Back to the Basics

I have been looking for a basic brown, long sleeve t-shirt for far too long. After dozens of unsuccessful trips to a handful of retail locations I finally decided to take on my fear of knits and just make one! In fact, this was one of my early 2018 Make Nine selections.

I had some difficulty selecting a pattern and finally found this one. It is a bit more of a relaxed fit than I usually prefer but I decided it was worth a try. I grabbed this pattern and a warm, chocolate brown knit at my local JoAnn Fabrics and was ready to get to work.

I adjusted the pattern by removing two inches in length from both the sleeves and the body of the shirt. Very early on in the assembly of this t-shirt I ran into a problem. The pattern instructed me to turn the neckband under and top stitch it in place, hand whipping the v together and leaving six thicknesses of material inside to act as a makeshift facing. This seemed far too heavy for a simple, casual t-shirt so I struggled through a few different options before I was able to achieve this traditional t-shirt look.

If I had this neckband to do over again I wouldn't have clipped the seams as you can see in the picture above (an early instruction from the pattern) since that made top stitching the neckband in place more difficult. I sewed the side seams and armscye with a knit needle in a small zig zag. I also top stitched the hem of the shirt and sleeves with the double needle I originally purchased for the leggings I made last month.

I am happy to be adding a basic brown t-shirt to my wardrobe, but would not likely choose to use this pattern again in the near future. Do you have a favorite t-shirt pattern?

Time estimate: 6 hours
Size: 10
Material used: knit, cotton polyester blend
Care instructions: machine wash cold, gentle cycle; lay flat to dry

Cost to make t-shirt:
pattern - $7.00
material - $12.50
*used existing thread and iron-on stabilizer
TOTAL: $19.50

English Paper Piecing

In my family quilts are both heirlooms and meant to be used. They are wedding and graduation gifts made together in a traditional quilting bee or by a single aunt. I'm not sure how I didn't learn to quilt while growing up, but I enjoy using these beautiful quilts and didn't want the family legacy of quilting to end with me. That's why I was so excited to participate in an introduction to English paper piecing class at my local quilt shop Crimson Tate this past weekend. It was AMAZING!

We were given a kit with all of the necessary tools, a helpful book for beginners, and allowed to select a few fat quarters. I can't say enough about how much I love these prints by Rifle Paper Co. and they are accented perfectly with this solid turquoise by Free Spirit Fabric.

In addition to learning a few basics like how to make a quilter's knot, basting techniques, and stitches I also learned that I am a "fussy cutter" with a clear sense of my personal style. I'm working on completing my first grandma's garden and am excited to see how my quilt grows. I might buy a few more matching fat quarters now just in case it takes me a while!

Class: $60 + a few additional fat quarters
Time: 2 hours

I've already purchased more of the Cotton + Steel Rifle Paper Co. Menagerie Jardin De Paris - Mint fabric and have started making more hexagons!

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Valentine's Vest

There is one item in my husband's wardrobe he absolutely could not live without. I mean, he wears this vest at least once a week, sometimes more. He got it on a trip to Korea almost eight years ago and I'm afraid something will happen to it and we won't be able to replace it.

I searched high and low for a vest with a solid, fitted fabric back for his Christmas gift with no luck. I even looked for a pattern to make one for him and came up empty handed. Eventually I decided to use his existing vest as a pattern for a duplicate and embarked on the slow and tedious process of tracing each piece.

Since this was my first attempt at making a duplicate vest I simplified the pattern as much as possible and asked my husband to try it on at nearly every stage. After assembling the exterior pattern pieces and lining the vest it was time to add the buttonholes. I was nervous about making any cuts in the beautiful piece I had nearly completed so I practiced making many buttonholes on a scrap of the same fabric.

I was fairly happy with how the buttonholes turned out and even happier with the completed project. It was a big time investment, but low cost since the outer material was free to me. I used thread I already owned and only purchased lining material and buttons.

Isn't he so cute in this Valentine's Day outfit?! He wishes the vest offered him a bit more wiggle room and I would welcome any advice you might have on pattern tracing, recreating existing RTW pieces, sizing up patterns, and any vest patterns you have tried and liked. Happy Valentine's Day!


Luxe Flannel Pajamas

I recently started a new bad habit. I've started coming home with beautiful fabric, just because it's gorgeous. An embarrassing stack of fabric without any purpose has started collecting in the corner of my sewing room. And this super soft Luxe Flannel was no exception!

When playing a relationship game with my husband recently I learned that his least favorite item in my wardrobe was my pair of fleece pajama pants. I can't really blame him since they are high-waters on me and the brand's name literally has the word "grandma" in it. I immediately knew what to do! I grabbed my flannel and this old McCalls loungewear pattern I used a few years ago to make my husband a robe.

I had two yards of fabric, but laying the pattern out was a bit difficult since the bolt was only 45" wide, I needed to cut two of this pattern piece, and the legs were fairly wide. Since I'm so short I needed to shorten the length of the pattern legs and thankfully this allowed me to lay the pattern out across the width of material. I also folded the waist down 1 1/2", using the second and third circles on the pattern to create the hole for my drawstring, shortening the height of the pants.

This was a fast and rewarding project. The pattern fits me well through the hips, although if I were to make it again I would likely take in the width of the pant legs.

My second favorite part of this project, next to the comfy and beautiful fabric of course, is the tag I added to the back. It says "handmade by Marissa" and was a Christmas gift from my mother. Thanks Mom!

Time estimate: 2-4 hours
Size: medium
Material used: flannel
Care instructions: machine wash cold, tumble dry low

Cost to make pajama pants:
material - $10
draw string - $2
*used existing thread and tag
TOTAL: $12

Baby and Me Matching Outfits

Aren't miniature clothes cuter than full size clothes? I recently made a matching baby and me outfit for my favorite one year old and her dollie out of leftover material from the leggings I recently made and other scraps I had stored in my stash.

This was a quick, fun project. But hemming those tiny little leggings was difficult!

Thankfully I had enough leftover material to make a few matching Coral & Co. knot bow headbands. I just love how they turned out! Check out Coral & Co. for the free knot bow headband pattern.
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