A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 in Review

Well, it's time for another review post! Writing this post last year was an involved process, but I've been happy multiple times this year that I put in the effort. That post (and the monthly round-ups I did this year) have been very helpful references for me.

My sewing was broken up by our move in 2018, and it's taking me some time to figure out how to fit my hobby into life here.  But I feel as though I was definitely more purposeful in both my sewing and fabric purchasing in 2018 than I have ever been before.

First, let's talk about the sewing.

In 2018, I sewed 73 items.  (If that sounds like a lot, consider that I really do mean "items" - so whether I spent four weeks working on a dress, or hemmed a square of fabric to make a bandana, either way that counts as one item.)  Of those 73 pieces, 47 percent (34 items) were for myself, and 53 percent (39 items) were for others.  Here's the visual breakdown of what I sewed for myself this year.

Friday, December 21, 2018

November 2018

Just a wee bit of sewing happened in November this year.


I sewed a black velvet shrug using this Lekala pattern (my first, thanks to a gift voucher from lovely generous Nicole). I needed the shrug to wear with my Marine Ball gown. I was nervous submitting my measurements, thinking, what if it is too small, but it fit quite well. I would have liked a little more coverage on the sides and upper chest, but based on the line drawings, I think this fits as it is intended to.  It used about 3/4 of a yard of some stretch velvet that I purchased locally for this purpose.

July and October 2018

Oooh, this move has really kicked me in the behind a little bit. I have found it difficult to find time for sewing, much less time for blogging. I really miss both, but just haven't been able to figure out how to get the time in.

In any case, I've determined to finish up what I started with my monthly roundups and yearlong tally of fabric in and out, so there will be a few posts forthcoming even though I haven't sewed much of anything lately. There was no sewing or fabric-buying activity at all in August and September, but here are the stats for July and October.


A Blackwood cardigan using 2 yards of cotton windowpane knit I bought from Cali Fabrics in June. Due to fabric shortage the windowpanes on the neckband don't line up with the ones on the body, and the neckband pulls the body a little too tightly.  I haven't worked out how to salvage it yet, but I do wear it around the house because it's cozy.


4 yards of olive green cotton/lycra bottom weight for a pair of Ginger Jeans and maybe another pinafore.


2.5 yards of the olive green bottomweight I bought in July for another pair of jeans.  Blogged here.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Army green Gingers #5

Olive green pull-on stretch skinny jeans made from the Ginger Jeans sewing pattern by Closet Case Files.

I made another pair of Ginger jeans.  I've had army green jeans in my head since last winter, but I only found the fabric (cotton/lycra bottom weight from FabricMart) back in July.  It went on sale after I'd packed up my sewing room, so I ordered it and then threw it into the shipment.

Monday, October 15, 2018

I'm still here, with a pinafore dress

Corduroy pinafore sewn from the free pinafore sewing pattern in Sew Now Magazine by Bobbins and Buttons.

If anyone is still reading, hi, it's been a minute! Since I last blogged, we had a great summer with family before moving south to Bogota, Colombia two months ago.  This fall we've been acclimating to our new home and waiting for our stuff to arrive.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

June 2018

I'm late with June's update, primarily because I'm in a packing frenzy.  The movers come in a week and a half and I'm just a wee bit stressed out.  I'm closing up the sewing shop today so there won't be any more sewing for at least a couple months - that hasn't stopped me from buying a bit of fabric in July though.  

Without further ado, here's what I got up to last month:


Monday, June 25, 2018

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ginger Jeans 4.0

Black pull-on stretch jeans made from the Ginger Jeans sewing pattern by Closet Case Files.

Immediately after I sewed Ginger Jeans 3.0, I got to work on re-adjusting the pattern from scratch in preparation for Ginger Jeans 4.0.  To refresh, I had royally screwed up my pattern with some half-arsed pattern adjustments last time, resulting in some seriously twisted inseams.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ginger Jeans 3.0

Dark blue pull-on stretch jeans made from the Ginger Jeans sewing pattern by Closet Case Files.

I was hoping that this post would be a triumphant show-off of my new Ginger jeans, complete with diagrams showing my clever fitting modifications and their consequent improvements.

Friday, June 1, 2018

May 2018

It was a busy month, in which I spent a lot of time testing a pattern, bought a good amount of fabric than I probably should have, and also completed two pairs of jeans and a cardigan that will be very useful in Bogota.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

Me-Made-May - second half

Starting from the top, left to right:

Day 16: A Sewaholic Renfrew shirt and a new pair of Ginger Jeans (now all finished, to be blogged).
Day 18: A Josephine top and Chi-Town Chinos.  I love this outfit but it needs work.  I need to loosen the elastic in the sleeve hems of the top, and just make a new pair of the chinos, since these are too tight in the thighs and bag out to the point of falling down within a couple hours' wear.
Day 19: A Plantain tee with a brand-new cropped Blackwood Cardigan and my first pair of Ginger Jeans.

Monday, May 21, 2018

A birthday shirt for J

A pink and white plaid men's shirt made using the Thread Theory Fairfield Button-Up Shirt sewing pattern.

When my husband and I visited Mood Fabrics during our 10th anniversary trip to New York City last fall, I encouraged him to pick out some shirting so that I could make him another Fairfield Button-Up Shirt (affiliate link).  He chose two cuts.  I put them in my stash closet and promptly began procrastinating actually making the shirts.

Finally, just before his birthday, I forced myself to pull this one out and revisit the Fairfield pattern.

Having sewn this shirt a few times before, I knew that it runs small.  My husband is 6'1" and a solid M according to the size chart, but based on previous experience, I cut an M shoulder and then graded to an L at the bottom of the armscye.  As you can see, he definitely needed the L width all the way down.  I also cut the L length.  Because I wanted to keep the sleeve cap height at the medium size, I cut the entire yoke in size medium.  This meant that I needed to lengthen the back shirt about 3/8" to compensate for the loss of length in the yoke.  I mention this because I nearly forgot to do it and that would have been super-annoying.

A pink and white plaid men's shirt made using the Thread Theory Fairfield Button-Up Shirt sewing pattern.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Me-Made-May - first half

Me Made May is halfway over, and I'm rounding up my outfits the last fifteen days.  My goal this year, like last year, was to wear handmade every day and to avoid repeating full outfits.  Wearing handmade every day isn't a challenge for me anymore, as most of my clothes are made by me.  But I do tend to wear the same dozen pieces over and over again, so forcing myself to come up with new combinations is definitely an exercise.

I decided to just take crummy bathroom mirror selfies this year.  That way I'd be sure to get a photo in.  While not necessary for the challenge, having all of these photos is helpful to me to see what I like, what works, and what doesn't.  I also just enjoy the fun collage.  While the picture quality is abysmal, I've linked all the blogged items below so you can click over if you want to see more.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Jungle Green Portfolio

 Linen dress made from the Lisette Portfolio/Simplicity 2245 sewing pattern.

I know I said that my first Portfolio dress would be my most loved make of 2018, but it's already been replaced.  By my second Portfolio dress.

Monday, April 30, 2018

April 2018 and my MMM pledge

Are you participating in Me-Made May?  This will be my third year, and I've been looking forward to it for months.  I feel very prepared for it this year.  Like last year, I'm pledging to wear at least one me-made item every day.  Additionally, I am going to try not to repeat any outfits during the month (repeating garments is ok, and necessary).  I'm looking forward to the challenge, and am planning to post on IG, but probably not every day.  I will post a few round-ups here.  As for sewing, I'm currently redrafting my Ginger Jeans pattern to address my back leg wrinkles, and am hoping to sew up a pair or two during May.

But enough about May (at least, until tomorrow).  This post is about April.  It was a busy month with Easter, two weekend trips and my older daughter's spring ballet show, but I still managed to knock out a few things, including a shirt for my husband, which has been on my sewing list since we bought the fabric for it in October.


1) Art Museum Trousers for G to replace a pair he had recently outgrown.  I sewed a size 4 lengthened by 1" with enclosed welt pockets and no belt loops.  I used 33" of pinstriped denim plus scraps of airplane quilting cotton. Sewed everything in 3 hours, including time to interface my welt pieces. Ended up using a hem allowance of 3/4", so I should have lengthened by 1.75" instead of 1".  Width is perfect.  Completed 4/4

2) Bow tie for G using this tutorial and scraps. Completed 4/4.

3) Another OOP Lisette Portfolio/Simplicity 2245 for me, using 1.89 yards of 50" wide fabric bought last July.  This dress is evidence that sometimes it's good to stash fabric without a purpose. I had actually envisioned this dress in a vivid emerald green linen and kept putting it in my cart, when I remembered this cut of designer fabric that I had bought without purpose.  The linen/viscose blend fabric is cool and breezy with a gorgeous drape that was better for this dress than the linen I had originally chosen. Stash win! Completed 4/10.  Blog post coming soon.

4) Fairfield Button-Up as a birthday gift for J. I used 2.5 yards cotton shirting purchased in October to make this shirt. Completed 4/22. Will be blogged soon.

5) Four bodice muslins for a pattern test I'm doing.  88" used of an old sheet.  Completed 4/23.

I also took in the waist and hips of my houndstooth Alberta Street skirt, which has been bothering me all year because it was just too big in those areas.  It took me less than an hour and I feel like I have a whole new item of clothing in my closet.


4/21: I bought 5.33 yards of fabric to make elf costumes for my girls and my niece.  I'm not sure whether they will be helping me with the sewing or not.  All of it was bought at Joann's - one cut of sale yardage, and the rest from the remnant bin.


Fabric in: 5.33 yards
Fabric out: 7.75 yards

Fabric in YTD: 60.58 yards
Fabric out YTD: 48.23 yards

Monday, April 23, 2018

Simplicity 8166

A blue crepe dress with high button-up nick and bishop sleeves using the Simplicity 8166 sewing pattern.

I assume I am like many other mothers out there in that, while I spend a good amount of time planning holiday outfits for my kids, I am often found frantic in front of my own closet with minutes to go before we need to be somewhere looking nice.  This year's Pascha looked to be about the same, until I laid eyes on Manju's post about her Simplicity 8166 dress.  I fell instantly in love and ordered the pattern that day.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tote Bags

This tote bag is a long time coming.  I bought the fabric about five years ago, I think from this shop.  I knew I wanted to make a tote bag, but after the fabric arrived, it just languished in the stash.

Monday, April 9, 2018

I'm only seven years late to this party

A black linen dress made using the Lisette Portfolio/Simplicity 2245 sewing pattern.

I know it's only April, but I'm going to go ahead and predict that this dress will be my most-worn and most-loved make of 2018.  I'm also going to go ahead and let you know right now that this is going to be a long post.  So grab a cup of coffee, because I have a lot to say about this garment.

Friday, March 30, 2018

March 2018

March was a very satisfying month for sewing!  I finished two not-for-me projects that, to be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to sewing.  I used up a cut of fabric that had been hanging out in the stash for some five years.  I also sewed two woven dresses for myself, both of which I love.  And I only bought three yards of fabric!  I'm going ahead and calling this month a win.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Patchwork picnic blanket

This picnic blanket has been eight months in the making.  It is a very belated wedding gift for a dear friend, made using the leftover fabric from another, very belated, wedding blanket for a dear friend.  Etiquette apparently dictates that one has up to a year after the wedding to send a gift, and I'm still just within the window.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Simplicity 1563 pajama pants

Flannel pajama pants with a hacked yoga waist made from the Simplicity 1563 pattern.

Pajamas are one of those things I have never been able to bring myself to spend money on.  I know, it's stupid, I could easily pick up a cute pair at Marshall's without breaking the bank.  But for years, my go-to night look has been a pair of ratty pj pants (bought by my mother some 10 years ago) or ratty shorts with on old, equally ratty t-shirt that I stole from my husband.  It's not a cute look.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Testing the Calyer Pants

A pair of rayon challis made using the Calyer Pants sewing pattern from French Navy Now

Perhaps those of you who are about my age will remember the flowy rayon palazzo pants that were popular in the mid-90s.  I had a pair, bought, I think, at Pier One Imports.  I used to wear them with a white or gray v-neck t-shirt and my $97.52 suede Birkenstock Boston clogs.  (Why do I remember how much they cost?  Because I talked my parents into giving me half the money for my birthday and my father was appalled at how much I was planning to spend on a pair of shoes and didn't let me forget it for years.  I'm no longer a Birkenstock kind of girl, so I don't really remember why I wanted them so badly.)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

February 2018

February was a busy month, and though I sewed quite a few individual garments, most of them were underwear and other things that don't take much time to assemble.  I still have to blog a couple of these projects, and others will only be recorded here.


1) Simplicity 1563A pj pants.  These used up 3 yards of flannel bought from FabricMart in January for this precise purpose.  Completed 2/2.  These will be on the blog soon.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Joining the M6996 party

This cardigan has been on my to-sew list forever.  It gets great reviews, and all the ones I had seen in the blogosphere looked fabulous.  The pattern is McCalls 6996, which I picked up during a $1 sale last summer but just got around to sewing up.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Copycat Plantain dress

Earlier this winter, I saw a lovely dress on Instagram and immediately fell in love.  It was a lengthened navy-blue jersey Plantain dress and the shape was perfect and easy.  

Fabric Mart had a sale a few days later and in the sale was a 4-yard pre-cut of this navy jersey, which was listed as cotton/rayon/lycra.  My striped Blackwood cardigan is also cotton/rayon/lycra from FabricMart, and I really liked the heft and hand of the fabric, plus it was in the exact shade I wanted, so I was sold.  The fabric didn't disappoint, and I was even more pleased with my purchase when the yardage came out of the wash with that unmistakeable wool smell.  I don't think it's a pure wool/lycra, but some percentage of the fabric definitely came from a sheep.  The dress took just under 2 yards, and I have about 2 yards left for another garment in the future.

I made up a Plantain from the same adjusted pattern as the purple Plantain tee I made last month.  I lengthened it 17", continuing the side seam angle all the way down.  I ended up cutting about 2.5" off before hemming it up another inch.  (I actually didn't realize that I had ended up with a dipped hem in the back until I saw these photos.  I might even it out, I might not.  Haven't decided yet!)

Following my frustration with the Plantain sleeves when I last made the pattern, I decided to use the size 16 Renfrew sleeve with 1/2" shaved off each side seam. The Renfrew has a symmetrical sleeve, but it generally fits me with the right amount of ease once I take in the side seams.  

I had assumed that the sleeve was just wider at the top, but I was curious, so I compared the two pattern pieces.  Apologies for the blurry iPhone photo, but it illustrates the differences well enough.   The Plantain sleeve, in white, is underneath the Renfrew sleeve, in pattern tissue.  

I walked the Renfrew sleeve cap along the Plantain sleeve cap, and they are almost exactly the same length.  But as you (probably can't) see, the Renfrew sleeve cap is about 1/2" taller than the Plantain sleeve cap.  I was also surprised to find that the Plantain sleeve is actually a bit wider than the Renfrew sleeve at the top of the arm (and more than it would seem, because this newest version of the Plantain only has a 3/8" seam allowance, while the Renfrew has a 5/8").  And yet the Plantain sleeve is much tighter on my biceps than the Renfrew sleeve.  So it turns out that the height of the sleeve cap has a good deal to do with fit at the bicep.  I feel like this is a pretty significant lightbulb moment for me, and am looking to the prospect of better-fitting sleeves in the future!

There is a bit of fabric bunching at the front armscye.  I think I could fix that by moving the center of the sleeve cap towards the front sleeve, the way you do when you adjust a sleeve for a forward shoulder (and this would take care of making the sleeve asymmetrical).  I may try that out next time I make a Plantain (which might be sooner than I thought, now that I have a better-fitting sleeve for it).  The folds on the lower 2/3 of the sleeve indicate that it's too big, but they really don't bother me - they pass the "would I notice this if it were on a RTW dress sleeve?" test just fine.

All in all, I think the dress was a great success and I am very excited to have it in my closet.  I'm looking forward to wearing it with clogs and bare legs in the not-too-distant future!

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Layette in Blue

My kids acquired another cousin in early January.  Due to illnesses (particularly the flu, which downed all four children like dominos over a two-week period), we just managed to go for a visit this past weekend.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Another 7353

Shortly after making my first M7353, I made a second one.  Again I used a straight size 14 (though the size chart would have me in a size 20).  This one used up two yards of purple rayon/lycra from the stash, bought as a pre-cut from Fabric Mart earlier in 2017.  The fabric was a bit less stable than the fabric I used for my striped version, and so the dress turned out quite a bit larger than the first one on top.  I took it in a lot from the top of the waistband up to the underarm and down to the sleeve hem.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January 2018

This is the first of what I hope will be a monthly round-up post detailing my sewing and fabric purchases.  I'm hoping that this format will enable me to get most, if not all, of my sewing projects up on the blog, regardless of whether they get a dedicated blog post, since I'm hopeless at keeping notes in any other format.

I'm also going to tally my fabric in/out numbers.  I don't have any particular buying or stashing or de-stashing goal, but I aim to be more purposeful in my fabric purchases while also using up some of my stash.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Plantain Reboot

Last weekend I downloaded the update of the free Plantain t-shirt pattern.  I've made the pattern a few times before, but I'm up a couple sizes since then, so I decided to use the new pattern and refit it from scratch.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cable Blackwood

Since making my long wool Blackwood cardigan, I've been on the hunt for another sweater knit fabric.  I was having trouble committing to one online because I couldn't feel the fabric through my computer screen.  But when I was at Joann's last month, looking for grosgrain ribbons for my girls' Nutcracker performances, I found this pretty cream-colored faux-cable knit.  It is a polyester/lycra knit, something I generally stay away from, but it felt very nice in the store aaaaand I had a coupon, so I bought 2.25 yards.  I haven't been able to find it online, but as it turns out, I can't really recommend the fabric anyway.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Wimpy Cowl-Necked Dress

I happened upon McCalls 7353 sometime last summer, and put it on my list to buy during the next pattern sale at Joann's.  I was drawn to the dolman sleeves, waistband and cowl-neck of View C.  There aren't a lot of reviews out there for this pattern, but one of the ones I saw on Pattern Review weren't glowing.  In particular, they noted the very excessive amounts of ease included in the pattern.  I wasn't put off by the reviews, and I am glad I read them before buying the pattern, because I ended up purchasing the smaller size range rather than the larger one.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Dress Enhancement

I spent a good chunk of time in 2016 laboring over flower girl dresses for my brother's wedding.  It was always my intent that these dresses be worn more than once, but somehow they didn't get pulled out for Christmas or Easter following the wedding.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2018 goals and changes

You wouldn't know it by reading my 2017 statistics post, but I am actually drawn to slow fashion and minimalism.  I read a lot of blog posts promoting slow fashion and find myself vigorously nodding my head at the idea that stashing tons of discount fabric and sewing a garment a week is just a different form of fast fashion.  But I also enjoy sewing too much to limit myself to a project a month. I don't have any guilt about the 46 garments I sewed myself last year because I really did need that much clothing, and I wear the overwhelming majority of the clothes I sewed frequently.  But going forward, assuming my proportions don't change too much, does my wardrobe really need 46 additional garments every year?  I don't think so.

As it turns out, the Itinerant Family will be experiencing some big changes in 2018, and as a result, I've been handed a ready-made set of sewing goals.

Image result for colombian flag

We are moving to Colombia in a few months!  I'll have no choice but to sew fewer garments this year as I'll be separated from my machines for about three months during the transition. We'll be in Bogota for two years for my husband's work.