Hey there! And Happy Last Week of August. I'm moonlighting over at the Upcraft Club today and chatting about making this shirt, tie and pants. Come and check it out!
Hello, dear friends! Please do excuse my absence. It was completely unintentional and I am completely without an excuse. All I can say is that I have been unable to pull myself away from this lush, sunny summer and from the days that have positively brimmed with everything.
The air cooled this week. It's raining and the summer tan that I've been recklessly allowing has been shrouded appropriately once again in fleece and wool. It's got me thinking about the upcoming cooler months and about the making that I hope to be doing and sharing with you. Please do tell me what you've been making this summer!
Let's talk about a dress, shall we? I made A BUNCH of clothes for my daughter this summer (you can find them all in my Instagram feed if you're curious). I usually make short dresses so that she can climb trees and run fast. But she's been requesting floor-length gowns and when I spied this tiered sundress, I knew that I had to try to make one.
It's basically a Geranium dress mashed up with the tiered skirt pattern from Happy Homemade. I shaved off the shoulder parts and bound the arm and neck holes with bias tape to give it a sundress vibe. The armholes turned out a bit to big (I should have narrowed the bodice just at the neck and shoulders and left the arms alone). And she didn't like the skinny straps as much. Neither did I. For the next version I stuck with the standard Geranium bodice. She LOVES this long twirly dress. I see many more in our future...
I have so much more to say! I'd like to share some fair isle knitting that I did this summer, some fantastic books that I read, a newer version of this dress in some to-die-for rayon challis... What do you want to talk about?
Joining Frontier Dreams this week over here.
I'm very pleased to be a contributor over at the Oliver and S blog today, where I'm sharing a tutorial for adding an iron-on image to your Playtime Leggings. Head on over to read all about it.
I'll be back here later this week to share some pictures from our town's summer solstice pageant. Until then, have a great week!
My early kids clothes were all made from recycled fabrics from the thrift shop. For awhile, I was making some cool stuff out of the gift bags that Patagonia makes from their mill ends.They're super cheap and they're lined. A couple of bags actually adds up to a fair amount of yardage, plus the prints are to die for!
These days, I still make most of my kids' clothes and I still do a fair amount of upcycling but nothing like I used to. Vintage May feels like an effort to put the soul back into the sewing and I loved having the opportunity to make the old new again.
The thing was MADE to be bounced in:)
Or to scowl in?
The romper was easy to construct for someone with a little bit of experience. The toughest part of the process was actually finding room to cut out the wide legs. The pattern is written simply with no cutting diagram or finishing instructions.
These days I can't be sure that what I make will be worn so I have to do it for the joy of it. And this was truly a joyful make.
What do you make for the love of it?
Be sure to check out Kristin's tutorial for a Hudson Bay Quilt - too cool! Thanks for having me Kristin and Jess!
Salutations! Thanks for finding me here. Today I'm joining the Twisted Trousers tour being hosted by Laura of Titchy Threads.
The Twisted Trousers feature a clever, curved shape that has the appearance of a slim fitting pant but are actually relaxed enough to accommodate the big movements of little folks and the limitations of woven fabrics that have very little stretch. I've made several pairs of Laura's Small Fry Skinnies in the past, which are designed to be made using stretch wovens. It's my favorite pants pattern shown here in a harlequin stretch twill, here in knit denim and here where I re-drafted the lines to include ease for wovens. I have a hard time sourcing stretch wovens so even though I adore that pattern, I was pleased to see that the Twisted Trousers are designed for regular woven fabrics.
My little guy has been begging me for pink trousers for a couple of years and I've got some great canvas in the hopper for that purpose but it's nice stuff and I didn't want to hack into it until I had succeeded with a muslin. These here are made using sheets from Target and some lime green piping that I made using bias tape from Purl Soho and some narrow rope that I got from the hardware store. The advantage to making these pants out of the sheets is that they are "easy care" (which probably means that there's some polyester in there, eep) so I don't have to iron them when I wash them, which is something that bums me out about sewing garments with quilting fabrics.
I made a Rowan Tee to complement the pants in this Heather Ross strawberry print that I've been hoarding. I'm sure that you can grab some on Etsy if you're interested. It's from her Briar Rose collection. That little pocket is made from some fresh Alison Glass Handcrafted fabric, which will be debuted this weekend at Quilt Market in Minneapolis. I so, so want to go! But we've got some family obligations and no way to squeeze the ten hour round-trip in betwixt them. Sigh...
About that little pocket, though; it's just one example of the careful attention that Laura gives to each detail of her patterns. The Rowan Tee pattern offers more than 100 combinations to create your own unique top and shows you a cool little trick for getting a professional looking pocket hem every time. This is the sherpa-lined hoodie that I made using this pattern last fall.
The hat that he's wearing is one that I made for Stylo last spring:)
Laura's patterns make you a better sewer. They are cleverly, carefully written and chock-full of technical details and descriptive photos.
Be sure to check out the other folks on the tour this week and throughout the month! Thanks for stopping by, dear friends. I have missed our chats. Hey, are you on Instagram? If so, consider dropping me a line over there. The link is in the sidebar.
For most of January, I worked on this Bellows Sweater by Michele Wang of Brooklyn Tweed.
It hasn't turned out to be something that I reach for every day, mostly because I sort of went at the sizing blindly. I knew that I wanted something cozy and oversized but I didn't think very hard about where the oversizing should go...
It turns out, that I like ease around the bust and middle. But I have narrow shoulders and I don't like it when the shoulders slide down my arms. Had I measured a bit more carefully, or compared the pattern schematic to something I already owned, I would have gotten a more wearable result.
However, now that it's spring and I don't need to wear a down coat all of the time, I find myself reaching for it more and more on the way out the door. The stitch pattern is just beautiful and the yarn too. For more fetching versions of the sweater, check out Grainline Studio's and Fringe's.
I don't feel bitter about it. I needed a compelling knit in January and I loved making this sweater. It's definitely not the first sweater that I've cast off happily but without plans to wear it...
I've been mulling over some thoughts on knitting and autonomy. It's so exciting to hear all kinds of women makers speaking confidently about what they're making. This kind of confidence is foreign to me. I've been hand making my wardrobe for, well, decades now on and off but it's always seemed a bit unwieldy to me. As though I didn't really have control over the end result. Like everything that I attempt to make is a great leap of faith primarily. But it's not! There are truth's, no? For example, if I study a garment that I love to wear - specifically, if I measure it and sketch the shape, I'll learn some truths about it. I can use those truths to help me to choose patterns that will suit my own personal style. And I can change patterns to better suit what I like. I know that all of this sounds obvious but it's been a revelation to me.
What are your tricks for making wearable garments?
I have only had eyes for knitting the past eight weeks or so. Maybe it's been the wind whipping around outside or my fluid-filled lungs or the coziness of my first, finished patchwork quilt. But in my free time, I've wanted only to plant myself, firmly and for as long as possible with an audiobook in my ears and a pile of wool in my lap.
When time DOESN'T allow for me to pretend that I'm on a lavish winter vacation, I sneak in stitching between reading aloud to the littlest and filling orders for the shop.
And this morning, with the kids away overnight, I woke up early with an itch to sew. I made the outsides for a tote or two and stitched up this notions pouch using some fresh Cotton and Steel. The pattern is Noodlehead's and goes with a larger tote designed with knitters in mind.
My shop's shelves are empty after a little sale last week and something about clearing the shelves has me excited to get to work on the spring collection. More about that soon, I hope:)
Joining Frontier Dreams readers over here today.
I've been knitting feverishly. And I mean that both literally and figuratively. I'd like not to dwell on it too much but sheesh we have been sick this winter. The fevers of mine and, more often, those of my young wards has meant lots of time to knit.
In January, when we got home from the West Coast, I hopped on the Sunday Sweater Knitalong and stitched up a bulky, cabled number by Brooklyn Tweed in just three weeks. I finished a test knit in fingering weight, a sweater for my daughter and a running beanie . It was an epic knitting month!
Just before we left for our trip, I completed the Bough Hat, also by Brooklyn Tweed, which we've talked about. But I also finished this Magnolia Cardigan in December during a battle with the stomach flu.
I heard the phrase "vital knit" from the intrepid knitter Karen Templer. And I could think of no better phrase to describe this particular sweater. I hesitated with it for months - the knitting is repetitious, the color plain. The fabric is a triumph, though, made from fingering weight wool: Quince and Co's Finch . It has a beautiful bit of drape with just enough wooly life in it to give it a bit of rusticity (I'm pretty sure that I made that word up but you catch my drift, right?). This color and style suit my sense of fashion exactly. It is a wardrobe staple.
And yes, I've even slept in it. Which I'm hearing is odd - don't you sleep in your hand knits? This is probably as a result of my young adult life having been spent living in a tent with my boyfriend (now legal mate). Sleeping in wooly things was a neccessary antidote to the cold nights.
I have more than a few knits in my closet that rest, unworn. And I'd like to explore this question of vital knits further. I love a stylish, textured knit but maybe I should save the wild techniques for accessories?
What are your vital knits? Do tell! And if you dig, share them on Instagram using Karen Templer's hashtag #vitalknits.
Joining Frontier Dreams Readers today.
I'll be joining the Small Things Readers on Wednesday where knitters share both their works in progress and their books in progress.
In terms of the written word, I just finished listening to Gone Girl (which I won't link to because it was the worst). I don't often read (or listen) to fiction so I was a little lost and chose this book because it was on the NY Times bestseller list. What a waste of time. It was violent, misogynistic and just plain awful. It made me feel sad to be a woman, sad to be raising a daughter in America. I'll leave it at that.
On a lighter note, though, I cannot get enough of the Woolful Podcast. If you are a knitter and you're not listening, get on it! The interviews are distinct in their length and content. The guests are diverse and surprising. I always learn something new when I listen.
What are you reading or listening to?
This post was originally featured on the Kids Clothes Week Blog last February:)
I spend as much time as I can making things. And even when I can’t, it consumes my thoughts. And kids things in particular. As I considered this post over the last few weeks, I couldn’t come up with exactly what it was that compels me to make. Compulsion is the nature of it, to be sure – but why?
There was a time when my marriage was new and my babies were both so little and unfamiliar that hand-making helped me to make sense of domesticity – a concept that I had always flailed hard against.
But that’s not why for me anymore.
As I worked on this leather-feathered vest (using this pattern), I finished listening to a novel, The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey. About midway through, the book’s writer answered this question for me and much more eloquently than I could have.
“In the evenings, she lit a lamp and unfolded the fabric on the table. Following the pattern offered a kind of comfort, a quiet balance [to her day's work which was] coarse, exhausting [and unpredictable]. Sewing was different. She knew if she was patient and meticulous, if she carefully followed the lines, took each step as it came, and obeyed the rules, that in the end when it was turned right-side out, it would be just how it was meant to be (205-6).”
That passage about a woman sewing a coat for a child is one that I’ll be thinking about for a long time. Even though she’s musing there about stitching, the passage also contributes to the book’s persistent theme of impermanence. The stitching, it helps us to cope with the fleeting nature of things. Of kids and of youth and of thwarted meant-to-bes. And, I think, that’s why I do it.
Committing to one whole year of making sounds like a lot. And in some ways, it is. But aren't we already doing it? I first heard about this campaign on Instagram from Meighan O'Toole. I realized that I'm already making every day, year-round. And comprehensive reflection doesn't come easily to me. I've been steadily working on my sewing and knitting. I loved the idea of having a concrete place to document it. On Instagram, I can share my progress with other makers, plus I'll have a visual record of everything that I made this year. It's going to be bananas.
The pictures here are from the past week. They include some of what I made for my first stretch of the year of making. As you can see from the photos, some days may include finished objects but other days will include beginnings and techniques in progress.
Some of my year of making goals are lofty (like knitting a couple a sweaters and making a couple a quilts) and others are more pedestrian. For example, my daughter is way into having french braids in her hair but I never learned how to french braid - so I'm trying to learn now. That'll be part of my making. Below is the freshly made back for my Bellows-sweater-in-progress. If you'd like to see one of these beauties completed, do check out Jen from Grainline Studio's (AMAZING!!!).
There are a lot of things that I'd like to try. I badly want to practice printing on fabric. I want to learn to do fair isle knitting. I want to make new designs for my Etsy shop. I want to make patterns for my clothing from ready-to-wear items. I want to make videos. And the list goes on... I hope that I can organize the list and make it more workable but I'm not holding my breath. As I've mentioned, I'm not much of a list-maker. Long terms planning doesn't come easily to me. But focusing my attention once daily on what I'm making, so far feels very good. I expect setbacks. I hope that there will be long summer days where my sewing machine, camera and Iphone are well out of reach. In the meantime, though, I'll be making. Some of it will be for fun, some of it will be for sale and it'll all be over here.
Won't you join me? There's no hard and fast beginning and end date - that's up to. Make you something, throw the hastag #yearofmaking on it and join the party. It's never to late to begin:)
I'll be joining Frontier Dreams this week over here:)
Joining the Straight Grain Sewers for Sew and Show here:)
Joining the Small Things readers here:)