Archive of ‘pattern’ category

A Wiksten Tova in Pendleton Wool

wiksten tova in wool This is the pattern company whose name I hear echoing in the wide, open spaces of every fabric shop…Wiksten…W i k s  t e n…. W i  k  s  t  e n.  As a skeptic, I wondered what all the fuss was about for patterns in the $20 range.  I mean, that just feels pricy.

It’s undeniable, however, that everything I came across made from a Wiksten pattern was somehow simply amazing. Not flashy or complicated but just seemed to fit right and look great in an easy-breezy, perfect kind of way.  So, when I discovered the digital pattern for $10, I bought it.  I really, really hate piecing together pattern pieces.  Like full-on despise it.   When it means I save almost $15, however, I will slap a smile on my face and happily piece together a digital pattern.   I guess I can be bought. 🙂

wiksten in wool

I love my Wiksten Tova dress, it is as good as they say.  The fabric is from my stash, the very, very special section of my stash of Pendleton Wool.  My great-grandmother worked for Pendleton, the Omaha branch, and she and my grandmother had tons of their lightweight wool.  When my grandma  moved into a smaller apartment I was given all of her Pendleton.  I know.  Amazing.  Trust me, I know how lucky I am.

wiksten tova in wool

I really like this dress.  The wool is perfect, it keeps me warm and it has enough weight that this tunic-like length doesn’t feel like something someone my age shouldn’t wear.  I did line it with a thin red polyester fabric because otherwise the wool would stick to my leggings and the lining keeps it from being a dress I have to fuss with.  I also altered the neck facing. The pattern calls for a neckband twice the size of what I made.  I just wanted a simpler neckband.

As you can see the side seams don’t line up AT ALL, which made me a little self-conscious at first. I decided I’m going to focus on how well the front bodice seams do line up instead of worry about the side seams.  Ok, those aren’t PERFECT either but I’m not one to worry about perfection.

Wiksten in pendleton woolI’m happy with the dress and psyched about the pattern.

For whatever reason, though, I have the hardest time picking fabric for this dress.  With uber-plain fabric it seems so boring (although lots of people are rocking it with the plain but sophisticated look) but with bold fabric it’s a bit like fancy scrubs.  Example A is my version of the top in some long-hoarded Lotta Jandotter fabric:

wild and crazy wiksten

Oops. If you’ve got any tips for picking fabric for my next one, I am all ears! Especially tips on how to mix and match fabric for the bib and main dress body!  I’m terrified of doing that but really want to!

a playtime dress, leggings and a confession

T in the playtime dress and leggings from Oliver + S

It’s the first day of Kid’s Clothes Week, the winter edition!  I’m posting about this little Oliver + S outfit to kick things off. It’s the playtime dress and leggings pattern combination and it’s painfully adorable.  Especially on my beautiful little friend here. Isn’t she the cutest?  I can’t even handle it.playtime dress and leggings from a happy stitch

I got to make this dress and leggings as a sample for my upcoming class at Rock Paper Scissors. I can’t wait to teach this one.  Leggings, my friends, are so darn easy to make! If I had girls I would make so many leggings! I’m going to attempt to make some for myself for sure.

Playtime Dress and Leggings

The dress comes together easily and the instructions are clear and professional. This was my first time using an actual Oliver + S pattern, though I’ve sewn things from their book Little Things to Sew.   Liesl, the pattern maker behind Oliver + S is a true pro and it shows in this pattern.  She writes a straightforward, clear pattern with little details that take the dress beyond plain jane and make it look store-bought in the good way.

back of the playtime dress from Oliver + S

I’m not sure what the fabric is, unfortunately.  Both the pattern and the fabric were shipped to me for the purposes of making the sample so I didn’t catch the name of the adorable bike fabric. Edited to add:  the fabric is Bike it, it comes from Jan Cyn Designs for Birch Organic Fabrics.

It is a knit fabric but a sturdy knit so it sews easily and makes for a warmer dress.  The pattern is written for either woven or knit fabric, which makes it really versatile.

I’ve been making a lot more out of knit fabrics these days and I have to say that learning to sew (mostly) confidently with knits has been the most useful expansion of my sewing skills ever!  It’s what the boys want to wear, which mean I can stitch up everyday clothes for them!  Ok, one more photo of J and the cuteness that is his best buddy.

playtime dress sillies

Now that you are distracted by all those cute pictures, it’s time for the confession.

There are great downsides associated with being the child of a sewing mama. The biggest downside, of course, is that by virtue of the fact that your mama CAN make you things like pants and winter hats you don’t actually HAVE any of those things because they are buried on sewing mama’s To-Do list.

My poor ragamuffin children. C is literally wearing sweatpants with knee holes in them every single day and both boys have hats with holes big enough that their hair pokes out. Did I mention we are in the midst of a polar vortex in these parts? Oh yeah, it’s really, really cold in these parts. Way too cold for them to have aerated clothing.

Kid’s Clothes Week to the rescue. KCW, one hour of sewing for kids every day all week, is always my best motivator for ticking things off the old To-Do list.

Do I actually have a list you are asking?  No, not yet. Do I have patterns ready and fabric set aside? I do not.  None of those things.  I have a will.  That’s what I got.

kid's clothes week

surprise! the flower quilt was for grandma

flower quilt made by a happy stitch

Remember the flower quilt I was being all cagey about before Christmas?  My grandma got it.  My grandma is 91 and had a difficult year, she really deserved a quilt.  She had open-heart surgery several months ago.  Yes, a 91 year old lady had open-heart surgery.  Not just any lady but my grandma. My beloved grandma who believes, no matter what, that her grandkids are amazing.   That everything I sew is incredible and perfect even though she sews well enough herself to find all the flaws if she were looking for them.  My grandma who spent my childhood summers sneaking me Twizzlers while cooking in her swimsuit at their rustic lake house.  My grandma, who as a young pregnant woman, walked herself to the hospital during a snowstorm to give birth to my aunt.  Only stopping to sit down in snowbanks and wait through any contractions.

It seemed for a little while after her surgery, when her time at the ICU kept extending and intubation and pain kept her from doing anything but pleading with her eyes, that the doctors had forgotten this was my grandma.  She had been a healthy, woman just weeks ago.  The surgery was a pre-emptive decision based on the condition of her artery.  My mom blew up a picture of her from the church directory and tacked in on her door to remind them.   And, slowly, she got better.  Amazingly, she is now walking around and back to living on her own in her apartment enjoying wine and movie nights with her friends.  It still blows my mind that we could have lost her.

flower quilt quilted (from a happy stitch)

Despite all of that, everything heroic she went through, if I had just asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she would have replied like she always does.  “Oh. I don’t need anything”.  The unspoken end to her sentence being “…because I probably won’t be around much longer.”  It’s what she says every time.  So, I didn’t ask.  My grandma deserved something priceless and in my mind, the time and care it takes to make a quilt makes them all priceless.

flower quilt detail (from a happy stitch)

As soon as I saw the free pattern designed by Ellen Luckett Baker up on the Sew Mama Sew website I knew that was the one for her.  I was able to use special scraps, some from pairs of pajamas I’d given my mom or things I made for myself.  All of it worked its way into the quilt.

Of course, December was crazy for me with classes and markets and the quilting and binding of the quilt almost didn’t happen.  When I did get to it, it happened quickly and frantically.  The quilting is pretty simple, as a result.   I was right down to the wire.  For real.  Very down to the wire.  I finished the quilt, took it outside for these pictures and then had to wash it because of the snow (!).  While it was still hot from the dryer I stuffed it into a Priority Mail box and it arrived to Grandma the day before Christmas.  Phew.

flower quilt

I wasn’t there when she opened it but when we talked on the phone she was so thankful and happy to have it.  She thought it was amazing, of course.  (I know she is ignoring the larger than 3/8″ sewing errors.)  She also told me, in a whisper, “The quilt comes right back to you when I’m gone.”  Ha! I guess grandma got the last word anyway.

Love you grandma!  Stay warm.

I finally made The Washi Dress

DSCN9939I finally made the super-popular Washi Dress from Made by Rae.  Rae recently released her crazy-popular digital pattern in paper form and I was lucky enough to be asked to make a sample dress for my favorite shop Rock Paper Scissors.  The pattern and the fabric were given to me and the dress currently lives in the shop.  I did manage to snap a few (awful) shots of me (on a cloud day) wearing the dress before I sent it off.  The fabric is from Violet Craft, her Waterfront Park line, and it really is perfect.

washi in violetcraftPeople are totally mad about this dress and I get it. It has pockets and a sweet little cutout in the bodice. The empire waist is a really flattering cut on most women as well.  I know it certainly is for me. I made the small size because the pattern suggested making the size that matches your bust measurement.  Ah yes, that would be small. Unfortunately, it is a little tight in the shoulders.  It fits really well everywhere else. The fit on this dress is almost guaranteed to be pretty good, at least in the bodice,  because it has elastic shirring in the back that will keep the front of the dress looking cute and tight.  The shirring also ensures it is comfortable to wear without requiring lots of fussy effort to get a perfect fitting bodice.

I made a second Washi to try to correct for the tight shoulders.  I didn’t want to go entirely up to a size M because I was afraid of making it really bulky in the skirt (you know, my fear of looking pregnant).  Instead, I altered the pattern to be an M on top and size S on the bottom…basically the complete opposite of what I usually need to do.

washi dress in denise schmidtIt mostly worked.  The shoulders fit better for sure.

shoulder detail on my washi

 For some reason the bust darts are droopy, which has never happened before.  The pattern has a unique way of constructing the darts, the fabric that usually makes up the darts is completely cut away.  It helps to reduce the bulk that sometimes can build up around darts and I had no problem with the first dress…not sure why I have boob droop on this one.  I was a little disappointed with this fabric, it’s from Denyse Schmidt and is really cute up close but kind of drab from far away.  A Washi shouldn’t be drab!  A Washi is a chance to show off a fun print!  So, that’s a bummer.  It looks better when I wear my red sweater.

washi in dotsBy the way, my lovely husband took the pictures of me in the second dress and apparently it is very hard for me to avoid smirking when he’s taking the pictures.

Have you made a washi? Did you have boob droop?  Any helpful alterations you would suggest?  I do want to make another in voile, probably this. Has anyone made a washi in voile? Did it need to be lined?  I’m concerned about making a see-through dress. I have many questions today, clearly.  I need much guidance.  I think if I got it just right I would make a closetful of Washi dresses, I just need the perfect tweaks.

meet pepper!

there is really no telling, of the things I make, what is going to be a hit with the boys.  they love their t-shirts and quilts but the bucket hats…meh.

that is why I am so happy to introduce pepper the penguin, a much beloved new member of the family.
Pepper the Penquin

I find pepper tucked under a blanket in the playroom and I find pepper at the bottom of a pile of stuffed animals.  it’s a good sign.  pepper is in the mix and having quite a few secret adventures.
pepper plays

this is the first true-blue stuffed animal I have made and I have to say it’s really exciting to make a stuffed animal and have it look, well, like a real stuffed animal!  the pattern is from abby glassenberg design and I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for this pattern.

    pepper attaches

the good news is the complete pattern was released today and it’s an exciting 2-in-1 pattern with pepper in fabric or crochet.  abby obviously knows her stuff when it comes to making softies and her patterns prove it…this one was clear and thorough even in draft form.  now, I am tempted to make a shark and shake things up for old pepper, just kidding…I am only tempted, that’s all.

pepper was actually such a hit that C wanted one too.  he has very specific ideas about how his penguin needed to dress.  I had to take notes, he insisted.  it turned out very, ahem, colorful.  they are pretty good friends these two, pepper and pepper.
pepper gets a friend

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