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Rainbow Raindrops Waterproof Minoru Raincoat

I live in the Seattle area. You may not have heard this about Seattle, but it rains a fair bit here (ha!). In fact we broke rain records yet again this year so a raincoat is a timely project. Of course I finished it just in time for May flowers instead of April showers (or all winter long incessant drizzle as the case may be). But I can promise you that this raincoat will be getting plenty of wear over the years. Though I didn’t finish many projects this winter, I really took my time with what I did sew to make them as perfect as possible with deluxe fabrics and this coat is no exception (my wool & silk Fumettere and quilted velvet puffer vest being prime examples of what I mean). I used Sewaholic’s Minoru pattern (that I’ve had and been meaning to sew since it came out …

2

Kate of The Confident Stitch on Sewing & Style

Kate and I first bonded over being tall. Since then we’ve discovered we have a lot in common so she’s definitely become more than just a tall sewing friend – she’s more of a tall big sister cheerleader sewing friend. I’m excited to share her thoughts as part of my Sewing & Style interviews, especially in relation to her own new “baby” – The Confident Stitch fabric store that she recently opened in Missoula, MT (which also has an awesome online shop). Describe your style. I’d call my style Sophisticated and Down-to-Earth. I love high-quality natural fibers and tend to wear neutral solids with an occasional pop of pattern and color. Describe what you sew. I mostly sew clothes, but I also sew some quilts. What inspires or influences your style? I grew up in a fancy town located next door to Berkeley, California. My style is a mash-up of …

4

Vintage Pink Gooseberry Pyrex Inspired Tea Towels

While the the majority of our house is decorated around a mid-century modern style, I’ve opted for straight up mid-century with a nice dose of kitsch (e.g. my chicken tea cosy) for our kitchen. I think it adds quite a bit of needed cheer to what is otherwise a pretty gloomy room – the small windows don’t get much light, the countertops are dark, and there is dark wood floor, cabinets, and ceiling. Someday we’ll do a major remodel, but in the meantime I’m adding in things that are bright and happy (and by bright and happy I usually mean pink) and it’s already making a difference. My Aunt got me started on a collection of vintage pink gooseberry print pyrex bowls. I’ve kept my eye out at thrift stores and have added a couple more to my collection. They definitely fulfill my kitchen requirements of being cheerful and mid-century, and of …

9

Day-Glo Brocade Maternity Coat

Uninspired maternity style, meet your match. This day-glo orange brocade coat is the only thing I have worn during this pregnancy that feels 100% me, and I’m happily wearing it every single day for these last two months of my pregnancy. Seriously, I’m finding excuses to leave the house, just so I can wear this coat! I used Burda 7024 Maternity Jacket/Coat for the pattern with no major changes (other than major fitting changes). I did interline the bodice so it would have a bit more warmth (and if you follow me on Instagram you can see how silly the insides look as I used a bunch of random flannel scraps for the interlining!). I also fully lined the coat (as per the pattern instructions) with a polyester habotai. Pop on over to my post on the Minerva Crafts blogger network to see more pictures and read about my amazing button and the dramatic …

7

Fancy Fox Diaper Bag

I’m not feeling all that cute these days. This pregnancy continues to be rough and it’s hard to feel like you look cute when you feel crummy. I hear that cute may be a little hard to come by after baby arrives as well as I’ll be sleep deprived and covered in baby’s body fluids. But you know what will be consistently cute? My new diaper bag! I mean seriously, look at these foxes. They are so. darn. cute. And the polka dots and bright orange contrast? Yeah, it makes them even cuter. I know. All of the fabrics came from Minerva Crafts. The foxes are from the Frolicking Forest by Heather Rosas line of quilting cottons. The body fabric is their spotty cotton canvas, a midweight canvas that’s a good weight for purses and bags. The orange is their plain cotton poplin, which is exactly what it sounds like – a …

4

Book Review: Fashion is Spinach by Elizabeth Hawes

Fashion is Spinach: How to Beat the Fashion Racket by Elizabeth Hawes is an entertaining and interesting look at the couture and ready-to-wear fashion industry first published in 1938. While it offers a great glimpse into everyday life and the fashion industry of the 20’s and 30’s, much of what Hawes has to say about fashion and the fashion industry seems to still hold true today. (Don’t let the cheesy cover of the re-issue distract you, the inside is a gem!) Hawes is an outspoken, opinionated woman with a delightfully blunt manner of supporting her views, which certainly makes for a spunky and entertaining read. For example: It is almost impossible for me to get into print what I feel when I look at a dress which is obviously made of a material that you could shoot peas through, that has no shape of any kind, but just a belt …

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Some Jersey Knit Maternity Clothes

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)!

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)

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 …

9

Red and White Stripe 80’s Dress (that’s surprisingly au courant)

When Minerva Crafts sent me this gorgeous red and white stripe knit I knew I was going to do something with it, since it was exactly the shade of red that I adore and a great stretchy knit. However, I had a giant list of ideas and couldn’t settle on any of them. I thought of making some super basic tees in no-, short-, and long-sleeves because I could really use some wardrobe staples. And then I thought of finally making a Drape Drape garment that would show off the stripes to their full advantage. And then I thought of a pattern that I’m currently working on, but it’s not far along enough that I’m ready to offer sneak peaks. And somehow I settled on a vintage dress pattern from 1981. I willingly chose to make a 1980’s dress even when faced with a plethora of other ideas. Never would …

19

High Waist Light Denim Jeans

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 …

8

Happy Hippo Dress

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 …

11

Red & White & Retro Summer Outfit

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

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 …

14

Purple Wool Jersey Vintage Simplicity 6934

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 …

5

Ginger Jeans with Giant Cuffs

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 …

10

A Couple of Sweatshirts

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 …

3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee Highs

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 …

Blackberry Liquorice Cocktail or Mocktail

I’m surrounded by so many ripe blackberries that I’m needing to get creative with how I use them since a girl can only eat so many baked goods and drink so many smoothies (although I don’t think I’ll ever tire of eating them right off the vine)! Long, hot summer evenings are perfect for plopping down on the porch with a good sewing book in one hand (don’t you read books on tailoring for fun?) and a cocktail in the other. I’ve been experimenting with cocktails and mocktails that I can make out of blackberries using only ingredients in my poorly stocked cupboard (most everything is in storage right now). I came up with this fun little drink that I wanted to share! Ingredients: Handful of blackberries Honey or simple syrup Absinthe and vodka (for a cocktail) Licorice or anise tea (for a mocktail) Soda water Ice Directions: Put a handful of blackberries in …

4

Pink Sequin Lace Dress Sneak-Peak

In celebration of Minerva Crafts’ big meetup (coming up on the 14th. Oh how I wish I could be there!), they sent each of us in their blogging network extra-fancy materials so we could make an extra-fancy dress. They will all be revealed on the day of the meetup, but we were given permission to post sneak-peaks ahead of time. I picked vintage McCalls 9575 for the dress because I thought that the simple silhouette would be perfect to show off the gorgeous lace fabric. Excuse me, the gorgeous lace and sequin fabric! I ended up sewing the whole dress on the sewing machine that my mom learned to sew on in the 70’s. An old Kenmore. My new(ish) Pfaff was in the shop for a couple days so I started the dress on the Kenmore and I enjoyed sewing on her so much (as is usually the case when …

12

Hand Dyed Silk Kanzashi Flowers

A collection of flowers. A panoply of kanzashi flowers. A range of silk flowers. An array of handmade flowers. A multitude of hand-dyed flowers. An assemblage of pink and purple flowers. A lot of flowers. Aren’t they so very bright and happy! And cheerful and fun! Okay, okay, I’ll lay off the thesaurus, I promise. I handmade and hand-dyed each of these flowers from silk noile from Minerva Crafts for my Minerva Craft Blogger project this month. Kanzashi is a Japanese method of folding fabric into individual petals and then sewing them together into flowers. I followed instructions in the book Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleland. The instructions in the book are great, but it’s worth noting that the vast majority of the book is ideas for using the flowers in projects. Diane has a how-to video on her website that’s a great resource if you want to make …

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Graphic Neutral Jacket and Cooper Backpack

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

12

Floral Knit Cowl

This floral cowl was a fun excuse to learn a new skill. I designed the chart and knit it as a double-knit, so the inside and outside are the same pattern but inverse colors. I figured a little cowl is just a tube so it should be quick and easy to knit, right? Ha! 40 hours of knitting later (and one stripe less than I originally planned!) it’s finally done. But it was worth every (slow) stitch because it’s bright and fun and happy and cheerful and cozy. I knit this from Sublime cashmere-merino-silk DK weight yarn given to me by Minerva Crafts for being a part of their blogger network. It’s a lovely yarn and I would be very happy to use it again in another project. In fact, I’d be tempted to use this same selection of colors to knit myself a little cardigan or a simple pullover. …

10

Spaghetti Lace Rug and Crocheted Baskets

Giant spaghetti yarn. So much fun. Okay, so it’s really called Hoooked Zpagetti. But whatever. I had a blast crocheting up a large scale lace doily as a rug (and a couple baskets to match) for my first project as a Minerva Crafts Network blogger. The yarn is made from manufacturing scraps and is essentially very long strips of t-shirt material. When I saw this yarn on Minerva Crafts, I knew I had to have it. I didn’t know what I was going to do with it, but it had to be something. I thought I would give crochet a shot since I haven’t crocheted much (only one tablecloth size fractal doily) and making a big bulky crochet project sounded like a fun learning experience with a good chance of success. I pulled out a couple of crochet books (Crochet Stitches Visual Encyclopedia and the Crochet Answer Book) from my …