Not-so-secret pajamas // Perfect Pattern Parcel #6

Hudson pants

Hudson pants
Why yes, that is Norma’s book I’m reading there. Getting ready to dive into that Marlborough bra as soon as hungerween madness ends!

Hudson pants

Hudson pants
pants: Hudson pants, pattern by True Bias // shirt: no idea

*I received this pattern for free through in exchange for helping to spread the word about the Perfect Pattern Parcel and all gushing, opinions, and excessive wearing between washes are my own.

Why hello, new favorite pants ever!

Things I have done in these pants:
-Make Halloween costumes
-Run errangs
-Take many naps
-Make more Halloween costumes (no seriously, it’s gotten out of hand)
-Came very close to wearing them to work until I remembered that they are sweatpants
-Cry while getting dressed for work
-Lounge, nap, think about napping, etc.
-Many mugs of tea
-Think about how soft these pants are

Seriously, I wore them for six straight days and then hung pathetically around the washer/dryer when I finally peeled them off to wash. Am I over-sharing again? I don’t even care. They’re so comfortable I want to nap all the time. And they came together in about twenty minutes. (Not counting pattern taping, obviously.)

I used a lusciously soft French terry from that is sadly no longer available. Luckily they have quite a selection in many colors so go take a look. The one I got was lightweight (much lighter than I was expecting and I almost returned it until I compared it with my roomie’s meundies sweatpants and realized they were the same weight) and SO SOFT. I had ordered another one that was heavier weight and not as soft so it got sent back. I don’t know if it would’ve softened up with washing but it was kind of a weird color so oh well. Anyway, since they have such a flexible return policy I would recommend ordering a few or getting some swatches to see what you like. I just ordered this one and this one and this one. I’ll report back when they arrive.

Anyone recognize the waistband fabric? Yup, Carrie was sweet enough to let me snag some Julia cardigan scraps which I used for the waistband and pocket detail of these guys.

Anywayyy the best part is that it’s Pattern Parcel time again and this pattern is included in the Parcel #6! Click on the graphic for more information.

Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

Pattern Parcel #6: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Love at first stitch // book review + giveaway

Tilly's book*I was sent a copy of Love at First Stitch free of charge and all opinions, egregious sewing blunders, and mischievous plots are my own.

From Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes, © 2014 by Tilly Walnes.
Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston,

When I first started sewing I made a lot of pretty hysterical errors.

One time I tried to replicate a Star Wars dress that was originally made in some sort of textured crepe using a very lofty knit fabric just because the color was similar and the texture looked the same. I assumed that the grainline was something anal people bothered with and would cut things wherever they fit at whatever angle they fit and then scoff at the yardage suggestions. Oh, and I never ever finished an entire edge intentionally. There was a phase when I sewed exclusively with my mom’s serger and edges were just sort of finished by default but otherwise everything was just sort of open and happily fraying away on the inside. I’m also pretty sure I lost most of the extra presser feet from my first sewing machine because I thought they were extraneous and unnecessary.

Tilly's book

Who am I kidding, I still wouldn’t call myself any kind of sewing guru. Up until a few months ago I was still sewing buttonholes and zippers by hand to avoid learning how to do it on the machine.

In defense of babby Ping, I didn’t exactly have someone ready and available 24/7 to help me figure things out the right way and I was extremely determined to make these garments, right way or not.

Tilly's book

Anyway, the point is, ohmylord I wish I had Tilly’s book back then.

Things I was clueless about as a beginning seamstress that Tilly’s Book would’ve enlightened me about:

-Backstitching: Never did this. Always wondered why my seams would come apart. Sometimes I would fray check the ends of my seams in desperation. (Am I sharing too much?)

-Choosing fabric: I had SO much trouble with this. Like that time I tried making Kaylee’s Shindig dress out of cotton batiste. YEAH. That happened.

-Seam allowances: Another thing I assumed was just a helpful suggestion. I would sew Big4 patterns (usually 5/8″ seams) with about a 3/8″ seam and then wonder why their patterns were always so big on me. -headdesk-

-Facings: Those extra pieces were just optional. I never used them. Like actually never.

-Inserting sleeves: For some reason I completely missed the memo on gathering the top of the sleeve piece slightly before inserting it into the armhole so I would inevitably end up chopping off about 1/2″ off the top of the sleeve and then wondering why my shoulders were too tight.

Yes. I’m just going to go hide in a corner now.

Tilly's book

The other thing I love about Tilly’s philosophy with this book is that she’s included several patterns meant to help a beginning seamstress learn how to sew without being stuck making pillowcases and curtains.

Tilly's book

The Clemence skirt is so cute and such a simple way to get started with sewing and learning the basics. And don’t get me started on the Mimi blouse. And yes, this aesthetic may not be your cup of tea but I love getting people to start sewing and I love the idea of encouraging people to jump right in sewing things they’ll wear and love. (Yes, I was one of those kids whose moms made them sew a million straight lines on scrap fabric before being allowed to touch the fun stuff, why do you ask?)

Tilly's book

As someone who’s been sewing for many years, this book wouldn’t necessarily be at the top of my need-to-have list, but I’ve been showing it to friends who have expressed an interest in sewing as a means of illustrating how accessible these skills are. (No but seriously, my sister is visiting next week and is being dragged to sewing club where I’ve instructed the Crafty Foxes to convert her. I will also be leaving this book around her vicinity accidentally on purpose. Hee.)

Tilly's book
In my extremely biased opinion, this is my favorite page.

Anyway, on to the fun part: Tilly’s book has finally come to the US and she generously sent me an extra copy of her book to give away to a Peneloping reader!

Just comment below telling me a sewing technique you’ve avoided like the plague or one you’d like to learn. Make sure you include your email so you can be contacted about receiving your prize!

This giveaway is open to US readers only (sorry, international friends!) and will be open until midnight Monday, October 27th. The winner will be announced shortly after.



Yona coat

Yona coat

Yona coat

Yona coat

Yona coat

Yona coat

Yona coat
outfit 1 – coat: self-made, pattern here* // dress: self-made, blogged here // shoes: Swedish Hasbeens

outfit 2 – same coat // jeans: self-made, pattern here // shoes: Minnetonka

*I received this pattern free of charge from Named and all thoughts, opinions, anecdotes, and sewing mishaps are my own.

Guys, I’m on a coat high here. This Yona is my second coat in two weeks and we’re only halfway through October.

I made this coat coming off a several-week Jamie Jeans streak (hah, who am I kidding? I’ve got two more in the works), during which I had my hand held gently through the entire process due to a highly detailed, highly helpful Flickr tutorial. I was entirely spoiled and not at all used to the coat-making process enough that I could just sort of figure things out as I went along. I pored over the written instructions with the few illustrations of steps and painstakingly did exactly as I was asked. There wasn’t even a sew along! Usually I am useless without a sew along. I only screwed up a few times (e.g. I forgot to include the collar in the neckline seam..) and one thing I could not for the life of me figure out was how to sew the bottom of the sleeve (the wrist area) to the lining. That kind of coat lining origami was beyond me so I just handstitched it and so far it’s holding up fine.

Anyway the point is, this is not a difficult project. It’s not the simplest thing ever but it’s easier to put together than the Anise and the instructions do a great job of telling you what to do. And I made it in a day. If you don’t count the 40min the next morning I spent doing the hem.

I knew when I saw this coat that I wanted it to be a mottled-ish charcoal colored wool and I wanted to wear it unbelted. I wanted it to be oversized and snuggly. I found the fabric and lining at Sewfisticated for cheap so I guess technically this is a very wearable muslin.

I’m SO happy with how it turned out. I sewed a size 34 but I think I might even go up a size next time, at least on the bottom half since the top fits great but the bottom is a bit snug when I pull it closed. I wasn’t sure how the length would be so I added 2″ but I ended up removing it since it’s actually a great length as it is. I guess since I ended up chopping off the extra length I made it pretty much exactly as instructed. The only thing I did add was I stitched a layer of muslin to the wool for an extra layer and for stretching-out-prevention. I only added it to the two front and two back pieces, omitting it from the front facing and the sleeve pieces.

Now if I could just find some huge adorable buttons to stick on.

Yay coats!



Black and white V8815

Black and white V8815
top: Vogue 8815 // shorts: American Eagle 

I have three favorite things about this pattern.

1) It legit takes about twenty minutes to put together.
2) It works great with heavier knits with less stretch (I’ve used ponte both times) even though it was drafted for wovens (you just have to take in the seams a bit or go down a size. Let’s guess which route Ms Lazypants over here took.)
3) Every time I wear one to sewing club everyone’s all “Is that 8815?” which is just fun.

And that’s not even getting into the fact that throwing this on with a pair of skinny jeans makes for a cute outfit that even looks like you tried.


An axillary beast

Colette Anise

Colette Anise

Colette Anise

Colette Anise

coat: self-made, pattern here // jeans: self-made, pattern here // top: on the blog soon! // shoes: Swedish Hasbeens

I have recently become coat obsessed. I blame Sonja’s coat post from a few weeks ago. I think it’s my way of coping with the sadness of summer being over. Although technically it was 80 degrees this weekend so we’ll see about that.

Anyway, ever since my blazer fiasco last year I’ve been a little hesitant to try anything remotedly bagged or specially lined or tailored. Then for some reason a few weeks ago I decided I needed an Anise and I needed it now. I’d made a first attempt and it had failed spectacularly due to a series of unfortunate decisions. First I bought a wool that was way too lightweight and drapey. Then I decided to compensate by using the stiffest interfacing I could find and getting some weirdly stiff satin for the lining. This resulted in Cardboard Coat.

This time around I used a nice heavy Melton wool and some poly kitties as lining. It’s funny how things work out when you use the right weights of fabric.

I sewed the smallest size and didn’t do much alteration to the pattern other than adding a whopping 4″ to the length. I am not kidding about my long torso. The fit is ok except the shoulders are the tiniest bit tight if I wear much more than a shirt underneath and ohmylord the armpits are tiny. I was griping at sewing club about Colette patterns giving me a complex about my beastly armpits. So next time I’ll go up a size and lower the arm-thingy by an inch at least. (Not sure why I didn’t think to do it this time considering I had to do the same thing with the Laurel and the Sorbetto.) I think I’ll also do some more practice on the bound buttonholes because they’re pulling a bit on that side of the coat.

Other coats I’m drooling over:

-Named is quickly becoming one of my favorites thanks to the Jamie Jeans and this lovely coat. In fact if you saw on Instagram I sort of made this one in one day. It will make it to blogland soonishly.

-The Talea coat from Burdastyle has literally been in my queue for about seven years, waiting for me to be competent enough to be able to make it. I rediscovered it the other day and I think it might be time.

-I think this double breasted boyfriendy look is what I was going for when I made the Anise. I love how the Anise turned out but it’s a very different fit than what I was expecting. Which is silly because “cropped with a huge peter pan collar” doesn’t exactly scream “boyfriendy”.



(Sidenote: I just realized my post title makes it sound like I have monsters living in my armpits. Whoops.)