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Medieval Monk Saga

September 23, 2015

This project has been a long time in the making.  Back story: my dad is really into studying history and likes to participate in Civil War reenactments.  He uses only historically accurate clothing and equipment; my mom had made him several shirts and he has commissioned wool uniforms and military coats (because Mom is smart to say no to making those).  He also uses the uniforms as his Halloween costume.  He has been a Union infantry man circa 1864 for 20+ years.

But not this year!  Two years ago he started asking Mom to make him a monk robe in wool (to be historically accurate I guess), because he wanted to buy a sword and go to renaissance fairs… Mom refused so he decided I would make it for him.  We talked him out of the wool and instead bought some thick, loosely woven, unbleached cotton from Dharma Trading Co. and dyed it brown.


I slowly worked on it for the next year and finally finished earlier this year, but just now have been able to get pictures of him wearing it.  I didn’t use a pattern, there weren’t any I thought would be worth tracking down (most robe like costume patterns seem to be out of print), and it’s mostly just rectangles anyways.

Watching Robin Hood for reference

Watching Robin Hood for reference

Because of the loose weave of the fabric I serged all the edges after cutting.


We did have one “fitting” midway through and I had to take in the shoulders a couple inches because I was purposefully making the size very generous.  I don’t live near my parents so it’s difficult to visualize fit on something like this (it swamps me).  There is a large pocket inside one of the sleeves, big enough to hold a book, by request.  The hem is actually 12″ deep, with a 12″ split on each side, to give it a nice weight on bottom and make the finishing cleaner looking from the outside.  There is a button closer in the back (it could be used as the front too though) with knotted leather buttons.  The neckline ended up being pretty big unfortunately, I finished it with brown pre-made bias tape.  I forgot to get a picture of him without the hood and cape, not that it’s very exciting.

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Monk (1)

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I love how big the hood is.  It’s just a big rectangle, folded in half and gathered to fit the neck of the cape.  The back of the cape is not my favorite, but months after cutting out the shapes I decided it wasn’t big enough but didn’t have enough fabric for a new one so I had to piece together leftover fabric.  It worked out and it’s still dramatically big.  The cape hem is also finished with pre-made bias tape and closes in front with the same leather buttons.

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Now he keeps saying he needs a hat, but I’m not sure what kind he’s talking about, hopefully I don’t have to make it!  I’ve also heard him talk about using this as a Jedi costume.



Inside Molly’s Head, Vol. 2

September 16, 2015

So I started this post back in May and never got around to finishing.  It feels like lots of stuff has being happening, and honestly it’s kindof overwhelming even when I’m not directly involved.  So here’s what I’ve found interesting, on the light hearted/non-political side of events, in the last few months:

  • I love costumes, I wish a made them more often but I also love making office wear so that usually wins out (practicality and all that crap).  But it’s awesome to see McCall’s embracing cosplay, on their regular website it can be kindof difficult to find the costume patterns.
  • Hilarious pattern covers with captions.  When we were little and went to the fabric store with our mom, my sisters and I would annoy her buy saying we didn’t like the patterns because of the model’s shoes or hair style.
  • Earth day was a few weeks back, and for crafty people it’s always important to keep recycling and re-usability in mind. As in “can something still be recycled after I’m done with it” and “am I improving something’s usefulness by modifying it.” It’s not really upcycling if you’re just going to have to trash it later.
  • I’ve always considered myself a very creative person, but there are two main things I’m not good at: meal planning (I can cook just fine but I can’t come up with food ideas, not that I like cooking anyways) and interior design.  But pretty rooms are just fun to look at.
  • Sewing patterns and copyright law, super exciting combo!
  • “Made in America” is a trendy thing for businesses to say these days (in the U.S. of course because that = local) but printing that on a tag doesn’t really tell the whole story.


Fancy Pants

September 9, 2015

The final act of “Making Things for Pedro, Summer 2015″… Tuxedo Stripe Jogger Pants!  Or whatever you want to call them.  This make was the one I was worried the most about, fit-wise, because Pedro lives so far away she couldn’t try them on midway through when they would be easiest to adjust.  They turned out fine though, mainly because it’s a loose fitting style.

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Pattern: Burdastyle #138 08/2014

Fabric: Black stretch satin for the side stripes, waist band and pockets, and poly-lycra suiting for the main pants.

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Design Likes/Dislikes:  The style is very trendy right now, but these pants are not too baggy or gathered that they look like sweat pants.  I really like how the satin side stripes make it look very fancy and the positioning of the pockets in the front side seam is nice.

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Sizing and Fit: Based on Pedro’s measurements I made a size 48 but probably could have gone down to 46 because they tend to slip down a little during wear.  Pedro also complained that there was too much fabric around the thighs.

"Protesting" in front of the legislature doors. Fun Fact: Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral (no House and Senate, just a Senate) but the capital building was built for both houses. I think the second legislature room is just empty.

“Protesting” in front of the legislature doors. Fun Fact: Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral (no House and Senate, just a Senate) but the capital building was built for both houses. I think the second legislature room is just empty.

Changes: Initially I had sewn in the invisible zippers at the ankles (perfectly, I might add) because Pedro is uber trendy.  But, though she is taller than me, Pedro is not as tall as the pattern so I had to cut them off and do a normal hem.  I also made the pockets a little bigger, because pockets in pants should be useful, and left off the drawstring per Pedro’s request.

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For Next Time: I would go down a size, but I’m not sure Pedro needs anymore work pants.  These could easily be made in jersey as casual pants though.


Purple Ties

September 4, 2015

Part 2 of “Making Things for Pedro, Summer 2015” is a purple tie blouse.  I think it turned out really cool.  My mom gave me a rolled hem foot for my birthday so I put it to good use finishing the ties (which are really fun to play with in my opinion).  The rolled hem foot was easy to learn, but it does not work on curved edges very well.

PurpleTies (1)

Pattern: Burdastyle #129 12/2014

Fabric: Purple polyester crinkle shirting from, easy to sew but impossible to press.  At least it will never get wrinkled in Pedro’s suitcase because it’s supposed to be wrinkled!

It's very windy at the top of the Nebraska capital building

It’s very windy at the top of the Nebraska capital building


Design Likes/Dislikes: I love the raglan sleeves (with shoulder darts) and the ties are really fun even though they’re just long rectangles.  The instructions for this pattern were not good so I didn’t really follow them too much. If it weren’t for the ties I would have used bias tape to finish the neckline, instead I used the provided facing and tacked it down anywhere I could because the fabric does not press.  Bias tape still probably would have worked, but I couldn’t make bia tape from self-fabric because it wouldn’t take a crease.

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Sizing and Fit: Size 44, it’s a little tight on Pedro but she says it’s fine. She probably actually needs a size 46.

Changes: I left off the collar, it’s a weird shape and too big I think.

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I call this "Villain in a Wind Storm"

I call this “Villain in a Wind Storm”

For Next Time: If Pedro wants another one of these I would probably grade out a little to give her more room.  I’d also consider making this for myself!


Krazy Kimono Dress

August 31, 2015

Pedro is very specific about the things she wants to wear, which is probably why I like sewing for her, she doesn’t change her mind halfway through and she’s very appreciative of the final products.  Pedro graduated college in June and is starting a job overseas in Ukraine and needed some work clothes.  We tried to go fabric shopping the last time we were together in late June, but the Hancocks in Lincoln seems to be dying a slow death, so she ordered this knit from (and now I have leftovers!).

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We went to the Nebraska state capital building to take pictures. It’s a pretty awesome place, if you’re ever in Lincoln.

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Pattern: The “1 Peice Kimono Tee” is an old (no longer available) pattern created by a Burdastyle user back in the Burdastyle US hayday.  I can’t link to it because the user removed it from the site when Burdastyle started charging for their patterns but not letting users sell patterns.

I’ve previously made this pattern for Pedro and they’re some of her favorite t-shirts (and mine too) so this time I lengthened it into a dress.

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Contemplating the statues

Contemplating the statues

Fabric: Poly knit, I think ITY.  My machine is really not good at sewing slippery knits, it’s skips stitches all the time.  I ended up using an overlocker style stitch on my normal sewing machine,  this used up a lot more thread than normal and took longer but it made skipped stitches matter less.

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Action shot

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Changes: In previous versions I’ve just turned the hems over once and stitch, this time I wanted it to look nicer so I added neck and sleeve binding.  I think they could have been a little less tight.

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Design Likes/Dislikes:  I already knew this would fit Pedro, but the length was a bit of long distance measure and pray, it could probably be an inch longer but that’s just details at this point.  The kimono sleeve style is always comfortable of course.

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Luckily it was Saturday

For Next Time: Maybe not do the binding on the sleeves because they’re supposed to be more flowy.  But otherwise I think it was a success.


Solid Skirt

August 8, 2015

Well I warned you that I’d be M.I.A. for a bit.  We moved to a townhouse about 4 blocks from our old house.  I really hate moving, but this new place is really nice so maybe we’ll stay here longer.  Anyways, I finished this skirt in June (before the move) and it’s my go-to skirt for work now, it goes with everything and it’s comfortable! Yay for butt princess seams!

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Not the best pictures, I had to bump up the contrast on them. I really need to figure out how to use my phone with a timer because it has a better camera than my actual camera!

Pattern: M5817, out of print


Fabric: Stretch polyester twill, poly lining

Design Likes/Dislikes: Simple lines and NO DARTS OR PLEATS! I don’t mind darts, although they’re annoying to sew, but I hate pleats on my skirts, they’re too poofy on me.

SolidSkirt (2)

Sizing and Fit: I made a size 10, should probably reshape the hip area a little next time. It’s just a bit more curvy than me. My hem is 3″ so next time I should also probably shorten it at the “shorten here” line so that my back vents are longer, oh well.


Changes: I added a lining by just cutting out the skirt pieces again.

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Love this skirt, now I just need it in some cool prints to go with solid colored tops.


Summertime and the Linvin’s Easy

June 13, 2015

Haven’t blogged in a month, don’t feel bad one bit, in case you wanted to know.  What have I been doing? A little sewing, plenty of work (but it’s light out before and after work now, summer is really amazing), a little travel, and reading.

Sewing: I made two Tiny Pocket Tank in one weekend.  I like them, but I’ve decided the Tiny Pocket Tank is not my soul mate.  I had to use 3/8″ seams and I think the neckline is a little too low.  It’s nice that it’s loose and swingy, but I feel like it hangs strangely on me.

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Tank Top Guts! It’s a really cool lace I’ve had forever (but only 1 yard) over layered on top of plain cotton. Kindof thick but it still looks good I think


Chess print rayon! super wiggly

I also FINALLY finished the monk robe costume for my dad! This has taken forever, I think we first dyed the fabric in 2013.  I had to try it on and take pictures because I think I look like a dementor or the ghost of Christmas future in it.  I should be able to get pictures of my dad wearing it later this month.


I am not the same size as my dad obviously, so it will look better on him with all his medieval accessories

Travel: I visited Pedro in Denver and we drove from there to the north rim of the Grand Canyon for some cold, wet camping!  There was snow on the ground the night we got there.  The views were pretty terrifying because the canyons were filled with clouds so even though you couldn’t see the drop offs half the time, you still knew they where there.  It really felt like a suspense/horror movie at times.  But when the clouds did clear it was really awe inspiring.

Snow covered trees in late May!

Snow covered trees in late May!

Scary drop offs that you can't see...

Scary drop offs that you can’t see…

But it was worth all the rain I think

But it was worth all the rain I think

Reading: It really must be the year of reading for me this year.  So far my favorite has been Vermilion, so much fun!  It’s a fantasy steampunk version of the late 1800s, set in San Francisco and then Colorado and Wyoming, lots ghosts, monster hunters, talking bears, and lots of action.  The main character is a half Chinese half English, 19 year old woman who dresses like a man and gets into way more trouble than she can handle most of the time.  I so hope this becomes a series, I had book depression after I finished it.


click image for link to the author’s website



I also finished reading that Magic of Tidying book by Marie Kondo, and while I think some of her ideas are good I don’t think she addresses the “don’t bring more crap home after you’ve cleaned up” part.  I also think she’s truely a little crazy.  I’m hoping to do a review of it in conjunction with Pedro at some point.

I’m working on a black pencil skirt right now, not too exciting except it has a green lining.  I’m having a hard time picking the next book to read, I tried to read The Swiss Family Robinson but it was pretty horrible and I had to stop (why is it a classic!? All they do is kill every animal they come across without a second thought!).  And we’re moving to a different house next month so I’ll probably be light on posting for most of the summer.  Blogging feels a little boring lately, maybe just because the sun is out.



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