Category Archives: sewing

Dress commission.

I ran the gamut of emotions with this dress. But I love how it turned out!

img_7094

My friend and coworker Shaina told me of her unfulfilled search for a Pride and Prejudice style dress with a gathered mid-length skirt and 3/4 sleeves in linen, and asked me if I’d make her one.

img_7110

I stressed about it more than necessary.  Part of my issue was that I don’t know how to drape and create my own patterns, so I had to find a pattern that worked.  None of the regency era patterns I found were quite right…

img_7098

So I ended up frankensteining the bodice of Simplicity 1537, the sleeve and placket from Colette Hawthorn, and the skirt from Butterick 6582, adding pockets (wth this method), moving the zipper from the back to the side seam, and adding a keyhole opening to the back.

img_7103

img_7100

I used a beautiful Kaufman washer linen and cotton blend in denim from Fabric.com and a small scale floral print from my stash for the facings, pockets, and one of my favorite details, bias binding for the skirt hem.

img_7107

I serged all the seams.  I inserted the zipper by hand basting it first, something I’ve never done before, with better than usual but still not perfect results.  How do you counteract the thicker seam where the skirt and bodice meet?

img_7116

img_7090
The only thing I am bothered by is I totally forgot to interface the facings!  So the neckline rolls forward a bit.  I don’t think it’d be too hard to remedy later, if necessary.

img_7096
I also leveled a hem for the first time.  In 17 years of sewing dresses, I finally leveled a hem!  As you can see, it was needed. 

img_7092

Shaina loved her dress, which brings me great joy.  I hope she loves it for years to come!

Jeans!

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.

img_5616

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.

img_4559

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.

img_7420

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

img_7281

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.)

img_7796

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.

img_7352

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!

img_7497

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.

img_7478

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).

img_7490

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.

img_7529

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!

img_7530

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.

img_7783

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!

Toronto.

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.

img_6546

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.

img_6556

img_6560

img_6571

img_6577

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.

img_6581

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.

img_6583

img_6585

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.

img_6593

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!

img_6598

img_6597

img_6606

img_6596

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.

img_6617

img_6622

img_6626

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.

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!

IMG_3119

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.

IMG_3128

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!

IMG_3135

And then this top, I am IN LOVE WITH.

image

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!

image

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.

image

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

IMG_3153

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.

IMG_3430

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.

IMG_3431

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:

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!

IMG_1672
It would make the sweetest little baby gift.

IMG_1674

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.

IMG_1678

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

IMG_1679

A handmade wardrobe.

I’ve always dreamed of having a handmade wardrobe.

This is the year it’s gonna happen.

IMG_3246

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!

IMG_3456

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.

IMG_3481

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 :)

IMG_3450

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!

IMG_3485

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.

I made a bra!

I made a bra and I am damn proud of myself.

IMG_2580

I purchased a bra kit from Tailor Made Shop and used the Watson Bra pattern from Cloth Habit.

IMG_2528

In stores I’ve always bought a 34B, but in taking my measurements for this, I appeared to be a 36A.  Lo and behold, it fits me great!

IMG_2726

I don’t think my machine is ideal for this kind of project.  While it all worked out in the end, I cannot adjust the length of my zig zag stitches and the feed dogs were not cooperating, so all the stitches are terribly uneven.  I had a hard time attaching the hook side of the closure, but it’ll do.

IMG_2727

I used the rose fabric for the cups, white net for the cradle with the roses as the lining, and net for the back, with both peach picot edged elastic, and the wider white elastic for the strap.

IMG_2604

The sides of the cradle stretch out wonky, probably because I didn’t cut and baste the two layers together well.  In the future, I’d like to try fusible lining.  I also realized after I was finished that I threaded the straps through the rings incorrectly.  Whoops!

IMG_2725

When I first put it on, I didn’t love it.  But after prancing around without a shirt on for a bit and then wearing it all day, I’d say it’s a success!  And it definitely won’t be my last me-made bra.

A Look Back.

2015 was hard.  Emotionally, physically, monetarily, and creatively.  It wasn’t without it’s small successes though, and making these mosaics reminded me that I actually made a lot of things!  (Although, to be honest, I photographed and blogged a lot of things that had been made prior to 2015, but pictures make them real and I can hardly remember dates otherwise :)

I made some of my most favorite quilts ever (and painted some cool murals), some I haven’t even told you about yet!  I’m proud to say that every quilt I made this year, aside from 2 yards of neutrals, was made using only my stash.  And somehow, my stash feels no smaller! ;)

image

I made a lot of clothes, some more successful than others.

image

I had my first, small solo show, I was part of a group show with my studio mates, and I sewed a lot of pillows!

image

Perhaps most excitingly, I renovated the basement of my studio and brought this beauty home!  (It’s hard to take a good photo of her, I apologize.)

image

A little more catch up.

I did a lot of sewing leading up to the holidays that I haven’t shown yet.

Krankies Craft Fair was the weekend of December 13th and it was better for ::kaitcetera:: than I could have imagined!  I sold 4 quilts (the three on the left and one not pictured)!IMG_1585Two of the quilts included some custom embroidery work that I just recently completed and was really happy with.  It makes the gift so much more personal and sweet.IMG_1699

On the Far Far Away plus quilt, I embroidered the recipients name over the quilting, which I had never done, and it turned out great.  The label on the back was embroidered first and then sewn on.IMG_1697 IMG_1674I made some iPad and Kindle cases for the fair that were fun and did well.  I also made a few more crayon and colored pencil rolls which people love!

IMG_1600I most enjoyed making some quick patchwork Christmas pillows.  I started cutting 2½” squares of red and green to make stockings for me and the pups but decided on pillows instead.  I quilted them with a heavy 12 weight Aurifil thread and I loved it.  It really makes the simple stitching pop.IMG_1710IMG_1709

Gift commission.

IMG_1282

My lovely friends Sam and Amanda, who I made this quilt for last year, asked me to make a set of placemats and napkins for a wedding gift.  Amanda suggested grey and mustard yellow so I set off to The Little General and got a lovely stack.

IMG_1275

Each of the eight placemats and napkins are different.  I roughly used this tutorial though I used fusible fleece, quilted the front with a variegated grey thread, and used the pillowcase method.

IMG_1276

IMG_1278

The placemats measure approximately 13″ by 18″ and the napkins, white on the other back sides, are 17″ square.

IMG_1280

I wish I’d gotten better pictures but that’s what happens when you finish something 5 minutes before the deadline!  Sam and Amanda loved these and had a hard time giving them away.  I can only hope their friends Chris and Clair love them too! (Sam and Chris made a documentary together called Wagonmasters that’s super awesome.)