Friday, August 3, 2018


Huipil - #inspiredbyFrida #dresslikeFridaSAL
Huipilthe most common traditional garment worn by indigenous women from central Mexico to Central America

It's a simple shape for a topper - just rectangles, perfect for narrow fabrics created on backstrap looms. And I've made this shape before, not realizing it had such an exotic name - Huipil. The Huipil has been revisited by many sewists of late due to an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There is a sew-along underway described here and seen here. I love seeing all the variations in this simple piece.

Here is my very first Huipil. This was before I made the connection to Frida. I still wear these PJs. The top is the simplest shape possible. I cut two squares and seamed them to make shoulder seams. I left a space in the middle large enough for my head. This is a knit so it was easy to just stitch the shoulder seam open to finish the neckline. I placed pockets strategically.

And I've lost this cute top:

Both were blogged here.

This time, I did make one pattern piece: the shape for the neckline - a 5x12 rectangular opening. I used another favorite top - the Cottage shirt - to make rough guesses at my preferred width and length - roughly 30x30.

Using remnants and small pieces from stash, I inadvertently took it from simple to slightly challenging to frustrating.

Because of the small pieces, I decided I did not want to just cut a hole for the neckline. Instead I built up the 12x5 opening as I went.

This meant 2 steps forward, one step back, because I designed it as I made it. You can see in the picture above that, at one time, I had a strip of red print running across the front and the back of the shirt. I hated it - made my shoulders look so sloped!

And of course I obsessed over how to finish the interior. I did not want to use the serger because I was afraid it would add bulk to an otherwise light-weight garment.

Last but not least, that square in the front is a very dense weave cotton. I think it must have a weird finish to it. Both my machine needle and my hand-sewing needle became noticeably dull as I sewed. But I do love that print - so worth it!

I love the deep hems on the Cottage shirt and so wanted to duplicate that here. To do this, I added a deep facing with the small Souleiado red print. It's only slightly visible.

As I was finishing some of the handwork last night, I was thinking - I'll never wear this. Then I put it on just now and I love how it feels. It's a perfect hot-weather top.

Maybe I'll make another one.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Remember the Japonesque?

I do. One memory I have is when I got on a hotel elevator wearing my version. The woman on the elevator said "Japonesque?" I affirmed this and asked if she'd made it. She said  "yes, several times, once as instructed, once with two right fronts and once with two left fronts!"

It is one of the old - maybe early 2000's - Sewing Workshop patterns designed in the spirit of Issey Miyake. Maybe more of an Issey Miyake one-off. It has dropped shoulders, deep armscyes, and runs large. It has a floating pocket on the back right hip.

The chocolate piece is all shades of brown, my favorite color!
I've been holding onto 3 special one-yard pieces of fabric from Christina Daily. They are Essex linen-cotton dyed by Christina in what I'd call free-form shibori. I am unfamiliar with her process. One yard was chocolate and the other two pieces were indigo blue. It's fairly beefy and so a good weight for a jacket.

Christina and I became acquainted on Instagram. I love her hand-dyed fabrics as well as the lovely ways she uses it. Check it out here. A few months ago, out of the blue, she offered to send me some of her fabrics to see what I'd make. I was amazed and delighted. This version of the Japonesque aims to showcase her fabric.

Initially I thought I'd place the pocket on one of the fronts but it really seems to belong on the back. It was a fun pocket to construct given that it floats, attached only at the top of the pocket.

It's a detail I like and will use again. A similar pocket is on another Sewing Workshop top - the Icon (it's on sale right now). That's another oldie I'd like to revisit.

I experimented with the tab closure that is part of the pattern. It is intended to be inserted in the left side and buttoned to the right side at hip level. This is not a part of my body to emphasize and so I omitted it.

I also experimented with closures and decided on a single button shown below. It can also hang open for a slightly different look.

Even though I made this pattern 15+ years ago, construction felt novel to me. I love puzzling through a new pattern and this was quite satisfying. Several construction details required reading and re-reading instructions. To me, that's fun.

That brown next to the indigo blue looks almost like suede, doesn't it?
As I recall, my first version of the Japonesque was intended to be a shirt, made in a rayon batik. I did not wear it much and I do not recall why. This time I shortened it about 2 inches in the back. I'll enjoy it as a fall jacket.

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: