Stripes and Blocks

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The sun has been scorching the earth in Portland. We finally had a gray day yesterday, but before that, we had quite an unexpected heat wave. I am so grateful that our house has ceiling fans and air conditioning. If we were still in our old rental, I’m sure that I would have melted by now. Our house doesn’t have insulation, so it can get pretty warm when the sun beats on the walls, but at least we have a few tall fir trees to keep the heat off of the house during the hottest part of the day.

When it’s really warm out, I don’t want anything clinging to my skin. Most shirts that I find in stores are rather fitted, but I had this super old Gap shirt that had the perfect amount of looseness to it. I don’t want to wear a bag, but I don’t need anything figure-hugging either. The Gap shirt was on its last leg, so I cut it apart and made a pattern out of it. I’d only been meaning to do that for about two years!

Striped-Shirt-3The Annex at Mill End had some nice knits in the last time I was there, so I picked up this gray and navy jersey stripe and bright pinkish-purple. I am so happy with how the shirts turned out!

Striped-Shirt-1 Striped-Shirt-2 Pink-Shirt

I plan on making lots of these, as soon as I can find more knits that I like. I have the hardest time finding them though! They are usually too thin, too thick, don’t have enough stretch, pill too easily… it’s always something! I don’t bother trying to order them online anymore, because I almost always end up returning them, or using the yardage that I bought to make muslins. I am picky, picky, picky when it comes to knits (okay, all fabric).

It was nice to have a project turn out so well after a recent very bad decision. I copied an outfit of Em’s, made a pattern after adjusting it to give him some room to grow, and then I cut out and sewed up the cutest little romper from a very soft bamboo striped knit. I loved it!


But what did I decide when I looked it? That the the head opening was much too small. Mind you, I didn’t even try it on him. Let’s just think about that. I finish a project, and without even slipping it over Em’s head, I decided it was too small. Ugh. Baaaaad choice. So then, I cut off the neck binding, making it a bit wider, and sewed on a new one. It looked a bit odd, but in my sleep-deprived state, I thought it would be fine. When I finally tried it on him, the head opening was now so big, his shoulders could squeeze out of it. NNOOOOOOO! I was so disappointed. It is currently shoved in a drawer until I can figure out what to do with it. He’s probably even outgrown it by now, but I’m so mad at myself for wasting that fabric and ruining the neckline that I want to find a way to make it right.

His next project should turn out better! Remember his quilt that I was unsure about? I agonized about it for the longest time. What pattern should I used, how would I cut the fabric, blah, blah, blah. I loved all of your suggestions in the comments, and I realized one night that i just needed to make. a. stinking. decision! I often do this to myself with fabric. I don’t want to cut up yardage and then change my mind, so I go through every possible idea I have until I figure out what I want to make. Because of this, I end up with fabric on my shelves for years, unable to make a decision. I bit the bullet and decided on simple squares. I have so little time for sewing that I needed a quilt that could be pieced quickly and easily.


I’ve already laid it out and all of the rows are numbered so my blocks will stay in order. I can’t wait to show it to Em! I think he’ll love looking at all of the different prints while he plays on it. That is, if I can find time to finish it before he turns 18!

  • So happy you got some time to sew & that you made something for yourself, that turned out well 🙂
    Can you make the romper into a tee for Em? If it’s too short, that is, and add a yoke to fix the neckline?

    • Thanks! I’m really glad I’m getting some sewing time back as well. For a while there it felt like I was never going to be able to find time to do it ever again!

      I’m thinking about cutting the romper at the waist, and making a new top half for it, using a contrasting fabric. That way it could look like he’s wearing shorts and a onesie, and I can make it a bit longer in the process to fit his extra-long torso. We’ll see when that gets done- ha!

      • I know that feeling, I’ve been on holiday for 4 weeks, but only made a new Anna dress & a modified Hemlock tee, family life has taken priority. I have 2 weeks left, so now studying will be my main focus, after Lucas of course 🙂

        That sounds like a good idea, or the overall idea that Becky suggested, that would be quicker 😉 Hope everything is good with you otherwise, I don’t know how many times I’ve planned on emailing you, but life keeps getting in the way :/ xxx

        • I saw your dress- it’s beautiful! I have been meaning to head over and check it out on your blog as soon as I get a little free time to catch up on some blog reading. That fabric was awesome.

          I hear you on emailing too- something always comes up! I am SO happy to see how well the baby nest pattern is doing! I still get emails about “where can I get the pattern” and I send them all your way.

          • Thanks Honey! I think I have enough fabric left to make a tee or at least a little tank 😀 My blog has been pretty neglected this year, but I have written a few posts lately.

            I had quite a few sales just before the weekend, I was a bit shocked actually, but a happy kind of shocked 😉 Thanks again for all your help with the pattern & for sending everyone my way. XXX

          • Nice! I love when I have enough fabric left over to make another garment. I have a whole stack of little pieces of fabric that I can’t quite decide what to do with. You know when it’s really nice fabric, but you can’t quite fit any other pattern piece on it, but it feels wrong to throw it away? That’s basically the whole top shelf of my fabric storage cabinet.

            Whoo-hoo for sales! I’m so happy for you! 🙂

  • Becky

    I love your tees. It will be easy to modify the neck, sleeves, hemline to add design details and make them all look different. The quilt will be marvelous! I agree with Jennie’s suggestion about maybe turning the romper into a tee. Or… maybe turn it into a shoulder strap sleeveless romper. You could add a crosswise back or front bar strap to keep the shoulder straps from slipping off his shoulders?

    • Thanks, Becky! I think I should start making some modifications, so that I don’t always wear the exact same shirt. First I have to find some knit fabric I like though.

      I’m thinking I’ll cut the romper at the waist to make it look like shorts with a onesie tucked in. I’d better get it done soon though, before he’s waaaaay too tall for it! The shoulder strap romper is pretty tempting though- like little overalls? That might be a lot faster to sew.

  • I’m impressed at how much sewing you’ve gotten done! And wow, the fabrics for Em’s quilt are ADORABLE.

    • I’m trying! I both need new clothes and way to de-stress each night. I can’t wait to get his quilt fabrics sewn up! I’m thinking he needs matching pillows now too.

  • Sandra

    Thanks for telling about your trouble making a decision when it comes to fabric. So maybe I am normal after all? Once I buy it, (no matter what I paid for it) it’s like gold. I have to find the perfect pattern. With a capital P. Right now I am making my third boat neck tee. Copying an old unisex tee right now. Hoping three’s the charm. Trying to make one of those striped French mariner’s t-shirts like I keep seeing on Pinterest. (Your pattern would be perfect.). Wish me luck!

  • Cheryl

    I’m late to the discussion 🙂 I LOVE 100% cotton fabrics. I only sew for myself with 100% cotton fabrics (maybe a percentage or two of spandex, that’s IT 🙂 Try the KIDS section for cotton knits…I found some NICE knits at Jo-Ann Fabrics in the juvenile section 🙂

    • Ahh– the kids section! How often I forget to look there! I will for sure take a peek the next time I am fabric shopping. Thanks for the reminder, Cheryl!

  • Kristine

    I think that is the issue when we do things DIY
    for your home
    , it is hard to make the decision! I am sorry to know
    that you did not even try to let your child use the onesie. I thought it really
    looked cute! Maybe you can use the cloth somewhere else?

    • Thanks, I thought it was cute too. He’s too big for it now, but maybe another baby will be able to use it in the future!

  • Hi Amy, I’ve just started reading your blog & feel like I’m at home here! I’m taking some time off work & re-discovering sewing – last night I made my personal bodice block (from one of my Mum’s old pattern cutting books), in the process realising how much my body has changed in the last 20 years, what a great exercise (explains why my old favourite patterns just weren’t working for me). Then I used your instructions to make the tank top pattern, which I’m going to try out today. Excited that I’ll be breezing through the coming Perth scorcher in style & comfort (hopefully). I’m usually more of a lurker than a commenter but I had to tell you about the changing quilt I made for my daughter when she was first born. Little squares just like yours! I cut up all of my pregnancy dresses & sewed them up into rows of squares – we ended up using it for everything, it was incredibly useful. I still love it & it has so many memories, the dress fabrics actually take me back to that wonderful feeling of being pregnant for the first time. It’s worn out very badly though since the fabrics (a lot of rayons) weren’t made for quilting. At the time I thought I was being very frugal & old fashioned! Not sure how to fix it, I think I’ll just keep it stored away for memories sake. (She’s a beautiful 18 now & a sewer too).

    ps. Love those TShirts

    • Hello, Claire, and welcome! I’m glad you feel at home here. 🙂 I hope your tank top turned out!

      Your quilt for your daughter sounds very sweet. I wonder if you could re-quilt it, adding in tiny heart patches over the areas that haven’t worn well. Perhaps it can then be used again in the future!

      I still have to finish Emmerich’s quilt. He’ll be one year old in 3 days, but I can get it quilted and bound by then, right? Ha!

      • Good idea Amy I will try that. The tank top is perfect, just had to drop the dart one inch down the side seam further than you suggested for myself. Even better was my second attempt in a stretch rayon. For that I eased the front to the back rather than sewing the dart. It’s the best fitting top I’ve ever made & I’m extremely grateful to you for sharing your expertise.

        Happy birthday Emmerich & congrats to Mum & Dad for getting through the first year 🙂

        • Wonderful! I’m so glad it turned out! These tank tops are a staple in my wardrobe now. I hope they become that way for you too! The stretch rayon sounds really nice.

          Thanks for the happy birthday wishes! 🙂