“touch it with your… touch it with your skin” (03:16)

Here’s the scoop – I made this wonderful whipped body butter, out of nut and seed oils, and it is incredible. A single tear slides down my cheek, how lovely it is. However I accidentally made a bucket’s worth! I wouldn’t have gone through the trouble of packaging it up if I didn’t think it wasn’t incredible, lovely stuff!


Oh, and whipping a bunch of oils up in the kitchen can seem a little scary and messy. I just went real slow and when I was done, I carefully put the bowls and implements in my bathtub for bathtime. Which was awesome.

The listing on Homesewn includes links if you’d like to make your own. In the meantime, COME FEEL MY SKIN, it’s so soft and lovely. I mean like, feel my elbow or something. Nothing weird.

look what i can do!

Sew an awesome frakkin blazer. But you already knew that.


spring / flame

I saw these fabrics a while back and immediately envisioned this jacket. I pictured the weight – and what interior fabrics I’d use to get it – the style lines, the pockets, everything. I pictured the differences in colorways and was very pleased with how that turned out – even more subtle yet beautiful than how I’d pictured it. In fact in every way I loved designing the elements of the coat and all steps of construction; I am offering a custom version at my Homesewn site for a few days in case anyone else loves it as much as I do.


In preparation for my upcoming tutorial (an exhaustive, lengthy tutorial) on sewing a lined, underlined, interfaced child’s blazer, I paid a little extra attention to making this one, for posterity. I discovered that photographing the different construction elements of the jacket was a very  illustrative measure.

Interfacing, Underlining


I also adored the little separate piles of fabrics that end up making the construction and durability of  a kick-ass jacket. I am also finding that I prefer using fabric to interfacing for larger pieces, including collar and cuffs. I recently used this technique with Ralph’s wool coat – I haven’t yet blogged it here – and the results were wonderful.

Bound Buttonholes

Bound buttonholes.

This afternoon my mother asked me for a blazer as well, and I look forward to constructing it to fit her needs. I’m pretty much up for making awesome blazer-style coats at any moment and don’t see that ever changing; my one rule is, the garment has to be exciting (for me. to sew.)


From Russia With Love (1963)

“One of these days we must invent a faster-working venom.”

So first: today, I sent out a pair of Monstrer Booties, including a homemade card and gift wrap. Ralph and I plan on perfecting the monster boxes (three kinds of monster) and will post here for download. So much fun! Papercraft + knitting, w00t!


I was raised on the Bond movies. So live-tweeting a group viewing? Hey I like that, Johnny, I’m gonna use that!!! (0:49)

From Russia With Love (1963)Connery’s bond is modest with the towel length, less so with his shorts inseam.

Tomorrow night at 6 PM Pacific Standard Time, my friend @court_anonymous & I will be tweeting the second in the Bond film installments – last week we did #DrNo.  If you’d like to join in, Get your copy of From Russia With Love (1963)*, and queue it up. The moment the film fades from the lion-roaring MGM logo, pause it again. Precisely, at 6 PST according to this site, press play. You can join in under the hashtag #BondBFFs on Twitter (Ralph put together a streaming site page here at awesometi.me).

* (My advice? Buy a legal version, and download/torrent it to put the file on the computer through VLC or some such, so streaming internet doesn’t make viewing stutter.)

look what I can do!

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

One piece of two, made for my friend A. for her Christmas gifts. Also, my beautiful daughter modeling (she is the same height as the recipient; thinner). Information about the garment at the bottom of the post.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

One fur hook at neck, for closure. If the recipient wants more hooks installed I will do this gratis. It hangs very nicely but swings a little with movement.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Very insulating. It was quite cold when we walked to the coffee shop & phee, with her arms exposed, was perfectly warm.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

In this case, my client selected and brought me the fabric and the lining. This is something I am often not into doing but it worked out great. This faux fur was quite a bit more challenging than YETI-riffic fur. Additionally, it required lining up not only a striped pattern, but a striped pattern in a scallop. Yeah, I know! A total challenge. However I lucked out with yardage spacing, and returned quite a bit of faux fur to the client who now is pondering what she might or might not want to make with it. Faux fur is fabulous, but it is also quite bulky. I think some boot liners/leg warmers would be choice!

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

The lavender satin the client chose was so pretty – and a nice weight, making for a garment with a lot of weight. Very delicious. I added in-seam pockets, also in satin.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Very silky fur! Phee is not so excited about being a model here. Can you tell?

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Close-up of the armscye binding. An over-dyed cotton print, which I also used to make the thread-drawn patch:

Harley's Faux Fur Vest


Harley's Faux Fur Vest

This faux fur had a nice drape. I drafted a self-facing for the jacket, which is flipped over here to show you the inside of the garment.

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Harley's Faux Fur Vest

Phee & her DGAF face. I think I might start paying her to model. Children are more becoming when they smile!

Harley's Faux Fur Vest


Tips: Sewing A Faux Fur Jacket

A looonnnng post, y’all. YETI-riffic I just finished YETI-riffic, which is one of my daughter’s Christmas presents – and, because it was so much fun, I thought I’d write up some of the process. 

First yes, I get on this Christmas stuff early (or: “on time”, if you’re like me and make most of your gifts). And second yes, I’m posting a surprise present here on my blog. Guess why I can? Because my daughter is one person I know who DGAF about my blog. I don’t think she’s ever read it except maybe over my shoulder. She’s way too busy with her own badass stuff.

I was so pleased with the project I documented along the way, and I have a bit of advice for any who’d like to tackle faux fur. If you have any questions, please put them in the comments or email me (kelly AT hogaboom DOT org) and I’ll answer them here. And before I start – thank you so much Josh Moll and Elizabeth Gish, two readers who donated funds for my daughter’s jacket, which was not inexpensive. Without the support of readers I might not have made the jump to try something new! I have another client who dropped off faux fur for another project, which I’ll be starting soon. So – let’s get going!

Fabrics & Supplies

Do you pick the pattern or the faux fur fabric first? Experienced stitchers probably won’t find this a troublesome question. Me, I think you should go with the fur that speaks to you. But take a few minutes to think about it, because your pattern and/or your fur are going to determine a lot about how you proceed. I used a high-quality, long-napped “llama” fur from Harts Fabric for this project. Faux fur: The fur should drape nicely & feel pretty good for a coat-weight. Most faux furs are on a poly-knit backing. You want to pick the right fur. Some furs are so poorly-made I genuinely feel sorry for anyone who’d sew or wear them. That said, this llama you see here? $40 a yard. So if you see a good deal on good fur, grab it up. Make sure you get enough yardage for the nap requirements (picking a pattern that is drafted for faux fur, or for a napped fabric, will help you). Pattern: Pick a simple pattern with simple lines. The faux fur will make it fabulous, promise! And besides, any fancy details may be swallowed up by the fur (depending on the fur). In this case, I opted for in-seam pockets (more later), a generous hood, and flat-set sleeves. I also omitted facings and just lined the coat in full, prick-stitching the entire lining to the shell for structure and formal fanciness (more later). Interfacing / Underlining: This will depend on the fur and the pattern; most faux fur ends up being so warm that no underlining is needed. In the coat mentioned above, I used a fusible interfacing but then secured it to the coat. A sew-in interfacing is probably best; you can work on practicing patience as you hand-stitch it in. Lining: A mid-weight lining fabric is best. Something too light will work, but might not hold up to the wear that the faux fur lends itself to. I used a slipper satin, fairly heavy for a lining. Thread: 100% polyester is fine. While you’re at it, pick up a heavy-duty needle for the fur, a sharp needle for the lining, and – if you’re lining the hood or cuffing with knit, like I did here – a stretch or ballpoint for that.

General Sewing Tips

Pre-washing / pre-treating: You shouldn’t have to do this with most polyester fabrics (the satin and the fur). However, I do recommend for any slippery fabric this neat little trick of firming it up with gelatin Yeah, you heard. I used two packets gelatin in the smallest load in my washer, for my two yards satin. It worked great. The satin handled better and didn’t shift during sewing and cutting. Note, you will need to wash this gelatin out after construction, so skip this step if you’re going to want to dry-clean only. Faux fur, and linings etc, can all be hand-washed as long as you don’t have a tailored structure in the coat – and in this case, I don’t. Cutting and handling: Cut only, only the backing of the faux fur. This can be done with the tips of your scissors or an X-acto knife. Cut each piece out separately (no folding and then cutting as for so many fabrics) and make sure not to cut any pieces upside-down, or cut two left-side hood pieces, et cetera. Heavy petting: Sewing with faux fur is easier – and less messy – than you might think. Cut only the backing, and continue to comb the fur before stitching each seam – and you’ll only need a brief pass with the lint roller at the end of the project. Sewing machine settings: I used three fabrics for this project, and all three need vastly different treatments. Use a zig zag stitch for the fur and for the knit (if you use a knit); use a short straight stitch for the satin. All three fabrics need three different needles (heavy-duty for the fur; stretch/ballpoint for the knit; sharp for the lining). If you have three sewing machines (DON’T LAUGH, ASSHOLES!), you can set them all up accordingly and whiz through the project. When sewing on the fur, you can use a fairly wide zig zag as it will not show in the finished seam. The looser the zig zag, the easier it is to tease the fur back out of the seam after sewing, and therefore get a seamless look. However the looser the zig zag, the more likely you could lose a seam. Test on a scrap to figure out what you’d like to do. Use a tight seam for the satin and don’t trim or pink the satin as it frays quite a bit. Steam press (on the correct setting, not too hot!) after every seam for a good-looking lining. If you hate making linings – many do – make the lining first. For my lining technique, I typically leave a stretch in one of the sleeves open so that I can attach the lining and the jacket in the “bagged” style of lining attachment (I’ll link to that a little further along, here). Trimming, Notching, Grading: You might do a bit less of these than typical garment-sewing. For one, the coat style is going to be a bit loose. so reducing bulk is less of an issue. Secondly, be careful on any notching and trimming of ravelly fabrics like linings (depending on the lining). If you simply must trim closely, make sure you’ve reinforced with a stitch 1/32″ from the seam line, or some other technique to ensure you won’t have a seam come undone. I haven’t had a lining seam come undone in many years and I have the best “testing lab” there is – very active, rambunctious children as clients.

ENOUGH, Now On To The Coat!

Here are a few photos as I worked up the coat. First: the lining. Applying interfacing; in this case, to the front placket. I fused and then sewed, attaching with a prick-stitch. Prick-stitch is a form of back-stitch, very strong and dare I say, pretty. Technique: YETI-riffic Backside: YETI-riffic Front – which remember, will be against the body: YETI-riffic Sewing the lining together. Sharp needle and small stitch. About 1/2″ seam allowance – and no trimming. Press after each seam: YETI-riffic Sleeves. These are sewn in flat (both the lining and the jacket), so – easy. I only pin at the shoulder seam juncture. I always put the sleeve down, against the machine, as its sewing line has a bit more ease. I put my fingers in between the sleeve and the body and ease the sleeve in. No pins, super-fast. For me, anyway. The fur, same process, but more fiddling to comb that fur into the body of the coat. If you look, it may be hard to see where the fabric is and where my needleplate tape is. Well TOO BAD, I can’t go back and take a better photo: YETI-riffic Here I’m sewing toward the hem of one sleeve, leaving a gap in a sleeve – basically, a bagged method of attaching a lining (which deserves its own tutorial). Note, I stitched from the sleeve hem to the gap’s edge, then turned around and stitched back. Sturdy, and no thread-tails at the gap. YETI-riffic Underarm of the jacket. Knowing how active my kids are, I did a few reinforcing stitches here. Running from upper left to lower right diagonally, the side seam. My fingers are on the sleeve seam which has been pressed open before stitching: YETI-riffic OK. Now time to talk about sewing with the fur. As I’ve said, if you cut the fur properly, and sew with it properly, there is hardly any mess at all. If you just start hacking away, SO MUCH FUR-DRAMA. Here is a seam before and after I’ve pinned and combed it to illustrate how manageable it really is. Before: YETI-riffic After: YETI-riffic You note that after pinning right-sides together, I gently push in the fur towards the right side of the garment. Sew according to the nap, towards the direction the fur falls. It is worth it to make sure to do this for every seam, sometimes stopping – say at the armpit – and switching things up. Here you see what I’m talking about: YETI-riffic Experienced stitchers will know what they’re looking at, and beginners might be confused. Here you are seeing the side seam of the coat, with the sleeves attached and the satin pocket on the left (I’ll talk about the pocket in a minute). I’ve pinned on the side I’ll be sewing on, given things go a lot better when the bulk of the garment is to the left of your needle. Since I’ve got to sew DOWN the coat while sewing the body (to stay with that nap), and DOWN the sleeve when sewing the sleeve, my pins switch sides. Anyway, taking this care will make a nicer garment – trust me. So how did that pocket get up in there? Here’s a bit about where things get tricky – sewing satin to the fur. In this case, in-seam pockets. I drafted this pattern myself, so I just made up a couple pockets. You can buy a book or look it up online but inseam pockets are fairly intuitive. First, I attached one satin pocket piece to one side seam, right-sides together, combing the fur as I’ve mentioned. I will be sewing with that smaller stitch – not the zig zag – for the sake of the satin, which needs a firm stitch so it won’t ravel. I sew just shy of the seam allowance, so about 3/8″ for this project: YETI-riffic Now I flip it (I always picture Jim Carrey in the Lemony Snicket movie when I say “flip it”, he says it twice in different settings and both incidents are hilarious) and look, an awesomely luxurious half-pocket, waiting for its life-partner: YETI-riffic Sewing the side seam and the pockets all-in-one. If you’ve measured carefully and pinned carefully, everything comes together wonderfully: YETI-riffic Pockets done. & admit it. The result is like a beautiful bit of ladybusiness: YETI-riffic My son, who modelled the coat for photos, LOVES that you can’t see the pockets, or any seams, from the outside of the garment! Attaching the lining and the jacket. Here I am sewing along the jacket hem which means I have some awkward fur business (Awkward Fur Business is the name of my emo music project). You can push up the fur toward the coat but you’re still going to catch some fur in the stitching line. Even though my coat looks good, I have since thought of a better treatment for this, and I’ll be putting up an auxiliary link on that option for my next faux fur garment. Which is coming right up, by the way! YETI-riffic Here’s the coat as I’m “bagging” that lining. I love lining garments this way because at this stage the whole thing looks like fuckery, but you are only seconds away from turning it right-side out and having a beautiful garment! You notice I’m sewing a straight stitch here – again, it’s something I’m doing for the sake of that ravelly-ass satin. YETI-riffic Like just look how pretty it all is together. Can you believe, I ordered everything online, but I just KNOW what kind of shit will look good together! YETI-riffic Fur hooks (no zipper, duh!), attached with dark orange cotton thread. You can also see that prick stitch I put in the lining edge. YETI-riffic So. Cozy. & radsauce. YETI-riffic YETI-riffic OOPS, Nels is too cute again! YETI-riffic YETI-riffic

i like the hateful “beany eyes”, plus, this is like a really boring journal entry, sorry

Today my friend T. tells me I’m a “poster child for the women”*. He says I’m doing so well, he cites my homelife and marriage. And he says, “You got your kids working without having to – ” and he does this motion like whipping someone.

“Everyone” knows my kids are great. And doing great. T.’s talking to me and I’m thinking, yeah, life is pretty good in ways I am finding more meaningful daily. Like back in the day, I used to feel so stressed about aspects of running a home. But today while I am doing my thing here, my children are home cleaning the house. They’d cheerfully volunteered to do housework while I was out. I came home to plants watered, floors vacuumed and swept, dog walked, and the dishes done. Actually before I left I’d tried to talk the kids out of so many chores because it was kind of a lot.  I’m still getting used to letting go of some of this business.

Weirdly and speaking of Recovery, I recently had someone engage in insensitive and rude behavior re: my alcoholism. As in, mean-spirited comments and gossip. Amazing. I kept quiet at the time because I was surprised at what was happening, and because no response was intuitively forthcoming. But when I reflected on this later, I realized I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve been sober some eighteen months now and unless I’m mis-remembering, that’s only ONE incident where someone was shitty to me. I’ve got a lot of support, from not only those in Recovery but many of those in my life still actively drinking and using. Lots of people have been treated worse.

My kidneys are acting up the last few days, a fair amount of pain, but again, my perspective has changed. Instead of being afraid of the pain, I know that I can choose to pace (and sweat and maybe vomit) at home; or I can go to the ER. Knowing I have options helps and I am calm. I have accepted, at least for this time being, that I have physical pain.

Tonight Ralph and I helped someone for about three hours, putting together an online application packet and a cover letter.

It feels good to help others with no regard for return.

I made a zombie platypus for Phee. She named the plushie “Smog” and said Smog is both a boy and a girl. Smog has a cheerful hate and will fuck you up with poisonous spines (that’s a real thing BTW, God came up with that). But Smog loves Phoenix and they sleep together every night.

Zombie Platypus Plushie, Made For My Daughter

I’m working on the kids’ Christmas presents right now but I CAN’T POST DICK bout it. I haven’t yet scrabbled enough in my mattress (okay, Paypal) to buy my super-awesome Ralph present. But we’ll see how it goes.

* at the treatment center

the harder [we] work, the luckier [we] get

Car trouble rears its head again. Ralph’s had my vehicle for the week so the kids and I have been walking, bumming rides, and riding the bus. Today, two trips on the transit. Lots of drug addicts and alcoholics clearly still in active addiction, some people with problems either tacitly or obliquely advertised. A white man grim and silent and with that hard-eyed look and holding his two year old who stays equally silent. A young woman tiredly and loudly on the phone, begging / nagging the father of their child to assist in raising their child. She gets off at our stop and takes herself and the babe to the domestic violence shelter. My kids walk alongside me making up imaginary games and helping one another carry the big backpack full of books and binoculars and Pokemon accouterments they’ll put to use while I do some volunteer work.

But in general, we like riding the bus. I get a little nauseated, is all. I have to look out the window. The kids lean against me and we jostle gently through the streets I feel I’ve known forever.

On The Bus

Phee took her first “job” and started this week. She’d wanted to rejoin the swim team after a few years’ hiatus. We didn’t have the tuition, so she made a proposal to my mom for a work trade. Weekdays now Phee works at my mother’s here and there when she’s needed, then hits her swim practice. It seems to be a very satisfactory arrangement. Phee is getting that age she really can do quality work, and my mom is often overwhelmed by her home and garden and other responsibilities. I wish them both the best. I have a great deal of faith in my daughter and don’t meddle. Those things are probably related.

This evening as dusk falls Nels stays behind and waits for his father to get home and cook dinner. Phee and I catch an evening bus to get to the Y. My daughter asks, “Are you going to watch me swim?” and I say, “Every time.” She leans against me and kisses me. I decide I will be there no matter what. It’s easy enough to make this happen. It’s just a new thing I get to say Yes to.

On The Bus

In the pool she’s friends with every child and adult. The swim team is huge, three large sessions of kids. We’re in the earliest session of the evening, the beginner kids I think. There’s all that annoying sport parent stuff I won’t detail here. What matters to me is watching my daughter. She is a natural, friendly and walking up and down the lane, encouraging her team members and clapping for them, she knows their names already. She’s the most sportsmanlike child out there this week. I wonder if she’ll stay that way. I’m proud of her.

For a client, another SteamPunk Pika hat. I would make custom wool hats for a living if it could work out. Nels models:

Nels, Model

LOL at my kids in these pictures. Looking all grim and dystopian. Or is that merely my projection, as winter hit us hard all of a sudden?

A Little Gift Tag

Home and sewing and cleaning up and feeding animals. Baking a pie for a friend who celebrates a special milestone. Cold but we’ve heat and food and one another.