Thursday, December 10, 2020

Wiksten Haori with RK Taos Flannel Lining


Wiksten Haori Black Linen RK Taos Flannel Sierra Stripe
Wiksten Haori Black Linen RK Taos Flannel Sierra Stripe
The Wiksten Haori from Wiksten. I have several jackets of this style (okay, 4!), and one other from this pattern. I wear them often but was feeling a gap in the mid-weight jacket wardrobe category.  The boxy cut and long length fits over the baby carrier and bulky layers, and draws attention away from the fact that I'm wearing the same leggings as yesterday. Sometimes I just wear it around the house because I love the pockets. Make a Haori, and you'll never wonder where you put your phone again. 
RK Taos Linen Sierra Stripe Wiksten Haori SweetKM

The European 100% Washed Linen from*. The fabric is the highlight of this garment. Black linen is a beautiful basic. I like to think the fluid drape and natural fibers can compete with a nice dress or elevate the rattiest t-shirt.  This linen is one of my sure thing basics. It's a great weight for a jackets or pants, it's opaque, and washes well. I have some self-drafted shorts in Fig (blogged here), and made another pair in this black with leftovers. 

The RK Taos Flannel in Sierra Stripe from*. When I hesitantly chose this lining fabric I had cooler weather in mind. I knew a long length Haori would see the most wear in the spring and fall months when I wanted extra warmth. However, I had a few reservations about a linen jacket for cold weather, and lining linen with flannel. It seems like a contradiction, an oxymoron, a possibly inexcusable fashion dichotomy. But I just had to have this fabric. I love the whole line of Taos yarn dyed prints. Luckily, this is a case where two nice things are even nicer together. 

I've been wearing this jacket a lot in the past few weeks. Even jeans and a tee are dressed up for me lately. I normally throw this on over workout clothes when I do neighborhood errands. I would like to add some sort of front closure for the cold days in Philadelphia. I like that I can continue to alter this garment to be whatever I want.

SweetKM Wiksten Haori RK Taos Flannel


Jacket Pattern: Wiksten Haori sewing pattern by Wiksten

Jacket Main Fabric: European 100% Washed Linen in Black from*

Jacket Lining: RK Taos Flannel in Sierra Stripe from*

*The links are affiliate links. The thoughts are my own.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Hinterland Dress & Anna Vest

Sew Liberated Hinterland Dress Karen Templer Anna Vest Knitting Sewing Sweetkm

The linen Hinterland Dress (pattern by Sew Liberated) and wool Anna Vest (pattern by Karen Templer). They are the perfect combination of disciplines, fibers, and seasons. And possibly, the ideal way to ease back into the sewing circle.

I'm torn between making excuses for my absence and jumping back in as if nothing ever happened. I've got nothing to say for myself, so I'm going with the latter. I'm looking for an illusive balance, and I should know better. Life leaves me with digital homework to oversee more often than it does leisurely afternoons to search out fall's last flowers. I'm happy to have come back to needing this space. The planning, making, documenting, and sharing process always makes my thoughts feel extra tidy. A calm place in a head full of chaos. 

SweetKM Hinterland Dress Sewing Pattern Sew Liberated

SweetKM Sew Liberated Hinterland Dress Sewing Pattern

The Hinterland Dress pattern by Sew Liberated. I went back to the ol' record books to see when I conceived of this dress. It was long enough ago that by the time I had made a bodice muslin I had to size it up so it would work as maternity wear. But then I was pregnant and would rather nap than look nice, or finish a sewing project. My initial idea was to make a piece that could transition from pregnancy, to nursing, to the rest of my life. I got the last part right, so I'm gonna go ahead and call it a wardrobe success. 

I never wore this when I was pregnant because it made me feel like a parade float. Really, when 8 months pregnant in July, most anything gives you that Snoopy-on-34th-Street feeling. I finished all the raw edges separately to facilitate alterations as my body changed, or to size it back down postpartum. Now I like the extra easy volume. I altered the Hinterland to eliminate the button placket for a pull on style dress. I'm sure this is a tutorial somewhere, but I don't have the patience to find it. 

The European Linen Striped Shirting from I bought this fabric in April of 2019, and naturally it isn't available any more. This olive green is similarly subdued, or this check equally understated. I love the weight and drape of the European Linens. They're supple and tremble like they have a mind of their own. 

SweetKM Karen Templer Anna Vest Knitting Pattern Brooklyn Tweed Shelter
Sweetkm Brooklyn Tweed Shelter Karen Templer Anna Vest Knitting Pattern

The Anna Vest by Karen Templer. The vintage styling makes this a timeless piece that will mature well. The diminutive size makes it a timely piece that knits up quickly. The finishing, well...not so much. This pattern offers the choice of picking up the button band or sewing on a separate piece. I like the clear delineation and solid structure of the separate button band. My top button is a few rows north of where it ought to be, but I'll not hold it against the vest or the knitter. 

The Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in Barn Owl. The sophisticated neutrals of Shelter (and BT in general) can't be beat. The simple variations in color adds dimension to this simple stitch pattern. The Barn Owl color is retired, but Wood Smoke would be a good substitute. 

SweetKM Karen Templer Anna Vest Sew Liberated Hinterland Dress

Despite its long shelf life, this is not my oldest WIP. Hopefully we'll get to that one before the year is out. In the meantime I'll be over on Instagram trying to figure out what everyone's been up to. Please stop by and catch up.


Dress Sewing Pattern: Hinterland Dress by Sew Liberated

Dress Fabric: 100% European Striped Linen (similar) from

Vest Knitting Pattern: Anna Vest by Karen Templer

Vest Yarn: Shelter in Barn Owl by Brooklyn Tweed

Knitter's Notes: My Anna Vest knitter's notes on Ravelry links are affiliate links. Thought are my own.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Maternity Sewing: True Bias Shelby Dress & Megan Nielsen Briar T-shirt

I've recently discovered the key to good maternity clothes is not wearing maternity clothes. With pants it's hard to avoid, but so many of my favorite tops and dresses have proven maternity friendly (at least for the second trimester). I tested the brand new Shelby Dress sewing pattern by True Bias a month or so ago. I was delighted to discover that it still fits even at 26 weeks pregnant! I'm a little desperate for variety after wearing the same 3-4 maternity outfits on repeat for a few weeks. 

The Shelby Dress sewing pattern has 2 lengths, 2 sleeve options, and skirt or pants options for the bottom. I made the long view b dress with the longer sleeve. It features head to toe princess seams, a back tie, and button front. The long view buttons end above the knee for a really nice slit front. 

For the fabric I wanted something with a true 90's vibe of dainty floral on a dark background (just like the one I used to borrow from my sister in high school). When I first got this swishy rayon challis floral (similar*) from* (affiliate link) I sort of panicked because it's not 1995 and I gave up on bold floral prints long ago. To hedge my bets, and add some layers to the maternity look, I made a Briar Top by Megan Nielsen to wear over it and make it more of a skirt/top combo. I've recovered from my print anxiety, but it's still nice to have options. 

For the Briar Top from Megan Nielsen Patterns I used a Kaufman Laguna Stretch Jersey* in Pepper from*. I sized up based on my measurements, but I wouldn't next time. 
I've been torn about how much time to spend (or is it waste?) sewing for my pregnant self. Pregnancy and postpartum are a moving target, and I like to invest my time and energy into garments I will get a lot of wear from.  I've decided hedging my bets with maternity friendly standard patterns is the best use of my time. 

Dress Pattern: Shelby Dress by True Bias
Dress Fabric: Floral Rayon Challis (sold out, similar*) from
Top Fabric: Kaufman Laguna Stretch Jersey in Pepper from*

* links are affiliate links.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Denim Wiksten Haori & Liberty Linen Inari Tee

It's spring refresh time, and the weather in Philadelphia is actually cooperating. To fully embrace the cherry blossoms and 70 degree days, I'm lightening up my layers and my color scheme with the Wiksten Haori, Inari Tee, and self-drafted pants.
The Wiksten Haori fabric is Robert Kaufman 10oz Denim in Washed Bleached Indigo (out of stock, link to similar) from*. I like the outer wear feel of the heavy weight fabric. I didn't line it because it felt a little precious, but after wearing it a few times I'm wishing I had lined it in flannel for an even cozier jacket. 

I sewed a medium based on my measurements. It is generously sized, next time I might size down depending on the fabric. The only minor alteration I made was to add a 3" sleeve hem facing to make a cuff so you don't see the hem when rolled. 
I've been meaning to make the Inari Tee since it was first released years ago. I'm not sure what I've been waiting for, this fabric maybe. The design is just as relevant and easy wearing today as it was when it came out. So I'll still get years of wear out of it. 
The Inari Tee by Named Clothing (got mine at Indie Sew) is made with Liberty Fabric Louis Sycamore Linen from*. I can't say enough about this fabric. It's got the delicate drape of a good linen and the sophisticated Liberty print and color scheme. I only needed one yard to make the top, making it about the most cost effective garment use possible. 

I sewed a size 10 based on my measurements with no modifications. I'm a sucker for a good finish, but I sure made a project out of a project with this one. First I added depth to the neck facing so I could fold the edge under, then I remembered I had the nicely contrasting pink linen so I ripped out the fold and bound the edge instead. I also bound the hem edge so no unsightly serged edges would show. 

Jacket Pattern: Wiksten Haori by Wiksten
Shirt Pattern: Inari Tee/Dress by Named Clothing
Pants Pattern: Self Drafted
Pants Fabric: Tencel Twill II from Blackbird Fabrics (color out of stock)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

SweetKM Cowl Sweater & Seamwork Neenah

It's February and it seems like I've been cold for day, weeks, months maybe. I've had layers on the brain, warm fleecy layers. This combination is a self-drafted cowl neck sweater on top for warmth, and a snug Neenah Turtleneck from Seamwork to lock in the body heat. I'm wearing them here with my denim Persephone Pants by Anna Allen that I blogged about before. 

This self-drafted sweater is the third iteration of a sweater pattern I started playing with last year. You can see the original version here, and I may blog about it before spring. After playing with the layers with the first sweater I decided I wanted a giant thick cowl sweater to wear over another turtleneck. My sister is pretty sure I got the two turtleneck idea from my mom. Maybe I did, but I definitely got my tendency to be perpetually cold from her. I liked the idea of the underlay peaking out at neck and sleeves.  
To make the giant cowl I made a dickie size sample to make sure I could get it over my head and was as enormous as my vision. I used the basic body shape of the pervious sweater but cut 5" off the length. I measured the front from the wrong line on my pattern and ended up taking a bit extra off, but I like the exaggerated difference between the front and the back at the side slit. The sleeves have a 3" cuff and can be worn folded or straight. 

The brown fabric is Rayon Sweatshirt Fleece in Cocoa from*. I can't say enough about this fabric. The cotton makes it very sturdy and cozy and the rayon gives it a drape that makes it feel more dressed up than your average sweatshirt. I would buy it again in every color. 
I've been meaning to try the Neenah Turtleneck pattern by Seamwork forever. But I sometimes get stuck in a rut with a pattern that works and I don't take the time to try something new. I really like this form fitting turtleneck style, and would make it again. 
The fabric is a Rayon Spandex Jersey knit in black and tan (similar) from fabric .com*. The light weight is great for a bottom layer, but paired with the slim fit, I might not wear it on its own very often. 

Cowl Sweater Pattern: Self-Drafted
Cowl Sweater Fabric: Rayon Sweatshirt Fleece from*
Turtleneck Pattern: Neenah Turtleneck by Seamwork 
Turtleneck Fabric: Rayon Spandex Yarn Dyed Stripe (similar) from*
Pants Fabric: 10oz. Denim from Indie Sew 

* links are affiliate links.

Friday, February 22, 2019

More Sewing to Sell Book Review & Giveaway

The new book More Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay (of Gingercake Patterns) is out and ready to satisfy your maker curiosity about all things handmade business. It's the companion book to Sewing to Sell Virginia wrote a few years ago. Our husbands are college friends and she is one of the few sewists I've known since before I started sewing for the internet. Way back before SweetKM was a thing, I went on a beach trip with Virginia and her family and she told me all about her Etsy pattern business (this was back when you had to manually email the PDF to the customer, remember that!). Less than a year later I started selling my own knitting patterns on Etsy. She was so generous with her experience then, and it makes perfect sense that she should share it in this book series now. 

Virginia is giving away a copy of her book to 5 lucky winners. Be sure to enter the at the bottom of this post!
Every so often I wonder if I should try doing a craft fair, or maybe beef up my Etsy shop. Selling your handmade wares is a logical way to expand your hobby into a small business. I always end up wondering, but what would I make? Virginia's beautiful book has 16 open license patterns that you can use to start or expand your handmade shop offerings (examples are above). They are quick simple designs with lots of of fabric mixing (or not) possibilities to let you match your brand aesthetic. Each pattern gives you guidelines for sewing multiples. 

My favorite part about the book is the interviews with 8 women who run their own handmade businesses. When you're working from home it can sometimes feel isolating and you may be wondering what the heck everyone else is doing behind those glossy websites and pristine instagram feeds. Now you'll know. 
I made the Market Bag from More Sewing to Sell. It's big, boxy and lightweight. I could see using it as a tote bag or stuffing it inside you purse to use when out shopping. I usually throw my wallet into my reusable shopping bag for the walk to the grocery store, and this is certainly an upgrade from that ratty old thing.

I made it totally from stashed fabric in a single evening. The exterior is Robert Kaufman herringbone linen from*.  It looks like they don't make that fabric anymore but the Essex Yarn Dyed Linen would have a similar effect. The interior is a Liberty London fabric I've been hoarding for a few years. I love the soft blue with the purples of the print, and the ribbon closure makes it almost too sweet for any self respecting city girl to carry through urban grit. But I will. My SIL just got an embroidery machine and I'm tempted to send it to her for a quick monogram for the front. 
Because I made it completely from stash supplies I had to change one tiny detail. The original design has an elastic gather at the short ends. I didn't have the right kind of elastic so I adapted it to be a drawstring. I just added two buttonholes in the middle of the short sides, then inserted and sewed ribbed exactly like I would have done the elastic, except that I cut two pieces and the ends are sticking through the buttonholes. It's a small change but I think it's kind of cute and adds a little something to my plain exterior fabric. 

Bag Pattern: Market Bag from More Sewing to Sell by Virginia Lindsay (Gingercake Patterns)
Bag Fabric Main: Robert Kaufman Herringbone Linen (similar) from Fabric .com*
Bag Fabric Lining: Liberty London from my stash

* links are affiliate links.

More Sewing to Sell GIVEAWAY

Five winners will get a copy of Virginia's new book More Sewing to Sell! U.S winners will receive a physical copy of the book, international winners will receive a digital copy of the book. Visit the other makers on the book tour for more chances to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Denim Persephone Pants & Plaid Archer Buttonup

I've been bogged down by life for the past few months. All good things, and all time sensitive over commitments, and unrealistic personal expectations. I see what I get from them in the long run, but don't get much out of them right now. Not sewing, makes me not feel like myself. I start to have an identity crisis, I feel a productivity deficit, I start shopping at Uniqlo. It's a brutal downward spiral of cheap clothing and regret. Luckily, my first finished outfit of 2019 (and actually a late 2018 make) feels exactly like me. Like Kristi Morrow in 100% cotton. A handmade Archer Button Up shirt, and custom fit Persephone Pants to help me regain some focus, or maybe just do all that other crap in style.
The plaid was the genesis of this outfit. If you could review my Etsy search history you'd know that cotton Madras plaid weighs heavily on my mind between the hours of 9:30 and midnight. I saw this beauty last spring in the Indie Sew fabric shop and knew I wanted it for an Archer. The Persephone Pants were on my to sew list so I also picked up that pattern and some 10 ounce denim for a trial run. Then we moved, then went away for the summer, then came back to a dramatically different family routine and a sewing room in shambles and my making focus totally went off the rails.
The top. As mentioned before this is the Archer Button Up from Grainline Studio. I've made it many times before, and I have the pattern tweaked to fit just the way I like it. I love to sew a sure thing, particularly when it take a few days of sewing time to make it happen. This Archer is exactly what I wanted, exactly the way I wanted it.

The pants are the Persephone Pants by Anna Allen. Like everybody else I was skeptical of the fit with no side seam. Usually the side seam is the last one I sew so I can easily tinker with the ease. Uncertainty is part of the reason I didn't sew these sooner. My time is short, I don't want to waste it on something that I won't even be able to wear. All those worries were for nothing, these fit darn good with a minimal amount of fuss. I thought long and hard about hacking my own side seam into them. Glad I didn't, the smooth curve across the tush is what sets this design apart.

I did extend the crotch curve of the back about 1", and I shaved 1/2" off the rise at the front to blend into the back. I also made the darts a bit deeper. This was far less that I thought I would have to do. As far as pants go, those are tiny adjustments for me. The bummer is I sewed on, and top stitched the waistband before giving them a final try one, and I ended up taking it off again to make my adjustments. I sacrificed the pocket topstitching for ease of putting them back together. Not a big deal, but the lining peaks out sometimes. The button is a long treasured vintage textured plastic button from my stash. The main pants fabric is 10oz denim from Indie Sew. It's good stuff, and the dark color and dark top stitching hide any flaws that are a result of these being a wearable muslin.

Pants Pattern: Persephone Pants by Anna Allen from Indie Sew
Pants Fabric: 10 oz. Denim from Indie Sew (sold out, similar*)
Shirt Pattern: Archer Button Up by Grainline Studio
Shirt Fabric: Cotton Plaid Shirting from Indie Sew (sold out, also nice* or similar*)

* links are affiliate links.

Just a note to say that blogger isn't allowing me to respond to comments on blog posts at the moment.  I love your input and I'm reading them all. I'll try to get to the bottom of the problem soon!