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February 2010


just one afternoon

I've been ... busy.

I've been ... churning out the handmade like a cottage industry factory.

I've been ... eating frozen meals.

I've been ... blankly staring at my sticky kitchen floor, not reacting when another spoonful of applesauce is dropped there.

I've been ... laughing.

I've been ... nursing.

I've been ... finishing up half of the projects for my second book. I sent them in yesterday, instructions, illustrations, and all.

Today? Today I'm just being. Being with this little person, who is constantly showing me the everyday beauty in just being. 

All the doing can wait.

sweet pea pilot cap pattern and tutorial

In honor of Celebrate the Boy month, Finn and I are so excited to present to you a little surprise ...

sew liberated sweet pea pilot cap

... the Sweet Pea Pilot Cap! A free sewing pattern and photo tutorial ...

sew liberated sweet pea pilot cap

... for the sweetest, most comfy cap around.

Click here to download the pattern!

sew liberated sweet pea pilot cap

It's easy! Don't fear the knit fabric - in the tutorial you'll find oodles of tips for working with knits on a regular sewing machine.

sew liberated sweet pea pilot cap

The pattern is sized for 0-24 months, but the large size will likely fit until the child is 3 - 4 years old.

sew liberated sweet pea pilot cap

Happy sewing!

sew liberated sweet pea pilot cap

If you're just popping over for the first time from Dana's lovely space, welcome! Pull up a chair and stay a while! You can subscribe to my ramblings about sewing and mamahood by clicking here

Much warmth,


a conversation


Beautiful photo by Chelsea

This past week, Chelsea, of lady I swear by all flowers, gifted me several hours of looking inward. Moments of reflection are sparse in this house, as we go from working like mad to living-in-the-moment with the babe, nary a minute to just sit and let the mind wander. The reason for this gift? Chelsea's thoughtful questions, which she crafted after digging through my past words in this space - words that I had forgotten. Words from me before Me was Mama. 

Here's our conversation.

Thank you, Chelsea, for hosting the last stop of the book's blog tour. It was truly a pleasure.

Please, please head over to Chelsea's home and leave her some words of kindness and Mama-strength. She just gave birth to her second baby, and her first darling son is only 14 months old! You'll probably be sucked in to her blog as I have been - her writing is exquisite and thought-provoking, as is her photography.

Check back here Monday for a surprise! Hints ... boy, pilot, tutorial.

this morning in pictures

this morning in pictures february 11

:: what my left hand sees at breakfast time.

this morning in pictures february 11

:: darn dish fairy didn't show up again. what a completely unreliable worker.

this morning in pictures february 11

:: enjoying a new table and chair.

this morning in pictures february 11

:: it's hard to play when you have so many chins.

this morning in pictures february 11

:: loving the woven pine needle basket.

this morning in pictures february 11

:: not so impressed.

This morning I'm loving ::

:: the idea of eventually finding something like this to replace our current coffee table.

:: happy find's schoolhouse tunic ruffle tutorial.

:: are so happy's un-toy list.

:: alicia's sunshine day baby afghan pattern.

:: lucinda.

What's on your love-list this morning?

finn's waldorf doll

mini finny

Or shall we call him the Mini Finny?

mini finny

This little fellow has been in the works for quite a while. With the exception of a few steps, the doll was constructed, stitch by stitch (and very slowly and haphazardly) while I was on what we lovingly refer to in our house as "Finny Duty." (Patrick and I split child-care duties while the other gets work done.)

mini finny

I think it's important for Finn to actually see me doing what I love, rather than always doing it behind a closed studio door, while he naps, or after his bedtime. Having some little project in hand also reminds to me to keep from hovering over him or feeling like I need to dance around and wave my arms up and down to entertain him. He needs space, freedom, and silence just as adults do. (Although dancing wildly is sometimes necessary when he makes a beeline for a poor, sleeping cat ... excited to find his victim unaware. Side note: the cats do tend to wake up and escape when Finn's on a beeline, because he squeals quite loudly with delight at the mere thought of acquiring a fist-full of cat fur.)


This project had the added benefit of introducing him to a new love - wool. Better in a bag than on the sheep for the sheep's sake at this point, I say. Finn loved touching it and burying his face in it, then pulling it out of the bag piece by piece.

And now Finn has his very own doll, based on one of the many patterns in this book , and made with materials from Weir Dolls and Crafts. Does he like it?

Well ...

mini finny

... let's just say that he prefers the woman/milk bar trying to take his picture! It's the process, not the product, right? Hehe.

mini finny

giveaway winners!

You guys just totally blew off my socks with all of your comments - I thoroughly enjoyed reading through them! Without further ado ... the winners, chosen by random number generator:

Sew Liberated book, fabric and supplies to make the Little Chef Apron and Hat: Comment #537, CharityMay!

Lisa Leonard $100 gift certificate: Corinne!

Congratulations! Please email me at meg (at) with your contact information.

sponsor giveaway: lisa leonard designs

It seems as though this bloggie of mine is giveaway central as of late! Today I'm featuring the truly lovely Lisa Leonard, who makes beautifully sweet handmade jewelry. My husband gifted me one of her necklaces on the day our son was born (which also happened to be my first Mother's Day) and it is one of my most treasured pieces of jewelry.




Lisa is generously offering a Sew Liberated reader a $100 gift certificate to her store! Please leave a comment on this post to enter. The winner will be drawn at random on Sunday evening, February 7.

Visit Lisa's store

.. and her blog.

Thank you so much, Lisa, and good luck to you all!

envelope shirt and pilot cap for the boy

the 90 minute shirt and pilot cap20100205_5

Have you heard that February is Celebrate the Boy month? I danced a little jig when I found out what Dana and Rae were up to. Boy clothes. Boy toys. Boy accessories. Oh boy!

Dana kicked off the month with her tutorial for making an envelope shirt, which she calls the 90-minute shirt. Mine took longer because I got into a fight with my serger. We broke up. I'm now exclusively dating my normal machine, just to make the serger jealous. Humph.

the 90 minute shirt and pilot cap20100205_1

So back to the shirt. Love it. I want to make a trillion-bajillion more, but you see, I have a book manuscript deadline approaching in two weeks, so I have to settle with just one for right now. I made mine with organic cotton jersey and 1x1 rib knit, both from NearSea Naturals. Dana actually suggests making the shirt with a recycled men's XL shirt. I think that's a great idea, but I have to go to the thrift store to make it happen. Have you seen my husband? Not an extra-large fellow. He might actually wear the same size as Finn.

So I added ribbing to the bottom of the shirt as well to give it a nice, finished look, since I didn't have an existing t-shirt hem with which to work.

the 90 minute shirt and pilot cap20100205_2

"But what's that on his head?" you're asking. And I know you're asking, because that's about the most frequent question I get from you hat-loving readers: "Where did you get Finn's knit pilot cap?" To which I normally reply, "Hanna Andersson." 

But in this case, that would be a lie. This hat? I made it. On a regular ol' sewing machine. It is sized to fit newborns to six year-olds (and beyond? I'll work on that). The pattern? For you, in book #2.

the 90 minute shirt and pilot cap20100205

I will probably call it the Sweet Pea Pilot Cap, because that's one of the 13,753 nicknames we have for Finn. I really wanted to call it the String-Of-Expletives Cap, because that's what was going on in my head when I was figuring out how to make the darn thing. Three days and nights of puzzling, trying one thing and then another, ripping seams, and throwing fabric on the floor, grown-up tantrum style. But here it is! While it's probably the most hair-pulling thing I have designed, it's actually quite easy to sew up once you have a few tricks up your sleeve.

the 90 minute shirt and pilot cap20100205_4

Now I want to make up many, many more (and next time I'll finish the chin straps - I was just too lazy to do so for this cap). I'd say it's a 60 minute cap, if not less. On your regular machine! No floppy seam allowances! No icky sewing-with-knits stretching frustrations! I'm so excited about this one. I'm off to write the pattern now ...

the 90 minute shirt and pilot cap20100205_1

Unless, of course, I get sidetracked by this baby and gobble up his fat cheeks instead.

the 90 minute shirt and pilot cap20100205

sew liberated, the book ... project giveaway!

Dapper Day Bag

Photo and bag by Karla

I get pretty giddy when I see a picture of something someone has made from my book. It's what I wrote it for, after all - so you could create your own designs from those ideas I had floating around in my head. Karla's Dapper Day Bag is particularly stunning. I can't tell if the main fabric is brown or plum in the photo, but man, I want it! I also love that the bag doesn't have an appliqued element - it highlights the piping so well. Which brings up something I wanted to mention: all of the project samples in the book sport some little bit of applique, but all of them (with the exception of the clock) can be made without the applique, with wonderful results. Here's another example of a project sans applique, a bohemian woman's Blossom Blouse made with a vintage duvet cover, via Harmony and Rosie:


Photo and blouse by Harmony and Rosie

A word about the child's Blossom Blouse. Since the blouse isn't modeled on a child in the book (it's on a hanger) and since it says that the blouse shown is a size Medium (4-5), I thought I'd show you a pic of that very same, size "Medium" shirt on a two year-old.


I think this is an oops. When making the shirt, keep in mind that the Medium was made to be a size 2-3, which would make the Large a 4-5 and the Extra Large a 6-6x. Better to err on the big side and have something that your little one can grown into than to have a shirt that's too short!

(And can I just say that I lOVE the above photo? It was taken in my last week of living in Mexico, as a June thunderstorm was approaching. The model was the little sister of one of my students, and we had so much fun running around the field for this shoot. Sweet memories.)

There is one little correction for the book: the notches were left off the bodice piece of the Teacup Corset Apron. You can print out the corrected piece on Interweave's site here, or you could just add them in by hand following the instructions here. (Any future errata will be posted to the Flickr group, too - although let's hope that's it!)

Now to business. Giveaway business! I have a stack of fabric and supplies on my studio table - everything you need to make your own Little Chef Hat and Apron set! The apron is sized to fit 2-5 year-olds and 6-8 year-olds. It's a design that I perfected on my students in Mexico - it's quite easy for the little ones to put it on and take it off all by themselves, as the Velcro straps overlap in the front.


The fabric that I have on hand is a Japanese print with German words that I saw one day (purchased) and haven't seen since! The accent fabric is a chocolate brown linen.

little chef apron book project giveaway

Also included is lightweight fusible interfacing, coordinating thread, and Velcro ... and a copy of the book, of course!

little chef apron book project giveaway

Leave a comment to enter - I'll draw a winner on Sunday evening, February 7th. Good luck!