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postpartum pencil skirt

1 Apr

the annual fundraising auction for Em’s school was a week and a half after C was born.  we hadn’t planned on going because it was just days from my due date, but they offered up a bunch of much-needed volunteer hours just for attending and since C arrived a bit early, we decided that i could snuggle him in the moby wrap (affiliate link) and he’d sleep the whole time.  we figured we could just bolt outta there if things got to be too much for me or the little guy.  this is the sort of potentially delusional confidence you get when it’s kid #3 i guess.

i THOUGHT i had a dress that would fit and look halfway decent on my newly postpartum figure while also allowing me to still nurse C if the need arose, but i did not.  nope.  not at all.  so of course – i sewed something!

gray knit pencil skirt

this is the outfit i wore that night, though the photo was taken over a month after the actual event.  my belly still looked about 4 months pregnant the night of, oh so cleverly hidden by the wrap/baby/flowy shirt combo.  oh and i wore flats for comfort/safety that night but in the photos i’m wearing heels because they look better.  ha! the immediate postpartum period is a very hormonal and delicate time – you’re not pregnant but still look like it and it can lead to a lot of self-consciousness, ya know?

gray knit pencil skirt

the pattern is megan nielsen’s awesome ruched maternity pencil skirt.  this time i made a medium, and i once again skipped the ruching.  i put my striped maternity version on, then folded the top down to where i wanted it to hit my not-pregnant-anymore waist (eliminating the belly panel and high back).  i marked the desired waistband with pins, then carefully took it off and laid it over the pattern to determine how much to chop off the top, while still leaving room for the elastic and seam allowance.  then i just constructed as usual, which takes no time at all.  i think i made it in about an hour the day of the auction while my husband held the sleeping baby.

gray knit pencil skirt

the fabric is a midweight super soft gray pinstripe knit from Hancock Fabrics that I got in California last fall while visiting Jess (we both got some – she blogged about hers here with better lighting!).  the forgiveness of the knit made up for my slapdash pattern alteration, i stayed super comfortable, and felt as cute as i possibly could’ve that soon after having a baby while still giving me the function i needed.

gray knit pencil skirt

thank god i how to sew.  this quick and easy project saved me some major “GAH MY BODY IS WEIRD AND NOTHING WILL WORK – THAT’S IT WE’RE STAYING HOME!” hormonal tears for sure.  and seriously – knit pencil skirts are so cute and SO comfy.  i wore that maternity one way more than i expected i would and always felt great, even at 30+ weeks.

i sewed this skirt out of necessity weeks ago, but recently i’ve really been feeling the urge to sew more for myself again as i’m starting to look and feel a bit more normal.  why does this always happen to me right before kid’s clothes week??

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catnap cargo duffle (with mini tutorial on how to add a lining)

30 Jan

it’s kid’s clothes week right now, and i normally love sewing for KCW.  in fact, i’m pretty sure i’ve sewn in every KCW since 2011!  the community is so inspiring and it usually makes me feel so good to sew a pile of clothes that my kids will wear throughout the next season.  however, i’m skipping this one because this week i have deemed “baby prep week.”  my kids are pretty good on clothes, but i do not yet feel ready for baby.  so this week i am focusing on changing that, because it seems to have snuck up on me that he’ll be here VERY SOON (like probably in just a couple/few weeks).

DAY 1 of baby prep week: organize, wash, donate, lend out old baby clothes and gear.  spent all evening on that, and now i have clothes for him to wear that aren’t tucked away in bins in our basement.

DAY 2 of baby prep week: sew a hospital bag.

catnap cargo duffle bag

this is one of those projects that made me feel simultaneously so happy and also a little silly/crazy.  i absolutely did not need to make this bag (i have a perfectly good weekend bag) but i also NEEDED to make it (in the way that certain gals NEED to sew tiny Beat it Jackets with 20+ zippers).


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lickety split field study bag

6 Jan

for all the sewing i’ve done from Rae’s patterns over the years, i’d never made one of her purses!  she was kind enough to send me the lickety split and the bonsai bag patterns in advance of the holidays, and i sewed up a lickety split for our awesome day care gal as a Christmas present.

lickety split field study bag

Rae actually released this pattern in 2009 (forever ago in sewingbloglandyears)!  i’ve always thought it was a neat design and it looked like it could be sewn quickly but also had nice style to it, so it seemed like the perfect project for my gift sewing spree this year.

you can see in the older patterns how Rae’s pattern writing and digitizing skills have progressed over the last four years, but even though it’s an “elderly pattern” it’s still digital, a smart design, clearly written…and a lot of fun to sew!

lickety split field study bag

i used a really pretty Anna Maria Horner Field Study linen (Flower Circuit in Sunny) for the bag, which was given to me by Jess (that gal seems to have become my main fabric provider lately, hehe) and lined it with a pink kona cotton from my stash.  i skipped the outer pockets but added one to the inside.  the bag can be reversible if you want!

lickety split field study bag

it took a bit more fabric than i expected due to the looooong handles and being cut on the fold, so i ended up piecing two outers together on one side which looked completely fine.  after taking these photos, i decided to add a snap (just a normal size 16 metal snap, nothing fancy) at the top center to keep it from gaping open.  it just took it from “tote” to “purse” a little more, too.

lickety split field study bag

my big ol’ belly makes it look a little small and out of proportion maybe, but to me it’s the perfect size bag to use everyday for lots of different applications (diaper bag, errand-running bag, gym bag, lunch bag, grocery bag, car bag for road trips) and i love that the straps can be tied to be longer or even separately (say onto a stroller handle or cart) if desired.  the boxed bottom is great, too, gives it a nice shape.

lickety split field study bag

the title of the pattern actually describes both the design and the sewing…it truly came together lickety split!

i’ve got fabric picked for another one to keep for myself.  ;)

sparkle tote bag: book review & giveaway

27 Nov

i’m totes excited about my post today – TOTES!  and look, so is my little sister, Laura!

confetti sparkle tote bag

Laura has been wanting to learn how to sew, so i asked if she might want to tackle a project from Simple Sewing by Katie Lewis of The Red Kitchen with me for this book review.  she was excited to!  Laura chose the fabric and sewed this tote all by herself using the book, with my guidance (mostly tips on how to cut fabric, work my machine, etc.).

i think her bag turned out great and isn’t she the cutest?

confetti sparkle tote bag

the fabric is confetti sparkle in navy, courtesy of Dear Stella (available online here).  i had some leftover from my Everyday Skirt and Laura gravitated to it.

she lined the tote with a navy twill, also from my stash, which gives the bag some nice structure.  smart thinking, girl.  i added medium-weight interfacing to the handles to give them a bit more substance, since i can’t stand it when handles get all bunched up over time.

confetti sparkle tote bag

here’s Laura sewing!  yay!

confetti sparkle tote bag

we had a great time.  Simple Sewing has the byline “30 Fast and Easy Projects for Beginners” which is totally accurate.  it’s the perfect book for someone just learning to sew, where everything is brand new.  the projects are fun and practical, the instructions are clear with step-by-step photos, and there is a low intimidation factor – nothing would be too difficult for a beginner to tackle.  it’s a book full of confidence-builders!

confetti sparkle tote bag

Laura chose the basic tote bag as her project.  some of my very first sewing projects (4 years ago) were tote bags that i learned out of a book, and it’s a great practical starter sew.   i love that the tote bag in Simple Sewing is lined!

confetti sparkle tote bag

her fabric choice really shines, and a basic, functional object is now special because of the taste of the person sewing it.

confetti sparkle tote bag confetti sparkle tote bag

i believe there’s a feeling of power and confidence that comes from being able to MAKE things, ya know?  if you sew, embroider, knit, crochet, craft, build, cook, bake, decorate…it all leads to this sense of accomplishment and ability that’s pretty cool.  for me, being able to help pass those the skills i’ve gained along to someone else (with the help of the right resource) makes me feel extra super good.

Laura was so happy with her basic tote experience, she actually wants us to have regular sewing time together.  dream come true!

confetti sparkle tote bag

if you’re an experienced sewer, Simple Sewing would be a great gift for that person in your life that’s always saying “i wish i could sew!” – maybe include some fabric or a few sessions of personal sewing lessons to get them started?  or if YOU are that person that reads sewing blogs and wish you could do this too – NOW IS YOUR TIME!

you can pick up a copy of Simple Sewing at the following retailers:


Barnes & Noble

Books & Things

OR, you could enter to WIN one!

to win a copy of the book Simple Sewing: 30 Fast and Easy Projects for Beginners by Katie Lewis, click through the link below to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway (open to US residents only, sorry!):

: :

>   > >    CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY    < <   <

: :

a big thanks to my sister Laura for joining me for an afternoon of sewing and for being such a fun model!  also, you can check out Caila’s adorable bean bags and Taylor’s holiday placemats and enter to win the book over at their blogs, too!

confetti sparkle tote bag

*i was given a copy of the book to review at no charge.  my opinions are my own.  this post totes contains Amazon affiliate links.

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.


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