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 …

3

One Hour Halter in Sew News June/July 2015

one hour halter sew news

My super fast, super easy, and super cute (if I do say so myself) one hour halter pattern is in Sew News magazine this June/July. One of the perks about needing to sew samples for magazine articles is getting to keep the finished garments, and since magazines run on such long lag times, it feels like Christmas when they come back to me – since I’ve just about forgotten them it’s like they’re brand new to me! The color of the sample on the model doesn’t look great on me but it’s good on my mom so she’s a happy recipient of that one (as well as both tunics from my last Sew News article. Lucky mom!). I’m digging the fact that I have a metallic gold version for myself now – I just have to actually go out some evening so I get the chance to wear it! I …

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 …

8

Introducing the Conifer Skirt!

conifer skirt photoshoot 4

I initially developed this skirt after getting a little too excited about a purple and green striped jersey that I found on an outrageous sale and bought kind of a ridiculous amount of it. I wanted to sew a maxi skirt since I love wearing skirts, I especially love wearing maxi skirts, and the idea of a maxi skirt from a comfy knit sounded like a dream. I wanted to play with the stripes, so I put giant shingles of fabric on the maxi skirt. The initial drafts of the skirt in the purple and green stripes have since gone the way of the thrift store (that’s why it’s pattern development – there have been definite improvements since that first draft!) but I found that I loved wearing the shingled maxi and that the base skirt that the shingles are layered on makes a great, simple skirt on its own. Since the …

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 …

2

How to Sew Duffel-Style Detachable Swivel Hook Straps

swivel hook clasp options

Swivel hooks are a fun piece of hardware to add to the strap of a purse or bag. They’re easy to install and add a lot of functionality, allowing the bag to exist with or without a strap. I decided to add a strap with swivel hooks to my duffelette purse – a little purse designed like a miniature duffel bag (The pattern for the purse is up on Sew Mama Sew today!) – and wrote a tutorial so you can do the same, for a duffelete purse or any other purse or bag you sew. I will show you two different ways you can attach your handle to your bag – with a D ring or with strapping loops. Either way, you want to sew the swivel hook attachment on to the side of your bag before you assemble your bag. To sew a purse strap with swivel hooks …

4

How to Cut Perfect Circles of Fabric

how to cut circles of fabric

There are often times when sewing that I want to cut a perfect circle of fabric – from sewing duffel bags, to circle skirts, to polka-dot appliques. There are 3 easy ways to draw a perfect circle on fabric. Trace a Circular Object In your kitchen I bet you’ll find more circular objects that you might think! Tops and bottoms of bowls, glasses, mugs, crocks – all will have slightly different size circles. The easiest way to cut a perfect circle of fabric is to find something that’s the right size and trace around it with your favorite fabric pen, tailors chalk, or my favorite – the clover chaco liner. Tracing around a kitchen object works great for things like applique projects where “close enough” is the right size, but what about when you need the circle to be an exact size and you don’t have a corresponding bowl? Use …

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

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 …

19

Southwest Eyeblinder Dress

southwest eyeblinder dress

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

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 …

15

Nanny Sheila’s Sewing Tin

nanny sheila's sewing tin 2

Nanny Sheila was Adam’s grandmother and, from the moment I met her almost 4 years ago, like a grandmother to me too. She died this week and I was given her sewing tin. Judi and Brian (Adam’s mom and uncle) can remember this tin from when they lived in England after their father’s death, making this tin about 50 years old. Nanny didn’t do much sewing later in life (although she showed me pictures of some very smart suits she sewed for herself as a young woman!), but she was sure to have the basics on hand as, having lived through WWII in England, she was firmly of the Make Do and Mend mindset. A large portion of the tin is spools of thread and a few assorted notions – the odd recycled zipper, rolled up bits of elastic, some stained bias tape – that I will put to use, …

10 Tips for Sewing with Faux Fur

10 tips for sewing with faux fur

Sewing with faux fur is a great way to add a bit silliness or elegance (or maybe both!) to your projects. I adore a good novelty faux fur, and many of my favorite sewing projects over the years have used faux fur (my most recent favorite obviously being my Monster Hat & Mittens), but sewing with faux fur isn’t without some challenges. What follows is 10 tips I’ve learned for getting the best finished project while leaving behind the smallest mess. Minimizing Fluff: 1. Cut only through the backing and NOT through all of the fur. You can do this by using your scissors carefully (I find making short snips helps). Some people like using a straight razor to cut the back. Don’t use a rotary cutter because you will have to put too much pressure to cut through the backing and you will likely cut through the fur as …

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 …

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, …

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 …

5

How to Sew the Easiest Skirt

rectangle skirt in white and orange

Even the most advanced sewists occasionally crave super simple projects. Sometimes you want to wake up, have a cup of tea, and sew a new skirt to wear before you need to eat breakfast. That’s not just me, right? Beginning and advanced sewists alike, this is a super-easy skirt worth remembering because it is just that – super easy! To make this skirt you need fabric and elastic. You can use just about any kind of woven fabric. For this skirt, I used a basic lightweight woven cotton because I wanted a breezy summer skirt but you can definitely use a heavier fabric to wear in other seasons. The width of your fabric will be the length of your skirt, so go ahead and cut your skirt to the right length at this point (but don’t cut the length of the fabric as we will determine how much we need …

23

A Singer Featherweight Named Rosalyn

singer featherweight

Hello Everyone. I would like to introduce you to my new friend Rosalyn. She’s a sturdy gal that’s already had a lifetime full of adventure, her most recent escapade being a journey across the pond to live with me! We share a birthday (November 7th), although she’s a fair bit older than me, having been made in 1949. Even though I knew that my mom was going to be buying me a featherweight as a graduation gift (mostly so she had an excuse to buy one for herself at the same time ;) I still gasped with awe as I unwrapped this beautiful little black case. So plain and unprepossessing. And yet what beautiful glory doth wait, nestled inside! (Okay, I’ve never been much of a poet. Sorry for inflicting that upon you.) But really, isn’t she gorgeous, nestled in that little black box? My mom bought her machine (named Rosie) …

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 …

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. …

7

Cotton Lawn Wedding Ties for Groomsmen and Fathers

hand sewn purple cotton lawn floral ties

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

16

Vintage Rayon Crepe Pleated Dress (Butterick 6927)

butterick 6927 vintage style dress

I feel pretty in pink. And not just any pink, this daring fuchsia is a dream come true for a girl who dreams in bright colors like I do! A light and floaty crepe rayon with a silk habotai lining means that this dress is as yummy to wear as it is to look at. The vintage silhouette is a little bit demure and the sassy color is anything but, and oh boy do I love being a walking contradiction. I used Butterick 6927 vintage reproduction (currently out of print) from a 1951 pattern.  I used a delightful rayon (viscose) crepe from Minerva Fabrics that they supplied for me as part of their blogger network, although it has unfortunately since sold out. They called the color cerise which I think is a prettier word than fuchsia (just as aubergine is prettier than eggplant. I need to learn the British-isms for all …

6

Baseball is a Summer Staple Dress

baseball staple dress 3

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

11

My Summer Sewing Space

summer sewing space

It may not look like much, but this quirky little sewing space already feels like home to me. We’ve been in our summer cottage for a week now and it’s starting to settle into a routine. Adam is off on a business trip, I’m home sewing for the wedding. It’s taken a bit longer to get to routine than I thought it would – at first there was unpacking, and then time catching up with all the to-do’s that got dropped in the rush of the move (turns out you still have to pay your bills, even if you’re busy), and then a couple days spent on my butt on the couch decompressing (at least that’s what I’m calling a couple days of the blahs). I picked the sun room, what was probably a sleeping porch when the house was built in the 1800’s, as my sewing space. There’s a …

7

Aubergine Hoodie Tunic V8951

vogue v8951 purple tunic hoodie

The highlight of the last couple weeks of my life? Not getting a subwoofer for my car. Not my brother’s 30th birthday. Not even buying a wedding band for my fiancé. It’s the fact that I can finally wear my leggings in public!! Okay, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole, but I’ve pretty much worn only this tunic since finishing it! I used Vogue 8951. The cover art didn’t do much for me (frankly it looked a little boring and, well, middle-aged). But I love hoodies as comfy clothes and it is tunic length (a must since leggings are not pants) and I figured I’d give it a shot. And I’m so glad I did! (It wasn’t until after I sewed it up that I remembered my friend Shams of Communing with Fabric had made a great version although, since she has the opposite body shape as I do, the final …

3

Pink Sequin Lace Shift Dress

pink sequin lace shift dress

Pink and lace and sequins, oh my! When told to make a fancy dress, lace seems appropriate. Sequins are also appropriate. And in my mind, pink is appropriate for every occasion. So when I found this delicious fabric that combined all three, it obviously needed to become a fancy dress! I underlined the dress with silk habotai (the lining that Minerva included with the kit was a bit heavier than I had in mind) so oh boy does it feel dreamy to wear. I bound all of the seams and the neck in the same habotai. I opted to leave the sleeves unlined for a little bit of sex appeal, but it’s quite subtle as the pink underlining isn’t too far away in color from my pink skin! Yes, my choice of vintage McCalls 9575 dress pattern was heavily influenced by Heather Lou’s lovely sequin shift. Fortunately, my sequins were much, much easier …

20

Bombshell Bikini

bombshell bikini botton and twist top

I am a total bombshell in this swimsuit. The first time I sewed the Bombshell Bikini by Closet Case Files I made a few design decisions that left me feeling like an almost. But this time? Total Bombshell. So, what did I learn that made this one a rockin’ success? Better color choice, for sure. Instead of a pale pink the color of my skin, I picked an iridescent purple that I bought at Britex Fabrics that actually compliments my skin tone. I left off the halter top that (although I like halters sometimes) made me feel like a line-backer, emphasizing my strong shoulders in the wrong way. And, I made the bikini bottom version of the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern and drafted my own bikini top. I love the full coverage of the bottom and the slip of skin showing at my waist, an asset that I like to highlight. For …