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Seamwork Ruth

January 31, 2019

Blush viscose dobby Ruth blouse

Earlier this week I made this Seamwork Ruth blouse. I used the softest, floatiest blush pink viscose dobby from Blackbird Fabrics, which has been waiting patiently in my stash for close to a year. I Frenched all of the seams (yes, even that gathered waist seam!) for a nice finish on the inside.

Blush viscose dobby Ruth blouse

Let’s talk about the fit! For reference, my measurements are 54″ bust, 49-52″ waist (depending on exactly where I measure, and whether I’m sitting or standing), and 59″ hip. I’m 5’5″ tall and wear a 44I bra. I made the size 26, which according the size chart corresponds to a 54″ bust, 47″ waist, and 58″ hip. I didn’t make any modifications to the pattern, but I was able to accommodate my larger waist size by simply moving the snaps to a more comfortable position. As a result, the waist darts don’t quite line up directly under the apex of my bust, but that’s something I can live with. I also added a snap where the fronts cross at the lapel so the neckline wouldn’t gape open.

Blush viscose dobby Ruth blouse

This blouse is the first project I’ve completed for the wardrobe I’ll be taking with me to Italy this summer, but it’s also exactly the kind of thing I want to be wearing as we head into February: soft, pink, and romantic. And how perfect does it look layered up with my Ishnana cardigan?!

Blush viscose dobby Ruth blouse

We made it through January, folks! Spring is on the horizon! Have you started planning (or making) for your spring sewing yet? Is the Ruth blouse on your list?

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Cleo’s birthday pinafore

August 15, 2018

Cleo’s birthday dress

I can hardly believe it’s possible that my baby girl will be 2 years old next month, yet here we are. I’ve had the idea in my head to make her an embroidered jumper for months, and her birthday seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally make it happen.

Cleo’s birthday dress

Pattern: Bebekins Polly Pinafore, size 3, with regular ruffle and regular skirt options Fabric: Jessica Jones Spring Quartet (Cloud9 Fabrics) corduroy in Ocean Embroidery: Rainbow Floral embroidery pattern by Leslie Sauceda Morales, at 75% scale, worked in various colors of Weeks Dye Works floss

Cleo’s birthday dress

The biggest challenge with a project like this is getting the pattern onto the fabric. I started by tracing the bodice front onto the fabric with white tailor’s chalk. Since chalk likes to rub off while you’re working, I went over this outline with a simple straight stitch on my sewing machine. I printed out the embroidery pattern at 75% scale onto Solvy paper, which I then centered onto the bodice front and adhered with a fabric-safe glue stick (or save yourself a last-minute trip to Joann’s and just buy the self-stick Solvy paper, haha!).

Cleo’s birthday dress

If you’ve never used Solvy paper, it’s fantastic! You stitch right through the paper, and when you’re done it dissolves in water. [Side note: I wasn’t able to get every little bit of paper out from my initial quick soak, but it did all come out when I ran the dress through the washing machine.] For the embroidery itself, I dug into my stash of Weeks Dye Works hand-dyed floss. A special dress deserves special floss, right? I used 2 strands throughout, and most of the flowers and leaves were done in satin stitch. I also used stem stitch, fly stitch, and a few French knots.

Cleo’s birthday dress

And that’s it! I started this project on August 7th and finished it up today, August 15th. I’m incredibly proud of how it turned out, and Cleo really seems to love it! Every time I make her a new dress, I think, “this is my favorite!” — but it’s really going to be hard to top this one!

Lavender rayon Veronica

June 5, 2018

Lavender birds Veronica

Pattern: Seamwork Veronica
Fabric: “Snack Time Lavender Rayon” (From Porto With Love) by Sarah Watts for Cotton + Steel, purchased at Sarah’s Fabrics
Size: 26
Mods: Eliminated the back zip; cut all back pieces on the fold (eliminating 5/8″ seam allowance); eliminated neck facings.

My take-away from Me Made May was that, while I like the versatility of separates, I feel the absolute best on days when I get to wear fun dresses. I wore my first Veronica (made in Nani Iro double gauze) a few times last month, and it was clear my closet needed another one. This time I skipped the zipper and the neck facings (opting for bias facing instead). When constructing the waistband, I first stitched down just the back section of the inner waistband to create a casing for the elastic. After inserting and stitching down the elastic at the side seams, I then finished sewing the front part of the inner waistband to the skirt.

Lavender birds Veronica

I had juuuuuust enough of this beautiful rayon in my stash to make this dress, and I’m so glad to now have another fun, breezy little Veronica in my handmade wardrobe!

Coral gingham Kimmy dress

May 28, 2018

Coral gingham Kimmy

Last night I put the finishing touches on my latest sewing project, the Seamwork Kimmy dress. It’s just the perfect thing for a family barbecue, picnic by the lake, or going for a lazy stroll downtown with an ice cream cone — basically all of my #summergoals!

Coral gingham Kimmy

It’s got the sweetest little shoulder ties, so you can make the sleeves as long or as short as you want. I’m not usually comfortable in sleeveless dresses, but I’ve actually found that cinching these drawstrings all the way up is my favorite way to wear it.

Coral gingham Kimmy

You may not be able to tell from these first few photos, but I made quite a few modifications from the original pattern. It all started with this fabric, which I bought from Mood (with a gift certificate generously provided by Seamwork as part of the Seamwork Ambassador program). I fell in love with this crinkly gingham gauze as soon as I saw it online, but it ended up being so much more sheer in person than I imagined from the description & photos on the website. (Lesson learned — order a swatch first!) Anyway, I still really wanted to make a Kimmy with this fabric, so I bought some Robert Kaufman Cambridge lawn in ivory for a lining.

Seamwork Kimmy

Y’all, the only experiences I’d had with lining were the bodices of my daughter’s Geranium dresses, and this dress is constructed in an entirely different manner. I spent a whole damn month thinking about how I was going to approach this. After reading the instructions (lol, why didn’t I just do that at the outset?), I realized that lining the bodice of the Kimmy is SO DANG EASY! In the original pattern, the armholes and neckline of the bodice pieces are faced with bias tape before seaming them together. For ease (and honestly because I’m lazy, YOLO), I eliminated the center seams of the front & back bodice pieces and just cut everything on the fold. I think the center seams in the original pattern are there so that you don’t have to miter the bias tape at the v-neck, but that wasn’t an issue with a full lining. The original pattern calls for 1/2″ single-fold bias tape, so I used a 1/4″ seam allowance when attaching my lining.

Seamwork Kimmy

I sewed a continuous line around the armhole, shoulder, neckline (pivoting and back-stitching a few times at the V), other shoulder, and other armhole. The original pattern calls for finishing the shoulder seam allowances after seaming, but it made more sense to enclose them in the lining.

Seamwork Kimmy

I attached the skirt lining to the main fabric by sewing them together at a 3/8″ seam allowance. I attached the bodice to the skirt as written in the pattern, but I closed the elastic casing (leaving a 2″ opening) before inserting the elastic. To make a nicer finish on the inside, I trimmed the SA of the main bodice, main skirt, and skirt lining, then folded & pressed the bodice lining under by 1/4″ before stitching down the elastic casing, so that all of the raw edges were nicely enclosed. I didn’t pay much attention to how long the elastic was when I bought it at JoAnn’s, so my waistband has about 8″ more negative ease than the pattern calls for. It’s perfectly comfortable, and I like how much it gathers in the waist.

Seamwork Kimmy

Finally, I hemmed the main skirt as written in the pattern, and hemmed the skirt lining to be about 3/4″ shorter. I used this tutorial from Itch to Stitch to make hand crochet chain French tacks to tether the lining to the skirt.

Coral gingham Kimmy

I also made a couple of other pretty straightforward mods: raised the back neckline to a curve (instead of the original v-back), eliminated the pockets (because I really wasn’t sure how to do that with the lining), and sized down on the bodice. And that’s it! I probably made a million mistakes, and this gauze fabric wasn’t the easiest to work with, but I love how it turned out!

***If you’re interested in joining Seamwork, you can sign up with my referral link and get your first month for $3! You can also buy the patterns without joining, but 3 bucks is a pretty sweet deal, and there are tons of other benefits (access to the newest patterns! bonus modifications! FABRIC STORE DISCOUNTS!!).***

Cleo’s meatballs

December 6, 2017

Cleo's meatballs//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I came up with the recipe for these spinach & mozzarella stuffed meatballs after searching the grocery store for something simple to feed Cleo for lunch and only finding things that were loaded with sodium. I’ve made these with both chicken and turkey, although Cleo seems to prefer them made with chicken. For the sauce, I prefer to use passata (strained tomatoes), but use whatever you like. I usually omit the salt & pepper when making these for Cleo. I like to serve this with polenta or cauliflower puree.

Cleo's meatballs//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Cleo's meatballs//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Cleo's meatballs//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Cleo's meatballs//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
Cleo's meatballs//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Chicken Meatballs with Spinach and Mozzarella
Makes 24-28 meatballs (serves about 4)

1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs
3 Tbsp. milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2.5 oz. baby spinach, chopped
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg
1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
Olive oil, for frying
500g strained tomatoes, or about 2 c. of your favorite tomato sauce

Mix together breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl; let sit for a few minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid. Add the beaten egg, chopped spinach, shredded mozzarella, minced garlic, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and chicken, and mix thoroughly. With wet hands, roll mixture into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Heat 1-2 Tbsp. of olive oil over medium heat in a 12-inch skillet. Place half of the meatballs in the skillet and fry 2-3 minutes per side, until browned but not cooked all the way through. I use two spoons to gently turn the meatballs. They have a tendency to stick to the pan, thanks to the cheese, so be very careful when you turn them. Remove the browned meatballs from the pan and fry the second batch. Return all meatballs to the skillet, pour off some of the oil if desired, and add the tomato sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened.

Buon appetito!

Cleo's meatballs//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Summer of Basics

August 2, 2017

Mango Sorbetto

Back in May, we made a bucket list of things we wanted to do this summer. It was mostly family stuff, but I added a personal goal of sewing something. I really wanted to join in with Karen Templer’s #summerofbasics challenge, but I knew I’d never be able to finish 3 makes in 3 months if they were all knitted. Even with sewing 2 of the 3, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish in time. But here we are, August 2nd, and I’ve already completed my 3 pieces and have plans for 2 more!

Ishnana

The first item I completed was the Ishnana cardigan, by Ysolda Teague. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while. The back reminds me of Aureus, but with proportions that I find more flattering on my body. When I found out that Ysolda used the same short row sleeve cap shaping technique that I loved so much on my Primrose cardigan, that was enough to bump Ishnana straight to the top of my queue. I used Knit Picks Stroll in Dove Heather — my wardrobe had been sorely lacking a good gray cardigan for far too long, and I didn’t want to wear an expensive, non-washable yarn while chasing around a baby.

Ishnana and Dress no. 1

Next up was Dress No. 1, from 100 Acts of Sewing/Sonya Philip. I used two fabrics from the SS Bluebird collection by Cotton + Steel (Bouquet in Blue for the dress, Shibori in Sky Blue for the pockets and facings), purchased at Sarah’s Fabrics here in Lawrence. I was pretty confident going into the seams and hem, but so intimidated by the bias facing and pockets. The dress languished, half-finished, for a few weeks because I was scared I was going to mess the whole thing up when attaching the bias tape. It ended up being a lot easier than I thought it would be! I’m so proud of this dress. I’ve already worn it 3 times!

Dress no. 1

Last but not least, I made version 3 of the Sorbetto top, by Colette. I used Robert Kaufman Cambridge Lawn in Mango, purchased from Hawthorne Threads, and trimmed it with Liberty of London bias tape in Elysian W, from Jones & Vandermeer. This was my first time sewing a pleat, bust darts, and sleeves. I think I did pretty well on the pleat and bust darts, but setting in the sleeves was hard! I probably should’ve ripped out a few spots and resewn them, because there are some puckers, but overall I’m really happy with how this top turned out.

Mango Sorbetto

I just bought fabric for another Dress No. 1 and a Seamwork Mojave. Both will incorporate a little more Liberty into my life! 😉

Dress no. 1

2016 knitting roundup

December 30, 2016

2016 knitting roundup
2016 knitting roundup

I completed a whopping twenty projects this year!  A lot of them were quick one- or two-day projects, but there were still 4 sweaters, 2 dresses, and a blanket for Cleo, plus a shawl for me.  My last FO of the year is the brown crossover sweater pictured in the middle of the second photo collage above.  It’s the Harvey Kimono from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms, by Louisa Harding.  The yarn is Knit Picks Swish DK in Camel Heather.  Here’s a closer look:

Cleo's kimono

I knitted this pattern once before, back in 2008, but I wasn’t happy with how it turned out.  This time I was a little more careful about picking up the stitches for the neck trim (and I didn’t mess up the 3-needle bind-off on the shoulders), and I’m so much happier with it.  Cleo loves it too!

Looking forward to 2017, I want to knit more for myself.  I just started the Alaria shawl, after receiving three skeins of Quince & Co. Tern for Christmas.  I’ve also got yarn for a pair of Sedge mitts, a Francine headband, the Throstle shawl from the latest issue of Making, and a pair of Southern Fiords socks.  I’d like to knit a couple pairs of socks for my husband, and I’ve queued up a couple of sweaters for Cleo for next fall/winter.