Showing posts from 2012

Almost there.

I am so close to finishing this sweater I've been knitting. SO close-- only a bit of blocking on the last two pieces and seaming (lots and lots of seaming). Hallelujah!

Pause: Let's eat brunch. Aebelskivers.

What a delightful breakfast, a light and fluffy pancake ball, a dough delicious and healthy. Using this aebleskiver recipe from Solvang Danish Days, I cut the entire recipe in half and substituted almond buttermilk (1 c almond milk, a tbsp-ish splash of cider vinegar) in place of cow's milk, since I never have that on hand. The half recipe made 36 small aebleskivers, 4 batches from my pan.

I invited my roommate to join in my trying a new food. Sadly, I had NO jam on hand since I've stored all my canned goods in a friend's garage for safekeeping while I'm transitory, so we ate them with powdered sugar and real maple syrup. Delicious.

This beauty of a pan was one of my silly/awesome goodwill finds from my summer in Poulsbo, WA, a small town with a history of Scandinavian immigrants and traditions. I also found wooden-heeled clogs, a krumkake iron, more on that later. I gave the pan a small scrub, dried it on the gas range, and added a little butter to each spot on the p…

A thrift store wedding dress, pre-restoration

While perusing the racks at my local goodwill earlier this year, I came across a number of vintage wedding dresses on display for reasonable prices. My hand and eyes have a knack for easily spotting high quality textiles, and when I saw the lace body of this dress hiding behind the gaudy sleeves and bow I knew an atrocity had been committed. THE EIGHTIES.
A peek inside the dress confirmed my suspicions. What was once a classic lace sheath dress, probably from the late 50's or early 60's judging by the label, had become a fancy costume with sleeves as heavy as an average newborn. I vowed to return this dress to its former glory and it didn't take much to remove the sleeves and bow. All that's left is hand sewing the armsceye's to finish the raw edges of the lace, underlining and lining. Some close-ups of the sleeves and their deconstruction follow.

I'm sad the dress isn't quite my size-- a few inches too large in the bust-- but I'll probably give it a g…

Sewing: The past.

Earlier this fall I read about a costume internship with a fanciful, bawdy theater company in my city and really hoped they'd call me for an interview. We corresponded and it didn't end up working out, but through this process I found out that Seattle Central Community College has an Associate's Degree program in Apparel Design and Sewing. Intriguing!

Rewind about... 10 years. During my junior and senior years of high school I spent half of my time at the local tech college studying fashion merchandising. It was fun to be away from the high school itself and I enjoyed learning about textiles, studying fashion trends and marketing, and drawing clothing designs. As a senior project I designed and sewed eleven 1920's inspired dresses for our fall fashion show, pictured below. This project let me sample many types of sewing-- brocade, chiffon, stretch lace, fringe, eyelash fabric, knit fabric, zippers, pleats, ruching, and more. My dear mother taught me how to make satin f…

Knitting a vintage sweater: Bernat Style No. 758-66

Isn't this woman fabulous? I stumbled across Bernat Book No. 66: The Newer Look in Sweaters, Jackets and Dresses at a thrift store in the Puget Sound area and scored this sweet booklet for a mere dollar, along with a few others for the same price. The most beautiful projects are lined up, page after page, beautiful knitted and crocheted goods just begging to be made. I've slowly been adding the patterns to Ravelry so other people can appreciate them, and am inspired by the projects other knitters have completed.

Although there are projects in this book that I find far more appealing and beautiful than the pretty sweater/cardigan/jacket pictured at top, I decided to approach this one first because I had the perfect sweaters-worth of yarn in my stash for the main body, and also because I'm in dire need of a good winter sweater. My mom bought me a high quality wool sweater for my birthday in 2008 and I've worn it for days on end since then, month after month of cold wea…

Knitting the Frejya hat

Oh the Frejya, a beauty to behold. What nice colors you have,with those nice jewel and earth tones. What scrumptious yarn you have, with your cashmere and merino blended together by Miss Debbie Bliss herself. And what love you have, with the yarn donated by a lovely friend in exchange for a hat made with love to keep her mother warm during her first winter in Seattle.

Your insane stranding on the underside of this hat acts as an extra layer of wool lining to repel the wind, and your various purl stitches placed every few rows in various positions as a bit of texture to an otherwise soft-as-a-cloud hat. Your crown is like a snowflake, heralding the first days of winter.I envy the home that soon will be yours. Happy winter to my friends!

The details of this project are on Ravelry, as is the pattern info. I found this pattern buried in the Interweave Knits fall 2009 magazine and have admired it since I bought it three years ago. Yay to finally knitting it!

PS. This is one of only two knit…

Sewing McCall's Pattern 9682: Misses' Three-Section Skirt

Following a disappointing breakdown in the vintage blouse sewing, I needed an easy-breezy and fun project to get my sewing mojo back. The requisites? Fabric must not be silky/slick (twill is totally opposite the flowing blouse fabric), pattern must not require much altering, and I want to be able to wear it same-day. Here we are!

Contents: 2 yards of herringbone twill for $2.99, smelling like it came from some grandmother's musty basement. Zipper was part of giant bundle (30+) of vintage new & recycled zips that one woman had donated and I bought for just a few dollars, so we'll call it $.10. The piping and seam binding were also from vintage bundles for just a couple dollars, so we'll call them $.50 for the three. The pattern for $.99. The only non-thrifted parts of this garment are the woven interfacing that I had laying around and thread-- it was a partial spool from my stash probably ripped from mom's store, a sewing business, many years ago. . Total cost: $4.5…

Altering patterns to fit my body. Figuring out vintage patterns. Getting overwhelmed.

Oh the hours I've spent sleuthing the internet for an easy answer to my fitting problems. I've been posting my sewing projects over at and recently a couple of other users gave me useful feedback on potential fitting/alteration needs for my body, including narrow shoulders and/or back, possible swayback (more inward curvature at my lower back than is standard), and a good reminder of my pear shape that could warrant a bit of extra room at the hip in blouse patterns.

You see, I'm just wrapping my head around pattern fitting and alteration. Using the book Fitting & Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach to guide me through basic understanding, I've been reading about body measurements, different methods of alteration, and fit analysis that gives recommandation for alterations specific to body differences and resulting fabric/clothing distortion. It's a lot to absorb and especially hard to try fitting myself properly without assistance fro…

Sewing Vogue Pattern 8323, Misses' Top with Princess Seams

Copying and pasting the format from Love that site! Here's my version of V8323, a test run of my sewing skills, the pattern itself, and mostly because I wanted to use my new serger and had the needed supplies on hand. I sewed this project back at the end of July but haven't gotten around to posting until now.

Pattern Description:

MISSES’/MISSES’ PETITE TOPS: Knit tops with princess seams and stitched hems. A: sleeveless armholes with bias tape finish. B: cowl collar neckline with below elbow length sleeves. C: scoop neckline with bias tape finish.
NOTIONS: Top A, C: 1/2" Single Fold Bias Tape: 13/8 yds. for A and 1 yd. for C.
FABRICS: † Moderate Stretch Knits Only: Wool Jersey, Cotton Knits and Matte Jersey. Unsuitable for obvious diagonals. Allow extra fabric to match plaids or stripes. Use nap yardages/layouts for pile, shaded or one-way design fabrics. *with nap. **without nap.

Pattern Sizing:

Here is Vogue's measurement and size chart.

I made a si…

Sewing Simplicity Pattern 4437: Misses' Sleeveless Top (1960's)

Seeing that autumn has arrived with a chill in the morning and shorter days, I've sewn a summer shirt just in time to wear it before the last warmth fades away. Ideally this project would have been completed a couple months ago when I bought the fabric (just a few dollars at Goodwill, only used 1/2 of the yardage) and thought immediately of this pattern (another 99 cent steal at Goodwill) but my creativity was on hold and my weekdays overfilled with farming, the weekends filled with plans away from my sewing machine.

So here we are: a blouse!
For a minute I imagined myself getting into the photo shoot with a great bouffant or beehive hairstyle and dramatic eyeliner but when I actually approached the up-do I knew I'd fail miserably. This woman owns no hairpins (bobby pins), holding gel, or hairspray. I happen to own one round bristle brush that carried over from days of yore when I'd blow out my locks and heat-iron them straight, and one not-so-useful wide-tooth comb that …

Canning pickled cauliflower (aka, pickles of pain)

This weekend we had a glut of food leftover from our harvest that didn't sell at our Farmer's Markets. After keeping some for our own plates and trying to work some of our vegetables onto restaurant menus, we decided to preserve some and donate the rest to the food bank. There are a number of canning posts from this busy weekend so be ready!

First up from our farm fresh food is Dilled Cauliflower, a recipe on page 95 of one of my default canning books, Pickles and Relishes: From Apples to Zucchinis, 150 recipes for preserving the harvest. The recipe simply combines a 1:1 vinegar/water brine with added salt and mustard, plus fresh dill, garlic cloves, and chili peppers for flavor in the jars. I love how the different colors from the two varieties of cauliflower add some nice color variation. The yellow is a variety we grow called Cheddar Cauliflower and it tastes the same as the white variety.

Equipment preparation always happens first so I lined up my pots, jars, jar-lifter, l…