Posted in Sewing, DIY Tutorials, knitting

My Rift Tee Plus Knitting Project Bag Tutorial with Free Pattern!

I’ve never understood the point of short sleeved sweaters. Weren’t sweaters supposed to keep you warm? But then I came across Jacqueline Cieslak’s Rift Tee pattern and my life changed. I saw the sneak peaks on Instagram and I knew I had to make it. I had just made her Ursa Sweater and really enjoyed it. It had given me a little bit of difficulty at first because I didn’t understand the half brioche stitch but overall it was such an addicting project I couldn’t put it down. In comparison, the Rift Tee went much smoother for me and was a really easy project to complete fairly quickly. It contained a decent amount of stockinette stitching that kept me occupied on my commute to work for a few days, which is always nice. And knitting in the round is especially good for commute knitting. This sweater also doesn’t take much yarn which my wallet always appreciates. I bought two skeins of Amano Awa yarn in 1108- Cochineal and still had enough left over afterwards to make my nephew a hat. Whoo!

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Here I have it styled over a Metamorphic Dress by Sew Liberated to show it off. I actually entered this into Mockingbird Fiber Co’s Sweater Knit Along and won! It was a pretty general knit along, with entrants able to make any sweater of their choice in any yarn just as long as it was a finished object. I received my prize in the mail and it is the most gorgeous yarn!

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I also recently made a new project bag using this canvas fabric from Fabrics Wholesale Direct and the best part about it is that it’s waterproof! So I know whatever project I store in here will be safe.

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I carried it around for the first time paired with my Rift Tee and Ogden Cami Dress. It was the perfect outfit to roam around the NJ Sheep and Fiber Festival in during a warm, late summer’s day. Just a side note though, I thought I’d save myself the trouble of carrying my purse by throwing my wallet in my project bag and the shawl I had in there got snagged on it when I went to pay for some of the yarn I bought. I was so frustrated with myself but thankfully was able to fix the snag. Never again will I put my wallet in my project bag though. Anyways, I now understand the point of short sleeved sweaters!

 

The tutorial can be found here and the free pattern can be downloaded below:

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Posted in Sewing

Restyling Exchange 2019

Last year I took part in the Restyling Exchange challenge hosted by @amynicolestudio and @pilar_bear and I had so much fun doing it. But this year I was extra excited when they announced the option of choosing our own partners. I obviously chose my friend, Erin, of Poetic Memory Sewing, who I’ve known since college.

I actually sent her something I made during our freshman year in college during one of my sewing classes but only wore once for the fashion show that served as our final exam and then never again. I chose the style because I knew those intricate pleats would get me an A if I executed them well even if the design didn’t exactly fit my style. I believe the pattern was from Vogue but I don’t remember the pattern number since it was so darn long ago.

I just love how she incorporated the pleats and was able to keep them completely intact. I also love that she used the sleeves to add godets to the side seams. This top is so comfortable and something I will get so much more wear out of now.

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She even saved the main portion of the blouse for me because she thought it might still be wearable. There were some holes where she trimmed the pleating off but this was easily remedied with some patches that I covered up with lace trim. She felt bad about the holes she cut into the blouse but I think it was a happy accident because I probably wouldn’t have added the trim otherwise. I was also glad to finally find the perfect project to use these black antique buttons I got at a flea market on. They’re so much prettier than the plain red buttons I originally used. So this is my bonus refashion!

Now onto what I made for Erin…

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Erin sent me this Liberty of London x J. Crew blouse that she had thrifted. I really wanted to incorporate some one yard off-cuts  I had bought during one of Fab Scrap‘s Instagram flash sales since they were hosting their own refashioning challenge this month.

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These were the three fabrics I had to choose from. It was a difficult choice because I was worried they all might be too much mixed with the Liberty of London fabric. So I played around with it until I finally decided on the polka dot/floral mixed print, which is what drove me to buy this pack to begin with. I just thought it was so pretty!

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Having a dress form this year helped so much. It allowed me to test out my fabric choices before I settled on one and it was especially crucial in draping and fitting my garment.

I asked Erin for her nape to waist measurement and she said it was 16″. However, this seemed extremely long so I just used my dress form as a guide. I tied a ribbon around the blouse at the waist and marked it with safety pins to get my cut line. The straps/neck binding were done out of a Cotton + Steel remnant I had in my stash.

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Then I used the extra fabric from the sleeves and what I cut off the bottom of the blouse and cut it all into 1″ strips to add a ruffle along the part of the skirt where it changes from purple to black. I thought this would help the top and the bottom look a little less disjointed.

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I didn’t need nearly as many ruffles as I thought but since I had already cut all those strips and sewn them together, I thought I’d cut them into three even strips and turn them into a braided rag bowl. You can see how much was leftover in the picture to the right. Can you believe I was actually nervous I wouldn’t have enough for the ruffles in the beginning?!

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And this is the finished look!

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Doesn’t Erin look pretty?

Posted in Sewing

My Two Teahouse Dresses

I had been eyeing the Teahouse Dress pattern by Sew House 7 for some time before I finally bought it. By the time I finally got around to making it, I was on a hiatus from sewing in my own apartment because of a confrontation with our old downstairs neighbor that was the final straw in us deciding to move out of there. To scratch my sewing itch, I would go to Friday afternoon Social Sewing Time at Gotham Quilts and even went so far as to go to Open Sewing Night at Urban Sewciety, which was quite a trek from Queens but is a great place to meet up with my other New Jersey sewist friends, Hannah and Erin.

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The above photo is from Open Sew Night at Urban Sewciety. I believe this is where I began stitching this dress together but was a little distracted talking to my friends. (I also was constructing it off of my own intuition because it seemed that a lot of instructions were missing. It wasn’t until later that I remembered I had printed them out double sided 🤦‍♀️.) So it wasn’t until the princess seams were completely done that I realized I had forgotten to add the waist ties! This was a bit of a nuisance, especially since I had french seamed everything, but I’m glad I went back in and attached them correctly rather than trying to jimmy them on. I put the very last stitch into this dress during a Friday afternoon Social Sewing session at Gotham Quilts. While Open Sew at Urban Sewciety was free, Social Sewing Time at Gotham Quilts cost me about $25/ hour. I think I only went to two, two hour sessions and finished two projects in that time- this dress and an Ogden Cami. So although it was costly, it was very therapeutic to have somewhere safe to sew outside of my apartment during a very stressful time so I could actually enjoy myself and not feel like I was walking on egg shells in my own home.

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I was so excited when the poster for the movie Crazy Rich Asians came out. Not only because of what the film signified for the Asian community, but because the colors matched my dress perfectly! I posted this picture to Instagram the weekend it opened to celebrate. It was also the very same weekend To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before premiered on Netflix. It’s been so exciting for me as a 30- something Asian American woman to finally see Asians be represented in more diverse ways in film and television recently. Growing up, the only role model I had who looked like me was Michelle Kwan. Luckily, she was an amazing one to have (most decorated figure skater in US history- I still worship her to this day!) Kristi Yamaguchi was also a badass on the ice who I adored but I guess I related more to Michelle Kwan because she was younger. There was also Julie on Friends, but she was only around for two episodes! Finally, we got Lane Kim on Gilmore Girls but she was a supporting player! It’s so satisfying to finally see Asians star in things now.

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I also broke out this dress to wear while walking around a garden during our trip to California. I just love this fabric so much! Nani Iro sure does know what she’s doing.

As much as I loved my first Teahouse Dress, I wanted a longer version as well because I loved the photos for this pattern on Sew House 7‘s website. I actually thought my first one would turn out longer and was a little disappointed when it didn’t, especially since I had plenty of fabric to do so. I guess that’s why people make toiles? But who has the time for that?! This dress is very easy to put together. The only gripe I had about my second attempt was how shifty this rayon fabric is! I held off on leveling the hem for a few days while it set and once I finally got around to doing it, it wasn’t that bad. But man, rayon is a pain to work with.

IMG_20190420_153502I made this to wear in time for my friend’s bachelorette party in the Dominican Republic and then I bust it out to wear again to a friend’s wedding last weekend. I think I will now wear loose fitting dresses with waist ties to every wedding. I was able to eat as much as I wanted to and when my dress started to feel uncomfortable, I just loosened the tie 😂.

Posted in Sewing

Hooray for the Wiksten Haori!

 

I had been eyeing the Wiksten Haori pattern for some time but the steep price of $18 was holding me back. Finally I just bit the bullet and purchased it and I am so glad I did!

I had a little bit of trouble when attaching the collar to the jacket. It was a little too small and I had to let it out as much as I could to make it work. Even then, I still struggled to make it fit. I think it’s because the interfacing I used was too heavy. It calls for a lightweight fusible interfacing and I used medium weight because I didn’t read the directions before I bought it (whoops!) The only slip stitching called for in the instructions is around the sleeve hems, but I decided to slip stitch the lining to the collar also for a cleaner finish than top stitching it. It took so long but it was worth it. I find that top stitching things closed doesn’t always leave me satisfied with the results on the outside of the garment. I also added patch pockets to the lining in case I’m ever feeling in the mood to wear this with the blue side out.

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The outer fabric is sage twill from Fab Scrap and the lining fabric is a Rag & Bone chambray from Mood Fabrics. Fab Scrap is a great company out in Brooklyn that collects dead stock fabric from fashion companies and re-sells it at a low cost to keep it from going to the landfill. I really admire what they’re doing and hope to get out there to volunteer one day. Volunteers receive five pounds of fabric in exchange for two and a half hours of work! So it’d be a great way to help out the environment and build your stash all at once. I just wish Brooklyn were a little closer…

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This jacket has been perfect for Spring and I’ve worn it so many times already.img_20190407_160902

I wore it while perusing my local yarn stores during the NJ Wool Walk. Here I am holding a bag with my purchases from my favorite yarn shop, Yarnia. I also hit up The Local Yarn Store that weekend and it was so cute and had such a good selection of yarn. I definitely need to visit them again. #ShopSmall!

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I also wore it to the Turtleback Zoo. I just love how comfortable and easy going this design is. It definitely fits my style because I am lazy and I do not like wearing tight fitting garments.

I do want to make a warmer one out of wool for the fall at some point but lately I haven’t felt the desire to buy much fabric. Yesterday I cleaned out and organized my scrap fabric and there is SO much of it! It makes me feel so guilty because I hate the thought of all of that fabric being dumped into the ocean. I’ve bagged up what I don’t think will ever be useful to bring to H&M to recycle. Hopefully they do actually recycle it…Fab Scrap also takes scrap fabric recycling to turn into shoddy for a small fee but their location in Brooklyn is just too far for me to travel to, especially with heavy bags of fabric. I’m hoping that once they open up their store front in Chelsea, they’ll accept scrap fabric recycling from there since that would be a little easier for me to get to.

 

 

Posted in Sewing

A Couple of Kalle Shirts for Shirt Month

When Allie Olson of Indie Sew first announced this year’s Shirt Month back towards the end of January, I was excited to finally be pushed to make the Kalle Shirt. I had bought the pattern during Indie Sew’s Black Friday Sale two years ago but it just sat in a basket because I was too afraid to cut it out and also too lazy to trace it. Since January was also the first time I had found myself unemployed in over two years, it seemed like the perfect challenge to keep me distracted while I half-heartedly looked for new work and recovered from a stressful few months at the same time. I thought it was pretty humorous when Allie introduced the new fabrics she was stocking for shirt month the next day and one of them was pretty much identical to the fabric from my stash that I had planned on using. The only difference was that my fabric has that extra thin stripe running down and across it. Plaid Kalle Shirt 1

I traced out the size 6 and it took me so long. I usually don’t trace patterns and just cut into them because I just don’t want to deal with all that extra work. Sewing for other people for a living, I just want to get right to the fun stuff when it comes to myself. In the end, I’m glad I did trace it since now my original Kalle pattern is still intact and I will be able to make other sizes from it in the future. I also took the risk of cutting the pieces out of my fabric as I needed them because I just hate plaid matching so much and wanted to get straight to sewing, especially after spending so much time tracing the pattern. I was pretty sure I had enough fabric though so I wasn’t too worried.

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This was my first time doing the burrito method. The first time, I made the silly mistake of not attaching the front pieces so I had just enclosed the shoulder seams of the outer and inner back yokes. When I was done, I was confused as to how the front pieces get attached. So I referenced the sew along on Closet Case Patterns‘ website, said “duh!” to myself and then got it right on the next try.

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After that, it was on to the side seams! I french seamed them because I like my homemade garments to look as neat as possible on the inside when I have the time and motivation to do so.

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I didn’t realize there was a front and back piece to the sleeve cuffs and only traced and cut out the back cuff piece so it was huge! And I didn’t realize why until I was done. So I kept taking it in until it fit. So it’s a little awkward around there but I think it still looks fine. I also cut the cuffs out on the bias because, again, I hate pattern matching.

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And as much as I hate pattern matching, I love that inverted back pleat!

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I actually finished a second Kalle Shirt while I waited for some wooden buttons from Arrow Mountain to finish my first one. This one went so much quicker and smoother since I had just gone through the trials and errors of making it the first time. I lengthened both of them by 3″ and wish I had lengthened them just a little more since I don’t like my shirts to be too short. The original cropped length the pattern comes as DEFINITELY would have been too short for me and I am SHORT!

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I love this floral Rifle Paper Co. fabric so much. It feels so luxurious when I wear this shirt. I know so many places carry Rifle Paper Co. fabrics but I got mine from Sew Jersey because I like to support small NJ businesses as much as I can, it being my home state and all. The little buttons are from Yarnia, my favorite local yarn store.

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I wore my floral Kalle shirt to the bookstore and I think it goes pretty well with the wood of the shelves I’m standing in front of.

 

Here I am wearing my plaid Kalle shirt. I had been saving it to wear for the first time to my friend The Rambling Rosie‘s Easter themed get together. I even attempted dyeing an Easter egg to match my shirt. How’d I do?

Posted in Sewing

Being Aware of Fake Accounts on Social Media- Sewcialists Edition

I love Instagram. I love that I can find out about indie sewing pattern designers and small fabric shops through Instagram. I love that I can check out what other people have made with certain patterns before I try them out for myself. I love that I can make things and share them with other people who sew and will appreciate all of the work that went into them. I love that everyone who’s ever wanted to be a model can now be one with just the help of a friend or a selfie stick (I hate modelling myself but more power to those who do!)

I also hate Instagram. I hate that people become so preoccupied with gaining followers they’ll go so far as to pay a marketing company to provide them with fake ones so they look more popular or important. I hate that these companies are trying to rip off people’s identities in an attempt to create realistic looking followers to sell to their customers. I hate that it’s so hard to tell when we come across one of these fake accounts while scrolling through our favorite hashtags without digging much deeper.

Over the past few days I’ve found a lot of suspicious looking accounts on Instgram through sewing related hashtags. What initially tipped me off was, while scrolling through the #sewcialists hashtag, I clicked on a few profiles and noticed they didn’t have a lot of followers. I liked their photos (each account only having one or two) and decided to follow them. By the third profile this happened with, I noticed one of the posts was a #BestNine2018 photo with nine pictures of different handmade garments. I thought this was weird since the profile only had three posts altogether. That’s when I started to dig deeper.

Luckily, the sewing community has a lot of hashtags that aren’t inundated with photos (like hashtags for specific patterns), so the original post is pretty easy to locate. To track back to the original user’s photo, I’ll start by clicking on the hashtag that I think will have the least amount of photos. This gives me a lot less to weed through as looking for an old post may be like trying to find a needle in a haystack sometimes.

Here are some examples of usernames for fake accounts I’ve found over the past few days:

@93seckincinkir243

@wendikeith447

@demirturk905

@32laurelyeager903

@rahimozkan891

@32selmacrowley727

@gocen4334

@demirturk9335

 

The above photos are from a non-sewing related account. I don’t remember looking at it but I came across it in my search history while trying to collect a list of fake usernames I had discovered. I believe it was probably impersonating a sewing related account at first but then switched over to an equestrian themed one after it had been found out. It took me a while to track down where the original photos came from, but copying and pasting the bio into Google Search led me right to it. The photo on the left displays the real account and the photo on the right is the fake account.
More examples of stolen profiles (names and bios have been blocked out for security):

Signs that an account might be fake:

  • The username begins with numbers.
  • The user has a very small number of followers but is following a very large number of people in comparison.
  • The accounts the user is following are random and odd. (What gives it away for me when it’s a sewing related account is if the user isn’t following a lot of other sewing related accounts. Sometimes they’re not following any at all.)
  • Their photos have very few likes.
  • I remember liking the same photo from another username previously. A lot of times, businesses will re-post a photo of someone using their products so it’s not always suspicious looking. This is when it’s important to look at the username. If you still aren’t sure and it’s important to you, this is when you should go to their profile and see how many followers they have as opposed to how many people they are following. Who’s following them and who are they following in return? This is usually the dead giveaway. Like I said, for sewing enthusiasts it’s usually easy to tell it’s fake if they’re not following a lot of sewing related accounts. So it may be a lot harder to tell on more broad based profiles.

Reasons You Probably Don’t Want Someone Impersonating You On Social Media:

  • You don’t want an account with your profile picture on it following another account or liking photos from another account with beliefs you don’t agree with.
  • That’s your identity! It’s not for some marketing company to sell to someone to make that person look more popular!

So, I beg of you, please be more aware when liking photos on Instagram and report something if you see it. As social media and the sewing community become more involved, we can form a sort of neighborhood watch type of accountability program to protect each other. I don’t think we should let this get in the way of our enjoyment of using Instagram to be inspired by and discover other makers, but this is something we should all be aware of while we’re scrolling through our feeds or hashtags.

Posted in Sewing

Christmas Gifts 2018

Christmas is always my busiest time of year. While I enjoy the holidays, my work schedule always makes it hard to fit in celebrating. So I like to spend little bits and pieces throughout the year making gifts for my family as my own way of enjoying Christmas all throughout the year. Here is a summary of what they all received this year…

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This was the year of the sock. Back in August, Fancy Tiger Crafts announced a knit-along for a sock pattern called the Basecamp Socks. I had always wanted to knit socks but was always too afraid to try because I heard they were complicated. Someone in the comments section of their Instagram post asked if it was a good pattern for beginners and they said yes. So I decided to dive right in because I thought a knit-along would be a good motivator. Though it was a little tricky at first I am now addicted to knitting socks and most of my family members received socks as gifts this year. The red pair went to my mom. The beige pair went to my dad. And I gave the purple pair to my sister-in-law as part of my baby shower gift.

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I also knit my mom this Pre-Wrapped Wrap by Purl Soho out of Lily Sugar N’ Cream yarn. I like the idea of wearing this over dresses at special events when it’s chilly out so I may have to make one for myself at some point.

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I made a Linden Sweatshirt out of some of this peach print jersey I had leftover at the beginning of the year and set it aside for my sister-in-law. I also made her the Lil’ Foxy Roxy scarf in Lipstick Red by Wool and the Gang. It was a much brighter color than I had anticipated, more like a hot pink than red, but I still think it’s pretty.

My sister received an Oversized Infinity Scarf designed by Krysten Ritter for We Are Knitters and (surprise, surprise) a pair of Basecamp Socks in some yarn I got from my local knitting shop, Yarnia.

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My brother is an avid runner. He’s run the NY Marathon TWICE now and got his name in the NY Times both times afterwards! So I made him this drawstring bag using a tutorial from Purl Soho so that he could pack his shoes in it when he travels for races and not get his clothes dirty because I’m a germophobe and I think about that kind of stuff. I also included a gift card to Running Warehouse and a booked entitled “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” to keep the whole gift running themed. I’ve never actually read that book myself so fingers crossed it’s good! You can read about his running adventures at Rich Moy Runs.

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For my nieces and nephew, I made them these blankets using all fabric from JoAnn, except the green plaid, which I had to order from Amazon at the last minute because the fabric I originally purchased wasn’t wide enough. *Shaking My Head.* I also thought the Minnie and Daisy fabric was flannel but it turned out to be fleece so it was much thicker to sew through than I was intending it to be but I guess that’s what I get for ordering things at 6:00 in the morning and not reading product descriptions carefully! Oh well. They’ll just be extra warm this winter.

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I made my newest nephew this teddy bear using a pattern from Purl Soho and a Wiksten Animal Bonnet out of yarn that is also from Purl Soho. I CANNOT WAIT to see the little guy wear that hat. I’m hoping one day he’ll look at all the pictures and say to us, “You all really took the fox theme too far.”

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My aunts and uncles all received these wash cloths I made using a pattern from Purl Soho out of Lily Sugar N’ Cream yarn and these adorable soaps from Anthropologie.

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Lastly, I wrapped my mom’s and sister-in-law’s gifts in these reusable drawstring bags I made and I hope they’ll reuse them again next year to cut down on using wrapping paper. I think they look so cute and once the bags are done they actually make wrapping things so much easier. (You should have seen Kevin trying to wrap an oddly packaged toy kitten for our niece!)

Phew! Summing it all up here, it doesn’t seem like that much but I have to remind myself that this all took me almost a year to plan and execute. Homemade gifts are a lot of work but I find them so much more satisfying than buying a bunch of stuff from big box stores. I probably won’t be able to keep this kind of homemade gift giving up forever, but it’ll be fun to do while I can.

…Now what to make for next year….?