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 …

9

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 …

How to Turn a Soccer Jersey into a Bike Jersey

soccer jersey turned bike jersey

If you’re a member of my family, summer means bike rides. Well, to be perfectly honest, summer means not having to ride your bike in the rain, because riding happens year-round. So summer means even more bike rides and we are all gearing up for the start of summer and the (continuation) of bike rides! My stepdad recently asked me to help convert some of his old soccer (or football since he’s a Brit) jerseys into bike jerseys so that he could get more wear out of them since you’d be hard pressed to find him on a soccer field and hard pressed to find a day that he’s not on his bicycle. You need:  – a soccer jersey (or any other type of sport shirt that breathes. Shirts from ultimate frisbee, marathon running or American football will work just as well). The shirt should be fairly fitted. – a rectangle …

7

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 …

13

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 …

13

Spring for Cotton Farm Animals Dress

contrast collar on butterick 4309 vintage dress

When some people think of spring, they think of budding flowers, or sunshine, or lengthening days. Nothing says spring to me like baby farm animals. Now that we live in a rural area, I find myself squealing when I drive past a neighbor’s yard full of baby sheep and goats (much to Adam’s dismay). I even took a chick-raising class at the hardware store (although actually getting chicks is going to have to wait until we have a home of our own!). For the Spring for Cotton sewalong, I knew that I was going to have to sew a dress form this amazing/ridiculous farm animal print cotton that I found at the thrift store recently. I used vintage Butterick 4309 from 1966. A fairly basic shift dress I had in my pattern stash, but I was drawn to the oversized asymmetrical collar and contrasting yoke. And even better, the dress has pockets! It’s a kangaroo …

8

Red Hetty Cardigan

button band on hetty cardigan

I’m super happy to have a basic red cardigan in my wardrobe. This Hetty cardigan (by Andi Satterlund) was a fast knit (since I’ve otherwise recently knit socks, socks, and more socks) and immensely satisfying both to knit and finish! I used Cloud by Cascade Yarns which was interesting to work with since it is a chained yarn – it knits up quite squishy and gives great definition on the lace pattern. (Details on Ravelry for those interested). With this cardigan I get to re-create my favorite outfit from high school and college. The blouse is a vintage men’s shirt that I bought at a thrift store in high school, altered, un-altered, and re-altered as my shape and taste in clothing tightness has changed over the years. The necklace is just plastic and also purchased at a thrift store in high school, although it remains one of my favorites to this day. I …

5

Ginger Jeans with Giant Cuffs

ginger jeans 5

I’m often a little late to get on bandwagons (if I do at all), but I’m glad I jumped onto this one. Yes, it’s one more pair of Ginger Jeans making its way to the blogosphere. I have sewn jeans before (high-waisted vintage style and mid-rise fuchsia denim and my favorite ever brown floral jeans that weren’t actually out of denim and fell apart after only a couple weeks of wear) but none of them are a wear-every-day sort of pair. Feel free to just look at the pictures, because I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said about this pattern already (although I will also say that Heather is a total rockstar!), unless you want to hear me talk about fitting and my butt and my crotch. If that’s the case, read on! I will start by discussing my fabric – the denim and all the jeans accoutrement were given …

8

The Sweatshirt That Shouldn’t Have Been a Flop

fuchsia and scuba sweatshirt

I love the pattern (having drafted it for myself and used it for another sweater that gets tons of wear). I love the fabrics (having made several pairs of leggings from the ridiculous scuba print that I adore). I love the color (me and fuchsia get along real well). I love sweatshirts (I wear a seriously high quotient of sweatshirts). And yet this combo of fuchsia and scuba sweatshirt is a flop. I really tried wearing it for a couple of weeks but I just gave up and sent it to the thrift store. It’s funny because I don’t think it looks that bad in the photos – but part of the reason is that I figured out exactly how the sweatshirt needs to sit to look right, and it only does that when I’m carefully posing for a photo. A big part of what was so successful in the first go …

6

Vincent and the Doctor Shawl

vincent and the doctor shawl

On the short list of things about which I will readily admit to being a nerd fangirl, Doctor Who tops the list. I’ve never done cosplay nor been to a Con, but I’m so excited to have knit this shawl as a subtle, every-day nod to my fangirl status and anyone that has seen Vincent and the Doctor can’t help but be in on my secret when they see this shawl. The yarn is hand dyed by Quaere Fibers and the colorway is actually called Vincent and The Doctor. I have my friend Beth (who was one of my amazing bridesmaids) to thank for the gift of the yarn. She got me in to Doctor Who and I got her in to knitting, so it seemed a very fitting gift :) She’s currently knitting herself a matching shawl and I can’t wait for us to get to wear our shawls …

8

A Couple of Sweatshirts

raglan sleeve cardigan

When I ordered both solid grey and maroon fleck sweatshirt fabrics from Minerva Crafts (free as part of their blogging network), I had grand visions of a colorblocked sweatsuit. When the fabrics arrived, I changed my mind because I didn’t like the two colors together like I thought I would (it’s so hard to order fabric online sometimes) and I realized that, now that I work at home, I really don’t need any more excuses to not actually get dressed for the day and sweatpants barely count as getting dressed. So, I rattled through about 400 different permutations of what these fabrics could become and I am absolutely thrilled with where I ended up! For the grey fabric, I used a vintage Butterick pattern from 1976, Butterick 6336. Although the pattern calls for a woven, I thought that a stable knit like the grey sweatshirt fabric (which has almost no …

8

New Life for an Old Archer

rayon challis green archer 3

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 …

8

Plaid Flannel Shirt

robert kaufman plaid flannel shirt 3

I haven’t stopped wearing this shirt since I made it. And that’s not even an exaggeration. I’ve pretty much found an excuse to put this shirt on every. single. day. since I made it. The shirt is luscious and comfy and flattering and it’s really all that I want to wear. My first finished project since officially moving back to Seattle and I’m channeling my wannabe grunge youth – except for I’ve grown up and so has my blouse. I’m super happy with this fabric. It’s a Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel and it’s just dreamy. It’s a great weight and feels so very cozy. I bought it at Nancy’s Sewing Basket which was my first foray into fabric shopping in Seattle! You can see that I spent an obsessive amount of time matching plaid on this blouse and I am so happy with the results. I cut everything on a …

3

Pastel Jaywalker Socks

pastel self striping sock family

Despite my grand love for knitting socks, I’m ready to take a break from them for a while. On my big trip, I only brought sock yarn and small needles, so I knit nothing but socks for four months (and a couple of baby things that I could fit on the sock needles from the leftover yarn). These Jaywalker socks are the last socks from my trip. (I can’t tell you when I’ll return to socks, because I really love knitting socks, but I can tell you that my next project is going to be with extra bulky yarn!). I used the Jaywalker pattern by Grumperina to knit these socks from self-striping sock yarn (Zitron Trekking XXL) that I stole from my mom’s stash. I never buy self-striping yarn because I prefer to knit lace and cables and self-striping really looks best in stockinette. However, I thought the Jaywalker pattern …

10

Sproingy Grey Knit Cardigan

gray drape sweater back

This was some weirdly sproingy fabric to work with which might have had me grumbling in frustration at other times, but I was SO excited to be back to my sewing machine and drafting kitchen table after 4 months away that I would have happily suffered through just about any fabric weirdness! I don’t have a lot of winter clothing (since winter in San Francisco barely counts as winter. I know Seattle is relatively weather-tame, but it was below freezing for much of last week and that’s winter in my book!) and anyway most of my clothing is stuck somewhere in storage for the next few months (while we live in a furnished rental and then housesit for my snow-bird parents). So my nights and weekends are going to be full of sewing practical, warm items for a while. This drape cardigan kicks off my practical winter(-ish) sewing. Of course, …

Bicycle Tube Straps

bike tube strap on case

It always makes me cringe a little when I fix a flat tire on my bike and throw away the tube. I have this feeling that there simply must be something crafty I can do with the tubes. So, I’ve been saving the tubes for a while. So far my favorite thing to do with them is to make straps. They’re great for straps because they’re strong but have a little bit of give so you can make them quite snug. I’ve used them to hold all sorts of things in place, from keeping craft boxes closed to keeping the brake cable from rattling on my bike. Start by cutting off the valve. Then cut along a seam for the length of the tube so that it opens flat. Then measure how long you want the strap to be. Remember that the strap will hold tightest if it’s stretched a …

Mason Jar Memories

mason jar memories 2

When I’m traveling, I like to stick little things that remind me of the trip in my pocket. A shell from the beach. A dried leaf from the forest. A candy wrapper in a fruit flavor I’ve never heard of. I used to stick these sorts of things in with my photo albums, but nowadays I make digital scrapbooks so I don’t really have a home for the little physical remembrances. Enter the Mason Jar Memory Jar, an idea inspired by a project from Martha Stewart. Mason jars can hold a surprisingly large collection of little bits and bobs, and when packed in, like this jar from my time in East Africa, it becomes like a game of I Spy. I have beads from a necklace a Maasai woman made for me and animal teeth I scrounged from the dust in the savannah. As I look through the jar, I …

1

Corks and Chalk Message Board Tutorial

cork and chalk message board

I like things to be organized, and what better way to organize than in a fun, pretty, and DIY manner! I originally made this cork and chalk message board for my cousin – since she got married in a vineyard I themed her wedding gifts around cork. But I definitely have plans to replicate it for myself since I love the way it turned out! To make the cork and chalk message board, you need: cutting board TSP (use a phosphate free version as it’s better for the environment) primer paint paintbrush non-sanded grout (to make the paint into chalkboard) painter’s tape hot glue gun corks supplies for hanging picture wire (discussed below) I found a fancy cutting board at a thrift store that was already divided into two sections, but any cutting board or slab of wood will do. Start by washing the cutting board really well. You need a …

4

Ruffled Baby Sweater

ruffles on baby sweater

Is it wrong of me to admit that I was sorely tempted to keep the sweater that I knit as a baby shower gift for my stepsister because I thought it was so darn cute and I kinda have the baby fever right now? Yeah? Okay, let’s pretend I didn’t say that and just ooh and aah over this cute little thing together. The pattern is Nola Jane by Annika Barranti. I knit it on size 3 needles (which felt gigantic since I’ve been knitting a bunch of socks on size 1 recently!), using up the last of my Wendy Roam Fusion yarn from my Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee-high socks. I think the detail that really makes this dress is the lines of crochet ruffle across the chest. They were super-duper easy to do as you knit a few evenly spaced purl rows across the chest and then go back …

3

Cabochon Keychain Wedding Favors Tutorial

cabochon keychain

I’ve always liked party favors and since a wedding is just one giant party (at least ours was!), giving out wedding favors was a given. However, I wanted the favors to be something lasting (I love getting candies but I eat them before the wedding is even over!) and I wanted them to be connected to our wedding and to be used again in the future. (It’s super fun getting sunglasses with the couple’s name on them to wear at the wedding reception, but they don’t really get worn after that, right?) So I decided to make a whole bunch of cabochon keychains using art from our wedding invitations. To make your own cabochon keychains, you will need cabochons and cabochon backs (I ordered the cabochon and backs on Etsy), mod podge, a strong craft glue that dries clear (I love Aileen’s original tacky glue), print-outs of your design, scissors, …

Burke’s Toddler Car Hat

Burke in Beanie

I have the cutest nephew. Seriously. How can you look at his adorable face and not agree with me that he is the cutest little guy ever! I am a proud Auntie :) And, despite some grumbles about this hat pattern that you’ll read below, I’m happy with the hat I knit for him and even happier to see him enjoying it! To celebrate Burke’s first birthday (unfortunately, from afar), I knit him a beanie hat with cars across it. The pattern is barnelue med flak, and the yarns were Wendy Roam Fusion 4-ply and King Cole Merino 4-ply, two fingering weight yarns left over from the last two pairs of socks I knit (my Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee Highs and my Woodruff Socks). I thought that the yarns made a fun but not garish combination. I hate to say it, but I don’t actually recommend the knitting pattern. I …

1

Kanzashi Wedding Bouquet Tutorial

kanzashi wedding bouquet

Although I made many things for our wedding, I think the pièce de résistance that made everything feel so me was the handmade silk kanzashi bouquet. I mean it’s just so bright and silly and happy and colorful! A kanzashi bouquet starts with a whole pile of kanzashi flowers – I had previously made a whole bunch from silk that I hand dyed. What makes them sparkle is a whole bunch of vintage earrings (I got these cheap in a lot since they were all missing their partners), cleaned, with their backs removed. You will also need a hot glue gun, floral wire, fabric for the stems, scraps of felt or fleece, and ribbon. On the top of each flower, hot-glue a vintage earring (already cleaned and with the back removed). Create a bunch of rouleau cord using your favorite technique (a quick google will lead you to a bunch of …

1

Woodruff Stranded Knit Socks

woodruff socks top

I can’t decide if I love my decision to knit these Woodruff socks by the House of Hogbuffer in a subtle color combo or if I wish I would have just gone whole-hog and picked something brighter and more contrast-y. What, you don’t think these are subtle? I guess I’m calibrated a little differently than most in that regard. I’m still pretty dang happy with them and thankful to Minerva Fabrics for the yarn. The pretty rainbow yarn is Lang Yarns Jawoll Magic Degrade Superwash Sock Yarn in Turquoise/Blue/Green and the main yarn is King Cole Merino Blend in Kingfisher. Normally, “they” say that you shouldn’t work a stranded knitting project using two fundamentally different yarns like this combo (since the Lang Yarns yarn is single ply and the King Cole yarn is stranded), but in this instance I think they made a beautiful combination that knit up quite nicely. …

1

Painted Initials on Cork Mat

finished intial cork board

For my cousin’s wedding, I made a whole stack of projects themed on cork (since it was at a winery) and the color blue (her and her husband’s favorite color). After sewing a recycled sweaters blanket, and making a chalk and cork message board, I wanted to add another little something that was personalized for Lindsey & Max. While at the thrift store, I found a whole stack of large cork coasters and decided that I would paint their initials onto one of the coasters as a finishing touch. Lindsey had admitted to me that she knew they would be very short on decorative items to hang on their walls when they moved in together after the wedding, so I thought something like this painted cork mat would be a fun, personal little piece of art that would fit nicely into their house and hopefully make them think of their wedding (and …

10

Laser Cut Logo Keychains

laser cut beakers

I played with lasers! It was fun! One of my girlfriends was working on prototyping a fancy tool to hold her microscopy slides and it involved getting trained on (and access to) a laser cutter and a 3-D printer. Before leaving San Francisco, I simply had to get the chance to play on use the laser cutter myself, because, well, lasers! I bought a sheet of pink acrylic and cut out a bunch of circles with bits of my logo on them. The laser cutter imports .ai files so it was very easy for me to create the necessary file to guide the laser cutting. The file needed to be un-filled shapes with the outline color telling the machine which order to cut. I’m not actually sure what to do with all these cut circles (other than make keychains) now that they are cut, so I welcome any ideas! I saved …