Tag Archives: sewing

Spring Sweatshirt: Brunswick + Josie

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Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Hey! We’re finally into the spring sewing! Granted, I have lots of smaller crafts and knitted items that remain unblogged, but that’s ok. On to spring! This is actually the only garment I have sewn for spring because I’m hard at work on my Spring Outfit! More on that in a future post.

This sweatshirt is made of the softest Tencel sweatshirt fleece EVER.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

I found it at Pintuck & Purl last year, and I bought the last of it. Kali, who works there, even let me buy the little bit she had been saving for herself so I would have enough for my project (thanks, Kali!). I’ve been curious about Tencel, which is a semi-synthetic (like modal, rayon, or lyocell), but which is made with an earth-friendly process by the company Lenzing. I have a thrifted shirt in Tencel, which is drapey like any rayon challis might be, but this sweatshirt knit was a different ballgame. It is drapey, substantial, not overly heavy, so soft, and stretchy.

I got the idea in my head that I wanted to make this fabric into a Brunswick Pullover, a pattern by Hey June Handmade, with a curved hem like that of the Style Arc Josie Hoody.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

I have made both of these patterns before (Brunswick and Josie), and they are two of my very favorite sweatshirts. I’m actually wearing my Josie Hoody as I type this. After checking, I had just barely enough fabric if I chose View A with the hood rather than the cowl neck. The only issue is that the Brunswick is made for heavier weight, lower stretch knits–actually for two-way stretch knits. None of these things describe this black sweatshirt knit. However, Adrianna, the pattern designer, helpfully included fitting notes for anyone who, like me, veered off-script.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Per her instructions, I sized down from my measurements (which put me at a 20 bust and 22 hip) to the 16 bust and 18 hip I had used previously. It was so helpful that I could try on the Brunswick I already had, which is still a good fit at those sizes. I also took 1/2″ off the bottom sides of the sleeves and 1″ off the width of the cuffs as suggested. Then I added the Josie Hoody hem shape at the bottom of front and back, knowing I might have to work out some issues when I got to the plackets and hem facings.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

For my arm pocket, I cut into one of the two precious fat quarters of Liberty lawn that I own and underlined it by fusing some black silk crepe de chine to it. Fancy! The fusing made things a little on the stiff side, but it was fine in the end, especially after a few wears. I’ve used lawn for pocket bags in pants before and, let me tell you, it is not a good idea. It’s just not durable enough for that kind of wear and tear. This pocket wouldn’t have as much stress on it, but I didn’t like even the smallest possibility of it wearing through in the future, so underlining it was! I didn’t worry about the lawn on the plackets. They’re interfaced where necessary and don’t come under much strain.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Things went along pretty well, even at the spot where the plackets joined my modified hems and when I installed grommets for my hood strings.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

The one part I wish I had done differently/better is where the sides of the hood meet in the front. The instructions tell you not to overlap the pieces, but I wonder if I understood it incorrectly. I think they should overlap in the seam allowance and just *kiss* at the seam line (at least in this lighter weight knit). Mine have a gap, so there was probably some user error in there, since Hey June’s instructions have so far proved impeccable.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

I love how this sweatshirt came out. It was worth the crazy hassle to find notions that were color coordinated (why is this so hard?!) and the extra steps to modify the pattern. There is, however, one thing I should have thought about before, but completely missed. It’s not a deal breaker, but here it is. Using a shaped hem with facings actually shortens the sweatshirt from its intended length. The original pattern has you cut the front and back and add a separate piece for the bottom cuff, which adds some length. I didn’t think about that one bit until I put it on at the end. I’m cool with the length it ended up, but if I could travel back in my time machine, I would add the extra length into the body of the sweatshirt.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Otherwise, I like it. It has a different feel from a low-stretch sweatshirt. It is drapey, stretchy, and has a pleasant weight that isn’t overpowering. I’ve been wearing it a lot, and it’s only increased my love for these patterns and fabric.

Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie
Spring Sweatshirt:  Brunswick + Josie

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

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Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

What seems like a story about a pattern, is actually a story about fabric. The wool/polyester waffle knit I chose to sew into a Visby Henley surprised me and caused the project to take an unexpected turn.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

I love henley shirts for fall and winter. These long-sleeved knits with a short placket at the neck, epitomize rugged yet comfortable cool-weather style in my mind. Although I have hacked the Thread Theory men’s Strathcona Henley in the past to create such a top for myself, I was excited to try the Itch to Stitch Visby Henley & Top when it came out. Not only is it drafted for women, it has a raglan sleeve and a number of other options that could be fun to explore in the future.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit
Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

After searching and considering different fabric options, I decided to try a wool/polyester waffle knit I found on e-bay. It was 80% New Zealand wool blended with 20% polyester at an affordable price, and the seller promised that although they didn’t cut straight, they cut long yards. And they weren’t kidding! When I got my fabric, I measured and found that they had given me an extra 2/3-3/4 of a yard!

The fabric felt like your typical, fairly thin waffle knit. It had just enough stretch for the pattern (barely!).

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

I like to wash my wool and, if it seems warranted, shrink it down as much as possible before sewing it up so that I can machine wash and dry the finished garment. Believe it or not, this usually works for me. I wasn’t sure what would happen with this fabric, so I cut a little test swatch and threw it in the washer. It showed some shrinkage, and it did change the hand slightly, but in a really nice way, making the fabric a bit fluffier and beefier.

After two test swatches, I threw in my yardage. I washed it a few times so it would shrink as much as it was going to. That’s when I started to feel some surprise. That extra yardage? It shrunk right out. What I mean is that the fabric shrunk down to the amount I had originally ordered, which was three yards. Maybe I had gone too far, but I LOVED the feel of the fulled (felted), shrunken fabric. It was so soft and nice!

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

Now it was too thick to make the henley, however, so I changed course and opted to try the basic top option. The pattern was easy and clear–no problems with the small exception of a slightly wavy neckline, which I figured would be fine after washing. I had sized up so the finished garment would be on the looser side.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit
The neckline has mostly settled and straightened since washing.

When I was finished, the fit was great. So was the feel! Rather than a shirt, this felt like a light, cozy sweater! I wore it once to test it out, and threw it in the wash, figuring I would just plan to wash it on cold and air dry it from here on out.

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

When I wore it next, it seemed…well…a little smaller. Was it still shrinking?! Even with a cold wash and no dryer? Yikes!

The next time I wore it, it fit perfectly–no longer oversized, but just right. However…if it shrinks any more, I’ll have to give it to one of my kids. I love my kids, but I want this shirt-sweater for me! Now the shirt has been relegated to the hand-wash pile (I don’t hand wash anything if I can help it, so it’s the only thing in the pile.).

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

The future of the shirt is unknown! I’ve just hand washed it, and it looks good, but now that it’s warming up, I’m going to put it away until cooler weather. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t shrink any further!

Takeaways? The Itch to Stitch Visby Henley & Top is a great pattern that I would happily make again. This fabric is wonderful, but if you try it, proceed with caution and don’t be as tough on it as I was. Happy sewing!

Itch to Stitch Visby Top in Wool/Polyester Waffle Knit

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

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Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Time to post my last few winter sewing projects! Today I want to talk about the Émilie (formerly Yoko) Square Roll-Neck Top from Jalie in a wool/Lycra jersey (plus a kid-sized top in cotton/Lycra!).

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

This is a free pattern for women and girls that comes with 28 sizes–pretty impressive! That is typical of Jalie’s patterns, making them a great value for money. I haven’t worn turtlenecks/roll-neck shirts in a few years, so I thought I would use this pattern to do a little scrap-busting and try the style out.

Like my last two sweaters (Engle and Wool & Honey), this pattern has a boxy/square body and fitted sleeves. Unlike those sweaters, however, this pattern has a drop-sleeve. I guess this is the year of that fun but odd silhouette for me! It’s not my favorite silhouette, but it’s interesting and comfortable. I used a green wool/Lycra jersey that I got from Fabric Mart Fabrics a number of years ago for my top and some navy and flower print cotton/Lycra jersey for a kid-sized top. I can’t remember where I got the navy, but the flower knit is an old Cotton + Steel fabric that I got from Pintuck & Purl some time ago.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

For my top, my measurements put me in size Z for the bust and BB for the waist and hip. Because this is a boxy style, I opted to make a straight size Z. For the kid shirt, I made a straight size N. I used my serger for the main seams and my sewing machine for the hems.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

The tops were pretty easy to sew. There weren’t any points where the instructions were unclear or where things got tricky, making this a nice, quick project.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Jalie’s instructions come in French and English and are not extensive, but are clear. This free and simple pattern would be a great way to get a feel for the company if you are interested in trying their patterns. While I haven’t tried many of their patterns, I know I can turn to them when I want a reasonable cost for a LOT of sizes and professional results, especially if I want to make activewear.

Let’s get back to the tops! The hems came out much better in the cotton/Lycra than in my thin wool/Lycra jersey where I ended up with some tunneling and scrunching.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Still, you only really see that up close, and it doesn’t affect the fit at all. The neck is a double layer of fabric, which both looks and feels good.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

These tops turned out to be nice and comfy, and while I’m sort of over the whole extreme dropped sleeve look, I’m happy I made them and tried this pattern out.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

I like how they look in the cotton better than in the wool, as this thin jersey, while comfortable, attracts lots of fuzzies, and is slightly on the pukey side of spring green. Still, it’s a great layering piece that will work in any sort of cool weather, and I do love having a few wool jersey tops in my wardrobe. I’ve made one other shirt in this fabric, which you can see here.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops
Look! It’s blue sky! (The photo shoots get silly more often than not.)

If I were to make this again, I would consider cotton/Lycra or a slightly heavier weight wool/Lycra . That’s not a “rule” of any sort, just my feelings after making this in these two different substrates.

Jalie Yoko/Émilie Square Roll-Neck Tops

Interestingly enough, Tessuti has a very similar free pattern, the Monroe Turtleneck, which you could also try if you are thinking of making a top like this, although it doesn’t have the extensive size range Jalie does. It would be fun to make both and compare them. If this is a style you are into, this is a great pattern. I like it, but don’t absolutely love it, although I do really like Jalie as a pattern company, and hope to make many more of their patterns in the future.

Spring Sewing Plans: My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

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Spring Sewing Plans:  My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

*I’m reposting this because the pictures were only showing as links when viewed on a phone. I’m sorry for any confusion! Hopefully you can see all my pictures now, no matter what type of device you are reading on.*

Hi, everyone! I have something a little different for you today. Normally, I do a photography post the last Friday of every month, but I never made the time to get out and take those photos in March. So instead, I want to share a little challenge I have set myself for the spring.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Now, I love planning sewing projects–and knitting projects, actually, but especially sewing projects. I wanted to try something new for the spring–a personal challenge of some kind. I know there are a million sewing challenges floating around the internet, but I usually have so many ideas of my own that I find it hard to take time away from my never-ending list of fun possibilities to follow the guidelines of a challenge. So, I decided to create my own! I want to try to make myself a spring outfit that all goes together. My plan is to make as many of the pieces as I can. While this isn’t an especially novel idea in and of itself, it’s distinctly different from how I usually work, which makes it fun and refreshing for me.

Here’s a broad outline of what I want to make: a long-sleeved t-shirt, some pants, and a windbreaker for my main pieces. In addition, I plan to make undergarments (which won’t show up here, as I don’t feel comfortable blogging those, but which I will still make), socks, and a hat. I haven’t learned to make shoes, so I’ll exclude those.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

All right! That seems like a pretty good list. Now let’s break it down.

Where I live, spring starts off quite cool and takes awhile to warm up. Every year, I wish I had some Breton-striped long-sleeved shirts in bright colors for spring time, so that or something similar is what I want to make for my shirt. (Never heard of Breton stripes? Check out this article on the history of Breton Stripes.)I decided that I would pick my pattern based on what fabric I found. I could use the Union St. Tee from Hey June Handmade if my fabric was pretty stretchy or Vogue 8950 if I found two coordinating stretchy fabrics. If the fabric was low-stretch, I could make the Coco Top from Tilly and the Buttons.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After lots of deliberation, I ordered this coral pink and white striped sweater knit from Fashion Fabrics Club. It’s low stretch, so I’ll make the Coco top with long sleeves and boat neckline.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Since a Breton-striped shirt has nautical roots, I thought it would be fun to make the Sailor Pants, Pattern 229, from Folkwear, which I got for Christmas.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge
My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I found some non-stretch, medium/heavy weight denim also at Fashion Fabrics Club. I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about this, but I plan to compare the pattern to jeans patterns that fit me as well as some genuine sailor pants that I own. The pants I have are the same 13-button style, but are made in a wool gabardine (I think). They are truly high-rise and don’t have quite the bell-bottom shape of the Folkwear pattern. I plan to use them as a guide. I may even make a muslin. All the extra steps and double checking are, admittedly, the kinds of things that usually lead me to procrastinate, so fingers crossed on these.

For my windbreaker, I want to use the sweatshirt pattern in vintage McCall’s 5303.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

I have had this pattern for a long time. It’s one I got from my Mom’s pattern stash, although she gave me the medium instead of the large. After looking at the finished measurements, I decided to hunt down a large online, even though anything from the medium through the extra large would fit. I think the windbreaker/sweatshirt will be great to throw on when the wind whips up on the beach, and in a Supplex/Taslan, which is water resistant, it will even keep sprinkles off. It doesn’t hurt that Supplex/Taslan also blocks a good amount of UV rays. Woven Supplex is something I have wanted to try more of for awhile now. Previously I used a tiny bit for the neckline placket and pocket of my Patagonia-inspired sweatshirt, but that wasn’t enough to get a real feel for the fabric. I ordered a bunch from the Rainshed so I can make this and hopefully some hiking pants and board shorts later this year. My original plan was to make the main part in yellow with magenta facings on the hood.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

After looking at the various colors I ordered, however, I think I would rather make the main part in yellow with this “Candy” pink for the hood facings. I do need the Candy pink for another project as well, but I’m hoping that with some careful cutting, I’ll be able to make it work for both.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

For the socks, I found the free Sew It Forward Socks from Ellie & Mac, a sewing company that is new to me.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Free patterns are such a great way to try out a new company, and a sock pattern I could sew was right up my alley. I’m not quite sure what fabric I want to use for these, but I’m hoping to use up some of my t-shirt scraps.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Because it is often cool here during a lot of the spring, I thought a hat might be a good idea as well. I plan to make The Oslo Hat–Mohair Edition from Petite Knit. It will be nice to throw a little knitting into the mix.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

Maggie at Pintuck & Purl gave me some mystery yarn on a cone and after doing some tests, I’d guess it’s a wool fingering weight yarn. I plan to pair it with some silk mohair from The Farmer’s Daughter Fibers to make this hat. I picked out the color “Stagecoach Mary” from their Mighty Mo line over on the Wool & Co. website.

My Personal Spring Outfit Challenge

If the season gets ahead of me and warms up before I finish with this, I still plan to make it, but I’ll consider substituting a bag pattern or just taking this off my spring outfit list without substituting something else for it.

And that’s it! I’m really excited about this! Even when I work in larger batches of several projects at once, I don’t usually try to coordinate my projects, so it’s fun to do something a little different. We’ll see how I get on as the season progresses. I have a few things to finish up, and then I plan to get started tracing all my patterns. As I get going, I’ll post some projects that I finished recently, and by the time I’m done showing you those, I bet I’ll have some of this challenge finished! If this sounds fun, feel free to join me and make your own spring outfit using whatever parameters sound good to you, then leave me a link in my comments so I can check out what you’re up to!

Ullvi Slouchy Hats from The Last Stitch in Polartec Fleece

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Ullvi Slouchy Hats from The Last Stitch in Polartec Fleece

Sometimes it takes a little while for a project to make it to the ol’ blog, and this is one of those projects. I tried out the Ullvi Slouchy Hat Sewing Pattern from The Last Stitch in January.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
Ullvi Slouchy Hat Sewing Pattern from The Last Stitch
Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
Line drawing of the Ullvi Slouchy Hat Sewing Pattern from The Last Stitch

If you have read this blog for a long time, you might notice that every winter for the past few years, I make a couple of projects with Polartec fleece. Because of that, I have a lot of scraps and odd pieces left over. I’m not great at using scraps, but I try when I can. This year, I decided to take any of my Power Stretch and Curly Fleece odds and ends that were big enough and make hats out of them.

I bought a bundle of patterns a few years ago from The Last Stitch that included the Tova Mittens, Brisa Beanie, and Ullvi Slouchy Hat and haven’t tried them all yet. After looking at both hat patterns, I went with the Ullvi for this project, even though the fleece I wanted to use wasn’t exactly right. This pattern is designed to have double layers, however my fabrics all had distinct right and wrong sides that wouldn’t quite work with the way the hat is meant to be constructed. There are some great suggestions in the instructions for adapting the pattern, however, and those got me thinking. I knew I could make it work.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece

The best plan seemed to be to cut my hats in a single layer and either cover the bottom edge with foldover elastic or extend the bottom edge by 1/2 inch for a hem allowance. I decided on the hem allowance. The pattern calls for a 5mm or 1/5 inch seam allowance, but I chose to use a 1/4 inch seam allowance, since that’s standard with the tools that I use. It’s a slightly larger seam allowance, but with stretchy fabrics, it’s not a big deal.

For such a relatively simple garment, the designer put a lot of thought into this hat. She provides two different methods of assembly. The first gives you a hat where the seam allowance is visible inside, and the second gives you a hat with no visible seam allowances inside. For my single-layer hats, the first method seemed best. After initially using only my sewing machine and getting wavy seam allowances, I decided I would serge the top and side seams of the hats and use my sewing machine to hem them with a zigzag stitch.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
Look at those wavy edges! More testing needed!

In fact, I hemmed each hat before doing any of the other seams. For this, I used a walking foot, standard presser foot pressure, a 75/11 stretch needle, polyester thread in my needle, and bulky/wooly nylon in my bobbin. My stitch height was 6 and my stitch length was 1.5. I tested all this on scraps before committing to it. Using a zigzag and wooly nylon in my bobbin are just personal preferences–you could also use a twin needle and polyester thread in the bobbin instead.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece

Because I am still new to using my serger, I had to adjust the settings of the differential feed a few times before I could get smooth, rather than wavy, edges. I ended up setting it at 1.5. This was a great project to practice my serger skills on. Every little bit helps!

The only step of the instructions where I had questions was step 5. I couldn’t tell if the side seam was supposed to be on the side or in the back middle during this step, as the illustration wasn’t clear on that. The notches were also not labeled at this step, so after looking things over, I labeled them for myself. The “A” notches are at the top, the “B” notches are on the side, and the “C” notch/mark is in the middle. All of this means, I think, that the side seam is not pictured because it should be lying at the back in the middle. I know this is really getting into the minute details, but if you have questions at this point, hopefully you can benefit from my experience. Other than that, I didn’t have any problems, and I found the instructions very clear.

While I didn’t try every assembly option, I did try out all the sizes. I made a small for a family member and used up the rest of my scraps trying out the different sizes for a few other people.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece

Everything turned out really well, but I definitely liked the finished product in the Power Stretch best (the gray, ivory, and pink hats) and the Curly Fleece least (the yellow and green), although all of them are wearable.

Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
Ullvi Slouchy Hat in Polartec Power Stretch
Last Stitch Ullvi Slouchy Hats in Polartec Fleece
While the Curly Fleece didn’t make my favorite hat, it does match my sweatshirt!

The Power Stretch has much better recovery, so it works better overall. So far, that is my favorite Polartec fleece substrate. I just love it for leggings, sweatshirts, and now hats.

I found this pattern really interesting and would definitely try it again. I hope to try out the Brisa Beanie at some point as well. You can see my first attempt at the Tova mittens here. Hopefully I can give those another try in the future, too. All of these patterns are great for stash busting.

Now I had better go and take pictures of some of my other finished projects so I can share them with you! Have a great weekend!

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

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Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

I’m back with a few more Twig + Tale leaf blankets from the Tropical Leaf Collection–this time Monstera Leaf blankets!

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets
Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Previously, I made the large: Fan Leaf, Elephant Ear Leaf, and Banana Leaf child size blankets for other people from this collection, but I have had my eye on the large Monstera Leaf blanket for me!

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Instead of making just one for myself, I made one for me and one for a friend. Since I now have a beloved monstera plant of my own adorning my sewing space, I thought I needed a similarly cool blanket.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

I looked through my stash for likely fabric candidates and came up with some good finds! For me, I chose a heavyweight golden twill, originally from Fabric Mart, that I used in this duffle bag project and, to go with it, an olive green blanket remnant given to me long before I started sewing seriously.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

For my friend’s blanket, I chose a lighter weight ivory twill (also from Fabric Mart), originally destined for the aforementioned duffle bag, but not used, and a lightweight olive twill first used for these pants.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Maybe the ivory isn’t so practical if this blanket gets spread on the ground, but it looked so good with the olive twill, that I had to go for it. And it felt great to put those awesome fabrics that had been languishing in my stash to good use. I was also able to use the rest of the package of cotton batting I had gotten for those first three leaves. I just had to piece it a little on my friend’s leaf. To do that, I simply overlapped my scraps and sewed with a zigzag stitch. Then I trimmed the pieces to the sewing lines. I think I did this before cutting the leaf out so I wouldn’t accidentally make it smaller when I sewed my scraps together.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Five large leaf blankets from one full size package of batting is pretty good! In case you’re curious, this is the batting I have been using, bought on sale at Joann Fabric.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

I made my blanket first. I like to layer my fabrics just as I want to sew them (two main fabrics right sides together and the batting on top or underneath) and then cut out everything at once. This can be a little tricky if you have barely enough fabric, so it’s best to go slow and double check yourself. It was definitely harder to maneuver the thicker fabrics I chose than it is to sew these blankets in thinner fabrics, but I tried to be patient and I got the job done. There were a few points where I didn’t have my layers quite perfect and I think I sewed a bit too close to the edge and got some fraying when I turned the blanket to the right side, but I can live with that.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

I think this blanket shape is slightly harder to sew than the other three I have done, although it’s still definitely something you can do, even if you don’t have much experience–just don’t rush it, and make sure you follow the directions on clipping your seams and whatnot. The instructions that come with this collection are excellent.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets
Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

The second blanket (olive and ivory) with thinner fabric was much easier to manipulate, and since I was back in the groove, it went faster.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets
Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

This is one of those addictive projects where you tell yourself you’ll do just one step more, and then one more, and one more until you find you are finished. It’s so hard to stop once you start! And there’s no fitting, unlike clothing! 😀 I was not as careful with clipping my internal curves on this blanket, so I got a few puckers when I turned it out to the right side, but oh well.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Lesson learned for next time (hopefully, haha).

On both blankets, I drew my quilting lines freehand with chalk by looking at the pattern. That has worked well for me–it’s nice to know the drawing classes I took in college are being put to good use. 😉 Once the blankets have been quilted, I throw them in the wash to remove the chalk marks, and they are done! No matter what little areas I feel I haven’t done quite right, when these blankets come out of the wash, they always look so great! And these monsteras were no exception. I LOVE how they turned out! The shape is so cool and the quilting looks amazing and really brings the blankets to life. I am SO happy with them.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

So, what do you use one of these blankets for if you, like me, want to make one but are not child size yourself? Since I usually sleep with a fan on, I have used mine to cover my shoulders as that is a part of me that gets cold sometimes; plus, the blanket looks awesome on our bed. I suspect my friend may occasionally use hers to sit on outside as she is a huge nature-lover and spends lots of time outdoors. I noticed that this shape, without batting, would make a pretty cool tablecloth, although it doesn’t fully cover our table, so it would be more decorative. These also make nice baby blankets, floor coverings, and towel substitutes (for sitting on rather than drying off, although I guess your fabric choice would dictate that).

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Even though there is a part of me that also wants to make the Paw Paw leaf and the Lily Pad blanket so I can say I’ve made them all in at least one size, I did get the North American Leaf Blanket Collection (both child and doll sizes) for Christmas, so it’s more likely that I’ll make one of those into a baby blanket for a friend. That Maple Leaf blanket would be perfect. And someday I’d like to make some of the doll size blankets for home decor or gifts. I’m so glad I tried this pattern. I can’t say enough good things about it–it’s just so much fun. I hope you try it if you are looking for something like this.

Twig + Tale Monstera Leaf Blankets

Sailor-Inspired Pants! Simplicity 8391 in Denim

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Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

I’ve met some serious secret pajama goals with this pair of pants. In making these wide-legged, comfortable, sailor-inspired jeans, I’m revisiting a pattern I tried for the first time last summer: Simplicity 8391, view C.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim
Simplicity 8391
Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

Only this time I added seven inches to the length of the cropped pants in the pattern to make full-length pants/trousers, and I made them in denim because after several years of skinny jeans, I’m ready to let my legs out of prison, at least some of the time. Plus, these feel about as great as a nice pair of pajama pants.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim
Family help with pictures means things get silly.

I made these from a lighter midweight denim from Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA. Fabric Place Basement is turning out to be a good source of denim for me. This denim was nicely drapey rather than stiff, perfect for wide leg pants.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

I cut a 22. Really, I just altered the pattern I used this summer by adding length. My hem is 1.25 inches, but next time, I think I would make it an inch deeper, so I’d add one more inch to the length, allowing me 2.25 inches for my hem.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim
Pants, inside front
Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim
Pants, inside back

I changed the invisible zipper the pattern calls for to a lapped zipper with the help of Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch (the machine-sewn lapped zipper directions). I wanted to use a larger, more heavy duty jeans zipper.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

That went pretty well, but I didn’t think about the best way to attach everything, so I sewed the zip to the pants and waistband, and then had some trouble figuring out how to secure the waistband facing without it interfering with the zipper. I got it in the end, but there’s probably a better way to do it. I also had some trouble closing the rest of the seam below the zip, so I used a combination of hand and machine sewing.

I covered the bottom edge of the waistband facing with a cute, striped vintage bias tape. I should have used double fold bias tape rather than single, or just done a Hong Kong seam finish rather than binding the edge, but I really wanted those stripes.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

Normally, with jeans, I use a zigzag stitch to finish the seams, but now that I have a serger, I serged all my seam allowances, which looks a lot neater. I’m really happy with that.

I love the large pockets and the comfortable straight leg in this pattern. The denim I used also seems to have a good amount of mechanical stretch, which adds to the comfort, and the jeans zipper feels much more secure than the invisible zipper in my last pair.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

I really love looser pants in the winter so I can fit a pair of long underwear underneath whenever necessary, but I think these will actually work year-round.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim
Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

While I’m starting to think that, overall, I like a straight leg pant better than a wide leg style, as a straight leg is slightly narrower, this pattern is so cute and comfy that I would definitely make it again.

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim
Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

It’s also really nice to have more than one style of jean in your closet, you know? So, I’ll keep a pair or two of skinny jeans around while adding all the other fun cuts and styles I feel like making, too. 🙂

Sailor-Inspired Pants!  Simplicity 8391 in Denim

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

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Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

These days, I wear a lot of stretchy pants and t-shirts, which, honestly, I love, but I still like to make the occasional non-stretchy garment, too. 😉 The latest project I have to share with you is in that non-stretchy category and is a new style for me, which is fun! It’s the Victoria Blouse from Fibre Mood.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

This pattern has a ruffled collar, triangular front yoke with gathers falling from it, and slightly puffed sleeves.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

This isn’t a style that I have really worn before, but I love the romantic blouses we have been seeing in fashion and, consequently, in sewing patterns. They are so much fun to wear. When I finished this and put it on for the first time, it took me right back to the ’80’s, which was the last time styles like this were a thing. While I never would have worn this in the ’80’s, I really like it now!

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile
Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile
Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

Fibre Mood has offered various PDF patterns for free throughout the pandemic (so generous!) to help people keep sewing, as it’s a positive, stress-relieving activity for so many. I downloaded this several months ago when it was free and made it in the fall. After looking through my stash, I decided that the Victoria Blouse would be perfect in this cotton “Swiss Dot Voile” fabric from Fabric Mart (long since sold out). The fabric itself is really cool and can be used with either side as the right side. One side has little oblong embroidered shapes, and the other has fuzzy dots, typical of a swiss or clip dot fabric. I love this kind of fabric.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

After printing and assembling this pattern, I had to add seam allowance, which is not my favorite thing. I think you have the option to print with or without seam allowance on Fibre Mood patterns at this point, although I could be wrong. The seam allowances they recommended on this pattern were different at different points. This is both good and bad–good because it eliminates waste from large seam allowances that you have to trim, and bad because you have to keep track of which piece has what seam allowance. To keep track, I wrote myself notes along the way. I figured it was good for me to try something different, even if I wasn’t sure that I would like it, because maybe I would come to like it or discover something new by trying it.

The directions instruct you to finish a lot of the seams with a serger. I have a serger now, but I don’t love how the finish looks, and while I want to use it when appropriate, I don’t want to serge all my seam allowances when there are often better quality choices out there. However, for this pattern, I decided to stick to my plan of following the directions, at least the first time through.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile
Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

Before beginning, I did a major broad back adjustment (which is typical for me). I cut a 48 bust and graded out to a 50 hip. Overall, I liked sewing this pattern. The instructions were well laid out. I followed them pretty faithfully, except that I put my sleeves in flat rather than setting them in. One thing I liked is how they put the collar and cuffs on, which involves topstitching from the outside rather than trying to stitch in the ditch so that there is no visible stitching on the outside. I find it hard to do that well while catching the fabric underneath, so I like the method that Fibre Mood chose. I think it’s easier and looks nice.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile
Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

The back neck slit is only turned once and stitched, so I added another line of stitching to (hopefully) keep it from fraying too far, but there could definitely be a better finish there.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

Overall, I am really happy with the finished blouse. In fact, I love it, especially tucked in. I found it to be comfortable overall with enough neck and wrist room. The sleeves are puffy, but not so large that they get in the way.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile
Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

Some possible changes I would consider making next time:

*raise the armhole to allow for better/more arm movement

*take a small horizontal wedge out of the back just below the collar to get the back neck slit to sit more smoothly against the body

*consider if a different neck closure would work better–maybe buttons with elastic loops? I find that the hooks and eyes sometimes unhook as I wear the shirt.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

*consider lengthening the shirt if I know I will always wear it tucked in. It is the perfect length for me to wear without tucking it in, but it tends to come untucked in the back when I try to wear it tucked in.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile
“Look! The sun is out!” Sometimes we try to get creative when taking pictures…with mixed results. Haha!
Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile
Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

These are all small and optional suggestions because, overall, I love this shirt. I feel good when I wear it, and I would make another. For now, I think I will put it away in order to have a nice surprise for spring.

Fibre Mood Victoria Blouse in Cotton Swiss Dot Voile

Homemade Christmas Gifts: 2020

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Homemade Christmas Gifts: 2020

Hi! Welcome back! I thought it would be fun to share a couple of the gifts I made for my family this past Christmas. I usually buy whatever gifts I want to buy first, and then with the time I have left, I will sometimes make a few things. This past year I made two rice bags, which are reusable heating pads you can microwave, and an opossum ornament.

When I was in high school or early college, one of my aunts made my siblings and I all rice bags. This might sound like kind of a funny gift, but it’s so very useful. She took cotton muslin and sewed a bag, filled it with dry rice, and sewed it shut. Then she made a little cotton pillowcase for it. You can’t wash the rice bag itself without ruining it, but you can wash the little pillowcase whenever necessary. Just make sure you use cotton fabric or a similar natural fiber that can be microwaved without melting.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

These rice bags, which are about 7″ x 10″ (17.5cm x 25.1cm), can be placed in the microwave and heated for about two minutes. They’ll then stay warm for quite some time, and when they begin to cool, if they are right next to you, will pick up some of your body heat and stay pleasantly warm. They’re great for muscle aches, cold feet, cramps, or hugging if you feel chilly. While they may not be a flashy gift, in our house at least, they are one of the most used. This year I made two. They were very quick and easy to sew.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

One of the other presents I made was this cute little opossum ornament, designed by Aimee Ray.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

I had heard her speak on an episode of the Behind the Seams podcast, and checked out her blog and two Etsy shops, one with paper goods (little dear prints), and one with embroidery and sewing projects (little dear). Everything was fun to look at, but her cute sewn and embroidered animal patterns were my favorite. We have been watching a lot of “Critter Vision” on YouTube during the past nine months and have fallen in love with the opossums that come to the feeders, so when I saw Aimee’s pattern for an opossum as part of her “Pesky but Sweet Animals” collection, I knew my husband needed an opossum ornament.

I started this project kind of late in the game and didn’t have the type of felt used in the sample (or any craft felt, actually), so I dug through my scraps for some felted wool bits and found just enough to make this little critter using parts of a felted shirt, scarf, and blanket. Luckily, I had some embroidery floss and stuffing on hand. It was so much fun to make that I immediately started looking at some of her other patterns. I’m not great at sewing under deadlines, so I opted not to make any more ornaments this year, but recently bought her “3 Panda Bears” and “Winter Animals” patterns to use for a craft day with one of my kids.

After finishing the opossum, I ran a little string through the back and attached a tag so I could add the year and who it was for.

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

I was so excited to give this to my husband, and I think he really liked it!

Homemade Christmas Gifts:  2020

The rice bags were also much loved and appreciated, so it was a win all around. I try not to put too much pressure on myself to sew a million things for Christmas, and these were just right–easy, fast, and fun.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas!

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Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas!

It’s almost the Winter Solstice (the first day of winter) in the northern hemisphere, which means that fall is wrapping up and it’s time to think about winter sewing and knitting plans! I’m always thinking about sewing and knitting plans, and since I love to read about what other people are considering making, I thought I would share a snapshot of my ideas with you! There is no way I will ever make all of these ideas, so these are just ideas, not plans. I change my mind about what I want to make quite frequently until I have started on a particular project or batch of projects. So here are my thoughts at the current moment.

Sewing: Garments

I love sewing tops, and I have a few ideas of some that I would like to make. I have been wanting to make a Western-inspired shirt for a long time, so I bought out-of-print McCall’s 6262, which is a unisex Palmer/Pletsch pattern with lots of design options.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

Since this pattern doesn’t have the option to make shaped shotgun cuffs, I also purchased Threads magazine, Issue 67 from October/November 1996 from Vintage Pattern Warehouse. It has an article by David Page Coffin, called “Updating the Cowboy Shirt” explaining, among other things, how to make these super cool cuffs. This one is going to take some real thought to figure out exactly how I want to make it up, but first I need to sew a muslin to check out the fit and practice a few techniques. I was hoping I would have enough of these two rayon fabrics in my stash for a muslin, but I don’t think I do, so I’ll have to look through the stash a bit more to see what else I’ve got. I should probably start by tracing my pattern pieces so I can hold them up to the various bits of fabric I have to see if they’ll work.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I don’t wear a lot of turtleneck shirts right now, but this year they are really appealing to me. I have a few Polartec fleece fabrics that might work to try out the free Yoko Square Roll-Neck Top pattern from Jalie. It looks so comfy! (Tessuti has a similar pattern called the Monroe Turtleneck if you want something slightly different.)

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I really love a good Henley-style shirt in the winter. I made one previously by combining the Thread Theory Strathcona Henley and the Deer and Doe Plaintain Tee, but I have wanted to try one drafted for women, and Itch to Stitch has just the pattern, the Visby Henley. This is also a fun change because the Strathcona Henley has set-in sleeves and the Visby has raglan sleeves. I would love it if I could make one either from my wool knit scraps

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

or my Cotton + Steel knit scraps

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

but the wools are of various weights and amounts. The only one with significant yardage is the green, but it’s pretty thin. Maybe it would work better as a Yoko or Monroe Turtleneck. Hm… The Cotton + Steel knits I don’t love all together, although I like some of them in combination. This may be a project that I eventually buy fabric for and save the wool and cotton knits for something else.

On to sweatshirts! I have had Burda Style 6315, View A (the colorblocked view) on my list for awhile. I think I might have enough leftover Polartec Powerstretch to make it, but like the Western shirt, I really need to trace out my pattern pieces to see. I had originally planned on using light pink with the ivory and purple, but the scraps I have left of that are very small. Luckily, I have a bit more of this dark gray.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I bought some really, really soft Tencel sweatshirt knit from Pintuck & Purl in a sale, and have been looking for the perfect pattern to use it with. It’s light to midweight, and drapey. I think a Hey June Handmade Brunswick Pullover with the hemline shape from the Style Arc Josie Hoodie would be great with leggings this winter.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I love how you can put in a little burst of color in the Brunswick with the pocket on the arm and on the sides by the snaps. I have made both the Brunswick and the Josie and they are two of my favorite sweatshirts.

Leaving tops aside, I’m interested in trying out the Ullvi Slouchy Hat from The Last Stitch. I’ll have to modify things a bit since this is drafted to be a double layer hat, which would be great with a fleece that is brushed on both sides, but won’t be as good with the scraps I have since one side is smooth and the fabric is a bit thicker. I’ll probably cut it to be a single layer and either hem the bottom or bind it with foldover elastic. The double layer instructions would probably work on some of my thicker wool knits, though!

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

Sewing: Non-Clothing Items

It is one of my sewing goals to do a few projects using leather. I have done some small projects with leather and vinyl in the past, but I want to get in some more practice. My husband bought Leather Bags: 14 Stylish Designs to Sew for Any Occasion by Kasia Ehrhardt for me, and I have some leather scraps that someone gave me, so I would like to maybe start with one or two of the smaller and easier projects to get my feet wet.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I also still have this partial Hudson Bay Point Blanket that I got for free at a yard sale. Parts of it are very worn, but I have thought about making a bag with a leather bottom from the good portions, so I might use this book as a starting point, although if you have any pattern recommendations, please leave them in the comments! I don’t have experience making heavy-duty bags, so I need a pattern that will give me guidance on supplies and techniques.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I posted awhile ago about making some of the Twig + Tale Tropical Leaf Blankets, but I still haven’t made one for myself, and I really want a Monstera blanket, so I may make one for myself and a friend. Maybe I’ll even try one of the doll-size Fan Leaf blankets. While digging through my stash, I found this old wool blanket remnant someone gave me and this leftover twill from a bag I made, and I LOVE them together! I really don’t know if I have enough or how practical these fabrics are for what I want to do with the blanket, but I’m willing to piece them if I have to.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

These blankets are so much fun to make, and now there is also a North American Leaf Blanket Collection that I really want to try!

Knitting

Although knitting hasn’t shown up a ton on the blog, I have done a lot of knitting this year. Sewing is definitely my biggest love, but I like having a knitting project going as well because it’s more portable than most of my sewing projects.

Right now, I have the Wool & Honey Sweater from Drea Renee Knits on my needles. I started this as part of a winter sweater make-along through Pintuck & Purl. I am a fairly slower knitter, so having a regular Zoom craft night was a good way to get started. Even though I didn’t finish in the allotted time, it got me going. Now I am partway down the body, and am hoping I have enough yarn for everything.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

I really like this pattern, and the yarn, Shetland 2ply Jumper Weight by Jamieson & Smith, is beautiful. I think Shetland yarn is so cool. I have often questioned my sanity in choosing to knit a full sweater out of fingering-weight yarn on tiny, tiny needles, though. After this, I’ll be ready for some thicker yarn or just smaller fingering weight projects…

And that is why my Mom and I plan to have our own little knit-along and cast on the Sparks sock pattern at some point in the near future. This pattern is also by Drea Renee Knits. Knitting the Wool & Honey Sweater made me realize that knitting two socks in fingering weight was not a big deal. They are a lot smaller than a sweater, so I can definitely get them done! I’m hoping to use up some of the odds and ends in my group of sock yarns. I ordered some “Real Black” Cascade Heritage sock yarn from Wool & Co. to tie all the colors together.

Winter Sewing and Knitting Ideas

And that’s it for now! Well, when I say that’s it, you should imagine a further mental list of projects a million miles long, but these are at the top of that list for now and are the most likely to be made this winter. Since I don’t want this blog post to be a million miles long, I’ll leave it at that. 🙂

However, I would LOVE to hear any creative winter projects you are planning. Do you have any sewing, knitting, or other craft projects you are thinking about? Feel free to share them in the comments. And Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate Christmas! I’ll be taking the next few weeks off, but I hope to see you here in January.