what I’ve been sewing lately

Oh, hey, guys! I have become really bad at blogging! I know people are always like, “Don’t apologize for not blogging, nobody cares & it’s also not your job to blog every other day.” But still. Sorry.

I actually have been sewing a fair bit recently. I’ve completed eight projects so far in 2019, but I’ve only blogged one of them. I really hope to get to the rest of them before too long! But I can at least offer up a quick rundown here. Maybe the three remaining readers I have can weigh in on which projects about which they’d be most interested in reading more?

1) Muse Patterns Jenna cardigan


This is the one that has been blogged! FWIW, I did end up making it through to the second round of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee with this cardigan. Yay, me! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to execute my project for round two & had to drop out. The theme was zippers. I was thinking about making McCall’s 6887, a cute fit & flare dress with princess seams. I made it several years ago, when I was new to sewing, & it was cute! I could do a better job now that I’m better at fitting & sewing. My vision was to layer black embroidered tulle over some pea green Swiss dot, & use the metal teeth from heavy duty jacket zippers to pipe the princess seams. But I just didn’t get it together on time.

2) Christmas print Butterick 6404 pajamas for Ramona


I had promised Ramona these pajamas for Christmas, obviously. She was very specific about the fabric she wanted. It had to have Santa Claus, some reindeer, presents, & snowflakes. I thought this was an impossibly tall order, but Spoonflower to the rescue! This fabric had everything she had requested, & the retro style of the illustrations appealed to my aesthetic preferences. I had some blue jersey in the stash to coordinate. Unfortunately, I got sick right before Christmas & was in pretty rough shape for about a month, so I didn’t manage to finish these pajamas until almost Valentine’s Day!

3) self-drafted tooth stuffie with pocket

I whipped this guy up just in the nick of time. Ramona had a really loose tooth, & it suddenly occurred to me that looking for a tiny baby tooth under a pillow when you have as thrashy a sleeper as Ramona, who wants literally no fewer than six blankets per night (just like her mama!) was going to suck. Luckily, I had everything I needed for this project on hand: felt, poly stuffing, buttons for the eyes, & embroidery floss for the mouth. I included a little pocket in the back to facilitate the tooth/cash exchange. Ramona lost her tooth the night I made this little guy, & it worked perfectly!

4) 2017 cross stitch portrait of Ramona


I’m working on a series of cross stitched portraits of Ramona on her birthday. I’ve only been cross stitching for about two years, but it didn’t take me long to get seriously bored with the simplicity of most cross stitch patterns on the market. Luckily, there’s software (both paid & free) available that enables you to transform a photo into a cross stitch pattern. You can choose the size, how many colors you use (generally, more colors means more detail, but you have to exercise your judgment to strike th right balance between project detail & project difficulty), etc. So far I’ve stitched her birth portrait & her second birthday. This is her on her fifth birthday. I’m working on her first birthday now. My goal is to someday have cross stitched portraits of her all the way up to at least age 18!

5) pink & black leather internal stitchdown work boots


I took a four-day bootmaking workshop with a local shoemaker in late January & made these boots! I have been working on a blog post about it, but it’s hard to syntheisze four days of completely new skill-learning into a 1000-word blog post. Suffice to say, I learned a ton, including the fact that my skills as a sewing person translated in some ways, but not always the ways I expected. For instance, I used an industrial post sewing machine to do the stitching on my boots & did a shockingly bad job! But with leather, once the needle holes are there, you’re pretty much fucked, so I’m just living with it.

6) black twill Pauline Alice Rosari skirt

This was a commission for a friend in Seattle. She wanted a versatile black skirt that was professional enough for work but fun enough for not-work. She wanted an A-line shape with some kind of design interest. I happened to have this pattern in my stash (it was a gift–the Pauline Alice size range is fairly pitiful & doesn’t actually accommodate me) & she loved it. We went with a length in-between mini & midi, & she chose the jeans-style front pockets & pleated flap pockets for the back. I procrastinated on this project forever because I’m a monster, but once I sat down to work on it, it was done in just a few hours. Sorry, Eva!

7) pink & white Cloth Habit Harriet bra


I’ve made this pattern a whole bunch of times now…& blogged it not at all! I’m the worst! I’ve fiddled with the fit a lot. This is a base size 38E, but with all my modifications, it’s probably more like a 40G or something. I’ve added a lot of volume to the upper cup. This kind of detracts from the design, which has a very dainty & delicate upper cup. It’s so pretty, but it just doesn’t work for the way my breast tissue is distributed. In any case, I’m thrilled with this bra. It’s supportive, comfortable, & gives me a great shape. & it’s so pretty!

8) pink linen True Bias Lander pants


Believe it or not, this is my fourth go-round with this pattern, & I haven’t blogged it at all, even though I DEFINITELY have thoughts. My thoughts mainly revolve around the incomprehensibly drafted front crotch curve. It’s so shallow! If you look around at the Lander pants people have posted online, look at the ones made from traditional non-stretch bottomweight textiles. Almost everyone has pulling at the front crotch. It’s crazy that this pattern is as popular as it is with this egregiously problematic drafting. But what’s even crazier is that I’ve made it four times, trying to make it work. This was my best, but probably last, attempt. I did add some more length to the front crotch hook, & I was also really careful to choose a textile with some drape & give. This is heavyweight, coarsely woven linen, which was a nightmare to cut & wrinkles like crazy, but it does have the relaxation I wanted.

Right now I’ve got a black French terry Digital Pattern Library Belted Sweater in the works. I’ve also got a couple more commissions to handle (I’m trying to take one a month in order to help pay my studio rent–so if you want to hire me, email me at ciaraxyerra@gmail.com!)–a pair of selvage edge jeans & a leggings/skirt combo, two different clients. I want to make a few pairs of panties to match my new bra. I’ve also been thinking hard about the self-sewn garments I have, what gets worn, what doesn’t…I realized that of all the black t-shirts I have made for myself, only one gets worn with any regularity, & it’s starting to give up the ghost. I decided to challenge myself to make a whole bunch of new black t-shirts because they’re such a staple for me. So I’m going to try as many t-shirt/jersey-appropriate knit top patterns as I can find. Recommendations welcome!

So what do you think? Do you want to hear more about any of these projects?


Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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