Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ulyana Sergeenko: Need an Extension?

In my haste to tell you guys the news about my knitting lessons, I completely forgot to mention the Ulyana Sergeenko challenge!

Originally I listed the end date as tomorrow, but because I'm terrible at calendars, I didn't realize all the religious holidays this week - I also couldn't foresee that this would be the first lovely weekend of the year!

So I wanted to check and see if I should move the end date. Would another week work for you guys? I'm happy to give extra time if need be! Does the 28th work better?

If you're curious about the challenge, I have more details here, inspiration photos, and a few pattern ideas here.

Let me know! If you are finished, email me at with pictures and details and/or a link to your blog post. Thanks and enjoy the lovely weekend!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We All Knit Here

Hey guys, remember when I used to sew clothes? I know one of my New Year's Resolutions was to slow down, but I really didn't anticipate slowing down THIS much. That said, I am still working on and finishing up sewing projects and, unlike last year, I am much happier with the finished product. I can't wait to show you - though you'll probably have to wait until next week because I need to find time to take pictures.

I have other fun news to share! Remember when I told you I was starting a blog and couldn't tell you anything about it? I'm sure you forgot because cryptic news is anything but exciting, but I can finally share! I've been working on a new website/blog that's designed specifically for people who want to learn to knit.

I know a lot of you have been knitting since you were 12 and learned from your mother and grandmother and have wonderful stories and memories (which is amazing and makes me so jealous!) - however I tried to teaching myself to knit via the internet and it was awful. When I finally went and got proper lessons, I had a lot of bad teachers as well.

I've been giving knitting lessons in the NYC area and I really love it so I decided to make a set of knitting videos for people who know absolutely nothing about knitting and want to learn from home (or wherever). Here's the link to my first 3 videos that teach the absolute basics. I'm editing another video currently, and I'm filming 2 classes this weekend so beginners can start making projects. Yay!

I tried to make the videos really fun and friendly, like we were just hanging out and I was teaching you to knit. That said, when you have a lot of lights on you and a camera pointed at your face, you tend to freeze up! I mean, I worked in the film/tv industry for years so I thought it would be easy, but nope, it was really hard to get started.

While I'm generally happy with my first 3 videos, I was a little obsessed with my mistakes. I suppose a normal person would learn from them, but I made a blooper reel.

Let me know what you guys think. I know it's not perfect - my editing skills were honed over the last two weeks (after watching a couple youtube tutorials) - but I'm pretty happy with everything and I can't wait to actually get classes up. If you want to learn to knit, check out my website and maybe follow my blog for updates; I'm going to publish articles and/or videos once a week.

So yeah, that's my news. Hope you guys have had a great April so far!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pattern and Tutorials for the Ulyana Sergeenko Challenge!

I hope everyone is getting pumped about making some awesome clothes based on Ulyana Sergeenko!

If you're participating in the challenge, we have until the middle of April to knock out some clothing. If you're not sure where to start, then perfect! I'm posting some tutorials and patterns I found to help get you started. If you can think of any more, let me know in the comments and I'll add them to list.

If you're looking for simple sailor that doesn't scream costume, I found a few options for you! I'm sure you could draft the top yourself, but if you're not into that, I love Tilly's Coco top as an option. The skirt is from Burda and it's free! If pants or shorts are more your thing, I found another free pattern on Burdastyle for you.

Ulyana designs and wears a lot of circle skirts (right photos). Luckily, they're easy to make! Liz from Cotton and Curls (left) shows you how to easily draft a midi circle skirt. If you want a little more detail on circle skirts, check out this great post by Diary of a Renaissance Seamstress. The ladies over at By Hand London have even created a circle skirt calculator so you have to do less math.

Underneath some of her skirts, I'm sure she has crinoline slip or petticoat. If you don't have one handy, check out this tutorial for making your own.

Let's talk tulle! I wasn't really into these skirts when they started popping up, but now I think I want one for date night. Liz from Cotton and Curls (right) has a great tutorial for tulle skirts on her blog. Go check it out!

I'm madly in love with this cocoon coat. My main problem: do I make it a luxurious robe at home or do I make it to be worn outside the home? Pattern on the right from Ralph Pink.

This would require a bit more drafting, but if you want to go for something like this, I found a free pattern from PatternVault for you! I would add a tie, shorten the sleeves, and rotate the side detailing. If you look at Ulyana's design (left), it looks like she just cut open the back of a skirt and added a train. Very do-able!

She also designs a lot of modern and structured outfits that I'm having problems finding tutorials for. So let me know if you're familiar with a tutorial or pattern for her longer skirts, her shorts, or this amazing dress.

Also, I want to point out that I didn't link any patterns for her shirts or her pants (seen here and here) because I feel, pants especially, that those are more personal and harder to draft and fit. If you want me to change that because you know the perfect pattern, comment below and I'll update.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Finished: 1960s Cape

I am generally obsessed with capes. When a cape pattern was delivered to my house (surprise!) a few years ago, I knew I was going to make it. I had no idea it would take me several years to get started on it, and almost 5 months to finish it! To be fair, I was spending at most an hour a week on it, but still. It took forever.

I used Vogue 6032 from 1963. Look at that cover art - so gorgeous! But I had problems and self-doubt from the beginning. I had so many problems finding the right fabric. I wanted it to be wool and I was thinking some sort of pattern, like houndstooth. Or maybe a fun color like pink. I had problems finding any wool I liked though, so when Mood sent me an email with charcoal wool on sale I jumped on it. I loved the charcoal color, and it is a great color, but they had pink wool on sale the next week - boo.

So anyway, I started cutting it out and piecing it together with my trusty helpers and that's when I suddenly decided this was going to look awful on me. I was watching Harry Potter (for the first time) and being introduced to characters like Umbridge. Thank goodness I didn't get the pink patterned wool. I was also watching Call the Midwife, an amazing show, but I didn't really want to look like the nuns. It didn't help that the boyfriend was incredible excited that I was "making a nurse's outfit from WWII."

It also took quite a bit of time because the pattern from the 60s focused mostly on using a regular sewing machine with lots of hand sewing thrown in. I don't hand sew, and I really wanted to use my serger so there was a lot of plotting and converting to my equipment that took longer.

Not perfect, but as close as I'm getting.
It probably should have been easier, but I decided to take days figuring out how best to insert a lining rather than looking up tutorials. (Although I did use a LOT of tutorials for my serger - it took me quite awhile to get the hang of threading it, but I think it's all good now.)

So yeah! I'm pretty proud of this one because I finished something I've wanted for years and I did it mostly by myself.

I really loved working with wool. It's thicker than the fabrics I'm used to working with, it doesn't slide around, and you can hide your stitches in all the material. I used a lot of white thread for this, and you can't see it at all! Of course, that also means that if you mess something up, you can't unpick the stitches either.

I took my cape out for a stroll yesterday afternoon. I'm pretty pleased with the fact that I've finished just in time for the weather to warm up slightly. It's long and heavy and keeps me plenty warm in the 40-50 degree weather (that's 4-10 degrees for my non-American friends).

It's like wearing a fashionable blanket.

It is a little strange to walk at first because my arms don't hang at the side per normal, but they stick out the front. I found that if I slow down a bit, and especially if I lean on the arm of my handsome boyfriend, it works perfectly.

Of course, I could always open it up.

All in all, my cape is fabulous and perfect and I wish I had more places to wear it out.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sew Grateful: Ulyana Sergeenko Challenge

Yesterday was Sharing Resources Day for Sew Grateful and I didn't post anything because I don't have tutorials of my own or new inspiration to share with you. (I will mention that I pin a lot of tutorials and tips here on this pinterest page so you can check that out if you're curious.)

Today is Sewing Project Day, meant for us to show off our projects using patterns that we won in a contest, using an online tutorial, or a project inspired by someone else.

I think everyone has been inspired by the amazing ladies competing in Project Sewn this year. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know I swooned quite a bit when Kathleen from Gosgrain chose Ulyana Sergeenko as her inspiration. Well, first I had to google her, then the swooning happened.

Anyway, I posted a few of my favorite outfits worn and/or designed by Ulyana Sergeenko and it seemed many of you agreed she's amazing.

Okay, I know the point of this post was to showcase a finished project that was inspired by the sewing community, but as I'm just now coming out of my winter funk, I going start a project from this and I hope you'll join me!

So, ahem, I'm officially announcing the Ulyana Sergeenko Challenge!

She has quite a few different looks. I put together a pinterest board to help you find the perfect look. (You know, assuming you're into bold, dramatic, classic styles.)

These looks are outside of my comfort zone and some may not be incredibly practical, but I'm going to push through my doubts and make these because they are incredible.

So what do you think? Are you in??

I think April 20th would be a great end date as that's nearly 7 weeks away and may be enough time to shop, find patterns, and make up several outfits. Leave a comment below if you want to participate. Leave a comment, tweet at me, or send me an email at with your finished outfit and I'll do a round up post in April of everyone's amazing creations.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sew Grateful: Reflections

Sew Grateful week continues with our reflections!

This year I have extra feelings so hopefully I'm able to fully articulate them and keep it interesting to you, my readers and friends.

I am usually grateful to the sewing community for introducing me to new blogs, new dresses to be inspired by, new and easier ways of sewing with excellent tutorials, and for sticking by me when I inevitably take every winter off.

These last few years have been rather hard for me for various reasons and sewing has been such a wonderful creative outlet for me. Of course, it's also incredibly frustrating at times - but there's really no better feeling than completing an outfit and wearing it out into the world.

This year, and I know we're only two months in, but this year seems like things are finally starting to turn around and for the better. I have so many projects on the horizon and so many life changes to initiate. I also finally started using my social media to connect with other people who sew and knit and only amazing things are happening from that. Really, my thought was along the lines of, "I already follow their blogs... what else could they possibly have to say anywhere else?" Silly me.

Part of it was insecurity on my end. Who would want to listen to me and my stream of consciousness? I'm continually amazed that not only do I have followers, but my numbers increase every so often. Why do people want to see what I'm making? Who wants to hear about how I can't thread my serger to save my life? Is another cat picture really necessary? (Yes.)

I love all of you that listen to me, put up with me, and ultimately support me. You tell me how wonderful my items are when I (finally) make something wonderful, and you tell me how to fix things I made that are pretty crappy. Sometimes I just have to start over. That's life. Life is all about starting over and trying again and I am so, so grateful that I have so many wonderful people supporting me throughout it. Thank you all so much!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sew Grateful Vintage Pattern Giveaway

This is one of my favorite times of the year just because I started my blog right before Sew Grateful about two years ago and I learned so many useful tips and met so many wonderful bloggers that I still consider myself friends with today. Because of that, I have a few things to give away.

I'll have more details going up tonight about each pattern - though if you are concerned about something, feel free to leave your question in the comments and I'll answer it as soon as you can. I'm not sure if all pieces are there or not, but I bought it from a charity that ensures that all or enough pieces are there for you to complete the items.

I ship worldwide. Contest ends Sunday March 2nd at 11:59 EST.

First up is Simplicity 7129. Bust size 32 and 33.5.

Next is McCall's 2806. Skirt, pants, jacket, dress, and somewhat creepy cover. Size 12, bust 34.

McCall's 3324. I really love this one, but I never see myself wearing it so I must pass it on! Size 12, bust 34.

And this is just a cute book you sew together! Vogue patterns 1959. It seems like a lot of fun for the right child and parent.

Okay, guys. Leave a comment letting me know which pattern(s) you're interested in and make sure there's a way I can contact you if you are the winner.

For additional entries, you can follow my blog here or some form of social media (facebook, twitter, instagram, etc) Please leave separate comments saying that you did/do follow so I can easily count your extra entries.

Thanks to everyone who entered. This giveaway is now closed. And congrats to the winners: Kestrel, Laurie, and Diane!