Monthly Archives: September 2013

Ready for a new week

Last week was a bust, and I totally didn’t see it coming. My calendar looked pretty open, and I was definitely on a high after returning from Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City. I was expecting to have plenty of time to trace, cut-out, and start sewing the long list of projects on my to-make list.

But the universe had other plans for me. Boo.

  • A family emergency caused Monday and half of Tuesday to be spent on trauma cleanup.
  • We received some bad health news from another family member.
  • A third family member suffered an unexpected job loss.

And never mind that the refrigerator was empty, the bathrooms unhygienic, and the laundry room was not navigable. But do you know what got me through last week? Besides my DH and kisses from my DGD, it was my sewing students. My two favorite fifth-graders who come for sewing lessons every other Thursday. Listening to their chatter about school, friends, and growing up put a smile in  my heart. My student who comes after work every week is smart, funny, and compassionate, and an all-round great gal. Did I mention she is trying to make all of her clothes? Literally, everything she wears. So to these three, and others, thank you. You helped get me back on track and to achieve a bit more equilibrium.

Over the weekend I was able to find some time and mental energy to actually sew. I traced the Santa Monica T by Textile Studios, and even managed to cut one out of a soft sweater knit – white with navy stripes. I cleaned out and “stacked” projects/fabrics/patterns into piles-that-make-sense-only-to-me. I also cut out and stitched up a pair of Claudia pants by Style Arc, and boy-oh-boy are those lovely pants. I do miss the lack of pockets, but I think they would interfere with the clean lines of the pant. We’ll see if they make me cranky-pants.

This coming week? I’m headed to Spokane for a swearing ceremony. No, no, a swearing-in ceremony. Law-school-graduate/bar-exam-passer will be taking the attorney oath and signing some important stuff, and I think I should head east and shed a few tears of motherly pride. This is the kid I thought wouldn’t graduate from high school, after all. And then I will drive back for my 4-day ASG sewing retreat, where friends, fabric, and NO COOKING OR CLEANING will definitely put all things right with the world.

Happy sewing!


Sewing Summit: 36 reasons you should attend


  1. You will meet the most awesome new friends at the Sewing Summit.
  2. You will get to sew cool stuff.
  3. You will be excused from the dishes for the whole weekend.
  4. There are fabric shopping opportunities!
  5. It is sunny ALL THE TIME in Salt Lake City (this may only be important to people from the Northwest).
  6. You get to hang out with a whole tribe of people who share your love of “all things sewing”.
  7. There is no laundry room in your hotel room.
  8. You can stay up as late you like, and most likely there will be someone to share the fun with you.
  9. You might just become a networking-ninja.
  10. You will come home with neat gifts from generous sponsors.
  11. You will learn new things about sewing.
  12. You can eat waffles with crème fraiche and Belgium chocolate sauce BEFORE dinner.
  13. The Sewing Summit will teach you new things about how to build a creative business.
  14. You can watch whatever you want on TV in your hotel room.
  15. You can help other people with their sewing projects.
  16. You can get help with your sewing project.
  17. You can eat as many donuts as you like for breakfast and no one will tattle.
  18. You will be awe-struck by the creative energy surging through the Sewing Summit classrooms.
  19. You can win fat quarter bundles, fabric store certificates, and other prizes!
  20. You will laugh. Lots!
  21. You can make something amazing for your Secret Swap Pal.
  22. You can receive something amazing from your Secret Swap Pal.
  23. You will get to hear really cool stories about starting and running a creative business.
  24. You can learn about why your blog pictures suck, and how you can make them better.
  25. You can sew something you are really proud of.
  26. You will become inspired.
  27. You can learn how to make your garments fit better.
  28. You get to sew on Bernina sewing machines!
  29. You can be served grape juice (really???) at lunch.
  30. You can find out what it takes to get a creative book published.
  31. You will build your skillz.
  32. You always have someone to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks with.
  33. Your family will miss you, and maybe even appreciate you a little more when you get back home. For at least a day. 😉
  34. You can learn tons of tips about how to make your blog more effective.
  35. You might get your picture taken with some fancy-pants sewing peeps.
  36. Your creative vision for your business, your sewing, and maybe even your life, just might get expanded. Maybe even A LOT.


Love that Erin gal!!

Sewing Summit Dinner

Dinner Thursday night at the Blue Iguana

Sewing Summit Ellen March

Ellen March sharing her insights about getting published in a magazine

Sewing Summit Amy Alice

Amy and Alice from talk about blogging partnerships with Bernina


The Craftsy bloggers meet-up at the Sewing Summit!


Look at the cute shirts they made!!
Happy sewing!

Jumper and jacket for fall

There is nothing like a huge thunderstorm to make you want to run to the sewing room and hunker down. You don’t even have the excuse the yard work needs to get done, so sew guilt-free.

McCalls 5836 and Sew Cute Couture

Oona’s jacket and jumper are done, and ready for some prime-time wearing. She is chasing some of her old friends around McCarren Park in Williamsburg for a few days, so the fit-check will have to wait for her return. I am pretty darn happy the way this outfit turned out, and hopefully she will agree to wearing it. She is going thru a “dresses only please” phase, so I plan to take advantage of that!

Sleeve lining detail corduroy jacket          Hanger loop on corduroy jacket

I decided to line the sleeves with a poly fabric I had in my stash, since my favorite DGD is very likely to squaw loudly if her t-shirt hangs up on the jacket sleeve when trying to get it on. And I remembered at the last minute that she hangs her coat up at daycare, so I added a loop for hanging ease. She’ll never lift the collar to see the bar tacks on the back, will she? 😉

Corduroy jacket back detail

I LOVE the pleat in the back of this little swing jacket! I think it gives it a bit of a vintage vibe, don’t you?

Jacket binding front on round corner           Back binding closeup

The binding on this jacket went on super easily. I made it from the leftover lining fabric, and used my Clover binding-maker tool to create 1″ wide binding. After stitching it on and pressing on the front side just 1/2″ shows. It is always looks a little wonky when you apply binding around a rounded corner after finishing up just the stitching and pressing steps. But you can see that when you roll the binding to the backside everything smoothes out and lays perfectly. The magic of bias, right?

McCalls 5836 jumper front

OMG, doesn’t this jumper just scream “wear ME on the first day of school!”? I should probably go buy Oona some knee socks and saddle shoes to wear with it, right? The pattern I used is McCalls 5836, OOP, but still seems to be available on the Web site. There are so few patterns for little girls with PLEATS. I sense a business opportunity here.

McCalls 5836 jumper front detail

See that little bit of bodice lining peaking out? Adorbs. And color me totally shocked when I actually found cute buttons that exactly match the dress & jacket, came in 2 sizes, AND cost only a few bucks! Normally I end up buying uber-expensive-but-ohh-so-perfect-ones that cost a small fortune EACH. I am actually feeling like this whole outfit is practically free because I bought the corduroy in France so long ago I have no idea what it cost. If it ages in my stash for ANY length of time it auto-magically becomes free fabric.

What fun things are you stitching up in your sewing room? Is the weather conducive to your sewing bug, or is it calling you outdoors? I am taking off later this week for the Sewing Summit in Salt Lake City, so a few more days of warm weather are still in my future.

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen




What is your sewing handicap?

You know you have one; the one pesky task that causes you to dally with a good book instead of diving into your unfinished sewing projects pile.

It is your sewing handicap. Mine is interfacing. Or specifically, fusing interfacing. If a genie granted me 3 wishes, I would surely ask for some insanely smart techno-textile geek to develop interfacing that fuses itself to the fabric. I am pretty sure I would be willing to lay the interfacing piece onto the correct garment piece. Maybe even center it slightly. But that’s it for me. For gawd’s sake, we put a man on the moon! Why haven’t we developed a better, more efficient method to adhere a layer of stabilizer to fabric by now?

Project pile for jumper & jacket
Project pile for corduroy jumper and jacket for DGD Oona

Well, despite my handicap, I need to get this corduroy jumper and jacket done that I started for my DGD. Kids have a way of growing out of clothes if you don’t get them finished up pretty quickly. This corduroy fabric is such a sweet print, and it holds a sweet memory for me since I bought it on my first trip to France 10 years ago. It has been aging for just the right project for the perfect little girl!

Sage and lavender corduroy jumper

In-process corduroy jumper

I love how quickly the jumper sewed up – no buttons, zipper, and NO INTERFACING. The pattern is OOP McCalls 5836. It just needs a hem and a bit’o trim treatment.But not too fancy  since this will be a “go to daycare or wherever” outfit, not a Sunday best. And this little girl knows how to get herself good and dirty during the day. The sign of a happy child, right?

Wish me luck overcoming my handicap on this jacket! What is your sewing nemesis?

Happy sewing!

Maris Olsen