I came up with. It really is just …

14

Grey Plantain with Distressed Binding

While most American sewing bloggers seem to be caught in an arctic chill, preventing them from wearing anything but the most warmest of outerwear for blog photos, I’m over here in sunny (northern) California, where I’m dreaming of snow, and puffy coats, and thick wool sweaters, and warm boots and stuck in 70F weather that is going to cause an alarming drought later in the year. (Although I will admit that my delicate west coast self would freeze her toches off if I were to actually get what I’m dreaming about!) I thought that sewing up a lightweight long sleeve tee would be a good compromise – it feels like winter wear because it’s grey and long sleeves, but it’s actually pretty lightweight. This simple long sleeve tee is the Plantain by Deer and Doe, available for free. I love the elbow patch detail on this shirt – something little that does add …

25

Lolita Patterns Gunmetal Dress [Giveaway Closed]

I was honored when Lolita patterns asked me to make a version of their new dress, Gunmetal. I thought it would be an interesting challenge because their patterns, as shown on their envelopes, really aren’t my style. I’m not into gothic, I’m not into super-feminine, and I feel silly wearing most ruffles. But, underneath the styling, lies a nice pattern that can be made simply for a great, casual, comfy, everyday dress. I made a lot of changes to the pattern, but they are all simple things that anyone can do. I rounded up to the nearest size (as they recommend) and found that it gave me a good fit through the bust and shoulders but I had to take a LOT in from the waist to make it fit me nicely (my waist is several inches smaller than their block, which was clear from the pattern envelope, so I …

14

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 …

12

Paisley Pashmina Anna Maxi Dress

This is my first/second Anna dress from By Hand London and I think I may be even more in love with it than the second/first. The second/first was silk, and lined, and hemmed by hand and took forever and I feel so elegant in it. And this second/first Anna fabric came from the super sale table, is an unknown fiber, and looks like a grandmother’s pashmina scarf. But I can actually wear it on a daily basis, and I know I’m going to! I wore it for the first time last weekend for a trip to Guernville, CA. We took part in a lovely gathering of folks to celebrate our friend’s 40th birthday, staying in a set of cabins “downtown”. It was a block from Johnson’s beach, where we took these photos, a couple blocks from a cute town center, and a quick drive to the redwoods where we went …

2

Little Stuffed Leather Snail

My giant leather snail had babies. I had some scraps left of the leather coat that I used to sew my giant size Shelby the Snail pattern by Abby Glassenberg and decided to sew a couple of snails that were actual pattern size. I gave one to my soon-to-be-nephew Burke (along with the Northwest Baby Sweater I designed for him) and have the other earmarked for another friend’s baby. I thought that leather made for a great baby gift – sturdy, appropriate for teething, and quirkily unique. I sewed the snail on my sewing machine using a denim needle, stitching the stuffing holes closed by hand. On the giant snail, I sewed everything right sides together, as instructed, so all the seams were hidden. For these little guys, I decided to sew them wrong sides together so the that all of the seams are visible, making it a bit more …

7

Newcastle Cardigan for Adam

I finally sewed Adam a real piece of clothing. I’ve made him ties and pajama bottoms before, but never a  garment that he can wear daily. Every time he mentions needing a new piece of clothing (I need more dress shirt. I could use a pair of chinos. etc.) I offer to make them for him, but he always hems and haws and goes ahead and buys the item. And then I saw the Newcastle Cardigan pattern by Thread Theory and showed Adam the pattern, saying that I thought it would be very handsome on him and I would make it for him. And he liked it and said “Yes. That would be great. Can I help pick the fabric? You’ve never offered to sew anything for me before.” And I was like “Whaaaat????” It turns out, that in Adam’s head, all those “I can make that for you” offers …

24

Silk Floral Print Anna Dress

I sewed the Anna dress from By Hand London out of a lightweight silk to wear to a girlfriend’s wedding this weekend. It consumed my every free moment last week since I didn’t leave nearly enough time to sew it (since I had a stomach bug on the weekend I had planned on doing most of the work.) But I got it done, and I adore the result! To make sure that the dress would work before I cut out my silk, I sewed the same version of the dress out of a cheaper fabric first, but that version is currently only basted together because, as soon as I saw that it fit and I liked it, I switched to the silk dress. (I will finish it soon). I originally had other ideas for what to wear to this wedding, but the more versions of this dress I’ve seen pop …

7

White Linen Cropped Victoria Blazer

At first I wasn’t terribly sold on the Victoria blazer by By Hand London. It just felt a little too late 80’s – early 90’s to suit my style, and I’m not usually a fan of boxy clothing on my torso. However, I’ve been swayed by many cute versions popping up on the blogosphere, so when I ordered the Anna dress pattern (stay tuned for a couple versions of it coming up!), I figured I would save on shipping and added the Victoria to my shopping cart. I’m so glad I did! I made up the Victoria in off-white linen, fully lined in the same fabric. (Like many, I opted to add a lining to the sleeves). I actually intended to line it with a fun blue batik print, but I didn’t want there to be any chance of the blue bleeding onto the white linen in future washes, so I …

17

Almost a Bombshell in My Swimsuit

I’m finally done with my bombshell swimsuit. I simply adore the retro influenced style and started it just after Heather of Closet Case Files released the pattern, but my hip injury kept me away from the sewing machine for so long that I’ve just now finished it up. Although summer is waning elsewhere, nice weather is just about to start here in San Francisco. Just about the only time I’m ever found in a swimsuit is when sitting in a hot-tub, (I don’t like swimming and I’m too pale to tan), but this adorable suit might change that! I followed Heather’s excellent sew-along. This being the first swimsuit I’ve made, I pretty much followed her instructions to the letter. I did grade between sizes, going up one size for the bottom, since I’m a pear. Tasia of Sewaholic posted a nice post about how to do the same, so I won’t …