August 5, 2015


the beloved fabric
You know that multi colored floral cotton voile from Mood which was obviously a Liberty Lawn print and I got some and then I made a hacked Sorbetto which I thought was fine but when I wore it all day I realized it wasn't comfortable because I was (am?) a novice at fitting?


I am excited.

I also ordered the Italian black stretch striped wool on sale today, black wool challis, a thin green wool jersey, and some brown silk habotai to line a top I'm going to make with that brown dotted silk I bought a while back. 

I heart wool, yall.

So excited!

I hacked a Sorbetto into something that I'm pretty sure works for me so between that and the Aurora and the Kimono Tee I'm feeling successful with fitting these days (although, would you believe I forgot to add back length AGAIN when I did my most recent sway back adjustment? WTF? I apparently have a giant blind spot when it comes to back length). Still working mostly on making tops because that's the big gap in my wardrobe at the moment. My RTW bottoms are not awesome but they're ok for now. 

Small went with us to the fabric store to pick out some fabric for pajamas. We ended up with 2 flannel and 2 quilting cottons. He did not pick out the train flannel, much to our surprise, but then proceeded to tell EVERYONE that mommy was making him train pajamas. Sigh. 

I also got some fun rainbow abstract flower quilting cotton he rejected just because I love it and some gorgeous yellow dandelion and butterfly fabric that I was intending to use for my niece. Henry studied those fabrics on my shelf and said "Mommy, is that fabric for Emmie?" and I said yes and then he said "but I love butterflies and flowers too. I think you should make me something out of that fabric and use something else for Emmie".  

Preschoolers be crazy.

I still have plans to order some washer linen and some art gallery knits from and more rayon challis and double gauze from Imagine Gnats (particularly this nani IRO and this one by Kokka) but I'll put that off a little longer since I have a lot to sew right now. 

July 27, 2015

Kimono Tee

I did another muslin out of a brown cotton-poly for the kimono tee. Deciding it was good enough (except for lengthening the sleeves again and curving the hem) I moved onto the fashion fabric and completely forgot to take into account how much less stretchy it is than the muslin. It turned out slightly tight in the hips (not uncomfortable, just didn't look the best). Fortunately I fixed that with some side vents. Otherwise I really like the way this turned out! The fabric is much nicer so I think the whole thing hangs better. For some reason my curved hems are turning out not so curved when on my body. I suppose my own curves straighten out the hem curve so I'll just need to draft it more dramatically next time. Also, I matched those stripes like a boss! So proud of myself (first time sewing with stripes). Going to move on to wovens for a while then the next tee is going to be Hey June's raglan or Union St. I hear great things about those patterns and I think the cut on sleeve is just not as flattering on me as set in or raglan. Also there is some kiddo sewing coming up (finally! deadlines are arriving so I've got to get it together). My plan right now for my own clothing is to turn that black double gauze from
Imagine Gnats into Made By Rae's Washi blouse (sleeveless version) and the purple rayon challis in to True Bias's Sutton blouse (if I can squeeze it out of my short yardage. A woven tank if not).

The Wearable Aurora Muslins

This is one of my (kind of) wearable Aurora muslins. The first is from an adorable fabric with no recovery. Why do they even sell these fabrics? Sigh.
This one is sewn straight from the pattern. I just graded between three different sizes for the bust, waist, and hips. I ended up taking out a LOT of width in the hem. Then after I wore it I took out even more and when I re-hemmed it that time the sewing machine revolted and ate the fabric 3 times (!)
once with tragic results so I'll have a small darn in the back. It is tight at the armholes, the shoulder straps are too wide set, and it's out of a fabric that doesn't wear well so it's going to be a pajama top.

For the second version (picture coming soon) I scooped out some of the armhole at the bottom and the front (too binding in the first version) and moved the straps in so they're closer to my neck. I think I could go even closer to get them exactly where I like them. Also, it needs a sway back adjustment but it's good enough that I cut it out in a few inexpensive pieces of jersey I had. Obviously I need more upper back width but I didn't notice until I took a picture of the rear. Doh! I will do a third version with closer straps and a sway back and see if I can get it perfect but after sewing it so many times (there was a totally failed muslin in between 1 and 2) I'm kind of bored and want to move on. The second one is from the cotton-poly heart knit I got last month. It's ok fabric but not great. Cute but a doesn't breath that well and it's recovery is not bad but not great.

Next on the sewing machine is Maria Denmark's free t shirt with cut on sleeves (or kimono sleeves as they say these days). The first version was totally wrong for me so I changed the shape and size of the neckline, lengthened the sleeves slightly and did a sway back adjustment (and I think I took in the side seams at the bust and sleeves because it didn't have negative ease like it was supposed to). The neck was way too small after that but I was able to cut it down and make what I thought was a wearable muslin. However, I forgot to add back the length when I did the sway back adjustment so it was way short in the back. In order to make it an actual wearable muslin I decided to put a slit in the back so the shortness serves a purpose and with one thing and another that did not work out. The neckband is wonky (partly because I just got sloppy with my work and partly because I'm bad at v-necks but they're my favorite to wear so I keep trying). Also I need to lengthen the sleeves on the next version because I like the length before they are hemmed. And then there is my machine which hates all stretch stitches. I can not make them work for love nor money. Especially the twin needle hem. I've tried adjusting everything in all combos but I can't get the bobbin thread to do the zigzag that makes it a stretchy stitch. Can I just get a cover stitch machine?! The most reliable thing to do is just sew a zigzag but I don't like the way that looks. Once I do another muslin for this shirt I'm going to sew it in final fabric and then move on... Holyburn in this crazy crane fabric (quilting cotton) I've had for years. I never mind taping together digital patterns but this is such a large one it's making me rethink that. It's taking forever!

July 26, 2015

There was a sale...

... at Imagine Gnats. A really good sale. And there was some purple rayon challis. In spite of my aversion to synthetics I decided to give rayon challis a try because I keep reading, from all the sewing bloggers I follow, that it is awesome. They say it has great drape, sews well, and breaths well. I'm 
purple rayon challis and black double gauze
skeptical about the breathing (these bloggers are not in coastal Texas in the summer) but Imagine Gnats had an offer I couldn't refuse so I bought out the last 1.5 yards of purple (it was the last but now the website says there is more) and I'm going to give it a try. It's not a super expensive experiment and it might end up adding to my options and that is a plus. If I love it then I am immediately buying this rayon challis from Indie Sew. I am in love with that print!

Anyhow, I also got some black double gauze. I've been wanting to try double gauze for a while.  Some pin dot indigo chambray for a pair of shorts (and I am equally in love with the wrong side of this fabric!) and charcoal jersey with thin gold stripes (for a t-shirt).
pin dot indigo chambray

the "wrong side"
So, I keep not blogging my makes because I can't seem to find toddler free time to take pictures and also I take bad photographs. Not because I'm not beautiful :-) but because I freeze up in what my husband calls "the rictus" (defined as a fixed grimace or grin, so very apt) and somehow I turn out looking like a chipmunk every time. This is not what I see in the mirror. I've been thinking about ways to eliminate my face from the equation since that is where the problem is. I considered masks, which could be fun, or a large floppy hat rakishly tilted with giant sunglasses. I'll probably just crop the photo. There are a few good pictures of me out there but they tend to be un-posed with my son (so maybe I should have the toddler with me in pictures?).

And, I'm considering ditching blogger and going with something else. Not imminent but watch this space. 

June 27, 2015

Fermented Pickles

A little more detail about those pickles in Monday's post...

I prefer fermented pickles to vinegar pickles any day of the week. This summer I have a really great batch going. It's pretty simple to do. I learned from Sandor Katz, both in person and from his book Wild Fermentation (I really recommend it). I make my pickles in a half gallon mason jar with a jam jar inserted in the top to hold down the vegetables. You can also buy various kinds of ceramic pickle weights but for my set up the mason jars work great. 

I start with a salt water brine (use filtered water if you can), freshly picked cucumbers (blossom ends trimmed off) and green beans from the garden, garlic from the store, and a few grape leaves from the wild vines out back (helps keep things crisp). I clean all that, put it in the crock with the brine, cover it and let it sit on the kitchen counter for a few days. It usually takes about 4 days to get going at which point I put it in the fridge to slow down fermentation. Now that my brine is filled with microorganisms a fresh batch of cucumbers only takes a day and a half to 2 days (my kitchen is at about 80 degrees) to ferment before I put it away. Soooo good. I make sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickled carrots in the fall the same way.

Read Sandor's book and give fermentation a try. I bet you'll be addicted too.

June 26, 2015


  • I've always thought that this "meat is the worst thing for global warming" idea is bunk. The Radical Homemaker breaks it down really well.  
  • I started reading a few historical sewing blogs and even though it's not something I'm going to sew, I love their enthusiasm! And it is interesting. American Duchess is one of them.
  • Lining, underlining, interfacing, facing... so much to learn!
  • You know those gorgeous blown glass beverage dispensers? I've always wanted one (not that I have room to store it or a reason to use it, but maybe one day) but they always have these cheap plastic spigots which turns me off. However stainless steel spigots are available to replace them!

June 25, 2015

The New Sewing Space

I lost my sewing room and instead I have a nook. It's one of the closets in our bedroom. The original plan was to move my sewing space into the living room, and there was plenty of room for that, but then I realized that being able to shut the door and be by myself and work on a project, even while other people are in the house, is ESSENTIAL to my mental health. Especially during the weeks when, for various reasons, I don't get my usual alone time breaks where everyone is gone, I need to be able to take an hour here or there to pretend I'm alone :-)

We're still going to make a hinged, drop down, counter height cutting table that lives on the wall of the living room so I can take advantage of toddler free time to do some garment cutting out. I'm still using the same work table as before so I can technically still cut things out but anything longer than these tanks I've been working on went from difficult to nearly impossible in this new cramped space.

Still, I'm liking it just fine and I'm loving our new, toddler free room! And the living room has turned back into a comfortable, uncrowded family space, which is nice (all the toys are now in his room). And all that moving around of furniture and stuff means that we finally got around to consolidating our things after many years of slowly clearing out. Suddenly we have a lot more space in the house because things are compactly and sensibly organized.

In other news, Small apparently grew a lot in the last week because suddenly none of his shorts fit! I had a stash of the next size up from a few swaps on Swap Mamas so we were able to get some out of there. However they're all super long. We've always known Small was built along the lines of a refrigerator. Not chubby any more... as I type this I'm looking at him reading on the couch and I can see all his ribs. But he is a barrel shaped dude. So now I have a bunch of shorts to hem and sewing shorts for him just moved to the top of the sewing queue!

Here are some pics of my new sewing nook:

 There is a lot in there but it works. I'm still loving my rolling sewing cart. It lives to the right and I can slide it out when necessary either to get to stuff on the lower shelves or to find a paper pattern which live rolled up in a trash can in the corner. The light is just a paper light lamp kit slipped through an antique ceiling fan light shade and then wrapped around the curtain rod.

 There is a large shelf up top which holds boxes of various things, not necessarily sewing related, and a narrow shelf under that for all the tins and cups of supplies. Here are my tins and bucket of buttons, my tape (I use mostly digital patterns) and my stapler (which I also use all the time with digital patterns). Below is a picture of more of the narrow shelf with colored pencils, sharpening stones, thumb tacks and the buttons I use for thumb tacks, various pallet knives, brushes, etc. and then some of my mom's old drafting tools from architecture school.

 All my various rulers live on a nail in the door frame. Also some odds and ends on hooks. To the left is a giant roll of cotton-hemp plain weave cloth I use in my etsy shop. Hanging from the curtain rod (curtains instead of doors on these closets) are the Swedish tracing paper patterns clipped together with the clip type curtain rings and then hung there.

On the clothes rod to the right, over my rolling cart, is my queue. I have the prepped fabric draped over hangers. The pattern or instructions are clipped with a binder clip which has a string loop through the handles. That hangs off the hook end of the hanger. If I get my act more together in the future, I'll attach all the necessary notions as well. At the moment I'm just searching for and/or buying notions as each project arrives at the top of my list.