Border Print Chef Aprons

I love border print fabrics and have always wanted to work with them. These are the fabrics that have some sort of pattern running along one or both of the selvages. You might see unique dresses or skirts made with them.  Here are some great examples:

One project I want to add to my “Projects for Me” list is a dress made out of a fabulous border print fabric.  I rarely get around to actually sewing for myself, unfortunately.  I can count 4 projects off the top of my head that I really wanted to get to last summer, not including my border print dress.

Adding a new project to my Shop to-do list is always a better bet.  I am not sure why I never thought of making my Chef Aprons out of this type of fabric.  But, when I saw From Porto with Love from Sarah Watts, it just hit me.

From Porto with Love – Bakers Apron Cream

Maybe it’s because this particular fabric is called Baker’s Apron?  Who knows, but I knew I had to try it.  What do you think?

I love the look.  I only wish this were in a heavier weight material.  I thought about lining it in a canvas, but thought some customers might prefer a lighter weight apron.  I also think that having wider border prints would really work out well for these aprons, depending on the pattern.

Custom Table Linens with Spoonflower Fabric

I have always been curious about custom fabric printed through Spoonflower.  For those of you not familiar with this company, Spoonflower allows you to use your own design or one of the many designs on their website to create a totally unique fabric, gift wrap or wall paper. Since starting my Etsy business, there have been many times where I wished that I could find a fabric in a particular theme or subject.  The few times I have search Spoonflower, I usually find really neat fabrics that would definitely suit my needs.  Unfortunately, these fabrics are very expensive, and although products made from them would be one of a kind, I am not sure if there is really a market.

Recently a customer requested a large set of table linens be made out of custom fabric from Spoonflower, and I was thrilled to work with her.  She had chosen a fabric which features rows of vintage equestrian riders on a sage background by the designer Ragan.  She ordered it in a linen/cotton blend in a canvas weight and the result is very classic and elegant.

Vintage Sport Horses Spoonflower

Vintage Sport Horses Spoonflower

I have to admit that I was very nervous pre-washing this fabric because I was not sure how their dyes would hold up.  I was pleased with the result.  There was no fading, which, of course, there shouldn’t be.  I would have been surprised if I detected any fading at all, truthfully.  The linen/cotton canvas is a nice weight for placemats and table runners, and they sewed up nicely.  One thing about the linen/cotton base fabric Spoonflower uses is that it is a little finer (more smooth) than linen/cotton blends I have used in the past.  I expected it to have a little more texture and earthiness to it, which would have been my personal preference.  In any event I think these table linens are unique and elegant and will definitely be a conversation starter.

Vintage Sport Horses Set Read to Go!

Vintage Sport Horses Set Read to Go!

Fall Placemats and Table Runner with Yarn Dyed Linen

Every once in a while I will be working on a project and just feel unsure about it.  That was my feeling when I started working on a new set of table linens made out of a heavy weight linen.  Actually I felt unsure the minute that I received the fabric.  Don’t get me wrong, the fabric is absolutely gorgeous.  It is a yarn dyed linen, which means the individual threads are dyed before they are woven.  This particular fabric is woven into a large plaid pattern, and the texture is just amazing – very earthy and warm.  When I looked at the linen I immediately thought throw blanket or Fall scarf.  Something to cuddle up with by a big fire.  But my original intention for it was table linens, so I stuck to my guns.

Grass plaid linen

Yarn Dyed Table Linens in Grass Plaid

Even after I cut into the fabric and started to sew I was still just not sure.  The linen of course did not keep its shape as well as my normal cotton placemats do, especially since I didn’t line them with anything since the fabric itself is so substantial.

Placemat in Grass Plaid

Placemat in Grass Plaid

Placemat in Marina Plaid

Placemat in Marina Plaid

I was determined to make it work though.  I completed both sets of placemats and table runners.  It wasn’t until I had them staged and photographed that I realized how beautiful they are.  The first image of the Grass Plaid linens is actually one of my favorite pictures of my products that I have taken.  I think pairing this fabric with the rustic and brightly colored ceramic ware really helped to create the right mood for these linens.  This table looks like it would be right at home in a cabin in the mountains next to a blazing fireplace, and with a hearty stew cooking on the stove for dinner!

Yarn Dyed Table Linens in Marina Plaid

Yarn Dyed Table Linens in Marina Plaid

Yuwa Dewdrops Seersucker Summer Dress

I bought this gorgeous Yuwa Seersucker fabric from my favorite Japanese fabric seller Miss Matatabi  back in early June.  I had been looking for a lightweight cotton with some sort of a stripe pattern for a summer dress I had on “my projects” to do list.

Yuwa Dewdrops Cotton Lawn Seersucker in Multi

Yuwa Dewdrops Cotton Lawn Seersucker in Multi

yuwa-dewdrops-seersucker-closeup

I was so excited when I found this fabric because of its light weight and because the stripe is so unique with the different sized circles and the way the lines tend to run into each other and overlap.  And it is a seersucker, which is an added bonus since I had never worked with one before.

The reason I was so intent on getting a striped fabric was because the dress has the back yoke and hem band cut against the grain of the fabric, and the stripes would bring out these elements of the dress design.  I was using Marcy Tilton’s dress View B from Vogue 8876.

Vogue 8876, View B

Vogue 8876, View B

Notice the stripes on the above image?  I thought it was a neat detail and I wanted to use it for sure.  I loved the look of this dress with the casual full shape and the pockets!  I thought that this pattern was really well designed.  It is hard to tell in the image, but the front and back of the dress is constructed out of several curved pieces (four in the front, three in the back), which along with a few pleats creates the shaping and I think adds interest to the bodice.  The pattern pieces all fit together perfectly, even with all the curves.

vogue-8876-2

The only thing I found a little off with this pattern was in the sizing, and this has been mentioned in other reviews I read before sewing this pattern myself.  The dress is cut extremely large.  There are finished measurement for the bust, waist and hips printed on the tissue, so I had a pretty good idea of how the dress was expected to fit – really BIG!  I cut two sizes smaller than my “normal” size, and I still needed to take in about two inches on each side.

vogue-8876

Unfortunately I was in such a rush to just get this finished that I didn’t actually try the dress on until I was finished with it.  I ended up taking it in at the very end – not the right way to go about it at all, but it serves me right for rushing.

vogue-8876-4

One thing that I would do differently if I made this dress again has to do with the zipper, which runs the entire length of the front and stops right above the hem band.  I love the idea of a zipper for the dress because they are so much less fussy than buttons.  The pattern calls for a super long separating zipper, 26 inches.  I feel like I did a pretty good search and the only separating zippers I found this long were parka zippers and sport zippers, which I ended up using.  Sport zippers are somewhat heavy duty metal zippers, and they are really clunky with the big zipper tabs and big teeth.  Not at all what you think of for a summer dress, but I did end up using it and I don’t think it is the best choice.   I think that the longest invisible zippers were 24 inches, and I am not sure if they were separating or not.  I think I would use the longest invisible zipper I could find and then just sew the rest of the center seam.  I don’t think it would make a difference to the look of the dress.  Also, the zipper is visible on the inside of the dress, which is okay if you wear the dress completely zipped to the collar, but doesn’t look so nice if you have it unzipped a bit.  I was surprised that there wasn’t a facing to hide the zipper on the inside since there is a facing for the view that uses a button closure.  If I make this dress again I would probably try to make a facing to hide the zipper on the inside.

vogue-8876-5

All in all, I think I like this dress.  It is very comfortable to wear.  I am just glad that today is going to be a summer-like day so I can wear it at least once before the New England Fall weather really kicks in!

A Retro Bib Apron with Gathered Skirt

I had a friend recently asked me to make her an apron.  The only apron she owns is a plain black canvas chef apron that is pretty heavy, and she wanted something in a lighter material for summer and with more color.  After we talked about it a bit, I decided to create a brand new style for her.

She still wanted the basic shape of the chef apron, but I wanted to make it a bit more feminine for her.  I decided on a retro style bib apron with a gathered skirt that would have a few improvements over their vintage counterparts.  I made a larger bib that would provide full coverage during messy jobs.  Instead of the traditional ties at the neck, I made an adjustable neckband with a loop and slide.  This band was the trickiest part of the construction because it is also sewn into the sides of the bib to add a pretty trim.  This detail means the loop and slide need to be attached while the band is being sewn onto the bib.

Closeup of bib

Closeup of bib

I made the waist ties extra long so that they could be tied at front or back.  All in all, I love how it turned out and will be making more to add to the shop.  I love the endless and fun possibilities of fabric combinations for this style.  Here I am showing Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern Fresh Poppies in Fuchsia and a Susan Winget Butterfly fabric.

 

 

Hi Low Tank in Vintage Indonesian Batik

You may remember in a previous post I mentioned that my Mom had brought a few vintage Indonesian sarong batiks back with her on one of her trips to Japan.  These batiks are totally unlike the mass produced ones  your find for sale, which can be pretty, but I have never felt like I HAVE to have one of them for my next project.  Two of the batiks my Mom brought home were really fine, with colorful hand stamped intricate floral patterns and borders running down the lengths of the panel.  I decided to make a hi low tank with one of these batiks.

Hi Low Tank Pattern

Hi Low Tank Pattern

I started with the above pattern from Moldes Moda por Medida, modified to fit my measurements.  I also reduced the length of the back because I didn’t want the difference to be so drastic (and I didn’t have enough fabric!!).  I recently checked the website and couldn’t find this particular post anymore, but I think if you wanted to recreate this tank the above picture is sufficient to do it.

Hi Low Tank Front

Hi Low Tank Front

The batik is like a cotton shirting – kind of stiff, so it makes the tank flare out somewhat more than I expected.  I also made this in a cotton gauze, which drapes beautifully and doesn’t flare out as much.  Since the batik is so striking with the large flowers and bright colors I think the extra flare kind of suits this fabric.

Hi Low Tank Back

Hi Low Tank Back

I was able to cut the pieces so that the border of the batik panel lined up with the hem of the front.  I wish that I could have also done that in the back, but I barely had enough fabric to make the tank.

Hi Low Tank

Hi Low Tank

 

My Bar Harbor Dress

Last summer I bought two great madras fabrics in the Robert Kaufman Nantucket Patchwork collection.  I made myself a sleeveless shift out of the pink colorway and had planned to get some nice pictures during our trip to Acadia last August.  Our Acadia trip was actually a camping trip, so I never actually wore my “Bar Harbor Dress” in Bar Harbor.  A year later, I finally snapped a few pictures of it so I can write about it.

kaufman nantucket patchwork sorbet

Kaufman Nantucket Patchwork Sorbet

 

This is a really interesting madras fabric as you can tell by the picture.  Each 3″x3″ square is an individually sewn patch, so it has a great depth and texture to it.  I just loved it and hoped it would make a nice casual summer shift.

 

land end sleeveless polo dress

Polo Dress Pattern Starting Point (wish I looked this good in my photos!)

 

 

 

 

I used a Land’s End sleeveless polo dress as the starting point for my pattern.  I changed the neck to a simple V, and pretty much kept the A-line shape of the dress.

 

Kaufman Patchwork Dress

One mistake that I made was in overlooking that the original polo dress is constructed out of a knit material, so there is a bit of stretch.  I luckily increased the A-line shape through the waist and hips, but should have also added more ease through the bust.  Here is how it turned out.

bar harbor dress front

 

Cobbler Apron and Potholders in Riley Blake Vintage Kitchen

riley blake vintage kitchen

Riley-Blake-Vintage-Kitchen-fabric-683x1024 I had to write a short post about this cute retro fabric that I have been working with lately.  It is called Vintage Kitchen and is by Andrea Muller for Riley Blake.  It is a colorful collection that features vintage pyrex bowls and casserole dishes and other kitchen utensils among veggies and cute chickens and foxes.  My Mom has a set of bowls that look exactly like the one at the left, and my sister surprised me with a great set of vintage casserole pyrex dishes for my birthday this year!  They are so cute and so practical, too 🙂

I thought that Vintage Kitchen Main in Teal would be perfect to use in one of my Cobbler Aprons.  I also had enough left to make a set of my round Potholders.

 

 

vintage kitchen potholders

Vintage Kitchen Potholders

Nani Iro Baby Layette

I love Japanese fabric.  If I ever have some extra money to spend on fabric for me, I love to go to Miss Matatabi and see what is new, especially in the Nani Iro cotton double gauze.  You may recall that I made myself a shift dress out of one of these fabrics a couple summers ago.

My sister is expecting a baby girl very soon, which gives me a great excuse to splurge on some of this soft and beautiful fabric.

I chose the Nani Iro Bird’s Eye and the Nani Iro Komorebi and was originally going to make two swaddle cloths out of them.  Something simple and beautiful that they would hopefully use all the time.  When I received the fabric, though, it was so lovely that I wanted to do something more with it.  And, since baby cloths are so little, a meter goes a long way 🙂

Nani Iro Layette

Nani Iro Layette

I found the Green Bee Modern Baby Set  while searching for a baby kimono top.  I ended up making the Kimono Top (View D) and the Little Diaper Cover (View E) out of the Komorebi fabric and the Shirt (View A, short sleeve version) and the LIttle Pants (View F) out of the Bird’s Eye fabric.   I found the pattern to be well written and very detailed in the instruction.  This was my first experience with sewing baby cloths, and I have to say that it was more difficult than I expected.  Everything is so small!  The instructions did include little tips for making it easier to sew these little pieces, like pressing little waistbands and leg bands first, etc.  I think that there may have been one image that was drawn incorrectly for the Kimono top instructions, when you are sewing in the facing.  That was the only problem I found, and I may have been reading the image wrong.  All the pattern pieces fit together perfectly, and I am satisfied with the end result.

I hope that my niece get a lot of use out of this set and hope that it is comfortable.

New Nautical Napkins and Market Tote

Earlier this week, I had a royal blue linen Japanese apron that I needed to make to complete an order.  Whenever I have just one piece to sew, I always think of other projects that can be made with the same color thread – in this case royal blue.  It probably sounds silly, but sewing multiple projects at once improves the efficiency of my shop, or at least it makes me feel like it does.  Royal blue is kind of a tough color to match, but amazingly I found three new projects out of my stash that had this color.

I have a huge stash of fabric remnants, most are less than 3/4  yard.  I save most of these remnants, though, because I love all the fabrics I buy (plus they are expensive!), and I always hope that I will find great uses for them.  After I finished with this session of sewing, I was SO glad I didn’t give into the neat freak in me that often wants to clean out my remnant stash!

I was able to make two sets of nautical/fish themed mix and match dinner napkins with four great fabrics that I believe are all out of print.  I used the Mod Fish fabric initially paired with the Lagoon Lava Lamp and then with the Timeless Treasures Scuba City for placemats, runners, napkins, and potholders almost since I opened my shop five years ago.  I was really disappointed when these fabrics were discontinued because they were so popular.  Usually I don’t offer mix and match sets for my dinner napkins, but these are so fun and perfect for summer.

Mix and Match Mod Fish Dinner Napkins

Mix and Match Mod Fish Dinner Napkins

I also made a set of my smaller cocktail sized napkins using the Mod Fish and Anchor fabrics.  I also used Michael Miller’s Sea Turtles batik, and I finished off the set with another fabric with rows of colorful fish on a dark blue background.  I had been saving this tiny remnant (less than 1/4 yard) of Hoodies Bistro Menu fabric for almost four years (!) until I found the right use for it.  I am glad that I did 🙂

Mod Fish Mix and Match Cocktail Napkins

Mod Fish Mix and Match Cocktail Napkins

The last thing I made during this royal blue thread sewing session was a Market Tote out of the Sea Turtle batik and the royal blue linen.  I LOVE these two fabrics together, and not just for the color combination.  The natural texture of the linen compliments the earthy quality of the batik.  I just love it.

Sea Turtles Batik Tote

Sea Turtles Batik Tote