June 2, 2015


HELLO!!!! It's been so, so long since I've written a post - but I had a good reason... vacation!! Do you ever get so wrapped up with the idea of sewing clothing that you "need" to make, but then realize that you have enough? I had to come to that realization before our trip... I had plenty to wear on a 7 day vacation, and much of it brand spanking new (and off of my Spring Wardrobe Plan - which I'm still slogging through...).

For some background, we went to St. John, USVI a little over 2 years ago for the first time - and it was absolutely amazing. St. John is pretty small, but it has many beaches, and they pretty much all have great snorkeling. There's also a good combination of rocky beaches, white sand beaches, tiny beaches where the ocean is booming with fish, and beaches with swim up bars (okay, only one of those). We decided to make a 2nd trip to St. John this year, and it was just as beautiful as we remembered. Funnily enough, we actually ended up with mostly photos of new Handmade Threads as reminders of our trip! So let's get to it...


Pattern: Megan Nielsen Cascade
Size: Large
Alterations: Went with the tie front option, leveled the hem
Fabric: Ikat Rayon Poplin from Fabric.com
Blogged previously here
This is absolutely one of my favorite skirts! I love this pattern, and particularly this fabric (it's rayon but thicker than rayon challis). It's perfect for the beach or something much fancier (a different day, I actually changed into this in a parking lot post-sunset swim for dinner - yay for wrap skirts!).
Not terribly much more to say about it than what I said before, just that this skirt is literally a 3 hour (or less) affair - so simple to make, and I think the wow-factor is really there. For my other two versions of this skirt, I added an elastic stay of sorts underneath, but for some reason this front tie version doesn't blow open quite as much. I guess I'll put this to the test with more wear. :D
As for the beach, we took these photos at Hawksnest Bay, on the north side of the island. It's very popular during the day, and we even tried to swim here one day, but it was too crowded. Luckily at sunset, hardly anyone was there! Jeremy and I discovered the joys of the sunset swim a little too late into our trip, and only did it 2 nights.

Pattern: Sewaholic Saltspring
Size: 12 (bust) / 8 (waist/hip)
Alterations: Made braided straps inspired by Caroline, cut only the lining pieces (for both lining and shell), eliminated zipper
Fabric: Striped knit from Michael Levine Loft
Blogged previously here
In my Spring Wardrobe Plan, I wanted to use this fabric for a Eucalypt variation, but after re-discovering this pattern and the release of Southport and my Monettie hack, most of my knit plans got thrown out the window. I picked this fabric up at Michael Levine Loft on a day where I had so much luck! I love the stripes, and they had a few more colorways and I wish I'd bought them all. 
I decided to modify the straps to make a braided version, and essentially just cut about 1" wide strips, and braided them together. I sewed the straps into the back first, and pinned them into place on the front before sewing. I made essentially one size smaller than what I should be using for woven fabrics (read more about my previous saga here). It worked perfectly! This is definitely one of my new favorite dresses, and it worked well as a beach cover up - but I can't wait to wear it more around town this summer. 
We took these photos at a new-to-us beach - Little Lameshur Bay. It's a white sand beach, a mile down a very rocky dirt road. There's a reason you have to rent a 4WD Jeep in St. John! We also explored some of the ruins nearby - St. John historically had sugar farming/processing, and the ruins here are from the Lameshur Bay Plantation. 

Size: 12
Alterations: Made this woven dress with knit fabric, nonfunctional button placket
Fabric: Gray t-shirt knit from Michael Levine Loft
As I said above, Kelli's release of the Southport dress essentially put all my spring sewing plans into jeopardy - if only because I wanted about 200 of these dresses (I just finished my third version)! My first version (which is unblogged) was made from voile in a size 14 and was too big. I had a bit of a realization that I needed not only a smaller size, but that I also might be shortwaisted! I removed the skirt, shortened the bodice, brought up the shoulders, and now it's wearable.
For my knit version, I cut a size 12 and left the bodice length, as I didn't mind the idea of blousing. I sewed down the button placket, and sewed the buttons through both layers. Making this pattern in a knit wasn't overly difficult, but I found my cover stitch machine to be essential to making it look polished. For the neck and arm holes, I used wonder tape to fold under the edges by 1/4" and cover stitched them down. I also attached the bottom of the drawstring channel by cover stitching. I probably could've used a regular stitch though, because this doesn't stretch. I also finished the hem with my cover stitch machine. The waistband tie is just some flat trim/tie from Joann's. 
This day we went to Leinster Bay where we saw a lot of great fish, snorkeled/swam fairly far from the beach to a nearby cay (little island), and saw a 4' barracuda twice! I was relieved we didn't see the sharks and sting rays we saw 2 years ago at this beach, even though that was pretty cool. The ruins at Leinster Bay are from the Annaberg Sugar Mill that was here in the 18th century. There's a lot of history here (including unfortunately slavery - but a revolt here helped lead to its abolishment).  A volunteer guide at the site told us that now in St. John they purposefully make buildings look like these do (with exposed brick and coral blocks), even though these buildings would've been traditionally whitewashed. 

Stay tuned for more vacation makes (including a lot for Jeremy)! Where did you go on your favorite vacation of all time?


  1. Love all these! Especially that skirt - gorgeous! St John looks beautiful, I'd love to go there some day.

  2. Thanks, Lindsay!!! The skirt is my new favorite thing to wear! And St. John is amazing - especially if you love to swim and snorkel, so many cool things to see! :D

  3. Beautiful makes, oh I love your stripey salt spring. Best trip ever was to France with my beloved, following the Tour de France. Pre sewing days I'm afraid - I think it'd blow my mind to go now and plan a frenchie wardrobe! Sigh. I came to a troubling conclusion last night that I have way too many clothes and way too much fabric.... What's a girl to do other than just keep sewing!

  4. Thank you, Sarah!! And I am so jealous of your TdF trip!!! I love the Tour and have watched it every year for 11 years - and my sisters and I want to take a trip someday to follow it! I'll actually be in Spain in July, and I'm sad the race isn't popping through for a day or two! And I'm really racking up the clothes AND fabric too - but I'm pressing forward as well :D

  5. Wow!! Jeremy really took some great photos!! You look beautiful in all your dresses and I'm loving the knit versions of woven patterns. Also that ikat rayon is gorgeous! You are really making me want to try the Cascade. Looks like a lovely holiday!

  6. Oh Spain is so close - such a shame you can't pop into France! But I've not checked out the route this year. We had so much fun. So many great memories.

  7. Thanks, Heather!! I can't wait to post some more photos from our trip! And you should definitely give Cascade a shot - it's my favorite skirt pattern (I've never even made other ones)!

  8. What a fun holiday wardrobe! These are all so summery and cute- maybe you have a lot of clothes, but I still bet you'll wear these lots! Let's see, my favorite vacation ever was last summer in Stockholm! It's an absolutely beautiful city with a great cafe culture (so much good coffee, yay!). Plus the people that live there felt very much like my people-- urban, but outdoorsy, with a great interest in design and bright colors. :) I really didn't want to leave!

  9. Thanks, Sonja! I'm getting so much wear out of these - even the ones I made as basically swim cover ups (I'm wearing the striped Saltspring right now!). And I didn't know you went to Stockholm - I would love to go to Sweden someday! Right now though I'm getting ready to go to Spain... I'm doing a language program with my friend and my Spanish is soooooooo rusty. Eek!

  10. Eeeep! Spain! My sister has been there a few times and loves it-- I bet you'll have a wonderful time! How exciting! I was in Sweden last summer, right after we went to Iceland. We were visiting an old friend in Stockholm and thought that Iceland was kind of on the way. :)

  11. Love all 3! Seriously, this post is like a poster for why you can sew for yourself and not only look great but be comfortable.

  12. Thank you, Abbey!!! That's so sweet of you! I mainly try to sew things I would buy at the store - so this is quite a compliment!

  13. Hi Katie,
    I'm really enjoying browsing your blog this morning, enjoying your makes! I especially love your ikat Cascade skirt and, of course, the beautiful views. :)