1

Corks and Chalk Message Board Tutorial

I like things to be organized, and what better way to organize than in a fun, pretty, and DIY manner! I originally made this cork and chalk message board for my cousin – since she got married in a vineyard I themed her wedding gifts around cork. But I definitely have plans to replicate it for myself since I love the way it turned out! To make the cork and chalk message board, you need: cutting board TSP (use a phosphate free version as it’s better for the environment) primer paint paintbrush non-sanded grout (to make the paint into chalkboard) painter’s tape hot glue gun corks supplies for hanging picture wire (discussed below) I found a fancy cutting board at a thrift store that was already divided into two sections, but any cutting board or slab of wood will do. Start by washing the cutting board really well. You need a …

4

Ruffled Baby Sweater

Is it wrong of me to admit that I was sorely tempted to keep the sweater that I knit as a baby shower gift for my stepsister because I thought it was so darn cute and I kinda have the baby fever right now? Yeah? Okay, let’s pretend I didn’t say that and just ooh and aah over this cute little thing together. The pattern is Nola Jane by Annika Barranti. I knit it on size 3 needles (which felt gigantic since I’ve been knitting a bunch of socks on size 1 recently!), using up the last of my Wendy Roam Fusion yarn from my Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee-high socks. I think the detail that really makes this dress is the lines of crochet ruffle across the chest. They were super-duper easy to do as you knit a few evenly spaced purl rows across the chest and then go back …

7

Cabochon Keychain Wedding Favors Tutorial

I’ve always liked party favors and since a wedding is just one giant party (at least ours was!), giving out wedding favors was a given. However, I wanted the favors to be something lasting (I love getting candies but I eat them before the wedding is even over!) and I wanted them to be connected to our wedding and to be used again in the future. (It’s super fun getting sunglasses with the couple’s name on them to wear at the wedding reception, but they don’t really get worn after that, right?) So I decided to make a whole bunch of cabochon keychains using art from our wedding invitations. To make your own cabochon keychains, you will need cabochons and cabochon backs (I ordered the cabochon and backs on Etsy), mod podge, a strong craft glue that dries clear (I love Aileen’s original tacky glue), print-outs of your design, scissors, …

1

Burke’s Toddler Car Hat

I have the cutest nephew. Seriously. How can you look at his adorable face and not agree with me that he is the cutest little guy ever! I am a proud Auntie :) And, despite some grumbles about this hat pattern that you’ll read below, I’m happy with the hat I knit for him and even happier to see him enjoying it! To celebrate Burke’s first birthday (unfortunately, from afar), I knit him a beanie hat with cars across it. The pattern is barnelue med flak, and the yarns were Wendy Roam Fusion 4-ply and King Cole Merino 4-ply, two fingering weight yarns left over from the last two pairs of socks I knit (my Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee Highs and my Woodruff Socks). I thought that the yarns made a fun but not garish combination. I hate to say it, but I don’t actually recommend the knitting pattern. I …

1

Kanzashi Wedding Bouquet Tutorial

Although I made many things for our wedding, I think the pièce de résistance that made everything feel so me was the handmade silk kanzashi bouquet. I mean it’s just so bright and silly and happy and colorful! A kanzashi bouquet starts with a whole pile of kanzashi flowers – I had previously made a whole bunch from silk that I hand dyed. What makes them sparkle is a whole bunch of vintage earrings (I got these cheap in a lot since they were all missing their partners), cleaned, with their backs removed. You will also need a hot glue gun, floral wire, fabric for the stems, scraps of felt or fleece, and ribbon. On the top of each flower, hot-glue a vintage earring (already cleaned and with the back removed). Create a bunch of rouleau cord using your favorite technique (a quick google will lead you to a bunch of …

1

Woodruff Stranded Knit Socks

I can’t decide if I love my decision to knit these Woodruff socks by the House of Hogbuffer in a subtle color combo or if I wish I would have just gone whole-hog and picked something brighter and more contrast-y. What, you don’t think these are subtle? I guess I’m calibrated a little differently than most in that regard. I’m still pretty dang happy with them and thankful to Minerva Fabrics for the yarn. The pretty rainbow yarn is Lang Yarns Jawoll Magic Degrade Superwash Sock Yarn in Turquoise/Blue/Green and the main yarn is King Cole Merino Blend in Kingfisher. Normally, “they” say that you shouldn’t work a stranded knitting project using two fundamentally different yarns like this combo (since the Lang Yarns yarn is single ply and the King Cole yarn is stranded), but in this instance I think they made a beautiful combination that knit up quite nicely. …

1

Painted Initials on Cork Mat

For my cousin’s wedding, I made a whole stack of projects themed on cork (since it was at a winery) and the color blue (her and her husband’s favorite color). After sewing a recycled sweaters blanket, and making a chalk and cork message board, I wanted to add another little something that was personalized for Lindsey & Max. While at the thrift store, I found a whole stack of large cork coasters and decided that I would paint their initials onto one of the coasters as a finishing touch. Lindsey had admitted to me that she knew they would be very short on decorative items to hang on their walls when they moved in together after the wedding, so I thought something like this painted cork mat would be a fun, personal little piece of art that would fit nicely into their house and hopefully make them think of their wedding (and …

11

Laser Cut Logo Keychains

I played with lasers! It was fun! One of my girlfriends was working on prototyping a fancy tool to hold her microscopy slides and it involved getting trained on (and access to) a laser cutter and a 3-D printer. Before leaving San Francisco, I simply had to get the chance to play on use the laser cutter myself, because, well, lasers! I bought a sheet of pink acrylic and cut out a bunch of circles with bits of my logo on them. The laser cutter imports .ai files so it was very easy for me to create the necessary file to guide the laser cutting. The file needed to be un-filled shapes with the outline color telling the machine which order to cut. I’m not actually sure what to do with all these cut circles (other than make keychains) now that they are cut, so I welcome any ideas! I saved …

9

Re-Covered Sectional Couch

A while back, I recovered my mom’s sectional couch for her. I’ve recovered several pieces of furniture before, varying in complexity, from dining room chairs to tufted loveseats. Recovering this sectional was a high-impact project that was actually pretty simple since the couch is pretty square. I approached covering the couch like a would draping a garment. I didn’t have to start with precise measurements or worry about running out of fabric because my mom bought the whole bolt (that’s the way she rolls). I really enjoy the occasional home dec sewing project and find the problem solving around draping a dress very similar to draping a couch, and both are fun for me. But I know a lot of garment sewers (and quilters) hate home dec projects. Have you ever re-covered a couch? Would you ever re-cover a couch? One fun design bit was figuring out which direction to …

3

Tutorial: Zippered Roll for Double Point Knitting Needles

I know I’m not the only one who struggles to keep certain things organized. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love to organize things, especially craft supplies – for example my bias tape collection is neatly organized by both width and color. But somehow my drawer of knitting supplies is always out of control and one of the biggest offenders is my double point needles (dpns) that always seem to fall out of my regular knitting needle case. So, I sewed an organizer that zips shut to show those dpns who’s boss! To make the pouch, you will need 2 identical zippers, some fabric, and a length of ribbon. The exact measurements are up to you (and I’ll talk you through them below), but for reference, I used 2 – 16″ zippers, 2 pieces of fabric that were 12″ x 32″, and 2 pieces of 28″ ribbon. The zippers will determine how …

7

Mismatched Casual Bridesmaids’ Dresses

Since I didn’t sew my wedding dress, I definitely wanted to sew my bridesmaids’ dresses. Of course, picking a style was a decision I labored over for a long time. I wanted something that would flatter the very different body types my gals have, and I really wanted the dresses to be something that they would wear again and again. I wavered between same-fabric-different-dress, same-fabric-same-dress, and all-different-but-same-color. And nothing quite felt right. Finally, I had an epiphany. What wasn’t feeling right was the formality of the dresses I was considering. As soon as I switched from thinking of silk dresses to picturing them in a nice jersey everything fell into place. I did a fair bit of looking for the exact perfect color of purple in a nice jersey (since I had already bought the fabric for the groomsmen’s ties and it needed to be a decent match) but didn’t find anything in …

3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Knee Highs

Of all places to get a bunch of knitting done, I must say that sitting on a tropical beach on a tiny island off of Lombok, Indonesia is a pretty delightful way to knit. Although my husband and I are traveling around the world for 4 months with only a small backpack a piece (which certainly meant that I couldn’t bring my sewing machine), there was no way that I was going to leave my knitting behind! I started these socks on the multitudinous flights that got us from Seattle to Bangkok and have knit them across Thailand and Indonesia. I wrote the pattern to be a stitch sampler and spent a bunch of time calculating the stitch increases so it would fit my skinny calf perfectly and then figuring out how to fit stitch increases into the various stitch patterns I had chosen. And then I decided I hated …

11

RNA Splicing Gel Quilt

I still can’t quite believe that I finished grad school before several of my Girls (my support network for the 7 years of graduate school). Fortunately, they aren’t far behind, and since the end is clearly in sight, I thought it was appropriate to get a head start on graduation quilts. This quilt is for Argenta, based on an assay that she ran many, many times in graduate school. I hope that every time she sees the quilt she is reminded of her triumphs – triumph over this assay and triumph over graduate school. It’s my reminder to her of how awesome she is, for the scientist that she has become, the person that she has become, and the friend that she always has been. (I’m making all my Girls quilts to celebrate their graduations, so check out Erica’s Ninja Cells Quilt and Ellen’s Hst3 Degron Quilt for the first in …

8

1940s Sailor Style Denim Skirt

These pictures saved this skirt’s life. I made it up at the same time as my sailor girl shorts (much earlier this summer) from the same Wearing History pattern. And I put it on and looked at myself in the mirror and hated it. I liked the idea, I just thought that it was too big and stiff and that it made me look gigantic. So I put it into the WIP pile to turn it into a pencil skirt. At some point I grabbed it in a stack of stuff for a photoshoot, thinking it would be good to have the failed “before” pictures of the refashion. Except for looking at these pictures, I really like the skirt! Maybe it’s just the pretty photos and artsy sun flare that have me fooled, but all the issues that I had with this skirt in the mirror seem to have disappeared in …

6

Wedding Shawl for my Mother-In-Law

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I knit each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. I already shared the shawls for my stepmother, godmother, and mom. This final one is for my mother-in-law. Judi is a strong, loving woman with an artist’s soul. I wanted to knit her a shawl that would emphasize her loving embrace, for she takes into her arms, her heart, and her life so many people that are lucky enough to cross her path. I knit Icarus Shawl from Interweave Knits Summer 2006 in Rowan Fine Lace. I chose a silver lace yarn so that it would shine, just like Judi. Other than one stupid mistake on my …

15

I Am My Own Von Trapp Family

Several sources of good ideas and grand intentions went into making this monstrosity of an outfit. First, I wanted to try sewing another Summer Concert Tee but thought it would be an interesting experiment to use a woven fabric. Second, I seem to be on an orange kick recently and this thrifted duvet cover in my stash that kept catching my eye. Third, Seattle summers are way warmer than San Francisco summers so I actually needed a couple more light-weight cotton pieces to get me through comfortably. Fourth, I’ve been working on high-stress (i.e. wedding) sewing all summer and I wanted a couple easy projects in contrast. Add all these influences together and what do you get? I am a one-person Von Trapp family. When I initially put on the outfit, I thought that I was drowning in fabric and it was hideous. Oversized top and full skirt in the …

11

Wedding Shawl for my Mother

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I am knitting each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. I already finished shawls for my stepmother and godmother. This one is for my mom. My mom is a petite blonde woman who wears pink. Clearly, I’m not blonde (well, not most of the time), I’m definitely not petite, but I certainly inherited my love of pink from her! I picked a complicated and frilly, intricate pattern not necessarily because I thought it would fit her personality (how I chose the other shawl patterns) but because I knew she would appreciate it. I know it will make her smile. The pattern I picked is #06 Turquoise …

7

Knit Robe as Bridal Shower Gift

My go-to present for every wedding shower and bachelorette party is a handmade robe. It’s a garment that’s easy to make for others, can be alluring without being overly sexy, and is both pretty and functional. This week I had a joint wedding shower with my godsister Rachel (who gets married this weekend!), thrown for us by my mom (her godmother) and her mom (my godmother) so I got the chance to whip up a robe for the occasion. The fabric is a light weight knit that I had stashed. It is quite loosely knit, giving it a sheerness that is a little bit sexy. But, there’s just enough warmth and coverage to make it functional as well. A major win in my book! The great thing is that each time I sew a robe I use totally different fabric so that it comes out completely personalized for its recipient. …

7

Cotton Lawn Wedding Ties for Groomsmen and Fathers

Since I’m sewing dresses for our female wedding attendants and knitting shawls for our mother figures, I wanted to come up with a wearable gift for the male wedding attendants and father figures and ties seemed the logical choice. Of course, going into sewing the ties, I didn’t realize how handmade they really are – by which I mean every single stitch is sewn by hand! But I’m thrilled with the results – I made a lot of absolutely gorgeous ties! Since our wedding is pretty casual, I bought a gorgeous cotton lawn from Britex with a delicate grey floral print – it’s not a Liberty Lawn (it’s from Italy) like I had in my head to find, but it was filed right next to them and fills the role beautifully. I picked a coordinating color to sew a tie for Adam so that he stood out (he is the …

18

Vintage Rayon Crepe Pleated Dress (Butterick 6927)

I feel pretty in pink. And not just any pink, this daring fuchsia is a dream come true for a girl who dreams in bright colors like I do! A light and floaty crepe rayon with a silk habotai lining means that this dress is as yummy to wear as it is to look at. The vintage silhouette is a little bit demure and the sassy color is anything but, and oh boy do I love being a walking contradiction. I used Butterick 6927 vintage reproduction (currently out of print) from a 1951 pattern.  I used a delightful rayon (viscose) crepe from Minerva Fabrics that they supplied for me as part of their blogger network, although it has unfortunately since sold out. They called the color cerise which I think is a prettier word than fuchsia (just as aubergine is prettier than eggplant. I need to learn the British-isms for all …

6

Baseball is a Summer Staple Dress

When we first arrived in our summer home, of course I got my sewing machine set up right away. But, despite (or perhaps because) of the giant list of things I have to sew this summer, all I wanted to do was whip up something silly and easy. Certainly influenced by the very summery weather (that I’m not actually used to after 7 years of San Francisco summers), I wanted a sundress. And, despite the fact that I kept out many nice cottons that would have done very well, I got it in my head that I absolutely had to turn this ridiculous 1980’s baseball print that I had found at a thrift store forever ago into a dress. Since I didn’t have much of this print, the dress was going to have to be something without a lot of volume. I ended up choosing the Staple Dress by April …

13

Red White and Blue Kat Sundress

Happy 4th of July everybody! For the first time ever, as of yesterday, I live in a small town for the 4th of July! I’m so excited to go over to my mom’s house to set off fireworks on her beach! My man, who grew up in Southern California, is sooooo excited about the fireworks since he never got them as a kid and his enthusiasm is certainly contagious! Speaking of being in a small town, one day in to living here we had our first small-town experience. We had a massage therapist give us both massages today to help us shake some of the stress from what turned out to be a nightmare move (our moving truck no-showed on the day of our move!). The masseuse was talking with Adam about riding bikes and mentioned a man who lives on Tramp Harbor and works at the pharmacy on the …

7

Aubergine Hoodie Tunic V8951

The highlight of the last couple weeks of my life? Not getting a subwoofer for my car. Not my brother’s 30th birthday. Not even buying a wedding band for my fiancé. It’s the fact that I can finally wear my leggings in public!! Okay, maybe that’s a bit of hyperbole, but I’ve pretty much worn only this tunic since finishing it! I used Vogue 8951. The cover art didn’t do much for me (frankly it looked a little boring and, well, middle-aged). But I love hoodies as comfy clothes and it is tunic length (a must since leggings are not pants) and I figured I’d give it a shot. And I’m so glad I did! (It wasn’t until after I sewed it up that I remembered my friend Shams of Communing with Fabric had made a great version although, since she has the opposite body shape as I do, the final …

3

Pink Sequin Lace Shift Dress

Pink and lace and sequins, oh my! When told to make a fancy dress, lace seems appropriate. Sequins are also appropriate. And in my mind, pink is appropriate for every occasion. So when I found this delicious fabric that combined all three, it obviously needed to become a fancy dress! I underlined the dress with silk habotai (the lining that Minerva included with the kit was a bit heavier than I had in mind) so oh boy does it feel dreamy to wear. I bound all of the seams and the neck in the same habotai. I opted to leave the sleeves unlined for a little bit of sex appeal, but it’s quite subtle as the pink underlining isn’t too far away in color from my pink skin! Yes, my choice of vintage McCalls 9575 dress pattern was heavily influenced by Heather Lou’s lovely sequin shift. Fortunately, my sequins were much, much easier …

4

Wedding Shawl for my Stepmother

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I am knitting each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. The first finished shawl was for my godmother. This second shawl is for my Stepmother. Linda, my stepmother, has a simple, classic style. She’s sporty, no-nonsense, but always elegant. Since I planned on knitting lace patterns for all of my mothers, I knew I was going to have to look beyond the frilly for something to suit Linda. I think I found the perfect pattern in the Slanting Plaid Stole from Interweave Knits Fall 2010. It’s a unique lace pattern that looks deceptively simple when knit, with a geometric feel that is still quite elegant. …

13

More Not Pants

Alright internet, are you ready to see some pictures of me not wearing pants? Okay, yeah, I did just show myself off in my new bikini, so maybe that’s a silly question. After recently discovering that leggings are in fact amazingly easy to sew and ZOMG SO COMFY to wear (when they actually fit you) (yeah, I’m a little late in the game), I went ahead and bought another 2 lengths of the same scuba fabric in different colorways so I could make some more of the exact same leggings. And now that I’m spending my time packing up our apartment, I’m pretty much only wearing these 3 pairs of leggings. I’d be even more ashamed if Adam didn’t travel so much, but he’s gone enough that nobody knows these are all I’m wearing right now and let’s just keep the secret between you and me (and now the whole …

22

Bombshell Bikini

I am a total bombshell in this swimsuit. The first time I sewed the Bombshell Bikini by Closet Case Files I made a few design decisions that left me feeling like an almost. But this time? Total Bombshell. So, what did I learn that made this one a rockin’ success? Better color choice, for sure. Instead of a pale pink the color of my skin, I picked an iridescent purple that I bought at Britex Fabrics that actually compliments my skin tone. I left off the halter top that (although I like halters sometimes) made me feel like a line-backer, emphasizing my strong shoulders in the wrong way. And, I made the bikini bottom version of the Bombshell Swimsuit pattern and drafted my own bikini top. I love the full coverage of the bottom and the slip of skin showing at my waist, an asset that I like to highlight. For …

9

My Rambo Skirt

I try really hard to write catchy intros to my posts that tell about my life at the moment or about what inspired a project or something that will grab you, my dear reader, and make you want to know more. But I’m at a loss for words (which, those of you that have met me in person will know, is something that doesn’t happen often!). I don’t have any more to say about The Rambo Project that I haven’t already said, so I’m just going to jump in and show you this skirt! By now you might recognize the stripes on the waistband as having been cut from a Rambo III turban. (And if you don’t yet, by the end of this month you sure will!). The front button placket also came from the turban. I had such a hard time figuring out what to do with this weird fabric, but …

11

Wedding Shawl for my Godmother

To honor the women that have been mothers to me, I am knitting each of them a lace shawl to wear to my wedding. I want to thank my mother, stepmother, godmother, and mother-in-law each for their love and guidance and support in my life. I picked a different yarn and different pattern for each woman. Although I’ve had a few setbacks, I’m again on track to have them all finished in time. This first shawl is for my Godmother. The pattern is Rose Lace Stole, published in Interweave Knits Spring 2011. It is cast on as a provisional cast-on in the center and worked outward to each end, ending in an Estonian lace pattern, resembling roses at the end. I knit it from Classic Elite Yarns Silky Alpaca Lace (I do love me some alpaca yarn) in the Gentian Violet colorway. (Nerdy sidenote: gentian violet, although named after the gentian …

6

Prefontaine Shorts for Perfect Pattern Parcel #3

I know that I just sewed a pair of shorts all while talking about how I don’t wear shorts and here I am sewing up another pair of shorts, but bear with me on this one. While I may not wear shorts out in public, a pair of comfy shorts is the best possible garment for cleaning the house. I’d rather wear a skirt if I’m just loafing around, but shorts just make more sense for cleaning. So that’s what these are, my new “I’m getting stuff done around the house” shorts. I had a pair of ratty denim cutoffs that were my “get things done” shorts, but they’ve seen better days. Funny story – they started as a pair of jeans that belonged to my locker mate in 6th grade. She decided that they weren’t cool enough (she was one of the cool kids and didn’t have a choice who …