high | low



hey! remember this top? i drafted and sewed this high/low hem silk tee at the end of may and gave a quick glimpse of it during the final days of mmmay. and now here we are at the end of june and i'm finally getting it properly documented on the old blog. but thats just how it goes sometimes, isn't it?

i had bought a small amount of yardage of this tessuti silk georgette (no longer listed online) and knew i wanted to make something loose and flowy with it. i decided to try out the mullet hem trend on this top to see if i liked it, and after wearing it a few times now, both backwards (like in these pictures) and forwards, i have to admit that it definitely has its appeal. for my part - i'm much more comfortable with the length in the front and wear it backwards more often than not.


the neckline is faced with a bias strip - a technique that was used a lot with those vogue/rachel comey patterns i'm so fond of and that i found gave a nice finish for thin fabrics.

i'm also wearing some ikat shorts that i made from the leftover fabric from my dress. these were also a quick sort of "in between projects" project. i drafted the pattern using the built by wendy pants pattern i used to make my jeans and compared measurements to my one and only other pair of shorts - a blue rtw pair bought from urban outfitters many many many moons ago now.


i'm not even going to tell you how many mosquito bites i got while taking these pictures. just know that i got some of them too - so long suckers!!!!

some of you intimated that you might like a tutorial on drafting this top. let me tell you - it was so darn easy that a tutorial seems kind of silly. but ask and you shall receive! i took this as an opportunity to learn me some adobe illustrator skillzzzzzzzzz which, if we're being perfectly honest (and i'm always honest amos on this blog... pppfffttt!) was really the delay in getting this top posted in a timely fashion. but you know... its all for the sake of furthering my edumucation!! please excuse my less than smooth curves...

i used a random t-shirt pattern i happened to have to start with, but you can use a sloper, or some other basic bodice pattern that you may have on hand. since there are no darts or anything in this shirt you can just ignore them if your pattern has them.


step 1: lay your bodice block front on a table and trace the neckline and center front line. if you want you can change the shape/depth of the neckline. also determine the length you want the CF to be. i did this super low tech - just grabbed a tape measure and measured over the fullest part of my bust to where i thought i might want the hem.

step 2: put a pin at the corner where the neckline and shoulder meet. this will be your pivot point. now pivot your bodice block front out until it looks good. no really. thats what i did. okay well actually i pivoted it out until my shoulder seam was at a right angle. 

step 3: trace the new side angle and shoulder seam. extend the side seam. extend the sleeve until it looks good. you can use a measuring tape to make sure your sleeve (plus hem allowance) will be long/short enough. make sure it will be wide enough. then use your eyeballs or a french curve to connect the CF and the new extended side seam.


step 4: do the same thing for your bodice block back. make sure your shoulder, armhole, underarm and side seams are the same length as the front. extend the CB line and use your french curve or your trusty eyeballs to draw a curve for the lower hem.


step 5: lay your new shirt front and shirt back pattern side by side matching up the side seam. depending on the angle of your curved hem you may need to smooth out the curve at the side seam (mine was oddly pointy) and true all your seams.

and voila!! a high/low hem shirt pattern!! wear backwards and forwards for two fun looks!



unselfish sewing


hey there, handsome...

we just came back from a long weekend on the east coast where we attended a friends wedding in long island, ny.

but let's flash back to the sunday before our thursday flight, shall we?? there i am, contemplating what to wear - my birthday dress? my bombshell dress? do i try and make something new?? do i wear one of the few rtw dresses i own? hmm hmm hmmmmm. decisions decisions decisions. (i ended up with my ikat dress - packs well and is oh so accommodating to buffets...)


i'm roused from my self-absorption for just long enough to realize that my husband is staring into the portents of his side of the closet (which curiously keeps getting smaller and smaller... weird...) with a furrowed brow. i ask him what he's going to wear. he responds that he's thinking of wearing a short sleeve collared shirt i made him last year (never blogged) with a tie. hmmm....

readers, i'm not a big fan of fashion rules, and i am definitely no expert in men's dressing, but i just wasn't convinced that a short sleeve shirt and a tie was appropriate for an evening wedding. turns out my husband wasn't totally convinced either.


and that was how i convinced him to take me fabric shopping.

i realized it was high time i sent a little sewing love to my biggest supporter, and my all around favorite person. it didn't hurt that his birthday was last week either!

with truly record speed (if i do say so myself) i whipped out this modified long sleeve negroni. i bought the negroni pattern last year when i made a short sleeve shirt for nick's (my husband) birthday. i knew that the convertible camp collar style of the negroni wouldn't suit him for, but i felt like i needed the hand-holding that colette patterns is so good at.  so using peter's excellent tutorial i made the necessary changes to the negroni pattern to give it a button placket front, collar stand and regular collar.



the fabric was some unmarked checked stuff that was wonderfully light weight, soft and mysteriously resistant to wrinkles. while pressing the seams i got a whiff of that tell-tale 70's basement smell that told my that there was some polyester lurking in those fibers. but my husband doesn't mind - and really, for a cotton/poly blend (my guess) its pretty darn breathable.

i'm not going to say that its the finest example of men's shirt sewing. there's some awkward turns and pivots and a curiously "off" cuff (but just the underside, so no one sees it). i also made one of those spectacularly idiotic blunders that only i can make when sewing to a deadline - after attaching the collar stand and collar and topstitching the whole thing to boot, i realized that i was sewing the shirt inside-out! at some point - perhaps when attaching the back yolk - i got myself all turned around and the plackets were on the inside of the shirt! head slap!! there was much unpicking of tiny stitches. and cursing. lots and lots of cursing.

but i do feel that next time i do it - without the pressure of a deadline - it will (hopefully) go smoother. and nick likes it. and thats what matters most.


i love you, nick. happy birthday.





i've been sitting down trying to write this post about our trip countless times over the past couple of days but unfortunately i keep getting distracted! so here we go!

nick (my husband) and i are pretty dismal about documenting our lives. this is funny because i'm quick to snap pictures of a new sewing project and have filled an entire blog with photos of me posing like a weirdo in public places - but when it comes to documenting trips, or life around us we both seem to forget what a camera is for! i always chalk this up to the fact that i'd rather be experiencing the beautiful sunset, rather than staring at it from behind a lens - but in reality i just forget that these are the moments i'm supposed to be capturing.

so thats my excuse for my utter lack of relevant photos from this trip.


last monday we got in our car and drove 11 hours through the state of texas. 11 hours of driving and we're still in this damn, big state! it was pretty incredible watching the landscape change as we went. from the humid, green, almost tropical gulf coast to the hill country in the middle of the state, to grasslands and then desert mountains. i was actually surprised by the mountains. in my head i thought west texas was all flat.


i have to say - its really beautiful out there. marfa is a pretty interesting place. its where the movie giant was filmed, and more recently there will be blood (a favorite of mine). marfa itself is teeny tiny, like a lot of the west tx towns we drove through. one or two main roads. one stoplight sort of thing. quiet and lazy. but its become a bit of a magnet for the art community. for a town with such a small population i think i saw more hipsters there than i would during sunday brunch in williamsburg!

we went out to marfa with the nonprofit i work for (and where my husband is a resident artist) it was maybe 10% a work trip and 90% vacation.  we stayed at the thunderbird hotel where i spent a good amount of time lazing by the pool reading the french lieutenant's woman. really, this is how i spent  most of my time in marfa (another reason for the lack of photos). and it was wonderful. in between pool lounging and lazily biking through the town to get falafel from the one and only food truck, we also paid our respects to the art gods.


the donald judd foundation and the chinati (or chinazi)  foundation (also by donald judd) are in marfa. we did a full tour of chinati (and were scolded on numerous occasions for being late, or drinking coffee, or taking too long to pee...) which is an old army base that judd bought up in the 60's or 70's and slowly renovated. it houses some pretty epic judd sculptures along with the work of some of his friends and other artists he felt were "worthy".

judd was never really a favorite artist of mine - but the metal works housed at chinati were really pretty damn good, and some of the best judd's i've ever seen. the work felt very appropriate for the buildings and the surrounding landscape, and i have to admit that he knew what he was doing by placing them there. some of the other works housed at chinati were not quite so well placed. or maybe i was just getting tired and "arted out" by the end of our 4 hour tour in the 108(F) degree heat. the dan flavins in particular required an extreme force of will to get through, and i think my entire group felt that by the end of the tour we had given more of ourselves to the soul sucking judd than he gave to us. like we made our sacrificial offering to the ghost of judd and somehow we would be exonerated by the art gods.

i'm joking of course.

sort of.


another highlight of the trip was our visit to the macdonald observatory on tuesday night where we attended an event celebrating the transit of venus. we had an excellent view of venus as she eclipsed the setting sun - the last time it will happen for another 150 years. did anyone else get a chance to check this out? you would have needed special glasses to see it with your naked eye - but nasa had a live feed of it too. it wasn't that exciting - just a tiny dot traveling over the surface of the sun, but i always get pretty geekily excited about that sort of stuff. driving out to the observatory also afforded us a glimpse at some of the surrounding land. the mountains and scrubby desert vegetation. and one of the most breathtaking sunsets i've ever witnessed.


we're planning on making the marfa trip a yearly excursion for the artist residency (maybe someday i'll tell you about what i do for a living - its pretty radical - in the 80's sense of the word) so hopefully next spring i'll be making the trek again. next time i (hopefully) won't have an oozing toe and will be able to do some hiking in the surrounding land. and of course i'll return to cleanse myself in the sacrificial waters of mid to late 20th century art...

sneaky pete 2

this photo has absolutely nothing to do with marfa. but it was just too good to pass up!

things have been pretty quiet on the sewing front lately. i'm having trouble starting some of the bigger projects i had planned for this summer, and i keep getting distracted by all the inspiring things i'm seeing on everyone else's blog! might be time for me to buckle down and get focused...

in the meantime, i have a few "life" and non-sewing related posts i've been wanting to get up on this here blog, so i might turn my attention to those while i wait for my sewing intuition to kick back into gear!

hope you're all having a great june - its freaking hot down here!



guest post up at madalynne

hey guys! sorry for my blog silence over the last week. we were in marfa, tx last week for some desert action and i've been in a bit of a lazey-haze since we got back. so this is just a quick note to tell you that i've got a guest post up over on maddie's awesome blog. i'm sure you all know maddie and just what a stylish, sweet lady she is - not to mention the wealth of information she brings to us sewing bloggers.  so it goes without saying that i was excited beyond belief when she asked me do a guest post for her while she's out of town.

and then i got really nervous! what could i possibly have to contribute that would be worthy of madalynne?! lucky for me maddie was super sweet and we knocked around a few ideas. its no surprise that the one that stuck was about jeans, since i'm still wearing my handmade jeans like its my business. so if you'd like to check out some of my tips for sewing jeans, head on over to madalynne!

i'll be back later with a post about some of my recent (non-sewing) escapades. but now i have to get ready for work (blergh!)

xx (or zzzz)


the final days of me-made-may

well its been a fun ride. i've never done a wardrobe-challenge-month and i was really curious to see if i would stick with it or not. and i did! even the weekends - though i have no photographic evidence so you'll just have to take my word for it that i pulled off at least one me-made article of clothing every day, including weekends, for the 31 days of may.



top: american apparel
skirt: self-made silk midi-skirt, blogged here
shoes: frye
belt: jcrew
check out mister muscles' new collar! he hates loves it! and now i can hear him coming so he can no longer sneak attack and destroy my ankles!! sallie = 1, mister muscles = 549....



i'll be honest, i almost forgot to take a picture this day. it wasn't until we were almost about to go to bed that my husband asked if i had taken my picture for mmmay and i realized i forgot, so he quick snapped this one while i was working on some hand sewing. its hard to tell but i'm wearing this dress.



top: self-made (proof in the picture above) more info to come, promise!
jeans: i had to end my me-made-may with my champions, the stovepipe skinnies.
so the pictures this week kind of devolved. but hey! it lasted up until the last two days! thats pretty good! this picture gives you a wonderful profile of the lovely lucille, and also a glimpse of my bum toe (and our very wire-y and um... old... sound system)

a huge thank you to zoe for hosting and organizing and conceiving of such a fabulous month-long celebration of our me-made wardrobes. and a huge thank you, blog readers, and flickr pool for all your kind words of encouragement.

i definitely feel like this challenge made me more aware of my own wardrobe and my dressing habits than i ever have been before. i think separates really serve me well in the day to day and i seem to have a fondness for red, white and blue (hmm... perhaps i should remedy that...)

but really, i need to give a huge thank you to three darlings who, hands down, made my me-made-may:
the draped leather jacket (worn 4 times), the stovepipe skinnies (worn 9 times), and the red midi-skirt (worn 4 times).

without you three i don't know where i would be. probably posting pictures of my stark naked self on the internet. but not in a sexy way, you know? it was through this powerhouse trio that i really found the full potential of my me-made wardrobe, and it will be with this triumphant triumvirate in mind that i consider my future makes. 

in other words: i really gotta make myself another leather jacket, pair of jeans and midi-skirt, already!! sheesh!

congratulations to everyone who participated in me-made-may! you're a rockstar!! pop open your poison of choice (me? i'll be clinking some ice around in my campari and soda, squeeze of orange, please) throw on some (non-me-made) sweatpants and contemplate just how awesome you are!