Repairing a Quilt

finished objects, sewing
before: very ratty edges all over.

I’ve had this quilt since I was a kid. This blanket is not my most favorite colors, but its not about the looks, its about the feels. Sitting on the couch with this blanket brings me immense comfort and calm. I love snuggling with it. Unfortunately, over the past few years the edges have become very weak and frayed. A few weeks ago, part of the edging got caught on my foot and ripped away, revealing the batting.

This week I decided to repair it. I chatted with my fastidious quilter friend, Lizzie, who is immensely talented in this area. She thought repairing was do-able and suggested the french-fold binding technique. The original quilt didn’t have any binding, and its state shows why a binding is so key to longevity! Its condition is fine everywhere else, but the edges are torn and frayed all the way around.

I needed a fairly wide strip of fabric to create the binding to make the finished repair look as natural as possible. As I was contemplating what fabric to use, I remembered my sad attempt at a 9″ block linen quilt from years ago. I wondered if I could use the cut-but-not-sewn squares to make the binding. Once I dug them out, it felt like fate. The block colors blend wonderfully with the quilt. I got to work and sewed several blocks together to create a long binding. Then, I pinned it to the quilt and machine-hemmed it, and then folded it over to hand sew it to the wrong side. By the way, these two lovely ladies have a fabulous tutorial with tips to hand-stitch the miters down on both right and wrong sides at once.


Now my favorite quilt has a personal touch! I’ve had it on my lap all day, and its been heavenly! By the way, this was from a department store and I am pretty impressed that its hand-quilted. I don’t think you’d find something like this in department stores today! I’m so happy I am able to give it some more life.

COVID FO #2 and #3: Kabuki Tee

finished objects, sewing

Friday night, I cleared off my makeshift work desk to reveal my sewing machine, because I thought sewing would help me relax and feel like things are temporarily “normal.” I’ve had the Kabuki Tee from Paper Theory on my to-make list for a long time, so I decided to give it a go. I decided to use this extremely soft vintage cotton/poly blend from my stash, so I got to cutting.

a blue and green plaid top on a hanger.

This is the most comfortable woven top I’ve ever made. The body has great shaping, but still has a boxy look. The fabric certainly adds to its comfort, but the unique arm drafting makes it so easy to move around in.

So, I couldn’t let it go at that, and immediately decided to cut out another version in some eyelet. I spent some serious time figuring out how to arrange the pattern pieces to make the small amount of leftovers I had work. I didn’t have anything that I thought would look nice underneath the eyelet, so I went with silk organza. I hand-basted the organza to the eyelet and used it as an underlining, and used french seams througout. One exception: I bound the armhole seams with bias tape. I decided to blindstitch the armhole and waist hems to make it feel a little more fancy. The organza helps “diffuse” whats happening underneath, and works very well as a modesty layer.

a white eyelet top on a hanger.
an inside-out eyelet top on a hanger.
pretty insides!

COVID FO #1

finished objects, knitting

When The Virus hit NYC hard last week, I needed an easy, mindless knitting project to help calm my nerves. Zooming around on Ravelry, I spotted a friend’s beautiful blue hat. Ysolda to the rescue! Musselburgh is a very of-the-moment silhouette, with miles of stockinette at a tiny gauge. Hit it!

a hand-knitted pink hat.

I went “shopping” in my stash and found some odds and ends, and started knitting a striped version, but I didn’t like it. A single-color version was much more in line with what I envisioned. The only suitable yarn in my stash was a leftover skein of Manos del Uruguay Fino from my wedding shawl. I wasn’t sure about the color, but got to work! I ended up knitting 17.5″ before decreasing. The last few inches felt like forever, as they do. But a week later, I have a new hat! Not that I needed one, but its really comfy and I think I’ll wear it a lot.

a side view of a hand-knitted pink hat.
“indoor pics only”

MORE TO COME! I’m now on a mission to finish knitting something that’s already in progress.

Little bagg-o

finished objects, sewing

I had this post queued up last week and never hit publish. Obviously we are in a crazy, unprecedented time rn and things are murky and unclear. I’m trying to power through and focus on making progress on my knitting and sewing. Anyway, here’s this thing I made two weekends ago…

a black and white zipper pouch.

Last weekend I saw a Making Mag post about how to sew up this little bag. I decided to create my own based on the post’s photos. I included the darts at the bottom, and I think it its a nice touch to help the bag stand up on its own.

a peek inside the black and white zipper pouch.

A quick, cute lil’ scrap guy! The black and white hemp/wool blend is leftover from an old dress, and the lining is Liberty Tana Lawn from Purl Soho. I love this combo, plus the bright orange zipper pull I made from unraveled baker’s twine.

Myosotis Dress II

finished objects, sewing
a girl wearing a green and pink floral dress in the bright sun.

Hey, this wasn’t part of my last post! Ahem… a little something bypassed my sewing queue. What is the point of life if not for unplanned sewing projects? I had a long weekend at home, and the idea for this fabric/dress combo popped into my head. Without any hesitation, I got to work. Sewing with fervor like this, running on fumes of whim and inspiration, is one of my favorite parts of life. For 5 hours straight, I didn’t do anything but work on this dress. I don’t experience that level of focus too often, so it felt great. Luckily, the fabric was ready to use because I pre-washed the fabric ages ago. The bonus to all this is now I have a beautiful Myosotis Dress!

a girl wearing a green and pink floral dress in the bright sun.
a girl wearing a green and pink floral dress in the bright sun.

This Blackbird Fabrics viscose has been waiting patiently in my stash for 3 years. The print and dress combo is definitely loud, but I love it. I am not usually on Team Viscose, but I must say it feels delightfully swishy to wear. As you can see, I embraced The Ruffle for this dress. Right now, I’m loving the midi length, but figured if I tire of it I can re-hem to knee length. I don’t have many ruffle-y clothes, we’ll see how they fit in to the rest of my wardrobe.

Construction Notes

a girl wearing a green and pink floral dress in the bright sun.

Except for the ruffles, I used french seams throughout this garment. I should do this more ofte n because french seams look so nice. For the ruffle seams, I used lace tape to hide the raw edges. I haven’t yet, but I’m planning to hand tack them down with a blind stitch.

Unlike my first Myosotis, this version is unlined. I figured that I can wear a slip / undershirt if I want some more layers. Its funny how sometimes I am adamant about lining, but then here I am, not adding a lining and proud. :shrug:

WIDN

knitting, sewing, WIDN

Ages ago in “internet time,” back when I still used Instagram, #WIDN was a popular hashtag for sewers and knitters. WIDN, or “what I’m doing now” is something I’m going to try out here because I miss sharing my in-progress projects. So…. here’s WIDN.

1. Rose Plank Shawl

an in-progress photo of a hand knitted light gray shawl

This beauty is coming along, but slowly because of it’s intricate stitch pattern. I love it and the very special Cormo yarn I’m using, but I’m knitting slowwwwly. I think I am on the cusp of memorizing the repeat…. we’ll see.

2. Weel Riggit

an in-progress photo of a hand knitted, allover colorwork sweater

I’ve had this sweater in my queue since it came out last year. Once it became available as a standalone pattern, it jumped to the top of my queue. I decided to get some Green Mountain Spinnery yarn at Vogue Knitting Live to make my own. I’m trying out the “sleeve as swatch” technique, but I’m not sure how much I like the color combo I chose. I’m going to block the sleeve after I finish and see if I like it.

3. No. 13 coat from Otoko No Kōto No Hon

a photo of a sewing book of mens' coat sewing patterns next to a bolt of yellow calico fabric
I’m going to use this yellow calico for the muslin.

Jacob needs a new spring/fall jacket. Since he has very long arms, no RTW jacket ever fits him perfectly, so I’ve decide to make him one. I scoured the internet to find a suitable pattern, but nothing seemed right. I finally came across a blog dedicated to sewing all the patterns from a Japanese book of mens’ coats, and decided to bite the bullet and order the book. Spoiler alert: the book is entirely in Japanese. I think I’m up for the challenge, but we’ll see what happens when I tear into the muslin. Jacob has picked out No. 13. I am planning to start tracing and making a muslin this weekend. I am looking forward to fabric shopping for it!

Tectonic Test Knit

finished objects, knitting

Here’s my first test-knitted sweater (rav link)! Its Tectonic from Emily Greene.

a woman stares off camera, wearing a hand knit gray sweater.

This task was a unique challenge for me. I had only written instructions and 1 on-body pic from Emily to guide me (which I assume is on par for test knitting). Usually before settling on a pattern to knit, I spend hours looking through Ravelry. I like to see other knitters’ modifications and how their finished objects turned out. Emily did have to help me figure out the sleeve details, I felt pretty challenged by them with limited photo references.


I love the reverse-stockinette and garter stitch combo, its so unique. And how about those statement sleeves!? My favorite part of this sweater design is the foldover neckband. The crochet bind off looks so tidy and professional! The yarn I used is Elder from Ritual Dyes, and its so soft that it doesn’t even feel like wool. Its a joy to wear.
What can I say besides I love this sweater! One of my best knits ever, for sure.

back view of a woman wearing a sweater she knit.
closeup view of a woman wearing a gray sweater she knit.

Seasonally Inappropriate Lisa Dress

finished objects, sewing
a handmade black and white floral dress on a hanger.

Struck by inspiration over the holidays, I sewed a summer sundress! I bought the fabric at a yard sale a few years ago for less than $5. It has that lovely handfeel of an aged poly-cotton blend that I love so much. They don’t make ’em like they used to! The odd thing about this panel print is that the gradient goes weft to weft. Most other panel prints I’ve seen that follow the grainline. So, I did the unthinkable and cut the skirt pieces the wrong way. I did cut the bodice pieces on the grainline though, and this inconsistency is not noticeable at all. This made the hem very easy to sew because the selvedge edge eliminated the need to double-turn!

Closeup of a handmade black and white floral dress.

I went into my stash for buttons, and found some grey ones that look pretty perfect. I didn’t buy anything new to make this dress. Sewing from the stash feels good! This was my first time sewing my own buttons since I got my machine fixed, it was nice to be back in action on that front. Instead of using vilene shields, I staystitched the neckline pieces. The self bias tape helps a lightweight fabric look professional.

I have worn this once in the cold, paired with a turtleneck and a sweater, but it will become a staple in the spring. Happy 2020!!

No-Buy 2019

Uncategorized
a woman stands in front of an ivy-covered wall in winter.
early in 2019, wearing all stuff I made!

I made it through 2019 (almost) without buying new clothes or shoes! I decided to try a buy-nothing year myself after seeing others on the internet. I remember looking in my closet thinking, “wow I have so many clothes and I never wear them all.” This, combined with my guilt about how wasteful I am as a human being, inspired me to take on this challenge.

How did I do it?

Early on this spring, I remember almost purchasing a top from a secondhand store, but I resisted! Remembering the bigger goal of a no-buy year helped me when urges crept in. I did make clothes throughout the year.
I discovered some tactics and want to share them in case you too decide you’d like to try it:

  • Unsubscribe from retail marketing emails. If you cut temptation from your inbox, you’re less likely to shop
  • Make a list of the clothes you want, and see if you still want them months later
  • Don’t go shopping. Don’t tempt yourself. You may find you save a lot of time!
  • Tell at least one person close to you about your goal so you can go to them if you feel tempted
  • Host a clothing swap! I hosted one through Creative Mornings Field Trips
  • Stop using Instagram. Through the lens of the internet, it may seem like the stuff in everyone’s life is perfect. But stuff is not ever going to make you happy (duh). YOU are the product on free social media apps. Advertisers are lining up to sell you stuff and use your data, and they’re pretty good at it. I quit using Instagram in January, and I credit that as a large part of my success this year.
  • As the months tally up, recognize your progress! By June, Remembering how far I had already come helped me later on in the year when I wanted to buy something.

I found these resources inspiring to help me remember why I took on this challenge:

The Numbers

You may be wondering how much money I saved by not buying any clothes. I use YNAB (NO they did not pay me to say this, but YES, I recommend using it), so it was pretty simple to gather data to share. I am only displaying the budgeting categories that relate to this post.
In 2018, I spent almost $4,000 on clothing and jewelry. Before looking this up, I had no idea I spent that much. To be honest, its a little embarrassing to share.

That’s it! I am proud of myself, and time will tell if I have broken the spell of wanting new stuff. I suspect it will be something I have to work on forever.

Exceptions

I did have some exceptions to my no-buy, and purchased some clothing throughout the year. Here’s my full list:

  • new soccer turf shoes (classified in my budget as “Soccer” not clothing)
  • 2 bras w a gift card from husband (doesn’t show up in my budget because I used a gift card)
  • Fringe Supply Co. bandana (this was my true moment of weakness…)
  • Coach purse before I left the company (no it was not ethically made, no it was not made sustainably)

Niska

finished objects, knitting
a woman poses on a windy day in a red sweater.

This super-unique pullover sweater is Niska (rav link) by Bristol Ivy. She released it right before Vogue Knitting Live in January, and I got to try it on (!) at the Wing and A Prayer Farm booth. I made it over the summer, but just recently began to work it into my wardrobe.

I loved knitting this, the cable pattern was super interesting, and the construction was unique and thoughtful. I am a charts-only person, so seeing the written out instructions made my skin crawl, but I just zoomed past it and followed the charts with almost no problems. The only modification I made was adding a folded neckband. This was my first time working with BT Shelter (what?!) and it was delightful. Such nice yarn.

I am finding it challenging to figure out how to wear it. Every time I put it on, I don’t feel quite right. But, I love it and I’m on a mission to figure it out!