Back to the Kitchen

Happy end-of-summer! DSCN4510

I know, I know, summer doesn’t actually end until mid September. But my students are back-to-school tomorrow, so I’ve been lesson-planning and bulletin board-making and bidding adieu to summer.

Fortunately I was able to do it in delicious style. Now, I’ve been mostly sharing sewing recently, but I have still been cooking and baking. Just not blogging about it.

But this week, one of my co-workers gave me a lovely bunch of home-grown tomatoes, so I made bruschetta to take to a concert at a local park.DSCN4511

I didn’t follow any one recipe. Just blanched, peeled, and gutted the tomatoes, and then chopped them up with half an onion and some chopped basil. I added a generous splash of balsamic vinaigrette and some course salt and ground pepper, and was good to go!DSCN4506

I had some garlic bread on hand, so thin sliced it, brushed it will olive oil and toasted it under the broiler. Topped with the fresh bruschetta, it was perfection!


Make Shorts While the Sun Shines

How many times are you allowed to make the same pattern in row, before being considered obsessed?DSCN4499

‘Cause just a few days ago, I raved about Purl Soho’s City Gym Shorts, and now I have three more pairs.

Yeah. 4 pairs of shorts in a week. All the same thing. But! I love them! And I finally have the perfect excuse to buy cute quilting prints. Like foxes and flowers!

fabric haul

Pardon the blurry phone pic. Also, mystery fabric on the bottom will soon be…well, you’ll have to come back and see ๐Ÿ™‚


Of course, now I have to go the gym, as I can no longer use the excuse of lack of work-out wear…

DSCN4500On two pairs, I appliqued a scrap of the printed fabric onto the back of the shorts. While constructing the fox pair, I accidentally snipped a hole in my fabric, so the fox was a cover-up patch. But I loved it so much, I added a bit of flowers to my other pair.

DSCN4503The third pair (on top) is fun and zany and made from stash fabric I got for free and had long since given up on, as it was so over the top. Not sure I’ll wear them in public, but they’ll make for wonderful and comfy lounge pants.

Anyone else ever fall so deeply head-over-heels for a pattern?

Purl Soho’s City Gym Shorts

Another re-used bed sheets post here!DSCN4493I pinned this project by Purl Soho ages ago, and every time I scrolled through pinterest, it jumped out. I liked the ease of the shorts, and the cute bias trim. They looked so comfortable and the assembly directions were clear and straightforward. I never actually made the shorts, though, because you have to print out the pattern. It’s a free pattern, and I have access to a printer, but I’m also lazy.

However, I’m a very peculiar brand of lazy. This week, in a fit of sewing inspiration, I looked closely at the pictures of the City Gym Shorts tutorial, took some measurements, made some calculations, and drafted my own pattern. Because I’m too lazy to print and tape. Yeah…

And my first attempt didn’t work. I mis-drafted the back of the shorts pattern, so badly that I couldn’t really get the shorts on and off. But I went right back the drafting board and my second attempt worked perfectly!



I sewed the shorts up out of the scraps of three different sheets, so all different fibers and what not. But the front is light purple, the back is darker purple, with florals, and the trim has flowers, so it kind of works. And they’re perfect for lounging around the house, and I’m confident they’ll work at the gym that I’m totally going to join. DSCN4491Now that I have the pattern, I’m planning to whip up a few pairs, after I get some better fabric. I would also like to do a proper thick waistband like Purl Soho calls for; for this go, I just used the elastic in my stash. But I think the shorts will be even more comfy, and definitely more flattering if I follow their directions on the waist.

Here’s to practical sewing that will hopefully get my butt in gear and to the gym ๐Ÿ™‚DSCN4492

Thrift Score!

With summer drawing to a close and back-to-teaching looming, I’ve been sewing and crafting double-time, while I still have time. Over the weekend, a friend and I decided to tackle making circle skirts and hit up a thrift store for fabric.

By fabric, I mean bed sheets. So much fabric for so little money, and for trial projects, fiber content isn’t too important to me. But I found a sheet I really liked, and I’ve already worn the resulting skirt twice!DSCN4487

But I’ll come back to the skirt. Because I found something awesome. Somethings, rather. I found tons of zippers!DSCN4475

Someone must have cleared out their stash, because in the craft section were about 10 bags, with 6-10 zippers in each. Each bag was only $1.50, and I grabbed them all. I found slightly guilty, but hey. That’s the joy of thrifting. You gotta get what you can while the getting is good.DSCN4477

And I already used one of the zippers – on my new skirt! So I ended up getting all the supplies I needed (except thread, which I already had) for about five dollars!DSCN4480

Now, my friend and I were planning full circle skirts, but this one isn’t ’cause I messed up the measurement. But I was able to resurrect it and now have a perfectly respectable 3/4 skirt. Bonus: I realized my error before my friend cut her fabric, so we had a great learning moment. And then I put in one of my thrifted zippers, and a cute button from my stash.DSCN4488

And I liked the blue/white floral print so much that I used some scrap on another project I’ll be sharing soon! Stay posted ๐Ÿ™‚

Refashion Runway Sew-Along


As I’ve been doing a lot of refashions lately, I started looking at other refashioners out there, and found The Renegade Seamstress and her wonderful Refashion Runway contest! Each week, the contestants have a themed to sew to, and all their fabric has to come from refashion stock! So cool! Right now is the fourth year of competition, and I went back and binge-read all the previous years, and then voted for my favorite from this week’s velvet challenge.

I also found out that the Renegade Seamstress encourages readers to sew along with the challenges, and I figured: why not? The upcoming challenge is metallic, which is perfect, because I had this dress in my refashion stash:DSCN4381It’s a maxi dress I made several years ago, when I had a lot less sewing experience. The bodice really doesn’t fit at all, hence it being pinned closed. And I didn’t have quite enough fabric, so I left it unhemmed and tried to convince myself it was long enough. It really wasn’t. I wore it once or twice and then hung it in my closet to sigh at whenever I noticed it.

But I still liked the striped fabric, especially the light grey bands, which are subtly metallic!


Very hard to photograph, but there’s a bit of sparkle!

I also enjoy the color combination of burgundy and grey. At first I thought of reworking the bodice, which was possible because it was too big, rather than too small, and then shortening the dress. But I have quite a few dresses, and am rather lacking in the shirt department.

So I took a pattern for a cowl front top that I drafted a while back for this project. But I wanted to incorporate the burgundy, so I took in the sides of the pattern a bit, and then added an inset to each side. I also lined the armholes and the back of the neck in the burgundy so it peeks out ever so slightly when I move my arms.DSCN4474

So now I have a sporty new top that I can even wear to work! Much better than a too big, too short, unworn maxi dress!Picture1

Next week’s challenge on the Refashion Runway is buttons! Not sure if I’ll be sewing along, but I have caught myself going through my button stash a few times, as well as looking at historic and modern pictures of Pearlies…

Responsible Refashion: Part 2

Hey there!

In my last post, I talked about the documentary The True Cost and my decision to refashion some clothes that I bookmarked for the thrift store. I love my maxi-dress refashion, and have gotten compliments both times I’ve worn it out so far.

But I didn’t stop with the dress; I also refashioned a sweater!DSCN4347

This sweater was just…fine. I would often put it on in the morning, take a look in the mirror, and then take it off and put it back in my closet. It was a little short in the arms, and the fit was awkward: too loose to be fitted, not loose enough to be baggy-chic.

So I pinned the sides and sewed up to the shoulder seams. DSCN4349Then I cut off the sleeves and trimmed them to even rectangles. I also cut across the shoulder seams to the level of the neckline. Once everything was squared up, I sewed on the former sleeves as a waistband.DSCN4357

Now I have a cute sweater pencil skirt to wear once the weather gets chilly. I think this skirt will work very well with tights and a pair of boots ๐Ÿ™‚

Responsible Refashioning

Hello to any and all of you!

I recently watched the documentaryย The True Cost,ย which is about the impact of the fast fashion industry, from farmers who grow cotton to workers in the garment industry. Overall, it paints a bleak picture of the first world’s obsession with cheap clothing. It was well done and compelling and I highly recommend watching it. I’ve always had a general sense that the current fashion industry is problematic (hence my interest with sewing a lot of my own clothes) but didn’t realize the extent of or the specifics of the problem.

But one statistic in the film really caught my attention: only 10% of clothes donated to thrift stores are sold. The rest are trashed or bundled off to developing countries where the influx cripples the local clothing industry. And so I thought of a bag of clothes I had set aside for donation. I decided to look through it and see if I could refashion anything and get more use. And lo and behold, the two garments on top were perfect! I think there are some more potential refashions, but I’ll start with just showing you one.

This is a maxi dress which I actually got at a thrift store. I’d worn it a few times, but the bodice is honestly too tight, and I never quite got into the long length.DSCN4358

However, the dress also has a different print along the lower edge, with the paisley’s resolving into a crisp design, and I really wanted to save this detail.DSCN4359

So I cut off the bodice and sewed in shoulder seams. I also cut out armholes and defined a neckline. I picked out the black fabric to finish the arm and neck holes. DSCN4360Once belted, I had a fabulous new dress and am so happy with it!

I also refashioned a sweater, which I’ll share soon ๐Ÿ™‚