Monthly Archives: April 2014

Denim Skirt

I have always loved denim skirts and for as long as I can remember I have had one kicking around somewhere in my closet.

For the past few years, I’ve been wearing a Hot To Trot denim skirt from Downeast. It’s pretty cute and it has served me well. But there are a couple of things I don’t like about it, the biggest thing being that the hem falls right in the middle of my knee cap. I don’t think that’s a very flattering length, at least not for me.

I’ve been wanting to try and make me a denim skirt for awhile, and I finally did it.


I drafted pattern pieces for the body of the skirt by tracing around my Downeast skirt (well…not quite that simple but almost), making sure to add some length so the skirt would end right below my knees instead of in the middle of them. Then, I used the yoke, waistband, belt loops, pockets, and fly pieces from my Angela Wolf jeans pattern. I think putting them together made a nice, comfortable skirt.

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My (Second) Running Top



I finished a second running top last night. I used the same pattern as I did for my last running shirt-Burda #127.

The neck opening was too big in the first top, so I altered that this time. I realized that the neck opening was so big because there was too much fabric in the chest area of the top for me (I am definitely not chesty). So Jon helped me make an invisible dart in the neckline of the pattern. Then, we added the amount that we took out of the top of the front back in at the bottom because the bottom didn’t need anything taken out of it.

I think the neck area fits much better now. I might end up making it even smaller for next time.


The first top I made was fine on short runs, but on my long runs the armpit seams started chafing me. I have a very close arm swing when I run and it causes me grief in the armpit area with a lot of my store bought running gear too.

So I dropped the armpit area down about 1 1/4″ for this second top. I think I could have only dropped it 3/4″ or 1″, but I wanted to be sure it wouldn’t chafe.

I ran a 10k race this morning in my new top, and it didn’t chafe a bit and I’m very happy about that.

I also lengthened the sleeves and added a band to the hem for this one.


The bottom band.

I am very pleased with this top. I am thinking I will be making a lot of my running gear in the future.

Happy Easter

I love Easter so much. It’s definitely my favorite holiday. When I had my boys all dressed for church this morning in their matching ties, I couldn’t get over how cute they were.



Lately, Ezra likes to squint his eyes for pictures.

I finished an Easter top for me. I used The Honey Blouse pattern by Make It Perfect. The top looks adorable on the pattern cover and I’ve been wanting to make it for awhile now.


My Honey Blouse

I made a muslin first, and on that practice shirt the collar went on so smoothly and laid flat and looked great so I charged ahead with my good fabric (and really, this good fabric cost $3.99 a yard so it wasn’t going to be too devastating if I ruined it).

I still can’t figure out what I did differently, but on my real shirt I could not get the collar to lay flat. I spent 3 hours total on just the collar (Even though that’s embarrassing to admit). I ripped it off over and over, trying different things each time.

I finally got it to where I could say it was passable, but it still pokes up. I emailed the designer and asked if she had any tips for me, but I never heard back which is disappointing.

That darn collar.

That darn collar.

If anyone has any pointers for me on how to get that collar to lay flat, I’d love to hear them. This is the first woven top I’ve made for myself like this and so I’m sure I just don’t know enough to make it look right.

The instructions said not to stretch the collar piece at all, so that sounded to me like I wasn’t supposed to ease it. It just said to gather the neckline to match the collar opening size. I did try easing it a few times, but I found that really hard to do with the gathers all around the neckline.

I’ll still wear it, though. I spent too many hours on it to not!


The tie is my favorite part.


And I like the sleeves too.

I also started a denim skirt to go with my top, but I didn’t get it finished in time to wear today. I’ll just have to wear it next Sunday!

Happy Easter!


The (Little) Boys’ Ties


I got Seth and Ezra and Owen’s ties done to match Jon’s tie.


For their ties, I used this free pattern and tutorial. I used the size 2-5T for Owen and Ezra, but Seth needed his tie to be bigger (he’s almost 9) so I slashed and spread the pattern to make it wider and longer. I added about 5 inches of length. I also made his neck piece longer than what is specified in the tutorial.

I added tie keepers to the ties like I show in my men’s tie tutorial. I made Seth’s tie last, and by then I thought of how cool it would be to embroider their names on their ties. Too bad it was too late to do the other boys’ names. Next time.

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Now, I’m just trying to finish my Easter outfit.

P.S. My latest fabric order came in the mail today. I can’t wait to make stuff out of all of this delicious fabric.

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Free Men’s Neck Tie Pattern And Tutorial

[Note: this post contains the instructions. The pattern pieces are available for download as a pdf file here.]

Like this pattern? Consider sending me a $1 tip through Venmo. My Venmo username is @bryannakj or scan the code below in the Venmo app to find me. No pressure, but thanks to anyone who does!

I love making Easter ties for my boys (including Jon). Last year, I picked out what I thought was some awesome striped fabric for their ties. The fabric had some purple stripes in it and I made me a top out of the same color of purple so that we matched.

Jon wasn’t a fan of the purple and so after Easter was over he never wore it again. So this year, I told Jon to pick out the tie fabric because I didn’t want to make another useless tie. I think he picked out some awesome fabric, even if it’s not all that Eastery.


I’m sharing my tie pattern and instructions, in case anyone else would like to make an Easter tie for a special guy (or Father’s Day will be here soon too).

Men’s Neck Tie Tutorial



Tie pattern pieces. Click here to download.

1 yard of main fabric. I suggest medium weight fabrics that have some polyester in them so they’ll resist wrinkling. The fabric for the above tie came from the home decor section at so you can look around and be creative in fabric choice.

1 yard of lining fabric. Again, I suggest non-wrinkling fabric, but I prefer lightweight fabric for the lining. I used a polyester blend broadcloth.

A small piece of double fold bias tape, twill tape, or ribbon for the tie keeper.

All seam allowances are 3/8″.


1. Print pattern (make sure fit to page is not clicked) and tape together, matching up the overlap lines (crosses).

2. Cut one front tie and one back tie from main fabric, and one of each from lining fabric. Make sure grain arrow is parallel with the selvage (you will be cutting the tie out on the bias).

Mark your notches.

3. With right sides together (rst) and matching notches, sew front tie to back tie for both the main fabric and lining fabric.


Pinned and ready to sew.

Neaten seam allowances. Press seams open. Press from the front of tie too so it looks nice and crisp.

Now your tie pieces should look like this:


A long, continuous tie in main and lining fabric.

4. With rst, sew lining and main fabric together at only the two ends of the tie (the v-shaped area at both ends).


The two ends of the tie, pinned and ready to sew.

Trim the seam allowances to about 1/8″ at the points. Don’t trim too close to the stitching though, so that your tie doesn’t fall apart over time. Flip tie so the right sides are out. Gently poke the points until they are nice and crisp. Press.


6. Fold tie in half lengthwise, with the lining side facing out.

Sew down the entire length of the tie. I like to backstitch a couple of times at the beginning and end to make sure it’s secure and won’t pull apart when flipping the tie.


Sew all the way down the length of the tie, where it is pinned in this picture.

Center the seam so it’s in the middle of the tie and press seam open.


7. Pin a safety pin to the short end of the tie. Pull the short end through to the other side so that the right side of the tie is facing out.


Safety pinned and ready to pull through.

Making sure seam is in the center of the tie, press tie. This part is very important to making the tie look professional. I iron from the front, then the back, then the front again.

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8. Make a tie keeper for the back of the tie by cutting a 3″ long strip from double fold bias tape, twill tape, or ribbon.

Press the short ends of the strip under.


Hand stitch the strip to the back of the tie, about 8 1/2″ up from the front tie bottom. Be careful not to stitch all the way through to the front of the tie.

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You are finished! If you have any questions or need help with the instructions, please ask.


Skinny Jeans

I altered my Angela Wolf jeans pattern a little bit to make skinny jeans.


Don’t mind my kids’ sidewalk chalk art.


I used fabric from I really like to buy denim there because it’s cheap and there’s a good selection.

On my last pair, the lining in one of my front pockets showed just a little bit. So for this pair, I made sure to baste the front pockets completely shut until the jeans were assembled. Then I ripped the basting out and the pockets laid just right.



Oh I love making jeans. I just wish it didn’t take me so long to finish a pair.