A-line improv skirt

My sewing plans went awry this weekend. I thought I was going to work on my quilt, but instead I sewed a skirt. How do these things happen? In any case, I busted nearly two yards of Robert Kaufman Essex Linen from my stash, and ordered four yards of the fabric I needed for my quilt.

I’ll spare you the details of how I discovered that I couldn’t work on the quilt due to lack of supplies and how I had to pull out all of my pdf pattern mess to attempt to locate a skirt template and how I wasted time trying to locate my original skirtinspiration photo online to no avail. All of that was tedious, but in the end I started and finished my skirt over the weekend. To this, I declare victory!

My skirt templates included the Built by Wendy sewing essentials pattern and an RTW from Theory that has been a longtime favorite. My inspiration had fun side panel pockets, it may have been an Alder from Imagine Gnats. I attempted to figure it out using a wider front panel and smaller side panels in the front and a two panel back with darts and invisible zipper. I lined the pockets with an outrageous African wax print that was in a gifted scrap bag, because my inspiration skirt had the same style as both a pocket and hem binding.


(That’s my unfinished Camas blouse in the background. I need so solve a sleeve issue since I used a woven & complete the placket. I can’t decide on doing the fake placket or sticking to the pattern.)


Spinning: It takes practice

Flashback: Imagine a teen girl with a love of wool sweaters driving through Italy seeing green hillsides flecked with sheep. She declares, “I could raise sheep and have all the wool I’d ever dream of!”

Spring to two years ago: Imagine woman now lives in Texas and finally learned to knit. With a few years of skill, mostly scarves, under her belt she passes a yard sale with a spinning wheel on the lawn. Screech! Pull over, ask cost. Only $35. SOLD! Minor repairs required.

Last November: Woman finally seeks expert for assistance. Applies lesson, tunes up wheel and attempts first go at spinning. Fills bobbin with poorly spun, inconsistent cheviot. Walks away.

Last Night: Woman has friend with kids visit. Curious eight year old boy wants to know how Spinning Wheel works. Woman empties bobbin (only one she has) of previous spinning attempt, gets cheviot fleece and begins attempt number two. Boy loses interest, spinning still inconsistent and woman says it takes practice.
Moral: Woman needs to practice spinning before woman can proceed with any other elements of Teen-girl declaration. Specifically, and in this order:

 1. Learn to spin useable yarn from purchased fleece, 

2. Learn to process shorn sheep fleece to make useable spinning fleece

3. Adopt a lamb and learn how to care for prime fleece making

4. All together now! x (sheep = fleece = spinning = sustainable yarn supply)

5. Dream into reality takes a long winding path and many stages if work. 

The lucky

Last night, I had the lucky. I opened the door to a surprise gift “to help with my piles.” It was one of those Hobby Lobby storage shelves with woven basket bins in two sizes. The kind of thing that I would look at, but not buy for myself. One basket is the perfect size for small precuts and the larger for yardage sized pieces. I had the lucky.

Of course, I got straight to it. I pulled out a big plastic box and sorted out fabric of various sizes, scraps and forgotten projects. Then I opened a trunk and an under the bed tote trying to sort things quickly, without thinking too much about how I was doing it. Soon I felt overwhelmed by all of this fabric, so I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a piece of chocolate. Again and again, maybe sighing as I looked at the task at hand and one piece at a time.

When the first large bin was empty, I moved into another clutter zone, our narrow office that would be a good sewing space if the built-ins were removed. Enter stage two of feeling overwhelmed: moving stuff that you aren’t sure why you’re keeping, so you shuffle it from here to there to here again. That’s when the lucky reminded me of its presence.  My hub walked in, saw that I was distrought and said, “We’ll figure this out. You’ll get your sewing & yoga space.” 

Then we talked about what we could do. I kept on with my declutter and felt better. It won’t happen overnight, but the lucky reminded me of its presence. Hope on the horizon for a space that I can spread out in and better organize my projects. A space where I can have natural light and do yoga without hearing the tv. A place where a guest could rest their head for the night without waking up and stepping on legos. A space I have dreamed of making and creating to nurture my creative and making endeavors.

The lucky. The blessed. The reminder not to worry and keep working towards my goal. Thank you God, the universe and everything for the sign I needed, when I needed it.

Oh be joyful!

I’ve delighted in knitting lately. Mostly socks (Prairie Spring & currently Rose City Rollers) and an overdue winter cardigan (Maude) because they are portable and don’t require set-up. I’ll admit that knitting with wool in Texas in the summer doesn’t make sense. But I make steady progress and don’t have to do much except find my place in the pattern.

Last night I whipped up a bag to complement my portable projects. I bought the fabric at the Modern quilting convention this February for this exact purpose. I did not use a pattern, just set out the fabric, decided on the proportions and how much of a boxed corner I wanted and stitched it up. I have plenty of fabric left from the half yard cuts to sew a fabric basket and coordinating smaller project bags. 

I love how the sheep and the clouds come together! And my very favorite Urchin print from Cloud9 fits in perfectly as the lining. I have the neutral/gold colorway of the sheep as well. I think I’ll flip the combination so the clouds are above the sheep and sew smaller bags without the boxed corners on top. 

Its nice to do a quick, self-indulgent and fun project to put the joy back in my day. This is actually too big, in theory, but completely perfect to hold all of the extra skeins and the bulk of a sweater WIP. 

As you can tell I did not think about stabilizing it until after the fact, but I have a plan! I have lots of plastic grid pieces that I can make a basket shape with and can easily sneak in through the inside bottom seam. I fit a piece to the bottom last night to hold the shape and I think, although unconventional, it will do the trick.

Do you experiment with your smaller projects? Or am I the only one who sets out with a vague plan and hopes for the best?

Sew-jo? Oh, sew-jo? Oh where did you go?

When the busy keeps me running, there isn’t much sew-jo left when I can finally sit at my machine. Even though I had a second table set up so I wouldn’t have to tuck my projects away, I was lacking momentum to finish anything. It started to get me down, so I turned on some Frazey Ford and some assembly line sewing to finally crank out the yoga bolsters I planned in February. I found the joy in the moment and the lightness in my heart that I was missing as I made imperfect progress sewing on zippers to six cushion covers.

This project began in response to a challenge to use the oldest fabric in my stash from February’s Stashbusting theme. While sewing the contrasted panels together for the bidy rectangle came easy, progress ceased as I dreaded the zippers. I researched a new to me technique and once I applied myself to just getting it done, it was really easy.

I finished six yoga bolster pillows and used up the remaining Crate & Barrel panel fabric that I bought when I started sewing almost 7 years ago. They will be a welcome addition to my yoga space. I stuffed them with old t-shirts, plastic bags, fabric scraps and batting. I know a few pillows could be more firm, but I ran out of stuffing supplies. I am relieved and happy to (almost) cross this off the list. These use the red, sadly I found a smaller stack of prepared panels in the cream colorway that will make an additional 2-3 bolsters.

On a related note, in the midst of boxing corners on the bolsters, my best-ever handbag idea continued to manifest. I did some sketches and planning. Welcome back Sew-jo. Welcome back. It turns out all I needed was time to specificly focus on the task at hand. Take that one in the gut modern world of endless distraction!

How do you overcome the busy to find yourself satisfied by your sewing? What tricks help ease you into a rhythm where you can deliberately tackle a project and resist multitasking?

Cheerio sewists!