Thursday, May 31, 2018

Coram Midi Dress

It's Coram Week over at Indie Sew to celebrate the release of the print version of the Coram Top/Dress sewing pattern by Allie Olson. Be sure to check out Allie's tips for sewing a Coram on the Indie Sew blog!

I've been wanting to make a dress inspired by the layered up tribal prints of Ace & Jig for the last little while. The simple silhouette, and collar and cuff accent pieces make the Coram Dress the perfect foil for my idea.
Once the pattern was determined the fabric was the big hurtle. After a few weeks of Me Made May selfies, I've determined my handmade wardrobe is heavy on staples, but light on statements. A girl can make a statement every now and again, everything doesn't have to be denim. I don't wear much print, and it's tough to shop for them online where the actual scale is hard to discern. I hit on Ikat as a good fabric because of it's loose weave and sketchy patterning. Stone Mountain & Daughter has a robust selection of coordinating color ways. I'm still torn as to whether I should have gone with blue and white because it's more in my wheelhouse, but I have plenty of basics, my wardrobe could use something memorable.
The Coram Top/Dress sewing pattern is a raglan style top designed for woven fabrics. I sewed an 8 bust graded to a 10 hip, with the 12 width for the skirt because it's longer than the designed dress version.  I added 12" to the dress option for a midi length. The side seams are sewn to 1" below the original slit marking. I shortened the sleeves by about 1" and raised the darts a bit (common alteration for me). I drafted my own tie belt (al a Ace & Jig) that is about 2" wide, and long enough to tie in a bow wrapped once or knot wrapped twice.

I used the Checker Board Ikat in Black (similar) for the body of the dress, and the Flame Stitch Black/Multi for the collar, cuffs and belt. Both are from Stone Mountain & Daughter. The fabric is a little more structured that recommended for the Coram (which likes something with a lot of drape), but I think the extra length softens the fabric a bit, and love the way it wears.

This post is sponsored by Indie Sew. The opinions are my own. 

Pattern: Coram Top/Dress from Indie Sew by Allie Olson
Main Fabric: Black Checker Board Ikat (sold out, link to similar) from Stone Mountain & Daughter
Accent Fabric: Black Flame Stitch Ikat from Stone Mountain & Daughter

This post is sponsored by Indie Sew. The opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wool Jacket, Turtleneck & Wide Leg Pants

Pushing ahead under the category of figuring things out for myself is this self-drafted wool jacket & wide leg pants. The top is the Hepburn Turtleneck from Itch to Stitch. With this combo and the pervious sweater, my winter making goals are largely met. 
I had 2 goals with this outfit. First, to take my jacket from last year to the next level. Second to winterize my WLP collection. The turtleneck is just a necessary basic.

This jacket is the best thing I've made in a while. Its warm, comfortable, a little bit interesting, and has pockets for miles. The version I made last winter was a really good start down the road to kimono inspired outerwear, but it had a few short comings (as first attempts often do). The fabric was a cheap textured knit, the length was a little off, and the fit was not nearly as generous as I wanted. It was a useful tool to pin, and rip, and tweak into work coat perfection. The main improvement made with this one is the fabric. This wool/viscose from Blackbird Fabrics (orange sold out, available in black) is the perfect pairing of body, drape, and warmth for this style. It's a fabric dignified enough that no one will mistake this for a bathrobe!

The turtleneck is the Itch to Stitch Hepburn Turtleneck that I turned into a dress last winter. I wear them a ton of turtlenecks in the winter, my RTW ones are getting a bit shabby, and I'm too stubborn to buy more. This design is meant to be quite close fitting, so I went up a size and straightened out the waist shaping to give it a bit of blouse. The new Monroe Turtleneck from Tessuti would be a great alternative for a more relaxed fit. The fabric is RK Dana Jersey from ( links are affiliate links). It has a nice drape, but still has the body of a cotton jersey.

The pants are my self-drafted wide leg pants. I have 4 lightweight linen versions, and I wanted to try a more winter friendly fabric. The fabric is RK Ventana Cotton Twill from My WLPs could definitely stand a bit less ease in this heavier fabric, I would also take some of the bulk out around the waist with some back darts. You can get away with more gathering in the thinner fabric, these feel a bit overwhelming. Next time I'm going to try the RK Fineline Twill. I got a sample with this order, and I think the drape and weight would be a better fit for this design. Luckily, I don't mind tearing apart something I have just put together. #processperson
As an added bonus it works great with my last outfit too. 


Jacket Pattern: Self-Drafted
Jacket Fabric: Boiled Wool & Viscose (black in stock) from Blackbird Fabrics

Turtleneck Pattern: Hepburn Turtleneck from Itch to Stitch
Turtleneck Fabric: RK Dana Jersey from

Pants Pattern: Self-Drafted
Pants Fabric: Ventana Twill in Black from


Thursday, March 15, 2018

How-To Knit a Single Row Buttonhole Video

I am a pretty big fan of the single row buttonhole. It's the buttonhole technique used in my Simple Ribbed Pixie Bonnet knitting pattern. I have knit that pattern hundreds of times, ergo I have knit hundreds of single row buttonholes!

The beauty of the single row buttonhole is that the whole thing fits within a single row. This is a great technique to learn because it's strong and doesn't take much planning. I use it a lot when I'm improvising sweaters for dolls or little kids.

The technique has a lot of steps and can seem a little complicated to new knitters. I know I prefer a video when I'm learning a new knit stitch or technique so I made one to help you through the single row buttonhole.

With right side facing, move yarn to front, slip a stitch, move yarn to back and leave it there. *Slip another stitch, pass first slipped stitch over second. * Repeat part between * two more times for a total of 3 cast off stitches. Slip last slipped stitch back onto left needle. Turn work. Move yarn to back and use the cable cast-on to cast on 4 stitches on the left needle.  Slip first stitch from right needle to left needle and pass last cast on stitch over it. Slip first stitch on left needle back to right needle. Turn work, move yarn to back, continue to work the row.

You can cast off more or less stitches depending on the size of your button. Always cast on one more stitch for the top of the buttonhole than you cast off for the bottom.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Neutral Basics

This outfit has been a long time coming. I made the Archer Button Up before Christmas, and bought the Lark yarn from Quince & Co. at the end of August (geez!). As my skills increase I've tried to be more intentional about what I make, buying better materials, striving for a good fit, and giving each seam a thoughtful finish. I didn't mean to be quite so intentional as to take 6 months to finish!
I have also been thinking of complete outfits when I'm fabric shopping, and using knit pieces to add texture and interest since I don't wear many prints. I now have a robust inventory of handmade clothing, and I don't need another single top that has no relationship with the rest of my closet. Those tops are helpful for honing skills, but not always helpful for getting dressed.
The anchor for this look is the cardigan sweater. I have a medium weight RTW oatmeal cardigan that I have worn past the point of respectability. I still wear it around the house, but I needed something less shabby to takes it's place when in polite society. This is the much instagrammed Big Sister Cardigan. I like the construction of this cardi, it's knit as one piece. Even the ribbing at the hem and sleeve cuffs are worked with the body. The yarn is Quince & Co. Lark in Audouin. I really love the body and the natural hue of the yarn, but I don't love the gauge. The pattern calls for worsted, but a bulkier yarn would have served me better. I needed a US10 needle to get the gauge, making a much looser fabric than I like. It's a small thing, but makes the finished sweater a little less wearable than I had hoped. I already have a few swatches made for the Uniform Cardigan. If this sweater doesn't see much wear I will begin the yarn reincarnation process. No reason to let lovely yarn sit on the shelf.

The Archer Button Up from Grainline Studio is a winter wardrobe hit. I really drug my feet finishing it because cold weather had set in and I didn't think I would wear such a whispy weight top. It really adds polish worn under a jacket or sweater, and has seen more action than most of my other Archers. The fabric is the long sold-out linen rayon from Blackbird Fabrics. It's tissue thin and has delicate drape. It is also quite sheer, a problem solved by wearing a sweater over, or a camisole under. The Telio Mozart Linen from (affiliate) looks like a good substitute.

The pants are my now standard self-drafted wide leg pants, and I've already blogged about these. These are linen, which I wouldn't normally wear in the winter, but the roomy cut lets me wear thin leggings underneath.
I feel like a classy grandpa in this outfit with the boots, high waters and cardigan sweater. If i had some hard candies in my pocket and bifocals on the chain around my neck the look would be complete. Classy grandpa or not, I've worn all of these garments a bunch since I finished them. You just can't go wrong with neutral basics.


Sweater Pattern: Big Sister by Hinterm Stein
Sweater Yarn: Lark in Audouin from Quince & Co. 
Sweater More Info: Ravelry Post

Shirt Pattern: Archer Button Up by Grainline Studio
Shirt Fabric: Rayon/Linen (sold out) from Blackbird Fabrics, could substitute Telio Mozart Linen  from (affiliate)

Pants Pattern: Self-drafted.
Pants Fabric: Classic Slub Linen from Joann, could substitute RK Essex Linen from Fabric .com (affiliate)
Pants Blog Post: New Pants Like Old Friends

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Little House on the Prairie Dress-up Clothes

A long time ago (as the book begins), when I was a little girl my crew of farm cousins/neighbors/friends was absolutely obsessed with Little House on the Prairie. Egged on by the books and the TV show we would divvy up the parts and play for hours. My mom made calico dresses, aprons, and bonnets in multiple sizes (my aunt made them for her girls too), and we had a vest and peasant shirt for my brother to flesh out our fantasy. We hitched two hay bales (Pet & Patty) up to an old wagon in my uncle's shed and pretended we were headed west with all our worldly possessions, fording rivers, and evading Indians. I used to pack a metal pale with blocks wrapped in a tidy bandanna and pretend it was my one room school house lunch. We used to climb to the top of the steep pastures then run down the tall grass on the hill pretending to fall just like Carrie does in the opening credits of the TV show. My childhood didn't involve poverty, or upheaval, or prairie crossing, but I identified with the agrarian, nature loving lifestyle of the fictional Laura Ingalls (as opposed to the actual Laura Ingalls whose story would break your heart!). 

My city kids have to imagine even harder to put themselves under prairie winds and big skies, but looking the part always helps. Last summer L asked for a sunbonnet and an apron she could gather things in. For Christmas I gave her those two things, and a dress and petticoat for good measure.

The dress is heavily inspired by the beautiful garments of Taylor's Scarlet Threads. Had I waded into the weeds of this project with more time to spare, I might have just ordered an outfit. For what I spent on fabric, The Scarlet Thread dresses are beautiful and a relative bargain. But, I started with less than 48 hours to finish, and there is joy in the making. I wanted something that could be mixed and matched for pretend play, and worn alone to church. My dress is based on the Violette Field Threads Zoey dress. I bought it for the simple gathered sleeve and relaxed fit at the waist (hoping it will fit for a while). I added a button placket (rather than the snap front) and a round neck opening. I used the width of the skirt from the pattern, but modified the length, and didn't use the ruffle. I made 3 one inch growth pleats in the skirt, and 2 half inch growth pleats in the sleeve. L measured a girls size 10, but I bought the tween pattern (a little bigger in the chest only) so I could make the design again as she grows. I love that VFT offers tween sizes, I think older girls would love the designs (totally not reflected in my demure translation!). I'm perfectly pleased with the VFT line of patterns, and have a first communion dress design picked out for spring. 

The dress fabric is Robert Kaufmann Sevenberry Petit Fleurs Stems Midnight from From the moment I unwrapped it, I loved it. It's exactly the scale and colors I was hoping for. Pretty but believably historic. The cotton shirting is suited to garment making, and has a very satisfying rustle that L (and I) love. 

The bonnet is from McCalls M7231 that I originally bought with the intent to modify into this dress. The bonnet is just fine, but a little too big.  I have nothing good to say about the dress pattern, so I'll keep my comments to myself. The pattern is probably better suited to someone brand new to sewing.

The bonnet fabric is also Robert Kaufmann from The body is 1/8" Carolina Gingham in Chocolate, the visor lining is Sevenberry Petit Fleurs Tiny Flower Midnight. Next time I would skip the second fabric, the combination is a little busy for my taste. 

The apron and petticoat are improvised based on the final length of the dress. I will make a second apron. This one already had a run in with some hot apple cider in a togo cup. Who knew apple cider stained! 

The apron fabric is (of course!) Robert Kaufman Essex Linen, the choice for a big ol' apron. The petticoat was a late addition made from cotton eyelet, and lace trim I given to me from my mother in law's vintage stash. 
My husband got me Prairie Fires the Caroline Fraser biography of Laura Ingalls for Christmas (although he may have regretted it when we were on our way to Christmas dinner and I was weeping over Pa's death). The chapters on her childhood, and early marriage are tough to read. I read the First Four Years (and haven't let my kids read it yet, wanting to foster the magic before the reality come crashing down), I know life was hard. I knew the books weren't all facts, and any blogger knows we present ourselves in the way we want to be seen, not necessarily in the way we actually are. But, when I read how hard parts of her life were I was heart broken. I felt like a dear friend had withheld something from me. Thank God she pulled herself up by her bootstraps in the end! 

The book is fantastic, and puts the Ingalls/Wilder experience in a useful national context based on historical events and the work of other writers. It also clears up the tricky business of how much influence her daughter Rose had on the children's series. I'm not quite finished, but it's a good read!
I was a little worried the 8 y.o. mind might file dress-up clothes in the reviled clothing category of gift, the one that gets tossed aside before the lid is even fully off the box. Luckily, I was wrong. Given the choice between this costume, and the pink crushed velvet dress I made for her birthday, she's chosen this dress every day since Christmas. It saw 4 days of continuous wear from the second she unwrapped it. She wore it to grandmom's for Christmas dinner, and stuffed it into snow pants to go sledding, leaving me one very satisfied maker. 

Dress Fabric: Kaufman Sevenberry Petit Fleurs Stems Midnight from
Dress Pattern: Modified Zoey Dress from Violette Field Threads
Apron Fabric: Kaufman Essex Linen Blend White from
Apron Pattern: My Own
Bonnet Fabric: Kaufman 1/8" Carolina Gingham in Chocolate available at
Bonnet Lining: Kaufman Sevenberry Petit Fleurs Tiny Flower Midnight from
Bonnet Pattern: McCalls M7231
Petticoat Fabric & Trim: Vintage, from my Mother-in-law's vast fabric archives.

* links are affiliate links. I paid for all of the fabrics, and only recommend what I like.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Fragment Scarf : Ways to Wear It

I've been working the Fragment Scarf (available on Etsy or Ravelry) into my daily wardrobe every chance I get. It's little, and effortless, and works so many different ways that I can't resist its squishy texture if the temperature drops below 50 degrees! It's a quick knit. Raid your yarn stash and you could be wearing one tomorrow, or gifting a half dozen at Christmas with time to spare.

When I made the first Fragment Scarf I was heavily inspired by Style Bee's stripped down accessorizing, that makes a scarf seem absolutely essential. Since then I came across the scarf stylings of Rosemary and Thyme. Kriste's boy scout chic approach is perfect for my standard button-down uniform and makes me want to skip rocks and climb trees (or maybe just grocery shop) in the most stylish way possible. 

Yarn Possibilities

image credit Madeline Tosh (Mo Light Viper) / Purl Soho (Tynd 18) / 
Purl Soho (Cattail Silk Willow Gray) / Quince & Co. (Finch Fox) 

The Fragment Scarf pattern is written for Quince & Co. Finch. It's the perfect combination of body and drape for the kerchief scarf style. It would also be great in the muted hues of Madeline Tosh Mo Light. For a more lush interpretation the Purl Soho Cattail Silk would make a softer drape perfect for dress up. This one skein project is a great opportunity to try a top shelf yarn like Woolfolk Tynd, or a locally grown, spun, or dyed fingering yarn.

How to Wear It

This little snippet of a scarf has become a wardrobe staple for me. The wool keeps you toasty warm, but it often makes me think more of a necklace than a scarf, or maybe some knit jewelry middle ground. :) The cardi (this one is a Driftless) and Fragment, or jacket (this one is a Tamarack) and Fragment work as fall outerwear. In the winter when I'm too stubborn to turn up the heat the oversized sweater (both my own patterns- black, gray) and Fragment make me feel like it's a few degrees warmer inside. 

Get your copy of the Fragment Scarf Knitting Pattern
on Etsy

All things Fragment Scarf:


Monday, November 13, 2017

Wholecloth Bento Bag Tester Inspiration

Image from Elisa 
Instagram: @weckum 

I am ever so grateful to the group of testers for the Wholecloth Bento Bag sewing pattern. It's certainly true that the online sewing community is a one of the best parts about sewing. The testers caught my spelling errors, and gave great feedback on where the instructions were lacking. The collaboration with these sewists gives me great confidence in the end result. They are also a great source of inspiration! Looking at their finished bentos makes me want to ransack my stash for pretty prints and mellow stripes! Take a moment to see what a few of the testers have done with this design here, and in the #wholeclothbentobag hashtag on instagram.

Get the 
sewing pattern in the shop! 

Image from Sophe of Urban Roots Handmade
Instagram: @urbanrootshandmade

Image from Nicole of Pokeycan.
Instagram: @pokeycan

Image from Dawn.
 Instagram: @simply.dawn.marie

Image from Theresa 
Instagram: @teawithjamandbread

Image from Kara
Instagram: @knitsandsews

Image fromCatherine of Thread Snips
Instagram: @threadsnips 

Image from Jess of Coral Bunny and Lo.
Instagram: @coralbunnyandlo 

Image from Chelsey 
Instagram: @chelseylanefields

Image from Helle

Image from Rachel of Sterling Sewn
Instagram: @sterlingsewn

Thank you testers! And thank you to everyone who has already purchased a copy of the Wholecloth Bento Bag pattern! Be sure to share your bags with #wholeclothbentobag & #sweetkmpatterns, and tag me @kristi_sweetkm