Monday, April 24, 2017

Lodo Dress + Obi Belt

Since the new Lodo Dress by True Bias came out I've been a little bit obsessed. The design is so simple, and so well detailed, allowing lots of room for the sewist to push, and pull the silhouette. Both the arm openings and the neck are faced with woven fabric, and the body is a structured knit (fabric links are affiliates). The body has a cocoon shape that tapers toward the hem. 

The Lodo pattern is written for someone 5'5" with a C cup. I'm 5'5.5" with a B cup. I think the bust difference makes this version a bit too long on me. I should have (and did in a later version) shortened the dress a bit in the middle for the hips to fall in the right place, and the hem to be a bit higher. I didn't have time to alter this one before spring break, but the fabric and pattern merit more tinkering. 
In the mean time, I've been wearing it with an Obi belt I made with Cotton & Steel linen blend on one side and black linen on the other. This was meant to be a muslin for future more subdued Obi belts, but I've been wearing this one a lot. I like the look and versatility of wearing a dress loose or belted (more on that later), and this print goes with absolutely everything I own (including some recovered kitchen chairs!). I guess I was drawn to it for a reason.

The dress fabric is a lovely Telio ponte knit from It has a nice body and drape, and works well with this style. I want one in every color, and am considering this bold blue for a short Lodo. I'm also loving Jenn's stripes, and Adriana's grid version.
Kelli has a good instinct for designing clothes that are easy to wear. She describes the Lodo as an elevated t-shirt, and it absolutely is. Comfortable, wearable and easy to dress up or down. This simple silhouette has sparked a chain reaction of experimentation around maximum garment versatility. 

Dress Pattern: Lodo Dress from True Bias
Dress Fabric: Telio Ponte Leggero Knit from
Belt Pattern: Self Drafted
Balt Fabric: Cotton & Steel Les Fleurs Folk Birds Black Cotton/Linen Canvas from

Thursday, April 20, 2017

SereKNITy + Bento Bag Giveaway (closed)

Thank to everyone who entered the Book & Bento giveaway! I loved reading all of your comments. The winner is @arcticmama1 on instagram. If you would like the book head on over to the Running Press Books website. If you'd like the bag, I've restocked my shop with a small supply of Bentos

For the last few weeks I've been knitting my way through SereKNITy: Peaceful Projects to Soothe and Inspire by Nikki Van De Car. This book includes more than 25 simple knitting, and crochet projects with simple stitch patterns and construction methods that keep your hands busy, and your mind free. There is everything from a tea cup cozy, to a button front cardigan, and lots of scarves and hats in between. This is exactly the kind of knitting I like to do. I like to keep my hands moving while I binge on Netflix, or chat with my husband at the end of the day. These projects leave a little head space for  other things. In the off chance that I'm knitting quietly alone, this is the sort of pattern that lets your thoughts flow, and good ideas come out of hiding. All of Nikki's projects could go to a coffee date, or beer night with friends, and not miss a stitch, or a word of the conversation. Because all of the projects are relatively simple, they are great for the beginning knitter.

I made the Portland fingerless gloves. I had a partial skein of Brooklyn Tweed Arbor left over from my last hat project, and I thought some spring mitts would go well with my spring hat. The texture of these mitts is made using only knit and purl stitches, and a short 4 row repeat. They knit up quickly over our last two car trips. I was a little worried I would run out of yarn, so I shortened them a bit from the instructions (details in my Ravelry notes). All of the SereKNITYy projects leave room for the knitter to improvise.

Because the lovely SereKNITy cover art and my bento knitting bag go so nicely together, I thought a giveaway would be fun! To win one copy of the book SereKNITy by Nikki Van De Car, and the Wholecloth Bento Knitting Bag shown here:

1. Comment on this blog post. Be sure to include an email where I can reach you with the comment. 
2. Follow me on Instagram. Like my post (which will appear later today) on Instagram, and leave a comment there. 

You may enter both here and on instagram, but only one entry at each place per person. Entries from any country are welcome. I will randomly pick a winner at 8pm Sunday April 23, 2017. 

Mitts Knitting Pattern: Portland Knit Fingerless Gloves 
Mitts Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Arbor in Sashiko from Loop Yarn

More about the Bento: Wholecloth Bento Bag
Running Press Publishing provided this book for free, but the opinions are my own. I reviewed one of my friend Virginia's books a few years ago, and was already familiar with what Running Press has to offer. 


Monday, April 3, 2017

Liberty Floral Archer Buttonup & Boreal Fragment Scarf

The Archer Buttonup (from Grainline Studio) is one of my most worn winter styles. My default out to dinner outfit is the chambray Archer View B with booties and black skinny pants. My favorite slightly more put together than usual day time outfit is the brown check Archer View A, tucked into high waisted jeans. I even wear my near disaster 10oz. denim Archer with sneakers and sweats when I'm in no danger or running into the fashion police. After working out every possible fit issue with previous versions of the Archer Buttonup, I figured it was time to splurge on one in Liberty London Tana Lawn. It's what every Archer wants to be, and what every sane sewist wants to make. This print is called Freya B (from Fancy Tiger Crafts), and I love the vaguely 90s tinge to the washed out pinks, and blueish green. Liberty creases like paper, takes the iron like a dream, and comes in so many fetching prints. The only down side is the price, but it's worth it for the right project.
Sometimes I wrack my brain and wreck my closet trying to find two things that go together (which is why dresses are awesome!). And, sometimes I inadvertently shop in color stories. It always feels good when your haphazard pile of recent makes, fabric purchases, and yarn acquisitions add up to something more than a few random garments. Coming up with colors, prints, and textures that work together automatically adds flexibility to my handmade wardrobe. Adding a little hand knit to a sewn garment adds depth to my commitment to making, and extends the garments usefulness to different seasons, and occasions. I sewed this shirt because it is a style I wear a lot. I added a hand knit Fragment Scarf (or 3) in Quince Finch (Boreal) to give myself some options. I may wear it weekly, but it doesn't always have to look the same. I'm going to knit and sew anyway. Might as well make things that go together.

The theme of blush and burnish even extends to some great stud earrings I was drawn to because they are fragments (get it?:), and finally bought because of the glittering echoes of the yarn and fabric color palette in the pyrite and copper.
I started this project with an unrealistic deadline in mind, which I totally missed. The morning of our anniversary night out, I had this shirt complete up to attaching the sleeves. No cuffs, not collar, no button(s)/holes, or hem. I was tempted to just bang it out with the quickest finishes possible, but in the end decided it would be an injustice fabric splurges everywhere.  I found something else to put on my body, and finished this project the next day to the very best of my ability: french seams at the shoulders and sides, particularly careful topstitching of interior collar stand, and the full Archer Popover Variation sleeve placket. The standard Archer placket always seemed like a short cut to me. But the first time (or two) I made it, I was so focused on how to build a wearable shirt, that I didn't waste too much time worrying about the beginner placket. Now I can burrito roll like a pro, and am more than ready to move on to a more professional looking sleeve opening.

I bought two yards of the Liberty print, and probably wouldn't risk it with less. If you're using accent fabric for the inside of the yoke, cuff, and collar stand you could probably get by with a yard and a half (WARNING: This sewist is not responsible for fabric shortages).

I finished Archer Buttonup last week, and have already worn it 3 times (with different hand knits each time, of course). Closet mission accomplished!


Shirt Fabric: Liberty London Tana Lawn in Freya B from Fancy Tiger Crafts 
Scarf Pattern: Fragment Scarf from SweetKM (ahem, me!)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Fragment Scarf : New Knitting Pattern from SweetKM

Last fall I knit myself a little scarf. It's just a triangle of subtle textured fabric that ties at the back like a bandana. It's a tiny little thing, but I wore it all winter long. It straddles the fine line between ornament and essential, keeping me warm in style. It's the kind of thing I'd leave on all day to protect myself from the vagaries of forced air heat. It imparts turtleneck warmth to any crew, and a little panache to a basic tee. Now that spring has made a tentative appearance, it's the perfect compliment to a light jacket. This is the Fragment Scarf, a new SweetKM knitting pattern. 
The Fragment Scarf knitting pattern has been professionally edited, and tested by a group of knitting volunteers. The textured repeat of this scarf is created with an easy to remember stitch pattern. The pattern includes complete written, and charted instructions. I would call this an advanced beginner pattern, but a determined beginner could knit it with a little help from the collective online knitting brain. It's a great opportunity to learn to read a chart, with clear text instructions as a back up.

My sample scarf is knit with Finch in Shell from Quince and Co. I love the chiseled relief of the stitch pattern in this yarn, but the simple design lends itself to substitutions. Different fibers will alter the effect, and drape of the scarf. If you're knitting the scarf for warmth, wool is the way to go, but it also makes a great statement necklace. My first version is knit with Quince Tern. The silk content of Tern makes the scarf drape much more loosely around the neck, at a small expense to stitch definition. I would love to wear a pure silk, or linen version in an eye popping hue.

This fragment of a project is a great opportunity to experiment with different yarns. It's knit with less than one skein of fingerling weight yarn making it the prefect project for stash busting, or a yarn splurge.

Construction: Knit top down with decreases at the sides. Rolled edge band is picked up and knit.
Skills: Knit, purl, k2tog, p2tog, ssk, ssp, yo, pick up and stitches.
Gauge: 24 st and 40 rows in 4in (10cm)
Needles: US size 6 / 4.0mm straight needles or size needed to achieve gauge
Yarn: Quince Finch (100% American wool, 221 yes/50g hank) 1 hank or 163 yds comparable fingerling weight yarn
Notions: Tapestry needle, 2 stitch markers
Size: One size.
Finished Dimensions: 26 1/2x28in / 67x20cm
Instructions: Written & chart

To recap, you can buy the Fragment Scarf knitting pattern right here. If you'd like a discount, or to stay informed on sporadic developments around here, subscribe to the SweetKM newsletter. Between now and April 5th subscribers get a 20% discount on the Fragment Scarf knitting pattern

I would love to see what you make! Share your finished projects on Instagram with #fragmentscarf and #sweetkmpatterns. Or link to the Ravelry page. 


Friday, March 24, 2017

One Pattern Three Ways : Girl's T-shirt

This is a project I did for Petit a Petit and Family last year, but it's an idea I'd like to revisit here. I love the versatility of a good basic kid's t-shirt sewing pattern, like the Oliver + S School Bus Tee. Any basic pattern can be so much more than what you see on the front of the envelope. Modifying a trusted design is a very satisfying way to flex your design muscles without the risk of total disaster. I'm looking forward to doing another capsule set for L this spring, and I'm a little depressed none of this one fits any more (oh, how they grow!). She still wears it all, skin tight, and scandalously short (with leggings of course) though it may be!
I've used the Oliver + S School Bus Tee to make a 3/4 sleeve gathered skirt dress, an A-line dress with front pocket, and a basic cardigan. The School Bus Tee is my go-to kid's t-shirt pattern, but there are plenty of others to choose from. I like this one because the sizing is always spot on, for my kids.
Construction Notes:
1. For the cardigan I cut a few inches off of the length of the front, back, and sleeves, then added knit ribbed cuffs to the waist and wrists. I cut the front piece in half along the fold line, and added a button band to each cut edge.

2. For the gathered skirt dress I shortened the body of the t-shirt to just under the arm opening. I shortened the sleeve by a few inches to make them ¾ length. The skirt is two rectangles joined at the side seams, gathered at the top, and sewn to the bottom of the t-shirt bodice. 

3. The a-line dress is the short sleeve t-shirt made longer, and wider at the bottom hem. The kangaroo pocket is drafted based on the size of my daughter’s hands.
I used the same 3 fabrics on all three garments so the finished pieces could be mixed and matched together. For this little collection I used the Doodles fabrics from Joann:  Navy Flock Dot Ponte KnitPink Butterfly Cotton JerseyGray Ribbed Knit.



Friday, February 24, 2017

Sew It Yourself : Oversized Sweater Sewing Patterns

I suppose that by this point in the season I should have moved on to spring wardrobe planning. But it takes a while to work out your ideas in fabric, and there is one more winter garment I've gotta get out of my head. I'm in hot pursuit of the perfect oversized funnel neck sweater. I've done a lot of sketching and a little tinkering, and way too much fabric shopping online. Here is my analysis:

Ready To Wear Inspiration.
image credit Hackwith / Everlane / Need Supply / Hackwith

My basic sweater criteria includes funnel neck, boxy body, falls at mid hip. The roomy fit makes it a great top layer over just about anything. (You can even wear it instead of a jacket when it's 68 degrees in February.) I'm most smitten with the Hackwith Design House sweater at the bottom right, the unstructured fit works with so many silhouettes. It's the perfect color, and exactly the drape and waistline I have in mind. I'm thinking longer sleeves would make it more of a wardrobe staple.

Sewing Pattern Possibilities.

There are quite a few sweater patterns on the market at the moment that would be a a good starting point for a sweater. The Makers Atelier Big Easy Top is a beautiful specimen. So cozy, but still sophisticated. (Anyone have experience with Maker's Atelier patterns?) I'm really taken with this version by Beyond Measure UK. The Karl Dress by Schneidernmeistern could be sized up and cropped into a great sweater. It is a quick sew, and I love the way Monika has styled her's as a top.  The crisp shaped neckline of the Named Clothing Talvikki Sweater is a more dressed up version of the oversized sweater. It's more structured than my vision, but Heather's sweatshirt version makes a strong argument for it's casual wearability. The neckline and arms of the Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater 1 make it an easy candidate for sweater of the year. It would be great made up in a wool knit, to add a little luxe to your loungewear. The Hey June Talinn Sweater (not shown) is another attractive possibility with its chunky neck, and wrapped front.

When it comes right down to it, none of these patterns have all the little details I'm looking for in a an oversized sweater, so some modification will be necessary. The beauty of a simple design is how easily it can be altered to suit your personal style. A basic top can be tweaked into a garment with a totally different look. You could add some swing to the Toaster Sweater, or graft the pleated neck of the MIY Collection Parkwood Cowl onto the top of a cropped Karl Dress.

I began this little exercise looking for the perfect sweater pattern, but what fun would that be? I think I've got enough tracing paper, tape, and fabric to figure it out for myself.




Monday, February 20, 2017

Plaid Flannel Shoreline Boatneck

A few months ago I started sewing and blogging as a Blank Slate Patterns affiliate. When Melissa asked for volunteers, my hand shot up. Her simple designs have a ton of versatility and if you've been hanging around here for very long, you know that's right up my alley. This Shoreline Boatneck (affiliate links ahead) is my most recent Blank Slate project, and though the decor in these photos is dated, I want to share it here because it's been one of my most worn winter tops.
In our house Christmas is a pretty physical holiday. You've got about 47 family members to greet with hugs, elderly relatives to help out of the car, 22 pound turkeys to heave in and out of the oven, and Santa-crazed, sugared-up kids to pull off of each other. Clearly, this is not an occasion for fussy attire.  With a no holds barred holiday ahead of me, I decided to make a simple top to wear to the family celebrations on Christmas day.
The Shoreline Boatneck is written for woven or knit fabrics, comes with 3 sleeve options, and can be a shirt or a dress (ahem, versatility). Fabric choice was key in making this a post holiday winter favorite. The flannel makes this top warm enough to wear alone, and my first choice on chilly mornings. The neckline is faced with a black and white scrap from another project. My only alteration was to extend the sleeves a skosh so I could make a sleeve hem deep enough to cuff.

For the Holidays I chintzed it up with some bright red beads, and skinny black pants. But it's just as great in February with jeans and a cardigan, as long as I steer clear of wayward christmas trees.

Coincidently Blank Slate Patterns has just updated the Shoreline Boatneck pattern to include more sizes, and a ton of great modifications. I love the button back version!

Project Notes:
Pattern: Shoreline Boatneck by Blank Slate Patterns
Fabric: Plaid Flannel (similar) from Joann Fabrics