Monday, September 2, 2019

Blog #5 - Knitting & My Favorite Sweater

While sewing is my first love, knitting comes a close second.  The best thing about knitting is that it is very portable.  I can knit while watching TV with my hubby, I can knit in a coffee shop with friends, and I can knit while traveling. 

Two good friends and I wanted something that we could do together on a regular basis, and we decided to learn to knit.  That was almost exactly 10 years ago and all three of us are quite experienced knitters now…and one of us (not me) even raises alpacas and has her own yarn shop.  Definitely the over achiever among us.  We are so proud of her!

In the middle of the table of fabric that I picked out to create my Chicago capsule is yarn representing the knitted items I’d like to have included.  This is all Madeline Tosh yarn – one of my favorites.  The pink is the color Pop Rocks and the aqua is Button Jar Blue. 

My favorite sweater pattern is Boxy by Joji Locatelli.  If you look this very popular pattern up, you’ll see that it is a boxy fit sweater that is supposed to be very oversized.  I started my first one as written, but quickly decided that I didn’t want that much positive ease.  So instead of the normal medium or large size I usually knit, I did the math and created an XXS size that gave me the amount of ease I desired. 

I’ve knit two Boxys so far.  One in a merlot color yarn, and one in Pop Rocks shown below that will be part of my Chicago wardrobe.   What I love about this sweater is the slightly cropped boxy shape that layers well over dresses and separates.  And this color.  It pops over black & white, doesn’t it?! 

I also have a Boxy in progress in the aqua color (Button Jar Blue); however it may be next spring before that one is ready to wear.  I’m a good knitter, but not a fast one.  Here is a picture of my progress to-date.

If you knit and aren’t familiar with the Boxy pattern, I’d encourage you to take a look.  It’s easy to find on  Ravelry is self-described as “a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and patterns information, and to look to others for ideas and inspiration.”

I love being able to add knitted items to my wardrobe. 

Bye for now!  More sewing progress next time.


You can find me as sewBknit on Instagram and Ravelry.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Blog #4 - Chicago Wardrobe & Inari Dresses

I have a love affair with the Inari Tee Dress by Named.  I love this dress.  While I’m not always sure it is flattering on me; I always feel fashionable, comfortable and just good when I wear an Inari dress.  The first picture is of me wearing one of the first Inari dresses I’ve made.  Isn’t it cute?!  This is a grey & black stripe Ponte knit, and I’m posing on the street our apartment building is on in Chicago.  (Oh yes, you’ll see that I’m now obsessed with straw hats since we’ve moved to South Carolina.) 

This is the Inari Tee Dress pattern by Named if you are not familiar with it.  Suggested fabrics include both woven and knit fabrics. 

For my Chicago wardrobe, I decided to sew up three new Inari dresses to go along with several existing ones.  Can you tell by this blog and my last one that I love a good TNT pattern?!  I did this when buying ready to wear garments in the past too.  I find something I love and buy it (or sew it) in several colors or fabrics.

The fabric I decided to use from my stash included (shown top to bottom) a stretch velvet from StyleMaker Fabrics, a stripe Ponte knit from Oak Fabrics in Chicago, and a large scale floral Liverpool knit from  I enjoy all three of these fabric types.  I have discovered that wearing stretch velvet is comfortable if in a style that isn’t too tight.  At least for me or I’ll get too overheated.  A mid-weight Ponte knit is one of my favorite fabrics.  And this Liverpool knit is a dream.  Lightweight, cool, and breathable. 

In the first picture below are the first two new ones completed.  And in the second picture, three existing Inari dresses are in between these two and the new velvet one.  I can't wait to wear the velvet one for dinner out in Chicago!

I find Inari dresses very versatile.  Depending on the fabric and shoes, they can go for a day out wandering around the city or dinner out at night.

With the addition of these dresses, I have a basic wardrobe to take to Chicago.  I’ll just add in a swimsuit and some workout clothes and off we go!

Bye for now!


You can find me on Instagram and in Raverly as sewBknit

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Blog #3 - Beginning my Chicago Wardrobe Inspired by the Breezy Tee Tunic

Right before my husband and I retired April 30, 2017, I found a free pattern online called The Breezy Tee Tunic by Autumn on It’  Autumn provides some free patterns that she drafted for herself in her size.  She invites you to download the patterns, alter as needed, and use for yourself.  And have I ever!  In addition to getting the sizing correct, I lengthened both the overall length and the shoulder to provide a bit more arm coverage, and did a forward shoulder adjustment.

This is an example of one of the tunics I’ve made.  I prefer to make them out of a jersey knit or lighter weight Ponte.  I have made a few out of woven fabrics, but I just don’t reach for those nearly as much.  This tunic has become one of my most worn summer items.  When paired with leggings and sandals, it’s a versatile outfit for a day out in the city or the low country.    

The blue & white stripe above is Modern Jersey from Spoonflower Fabrics.  This is my favorite jersey to sew with, and of course there are an incredible number of designs to choose from on Spoonflower, making this jersey worth the price in my eyes.

As you may have seen in my last post, I am creating a capsule wardrobe of sorts to leave in our apartment in Chicago - eliminating the need to lug a suitcase between Chicago and our house in South Carolina.

I opted to start my Chicago wardrobe with a set of these tunics out of Modern Jersey in black & white, aqua, and a lavender pink.  I also ended up adding in a light blue Modern Jersey and a black & white Ponte from Oak Fabrics in Chicago. 

I sewed these tunics in a batch method, along with an additional mustard yellow one that will remain in South Carolina.  Here is an in progress picture of the pile of tunics after I stitched up the shoulder seams and as I began to put the prepared neck facings in.


These are easy sews to begin with and they all needed white thread in my machine and serger, so before I knew it I had five new tunics – four for Chicago and one additional.

The picture below shows the existing aqua tunic on the left, then the four new tunics, with a scrap of the fifth new tunic hanging with them.  That tunic will go to Chicago cut out and ready to sew up there as I do have a little sewing corner in our apartment. 

Six tunics, worn with RTW leggings, is a great start to my summer Chicago wardrobe.  Now on to a few dresses to add some variety.

Bye for now!


You can find me on Instagram and Ravelry as sewBknit

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Blog #2 - Planning my Chicago Capsule Wardrobe

One of my favorite parts of sewing garments has always been deciding what fabric and patterns to use together.  I love this planning process.  It can take hours for one garment or days for something like a capsule. 

I know I am using the word "capsule" loosely.  (In my first blog, I talk about why I am making a Chicago wardrobe.)  I do want the wardrobe I have in Chicago to all mix and match, and to work across seasons when possible with cohesive colors.  However it won't be a minimal wardrobe, and I do like dresses quite a bit vs. separates.  

I do have a decent stash – picture below – so I started pulling out fabrics first.  I knew I wanted black & white as a base – those are the clothes I start with when I pack now for Chicago.  And I wanted to start this first capsule – a warmer weather one – with a bright color or two to wear with the black & white.


I also have some existing clothes – both me made and ready-to-wear (RTW) – that are more Chicago attire, than casual South Carolina attire. I have always loved Eileen Fisher and those are the majority of the clothes I kept from my working years.  Some of those will go to Chicago for sure, including a few black dresses that are great for dinner out in the city.

As for what I will make new to go to Chicago…this picture shows the fabrics I plan to use.   As you can see I chose turquoise, aqua, and some pops of pink to go with my black & white.  Apparently I like turquoise because I found quite a bit in my stash and that influenced the bright color aspect of this collection.

There are two garments that I wear a lot – to the point that I really need to branch out - knit tunics that I wear with RTW leggings and casual knit dresses.  Most days you can find me in one of these, so I'll start with these for Chicago.

For the tunics that I like to wear with leggings – the fabric I use over and over again is Modern Jersey from Spoonflower.   I have no affiliation with Spoonflower – I’m just a happy customer.  I love this jersey because it’s still lightweight...but more stable that other jersey I’ve purchased.  It doesn’t roll. 

In this next picture, you can see close-up of an existing tunic and three pieces I plan to use for more tunics.  All this fabric is Modern Jersey.  

And for the dresses I like to wear the most, three gorgeous fabrics…a stripe Ponte knit from Oak Fabrics in Chicago, a large scale floral Liverpool knit from, and a stretch velvet from StyleMaker Fabrics.  Three very different fabrics.

Whew!  That’s all for today.  In my next post, I’ll talk about the two TNT patterns I’ll use for the fabric above.  Bye until then!


You can find me on Instagram & Raverly as SewBKnit.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Blog #1 - My First Blog & Sewing Room Tour

Welcome to my sewing room in Beaufort, South Carolina!  My first love is garment sewing; however I do quilt (as you can see by the project on the cutting table when I took these pictures) and knit.  

I am very lucky to have a large space with great light overlooking moss covered live oak trees in our low country neighborhood.  

The previous owner of our house was an artist and my sewing room was her studio.  The built in cabinets and large table top were hers.  What an excellent cutting space this table top has become!  The plastic drawers under the cutting table surface serve two purposes – they are 39 inches tall, the perfect cutting height for me, and they hold my fairly extensive yarn collection. 

In this next picture, you can see my apparel fabric collection in an IKEA shelving unit that is popular for holding fabric.  In the closet I have tucked away my quilting fabrics.

Do you see the nut & bolt cabinet in the picture below?  It was a gift from my Mom when we moved down here…what a great way to organize all my sewing notions!  104 drawers I believe – mostly triangle shaped drawers in the rotating top you can see in the picture.  She misses it in her sewing room for sure, but putting it on the moving van made sense at the time. (The fact that we moved her down here near us a year ago, doesn’t mean that the nut & bolt cabinet moved back to her sewing room – this thing is heavy!).  However, she comes over to sew and enjoys it here too.

I’ve been sewing clothes since junior high with my sewing machine back to back with my Mom’s.  She called it self-defense sewing – I either wore what she made me, or made my own clothes.  So I did.

Since I’m retired now, my wardrobe is much more casual than my past corporate wardrobe.  Just fun comfortable clothes. 

I love black & white, and bright colors with stripes, solids and graphic prints.

I joined Instagram a little over a year ago, and fell in love with following other sewists & knitters (I’ll talk more about knitting in a later post).  From Instagram, I discovered sewing podcasts and uTube video podcasts.  I’ve been listening to knitting podcasts for years.

I am very inspired by much of what I’ve seen from other sewists.  Most recently by – Whitney from TomKatStichery (she has a great focus on sewing collections), Heather Lou from Closet Case Patterns & her Rome Collection ISGTV capsule wardrobe post (so fun!), and other recent capsule wardrobe posts.

While we primarily live in South Carolina, we also have a small apartment in downtown Chicago.  We spent weekends in Chicago while working in central Illinois, and just couldn’t give up the city entirely.  We spend on average one week a month in Chicago.  Up to this point, I’ve been taking a suitcase to & from each month – a large suitcase because you never know what the weather will be by the lakefront in Chicago! I’m tired of lugging that suitcase (although really I have to admit my husband does much of that). 

So my next blog will be about planning a Chicago capsule wardrobe.  Not a small one necessarily – weather changes and many activities mean (at least for me) a variety of clothes.  I’ll start with a late Spring/Summer/early Fall wardrobe.  The colder months in Chicago will require a very different set of clothing.

I hope you enjoyed reading my first blog.  If not, I’m sure I’ll be a better blogger as time goes on.  Bye for now!


You can find me as sewBknit on Instagram and in Raverly