32

Dinosaur Dress

I would like to induce you to my new favorite dress (Yes, I probably say that a lot. But in terms of how much this dress is getting worn, it is a true winner). It is an empire waist maxi dress in bright dinosaur print jersey. Yes. All of those things that I love. Empire waist. Maxi dress. Bright. Jersey. DINSOAURS!!! The pattern is Simplicity 1804. Quick and easy to sew. Flattering. Comfy. Nothing remarkable about the pattern but it’s great for what it is – a versatile knit dress pattern. (Oona also just blogged a pretty version of this dress if you want to see it on a different body and with fewer dinosaurs, although why you would want to see fewer dinosaurs, I don’t know.) The fabric was given to me by Minerva Crafts as part of their blogger network and the supplies are available from them as a kit. I do …

13

These Are Not Pants

I am a firm believer that leggings are not pants. But these leggings are doing everything in their power to convince me otherwise. Holy cow are these comfortable! And bright! And happy! And comfortable!!! I honestly haven’t had a pair of leggings up to this point that actually fit me well (I mean, come on, they’re super stretchy, what is there to fit, right? Wrong. They’re never long enough and always give me a slight wedgy. Not cool.) I drafted these (check out Miranda of One Little Minute’s tutorial on drafting your own leggings for a great how-to) and sewed them with 1″ negative ease out of scuba knit (it was labeled with the generic label of performance knit where I bought it, but I’ve seen the same material elsewhere with the slightly more specific label of scuba). I’m afraid these are going to initiate a complete revamping of my daily wardrobe. I …

82

My Ph.D. Dress

I did it. It’s done. I finished my doctorate. On Friday I gave my exit talk so I am now officially SeamstressErin Ph.D. After 7 long years, I can shout to the world that I am doctor! I have worked long and hard and am shouting to the rooftops my accomplishment because I am so dang proud of myself. I want to take the chance to reflect a bit on my journey and, of course, share the dress that I made for the occasion. In the sweet words of my fiance, “Who else do you know who both: 1) has a PHD in molecular biology, 2) gave her exit talk in a dress she made the night before?” I’ve grown in so many ways over the last 7 years. Of course I’ve developed as an academic and a scientist. Graduate school is not easy for anyone. I had a particularly …

3

Kanzashi Wall Clock on Sew Mama Sew

I’ve been on a kanzashi flower kick recently, as you might know. My latest kanzashi project is giant size flower I turned into a clock, featured today on Sew Mama Sew. Head on over to see a full tutorial.

10

Hst3 Degron Quilt

Science is beautiful in so many ways. A clean western blot lends itself so nicely to a modern quilt design like in this quilt, but what is most beautiful to me about this quilt is what it represents – my love for an amazing female scientist and friend whose support was instrumental in me personally getting through graduate school. This quilt is based on a piece of data from my friend Ellen’s thesis research and was a gift from me to her to celebrate her achievement of her Ph.D. (I’m making all my Girls quilts to celebrate their graduations, so check out Erica’s Ninja Cells Quilt for the first in the series.) I had a fun time quilting the quilt on my home sewing machine, and chose to use all white thread on a black backing so that the quilt design is visible on the back of the quilt. Triangles …

12

Sew For Victory Sailor Girl Shorts

I had big ideas for Sew for Victory this year, but ended up with one pair of shorts. Fortunately, they are darn cute, darn flattering, and I’m pretty darn happy with them (although definitely a little jealous of the Pinhouse Playmate for making a much more awesome version!). Generally, I abhor shorts. I’m not one to judge them on other people, but I really, really hate the way they look on me. The only pairs you’ll catch me wearing are heavy and layered for winter (and both of those I actually just donated because I found I didn’t wear them at all this winter). But something about the high waist and full leg on these takes them out of mental short status and makes them feel like a skirt, so I’m sold. These shorts are from the Wearing History 1940’s sailor girl pattern. I intended to make the full shorts, …

4

Orange and Turquoise Howlite Necklace

Turquoise and orange. Not a color combo I often rock. I don’t wear much orange since it’s not great with my skin. But it’s so bright and happy and attention grabbing, especially paired with blue, that I’m determined to add some orange into my life this summer. (No, it’s not just because I want to be Oona, but that is one small part of it ;) Like my pink skulls necklace, the beads on this necklace are made from howlite, a stone that is commonly dyed to resemble other more expensive stones like turquoise. The pendant was from a necklace that I bought at a thrift store aeons ago, whose fake leather cord promptly broke, and so the pendant sat in my bead box for a very long time. I got a little excited and ended up buying a LOT of howlite turquoise beads (as you can clearly see). I …

12

Betty Bowler Bag in Pink and Green Floral Vintage Barkcloth

I feel a little greedy to admit that most of my sewing is Selfish Sewing.  Sure, my mom gets blouses and dresses, Adam got a Newcastle cardigan, my girlfriends are getting quilts (oh yeah, and then there’s all the sewing and knitting I’m gifting for my wedding that are still in progress). Hmmm… Maybe I’m not so selfish. That’s a nice realization! To celebrate Selfish Sewing Week, I was given the Betty Bowler bag pattern by Swoon and promptly sewed it up for myself! Proudly selfish on this make! I love the fun shape and perfect size of this bag (yes, I like big bags and I cannot lie). The vintage-y shape seemed like the perfect use of this gorgeous pink and green floral barkcloth that I had in my stash. It was clearly once a pair of curtains and had snags, stains, and fading. But boy-oh-boy does it make a …

10

Tangerine Dream Table Runner in Sewing World Magazine May 2014

Oh me oh my! My first published quilt pattern! My first magazine article! I am all sorts of excited! You can find my Tangerine Dream table runner quilt pattern in the May 2014 issue of Sewing World Magazine. The quilt is made from Kona cotton solids in Brown, Tangerine, Papaya, Lagoon, and Cream. My wonderful mother quilted the quilt with simple, geometric designs to play off the geometric shape of the runner. She never quilts my quilts the way I ask her to, and they’re always way more awesome than if she had followed my instructions. I know that tangerine and turquoise isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so I put together illustrations of what the quilt would look like in different colorways. Using all Kona cottons you can get these different looks with: Mulberry, Thistle, Steel, Shadow, and Black for a gray and purple colorway; Valentine, Kumquat, Kiwi, Cyan, and Canary for …

31

Oakshott Lipari Rainbow Stripes Tote Bag and Tutorial

This Oakshott Lipari is OMG gorgeous. They are jewel tones like none I have ever seen. After getting my hands on this fat eighth pack I immediately understood why quilters hoard Oakshott like garment sewists hoard good border prints. I was sent the Oakshott from Sew Mama Sew to make a tote bag, but I immediately started to rethink my original tote design so that I could use less Oakshott so I had more for other selfish projects. And then I had a stern talking-to to myself and told myself that I was being silly and greedy and I should go ahead with my original plan because I can always buy more fabric. Well, that bit about “always buy more fabric” was music to my ears, so I continued on with the plans for a large tote. To make this tote you need: 13 fat eighths of Oakshott Lipari, 3/4 …

7

Spring Retro Cotton Pajama Set

With these pajamas I hereby declare it is Spring! I’m putting away my oversized flannel pajamas (even if I do have a couple cute pairs) and wearing this adorable vintage style pajama set. While I am certainly usually guilty of wearing worn out oversize tee shirts and dumpy sweatpants to bed, I like have pajamas that make me feel pretty and composed when I wear them, perfect for wearing when traveling or with company visiting. Or just to celebrate that Spring is here! I used vintage Simplicity 4179 to sew these pajamas. The pattern was one size large for me so I went ahead and cut it as it, figuring that it didn’t matter if it was a bit big since it’s just pajamas. Also, my broad shoulders don’t usually fit well in vintage patterns. Well, there was some funky fitting that resulted. Somehow it’s like the front fits well …

4

Just Some Baby Pants

I really like to make things for friends’ impending babies. Sometimes I knit sweaters, sometimes I sew quilts, sometimes I sew baby shoes, sometimes I sew leather snails. This time, I made a stack of pants in all different sizes from Simplicity 2291. The first pair of pants was from some camouflage canvas. I don’t know the sex of my friends’ impending baby, but I do know that s/he’s going to be a little rockstar, so these felt appropriate. The awesome thing about making tiny little clothes is how little fabric they require so all of the pants came from my scrap bin – pieces slightly too large to throw away but not large enough to actually make anything, other than baby clothes! Okay, so these multi-fabric pants are painfully early 90’s. But anything looks cute if it’s on a baby, right?? The pockets came from my floral print jeans, …

13

Ninja Cells Quilt

There is no way that I could have maintained the shred of sanity to which I have clung through graduate school if it wasn’t for my Girls. I’ve been meeting 5 female classmates for dinner, every other week, for the last 6 years. I cannot even begin to put words to how much support, and love, and advice, and compassion, and help, and advice, and friendship they have given me. Epic amounts. Incomprehensible amounts. As my Girls are graduating one by one, I wanted to give each of them a special thank-you for the role they have played in this phase of my life. So, I asked each to give me favorite data and I used that to design and make a quilt for each Girl. My science inspired thank-you quilt series begins with Erica’s Ninja Cells. Erica took this image of two cells under a microscope years ago and …

7

Pink and Black Skull Necklace

Clearly, I can’t start one project without diving into another handful at the same time. Since I had to buy some beads and dig out my beading supplies to make my pearl necklace, I clearly had to buy other beads and start making some other necklaces too! I really won’t complain about having too much inspiration and I won’t even complain about not having enough time to follow through on all of my inspirations. I’ll just share this fun new necklace, how about that? I bought these cute little skulls and fuchsia beads at the same time without actually intending for them to go together. But when I started playing around with ideas on my beading tray, it was obvious that they had to go together because, while I do enjoy a dose of the macabre, I enjoy it much more when it’s mixed with bright pink happy things! Since …

30

Pink and Green and Floral and Sexy Ceylon

The sexiest attribute that I can imagine? Self confidence. Forget body shape, size, height, musculature, eyes, lips, whatever. If I can see that someone feels confident in their own skin, I am attracted to them. This dress is my Sew Sexy Sewalong dress because I feel hot in it therefore I am hot in it. While such a modest dress may not be what most people think when they think “sexy”, and honestly, it’s totally not on my first train of thought either, this dress makes me feel so good! The shape is great at highlighting my attributes (defined waist, slender neck),  minimizing my not-as-strong points (hips), and giving the illusion of other strong points (bust gathers FTW). And have I mentioned that it’s a pink and green floral print dress! I love pink! I love pink and green! I love floral print! I love dresses! (Enough with all of …

14

Ava Blouse. Meh.

Spring really needs to hit. Because I seem to be filling my wardrobe up with black and neutral pieces. Which is fine. They’re interesting and wearable and all that. And very appropriate for dreary winter weather. But I just dug through my whole closet and man is it gray! {Major note to self: Add some brights and florals, ASAP!} This Ava blouse, part of the first Perfect Pattern Parcel, is another in my apparent recent trend of neutral. I feel about the blouse like I do about the winter weather – it’s better in my head than around my body. I love both the fabrics I used. The tribal print contrast was a gift from a friend (thanks again Dawn!) and what I used to face my black velvet trousers. I picked up the main fabric at a flea market in Guernville, CA. I love that the geometric design looks …

12

Hand Dyed Silk Kanzashi Flowers

A collection of flowers. A panoply of kanzashi flowers. A range of silk flowers. An array of handmade flowers. A multitude of hand-dyed flowers. An assemblage of pink and purple flowers. A lot of flowers. Aren’t they so very bright and happy! And cheerful and fun! Okay, okay, I’ll lay off the thesaurus, I promise. I handmade and hand-dyed each of these flowers from silk noile from Minerva Crafts for my Minerva Craft Blogger project this month. Kanzashi is a Japanese method of folding fabric into individual petals and then sewing them together into flowers. I followed instructions in the book Kanzashi in Bloom by Diane Gilleland. The instructions in the book are great, but it’s worth noting that the vast majority of the book is ideas for using the flowers in projects. Diane has a how-to video on her website that’s a great resource if you want to make …

8

Laptop and Bamboo Tablet Cases Quilted from Jacket Scraps

Having nice things means taking care of nice things. Not only am I a klutz, I also have a penchant for cramming way too many things into my shoulder bags. That means that things in my life get dropped and smushed. Since I like my nice things to stay nice, I decided to make cases for my laptop and bamboo tablet. An added bonus to this project was finding another way to use this fabric that I’m completely obsessed with and getting to look oh-gag-me-adorable with my matchy-matchy jacket, backpack, and technology cases, as well as getting to use scraps from my oh-so-awesome South African wax print that I just used to line a different jacket. I didn’t write this up as a pattern because everyone’s technological-item-of-choice is slightly differently sized, and there are dozens of other patterns and tutorials out there for similar projects. However, I thought I would share …

16

Hand Embroidered Rigel Bomber Jacket

I dreamt of a peacock. Floating feathers, cascading flowers. Striking stitching on a simple jacket making it unique and wonderful and one-of-a-kind. (I already detailed the process of the embroidery, if you’re interested.) I love that the Rigel Bomber jacket is fairly simple, making it wearable with so many outfits, day after day. But my stitching makes it completely unique at the same time. I’m a jacket junkie and this is pure manna for my addiction. The outer wool is from a vintage pashmina. I bought the pashmina along with a stash of vintage fabric from a flea market in Guerneville, CA (mostly 70’s fabrics, including the fabric I used for the bodice of my Thanksgiving dress). I pulled it from my stash for this project because I knew it would be a dream to embroider on because of the relatively loose weave. I bought the ribbing and perfectly matching zipper from Britex and the …

16

Hot American Summer Concert Tee

This Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY may be the most aptly named sewing project I’ve ever made. The moment I finished it I wanted to put on some daisy dukes, salt water sandals, and get silly, dancing in a grassy field to some booty-shakin’ music. Since it’s winter and I’m in the middle of San Francisco, I’d had to make do with a pair of high waisted jeans and blonde highlights in my hair. I was given this pattern as part of the inaugural launch of the Perfect Pattern Parcel. Their goal is to help bring business to indie pattern designers and benefit charity in the process – pretty great goals if you ask me. There’s a great selection of patterns for a very limited time (Accordion Bag by Sew Sweetness, Summer Concert Tee by Dixie DIY, Ava by Victory Patterns, The Skater Dress by Kitschycoo, Dandelion Dress & …

21

Graphic Neutral Jacket and Cooper Backpack

I grew obsessed with this fabric. I didn’t order it in my first 3 months of blogging for Minerva and it haunted me. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and look for it in their store, making sure that it was still there. I’d have dreams where the black squiggles squiggled their way across any blank surface, with rows of humble x-es x-ing their path above. I thought in stripes, I yearned for layers of neutrals. And this obsession confused me and scared me. It wasn’t scary to be obsessed with a piece of fabric. That’s happened plenty of times. What was haunting was that it was such a neutral print. No trace of pink and certainly no fuchsia. No gigantic floral print. What was going on in my head that I could be posses by something so unprepossessing? But I succumbed, and I’m so very happy …

5

Refashioned Wedding Dress turned Cocktail Dress

This saucy little cocktail dress was once Ellen’s wedding dress. Can you believe it? Together we cut and pasted and dipped and dyed and gave her dress a brand new life. While chopping apart your wedding dress isn’t for the faint of heart or the even the heartily sentimental, Ellen was thrilled about the project because it meant that she would get to wear her dress over and over again. Ellen’s wedding dress was a mermaid style dress where the top was fitted until mid-thigh and the full bottom was a separate piece gathered and sewn along the bottom. This made it an ideal dress for turning into a cocktail dress since it required no reshaping and very little reconstruction. We started by ripping off the bottom gathered layer. (You can see that Tig immediately claimed the pile of fabric as her own. I eventually stole some back to be …

10

Plantain Maxi Dress with Braided Collars

I’ve never been one to gracefully back down from a challenge. I’m stubborn. Really stubborn. I come by it honestly from both sides of my family. My Great Grandma Roseada and my Grandma Jimee were probably two of the most stubborn women to ever grace this planet. (And oh my goodness my someday children are going to be stubborn nightmares as well because Adam’s Grandma Sheila gives them a stubborn run for their money!). When Deer & Doe released their free plantain tee, I thought “oh that’s nice” and made a tee-shirt with slightly unusual distressed binding and moved on with my sewing life. But somewhere in the back of my head the “Plantain Challenge” kept repeating. Challenge. The challenge issued was to create a unique version of the Plantain. And since I can’t back down from a challenge, this dress is what I came up with. It really is just …

14

Grey Plantain with Distressed Binding

While most American sewing bloggers seem to be caught in an arctic chill, preventing them from wearing anything but the most warmest of outerwear for blog photos, I’m over here in sunny (northern) California, where I’m dreaming of snow, and puffy coats, and thick wool sweaters, and warm boots and stuck in 70F weather that is going to cause an alarming drought later in the year. (Although I will admit that my delicate west coast self would freeze her toches off if I were to actually get what I’m dreaming about!) I thought that sewing up a lightweight long sleeve tee would be a good compromise – it feels like winter wear because it’s grey and long sleeves, but it’s actually pretty lightweight. This simple long sleeve tee is the Plantain by Deer and Doe, available for free. I love the elbow patch detail on this shirt – something little that does add …

12

Floral Knit Cowl

This floral cowl was a fun excuse to learn a new skill. I designed the chart and knit it as a double-knit, so the inside and outside are the same pattern but inverse colors. I figured a little cowl is just a tube so it should be quick and easy to knit, right? Ha! 40 hours of knitting later (and one stripe less than I originally planned!) it’s finally done. But it was worth every (slow) stitch because it’s bright and fun and happy and cheerful and cozy. I knit this from Sublime cashmere-merino-silk DK weight yarn given to me by Minerva Crafts for being a part of their blogger network. It’s a lovely yarn and I would be very happy to use it again in another project. In fact, I’d be tempted to use this same selection of colors to knit myself a little cardigan or a simple pullover. …

18

Announcing the Presidio Purse!

    For my December Minerva Crafts Network Project, I’m thrilled to show off my Presidio Purse. I was carrying my purse for the first time yesterday and plopped it down on the counter of a craft supply store while I dug out my wallet to pay for some last minute stocking stuffers. The gal behind the counter exclaimed “What a wonderful purse! I’m a total purse junky. Where did you get it?” I was pretty stoked to be able to say “I made it! The pattern is mine and I will be releasing it on January 1st!” A pattern release, you say!?! Yes, I say!! Check back into my website on January 1st for the official release of my Presidio Purse pattern. I’ll have some gorgeous photos of gorgeous finished purses from my wonderful pattern testers. And over the course of January, I’ll host a full step-by-step sew-along. The pattern …

3

Purple and Neutral Hexagon Baby Quilt

I am a little embarrassed to post this just-finished baby quilt on my blog since there are construction flaws and honestly, the design is mediocre. But I’m learning. And I certainly learned from this quilt. And regardless of the finished product, it was made with love. And that’s what I wanted to send to my friend’s baby – a bundle of love and a story for daddy to tell. “This quilt was made for you, with love, by this crazy girl that lived next door to me in the dorms of my college during her freshman year. I had just transferred there from another school and wasn’t happy about being placed in a room with three freshmen boys. She was just starting college but, being an only child, wasn’t happy about being placed in a room with three other freshmen girls. I think she might have had a crush on …

8

Handmade Pom Pom and Cork Tree Christmas Ornaments

Although I keep announcing that I’m not making anything for Christmas this year, I guess I keep proving myself wrong, because I got inspired and had to make a cute handmade ornaments to give out, gift, and decorate with! These handmade ornaments are made from pom-poms, corks, ribbon, and buttons – all things that I had readily in my craft supplies. Even if you don’t compulsively stash craft supplies like I do, you should be able to find what you need pretty easily. To make the pompom trees you need pom-poms, cork, something to cut the cork with (I use a little metal saw), a hot glue gun, ribbon, and buttons. If you don’t have pre-made pom-poms, it’s really easy to make your own! Wrap yarn around a couple of your fingers. Pull the yarn off carefully, and tie a knot around the center with another piece of yarn. (I …

4

Quilted Scrappy Red and White Baby Quilt

In the last week I have visited my grandparents, visited my aunt, bought a mattress, bought a bedframe, bought an engagement ring, and worked a 15hr day in lab (sidenote: the experiment worked so it was totally worth it!). What I have not done is sew or write a blog post. I knew that this month was going to be busy, but I didn’t realize quite how busy it was going to be! I can’t even say that it’s been full of wedding planning, which is how I would like to be spending my time if I don’t get to be in front of the sewing machine. Oh well. There won’t be a new Christmas dress this year. There won’t be handmade gifts. There won’t be an Archer for Archer Appreciation Month. But this month will contain time with friends and family, investments in our future, happiness, and holiday cheer. …

25

1959 Bow Neck Thanksgiving Dress

Well, I’m a day late to my own party with this dress. But I think I have a pretty good reason. You see, I sat down to write this post, showing pictures of my Bow Neck Thanksgiving Dress (for my final contribution to my Bow Neck Blouse Sewalong), on the day after Thanksgiving. I found a quiet corner amidst the chaos of a house very full of family.  And then Adam asked if he and I could get a bit of alone time together, maybe go out for a cup of tea, because I had been in the kitchen cooking for two days straight (one day to bake 5 pies, one day to cook our Thanksgiving meal), and he thought a spot of fresh air away from the chaos would be good for both of us. Apparently, the offer of tea was just a ploy, as he took me to …