It’s been a while since my last Life Lately post and so much has happened! I think I’m going to start scheduling these quarterly so that I don’t have a huge dump every time I post one. So here’s what I’ve been up to behind the scenes since October!
This year I went to Camp Workroom Social as an assistant and ended up teaching last minute with my friend Erin which was stressful but also super fun! I have zero photos of camp but I do have some of the New York Sheep & Wool Festival which I attended with friends the weekend after camp! It was so overwhelming – between all the people, sheep, yarn and food I went crowd blind in approximately 5 minutes. My only yarn purchase was some awesome grey Sawkill Farm DK weight yarn, though I also snagged a skein of the new Kelbourne Woolens Andorra in the most perfect almost black color. I had so much fun road tripping there with friends and staying in our “nordic” air bnb – though I didn’t enjoy the all black stairwell lit by a single low watt Edison bulb. Took one for the team there!
I seem to have amassed way too many knitting projects over the past few months which is pretty much stressing me out nonstop. I finished up my Exeter and apparently thought that since that sweater only took 2 months I was that fast of a knitter all the time? Or maybe I just forgot what I already had? Whatever happened I need to remedy this situation asap! Typically I have 2 projects going at once, a sweater and a pair of socks or a hat for when I need a small portable project. I’ll probably post about this more later to get my head around how I’m going to tackle this issue à la Karen’s Queue Check posts.
The holidays happened and I have zero photos of them, but to start off the New Year Jon and I took a quick trip to LA! He was playing and I needed a break from the sub zero temperatures plaguing the country. My favorite parts of the trip were hanging out at Zuma Beach & Point Dume watching brown pelicans and then seeing the Huntington Gardens. The gardens were amaaaaazing, and reminded me a ton of the southern relative to the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. My only regret is that I forgot my binoculars, but when I was packing somehow they didn’t come to me as a must have item for Los Angeles!
And that’s what I’ve been up to. Well some of it, the interesting parts at least!
One of our perennial favorite posts is our guide to getting flat bias facings. In the original post we called them bias necklines, which I think is limiting. You can easily use this technique for necklines, armholes, keyhole openings, and more! We’ve also updated the post with new images taken from the Willow Tank so that you can see it applied to one of our current patterns. You can still see the original post here, or enjoy this updated version. Keep in mind that although we’re showing a neckline here you can easily apply this to other parts of the garment!
Begin by taking your neckline binding piece and sewing the two shorter edges together, with right sides facing each other, to create a circle.
Press the seam allowance open.
Align the binding piece around the neckline and pin in place. I like to put the seam of the binding at the center back of the garment, but that’s just my personal preference.
Head over to your machine and stitch the neckline and binding together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Grade the seam by trimming the seam allowance of the binding in half all the way around the neckline. This will reduce bulk and create a better looking neckline.
After grading, clip around the neckline through all layers of the seam allowance approximately every inch or so. This will allow the smaller cut edge to turn back smoothly onto the wider neckline.
Press the seam allowance and the binding up away from the garment.
Understitch around the neckline through the binding and seam allowance as close to the seam line as you feel comfortable. In this sample I’m at about 1/16″ but anywhere between there and 1/8″ works just fine. The point of this stitching line is that it will help to force the seam line to the wrong side of the garment so that you can’t see it from the right side.
Press the binding to the wrong side of the garment making sure the seam line just barely rolls to that side as well.
Now tuck the raw edge of the binding under to meet the fold line, then pin the binding in place. Continue this around the circumference of the neckline, pinning as you go.
Head over to your machine and stitch the neckline binding down. I again stitch about 1/16″ from the loose edge, but wherever you feel comfortable works just fine.
Give your neckline a good press and you’re done! I really think that each step shown here is integral to getting a flat neckline finish, so try not to take shortcuts on this technique. If you have any questions, just let us know in the comments below!
It’s been about 2 months since I first posted about my fall / winter wardrobe plans and in that time I’ve done a bit of sewing! I don’t have any full finished outfits yet, but I thought I’d share where I’m at so far. There are a few outfits from my original plan that I haven’t started anything on yet so I won’t include those here. If you want to see the full plan, check out the original post here: Fall ’17 Wardrobe Plans.
This outfit is coming along alright. I’ve made a muslin of the pants which I haven’t photographed and I have the fabric for the actual pair. The cardigan is in progress, the back is complete and I’ve started on the fronts. The top is a bit of a sad story though. I apparently hadn’t learned my lesson that I should purchase the fabrics I’m sharing before I post them because you all bought all the rose silk noil after reading the post! I’m now deciding on a backup plan for that fabric.
I finished the Exeter sweater in early December and have been wearing it a ton with the frigid cold temps we’ve been having. The plaid Archer fabric has been pre-washed and is ready to be cut, but I’ve yet to do anything on the jeans front. We’ll see when that happens!
Made the Berlin Jacket and it turned out super cute! I might narrow the sleeves a bit if I were to make it again, but other than that it worked out great. Finally pre-washed the dress fabric and just need to cut and sew.
The Kochi Kimono has been completed, so basically it looks like I’m starting with all the cardigan style garments in this wardrobe plan. I used the silk noil from the original plan and it turned out pretty cute, though it did take a bit for me to get used to. Again I might narrow the sleeves on the next one if I make another. It definitely took some getting used to but I really like wearing it for work since I hate things around my wrists while working and the pockets are useful.
So that’s where I’m at so far! I’ve made a few things that aren’t in the plan as well because apparently I’m not stellar at sticking to a list. If you made a fall/winter plan, how’s it coming along? Also I’m wondering, are you a seasonal planner or do you prefer something like the #2018makenine challenge where you plan out your year at once? I think I don’t have the commitment level necessary to plan an entire year at once but I’m so curious what works for people!
I’ve been fortunate to appear on some excellent podcasts this fall and just realized over the weekend that I never shared them with you all! Back in October I talked to Elise of Elise Gets Crafty and the Get to Work Book about launching my small craft based business. It’s pretty funny to think back to how things were online back in 2011 and how much things have changed since then.
A few weeks later Helen and Caroline of the Love To Sew Podcast interviewed me about my work/life balance and of course we ended up talking about a million other things as well. I haven’t had time to listen to the episode yet (I kind of hate listening to myself) but I’m told there’s a pretty funny convo between me and my dog Oaty at the end. There’s a ton of other strange tidbits in there and if my memory serves we also got sort of real at times. So enjoy!
In the late 2000s I was at home with a pile of small people, a partner who was away a lot, and craft. To say craft saved me in the early days of motherhood is not an understatement. Craft gave me something that was mine. It meant that every day I had my hands on something beautiful, engaged for a moment in something that made me feel like me. It was a practice, a process and a product, each one of them nurturing my spirit in a different way.
At the time I was just back from six years overseas, and craft was how I made community. Gathering around a kitchen table every fortnight for wine and making, I forged friendships that had connection and purpose.
The Craft Sessions grew out of those kitchen gatherings. Our aim was to bring people together who craft for joy and to foster a love of handmaking.
As part of raising awareness about The Craft Sessions I began writing a blog about craft. Very quickly it became a passion – writing about the connection between hand making and wellbeing. The blog has been a source of joy and great conversation for me for many years now, with voices chiming in from all over the world.
Excitingly The Craft Sessions took off. By year three we were selling out, and we could see that there was a thirst for something more – more conversations, more teaching, more time to connect with others.
Soul Craft is that next step. It’s a way for us to come together on a bigger scale; to have the conversations we wish we could have in our everyday; to meet other crafters we may only know online; to take time out of our everyday to commune over our shared love of making, and to celebrate how craft supports us and connects us.
I’m so so excited about this next step and can’t wait to see you all enjoying what we have put together.
What I'm Teaching
I’ll be teaching 2 masterclasses and doing 2 talks:
- Perfect Your Binding (3 hour masterclass)
- Through a combination of instructions and demonstrations students will learn how to properly apply a bias facing finish to a neckline and sleeveless armhole. From discussing what a bias actually is right through to the final pressing, Jen will demystify how to create the perfect bias finish.
- Get Your Collar On (3 hour masterclass)
- Through a combination of instructions and demonstrations students will learn how to properly apply a collar with stand as well as insert continuous sleeve plackets
- How to Make the Right Size (45 minute talk)
- I’ll discuss tips and tricks for how to successfully choose a garment size using your both own measurements as well the body and finished measurements on the pattern envelope. We’ll also go over how to read a sewing pattern for more nuanced fitting information and learn how to use that to your advantage.
- The Story of Grainline (45 minute talk)
- Just what it sounds like, I talk about how Grainline started and our journey to where we are today!
Also joining me from the US is Andrea Mowry. I love situations where you live a 4 hour drive apart but end up flying halfway around the world to meet. The festival is jam packed with a ton of awesome teachers and I’m so excited to meet each and every one of them! Make sure you check out the full list of teachers here.
How to Register
Registration begins on Tuesday December 5th, at 5PM Melbourne, AU time. You can find all the info you need on tickets and registration by following this link. If you have any questions just let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them or point you in the direction of the answer at the very least. I cannot wait for June, and I hope to see you there!!
I had a hard time getting my Fall ’17 wardrobe plans together this year. It’s hard when what you love doing becomes your job, and after all these years the balance between work sewing and fun sewing is still something I struggle with. It’s been such a busy year here behind the scenes that I almost felt like I didn’t have the mental space to really plan anything out. Due to said behind the scenes work I also haven’t had time to sew much for myself this year, so I really didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to work out some sewing plans, and not planning means not sewing.
When I originally started thinking about what I wanted to make this season, I felt so overwhelmed with work that I had to really break things down and start simply with this Fall ’17 Inspiration post. From there I laid out a few knitting plans in this post, and collected patterns from my friends that I’ve been wanting to sew since each of these came out. I then made a list in my notebook arranging outfits comprised of these lists and the following is what I came up with. I’m excited to have everything laid out so I don’t have to choose what’s next when I finally get a bit of time to sew for myself. Usually I can’t figure out what to work on next because there are so many options so instead of sewing I just knit.
I’ve laid out 6 looks that I hope to accomplish this season, along with some extra credit because I’m nothing if not delusional about what one human can get done in a day!
Gus Cardigan I talked about this top in my knitting plans post already so I won’t say too much but I think this cardigan will be a real workhorse in my wardrobe. I’m hoping I can get it finished relatively quickly since it’s stockinet, but we’ll see!
Hadley Top I’ve been wanting to make a Hadley using the high neck of View A combined with the straight back of View B for layering. I’ll be making this one in this dreamy dusty silk noil from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics and and don’t worry, I’ll do a post about what you need to do to combine these two views.
M7445 This is a new pants style for me! My plan is to pair View C with the two garments above so that I have some familiar shapes in the mix, kind of easing into them I guess. I’ve been meaning to make these since this summer but I’ve finally got them cut and muslined and I’m now thinking I need to switch up my fabric choice. I was going to use a cotton twill but I’m now thinking something a bit more flowy may be in order so fabric is TBD on these at the moment.
Exeter Cardigan This one I’ve been working on for a little over a month now and am working on the sleeves. I’m using Quince and Co. Owl in Bog and you can see my progress so far on my personal IG account. This cardigan is going to be amazing for layering, which I need since in 1919 insulation wasn’t really a thing.
Archer Button Up I’ll be making View A with the straight cuffs from View B. It’s sadly been a while since I’ve had time to make any Archers for myself and since they’re one of my most worn garment the ones I have are not in great shape. I purchased this super cute plaid from Imagine Gnats and can’t wait to get this one going!
Safran Jeans Pretty excited about this one. I’ve never used a Deer & Doe pattern before but I’ve been wanting to for a while! I’ve heard such great things about this pattern I’m diving in. I’ll be using some Cone Mills denim purchased from Fancy Tiger a million years ago. So jazzed.
Berlin Jacket This cutie from Tessuti will be made up in a perfect rusty brick boiled wool from Stonemountain. It gets pretty chilly at work in the winter between when the radiators kick off and on, so I feel like this could potentially end up living there.
Lark Dress I actually don’t own one of these yet, despite having a million of them at work. The plan is to make a long sleeved, A-line, shorter version with either a scoop or boat neck. Undecided on that point yet but I’m thinking about this charcoal tiny rib jersey from Blackbird Fabrics.
Farrow Dress Because you can never have enough Farrow dresses! Actually I only have 2, a linen summer version and a wool/cotton blend winter version. I’d really like to have a more flowy winter version to wear with tights and ankle boots. I’m waiting on swatches of two fabrics from Stonemountain, though at the moment I’m leaning towards this one.
Kochi Kimono Baby’s first Kimono! I’ll be making view 3, though I may add pockets, not sure yet. This will be a deep blue silk noil affair which will be breathable, soft, and warm. I have a few tops I can imagine layering it with already.
Willow Tank I drew this with a Hadley in the photo but while putting this together I changed my mind once I decided which fabric to use. I can’t find a link to what I’m planning, but it’s Liberty Lawn and the pattern is called Alma.
I’ll be wearing my RTW jeans with this outfit since it seems quite hard finding true black denim, plus I love the fit of my favorite jeans!
Winter Coat The pattern is forthcoming on this one, but it’s the same as this navy blue coat I made for my wedding and have worn nonstop every cold day since. The fabric is a wool/cashmere blend I picked up at Mood when I was in NYC, and I’ll most likely be lining it with a grey bemberg.
Hadley Top Same as the first Hadley above, view A front with view B back…as long as my first one turns out great that is! I’ll be using the Stonemountain silk noil again but in the same white I used for the Hadley sample.
I’ll pair this look with either my Safran jeans or my RTW ones. Honestly I’m sure it the coat will be paired with everything, but for the sake of the outfit we’ll say those.
So that’s what I’m planning for this season! I have a few extra credit garments if things go super well for me (remember when I said I was delusional?) but we’ll discuss those later. I love all the discussion going on in the comments lately so fill me in. Have you made a sewing plan for fall? If so what’s on it? Also fill us in on any hot fabric tips for the season!
Speaking of hot fabric tips, lets talk about that discount I mentioned in the post title. You may have noticed all the Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics links in this post, well they’re solidly crushing the natural fabrics in fall/70’s inspired colors scene right now and I can’t seem to stop ordering from them. Seriously, it’s a problem right now. Lauren from Stonemountain and I have been going back and forth on colors and drape and she kindly offered a discount code for our readers. If you enter GRAINLINE15 at checkout you’ll receive 15% off your order. Coupon expires November 30th at 11:59 PST. Time to snatch up allllllll the silk noil and boiled wool…and maybe a pattern or two also!