Tag Archives: spring

Megan Nielsen Protea Capsule Wardrobe Pattern: My Top and Dress Tester Photos

Standard
Megan Nielsen Protea Capsule Wardrobe Pattern:  My Top and Dress Tester Photos

Hello, friends! And welcome back to the blog. After taking the summer off, I’m ready to get back to writing about sewing, knitting, photography, and other fun creative endeavors. I hope you had a good last few months as well.

My “To Blog” list is pretty long, but I’m actually going to start with a more recent project. I was a tester for Megan Nielsen’s latest pattern, the Protea Capsule Wardrobe. I went through two rounds of testing as the pattern grew from a few views to the many views you see now. In order to be a tester, I signed up to her list and sent in my measurements. They cycle through their list and contact people with a good range of measurements, and then e-mail you when they have a pattern for testing to see if you are interested. You get to see the line drawings and description of the pattern as well as the deadline and what they need from you, and then you can say yes or no. This is a volunteer position, so it’s your responsibility to get your materials together for the project. You don’t have to blog the results or put it out on social media, but since I will really and truly forget the details of my projects if I don’t blog them, I wanted to share my tester versions, and hopefully give you a look at the pattern in its developmental stages.

As the pattern was released, the company offered testers the option of a free Protea Capsule Wardrobe pattern in print or PDF. I chose print, but still had to pay shipping, and I’m currently waiting for it to arrive. I don’t often test patterns since I have so many of my own projects that I want to make, and Megan Nielsen is the only company I have tested for (unless I’m forgetting…but I think that’s right). The process was a little different years ago, but I have always been impressed with the freedom and flexibility this company gives you in testing. So! Let’s get to the actual garments. Just remember…these are versions that came out before the new and shiny final pattern, so some things have changed a bit.

Test #1: Protea Blouse

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

Here is the first line drawing we were sent back in January. I chose to make the square-neck blouse out of a striped cotton seersucker I bought at Field’s Fabrics in Holland, MI in summer 2021.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos
front

l

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos
back

I love the general style of this blouse and have worn it all summer long. I love that it is loose and boxy and I didn’t have to make a broad back adjustment.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

l

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

l

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

It is a little cropped and lifts up when I raise my arms, so if I made it again, I would consider lengthening it just a little and trying out adding a gusset to the underarm with directions I found in Bernadette Banner’s new book: Make, Sew and Mend: Traditional Techniques to Sustainably Maintain and Refashion Your Clothes. I made an 18 at the bust and a 20 at the waist and hip. I think I used the width of the 20 for the sleeve, too.

Test #2: Protea Capsule Wardrobe Tiered Dress

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

When the option to test the next version of the pattern came along in May, I wasn’t quite sure that I would have the time, but I really liked the look of the tiered dress with a square neck and flutter sleeves. I found some fabric in my stash and decided that I could make it if I applied myself!

I chose to make this dress in a cotton double gauze from Joann, also from the summer of 2021. I didn’t have quite enough fabric. What I did have was a little narrower than the recommended 60″ and I only had four yards instead of the 4 3/8 I should have had, but I decided to do my best to make it work. In the end, I mostly made it. I went back and bought a few fat quarters of quilting cotton in the same pastel purple to cut my pockets out of. That fabric requirement was pretty much spot on.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

l

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

l

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

I made the dress with a size 18 bust and 20 waist and hip without the drawstring. I didn’t veer too far from the directions except that I hemmed my sleeves with bias tape instead of turning the hem in twice, and gathered my skirt tiers using a zigzag over a string instead of sewing two parallel lines of stitching (a technique I picked up from another Megan Nielsen pattern). I haven’t seen the final version yet to know what choices they made for those parts of the pattern instructions.

I felt a little bit different about this dress when I finished it than I did the top. I love positive ease, and this dress has LOTS of it. It was a bit much even for me.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

Unless you are looking for a completely unrestrictive dress, I like it a lot better with something pulling the waist in just a little. I tried pinning the drawstring casing on, but I wasn’t a fan.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos
waist casing pinned on…nope

The drawstring casing for the dress in this version of the pattern used the same pattern piece as the waistband for the skirt. It’s a clever idea that reduces the number of pattern pieces, but I don’t actually like it on the dress. It’s really wide and I didn’t like how it looked. I also didn’t like the dress without something to pull in the waist a little, so I put the finished dress to the side for a bit to think it over. In the end, what I did was to make two ties out of some single fold bias tape I had that matched my fabric.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

I sewed them on to the outside, but if I were planning on adding ties from the start, I would have sewn them into the side seams at the waist.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

l

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

This allows you to gather the waist in as much or as little as you like. There is a bit of fabric that gathers under the ties, but it really isn’t bulky. I tie mine just tight enough to get a little waist definition, but still loose enough not to feel restricted.

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

l

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

l

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

l

Megan Nielsen Protea Top and Dress Tester Photos

For me this takes the dress from something I didn’t like at all to something I love. It’s amazing what a little tweak can do.

Overall Thoughts

Seeing the final pattern, I like it a lot. You don’t often see an indie brand bring out a capsule wardrobe-type pattern. The Big 4 do it (I’ve seen a lot from Butterick), but not always indie brands. Since indie patterns can be so expensive, this is a good value for your money, and it’s simple enough to sew and has such clear instructions that even a beginner could tackle it. You get some good mix and match options with the sleeves and necklines so that you could easily sew a lot of different-looking garments from this one pattern. I like it stylistically, as well, except for the dress drawstring. Personally, I’m really into the square neck, flutter sleeves, and tiered skirts. I don’t often return to patterns I have already made since I love trying new ones, but before summer started to wane, I was contemplating more of the square-necked tops, so I could see revisiting this one and trying out any of the views. I like them all.

Currently making…

Since I finished pattern testing, I have made a few other garments, and I entered both a sewing and a knitting project in the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA for the first time ever, so we’ll see how that goes! I submitted my Patagonia inspired vest and my Arrowhead Cardigan which were both a lot of work and took a lot of brainpower!

On my sewing table, I have a Fibre Mood Norma Blouse cut out of some beautiful linen and I have plans to cut out two cropped Closet Core Kalle Shirts in different colorways of a fun tiger print lawn.

I’m knitting a Weekender Light sweater from Drea Renee Knits in the best Shetland wool from Jamieson & Smith and I’m also knitting a Drea Renee Knits Moonwake Cowl in some soft washable yarn.

Also…I found some sandals with wooden bases at the thrift store that I have started stripping down to try making into sandals I like, but it’s slow going with the other projects, and…you know…actually taking care of my family, ha ha.

I’m pretty inspired and excited about making all the things at the moment. I didn’t sew a ton over the summer, so it feels good to get back to it. And I have a million projects to bring to the blog (some from last winter/spring–yikes!), so I look forward to meeting you back here soon. Happy weekend!

Outside in May and June

Standard
Outside in May and June

Despite a hefty backlog of projects awaiting their time to shine on the blog, I think we should pause and look at some pretty pictures of flowers. How can we say good-bye to spring without doing that? Here are some photos of the outside in May and June.

May

Looking at these from the end of June makes me realize how much changes from the beginning of May until now. May is a flower explosion around here, which is very welcome after the long, grey winter.

Outside in May and June
Outside in May and June
Outside in May and June
Outside in May and June
Outside in May and June
Outside in May and June
Outside in May and June

June

June had some surprises in store. Look what I found in our fenced-in garden.

Outside in May and June
Outside in May and June
I must have walked by their little nest for a week or two before even realizing they were there!
Outside in May and June
They were probably only four inches long with little inch-tall ears. The cuteness was extreme, and I really wanted to hold one, but of course, I didn’t. I gave them their space. And one day, they all managed to find their way out of the garden and into the big, wide world.
Outside in May and June
I saw this little guy on a walk.
Outside in May and June

Happy weekend and hello, Summer!

The Project That Took the Longest: Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton

Standard
The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton

Oh, boy, do I have a backlog of projects to blog! I need to take about a million pictures, so I’m starting with a few of the projects that I don’t have to model. Then when I can rope a family member into taking pictures for me, I’ll try to catch up on the rest.

This particular project is one of the simpler ones I have made, but actually took me forever to finish! Sometime between 2020 and 2021, I cut three camisoles out of some of my larger scraps. I used Simplicity 8545, View B.

The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton

I used View A previously to make some brightly colored slips in cotton lawn (you can see them here). I thought a few camisoles to go under transparent or low-cut tops would be a good idea and a useful way to use up some of my offcuts, so a year or two ago (I think) I made a cream colored camisole from a silk lining fabric that a friend had given me.

The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
Camisole Front
The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
Camisole back

Around that time (maybe?), I also cut out two more camisoles from some old Cotton + Steel cotton lawn, so I could have some colorful options. Those two lawn camisoles sat on my “to sew” rack for…a year? Two years?

They became my only UFO’s (unfinished objects). I don’t like UFO’s in sewing, but I didn’t want these badly enough to carry me through to finishing them, so they just sat there. This year I decided enough was enough and tacked them on to one of my big sewing batches. I wasn’t even sure if they would fit when they were finished, but I figured if they didn’t fit me, they would fit someone else. If I never made them, though, the fabric probably wouldn’t get used at all.

For these, I changed the pattern up a little to make them easier to make and nicer to wear. I found with the slips that I really didn’t need the zipper to get them on and off, so I eliminated that and just sewed the back up. I also eliminated the facings, which constantly flip out on my slips and drive me nuts. Eventually I hope to sew them down, but I really hate going back into old projects, so I haven’t gotten to that yet.

The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
Camisole front
The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
Camisole back
The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
Camisole front; using up different colors of bias tape from my stash to make this nice and colorful
The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
Camisole back

Once I finally decided to sew up the lawn camisoles, the goal was to get them done as quickly as possible, while still sewing quality(ish) garments. I picked one thread color for both (pink), serged my seam allowances, and used whatever bias binding I had on hand to save time and use up materials. (You have no idea how much random bias binding I have!) I had made bias binding for the silk camisole and used beautiful French seams and a tiny rolled hem on that one, but these two just needed to get DONE! For a little extra insurance, I also sewed a 3/8″ seam in the back and on the sides instead of the 5/8″ seam allowance the pattern called for.

The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
French seams and an imperfect tiny rolled hem…but you have to practice to get better!
The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
Fast rather than fancy

I’ll spare you the details of exactly how I sewed the bias on, but my goal was to sew it so that I could try the camisoles on before finalizing the length of the shoulder straps. That meant making the final attachments in the front. Those joins got a little ugly, but it didn’t matter–these are meant to go under other clothes and I wanted them done.

The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
The Project That  Took the Longest:  Simplicity 8545 Camisoles in Silk and Cotton
Not my best sewing, but this was a case of ‘done is better than perfect’

Happily, they do fit ok, and I love how bright and fun the two lawn ones are and how practical the cream one is. Have I worn them? Maybe the cream one a few times, but not the lawn ones yet. I hope I end up wearing them, but even if I don’t, someone else could. I’m definitely happy with the modifications I made. And I’m happy that I didn’t give up on these and throw them in the scrap bin. This is a good, basic yet versatile pattern with some fun options, and even though I haven’t made the dresses or shirts, I’m glad I tried the slip and camisole views.

Humpback Whale Stuffed Animal by Crafty Kooka

Standard
Humpback Whale Stuffed Animal by Crafty Kooka

Today I have something fun to share with you! It’s not my normal type of sewing, but it ended up being pretty cute. It’s a humpback whale stuffed animal!

I got the Crafty Kooka Humpback Whale pattern as a birthday gift from one of my kids. I had seen it online and I really wanted to try it. I was so curious about how it came together, and I love whales as a decorative element (real whales are pretty cool, too).

Humpback Whale Stuffed Animal by Crafty Kooka

I tacked this project onto the end of my winter sewing batch, so that I would be sure to get it done, even if it did take me until spring. I found some fabric (blue wool/cashmere, I think, and cream cotton twill), batting, and stuffing in my stash, and then bought some safety eyes at Joann’s. I couldn’t find the exact size, but I got something close. Then I dove in, and out came this fabulous whale, that REALLY looks like a humpback whale. I was so impressed. This is a quality pattern from someone who really knows their stuff.

Humpback Whale Stuffed Animal by Crafty Kooka
Humpback Whale Stuffed Animal by Crafty Kooka

Unfortunately…I hated the process of sewing this whale. It was probably a combination of wanting to move on to spring sewing and the need for precise sewing on some very curvy and pointy shapes. If you are someone who loves a sewing challenge, precision sewing, or trying out really interesting pattern shapes, you will probably love this. If you want a quick and easy sew, are a beginner, or don’t love super careful sewing, you will not like this project. I found it harder than sewing an underwire bra (which actually isn’t super hard, but does require focus and care). On the upside, this is a great pattern with terrific instructions, and it produced an excellent outcome. I recommend this if you are really into sewing stuffed animals and you have or want to develop the aforementioned precision sewing skills.

Humpback Whale Stuffed Animal by Crafty Kooka

Despite not loving the process of sewing this whale, I do love the finished product, and so does everyone in my family. My husband predicts I’ll sew another someday. I won’t say never, but it will have to be awhile. We discussed names for a long time, with one Jane Austen-loving family member pushing hard for “Fitzwhalliam Darcy” after Fitzwilliam Darcy in Pride & Prejudice, but in the end, I pulled rank as the creator and went for something Hawaiian, since there are humpback whales in the Pacific. It was between Duke Kahanamoku, famous waterman, Olympic swimmer, surfer, etc., etc. and King Kamehameha, the first king to unite the Hawaiian Islands. I went with King Kamehameha as the name for the whale, but after doing further research, I switched back to Duke Kahanamoku. They both seem amazing, but I liked Duke’s selflessness and standout character.

Humpback Whale Stuffed Animal by Crafty Kooka

Now we have a great whale that lives on our couch, and gets lots of snuggles from the family. And with that, I closed the book on winter sewing and checked off one of my craft goals for 2022.

Humpback Whale Stuffed Animal by Crafty Kooka

What about you? Would you sew a complex stuffed animal? Any tips for me if I try another in the future?

Brimfield! May 2022

Standard
Brimfield!  May 2022

Last Friday I went to the Brimfield antique fair in Brimfield, Massachusetts after a few years off. Like so many things that we didn’t do during the last few years, the time off made it feel a bit strange and outside the realm of my normal routine, like I had to break the ice all over again. But with the company of my best Brimfield buddy, Jo-Alice, we travelled old roads again and went to this, one of our favorite events, and it was just as great as ever.

I took a few pictures for you so you could get a sense of the experience, too. Check it out!

Vintage Clothes

There are always so many vintage clothes to see at Brimfield. You can find them scattered throughout the various fields, but there’s always a huge tent at the Mahogany Ridge field. (Here’s a link to a map of the fields I mention.)

Brimfield!  May 2022

I found some real treasures there. Vintage clothes rarely fit me, but I like to take pictures of ideas I could use in my own sewing, or just things that look interesting.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
That embroidery is so beautiful!
Brimfield!  May 2022
Make your own wedding veil!

Brimfield Barn also has an area with some beautiful vintage clothes.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
Even the underwear is beautiful!
Brimfield!  May 2022
Baby clothes that look like they were batch dyed. Pretty!
Brimfield!  May 2022

There were lots of other good finds scattered throughout Brimfield, too. Check out this wool jacket.

Brimfield!  May 2022

The pockets were pretty cool.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Now I want pockets like this!
Brimfield!  May 2022

Kitchen Items

I always love to look at all the kitchen tools and dishes because so many of them are still useable in a modern kitchen, and my favorite things to find at Brimfield are the things I can use. Even those that are more display items are often really beautiful. For instance, check out this hand-crank whisk. It seems like an early version of a Kitchen-Aid.

Brimfield!  May 2022
The gear on it is so beautiful.
Brimfield!  May 2022
These cups remind me of some my grandparents had when I was growing up.
Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
This booth had some of the most amazing salt and pepper shakers. I think the windmill and the lawnmower were my favorites. The windmill also had a space for sugar, and turning the blades of the windmill made the salt and pepper shakers pop up.

Sewing Tools

There are a lot less sewing tools, patterns, and machines than I would have expected at Brimfield–I’m struck by this every year–but I suppose it’s not surprising. We live in a big country and while there are numerous devoted sewing people out there, it’s not a huge percentage of the population.

After years of sewing and antiquing, I have seen a lot of what is out there, but at J & J Promotions (another of the fields), I ran across a booth that had incredibly beautiful sewing tools, many of which I had never seen before. This booth, in a tent with several others, was run by The Freeman Family, and I had the best time talking to Vickie about what the different tools were used for. Many of them were for fine needlework beyond what I will probably ever do, but some of them were gorgeous versions of commonly used tools.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
Look at those embroidery scissors!

One of my favorite things about Brimfield is learning about tools and other things that I never knew existed. The dealers know so much, and while there have been times when I haven’t felt like chatting, I usually really enjoy asking questions about the unique and wonderful things they are selling. It adds so much to the experience of being at Brimfield.

Other Interesting Finds

Some stuff at Brimfield is just weird. And that’s part of the fun.

Brimfield!  May 2022
Somebody forgot to brush!
Brimfield!  May 2022
A three-piece kayak! The last piece was stored inside the front piece. Clever!
Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022
Brimfield!  May 2022

My Treasures

I came home with a few treasures. I always keep a list of things to look for for myself, the house, friends, and family. I really love finding gifts for antique-loving family members. This time I got those beautiful embroidery scissors I showed you above (a birthday gift for someone who doesn’t read my blog), the steel pennies above for my husband (one is also a gift for someone who doesn’t read this blog), as well as:

Brimfield!  May 2022

some small Wiss scissors and a brass (I think?) thimble–it’s the style of thimble with no end on it. You use the sides to push the needle through. I bought these together for $5 total. I really don’t need more scissors, but I do love good ones, and I seem to unintentionally be starting a collection of Wiss scissors. Whoops! Haha.

The thimble was great because it actually fit me, and as soon as I put it on, I could feel that there was a right way to wear it. Whoever had used it before had used it enough that it started to form to their finger, and you can feel that when you wear it. I love that.

Brimfield!  May 2022

I got this bag for my husband, but it wasn’t quite the right shape for him, so now it’s MIIINNNEEEE! Yay! It’s perfect for me.

And, here are my favorite things that I got:

Brimfield!  May 2022

A pair of turquoise earrings, and a turquoise ring. I got them at different places, but I have enjoyed wearing them together. One of my big goals was to find a silver ring with a big, semi-precious stone in it. This one is just right and fits several of my fingers depending on if it is humid or not outside. I really enjoy looking at turquoise jewelry, although I rarely buy any, so it was great to find two good deals on these.

It was so good to break the ice and get back to Brimfield, but what made it even better was spending the whole day with Jo-Alice. I have done Brimfield alone, and I love it, but it’s even better when you can go with a friend who is a good match for your pace and shopping style.

One of the things that I noticed at one point is how Brimfield really turns the normal ideas of what is valuable upside-down. We were in a booth looking at some completely torn up jeans, but they had been hung up like a work of art. Nearby, there were some jeans for sale that had been beautifully mended. There are a lot of things you can find at an antique fair that in normal daily life get forgotten or overlooked, but in that context are treated as treasures and valued for the work that went into their creation and the potential for work or beauty they still hold. As a maker and as a Christian, those themes of finding beauty in the broken and overlooked are ones that I hold dear, so it was cool to see them played out here, too. Sometimes the things that get cast aside have more value than we realize if we have eyes to see. I love that.

At the end of the day, we were sweaty and tired from walking on and off for nine hours, but we had a wonderful time, ate like Hobbits, and talked the day away. If you get the chance to go to Brimfield or a local antique fair, I highly recommend it.

Sweater Knitting: Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Standard
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Oh, boy, this was a big one! Today’s project is the Arrowhead Cardigan by Anna Cohen for Imperial Stock Ranch, and it took me a long time and a lot of head scratching to figure it out, but I did it!

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

This cardigan was definitely above my skill level, but I’m happy to say that perseverance paid off, I learned a ton, I conquered some fears (steeking!), and made it to the finish line. And it fits, which I have struggled with in the past.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Now for the details!

The Yarn

Sweaters are a big undertaking when it comes to finding and choosing yarn, especially if you want to watch your costs. Plainly put, it’s expensive to knit a sweater. Yarn cost is always a factor for me, especially on larger projects. Thankfully, there is a wide range of yarn and price points, if you are willing to dig a bit. And I love the digging–it’s like a treasure hunt.

I found what I was after online at WEBS (yarn.com) in the closeout section. Univeral Yarn Deluxe Worsted offered some bright colors in a 100% wool yarn (non-superwash, worsted spun) at a great price. Reviews were a bit mixed, but I decided to take the risk. My skin isn’t super sensitive to wool and I planned to wear this over a shirt.

I ordered three skeins of “Blushing Bride” (pink) and seven skeins of “Strip Light Yellow”. With shipping, my cost was around $50. That’s more than I like to spend on fabric for a sewing project, but for a sweater, that’s really economical. When the yarn came, it looked and felt great. Before ordering, I had done my best to determine if the colors were far enough apart in value (gray scale) that they would stand out distinctly, and they were. In person, they were just as good.

The Pattern + Knitting

I was really struck by this pattern when I saw it. The design was beautiful and it looked oversized and cozy in all the best ways. I looked at others’ projects on Ravelry and really liked the sweater in different colors as well. Also, I have to admit the original styling for the pattern was right up my alley, and it didn’t hurt that I knit most of this while watching the first 13 seasons of Heartland (a Canadian show set on a horse and cattle ranch) with my daughter. Sometimes I think of this as my “Heartland Cardigan”. All I need is a horse and a farm to go with it! Oh, and a lifetime supply of farming knowledge. You know, the little things. 😉

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

My gauge came out pretty close to correct at about 17 stitches and 16/16.5 rounds over 4″ x 4″ (the pattern calls for 17.5 stitches and 21 rounds over 4″ x 4″ (10 cm x 10 cm)). I never worry too much about row gauge since I can change the length of the sweater as I knit. I had already gone down from the suggested needle size of US 8 to a US 6, and since I am typically a loose knitter and this sweater has plenty of positive ease, I went down one size as well from the large to the medium. For my body ribbing, I used US 4’s. Since knitting smaller circumferences can tighten your knitting, for my sleeves I went up to US 7’s with US 5’s for the sleeve ribbing. And then I just hoped and prayed it would all work out.

I decided I wanted the pink to be my dominant color (the one that would stand out the most), and after looking through some notes on Ravelry, I decided to catch my floats every 7 stitches. I recolored all my charts so I wouldn’t get confused and knit the wrong color (like I did in one of my Sparks socks), and I made full, colored charts of the sleeves so that I wouldn’t make mistakes there. Those charts took me a long time to color and create, but it was so worth it!

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
You can see one of my sleeve charts in the background of this picture.

When I tell you this pattern was above my skill level, I’m not kidding. I’ll admit that I am used to using patterns that hold my hand, and I love that. It gives me the confidence to dive into things I have never tried, knowing the help is there for me to figure it all out in the course of the project. There was a lot more assumed knowledge with this pattern, and occasionally I would have to think about a direction or next step for a few days or dig into some knitting books or the internet to figure out how I was supposed to proceed. It meant I made pretty slow progress, but the breaks to puzzle things out ended up paying off each time. I’ll skip the blow by blow description of what I did on each step, but if you could see my copy of this pattern, you would see margins filled with notes.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

I have a theory that really, really wanting to make something can carry you through a big project, even if it’s beyond what you have done before. This sweater further solidified that idea in my mind.

An Error

If you take on this sweater, which is a good one, despite the complexity, you should note that there is an error in the medium size instructions. When you begin the body and have to join in the round, the part that says to knit 105 stitches should say 106 stitches. If you don’t change that, you will be short of the 220 stitches you are supposed to have after joining in the round. This will also impact your stitch counts as you go through the pattern. Sometimes you will have to add a stitch, sometimes two, at various points, so keep an eye on that. The charts were fine, by the way, it was just the written directions that were off.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Eek! A Steek!

This sweater is knit from the bottom up as one big tube, with panels of stitches in the areas you will have to open up for the front opening and the armholes.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
You can see the steek panels here in the center front and on the tops of the sides.

You open these areas by sewing within that panel (I used my sewing machine) and then cutting down the middle.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
The burgundy lines are the zigzag stitches I sewed in the central steek panel. This stitching anchored my knit stitches so the sweater wouldn’t fray when I cut it.

Seems scary, right? And it was, but also exciting. I practiced on my swatch after doing lots of steek research on the internet, and that worked out well.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
My gauge swatch/practice swatch
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
I protected the back side of my sweater with a piece of cardboard between the layers.

It’s such a crazy idea to cut your knitting, but it really works!

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

After doing that, whether at the front or sleeves, you pick up stitches to knit the sleeves and the ribbing around the front opening, and then later you knit facings to cover the raw edges and the sewing machine stitches. I worried that sewing down my facings would show from the outside, but it didn’t.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
The facings are the vertical pink lines at the opening

Since my row gauge was off, I decided to steek the front opening after finishing the body a little before the directions told me to. That way I could try the sweater on and see if my sleeves were at a length I liked before adding the final patterning and ribbing at the wrists and finishing them. Once I had steeked the front, I also blocked what I had to get a better sense of that sleeve length. And I was nervous, because I was not knitting quite as loosely as I had expected, so I just needed to see how things were going.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Doing all of this gave me a lot of helpful information, and I’m so glad I did it.

This is the project where the idea of using lifelines really solidified in my brain as well. I found the shoulder area especially confusing to knit, so before starting, I added some blue pearl cotton to my live stitches in case I messed up and had to rip back. Luckily, I didn’t have to rip back, but it was nice having that security. You can see a bunch of these blue lifelines three pictures up where I had just cut my front steek.

Finishing

I began knitting in August of 2021 and I finally finished my sweater in March of 2022. Seven months! I didn’t work on this non-stop, and usually only put in time while watching TV on a lot of evenings. I’m really happy with how it came out and that it actually fits.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
You can change the fit a little depending on how tightly you wrap the front
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

It’s very interesting, now that I have knit several sweaters that actually fit, to see what I reach for and what fits best in my current wardrobe. I don’t wear this quite as much as I thought I would since it can be a little hard to find pants and shirts to go under it, and I tend to reach for pullover styles more (my purple Wool & Honey sweater is my most-worn sweater by far). It’s very comfortable, though, and I like wearing it. It has pilled somewhat, but the pills are very easy to remove. It is not scratchy unless I am wearing a bag on my shoulder that presses it down, and then it is a little scratchy in that area. I feel like my yarn choice has paid off, however. I love how bright the sweater is, and the amazing designs in it. If you don’t look too closely, it sometimes looks like the sleeves match up with the pattern of the body. They don’t, of course, but it’s easy to think they do initially.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted
Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

This sweater really stretched me, and taught me a lot. It helped me conquer the fear of steeking, and helped me realize that if I think long enough, and search hard enough, I can find the answers to a lot of knitting questions. This project made me feel like I levelled up, specifically in stranded colorwork, which is my current favorite area of knitting.

Sweater Knitting:  Arrowhead Cardigan in Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted

Outside in…the Last Six Months

Standard
Outside in…the Last Six Months

Yikes! It’s been six months since my last outside photo post! What happened?!

Let’s play a little catch-up, and look at some of my favorite outside photos of the past six months. (And if you want to see last October’s, it’s actually a “Field Trip” post.)

Here’s November of 2021 through April of 2022. Enjoy!

November

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

December

Outside in...the Last Six Months

January

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

February

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

March

Outside in...the Last Six Months

April

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

l

Outside in...the Last Six Months

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel Speckle

Standard
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel Speckle

Today I’m bringing you a pretty popular pattern (and some alliteration, all for free!). Simplicity 9388, a unisex shirt jacket in three lengths, has been well-received in the sewing community since its release.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle

I like making button up shirts and jackets that aren’t too tricky, so this was on my radar. When I got some Shetland Flannel Speckle in the “Steel” color by Robert Kaufman, it seemed like an ideal match.

Fabric & Notions

This flannel is 95% cotton and 5% polyester. It’s 44″ wide and 6.4 oz/square yard. It’s listed on Robert Kaufman’s site as being 2-ply and therefore “stronger and loftier”. It really is a nice flannel, as all the flannels I have ever used from Robert Kaufman have been. It fluffs up a bit in the wash and, my favorite part, contains little flecks of colors–green, blue, pink, orange, and white.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Look at those bits of color! Yay!

Mine was a Christmas gift from my husband and came from Amazon. He bought me four yards, and after making this shirt jacket, I have 16″ full width left, plus some odd-shaped extra bits.

You only need a tiny bit of lining for the inside of the yoke, so I looked in my stash and chose a bit of gray cotton lawn by Cotton + Steel. I can’t remember for sure, but I probably bought it at Pintuck & Purl several years ago.

Other than that, I found thread, interfacing, and buttons at Joann’s. I really thought hard on the buttons, spending a lot of time online looking at options, but in the end, Joann’s had just what I wanted. While I had thought something neon or bright would be the ticket, it was this medium pink that looked the best.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle

My favorite detail on this shirt is the “L” patch from Wildflower and Company on Etsy.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle

This was also a gift, and went great with the shirt. It was easy to iron on and instructions were included to ensure success. After adhering it, I stitched around the outside with regular thread in my bobbin and clear nylon thread in my needle. If you haven’t used nylon thread before, it looks a lot like lightweight fishing line, but comes on a spool. I have a really old spool that was given to me by a friend. This stuff pretty much lasts forever, and is great extra insurance on something like this embroidered patch that will definitely go through the laundry on a regular basis.

I did have one tool failure–and this is something I have seen in several cases, unfortunately. Using a yellow Chaco liner on white/light material is probably a gamble that won’t end well.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle

I don’t know if this happens with all the Chaco liner colors, but I have used the yellow on cream fabric and it has never washed out. I helped with a class once where someone made white jeans and couldn’t get it out. Now I notice that I can still see my marks even on this medium gray, even though I have washed it since making it. I absolutely love my yellow Chaco liner for its ease of use, and I really don’t have problems with it on darker colors, but it just doesn’t seem to come out of lighter colors.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
See that yellow streak? It’s not the worst ever, but it will probably never come out.

The Pattern

I chose to make View B in a large for the bust/chest and waist and an extra large for the hips.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
You can see where I graded out a size for the hips on the left edge of the pattern piece.
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Here’s a close-up

I thought about trying the shortest view (View C), but I really wanted hip pockets, and View C omits those.

This pattern was nice to sew without any real surprises, and it felt like it came together fairly quickly. I like the front chest and hip pockets and love how the lining on the inside of the yoke looks.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Inside front. You can tell I have been wearing this because…wrinkles! haha
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Inside back–love that lined yoke.

One of the few things I didn’t like is that, at this length, the hip pockets finish just above the hem, so if you put your hands or something heavy in the pockets, they will hang down beneath the edge of the jacket. To fix that, I topstitched my pockets to the front, following the seam line from the inside. They aren’t perfectly even, but it’s not noticeable unless you are trying to notice it. While I prefer the look of the jacket without this topstitching, it doesn’t look bad and it completely solves the problem.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Pockets! And now that they are topstitched, they don’t hang down!

One thing that was a little different from a lot of shirts that I sew is that this pattern has a one-piece collar and the button plackets extend past the edge of the collar. It give the shirt jacket a slightly different look from a regular shirt. I also like the seam line over the chest pockets. It’s a good detail.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle

This shirt jacket has, in my opinion, the perfect amount of ease to wear over other shirts or a light sweater, and I could see making this in other cotton flannels or, even better, in wool.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Sewing is so exciting!!!

If you look around on the internet, you can see a lot of versions of this pattern, including an amazing version in red faux fur by Yoga Byrd over on the Minerva.com website (hopefully that link works).

While I started this in the winter (And maybe finished it in the winter? I can’t remember…), it’s a great transitional piece for spring. I have worn it a lot, and am so glad I made it.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle
Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle

There’s nothing like a garment you have made yourself when it comes to the ideal fit. And if you find fitting difficult, persevere! You’ll get there! With practice, even if we can’t make everything fit perfectly, we can usually get things closer to what we want than store-bought clothes.

Simplicity 9388 Shirt Jacket in Robert Kaufman's Shetland Flannel Speckle

Fun Sewing-Related Things: Felt Deer Ornament, Maple Leaf Blanket, and Giant Sewing Props

Standard
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Felt Deer Ornament, Maple Leaf Blanket, and Giant Sewing Props

Hi, everyone! Today I have a few non-clothing sewing items to share with you. I’ve been holding onto them until just the right time, and since I haven’t photographed my most recent garment sewing project, that time is now! Maybe you’ll see something fun you want to try out yourself. 🙂

Felt Deer Ornament from the Winter Animals Collection by Aimee Ray of little dear

I made this little guy back in January-February (which I only know because I wrote it down!).

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

He’s embroidered and made of felt. His antlers are stiffened with Mod Podge/glue, a great idea included in the pattern. This is the second animal I have made with a pattern from designer Aimee Ray of little dear, and it was so much fun! This one is from her Winter Animals collection.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

Her designs are really cute, and it’s so cool to see them materialize as you follow the directions. I also like that this is a pretty quick project. Even though I made this right after Christmas, I attached a string to make it into an ornament and stashed it with my ornaments for future Christmases. We’ll just say I was planning wayyyy ahead. 😉

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

The last time I made one of Aimee Ray’s patterns (an opossum), I wanted to use the materials I had on hand–in that case, a felted wool shirt. This time, though, I ordered the felt she uses, which is really beautiful rayon/wool felt from Benzie Design, a store that was new to me. It really is different from the felt I used on school projects or other arts and crafts growing up. You certainly don’t need the higher quality felt, but it was nice to try it out, and one sheet will make a lot of these little guys, since you only use a small amount. Aimee Ray’s animals are a great bet if you want to make a fun and fast craft project. I would love to make more sometime–they would be great Christmas gifts!

Maple Leaf Blanket from the North American Leaf Blanket collection by Twig + Tale

I made another leaf blanket! Are you surprised? I love these things!

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

This one was a baby gift for a friend back in the spring because New England=Maple trees! After making it, I looked at it and thought that it seemed pretty impractical as a blanket, but I’m happy to report that my friend said those edges that stick out like peninsulas are actually great for wrapping around a little baby. Hooray! As with all the leaf blankets I have made, this one was a pleasure to make.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Guidelines drawn in with chalk before quilting

I love the greens I used–they are quilting cottons from Pintuck & Purl. I have been tempted to buy more of that bright green to use as a photo backdrop for the blog. I love it!

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Look at that beautiful green!

Also, now I kind of want a Maple Leaf blanket for me. Up to now, I have made the large Elephant Ear, Banana Leaf, Fan Leaf, and two Monstera leaves all from the Tropical Leaf Collection by Twig + Tale, plus this one from the North American Collection and, uncharacteristically, have only kept one Monstera.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

These blankets are graphic in the best sense and more useful than you might think a relatively small blanket would be. We keep our Monstera leaf on our bed and I often use it when just my feet or shoulders get cold.

Giant Sewing Props

This past summer my church asked me to talk to the kids at Vacation Bible School about sewing. That’s right up my alley, so I said yes! I was both really excited and pretty nervous. I’d love to get into teaching more, but since I haven’t done it enough in a sewing context to get into any sort of rhythm, I still get pretty nervous about it. Anyway…to help me demonstrate the basic skills I wanted to talk about, I made some giant sewing props! Since this was during COVID, it was outside and I had a table between me and the kids, so I wanted something large that would be easier to see than a tiny needle and thread.

I came up with the idea to make a giant spool and needle out of cardboard and duct tape and to use a rope as my thread. It worked out pretty well, and was really fun to use.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Me holding the needle for scale

I also put my art skills to work and made some simple illustrations of the two basic stitches I wanted to talk to the kids about.

Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props
Whoops! You can see my other illustration in the background.
Fun Sewing-Related Things:  Maple Leaf Blanket, Felt Deer Ornament, and Giant Sewing Props

Looks like my college drawing classes are still working their magic! Haha.

It was a lot of fun, and even though I was sweating buckets in the sunshine, we talked sewing, and maybe one or two kids will think sewing is cool.

Coming up…

I’m working away over here on some garments that will transition well from summer to fall. I have already sewn some linen pants, and am working on a shirt. After that, I’ll make a dress I hope to wear to an upcoming wedding. Oh! And I’m knitting a sweater, too. These colorful projects have been really inspiring to work on and I look forward to sharing them with you–hopefully soon!

And last but not least, yesterday was my eight-year blog anniversary! It’s been a fun eight years. Thanks for following along!

Have a great weekend!

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

Standard
Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

It’s the first week of official summer and my Spring Outfit is finished! Hahaha. Let’s just pretend this outfit is still seasonally appropriate where I live, shall we? Let it be noted that I did actually finish the last of it a few days before the end of spring, but it was sadly too late to photograph and write up last week, plus I wasn’t feeling great, so I just didn’t get it to the blog. That means this week, instead of ‘outside in June’ photos, it’s time to wrap up this challenge and move on to some summer sewing! Woohoo!

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants
Just wearing my warm hat and long sleeves in the warm weather…totally normal.

If you have followed this challenge of mine to create a spring outfit (first laid out here), you may be surprised to see a different pants pattern in the title of this post. My initial plan was to make the Folkwear Sailor Pants. However, when the time came to work on the muslin, I read through the directions and realized that these were going to take more than a little time. They are different than normal jeans, and they would benefit from a really detailed muslin where I tried out all the techniques in my test fabric as well as looking at fit. At that point, the weather was warming up, summer sewing was galloping full-speed through my mind, and I just did not want to make these. So I put them on hold. My pattern is traced and my muslin cut out, but they can wait until fall. Maybe I will make them up then.

I have really wanted to make the Seaforth Pants by Hey June Handmade ever since they were released last year, so I bought that pattern and cut them out of some denim-y looking chambray that has been languishing in my stash for the last few years. My goal was to make them fast and hope they would fit. Not only would these complete my spring outfit, they would also be great pants to wear in the summer…more on that in a bit.

First, though, check out my spring outfit! I made it all but the shoes!

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants
Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

Maybe someday I’ll make shoes too, but for now, it was Keds to the rescue. In a perfect world, I would have sought out some oceanside wharf or something to take my pictures at since this outfit is nautical-ish in my mind, but instead you get some occasionally silly pictures closer to home.

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants
One of the aforementioned silly pictures. I think we were joking about Funny Face or something at that point.

Here are the patterns, yarn, and fabric I used from top to bottom. You can find more details on notions and small odds and ends in previous blog posts where I talk about each pattern in greater detail.

+ The Oslo Hat – Mohair Edition by Petite Knit

-mystery yarn that I think is wool plus Farmer’s Daughter Mighty Mo mohair in the color “Stagecoach Mary” from Wool & Co.

+ McCall’s 5303 Sweatshirt circa 1991

Taslan in yellow and Supplex in “Candy” (pink) from The Rain Shed

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants
Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

+ Coco top by Tilly and the Buttons

-Parchment/Black 100% cotton horizontal stripe jersey knit from Fabric Mart Fabrics (sold out)

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

+ Seaforth Pants (modified) by Hey June Handmade

-old Robert Kaufman Chambray Union Dark Indigo from Pintuck & Purl (sold out)

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

+ Undergarments

+ Sew It Forward Socks by Ellie & Mac

-old Cotton + Steel cotton/spandex knit from Pintuck & Purl (sold out)

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

I really like how this outfit turned out, and I think I will get a lot of wear out of most pieces. If I had to guess, I would say that the Oslo Hat and Seaforth Pants will get the most wear, possibly followed by McCall’s 5303. I’m guessing the socks will get the least wear. They are comfortable, but I think I should make them in a slightly stretchier fabric next time or modify the top of the socks since they are somewhat tight on my lower legs. That being said, this is a cool sock pattern and is a thousand times faster than knitting socks.

As far as what I enjoyed making the most, that would have to be the McCall’s 5303 sweatshirt (windbreaker). It was really fun and interesting to make. I loved it. The thing I had the least fun making was The Oslo Hat. It wasn’t hard–just boring to knit. If you’re looking for a pattern with lots of stockinette, so you can just knit without too much thought, though, this might be the pattern for you.

I really enjoyed doing a big coordinated project, and it definitely got me inspired and excited to get sewing. I don’t plan on doing this every season, but it was really fun to do at least once.

The Seaforth Pants by Hey June Handmade

Let’s talk in a little more detail about these pants since this is the first time they are making it to the blog.

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants
Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

Like I said, I have been wanting to make these pants for awhile.

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

When I saw the post on the Hey June blog where Adrianna, the designer, modified the pattern and made a pair of straight leg pants, I was sold.

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

It was an easy modification, I already had fabric I could use, and I thought I could finish these much faster than the Sailor Pants I had first planned to make. Added benefits were that I could skip the muslin, I could use these pants in the summer, and they would help me get an idea about how the crotch curve from this company fits me, since I also plan to make the Vero Beach shorts in the near future.

I have challenged myself this month to sew at least thirty minutes a day, six days a week, so I used one day to prep my pattern, another to cut it out, and then it was on to sewing. All of these things took longer than the thirty minutes (and sewing took several days), but that goal really helped me get moving.

I followed Adrianna’s instructions for the modified pants and also swapped the front pockets out for some patch pockets from Simplicity 8841, which I have traced onto stiff cardboard with directions glued on the back.

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants
Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

My goal was speed. I’m not the fastest sewer, but I was ready to be done with this project, as fun as it’s been. I used my serger to construct and finish seams and my sewing machine for whatever I couldn’t serge.

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants
Inside view
Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants
Back pocket

I added grommets and a drawstring, and I love how they came out.

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

I did not add the cool bias binding Adrianna mentions in the blog post at the bottom of the pant legs. I might do that another time, though.

One thing worth noting is that when I compared my measurements to the size chart, the size 18 looked just right, and it is what I chose. When you look at the finished measurements, however, the finished hip measurement is an inch smaller than the hip measurement for the size. This made me really nervous and I almost sized up. Adrianna does talk about this and how to pick your size in the directions. After reading through that, I ended up making the 18, and it worked out great. I don’t have any problems pulling the pants over my hips–I never even think about it–but do read that part carefully (and don’t worry too much) if you make these for yourself.

I managed to finish hemming just in time to wear these to an outdoor ceremony we were attending as a family, and they were perfect. The one thing I will do when I make these again, though, is use the front pockets that are part of the pattern. I love the look of the patch pockets I chose, but if you are sitting on the ground, things do tend to fall out.

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

Something I have learned from the couple of patterns I have sewn from Hey June is that when Adrianna recommends something, whether it’s a certain type of fabric or a certain type of pocket, it’s there for a good reason. I’ve gone off-book here and there and it’s been fine, but I can tell it would have been better if I had followed the recommendations more closely.

Regardless of all that, though, the pants turned out great, the crotch curve works for me, and I am so happy this fabric didn’t become a shirt dress as I had originally intended. I think it will get so much more wear in the form of these pants.

Spring Outfit Challenge Finale and the Hey June Handmade Seaforth Pants

And that’s it! Spring outfit complete! On to summer!