crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Vogue 1261

Pattern: Vogue 1261, an Alice & Olivia design

Fabric: poly blend sweater knit (from Joann’s last winter)


You may be saying to yourself “Self, I don’t remember that pattern!”  Well… there’s a reason for that.  Here is the pattern envelope, which bears little resemblance to my final product:

I saw the pattern and immediately wanted to make it.  I think it looks great on the model, and I’ve seen this sort of top everywhere in stores.  I held off because I just wasn’t sure about the uneven hemline, which I don’t generally find super flattering.  Lately I’ve been trying to wear pants occasionally (so that I don’t get into a style rut) and decided I wanted some tunics to wear with slim cut pants.  I’m pretty picky about tunics – they  must hit no shorter than mid thigh, or the proportions don’t work on me.  I apparently failed to notice that this particular tunic was not very long, and didn’t think to lengthen before cutting.  Realizing my error, I decided to sew it up anyway – after all, I have been surprised by new silhouete’s before. This time?  Not so much.  Here is the photo, or as I like to call it “how to gain 30 pounds with one new top.”

I am, admittedly, not wearing the right pants for the style in the photo, but skinny pants weren’t much better.  This style is not for me, at least not at the length (and possibly not at all!)  I tried to convince myself that it was fine, but I knew it wasn’t.  In the end I had to do major surgery to the top.  Here is what I did:

– I straightened the hemline and shortened the top by 2.5 inches.

– I reshaped the side seams to get rid of the A shaping.

I did not alter the neckline or the sleeves.  I should note that the sleeves are kind of small, and also short, so be aware of that.  It took me several tries to get a good fit, but I’m pleased now!  Here is the rear view:

I removed the center back seam, and I sewed the seams the normal way (the pattern calls for the seams being on the outside, which isn’t my thing.)

The other bit of oddness was the collar.  The lower edge of the cowl is meant to be finished with a bias strip of the fabric, folded in half with the cowl edge in between the two sides of the bias strip, and top stitched down.  I don’t know… that seems really odd to me (and still leaves 2 raw edges!)  I ended up not treating that edge at all.  My fabric is not the same on both sides, so I may go back and hand stitch the inside of the cowl down if it bothers me to see the back.  Right now I’m fine with it.  You can see what I mean here:

When I was new to sewing, this would have totally freaked me out.  I’m pleased to have progressed to the point where I know how to recover from a disaster!

I am still planning to make some tunics, but this time I will measure them against an existing tunic for length, and avoid uneven hemlines entirely.  I’m cleaning out my closet this weekend, so I expect I will return with some wardrobe plans soon!


crafts · knitting · Life · Sewing

Exciting things afoot!

I’m very excited to finally tell you all that I’ve been published!


I was asked to interview the featured designer for the Winter 2011 issue of Knitscene magazine.  I had a great time doing the interview and writing up the profile.  Alexis designed the  Figurehead shawl, which I mention starting in the article.  I love her designs in the issue, in particular a really neat sweater dress.  I recommend checking it out!

I have long harbored a secret dream of writing for publication, and I’m hoping this is the first of many opportunities.

My other news?  I’m going back to school!

Due to several issues, I left college with one class remaining for my degree.  Yes… I am that person.  I’ve finally decided that now is the time to finish what I started, so I will be taking my last class and graduating in the spring.  I have felt ashamed for years that I didn’t graduate, so embarrassed that I avoided dealing with the problem for years.   I have several friends who have been instrumental in convincing me that this is where I need to be, and I am very grateful they are in my life!

I had planned to work on getting my sewing room back together this weekend, but I traveled to sing a wedding instead.  I’m hoping to get things in place, because I’m really feeling the itch to make something!  I’ve been knitting on my Kirra sweater, but it’s slow going and a lot of waffle stitch.  I hope to finish soon, because I keep imagining what to wear it with.  Not to mention, it’s been cold, and I’m ready for some sweaters! .

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, with more crafting that I have managed!







crafts · decorating · Thrifting

Drowning in a sea of fabric

I’ve spent the past week sorting and reorganizing my sewing room (ie the entire 3rd floor of my house,) with the idea of turning half of it into a workout space (I don’t use all the space now, it mostly holds boxes!)  Right now I’m in the “looking worse before it gets better” phase (see below)

The big chest that you see in the back there is currently blocking off about an 8’x8′ area of usable space.  The trunk was my husband’s in childhood, but I have no nostalgia about possessions… we have nowhere to put it, and no use for it, so it has to go!  I have yet to get my big pattern chest in this room, partially because of the trunk issue, so I’m hoping to get it up there this week!  Needless to say, there is no sewing… but I am finding patterns and fabric that I forgot I even had!  I’ve been compiling a folder of fall inspiration, which I will show you soon.  I can’t wait until my space actually looks inviting again – I hate clutter!

I also thought I would show a few recent fun thrifting/ yard sale finds with you.  I’ve been trying to get up earlier, so I’ve actually made it to a few more sales this season.

I got this adorable homemade sheep cross stitch at one of those yardsales.  The lady I bought it from said it no longer suited her decor, but I love it on my bedroom mantle (along with a globe that’s so old it still shows “French West Africa” as a country!)

I’ve been searching for a fall purse, and I think this is the one.  I bought it at Goodwill.  It’s not fancy, but it is unused (still with tags) and has a great leopard print lining.  I think this might have been one of those bags they give you with a large cosmetic purchase.  I’m happy with it!

And saving the best for last…

Oh yes… you know you are jealous of my STTNG clock!  I haven’t decided yet where to put it… it’s important to find just the right place, you know?  I’m thinking it will end up in the sewing room, so that Commander Riker can inspire me!


crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Butterick 5672

Pattern: Butterick 5672

Fabric: Double knit (rpl blend) 2 yards


This was my favorite pattern from Butterick this fall.   I’ve been waiting for the weather to cool down so that I could justify making a dress out of a heavier fabric.  It got down to 45 last week, which is good enough for me!  This is a style that I have struggled with.  I like the idea of side pleating, but in practice I find that it often looks bulky.  On this dress it doesn’t, in part beacause it has a waist seam, and also because I made it pretty fitted!  Here is  a closeup of the pleats:

They are stitched down  for several inches, which also helps to keep the front from blousing out.  The pattern itself was very simple.  I eliminated the lining, and chose to finish the neckline with a simple turn under. This is the length as drafted, and I often have to shorten Butterick patterns.  Other than that, it fit very well.  I cut between the sizes, going between an 8 on the bottom and 10 on the top.  The actual construction of the dress took about 2 hours – it was very quick!  I did not use the instructions, and took a totally different order of operations so that I could try it on.  I ended up taking in 1/2″ from the underarms to upper hip, as it was just slightly roomy there.  I didn’t get a great photo of the back, but the fit is decent.  I would eliminate the rear darts if I made it again.  I did remove all the ease from the sleeves – there is no reason for that in a knit, and there was quite a bit of ease too (2.5″ or so.)  I do this for all sleeved garments, even wovens, because I find that the ease causes them to fit my shoulders poorly, and also because I hate easing in sleeves more than anything!  I could lie and say that I have a scientific process to do this, but in fact I just measure the sleevecap and sleeve, subtract one number from the other, draw a horizontal line between the notches on the sleeve, and then fold out that amount on the pattern piece before cutting.

I’m not sure what I will make next – I have no weekends until November, so hopefully I can manage to squeeze in some time!