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Birch + Seamwork = LOVE

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Some of you will probably disagree with me, but I don't really consider myself a trend follower when it comes to clothing. Yeah, there are sewing patterns out there that a lot of us sewists will use, but when it comes to styles and brand names I'm not easily swayed by what is "in style" at the moment. Take those shirts with the shoulder cut outs. NO. Lululemon leggings for $128.00? NEVER. And wearing a bra as a statement piece. NUH UH. I guess I try to think long term when it comes to sewing and I want to make garments that fit my taste and are timeless, in that they are things that I will wear for a long time, not for a "season."


Despite everything I just said two seconds ago, here is the trendiest thing I have worn in a while 😂 I've seen a lot of off the shoulder tops and dresses this summer, so I'm guessing this is very "on trend" right now. But this comment/fashion advice is coming from someone who has been wearing black Converse and band shirts for the last seventeen years, so feel free to take any "fashion tips" from me with a grain of salt, haha!


The tunic length pattern is version two of the Seamwork Loretta pattern, sewn without any fit adjustments. It was a quick one to make (it's a Seamwork Pattern, so duhhhh) with only a few pattern pieces (front, back, sleeves, elastic casing, belt, and belt loops) which is great for the instant gratification project I needed in my life. The only changes I made for my version were minor ones: I cut the elastic a few inches shorter than the recommended length for a snugger fit and I didn't add the belt loops. Honestly, I'm not a fan of how they look and since I wasn't sure if I'd be wearing it with the belt (it has since been confirmed that this will be belted at all times) I kept them off. For future version two it will be loopless, possibly have a longer belt, shorter elastic to keep it on the shoulder (Not sure I can rock an off the shoulder look. It looks cute, but might not be functional. Will have to wear version one a few times to determine), I will use bias tape along the hem instead of folding over and stitching, and it will have some sort of tag in the back so I can tell the difference between the front and back. One of my favorite things about sewing is that I don't have to have annoying and itchy tags on my neck, but I'll definitely add a small loop of elastic or fabric. Not itchy and functional FTW!


This dreamyyyyy fabric is the new chambray from Birch in black. I love that it comes in 58 inch widths and that it's organic. Well, all of Birch's fabrics are organic, so that's nothing new, but it is always a plus for me when I'm buying it. I buy organic fruits and veggies, so why not organic fabric? To clarify, Birch did give me this fabric to make a garment, but I do buy from their line already, which is why I say I'm a fan of buying organic. I also like buying local, which is convenient for me since Birch's storefront is forty five minutes away mwahaha!


Back to the fabric, it's lightweight enough for this blouse. Wait, actually, it's pretty perfect for this pattern. It would also be perfect for the most comfortable Archer too. You guys know I'm an Archerolic, right? So basically this situation is going to happen soon since it is now technically Fall and I'll be living in Archers. Also, just decided that Fall and Winter are now considered Archer Season in my world.

Happy Saturday! Happy Fall!
xo Erin

Knit Life

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Living the knit life since 2013 and falling more in love with it everyday. At this point I think I knit more than I sew. Typically, I like knitting things that I will actually wear (socks), but every year I treat myself to a sweater. With the mild climate here at the beach there isn't a huge demand for warm cozy sweaters, so they aren't usually on my needles. However, when Andrea Mowry released the So Faded sweater pattern I knew I wanted in.


Can I just say that I love indie yarn dyers? I love supporting small businesses (this goes for sewing pattern companies too!) and I loveeeeee buying yarn. It's actually probably considered an addiction at this point... Would that make it a habit or a hobby? Or both? The indie yarn used for this sweater was bought from Junkyarn. Kemper (the owner, dyer, and all around badass), made life really easy for me by dyeing up kits for the So Faded sweater and you can bet that I was sitting around waiting for her shop update because I HAD to get my hands and needles on these beautiful yarns. You can check out my Ravelry project page for more info on the yarns, or you can just stay here while I gush over Kemper and her fun speckled yarns idc. It's a fingering weight project (code for "this took forever to knit") and the yarn is made up of 75% merino, 20% nylon, 5% stellina. The stellina gives the glittery sheen that may or may not be visible in these photos, but makes me happy inside. And let's talk about the second yarn from the top. Two words: Leslie Knope. Yeah, that kinda sums up the fact that this yarn rules at life.


 So Faded (the pattern, not me being drunk) was a fun sweater to make and drama free aka had good instructions. It's knit in the round with circular needles, top down, and the sleeve stitches are left on scrap yarn and then knit after the body. Honestly, the most confusing part of the pattern was figuring out the math for fading the colors in and out out, but that wasn't even bad because Andrea gave the exact formula and you just had to plug in your numbers according to the size being knit. Maybe it's just me, but I freeze up and my eyes cross when I see math equations ugggggh. Guess you can tell that I wasn't the best mathematics student hahaha.

While the pattern was an easy one to follow it was time consuming to make. Making a sweater from fingering yarn is no joke and is not a quick knit by any means. This took around 3 months to complete, but I really lagged on the sleeves and worked on other projects in the meantime which added to the long time frame. If I worked on this project solely I could have gotten it finished sooner than I did, but life is way more fun with multiple knitting WIPs in my world.


My least favorite part about making this was weaving in all those ends. Jeeeeeze that took forever. I guess that's just the downside of "fade" projects in general. End result is worth it though. Fav part are the pops of garter stitch on the shoulders, it gives the pattern a little something special.

Would I knit this again? Maybe. No fault of the pattern, but man, it took a while to knit and it's going to be a minute before I'm up for another project of this scale. IF I do give it another shot I'm going to size down because I would prefer a closer fit. This is a little looser (my bad) because I thought sizing up would be a good idea and it wasn't. I wanted it to be more oversized and it didn't end up that way. So I should have went down a size or up a few sizes. Not complaining though, this will still be on my body WHEN THE TEMPERATURE DECIDES TO NOT BE 80-105 DEGREES EVERYDAY 😠😡😠😡 K, I guess that was a complaint and I don't want to end this post on a negative note, so I will emphasize that I do like my sweater and I like the black walls that my husband and I painted in my library. I have been wanting black walls for eight years (I can pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with the idea) and it has finally happened. So excited. That's all.

Shawl blanket = shlanket

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Sew something, don't blog it. Knit something, don't blog it. That's my life, I'm annoying like that. I finished knitting the West Knits Marled Magic Mystery Shawl, idk, FOUR months ago and I'm just writing about it today. Better late than never?

I had never done a mystery knit along before this shawl and didn't know what to expect. Here's how it goes for those who are unfamiliar with MKALs: you purchase the knitting pattern without knowing what the finished product will look like. You are given a materials list to start and then each week (or whenever the designer decides) the next step of the pattern is released. It truly is exciting waiting for the next clue! It got to the point where I was talking about knitting so much that my husband was calling Stephen West "my boy" and would say, "isn't your boy releasing the next clue tomorrow?" 😂


If you want a full on list of what fingering yarns I used you're going to have to check my Ravelry project page because I used so many and I am way too lazy to rewrite it here. Stephen suggested using scraps, but I definitely didn't have enough scrap yarn to make this shlanket (shawl blanket), so I used mostly full skeins of yarn from my stash. I picked really bright colors and I am so happy with the result! This thing is insane and I love it.


The directions for the pattern were clearly written and the confusing techniques had You Tube videos to accompany them, which I was grateful for. The videos were definitely helpful and I really enjoyed Stephen's unique personality. He genuinely made me laugh a few times during the MKAL and I don't know if knitting has ever made me laugh, but that may be because I have a black heart or something idk.


There is a lot of garter stitch and seed stitch and it is more visually pleasing than a "normal" garter and seed stitch (imo) because two strands of yarn are held together and alternated throughout the project. The color combos are endless and I even enjoyed swatching, a first for me. There was an optional section of brioche knitting, but I didn't do it 😔 At the time I didn't know how to brioche and didn't want to stress myself out trying to meet the deadline for the next section and trying to learn a new technique. On the plus, I did take a Craftsy class not long after and learned it, so I am ready to brioche on a future project.


There were two size options and I chose the larger of the two, the shlanket. Originally, I wasn't sure how I felt about the sizing. Would I use something that big? Answer: HELL YES, and I am so glad I made it. My love for the ginormous shawl became official when I was traveling to Chicago. I brought it with me on the plane and used it as a blanket when I was cold and then Luke and I alternated using it as a pillow when we were trying to sleep. I also brought it with me to the movie theater to see Dunkirk (highly recommend seeing it. Also highly recommend Baby Driver. Not that you asked, just throwing it out there.) and it was nice to have on my lap when it got a little chilly. I'm all about that socially acceptable blanket life!


This project kinda got me addicted to knitting shawls. Now I want to knit shawls all day, everyday. It's fun making something that doesn't have to fit! Can you guys recommend any patterns that I need in my life? I'm ready to rage on shawls.

P.S. Thanks to my sister, Kelly, for taking these photos.

Charley Harper

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Let's play a game, Fact or Fiction. Which number below is false?

1. I have had a septum piercing for 13 years.
2. When I was younger I once sculpted a quail from a rock.
3. Dick Van Dyke was my first crush.
4. I would never wear jeans with sandals.
5. I'm addicted to watching the tv show Basketball Wives.


Do you have your guesses? Ok, the answers are "fact" for all of them, with the exception of number four. I never thought I would be someone who would wear flip flops and and jeans, but I have officially become that person. More of a function thing than a fashion thing for sure. What was the point of that game? I wanted to throw in the fact that I really like quails and wasn't sure how to bring that up 😂 Welcome to the most pointless paragraph on my blog hahahaha

Quails remind me of my childhood. I grew up on a cattle ranch on twenty acres with no neighbors in sight. I'd see deer, ground squirrels, would hear boars at night, and see little flocks of California quails sprinting across the hills. In the one sculpting class I took in my life, I sculpted a quail from a rock to show I was a quail super fan or something. Dang, I wish I still had that sculpture, but I gave it away to someone a long time ago.


Back to the point of this post: my friends at Birch approached me and asked if I would like to sew something from the new Charley Harper Western Birds fabric line that was being launched. As you can see from the photos, I obviously said "yes" and immediately chose the quail fabric. Birch calls it a cotton poplin and it can be used for quilting or garments. There are a lot of different designs and colorways for the cotton and knit and a few options for double gauze, canvas, and the 108 inch poplin. I have never bought fabric 108 inches wide, but I think it would be a really great option for a quilt back.

The pattern is the Closetcase Patterns Kalle Shirt/Shirtdress sewn in view tunic aka "C". It was a fun one to sew and I would like to make the dress version next. This was my first button popover placket, and while it's not perfect, I am happy with how it turned out. I used to be ashamed of my sewing imperfections, now I just decide that I'll do better the next time and move on with my life.


Speaking of imperfections... if the shape of the hem looks wonky blame me 😁 My serger took a bite out of part of the hem (my bad) and I had to "even" out the other side, so the front would look the same. I don't think it's super noticeable, but like I said up above, "moving on."

I liked the challenge of the popover placket paired with no sleeves to set in or cuffs to attach, like I usually have to do with button ups I make. I also liked attaching bias tape to the hem instead of folding the fabric over and stitching. This thing would be a beast to hem without bias tape, so yeah, no thanks. Idk how I feel about the instructions for attaching the collar, I'll have to try making it again and see how it goes the second time around. Not sure if I am being picky/stubborn because I like doing things the way I am used to, or if I genuinely do prefer the construction method I use when making Grainline Archers.


Any other Charley Harper fans out there?

Adios, Charlie.

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I debated calling this post "Erin the Quitter" or "F is for Fail," but those both sounded super negative and I don't think quitting a sewing project is necessarily a bad thing. In fact it can be a great thing!

My friends gifted me the new Closetcase Patterns caftan pattern, Charlie and I was stoked because it is really really cute. I traced the pattern, cut out some beautiful Birch Fabrics chambray, and got to sewing. I worked on it here and there over a couple of days, doing small bits of sewing, but last night shit hit the fan. For the LIFE of me I could not get that center panel sewn in without puckers. I can't tell you how many times I sewed and ripped out stitches, it's embarrassing. Let's just say that my seam ripper and I spent a lotttttt of time together haha. I was so frustrated and angry and hot (no AC) and was probably being really annoying to my friends, Lauren and Arleen, who I kept texting.

Then in the middle of my rage I realized that this is a hobby, not my job. Sewing should be fun and if I'm getting pissed off then I should stop. The moment I gave myself permission to quit it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Quitting can be ok! Life is too short to force yourself into sewing something that doesn't make you happy.

That said, I am not bashing the pattern. I think I wasn't precise in my stitching/cutting for that center piece and precision is definitely key for making that panel sew in correctly. Will I try sewing it again? Right now I'd say "no," but who knows, I'll probably change my mind after I chill out for a while.

Also, I just reread my Sewing Bummer Recovery Tips post and that gave me some good ideas, so tonight I plan on sewing a couple of knit shirts and I am really excited about it. Cheers to easy TNT patterns!

Chicago Dreaming

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LeBron the cat likes guarding my future clothes.

Why is it that when I plan a vacation I automatically start coming up with patterns I "need" to make before I leave? For example, I'm going to Chicago this summer and have already figured out what I would like to wear on my trip, but have not yet figured out everything I want to do or where my husband and I will be staying... At least I have the flights booked? Haha.

That said, my summer sewing is going to be geared towards Chicago sewing. Which means I need to make clothing for hot weather. This will be great for my normal "home" wardrobe too, as I always seem to forget how hot it can get here in Pismo Beach until I'm sweating profusely at work in a building with no AC, let alone insulation in the walls, and helping customers as sweat drips off the tip of my nose. Side note: it will cost $7,000.00 (approximately $$$$$$.00) to have air conditioning installed in our home (no relief when I get home), so I guess I need to stock up on some fans and get ready for more Bikram sewing days in the future. It is what it is 😐

All fabric purchased from Michael Levine.

So. Dream wardrobe description below:
1. Closetcase Patterns Sallie jumpsuit in green jersey. Problem is that this jersey might be too see through, so I'm not sure if this one is going to happen.
2. Seamwork Aberdeen in a pink knit. Or a knit Grainline Scout?
3. A wine colored Named Inari dress.
4. See number two. P.S. I love stripes.
5. A pink linen Grainline Alder.

Fabric gifted to me from Birch Fabrics.

1. The Grainline Penny Raglan in the green Charley Harper knit.
2. View A of the Closetcase Charlie Caftan in the blue chambray.
3. A quail Closetcase Kalle tunic because why wouldn't I make a quail shirt? I think they are my favorite kind of bird.

I'm clearly (Chicago) dreaming if I think that I am going to get all this done in time, but I will try my best to put a dent in the list. I definitely need to get at least one dress done because my birthday is on July 18th and I like treating myself to a birthday dress when I can 🎂👗🎂👗🎂👗🎂👗🎂

So, what's the scoop on Chicago? And where can I get the best pizza of my life?