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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 😹

Tres Archers


On a scale from one to ten, how sick are you of my Grainline Archer posts? Ten being really sick and one being stoked and not sick. If you answered "ten" you may want to click that little "x" in the upper corner of your browser. SORRY! I'm an Archerholic and here I am blacking out on Archers and you may not want to witness it.

Not as puffy IRL, uhkay?

The black shirt is a bit different than the others I've made so far, so I thought that I would blog about it. I did the lesser known version of this shirt, View B, the one with the little back ruffle. Cute, yeah? I think it would be even cuter in a lighter weight fabric instead of this black shirting. It was one of those online purchases from Mood Fabrics that didn't end up being exactly what I expected, but ohhhhhh well. I would love to make this again in black silk. Problem with that is that I would probably just wear it everyday because it would basically be my dream shirt.

The construction of this version is similar to the other ones I have made. There are a couple of new pattern pieces for the back, but other than that there isn't a major sewing difference when it comes to making the complete shirt. That said, I did use the sleeves, cuffs, and tower plackets from the Grainline Archer Popover Variation Pack.

I am showing the above photo for the following reasons:
1. To demonstrate how stiff this fabric is and how it is not the best for this shirt. I could prob go through a tornado and it would still look like this.
2. Because you need to know that I am clearly on Team Cat Hair Don't Care.

This checked flannel was purchased at Michael Levine in Los Angeles at some point last year. It's really soft, slightly thinner than I would like, unfortunately, and the colors are A++++. Totally worth the $5 or $6 a yard that I paid. I'm counting on this shirt to help keep me warm if there are any cold days left this year. The end of this week is supposed to be in the eighties and I am not stoked on it at all. Oh, and this is View A of the Archer pattern.

And I made this dog Archer a while ago and never took photos in it, so here you go. Another View A of the pattern sewn in Alexander Henry quilting cotton from Picking Daisies in San Luis Obispo. My BFFs daughter, Addison, liked this shirt when she saw me wearing it, so I feel v v cool 😎

I'm not going to go over the modifications that I made from the original pattern (you can read about them here) because I don't want to bore you guys. This pattern has officially moved to TNT status, so let's drink some champagne to celebrate hahaha. Cheers!

CourseHorse - Knitting Tree LA

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FACT: I do not live in Los Angeles. It may seem like I do because I've been there every other weekend for the past couple of months, but I officially reside in the San Luis Obispo/Pismo Beach area. My sister, brother in law, and niece live in Northridge and I like going over there and annoying them every chance I get.

I was recently contacted by CourseHorse, a company I was unfamiliar with, but super stoked on when I lurked their website. Let's say I'm looking for knitting classes in Los Angeles while I am bugging my family in Northridge. I can search to see what classes are available and even narrow it down by days/times available, price, location, and skill level. I view different classes from different businesses all in one place, sign up online, and go to the business to take the class in person. Rad, huh? It is such a cool idea, especially for someone who loves to learn, which is probably most people reading this right now. There aren't just knitting classes offered, you can sign up for cooking, photography, sewing, language, and a bunch of other categories. The only bummer about it is that it isn't offered in all places, just bigger cities for now. I'm crossing my fingers that it will soon be available everywhere because I want to learn how to make homemade pasta and macaroons and I would like to do it in San Luis Obispo with my friends 😜

CourseHorse offered me a class of my choice in the Los Angeles area in exchange for a blog post*. You have no idea how hard it was to decide! In the end I chose the class on Short Rows, a knitting technique I struggle with. Yes, I have watched tutorials online and read instructions on awesome websites, but I don't feel confident when I do them. For some reason picking up the wrap is hard for me and I mess it up half the time, don't ask me why, touchy subject 😉.

The class was last Saturday in Inglewood at The Knitting Tree LA. First off, WOW. Their business location was amazing. It's in a huge industrial style building with a ton of room. When you walk in the front door you see that the left side of the building is all retail with beautiful yarns everywhere. The right side of the building is a giant open room with yarn art on the walls. It quickly became less open as tables and chairs were set up to accommodate the three different classes going on. THREE classes in one room! Four classes total! The Knitting Tree is bumping, without question the busiest yarn store I have ever been to.

Amazing art done by Pat Ahern.

Close up.

Despite the fact that they were busy, the class sizes were not too big and I got plenty of attention in the Short Rows group. There were two other women in the class taught by Andy, who was so sweet, helpful, and patient even though I managed to mess up my short row swatch by picking up an extra stitch or dropping one, idk. In the small group I felt comfortable speaking up and asking questions, something I don't always do when in larger gatherings. The two hours flew by so quickly and I now officially think I have short rows AND Japanese short rows down thanks to Andy! The way I had done Japanese short rows previously was dumb and cumbersome and Andy's technique is wayyyy easier and required less thinking. Not mad about that!

What about you, are short rows your friend or foe? I think Japanese short rows are my fav now and I am looking for a pattern to put my new skills to use! I'm thinking of doing another West Knits shawl, but I'm not going to start another project until I knock out a few WIPs.

*I did receive this class for free from CourseHorse, but would have gladly paid the $30. 100% worth the experience and I plan on signing up for other classes in the future.