Bias Binding, Gemma Tank, Made By Rae Patterns, Maine, Pearl Shift, Quilting, Reading and Books, Ruby Dress Pattern, Sewing, unplugged, Washi Dress Pattern

Nursebeansews a lot: 2016 year-end wrap up

I sewed a lot of garments in 2016, close to 40-I have lost track of the actual total. Most of them were for me, some were for others. When I looked back over the year, I found that although I sewed many garments, I actually made several versions each of seven favorite patterns: the Pearl Shift pattern from Green Bee Patterns and six patterns from Made by Rae: the Washi Dress, the Beatrix Blouse, and the Ruby Blouse which I had made before and the Luna Pants pattern , the Isla knit dress pattern and the Gemma Tank which were new to me in 2016. The newer patterns are from a line that Rae calls Presto patterns. They are less expensive and simpler to sew, which is probably why I was able to sew so many! Here are a couple of pictures of some of my makes with links to the patterns and my blog posts about things I learned while making them. I tend to make things in multiples because it is not much more work to cut out two versions than to cut out one.

The Washi Dress by Made By Rae, which I made for myself three times: two versions had sleeves and two versions were in double gauze. I also made a version with polka dots for my sister and a paisley version for my mother. The double gauze, while a bit tricky to work with, makes a wonderful winter version of the Washi. I have my eye out for another double gauze to make another long sleeved version of the Washi. I wear my charm version all the time.img_4434I have two more  Washi dresses cut out that I plan to finish soon. One is the Washi XP with a bow. I cut them out last summer before Gemma Madness took over my sewing life. Finishing my WIPs will be a priority for me this winter.img_2414I am excited to see how the XP version turns out. I think it will be perfect with a sweater and tights and boots for winter. I cut this out way back in the spring when I made a baby quilt for a friend and used this for the binding.

I also sewed several new versions of the Beatrix blouse and modified a shift dress pattern by adding Beatrix sleeves.img_4435I lengthened the Beatrix to a tunic length using the Pearl Shift pattern as my guide and made this Cookie Book version with a curved hem and this Alison Glass version with an exposed zipper and a straight hem. I wear them all the time with leggings and jeans.

I made the Pearl Shift four times: two in heavy cotton flannel and one each in a cotton-linen blend and in a black and white checked fabric. img_4436I have two more cut out and ready to sew, one for my daughter and another plaid flannel version for me. The original plaid Pearl that I made a year ago in the fall is probably my most worn garment ever.

I surprised myself this year by making pants! I highly recommend the Luna Pants pattern from Made By Rae. I made this clay colored version and this Fringe version, both with fabric by April Rhodes. I lived in them all summer.img_4437 I was surprised at how flattering they ended up being and they are incredibly comfortable.

I made three versions of the Ruby Pattern this summer, a plum colored double gauze blouse for me, a double gauze blouse with a yoke made of quilting cotton for a friend and a dress which I love in April Rhodes fabric. I just love her designs for garments.img_4439I have several other versions of the Ruby blouse cut out and ready to sew. Sew all the WIPs is going to be my resolution for 2017!

I learned a bit about how to sew knits on a regular sewing machine and made one each of the dress and top versions of the Isla Pattern. img_4440I have several more cut out and ready for an afternoon when I can sew them up. I highly recommend this pattern for those of you who are new to sewing knits.

The pattern I sewed the most though turned out to be the Gemma Tank. Rae launched this pattern over the summer and once she did, all my other WIPs went by the wayside. I literally have things I cut out to sew back in July that never got sewn because I was too busy sewing so many versions of the Gemma. I lined it, I lengthened it, I sewed it for my kids, I sewed many versions for myself. I sewed it out of thrifted men’s shirts and I learned a lot about bias binding. It was a lot of fun, a bit crazy but a great way to experiment with different fabrics. I am wearing them all the time. It has become a great layering piece for me. These are actually not even all of the Gemmas I made. Craziness!img_4438Other non-garment items I sewed this year were this quilt for a much awaited new baby boy-so much fun! and an afghan for my mother in law made from thrift shop sweaters. I also was privileged to be a pattern tester for the first time for this great skirt pattern which will be launched in the new year. I have fabric picked out and ready to go.  It is going to be a great new basic to add to my rotation.

Highlights of my sewing year included Me Made May-which is always fun and which brings so much inspiration from other sewers and a couple of mini-breaks (long weekends,) one in Maine and one at home and a micro-mini break (afternoon) that I spent exploring my old neighborhood. I also read a lot this year and tried very hard to stick to my 2016 New Year’s resolution to commit one day a week to being unplugged. That worked for about half the year and then life got busy and  I ended up having to spend time each Sunday in the office. But I tried to spend at least some of each Sunday unplugged from media, reading, taking walks,, going to church regularly and doing yoga. These are things I hope to find more time for in the New Year.

With best wishes to all for a happy and healthy New Year and time and energy to finish the sewing projects (I know that I can’t cut out one more thing until I sew through the pile I have accumulated of cut out projects, ) and thanks to all for following along with my sewing adventures!


About Me, Maine, unplugged

Maine Minibreak


img_3119I have written here before about Maine and how much summers there meant to me and my kids as they were growing up.

Time and finances are in much shorter supply now and so trips to Maine have been less frequent and much shorter but I still try to make the time count. In a funny way, even the short trips end up being very powerful emotionally because of all the memories.

Last week, my daughter and I took a quick two and a half day trip to some of our old haunts. We left Connecticut feeling grateful to have missed a big storm since Hurricane Hermine turned out to be much less of a storm than anticipated. We got to the island around 5:30 on the Tuesday after Labor Day and headed straight to my favorite watering hole.img_3238 Amazingly, I was the only person there. I dove right in. After not having swum in fresh water for over a year, it felt like a baptism of sorts.  My daughter captured it in her photos. I want to hold onto this feeling all winter. The best.img_3185We had lobsters on the pier that evening and did a brief drive around the island to some of our favorite spots the next day. A beautiful spot where we used to go to watch the sun set:img_3249The big rock that we would walk to along a huge pond/lake and swim off of (I swam there this trip too. Delightful!)img_3303


img_3307I love the late afternoon light through the trees.img_3301You don’t really get a sense for how big this rock is unless you see it from the water. All of the stone formations were created by glaciers.img_3308Walking back along the lakeside path.img_3309At the pond’s end, the water framed by the mountains. In previous summers, my kids and I climbed all of these. Such wonderful memories. We didn’t have time to hike this trip but hopefully next year.img_3310We made time for ice-cream. Bay of figs = awesome. My first experience eating fig ice-cream but hopefully not my last.img_3268We ate our ice-cream peering out from behind a wall made of several rows of long window boxes. A really beautiful idea for framing a small patio. I loved seeing the sunlight through the leaves.img_3277The next day we got sandwiches from our favorite bakery and ate them at a beautiful butterfly garden. Despite many trips to this place, I had never gone to this spot. It was just lovely and we had it all to ourselves. One of our traditions with the kids was to try something new each trip and this short trip, we managed to do several new-to-us things. Really fun.img_3294The garden looks out over the water to the peninsula where there is a pool club that we belonged to when the kids were small. img_3297Many wonderful afternoons were spent there swimming in the salt water pool. The water above is cut off from the ocean by a bridge/ causeway and my kids used to jump off the bridge to the ocean side when the tide was coming in and be whooshed under the bridge carried by the incoming tide. You had to time it just right. Thrilling!

The next day I had a wonderful visit with a good friend who took me to a private garden (she had tickets). So beautiful. I loved these feathery flowers in the woodland setting.img_3315And the pattern that these stems make. Like a ladder or a braid.img_3320My absolute favorite flowers were the Japanese anemones. The bees agreed with me. There were so many buzzing around these flowers. I love the little round globes that are the buds. Such beautiful shapes. Zoom in to see the bees!img_3331


img_3333After about two and half days, it was time to head back to reality. The morning we left was a bit foggy and so beautiful. That sky!img_3356Until the next visit!img_3178