Monday, October 24, 2016

Essex Linen Hayden Tee

It's probably obvious by now, but I am a big fan of Seamwork patterns. Still, rarely do I make both of the patterns from a single issue. In 2015, I made both patterns from the June Knits issue. In 2016, I made both patterns from the April Intentions issue. I've already written about the Seneca skirt, so today I will tell you about the Hayden tee.

Last April Carolyn Friedlander announced her Euclid line, which is printed on Essex Linen, and posted about a Hayden tee she made from one of the fabrics. I immediately wanted to make a Hayden tee out of Euclid fabric. Sadly, the fabric would not be available for purchase for months and months. Since I had never sewn a garment out of Essex Linen before, I decided to make a wearable muslin while I waited for Euclid's release. Cropped isn't my style, so I chose to make the longer versionThis shirt ended up being my favorite shirt of the summer.

I ordered a few yards of Essex Linen in Water, and I'll admit I was a little disappointed when it arrived. It felt rougher to the touch than I expected and I didn't see how it was an improvement over quilting cotton. Nevertheless, I continued on. It softened a bit with prewashing and its stiffness made it a joy to sew with. I used French seams everywhere I could and took my time. I took particular care when grading between two sizes and it really paid off. The end result fits me perfectly and I wore it frequently throughout the summer. Since I wore it so much, I can tell you that the Essex Linen does soften considerably with repeated washing.

The neckline gave me some trouble. Since the Essex Linen was so thick, I tried a couple different alternatives for the finishing bias strips. I had to rip out the quilting cotton I used the first time, and ended up using some leftover Triangle Tokens voile. Even so, I used a denim needle to sew the neckline, due to the thickness of the Essex Linen.

The only major change I made was to use elastic for the button loop instead of fabric, which was a detail I had seen on several of my daughter's dresses over the years. It works really well and I would do it again.

Interestingly enough, both the Seneca skirt and Hayden tee are supposed to be two hour projects. Personally, Hayden took me much longer to sew than Seneca, but was well worth the extra time. I could totally see myself making more of these next spring or summer. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Basic Black Seneca Skirt

Early in July, I whipped up a new wardrobe staple: the Seamwork Seneca Skirt. Of all the Seamwork patterns I've completed, this sewed up the fastest. Usually my sewing style is to pick away at a pattern, sewing a little bit here, a little bit there, over several days or weeks. For this skirt, I started after dinner and was finished before bedtime. The instructions were clear and everything fit together nicely. It felt so good to sew such a quick pattern!

When I tried on the finished skirt in front of a mirror, I was a little unsure about the length. I'm much shorter than the model, so it's possible that I should have shortened it a few inches. In the end, I decided I love the length because of how comfy the skirt is. Also, it has pockets!

The fabric is my tried-and-true Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey Knit in Onyx. I noticed during this year’s Me-Made-May that I reach for basic black items the most often. This skirt also filled a glaring hole in my wardrobe. Now I have not one, but two skirts in my closet!

My  Seneca skirt has gotten quite a bit of use this summer. I usually wear it with my blue Akita blouse, which is also a Seamwork pattern. I'd definitely like to sew another of these skirts next spring or summer, but am currently focused on planning my fall garment sewing. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

July 2016 in Review

This summer has been full of sunny days and outside activities, which doesn’t leave much time for crafting. Even so, I managed to finish a few things and make progress on several more.


Seneca Skirt: At the beginning of the month, I whipped up a Seamwork Seneca Skirt. It was a super quick, fun sew. Seneca has served me well this summer, as I tend to wear skirts and dresses when the heat rises.

Hayden Shirt: I also made a Seamwork Hayden Shirt out of Essex Linen. It wasn’t nearly as quick as the Seneca Skirt, but it was worth the extra time, as I wear it constantly.

River Song Honey Cowl: My River Song Honey Cowl is my third knit finished object. I liked it when I started it in April, but quickly lost interest. I used bamboo needles because I read they were good for newbies. However, the bamboo needles combined with this lovely single-ply yarn made the knitting super slow. The finished product is full of mistakes. Since I didn't swatch, it's an odd length and not very wearable. However, I do like the look of the pattern. I may try the one skein version at some point, but will make sure to do a swatch.

Cuzco Crosscut Mini Quilt: I wanted to participate in my mom’s Crosscut Quilt Along, but didn't have time to make new blocks from scratch, so I used blocks I had on hand. I started sewing with this Cuzco fabric back in 2013, so it was high time I finished something with them. (Keep reading to hear what I did with the rest of the blocks.) I really enjoyed participating in the quilt along and will use the sew-it-together-and-cut-it-up-differently technique again.


Motion in the Ocean Skye Cowl: After working on the Honey Cowl for three months, I wanted to knit something I could finish quickly. Using Motion in the Ocean bulky yarn from Spun Right Round, I cast on the Skye cowl. The yarn is super soft and reminds me of a Monet painting. In July, I knit my way through the first skein and joined the second skein. I had barely started and was already halfway done!

Existing WIPs

Baltic Boneyard Shawl: My Boneyard Shawl is my current favorite WIP. In July, I finished the first skein and added the second skein. The pattern is simple enough for a beginner to tackle, but has enough complexity to hold my interest.

Chaos Quilt: Earlier this year, I took a workshop from Libs Elliott. It was a lovely day, and I finally finished the top of my Chaos Quilt in July. I look forward to quilting it and hanging it on my wall.

Cuzco Days Baby Quilt: After finishing my Cuzco Crosscut Mini Quilt, I had enough blocks left over to make a baby quilt. Since this WIP has been languishing for several years, I knew I was never going to make it into a lap quilt. I capitalized on the momentum I had built up with the mini quilt and threw the remaining blocks together into a finished top. With this top, the Chaos Quilt, the SEAMQG BOM Quilt and the Glam Clam Quilt, I now have four tops that need quilting! I’m going to try to finish one or two before I start any new quilts.

Scrap Vortex: I love all the Scrap Vortex quilts that I've seen on Instagram and the blogosphere, but I have to force myself to work on mine. The process takes up a lot of space, and it's hard to tell how much I have left to do, which is disheartening. Thankfully, I had a sewing day at my mom's house and using her design wall helped so much! I managed to sew together three columns/rows and plan to make two more. It's so nice knowing that I'm over halfway done with the piecing.

Temperature Blanket: My Temperature Blanket didn't get much love in July. It's the perfect project for a rainy day, and we had precious few of those lately. I managed to finish a few rows, but ended the month about seven weeks behind.