A Weekend Retreat and My Driftless Cardigan

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Way back in October of last year, I purchased this gray jersey knit from Suppose and cut out my Driftless Cardigan (find the pattern here). I was clearly getting ahead of myself because I had approximately one billion other deadlines at the time. April came around and I thought to myself, “Life has finally slowed down, I can now finish all of those other projects that I started last fall.” I was wrong. My husband ended up applying for and accepting an amazing new job which meant life was about to get crazy again.

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Meanwhile, I attended a blogger meet up in SLC and Sara and I came up with the idea for a small weekend sewing retreat. I spent the next few weeks stressing about my upcoming move and finally decided to pull the trigger on planning a retreat. This mama needed a break. Sara and I set a date, I got permission to use the family cabin, and we began counting the days.

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The weekend finally arrived and it turned out to be both rejuvenating and productive. My sewing weekend goal was finishing a pile of unfinished projects so that they would no longer clutter my sewing area. Each of my projects were only a few steps away from completion, but had been sitting unfinished for months. Sewing for an entire weekend allowed me to complete a couple of baby quilts, a quilted pillow cover, two simple baby dresses, and my Driftless Cardigan.

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While setting aside time to actually sew this took months; the actual time it took to sew this cardigan was roughly 3 hours. One of those hours was used to hand stitch the neckband. I have loved Grainline Studio patterns for years because of the clean lines and well-executed details. The Driftless Cardigan is a great example of this with its hidden pockets and optional split bottom band. This was completed a month ago and it’s gotten quite a bit of use despite the blazing summer temperatures. It’s perfect for an extra layer at the movie theater (ours is always freezing) or for wearing on chilly evenings.

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A quick note on sizing: I sewed up a size 4 and added 2.5 inches to the length at the lengthen/shorten line. I also added about 1.5 inches to the sleeve length because I like my sleeves extra long.

Special thanks goes to Kim of Sweet Red Poppy for taking these lovely photos.

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Blueprints Geodesic and “Letting it Go”

I’ve been admiring the Blueprints for Sewing Geodesic Sweatshirt pattern for quite a while now. I just couldn’t get myself to pull the trigger on buying the PDF version, so I nearly jumped for joy when a printed version was announced. I purchased my pattern the day they arrived at Suppose and couldn’t wait to get started.

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I chose to to make a cropped version for easy layering on cool summer mornings/evenings. The fabric used is an organic cotton interlock made by Cloud 9 fabrics and purchased from Suppose. I would consider it a medium weight which is perfect for this pattern. It’s not quite as bright as the fabrics that I’d usually select, but I’m making a concerted effort to add more neutrals into my wardrobe.

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Let’s talk a bit about my construction process. This sweatshirt was sewn in small snippets of time over the course of about two weeks. The last month has been chaotic to say the least, and I needed a simple stress-free project. When cutting the triangles, I decided to alternate the stripe direction in order to add a bit more interest and eliminate the need for stripe matching.

You may notice that my version has a slightly different layout than the illustration on the pattern cover. Can you spot the difference? Look at this photo and see if you can find it. Found it? My version has the bottom row of triangles upside down. This was a blunder I found only after sewing up the side seams. Whenever I make a sewing mistake, I ask myself three questions: Does this ruin the fit? Can I live with it? Will I still wear it? If the answer to the first question is yes, then I immediately work to remedy the issue. If not, I move on to the other two questions. Often I can justify keeping the mistake if it doesn’t affect the actual fitting of the garment. This was one of  those times.

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Anxiety sometimes tries to get the best of me when I goof up. In order to calm myself, I repeat two phrases:

“Done is Fun”- Alison Faulkner (The Alison Show)

“Let it Go” (Can’t say that one without singing the “Frozen” theme)

These phrases remind me that my errors often aren’t as glaring as they may initially seem. Life is really too short to waste time fixing an error that doesn’t have to be seen as an error. It’s a design decision, right? It is likely that the only people who may notice the error are those who are familiar with the pattern. Overall, I’m happy with the look of my Geodesic and isn’t that what matters in the end?

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These photos were snapped during a short getaway to the cabin. My husband proposed to me in this place and our wedding reception was held on the property. I always leave wishing we could spend just a little more time here. My clothes are a bit wrinkly because my son and I woke up and walked the property while watching the sunrise. By the time my husband was available to help take pictures, I’d spent half the day wearing this outfit. I’ll leave you with a blurry, but lovely self-timer photo snapped during our sunrise walk.

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Itch to Stitch Anza Jumpsuit

Last spring, I purchased a gorgeous Anna Maria fabric fully intending to make a jumpsuit. Life got busy and many of my sewing plans got pushed aside. By the time summer ended, I had given up on finding and making my perfect jumpsuit and used the fabric to make a pattern hack of another Itch to Stitch pattern. You can find that dress here. Luckily, Kennis of Itch to Stitch is not only a talented and detailed pattern designer, she is also some sort of mind-reading wizard who is releasing the perfect jumpsuit pattern just when I needed it. Today I’m thrilled to show you my tester version of the Anza Jumpsuit.

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I was browsing the selection of fabrics at my local fabric store Suppose when Kennis annouced a tester call for the Anza Jumpsuit and dress. I immediately put down the bolts I had been carrying around the store, borrowed a measuring tape, took my exact measurements, and filled out the application form. I purchased 4 yards (only ended up needing 3) of this Lizzy House Printmaking lawn and crossed my fingers that I’d be chosen. The next morning when I received an email inviting me to the tester group, I excitedly told my husband that I’d be making myself a literal birthday suit as a gift to myself (my birthday was coming up the following week). Sometimes, I think that I’m hilarious until I remember that not even my  3 year old laughs at my jokes.

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Let’s bring it back to talking about the jumpsuit and pretend like I didn’t just write several sentences detailing my own lame joke. Now we’re going to talk details and features. Itch to Stitch patterns often include well thought out details that add interest without stealing the show and overwhelming the wearer. The Anza pattern is no exception. It includes cuffed sleeves, pleated chest pockets, drawstring waistband, elastic at the ankles, and pants pockets. Basically, this is the jumpsuit I was preparing to draft for myself until I saw that Itch to Stitch had made a pattern even better than what I’d imagined in my own mind.

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Speaking of details, can we talk about these amazing Arrow Mountain buttons? These are the Minimalist buttons in Arctic Ice. I used the wooden version of the Minimalist buttons on maxi dress also made from Lizzy House lawn that you can find here. In fact, If you’d like to see more of the Arrow Mountain buttons in my handmades, check out my Itch to Stitch Bonn Shirt and Bonn Shirt Turned Maxi Dress posts found here and here. I’ve ordered from Arrow Mountain several times now and only found great quality and excellent customer service.

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A quick note on alterations:

This pattern is drafted for the height of 5’6″ and may some require some lengthening or shortening if you are not  5’6″. Since I am somewhere between 5’9″ and 5’10” I ended up adding 1.5″ to both the bodice and the rise.

One great thing about Itch to Stitch patterns is that Kennis includes pieces for cup sizes A-DD. This means less alteration time and more sewing time. Which is always a good thing. Let’s all make sure to applaud Kennis for taking the extra time and effort to make our lives easier.

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Overall, I am 100% satisified with my Anza Jumpsuit and cannot wait to wear it again and again all summer long. Now, go grab your copy here.

Farrah Top by Chalk and Notch

Today I’m looking forward to showing you my version of the newest release by Gabriela of  Chalk and Notch. The Farrah Pattern has top and dress options for two different views. I opted to make the top in View A. I sewed a straight size 4 with no alterations. This is an intermediate level pattern with sleeve ruffles, underarm gusset, and a mitered split hem. I was unsure about whether or not this style would suit me, but now I’m thrilled to say it’s my new favorite.

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Let’s talk fabric for a minute. I selected a cotton lawn by Carolyn Friedlander. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of these lawns since they were announced last fall. I bought it almost immediately once it Arrived at Suppose. Lawn has a lightweight, almost silky hand. It doesn’t have the same graceful drape as a rayon, but it is much easier to sew. Lawn presses beautifully and I love the way it exaggerates the ruffles in this design.

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The fact that this top slips over the head and has no closures, doesn’t make it any less interesting. It’s a great skill builder with the ruffles, gusset, and mitered hem. My favorite is the mitered high-low hem. I’ve only sewn a mitered hem once before this top, but I love it. It makes the finish look and feel professional. Gabriela’s clear pictures and tutorials make trying new techniques less intimidating and more satisfactory.

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The pattern releases exclusively on UpCraft Club today and will be available through Chalk and Notch later this week. Be sure to check out the #farrahpattern on Instagram for more inspiration and to see more of the fantastic tester versions.

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Simplicity 8084: My Dream Maxi Dress

I’ve been meaning to restart my blog for a couple of years now, but kept finding excuses or other ways to fill my time. After a summer filled with fun and inspiration, I’ve decided to quit making excuses and start blogging again. I’ve got some fun posts planned and cannot wait to share them with you. Today I’m sharing my Simplicity 8084 maxi dress.

IMG_6737The photos above were taken using my self-timer so they’re a little blurry, but I love the way they show the movement of this dress.

I worked on this dress a little bit each month this summer and finishing it was the perfect way to celebrate a fantastic season. I selected this Lizzy House lawn from Suppose back in May and couldn’t wait to use it. Life got in the way so cutting the fabric wasn’t started until June. I sewed a step here and there throughout July, but really got to work in August when my wooden buttons arrived from Arrow Mountain.

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My biggest challenge with the dress was sewing the waistline casing. When looking through all my handmade clothing, I was surprised to realize that I had never actually sewn a garment with a casing like the one in this dress. It really wasn’t too difficult, I was just too lazy to mark the waistline when I first sewed the casing. This resulted in a late-night Netflix binge while seam ripping my first attempt. On my second attempt I made sure to mark the waistline and sewing the casing was a breeze.

I’ve now worn this dress three times since finishing it in early August. The pockets have made it more functional and wearable than any other maxi dress I have owned.They’re just the right size for my phone and keys so I don’t have to carry a bag every time I leave the house.

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I look forward to wearing this dress again and again. It will be a great transitional dress for fall and it’s sure to get a lot of wear. I’d love to hear about your favorite summer project. Did you make anything you absolutely adore this summer?