Handmade Wardrobe, Top

handmade wardrobe topBefore January, I came close to declaring 2015 the year that I would only add new clothes to my closet by making them. I was reeeeally close. But then I thought, maybe I’ll just try a little harder, and make a few things when I can. If you follow me on Instagram, I’ve shared a few of my other tops made this year, and I hope to keep it up. I would be the last person to claim that I am fashionable (we can’t all be, it’s okay), but I am very.picky. about the way my clothes fit. Comfort is first, and if it looks nice too, all the better. When my clothes are uncomfortable I feel like I’m going to throw an adult tantrum. Anyway…

I wanted to share this one specifically for a few reasons – the fabrics, the blocking, and the neckband. This shirt was a bit of an accident – I was attempting to recreate (with permission!) a favorite piece made by my friend Tracy at Dear Pony. But the fabric I was using (the navy here) did not hang the same, and so after I cut the first version apart, I was left with only usable sleeves and the bottom section of the shirt. So I readjusted the top half and filled in the gaps with these other fabrics – aiming for a seam across the bust.I have zero experience with creating blocking (sewing the two pieces together at the bust line to make the front and back pieces) with knits. I was nervous that it would stretch too much and leave that horrible ripple that you can so often get when sewing knits. I serged the rest of the seams on this top – but not this seam. Using a needle for knits, I first sewed the seam with a long basting stitch, then again with a shorter stitch, being careful not to stretch the fabric at all while I sewed. I pressed the seam after, and was pleasantly surprised…no ripples!

The floral fabric is an organic cotton knit by Birch – from the Acorn Trail series by Teagan White (the whole collection is so cute – mine was from here). I was unsure if it would be stretchy enough for apparel, but it’s lovely, especially just in a small section like this. I used an off white piece for the back, simply for interest. The navy and off white are 90% cotton, 10% spandex – it is just slightly thick (think yoga pants), and really nice to sew. Shocker, I got this fabric locally at Fabricland.

handmade wardrobe top

I really wanted to share this because of the neckband. This is always my downfall when sewing tops – but I came across this tutorial and thought I would give it a try. It’s so simple and I can’t believe you don’t see it more often. The result is really nice – very sturdy, leaves no edges on the inside of the neck, and can be easily top stitched with a straight stitch to finish it off.

This top is my new favorite – blocked, dropped sleeve, tight on the arms, loose on the middle (to avoid tantrum). I wish I could direct you to a pattern, but mostly I would love to encourage you to try creating your own patterns out of clothes you already know you love.

Happy sewing!

handmade wardrobe top

{thanks to my husband for reluctantly taking these photos…}

No Nuts Granola Recipe

granola

 

{disclaimer! by using the term ‘no nuts’ I really mean, no tree nuts. See all the options in the recipe below to make sure you only include what’s good for you!}

If I was stuck somewhere and only had one thing to eat (have you played that game lately?) I would really hope it would be all of this granola. Well, and yogurt (you should make that too! recipe here). Anyway, I love this stuff and eat it probably too many times a day, it is also one of my favorite foods to gift. I have an allergy to several common tree nuts, so buying store bought versions is pretty much out – maybe you’re in the same boat, or just want to try it, so I thought I would share the recipe here!

This recipe is based on the original from Simply In Season, a lovely book. This will make enough for two half-gallon jars (which lasts my granola loving self about a week…)

No Nuts Granola:

6 C Large Flake Oats (do not use quick oats)

2 C Whole Wheat Flour (I have also used spelt flour in a pinch and coconut flour, which made the granola drier/finer but was delicious)

1 tbsp each of Cinnamon and Ginger

optional 2 – 3 tsbp Cocoa Powder, if you want it a slight bit chocolatey…

*mix dry ingredients together and add:

1/2 C Oil (I use melted coconut oil, but any vegetable oil will work. If using olive oil, I would suggest combining it with another oil so that the taste is not overwhelming)

1/2 C Melted Honey

optional 1/4 C Peanut Butter or Nut Butter (if you are making a nutty version)

1/4 – 1/2 C each of Raisins, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Cacao Nibs (a bit of an acquired taste, but now I can’t imagine it without them), and any chopped up dried fruit that you fancy.

*mix together and add about 1/4 C milk as you stir. When combined the mixture should be evenly wet and clumpy.

*Spread the mixture in a large pan and bake at 330 – stirringΒ  (important!) and decreasing the temperature by 10 degrees every 15 minutes for an hour. Let it dry and cool completely before storing.

Enjoy!

granola (1)

My Why

happyIn business and entrepreneurship you hear over and over again, that you should know your ‘why.’ As in, why are you doing what you’re doing? It might just be the most important thing, what everything else stems from. And for me, right now, my making is about happiness. My own as I use my hands to make, and all the cute bits that I love sending out to everyone else. Sometimes it can be as simple as that. Happy Wednesday…

*Image from Dallas Clayton

Sew Mama Sew, Six Weeks of Love for Softies

sms (1)

Hi! And a big hello to everyone who has jumped over here from Sew Mama Sew – I am so honored to be part of their current series, Six Weeks of Love for Softies. When I was asked to participate as a contributor I was shaken out of my hidey-hole studio for a moment – I work alone (and love that part) and sometimes forget how big the internet is, and how great it is to connect with women in the same field. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, and then I loved all those women even more. I am contributing alongside doll makers whose work I have loved for years – sooo, feels pretty nice.

The series of posts that is currently running is a truly great roundup of maker talent, tutorials, tips and tricks, and showcase dolls – just the kind of thing I wish had been around when I started. Also they are running a Soft Toy Drive (of handmade toys) for kids in foster care, and a Spectacular Softies Contest where you can make your own project and enter it to win some amazing prizes. And don’t you be scared to enter! Honestly, you couldn’t be surrounded by more warm and encouraging people. Doll makers I tell you…

sms

I have also created two tutorials for Sew Mama Sew that come out this week! I am new at this kind of thing, and it is really interesting (and lots of hard work!) to look at your process step by step, taking notes and photos along the way. I am generally a pretty scrappy sewer, and it’s very rare that I follow patterns. More often I figure things out as I go, so it feels pretty good to have focused on these projects enough to share them. Enjoy, and it was so nice to see you here!

-Erin

The Wee Elves, New for Spring!

springelvesScreen shot 2015-03-04 at 10.46.38 PMScreen shot 2015-03-06 at 10.27.36 PMboolahbaguette_1springelvesspringelves (5)

It all started with those ears…

And then I really couldn’t stop. I just couldn’t. Actually, let’s back up – it really started when a lovely customer requested a custom elf for their baby born on Christmas. The doll I made for them had a pink pixie hair style and a certain look, and I knew I would have to make more. And then when I went to make a few little people dolls recently, well, I remembered about those ears.

I am entirely smitten with every one of these dolls. Their frizzy hair and freckles, their little pouches, that corduroy bunny jacket(!), their rosy little cheeks. Oh there is something so good about the tiny little changes that happen in making, the ones that make you fall in love with it all over again.

You can find these Wee Elves in my shop – and to be sure, there will be more…

Have a wonderful weekend, xo

Winter, Don’t Go…

winter (1)Screen shot 2015-02-28 at 9.45.12 PMwinter (6)Screen shot 2015-02-28 at 9.45.43 PM

For the last few years, about this time, I feel uneasy about the idea that there is so little of winter left. I love winter – everything about it, and you’ll never hear me complain about the cold. I realize that this is not the popular opinion of those living on the Canadian prairies in February. I know that most people are planning their gardens and dreaming of summer (or living it temporarily somewhere with a warmer climate), but I am completely soaking up the last weeks (months I hope!) of winter. The warm blankets, nightly tea, rosy cheeks, shovels and ski pants. The bright sun even on the coldest days. The ability to snuggle in and hide inside my house like a cat for six months of the year. That is key.

So winter, I’ll keep you a bit longer. Thanks.