FO: Plantain Tee in Red Floral

I made another Plantain Tee! This time I cut a size 44, and I’m happier with the fit. I also shortened the torso by 1″. I could probably take another inch out of it. (I’m 5’2″, so this is not surprising.)

The fabric was an impulse buy from Mood at $15/yd. I cut this out of 1.5 yds.

I’m particularly happy with:

  • the fit: it’s comfortable, and feels like the amount of ease I was aiming for
  • the collar: it’s my first time sewing a successful neckband on the serger, woohoo!
  • the pattern placement: eyy, it’s not bad, right? I like the way the floral matches up across the sleeves, even if it’s not a seamless pattern (that wouldn’t have been possible with this large scale design).
  • the fabric cutting: me and my rotary cutter are becoming friends. ❤️ I’m getting faster, which is good, because fabric cutting is what keeps me from sewing more often…

FO: Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

Hey look, I made a Plantain tee.


I traced a straight size 46 for this one. Next time I’ll probably go down a size; there’s plenty of room, though it’s still a comfortable fit.

Not much to say about this pattern. It’s a basic t-shirt and I made the most basic version of it. Happily, this is almost exactly the style of t-shirt that I get the most wear out of, so I suspect I’ll be using this pattern many more times in the future. It’ll be nice to have a looser-fitting pattern to complement the close-fitting Renfrew Top, which I’ve already made four of. At some point I’d love to try the longer-sleeved version with elbow patches…

The Plantain T-Shirt, long-sleeved version.

The fabric was some cheap cotton knit from Girlcharlee that I got for $1.50/yd; I used just over a yard of it. Since the pattern was free, I’d say this is one of my surprisingly economical makes!

More than anything, this was serger + speed practice. It took me about four hours start to finish to make this shirt. Progress! I’m still working on learning how to sew neckbands on my serger though….circles are hard.



Merlo Field Tee, Take Two

After a several-weeks’ sewing hiatus, I finally have a new FO. I was grumpy at my current works-in-progress, so I decided to re-make a pattern that I knew that I liked, in a fabric that I was excited to work with, in hopes of getting myself interested in sewing again.

I’ve been itching to make another Merlo Tee for a few weeks now. My first one was a touch too small, and tragically I’ve already managed to stain it. What can I say, I’m a messy eater with a drinking problem.

I cut a size larger than last time, and chose to sew the wide-necked view instead of the crew neck. I used a drapey bamboo jersey from Mood, in gold and navy. I was a little worried that it would look too sports-fan-ish, but once it was sewn up I decided I was pretty happy with the color combination.


There’s something about the contrasting bicep bands on this pattern that I really love. I’m also a sucker for fitted sleeves and wide-bodied designs. I expect I’ll be making more of this pattern, though next time I’ll probably pick a more subtle color combination.


Next time I might even try to make some fitting adjustments. This size is comfortable overall, but I could probably do with less excess fabric in the back.


This was my second project constructed entirely on my serger, and I’m happy to say that I’m getting pretty comfortable with it! It’s still early to tell, but I suspect that the combination of rotary cutter + serger is really going to speed up my sewing. This new shirt came together over two afternoons, which for me feels quick.

Today I assembled a printed t-shirt PDF pattern, traced my size, cut it out, and cut my fabric in…about two hours. I don’t know if that’s fast or slow relative to other sewists, but it was certainly fast for me. I’m mostly able-bodied now, but tasks like tracing and cutting usually require me to take several breaks. This time I only needed a few breathers…

Next, I suppose we’ll see how quickly I can sew up the t-shirt. It’s a Plantain shirt from Deer & Doe, a super basic tee in the short-sleeved version (so no adorable elbow patches, alas). I’m just trying it out with a “nautical” striped knit that I picked up at Girlcharlee for $1.50/yd.


2019: Sewing Intentions

I’m calling these “intentions” and not resolutions because, well, I don’t think it’s a good fit.

Right now, my sewing practice is still very much in the new-shiny-obsession stage. If I have downtime, and the spare mental energy, chances are that I’ll be sewing. My knitting was on a hiatus for a little while, but I’ve been getting back into the groove of it. I suspect that 2019 will be a transitional year for me, as I figure out what a sustainable rate-of-sewing looks like in my life.

I don’t have any specific projects or patterns that I want to make next year. No #MakeNine. But here are some themes.


I want to take on at least a couple of challenging projects that stretch my sewing skills. I’m curious about a lot of things that seem like Big Projects: jeans, jackets, button-downs, coats.

I want to try drafting my own pattern, and I am curious about learning to drape. There are also just a lot of techniques and construction methods that I haven’t tried at all (inserting invisible zippers! different kinds of pleats and tucks! burrito yokes!). And oh, the fabrics…I’ve never sewn with silk, linen, leather, lace.

Because there’s so much out there, I’m planning on letting myself wander and pick up new projects as inspiration strikes. 🙂


I have two new tools that I want to learn how to use: my rotary cutter and my serger. I think this will come naturally with time. I also really need to reorganize my room and invest in better storage for my sewing notions…but that’s pretty much always true.

Basically, I want to give myself space & time to invest in learning how to use my new and existing tools well. There’s something really satisfying about being able to sit down and get shit done because you understand the things you’re working with.

Lifestyle / Wardrobe

Right now, my wardrobe doesn’t really match my life in two major ways.

First, I don’t really know what I like to wear during the summer months. Summer in New York is hot, and humid, and I have to quickly transition from stuffy subways to overly-conditioned office spaces. Yuck. My body has changed a lot, and I have trouble finding RTW summer clothing that fits, and as a result I don’t even know what I like to wear. I want to make a concerted effort at figuring this out.

Secondly, I need more workout clothing – especially for lyra/aerial hoop. I think this could be a fun opportunity to sew with some loud, outrageous fabrics, and also to experiment with styles that I would normally never wear. For example, I’ve worn both crop-tops and open-backed tops to circus classes, and – it felt great! even though I’ve never done that in “normal life” before. I have a vague desire to perform at some point in the next year, and it would be fun to make part of my outfit for that, maybe?

So. Sewing will only answer part of this equation, but I think it could be a fun way to address some of this.


More than anything else, I want 2019 to be a time when I can experiment with my crafting. I want to keep materials and tools on hand that are inspiring to me. I want to craft when I feel inspired/energized, and to feel guilt-free about my crafting practice. I want to try new techniques and leave room for old hobbies that I love, too.

So what do I want to sew…?

Here’s what I’m daydreaming about right now:

  • cozy plaid flannel shirts
  • colorful cotton shorts for summer
  • a leather jacket
  • a colorful, dramatic wool coat
  • lyra outfits
  • bras ??? with matching fabric to my wardrobe, a la fourpatch?
  • ….

Honestly, as soon as I start daydreaming, the list gets pretty long. We’ll see what happens next…!

2018 Lookback: Bonnie’s First Year of Sewing

I made three New Year’s resolutions for 2018:

  • learn to sew
  • do one pushup
  • don’t write a book

I’m giddy-excited to have succeeded at all of them! (And yes, there’s a backstory to points 2 & 3.) Let’s talk about the first one.

Learn to sew! I’d taken an intro class to machine sewing before, actually, but had never sat down and attempted to sew anything on my own. But I wanted to! It was just extremely intimidating. I don’t think that spatial reasoning stuff comes naturally to me. At first, it was difficult to figure out things like so if I sew with right-sides together…then will the seam be on the right side or the wrong side? Argh.

What motivated me to learn to sew:

  • In 2018 I ended up needing a lot of new clothes (hurrah for recovery!). That meant an opportunity to change things up.
  • I wanted clothes that fit. Desperately. My body type isn’t always easy to shop for in RTW, and I’m right on the edge of “standard”/plus sizes. There’s a lot of backstory here that I might get into in a separate post.
  • I wanted COLOR! and PRINTS! Living and shopping in New York, it was easy to build a wardrobe of dependable neutrals. But I wanted my wardrobe to be LOUD.
  • I wanted clothes made in natural fabrics (linen, cotton, wool). I generally prefer to wear them. It’s surprisingly hard to find non-synthetic fabrics in stores…

I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy sewing as an act – I mean, I was pretty convinced that I hated ironing – but I figured, what the heck, I’ll try it.

I think it’s obvious that I ended up enjoying it.

I’m still noodling on why I enjoy sewing so much. There are aspects of it that are similar to knitting: it’s an opportunity to play with color and texture, with a sense of accomplishment at the end. There’s the puzzle of garment construction. The feeling of slow and steady incremental progress as you work through a project. These are all rewarding things.

I’ve been keeping track of my makes in a spreadsheet. According to this I’ve made fourteen (!!) projects in just six months.  That includes two skirts, one dress, one pair of shorts, and nine shirts. Almost all of these are in heavy rotation in my wardrobe.

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The ‘cost’ column is interesting – it includes amortized pattern price, fabric cost, and notions. I think that I’ve learned to be more economical in my fabric cutting, so hopefully I can reduce leftovers next year. I also expect to re-use more patterns, and to start purchasing more non-indie patterns, so that should bring my typical pattern cost down. But…also I really like buying pretty, gorgeous fabrics, and I’m happy to spend accordingly on them.

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All in all, I think this has been a successful start to a new hobby.

Onwards and upwards.

Catalyst Odyssey + Renfrew

Here’s a shirt I finished last week. I’d been intrigued by this print from Art Gallery Fabrics for a while, and then I noticed it slowly vanishing from stores…and I had already exceeded my fabric budget for the month, but I wanted it…and what if I couldn’t get my hands on this print again?

So. I snagged a 1.5 yd remnant. Luckily, I managed to get an entire long-sleeve shirt out of that!


As you can see, the shirt is somewhat translucent under direct, bright light. Whoops. I’ll probably be wearing a tank top under this most of the time.

This is the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern in View A, with some modifications. I graded between a size 12 for the body, size 10 at the neck, and size 14 at the sleeves. I took out about ~2″ from the sleeves and should have taken some length out from the torso as well – probably about 1-1.5″. At some point I should take the waistband out and shorten it; it’s so long that it’s almost a tunic on me.


I’m proud of how nicely my neckband turned out this time. I’m getting more accustomed to sewing with knits.

I’ve made the Renfrew top four times, and it’s in heavy rotation in my wardrobe. I have two short-sleeve versions and two long-sleeved versions.

My march towards a ridiculous animal-print wardrobe continues! ✨