Lucky Pieces

finished objects, knitting
a colorful hand-knitted sweater
leaning in to the ombre

I finished one of my most challenging projects (rav link) ever! Its the from PomPom Magazine’s spring 2021 issue, a sweater-vest called Lucky Pieces.

After I decided to knit this, I saw that A Verb for Keeping Warm created a kit for this pattern, utilizing small quantities of their beautiful naturally dyed yarn. How fortuitous!! I had always wanted to try out their yarn, and this seemed like a great pattern for it. I asked if they would be willing to create a “warm colors” version of the kit, and they graciously acquiesced!

a woman wears a hand-knitted sweater in a park.
sun shines on a woman wearing a hand-knitted sweater vest.

This project was my first time doing entrelac. The pattern instructions were rather bare-bones, so it was very challenging to get the hang of how entrelac works. Getting through the initial rows was frustrating, but after checking Ravelry, I discovered other knitters were also having trouble. A few knitters helped me, and I ended up making a diagram to attempt to contribute to the community. PomPom ended up using it in a blog post to augment the pattern’s instructions, so I think it ended up being pretty helpful!

This pattern took me a long time to complete. I had to take a break over the summer because I was so sick of it. The amount of color changes and weaving in ends was frustrating and time-consuming. I want to wear this to Rhinebeck, so I picked it back up last month. I was not sure I would like it, but after completing the edging, I think it looks much better than I was anticipating. I ran out of the yellow-colored yarns at the very end of the back, but I don’t think its noticeable. Instead of creating the ties to finish this, I opted for 2 buttons and i-cord loops. I eye-balled the position of the buttons and the loops, and sewed them on with a backing button for stability.

a colorful hand-knitted sweater
so many ends to weave in….

See y’all at Rhinebeck!

Dawn Jeans II

finished objects, sewing

I’ve been wearing my first pair of Dawn jeans to death, and they have developed some holes! I’ve patched them but I needed a second pair in my rotation (once it cools down, right now i cannot imagine wearing tight jeans in this heat). Inspiration struck and I decided to sew another pair from my stash using some made-in-the-USA Cone Mills denim from Threadbare fabrics.

obligatory butt shot. i sewed on a patch I got in Indonesia!

I didn’t do anything to this denim before sewing it, they are truly RAW. we’ll see if i regret this. I basted the inseam and the side seams, tried them on, and was shocked by how well they fit. when i finished the waistband and belt loops, i put them on and i couldn’t close them. my last pair started out pretty good but stretched out, so i decided to wear them around the apartment for a few hours. after 1 day of wearing them around the house i went to get the buttons installed and i was able to close the jeans! they are still quite tight and are going to take some more breaking in to be comfortable.

after I finished constructing the jeans, I went to Star Snaps NYC to have rivets and buttons installed. I installed the rivets and buttons myself for my last pair, and doing this without the right equipment or access to space where its okay to make hammering noises was really challenging. They did a fab job and I totally recommend their services.

can you tell these are a wee bit tight??
I’ll leave you with one more tush shot.

Denim Maritime Shorts

finished objects, sewing

It appears that it is the Summer of Denim, because I made these shorts right after I made a pair of jeans. I haven’t posted about the jeans yet because its been too damn hot to wear them and get some photos. Instead, here are the shorts.

the back view of a pair of jean shorts.

I used the Grainline Maritime shorts pattern, I have made them a few times and I liked the fit. They aren’t high rise, just a regular old medium rise, and there are no belt loops. They were a very quick sew. After I finished the pockets, I happened to see Debbie’s version with bias-finished pocket linings, so I went back in and applied bias tape I had lying around for a prettier interior finish. I like the print mixing result.

the interior of a pair of jean shorts.
a woman poses, wearing a half-tucked button down and homemade jean shorts.

Not too much else to say about these, but I am glad I have a pair of JORTS again.

a closeup of a pair of homemade denim shorts.

Maxi Dress

finished objects, sewing
a woman looks down, wearing a brown and white striped dress with a red pocket.

This is the wide-strap maxi dress from Peppermint Magazine. I had considered making it before, but I wasn’t sold on the silhouette or the elasticized back. However, I came across a really beautiful version and decided to give it a go.

the back view of a brown and white striped dress.

This dress is breezy and on-trend. I used a naturally-dyed Khadi cotton from A Verb for Keeping Warm. I had juuust enough fabric, 3 yards, but the fabric is only 38″ wide. I choose size C based on the finished measurements, rather than going off the size guide.

a detail view of the side slit on a brown and white striped dress.

the swish factor is really great, and the finishes are very professional. The stealthy bust dart is doing a lot to make the dress feel more feminine than boxy. I love the pocket details, they’re so easy to stick my hands into. If I make this again, I will interface the bodice facing and straps, I think they could use a bit more structure. I highly recommend this pattern!

a woman makes a silly face. Her husband told her she had a "bat in the cave" to get her to smile!

Olya Dress

sewing

Oh, this dress. What a mess it was to make. I like the idea of the pattern, the Olya Dress by Paper Theory. The main problem I had with the pattern was very small seam allowances for tricky parts of the garment. Had I not paired this pattern with unravel-y linen from Merchant and Mills, it may have turned out better. I still love the style lines, but this linen was a very poor choice for this pattern. The fabric began to fray after I cut it, and it affected the chest, button-band and collar seams pretty badly.

a woman wearing a striped dress, standing in the trees. The pattern is the Olya dress from Paper theory.

After I finished it two years, ago, it tore at the button band during its first wear. I was so disappointed that I put it away and didn’t consider looking at it for a year. This spring, I dug it out of the “to fix” pile as it had languished for long enough. I ripped apart the button band, reinforce the edging with zigzag, and re-sewed it together. It had some other problems with the collar attachment that I addressed, too.

a woman wearing a striped dress, standing on a path in the trees. The pattern is the Olya dress from Paper theory.

This dress has serious “battle scars” and I am disappointed with it, but at least its out of the mending pile! I will consider giving this pattern another try with a more densely-woven fabric.

a woman wearing a striped dress, standing in the trees. The pattern is the Olya dress from Paper theory.
a woman wearing a striped dress, spinning around in the trees. The pattern is the Olya dress from Paper theory.

Window Seat Cushion

finished objects, sewing, upholstry

One of the most exciting things in our new apartment is a window seat with a great view. The previous owner of the apartment had a cozy-looking cushion on it, and I knew making one would be a fun, productive project.

a ticking-stripe window seat with a city view.

Supplies

I found an online foam supplier with straightforward custom ordering, FoamSource. I went for the high-density, medium foam. When the foam arrived, I held my breath as I tested it on the seat… it fit perfectly! I am not a foam expert, but it feels pretty medium to me when I sit on it.

For the fabric, I wanted a pattern that wasn’t too trendy and is easy to pattern mix. I thought ticking would look nice, but I didn’t want it to look too “country.” I also decided that I wanted to go the extra mile to find a yarn dye vs screenprint ticking. After searching through some options, I settled on a teal version. I mocked up the cushion dimensions with seam allowances in Figma, which helped me figure out how much fabric I needed. When I ordered, I forgot about feet vs. yards and got 7 yards of fabric instead of 7 feet (!!). This ended up being a very fortunate mistake because I was able to make self-piping and matching pillows. I originally envisioned a contrast color piping, but my over-order was serendipitous because I can’t imagine a contrast color now, the bias ticking looks perfect to me.

If I make another cushion for this seat, I will use a zipper closure. With this project, I used a 2-yard length of velcro from Pacific Trimming. It works just fine but I think a zipper would look and close better, believe it or not. One thing I’m really glad about is the entire back of the cushion opens up because this long piece of foam is very unwieldy.

a blue ticking-stripe pillow and seat cushion.
I had enough fabric for a bonus THIRD pillow cover. its propped in front of the repurposed bed pillow.

The base pillows are unused bed pillows. They were the Wirecutter best pillow recommendation, but after sleeping on them for 1 night, we realized they were not for us. they were sitting in the closet and i decided to try ’em out.

Construction Notes

I searched to see at how other people created their cushions, and settled on following this tutorial with piping and a velcro closure. One key part of this technique is that it was, ahem… SEWN. I wanted to create a durable cushion, and at first I found a tutorial that instructs you to secure the fabric to the foam with SAFETY PINS. Uhh, that’s gonna look good for about 5 minutes and then turn into a big mess.

a closeup of a blue ticking-stripe window seat with matching pillows.

The cushion dimensions are 82″x17″, so I had to make a LOT of piping for this project. Surprisingly, this was easy and meditative to do in batches as I needed it. This video was pretty helpful to learn a fast way to do it. I cut 2″ wide bias strips and folded it around a length of cotton twine from my stash, and as I came to the end of a strip, I added a new one that I folded under. It was very easy to create the piping as I needed it with each pillow and the cushion, and just left it in a half-finished state until I picked it back up to create more as needed.

an in-progress photo of twine turning into piping.
piping-in-progress.

For the pillows, I created simple piped envelope covers. I have made so many of these that I didn’t use a tutorial, but this is a good one if you haven’t done it before. Note, this tutorial does not show you how to add piping.