Today’s stream of consciousness

Overslept this morning, completely forgot to set my alarm. Missed Elliot’s bus and had to drive him to school, making him eat a banana in the car. He made it a few minutes after the bell rang, and then I had to bring Clementine to preschool. I was ten minutes late for yoga. Does the way your morning starts out influence your whole day? I hope not, but suspect so.

Why am I the only person who falls over and giggles in yoga class? Everyone is so serious. Also: It is never not funny how yoga makes people fart.

I mention yoga only because I am v. proud of self for finally signing up for a class that will (hopefully) get me back into shape this year (ahem this would be the same reason I instagram my running shoes every time I go running, once every two months), not because I want to give anyone else an inferiority complex. It’s been too long since I exercised regularly. Believe me when I say that my midsection has been a flabby mess for the past six years.

Today is one of those days that I feel completely overwhelmed by blogging and everything else I do here, probably because I spent the past hour looking at Alt Summit pictures and posts and comparing myself to everyone and everything and coming up short, every time (for those who don’t know, Alt Summit is an amazing blogger’s conference that I miss every year, mostly because I am not with-the-program enough to pay attention to when it is, much less register before it sells out every year. Also: everyone is so well-dressed and made up….ack…did I mention I’m falling short in my self-comparisons today?).

I think I made a breakthrough on bedtime-related-angst last night by allowing Clementine and Elliot to read for a half hour in their room before lights out instead of just doing the normal stories, song, prayers, lights-out routine. They are super cute lying side by side in Elliot’s bed while he reads Berenstein Bears’ “Spooky Old Tree” to her. ADORBS.

I have days where I feel like I have a bajillion things to blog about and some days where I feel like I have nothing. Today is a nothing day.

Today I am working on pants. Sewing pants, that is. I will focus on pants and nothing else. I will become the pants. But first I will go have lunch.

Posted in at home

Baby Boy Quilt + Pants

I’ve had no less than nine friends and family members give birth to boys in the past year. NINE. Can’t think of a single baby girl though…why is that?? What is up with the baby boys?? I would be lying if I said I was able to make handmade gifts for all of them, but I did manage to finish and gift this little boy quilt last week:

Happy Drawing

Happy Drawing

Happy DrawingHappy Drawing
This ladder quilt was inspired by this quilt on the Cloud 9 blog, which in turn was inspired by this post by Lu Summers. There’s a tutorial for Michelle’s version on the Cloud 9 post, mine is a bit simpler but if there’s enough interest I could probably post some instructions for this version as well. I used my “cheater bindof method” for this quilt, super easy and — extra added bonus! — because I quilted all the way to the edge of the blue backing with white thread, it created a cool stitching pattern along the side bindings.

Happy Drawing

Baby quilts are so fun and quick to make. I like that it’s rectangular so that it could be potentially used as real bedding once little Baby M is old enough in addition to the usual nursery decor or play-blanket functions.

Oh and of course I had to make a cute little pair of Big Butt Baby Pants too!!! Love the little frogs on this print. That Ed Emberley is a genius.


{Fabric in this post: Happy Drawing by Ed Emberley for Cloud 9, stripes are Hello Pilgrim by Lizzy House, blue and white Moda Bella solids for quilt backing and sashing}

Heart Pants!


With Valentine’s Day coming up, it seemed appropriate to post these fun little pants with heart kneepads. [UPDATE: PARSLEY PANTS PATTERN AVAILABLE HERE]






So easy, all it takes is four little hearts cut out of fabric. I already have another pair planned out (grey pants, pink hearts).


Just cut out four hearts, sew them together two at a time with a small-ish (1/4″-3/8″) seam allowance, leaving a turning hole.


Notch or grade the seam allowances and press them flat.


Then pin and sew them to the pant leg in the desired location. As you can see I like to use a worn pair of pants to help me locate the spot where the knees are. Then sew up the pants and you’re finished!


(What happened to my resolution that I would sew more for the boy this year you ask? Don’t worry, I have been busy. More to come, soon…)

Whale Dress from Flashback Tee pattern


The Flashback Tee is proving to be one of (if not THE) most versatile pattern I’ve got in my arsenal…it’s so easy to mix up and change around (with minimal fussiness) that I decided it was about time I made it into a dress. And actually, this was a couple months ago, so it ended up being one of Clementine’s Christmas dresses (I’m a bit behind on my blogging if you really must know). Now I realize that a knit whale dress is perhaps a bit casual for big occasions but I’ve never really been one to pull out the tulle and satin for Christmas or Easter, so it didn’t really matter. Do you dress your kids up big-time? See, I probably would if I were more with-the-program, but holidays always seem to sneak up on me and I’m usually glad if there are any clean clothes, much less fancy clothes. Anyway, as an added bonus: Clementine wears knits without any fuss (SCORE). She’s actually wearing this dress today. I happen to like it with leggings, or in this case, a knit pant underneath:



The adjustments needed to make the Flashback Tee into a dress are really quite simple; you need to know how long you want it, and then you need to add a bit of width to the bottom so that it flares out like a skirt. How much is really up to you, though I added roughly 8″ to the 3T pattern. Kristin of skirtastop made a flutter-sleeved version last year that is really quite fetching; mine differs from hers only slightly in that I like to follow the side seam under the arm an inch or two before flaring it out towards the skirt to make it a bit more fitted, if that makes sense. But whatever you prefer! Here’s a basic diagram of how I cut the dress using the tee pattern as a general guideline; everything else (sleeves, neckband) can stay the same:


The other thing that I tried this time around was fold-over elastic (FOE) for the neckline — I’d ordered a bunch of it from Banberry Place and Fabric Fairy (both carry it in a number of colors) a while ago and I love how easy it is to just zig-zag stitch onto a neckline. SO quick!



OH! And the whale fabric is designed by me for Spoonflower; I made a few other garments with it (a whale skinny tee here and Charlie Tunic here) and you can find it here if you’d like to buy some of your own!

My Fabric Shop Stops of 2012

There’s a lot of talk these days about “shopping local,” and while I’d love to say I shop locally for my fabric, the truth is that I don’t. I would love to shop more frequently at *my* local shop in Ann Arbor, but sadly they cater to a very different type of sewist than I — one who is more traditional and enjoys a wall full of batiks, for instance — so I have a hard time finding the fabrics I want there (and yes, if you’re wondering, I have offered my feedback, no surprise to those of you who know me in person). Lucky for me, Pink Castle will soon be opening a new modern quilt shop and fabric studio here in Ann Arbor (yippeee!!!) which I am sure to visit on a regular basis. Since they’re not open to the public yet, I thought I’d highlight some of my favorite local fabric shops from my travels this past year instead. These places both inspire me to sew and give me hope that sewing will be alive and well in the next generation.

Now first let me say that I do think it is great that we have an online community of sewing enthusiasts who support each other virtually, through blogs and instagram and facebook and such. And I think it’s fantastic that we have such a great selection of wonderful online shops as well, because it makes it much easier for those who do not have local shops or who live far away from civilization to find and purchase fabrics they love. But over the course of a few years, I have been making a concerted effort to turn that virtual community into a real one; to meet my virtual friends in person and to visit as many brick and mortar shops in my travels as I possibly can, so that I can both support those shops and raise awareness by blogging about them. And can I tell you, as fun as making friends on the internet is, it is a bajillion times more fun to finally meet those friends face to face. And so important to have a place to gather, talk and sew.

This year I made a point of visiting local shops that carry a great selection of fabrics and supplies for modern quilters and sewists, and that offer classes to help encourage new sewists and pass on old skills to the next generation. I still have a ton of shops on “the list” that I’d still like to visit yet, of course, and I can’t wait to check off even more of these as time goes on. If you live near any of these shops, I hope you know how lucky you are to have them nearby and that you make a point of visiting them first and frequently!


Dry Goods Design, Ballard Washington

The most recent shop I’ve visited is Dry Goods Design, just north of Seattle. Dry Goods’ owner, Keli, has just opened Make*Do*Mend, a sewing studio space directly behind the fabric shop where she is now offering a number of classes. As you can see, the sewing studio is absolutely stunning.




With a modern navy, yellow and grey color scheme, original artwork by Blair Peter of wisecraft, and lovely fabric wall decals, this sewing space is fun and inviting. I was honored to be invited to help celebrate the Make*Do*Mend space’s grand opening earlier last month, so I gave a little presentation on sewing garments. But mostly it was just so fun to be in this space, talking to people and hearing about their latest projects…it made me wish I lived right around the corner.


The Dry Goods fabric shop space is equally charming, with lots of color, a comfy couch, and plenty of fabrics to keep you busy for a long time.


See more pics of both the Dry Goods shop and Make*Do*Mend sewing studio here:

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Nido, Burlington Vermont


I visited Nido early last fall (where I gave another talk — see the blog post here) and it did not disappoint! The antique decor and amazing selection make it a must-visit if you are in the Burlington area! In addition to fabrics, Nido carries a wonderful selection of yarns as well.

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Purl Soho, New York City


Purl is another must-visit if you ever find yourself in New York City. I’ve never seen such an amazing selection of Liberty Lawn in one place, and their wall display of fabrics in embroidery hoops is pretty much now iconic. I had the opportunity to stop by Purl Soho a couple of times as part of Heather Ross’ sewing/fabric design weekends that I participated in this past year (see the blog posts here and here).

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Whipstitch, Atlanta Georgia


Though Whipstitch’s owner Deborah Moebes recently transformed her shop space into a dedicated sewing studio for the local Atlanta sewing community (check out her amazing class selection!), these photos of the shop from my visit last March (see the blog post here) are still a lovely visual inspiration to anyone with dreams of ever opening their own space. I can’t wait to go back!!

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I hope this little tour has inspired you to go out and support your local shop, or if you don’t have one, support an independently-owned shop that’s local to someone else. They are such an important part of our communities and deserve our support! Do you have a local shop that you love?

Posted in travel

Adding Trim to the Geranium Dress

I’ve made quite a few versions of the Geranium Dress for Clementine that feature trim along the armholes and bottom of the bodice (here, here, and here), and I wanted to show you how! It’s super easy and it really looks great. My favorite trims for necklines are ricrac and pompons, and lace or piping would be really sweet as well.



Note: This tutorial assumes you already have the Geranium Dress pattern, which you can buy here (or download the free Little Geranium pattern if you want to try it out in the 0-3 month size)!

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Happy Kitchen

I just finished a set of valances for my kitchen out of Melody Miller’s “Happy Dishes” print from her latest line for Kokka. As we are currently renting, I have very little control over the fact that my kitchen, with its dark countertops and horrid cement-hued-blah wall, is a bit drab. The cheery colorful dishes in this print are just what the doctor ordered.



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Free! Little Geranium Dress Pattern

I’m happy to present a new free pattern download today! Yay!!! *kermit arms*

little geranium .

“Little Geranium” is a 0-3 month-size pattern excerpt from the original Geranium Dress Pattern; it is the essentially the basic pattern in the newborn size.

This free 4-page pattern includes:

  • 0-3 month size basic scoop-neck bodice and patch pocket pattern pieces
  • dimensions for rectangular gathered skirt pieces for both a skirt or top (I recommend you use a clear ruler and rotary cutter to cut these out)
  • 2 pages of step-by-step instructions (with a few pictures to help guide you through the steps).


I think you’ll find this teeny tiny version of the Geranium Dress to be both fun and simple to make, as well as ridiculously adorable!


Little Geranium is meant to allow you to try out the pattern in its simplest form as a freebie (there’s no mini-washi view or notched neckline). But let’s be honest, the hope here is that after trying Little Geranium, you’ll buy the much more awesome, incredibly amazing and spectacular GERANIUM DRESS PATTERN, which includes nine sizes, multiple views and options for skirts, bodices, necklines and pockets, as well as full color photographs and incredibly thorough instructions for each step. I don’t think there’s any harm in me just coming out and saying so.

Here let me help you find it:

So please enjoy this little 0-3 month snippet of the Geranium Dress pattern, please respect the terms of use (outlined on page 1), remember that it’s not OK to copy, email, or otherwise distribute this pattern, and…

click here for the Little Geranium Pattern Download

Happy sewing to you all!

PS Fabric designed by the amazing and illustrious Heather Ross for her Far Far Away III line from Kokka, of course.

And the Winners Are…

Thanks to everyone’s enthusiasm in entering to win the Twelve Days of Christmas pattern giveaways!

Twelve Days of Christmas

Here’s the list of lucky winners who were selected using the random number generator:

Day 1: Big Butt Baby Pants #16 Lindsey, who said,  “I think my sweet baby boy needs some big butt pants…although he has the tiniest little bum I’ve ever seen! =)”
Day 2: Peekaboo Bonnet #115 Jenny, who said, “Thanks!”
Day 3: Bonsai Bag #4 Kayla Thanks for the post-Christmas Christmas giving! Such a fun bag. Loving it!”
Day 4: Charlie Tunic with Dress Add-on #214 Jenifer, who said, “I love the dress version!”
Day 5: Showwoff Bag #125 Mitzi, who said, “Love this bag!”
Day 6: Flashback Skinny Tee (sizes 12 mos – 5T) #54 Louise, who said, “I would love this pattern”
Day 7: Flashback Skinny Tee for Big Kids #102 Katie, who said, “Ooh, this would fit my son!”
Day 8: Lickety Split Bag #207 Leticia,who said, “Very cute bag! Love it!”
Day 9: Pierrot Tunic #76 Subha, who said, “love love love this tunic! would love to have the pattern to make tons of presents for people! thanks!”
Day 10: Toddler Backpack #246 Neomi, who said, “yes, please 🙂 I’d love to win!”
Day 11: Geranium Dress #214 April, who said, “I am so in love with this pattern! I just bought some darling green fabric that would make a darling Geranium dress!”
Day 12: Washi Dress pdf #309 Melissa, who said, “yay! thanks for the opportunity”
Day 12: Washi Dress printed pattern #126 Anna, who said, “would love this. happy 12th day!”

Winners have been contacted and prizes have been mailed out; winners if you haven’t received your pattern yet please feel free to shoot me an email. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Posted in giveaway