Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Well The Point Is It Happened Coat

Guys, sometimes sewing is hard. You get to a point where you’ve been doing something for a little while and you forget that, you get a little lazy, you get a little arrogant, you think you know what you are doing and then you make something and you just think, man, this is not quite what I had in mind here. And that happened to me recently with a big project. My instinct is of course to hide such things from the world, to pretend they never happened and that everything I make turns to gold but not in a bad way, like Midas, like not all the food I eat or my family or anything. Also if the clothing I made turned to gold that would be awfully heavy not to mention limiting, color palate wise, so let’s just forget about that, okay? Cool. The point is, I’m showing this project because it didn’t turn out perfectly, but I still like it, and most importantly, I like that I made it. It was a lot of work and something new and a challenge and I learned things and remembered things and the end result is wearable, if not sheer bliss, so there you go.

What is it, you ask? It’s a coat, I really wanted to make one so I did. I loved Deer and Doe’s Pavot Jacket so I was very excited to make it for my first ever piece of outerwear. That being said, I cut this thing three months ago and sort of didn’t deal with it. Was I frightened of such a big project? Intimidated by trying something new? Hahaha, no, I seriously just didn’t want to deal with underlining. FOR. REALS. I used a coating I got from for 1.99 a yard, a wool nylon blend, which I liked a lot, but it was much lighter-weight then I had thought it would be, so I underlined it with cotton flannel to give it some weight and eliminate some of the drape. But having cut out the many-pieced pattern three times (I also added a lining) I found myself totally bored and overwhelmed by underlining each of the many pieces. So I just….didn’t. I let the project sit on my table, a rarity for me, for over 2 and a half months until my co-worker Griffin made a coat over a weekend, and it was the best thing ever, and he looks so amazing in it, and he was like, didn’t you cut a coat three months ago? How did that go? And I remembered that it hadn’t, and felt extreme sewn shame. Seshame, if you will. So I had to make it! Damn you, Griffin!

And so I sat down and just made myself underline the damn thing. And then I started putting the pieces together and remembered that AFTER the underlining things get really fun! Preparation for sewing can make you forget that actual construction is really enjoyable. All told, in sewing time, this thing probably took me about 15 hours, but also in some ways it took me three months. Time really is relative. Thanks, Einstein! (He…probably wasn’t talking about the time it takes me to make a coat, was he? Probably not. Probably.)

And then the coat was finally done. And I don’t know what it is, the underlining and the lining, the fact that the company makes things for pear shaped ladies, my own errors, but it’s a little snug in the bust, sigh. I even cut it two sizes bigger then my actual size and yet, ah well, some tightness. And as a result of that I’m a little, sigh, meh, ah well about this project. BUT. I made it. I made a coat. It happened. And that’s pretty cool. Well, I’ll let you be the judge:

WIH 2To be fair, it’s a bit wrinkled in this photo. And in ALL the photos.

WIH 1Part of the irony of waiting so long to work on this was that by the time I had finished it it was too cold to wear it, even with the underlining it’s still a light coat. But then we had two weird warm days in New York so I brought it to brunch in Long Island City and forced Becca to photograph it for me. And our friend Kira held my bag and pretended to throw it into the East River. Team effort!

WIH 3Oy, these photos are so wrinkled it makes the hem look off, I want to cry. Sigh.

WIH 4Look, it’s not so bad in this one! Yay! It really is a cute coat, I do like it!

WIH 6The details are great.

WIH 10I adore the collar, I feel like Madeline.

WIH 11And it’s got pockets, because all things should.

WIH 8And I put in this lining, which I love.

The construction was very easy and I put in the lining without problems even though there are no instructions in the pattern, I just made a lining version and stitched it into the coat and then stitched the facings over it. The fabric didn’t LOVE being ironed but it didn’t do anything crazy, and the underlining makes this a really nice coat weight for fall or spring, or weird warm December days.

WIH 12That look on my face is a celebration of pockets. Look, I honestly think that though this isn’t perfect, I do like it, I will wear it and I’m glad I made it. I’ve made a coat now! And it wasn’t so bad or scary, and I think the next time I make one it will be better, which is all you can hope for, really. The point is, it happened.

WIH 13We took these photos on the water in Long Island City, isn’t it stunning? Kira and her fiance Joe and most importantly their two cats look at this every day. Lucky bastards….

So there that is, a coat I made that, well, my favorite thing about it is the fact that it happened.

I hope you all had lovely Christmases! I’m about to take a family trip to Ireland literally tomorrow, so I might be off the grid for a while, but I will do one more sew-along post before I go and be ready to make little things for little people in January! I wont be back stateside until the 6th but feel free to start on the 1st if you like and stay tuned for exciting things, just as soon as I figure out what they are!










Filed under Deer and Doe, Sewing

The Sewing For Small People Sew-along: Links, Tutorials, Patterns and Ideas!

First and foremost, I’m so excited that people are signing up for this sewalong! It is so awesome that people want to join in on this with my co-workers and I, and I’m sure that we will all have a great time and share a lot of cool things together. And look, I figured out how to make a badge!

Grab it and go, it’s all yours.

So here we go, people, a round up of free patterns, tutorials and ideas! We will get to patterns for cost and material ideas in the next post, but for now, let’s look at the many things that can be made on the cheap for the little people in all our lives! This is just a handful of things I really like and have considered making, but there is so much more out there. A simple google search of “diy baby stuff” will literally reveal a world of people and ideas, but here are just a few of my favorites, and I will probably sew something from this list (and by something I mean several somethings, another nice thing about kid’s stuff is it can be fast and easy! Insert that’s what she said joke here). Just click on the photos for the pattern/tutorial.

Unisex Stuff:

kimono_shirt-600-1 baby+hoodie+1  mf_baby_jacket-600-6   bloomerstitle2  baby-tunic-sweater-425baby2pantcover babytightscoverpageaa11


Girl Stuff:

Purl Soho’s Embroidered Jumper:

cotton-embroidered-huipil-600-2 Girlstieredruffledresspattern-1024x889 dress1 summerbabydress


Boy Stuff:


Accesory Stuff:

burp_cloths_600-1 hooded-baby-towel-2-425biasedbibs2Dolly+Diaper+Bag+Tutorial diaperbag16 IMG_7865

Sleepy Time!:

148_0913_B_sleeping_bag_large nap-mat-600-3crib quilt2zigzagwhole425 pinwheel-quilt-600-1 vegetable-patch-quilt425 play-mat-overhead-425new_super_easy_baby_blanket600-1

Okay, what am I missing here? I have more clothing patterns that cost a bit, but are adorable and super worth it, (I assume? Again, no small people, only cats here) and I will be posting those later, but am I covering all the bases? Any other ideas? I can include more knitting stuff if people are planning to knit! But hopefully this is a good sampling and should give people ideas as January marches ever closer to us!


Filed under Challenge, Sewalong

The Sewing For Small People Sew-along!

It is my great pleasure to announce that after years of following other people’s sew-alongs, I will now be hosting one of my own! Yes, that’s right folks, I am throwing my hat in the ring on the sew-along train and mixing metaphors willfully as I do it. And you will note the sew-along theme, right there in the title of this post! But, Leah,you say, why would you want to do such a crazy thing, sew for small humans, and by that I mean people of extreme youth, not just people of specific stature. Most sewers dread sewing for little people, especially those who don’t have a small human themselves. And by the way, I am not expecting a small human any time soon, let’s just eliminate that expectation right now, I promise, my oven is bun-free and happy about that. So what’s the dealio, yo?

Well, my amazing boss at the Costume Shop, Samanthe, recently announced that the reason she’s been asking the rest of us to refill the water cooler isn’t a power trip or a diva moment, she’s actually pregnant! Both Sam and her lovely husband Jason work at NYU-Tisch, so they have a lot of fans among the department, and we are all very excited for them, and for their current small person, Samuel (Yes, it’s Sam and Sam, couldn’t you just die?) to be joined by this new gentleman or lady (we should be learning the sex in about a month. I love how I’m saying we, like this is a communal pregnancy, like we’re on a kibbutz.) And I thought, we all want to give Sam and Jason and the new human in their lives something special, but most of us are students and/or artists, and we can’t just turn to Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendations for ideas. But we all also SEW. And some of us knit and crochet and bead and embroider and generally make stuff with our hands. So why not make a bunch of things, and why not do it as a sew-along? And then I figured, I bet there are others out there, people with friends who have or are having small people, people with small people themselves, who might like a sewing-for-small-people-sew-along! And thus my brainchild, much like Frankenstein’s monster, was born. Bahahahahaha! They called me mad, mad, but I will show the world!

Ahem. I’m back. Sorry. So, please ignore my mad scientist moment and focus on the Sewing for Small People! Let’s do it!

The details:

This is going to be a four month sew (really make, you could do anything)-along, starting in January. I know that everyone has a lot going on with the holidays so we are going to start January 1st, and there will be bi-weekly sew-along posts with prizes, giveaways, featured projects, inspirational images, all that fun stuff. The sew-along will end on May 1st, and everyone can do a big reveal on their own blogs or in the real world, whatever you’re into, and then I will do a round-up of projects over the course of May. Sam’s baby is due in June, so sometime before then my costume shop compatriots and I will be having a really shower, but we can have a digital shower here, too, for all of you! Assuming anyone joins this. Which would be nice. But if not, I will sew along with myself! Oh, that’s sounds really sad.

Leah, are you going to make a badge and a flicker group, you might be asking me? Well, I have to say, I really am not a fan of flicker, but I will do that if there is desire, and I don’t know how to make a badge, but I will figure that out by January, I promise!

Leah, what are these prizes going to be like? I have no idea. But they will be AMAZING, I promise!

Leah, can anyone join? Of course! The more the merrier!

Leah, I know of a small person who is not a fresh-from-the-oven human, but rather a toddler. Can I sew for them? Duh! In fact, I will be including stuff for kids up to 4 years old, as Samanthe and Jason’s son Sam is almost 3, and I wouldn’t want him to feel left out in all the baby preparations, so we are going to make sure he has some goodies too.

Leah, will you be modeling any of these items on your cat? You know it. Please don’t call PETA.

So I will post some tutorial and pattern ideas later in the month, both free ones and reasonably priced options, along with fabric ideas and tips and sources, knitting resources, crocheting concepts, and whatever the hell else people feel like they need. Let’s do this thing! Sewing For Small People Sewalong! Who is in? Just comment below and let me know that you want to be a part of this and who you are making things for and what you would like along the way!

And now, as an early source of inspiration, some items I recently made for another teacher of mine, who has a small person, and is awesome:

SFSP 1Both of these patterns were free from I will be covering that in a tutorial and pattern round up later this month, but for now here are two links, the hat, and the bear.

SFSP 4Putting aside the practicalities of giving a small sticky spilling child Liberty of London anything, HOW CUTE IS THIS?

SFSP 2Kid’s stuff is fun, as I have recently learned, because you can indulge in your most colorful silly impulses. Look at this:

SFSP 3I would NEVER put a pompom on an adult’s hat. But a kid? Yeah, man, more pompoms! Also, this hat took me, like, 45 minutes. Little heads, little hands, little everything, this stuff has the potential to be quite quick!

See, with inspiration like this, who WOULDN’T want to join in? So come on over and pledge your allegiance to the small people in your life or the lives of those around you, it’s going to be a blast!


Filed under Challenge, Sewalong, Sewing

The That’s A Wrap Dress

The body is an amazing thing. My friend Jenny, who is, in time, going to be the best doctor who has ever lived, and I were recently having a conversation about stress and its effect on the body and the way it can manifest in physical ways. Most people don’t want to deal with this connection, but it actually makes me feel better to know that I’m feeling sick through stress and not through some kind of stomach ailment. Of course, it’s no easier to control, but still, it’s nice to know. Of course, if your mind can cause you pain, the implication would be that the reverse is also true, it can repress pain until it’s time to deal with it. Which leads right to my theory that just after a stressful and difficult time I end up getting sick, right in the moment when I’m allowed to relax, boom. The last thing is due and the day after it’s sniffles for days. So given that I just finished my third semester of Graduate School, it makes complete sense that I would get a cold. Right? It’s this kind of logic that comforts me when I’m drowning in a sea of herbal tea and my own mucus.

But before I succumbed to my head cold, which really hasn’t been so bad, as they go, knock on wood, I had a chance to get some photos of a recent creation! Honestly, my garment backlog right now is astounding, I can’t even deal with it. Slowly but surely over this break I will be catching up, though that being said I’m also making more things too, so….it’s a vicious cycle. But given that I’m taking two trips in the next 5 weeks at least the backgrounds to these future photos have the potential to be more interesting than my current batches which have been taken in stolen Tisch classrooms. Not that I should complain, they are super well-lit, and my lovely co-worker Griffin took the following photos, too, because he is a rockstar.

So I’ve wanted a knit wrap dress for a while, and didn’t make one for literally no reason at all. Honestly, there is no good reason I didn’t make this earlier, there is even a free pattern for it, The Hope Dress from BurdaStyle. It was easy and quick and painless and I love it. Why didn’t I do this before? Maybe I was swamped with my writing dreams? That sounds as good an excuse as any….but don’t just take my word for this, see how cute it is yourself!

TAW 1I got the fabric on Ebay, and it’s a sort of soft black. This photo captures it the best. It kind of reminds me of someone, actually, can you guess who?

image-2I sent my mother a photo of him the other day and she was like, I always forget how large he is! And then my roommate Emily saw this amazing video and asked if WE could get a baby elephant and I explained that we already have one. And now I have a dress to match him! Or at least his dark little tail.

TAW 2This dress was a breeze to make. I didn’t even have to print the pattern, we actually used it in the costume shop for a show set in the 1970’s, so it was all printed out for me and then my awesome boss just handed it to me when we were done.

TAW 4This fabric is a little drapey, which I like, and I modified the pattern to make it my size (40ish, or about a 6) from a size 34. I also lengthened the sleeves, but made no other alterations.

TAW 6The edges are bound with a strip of jersey, and that’s the part that takes the most time, really. But that’s okay! It’s worth it! Man, comfortable, stylish, timeless, who doesn’t love a wrap dress? Thank you, Diane Von Furstenberg! You are the best!

TAW 5Wrap dresses do have one drawback, and that’s of course if you have things that can, uh, be easily UNwrapped should the edges of the dress slip. I just secure the neckline with a small safety pin, myself, which makes for a slight curve in the line of the front wrap piece, as you can see, but I’m fine with that, it’s much better then the alternative…


What can you do? Is what it is. And if the only true solution is to avoid wrap dresses altogether, well, that’s not going to happen. I’ve already made this pattern three times. It seems a fitting end to my semester, after all, wrapping things up (SEE WHAT I DID THERE BAHAHAHAH OH GOD I THINK THE COLD MEDICATION IS SINKING IN.)

And with that terrible joke, I bid you adieu, I’m off to nap and cough. Seriously, if you are on the fence about this pattern, make it, it’s easy and fun and I think it looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. Annnnd that’s a wrap. Wah wah waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.


Filed under Burda Style, Sewing

The Lady Lumberjack Shirt

I can sometimes be a little stubborn. I’ll admit it, it’s true. I think if I was REALLY stubborn I would never admit such a thing, or maybe that’s just crossing the line into contrary, so that’s probably positive, and I try not to be inflexible, but hey, you know, sometimes you are the way you are, and the way I am is occasionally stubborn, and usually about the weirdest possible things. For example, I was really tired and not getting a lot of sleep about a year ago and someone, someone who generally irked me with their attitude about the world, told me I should get to sleep early, and I stayed up until 3 in the morning just to spite them. The weirdest part? They never knew! I never told them! I was exhausted, but some part of me took great joy in that act of stupid stubborn pointless defiance. I’m like a freedom fighter for very futile battles. It’s PRETTY impressive, obviously.

So when Grainline Patterns Archer Shirt came out, I liked the look of it, but everyone was into it, and shirts are tricky with all their pieces and stuff, and everyone and their mother was making one, and I just decided I wasn’t going to do that sort of thing. No, that sort of shirt wouldn’t look good on me anyway so why bother making it and I don’t CARE if all the cool kids are doing it I’m just going to eat my lunch in the library and be ALONE, that’s the REALLY cool thing. Wow, I just flashed back to high school there, hmmm, I’m going to need to go talk to some wine about that.

Okay, I’m back, my friend wine and I really hashed that out. The point is I just arbitrarily decided that this well-loved and beautifully made pattern just isn’t for me. And then I changed my mind. I blame Griffin, honestly, my costume shop co-worker, he just has the coolest collection of handmade button down shirts in shades and shades of plaid and he looks so awesome and I got really jealous. And once I noticed Griffin had a bunch of plaid shirts I started looking around and EVERYONE seemed to have plaid shirts and then I was all alone in the library again, and, and, wine, come back here, we’re not done.

So I bought the Archer shirt, and got some plaid flannel, and just went to town. And you know what? I’m so glad my stubbornness didn’t get the better of me, because I love this shirt. I seriously was sewing on the buttons 5 minutes before I needed to leave for my final class of the semester and I sat in the room hugging myself the whole time because it’s so cozy, causing my classmates a lot of laughter and mockery. I don’t care, man, this shirt is awesome. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself:

LLS 2Not only did Griffin inspire me to MAKE this shirt, he also took these photos of me during a slow moment at work today! Griffin, you are the best.


My co-workers are seriously the most lovely people, I can’t even deal with the level of awesomeness they exude, they always love my handmade stuff even though they are serious and seriously good sewers. I’m like the toddler who has learned to walk and can’t stop pointing out how great walking is and they are marathon runners.

LLS 5This is one cozy warm shirt, I made it just in time for the cold New York winter. It’s a little bulky under this skirt, I realized after wearing it all day and catching sight of myself with a shirt-flap shaped stomach bludge. Ah, well.

LLS 3I don’t even care! Because I love it. And honestly, once I got over myself, it wasn’t even that hard. Sure it’s a lot of pieces and steps but if you go slow and follow Jen’s amazing online tutorials it’s really not so hard. And I love the way it turned out, I think it looks really professional and well finished!I love the back pleat, let’s take a closer look, shall we?



I flat felled the sleeve settings and did french seams on the side seams but otherwise followed all her instructions to the letter. The collar wasn’t even so hard, what was I so afraid of? I had nothing to fear but fear itself.

LLS 6See? Baller. Like a boss. This is the face I use when I’m making collars like a boss:

LLS 7Just so you know for future reference. Because there will be more Archer shirts. The seal has been broken. I’ve already cut one with the last of the Indian fabric from what’s-his-face.

LLS 9Ooooh placket! Cuff! Ah, it’s a little off, whatever whatever whatever it’s a cuff who cares. LLS 8

The buttons! I love these.

LLS 10What more can I say, I love this shirt! The plaids aren’t perfectly matched, I didn’t have quite enough fabric, but I’m willing to let that go. I can’t wait to make my next one. It’s even Archer Appreciation Month right now! Archer, I appreciate you. You broke my stubborn silliness and gave me something perfect. We are now friends. You can eat lunch with me in the library. But you have to bring your own wine.

LLS 11I’m just kidding! No. I’m not. Bring wine. Thanks.



Filed under Grainline Patterns, Sewalong, Sewing