Archive of ‘inspiration’ category

Plantain Tees in White, Ocean and Cat

You guys. I have to start by saying I am so touched and encouraged by everyone’s kind reactions to my last post about why I stopped buying new clothes!  I loved hearing how many of you are doing the same and I loved all the detailed questions.  It just means so much to me.  Truly.  I was feeling pretty vulnerable about writing that post and I feel like you all responded with a hearty “Go For It!”  Thank you, thank you, thank you! I will be sure to write more as the year progresses now that I know people are interested.

Meanwhile, I have been chipping away at my ‘make’ list and have started with t-shirts because it is first on the list for Project Sew It.  Welcome to the story of the plantain tee in white, ocean and cat. Yup. Cat!

You all know how much I love the plantain tee from Deer and Doe…I mean, I have made more than half a dozen versions already.  It’s a top that fits me well and looks good. I love the scoop neck shape and how versatile the pattern is. So, when it came time to decide on what to make for the January’s Project Sew It challenge, I knew it was going to be more plantain tees.  And, more ended up meaning three.  They are just such a wardrobe staple.

There is a sort of logic to sewing three (or at least more than one) of an item. I mean, it’s just easier to do everything in batches when it comes to sewing.  With a pattern like the plantain that I know will turn out great, It is more efficient to pile it on.  I figure I might as well. I do make one tweak to the pattern, I did it for all three; I take out some of the looseness at the tummy.  I created a kind of dart on my traced pattern, starting below the breast down to the waist level, to remove the excess ‘swing’.  Then I cut the fabric. These days I feel like I almost never stitch anything straight from the pattern unless it is being sewn for the first time, there are always a few changes I like to make.

I decided to stitch in triplicate because I knew I needed to replace a basic white tee in my wardrobe.  The one I have is worn all the time and was getting saggy in places. You know how worn-out tee shirts start to lose their elasticity and get droopy?  This shirt is headed to droops-ville, which in my case means it’s about to become a pajama top. Ha!  I managed to find lovely white fabric at Imagine Gnats, a laguna knit, so I was all set to make the replacement.

(As boring as it is to make a plain white tee, I knew I had to.  Now that I’m sewing all of my clothes, it just wasn’t a question. White tees are the perfect backdrop for so many outfits.)

While browsing Rachael’s shop I also fell in love with this ocean colored dana knit and I knew it needed to be a short-sleeved tee. I’m not sure there is a color I love more than this one. I left the hem of the sleeve a raw edge because I liked the look. Amazingly, the width of this fabric is wide enough that I could eek this t-shirt out of one yard! That makes this gorgeous tee a $14 bargain! Score!


Once I was making two t-shirts I hunted in my stash for what I had to make a third so I could get my efficiency on.  I impulsively decided to also use fabric I have been hanging onto for a long time.  It’s time to use up what I’ve got!!

I’ve long thought of this knit as rollerskating cats but realized quickly it is actually a rolling cat toy.  I don’t know if that is better or worse. But, in either case, I now have it as an adult shirt in my wardrobe. Wear it proudly, right!

I added a black cuff on the sleeve and neckband for a bit of interest.  Though, I suppose, ‘interest’ is not something this top lacks.

The colors say sophisticated but the rolling cat toy design says juvenile and the truth is I kind of like it!  I also can’t remember where I bought the fabric. Sorry about that.  Anyone recognize it? I will definitely wear my cat pull toy shirt.  Perhaps not as much as the ocean and white tees but It’s playful and my life needs more of that.

So, there you have it. I ticked some wardrobe basics off the old checklist.  The year of sewing my own clothes is off to a good start.

Why I Stopped Buying New Clothes

Why & How I Stopped Buying New Clothes || Melissa Q. from a happy stitch

I am a maker at heart and if there is one thing I know it is that behind every stitch, sketch and blob of ink there is a story of how it got there.  The more I make things the more I am certain of it.  There are no exceptions. When I wear my handmade clothes I remember making it. I remember where I got the fabric and how it felt after washing it for the first time. I remember the sewing mishaps and any corrections I had to make.  I remember how I had to read the instructions three times to figure out the placket.  Sometimes I even remember the weather or what I was listening to while I made it.  The whole story of its construction is embedded in the fibers as are snippets from every time I wore it.  It is rich with story.

But it is not just the handmade.  Everything has a story; everything was made by someone somewhere. It was while thinking about these stories, three years ago, that I decided to stopped buying new clothes. (more…)

Georgia Dress in Rayon

Rayon Cotton and Steel Georgia Dress Hack || sewn by a happy stitchI have been hunting for that perfect, easy, casual dress for a long time. Something easy to slip on when I’m headed to an event at the kids’ school but nice enough to wear when I am teaching a sewing class or out for a casual dinner date.  Top priority was really that I was comfortable (of course, this is always first in my world) but a wee bit on the dressy side.  I’ve been on the hunt for this kind of ‘all occasion’ dress pattern for a while, actually. I thought about adapting the Lou Box Top, like Erin from Sewbon did. She is so clever and talented, isn’t she? But, I wasn’t in love with the neckline on the Lou Box and was concerned that the drop shoulders would look too unstructured on me.  Then came the record scratch! I was perusing the Seamwork magazine patterns because I have a some extra (read = a gazillion) pattern points and came across the beautiful Georgia dress. (more…)

boat neck ANEGADA top + giveaway

Boat Neck Anegada top in French Terry || sewn by a happy stitch
The latest pattern is out from Halfmoon Atelier and it’s oozing with the sexy casual style characteristic of all of Meghann’s patterns.  It’s called the Boat Neck Anegada and it’s defining features are definitely the wide neckline with overlapping shoulder portions. It gives it a very feminine, laid back look that basically screams, “Oh look at me, looking all cozy and super sexy cute.”  I guess I would call it non-chalant. There is a little bit of Flashdance in this top, in a very good way. Know what I mean?  I mean who says that being comfortable can’t look adorable!?   (more…)

Midnight Village Advent Calendar :: a printable activity advent DIY

Printable Advent Calendar :: Midnight Village activity advents designed by a happy stitch

For the past three or four years our family has celebrated the build up to Christmas with an activity advent calendar.  As much as I love chocolate (and I really love chocolate! Make no mistake) I find the advent calendars with candy add unnecessary sugar to our diet and the holiday season is already a super-charged sugar-fest.  Plus, the spirit of Christmas is so much sweeter when we spend time together and do things for others….see what I did there? So, last year, when I was invited to create a holiday post for Skip To My Lou, I decided to design a printable advent calendar with activities; calling it the Midnight Christmas Village Advent Calendar.  I created easy activities intended to encourage family time and neighborhood and community connections. Some of them are a simply as giving each other a hug while others are more complex, i.e. “bake cookies for the neighbors”.  These are, after all, the things that really remind us how much we love each other.  A bit of chocolate or a toy just doesn’t have that lasting impact.  (Of course, if you use my design to make an advent calendar and fill it with toys and chocolate I won’t judge you.  Dude. I get it.).  Anyhow, this year I thought I would share this project here along with a few other alternative ways to use the same printable in a different style. (more…)

Perfect Fall Sweater :: A Lane Raglan Hack

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.

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