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!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Girl's Velvet Swing Dress

Every year I make L something for her birthday. This is actually last year's dress, but before it gets jumped in line by this years garment, I'm carving out some space for it here. This is a modified School Bus T-shirt by Oliver + S. These patterns are a sure thing for fit, and a basic t-shirt pattern can be turned into just about anything. I made it a size bigger than she needed to extend the wear. She wore it to the school Christmas party this year and it still fits great. 
I used the long sleeve option and created an A-line dress by lengthening. and widening the body of the shirt from the underarm seam down to the hem. I measured from L's shoulder to determine how long I wanted the dress to be. It's a little trial and error, but a safe bet as far as rogue sewing goes.
Of course, I made one for Maxine too (#madeformaxine). I used scraps of the valor for the dress, cut up an old pair of L's tights to make Maxine a pair, and used felt to make little bowed slip-on shoes and hair bows. I suspect this will be Maxine's last new outfit, L still plays with her, but she is less popular than she's been in the past (still holding out hope that she'll get a second life with another generation ;). I've really loved sewing for this doll, more than I would have expected. Doll sewing seems so fussy, and tiny, but the abstract nature of Waldorf dolls has given both of us the opportunity to be creative with her style. I also love saving a little piece of fabric from each thing I make for L that will never be outgrown. 

Dress Pattern: Modified School Bus T-Shirt by Oliver + S
Dress Fabric: Crushed Velvet
Doll Dress Pattern: Self-drafted
Doll Dress Fabric: Crushed Velvet Scraps

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Cardamom Coffee Hat

I knit half of this Cardamom Coffee hat by Boyland Knitworks at Easter! I finished the other half over Thanksgiving. It's gift giving potential is too high to languish in the WIP bag any longer. All of the yarn is Knit Picks Palette yarn. It's 100% wool and comes in a whole bunch of colors (as the name would suggest :). 

This is a nice fair isle knitting project. It's detailed, but the repeats are short and easy to remember so you can maybe binge watch cooking shows while you knit. I love the Boyland Knitworks sweater designs, but the lead time on this tiny project would suggest I'm not up for that sort of focused knitting...yet. 

The pompom is a shade lighter than the accent color (see notes below). I also steamed the pompom. My pompoms always look straggly, and sad. The steam gave a nice puff to the skinny fingerling yarn. 

Hat Pattern: Cardamom Coffee Hat by Boyland Knitworks
Main: Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Navy
Background: Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Mist
Accent: Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Autumn Heather
Pompom: Knit Picks Palette Yarn in Brindle Heather
Needles: 3 US