On Friday we had our second snow of the season (the first being a dusting the weekend after Halloween), but it now being mid-November, this one is the true harbinger of winter.

We’ve shifted our clocks back, I’ve pulled out my sweaters, and generally speaking, the first snow comes right around Thanksgiving, so it’s all in good timing. We’re acclimating LMC to snowpants and boots and mittens (which are tiny and adorable), and planning on more indoor time.

My most recent take on the Geranium dress, made out of some lightweight shot cotton, is mostly inappropriate for the weather, but I bought the fabric back on vacation and cut it out months ago and we can always layer, right? In any case, I cut it long in the hopes that it’ll still fit come warmer days, which are now very far away for Maine. I’ve got a second dress cut out in the same fabric for her still-nudist doll, which I hope to have done by Christmas.  Because there’s nothing like November to kick-start a slightly dormant crafting bug.

Do you have any Christmas crafting plans in the works?









Happy Halloween Everyone!!

I love costumes. It’s the theatre kid in me. But to my surprise, LMC was excited to wear hers too. The first thing she said the morning when I got her from her crib was “ears” because she wanted to put on her headband. Gotta love it – and I think she looks pretty stinkin’ adorable.

Mr. Cleaver and LMC painted the pumpkins together on Wednesday. The tempura paint is starting to peel a little, but I think they’ll make it through the night.

We’re planning to eat pizza and hand out candy, we get 80-100 kids a year. We’re holding off on treat or treating for at least another year.

Hope your Halloween is fun and fabulous!

  • Olivia Dress: McCall’s M6913, View B with D collar. All Kona cottons from JoAnn’s.
  • Pig Ears: Improvised by me. Wool Felt from Z Fabrics.
  • Striped Leggings: Target
  • Tintin outfit: Goodwill and Mr. Cleaver’s closet

Cross Stitch Stocking in ProgressWaldorf DollCross Stitch Stocking in Progress
Waldorf DollCross Stitch Stocking in Progress

Waldorf DollThe end of summer came all too quickly this year bringing with it big changes (LMC started daycare two days a week) and big deadlines (knitting and day-job related), and the sad realization that I should have taken more days off of work. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed with it all and have found some soothing simplicity in hand-work. Setting all knitting aside for a a few weeks, I’ve been focused on my cross-stitch, and this newly finished Waldorf Doll for LMC. At other times, I would find it all a bit tedious, but for me, for now, it’s just right.

What do you turn to when you need some quietude in your life?

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

Poppies Raglan Dress

I purchased ithinksew’s Ella Raglan Blouse a while back, with plans to sew up a ton of cute tops, but I only finally got around to actually making one now. It’s a good thing I did too, because the size on this print of the pattern only goes from 6-24 months (a bit small of a range, if you ask me. Also the long-sleeved version is a totally different pattern, which I also find silly).

I lengthened the pattern by two inches to make it into a dress/tunic and cut out the 24 month size, in hopes of expanding it’s wearable time period. As it is now, it’s definitely a little big, especially around the neck, so I added a ribbon from my stash (actually left over from my wedding nearly 7 years ago) as a sash to help keep everything in place.

The fabric is a quilting cotton that I picked up at Marden’s back in 2010. (I’ve now officially used 1/2 of the prints I bought that day!) I love the print, it’s very Liberty-esque, but it is definitely on the stiffer side. It works well as a dress here, but for a blouse I’d use something lighter-weight. In fact, I think it would be especially dreamy in a Liberty lawn or a voile.

As you’d expect from a raglan top, this one is super simple to sew up and I’d say it’s a great beginner project. The only complicated bit is attaching the bias tape as the neckline casing, which if you use store bought bias tape (which I did here), it’s fairly simple. I definitely sew this one up again, particularly if I can get my hands on some good fabric for it.

Also, one outtake, because it makes me giggle, as I can’t look at it without thinking of that infamous Bigfoot photo.

Bigfoot Baby


Basic Black Ginger

Made: May 2012, about 2 years old

Update: For something meant to fill a basics gap in my wardrobe, I wear it very rarely.

Fit: Looking back on the original post, I mentioned that even then, the waistband was too large. In general, it’s just too big. I cut the waistband too large and I think I even graded out in the skirt, when I didn’t need to. The shaped feature of the waistband means it needs to hit the waist on the right spot and sadly, this one is about an inch too low.

Style: I really wished this one worked better, as it does looks so cute with my saddle shoes.

Materials: More than the fit, the fabric is what kills this one for me. I love twills, but this one attracts lint like crazy and looks dingy from the second you put it on. Though I’m not sure what black bottom-weight fabric wouldn’t be so linty – any suggestions?

Construction: I thought I did a great job on this one, with homemade bias binding on all the edges, but I didn’t sew it on very well as it’s pulled off in several places. I’d add pockets again though because everything’s better with pockets.

Lesson(s) Learned: Even for basics, even more so for basics, fit and fabric really matter.

Final Verdict: I’ll probably still wear it occasionally, until I finally get around to making a replacement (I still want a black Ginger in my wardrobe, just a better one). When I do get rid of it, I’d only reuse the fabric as stuffing for cushions or something, it’s just awful.


The ruffly shirt in 2014

As a craft-blogger, who reads a lot of craft bloggers,  it seems as if we’ll often make something, take some photos, put together a blog post, and it’s on to the next project with the previous one never to be seen or mentioned again in blogland. We share how the project turned out fresh off the needles or sewing machine, but we rarely take a look back at how it fits into ours lives. (Me-made months being the major exception).

Part of the reason I started blogging is because I wanted to share my creations with a like-minded community of makers. The excitement of showing off what I just made.  Heck – finished object  is my 2nd most frequently used tag and accounts for 25% of my posts here.

But this year I’ve been thinking a lot about sustainability of fashion in general and of my own closet in particular. Emma’s post on wardrobe metabolism and the life cycle of clothes was one that really hit the nail on the head for me. One item in particular that should out from that piece was bullet #3 – “Keep tabs out what works & what doesn’t.”

This isn’t about reviewing the pattern, but the project. If you see someone (or multiple someones) making a the same pattern multiple times, you can get the hint that it’s a keeper. But individual projects can vary so much, even out of the same pattern. I’m certainly guilty of getting caught up in shininess of a newly-completed project only to find out weeks, or months down the road that it just doesn’t work – the fit was off, the fabric was a poor match, it just doesn’t fit my lifestyle anymore (or never did).  Or perhaps I didn’t care for it at first when I was being over-judgmental on my construction technique at the time, but I now wear it at least once a week.

So in an attempt to show how my projects have stood the test of time and/or to learn from the mistakes of my yesterdays, I’m going to better document the role of handmade items in my life in two-ways:

  1. I’ll tag the post anytime something I made appears in a post, even if it isn’t new. For my clothes, it’s me-made; for LMC’s stuff, mama-made; and for items I made for Mr. Cleaver, miz-made.
  2. The Tried and True Review, where I’ll look back at old project and discuss how it’s held up since I made it, both successes and closet rejects.

First up?

Ruffly Shirt

The Sew U  Ruffly Shirt

Made: August 2008, the last thing I made in Chicago, before I moved to Maine. Almost six years ago!

Update: I still wear this –  actually, I’m wearing it today. I wear it 2-3 times in a month in the summer then retire it for the cooler weather.

Fit: It was a relaxed fit to begin with, so this one had held up when weight changes pushed other shirts aside.

Style: It’s cute, without being overly cutesy.  It’s a little bit retro with the polka dots and it looks nice enough for work.  I need some more similar things in my closet.

Materials: For $2 fabric from a garage sale, this has held up surprisingly well. It’s super-duper lightweight cotton, so I have to wear a camisole underneath, but it’s great for summer. I do have to iron it after washing though.

Construction: In truth, this is not the greatest sewing job, but it hasn’t effected it’s wearability. The collar stand and bias binding on the sleeves were both new techniques to me at the time and are rather sloppy in places. I could still use work on collar stands. There are also multiple lines of stitching along the ruffle on one side where I had some trouble in attaching it. But it’s all white on white, so unless you’re unreasonably close, you wouldn’t notice.

Lesson(s) Learned: Mistakes are most obvious to the maker and don’t mean that it isn’t still usable

Final Verdict: It’s a keeper, and I’d make the whole thing over again, but better this time.

The Mainah Tee

The Mainah Tee

The Mainah Tee

The Mainah Tee

The Mainah Tee

The Mainah Tee

The Mainah Tee

I was recently introduced to the term Wahlheimat, a German word, like so many German words, that crams a lot of meaning into a few letters. In this case,  Wahlheimat means home of choice, which is a perfect way to describe my relationship with Maine.

All told, I’ve now lived in the state for about seven years total, but even when I’ve lived here for another 50 years, I’ll still be considered “From Away,” the title of Mainer forever out of my reach.

Fortunately, my From Away status doesn’t taint Little Miss Cleaver’s true-blue Mainah credentials (though if you talk to people Down East, living in the Greater Portland Area may).

So it only seemed fitting to make her a blue Maine tee, featuring our state mammal (the moose) and our most quintessential, but unofficial state phrase – ayuh, which dialect blog names America’s oddest yes

It’s made out of more of the sun-protective jersey from Rockywoods and of the tees I’ve made to date, this one is by far the best sewn.

I pulled out the (rather slim) manual for the Pfaff Select 3.0 and got more into the weeds on its stretch-stitch capabilities. By using a combination of the straight stretch stitch, the “closed overlock,” and a double needle, I got what is a professional-looking and sturdy final product.

I don’t know how prevalent these stitches are on non-Pfaff machines, but if there’s any interest, I’d be happy to pull together a tutorial.  Let me know!

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