Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Toaster Sweaters

One of my Make Nine goals was to make some Toaster sweaters, and I did it! The patterns are from Sew House Seven and there are two versions available. Sweater #1 has a short turtleneck, raglan sleeves with long, banded cuffs, and a wide band around the hem. Sweater #2 has a short funnel neck, set-in sleeves, and is looser, with side slits at the hi-low hem. If you buy them both, you can mix and match the different features, like I did with my third sweater. 

This is my Sweater #1, in a striped ponte knit. Sorry if you are getting dizzy from looking at the small stripes. They always photograph so trippily. In person, this top does not look wild at all. 

It's a cozy top. Too bad I may not wear it again until fall! Warm weather arrived early in Colorado this year, so I'm thinking about summer sewing now, but I loved wearing this during the winter.

Here is my Sweater #2, made in a speckled french terry. The funnel neck is just folded down and then stitched at the side seams. My fabric tends to roll up underneath, so it's not my favorite method of finishing a neckline. But, I think it looks cute from the outside! I suppose I could hand sew the whole neckline down, but I probably won't. It's good enough and once a project is "done" I usually don't feel that motivated to go back and do more work on it!

This version looks really clean and simple.

The neckline and the hem both add some nice details to a simple look. The hem is split and it's longer in the back, which looks pretty cool.

And for my third Toaster, I used the turtleneck and raglan sleeves from Sweater #1 and the hemline from Sweater #2. I made shorter cuffs for the sleeves (actually they should have been an inch longer, but I'll still wear this). This is a lightweight french terry, so it's drapier and not as warm. I'll be able to wear this top this spring without overheating, at least during the chilly mornings and evenings. 

It would be easy to use a band to make a crewneck shirt, too. I'm imagining a version made of cotton jersey to wear all spring. Maybe even something like a baseball ringer tee with elbow-length sleeves. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Frida Sorbetto

Hey-o! Did you see that Colette Patterns revamped their free Sorbetto pattern? Now it includes pattern pieces and instructions to make a tank top, a sleeveless tunic, or a t-shirt. I had planned on making the original tank for a while, but I never got around to it. The release of the new version gave me the encouragement I needed to try it out. 

I decided to make the tunic version. I lengthened the pattern by 1.5 inches, but I could have added a couple more inches to make it fit like it does on the pattern model. I'm 5'10" so I usually lengthen shirts and dresses. 

The back covers my butt, but it could be a bit longer. It's also kind of snug there, so if I made another one, I might grade the hips out to the next size. I've also started working out regularly after a year of hit-or-miss workouts, so maybe that will take care of the snugness. 

This top has a center front box pleat, which isn't too obvious with this busy fabric. It would show up much better on a solid fabric. The instructions also tell you how to omit the pleat if you just want a flat front. This pattern is pretty versatile!

I used some Frida Kahlo fabric that I've had in my stash for a long time. It's a thicker quilting cotton, which feels really soft and nice for a top. A fabric with more flow and drape would be nice to try next time; it would really change the look and feel of the shirt. 

I think it's pretty cute! I love that there are so many options included, and that you could make two totally different tops by choosing different types of fabrics. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Bunch of Scout Tees

The Scout Tee from Grainline Studio is one of my tried and true patterns. It's a simple woven t-shirt with short sleeves and a loose fit. I love that it looks nicer than a plain old t-shirt, but is just as easy to wear. I also love that it works well with many different types of fabric.

Last month, I whipped up five more Scouts over the course of a weekend, assembly line-style. I used two rayon fabrics, a chambray, a quilting cotton, and a double gauze. The rayons are the drapiest fabric I used and the quilting cotton is the stiffest. They all hang a little bit differently so it's easy to wear them every day without them feeling boring or repetitive. Not that I wear them every day, but some weeks it's pretty close.  

These were on my Make Nine list, so I can check off another pattern. I actually chose ten items, since I'm a rebel and I'm not afraid of  a challenge. So far, I've made a Lottie dress, a Driftless cardigan, Toaster sweaters, and a Talvikki sweater as well. So five out of ten are completed! My Coco and Marianne dresses are both almost done, leaving just an easy Astoria sweatshirt, a more challenging button-up shirt, and the quite intimidating J-E-A-N-S. Good thing there is plenty of time left in the year to complete this list. 

Now let's look at all these new Scouts!

This first one is made of Cotton + Steel and Rifle Paper Co. Les Fleurs Birch Floral Navy rayon challis fabric. Could the name of that fabric be longer? It's good stuff, and so pretty. It's excellent quality and makes great-looking clothing.  

This second shirt is made of chambray: Kaufman Union Small Herringbone in Indigo. It's soft and has a nice drape. Up close, the fabric has a nice pattern. 

The third one is made from a rayon challis black and white gingham, which is no longer available. I love making shirts from rayon challis. It's easy to work with (not too slippery) and it feels and looks so nice when it's done! 

Now comes the stiffest fabric, a quilting cotton. This ikat medallion fabric is no longer available. I love it and kept it in my stash for a few years before finally deciding what to make with it. I think the Scout is a good choice, since it's something I'll wear a lot. I really like the print, and this way I'll get to enjoy it often. 

Quilting cotton is probably the easiest fabric to sew, since it doesn't slide around or stretch out. It also comes in a million cute designs! It does tend to get wrinkled easily, and it doesn't drape well enough for most types of clothes, but it's fun to use when it suits the pattern.

This last one's made of Michael Miller Sommer Double Gauze Mini Painted Gingham in Navy. I love the way double gauze falls, and how it feels. It's so lightweight and breezy, it keeps you cool in the summer, yet it's nearly opaque and it isn't wimpy. It's a little annoying to sew with, since it can get stretched out really easily. Stay-stitching is a great idea, and just being patient and careful while cutting and sewing will help it stay on-grain.

With this pattern, you need bias binding to finish the neckline. I just cut strips from the fabric I'm using for the shirt itself and sew them together. I don't fold and crease it ahead of time, but just sew the flat strip onto the front of the neckline first. Then I press the seam up, fold the bias binding over twice, press and then stitch it down. That method works well for me and seems easier than pre-folding it.

Have you tried the Scout pattern? What are your tried and true patterns? Do you use pre-made bias binding, or make your own?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Reeta Dress

Hi guys, the past couple months have been pretty awful, so I didn't feel like blogging. A few of the bad events were the anniversary of my dad's death, which filled me with dread for about six weeks as it approached; my poor mom needing a fifth hip replacement surgery after her implant snapped in half; and the removal of two of my wisdom teeth, after which my jaw and skull were in unbearable pain for over a month. 

*The good news is that the anniversary came and went, and I felt a huge relief. It felt like my year of intense mourning was completed, and it was okay for me to be happy again, without feeling guilty. 

*My mom is recovering nicely from her surgery. She feels very weak, but she is the strongest lady I know, and she will recover yet again. 

*My wisdom teeth holes finally closed up and my skull stopped feeling like it was being hit with a hammer all the time. I'm so excited to feel like I'm out in the light again, after such a tough year and especially the last couple months!

After my head quit hurting and I could stand the noise of my sewing machine, I was excited to sew this Reeta dress. It's a new casual shirt dress pattern from Named Patterns. It has buttons up the front, a drawstring waist, and side slits. It feels like something my grandma would have sewn and worn, which I really like.  

The collar was the hardest part for me, but that's not Named's fault. I think it's only the second one I've attached and I could use more practice. I will seek out some tutorials and demonstrations before my next collared dress or shirt. I bet there are tricks and techniques that would make it easier.


For this dress I used a cotton lawn and silver buttons. I made the drawstring out of the same fabric.

I've already bought some cotton ikat to make a second Reeta. I think that fabric will look more casual, justifying having two Reeta dresses! Between the two, I should be covered for any kind of outing this spring and summer. I'm also definitely going to add on-seam pockets to the next dress. I can't wait to wear them both a ton.


Making things is so comforting during tough emotional times! Letting my brain focus on what my hands are doing is a moving meditation, allowing my mind to relax and stop dwelling on bad thoughts. Being productive is so gratifying! Creating things feels good any time, but it is a real mood lifter on a bad day. This Reeta dress kept me busy for a few days, challenged me just the right amount, and turned out so well! I'm so glad I have a bunch of creative hobbies to keep me sane. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Long Driftless Cardigan

Hi guys! I made my first Driftless Cardigan (this pattern is from Grainline Studio). I decided to lengthen it since I didn't have any maxi sweaters in my closet. I added 7" to the front and back pieces. I made version B, with the uneven, split hem. This will be perfect for wearing with leggings, though I think also looks good over everything else. 

After I'd cut out the pieces, I realized that the pockets were going to be 7" lower, too, and I regretted my hasty decision. But I sewed it up anyway and I think it turned out just fine.

I used a medium weight, cotton-poly sweater knit from, which is now out of stock. I used my serger to sew the whole thing, and slipstitched the neck band in place, as instructed.

I'm so happy with how this turned out, and I definitely plan to make another one at the original length. I usually lengthen the sleeves on tops, but I have some extra length in the sleeves on this one. I won't lengthen them next time. 

Have you made a Driftless cardigan?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Talvikki Sweater

Hi guys, I'm done with my second sewing project from my 2017 sewing goals

I finished the first one early, on December 31, 2016. It was the Lottie dress that I wore for New Year's Eve. 

The second one is my Talvikki sweater! I love this one so much and I don't want to wear anything else. It's made from this luxe fleece from It's super soft and cozy. I think I might have enough left to make Hudson pants, too - just to wear around the house!

Here you can see the side vent and that the back is longer than the front.

I added two inches to the length (front and back) since I am tall (5'10"). 

It's good for playing inflatable mini guitars.

The back of the neck looks kind of lumpy. I hadn't noticed that until I saw this photo. Maybe a good pressing would help, but doubt I'll bother, since my hair covers it up anyway.

Here you can see how the neck looks from the side.

My fabric is thick, so I was not able to make the neckline perfectly straight and smooth, but I can't even tell in this photo. I hand-stitched the collar facing down at every dart and at the side-seams, though the instructions only say to tack it down at the side-seams. This fabric is pretty thick and stubborn, so it needed more encouragement to stay down.

I really like the detail of the darts. It makes this sweatshirt special. I also like the higher neckline; it's so cozy, without the suffocation that I can sometimes feel in a turtleneck. 

The vents on the side can let in a breeze, so I'll probably wear a light t-shirt or tank top underneath. My jeans are high-waisted, so you can't see skin through the vent, but the air can still sneak in.

The Talvikki is easy to sew and can take your sweatshirt game up a couple notches. The details make it special and I think with the right fabrics it could go to work at a casual office. It's not just for lounging (but it's pretty good at it). 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Made: Lottie Dress, Scarf, Door Stopper, and Pattern Weights

I managed to finish up one last 2016 sewing project: the Lottie dress from Christine Haynes. I used a metallic linen blend fabric. Can you see any shimmer in these photos? It's pretty sparkly in some lighting; in others it just looks tan.

This is an easy dress to sew and the instructions are clear. I'm sure I will use the pattern again, though I will probably make the neckline a bit lower. I would prefer if it were lower than my clavicle. 

I lengthened the pattern by a couple inches, since I'm 5'10". I usually add some length to any dress, skirt, or pants pattern. 

And here's the best shot of the dress from New Year's Eve:

 I also made a scarf at the very end of the year. I got this Cloudborn yarn from Craftsy, along with giant, size 50 needles! I whipped up this scarf in a few hours:

I used the Eleventh Hour pattern from Purl Soho. It was so fun seeing major progress every few minutes! My kids are obsessed with the giant needles/swords, too. 

It was a great break from sock knitting with size 0 needles, which consists of such tiny stitches and such slow progress. Both are satisfying in their own way, and it might be good for me to keep alternating different types of projects. 

Those giant needles look comical on their own, but next to the size 0 needles, they're super ridiculous.

On New Year's Day, I made this door stopper for our basement. We keep the litter box down there, so we want the cat to have access all the time. The door always seems to get closed by any visitors to our house (do you close doors in other people's houses? I think that's so weird!) or it gets bumped closed by the door from the garage. 

So far this stopper is working well to keep the door cracked open. Willis can stick his paw in the crack and open the door for himself. 

I used some cotton canvas, two thick pony tail elastics, and poly stuffing. I sewed 3.5 sides inside out, sewing right over the elastics, turned the fabric right side out, stuffed the stopper, and slip stitched the last part shut.  

Then I made some cloth pattern weights out of scraps of fabric. I used this free pattern and tutorial from the Tea Rose Home blog. 

It takes a scrap that's about 5" x 5" for each weight. I filled mine with rice. 

I hope I'll be using them this week with the Talvikki sweater pattern. I printed it out but still need to tape it together before I can get started.