sewing journal

a tender shoot

Posted by on Apr 8, 2014 in dailies, sewing journal | 0 comments

Frost Flower Hoodie

My son *thinks* this is his birthday hoodie; however, it is a decoy hoodie. I was drafting a deep hood and a tall, slender fit. I am waiting on fabric for his actual birthday hoodie. Let’s hope it all works out before the birthday party on Saturday!

A roomy hood:

Frost Flower Hoodie

MacGuffin or no, this hoodie is fabulous in its own right. It is constructed of luxurious 100% cotton fleece – very soft on the inside. I pieced the body using the “mock-serge” on my Pfaff (tutorial here).

Two appliques: the “frost flower” on the right arm – using knit and woven scraps, matching zig-zag topstitching, and paint/thread drawing for the “eyes”:

Frost Flower Hoodie

The left arm – more subtle still. Nels’ name in a “Super Mario U” font – self-appliqued.

Frost Flower Hoodie

Frost Flower Hoodie

For the hood drawstring, I first constructed eyelets free-hand on the Pfaff, made a casing using a 2.0/2.0 zig-zag topstitch, then knit a cotton i-cord for the drawstring itself. Ralph knit about half the i-cord yesterday – after I taught him how. The yarn itself was a gift from my friend Tammy at Main Street Books.

Frost Flower Hoodie

Piecing knitwear as a home sewist is really wonderful. I am able to line up the grain perfectly which is not something you will see in ready-to-wear construction. The result is a garment that feels, fits, and wears better – while looking fabulous for a lot longer.

Cutting knit pieces so carefully would be tedious if not for the fact that knit garments are usually made with far fewer pieces than woven ones. That said, some of y’all remember that I am willing to go balls-deep in fussy-cutting. It really does make a difference even if people looking at the garment can’t tell exactly why it looks so good.

Spring is here, spring is wet, and my Little Guy looks all set!

Frost Flower Hoodie

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only the young can say / they’re free to fly away

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in sewing journal | 3 comments

A project I’d dreamed up a while back: custom athletic “school pride” hoodie. Here ya go, my lovely daughter of mine. You are one thousand percent f*cking awesome so. Here you go!

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

I had some trouble with this garment, but not the trouble I thought I might run into. The original pattern instructions had some errata and I was a bit frustrated, and the back center panel was missing a few helpful notches. I made some changes to the pattern – specifically, in the hood, the pockets/pocket tabs, and the cuffs – and I omitted the facings. But then there were fabric issues – the stripe fabric. I made a quick purchase online and neglected to get yarn-dyed stripes. So these stripes are printed on. Kinda ass, quality-wise. They look great, because A. the print was printed properly and B. I am a bad-ass at matching stripes. But next time I might do a little more hunting for a great stripe.

And on that note, let me talk about hoodie fabrics a bit.

I used to joke about old rock and roll bands who’d leap around stage and do high kicks while wearing ball-framingly tight DENIM jeans. Ralph and I will still say, “touch of Lycra” when, say, a Journey song comes on our Google Music radio. Then we laugh because SERIOUSLY

Touch Of Lycra

Now those are snug.

Now, I’m no stranger to 100% cotton knits. I’ve made an awful lot of great garments with the 100% cotton Michael Miller knit stripe.

But hoodies, like Mr. Perry’s grape-smugglers above, benefit from the performance only provided by a bit of synthetic fiber. Even six percent (or less) of spandex or some other stretch fiber, can give the hoodie a bit more wearing comfort and a better drape. Now I am such a natural fiber snob (wool, linen, silk, cotton) – but sometimes SCIENCE delivers us seductive advances. So yes: spandex is my friend (or in this hoodie’s case – 4% lycra is my friend).

More pictures of today’s piece:

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie
The back. Looking great. Perfect stripe-lining! BOOM

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

I like the size of the hood – and I like the overlap at the neckline.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

I sewed the seam allowances of the thumb holes together before turning them, which made for a non-topstitched thumbhole. Better looking than topstitch efforts IMO.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

Construction: a zig zag, then a three-thread serge finish. Very tidy hoodie interior.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

My old-skool freezer-paper-and-Solvy method, for the “screenprinted” lettering.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

More Fabri Sticky Solvy, everywhere everywhere, for a good-looking applique “P” on this very thin knit.

Wishkah Loggers Hoodie

Peeking inside the pocket. A nice, roomy, kangaroo-style pocket.

I just ordered fabric for my next custom hoodie: self-drafted, for my son. I have some artistic plans and I only hope the fabric comes arrives such that I can complete the project in time for his birthday.

I’d love to just sew people hoodies pretty much all day long. VERY FUN


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spring / flame, part deux

Posted by on Feb 9, 2014 in dailies, sewing journal | 2 comments

spring / flame jacket, 2014

Just chillin’.

Nels loved last year’s version of this jacket, so I made him one this year. I can’t remember what happened to last year’s; I likely donated it to the thrift shop.

Here’s 2013:

Long Sleeved

This year – stretch satin for lining/underlining, coupled with a Hong Kong seam finish (I am always looking for the perfect lining fabric that is not boring, and can stand up to the punishment of an active child’s lifestyle):

spring / flame jacket, 2014

I added a striped cotton hood, and cotton cuffs:

spring / flame jacket, 2014

spring / flame jacket, 2014

I love working in two separate colorways for this garment: the “flame” colorway was used on the overcollar, lapel facings, pockets, and elbow patches. The effect is subtle but very pretty – especially from a distance. Pockets? Fully-lined, of course, and attached by fell-stitch.

The cotton cuffs, attached the floating underlining/lining, is a little idea I had a year ago for Nels’ double-hooded red linen coat. These cuffs are very cozy, could easily be replaced if they were to get too stained, and deliver a pleasing layered effect.

I am not going to lie. Somehow this year, I ran into trouble. I made a few errors during pattern drafting and the fit of the coat is not as attractive as it was last year. I will be making up a new version entirely. It is just THAT irritating to have something not come off right.

So: this version is up for grabs.  I’m thinking the size is good for a 150 cm (a little under 5′) child. Text me if it’s yours! 360.500.3287

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Posted by on Feb 1, 2014 in dailies, sewing journal | 5 comments

Itty-Bitty Yeti

Have I  not been threatening for some time, to make a tiny yeti bunting for a baby? Shown here: exhibit Audra, 15 lbs. 5 oz. of adorable. Audra was a champ. Word on the street is she doesn’t like cameras, but she kept her cool today.

Itty-Bitty Yeti

Audra plays innocent here but you know she’s the type of abominable snowman that could straight-up rip your arm from your socket. If by “arm” I meant, “tea scone”, and by “your socket” I meant, “a table of modest height that she was clinging to earlier today”.

Itty-Bitty Yeti

A horn! Done up in melton wool with yarn applique. Pattern designed by Ralph AwesomePants Hogaboom.

Itty-Bitty Yeti

Feet. Designed by MOI. Watch out for those claws!

Itty-Bitty Yeti

What’s the happs? Pearl snaps. BOOM

Itty-Bitty Yeti

So who doesn’t like daddies-holding-babies pictures? If you don’t, you have a lot of growing up to do.

Anyway I wrote a bit about construction in the captions of the Flickr tagset. This bunting is listed in my wee Etsy shop and is scheduled for display at a local business – along with two other “monstrous” offerings I’m currently cooking up.


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a story you can’t see

Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in dailies, sewing journal | 2 comments

Today – at least – I snapped a picture of the jacket gifted to a wee gentleman at his 2-year birthday party.

Birthday Coat For J.

Double-sided fleece, self-drafted pattern. Super-pointy hood and seven hand-made pom poms. Trippin on pom pom-makin, biatches


Yesterday morning I wake -

after only a few hours sleep -

to the most oppressive sense of fear.

Slaps me awake and lasts at least half the day. I’m up and I try to do a few things then rest, but I can’t. My mind keeps trying to find a way out of the fear. I can’t think of anything else for long, before jolting back. Might as well make the coffee. Hot shower. Time to get up and go. Got responsibilities.

My mind like to drive me mad. Thinking, thinking, over-thinking. Trying to set it aside but it rises up again through my body. Fear racing through my chest and my kids talk to me, my husband asks after me, and I answer as best I can when I can pull my mind off the fixation. Can they tell? I don’t know. I don’t think so. They’d ask if they knew something was wrong.

Days like today I remember smoking. Pulling on a cigarette, getting that edge. Somehow it always seemed to help, keep me in that space of what I thought was alertness, but in reality: agitation.

And anyway: I quit smoking a while back. And now I’m over the bridge and into breaking sunlight when I know the only thing that will help me, since I’ve done prayer on my knees and lit a candle and eaten food and tried to breathe and tried to quit thinking, is to Help Others. Help Without Regard For Return. It’s not even like I think I get some reward if I help. It’s that the state of Helping takes me somewhere different, and things shift, and clarity comes.

My daughter wraps her arms around me. “Love me,” she says. I hold her and kiss the top of her head, her dry straw-scented hair; Heaven. Later. Running bath water. Kitchen light low. Hot water and a tablespoon of molasses. A heater ticks in the dark. My arm: aching. The laughter of my son in another room.

Cold to the bone, a darkness stretching out. Only a small candle but it’s enough.





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“…are more questions of coat and waistcoat than some people imagine.”

Posted by on Dec 22, 2013 in sewing journal | 1 comment

Two Fabrics, Felted Yarn

I have a hard time imagining ANY of you have some free time this holiday season – although this earnest part of me hopes a few of you do. If any stitcher reading here is inclined, I wanted to announce I am currently taking Kenneth D. King’s class, “The Carefree Fly-Front Coat” on (I bought the class when it was on sale for $14.99). Since I’m sewing the coat, I am also available to help anyone else who wants to take the class.

Even if I wasn’t available for assistance, the class itself is great for the following reasons:

#1, the tuition includes Vogue 8841, a classic, easy-to-sew coat pattern. The pattern itself is anywhere from $6 to $20, so this is a great value.

#2, you draft most of your own pattern pieces (using just a handful of the original pattern’s pieces), which is a great way to get used to HOW exactly to do this.

#3, This is truly “tailoring at its simplest, and finest”, to quote the instructor. You will learn plenty of non-threatening but very valuable sewing skills which can be applied to many, many different garments!

#4, Mr. King is a wonderful teacher. He is not only clear and concise, he is a pleasure to watch – and to chat with, as he is very available via the classroom comments!

Vogue 8841

A few caveats. I would definitely consider the Craftsy class for intermediate stitchers – or beginners who have an accomplished seamstress helping them. None of the skills needed are “over my head” but, for instance, a beginner who does not know how to properly align grain, cut fabric, alter patterns, and sew perfectly accurate seam allowances will likely not end up with a great coat.

If anyone here is taking the class and wants any advice on fabric selection, et cetera, please post in the comments. I’m happy to help!

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