Seamwork Denali

After living in Portland for a few months, my husband had grown a Portland-appropriate beard. He thought it was about time that he had a vest.  I offered to make him one using the Denali pattern from the Seamwork magazine. He loves how it came out.  So do I!

IMG_0153If it were up to me, I probably would have chosen a more subtle color combination.But, my husband, who wears gray 90% of the time, wanted something less boring.

I traced the pattern (size L) with Swedish tracing paper and did tissue fitting. I added 2 inches in length. I took it in 1/2 inch under the arm on back and front pieces and scaled to zero at the notches. It fits perfectly at the chest. He thought it could be a little snugger at the waist, but I think the little bit of room makes it easier to sit without unsnapping.


IMG_0149 I used gray wool felt, navy water resistant canvas, and mustard corduroy, all from fabric. com. I quilted the canvas with wool batting. I used non symmetrical pattern that was inspired by a nau jacket. You can’t tell, but I really like how the quilting turned out. I think I have more quilted clothing in my future.


Painted Portrait Blouse

This is my sleeveless Painted Portrait blouse. Oh, I love this pattern!  I really like the neckline and the the yoke in the front.  It has side panels that create a great fit at the bust without darts.  It’s great for a lightweight fabric.  I used polka-dot cotton lawn for this one.  The only thing that’s a bit challenging with this pattern is that it has quite a bit of hand sewing at the end.

painted portrait top crop

I’m not that great at hand sewing, so I don’t really enjoy doing it.  The whole time I think “hmmm…is this going to hold in the wash?” That’s pretty sad.  I’m looking for ways to get better. Also, spending time hand sewing means that it takes me even longer to finish a garment.  I have so little time to sew right now – with a 4 year old a 4 month old and a dissertation to write. Nonetheless, I’ve made 4 iterations of this pattern.  My favorite is my painted portrait dress with an African wax yoke.   I’ll post that one soon.

Wedding Outfit


This is the second part of S’s wedding outfit. I enjoyed my little brother’s wedding so much that I forgot to take a good photo!  This is the best one I have.

I made MImi’s Suspender Shorts from Sewing for Boys.  It was so new to sewing that I didn’t realize that I had to finish the seams.  It’s pretty ugly inside.  The wedding was at the very end of last summer, and he only wore it this one time.  Maybe I’ll retrospectively serge the seam allowances. It might still fit this summer, though I’m not sure when he’ll want to wear suspenders.

I found the tie pattern here.  I’m happy that I made a real tie instead of a clip on. Once it’s tied, it stays on well.  S. loved it too.  He likes to wear the tie to school.   I had to watch this video REPEATEDLY while tying the tie.  I don’t know if I’m slow, but I couldn’t do it without simultaneously watching the video.

Linen Wedding Jacket


I love this jacket.  Too bad it was only worn for 90 seconds and may never be worn again!  I made it for S to wear to my brother’s summer wedding.  It’s linen with cotton lawn lining.  As a sewing newbie, this project made me less afraid of jackets and linings.

I made a muslin that I plan to dye with an ombre effect.  Should be a fun outdoor activity to do with S when it gets warm.

Pattern is the out on the town jacket from Sewing for Boys.  The fabric is from Denver Fabrics.

curious george shirt

It’s so nice to make something that your kid actually wants to wear!  Last year, I knitted a couple sweaters for Saj and he hated wearing them.  Now he loves those sweaters.  AND he like everything else I’ve been making him, too.  He’s starting to understand that it’s special when your mommy makes you something. Continue reading

wiksten tank – the first attempt

ImageThis is my first wiksten tank (please excuse the poor photo quality – I forgot to lower my ISO).  It’s the first item of clothing I’ve made for myself and it was a bit of a disaster.   I felt like I was attacking this fabric (from Anthology Fabric’s Maya collection by Leah Duncan) until it gave me a tank.  I felt bad for abusing this beautiful print.  But, as you can see, it doesn’t look too bad.  The people that I saw while wearing it insisted that it looked store bought. It’s a beautiful pattern.

The difficult part was the neck and armhole binding.  I couldn’t understand the directions and I guessed about what I was supposed to do.  I guessed wrong!   I’ve already made a second wiksten tank, which I will post about soon.  I tried a new approach to the neck and armhole, but it’s still not right.  Luckily, I’ve found some tutorials that I hope will solve the problem.  So, the next attempt should be more of a success. I’m optimistic.

treasure pocket shorts


These treasure pocket shorts are the first pair of pants I’ve made.  The pattern is from Sewing for Boys.  Overall, I love how these turned out. My son loves the pockets. The pattern is a little bit complicated, so I felt like a skilled pant-maker when they were complete (which, of course, I am not). Since I made these, I’ve made 2 pairs of pants using the simple and free pattern from Dana Made It.  Doing a combination of complicated and simple patterns helps me think about possibilities for creating my own pattern.

I used left over fabric from the scavenger bag project, which I bought at a local discount fabric store.  I cut the fabric months ago, but I didn’t start the project for a while for 2 reasons.  First, the pattern called for single folded bias tape and I couldn’t find it anywhere.  Eventually, someone at the local boutique fabric store, Spool, told me that I could just press my two fold bias tape so that it just had one fold.  I could have also made my own.  Because I’m new to all this, I had no idea what single fold bias tape would look like or how to make it.

After the bias tape problem was solved, I was intimidated by the first step in the instructions. I couldn’t understand how I was supposed to sew the bias tape to the pocket front. Luckily, I found a sew-along from one of the Sewing for Boys authors.  It was really helpful!  I also learned from the book website that I needed to cut a new pattern piece because of an error in the book.

I’m looking forward to making a pant version of these.  I love planning contrasting fabric combinations!

Art Satchel


Another sewing project from Growing Up Sew Liberated. I made this art satchel for my niece’s third birthday.  I was going to make one for my son, but I don’t think it’s quite right for our lifestyle.  It’s a little bit unwieldy — it’s perfect for a suburban kid that spends a lot of time in the backyard.  Since we live in the city, we usually walk or ride our bikes to the park to draw. This would be a little too big to carry with us.Image

I used Jessica Jones Outside Oslo fabric, which I bought at Crafty Planet during a visit to Minneapolis.  I love that store.  I think I was in there for at least an hour before I chose the fabric.  Saj and Scott were napping in the car.  I’m so indecisive.  And fabric stores exacerbate this character trait!

I used 1/4 inch masonite to create the hard surface of the satchel.  The pattern calls for plexiglass, but my local plastic shop wanted to charge me $10 per piece, or $20 total.  That’s more than I wanted to spend on this.  I already splurged a bit on the fabric. We had some masonite left over from a renovation project.  I think it might actually be lighter than the plexi.

I stitched my niece’s name in the fabric using a chain stitch.  This is my first needlework project.


I chose a font and typed her name in Illustrator.  Of course, any program would work.   I just liked that I could determine the size of the letters (in inches) in Illustrator.  Then I traced the letters on a piece of tracing paper. I pinned the tracing paper to the fabric and I stitched right through the letters. I think I saw Rebecca Rinquist‘s students stitchng through paper at Squam.  This is how it turned out.Image