Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stripes & Wales Trouser/Top Sketch + Measuring Misery

Stripes + Wales trouser outfit sketch

The lazy girl in me would totally wear this outfit every day if she could get away with it.

So I didn't even get to the muslin stage with my reckless wide-legged trousers last night. After little Z went to bed, I drew the above sketch, and broke out the Easy Guide to Sewing Pants, my Vogue trouser pattern and about a gazillion measuring tapes (including that fancy Myo-whatever one I read about on the Coletterie recently), rules and flexible curves.

Pants-measuring fun

The Easy Guide recommends getting a helper and doing a gazillion trillion measurements--waist, high hip, hip, crotch depth, crotch length, thigh, waist to knee, waist to floor (but not inseam? why, I wonder?) on yourself, and tying yourself up in so many pieces of elastic and masking tape you start to feel like a mummy. (My husband assisted with this process and found it highly amusing.)

Some of the measurements felt pretty careful and right on, but others relied on trying to use masking tape and elastic to visually guesstimate this that and the other, then sit on a table and hold the tape and do something or other.

By the end of it all I had some pretty reliable measurements (hip, high hip, waist), some questionable measurements (everything else), which I then tried to carefully compare to my pattern measurements. But since my pants pattern is a below-the-waist deal with a contour waistband, and the Easy Guide assumes you are making at-the-waist pants... my head started to hurt and I went to bed.

Busts and bellies I understand--I can do a full bust or belly adjustment like nobody's business. But crotch curves just confuse me. At least for now. I think I just need to muslin in a size 14 with lots of extra seam allowance and play around.

And a word on body image and taking measurements...

I'll also admit to finding the process of measuring myself for the first time after giving birth 18 months ago somewhat painful in other ways. I try really hard to cultivate a "I love my awesome body" attitude, and I know nothing feels more awesome than putting well-fitting comfortable clothes on your awesome body, whatever its awesome shape and awesome size. (Sometimes I accompany this inner mantra by reviewing photos of the lovely Christina Hendricks). And for that you need accurate numbers. Still, those numbers can hurt, which is why I only step on the scale at the doctor's office.

I actually found a comment I had left on Gertie's blog when I was still pregnant about how freeing it felt to not care about my waist size anymore, in which I noted that my pre-pregnant measurements were:

  • bust: 38"
  • high bust 33"
  • waist: 28"
  • hip: 38"

So I generally sewed a 12 or 14 in patterns and did a big FBA, depending on the style.

But now my new totally accurate no-sucking-it-in post-preggo measurements say:

  • bust: 38.5" (still nursing, by the way, so this may change)
  • high bust 34.5-35" (can't quite tell here for some reason)
  • waist: 29"
  • hip: 38.5"

Which I guess puts me at a 14 in most dresses and tops or maybe sometimes 16 or something in bottoms, depending? I'll have to try and see what works. Whatever, I'm totally cool and fine and it's really silly to look back at notes from my college sewing days and feel wistful (a 26" waist!? WHO CARES.)

P.S. I realize that to properly channel my 40s Sears-Catalog inspiration for my planned outfit, I need to tuck the top in. But I don't really like to do that, so whatever.

P.P.S. I made (a heavily modified version of) that Burda top already when I was pregnant, but not in stripes, so I can try that on to see what needs to be adjusted...

Burda 02-2010-122 Knit Top: Purple Short-Sleeved Version

P.P.P.S. My husband reminds me that I have a ready-to-wear top a lot like the Burda one I want to make (shown below)... so maybe it WON'T be the next thing I sew after my trousers.

BurdaStyle "Melissa" High-Waisted Knit Skirt

Anyway... boo to feeling bad about measurements. Numbers, schmumbers. Let's get sewing. Muslin tonight, hopefully.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How to Avert Pants-Sewing Disaster?

(Alternate headline: "Sewing Pants: Why the Frak Not?"

Trouser Love

Readers, I feel like the powers of the sewing universe are sending me a message: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FIT PANTS.

The evidence? I recently came across blog posts by not one, but TWO amazing seamstresses who can sew anything from boned evening dresses to tailored jackets but who claim to hate making pants, or at the very least, find fitting pants weird. And when I picked up a book that ostensibly should HELP me sew pants, David Page Coffin's Making Trousers... I found myself advised that the only real way to get a properly fitting pants pattern is to pay a wise expert master tailor to draft one for me. In other words: MIKHAELA, DO NOT SEW PANTS THEY WILL MAKE YOU CRY.

I'm going to ignore that message. Because now that I've finished two super-easy toddler dresses that didn't require one whit of adjustment... I'm ready to make myself miserable with endless rounds of fitting and muslining again.

And what could be more painful than fitting pants? I hear pants alterations can make even the most advanced seamstresses/seamsters weep and/or fume. But I'm hoping that with careful planning and prep work--and a little pattern selection help from you all--I can turn out a pair of trousers pleasing to the eye and comfortable to the tush.

Please don't laugh. I find this delusion comforting.

Sewing Pants: A Retrospective in One Attempt

I remember well the first (and only) pair of pants I ever made. It was 1999, and I was 19. I picked up some "easy-to-sew" pull-on pants pattern at Jo-ann's, along with some checked poly-cotton mystery fabric. I couldn't believe how easy they were to sew--a few hours later, I was pulling them on, pockets and all. And I couldn't believe how comfortable they were.

I also couldn't believe how ridiculous they looked. The crotch was halfway to my knees, and the bunched up poofy fabric billowing out from the elastic waist was far from flattering.

I've been running from pants sewing ever since. I didn't make (and barely owned) a single pair while pregnant.

Why Pants--and Why Now:

But my former identity as a skirt girl has taken a hit. Nine months ago I made a very happy career change to the non-profit world, and my new office is so casual that most people wear jeans four days out of five.

As do I. Except there's no such thing as a pair of ready-to-wear denim trousers that fit me, so I'm always tugging/cursing at the few semi-acceptable pairs I own. Any pants that fit my waist sag and bag emphatically below the rear and they're never high-waisted enough (I despise a low rise.)

So how much worse could me-made pants be? (I'm serious!) If I could wind up with "failed" trousers like Liza Jane's... I'd be more than happy.

Going for Corduroy

For fabric, I don't have much in the stash with enough yardage. I could go with some proper trousery drapey pin-striped gray wool suiting, but I'm feeling some dark blue corduroy I picked up in high school:

Navy corduroy Lightweight dark gray pinstriped wool suiting


So now that I'm in a mental pants-making space... WHICH PANTS? I'm strictly a trouser girl--I like semi-fitted hips and waist, and a wide leg. The kind of pants that are sometimes called slacks, and which Casey seems to sew a lot of beautiful versions of. Slim or skinny pants are out of the question.

I cut this been-in-my-stash-since-college Vogue Elements 9745 pattern out last night in a 16 (though might cut it down to 14 after flat measuring it, to prevent excess bagginess):

Vogue 9745 Pants

No reviews on Pattern Review, but lsaspacey tells me she made them before and they turned out great.

Still, I keep reading everywhere that somehow American patterns have bad crotch curves, whatever that means, and that somehow, European crotches are just superior. So alternatively, I could trace Burda Style magazine 2-2010 102B:

BurdaStyle Feb10 102B Pants Flats

But are American crotches REALLY that crazy? Can't they be altered to fit like anything else? What am I missing here? I really like the style and shape of the Vogue pattern better. If I can get it to fit, it could make a great basic Mikhaela pants pattern for tweaking and playing with.

The Pants Planning Arsenal.

I'm not going into this endeavor randomly. In typical Mikhaela fashion, I own far more books dedicated to the making of pants than I do pairs of me-made pants--three more, to be precise. I've armed myself with:

  • The Sewing Companion Library's The Easy Guide to Sewing Pants. I think I own every book in this series (on jackets, tops, linings, you name it)... this one is by far the longest, and is full of great advice and fitting tips.
  • Palmer/Pletsch's Pants for Real People. Also full of wonderful fitting information, but I'll be making a muslin, thank you very much--I'm allergic to tissue fitting.
  • The above-mentioned David Page Coffin's Making Trousers. Got this a while ago and reread it at lunch yesterday. It's full of wonderful tips about making beautifully constructed trousers... but it's probably the least helpful for my project, as it's all about the subtle details, not fit, style or fabric. In fact, as mentioned above, Coffin suggests that the only way to get properly fitting pants is to pay a master tailor to custom draft them for you from scratch. OK, then. But I do like his advice on using petersham ribbon for the waistbands--love that stuff.
  • Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing has lots of good pants tips.
  • This pants fitting tip on PatternReview seems pretty handy, I THINK--I'm still confused by the difference between crotch length, width, and depth...
  • The Coletterie has pants fitting tips galore, of course.

So that's that. I'm going to do it, and nothing is going to scare me from the attempt. I'm going to measure myself and adjust that pattern tonight after toddler bedtime.

So tell me: do you just love making awesome-fitting pants? Are Burda pants really better?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Finished: "A is for Apple" Toddler Dress (New Look 6016)

A is for Apple Dress: Squirrel View

Z rocks her new frock.

Inspiration: This adorable apple-print baby corduroy was the only remotely Christmas-appropriate fabric in the stash--and I am sworn to ONLY sew from the stash. Baby girl loves apples--they make great projectiles!

The pattern: New Look 6016 separates, a toddler jumper, purse, knit top and leggings.


Babies are easy to photograph--they just lie there! Toddlers, not so much.

A is for Apple Dress: Hamming it Up View

The girl loves her accessories (whether they be sunglasses, or a toy tool belt).

A is for Apple Dress: Yoga View

Here's a yoga view, featuring Mommy and Daddy's feet.

A is for Apple Dress: Elmo Phone View

"Hi Elmo--isn't my new dress super awesome?"

A is for Apple Dress: Xylophone View

The all-important xylophone view.

Pattern Description:

Simple loose-fitting girl's yoked jumper with front and back pleats and two buttons. Cute and sweet!

Pattern Sizing:

Toddler sizing (1/2 to 4T). I made the 2T. It fits great on my 32" tall, 27 lb. 18-month-old toddler, with plenty of room for her cuddly tummy and some space to grow--maybe she can eventually even wear it as a tunic.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, but without all the rick-rack, zippers, bows, ribbons or rosettes. My version is also much longer, but that's a good thing--she'll grow into it.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Simple enough--it's a very basic pattern, but they were just standard pattern company instructions. Nothing special or fun.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

It's cute, it's sweet, it's simple, and it works well for a large-ish print fabric because there are no seams or gathers on the body. A good toddler basic.

Fabric Used: About a yard of apple-patterned baby corduroy from Jo-Ann's ($9). It was really thin and soft and easy to work with, though I had to make sure to use a one-way cutting layout. I didn't worry about crushing the pile while pressing. I also didn't worry about pattern matching at seams, though I did make sure that the apples were vaguely centered on the back and front.

The pink buttons are from M&J Trimming--I spent over an hour waffling between red and pink before going pink, and they're a bit larger than the pattern calls for for extra toddler sewing drama.

Construction notes:

  • The armholes are finished with Wright's single-fold navy bias tape. I had never used bias tape before, but it worked well here--better than a facing would have, I think.
  • I sewed the buttons on with a little asymmetric floral design instead of the standard X design.
  • I pinked some seams and--gasp!--left others totally unfinished. I was in a rush!
  • The hem is overcast and then machine top-stitched instead of my usual hand-stitched hem.
  • I had some trouble getting the curvy bits just right when sewing the front yoke to the front yoke facing using the standard sewing 3/8" from the seam allowance technique. So on the back yoke I drew the stitching lines on in chalk and it came out MUCH more symmetrical and accurate.

Detail shot: A is for Apple Dress button and bias binding detail


  • First use of bias tape! Cross another one off of the "Mikhaela is a sewing wimp" list!
  • I made the right number of buttonholes this time.
  • First time making a yoked dress.
  • First time sewing pleats (easy! at least these ones were!)

Room for improvement?: Next time I'll draw the stitching lines for ALL the curved bits.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes--I think this might become a good wardrobe basic for her in a variety of fabrics, though I don't think it's nearly as fun and stylish as the Oliver + S dress I made previously.

Conclusion: A sweet jumper for a sweet girl. What's not to like?

Bonus Christmas photos, pt. 1: Z has super awful allergies (as in: she had her first tiny bite of hummus at 10 months old and minutes later we had to call 911 and rush to the ER) to sesame, peanuts, cow's milk and eggs. So she had never in her life eaten a cookie until this Christmas, when we made vegan sugar cookies together. Shaped like apples, of course:

Making Vegan Sugar Cookies for Santa

Vegan Cookies for Santa

Bonus Christmas photos, pt. 2:

Mommy, Daddy and Z

P.S. I didn't get to make a dress for myself but check out my $4 Christmas outfit--thrifted $2 top and sidewalk sale $2 skirt!

My $4 Christmas Outfit Remix

P.P.S. Ok, that's all. Happy Holidays, everyone!

The family croquis: new digital dress forms of me, hubby and baby

Aren't we an adorable family of digital dress forms? Click to enlarge!

I have all kinds of sewing projects (for myself and the little one) in the works, plus a finished object or two to review... but first I had to share a sneak peek at the new digital dress forms I created of my family last night after my toddler went to bed.

A long time ago and far far away I promised to put together a tutorial on how to create and use a digital croquis (beyond just: "photograph yourself, trace it, sketch over it.") I'm not sure when/if I'll get a chance to write one to my original level of intention, but at some point I will share some step-by-step photos of the process and hope you all get something out of it.

The first things I intend to sketch on these new dress forms are wide-legged high-waisted trousers for myself, and a pair of piped overalls for baby girl.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

(Retro) Style Icon: Amy Adams as Mary in "The Muppets" (with a sewing twist)

Forget that new Muppet or the green felted frog--how cute is Amy Adams in that beautiful green dress with tulip sleeves?!

So I went to the new Muppet movie and it was fun and all, but I had a little trouble paying attention to Fozzie's bad jokes or Kermit's attempts to make up with Miss Piggy because OH MY GOODNESS I WANTED ALL OF AMY ADAMS's clothes.

Ms. Adams plays Mary, a Shop teacher who fixes cars and does electrical work, all whilst wearing a parade of lovely retro-styled dresses and blouse/skirt combos. She's all about bright-colored belts, fitted bodices and flared skirts...

Also: pintucks.

And stripes!

Polka dots (or polka-dot-like hearts, I think), too...

Not to mention sweetheart necklines:

But the part of the movie where I got really distracted was the finale. Mary was wearing an adorable little jacket, but the fabric of the blouse peeking out from underneath looked oddly familiar... and then she took off her jacket.

I practically fell out of my seat with sewing-related excitement! Because it was the same orange floral silk twill I used for my vintage 1970s orange floral maternity dress ages ago:

Vintage 1970s McCall's 5921 Orange Silk Floral Maternity Dress

Apparently Muppets shop at Fabric-Mart too!

Oh, and I'm not the only one who noticed this or made a dress or a jacket from this popular fabric.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Finished: Tea Party Sundress (Oliver + S )

Z's Orange Tea Party dress

We will not discuss that this two-button dress has (cough!) four buttonholes on it. Instead we will just be blinded by the cuteness of the toddler wearing it.

Inspiration: My sewing machine called, and wanted to know where I'd been for the last 18 months. Also, Ms. Z looks really cute in orange. Also, she was about to outgrow the largest size of this out-of-print pattern. Also I wanted to sew something that was just about pure sewing and didn't involve ANY FITTING OR PATTERN ALTERATIONS OR DAYS SPENT SWEARING AT MUSLIN AND PATTERN PAPER whatsoever. OK then! Deep breath.

The pattern: Oliver + S Tea Party Sundress.

Photos: Sorry for the lack of natural light--the day was ending and by the time I got her to stop running around squealing with joy long enough to get a clear photo, I had to use the dreaded flash.

This front view best captures the adorably flared skirt (the hem facing seems to help it keep its shape almost hoop-skirt-like!) and lovely curved bodice seaming:

Z's Orange Tea Party dress

And this view best capture's Ms. Z's bubbly personality:

Z's Orange Tea Party dress

Pattern Description:

Simple sundress (or playsuit) with button straps, curved bodice, optional piping, and flared gored skirt, plus bloomers with an elastic waist and legs. I cut out the bloomers too but haven't gotten elastic yet.

Pattern Sizing:

Birth-24 Month or 2T-5. I made the 24 month size, and it fits my 27-lb 18-month-old just fine--for now. Maybe not so much by the time the summer weather it was designed for rolls around.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, although I skipped the piping. Because I am afraid.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were a joy! Very clear and nicely graphic designed to boot, not all crowded and cryptic like the Big 4.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Like: I love the clean modern lines of it--the curved bodice and the two prominent buttons and the flared gored skirt. I think the fully lined bodice and hem facing (instead of a regular hem) were nice touches as well.

Dislike: I really love the illustrations on the Oliver + S pattern envelopes and website--the style of them anyway. But I really don't love that they are all of the same little white girl and little white boy. I should probably write a gently worded note to the pattern company--I want to support such a great independent modern children's pattern company for sure, but I'd really like to see some diversity in their illustrations.

The Big 4 may throw goofy trims all over the toddler dresses on their pattern envelopes (rick rack on top of ribbons with bows on ruffles and zippers on flounces...) but at least there are little girls on their envelopes who look a bit like my daughter.

(Edited to add: Striking out this critique because I did indeed write a nice note to the designer and she instantly responded with a really warm and welcoming email where she gave me a hint as to her big plans for her website and paper doll illustrations in 2012 ... and also directed me to her book which features a wide variety of adorable children. So I am now just a whole-hearted fan at this point.)

Fabric Used: Heather Ross orange floral cotton (gauze?) from the Far Far Away collection, purchased at Brooklyn General, plus random brown broadcloth left over from a Reno 911 Halloween costume I made for my husband. The Heather Ross fabric was a delight -- super soft and floaty and kinda crumply -- not like the nasty stiff cheapo quilting cotton I sewed Z's last dress out of.

The buttons are from M&J Trimming and have really cute little white flowers on the holes:

Z's Orange Tea Party dress -- button detail

Finishing notes:

  • The curved seam was a bit tricky, even though this was a beginner pattern. I took it REALLY slow.
  • I hemmed the skirt (hem facing) by hand--
  • My top-stitching has improved a lot, mainly due to the edge stitching foot I got since my last top-stitching disaster. I love this thing!
  • I just pinked the seams. As my mom says "by the time they fray, she'll have outgrown it anyway."
  • The bodice is lined with the skirt fabric, and the skirt hem is faced with the bodice fabric. WOW.


  • This is the first complete garment I've sewn in a gazillion trillion eons of eras of something.
  • It fits.
  • I made my first buttonholes EVER. It was so easy that this dress has four of them (three on one side, one on the other), because even though I practiced a few times with my Viking's magic "sensor buttonhole foot", I still managed to get the placement wrong. I'm going to put buttonholes on everything now! Whee!

Room for improvement?: See above regarding extra buttonholes. I gave up trying to remove them with my seam ripper and just hoped no one would look that closely.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes to both.

Conclusion: Z loves her fancy new sundress-she was twirling all over the place so much I realized why this dress was designed to go with diaper-covering bloomers.

Bonus Christmas-tree-decorating shot (you can see the hem facing):

Z decorates the tree in her Tea Party sundress

Next up: the apple-patterned corduroy Christmas jumper, which should be done by in a day or two.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fear of Piping?

Fear of Piping?

I should have been excited that the sundress dress I've been making has optional piped seams, but instead I was terrified. Piping is one of my top--if not my top--favorite garment details of all time. I love the way it calls attention to seams and outlines a piece of clothing--especially in a bright contrasting color--almost like cartooning with cloth!

But I've always been too chicken to try it, for fear it will call attention to my less than perfectly sewn seams and make them look like drunken snakes. Also, it involves cutting bias strips, which I've always managed to avoid. Some reckless sewer I am. I'm also afraid of making:

  1. Buttonholes, especially bound ones.
  2. Flat-felled anything.
  3. Boned anything.
  4. Bias anything. (Which brings me back to Fear of Piping).
  5. Pants.

And a lot more techniques and/or garments I'm deliberately not going to think too hard about right now. I do hope to conquer them all eventually but for now I'm taking it slow.

What sewing techniques do you yearn to attack but make you quake in your comfortable yet stylish boots?

P.S. I'm happy to report that my piping-free Tea Party Sundress is going to fit Ms. Z, though what she will wear it to and for how long is dubious--she's been growing like Alice in Wonderland lately. Here she is trying it on (with tape to hold it place as I've yet to attempt those terrifying buttonholes). The hem facing looks weird because it's just basted, not actually sewn or anything:

Ms. Z tries on her half-finished Tea Party Sundress.

Ms. Z tries on her half-finished Tea Party Sundress.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Dress Plans + Sun Dress Progress

I haven't sewn proper in months (years?!) but already I'm imagining tons of "next" projects. Next up: holiday sewing.

Chanukah toddler sewing: DONE!

Z still (barely) fits into this Simplicity 3765 dress, which I think should work just fine for Chanukah:

FO: Aqua & Brown Polka Dot Baby Dress

Christmas toddler sewing:

But for Christmas, I got nothing.

Since I'm only sewing from the stash, and I didn't have much fabric with even a vaguely red or green look to it, I went with this super cute apple-patterned baby cord from Joann's:

Apple print baby corduroy

I looked through all my Ottobre Design magazines and went through fits of pattern-choice agony. I even briefly considered making overalls instead of a dress, just because I already had a pattern. Then I decided that sewing only from my pattern stash when I didn't own any toddler patterns made no sense.

So I went ahead and bought a download version of New Look 6016. It's a simple yoked and pleated jumper without too many seams, just perfect for my boldly patterned corduroy (and a nice shape to fit over Z's cute toddler belly.) And it comes with a top and leggings pattern, too.

I'm going to keep it simple--no trim or bows or pockets. Maybe I'll even make a red and white polka dot knit top to go under it--I have some nice rayon-lycra knit in my stash.

After I made my decision, I came across this adorable RTW Mini Boden dress online, which I've decided is my retrospective inspiration. Z was very excited by this photo and kept exclaiming "Apple! Apple!":

Mini Boden Print Corduroy Pinafore Dress (Infant)

Mini Boden Print Corduroy Pinafore Dress (Infant) (clipped to

I've already downloaded it, taped it together and cut it out. I'm finding this so exciting! Actually sewing once again!

Sun Dress Update:

And before any of you wonder why I'm cutting out future dresses without displaying completed photos of previous dresses, never fear.

The Oliver + S Tea Party sun dress and bloomers set I mentioned in my previous post is well underway--I attached the dress bodice tonight and I just need to hem it and do the whole buttonhole/buttons thing (I've never made a buttonhole EVER, so I think I'll practice first on scraps).

I took Ms. Z to M+J Trimming with me today to buy the buttons for both dresses, though we had to fight our way through gangs of shoppers and roving Santa-costume-clad drunken bar-crawling dancing people (whatever possessed me to get near Macy's that close to Christmas?). Here are the sun dress ones--they have a lovely white floral detail that echoes the fabric:

So that's that. I have a vague tickling inclination in my head to make that green and white wrap dress I blogged about EONS ago for myself... I already have the pattern and fabric. But I'm TRYING to take things one project at a time.

What are you sewing for the holidays?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Sun Dress in Winter and Other Projects in Super Active Progress

It's been so long I don't know if any of you are still out there. Anyway--I'm actually making stuff again! My time is limited (getting my exuberant toddler to stop running around squealing and go to bed before 10 p.m. is a bit of a challenge)... but I'm breaking my projects up into manageable chunks--a little pattern cutting here, a little fabric pressing there, and so on.

And I've made myself a Rule: All Patterns and Fabric Must be from the Stash. That ridiculously huge stash that hasn't exactly justified all the storage space it has been occupying in our little apartment in the past 18 months.

(Of course, I immediately broke this rule and bought a book of toddler patterns when I realized Z has outgrown all her baby patterns. BUT NO NEW FABRIC I SWEAR).

So here's what's on the sewing table and knitting needles...

  • The Orange Tea Party Sun Dress and Bloomers (Oliver + S)

    I bought this fabric (from the original Far Far Away collection by Heather Ross) and pattern over a year ago. There are a few issues. The largest size in the envelope (24 months) is unlikely to actually fit my fast-growing daughter for more than a few minutes. The skirt is short, the fabric is thin, and it is a sun dress in the winter time. But whatever--it's cute, I want to make it, and if all else fails I can always give it to a friend for her 6-months-younger baby.

    Status: It's all cut out and such. Just need to actually sew it.

  • The Striped Purple Tomten Hooded Sweater Jacket

    The yarn: Berocco Vintage Chunky in a variety of purples. (I worry that it's just 40% wool--I prefer at least 50% or more wool content--but it's super soft and nice to work with and machine washable).

    Yarn for Tomten Jacket - Berocco Vintage Chunky

    And:The pattern.

    I finally started a lunchtime knitting group at work, and I'm super excited about it. Also, this is so the weather for wool. And thus I continue my slow personal reconnection with a craft I once swore I had replaced with sewing.

    Anyway, this jacket--I love making Elizabeth Zimmerman patterns, and this is no exception.

    Status: I'm halfway to the armpits! (here's the Ravelry link, but there's not much to see yet)

  • Orange Spiral Rib Socks

    The yarn: Knit Picks Swish Worsted, left over from the increasingly-too-small Baby Surprise Jacket Z is STILL wearing.

    I knit this one when I was pregnant, and she's STILL wearing it!

    And: The pattern, by Ann Budd.

    Z needs wool socks. And I was lazy, so I thought--warm thick snuggly worsted-weight socks with leftover yarn. But I don't know--plain solid one-color socks with no stripes or painted effect are so BORING to knit.

    Status: YAWN.

  • Chunky Alpaca Cabled Earflap Hat

    The yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky Solids Marina Melange, same color as this cowl I already made:

    Marine Misti Alpaca Cabled Neck Cowl

    And: The free pattern, the "18 Seconds to Sunrise" hat by Tiffany Gallagher.

    I was starting to feel a bit clownish always wearing a hat, scarf, cowl and gloves and coat each in a different bright color (purple, blue, dark blue, red and green, respectively), and thought I'd try to consolidate my color scheme.

    Status: I finished it AND IT WAS SO SMALL IT MADE MY HEAD HURT. So I'm ripping it back and starting over. I have cast on and that is all.

Yes, I realize I'm mostly making baby--toddler?--things right now. Give me time. I haven't actually measured myself with a tape measure since giving birth almost 18 months ago and I barely remember how to sew and alter patterns for a non-pregnant shape.

Bonus photos: little Ms. Z helping Mommy wind yarn for her Tomten jacket:

Z helping Mommy wind yarn for her new sweater

Innovative approaches to sweater wear:

Is it a hat?

Z in her (purchased, not sewn, I'm so embarrassed) Halloween costume, hiding in a log at the Bronx Zoo: