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 …

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Sunday Stash

Today’s theme is “fabric I bought in the middle of the night while feeling sorry for myself.” There hasn’t been much sleep in our house since munchkin made her entrance 6 months ago. She’s an amazing baby and good at so many things. Sleeping is not one of those things. We’ve worked really, really hard to teach her to sleep the best we can, and we’ve made massive progress recently, but there have most definitely been plenty of nights where I was awake for hours with a screaming baby in the middle of the night and needed something, anything, to make myself feel better. So, fabric it was! Girl Charlee was having a sale on bundles of off-prints and I swooned for this floral. I’ve already used some of it to sew a plantain tee, but have many yards left so there will be more in my wardrobe! It came …

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Smile Together Sweatshirts

Even in challenging times, especially in challenging times, we must continue to create things of beauty and joy. I fully admit that these sweatshirts aren’t works of beauty. But they are certainly joyful. I know nothing about the politics of the man working the checkout counter at Target, the woman waiting for coffee in line next to me at Starbucks, or my neighbors taking their dog for a walk. What I do know is that this sweatshirt made them each smile. We shared in a moment of togetherness, of community, of joy, because of giant furry cat noses. And I guess that does make this sweatshirt something beautiful. If you can believe it, this ridiculous cat fabric came from the thrift store this week. Total serendipity and exactly what I needed. The contrast is a heavy t-shirt weight double knit I bought at Joanns and stashed forever ago, knowing I’d …

How to Sew a Knitting Needle Holder for Circular Needles

I’ve tried a bunch of different ways to organize my circular knitting needles and have never been completely happy. My mom just gave me the rest of her knitting supplies which caused my circular needles to explode out of their most recent not-quite-good-enough configuration which precipitated some emergency sewing of a circular knitting needle holder as I’ve been working hard to get my studio more organized, not less! I really like the solution I came up with. It’s pretty similar to my double-point knitting needle holder with a slightly different configuration. I used some treasured fabric that I bought in Japan when I was in high school – about time I used it! To make the circular knitting needle holder you need: 2 rectangles of fabric 2 pieces of ribbon 2 zippers longer than the length of your fabric tailors chalk (I love chaco liners) straight edge Cut 2 rectangles of …

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Grandma’s Quilts

My Grandma Currie was a prolific maker of things. Sewing, knitting, quilting, jewelry, stained glass, pottery, watercolor, drawing…there wasn’t much she didn’t do. My dad and his sisters recently finished sorting out my grandparents’ estate and I was lucky enough to get three quilts. The first is my favorite. I absolutely adore this quilt. My Aunt Sue says “I remember the farm quilt vaguely. It was a model for creating a series of appliques when I was a young teen.” Therefore the quilt was my grandmother’s design (not a surprise) and probably from the early 70’s. My grandma used all sorts of different fabrics and embroidery stitches to give the blocks tons of personality. Some of the details were even terrycloth – probably cut from an old towel! The quilt has clearly been worn. My mom helped me to get out all of the discoloration and staining that was possible …

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Floral Plantain Tee

Fall is here and with it comes long sleeve tees, flannel shirts, denim, vests, boots, and pumpkin spice all-the-things. Well, it should come with all of those things. But, at 5 months post-baby, my garment pickins are pretty slim (I’ve got plenty of boots and oh boy do I have plenty of pumpkin spice!) . Time to sew is pretty slim as well (I know I keep saying that), so I figured I’d start with the long sleeve tees as they are fastest item on the list. I chose Deer & Doe Plantain tee to start since I’ve made it successfully a couple of times before (with distressed bindings and as a maxi dress). Sewing for my current body is an unfamiliar and moving target (I keep changing size and shape, being 5 months post-baby) but it was pretty easy to try on the shirts I already had to see …

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My Sewing Pattern Storage

I hoard stash pretty much anything related to sewing. Patterns are no exception. I’ve been through a few different sewing pattern organization systems but I think I’ve finally hit on one that works well for me. It’s systematic, thematic, and allows for both easy perusal as well as easy growth (because, let’s be honest, I’m constantly adding new patterns to my collection). I store all my patterns in storage systems meant for storing comic books – cardboard boxes, tagboard backers, and plastic sleeves – and it works a charm. (This is not my original idea. I know I got the idea from another sewing blogger, but I can’t for the life of me remember who!) My organization system goes deeper than just “boxes”, so I thought I’d share in case it helps or inspires anyone else. Since I have a lot of patterns, I have them organized into boxes by type …

Sewing Tools iPhone Covers

The moment I take a new phone out of the box I put a cover on it. Seriously, I have to have a cover ready and waiting next to me before I can open the new phone box. Okay, so a big part of it is that I’m a total klutz and I drop my phone all the time. But a big part of it is the excitement of having a decoration for my phone that makes it uniquely mine. I’ve had many different cases over the years, but I’ve never had one that showed off my love of sewing – so I decided to do something about that! I designed an iPhone case based on the tools of our trade – sewing tools! They feature tailor’s chalk, snips, a tape measure, scissors, a seam ripper, tomato pincushion, and a thimble. They are available with an orange, purple, or aqua …

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Sunday Stash

Even though the time I have to sew is at a minimum right now, that certainly doesn’t seem to stop me from bringing home fabric to add to my stash. Yes, I’m an unabashed fabric hoarder. I thought it would be fun to share my fabric stash additions and the ideas I have for them and of course I’d love to know if you have any ideas for them as well! (The idea for Sunday Stash themed blog posts was unabashedly inspired by my latest quilting blogger crush Molli Sparkles.) Most of my fabric comes from the thrift store on my island. It’s a fabric hoarder’s dream – every week is a new assortment of all sorts of fabrics, and most of them are $2 a yard. Yes, you read that right! This beauty is silk crepe (yes, real silk at $2/yard – see why my stash keeps growing and …

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Black and Pink Joggers

So, I’m a little behind on the jogger fashion trend. Yeah, more than a little behind. But I got there. That’s what matters, right? Actually, what matters is that I now have a pair of sweatpants that I can wear in public (heck, that I can wear in front of my husband) without being embarrassed by how grubby and ill-fitting they are. Dare I say it, these things are even kinda cute! I used my jeans block as a base, graded up a size, and added in a little bit of wearing ease. Both the black and pink sweatshirt terry were from the thrift store. I opted to add a contrast trim to the front pockets and was going to have hanging pocket bags, but I got excited and sewed on the contrast trim before I sewed on the pocket – oops. I had to modify my plans to add …

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Grandma’s Sweater Elephants

Although I am very lucky to have several handmade keepsakes from my recently departed grandmother, I felt inspired to make one more. A few years ago, when I was visiting Grandma, she was sorting through one of her closets. In it was a sweater that she had knit that was quite moth-eaten. She decided it wasn’t worth repairing and was going to trash it. I thought that I’d like to give a shot at repairing it so I took it with me. Well, it turns out that those moth holes were so extensive I gave up on repairs, too. I wanted to use the textile for something special, so it sat in my scrap bin. Fast forward a few years and I knew just what to make from it. I decided to sew a stuffed animal for Evelyn out of the sweater and to make two matching animals to send to …

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Evelyn’s blankets

Evelyn Rose is lucky to have a giant fan club of people who love her. She is also lucky to have so many crafty people in her life that have made her wonderful keepsakes. I’ve been awed by how many amazing blankets she has been gifted. As a fellow knitter/crocheter/quilter, I know how much time and love goes into such handmade gifts. Evie is in the amazing position to have a quilt made for her by both two of her grandmothers. Adams mom, while she likes to make things, has never been a quilter. However, when she was pregnant, she decided she wanted to make her baby a quilt so she pieced together hexagons into a Grandmother’s flower garden pattern. Adam used the blanket as a baby. 40 years later, Adam’s mom pulled the very worn blanket out of storage and sent it to my mom. My mom cleaned it up, …

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Evelyn Rose’s Birth Sampler Embroidery

I didn’t make much in preparation for Evelyn Rose’s arrival. I did make a batch of clothes, but not much else. I’m not really sure why. Perhaps I felt a bit superstitious about preparing too much? Perhaps I wanted to get to know her first? Perhaps I was just too worn out by being pregnant. Whatever the reason, it did feel really important to me to embroider a birth sampler for her. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted it to look like, but the more I thought, the more right it felt to make it around a rose for her middle name. I had originally thought that I would decorate her nursery in all black and white and red in a very gender-neutral baby-friendly palette. Well, after I decided to do the rose embroidery that went out the window. The embroidery just felt right to …

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Nursing Watson Bras and My Post-Natal Body

I never really thought that I would get into sewing bras. I’ve always been fairly small busted and quite content to wear RTW foam cup bras that make my body look a little closer to hourglass than its true pear shape. I’ve loved seeing all the gorgeous bras that sewists have made, but never felt the inspiration strike to make my own. I found a RTW brand that fits me well, bought half a dozen of the same bra, and replace them when they start to wear out. Except for right now I’m not small busted and I’m not fitting the RTW I’ve tried and I’m not stoked on the nursing bras that I’ve found. So what’s a sewist to do? Start sewing bras, of course! The combination of nursing and gaining weight from pregnancy has brought my once ~32B’s up to ~34D’s. Whereas  before, I could go without a bra with …

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A Few Summer Tops That Flopped

My quick attempts at some summer tops ended up as flops. Oh well. We had some pretty warm weather here last month and I had a grand total of one camisole that fit me, so I thought it would be a great idea to whip up a couple of lightweight linen sleeveless tops to wear in the warmth. I started by drafting a new basic block (since I’m a different size and shape than my pre-pregnancy block) for myself and sewed it up in a salmon linen I had in my stash. It’s okay. I’m not enamored with the armholes or the fit through the upper back, but it’s wearable and decent for a first draft. I’m still exploring what silhouettes work well on my current body and I’m finding that, having gotten back a little bit of waist definition, I want to wear things that show I have a …

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All For Knot Skirt, Keyhole Tee, and Terrycloth Twist in Sew It All Volume 10

Sew It All Volume 10 is out and it’s got a bunch of fun and easy patterns in it – including three of mine! Even if you thrive on masochistic, overly complicated sewing projects (ahem), sometimes it’s fun to sit down and whip out a project in a couple of hours and every project in this magazine would fit that bill. All for Knot Skirt features a gigantic Chinese-inspired frog closure on a simple wrap skirt. Of course you could make the skirt without the elaborate frog or use the large frog on a different skirt. I used a gigantic wool I-cord that I salvaged from an old RTW sweater but I kinda want to make the skirt again in some fancy fabric with a satin frog. It’s too subtle as is for my taste :) The Keyhole Tee is a simple t-shirt that get’s its bang from contrast bands …