Week 52: Margot + Mending

Well, this is the last week of the year, and of course the last night of the year as well here in Portland, so happy new year! It’s kind of hard to believe I’ve been doing this for a full year, to be honest. It simultaneously feels like I’ve been doing it forever and only just started. I have a wrap-up planned for tomorrow, but for tonight it’s just a normal update.

I wrapped up the Margot PJ pants! They are quite a bit shorter than I was expecting, because I failed to consider hemming when I shortened the pattern (oops), but they are about where I’d wanted them to be – a couple inches above the ankle, where I’ll never trip over them even if the tie comes loose and they start getting a bit low. I probably could have shortened it by an inch instead of three and it would have been ankle length, but I’m not at all unhappy with the length as they are. I should have added a full seat adjustment (I just need to give up and do that by default), and the front crotch area fits a little weirdly (maybe for the same reason) but there is enough ease that they’re still plenty comfy and make for great pajama pants. Yay for old flannel sheets!


Mending-wise, I made it through most but not all of what I wanted to. I darned this hole in the very first pair of socks I ever made:

It  spanned enough rows that I actually decided to knit a patch while darning to cover it. It was kind of an awkward affair, especially since it was right at the point where the heel was decreasing, but it turned out all right.

I don’t believe I mentioned this sweater before, but I found it at the Bins months ago, and I decided that since it needed mending it was a justifiable purchase for this year:


It’s 100% wool, and it is a little bit felted (but still stretchy) – it looks like it was originally a mock honeycomb pattern like the one I used on these socks (but purled on the right side), but I am a very inexperienced darner and opted to just darn it in stockinette. It had three moth holes that needed repairing. I used a Paton’s 100% wool yarn, and it’s a decent match considering I forgot to bring the sweater with me to the store when I went to buy darning yarn. It’s a bit heavier weight, so the darned spots are a little stiffer, and it’s a touch darker. It’s more noticeable from the inside than the outside, I feel, and anyway I’m not that concerned if it’s not a perfect match. I’m not quite bold enough to do perfectly visible mending, but semi-visible mending doesn’t bother me.

The largest darned spot is obviously in the center, but you can also see the spot I mended in the collar at the top left.

I don’t actually have any other wool sweaters, so this was a great find – I’ve already worn it out a few times and it’s nice and warm in a way my other sweaters aren’t quite. (I imagine the partial felting helps with that, too.)

The last thing I managed to get mended is a quilt my late great grandmother made for me when I was a teenager (so… probably twenty years ago now). The edges have been pulling out of the binding and fraying for awhile. I just darned over the smaller spots, but this was one of the larger holes that I didn’t think just reinforcement was going to help:

So instead I took a scrap of flannel leftover from the PJs and patched it:


I’m kind of excited about the idea of it just getting patched and re-patched over the years, putting my own care into maintaining something that my great grandmother put her care into making for me. I’ll have my own boro quilt by the time I die, haha. I’ve been hesitant to use this quilt much since I don’t want to wash it much while there are holes, so it will be nice to put it back on the bed while it’s still winter.

The major mending I wanted to get done that did not is another item my great-grandmother made, a nightgown. It’s my favorite, because it’s knee-length rather than ankle-length (I hate it when nightgowns get twisted around my legs as I’m sleeping), and though it’s flannel, it’s lightweight enough that I can wear it in summer, too. It’s definitely going to be a project – the cuffs and neckline are all worn completely ragged, there’s a giant hole in the armpit, and there are a lot of spots that are just nearly worn through and need to be reinforced. It’s probably a week’s project on its own. I might also attempt to make a pattern from it before I fix it up, because unlike the quilt, the nightgown is unlikely to survive my lifetime no matter how much repair I do (although we’ll see), and I’d like to make another like it before this one falls to pieces.


Week 43: Zippers and Interfacing

Hemming up my sister’s dress took longer than expected, mostly because trying to even out the gathering on that big a circumference was so time-consuming. It isn’t totally even, but I didn’t say anything about it and she didn’t seem to notice, and she said it was the perfect length, so hooray!

I french seamed it, because it was rayon and prone to fraying, and after one wash the factory seam was already coming out, so I decided to make it extra enclosed.

Today I tackled the lined zipper, which was a massive pain (as expected). My pattern adjustments hadn’t taken into account the need for the left lining to be slightly smaller than the outside, and even though I’d attempted to compensate when I initially sewed the lining, it clearly wasn’t quite right after my first pass at stitching the lining and zipper together. I wound up putting the seam for the center back at about 1 inch on the left, and the right back at about 3/4 inch. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s the lining – if it is still too loose I can add a tuck all the way down to tighten it up and nobody will notice. It’s not that snug of a pencil skirt.

Contrast topstitching the lapped zipper was terrifying, of course, and I had to re-stitch a section in the middle where it had gone off the stitch line when I closed up the zipper. I opted to topstitch the vent in a dark blue instead of the gold, just because I felt like it would look weird in gold.

Lastly, although I know I had “cut out interfacing” on the docket for weeks ago, I skipped that step, and I’m glad I did – I had to make some significant changes to the back waistband pieces to make it match up to the actual skirt, so I transferred those changes back to the pattern before I cut the interfacing. I’m still not sure about how well it’s going to match up, but I guess I’ll find out pretty soon here!

Goals for next week:

  • Attach the waistband

I’d really like to finish off the whole skirt, but I’m trying to keep my stated goals very attainable, haha.

Week 34: Selene pattern alterations

Yeah, I think I probably should have used a simpler pattern as my first sloper adjustment sample. I opted for view 3 of Selene, which includes a pocket in addition to the two front pieces and overall lining. I’ve made the adjustments, but they are all over the place sizing-wise and I’m not sure they’re

all going to fit together very well.

Tracing off the lining cut line via my window-cum-lightbox


It’s a little hard to see, but the yellow lines are my cut lines and the pink ones are darts/notches.

It looks like it will all go together correctly, but I’ve been too nervous to actually make the cuts on the side seams just yet. (I did extend the side seams to a full inch, too, so really there’s a much greater chance that this skirt will be too big than too small.)


This is the right side of the handkerchief/towel (tenugui) that I finished hemming this week.  (Well, half of it anyway.) It is inherently super cute because it has cats on it. I’m pretty pleased with my blind hem stitching again – even though it’s a gold thread (it matched the beige better than the red… but then this end is just red of course), you can’t really see it at all from the right side.

Goals for next week:

Okay so this coming week I’m going to actually get to the fabric cutting part of my skirt. I’m also going to try to get a few steps into sewing it, because I suspect that once I’m using the machine again and putting stuff together, I’ll speed up a bit. I miss that hard deadline of my trip and how motivating it was for getting stuff done!

Week 33: Starting Selene

I first made a Selene skirt last year around this time. It was one of the first patterns I sewed when I first was starting to get back into sewing. I didn’t do a great job fitting it – I barely knew that I needed to at least measure around the hips to make sure it would be big enough. I added a bit to the hips and called it good. It fit pretty well, but it’s always ridden up at the waist when I walk until it’s just under my ribcage, and the waist is looser than I prefer.

But that was supposed to be a wearable muslin for the real Selene, which was to be denim with a silky print lining. I have never gotten around to making the real thing, mostly because I wanted to fix the fit and I wasn’t relaly sure how to do that. Now that I have my skirt sloper, I think I’m ready to tackle it.

Already I’ve noticed that I am gonna have to do a whole lot more tweaking than I’d anticipated. I’m basically tracing off my sloper directly onto the pattern and then adding the design ease. I’ll be using my custom dart placement, too, since I worked HARD to get those placed right.

I’m leaving a 1-inch seam allowance on the side seams as per the Fit for Real People recommendation, and because the pattern only has 1 inch design ease at the hip and that makes me a bit nervous.

I’ve only done the main fabric back piece so far – I still have several front pieces and the lining to deal with. The front of the Selene I made last year fits pretty well, though, so I will probably just true up the side seams and call it good.

I also got halfway through a task I’ve been meaning to do since I got back from my trip: one of the handkerchiefs I got has selvedge edges on the sides but raw edges on the top and bottom. I’m not really clear on whether it’s supposed to just naturally fray or whether you’re not supposed to use it enough to fray, or what the plan is there, but I decided to hem it up to avoid anything happening to it.

Full pic when I’m done with the other side. 😊

Goals for next week:

  • Finish hemming my handkerchief
  • Finish Selene pattern adjustments
  • Cut out fabric!

Week 32: Just Mending

This was not an exciting week for my sewing habit, I fear. I checked two items off my mending list, but I decided I’m going to use a fitting sloper to finish up my bodice sloper for now, and when I went to Joann earlier today they did not have the fitting sloper pattern that I could find. (My Joann is apparently very heavy on the Simplicity patterns rather than the other big 4, is that true elsewhere?)

I do have a couple of not terribly exciting pics of my mending.

My toe socks had just a little bit of a seam coming out. I decided to deal with it before it got worse.

All fixed up! Looks a little frankensteined since I did it from the right side, but it should be smooth against the foot where it matters.

Jonah helping with the photo taking
I’m not thrilled with how this came out based on how it looked in my head, but it was pretty frayed and hard to do the cute embroidery I was envisioning. At least it shouldn’t fray anymore!

I really need to do something to get my sewjo back – maybe a really simple pattern? Something I’ve made before so I won’t have as many fitting issues to annoy me? I’ll have to do some brainstorming. Meanwhile I’ve ordered the bodice sloper pattern from the interwebz so maybe it will arrive this week while I’m figuring out what I want to do. I haven’t even used a sewing machine since I got back! All that fabric and no motivation!

Week 30: Hemming and Instagram

It wasn’t a super productive week so far as actual output goes, but I did manage a few things!

First, I joined Instagram – I actually have never used Instagram, because I don’t normally take enough photos to make Instagram a viable social medium for me, but I started thinking it could be fun to have more process pictures there, and keep this space more for finished objects. (Today I’m just posting pictures I already put on Instagram, but I’d like to branch out more later.) My Instagram is here.

Secondly, I did indeed hem my yukata, and it’s my best blind hem yet, even with the fact that I started it off using a catch stitch (crossing the thread in an x shape) instead of a straight blind hem. Apparently the catch stitch is good for blind hemming knits, but the regular one is better for wovens? I’m actually glad, because it was seeming loopier than it should have been, and it laid much flatter when I switched stitches.

This is the right side of the above stitching, and you can’t see anything! I’m so pleased.

This wasn’t planned, necessarily, but I randomly decided it was finally time to put my skirt sloper pattern on poster board for future use. The remaining fitting problems I’ve had with the skirt I made from it are sewing and fabric problems, I’m pretty sure, rather than size. I’ll make another skirt from it here before too long just to double-check.

I also did some planning of my Belle wardrobe. I was watching Once Upon a Time before I went to Japan and I’m pretty inspired by most of Belle’s wardrobe. So I went trying to figure out what pieces I like the most and what their characteristics are, and I came up with a list:

  • Always emphasize the waistline – belts, seams, tucked in shirts
  • Ruffles/knots/interesting collar details draw attention to the neckline
  • Usually short sleeves or sleeveless
  • Textured fabrics: lace, quilting, houndstooth, etc

Keeping that in mind, I found a few patterns that I have already that I can use or tweak to give the impression I want. 

However! I’ve decided that I want to draft a bodice sloper before I make any more shirts – I’m excited to make skirts with my sloper to help fit, and I want to feel the same way about shirts!

Goals for next week:

  • Draft a bodice sloper 
  • First muslin for bodice sloper 
  • Knitting! Those socks aren’t gonna knit themselves. I don’t know how far I want to get, because I don’t want to burn out again, but I do want to make sure I do a little. 

Week 3 Report: York basting


Pieces cut and ready to go!

I didn’t have as much time as I’d expected this week because a lot of my sewing time is on Saturdays, and I spent yesterday at the Women’s March instead (and visiting family I hadn’t seen in weeks because of the snow lol). But today I did manage to get my sewing goals done!

In hindsight, this pattern would have been the perfect opportunity to practice pattern-matching on the back seam, but alas, I didn’t think of this until I was sewing up the back.

All that measuring last week paid off, because the main bodice fit first time around. I’ll probably let out a little at the hips (of course) to make it lay a little better, but as far as adjustments go, I’m feeling pretty good all around.

Yeah, that’s my kitchen. My apartment has terrible lighting everywhere else.

I might re-stitch the bust darts, because one of them is a little off-kilter. Fortunately the pattern is busy enough that if I don’t, I’m the only one who will ever know. (Also you, since you are reading this. Shh, it’s our secret.) And obviously I haven’t put in the sleeves yet. I wanted to make sure the main body fit before dealing with whatever sleeve issues I’m going to fight with. The pattern also says to attach the sleeve in the flat, which will be interesting – hopefully easier than in the round, but I’ve only done sleeves in the round before, so it will be a new experience.



I was less successful with my knitting goals. I’m still plugging away at the sock but I haven’t been working on it as regularly as I should, and I’m definitely not going to be done with the pair by Feb 1st.


I finally figured out what I’m doing with the cable pattern, though! It’s basically a fixed version of the previous pattern with some size variations on the chains.


The three rows it takes to do the twists are exactly the same, and then the plain rows between the twists are going to go in a 1, 3, 5, 3, 1 row repeat cycle. My cables are kind of all over the place in this pic but I’m going to keep them in continuous twists from now on (all twisting the same direction on a column).

My yarn ball is feeling a little light, and I’m hoping the cables aren’t eating more yarn than I was expecting. I was already going to be pretty close on the remainder of this skein! I guess I can work down to the toe and then start the next one, and do the toes in another color if I need to.


Mending is way less exciting, and unless I do something super cool, I’m not going to even bother with pictures. I got two items done rather than the three I’d wanted, but since my mending pile has been sitting there for weeks, it’s still a win, hah.

I sewed up a split seam on a pair of long johns I’d been really missing in all this cold, and after I bought some hand sanitizer I tackled a sweater that had gotten tree gum on it while I was hiding in the woods in November, and had been in my mending pile ever since. The internet told me it would work great, and it did – no more tree gum, yay!

Goals for next week:

  • Make bias tape for the shirt
  • Redo one of those bust darts
  • Attach the sleeves
  • Get to the next sock, whether we’re skipping the toe or not