Category Archives: Giveaway

Monday Outfit: Hooded Knit Cardi + Sew Sweet Giveaway [CLOSED]

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Good morning, friends! I thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend, and I’m feeling rejuvenated. We ended up at a Chinese restaurant on turkey day after all, and I believe this will have to be our annual tradition because it was so stress-free. I don’t mind cooking, but the clean-up is a sore spot for me, so not having to while away time sudsing up dishes was a huge bonus. We also went to see the movie Big Hero 6, and it’s an all-ages pleaser (and yes, I cried — it was very touching)! To add spice to the weekend, we had yet another one of our unplanned trips and found ourselves at a Comfort Inn in Bellingham on Friday, swimming in their minuscule pool. It was awesome.

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As promised, I have a little giveaway today. I was gifted this stellar book by Tuttle, and I was excited to add it to my arsenal of sewing books because I’ve been waffling over whether to buy it for years. It was originally published by Nihon Vogue, and I have hemmed and hawed over acquiring it for various reasons, and always left it at the bookstore because I felt like I had too many books. I thought “score!” when I received the newly translated English version, but oh, the sizing goes up to 120cm, which K has pretty much outgrown.

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Undaunted, I wanted to make at least one thing out of it before I passed it along to someone with a smaller girl-child to sew for. So I traced pattern L which looked generous in sizing, added two inches to the sleeves and hem (though I forgot to lengthen the plackets so had to shorten the hem back to its original length), and pieced together some scrap knit fabrics, making sure to use the stretchiest knit I could find for the top portion. Too-tight shoulders never feel good. I’m really liking the sporty look. Note: because the stretch factor was vastly different between the light grey and blue-grey knits, I couldn’t get the gathers below the yoke to form. The gathers would have been sweet, but I’m fine without them. This is what the cardi looks like in the book:

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With the color-blocking, gathered sleeves, pockets, hood and plackets, this cardi actually took a little longer than I expected. All in all, it’s a good cold-weather staple to have, and I’m glad I sewed it up. As you can see, K got bored of modeling and insisted that she read while I snapped away with my camera:

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She did oblige by dancing a little, and then we tried a different prop, which she quickly abandoned:

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So, onto the giveaway! This book comes with 22 patterns for dresses, pants, skirts and tops (plus a bag and a hat). Super cute. And of course, the book is filled with the signature beautiful styling and photography of all Japanese craft books. You can see more of the book here.

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To enter the giveaway, please answer the following question: if you were guaranteed the time and resources to acquire any new skill or improve upon an existing one, what would it be? I myself would like to learn how to invest and understand how the market works. I’m fairly money-challenged, and I’ve never really invested, and it seems like a solid skill to have. On the flip side, I would also love to learn pottery/ceramics. How about you?

I will leave the giveaway open until this Thursday, December 4th and I will announce the winner the following day. Yes to international entries! Good luck!

 

Happy Friday + Giveaway! [CLOSED]

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Here in Washington, grocery stores and many retail stores charge five cents per bag if you don’t bring your own to carry out your produce or miscellaneous household items. A pragmatic and environmentally sound move, but I’m constantly forgetting to bring my handy nylon eco bags because they’re always filled with library books. Between the accumulating nickel charges and overdue library fines, I’m sure I’m frittering away enough money to feed a small country.

I’ve been thinking that I need to really make my own eco bags, and it’s as though Tuttle Publishing sensed my thoughts and sent me this lovely book:

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Handmade Bags in Natural Fabrics has 60 (!!) ideas and patterns and also comes with a couple of extremely detailed and picture heavy “lessons”. When I saw the eco bag on the cover, I knew that I had to make one right away. Well, I ended up making two because it’s such a quick sew. My favorite part of the pattern is that the bag folds itself into the front pocket (you attach a button on the backside of the pocket and a loop for closure on the opposite side — steps you could easily skip and still have the transformative effect). I’ve had this robot Kokka fabric for so long, it’s practically an antique. It underwent some mishap and was dyed pink when I accidentally washed it with something red. Until now, I wasn’t sure what to do with it.

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My first bag took less than an hour, and the second one took less than half an hour. The blue and grey striped fabric is cotton from here. The french seams make the insides look nice and tidy, though I should point out that the instructions for creating a french seam are incorrect in the book. There’s a section in the back of the book that provides mini tutorials on various stitches and methods, and the technique shown under “french seams” is actually for a turned-and-stitched seam. This is a well-done tutorial for actual french seams.

Another unique aspect of this book is that it’s intended for hand-sewing. There’s an abundance of running stitches required. Of course, I ignored this and used my machine, and there’s no shame in that.

Minor issues aside, this bag is great for scrap busting as are all the bags in the book. Would you like to see a sampling of the projects?

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So many sweet ones! And as always, I love the styling of Japanese craft books.

Now, I’m a big believer in paying things forward, and it seems silly for me to keep this book in my possession when all I really needed was an eco bag pattern. Which, by the way, isn’t too big or too small and will fit perfectly in my purse when tucked into its pocket.

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Are you interested in the book?

As for the giveaway question…hmmmmmm. Yesterday, K told me that a classmate of hers instructed his grandma that the word “awesome” is essentially passe, and updated her lingo. This hip grandma now likes to say “I’m rad”. I think that’s rad on so many levels, not the least of which is that she refers to herself as awesome and rad (relates to my post from earlier this week, no?). These words actually feel like throwbacks from the nineties, and it’s fun to see them in active use now. I remember my college roommate liked to tell me how “stoked” she was about everything — do people still say that?

“That’s cool” has always been my go-to phrase, but what about you? Is there a particular slang that you tend to use to describe something interesting/great/delightful? Or one that used to roll off your tongue when you were younger and is no longer in general circulation?

I’ll keep the giveaway open until next Thursday, November 13th and will announce the winner the next day! Go for it, international folks (those of you in the US are always welcome to participate, naturally) – I love to learn about colloquialisms and slang in other countries. Good luck!

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Happy weekend to all!

It’s wicked awesome
to be part of this cool world
of groovy people

Fall Cleaning Giveaway: Part 3 [CLOSED]

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This is such a great book. A great, great book. And the two patterns that immediately drew me in were first, the dress on the left:

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And next, the giant bow top:

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Herein lies the problem. I am simply not a giant bow kind of gal and quite frankly, I think I can self-draft that other dress. And as I looked through the book carefully, I realized that none of the clothes really felt right for me. I was drawn to the photography, and there must have been a part of me that wanted to be more “feminine” as the title promises. Chances are, however, that I will end up squirming with discomfort in the clothes. I’ve been doing this a lot for the last couple of years — asking the question, “does this feel right?”

So, as part of my fall cleaning/purging I am offering up this gem of a book for someone who can actually strut the pretty clothes in a way that I never will. And bonus: the book is in English!

Now, for the question, I was thinking back to my university days. I initially started out as a Mass Communications major with a minor in Business. Initially is the operative word here. The Mass Comm program was, at the time, an incredibly competitive and selective major that required an extensive essay for entry. It was essentially Journalism school, and being that my college was in Los Angeles, there was a prominent media/broadcast journalism component to it and was regarded as one of the top programs in the nation. Long story short, I got in. And then I found out two of my roommates got in as well (the third roommate was a math major and scoffed at all Liberal Arts). I’ve talked before about my reluctance to compete with people I know and this put me in a quandary. As silly as it sounds, I did not want to be in direct rivalry with my roommates, so I decided to switch to the lesser known and quite openly mocked Interpersonal Communications major. When you’re 18, you make decisions like that. The course load for Interpersonal Comm heavily incorporated Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy as well as core Mass Communication classes.

I remember thinking, “Dude,” (remember, I was 18) “what have I done?” At the helm of my first day of the required class stood the professor: she of a beehived coiff, pince-nez and a bristling energy that you could sense yards away. She handed out multi-colored packets with a child-like drawing of  – I don’t even know what it was — something on the cover. The packet contained sheets and sheets of daily exercises with questions like “What did you dream last night?” and “If you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” and “Name three strengths and three weaknesses that you’ve never told anyone. Why don’t you tell people?” Some of it was way out there and beyond wacky, something like “If you could be an alien, what kind would you be?” More child-like illustrations accompanied each sheet along with lots of stars and curlycues. I listened skeptically as she listed her credentials from MIT and described her stint at NASA. That seemed to explain the alien part. And I eventually figured out that the packet was meant to help me explore parts of myself that I would never openly discuss. The idea being that you couldn’t truly connect or relate to other people unless you knew yourself.

I obediently worked on the sheets since I’ve always been a good student and attended all the other requisite communication classes. Meanwhile, I was taking Micro and Macro economics and Finance/Accounting for my Business minor. Which I hated. I quickly sussed out that I was doomed when it came to any business aspirations.

And secretly, I loved my Interpersonal Communications courses. The major was so ridiculed among my peers that I had to put up a front that I too found it a waste of time, but in actuality, I discovered that what I was and still am deeply interested in is interpersonal relationships. And multi-disciplined learning. So although I ended up with a Business minor (a mystery, since I stopped taking the required classes but my academic advisor told me I qualified), I took so many education courses that I should have had an Education minor.

I’ve read that people rarely end up pursuing careers directly in their field of studies. I meandered a lot too, but I was thinking of how I have consistently utilized an overwhelming number of the lessons learned from my classes in my scattershot career — this, I think, is the point of a Liberal Arts degree and I don’t think it’s ever a waste of time to study what you love. It will inevitably prepare you for a variety of opportunities. And obviously, that weird packet from Interpersonal Communications 101 or what-have-you has unconsciously become my source for these giveaway questions. Vital life skills, wouldn’t you say? But back when I went to college, it only cost $3000 a year and I could justify (at least to myself) that I could study anything I wanted. I worked and paid my way through school, but I worry that K will have a far more difficult time when the question of higher education comes up; I have no idea if we’ll be able to save enough money for what is bound to be an astronomical amount for university costs in 2025, and I don’t know if it’s even feasible for students to pay their way through college anymore unless they have Warren Buffet-esque investment skills.

But that’s a subject for another time, and my giveaway question is this: not what kind of alien would you be, but what did you study in college/university? Or perhaps a better question is, what was your favorite subject in school? It could be from university, high school, preschool, whatever.

I will keep the giveaway open until next Thursday, October 9th and will announce the winner the next day and yes to international folks. Good luck!

 

Fall Cleaning Giveaway Part 2 [CLOSED]

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I haven’t even closed the other giveaway yet, and here I am, back with another one. Just as I had to relinquish all thoughts of engaging in extracurricular embroidery, I’ve had to break down and allow myself to admit that crochet (and knitting in general) is just not my thang. I bought this book back in 2007 when it first came out. In case you were wondering, “kyuuto” is the way “cute” is pronounced in Japanese. And you know that Japanese crafts are all about the cute. I mean, look at this:

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Those little booties had me shelling out cash as if my life depended upon it. And then the book sat. And sat and sat and sat and sat and….seven years later, I have yet to crochet a darn loop.

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I had visions of pumping out these charming baskets to hold all of our little tchotchkes.

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I was amused by this little project because c’mon, we all need a crocheted mobile phone holder, right?

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And these little sachet bags are just the ultimate in granny chic. The book is full of wonderful projects. But I have no plans on becoming well-versed in the art of crochet.

 

Oh, this is random, but when I thumbed through the book, this fell out:

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Baby K. So so so cute. She looks so vastly different now. That’s another dress that my mom made. That girl has never known what it’s like to have less than several hundred sartorial options to choose from.

Anyway. Anyone up for a free kyuuto crochet book?

To enter the giveaway, I was stumped for a question when K asked me, “Mama, if you could have any superpower, what would it be and what would your superhero name be?” Well, that seems like a good one, don’t you think? I told her that I would be Speedra and would be able to get things done at mach speed (or maybe my name should be Machrina?). She was disappointed that I didn’t want the power of flight, but hey, I’ve got things to get done and flying will do me no good.

What would your super power and hero name be? Would you want invisibility? The ability to time travel? The power to control the weather? So many options! I will leave this giveaway open until next Thursday, September 25th and will announce the winner the next day. All entries welcome, international participants included. Good luck!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Cleaning Giveaway Part 1 [CLOSED]

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I’m much more of a Fall Cleaning gal than a Spring one. These past few weeks I’ve been purging, organizing, donating and generally sprucing up the house in small measures. It’s my version of starting the new school year.

What’s become abundantly clear is that I have far too much stuff in the crafting department. As much as I want to dabble in every hobby out there, my time on earth is limited and I’ve got to cherry pick my crafts. I love embroidery. I even have a Pinterest board with my faves. And when I’m ancient, I hope to have a wooden hoop practically welded to my left arthritic hand as I stitch beautiful textile art. Totally useless trivia: I’m a lefty when it comes to writing with a pen or drawing/painting, but I hand sew and play all sports with my right hand. Quasi-ambi, that’s what I am.

Anyway. Because I’m keen on all types of embroidery, I’ve accumulated a lot of books for inspiration but have I cracked any of them open? No. Well, yes, I cracked this one open to take a photo (and grabbed an apple to hold the page down and was pleased that it looked intentional), but my vast collection of embroidery books have been egregiously neglected on my bookshelf.

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So, perhaps one of you would like this lovely book, aptly titled Little Stitches: 100+ Sweet Embroidery Designs and 12 Projects? It really is so very sweet, with charming templates and some iron-on-transfers included. Since I’ve barely looked at this one, it’s in pristine condition.

I have quite a few additional things I’m hoping to give away in the coming weeks. For now, to enter this particular giveaway, I have a sort of morbid question: “If you knew you only had one day to live, what would you do?” It’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot these days. One of the reasons I’ve been cleaning like a maniac was because I wanted to make a good impression on some new friends that were coming over for the first time, and this question popped unbidden into my head.

I immediately stopped scrubbing the floor in K’s closet. Sure, there are things that should be done (like laundry and the general upkeep of hygiene), and it’s always a good idea to not scare house guests with T-Rex sized dustballs, but in the grand scheme of things, an antiseptically clean house is low on the priority list. I like asking myself the question because it’s a pretty good way to get those priorities back on track.

Maybe for some folks, the question would evoke an epic bender filled with mind-altering substances or I don’t know, something wild and inappropriate that I can’t even come up with because I’ve never really wanted to be wild or inappropriate. Or perhaps the question would inspire wanderlust — a trip to Provence or the moon?

For me, my last day would start with a perfectly made cup of soy latte with the butteriest croissant, while I fill my journal with free floating thoughts. I would go swimming with M and K in our favorite local pool, and we would snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie together afterwards with popcorn and the works. I would invite my family and closest friends over for a simple dinner, then in the evening after the guests are gone, and the sink is piled high with dirty dishes, I would kiss my loves, read K a long story, and then I’ll curl up with my own book until the wee hours of the night. Maybe a Scandinavian noir mystery. Or a rip-roaring YA novel. My reading binge will be interrupted by chats with M, punctuated, as they always are, with guffaws. Or a variation of that. Nothing fancy.

How about you?

I’ll keep the giveaway open until next Thursday, September 18th, and will announce the winner the next day. International entries are more than okay! Good luck!

2 years + News + Giveaway! [CLOSED]

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Twenty-four months is how long I’ve been blogging and you know, if I didn’t have an archive of all the posts, I wouldn’t believe it. My life has changed dramatically since I started this little online notebook of mine where I collect and share ideas and experiments.

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I’ve talked about this before, but I began this blog with the intention of building an illustration portfolio. I’d been through the ringer with my last corporate job, and the concept of leisurely working with pens and paints and papers appealed greatly to me. I also wanted to explore other things that I thought would add more joie de vivre to my every day because things were bleak. So bleak. Eradicating the bleakness was at the forefront of my mind.

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And so I started to draw. And to take pictures. And to write (though I’ve always written, just not so publicly). In doing so, I’ve been fortunate enough to check off that long-time dream of writing and illustrating a children’s book. Which I’ve not been very good about highlighting here, but you’ll see why soon.

2years-4And then the sewing started. I think the sewing — more than anything — catapulted this blog into something far beyond anything I could have ever expected (admittedly, I had zero expectations since my old, now defunct blog had no readers. It would have taken very little to far exceed my previous attempts at blogging). I hate to sound like a broken record with how grateful I am that you stop by and read my ramblings and view my images, but it’s true. I’m amazed every time someone leaves a comment or asks me to participate in a blog tour, or to write a guest post or to get more information about a technique — as if I know what I’m doing.

I’m a one-woman show, making do with whatever I have on hand. Whenever you see that light wood surface, I’ve cleared off the console in the corner of our living room to take the photos. There’s a window right next to it and the light is lovely:

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And all those selfies? On the opposite side of the living room, I’ve scooted my “work table” to the wall and use a remote to take a gazillion shots of myself so I can get maybe five passable ones (normally my laptop and an explosion of art supplies and books live on top of that table). K will often heckle me or will want to use the remote:

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Over the course of time, we transitioned from K’s cramped room to my slightly less cramped room to take photos of K’s handmade clothes. We have the photoshoot process down to about five minutes now — any more than that and tantrums threaten to erupt.

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This blog has been a game-changer on so many levels. A children’s book deal. Opportunities to collaborate with many, many talented women in the sewing sphere and beyond. Friendships. More than anything, it’s a place that’s all mine, to play and explore and create and muse and be myself. The learning process has been phenomenal. I’ve even contributed to a craft book that’s coming out in a few months — you can see one of the prototypes below (the final project is a little different). I’ll tell you more about it when it’s closer to the publication date.

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But that’s not my big news. Friends, while working on my children’s book, I’ve also started a second book. I’m publishing two books next year (!!!!), and it’s nuts-o, I know. I still can’t say much about it, but it’s all official-like so I’ve been told it’s okay to mention it. It’s a sewing book! And I need to have everything done by December, which is not a lot of time. I’m thrilled and overwhelmed and pretty much in a state of permanent disbelief.

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I have to give a shout out to my closest and dearest M and K. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to spend all this time on what started out as a whim and a hobby. M keeps the food on the table and tries really hard not to complain too much about the mess and my lack of income and all the hours I devote to my projects, and K has turned out to be a knockout model and indispensable partner in crime.

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Another person who has been nothing but pure awesomeness is Keli of Drygoods. She’s like my sewing fairy godmother. She was one of the first people I ever revealed my blog to, and not only did she commission me for an illustration, she also invited me to be part of the Ballard Artwalk, gave me the chance to teach workshops, and continues to be the most supportive and wonderful friend. Those cool vintage wooden spools in the very first image above are, in fact, Keli’s and may be a prop in the new book. I love her shop, and she has an impeccable eye for textiles.

As part of my 2-year celebration of blogging (and still loving it!), I have a fun giveaway: FOUR $25 Drygoods gift certificates which is redeemable online as well. The four winners will have a field day trying to choose from the beautiful fabric and product selections. I wish I could give every one of you a gift card, but this is the best I can do at this time… Perhaps I’ll be able to in the future!

I’ve been thinking about how to make this a better space for you to visit, my dear readers. Of course, I create my posts primarily for myself, but I’ve come to learn and appreciate that a two-way street is going on here. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment with any suggestions for improvement and/or what you’d like to see more of. More kids’ sewing? Adult sewing? Tutorials? Behind-the-scenes info about the books I’m working on? Something else entirely? I’m looking forward to reading the comments! I’ll keep the giveaway open until Thursday, July 24th, and will announce the winner the next day. International entries are no problemo. Good luck!!

 

Sewing for Me: Tuttle Book Reviews + Giveaway! [CLOSED]

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More pictures of me, yes. I’m trying to hold back from apologizing because after a certain point, you just gotta go forth boldly with this whole sewing-for-self-and-taking-selfies-and-posting-them-online gig, even if it feels like your face is plastered all over the place already and giving people nightmares. But I promised the good folks at Tuttle Publishing to review a couple of pre-release Japanese Sewing Books translated into English that they kindly sent me, and here we are.

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While these two books retain the simple and clean aesthetic of the genre, I have to say they are surprisingly unlike the other Japanese books I’ve sewn from. They’re rather fabulous. I’m going to go ahead and talk about both lovelies today, and bonus for you: I’ll be giving away one of the books!

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Let’s start with the Basic Black book. I’m not sure I would go so far as edgy in reference to the designs, but every item in the book is sewn in black and that’s definitely unique. I selected this “tunic” top for it’s curvy silhouette and boat neck detail (and okay, because it had no closures and looked super easy). Naturally, I was compelled to sew it in black — I think it’s some kind of suiting? There’s a good amount of stretch in the fabric but wasn’t finicky in the least. Here’s what it looks like in the book:

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Along with an infinite number of other things that I’m picky about, I just don’t feel comfortable pulling off the lace flutter sleeve look. I don’t disagree that lace trimmings on garments are awesome, but I think using the word “girl” here sets the tone that this is a garment meant for young’uns, hence reinforcing my discomfort. What really fascinated me about this top, though, is that the recommended fabric for the main bodice front and back is fleece. How unexpected!

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As you can see, I made it without the lace, and I cut out the Medium/Large (this top only comes in either small or medium/large), and I may have been able to get away with the small with some added length. My boatneck became more of a cowl and there’s an awful lot of underarmage showing. As I’d predicted, this was such an easy, quick sew and you know, I think it’s quite fetching. It says, “I’m versatile and comfy and hey, I’d look grand with a cardi and scarf.”

This book is fantastic! As I flipped through it, I kept thinking “Oh, I want to make that! And that one! And definitely that one!” Like so:

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I’m especially fond of the zip-up vest (there’s a jacket version too), and this is a must-sew for autumn. I’m also loving the more body-fitting garments like that top above, though to be sure, there’s an abundance of the loose garbs the Japanese are known for. I declare Basic Black a winner!

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Shall we talk about skirts? The Stylish Skirts book, in particular? I should briefly mention that this book is no longer in pre-release mode and is available at this time. Anyway, I may have pooh-poohed skirts in the past, but I plumb forgot about maxi skirts. I could wear nothing but maxi skirts and be perfectly content.

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So the radically different thing about this book is that there are no pattern sheets. You can see a sampling of the skirts included in the book above, and as I browsed through the styles, trying to decide which one to sew, it finally hit me that the instructions were for drafting the skirt patterns from scratch.

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This was the skirt I was instantly drawn to, and wouldn’t you know it, it also happened to only require rectangles and I didn’t even realize that until I focussed on the construction steps. I swear, I’m not that lazy. The pictured skirt is made out of black lace, but I dug up some crinkly navy cotton/knit fabric that I thought would work well:

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It looks a little like georgette, but isn’t quite as sheer or light — it’s also stretchier. I don’t like ties around my waist, so I just made it a simple elasticized waistband.

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Perhaps because I started the skirt late at night, it took me a lot longer than I estimated, but it’s an utterly straightforward skirt to sew, and I really, really like it. Maybe even love it. It’s casual with interesting bits (there are varying sized panels gathered in different parts of the skirt), and it’s an ideal summer item. Maxi skirts are the best.

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I’m so pleased with both pieces, and now for the good stuff: the giveaway. I’m obviously way too smitten with the Basic Black book to part ways with it (it will be available for purchase in July), but the Stylish Skirts book is up for grabs! This book has a lot to offer too, including some funky and unconventional styles, but I’m still not much of a skirt person unless it’s practically sweeping the floors, so it doesn’t make much sense for me to hold onto it.

So the giveaway question…earlier this week, I took a walk with a friend and the subject of introverts/extroverts came up. We both agreed that we are a little bit introverted, but don’t feel like classic, text-book versions. A mixtrovert, if you will. K and M are fully, whole hog extroverts, and I always marvel at how they derive so much energy from being around people all. the. time. I need alone time to re-charge, but I like to be around people for the most part.

So how about you? Are you an introvert? Extrovert? Or if you’re a mix, which way do you lean? Please leave a comment with your answer. The giveaway will be open until next Thursday, July 3rd, and I’ll announce the winner on the Fourth of July! International participants are welcome, of course. Good luck!!

Monday Fabric Giveaway! [Closed]

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Good morning, friends! I made it! I turned in my illustrations (sans cover) yesterday evening, and I feel like I’ve completed the Marathon des Sables through the Sahara Desert. A 6-day, 160-mile marathon is something I doubt I’ll ever be able to do since I can barely jog three miles, but I’m going to venture that the sense of relief and accomplishment I’m enjoying is no less than an ultra marathoner’s.

The sewing area has been sorely neglected these last few days, so I’ve got zilch completed projects to share with you. But, as promised, I’m continuing with my de-stashing and have some fabric to give away.

This mushroom fabric is so darling, isn’t it? I don’t know why, but it hasn’t inspired me to use it for any patterns. It’s a Jay McCarroll for Free Spirit fabric with a lovely neutral grey background and almost neon green shrooms.

The green diamonds are crisp and modern and wholly versatile. The selvage tells me that it’s “Summer House” by Lily Ashbury for Moda.

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I seem to only get fabric in 1.5 yard cuts, and that’s what these two are. They’re both quilting cotton, but could be used for apparel too.

Okay. I’m trying to think of a question but my brain is tofu at this moment, and the only query that popped into my head is about serendipity: “What’s the weirdest/best coincidence that’s happened in your life?” I have so many, but one of the most memorable is that when I lived in San Francisco in my twenties, I rented this sweet studio apartment in Russian Hill. It was a charming Edwardian building and it was every bit my dream apartment. After a year and a half of living there, I bumped into a high school friend on my street one day. She was a year ahead of me and we weren’t super close, but we had been gymnastics teammates (a mercifully short but ludicrously embarrassing phase in my high school career), and practicing in leotards together forges a special bond. Running into her alone would have been an amazing coincidence, but it turned out that she’d been my downstairs neighbor in the same building for 18 months, and we had no clue! We hung out together a lot more after that, but weird, right?

To enter the giveaway, please answer the question, and I will leave the giveaway open until Thursday, June 5th and announce the winner the next day. International entries are welcome and good luck!! I’m off to recuperate from and celebrate my major book milestone…

 

Fabric + Patterns Giveaway! [Closed]

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Good morning! I hope you had a restorative weekend, friends. I figured that because I’ve inundated you with photos of K these past couple of weeks, and because I felt the need to take a break from sewing pint-sized clothes while I work on my illustrations, today (and probably next Monday) I have a giveaway! I did a little de-stashing this weekend, and I’m hoping there might be some takers of quilting cotton and I’m throwing in a couple of Butterick patterns.

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I like these fabrics just fine, but I seem to bypass them time and time again whenever I start a new sewing project so I felt sorry for them. They deserve a better home. The cute green floral is Katie Jump Rope by Denise Schmidt for Free Spirit, and the blue and orange cheerful one simply has “Anthology Fabrics” and some numbers on the selvage. 1.5 yards each.

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I got these Butterick patterns at one of those JoAnn’s sales when K was about 3 or 4, and she’s now outgrown them. They are unused. Butterick 5458 (the party dress) is for sizes 2-3-4-5, and Butterick 4842 is a toddler’s “jumper” for sizes 4-5-6.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment with a podcast recommendation. I’ve been way into podcasts lately and love Stuff You Should Know, The Moth, Design Matters and After the Jump. I’m always on the hunt for more — humorous ones are especially appreciated! Or, if you’re not a podcasting sort, a show recommendation would be awesome too. I’ll watch pretty much anything from The Mindy Project to Breaking Bad. I’m a huge sci-fi fan too! International entries are welcome and I’ll keep the giveaway open until this Thursday, May 29th. Good luck!

Dress Book Giveaway! [Closed]

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a giveaway, hasn’t it? As it turns out, I was wildly optimistic about my ability to juggle a book, illustration clients, a blog, other secret projects to be revealed soon, and teaching. Not to mention this somewhat important factor called family. I had to hang up my cape and retire the chipped faux-superwoman badge and reassess the situation.

After some serious analysis of weighing pros and cons, I opted to let go of teaching sewing classes. Keli of Drygoods was incredibly gracious as always and has extended an open invitation for me to teach at her lovely studio when I’m ready, but for now, I’m taking a sabbatical from my short-lived career as a sewing instructor.

This means that I have a couple of extra Japanese sewing books to give away which were originally going to be part of my class. Again, in my wildly optimistic way, I was planning on providing a comprehensive translation of the steps for all the patterns to go along with the giveaway, but I was clearly delusional. BUT. The winners should definitely contact me with questions any time (in fact, I hope you all know that if a Japanese sewing book stumps you, I’m always happy to translate/help). And I mean that. Who knows? I may still have time to include translations to ship out with the books. Famous last words…

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The book comes with 20 patterns, and I’ve made variations of the dress from the cover three times here and here and here. These are quick, simple and stylish dresses and come in three sizes (9, 11, 13). The 11 fits me well, and in terms of western commercial Big 4 sewing sizes, I’m between a 12 and 14.

A while ago during one of my sewing marathons, I listened to a podcast or interview or something that now escapes me, but what I do remember is this one statement: “I chose to do art because it was the one thing I knew I would never get bored or tired of. That it would always surprise me.” I chewed on that and decided that for me, writing, sewing, photography and drawing made the cut.

So, to enter the giveaway, please leave me a comment answering this question: What is something that you know you would never get bored of? More than one thing is perfectly fine too!

There will be TWO winners which I will choose randomly, and the giveaway is open until Friday, April 18th (updated!). As always, I’m happy to ship internationally. Good luck!!

 

 

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