Morgan variations

Thank you for all your thoughtful and interesting comments on my last posts here and here about deciding not to sew everything. Marilla made a comment on my Instagram post that I loved too much not to share:

“I actually think that sewing is a journey to more conscious thinking! There is no need in the end to sew all the things, but learning the process helps you have a better understanding of the work involved and in turn makes you a more conscious consumer. I’m all for trying to make all the things, but not because I never ever want to buy things that have been made by someone else, I just hope it gives me greater respect for the resources and skills required!”

Isn’t that wonderful? It summarized what I was trying to convey in my post but didn’t quite know how to say. I have gained so much in my efforts to sew everything, including the knowledge of just how much it takes. It’s humbling.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been really enjoying sewing jeans and trousers. The ones I can make far exceed what I could buy, in fit and quality. I’ve made a couple of variations based on the Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans, since sewing them as designed. The first is a slimmer stretch jean, made in Cone Mills S-Gene from Threadbare Fabrics.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans in stretch denim

I decided to alter the Morgan pattern instead of use a proper stretch jean pattern was because of how much I loved the back yoke fit and the pocket placement.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans in stretch denim

I’m also not really a true skinny jeans person – I’m not looking for a really skintight smooth look, just some extra give when I sit down or bend my knees. I also like to interface my jeans waistbands and use front pocket stays, so a non-stretch pattern was a very decent starting point.

I fitted these jeans as I went, removing some depth from the crotch curve and pinning out the outseams to make them more leg-shaped.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans in stretch denim

I loved dressy the dark-on-dark top-stitching made Sophie’s jeans, so I gave it a try on these.

For the second version, I decided to alter the pattern into a trouser pattern. I converted the back yoke into a dart and some width taken from the side seams, converted the jeans pockets to slanted pockets, and added back welt pockets.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans converted to trousers

I used a cotton sateen with a little stretch from Emma One Sock. Sewing black basics can be terribly boring, but all the pattern changes made it fun. And they’re my dream trousers! I’m wearing them with a True Bias Ogden cami and some workday wrinkles.

_dsc0343

I loved them so much that I immediately cut out a second pair in stretch denim I had on hand. I’ve also begun the hunt for loud jacquard fabric with which to make a pair for holidays and other festive occasions. I’ve had a real hankering for crazy pants lately.

I’ve also still got a few extra yards of denim, both stretch and non-stretch – any suggestions for denim projects that aren’t jeans or pants?

Thoughts on not sewing everything

Last month, I bought twenty items of clothing – basically a non-capsule seasonal wardrobe, all at once.

I bought:

  • 6 knit tops
  • 4 pieces of workout gear
  • 3 blouses
  • 3 sweaters
  • 2 pieces of outerwear
  • 2 dresses

Fifteen of them were purchased second-hand, three purchased new.

This was very unusual for me and, I’m guessing, for most people. (Shockingly, everything fits in my tiny closet and tiny bureau.) As a sewer, my MO for the past few years has been to sew everything I want or need. It’s brought me to a place where I can stitch myself up a new pair of jeans, undies or even a winter coat. It’s been the best way for me to learn how to sew and I put in tons of hours to make it happen.

Other equally-rewarding activities have started to gain a foothold in my schedule, though, like dancing, reading and getting eight hours of sleep every night. With these positive changes, planning to sew every garment I needed wasn’t working anymore. My sewing queue was growing longer as my output had slowed, and even with my new budget, fabric and patterns have been building up waiting to be sewn.

The revelation that I no longer aspire to sew everything I wear has hit me gradually over the last month. I think it started when I wrote up my IG post for Sew Photo Hop’s “knit vs. woven?” theme. I love me some wovens. I barely tolerate most knit projects, nor am I as excited with the finished garment when I’m done. As I was typing out my post for that day, it dawned on me that maybe I don’t need to sew knits. And I felt a twinge of relief. There will be exceptions – I do what I want, when I want, and contradict myself constantly. I’ve enjoyed making my own undies and even swimsuits. Plus, I have some knit fabrics stashed. But it’s 100% ok to not sew all of my t-shirts and tank tops.

This was my liberated mindset when I walked into one of my favorite local second-hand stores, and I was richly rewarded. I found things I needed (like a knee-length down coat) and things that make it easier to get dressed for work in the morning (a jeans jacket, some dresses, work blouses and knit tops), and they all fit acceptably well, even in the shoulders. I was elated and made two more trips to the Goodwill. I found a few pieces of workout gear and yet more knits. Finally, I bought three other harder-to-thrift workout garments new from a retail store.

I feel satisfied and done with shopping. I’m grateful the capricious thrift-store gods were on my side. I’m going to be warm and well-dressed this fall and winter and I won’t be trying to convince myself I could and should sew a down jacket as I shiver on my walk to the bus in the morning (even though that would be an amazing project….)

Now I can focus on sewing projects that bring me satisfaction. I didn’t buy any jeans or pants, by design – I love sewing those and I love the fit I can achieve. I’m also yearning for more outerwear projects. I’ve been sewing for others, and have a pair of jeans for my husband almost finished in addition to a dress for my best friend and a baby quilt project. I’m even considering refashioning my husband’s beat-up winter coat for him (don’t hold me to that) instead of sewing him a new one.

I can easily imagine a day in the future when I want to return to sewing everything, but for now I’m thoroughly enjoying my new paradigm.

And on the topic of jeans, I’ll be back shortly with some Morgan jeans variations I sewed this spring, summer and fall!

A quick sew gone slow

It was late spring this year when I saw Juebejue’s fantastic linen coat – made in a pattern I’d already sewn and loved, no less. I warned her immediately that I was going to copy her, and pulled out my copy of Vogue 8926 and some super thick linen a few weeks later.

I was ready for a quick and satisfying sew, especially since I’d already adjusted the fit. The only changes I made were adding length to the body and sleeves, and skipping the ties.

_dsc0370

It was completely finished and I was mostly in love with it when I saw some things I could not un-see:

  1. The beautiful collar had a tendency to stretch where it folded over (my first version has developed the same problem over time, probably because the recommended fabrics have a lot more body than linen), and it rolled in a different spot every time I tried it on
  2. The back collar was collapsing
  3. The increase in length meant the facings had more freedom to flap open

So, I went back in under the collar and made some ad-hoc hand-stitched fixes.

I hand-stitched a roll line in using rayon seam tape:

crabandbee.com | Vogue 8926 linen coat - adding a roll line

I added a weird little collar stand in the back, pad-stitched from the inside before I closed the facings up and reinforced by quilt batting.

crabandbee.com | Vogue 8926 linen coat - adding a collar stand

And finally, I hem-stitched the bound facing edges to the body of the jacket. The linen was loose and thick enough the stitches do not show.

crabandbee.com | Vogue 8926 - bias-bound facing

I love it so much more now that is has a bit of structure, and it’s been surprisingly useful during the summer. It’s proved a perfect travel piece, too, especially on a plane trip where I used it as a blanket.

crabandbee.com | Vogue 8926 linen coat back

I’ve thought about adding some kind of closure to the front, or perhaps a belt. There’s a weird little moment where the roll line ends but the coat still wants to flip open.

crabandbee.com | Vogue 8926, altered into a linen coat

But for all my last-minute tailoring, it is ultimately meant to be a loose, easy coat and I’ll leave it as is for now.

I’ve got a nice little backlog of projects from this summer and spring, finally photographed… so let’s just say I’m continuing my tradition of blogging along with the Australian seasons!

Bridesmaid dress

I haven’t been in many weddings, but they seem like good opportunities to stretch stylistically as one of your jobs is to fit into someone else’s vision. One of my best friends invited me to be in her wedding party and I tried not to look dubious when she said her colors were shades of green. (Pretty sure the last time you saw me in a true green was in 2013.)

But she is one of my favorite people, someone I’ve known for over half my life, and if she asked me to wear highlighter yellow, I would. So I set out to find a good green for my skin tone, and ended up with a lovely emerald rayon crepe.

Then came the pattern search. Simplicity 2406, an older pattern I hadn’t really entertained purchasing even during the height of my Cynthia Rowley craze, called to me. I don’t know why I didn’t jump all over it before – it features a big hole where my hardest-to-fit body part is!

img_20160731_154939

crabandbee.com | Simplicity 2406

I made a few modifications, closing up part of the back bodice, turning the neckline gathers into pleats as my rayon crepe fabric was bulky enough to warrant it, and adding an elastic waist channel.

img_20160731_155014

I finished the edge of my hem with contrasting bias binding, then stitched it by hand.

IMG_20160731_155102

My sis did my makeup and hair, which was a total treat. She used hot rollers to give my hair “a uniform vision”.

img_20160731_120814

The bridal party wore all different shades of green. Combined with the lush outdoor venue and loads of pale flowers mixed with foliage, the effect was stunning. Consider me a green convert.

I also made a trial garment – a top – before sewing my dress, from a remnant left over from my jumper dress, and it’s one of my most-worn pieces this summer!

crabandbee.com | Simplicity 2406

This is one of those patterns I could sew on repeat, but it’s such a distinct design I’m putting it on hold for now. Unless the urge to make it in a challis print or linen solid becomes too strong…

Have you revisited any designs that were popular when you started sewing?

A shift into neutral and a grainline mystery

Every time I make some kind of pronouncement – like “Hey, I’m into sewing colorful fabrics now!” – I seem to go out of my way to defy myself. Well, it’s happened again. No sooner had I written that post did I sew a string of neutral projects.

The evidence is quite damning:

In addition to these nine (!) projects, I sewed a couple of grey pieces in March. One is a total success and the other a total failure that I could use some input on.

First up – the success! These pants are sewn up in a thick linen woven using Vogue 8909.

crabandbee.com | Vogue 8909 grey linen pants

I’ve sewn the pattern up three times before, blogged only once as part of a tiger costume.

This time, I shifted the front seams in by another inch and added 2″ of ease to the hips in the rear. I like my hip ease. I’d also shortened the rise by 1″ in an earlier iteration (and as you can see, they are by no means low-rise even after the alteration.)

_DSC0133

I also lowered the back yoke line by 1″. These are my dream lounge pants, but nice enough (I think? I hope?) to wear to my casual-ish desk job.

And now, the fail: a longline cardigan based on McCall’s 6886.

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6886 long-line cardigan pattern hack

To be clear, I think the pattern was a good choice for this project. I altered McCall’s 6886 to include a front opening and a low v-neck. I also think these photos of the cardigan look GREAT.

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6886 long-line cardigan pattern hack

The fail is due to the fabric. I washed this 100% wool sweater knit on cold, and dried it in the machine. (Worth noting: I am cavalier with most fabrics. For a pre-wash, I machine wash and dry almost everything except coatings and lace. I baby my fabrics later by minimizing washings and line-drying, but I like to minimize surprises if a piece accidentally gets thrown in the wash.) No unexpected shrinkage, BUT the grainline shifted dramatically. The horizontal striations were now at a jaunty angle. After consulting with the fabric seller, I had mostly straightened it by dampening it and blocking it. So I cut and sewed it and was happy with it. As I wore it, the side seams began to skew but not so terribly that I wouldn’t wear it.

But, as time went on, the fabric relaxed, especially in the arm scye. Back it went into the washer/dryer, after which the side seams skewed dramatically to the point where the buttons now form a diagonal line across my front. Not only that, but the button band edges now form a very ripply fold.

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6886 long-line cardigan pattern hack

I’m not here to blame the seller, because I think every fabric care suggestion would tell me not to put wool sweater knit into a washer or dryer. But, I am curious – is this sweater knit intrinsically off-grain or did I make it so?

I have a yard or so left, and my thought is to sew something leaving the striations slanted and let the fabric do what it wants to do. I see quite a few RTW garments do that, so while it’s not my favorite look, I wouldn’t be conspicuous and the fabric wouldn’t go to waste.

Lastly, I shall leave you with a bonus project – the black tank I’m wearing with both of these grey projects!

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6886 black viscose tank top

It’s another McCall’s 6886 in black viscose, bringing my neutral sewing total up to twelve pieces. It’s quickly become one of my most-worn pieces as my two black RTW tanks (purchased in 2008 and 2011) disintegrate. I love the drape of the fabric.

Thanks for stopping by, and please do share any knowledge you might have about knit fabric grainlines!

Sewing Happiness origami pillows + giveaway

Please note this giveaway has been closed; thank you!

crabandbee.com | origami pillows from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Just under three years ago, when I must’ve been feeling exceptionally bold and sociable, I cold-emailed the writer of a new-to-me sewing blog I’d been enjoying. Her posts had inspired me to look at her About Me page and I was struck by our nearly identical work histories. (No small feat, considering I’d worked six completely distinct jobs and fields in my career at that point.) We also shared Japanese heritage and I really wanted to meet this person who could empathize with my wandering career and my bicultural upbringing.

The blogger in question was Sanae. After some small talk and sewing talk, we started digging into what has been an on-going conversation during our friendship: how to work and live well. How to do meaningful work, and do it in such a way that you can remain healthy and joyous. In one of our early get-togethers, Sanae confided that her dream and plan was to build her living by creating books, and I’m so proud to share that her second book, Sewing Happiness, has been released this month.

crabandbee.com | origami pillows from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Sewing Happiness begins with essays that delve into Sanae’s personal journey to physical and emotional health and the role that sewing played. The second half of the book is instructions for projects. None of the projects require patterns. I so wish I’d had this book when I started sewing. I had such an urge to understand how measurements and flat shapes related to the finished 3D projects and a book like this would have helped guide me through my fumbling! Now that I have more experience under my belt, I’m inspired by the beautiful styling and thoughtful, simple projects. Many of the projects would make great gifts.

I made a pair of the origami pillows, which I’d been eyeing ever since Sanae sent me an early draft of her book. The fabric I used is metallic linen provided by Miss Matatabi. The instructions suggest measuring the pillows and adding 1″ height and width for seam allowance. “But what about the space taken up by the pintucks?” I wondered to myself. I tried to figure out exactly how much extra I’d need for 1/8″ pintucks and cut accordingly. I’m terrible at cutting rectangular shapes, however, and one side was longer than the other. Then I kept reading, and the instructions said that the case will end up a little smaller than the pillows, but that makes them extra fluffy. I cut the other side down and stopped worrying. And Sanae was right, my pillows were extra fluffy.

crabandbee.com | origami pillows from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida

Speaking of fluffy, Puffy, one of two giant cats we adopted in February, graciously curled up in front of the pillows right before the photoshoot. He’s so obliging.

And in the interest of keeping it real, here’s what was happening outside of the frame. I’d tossed a throw blanket and a sweatshirt off the couch to shoot these photos. I think Spencer, our other giant kitty, was feeling left out and parked himself on the discard pile, staring reproachfully at me while Puffy had his closeup. Cats!

img_0071

Giveaway: I have a copy of Sewing Happiness and a $45 gift card to Miss Matatabi’s fabric shop for one U.S. reader. Please let me know in the comments if you’d like to be included in the giveaway and an email address where you can be contacted! Giveaway will close on May 23, 2016 at midnight PST.

Canada Pants

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans

I’m excited to share my Morgan jeans today! Since it would be weird to call your own jeans by your first name, I call them my Canada Pants. Not only were they are designed by Canadian Heather Lou, but I also found the fabric for them on a trip to Victoria, BC.

When Heather first approached me about this pattern, I was trepidatious about fitting without the aid of stretch. (I made a pair of non-stretch flares last year and while they’re comfortable enough, I just don’t like how they look.) I decided my strategy would be sizing up and sewing in a fabric with drape like a linen. Doesn’t it sound pleasant to billow around in roomy linen jeans?

But fate had other plans and I fell under the spell of a thick 50/50 hemp cotton denim in Victoria’s Gala Fabrics. (Incidentally, when I went up to the cutting counter, the owner immediately asked me if I was from Salt Springs Island. I said no and asked why, and he said that hemp and linen are very popular with the inhabitants there. If we were going on fibers alone, I’d say I’d found my people…)

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans

So with my drapey linen plans delayed (but not abandoned!), I made a very traditional pair of blue jeans. And, in spite of my hesitance, they’re easily the best jeans, nay, pants in my wardrobe. For a few years now, the only jeans pattern I’d used was what I’d adapted from a Burda pleated pants pattern. I’m still proud of what I accomplished with that pattern, but these are better. The pocket design and placement is better. The balance between front and back is better. The booty curve is better. The overall fit is better.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans

Let’s talk fit for a bit. I took the pattern’s suggestion to size up for thick fabric (I made a 10 waist / 12 hips instead of an 8 waist /10 hips) and made a muslin. Lo and behold, my muslin was already looking and feeling better than any other pair of pants I owned. I had a bit of excess fabric in the front thighs and under ye olde rump, as well as some smile lines in the back. After some research, I made the following fit tweaks:

  • scooped and lowered the rear curve (which removed the extra back volume)
  • scooped the front curve into more of a rectangle (which also removed volume)
  • removed excess from the back side seam starting under the widest part of my hips
  • removed excess from the back inner thighs
  • removed excess from the front inner thighs
  • moved the knee point up by 1″
  • took out 1/4″ total from the calves starting at the knee

I’m a tall person with short-person legs, so the ankle length was perfect on me.

Aside from my plan to make the jeans in linen, my other design idea was to expose the buttons on the button fly. I’m way into series of gold buttons right now. I omitted the fly shield and sewed my buttonholes directly into the jeans front.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans

I also really wanted keyhole buttons. I remembered Kelly from Cut Cut Sew had hand-sewed hers and how lovely it looked. One evening when my husband was out, I turned on some music and got to stitching.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans

Hand-sewn buttonholes are still not my forte, but these are infinitely more practical and beautiful than my machined ones! Consider me a convert.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans

I also changed the pocket construction in favor of pocket-stays, instructions for which are included in the Ginger sew-along.

crabandbee.com | Closet Case Patterns Morgan jeans

Given how well these fit, I’m chomping at the bit to make a second pair. My love of jeans sewing has been re-ignited! I’m going to see how these wear before sewing another pair – the true test of any pair of jeans -and see if I need to adjust the fit or sizing.

Thank you for reading, and thank you, Heather, for both the compliment of a namesake pattern and for drafting that booty curve.

In the details

crabandbee.com | altered Vogue 1367

I meant to blog about this dress sooner, but last week was truly strange. Seattle had a freak heat wave and my work drama was off the charts. Good stuff happened, too – I got to celebrate the release of Sanae’s new book and my scarlet runner beans quadrupled in size – but overall I was real glad to be on the right side of Friday.

So here I am, a week later and a little worse for wear, with some quick notes on this dress! This is a pattern I made two times in 2014, Vogue 1367. The tunic I made has become one of my most-worn and loved items.

_DSC0246

When I found myself with 2 yards of black linen on my hands, I set out to make another tunic and perfect it. I made the curved hem piece a bit deeper, and extended the bodice by 10″ instead of 8″ so I could wear it as a dress.

I also did my now-standard square shoulder adjustment, which lowered the bust point a bit as well.

crabandbee.com | altered Vogue 1367

I did try sleeves, but I added gathers at the top and the similarities to a choir robe was undeniable. I wish I’d taken a picture to share! Off came the sleeves.

crabandbee.com | altered Vogue 1367

I used woven trims in black and white to embellish it, and embroidered the neckline. Good lookin’ details keep me excited to wear a garment, so recently I’ve been trying to challenge myself to add one or two to each project. And, since I get irrationally angry making the exact same thing twice, the challenge helps me stay excited to sew patterns I’m already familiar with.

crabandbee.com | altered Vogue 1367

What are your favorite ways to customize your sewing?

Jumper dress

Happy Friday, everybody! I’m here to share my first self-drafted dress.

crabandbee.com | self-drafted jumper dress

The design is obviously dead simple but, as one might hope for a pattern drafted off a personalized block, it fits perfectly – bust, waist, hips falling at just the right places, as do the side seams. Just like me, the pattern is square in the shoulders, long through the upper chest, narrower at the back and bust, with extra booty.

After finishing my bodice sloper in 2014 and my skirt sloper last year, I put them together last month to make what my Helen Joseph-Armstrong drafting text calls a torso foundation. (Clearly I’m on the slow-and-steady path to pattern drafting.) From what I understand, the torso foundation is what one would use for any garment that starts at the shoulders and goes past the waist without a waist seam. This could include shift and sheath dresses, woven and knit shirts.

Here’s mine; the front is a bit sloppy because it shows two versions (shoulder dart and bust dart).

crabandbee.com | patternmaking, torso foundation

Here’s someone else’s that’s easier to see.

POSTER-PB-SLO-017-ConvertFittedTorsoSloperSuit-Sloper.jpg
Sample torso foundation from University of Fashion

After making my torso foundation, I used HJ-A’s dungaree instructions and adapted them for a skirt instead of pants.

_DSC0189

I added some complexity by including button side closures. (Side closures are part of the HJ-A instructions, but I got a bit lost on her instructions and had to wing it a bit.) You can see the weird shape of the button extension below; it was ok in my head and not so great in cloth. It was worth it, though; the gold buttons elevate the dress from an apron.

crabandbee.com | self-drafted jumper dress

Let’s just cover that weird extension up, shall we?

crabandbee.com | self-drafted jumper dress

This project took about a month to complete, mostly because I had to figure out the construction. While I frequently alter commercial patterns to suit my style or construction preferences, sorting out the construction from scratch is a different beast! I did it all in my head, which prolonged the project. Next time, I’ll speed things up by sketching and writing out the process beforehand.

crabandbee.com | self-drafted jumper dress

And speaking of next time, I’d like to make a couple of design tweaks: widen the bib and strap placement by 1″ total, straighten the hip curve, and experiment with a front waist seam and pockets. This is a silhouette I love to wear, and could see many variations in my future.

crabandbee.com | self-drafted jumper dress

This dress was inspired by a lot of the styles I saw when I was in Japan and by some of the awesome dungaree dresses popping up on blogs, like Liza Jane’s, Kirsty’s and Juli’s. I understand the style may not appeal to everyone but I love it and I’m clearly in some good company!

Have you drafted your own patterns or thought about it? I found making the slopers to be a chore (well, at least the bodice) but drafting from them has been easier than I expected.

Budget cuts / trying to be a grown-up

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 10.56.36 AM

In January, we decided to try something new with how we budget. Instead setting individual budgets for various non-essential categories like coffee, eating out, entertainment, and, oh, fabric! (basically any spending beyond food, bills and housing), we decided we’d each get a set amount of cash to cover all discretionary spending.

The amount is on the VERY lean side compared to what I’d really been spending in each category added together. And so, I was suddenly faced with choices: daily coffee with my coworker, a dance workshop, occasional brunches out with my husband competed with denim for new jeans, yarn for my next knitting project and even new zippers and thread. (PS Did you know zippers and thread cost real money?! I’d been writing them off as free…)

I’ve always prided myself on being a thrifty-ish person, thinking I never really needing a budget until recently because I’ve always lived so cheaply. I have amazing restraint in most retail settings. My expenses have gone up in the past few years, though, especially since I’ve prioritized eating well and taking classes that get me moving like dance and yoga. We started budgeting when we both took time off from full-time employment a couple of years ago (an absolute necessity!) but when I went back to work, I didn’t do a great job of factoring in the increased “fun” spending I felt entitled to. I expected my natural thriftiness to effectively temper my spending.

And to some extent, it has; I don’t spend more money than I have. But my savings goals really weren’t being met. And equally importantly, what I was buying – all sewing stuff – felt burdensome by the time I had to make room for it, like shoving a bite of the most amazing chocolate cake into my mouth when I was already full. I’d been sacrificing my financial goals only to create a sense of stifling obligation.

I know lots of people find joy and make great use a large stash, but I’ve realized I’m not one of them. I like constraints. Any more than several full cuts of fabric in my stash, and I can easily feel overwhelmed and uncreative. I have plenty more than that now but I’m excited to see how the budget will help me use the lovely fabrics I already have.

Which brings me to the project above! I was holding off on buying yarn for a new knitting project, which inspired me to turn my attention to a lawless region of my stash: scraps, large and small. I sewed myself a new dance bag. I’d long regretted the state of my freebie drawstring backpack every time I went to dance class – too small with a busted grommet, impossible to pull one thing out without everything flying out, etc. – but I never wanted to buckle down and sew a better bag. The sewing one wasn’t as boring as I feared, though. Neither the construction nor the shapes were complicated, but I had fun playing with the pocket design and making some construction changes based on the materials I had. Instead of using interfacing, I used two layers of blemished thrifted shirting fabric.

Continuing on the frugality theme, the bag is based on the free Everyday Tote tutorial from Purl Soho, with a few modifications – shorter contrast panel, lining instead of bias binding, front pocket and longer straps inserted at the contrast panel.

I’m on a bit of a high from a good first month of budgeting, but I’m not expecting this to be easy. I’ve already spent time today not buying stuff on two different online fabric shops! I think breaking that habit of constant browsing will be one of the toughest things about this whole endeavor. But it’s time to adjust my spending and stashing to support my goals of creativity and thrift alike, and I’m pumped about it.

I’ve been storing up some inspiration on budgeting, stash reduction and mindful crafting; here are some of my favorites!

  • The impressive Stash Less series by The Craft Sessions
  • This fantastic post by Gillian from a couple of years ago specifically about sewing budgets (the comments are awesome too!)
  • Andrea’s stash assault is fierce and thorough, just like Andrea herself
  • I love Tasha’s blog for the thoughtfulness she brings to her making process; it shows in every post.