Introducing the Geometric Table Runner

Though it’s clear my biggest obsession is garment sewing, I do dabble in many things textile related and quilting is certainly on that list. I originally wrote the pattern for this Geometric Table Runner for Sewing World Magazine, May 2014 where it was called “Tangerine Dream”. After getting a couple of requests for the pattern since then, I decided it was about time to dust it off, reformatted it, and expand and illustrate the instructions. The pattern is really quite simple so it’s approachable for beginning quilters. More experienced quilters can have fun playing with quilting in the large open spaces or getting creative with fabric choices. The pattern uses 5 separate fabrics. I’ve made the table runner twice for my house and it’s quite remarkable how different it can be when comparing an assortment of high contrasting solids to using low volume prints. We’ve changed color palettes again so maybe I …

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Quilted Velvet Puffer Vest

When winter set in and I started thinking about what I wanted to wear, vests were at the top of my list. I tried a quick-and-easy vest and it was a hilarious flop, so I started working on making myself a quilted velvet vest. And I slooowly worked on it, and worked on it, and worked on it. It’s finally done (just in time for the weather to warm up, of course) and I don’t want to take it off, inside or outside. I think it’s the perfect blend of unique, comfy, practical, and pretty for me. I’m kinda obsessed. Before you get too gaga about my velvet puffer vest, I have to admit that it’s not actually a silk velvet. It’s an upholstery velour or velveteen (I so remain perpetually a bit confused about the nuances of difference between velvet – velveteen – velour) which sounds decidedly less glamorous, …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Bib

The first step is to select your fabric. There are many options for the bib. You can use fabric with or without stretch though it will be easier to sew without stretch. I recommend cotton for drool absorption purposes. If you use a layer of waterproof fabric in the middle it will prevent drool from leaking onto baby’s shirt. For more about selecting fabric, see Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. Along with your fabric, you need a piece of velcro. The pattern calls for a 3/4″ square of velcro, but really anything in a similar size will work – 1/2″ to 1″ will work just fine. If you don’t like velcro (or don’t have any on hand), or if your babe is prone to just yanking the velcro’d bib right off, you can substitute a snap for the velcro. If you choose to use a snap, make sure that you still …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Hat

The first step is to select your fabric. You need to choose a knit with at least 30% stretch so that it comfortably stretches on for wear on baby’s head. For more about selecting fabric, see the post on Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. You don’t need any notions for this hat. Start by cutting out your hat. You need to cut two copies of the hat and make sure that the direction of greatest stretch goes horizontally across the hat so that it stretches around baby’s head. You can cut the pattern piece twice on a single layer of fabric or once on a folded piece of fabric. The first thing to do on any sewing pattern, after you have cut out the pattern pieces, is to transfer any markings from the pattern to the fabric. The Electron Layette hat has three markings that we need to transfer …

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#OOTD Month 1: What I’ve Learned

Wow. 1 month of taking photos of my #ootd and I’ve already learned a ton. (As a reminder, I’ve challenged myself to take #OOTD photos for a year in order to get out of my current rut re-discover my style). The first thing I’ve learned, which isn’t really much of a suprise, is that I hate taking photos of myself every day! Other than that, I’m pretty excited about what I’ve been learning about the clothes I like to wear, the clothes I look good in, and the gaps in my current closet. I think that my overall philosophy toward clothing has certainly been cemented this month. I’ve decided that it’s of the utmost importance to me that the clothes I have be well made and fit well. I’d rather have a smaller selection of things I truly love than a closet full of things that leave me frustrated or un-inspired. I’ve challenged myself …

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Fabric Selection for the Electron Layette

I’m talking about fabric selection for the pieces of the Electron Layette together since it’s likely you’ll be picking out fabric for more than one of the patterns at a time. If you like watching videos, I’ve talked through each garment with example fabrics in the video above. In general, the most important things to consider when choosing fabrics for the Electron Layette are weight and stretch. For weight, you can generally use your gut – feel the fabric and think “would this be appropriate for a hat/bib/sweatshirt/pants?”. For the Electron Layette hat, the most important thing to consider is stretch. The hat needs to stretch to comfortably fit onto baby’s head. The pattern calls for at least 30% stretch though the more stretch the merrier. Jerseys (left) are a good choice but you can also use fabrics like ITY knits (right). You probably want a fabric that has recovery to it – when …

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SeamstressErin Designs in Be Creative with Workbox January/February 2017

I was honored to be featured in the January/February 2017 issue of Be Creative with Workbox, a UK based magazine that is new to me. The magazine focuses on textile based art and I greatly enjoyed reading through it and being inspired by art that I wouldn’t usually encounter as, when I do pick up magazines, they are usually focused on garment sewing. The main article about me was in regards to my blog. It was part of a regular series they have called “creative bloggers”. I talked about how my blog has come full circle. It started as a way to share crafty projects that I made in my precious spare time during graduate school, became an important nexus of friendship for me as I connected with friends near and far through blogging about sewing, then it served as a springboard to launch my pattern business. At the time …

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How to Set Snaps in Clothes

I love using snaps in clothes. Whether it’s attention-grabbing snaps to give a hint of cowgirl on a blouse or subtle snaps down the crotch of  baby clothes to make ins-and-outs easy, snaps are a fun substitution for buttons and useful addition to any sewing project. I use and adore and swear by my SnapSetter tool for how it makes setting snaps almost mistake proof (nothing’s completely mistake proof, if you’re me ;). It’s what I recommend you use and it’s what I’ve geared this tutorial for. If you have snap pliers or an anvil snap setter, I recommend this Seamwork tutorial for using them. But seriously, pick up a SnapSetter for yourself – you won’t regret it! To set snaps you need: Snap Setter snap components (Make sure they are all the same size and the same size as your snap setter. Size 16 is a pretty standard clothing size.) cap …

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How to Make and Use Tailor’s Tacks

Allow me to wax poetic about tailor’s tacks for a moment? When I first started sewing, I figured tailor’s tacks were archaic and complicated and I never bothered to use them because they were hard and I could always use pins or chalk. Well, it turns out that pins fall out and chalk rubs off and tailor’s tack are actually really, really easy to use. I wish I could jump back in time and tell myself this so that I could have fallen in love with tailor’s tacks sooner. Instead, I’ll wax poetic here on my blog and hope that I can jump-start someone else’s love for tailor’s tacks before they might have otherwise fallen in love on their own. So how do you make tailor’s tacks? Easy! Use a contrasting thread doubled through your needle. Bring your needle through both layers of fabric, coming back up as close as possible. You can …

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How to Sew a Cat Bed

I just got another 2 cats. But that doesn’t put me in crazy cat lady status, I swear, since it still adheres to the n+1 rule (where n= number of adults in a household and n+1 is the number of allowable cats before you have a “problem”). I intended to just get one more cat so that Tig could have a companion again, but when we went into the shelter room to meet Etta, Bandit jumped into my lap and started purring and playing with Evie. So I managed to convince my best-ever-in-the-whole-wide-world-husband to let me bring both Bandit and Etta home. Tig still isn’t quite convinced that she wants companions, but a sort of detente has been reached, and I know they’ll be friends soon. Since Bandit & Etta started their introduction to our home by living in the bathroom, I needed to quickly make them beds so they …

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Sewing Community Gives 2017 Summary

You guys, I’m in tears. I am moved by your generosity, compassion, and charity. Thank you so much for all that you pledged. As a community, we definitely joined together to make the world a better place. Together, over 250 people pledged over 2500 hours and over 12,500 dollars!!! Even those those of you who didn’t have much free time or money found creative ways to give – for example: “Much of my donation was raised by selling unused craft kits purchased at Value Village on Ebay.” and “I’m volunteering & doing alterations on school uniforms, asking parents to donate the money they would spend on alterations.” So many of you shared where and why you’ve donated which I found very inspirational. I’ve put together a summary so I can inspire you as well! I will continue to align with non-profits to inspire and create. I love working with my …

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Red Winter Skirt – Butterick B6219

Working through my #ootd project has already taught me many things and one of them is that I need more skirts I can wear in the winter! I decided that something I could whip up quickly would be a good start (even though I’m fantasizing about elaborate wool concoctions) so I grabbed Butterick B6219, some fabric from my stash, and got to it. It took me 1.5 baby naps (how I measure everything these days), so Fast & Easy is right! I made a couple minor fit changes to the pattern. I added a few inches in length (which is standard for me since I’m 5’10”). I also added more shaping to the yoke and shortened the waistband piece as I wanted to reduce as much bulk as possible from the elastic gathered waist. I generally make elastic waistbanded garments with as little gathering at the waistband as possible (my Conifer …

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We Are Community and #SewingCommunityGives

EDIT: Read about the awesome impact we made over the course of one week at http://seamstresserin.com/sewing-community-gives-2017-summary. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we can leverage our awesome sewing community for positive change in the world. As I’m sure most of you know, the American presidential inauguration is this week (January 20th) and there have been very divisive feelings in our country regarding differences of political opinion. I know that there have been contentious political events in many countries this past year. I’d like to use the inauguration as an excuse for us as individuals and us as a community to make the statement that, no matter what our political beliefs, we care about each other and we care about our world. We are a community. To show that we, as a community of sewists, care about each other and care about the world, I’m asking each of us to …

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Introducing the Electron Layette!

The Electron Layette is so named because it’s a current take on a baby layette – modern, full of personality, and gender-neutral. It includes easy-to-sew patterns for harem pants, drool bib, hat, and sweatshirt in newborn through 2 year sizes. Buy the Pattern Now Drop-crotch (or harem) pants are easy to fit and easy to sew. They’ve got plenty of room for baby to walk and crawl and wiggle around. Trust me, I can vouch for this one personally. Evelyn is just figuring out how to crawl and the little wiggler won’t hold still! The pants also fit nicely over both disposable and cloth diapers. We cloth diaper Evie and you can see in these photos that she’s got plenty of room to wear the pants comfortably over her big cloth diaper. I went up a size for the purple pants pictured here so she has room to grow but you can also choose …

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Green Jasper Sweater Sweatshirt

It’s about time that I sewed a Jasper. I’ve adored this pattern from afar since Lisa released it but my sewing queue is always so gigantic and I’m so easily distracted by shiny things (literally and figuratively) that even my grandest intentions often go a while before being fulfilled. Speaking of intentions, I do intend to sew this into a dress this winter too. Come on self – make it happen! I call this a sweater sweatshirt because the I was drawn to the sweatshirt fleece for how it looked like a sweater knit (and for how it was bright green, if we’re being honest). Something about the prominence of the knit stitches and the heathered green makes it almost look like it could be a nice heavy knit. In fact, it’s a cheap sweatshirt fleece from that big box sewing store we all love to hate. I bought it …

Sunday Stash

Today’s theme: Slinky things. Normally I shy away from 100% polyester. Andy by shy away I mean run the other way screaming. Normally I dislike fabric that looks like something my Grandma Smail would have worn. No offense to Grandma, she was a very fashionable lady. But she was a fashionable 80-something and at 30-ish I’m proud to have many characteristics of an old lady, but I’d rather my fashion sense trended a bit more youthful. But somehow the fabric on the left, despite being 100% polyester and totally old-lady-blouse worthy, called my name from the rack at the thrift store. I’m working on a t-shirt pattern right now and experimenting with incorporating wovens into it and I have it in my head that it’s going to totally rock in the right proportions with a suitable compliment. We’ll see… I got the purple spotted fabric at the same time. I’m …

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Red Robin Hood Hat

This hat is interesting enough that it’s not just another beanie but it’s also a quick knit that’s easy enough you can knit it in the dark. Yes, you can literally knit it in the dark. I speak from experience. I knit it sitting on the floor of Evelyn’s nursery in the dark when we were sleep training her. Okay, it wasn’t pitch black – I had a small, red plastic dinosaur nightlight, but that didn’t give me much more than the ability to see where my knitting was on the floor. I knit the hat in November and finally got around to blocking it and adding the buttons in the beginning of December. I wore it often through December and absolutely adored the green buttons on the red hat. But now that it’s not Christmas time any more, do you think the red and green combo still works? Does …

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2017 Goal: #OOTD

As I’ve talked about a lot recently, I’m feeling a bit discombobulated in my post-baby body and the slice of my wardrobe that fits me right now is pretty slim. Consequently, I find myself pulling on the same couple of outfits and I’m frustrated and bored by what I’ve been wearing. I usually look at every day as a chance to play dress up, but that hasn’t been the case recently. To pull myself out of my rut, I decided to give myself an OOTD (outfit of the day) challenge. I’m going to try to take a photo of my outfit every day and put it on Instagram. I’m hoping this will hold me accountable to myself and encourage and inspire me to get back to playing dress up. And maybe it will have the added benefit of helping me see wardrobe patterns and gaps as I look back through …

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2016 in Reflection

It’s pretty easy to reflect upon the garments I made this year and I’ve already put together my Top 5 Sewing Hits and Top 5 Sewing Flops of 2016. But life is more than just clothes, and I wanted to reflect on and share about my year as a whole. This blog is kind of the story of my life, as told through clothes. There are two big, hard parts of my year that I want to share as I think that we, as a community of (mostly) women, can help each other by sharing openly about them: body image issues and post-partum depression. I’ve always struggled with being comfortable in my body. I’ve always been tall and a bit of a klutz and got into sewing memorable clothing so that I was standing out on my own terms, not because I couldn’t blend in if I tried. (For more …

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Top 5 Sewing Misses 2016

I think this year had a much higher ratio of flops:successes than normal (see my 2015 year in review, 2014 year in review, and 2013 in review for comparison). I was a bit surprised when I looked back to write this post to see that I’d consider so much of my sewing this year to be flops (though I did have some great successes too!), but I think the same things that kept me from doing much sewing (sickness, new-baby-induced sleep deprivation, and post-partum depression) kept me from sewing my best. Oh well. They were learning experiences. In no particular order, my top flops: I think this vest was a lesson in I-should-have-left-well-enough-alone. Its first draft was okay (pictured above) but it felt a little viking-y and then I tried to make it better and it turned into a totally unflattering mess. Oh well. I have another two vest WIPs at the moment so …

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Top 5 Sewing Hits 2016

2016 didn’t see me sewing a whole lot, unfortunately. Between being sick through my whole pregnancy, having a baby in May, and then struggling through post-partum depression, I just didn’t have the ability to create. I love reading (and compiling) end of the year roundups (see my 2015 year in review, 2014 year in review, 2013 in review, and 2012 roundup for a glimpse through my sewing past), so I went ahead and post-mortem’ed this year’s sewing too. Even with very little output, I had some notable successes, which is nice to see and reflect upon. In no part particular order, my Top 5 Sewing Hits of 2016: These nursing Watson bras are my biggest hit of the year. I wear them almost every day (I have a couple of RTW bras that get swapped in occasionally) and love that they are fun, functional, and a bit sexy. I particularly …

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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 …

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Sunday Stash

Today’s theme is basics. Do you stash them? It’s hard to get super excited about really plain fabrics (other than the fact that they are, indeed, fabric). But it does seem that they come in handy with some regularity. It’s helpful to have solid colors around for when you find enough giant-cat-face fleece to make the body of a sweatshirt but need something for the sleeves, or when you have an eensy bit awesome vintage floral that’s dying to become the bodice of a dress but need something for the skirt. I picked up 3 yards of this lightweight denim at the thrift store recently. It’s definitely going to come in handy at some point as denim pairs with everything, I just don’t know what or when that some point will be. The knit is a t-shirt weight and isn’t really my color, but it is the most divine color …

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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Sunday Stash

Today’s theme is “Evie’s Room”. Right now, Evelyn sleeps in our walk-in-closet-turned-nursery, and she’ll probably be there for a while. But she’s about to start moving around and I’d really like for her big girl room to be set up so that she has her own place to play where she can safely do whatever she wants and go wherever she wants, even if she won’t be sleeping there for quite a while. When I first found out I was pregnant, I started perusing Pinterest for nursery decoration ideas and got excited about a forest theme. I’m not very tapped into the quilting world as I only dabble in quilting, but I’ve long crushed on just about every single pattern Elizabeth Hartmann has released and I have my heart set on making her Fancy Forest quilt for Evie for her big girl room. My mom recently bought the pattern for …

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How to Sew Christmas Stockings with a Faux Fur Cuff

December is here which means it’s holiday season! I’m actually pretty excited that Christmas and Hanukkah overlap this year because we get to have latkes for Christmas Eve dinner :) We’re keeping things pretty simple around our house because we don’t have a lot of spare time or energy this year (and at 7 months old, Evie isn’t going to know the difference). But it is important to me that we have Christmas stockings. Since I was a little girl, stockings have been my favorite part of Christmas. I was allowed to wake up whenever I wanted but I had to stay quiet until 7 am (which usually meant I would sit and stare at the Christmas tree for a couple hours in the early morning). Then I could grab our Christmas stockings, climb into my parents’ bed, and we would open them together. I’m excited to continue the tradition with …

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Sunday Stash

Today’s theme is “Gifts”. First off, a gift for me! My birthday was earlier this month and my awesome fabric-enabler mom bought me a box of Cotton & Steel fat quarters. Yippee! I’m a dabbler-in-quilts, but my mom is a pretty amazing quilter and is doing everything she can to get me more into quilting. I’m certainly going to have to make some more quilts since I have 40 (!!!) C&S fat quarters to use now! I’m not sure what I will do with most of the fat quarters, but I would like to make a tree skirt for our Christmas tree and there are a chunk of Christmas-y fabrics that would play nicely together. We’ll see if that happens in time for this year… The other gift-y fabric is several yards of Robert Kaufman mammoth flannel that I bought from The Confident Stitch when they were just having a …

Not Viking-esque But Still Not Good Vest

This vest is a woof. And apparently it started off mediocre and my repairs made it worse. I thought I could get away with wearing it regardless because it sure is cosy, but after looking at these photos I’m sending it off to the thrift store. Fall kicks into vest season, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. I like that I can still wear skirts and long sleeve tees, but I do start to need an extra bit of warmth now that the days are shorter and greyer and blusterier, and vests are the perfect thing, even as we move into winter. I have two vests in my closet right now, but only one actually zips over my bust (thank you nursing), so I figured some vest sewing action was in order – and quickly before fall leaves and winter is here because winter really is sweater season, not vest …

20% Off For Thanksgiving Weekend

I am so thankful for so many things in my life. I love Thanksgiving not only for the food (I’m not hosting this year so no cooking but golly gee am I still excited to eat!) and family (hooray for a table that seats 20 today!) but especially for the reminder to stop and celebrate my blessings with people I love. It may sound cheesy to non-sewists, but I know all of you understand that sewing is a major blessing in my life and I am very thankful for the friends and community I have made through sewing. In honor of Thanksgiving (and to take part in Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday) all SeamstressErin Designs patterns are 20% off through Monday! Use the coupon code thanksgiving2016 at checkout. I hope that you have a lovely holiday and that your life is full of reasons to celebrate.

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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 …