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Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

As we ring in the New Year (spent uproariously in our home with a bottle of apple cider, When Harry Met Sally, and asleep by 11pm ;) I like to look back on the year through the eyes of my blog. 2017 has been a mixed bag for the world, our family, and my business and frankly, I’m glad for it to be done and excited about what 2018 will hold. That being said, there have certainly been some great things that I’ve been able to share here. SeamstressErin Designs launched 3 patterns year: Electron Baby Layette was how I eased myself out of maternity leave and back into work. I started with a baby pattern because my body still felt so foreign after pregnancy that I didn’t want to sew for it. Fortunately, over the course of 2017 I’ve found a new level of comfort in my new body. …

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2016 in Reflection

It’s pretty easy to reflect upon the garments I made this year and I’ve already put together my Top 5 Sewing Hits and Top 5 Sewing Flops of 2016. But life is more than just clothes, and I wanted to reflect on and share about my year as a whole. This blog is kind of the story of my life, as told through clothes. There are two big, hard parts of my year that I want to share as I think that we, as a community of (mostly) women, can help each other by sharing openly about them: body image issues and post-partum depression. I’ve always struggled with being comfortable in my body. I’ve always been tall and a bit of a klutz and got into sewing memorable clothing so that I was standing out on my own terms, not because I couldn’t blend in if I tried. (For more …

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Top 5 Sewing Misses 2016

I think this year had a much higher ratio of flops:successes than normal (see my 2015 year in review, 2014 year in review, and 2013 in review for comparison). I was a bit surprised when I looked back to write this post to see that I’d consider so much of my sewing this year to be flops (though I did have some great successes too!), but I think the same things that kept me from doing much sewing (sickness, new-baby-induced sleep deprivation, and post-partum depression) kept me from sewing my best. Oh well. They were learning experiences. In no particular order, my top flops: I think this vest was a lesson in I-should-have-left-well-enough-alone. Its first draft was okay (pictured above) but it felt a little viking-y and then I tried to make it better and it turned into a totally unflattering mess. Oh well. I have another two vest WIPs at the moment so …

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Top 5 Sewing Hits 2016

2016 didn’t see me sewing a whole lot, unfortunately. Between being sick through my whole pregnancy, having a baby in May, and then struggling through post-partum depression, I just didn’t have the ability to create. I love reading (and compiling) end of the year roundups (see my 2015 year in review, 2014 year in review, 2013 in review, and 2012 roundup for a glimpse through my sewing past), so I went ahead and post-mortem’ed this year’s sewing too. Even with very little output, I had some notable successes, which is nice to see and reflect upon. In no part particular order, my Top 5 Sewing Hits of 2016: These nursing Watson bras are my biggest hit of the year. I wear them almost every day (I have a couple of RTW bras that get swapped in occasionally) and love that they are fun, functional, and a bit sexy. I particularly …

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2015 in Review

2015 has been quite a year for me personally. The year started with bang and has hit some small and large bumps to end up where it is now. In January, we officially moved back to the Pacific Northwest (so I’m living near family again!) and I started SeamstressErin Designs which was just about the best way I could imagine starting the year. We moved several times in the beginning of the year and in the summer we bought a house – my sewing & designing time took a bit of a hit as I got us moved and settled. Just as our house was starting to feel like a home and I started to ramp up sewing and work on SeamstressErin designs again, I got pregnant. Which is wonderful and exciting and I can’t wait for baby! However, I had a miserable first trimester and couldn’t do anything other …

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August in Review

Wow. And just like that the summer months are over! Of course we’ve had grey skies and lots of rain the last couple of days to really rub in the fact that it’s done. It feels very weird to be heading into September without feeling any sort of back-to-school buzz around me. This will be my first fall without being in academia that I can remember (skipping over last year since I was out of the country). Wow! August does deserve one last hurrah before we leave it totally behind because it really was a lovely month so let’s take a peek back over the last month on my blog, shall we? Sewing-wise, I finally blogged photos of the outfit I’ve been wearing all summer – a vintage yellow cotton top and skirt. I almost finished a Bonnel dress from Thai elephant print cotton but I made a mistake and …

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Month In Review – April 2015

I swear it hasn’t been a whole month since I wrote a roundup post for March. But the calendar begs to differ, and I try not to get into arguments with inanimate objects, so I’ll quit swearing. Life has been a frenzy this month as we are very actively house hunting. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every single house on the market on our island in the last month in a $400,000 range. (I’m really not exaggerating). It takes a lot of time. We’re getting discouraged. But! Spring is here and life is good. And the fact that this is our biggest problem right now means that we are in a great place in our lives. I added a few fun items to my wardrobe. My definite favorite is my Spring for Farm Animals dress as the novelty print was so silly and inspiring and the dress is both comfy …

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Month in Review – March 2015

March. I think it was a good month, but I’m caught up in the middle of a whirlwind right now and it’s hard for me to reflect on anything without knowing that it’s colored by what’s going on right now. To make a long story short, we found our dream home, put an offer on it and it was accepted! Except for the fact that we have spent 48 hrs trying to figure out how to get internet connected at the house and it looks like it may not be possible and, with both of us working from home, permanently living in a house without internet isn’t an option. We are pretty crushed, and have 24hrs left to find a solution or let the house go to someone else. I know there will be another great house for us out there, but I’m so tired of moving from one place …

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Month in Review – February 2015

I did a bit of sewing for myself this month with my chambray Bruyere blouse. I like the blouse, and I’m very thankful for the styling tips that people shared since I was finding the chambray a challenge. I’ve since made a minor (but sparkly) change, and I’m excited to share that soon :) I also updated an old Archer blouse and it has definitely been getting a lot more wear since the update! February saw the release of my Monster Wear hat and mittens pattern (yay!), shared the fun backstory behind the pattern, and a few sewalong posts to go with it. (The rest are coming soon!). I shared the awesome creations of my pattern testers, how to select fabric for the pattern, and how to select a size for the pattern. I wrote a tutorial – 10 Tips for Sewing with Faux Fur – that’s helpful for the …

Month in Review – January 2015

I kicked off this year of sewing with a sproingy grey cardigan that I’ve been wearing a ton, even if it’s imperfect and a plaid flannel shirt that is totally perfect and with which I am completely obsessed. I also finished knitting a pair of pastel jaywalker socks. I started a weekly challenge to myself – #IAmAWIP– to explore an aspect of who I am and how it relates to sewing. I started with I Am A Work In Progress and moved onto I Am Tall, I am Organized, and I Am A Pacific NorthWesterner. I’ve been totally inspired by the great conversations that it has started on my blog and on Instagram. I really appreciate people sharing their stories, similarities, and differences and can’t wait for more of the conversations to continue. I finished writing about my epic honeymoon by sharing my packing list for 4 months in SE …

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My Year in Review 2014

Wow. Looking back over this year, all I can say is Wow. What a year! I finished graduate school, moved to the Seattle area, got married, turned 30, and traveled around the world for 4 months. It’s like I crammed every major event that could possibly happen in a 5 year span of my life into a single year! But what were the blog highlights for me? GARMENTS: With all the major life events that happened, I didn’t have as much time to sew as I might have wished (okay, honestly, no amount of sewing time no matter how much is ever enough!). But I definitely had favorites in the things that I did get to sew! #5 Hot Summer Concert Tee. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I wore this shirt. I didn’t think the style or the fabric choice was going totally to be me, but I …

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April and May Roundup 2014

What a whirlwind. I’m still a little stunned that a chapter of my life is over. For a while I kept walking around saying “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” I had to say goodbye to my faithful kitty companion of almost 10 years. And I finished graduate school (wearing a dress I made for the occasion). I now have a Ph.D. Wow. My dear classmates are also in the process of graduating and I’ve been making quilts for my closest friends to celebrate their accomplishments, starting with Erica’s Ninja Cells and Ellen’s Hst3 Western Blot. Of course continuing to sew through these stressful and exciting times has been important to me, and I made a green & pink floral ceylon dress, a vintage barkcloth bowler bag to match, vintage spring pajamas and some super fun not pants (i.e. leggings) and dinosaur dress. Amazingly I sewed …

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Q1 Roundup

Q1 roundup. That sounds so business-y, doesn’t it? But it’s an easier title than January – February – and March roundup, isn’t it? Whatever I call it, this is a quick look back at my last 3 months of making and blogging. Not surprisingly, I’ve done more than my share of sewing: I got a little obsessed with a graphic neutral print and made a jacket, backpack, and laptop cases from it. I embroidered peacock feathers and sewed them into a Rigel bomber jacket. I made a hot American Summer Tee. I used the plantain pattern to make a distressed tee and a maxi dress with braided details. Finally, an Ava blouse (that consensus says I need to style differently). Oh yeah, and I refashioned my friend’s wedding dress into cocktail dress! A lot of sewing time went to putting together the sew-along for the Presidio Purse. Check out it …

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2013 in Reflection: Sewing, Crafting and Blogging Favorites

Jumping on the reflection bandwagon that’s sweeping the blogosphere, I’m looking back through the last year of sewing, crafting and blogging to pull out my favorites for the year. On the sewing end: 5. Pink Pleated Maxi Skirt. It’s a simple skirt, from cheap fabric. Nothing that exciting to sew. But I love wearing it. It’s fun and happy. I look good in maxi skirts, I love wearing them, and I always get compliments on this skirt. 4. Bangladeshi Archer Blouse. Although I’m not usually a loose fitting blouse kind of person, I’ve really enjoyed wearing this Archer shirt. I did a lovely job sewing it, if I do say so myself, and loved the chance to use such special fabric that had been saved in my stash for a long time. 3. Robson Trench. I didn’t get the fit totally right through my shoulders, but this is a high …

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Monthly Roundup – October

Through the last couple years of grad school, I’ve been eating poorly, seeking emotional comfort in food, and especially since hurting my hip this summer, not exercising. It’s started showing in my body. My clothes are getting snug and I’m less and less comfortable in myself. I’ve been telling myself (about so many different things) that everything will be okay when I’m done with graduate school because then I’ll be happy and then I’ll take care of myself. But I still don’t know when grad school will end, so this month I finally called myself out on this unreasonable line of thinking. I may not be able to control grad school, but I don’t have to let it control my whole life. This month I started going to the gym again, I started watching what I eat, and I’ve started to feel a bit better. Since I study fat metabolism, I …

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September Roundup

This September was one of the best months I have had in a very long time. I try not to dwell on it here, since this is my happy place, but I’ve been really unhappy in graduate school for a very long time. And an end is now in sight. I don’t have a graduation date yet, but I do have a draft of my paper in the hands of collaborators, almost ready to submit for publication! Add to that a phenomenal time at Sewing Summit, some very exciting bits of news toward my dream of starting SeamstressErin Designs after graduating, and you get one happy Erin, in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. September was good to me.   In September, I sewed 4 items for the Fall for Cotton Sewalong – pants, a skirt, a camisole top, and a jacket. I also sewed a …

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August Roundup

During August, I got back to my sewing machine and boy did it feel good! My hip problems were in abeyance and my creativity was full bore. It felt so good to create. This month I sewed my first swimsuit, and it was a Bombshell. I admitted to it bringing up body image issues, but the wonderful comments I got from such a supportive online sewing community made it totally worth posting. I didn’t respond to individual comments because I didn’t know what to say except “Thank You”, over and over again. So, to everyone that said something complimentary and supportive, thank you. I also sewed a handsome cardigan for my handsome boyfriend, a silk maxi Anna dress, a white linen Victoria blazer,  and just squeaked in under the wire with a pair of Vivacious Jeans for the Sew Weekly Reunion sewalong. Adam’s being wearing and loving the cardigan and …

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July Roundup 2013

July was a rough month for me. I faced a hip injury that kept me on the couch, out of work, and away from my sewing machine for several weeks. It was emotionally challenging to be so unable to do anything, and was made worse by the fact that I couldn’t use my sewing machine to make me feel better. When I’m stressed, when I’m hurt, when I’m struggling, I sew. It soothes my soul like nothing else. Fortunately, I’m recovering and have just started back at my machine! In the month of July, I published an anatomical leg embroidery pattern, Bougle’s leg, and wrote a tutorial for how to embroider the stem-stitch. Although I haven’t been able to sew, I did share a summer hippy dress and a silk tunic blouse that I made for my mom a while back. I showed pictures from the Vashon Island Quilt Show where I learned …

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June Roundup

The last part of June has been hard on me. I’ve hurt my hip (still waiting to get an Orthopedics apt.) and the only way I’m comfortable is if I am laying down. By the time I’m home from lab for the day (and then all day on the weekend so I can recover from the week), I’ve been flat on my back on the couch. No sewing. In fact, it hurts a lot to sew since I have to lean forward and use my right leg on the pedal. And it’s making me a little crazy. Sewing really is my sanity, my stress release, and a major source of happiness. And having it taken away from me for a while has been really emotionally hard. However, I’ve still had some awesome stuff going on, and focusing on the positive makes a world of difference. I’ve been canning a lot …

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May Roundup

The month of May was full of triumph and failure. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite so dramatic… Last week I went to a Bay Area sewing blogger meetup. The excuse was a sendoff for Amy of SewWell.  We met at Britex and ended up at a wine bar nearby. It was so much fun to geek out over sewing with people who spoke my language, in person! We talked about body shape, favorite patterns, current projects, major successes, Me Made May, and everything in between. It was a truly lovely way to meet a truly lovely group of women. In the picture, starting from the top left is Amy, Veronique of verte-adelie, Geana (our darling Britex host), Me, Laura Mae of Lilacs and Lace. Next row is Rebecca, Vanessa, Elizabeth of e-bethknits and Shams of  Communing with Fabric. And at the bottom is Beth of SunnyGalStudio, Jilly of JillyBeJoyful, Kelly of Bennomusik, and Jean of JKaori Sews.

April Roundup

Want to catch up with my blog? In month of April: I sewed two Archer shirts – one out of Bangladeshi fabric and the other a rayon challis that I turned into a dress. I presented my Mad Men Joan dress and two tutorials for how to make it yourself – how to draft a sleeve flounce and how to face a sleeve flounce. I sewed my block-of the-month quilt block and gave a peek at my design process for a new baby sweater. I also encouraged you to clean your sewing machine with a pipe cleaner. I showed lace that my grandmother handmade and I shared interviews on Sewing and Style with Allison of Dream a Little Bigger, Sonja of Ginger Makes, and Tempest Devyne of FanBloomingTastic.

March Roundup 2013

During the month of March: I sewed a 1942 Shirtwaist Dress for the Sew For Victory Sewalong, a Ziggy Stardust outfit for the Bowie Sewalong, and a pink-pleated maxi skirt and 1940’s pajamas for the Stashbusting Sewalong. I also pieced my March blocks for my Block-of-the-Month quilt. I finished knitting a pair of tabi socks and shared a tutorial for how to add crochet elastic to the inside of knee-socks so they stay up better. I shared a guest post by Katja of Of Dreams and Seams on Sewing and Style. I also traveled a bit (more on that soon!) and was sick on the couch for a week (I’ll spare you from sharing about that).

2012 Roundup

Wow! What a year. It’s been great fun to have a new website this year and to fill it up with fun DIY sewing/knitting/craft projects and inspirations. I hope you’re enjoying it as well! I put together a visual overview of what I’ve made this year. I can’t get the darn image map to work, so you can’t click the pictures, but all the links are listed below. Clothes: Floral Paisley Sundress, Plaid Romper, Scallops to Greece Dress, Woven T-shirts, Derp Skirt, Curtain Panel Skirt, Guatemalan Cowgirl Skirt, Ruffled Jumpsuit, Floral Print Jeans, Denim High-Waist Jeans, 40’s Blouse, 40’s Trousers, Sage Velour Thurlow Shorts, Grey Wool Thurlow Shorts Around the House: Sweaters Blanket, Wool Leaf Potholders, Fabric Canvas, Cork Coasters, Tree Ring Coasters, Spray Painted Dinosaur, Stuff Sack, Hexagon Quilt Accessories: East/West Purse, Duffel Bag, Suitcase Cozy Baby: First Fair Isle Sweater, Baby Shoes, Toddler Activity Book

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November Wrap-Up

This lovely Month of November I celebrated my new website, my birthday and Thanksgiving and: I sewed Thurlow shorts, floral print jeans, and denim baby shoes. I showed how I rip out sewn seams.   I had a wonderfully entertaining guest post from Meg the Grand on her style.   I dedicated a week to my mom, sharing a glimpse into her house, a baby blanket she designed and quilted, the birthday presents she made for me, and her hand-appliqued self-designed quilt block. I took a trip to Mexico and brought back a couple handmade souvenirs. Adam brought me handmade Easter eggs from Prague. I finished knitting my East-West purse and I made plans to knit several new projects.   I gave a glimpse into the past with the 1930’s scrapbook.