Saturday, December 31, 2011


This is a tea towel with a 2012 calendar on it:

tea towel

One of the ships on there - look at the month of April - just so happens to be my Sailor's ship. ;) The other ships are regulars around the NY Harbor. Being the nerd that I am I found the Tugster blog last year, which led me to Bowsprite, who paints gorgeous pictures of the NY Harbor area. In November, Bowsprite designed a 2012 tea towel for a Spoonflower contest & I had to jump on a chance to order it to make up some awesome tea towels for my Sailor's mom, my mom, and myself.

Here's the yard - four tea towels! - from spoonflower:

one yard

Well. Guess what, I was a bit rusty on how to get the nice mitered corners and I certainly didn't want to goof these up! Sew Mama Sew came to the rescue with a great illustrated PDF guide on sewing these corners. I followed along -

Put on the 1/4" quilting foot and sew one line around the tea towel, 1/4" in from the edge. Then lift your foot and sew another line, 1/4" inwards from the previous one.

marking fold lines

marking next fold line

Next, draw a diagonal line across the boxes in the outer corner you've made so that the outside square gets snipped off:

mark corner to trim

Fold in at the corner of the inner square you marked:

fold corner

Now fold the edge at the outer stitching line:

fold inwards

And again at the inner stitching line, which will.... MAGIC... give you a mitered corner shape!


Stitch along the folded edge, and all done! Isn't WTGB-109 looking pretty awesome here in April? :)

Sturgeon Bay

If you, too, would like a 2012 NY Harbor tea towel, you can order it on Spoonflower on Bowsprite's Spoonflower page. I have my eye on the Semper Paratus fabric, and I think you might be seeing a skirt from it here shortly. ;)

(For the landlubbers, the name of the fabric, Semper Paratus, is the US Coast Guard's motto, it stands for Always Prepared. Every time the sailor laughs at me for lugging around a big purse with band aids, a water bottle, my evdo, a granola bar, extra socks, the kitchen sink, and so forth I tell him "Semper Paratus!")

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A small jumper

Here is the Chopin dress from Ottobre Summer 2010 again, but without the front pleats. Cat Jumper In this incarnation, it's a little jumper for Anabear to wear to school. I bought the fabric at JoAnn's last year and originally thought I might make it into a dress for Kate. However, I realized that the print is a bit juvenile for her (OMG, my smidgen niece is EIGHT. how did that happen?) and Ana might be more appreciative. Ana is also super attached to her family's cats, so she should enjoy this. I love the full, twirly skirt. I'm picturing this with a little white peter pan collar blouse underneath and maybe a white cardigan on top.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Sewing

Most years I try to sew a bunch of presents, as I'm very lucky to have family that really appreciate hand made coats or tote bags and whatnot. This year I managed one nightgown so far. Um... yeah. I will claim extenuating circumstances this fall- I was in a car accident, there was that huge attack of hives, and now I've caught some ick of the sore throat-fever-horrible cough variety. I give up, everyone gets home made presents for New Years this year. ;)

We did get a tree up with all our Santa ornaments on it. (Our tree is nothing but Santa ornaments. True story, I had friends whose parents put up multiple trees each December and one was only Santa ornaments. It blew my small mind and I promised myself that when I grew up, I'd have a tree of all Santa ornaments. And now I have one of my own every year and it makes me super happy. (; ) Here are a few of my favorite Santas that I photographed last year right before we put it away:

This one was a gift from my family when the sailor and I got engaged. One of my all time favorites.

sea captain santa

Washington state ferry.... I am so homesick this December.

washington state ferry santa

Sweet tooth Santa!

sweets santa!

Anyway. I wish I had gotten some better photos, but Kate wore the 1950s dress and slip I'd made her 2 years ago to the Nutcracker this year, and it still fits her! That kid is a skinny minny. Here is the post from 2009 where I originally made it for her. Kate's favorite part is the petticoat with all the netting, so I've promised to make her another one soon. Her mom says that there is always a big fight when she wears the dress because she thinks the petticoat should go above the dress so that everyone can admire it! So cute. So here she is wearing it at the ballet, totally absorbed in the web browser on my phone.


Kate & iPhone

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What size is Ana?

Miss Anabear is rather skinny and long, so she's been a little tricky to size for a while. I made up a simple white dress to match her sisters, but I got rather worried when it was done that it was too big for her!

This is a size 6 Simplicity 2989, the same dress I love making as seen in One Hardworking Pattern. Again, I used some leftover silk shantung for the fashion fabric and lined it in silk crepe de chine.

Ana dress

It's a very simple style here, with lace on the hem and puffed sleeves. Love the sheen of the shantung.

first dress

But I kept holding it up & feeling like it was just a little too large for the teensy bear, so I decided that since I still had oodles of silk left, I'd make something a bit smaller.

So here is my very first Ottobre! It's dress #25, "Chopin, rose patterned twirly dress" from Summer 2010. I left off the roses & the belt, but I did like the tucks on the bodice, as it adds a nice little touch. It's originally sleeveless, so I added in some little puff sleeves edged in lace. Same as all the others, it is white silk shantung lined in white silk crepe de chine... soooooo much fun to sew up! This stuff is like a dream to sew.

Ottobre Summer 2010 - Dress 25

And of course I had a good laugh when I was done, the two dresses are nearly the same size! Oh well, she will wear them at some point if they are too big right now! And until I see the nieces, I have a pile of silk dresses on my chair:

pile of dresses

Sunday, November 27, 2011

a christmas dress

This will be mostly wordless. I broke out in hives all over, likely due to eating...something? Current fore runner is some chicken tikki masala, which kills me as that's one of my favorite dishes! So this post is brought to you via Blogging On Benedryl.

Thanksgiving: (By the way, we went with a sausage stuffing recipe that was AWESOME. thanks for the suggestions!)

birch tree
table set

And post Thanksgiving sewing - I knew that I had ordered way too much white silk this spring when I made my wedding dress, but I figured it could be put to good use making Christmas dresses for the nieces. So this weekend out came some of the white shantung and silk crepe de chine from Susan Khalje's store.

This stuff was a dream to sew and press and I spent a lot of time just holding the silk up to the light and petting it. I'm not the only one who has the sit and fondle the fabric before diving in, right?

IMGP8003 IMGP8005

I used New Look 6907 for Kate's dress. My sister asked for a plain white dress so that they could add different colored sashes and get more use from it. My favorite part was picking out the laces to use.... I have a weakness for going into MJ and buying lace "because I'll use it someday on little dresses for the nieces."


Here's the insides... I just zigagged the armholes where the lining met instead of using more bias binding. It is just a kids dress, so I didn't want to go TOO crazy.

Good luck to all those starting up on Christmas sewing - may your sewing machines be quick and the mistakes few! ;)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

happy thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is military family (& my-kid-sister-is-going-to-the-inlaws-thursday-and-her-little-kids-can-only-do-one-thanksiving-at-a-time) thanksgiving! ;)

That's ok, we like to spread out the holidays.

pie crust

Have you seen the excellent Minoru jacket pattern from Sewaholic? I've ordered a copy, and I think it might be pretty neat made up in one of the coating cottons from BJs. This year I might end up making up the Artisan's Square SWAP, since it's got a good setup this time around. Very tempting! And of course I still need to sort out the muslin from my vintage coat pattern. It's still sitting in the closet, gathering dust.

I'm off to make more pies, so here are some closing pictures.... I was in the NYC subway yesterday and took these little cell phone pictures of the hats in the 23rd st R station - always one of my favorite subway art displays :)

subway art hat
subway art hat

Friday, November 11, 2011

happy veteran's day

happy veteran's day everyone! Seemed like an opportune moment to sneak in more wedding pictures. ;)


Ever so proud of my sailor and the wonderful job he does


photos by Stephen DeVries

My coat is currently stalled. I tried on the muslin, and it's HUGE. I need to sort out how to take it in, which is made a bit tricky by the back darts and the side panel. Seems like if I just pinch in on the sides, I will mess up the armhole shape. Hmmmm.

In the meantime I've been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving baking & what to make. We need an interesting stuffing recipe, as I haven't really liked any I've made in past years. I had marginal success with one two years ago which had apples and cranberries in it. Anyone have a great stuffing to recommend?

Saturday, November 5, 2011


You know what drives me bonkers about NYC? A good latte is nearly impossible to find. This week, however, has been full of tasty lattes. I've been at my company's "mothership" in the gorgeous city of Seattle. I have been so homesick that I leapt at the chance to come out here for a work trip and then squeezed in an extra day today to enjoy my hometown. (For those of you new to my blog, I lived in Seattle for about 8 years, and I met my husband out here. Once he is out of the Coast Guard we plan to move back... but that's a few years away yet.)

Since today was an "extra" day out here with no work, I set off to meander around and visit all my favorite places downtown. I had an apricot croissant and a REAL coffee in Pike Place Market. While I was there, I slipped into the little quilting store in the market and picked up a fat quarter set to make a Christmas table runner or some pillows.

Pike place
Christmas Fabric set

Then I walked down to Kinokuniya bookstore in Uwajimaya and bought a book I've had my eye on for a while, Simple Chic. It has some gorgeous dresses in it & the instructions are fairly clear (think Ottobre magazine style drawings!) so I might actually make something from it.

Simple Chic
My poor husband got text message updates on my adventures as I poked around. "Hey, I'm standing right where we had our first kiss!" "Hey, I'm having the awesome pad thai we love for lunch!" and so on. Poor guy. ;) Sadly, I have to fly back to the east coast tomorrow. See you soon Seattle, I miss you!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Snow day knockoff

This is west 38th's 300th blog post! Wow :o)

Like the rest of the east coast, we are currently getting some very heavy early season snow. It's been pretty heavy all morning and the wind is really picking up. I'm glad that it waited until this morning to snow, because last night was Lady Liberty's 125th birthday, and we enjoyed a great fireworks show for it. Here is the very very snowy view out of our window right now.


Since it's too snowy to drive to see the nieces get their Halloween costumes on for a party (which is likely cancelled, anyway, given the amount of snow we are expecting.....) I decided to break out a project I've been mulling over for a while.

I found this Derek Lam coat in a magazine at the end of the summer and loved the combination of yoke seam, powder blue, and pockets. magazine derek lam coat

Then I found a similar Derek Lam coat, in an ad that has been in a few fall magazines.

derek lam ad

Isn't it fantastic? Can you believe it's $2,000? Really?

At the NY Garment District weekend get together in September, I found some fantastic blue wool coating at Kashi's for the crazy price of $12/yard and I remembered the vintage coat pattern I had bought and then lost last year. It's longer, but I am in need of a longer coat anyway. But otherwise it's fairly similar.

coat pattern

And so I am working on a snowy day muslin. One interesting feature of this pattern is that there is a side panel with the pockets set into it, so you don't have to do welt pockets! And the seam between the side panel and the front, which has the pockets, is a 7/8" seam allowance. I've never seen that on a pattern before. I assume it's there so that you have room to slash in at the pocket corners.


Well, I am off to work on the muslin with a nice green smoothie. I am drinking these a lot for lunch: frozen banana + frozen pineapple + 1/3 cup OJ + a few handfuls of fresh spinach leaves. I am terrible at getting enough dark green leafy veggies and so this is a good & tasty way to get them in.

green smoothie

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the jacket, take 2

Last year I made my niece Kate a little grey boiled wool military trim jacket.

Well, guess who now fits it as well &  loooooves stealing it from her big sister? ;)


Miss Anabear !


She had it on while we were washing the cars, which meant that there was a big puddle forming at the end of the driveway. Which, of course, her four year old little brother found. ;)


I'm happy to report that the Ninja costume is ALL DONE! I stopped off at Pearl River Mart in Soho this week and picked up a little pair of redembroidered slippers to complete the look. She may not be very stealthy with all the red, but she sure is rather cool looking. They're off to a Halloween party next weekend, so I'll try to get some nice pictures then.