Your Auntie Made That

I was going to title this post "Baby Making", until it occurred to me that may be a little misleading to people who may be googling that sort of thing. Ha!

I became an Aunt for the second time this past August, right before we left for Spain, so naturally I dropped all my vacation sewing to make as much as I could for my new niece before I left. She was born five weeks early, so she needed preemie-sized clothing stat and I was happy to oblige. The smaller, the cuter, in my opinion.

Plus, sewing for babies is so fun and satisfying. They're super quick to sew, can usually be made with scraps, and look freaking adorable. I remember feeling special when I was told that my Aunts made this or that outfit for me or my dolls. I still am. And I love that I can now pass that on to my own nieces!

Ginger Jeans

Jeans, baby! I MADE JEANS! 

If you can't read my blogging tone there, I'm pretty darn excited about it.

Sure, the fit isn't perfect. But, considering I've never even sewn a pair of pants before, the fact that my first pair look like "real" jeans and can be worn in public is pretty monumental for me. 

I went into this project excited to beef up my technical skills and just generally learn how jeans are constructed. Like, how does that little coin pocket get there? And where do you even start with a zipper fly? Well, it turns out none of these things are difficult at all. They just take a lot of little steps. If you take it one step at a time and try not to get overwhelmed, before you know it, you'll have a pair of real deal, wearable jeans too! Yay us!

Now I'll give you permission to take my very sage advice with a grain of salt, because I was lucky enough to have hands-on instruction from the pattern designer herself, Heather Lou, in a 2-day Ginger Jeans workshop at Needlework this past December. So I actually have no idea how difficult it would be all on your own. Taking that workshop meant no second-guessing and Googling at every step. It also meant I had someone eye-level with my butt to make all those fun crotch adjustments and pocket placements. (Ahem. Thanks, Heather.) But guess what? No one ever has to find out how to sew jeans alone, because Heather just announced that she is offering an online jeans-making workshop. The class I took with her was so beneficial, I considered signing up for the online one too, just so I would always have it. I still might.

Anyway, enough gushing about lovely, talented Heather. Back to me. Me me me. Let's look at those jeans, shall we?

Gift Ideas For The Sewist That Has Everything

The first thing you need to do is get it out of your head that your friend has everything. She most definitely does not. There are basic tools that everyone needs to get started sewing (I shared some here), but there is a whole world of notions beyond that, specially designed to make all the tricky little techniques of sewing easier. And don't forget a lot of the basics need constant replacing. Take it from someone who has collected many tools over the years, sometimes in doubles and triples, here are some things I would love to find in my Christmas stocking this year.

Fall/Winter Sewing Plans

Considering I just came in from shoveling snow, I think it's time to bring this blog into the present and discuss fall/winter sewing. Well, just winter at this point, I suppose. If you haven't noticed, I'm pretty passionate about sewing clothing this year and with that comes an equally as passionate search for patterns and apparel fabric. It can get rather overwhelming (and expensive) and I've realized that a little planning can go a long way towards maintaining some peace of mind and getting shit done!

Choosing what I want to sew is a pretty organic process. I keep ongoing lists and Pinterest boards of styles and patterns I like. The mood board above is an example of things I've been pinning lately. At the beginning of each season, I mentally take note of what is missing from my wardrobe, return to my lists, and start to make connections between wants and needs, patterns and fabrics. At that point, I usually assess my stash and see what I can use that I already own before heading to the fabric store. However, it is usually a trip to the fabric store that really gets my sewing mojo going. I love me some freshly cut fabric, especially if you know exactly what you are going to make with it. So exciting!

Once I've gathered all my materials and pre-washed all my fabric, it's time to prioritize. I have two long Ikea shelves in my sewing room and I lay my fabric out on top of those in piles according to garment and put either the pattern or a little index card with a pattern idea on top. I love seeing everything laid out in front of me. It gives me such a clear picture of what I want to make and whether it's a realistic goal. If I can't fit any more piles on the shelves, for example, it's pretty obvious that I'm trying to sew too much.

My method is nowhere near as intricate as Anna's spreadsheets. I hesitate to even call it a method, it's so basic, but it's been working for me so far. It helps me to sew pieces that I actually need and will wear, to rein in my spending on both fabric and patterns, and to physically see my timeline and progress.

Anyway, would you like to see what my sewing piles look like at the moment? 

Megan Nielsen Dove

While I was gallivanting around Spain, some people were being productive, like Megan Nielsen who released another pattern, the Dove blouse. I had the privilege of pattern testing it in June and I'm so happy to finally get the chance to tell you about it, because I like it and because I have a lot to say. I hope you're ready.