Cozy Tova

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I finally got a remote for my camera! Now I just need to work on looking a little less silly in my photos :-)

I know many of you in the northern hemisphere are well into spring. We’ve seen a few hints of spring here but after a fresh serving of snow a couple nights ago, I was reminded that winter is persisting. In any case, we’ll still have chilly temps for a while longer so I’ve still been working on a few cool-weather clothing items.

I mentioned my first Tova in my last post. For that one I sewed a medium, which is typically my size for RTW tops, and found it wearable but a bit snug across the back and around the armholes. After sewing a small variety of tops for myself I’m learning that this is a pretty typical result for me. I’ve done some reading about fit issues and fixes and haven’t quite figured out exactly what I should be adjusting (broad should adjustment? square shoulder adjustment? broad back adjustment?). I want to get a better grasp of these issues but for now I just really wanted a cozy flannel Tova to wear, so I ended up just jumping up to a size large. It’s rather baggy and I think the shoulders are now a little wide, but it’s oh so comfortable.

009 edit 1The fabric is Kaufman Shetland Flannel Herringbone in cinnamon. I was worried it was going to turn out looking a little nightgown-ish, especially in the bigger size. Maybe I’m walking a fine line, but I don’t feel like a granny while wearing it.

011 edit 1I think the only change I made was to make the collar just a little smaller. I also used a blind hem stitch on the bottom hem and I think it looks super nice. Hopefully this baby will help me get through the rest of the winter.

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Sewn: Julia Cardigan

Last week was a croupy week in our house. Needless to say, not much sewing took place, but I did find time to take a bunch of pictures of my latest few projects…which I promptly deleted from my camera before transferring to the computer.

Until I’m able to retake some more photos, here are a few quick snaps of a Julia Cardigan I sewed up just after Christmas. I know just about everybody sewed versions of these last fall when the pattern was part of a Perfect Pattern Parcel, so I’ll keep it brief. I wanted to share it paired with Hudson pants because that seemed the cool thing to do, but I haven’t gotten around tosewing those yet :-)

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I used a gray and white double knit from JoAnn and I think this is the coziest thing I’ve ever sewn. I’ve been wearing it at least once a week. The fabric is so soft and the cardigan has a really comfy fit. It was a super quick sew too. I sewed a medium and the fit is good, but if I make another I may add an inch or two to the length as I like to cover more of the bum. I think the only modification I made to this one was to slim down the sleeves a little. I couldn’t serge the seams at the time because I was waiting on new serger needles to arrive. I assumed it would be fine as it’s knit fabric, but the seams allowances are actually starting to fray quite a bit so I’ll probably need to take care of that.

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I used the stripes on the outside, obviously, but I love the fun peeks I get of the polka-dots on the inside. I also used a little of the fabric for these adorable, tiny baby pants, and there’s still enough left over for something for C.

019 edit 1Oh, in the pictures you can also see my first Wiksten Tova, made out of Kaffe Fassett shot cotton! I know Tovas are old news, but I do still love the style of the pattern. I actually just sewed up my second one, and will probably share that soon too.

Thanks for stopping by!



KCW part 2: Upcycled Vest and Shirt

I finally had a chance to finish getting some pictures of my other two makes from last week’s Kid’s Clothes Week. I had to resort to bribing with fresh fruit and sneaking in a few other pictures before meltdowns began, but we made it happen!

Up first, one of my most favorite things I’ve ever made for C: a Class Picnic top in some really soft, lightweight flannel (brushed cotton?). It’s just my style; sweet, simple, and cozy.

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It started as a large button-down shirt from Goodwill that I’ve had for a long time, waiting for the right project. The fabric is so soft and dreamy I was hoping I could figure out a way to use it for myself, but there just wasn’t enough of it.


I sewed a 2T. My first Class Picnic top (here) came out loose around the neck so I made sure to tighten the elastic a little more on this one. The fabric was a shifty and delicate beast, especially the front and back yokes which I cut on the bias. I had to cut the back from two pieces and sew them together, and I tried SO hard to nicely match up the pattern. It was really difficult as I couldn’t get the fabric to press into nice crisp lines.


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While serging the seam allowances where I sewed the back pieces together, I accidentally serged into the shirt itself! It was a near disaster but thankfully the fabric wasn’t cut and I picked out the threads without too much damage. Fray-check to the rescue! I used some shot cotton scraps for the lining of the front and back yokes and for the inside trim of the elastic casings. I hoped this would help keep the shirt lightweight since it will be worn in the spring and early summer, but it was also really helpful since I could press the shot cotton much more crisply. It was cold today so she wore it with another shirt underneath which made the arms bunch up a little, but they lie much more nicely when worn alone.


Just as the meltdown began because she finished her snack and realized mama had the camera out:


And finally, I sewed an Aztec Vest from a giant, shapeless sweater from Goodwill. The fleecy material was thick and strangely very shifty for not being very stretchy. It just grew and grew as I sewed, even though I used my walking foot for most of it.

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I sewed the vest in 2T but I wish I had done 3T as there isn’t much extra room in the belly. The changes I made were to make the oversized hood a little smaller (and it is still quite large!) and to omit the welt pockets. I haven’t yet done welt pockets and I didn’t feel up to trying for the first time with this fabric. Instead, I used the pattern piece for the inside of the welt pocket to add simple, large pockets to the exterior. They are lined with the same fabric that lines the entire vest, which I got at Ikea a year or two ago. Also, I didn’t find a reversible zipper so the vest is not reversible.

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This make is so far from perfect. The pockets don’t line up at all. The zipper is considerably longer on one side than the other. The lining fabric bags out of the vest a little. But, it’s still cute and functional and that works for me. C doesn’t approve of it so far (“No vest!“) but I’m hoping she’ll warm up to it yet. Hopefully those big pockets will win her over!

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And that wraps up this season’s KCW for me. It made me smile to think about all the mamas and other women (are there any men participating in KCW?) putting so much effort into stitching precious things for their little loved ones last week. And then bribing and pleading with the kids to please just try it on and let me take a damn picture already! Or is that just me?


KCW part 1: Valentine’s Upcycle

This season’s theme for Kid’s Clothes Week (Upcycled) was right up my alley. I planned too big, of course, and those plans were derailed by a major lack of sewing time due to having to work at night to make up for daycare being canceled AGAIN (go away, winter!), celebrating husband’s birthday one night, and some other obligations (including a knitting class! so exciting!). But I found some time here and there and I’m pleased with what I did manage to complete: one shirt, one skirt, one vest, and another shirt just waiting for finishing touches.

First, I dragged my huge stash of Goodwill finds and old clothes of my own out of my closet and dumped it out and planned away. A portion of that stash is seen here. As we’re completely set on winter clothes, I set the condition for myself that anything I sewed needed to work for spring and into the summer.

Where to start?

Where to start??

I thought back to one year ago, when I participated in my first KCW and sewed a special shirt for my sweet Valentine. With Valentine’s Day coming up again, it seemed a new shirt was in order. I sewed a Recess Raglan using two thrifted items: a coral-colored Old Navy shirt and a striped maxi skirt. Thanks to using cuffs at the hem and on the sleeves, I was able to sew the entire top using only my serger (except for appliqueing the heart), which made it come together so quickly! I had to use more of the stripes for the back of the shirt, which I really like the look of.

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After I finished the top, I was looking at the remains of the maxi skirt and realized the wide waistband and a remaining strip of most of the bottom of the skirt would (theoretically) quickly come together into a little toddler twirly skirt. Well, due to a zigzag stitch vs. elastic mishap, the skirt took almost as much time to sew as the top!

Unfortunately that is the only picture I have so far! Changing clothes and wielding a camera/cell phone are still two of the very best ways to elicit major meltdowns in our house right now, so the outfit won’t be tried on until the day it is to be worn, and more pictures may or may not follow. Sigh. (Husband asked the other day, “If the terrible two’s started early, does that mean it’ll end early?” I suspect in our case, it won’t.)

A Tale of Two Dresses

Still trying to catch up a little here after the holiday-craziness :-) Despite not having any real needs for a holiday dress for Clementine this year (we weren’t visiting family until after the holidays and we didn’t have any big Christmas plans or holiday parties), for some reason I decided to sew TWO dresses for her! I blame the fabric. First, I saw some Essex yarn dyed linen blend in Leathered (which looks rather gold-ish to me, in a nice subdued way) sitting next to some Andover chambray in Garden in the ol’ stash and they were calling out to me, just begging to become a Geranium. And so they did. I just love these two fabrics together. 015 edit 1 I was super inspired by An’s tutorials on pleating so I chopped the middle out of the front bodice piece and added a pleated section bordered by some flat piping. Unfortunately this all took place while I really sick before Christmas, and my pleats are a little messed up at the neck and bottom seams and the piping is a little wonky. If I had been feeling better I probably would have tried to fix it before I continued sewing in the lining, but I was in an eff it! mood by that point. I do think it actually looks a little worse in the pictures than real life, at least. 014 edit 1 I found some nice heavy buttons at JoAnn to use for the back, and I ended up liking them so much that I went back to buy more to use with dress #2. 017 edit 1The other unfortunate thing is that for some reason I decided to sew a 3T. Clementine fit in her size-18 month Geraniums when she was 12 months old, and now, at almost 2 years, she is mostly in 3T RTW clothes. I dumbly assumed the 3T dress would be fine without even looking at measurements. Well…it turned out pretty large. She did wear it once to a get-together but it looked comical enough that I won’t even show pictures of that here. On the brighter side of things, it looks like I have her 2015 holiday dress complete! Damn, I’m so on top of it. Moving along to dress #2! For Christmas I gifted my mom with a family photo session, which we took while we were all visiting after the holidays. Originally I had in mind that Clementine could wear dress #1, but then my mom wanted a different color scheme (which worked out find since dress #1 was huge anyway!). I decided that I wanted to try out a new pattern (why oh why, in the midst of sickness and sewing other Christmas gifts did I think this was an ok option?) and after finding this super cute Denyse Schmidt (DS Quilt Collection) plaid at JoAnn I settled on the Compagnie-M Louisa dress. 019 edit 1 This dress is so cute! I had wizened up by this time and sewed a 2T so it fits much better. The dress is fully lined so as to be a little warmer for winter, and I added piping (my first true corded piping!) around the front pocket. The plaid pattern is on the diagonal so I cut out the pocket piece on the bias for a little interest. And there are those big beautiful buttons again. 024 edit 1 This was my first time using a Compagnie-M pattern and overall it went quite smoothly. I was really nervous to do the back zipper because I had only inserted a couple zippers (on pillows) prior to this, but it turned out ok, I think. It’s supposed to be an invisible zipper but I don’t have an invisible zipper foot so I did the best I could with my regular zipper foot. I got a little confused at a couple points with the lining, and in particular how to sew the zipper to both the dress and the lining. I wouldn’t have minded a little more hand-holding and explicit instructions on when parts should be right- or wrong-side-out, etc., but I worked my way through just fine in the end. Guess I could have tried lining up the pattern on the back though…oops. 021 edit 1 Clementine wasn’t sleeping or feeling well during most of our trip, and on the day of the photos she had a HUGE, full-out meltdown when I tried to put the dress on her. We almost resorted to leaving her in the clothes she was wearing, but at the last moment I was able to distract her with some snacks and get it on her. Poor thing was so tired that she just wanted to be left alone and she ended up not being in very many of the photos, and was holding her lovey up to her face for most of those that she was in. So…that was kind of a bust. I really wanted to get some pictures of her in the dress though, so I tried again the other day. Uh, if she sees the camera come out she wants to play the photographer and I can’t get a decent picture to save my life. “MY DO IT!” Sigh, isn’t that the anthem of two-year-olds everywhere? (Oh, and she super loves the huge pocket. When I took her up to her room for her nap I found a wet washcloth from lunch stashed away in there, ha!) 027 edit 1 030 edit 1 042 edit 1

A couple Christmas gifts

Well, I certainly didn’t mean to take such a long break from this space! Between illness and holidays and traveling (without my computer), I have fallen way behind in blogging about some of my latest makes. I even missed my one year blogiversary, ha! Considering that and the new year upon us, I feel like I should have something profound to say, but I don’t really. I like sewing. Like everybody else, I need to find more balance. I want to sew smarter: make better fabric choices, be more selective in what I choose to make, figure out where I can speed up my (s l o w) sewing process. I most definitely want to focus more on sewing for myself this year.

But for now, how about a couple things I made for others for Christmas.

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First, for my sister-in-law I made a cozy lap duvet based on this Purl Bee tutorial. The top is this Japanese double gauze purchased from Miss Matatabi on Etsy (the grid of flowers was awesome for helping me sew the duvet with straight lines!), and I was inspired by Gail’s beautiful version to use shot cotton for the backing. This seemed like a nice option to help keep the cost down a little while maintaining the soft, floaty quality of the duvet. I purchased the shot cotton from here; I think I used the color latte which doesn’t appear to be available at this time. For the batting I used crib-sized Quilters Dream Wool batting.

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Unfortunately the batting was part of a fabric order I made that was extremely delayed–ordered the first week of December and it finally arrived December 24. After accepting that the Christmas gifts I was sewing would not be mailed off to family in time, I realized that they did have to be mailed by Saturday, Dec. 27 because we were catching an early flight on Monday, Dec. 29. This left me with precious little time, and all while very sick, to finish up my sewn gifts. The duvet sewed up very quickly but for some reason I decided to hand-tie it to secure the layers. I used regular embroidery thread and tied through every other flower. That Friday night, I fell asleep working on the tying. I woke up early Saturday morning and finished it up just in time to wash it, snap a few quick photos, and rush it off to the post office!

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Anyway, after washing it was so, so soft and snuggly. Mmm. The pictures don’t do it justice at all. It was hard to send away and now I definitely want to make one for myself.

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Another gift that was sewn up at the last minute was an outfit for my beautiful little niece R, who is about 5 months old now. The fabric for the dress was also part of my delayed order, so I believe I worked on this on Christmas day! The dress fabric is the Tonal Floral Shell print from Birch’s Acorn Trail knit collection. There are so many cute fabrics in this collection, it was hard to settle on one! I started with the Flashback Skinny tee pattern (size 12 months with generous seam allowances to slim it up a little) and chopped it off just below the armpits and added a large gathered rectangle for the skirt. I used simple white ribbing for the neckline, cuffed the wrists, and finished the skirt hem with a narrow zig zag stitch.

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For the pants, I used some super soft double knit scraps from a Julia Cardigan I recently made but haven’t gotten around to photographing. The fabric was from JoAnn Fabric and I was so excited to find it. My local JoAnn doesn’t have the greatest collection of apparel-appropriate fabrics so when I find something I actually like, I am thrilled. I used the Oliver + S playtime leggings pattern in size 6-12 months with a little length removed because R is a shorty. The bottoms are finished with cuffs, which seemed easiest with this fabric.

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I saw a picture of the little gal in her new outfit a couple days ago. Man is she cute!


A Handcrafted Ruby

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Basically, all I have to say here is that I have SO MUCH LOVE for the Alison Glass Handcrafted fabric collection. I want it all. I want to make all the things with it. Unfortunately there are bills to be paid and mouths to feed and loved ones with expectations of holiday gifts and blah blah blah, so I resigned myself to only buying one print (so far, ha!)–Petal in Charcoal. Originally I planned to sew a long-sleeved tunic, but silly me, in my excitement during selecting and ordering the fabric I didn’t realized that this one is a double border print (pattern along the selvage sides and unpatterned in the middle). I stared at my pattern pieces for a good 20+ minutes trying to figure out a way to get the fabric patterns to line up across the bodice and sleeves in a way that was symmetrical and not too weird. I never figured it out and I got really sad for a few minutes and then it hit me, that this would make a great Ruby dress.

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This quilting cotton was probably not the best choice for a Ruby, but I don’t even care. Even with it constantly riding up my hind end (thank you, extra-low humidity and friction-y tights), I don’t care. I just love the print. Last time I made a Ruby I lined the bodice so there was no need for bias trim for the armholes and neck. This time I used the trim, only turned it to the inside of the bodice and stitched it down. This would have been a super quick sew if not for the trim–I just might be the slowest person ever at pinning and sewing binding. I also didn’t realize that the fabric is double-sided and also printed on the selvage, so I skipped a step and didn’t bother to hem the dress. It turned out a little shorter than I intended so I don’t think I’ll be able to wear it without tights or leggings, but I’m ok with that. Most days of the year it’s cool enough where we live, and for my cold body, to wear leggings.

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My last Ruby turned out a little tight across my shoulders so I decided to up the bodice to a large for this one. I’m much happier with the fit. Oh, and I added side seam pockets! It was my first time adding them to my own clothes, so I drafted a pattern based on what I had on hand–an Oliver + S playtime dress pattern! Again, probably not the best with quilting cotton, but I’ll take it. After sewing this up I had a long rectangle of the fabric left over and dang it, I just couldn’t help myself–I went and sewed Clementine a matching skirt. I made it a little on the loose side to ensure that it will still fit this summer. I forgot to get a picture of it so I’ll have to try to remember at some point while she is wearing it. Oh, and I finished all the seams with my serger! That really brought me some joy :-)

Make sure to check out a little about the inspiration for and story behind creating this fabric, found here. Cool stuff!