Er, woops

You know what I can’t stand?  When people just abruptly stop posting without any explanation why.  SO much more annoying when they do it right after announcing a “comeback.”  How lame.

Dammit, I’m sorry I did that!  I’ve really kind of lost interest over the last year because of some combination of I hate taking pictures x Mr. Nice and I have more time off together x I miss having most, if not all, of my existence “in real life.”

Unfortunately having “in real life” sewing friends isn’t something that you find easily, and while I have been sewing the past year, I just haven’t been blogging about it.  Two things have made me REALLY tempted to though, the first being….

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Madalynne’s Bra-Making Workshop!!!!!!

Whoawhoawhoa I went the Saturday before last and it was SO COOL.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it the following week and I’m so sad I can’t go do this every Saturday.

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It was held in a gorgeous space and hosted by New Old Fashioned in Philadelphia, with perfect decorations, amazing food, makeovers, a photo booth, snacks, and take-home goodies!  Meeting Madalynne and Lladybird was, no joke, like meeting celebrities.  I was kind of star-dazed.  (OhmygodIsatnext to Lauren.  She IS as funny in real life as she is on her blog, in case you were wondering.  And her hair is an awesome shade of emerald.  AND Maddie used her machine to show us the steps so I had a front row seat to a REALLY talented seamstress.  Um.  It’s very different than when I sew.).

By the way, we made a BRA.


And I have to tell you, this is a bra.  I am over the moon with this thing.  Making it blew my mind, but wearing it and having it be…. THE BEST BRA I HAVE EVER WORN… is kind of amazing.  Truth be told I hate every RTW bra I have ever worn, thos wretched things.  I guess there is no “perfect” but the differences I feel when I wear this one is how much more stable and balanced it is.  I guess you would call that support – not something I felt like I needed a whole lot of, but it feels really nice!  And nothing is digging and tugging at me… and it fits!  To be more specific, the side and back bands are much wider than on most bras I buy and the difference is really noticeable.  The straps and elastic we used also seem like better-quality than those bras we pay way too much money for.

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Constructing a bra is not nearly as hard as I envisioned and I feel really empowered to completely do away with RTW bras and start an arsenal of handmade.  I started perusing recommended websites for lingerie supplies, if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them.  The one question I was left with wondering about is materials, I feel a little confused about fabric types (powernet, tricot, powermesh, ah what?!) and best elastics/channeling/straps.  I’ve been trying to do some research and if you search “bra” on Madalynne, it’s like a little encyclopedia of lingerie education.  I would have loved to see swatches of these things and understand the materials better.

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I could gush FOR. EVER. Not only did this little workshop come with all the delights listed above, but our pattern, fabrics, and even some new sewing tools were included.  AWESOME.  There’s enough to make some matching underoos!  Doing it.


You can check out more pictures on Instagram (#bramakingwithmadalynne and #newoldfshnd were a few of the hashtags).  I even created an Instagram account so I wouldn’t feel left out – I realize it is the most obnoxious name because of all the underscores but I couldn’t think of anything else.  Sorry, love, @_awfully_nice_

AND you can see recaps and really good photos (oh my, I’m in some of them!) on Madalynne and Lladybird.

It was so great I couldn’t resist coming out of retirement (ha!  that is so ridiculous I can’t even take myself seriously!).  You know what else makes me want to sing and dance about sewing?  Ginger jeans!!!!!  Ahhh!  Maybe I’ll even post again.


Man, it feels good to be sewing again!  So good, in fact, that I was willing to sew something for someone else!

IMG_4539I visited G Street last month right before some groupons expired, and since they had little selection for what I wanted, I had Mr. Nice pick out some flannel for a shirt.  I used Negroni by Collette – good pattern, I really liked it and now that I made some adjustments, I’ll definitely be making more.  Four years ago I made him a shirt (WHOA do I know a lot more now) from a Big-4 pattern and it was terrible, I had to make so many adjustments.

IMG_4544Mr. Nice gave me one of his best-fitting shirts to compare sizing, so I made some adjustments:

  • I added 2 inches to the length of the sleeves, and narrowed them by about 1 1/2 inches
  • I cut a L in the chest, then tapered down to a M at the waist
  • Due to the changes in the sleeves and chest, I ended up adjusting the armholes and giving a little bit of a sloping shoulder adjustment

I think it worked, because he approved.

IMG_4542I washed this flannel three times before cutting because I was so worried about shrinkage.  The resulting fabric was SO STRETCHY AND SHIFTY.  Cutting was tricky and I ended up doing neurotic pinning to line up the plaids.  I also had to tame my gorilla fingers to not pull and tug.  The result?  Hands up!  Plaid matching time!!

IMG_4549Not bad, right?  I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I love how the flat-felled seams and bias-cut pockets and flaps looked and I LOVED the cuffs and plackets.

IMG_4545Maybe the man will make more frequent blog appearances now!

mitts and a new dress

Happy New Year! Even though it was too quiet around this blog, it was for good reason. The month of December found me knitting and sewing furiously, as I needed new mitts and a new dress so that I could do this [on Christmas Eve]…!



These photos were taken by the wonderful Aram of Aram O Photography.  I probably owe you some more detail photos, but obviously taking photos for my BLOG was not exactly what he was aiming for [update: I figured out how to crop some more photos on my tablet].


My dress is the Elisalex from By Hand London and my mitts are Spate by Jane Richmond, in Journey. There was a hat too but I didn’t wear it and I’m not crazy about it. Maybe a later post.


I LOVE this dress pattern and will definitely make the sleeveless version. I actually made a real, live muslin and it was super helpful – I ended up slimming and lengthening the sleeves. Because of the high waist, I cut the same size for the top and bottom (usually I go a size up on the bottom). I ended up taking in the seams at the roundest part of the tulip because it was sort of collapsing on itself anyways. Too much tulip to hold itself up. You can’t tell from these pics but the fabric is actually black polka dot. I used interfacing on the skirt to hold the structure (after seeing this idea from Heather Lou who I SWEAR I wasn’t trying to rip off her [polka dot] dress AGAIN I bought this fabric, then saw her dress, OK for the second time, so maybe it was in my subconscious).


The mitts are a great pattern but I wish I had bought a yarn without alpaca – I used Juniper Moon Herriot and the fluffy alpaca didn’t give the stitch as much structure as it should for this awesome stitch pattern. I also wish I didn’t make them quite so long – in theory long mitts are super cool but in reality it just means they bunch up a lot.


I am really eager to sew and knit more but I have a major blogging problem – after my laptop died a year ago, I had to revert to my eight year old laptop, which apparently lost the ability to go on the internet a few weeks ago. Coincidentally, this occurred after I dropped it. Anyways, I have no way to get photos to the internet anymore (my tablet doesn’t have a USB) which is why I could only use the above photos that were already on the internet. I am bummed and not sure what I will do and when I will blog again. Boo.

baby pillah

One of my college roommates recently had a baby shower; the moment I found out she was pregnant, I knew what I had to make her.  A baby pillah.

This particular friend had a ratty and well-loved doll-sized pillow that served as her teddy bear her whole life; dubbed “baby pillow.”  With her lovely southern Virginia accent, this came out “baby pillah,” and we LOVED teasing her about it.  So of course, her baby has to have his own baby pillah.

IMG_3874 And a little aviator hat to wear home from the hospital!


This is the Aviatrix baby hat, made with Rowan Cashsoft Aran from many years ago.  I think this barely took a half-skein, it’s sooo teeny-tiny, and so soft.  Raveled here.

IMG_3873I made some tags with brown kraft labels stuck to some origami paper and attached with baker’s twine and a safety pin.  Baby pillah is machine washable and has a ‘lifetime’ warranty; future repairs and replacements are covered.  I stitched all the seams twice in hopes of adding some durability.

The coolest part?  The pillow matches the nursery colors, of which I had no idea.  It’s my sewing sixth sense, you know, NBD.

more lakeside pajamas

Uh, this looks to be the beginning of a personal collection of Lakeside pajamas….

IMG_3801I’m nuts about this crazy fabric – it’s been in my stash for 4 or 5 years from the remnants at Osgood’s in Springfield, MA.  It’s a satin I guess (I really know too little about textiles).  Unfortunately I did not have enough to match the pattern.

IMG_3802Mr. Nice is responsible for props.  Vegan Pie in the Sky, anyone?  🙂

I attempted to make bias tape out of the scraps, which resulted in a wonky tank hem, but it’s not too bad.  I chose to use regular bias tape for the neck, straps, and shorts for some structure, but was worried that it would be too stiff for the hem.

My weirdo “bias tape” resulted in something more like piping along the hem.  These are about the only 2-3 inches of it that weren’t crooked.

IMG_3809IMG_3812I also put a little loop in the back of the shorts so that I can do this:

IMG_3813I went a size up on the shorts because nobody wants too-tight-satin.  I’m torn about what size to make for the next two sets (one top already cut, next fabric bought), but I’m thinking the shorts look a little loose in the pic below?  Maybe I need to grade between the sizes.

IMG_3804Oh yeah, and another lovely improvisation of mine due to a limited amount of fabric was to cut the front waistband on the bias.  Terrible idea, it’s kind of stretched out, but well, they’re still wearable so far.

I’m going to try not to turn this into a Lakeside-only blog… I’ll have to find something else to post to break it up!

my jams

Apparently I’m not the only one who was drooling last year when Jen from Grainline made the cutest pajamas ever for herself (see, I even pinned them back then!)… thank goodness she did not force me to try to create them on my own.  Guaranteed disaster.

IMG_3797Lakeside Pajamas!

IMG_3730There will be many more of these to come, I foresee.  I made a size 4 top with no modifications and a size 6 bottom.  I finagled the part of the side seam where the bias bindings meet a little differently than in the instructions and I think on my next pair I will only sew 1/8″ side seams on the shorts before attaching the bias binding (or just baste it) because my seam did not end up encased in the binding.  I’m considering going up a size in the bottoms – since they’re woven they don’t have a lot of give, particularly when you’re getting in and out of them.  Also, for some reason I could only fit 1″ wide elastic (rather than 1.25″ that the pattern called for) – but it works just fine.

IMG_3775Luckily these are pajamas.  The public won’t see my errors.  Except right now.

IMG_3776I ended up using a contrasting binding by accident (all I had) and ended up liking it a lot.  Something about the print and the color combination looks Japanese to me.  The fabric is actually a quilting cotton from G Street – I’d like to try something more drapey like the pattern recommends, but this is nice and crisp and lightweight and not as heavy as some quilting cottons, so I like it too.

IMG_3747I topstitched in a contrasting color because I’m lazy and don’t like changing the thread.  And I’m trying to force myself to be more neat and careful.  I’ll give myself a solid B on this one.

IMG_3742These were surprisingly quick – I thought all the bias binding would be tedious, but it was actually quick.  I think from now on I will bias-bind EVERYTHING.

Final conclusion:  they have been officially sleep-tested and I love them!  And there is a pile of fabric at my feet waiting to be chosen for the next set…

did I just make that?!?

A Bombshell!!!

IMG_3675I know everyone has seen more than their share of Bombshells lately, which tells you just how amazing this pattern is.  Aside from making you feel like one, its been quite a bombshell on the sewing community in fact.

I cannot believe I have made a bathing suit.

And it fits. And it didn’t dissolve when I went in the ocean.  And it’s drip drying on my shower curtain rod right now, like a normal… bathing suit.

IMG_3671It bears mentioning that while a lot has been said about how this swimsuit has empowered women in regards to their body image, I have to say how much it has empowered sewists too.  This is by far the most impressive thing I have ever made, and never thought I could.  Especially for us sorry souls without a serger and no hope for a serger anytime soon.  Heather Lou helped a poor little so-so sewist like me feel like The S&%* for a minute! And hosting a sewalong to hold our hand through it? This woman deserves an award!

IMG_3665Here’s the details on mine:  I cut a size 8 top and size 10 bottom, per the measurements on the pattern.  I am 5’10” so I added 3 inches to the length, just like she did in the sewalong.  Do you have any idea how nice it is to wear a one piece that is actually comfortable and long enough for your torso, covering everything it’s supposed to? Wow!

IMG_3669Because I was worried about the sheerness of the white fabric with nude lining, I added an extra crotch piece (underwear style), but because of the bathing suit’s “skirt,” it really didn’t matter.  I used swimsuit cups from the sewing store, not because I need the support that others need… let’s just say I need some “structure.”  After I got them all sewed in (I was nervous about this part) I discovered they are in there a little uneven and wonky.  That got me very worried about looking kind of Kitty a la Arrested Development, post-boob job, but I think it turned out ok.

IMG_3672The zigzag stitch on my machine is generally pretty heinous, and I really can’t adjust the width or length, no matter how much I fiddle with the settings (I have the most basic of basic machines), so from the outside my seams unfortunately look a little Frankensteinish (see below).  However, for finishing the edges, they don’t look bad, because the edges are bulky enough that the stitches don’t pull.

IMG_3673I had a lot of difficulty with finishing the bustline – so much gaping that the bust looked all stretched out.  Or maybe it was stretched out.  I had to rip the whole thing out twice, which isn’t fun with lycra and elastic.  But I have to say that I expected to have a LOT more difficulty with this project, so if that was the extent of it, I’m more than pleased.

Oh, and I HAVE to mention – this fabric?  $9.77/yd remnant at G Street!  Yes!

another moss and fall… “layaway”

Like many on the interwebs, I am on a Grainline kick.  I started this skirt before I even knew about the Scout sew-along.  Unlike many, I LOVE fall clothes the most.  Since a velvet mini skirt won’t really work in the Baltimore heat, this one’s going on “layaway.”

IMG_3556Last year I hoarded a little pile of new fall projects in a corduroy box I made, and come October (or November…. it’s hot here) it was like I went on a big surprise shopping spree when I opened the box.  It was awesome.  So I’m doing it again!

IMG_3554OK, back to the skirt.  I made a Moss Skirt back in December and maybe I should have read my own post first and remembered to cut the next size up.  Little snug.  This fabric does not have any stretch to it (it’s actually a home dec fabric with this funny/cool orange underbelly, see below) and because velvet is very unforgiving when you want it to forget old stitch lines you ripped out, I could only take the seams out like, an eighth of an inch.  Like the last one, I left the hem unfinished.

What I did remember from the last skirt was how bulky the fly and waistband were.  Somewhere recently I saw the idea (another “duh”) to use a more lightweight fabric for the facings.  Duh.  I found a scrap of gray and white zigzag, and now I have this kind of cool late ’80’s thing going on inside my skirt.  Party in my skirt.

IMG_3581IMG_3586The one thing I need a little help on is how to close the waistband.  I did not want to put a buttonhole because with the velvet I like how it looks sans button.  But I hate how hooks pull at the waistband.  The one in the picture above did NOT work out and in the top pictures I just have it pinned right now.  I might try a different style hook and eye closure…

linen and wool scout

Have you seen the Scout sew-a-long on Kollabora?  I’ve already made a couple Scouts, but the idea to create your own variation with modifications/embellishment/whatever was like “duh!”  What a good, basic top to expand on!  So I rummaged through my stash and made a highly impractical short sleeve wool and linen top.  But I love the collar…



  • I used the hemline of the Wiksten tank
  • I cut the bottom half from a scrap of linen (I cut as much as my scrap would give me)
  • I added a collar; originally I had a Peter Pan collar in mind but when I was playing around with scraps, I thought I’d try something more geometric

I submitted it on Kollabora; if you’re on Kollabora and you like it, give me a heart!

p.s. I’m on bloglovin