Organic Cotton Shibori Linden Sweatshirt

shibori dyed sweatshirt

I made a sweatshirt!  It’s the Linden Sweatshirt from Grainline Studio and I LOVE IT!!!  I’m relatively new to sewing knits and this is my first sweatshirt.  I really can’t wait for the cold weather, I’ll definitely be making more of these.

I made a size 16, because I wanted the fit to be a bit oversized, and the only alterations I made to the pattern were to shorten the sleeves about 2″.  I think next time I will widen the neckband just a tad, but that’s just my personal preference.  I really loved working with this pattern.

shibori linden sweatshirt

I used organic cotton sweatshirt fleece, that I shibori dyed, and it is the softest, coziest fabric I have ever sewn with.  I’ve been trying out some organic fabrics lately, and so far I’ve been very impressed.  Maybe it’s psychological, but the organic cotton fabrics I’ve bought so far have felt softer than the standard cottons I’ve used in the past.

shibori linden sweatshirt

Just hangin’ at the boat yard.  Ahoy matey!

I don’t know why, but I’ve always shied away from sewing knits.  Making basics like tee shirts or sweatshirts was weirdly intimidating to me.  They seemed like they would require special factory equipment and I was more comfortable with a needle and thread.  My specialization at FIT was tailoring and there was something very calming about all that precise basting, stitching and pressing.

I’m so glad that I took the plunge and bought a serger, though!  Being able to make basics, in addition to my more fancy pieces, is very exciting!

Jesse knows what I’m talking about.

organic cotton shibori

handmade sweatshirt

home sewn sweatshirt

My measurements for reference:

Height: 5′ 5″

Bust: 41.5″

Waist: 33.5″

Hips: 41.5″

Pattern: Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt – size 16

Fabric: Organic cotton sweatshirt fleece

Linen Crossback Apron

linen apron with pockets

I had a little bit of linen left over after I made my oversized linen dress, so I made myself an apron.  I don’t really do anything that would require an apron, like cooking or gardening, but I’ve been really obsessed with aprons lately.

linen apron with pockets

I made a basic crossback style apron with pockets and I didn’t use a pattern.  This style is pretty much just a rectangle that wraps around your body, with two straps attached to the top that criss-cross in back.  There aren’t any ties to adjust, which I like, but I had to be sure it was fitting well before I sewed the straps in place, because they would have been a pain to adjust afterward.

blue linen apron

I think aprons make good layering pieces, extra pockets always come in handy and sometimes it’s nice to have some stomach coverage:)

apron pocket

I may or may not have some snacks in my pocket…

linen crossback apron

I’ll never tell!

Rainbow Shibori Kaftan Pictures

shibori silk kaftan

I’ve been meaning to post better pictures of this rainbow silk kaftan ever since I wrote about the process of making it during the winter, but I didn’t get around to taking them until last week.  The lighting in my apartment is dreadful, but I was not willing to take pictures outside in February.  So here they are, finally!

shibori silk kaftan

The day I took these pictures was very hot and humid, but I felt so breezy walking around in this…

Patty and Selma, Simpsons

Hmmm…I feel it all the way up my skirt.

silk shibori kaftan

rainbow silk kaftan

I’m definitely going to make myself some more kaftans.  By next summer my muumuu collection will rival that of Mrs. Roper!

Oversized Linen Dress

blue linen dress

I’ve been on quite a linen kick lately.  I love the rumpled texture and it’s so comfy in this hot weather.  I’ve also been chasing after the perfect relaxed but stylish dress design and after many revisions I think I’ve got it!

blue linen dress

It seems like a pretty simple dress, but it took a while to get the proportions just right.  The waistline and hem needed to be hitting me at just the right spot, or it was not very flattering.

blue linen dress

I know this silhouette is not for everyone, but I love it!  Maybe it’s because it brings back fond memories of all the grungy baby-doll dresses I wore in high school, while reading Sassy magazine and listening to the Cranberries…ah the 90’s…

linen babydoll dress

The neckline took some tinkering, I wanted it to be nice and open, but not show my bra straps.  And I wanted the skirt to be long, but not drag on the city sidewalks or subway floor–yuck!

linen dress

I’ve made many versions of this type of dress and this one is my favorite.  I’m definitely going to make up a few more in different fabrics and maybe a long sleeved version for the cold weather.  The possibilities are endless!

Full Moon Tote Bag PDF Pattern

full moon tote bag

I am so excited to finally announce that my first PDF sewing pattern is now up for sale!  It is called the Full Moon Tote Bag.  This is my first foray into selling my patterns, so I’m not sure what to expect, but it’s been so much fun so far!

full moon tote bag

I first designed this bag a few years ago, and I sold it in my online shop, but this is my first time selling the pattern for the bag.  I had wondered about selling my patterns for a while, but I had no idea how to go about it until recently.  I wanted to start out with a relatively simple pattern for my first PDF, and also something that wouldn’t need to be graded to different sizes, so I thought this tote bag would be a good choice.

full moon tote bag

It is simple, but not boring, and involves more than just sewing straight seams.  The circle on the front of the bag is sewn into, not on top of, the front panel, so there is an opportunity to practice sewing curved seams.  The pattern also includes all the necessary pieces to do an interior facing and a lining, as well as an interior patch pocket.

interior tote bag

Fully illustrated sewing instructions are included as well.

There is also lots of room for customization with the circle:

circle tote

The version pictured above was sold in my shop.  I plan on putting up a tutorial for that version at some point if anyone is interested!

full moon tote bag

Now that I’ve tested the ropes with the Full Moon Tote I can’t wait to get started on my next pattern!  It will definitely be a garment pattern and it will most likely be a dress with long sleeves.  I’m hoping to get it released by the fall so it is ready for some cold weather sewing.

Until next time!

Linen Mini Kaftan for Summer!

linen mini kaftan

In addition to my blue shibori dress, I’ve also added a mini kaftan to my summer wardrobe!

linen mini kaftan

My birthday was in May and as a present to myself I went fabric shopping!  I love linen and I wanted something easy and comfortable for the hot weather, so I thought–KAFTAN!  With big pockets of course!

linen mini kaftan

I used my own pattern, and I adjusted the neckline a little from the last time I made this one.  I changed the v-neck to a u-shaped neck and I lowered it about 2″.  I think I lowered it a little too much.  I like the way it looks, but on such a loose fitting garment it doesn’t stay in place very well, so my bra straps peek out from time to time.

linen mini kaftan

Why do I look so bummed here? Don’t I know that I have a fancy new kaftan on?

I also added big patch pockets.  What is it about big pockets?  I’ve noticed my pockets have been getting bigger and bigger with every dress.  I wonder when I’ll reach maximum satisfactory pocket volume?

summer linen kaftan

Wardrobe Assessment

playing dress up

The other night I was really bored, so I decided to play dress up!

I had decided a while ago that I wanted to make all of my own clothes and have a completely made-by-me wardrobe.  I’ve been making a lot of clothes, but I don’t have the greatest storage system, so most of them get folded up and tucked away in storage boxes and I end up wearing the same group of easily accessible basics most of the time.

playing dress up

It was good to see the progress I’ve made towards my goal, I always feel like I’m not getting enough done.  I took pictures of my favorites, a la Cher in Clueless:

I don't trust mirrors, so I always take Polaroids.

I don’t trust mirrors, so I always take Polaroids.

It was a really helpful exercise!

handmade wardrobe collage

I need to make some pants…

Summer Shibori Dress

blue shibori dress with pockets

Hello!  Sorry I haven’t posted in a while.  I’ve been working on getting one of my patterns ready to release as a PDF and I have been neglecting my trusty sewing blog!  I took a break from the pattern to spruce up my summer wardrobe.

First up is this blue shibori dyed dress with dolman sleeves, a gathered skirt, and big patch pockets.  I used my own self drafted pattern.

blue dress 15

I wanted to make myself a few things that were comfortable but looked nicer than my worn out collection of skinny jeans and tee shirts.  Bleck.

blue dress 16

I had some crinkly cotton gauze on hand and I dyed it up with some blueberry fiber reactive dye.  I had just enough to get one dress out of it.  What luck!

blue dress 17

This is also the first time I tried taking pictures outside and they look sooooo much better that the ones taken inside my cave-like apartment!

Back view:

blue dress 8

And a few shots of the inside of the dress:

blue dress 18

I used french seams as usual, including at the waist with the gathering, and contrasting bias binding around the neck.  The hems of the sleeves and skirt were turned up twice and stitched.  I like to make the hems pretty deep, especially on a lightweight fabric, it makes everything hang very nicely.

That’s it!

P.S.  If anyone has any questions about the techniques I used, please don’t hesitate to ask:)

Patchwork Shibori Skirt

I love all of the fabric that I dye and I really hate to waste any of it, so I always save the small pieces of fabric that are left over after I cut out a garment.  When I build up enough of them, I turn them into something new!

shibori scraps

I had a bunch of pieces in various shades of blue, some of which were pretty big, so I decided to make a floor length skirt.  I used my own pattern, which I draped a few years ago.  It is a flared skirt with a wide waistband.  Originally, I designed the pattern as a wrap skirt, but for this project I didn’t have enough fabric for the overlapping layers, so I adjusted it to be a regular skirt with a side zipper.

shibori patchwork

The inside of the skirt. I pieced all of the scraps together with french seams.

I followed the same basic procedure that I did for my shibori kaftan.  I laid out all of the small scrap pieces on top of the paper skirt pattern until I got the best arrangement, then I sewed them all together into larger pieces to cut out the full front and back skirt.  Then I finished the skirt as usual.

shibori patchwork skirt

The skirt at the half-way point.

I was a little confused about how to finish the side seam with the zipper in it.  I sewed the rest of the skirt together with french seams, but combining that with an invisible zipper just didn’t seam (get it?) to work.  I looked up a few tutorials about inserting invisible zippers into french seams, but they all involved clipping into the fabric near the bottom of the zipper, and I wasn’t comfortable doing that.  The zipper is a point of stress and if the fabric started to fray there I would be quite displeased.

bias binding

So, instead I decided to sew a regular seam on the zipper side of the skirt and finish the seam allowance with homemade bias binding!  Piece of cake!

skirt waistband

I made sure to attach one of my labels, of course!

I installed the zipper, then finished off the inside of the waistband with a lining.  I basted the lining into place by hand and then machine sewed it from the right side to make sure the stitches were straight.  Then I added a hook and eye to keep the zipper closed.

invisible zipper

And Voilà!

patchwork skirt

Me and my doppelganger.

shibori patchwork skirt

And now it’s time for me to go to bed…goodnight!

Rainbow Shibori Kaftan

My fabric buying budget has been a little low lately, but I won’t let that dampen my zeal for sewing!  Whenever I run out of new fabric I start hunting through my “archives” to see if there are any pieces that I can recycle.  I found a few test scarves that I made when I first started experimenting with shibori, and I thought they might look cool pieced together into a colorful patchwork of some kind.

shibori collage

Close-ups of the shibori scarves.

I laid out the scarves in different ways until I found a combination I liked.

rainbow shibori scarves

Too busy?

I decided to go with a long flowing kaftan with shoulder cut-outs.  I like to keep the silhouette simple when the fabric is so colorful and kaftans are basically a rectangle with holes for your arms and head.

I first stitched all of the scarves together to make two larger pieces of fabric, then cut out the front and back pieces from these.

shibori patchwork dress

The front pattern piece of the kaftan.

I sewed all of the seams with french seams.  It does take a little longer because you have to sew each seam twice, but they look so nice when they are done.  They make the inside of your garment look as good as the outside!

french seam close-up

French seams for the persnickety seamstress in us all…

And here is the (almost) finished product:

shibori kaftan

After photographing it, I thought the shoulder cut-outs needed a little adjusting.  With such a colorful voluminous garment I think there needs to be a good balance between fabric and skin, so you don’t look like Mrs. Roper…

I made the cut-outs a little bigger and finished them with blue bias binding.  The binding added definition and the hint of blue picked up the blue in the rest of the dress.

I think it tied the whole thing together!

colorful kaftan

rainbow silk dress

I can’t wait to wear this during the summer!

(And to take some better pics outside when it’s not freezing:)