Le Boyfriend Anise

Remember how I said simple projects (and no tailored jackets)?  I lied. This isn’t the jacket I was talking about, which is currently in the mail, but another one. I can’t seem to keep away from outerwear lately. Maybe because I’ve discovered that North Carolina actually does get cold (I really didn’t miss the 7 degree walks to school I had in Chicago).

I needed an everyday coat anyway, so there. Besides, there is no hand tailoring on this bad boy and its shape requires little fitting.


I’m not sure what I’m glaring at in this one. This might be the point where Kyle is telling me to stop blinking so much. Apparently I’m not a good model!

Besides, the fabric was FREE!!! At least free to me. Kyle opened up his fabric stash and let me steal both the outer and lining fabrics (to be fair, there is still enough of both for him to make a jacket).


Also squinting. I was staring into the sun during much of this shoot. Which is to say, I don’t normally look this… cranky? Confused? I’m not sure what emotion this is here actually.

I *love* this coat, much more than I expected. I’ve always thought that the Anise pattern was really cute but I wasn’t sure that a boxier coat would work for me. I think it turned out well and is about as flattering as a short coat gets in my opinion.


I’m also super pleased with the buttons. The white on the salt-and-pepper coat adds just enough interest for me while still keeping everything basic. They also look exactly like the buttons on the sample jacket which is pretty funny.


Oh, and in case you were wondering that fountain is partially frozen. That giant chunk in it to my left is a big rock that someone threw at the ice that is slowly being eaten by the mini-glacier.

The pattern also fits really well, as do pretty much all Colette patterns do for me. I didn’t even bother to make a muslin on this one. My only adjustment was to take in each back seam about a half of an inch at the waist to make the coat a touch more streamlined.

If I made it again I would add some ease across the chest as it occasionally pulls a bit there but it hasn’t been enough to bother me. I might also deepen the pockets a bit, they are a bit useless at only about 2.5 inches deep. They work for holding my bus pass and phone but aren’t so great if your hands get cold. The coat might need to be lengthened to do that though since I think the pockets would look odd if they were much higher. That makes me wonder what this coat would look like at a mid-thigh length. Hmm…


*I am five, apparently.

Fabric: Angora stretch coating and plum lining with glittery stripes  (you can see a picture of the swatch in my last post) stolen errr, borrowed from Kyle.
Pattern: Anise from Colette patterns size 10

Also: thanks to Sue from Deerey Me! for nominating me for a Liebster award! I’ll be doing a proper post on that soon, hopefully this week.

Cheers all!

New (Old) Blog Reboot

It is rather fitting that my last post was during the final weeks of my M.A. and this one is in the opening weeks of my second semester as a Ph.D. student. Suffice to say, when things get busy and/or stressful the blog is the first to feel it and the last to get picked back up again.

That said, this last semester has been a bit insane and I’ve decided that talking about something that is not school/work related in any way, shape, or form is necessary. And it will encourage me to sew more instead of flipping through Pinterest one more time . And contact with the outside world (I.E. people to whom photos of Foucault with hair are not funny) is also good. And, and, and.

I’m hoping to actually keep up with the blog as it is something I enjoy when I can keep the ball rolling (sans stress). If my crafty output from last semester is anything to go by there likely won’t be very frequent posts (but I’m also hoping that will change a bit this semester as I get better at managing my work).

Anyway, weird non-crafty life interlude terminated.

Actual sewing has happened over Christmas break! Most of it is non remarkable (read: de-stress sewing=simple as all get out sewing) but I’m embracing projects that require less fiddling, less prep, and less thought. Out are the tailored jackets* and in are the unlined drindle skirts!


There isn’t much to say about this skirt. I used two 30 in wide rectangles and a 30in waistband and gathered away. (my hips are 42in. and waist 30in. to give you an idea about the ease involved here). I hadn’t realized quite how wrinkled this skirt is but I also won’t pretend that I will iron it. Gathers are sort of like designed wrinkles anyway, right?


Wow, I look dazed in this photo

The zig-zag hem is my favorite detail, though not my idea. Tilly used similar topstitching on a skirt of hers ages ago and I’ve been looking for a good skirt to use it on ever since. It’s the small things. Speaking of small things, my zipper doesn’t match either and I kind of like that too.


Holy wrinkles Batman!


Pretty much the only downside of this skirt is that I finished it the night before North Carolina decided to introduce me Durham under 27 degrees. I’m still adjusting to the fact that while there are Chicago winters down here I still can’t frolic about in thin cotton skirts. At least not until Saturday.

Fabric: Pennants Waving organic 3 .6 oz poplin by Cloud9 Fabrics purchased from Modern Domestic in Portland
Pattern: self drafted, though Gertie has a good tutorial here.

Oh, and photo credits go to le boyfriend whose sewing blog is here.

*This, of course, is lies. I do have a jacket to share with you, but more on that later.

Exam Week

Whew, whirlwind few weeks it has been between a (short) visit to Durham, NC for a week of reveling in good news on the Ph.D. front and then smack into paper writing season no. 1. So much reading, so much slouching around kind of slovenly (OK, jeans with no make-up. I exaggerate). Sewing and knitting has been going in fits and starts and I have a bunch of old projects still to show you but photography time has not been able to wheedle itself into the schedule.

I did want to share a few things that I am loving this week though, if only so I remember to knock them off later… Click through to see the original post.

Isn’t Lucky Lucille’s duvet cover darling? (Also the puppy, also that AWESOME typewriter pillow! I’ve been trying to track down that same fabric for ages…).

Not a DIY but I wish Colette Patterns would make a version of this dress. It’s actually a vintage find and Sarai’s accompanying thoughts on clothing quality, and the ensuing comments, were an interesting addition to my morning coffee.

Apparently the prospect of moving (again) gets me in a weird nesting-preparedness mood because I’m a little obsessed with A Beautiful Mess’s cloth napkins. Though I feel less weird about my napkin excitement since she happened to pick a bunch of prints I’ve been wanting (and some sitting in the stash… hmmm…)

Actual Sewing Content

O.K., it isn’t actually what I gave you a teaser of in my last (non injury related) post. This was actually a 2012 project made in the short (very short) interim between finals madness and flying home for Christmas.


My best impersonation of a Joanie-approved pose. Though she would probably be annoyed that I’m in front of a camera sans makeup

This is the pencil skirt from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. As I may have mentioned a million times, I am more or less Gertie sized so this project has no alterations other than lopping 2 inches off of the length. Mid-calf is just not a good length on me. I also opted for the optional boning in the waistband which I’m going to go ahead and call non-optional for all future renditions, I just can’t imagine it not folding into an accordioned wad every time I bend over (or, lets be realistic, slouch).


The dart placement on this pattern really makes me happy. I have no idea why but two darts just seems infinitely more classy than one. Or I am easily amused.

I must say I really love this book. While it doesn’t give a lot of information on techniques unfamiliar to me it is a fabulous collection of patterns, especially if you want versions of the VoNBBS patterns without having to track them all down and resize them to more modern proportions. My one pet peeve is that the pattern pieces overlap, so you have no choice but to trace them out (or get each page copied several times I suppose). I generally trace patterns anyway but the maze of lines is difficult to follow for some of the pieces and you have to be careful not to trace a weird franken-pattern of multiple pieces. If you can get over that, it’s great! Also, have you heard she apparently has two, two, books in the works? I am super excited.


Again, these darts are legit. My jaunty shoulder sweater technique could use some work though.

The actual skirt I’m somewhat ambivalent about. Though it fits really well, the fabric isn’t my favorite. Its a heavy flannel houndstooth from JoAnn fabrics that I was hoping would make a warmer winter skirt without me having to try and pick out wool over the internet. It has pilled a fair bit with only 2 wears and just doesn’t look very nice to me. Honestly, I’m probably the only one that notices but next time I’m going to be a little more careful on the fabric selection. I’m imagining a collection of brightly colored wool skirts, maybe some with polka-dots, for next fall. It needs to happen.


More darts! Darts forever! Also, the lone mint button on the back pleases me. Especially when I found a t-shirt to match it.

Also, while we are here can we talk about how it needs to stop snowing in PA? About how it needs to stop snowing because this outfit really needs these shoes and not snow boots?5Thifting is often really hit and miss for me but this may be the equivalent of a home run: $10 kelly green leather heels for the win.

Ten Guesses

20130217-160148.jpgI’m pretty sure you won’t need ten guesses to figure out what I did.

I sewed through my finger. On Valentine’s Day of all things (yes, before you ask, the boyfriend did take me to the doctors to get it checked out. After he asked me why I sewed through my finger, of course). Other than feeling a bit silly in the ER not too much is wrong with it. Aside from the hole in my finger, anyway. I do get a nice course of antibiotics and a handy reminder that I should probably keep my tetanus up to date.

The funniest part though was everyone at the hospital wanted to know about my sewing. My doctor joked that he didn’t know that they made sewing machines anymore (I resisted getting a little snarky at this point, I really couldn’t tell if he was joking or not) but most of the nurses wanted to know what I was making and how long I’d been sewing. I got a lot of quick stories about home-ec classes in middle school, quilting grandmothers, and even a mother that cursed about hemming curtains. Except for the throbbing digit it was actually a little fun.

Anyway, considering I’ve been doing some kind of crafty something since childhood and this is the first time it had sent me to the doctor I’m doing pretty well. I’m also heartened by the fact that I’ve heard dozens of stories of sewers doing the same thing but none about anyone doing it a second time.

And if you’ve done it a second time, don’t tell me. I’m entirely fine with my delusions that my hobbies won’t bite back.

But seriously. Don’t tell me.

Yep, I Lied


So a short hiatus turned into a semester long blog desertion. Once I got into the M.A. program groove, PhD applications took over along with final papers and general stress chez Toasty. Instead of blogging and sewing, the common practice became curling up in a corner with some Nutella and Doctor Who reruns.

With all that done and applications over with (except for the occasional nagging panic of “did I get in? Did I? DID I?”) and classes under control (not to mention the irritating lack of a job for the semester at the moment) sewing is mostly back in full swing and I even have a few projects to share over the coming weeks.

Avoiding the weirdness of New Years resolutions while making what seems suspiciously like one, I will be a better blogger. Not a good blogger, a timely blogger, or anything like that. I said better and I have, apparently, not set my own bar very high given my track record.

In more stitchy news, this is what is currently on the plate:

A dress. With foxes. Be still my sqweeing heart. I love this fabric so much even though I am normally not an orange and coral kind of gal.  I totally am a novelty print and woodland animal one though so I’m expanding my color horizons. This dress is actually finished but you’ll have to wait until less awful lighting to see it. That and I’ll have to brush my hair in between reading William Hazlett and Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution. Not to belittle the French Revolution but I feel that Burke might have been a little more positive if he had more leaping orange foxes in his life. Just a thought.

1/27/2013In a continuing novelty theme I bring you a bird sweater! Not much to say about this one except that it is moving very slowly, though through no fault of its own. The pattern is Ysolda Teague’s Chickadee and I have no idea about the yarn as I seem to have lost all of the ball bands.

On a separate note, have you seen her Narwhal Mittens? Normally I am firmly anti-mitten but I may have to make an exception.



Last but not least, a wiggle dress from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. Outside of being fabulously dull to photograph in progress (I blame grey wool) this is my new favorite. Ever. The size 8 fits like a glove with absolutely no alterations. Praise Gertie for having the same measurements as me, apparently. I’m debating whether or not this is going to get lined, as I would need to order fabric online (Pittsburgh is lovely except for its severe lack of good fabric stores) or pillage a lining from another soon-to-be project and I want to wear this dress now. I feel like the nerdy professor version of Joanie in it, which is basically truth in advertising except that I’m normally running around in a level of mild unkemptness that Joanie would probably fire me for. Sigh.