Knock it Off! The Orimono Pillow

I kind of cringe when people tell me I’m creative, because deep down I don’t feel I am a truly creative person. Crafty, yes. But creative? I wish. To me, legit creativity is pretty rare, and most of us–me included–are just pretty good copycats. I have to really stretch my brain to come up with original design. There are those times when I do have a stroke of brilliance, but most of the time I am seeing and admiring, and then just recreating–with a few modifications.  But when I discover a truly creative person, I sort of just slobber and drool, because there’s nothing so dazzling as raw talent.

So I openly admit to being (most of the time) nothing more than a copy-cat. I’m okay with that, because there’s still a lot of satisfaction in making something beautiful, whether it was your idea or Anthropologie’s. And on that note, I’m going to introduce a new series on mad mim called  Knock it Off! I’ll be featuring projects that are my crafty-budget version of something commercial–because who  doesn’t like a good knock-off?!

My first official Knock it off! project is, in a way, a knock-off of a knock-off. My sister Renie just made this pillow (which she knocked-off from Anthropologie), and once I saw it I couldn’t stop myself from immediately knocking it off myself. So I knocked it off Rene, who knocked it off Anthro–just so you understand clearly this vibrant pillow’s roots.

Anthropologie Orimono Pillow

The Orimono Pillow from Anthropologie: price tag $88 smackaroos.

mad mim knock off_ the anthropologie Orimono Pillow

mad mim knock off_ the anthropologie Orimono Pillow

My knock off total price: $3.

$0 for the scrap fabric, $2 for 3 yards of heavy white linen, and $1 for a throw pillow, both thrifted (and I obviously didn’t use all 3 yards of the linen…)

I recreated it with lots of  my scrap fabric and heatbond (double sided interfacing), which made it a relatively quick project (surprisingly!) It may remind you of my Christmas stocking, and that’s because my stocking is also an Anthropologie knock-off.  What can I say? It’s just one of my favorite stores that I almost never buy things from!

Here’s how I did it: I chose which scraps I wanted to use, trying as best I could to choose patterns that were fairly solid in color, and also jewel-toned. I just used what I had, so as you can see there’s a lot that don’t fit those criterion.  Second I cut them into uniform 4″X3″ rectangles, and then I ironed them side by side onto almost a yard of heatbond, creating a large sheet of my scrap blocks.  I peeled off the heatbond paper backing of the entire sheet, and then cut the blocks out. At this point I began cutting out the little individual zinnia petals and arranging and ironing them on one-by-one onto my white linen square cut out the size I wanted my pillow to end up. This took me as long as it took to watch the movie Multiplicity, which I thought was pretty funny. “Tuck, tuck, fold. T-T-F. Tuck, tuck, fold, or two tucks and a fold; agh, I just always think of Elizabeth Taylor then I think, tuck here fold there. It’s simple.!”

Once it was all heat bonded on there, I zipped around each petal with a really small zig-zag stitch, and assembled the pillow normally from that point. All in all it was about a three hour project, I’d say, which considering Anthropologie’s hefty price tag, is not too shabby.

One more little fun note: when I finished the pillow and set it on our couch I was delighted to see that it matches perfectly an art print that my hubby got me for my birthday last year, that sits directly behind the couch. It’s as if the picture is jumping out at you now, which is cool in a kind of 3-D movie kind of way. My livingroom! (jazz hands) In 3-D!

mad mim knock off_ the anthropologie Orimono Pillow

*important knocking-off note: I want to make it clear that I don’t believe in selling other people’s ideas–especially handmade goods.  If I ever recreate or knock something off, it will be for my home, family, or friends, and NOT for sale.

**additional IMPORTANT NOTE: Out of respect for the original designer, I ask that this tutorial ONLY BE USED FOR PERSONAL USE, and that it not be used to make items for commercial sales, even on a small scale. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email me at miriam@madmim.com. Thanks and good wishes!

See my other Anthropologie Knockoffs: the Hue Pyramid Earrings, the Vaqunnon Earrings

Sewing for the Belly: Poetry and Motion Tunic

mad mim maternity sewing_poetry in motion

I’m beginning to think my new maternity wardrobe is get more sizable than my normal one. I’m just banking that a lot of these pieces will work without a belly as well….?

This top is another from Twinkle Sews, and it’s my favorite that I’ve made so far. The fabric is silky soft cotton knit that you want to wallow in your bed with (like wallow as in make sheets out of it), and the cowl neck + ruffles are just so feminine yet casual and comfy, which basically is MY kind of maternity shirt.  It’s actually pretty lucky that I like it so much, because this one was looking like it was headed to my Total-Failure-Pile for a while.

Of all the Twinkle Sews patterns I’ve tried, this one was the easiest (for images from the book see here).  But the size…oh, the size!  I made a 12 which is based on my current measurements minus my belly, and it turned out enormous. I had to take it in significantly, like several sizes significantly, and then I actually took out the original drop sleeve and put in normal sleeves because they just weren’t liking all that taking in. But I ended up loving the final size and fit, so I suppose alls well that ends well.

The color was also sort of a disaster to begin with, because I found the knit in the Hancock’s value fabrics for $3 dollars a yard, but shoot–it was white. So no biggy, I just dyed it purple with some extra Rit dye I had on hand. But it turned out so….purply. Like Barbie purple, and I just wasn’t diggin’.  I made the shirt anyway, and just sort of hated it. So I dyed it once more with a cocoa brown and achieved a nice eggplant purple that I love. It’s amazing how the color change made such a difference in the way I felt in the shirt.

Pattern: Twinkle Sews:  Poetry in Motion

Difficulty: Easy peasy

Size: 12

Fabric: silky smooth knit cotton from Hancock’s value fabrics

Total cost: $6 (I’m not including the price of fabric dye because I had it on hand).

mad mim maternity sewing_poetry in motion mad mim maternity sewing_poetry in motion

Oh and PS, how do you like my new gold pumps I scored at the thrift store?! Aren’t they amazing?! I feel like they’re a little bit too cool for me, but I still had fun wearing them on Sunday. And by the way, just so I don’t feel like I’m deceiving you, I would never actually wear pumps with jeans. I think the look is great, but I’m just not that diva. Flats and sneakers for me, thanks. You know, FYI.
mad mim gold pumps

And PPS, here’s a shirt I squeaked out of the leftover purple knit (pre-brown-dying).  Once the Miss found out that they purple shirt I was making WASN’T for her, she pleaded with me to make her one too.  She wanted “a purple and pink shirt with ruffles that twirls good.”  Ain’t no thang, Chicken Wing!

mad mim kid's sewing

Sewing for the Girl: Feliz Party Dress

mad mim_feliz party dress

I was feeling so nostalgic bordering on emotional today. We found out this morning that we’re having another girl.

Isn’t that exciting!?!?

I’ve always been wrong guessing the genders of my babies (0 for 3 now!!), but I’ll admit I was happy to discover I have a sweet little girl kicking around my womb  (not that I wouldn’t have been completely thrilled with a boy). But a girl! A sweet little sugar lump to dress up and sew for!

It makes this whole baby thing about a kazillion times more real, and for some reason I looked at my kids today with a different perspective today (enter emotionalish here).  I’m seeing them both as older siblings now, and it’s making me kind of want to cry and just spend all day snuggling them (which unfortunately was impossible because they were up WAY too late last night and were as crabby as crabs cakes).

Ah! But it’s time to be a movin’ on!

To this happy dress I made my Juicy Fruit. I decided that I prefer to sew things for her openly rather than in secret (I mean rather than having it be a surprise) because it’s so fun to have her be a part of the design process and for her to watch and become excited as it comes together.  Very rewarding.

This lovely pattern is from an incredible book I got for Christmas Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy J.S. Langdon & Sabine Pollehn. I mean, yowzas.  I like a good sewing project-book just as much as the next sewing-obsessed-mom, but this book goes beyond “oh that’s cute” to completely inspiring. First of all, it’s changed the way I look at making clothes for my kids. They talk about how clothing for kids can and should be magical–something that they love and feel completely special in.  And to sew for them, meaning choosing colors and patterns and styles that they love, even if that means putting them in something that’s not trendy or that heaven-forbid you don’t like.  They talk about focusing on the special little details, and just enjoying the process of creative sewing for those you love. And the book comes with amazing basic patterns like t-shirts, leggings, pants, dresses, etc., but each are amazingly versatile and they leave the design process largely up to the sewist. It  has projects for both boy and girl (although a wee bit more for girl), and the only thing that would make this book better is a good shorts pattern.  It’s really a great book, and I recommend it enthusiastically.

Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy J.S. Langdon & Sabine Pollehn

This dress is the called the Feliz Party Dress, and I used some Anna Maria Horner scraps that I’ve been hanging on to for a couple years. I barely SQUEAKED it out of the fabric (using some sneaky piecing under the overdress, as well as  jazzed up some plain turquoise fabric  for the sides by using scraps from the bottom print and appliquéd them on with heat bond).  The small details that really make the dress magical are the ribbon ties in the back, the ric-a-rac along the bottom edges and the eyelet lace along the hem.

I’m satisfied that the girl really loves it, because she’s worn it several times this last week–nothing says approval like over usage.

mad mim sewing_feliz party dress mad mim sewing_feliz party dress mad mim sewing_feliz party dress

Oh and Ps. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sewing for a Belly: Filigree Apogee Top

Mad Mim maternity clothing sewing_Filigree Apogee Top

As bemoaned about in the last post, my sewing machine was in the shop getting serviced. As much as I missed it, it really freed up my evenings to do two things in particular that I’ve been wanting to for SOME time: read my brother’s new novel (which was very good), and design a new theme for my website! I dreamed up the design and created a mock-up in photoshop, and my genius husband is making it come to life before my very eyes with his mad programming skills (jazz-hands for my sweety who picked up programming as a hobby!!!) I LOVE the way it’s coming together, and can’t WAIT for it to go live!  And actually, it shouldn’t be longer then a few days I think! Woo. hoo.

And I finally made him stick around long enough in the morning (uh wait, he usually leaves at like 10:00–doh!), ok so got ready early enough for him to take some shots of me in the top I made last week.

mad mim inspiration piece

I found this top somewhere in the abyss of fashion online and saved the picture, but not the store, so I have NO idea where it’s from. Somewhere I’d never heard of. I loved the fluttery neckline (I’m such a sucker for jazzed up necklines), and I thought it would be a great growing-belly top. I winged the pattern, and although I love it, there are a few things that show my winging. First of all, I WISH upon a star that I had made the bodice shorter and the front panel longer. I was working with limited fabric again, so once I cut, the deed was done. It’s just a hair lower than empire, which is just a hair to low for a massive belly. It works now, but it might be weird when I get bigger. *sigh*

Mad Mim maternity clothing sewing_Filigree Apogee Top

Mad Mim maternity clothing sewing_Filigree Apogee Top

Mad Mim maternity clothing sewing_Filigree Apogee Top

I created the fluttery neckline by taking the measurement of the front neckline–from shoulder to shoulder–and then cutting a circle with that circumference. I cut the a hole in the center so it became a ring with the width I wanted the ruffle; I cut a slit in the ring and this became the first ruffle. From there I did the same thing working out from the original circle, so the other ruffles are not quite fluttery as the top, because their curve was gentler.

The drop-sleeves were a little frumpy, so I added some horizontal pleats that I had seen somewhere (maybe at the Gap?), and that cinched the end and brought it up slightly. Love them.

And for the back, I added a horizontal stretch of elastic to bring it in a little, but still accommodate future growth.

Pattern: basic drop-shoulder silhouette  with the front piece separated into a bodice and front panel. I added lots of width to the front panel, to allow for some pleating.

Fabric: cotton knit–a gift from my sis Em. Thanks Em!! (I’m not sure how much it was..)

Difficulty: pretty easy

PS, in other news, Mona-the-dress-form is also expecting. She’s feeling pretty good, but is kinda bummed about how lumpy her belly is.

monaknockedup

Sewing for a Belly: Masculin et Feminin skirt

Mad Mim Maternity clothing_masculin et faminin pencil skirt with belly band

This skirt is sorta the Masculin et Feminin skirt from Twinkle Sews, but mostly just kinda that skirt. The original design is is a pencil skirt with a low yoke waistband. The low yoke waistband was really was what I was interested in though, and that’s why I chose to adapt it for maternity wear. Really I didn’t need to use this pattern (especially with all the heartache and grief associated with Twinkle Sews patterns), because really the design isn’t that unique, and would be easy to find elsewhere–and actually it would be pretty easy to adapt any pencil skirt pattern. But it’s what I had, so I used it, and it actually turned out really great.

Twinkle Sews Masculin et Feminin

I wanted that low yoke because I figured the bottom of the yoke would be exactly where I wanted my belly band begin. It was perfect. So I ended up using the front and back pattern pieces, obviously bagging the top yoke and lace detail, as well as the lining which didn’t accommodate the stretch I needed. So it was TWO pieces, front and back plus a belly band and that was IT. It came together in 45 minutes, which is probably a record for me. I plan to make more.

Even though I’m much more hippy and rounded than normal, I wanted a pencil skirt because I’m sick and tired of the Christmas tree effect that always happens when you pair an a-line skirt (which tends to accommodate the blossoming pregnant hips better than straight and is therefore the go-to maternity skirt) and a flowy maternity top. Flair + Flair = Christmas tree.  Anyone else experienced this conundrum?

A word on belly bands. I’m am their biggest fan. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: when I’m pregnant, comfort trumps EVERYTHING ELSE. I can’t STAND having a waistband that cuts off my circulation, makes my tummy look like a nasty gut, and constantly needs adjusting (i.e. tucking in, and pulling up). Solution? The BAND. If it’s a good one, then it’s invisible under your clothing (it MUST go all the way up and have no elastic) and provides all the support with no discomfort. It’s like wearing a dream. My favorite band is Motherhood’s Secret Fit Belly ; it’s just quality stretchy fabric that holds everything in it’s place. I CANNOT abide the jegging trend that seems to be the maternity rage right now, because stretchy as they are (and trust me, I’ve tried to give them a go many times) they are still just normal pants, and cut me off under the belly which equates to not being able to breathe. So now that you know how I feel about belly bands I can tell you that I used spandex swimsuit lining for the band and it worked well. I made a long tube, and then folded it over and sewed it to the top of the skirt.

Mad Mim Maternity clothing_masculin et faminin pencil skirt with belly band

Mad Mim Maternity clothing_masculin et faminin pencil skirt with belly band

A few details about the skirt that aren’t pictured, or pictured well is the length, which is just below the knee, and the kick pleat in the back.

Pattern: Masculin et Feminin from Twinkle Sews

Fabric: stretch suiting from TwinkleAnn’s and spandex swimsuit lining for the belly band

Size: 16

Difficulty: Easy

Total cost: $7

My sister-in-law recently made light of my “classic head-down pose” as she called it, and I had to laugh because I guess I do kinda always put my head down. It’s just that I always feel silly taking pictures, and so I don’t usually try and pose much, and so I end up with a lot of head down photos. At least I recently dyed my hair so I don’t have any unsightly roots…

Twinkle Sews photo via The Cupcake Goddess

(felt) Pizza, anyone?

I figured today, as I was picking up little olives and onions from behind the couch, that I should probably photograph (for my posterity’s sake) this felt pizza before it, and all it’s many pieces, go all the way of the earth aka vacuumed up or something. This was my most time-consuming Christmas gift this year–so many little pieces! So many little details! But it was also probably the funnest thing I made, just like the felt food from last Christmas.

So far it hasn’t had as much play time as I expected, but it sure is a hit with any other kids that come over! First thing off the shelf! But I’ve found that you just have to be patient with some gifts. Sometimes it’s just a matter of kids coming around to it. I made a princess dress for Twinkle’s birthday last year and she didn’t really wear it much until about 4 months ago when she started wearing it 6 out of the 7 days a week. I don’t even bother to try and keep that baby clean anymore. So maybe this will be one of those toys the kiddos will discover in a few months when they’re jonesin’ for some pizza.

I didn’t use a pattern, although there are dozens of really cute ones on etsy. I yoinked a few ideas from several different styles, and then made up a few little additions of my own. It did take kind of a long time to figure out the crust, and I’ve already almost forgotten how I did it. If anyone’s interested I think I made patterns of my final design, and I could trace them and throw them up here as a pdf  sometime.

What’s been your experience with unplayed Christmas gifts?

mad mim felt food_ pizza mad mim felt food_ pizza

Sewing for a Belly: The Mariposa Dress

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Do you ever start sewing, and then you just can’t make yourself quit?? I do that frequently. I get on a roll, and I just keep on setting mental ending-points like “I’ll just put this sleeve in and then quit.” But then you finish that sleeve, and it bugs you to have one done and one not, so you’ll just hurry and do the other sleeve and go to bed for heaven’s sake. But wow! Now it actually looks like something, and it’s even kinda cute so you’ll just get everything ready to put the skirt on tomorrow. But that didn’t take that long, I might as well just attach it real quick. Well, shoot! Now, I’m practically done! I could wear this tomorrow for church! And next thing you know it’s 4:00 am. And IMMEDIATELY after that it’s time to get up, and you’re CURSING your nighttime-self, and mentally banning yourself from sewing ever again.

I started this dress at 9:00 pm on Saturday (not even really intending on seriously sewing anything, just kinda doing something with my hands while chatting with my little brother and husband) and yes indeed, one little end-point lead to another, and BAM.  4:00 am. At least I have a night-owl husband who also has trouble throwing in the towel (he’s into building websites), and he accompanies me in the craziness most of the time. Although what a wimp, he went to bad at 2:30…

Ok, so about the dress. I used the Mariposa pattern from Anna Maria Horner’s new book Handmade Beginnings. I like this book. I own her first book as well, and similar to the first, it has a lot of really lovely projects full of color, aesthetic and function.  Her fabric takes center stage in all the projects, which makes all the photos really vibrant and appealing. I’ve always thought that she is one of the (if not the) most talented and creative fabric designers out there.  She’s got major sauce.  Their are a few maternity/post maternity projects for Mama in the book, and this dress/tunic is one of them. The pattern layout is clever and efficient (unlike my last experience!), and the directions are easy to follow. That’s actually a big reason why I couldn’t stop sewing–everything just kept on coming together so nicely!

mad mim Handmade Beginnings book review

My version of the Mariposa dress looks a lot different than hers because I chose to go with a solid knit rather than a cotton print. I have to admit that although I love that print her dress is made from, I didn’t love the dress. It actually took me a while to even decide to give it a go, because I just kept thinking how awful my arms would look in those sleeves (you can’t see them in the pic, but they’re pretty boxy and an awkward length). I chose knit because I thought it would add some drape and softness, and of course lots of comfort. When I’m prego, comfort wins EVERY time. I decided to make it full-lenth because I have almost NOTHING to wear to church these days, and to be honest ladies,  long dresses are the way to go when you don’t want to have to worry about your growing dough-knees and shankles being unfortunately exposed.

I also added length to the sleeves, and added a band. The front is lined, and then I additionally doubled up my fabric on the back and skirt because my knit was pretty thin.  The result worked surprisingly well, and was actually pretty cozy (although it might be hot for the Summer).   After much deliberation, I decided not to embellish it, although I may not be able to resist later on.

I felt pretty ethereal when I wore it–kinda like I was dressed up like a greek statue, but I really like how it turned out, and I think it will get lots of showtime before June. And even afterwards! Although she doesn’t mention or highlight it, this dress would be ideal for nursing moms.  The “modesty panel” in the middle allows easy access to the milkers, and heaven knows their lots of room for the extra pounds we tend to accumulate.

Overall it’s a good pattern, and flattering design, although I did have the following hang-ups:

-The “modesty panel” wasn’t actually that modest, and actually completely hidden when you wear the straps tied around you. I had wanted to raise the neckline, but forget to when cutting it out, and darnit I ran out of fabric. I don’t think it would difficult to do though.  And I’m pretty used to wearing a cami underneath everything anyway…

-The dress comes in two sizes: small/medium, and medium/large. I made medium/large, and it turned out pretty huge. When I wear it tied around me it doesn’t really matter too much, but when I tie the straps in front it’s pretty much a bag.  Yikes! (It is possible that both of those problems are a result of, or at least compounded by the fabric I chose).

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Mad Mim maternity sewing_the Mariposa dress from Handmade Beginnings

Pattern: The Mariposa Dress/Tunic from Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings

Fabric: Cotton knit. $5 dollar bolt from Walmart

Size: medium/large–I would say it’s more large, than medium.

Alterations: lengthened the skirt, lengthened the sleeves and added a band, doubled the fabric for the back and skirt (only necessary for my fabric).

Sewing for a Belly: Dark Secrets Blouse

Mad Mim Maternity: Dark Secret Blouse from Twinkle Sews

Twinkle Sews by Wenlen Chia

The Dark Secret Blouse is the first of many from Twinkle Sews by Wenlen Chia. I have a lot of great things to say about this book; I also have a lot of really scathing things to say about it–love/hate relationship, for sure.  The designs are fabulous–many of which you wouldn’t be surprised to see hanging in your favorite boutique.  They have small details that really make them special and something that you would treasure in  your closet. And THAT is why you’re willing to go through the fiery pattern-cutting furnace of death to make them. These patterns are completely frustrating to cut out. The book comes with a CD with all the patterns that print out onto 8.5X11 pages (like Burdastyle).  That’s annoying of course, but I understand that with 25 different patterns, it wouldn’t have been practical to include all of them on tissue paper. But here’s where the aggravation begins: the patterns comes in only 5 sizes–0, 4, 8, 12, and 16.  Why that’s perfect, right?! For HALF of us. So if you happen to fall between those sizes, then grab a punching bag, my friend.  Now Mim, you say, we’ve all altered pattern sizes and fit before, so that’s annoying but no biggy, right? Righto! But here’s my main and massive miff: the patterns aren’t arranged on the fold!! So all the symmetrical pieces (which are a good portion of them), are flat, unnecessarily taking twice the space the need to.  On top of that pile of illogical pattern arrangement, is the fact that it also includes the full lining pieces (which are also NOT on the fold). The lining pieces are IDENTICAL to the main self front and back pieces, except they are like 1/2 inch longer. HELLOO!!!!! Why not just have a line that says “cut here for lining” on the main pieces?!  So this adds up to an astronomical amount of printer paper and ink that you’ll use. For one blouse, the pattern required anywhere from 50-75 PAGES–one blogger I found wrote “one shirt=one tree.”  I spent ALL last week just taping together pages, cutting them out, and then retracing them onto tissue paper cause I can’t stand to sew with the unwieldiness off printer paper, and I would NOT have the space to store them afterwards due to the unbelievable bulkiness.  I estimate that had she designed the patterns on the fold, and just indicated the lining differences on the self-patterns then it would have been taken 1/4 of the paper and time. It all just made me want to start swearing.

Once you start actually sewing the directions are perfectly fine if you already know how to sew. This book is NOT for beginners. There are no illustrations for each step, so you have to just know how to do it or figure it out.

Now after a rant like that, I feel kinda bad. I really love love love the designs here, and can’t wait for them to be in my closet. None of them are maternity perse, but they are all completely maternity-friendly. The sizing-chart is counterintuitive, as she suggests adding up to 5 inches for ease to your measurements, and then selecting your size based on the chart. DON’T. Just go by your measurements alone, adding no ease, and the pattern will still be large. I went by my measurements alone, and the blouse is ample enough for my growing belly. My sister made a top based on her measurements with no ease addition, and she still took it in an inch on both sides, and she’s 6 months pregnant. Many of the blouses are slouchy-style, and with those styles I would even suggest going down a size from your measurements (although it is always easier to go down than up).

So final word: if you’re a seasoned sewist, this book is great if you have plenty of printer paper, ink, and time.


(sorry for the crummy picture quality–it was so COLD outside today!)
Mad Mim maternity sewing: dark secret blouse

Mad Mim Maternity: Dark Secret Blouse from Twinkle Sews

Mad Mim Maternity: Dark Secret Blouse from Twinkle Sews

For whatever reason, my husband doesn’t love this shirt–oh well.  I really like the way it turned out, and love it with a belt.  I love the balloon sleeve (which I actually halfed the length on because my fabric is much stiffer and with less drape than Chia intended, and so the balloon was like an air balloon at first).  I also love the yoke detail, which was more simple than it looks.

Dark Secret blouse - Twinkle SewsFabric: a cotton/polyester blend from Walmart $5 bolts.

Size: 12

Pattern: Wenlen Chia’s “Dark Secret Blouse” from Twinkle Sews

Alterations: I halfed the balloon length, and added about 6 inches to the length.


The Budget Chevron Stripe Quilt


Mad Mim chevron striped throw quilt

Mad Mim chevron striped throw quilt

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’m no quilter. But the trouble is I like the warmth and folksy feeling a quilt can bring into a space. Makes me feel all…homey on the range.  And I think the art of quilting can be really beautiful too. And I love when quilts are unexpected. Like this (hand dyed!!) or these map quilts found here (I mean,WOW.) SO beautiful! Why don’t you just blow my mind away..

But my real problem with quilting is the TIME it takes. I like to get projects down lickity split, and quilting just sort of cramps my style. So this quilt appealed to me because it was a real quicky…that took me two months. I started it on a whim—ever since I made my chevron-striped stocking I wanted to make a chevron striped throw quilt (love me some zig-zags!), but I never could justify spending $50 bucks+ on fabric. So when I found some pretty solids at Wal-mart that seemed pretty decent quality I splurged and spent $7.50 on all these fabrics (the yellow print I already had). And then I used the surplus fabric for the back (I just sewed them together to make oversized stripes, and used batting that someone kindly donated to me and I was dying to get rid of (who can find a place for that stuff?!).  I hand quilted it, and really I could have gotten it done in a weekend, had not my ebook and Christmas halted all other projects. So it was a PLEASURE to sit down for TWO measly hours last night and FINALLY finish it.

Sewing for a Belly: number three, the Austen cardigan, and one year

Confused at the title? Let me explain:

Mad Mim Maternity: the Austen Cardigan

Number three as in prego again with Tribe the Third (due in June). I’m pretty excited as well as fairly nervous–everyone always says that three is the hardest. I believe that, but I’m trying to just focus on the fact the I’ve never been happier in my life than as a Mom, and that this baby will inevitably bring the same joy that my first two have. SO. Bring it on, baby.

The Austen Cardigan as in the first of many maternity clothing I will be sewing for this pregnancy. Who’s sick of ugly maternity clothes?! I AM!!! I decided that since I have pretty much everything I need for girl or boy baby, I’m going to dedicate my sewing largely to my belly; I’m going to be trying out and altering lots of patterns (maternity and non-maternity) as well as drafting a few of my own. The prospect of this juicy project is what got me through the post-holiday blues, and actually, I’m SUPER excited to be crafting/sewing with NO deadline imposed. Just sewing whenever/and whatever I want. I’m going to call this new series Sewing for a Belly, so buckle up for some belly-friendly beauties!

I bought a cardigan almost identical to this from Urban Outfitters for my sister in law for Christmas. I liked it so much I got busy just a few days after Christmas and made my own.  Although it was a very simple design, it was actually kind of challenging because the knit I used was very sheer and stretchy, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without knit interfacing. I love how feminine it is, and although there’s nothing really maternity about it, I find that a pretty cardigan can make the frump t-shirt and jeans look quite lovely.  So cardigans can be a belly’s best friend.

Pattern: I used my basic t-shirt pattern as the base, and then free-styled from there. I cut the the front piece down the middle, straightened the front neckline, and added a double ruffle. I cut the pattern right at the natural waistline, and added a double layered ruffled panel to the bottom half.

Fabric: this knit came from Hancock’s value fabrics. It’s a light weight, sheer knit with a rib-like design. Impossible to sew (at least with a sewing machine) without some essential knit interfacing.

Lining: just normal slinky lining from TwinkleAnn’s, although I did dye it grey because they didn’t have the color I wanted.

*Note: Because I don’t have a serger yet, I do all of my knit sewing using my overlock stitch,  which pretty much  mimics a serged edge. It’s perfectly adequate, albeit MUCH slower than a normal straight stitch.

And finally, One Year as in this is the first anniversary of my MadMim blog.  And what a great one it’s been! This blog was a New Year’s resolution from last year, and boy have I had  fun writing about all my sewing/craft adventures, and I have LOVED getting to know some of you along the way! It makes my DAY every time somebody leaves a comment, and I really appreciate all the wonderful things you’ve had to say and contribute. For this year, my goals for this blog are keeping MadMim authentic. To me, that means blogging about things that I am doing and am passionate about, and not blogging when I don’t feel like it. Right now my first priority is being a good mom to me kids, and so this blog has to be something that brings me joy but doesn’t distract me from what I really care about. That will probably mean my posting will continue to be somewhat sporadic and willy nilly. I hope you all don’t mind! I suspect many of you are in the same boat, and I think all of us can relate to A Time and a Place for Everything, right?  Thanks to all of you for tuning in, and stick around for another year of some mad crafting!


Mad Mim Maternity: the Austen Cardigan Mad Mim Maternity: the Austen Cardigan_Belly Shot

A Sneaky Peeky: my girl’s pea coat

I never could understand those kids who peeked at their presents before Christmas, because around my house we had to go to great lengths to avoid seeing them pre-Christmas morn, and we all exercised enormous self-discipline stepping around and closing our eyes to the explosion of shopping bags spewing from my mom’s closet.  For some reason she never bothered to really hide our presents, and for some reason, we never looked. Maybe because we all loved surprises too much.  And I still do. But mostly I just live for surprising my kids now. My little gal has inherited my over-the-top reaction to surprises, which is immensely gratifying. So I wouldn’t risk showing you this if there was any chance she might see it, but for this year at least, my kidlets are young enough that I can get away with showing you a little sneaky peek of what I’m making them. I just finished Ju Ju Fruit’s little coat and had to show! The best part is the fabric flower, but I love the pill in the fabric (been hanging on to it for years), and the pink buttons. Juice is going to rock it.

Mad Mim sneak peek child's pea coat Mad Mim sneak peek child's pea coat Mad Mim sneak peek child's pea coat

Pattern: Simplicity 2876–I added two inches to the jacket length, and because my fabrics were thicker, I skipped the turned up blind stitch hem and  just sewed the whole thing right-sides together and then flipped it. I also added a top stitch around the whole thing, which I think is a must.

Outer Fabric: a polyester weave with a marked pill (am I using that term right?) from Walmart $1 fabrics several years ago.

Lining: Fleece from Twinkleann’s

Fabric flower: I don’t have a tutorial for this one, but I’m sure you can find it out there  somewhere. I basically just snipped the ends of the petals and then overlapped  and tacked them making them curl up, and then did a running stitch around the petals.