MMMMonday: May 6th through 12th

This May I’m joining Zoe at ‘So, Zo…’ in a challenge to wear something handmade every day for thirty-one days. This post marks the second update of my progress.


May 6, 2013

What: The Stripey Renfrew

Where: To a tough day at work.  And, that’s about all I want to say about that!



May 7, 2013

What:  The Straight-Legged Betty Jeans

Where:  To work up until track practice.  A good hard run always does a body good!



May 8, 2013

What:  The Crazy Bow Top

Where:  To work and then to a Cinco de Mayo party that had actually become an Ocho de Mayo party.



May 9, 2013

What:  The Golden Archer Buttondown

Where:  To work and then to another Thursday night Downton Abbey marathon with my neighbors.  We’re now finally half way through season two!



May 10, 2013

What:  The Cream Cowl Renfrew

Where:  To work and then a night of homemade pizza, movies, and moving chores.  I’m showing off my tiny sewing corner for this week’s Friday theme.  It’s become a lot less colorful since my wall of thread and my bulletin board have already been taken down and packed up.  I can’t wait to see what kind of sewing space I’ll be able to create once we get to Seattle.  Our apartment will only be slightly larger, but it will have a second bedroom, so I’m hoping we’ll be able to turn it into a nice library/office/sewing room.  Just a few more weeks!



May 11, 2013

What:  The “Paint Me a ?” Minoru

Where:  To a day at the beach with co-workers that served as both a baby shower for two colleagues whose wives are coincidentally due on the same day and a farewell party for me.  Though it was a beautiful day, it was overcast and chilly, which meant the jacket was a necessity.  Also, if you’ll notice, I’m a bit pink.  Despite putting sunscreen on twice, I got way too much sun.



May 12, 2013

What:  The Paint Me a Maxi Dress

Where:  To a backyard brunch with friends to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Happy day to all!


Reflections on the week:

  • I might as well be repeating Tilly’s One Week One Pattern challenge with as many Renfrews as I wore this week!  What can I say – it is a favorite pattern of mine.  In fact, I plan to make another bow neck Renfrew from an even crazier silk jersey I just got from Mood!
  • I love painted fabrics.

MMMMonday: May 22nd through 28th

This May I’m joining Zoe at ‘So, Zo…’ in a challenge to wear something handmade every day for thirty-one days. This post marks the fourth update of my progress.

May 22, 2012

What:  The Silk Paco Peralta Draped Top

Where:  To work.  There’s nothing like doing science in a silk blouse!


May 23, 2012

What:  The Gray Armani Jacket

Where:  To work and then dinner with friends.  It’s been surprisingly chilly in the San Francisco area this week.  I’ve gotten more use out of my handmade jackets than I expected this month.


May 24, 2012

What:  The Linen Knit Renfrew

Where:  To work.  I made an effort to think beyond the jeans I’ve been wearing everyday, but I still gravitated towards pants yet again.


May 25, 2012

What:  A self-silk-screened shirt:  the male warrior from the game Gauntlet in teal on a maroon T shirt

Where:  To work.  Though not handmade, this skirt is my go-to for the end of a day of hiking or a weekend of camping.  I’ve never worn it to work because it’s made of sweatshirt knit, but I enjoyed wearing it today.  I bet it would be easy to duplicate…


May 26, 2012

What:  The Mad Men Dress

Where:  To a game night with friends.  A wild night of Bananagrams.  I found myself spelling sewing-related words surprisingly often.


May 27, 2012

What:  The Paint Me a Maxi Dress

Where:  To dinner with friends.  I love this dress but haven’t been motivated to wear it because of the chill in the air.  I decided to try it with my long cardigan today.


May 28, 2012

What:  A self-silk-screened shirt:  ”The Unnaturals” with a frog in black on a green ringer T shirt

Where:  To work.  On Memorial Day.  So I decided it was okay to have another insanely casual day at work.  I’m practically in running clothes!

Sewing Weekly during 2012

This year Mena of the Sew Weekly has changed up the format of her blog. It’s now a group blog similar to We Sew Retro (which I wrote about in my last post). Anyone who has sewn up a garment for the weekly theme can write their own post. All of those posts get published into a community contributor section, and a few get selected as the feature of the day. I submitted my maxi dress for this week’s “You Can Do It” favorite sewn item from 2011 theme. And, I was delighted (to say the least) to see that Mena chose my post for today’s feature. Check out my full Sew Weekly post here.

SSS’11: September 28th through 30th (The End!)

This September I’m joining Zoe at ‘So, Zo…’ in a challenge to wear something handmade every day for thirty days. This post marks the eighth update of my progress and the completion of the challenge.

September 28, 2011

What:  The Paint Me a Maxi Dress

Where: Exploring downtown at night. My husband and I used the Wednesday weekly theme to take a wonderful stroll after dinner. This dress is a repeat (see September 17th), but as it’s only the second time I’ve ever worn it, I was very happy to put in on again.


September 29, 2011

What: A self-silk-screened shirt:  the design is a long story in yellow on a maroon T shirt

Where:  To work.  And then to a public talk on compassion and the science behind kindness.  Have you reached out a helping hand today?  Or, better yet, a scary flaming hand?


September 30, 2011

What:  Burberry-Inspired Trench Coat

Where:  To a much deserved evening out after a long week at work.  I’d hoped to wear a newly-completed circle skirt today to celebrate the end of SSS’11, but when I realized that I had neither the time nor the supplies to finish the hem, I was very happy to pull out this coat for a second time this month (see September 2nd).  (By the way, six yards of hem on a skirt is just crazy!)


The End Reflections:

We made it to the end of Self-Stitched September ’11!  Looking back at the month, I wore all of my handmade garments twice with the exception of the Giant Flower Sun Hat, which only made it in once.  I also wore as many self-screened T shirts as I thought reasonable to stay true to the challenge – a total of nine.  I had stand-ins twice, which is okay with me since both wore garments of which I’m very proud.  I was even able to finish two garments during the month, a pleated skirt and a maxi dress, to add to the rotation.

I also enjoyed playing along with the Flickr group; the support from the other participants was very encouraging.  Plus, loading all of my daily photos to my Flickr page gave me a very visual update of my progress.  I watched the photos on my own SSS’11 set grow from a few to thirty.  Here’s a triumphant screen shot of the final set.  It’s a fun little summary of my self-stitched and handmade month.

I would definitely do this again.  Maybe an every September sort of thing, though it sounds like Zoe is only planning to host one of these in May of next year.  While I have little desire for an overstuffed closet full of clothes, I am excited to think of what another year will bring.

For those of you who also participated in SSS’11, what are your reflections on the success of the past month?

SSS’11: September 16th through 19th

This September I’m joining Zoe at ‘So, Zo…’ in a challenge to wear something handmade every day for thirty days. This post marks the fifth update of my progress.

September 16, 2011

What: The Plain Jane A-Line Skirt

Where: To work. This skirt is my first repeat (see September 1st), but considering I paired it with a different top and wore it in a completely different country, it felt good to pull it out again.


September 17, 2011

What: The Paint Me a Maxi Dress

Where: On an adventure. My husband and I grabbed the camera and headed out of the house with only loose plans for the afternoon. We ended up at a very cool serpentine wall after nearly crashing a wedding. Good times.


September 18, 2011

What: The Sunlit Teal Garden Lonsdale

Where: To a poolside brunch. This dress was perfect for lounging in the sun with friends. Another repeat (see September 13th), but this time I wore it as is, not as a skirt.


September 19, 2011

What: A self-silk-screened shirt: the elf from the game Gauntlet in blue on a green T shirt

Where: To work then to a birthday dinner – my birthday dinner! – with friends. My husband planned and prepared a feast of all of my favorite foods, and we dined outside under the stars with some of my favorite people. What a great day.

Paint Me a Maxi Dress: The Reveal

This summer I’m sewing along with Ali at The Wardrobe, Reimagined; Alessa at Farbenfreude; Sarah at Rhinestones and Telephones; and a bunch of other talented seamsters. We’re all making summer essentials, and this post marks my completion of the Sew-Along.

The wind was perfect.  It caught the hem of the maxi dress, which caused the skirt to dance around my feet – an artist’s pallet at play.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my maxi dress is finally complete.

If you’ve been following along, you already know the lengthy saga of the “Paint Me a Maxi Dress” maxi dress.  If you happened to miss it, here it is in brief, with links to the appropriate posts:

I found the fabric at, officially declared my plans, and then made a muslin to check the fit of Vogue V8182.  After taking a bit of a break to make my baby niece a Christening gown, I got back to this dress only to be slowed by discovering that most of the pattern was cut on the bias and that the ruching was not as simple as instructed.  After several failed attempts at ruching, I then had several failed attempts at inserting the zipper into the bias-cut skirt.  The Lonsdale Sew-Along, a second honeymoon, and the trouble with the zipper pushed the dress into September.  The purchase of an invisible zipper foot and several online tutorials solved the zipper issue, and then – finally! – all that was left was a bit of hand sewing.

The dress has a V-neckline and wide straps that have a bit of gathering at the top.  The waist is highlighted by a band of what is supposed to be ruched fabric.  As I noted above, I had a lot of trouble getting the ruching to work with the dress.  It was at times too floppy, too puffy, too obviously sewn down.  I finally just stretched it taut, while the top and bottom seams were already sewn to their respective matching partners, and cut off the excess fabric in the side seams.

The pattern didn’t come with a maxi-length skirt pattern, but it was easy enough to improvise.

The bias cut puts the stripes of fabric at an angle, which I was unsure about at first as I’d originally imagined them going up and down, but which I adore now. I made sure to match everything up so that the diagonal paint line that begins at the overlap of the V-neckline continues all the way down the dress.

The back diagonal line matches even more closely.

My husband and I decided this dress was worthy of a real photo shoot adventure, so we threw our camera into a bag and left the house with only a loose idea as to where we were going.  We ended up stopping at a spectacular serpentine wall.  We even threw in a silly magazine shot:

Oh là là!

This dress is my final garment for the Second-Annual Summer-Essentials Sew-Along.  I finished it with one week left in the summer.  Maybe it can transition into the fall with a colorful cardigan?  Even if it doesn’t make it out much the rest of this year, I know it’ll get a lot of wear next summer.

I’ll leave you with one final shot.  Though there’s nothing particularly special about this photo, I love how the movement implied by the curved wall is continued into the diagonal of the pattern.

It really feels wonderful to be able to make something unique from a plan and a piece of fabric, wouldn’t you agree? Of everything you’ve made this summer, what’s stood out to you as particularly special or unique? I’d love it if you’d add a link in the comments!