Tag Archives: projects

Finally, after all this time.

10 Feb

I finished a sweater!
I started it last May, and it was supposed to be a “quick knit”…but you know how these things go.


The pattern is called “Colors of Kauai”, by Hanna Maciejewska (here on Ravelry, for you knitters).  The yarn is Madelinetosh DK, a single-ply merino which is heavenly to work with and knits up faster than my all-time favorite, Madelinetosh Merino Light, for when I want that Tosh experience without committing to quite as much stitching.

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Don’t you step on my blue suede…

16 May


That’s what I made out of that length of ultrasuede fabric I was given.

I went over a number of different ideas for it, but in the end thought I’d get the most wear out of a skirt, and I wanted to keep the shape simple to let the color be the focus. (I even, get this, made a practice version first…but don’t worry, I won’t get in that habit.) 🙂

The pattern is Simplicity2152, and I originally made the version with the welts, but decided I liked unadorned, straight seams better.



I’m still toying with the idea of adding some additional embellishment, but I thought I’d wear it out and about, first, to test it, and enjoy it at least once this way before I take it any further. I left the hem raw, just because with ultrasuede, you can, like all the 1970’s Halston dresses left with cuffs unhemmed.

In with the New!

1 Jan

I started off the new year with a brand new handbag:

It’s corduroy, it’s gathered at the bottom with rows of gathers and at the top with elastic. It’s based on the bag pattern in the Burda Style Sewing Handbook, “Chie’s Variation”.

I changed some things–adding a silk scarf instead of the sash of the same bag fabric (although I made a sash, as well, if I ever want that look.) I removed the extra detachable strap, using the D-ring tabs instead for my main strap, but changing the proportions of that a little bit.

I also added extra pockets–this variation comes complete with a zipper pocket in the lining as well as two extras on the other side, which I appreciate, but I also added a pocket to the inside of each end panel, as well. I’ve never heard of a handbag with too many pockets, after all. (I laugh imagining it: “Oh, no! So many different perfectly designated places to put all my many various things!”)

And I changed the lining a little bit, making the elastic casings continue in corduroy so that the lining isn’t easily visible. I never did resolve my differences with the book’s pattern instructions, and largely because of this issue. The way I made it conforms with the illustrations on p. 175, diagrams 14, 15, and 16, which do not conform with the written directions, which are depicted in diagram 12  and the project photos. This contradiction (and others like it) are why I would not particularly recommend this book to beginning sewers who want to use it step by step for its patterns: it’s tricky to puzzle out the “creative differences” inherent in a pattern written this way.
But I like the bag in spite of this. I can trade out the scarf for other colors and make it coordinate with various outfits. The shape is slouchy and casual, and holds a good bit of stuff inside without looking lumpy or misshapen.

And it starts out my “make everything for myself” challenge, at the beginning of the new year, with a firm declaration. For this one step, at least, I can make it myself.

Challenge 2: Blazerliness

28 Dec

Another goal I would like to accomplish during the course of this project is that I would like to make a suit jacket that I enjoy wearing.

Blazers have always been tricky for me: they make my shoulders look huge, my torso boxy, and the entire look is stiff and mannish. I occasionally find blazers at thrift shops, but the fit is usually “almost” at best, so I have resigned myself to the idea that blazers that fit and look good are far beyond my budget.

Apparently, it’s been a long-held intention of mine to remedy this by sewing my own blazer, customizing the fit where needed, because in my pattern collection I have quite a few patterns for suits and jackets, things that I clearly thought, at one time or another, might be good possibilities. And looking at them anew, I think I may just have something here.


Come into my virtual dressing room…

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First Challenge: a new bag

19 Dec

My handbag is wearing out. I’ve dragged it around with me every day for more than a year, and the handles are wearing thin, as is the spot where each handle attaches to the bag. I’m a bag-as-big-as-a-tote kind of girl–I need a bag big enough to live out of, and I only change out bags for special occasions.  So I need a good, go-to kind of a handbag, on the large side.

It occurs to me that I could just go buy a bag, and claim my little project hasn’t officially started yet…but what would be the fun in that? Sure, making my own handbag isn’t as easy as, say, an A-line skirt…but I have tons of A-line skirts, and this whole deal is about finding my real necessities, so a handbag actually seems an appropriate place to start.  Also, I realize my specific needs in a bag are probably just as easy to fulfill, hand-making it, as they would be, trying to find something ready-made (that I can still afford.)

What I require in a bag:

-Versatile for everyday wear

-Sturdy, but not heavy or stiff

-Easy-access pockets for essential at-the-ready items like phone and keys and subway pass

-Long enough handles to sling over my shoulder and leave my hands free, even while wearing my winter coat

-It has to have at least one smooth side, the side against my body. Zippers and details (even seams) often rub and wear on more delicate clothing, over time.

And on top of all this, I’d like it in some fun color, not a print, but not boring. Some small bit of color that goes with many of the colors frequently found in my general wardrobe palette.  I’m thinking maybe mustard, or gold, or a caramel-toffee kind of color.
While most bags I choose tend to be leather-look, I think a sturdy fabric will be fine for a home sewn purse, as long as it’s heavy enough to be sturdy, with just a bit of slouch, some relaxed shape without looking…too hand sewn. Maybe lightweight canvas, upholstery fabric, or a wide-waled corduroy.

I’m off to find the perfect bag…