Driftless Cardigan: My (Not-So)-New Favorite Cardigan

I finished this cardigan at the end of January and have been wearing it basically wearing it every. single. day. Anyone who sees me regularly is probably wondering if I’ve thrown away all my other clothes because this is all I wear. I’ve worn it all over Pittsburgh, to SF, Disneyland, Michigan, Phoenix, and DC in the few months I’ve had it. I love it so much!


This is, of course, the Grainline Studio Driftless Cardigan. I made View B, which has the split hem and is longer in the back.

I had made a huge list of patterns to get during the Grainline Studio Thanksgiving sale. This cardigan was definitely NOT on the list. While I had seen many cute versions of this cardigan, I wasn’t sure if I wanted an oversized cardigan, which is completely unlike the rest of my cardigans, which are all a bit more fitted (aka perfect for my old corporate job). I ended up ordering it on a whim. So glad I did!

This was my first time ever shopping for and sewing knits so I really didn’t know what I was looking for. I ended up finding this plushy gray knit from the sale section at Jo-Ann.

Since I had read on many reviews of this pattern that people had directly serged the seams for construction, I decided I was going to do that too. BAD. IDEA. I am definitely not very good at using the serger yet and the number of places where I had gaping holes that I had to redo is a little embarrassing.

The other area I screwed up a lot is the attaching of the neckband. The neckband seam of both the left and right sides do not match up with the waist seam of the left and right pieces. Also, both sides of the neckband are a bit shorter than the length of the garment, whereas they’re supposed to be a tiny bit longer according to the instructions.

I had intended on adding buttons to this cardigan. I even bought the buttons for it! I’m too terrified to try attaching the buttons though. I have never made a buttonhole and I’m too scared to try now! I’ve been giving this shirt so much wear even without buttons I think it’s unlikely I’ll ever get around to adding the buttons.

Another thing I’ve failed to do is add the thread chain to hold the pockets down. It would be nice to have since I’ve pulled my pockets inside out a number of times. But let’s be real here… I’m probably never going to get around to adding it.

Pattern: $11.20
Fabric: $10
Total: $21.20

I think I really lucked out with my fabric choice since the dark color seems to hide my many many mistakes really well! Despite how awful the construction of this garment is, I absolutely LOVE it. In fact, I’m currently wearing this cardigan on a plane typing all of this up!



Floral Simplicity 1318 Kimono

I ordered this cotton voile from Miss Matatabi in 2015. It is so gorgeous and before I cut it up to make this kimono, I could often be seen draping it over myself and twirling in my apartment. I was just too scared to cut it up! I finally decided to turn it into a Simplicity 1318 kimono after going through and cataloging all of my patterns last November. (Organizing, aka procrastinating from real work).



I made Simplicity 1318 view C. I cut a size S. I probably should’ve cut an XS. I am still trying to figure out this excess ease thing with Simplicity patterns. I seem to either go too big or too small and never just right.


The pattern envelope called for 2.5 yards of fabric. I only had about 1.6 yards. I couldn’t fit the facing of the neckband and had bought a different fabric to use for the facing. I decided last minute that I would just piece the remnant fabric together to make the facing. Definitely the right choice! I love the floral facing and I think I would’ve been really unhappy with a pink facing.

This was my first time working with a fabric that was so lightweight. I did some research and some people suggested using thinner thread. I didn’t have any on hand so I just used regular thread. I did, however, use a thinner needle (70/10, I believe) as suggested on the internets. The fabric frayed incredibly fast and I had to be very careful not to over handle it.



I french seamed all of the seams since the fabric is so lightweight. The only issue I had with this was at the underarm portion. I ended making a tiny dummy sleeve to see if the french seaming would work. I ended up just snipping the seam at the underarm corner. I still have no idea if that was the right thing to do and am a little terrified that it will just fray from that corner.

The facing was attached by hand sewing. I really should’ve pinned the facing down as I sewed it down because one side of the back-of-neck facing is stretched a little funny. At this point, I doubt it’ll be fixed… I can’t even imagine ripping out the hand sewing, and then having to redo the whole thing. It just seems too awful.

THE $$

Pattern: 1.99 from Jo-Anns (from my stash)
Notions: 1.19 for the thread
Fabric: ~10 from Miss Matatabi (from my stash)

Conclusion: I love this fabric and I love how flowy it is. I’m not sure I love how long the high-low hem in the back is. If I ever get around to it, which is unlikely, I plan to shorten the rounded hem so that it hits just under the butt rather than mid-thigh. I’m so glad this fabric is now an item of clothing and I can actually wear it!


Two Willow Tanks

I made two Willow tanks! I had tapes and cut these patterns out while I was preparing for my qualifiers. It was miserably cold out while I worked on these tanks, but I couldn’t wait till it got warmer. (It did trying on the tanks while working on them to be a bit of a pain…)

Pattern: the ubiquitous Grainline Studio Willow Tank

I got this during the Thanksgiving sale. Right before I got this pattern, I had just decided that in 2018, I was going to practice my sewing basics (sewing a straight line, properly pressing, cutting fabric, etc). Some sort of high-neck tank/shell + cardigan was my basic uniform when I was working. Turns out this is also a great grad school uniform. I figured if I was going to churn out a million copies of the same item, this pattern would be perfect!

WILLOW 1: Triangles
The first Willow tank I was made using quilting cotton from Firecracker Fabrics. I know I’m not supposed to use quilting cotton for garments but I love triangles! I saw this fabric at the store and just had to have it. I cut a size 4 and didn’t do any adjustments. I finished the edges on a serger.


WILLOW 2: Sparkles
My second Willow tank was also made with quilting cotton from Firecracker Fabrics. I found a yard of this remnant chambray with metallic bits woven in during Small Business Saturday back in November. After the success with my first Willow, I expected smooth sailing with this Willow. Nope!

1) The sparkly bits of the chambray made the seams really scratchy on my skin. I had serged all of the seams, but then decided to bind all the seams with bias tape. I love how the tank looks inside, but it took FOREVER.


2) When I tried the tank on, I immediately notice that the bust point from the darts was way too low. In hindsight, the dart placement was probably off for the first Willow tank, but the lighting in my apartment is terrible and I just didn’t look super closely. Anyway, i took in the shoulder seam by about 1/8″ (or maybe a little more? honestly, I just eyeballed it). I tried it on and seemed to still be able to move my arm around in the now slightly smaller arm hole. In my next iteration, I will probably attempt to raise the dart.

I love how this Willow tank looks. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Just not on me. The fabric color is ~gorgeous~ but it doesn’t look right on me.

Pattern – $12
Thread – $1.19 from Joann
Fabric – Sparkly chambray: $9.50. Triangles: ??.

I definitely plan to make more Willow tanks in the future. I want to make a cropped Willow, a lace Willow, and who knows what else! Hopefully I’ll be able to successfully manipulate the darts so that the next version is perfect.

Feeling toasty in my Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater


It’s been so cold and rainy/snowy here in Pittsburgh. After seeing a ton of Toaster Sweaters floating around on the internet, I just had to make one for myself. I had been hoping to finish making this for the Lunar New Year but didn’t end up finishing it until early March.


I got Sew House 7 Toaster pattern through IndieSew. I’ve had an account there for a while but haven’t ordered anything yet so I decided to try getting something from there. I only got the pattern for Toaster Sweater #2 since I love the style of it and didn’t find myself as drawn to Toaster Sweater #1. I also considered getting the licensed Simplicity 8529 pattern.

Maybe I’m a bit of a stickler, but the way the boxes were drawn for the print-at-home pattern made me so mad. The boxes weren’t perfect boxes, lines peeked out of the boxes and some information on the pattern was so close to the edges of the paper that it was easy to miss or accidentally cut off. I wish more care had been put into drawing boxes for the print-at-home pattern.


Another problem I had with the pattern was the self facing portion of the pattern. In the instructions, it says to press it first because it would be difficult to get it to lay properly after sewing. I pressed along the fold line specified by the pattern piece, but the curves of the self facing didn’t match when I folded along the fold line. However, the diagrams in the pattern suggest that they should meet. I kinda just fudged my way through it. I can see the pressed line from the front of my shirt, which I don’t think should happen. The high boat neck doesn’t sit the way I think it should based on all the versions I’ve seen out there either.


I ordered this french terry from LA Finch Fabrics during a 30% off birthday sale. I can’t remember who the birthday sale was for but I found out about it from A Maker Heart‘s Instagram stories. Turns out french terry isn’t all that toasty! I’m planning to start a little “fabric rolodex” to keep track of different types of fabrics.



I followed the instructions and sew-along simultaneously. I actually had to borrow a friend’s sewing machine to do the self facing/neck portion because my tiny sewing machine does not have the option for a super-narrow zig zag for double-stitching. I serged to finish the side seams, sleeve seams.


Hemming this shirt was a BIG struggle. My first attempt at hemming was a fail because  wasn’t straight enough. My second big lesson from this project: unpicking stitches from knits is a PAIN! My second attempt at the hem, my bobbin ran out of thread halfway through. I ended up having to unpick the entire hem again. The finished hem looks OK. There’s a bit of a ripple (?). I tried to press it out but the ripples don’t seem to want to move. My suspicion is that i may have stretched the fabric a bit while hemming it and the fabric relaxing is causing the ripples. No clue. Will need to figure this out for future knit garments.


Pattern: $10
Fabric: $12.50
Notions: $0
Total: $22.50

Conclusion: I really like how this top looks. I love the high boat neck and side vents/mitered corners. The overall construction was difficult for a few different reasons. I definitely plan to remake this pattern. Hopefully next time I make it, I’ll be able to figure out the neckline struggles.

Notes for next time:

  1. Lengthen by 1 or 2 inches.
  2. Figure out how to hem knits properly.

Rust Red Lou Box Top

Thanks to jet lag, I woke up early on Monday at 6AM… NOT my usual wake up time. I’ve been thinking about all the things I wanted to make while I was home for the holidays, and so I immediately got out of bed and started cutting fabric for new shirts! Here is my first make of 2018, a rust red Lou Box Top!

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Pattern: Lou Box Top from Sew DIY

Crew neck & straight hem in XXS

As per usual, I didn’t properly read the size guide, which places me in XS/S. I cut an XXS and realized I was supposed to cut an XS/S. But after checking the garment ease, I decided XXS was probably going to be fine… Hooray for loose fitting clothes! I cannot even begin to count the number of times I’ve made things too small (or too big… honestly, picking things the right size is a BIG struggle for me). I thought about adding the front pocket, but decided against it mostly because I expect to always wear a necklace with this shirt… and also cuz LAZY.

The pattern is very simple. I didn’t have too many problems with it, other than my inability to read sizing instructions. I followed the instructions from the PDF, which was very clear. I liked that the pattern told us to  stitch a line to do the folds for hemming. This is probably the most even hemming I’ve ever done.



Mystery fabric from Joann!!! I bought it pre-grad school, so it’s been sitting in my stash for a while.

I had such a hard time pressing this fabric! I wasn’t sure how hot to set the iron since I have zero recollection of what it is. But with low heat, the wrinkles wouldn’t go away and I couldn’t get the seams to press open. I ended up using a pressing cloth on higher heat. I have no idea if that’s the right thing to do and should probably look it up at some point.

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In hindsight, I should’ve just French seamed the whole thing, but I was excited to use my serger. My mom gave me her serger over the summer because she never uses it. I serged the seams for this shirt used a random combination of red and brown thread that I also received from her.

Sooooo… my serged seams are a little wonky looking. I had a lot of issues with tension at first, and couldn’t get the seam to look even. I eventually settled on 4 – 4 – 4 – 5 for the tension, which seemed to result in an even looking seam… THAT IS, until I finished serging all of my seams and realized the right needles was skipping stitches! At that point, it seemed a little silly to rip out everything and start over so I just continued. I still have no idea why my serger was skipping stitches. According to the internet, the most likely causes are incorrect threading or that my needle, which I replaced right before I started, is incorrectly inserted.



Pattern – $7.80 (got it during a sale in Nov)
Thread – $1.74 from Joann
Buttons – $1.50 from Joann
Fabric – No clue

Overall, I’m not in love with this top, but I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it anyway. It’s not pressing properly so the seams are bouncy and the curve portion under the arms bunches up weirdly. I might try this pattern again with a more drapey fabric or a drapey knit.


Six completed items in 2017

I’ve decided that I’m going to start chronicling the things I make in 2018. But first, here’s a wrap of of the things I’ve completed this year! There are six items: two simplicity 1366 shirts, two skirts, a ruffled top, and a pair of socks.

Gingham Simplicity 1366


I started this shirt pre-grad school in 2016, but had a really hard time attaching the sleeves. I set it aside and then ended up packing it away along with all of my other craft supplies when I moved to Pittsburgh. I finally pulled my craft supplies out in February of this year and finished this top in April.

Notes: I cut a size 8 for this shirt (my third Simplicity 1366), even though the sizing chart on the envelope puts me at a size 12. The insides of the shirt are fully French-seamed. The fabric is from JoAnn and was really cheap because the JoAnn that I got the fabric from was closing so everything was on super sale.

Gingham Gathered Skirt


I had intended for my gingham simplicity shirt and this gathered skirt to be a two-piece set to wear together. After I finished making both things, I realized that the shapes of both pieces along with my fabric choice do not work together at all. I wear both items individually and that works great!

Teal Simplicity 1366


Fabric: Teal dotted cotton from Fabric Outlet SF. I picked it up from the clearance table for $4.99/yd or so

I accidentally cut the sleeves wrong and since I only had a yard of fabric, I didn’t have much to work with and ended up having to give up on the sleeves.

Total Eclipse Socks

Yarn: Fingering weight yarn from Smoky Mountain Spinnery in Gatlinburg, TN
Size 2 magic loop
Smooth Operator Socks


This is my first knitting project in 10+ years! I made a scarf once in middle school and haven’t tried knitting since.

I went to Tennessee over the summer to see the total eclipse. The day before heading to the path of totality, I realized I probably needed an activity to do while waiting for the eclipse to start. I happened to come across Smoky Mountain Spinnery in the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community and decided I would try sock knitting. I ended up spending most of the time trying to figure out how to cast on and didn’t actually start knitting the sock until I returned to Pittsburgh.

I completed sock #1 on September 19 and finished sock #2 on November 5. The sock foot is slightly too short and the leg portion is too wide. Next time, I’m using a smaller sized needle, as the pattern calls for. Either way, I am so excited about my handknit socks! I still feel weird about wearing them out but they are working out nicely as socks to wear indoors, especially now that I’m home and the tile floors are really cold to walk on.

Marilla Walker Ilsley Skirt

I saw so many cute versions of the Marilla Walker Ilsley skirt and tried to make one using a weird polyester (?) from JoAnn. It turned out terribly. Things that went wrong:

  1. Fabric choice: The weird polyester was too see through.
  2. Rounded hem: Apparently, a rounded hem is more difficult than I had initially expected. All four rounded corners of my skirt have different radius and end at different points at the side seam. It just looks bad…
  3. Elastic waistband: The elastic twists inside the elastic area, which is incredibly annoying.

I’ve worn a couple times while doing laundry. The skirt has pockets, which makes it great for holding quarters while I run up and down to the laundry room. I might revisit this pattern in the future. Next time, I will definitely add a drawstring (or fake drawstring bow) to it.

Blue Simplicity 8335 Top


My newest and last completed make of 2017! I finished it on a Tuesday and immediately wore it out salsa dancing on the Thursday of that week. I was honestly a little worried it would rip on the dancefloor since the shirt was a little snug, but it turned out ok AND I got a compliment from a stranger (and I wasn’t even fishing for compliments!!).

I cut an XS. This was 100% definitely the wrong choice. I should’ve paid more attention to the size. I think with the usual numbered sizing, I remember that the sizing is nothing like RTW sizing. But with the XXS – XS – S – M – L etc. sizing this pattern uses, I forgot to actually check the measurements. I realized XS was too small after trying on the sleeves and let out the seams by half of the seam allowance. That seemed to be enough to make the shirt wearable. It’s unlikely that I’ll make this pattern again. The shape of this shirt is so distinct, I don’t think I really need another one like it. However, if I were to make it again, I would definitely cut an S.

The fabric is from JoAnn. I bought it pre-grad school, so it’s been sitting in my fabric bin for a while. It has subtle woven dots, which makes the solid color a little more interesting. I still have a few more yards of this fabric so I’m excited to make something else with it!