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Katie’s Vintage Inspired Wedding Dress

This summer I had the pleasure of making Katie’s wedding dress. I don’t do a lot of custom sewing these days and I generally avoid wedding dresses because drama, stress, and drama. But I made an exception for Katie and I’m so very glad I did. My step-mom is friends with Katie’s mom. My step-mom told me that the daughter of a friend was a lovely, laid-back woman who was planning a small garden wedding and wanted to use part of her grandmother’s wedding dress to elevate a ready-to-wear dress she had already purchased. She wanted a dress that had a bit of vintage flair that would flatter her tall frame. How could I say no? We were working on a pretty short timescale (less than 2 months!) so I didn’t have time to construct a whole dress. Fortunately, Katie had found a ready-to-wear dress that fit her. It was …

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70’s Muted Funfetti Knit Wrap Blouse and Skirt

Once I got the idea into my head to sew this fabric into a 70’s wrap dress (when I was talking about it in my Sunday Stash post) I had to drop everything and make it happen. I rushed to get it done in time for Thanksgiving and used all my free time the week before (including a bit of my work time. Shhh. Don’t tell.) and I’m glad I did. It was comfy and cute and felt nice to wear something festive that actually fit and was nursing friendly. The fabric is from Girl Charlee and is a hacci knit (so very lightweight, drapey, and stretchy). I don’t know quite what I pictured when I ordered it (because it was the middle of the night and I was making an I’m-feeling-sorry-for-myself purchase), but this wasn’t quite it. I guess I pictured it being brighter – more like funfetti cake. It’s a …

I’m Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

This is not the year for fancy Christmas party dresses. However, I can’t let the holiday season go unmarked by some thematic outfit because, well, I just can’t! This top came together in a matter of minutes and I know it’s going to get some pretty solid wear until Christmas. The bodice was originally a maternity shirt and had long ties that wrap around the belly. I wore it once and hated but I adored the fabric so I just couldn’t let it go. I cut off the ties and sewed down the cross-over but it’s kind of an awkward cropped length so I didn’t wear it. The red stripes were scraps left over from my 80’s striped dress. I had to piece together several scraps to make this skirt (and I wish I had had enough I could have made it dress length!), but I saved every little bit of …

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Bird Bed Quilt

This quilt probably sat as a wip longer than any sewing project I’ve ever done. Years. Kinda ridiculous, but I’m pretty stoked to finally have it done, so let’s not get hung up on how long it took me! I bought the pattern when I went to Sew Expo in 2010 from the Metropolitan Quilt Company. The couple manning the booth was super friendly, the quilts on display were super cute, and even though I had little to no interest in quilting at the time, I simply had to make this quilt! Unfortunately , the awesomeness stopped there. As much as I hate to say this about a small, independent company, I would strongly discourage anyone else from buying the pattern (though it does look like the company is no longer in business). It was really frustrating to work with the pattern because 1) Some template pieces are printed on …

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Pink Anchor Dress I Will Never Wear

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! …

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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 …

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I Am My Own Von Trapp Family

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 …

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Quilted Scrappy Red and White Baby Quilt

In the last week I have visited my grandparents, visited my aunt, bought a mattress, bought a bedframe, bought an engagement ring, and worked a 15hr day in lab (sidenote: the experiment worked so it was totally worth it!). What I have not done is sew or write a blog post. I knew that this month was going to be busy, but I didn’t realize quite how busy it was going to be! I can’t even say that it’s been full of wedding planning, which is how I would like to be spending my time if I don’t get to be in front of the sewing machine. Oh well. There won’t be a new Christmas dress this year. There won’t be handmade gifts. There won’t be an Archer for Archer Appreciation Month. But this month will contain time with friends and family, investments in our future, happiness, and holiday cheer. …

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White Linen Cropped Victoria Blazer

At first I wasn’t terribly sold on the Victoria blazer by By Hand London. It just felt a little too late 80’s – early 90’s to suit my style, and I’m not usually a fan of boxy clothing on my torso. However, I’ve been swayed by many cute versions popping up on the blogosphere, so when I ordered the Anna dress pattern (stay tuned for a couple versions of it coming up!), I figured I would save on shipping and added the Victoria to my shopping cart. I’m so glad I did! I made up the Victoria in off-white linen, fully lined in the same fabric. (Like many, I opted to add a lining to the sleeves). I actually intended to line it with a fun blue batik print, but I didn’t want there to be any chance of the blue bleeding onto the white linen in future washes, so I …

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Red and White Baby Quilt

While I was visiting my mom this weekend I designed and assembled a baby-blanket-size quilt top using red and white fabrics that I pulled from her (insanely large) stash. All of the pieced blocks I put together using scraps of my moms (Does it count as stashbusting if I’m using someone else’s stash??). When she has just a bit of fabric left, she cuts it into 1.5″ or 2.5″ strips and throws it in a basket. It makes for super easy assembly of scrappy quilts, especially since she has a TON of strips to pick from! I started by making a classic rail fence block. I played around a bit with arranging the striped squares in the rail fence block to make this pinwheel shape. This was definitely my favorite block on the quilt, and no, that’s not just because I snuck in some pink! I put in several of …

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Gold and White Striped Long Sleeve Tee

There is a dearth of long sleeved tees in my wardrobe. Which is silly, because SF weather is perfect for long sleeve tees the majority of the year. So, this shirt is one step toward remedying the situation. I’ve had these two gold and white striped fabrics sitting on my shelf for a long time. I think I got them on the $1/yd table at the discount fabric store. This shirt is a first draft for making my ultimate-favorite-t-shirt-pattern. I cut the shirt weeks ago but finally got around to sewing it up yesterday. I did the majority of the sewing on my serger, which is atypical for me. I usually sew everything on my normal sewing machine and then finish the seams with the serger. I like the shirt well enough to wear, but there are some changes to make for the next go-round. I put too much ease …