Writing and Paper – A Family Project

I’m so excited to share this notebook paper shirt I made for Lena. I saw this idea last summer, but she was still a year away from Pre-K, so I tucked it away until now. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the post I originally saw, but I’ve seen lots of other amazing people doing a similar thing this year – thanks for the great inspiration. This shirt is special in so many ways!

She’s excited for school and this shirt!

When RCF released their back to school prints, I immediately added a yard of this notebook paper cotton lycra jersey to my cart. I struggled with which solid to pair with it, and ultimately decided on the rust. I’m glad I chose that, I think it works really well!

Now the important part: this shirt was a family affair! It started with Lena. She wrote her name for us using a sharpie. She wrote it a few times and we chose our favorite. Then my parents took over. My mom also sews (check my first post for how amazing she is) and does embroidery. Dad does all the computer work for her embroidery designs and is equally amazing. He took Lena’s name and scanned it to digitize it into an embroidery file. Back it went to Mom, and she and Lena embroidered her name onto the fabric. It took a few tries…the first one we did was too small when I cut the shirt front out. Once the name was set, I cut out the pieces and assembled the shirt. Lena is so proud to have a shirt with her name on it that ‘I wrote myself!’ and I love that we could all help make it a reality.

Grandma and Lena work on the embroidery.

I’m just as excited about the pattern! I’d been eyeing the Brynn shirt by Sew a Little Seam for a long time. I finally bit the bullet and purchased it a few weeks ago, and I’ve already made two! It has alllll the sleeve options. I used the flared sleeve and the curved back hem for this one. The CL I used is perhaps not quite drapey enough, but it definitely works. I’m looking forward to trying this sleeve type in Lena’s favorite fabric: rib knit!

We both start school in just three days! Best of luck if you have children returning to school, and for my fellow teachers out there: we got this! As always, time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!

Two thumbs up means it’s great in this house!

Saguaros in the Northeast

I ordered this RCF cotton lycra while we were on vacation in Tucson early this summer, and just got this family of cactus shirts finished up last week! My mom has one she made or is going to make around somewhere…she’s on a big cross country trip right now; maybe she’ll comment with a photo if she brought it with her! While we are far from the desert, Lena agreed it’s ‘desert hot’ today, so we wore the shirts! There’s a lot of patterns involved for this family; here they are.

Saguaros are very slow growing cactuses: unlike these two!

First up: Lena’s shirt. I used Patterns for Pirates free Tiny Tulip shirt pattern. She chose the mustard yellow solid to go with hers. Here’s an imperfect moment in sewing for you…my projector zoom was set incorrectly! I didn’t realize it until after I had cut out the shirt. It was only a few percentage points too small, luckily, so I used a smaller seam allowance when I sewed the shirt just in case. Somehow it seems to have turned out well!

Eric has, you guessed it, another Sawyer Shirt from Annalaine patterns. Sometime I’ll use a different pattern for him…maybe! I did the colorblocking option with the hunter green solid, and was going to add a pocket in sage green. I didn’t because the placement didn’t really look right with the colorblock seam. Oh well, now I have a sage green pocket for a future ready for a future shirt!

Photography by Lena!

My shirt is a Patterns for Pirates Slim Fit Raglan. Like my s’mores shirt from earlier this summer, I made it a size bigger than my measurements. I also tried a flutter sleeve hack I’ve been seeing all over the last few weeks. I printed the sleeve part of the pattern, measured lines evenly across it, and cut it on the lines almost to the top. Then I spread it out to cut a bigger sleeve. Next time I do a shirt like that (I have some planned in rib knit!), I’ll take photos of the process and do a post on it.

While we were out in Arizona, I got to do an impromptu trail run with my brother. Since we didn’t plan it, I had to use my mom’s sneakers she just happened to have with her, and thankfully I had ‘sort of’ running clothes on already! It was one of the most amazing parts of the trip, since I got to see what he loves to do and does often. One of the things he said during our run was ‘people don’t realize how green the desert is.’ It’s definitely true. I chose the sage green solid for my shirt to celebrate the secret green of the desert.

Ben’s shirt is also a Saywer Shirt. It’s hard to see here, but the back (and neckband) are in rust. He’s working from home, but we snagged him for about two minutes to take this and the group photo!

Great Grandma’s shirt is a Love Notions Classic Tee. I used the crew neck and sage green. We called on the way to their house today and said ‘Great Grandma! We are wearing the cactus shirts!’ and she put hers on quick! By the way, I’d have to check my order to be sure, but I think we got three yards of this fabric when it was fabric of the week. Not bad for six shirts!

Trying to get Eric into the photo is not easy!
Eric says: ‘I’m not losing, I’m swatting mosquitos.’ Both say: ‘Mommy, we need to go inside now!!’

When we were taking photos this morning, the mosquitos were murderous. Those aren’t the kind of bugs usually found in the desert, I believe! I don’t know how we managed the photos earlier in the post, since this is mostly what we were dealing with!

I had to include a photo from our trip to close this post! This was the trail that my brother and I did our run on, and I’m so glad we were able to go back the next morning with the whole family. It might just be the best trail around Tucson, in our opinion! (It’s the Sweetwater Preserve Trailhead) We don’t have saguaros at home, but now we have shirts to help us remember our awesome time visiting Uncle Kevin and Aunt Sam! As always, time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!

Infinity Dress

I got the Patterns for Pirates Infinity dress pattern as soon as it came out, and luckily it didn’t take me too long to make it! I used some modal in emerald green from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. It was my first time using modal and it’s awesome! It drapes really nicely and is so comfy to wear. I’ve worn it twice so far (out for our anniversary and to a wedding) and I love it!

Well, three times I suppose…I wore it for our anniversary photo too. Each year, we take a photo holding the photo from the previous year. The first year we held our wedding photo. It’s year seven and it is already getting hard to see the wedding one! In the background of most of the photos is a tree that was part of our ceremony!

Wide sleeve look, crossed in the back

I’ve tied the dress two different ways so far. I’ve also worn the included tube top (a separate piece) both times. I didn’t realize before that we were near two different bodies of water for these events! I actually had it tied almost the same way for the wedding, then retied part way through the reception! No one noticed, or at least no one mentioned anything. I’m so sneaky 😉

The only thing in the pattern I’m not sure on is when or how to finish the edges of the straps. I couldn’t find it anywhere in the pattern, so I went with it and left mine unfinished. I think it works just fine, but I’m suspecting I’ve missed something…chalk it up to being imperfect! I’ll look again for my next one.

One shoulder, twist back

I’d love to see how you tie yours, I’m looking for some new ideas! As always, time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!

Some Makes During Sewcation

Last week, the kids went camping with two sets of grandparents! Ben and I joined them later in the week, but they loved the spoiling time and the kids had a blast. What was one to do with a few days without kids in the summer? Mow the lawn! (And sew, of course!)

I finished a few items I had already started, and made a few additional ones. It’s only been a few days since we’ve been home, but the kids have already worn several. Eric doesn’t have much choice yet, but everyone has enjoyed this froggy shirt!

I recently got some cuts of rib knit from RCF, and most of them were for Lena. It’s her favorite! I got this froggy fabric for Eric and wasn’t sure what to make out of it for him, but I love how this shirt came out. It’s another Sawyer shirt from Annalaine patterns. I hadn’t done the placket on this pattern before but it’s my favorite part of this shirt. I changed the neckband a bit from the pattern: I was supposed to take two pieces and sew them together, then onto the shirt. Instead I cut one piece twice as wide (tapering both ends for the placket) and folded them in half.

I’ve been making him a size two in this pattern right now. If anything, it’s a little long, but maybe he’ll be able to wear it next spring too!

How do we get Eric smiles? Add big sister!
I don’t usually take photos this way, but when the kids are gone…

I think Lena and I were both most excited about this one! She is starting Pre-K in the fall, how?! I snagged this fabric from RCF’s back to school line from last year on rib just before it retired. The pattern is Cartwheel Collection from Love Notions, the dress view. I swapped the sleeves in the pattern for the puff sleeves from Miss Mary Mack tunic, also Love Notions. Both the hem on the sleeves and bottom are a lettuce edge using the rolled hem on my serger.

I had this all laid out for her to find when we got home. She saw it, smiled, and took her clothes off to put it on! She also had to wear her fancy socks and she and Dolly headed right off to school. I’d say that’s a success! That and she’s wanted to wear it every time she sees it in the last three days. It’s already been washed once. I love it when that happens! Today, Great Grandma asked Lena if I was going to make her more dresses. She said ‘Yes. She makes me lots of stuff. She’s always into something!’

This was the first thing Lena chose from her closet the morning after we got back, so of course we had to put Eric in the matching shorts for the day. I had the blueberries on cotton lycra sitting around and hadn’t made them anything from them yet. Blueberry season is just starting here, and I hope we have time to go picking! Lena’s is a Little Lizard King Galena, shirt length, with the elastic casing option for the sleeves. Eric’s shorts are the Triple Play Shorts from Annalaine patterns. You can make them in knit or woven, although I’ve only done knit so far.

Last for now, today Lena wore (other than the school dress again for part of the morning!) this Sausalito from Little Lizard King. She’s ‘all ruffled up’, as she would say. The shirt has both the arm and bottom hem ruffle options, with a rolled hem on the bottom of each ruffle. It’s also RCF rib knit. We’ll end for now with the photo below, which is a snapshot of how life is usually going: silly and we love it! There’s more exciting things on the cutting table…until next time! Time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!

We love National Parks

These eight (8!!!) matching shirts were another goodie hiding in my suitcase. Well, four of them were in mine and four in my mom’s. Our trip also included a visit to Saguaro National Park, both East and West. We had planned to also visit the Grand Canyon, but the national forest near there where we were going to stay was closed due to wildfires. We’re going to be sure to save enough of this awesome national park fabric (from Raspberry Creek of course) to make bigger sizes of shirts for the kids for future trips! I made the four for us and Mom made hers, my dad’s, and my brother and his finace’s.

It’s hard to get a group photo for eight with a cell phone! We managed alright though. We grabbed these before Uncle Kevin and Aunt Sam had to head back for work. In the first photo, a kind visitor to the park took that one for us. We got lots of attention – everyone was wondering where we got our shirts!

Saguaro! I think the phone was balanced on a cactus…ok, maybe a rock!

Many of these were taken on the 8 mile loop drive in Saguaro East. Everything is so different here from what we have at home. It is awesome to experience!

Here’s the rundown of our four shirt patterns at matching colors:

Me: Somerset by Little Lizard King. Tank view, kelly green bands.

Ben: Rocky Mountain Raglan by Peek a Boo Patterns. Teal sleeves.

Lena: Miss Mary Mack by Love Notions. Straight bodice and flutter sleeves with seafoam top.

Eric: Sawyer Shirt by Annalaine Patterns. I added a chocolate brown pocket.

I shouldn’t have a favorite, I know, but I think Lena’s shirt is it! This fabric is awesome in that there’s almost every color in it, so anything matches. I love the seafoam with it. Also, I’ve made her lots of this pattern but hadn’t tried the flutter sleeves yet, and there will definitely be more! She wants ruffles on everything now.

Uncle Kevin and Aunt Sam both have Rocky Mountain Raglans and dark charcoal.

Papa and Grandma both have rust solid to match. Grandma’s is the Somerset like mine, and Papa has the very popular Rocky Mountain Raglan. He also has the panel on the front of his shirt.

Eric says, I’ve got your hat, Papa.
She loves to strike the pose. Matching with her sunglasses was unintentional!

We got in the loop drive, a very short hike, and checked out the visitors center before it got too hot to be out any longer. Well, I guess we were still out later, we just headed to the pool! We had a great time at this national park and are excited to explore more! Time is short and the internet is huge, thanks for stopping by!

The desert sun is so much brighter than home…at least it seems that way!

Cactus Suits for an Oasis

The perfect backdrop for cactus suits!

I promised goodies in my suitcase, and here are the first ones! I made a set of family cactus bathing suits for our trip to the desert…ironic?! But once again, RCF had the perfect fabric to match for any occasion! Our trip to the Sonoran Desert was excellent. VERY much hotter than we are used to, but luckily we had pool access the whole trip! For the first half, we were fortunate to use Aunt Sam’s aunt’s pool. My brother Uncle Kevin and his fiance Aunt Sam live in Tucson, and we were quick to jump in during our visit! You have to be, when it’s 105 out.

My suit is a combination of two patterns. The top is Patterns for Pirates Be Bold Bodysuit. I used the thin strap tank crop top option and included swim cups. The bottom is the Greenstyle Waimea Swim Bottoms. I used the high waisted option and of course included the pockets!

A small fold and much better!

Speaking of the pockets, I’m the Imperfect Sewist but haven’t talked much yet about how my sews are imperfect (they all are, for sure). These bottoms are a good example. When understitching the pockets, they stretched out. I HATE that…mostly because it seems like it should help hold the shape of things but always causes them to stretch out instead. When I first tried them on, the pockets looked terrible. So, do we get upset and give up? Do we redo the whole thing? No! I just tacked the side of the pocket in a bit to hold it closed better. Perfect it is not, but it worked great and saved a lot of time. The same thing happened when topstiching the swim top. I thought about tacking that in at the straps across the front but decided to leave it alone. Another thing…I added length to the bottom, but probably didn’t need to do that with this pattern. In the first photo, you can tell they’re a little long for me by the wrinkle down near the leg openings. Again, not perfect, but they’re comfy!

Ben got a Peek a Boo Patterns Rocky Mountain Raglan. He left it on to swim since the desert sun is super strong! I didn’t size down from his regular size, he likes the fit this way even though it’s a rash guard. I really love how we saw every cactus on this fabric on the trip! We even found one of them on there to stand next to for a lot of these photos. I think we saw the most saguaro and prickly pear. Our morning hikes into the desert were short since it got so hot so quickly…in fact, I don’t think it ever cooled down!

Lena’s suit is a Monaco from Little Lizard King, one piece with ruffles! We all had the orange solid to coordinate with our cactuses, but she loved these pink and black hearts when we were looking through the swim fabric options! She’ll take any chance for neon pink she can get! I also lined the suit with the pink, which peeks out more than it probably should, and the ruffle on the left doesn’t lay very flat. I mooshed it down for the photo. Imperfect, yes. Does she love it? Also yes, so it doesn’t matter!

Back view! We usually swam with many layers of sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses…we have cold climate complexions!

Last up is the suit for Eric, the little dude! His shirt is the Reagan Raglan by Bella Sunshine Designs, and the shorts are the Triple Play Shorts by Annalaine Patterns. I used the regular swim fabric for his shorts. This photo was taken mid snack during the second part of the trip. That Airbnb had it’s own pool. He hadn’t loved swimming so far this summer, but loved it on this trip. I think he appreciated being a little cooler. He said one of his first words on the trip actually: hot!

There will be more fun matching goodies from the trip coming up in some future posts. For now, time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!

Who We Are

At the Memorial Day Parade

Hello again! You know I’m Megan, but I wanted to introduce the rest of my family. Here we are at the Memorial Day Parade in the town I teach in. I’m a band teacher and teach in a small school – I do 4-12 band, jazz band, marching band, and three grades of general music. It’s definitely busy but a great school!

As far as sewing goes, I usually sew for about an hour after bedtime and sometimes on weekends during nap for the kids. In this photo, I made my pants (Patterns for Pirates [P4P] SOS pants in black ponte from RCF), and my daughter’s shirt: also P4P, the kids essential tank, racer back style. One of our awesome tech teachers did the graphics for our shirts, and the whole band wore them this year.

Speaking of my daughter, she’s Lena and she’s 4! A lover of bunnies, mermaids, and playing all day, every day! She’s also going to be a lawyer someday, judging by her negotiating skills…although if you ask her she says she’s going to be an artist, the painting kind.

My son, Eric, is 14 months. He recently started walking but rather wouldn’t, copies his sister all the time, and LOVES to eat! You’d better have the meal almost prepped before you let on it’s time to eat…but he usually finds out and screams to hurry you along anyway!

My husband is Ben! He’s an engineer and also super dad. Eric says Dada constantly but not really Mama yet :). He also does amazing woodworking, usually the same time I’m sewing. Together, we also like to run (the latest half marathon here) and we make wine in our basement.

There will be more about us in the future. For now, we’re currently at 30,000 feet, bound for Tucson! Just wait until you see what’s in our suitcase to share while we’re there! Time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!

Boats on the Boat

We went on our first boat ride of the season a few weeks ago! We love trips on Papa and Grandma’s boat, and this one was to the nature center and then to Rock Island Lighthouse for lunch, two favorite places on the St. Lawrence River. I made these outfits well before it was warm enough for boating, but they were great for the first ride!

My daughter’s dress is Patterns for Pirates’ X-Factor. The bottom is a half circle skirt, which is great for several reasons: no gathering and directional prints like this one can be face-up on both the front and back of the skirt! I did a rolled hem on the bottom. This pattern comes in adult sizes too and I’m excited to use it to make us matching dresses in the future.

My son’s is the Playdate Romper by Peek a Boo patterns. It’s the tank/shorts view and has snaps for easy diaper changes. I like how the shorts version has only a few snaps too. He’s got a few of these in other fabrics. (Fabrics used are again from Raspberry Creek Fabrics, both the boat print and royal blue solid, both cotton lycra) We were quite excited he left his shades on for the day. The strap holding them on may have helped; he couldn’t pull them off! We had fun exploring the lighthouse after a picnic lunch.


By the way, all photos on the boat without lifejackets were taken while tied up at a dock. It’s definitely important to be safe on the water! Also important are boat snacks – any other Moana fans out there? These kids are serious about their snacks! You know it’s a great day on the water when everyone falls asleep on Daddy (there wasn’t enough room for me).

A sign of a great day on the boat.

Time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!

A Camping Trip With The Perfect Fabric

The first trip of the year!

Welcome to the first official post from The Imperfect Sewist! I’m excited to start sharing my makes with you! If you want to see real life examples of real people with real, flawed, and beautiful sewing, you’re in the right place. Sewing does not have to be perfect to be beautiful and loved. In fact, nothing does! So, join us on our adventures. We’re glad you’re here!

We spent the past weekend on our first camping trip of the summer with friends, and it was a fantastic time! What better occasion than this for some family matching? I worked on this set of family shirts and had them ready to go along with our tent, chairs, s’mores sticks, toys, and allllll the other gear one needs to camp with small children!

Since I was taking photos most of the time and there’s not many of me, I’ll start with my shirt: I used Pattern for Pirates Slim Fit raglan, and sized up to a large (normally I’d make a medium) since I didn’t want a super slim fit. It was sort of a guess because it was my first time making this pattern. It’s super comfy and I love how it turned out.

Speaking of photos, a note on those: along with imperfect sewing, you’ll definitely be seeing some imperfect photos! Like the sewing, our photos are for real life and making memories. I don’t edit them, other than maybe some cropping, and sometimes we’re making funny faces. In fact, funny faces are welcomed with such cute models (but I’m biased)!

My son’s shirt is the Sawyer Shirt by Annalaine Patterns. I believe they are out of business now. I did the colorblock option and decided to topstitch that seam. My machine was already set to coverstitch. I don’t like to switch it over for just one seam, so I definitely plan projects in groups to maximize machine settings!

My daughter’s shirt is one of my favorite patterns! It’s the Flex Raglan Sweater by Misusu. I shortened the sleeves on this one, did the colorblock option, and hemmed the bottom instead of a band. I really love how I can mix colors of fabrics with this pattern. Anyone else put Reeses in s’mores instead of chocolate bars? If you haven’t tried it, you should! We always pack both when s’mores are on the menu!

Like my son, my husband has a Sawyer Shirt. His is the plain option. All the fabrics I used for these shirts are from Raspberry Creek Fabrics. I am a HUGE fan and you’ll be seeing lots of their fabrics here! Both the s’mores print and the brown and orange solids are cotton lycra.

It was a wonderful weekend! The kids had so much fun playing together and we’re excited for our future camping trips. Can anyone spot the other RCF fabrics we had with us on the trip?

Coming in the next post: who we are, why and what I sew, and more adventures! Time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!

Welcome to The Imperfect Sewist

Hello, and welcome! My name is Megan, and I am many things: maker, mother, teacher, wife, and for the purposes of this blog, an imperfect sewist.

Spoiler alert: I don’t know how to edit this darn website yet. I don’t really know what business I have starting a blog, as time is quite short as it is! But, I’m excited to share my sewing with you. My imperfect sewing. I hope that by seeing what I’m up to, in varying states of success, you’ll be more confident in your sewing too.

My mom is a master sewist. I don’t think she’d call herself that, but she really is excellent. I grew up on the floor of her sewing room playing with a tin full of old buttons. It’s pretty cool that that very sewing room is now my sewing room: my family now lives in the house I grew up in. I dabbled in sewing and all the crafty things as a child, then really began quilting in earnest during college. I honed my quilting skills for around 14 years, always assuming I didn’t have the spatial abilities to sew three dimensional items. Just about one year ago, my second child, my son, was born. My mom had already created many beautiful garments for my daughter, and we suddenly found ourselves staring down the rabbit hole of sibling sets. Ah, the excitement of sibling sets! Suddenly, I was searching up all the adorable possibilities and realizing that I’d better attempt an outfit or two. I couldn’t leave all the sewing we had planned to just my mom, after all, there wouldn’t be enough time in the day. The rest, as they say, is history.

Why ‘The Imperfect Sewist’?

  • Because I’ve never worried about my sewing. Much. I worry about everything else in life, and whatever happens with what I sew…well, if it’s bad enough, there’s always a seam ripper!
  • Because, especially when it comes to clothes, I’m not really sure what I’m doing! I’ve designed and created quilts from nothing, but clothes? I could barely read a pattern a year ago. If I can follow the steps without knowing what’s really going to happen, so can you. Just dive in!
  • Because, unfortunately, the world is apparently a rather negative place if you let it be. I’m not down with that in the slightest. You don’t have to be perfect to have a wonderful life. I intend for you to find a positive, inspiring, and collaborative corner of the internet here.

So, I hope you join me in the journey I’m about to embark on. I don’t really know where it’s going to lead. I can promise nothing but real life and all its imperfections – imperfect photography, imperfect situations, and of course…imperfect sewing.

Time is short and the internet is huge…thanks for stopping by!