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!!

 

 

March Round-up

Hello, my friends! March zigged and zagged at a furious pace, and here we are. I’m juggling quite a few projects, making the passage of time extra speedy — at the moment, my baby board books are at the press (coming out this fall! more on that soon!), and I’m finalizing my next sewing book which will launch in spring of 2022. The photoshoot is coming up in May and in preparation, I’m sewing like I’m on fire and have also enlisted the expertise of Karen, who is wonderful. In fact, my whole team and everyone involved are phenomenal, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the sewing book elements all come together. I’m also starting on my next books…you know, I sometimes just stand stock still and marvel that this is my life.

I feel like it all started 30 years ago when I began a daily journal habit. I wrote and doodled diligently every single day. Sometimes I only had 10 minutes to spare, sometimes I had hours. I didn’t know where it would lead me, but I decided to believe that if I showed up consistently like I was a writer and illustrator, one day “reality” might catch up. I did the same thing with sewing. I wanted to become someone who could make clothes from scratch, and though my stitches were wonky and embarrassing for a very long time, I kept at it. I don’t take any of my current situation for granted and I do everything that I can to fuel my creative energy.

Some of you have been reading this little blog since the early days when I secretly dreamt of creating books, and I can’t thank you enough for your constant companionship during some very lonely and discouraging periods. I’m convinced that if you don’t give up, even seemingly far-fetched dreams will come true. I think we each have particular desires and dreams because we’re meant to actualize them. I mean, I’ve never wanted to become a professional athlete or an avant-garde performance artist or a politician. My focus inexorably veered towards books and clothes and illustrations.

Moving on! I would be the first to admit that I don’t know how I’m sewing for myself on a weekly basis on top of the other commitments I have going on behind-the-scenes. I have noticed that I’ve become decent at managing my schedule so I don’t ever feel rushed, but even I’m baffled by the amount of stuff coming out of my sewing machine. Granted, I’m not making anything complicated and perhaps that’s the key.

Above are my March makes (clockwise):
Esme Top from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (size L) in cotton
StyleArc Shirley Shrug (size 10) in corduroy knit
Fancy Tiger Crafts Fen Top (size 8) in black with white polka dots rayon/cotton and white windowpane checks linen
Skirt from this Japanese book (one size) – it’s the one on the cover and it can convert to sarouel pants in striped seersucker

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I keep falling more and more in love with watercolors. Here are some of my practice pattern designs from this month (the off-white flowers were originally painted with watercolors, then I digitized them in Adobe Illustrator):

That last image of the moon with a four-leaf clover garland is actually a gif. That was fun to make. I’ve included more info about the patterns and other tidbits on Instagram, if you’d like to check that out (did you know that you don’t actually need the app to view the content on Instagram?).

I didn’t think it could be possible, but April is going to be even more robust schedule-wise. Can I keep up my weekly sewing? We shall see! I’m amazed that I’ve been going strong for three full months. Last week, I recognized that little “click” that I feel when something has become a habit, when it’s harder not to do it than to carve out time to get it done. Weekly sewing has definitely become a habit!

Alright my friends, I’ll catch up with you at the end of April. Until then, have a lovely, lovely 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…

 

January Round-Up

Hello, hello! This is my first post of 2021, though it’s already the end of the month. How’s 2021 going for you so far?

I’ve been trying something new over on Instagram. I’ve never been on much of a schedule with IG in the past, but I thought it might be fun to stick to a twice-a-week posting regimen to see how long I can keep it up. My aim is to practice surface pattern designs and to establish a weekly sewing habit (i.e. sewing for myself — sewing for K when she was little was much, much easier). I like to do this sort of thing. Routines + skills-and-habit-building is my jam.

I’ve done pretty well for January. Since I know that social media isn’t everyone’s thing, I’m going to do monthly round-ups of my Instagram posts right here on the blog.

SURFACE PATTERN DESIGNS

At first, I was going to just share a pattern which is what I did the first week, but then I came across a tutorial on how to make surface pattern design mock-ups/prototypes and in my usual manner, I got obsessed. How cool is it to see a product with the design?? Here are the designs and mock-ups from January:

WEEKLY SEWING

I was a little nervous about starting a weekly sewing habit. I’d attempted this several times in years past, and always failed. However, I’ve been sewing so much in preparation for my next book that I’m pretty darn speedy now, which gave me the boost to try once again. A big part of the incentive to sew for myself is not only to continually improve my skills but also to finally make a significant dent in my fabric stash. The enormity of my stash has been weighing heavily on me physically and conscience-wise for what seems like an eternity. I’m using a good chunk of fabric from my stash for the book, but there’s so much that just won’t fit with the book aesthetic or that I don’t have enough yardage of, so that’s where personal sewing comes in. I may sew some for K too, but it’s been about 50/50 in terms of meeting her approval since her standards are WAY higher than mine when it comes to quality control.

So far, I’ve been able to create something every week. I’m getting into the groove, my friends! I can’t help but notice that no matter how many hours and days and weeks and months and years of practice I have under my belt, I rarely have an error-free sewing project. I misread instructions or sew the wrong parts together or cut out incorrect pattern pieces. 99% of the time, the sewn items come out just fine in the end. Or maybe my standards are really low, so they seem fine to me. Whatever the case, the mistakes are less and less frustrating.

Anyhow, here are the things I sewed for the month of January:

Vogue 9275 View C in French Terry + Self-drafted leggings in performance knit

Japanese-style apron from this book (size L) in herringbone linen.

 

Style Arc Brooklyn Knit Top (size 10) in sherpa knit + Anna Allen Persephone Pants (size 10) in lightweight denim

Merchant and Mills Landgate Jacket (size M) in a thick-ish, nylon raincoat material…I think. I’ve had this fabric in my stash for at least six or seven years and can’t even remember where I got it from. I also made a pair of self-drafted slim-fitting corduroy pants.

Okay! That’s it for this month, and I’m excited to see what I end up creating for February!

P.S. I’ve gotten a few inquiries about the Secret Valentine Exchange and sadly, it won’t be happening this year again. I can’t take care of all the administrative tasks by myself, I’ve realized, especially with my current book deadlines. I’ll continue to rack my brain to make it happen for next year (fingers crossed!)