Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sun hats

It's finally getting warm and sunny in Wisconsin, which means it's sun protection season for us pale people. While sunscreen is de rigueur for spending more than a few minutes outside, you may have noticed my obsession with another sun protection method - hats. I'll readily admit that this is partly an excuse to occasionally get new hats like this beauty.

The real challenge is the kiddo, who inherited my super pale skin coloring. He needs sun protection but doesn't always consent to wearing a hat. For some reason, the cuter the hat, the more likely he is to take it off. Let's not discuss his reaction to the first hat I sewed for him (which I still have to show you), but at least he seems to like the second.

A bucket hat is classic for a little boy. This pattern comes out of the book Sewn Hats (which I've used few times now) and the fabric is what I found in my stash that had enough yardage and wasn't flowery.

I made a few modifications, including:
  • I used a heavyweight interfacing for the brim.
  • I lined the inside of the crown instead of adding an interfacing and using the recommended bias tape seam finishing.
  • I added a chin strap just in case kiddo didn't like to keep this hat on his head.

Happily, kiddo likes to wear this hat and has even brought it to me and asked for help with putting it on! So now I can worry a bit less about having a toddler with sunburn. Whew.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Nerdy York

Have you ever fallen in love with something at first sight? I think this is fairly common among crafters. We see a yarn or fabric, we covet it, and it doesn't matter that we have no project in mind because we just have to have it. This lovely flora and fauna cotton voile was definitely that type of fabric.

I've been a fan of cotton voile since I used it in my first Scout Tee and could not resist more in an amazing print. If you've never used cotton voile before, it is a lightweight and soft cotton but can sometimes look a bit rumpled after washing or with wear.

My challenge with this fabric then was to show off the amazing print while taking advantage of the fabric's properties. I put the compromise at sewing a simple silhouette. After some back and forth, I settled on Seamwork's York top with some minor tweaks:
  1. Because voile can rumple, I decided to forgo the sleeve cuffs.
  2. To avoid visually interrupting the fabric's pattern, I did not bind the neckline but instead used single fold bias tape to stabilize the inside of the neckline; this gives an uninterrupted pattern from hem to neckline. I used the main fabric for the bias binding.
  3. Due to the above modification, I could not easily implement the called-for tie at the back neck (not that I really wanted a tie), so I added a small loop of bias binding and a button to close the top back. If I remake this pattern, I might skip the back seam and closure entirely as the neckline is wide enough to go over my head.
  4. I made sure the pattern lined up at the back seam, requiring vertical adjustments of the two pieces (of less than 1 inch) and then trimming the two pieces to be symmetric. (I also made front piece have symmetry down the middle.)
  5. I took off almost 2 inches from the bottom hem for a more flattering length.
  6. I used french seams for all of the seams.

Now that I see this list, I'm impressed with my sewing ability to be totally comfortable making all of these tweaks. My more frequent sewing projects are really paying off in terms of elevating the small details in my projects. So win for my sewing skills.

Besides being happy with my sewing skills, can I just say how much I love this top? The fabric is perfect and I love how flattering the pattern is on my body. Happiness all around.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


One of my new year's resolutions is to sew more - at least an hour every week. Three months into this resolution, I think it's going really well as projects are getting done at a nice pace (a couple of which are gifts and can't be shown here quite yet).

This particular project has been done for about a month and has been waiting for good pictures in order to be shared - something that is surprisingly difficult when baby gets up before sunrise and goes to bed after dark.

The obvious solution is to get the baby (and the dog) in the photo! Daylight saving time is also helping.

This skirt is perhaps one of the most satisfying things I have ever sewn. I think it was the combination of a quick-to-assemble pattern (Mabel from Colette Patterns) and an easy-to-work-with fabric (ponte knit). Seriously, this thing came together with just about an hour of sewing and was one of the smoothest knitted fabric projects I've done yet. I even got my twin-needle hem to come out perfectly! Count me in as a ponte convert.

I think this is going to be a go-to wardrobe essential this summer!

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Convenient Mistake

It’s amazing to make a bad sewing mistake and then have it turn out to be exactly the modification you needed to do anyway. In this case, I’m sewing my second Scout Tee (first blogged here) and made a mistake in cutting - I cut the back piece with the fold at the side seam instead of in the middle. *headdesk*

Honestly, the problem started because I was short on yardage - the pattern calls for 1 2/3 yds and I had a 1 1/6 yd remnant. The only way I could have made all the pattern pieces fit on the fabric was by doing exactly what I did. I just did it all by accident.

The question then became how to fix things. The most obvious answer was to cut the back piece in two and make an extra seam up the middle back (and boy was I thankful I made this mistake on the back and not the front!). After that, I took 1/8” out of the side seams to make up for the extra back seam. The back looks a little odd with the big print, but the shirt still fits and is totally wearable.

After making two Scout Tees now, I'm still super happy with this pattern. There is a high probability that Scout will become my go-to shirt pattern. It's just so easy to put together and fits well. Plus, it looks great - particularly in this awesome Hawaii fabric!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Review

2016 has been a sparse year for crafting but, looking back, I'm surprised by how much I've been able to get done. The biggest reason, of course, for the lack of craft time is this little monster (who is getting less little every day):

My favorite 2016 baby picture, from September

No surprise that kidlet was on the receiving end of a number of handmade items, including a blanket, booties, and some awesome leiderhosen.

I also did a little sewing for myself, in the form of a shirt and pants.

I even fit in a little spinning this year (which  might have been related to my stumble in the Fiber Optic booth at WI Sheep & Wool).

Finally, the thing I'm most glad to have finished in 2016 is a pair of placemats. I still have to complete the set but at least I have something finished after 3 years of this project hanging around.

I have big plans for 2017 that include more crafting. In fact, one of my New Year's resolutions to carve out at least one hour per week to craft. So hopefully I'll have lots of awesome handmade items to show off at this time next year!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Ready for Christmas

It's inevitable that, being a crafter, one will have multi-year projects hanging around the house. Those that start and stop in cycles until many years after one starts the project, it is finally finished. This is the story of one such project, though I'm still working on finishing it.

This project started in 2013, when my mother-in-law bought me a "Table Settings with Charm" pattern at Village Creek in Lodi, WI while on a quilt shop hop. I bought the fabric, 25th and Pine Charm, in 2014. By 2015, I finished the tops for the 4 placemats and 1 table runner.

This year, I vowed to have at least 2 of the placemats done in time to use for Christmas - enough for me and the husband to use. I thankfully made that deadline just in time. It's not my best quilting job (I'm not 100% happy with how I quilted the center) but we will have placemats.

Now I just have to find time to quilt the other 2 placemats and table runner and finish everything. Maybe in time for Christmas 2018?

Monday, October 17, 2016

WI Sheep and Wool

I made it to Wisconsin Sheep and Wool last month, this time accompanied by this little guy. He was such a trooper while Mom shopped, caught up with knitting friends, and watched sheepdog trials. The sheepdog trials were particularly great as we watched in the afternoon instead of our usual morning viewing and got to see the more experienced dogs. Nothing is better than watching dogs herd.

I vowed to be good this year and told myself I did not need any more yarn or fiber. That resolution lasted until I hit the Fiber Optic booth. I'm so addicted that I immediately spotted the new gradients Kimber had available this year. I could not resist picking up a new Wild Thyme fiber pack (mine is more muted in color than the photo) and this Damson-to-Gold gradient made of merino-tencel. I just love the look of the tencel in the braid and couldn't resist it.

I've actually already spun up the Wild Thyme gradient. I pulled out my Louet S10 wheel and made approximately DK weight singles. It was very pleasant to spend a couple evenings with my wheel, especially as I've been mostly spinning on a spindle in the last year.

Overall it was a nice day trip and I'm really glad baby was laid back about everything. WI Sheep and Wool is one of my favorite fall traditions.