Karen Templer of Fringe Association has thought up another awesome make-along, Summer of Basics 2017. In thinking about three garments to make by September, I wanted to make sure I got my color palette right. I feel like I could own everything in black and white with blues, navys, + earth tones to compliment. Hopefully, this will help guide me once I get to the fabric store. I’m always a bit overwhelmed with possibility once I get there.
I spend most of the summer in shorts & tank tops. I’m really looking forward to adding a pair of Esther shorts into that rotation. I’m planning on two pairs: a black linen and a caramel brown. Can’t wait to wear these with my new CYG tank!
Comfortable, not pajamas, easy to move in, and look nice enough to be seen in public in = check. I love that the seams are part of the design and give these leggings some extra structure. Most likely going to do these in a dark grey knit as seen in the pattern photos. I see myself wearing these biking, at work, & traveling. Can’t get more versatile than that!
WILD CARD | ???
Looking at my other two picks above, it’s easy to see the gap I’m filling in my wardrobe is bottoms. I feel this last pick should be a top to help make a full outfit. That said, I’m not really jazzed on any top patterns right now. Totally open to your suggestions! What shirt, tank, &/or other top patterns have you been sewing up lately?
I have been happy with my maya top & maya dress. So, it might be time to venture into the button top version. I’ll have to figure out how to use the button foot on my machine first. I also love the white & black stripped Uzi top pictured above. While I wouldn’t recreate that pattern, as I’ll buy that top one day, I would love a white linen maya top.
I’m also considering the Foxglove Tank, Peplum Tank, or another Wiksten Tank. And, I definitely want to make an Esme maxi cardigan from a cream/off-white or olive wool boucle. Not sure where to find my dream off-white wool boucle or even a thick, woven cotton. But, I’m thinking maybe furniture fabric stores or ye old Jo-ann’s. Where ever I do end up finding it, it’ll probably be the most money I’ve ever spent on fabric.
This hike is from last weekend. We set out to “summit” Observation Peak, but found the loop snowed in at 6 miles. We could have opted for the straight shot up, but we wanted to do the loop which is longer. There was also a surprising amount of blow down in branches and trees that obstructed the trail at many points. Guess winter hit this area pretty hard. As the snow is still receding, I was able to see some early blooming wildflowers.
// Plant List //
Anemone oregana. Ranunculaceae / Buttercup Family. Anemones can be good indicators of where we are in the season – in this case, early.
Trillium ovatum. Liliaceae / Lily Family. Lilies are a plant family of 3s – 3 leaves, 3 sepals, 3 petals, & 3 stigmas. Seeds are dispersed by ants – each seed has an oil appendage that is attractive to ants. The ants bring the seeds back to their nest & eat the oil appendage, throwing the seeds into their rubbish pile. (cite: Pojar, p.102)
Viola sempervirens. Violaceae / Violet Family – It could be Viola glabella, but based on the lower leaf placement and more rounded leaf shape (vs. a distinct point at the tip), probably v. sempervirens.
Calypso bulbosa. Orchidaceae / Orchid Family – Common name Fairyslipper. Orchids have delicate root systems and are best left untouched. Even a gentle tug can break the roots, causing the plant to die.
Achlys triphylla. Berberidaceae – Common name Vanilla leaf. Known for its vanilla scent when dried &/or crushed. These were babies, barely setting out their seeded spikes.
True to form, the next project I made was not from my #MakeNine2017 list. But, the spring rain has been conducive to spending evenings sewing (my machine + workspace are set up in the windowless basement). The Maya top seemed like a perfect transitional season piece; as easily worn layered with a cardigan for warmth or dressed down for summer with shorts. I was drawn to the Maya top because of the wide neck + armhole facing and I also loved this one in white linen from Sewn By Elizabeth. Not to mention, there are so many possible variations; crop top, tunic top, buttons or w/o, dress, pocket placement, lengthening the sleeves, etc.
I had noticed my habit of following direction to the tee or anticipating my alterations without testing them, but never quiet being happy with my final garment. It finally dawned on me that it’s worth the time + effort of sewing up a test with cheap fabric (i.e. muslin at $2 per yard).
Pattern:Maya Top & Dress by Marilla Walker Fabric: — 100% cotton from Bolt Fabric Size: 3 Modifications: Sized up for the sleeve (Size 4)
I sewed the muslin up in size 3. One of my favorite parts of the pattern are the french seams. I love when patterns have seam finishing built in, especially because I lean towards woven fabrics that fray like crazy with wash + wear. Included in the seam finishing are folding over the outer edges of the neck + armhole facings. Initially, I was a bit confused on how to fold under the outer edge of the armhole facing, as it’s a curved edge. I left the curves un-folded/raw edges. It worked out ok, but I knew when I finished that I missed the intention. Luckily, I was able to correct it on “real” version (shown below).
With the muslin completed, I loved the overall fit. The body is loose, but not baggy or oversized. I have broad shoulders and decided the sleeves were a bit smaller/tighter than I wanted. So, I blended the sleeves up to the next size & recut my paper pattern. Not only did I figure out the fit and how to modify it for myself, but I have the perfect piece to experiment with natural dying with avocado skins.
Sewing up my “real” version on this woven blue fabric, I was very meticulous and slow. I’d sew/fold/iron a couple seams, call it a night, + then sew a couple more seams the following morning, etc. I learned the necessity of cutting notches into curved hems of the neck + armholes, so that they lay flat. I had also never done under stitching before, so that was a technique I looked up. This was also the first time I’ve used the invisible hem stitch on my machine. I definitely missed or caught too much fabric at different points, but am still happy with how tidy the invisible hem looks
Having just finished the shirt 3 days ago, I’ve already worn it twice. I’ve started tracing + cutting the pattern for a Maya dress. I plan to extend the sleeves by 2 inches, so I can cuff them, and to try the curved hem for the bottom of the dress.
Last year, I made five garments and re-discovered my love of knitting and sewing (Lori Shawl | Pants No. 1 | Agnes Sweater | Hemlock Tee | Mittens). While I think nine is a stretch for me, I’m gonna set that goal and we’ll see where I end up.
I’m currently working on a cropped Willow tank top. I haven’t had much luck with adjusting the bust darts, having modified them several plus times – but, that’s another post. At this point, I’m not sure if I just haven’t done the right adjustments/don’t have enough knowledge or if my adjustment woes are more a result of the fabric I chose (a woven cotton). This is the first pattern where I really wish I made a muslin, instead of diving right in. But, I thought it would be a cut, sew, be done project as I’ve make tanks before. Alas, those darts were a whole new thing for me.
NUMBER TWO | a dress
Trying to decide between the Fen Dress, Alder Dress, simple linen a line dress, &/or Farrow Dress. I have a couple of weddings to attend this summer and fall, which put the idea of a handmade silk dresses in my head. I have never sewn silk before, much less do I know where to purchase it. I’m hoping for a raw silk broadcloth in black or other neutral earth tone. If nothing else, I might save up for this Elizabeth Suzan dress.
That said, I’m considering signing up for the Fen Dress class at Modern Domestic. I have a bit of sticker shock – $96 & that doesn’t include the pattern!! But, I know that instruction is valuable and it might be what I need to figure out this whole adjustments thing. Or, I have a monthly subscription to Creative Bug and am considering the Pattern Drafting class (5 hours!!!) as a pretty strong alternate.
I’ve already bought the yarn to cast on my Lila sweater! It’s my way of motivating myself to finish the right mitten of my 34th & 8th mittens. Also, there are so many beautiful knits in Carrie Bostick Hodge’s Madder Anthology 2 that I might one day work my way through most of the patterns.
I have yet to post about the first pair I made last year, but in making the first pair I learned that I’d like to add side pockets and loosen the tension of the elastic waistband (vs. the tension the pattern recommends). This second pair will actually be shorts in a blue chambray fabric, reminiscent of the Not Perfect Linen shorts pictured above. I have the fabric cut and pinned together, but I stalled on the pocket piece. Luckily, there’s a quick tutorial on how to add side seam pockets on Creative Bug.
NUMBER FIVE | a legging
I don’t know why, but I’m kind of surprised by all the legging patterns in the sewosphere. Happily surprised. The one thing I miss from working at Nike was wearing leggings everyday. Not only did it not feel unprofessional, but it was praised if you were wearing anything from the current season (because employee discounts). I’ve been looking for something less athletic that I can wear to the office without feeling like it’s obvious I got dressed in 5 seconds—even though that is the goal. I might try the Ooh La Leggings after seeing how awesome Lucky Lucille’s turned out or try self drafting some with yet another Creative Bug class (gotta get my $$ worth on that monthly subscription!!). I love the idea of sewing some up in merino wool. It’s the fabric I love to wear best; naturally moisture wicking, dries quickly, doesn’t smell, great to layer for warmth or less layers for a hot day—all wins!
I was happy with how my first modified Hemlock Tee came out. So, I’d like to make a long sleeve version in a navy linen/cotton blend with large pockets on the front mid-section. I’ve also been daydreaming about the T Sweater by Jamie and the Jones. I think I could be satiated with a modified Hemlock Tee, if I can find the perfect nubby cotton to sew it up in.
The Last Minute Slouch was the project I learned how to knit in the round, as well as my first knit hat. I liked it so much, I even made one for my grandma, who was kind enough to share it with my grandpa. Together, they’d take turns wearing. But, I haven’t knit a hat since then, which means it’s probably been 5 years. I’ve been craving a hat in a marbled cream & dark grey and found the Oljett Hat marked in my Ravelry favorites. A perfect fit and a nice break from knitting twos or a sweater.
I am most intimidated by this knitting project, but I also love all of Andrea’s patterns. I can see myself wearing this all fall + winter; to yoga, traveling, and uneventfully, sitting at my desk working. I’ll learn a new stitch, brioche, and it’ll be my first piece with more than 2 colors. I’m super indecisive when it comes to selecting yarn colors over two and by nature, I’m drawn towards minimalism. So, this will probably be a welcomed introduction of color to my wardrobe.
I’ve been so inspired by everyone posting to #2017MakeNine. Look forward to following along on everyones’ 2017 projects!
I started these mittens in October, as my Slotober project. Slow indeed! I was knitting a row or two every morning before work and a bit more on weekends. The routine waxed and waned and so, over the past week I finally finished the left mitten!!! One down, one to go. Here’s to knitting the right mitten in less than 4 months, as I picked up yarn today for my next project—the Lila Top Down sweater.
My gauge was shy of what the pattern recommends. I knit tightly and MT Unicorn Tails yarn was a little thinner than the recommended Brooklyn Tweed Loft. I also neglected to do a swatch—I was too eager to get started and forgot this step. Nonetheless, this left mitten fits my hand just fine. I remember when I first came across these mittens in 2012. I was super intimidated by them—I had never knit mittens or done any color work. They seemed intricate beyond my skill level, but their design and color has stuck with me all this time. When I cast on in October, I still had never made a pair of mittens or done any color work. At this point, those nevers didn’t scare me away and intrigued me instead.
Stranded Knitting + Color Dominance
Getting started on these, I was a bit thrown off by the pattern. The color chart is inverted when compared to the photographs that accompany the pattern. Since I wanted to knit the pair represented in the photos, I went back and forth trying to figure out which color was meant to be the dominant color. In the end, I decided to do as the pattern said after reading a post from Paper Tiger blog (DC Blue, BC White). The whole way through, I continued to get my strands tangled as I attempted to trap long strands. Eventually, I’ll probably figure this out, but have been fine with detangling.
After Thought Thumb
The after thought thumb was easy enough. I followed these tutorials on YouTube:
It was my first time using this technique & I mussed the set up a little. When I came back to pick up the stitches, the top/back of thumb was a little wonky and there’s a small hole (pictured above). I just knit 3 together in an effort to close it. Not perfect, but doable.
Yarn + Tools
The Unicorn Tails yarn is 100% merino wool and I love the softness of the final fabric. Madeline Tosh’s colors are always beautiful and it’s no surprise that most things I knit are with her yarns—I can’t stay away! I was also excited to be using my new Fringe Co project bag, that my sister got me over the holidays. Being able to thread the yarn thru the yarn guides is such a nice feature.
Marshmallow root is great at producing mucilage! I learned that mucilage is a carbohydrate that the body has a hard time breaking down. Is this a benefit? Yes! It helps sooth inflamed & irritated skin via direct contact. This is the definition of a demulcent herb. Demulcent for internal use, emollient for external use.
Marshmallow has an affinity for digestion, respiratory, and urinary systems. Also, it can be used topically to aid wound healing or any hot/irritated/inflamed skin as a pollutice. It’s a great addition to Yarrow or Kinnickinck to fight a UTI, as it has no astringent properties and will help with inflammation. In the digestive system, because of its vulunary and demulcent properties, it can help with ulcers, indigestion, IBS, and maybe even leaky gut. The mucilage coats gut lining to help to stop leakage, same for the stomach with ulcers and indigestion to reduce irritation. For respiratory, when you have a sore throat, again Marshmallow will help to sooth inflamed tissues and bring moisture to mucous membranes 1.
“In France, the young tops and tender leaves of Marsh Mallow are eaten uncooked, in spring salads, for their property in stimulating the kidneys, a syrup being made from the roots for the same purpose.”
p. 507, A Modern Herbal by M. Grieves
Some other interesting uses from M. Grieves was to boil the root in milk or wine, make into syrup, or a part of a tea mix remedy for colds. It does sound kind of delicious as a syrup. Some classmates also noted that they’ve used marshmallow root to help with endometriosis and arthritis/joints. I haven’t had experience with either, but it makes sense that it could aid with those conditions.
In fact, I haven’t worked with marshmallow root before, but I am looking forward to adding it to my morning herbal teas. I will mix it with Tulsi or Peppermint, for an overall aid to digestion. As a yinny person, I am always trying to improve my digestion. I have a tea thermos with a strainer that I like to use for herbal teas only. In the morning, I put all my herbs in the strainer & pour boiling water atop. I then make my 2o minute bike commute to work. When I arrive, the tea has been sitting long enough to yield a fairly strong infusion. In general, it is recommended to make a decoction for roots. A decoction is simply making a tea, but instead of pouring hot water over the herb, you will simmer the herb in hot water for 15 minutes.
HOW TO MAKE A DECOCTION
Add 1 heaping TBS of root to 1 cup water.
Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 25 minutes.
Strain. Drink a cup several times daily.
HOW TO DEHYDRATE FRESH MARSHMALLOW ROOT
Clean root of dirt, if this hasn’t already been done.
Cut into 2″ pieces, then cut each piece in half lengthwise.
Place roots on dehydrator shelves. Set dehydrator to 135F. If you have a timer, I’d start with 4 hours and then check if a couple more hours are needed.
With a cutting board & straight rolling pin, lovingly pound the crap out of your dried roots. This will result in powder and smaller pieces of material that lend to decoction/infusion. More surface area = more contact with water to pull constituents out of the plant matter.
Store in an airtight jar
HOW TO TINCTURE FRESH MARSHMALLOW ROOT
I also had enough fresh root to make a tincture. To tolerance, finely chop up root.
Measure menstrum (ie. water & everclear mixture). I used a 40% alcohol to water ratio for my menstrum. This is because the muscilage is best extracted by water & 40% alc. is as low as we can go with fresh plants and still preserve a long shelf life.
Pour menstrum over chopped roots, tighten lid on jar, & give it a shake. I always like to get a bit woo and thank the plant & think about all the healing it’s going to help with.
As I start to work with marshmallow, I’m sure I will become familiar with it’s specific effects on my body. For now, I’d have to say pounding the root is pretty fun and satisfying – the same reason that I enjoy making saurkraut. I also loved the smell as it dehydrated. It was both sweet and bitter in scent. I’d love to hear how you’ve worked with marshmallow and any recipes, tips, preparations you’d like to share!
This week’s Slow Fashion October prompt is Handmade. For me, the desire to do things myself is a persistent one. I find myself returning to this desire on the day-to-day whether it’s working with plants that I foraged or grew, self-care through herbal remedies I’ve prepared, or making a piece of clothing. And so, I think in much of the same way that many people in this movement did, I found my way to sewing naturally. I remember having a Peter Rabbit kids sewing machine and often “tailoring” the fit of my 90’s stretch leggings. I did so with the instruction and help of my mom, who taught me to sew.
Since 2013, I’ve been wearing the same five Everlane t-shirts. They have held up perfectly; the fabric has softened and worn over time, and no holes have developed. While I will continue to wear these until they’re rags, I did want to add a couple shirts to my wardrobe before then. I’ve had my eye on the Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studio and finally had a free weekend to run to the fabric store. After consulting Instagram and all the beautifully made Hemlock Tees, I decided on a linen/cotton blend in oatmeal/tan.
I used the first section of the sleeve with the armhole curve, but modified the taper to a rectangle so I’d be able to cuff it.
Sewed sleeve to armhole
With the shirt inside out, I folded the remaining fabric up to cover the armhole seam, folding 1/4″ under to create a closed seam.
Followed pattern for sewing underarm & sides together. It was difficult to get the armhole pivot to lay flat (lots of ironing).
Since linen has not stretch, I subbed the neck hem from the Wiksten Tank. If you don’t have this pattern, I recommend following The Craft Session’s Hemlock Tee tips.
Length of Shirt / High Low Hem
After finishing the shirt, the length felt a bit long. I don’t usually tuck my shirts in and it kinda made it look like I was wearing a pillow case (ie. linen has a very different drape than tissue knits). So I decided on re-doing the hem to be high in front & lower in the back.
While wearing the shirt, I pinned up the hem. Overall, I shortened the front by 3-4″ and then followed a gradual decrease leaving the center back at about the full length.
Once pinned, I folded the shirt in half to make sure the decrease matched on both sides (left & right).
Iron fold. Then tuck & pin in 1/4″ to create a closed seam. Ready to sew!
I didn’t use french seams on the sides or armholes. I definitely will if I make another Hemlock out of linen/cotton, as it tends to fray a ton. Plus, it creates a more polished final product. Will have to add an extra 1″ to the seam allowance.
If you have any questions about modifications or the process in general, please leave a comment! I’d also love to see your Hemlock Shirt, as I plan to make a couple more.
For most of 2013-15, I had put making aside and was fed up with the amount of stuff I had accumulated in order to make things. Every project required at least one element that I didn’t have, even though I had boxes of materials & supplies. My approach has changed, as I’ve found my way back to making this year. I no longer buy without a distinct & immediate use in mind. A lot of my previous making efforts started with browsing the secondhand/vintage craft store and being inspired by the things I found. I’d pick up anything that peaked my interest. With the benefit of next to nothing prices and the self-imposed stress to buy it before it was gone, I ended up with more than I knew what to do with.
Nowadays, I only head to the store with a distinct goal – “buy 2 skeins of yarn to knit this pattern.” I’ve been working with new materials, which cost more, and put an immediate cap on purchasing more than I need. I’m also happy to support more women run companies who make the fibers I work with and own the shops I frequent. I haven’t eliminated my need to purchase materials, but I have brought intention to my choices around making. Additionally, I’ve found that I am happier with the final products, resulting in soon-to-be well-worn & loved pieces that I look forward to wearing each season.
One of which I finished last month – the Agnes sweater. I’m a sporadic and slow knitter, so I started mid-summer in hopes of finishing by winter – success! I was inspired by the #havefancyhouse knit along and Drea Renee Knits’ color selection. The pattern was easy to follow and this piece does knit up quick with the bulky yarn. I wish I had made the arm holes a 1/2″ larger, as it’s a struggle to layer anything with sleeves under. But, as it’s my first sweater, I’m pretty happy. The fit is fairly form-fitting, which is surprising for a heavy weight sweater. Can’t wait to wear it all winter.
I’m also working on paring down my fall closet for “Slotober.” I’m a fan of Project 333 and steadily working my way towards a smaller, better functioning closet. I’m looking forward to following along with Slow Fashion October on Instagram and can’t wait to see what folks are making/repairing/wearing!
It is early, here in the PNW, if you are looking for chanterelles. They are out and about, but I saw so many babies just beginning to emerge. It’s gonna be a great season – so treat yourself & get out to the woods in the next few weeks!
But right now, the woods are poppin’ with mushrooms of all sorts! As Reed pointed out, we make a good pair as he focuses in on finding the chanterelles, while I’m distracted/fascinated with every-single-mushroom-that-is-happening. Pre-chanterelles is a great time to find lobster mushrooms, boletes, shrimp mushrooms, cauliflower mushrooms, & many more that I don’t even know about yet.
Chantarellus formosus are mostly what grow in the PNW – they are a separate species from the golden chanterelle due to their mycorrhizal relationship with Doug Firs (hint hint for all you beginning mushroom hunters out there). It is also Oregon’s state mushroom, NBD.
If you are interested in going on a guided mushroom hunt (and why wound’t you be ?!), I recommend signing up for Arctos Schools’ upcoming mushroom class. I’ve gone mushrooming with them several times over the past couple of years and I always learn so much (new-to-me mushrooms, where they like to live/ecology, + more)! Also, check out your local mycological society. You will meet interesting, amazing people with a wealth of mushroom wisdom to share. Plus, they also typically offer guided walks, foraging forays, and classes.
Best way to beat 100F weather? Spend the day making a dress in the basement! A few years ago, I had made a Wiksten tank dress with some fabric I picked up at Fancy Tiger Crafts (visiting family). I’m super inspired by both these women run businesses and this dress was the first article of clothing I had made with a pattern. I love the step-by-step instructions the Wiksten pattern provides and how quickly it comes together.
For my second dress, I knew I wanted to make a couple of adjustments. I raised the neckline by 1.5″, lowered the armholes by 1.5″, and increased the length of the front & back pieces (3″ & 5″ respectively). Lowering the armholes was a little tricky because I wasn’t sure how the front & back should line up. I followed the advice here of just lowering and redrawing the curve. It worked out pretty well, as the dress isn’t tight, giving me more wiggle room to adjust the armholes incorrectly.
I’m looking forward to working a couple more up, maybe one in black linen a la Jai_Jai_Ma’s instagram, and another in an army green for the fall/winter. There are so many other patterns I want to try out too. I’m definitely taking recommendations. What’s been your favorite pattern or piece you’ve made recently?