Tops: Matcha and More

By the time I submitted my final draft of Sewing Love back in late 2021, I had sewn hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of test and photoshoot-ready muslins and garments. You know that my tendency is to overdo things, and boy, I overdid the overdoing. I hate to admit it, but I was well and truly sewed out. I developed an uneasy and complicated relationship with my sewing machine (I still loved it but felt resentful of how time-sucky it had become, tethered to seemingly never-ending deadlines) and I stopped using my finicky serger.

It is difficult, it must also be said, to house that many clothing items, especially in a tiny townhouse with pint-sized closets. I had nightmares about loaded garment racks and bins of textiles collapsing on me, and my dream of becoming a minimalist died with a quiet, fabric-choked whimper.

In the last couple of years I haven’t sewn much apparel. I stitched a little bit to prepare for the Creativebug classes that I taught based on Sewing Love projects and whipped out a few roomy tops to wear on my morning walks to replace the haggard ones that I kept in constant rotation.

Instead, I painted a lot more (I dove especially deep into digital painting). I started cooking elaborate meals. I kept my sewing machine covered and let the dust accumulate on it.

Time passed. And then, a few weeks ago I felt that inner stirring, a hankering to sew something just for fun, not because it’s required or practical. It might have something to do with spring and the wondrous blooms I encounter on aforementioned walks. I want to bloom too. I want to wear pretty clothes and — because I am me and I can’t help it — make those pretty clothes. Yes, I have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to handmade clothes already, but I sewed the same patterns over and over to test them, and I craved something new and different.

Which is where the Matcha top by Sew Liberated comes in. I blew off the dust and removed the sewing machine cover. I felt shy around my machine, like we were entering a rekindled romance. I stroked a blue-grey linen and knew it was exactly what I wanted. Trace, cut, gather, sew. Like the flavorful green tea that the pattern is named after, sewing the Matcha top was a simultaneously soothing and invigorating experience.

Shall we go more in-depth? The Matcha top is generously proportioned with a v-neck gathered into a mandarin collar. There are gathers in the back as well. The sleeves are 3/4-ish, just the way I like ‘em. You can also make it sleeveless. There are no closures and the looseness makes the putting on and taking off of the top a cinch. The pattern includes shoulder pieces as an added design element, but I opted to leave them out for both the sleeved and sleeveless versions.

I really like the design; it looks way more complicated to sew than it actually is. I would say the trickiest part is the collar, and I chose to hand sew the facing for more control. Also, I’m so glad I have a sloper (which was at the heart of Sewing Love) because based solely on the printed dimensions of the Matcha instruction book, I would have chosen a size 12. However, by placing my sloper against the pattern pieces I sussed out that a size 10 would fit better. I was right!

I love it in the blue-grey linen:

I made the sleeveless option in a long-hoarded silk (I think — or it could be a silk blend?). I also added a couple of extra inches to the hem to account for my long torso. The armhole facing technique was one I haven’t used much, so that was educational. I also French-seamed this baby due to the sheerness of the material. I noticed that the shaping is slightly slimmer for the sleeveless pattern. You may have caught that I didn’t cut out the front pieces entirely symmetrically, but I actually adore the wonkiness:

This is the long-suffering face of an allergy-addled person. It might be hard to see, but my lips are chapped and swollen and my nostrils are raw and unhappy from all the sneezing and nose-blowing. Oy.


My sewing machine and I are on good terms again. In fact, once I scratched the sewing-for-pure-fun itch, I was more than happy to throw in a couple of familiar patterns like a modification of my very own Sewing Love Batwing Top in a mystery knit:

And a Perri Pullover by Cali Faye. I made this pullover for K many moons ago on two occasions here and here, and though she ultimately never reached for them, I’ve wanted one in my size. It’s a nubby, comfy, hemp? (again, don’t hold me to this) stretchy fabric. And talk about generous sizing! I used my sloper as a gauge again and cut out the XS, though I would have veered toward the M had I relied on the provided dimensions:

Now this is an excellent neckline. I usually mess up these types of neckbands and facings, so I was quite proud of this one. Because it was such a wide neckline and I don’t need to worry about breakage, I used a straight stitch instead of my usual zigzag for knits. I did the same thing for my self-drafted top…come to think of it, the neckline for that one turned out nicely too. Hurray!

Alright, that seems like enough for now. I’ve got a dress on my cutting table that I’ve wanted to sew for years, and I’ll share photos and details of the dress along with the Owyn pants (from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style) next time! Plus, I’m working on culling my outrageous clothing collection — my dreamy streamlined lifestyle still has a chance of emerging from the dregs of sartorial scraps like a magnificent minimalist phoenix, fingers crossed.


2022 Advent Calendar

Happy end of November! Did you have a gratitude-filled holiday weekend? Mine was good and hearty and on the quiet side.

It’s my personal tradition to work on K’s advent calendar around this time of year, and I’m almost done. Because I know that K has zero interest in my blog, it’s safe to share some images here. 

As per usual, I wanted to use what I have on hand. Remember my Swedish tracing paper flower advent calendar? This one is a similar concept, though far less complicated. I am in possession of multiple rolls of Pellon 830 interfacing, which is very similar to STP, and it came in handy for these fluttery “ornaments.” I thought about getting some glow-in-the-dark paint, but ended up experimenting with two different gold watercolors instead. One is more bronze-y than the other.

I didn’t bother with templates or anything. I like the organic quality of the wings and each butterfly is different. With a little double-sided tape magic, it was a breeze to assemble these. Oh, the antenna’s are fake flower stamens left over from past craft projects.

The idea is that K can hang each butterfly on the Christmas tree each day (we’ll be getting our tree some time today). Simple. Fuss-free with a tiny touch of bling. I like it!

Another nice aspect was that I only needed 18 days’ worth since there are some travel plans in the works and there’s no need for a count-down the last week before Christmas.


Alright, I’m going to go finish the advent calendar!! My aim is to position them on a wall with the loops hidden — like a flurry of winter flutterbies! Originally I wanted to wrap each butterfly in crepe paper. It would have been cool for K to unfurl each “cocoon” like a surprise ball, but my prototypes looked…not charming and evocative of turds, let’s just say. I’m glad I decided to simplify, though I was digging the whole metamorphosis conceptualization.

If you’re curious, here are all the calendars from the last 10 years:











I’ve been painting/designing some free printables for you, but I’m not quite done so I’ll be back in early December with the digital goodies. Take good care, my friends!

New Year’s Eve Thoughts

Happy almost 2022! I’m still in disbelief that 2021 is about to end, how about you? We’re buried in snow here in Seattle, experiencing unfamiliar subarctic temps. I haven’t driven for a week, though my intrepid husband ventured out to attempt to swim in Lake Washington three days ago. It’s his thing. Similar to Wim Hoff — aka The Iceman — M is a devout believer in the power of cold water swimming to cure all ailments. He’s been doing it since the pandemic started and it appears to work since he doesn’t seem to succumb to even the mildest of sniffles. Be that as it may, I was relieved when he decided that 28-degrees was taking it too far and merely gazed at the freezing water for an hour while sipping his double espresso. I’ve declined all invitations to join him. I’m not a strong swimmer and barely enter the water in summer months, and I’m not about to plunge into an icy lake.

I do, however, love to walk in the snow. I take long, meandering walks every morning regardless of weather conditions and I’ve been reveling in the soft crunch underfoot these last few days. The photo above is K’s handiwork (rather footwork) when we went on an afternoon walk together — she looked adorable as she jumped in the snow to form the heart shape footprints. Speaking of footprints, I like to see evidence of dog owners and their pups early in the morn on still-fresh swaths of white. I find it charming.

The snow-covered scenery has been ethereal. Snow blooms:

And there’s this metal chair sculpture in my neighborhood that’s fascinated me for years. The practical side of me wonders why it’s in such a strange spot by the sidewalk, but I suppose it’s some deep artistic statement that I’m not understanding.

So. 2022. Are you ready? With school on break and all this snow, the pace of life has been extra languid in the latter half of December, giving me ample time to contemplate what I intend for the new year. And while I contemplated, I organized/purged many areas of our abode little bits at a time since we’ve been mostly homebound. Our Christmas was lovely and…muted, to be honest. It was just the three of us (four if you count Katara, the cat) with calls to faraway relatives. Everything has been hushed and muted. Our days roll idly from one to the next, like a snowball in slow motion. Right now it doesn’t seem like much is happening, but gradually the moments and experiences will accumulate and by the end of next year, perhaps we’ll be astonished by all that was felt, accomplished, endured, overcome. I’m full of curiosity.

What do I intend for 2022? I’d like to simplify. And to beautify (the home, my creations, everything). I don’t have grand plans, per se. I feel like I’ve achieved so many of the things I used to want, and now I just want to stay healthy and enjoy being alive. Like Katara here, canoodling up to the heat vent and snuggling with her stuffed animal, which we call “Kissing Coyote.”

And you? Do you have plans and hopes for the new year? Are you glad to say farewell to 2021? I think I’ll miss this year. It was a surprisingly good one, leading me to viscerally understand that circumstances never have to override my choice for joy. We have had times that many would call heart-breaking. We have had huge wins. Up and down, up and down. And through it all, I’ve strengthened my mental/emotional muscles to find meaning and appreciation in everything. Perhaps that’s what I most intend for 2022: to continue strengthening these mental and emotional muscles.

Alright, it’s time for me to tackle organizing the frightening utility room. I wish you and all your loved ones a happy new year, my friends! 

Happy Friday + Yet Another Giveaway: Sew Sweet Book [CLOSED]

Happy Friday! I might as well just call this a giveaway blog at this point, no? I’m still playing catch up since returning from Japan and when I looked at the calendar, I shook my head in pure disbelief that over a week had already passed and that we are yet again traveling (this time domestically, to visit M’s family in Indiana).

But lucky you, I have a backlog of Tuttle Books I’m happy to give away and this one is a particularly good one. I would keep it, except K can no longer fit into the largest size. Besides, the patterns in this book are precisely the kind that I drool over but hold very little interest for her. I mean, look at those dresses and skirts!!

Anyhow, if you’d like to win a copy of Sew Sweet: Handmade Clothes for Girls, please leave a comment. As always, any comment is great, but perhaps you’d like to share a favorite summer dish? I love making pesto pasta because it’s easy and quick and refrigerates well. Who wants to slave over the stove in this heat, right?

OK! I will have to skip yet another couple of weeks due to travel, but will be back again on August 4th. Happy end of July, everyone!

So many flurries
of summer activities
Barely keeping up

[Update: The winner is Coralee, congrats!]

P.S. Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet is launching SO soon on August 8th, and I have some fun stuff I’ve been working on to share soon!!


Happy Friday + Randomness


K made me a ring. She glued one of those aquarium glass beads to a broken metal band that she scrounged up from somewhere. Then she tucked it inside a clasping shell container and wrote a note.

k-ring2Because this came in the mail:

advance-littlek1I probably don’t have to tell you that I became quite emotional. I had a moment of terror before I opened the box. “What if I hate it? What if I feel disappointed?”

I don’t, I wasn’t. No, not even close. There are too many things I love about it to list them here. The compact square size. The gorgeously textured cover with a slightly vintage feel. The matte paper. The fact that something that was a molecule of an idea turned into a real, tangible, tactile book. I am so overwhelmed.

I had to run an errand at a bookstore yesterday, and I found myself sitting at one of the little round tables in the kids’ section. I stared at the display of books by local authors and thought to myself in disbelief, “My book is gong to be there.” I think the employees were a little worried about the crazy lady squeezed in the kiddy chair crying like a baby.


Just a little sneak peak for today — I’ll show more in the coming weeks along with some behind-the-scenes posts, and I am making plans for a giveaway since I have these lovely advance copies (though most are already spoken for). Perhaps you’d like to pre-order if you haven’t already? I hope so…The month of May seems far away, but I have a feeling it’ll be here in no time.

Also, thank you to everyone who sent me well-wishes and comments on Instagram (I’m not very good about keeping up there. It’s something I’d like to work on because I enjoy it).


SVE update! Final tally has us at 99 participants (Ute and I are big softies and weren’t exactly strict about our deadline)!!!! Nearly 100 folks from 20 countries — mind boggling. All the partner info have gone out and this is incredibly exciting, friends! Please make sure to let us know if you’ve received your partner info at if you haven’t already, and don’t hesitate to contact us there if you have any questions.


Happy Friday and Happy Weekend, everyone!

What? Dreams do come true?
It’s been on my bucket list:
A book of my own*

*Until I laid my hand on the cover of my book, I realized that I didn’t for a second believe that this was actually happening. The mind, it works in strange ways. P.S. Thank you also for the kind comments earlier this week. The lows are not so bad — part of life, right?