When I was in NY last fall, I got to visit Mood Fabrics. I made sure to walk up and down every aisle of all three floors so that I at least saw the whole place, but I was so overwhelmed that I only bought one thing. I did pay the wool section a second visit, because I love plaid and was totally enthralled with their selection of plaid wool. They even have a whole section devoted to wool boucle, which at the time I’d never even heard of. One touch and I knew it would be great fabric for an Oslo Cardigan. I didn’t end up with any of the wool that day (the one thing I bought was a quilted gray knit), but I did order some swatches when I got home and was able to land on a nice black and white plaid wool boucle.

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Pattern- Seamwork Oslo Cardigan

Fabric- Black and White Checked Wool Boucle from Mood Fabrics

The only other time I have bought fabric online was a vintage fabric through Etsy, so this was basically my first time. Having been to Mood and seen what was available there, it made me more comfortable buying it online. With the option to get swatches, you really can’t lose (you just have to be patient enough to wait for the swatches).

I still like to support my local shops, but it’s nice to have Mood as an option for things I can’t find in town, like this wool boucle. Mood seems to do hefty cuts too. The two pieces of fabric I have bought from them seem to be more than what I needed, so that’s a bonus!

I’d never worked with wool boucle before, but thanks to an Instagram conversation, I was forewarned of its fraying tendencies. I worked gently and quickly with it and sewed it all on a serger, so it wasn’t too bad.

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I placed the buttons according to the button guide in the pattern, but I’m not loving where they are. It feels like they should be higher, but I think you would have to play with the placement or add another row of buttons so they didn’t look to low. I have been wearing this open most of the time anyway, so it’s not that big of a deal.

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Alterations- Cut a size Medium, no alterations.

Fit- It’s meant to be loose and slouchy, so the fit is fine. The sleeve cuffs are the tiniest bit tight, but the shoulders are supposed to be dropped, so if I pull them down they are fine.

Notes- I do wish it had pockets and have extra fabric, so I could easily still add some.

Total time to make- 7.5 hrs (includes tracing the pattern and cutting the fabric, which took longer because of the plaid).

Outfit details- pictured with Lark Tee and Ginger Jeans

Inspiration– I always try to look at other people’s versions of patterns to get inspiration. Surprisingly, besides the plaid version on the pattern directions, there weren’t a lot of plaid versions online. I did find this one on Instagram that I really liked.

 

 

There’s something about the design of this pattern that is a little bathrobe-like, which is probably why Oh, She Dabbles made a version that actually was a bathrobe.

A photo posted by @shedabbles on


This was a quick and FREE pattern (with a Seamwork Magazine subscription) and is super comfy, so I ain’t complaining. It would make a great wardrobe staple in a solid colored sweater knit, so I will probably make it again!

Here are a couple of bonus out-take photos, which I sometimes like the best!

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I finally finished the Owl Sweater by Kate Davies Design! In fact, I actually finished this about a month ago. I’m liking that I’ve been blogging about things after I have had a chance to wear them a bit, because then I can talk about how they feel to wear.

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Pattern- Owls by Katie Davies Design

Yarn- Berocco Ultra Alpaca Chunky from Seattle Yarn

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Alterations and fit- I don’t know if this is the term knitters use, but since I come from a sewing background and I don’t know what the knitting equivalent is or if there is one, I’m going to stick with “alterations”.

Unlike my Miette Cardigan, which was knit from the top down, the Owl Sweater is knit from the bottom up. Since my Miette felt too tight at the waist and this is a pullover, I was super nervous about the waist being too tight. So I used my sewing knowledge and decided to knit the sweater based on my measurements. Again, I’m not sure if you call it grading in knitting too, but what I did was I cast on for a size 5 at the hips and then decreased to a size 4 at the waist. I then adjusted the waist increases, so that by the time I got to the side increases I was at size 3. It was a little confusing trying to figure that all out at first, but whatever I did worked, because I feel like the fit is perfect!

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Total time to make- I started this in Feb. of 2015 and just finished this last month. I don’t tend to knit much in the warmer months, so this sweater sat for several months over the summer. Because I take so long to knit and like to knit on the couch while snuggling with my yellow lab, there may be a few dog hairs woven in. There’s dog hair sewn into the lining of my wedding dress, so why not in this sweater too?

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front

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front detail

For the buttons, I just bought some simple black buttons from Pacific Fabrics and used embroidery thread to sew them on. Since the pattern has you purl right where the eyes are supposed to be, placement was really easy. I think this style of buttons are actually called “cat’s eye” buttons, so I guess that would make them a good choice for eyes! I’ve seen some versions of this sweater where people left the buttons off, but I really like the way the black buttons contrast with the brown yarn, so I’m happy I decided to include them.

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back

I picked this color because I was trying to knit with a color other than gray and thought brown would be a good color for an owl sweater. I never really wear brown (with the exception of brown shoes), so I knew I was getting outside my comfort level color-wise. I was also worried about the fit and that it would be too warm. I don’t know why I set my expectations so low, but I was super freakin’ excited when the fit, the buttons and the wearability all fell into place. I’ve been wearing this thing like crazy. It’s not too warm. It’s not itchy. I feel like the fit is great. I like the color. Hooray!

Right now I am knitting a pair of fingerless gloves for my co-worker, but as soon as I am done with them, it’s back to the Hetty Cardigan that I started last Fall. In the meantime, if you are on Ravelry, you should friend me! I’d love to see what you are working on as well!

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I’m a huge fan of the Sewaholic Renfrew Top (and have made a couple of those), but as my quest for the all handmade wardrobe continues and the realization that I mostly wear jeans and t-shirts, I figured it would be nice if all my t-shirts didn’t look exactly the same. The Renfrew can be a bit snug, which I like about the cowl version I made, but I wanted the option of a looser fitting basic t-shirt pattern. I also like the look of t-shirts with no neckband or cuffs and it makes it quicker to put together, so the Grainline Studio Lark Tee was just what I had been looking for.

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Pattern- Grainline Studios Lark Tee

A printed version of this pattern is available, but one thing I love about the Grainline patterns is that a copy shop file is available in the pdf version, so you can download it immediately, have your copy shop print it and then not have to deal with all the taping. Since I was excited to make this right away and didn’t want to wait for it to ship, I purchased the pdf version.

Fabric- Pickering International Jersey Strip- Bamboo Blend in Black from Dry Goods Design

I love this fabric, it is just the right weight and is so soft! Black and white stripes are so classic and with the boatneck creates a fun nautical look.

Alterations- 

  • Graded from a size 10 at the shoulders/arms to 12 at the waist

Fit-

  • Because I was able to grade this pattern and the shaping of it (instead of straight lines at the sides it curves out at the bottom slightly), I feel like this t-shirt fits me better than any store-bought tees I have!

Total time to make- 5 hours

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Why yes, those are my Ginger Jeans!

Notes-

My only complaint is that the neckband wants to roll out at the edges (You can see this a little bit in the back shot). It’s partly the fabric and partly because I didn’t top stitch close enough to the edge of the serged seam at the neck. I can press it and it will stay for a wearing, but who wants to have to press their knits every time they wear them? I may rip out the top stitch at the neck and fix it. This won’t keep me from using this fabric or pattern again, as I love everything else about both of them. I’ll just remember to stitch closer to the edge next time or even use a twin needle to really reinforce it.

I have been such a huge fan of Jen Beeman’s for a while now. I used her silk cutting tutorial for my wedding dress, I went and saw her speak at Dry Goods Design and I even met her last fall at Camp Workroom Social. So I can’t believe that this is the first time I have sewn one of her patterns. It certainly will not be the last though. I just started an Archer Button Up (in a gray and black plaid) and have a Linden Sweatshirt (in a gray quilted knit) and Moss Skirt (in denim) cued up as well. I own the Cascade Duffle Coat pattern, but since that will be a big project and I don’t have the materials for it yet, I’m not sure when I’ll start that. I like Jen’s patterns because they are simple, classic, very wearable and fit so well into what I want my capsule wardrobe to be (i.e. what I actually wear). As I continue to work on my handmade wardrobe, I can see myself sewing a lot of her patterns in the future.

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Pattern- Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas

Fabric- Skull Dot Metallic Black by Sarah Watts from the Cotton and Steel Spellbound Collection from Pacific Fabrics

I’m used to buying a maximum of 3 yards of fabric (to make a dress) and 5 yards were required for this pattern, so I was a tad nervous about buying this much fabric. This fabric felt so good in my hands at the store and I loved that the “polka dots” were made up of skulls and moons, so I went for it. This is not the first Cotton and Steel Fabric I have purchased, so I already knew I loved their designs. However, it was the first time I had actually sewn with it and worn it. Since its cotton and therefore doesn’t stretch like a flannel would, I made sure to do a tissue fitting to make sure there wasn’t going to be any major fit issues, which there weren’t. The finished pajamas are super soft and comfy to wear and are holding up well in the wash, so this fabric turned out to be a great choice.

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Alterations- 

  • Graded from a size 10 at the shoulders/arms to 12 at the waist for the top
  • Sewed a straight size 12 for the bottoms
  • No other alterations

Total time to make (including tracing the pattern, cutting the fabric, and sewing the top and bottom)- approx. 23 hours

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The Bottoms-

I was inspired to make these when I saw “pajamas” on the packing list for Camp Workroom Social. It was last-minute (of course), so I only had time to sew the bottoms before I left for camp and had to finish the top when I got back. I did wear the bottoms the whole time I was in New York and they are the best fitting, most comfortable pajama bottoms I have ever had.

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These are the first pants I have ever made and, at the time, it was the first Closet Case Files pattern I had sewn. I’ve since made the Ginger Jeans and blogged about them first, because they were technically finished first. It turned out to be good practice for making my Ginger Jeans, as parts of the way the fly and pockets are constructed are similar.

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The Top-

I always planned on making the top (or I wouldn’t have bought so much freakin’ fabric), but I figured I might not wear it much, as I’m used to just wearing a tank top to bed. I have to say I was a bit surprised with how much I love the top and how comfy it actually is to wear to bed. I think the short sleeve version was definitely the way to go for this pair. I would love to sew a plaid flannel version (sans piping) and could see doing a long sleeve top then.

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These pajamas turned out to be a great pattern and fabric combo. I’m super eager to put them on at night and try to stay in them as long as possible in the mornings. My jammies of the past have always been a little ratty, so I feel so put together now when I go to bed. It’s so exciting to make something I will wear a lot and feel great in!

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Last year, I wanted a better sense of balance in my life. I feel like I achieved that by making some big changes, such as getting a new job and being more choosy about what I do with my free time. I’ve been purposely trying to move towards quality over quantity, so this year “intention” feels like it should be the word of the year. From the ads I place for work to the garments I sew, I want everything to be well-thought out and intentional. I believe it will lead to a better end product and a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

GARDENING

With that said, I’m going to take it easy on the gardening goals this year. For the first time in years, we don’t have any plans to add anything or build anything major (even though a greenhouse would be next on my list). The garden itself I can do on autopilot these days without much variation and there’s comfort in just doing the same thing every year. I do have a couple of little things on the list though.

2016 Gardening Goals-
  • Get new chicks

Our current fab (original four) are now about 8 years old, which is getting up there for a chicken. For the last several years, their egg production has been decreasing, which is normal for chickens their age. There are many schools of thought on what to do with aging chickens, so much that I could dedicate a whole post to it. All I will say now is that I have done my research, explored all my options, thought it through and my decision is to keep my ladies and let them live out their lives as pets that no longer make food. That said, I still want eggs.

One of the many great things to come out of the chicken coop tour, was that I got advice on what we should do from several of the attendees. One lady in particular, convinced me that we could and should get fertilized eggs to sneak under one of our gals when they go broody in the Spring (which, since Buff Orpingtons are an especially broody breed, they do all the time). With the newly remodeled coop, I think we have room for a least a couple more chicks, so that’s the plan for this Spring. I still need to do some research on where to get said fertilized eggs. Anyone know?

  • Trim trees so there is less shade in the front yard

This isn’t the most exciting goal, but I have been noticing that every year my garden is less and less productive, due to the ever-increasing shade from several trees on our property. It’s so frustrating to work your butt off to have things not grow as well as they could (or at all), so this year I think we will have to finally trim several trees back. It won’t be fun, but it comes with the territory I suppose.

  • Plant more flowers

This has always been a goal, not just because they are pretty, but so we can attract more bees!

COOKING

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There are a couple of factors that have been deterring me from cooking more and sharing what I’m making with you. One reason is my new job and that I get home later in the evenings. The other reason is that my kitchen makes me want to scream when I try to photograph in it. Not only is there very little natural light, but it’s in bad need of an update (the surfaces are horrible). There is a kitchen remodel on the horizon, so I may just put some of my cooking posts on hold until I can make them prettier for you.

2016 Cooking Goals-

A couple of posts you may see-

  • Roasted Yellow Tomato Soup- I came up with this last year and it’s delicious!
  • Scalloped Quiche Shell Video Tutorial

CRAFTS

I have learned so much over the years, from experimenting, trial and error and from the 2015 Wardrobe Architect. I’m finally sewing things I will wear everyday and this is very exciting. I feel like the idea of having a capsule wardrobe is within reach, which makes me even more motivated to keep going.

2016 Crafting Goals-

Sewing Projects-

This is a pretty ambitious sewing list. If I accomplish it, it will be more than I have ever sewn in a year, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m just really excited about all of it and have fabric for most of it, so it all went on the list.

Knitting Projects-

Again, this is a super ambitious list, so I doubt I’ll finish it all. I think I’ll get through at least the first three things on the list and start the fourth.

As you can see, my biggest challenges this year are going to be my sewing goals. Outside of work, which is also an exciting challenge, it will be nice to be able to mostly focus on sewing. I’ll also be attending Camp Workroom Social again this year and have already signed up for bra-making! I’d also like to continue to blog, of course, and continue to get to know you guys. Do any of you have a word of the year? What are your plans for 2016?

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