5

Pillows & Our Mid-Century Living Room

pillows in living room

Although our house was built in 1920 and is true to the craftsman style on the outside, it has undergone a bunch of remodels that have dramatically changed the inside. One of the things that we love about it is the wide open living room with tons of windows. The living room was at one point mostly a covered front porch that was the entrance to the house. It was closed in and the front door was moved to the side at some point in our house’s history. At some point in the 1970’s (which may or may not have been when the front door was moved), a built-in couch was added to the living room. I wasn’t totally sold on the built-in when we bought the house, although it’s true to the mid-century modern style that we decorate, but I must say that now that we have lived here …

3

Fringed Drape Front Cardigan

fringe front striped sweater

I have just finished knitting the ultimate neutral sweater for spring/fall. What? You don’t consider pink, red and orange stripes to be neutral? Come on. Look at all that beige in there. It’s totally a neutral! I started knitting it in the summer for wear this fall. And then I got pregnant and stopped knitting anything that required any mental energy (since this is a bit more complicated than the rectangles that made up my knit-while-pregnant twist front sweater and red shrugigan). However, it seems like, despite a miserable first and second trimester, I’m going to have a third trimester where I feel mostly human (woohoo!), so I was able to rally the mental energy to finish this cardigan just in time to wear for spring. And, since it’s open front, I can actually wear it this spring! The pattern is Fringed Cardigan from Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2015. They suggested …

6

Twist Front Sweater

grey lace weight knit sweater

I laid out my lengthy requirements for knitting-while-pregnant projects when showing off my red sweater shrugigan. This twist front sweater definitely fit the bill (and even more stringently since I actually knit this sweater first and my brain was even less functional at the time). Were I not trying to fill those requirements, I probably never would have knit this sweater since it’s just stockinette rectangles, but I’m pretty happy that I did. I think it’s going to be an even more fun addition to my wardrobe post-maternity and I’m considering exploring a similar shape for a sewn garment or two. The pattern is Drape Front Sweater from Vogue Knitting Winter 2011/2012. I made two fairly hefty (but simple) changes to the pattern. First, the drape is intended to be, well, bigger, and hang down across the whole torso. Since I’ve got a babybump in the way at the moment, …

19

A Mess of Baby Clothes

baby romper from vintage simplicity 5469

A bunch of baby clothes has a nice alliteration to it, but it seems that the proper term for “lots of baby clothes” must be a mess, since that’s what they are all going to turn into once they actually get worn! I started working on this pile of baby clothes during my first trimester. Since it’s been a crummy pregnancy the whole way through, it took me weeks to cut out the clothes and then months to get them sewn. But that’s okay. Each bit of sewing stemmed from a small burst of energy, and I was able to pour that energy into tangible bits of love and excitement for baby’s arrival. I made a range of sizes from newborn to 9 months so that she doesn’t outgrow my work all at once and used a pile of different patterns as well, including several vintage patterns. All the fabrics …

2

Spaghetti Lace Crochet Runner

tshirt yarn crochet rug

Little by little, I continue to add handmade touches to our home. My pace of decorating has dramatically slowed through this challenging pregnancy, but I am pretty delighted to have finished a crocheted rug to go at the foot of our bed. I think it strikes a pretty good balance between visually interesting and calming, which is what I have been trying to achieve in the bedroom. And it breaks up the vast expanse of beige rug… The runner is my own pattern – a modification of my Spaghetti Lace Rug pattern. (I detailed the changes I made to the pattern to turn it from a small rug to a runner on Ravelry.) I used Hoooked Zpagetti yarn (which is an extra-bulky yarn made from leftover textiles from ready-to-wear fashion) and a size 10mm crochet hook. For more photos and details on the project, check out my post on the Minerva Crafts blogger network.

2

Red Knit Shrugigan

open cardigan yoko hatta front

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

7

Some Jersey Knit Maternity Clothes

raspberry jersey maternity dress

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

3

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

purple striped staple dress maternity 3

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

Knit Maternity Pencil Skirts (Burda 7023)

burda 7023 maternity skirt short black 2

It seems that I’ve sprouted a bona fide baby bump, so what’s a gal to do other than sew some maternity clothes!? I figured I’d start fast and easy with a couple of knit skirts since I’m still getting healthy again after a rough first trimester so neither my energy nor my brain are running on full steam at the moment. I used Burda 7023 and a couple different knit fabrics from Minerva Crafts. I started with a plain black skirt, above the knee, thinking it would be a great wardrobe basic and work well as winter progresses over leggings. I cut it a little large, but I’m told that this baby bump is going to keep growing (and other parts of me along with it), so I figured I’d leave a bit of room to grow. The pattern is just two pieces with the side seams moved toward the back …

4

How to Sew a Pillow with Piping and an Invisible Zipper

finished pillow with piping and invisible zipper

Part of getting settled into our new home has been sewing a seemingly endless parade of pillows. I’ve been keeping them pretty simple since a) I needed to make a ton of them and b) I can still go back and add fancy pillows later. However, I couldn’t quite content myself with just sewing squares, so my pillows all have piping around the edge and an invisible zipper so that the covers can easily be removed for washing. Since I instagrammed a finished pillow, folks asked how I sewed the piping, so here’s the answer! Start by cutting squares of fabric for your pillows. I’m using a luscious cotton I bought in Thailand, but it’s a pretty loose weave so I serged the edges. If your fabric doesn’t ravel much, finishing the edges isn’t necessary since they will be well hidden inside the pillow. Tip: cut the fabric 1-2″ smaller than …

4

How to Make An Ironing Board (without needing power tools!)

ironing fabric on ironing board

This ironing board is quite literally a board pimped out for ironing. I think it’s a great addition to any sewing space. I used large boards for ironing when I worked in costume shops and have admired them in some friends’ private sewing spaces. Having the extra ironing surface area is so nice for ironing yardage and provides some peace of mind that my cat won’t knock over the iron when she tries to jump up onto my rickety folding metal ironing board. You don’t even need to have a lot of extra space for an ironing board like this, just a table large enough to set it on, since it can easily be tucked aside when not in use. You need: Plywood (discussed below) 100% cotton batting 100% cotton fabric – pre-washed shears staple gun & staples hammer safety goggles (if you wear glasses, they are probably enough for these circumstances) sound protection …

7

A Summer Ensemble in Yellow Cotton

simplicity 1426 and simplicity 1166 vintage

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

19

High Waist Light Denim Jeans

high waist light jeans with cuff vogue v8201 3

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

15

Strawberries and Gingham Vintageish Sundress

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

11

Pink Anchor Dress I Will Never Wear

simplicity vintage 6934 made modern

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

8

Happy Hippo Dress

happy hippo kat dress 4

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

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 …

9

Red & White & Retro Summer Outfit

simplicity 1426 1166

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

10

SATC Skirt

fuchsia tulle skirt twirling

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

8

Stretch Denim Capris

dark denim capris

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

9

Red Plaid Bruyere Flop

unhappy face in red plaid bruyere

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

14

Purple Wool Jersey Vintage Simplicity 6934

purple wool jersey dresss 2

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

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 …