Today I’m sharing the sweet story behind my vintage patchwork quilt over at Mama Says Sew for the Just Sew Series. It’s one of my very favorite projects to date (I feel like I say that a lot…) and I loved talking a little more about it. Head over to read about where these rad vintage fabrics came from, and to see all the other awesome projects that have been completed for Just Sew.
I’m so excited to be participating today in this year’s Vintage May hosted by Kristin from Skirt as Top and Jess from Craftiness is not Optional . I watched the series last year, loving the vintage-inspired creations made by some talented women. The projects this year are equally inspiring, and most come with patterns and instructions, too! So, read on for my vintage-inspired project, and check out the whole series.
I’ve been lucky to sew a lot with vintage in the last few months, including using some amazing vintage fabric from Dave’s grandmother for this velvet skirt, and more for a quilt that I’ll share later this month. When I thought about this opportunity to create a vintage-inspired project, I thought immediately of a little gingham apron that was a gift from my Grandpa Joe. I thought it had been made by my Grandmother Helen, his wife, but when I wore it in this post about my first apple pie, my aunt commented to tell me that the apron was actually made by my Great-Grandmother Alice, Grandpa Joe’s mother who was born in 1893 and passed away in 1975. Pretty amazing.
This photo shows Alice on the right, with her two daughters Margaret and Gladys. actually know very little about her. However, I remember my dad telling stories about how Grandma Alice had suffered a stroke early in life, and spent many years without the use of one arm. According to him, the ailment didn’t get her down, and she continued cooking, and apparently sewing away, in spite of the disability.
This is the apron Alice made. Isn’t it incredible? The entire thing was made by hand…as in without the use of a machine! Teeny-tiny, perfect hand stitches create the hems, and add the pocket onto the front. My aunt told me that Alice made the same type of apron for each of the girls in the family one year. What a huge amount of work! I have always been blown away by the detailed embroidery, but it wasn’t until I began replicating the pattern for my own apron that I came to appreciate the time involved.
I intended to re-create the entire apron–four times! I thought they’d make perfect, meaningful gifts for each of my three sisters and mom. Then I got pregnant, and got real, and thought I’d start with just one apron, and work my way up to the others…
Then I actually began embroidering the pattern and after two hours I had completed exactly four inches of embroidery. So, I cut myself some pregnancy slack and decided to use my embroidery on the pocket. When I feel a little better (less nauseous/tired) in a month or two, I will continue embroidering along the waistband and hemline, but for now, I’m happy with the really beautiful pocket.
The actual stitch on the pattern is simple. It’s a traditional Chicken Scratch stitch, made by making a cross-stitch, then an upright cross-stitch in the same square. The pattern above shows the pocket embroidery. To create a chain of this pattern, only make two upright solid brown rows before beginning the flower pattern again.
I really love this style of simple, short, half-apron. It’s flattering and feminine.
I created a one-page pattern and instructions for my Great-Grandma Alice’s apron, which I’m lovingly naming the Alice Apron. The printable PDF includes sewing instructions for the apron, as well as a pattern piece for the cool angular pocket, and the embroidery pattern. CLICK HERE to download the one-page free pattern.
It was so fun to learn a little bit about my personal family history while working on this project, and I can’t help but feel a real closeness with sweet Alice. I admire the gift of time and talent that she shared with her daughters and grand-daughters making them these amazing aprons that I am so lucky to own. I also feel so blessed to share the love of sewing with this amazing woman who taught my grandfather to be a great dad to my own father, who is wonderful. What a fun opportunity to combine family and sewing, two of my favorite things!
Also today, check out Jen’s fun vintage project at iCandy Handmade.
Costa Rica was a fantastic family vacation, and in the next week or two I’ll get around to sharing some fun photos from the trip. Today I have even more exciting news. We’re having another baby!
Yesterday afternoon I was able to meet little Anderson #3 on screen at an ultrasound, and his/her little heart was fluttering away, a comforting sight for early in pregnancy. Last night we sent out this little stop-motion video announcement to family and friends, sharing the happy news.
I’m just over 8 weeks along, and feeling pretty great. Nausea all day, but so far not too much vomit (not like my 3x/day with Eliot). I bought a couple pairs of maternity pants today, because buttons are already uncomfortable! Luckily, by the third time around, I’m totally ready to embrace the bump, as early as it wants to appear. I’ll start documenting with a Maternity Countdown Tee next week.
It goes without saying that this baby, and my family are my number one priority. My ever-long to-do list has gone out the window and I am making sure to take it easy, rest when I’m tired, eat when I’m hungry, and take a warm bubble bath every night (occasionally with a bowl of chocolate ice cream in hand.)
In some ways, this blog has been like a child to me…I began writing here even before Milo was a twinkle in my eye. With each new step in life, I’ve adjusted my dedication to blogging, and really found so much fulfillment and enjoyment in sharing here. Above all, I value the relationships that I’ve made with readers and other bloggers within this online community.
Preparing for this third baby, however, has invited me to re-evaluate the rest of my life, and for now, I am going to choose baby over blog. There doesn’t seem to be space for it all right now! Some folks, indeed lots and lots of you, can make it all work. I feel like it’s time for me to take a step away from blogging and allow the time I would have spent preparing posts and interacting online to become a free space for new experiences.
I do have some fun things already prepared to share over the next couple months, and I won’t be a complete stranger here. But, I will be taking a no-pressure, stress-free approach to both blogging and living my day to day. If you want to keep up with my infrequent posts without clicking here directly, feel free to add One Little Minute to your feedly or bloglovin readers.
Also, I’m so excited to be teaching at Sewing Summit 2013 in Salt Lake City, with this whole line up of amazing teachers! I had such a blast last year, and can’t wait to join the fun again. Tickets available here.
And, I’m pretty addicted to Instagram, and have begun to use my feed as a quick, low impact method of sharing pieces of my life and projects. So, feel free to follow along there, too if you miss me;) @livefreemiranda
Things have been quiet around here, but life behind the screen has been full of excitement lately. I’ve been preparing for our upcoming family trip to Costa Rica. It’s a BIG family trip, involving my parents, four of my five siblings (one can’t make it, shoot!!), their spouses and significant others, and all the children. We’ve got a great trip planned, with lots of kid-friendly activities, as well as a few little getaways for the adults only (cue sunset catamaran sailing trip.) Dave’s little sister happens to also be my older sister’s part-time nanny, and we’re so excited to have her be coming along to enjoy the vacation, and help make some adult time possible.
I absolutely love Costa Rica, have spent a lot of time there, and am thrilled with the chance to return. I’m about to take a little walk down memory lane. Just fair warning.
After my first year of college, I was uncertain about my career path, but I did know for sure that I wanted to learn to speak Spanish fluently. So, rather than return to school the second year, I took a semester off and headed to live in the small town of Nicoya, Costa Rica to attend a private Spanish Immersion program (something like this, though I’m not sure this is the exact same program I attended). It was a unique experience, living with a Costa Rican family, walking down the dusty back road to class, and spending the weekday afternoons exploring the town and eating a lot of ice cream.
I remember very clearly the morning that my “mamita” knocked on the door to my room, telling me that breakfast was ready, and for the first time I actually understood every word she said. It was about eight weeks into the intensive program, and the most thrilling moment! I had been studying and practicing a lot, but after that breakthrough, it was like a wall had been taken down and I was able to absorb the language like a sponge. I began speaking as well as understanding, and by the time I left I was confident in my ability to hold a full conversation with a native speaker.
My little brother Taylor and his two friends had come on the self-guided study abroad, too. They each lived in a different home stay from me, but we spent every weekend together. We rode the bus all over the country, checking out beaches, waterfalls, jungles, and karaoke bars along the way. Taylor bought a surfboard for $50 from a local, and we all tried our legs (unsuccessfully for the most part) at surfing the famous Costa Rican waves.
Every weekend brought a new adventure. One night, after being caught in the most insane downpour on the beach, with no planned housing for the night, we met an American who said we could use his mother’s beach house. It had been unused for a year or two, and so it wouldn’t be an imposition. Well, when we finally found the circuit board to flip the electricity on, we discovered the whole place was infested with huge jungle spiders! There was an audible skittering when the lights flipped on, and the walls and floor were literally crawling with long, spindly legs. After a (very) short debate about the ethics of refusing the kindness (that involved my brother bringing up the real possibility of not living through the night), we left a note and high-tailed on the dark roads to the nearest hotel, where we indulged in a late night dip in the pool and a huge, anxiety-calming pizza.
Another weekend we (I, rather) met some cool, local guys on the dance floor in a funky little beach town, and they agreed to take us to a secret waterfall the next day. In the morning, we hiked with them to the nearby waterfall that was crawling with tourists. Then followed as they cut off through the jungle and began climbing up the adjacent hill. A half-hour later, we were standing in front of the waterfall that fell above the well-known falls, and spent the afternoon by ourselves swimming in the pool and swinging from the twenty-foot rope swing that was tied to a tree overhanging the falls. This experience summed up the magic of the semester, and we all still remember it fondly as one of the best days we’ve spent.
The year after my semester in Costa Rica, I was itching to return. So, I found two willing friends and planned a ten day backpacking trip. We traveled by bus, and spent most of our time hiking in nature reserves. The most intense adventure of the trip, by miles, was backpacking in to the Sirena Research Station in Corcovado National Park. We hitched a ride in the back of a truck to the trailhead, then paid our entrance fee and got advice from the ranger that added up to something like “When you lose the trail, look for the plastic bottles tied to the trees. You have to cross two rivers before the station. After the second river, you have about a kilometer left. Good luck.” And we headed off.
No doubt the scenery and wildlife was incredible. In the first hour of the hike we spotted a bright yellow Eyelash Viper sunning on a rock right next to the trail, a group of Howler Monkeys hopping in the branches, and several colorful Scarlet Macaws dotted throughout the trees. It was incredible, but the day was hot, and as the hike continued on we ran lower and lower on energy…and water. We crossed the first river at low tide, and wound in and out of the jungle and beach, following the plastic bottles tied to trees as trail markers. There weren’t any other hikers on the path, and after several hours we were out of water, rationing trail-mix, and getting desperate for our destination.
I remember trudging along the beach, not having the energy left to carry on a conversation. When I looked up to check for the next trail marker, I didn’t spot a plastic bottle, but a huge American Crocodile lumbering down the sand about twenty yards in front of us. I stopped abruptly, causing my friends to stop and look at me, confused. I motioned ahead to the wild animal, and we all stared, wide-eyed, as it slipped into the waves.
We consulted, feeling fresh energy from the adrenaline of the encounter. Recalling our elementary educations, we agreed that crocodiles were fresh-water creatures, so the water he entered must be decidedly less salty, probably because of the nearness of the second river that we were to cross. This information both eased and added to our burdens, because although crossing the second river meant only one kilometer to food, water, and a place to rest for the night, it also meant crossing a crocodile infested river!! With no water left, and hours of wild jungle between us and the ranger station, we really had no choice but to continue on.
About a hundred yards ahead, we ran into the second river. The plastic trail parkers led us up off the beach for a few minutes, to a spot in the river where crossing would be easier. The water was a murky brownish green, with no visiblity, and we had no idea how deep it might get in the fifty yards we needed to cross. When we again freaked ourselves out by remembering the crocodile, we agreed that we were in as much danger dehydrating as we were chancing a crocodile attack. I rolled up my skirt (yeah, I was hiking in a skirt…) and stepped into the river. The water came to my knees for the first few steps, then deepened until I was mid-thigh, and finally, in the center of the river I had to raise my pack above my head because the water was approaching my waist. At that point I started rising out again, and made it to the other side without incident (and with one well-timed, candid snapshot from my friend behind me to record the unbelievable experience.)
The research station was indeed just another half-hour past the river, and we welcomed the warm, purified water, tuna salad with crackers, cold showers, and warm sleeping bags. When we hiked out the next afternoon, re-crossing the river didn’t cause the same level of anxiety. And when we were surrounded by a pack of growling coatis, we had the peace of mind to walk slowly and keep our cool, because after all, we had crossed a crocodile infested river. We all emerged at the ranger station tired, blistered, and ready for a cold orange soda. The experience had been beyond our expectations, and still tops my list as the most crazy adventure I’ve ever had.
Now, fast forward ten years, a husband, and two small children. I’m looking forward to making new Costa Rican memories that involve more sand castles (photo via) and less threat to life. I hope to be able to see the trip through my children’s eyes and create some unforgettable adventures for them. I’m sure we’ll dig for pirate’s treasure (which reminds me I need to buy some chocolate coins before we leave…), spot monkeys on a (guided) walk through the jungle, and spend lots of much-anticipated time playing with cousins. In addition to fun with my kiddos, I’m so looking forward to spending ten whole days with my husband. Turns out working at a busy law firm is pretty time-consuming, and I can’t wait to just hang out together.
Also, I can’t wait to unplug. Ten days in my real life with my real family will be a good grounder. As much as I love the internet/social media/texting/blogging/instagram, it begins to control me if I don’t take good care to keep it in control myself. When I leave the states, I’ll be signing off of virtual reality until I return. Have a wonderful, wonderful couple weeks!
A few weeks ago I was getting packed for a quick trip to Texas, and I was struck with the immediate need for a pair of tuxedo stripe leggings. I think I was pulling subliminal inspiration from these pants and this post, and I had to have some for comfy, cool plane travel. Funny the life of a seamstress, right? “I must have xyz, so I’ll make xyz.” Pretty cool.
Aaaanyway. Since I have a fantastic basic leggings pattern, made to my own measurements using this tutorial that I made for Stretch Yourself, whipping these babies up was as simple as modifying the pattern with a couple slashes. Let me walk you though it, in case you want to make your own!
You’ll need two colors of stretchy knit, preferably a four-way stretch with some lycra or spandex in the blend (more about knits here.) About 1 yard of your main fabric and 1/4 yard of your stripe. Also, you’ll need a length of elastic that will fit around your waist.
For all basic drafting and construction of the leggings, I’m going to send you right on over to this post about drafting and sewing leggings. Today, I’m just going to show you the pattern variation to make the tuxedo stripe.
The basic pattern block for the leggings creates a single pattern piece to cut twice, one for each leg. The center line of the legging of the pattern is the outseam of the leggings, so to create a stripe along that outseam, you need to measure equal distance from the center line on the pattern and create lines along the length of the pattern, dividing it into three parts. When you slash the pattern along these lines before adding seam allowance, you create the tuxedo stripe legging pattern. The center piece becomes the stripe, and you can make it as narrow or wide as you like. Mine is about 1.5″ wide (so I drew my lines and slashed my pattern 0.75″ on either side of the center line.)
Once you’ve slashed your pattern block, you need to add seam allowance, as well as hem and waistband allowance to each piece. Then you’re ready to cut the pieces from your knit fabric and sew them together! Make sure you pay attention to the grain of your knit when cutting. I was a little reckless (as I tend to be) and cut both of my leg pieces together, without lining up the grain properly. You may notice in the photo below that my left legging leg twists slightly to the front. This is totally because of the off-center grain pulling the center. I don’t mind it all that much, but if I were more of a perfectionist, I might. And, I’ll be sure to pay more attention when cutting the next time I make these.
The only variation in the construction of the Tuxedo Striped Leggings and the basic version is that you must stitch the stripe back into the center of each leg piece before following the instructions in this post for basic legging construction.
I’m kind of totally in love with these pants and wear them far more often than I probably should. They’re comfy, but still have an edge of style because of the tuxedo stripe detail. Now, go forth and sew your own!