Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Fragment Scarf : Ways to Wear It

I've been working the Fragment Scarf (available on Etsy or Ravelry) into my daily wardrobe every chance I get. It's little, and effortless, and works so many different ways that I can't resist its squishy texture if the temperature drops below 50 degrees! It's a quick knit. Raid your yarn stash and you could be wearing one tomorrow, or gifting a half dozen at Christmas with time to spare.

When I made the first Fragment Scarf I was heavily inspired by Style Bee's stripped down accessorizing, that makes a scarf seem absolutely essential. Since then I came across the scarf stylings of Rosemary and Thyme. Kriste's boy scout chic approach is perfect for my standard button-down uniform and makes me want to skip rocks and climb trees (or maybe just grocery shop) in the most stylish way possible. 

Yarn Possibilities

image credit Madeline Tosh (Mo Light Viper) / Purl Soho (Tynd 18) / 
Purl Soho (Cattail Silk Willow Gray) / Quince & Co. (Finch Fox) 

The Fragment Scarf pattern is written for Quince & Co. Finch. It's the perfect combination of body and drape for the kerchief scarf style. It would also be great in the muted hues of Madeline Tosh Mo Light. For a more lush interpretation the Purl Soho Cattail Silk would make a softer drape perfect for dress up. This one skein project is a great opportunity to try a top shelf yarn like Woolfolk Tynd, or a locally grown, spun, or dyed fingering yarn.

How to Wear It

This little snippet of a scarf has become a wardrobe staple for me. The wool keeps you toasty warm, but it often makes me think more of a necklace than a scarf, or maybe some knit jewelry middle ground. :) The cardi (this one is a Driftless) and Fragment, or jacket (this one is a Tamarack) and Fragment work as fall outerwear. In the winter when I'm too stubborn to turn up the heat the oversized sweater (both my own patterns- black, gray) and Fragment make me feel like it's a few degrees warmer inside. 

Get your copy of the Fragment Scarf Knitting Pattern
on Etsy

All things Fragment Scarf:


Monday, November 13, 2017

Wholecloth Bento Bag Tester Inspiration

Image from Elisa 
Instagram: @weckum 

I am ever so grateful to the group of testers for the Wholecloth Bento Bag sewing pattern. It's certainly true that the online sewing community is a one of the best parts about sewing. The testers caught my spelling errors, and gave great feedback on where the instructions were lacking. The collaboration with these sewists gives me great confidence in the end result. They are also a great source of inspiration! Looking at their finished bentos makes me want to ransack my stash for pretty prints and mellow stripes! Take a moment to see what a few of the testers have done with this design here, and in the #wholeclothbentobag hashtag on instagram.

Get the 
sewing pattern in the shop! 

Image from Sophe of Urban Roots Handmade
Instagram: @urbanrootshandmade

Image from Nicole of Pokeycan.
Instagram: @pokeycan

Image from Dawn.
 Instagram: @simply.dawn.marie

Image from Theresa 
Instagram: @teawithjamandbread

Image from Kara
Instagram: @knitsandsews

Image fromCatherine of Thread Snips
Instagram: @threadsnips 

Image from Jess of Coral Bunny and Lo.
Instagram: @coralbunnyandlo 

Image from Chelsey 
Instagram: @chelseylanefields

Image from Helle

Image from Rachel of Sterling Sewn
Instagram: @sterlingsewn

Thank you testers! And thank you to everyone who has already purchased a copy of the Wholecloth Bento Bag pattern! Be sure to share your bags with #wholeclothbentobag & #sweetkmpatterns, and tag me @kristi_sweetkm


Thursday, November 9, 2017

New Wholecloth Bento Bag Sewing Pattern

The new 
sewing pattern is now available in the shop! 


I'm excited to introduce a pattern that is definitely a tried and true staple in my sewing room! The Wholecloth Bento Bag is a simple design and a very versatile project. The bag is made from a single rectangle of cloth that is folded and sewn into the bento shape. The corners of the opening tie to keep the contents secure. All of the seams are enclosed to make the inside just a lovely as the outside. The pattern includes 4 sizes of bag that you can print on your home printer and assemble. If you'd rather skip the printing you can draft your own with the dimension chart included in the instructions. You can make all 4 sizes in an afternoon with 1 1/2 yards (137cm) of fabric!

I've been making some variation of this bag for years. A bento is my very favorite way to keep my current knitting project in my purse without it getting all jumbled up with the gum wrappers and spare change languishing at the bottom of my bag. Based on the way my family uses our bento bags I've created 4 sizes for the bento pattern. The finished size small is 10in x 11in (25.5cm x 28cm) and just the thing for holding a few small toys in the car. The XL is 17 1/2in x 19in (44.5cm x 48cm) and easily holds a change of clothes for an after school playdate. I use the size large to hold clothespins for laundry day.  My daughter carries her ballet slippers and leotard to class in a size medium.

The interior finish of this design is especially polished. The entire bag is sewn on a standard sewing machine. The illustrated pattern instructions show you how to completely enclose the interior seams for a finish that will stand the test of time and use. 

My favorite fabric for a bento bag is linen because it's durable and wears beautifully.  The solids shown above are Robert Kaufman Essex Linen Blend in yarn dyed black and natural (affiliate). They have the characteristic slump of linen. The top of the stack above is a Maker Maker Lines (affiliate) print for Andover Fabrics. I love all of Sarah's prints, and the linen blend substrate is perfect for a project bag. I picked up the white/natural print (alternate color way) at Gather Here when I was in Boston last week. It is the same Essex Linen Blend substrate, but the ink of the print gives this bag a nice rigidity that keeps the flaps up when it's stuffed with yarn. Any lightweight woven fabric will work for this pattern. I've used a lot of light weight denim in the past, and I picked up an adorable cotton double gauze to make some reusable birthday gift wrap bentos for the kids. 

Actually, my favorite fabric for a bento is whatever scraps I have on hand. Size small only requires a 9in x 25in (23cm x 63.5cm) piece of fabric, making it a great stash buster!

The Wholecloth Bento Bag PDF sewing pattern includes:
-4 bento bag sizes S, M, L, XL complete with notches and seam allowance
- clear step by step illustrated instructions
- PDF pattern to print and assemble at home using your home printer and 8 1/2" x 11" paper 
- pattern dimensions to draft your own pattern pieces rather than print and assemble the PDF

Get yours now!

This morning SweetKM newsletter subscribers got a sweet discount code in their inbox for the Wholecloth Bento Bag. It's not to late for a launch day discount. Sign up for the newsletter and get a 20% discount code for the Wholecloth Bento Bag good until Monday November 13th!

I would love to see what you make! Share your your projects on instagram using #wholeclothbentobag & #sweetkmpatterns. Tag me @kristi_sweetkm!


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Indiesew Fall/Winter : Grainline Studio Tamarack Jacket

Have you seen the Indiesew Fall Collection? It includes 5 great garments that cover all the bases for transitional dressing. I have been meaning to make a second, more versatile, Tamarack Jacket since I made my first one two years ago! Celebrating the Indie Sew Fall Collection was just the kick in the pants I needed to get this coat out of the planning stages, and under the quilting needle. It's the perfect coat for fall. Over a tee, or over a sweater, with a chunky cowl, or totally bare, the Tamarack Jacket is the layer that fills the outwear gap in my handmade wardrobe
I love this color! Possibly too much. As with my previous chambray obsession, that I haven't fully recovered from, everything can't be tan. When everything is tan, nothing goes together! Luckily, tan compliments all the black and chambray/denim I've sewn in the past.

I love this fabric (similar)! Which is a relief because when I got it I was worried it would be too plain (is that possible?) to do this pattern justice. But from the second I sewed up the side seams I didn't want to take this jacket off. The arms were wrinkly from wear before I had even finished sewing!
The exterior fabric is Robert Kaufman Essex Linen Blend (similar) in Leather Gold from The cotton/linen blend gives the fabric a rumpled texture that adds some character to the basic color. (Check out Erica's sleek version in the same fabric, different color!) The interior is Robert Kaufman Mammoth Flannel Plaid in Steel also from It's deliciously soft and high quality. Mammoth Flannel is pretty sturdy and I was worried it would be too rigid when quilted together with the Essex. Using the 3.5" spaced line quilting pattern, as opposed to the diamond quilting, allows the layers to move even with the thicker fabric.

( links are affiliate links.)
I made a 6/8/10 bust/waist/hip based on my measurements. I suspect I didn't need to go the whole way to 10 at the hips, this pattern has plenty of ease through the body. I chose the newish View B with the snap front opening. And used widely spaced horizontal lines of quilting. The minimal quilting makes the sewing go so much faster than the diamond quilting pattern. The possibilities are endless for fabric combinations and quilting patterns for this jacket. I love Shannon's version with the pieced bottom.

For the interior finishing I added a hanging loop at the neck center back, and bias bound the pocket bags. I took a lucky chance at matching the plaid of the pocket bags with the interior. I serged all of the edges before sewing the seams, then pressed them open and top stitched 1/4" from the seam to tack down the selvage edges.

The Tamarack checks all the boxes for fall layering. Today I'm wearing it was a rolled Fragment Scarf, and Blanc Tee. I can't wait to try it out with my chunky seed stitch cowl, or a turtle neck. The only thing my Tamarack Jacket is missing is weather cool enough to wear it!

Jacket Pattern: Tamarack Jacket by Grainline Studio from Indiesew
Exterior Fabric: Kaufman Essex Linen Blend (similar color) in Golden Leather from Fabric. com
Interior Fabric: Kaufman Mammoth Flannel in Steel from Fabric. com

Scarf Pattern: Fragment Scarf Knitting Pattern by SweetKM (blogged here)
T-Shirt: Blanc T-Shirt by Blank Slate Patterns (blogged here)


October 18 - Grainline Studio
October 20 - My Handmade Wardrobe
October 23 - The Doing Things Blog
October 24 - SweetKM
October 25 - Sew House Seven
October 26 - Threadbear Garments
October 27 - Sew Liberated


The Tamarack Jacket pattern was provided to me by Indiesew. Please trust that my review is sincere. links are affiliate links. I purchased and selected the fabrics myself.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

New Pants Like Old Friends - Guide to Sewing Wide Leg Pants.

I'm sharing the details of the self-drafted wide leg pants I started making 2 years ago! Read on for a guide to the books and tools I used to draft and make these custom pants, and wide leg pant sewing pattern suggestions if you're not in to starting from scratch.

A while ago I read a post on Instagram where someone at least one fashion cycle younger than I am talked about what a revelation high waisted pants were to her. How they are surprisingly comfortable, and flattering to someone raised on low rise. That post stuck in my head for days. I love high waists and wide legs, but to me they were no epiphany, more like old friends. The kind of friend you haven't seen in years, but can pick up right where you left off. Age has few benefits, but at least when the fashion pendulum swings, I already know what I'm going to feel good in.

A few years ago, when I'd totally had it with squeezing my bootie into skinny jeans, and was missing the pants from brighter days, I decided I wanted to recreate a style my past self lived in. Something anchored at my natural waist, flowy, but not to the point of palazzo pants. Before, I would have searched high and low for those pants, found only a few choices at the tip of the fashion trend wave, and lamented the price point. This time, I drafted myself a pattern, and made myself some pants.
This particular pair of WLPs is sewn with Sew Classic Slub Linen from Joann Fabric. It's pretty good fabric, with a nice drape, doesn't cost much (don't forget your coupon!), and is easy for me to get when I feel like experimenting. When I make such a simple style of anything I feel the need to compensate for the lack of technical difficulty with an extra thoughtful finish on the inside. I bias bound the pocket bags and the faux fly on the inside. I serged and topstitched the inner leg, and crotch seams, and serged and top stitched to the edge of the pocket opening on the outer leg seam. The dot tag is a tiny scrap of Nani Iro double gauze.

These pants are pretty effortless to style up or down. This is my black Brussels Washer Linen Blend (affiliate) Scout Tee, and the DIY Pipe Necklace I made a few months ago. I've worn this necklace in 4 out of 5 of the last blog posts, so I'm gonna go ahead and label it a success (and try to wear something else next time :).

Books and Tools to Draft Your Own Sewing Patterns

Just before tackling my first WLPs I took a pattern drafting class at Made Institute in Philadelphia. The class was fantastically informative, but if you don't live near a fashion design school don't despair. A confident maker can work out basic pattern drafting without formal instruction. The main resource I took away from the class was the book: Pattern Making for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph-Armstrong. The book shows where/what to measure and gives step by step instructions for drafting your own patterns with suggested ease for different styles. Based on this book I drafted my first version of the  pants. They fit, but as with anything some tweaking was necessary.  I made a basted muslin, when I got the stitching where I wanted it I traced over the stitching with a Sharpie (wish I had pictures of that!) so I could be certain which line of stitching was the real one. The resulting pair of "final" pants were pretty good. As I wore those pants (and once I came down from the maker's high) I identified a few little things I wanted to make better. I used the book Pants for Real People: Fit and Sew for Any Body by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto to tweak the fit. This is an absolute must read for anyone sewing pants. It very clearly diagrams common fit problems and their solutions. With subsequent versions I made the length shorter, the legs wider, tweaked the crotch curve, and the rise to near perfection (I'm still on the maker's high for this version, gotta wear them a few times to get my objectivity back).
Pattern drafting is easy with a few simple tools. An 18" clear plastic ruler makes pattern layout and finding right angles easy. A french curve is essential for creating elegant curves. A 24" curved ruler (let's just pretend I remembered to put this one in the picture), for long gentle curve blending. And your favorite pencil. I like to make the guidelines in a color, then go back over the final outline in #2. You could probably free hand the curves if you want to limit your investment in specific tools, but the standard curves definitely make the finished product look more professional. For the class we drafted onto brown craft paper. I like to use my embarrassingly vast stash of old building plans from my recycling bin in a past life because they are white, but equally sturdy. In a pinch I've used old rolls of gift wrap. The standard way to transfer the marks onto new paper is with a tracing wheel. The points on this one are much sharper than the one you may already have to transfer marks to fabric. I prefer to trace my patterns onto the same architectural tracing paper I use for tracing all of my purchased patterns. Then I can easily pin it to fabric with no steps in-between. When I get to a final design, I then transfer the pattern to sturdy paper for reproducibility.

Wide Leg Pants Sewing Patterns

image credit True Bias / 100 Acts of Sewing / Named Clothing
Megan Nielsen / Helen's Closet
If full on pattern drafting is not your thing, you could start with the True Bias Emerson Crop Pants (like these lovelies by Andrea), the Named Clothing Ninni Elastic Waist Culottes (like Katie!) or the 100 Acts of Sewing Pants No. 1 (like Theresa's) pattern and and use the Pants for Real People book to tweak the fit. The Megan Nielsen Flint Pants are a slightly more structured jumping off point (loving Heather's basic black pair). The Helen's Closet Winslow Culottes also have a more structured waist, but plenty of delicious width through the leg (and Sara's version is va-va-voluminous!). Or check out the Sew News Pants Month for a great overview of popular pants patterns.
The repetitive oscillations of the fashion sine curve keep getting closer together, retro 70's, follow vintage 80's, with grunge 90's hot on their heels until everything seems current all at the same time, in one big jumble. Those seeking fashion will fall pray to these trends, a sewist seeking style can make whatever she finds most appealing, and flattering no matter what is in the window at Anthropologie. I've had this post on my mind for a few weeks, but saved it for today to coincide with Slow Fashion October. Making my own clothes allows me to think of my wardrobe as a continuum rather than something that gets tossed every few years (or even months!) as tastes change. Participating in the online knitting and sewing community has changed my way of thinking about my relationship to clothing and following sustainable fashion blogs (here, and here) have changed the way I think about dressing myself. I can safely build a wardrobe around reproducible silhouettes, that flatter my body. When WLP's vanish from store shelves, as is their certain destiny, I'll be ready. Wide leg pants and I need never be parted again.


Pants Pattern: Self-Drafted
Shirt Fabric: Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend from (affiliate)
Necklace: Tutorial Here


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lou Box Top as Dress

For the last little while I have been chasing the perfect sack dress. A dress that can hit the moving target of what to wear today, without too much thought. Something that works for mothering, and satisfies my need to be a little bit pretty. A phantom most-basic dress, in a most-basic black.  This solid attempt to check all those boxes is a Sew DIY Lou Box Top modified into a dress with cuffed sleeves. I made a few rough drafts (one here) to experiment with key elements such as the ideal hem length, a neckline that just grazes the collar bone, and a fabric interesting enough to act as the only detail across a large blank rectangle. 
Part of the beauty of a simple dress is its versatility. Shoes, and jewelry (or total lack of it) can make very different looks. I've styled my dress two ways, whose dramatic difference is possibly only noticeable to me!

This fabric is Tencel Linen from Joann. I carry a running list of things I want to make in my head, and sometimes when my hand hits upon a particularly nice fabric, one item on the list jumps to the front of the line. The drape and subtle texture of this fabric compliment the pure geometry of the dress.

The material is substantial enough to be a bottom weight, and would make great wide leg pants, or billowing shorts. The only downside is its ability to carve the wearer's movements in permanent relief across the front. By that I mean, it wrinkles easily. There is a crease down the front where I cut the front pattern piece on the fold (no iron, just pins). I've steamed, and ironed, but it won't budge. I'm afraid Photoshop is the only way to fix it! Maybe the evidence of wear will add to the character of the fabric (that's what I'm telling myself :).
MODIFICATIONS: Narrow hipped ladies can probably sew the same size dress, as they would for a top. Ladies with a bootie (ahem, me) should choose their size based on the hip measurement, rather than bust. I compared the width of the Lou Box Top sizes to the width of a few of my other woven dresses, and chose a similar size.

The Lou Box pattern is drafted with different hem options that are separate pieces. The top shirt piece has a straight seam along the lower edge that I extended to just above the knee length.

I tweaked the neck curve a bit based on previous versions. My neck opening is big enough that I didn't need to use a button back neck opening, but I cut the back as two pieces anyway. The seam gives a more structure to the shape, and counteracts the tendency my full back version has of sticking to my butt. There are other sway back shaping tricks that would achieve the same goal, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

Inspired by the many sack tops and dresses floating around the sustainable fashion inter web (here, here, here) I wanted to add cuffs to my dress. I like the addition of the clean detail to a very plain dress. Accentuating the shoulders, also gives visual balance to my pear shape.

HOW-TO ADD CUFFS to the Lou Box Top:
To add the cuffs cut a pattern piece based on the dimensions in the image above. This creates a 1 1/2" cuff. The long dimension will vary depending on the size you are sewing. With right sides together, sew the short edges with a 1/2" seam allowance. Press seam open. Fold the loop in half with wrong sides together, and press. Then make a 1/2" fold along one raw edge of the loop and press. With right sides together align the other raw edge of the loop with the arm opening, aligning the cuff seam with the side seam of the dress. Sew with 1/2" seam allowance. Press the cuff and seam allowance away from the body of the dress. Using the creases made earlier, fold the cuff in half toward the wrong side of the garment. Pin the smaller fold just over the previous seam line with the seam allowance sandwiched between. Pin. With right side up top stitch as close to the seam line as you feel comfortable (I stitched in the ditch). Be sure you are catching the inside edge of the cuff as you go.


Dress Pattern: Modified Lou Box Top by Sew DIY
Dress Fabric: Nicole Miller Solid Linen Blend from Joann Fabrics
Necklace: Tutorial Here
Bracelet: Wrist Ruler from Tolt Yarn & Wool


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Blanc T-Shirt Worn Two Ways

We spend most of the summer away from home. Living out of a suitcase for a few weeks at a time makes the idea of a summer capsule wardrobe very appealing. I followed the Style Bee 10 x 10 summer challenge very closely because I'm always looking ways to pack less, but wear more. At the end of last summer I made this crisp white Blanc T-Shirt from Blank Slate Patterns* for the Melly Sews blog. At the time I thought it was an exercise in white t-shirts (I also have a Jane Tee by Seamwork and a couple of styles of Lark Tee by Grainline Studio in the same white fabric for comparison purposes), but it's turned out to be a lesson in versatility. For the Melly Sews post, I came up with two simple outfits around the Blanc Tee.

The first outfit is the Blanc Tee tucked into brown linen, pull-on, wide-leg pants (my own pattern). Worn with classic black sandals, and a long necklace (that I got for my 18th birthday! #slowfashion :) it's an easy everyday look. 

The fabric for the t-shirt is Telio Organic Cotton Jersey Knit Off White (I would just call it white) from*.  I have at least 3 kinds of white cotton jersey knit in my fabric cabinet, and this is by far my favorite one. It is the perfect (perfect!) weight, drape, stretch, opacity, and resiliency for t-shirts I bought 2 yards. Knit tops tend to fit a little differently depending on the fabric, so I sew up a white muslin in this fabric so I can isolate the fit variables, and make the modifications that work for my body. My "real" version of the Blanc Tee never made the blog (not because I don't wear it, because this white one stole its thunder. You can catch a glimpse of it on Instagram.)

The second look is the same white Blanc Tee tucked into a knee length black rayon gathered skirt (my own pattern). I wear it with a brass and leather statement necklace and some snazzy "snake skin" sandals for slightly more dressed up occasions.  

A white t-shirt goes with everything, and I'm pretty sure you can never have too many. Of all my white t-shirts I wear this one the most. The dolman sleeve is an easy fit, and this knit is the perfect weight for tops. I've been rationing its wear lately because I want to keep it nice. Time to throw caution to the wind, I can always make another!


Shirt Pattern: Blanc Tee from Blank Slate Patterns*
Pants Fabric: Sew Classic Club Linen in Tobacco Potting from Joann Fabric
Skirt Fabric: Telio Viscose Rayon Challis Onyx from Fabric. com

*Blank Slate Patterns & links are affiliate links.