Brooklyn Tweed Corvid Coat

DSC_0043 photo DSC_0043_zpspcviijzg.jpg

I’m so excited to share this sweater with you. Why? Well, to start, I’m utterly in love with it. It’s the first time I’ve been able to take a commercial pattern and knit it on my machine. The Corvid Coat from Brooklyn Tweed conveniently has a schematic so I could use Garment Designer to draft the design and produce a machine pattern for me. Also, it appears they hired my reincarnated self to model the design….

 photo Corvid_01_zpsgoiq8iin.jpg

A few changes (and flaws), well, one big one. The collar and lower front extension on the original is in cartridge rib. I think the closest approximation my ribber does to this is fisherman’s rib. But, because I hadn’t done it before and requires tucking – which I also haven’t done before- I just made a 2×2 rib. But, don’t fear. I plan to make this in a cream Corriedale yarn I bought last year and will do fisherman’s rib then.



The flaw: my collar isn’t  wide enough. If you look at the original design, it flips back on itself and still looks about the same width as the lower ribbing. I read the directions to be five inches in width. But, I got it wrong. When I make this again, I’ll widen the collar to 8 to 10 inches and lengthen the collar a few inches (I accidentally made mine a few inches short).

DSC_0039 photo DSC_0039_zpsojwrkkba.jpg

The sleeves are also snug on me (although now that I’ve worn it around, they have loosened up). Which I could clearly see when I drafted it in Garment Designer. But, I decided to go with the exact provided measurements instead of, oh, you know using the software I own that allows me to customize fit.

DSC_0072 photo DSC_0072_zpspwtiyfpz.jpg

Because the Corvid is mostly straight stockinette, this knit very quickly with whole swaths of simple knitting (no increases or decreases). I knit this on my bulky Brother 270 (new to me this summer)  in a sport weight yarn from Bartlett yarns that I picked up at Maryland Sheep and Wool this year.  This weight yarn probably knits best on a mid-gauge machine. I knit this on Tension 1 (which the lower the number, the tighter the tension). I’m also so sad now I’m going to miss MDSW in 2017. We have two weddings in May. One of them in NY during MDSW.

DSC_0047 photo DSC_0047_zpso4mkbmez.jpg

I am not 100 percent happy with the ribbing.Before blocking, it had a nice beefy hand and great definition. But, post wet block, the 2×2 rib looks a bit flat along the front hem. I’m not sure if that’s a product of the yarn or the Tension 0 I knit it on (again, the bulky machine isn’t ideal for a sport weight yarn). So, for the collar and lower front extension, I used steam to give the ribbing a final block.  I know that a lot of people hand knit the ribbing and add it to the machine. But, I have really bad tendinitis in my hands that prevent me from hand knitting.

Due to the width of the back and lower rib, I did have to knit them in sections and seam them together. But, I think it’s really hard to tell unless you’re looking.

DSC_0064 photo DSC_0064_zpsyxtoncf4.jpg

Any who, if you can’t tell, I AM FEELING MYSELF. I am so happy to have a REAL sweater made from REAL wool that I made. It’s EXACTLY why I wanted to try machine knitting.

DSC_0080 photo DSC_0080_zpsivdxmv7j.jpg

And, I get to wear it during the fall!

What’s next… a good question. I’m kind of swamped with work the next few weeks. I quit my 9 to 5 back in July and have had a (miraculous) steady  stream of consulting work since then. It’s been extremely liberating. But, not nearly the amount of time I thought I would have with my sewing and knitting.  When things calm down in November,  I’m thinking of either Brooklyn Tweed’s  Brighton with a diamond shape tuck stitch or the lovely raglan sleeve Roslyn (both designed by my friend Veronik). But, seriously, at some point I need to start holiday gifts….

DSC_0092 photo DSC_0092_zps9balo0hj.jpg

Somewhat more technical notes on my Ravelry page

Sweet Like Carmel Cardi

Way back in May I decided to knit a summer sweater based on the Carmel sweater by Isabell Kraemer. I love most anything with stripes and  decided to make this my third knit garment.  It’s been knit over 1900 times! Over the summer it became a UFO when I was short green yarn and needed to order more. And, then I was entirely distracted sewing tee shirts and work out pants.

IMGP0143 photo IMGP0143_zpsulm3lsmp.jpg

Now, at the beginning of fall, I decided to pick it back up again. It’s a ‘summer’ sweater because the yarn is a  DK weight, linen/ silk blend from Colourmart and provides zero warmth. I knit all of it including the ribbing on my Brother 830, a standard bed knitting machine.

IMGP0152 photo IMGP0152_zpsy6sotnlf.jpg

The Carmel pattern is a written pattern (no schematic) only. And, I don’t really read knitting. So, I made a bunch of guesses about the dimensions and drafted away in Garment Designer. For this, I went with the cardigan in a basic shape, boat neckline and 3/4 tapered sleeves.

IMGP0145 photo IMGP0145_zpsylnsab4o.jpg

If I were to knit it again, I would knit a round neckline, contoured (more fitted) bodice, raise the armhole and keep the sleeves and length as originally drafted. I’d also pick colors with a higher contrast. The colors here are fine. But, I’d love something with a bit more contrast.

IMGP0155 photo IMGP0155_zpslnzuklf6.jpg

I really learned a lot from knitting this. I had to figure out where my color changes would be, picking the right tension for the ribbing, using my linker to seam the garment and just how very much I hate weaving in ends.

IMGP0154 photo IMGP0154_zpsno4ejkiq.jpg

IMGP0153 photo IMGP0153_zpszuxchyub.jpg

IMGP0148 photo IMGP0148_zpsrhc5hl7d.jpg

I borrowed this hat pin from my friend Liz. And, will be on the lookout for some of my own!

Ravelry notes here

My next knitting project is the Corvid Coat from Brooklyn Tweed. I’ve already started it on my bulky knitting machine using a sport weight yarn I bought a Maryland Sheep and Wool. Maybe I can get this one done while it’s still fall!

All the Fashion in the Western Reserve

My dearest childhood friend Stephanie lives in Youngstown, Ohio. We met back when our families were stationed in Germany during middle school. She has three great kids and a full time job so we don’t get to see each other too often. She’s just a five hour drive away so Jordan and I took the long Labor Day weekend for a mini break in the Western Reserve. As per usual, I managed to squeeze in as much sewing / fashion related stuff as humanly possible. Since this is a long post with many, many photos, I’ll just help you along here here and let you jump to the parts that might interest you most. I was lucky enough to spend time looking at quilts and knitting at the The Canfield Fair, fabulous performance costumes at the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and checking out the amazing costume collection at the Kent State Museum.

IMGP0015 photo IMGP0015_zpsmpmilkwu.jpg

Sewing Machine Tractor. Of course.

When Stephanie suggested the Canfield Fair for our Friday plans I was all about it. And, not just in for the deep fried cheese curds.  The Canfield Fair is the largest County Fair in the country! I went online and saw they had quilting exhibits in addition to hand and machine knitting. There was fashion sewing too, but I didn’t grab any photos of those.

IMGP0014 photo IMGP0014_zpsu0gg2aws.jpg

IMGP0013 photo IMGP0013_zpsplp7z9ib.jpg

While there were just a few items that were machine and hand knit, I was BLOWN away by the gorgeous hand and machine made quilts on display.
IMGP0004 photo IMGP0004_zpsivvildmj.jpg

IMGP0008 photo IMGP0008_zpskgv9cdfn.jpg

IMGP0005 photo IMGP0005_zps0s2emvrv.jpg

IMGP0012 photo IMGP0012_zps4jlhiymq.jpg

IMGP0010 photo IMGP0010_zpspcaqvgyq.jpg

After we left Youngstown, Jordan and I headed up to Cleveland for the remainder of the weekend. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was top of our list.

IMGP0039 photo IMGP0039_zpskscthgoj.jpg

As per usual, I beelined for the costume display.

IMGP0036 photo IMGP0036_zpstsmsqike.jpg

Oh, Queen Bey. Why did I recognize every single one of the seven costumes on display?

IMGP0037 photo IMGP0037_zpsqq8smvmg.jpg

Also, I totally want to be a Supreme.

IMGP0034 photo IMGP0034_zps86d6ytqy.jpg

On Sunday, we drove an hour outside of Cleveland to Kent State University so I could see a few of the current exhibitions from their museum’s costume collection.

IMGP0060 photo IMGP0060_zpsoftevzuu.jpg

Closing this weekend in the incredible Flapper Style: 1920s Fashion. Holy beaded beauty. Flapper Style is a wonderful collection of period pieces. The 40 pieces (mostly dresses and hats) are grouped by themes of Romanticism, Art Deco, Exoticism and Abstraction. Here are a few of my favorites:

IMGP0074 photo IMGP0074_zpssvxhvfpw.jpg

IMGP0075 photo IMGP0075_zpsmfonsxvf.jpg

IMGP0078 photo IMGP0078_zpsislf2yja.jpg

IMGP0070 photo IMGP0070_zpsy8ghvosz.jpg

IMGP0058 photo IMGP0058_zpswngyubkz.jpg


IMGP0080 photo IMGP0080_zpse5ay0e0h.jpg

IMGP0079 photo IMGP0079_zpswhcpqu7h.jpg

IMGP0071 photo IMGP0071_zps2gshpknf.jpg

IMGP0066 photo IMGP0066_zpshjlyhl20.jpg

IMGP0061 photo IMGP0061_zpsb9odjthe.jpg

Following the incredible Flapper Style, I went to view the Fashion Timeline exhibit which does a remarkable job of tying fashion to current events. From the advent of fabric production to the invention and adoption of the sewing machine, fashion is tied together.

IMGP0040 photo IMGP0040_zpsjzwtdfwf.jpg

They started with the mid 1700s and wrapped up with the mid 1960s (You can see the interactive timeline here). As I’ve noted before, I have very mixed emotions when it comes to vintage clothes. For me, it’s important to not look at the amazing fashion of the past and idealize what were generally crappy times for people of color and women. I love fashion and costumes and can deeply appreciate the clothes for what they are. But, it’s odd to stand around and admire an antebellum dress that was afforded on the backs of  slave labor (says the girl who holds Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird up as her favorite books of all time). Or, love the  details in a dress from the 50s and 60s and not think about the massive violation of civil rights in America.  That said, the exhibit does a good job of noting the part of  our history that made fashion possible, like the invention of the cotton gin.  Or, acknowledging that women in the work place influenced and changed style very quickly.

IMGP0044 photo IMGP0044_zpsuz6kf2jh.jpg

Here are a few of the pieces from the collection that really spoke to me.

IMGP0045 photo IMGP0045_zpsbe0l6mja.jpg

IMGP0052 photo IMGP0052_zps1vyzb5nf.jpg

IMGP0047 photo IMGP0047_zpsew7fybyh.jpg

The final exhibition I saw was Fashion Designs of Southern Africa. While I was originally most excited about this new exhibit, I was underwhelmed in person. Perhaps it’s because I’m admittedly not familiar with designers from Southern Africa.But, I found the selections underwhelming with not enough context.

IMGP0083 photo IMGP0083_zpscevzzeeq.jpg

IMGP0084 photo IMGP0084_zpsoy09qyy0.jpg

So, that wraps up all the ways I turned our mini break into my fashion tour of the Western Reserve🙂. If you can make it to Kent State I highly recommend you visit their compact but well curated costume museum. And, if you’re at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, give yourself plenty of time. I could have spent hours and hours in there. We also did a bunch of other touristy stuff including walking and biking tours that I very much enjoyed. I can tell you for sure though, Cleveland absolutely rocks!

Athletic Wear: Jalie 3462, Cora Leggings

You guys.

You guys.

I made leggings that did not require a full seat, full/forward/muscular/fat thigh nor a sway back adjustment.

DSC_0214 photo DSC_0214_zpsa935ypka.jpg

Don’t adjust your phone screen. What I speak is the truth. Because, the Jalie Cora Leggings are the MOTHER LOVING BUSINESS. Or magic. But, probably just really well drafted if we’re being honest. Yet, still a strong possibility of magic.

 photo 3462_zpswhitsv0c.jpg

When it comes to workout clothes, I’m a big fan of leggings. As my thighs have touched since birth, shorts give me continual chub rub and I don’t like to chafe. Leggings are my friend. I made three pairs of these and I LOVE them. They are stylish and comfotable and I felt totally hawt and fit!

Now, one bit of advice I would give should you choose to make these.  Listen is to your inner voice and DO NOT put the lightest color as the inner thigh contrast. Holy stare at my butt Batman!

DSC_0208 photo DSC_0208_zpsfs5mnwie.jpg

Eggplant, grey, teal with an eyeful of me.

After making this mistake with my first pair, I was far more judicious in my color choices with my  second and third pair – making sure to put the darker color at the center. Most of the fabric is from Suzie Spandex in Montréal – which I bought in purple, grey, black, red and blue during PR Weekend there like six years ago. What’s funny is the Jalie women were on that trip and raved about the Suziplex. The accent colors of baby blue and mint green are Supplex from Stretch House, purchased about six years ago in NY

DSC_0195 photo DSC_0195_zpsdxrljtis.jpg

Black, grey, baby blue w. reflective tape

On my second pair, I added stretchy sew-in reflective tape to the calf and pocket seams (above).  Speaking of the pocket… Do you see my iPod bulging a bit at the back below my waist? It’s a crazy great pocket. It fits my huge android phone, keys and ID too.

DSC_0157 photo DSC_0157_zps43iewvp2.jpg

Chocolate brown and mint green

Of the many many yards of athletic fabric I’ve bought including Under Armor, Nike, and general supplex this Suziplex is the best stuff I’ve ever used. And, it’s sadly no longer being made. Melissa from FehrTrade tipped me off that they weren’t selling it anymore last year and I called and placed an obscene order – tariffs and international shipping be dammed! This of course left me with some odd colors (brown, teal, burgundy, and violet). But, I do not care. I will hoard these until they are sold for a $1 a yard at my estate sale.

I sewed a size X at the waist grading to a Z at the thigh based on my measurements. That’s it. No alterations. No special tricks. No sizing down. No topstitching the seams. I sewed this mostly mostly on my serger and used my coverstitch for the hemming.  I did add some reflective tape on two pairs for some night visibility.

I do vacillate between feeling really good with how these look on my butt to feeling like they show a lot of my butt. It’s so hurrrd being a  woman.

That’s it. I love them. Please pardon me while I go work out. Or walk the dog. He clearly is ready to go out.



They Call Me The Duchess: Style Arc Gorgeous Gore Skirt and Phillipa Peplum

I kind of went crazy when StyleArc put together several pieces from the 2014 Royal Tour to Australia. After two years, I finally sewed up the Phillipa Top, Gorgeous Gore skirt, and Kate dress from their Etsy shop as copy shop patterns (death to taping!). I would have bought the Catherine too, but it wasn’t available as a PDF.


I SWOONED over this pink wool jersey Alexander McQueen ensemble.

The Royals arrive into Adelaide

The royals, Kate and William, arrive into Adelaide without their son GeorgePictured: Prince William and Kate Ref: SPL743025 230414
Picture by: Splash News


Having the same lithe figure as the Duchess (HA!), I decided to whip up my own version using a polyester ponte knit I bought last year from Metro Textiles in the Garment District.


I wore it this weekend to Jordan’s grandfather’s 80th birthday dinner. And, that’s the only photo I have of it on me. It’s literally 100 degrees here (they are calling it a ‘Heat Dome’) and you’ll be shocked to know poly scuba does not breath. We snapped this on my cell phone for IG in the hotel and bolted for the restaurant.

DSC_0005 photo DSC_0005_zps56rxtrmh.jpg

Any who, when I first sent the photo of this outfit on my dress form, my friend Liz said “I have to see it on. It looks potentially matronly”. I can see why. First, my dress form approximates but doesn’t mimic my figure. Second, I think we can all agree that perhaps Catherine dresses a little…. mumsy? That said, I’m actually pretty pleased with the silouhette overall on me.

DSC_0031 photo DSC_0031_zpsnohzjfk8.jpg

The Gorgeous Gore skirt is a really terrific beginner pattern and intro to StyleArc.  It’s just two pattern pieces and a really simple sew.  I purchased the 12-14-16 size range. For the skirt, I cut the 16 and ended up taking it in at the waist about three sizes and one size through the thighs. The instructions might be a bit  confusing if you read too fast. But, I sewed each panel with 1/4 inch seams and the side seams with 3/8 inch allowance. I ended up shortening the skirt by two inches and using 1/2 inch wide elastic at the waist rather that 1/4 inch.

DSC_0007 photo DSC_0007_zpsbqse98cy.jpg

For the Philipa top, I found one online review and read a smattering of comments on other blogs about it being too low cut. Which, I did not find to be the case at all. Maybe because I’m a little busty it doesn’t come down as far as for others? I did also make an FBA and multiple muslins of the top. Why? Because it’s a new-to-me company and my fabric is precious.

Muslin 1:  I  started with a 16, raised the neckline by 1 inch and made a 1.25 inch FBA adding a side dart and shortening the front dart by 1 inch.

DSC_0019 photo DSC_0019_zpsrmteymqd.jpg

Muslin 2: Dropped down to a 12, put the neckline back where it was and made a 1.25 inch FBA

IMGP0704 photo IMGP0704_zpsgynwt5ja.jpg

DSC_0036 photo DSC_0036_zpsg2ncannc.jpg

Muslin 3: Kept the size 12 (which is still a wee bit big) and reduced my FBA to 1 inch.  I also lowered the side darts 1/2 inch.  FYI, darts can end 1 to 2.5 inches from the apex. Mine still don’t. They are right up on me.

I also changed the 3/4 sleeves to a capped sleeve. Because, poly scuba in the dead of summer.

DSC_0021 photo DSC_0021_zpsukhspafv.jpg

And, here’s the back view. I can get the top on fine without unzipping. But, with a zip, it’s easier to get on without messing up my hair and makeup. So, I’m glad I kept it.

DSC_0024 photo DSC_0024_zpskisfdes0.jpg

StyleArc is AWESOME and I’m sorry it took me this long to discover them. I love, love, love this outfit. And, maybe someday I’ll actually get more photos of me in it! I hope to make this up in the fall in long sleeves using some of my stashed wool jersey — maybe a nice camel. Wouldn’t that look awesome with tall boots?


Cashmerette Patterns Concord Tee – Review

Hot time, summer in the city and all that, eh? In April, we went to Santa Fe for my 40th birthday. The night of my birthday dinner I did a wine pairing at a fancy Santa Fe restaurant. While I like my drink, I’m not a big drinker, but at the price point for the meal, I drank every last overpriced drop.

A few days after said dinner, the Concord Tee from Cashmerette patterns showed up in my mail box. Initially startled, I foggily remembered ordering it the night of said matched wine impaired dinner.  Apparently, you can drunk purchase.

I was drawn to the Cashmerette line for the lack of an FBA. I mean, I can make them. But, I don’t like it. For my muslin, I cut an E/F cup (I’m a 34G bra) with a 12 bodice, grading out to a 16 at the hip ( For reference, these days I’m sewing a 40 in Burda on top w. a 1.5 – 2 inch inch or so FBA and a 40 grading to a 46 on the bottom.) . My bust measurement is spot on for Cashmerette’s 12 E/F. But, my waist and hip fell between the 14 and 16.

While the bust generally fit, I found overall the shirt was bigger/ had more ease that I wanted. In addition, the front neckline was really wide on me so that my bra would show and a little low – just a sliver of cleavage. I also noticed that there’s a bit of extra fabric width between my bust and shoulders. Plus, the shoulders are a hair too wide for me as drafted.

IMG_20160709_093910604 photo IMG_20160709_093910604_zps3qijtg0o.jpg

For my additional versions, I raised the neckline 1/4 inch and sewed 12; grading to just a 14 at the high hip.  Much better (didn’t make the shoulder adjustment yet).

IMG_20160709_182908673_HDR photo IMG_20160709_182908673_HDR_zpsnmquqc3g.jpg

But, here in  these sitting photo, you can see what I mean about there being a little more length or width than I need between the upper bust and the shoulder.

IMG_20160709_182918996 photo IMG_20160709_182918996_zps41aa2tf8.jpg

And, I can’t bend over in the v-neck version without exposing myself.

DSC_0058 photo DSC_0058_zps3xikqoqa.jpg

I’ve made about four of these shirts in the scoop and v-neck, medium length and short sleeved. I’ve since altered the pattern for what I think will work best of taking out that 2 cm of gaposis but don’t have more fabric to test it in. I’ve also narrowed the shoulder 1/4 inch. Next time I get my hands on some cotton knits, I’ll make up a few more too.

Oh, I initially sewed the muslin as a tunic. Which I didn’t care for on me. But, I didn’t save a photo because I’m an idiot.

As for the instructions, I kind of just glanced at them. The pattern provides a lot of handholding which an intermediate to advanced seamstress might find unnecessary. The pattern has V-neck instructions I’ve not seen before. I used my TNT v-neck method from the Sewing Athleticwear from the Singer Sewing Reference Library.

DSC_0054 photo DSC_0054_zpshxfscn9u.jpg

For my gray scoop neck version, I bound the neckline also using instruction from the Sewing Athleticwear volume of the Singer Sewing Reference Library. I did them this way because cotton knits tend to stretch. And this is a way of having a nice, snug  yet still stretchy neckline. It’s a really pretty and very neat finish that I like doing.

Now, the $18 elephant in my room. Is this pattern worth it? For ease of use, absolutely. It’s nice to have a dartless tee that actually fits. And, while I need a few small alterations for it to be my ideal, that’s nothing compared to starting from scratch with a B or C cup pattern. Plus, it’s great when a pattern fits you out the envelope. But, in my view they really aren’t supposed to if you want the best fit possible🙂

Button Front Skirt: Burdastyle 9-2009 #125

DSC_0119 photo DSC_0119_zpsm2y2pgzr.jpg

About 20+ years ago I had a thrifted a-line skirt made from denim with buttons up the front. I’m not sure whatever happened to that skirt. But, I have noticed these skirts are all the rage lately and it seemed like a perfect summer skirt.  Enter BurdaStyle 9-2009 #125

DSC_0094 photo DSC_0094_zpsfwppetvl.jpg

A really lovely basic skirt. It’s made up a few ways in the magazine including leather with the front closures or with a side zip in three different lengths.

 photo original_zps9rhztq1i.jpg

For my first version (because of course I made two) I used some leftover orange and cream stretch twill from the creamscicle dress I made six years ago.

DSC_0115 photo DSC_0115_zpszkyr82tl.jpg

I sewed a 40 at the waist grading out to a 46 at the lower thigh. I also made swayback adjustment but totally forgot to add the inch I took out from the waist back to the skirt hem. So, it rides up a little in the back:-/ Also, my fabric is stretch so it flares a bit more than the pattern draft calls for.

DSC_0104 photo DSC_0104_zpsjyd1p2sk.jpg

When sewing a skirt without a waistband, it’s inherently going to stretch as it’s all bias. So, you’ll want to use twill tape in the waist seam allowances or be sure to double stitch the waistline. Since I was making mine from denim and not leather, I also interfaced the front fold extension.

DSC_0102 photo DSC_0102_zpsku22v9vn.jpg

The insides are all serged. It would be very pretty if I’d bound the insides (or useful if I’d taken a photo of the insides…)  But, I didn’t. I paired this skirt with my summer sweater made from orange cotton. It’s slouchy and comfy with this more casual skirt.

DSC_0176 photo DSC_0176_zpspnxuorca.jpg

Blue Denim:

DSC_0089 photo DSC_0089_zpsd7ddbmag.jpg

I wanted a skirt reminiscent of a traditional denim skirt and mimicked my high school skirt.  And, I wanted it to be casual enough to wear with some of the graphic tees I have but never wear (because I don’t have anything to wear them with).  My only additional alteration with this version was to add an extra inch in length to the skirt overall, but of course not to the center back to make up for my swayback adjustment. Sigh.

Jordan thinks these skirts are shorter than I normally wear. He claims I like to cover my knees. But, I wanted something short for summer that subbed in for actual shorts🙂

DSC_0079 photo DSC_0079_zpsdqgivl1b.jpg

For this version, I used really cute donut jeans buttons. I used dark grey topstitching thread and it pulls the nickel of the buttons in nicely. All but two of these buttons popped off while wearing or putting on the first few times.

DSC_0045 photo DSC_0045_zpspwyebcnb.jpg

Overall, a nice little summer skirt pattern. And, for once I am on trend!  Plus, you know I love anything even vaguely nautical🙂

DSC_0047 photo DSC_0047_zpswzhanxo4.jpg

This is an embarrassingly bad salute. I am clearly out of practice.