Rumi + Toaster = Roaster Sweater Tunic Thingie

I did it! I figured out the tripod/wireless remote situation with my new camera and new photo wall! I just realized that all my shots are a little crooked but I’m out of practice with this whole selfie thing, so let’s take it slow and easy. The new camera was a reluctant purchase. I managed to somehow drop and break both my nice Canon and back-up Canon cameras a few months ago (sob!) and after lamenting the losses, I decided to take this opportunity to try out an Olympus mirrorless camera. I have to say, I’m lovin’ it because it’s so compact yet takes sharp, lovely photos.

Here I am, testing out the remote. I have about 7 jillion blurry photos of me from this single test.

Anyway! Like I’ve mentioned, I’ve been sewing.

This here is a hybrid of sorts of the Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater and the Cali Faye Rumi Pullover. The fabric is a polyester/cotton blend (well, I’m pretty sure it’s polyester/cotton, but don’t quote me on it) that I purchased years and years ago. I bought this with a vision of a roomy, cozy, cocoon-y turtleneck sweater and spent eons searching for a pattern with no luck. I was on the verge of just self-drafting a pattern when I remembered how much I love wearing my Rumi Pullover. The Rumi is very roomy (maybe that’s why it’s named that way?). But it is not a turtleneck. Luckily, I had stored the Toaster Sweater pattern with the Rumi pattern, so I figured it was kismet and I could just double the height of the neck piece and call it a day. It worked!

The other modification I made was to slim down the silhouette of the bodice a touch and tapered the hem for a subtle cocoon shape. I also added 5” to the length and reduced the front neckline about an inch to accommodate the turtleneck piece.

I loooooooooooooove it. It’s exactly what I had in mind. I could eat buckets of roasted chestnuts and drink gallons of hot cocoa and no one will ever notice my expanding waist. My kind of sweater! I’m calling it my Roaster sweater. Or maybe Tumi is better?  I’ve paired it with my favorite Ginger Skinny Jeans by Closet Case Patterns; this pair is in constant rotation and they’re holding up spectacularly.

There’s a lot of grey going on here, including my hair. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I stopped coloring my hair about a year ago. It was — much to my utter shock — one of the most life-altering experiences I’ve had. I was SO self-conscious, it was nuts-o. As my roots grew out, I felt increasingly insecure and couldn’t figure out why I was making such a big deal about it. It was adolescence all over again! It took a good six months for me to get accustomed to the grey. I know that it’s a little tricky to see all of my silvery strands in these photos, but trust me, they’re abundant. The funny thing is, I love the grey/silver now. It is, after all, my favorite color and the way my hair sparkles and shimmers in the light is pretty awesome. And just plain pretty, I believe. The other day I saw a stunningly beautiful woman with silver locks and I was so inspired. If I can look half as chic as she did when I go fully grey, I’d be golden…or, uh, silver in this case. Though I miss my wonderful hair stylist who not only made me (artificially) feel youthful but also patiently listened to my dronings-on, the upsides of going naturally grey are innumerable. I don’t have to deal with stained pillowcases, I’m not shelling out $$$, I’ve reclaimed the time spent sitting in the salon chair, etc. etc. These days I can’t imagine going back to coloring my hair.

Oh, I’ve missed blogging. I derive so much pleasure from just sharing my thoughts and things I’m working on or playing/experimenting with in this random, carefree way. It feels so good to be typing this little post up. There are many, many exciting things happening behind the scenes, which is a major part of why I’ve had to put some of my favorite pastimes on the back burner. Maybe I’m being too optimistic and ambitious, but after pondering various options, I think I’ve come up with a fun way to incorporate everything I want to do. I have some news and more sewing that I’ll share over the next few weeks along with a personal project that’s been brewing in my mind for…oh…years.

Alright my friends, it’s time for me to get more sewing done. I hope you have a cozy, Roaster sweater-y type of weekend (if you’re in a cooler climate range, that is) and just an all-round good time!

 

 

 

 

Espadrilles Kit by A Happy Stitch

Hello, my friends! Amid the swirl of book launch prep, I also made shoes. SHOES.

Espadrilles, to be exact. The Espadrilles Kit from A Happy Stitch, to be even more exact.

They look legit, right? When my lovely friend Melissa of A Happy Stitch contacted me to see if I’d like to try my hand at shoe-making, I was all in.

I was actually a little nervous. There were some super long and curvy needles involved and the very helpful and thorough kit included “needle pullers” (plastic thimble looking things) which intimidated me. I ended up not using them, which I regret because my fingers hurt a bit afterwards.

Making espadrilles, I discovered, is FUN. And way easier than I expected. I knew that I would need to practice a bit to get the hang of things and asked if it would be okay if I made a pair for both me and K. Melissa quickly shipped me all the supplies needed for two pairs.

I would estimate that each pair took me about two hours to make, give or take a few minutes. Sewing up the fabric pieces with the sewing machine is a breeze; after all, there are only two pattern pieces. Even with the interfacing and lining pieces added on, the machine sewing part took just a few short minutes. The most challenging part was the blanket stitching of the pieces to the soles. And this is mostly because I am the world’s slowest hand-stitcher. I started with the black pair (for me), and after a few false starts, I got into a nice stitching rhythm. The instructions are excellent and Melissa went above and beyond with the packaging. I didn’t take beauty shots of the parcel, but you can see the loveliness here. It literally comes with everything you need except a sewing machine (and the thread for the sewing machine, but hey).

I found it tricky to get the fit right, but that might be just me. I knew that the sizing ran big, but I wasn’t sure how deep (wide?) to make my blanket stitches. I guesstimated and the result was a rather loose-fitting pair. I normally wear a size 7, but the espadrilles I completed fit more like a 7.5. On the flip side, I didn’t want the teen size 4 to be too big for K, so I enlarged my blanket stitches yet her feet barely fit. Then again, she’s going through a crazy growth spurt so I probably needed to reduce the blanket stitching dramatically from the get-go to give her more room. Side note: the teen size 4 was about 3/4″ shorter than the women’s size 7, but a lot narrower.

Although I haven’t yet, I plan on re-doing the stitches so that our espadrilles slip on and stay on effortlessly. They look great, though, and I feel irrepressibly proud to have made SHOES! K loves them and is so sad that she’ll only be able to wear them for a nanosecond before she grows out of them. Well, I’ll just have to make her another pair…maybe wedges, next time?

Thank you, Melissa, for letting me try out your beautiful kit! I received the materials for free, but all of my opinions are fully my own. I can’t recommend this kit enough!!! ESPADRILLES! Who woulda thunk they could be DIY’d?

Random kitty photo, just because she’s so adorable. Sorry.

 

P.S. All those glistening spots you see on the wood floor? M had just taken a shower and had left wet footprints all over the place. Keepin’ it real.

Happy Friday + Making LINES

Photo by Carrie Hoge

Happy Friday! Have you seen the latest Making issue, LINES? What a beaut! Carrie and team continue to slam dunk with gorgeous content, and I’m so honored that I was a contributor! Many things have changed in my life these last five years, and one of the most glorious changes is that I now get to collaborate and work with the loveliest, most amazing people all the time. I’m sad to say that wasn’t usually the case for the 25+ jobs I’ve had in the past, though of course there were always a gem or two.

Today I thought I’d do a sort of behind-the-scenes of my projects in LINES, since that’s always fun for me.

Photo by Carrie Hoge

Project one was the nesting fabric buckets. I realize I’m not scoring any points for originality here, though I did add flourish on the canvas fabric with fabric paint, which turned out to not only be enjoyable, but I was also very happy with the results. Quick and easy, that’s how I roll.

Here’s another pretty outtake of the buckets that Carrie shot:

Photo by Carrie Hoge

I can’t remember exactly whether I offered or if Carrie asked me if I wanted to contribute to the kids’ section as well. At any rate, I was planning on creating an animal nesting version and made these samples:

Then I found out that there was a distinct and totally coincidental cat theme going on in the kids’ section so Carrie wondered if I would be able to make a cat version. But of course!

Photo by Carrie Hoge

So cute, right?? As I’m prone to doing, I squealed with delight when I finished the kitty basket.

Plus, it worked out well because the bear and owl buckets ended up as gifts for friends and K fell in love with the bunny.

What you may or may not have noticed if you’ve browsed through the issue is that I did a number of illustrations, which was a dream assignment. I’ve always wanted to have my illustrations in a beautiful print magazine, and I can now check that off my bucket list. Thank you, Carrie!

The middle illustration was based on the supremely adorable cat made by Erika Barratt (her instagram AND Making‘s feed are must-sees — so much inspiration!).

The entire issue is a visual feast full of thoughtful projects and stories. I hope you check it out!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

I’m out of practice
Haven’t created haikus
in a long, long while

P.S. Furoku members! The next edition is scheduled to go out tonight…I think. I hope. Probably!

Happy Friday + OCS

Happy Friday! What’s this? My fourth Ginger Skinny Jeans on my cutting table? The crazy thing is that I just finished Gingers #3 last week:

I’ve got a serious case of OCS, my friends. That would be Obsessive Compulsive Sewing. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you probably saw a level of prolific output that hasn’t happened in years in terms of sewing. I completed that indigo chambray Grainline Archer shirt last week as well. And the white linen Archer shirt below flew out of my sewing machine just a few days before the indigo one. The sleeves are a tad long for me, but since I roll up all my long-sleeved button down shirts anyway, I’m not too concerned. Like this:

Oh, it’s been an incredible joyride now that I’m sewing again. Of course, part of me is well aware that this is just another one of my “productive” procrastination tactics since I’m in hardcore deadline mode and need to have the next book done by the end of the month.

Sorry for the photo quality — the light’s been dimming as autumn settles in and I’m trying to find spots in my house that I can use for blog photos now that a humongous credenza occupies the white wall that was formerly my default background. The search hasn’t been too promising yet, but I’m ever hopeful!

Details, details, details:

I made the white Archer shirt in linen (so luscious) and the indigo version is made of the same lightweight chambray that became the Charlie Caftan, another excellent Closet Case Pattern. I cut the size 10 and didn’t make any alterations. What a fun, fun pattern to sew!

But even more fun is stitching up jeans. In fact, my OCS might just turn into OCJ (Obsessive Compulsive Jeans-making). I shared my first successful pair of non-muslin Ginger jeans here. The muslin version I’d made before that one was definitely wearable, but the zipper busted on me and the denim wasn’t quite as stretchy so they weren’t as comfy as the black pair. I ended up cutting a size 6 and made a bunch of alterations to make the black pair fit the way I like.

Taking the altered patterns sheets (see all the notes I have scrawled on there?), I sewed up my third pair and this newest addition to my Ginger collection is pretty much perfect in terms of fit. So much so, that I immediately cut out another pair. I’m not sure what the denim content is, but it has a good amount of stretch. Probably 2-3% lycra?

Look at my oh-so-Pacific-Northwest pocket linings! The fabric happened to be within arm’s reach, and the plaid cotton is a nice nod to my rugged, outdoorsy region.

Regardless of having sewn the jeans multiple times, I always consult the Sewing Your Own Jeans E-book that Heather put together. It’s so comprehensive and helpful! I know she has video courses now as well, which is pure genius. That Heather, she’s going places. I love her and I’m sort of in awe of her. She’s brilliant and warm and hilarious and truly loves to help people create beautiful clothes that feel wonderful to wear. She’s exactly the kind of person I want guiding me to make body-hugging jeans which can be such an emotional thing, you know?

Anyway enough sewing talk! More watercolors! Books! Yes, that’s my focus right now! Wait, our staircase is looking really dingy. A quick lick of white paint would do wonders…right after I finish Gingers #4, naturally.

Have a delightful weekend, all!

Happy Friday + Style Arc

Happy Friday, my friends! Good news: I’ve been sewing. Not-so-good-news: I’ve lost my white background wall where I used to take all my photos due to furniture re-arranging, and the outdoor light is perhaps not so complexion-enhancing. K says I always look tired and these photos support her claims. Ah well, let’s move on.

Through the grapevine, I’d heard that Style Arc patterns are quite flattering, so I browsed through their impressively large collection. The Daphne Duo Tunic seemed like a breeze and right up my alley stylistically, so in it went into my online cart. I used a pretty pale blue linen and stitched up the size 12 as per printed measurements.  The pleats added a twist to an otherwise plain over-sized tee silhouette.

You know what? I don’t love it. The pleats detail is sort of interesting, but my v-neck is decidedly a u-neck that refuses to lay flat and I think the linen is a little too weighty for this pattern. Something a little more drapey and floaty would have been more suitable. I also think (and I seem to write this over and over), I could have gone down a size and lengthened the whole thing.

Though I might not be smitten with it, it’s not bad. Maybe I’ll warm up to it. Time will tell.

I also sewed two versions of the Sunny Knit Top, also in a size 12. K said, “You look like you’re wearing Daddy’s t-shirt.” Oh, it’s so comfy! But I see her point. This tissue weight navy knit is super soft and I wish I could recall where I got it from because I’d like to get my hands on some more.

Version #2 is made out of a crinkly, quasi-sheer stretch black material that my mom gave me eons ago, which I posted on Instagram here. I felt like there was a sufficient number of photos of me in loose, shapeless tops for this post so I didn’t take the two extra minutes to snap pix of me in the black version.

The Sunny Knit Top is lightning fast to sew up and though I’m not sure I’d call it flattering, it sure is an easy top to wear.

In other non-Style Arc news, I’m working on an Archer shirt right now and I’m having a grand time. Lovely, lovely fall…how I’ve missed  this energizing season!

Well, have a wonderful weekend friends!