6

Wool, Silk, and Leather Luxe Fumeterre

I started this skirt at the beginning of the year. I meant it as a replacement of an old high-waisted wool maxi skirt that I loved in theory, but I had made it so long ago that the shoddy construction I used back then drove me crazy now. I used Deer & Doe’s Fumeterre skirt pattern for a replacement wool skirt. I certainly could have drafted my own 8-gore maxi skirt, but I just couldn’t get over those delicious front pockets. Again, I could have figured them out on my own, but Eleonore had already done the work to get the proportions perfect and I like to support indie designers so I went ahead and bought the pattern. This is a very deluxe skirt that also happens to be quite frugal. I used a gorgeous wool crepe that I picked up at the thrift store for $2/yard, a silk crepe de …

7

How I Organize My Zippers

I love organizing things, but sometimes great organization solutions are slow to appear. I think I’ve finally hit upon a pretty dang good one for zippers and I’m excited to share it with you. My zippers were formerly all housed in a nice labelled tupperware together. The problem was, I accumulate zippers since I pick them up at the thrift store and to find the right color/length zipper, I’d have to dump the whole tupperware on the ground and sort through the zippers one by one. And then I reached a point where I had too many zippers to fit in the tupperware so it barely closed so the zippers were constantly spilling and it just wasn’t a good situation. I had a flash of genius (if I do say so myself) that allowed me to easily and visibly organize zippers by type and size. To organize your zippers in the …

5

More Than “Good Enough” Nursing Bra

Apparently “good enough” isn’t good enough. I was sure that the “good enough” nursing bra that I just made was going to last me just fine until I’m done nursing. But sitting down to blog about it got the idea of making a better version stuck in my head. So I used Evie’s nap time the last couple of days not doing any of the tasks I really *should* be doing (or working on one of the other handful of WIPs I already have going) but instead sewing another bra. And I’m pretty well chuffed about it. Never mind that this set of photos look pretty dang close to the last set of photos, I swear they’re of a different and better bra! It’s the same Kwik Sew K3594. I went down one band size and used 2 layers of power mesh for the band (instead of the 2 layers …

2

Kwik Sew K3594 Nursing Bra

This bra isn’t that exciting. It’s Kwik Sew K3594 that I converted into a nursing bra. As much as I want to sew only exciting things, apparently practical still wins out occasionally. This bra was meant to be a wearable muslin – I do have pretty fabrics and lace that I want to sew into a bra, but I’m not totally sure what size I should be wearing right now as my bust size has changed yet again since I have been slowly losing weight post baby. Since it’s pretty near impossible to figure out if a bra fits until it’s almost all sewn, I figured I’d start simple and then when I figure out the fit go ahead and use my pretties. I haven’t quite gotten the fit right with this bra. You can see there’s a bit of extra fabric in the bottom of the cup. The one fit …

Electron Layette Sewalong: Sweatshirt

The first step is to select your fabric. The sweatshirt calls for a mid-weight knit with less than 20% stretch. This means fabrics like french terry, sweatshirting, even fleece or ponte. For more about selecting fabric, see the post on Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. Along with your fabric, the notions you need are snaps and interfacing. Cut your fabric. If you cut your pattern pieces out with your fabric on a single layer you can squeeze it into a smaller amount of fabric. Regardless, you need to end up with 2 fronts (mirror images of each other), 2 sleeves, 2 pockets (optional), 1 back, and 1 back neck facing. Note that there are two options for the neck facing piece – one has size 3 months, 9 months, and 18 months on it while the other has size newborn, 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years on it. The …

Electron Layette Pants Sewalong

The first step in sewing your Electron Layette Pants is to select your fabric. Paying attention to stretch, you can use a variety of fabrics including jersey, interlock, ponte, and sweatshirting. For a thorough walk-through, read/watch Choosing Fabric for the Electron Layette. Cutting the Electron Layette pants is quite simple. You need 1 Front, 1 Back, and 2 Waistbands. Cut the fabric on a single layer and, if your fabric is directional, make sure that your pattern pieces are facing the same direction. Make sure that the direction of greatest stretch is perpendicular to the selvedge so that it stretches most around the body of the baby/pants. Place the Front and Back right sides together and sew the side seam using a 3/8″ seam allowance. Since your fabric has stretch, you will want to make sure that you are using a stitch that stretches. If you have a fancy stretch …

7

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 …

3

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 …

1

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 …

11

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 …

3

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 …

3

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 …

9

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 …

10

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 …

7

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 …

2

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 …

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 …

10

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 …

6

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 …

11

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 …

1

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 …

7

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 …

45

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 …

9

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 …

4

Franciscan Starburst Placemats

If I was to buy myself a(nother) set of vintage china, it would definitely be Franciscan Starburst (see a bunch of examples of what it looks like on Ebay). First made in 1954, it’s everything I love about mid-century modern design – space-age, bright colors, and starbursts. I actually already have a complete set of vintage china thanks to my grandmother – the Franciscan Heritage (here’s more of what it looks like) which is also mid-century, but a very traditional design – which I love to use, but which also means I’m not in the market to buy more china. However, there are other ways to bring more starbursts into my life! Adam knows how much I like the Franciscan Starbursts so he bought me a set of salt & pepper shakers for Christmas that live on the dining room table. Since it’s not practical to buy a second set of china, …