Posts filed in: Clothes

Summer Swell

comments: 91











Dude, did you see my garden potatoes? I AM PSYCHED.

Tonight, curried potato, corn, and shrimp chowder. And it's finally cooled off so we can make the choco cake. I'll write out the recipes when I get a sec.

You know how when your one sister goes out to lunch with your other sister for the afternoon and you should be doing some chores that you've been blowing off while you're home alone but instead you decide to make an Afghani nomad dress? So weird when that happens, I know.

Weekend at the Lake House

comments: 45
Weekend at the Lake House

A Shirt for Andy Paulson

comments: 141


PATTERN: McCall's M6044
FABRIC: Some sort of homespun plaid, from Fabric Depot

Thank you ever and oh so much for all the book love!!! That made me very happy! I received an advance copy of the book yesterday and it is always so magical to see it all actually printed and put together. I am very excited about it. It is so good to be at this point!

In honor of embroidery, I started and finished embroidering a teensy patch I had planned for this shirt I made for Andy for his birthday. You might have noticed him wearing the shirt on his birthday and last weekend. (It's so dark out again today that these photos are a little soft, I'm afraid.) I am so glad that he likes it, and it fits him perfectly. I made it a little large because I didn't take the time to pre-shrink the fabric before I cut and stitched it up (yikes!). So the original shirt was quite large. After washing and drying it shrank (sp?) quite a bit, and came out just the way he likes it (phew — though it would have been easy to take it in, as the underarm seam and the side seam are the same, and continuous).

Remember that one time when we counted up how many different plaid shirts Andy had? He is still wearing all the same shirts, and has maybe branched out a little (Wilco t-shirt, OCMS t-shirt, I think the Dinosaur Jr. t-shirt finally fell apart, Pickathon sweatshirt) but not much. To be honest, I wasn't sure I could actually make a shirt that he would like. I knew it would have to have snaps and not buttons, for one thing, and I had never actually seen snaps at the fabric store. Turns out, I'd just never looked — they are there (back by the other snaps, of course!) and they are AWESOME. Soooooooooo much easier than making all of those button holes and sewing on buttons. Fun, too, because you use a hammer. (Make sure you get the snap-setting "kit," though, and don't try to line them up yourself with a spool and all that — well, at least this is what the fabric-store lady told me and I believe — worked for me, at least.)


Anyway, shirts can be kind of fiddly, I've always thought. I've made Andy a few, but hadn't done one in a very long time (though I kept promising). I think my sewing has improved with all the baby-clothes sewing I've been doing. This came together so easily I kept being amazed — but honestly, I think it was just kind of a relief to work with pieces that weren't Lilliputian, for once. A lot easier! I was so happy with how it came out, and I think he really likes it, because he wears it on all his days off, so that makes me very happy. He's out golfing in it right now.

To make the tag, I resized a photo from our birthday-day in the Gorge and added some text in a font (called Cursive Standard) that actually looks a little bit like my handwriting (on a good day). I printed it out on my ink-jet printer on printer-ready fabric. The photo will definitely fade as it gets washed, but oh well. He knows what it is a picture of. I embroidered the words with one strand of embroidery floss and the teensiest tiniest stitches I have ever done. I will admit that this took almost as long as making the entire shirt from start to finish. But so worth it. 'Cause the tag is my favorite part.


Happy birthday, my love. xo 

English Dept. Bridal Fashion Show Sunday

comments: 59


My endlessly talented and very dear friend Elizabeth Dye designed and made these enchanting dresses and styled these gorgeous photos (all taken by Lisa Warninger; I'm not sure who the model is but gosh is she pretty, too).


Elizabeth owns The English Dept., one of Portland's loveliest dress shops. They are having their annual bridal fashion show Sunday. All these beautiful dresses in one place. I've known Elizabeth for ten years now and she has always been a huge inspiration to me.


I took a photo of her wearing this same dress (and holding something embroidered) in her shop for my new book. I still love it so much. Elizabeth, you are amazing.

Navy Skirty (WIP #1)

comments: 141


Navy skirty, pretty cute. It's baby-wale corduroy, very soft, with topstitching done by hand with six strands of tan embroidery floss. Cool folky buttons which you can't really see very well. This is Simplicity pattern 2758, view E. Ish. Longer. Skinnier waistband since I misread the instructions and only cut one instead of two of fabric, and by the end of Wednesday afternoon was too lazy to go back and unfold the extra fabric and recut it and do it the right way. So I just folded it over twice and made it skinnier. Fine. Next one I'll put the pockets on lower. A lot lower. Love the pleat, though. Taking photos of a navy-blue skirt is like taking photos of a black doggie: Light absorbers. (The other stuff in the photo is all thrifted. This is the wall of the dining room [which is as dark as a cave today].) Susan asked how I keep track of where I am in each WIP and I thought, "Oh, yeah! I should do that!" So I guess that is the answer: I just push things aside and then pick them up months later in confusion: "What is this? Oh . . . yeah . . . that [vague, dawning memory seeping in, no notes or indications where to pick up, general frustration with self and lazy habits, etc.]."

While I was making this: Ding-dong! The UPS man dropped off this skirt from Boden, almost exactly the same shape. With cable tights and boots: a winter uniform. Now for somewhere to go! Not today though: I am tiiiiired. Long week. Feel like ordering curry, getting under a pile of pets, and watching a movie tonight. What are your favorite movies that take place in contemporary London? Like really take place in London, where you can see London and the city feels integral to the movie? Kind of like Love, Actually or About a Boy. I love both of those. I have been meaning to ask this for a while! Thank you!

Works in Progress

comments: 70

(Crochet hook case made by my dear friend Megan, though she is no longer making them.)

1. Midnight blue corduroy skirt with pockets and running stitches FINISHED

2. Olive-green weird corduroy skirt with pockets and running stitches

3. Rust colored corduroy skirt with you guessed it

4. Pink and purple striped socks

5. Peach, brown, and cream Fair Isle socks

6. Blue, brown, and cream Fair Isle socks (no relation)

7. Blue Fair Isle sweater  FINISHED

8. Pink Fair Isle sweater FINISHED

9. Crocheted smocked baby dress

10. Stripey wristwarmers (smaller) FINISHED

11. Three Autumnhouse pillows (like Summerhouse Pillows but for winter) SCRAPPED

12. Christmas present for someone related to me that reads this blog FINISHED

13. Christmas present for someone else related to me that reads this blog FINISHED

14. Christmas present for someone else related to me that doesn't read this blog but who is getting the same thing as the other two so I still can't say FINISHED

15. Other family Christmas presents I haven't decided on yet SCRAPPED

16. Andy's Christmas present

17. Book

Too much. Something's gotta give. These are not all for Christmas — it's just a list of everything that I have started. But still.

The other night Andy came upstairs and said, "Violet's in your yarn bowl.

Me [pausing]: "My what?"

He [enunciating]: "Your yarn bowl. Go down and see."

So I went down there.


Oh. Violet's in my yarn bowl.

London Afternoon

comments: 56
London Afternoon

That Amy Karol (who has a book signing at Bolt on Thursday for her cool new book, by the way). The girl knows about all the cool stuff! Like Polyvore, which is sort of like that old game Fashion Plates? But way cooler. Drag and drop stuff you like onto your palette and create a "look." How adorable is hers??? I started making one immediately(that's mine above). She mentioned that one might be slightly inclined to spend hours doing this. She wasn't wrong. Around 11 a.m., Andy came in the room and said, "Will you look up what time the movie is supposed to start? Let's go to a show around one o'clock." Me: "I would, but I'm trying to pick out my tights." Him: "Uh . . . okay." By noon I still hadn't looked up the movie. He went into my studio and got on the iMac. "It's at two thirty-five!" he shouted from the other room. "PHEW!" shouted I. "'Cause I haven't even gotten to my gloves, bag, and underpants yet!!!" Eventually I was happy with my outfit. I showed Andy the page (i.e.: what I'd been doing on the computer for the past two hours). Andy told me to send him the link (since all of these items are available to buy and he never knows what to get me for Christmas). He opened the link and saw that the coat cost $919 and made a noise I don't think I can describe phoenetically. It was sort of like "Pa-HAH !" Tone: Incredulous. Andy's approach to clothes is sort of like my dad's approach to shampoo: My dad had beautiful hair, washed it with a bar of ivory soap every other day, and was bewildered as to why everyone else did not act thus. Andy Paulson buys almost all of his clothes at Goodwill, spends about $100 annually, and looks like a million bucks. SOME PEOPLE ARE SO LUCKY.

Anyway, my outfit is called London Afternoon: Camden Market, chicken curry, British Museum. And like four hundred other things I would do if I got to spend another afternoon in London. You gotta try it. It's totally fun.

Serenity Now

comments: 30


Spending the day listening to Hope Sandoval (isn't she pretty?) radio on Pandora and trying to get my life organized. I think (har har) it will take longer than a day, but at least it's a start. I have been hearing Mazzy Star everywhere lately, and I hadn't listened to them in years — so weird.

In other news, I reeeeeeally looooooooove this dress:


Yummy. And good for wearing at my imaginary Alpine mountain house.

I think the email is working now, but if you received any error messages from me this week, do resend your message, if you can. I'm hoping for a lot less discombobulation next week (fingers crossed), ya kno?

Calico Blossom Fever

comments: 82


Many hexes! Yes, we're still here on the hexes. It's true that once you start you'd better settle in, 'cause you can't stop. Well, scratch that — you'll stop once you get a tender makings of a callous on your finger (if you're one of those people, like me, who can't use a thimble but prefer to sew through the papers, and not just baste the seam allowances at each corner) and that's probably a good sign, anyway, that you should get up and go outside. I was getting over my cold and didn't feel like doing anything, so it was good medicine.


Also, I was just liking these colors together: milky blues, apricots, Bellini peaches, lilac-y pinks. The weensy pincushion was a gift from my friend Aimee who is the stylist at Cargo — you might still be able to get one there, I don't know.


I'm still not sure what I will do with all of them, ultimately. I did put a few on the wrap skirt I whipped up (same as these). I've been kind of a hand-binding machine lately. In the past few weeks, I've finished binding two quilts (one was little, granted) and a wrap skirt by hand. Then I hand-appliqued three of the blossoms to the skirt. Wore it to the bagel shop and had a chicken-salad sandwich. Yes, that's as exciting as my life has been lately.



Dispatch from Sew Expo

comments: 62

It was cool. It had been about five years, I think, since I'd been to it, but the Sewing and Stitchey Expo my mom and I went to yesterday was a really fun place to find out about some new stuff, and pick up some things I haven't seen anywhere else. You know how I was kind of bummed to be finishing my book soon? WHAT WAS MY PROBLEM. Seriously. I picked up stuff to start about four more projects, some of which I have never done before, and now I am so ready to be done so that I can start on them. (BTW, these photos and illustrations are all from the artist's web sites, not mine.)

SheperdessPillow My favorite, and something I've been wanting to learn forever, is this little Sheperdess rug punch pillow pattern  from Reets' Rags to Stitches. My mom bought this pattern for me and a beautiful Oxford punch needle, and the burlap. Such a nice mommy. I have wanted to make a rug for so long, but I didn't know anyone who did it to show me how. I bought supplies and a book from the fabric store one time but I got overwhelmed by the idea of cutting all those strips of fabric, and because I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't realize that you could use worsted weight wool, which I have bucketfuls of, more than I know what to do with. And you know what I don't have? RUGS. I desperately need rugs in my house. And chair cushions. Perfect. I need four chair cushions for my dining room. My new thing was going to be making a braided rug out of my fabric stash, but I wasn't looking forward to cutting and folding and stitching all those strips, etc. Though I do want to do that someday. But this rug punch is SO EASY. The lady showed me how to do it. And it's so fast. And you can use up your yarn stash = good. I can't wait. Can't wait can't wait. The only thing is, to make a rug, I think you have to have a big frame to hold it while you're working? Not sure if you can use a big but hand-held hoop and move it around. Anyone know?


Okay, next. Folkwear. Do you know about Folkwear? I don't even know where to start talking about Folkwear. The coolest pattern company ever. They've carried these patterns at Fabric Depot for a long time and I have looked at them a million times but never bought one (just got the Roumanian Blouse), mostly because I can never decide which one to get because they are all so beautiful. Yesterday at the show there was an entire wall of them, offered by Birch Street Clothing.


I have never seen the actual pattern packages and illustrations (by artist and jewelry designer Gretchen Schields, which are utterly amazing — I could just look at the illustrations for everything all day, actually) so big and up close like that. They're gorgeous. And the clothes are so unique and fantastic. I'm thinking either the Roumanian Blouse, the Afghan Nomad Dress, the Russian Settlers' Dress, or, naturally, the English Smock.


See, I can't decide. But something. I will order something because I love them and had kind of forgotten about them. And they have a TON of different styles, you just have to look.


What else. Okay, another pattern. The Birdie Big Blocks quilt pattern by Barbara Brandeburg. A 56" square easy applique quilt. They had a turquoise, brown, and melon-orange one made up and it was absolutely adorable. I am going to make this out of my stash, as well. This looks like a perfect stash quilt. I've never made a little quilt like this, or done anything fancier than tie a quilt. This had cool stitching all over it. I think it would be cute to just do simple running stitches by hand around the circles, too. But anyway, sweet. Mom got this one, too.


Next: pincushion. I love pincushions. I need one in every room of the house, hopefully to assuage my tendencies to leave needles in pillows in the bed. One of my special talents. But cute pincushions really do call to me. I thought this one, the English Garden Pin Cushion by Bird Brain Designs, was really cute. I got the kit for this. You can do the flowers however you want. They had beautiful dyed wools, too. The lady was making the most incredible needle-felted animals. I am a little bit afraid of that needle. But I think this pin cushion has just enough needle-felted (the centers of the flowers, and you can make stems and stuff, too) parts for me. This I'll do right away, and keep it on my nightstand.

Look at these incredible miniature cross-stitch historical gardens by Liz Turner Diehl. I got the Ruby Jeweled Garden pattern. I couldn't resist. So cool. I'm thinking of doing my own, of whatever garden we put together this year in our planned raised beds. Aren't those neat? You have to click on the links because the photos are really small.

Anyway, I think that's it. I am really excited about the rug punch. I just had to say that again. I gotta go so I can finish my book and start this, stat. Bye.

About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.