Archive of ‘sewing classes’ category

A Plantain Tee Hack – tunic-ifying

The Plaintain Tee - Lengthened to a tunic

I kinda went on a Plantain Tee hack rampage.  I made six different versions of Plantain tees with six different variations. It was obsessive and all-consuming and fantastic. When I wasn’t teaching or on email, I was either dreaming about or making a Plantain Tee hack.  I even had a moment when I thought to myself….”all I might ever need to wear can be made out of a Plantain Tee!” then I remembered about bras and underwear and sweaters and jeans.  But still, if you discount undergarments and think only about warm weather clothing, I might still be onto something.

The Plantain Tee is a free pdf pattern from the French designer Deer and Doe and it’s got a great scoop neck, easy construction and gosh-darn-it, it fits me well! I got the idea for a million different variations while I was teaching my Plantain Tee class at Rock Paper Scissors (btw, local friends, they are having a big birthday bash this Saturday complete with 25% off sale!) . My students and I were talking about all the things we could do with the pattern and one student lengthened hers and I got excited to play around and make a whole bunch. I got excited to try out all the ideas.  Not just dream but do!  Also, with the hot weather we’ve been having I knew that I would wear a tee and paying careful attention to making things I will actually wear helps me stick to my Nothing New Project goals.  (Thanks to so many of you, by the way, for your thoughtful comments here, by email and in person even about the project. I’m excited!)  (more…)

Sailor Tops

The Sailor Top | a happy stitch

Near the end of Selfish Sewing Week I made these two Sailor Tops and I never got around to blogging about them!  Eek, so behind. I didn’t want to miss the chance to discuss them because  A. I like them a lot  B. I cut into my Liberty fabric (so proud of myself!) and  C. I have a slight fitting issue with them and I’m curious if anyone else has, too. (more…)

Pink Piping Eyeglass Pillow

Super Awesome Eyeglasses pillow with pink piping! | made by a happy stitch

Every time I make a pillow I think of that scene from Sex in the City when Charlotte is getting ready to go to bed and she just keeps pulling pillow after pillow off the bed.  A scene invented to point out how ludicrous it is to have so many bed pillows.  Yeah, that one. My husband loves that scene, it proves one of his long-standing beefs with my love of decorative pillows.  But, how could I resist this pillow? This pillow is not to be denied.

Super Awesome Pink PIping Pillow | made by a happy stitch out of echino and Liberty piping

It’s another sample for one of my upcoming classes at Rock Paper Scissors. I was so excited to get to work with more echino fabric. The pattern is my own design and super simple, as pillows usually are. I decided to make my own piping for the pillow and couldn’t resist playing with some Liberty of London Lifestyle I’ve had for a long time.  Somehow the small print with hot pink and hints of bright green were just exactly what this mostly-neutral pillow needed. I love this pillow. Really, the eyeglasses print is just too great.  As a four-eyed person myself, I really appreciate being able to celebrate the nerdiness sometimes. Especially with a little pink thrown in, huzzah!

Super Awesome pink piping echino pillow | made by a happy stitch

It has a zipper closure on the back so it can be removed and washed.  This class is considered a part of the Beginner Sewing series because I teach how to easily put in a zipper and add piping but everything else is a cinch.

Like I said, this is a class sample so it is living at the shop right now but you had better believe I plan on placing it on my bed as soon as I get it back home.  Prepare yourself to be amazed, husband.

In addition to this pillow and the smolderingly adorable Geranium Dress I talked about yesterday I’m also teaching The Washi Dress and PJ pants starting soon.  So, go sign up you! You know it will be an awesome time!

classes collage spring 2014 |  happy stitch at rock paper scissors

The Geranium Dress that will melt your heart

When Beth from my favorite fabric boutique asked me if I was interested in teaching The Geranium Dress designed by Rae Hoekstra as one of the upcoming classes, I was so excited.

cutest geranium dress in honeybees and polka dots | made by a happy stitchIt feels like I never, ever get to sew for girls (of course I did make this sweet dress).  And, while I love, love, love parenting boys I have to admit to a deep ache to make pretty little things for girls!  I had no idea, however, just how much I would love this little dress.  You could speculate that I was simply seduced by the blindingly awesome process of pulling together a dress but the Geranium Dress is an impressive pattern.

honeybee and polka dot geranium dress | made by a happy stitch

I like how the bodice comes together and I love how many adaptations are included…different sleeves, different details on the bodice.  No wonder this is such a classic.

cutest geranium dress ever | made by a happy stitch

I made up a simple version, which is the one I will be teaching and even at its simplest it is just awesome.  A few details: the bodice fabric is a lovely grey polka dot from Andover Fabrics and the dress body is the cutest honeybee print from the designer Bonny Christine for Art Gallery fabrics.  I chose both prints from rock paper scissors, where I teach.

cutest geranium ever! | made by a happy stitch

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

handmade print exhibit

hand-printing exhibit

Yesterday was a mostly grey, dreary day but so super exciting for me, personally.  That is because yesterday (drumroll) I along with three of my students hung our very own handmade prints up for display!

The exhibit was a result of the hand-printing class I taught at the end of last year.  We covered stenciling, hand-carving stamps and screen printing.  It was obvious that what we were making deserved to be showcased.  hand-printing class

The lovely folks at the Main Street building I use to for my classes, agreed to let us display in their big front window facing the town’s main street.  Whoever was available gathered yesterday to hang them up.  We are gangbusters, aren’t we? I am just a wee bit proud of this endeavor.  By that I mean, I’m hugely proud.

prepping for the exhibit

We started by putting all of the prints in embroidery hoops and glueing them in place (I illustrate at the end of this tutorial). Then someone had the great idea to tape two back-to-back making them reversible…with different prints visible from inside the building and outside the building.  Genius, right?

the prints from hand-print exhibit

Look at all those amazing prints!  Really, it was such a pleasure to be involved in such a creative and energetic making process.  Many of the prints are very subtle and soft and I think reflect the quiet, everyday, imaginative moments for many of us.  In the window they hang pretty quietly as well…but so beautifully.

exhibit collage

I am not going to lie, I’m craning my neck every time I go by and smiling every time. And, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one finding reasons to admire the window.  Sometimes we are just moms making it happen and then sometimes we are rockstar screen printers displaying our hearts out! Remember how I’m looking for courage?  I think I got this one.

A Butterfly Staple Dress

staple dress in AMH

One of the classes I am teaching soon (here) is The Staple Dress and so, of course, I had to make myself another one to display at the shop.  This time I used an Anna Maria Horner print and lined it up so the print runs beautifully right down the front of the dress.   staple dress with hemThe important details:  I sized this XS and I am by no means an XS girl, I just ain’t.  The dress is just so blousy and oversized that an XS fits me best so keep that in mind if you make this dress.  The fabric is stunning and soft and so beautiful, it’s a linen-cotton blend and it needed 8 lines of elastic shirring at the waist to properly gather.  I think the pattern recommends 3 to 4.  I finally made it with a hi-lo hem and I love it!  I’m not one to go for big drama with my clothing but this hem is really nice and adds just a bit more interest and dimension to the dress.

I still have mixed feelings about this pattern, overall.  I like this version the best of all of the times I’ve made the dress but it still feels like I’m working pretty hard to ensure I don’t end up with a sack.  This version is wearable and the dress comes together easily, which is very nice, but I’m still not nuts about it. On the other hand, with this nice print and it’s easy going style, I think I will wear it often enough.

Can you tell I’m not crazy about pictures of myself?  It’s just that some days I don’t really wanna shower or smile is all.  Ever been there?

messenger bag in perfectly perfect kokka fabric

messenger bag from a happy stitchI made another messenger bag.   I made it as a sample for my upcoming messenger bag class at rock paper scissors which is really exciting because the fabric was given to me.  It also means I don’t actually have it in my hot little fingers just yet because it’s busy showing itself off in the shop.  I’m so happy to be teaching at rock paper scissors, it’s such a warm & happy place.  And, what amazing fabric I get to play with.  Isn’t that that most beautiful fabric?  It’s part of the Folk Modern line designed by Ellen Luckett Baker of The Long Thread for Kokka the Japanese fabric company.  I loved her first fabric line, Stamped, and this set of fabrics is just as beautiful.  It’s a thicker weight fabric but not heavy duty thick and the colors are wonderfully bright but playfully sophisticated.  I love it.

messenger in kokkaThe pattern is one I created a while ago because so many people were requesting a messenger bag class and I couldn’t find a bag pattern that I liked enough to ask people to buy it.  It’s one thing to buy a pattern and have it turn out to be a dud but another thing altogether to knowingly ask people to buy a dud pattern.   In the end, I’m so glad I ended up making the pattern because I really love it.  It’s the right size for a slightly girly messenger bag.

Inside the Messenger Bag from a happy stitch

If there is anything annoying about making this bag is the amount of time spent ironing interfacing.  There is a lot of interfacing in this humble bag.  It uses a magical combination of heavyweight Heat N Bond as well as mediumweight and lightweight Pellon interfacing to give it shape without being stiff.  I love when I find the right combination of interfacing to give a bag structure without any weird creasing that screams “This bag has interfacing in it!”.

My plan is to write up a messenger bag pattern to add to the shop this winter.  Of course, I have lots of plans and I never really know which one is going to bubble up to the top.  One of the things holding me back is I have to figure out how to make pdf pattern pieces that are larger than one page.  Anyone have experience with that?  I’d love your assistance if you do.


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