This is post I did last month on Crafterhours for The Twill Tape Guy. 
knitted tote with twill tape handles by elsie marley

I am brand new to the world of knitting. This tote is my second knitting project ever! And to be honest, my first project was just a warm up to get to this one. Because you see, when I discovered the book Simple Knitting by Erika Knight I wanted to make almost every project in it, but I had to learn how to knit first!

simple knitting by erika knight

The book is full of lovely projects, all accessible to the beginner knitter, and presented beautifully. The instructions are clear and very well illustrated–a very rare thing indeed!

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small fry skinny jeans

March 5th, 2014

small fry skinny jeans on elsie marley

Today the Small Fry Skinny Jean pattern tour is stopping here at elsie marley. I didn’t make hot pink pants or harlequin pants or floral skinnies for the tour. I just made plain old gray pants. Well they might look like plain old gray pants, but to me they are a bit of a masterpiece.

small fry skinnies on elsie marley

I think I’ve made my fair share of pants at this point, but I learned so many new things making these pants! I sewed belt loops for the first time, I made a little coin pocket (you know that little tiny pocket on your jeans), and a full on half fly.

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stellar tunic

February 26th, 2014

stellar tunic on elsie marley

This is the Stellar Tunic from the new Heavenly Collection by Figgy’s. I have sewn a fair bit of Figgy’s patterns. Actually when I look back, I’ve sewn a ton of Figgy’s patterns:

Figgy's patterns on elsie marley

1. tee for two 2. ayashe blouse 3. sunki leggings 4. sunki dress 5. nintuna jacket 6. tee for two dress 7. banyan tee 8. robes 9. tee for two

Why have I sewn so many? Because Figgy’s patterns are fun to sew! The designs are very modern, but designed with real kids in mind. They are constructed in interesting ways, but not impossible to sew.  I usually learn a new technique when I sew with Figgy’s patterns. Most importantly they are comfy and my kids like wearing them.

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alt: part 1

February 19th, 2014

elsie marley at alt

It’s been  just about a month since the Alt Design Summit. I came back excited, inspired, and lucky to have met such an amazing group of bloggers. But I also came back feeling conflicted. Blogging is an odd thing: everyone seems to be doing it, a large percentage of people claim to be experts at it, but no one is sure where is going or what it means. 

On the plane home, I wrote up a list of what I heard the most at Alt.

be authentic, but focus on what your readers want

be authentic, but focus on making money

be authentic, but tell everyone you have the GREATEST BLOG EVER!

blog 3 times a week, but say no to being overwhelmed

focus on one social media outlet, but rule them all

sponsorship is not a dirty word, but sell yourself to make a lot of money

find your niche, but don’t get niched–you must appeal to wide variety of brands

do everything for free, until some point, then charge a lot for everything you do.

video is the future, but no one knows if video is really the future.

do all of this yourself, even though most profitable blogs have teams running them.


sewing bloggers unite

1. dana 2. jessica 3. me looking like it’s the first day of school 4. melissa 5. andrea 6. kate 7. delia

It’s confusing and conflicting but still all true. Oddly, it’s a lot like the advice new parents get. Maybe blogging is like parenting: you stay up all hours doing it, you can’t explain to people who don’t have blogs why you have one, and you’re not sure how it’ll turn out in the end.

creative mamas

clockwise 1. me, again on the first day of school 2. carla 3. celina 4. andrea 5. bonnie 6. marigold 7. helen 8. stacy (kneeling)

I did learn one really good thing at Alt:


Blogging is weird. You talk to so, so many people everyday, but every interaction is planned, controlled, and/or edited. Not at lot of creativity bursts forth from controlled situations. We need other people to challenge us and show us new things–this coming from a tried and true introvert. So reach out to similar bloggers.  Collaborate! Contribute! Talk–face to face even! Gossip! Bullshit! Just say something off the top of your head for once…



winter kcw: outfit #3

February 14th, 2014

cheetah hoodie on elsie marley

The last outfit for KCW was half total success and half total failure. Let’s start with the success, shall we? Cheetah Hoodie! My youngest has a long standing obsession with cheetahs. I have read what seems like  700 [very dry] books on cheetahs, watched some rather compelling documentaries, and even made a cheetah pillow for him, but cheetah clothes for boys are hard to find.

cheetah hoodie

Over a year ago now, he fell in love with some leopard print jeggings at h&m and wore them until they were threadbare. He got some funny looks, but he didn’t care–he was a cheetah! Since then I’ve been wanting to make him something cheetah, but not costume-y and not overly girly. I think this hoodie is right on the mark. I really don’t know why there aren’t more clothes like this in the boys section. Everything is navy or gray or red. And if there is some sort of graphic or print it’s so angry: the lions are baring their teeth, the super heroes are crushing bad guys, and there are just a lot of skulls in general. For girls it’s pink and purple princesses and for boys is primary color aggression. Sheesh people, can we ease up on the gender stereotypes. It’s just a shirt.

cheetah hoodie

I made this shirt with the flashback tee pattern, then added a hood and a kangaroo pocket. The neck binding isn’t as wonky as it looks in this photo. It’s actually not half bad. Seeing as necklines are my new nemesis (I conquered hems a while back) I’m calling this a victory. And before you say anything, yes I know this is actually leopard print. Cheetahs have spots and leopards have rosettes. But plain old polka dots don’t really read cheetah, whereas this print it more big cat. He loves it and that all that matters.

upcycled corduroy pants

These pants I don’t love. I used some thrifted pants and my beloved Happy Homemade vol.2 pants pattern, but the waistband is all kinds of wrong. I tried to salvage the original waistband like I did for his brother’s pants, but the fabric was way, way too thick. I’m going to have to cut off the waistband and try again.

Oh well. My goal for KCW was to make an outfit for each kid.  2 1/2 is not bad. 2 1/2 weeks late is not bad either :)