7

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 …

7

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 …

5

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 …

9

Re-Covered Sectional Couch

slip covered couch

A while back, I recovered my mom’s sectional couch for her. I’ve recovered several pieces of furniture before, varying in complexity, from dining room chairs to tufted loveseats. Recovering this sectional was a high-impact project that was actually pretty simple since the couch is pretty square. I approached covering the couch like a would draping a garment. I didn’t have to start with precise measurements or worry about running out of fabric because my mom bought the whole bolt (that’s the way she rolls). I really enjoy the occasional home dec sewing project and find the problem solving around draping a dress very similar to draping a couch, and both are fun for me. But I know a lot of garment sewers (and quilters) hate home dec projects. Have you ever re-covered a couch? Would you ever re-cover a couch? One fun design bit was figuring out which direction to …

3

Tutorial: Zippered Roll for Double Point Knitting Needles

double point knitting needle roll

I know I’m not the only one who struggles to keep certain things organized. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love to organize things, especially craft supplies – for example my bias tape collection is neatly organized by both width and color. But somehow my drawer of knitting supplies is always out of control and one of the biggest offenders is my double point needles (dpns) that always seem to fall out of my regular knitting needle case. So, I sewed an organizer that zips shut to show those dpns who’s boss! To make the pouch, you will need 2 identical zippers, some fabric, and a length of ribbon. The exact measurements are up to you (and I’ll talk you through them below), but for reference, I used 2 – 16″ zippers, 2 pieces of fabric that were 12″ x 32″, and 2 pieces of 28″ ribbon. The zippers will determine how …

7

Mismatched Casual Bridesmaids’ Dresses

seamstresserin's bridesmaids

Since I didn’t sew my wedding dress, I definitely wanted to sew my bridesmaids’ dresses. Of course, picking a style was a decision I labored over for a long time. I wanted something that would flatter the very different body types my gals have, and I really wanted the dresses to be something that they would wear again and again. I wavered between same-fabric-different-dress, same-fabric-same-dress, and all-different-but-same-color. And nothing quite felt right. Finally, I had an epiphany. What wasn’t feeling right was the formality of the dresses I was considering. As soon as I switched from thinking of silk dresses to picturing them in a nice jersey everything fell into place. I did a fair bit of looking for the exact perfect color of purple in a nice jersey (since I had already bought the fabric for the groomsmen’s ties and it needed to be a decent match) but didn’t find anything in …

3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee Highs

wendy roam fusion sock yarn

Of all places to get a bunch of knitting done, I must say that sitting on a tropical beach on a tiny island off of Lombok, Indonesia is a pretty delightful way to knit. Although my husband and I are traveling around the world for 4 months with only a small backpack a piece (which certainly meant that I couldn’t bring my sewing machine), there was no way that I was going to leave my knitting behind! I started these socks on the multitudinous flights that got us from Seattle to Bangkok and have knit them across Thailand and Indonesia. I wrote the pattern to be a stitch sampler and spent a bunch of time calculating the stitch increases so it would fit my skinny calf perfectly and then figuring out how to fit stitch increases into the various stitch patterns I had chosen. And then I decided I hated …

11

RNA Splicing Gel Quilt

splicing gel science quilt

I still can’t quite believe that I finished grad school before several of my Girls (my support network for the 7 years of graduate school). Fortunately, they aren’t far behind, and since the end is clearly in sight, I thought it was appropriate to get a head start on graduation quilts. This quilt is for Argenta, based on an assay that she ran many, many times in graduate school. I hope that every time she sees the quilt she is reminded of her triumphs – triumph over this assay and triumph over graduate school. It’s my reminder to her of how awesome she is, for the scientist that she has become, the person that she has become, and the friend that she always has been. (I’m making all my Girls quilts to celebrate their graduations, so check out Erica’s Ninja Cells Quilt and Ellen’s Hst3 Degron Quilt for the first in …

8

1940s Sailor Style Denim Skirt

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

Wedding Shawl for my Mother-In-Law

icarus shawl feather lace motif

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I knit each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. I already shared the shawls for my stepmother, godmother, and mom. This final one is for my mother-in-law. Judi is a strong, loving woman with an artist’s soul. I wanted to knit her a shawl that would emphasize her loving embrace, for she takes into her arms, her heart, and her life so many people that are lucky enough to cross her path. I knit Icarus Shawl from Interweave Knits Summer 2006 in Rowan Fine Lace. I chose a silver lace yarn so that it would shine, just like Judi. Other than one stupid mistake on my …

15

I Am My Own Von Trapp Family

von trapp family outfit

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 …

11

Wedding Shawl for my Mother

vogue turquoise lace shawl 6 holiday 2013

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I am knitting each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. I already finished shawls for my stepmother and godmother. This one is for my mom. My mom is a petite blonde woman who wears pink. Clearly, I’m not blonde (well, not most of the time), I’m definitely not petite, but I certainly inherited my love of pink from her! I picked a complicated and frilly, intricate pattern not necessarily because I thought it would fit her personality (how I chose the other shawl patterns) but because I knew she would appreciate it. I know it will make her smile. The pattern I picked is #06 Turquoise …

7

Knit Robe as Bridal Shower Gift

light weight pink grey stripe robe

My go-to present for every wedding shower and bachelorette party is a handmade robe. It’s a garment that’s easy to make for others, can be alluring without being overly sexy, and is both pretty and functional. This week I had a joint wedding shower with my godsister Rachel (who gets married this weekend!), thrown for us by my mom (her godmother) and her mom (my godmother) so I got the chance to whip up a robe for the occasion. The fabric is a light weight knit that I had stashed. It is quite loosely knit, giving it a sheerness that is a little bit sexy. But, there’s just enough warmth and coverage to make it functional as well. A major win in my book! The great thing is that each time I sew a robe I use totally different fabric so that it comes out completely personalized for its recipient. …