All posts by teresa

Pattern Review: Butterick 6168

[This is part of the Dress Up Party, hosted by Sara at Sew Sweetness. Check it out for lots of pattern reviews and giveaways!]

I’ve long been a fan of Liesl Gibson’s designs (Oliver+S, Straight Stitch Society and Lisette), so when I heard she was partnering up with Butterick to release more Lisette patterns, I was all over that one. Yes, please, where do I sign up?

20150319-145751-53871876.jpgLuckily for me I stumbled onto them back at Sew Expo this spring and bought the Butterick 6168 right away. I made it up using Sara’s new Fantasia voile, which was gorgeous, but I messed up the front somehow and was left with quite the plunging neckline (photos and dress are NSFW!).

So instead of fixing it, I just made another because that’s how I roll.

This version is made with Robert Kaufman’s Essex Linen in Plum and it’s just lovely fabric to work with, of course. I adore that the pattern was totally wearable in both the featherweight voile and the heavier linen, both hanging beautifully and super comfortable.

My favorite feature of the pattern is the bodice. It’s super comfortable without fussing with darts and that narrow strip across is a great little design detail.   

I made a couple of changes to the pattern because I can never leave a pattern alone, it seems. I hate zippers up the back (they are a single girl’s frustration), so I moved it to the right side which makes the pull easier to reach and less intrusive in the design. I used a 9″ deep brown zipper, which worked out just fine.   

I also added darts to the neckline to take in extra fabric left when I placed the fabric on the fold rather than keeping the back seam. The pattern curves slightly along the back, so I had to make up for that and my slightly rounded shoulders by including the 1/4″ darts.   

I really like the back, too! I brought in the back darts an extra inch on each, lengthening them as well, to fit my back waist, but made no changes to the back skirt because of the forgiving gathers. Super easy alterations!  You can also use the optional ties to pull it in if you also have a narrow waist.   

I’ll be adding pockets and using chambray for  the next iteration of this dress. It’s just so comfortable and flattering, plus easy alterations make this my new go-to pattern.

Running in Circles with Gardenvale

Curved piecing has been a bit of an obsession for me lately. Blame it on finding a little template for little Drunkard’s Path blocks while I was at Sew Expo. I also just happened to have a charm pack of Gardenvale from Moda at last Quilt Market. I figured they should meet.

I sewed all the pieces together, in totally random fashion, as leaders and enders, so it hardly felt like I’d done any actual sewing at all. Then all the sudden the blocks were all sewn together. I gave them all a quick press and squared them up a tad smaller than the template (a scant 3-7/8″), then arranged and re-arranged some more until I got something I was okay with.

We just got the collection in at the shop, which was the perfect impetus to actually finish it up (so we could use it as a display). I  did a little unevenly spaced straight line quilting on the front.

Then made a super simple envelope pillow back and voila a new pillow for the sofa! I love it even more than I thought I would.

I tend to stay within the neutral palette for quilts, home decor and clothing, rarely feel confident enough to start prints.  I love the scrappy look, but dear god, it scares me to death to mix fabrics (I know, it’s weird). That’s what makes Gardenvale a favorite for me. It doesn’t look like a collection. It’s crazy mixed-up colors and prints and scale and I would never in a million years feel like I could mix three different circles with two different florals and stripes.  But Jen Kingwell did and it’s gorgeous.

If you’re familiar with her patterns, you know this is totally her style and I find it entrancing (though, the quilts can slightly overwhelm me if I stare too long). There’s a skill to this mixing and matching that I will never have. And that’s okay, she’s doing it for me now.

Check out #gardenvale and #gardenvalefabric on IG for lots of other projects that people are making, especially the PJ pants by @tinkerfrog. They might just be the  favorite. Next to my pillow, of course.

Come Sew With Me

I’m excited to be teaching the Bridgetown Backless Tunic/Dress pattern at Fabric Depot on May 3rd and if you’re local, it would be a great opportunity to learn a little garment sewing.  I’ve met lots of people who are interested in learning how to sew apparel, but don’t know where to start. This one, I swear, is a good jumping off point. We’ll talk about fabrics, seam finishes, elastic, hems and facings.

Bridgetown Backless Tunic and DressThe dress is a forgiving, but still flattering style. And If you’re stressing about that backless part, that’s what tank tops were made for. It’s super cute and so comfy. I’m finishing up my own version and will show it off soon!

Bridgetown Backless Tunic/Dress class
May 3, 2015
10a.m. to 5 p.m. (with lunch break)
Fabric Depot
$78

I hope to see you there!

Sewing for LUKE

This is what has been filling my off-hours lately. I have 400 log cabin blocks to make: 200 of one variation, 200 of the other. I started with all those red squares and have been adding row after row of thin white, then thick black (per LUKE‘s instruction).  It’s awfully fun to see them come together.

20150418-092836-34116448.jpgIt can be a little fidgety though sometimes. LUKE uses discarded garments for the pieces, so there’s always a wide variety of fabrics types and sometimes they don’t play well together. I’ve already melted through a couple of polyester pieces. Some ravel a lot. Others stretch badly. So this requires pressing, measuring and trimming after each row. My current living space (less than 600 sq. ft) isn’t super conducive for this set-up, but it is what it is.

20150418-092836-34116894.jpgI’ve got one more row to do on this first batch of 200. They are stacking up quite nicely if I do say so myself. I’ve got a little Fabric Depot work and some  PMQG chores, but then I’ll get back to these later this weekend and maybe by Monday I can start the next 200.

20150418-092836-34116146.jpgYou can follow along with this series of log cabin quilts that LUKE is having made by searching the hashtags #sewingforLUKE and #LCoDJ on Instagram or read about it here.

Spring Scoot, At Long Last

Pardon me while I stray far from sewing on this post.

First, a little backstory–many, many moons ago, I was married to a guy who had a love for Vespas. We discovered them together in the first year we were married. Having grown up on the back of my dad’s motorcycle, the love for two-wheeled travel ran deep in me and I was more than happy to encourage a foray into the scooter world. He bought one Vespa, then another, a Lambretta or two, and even a Harley Davidson Topper. He taught me how to ride, but by then I was pregnant and he didn’t want me to ride. Meanwhile, he was making friends with the local scooter people and going on long rides with them. I stayed home, wishing I could join in. And once, he let me.

In May 1992, we drove up to Seattle and I rode on the back of his P200. I was nearly six months pregnant, but not yet showing much and could still easily sit behind him. I had a ball and couldn’t wait to get my chance to join in the fun after the baby was born. But that isn’t what happened. I never got the chance to ride again, though we had nearly two dozen bikes at one point. I was the stay-home mom and stay home is what I did.

Years later, in 2005 in fact, I dated a fellow who’d joined the scooter scene just as my ex-husband was leaving it. They didn’t know each other, but there were mutual friends and I became friends with several. But he didn’t have a scooter and either did I. I knew scooter people, though I never rode.

Then I met P and when we lived together, he bought a scooter–a little Honda Ruckus.  Not only did he let me ride it, he encouraged me to do so. I loved it and took every opportunity I could while I was there (and since!).

Ruckus Duo 2012

We broke up, life moved on (and a million things happened in between), then this last March a friend of the second scooter guy invited me to Spring Scoot 21.  Someone wanted me to join in?! I was thrilled and asked P if I could borrow his bike for the ride. He happily said yes.

And so twenty-three years after my first scooter rally in Seattle, I joined the long-established scooter rally in Portland. And it was more fun than I had ever expected.

We started out at Club 21 in NE Portland.  When I arrived at 6:30pm, there were a few dozen scooters of all sorts (though predominately Vespas, of course). The little Ruckus I rode is right there in the front left.

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By the time we left to ride to Mad Son’s, I’d counted 52 bikes, including several more Ruckus riders, a couple motorcycles, mopeds and lots of Vespas.  I did the ride, in the cold rain then decided to take the bike back to P for the night.

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We met up again at noon on Saturday in North Portland and took off for another ride. I have proof–that’s me in the video of the ride. I know it’s hard to recognize me, but I promise, that’s me in the big coat and knit skirt!

Spring Scoot video still

It was, to be honest, not the best weather for riding. We took off in dry weather, heading out toward Hayden Island, then turning and driving through St. Johns. By the time we had reached N. Fessenden the rain was falling and when we crossed the St. Johns’ Bridge, it was coming down hard enough to make visibility difficult and there was no way I was stopping for pics in that mess.

We rode up and through the West Hills and across the Ross Island, over to a bar and then on to a barbecue at Vicious Cycle. I headed home soon after and crashed hard.  (I woke up the next morning still fully dressed–I’d managed only to remove my boots before I fell asleep!)

The next day we met up at Catalina’s for a bit of brunch and giveaways before heading out once more, this time in a crowd of around a hundred bikes.

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There is something so awesome about driving in a huge group like this and reminds me fondly of riding in Vietnam. I can see how it might unnerve some, but I loved every second of it as we headed out around the airport and then eastward.

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As we drove past the Troutdale airport, I realized where we were heading and I couldn’t contain my excitement. It didn’t matter that my little bike was a half mile behind the pack, we were going on my favorite local drive… out to the Columbia River Gorge.

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We made it out there, twisting and turning along the Old Columbia River Highway with a stop at the Vista House before continuing on to Multnomah Falls. It was amazing and wonderful and so much fun to just ride and ride.

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Over the three days of the ride, I put more than 200 miles on the little bike. I couldn’t have been happier, honestly. It was wonderful and I am eternally grateful for P encouraging me to keep riding and for my daughter being independent enough for me to be gone so much.

This… this is my happy place. 20150411-182409-66249570.jpg