handmade kids clothing swap: my sparkle!


i was lucky enough to have danielle of my sparkle get assigned to be my sewing buddy. danielle has an awesome style sensibility and is absolutely brilliant at creating beautiful and unique outfits, so brilliant that she won project run and play’s season 3! we’ve been seeing quite a few peter pan collars from her recently, so i was stoked when one of her signature looks arrived on my porch last week!

20130403-DSC_2883Danielle said… “I didn’t do a literal remake of any one pin, but rather pulled ideas and themes from a few pins that had a similar feel. I noticed a few outfits on Robin’s inspiration board that mixed a loose woven top with bloomer style shorts like



and a few florals and peter pan collars like here.


Mostly I tried to make something that would be functional and beautiful for her little C, and that had a feel that seemed to fit Robin’s style. I chose a soft lightweight linen for the top and added a peter pan collar in a soft cotton floral.


Peter pan collar + C’s darling bob with bangs, and big brown eyes seemed perfect. I actually made my own pattern for the top (by altering a really basic bodice pattern) because I had a specific vision of how I wanted certain details to turn out and it was just easier that way. I used the full width of the linen for the top so it would feel luxurious and full and would spin and twirl.

20130403-DSC_2831I left the hem rather fat because I like the weight it gives a garment with a lot of fullness, and also so that Robin could let it out if need be.

20130403-DSC_2776For the shorts I used a blue stripped linen from JoAnn, and the Oliver + s Puppet Show Shorts pattern, which came together nicely. I just hope they fit!”

20130403-DSC_2761(the fit is perfect!)

“It was really fun sewing for C. Although Robin doesn’t show her face on her blog, she sent me a picture and she is just darling! I had that sweet little face in my mind as I chose fabric, thought about the design, and stitched it all together. Making something for somebody else, with your own hands, is such a sweet experience. I am really grateful I got to be a part of this little swap!”

Thanks so much Danielle, the outfit is so beautiful! It’s the perfect balance between cute and girly and easy to play in. Both C and I LOVE it. It’s the perfect first spring outfit, and is sure to get a lot of wear this summer!

20130403-DSC_287420130403-DSC_289820130403-DSC_2827Next stop?

Here’s a little preview of the outfit I made for Cherie’s adorable daughter Yuki… head over to You & Mie to see more!


and be sure to check out the rest of the swap posts! there’s a lot of awesomeness going on this morning, so grab a cuppa and enjoy!

cherie from you and mie

danielle from my sparkle

delia from delia creates

gail from probably actually

heather from well-crafted

kristin from skirt as top

meg from elsie marley

sanae from sanae ishida

vanessa from lbg studio

thanks for stopping by!


announcing the handmade kids sewing swap!


the pinterest challenge!

hooray, i’m hosting my very first multi-blogger extravaganza! i’ve teamed up with nine lovely ladies, and believe me when i say there’s going to be some serious awesomeness around blogland later this week. wanna see what cherie created for sanae‘s daughter? kristin made for danielle‘s daughter? gail made for vanessa‘s daughter? you get the idea, it’s gonna be awesome.

the challenge?

to sew a kid’s outfit that was inspired by pins on the recipient’s pinterest boards.

the participants?

cherie from you and mie

danielle from my sparkle

delia from delia creates

gail from probably actually

heather from well-crafted

kristin from skirt as top

meg from elsie marley

sanae from sanae ishida

vanessa from lbg studio

…and me!

see you back here later this week!

 a HUGE thank you to sanae for the beautiful button! that lady has some serious skills. :)

Japanese sewing book series: A sunny spot

JSBS_button500Hello and welcome! I had the honor of guest posting over at you & mie today, and gave a rundown on how to construct a garment using the instructions in Japanese pattern books. If you haven’t already, be sure to go check out the full week’s worth of posts. There is quite a bit of useful information that will help you navigate your way through these books. It’s been so much fun to work on this post with Cherie (and Sanae, who provides invaluable translating help)!

My most sewn-from Japanese pattern book to date has been the first version of A Sunny Spot (2010), which (eta) has an assortment of girls clothes in sizes 90-130 cm.

20130328-_DSC0166It’s always fun to see what patterns are in these books, and since I think this is a good basic book of girls patterns, I thought I show you what’s inside. I’ve added a few pics of the garments I’ve sewn from this book, too.  Ready for some eye candy?

Pattern A: High waist dress

One of the great things about this book (and many Japanese pattern books) is that it’s relatively easy to interchange some of the pattern pieces for different looks. You can swap sleeves, skirts, bodices, etc. This book provides more than one version of each pattern.

  • Type 1: back button dress20130328-_DSC0213
  • Type 2: Dot tunic blouse 20130328-20130328-_DSC0186 Here’s my version (more here)
  • 20130328-DSC_2655Type 3: Coat style dress20130328-20130328-_DSC0188My version (more here)20130328-_DSC0174
  • Type 4: puffed sleeve dress

20130328-20130328-_DSC0189 Pattern B: A-line dress

  • Type 1: Dangaree dress (and bolero)20130328-20130328-_DSC0190
  • Type 2: Lovely dress20130328-20130328-_DSC0192
  • Type 3: V-neck blouse 20130328-20130328-_DSC0193

Pattern D: Skirt

  • Gathered skirt20130328-20130328-_DSC0196
  • Tucked skirt20130328-20130328-_DSC0197My version (more here)20130328-DSC_2663 20130328-_DSC0172

Pattern D: Camisole

  • Camisole with lace (spring & summer version)20130328-20130328-_DSC0198
  • Camisole with wide straps (autumn & winter version)   20130328-20130328-_DSC0199This is one of my favorites… I’ve sewn a couple of these, and fully intend to make more. It’s such a great shape and so versatile! Here’s one of the ones I’ve made:20130328-DSC_2658

Pattern E: Knit tunic

  • Back ribbon tunic (this is awesome- perfect solution to the knit shirt minus the fiddly knit neckband!)20130328-20130328-_DSC0200
  • Layered style dress (love this!)20130328-20130328-_DSC0201

Pattern F: Cardigan dress

  • Short cardigan20130328-20130328-_DSC0203
  • Long cardigan20130328-20130328-_DSC0204My version (more here)20130328-20130328-_DSC0184

Pattern G: Coat

  • Linen spring coat20130328-20130328-_DSC0206
  • Quilted coat with round collar20130328-20130328-_DSC0207

So? What are you waiting for? Get your hands on one of these awesome books and give it a go. Worst case scenario? They’re absolutely lovely to look at and will provide great inspiration.

Want some more inspiration? Check out this site. (You’re forewarned, this is a French site about Japanese sewing patterns. Just click on the picture of the book you’re interested in on the left, and all the garments people have posted from that book will come up.) Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend. :-)

some things.

  • it seems i took another blogging break!
  • that wasn’t planned.
  • it’s been one of those months.
  • there has been very little sewing happening around here.
  • that is going to be remedied this weekend.
  • but i’ve been knitting! my first craft love.
  • i’m also taking a couple of online drawing/art classes. it’s been fun. more on that later.
  • i’m going to be a regular contributer at andrea pannell’s cool new site, gotosew. very cool. go have a look around if you haven’t yet.
  • and the reason i finally got off my blogging butt and posted is to share this: kinokuniya will be having free shipping on all US orders tomorrow. if you’ve been wanting to get some japanese pattern books, now’s your chance! (i’m not associated with kinokuniya, just thought i’d pass on the awesomeness.)


  • i will definitely be taking advantage of this and ordering some books not in stock at my local store. :-) after all, there is an enabler in our midst.
  • have a lovely weekend.
  • be back soon.
  • promise.

film petit: moonrise kingdom

moonrise title1


it’s film petit time again, and i’m so excited to be a part of it this month! when kristin asked me what movie i’d like to use as inspiration, i knew i couldn’t go wrong with moonrise kingdom, even before i saw it. i mean, all you have to know is that it’s a wes anderson movie and see this:


and you know it’s gonna be good, right? and of course, it lived up to it’s potential for pure awesomeness, and if you haven’t had a chance to see it, do it. now.

so the story is about a couple of misfit teenagers in love who decide to run away together. since the movie is filled with nutty characters (really my favorite kind), it’s really hard to pick a favorite, so i went with my favorite actor of all time. bill murray. a chance to dress my 5-year old daughter up like bill murray wearing madras pants, you say? sold. anyways, he plays walt bishop, the father of the protagonist, suzy. he’s quiet, a bit kooky. he has funny lines. for example. take a look at this short promo video he did for the movie. it’s hilarious.



“well the good ones are made out of separate pieces. yeah. this is a nice one, this is an old one. it’s made out of separate pieces of, uh, loud material, and sewed together in squares. you can do this at home.”


20121218-DSC_1321“here i am in a cardigan sweater. sittin’ here in portland oregon. livin’ la vida loca.”20121218-DSC_1292




cardigan sweater: hey june’s greenpoint cardigan in an awesome wool rib knit from mill end. lovvve those gold buttons. (they’re gold plated, you know. be impressed.)

button-down shirt: oliver + s sketchbook shirt done with michael miller’s cotton couture in soft white.

madras pants: oliver + s sketchbook shorts lengthened and tapered to a pair of awesome looking pants. i did not sew the little squares myself. fabric from bolt.


i didn’t stop there. the first time i saw the movie, i was struck by wes anderson’s fantastic overuse of plaid. this image of the inside of sam’s khaki scout camp tent in particular caught my attention:


(“jiminy cricket. he flew the coop!”)

seriously, look at all of that plaid awesomeness! (and don’t think i didn’t have very serious plans to crochet a rug. i started one. and then i came to my senses and started sewing.)

tents play a big part of the movie. wes anderson even set up camp in a plaid pup tent.

tent grpi

and of course, there’s tons more plaid love…

plaid love

i took all of this inspiration and sewed a tent dress for c.

20121218-DSC_1500 20121218-DSC_1488  20121218-DSC_1412 20121218-DSC_1399 20121218-DSC_1372



tent dress: oliver + s school photo dress. i am lucky enough to have the pendleton woolen mill store in town, and used some of their beautiful wool. i fully lined the dress in another cotton couture, choosing a color to mimic the look of the tent. for this, i eliminated all the awesome pieces liesl designed because i didn’t want to detract from (and mess up the look of) the plaid. i cut the yoke on the bias, added pockets, exaggerated the a-line cut quite a bit, and replaced the invisible zip with an outerwear zip to mimic the look of a tent. i’m so happy with this dress. and this pattern rocks. i want to go sew another (without mods) right. now.

and if you haven’t already seen what is going on over at a little gray and skirt as top


as expected, kristin and jessica nailed the looks they picked. kristin drew inspiration sam and suzy’s wedding clothes… check out that khaki scout uniform. amazing. and jessica sewed an adorable suzy dress for her little shirley temple look alike.

it was so. much. fun. to be able to be a part of this series with kristin and jessica. these ladies are incredibly talented, creative, and goofy. thanks to both of them for letting me part of this awesome series! i really enjoyed delving into a movie in a way i don’t normally, and getting the chance to sew clothes outside of my normal style. doing this definitely got my creative juices flowing. can’t wait to see what film petit is up to next month!


happy birthday maggie lou and a winner.

over the weekend we celebrated the second birthday of the little girl of some very good friends of ours. her mama requested handmade gifts, so i made the oliver + s lazy days skirt and appliqued a store-bought tee… 20121208-DSC_1124

(the applique is some stash cotton couture i had on hand… i cut it out using my digital cutter. perfection.)

(that ribbon crown? c made it for me for my last birthday- it’s what children in her class wear to celebrate their birthdays. best gift ever. such a sweet crafty little girl.)

and c made her a pillow.


(c loves to make these pillows at school. we probably have two dozen of them floating around our house now. isn’t it awesome? she embroiders a marked pattern and makes the whole thing on her own.)

the winner of the johnny mango seed leggings pattern (selected from the 24 unique commenters) is commenter #4, karen of stirandstitch, who wrote “i’m having my first baby in may, so i’ll finally have my own sprog to sew for, and, if it’s a girl, practical leggings and dresses will be go-to choices :)”. congrats, karen! i have emailed you so we can get the pattern your way.

leggings giveaway jpg

i hope to pop back in later this week with a new outfit, but if not, i’ll be back next week, when i’ll be guest posting for the fantasticly inspiring film petit series with kristin and jessica. it’s gonna be ridiculously awesome. :) (on the off chance you’re not familiar with this fun series, start here and here.)

a dress, some leggings, and a giveaway.


it’s been a fun week in sewing blog-land, hasn’t it? all of those giveaways over at sew mama sew… and i’ve got another one for you!

but first… some pictures of the latest corduroy creations.





(my child is stepping on my handdyed handknit cashmere wrist-warmers. oy.)


you guessed it, this is the (awesome) oliver + s family reunion dress. i love the cut of this dress, and have some ideas on modifications to change it up a bit. the neckline is a bit wide on my skinny mini… she is a wee bit over the chest measurements on the 3t and that’s the size i made her (with a 4t hem). i may take the neck down to the size 2t next time. otherwise? love it.


(somebody else loves it, too.)

ok, so let’s chat leggings, shall we?


every time i sew leggings, i use the same pattern by johnny mango seed. i happened upon this pattern at our local knit fabric haven, rct fabrics, and about two years ago and have been using this pattern for leggings ever since.


the fit is spot-on, and this pattern is wonderfully simple. the pattern calls for cotton (or wool)-lycra blend fabric with four-way stretch, and i get the best results when i stick to that fabric. lycra gives the leggings “memory” and help avoid saggy knees.

(have you noticed that lots of store brands sell leggings in 100% cotton? that’s one of the reasons i started to make my own. they often just end up looking kind of dumpy. i can make these much more like tights, but avoid the hassle of tights on a 5-year old (saggy crotch)).

there’s only one pattern piece to trace and cut- so no outside hems to sew. start-to-finish in 45 minutes. and i a slow sewist.

i love that all the sizes are marked clearly in a different color, too, with the size measurements right there in the middle of the pattern sheet.


the instructions are great, and provide quite a bit of detail if you need it but are written in such a way to make them easy to skim through if you pretty much know what you’re doing but wouldn’t mind a few reminders to avoid mistakes, with large heading instructions and clear pictures for each step. there is also info provided on how to make the leggings capris, scrunched (my favorite), pieced, trimmed, and how to modify the pattern into narrow leg pj pants as well as wider leg leisure pants.

i just sew these with my regular machine and a walking foot using a short zig-zag stitch that is as wide as it is long. i also turn my presser foot pressure all the way down (which is a great feature on a machine if you’re lucky enough to have it). so no serger required.


(soft. the fabric is awesome and from our local mill-end fabric store.)

the pattern is available here for $7.95 and ships for free (yay!)… so if you’re new to sewing or if you need a great leggings pattern, i encourage you to check this one out. pamela also sells a few other patterns, and i hope to try a few in the near future (day and night pants, here i come).

pamela, the local mama behind johnny mango seed, has graciously offered to giveaway a copy of the leggings pattern! to enter, please enter a leggings-specific comment below… why do you love them? (for me? they’re a great substitute for tights. my littles can’t handle getting tights pulled up very well and i feel a lot better knowing she has pants on under those dresses instead of just tights.)

comments will remain open through tuesday december 11, and a winner will be selected at random. (open internationally)



until next time!


disclaimer: pamela, the owner of johnny mango seed, noticed how much i use her leggings pattern and asked if i would review it. the pattern was already my own and all opinions are my own.

sew mama sew giveaway day!

giveawayday2012it’s sew mama sew giveaway day! sew mama sew is a fantastic (local to me) on-line shop, and the blog is full of inspiration.

so! you know that coat i just made?


it’s super easy and perfect for this time of year. and i will be giving away a copy of the pattern (or if you’re sewing for a boy and would prefer and more boy-friendly/unisex version, the trendy unisex pea coat pattern).

to enter, just leave a comment and tell me what your child’s favorite handmade garment is or has been. [for c, it was a red fleece pullover hoody i made last year (pre-blog). it’s too small now, and she’s been begging for another.] the giveaway is open to anyone at least 18 years of age anywhere in the world.

comments will remain open until friday, december 7 at 5pm PST, and i will choose a winner at random.

want to enter more giveaways and find awesome new blogs? head over to sew mama sew and take a look!


sewmamasew jpg

The winner is commenter #72, Kristie, who wrote “Lovely coat. I’d love to make one for my daughter. Her favorite items I’ve made in the past are an upcycled cashmere hoodie and a pair of treasure pocket pants with pieced sides in rainbow colors.”

Congratulations, Kristie! I’ll be emailing you to get the coat pattern your way.

Thanks everyone!


oh hello! still here… still sewing… i’ve just been a lazy blogger of late! must work on that. :-)

so there’s this girl in the tea catalog. she looks a whollle lot like my littles. (they may have the exact same haircut). so, in the spirit of the knock it off series hosted over at elegance and elephants, i decided to play around with this cute outfit by tea.

(this is not my kid.)

Dopelgangermy intent wasn’t to completely knock off all the details, just the overall look. i really loved the colors. (“mommy, you know i don’t like green!”)

first up, the dress. it’s basically this one  with the skirt length of this one. got that? :-) i really love this dress, and want to make some up in knits. it’s perfect- comfy and twirly. this one was sewn with cotton couture and finished off with a vintage button. ooh! and i got to use my fancy pants (as kristin would say) new bernina ruffler foot. (look at those gathers. pretty!)


next, the leggings, using my go-to pattern. the pictures don’t do them any justice, but they are made from a wide-wale corduroy knit with 4-way stretch. (it’s luscious. i bought a few more yards already.)

and then there is the coat. yeah, this is the same awesome coat you’ve been seeing all over blogland. and for good reason. it’s adorable! it’s the dear my kids stylish double breasted coat. i found some amazingly soft brushed gray cotton locally, and lined it with cotton couture that i stenciled with silver paint (btw, this stuff is awesome). (the stars were cut using a digital cutter.)

20121128-DSC_069220121128-DSC_069520121130-DSC_0814wrinkles and all. keeping it real over here at nested and stitches.

20121130-DSC_082920121130-DSC_0838happy weekend!

her new favorite

c loves button-down dresses. (she loves to do *all* the buttons.) and she loves purple.

what more could a girl ask for?

yep. twirly skirts.

both patterns are from this book (awesome book). the dress is pattern A, type 3. i love the dress, you may be seeing more of these. the pattern is cut perfectly, though i may lengthen the sleeves ever so slightly. the skirt is pattern C, which i enjoyed sewing with the lovely heather at modern domestic’s friday night sewcial last week. it’s made from essex linen, which may be my favorite new fabric. the stuff has a beautiful hand and drape, and it just shimmers. the whole outfit is of course inspired by the beauiful aesthetic of the japanese pattern books (to which i am addicted), as well as by my favorite new blog.

happy weekend!

a little apron, japanese style.

inspired by this.

the pattern is of course the apron from carefree clothes for girls. it’s super easy, and like so many japanese patterns, the cut is perfect.

i used beautiful a hemp linen blend i’ve had in my stash for years now.

the top is the flashback skinny tee (again). my husband saw the outfit and didn’t even realize i had made the top, he thought i had bought it. knit. success. yo. :)

trying to figure out how to manage getting pics for the blog when it’s sooo dark and dreary (and rainy) out even at noon. i know i’m not alone in this- how do the rest of you pacific northwesterners get good photos from now until… um… april?

(sassy girl.)

excited about this (the patterns are not only in english but sized up enough to fit my booty). thinking about this. (are you??)

thinking about everyone on the east coast in the path of hurricane sandy. stay safe. fingers crossed that it’s not as bad as they fear it might be.

kwcw days 3-6


not too much got done considering this is four days’ worth of sewing. a couple of the nights really just entailed tracing patterns, planning, etc. and a couple of days mostly entailed sewing knit shirts that didn’t work out. (first attempt: problematic neckline. second attempt: put sleeve in inside out.)but i finally managed to master the knit shirt. this is the ever popular flashback skinny tee pattern by made-by-rae that we all know and love.

things i learned and want to remember for next time… (and i’m not a knit newbie, i just never managed to get a neckline and hem that wasn’t homemade looking): for the neckline and cuffs i used my 1/4″ foot with guide- this helped me maintain a precise 1/4″ seam allowance throughout; even though my machine has lots of fancy knit stitches (which are lovely) and i have a serger, i had great results with the wide straight stitch (my stitch was set to a stitch width and length of 2.00); i love love love that my new machine lets me adjust the pressure on the presser foot (one of the reasons for the upgrade)- i set the pressure on the lowest/lightest setting, and got absolutely no rippled seams; i pressed the neckline and cuffs in half before stitching them in- this helped them stay neatly folded in half while stitching; i also used paper clips (the small clippy kind) to hold the neckline and cuffs in place at each of the points a quarter of the way through (avoiding pins on knits is always a good idea). the walking foot was lovely for the knits as well (i didn’t use it for the neckline or cuffs, as rae recommended).

the applique is done in the same knit as the neckline and cuffs… and i put it in last, which of course was a bad idea. ;) the browish-purplish knit is a lovely soft and thickish french terry. this shirt feel so much higher quality than anything you’ll find in a store. aside from the funky-ish applique, it looks totally professional. (pats self on back.) now that i finally mastered the knit tee, i’m gonna crank a bunch of these out. i may adjust the pattern a bit, as it seems to bunch around c’s chest. maybe i just need to go up a size.

these leggings are made from a lovely thick japanese french terry i’ve had for several years (!) now. i used my favorite leggings pattern, the johnny mango seed leggings. for some reason, this pair came out a little funky in the crotch, so they will either be jammies or be worn under a skirt. i usually make these leggings in a cotton-lycra blend with good 4-way stretch, and they are awesome fitting on my littles.

now the only question is…


or throw on a skirt and make it a fun outfit?

let’s be realistic. probably both.

one more day of kcwc sewing! hope your sewing is going well.


kcwc days 1 & 2

the first two days of kcwc were spent on top A-2 from the japanese pattern book “a sunny spot”.

i used a cotton poplin i found locally- its crisp hand gives this short dress quite a bit of volume. c will definitely need to wear a tank underneath to keep warm once the weather turns. i did lengthen the sleeves to be full-length, but otherwise made no changes to the pattern. it came out a wee bit wide for my little littles… she’s five but really has the measurements of a 2T or 3T with a couple extra inches in height.

we are pretty limited in our time of day for a photo shoot this time of year, and after school today didn’t work out to be the best time for c to tolerate mama’s antics. she was most uncooperative about changing clothes after school, and refused to go outside. there were tears. i think a new cold may be have found its way home!

i tried the bodice on her after i had it put together, and she was excited to get to wear a tank top underneath it. when i showed her the finished top, she was very disappointed. turns out, she didn’t want that skirt on it. nope. she wanted a cropped top. better luck next time, mama! :)

i do most of my sewing after c goes to bed, so we are operating on a bit of a kcwc time delay over here at nested in stitches! i’m eager to start on a new project tonight… i’m thinking knits. (do you sense i don’t have a plan? :) stay tuned…

modern crosses quilt

i finished a quilt! (it’s only been a year in the making…) it’s the modern crosses quilt from modern log cabin quilting by susan beal. i took a course with susan (who is local and who is awesome) last summer on log cabin quilting, started this quilt top, and then let it sit for months and months.

but i’m so happy this is finished! it’s our new couch/movie-watching quilt. it’s the perfect size at about 72×80″, and is sooo warm since it contains wool batting.

the fabric is one of my favorite lines- denyse schmidt’s hope valley. it’s obviously not the most creative of choices, making an entire quilt using only a fabric line, but i didn’t care- i loved it. (it also was pretty much guaranteed to come out looking awesome!) the background fabric is kona snow.

rather than tie the quilt and add buttons in the centers of the crosses, i free-motion stippled the entire thing using my new sewing machine. :) (i parted ways with my old machine and bought myself an amazing new bernina 530. i heart heart heart it.)

and bound it by hand, which is so utterly time consuming i’m not sure i’ll do it on my next quilt. i may use olive and ollie’s tutorial on how to bind a quilt by machine.

i love the simplicity of the quilt back.

if you’ve ever thought about quilting before, i highly recommend starting with log cabin blocks- they are super easy and there are so many fun things you can do with them.

thanks to all of you who have stopped by and left sweet comments during my little blog hiatus. i got out of the habit of blogging, and life got away from me this summer! i have been well, though. i’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of it, though… starting with kcwc next week. now to figure out what to sew….. :)
are you in?

summer skirts and an update

it’s been too long since I’ve been in this space! summer hit, and with it came travel. that means there has been less sewing, and what i have sewn has been quick and easy. bring on the oliver + s lazy days skirt.

i hope to be back in this space for real soon. after two plus weeks in hawaii, we dove into a backyard remodel to transform the shaded overgrown (natural!) space into something more usable. so far, it’s been fun (and super stressful) planning and making decisions, but it sapped my creative energy! about ten days after arriving home, i learned that my ninety year old grandma has aspiration pneumonia and travelled to florida to spend some time with her. i am posting this from her hospice room. it’s been so nice to spend time with family i rarely see, and i can’t speak highly enough of the hospice system. it’s not even been a day since she’s been here, but she is incredibly calmer and more comfortable here.

i look forward to being home and getting back to the normal routine. and getting my machine going again! :) so… back soon i hope.

a wiksten tank

i finally got around to sewing another wiksten tank!

this is made using some lovely cotton shirting i picked up a few weeks ago at bolt. (love that store!!)

i made a few modifications to this simple top. since i first made a wearable muslin (which i haven’t blogged about) using an uber thin lawn i had in my stash. i chose the size that corresponded to my bust size (34″, so a small), and while it is really cute and wearable, it gapes quite a bit at the neck. since i have pretty narrow shoulders, this time around, i cut an x-small for the neckline only and then extended it out to a small at the end of the armhole area. it’s perfect! (i do still have to wear a cami underneath to avoid cleavage views if i bend down, though.)

since i’m pear shaped and really don’t need the extra booty emphasis, i trimmed a bit of fabric off the back. i cut the fabric out according to the pattern, and then after sewing the front and back pieces together i just lined them up and trimmed off the excess from the back. even after doing this, the shirt still ends up hanging a bit lower in the back (on me at least).

i also took about an inch off the upper back using the same method shown by rae. i figured out how much to take off by making a muslin.

because of the curves, the hem is kind of a pain to do correctly. taking a tip from oliver + s patterns, i baste stitch at the fold line, press at the stitches, and then remove them. this helps you get the hem turned easily. however, folding this curved hem (and then folding the raw edges in) is tricky, as you end up with extra fabric in the curved portions (you can see how this would happen in the pic below).

in order to sew this hem correctly, next time i will sew gathering stitches inside the hem and use them to ease in the extra fabric. i will also serge the bottom edge and then only turn the hem over once (rather than twice). an alternative method would be to do a narrow rolled hem.

i have also found that the binding at the neckline droops out a bit on this tank. the pattern just says to cut the bias binding and then sew it on. however, i have read that the correct way to sew bias binding on is to first stretch it out by pressing it. the binding also goes on a lot faster if you fold and press one of the long edges in before sewing it onto the top since it’s much fiddlier to do once the binding is already sewn on (in a circle).

i love the simple shape of this top, and it is everywhere this season. hooray for simple summer projects!

a bucket bag for summer

so it seems that new bloggers ought to have some extra posts at hand so that when they, for example, get strep throat at the same exact time their husband goes out of town for a week, that they wouldn’t have an unplanned blog hiatus. hm. ;)

i really enjoyed reading the feedback on fabric and sewing for ourselves, and am so glad i’m not alone! it’s funny how when you start sewing, you buy more fabric than you need, but then you can outgrow that fabric. or just get tired of looking at it! but before i (realized i) strep throat, i made a trip to bolt and reconciled my little problem.

all lawns and voiles. lovely stuff! (i heart bolt! although admittedly, the liberty there in the middle was actually from fabric.com (did you see they restocked their liberty??)). at least a couple of these are destined to be wiksten tanks.

meanwhile, i decided it was time for a new summery bag.

this is the michelle patterns (formerly keyka lou) bucket bag. you may recognize the grey and off-white seersucker from c’s antonine dress. i love love love this fabric and am glad i have at least a little bit more. i’m pretty sure it’s 100% cotton, which seems to be hard to find anymore in a seersucker (and if you know of anyplace with good 100% cotton seersucker, do share!). i bought it a year or so ago from bolt.

i have to say, my fabric choices were very inspired by elsie marley’s adorable awesome bag. i lined it with a gorgeous scandi-inspired floral from the lecien my folklore collection. i adore a lot of fabric in this collection, and wish it weren’t out of print!

so pretty. (yay, those patterns match!) :)

a few other details and minor changes i made… i used the one-piece pocket since i wasn’t using contrast fabric on the exterior of the bag. i also used the seersucker to line the pocket to avoid the contrast lining fabric from showing on the outside of the bag. i interfaced every piece (including the lining, as this quilting cotton is rather soft and thin) with pellon’s shape flex, and used an extra heavy duty sew in interfacing (pellon peltex ultra firm sew-in) for the base of the bag to help prevent sagging.

i kind of wish i had used a magnetic snap, but the way the bag rests under your arm keeps things secure when i’m carrying it. also, use of a magnetic snap for the main part of the bag causes the pocket to pop out, so would necessitate one there as well.

one of my favorite things about this bag is how much it can hold without being a big bag.

that’s my ipad (in a not so small case) and a small knitting project. i think i’m going to make a drawstring bag out of the lining fabric to keep the knitting project safe from snags.

the bag is the perfect size for carrying an ipad- it slips in easily and see? you can’t tell it’s in there.

i definitely foresee myself making one of these again. it’s a really cute shape and would be easy to customize (check out this adorableness).

badminton top

we’re full swing ahead into summer here! today it might have hit 65 degrees. ;) and poor c had to model yet another summer outfit in the cold. but at least her mean mama waited until the rain stopped before she made her go outside in a tank, shorts, and sandals.

i present the oliver + s badminton top… which i plowed through the other night. maybe a little too quickly:

oops. that’s some ugly business there! actually, i did spend a few hours sewing this top. :) but i’m definitely not proud of how the inside of the yoke looks on this one. but you know? i’m calling it good enough, because it looks great on the outside!

this top is one that i thought would come together super quickly, but i was wrong wrong wrong! okay, it wasn’t that hard or anything. but it was fiddly. the yoke and top together look like a big hot mess before you sew the yoke since you have about a gazillion ruffles (and thus lots of gathering stitches), two yoke pieces, and arm ruffles. it’s not really that bad. and maybe instead of pushing through at 9pm i should have stopped and sewn the yoke on in the morning. yeah, next time. right.

i think this top runs a little big and short. i made a 3t, which is normally perfect for c in o+s patterns, but this one came out kind of big. c can still wear it, but it would have been better in a size 2t. c is at the tail end of the height measurements for the 3t, and i added 3 inches to the length as the pattern just looked short. (normally i add about an inch in length).

i used a lightweight japanese quilting cotton i picked up at cool cottons, not realizing how hard it was going to be to photograph! the contrast fabric is a michael miller cotton couture, which is lovely, lovely stuff. one of the great things about this pattern is that it requires so little fabric- just a half yard of the main fabric, and i had no trouble getting the contrast fabric from a quarter yard cut (the pattern calls for a half yard).

in case you can’t tell, i got a song and dance while i was taking photos. and then came “mom. i REALLY need to go to the bathroom!”

end of photo session.

she didn’t take the outfit off for the rest of the day (and asked to wear it to camp tomorrow), so i guess it was a hit!

ps- i was a slacker blogger and didn’t respond to comments from my last post. but thanks for your kind words about the shorts especially! home/handmade looking or not, they are going to get a TON of wear this summer, and a duplicate pair may be in the works. one of my favorite things about the puppet show shorts is that they are modest- the binding around the legs is just enough to keep the unders from showing but loose enough that they are comfortable. and c loves them because a) they are shorts and b) they have pockets. perfect!


it’s the last day of school! finally, summer is here. and the sun is shining!

this simple little summer outfit is the clever charlotte sandpiper top and the ever popular oliver + s puppet show shorts in denim.

i love the lines on the clever charlotte top. there are a lot of patterns like this out there, but the lines on this pattern are modern and very stylish. i think the top is a little revealing for school, but will be perfect for the beach and parks and general outside play in the sun.

this top can be made reversible (this one isn’t). the lining is a bit hard to see, but here’s a peek-

the puppet show shorts are one of my favorite shorts patterns. that said, i’m not sure this lightweight denim was the best choice, as it looks a little homemade in the back since you don’t usually find these types of shorts in denim in the stores. alas. they’re cute anyways! but i might select just a regular old solid next time.

i’ll leave the giveaway open until sometime this afternoon, so if you haven’t entered already, now’s the time! i’m giving away a handmade citronille top in an out of print heather ross double gauze! :)

wiksten tova: mama needs new clothes

yeah, i need some new clothes. how about you? do your kiddos have stellar wardrobes and yours is in need of some updating? you’re not alone.

this is the third time i’ve made the tova top by wiksten. it’s awesome, because now jenny offers the patterns digitally for a much lower price than what i paid when i bought the paper version. i highly recommend this top. i made a size medium… i’m a bit shy of 5’5″ and took about an inch and a half of the hem but made no other changes. i could probably tweak the fit a bit, but overall i’m very happy with it. (as long as i’m looking at these pics from my front. the side and back pics? forget it. :) this might be a piece of skinny girl clothing, and i’m a big ol’ wide pear. what to do…

i’ve been almost craving white tops for myself. white is my absolute favorite color to wear in the summer. practical, no. beautiful, yes!

the fabric is an almost gauzey white cotton i got over the weekend from bolt. kristin and heather helped me decide amongst all the lovelies they had to choose from (thanks, ladies!).

check out that tree! these pics were taken right outside our house. (nice tree… healthy tree…:)

in the interest of keeping it real (ideas on this? maybe take in the back? is it too big?).there’s a bit of a party going on back there.

ok, back to the front we go.

wanna join me? c’mon. it’ll be fun! let’s make some clothes for ourselves.


ps- don’t forget to enter the giveaway if you haven’t already! i will keep it open until friday sometime.

thank you giveaway!

i have to say, i’ve only been blogging a couple of months now, but i really love it. i appreciate every single comment that’s been left. i have thoroughly enjoyed the email correspondence that has developed with some of my readers. this blog is still in its baby stages, but it’s a fantastic little baby!

i started this blog to become more of a part of the sewing community. to be honest, although portland is a great crafty town, i’ve definitely felt the absence of a crafting community within my own life. but starting this blog has really changed that. if you’re reading this and have been on the fence about starting a blog of your own, i really encourage you to give it a try.

to thank my lovely readers (and in all honesty, in the hopes of finding more!), i’ve decided to do my first little giveaway! i’ve had this yard of the now out of print and hard to find heather ross far far away print in a lovely double gauze for quite a while and it’s just sitting there, waiting to be loved. one lucky reader will have the option of EITHER having me sew the fabric into a citronille marie top in the size of your choice (okay, sizes 2, 4, 6, or 8) OR of having me send you the lovely (prewashed) fabric. your choice!

for the top, please note that i am trying to get my serger working so i can finish the inside seams that way, but please be okay with it if they end up being finished with a zigzag stitch. (thanks for your understanding.) UPDATE: serger working! yay.

to enter, please leave a comment here, telling me which you’d prefer and what you’re working on (or want to be working on!). comments will be left open and the winner will be chosen at random on friday, june 15. if you choose the top option, please allow a week for me to complete the top and get it on its way to you!

fine print: you must be 18 years old to enter… the winner will have the choice to receive either one sewn garment (pattern not included) OR one yard of the fabric as pictured. yadda, yadda, yadda. ;)

yay! good luck. spread the word! and i hope that wherever you are, wherever you live, you are having better weather than we have here in portland today. chances are in your favor. :)



And the winner is… Commenter #7, Maria! Congratulations! :)

citronille marie no. 2 & o+s picnic class shorts

holy cuteness, batman.

to be honest, these shorts weren’t my favorite of liesl’s patterns. in fact, i’ve been sitting on this pattern for a year having only sewn the top and no plans to sew the shorts. but then i started to see some throwback versions and i changed my tune. i am in love. this pattern is perfection.

the class picnic shorts were sewn up in some sort of thick fabric i found in the denim/twill section at mill end. it’s (not obnoxiously) hot pink. the contrast fabric is kona snow, but i doubled it up with a lightweight white denim i had in my stash so the white wouldn’t be transparent.

my featherweight rocked these shorts out in no time. it shall henceforth be called zippy. the thing sews something serious. (i haven’t broken out the zigzagger attachment yet, but finished the inside seams  by turning them in ~1/4″ and sewing with a straight stitch, thanks lucinda! there is also a great series of tutorials on finishing seams with a straight stitch machine over on the oliver + s blog.) i had a bit of a hard time controlling the speed of the machine, as i have the original foot pedal. a slight twinge of my toe makes the machine go from barely moving to super fast, faster than my computerized pfaff goes. (yes, my toe. this should actually be called a toe pedal because you have a little button to press down and the toe’s the thing. anyways.) so there were a few wonky stitches (including the faux fly) on this one. i ordered a new modernized foot pedal from april, the queen of all things featherweight (and where my machine came from, fully restored).

whassup? you talkin’ to me?

. . .

the citronille marie is done in a reproduction feedsack print (i think), so it’s just plain old quilting cotton. seriously love this pattern, though. i could sew 5 or 6 more but then you might get bored. ;)

yep. we take pics first thing in the morning. yep, we need to mow the grass. again. all it does is rain, rain, rain. off to put on some warmer clothes.

happy tuesday!

the best laid plans…

yeah, pretty sure you know how that one turns out.

i’ve been sewing a ton around here. i have three finished tops i’ve not blogged about, not to mention a pair of tighty whities for the littles :) as a first pass at undies (they need some tweaking). but these tops need bottoms! i had a pair of shorts all cut out and started on because damn it i was going to finish them sunday night and post them on monday. and then. my machine. it jammed, the needle thread broke, the needle broke. many many times and now i give up. it’s all about unhappy. it needs to go to the sewing machine hospital (lucky for me i got a $20 off coupon at the last bolt sale!)

so. here’s a pic of one of the tops that i finished. it’s the citronille marie. i debated and debated to myself about ordering this pattern. i mean, really. it’s just a raglan top. how many such patterns does one really need?? but the tops and dresses i kept seeing were freakin’ adorable. there’s just something about the cut. it’s a beautiful and simple pattern (my favorite kind).

my first iteration wasn’t my favorite. i’m not sure the print does the pattern justice. but it’s cute anyways. it will certainly do for summer camp. one thing i am loving about this top is that c can sit with her knees in it (which she loves to do in all her tops, maybe just to drive me crazy) and not stretch it out. that kid has ruined many a knit shirt. i digress.

since i know my machine will be gone a week or more, i have drug out my adorable featherweight.

pretty, right?

i got it for mother’s day 2009 (and then promptly broke two toes so couldn’t use it for a while) but it doesn’t get much use. i’m just really used to my modern machine, i guess. plus i always think of the featherweight as a straight-stitch only machine. you know, ’cause it is one. so i was trying to figure out how i was going to finish seams with it and went and got all my accessories out and realized i have this!

the singer automatic zigzagger! i’ve never used it and it looks very awkward to me (it’s huge! and the machine is tiny!) but i’m gonna figure it out.

so, off i go to read my manual. more later this week. i hope.

for the birthday girl

happy tuesday! i hope everyone had a fantastic memorial day weekend. i wish i could say i spent it sewing, but in reality i’ve been super busy for the last week or so. i was in chicago for a few days for work, and even though i got to stay at a super fancy hotel (ritz-carlton, baby!), i was so busy with work that i barely got to spend any time in my luxurious suite. it was amazing though, how easy it was to fly when traveling sans child! as i’m sure all you moms out there know, this is a luxury in and of itself. ;) i got to read up on photography a bit on one of my flights… now that i’m blogging, i hope to improve my photography skills. and maybe even brave my husband’s super intimidating dslr. soon!

the past couple of days have been spent back here in cool and rainy portand with extended family. my niece is turning 2 this week, and i was miraculously able to make her a couple of quick things since i got home-

i started with the super-quick lazy days skirt from oliver + s (awesome free pattern) using a japanese print i’ve had in my stash for a couple of years. (i love this print for a 2-year old!) the plan was to get her a white tee-shirt and applique a red “2” on it… but i didn’t plan ahead. (i’m always doing things at the last minute. that’s just how i roll). rather than drive over to target this morning and get a shirt (and wash/dry it and then applique it) it really seemed easier just to sew something else up. you know, cause this makes perfect sense. i also really wanted to use this dog print i had in my stash (from fabric depot but i bought it a year or more ago).

so, i made another jumper “d” from the japanese pattern book a sunny spot, like the one i made here. i seriously love the one i made for c (who likes to walk around with her hands in the awesome side pockets). it is a perfect year-round jumper (especially if you live in a mild climate like portland or japan), and can be worn over a tee or tank and leggings in the summer or over long sleeves and jeans in the winter. it’s also nice, as the style leaves a lot of room for growth.

unfortunately, the birthday girl missed her nap in order to make her party today, so i wasn’t going to even ask for her to model it for me. so, no action shots today! ;)

see those pockets? stuffed full of rocks. she could barely keep her skirt up.

i succumbed and ordered a couple more citronille patterns! once again, they arrived super speedy style. i hope to get another one sewn up soon, maybe even this week. see you then!

citronille antonine: sewing in french

inspired by this dress gail posted in the pinterest vintage may group, armed with my new cintronille patterns, i made c an antonine. i had a blue and cream seersucker in my stash from bolt (which i bought to make a dress for myself… um… well, at least a year ago), and it was a perfect match. the inside of the dress is lined with the new cotton couture (drool, this stuff is lovely, i want some pj pants in it) in soft white. i had originally planned on leaving a bit of the lining peeking out from the hem, but c insisted i “cut off the white part”.

although i’ve sewn from japanese pattern books (which are usually heavily diagrammed), i’ve never sewn from citronille patterns before. and you’re curious about these, right?  here’s the lowdown… (and if you speak French, by all means let me know if i have incorrectly translated something.)

the back of the pattern lists the recommended fabrics, additional notions, and fabric requirements (in meters). it also lists the size measurements (height/stature, waist/tour de taille, and chest/tour de poitrine). i chose the size 4 based on the height measurements.

here’s the first page of the pattern. looking at the nomenclature at the top of the page, the pieces correspond to the front/devant, back/dos, and manche/sleeve.  next, see the part where it says “les valueurs de couture de 15 mm sont comprises”? that means that the seam allowance is 15 mm (and it’s already included in the pattern pieces). since 15 mm = 0.59″, i used a narrow 5/8″ (which is 0.625″) seam allowance. the next bit about the “ourlets de 4 cm” means that the hems are 4 cm. (obviously, you want to pay attention to the fact that one of these numbers is in mm and the other in cm).

the glossaire gives the definitions of a bunch of terms. i mostly skipped over this part, but the “droit fil” is the grain line and “froncer” is crease/fold. i’m wondering now if i should have paid more attention to la glossaire. ah well. okay, the legend shows the images for the outside/endroit, inside/envers, lining/doublure, and interfacing???/triplure. not 100% sure on that last one, but this pattern didn’t use interfacing. i then proceeded to skip notching my curves and clipping my corners. not sure if they wanted me to do this before sewing? anyways, i didn’t.

moving into the garment assembly, i think the instructions are clearish based on the pictures, but they certainly aren’t as detailed as those in the japanese pattern books (in my experience).  the nice thing about the patterns being in french is that i stand half a chance at translating the text (high school french helped but i don’t think it’s necessary). other commonly used terms are endroit contre endroit/ right sides facing, batir/sew (i really thought it was “baste” and basted the pieces in pic 1, but turns out it’s “sew”), piquer/press, epingle a nourrice/ safety pin, glisser l’elastique/ slide the elastic, faire un retre au bas de la manche, en repliant 5 mm pois 7 mm/ fold the base of the sleeve 5 mm and then 7 mm… and so on. armed with a french-english online dictionary, it’s not so hard.

i did find that the elastic measurements for the sleeves were a bit off – the elastic around the arm was way too tight and that around the shoulder a bit too loose. so a bit of fiddling was required there.

i added some buttons to “cuten it up,” as my husband would say. the dress ended up a bit loose around the chest (though really it’s good enough), so next time i may go down to a size 2 (which sounds much better as 2 ans, or “deuxieme ans” don’t you think?) for that piece, and take in that elastic around the shoulders. surely if i do both those things, the fit will be perfect. or too small.

here’s some “action” pics, taken this morning on my desk. when you live in rainy portland, you get what you get, and sometimes the desk has to do, especially when your daughter is sooo excited to wear her new twirly dance skirt to school. (score, mama!) i love the combination of a fancy dress with chucks.

i really enjoyed this pattern and can’t wait to give another one a go. if you’re interested in ordering a citronille pattern, go for 2-3 patterns (no more, no less) at a time, they end up being around $16 each shipped to the us. (the shipping cost and speed go up once you hit 4 patterns).

have you sewed any citronille patterns?? would love to see pics of your creations!

my sewing studio

because everyone love to see where people sew, i thought i’d share my studio space with you.

i share my sewing / crafting space with my home office, which is in our main floor master bedroom. after c was born, hubby and i started sleeping in the extra bedroom upstairs to be close to her, so this space quickly became my home office ( i work from home). we remodeled it a year ago after i tired of the drab space and was inspired by alicia’s awesome studio remodel.

the first step was a fresh coat of paint and replacing the ugly wall-to-wall carpeting with laminate flooring.

next up? ikea, of course. as you can see, i made quite a bit of use of the expedit shelving. on the walls are two sets of 4×4 units topped by two sets of 4×2 units. the baskets on the top shelves store my yarn, and the rest of the shelves store my craft books and patterns, sewing notions, and other office/husband stuff.

my cutting table is awesome. this is something i looked and looked and looked for and completely obsessed over. i have a relatively big/long space, so wanted to have as big a cutting table as the room could fit. i ended up constructing my own out of two 4×2 expedit shelves, which together provided a base of about 58 x 31 inches. the shelves were bracketed together at the top and at the bottom. we also got a big sheet of mdf to help stabilize and reinforce the bottom so that the table would be more of a solid unit instead of two pieces at the bottom. the whole thing sits 4.5 inches off the ground using 12 adjustable legs (these, i think, though mine look a wee bit different… we found them right next to the expedit shelving in the warehouse). the legs were inserted through the mdf into the shelves. the base was then topped with the beautiful beech numerar countertop, which is an enormous 73 x 39 inches. the total height of the table is around 38″ and is perfect. since the shelves are designed to stand upright, i try not to overload them with books, especially since they are supporting the big butcherblock counter top. the whole thing is awesome, stable, beautiful… and i love love love it. seriously, i can’t stress its awesomeness enough… even if you can’t swing the wood counter top, you could put a less expensive topper on it (like this, or go even cheaper at home depot) or even skip that part or save it until later. without the counter top, the whole thing easily came in under $200.

my sewing table is the norden dining table, which sadly doesn’t appear to be available in white anymore. the table has an extension leaf, but becomes too wobbly when sewing on it that way, so i don’t use it. (i had also looked at less expensive options, and even brought home and had my husband put together the less expensive melltorp table, but i found it wasn’t nearly stable enough to handle the vibration of the machine. i wonder if it would be more stable on carpet?)

last up is my fabric storage bookshelf. in order to divide the shelf down the middle, i bought two narrow billy bookshelves. i covered the glass portion of the doors to protect the fabric from the sun… am going to need to do a bit of sleuthing to find the source for this one. (the glowing light on top is actually four of these… getting these pics with the lights off prooved to be beyond my camera skills at the moment!)

the other wall houses my desk and unsightly pc, so we’ll just skip that part of the tour, ok? :)

obviously, my husband is awesome. he put all the furniture together for me, and helped me haul it home. not to mention the bazillion ikea trips he had to make!

thanks for visiting! i’d be happy to answer any questions and provide greater detail on how the cutting table was constructed. i’d love to see your studio spaces, too, so feel free to link up in the comments!

hexagoned ofelia + crafty wonderland

over the weekend i decided to paper-piece up some 1-inch hexagons using various scraps i had around. i appliqued them to the front of a linen ofelia instead of the ribbon. fun, huh?

the ofelia pattern (by locally-owned patterns by figgy’s) is easy and a quick sew. the pattern gives instructions on sewing french seams, but after sewing one sleeve on with french seams and seeing how bulky the seam was with the linen, i just went back to the normal seams. i also omitted the sleeve binding to keep things simple and focused on the hexagons.

in other news, i got to go to portland’s semi-annual craft fair, crafty wonderland, on saturday. i met up with a few friends, made a washi tape flower brooch at collage’s table, and generally soaked in the crafty awesomeness. and of course i scored a few fun things, all made locally:

bag made with vintage sheets by four-eyed girl.

handmade buttons and necklace by chet and dot. the necklace is for the littles, and the buttons for some fun future craft project (as i was advised they should be handwashed only, darn it!)

handmade polymer vintage sewing stamps by blue diamond stamp company

i also got a bunch of washi tape from collage and some homemade lollipops (the flavor of one is salted caramel, which i declare to be delicious) from this charming candy.

looks like a lot of these on-line shops are mostly empty, but i bet they’ll begin filling back up again now the the show is over. if you’re ever in the portland-area when the show is going on, i highly recommend you stop by and check it out.

after the show, i took the light rail back home, and was picked up at the station by a panicky husband waving frantically at me. poor c had just vomited all over the back seat (mostly on the floor, thankfully). there is a seriously potent stomach bug that has knocked out nearly all the kids (and now parents…) at her school in the past week. i was very thankful that the worst was over by sunday morning and we got to enjoy a very quiet mother’s day together at home. i had intended to do some sewing on sunday afternoon, but ended up working on the blog and tinkering around with some css coding. not exactly what i had planned! messing with css on wordpress is easier than i thought it would be (a computer whiz i am not), and i highly recommend you play around with it if you blog here.

what did you do for mother’s day?

now, i’m pretty sure i need to go wash my hands again….

vintage inspired round neck dress

inspired by this adorable dress and all the vintage loveliness popping up all over blogland in preparation for vintage may, i sewed up a round neck dress. i’ve had this pattern for a while now, but never got around sewing it up for some silly reason. the fit is perfect, and i heart it.

having no vintage sheets on hand (but plans to remedy that very soon), i used a print from heather bailey’s nicey jane collection, which has been sitting in my stash. i sewed it up in size 3, worrying the whole time that it wouldn’t fit my pea of a 4.5 year old as there was no sizing guide. i was afraid the size 4/5 would be too big so had to brave the size 3. the fit is perfect, though next time i’ll probably add a couple of inches to the hem.

the leggins are again the johnny mango seed leggings (i sewed up four of these last summer- they are a serious staple. need to make some more!!)

in other news, i treated myself to a mother’s day gift- some citronille patterns and book. i decided that mother’s day was as good a justification as any to splurge on these patterns. they are very simple and have classic lines. you can find a lot of similar patterns around, but well. i couldn’t help myself. i’ve been drooling over the site since the patterns showed up on soulemama and posie gets cozy. (and then i found this, and well, you know how these things go.) i was super impressed with the shipping. i ordered these on may 2 and they showed up yesterday!! (tip- if you order 3 or more items, be sure to make sure it isn’t cheaper to ship if you place two orders- i noticed the shipping went up $10 if i ordered all three items in the same order- i think they upgrade shipping).  i’ve been really good and haven’t broken into them yet, but not sure i have enough restraint to wait until sunday. maybe i’ll be granted some precious daytime sewing hours that day and will be able to crack into these.

what about you? are you treating yourself for mother’s day?

sewing japanese no. 2

over the weekend i sewed up dress “d” from the japanese pattern book “a sunny spot” (isbn 978-4-529-04894-1).

here’s a pic from the book of the one i made. isn’t it adorable? there’s a summer version, too, with spaghetti straps and side panels that go higher up on the arm, but i thought the boxiness of this “fall/winter” version was even cuter. i freakin’ love those side panels and pockets. love ’em.

anyways, i made it up in one of the denyse schmidt prints from joann’s… these small solids are awesome to use for garments because from a distance, they read as prints but provide more interest up close.

i went for size 100 again, this time it was a perfect fit. i had no trouble with the pattern at all, except for messing up the binding at the armholes- this as a result of not paying attention to whether i was supposed to sew the binding to the front or the back. i did the opposite, and ended up with slightly wider front panels than the pattern intended. ah well. next time.

the family and i had a fabulous lunch at pine state biscuits on saturday (go on, click on the link to see what i ate. so good. so not healthy). afterwards we headed over to cool cottons where the hubby snapped this picture-

i even found a couple of pics of the fabric stacks on his camera. hilarious.

sewing japanese…

i had a big kcwc fail last week. i did a little more sewing, but got frustrated with a top i was working on and had to walk away. that coupled with a stressful week at work/ big deadline and a sick kiddo turned into very little to show for the kcwc challenge. hopefully i’ll do better in the fall.

i’ve been wanting to sew dress #4 from the japanese pattern book everyday girls’ clothes (isbn 9784529047005) for um… a year? more? too long. i even found some gorgeous purple linen at my local fabric store and have had it stashed away in waiting. why do i do this, this stashing away of things to sew at some later date? silliness. anyways, yes, i basically sewed a copy of the original. i don’t usually do this, but i loved the pics in the book so much i couldn’t help myself.

i sewed up a size 100, which should be the right size based on c’s height and chest measurements. alas, that doesn’t factor in her head measurements- the neck is a tiny bit of a squeeze, even with the two buttons in the back. i think she is going through a bit of an anime stage right now. the fit was otherwise spot on, but io don’t think it will give her as much growing room as i had anticipated. (it might not matter… she might never wear it because the neck is tight going on.) the facing around the neck is some gorgeous liberty.

this was super easy to sew. sewing from japanese pattern books isn’t hard at all as long as you know a few basics (this awesome new blog is a fantastic resource). the diagrams are extremely helpful and if you have experience sewing clothes then you should have no trouble finding your way through. i’m lucky enough to have a kinokuniya locally, which is where I buy all my japanese pattern books.

i find myself really drawn to these simple beautiful garments, popular in japan and france. too bad they seem so out of place in america. i also love linen; it’s so light and comfortable in the summer, and looks good (to me) even without ironing. but it just seems so… fancy! what do you think? what are you sewing these days?

it’s a mama-made day!

i love mama-made days, don’t you? seriously, though, it puts a huge smile on my face when c wears the clothes i make for her.

details… oliver + s picnic blouse in a denyse schmidt print. the hopscotch skirt, of course. and johnny mango seed leggings (this pattern fit her perfectly and is super easy to sew) in a cotton/lycra blend.

i’ve been perusing my (large collection of) japanese pattern books looking for the next project. how to decide what to make when there are so many patterns I want to sew, anyways?

hopscotch skirts… squared.

between the end of winter and a growth spurt, my daughter c is in desperate need of new clothes for spring. and what more could a 4 year old little girl want than a couple of new skirts? (oh, I mean besides twirly skirts and dresses and tights. Of course.) i have spent the last few days sewing up two oliver + s hopscotch skirts.

the first one i made is in a medium-weight twill i picked up last week from the fabric depot. the weight of the fabric made it a bit more difficult to get nice creases in the pockets, but i think it came out good enough. on this skirt, i just sewed the two front panels closed at the buttons and then sewed on the buttons. i did add the regular buttonhole at the waist, but don’t think it’s necessary since there’s all that elastic in the back? c is small for her age… though she’s 4, her waist and hips both measure 21 inches, she’s 39 inches tall, and weighs 31 pounds. i sewed her a size 2T with a hem length of 3T, and the fit is spot on. you gotta love it when the pattern fits exactly the way it’s supposed to.

the second one went much faster. this one was started yesterday, and i just finished it up tonight. i’m partaking in the elsie marley kcwc so this counts for days #1-2. the skirt is made with a lightweight denim that i reversed. the “back” of the denim was much more interesting, and looks like chambray. this was from the stash… couldn’t tell you where it came from. no buttonholes on this one.

i also made an AMAZING discovery tonight- the fact that my sewing machine is quite adept at sewing on buttons. For whatever reason (okay, probably because it’s buttonhole program isn’t the greatest), i never bothered to try using my machine to sew on a button. but after hand-sewing on the buttons on the twill skirt, i thought I’d give it a go. it worked perfectly and was the simplest thing ever. i am in love. see? isn’t it pretty? all i did was pin the two front pieces together, and i sewed those panels closed with buttons. easy peasy. have you tried this on your machine yet? if not, do it.

this is a fantastic pattern, as all o + s patterns are. liesl gives fantastic instructions that have really helped improve my sewing skills. and the garments always come out the way you think they should.

i will have to add action shots another day, as the littles is in bed. she is SO excited to have some new mama-made clothes. she told me she is so lucky to have a mommy that can sew skirts for her. oh, my aching heart. the cuteness.


hello there, and welcome to my blog!

i am (of course) a long-time blog reader but am a brand-spankin’ new blogger. after years of perusing so many lovely creations all over the interwebs, i decided it was about time i got a blog of my own. i mean, enough already! what gave me that final kick in the pants was heather’s fantastic talk on blogging at this week’s portland modern quilt guild meeting. anywho, i am so excited to share the things i make and can’t wait to get started. so thanks for stopping by- i hope this can be a space that inspires both of us.

i’ll leave you with a glimpse of a past knitting project… my mara shawl, knit up in soft and beautiful malabrigo. i must admit it came out a bit too big for my liking… but it is pretty, darnit!

until next time, my new bloggy friends.