Look at You, 2016.

Look At You 2016! Handmade Clothing of 2016 by A Happy Stitch

Happy New Year everybody! The book is officially closed on 2016 and personally, I was getting worried that damn door was never gonna shut. I know there are battles ahead in 2017 but it feels refreshing to be on the other side.  I’m feeling optimistic and ready. Our family had a lovely, restorative winter break complete with waterpark adventures, puzzles, family time and so many games! (Friends with elementary-aged children, do yourself a favor and pick up the game Catan Junior.* It’s such a fun game for everyone!)

Looking back on 2016, I feel proud.  Guys, I did it. I stuck to my continuing goal of buying no new clothing for a second year. That is two straight years of only making or buying secondhand clothes. My Nothing New Project is going strong with no end in sight.  And, honestly, this has become a bigger focus of my attention that I will be talking about a lot more this year. (more…)

Perfect Lounge Pants

Perfect Lounge Pants!! Les Fleurs Rayon Lounge Pants with ribbon trim sewn by a happy stitch

There are certain clothing items that I consider an extreme indulgence and fancy lounge pants is one of them.  Let’s be honest, any old pair of sweatpants will generally suffice when it comes to at-home casual wear. As a Minnesota-born woman, it’s effectively burned into my DNA to avoid excess luxury and always make do with what is sufficient…I don’t paint my nails, I barely even moisturize my skin.  I’m slow to accept indulgences into my life. As you can imagine, upping my lounge pants game is like going seriously fancy lady. But, when I came across the rayon floral prints designed by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co. for Cotton and Steel and felt how silky soft it is all I could think of was making the perfect pair of lounge pants. I went for it, I went full fancy lady folks. (more…)

My Esme Tunic

My Esme Tunic -Striped Woven Japanese fabric | sewn by a happy stitch

A while back I made this Esme Tunic and it’s been in heavy circulation since. This is one of the most well-worn items in my handmade wardrobe. The pattern is from Lotta Jansdotter’s most recent book, Everyday Style (affiliate link), which is an inspiring, textile-filled book and probably one of my new favorites.  The fabric was purchased last year at Superbuzzy, I got it while I was at Craftcation.  They have a very impressive selection of heavy-duty Japanese fabric and this woven striped print was calling my name. I love the subtle lemon/lime green stripe. (more…)

Not about Money. Other Reasons to Sell at a Craft Fair

Other Reasons to Sell at a Craft Market! Connections and Creative Fire __a happy stitch

{peg fairies by Sophi Karkeek}

Ack! It has been over a month since I wrote here! I always find it a little embarrassing when I neglect the blog. I do this funny thing where I talk in my head to you guys but don’t match it all up with pretty pictures and non-imaginary words and then lose track of just how long it has been. Silly brain parts.  I just finished up a holiday art fair and had a great time mixed with the usual bit of stress and mental wrestling.  I thought a lot about the financial benefits of a craft fair versus the other reasons I think you should sell at a craft fair and I thought I’d write it all out in case anyone else is pondering these same questions.

The past month has been so busy.  I know everyone can relate to that.  This time of year is intense, man.  For makers it’s even more intense because it’s often the most lucrative time of the year.  Imagine adding to the steep increase in holiday parties, family obligations, school events and gift shopping by having to create ten times as much as normal then promote and attend a craft fair.  It’s kind of insane. I’ve been having heart  palpitations for the last month and I only do one holiday sale! I’m sure other artisans have it much worse.

In the midst of my crazy, stressed-out, not-stopping-to-shower efforts I asked myself, “Is this really worth it?” (more…)

Wrap Up :: Thoughts on a Handmade Summer Wardrobe

Thoughts on a Handmade Summer Wardrobe || a happy stitch

I have a tendency to move quickly from one thing to the next but I really wanted to be sure and do a wrap up on my handmade summer wardrobe even though it is late October.  Originally, I wanted to jot down reflections so I could have a record of the progress I made toward my goal.  But, as I started writing I realized that I am also sorting through some conflicted feelings. I started the handmade summer wardrobe idea with a deliberate plan that involved assessing my fabric stash and finding the gaps in my summer wardrobe so I could make wearable items from what I have. I set out to make three dresses, three tops, two tunics, one romper, two pairs of shorts and a cardigan.  I ended up making two rompers, three pairs of shorts, three tops, one tunic, one skirt and a cardigan. Overall, I’m thrilled I could tick off accomplishments and am proud of some strong additions to my handmade wardrobe. Most are things I will wear (the tunic and ikat top being the possible exceptions).  It’s so neat and tidy as a little plan, isn’t it?

But, sometimes we create boxes to organize things and then we resent that we are sat in a box, you know?  I guess it is the push and pull of creative limits? As it turns out, I hated my self-created limitations and often found I was reluctantly dragging myself back to stick to the plan. (more…)

City Shorts in Double Gauze

Comfy City Shorts in Double Gauze || a happy stitch

Mmmm, double gauze is like the ice cream of fabrics. It’s a double layer of soft, light, sweet goodness and I have made myself a pair of City Shorts so my skin can celebrate this fabric as much as possible.  Truthfully, these shorts are really for lounging but that is all the more reason to focus on comfort, cuteness and scrumptious fabric. (more…)

Handmade Wardrobe Basics :: Thurlow Shorts

Handmade Summer Wardrobe Basics! Thurlow Shorts in Chambray -a-happy-stitch

A good pair of shorts is at the heart of any basic summer wardrobe and I was determined to make them.  I didn’t have a solid plan when I added them to my handmade summer wardrobe plan but I knew they had to be there if I was serious about making what I will actually wear. So here it is, summer is OVER and I am thrilled to show off two pairs of thurlow shorts…one in speckled chambray and one in olive twill.  Neither pair are traffic-stopping exciting to look at but I’m positively thrilled!  It was a sewing accomplishment to be sure with a good fit, functioning zipper, fitted waistband as well as welt pockets. If only sewing skillZ COULD stop traffic, right?!

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Ikat Tank Top

ikat-tank-top-_-a-happy-stitch_5

Remember the accidental skirt? The one that was the bottom half of a hacked Sanibel dress? Well, what remained of the top half was calling to me and frankly, would not shut up.  My close and tearful assessment of the top was that it had three main complications, a) it was voluminous at the hem, b) I had made a lining that was a bit smaller than the outer portion so it didn’t lay straight, and c) it was too short.  You know, I’ll just come out and say it: the top is CROPPED and VOLUMINOUS.  I mean, what the what? Who am I? Is this Hot Topic?

I wanted to give up on this top and I put it on the dress form in the studio because I didn’t know what else to do.  It looked really pretty up there and kept inviting me to try get back together. I blame it on the neckline. I reached out to Instagram, as you do, and got lots of fantastic ideas (sewists are really the best people). Lots of people suggested adding a band to the bottom, Jess (coralbunnyandlo) even suggested adding a wide lace band for a boho look, which I thought was brilliant. And I tried. I really tried to make something like that work.  But, you know what? It wasn’t working.  I had the darn ‘too small lining’ thing going on and it kept making puckers. (more…)

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