Checking Things Off My List

Friday, December 19, 2014

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I've been in need of a small bag for sewing extras for a long time now. I finally decided to whip up this small bag with some extra waxed canvas I have from another project in the works. I also happened to have a small amount of light woven fabric for the lining and a zipper. I love when things come together! I bought my waxed canvas here - such a great shop!

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Also on my project list - an eye mask. I used this free template. It worked out great, except my flub up on the curve with the bias tape. How do you do that? Tips? Send them my way, please! Coincidentally, I also had all the supplies on hand. 

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Lastly, I've been thinking of ways to more efficiently stash my Glad Rags when they're not in use. I basically changed the dimensions and used this tutorial. I opted to forgo the lining and added a couple of handles on each end to make zipping a little easier. So quick! 

Knitting Flore

Thursday, December 18, 2014

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I've been working on the Flore sweater pattern by Julie Hoover. I really like it. It's very straight forward for a first time sweater project. I went to a local yarn shop recently to ask about how to divide the yoke because I misread something/was over thinking it. The kind woman gave me a very helpful tip: "it's easy to over think these things sometimes." I laughed because I do tend to over think things! I'm trying to be less analytical of the instructions and I've been able to progress independently now. I hope I can finish it on my own, though I suspect I might need some assistance with the neckline. We'll see.

I opted to make a solid because I tend to gravitate towards solids over tiny stripes and I did not want to take on tiny stripes for my first sweater. I'm obsessed with the yarn I'm using. I keep trying to find more projects to make so I can buy more of this yarn! It's as soft as cotton, not even the tiniest bit itchy. You'd never suspect it is wool.

Do you knit? What have you been working? I'd love to see. I'm always scouring the web for new patterns and love seeing what other people are working on.

In other news: I made a hat and mittens!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

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It's been a goal of mine to write my own pattern for a hat, but in the mean time, I whipped up this Jul hat. Isn't it so pretty? I love the pattern and the extra special purl stitches throughout the pattern. The yarn I used has flecks of lavender and a light blue throughout, but it doesn't show well in the photos. It's also incredibly soft wool. I have found that organic wool is superior in softness to conventional wool. I cannot tolerate conventional wool, but organic wool…I'm hooked! 

I also whipped up a pair of Cozy Purl Ridge mittens to match. The pattern is equally well-written and easy to follow. I skipped the ridge portion of the pattern, but next time I make them I might  add some contrast stripes or something. I've been wearing both pieces often. 

P.S. You can see all my notes about the patterns on Ravelry, if you like. :) 

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Knitting: The Jul Hat

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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I just bought the Jul hat pattern by Jenny Gordy! It is so lovely. I'm nearly halfway done already; it is such a quick little project, which is a great way to get my feet wet with knitting after a Summer of no knitting (not what I had planned).

I'm using this organic yarn in the color Heather Moorland, which has been sitting in my stash for far too long. I actually bought it and even began working on a cardigan for mini when she was just a tiny baby and I learned very quickly that knitting a cardigan (above my skill set) while also trying to care for a baby was, in my case, impossible. Anyway, it's being put to good use now, so I'm happy about that.

I'm also working on some of my own knit wear that I hope to have up in my shop by October. Once I finish the Jul hat, I'm going to begin working on the Chelsea Cardigan. Eeepp!! My first sweater/cardigan. I cannot wait. I hope it goes as smoothly as a first sweater project can go.

Portside Travel Set

Friday, September 12, 2014

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I just finished (with the exception of lining the dopp bag and duffel) the Portside travel set. I have had my eye on this set for a while, but avoided it because I thought it looked like a big undertaking. I decided to begin with the easiest bag - the pouch, then I completed the duffel and the dopp bag. Over all, it's a very good pattern. My biggest frustration was in finding the right zipper length for the 21" and 13" zippers. I checked at all the local craft and fabric stores in my area within an hour radius. I also searched online, including Etsy. I finally bought longer zippers than the pattern recommends, which was not ideal, but it works. I also had a difficult time finding the correct side D-rings in the color and material I wanted (brass antique metal, not plastic) and matching swivel hooks in the right size. 

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I did make two changes to the bag. First, I decided to quilt the bottom of the duffel. I also decided to serge all seams after first sewing them with my sewing machine. Canvas frays like crazy. I wanted everything to be washer friendly and hold up well over time. The pattern uses a 1/2" seam allowance, so you have plenty of room to sew and then serge, if you like. I would not recommend just serging the edges before sewing because if you make a mistake a serge stitch is a beast to seam rip. 

Something to be mindful of when looking for the swivel hooks, D-rings, and webbing is that each of those items can be found under different names, so be thorough when you ask employees or search online. When I bought my notions at my local JoAnns I also found that everything could be found in two or more places throughout the store. For example, the brand of D-rings and swivel hooks I bought were in purse findings, not with the other brands of d-rings, swivel hooks and other notions. The cotton webbing (aka belting) was also found in two places in the store. The only place I found the right size and color of swivel hook (aka dog leash hook) was in the purse finding aisle at JoAnns. I could not find the size and color anywhere else.

Here's a list of where I bought my organic fabric and notions: Natural canvas // plum twill // zippers (amazing customer service and she sets up custom listings!) // D-rings // swivel hooks //cotton batting for quilting the bottom of the duffel // organic interfacing alternative // cotton webbing (aka belting) is from joann fabrics and can only be found in store. 

The pattern over all is very good. There are a couple steps that I would do differently next time. For example, the instructions have you sew on the webbing straps to the sides of the bag first, then iron and sew in the zipper. If I were to make this bag again, I'd put the zipper in first. It was just a bit cumbersome to work around the thick webbing when trying to accurately iron and sew the zipper in. 

I also ran into trouble with the Dopp bag. My pieces did not line up correcting - the upper front was half an inch taller than the single piece for the pocket. I checked and rechecked my pattern pieces and retraced my steps and found no fault of my own. I plan to make another dopp bag for my brother so hopefully I don't encounter the same problem again. Ultimately, I just trimmed the excess and it came together just fine. 

The instructions also say to hand sew in the lining. I plan to machine sew in my lining. Easy change!

Lastly, the instructions for creating the strap were difficult for me to understand. I finally just began playing around with the looping and figured it out on my own. This is where a sew along would be handy. 

Even with the hiccups I encountered, I'd still recommend this pattern again and again. The duffel is very generous in size (my body pillow can fit inside with all my clothing!) as is the dopp bag, which can easily fit regular size bottles if you don't use travel sizes. The pouch is great too and so easy that I whipped up an extra one because why not! 

Another Hemlock Styled Three Ways

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

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Once you make a hemlock tee you'll probably want to make ten more because they're super easy to make and easily one of the most comfortable tee shirts I've ever worn. This is my second hemlock. I shortened the sleeves for the warmer months and it's been in heavy rotation. I can wear it was just about everything because stripes are almost as versatile as a grey tee while kicking it up a notch in style. I used the same bamboo knit I used for my first wiksten tank and matched up my stripes again. It has to be beginner's luck because pattern matching is no easy feat. 

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One Hemlock Styled Three Ways

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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I downloaded the hemlock pattern months ago. I whipped one up in no time using some extra interlock fabric to test out the fit. It was a definite oversized fit on my frame. I took it in by folding the center/fold line in one inch and it's just enough drape for my liking. This top is also the first garment I made using my serger, which sat unused for three months after I very hesitantly bought it. If you're also intimated by using a serger, let me just say that they're far easier to use than all their spools of thread and threading techniques would lead you to believe. I learned how to use mine by tutorials on youtube and haven't had any problems that weren't quickly resolved. 

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I made my Hemlock Tee using a hemp/organic cotton blend in a goes-with-everything gray. Additionally, I have a rule about things that enter my closet - it must be something I care pair with at least three things to create three different outfits. Obviously, gray goes well with almost anything so it was an easy choice. I do love versatility and simplicity in my clothing and the Hemlock tee really is both of those things. Can't wait to whip up more!

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Quilt Inspiration

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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Making a quilt has been a goal for months. I bought fabric around a year ago and when it began coming to fruition it was nothing like I had imagined it would look. My brother told me it looked like a circus tent, ha! Not the look I was going for. So I decided on some new inspiration and a simpler design to ensure it was manageable and something I'd enjoy looking at and using for years. 

This floral quilt is perfect. I love the colors, the florals, there isn't a thing I'd change about it. If I could find a floral fabric I loved, I would definitely go for it. I haven't been able to find a floral that I think would suit a quilt though. Know of any? My choices are somewhat limited because I am on the hunt for organic cottons.

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This is actually a rug, as you can probably see. I love the detail work and thought just maybe I could use a contrast thread and and sew diamonds and zig zags, but how? That is the question. I don't want to use a marking device because I've experienced them not washing out/fading away in the past, pins won't be precise enough. Maybe tape? That just came to mind as I was typing. Now I'm really excited. Any thoughts? Will it work? I'm thinking scotch tape or masking tape.

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I like how simple and striking this quilt is. I want my quilt to have wow factor and also calming. Maybe that's a lot o ask for? I don't like overly stimulating colors in general and especially not in the bedroom. I have half a yard of this neat triangle fabric that I bought more than a year ago. I love it so much I haven't used it at all. I've even contemplated just framing it because I'm afraid to cut into it! Have you experienced this with fabrics? I wanted the perfect project and I think it would work well if I went with the above quilt concept and I might even be able to incorporate the fun stitching in quilt number two. 

Photo credits: top // middle // bottom

Toddler Backpack's Are Where It's At

Monday, June 30, 2014

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 Pattern // Koi Smile & Wave Canvas  // Zipper  // Batting (all materials used are organic)

For a year or so I toted around a backpack with all of my things and all the toddler essentials. You know-a few snacks, an extra pair of clothes, a couple books, something to draw on, a water bottle, sunglasses, a wet bag (just in case!), a doll and anything else that mini me decides is needed for a few hours running around town. Time passed, as it has a habit of doing, and I transitioned to a purse (see ya later backpack, you will not be missed!) I thought it was high time I whip up something special for mini me to carry her own things around in. After all, she is always carrying around my old purses anyway, why not make something for her?! So I did. I used this fantastic pattern and it holds all of her essentials perfectly. 

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The straps look uneven. They are not. I used organic duck fabric that I had on hand and it worked just as well as what the pattern called for. I also used strap adjusters from an old Jansport backpack (remember those?) Apparently, the style I had is now vintage. Now I'm wishing I would have tried to sell it on Etsy. Note to self: check etsy before selling any 90s accessories or apparel from this day forward.  

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The bottom of the backpack is quilted. So pretty. This was the first time I've quilted anything. Now I want to quilt everything. Then I think, wait, this was a small quilting project… I should reign it in before I start quilting an entire bedspread. I have dreams of making a quilt. I keep reminding myself to keep it simple for quilt number one. Baby steps.

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The straps looked intimidating to me. I'm easily intimated when it comes to sewing. Then I read the instructions and was like, I can do that! No big deal. 

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This detail comes in really handy for us, as this backpack spends most of its life in use or on a hook. I like how cute and little it is. I like how cute and little all of mini me's things are, which is why I'm a real sucker for children's sewing patterns. 

There you have it, a simple backpack for the toddler in your life. It comes together quickly and easily, which is hard to imagine because it looks complicated. The pattern also includes simple instructions for making it a bit bigger for school-aged children. Just think of all the amazing backpacks you could make! The possibilities are endless. If it weren't for my efforts to base our lives on need versus want, mini me would probably have 3 of these by now. Seriously. 

A Striped Wiksten

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

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There is no better way to begin creating your perfectly curated and handmade clothing than to add a wiksten tank. And that is exactly what I did. :) A striped wiksten in a delicious bamboo knit; it has the perfect amount of drape. I could not be more pleased with it. I even managed to nicely align the stripes on both sides. If you've worked with pattern matching, you can understand my excitement.

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I have already worn it several times since making it a week ago. I can't wait to make more. Now all I need to do is decide on the fabric. Honestly, I have a more difficult time choosing fabric than sewing…usually, ha! Oh, I also slashed the back of the pattern- adding about an inch in width on each side of the fold line for a little extra drape in the back. 

Time To Blog About Sewing

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while. I started sewing garments for myself when I came across a tutorial for a maxi skirt a couple years ago and I've been smitten with sewing my own garments ever since. Smitten as I was, I didn't actually sew many of my own clothes because my sewing skills were very basic - like I hadn't sewn since home ec basic.

Nowadays, I scour the internet for new designers, mommy friendly patterns, kiddo patterns, and daydream about which garment to make next. I still have so much to learn, but I'm hoping to make some friends (none of my friends sew!) and share the garments I make for myself and my toddler.