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guest posting at oliver + s

15 Jan

i’ve been a contributor to the oliver + s blog for a couple months now, but mostly that has meant reaching out to other bloggers to do guest posts and writing inspiration round ups around the holidays, so i don’t tend to talk too much about it here.

but hey, it’s still going, and today my post might be something that interests you – it’s my FAVORITE Oliver + S pattern of all time.  it’s a unisex pattern but i’ve only made it for boys, and apparently i’ve made quite a few times!  i kept remembering more and more versions and views that i’d made as i wrote the post.

sailboat top - yellow topstitching and minty buttons

are you curious, or as an eagle-eyed pattern spotter did you guess it as soon as you saw that yellow topstitching and those mint buttons (Gail I know you’d guess it right off the bat!).

but for the rest of you…

>> >   click over to Oliver + S to see what it is   < <<


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dear stella everyday skirt

13 Nov

today i’m guest posting over on the Dear Stella Design Blog with a fun project using fabric they sent me (lemme tell ya – getting emails out of the blue offering free fabric is pretty much a sewing blogger’s dream!).

i guess it wasn’t totally out of the blue – i did visit the Dear Stella booth at Quilt Market this spring wearing Washi Two made out of Dear Stella fabric - which i thought would be uncool, sort of like wearing a band t-shirt to their concert.  but in the land of Quilt Market, apparently displays like that are met with excitement and photo requests and offers of fabric months down the road.  ;)

anyway.  they sent me three fabrics of my choice and this is the first – it’s from their confetti sparkle line, pretty much the most perfect holiday fabric ever (GOLD METALLIC POLKA DOTS, YO).  i knew it had to turn into a liesl + co everyday skirt right away!

confetti sparkle everyday skirt

and nope, i didn’t suddenly shape-shift – these photos are not me.

i didn’t realize until after the skirt was mostly sewn that the style wasn’t going to work with my pregnant belly, so i asked my sister-in-law to model for me.  she was the ideal modeling candidate, having just given birth to her fourth child 3 months ago…hehe.  but seriously, she looks amazing, right??

confetti sparkle everyday skirt

head on over to the Dear Stella Blog to read more about this skirt, the fabric it’s made with, and see more photos, too!

i can’t wait to get sewing with the other two cuts and show those to you…one will be the perfect Christmas dress for Em, and the other is sort of the launch point for an entire bedroom design!  all in due time…

thanks so much for having me, Dear Stella!

* * *

confetti sparkle is shipping to stores now – here are a few online resources for Dear Stella fabric – drygoods designhawthorne threads,, and over the rainbow on etsy, which looks to have some of the confetti sparkle line in stock already!

you can also check out their “where to buy” page for a store near you to check it out.  it’s so pretty in person and i loved sewing it.  even though it’s quilting cotton, it seems to lend itself really nicely to apparel.

when we were young guest post

28 Aug

one of the more creative and fun blog series going on over the last few months, i think, has been When We Were Young, hosted by Suz of Sew Pony.  Suz is a relatively new on the scene Aussie blogger who has already released an adorable first pattern, and she’s going to be a contestant on the next season of Project Run & Play!  I love her sweet vintage style, and am excited to see what she does next!

Suz asked me to join her fantastic guest lineup for her first blog series months ago, and it’s fiiiiinally time for my post!  the challenge was to take a photo from my childhood and recreate the outfit for my little one.  it’s been really fun seeing what all the other guests have posted so far, and here’s the outfit i picked…me in a romper climbing a fence in 1986.

very retro romper

if you’d like to see what I made for Em, head on over to Sew Pony for the post!

fun times.

saltwater sandals.

reglisse in white for bolt

16 Aug

i’m so lucky to have multiple awesome fabric stores within about a 30 minute drive of my house, but it’s no secret that “my store,” my favorite spot, the place i love to buy fabric, is Bolt Fabric Boutique.  Bolt is a relatively small shop, but it is well-curated, which means all those designer fabrics you see online and lust after are likely to turn up at Bolt (i saw my first live-and-in-person Heather Ross fabric there!).  they’ve also have non-quilting fabrics – knits, canvas, flannel, shot cotton, felt, etc., plus a selection of independent patterns, books, notions, you name it.

reglisse in white

i’ve been shopping at Bolt since 2009, love to take out of town sewing friends there to visit, and i’m so excited that they asked me to guest post for their blog today!

reglisse in white

i made the Deer & Doe Réglisse Dress in a summery Robert Kaufman seersucker, all found at Bolt (the fabric was provided, I purchased the pattern).  what a sweet dress to sew and wear!  for more info, come check out my post about this dress, and visit Bolt soon to see this dress in person!  it’ll be on sample display in the shop (eeek!).

if you’re a local, you’re gonna wanna follow the Bolt blog for updates on what’s new in the shop, sales, and all that good stuff.  i’ve definitely made a trip over after seeing they have something in stock that i was waiting for…so…beware of the temptation.  OH and if you’re not in the Portland area, Bolt takes phone orders for fabric and will ship!

>>> come see my Réglisse!  <<<

bolt fabric boutique

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ristretto dress tutorial

11 Jul

i’m still enjoying my stint as a Britex Guest Blogger, and today i’m sharing a dress i made using Britex’s Smoke & Coffee Stretch Cotton, which i reeeally loved working with.  this dress is actually a remix of my favorite dress pattern, Made by Rae’s Washi Dress, and though as i sewed it i was calling it “Frankenwashi,” i came up with a prettier moniker for this dress now that it’s all done.  named after one of our favorite coffee shops – i’m calling it the Ristretto Dress!

ristretto dress tutorial

my favorite sewing challenge is to take a proven, great-fitting, well-written pattern and modify it into something new.  i do it when i sew for my kids all the time, but haven’t ventured into doing it for myself too often yet.

ristretto dress tutorial

when i ordered this fabric, i expected to make a skirt.  but once i got it, i loved it so much i decided squeeze a dress into it.  this is made out of just 2 yards of (56″ wide) fabric!

i started with the Washi Pattern, since the bodice fits like Rae designed it just for me, and a million different dresses can be made once you have a favorite bodice.  for the Ristretto, I changed the neckline to a v-neck, lined and lengthened the bodice, added pleats at the shoulders, added a full gathered skirt, and eliminated the shirring at the back (though you could still shirr it for a more fitted bodice – mine is pretty loose without the belt).  i love the little extra cinch at the waist that a belt provides, though, and i think the dress is barely recognizable as a Washi!

ristretto dress tutorial

those changes may seem like a lot of extra steps…but i promise it’s not that hard.  in fact, eliminating the bias tape save so much time, i daresay this might even be a quicker sew than the original!  and i’m here to walk you through it.  let’s go.


ristretto dress tutorial

use a straight edge to lengthen the bodice to hit you at your natural waist.  for me, that was about 3″ longer than the original pattern.  then angle your ruler to lengthen the bottom of the dart line downward to meet the new bodice line.  extend the fold line 3″ down as well.

ristretto dress tutorial

to create the v-neckline, i measured 1/2″ up from the bottom of the U cutout line on the washi pattern and marked it (i like a pretty deep v-neck, but feel free to mark higher up – whatever makes you feel comfortable).  then angle out from your point, gently curving up to meet the original shoulder line.  i played with this a bit until it seemed like the right shape.

for the back bodice, add 3″ to the last shirring line and taper the side seam to more of a right angle versus flared out, if you’re eliminating shirring like i did.  as a warning, i found the back skirt/bodice was too full to make my original idea – elastic casing – look right, and it might look similarly odd with shirring.  i opted to use the belt to cinch in the waist instead.  back darts may help if you don’t want to belt it – might take some experimentation.


ristretto dress tutorial

sew your lining’s darts and shoulder seams.  i could’ve taken my side seams in a bit more, and almost think i could’ve sized down on the dress entirely. i recommend making a muslin or using your lining as a quick muslin at this stage, to make sure the dress will leave enough room for you to slide it on, but isn’t too loose.

sew your main bodice like you did the lining.

ristretto dress tutorial

place the bodices rightsides together.  measure 1/2″ down from the point of the V and mark it with a disappearing pen.  this will give you a precise pivot point when you’re sewing the neckline.  pin generously and sew.  once sewn, trim straight down into the seam allowance at the point (not clipping the seam) and trim the rest of the seam allowance to 1/4″.  understitching is a good idea here.

ristretto dress tutorial

next, sew the shoulder seams.  because the Washi is not open in the back, you can’t just sew the shoulder seams flat – you won’t be able to turn it right side out (ask me how i know!).  instead, go watch THIS VIDEO SERIES by Rae on lining the Washi Dress.  video #4 is the one that addresses arm holes, and the one that taught me the amazing “sausage technique” that i’ll definitely be using again.  you can sort of see it above, but watch the video to fully understand.  then trim the seam to 1/4″ and clip into the seam allowance to release the curves.

ristretto dress tutorial

turn rightside out and press, and you’ll have perfect, frustration-free armholes!  glorious.

ristretto dress tutorial

next, separate the lining from the bodice and sew front to back lining and front to back main in a straight line.  turn right side out and press.  this is another good place to test fit.  if too wide, you can easily open it back up and sew another seam in from your first – i had to do this on mine to pull up the armhole and bring in the bodice a bit.

ristretto dress tutorial

now prepare your skirt.  i cut the fabric selvedge-to-selvedge in two 25″ long panels for this dress.  this particular stretch cotton is 56″ wide, so that is one full skirt!  i knew it’d look nice since it’s a cotton/rayon/lycra blend and those blends give it a lot of drape – with a less drapey fabric, a less-full skirt might be a better idea.  sew up the short side seams.  sew two rows of basting stitches on both the front and back, stopping at the side seams, and gather.

ristretto dress tutorial

match the bodice to the skirt, right sides facing, and carefully sew together.  press seam allowance toward the bodice.  remove basting stitches.  hem skirt to your liking (i folded up 1/2″ then 1″).

ristretto dress tutorial

fold your lining under and pin so it covers the raw edge of the skirt.  either stitch in the ditch on the right side of the dress (where bodice meets skirt) or handsew the lining down.  then, after trying on the dress, i decided the shoulders looked too wide with the v-neck, so I made a simple pleat, folding out toward the shoulder and stitching in the ditch (seam line) to secure.  the shoulder pleats add a nice formality to the dress that i love.

ristretto dress tutorial

this dress is very comfortable, since the stretch cotton has a lovely linen-esque feel to it, and has a weight and softness that makes it ideal for skirts and dresses.

ristretto dress tutorial

i love the smokey gray color with a hint of brown, and i love that the skirt is substantial enough that it doesn’t need lining.

ristretto dress tutorial

bonus: it’s perfect for twirling!  i want to go to a wedding now so i can dance in this dress!

ristretto dress tutorial

you can follow along with lots more projects from my fellow guest bloggers over at the Britex blog (my posts are here).  and if you want to get your hands on this lovely fabric, stretch cottons go on sale July 15!

thanks (once again) to my husband for getting these fun “magic hour” photos, and thanks so much for always sending me the most beautiful fabrics, Britex!



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