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Embroider All The Things

December 17, 2014

I’ve made embroidery a habit, there is nearly always an in-progress project near the couch nowadays.  It’s great for mindlessly watching sporting events (Mr. Husband has become a hockey fan now that we live in the State of Hockey).  But I’m slow on blogging them so here are several I’ve finished in the last few months.

Catnap Cowtow:

My last cowtow! It’s like the end of an era… kindof!

Catnap (3)

Catnap pattern by Bee’s Knees Industries

All five cats are slightly different

All five cats are slightly different, but my lighting was bad so I only got clear pictures of these two

Catnap (8)

Sashiko Pillow Kit:

I’ve been wanting to try this kind of embroidery, which is basically just a running stitch, but I wanted to use the correct materials.  So when I visited Crafty Planet, I got this pillow kit (I’d rather have had a geometric design but this is pretty too).  At some point I’ll do some more of this because lining up the stitches that intersections was surprisingly challenging.

Sashiko (1)


Sashiko (3)

Sashiko (2)

Sashiko (5)

This is my backyard the day I took these pictures. Oh how I miss the green and liquid water!

This is my backyard the day I took these pictures. Oh how I miss the green leaves and liquid water! Everything is white and frozen right now

Christmas Angel Wings:

This one isn’t my favorite, but I think it gets the point across… the point being CHRISTMAS.  But the end result is kindof kitchy and a little strange? It’s ok.  I was probably just too excited about this christmas thread assortment from Sublime Stitching, with white and a darker green added in.  FYI, that metalic thread of theirs is a bitch to stitch with.  Seriously not fun.  The wing pattern also happens to be from Sublime Stitching, but that’s just cause I couldn’t find a good complete angel that I like anywhere.

ChristmasWings (4)

ChristmasWings (6)

The fabric was too stiff for stitching really, so it left all those puckers, but I don’t really care because it’s shiny (which you can’t really tell from these photos…)

ChristmasWings (12)

ChristmasWings (10)

ChristmasWings (8)

And there you have it.


Snow Snow Snow Dress

December 10, 2014
tags: ,

Not a whole lot to say here besides I like blue and this dress is super comfy.  Also, it’s cold up here in the North lands but I went outside without a coat on and was totally having fun with it.  Later I wore this to my company holiday party.

SnowDress (1)

Pattern: Vogue 8665

Fabric: Ponte-like knit, but it feels stretchier than other pontes, so maybe it’s just a thick interlock?  I don’t know, but it’s soft and BLUE.  The pattern says it can be used for woven fabrics too, I have no idea how that would feel though, maybe a stretch woven would be fine.

SnowDress (4)

Design Likes/Dislikes: I like the shaped seams and cap sleeves a lot.  I’m not usually a twirly skirt girl but the fullness of this skirt is hidden pretty well (meaning not too poofy).  The front neckline is higher than I expected and the back neckline is lower than I expected but neither are bad, I like them, just not what I expected.

SnowDress (3)

Sizing and Fit:  I made my usual size 10 and this dress came out super big, but that could possibly be because my knit is stretchier than called for.  Thankfully there are lots of seams to adjust the fit with!  I took in an extra 5/8″ on the side seams and the center back seam (did not want to mess with the curvy shaped seams).  Easy.  If I had used a woven, I bet the fit would have been better right out (what I’m saying is if you make this, don’t expect it to run small just because of my experience, always do your own fitting first!).

SnowDress (2)

Changes:  I left off the zipper.  The zipper is probably only necessary for woven fabric.  The instructions have you bind the neck and arm holes with bias tape, and that would work great for a woven, but not for knit.  So I experimented with finishes and decided to use a strip of fabric for binding(lengthwise with the stretch), folded in half and zigzagged to the dress edges.  The binding strips were about 80% of the neck and arm hole circumference, stretched to fit.


The top binding is what I ended up using

For Next Time: Not sure I’ll get around to making this again, there are too many other patterns in the world!  Especially since it doesn’t have any variations.

SnowDress (5)


Do You Subscribe?

December 5, 2014

In the US (not sure about other countries), “subscription boxes” have become really popular.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about basically you sign up (and pay obviously) to receive a box of products every month but you don’t know exactly what will be in the box until you get it, only that they will be part of an overall theme (like dog treats, makeup, or shaving products of some sort).  Small businesses are getting in on it too, as described in the NPR article linked above, but the only sewing related one I’ve seen so far is embroidery themed.


What does this have to do with anything?  Well, Colette recently introduced their new Seamwork digital magazine and I was really intrigued by it.  Is this the next step in the sewing blogger evolution?  Now that it seams like every other sewing blogger out there wants to sell their own patterns or join the sewing industry in some way, the (relatively) older and more established pattern makers (like Colette) will be looking to expand and offer something different.  Writing a book is one mile marker, but I’m pretty sure they’re not making a ton of money writing sewing books right now.  So what else? More product beyond patterns? Or just more patterns.

Now, Burda has been doing the subscription (and magazine) thing forever so it’s definitely not a new idea, but for a tiny company, supposing they’re capable of putting out new patterns on a monthly basis, it could be revolutionary.  Digital technology and the internet cut out shipping and printing costs too.  I doubt we’ll be seeing many Seamwork copycats any time soon, but we will see more businesses branching out (like Sewaholic selling clothing tags).  I would not be surprised to see more variations on the subscription idea.  Pattern subscriptions might be more common in the embroidery world but embroidery patterns are much easier to produce.  I don’t follow knitting blogs, but maybe there is something similar for knitters too?  I would still love to see a sewing themed subscription box, maybe with cool buttons, zippers, and patterns in it.

Do you subscribe to any box services? Are you going to subscribe to Seamwork (I decided not to since I already get Burda and don’t use those enough as it is)?  Or have you seen any other sewing subscriptions?  There have definitely been major shifts in sewing blog style over the years, what do you think the next sewing blog evolution will be?  All these questions and more!


Tank with Tiny Pocket

November 12, 2014

Even though my last Tiny Pocket Tank (minus the tiny pocket) was a little tight, I still wear it often so I threw caution to the wind and cut out 4 more TPTs at once.  Except this one is still tight even using the correct seam allowance (1/2″ instead of the normal 5/8″), so I think on the next 3 I’ll sew the side seams even smaller… but then I also realized after the fact that I should have trimmed the arm hole seam allowance down when doing the bias binding so that could also factor into the tightness :( dumb. Next time I’ll get it right!  If I hadn’t already cut the other 3 out I would probably have sized up instead (even though that would mean printing and cutting and taping again boo)

SparkleTinyTank (3)

Pattern: Grainline Studio Tiny Pocket Tank


Fabric: Black cotton with silver threads bought earlier this year in Seattle.  What. I’m actually using fabric bought in the same calendar year! What is this blasphemy?

Design Likes/Dislikes: Love the swingy loose shape, no fear of feeling constricted… except at the arm holes but we’ve already talked about that. The neckline is bordering on too low though.

SparkleTinyTank (1)

SparkleTinyTank (2)

Sizing and Fit: Tight in the bust, see above.

Changes: None, I even used the tiny useless pocket! but instead of hemming the pocket, I cut two out and sewed them right sides together to enclose the seams. I should have finished the side and shoulder seams because the metallic threads are a little itchy, not enough to stop me from wearing it yet.

And here is what happens when you prop your camera up on a box on your bed...

And here is what happens when you prop your camera up on a box on your bed…

Helpful kitten, always.

Helpful kitten, always.

For Next Time: Smaller side seam allowances and trim the arm holes down.

Quick and (mostly) painless.


Hipster Lumberjack Party Pirate

November 7, 2014

HelloHello, as I have been absent gallivanting around the world, some of you may not know me (or gasp, remember me??).  I am Pedro.

As a dedicated hipster, it is my duty to represent my generation in the Halloween festivities.  This year I went as myself, a hipster lumberjack party pirate. Obviously.


This was the best shot I could get of my pink hair. Molly and I inherited the thick hair gene somewhere down the line so it took a lot of hair chalk to even get it to show this much…


While wandering around campus late at night I found a brick wrapped like a present, presumably to anchor some nonexistent balloons. So naturally I decided to pose with it.


The full outfit. I suppose it’s hard to make out, but I’m holding my small plastic parrot in my other hand… you know, because I’m a pirate. Striped leggings and plaid flannel shirt complete the “look”

Ingredients for a successful Pedro costume:

  • Mismatched everything. Striped leggings and pink flannel? You betcha.
  • One or two key elements to solidify the theme. In the pirate case, a jaunty eyepatch and plastic parrot.
  • PARTY! Glow necklaces do the trick nicely.

Thank you thank you, that is all.


Disco Burda

November 1, 2014

So this dress is a little… different, at least for me.  But in the name of experimentation, I will show you what I’ve made.

This is how I'd "style" this dress if I was going as a 60s-ish go-go dancer for Halloween... but being mostly anti-social I had no reason to dress up this year so I didn't really make a costume

This is how I’d “style” this dress if I was going as a 60s-ish go-go dancer for Halloween… but being mostly anti-social I had no reason to dress up this year so I didn’t really try to make a costume.

Pattern:  Burda Young 7056, view A

Click photo for link to the German Burda site (the Simplicity site is stupid)

No-frill dresses for the confident woman, being the focus. All slightly flared, fitted at the back waist, shoulders left exposed. C with standing collar, B to fit the evening, with feathers at the hem.

I’ve been trying to pick a pattern to use with my precious Marimekko fabric (bought more than two years ago on my honeymoon) and I’m finally getting around to testing this one.  Since I have two different cuts of 2 yards of that fabric I think I will use this pattern, but maybe widen the shoulders out to be more bra friendly.

DiscoBurda (3)

Fabric:  Stretch cotton, similar to the weight of quilting cotton, bought a while ago at Denver Fabrics (the physical store, not the website.  They’re not related) in Littleton, CO.  I wish I had noticed it had stretch in it because the Marimekko fabric does not.  I was just trying to get something with a similar weight when I picked this out.  The colors are not my normal thing, it reminds me of the 60s or 70s.

DiscoBurda (6)

Design Likes/Dislikes:  First off, when Burda says mini dress, they mean it.  I would not wear this to work, so for the next round I’ll be adding length (hopefully that doesn’t make it look frumpy…).  As is, it’s fine for Halloween or just a weekend summer dress, but it probably won’t get a ton of wear (lets face it, I’m just not a Dress Girl most of the time).  I like the cut of the shoulders, but it doesn’t work with my normal bras so I will widen them for the final dress.

DiscoBurda (2)

Sizing and Fit:  I made a straight size 10, and had no fitting issues, but usually I don’t have fitting issues.  I’m 5’4″ and I would consider this dress short on me so if you’re taller and don’t like minis, best to just lengthen it right away!

Changes:  None

This is not a dress length meant for bending over!

This is not a dress length meant for bending over!

For Next Time:  Add length and widen shoulders… eventually!  I’ve got a few things in the queue to work through before I’ll get back around to this one, but I will for sure.


It’s a T-Shirt, Charlie Brown

October 27, 2014

When I complained about all the t-shirt patterns in the market right now, I mentioned that even I had succumbed and bought the Renfrew pattern when I already have a t-shirt pattern that I know fits me well.  But the Renfrew has all the extra details and variations I was missing on my Butterick pattern, and I’m way too lazy to draft the changes I want!  Also I too can be a sucker for a shiny new pattern… that came out two years ago.  Hey, have you ever seen me follow the sewing trends? Not so much.

Renfrew (6)

Pattern:  Sewaholic Renfrew (in my head I always call it Renufrew, no idea why)

The Renfrew Top is a fitted knit top with sleeve and neckline variations. View A has long sleeves and a scoop neckline. View B has short sleeves and a deep V neckline. View C has a dramatic cowl neckline and three-quarter length sleeves. Mix and match any of the sleeves with any of the neckline options for unlimited possibilities!

Fabric:  Polyester blend knit from Hancocks.  Not the best quality (static!) but the print sucked me in, and it does have good stretch and recovery and it warm.  For being black and white, this print seems really loud, and everytime I look down the zigzags remind me of Charlie Brown.

Renfrew (3)

Renfrew (1)

Design Likes/Dislikes:  This was so fast to sew up, I loved not having to think about how I was going to hem anything.  I think the hem bands are really professional looking.  I chose to make the draped collar version because I wanted to wear this to work, not that there is probably anything wrong with wearing a regular t-shirt collar to work but I just think this looks more interesting and professional.

Renfrew (4)

Sizing and Fit:  I made a size 4 with no changes, it is a little snug but that is the way it’s intended.  If I was ever going to use a knit with less stretch I would definitely add some width.  The 3 quarter sleeves are the perfect length.

Renfrew (2)

For Next Time:  I’m definitely going to try the other neck variations.



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