One of my reasons for visiting Toronto was to take a Ginger Jeans class with Heather, the pattern designer, at the Workroom.  I had actually already made the pattern once before, but I couldn’t pass up meeting and learning from her.  As it happens, my first pair turned out better than the class pair, but that’s totally on me and doesn’t mean I didn’t learn.


This was the minute after I finished my first pair and I was very excited.

So, I made the first pair with the high waist and skinny legs, using a kit from IndieSew.  I believe I cut a size 12 waist graded to a 14 at the hip, but did so many adjustments, I have no idea what it would be now.  Though I usually never take the time, I did make a muslin, with some cheap denim-like fabric I had.  I knew it wouldn’t be wearable so I just basted everything together and realized I definitely needed to do a sway back adjustment, take out 5” in length, and take in the side seams.


Then I went in for the real stuff.  I followed the instructions in the Sewing Your Own Jeans e-Book (which are a little different than the pattern instructions, and uses photographs instead of drawings, which is helpful for me) and was really happy with the results.  I ended up doing the sway back to both the yoke and the waistband, taking out 1/2” and 1 1/2” respectively.


I used a favorite feather print for the pockets and bright pink thread win my serger.


I had a hard time with the last few finishing things.  I primarily sew on my Singer Featherweight, which doesn’t have bar tack or buttonhole options (I know there is a buttonhole attachment but I don’t have one yet).  I tried using a studio-mate’s machine but it wasn’t quite powerful enough for all that denim.  Part of my problem was also that I stupidly didn’t trim the zipper down!  So, I ended up having to unpick the topstitching of the waistband and get back in there to trim it. Then I did a buttonhole with straight stitches (which I realize might not last long). And then the rivets… the rivets!  Those were such a pain!  The ones in the kit were hollow post and none of them turned out.  (I’m waiting to get some in the mail from Taylor Tailor and then I’ll replace them.)


Things I would do differently: I sewed the pockets so that the seams wouldn’t show from the inside of the jeans, but I don’t like feeling the seam allowance when I put my hands in the pockets.  I wish the legs were even skinnier.  I should have taken out more crotch curve length.


Overall, I love these jeans.  I have a good sized booty and it’s hard to find jeans that fit.  I just washed them this week, for the first time since finishing them (back in May, ahem) and didn’t dry them (as per Heather’s guidance), and they still fit great.

For the class, I went completely unprepared.  The trip came at a time when I wasn’t sewing at all, and I didn’t take the time to gather up my pattern or buy supplies.  So I had a lot of catching up to do and thanks to Heather, I did!


I bought denim, lining fabric, and hardware from the Workroom.  It was the last of the denim they had left, which turned out being almost enough (I had to redo my waistband and use some of a classmate’s denim).  Since I didn’t get to prewash it, Heather told me I will never be able to dry them, which is okay.


This time, I went with the low rise version and cropped them (since I typically roll up my jeans to this length anyway). I cut out a size 16 this time, which ended up being too big all around, and I forgot that the low rise version came with stovepipe legs, so I had to take those in a lot (and ended up with too tight calves).


Heather’s fitting help showed me to take out 1/2″ from the front crotch curve length and 3/4″ from the back, which helped a lot.


But, the waist is still too big.  I can’t even buckle my belt to the first hole without creating a paper bag waist appearance (which I do not like).  Heather’s sway back adjustment took in the waistband, but I think I need to take in the yoke, too (like I did on my first pair).  I think I have just enough denim left to redo those things, although for the sake of consistent topstitching, I have to take them almost completely apart.  But it’ll be worth it for a pair of well fitting jeans!


Unfortunately, the rivets I got at the Workroom were also the hollow post, but Heather had a stash with her that I was able to use.


Here’s a poorly lit little peek at the insides.  You can see how the low and high rise have different pocket constructions.  All seams were serged and topstitched.

I have another pair in the works, midrise in black, which I’m really excited about, and will combine everything I learned from the first two pairs.

Sorry for all the words! But thanks for making it this far :)  Stay tuned for a post about the tops I wore in these photos!


Oh, hello there!  I suppose it’s been awhile.  Fall has finally arrived and I feel at ease; I feel like sewing (and blogging) again!

In September, I was able to take a really wonderful trip to Toronto to visit my friends Katherine and Karyn and take a great Ginger Jeans class with the lovely Heather.

A couple weeks before my trip, I was in a bit of a car accident.  All parties involved were totally unharmed but unfortunately, my car didn’t make it out alive.  I wasn’t entirely sure the trip was going to happen, but thankfully, I was able to rent a nice little Dodge Dart and I was on my way.


On the road, driving towards Pilot Mountain.

On the road, driving towards Pilot Mountain.

I traveled to Cleveland first, to visit my dear friend Molly.  I was only there one full day but I had coffee at Phoenix Coffee Co, went to the Cleveland Museum of Art (ranked one of the best in the country, with good reason), drank rosé slushies, and watched the sun set over Lake Erie.  Cleveland is a really vibrant, fun city.





Leaving Molly’s, I drove a small highway along the lake towards Buffalo, NY and the Canadian border.  I stopped at a little historical lighthouse along the way.


Checking Sprudge, I found a great Third Wave coffee shop in Buffalo called Tipico.  It was a beautiful space, with huge windows that almost completely opened the cafe to the residential neighborhood it’s in.  I chatted with the barista while he made me a delicious Ethiopian pour over, telling him that I am from North Carolina and work at a coffee shop and bakery.  He told me to walk a few blocks away to BreadHive for a sandwich, a bakery and cafe similar to where I work, and it did not disappoint!  While the area I was in has seen some economically better days, Buffalo seems like a city with a lot of history and character.



Leaving Buffalo, I headed into Canada.  The border crossing was no big deal and after working my way through TIFF traffic, I made it to Katherine’s and was greeted by this famous guy.


Over the next few days I got to hang out a lot with Katherine and her boyfriend, eat amazing food, drank amazing drinks, I walked a lot, took part in the city-wide bike share, drank coffee, went to a great bookstore called Type, wandered Chinatown and Kensington Market, spent a lot of time at the Workroom (which is just as dreamy as I imagined) and, of course, made a pair of Ginger jeans in a class with the pattern designer herself, Heather Lou from Closet Case Files.

One thing I did not do much of in Toronto, was take pictures.  Oops!





After only three days, it was time to head back home, a 12-hour drive almost straight south.  I drove along Lake Ontario to Niagara-On-The-Lake, an adorable town where the Niagara River meets the lake.  I went to a wonderful little quilt shop at Katherine’s suggestion called Modern Bee and treated myself to a couple things, got a pretty terrible cup of coffee and walked along the beach for awhile, enjoying a clear fall day.

Fort Niagara across the river.

Fort Niagara across the river.

And then I had to see Niagara Falls.  I’d been once when I was 13, but knew experiencing it as an adult would be different.  And it was breathtaking.  And the Canadian side is way better.  The color of the water was the most beautiful greens and blues and the sheer power of all that water is humbling.




It was so lovely to see Molly and Katherine and Dana and Karen and meet Heather.  I’m so thankful to all of them and I cannot wait to go back.

Trying to find the perfect button up: Archer.

I’m still on my quest to find the perfect button up shirt that I can fill my closet with and this is almost there.  The Archer by Grainline Studio is a classic button up shirt that has a lot of potential.


As soon as I received the pattern, I knew I wanted to use this plaid from my stash (another gift from Laura; I’m noticing a trend!), which meant my first foray into pattern matching.  I read Lauren’s post on it and tried to match the horizontal striping around the bodice.  I could have done better with the vertical striping, too, but it’s a small/busy enough plaid that it works.  I decided to cut the button placket, sleeve cuffs, back yoke, and pockets on the bias, which breaks up the pattern a bit, for better or worse.


Overall, the shirt just feels too big.  I made a size 12 based on my measurements but the sleeves are way too long, the pockets are too large and too low, and for someone that likes more fitted clothing, it just feels too baggy.


I do, however, really like collar stands.  And I like the way Jen has you attach it.  Since this fabric didn’t have a wrong and right side, I accidentally attached quite a few pieces of the shirt backwards, you can’t really tell.


I was happy to try a different kind of sleeve placket, though I think I’ll do the Hawthorn style next time.  I chose to use snaps because my machine is not too keen on buttonholes (though I occasionally borrow my studio mate’s machine).  I would have loved to use red ones but alas, my snap stash is dwindling.


With a few adjustments, this just might make a perfect button up.

Petal hem shorts.

I actually made these Chataigne shorts from Deer&Doe a couple years ago.  I wasn’t crazy about the fit back then, and I’m still not now.  But they’re not hopeless!


I  really like the front yoke that comes to a point and the scalloped hemline.


I found the hem facing had a tendency to flip down, so I made my first attempt at a blind hem. I did… okay.  It probably would have been better with a different color thread.


I pulled out the pattern the other night and noticed that based on my measurements, I’d graded the pattern and cut the waist at a size 44 and the hips and hem at 42.  I think I should have just gone 42 all the way, especially using a stretch chambray like I did.  Hence, the safety pinned gather on the back.


And while I like high-waisted bottoms, these seem a little bit too high.  The pattern includes a mid-waist option, so maybe somewhere in between would be better.  I also wish the front pockets were deeper, which I’m finding is a trend.


I used a voile for the lining and serged all inside seams.  I might try to undo part of the lining and take in the waist to achieve a better fit.

On another note, I’m so happy that it’s bike riding weather.  I love this gal!



I recently acquired a printer through a local swap/sell/give Facebook group and I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say it’s changed my life.  That, and receiving March’s Seamwork Magazine, I had to make the Catarina dress RIGHT THEN.


I used a red rayon (?) from my stash (that I also used to make my first Deer & Doe Datura blouse) and I love it so.  I’m almost ready to take on the summer heat in this dress.


I didn’t have any bra strap rings and sliders (and no patience to get any!) so I made the straps adjustable by pulling and tying them at the back, foregoing the waist tie.    As the day goes on, the straps slide in towards the middle and the back poufs out, but I actually don’t mind it.


I didn’t have enough fabric, so I shortened the skirt by about 5″.  I used a red ‘ninja star’ polyester (also used for Seamwork’s Akita blouse) from my stash for the bodice lining and bias hem facing.  I like the little peeks of pattern.



I cut out a size 12 based on my measurements, but this one is so roomy, I think I could go down a size (or two, even).


I’m sad I used up the last of this red fabric but I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of this lovely piece this summer and making more!


Oslo and Simplicity.

The Oslo sweater from Seamwork Magazine was something I wanted to make early on in my subscription with them.  I always need more sweaters!


It was a pretty easy pattern to assemble.  I’m not sure if I did the sleeve cuffs correctly at first, ‘cause they seemed awfully big.  So I cut them off (trimming them by 3/4” on both sides in the process), folded them the other way, and sewed them back on, which worked better for me.


I used a lightweight jersey I bought at JoAnn’s on clearance.  I’d say it’s worth the $3/yard I paid… I have worn this almost every day for the two weeks after I made it and it has pilled A LOT and catches ALL THE CAT HAIR, so I don’t see it lasting a super long time.  But it was a good first run of the pattern and I’ll definitely be making more!


And then this top, I am IN LOVE WITH.


I’d had one yard of this 36” wide vintage fabric laying around for awhile (a birthday gift from Laura Lashley a few years back), not sure that it was enough to actually make anything.

But then I saw this Simplicity pattern in my box (#1364), and thought I might be able to eek it out.  Which I did!  Wonderfully so!


I only had a 14” zipper, so there is a longer-than-called-for slit in the back (but it covers my bra so what’s a little skin?).  I eliminated the seam allowances on the back pieces and cut them right on the selvedge, sewing the zipper right on.


I love the boatneck and how my tattoos peek out over the top.


It has a facing at the neckline and bias tape facings around the armholes, and I serged all the visible seams.

I’ve actually made this top once before, using an Anna Maria Horner voile and a vintage separating zipper.


I made that one a size 12, and could still pull it over my head without using the zipper so this time, I made a 10.  I can still pull it over me without the zipper, but I think that’s partly because of the extra long back opening.


I have two other one-yard cuts of vintage fabric from Laura and they might all have to become this.

And many thanks to the boyfriend for helping me take pictures! Like all these where I was picking pet hair and fuzz off of me:

Mesa dress.

I’ve wanted an easy knit dress for awhile and I think I’ve found it.

Seamwork Magazine, Mesa dress

This pattern from Seamwork Magazine is straightforward and easy.  I had this fabric in my stash, I think from my friend Laura and it seemed like a perfect thing to make a “muslin” with.


This was my first time attaching a knit neckline and I’m not entirely happy with it.  I started pinning it at the back and stretching it a little as I went, until I got around to the front and didn’t need to stretch it anymore.  I think if I shortened the piece by 1” it would ease in better.  Or maybe I just need to not stretch in back and stretch in front instead.

I think I might eliminate the skirt slits next time.  It’s not such a tight dress that I need them for mobility, and I didn’t like having to serge and twin-needle sew them (although I did pretty well, I think ;) ).


I am curious, is there such a thing as a full butt adjustment?  I have a generous back side (which I love!) but I find figure hugging things bunch-up at my lower back, which isn’t the most flattering.  I’ve heard of a full- and small-bust adjustment, but what about the butt?

Seamwork Magazine, Mesa dress

I’m already thinking up ways to alter this dress, including make it into a shirt.  Thank goodness for easy, customizable patterns!  I love Seamwork Magazine SO MUCH.  See my other #seamworkmakes here.

Wonky Crosses and a shop!

I’m so excited that I have finally opened an online shop.  Won’t you please take a look?  It’s right here.  Don’t see what you’re looking for?  Let me know! I’m happy to do custom work.  I’ll also be adding new things so check back often.

One thing in there is this wonky cross quilt I made a little while ago!

It would make the sweetest little baby gift.


Made from blues, greens, and neutrals from my stash, it’s backed in a vintage sheet, longarm quilted in a swirling pattern with a pale gray thread, and bound in binding scraps.


It’s available now for $300, so you should probably just go ahead and get it :)


A handmade wardrobe.

I’ve always dreamed of having a handmade wardrobe.

This is the year it’s gonna happen.


I’ve been on a roll these last few weeks, making four dresses, five shirts, two pairs of shorts, a sweater, and a bra (not to mention 3 quilts)!  I have a bunch of posts ready and waiting for photographs so you’ll be seeing them all soon!


I’ve been working through my pattern and fabric stash which, while not huge, is full of things I’ve never made.  I’m trying to make really wearable things, which often means “boring”.  While I love a statement dress, I often go for jeans and a t-shirt (a favorite grey v-neck in particular), so I’m aiming for more neutral, comfortable pieces, that I can make multiples of.  I think I’ve found a couple of those already.


I’ve also always wanted to participate in Me Made May (a challenge for people to wear at least one handmade item every day in the month of May and generally be more thoughtful about their wardrobe), but short of wearing a dress every single day, I’ve never felt like my handmade wardrobe was robust enough.  But now it is and I’m very excited :)


Part of that will include wearing things I’ve made that I’m not so crazy about, and I might sell those things to people that will love them.  So stay tuned for that!


I have to give many thanks to Seamwork Magazine for helping me feel as though my handmade wardrobe dream is achievable.  Thank you!

Coming up: jeans, a coat, a cape, and a bathing suit.

A modern cabin.

This was my first finish of 2016, and it’s all for me.


Carolyn Friedlander is probably my favorite fabric designer and when I made Emily’s Geese quilt a couple years ago, I didn’t want any beloved fabric to go to waste.  Using those scraps and various solids from my stash (including some thrifted sheets, my new favorite white fabric) I made large (24″ and up), improvised log cabin blocks.


It’s backed in a super soft dark gray cotton sheet I thrifted (don’t mind the wrinkles!) and the only Botanics yardage I had in my stash, Foliage in Curry.


I longarm quilted it in a figure 8 pattern of varying heights, with white thread.


It’s bound in a black crosshatch very similar to one from her Architectextures collection, and other scraps.


It made it onto my bed as soon as it could and quickly became covered in cat hair :)