June Round-Up


Hello, my friends! We just survived an epic, record-breaking Pacific Northwest heatwave (108 degrees on Monday) and I’ve never been more thankful for our scary-and-fit-for-a-horror-movie basement that remained at least 15 degrees cooler throughout the onslaught of scorching temps. For some reason, I always associate heatwaves with that bit in The Great Gatsby when the characters are all resting on tasteful settees or davenports with white curtains billowing about. My own situation was decidedly the exact opposite of that — we sweated up a storm in a dark, airless, bunker-esque room.

Katara, our cat, was flopped on her side the entire time. She refused to go down to the basement and stubbornly stayed in the sweltering upstairs levels, If she could speak human, she would have said, “I’m done. Stick a fork in me.”

Heatwave notwithstanding, I had a decent output in terms of illustrating and sewing. I’ve now posted on Instagram every week for six solid months, and my friends, it’s time for a break. I’ve decided to delete Instagram for the month of July to fully unplug. I wanted see if I could consistently produce illustrations and sewing projects without making any excuses and the answer is clearly yes. This was meant to be a personal experiment just for me because I’d always been a procrastinator and excuse-maker and I didn’t want to be those things anymore. I’m glad I’m creating this new level of trust with myself.

Next week we’re heading out to visit family in Michigan and we’ll be celebrating M’s and K’s birthdays later in July. We have camping trips and outings planned and really, I just want to enjoy a few weeks without the constant pull to produce, produce, produce, which is probably both my strength and downfall. I do have a few deadlines, but compared to the sewing book deadlines, the current projects on my docket are easy-peasy.

So here are the illustrations and sewing projects from June:

SEWING PROJECTS

I quickly made the reversible ironing board cover for the sewing book photoshoot, and I’m so glad I did! It’s not that I minded ironing before, but now it feels inexplicably special to be pressing fabrics and sewn items on a custom cover. There’s a quick tutorial on how to make it here.

The flutter-sleeve tops are self-drafted based on an old Anthropologie top, and I’ve been wearing them a lot. I started sewing a lot more for K these last few weeks and she’s been requesting cropped, puff-sleeve tops as teenagers are wont to do (I’m told). The first top was a flop. I drafted it but it didn’t fit well, so I tried out the Tudor Blouse pattern by Stitch Witch Patterns, which was recommended to me via IG — social media can be wonderful at times. K loves both her button-down and wrap Tudor tops!

ILLUSTRATIONS
I used Spoonflower to test a couple of my repeat patterns (the bunny and birds), which was fun. I originally had the idea of getting fabric printed regularly but didn’t realize that shipping would take so long…I may just add my designs to Spoonflower and see how the mock-ups look — how amazing that the mock-ups are instantly created on the Spoonflower site! In general, I’m having a blast practicing seamless patterns and I’m really loving my morning routine of painting simple watercolor illustrations.

More details on my Instagram feed here.

I hope you all had a lovely June! As I mentioned before, I turned fifty this month and after much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that my fifth decade is simply about being unapologetically myself. Aging is marvelous and I wish I’d had more examples of people expressing that. No matter, I’ll be that example. Aging is awesome, y’all. It really is.

Alright, I’ll be back at the end of July with a quick update, and my weekly Instagram postings will resume in August. I’m looking forward to taking this break and to come back refreshed and raring to go! I also have exciting updates later this summer! xoxo

May Round-Up

Hello, my friends! Happy Memorial Day! How’s it going? May was such an exciting month for me. For the last couple of years, I’ve been giving tons of attention to my next sewing book, which has been postponed time and time again. The publication date has been pushed out once more to August of 2022 (most recently it was slated for Spring of 2022), but I’m gleeful because we completed the big photoshoot last week! I have a smaller photoshoot this upcoming week, and I’m avidly preparing for that right now, but the amount of mental space that’s cleared up since completing the photoshoot last week is staggering.

So many wonderful people have been involved with the book and I will do a proper and effusive acknowledgement of them all when it’s closer to publication date. It takes a veritable bustling town to get a book production chugging along! What you see above is a quick mock-up that I submitted for my book cover, but this idea didn’t make the cut.

I’m super proud of myself that I kept up my weekly sewing and illustrating amid the overflow of behind-the-scenes photoshoot goings-on. Sure, there was one week that I was sewing only for the photoshoot, but I figure that totally counts as weekly sewing.

I still have a little more to go to get ready for the upcoming photoshoot, so I’m going to sign off with a round up of May’s illos and sewing projects, but I will be back next month with some musings on turning 50-years-old. My birthday is in a couple of weeks and I have HUGE thoughts and feelings about it.

As always, I’ve included more info about each project in my Instagram feed.

ILLUSTRATIONS + SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNS:

 

 

 

WEEKLY SEWING:

This month was all about self-drafting patterns. I have a rather big goal for the rest of the year that I will share next time…

Wishing you all a lovely June! xo

April Round-Up

Hi, hi, hi! How are you, my friends?

April has been a packed month, and the countdown to the photoshoot for my next book has begun. I have 3 weeks to get all the prep work done, which involves a lot of sewing and figuring out props and coordinating schedules. I’m getting more and more excited!

As you can imagine, my days are full and will continue to be extra full for at least another two months as I wrap up all the details of book #8 (yes, #8!!!! I’ve published 3 kids’ books, 2 sewing books, and have 2 more kids’ books that are whirring through the printing press as I type this). So I’m keeping this blog post short, and let’s dive in!

I dipped my toes into sewing a little bit out of my comfort zone for the month of April:

Clockwise from top left:

Butterick 6024 in off-white handkerchief linen – Pintucks still intimidate me, but I’m getting better at ’em!

Tank top from Pattern Magic in pink batiste – I botched this one, but tried my best to salvage it

Lodo Dress by True Bias in a double-knit from JoAnn – Such a comfortable dress! I’ve worn it a few times already.

New Look 6556 in a bamboo/Spandex knit from Drygoods Design – A simple tee with a twist: asymmetrical hem and draped side. It reminds me of something that I’d seen at Anthropologie many moons ago.

Wattlebird Jumpsuit by Common Stitch Studio in a light weight reddish/brown twill – I’m not much a jumpsuit gal, but something about this design really appealed to me. It’s not teenager-approved (K thought it looked weird and hazmat-suit-esque), but I like it!

As always, you can see more details on my Instagram feed.

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Since the pandemic started, I’ve firmly established a daily art journaling habit and I’m noticing that I’m getting faster and faster at painting. Paradoxically, when I notice how rapidly I’m slapping watercolors onto paper, I try to deliberately slow down. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m turning 50 this year, and I just don’t have any desire to speed through life. I want to savor everything, you know?

Anyway, I had fun painting these:

 

I was lucky enough to contribute to DAWN, the newest edition of Making Magazine. I made cute little house shoes and here’s a quick snap of one of the many samples that I shipped to the good folks at Making:

These are so easy and quick to make, and the DAWN issue of MAKING is absolutely lovely.

Alright my friend, that’s a wrap for April and I hope to have some updates about the photoshoot or at the very least more sewing and watercolors to share next time! Have a wonderful month!!

 

 

February Round-Up

Hello, my friends! Brief snow storms and budding allergies (ah-choo!) and book deadlines sum up this month for me. I’m in the midst of wrapping up a very big deadline for the next sewing book, so I’m doing a rapid-fire, bare-bones update today. Fingers crossed that there are no late nights ahead of me!

Here are the things I created for this sweet, short month (you can see more images on Instagram here):

WEEKLY SEWING

A gingham cross-over button-down shirt from Simply Sewn: Clothes for Every Season by Michiyo Ito:

The Cali Faye Gardenia Dress pattern in tunic length (wow, I’m looking tired):

Self-drafted snow pants for K – an emergency sewing project when the snow storm hit a couple of weekends ago:

Waxed canvas sun hats from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing book. The first one I made was way too big for me, so I shortened the crown by 1.25″ and I really like it!

SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNS

As always, lots of cuteness and animals…

I Photoshopped faux patterns onto the covers of the Quiet Adventure Books from my latest book, ANIMAL FRIENDS TO SEW:

Some vintage-inspired potholder designs:

Silly and adorable totes:

Floral gift tags/cards that I made into free printables here:

I hope the tags come in handy!

That’s it for this month! So, so amazed that I’ve managed to sew and design stuff for two months in a row! I hope to update you in a more leisurely fashion next time…

 

Tyra Tee by Just Patterns

Hello, my friends! Now here’s a rare sighting of me in a handmade outfit…it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Excuse the crazy escapee hair strands — my bun skillz are haphazard at best.

Let me tell you a little bit about this sweet li’l top I’m wearing. It’s called the Tyra Tee by Just Patterns, and it’s an effortless pattern to sew up. Perfect for beginners as well as more experienced folks looking for a quick, refreshing project that’s certain to become a comforting, gotta-reach-for-it garb.

My friend Delphine is at the helm of Just Patterns, and as you would expect from her lovely French heritage, she’s stylish in that oh-so-Parisian-chic way. That in and of itself is inspiring, but she’s also gorgeous, incredibly kind, brilliant and has a rather hush-hush career in an extremely exciting field outside of sewing like a boss. She’s the kind of person that would normally foster envy, but she’s so darn charming and generous that you can’t help but celebrate her polymath-ness. She’s building her business with gusto and I love the care and thoughtfulness that Delphine puts into her patterns, infusing them with her 20+ years of sewing expertise.

But onto the Tyra Tee. So easy. So fast to sew. So, so comfy.

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that oversized tees are my jam. Given the French roots of the pattern, as it were, I decided to channel Coco Chanel and selected a striped knit. The fabric actually has a nice amount of body despite its drapey quality, and I believe I’ve landed on the ideal pairing with the Tyra. The pattern recommends going down a size for knits of this type, and I agree. According to the size chart, I would have been a 42, but I cut out size 40 (the sizing is European) and the fit feels spot on. Roomy, but not swimmingly so.

My years of sewing for K has made me lazy when it comes to knit sewing and despite helpful instructions about finishing the raw edges, I didn’t bother. I also didn’t bust out my serger/overlocker or cover stitch machine and used a zig zag stitch with my regular machine to sew and hem this baby. Worked just fine.

I love this top. Incidentally and totally un-relatedly, can you spot the difference between the two photos above? Hint: it’s not about the outfit. Sometimes little things bother me for no reason, and I have to make tweaks.

 

The final analysis: thumb’s way up! Today is the launch day for Tyra Tee, and my shiny forehead and I highly recommend it! Just Patterns shop is here.

P.S. Delphine obviously gifted the pattern to me, but all opinions are solidly my own.

P.P.S. If you’re wondering, I self-drafted the linen pants and they may or may not be part of my next book. Still trying to decide…