Tag Archives: Seamwork Mag

sweet pink shirt, a little boy, and spring




I was looking for a skinny pants pattern for Anne who wanted them to wear for her uniform for school, and I came across a new pattern company, Simple Life Pattern Company (and they are having a sale this week!).  I loved this cute shirt, so I bought that pattern too.  It was instantly a favorite.  I sewed this one up in an organic cotton jersey from Organic Cotton Plus.  I love pink, and I love this shade of pink (I made a little cardigan for myself from the same fabric).  But, this shirt is just perfect.  I made it long sleeve so that it could be worn in winter.  Evva loved the twirl of the peplum and the open back.  It will be in heavy rotation in her wardrobe, and that makes me happy.  Not all my sewing projects, despite the initial gladness the garment excites, make it into regular wardrobe rotation.  I will definitely be making more of these – and dresses too!

Of note this week – the crocuses (or croci) and snowdrops are blooming!!  My favorite sign of early spring.  The sign that gives me hope each year during the cold, gray days of winter.  And, bees were visiting these flowers!  Even though we don’t keep bees, I like that we have flowers for so many months of the year that help feed them.

And, Steven found a water gun from the summer and when I found out (at this moment) I had to explain that he could not shoot in the house – but it was awfully cute.  He also put on a set of glow bracelets from this weekend.  He was wearing a t-shirt I made for Hythe, but that now fits him.  Steven always liked that lightening bolt fabric and used to ask  (in his baby talk) to make one for him.  I never did get around to it, but when I pulled this out for Steven to wear the other day, he said “You made it for me!!”  Yes, baby, I did.  He was so happy.


glow sticks



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.


hand sewn




It is pretty well know that I like to sew.  I try to work on some kind of sewing project everyday.  Often at my machine, but sometimes it may be cutting out a pattern or fabric.  I love that I can get a garment finished in a relatively short amount of time.  Machine sewing allows me to whip out a simple shirt or dress or shorts in an hour or two.   Rarely do I hand sew.  My grandmother taught me to sew, starting by hand sewing dresses for my Barbies.  The second thing I ever sewed was a bright yellow jersey dress with a gathered skirt and tank top bodice for my Barbie.  I hand sewed every seam and hem.  It felt like a long and arduous process.  I wanted to use the machine and get it done faster, but my grandmother thought I ought to learn hand sewing first so I could learn, slowly, how sewing works, how stitches work, and how fabric behaves.  She did not put it in so many words, though.  But, I definitely gravitated to quicker sewing when I was older.  I love using the sewing machine.  If I have to stitch down a collar or bodice lining by hand, I will, and I usually enjoy that slower process of sewing, realizing that I get a better product when I do spend a little more time and effort, but the machine is so convenient and quick.

That said, I made a tank top with a pattern from Seamwork Magazine the other day.  I made it from an organic cotton baby rib which I dyed with goldenrod from the meadow by our house.  I realized I am not a huge fan of baby rib for garments (shirts at least) because it stretches just a little bit too much.  It is such a soft fabric with a little bit more weight than a jersey, but I don’t think I’ll use it again.  I loved the tank top anyway, though, because it fit well and it was a little more complex than a normal tank top (pleat in the back, gathered straps in the front, and a curved hem).  I decided to make another but to do it more slowly.  I had just read Natalie Chanin’s Alabama Stitch Book and thought I would like to try some of her techniques.  I would hand sew the hems and do a reverse applique.  I used an organic cotton jersey which I dyed with marigold, and the reverse applique fabric was the same but dyed with black walnuts.  I used a dark brown top stitching thread for the hems and applique stitches.  I changed the hem to be straight because I wanted to the look to be a little more different from the first tank top.  I was really pleased with how it came out.  And, I really enjoyed the slower process of hand sewing my hems and applique.  I will definitely be doing this again – probably next on a skirt (I need to make a plan).

One of the reasons I thought about doing more hand sewing recently was because the end of summer can bring some of the best weather of the season, and we had the best of it over the last few weeks.  It was warm, not too hot, much less humid and with a slight breeze.  I just did not want to sit in my sewing room/mud room/laundry room to sew.  I wanted to be on the porch, in the breeze, with a beautiful view and a glass of wine.  With this mostly-hand-sewn project, I got it all.  It was fun!

There is a rhythm to hand sewing – a meditative quality that makes it go by quickly – and when I can stay in that meditative state (i.e. not thinking too much about what I am doing, not over analyzing my stitches and state) I find that I sew the most even and beautiful stitches.  Like my grandmother tried to teach me – hand sewing this was been a good practice to understand sewing, understand fabric, and understand how stitches work.  And, to get a beautiful garment at the end – wonderful!

tank top