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.

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.

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.

Hand Block Printed Scarf Workshop

Taking art and making classes has been one of the best things I’ve done as an adult. It’s helped me develop an art practice, meet new people, and chop up the monotony of adulthood. I recently stumbled upon a local community art space & school and on a whim signed up for a block printing class the day before. It wasn’t all I was hoping for, but it was something to do over the three day weekend.

It’s less than a mile from my house, so I chose to walk despite coming down with a cold. A bird pooped on me and I saw a man pooping, but otherwise it was a nice walk.

The community arts space has all sorts of classes and workshops available ranging from welding to drawing. Once the school year ends, I’m going to do some drop in figure drawing sessions and maybe screen printing for fabric.

I channeled Block Shop Textiles to get ideas flowing.

The class description said that you could “design your own scarf” and “unlock your creativity,” but in reality we had to choose from pre-made wood blocks and just two colors of dye. Most of the blocks were intricate floral designs, which are nice, but not my aesthetic. Thankfully I found one “border” block that was sort similar to what I had sketched out before class.

There were only three other workshop participants making things pretty cozy. The instructor gave us a very brief history on the 400 year old craft and her husband brought samosas and lassi. We listened to really old Bollywood movies while we worked.

The other participants chose to create a border and then a dot repeat pattern for their scarves. I chose to fill in the whole scarf and took twice as long.

I will probably end up dying this. The white is a little too white and doesn’t really coordinate with my wardrobe. Maybe indigo?

Two Wiksten Kimonos

I had the immense pleasure of pattern testing the new Wiksten Kimono, which first appeared as the Oversized Kimono Jacket in Making Magazine No. 4 / Lines. The updated, standalone pattern will be released by Wiksten, hopefully next month.

In the Making version, I made a size XS. The new pattern includes a larger range of sizes and after comparing the pattern pieces, I made a size S here.

The fabric is also from Wiksten and I think it’s a perfect pairing. Because the black square is a kind of squishy weave I had a hell of time getting the patch pockets pattern to line up. They ended up not, but oh well.

I’m glad I was able to add this to my me-made wardrobe as it’s been one of only three outerwear pieces I’ve had for #MMMay18.

Speaking of Me Made Made I haven’t been anywhere near as productive as I was last year. I only just finished a silk noil Hemlock Tee (21 days in to the challenge), which had mostly been made last month and two Kalle shirts have been all cut out and waiting on my ironing board.

Then, after a particularly long commute home, I just auto piloted through this kimono. It’s been unseasonable chilly in the Bay Area and I yearned for another layering piece.

I cut and hacked this together without much of a plan and feel quite relived it worked out. One side even has some magical unplanned pattern matching on the shoulders!

I’ve had this Baule cloth for over a year, all the while knowing it was destined to be an Ace & Jig-esque jacket. I bought it at the Alameda Antiques Fair and discovered a piece of gum mashed into the fringe as I was cutting it up. At least it’s washed gum.

The textile is only about 54 by 36 inches which posed a cutting layout puzzle. I made an XXS, hacked off quite a bit of sleeve to make it fit, made a half collar, and added a coordinating stripe fabric to the collar piece, which I think is my favorite detail. It’s also unlined.

As it’s unlined, I had intended to flat fell / faux French the seams to fully encase all of the raw edges, but the thickness of the fabric and 3/8″ seam allowances made that impossible. Planning would have been helpful here. The shoulder seams are kind of a mess as I worked out this kink in construction and the side seams just ended up being serged. Another last minute decision was to topstitch the shoulder and sleeve seams with my new Bernina edgestitch foot. While I’m super impressed with the foot, the topstitching doesn’t really work well with this woven fabric. The burrito method was used to apply the half collar.

I’ve now made four Wiksten Kimonos. Too many? Nah.

Repeat Pattern Party

Remember how I said I was obsessed with making repeat patterns? Well, I’ve made 23 in the past two weeks. Here’s a gif I made of all but the most recent one while trying to figure out Photoshop last night. Once the school year ends, I plan to dive into Adobe Creative Suite and upload a lot of these to Spoonflower. I’m excited.