Archive of ‘textile’ 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…)

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.

Delpy Ballet Top + Pattern Giveaway

Delpy Ballet Top || sewn by a happy stitch

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…)

The “So Many Tomatoes” Striped Modern Apron

The "So Many Tomatoes" Striped Modern Apron _ sewn by a happy stitch

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…)

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