We have a gigantic tree smack-dab in the center of our yard and all summer long it keeps our garden about ten degrees cooler than the surrounding area. I love it with all my heart when I’m enjoying that cooling shade under its protective arms. But the love starts to fade right around this time of the year when its gigantic branches shed their foliage and the yard fills with load after load of brown and yellow leaves. Right now we are being hit with the first wave of leaves and for me that always signals the most awkward phase of autumn…the “is it hot or cold out?” phase. You know this one. You feel a shiver and put on a sweater. Stand in the sun for too long and that sweater starts to feel like a personal prison of heat. You start sweating immediately. Take it off, though, and there is sure to be just the right amount of cloud cover and you will feel that cold shiver once again. I never deal with this transition very delicately but I think I may have found something of a solution with this perfect fall sweater. It’s a lane raglan hack using loose sweater knit for the body and a peek of rayon for the front. I shortened the arms, adding a cuff making it airy and cooler than your average sweater but fancier than a regular lane raglan with more coverage than just a regular raglan tee.
I’m sharing a full tutorial and detail on the Hey June blog, where I just started as a member of the Hey June blogger team. (It’s about time, right? Given how much I love and make her patterns!) Be sure to check it out.
I have a sweet new slip of a top! I’m so excited because it’s going to work beautifully on its own or under a light jacket this fall! It’s called the Delpy Ballet Top and it’s a pattern from the emerging pattern designer (and my friend) Meghann Halfmoon of Halfmoon Atelier . P.S. If you travel on over to my Instagram feed, I’m doing a pattern giveaway. But, stay here for a little bit so we can gush over this elegant sleeveless top, ok? (more…)
Oh friends. It is tomato season in New Jersey. I know people scoff when they hear New Jersey’s slogan is the Garden State but that is for real. The southern end of the state, especially, is full of farmland. And when it come to tomatoes the slogan is for real for real. You know the “Jersey tomato”? Well, my kitchen is swimming in these lovely, colorful, luscious golden globes. We belong to a farm cooperative, Honeybrook Organic Farms, (the oldest Community Supported Agriculture programs in our state, actually). Every year, around this time, we receive what feels like bushels of amazing tomatoes. On top of that, my kids ALWAYS buy me a tomato plant at the school plant sale. It’s just one plant but, man oh man, one tomato plant can really produce!? Either way you cut it, I am up to my ears in tomatoes and need to “can” them ASAP. (I don’t really know how to actually can tomatoes and am frankly terrified of botulism so I make freezer tomatoes). I knew I was going to need a good, sturdy apron to tackle the tomato issue so when Betz White asked if I would review her Craftsy class, Easy Modern Apron, I jumped at the chance. Thus was born my “So Many Tomatoes” Striped Modern Apron! (more…)
After sharing lots of skirts (this one and these) I am back with a simple breezy summer-y button-up tank, which I’m sure will get lots of wear this August. This top is one of the many simple garment patterns in Caroline Hulse’s debut sewing book Sew Caroline Weekend Style. The folks at Fons and Porter asked if I would review the book and I knew right away that I wanted to make the button-up tank. The whole book is full of colorful, easy-going patterns from shorts to flip flops and pool totes. The bright, playful style of the book is classic Caroline! (more…)
When it comes to sewing clothes in the summer I am totally seduced by simple tops and easy tunics and all other things that can be sewn in a hour (MAYBE two if I’m feeling a teeny bit ambitious). I have honestly made eight different pillows already this month.
Pillows. So easy. So many places to rest my head.
It’s part laziness but also the nature of summer. I’m busy driving kids back and forth to camp and battling the Fight Club-like atmosphere that emerges from the deep bowels of summer boredom that my remaining energy is spent looking for the quick, easy high that comes from finishing something! Anyone else in this boat? So, when Adrianna from Hey June Handmade asked me if I was interested in pattern testing her latest skirt, the Sandbridge, my internal dialogue went some like this “Oh man, a complicated skirt! That looks like work.(insert winy voice)” and then “But, this skirt looks awesome and you actually need a skirt.(insert responsible voice)” followed by, “But work! (winy voice)” and finally, “Dude! You have so much to learn from making this. Her patterns always fit you. Buck up and do it! (angry responsible voice)” I responded to Adrianna with an “I’d love to!” See, I have official grown up status. (more…)
There is something crazy good happening at our house these days. The kids are LOVING their mornings at camp and they are coming home at lunchtime to QUIETLY play legos in their rooms while listening to the (incessant and terrible) NOW 61 album on repeat. Later in the afternoon we head outside on some activity or pool time. You hear what I am saying? Are you picking up what I am laying down? The people are not fighting and have, in fact, gone all mellow! The sweet summer breeze is blowing into this house and settling all those school-day nerves into some kind of summery stillness. It has been 3 days of this, all of them in a row! It deserves to be documented that I’m talking about 3 days of the kind of summer reserved for scenes in happy family Hallmark channel movies. Whether it lasts or not, this moment is happening.
Also deserving of documentation is my newly made Ogden Cami. It carries the same ease of movement and elegant joy that this summer is promising right now. (more…)
There are many, many things I love about sewing my own clothes but at the top of the list is the surprising way it sometimes provides an unexpected glimpse into the world of store-bought fashion. In the spirit of a peek behind the screen ala Wizard of Oz, sewing something for myself can unintentionally reveal the small shifts at play in the conventional clothing market and suddenly, it demystifies the whole process. In this case, my Wizard of Oz moment came courtesy of this lovely silver sweater knit tee. Made using my good-old standby, the Plantain Tee I was able to transform a basic top into something a little more fancy/casual. I mean, truly. I have made this tee SO. MANY. TIMES. It is probably the pattern I have used more than any other. But, suddenly by making it in a sweater knit I introduce my wardrobe to a scrumptious and luxurious fancy sweater knit tee shirt of the sort I drool over in this catalog. It captures what I am so often going for…everyday elegance. The craziest part is it was easier and cheaper to make than it would be in a standard jersey knit fabric! See, how that worked. I didn’t even try but there it was; the same pattern, same construction just in different fabric and I’ve got the everyday elegance of a sweater knit tee. Boom! (more…)
Every once in a while, my vision of what something will look like when it is sewn up just doesn’t match to the resulting reality. Sometimes, fabulous fabric combined with a perfect pattern plus hours and hours of no-mishap sewing still adds up to MEH. It’s the kind of occurrence that makes me scream, weep a little, and throw up my arms. I’m speaking, of course, about this Sanibel dress in patterned denim. I know that my tribe of beautiful people will say very nice things about this dress and there are nice things to say but I’m telling you…on me, this dress is meh.
Actually, let’s get very specific. The cinched waistband on this dress is just not a shape that works well for my body. I already don’t have enough of a defined waist and adding bulk to that area only highlights the lack of curves. I knew this. I know this! This is why I never wear peplum styles. I still proceeded to make myself a finely-detailed box. It happens.
The pattern is the Sanibel Dress and Romper from Hey June Handmade with some modifications in a Robert Kaufman denim I bought from Hawthorne Threads with a super fun, quirky pattern. I actually think the combination of these two is pretty great for a casual dress. It’s just not working for my shape.
There are many things I like about this dress, though, so let’s start there. (more…)