Creativebug: The Hanten Coat

Hello my friends! I know, I know, it seems like I am constantly updating you on Creativebug classes. I’ve had the enormous pleasure and honor of filming approximately 20 classes with them, so there’s a lot to talk about. My latest class on how to draft and sew a Hanten Coat just launched and I love, love, love this coat. It’s an enthusiastic nod to the traditional Japanese quilted short jacket by the same name.

You can also check out a fun little styling reel I created with the Creativebug team here. I know I’m biased, but I think it’s a very versatile coat, and it’s surprisingly easy to construct.

I’m a firm believer that everyone learns differently, and I’m delighted to be able to offer the Hanten Coat not only in book form (check out Sewing Love!), but in video format as well.

I actually just returned from filming even more classes with the lovely folks at Creativebug, and a plethora of craftiness that I designed will be available on their site early next year. If you browse through the vast class options on Creativebug, there’s no doubt that you’ll be fully inspired to crank out one beautiful project after another — many of my personal heroes are part of the roster of instructors.

To see all the classes I’ve taught to date on Creativebug, click here. Those cute li’l baby slippers might be just the finishing touch needed for your babe’s Halloween costume (okay, it might be a bit late for this year, but maybe next year?).

This is off topic, but I’ve heard from those in the know that blogs are back. Is that true for you? Are you reading more blogs lately? If so, please share some of your favorites!

Well, it’s time for me to wrap up a few more deadlines (October is always my most hectic time of year), but I will be back with pre-holiday goodness next month! 

Photo credit: Creativebug


Summer of Sewing + Destashival in full swing

Hello, hello!

Whew, what a summer it’s been. We’ve been traveling here and there, often in the form of short road trips. Senior year of high school starts for K in less than a week and I’m feeling that surge of energy that comes with September and the beginning of the academic year. I’ve been looking forward to this.

It’s been a great few months, though. As you can see, I’ve sewn a lot. In fact, that image above isn’t everything. I stitched up a grand total of 22 items. 

I lost steam after taking all those photos and decided that the pajama sets and shorts really didn’t need to be modeled. Unless you want to see them on a human form? I’ll take photos with me wearing them if I get comments requesting to do so. I also have to fess up that I didn’t actually sew the dress with the bold graphic print this summer, but sewed the plain, cream-colored one to wear as a lining because the geometric print linen is very sheer. I think I sewed the outer dress three years ago?

Do you remember my sewing plan sketches?

Although I didn’t sew a linen hoodie, hats or more wide-legged pants (YET), I did complete multiples of everything else. Okay, so the dresses don’t have spaghetti straps, but they’re twirly and I’m happy with them. Fist pump!

My de-stashing of fabrics has officially begun, and I gave myself a couple of rules to overcome the usual angst that is part and parcel of cutting into fabric:

  1. No fabric is too precious. I’ve decided to have complete amnesia when it comes to how much I paid for a particular piece of fabric or where it came from. I tend to want to save the fabric for an extra awesome pattern if I consider it special in some way. And then I’m struck by decision paralysis.
  2. It’s more than okay if the garment/sewing project doesn’t turn out the way I want it to. I put a lot of pressure on myself to LOVE everything I make, but the reality is that the Pareto Rule is very applicable: I truly adore only about 20% of what I make. Lately that percentage has been inching upwards, but most of the things I make aren’t outright winners. Case in point: out of the 22 things I sewed, I love love love the jumpsuits, the black dress, and my lilac-y, purple-y skirt. I like the other clothes just fine, but my feelings are cooler towards them.

I also kept my word and drafted everything from my slopers. In a future post I’ll show you how I drafted the clothes based off of my slopers, but for the interim, here are some Sewing Love photos taken by Manuela Insiexiengmay and styled by Rachel Grunig.

Here are my slopers as muslins:

How can I possibly describe the sense of power that fills me when I can create clothes that I’ve designed myself for my own unique physique? I remember all those years of trying on one thing after another in poorly lit fitting rooms with unflattering mirrors. Nothing ever fit quite right. Sure, it might take me a few sewing tweaks to get the optimal fit that I want, but they’re minor quibbles. It’s not like the too tight waist and too baggy bum and too long hem happening all at once whenever I tried on pants. It’s been over 11 years since I stopped buying ready-to-wear clothes, and I may experience a kind of PTSD if I stepped into a fitting room.

I was overwhelmed by all that was going on in the last few years so I’ve been remiss about appreciating the high points. I’m so proud of my book Sewing Love, and I hope it’s giving folks the same sense of mightiness. And did you know that I did a whole slopers series with Creativebug?

Click here for the Lower Body Sloper & Muslin Class.

Click here for the Torso Sloper & Muslin Class.

Click here for the Sleeve Sloper & Muslin Class.

If you’d like to see all the classes I’ve taught to date, click here

It’s been a blast teaching through Creativebug, and I have more classes in the works. I’ll be flying out to California in just under two months to do more filming. Fun, fun, fun!

How was your summer (or winter if you’re in other parts of the world)? Are you ready for September? Stay tuned for even more sewing and other crafty stuff. I’m raring to go!!


Happy Halloween, my friends! If it’s a thing in your area, are you dressing up and/or trick-or-treating? That very abstract inky image right above is actually my living room wall when sunshine suddenly burst through the clouds and cast a murky, Halloween-y shadow pattern. Although I want to get more into the spirit of things, my Hallow’s Eve zest has been distracted by surreal events happening throughout the month. I’ve been very, very uncomfortable. I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, as it were, and am feeling like I’m wearing an existential costume a lot these days.

Part of it was flying out to California to film for Creativebug. So fun! So not in my wheelhouse! The image you see above was from the production set — I taught a bunch of sewing classes and they will be available through their site in a couple of months. More on that later.

Part of it was trying to update this ole blog of mine. Technology has always been challenging for me, and I kept messing up the website so I ended up reverting to the old blog format for the interim. I was also trying to revamp my email subscription system and botched that up too. If you are subscribed, you will probably get a number of annoying emails from me telling you that you’ll need to confirm your subscription. I apologize in advance! I haven’t given up yet and will continue to work on updating everything.

A little part of it was learning how to use various inks in my art supply stash in an unofficial attempt to join Inktober (apparently there’s some sort of copyright scandal associated with it so people don’t call it Inktober anymore? Not sure). I’ve been painting tiny sketches every day and posting them on Instagram. I realized how comfortable I’ve gotten with watercolors and gouache, and it was surprisingly challenging to adapt to the slightly different nature of inks. I also have an absurd amount of art supplies and had no idea that I had so many different types of inks. My favorite were these three: fuyu-syogun Iroshizuku by Pilot (a deep, deep indigo blue color), Yasutomo Sumi ink, and though not technically an ink, Dr Ph Martin’s Hydrus Fine Art liquid watercolor in carbon black is wonderful.

But all of these aspects have been good. I felt weirdly satisfied that I stuck through the discomfort of filming, failing at technology and understanding new paint mediums — I can’t say that the end results are exactly what I had in mind, but I feel less intimidated now. I’ll take it.

Alright. I am, as always, working  on meeting deadlines and will be back next month with some holiday goodies for you. Take good care, my lovely friends!


Another Drygoods Class!


Friends, I’m so excited to be teaching another class at my favorite fabric store/sewing studio! This time, we’re focusing on baby outfits, and I’m certain that everyone needs to make an adorable pinafore and pair of bloomers at some point. Right? I think these would make fabulous holiday gifts as well as gifts for expectant parents any time of the year.


I think what’s most thrilling for me is that these are adapted from Japanese patterns but modified heavily by me, so they are, in essence, my own patterns. I worked and re-worked the patterns to really simplify them, but the class will include tips and tricks on working with Japanese sewing books as well.  The pinafore top can be adjusted to fit sizes approximately 6 months to 18 months (if the 18-month-old is quite slim), and is fully lined.

pinafore-top-bloomers3Though the description says these would be perfect for “little ladies”, I think these could easily be unisex, and really, I don’t think there’s anything cuter than bloomers on any tush, boy or girl.

It’s another all-day workshop on December 8th, so I’ll be doing quite a bit to prepare for the class. I was so very lucky with my first class (awesome people! super fun!) and it seemed like an auspicious beginning. Holiday times are tricky though, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that the class will actually happen…

P.S. If you’re curious about the fabrics I used for the above (I’ve had all of these in my stash forever):

Grey=Nani Iro Peaceful Cooing in double-gauze
Red/Cream/Aqua Watercolor=Nani Iro Linen/Cotton
Brown Bears=Kokka Linen/Cotton
White with black polka dots=Cotton from JoAnn’s
Orange Stripes=Linen/Cotton
Off-White bloomers=Linen/Rayon blend