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FO: Lotta Jansdotter Simple Shift

8 Mar

This dress is cute, but Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing for Baby is a frustrating book. I love that the patterns each come on a separate page, but I hate that as far as I can tell, the second pattern sheet for this shift was missing, meaning that I had to make it up. Not difficult if you’ve done some sewing, since this is a very easy pattern, but still not cool.

I also hate that this pattern does not come with a size. She’s just like, “Hey, cute dress! It’ll look cute on your baby!” But what size baby? And why doesn’t it come with some extra tracing lines, so I could, you know, make it for more than one size? Again, not hard if you’ve done some sewing, but seriously.

That sort of flaw makes this book better as inspiration than as an actual sewing book. I do love her Scandanavian style and all the Ikea-esque prints.

Anyway, I took a smaller seam allowance and figured that this would fit A just fine, and it does–it could maybe be a little smaller in the shoulders. It’s seriously easy, although I thought the instructions for attaching the bias tape were overly complicated.

I contemplated making a matching diaper cover, until I realized that I hate the twee little short dress and matching diaper cover look for toddlers. My toddler will wear leggings and like it.

Patten: Simple Shift from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing for Babies

Notes and Mods: I modified the bias tape attachment, and I also made it a little bigger by taking a smaller seam allowance.

Make Again?: Yes–it’s a cute and easy pattern, especially if you’ve got fabric you want to show off–but I won’t be happy about it.

Fabric: This fabric is from Purl Soho’s sale section. It’s a Wyndham fabric of some sort, and I love it because it’s sprigged. Sprigged fabrics always remind me of this description from These Happy Golden Years:

Laura wore again her sprigged, pale pink lawn dress and her new hat with the ostrich tips now sewed on tightly.

Mary’s dress was a blue lawn with small white flowers scattered over it. Her hat was a white straw sailor with a blue ribbon band. Beneath its brim in back her hair was a great mass of twisted gold, and golden bangs curled richly on her forehead, above her eyes as blue as her ribbons.


Refashion: Market Skirt

6 Feb

Another Goodwill shirt from the refashion pile. It was a really nice J. Crew button-down–great print, good fabric–but it had a big tear on one front and the sleeve had been weirdly and inexpertly darned. So I made a market skirt.

She really doesn't frown all the time.

The white is something random from my stash–I don’t think it’s entirely cotton, but it’s very white.

Also, since my machine can’t make buttonholes (only a few more weeks!), I skipped the pocket for now.

My mom made the sweater. A provided the stain.

I did cut up the shirt sleeves to make bloomers for A to wear under this in the spring, but they turned out awfully big. At some point I’ll try to fix them up.

Before or after consuming an entire handful of sand?

This is one of the first things I’ve made for her that she actually seemed to get excited about–but not as excited as she gets about this green bag twice a week:

Sorry, Stacey.

Refashions–especially ones that require any cleverness in cutting out the new pieces–always make me think of this exchange from Louisa May Alcott’s An Old-Fashioned Girl:

“A little checked silk was sent in our spring bundle from Mrs. Davenport, and Mother said Kit might have it if she could make it do. So I washed it nicely, and we fussed and planned, but it came short by half of one sleeve. I gave it up, but Kit went to work and matched every scrap that was left so neatly that she got out the half sleeve, put it on the under side, and no one was the wiser. How many pieces do you think she put in, Maud?”

“Fifty,” was the wise reply.

“No, only ten, but that was pretty well for a fourteen-year-old dressmaker. You ought to have seen the little witch laugh in her sleeve when any one admired the dress, for she wore it all summer and looked as pretty as a pink in it. Such things are great fun when you get used to them; besides, contriving sharpens your wits, and makes you feel as if you had more hands than most people.”


This Moment

4 Feb

This Moment

With SouleMama

Refashion: Dress Shirt to Shirtdress

29 Jan

The end of January is approaching, and with it the deadline for my 2/ month sewing projects resolution. I got this shirt for C at Goodwill a while ago, but, since he didn’t like it, it ended up in my languishing refashion pile. This mini-tutorial outlines some easy steps to turn a dress shirt into a shirtdress, and I decided to try it out. 


Yes, the template shirt is heading straight for the wash, and that's not my drink.

The sleeves were a bit tricky. I opened up the shirt at the shoulders and used the curve to cut out a sleeve. Originally I wanted to use the cuffs, but they’re so big that they ended up looking a bit ridiculous.


This looks a lot more deliberate than it was.

After an emergency run to Jo-Ann’s to pick up some elastic thread, which I’d unaccountably run out of, I was able to finish this pretty quickly. 


Abby is saying "DurDur," her current interpretation of "turtle."

There are no closeups, because the stitching is totally wack. Which is why I’m really looking forward to my birthday next month: I’m getting the joint present of a new sewing machine!!!!


I got a little turned around with the instructions for the ties, so I just winged it.

I’m torn right now between a Babylock Tempo and a Bernina 330. The Bernina is much more expensive, but … it’s a Bernina. 


On the other hand, I’m never going to be much more than a hobby sewist, so I probably don’t need a machine that costs almost a month’s rent.


Abby's Ellen Tree.

On the other other hand, they do last forever. And a month’s rent amortized over forever is, well, practically free.


C is starting to receive law school admissions. Right now it’s looking like Excellent Public School or Fancy Private School. We’ll see! 


In Review: 2011

31 Dec

Finished sewing projects, only a few of which I actually want to link to: 32

Finished knitting projects (at least, four finished and blogged. It’s possible I left some out): 4


I haven’t been knitting very much. It’s partly because I’m having trouble committing to projects, and it’s also because I’m not making good use of my knitting time. C almost always drives when we go somewhere, and I never bring my knitting. If I knit every time I was in the car, I’d probably have at least … SIX finished projects!

There’s been a big learning curve with the sewing. I’m getting better at picking fabric, that’s for sure, but I still have a lot to learn.

Resolutions for 2012:

  • Buy fabric with a specific project in mind (at least until I learn more about buying fabric)
  • Branch out from quilting cottons!
  • Focus on one major knitting project at a time
  • Spend less time thinking about sewing and knitting and more time actually doing it!
  • Don’t let 75% finished projects sit around for six months.

Goals for 2012:

  • Knitted: 12
  • Sewn: 24, including a handful of items that I actually wear

We have a big, exciting (and scary!) year coming up, so I may get derailed. But creating things is really important to my mental well-being, and I’m going to try to do it more mindfully this year.

FO: Cosy Tank Top

19 Dec

This tank top is one of the first things I ever made, beside some ill-conceived and executed scarves. I made it for my quasi-ironic hope chest long before Abby was around and rediscovered it the other day in one of my periodic stash dives. Image

It’s designed to add an extra layer of warmth over pajamas and turns out to be perfect for doing just that. 


A few days ago, we set aside the sleep sacks A’s been in for the past year, since they’ve finally gotten undeniably small. I don’t really want to buy more, but she’s not awesome at keeping her new owl blanket on, so this tank top has actually come in handy.


Here’s a closeup so you can admire the horrific seaming job.
And finally, a comparison, where you can see the dramatic improvement that three years has made. On the left, the inside seam of the tank top. I think it’s supposed to be mattress stitch, but I wouldn’t swear to it. On the right, the seam from the sweater that I just finished. Beautiful! I’m so proud of that seam. 
Pattern: Cosy Tank Top
Yarn: Can’t remember–I think the off-white is Rowan Cashcott, and the brown is some washable baby something or other.
Notes and Mods: None, except I think i-cord might be nicer as an edging. I’m not a huge fan of this sort of crocheted edging. 

FO: Owl quilt

15 Dec

Yes, this quilt is a little ugly. Owls are big around here right now, a close first ahead of trains, and it’s adorable when A points and says “oww! oww!,” so, when she spotted the fabric at Joann’s a few months ago, I bought it. This is what you get when your fourteen-month old (now seventeen-month old) picks out the fabric.

I pieced it pretty quickly and then let it age for a while while I contemplated my next steps. Quilts are a craft I’ve never had too much interest in, since they require a precision that’s not really my forte, and anyway my sewing machine is not really designed for anything more than casual use.

Also binding is my nemesis.

It turns out, my thanks to Made by Rae, that you don’t actually have to attach binding–you can use the backing itself, which I even think I like better than separate binding.

A seems to like it. I’m not totally satisfied with the color choices, patterns, or evenness of the stitching or cutting (which I realize is pretty much everything, for a quilt), but the overall effect is cute.

Also, I figured out that the real hindrance to my crafting is not actually lack of mojo or lack of time. C just bought a new game for his Xbox, and suddenly I have all the time for crafting I could possibly want!

FO, sort of: Simplicity 3511

21 Sep

I wish I had something better to show for the past two weeks, but the fact is that I don’t. This project was frustrating. I expected it to be easy (the package even claims to be easy-to-sew), and I guess it wasn’t exactly hard, but there were some time-consuming bits. Sleeves always add an extra day for me, and I had to unpick and resew the yoke because of a stupid error, and the fabric was cheap and so I could never get it quite true. That’s why the body of the dress looks a little slanted. I admit that it looks a little Laura Ingalls, but shortening it and adding some leggings will updated the whole thing.

The kicker is that it’s much too big for A right now, so big that there’s not even any point in taking pictures, much less hemming it. So instead of cute baby pictures, I have only poorly exposed hanger-on-a-door pictures. I know that it’ll fit her great sometime next year, but after all that work I would like to ooh and aah over an adorable baby in a dress.

Despite the agony, I’m pleased with how it came out. The sleeves went in perfectly, and everything nicely finished and lined up. Oh! Except for the buttons. My machine just doesn’t do buttonholes–it claims to, but it lies–and the zigzag isn’t even enough to manually sew it, so I have no choice but to do it by hand or to use snaps. I think I’m going to go with snaps.

I love a set-in sleeve!

Next up: when I was at Joann’s two weeks ago, Abby went nuts for a bolt of fabric, bright blue covered with stylized owls. I bought it for her and am going to try my hand at quilting. Let’s see what happens!

Hey, Y’all!

30 Jun

I was super excited this morning to see that I’ve been linked up by Destri over at The Mother Huddle, a great crafty mom site that I’ve used for various tutorials. If you’re visiting from there, welcome! I am very new to this blogging thing, and totally out of my depth around all the amazing artists and creators who are part of the internet crafting community. But it’s just thrilling to feel like I’m a teeny part of it.

Hope you like what you see, and I’d love it if you subscribed!

Whoa! a FO!: Sadie Shirt, take two

16 Jun

When I was a wee first-year grad student, a faculty member whom I admire and respect greatly told a friend of mine that she should take at least 1/2 hr a day to do something for herself. When my friend told me that, we had a good laugh: we both insisted that we needed hours and hours a day to ourselves to craft, cook, work out, read, watch TV, what have you.

Well, now I’ve married and spawned, and I can tell you that I would jump at the chance some days to have 1/2 an hour for myself–especially this week. You see, my babysitters (mom and dad) have both been out of commission lately, so all my spare time has gone to writing my dissertation rather than crafting or blogging. This has understandably made me a little cranky, so I decided today to take a mental health day and finish up my second attempt at the Sadie Shirt. (First attempt here.)

I thrifted a men’s XL Gap shirt a while ago and had it earmarked for a little shirt for Abby. After redrafting a pattern with a lot more wiggle room, I cut, sewed, and ended up with this:

A little assistance from Granddad in remaining upright.

Cute! It only took a couple of hours, and would have taken even less time if I had not: 1) sewed the right to the wrong sides; 2) had to recut the placket and ruffles; and 3) sewed the right to the wrong side of the placket and ruffles. I have absolutely no spatial sense, friends. (You might justly point out that sewing is not the best hobby for someone who has no spatial sense.) I’ve learned to be content with imperfection and to be resigned to having to pick out at least as many seams as I set in.

Can you see the dirt in her neckfolds?

I’m pretty thrilled with this. Except for a few stray threads, it looks almost professional. Chris and I wandered through a Wal-Mart the other day while waiting to go see a movie, and I inspected the seams of a few of their rompers. Blech! Compared to that, I have no reason to be ashamed of my insides.

Going after the dog.

Well, I’m still too ashamed to take pictures. That day may come. In the meantime, here’s another picture of the placket: