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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.


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?

Leopard Piper

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SURPRISE SURPRISE, a shirt made in a leopard print fabric. A comfy one at that. And paired with my black Ginger Jeans or black Oh La Leggings = an outfit that I am feelin.

Piper is part of the Christine Haynes pattern line. She recently started releasing pdf patterns under the Chop Chop collection, which are quick and easy project in a day sort of sewing adventures. So far she has released the Rumi Tank/Dress and Piper. I am a total deadbeat and haven't blogged about the Rumi workout tank that I made and wear on a regular basis (cool story: I was running on the treadmill at the gym and a lady came up to me and said she loved it so much and wanted to know where I bought it 😎), but I'm making a point to blog about Piper because I love it so.

Let me tell you a story. A story about how a person named Erin Fosmire would order knit fabrics online, only to receive them and realize that they weren't quite what she was expecting. She would then fold them up and put them in a storage bin (after pre-washing, or course!) and pray that someday she would find a use for the fabric. It was described on Mood's website as "black and brown leopard print rayon jersey" and I planned on making a long sleeve shirt. Well, what I received was not what I was expecting and would be uncomfortable for a long sleeve shirt, as the fabric was thick and felt almost like a ponte. I'm never going to send back a leopard print fabric, so I stashed it away until it decided to become this Piper top. The end. I love stories with happy endings.

Construction is simple, instructions get a thumbs up (👍👍), and the pattern fit is good. The instructions for the Chop Chop line are a little different from Christine's usual pdf patterns because they don't include diagrams/illustrations, they include photographs. Currently, I get all my pdf patterns printed in black and white at the copy shop, so ink/toner wise it doesn't make a difference to me, but just a heads up for those of you who do print at home.

The funnel neck is cute, not too turtleneck esque, and super easy to attach. I serged my seams, zig zagged the hems, and made this thing pretty quickly. I didn't make any adjustments, but on my next version I am going to do a narrow shoulder adjustment (my usual adjustment). Honestly, the whole pattern is an easy one to make, so I don't have any "look out" tips or construction advice. Just follow the pattern, you're in good hands. Stoked, will sew again, power seller, fast e-mailer, A+++, etc. Now, I just need to make a black one and my life will be 3745692345623 times better.

A Britex Ebony Copycat Dress

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Are you ready to see the quickest dress I have ever made? Yeah, it's another Ebony. Yeah, I love the scuba fabric that Britex gave me. Yeah, I did a good job of lining up the print, but didn't take into account where the print would land... Oops. Whatever, still love this dress and will wear it nonstop!

While this dress is made from the Ebony pattern it is a mix between the dress (View A) and the tunic View C), so I will call this "View D." It has the raglan sleeves paired with the length of the dress and it is a 90% rip off of Heather's beautiful scuba version. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery or just call me "Copy Cat Erin." 😆 Ok, I didn't completely copy her (which is why I deducted 10% from the number above) because I didn't attach the neckband the same way she did and followed the instructions from the pattern, while she did more of a binding style neckband.

I don't have a ton to say about the project, as I just blogged about the other Ebony shirts I made in a blog post several weeks ago, but if you would like to see how I merged the two pattern pieces together you can check that out over on the Britex blog. Honestly, tracing the new pattern pieces was the most time consuming part of this sewing project. It was a very quick and easy sew that ended up being a sophisticated dress imho. But that's what a nice fabric can do for you!

A major upside to me was not hemming. For whatever reason I dread hemming. I think it's because it's the last step before finishing a garment and it seems like it's keeping me from the finish line. Idk. But what I do know is that I don't particularly enjoy it. The cool thing about scuba is that it doesn't fray and therefore doesn't have to be hemmed! 🎉🎈! No hemming = an even faster dress.

 It's funny that I made this during Me Made May because I have been going so hard on wearing separates, but a girl has to treat herself to making a cute dress every once in a while 💁 So shout out to my sister, Kelly, for taking the photos, to Britex for the fabric, and to my closet because it just got cooler with this dress in it. Now back to my regular scheduled life of sewing separates.

Ebonys for MMM17

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I think last year was the first year I officially participated in Me Made May. After completing a month of wearing something handmade everyday, it solidified what I already knew: I need more separates in my life. I've said it fifty thousand times, but my work environment is casual. Like jeans and t-shirt causal. And if I wore a dress?? Lolololol forget about it. So this month I am going to focus on sewing some easy knit shirts and garments that can be worn to my 9-5 and I will share about them here. Technically these weren't sewn in May, but I am just getting around to posting them now. My blog, my rules, okkkkkk?

A couple of months ago I made my first Closet Case Patterns Ebony Tee in a mustardy greenish bamboo knit from Michael Levine. I guess this technically isn't the tee, it's the raglan tunic.  Moving on. I LOVE it.

Yeah, I know that I need to wear a different bra with this.

Construction wise it's super straightforward. If you've made a knit shirt before then this will be a quick and easy sewing project. It has the simplicity of a basic knit tee, but is slightly dressier, at least in my opinion. Directions are clear, diagrams are great, and I couldn't find anything confusing at all.

Shout out to that stain near my collar that I didn't notice until now.

I sewed as much as I could with my serger (God, I love that thing) and used a zig zag stitch for the top stitching and hemming. I don't know what it is, but I don't like using a twin needle and am totally fine with a zig zag. I don't like having to use two spools of thread. I don't like fiddling with the tension to try and avoid tunneling. It's not worth it (IMO), especially when I like the look of the zig zag stitch. That said, I'll probably get addicted to twin needles in a couple of weeks. Apparently, I like to declare things and then change my mind 😏

So, I needed another Ebony in my life and I made this one, as you can see. It is also  a bamboo knit from Michael Levine. I got both fabrics last year and hoarded them for the perfect unknown project, my future Ebony tops. These are going to rule when it's super hot out. My first summer sewing projects of 2017, CHECK. Now, let me go make no sense at all and work on knitting some wool socks 😹