Saturday, December 26, 2015

Scrap basket comforter for my Mom.

First of all, thank you, everyone for your sweet and thoughtful comments on my last post! I'm sorry I haven't responded to everyone yet, but your words mean so much to me! I love my blog friends, y'all are the best! Truly. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, if you celebrate, or a wonderful winter holiday otherwise. My house is knee-deep in kid detritus and my children are super spoiled! With everything so gloomy in our house, I might have gone a bit overboard with the Christmas cheer, ahem. I always say I am going to go more minimalist with Christmas - less crap, less toys - but then I totally fall apart once I start shopping, and I end up buying all. the. things. for my kids. Their excitement is so contagious! I know I'm not alone in this weakness! Then, after I went totally overboard, my brother went totally overboard too, and yeah ... serious American first-world gluttony over here. But it was fun!

With the stressful turn this holiday season took, my plans to make multiple handmade gifts had to be narrowed down. And narrowed down they were - I made exactly one handmade gift this year. A little comforter/quilt for my mom. My mom has had a tough few months - her lease was terminated when her landlord decided to remodel and list the house she had been living in for many years. Since she lives in a college town in the Pacific Northwest, the timing was as bad as it could be - it's really hard to find a nice rental in October and November in Bellingham, Washington. Luckily, she and her husband found a new place, sharing a house with a nice lady, "at least for the winter." You don't want to be looking for a new place in the dead of winter anywhere, but especially not in the darker Northern latitudes. I'm glad my mom has a warm place to spend the winter and hopefully beyond.

Anyway, because of the expense of moving, Mom wasn't able to come down and spend Christmas with the family as she usually/often does. That was a big added sadness for her (and for us as well!). So I wanted to do something really special and cozy for her, hence this little blanket. 


To piece the top for this quilt, I raided my scrap basket for yellows, browns, reds, and blues, and turned four inch squares into little four-square blocks, pairing deeper colors with low-volume prints. Then I arranged them on my floor and moved things around until I liked the general look of the arrangement. The four-square blocks are all arranged with (relatively) darker fabrics going from top-left to bottom-right, creating organic diagonal lines down and across the quilt. As usual with scrap quilts, half the fun was seeing how a random bunch of scraps look together in a quilt! This quilt was interesting in that it seemed to look better in photographs than in person - I think the photographs helped me see it "from a distance," when the colors blend in a lovely way. Up close, the individual prints take the stage.


I was going for something homely and homey and cheerful that reflects my love for folksy utilitarian items (Inder Loves Folk Art!), and I think I achieved it! The quilt is the perfect size to lay over my lap and tuck under my feet while I sew or craft. I think it's about 48" x 56".


I hope you are appreciating my little photo-bomber here!

Once I finished the quilt top, I sandwiched it with ditzy floral navy flannel for the back and wool batting. Wool batting is really soft and warm, and has a higher loft than cotton batting, making it really squishy and nice for a tied quilt. It can be washed cold and line dried or tumble-dried cool, so the care isn't that different than any quilt. I sent the quilt to my mom with a box of color-catchers because I am still worried about the dark blue flannel bleeding! I prewashed it several times, but it was still bleeding color ever so slightly - that's one down side about using flannel for a quilt backing rather than regular quilting cotton.

(As an aside, I don't quite know what to call this blanket. While it is pieced, I feel odd calling it a "quilt" because it's not actually quilted. "Comforter" is good too, but suggests a whole cloth top to me. Not sure. I'm just going to call it a quilt, but I mean no disrespect to "real" quilts!)

Wait a minute, who is that peeking above the quilt?


It's Joe, who gives this blanket his seal of approval! This boy loves his blankets. Our house is old and drafty, so you can often find Joe wrapped up in a blanket while he plays on his tablet or works on a lego project. He knows a good blanket, and the squishy loft and warm flannel back is just his style.


I tied the quilt at the corner of every square with dark blue embroidery thread. I did it as instructed in this tute, except that I did whole rows of stitching before cutting the thread and tying. I took an extra stitch in each tie to give it a little extra stability and went back at the end to trim all of the ties at a nice length. I will be honest - for a "quick and easy" method to finish a quilt, this turned out to be a lot of work! I spent several hours (easily) tying the quilt, and my neck, back, and shoulders were really hurting after just a few minutes of it! Overall, this project was a real labor of love. There is a reason I don't make quilts all the time - I feel that the potential for repetitive injury-type aches and pains is really high for quilting as opposed to sewing clothes, which tends to involve less repetitive work. It might be a few weeks before my neck feels normal again! But I do love the final product and it's like childbirth - after a few months, I've forgotten the pain and I'm ready to sew another quilt! (No, there are no more children in my immediate future!)


I finished the quilt with a little handmade label. My mom signs letters and emails MOM WOW - you know, it looks the same upside and backwards - that's my mom! So that seemed appropriate to embroider on some cream linen to make a label. I also used one of my large collection of embroidery transfers for the butterfly, and stitched the label down with embroidery thread.

I had hoped to have this blanket in my mom's hands by Christmas, but life being what it is, that didn't happen. This will go in the mail on Monday. Hopefully the special-ness and work involved helps to offset the lateness! Love you, mom!!! Merry Christmas, and God Bless Us, Everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Keep your lamp trimmed and burning.


Dear friends! I hope you are having a lovely holiday season. As my friends and Instagram followers know, our family has had a sad loss - we said goodbye to Steve's dad, our beloved Grandpa Frank, last week. After a short illness, he passed away peacefully on Tuesday night with his children gathered around him. I want to thank all of you who have prayed for us and kept us in your thoughts these past weeks - I appreciate your kind words. We are doing okay. It's good to have kids at a time like this - they keep us grounded in the present, and their joy and excitement about Christmas is irresistible.

While Steve was in the hospital, the kids and I stayed home, waiting for news. Maggie caught a stomach flu last week and we didn't want to bring that to Steve's family - later Joe and I caught it as well, so this was a good decision! Those days of waiting were anxious and stressful, but I passed the time by working on several Christmas projects. I made stockings for Steve and my brother, to complete our set. I still have the stocking my grandmother made me as a child (below, far right) and I made stockings for the kids last Christmas (shown here). So this year, I made stockings for the grown up guys in the house.


I used simple stripes of Christmas fabrics for Harpal's stocking. I printed out his name in large, bolded Courier font and sewed felt letters onto the cuff by hand. When Harpal would ask me for a small favor or try to rib or tease me, it was fun to respond "oh don't mind me, I'm just painstakingly sewing your name on your Christmas stocking by hand, it's no big deal." How many sisters make handmade stockings for their brothers, I would like to know? I will milk this for all that it's worth, naturally!


Since my stocking doesn't have a name on it, I decided to leave Steve's blank as well, and go with a simple patchwork pattern. I like the simplicity, but compared to the others, it does seem like it's missing something. I may go back and add a cuff next year, we'll see. I am glad to see everyone accounted for his year! I trust Santa will not disappoint this year!

It was a dreary and sad day, with Daddy gone to be with his dad at the hospital, and the kids and I had been moping and/or acting out a bit. So we decided to go get a tree and get it all set up to cheer ourselves up and surprise Daddy when he got home. You may laugh, but it felt like a big deal to take the kids to get a tree and get it into and out of the car all by myself, and set it up in its stand! I have grown to depend on Steve to do all of the tree hauling and wrestling! Joe and I were quite proud of ourselves (and pretty dirty!) when we got it all set up. The kids also picked out some decorations while we were out, including that blingy gold and red ornament wreath (I tried to talk to them into a more natural green wreath, but they weren't having it!).

Joe, our budding engineer, took responsibility for testing all of the lights to see which strands still worked (why, oh why, do I pack the broken strands away with the good ones every single year? I have problems!), and both the kids helped me string them on the tree. 




The kids were so helpful and excited about Christmas and we all had a really nice time. Seeing their delight over all the ornaments and lights filled me with joy as well - it was truly magical. I will always treasure this somewhat sadsweet memory!


In days that followed, knowing that our dad and grandpa probably wasn't going to make it, talking about end-of-life decisions, and then finally hearing that it was all over, I stitched this little ornament from Alicia Paulson's Winter Cabin ornament kit (the kits are sold out but you can buy a PDF pattern and source the supplies yourself). I haven't found a good way to transfer markings onto felt, so I had to eyeball the embroidery design and it is quite a bit more homely than the original, but it was a soothing activity during a hard time.

While I was stitching and waiting, I kept thinking of the song, "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning," (there are many versions, all based on the imagery of the Parable of the Virgins in Matthew 25, but this bluegrass version performed by Hot Rize is one of my favorites). "Trouble and trials are almost over ... see what my Lord has done. Keep your lamp trimmed and burning ... see what my Lord has done." I know this ornament shows a candlestick, not an oil lamp, but the symbolism is very similar.

Even on the darkest nights, there is always a little light. That's the whole point, isn't it?

Happy Solstice, my friends!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Parachute PANTS (!!!!!) for Joe.

YOU GUYS!! JOE IS WEARING PANTS AGAIN!!!!! 


I mean, what has it been? Two years? Two years of wrecking t-shirts by pulling them over his constantly bare knees when he was cold? Two years of me looking like a negligent mother because my kid wore shorts in 40 degree weather? Two years of me getting cold just looking at Joe?

Of course, to Joe's face, I'm trying to play it cool and not make a big deal about it. Like "yeah, wanna wear these sweatpants? no? that's cool, whatever. no proooooooooblem. cool. so cool." But to you folks, it's all-caps shouting from the freaking rooftops!

He is still on a knit fabrics only kick, but hey, I'll take it.

Anyway, the pants! (PANTS!!!) These are the Oliver + s "Parachute Sweatpants." This was my first time sewing this pattern, but it doesn't get much simpler than this pattern. I confess I skimmed the instructions at best. But I love the way these fit, and so does Joe, so I have a feeling I'll be revisiting this one frequently! I need this pattern in Maggie's size now! 


I used a thrifted sweatshirt for the contrast stripes and waistband, and still had enough fabric left to cut out a separate pair of Parachute shorts from the remainder. The navy sweatshirt fleece came from Stonemountain and is a thick, warm, beefy fabric. My serger struggled a bit with the bulky fabric in these pants, and I actually broke a serger needle on the center back waistband seam! Ugh! But the result is a really warm and cozy pair of sweatpants.


I cut the pattern out in size 6, which was a mistake. Joe still measures as a 5, but he is very long in the torso, so size 6 is usually better for shirts. But he's definitely an average 5 in the legs. I ended up taking 3/4" off the rise of these pants (to avoid a low-hanging crotch) and like three inches off the length! The width of the size 6 is fine, though, and these are roomy, but have a cute narrow cut in the legs.  They fit so much better than the baggy $9 Target sweatpants I've bought Joe!


Besides fit, the other modifications I made were skipping the drawstring (I find drawstrings either get lost or left undone most of the time anyway) and adding pockets. The Oliver + s blog has a tutorial for adding pockets to the Parachute pants, but I used the pocket and pocket facing piece from the Sketchbook Shorts (carving out a deeper pocket opening as per usual with that pattern) as a shortcut.  It's an easy change that doesn't take that much more time or fabric and looks really good (and it's useful too!).


Sorry for the not-so-great photos, it is freezing cold in Oakland right now so indoor photos are a must, and my camera was running out of batteries. Joe had been huddled in front of the fireplace (our sole source of heat for this part of the house) in a soft blanket. He was a good sport and unwrapped himself for a few moments for these photos.



Joe's shirt is an Ottobre t-shirt, 1/2015 #11, one of my favorite t-shirt patterns ever. I made this earlier this year (either Joe grew or the fabric shrunk, because look at his wrists!). It's kind of like a Hemlock Tee for kids - simple rectangles and casual fit. It's a great one for repurposing adult garments, too, and looks great with contrast sleeves or cuffs, or mixed and matched With the bracelet length sleeves and striped fabric, it looks a little sailor-ish, doesn't it? This fabric was a gift from a sewing friend - the stripes are printed on rather than yarn-dyed and the colors have faded a lot in the wash, but this shirt still gets lots of wear.

I spent most of last week working on some deadline-sewing, including items for the coming preschool auction and felt Christmas ornaments for an ornament swap I participate in every year. My makes turned out pretty cute and I feel good about them, but it was great to get back to "sewing whatever I feel like" again. I don't mind occasionally sewing gifts and other items on a deadline, but I am so happy to be done and back to my usual random inspiration and sewing queue! I have plenty of deadlines at my job, and when sewing becomes deadline-oriented or obligatory, it loses some of the fun for me.

Speaking of jobs, I start back at my old firm tomorrow! It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks and things are likely to remain a little intense for another month or two. But of course I still have a list of things I'd like to sew for this coming holiday season! We'll see whether I will bust out a huge amount of holiday sewing or go on strike and rely on storebought gifts, as I have in years past! Ha!

What about you? Do you thrive on a deadline or rebel?

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Two Grainline Hemlocks.


Hello friends! I have a new favorite free t-shirt pattern! Yup, you guessed it - it's the Grainline Hemlock Tee, a simple boxy tee shirt. I actually made this ages ago, but didn't blog it right away - instead, I've just been wearing it every time it shows up in the clean laundry basket. Which is why it's a bit crumpled here, I just yanked it out of the clean laundry and threw it on! Ha! 

If this fabric seems familiar, it's because I used it to make a Plantain t-shirt last year. Another great free t-shirt pattern for women! That shirt is still in regular rotation but much faded and worn from constant use and looking a bit shabby. Still, I can't complain, this is a really nice quality knit fabric, and holds up to washing and drying and wearing really well. In all seriousness, I wear my me-made t-shirts more than any other items in my wardrobe. Knit shirts aren't the most interesting thing to sew for myself (or blog about, for that matter), but I wear them to death.


Again, sorry it's so crumpled! Ugh! The Hemlock tee is basically simple rectangles, but with a little bit of shaping. For this versions, I cut the sleeves off just past the elbows and gave the shirt a little bit of a high-low hem. It looks nice over skinny jeans or trousers or tucked into a skirt and under a blazer. And of course, it's super forgiving and comfortable. No wonder I wear it so much!

I don't have much to say about the "instructions," because there aren't any, just a sew-along. Which I didn't even look at! For someone with a basic knowledge of t-shirt making, instructions are not necessary for this pattern. 



I love this version so much, I wanted to make another one and make some progress on stash busting as well, so I whipped one up in this soft rayon tissue knit I've had in my stash forever. The quality of this fabric isn't as great as the one above, but I love the print and it's very soft and comfortable on.


I cut the hem straight across and the sleeves longer on this one, which honestly I don't like as well as the shorter sleeves and high-low hem, but I was short on fabric. Because of the very light, tissue weight knit, this one looks especially nice tucked into a skirt under a blazer, and the colorful print is just the thing to break up a black suit while providing a bit of extra warmth (as opposed to a shell) on cool days. Because this fabric isn't as stretchy as the blue and red floral above, the neckline turned out a bit wider and I do have to adjust it to avoid showing a bra strap. For this reason, it's best under a cardigan or blazer.

When I stand like this, it definitely accentuates my top-heavy figure, but it is helpful for seeing the simple shape of this tee. When I drop my arms, the dropped shoulders and drapey volume are actually quite flattering I think.


This is the best pattern! There are definitely more of these in my future!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Flannel Shirt.



Hello friends! I haven't been the greatest blogger lately, I know. I have lots going on in my life right now. I gave notice at my current job in late October, and I start a new job (actually, I am going back to my old office - a rather boring major life change, but a major life change nonetheless!) at the end of November. So I have been a bit frantic trying to wrap things up and transition my projects. I will really miss my buddies at my current job and it's tough to say goodbye to my projects (a.k.a. my babies!!!), but the new job will be great too! When it comes to my career, I would say I'm pretty conservative - I've only had two jobs in my legal career of 13 years, and now I'm going back to the first one!

I have been sewing plenty since I last posted, though. I made a couple of gifts and some autumn bunting, did a little handsewing when I was under the weather last week, and made this warm, cozy flannel shirt for Joe!


The weather has cooled down a lot in Oakland, and Mr. Joe is in need of warm layers for school. He chose this gorgeous Shetland Flannel in navy at A Verb For Keeping Warm. I've been explaining the difference between "t-shirt fabric" and "button-down shirt fabric," and he chose this for a very soft and warm button-down shirt.

This fabric. You guys! Words and photographs just don't do it justice. It is so thick and beefy. Incredibly soft and sturdy stuff. Handling this fabric is truly a sensual pleasure. Go buy some and sew with it. You are very welcome.


For this shirt, I used the Oliver + s Sketchbook Shirt pattern. Joe is still a size 5 by his measurements, but since this was intended to be a layering item, I cut the pattern out in size 6, with the full size 12 length in the torso. In my experience, this pattern runs short through the body, and I wanted this flannel shirt to be big and cozy.


In addition to adding length, the other major modification I made was to the pocket. I took the pocket piece provided by the pattern and expanded it to make a center pleat, and then drafted a pocket facing and flap. That sounds complicated, but you would laugh if you saw my hand-drawn pieces! The pleated pocket has a more lumberjack/traditional flannel shirt feeling and adds a fun detail. Although Joe wanted blue buttons initially, I insisted on brown and found these tan buttons in my stash. I was so right about that! (Sorry Joe.) I love the buttons.


This shirt can be worn buttoned up, or as a jacket-like layer over a t-shirt. Funny face optional.


This is my second time making the Sketchbook Shirt but since my last one, I made an Archer Shirt for myself, and that really got me feeling more comfortable with shirt making. This is a great pattern, not an easy or fast sew, but completely do-able for a beginner. My only constructive criticism is that (a) it really is too short in the body; and (b) I do wish it had a two piece collar option. I like a separate collar stand and collar. Although in this flannel, the one piece version is really fine, and it's unlikely to ever be buttoned up to the top. The Sketchbook Shirt and Shorts is easily one of the most used patterns in my collection. It's an incredible value if you enjoy sewing for boys. But if you make the shirt, add some length. You won't regret it.

Joe is really sensitive to textures, and prefers knit fabrics most of the time. But a roomy and cozy flannel shirt in Joe's favorite color, blue? I think this is going to get a ton of wear. Joe hasn't taken it off since I finished the shirt several hours ago, which is a very encouraging sign.


"Wait a minute ... ," you say.

"What is on Joe's legs? Those don't look like shorts ... ?"


SHHHHHHH!!! Not so loud! Yes, those are pants. The first pants to grace Joe's legs in about two years. But let's play it cool, okay? Don't make a scene. Just act like it's all normal, okay? No big deal.

Yeah, he's wearing a pair of Target sweatpants. The cold finally got to him, I guess. Perhaps there are some Parachute Pants in his future?

But next up, I have been volunteered to make a few superhero capes for Maggie's preschool auction. Bring on the nasty slinky poly satin! What are you working on?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tried n' True.


I did not formally participate in KCW this time  around, but I was inspired by all of your makes to make some clothes for the kiddos. Last week I had a little bit of a downer week for sewing - I sewed two t-shirts for Steve and didn't like either of them. They're wearable, maybe, for working around the house, but not great.  That was frustrating. I might give it another shot and blog about the whole ordeal, or I might not. In the meantime, though, I find there are few things better for recovering from a sewing slump than sewing up a few tried and true kids' patterns. Yesterday I found myself taking an unexpected sick day so that Steve could visit his dad, who wasn't feeling well. He's doing better now, thank goodness, and with my unexpected time off, I sewed out an outfit for Maggie that was in my queue: a floral Class Picnic Blouse and a pair of pink cord Parsley Pants


 
First up, a Class Picnic blouse in a very soft, semi-sheer cotton which Maggie helped me choose from A Verb For Keeping Warm in Oakland.  This fabric is so soft and nice to work with,I knew immediately it would be perfect for this peasant blouse style. I made the top in size 2T with the only modifications being lengthening the blouse by three inches and adding eyelet lace trim to the yoke, which gives the top a flower-child (also, a little night-gown-like!) appearance. I find it impossible to make this pattern without doing piping or another trim along the front, this cut just screams for a little something right there.

 

The Class Picnic Blouse is a strong favorite of mine. It is such a classic shape, works for girls of all ages, sews up quickly, and lends itself to fun decorative details like piping or lace. This version was definitely inspired by the vintage tastes of Ana Sofia of S is for Sewing - I love her aesthetic and am always taken by her use of trim in girls' clothing. The garments she sews look like something out of a 1950s children's book.
 
Although, paired with these Parsley pants and glittery sneakers, the look is more "groovy 60s" than "50s children book," isn't it?


I haven't made up the Parsley Pants pattern in a little while, but it's still a huge winner. Since Joe won't wear long pants or pants with woven fabric touching his waist, I'm glad that Maggie is now size 2T and is now in the size range of this pattern. She insists on a lot of pink, but she will wear pants at least! Ay, these children and their pickiness!

These are in pink cord (a gift from a sewing buddy), with patch pockets and knee  patches. I used up some last scraps of hot pink piping on the openings to the pockets. Since the waistline tends to be bit bulky in thicker fabrics with this pattern, I just serged the top edge of the pants and folded it once to create a waistband, and stitched it down without turning it over again. I really like this worked out with this cord. (Also, cute tummy!!) Otherwise, there's not much to report about this pattern - it is super easy and fast to sew and the fit is great.

Maggie really played up the hippy vibe by picking flowers in the front yard for this photo shoot.





And for a little something extra, Joe joined the photo shoot and just happened to be wearing a t-shirt I made him a while back and never blogged.


This is another tried n' true Rae pattern, the Flashback Skinny Tee, in size 5 with extra length for my long-torsoed boy. I've lost count of how many FSTs I've made for Joe over the years. For this one, I used some miscellaneous scraps of knit I had in the stash. I love the mix of fabrics here. The bright green ribbing is a good one, but unfortunately I've forgotten when or where I picked it up! Argh!


 Not much to say about this make, except I have really cute, sweet kids. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Maggie's choice.

 

Hello again! As promised, I'm back with Maggie's choice, in all its pepto-pink glory! Directed to the cotton knits at Stonemountain, Maggie chose this very, very bright pink polka dot Laguna knit, enthusiastically dubbing it "Minnie Mouse Fabric"! 

I went back and forth on what to make with it, and decided to peruse my Ottobres for ideas. Ottobre Magazines are packed with excellent patterns - and they are especially an amazing resource for sewing with knits. The sheer variety is almost overwhelming! There are so many adorable patterns, but when I stumbled on this page of Issue 6/2013, I knew I had found the one! I like that's it an autumn/winter appropriate outfit, has a Hanna Andersson aesthetic, and that adorable model in her boots sure doesn't hurt, right? I just so happened to have some Riley Blake lycra jersey in pink stripes in my stash, so we were ready to go!


These are patterns #11 and 12, the "Arctic Summer Tunic" and "Tiny Path Leggings." The tunic is gathered across the center front and back with clear elastic, and has a straight, rather than curved hem, which makes it drape longer at the side seams. The leggings are a basic two piece (front and back) legging with adorable knee patches, which are completely useless but seriously freaking adorable. I think I'll be adding knee patches to future leggings!

I sewed this in a size 92, which is the equivalent of 2T as far as I can tell. Ottobre Magazine patterns each have a size range, with an obvious separation between baby, little kid, and big kid patterns. Many of my favorite cute little girl patterns start at size 92, with the smaller items being more babyish. This was a little bit of a problem because Maggie is so small for her age and the patterns that fit her veered on too baby-in-diapers-ish for my potty-trained preschooler. This tunic and leggings are both a little big on Maggie,  but definitely wearable. This opens up a lot more options for her!



Made up in these fabrics, this is less Hanna and more Disney, for sure, but Maggie is absolutely delighted, so I can't really complain. This girl sure loves her pink! I did have to talk her into using purple for the accents rather than even. more. pink. I'm glad I won that argument.


Asking your child to make funny faces is a sure way to get them in a good mood for a photo shoot! 

I used some stash jersey for the knee patches, and this really great bamboo ribbing from Stonemountain for the neck and wrists. Since I started sewing knits, I have struggled to find good ribbing for necklines and wrists. 100% cotton ribbing may be super soft and nice but it has terrible recovery and waves and stretches out all over the place. Thick sweater ribbings are inappropriate for kids' clothes. For a long time, Stonemountain only carried decent lycra ribbings in black or white, which is just boring. So I often used stretchy cotton-lycra fabric instead of ribbing, and that was fine, but the search for colorful quality ribbing continued. Online shopping for knits is especially dangerous because you just don't know what you'll end up with, and I had some big fails in that department. Recently, Stonemountain started carrying this bamboo ribbing in a variety of colors. It seemed to have the right amount of "pop" for my purposes and best of all, comes in bright fun colors. I bought a small piece of this purple, and I am thrilled to report that this stuff is awesome! It has just the right amount of stretch with excellent recovery and it's not too bulky. It is really stretchy but then it just pops right back into place. I lurrrrve it. (You know you're a sewing geek when you fall in love with ribbing.) I've been buying a yard in every color! I love it!

The wrists are lightly gathered with clear elastic before the binding is applied, which makes for an especially stretchy and nice finish. Again, I followed the Ottobre instructions for binding the neckline and wrist seams, and I'm so happy with how it turned out. Next time, though, I will ignore the instructions to completely bind the sleeve bottom before sewing the underarm and side seams. I just don't have the serger skills to pull that off nicely and my wrists are a little mismatched right at the binding. Next time I'll sew the binding on flat but finish it in the round. It's not a noticeable issue, however.


The straight hem makes this little tunic especially easy to finish and there is a soft "v" at each side seam which is really cute. 

I broke my twin needle making Joe's Rowan hoodie, so I just used zig-zag on this outfit, with no walking foot or anything, and it looks totally fine. In my experience, zig zag hems are less likely to pop than twin needle finishes on edges (like legging hems) that are under a lot of stress. One of these days I will try using stretchy thread in my bobbin like Rachel does ... that might help with that. In the meantime, I will sing the praises of the humble zig-zag stitch, especially on childrens' playclothes. As far as a walking foot, sewing knits is such a "feel" - I seem to have gotten a lot better at moving the fabric under the pressure foot without stretching it out too much. For fabrics with good recovery like these, I find I don't need any special setup on my sewing machine. Kaufman's Laguna jerseys curl quite a bit, I find, but are forgiving to sew. Wavy hems steam right back to flat under a hot iron. The Riley Blake jersey is less curly and even more forgiving. I would strongly recommend both of these knit lines for folks learning to sew on knits. I've now sewn with them a TON  and they are the right weight for casual t-shirts and kids' clothes.


The skirt has a little twirl factor, which is always a win with the little girls!



This is such a practical ensemble  for a little girl. You could make a whole wardrobe of these. I probably won't do that, simply because there are too many other patterns I want to try! But you definitely could! And although it's about 500X more pink than I would prefer (GAG), Maggie loves it, and that's really what matters. I will continue to try to convert my children to mustard yellow, but in the meantime, it's great to see Maggie excited to wear something mama made. I can make mustard yellow things for myself!

I have a couple more items on this sewing queue to make up before I start working on my next queue! Next up, sewing for the husband! EEK!

What's on your sewing queue?