What could be more perfect than a woven linen or cotton easy fitting tank top or dress on a hot summer day?
I already have a favorite sleeveless top pattern from Seamwork Magazine that I have made several of and love to wear. The Addison is awesome because of it’s options to dress it up, a v neck, peter pan collar(or not) and partially lined bodice which removes the need for bias bindings.
This summer though I find myself attracted to sundresses and easy shift dresses that work up a dream in linens. I came late to the linen party but now I never want to leave. My Instagram feed has a new Willow tank dress almost every day, every one cuter than the last. I had a nice little pile of linens I had purchased locally, as well as some I splurged on online. I can always use a few more tanks or tees so I muslined the Willow and after my usual FBA and dart moving it looks wonderful.
I made three in the top length to get a feel for fit and finishes. Because I did linen or linen blends I french seamed all seams that were not enclosed by bindings. There is nothing worse than a beloved top unraveling to the point of throwing in the bin because you didn’t finish the seams. I made self bias tape for two and used some sweet purchased binding from SoBiased on Etsy.
I did my usual FBA, cutting a 14 and adding two inches. I also had to re-position the dart to be a little less perky. I graded the hip out to a 16 for a wee bit of room as well.
You can’t beat a basic woven tank for versatility. It can be dressed up or down easily and packs great for vacation or the beach.
Next in my queue is the dress version. I am going to do a sewing workshop with this dress next month and I can’t wait to see the lovely makes my students come up with. I guarantee this pattern will become a tried and true.
Some of these links are affiliate links which enable me to keep up the blog. Thanks for clicking through.
Ack the kids are home. It’s an endless cycle of “I am bored!” and “what’s to eat?”.
When you eat gluten free, mostly dairy free and no processed food unless its unavoidable that last bit seems challenging. You can’t just throw them a bag of Cheetos and a juice box. ( not that I would, ever!) So what’s a Mom to do?
Every morning I have a simple routine that takes care of the basics. It makes easy healthy snacks within reach for the kids and keeps me from answering the “what do we have to eat?” question 12 times before lunch. Believe it or not, its a lot cheaper to eat bulk healthy foods. I’ll put my cart of fruits, veggies, and grains against your cart of single serve processed food-like groceries.
My routine goes something like this, every morning.
I make cold brew coffee every morning for my coffee drinkers. Half a cup of ground coffee covered with warm water and then let sit on the counter until bedtime. It’s that easy.
Place two teabags ( or loose tea if I have it) into a 2 quart jar of warm water. Let the sun brew it until lunch. Unsweetened iced tea is ready for drinks. I do let my kids drink the decaffeinated kind. Its kind of amazing to have them picking out teas at the store and comparing flavors.
It’s been a process to get the kids to drink water. First we did the cute little plastic disposable bottles. Kids size reusable bottles were next. Now they have adult sized bottles( BPA free, of course). I just invested in some stainless steel bottles for them to take when they leave the house but they still use these everyday at home. I refill them in the morning and stick them in the fridge so they can grab one whenever they are thirsty.
I cut up a bowl of snack size veggies for them to nibble on. Whatever has come from the garden that morning or what ever we have on hand. It’s amazing but if its easy they WILL eat it. Or at least its the first stop before they grab something else. I do not give them dip and they don’t like it anyway. It hides the taste of the veggies. What law says you have to anyway? My only exception to that is hummus, We use it on everything you would use dip or mayo on.
Same principal applies to the never ending fruit salad bowl. I fill a large bowl every morning with whatever fruits we have on hand that are seasonal or on sale. A sweet snack craving gets stopped in its tracks, for the kids or me. For an extra treat I will whip some coconut cream to have with it.
I eat zucchini noodles every day. One of my sons eats them almost as often. Its an almost instant gratification grain free noodle dish. I like canned diced Italian tomatoes and olives, he likes Go Veggie lactose free Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. To help keep them from getting too soggy when cooked, I spiral a few zucchinis in the morning and let them dry out on a plate.
Last but not least I make a fast batch of bread dough to hang out for 24 hours. It enables me to instantly make a pizza crust, bread sticks, rolls or flatbread. For some good gluten free recipes for dough, Glutenfreeonashoestring.com has some recipes on their site as well as some awesome recipes books available on kindle or Amazon.
For a little bit of time and effort, these substitutions can help you get off of the processed food train and save you some money in the bargain. Happy Summer!
It’s that time of year again! I love #MMMay2017 It’s so inspirational, for all the reasons that slow fashion is becoming a thing again. It’s hosted by Zoe Edward at ‘So Zo what do you know’. The sign up post is here.
I get stuck about halfway through for ideas for somewhat original pictures to post on Instagram. This year I want to focus more on styling those fabulous Indie patterns I have so many of. Focusing on a capsule wardrobe this year is helping me to narrow in on colors and styles that fit my body type and lifestyle. With any luck the pictures will be more cohesive and less just rolled out of bed and grabbed the first thing….
I have added a few more items to my “tried and true” I will showcase ( and hopefully blog about!) this year. Blackwood cardigans, Lark tees, Parkside shorts, and one hour tops were added, as well as some WIP Ginger jeans that hopefully I will have done next week. I made two jackets as well, the Dover and HP’s kimono jacket. Can’t wait to show those.
I hope by sharing my me-made wardrobe someone may take the plunge when they realize that basics can be less time consuming to make once you have a basic template but still fashionable and wearable daily. I also plan to add my knit wear to my pictures. Socks, a sweater, and a couple shawls are all getting regular wear so I want to share those too.
Can’t wait to see all the beautiful clothes the community is wearing! See you on Instagram at Nicholaix.
Once the Valentines day cards coming out I start thinking about slip dresses and flowery feminine tops. While I mostly sew basics I do need to replace or update 6-8 pieces at least Biannually. I have taken a hard look at what I actually wear in the spring/summer vs what I want to wear. Slip dresses and miniskirts just aren’t happening, and neither are those fashionable tops that hang off the shoulders or have weird, I mean interesting, drapes. So here is my list:
A light jacket, most likely denim
4 pairs of bermuda shorts
3 knee length skirts
4 tee shirts
2 rayon or lawn blouses
3 shift dresses
There has been a flood of new patterns put out over the winter from both big and small pattern makers. While I have some tried and trues for skirts, shorts, and tees the others I would like to do something different.
The jacket will be the HotPattern’s Fast and Fabulous Four Season Kimono Jacket. I bought this last spring and never got around to it. I want one in a denim and a dressier one in a brocade I bought at the same time as the pattern.
I want some thing to throw over long sleeve Tees and tank tops or a camisole in the summer so this should be perfect. This will be my first HotPatterns garment, I am looking forward to seeing how the fit works out.
I live in Bermuda shorts. I am of an age where I want a bit of extra coverage, not to mention that fact that I am very active outdoors. I perfected the fit on the Make It Perfect Essential shorts last year and plan four pairs to replace a couple I destroyed last year in denim. Two in lightweight denim and two in linen are on my list. Great basics that mix and match are always needed in my wardrobe and I wore these to death last year. My only regret was not doing a pair in a coloured fabric. I picked up some delicious royal purple mid weight linen over the winter which is set aside for a pair of these.
The knee length skirts aren’t a priority but more a wish list item. I made three Parkside skirts from SewCaroline that I also wore constantly in light blue and black linen, as well as a grey silk linen blend. I want one in a light white cotton or a summer print for this year for the odd cookout or beach trip. I would like to have a couple denim as well.
This pattern is wonderful. Big roomy pockets, flattering fit, and wide elastic waist made this one a tried and true as well as the easy directions and relatively quick sew up time.
I sewed up a ton of Tees last year trying up some new patterns that came out. I also need a few more because I destroy them in the garden or cooking. I always look like a four year old after an art project during a day of canning or baking. I would like a few pretty florals to counter some basic bottoms like jeans or linen skirts.
My tried and true is MariaDenmark’s Kirsten Kimono tee. This Tee fit me great, no set on sleeves and is virtually instant gratification. The only modification I did was a slight FBA and lengthen just a bit to sit below my hip for coverage bending over (did i mention gardening?). Its a free pattern for signing up for the newsletter.
The second winner was up and coming Cashmerette Patterns Concord Tee. This delightful top comes in cup sizes so no need to do an FBA. The fit was very flattering for me as well. Tons of options for long/short sleeve and different lengths are available.
Two lightweight blouses will most likely be a couple more TrueBias Suttons. I perfected this one last year and love hem. The little details are actually quite easy and make it look very handsome. See my former blog post here. I have a few rayons and lawns I bought last year just waiting for the time for these.
The camisoles are a new thing for me. It was so hot last year even a tee was miserable. I want something to throw over a bathing suit too. TrueBias Odgen Cami looks great. I just finished a muslin for it and after some tweaks it looks great.
I also have two other I want to try. Straight Stitch designs View Ridge tank and SewCaroline’s Waterfall tank are on my short list. We will see how the muslin works out. Hot Patterns Joyful top looks awesome too. Too many patterns, not enough time.
I am stuck on a shift dress. Last year I made two Leralynn dresses from Blankslate Patterns. I love them but I want something different. I am debating between TrueBias Colfax , Tessuti Patterns Ruby Dress or the Annie, or Seamwork Magazines Mojave. Too many choices I think. I will probably muslin all of them and see which gets the most complements!
The first step is making a list of what you need and what you want. Looking at what you already have is critical too. Do I really need four more sundresses?(NO!)
Keeping a wish list or colour board helps a lot too. I took pictures of swatches of fabrics as I make items or buy fabric. In the store I can pull it up from Dropbox on my phone to make sure the skirt fabric goes with the top I already made or if I already have something similar.
Thanks for stopping by to see what my sewing plans for the next season are. I will post as I finish each garment and let you know how they came out.
PS This post may contain some affiliate links that add no cost to you if you click through but buys me a cup of coffee and more thread.
To look at my last post you would think I only knit these days. I am cranking out more fiber goods but still manage to hand make many other things as well.
I have always done food gifts but tried to stay away from too much baking this year. I think its a bit hypocritical to preach plant based healthy food then give away cookies and cakes…..In keeping with our simpler lives I did a few new things.
The boys and I saved a boatload of seeds from our favorite varieties this year. We packaged them up in envelopes, labeled them, tied them with ribbon, and gave them to some of our gardening friends. They were excited to have some tried and true seeds and helped them plan for the next year. My boys got a lesson in stewardship and sustainability too, always a bonus.
We also gave away some pesto that we had made from basil we grew. While I maintain that things like homemade jam have a place in our diet as a sometimes treat, I think the pesto was much more appreciated. One friend had requested a pizza sauce from our herbs and organic tomatoes. Next year I will have to keep in mind how much we gave away and try to grow a bit extra.
Instead of gift cards for the bus drivers, mailman, and neighbors I made a huge batch of fresh crusty bread that we gave in brown paper lunch bags tied with ribbon. Judging from the looks of delight I think that may need to be repeated as well. How many of us remember that smell from Grams house of fresh bread? Not something many of us get anymore.
A couple of brave friends got 6 packs of our own apple kombucha, non alcoholic, of course. I just started doing this last summer and it was a success once I got the hang of it. A cold kombucha in the summer was heavenly. Some day I may try my hand at brewing wine but that’s low on the priority list at the moment.
So we managed to stay true to our homemade Christmas and Holiday gifts and keep the budget to a minimum. I think the lesson I learned was to be creative but keep it simple.
I also played with the idea of handmade coupons for produce from our garden this spring and summer. I may think about that more and try it next year.
This years line up of handmade gifts is heavy on the yarn. I learned to knit and crochet this year which was so much fun. It kept me off my feet when I was feeling poorly and kept me busy.
I took a Craftsy class on circular knitting skills over the summer. The example pattern was this lovely neck warmer which I thought would look lovely on men or women depending on the yarn. I ended up making four of these. Can’t beat scrumptiously soft, warm, and expensive looking in a relatively quick knit! Lion brand Thick and Quick in Oatmeal worked up nicely on this one. This picture is before I blocked it, I never would have thought that that would make such a big difference but it really does.
I did this lovely crochet lap blanket for a treasured Aunt who had a very tough year. Winter white bulky yarn came out super soft. This Chunky Icelandic pattern from Mamainastitch.com came out beautifully. I was surprised at how easy the pattern was. The recipient was almost in tears when she opened it. I know she will enjoy it for years to come.
These hats were a huge hit with the teens on my list. They are made up with all the little scraps of yarn held with a bulky white. Used up a lot of bits and look fabulous. Super warm too, a must here in the Northeast. Pattern and tutorial from Swellamy.com. Pinks for the girls, greys for the boys looked very stylish.
Really who doesn’t need cotton dishcloths? Simple Sugar and Cream cotton yarn done up in a simple single crochet stitch with a border in a coordinating color. We use tons of these around here so I know they are very useful and easy to clean. Nice gift for those people that stump you too. We gave them as teacher gifts with Meyers dish soap. Not very romantic but they were very appreciated.
I did a couple simple ribbed neck warmers in this glorious handspun and hand dyed yarn from Cascade. I almost couldn’t give this one away! I recently rediscovered a local shop that carries fabrics and yarn. Double threat for me but full of these little gems of yarn.
Another lap blanket. I really love the Lion Brand Thick and Quick for a relatively quick project. They come out so soft and squishy and warm. This was my favorite summer activity this past summer, soaking up the sun and knitting or crocheting.
That’s enough for this post. Part two will have some of the other gifts I made this year. I am so glad I finally got around to knitting and crocheting. I didn’t realize how many things we use that are made this way. If I can learn anyone can!
I always used to be a t-shirt kind of girl. Lately I have been leaning more towards the body skimming woven blouses in pretty rayon, voile, and cottons. My far and away favorite is Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee. It is available as both printed and PDF.
It lays nicely and the length is great. It’s a pullover so it is a super quick sew up, no closures to worry about. The only alteration I need to do to this top is a full bicep adjustment (I used this tutorial to fix my sleeves) and take a wee sliver from the front fold seam to tame a wonky neck.The neck is bound with bias tape, either matching or purchased. If you are new to making your own here is an awesome video tutorial from Dana at MadeEveryday. The sleeves and bottom are just double fold and hem.
My first couple of Scouts had a gaping neck. I got creative and added an inverted pleat which took care of it. I sized down, adjusted the sleeve and voila, perfection, no neck gape.
The far right is the first one with wonky neck, the middle one with the pleat, and the far left a size down. At this point I have done a wide range of fabrics and all have come out nicely. Its a great year round, basic addition to any memade wardrobe. These were last springs colors.
For this fall I currently have these three fabrics on my table ready to be made up in this pattern. A chambray, rayon, and a cotton print all will fit in nicely with a couple new skirts and a couple pairs of jeans. Sew this one up, you will like it.
It was a crazy summer this year. All the boys were home and even though we had some supports it was hectic in Autismland. I typically don’t sew much anyway because the gardening takes over but this summer was even worse. That being said, I found three new tried and true sewing patterns that I made in multiples and wore constantly. Amazingly they needed almost nothing for pattern alterations, a win win for a curvy girl. All three are available as PDF’s.
Leralynn Dress by BlankSlate Patterns
The top of the list was the Leralynn dress by Blankslate Patterns. I haven’t sew a lot from them, their childrens sizes are too small for my boys and the women’s section tends to need a lot of tweaks for me ( full arm and bust). But the Leralynn was spot on. I have to say the pictures in the listing did not thrill me but I saw some really cute denim versions on Instagram that made me decide to try it.
I wore these constantly this summer once it got blistering hot. I made it up in a grey linen and a couple of cottons. I have plans for a corduroy and heavier denim for fall. Easy sew and detailed instructions. As a curvy girl I can’t recommend this brand as a general rule but this dress is certainly worth a try for a stylish shift dress.
Parkside Skirt by SewCaroline
I have three of these skirts that worked into my regular rotation for the summer in black, light denim, and grey linen. I originally bought it for the shorts version but I really am more of a skirt person so this version was a hit for me.
It was an easy pattern even if you don’t have any experience with pockets or waistbands. The directions are very clear and detailed. This is the first pattern I have sewn from this brand and I was very impressed.
This skirt won me over with its roomy pockets and wide non-roll waistband. The Parkside has a subtle A line shape with is very flattering. It looked great with pretty tops as well as summer tanks and tees.
I plan on sewing up a couple in wool, cotton twill, and heavier denim to wear with tights this winter.
Addison Top by Seamwork Magazine
We all know about my Addison tank top addiction, and my Seamwork Magazine addiction in general. I did a full length post on this top alone last spring. I lost track of how many remnants from my stash I sewed up in this one this summer.
I made two versions with the intended rounded collar and then found I like it better as a plain V neck. I sewed this up with everything from linen and chambray to gingham and voiles. All of them came out wonderfully. It was a fast sew with only two facing pieces and no need to bias or trim out the arms and neck. This one will transition nicely to fall to wear under cardigans or a blazer as well. When you are looking to make something quick for a “I want something new for date night, PTA meeting, whatever….” this one fills the bill.
My memade wardrobe is filling out nicely. I am finding that basic pieces that I can customize and wear year round help tremendously. Fit issues always used to drive me nuts but with basic pieces I can fix the fit then customize each version to keep them new and stylish. I would recommend any of these patterns for a wardrobe capsule.
PS This post may contain some affiliate links that add no cost to you if you click-through, but buys me a cup of coffee and more thread.
I had already washed and dried my fabric choices. My trusty Sorbetto was out and ready to start cutting. But I had the chance to see the new Seamwork Magazine’s Addison tank top before I got started. It looked exactly like what I needed and was just a little different from anything I had.
Seamwork‘s Addison has a sweet v neck (but not very low) and a lined bodice that sews up like a dream. I found it easy to customize. One I added patch pockets, another few I left off the collar. I am thinking to lengthen it to a shift dress.
I chose to do a cotton plaid, cotton embroidered, challis, gauze, and a chambray to cover my wardrobe needs. I think they look great and I am very pleased.
I did find it to be a bit roomy. Depending on cut I wear from a 14 to an 18 in Colette Patterns. The first muslin of this I sized down to the 14 which took care of armhole gape and wonky neck. The length is low hip on me so its a nice tunic length.
The directions are very clear, including the burrito roll for the lining. After the first time it’s a very quick sew up. No bias binding or complicated facings to slow things down. Just take your time and follow the directions in order and you will be fine.
The lining comes to just a couple inches under the neck which became a bit awkward in the white. It feels like a design flaw, especially in a summer top which will be used in lighter weight fabrics. Easy enough to lower the front lining piece however, this was the only fabric that had that issue.
I think these can be styled up with a dressier skirt or trouser as well as dressed down with denim or khaki’s. I am very impressed with my subscription to Seamwork. It really has all the basics covered for a complete wardrobe, from undergarments to work to athletic. The size range is awesome as well. Go check it out.
PS This post may contain some affiliate links that add no cost to you if you click through, but buys me a cup of coffee and more thread.
Here’s a roundup of some of the freebie basics patterns out there that I have tried. I am sure there are lots more but these I have actually sewn up.
Sorbetto Top is a fabulous basic from Colette Patterns that I have made many of. It uses just a bit of fabric and is a pullover, so no fasteners. You can use purchased bias tape or make your own to coordinate for the neckline and sleeves. It’s a great summer basic top and easy to make as well. Tons of variation on this to make as well. On the one below I did an inverted pleat. Do a search on Pinterest and you will see a gazillion variations. They also offer a super cute bloomer pattern. It’s on my list but I haven’t got to it yet. I am a subscriber to their Seamwork magazine which offers a ton of great easy to sew basics for a considerably low price.
Hemlock Tee is a tee from Grainline with lots of options. You have to sign up for their newsletter but thats not a problem, she posts sewing tips and lots of great ideas. I made a couple of these and was impressed at how easily it came together but as a curvy girl I found the dropped arm constricting. The sizing, however, is spot on. It’s just an awkward cut for me. That being said, I throw around huge bags of dirt and 5 gallon pots so, for the average person, this one is a really nice long sleeve option as well as a nice test for their other patterns. I have made quite a few of their Linden sweatshirts and Scout woven tees, they are T and T’s for me. The Tamarack Jacket is on my sew list.
Kirsten Kimono Tee is my all time favorite. It’s a freebie from Mariadenmark sewing patterns that fits me very well and sews up so fast I can make one to wear in the morning if I am desperate. It nips in just enough at the waist for some definition and the shoulders are comfy without being sloppy. I did modify the neck a bit for my personal preference. This one is also available for signing up for their newsletter. I wear the Yasmin yoke skirt quite alot as well as the Just a Tank top.
Zoe top and Libby Skirt are both from Tessuti Fabrics. They have other freebies as well but I have sewn up these two. The Zoe is a great stashbuster for bits of lace and chiffon. Libby is a great basic a-line that looks smart in everything from quilting cottons and denim to a tweed or wool. I have several patterns from Tessuti including the Annie dress and the Alice top. I love the elegant, romantic look to most of their patterns which showcase their lovely fabrics. Definitely worth a look.
Isabella Banded Skirt is the cutest twirly skirt. I went a little crazy and made a few when it was released. It is the easiest skirt pattern ever, basically a rectangle with an elastic waist. You have to join their Facebook group to get this one. Bella sunshine designs had adorable little girl patterns which, sadly, I don’t sew for anymore but if you have little girls this one’s a must look.
Last but certainly not least is the So Sew Easy website. I have only sewed up one of their dresses and a tote bag. Debi previews a huge lot of patterns for free and sometimes starts charging for them so grab it if you like it. Her site is chock full of tutorials and inspiration as well. I didn’t find them to be horribly curvy friendly but they would certainly be fabulous for regular sizes.
Here’s a start to your basics for your wardrobe that will keep the cost down. The great thing about freebies is you can preview the designer and see if you like the sizing and shaping of their garments. I have found some of my tried and trues this way.
PS This post may contain some affiliate links that add no cost to you if you click through, but buys me a cup of coffee and more thread.