Thursday, April 16, 2015

Karlie's Easter Dress

Easter at mom and dad's

Karlie answered my mom's phone when I called during her Spring break. She told me, "Aya, I need a Spring dress". Don't worry, I said, I'm already planning one. The entire plan came together around that little scrap of gorgeous green floral that is the top ruffle. I had purchased it at the now closed City Craft in Dallas (so sad) with Karlie in mind.

Easter at mom and dad's

It is a little hard to see from the pattern envelope, but I could tell that McCalls 6685 would allow me to pair lots of fun fabrics together. I love putting colors and patterns together for K as it allows me to go over the top with cuteness. I kept the body of the dress simple with two white eyelets, underlined in coral quilting cotton and a semi-sheer swiss dot. The top two fabrics were from my stash. And who can resist adding a little tulle to a 5 year olds dress?! I think the end result is the perfect blend of cute and fun and I think she liked it.

Easter at mom and dad's
Tricking Gagee (Frank) with the promise of a hug.

Easter at mom and dad's
He got her back!

Easter at mom and dad's
Karlie picked some Indian Paintbrush when she stopped to take pictures with her mom.

Easter at mom and dad's Easter at mom and dad's
This cracks me up so much. She is tough and wasn't phased at all. I look so unconcerned.

Easter at mom and dad's
A little detail of the skirt fabrics. Everytime I make something for Karlie I think it is the cutest thing I have ever made!

We had a lovely, but way to short visit with my family. My dad's birthday was the day after Easter this year, so it was extra nice to be able to be there. Dad is on a diet and said he couldn't have cake anyways, but I think he was just making me feel better about the fact that I ran out of time to make him one. We had lots of cousins and friends for the day and everyone brought delicious and healthy veggie sides and salads. It was the first time I remember eating a holiday meal where I didn't feel gross afterwards. Ham plus all those veggies were the perfect Easter meal in my opinion. I hope that tradition continues!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Shibori Indigo Dyed Muumuu

My dear friend Alley turned 40 on Saint Patrick's day. She is one of those people who is really hard to shop for, but who appreciates handmade items. I knew the only option was to make something special for her birthday. In typical Ashley fashion I waited until the last minute. This project came together from purchasing the fabric to dyeing, cutting and sewing the garment over a long weekend.

Dyeing with indigo
I had done some indigo and shibori dyeing with my mom, but this was the first time that I did it completely solo. I used the pre-reduced indigo crystals from Dharma Trading and the indigo bath was very easy to mix up. I didn't think it would work, but it totally did!

Arashi shibori indigo dyed linen

*Ignore my neglected garden.
I did Arashi Shibori, a process in which you fold and wrap your cloth around a pipe. It was harder than I remembered and with the linen it didn't squish down as much as I thought it would. It still came out beautifully though. I was very pleased with the results on my first try.


I wanted to make Alley a swim cover up and I settled on Simplicity 1375, view D. It was an easy make and easy to fit because it is a loose and flowy Muumuu type dress.


I made a little tag for the dress by signing my name with a micron pen and using wonder under to iron it tag into the garment. I think it is a nice touch and I need to start adding tags to all my handmade garments.

I think Alley really liked her short and sexy muumuu and she is going to look fabulous by her pool this summer.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Honey Cowl and Plantain Tee

Frank took these pictures of me about two and a half weeks ago when there was snow on the ground. Yesterday it was 85 degrees. I think we skipped from Winter to Summer here. Where are my 60 degree perfect Spring days?!

 Plantain tee and honey cowl

I started this Honey Cowl in a fit of motivation last November. My longest time friend Gretchen's birthday is 6 days after mine and I thought, "I will knit her something for her birthday, and I will start it about a week before her birthday". Being the slooooowest knitter ever I finished this a few weeks ago and finally got it in the mail last week. Luckily she lives in Maryland and it is still cold enough for her to get some wear out of it up there.

Isn't the yarn gorgeous?! It is Madeline Tosh Vintage and I am lucky enough to live in the city that Madeline Tosh is created in and they have a craft store down the street from me! Their colors are so lush and lovely, and this pattern really highlights the subtle changes in the dye.  I am totally wanting to make myself one of these now.  I better get started now for next winter. Seriously, I just finished a scarf that I started knitting over two years ago for myself. Granted, I only worked on it in spurts and it was much larger than this one.

Plantain tee and honey cowl

This tee is made with the Deer and Doe Plantain pattern. It is a free pattern and I love it. I have made two other variations on it and altered this one slightly as well. I have yet to make it up straight from the pattern as drafted, actually. For this version I was inspired by Mad Mims' Flyaway Tee. Instead of adding a gathered section in the back I slashed and spread the bottom section at the back, though I love this shirt my alteration didn't add quite the amount of drama and volume that I was hoping for. Good thing this is an easy pattern to throw together and a perfect basic wardrobe staple. I will definitely make many more versions of this top!

Plantain tee and honey cowl

I am almost finished with a slightly more complex project, the Mona Jacket from Schnittchen. I can't remember how I found her patterns but I really love them and they are quite affordable. I am trying to balance my sewing with an easy and quick project and a more complex one after, or at the same time. I am having fun with sewing again and am super motivated lately.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sewing for the cutest little toot I know

Oh my, I have a serious back log of unblogged projects. My poor neglected blog had comments awaiting moderation and I just never get good pictures of my work. I have been sewing and knitting and plan to start sharing my work again. Here I am just now sharing the two gifts that I sewed for Karlie for Christmas.

As you can see these pictures aren't great and they are from Instagram, but I just can't help sharing the cuteness.  Every time I make something for my niece Karlie I think it is the cutest thing I have ever made and this apron is no exception.  The pattern is Simplicity 1536, an It's So Easy pattern, and it really was super easy.  Despite all the binding with bias tape it really came together quickly.  There is a matching pattern for mom, which I should make for my Sister in law as well.  If you need to sew an apron I think this pattern is great!  I also found small utensils and a little colander to go with her gift. Isn't she the cutest?!

The apron I made Karlie was a hit! #besttiaever

Karlie asked me for an Elsa costume for Christmas but I didn't feel like I had time to get it done. Instead I made her a Frozen inspired outfit that she could wear to school.  I had a lot of fun with this one and I think it is a perfect blend of casual and dressy.  This one is Simplicity 1332 and it was super simple as well.  I changed the construction of the cardigan a bit by adding a band of knit to finish off the front and bias tape around the bottom of the sequin ruffle.  As you can see Karlie was happy to model for me!

Little toot modeling the outfit I made her for Christmas. #sewing #besttiaever

I think those were the only handmade gifts I made for Christmas last year. Every year I swear that I will start earlier the next, but it never happens. One of my girlfriends turned 40 this week and I started her handmade gift on Saturday and finished on Monday, the day of the party. I don't think inspiration really strikes until the deadline is looming for me. Sewing for myself is a different story and I always have multiple projects in the works. Too bad I'm so terrible at documenting them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Last of Summer Sewing: Victory Patterns Simone Tank

Truly it is still hot here in North Texas. We got a cool front last week and it was gray, rainy and chilly. We were all ready for Fall. Then it got hot again. Right now I'm procrastinating going out for a run in the heat and humidity. I'm just not a morning person and can't get out there early like smart people do. I'm so ready for it to cool down again.

Well, it took me so long to get back to writing this post that it is now officially Fall and for once the weather here in Texas is doing what it is supposed to do.  It is simply beautiful and perfect out there.  All this is to say that yes, this Simone tank from Victory patterns was the last of my Summer sewing for this year.  I have a few other Summer pieces that were never photographed, but have moved on to transitional sewing, just having finished a lightweight Kimono and am working on a pair of linen pants.


This top started with the indigo shibori linen that my mom dyed and gifted to me when I said that I loved it. She is so generous, just like my Granny was. When we visited in July and mom and I dyed like mad women I did the solid indigo, overdying a large yardage of yellowish linen that was a major thrift store score. I still have several yards of that lovely blue to make something fabulous with.

Here is a detail of my top.  I sewed down the pleats to somewhat minimize the fullness.  I love the details in this pattern, it is excellently drafted in my opinion. The only adjustment that I made was taking it up at the shoulders, but that is a typical alteration for me. Isn't the fabric gorgeous?! I just love the bits of pink that remained from whatever color this linen started out.
 As you can see the top still has plenty of fullness and swing with the pleats put under submission.
simoneside simone3

I love the back of this top. The way it is fitted through the upper back and flares out at the bottom is super flattering.


I definitely intend to make the dress version of this pattern at some point in the future. I love all the opportunities for utilizing different fabrics. In this version I left off the piping around the front placket. I have heard some complaints that the instructions were not well written for this pattern. Honestly I didn't have a problem with them, and even really liked the way that the instructions have you attach the front placket to the main body of the top. However, I would consider myself an intermediate sewist and mostly put this together intuitively, not relying heavily on the instructions or illustrations. I love this pattern enough that I will definitely purchase and make more designs from Victory Patterns. I think they are wearable, modern, different and fun. Call me smitten.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In love with Nettie

I have been a big fan of Closet Case Files since I discovered her blog last year. Heather's style is rocking and she is such an inspiration. I finally got around to making up her Nettie pattern and I'm in love! Nettie is designed to be a bodysuit or dress, but I made her into a top. I'm liking this fitted top and higher waisted skirt look on myself more than I ever have. I see many more Nettie's in my future. Oh the possibilities....


My mom gifted me this lovely organic cotton knit that she bought at Austin Fabric Co-op when we were there earlier this Summer. She decided there wasn't enough for what she wanted to make, it was only one yard. I squeezed this Nettie Tee out of that yard. It is such stretchy and luscious fabric that I knew I wanted to make something fitted out of it. Nettie was the perfect match.


I did the scoop neck and mid scoop back.  I used Heather's tutorial for adding to the insidescoop at the shoulder to prevent bra straps from showing with a scooped front and back. I neglected to take the top up at the shoulders which is a typical adjustment for me. Not taking it up meant the it is a little big at the shoulders and wanted to fall off of mine. I HAD to make it work so I added a tie to the back, to keep her from exposing my bra straps constantly. I think it works, and I'm so happy with this top.

Nettie Back Nettie Detail

I love this basic pattern, it is very well drafted and offers tons of options and plenty of possibilities for customizing and pattern hacking. I'm so glad I fell in love with Nettie! By the way, I made the skirt several years ago but I don't think I had ever worn it. The fit was too tight when I made it, but is great now and pairs perfectly with this top.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My little Hawkgirl

Our niece Karlie turned 5 and started kindergarten last month. We were lucky enough to be able to get down to Austin on her birthday. Here she is in the Hawkgirl costume that I made her, per her request.

Her favorite part of the costume was the mace. I also made her this little tunic that I drafted with pieced sleeves made from quilting cottons and knit.

Karlie is growing up so fast, and I imagine she will be changing in warp speed now that she is in elementary school. Here she is on her 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th birthdays. I feel so blessed to have this silly, smart and sweet little girl in my life!

Hawkgirl costume details: The costume is made from Poly-Lycra that I purchased at Joann. The Bustier (swimsuit) portion is McCall's 6729. I split it in half and seamed it at the waist. I used gold sparkle foldover elastic for the straps, and black foldover elastic for the waist.

The leggings are Simplicity 1332, and just happened to be one of the most recent patterns I picked up at a Joann sale.

I drew and cut the mask from foam sheets that I found at Joann, Frank's idea, and glued the layers together with a hot glue gun on low temp. The wrist bands are made from the same foam and laced with thin leather lacing. The mace is made from a styrofoam ball, a dowel for the handle and polymer clay for the spikes.  I made the spikes and stuck a nail in each one before baking.  Once baked I put hot glue on the bottom of each and stuck the nail into the styrofoam.

Not shown are the boot covers that I made from red vinyl.  They had pins in them because I needed to measure for size and she was scared that the pins would poke her.  They were made from McCalls 7001, intended for a wonder woman costume but I put hawk legs on them.

The wings were purchased at our local costume shop.  Karlie woke me up early the morning after her birthday telling me, "Aya, I have to show you something".  She was watching the cartoon that Hawkgirl is in and said "look, her wings don't have straps!".  Apparently Hawkgirl's wings are not attached to her body with elastic around the arms, didn't you know?!  I thought that was funny and cute.  But then again I think Karlie is funny and cute.  I hope she doesn't outgrow homemade gifts anytime soon, or like, ever!

I'm really pleased with how this costume came together, especially considering I didn't think I was going to make it in time for her birthday at all.  I ended up starting at the last minute and finished just in time.  Typical Ashley.