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Weaving with Cardboard

May 23, 2018

Ok, not really with cardboard but on cardboard. I’ll explain.

I bought a house last summer, and I’ve been trying to be careful about not filling it with stuff we don’t need and attempting to decorate a little. But I’d also like to do as much of it myself as I can, because just like buying clothes, if I see something I like in a store that I could make I have a hard time justifying buying it (and home decor stuff is usually really expensive for what it is). Long story short, I wanted to find a basket to cover an ugly plastic house plant pot. Couldn’t find a basket in the right size easily so started thinking about how to make something stylish. Solution: weaving.

My mom used to do a lot of crafty things like this at home with my sisters and I. Painting, polymer clay sculptures, tie dye, weaving, etc. And we would make our own looms out of cardboard. So I measured the width I wanted and cut a ton of little tabs along the edges of a piece of cardboard.

I can’t totally remember but I think with a loom like this you’re supposed to wrap the warp threads (up and down) all the way around the back, so then when you go to remove the fabric you have nice long strings to tie in knots. I was using what I had on hand though and ran out of string so I had to do some creative stringing. My cat, Potato, of course loved all of this.

I did a few inches of weaving and realized I did a few things wrong:

  1. the warp threads were too tight
  2. I couldn’t find a comb to force the weft yarn down as much as I wanted
  3. And even though I wasn’t pulling hard at all, I still ended up with a narrower width at one end. I think because the solid cardboard back of the loom makes it hard to adjust.

It still looks nice and I’m glad I tried, but I’m going to try something else for now to make a basket thingy. I’m probably going to end up with way more baskets of different kinds than I actually need. I would like to return to weaving though, maybe with something that more closely resembles a loom instead of cardboard.

Also, fair warning, I’m on a crafting/quilting binge right now and won’t have any more clothing posts for a while.


Burda Style #116 02/2012 Kimono For Pedro

May 16, 2018

Sometimes my sister “Pedro” asks me to make her things, sometimes I just make things for her that I think she’d like. This time she requested this kimono, and we even picked out fabric together when she visited sometime last year (or maybe it was 2 years ago, can’t remember). But she completely forgot about it, so now it’s more like a surprise anyways.

Pattern: Burda Style #116 02/2012

Fabric: Brown poly satin. It wasn’t as wide as I needed, so I should have bought more. To make up for that I didn’t make the sash and had to use really small seam allowances.

Design Likes/Dislikes: It’s a really simple pattern and easy to make so there isn’t much to discuss as far as design. I did mess up the pocket placement a couple times because the waist label is really close to the pocket label.

Sizing and Fit: I made a size 44, not that size matters a whole long on something like this. No idea how it fits Pedro since she hasn’t worn it yet but it’s over sized basically.

Changes: Because I didn’t have seam allowances, I bound all the tiny seams with bias tape. I probably could have pieced together the sash but we decided to add a button closure in the front instead. Because of that I had some scraps left that I used as bands to hem the sleeves, they seemed too short without. All the bands have the dull side of the satin facing out.

For Next Time: Buy the right width of fabric! I actually might make this as presents for other people in the future since it was easy and doesn’t require fitting.


Burda Style #109 09/2015 The Search for Shift Dress Continues

May 9, 2018

Actually, I think I’m mostly done looking for the “perfect” shift dress. I have several now and I just don’t need anymore. I love the idea of an easy shift dress, and I’ll still wear them, but I just like pants better. I do however think most of these patterns would work great as tops, so the quest will continue down another path.

I finished this dress a few months ago, but it didn’t seem like a winter dress so I only just now have worn it for the first time. And since I usually wait to take pictures of new things until I actually wear them, the blogging had to wait too.

Pattern: Burda Style #109 09/2015 (which is the same as #108 from the same issue but with sleeves), view B minus the collar.

Fabric: Left over linen from my Renaissance dress. Which I still seem to have more of. I should sew with linen more, it’s so comfortable.

Design Likes/Dislikes: I like the side/princess seams, it’s a nice and loose but still has some shape. The pockets in the front side seam are great. However the sleeves are super tight, I even let them out a little and they’re just barely ok right now. It’s weird that they’re 2 piece sleeves at all, seems unnecessary since the seams don’t follow the arm movements like jacket 2-piece sleeves do. You can see in the close up picture the sleeves are rotating weirdly.

Another bummer about this dress is I serged all the seams inside, which makes it scratchy too me. I must have bad serger thread or something because it always makes stuff too scratchy. I try to do french seams when I remember, but it’s not habit for me.

Sizing and Fit: I made size 36. I think the sleeves are too high and tight, next time I would lower everything by 1/2 inch and widen the sleeves all the way down. The problem with this pattern is probably that the other version of it is sleeveless, so instead of modifying for the sleeves, they just forced the sleeves to fit.

Invisible zipper win

Changes: I let out the sleeve seams, made the pockets bigger and tacked the two pockets together inside, and used a deep hem instead of shortening the pattern. The weight of the pockets falls forward, making my stomach look big, but I love having the pockets so oh well.

For Next Time: I’d like to try this pattern again, with the sleeve modifications, but as a shirt.


Inside Molly’s Head, May 2018

May 2, 2018

And now for some random links accumulated over the past few months, but first, a cat:

  • Laundry hacks
  • Knitting at the Olympics
  • Next time a politician sends their “thoughts and prayers” to victims of preventable tragedies, maybe send them some back instead of campaign donations.
  • My dad’s family is all Irish, so when I was little we’d spend St. Patrick’s day watching old movies from the 40s about leprechauns and Irish folk tales. We’d leave a beer on the back porch that night and find that it had been drank by morning (sort of like leaving cookies for Santa). We’re also Jewish, so it’s really interesting that people are using holidays from cultures other than their own to learn more about them (most people don’t do this, but its nice that some people are). And honestly, gentle Passover sounds so much better than a full Seder.
  • I’m sure you’ve all seen this by now, but it’s just so perfect. I hope they sell prints of the Obama portraits soon because they’re such good paintings.
  • Does reading make you smarter?
  • Why superheros don’t wear ponytails
  • Somehow we’ve lost the ability to bend over properly in western culture (I wish the article went into why, but it’s probably because of desk jobs).
  • Queen Elizabeth went to fashion week
  • Mary Fons talks about the AIDS Quilt, part I and part II. And, while not new, political/protest quilts seem to be having a resurgence.
  • Some really good thoughts on cultural appropriation and inclusion in the quilting/crafting world. I cringe every time someone describes fabric or fashion as “tribal” generically.
  • Jeans vs. Leggings
  • How to use less plastic. I’ve starting making a few of these changes, but plastic wrapping is on everything! I keep telling myself baby steps are better than nothing.
  • I love subversive cross stitch and embroidery sticking it to the man


McCall’s 6996 Experiments in Cardigans

April 7, 2018

I wear a lot of cardigans and jackets, they’re necessary layers in a cold office environment. I’ve not been overly successful sewing cardigans. I think because the weight and stability of a fabric is crucial when choosing a pattern. Like my last cardigan, I think my fabric is too light, but it also might have stretched out I can’t tell.

Pattern: M6996, view C

Fabric: Wool knit from SR Harris that is surprisingly soft and easy to wash, I just throw it in a mesh bag in the machine on the gentle cycle and it’s fine. It’s so clingy though, it’s not static and it’s not snagging (thank g-d) but it catches on itself and my fingers all the time almost like hook-and-loop. I’m amazed it hasn’t snagged yet.

It’s a constant battle to straighten this fabric

Normally I would steer clear of something like wool knit because it just sounds like it would be hard to care for, but this stuff is so soft and light I couldn’t resist trying. I do think it stretched out either as I was cutting or sewing or both because the bottom center fronts are not the same length anymore.

Design Likes/Dislikes: I really like the neck band that finishes the front, the gathers are even a really nice touch. I do not like how wide the sleeves are and that the sleeve and hem are just turned up a couple times and stitched. The body of the cardigan seems to flare out at the hips more than I was expecting also.

Sizing and Fit: I did sew a size M (out of XS-S-M) and in hindsight that was a poor choice because of how thin the fabric is. If I had a sweater knit I think that would have worked out, but this is more like a jersey or tissue knit. Also my weight changes seem to have stopped and don’t include my arms so I definitely needed the small size for sleeves. I’ll probably just buy the pattern again so I can have both sizes ready for whatever fabric.

Changes: I don’t think I made any changes really besides order of construction. Once again I should have taken more time when hemming a knit fabric.

For Next Time: Smaller size and make the sleeve narrower.


Simplicity 8529 by Sew House Seven

March 14, 2018

January and most of February was very cold and very snowy and I hope we’re done with it but we’re probably not. So I made a sweater. Behold:

Pattern: S8529 View A. This pattern is basically the same as the Toaster Sweater version 2, also by Sew House Seven. I wish version 1 of the Toaster sweater was included too but I can understand why its not, it’s pretty much a completely different pattern. I might buy it at some point because I think I like it better…

Fabric: Sweater knit from Hancocks. It’s probably a poly blend, but it’s really comfortable and sheds like crazy at the unfinished edges.

Design Likes/Dislikes: I have a like/hate relationship with drop shoulder sleeves. The look good on other people but I don’t like how they look on me. But they seem to be trendy right now so a lot of boxy sweater patterns have them. Interestingly it seems like the original Toaster pattern doesn’t have such droopy sleeves, maybe another point in its favor to try it out.

I like that the collar/cowl is self lined and secured in the seam so it doesn’t flip out, it’s also very cozy. It’s kindof an odd design though because it’s obviously meant to fold a little (like it is on me and the model) but it’s not quite a true cowl so it looks unintentional. My best (male) work friend complimented me on it, unprompted, so it must look good beyond being comfy and warm.

Sizing and Fit: I think I made a size 10. It’s hard to mess up the size on something like this that is nearly a big square.

Changes: I added a seam on the back to conserve fabric and sewed the side vents closed more. They’d go up to my waist otherwise! I wish I’d done a better job hemming because my serger stretched things out a lot, but I tried to fix that as much as possible.

For Next Time: For once I already have this back in the queue with another sweater knit! I’m going to do view C or D, maybe with a contrast binding if I think of it.


A Wreath, A Painting and Some Mending

March 7, 2018

… walk into a bar. Oh, no that’s not right…

Here’s just a few random things going on in the background of my regular garment sewing:

  • I decided I needed a plant painting for my upstairs hallway because a lot of the walls in our house are still pretty bare. Its not quite as “green” as I wanted, I should have done the background in mint instead of light yellow. I’m done painting but I’m going to “frame” it with some strips of wood, just need to buy stain first.

  • Mr. Husband blows out the elbows of his shirts every once in a while. Usually he abandons those shirts to my refashion box, but I guess this purple shirt is a favorite so he actually asked me to fix it. I just pinched it back together and sewed it closed like a dart then reinforced it with some cotton on the inside.

  • For no particular reason I felt like making a wreath with some rope I had on hand (it’s the kind of rope that’s used on cat scratching posts, leftover from the cat scratching post I made… which I guess I never blogged about?). It was fun to make and I think it looks really good, but I actually don’t want to hang it up at my house! Too rustic for my tastes. Its a weird feeling, liking something but not wanting it.

  • And I started another quilt with red and green squares and half square triangles, the colors of our NHL hockey team, the Minnesota Wild. Not sure how big it will be but I’m going to make star shapes, I’m trying not to over analyze it! Right now I have a ton of squares cut out and made one star.

Most of this stuff I post more about on instagram (see preview on the right side bar), if you care for more “real time” updates ha!