Stripy sailboat top


Fall sewing is underway! Hurray! Up first is a stripy sailboat top for my boy.


This is the second sailboat top I’ve made him, the first was in a woven, but I had really wanted to give this pattern a whirl in a knit as well, and having quite a bit of this fabric left over from these pants presented the perfect opportunity ;). The pattern is Oliver + s sailboat top in size 2 sewn from a bamboo stripe knit and a solid mint knit both from girlcharlee.


Hello fall! Hello orange buttons! As always the Oliver + s pattern was easy to follow and a wonderful, fast sew. If you’re unsure where to start with sewing for kids, try Oliver + s!


I cut out and decorative stitched on some elbow patches from the mint knit. I think there will be a lot more of elbow patches to come this fall/winter for my kids. I just can’t get enough of them!!20140830-IMG_1094

And now for some action shots.




Fall sewing is some of my favorite sewing to do, and I think what I’ve got planned to do this season will be lots of fun!

What season is your favorite to sew for?




Sweet dreams bedding


I had mentioned in an earlier post that I had made a mattress protector from a thrifted wool army blanket (courtesy of my mother-in-law) for my daughter’s new mattress. Here’s a few photo’s of it!


It was pretty beat up and full of holes, so I patched them up with some wool felt hearts that I cut from my stash. Pretty adorable right?


The edges are a little raggedy and I may decide to serge the edges next time I take it off her bed to wash and lanolize it.


Twin sheets were also needed, so I made her a fitted sheet and pillowcase from the new Heather Ross far far away line that just was released. I am a huge Heather Ross fan, and I’m so glad she re-did these prints from her first two far far away collections in quilting weight cottons.


For the fitted sheet I followed this tutorial, but with a few modifications of my own such as stitching elastic around the entire edge of the sheet rather than just the corners.


Sheets on the bed! Now I just need to finish her matching quilt that I started oh, two years ago! Nope, no slackers here 😉

Have you thrifted for any projects? What kinds of things do you like to repurpose?

Ikat 2+2 blouse


We’ve had a cold snap here in Montana, with temps down in the 50s and 60s, and let me tell you, my kids had just about nothing to wear! Ack! The temp will be back in the 80s by the end of the week, but it’s made me realize I need to switch to fall sewing ASAP, but of course I had to squeeze in one last little summer number 😉 And so without further ado, enter the end of summer ikat 2+2 blouse.


The pattern I used was Oliver + s 2+2 blouse in size 4 sewn in a cotton ikat from Joann’s. Joann’s has been carrying more and more great fabrics over the years, and this one is no exception! It’s seriously lovely for some summer clothing.


I changed the pattern slightly by omitting the patch on the front. Instead I stitched the seam right sides together and then carefully top-stitched it to reinforce it plus to keep the seam from flipping up and being visible while worn. Also, I like the neck-tie tied in a bow rather then left loose. It lend the blouse a simple and classic look!


Detail shot of the back buttons.


Love this shirt on!


And now for some modeling shots!





Goodbye summer! We will miss you!

Am I the only slacker who hasn’t started fall sewing yet?

Sketchbook & jumprope polo mash-up ~ a tutorial


Have you had one of those “A-ha!” moments in your sewing? This shirt was one of those moments for me. I had been wanting to sew a pull-over polo style top for my son and I had several patterns that were very close but not exactly what I wanted. And so after digging through my pattern stash I realized all the steps needed to create this top were already done for me, and all I had to do was “mash” them up!


The patterns I used are both Oliver + s; the sketchbook shirt and the jump rope dress, both in size 2 sewn from Robert Kaufman nautical boats chambray in color indigo. This mash up is super simple, requiring very little in the way of changes to the actual sewing instructions. If you’ve got these two patterns, you can make this top! 


This shirt is pretty much the sketchbook shirt but with the jump rope placket. Here’s what you do:

From the sketchbook shirt pattern cut out the following numbered pieces as specified by the pattern unless I state otherwise # 1 – shirt front* (cut one with center front on the fold), 2 – shirt back, 4 – shirt yoke, 5 – shirt collar, 10 – shirt pocket* (I cut out two and rounded the bottom corners), 11 – short sleeve.

From the jump rope dress pattern cut out pieces # 3 – right placket, and 4 – left placket.

Now you simply follow the directions as outlined in the patterns but in a different order. Here’s the order for you!

Start with the jump rope dress instructions and follow these sections in this order;

  • “Prepare the placket”. You will be using the sketchbook front pattern piece which you cut on the fold in lieu of the dress front pattern piece. 
  • “Right placket”. You may want to swap the sides on which you sew the left and right plackets for a boy’s shirt. I forgot to do this and so my buttons/button holes are on the “girl” side of the shirt.
  • “Left placket”.
  • “Finish the placket”.


Now switch to the sketchbook shirt instructions and follow these sections in this order;

  • “Make and attach the pocket”. Since I had rounded bottom edges I basted 1/2″ from the edge and used the stitching as the folding line which I then ironed in place. If you want buttons on the pockets; mark the center top of the pocket and stitch a buttonhole 1/4″ from the top edge before stitching the pocket onto the shirt. 
  • “Assemble the shirt back”.
  • “Assemble the shirt and finish the yoke”. You will only have one shirt front piece since you cut it on the fold. This doesn’t effect the sewing instructions.
  • “Prepare the collar”.
  • “Attach the collar”.
  • “Attach the sleeves”.
  • “Finish the short sleeves”.
  • “Hem the shirt.”

To finish the shirt go back to the jump rope dress and use the markings for the buttons/buttonholes to sew them onto the plackets. If you included buttons on the pockets mark and sew them now onto the shirt centering them beneath the pocket’s sewn buttonholes.


And voila! Adorable pull-over polo shirt!


And now for a few action shots!



What a great shirt to wrap up my boy’s summer sewing with! 

Did you find the tutorial helpful? If anyone needs clarification please do let me know! I’d love to see any mash-ups you create with it 😉

Liberty & chambray swingset tunic


I’ll have to admit, I’m a sucker for all things Liberty of London. Liberty prints are in a class all their own, being both exceptionally beautiful and high quality; you can’t go wrong with some Liberty in your life. 😉 While I was sewing my daughter’s ruffled shorts I used a bit of this print which I had been hoarding for ages as the lining. And then it struck me; I needed to make a Liberty tunic to match! 


For the sewing pattern I used the Swingset tunic by Oliver + s sewn in size 4 width 5 length. The fabric is of course the lovely Liberty of London tana lawn from my stash with the straps, covered buttons, and lining in Kaufman union chambray.


Button detail shot. I covered the buttons myself using a button cover kit from Joann’s. Very quick, easy, and provides a wonderful look when you want matching fabric buttons.


Contrast chambray straps ❤


A look at the innards. I finished the inside bodice lining seam with 1/4″ charcoal bias tape. This method of seam finishing does take a bit more time than simply serging the seams but the finished look is completely lovely. Since I’m leaning more towards heirloom sewing these days the extra time is worth it in my book!


The tunic and shorts together. So frilly and flowery, my girl and I just love this outfit!

20140812-IMG_0806 Oh, hello chambray buttons. Fancy meeting you here 🙂

20140812-IMG_0807 And now for some gardening action shots 😉 



Do you have a Liberty crush like I do? What’s your favorite Liberty project?

Ruffled picnic shorts


I’ve been ogling over these Jcrew kids shorts for for some time now, not to mention seeing several very cute knock-offs showing up in the Oliver + s flickr stream.  With both Knock-it-off and Shorts on the Line in full swing I had double the reason to sew these! And so I finally took the plunge and followed this popular tutorial to transform the class picnic shorts pattern into these ruffled Jcrew knock-offs.


For my version I sewed them from the Oliver + s class picnic shorts pattern in size 4 width 5 length from Robert Kaufman hampton twill in color calypso with Liberty of London for the waist and pocket linings.


I added the pockets in myself to make them more like the inspiration shorts. But I made a mistake and added them to the wrong spot! The pockets on the inspiration shorts are on the outsides of the ruffle, but mine ended up inside. Oops! That’s what I get for not thinking out my pattern modifications. Oh well, they’re still cute 😉


Detail shot. Love these ruffles. I think I’ll try these shorts again next summer and hopefully figure out those pockets!


Liberty waistband <3. I finished the inside visible waist seam with charcoal 1/4″ bias tape. I much prefer this over simply serging the edge as it provides such a lovely and professional finish.


In an effort to remember what size garment was made, I’ve added size tags. Why didn’t I do this sooner!?


Shorts in action.


Adorable from both sides 😉

I feel like summer sewing is coming quickly to an end. Are you still squeezing in some summer sewing or have you switched to fall yet?


Baggies knock-it-off

baggies knockoff

This month I’m participating in the Knock-it-off sewing series hosted by Heidi at Elegance & Elephants. From August 1-20 we will be sewing copy-cat versions of retail styles. There’s a flickr group here where you can see what’s been sewn, and post things you’ve knocked off as well! For this knock off I sewed a pair of shorts termed “baggies” by Mini Boden followers.


The pattern I used for these was the “Coastal Craze Baggies” by Peek-a-boo pattern shop. I sewed them in size 2 from some luxurious gray stripe bamboo blend knit and a solid mint knit both from Girl Charlee. For the waistband I used gray rib knit from Joann’s. The bamboo blend is fabulous; very soft and not too lightweight. I need to make more things from this fabric!


This sewing pattern required only a little modification to make it a perfect knock-off of the baggies. The things I changed were to edge-stitch around the bottom of the waistband with a twin needle, plus to use a serger-like top stitch on the faux fly stitching as well as the back pocket stitching. I was happy to keep these as shorts but if you wanted them the same length as the baggie pant, you should add a few inches to the leg length.


Also, next time I make these I’ll change how the back pocket is constructed so the top edge-stitching (in mint thread) is hidden. I prefer a cleaner finish for the pocket plus the originals do not have this extra seam.


Oh hai! The shot of the rear is my favorite. That mint pocket just kills me!


The front is pretty stinking adorable as well!



I adore these knock-off baggies. I can see why they are so popular! I think these will be an annual summer sewing staple around here 😉

Have you seen the awesome knock-offs being created? Come knock-it-off with me!


A sweet dreams mattress tutorial


I almost didn’t think it could be done, but here it is at last; a handmade organic rubber and wool twin mattress! Martha Stewart eat your heart out. In case you may be wondering why anyone would ever want to make a mattress, may I direct you to some information on conventional mattresses here, here, and here. Unfortunately conventional mattresses are a petroleum derived chemical bomb that are chocked full of toxic substances that we breath in and absorb through our skin as we sleep. Studies even reveal a link between mattress off-gassing and SIDS! This is some scary stuff that I absolutely want to avoid where I can. So when the time came to buy my daughter a big bed I was faced with a dilemma; buy the conventional mattress (at 40% off!), buy an organic mattress (for $1bazillion) or try to make my own. And so I embarked on the epic quest of making an organic chemical free mattress and hopefully this will help you get started on making one of your own too!


For this mattress we’ll be using rubber as the base. There are a few places online that supply real rubber (like from a rubber tree) mattress topers in various thicknesses and firmness. I decided to get a 1″ medium firmness topper for the base of my mattress from here. I would recommend getting a minimum 3″ thickness for a mattress intended for an adult.


Since this rubber is a natural material and subject to biodegrading I decided to sew a cotton slipcover for it to help protect it. The slipcover was sewn from an old duvet cover found hiding in storage. Done and free 🙂


For the shell of my mattress I used cotton ticking from here. Ticking is traditionally used in mattress making plus for furniture and pillows. It’s a thicker densely woven fabric which helps keep your stuffing from escaping. You will need about 5 yards for a twin sized mattress.


Cut two rectangles the dimensions of the mattress plus 1/2″ seam allowances. Then cut one very long strip 7″ tall and long enough to go around the entire edge of one of the rectangles. I had to piece this long section together to make it long enough to go all the way around. Sew it on with a 1/2″ seam and then placed the rubber mattress inside as the first layer of the mattress.


Next comes the wool. This is what a 20 pound bag of organic wool looks like. And also this is what a cute boy looks like. 😉 I bought the wool from here. You’ll want around 18 -20 pounds for a twin.


Layer the wool on top of the covered latex pad…


…until all 20 pounds of it is neatly laid down.


Look at all that wool! Looking pretty comfy already.


If you’ve never smelled wool before, it’s seriously wonderful. It has a sweet honey straw smell that I adore! I decided to accentuate the earthy wonderfulness of the smell by spritzing some lavender chamomile essential oils throughout the wool. Essential oils aid in relaxation and sleep, as well as have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. If you decide to include essential oils go ahead and spritz them into your wool!


Now it’s time to close this sucker up! Lay your second cotton ticking rectangle on top and pin the entire circumference to the side, taking in the height of the side if you’ve got too much slack. You don’t want the fabric to be droopy.


Once pinned to satisfaction get some thicker thread such as cotton hand quilting thread and a sewing needle and ladder stitch the circumference.


All sewn up! We’re almost done.


Last comes the tufting. This is an optional step but it helps keep the stuffing inside from shifting or clumping, so I decided to do it. I followed this tutorial here, using buttons to help with the pressure exerted by the thread.


Look at those button tufts!


The finished mattress. Success! You will want to use a water resistant/proof mattress protector to keep moisture from getting into your mattress. I made one from an up-cycled wool army blanket which was water-proofed with lanolin.

This was definitely the oddest thing I’ve ever sewn. What’s your most adventurous sewing project that took you way out of your comfort zone?