Black Wool Dolman Top + Some Forgotten Sewing Projects

Happy Friday! If you’re in the U.S., I hope you had a Thanksgiving feast shared with loved ones! We went to watch Ralph Breaks the Internet (M and K made fun of me because I cried. I cry at every movie, regardless of genre) and capped our quiet, low key T-day at a bustling Taiwanese restaurant and it was awesome. I’m a big fan of stress-free holidays – they’re pretty rare, wouldn’t you agree?

So I finally got photos of the dolman sleeve top that I made out of the remaining fabric from the Linden top post, and this also happened to be what I wore to Thanksgiving dinner. As I move forward with my fabric destashing, my mug and awkward poses will be showing up here on the regular.

Some handy info for my future self:

Fabric: Black wool (I think), origin unknown though most likely Drygoods Design circa 2016-ish

Pattern: The “Dolman Cut-Sew” from a Japanese sewing book that no longer seems available online. According to the back cover, it’s ISBN978-4-539-05451-5, but my search hasn’t yielded anything. I posted a photo of the book on IG here.

Size: L

Modifications: Added a couple of inches to the length

The Good: I love the fabric/pattern combo. This lighter weight wool jersey (I’m guessing) is comfy to wear and cozy for this increasingly chilly weather. I usually fold the neckband and armbands/cuffs in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and then use my serger to attach. Depending on how I feel, I might topstitch to keep the seam allowance from flipping up. I learned a new method from this book that reduced the bulk a bit because the bands were attached more like a bias binding but with a serged edge instead of folding the raw edge under, and sewing from the right side. The hem was finished with a facing sewn in a similar manner.

The Not-So-Good: Although I’m glad I added the 2 inches to the length, I think it threw the shape off a little due to the curved hems. The fit is a little weird. And I’m not sure I’m digging how the neckline is shaped. But I wore it to dinner and as with all my tops, it handily passed the all-you-can-eat buffet test.

Sometimes it takes me a few times of trying out a garment before I fall in love with it, and this might be one of those cases.

The real gem of this outfit is the lower half. I can’t tell you enough how much I love these elastic-waisted linen pants. It’s not uncommon for me to forget that I’m wearing them – they’re that comfortable. I made them this past summer when I sewed up an entire vacation wardrobe, which I never shared on the blog:

Clockwise: Fen dress in khaki linen from Fancy Tiger Crafts, Kiomi dress (from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style) in grey knit, Myla Tank by Sew Liberated in black cotton lawn, Kiomi top in Indian cotton with brown print, New Look 6403 top in charcoal knit, Salt Marsh skirt from Merchant and Mills Workbook in striped brushed cotton, Newlook 6403 pants in the same khaki linen as the Fen dress.

They’ve all been worn and are lovely, but my linen pants have been a workhorse. I have got to make more.

Katara, our cat, wasn’t so sure about my enthusiasm…look at her face!

Anyway, have a fabulous weekend, all!

P.S. K cut my hair, didn’t she do a great job?

 

Black & White: Linden Loves + Making Magazine no. 6

Happy Friday! I’ve had an unusually social couple of weeks with more events on the horizon, which means I can really feel the tug of my inner introvert imploring me to hibernate and recharge. Getting out and about is good for me, I must say, and last week I made a couple of Grainline Studio Linden tops that happened to match one of the events I attended this past Monday: Making Magazine’s Black & White trunk show at Drygoods Design.

You know, as someone who spends a lot of time alone squirreled away working on projects that don’t see the light of day for months on end, I often forget how scintillating it is to connect with people in real life. Online communication has its place and is a wondrous thing, but nothing beats a face-to-face conversation. I’ve been working with Carrie, Ashley, Cecily, Whitney and Lily of Making for over a year now but this was the first time we met in the flesh (ew, why does that sound so gross?). It’s such an uplifting feeling to discover that someone’s online persona perfectly matches the in-person personality. They are down-to-earth, easy to talk to, brimming with creativity and ideas and are just all-around wonderful. I had such a lovely time with them all! If you haven’t already, I highly encourage you to listen to the first episode of the Making podcast to learn more about Carrie and Ashley. They are so, so inspiring! And I’ve been shy about mentioning it, but I was interviewed a while back as well. You can find that podcast episode here.

Anyway, so caught up was I in blathering away, I forgot to snap photos, but I was excited to see that my little contribution to the Black & White issue was included in the trunk show. I made these guys:

Photo by Carrie Bostick Hoge

They’re felted animal masks! And how stunning is this magazine cover by the awe-inducing Lisa Congdon??

I also had the privilege of meeting Sonya Phillips of 100 Acts of Sewing, who was teaching a class towards the end of the trunk show and that was a major treat too. She’s the real deal, folks. There’s an abundance of joy in her creations. Another all too brief encounter was with Kristin of Woolfolk Yarn. Oh my goodness, have you seen her website and Instagram feed? Pure gorgeousness. Kristin listened to my knitting woes and sagely assured me that I was ready, that I can absolutely knit. She has such a grounded, beautiful presence. My only wish was that I could have stayed longer to chat more with everyone.

The intrepid women of Making and Jen of Grainline Studio often collaborate together so it was doubly fitting that I wore a Linden top to the event. I chose the polka dot one, of course. Other than adding 2 inches to the bodice length, I didn’t make any changes to the pattern for this version. It’s a straight up size 6. I love the Linden so much. So quick, so easy, so versatile! I’ve made a gaggle of them in the past, and I’ve gotten over my former reluctance about sewing the same pattern over and over. There’s something very comforting about a familiar pattern.

For this black wool version, I tried out Jen’s tutorial for a flat bias neckline. However, I had already cut out the neckband as per pattern instructions, not on the bias — which I don’t think should have made too much of a difference for this stretchy wool knit — and for some reason, my neckline got very wavy. I don’t mind the waviness, though I’m sort of confused by this super awkward pose in the photo. What am I doing? I included it to remind myself that I’m ridiculous in so many ways. I made a few other changes to the pattern with this version: shaved off an inch for each sleeve and slimmed the bodice by about an inch as well. And I always add at least 2 inches to the bodice of any top pattern to account for my extra long torso. This wool feels luxurious, and I’m pretty sure I got it from Drygoods but for the life of me, I can’t remember where I got the polka dot sweater knit from. I adore this black top despite the less than perfect neckline (see the wavy bits below?). Nothin’ a good scarf can’t hide. That I will knit one day.

There’s not a lot to be said for the back view, but here it is:

As long as I’m mentioning patterns that I keep sewing repeatedly, I’m wearing my 5th pair of Ginger skinny jeans that I never blogged about. The thing with these jeans is that the denim doesn’t have a lot of stretch so they aren’t my most comfortable pair. They look pretty good though, don’t you think?

And there you have it. Lindens, crafty folks, connections, repetitive sewing.

Okay! I’m doing a school presentation this afternoon and then I’ll be participating in the Ballard Art Walk at Secret Garden Books on Saturday, November 10th, so come on by if you’ve got a few spare moments from 6-8pm. I’ll have some original illustrations from my books on display and will be doing some custom illustrations too!

I’m off to prepare for these two events and then I’ll be back to my solitary schedule for a few weeks. Ahhhhhh…that sounds nice.

I hope you have a delightful weekend in every way, my friends!

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!

 

 

 

 

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!