Finished: A Vintage Floral Scout

I just love this shirt! I’ve been admiring great versions of this top all over the internet, and finally got around to making my own. The Scout Tee is a really great pattern. Quick, well-drafted, sleeves are seriously easy to set in, and though loose fitting, the shape of the shirt is really quite flattering. The sleeves are the best cut I have come across yet, and the top even looks cute on a hanger! This was my first Grainline pattern, so I cut a size up just in case the bust measurements reflect a bigger cup size (my first experience with a Colette pattern taught me a lesson!), but I ended up taking it in a bit and in the future will go down a size.

Line drawing found here.

I bought this fabric a couple years ago at Winmil Fabrics in Boston after falling in love the moment I laid eyes on it. It cost a bit more than I usually spend on fabric, and I had to buy a whole three yards due to Winmil’s remnant policy, but there was simply no question about its coming home with me.

I’ve been waiting endlessly for the perfect project to use this fabric, and it was unpacking my grandma’s china with its similar floral pattern that provided the inspiration to just make a quick top. Somehow I was lucky enough to end up with this set of china that my grandma acquired in the early 1950’s. My mom kept the set in storage for me during our Boston adventure, and it was so fun to get the whole set out and marvel at its beauty now that we’re home in California. I’m in possession of such riches…

This is a decidedly casual top. I wore it to work last week and it just felt wrong with work pants! I enjoy having special, casual weekend tops though, and this one is absolutely perfect.


Me Made May 2013

‘I, Kelly of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavor to wear at least one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2013’
It’s my first Me Made May! I committed to wearing something handmade every day, but I’m thinking that some days I’ll have to resort to a knitted hat or scarf. I’m going to try to avoid counting the mitts I wear non-stop, though! Or maybe I’ll give myself one free day where mitts count. I want to challenge myself, but I don’t want it to be stressful. I’m terrible at taking photos and my photographer and I work opposing schedules, but I will try to have some level of documentation too. Time to go get those nearly finished black pants hemmed!

Finished: It’s a chalk bag!

I have a finished item to show! I made this chalk bag (for rock climbing) for my sister-in-law’s birthday. I was scrambling to finish it at the last minute and forgot to take a photo – this blog thing is still new to me. Luckily, the happy recipient took a quick instagram photo with the “wrapping paper” bow still on, though, so that will have to do! The color is much more of a spring green in real life.
I used the free “Better than Basic Chalk Bag” pattern that Meg highlighted a few weeks ago when she made her cute chalk bags. The pattern turned out well and looks surprisingly professional, but I did puzzle over a few of the instructions, especially at the chalk cover part. I also put the grommet (my first one!) on the wrong side somehow? I checked and double-checked, gah. I grew up with rock-climber parents and chalk bags have just always been around, so it was really fun to see how these things are actually constructed. 
I do have some notes for future versions, which there may be. The instructions say to use a heavy jersey for the chalk cover, but I would say medium weight is better. The drawstring needs to close up tightly so no chalk comes out and you have to really pull with my heavy fabric. It also made the top edge so thick that I couldn’t stitch the nylon webbing down with my machine, which slowed my pace down to a crawl. Hopefully my handstitching holds up!

Trail Review: San Bruno Mountain

I’ve been curious about San Bruno Mountain for some time since we have a great view of it from our living room window (I would include a photo except that we haven’t been able to see it for a week with all this fog!). The mountain is situated right south of San Francisco and it’s nearly always in sight if you frequent that part of the city or any of the communities that border SF to the south. The lower slopes of the mountain have been developed, but the upper part is a protected conservation area largely due to the presence of the endangered Mission Blue and San Bruno Elfin butterflies. The mountain also is supposed to have great wildflower displays in the spring, and since yesterday was foggy, as it has been nearly every day for at least a week, we thought it would be a good day to check out some flowers!
We did the Summit Loop Trail, with a little side trip along the Ridge Trail for an easy hike of 3.5 miles, 750 feet of gain. The trail winds up the mountain on the bay side, and then heads back down on the ocean side, but with the fog it got disorienting quickly. The top of the mountain is covered with radio towers, satellite dishes, and other electrical equipment to remind you that this little piece of nature sits smack in the middle of a very urban area, though you probably don’t need reminding on a clear day when you can actually see the city and surrounding communities anyway!
Maybe because we went into it expecting truly spectacular wildflowers, we were a little disappointed with the amount and variety at the time. There are certainly flowers everywhere, but the grassy slopes weren’t exactly brimming with them. I was looking forward to seeing more lupine varieties and the butterflies that coexist with them as well, but there was hardly any. I appreciated the amount and variety of flowers a lot more, though, when sorting through photos, and I’m looking forward to going there a few more times this spring. I plan to go on one of their free guided walks offered on Saturdays to learn more about those butterflies from an expert as well.

Out of all the lovely flowers, there were two standouts this trip: Milkmaids and Cow Parsnip. Complex, intricate flowers are certainly beautiful, but I’ve always been drawn to sweet, simple little flowers and milkmaids might be my new favorite. Cow parsnip, on the other hand, is a huge plant with big flower clusters, but it’s also a favorite to see on the trail and was just everywhere on San Bruno Mountain.

Cow Parsnip

Here’s a sampling of other flowers spotted. There are more varieties that didn’t make it into this post, or didn’t even get a photo taken! I was feeling a bit tired on the hike and even today, so I didn’t take as many photos for identification as usual and even some of these are unidentified (for now). Sometimes you just need to enjoy the flowers!

From left to right, top to bottom: California Manroot, Douglas Iris, unidentified, Lupine, Miner’s Lettuce, unidentified, two Paintbrush photos, unidentified rodent


I appear to have fallen off the blogging wagon already! Ha. There was a lot of unexpected activity last week, both good (turns out I have been chosen for a really exciting new job starting later this week! last minute easter egg hunt!), and not so good (big deadline for my other job, sick again…).

I’ve hardly sewn a stitch, but will be spending all day today making things for a tea party that my friend is hosting later this month. We are making eight napkins with pockets for name cards, a burlap and ribbon table runner, and crocheted flowers to grace the table-top. Normally that much narrow hemming would elicit a groan, but it will be fun to do it with a friend!

Despite the wildness of the week I have been piecing this scout tee together bit by bit. The fabric is absolutely amazing. Maybe by next Monday I’ll have finished photos, but don’t hold your breath!

Archer Sew Along Begins!

Jen’s Archer Sew Along begins today and I’m so happy to be participating! I’ve always wanted to participate in a sew along, since way back when Gertie first did her coat sew along, but it’s never worked out – I was either too busy, not interested in the style, or the design was too easy and the pace too slow. This shirt sew along came at just the right time, and it’s kind of the perfect project. Not so involved as to be overwhelming with my erratic and unpredictable schedule, but not so easy as to be too slow. I’ve never made a real button-up shirt with a collar stand and cuffs either, so I’m sure Jen’s wisdom will be really helpful.

Line Drawing from Grainline Studio

I’m making the plain version (view A) out of a cotton rose print shirting I bought on super-sale from Fabric Mart in December. It might be a little crisp for Archer’s looser fit, but I’m hoping it will soften a bit after a few more washings. I’m trying to replace a shirt that I bought in high school and wore constantly for ten years. In the end it was barely suitable for even wearing under sweaters, and it was officially put to rest when we packed up a mini-van for our Boston to SF move last October. I’ve had an eye out for a rose print to replace the shirt for a few years but it’s been surprisingly hard to find the perfect fabric, and unfortunately this isn’t it either. The flowers were described as being quarter-sized, which I thought may be too big, but they’re actually even bigger than that, putting them in the too big to blend, too small to be chic range. I do like the colors and the print, though, and one can never have too many floral shirts! Here’s one of those cool bathroom mirror photos to show scale:

I’m not making a muslin since I don’t love the fabric and the fit looks pretty forgiving. This is a looser silhouette than I usually wear, but I’m excited to try it out. Many thanks to Jen for putting this on!