SHOOOZ

I bought this sandal making kit shortly after discovering Rachel Sees Snail Shoes on Instagram. At the moment of purchase, I felt entirely up for the challenge, but once it arrived, it stayed boxed up in a closet for probably two years.

I’m unsure of where that ‘can do’ attitude disappeared to, but the longer I waited, the more intimidating the project started to feel.

Then, Summer of Basics 2018 rolled around and I thought “just fricking do it, Sienna.” I then declared to the world of Instagram that handmade leather sandals would be my 4th make for the challenge. These were added as a fourth project because technically it’s a sewing and knitting/crochet challenge.

I blew through my three other planned makes and was feeling pretty good about tackling these shoes I’d put off for years. I cut everything out, did the fitting, marked everything, and felt great. The kit comes with pretty much everything you need including pattern pieces and thorough instructions. If you’ve ever made anything, I’m pretty sure you too could make these sandals.

Then we went on a week long trip abroad and immediately after I started the 2018-19 school year. So productivity plummeted and they sat partially assembled for weeks.

Finally, last week I plowed through the last few steps of gluing, skiving, attaching the foam soles, trimming, and adding laces. I don’t have the ability to sand down the edges (elbow grease just doesn’t cut it) so the foam bases are a little choppy, but whatever.

Each step is truly doable, it just takes a little slowing down and some foresight. The kit comes with contact glue, so it differs from sewing in that once the glue-y parts connect, it can’t be ripped off (easily anyway). And there are no do overs with leather.

Next time, I will size down. I compared a pair of sandals I wear often and the pattern pieces seemed like a match, however, these are definitely too large.

Have you ever wanted to make your own shoes?

Summer of Basics 2018

I attempted the Summer of Basics challenge last year and it was a total flop. I was in a bad place professionally and summer break ended up being all about recovering. After a much better school year, I was feeling super productive and up for a challenge.

Summer of Basics is hosted by Fringe Association and its only parameters are that you create 3 workhorse garments between June 1 and August 31. I chose 4 projects because as a teacher I have time off and can handle it.

1. Willow Hack – My first make was a Willow Tank / gathered skirt mash up. I’m super pleased with this make and think it’ll be one of the few dresses I wear often. You can read more about it on its original post here. Finished: June 29th.

2. Little Wiggles Sun Hat – My second make was the ‘Little Wiggles’ Sun Hat. Sun hats are just a silly, albeit sometimes necessary accessory so I thought I’d lean in and make it a little extra with a fun block print. I added two grommets and a leather strap for even more utility. You can read more about it here. Finished: July 2nd.

3. Making Backpack – Bag making is so satisfying and Noodlehead is a pattern genius. The Making Backpack is Anna’s contribution to the Making Magazine No. 5 / Color issue. You can read more about it here. Finished: July 8th.

4. Sandals – I made sandals using this kit from Rachel Sees Snail Shoes. This was an intimidating project I had put off for years, but after each step I thought “Oh. That wasn’t that bad.” The kit comes with everything you need except for a belt sander, so my edges are a little rough and the size is a wee bit too big but I MADE SHOES. Finished: August 26th.

Logbook Abroad

My main goal for 2018 was to Draw More. It wasn’t until mid-May and after re-reading Austin Kleon‘s book, Steal Like An Artist, that I was able to figure out how to make it an almost daily thing. I’m so glad I started this practice. I’m so humbled by the challenge of keeping it up, especially when traveling.

These pages include our trip to Belgium and France:

I didn’t bust out my Shinola Sketchbook as much as I thought I would. BUT I did draw a few things and that’s a win.

Honeymooning in Handmade

I had a huge boost in sewing productivity this summer break. Once I’d cranked out a few pieces, the idea to create an entire summer travel capsule for our honeymoon overwhelmed my time off.

Day 1 | Thursday/Friday | SFO to Paris to Brussels

Modified Shirt No. 1 with sash and Making Backpack.

Day 2 | Saturday | Brussels

Maya Top with cuffs, self-drafted linen culottes, and Making Backpack.

Day 3 | Sunday | Brussels

Peppermint Magazine Drawstring Shorts and Set Sail Hat.

Day 4 | Monday | Bruges

Modified Shirt No. 1 dress and Making Backpack.

Day 5 | Tuesday | Brussels to Paris

Shirt No. 1, self-drafted linen culottes, and Making Backpack.

Day 6 | Wednesday | Paris

Maya Top with cuffs over Willow Tank hack dress.

Day 7 | Thursday | Paris

Morning: Cropped Willow Tank, Peppermint Magazine Drawstring Shorts, and Making Backpack.

Day 7 | Thursday | Paris

Evening: Willow Hack Dress.

Day 8 | Friday | Paris to SFO

Modified Shirt No. 1 dress and Making Backpack.

The neutral color palette allowed for a decent amount of mixing and matching. Four tops, two dresses, culottes, shorts, two scarves, one sun hat, and three pairs of footwear worked out perfectly for eight days. I also brought a RTW jean jacket for cool mornings and evenings.

I even made my husband a Fairfield Button-up for the trip! We had two fancier events (dinner on the Seine and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at Sainte Chapelle) which required more put-together looks. Otherwise I wouldn’t have needed the third pair of shoes. His shirt still needs buttonholes/buttons on the cuffs, but he wears the sleeves rolled up most of the time so it wasn’t a huge deal I couldn’t get them in before the trip.

Brussels + Bruges + Paris

Spent a lovely week in three cities.  So much art. So many pan au chocolat.

There will be another post about my logbook and another about my handmade travel capsule soon!

 

Making Backpack

The minute I laid eyes on the Making Backpack way back in March, I was sold. I promptly ordered a subscription to Making and started sketching plans.

I went through a lot of different plans before choosing an overall neutral look of waxed canvas, natural cotton, leather, and brass (sources linked below).

Anna’s excellent instructions and clear illustrations make you feel like a seasoned bag maker. If I didn’t need to wait for brass rivets (a totally optional feature), this could have easily come together in a day.

Although it’s a small backpack, it can hold my 13″ laptop in its Quilted Computer Sleeve. I just love how waxed canvas wrinkles.

The front pocket is perfect for a paperback book, or small sketchbook.

I’m excited about the double handles because museums always pitch a fit about my tiny backpacks. Now I’ll have another carrying option besides wearing it in the front like a nerd.

I attempted to come up with a leather/snap feature that would hold the front handle and back hang loop together. I couldn’t figure out anything that was slim enough and would slide out of the way, so I gave up. I wanted to to finish it!

This ended up being 3/8″ slimmer than the pattern. Either my sewing was off, or the zipper tape was a little narrow. I do like how closely it hugs my back. The only thing I’d change is adding a triangle to the bottom part of the straps so that the webbing doesn’t bunch up on the rectangle rings.

I’m oddly proud of that little leather zipper loop I added. My Bernina 530 handled the project like a champ and I’m trying not to think about all that wax residue…

Sources:

Olive Waxed Cotton Canvas: Stonemountain & Daughter

Speckled Linen Lining Fabric: purchased from Fancy Tiger Crafts in early 2017, can’t find on website.

Hardware & Webbing Kit: Noodlehead Shop, rivets and zipper leather loop not included.

New Sewing PR

WOOT! I made TWO garments in one day! Definitely a new personal record for me. Ah, I do love time off.

We leave for our honeymoon/anniversary in less than a week so naturally I think I can sew up an entire travel capsule. It’s going to be warm in Paris and Brussels requiring nothing but relaxed silhouettes in linen and silk. Everything also needs to mix and match.

I batch cut out four projects the other night and this cropped Willow Tank and self-drafted culottes were in the stack. As I was cutting them out I thought there was no chance I could finish them in time, BUT I DID. With ample time to spare! The other two projects are a button up shirt for my husband and a Maya top.

I followed Grainline’s tutorial to crop the tank and used leftover silk noil from my wedding separates. I thought it appropriate to wear a little bit from our wedding while on our honeymoon.

The culottes are from my first final skirt project in my pattern drafting class. The pockets are a little too snug over the hips but I’m impatient and didn’t feel like making that adjustment.

Both fabrics are from Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley, CA. They don’t currently have this linen in stock but I have it on good authority that they’re looking into it. Isn’t it just the yummiest color?!

Hoping to finish the Maya top, Fairfield Button Up, and Making Backpack before the trip!

Little Wiggles Sun Hat

Big hair and a big head (23.5″) has made finding good sun protection challenging. One of the cool things about sewing is that when you can’t purchase something that fits in the stores, you can make it yourself.

I block printed khaki canvas from Joann Fabrics and used this free pattern. My hat is a size large with a 4″ brim. It was a super fast and easy make!

The Perfect Summer Dress

Sometimes you see fabric online and you wait. Wait just a little too long and then it’s sold out. That’s what happened with this squishy linen I saw a while back on Fabric.com. Then a fellow maker posted a photo of her stash and there it was! I commented, she said she’d be up for a trade, it happened. I was happy.

I knew I wanted to make something summery and eventually came around to the idea of mashing up the Willow Tank with a gathered skirt. Even though Me Made May revealed I don’t want any more dresses, I didn’t want to waste any of this fabric by just making a top.

This stripe deserved to be played with so I cut the bodice horizontally and the skirt vertically. When I first planned this in my sketchbook I toyed with the idea of a button placket on the bodice. I’m glad I left it off as it would have detracted from the fun and totally unplanned thing that happened with the bust darts. The fabric is also so squishy a placket would have been a nightmare.

I had two yards to work with and just barely squeaked out the bias binding, two skirt pieces, front and back bodice pieces, and 4 large pocket pieces. I’m quite pleased that the front and back of the skirt are perfectly symmetrical and that the stripes on the side of the tank match up. I’m usually so bad at pattern matching so this win feels great!

I cut a straight size 6 in the Willow. I previously made a size 4 and found that after a day of wear my armpits hurt. I could have just scooped out the shape and recut the bias but it was late and I was determined to have it all cut out. I think the size 6 might actually fit me better than the 4…

I wanted the bodice of the dress to be fairly short so I used the lengthen/shorten line as the bottom edge. To that I added 1/2″ of seam allowance and squared the corners to make it attach to the skirt a little easier.

Determining the skirt shape involved just a little math but was mostly controlled by the amount of fabric I had left after cutting out the top. The skirt ended up being about 20-ish” wider than the bottom edge of the tank and after measuring, I ended up using the stripes as my cut line. The skirt length ended up being half of the fabric width (30″).

The fabric is a fairly loose weave and since I throw everything in the washing machine, I decided French seams were the only way to go. I assembled and finished the tank first, then sewed up the skirt using this tutorial for inseam pockets with French seams. I definitely ran into issues with the pockets, which can happen when you steal a pocket with a different seam allowance from another pattern and cut everything out late at night.

I basted the skirt in a circle and would NOT recommend this strategy. If I were to do it again, I’d baste the front and back portions separately so creating the gathers and matching up the side seams is easier. Sewing a french seam with gathers was an interesting challenge, but I’m glad I did it. EVERY SINGLE SEAM is a French seam.

I can finally wipe a make off this board. I have two Kalle Shirts that are SO CLOSE to being finished and I’m working through some butt issues with the Persephone Pants too.

Patternmaking Dart Manipulation Exercises

One full week of summer break has passed and I’ve been trying to power through as much of my Patternmaking & Design class as I can. It’s a self-paced program and my pace for the last year has been not much faster than a snail. I’m picking up speed and the program finally feels like I can draft independently without constantly relying on my wonderful teacher. Maybe I’m at a turtle’s pace now?

Above is my moulage or “mold” of my measurements which, once it had a perfect fit, I turned into my bodice sloper. The next section of the program is Dart Manipulation. I was able to draft 12 different exercises with 4 different backs in one week and then sewed all of them the following week. I’m pretty excited that I got through a section with the suggested timeline of 4-8 weeks in 2! Ok, I’m not actually done yet. I have to design, draft, and sew two designs of my own, but I’m feeling pretty confident I can do so this week.

The front sloper has 4 darts that can be manipulated into different designs, the back has two darts. All 12 exercises used this sloper and I’m quite impressed with the variety of styles achieved.

High Neck Point Dart – Slash a line from the high neck point to the high bust point and then fold all other darts into it.

Center Front Neck Dart – Slash a line to the high bust point and fold all other darts into it.

French Dart – Slash a seamline to the low bust point from a position lower than the existing side dart. Fold all other darts into it.

Armhole Dart – Slash a line to the high bust point from any point along the armhole. Fold all other darts into it.

Y Dart – Draw a seamline starting at 3″ – 5″ up along center front to the low bust point. Fold all other darts into it.

Diamond – Draw a line from the center front neck and center front waist to the high bust point. Fold all other darts out.

Bust Gathers with Yoke – In my fittings I learned that a lot of the exercises that used the low bust point need some tweaks. You can see on the muslin that on the bottom yoke I pinned out about an inch that would make this pattern more fitted. Gathers also tended to add more volume than anticipated.

Curved Shoulder Darts – Low bust point used.

Horizontal Gathers at Waist Dart – Low bust point used.

Neckline Gathers – High bust point used. Helpful to add finished neck length on to the pattern for gathers.

Rusched Front Panel – High bust point used, move toward center front until directly under the high next point.

Cowl – This one was the most confusing as far as construction went. It also required its own back to be drafted along with it.

Backs – The Shaved Darts back (left) was used for most of the exercises because they were the easiest to knock out. I paired the Transferred Darts back (middle) with the Curved Should Darts front and I honestly can’t remember which exercise I paired the Ignored Darts back (right) with. The Ignored Darts back has a looser fit and requires easing the back shoulder with the front.