Sunday, September 22, 2019


I love aprons! They're cute, fun, and practical, and I wear one every day. I am pretty hard on them so I have to replace them pretty often. Here are my latest two!

This one has cute little forest mushrooms! The front bib is my usual pattern with front darts. I scooped the neck and used a 5-gored skirt, with pockets that extend into the gore seams.

The second one has pies! Same bodice pattern but I cut a v-neck. Both bibs are fully lined to make finishing easier.

My usual cross-over back on both. Neck straps annoy me, so this is more comfortable. The pie apron has a gathered skirt instead of gores - it uses a little less fabric and I ran short!

Here's how I made them. The skirt and bib sections are made separately. First I finished the skirt portion on its own - sections seamed and serged, edges hemmed, waistband on. This could be a perfectly fine half-apron by itself.

But I am very messy! So a bib/bodice section is required. I finished the bib and serged the bottom edge.

I joined the bib by lapping the serged edge under the waistband and topstitching. Then put it on to test the strap placement before sewing, and done!

To tie these on, you just put your arms through the armholes, cross the ties behind your back, and tie in front. I put a little video up on my Instagram if that doesn't make sense.

This is probably the 10th time I've made some variation on this style, and I love it!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Tree Print Dress

The best thing about having a big pile of half-done projects is how quick it can be to finish one up! Here's my latest UFO all done.

It's the same pattern again that I used for a green lace dress and a linen print dress (which is now in the UFO pile for alterations). It was a decent pattern but I think I'm over it now. Something different next time!

I had wanted to make this dress without a waist seam, but cutting it this way was more stingy and this fabric was expensive! It's a loosely woven, cottony-feeling rayon.

I also tried a new-to-me technique for lining the bodice. I assembled the bodice and lining except for the shoulder seam, then joined them and clipped, turned, and pressed. Next I sewed the fashion fabric's shoulder seam:

Then handsewed the lining's shoulder seam.

The finished shoulder:

I don't like this technique. I've read it in pattern directions before and always thought it was silly, but I figured I'd better give it a try before I judged it. Well now I have, and I can: it's annoying. I much prefer the method of leaving the side seams open.

I also tried the dress with a white collared blouse, which I like in theory but I'm not really sure it's for me.

Pockets of course!

The whole front closes with about a million tiny buttons. They are grey-blue and blend in really well with the fabric, which is what I wanted with such a lovely print. The whole dress is lined with light blue cotton lawn.

I really love this fabric!

I haven't worn it for real yet, but so far I really like it!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Unicorn Quilt

I made this quilt for The Girl's 10th birthday! I realized last year that I'd been making quilts for everyone in the family, but I haven't made one for my own kid since she was a newborn baby!

It is 100% UNICORNS! I spent almost a year collecting a bit of every unicorn fabric I could find, plus a few coordinating prints. There's one with glitter, one with glow-in-the-dark, rainbows, candy sprinkles, and at least 6 different unicorns.

It is absolutely the simplest pieced quilt I've ever made. There are two patchwork panels along with un-pieced strips of the fancier fabrics. I love the big chunks of unicorn print; it seemed a shame to cut them up too much.

The back is made of pink flannel with more unicorns, with a strip of coordinating cotton (because I ran out of flannel). I rounded the corners, because I like the look, and I hate miters. The binding was eked out of the scraps of rainbow print.

I free-motion quilted it in a swirly curlicue design.

The Girl and her unicorn!

She loved it! She got right into bed in the middle of the afternoon and wouldn't get out again!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Year of Mittens: Summertime

In June I finished my blue Selbu mittens!

Then I made some colorblock mittens for my kid.

The next mittens I made are for a holiday surprise, but I don't think the recipient reads my blog. I made this pattern up and charted it on graph paper.

Then in August I made this pair of yellow and grey stranded mittens from the pattern Olines Vantar, available for free on Ravelry. I loved this pattern so much I immediately started another pair!

I'm still on track for my goal of one pair per month all year! And I still have loads of mittens I want to make!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

New Skirts!

These three new skirts all have one thing in common: I finished them, and then went back and took them apart again and altered them!

This first one is in a chambray linen with a geometric print. I used Simplicity 8019 and added a curved patch pocket and three 1/2" tucks at the hem. I also swapped out the straight waistband for a curved one for a nicer fit.

My silly mistake on this one was trusting the measurement chart. My waist and hip both fell perfectly into the same size, so I cut out the size indicated and went ahead. I like to wear my modern skirts just a little below the waist, and figured any ease would just make it sit lower.

Well I learned my lesson! The finished skirt was about 3 inches too big in the waist and I was swimming in it! It sat WAY too low on my hips for comfort. I picked out the stitching at the side seams and waistband, took it in, and sewed it back up. Now it's perfect!

The tucks at the hem are my favorite part! 

I made this yellow denim skirt for a work display a few months ago, from New Look 6346. (I probably could've ironed it for pictures, but let's get real: I'm not gonna iron it, like, ever. So this is true to reality!)

Like the linen skirt above, I cut out a larger size than I should have because I was following the chart. I ended up taking the waistband off and taking in the skirt and waistband seams, then reattaching it.

I made a pocket and fabric-covered buttons from a teal floral print that I thought coordinated well.

The denim is very crisp and I love the way it makes my skirt stand out!

This embroidered chambray skirt is a couple years old. I also initially made it for a work display - you can see the blog post here. 

The fit was fine on this skirt, but the wide, straight-cut waistband never sat right on my shape; the upper half of the waistband stood away from my body.

I replaced the wide, straight waistband with a narrower, curved one that contours around my shape much better. I also added the pockets that I initially left off. 

I decided to ditch the belt loops and sash from the original. They were cute but I don't often tuck my shirt in and they're lumpy otherwise.

So excited to have three new skirts in my wardrobe, all in great weights for fall layering!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Here's a purse

I finished this new purse!

Making bags and purses is really fun. It's such a different thing than garment sewing. This one is made from two Japanese linen/cotton blends, interlined with plain linen, lined in leftover yellow denim. 

I didn't use any fusibles in this one at all, and there is nothing synthetic except the zippers. I've always preferred natural fibers, but right now I'm trying to eliminate as much synthetic stuff as possible, including interfacings.

I based the pattern on the last purse I made, but made it ever so slightly larger and curved the top edge a little. Here's the last purse, from 2014:

And again after 5 years of use (it obviously only really lasted 4, and it's been in rags for the last year!):

Here you can see the scale. I like a fairly big purse that I can fit a ton of crap in when I need to! Also I love this pic because my hair looks real big. :)

Goofy faces at my daughter as she was taking pictures of me.

I used the same concealed top zipper method as my last purse, which I learned in the book The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam - I definitely recommend this book if you want to sew bags!

For this technique, you sew two nicely finished strips to the sides of the zipper, and hide the end with a little fabric tab. Then you attach that whole unit to the lining a couple inches down from the top edge. 

I got this metal zipper for free while ago; I think it may have originally been a separating zipper but it had the end cut off and sewed over. I like the heft of the metal teeth!

The front pocket is ONLY for keys and lip balm, like the last purse. No digging for my lost essentials in the bottom! It has darts in each corner to give it more space.

Hopefully this purse lasts me another four years, like the last one!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Free Pattern: Knitted Elbow Patches

I tend to be pretty hard on my sweater elbows. I made the first pair of these last year for the hole-y elbows of a fine-gauge machine-knitted sweater. Since then I've had lots of people ask me about them so I decided to write down the pattern! It's so simple!

I used pretty much matching yarns but it would be fun to do a pair in stripes or contrast!

Knitted Elbow Patches

Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 or Knit Picks Wool of the Andes worsted

Needles: US size 6

Gauge: 5 stitches per inch (but gauge is not crucial)

Notions: Small hand sewing needle, matching cotton sewing thread

K2tog - Knit two stitches together (decrease one stitch)
M1 - Make one (increase one stitch)
SSK - Slip, slip, knit (decrease one stitch)
Stockinette stitch: Knit one row, then purl one row. Repeat.

Cast on 10 sts (I prefer long tail method)
Purl 1 row
Next row (increase row): K1, M1, knit to last stitch, M1, K1
Repeat last two rows until you have 16 sts.
Work even in stockinette stitch until piece measures 3” from beginning.
Next row (decrease row): K1, K2tog, knit to last 3, SSK, K1
Purl 1 row
Repeat last two rows until 10 sts left
Bind off all stitches on next row. (This is a purl row but you can bind off either knitwise or purlwise.)

Make 2. The edges will be curly so block if desired.

To help place them symmetrically on each sleeve, use a measuring tape to measure up from the cuff to edge of patch, and over from patch to sleeve seam.

To keep pins from getting stuck, slide a wide clear quilting ruler or small hardcover book inside the sleeve, then use straight pins to pin patches in place. Uncurl the edges as you pin.

Here you can see the patch pinned in place, getting ready to sew, and the clear ruler in the background.

Sew onto the elbow holes of your sweater with cotton sewing thread. I put an extra-large wooden darning egg (available here) inside the sleeve, but if you don't have one, just put your hand inside, or keep the clear ruler or small book inside.

Use an overcasting stitch to attach: scoop a little of your sweater fabric, then come up through the patch from below, letting the thread wrap around edge of patch.

If you make them, let me know what you think!