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I wanted to make something special for one of my loveliest friend’s birthday in July. She already has a massive collection of summer dresses, so I figured one more wouldn’t hurt. She’s way cool and like bike rides but also works in an office, so I designed something that would be perfect for work and the all night party that follows.

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Annie's birthday dress

This jersey has a wonderful weight to it, and the print is sophisticated without being boring. It’s got lots of different tones but isn’t garish at all. What’s more, the small print will hide a variety of stains, as Annie proved when we were out to lunch over the weekend. To me, the print looks like it was made with a small bristly paintbrush, and I’m calling it “a lady’s camouflage.”

The belt is sewn into the dress with elastic underneath to give it some structure, as well as to emphasize the green in the print, which is Annie’s favorite color. There’s also a pocket on the front that is hidden by the pattern that’s the perfect size for a set of keys and a iPod for a bike ride.

annie birthday dress

I made the dress in Los Angeles while imagining Annie’s figure, and I’m so glad that it fits her so well! Doesn’t she look like the quintessential Southern lady? No wonder her middle name is Scarlette!




I usually don’t make clothes for my niece, figuring that my mom supplies everything she needs. But I recently found myself with some scraps too small to make anything for myself and too cute to trash.

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Based on measurements I made Allia a sundress from my circus stripe fabric. It turned out to be a little tight and short, but it does look great on her, especially since she and I made some leggings together. Allia sewed the leg seams herself on my machine. She also picked out the elastic on the legs and waistband, and said the blue stripe fabric leftover from some tops makes her feel like Alice in Wonderland.

Allia pink glitter skirt Allia pink glitter skirt

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I’d also saved some pink satin with glitter from a superhero costume that was just enough to whip up a skirt. Again, Allia sewed the sides and did about half of the hem before asking me to take over. She also designed the pocket, based on a sewing bandoleer I’m working on for Burning Man. She drew the whole thing out and picked out shiny lycra scraps for each part.

scout headband scout

Allia also put her mad design skillz to work on her loyal friend Scout (she told me once that at nighttime it’s pronounced Scoot). Using a coiled S I had lying on my worktable and a short piece of elastic she made a lovely flapper headband. After Scout’s glamor shots Allia touched up some scratches on her eyes and nose with glossy black paint.

This was Allia’s first time on a machine and my first time sewing with a kid. It was fun to make her designs come to life, but there was an unexpected challenge in being supervised by an 8 year old. She wanted to keep me on task, and kept asking innocent but irksome questions like Are you sure that’s right? and I don’t think that’s the way to do it, as well as giving me pointers such as You should look at my drawing some more before you cut that fabric!

All in all, it was fun and great to see how excited the whole thing made Allia. I’m looking forward to making her a birthday wardrobe from some fuchsia sweater knit I’ve been eying at Fabric Planet!





When I was backpacking through Europe, I got used to owning only one pair of pants and wearing them till they fell apart. Initially I selected dark, sensible colors, but by the time I was about to leave France I got a little more daring and opted for bright fuchsia.  Now I’m up to three sets of trousers, but I still like the idea of everything I wear being as versatile as possible. I want to go on adventures and get messy along the way, but still look awesome when I get there.

Cue the new adventure pants!

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They were heavily modeled on my beloved fuchsia pants, only even better! I didn’t use a pattern, but I’ve made enough pants for myself that I can just cut fabric into the right shape without having to do any prep. The fabric, which I got in the Fashion District, is super stretchy, so I can climb things or lay on the couch comfortably. Even after wearing them for days on end, I don’t really need a belt, although my sheriff buffalo belt is too cool not to wear. The fabric was originally a dark grey but I put it through a couple dye baths to create a wonderfully deep purple that will hide dirt and wear well while still being colorful.

In the spirit of thriftiness, the front pockets are made out of a silky pair of Jason’s boxers that had a big tear. So yes, every time I put my hands in my pockets I am technically digging around in his undies.

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I always like to do something special on the back pockets of pants I make, and it’s never the same thing twice. I usually come up with a design based on my initials, but I also like the idea of telling a story. So these pants have a star shooting across the back. It’s a nice design with plenty of pleasant symbolism. I also did a lot of handstitching details on the pants–Xs along the back yoke and front pockets, a backstitch down the outside leg seams, and a slip stitch on the cuffs. I happened to have the embroidery thread in my stash but it wasn’t quite the color I had in mind. Luckily, after a washing the extra dye in the fabric toned down the brightness of the thread.

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