Tag Archives: oliver+s

holiday makes

I sewed up a few things for holiday gifts this year. Not as many as I had in mind at first, but about a week before Christmas I told myself it was ok if I did not make all the things on my list, and I believed myself!

First, I made Seamwork Mag‘s Denali vest for my brother-in-law.  Each year the siblings and in-laws in William’s family draw names, and I drew my hard-working farmer brother-in-law.  I knew I wanted to make something for him and saw the vest.  Perfect.  I ordered the fabric and got the pattern printed.  I am not a huge fan of pdf patterns (patterns only available to download and print yourself), but most independent patterns that I love come as pdfs.  They either have to be printed on your home printer as 8×11 pieces of paper that you have to line up and tape or glue together, or you have a print shop print off the pattern on large paper.  I usually, now, choose the later because I can get our local print shop to do it for me for a few dollars (and that is totally worth the time and tedium of taping all those sheet together).  I picked up the printed pattern and the fabric arrived and I set to it.  This fully lined vest came together quickly and I was very happy with it, so I put it aside for other projects until Christmas Eve night, when I went to put in the (expensive) snaps.  And of course, everything went wrong from there.  Every other snap seemed to bend, but I got one side done.  Then, when I went to put in the male snaps, nearly all of them just punctured holes in the vest and pulled right out.  I was very frustrated and was left looking at a ruined garment and gift.  Kindly, my brother (Will) who had come by, getting out of the house he was staying in while Santa was visiting, was very positive and helpful with suggestions of what to do to fix the problem.  He and William found some tools to help get the remaining snaps removed from the vest.  I gave up the idea of gifting the vest for Christmas, but planned to fix it and deliver it sometime later.  William and Will suggested I cover the strips of holes with fabric and put in a zipper.  That is what I did.  And, it turned out great.  I gifted it on the 30th, and I think he liked it!




Pajamas are my other annual gift to our children.  This year, I made pjs for all but Steven.  Steven has so many pjs (some gifted, many hand-me-downs) that his drawer over flows.  Even though I did not make him any, I pulled out a pair he got last year for Christmas that were too big at the time, and he was happy.  I made sets for the other three over a few nights, using organic cotton jersey and waffle fabric from a warehouse sale at Spiritex.  I like making pjs because I can experiment with my sewing.  I self-draft the tops and use an Oliver+S pattern for the bottoms (sews up quickly and is comfy).  I can try new stitches, use my serger, do some color blocking, experiment with hem finishes, etc.  These were quick projects, and I hurried through them as well.  I gifted these on the 23rd, just before we went to the Polar Express (where they were supposed to wear pajamas).  And, just like years past, but still surprising to me, the children were absolutely delighted by them.


retreat (to sew)

A few weeks ago, I went on a sewing retreat with 7 other women.  I was the youngest by at least 20 years.  And, that was fine because these women were wonderful – kind, fun, and expert sewists.  We got away to a gorgeous lake in the mountains, only an hour from my house.  We retreated to get all the time we desired to sew, uninterrupted.  We also did not have to cook or clean for 3 days!  I spent much of the time sewing in the open, airy, and light space the retreat center provided.   But, I also got out each day in those beautiful mountains to hike, run, and take a dip in the lake.

I came to the retreat with projects ready.  First up was a romper (pattern by Figgy) for Evva.  I bought this pattern because I wanted to make the romper for Evva, but I’m not sure I’ll ever use it again (maybe for the dress, though).  I’ve found that Figgy patterns are not always right, or the explanations don’t make sense, or the construction techniques don’t make sense.  Sometimes they are unnecessarily complicated.  I simplified this pattern a little, but it still took quite a while to make it.  But, Evva loves it.  She wears it quite a bit and says it is very comfortable.


Then, I made a pair of shorts for myself (pattern by Colette) with a great hemp/cotton blend that feels a bit like a linen.  I love these shorts.

picture by Hythe

I made a quick pair of shorts for Anne, so she would have something for herself from the retreat.



One of my goals to was to make a shirt from some cheap (and on sale) material that I found in Hancock Fabrics.  For some reason, I really liked the fabric.  And, I found a pattern in my Seamwork collection that I thought would work well.  I got the pattern cut out before I went on the retreat, and then sewed it at the retreat.  It was such a quick and fun sew and I learned a bit about making v-neck tees.  I love this shirt!  But, I want to hem it a little bit more.


I then made a shirt from a quilting cotton that had fishing lures all over it.  I made it with my nephew in mind, but thought Hythe could wear it until we get to see him.  But, my mom (who was helping with the children while I was gone) was still at home with my nephew when I got home, so I gave the shirt to him as they were driving away.  So, I don’t have any pictures of it.  But the pattern was this one by Oliver+S – made short sleeve.

Finally, I cut out a t-shirt for myself, but did not sew it up until I got home.  It was self-drafted, a quick sew, and I love it.  So comfortable and looks good.  I used a new-to-me technique from the ladies at the retreat to make the collar cuff.


Retreat.  I had not gone off by myself, for myself, in over 10 years.  It was so nice to have all the time of the day to call my own.  To do with what I wanted.  It was a pleasure.  I have the same feeling sometimes when I go to a yoga class.   It is something I want to do more often, and highly recommend.  But, I was also very happy to get home to William and the children, my garden, my home.