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Garments & Garment Sewing

The End of the Stash

I wore my Driftless Cardigan–photograph below from Instagram, and yet another garment I have yet to blog about because I’m too busy wearing it–this morning, and a friend asked if I had made it.  And what I told her is this weird revelation that I’ve been having over and over, and that feels so obvious that I keep doing a double-take, because how have I failed to see the truth of this so many times?  It is this: I wear the clothes most that I like most.

navy Driftless Cardigan | Whipstitch

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Do I Really HAVE to Block My Knitting?

It is finished!  My amazing yellow yellow merino-and-silk sweater is all done.

easy silk knitted cardigan

Well, finished depending on whom you ask.  Seems like nearly all the knitting sites I’ve seen say it isn’t really finished until I block it.  Which appears to involve soaking it and laying it out to dry, and if I understand it right, will make the fibers fluff up and then hold the shape better?

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#aggressivelyambitious and the Handmade Wardrobe

I did a personality profile recently.  Not like an online quiz kind of thing, but like a detailed personality assessment with a 39-page analysis and a person-to-person de-brief with the consultant.

It was so, so fun.birkman pages

I mean that completely un-ironically.  I LOVE test-taking.  LOVE IT.  Always have.  I would get all a-twitter on days when we had standardized testing, I thought it was like a treat, like Christmas coming early and ALL FOR ME.  I thought the PSAT was a PARTY.  (Side note: I am not normal.  I embrace and delight in this.  My personality profile told me so.)

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When Making Your Own Clothes Becomes the New Normal

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And then one day you catch yourself thinking, “Well, sure.  Of course I’m going to make my own underwear.  I mean, why didn’t I think of that sooner??”

But let’s back up a bit.

I came to sewing as someone who makes clothing.  I didn’t start out making quilts or bags or even really home decor.  I thought sewing WAS making clothing, for a big chunk of my life.  All the other stuff came later.  But even as someone who came into sewing making clothing, it never occurred to me to make…ALL my clothing.  ALL of it?  Like, ALL all??

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The Murder Mystery Quilt and The League of Adventurous Dressmakers: Last Day to Join!

The League of Adventurous Dressmakers

It’s only February, and I’m deeply immersed in the League of Adventurous Dressmakers.  I feel so inspired and motivated and excited about the garments I have in my queue.  Part of what slows me down, looking back on past years and the to-sew lists that never get completed, is that I love the planning stages of a sewing project, but don’t always feel accountable–everyone who reads and comments on my blog is super encouraging (loving you guys!), but you’re so supportive and understanding that when a project stalls, there’s no real pressure to pick it back up.  With the League, knowing that there are folks who are excited and asking questions and posting photos and watching to see what comes next really gets me sitting down at my needle.

pressing bodice with steam

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Now OPEN for Registration: The Murder Mystery Quilt & the League of Adventurous Dressmakers!

Now open for registration!  Both the Murder Mystery Quilt AND the League of Adventurous Dressmakers are now ready for you to join!

league of dressmakers logo stripes

The League of Adventurous Dressmakers is a monthly subscription club that focuses on in-depth technique lessons for better garment sewing.  As more and more of us seek to sew our own clothes, we want to be sure that we make clothes that are beautiful and well-constructed.  With the League of Adventurous Dressmakers by your side, you’ll do it in superhero style!  In this warm, communal environment, explore key garment-making techniques to making your hand-sewn clothing the best it can be, and get inspired by other dressmakers while you do!  Learn more about the League here!

murder mystery quilt logo

The Murder Mystery Quilt is a monthly subscription club that reads along together and stitches up a quilt to find clues and solve the murder mystery contained in the story.   This is a mystery quilt in the traditional sense–you sew a block each month and the overall design of the quilt isn’t revealed until all the blocks are sewn–but it’s also a MYSTERY quilt: each month, along with the block pattern and design, you receive a chapter of a mystery story.  Each chapter reveals clues as the plot unfolds, and it’s your job to seek out whodunit!  Read background on this project here.

I can’t wait to share this year with all of you, and be part of two big projects I’ve been dreaming up for a very long time.  Use the links above to register, or visit my shop.  You’ll receive a welcome letter automatically when registration is complete, and your first month’s pattern within a week!

Let’s Get Sewing, everyone!!

The League of Adventurous Dressmakers: Superheroes Who Make Clothes

VISIT THE NEW-AND-IMPROVED LEAGUE SITE FOR 2019 AND BEYOND!

When I was in college, I was required by the School of Theatre to do a semester in the costume shop.  Most of the other kids groaned and whined and did whatever they could to get around the requirement.  My reaction was more along the lines of, “Don’t throw me in that there briar patch!”  It was magical, and it changed everything about how I sew.

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New Clubs for 2016: The League of Adventurous Dressmakers and the Murder Mystery Quilt

Hooray, hooray!!  A whole bunch of you have already registered for the 2016 Sewing Buddy Project.  I am beyond delighted to welcome back some familiar faces and to greet some new ones–yippee for Sewing Buddies!!  The Sewing Buddy Project is a year-long pen pal program, and for just $10 you get a personalized pen pal match, monthly emails, sewing prompts and project ideas, plus access to a private Facebook group and lots of support from the community!  I think this year is going to be the best one yet, and at such a small price point and low level of commitment (nothing to send, no deadlines to meet, just a promise to communicate with one another), it’s an excellent way to connect with others and give your sewing a boost.  We can all use a new friend!

In addition to the Sewing Buddies, I am both elated and a little terrified to unveil the other TWO clubs I’ve been busily building for 2016.  These are my babies, and a lot of the courage I found to launch them came when you all confirmed through your survey responses that I’m not crazy for thinking these are really fun, needed ideas.  They combine all my most favorite parts about what I do at Whipstitch: designing curriculum, shooting video, writing, creating patterns, and building community.  These groups, along with the Sewing Buddies, are my primary focus for 2016–if I do nothing else this year than these clubs, I will rest easy and feel fulfilled.  I’ve invested hours and hours, and am nervous and giddy headed into the Big Reveal.  Do you want to hear more about them??

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Results of a Dress Muslin

Halloween dress

I have gotten into the habit of sharing finished projects, and hardly ever walking through the steps to getting from fabric selection to final garment.  It’s just SO much faster.  But this dress was an exception–I tried it on during construction, but with a center back zip, all those fittings (alone in your sewing room with a dimly lit mirror and no one else to help) are pretty rough approximations.   It wasn’t until this final fitting before taking photos that I spotted An Issue.

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Planning My Sewing

washi tape chart to organize your sewing

I love the planning part of sewing.  Love, love, love it.  Choosing the pattern, seeking out the perfect fabric–or finding a fabric, and tracking down the perfect pattern–is the STUFF.  I always have eyes bigger than my stomach, and tend to make piles and PILES of folded, prewashed fabrics stacked with the pattern I’d like to pair them with.

The problem is in the execution.  The planning is fun because it doesn’t require any ACTION.  But as Henry Ford famously said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are GOING to do.”  At some point, all those projects have got to get sewn up.

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Flip Flop Dress Coloring Pages: Free Download!

Coloring page for the Flip Flop Dress pattern

Who loves to color?  YOU love to color!

The Flip Flop Dress is a fun pattern in part because it gives you so many options: buttons on the front or back, sleeves or no sleeves, lined or unlined…  You get to plan and choose!  These sweet coloring pages give you the chance to play to your heart’s content–and they’re great for the kids, too!  Print View A, with the cap sleeves, or View B with no sleeves…and get coloring!

view a coloring page flip flop button

 

view b coloring page button

Back to School Wardrobes: Younger Girls

Back to School Wardrobes: Step Three

At last!  The final installment in my Back to School Wardrobes series: younger girls.  This encompasses everything from toddlers (around size 2) up to school-age (around size 6 or 7).  Because there are SO many options out there, this might have been the very hardest list to put together (and look! it only took me a year! ahem).  I have to constantly ask myself, when I see cute patterns, “Would I sew that?  How long would it take?  Is it similar to other styles already available?  Would she love it?”  And since our youngest loves, loves, loves dresses, I wanted to pare the list down to the really best of the best.

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The Flip Flop Dress: Variations

In addition to the core Flip Flop Dress pattern, I’m also sharing some of the variations for the dress!  Initially, ALL of these pieces and techniques were included in the full pattern, but my testers reported back to me that it made the pattern bulky and unwieldy to work with.  I envisioned it as a choose your own adventure-type document, but there are just so many variations that it was a huge number of pages and hard to follow, particularly for folks who have less experience working with a sewing pattern.

Peter Pan collar and three quarter length sleeves on the Flip Flop Dress by Whipstitch

I totally agree with them.  Sometimes, I want more to be more.  My goal, though, isn’t to make the end-all-be-all dress pattern for girls–it’s to design a pattern that’s a pleasure to sew and a joy to share.  Reducing the overall scope of the core pattern was the best means to do that, and to create a pattern you’d love to work with.

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