reflections of...


Here it is you guys! The good ol' year in review post! More than a little bit fashionably late, but what are you gonna do? That's just my style...

I haven't done one of these posts in a few years because it just didn't feel right (read: I procrastinated writing it for so long that it felt a bit odd to post it in... say... March). But I always sort of regret it. I think writing out your thoughts on past achievements and stating your goals for the future is a really great thing to do every now and again.  And the start of a new year seems as good of a time to do it as any. So without further ado, let's get this rambling post started!

Warning: I didn't really organize my thoughts too much before writing this, so be prepared for a whole mish mash of thoughts on the personal and practical, sewing and 'real life', and everything in between.


Mood Fabrics wool and leather coat

One of the biggest changes for me in the past year, and really since I began sewing and blogging (a little over 4 years ago if you can believe that!) was becoming part of the Mood Sewing Network this past year.  Having Mood sponsor my blog has been a huge deal for me, in a very real, practical way. On a highly personal note, making money is not something that my husband and I excel at. We live very very frugally and as many of you know, sewing is not a cheap hobby (although I do believe it is a much more economical solution to clothing consumption than my previous shopping habits, but that is a conversation for another day). That being said, there have been many times throughout the past year that I've been immensely grateful for that monthly Mood fabric allowance.  Without it, I'm not sure I'd have been able to continue sewing. Or at least not with any sort of frequency.  And without sewing, I'd have no creative outlet. And without a creative outlet... I implode. And besides that, I have loved getting to try out fabrics that I would normally shy away from.  There have been so many truly kooky fabrics that have crossed my path this year, and it's made sewing a real joy.


A few makes I am still extremely proud of are my wool and leather coat, and Nick's selvedge denim jeans. I'm still shocked by how much use I've gotten out of the Nettie bodysuit pattern (see here, here, here AND here!) and wearing this dress makes me endlessly happy.

Going forward, I'd really like to aim for two makes a month. This was my goal last year and I almost made it (22 makes total)! But I'd like to keep my sewing directed as well. It's so important to me that what I make gets worn on a weekly basis. The whole point of all of this is to make getting dressed as effortless as possible. So with that in mind, a few holes I've discovered in my wardrobe are loungewear, workout clothes, and weekend wear. Basically the boring stuff! So keep an eye on THIS space (she says sarcastically).

Mood Fabrics Geometric Embroidered Linen Skirt


Oh blogging. First, let me say that I love my blog, and I love to blog. BUT! I always feel like a terrible blogger.  2014 was no exception.  Even though the Mood Sewing Network kept me blogging regularly at least once a month, I still always felt like I should be doing more.  It can get a bit difficult to be a part of a blogging community, even one as kind and compassionate as the sewing blogging community, and not fall into the trap of comparing yourself to everyone around you. It's something I feel like I have to be very mindful of.  Does anyone else feel like this? Please share if you do, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

This upcoming year I'm going to work on going easier on myself. Thankfully (and luckily for ya'll) most of my 'bad blogger' berating goes on behind the scenes, but I still catch myself apologizing for prolonged absences and making self-deprecating jokes about what a bad blogger I am, and I think it's time for this to stop. I think we can all agree that blogging should be enjoyable, no matter which way you choose to do it, and not yet another source of bad feelings for not measuring up in our lives! And since I'm fairly certain that these 'bad blogger' feelings are totally self derived, than it's really up to me to change my attitude. I want to have a long, healthy relationship with my blog, after all.


This past year I gave my blog a little facelift. Actually, "facelift" is still probably too dramatic of a word for what I did... Really I sent my blog to the salon for a fresh cut and color and maybe a little makeup demo.  This was perhaps not the total site overhaul I would love to do one day, but it did make the space feel a little fresher and tidier.

In terms of content, I would love some feedback on what you guys would like to see more of here? Are you interested in more process or 'behind the scenes' posts? Life updates? I've gotten the odd request for a hair tutorial or makeup question, and while that's a bit of new territory for me, I'm happy to oblige... Let me know... should I branch out, or just keep on keeping on??



Oh man! This is something I'm insanely proud of! Learning to knit has been a 'bucket list' goal of mine for awhile now, and this past year, with the help of my supremely talented sister, I added it to my repertoire.  In 2014 I made two hats, one sweater (never blogged) and started another sweater. The only bad thing about knitting, as far as I'm concerned, is that it turns me into an insanely obsessive couch creature. Seriously.  I find knitting to be about 1000 x's more addicting than sewing, to the point that it's kind of dangerous. Like, if I'm not careful it might destroy all my personal relationships and land me in some kind of crafter's rehab (that exists, right? It should...)


I'm itching to finish the sweater I started last fall  - hopefully before spring arrives so I get a chance to wear it! Although I might have already got distracted and started knitting another hat in the meantime. This is something I pretty much never do. I'm actually really hard core about finishing what I've started because I hate having half-finished things lurking about, giving me side-eye. But it felt like the right move this time. Like if I didn't take a break from the sweater than I was going to get officially burnt out, but this still keeps my mind in the knitting world... or something like that... Yeah okay, it wasn't really sound logic... and maybe I was just really excited about the yarn I got for my hat...


My goal going forward with knitting is to average about one or two sweaters a year, depending on the size of the project, and one or two accessories like hats, mittens, or socks.  I think this should be doable... but I also have to stay mindful that I keep balance, or else come spring I might find myself melded to the couch... Another goal is to tackle some color work in the upcoming year! I think this would be a great project for some mittens (maybe these or these would be fun!)

Life and other stuff

One thing that has become a bigger part of my life in the past year is fitness. As someone who has gone out of her way to find ways to not move (surely I'm not the only person who is a champ at picking things up with my toes so I don't have to bend over? And chairs with wheels are heaven sent...Want me to come over there?? Hang on a second... *weeeeeee*!!) this is kind of a big deal.

I was actually pretty okay not being a very active person. I ride my bike at a snails pace the two miles of very flat road to and from work daily, I mean... what do you want from me? But this coming year I'm turning 30. Which is also okay by me. What wasn't okay was the fact that I was starting to feel like I was turning 50. Oy vey! My hip! My knees! My hip and my knees! Couple that with my propensity for shuffling around in my bathrobe and slippers and my fondness for knitting while watching British murder mysteries on Netflix and I felt like my family might start sitting me down for conversations about how they think I might be 'more comfortable' in a retirement home.

My picture game has seriously devolved in this post... 
 So around the end of last summer I began to try to incorporate more movement into my day beyond my half-hearted attempts at yoga, which usually resulted in me laying around in savasana more than actually saluting any suns... I decided I wanted to try, like really try, no excuses, to make fitness a part of my life. I always felt like any attempts at exercise I made previously were always done in the spirit of punishment - like "Holy Cow! You ate all the candy corn again?!?!?! To the treadmill with you!!" So I decided that was the first thing that had to go. I wasn't going to exercise because I felt a little bloated. I was just going to exercise. Every day. No matter what I did or didn't eat, or how my clothes fit. It was just going to be something I do. Like brushing my teeth. Which I know sounds really simple, but it was actually a huge mental shift for me.

I always hesitate writing about any of this on the blog because I don't want to come across as though I've 'figured it all out'. That's not the case. I just felt like I wanted to write it out so I don't forget. And because it's become a part of my life and I like talking about it. So if you're interested in hearing more, I'd be happy to write more, but otherwise - Note to self: Keep working out. You like it. It makes you feel good. It also makes you a much nicer person to be around.

Phew! Long post you guys! The crazy thing is, I could write so much more! But I think I touched on all the highlights.

I hope this didn't bore everyone to tears! Is it too late to wish everyone a Happy New Year? Probably, right? Well whatever....


Oh! And I wanted to leave you with this, because... reflections. And Diana. Duh.




Mood Fabrics Faux Fur | Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

Oh my gosh you guys HAPPY 2015!!! I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season, and a fantastic start to your new year!

As you might be able to tell from the lack of my usual greenery in these photos, I've actually been traveling for the past few weeks and only just got back home.  Whilst visiting family and indulging in some cozy holiday relaxation, I decided to unplug from the internet and social media for a bit, so my apologies if I've been a bit MIA in the blogosphere as of late. Since getting back I've enjoyed perusing all your reflective year in review posts - so much great food for thought! I'm feeling inspired to put together my own for this year... look out...

Mood Fabrics Faux Fur | Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

In the midst of my travels, my December make for the Mood Sewing Network went live, and then promptly disappeared. I believe they've been switching over their server over there, so if you saw some posts pop up in your feed but couldn't get to them that would be why! And it looks like things are on the mend now...

This was a quick and simple make this month since I spent the latter part of December on the road, tragically separated from my machines. However, I really think the fabric here is the star of the show, elevating this from a simple raglan top to a special statement piece.

Mood Fabrics Faux Fur | Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

Holiday sewing always makes me feel weirdly anxious.  Being the willing citizen of the internet that I am, I feel like I get bombarded in the weeks leading up to the holidays with beautiful examples of party dresses, articles on how to put together my best holiday party look, and advice on how to juggle my holiday party circuit without getting burnout. Question: Who is having all these fabulous holiday parties and why is no one inviting me?!? Are there really people that have so many parties to go to that they get burnout?! I mean, I know I'm not the most social of butterflies (*cough*understatement*cough*) but, like, is the whole world hanging out without me? Yes. Yes it appears they are.

So because I am a mindless automaton, I think holidays = parties, therefore, holiday sewing must equal party dresses, right? And then Practical Sallie mule-kicks me in the back of the head and reminds me that the fanciest party I'm going to involves catching up with my Mom over a cup of tea. While I'm sure she wouldn't blink an eye if I decided to curl up on the couch in a taffeta and lace confection to watch It's a Wonderful Life, the whole scenario leaves me feeling oddly itchy...

Mood Fabrics Faux Fur | Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

So I put my social anxiety back on the shelf (where it belongs) and tried to come up with a compromise that feels a little special, but still allows me to kick back and relax without having to don pantyhose (because...ugh). 

And that, my best beloveds, is how this little furry top came to be. Aren't you glad you asked? What? You mean you didn't?? Hmm...

Okay! Back to the matter at hand, and all joking aside, I've been digging the whole 'fancy sweatshirt' look that has been a bit of a trend for awhile now, and thought that a faux fur sweatshirt might be just the ticket to fancying up what is, essentially, loungewear. And I just happened to have Grainline's Linden Sweatshirt pattern arrive on my doorstep not too long ago, so I thought I'd give it a whirl!

Mood Fabrics Faux Fur | Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

I ordered this Estate Blue and Black Faux Fur from Mood Fabrics online a couple of months ago with absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it. And when it came I couldn't stop petting it. No exaggeration folks, it is so SO soft. Like, I-want-to-make-footy-pajamas-for-my-dog-out-of-it-so-she-can-be-this-soft soft. That's right, I want to cover my furry animal in faux fur because.... soooooffffttt

Did I mention it's soft?

It also has a very short 'hair' and a slightly crushed surface, reminding me a bit more of velvet than of fur.  And, true confessions, I actually have a pretty big fear of working with velvet, or really all napped fabrics, including, I suppose, faux fur.  That's right. I have a furry phobia. (Let's all agree to just not google that last sentence, mmkay?) I mean, THE PILE you guys!! What if I crush the pile??!!! Oh the things we sewists worry over...

Mood Fabrics Faux Fur | Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

Isn't that fabric gorgeous!? That subtle blue and black animal print... that sheen... that texture! Sigh...

So how did I handle this furry fabric?? Well, here's my little secret guys: I did absolutely nothing different than I usually do with a woven fabric.  That's right.  That's my "expert" advice to anyone out there who might share my fear of faux fur - just treat it like you would any other fabric. Of course, if you want to get technical, there was also a fair amount of finger-crossing and making burnt offerings to the Fabric Gods going on, as well... I know, I know... I'd never ask me for advice either...

Okay, seriously, this fabric is 100% rayon, which I knew going into it. It has a very firmly woven backing, a crisp drape, and as I mentioned, a short hair.  I simply cut my pieces, as you do, sewed them on my regular machine, then serged the edges together to prevent any raveling.  I'll probably be finding little blue and black hairs all over my cutting table and in the gears of my serger for the next eon, but them's the breaks. I used a medium hot iron with a little steam on the back of the fabric whenever possible, and employed the services of a press cloth if I had to press on the front. No drama.

Mood Fabrics Faux Fur | Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

The pattern required some tweaking to make it work in this faux fur because the Linden Sweatshirt is designed for knits.  But, you know guys, I like to live dangerously.  I take fabric suggestions as just that: suggestions. Obviously a knit would be perfect for the Linden, but I felt like this slightly crisper woven would work too, given the easy sweatshirt fit of the pattern, and would make for a more boxy shape.  Plus, I always feel like Jen's patterns are so expertly drafted that they really hold up well to experimenting like this. The only place where my little experiment totally backfired was at the neckline.  The fabric stood away from my body in a most unflattering way.  So I took two little darts out of the neckline at the mid-point of the raglan sleeve and problem solved! The actual raglan lines are a little puffier than perhaps I would like, but at the point I tried the top on (obviously there were no muslins being utilized here) it would have required too much finagling to fix the issue, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to move my arms if I did. So we're living with a bit of poof. We're okay with that.

Mood Fabrics Faux Fur | Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

I made View B of the Linden, which has a cropped hem and a shorter sleeve.  To keep things on the luxe side I used bias strips of black silk charmeuse to bind the neckline and as a facing to finish the sleeves and hem. It's a very small touch, but it feels very luxurious.  I hand stitched everything in place on the wrong side so there are no visible stitches when the garment is being worn.  The seamlines really sink into this faux fur and become nearly invisible so it probably wouldn't have been a big deal, but I really wanted a clean looking finish and didn't want to chance it.

Mood Fabrics Faux Fur | Grainline Linden Sweatshirt

I really love the finished look! The shorter length of both the hem and the sleeves make for a really cool layering piece, while the faux fur still keeps me snuggly and warm.  I'm also such a sucker for playing with opposing textures this time of year and I love how this pairs with my faux leather leggings.  All in all, this was such a simple make, but it's also such a great statement piece. Definitely a nice, subtle way to dress up my low-key, party-free holidays! 

I really hope y'all had a wonderful holiday, that you got to spend some time with those you love and make a few memories to carry you over till next year.  As I get along in years I really start to cherish the holidays as a time to come together and show my love and gratitude for all the important people in my life.  So excuse me for being sentimental, dear readers, but I'd just like to take a moment to say how much I've appreciated each and every one of you this past year. You guys are where it's at.  I'm sure I'll be back with more new-year-reflections, so I'll keep the sap short for now - just know there's more where THAT came from!

Love you guys...