Comox Trunks


Before 2017 comes to a close, here's the only other Christmas present that I made this year - undies for Ben!  Now, you know I love sewing undies for the kids and for myself, so Ben's been complaining for years that he doesn't have any.  Fortunately, Thread Theory filled a gap in the sewing community by introducing great men's patterns and a couple years ago they released the Comox Trunks.  They also created a sew-a-long with some extra tips and tricks, like how to remove the front "hole" if your partner doesn't use that "exit."

I did some secretive/not-so-secretive measuring of Ben and opted to sew a straight size 30.  It would have been nice to sew one version, seek feedback, and then make necessary alterations to subsequent pairs, but these were a surprise gift so I  had to take a leap of faith in hoping that these were going to fit okay.

Fortunately, the fit seems to be pretty good, although after wearing them for a couple days he did mention that he would prefer the inseam to be about an inch or so longer.  For the record, these are pretty short so that may be something to consider when making them for that special person in your life (or for yourself).

Most of the fabrics are Pickering International knits that I purchased from Fancy Tiger Crafts.  They're definitely not the most affordable knits, but I have loved every Pickering Knit that I've ever used and they're perfect for some undies.  The elastic is from a random Etsy store based out of China.  It's a bit of a crap shoot when buying elastics without being able to  handle them, but fortunately 3/4 of them were perfect for the project (one ended up too stiff to use and the rainbow elastic had some issues when I sewed it on).  I particularly love the black and white striped elastic and I wish I had bought a couple more yards of it.

As for the construction, I made the first version with the "exit" hole, but removed it for the following 3 pairs (which makes the undies even faster to construct).  Using what I learned from making the kid's undies, I also opted to add zig-zag stitching over every sewn seam.  This has made the kid's undies hold up really well over the years and I'm hoping that it'll work wonders for Ben's undies as well.  I also used this tutorial to hide the seams when inserting the bottom gusset and it makes for a more professional (and probably more comfortable) finish.

Now we'll all be wearing homemade undies in 2018!

Desmond Backpack


Over the past couple of years I've made exactly *zero* Christmas presents for family and friends and during that time I felt exactly *zero* guilt for choosing to do so.  More than anything, it's the pressure associated with holiday sewing that turns me off.  The idea that everything must be perfect (which is NOT how I usually sew) and that it has to be done by a certain time makes it more trouble than it's often worth.  I mean, life has enough actual deadlines.  Why add arbitrary ones on top of that?

But this year I got an early start on sewing presents, which is a good thing because I had to make this one twice in order to get it perfect (or as perfect as my sewing will ever be).  I present to you the Desmond Backpack - a pattern by TaylorTailor.  

Now, let's talk about my first version and what I learned from that little foray into sewing mistakes (full disclosure: the only bag I ended up photographing is my second version).

First, I learned that the sew-a-long on TaylorTailor is amazing so if you're thinking of making this pattern, definitely use that as a resource (in fact, I never actually used the instructions - just the sew-a-long).

Second, I learned to pay attention, because in finishing my first bag I realized that I sewed the straps on upside down so that the pretty webbing design feature on the straps ended up on the underside, leaving some not-so-pretty visible stitching on the outside.  And with all the heavy duty extra stitching that you do in making this backpack, there was no way that I was ripping anything out.  In the end I sewed a cute little square that covered the ugly stitching, but I was still pretty annoyed with myself.

Third, my first version was also in waxed canvas and I learned how finicky this fabric can be when it comes to ironing.  There were times when even with a low-heat iron and a pressing cloth, the iron still left permanent marks on the fabric so for round number 2 I mostly just finger pressed seams.

And lastly, I learned function over beauty because for version number one I used cotton webbing simply because I liked the look of it better but it really doesn't feel as substantial as a backpack should and I wish I would have used the nylon stuff the first time around (plus, burning the edges is really fun).

Okay, now on to version number two - with the exterior made from a beautiful waxed canvas and the  lining made from Monstera Canvas by Cotton + Steel.  The waxed canvas is the green color way but to say that the color is subtle would be an understatement.  It's really quite hard to see any green in it.  It probably looks more gray than anything.  Both were purchased from Fancy Tiger Crafts, which may or may not be my new on-line guilty pleasure.

Both times around I bought the entire hardware set from Taylor Tailor.  The quality is great and it's  nice not to have to hunt around for all the odds and ends you need to make the bag.  I opted to add padding in the form of quilt batting to the straps which made turning them a complete and total pain in the butt, but was well worth it in the end for a little extra comfort.  I also paid attention and actually sewed the straps on right side up the second time around.  Gold star for me.

Now for the controversial part - to roll the top forward or backward.  As a biker and a lover of roll top bags, Ben swears that you're supposed to roll them backward for maximum effectiveness but I say roll whichever way suits your fancy.  In fact, that's my general life philosophy for the most part.

You do you.

(Also, an extra-special thank you to Ben who was not actually the recipient of the bag.  He just so happens to be the most willing, available model.  Thanks, Ben!)

De-flared Birkin Flares and a Tegna Sweater


Many moons ago (otherwise known as 17 months ago), I made my first pair of Birkin Flares.  They were the first pair of "real pants" that I had made and I was so pleased with the results.  But sadly I quickly outgrew that pair of pants and they haven't been worn all that much over the past year because too tight pants = really uncomfortable.

So when it came time to re-enter the workforce this fall I turned back to the Birkin Flares pattern because I was in desperate need of new pants.  Now 2 things that you should know about my work place:

1. It ain't fancy
2. It ain't clean - so anything I wear to work needs to be machine washable

Now truth be told, this is actually the third pair of Birkins that I made after re-discovering the pattern this fall.  I hope to talk about the other 2 at some point, but let's just focus on this pair of pants for now because they're my favorite pair (shhhh - don't tell the other pairs).

For this go around, I ended up tracing up 2 sizes up from my first pair to a size 30.  I also ended up slimming out a bit of the lower thigh and taking away a lot of the flare.  The pattern is great because once most of the pant is sewn together you can baste the outer legs and loosen or tighten as necessary for a perfect fit since denims can vary in how much give they have.  In this case, I ended up taking in a bit more than the recommended seam allowance.  Oh, and the fabric is Pacific Blue Stretch denim, a made in the US denim that I purchased from Fancy Tiger Crafts.  It was great to work with and I love the deep indigo color.

As for finishing touches on these jeans, I used navy topstitching thread and opted to leave off the rivets, which I think gives it a bit more of a "trouser" feel than a "jeans" feel.  Perhaps that makes them more appropriate for work - or so I'll just keep telling myself.

Now on to the sweater because - surprise - I made that too!  The pattern is the Tegna Sweater pattern by Caitlin Hunter.  Now I should confess that me and this sweater did not get along for the first 2 weeks that I worked on it.  In fact, I may  have cursed everybody's name who raved about how amazing this sweater was to knit.  First off, you have to cast on 300 stitches and then knit a lace pattern and I ended up twisting my knitting when I joined it in the round, which required me to rip out hours of knitting.

Needless to say, I was not a happy camper at that point and was a bit bitter.  But once you get through the first couple of rows of lace (I hate knit 4 togethers!), the knitting was much more enjoyable and I really do love the finished product.  The fitted sleeves with the loose flowy top is unlike anything else I've made.  And the fact that it's made out of ONE silky by Fiberstory, a beautiful wool/silk combo yarn makes it sort of dreamy.  It also made it stretch out in length when I blocked it, so it's longer than I originally planned but we just roll with the punches around here.  I really do love wearing it, which is perhaps one of the highest compliments that you can pay to a handmade item.

The other highest compliment?  That as soon as I finished this Tegna I went in search of yarn to make another.

Hello. It's me. (*To be read in Adele's voice*)


So, how do you start a blog post after 8 months of radio silence?  By ignoring most of what has happened over the past 8 months, because it's been full of ups and downs and twists and turns - as most life paths are - and if I waited until I had the words to speak reflectively about it, you'd probably never hear from me again.  So for now, we'll just focus on a sweater that I finished recently.

Now looking over my past couple of posts you might think "does she even sew anymore?" and I can assure you that I do.  Yes, sewing definitely slowed down during my time in grad school - especially during those out-of-town clinical rotations - but it never completely dried up.  As always, I'm just pretty terrible about getting around to taking pictures.  It's good to know that in a world of constant change, some things stay the same.

Perhaps I feel more motivated to take pictures of knitted items because they're a much greater investment in time and I feel that I owe it to myself to at least get some photographic evidence of all the hours I spent knitting away.  And this case, all the hours I spent cabling away, because look at all those cables!  Fortunately, it was a super-basic cable pattern that didn't require a whole lot of brain power - just staying power.

The pattern is the Coastal Pullover by Hannah Fettig and the yarn is Valley Yarns Northampton in the gold color way.  I'm kind of smitten with this color lately, which seems very timely for fall, but truth be told, I also found myself making may items in this color in the height of spring and summer.  Given my coloring, I'm not convinced that this is a color that I actually look good in, but sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants.

The pattern was good, although personally I was a bit confused as to how to continue the cable pattern with the raglan increases and sleeve decreases.  I felt that I could have used a bit more guidance at that point but it all turned out just fine in the end.  The neck is a little more of a funnel neck than I would have preferred and I should have followed the darn directions and bound off in pattern, but I'm also learning to not be so darn nitpicky about the things that I make.  Are they perfect?  Far from it.  But as it turns out, that neither am I, so I'll just take them as a reflection of who I am.

As for the yarn, I have always been happy with the Valley Yarns that I've ordered.  They seem to be a good product at a good price.  The only issue I ever have is guilt at buying something on-line rather than supporting local yarn sstores, but sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

And this girl's gotta get some motivation to document some of my favorite makes over the past year because 2017 is quickly coming to an end and how can I have an end of the year wrap up post if I've posted a whopping 3 finished items?




I think that it's safe to say that when you knit the same pattern three times in a row, you are officially infatuated with the pattern.  Which, of course, means that I'm infatuated with the Bloomsbury Pattern because this is the third one that I've made it in the last several months.  O often wears hers, although sadly it seems like she's growing out of it at a super-sonic rate.  And my first Bloomsbury is on regular rotation and probably gets worn at least once a week. 

After finishing that one I knew that I wanted to make another one in a lighter color with a softer, squishier yarn.  Manos de Uruguay was the perfect choice and I love that it's kettle dyed giving the sweater just a little bit more depth.  And the yarn definitely lives up to the squishy factor that I was looking for.  It's a single ply merino that is incredibly soft, although I fear that it'll probably pill pretty easily in the future because of this.  We'll see.

I mostly just followed the pattern as it was written although I confess that I'm often not a stickler for counting rows (knit 14 rows for the collar?  Eh, this looks about right).  The pattern and I did get off to a bit of a rough start since the set up rows require a bit of concentration and I stupidly decided to start the sweater while watching a Harry Potter movie.  Needless to say, there was a lot of starting over (and cussing).  I also stupidly didn't read the pattern all the way through before starting the sweater (which is basically knitting 101), and because of this I missed adding in some of the lace pattern and, once again, found myself ripping back.  Once the basic pattern was set up, though, it was smooth sailing and a really enjoyable knit.  I've already worn the sweater a couple times and I can officially say that I'm smitten. 

Smitten enough, in fact, to venture outside in some sort of Pacific Northwest snow/sleet to take these pictures.

2016 Superlatives


I realize that 2017 is well underway but when I sat down to write a post about my 2016 makes I ran into a problem - namely, that in reviewing my posts from the past year I realized that I never posted about fifty percent of the things that I had made.  This is what you get when you've been a slacker for the past twelve months.  So, folks, this is about one part "2016 superlatives" and with a smidgen of catch-up thrown in for fun.  And with that little disclaimer, let's get started!


Okay, first up - most worn for me.  To choose this bra and undie set feels like a bit of a cop-out since I chose this pattern as a favorite pattern in 2015,  but this little lacy Watson set is definitely one of my most worn items for the year.  This was the year I finally tried out the long-line version of the Watson (with my first attempt being a disaster thanks to the printing ratio being off) and I successfully experimented with making the Watson with lace edging, which I officially adore.  Oh, Watson, you are so simple, yet so freaking awesome.

And as for the kids, probably the most worn item of 2016 was this Hummingbird dress.  Part of the lure of this dress was no doubt the fact that it's made out of double-gauze.  I mean, who wouldn't want to wrap themselves in double gauze each and every day?  I think O also loved the style of the dress and the addition of the lace over the bodice.  And the tips that I was able to incorporate from other fine ladies who had already sewn their own versions of the dress definitely made it a more successful project.

                                                                    LEAST WORN

Definitely this bra.  The bra band ended up being way too tight and it soon become apparent that it was going to be incredibly uncomfortable to wear for any significant period of time.  So off it went to find a new home.  Dear bra, may your new owner love you in a way I never could.

As for least worn for the kids, I'd say that these gold shorts rarely saw the light of day thanks to C's extreme pickiness when it comes to clothes.  In fact, you could put almost anything that I've made for C in the least worn category.  And yet I keep making things for her.

What's that definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different results.  Yeah, I may just be insane.


For favorite pattern we're going to mix it up a bit this year and instead go with a favorite pattern designer because this year I sewed my first True Bias patterns and I'm super-smitten with the results.  The first pattern I tried out was the Emerson Cropped Pants pattern.  It was released shortly after I sewed these incredibly voluminous culottes and so I was excited to try out a more streamlined version of culottes.  Fortunately, the pattern did not disappoint.  They were so much easier to put together than the culottes that were made with yards and yards of fabric.  I love that they have pockets and I'm a big fan of the length.  I was a bit concerned aesthetically about the elastic in the back, but as it turns out, the elastic doesn't bother me a bit.  I do wish that the rise was a tad bit higher and I think the next time I make them I'll put some pockets on the back just because I like the look of pockets on the bum a bit better, but other than that these pants are a hit and they got me excited to try another pattern - the Ogden Cami.

Initially, I bought the kid's version of this pattern because I figured that O would love it and she certainly did.  The first one was made from some leftover rayon challis, which is one of the great things about this pattern - how little fabric it requires.

In fact, when I finally got around to making a version for myself I bought the recommended amount - 2 yards - and with some creative layout techniques I managed to cut out one for myself and one for O which means that we now have matching tops.  Hurray!  Of course, it's now 20 degrees out so these tops probably won't see the light of day for several more months, but such is life.  Also, as a testament to how much I love this pattern I have plans to sew many, many Ogden Camis in the future despite the fact that they probably aren't very practical for my lifestyle.  Sometimes you just have to follow your heart.

PS - that fabulous cherry fabric is Cotton + Steel rayon challis.  Gorgeous stuff!


And now as we we wrap things up, I have to give a nod to my new found love of knitting because I managed to squeeze out a couple of sweaters before the year wrapped up and they are definitely some of my favorite makes.

For the kids, my overall favorte project has to be this Bloomsbury Sweater that I made for O and I'm happy to report that she gets a ton of wear out of it and the yarn has held up great.

As for me, I'm equally in love with both of the sweaters that I knit for myself.  To choose one would be like choosing between my children!  I've made a lot of sweaters in the past and these are definitely two of the most wearable sweaters that I've ever made.  The knitting bug has definitely hit me hard, but I couldn't be happier about it!

And with that, I wish you all a happy and healthy new year.

I plan on entering the new year with this quote in mind:

"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do."   - Georgie O'Keeffe

A look at years past:

2015 Superlatives

2014 Superlatives

2013 Superlatives

2012 Superlatives