Sunday, July 8, 2018


The past 3 weeks have been a blur to me as I attended a workshop at Shakerag, followed by a brief week at home, and then a week+ in Colorado with family. I'm home for a while now and I cannot wait to start a sewing project!

While in Colorado, mostly Breckenridge, I've been hiking, biking, and painting. I had the opportunity to shop at Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver. What a sweet and inspiring store.

In fact DH and I went to their shop soon after landing before the huge family reunion began. You can see I'm a bit rumpled  from cross-country travel in my Sewing Workshop MixIt top and Hudson pants.

I stumbled across Fancy Tiger Crafts on Instagram initially where I admired the sewing and knitting projects. I am not much of a knitter but I loved their fabric and pattern selection. Their pattern selection was the most fun for me because it included brands I typically would need to order online.

I bought three patterns and one cut of fabric that I believe is cotton but may have some linen in it. It is a cross dye in black and white producing a textured look I love.

They had an interesting selection of fabrics too, including these Pendleton wools. If I lived in Denver, I would have been tempted by those.

The remainder of last week was spent primarily enjoying family activities. Breckenridge and the surrounding Rocky Mountains are wonderful for outdoor activities like biking and hiking. Also there was much inspiration for painting.

One of my favorite events was painting and drawing with my grandgirls.

The week prior to leaving for Colorado I scrambled to complete two pair pants from TNT patterns - cropped Helix pants in navy ponte and the Hudson pants in a textured rayon, all from the Sewing Workshop. The Helix and Hudson pants are real favorites of mine from the Sewing Workshop.

Helix pants require stretch fabric and have a smooth waistline.

Hudson pants require fabric with drape. I took mine in about an inch at the ankle for a bit more shapping.

The week before I was in Sewanee TN for a Shakerag workshop with Christine Mauersberg. We spent the week in meditative hand-stitching. It was delightful. I've learned that I may or may not make something I love in these inspiring workshops, but I always carry something useful into future sewing (or sketching) projects.

As it happened, Linda Lee from the Sewing Workshop was teaching right down the hall from our hand-sewing classroom. I made a few trips down to her classroom for further inspiration, as well as to visit with Linda and her fabulous students. I left with the fabric for my Helix and Hudson pants above.

So I'm back now, doing laundry, and dreaming of what I will make next.

Shrine Ridge Trail near Vail CO

I hope you are making something right now!

Street art on July 4th in Breckenridge CO

Thursday, June 28, 2018

London Shirt

London shirt with my new cropped Helix pants
I think that my London Shirt from the Sewing Workshop is finished. I'm not certain. Something feels off and I cannot put my finger on it. When I do, I may make some changes.

London shirt with Quincy pants
The London Shirt came out at the same time as the Cottage shirt. I made that one and love it. It may be the difference in the fabric. Mama always said it's all about the fabric. My London shirt is a soft gauzy cotton; my Cottage shirt is a light weight (perfect weight) linen. Both pieces are from Marcy Tilton, I think. Both are gorgeous; both were impulse purchases.

The cotton gauze is a design by Naomi Ito and has an interesting border print, as well as a cool selvage.

From the selvage, Made in Japan is now cool.

The London shirt is tunic length with quite dropped shoulders. I worried a bit about the dropped shoulder line as I saw the inevitable bump in the forearm even on Erin, the gorgeous model at the Sewing Workshop. And it bugs me in my version too.

But I love the rest so maybe I'm fixating on something minor. The collar is a simple rectangle that I interfaced with cotton batiste. The side seams are forward and create an interesting grain in the back side seam. It has a cut similar to TSW's Liberty shirt, an all-time favorite of mine.

Liberty Shirt

London Shirt

The sleeves are fairly plain. I extended mine so that I could roll the sleeves and see the pretty border print of this fabric. I also played with the border print down the front and down the back.

I'm thinking that maybe the buttons overwhelm this a bit. I may try some shell buttons that will perhaps blend better with this super soft fabric.

This super soft fabric does feel great to wear!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Now Quilting

Well, I was quilting, but now I'm done.

Every so often I get the itch to make a quilt. And then I've got it out of my system. I so admire the quilts made by dedicated quilters - all the precision and attention to every detail - but I can only manage to quilt in small doses. Then my attention wanders back to clothing.

This one was inspired by a car load of gifted fabric from a friend at church. The first batch required machine washing. By the time I finished that, I found that I actually liked some of the fabric. I felt it deserved to become part of a quilt. It is mostly older prints but by flipping it over, I had solids. I gravitate to solids more than prints.

The pattern I used (mostly) is a simplified courthouse steps. The quilting is simply vertical lines more-or-less an inch apart. I was actually a pretty satisfying make, in the end.

The back of the quilt is made from some white muslin included in the gifted fabric. It had a few flaws, so I added a bit of boro to the quilt back. I also used some of my remnants from thrifted men's shirts. Those too had some flaws requiring a bit of boro repair.

This is to be a present for DS. I wonder what he will think of boro repair!

The rest of the gifted fabric will be used in future sewing camps or go to my local American Sewing Guild chapter for redistribution. We will use it to make projects like this:

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Now Mending

It's that time of year - time to shift out-of-season clothes to a guest closet. And with that shift, I automatically evaluate the clothes I wear most and those I never wear at all. For me, it's fun to see if I can alter the ignored pieces so that I want to wear them again. It's typically some detail I add or subtract. And the details are often the most interesting part of sewing.

First up is my one and only Blouse Perfected, a terrific pattern from the Cutting Line Design. Now why haven't I made that again? It has all those wonderful details found in men's shirts. The fix in this one was easy - one of the buttons was broken. So I replaced the buttons and put the others away for another project.

I love dresses. On other people. Or so it seems. These two are based on a pattern from Indygo Junction, a dress with lovely deep side pockets. Both are linen which is wonderful to sew and to wear. First I added cap sleeves to the blue one and then I changed the angle of the side seam to curve in, just slightly. I do think the overall proportion is better on me with these two changes:

I also added sleeves to the black one, this time 3/4 length sleeves with a draw-string at the hem. As with the blue one, I reshaped the side seam, so that it angles in, rather than out. Now I'm thinking it might be fun to add a draw-string to the cowl collar edge too.

The Hadley shirt from Grainline Studios was last. I actually wear this top a fair amount but noticed that the sleeve hems end in the same horizontal line as the shirt hem. I don't need horizontal exaggeration, so I shorted those to bracelet length. This was not at all dramatic but I enjoy these sewing details. Don't you?

So now I'll never, ever throw away remnants from old projects.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Cottage Shirt

The Cottage Shirt is one of the newer patterns from the Sewing Workshop. I'm such a Sewing Workshop groupie that, of course, I wanted to make it right away.

Honestly I was not that taken with it at first. It seemed so similar to their Trio vest. But once I got into the project, I fell in love. The deep hems and vents are my favorite design feature.

It is a fundamentally different cut than the Trio Vest. It has details from men's shirts but exaggerated and stylish. The yoke is a traditional double yoke installed with the burrito method. The overall silhouette is a wide rectangular shape. This creates soft side folds when worn so that the hemline is not one continuous horizontal line. The deep hems and vents add just the right detail to the overall look.

The shoulder extends into a cap sleeve and there are cuffs attached. That part reminds me of the Eureka top which I've made a number of times. The Eureka has deep enough armholes that the bra tends to show. The Cottage has smaller armholes and a different armscye curve, making it a better summer top for me.

The high for today was 92F (33C) so I'm happy to have a new summer top. I omitted the collar, keeping the collar stand. That is cooler in the summer and I like the look. But I've seen some online made with the collar and those are pretty too. I will need to make it again, I'm sure.

This light weight soft linen from Marcy Tilton was just right for this top, I think. Because of the print and the soft hand, it hardly needs ironing. I can probably wash with cold water, hang to dry, and wear it.

I have another new Sewing Workshop pattern ready to cut - the London shirt. I've traced the pattern pieces and now I have to check out deep stash to see if anything will work. I'm feeling a little uncertain about those dropped shoulders. It reminds me of the extremely popular Liberty shirt with exaggerated details. I'm not always in love with extremely dropped shoulder lines, especially if it creates a little bubble where the sleeve joins the shirt. But, then again, I was uncertain about the Cottage shirt and I love it.

So what do you think about the London shirt?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Cézembre à deux

Vs 1.0 cotton chambray
I needed to make it twice and now I have. I like the first one best, but I will definitely wear the white one. I'm always reaching for a white top and hoping I haven't spilled tomato sauce on it yet.

Vs 2 in light weight cotton pique
I first spotted this pattern while reading one of my favorite blogs - Camp Runamuck. She frequently highlights tops I would have never noticed otherwise. The Cézembre blouse is my latest. And I really like it. A lot.

Why? Because it fits through the shoulders and neckline (with a few tweaks). Because it has set-in sleeves. Because it has princess seams in the front and no side seams. Because it skims the rest of my torso. Because the name just rolls off the tongue. Try it.

I've already washed and worn the first one several times. It is so soft and I feel good in it.

The first one was made from men's shirts purchased at the thrift store. The fabric is chambray and is very soft.

Like denim it creates interesting fade and resist lines that are fun to incorporate. I am pretty sure these shirts were brand new and so the fabric did not soften or fade through use. The result is still like an old work shirt, but better.

When I picked off the chest pocket, the unfaded (resist) portion was obvious. So I decided to embrace it, flipping the pattern piece to create half of the front. I used the actual pocket as a mirror for the resist portion.

By carefully unstitching the fronts of one shirt, I was able to sew them together to produce the final front piece of my fabric. The resist dyes create pretty stripes, I think.

While I love wearing the chambray one, the neckline is a bit wide for my personal taste, so I changed that on the second one. This of course is my current go-to neckline, borrowed from the Egyptian shirt (folkwear patterns).

I am especially fond of the sleeves on the Cézembre. I think they are the perfect length even for hot weather. I am vain enough to avoid showing my upper arms unless the heat absolutely demands it.

I added a pocket to the second one in the same location as the first. It just did not work and so I removed it. And used the pocket to create the back patch.

Now I'm wondering. Would inseam pockets work with these princess seams, especially if I lengthen it to tunic length? Also it makes me itch to try something new with my old TnT - the MixIt top from the Sewing workshop. Might it be possible to move the side seams to the front of that and then incorporate the bust darts into the princess seam?

The princess seams as drafted on the Cézembre does not fully replace a bust dart. That is the only down side to this pattern, as I see it.

And, oh my goodness, I see another new-to-me pattern up over at Camp Runamuck. She should get royalties from my pattern purchases. Would you just look how cute the Teddy Tunic is? I wonder if I can order it stateside. And the pictured pants remind me of the Hudson pants from the Sewing Workshop. So casual and put-together.