Wednesday, November 4, 2020

'I Can Do Hard Things' Cross Stitch (Free Pattern!)

It's the day after Election Day and I am a big ball of nerves. I work in campaigns and my team is all obsessively checking projections and frantically calling each other with updates. We're all so frazzled and hoping for a good outcome.

I keep reminding myself that no matter the outcome, the work isn't done. The patriarchal, white supremacist empire still reigns. There are Senate seats and state legislatures to flip... More importantly, there's an injust system that surely wasn't ever going to be fixed by this election. (Though, I'm still hoping those fixes have an easier path...)

All this to say, things are hard right now! There are a lot of hard things to be done!

Earlier this year, I read Glennon Doyle's "Untamed"— which I highly recommend—and she frequently mentions a personal motto that has really stuck with me, and has become a mantra throughout the many hard days working this election cycle: I can do hard things.

We are so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for. We have HUGE challenges ahead of us, and we have an obligation to our friends and neighbors (and, possibly more important, those whose experience we can't begin to fathom) to face them head strong.

This is my first go at designing a cross stitch pattern, and I learned a lot in this process. I'm giving it to y'all free—it's nothing fancy, just an excel sheet. I hope you find some peace in the meditative process of making your own, and it serves as a reminder that you can do hard things because there are hard things to be done.

Get the free cross stitch pattern here


  • All stitches are full stitches. 
  • Pattern is designed for a 6 inch hoop.
  • Floss color codes have not been provided (I used colors in my stash and don't have codes for most of them)

Monday, May 4, 2020

Quarantine Frosting: Fringed Sweatshirt

I am a total magpie. I need sparkles and sequins and bright colors and funky (faux) furs and all the glitz and glam to survive. So being stuck at home in quarantine, deprived of so much beauty—while recognizing how much worse it could be—has been really getting me down. I try to cycle through my over the top earring collection, but even that can lose its sparkle after 7 weeks. I needed something fun and beautiful that is still practical for lounging. Enter: fringed sweatshirt.

I've had fringe on the brain for the past couple months, and had dreamed of sewing up fringed bodysuits and coverups to wear to festivals and events this summer that have sadly all been cancelled. I'm so happy that I found a way to make my "summer of fringe" dreams come true.

This was SO easy. I actually made two versions of this: one using the Mood fabrics free Bixa sweatshirt pattern (squashing the sleeves into one pattern piece since I wasn't using any contrasting fabric), and one done from a rub off of a beloved sweatshirt in my closet. The Bixa just didn't look right on me. I think perhaps the shoulders were a tad narrow, and it looked almost too tailored as a result, which is not what you want in loungewear. Thankfully I had rounded up when I bought fabric and was able to squeeze two out of one fabric order!! The second version, pictured, was the rub off, which fits my shoulders much more nicely. My measurements are 36-25-28, and was able to get two of these out of 2 yards of this sweatshirt fleece and 2 yards of 10" chainette fringe trim—hopefully that's helpful for figuring out how much fabric you'd need.

Here's how I did it, using zig zag stitch/serger except where noted:
  1. Cut fabric pieces as normal.
  2. Sew the shoulder seams, if applicable. The version pictured was a raglan sleeve, which doesn't have a shoulder seam, but the Bixa does.
  3. Sew in sleeves flat, without yet sewing the under arm seam or the side seams of the torso.
  4. Pin your fringe trim to the right side of your fabric at the underarm seamline, with the strings facing away from the edge. You want the bottom part of the trim tape (right where the strings branch off) to line up right at the underarm seamline, and the trim to end right at the seamline for the wrist and underarm. Get it pinned as precisely as possible, then cut it to size.
  5. Sew in place using a straight stitch.
  6. Pin the underarm and side seams RST and stitch as usual. If you placed your trim correctly, the zigzag stitch/serger will catch the trim tape in the middle of your stitches to keep it really secure and without cutting the trim at the top edge if using a serger.
  7. Pin the sleeve binding to the sleeve. If you cut your trim correctly to size, you should have no strings past the seam allowance. Sew to attach—you can do a basting stitch first and check the trim placement if you're not sure.
  8. Attach the lower edge of the torso and neckline as normal.
  9. Turn RSO and swish about in your fringed sweatshirt!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Miss Make's Looper Quilt Part 2: The Wedding Quilt

I have been bitten by the Looper Bug BAD. I whipped up a little crib sized Looper a couple weeks ago using castoffs from my Sun Flare quilt, and then almost immediately cut fabric for a throw sized Looper. This one is going to be a wedding gift for a dear friend, who isn't getting married for a while but I just couldn't resist while I was shacked up at home during quarantine.

The difference between doing a crib and throw sized Looper felt enormous. I didn't have a problem getting my stripes to line up on the crib one, but not. a single. stripe. lined up on this one. I am still at a complete loss as to what I did differently between them—my only hunch is that maybe I did something funky on the curved pieces but did them funky in the same way for all the crib sized quilt blocks, and it wasn't noticeable without a contrast to the straight stripe blocks which are certainly more accurate like in the throw sized. I had to individually grade adjustments into each stripe to get them to line up. It's still not perfect, but I got to a point where I just couldn't look at it anymore!

But, in the end, I still really love this quilt. I love the quilting lines (I was too impatient to wait for quarantine to be over to send this off to be quilted) and I love love love the fabric selection. I think my friends will treasure it, and possibly love it even more for the character baked into its creation.

Quilt Top: Kona Mulberry, Tomato, Candy Pink, Glacier, Robin Egg, and Celestial
Quilt Back: Alexander Henry A Ghastlie Screen Red from Stone Mountain & Daughter

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Miss Make's Looper Quilt Part 1: Crib-Sized Practice Quilt

Right as things started getting crazy with the coronavirus and people starting to lock down, I made this beautiful little crib sized Looper Quilt using fabric scraps leftover from my Then Came June Sunflare Quilt. The couple I made the Sunflare for as a future wedding gift is planning on having children so I'm holding onto this beauty for their first youngin' because I love a parent-child matching moment. I cannot emphasize enough how much I love this little baby quilt. The colors (which I wasn't crazy about on my Sunflare, go figure) are so perfect and make me so happy.

Top to bottom: blue tencel stash fabric, Kona Lilac, Kona Orchid, Kona Baby Pink, Kona Peach, Kona Ice Peach. Backing: Kona Maize

This was my first time sewing curves—I have a bigger Looper planned as a wedding gift for a different couple, so wanted to give the curves a go before cutting into that special fabric. Each block was better than the last (you can see the top right block, which I did first, is a bit more squiggly that the others) and I’m now feeling much more confident in my curved sewing abilities.

I did some stitching in the ditch around the stripes, another first for me. I wanted the quilting lines to kind of radiate from the rainbow shape, so I measured quilting lines using a acrylic quilting ruler and a quilting marker that measured the same width as the finished stripes, roughly 2.5 inches. I did horizontal stripes on the top half, and vertical stripes on the bottom to tie in the seamline where the bottom two blocks are joined. I wanted to minimize the amount of threads on the "inside" of the quilt top area where the binding can't catch and secure them, so I stitched the background stripes in sets of two, stitching in the ditch again where I had to double over the outside edge of the stripes in order to turn back. A visual in case that doesn't make sense:

This worked really well, except where my fabric wasn't perfectly straight in that top block and it bubbled a little bit, but in the end you have to not let perfect be the enemy of the good—no kiddo will ever notice it so I am deciding it's not worth the extra effort of stressing over perfection.

All in all this was such an amazing learning experience—so much growth packed into such a small quilt! I already have my fabric cut for the throw sized Looper, AND have done some quarantine fabric cutting for a Then Came June Meadowland Quilt using scraps from my past 4 or 5 quilts. Definitely bummed about the quarantine situation here in the SF Bay Area, but making the best of a bad situation with as many projects as I can get my hands on!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Vogue 1247

Like all good stories, this project starts with the kindness of a stranger. When I set my goals for my Make Nine 2020, I had decided on making the much-loved Vogue 1247 skirt, but was having trouble finding a copy as the pattern is long out of print.

Well, I'm a professional researcher (actually), so I hunted in Pattern Review forums and found someone who offered to share her copy to another person early in 2019, clicked through her profile to her blog and found contact information. She gladly agreed to send me her copy and insisted I keep the copy when I was done with it. Have I mentioned that I really love the internet?

I sewed this up in a black 14 wale corduroy from, with leftover blue mystery fabric (feels like tencel) I got as a remnant from Fabric Outlet for the pocket lining to reduce a little bulk. This is also the FIRST! project I've finished using my new overlocker machine that I got for Christmas (other than a bunch of little reusable cotton squares I made as practice), and I'm tickled pink with how it turned out. It took me a while to get a hang of it, so there's some bites taken out of the pocket area by the overlocker knife where I wasn't QUITE ready to start taking on such tight turns. 😂

I added 1.5" of length and it's still pretty short—next time I'll probably add 2" and only hem 1.5" instead of 2" like the pattern calls for. If I was doing this in corduroy again, I might add another 1/4" to the waistband, because it's just the slightest bit snug, but not enough to be uncomfortable.

If you're inclined to draft a copycat, here are some measurements for size 14 (36-28-38). These measurements include seam allowances of 5/8" except where noted.

  • Cut waistband 35.25" wide and 4.5" tall (cut 1 fabric, 1 interfacing). This includes 1.25" extra on one end to lap over for a waistband hook or button—the waistband is 17"x 2.25" not including this overhang and after folding over the waistband.
  • The yoke is 6 5/8" tall and 19.5" wide at the top (add two 1.25"x5.75" darts on both the front and back yokes to make each 17" finished). The front yoke is 21.5" wide at the bottom, and the back yoke is 22.5" wide at the bottom. The front yoke has the inside side of the pockets at the bottom.
  • The bottom is 12.75" tall on both the front and back, including a 2" hem. This includes an extra 1.5" that I added compared to the pattern. The bottom is also 23" wide on the front and 25" wide on the back.
  • The pockets are 8" wide and 7" deep. There is 1" width between them on the yoke, but the stitch line is 3" when you attach the yoke to the other side of the pockets.
Here are some sketches that I hope help—I swear it looks more complicated than it is!



I highly recommend this pattern, especially in corduroy. It's so flattering and one of the comfiest skirts I own. I totally get the hype!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

LABasketry's Rope Bag

I saw @elisalex's version of the rope bag from "Baskets," by Tabara N'Diaye (aka @labasketry), and it went to the top of my to-make list for 2020. I love this bag. I really really love this bag. It has a wide mouth, so it works great for grocery shopping, carrying books, and running errands, but it's far prettier than the reusable tote bag I had been using (and likely will continue to use, waste not want not etc).

N'Diaye's book is beautiful and so accessible. She makes me really want to get into basket weaving, with all the colorfully accented baskets she makes. This "pattern" was really easy to understand, and I'm so happy with the end result. The only thing I think the pattern lacked was instructions on how to cleanly join ends of the rope, and how to finish off the ends once you finish a side so that they fit together nicely and don't stick out. I think I'm going to find some sort of glue to smooth my ends down, since I don't like the look of their little nubs, but I also might not care enough to go through that extra effort because I'm impatient to use this beauty!

I had an impossible time finding 8mm (3/8 inch) cotton rope— that didn't cost an arm and a leg from a boat supply store— and unfortunately the US recommendations N'Diaye includes at the end of the book no longer carried anything in the 8mm size when I looked. I ended up finding cotton clothesline at the hardware store that was about 1/4 inch, so I ran with that. I didn't think it through that a narrower circumference rope would mean more yardage to go around and around with. To make a bag about the size N'Diaye's pattern suggests took me about 60 yards of rope, compared to the 27.5 yards of 3/8 inch rope the pattern calls for—this project took me quite a long time because I didn't get enough material the first time, and then couldn't find clothesline the exact same color the next couple times I went to the hardware store. I feel bad for the poor fella there who really did not see the difference between the two (very similar, but not the same!) colors of clothesline when I was "swatching."

Thankfully, I got to a pausing point before getting to the handles or the sides, so I was able to make adjustments there to keep everything the same proportions. I did 4 rows for the handles, rather than 3 of the wider rope, and 6 rows (3 doubled up) for the sides rather than 4. I also was lazy and didn't feel like hand-stitching the sides together, so I pinned it and very slowly straight-stitched as close to the edges as I could. If I were to make this again, I would also add a little side panel, just a few rows doubled up in the same way you do the sides here, and attach that  to both discs (see my very unscientific sketch).

I overcompensated with rope once I finally found the right color and bought LOADS, so I also had enough to make a little storage basket for some of my beauty products. I love that it tidies up my space but is still CUTE.

I still have some rope left (the wrong color) and I think I'll make some tiny little baskets for some of my smaller houseplants. I can't get enough of these little dudes!!