Week 2: MMM ’13

Hello, hello! Here’s what I wore during Week 2 of MMM.

DAY 6: Unblogged Wiksten tank with button placket (2013 – this weekend)
Reflections: I made this tank because I got frustrated with the pants I’m making, a sewing palate-cleanser. I added a button placket and some length to the tank view. Adding a button placket was easy. I cut two pieces for the front, and added 2.5″ to center front for a 1″ thick placket that is folded over twice. After wearing it all day, I realized how voluminous this tank is! The neck was gaping and the sides were billowing. I’ve since taken it in by creating a center back seam. I’m wondering if the fabric’s deep wrinkles reformed between pressing and cutting?
Morning activity: None! I couldn’t fall sleep because of the hot weather.


DAY 7: Sleeveless blouse (May 2012)
Reflections: This is a generally good blouse, but for some reason, I don’t reach for it often. Perhaps it would be better in a lighter-weight fabric, since it’s a bit boxy. I used the Burda Sleeveless Blouse pattern.
Morning activity: Another warm night! Nathan and I watched Lost later at night instead of going to sleep early.


DAY 8: Anna K skirt (November 2012)
Reflections: Gosh, this skirt is just really nice to wear. I really took my time with it and tried underlining for the first time. The fabric print still makes me really happy.
AM activity: none, Wednesday is my day off (it’s a bad week for early rising so far!)


DAY 9: Redness bustier (April 2012)
Reflections: I led off MMM ’12 with this top (pattern is McCall’s 6325). I still love it! It could probably use some more structure through the bodice, as it’s a thinner quilting cotton, as well as some in the straps.
AM activity: It’s cooled off quite a bit! I did some light yoga and stretching this morning.


DAY 10: Wiksten tank (April 2013)
Reflections: Clearly one of my favorite outfits! Not too much to say here as I just blogged about this tunic, aside from the fact I felt awesome in it all day. One thing I noticed was that this Wiksten felt way less voluminous than Day 6’s (before the addition of the CB seam).
AM activity: I woke up MAD (not sure why, just happens sometimes) and lay in bed stewing. I don’t consider stewing in bed getting up early!


DAY 11: Unblogged Burda Sleeveless Blouse (May 2012) and black skirt (Winter 2010)
Reflections: This blouse was my first of two attempts at the Burda Sleeveless pattern. The fabric was leftovers from my Minoru lining. I dunno. In order to make it less boxy, I curved the side seams (too much). It photographs worse than it looks, but it’s still not my favorite. The facings on this pattern kind of drive me crazy, and it’s very clear to me that I sewed it too fast. The skirt is one of  many made using Simplicity 2451. As my only black skirt, it’s been a bit of a workhorse item for me but it’s starting to look its age! The denim hasn’t kept its color that well. I wonder if I can re-dye it?


Day 12: Self-drafted self-printed tank (never blogged, 2011)
Reflections: I silk-screened this cotton voile with one of my illustrations. I was experimenting with tank patterns at the time, and this was the most successful one. I know I’ve got a muslin of it in my scrap bag, but I’m kicking myself for not making a paper pattern out of it because it’s a great little tank! It saw me through some serious Mother’s Day food prep and two visits to our p-patch garden without breaking a sweat.


As far as sewing went this week, I was happily sidetracked by a non-garment gifty project. I  haven’t gathered the resolve to fix the pants yet. I hope to get them fixed and as well as enjoy some early mornings this week!

What are you working on now?


Anna K skirt

Hi, and welcome to the new home of Crab & Bee! For continuity’s sake, I’ve imported all of the sewing posts over from my previous address (crabandbee.blogspot.com). I’ve adjusted the most recent posts to the new format, but am still updating some of the older posts. If you see any weirdness with image sizes and stray <table> tags (thanks, blogger!), that’s why! I’ll also be updating links in posts from blogspot, so apologies if you get sent back to my old blog! Finally, if you are looking for the posts that my sister/former co-blogger wrote, check out her new blog, Pollen & Wax!

Now, let’s get back to the sewing fun, shall we?

This is a project I made in late November/early December but wasn’t able to properly photograph until the weekend before New Year’s. The heavens opened up and Seattle saw two days of sun (albeit partial sun, but  we take what we can get!) At the first sight of it, I threw on my skirt and dragged Nathan outside for a mini-photoshoot.


Yes, it’s another skirt made using Simplicity 2451, and it’s the fanciest yet!


The fabric is a cotton twill, most likely intended for interior decoration. I fell super hard for the print and looked up the name on the fabric bolt, Ty Pennington. Apparently Ty Pennington is a very energetic reality-TV celebrity? Whether he designed the print himself (seems unlikely) or attached his name to it, it speaks for itself. It’s awesome.

There are three construction details worth noting. One, I underlined the skirt (a first for me with this pattern) with silk because I really wanted to be able to wear it sans clinging with tights during the holiday season. Two, I made a hem facing for the first time ever. I’d gotten attached to the pre-hemmed length and was looking for ways to make a luxurious-looking hem while keeping the skirt longer.


And three, I did a lapped zipper instead of an invisible one because of the thickness of the fabric.


This took an embarrassing amount of time to figure out, and I couldn’t tell you how it’s done. In fact, I’m using it on another project and I can safely say I’ve retained nothing. I’ve looked at a lot of tutorials and it just seems like magic.

You may be wondering why it’s called the Anna K skirt? Well (unrelated to the new movie), my husband has been reading Anna Karenina out loud to me while I sew. And the fabric kind of reminds me of a modern version of Russian easter eggs.


I wore this skirt to three Christmas parties and to work a few times, so my mission was accomplished and then some. The print makes it feel special but it’s also quite wearable. I would have definitely included it in my Top 5 hits of 2012 list if photography had permitted, and I’m sure it’s going to see lots of use in 2013! Do you find that pieces you create for special purpose make the jump into your regular wardrobe?

The Wayback Machine, Pt. 3

Thank you for all of your lovely comments on my Minoru. It felt great to share it after such a long creation process! Now, back to catching up on some older projects!

Before Crab&Bee, which was born in February of 2011, I blogged here. It was a quiet little blog, but I was writing there when I started getting serious about making my own clothes. I’m sharing my pre-Crab&Bee creations in a few posts, as well as a bit of my sewing history.

Winter 2010 {Simplicity 2451}

In the fall/winter of 2010, I discovered a little pattern named Simplicity 2451. I was not aware that I would end up making four (and counting…) of the exact same view, but there it is. The first one was a wearable muslin in the space invaders ikat fabric that has since  (seen in MMM ’11), and this blue denim beauty was the second.

This exposed-zipper black denim version came directly after the blue one.

Winter 2010 {Simplicity 2451}

I still wear both of these skirts, as well as the third (never shared on my old blog but made at the same time as the other three), but I feel like they look a little frumpy. The denim is thick but hasn’t been holding its color with washing. Also, I didn’t trim the seam allowances on the waistband on the blue one, and they’re pretty visible. One of these days, I’m going to trim that out!

Now, this hot lil number below was the result of my first attempt at a Vogue pattern (1150). Since I was sewing at a feverish pace, making a last-minute Christmas dress, mistakes were made. I made the suggested size based on  my measurements and the dress was huge. Then I went down too many sizes and the dress became a little too tight for the ponte knit cotton and a little scandalous for this prude. I still wore it to Christmas festivities but wisely decided against the ripped fishnets in the photos.

Winter 2010 {Vogue 1150}
Winter 2010 {Vogue 1150}

I finally decided to part ways with this dress a few weeks ago, but I’d be curious to try it again in the right size. And probably not in ponte knit – it’s thicker fabric but somehow still seemed to show every bra straps and whatnot.

What I learned from these projects: Trim seam allowances. Denim from Joann Fabrics is not to be trusted. And, as I learn time and time again, hasty sewing is a recipe for projects I don’t wear often.

It’s also funny to see how my style has been evolving since I started sewing. I used to favor more fitted clothes, even though I never intended for the red dress to be as fitted as it ended up!


I made this skirt last weekend. I based it off of my favorite skirt pattern, Simplicity 2451, which I thought I could turn into a midi-length mullet skirt. I think the idea might have been good, but I used the wrong fabric (at least it was thrifted) and ignored what I knew about making circle/half-circle skirts and ended up with something I don’t really want to wear.
Something else I didn’t consider; you need a nice seam in the back of the skirt because it’s visible! I overlocked the raw edges of my fabric but I still think it looks a little goofy.
Next, I’m going to cut off the mullet and see if I can’t make this skirt wearable enough for me or somebody else. Wish me luck!

The Fifth Week: MMM ’12

I just realized that I’d mis-labled week four’s update as another week three until I started writing this post! I was trapped in time!

This, my friends, is week five of Me-Made-May 2012.

Day 27: Wearing my flannel shirt; Nathan took this photo at Macrina in Seattle, probably my favorite bakery cafe.

Thanks to Nathan for the awesome photo!

Day 28: Heading off to brunch in my Burda sleeveless blouse – probably my most re-worn item, clocking in at three times – thrifted jacket, jeans and… new Frye sandals.

I can’t remember if I shared my clothing consumption goals here on crab & bee but I decided last year that going forward, I would make my clothes or buy them thrifted. New purchases would be for emergencies only. Shoes, I would aim for 0-2 pairs of new ones. Considering I got married and started a new job with much higher sartorial standards than my old job, I’m ok with the fact that I purchased 3 pairs last year; one for my wedding, and two that were suitable for both walking and work. When I do buy a new pair, they really need to last and be easily repaired, and so far I’ve had decent luck with Frye.

Day 29: My trusty shibori scarf worn with a newish refashion! It’s almost cheating to call the dress a refashion since I just removed some very doofy looking pockets from the skirt part. Funny how very small details can ruin a garment. I wonder if that’s why it ended up in the thrift store?

Day 30: Just a simple black tee made of black wool jersey. One of my goals this year is to get better at sewing with knits, especially since I’ve mostly encountered them doing refashions. Also wearing a pair of thrifted jeans and my very useful wedding shoes!

Day 31: I made it! Part of the flickr group decided to thank Zoe for all of her hard work organizing and maintaining this challenge by making signs and, if possible, celebrating her vintage/nautical/boldly colored style. I was able to procure two self-mades that fit the bill, the new Burda sleeveless blouse and one of my Simplicity 2451 clones in bright blue denim. I wouldn’t have thought to pair these two pieces, but I felt very sprightly and happy all day!

Maybe I’m just tired after all my outfit documentation, but I’m not really sure what new things I learned this challenge except for that I feel proud of how far I’ve come since Me-Made-March ’11! I ran out of steam to sew new things mid-month but now that it’s over, I’m raring to go.

The Fourth Week, MMM 12: Grey Days

The title says it all; I wore a significant number of grey garments this week! I think it’s interesting that I started with all of my brightest reds, oranges and blues and worked my way down to the greys (with the exception of Day 25).

Day 21: I wore a refashioned cotton sweater. It used to have really unflattering batwings, so I re-made the sleeves and took in the armpits. (Gross, “took in the armpits.”) I’d hurt my back from too much desk work and sewing, hence the shorts. Also wearing my Savage Salvage necklace.

Day 22: I made another Burda sleeveless blouse! As I said in my Flickr description, I make everything in twos.  I really liked the other blouse (worn on Day 17 and Day 10), but had a few things I wanted to improve on. I made it longer with a pointed hem, and didn’t nip the sides in so dramatically but compensated by adding darts in the back. The fit is great! And, I was lucky enough to find this polka dotted cotton at the thrift store.

Day 23: I’d bought this tunic at the thrift store because I liked the fabric so much, but it was too big. I took in the sides and re-did the sleeves and hem a bit. Worn with thrifted jeans and the coolest necklace ever (found at the Goodwill). And no, I’m not using hyperbole.

Day 24: The third Simplicity 2451 makes an appearance! I made this one in tribal cotton twill from Gorgeous Fabrics. Worn with a store-bought shirt and tights, as well as a vintage necklace.

Day 25: My trusty blue linen tank made a reappearance (also seen on Day 5 this month). Worn with a thrifted bolero and jeans, and a favorite pair of shoes that had been at the cobbler until recently.

Day 26: Saturday was so lovely in Seattle! I put on my tunic/dress made of linen curtains with Simplicity 2497, one of the Cynthia Rowley patterns. I find this piece a bit challenging to wear because of the low neckline and lofty ruffles. It looks pretty good with a shirt under it, but that would have been too warm yesterday!

I can’t believe there are five days left!! There is a slim chance I’ll have a new project before the end of MMM ’12; otherwise, get ready to see some previously-seen, lovingly hand-washed favorites!

The Second Week, MMM12: Blue Period

It seems I wore blue self-mades every day, with only one or two exceptions! And with the morning light being as it is, my black clothes also photographed blue.

Day 7: My self-drafted, hand-printed cotton voile tank. I so need to duplicate this project in other fabrics! It’s so easy to wear but still feels a bit fancy.

Day 8: Here is one of my favorite self-mades ever, blogged here. I’d love to make one or two more of this one! I used Simplicity 2281.

Day 9: This was my first attempt at the bustier I wore on day 1 (not counting the muslin I made). I was a little bit sick when I made it, and I rotated one of the pieces. It’s given the garment a slight pouf where I eased in the piece, but I still think it’s wearable. If I get ambitious some day, I’m going to fix it. The pattern is McCall’s 6325.

Day 10: A new, unblogged project! I downloaded the Burda sleeveless blouse PDF. I used the lining leftovers from my Minoru, which is still in progress. I love the blouse but found the instructions to be quite spare! That said, now that I know how to use this pattern, I will probably be making several of these. Also wearing my Simplicity 2451 skirt.

Day 11: Last year, I started Me-Made March with this shirt. It’s just slightly too big through the bust and waist, due to my misunderstanding the pattern instructions (Simplicity 2554, for reference). It was a mix of knit and woven patterns and I mistakenly assumed that it was all for knits. I’d actually be interested in making it in a woven fabric at some point, although the idea of doing a narrow hem on those ruffles again gives me pause!

Day 12: My thrifted and shredded tank, created last year during Me-Made-March. Here’s the Outsapop tutorial if you’d like to make your own or just read a really cool blog on thrifting and DIY fashion.

Day 13: What’s this? A picture of me outside of my bedroom? Nathan snapped this photo of me between mother’s day events. I’m wearing my blue Simplicity 2451 skirt, an older recently-repaired tank top and a vintage Coach purse from ebay.

I’m getting a little concerned as I’m getting down to the projects that I don’t normally wear. We’ll see how this coming week treats me; there might be some re-styling aka repeats. (I have no qualms about repeating garments weekly in the real world, but it’s more exciting to share new ones during a sewing challenge!)

The First Week: MMM ’12

Without furher adieu, here are my outfits from last week! For those not in the know, I took a pledge to wear at least one self-made item for every day of May as part of So, Zo..‘s Me-Made-May 2012 challenge.

Day 1: Red bustier, never before blogged! I love, love, love this shirt. I used thrifted red quilting cotton gifted to me by the lovely and thrifty Elizabeth of La Vida Desconocida and McCall’s 6325. I have another one in blue-grey stretch denim that will undoubtedly be making an appearance this month.


Day 2: Black 2451 (I’ve used this pattern so much that it’s synonymous with the word “skirt”). I made this one last year right before Me-Made-March 2011. I’ve seen a lot of great skirts using this pattern in the MMM community!


Day 3: Wooly grey sleeveless cardigan, based on Butterick 5528. I’ve had this gorgeous fabric sitting around for nearly a year, and I’m so glad to have put it to good use. I’ll admit to creating this piece in haste. I’ll need to watch myself this month to make sure I don’t put too much pressure on myself to churn out new things. Ideally, this month is a lovely way to measure my progress as a sewist and to savor the garments I’ve put so much time and effort into creating, and I’d really like to focus on that rather than turning my apartment into a sweatshop.


Day 4: My persimmon shirt had her day in the sun (er, the rain). I originally blogged this project here and probably wear it 2-3 times a month. It’s just such a mood-lifter. I’m starting to see signs of tearing around the darts, however, which was NOT a mood-lifter. Is that just what can happen with voile? I’m going to widen the pattern a bit when I use it next.

Day 5: Sunny Saturday! I made this project towards the end of MMM ’11 last year and have been thoroughly enjoying it. The fabric from a full skirt with a tiny waist purchased at the thrift store and I had just enough fabric to squeeze out a shirt. I love the over-sized geometric shapes.

Day 6: the first accessory to make an appearance! Awhile back, I found a piece of silk I’d dyed while working for a textile artist. All it needed was hemming to become this incredibly vibrant scarf. I used string to to bind pinched bits of the fabric to make the circular patterns.

Learnings so far: It seems I have a preponderance of red/oranges and bright blues in my self-made wardrobe. This is probably a good thing as I tend buy neutral greys and muted blues at the thrift store. I’m feeling a distinct lack of pants in my self-made wardrobe, although I’m not sure how much of a problem it is outside of the MMM world!

That’s all for this week; I’m starting my Minoru jacket (eek!) and also have a new dress to share!