If at first it is too small, make it bigger.

I have been pinning silk crepe camisoles with gusto lately. It isn’t actually spring here yet, but something about a floaty pastel confection holds a very tempting promise of spring. Besides, I can wear them under a sweater until the weather catches up with my aspirations for it.

So I made up a pattern! My first made up pattern. I made it up while I was falling asleep, because that is a totally normal thing to obsess about as you fall asleep. I didn’t have it all figured out when I fell asleep, but I woke up with everything very clear, so yes, I’m claiming a Kubla Khan moment. Like ya do.

Here’s what I ended up making: ruffly camis! I made them both out of cheap poly crepe to practice, working my way towards some silk crepe that is too expensive to cut into until I know my pattern is on fleek.


They look pretty cute, huh? What you can’t tell in this picture is that they are just silly small on me. They both have a bit of stretch, so I can get them on, but this is supposed to be a flowing and loose, not Vegas lady of the night tight. The spotted one was first, and it was very small, so I made the coral one bigger, but not big enough. So now I know – for the actual silk version, I will turn it up to 11.

I had a fun time figuring out how to make the straps and weave them. Which is a look pretty much shamelessly stolen from my favorite athetics gear store that rhymes with fufufemon. The camis are fully lined, so the straps are basically sucked up inside them in little strap sandwiches.


I wasn’t quite sure how to make them all the right length, so I used gravity and tape to help me out. But I must say the biggest help of all was the bit of stretch which meant I didn’t have to get it perfect – just close enough.

unnamed-4 unnamed-3

Each one got a little better as I figured things out, so I’m excited to move upwards and onwards to my silk version!


Put a bird on it: Portland Trousseau

I’m getting married this summer. After, we are going to Portland for our honeymoon. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a Portland Trousseau? I will have to put a bird on it. What goes in a trousseau, anyway?

My in-progress trousseau (apparently brought to you almost exclusively by Grainline – I’m on a kick, what can I say?):

Cute shorts for romping:

Cute pants for romping if it’s a little chilly:

A cute top or two to go with the shorts:

  • A structured white woven Scout tee:


An action shot of updating the pattern and my second favorite use of the iPad: reading PDF pattern instructions. In case you were wondering, you CAN place tracing paper over the glowing PDF of a pattern and copy it on the paper. Grainline’s patterns are really really nice, guys. The PDF is actually beautiful; I would consider wearing IT if the paper had enough drape.


And here she is! The finished Archer’s Mutant Daughter. I love this silk print from Hart’s Fabric. I also love buying a half yard less fabric than the pattern calls for because it save dollars and still works out for smaller sizes.


Lovely underthings:

A pretty day dress:

  • There are just so many patterns I want to try for this… I don’t even know where to start listing them. This will be it’s own post soon.

An impressive dress for an impressive dinner:

Last but not least: Something to put it all in?

Just when I was thinking this was a good idea, I learned that some brands of hope chests used for this purpose had to be recalled for suffocating children. You had to know that.

A summer wedding guest dress

I have a few summer weddings to attend this year, so wouldn’t it be lovely to make a dress to wear for the occasions?

Here are some dress patterns that seem promising:

Indie pattern round up:

  • Sewaholic’s Cambie Dress: $13.98
  • Another Colette Hazel, which is a pattern I already own but originally cost $14.
  • By Hand London’s Georgia, $13.91
  • Victory Pattern’s Ava about $10

But what if I dipped a toe in the Big Four pool?

  • Butterick’s charmingly named “B6086
  • McCall’s likewise charmingly named “M6924
  • Simplicity’s “1873
  • V1241: $30 (! – is it made of gold?)

Side note: I was disappointed but not surprised that Ruffles and Lace is a section for kids at McCall’s, not for adults. But McCall’s is redeemed by this delightful tumblr mocking the vintage pattern artwork.

Or I could go nuts and do a two piece. At least 50% of the brides I’ll be hanging out with this summer won’t be shocked.

Here are some fabric ideas that I’m super excited about. I’m going for summery because this is a dress for an August and September wedding.

 b8ff41ea846c6181510cd61a2ed076d91  7318ccea7161ac85dc447a84eaa39df32  1e3
  1. Montgomery Stretch Bottom Weight Floral – $12.99/yard
  2. Riley Blake Large Gingham Cotton – $10.99/yard
  3. Pastel Pink Tropical Pineapple Hibiscus Rayon Challis – $5.50/yard

It’s nice to see all the options laid out so I can compare similar cuts and styles. Now I just need to make up my mind!

If I sew it, Spring will come?

Skirt time! I really, really wanted it to be spring this January. So I made this floral skirt in the hopes of coaxing the weather into submission. Weather, however, does not work like  that. But, hey, I got a skirt out of it, so I guess it wasn’t all bad. 


Charlotte pattern from By Hand London: $18.50 (12 pound – Brits!)

Cotton fabric from Etsy: $31


Time:  Maybe 5 hours? One of those hours was for printing and cutting the pattern. It was a quick sew.

TVM: The wage for a seamstress according to the Internet is about $14/hr. So let’s call it $70.

Grand total: $120.36

So, worth it? The Internet is littered with pencil skirts at all sorts of price points. It’s really all about the fabric, (which is most of the cost), the fit, and the details (which adds to the time). I’m not crazy about the specific pencil skirt I made, because the fit isn’t awesome and the fabric is not great for apparel, but I see potential in skirt making.

Next time, I’ll get a better fit, better fabric and upgrade some details to get a higher quality item for only a marginally higher cost.

It’s Sweatertime

I made a sweater! My second, technically, since the first was a just a starter sweater – more of a shrug. This was legit though, so I can now assess how good I feel about having made a sweater, and whether I would do it again.


Malabrigo Yarn in Polar Morn for $27.

Pattern from Customfit for $12.50. (Which, BTW, is a cool idea. You input your measurements and it customizes the pattern to your shape)

I already had knitting needs and notions. I’m also excluding the value of my time, because that would make the sweater cost about a billion dollars. More on that below.

Total: $39.50


Oh boy, well, countless time by the TV and at least 2 eight hour road trips. I did a bad job counting but if I had to ballpark it I’d day 50 hours. So…factoring in that cost is a bit of a doozy. Just for fun with numbers, the average salary for workers manufacturing good in the US was $22/hr last year, so let’s call it $1,100 in cost of time. But let’s say I’m just a bad knitter. Some googling shows a proficient knitter can knit a straightforward pattern in about 30 hours, which would “only” be $660 worth of time. Really makes me want to buy nicer wool the next time I bother to make a sweater. And fix my mistakes. It’s worth it when you are making a $1,139.50 sweater.

But was it actually worth it for me?

Worth $40? Eh…maybe? This one is a tad funky because I’m not very experienced with sweater-making, but it’s comfortable, practical and nice looking. With some practice I could get it to look more like a sweater I might buy instead, like this one for $89.

in progress sweaterBut worth the all the time costs in addition to the material costs? I’m not sure. I enjoyed knitting it, but I don’t think I enjoyed it enough to make it the best investment of my time.

There is something to be said for getting out of the fast fashion food chain. When I look at sustainable fashion sweaters in a similar style, the prices are much, much higher ($100 – $1000, depending on where you look). But not quite my TVM cost, no surprise!

I think my verdict is that sweaters might be best left to those who LOVE KNITTING SWEATERS A LOT or professionals. I might dabble here and there with another sweater, but by and large I’m not sure it’s my thing.


Finnish Pie (Mustikkapiirakka)

Finnish Pie (Mustikkapiirakka)

Sometimes you just wake up and think about how much you want to make an unpronounceable pie. Those are days for Mustikkapiirakka. I’ve never had a day for Mustikkapiirakka before because I had no idea it existed until I stumbled across the Great British Chefs recipe. But when you find a gem with a name like that, you need to buckle down and find some blueberries.

Mustikkapiirakka (Finnish Blueberry Pie) lightly adapted from http://www.greatbritishchefs.com

150g soft butter
225g cane sugar
2 eggs
200g whole wheat rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
350g blueberries
250ml sour cream
50ml buttermilk
vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease an 8-inch pie pan with butter.

Cream together the butter and 150g of the sugar. Beat in one of the eggs and a generous splash of vanilla extract, before sifting over and folding in the flour and baking powder. Use your hands to mash the batter into the bottom and sides of the pie pan in the shape of a lonely empty pie crust and make pretty pie edges if you are feeling fancy. Then pile the blueberries into the middle. No more lonely pie crust!

You aren’t done yet, though.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over blueberries. Bake for 30 minutes then turn the oven down to 350°F and bake for a further 30 minutes. Impatiently take the pie out and let cool on your counter instead of leaving the pie in the oven for 10 minutes to set before taking it out.

On the internet, imitation is flattery

Turning internet food pictures into your own food is the most glorious intersection of “I want that” + “I actually can have that if I drive to the grocery store and cook a bit”, unlike other internet browsing (Mmm…Tesela Model S…). Near immediate gratification is possible, if you have racked up enough kitchen dongles.

I was browsing Buzzfeed’s 31 Amazing Things to Cook in August and had insta-crave for the Tomato Lollipops.

So I had a dinner party.

Here are my imitations of other people’s fabulous recipes! Photographs by guest photographer Julie Miller-Hendry.

Tomato Lollipops:

Recipe on White on Rice Couple’s blog here.

  • Cuteness: 4/5
  • Tastiness: 4/5
  • Replicate-ability: 5/5

Verdict: So easy, so good, so many style points.

BBQ Sticky Asian Pork Ribs:

Recipe on Heather Cristo here.

  • Cuteness: 5/5. Is there anything cuter then watching the faces of a gaggle of men eating ribs? No.
  • Tastiness: 5/5
  • Replicate-ability: 4/5. I used an oven 2.5 hrs at 300 F, then finished on the grill.

Verdict: Yes, you can make these in an oven. I don’t think they were as pretty as Heather’s but they still tasted great.

Whole Peach Pies:

Recipe on Yummy Mummy Kitchen here.

  • Cuteness: 5/5
  • Tastiness: 3/5
  • Replicate-ability: 2/5

Verdict: Yummy Mummy has some dark magic that I don’t have…