Spring came early-ish. Sometime in late February the snow piled on the sidewalks disappeared. The local ski area began the spring freeze-thaw cycle producing unsatisfying skiing conditions. And well……Im an unapologetic snow snob.
So I pivoted to plan D.
Luckily for me, I now only live about 7 hours from the land of cactus and dehydration. So I went, in search of dry trails and warm air. I stopped off in Sedona along the way and then rounded out my week with a full schedule of trail riding in Phoenix.
Its also notable to mention the good fortune of my sister residing there so I had excellent accommodations. She has an exquisite garden and we ate fresh citrus and vegetables every meal.
Timing was also in my favor. I timed the fresh citrus and even better…..a blooming desert. The ocotillo shot their brilliant red flared cannons along the trail and the wild roses clung to their last magnificent petals. The thorns, which, are always in bloom, kept their unfailing promise to remind me I was in-the-desert. Daily I returned with an enviable salt crusted brow and legs tanned by dusty trails.
The visit spurred some inspiration for my latest fabric design ideas. In particular……………….. wild desert burros. I didn’t see any on my rides, but I was fascinated by the caution signs for “burro x-ings.” In Durango, we have our own ungulate crossing signs, but not the adorable burro.
Im sharing a few of the images I created from my desert riding on this post, and you can see what they look like printed on fabric, wallpaper or wrapping paper by clicking the link below the image. You can also find more of my repeat pattern designs on * * *Spoonflower.com as well as Behance and Adobe Portfolio.
*Which is your favorite Burro?
*What project would you make with one of these prints? (I think I would like to wallpaper an accent wall with the Typographic Burro.)
It’s been a busy winter. A snowy winter. A cold winter.
Which is perfectly fine with me. Thats because I love cold and snowy winters when I’m able to get out into the thick of it. Oh…..and I have! For the past 3 months Ive had the luxury of 3 skate skiing areas within 40 minutes of my house and a season pass at the ski area.
In the past, winter was my biggest sewing season. But this year things have shifted a bit. Primarily because when we moved to Durango, my sewing studio moved into the garage. Thus far I haven’t found an effective heating solution. Right now its a space heater, so the really cold days I have to find something else to do……like ski!
In light of all this I have some fun projects to share with you. I started off making a few Mabels and some cute tops. I used the Seamwork Astoria pattern with some thrifted hot pink wool knit and the Greenstyle Centerfield Raglan pattern with some vintage floral poly knit.
Wool jersey Astoria Sweater & vintage ponte Mabel skirt
Vintage floral Centerfield top and vintage Ponte Mabel skirt
But then there’s more! One of my main daily drivers this winter has been lycra tights. I wear them under pants for warmth, for skate skiing, for wearing around the house. So, needless to say, I have quite a few of them. I found a couple patterns by Greenstyle Creations that fit me perfectly. In addition…..I also found this awesome source for fun lycra. Every time I wear my tights, I get a compliment. They are undeniable. They demand your attention…..and for good reason. Have a look.
More tights in progress. Yes the tights on the right I like to call “the Tigress print.”
On a hike this fall with the poops.
Perfect fit and nice back knee mesh panels.
More floral radness.
Cityscape and floral bling.
Crazy scuba print with black mesh side panels.
Green & gold stripes. I attached a Mabel skirt to the top of the tights.
Its here. Fall. Days are shorter and the morning chill is undeniable. I walked out into the sewing room with no real agenda and this is what happened…..
One dress, a couple mini skirts and a refashioned sweater-hoodie (and another cool shirt).
The mini skirts were real fun and quick. I used the Colette Patterns Mabel skirt pattern (v.1). The first was a thick persimmon colored vintage ponte/double knit and it was so quick and successful, I whipped up another in a grey & black striped cotton lycra. I will likely wear these over leggings to add a little more to the situation.
Then I grabbed a vintage sweater been storing in the back of my closet for longer than a while. I never wear it because its WAY too big. But I love the colors, and its wool, and its warm. So I thought I could use it to make a “smaller” sweater that might get worn more often.
I had gobs of this soft black sweatshirt fleece from Girl Charlee and decided to make a hoodie using the body of the sweater for the front and back then make raglan sleeves and a hood from the sweatshirt fleece. I happened to have a McCalls zippered hoodie pattern that I hoped would work. As I began cutting out the pieces, I realized that there wasn’t enough front fabric to allow for a zipper, so I opted to incorporate the existing buttons into the design. The result, I thought was pretty cute. Its a little long for me, but I think it will be adorable on the right figure. Very collegiate. And it goes well with a mini skirt.
But thats not all. My vintage fabric stash is overbearing and Im diligently creating my way through it all……slowly. But anyway, I had some adorable vintage Ponte with peach flowers on a silvery background. It would make a really cute dress, but it had to be the right dress. The other day I was thumbing through one of the many Title Nine catalogs I get in the mail and came across this dress….it looked pretty perfect. More importantly, it was something I could “roughly” duplicate. Now this dress has more of a shawl collar in the front, which I like quite a bit, but I was unsure if I had enough fabric to make that happen. So I went with a more basic hood that crossed in front. I drafted some patch pockets that had the same shape and attached a raglan top to an a-line skirt. What do you think of the result?
Peachy flowers on a silver vintage Ponte.
My first viewer said it looked like something from that tv show about advertising executives on Madison Ave……
It does have a vintage appeal with a sporty modern look.
A friend of mine mentioned a year or so ago that he really wanted a purple shirt…..and had an eye for paisley. At the time, I didn’t have any fabric that came close to that description, so I filed it away in my not-so-reliable memory. Now, lucky for him, my brain favors memories involving color and patterns. A few weeks ago I happened upon an awesome fabric “garage sale” where I scored some incredible purple paisley rayon. It was just enough to make this luxurious flowing shirt. The buttons came from my great grandmothers button collection.
Thats it for the moment. Im sure there will be more to come soon.
Alright, here is the Maui Shirt! Same awesome Colette Patterns Negroni pattern with some beautiful cotton voile and vintage buttons!
Wish I could remember the fabric designer. I bought it a couple years ago and my memory isn’t so good after that last concussion! At the time it was a total impulse buy. It wasn’t cheap….I do remember that. Had no idea it would become a men’s shirt, but just goes to show an impulse buy sometimes becomes a valuable purchase. The preliminary reviews from around the house are giving it high marks! What are your thoughts?
So the next fun project this week also involved an impulse fabric purchase a year or so ago.
My old local fabric shop had this amazing Japanese lightweight denim. It was flying off the bolt, so I panicked and quickly purchased a few yards. Then it sat in my stash. And sat in a little longer.
The pattern I used had a similar history. Last week I finally pulled it out. I’ve used Hot Patterns before with varying success. Earlier this spring I tried to make a pair of Hot Patterns jeans and reluctantly gave up when I realized my chances of a successful fit was nonexistent. BUT this is not enough to give up on a pattern maker…..jeans are just really tough to design for “everyone.” And Im picky. Previous to that I did have success putting together a lantern skirt and plan to use it again.
But onto the pattern at hand! I wanted to make a shirt dress. I liked this pattern because it had a unique bib front and I liked the collarless finish. My intention was to make a summer dress, but it turns out that summer is nearly over where I live and so I thought it would be prudent to make a fall dress. That way I get some good “wear-time” out of it. I decided the Japanese denim would be perfect for a transitional piece and it went well with my fall color palate choices.
As I began to make the dress, I quickly realized how complacent I had become with patterns. Many of the independent pattern designers cater to beginner sewists and although I don’t consider myself a beginner, I noticed how reliant I had become on sewing instructions and not my own skill sets. I appreciate how Hot Patterns assume a certain amount of sewing knowledge and skill. Their instructions are short and sweet. Sweet!
Admittedly I was initially reluctant about the pattern because the instructions didn’t make sense on the first read. Then I remembered the biggest benefit of Hot Patterns is their exhaustive collection of tutorials and pattern design descriptions. Trudy, the primary designer has a way of clearly explaining designs, fabric choices and most importantly helps you get through difficult construction steps with ease. After watching the video on the pattern, I felt better about starting. This was my first button fly and the finished neckline was the best result I’ve achieved to date. I had to take in the arms and sides about 1″ to get a better fit and I hemmed it to hit above the knees. Additionally, I opted to omit the sleeve cuffs because I wanted a more casual looking dress.
Hidden button fly
Detail on the bib front and finished collar
Back yoke with pleat
In the end, I think it turned out lovely. I like the linen look and it will fit nicely under a cardigan when the temps begin to drop.
We rode Kennebec Pass last weekend and the wildflowers were still vibrant against the lush high mountain landscapes. I found it difficult to imagine the leaves will begin to fall in a few short weeks. BUT…..mother nature doesn’t wait for us sentimental saps. So, because I am already nostalgic about summer, I thought my favorite August colors would look lovely in some new fall clothes! For obvious reasons, much of my color inspiration comes from the luscious green and blue landscapes we have seen from all the moisture this summer.
Some additional inspiration comes from an unlikely source. Many of you have heard Durango made national headlines when the Animas River was contaminated by a toxic spill from the abandoned Gold King Mine. It was difficult to see the river change a mustard yellow, however in the abstract, it was quite beautiful.
Speaking of elusive beauty…I came across a brilliant copper mud puddle on a bike ride near the Colorado Trail. It moved me enough to stop and capture an image.
Last year I scored this incredible Pendleton wool fabric. Its very thick and the pile invites sensations of warmth on a cold winter day. This wool has been waiting an eternity to transform into the perfect garment. Now it will become a Thread Theory Newcastle Cardigan.
But what will I wear under it you ask? Well, I have some ideas. Think of how comforting french terry would feel against your skin as the crisp fall air settles in. Yes…thats what Im thinking too. Before I knew it, this cute little Colette Patterns Laurel found its way into my life. I used the “Mod-ified”pattern hack to add in-seam pockets, but kept the neckline the same. This pattern is built for woven fabrics, but I find it works well for knits. The one major variation using knits is sizing down in the width to account for stretch. Because this will be a fall piece, I lengthened the sleeves about one inch so they hit just below my elbows and kept the skirt about knee length. I have plenty of leggings and even some skinny jeans that will easily fit underneath as the temps drop. And soon I will have a cozy Pendleton wool cardigan to throw on top!