Month: March 2013

Spring Plaid Pants (Little Boy’s)

  Back in mid-February, G and I took a trip to JoAnn Fabrics. I needed buttons and bias tape for projects I was working on so I thought I’d take a chance on his behavior, even though we were closing in on the witching hour.

  G was surprisingly well behaved and Simplicity patterns were on sale for a buck a pop, so we sat down at the table and started browsing through the pattern books.  He was determined to start from the beginning, in the adult women’s section, so I told him to let me know if he saw anything he thought would be particularly pretty on me.  This is what he picked out:
  Hmm…yeah…  There’s me, 9 months pregnant… I smiled and told him that, gee G, that IS a pretty dress, but I don’t think it would fit Mommy (especially since Mommy has, never in her whole life, had the hips to fill out that dress).  His response?  “Oh, well, after baby brother is born you’ll get little again and then it will be beautiful.”  …why do I have the feeling I’m going to get talked into making this ridiculous dress even though it won’t fit right and I will have absolutely nowhere to wear it?  (G’s suggestion as to where I wear it, by the way, was “dancing with Daddy, and I’ll come too!”…smooth talking little monster!)
  We managed to leave the store without that particular pattern, but as he continued browsing G eventually got to the children’s section and found some pants he liked.  They were pretty basic pajama pants, so I asked him what it was he liked about them.  “That they’re stripey!” he told me, so, since he’d been so well behaved, and since I knew, come spring, he was going to be needing some new pants anyhow, I took him over to the clearance fabric and let him pick out some fabric for new pants.
  These are a modified version of that same old Simplicity 2526 pattern I’ve been using for ages, just a bigger size.  He has been threatening a growth spurt for weeks now and so I figured making them extra long and cuffing them while we needed to was a smarter move than getting 2 weeks wear out of them!  His legs get longer all the time, but his waist doesn’t seem to change much.  Makes for easy alterations for me.
  Pockets are an absolute requirement for this little boy (he’s always aggravated when his store bought pants don’t have them) so I added a set using this method, but making them extra low so that I could simply fold over the excess at the top instead of adding a separate waistband.
I didn’t design the pants to show his underpants like a little thug,
 but that camera in his pocket is heavy!
  This is a really lightweight cotton, so I’m guessing that rough-and-tumble 3-year-old will probably be putting a few holes in these before he grows out of them…but with the already patchwork design, mending them inconspicuously should be a snap.
  He’s happy with them, and I’m loving that he’ll have warm weather clothing that won’t require me to sunscreen his little legs…those legs move too fast!
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Goat Cheese and Mushroom Taquitos

  Today’s recipe is a little bit of a cop out on my part.  It’s actually the same exact recipes as the baked chicken taquitos I posted back in November, but with different filling.  You cook it the same way, so I’m going to just copy and paste the process.
  Forgive me, I’m enjoying my new baby and so I’m haven’t been getting real crazy in the kitchen.  I promise I’ll step it up again soonish.
  Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
Goat cheese
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
~8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
avocado, diced
spinach
corn tortillas
 Start by pre-heating a bit of oil in a skillet and cooking your pepper and mushrooms.  Cook until softened.  Dump the pieces into a large bowl with your cheese, avocado and spinach.  Mix everything together until it is completely combined.
  Grease a cookie sheet with a bit of olive oil and begin rolling your taquitos.  If like me, you accidentally bought corn tortillas instead of flour, do your best to stifle your swearing in front of any small children you may have when they break into a billion pieces when you roll them.  We’ll come back and address that problem in a minute.  If you managed to come home with flour tortillas, spoon 3 Tbsp of your chicken mushroom mixture into the center, roll them up, brush them with a bit of oil and place them (seam side down) on the cookie sheet.
  Alright, fellow oblivious tortilla shoppers, all hope is not lost*.  My Mr. found that dipping the corn tortillas in water and then heating them in a hot cast iron skillet for about 30 seconds on each side made them nice and pliable so they could be wrapped around the filling without breaking.**
  Once your taquitos are wrapped and placed on the cookie sheet, cook them in a 425 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
* I actually think corn tortillas are better suited to this recipe.
  These are an utterly delicious vegetarian take on this recipe.  Like I said, I know, I’m a punk for phoning it in, but I think you’ll forgive me if you actually try this out.
  We should be back to new, for-realsie recipes next week.  Stick with me folks.

How to Modify a Maternity Top to a Tunic

  Now that baby R has been born, and since I don’t have any particular plans for doing that whole pregnancy thing again, I have a bunch of maternity clothing that I have no use for.  Some of them aren’t worth the hassle of refashioning and so those have been given away or donated, but a couple pieces are so quick and easy to modify it’d be downright embarrassing not to fix them.
  I have a couple of these gathered side maternity tops.  They’re pretty basic pieces and so I picked up several of them for pretty cheap at Target over my two pregnancies.  The gathering means there’s lots of room for a growing belly as you progress, but now that I’m on the shrinking side of having a baby, the last thing I want is any more poof over my abdomen.  Plus, being as long torso-ed as I am, extra long shirts are always awesome.
  Luckily, all it takes to switch these from a maternity top to a tunic is a seam ripper and 10 minutes or so.
  All of my shirts like this simply have a band of elastic stitched to the seam allowance of the side seams like in the picture above.  All you have to do to transform them into a nice, long tunic is to pick the stitching in the elastic out (to remove it) and wash your shirt.  …I haven’t actually done the washing with mine in the picture below, but the wash will fix any remaining puckering along the seam and smooth out any minor stretching that may have happened when you were pregnant.
  …so about that little photobomber… you can probably expect to be seeing a lot of him for a while.  The goal, of course, is to get the boys on the same nap schedule, but by the time I got them both down and got set up, he woke up and caught me with my tripod out, which inevitably results in his demanding that we take pictures together.  Yes, he is wearing mismatched pajamas in the middle of the day…I took these pictures not quite 2 weeks after R’s birth, I think I get a little slack on not having our schedules worked out to the point of wrangling the 3 year old into clothing every day, don’t I?
  Ah well.  There are worse things than a mischievous toddler in his jammies weaseling his way into my photos.
  For now, this is probably all I’ll be doing with these tops.  They do wind up pretty loose fitting around the middle, but until my guts finish deflating, I kind of prefer that.  I can always do another round of modifications to bring in the side seams later, after I’ve gotten the go-ahead for crunches!

Freezer Friendly Favorites

  Well, I’m officially out of recipes that I made and photographed before the birth.  Because I’ve been busy adjusting to being the mama of two, either the Mr. has cooked dinner or we’ve thawed something we’d frozen in advance.

  Having meals frozen for this period of time (and the ones we had when G was born) has been a godsend, and I know that there are lots of other times when something already prepped that can just be thrown in the oven can make the difference between a home cooked meal and ordering pizza…again.  So, I thought I’d do a round up of some of our favorite freezer friendly meals that I’ve posted!
  All of these freeze well, and most of them make enough that we don’t have to make any special effort to have food to freeze.  Half is plenty for dinner, and the remainder is a meal another night.
  Try one (or all!) of them out and stick the extras in the freezer for a busy night.

Two-Way Stole- ShapeShape (Japanese Sewing)

  Despite how challenging my first project from Natsuno Hiraiwa’s ShapeShape was, it didn’t take me long to dive back in and try another one!
  As I mentioned last week, I’m not going to attempt the projects in this book in “good” fabrics til I’ve done them once in a “practice” material from my stash, so this is my trial run, but I’m rather digging the nubby texture and rough-spun feel.  This fabric used to be a curtain!
  This is project number 10 from the book, the two-way stole.  There are actually two patterns for this, one for 45″ fabric and another for 60″.  This is the 45″ version.  I plan to do the 60″ with my pricey fabric, but the steps for construction are the same, so I figured any complications I’d have would arise in both versions.
  I commented on it with the Folded Shrug, but I’m really loving all the finishing techniques I’m being semi-forced to learn to complete these pieces.
  
  I already knew how to do flat-felled seams, but I tend to forget about them.  This was a great refresher and I’m feeling inspired to try and integrate them into some of my basic pieces (like pj pants for G and the like) to change up the look.
  I hadn’t done mitered corners before, and am really glad I know how now.  Look how gorgeous  they turned out!  I may have to do a tutorial in the future (when I’m a little more rested and capable of putting together sensical sentences) to show you guys how to do it.
  Again, like with the folded shrug, the fabric I chose to work with is not what is suggested by the book and lead to its own set of complications.  The finished edges on this piece are supposed to be much finer…much narrower, but because this is that wonderful, nubby, loosely woven fabric, I just wasn’t capable of turning an edge as narrow as I was supposed to…the fabric just shredded if I attempted it.  A thinner, crisp, easily ironed and creased material would be light years simpler to work with for this pattern.
  Comparatively, this project is a lot simpler to figure out than the folded shrug.  There isn’t any strange right-side to wrong-side matching up or anything, so the only challenges are completing the finishing techniques cleanly.
  As always, if you have questions, let me know!  I’ll do my best to help walk you through what I’ve done.

Paleo No-Bake Cookies

  We’ve found a lot of really delicious low-carb recipes lately.  The bulk of them have been main-dish dinner recipes, and fairly sin-less (if maybe a little heavy on the cream), but I wouldn’t want you to think we’ve gone entirely without indulgences.
  As happy as we’ve been with the majority of the paleo recipes we’ve tried, we decided we kind of had to try at least one paleo dessert.
  Traditional no-bakes have been a favorite at our house for a while, since they’re fast and easy, but now that we’ve tried these, I don’t think we’ll be going back.
  Here’s what you need:
1/3 c honey*
1/3 c coconut oil or butter
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/3 c almond butter or peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
*We’ve actually reduced this down to a little less than 1/4 c with no loss of taste in our opinion.
  Heat your honey, cocoa powder and coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Allow to boil 1 minute before removing from heat.  Stir in your vanilla and nut butter and mix until entirely blended before adding coconut.  
  Scoop spoonfuls of this mixture onto parchment paper and place in the fridge to cool until set and hard.
  The original recipe for this makes me laugh.  They claim this serves 5.  HA.  My Mr. and I fight over these and it takes a lot of self control to even let G know we’ve made them, let alone allow him to have any.
  We have a huge weakness for Samoas/Caramel Delights here, and these remind me of them a lot.  …but there are barely any sweetener in them, lots of good coconut fats and protein from the nut butter.  These may as well be health food…right?
  That’s what I tell myself while I wolf down a half dozen of them in a sitting anyhow…

How to Temporarily Dim a Non-Dimmable Light

  We live in a really old house.  Typically that means teeny tiny closets and not very many of them, but we somehow won the old-house-closet lottery and have nice, big closets in our upstairs bedrooms.

  The room we use for our nursery has an especially large closet, and so in the interest of keeping the majority of the bedroom floor space open and to keep any less-than-pleasant odors contained, we have our changing table in there.
  We also have this nice, bright light fixture:
  Now, that light is fabulous for lighting up the closet during the daytime, or when you’re using the room for diaper changes that aren’t in the middle of the night, but when you’re dealing with a newborn who wakes you up multiple times a night to nurse and then needs a diaper change afterwards, the last thing you want is to have your eyes seared out by a full-strength light fixture.
  A nightlight type solution would sort of work, but what I really wanted was an overhead light that bathed the whole room in a nice, dim light.
  Luckily I found an easy solution when G was still an infant.
  All it takes is some tissue paper, scissors and a couple pieces of tape.
  I prefer black tissue paper, because it does the most dimming while doing the least to change the color spectrum of the light, but any dark colored tissue paper will work.  Simply cut your tissue paper to size and slide or tape it over your fixture.  Once baby is old enough to have grown out of middle of the night diaper changes your light is good as new, and you can always augment the lighting in the room for daytime with stand alone lamps if you need a brighter light during times of the day that you haven’t just been woken up from a precious 30 minutes of slumber.
  This works best on overhead lamps that already have covers over them, since you don’t have to worry about the paper coming into contact with the light bulb.  I wouldn’t suggest it for desk lamp type lights.
  If you have any questions about how I did this, let me know!

Avocado and Cashew Chicken

  Today’s recipe is a quick and easy way to dress up a simple chicken breast for dinner.
  Here’s what we’re making:
  Here’s what you need:
2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper 
olive oil
1 avocado
2 tomatoes, quartered
2 Tbsp basil
2 Tbsp parsley
4 Tbsp raw, unsalted cashews*
*As usual I wasn’t paying attention when shopping and got roasted, salted cashews.  Wasn’t bad.
  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Salt and pepper your chicken to taste and place in the skillet to cook through.  Be certain to use a meat thermometer to double check that the centers have reached 165!
  Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine all of the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
  When your chicken has completed cooking, serve with a generous helping of avocado sauce on top.
  This is so easy and simple, and it’s really good!  Because you’re basically making guacamole, this is a wonderful way to use up an avocado that is a touch past its prime too.  Yet another great, low carb option that we’ll be adding to the roster of our menu!

What I Wish I’d Known About Nursing, or “Ow! WTF?!?”

  Things are starting to settle down here as baby R gets integrated into our daily routine and we get used to being woken in the middle of the night again.  He’s doing well and growing fast, and so far neither myself nor the Mr. has been quite tired enough to accidentally put salt in our morning caffeine fix instead of sugar.  So far.
  As we’ve been readjusting, it has occurred to me, as it did when G was a baby and we were learning to nurse, just what short shrift breastfeeding gets when it comes to information.  Doctors have been lauding the benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mama…but where the joys and pains of childbirth itself are discussed in (sometimes excessively exaggerated) detail, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of breast feeding, you can hear crickets chirping.
  I think this is a huge disservice to women and their babies.  I suspect that the reasoning behind the wall of silence is good intentions.  Breast feeding is not all sunbeams and rainbows.  But I personally feel that not giving women the heads up that, yup, some of it sucks, but it gets way better sets new mamas up to fail.  So, without further ado, here are the things I wish I’d known:
The First Two Weeks Suck
  Bad news: For the first two weeks of breast feeding, it’s gonna hurt.  Good news: After those 2 weeks, so long as there aren’t outside complications and you and baby have figured out latching, it stops hurting.
  Everybody knows that childbirth hurts.  It’s one of those universal “truths”.  Women compare horror stories, and I’ve even seen pins on Pinterest comparing giving birth to having limbs removed.  Having gone through 2 natural, un-medicated births now, I find that all a little hysterical, but as a result, I was even more shocked that no one had so much as mentioned the discomfort from nursing.  I had given my emotional all to the birth and figured since it was over I was home-free.
  Now, before anybody freaks out and has a panic attack, I’m not saying the pain from breast feeding is anything like the pain of giving birth, but if you aren’t expecting it, it can be extremely discouraging.  Don’t be discouraged, it’s normal, and it doesn’t last.
Expect Cramps
  The first kind of nasty surprise comes quickly.  In the days after the baby is born your uterus will need to contract back down to its original size.  Nursing helps that process.  That’s a good thing…you want your uterus to shrink so all your internal bits can go back where they belong, but it’s not terribly comfortable.  Expect menstrual type cramps for a day or two after the birth whenever baby feeds.  Second time moms?  Expect them to be worse.  We’re not immune to the wall of silence…nobody mentioned that these cramps apparently increase with each child.  Ibprofen and heating pads help with the pain just like they do for your period.
Mother Knows Best
  A lot of moms who plan to nurse have a mental picture of breast feeding as being this perfect, blissful, instinctual Earth-mother type thing.  It can get there, but the thing is, that whole “instinctual” part?  Not so much.  Yes, your baby has an innate rooting reflex and basically knows how to latch on, but you’re going to have to help some.  Remember, your baby can’t even control their head yet, there’s only so much they’re going to be able to hold the reins on this.
  I had a hard time with this concept with G.  I had it in my head that, hey, babies have been nursing for centuries and have a natural instinct for it and if there is a better way for him to be latching, he’ll eventually adjust and do it, I just have to tough it out til then.  Ooooh did I hurt as a result.  There are a lot of ways the baby can latch on and get milk just fine.  It may not be the most efficient way, and it’s almost certainly not the least painful way for you unless you’ve helped guide them, but if they’re getting milk, the latch works from the baby’s perspective.
  Do yourself a favor and learn early how to remove the baby while they’re nursing (basically use your finger like a fishhook in the corner of their mouth ) and don’t hesitate to stop them and start over if they aren’t latching correctly.  Yes, you’ll be sore the first few weeks, so it can be a little tough to tell the difference between a good latch and a bad one sometimes…but if it feels like you’re being bitten, you probably are!
  Unfortunately, because several generations before us relied on formula rather than nursing to feed their babies, breast feeding has become a hidden affair.  That makes it really hard for new moms to know what they’re doing.  If you’ve never seen somebody nursing a baby (and chances are you haven’t unless they’ve been entirely obscured by a blanket) how on earth are you supposed to know if you’re doing it right yourself?  Take advantage of any resources you have.  Most hospitals have lactation consultants.  If this is your first time nursing, talk to all of them.  Just like doctors and nurses, some of them will be more helpful than others.  Talk to friends and family who have nursed.  Find breast feeding groups locally if you can.  The more you have opportunities to talk to people who breast feeding is normal to, the more helpful tips and tricks you can gather.
Got Milk?
  The first few days after the baby is born your body produces colostrum.  This is a kind of pre-milk that has all sorts of antibodies in it for the baby.  You don’t make a whole heck of a lot of it, so when you’re in this phase, your baby is probably going to suck hard.  They’re going to have to work for their food a lot harder than when your milk comes in, and as a result you’re going to feel a bit bruised.  Trial and error while figuring out the proper latch is going to contribute to this bruised feeling.
  Once your milk comes in the baby doesn’t have to work quite as hard, buuuuut, as your body adjusts to how much your baby needs to eat, you may have discomfort from over-fullness of your breasts, also known as engorgement.  Nurse frequently to keep the soreness to a dull roar.  The longer you go between feedings the more uncomfortable you’ll be.  Heating pads and (very gentle) massage can help.  If you need to, use a pump for relief, but keep in mind, the more milk that comes out, the more your body thinks baby is d
emanding and it will lead to your making even more.
  Keep heart, all of this gets better after 2 or 3 weeks.
Why Didn’t You Say So?!?
  Some of the things I wish I’d known are pretty random, but make a world of difference.
Do NOT Touch Baby’s Head
So you know how you’re pretty sore from the birth?  So is baby.  Depending on your labor, there was most likely a lot of pressure on your little one’s head and it’s probably still tender.  By all means, help guide your baby to latch on correctly, but do it with your hand around the back of their neck or across their shoulders.  Resist the urge to cup the back of their head in your hand, especially once they are latched on.  Doing so tends to result in the baby clamping their jaw and throwing their head backwards.  Not fun.

Pat Yourself Dry 

I don’t just mean after you shower.  Every time you nurse, make sure you’re dry before you re-dress.  There is little I can so much as imagine that hurts worse than having to pull stuck-on cloth off of already bruised, sore tender bits.

Stick With Sleep

By now you guys know, I’m pretty vain, so when I tell you to not even consider a bra cuter than a sports bra/training bra hybrid for the first two weeks, you know it’s serious.  Like I’ve mentioned, you’re going to be tender and you’re probably going to have at least a day or two of engorgement like symptoms.  Sleep bras are made out of tshirt material with no underwires or other hard bits.  They definitely don’t do much for shaping your figure, but they give you support without aggravating already sore breasts or increasing your risk of mastitis.  Swallow your vanity for a couple of weeks til you can get past the soreness and then look at cuter nursing bras, your body will thank you.

Baby Straight-Jackets Are Your Friend

Some babies love being swaddled (my two, thank god), some hate it.  If you’re lucky enough to have a blanket straight-jacket friendly kiddo, take advantage of it when you’re nursing.  There is very little in this world that is more frustrating than when you’re already struggling to get a good latch and little-bit shoves their tiny fist in their face while screaming about how hungry they are.  And don’t forget that those tiny claws you’re mitten-ing them to keep away from their eyes can scratch you too.

Aim for the Nose

Not entirely sure why this works, but it made a huge difference when I was nursing G.  Instead of trying to center yourself, aim as if you’re trying to nurse the baby’s nose through the top of their mouth.

Don’t Even Bother If Baby Doesn’t Look Like a Hungry Goldfish

Remember how I said I had it in my mind that G would readjust his latch once he started and that it didn’t work?  A lot of that pain came from letting him latch with a partially opened mouth.  I learned my lesson, R doesn’t get that option.  If baby’s mouth isn’t open all the way, they aren’t going to have room to latch properly and it is going to hurt.

Sometimes Water Doesn’t Cut It

I’m a huge proponent of drinking plain water.  It’s inexpensive and incredibly good for you.  Thing is, when you’re nursing, especially the first few weeks, you may need something more.  I kind of hate Gatorade, but if I don’t drink it when I’m first nursing I wind up with a raging headache, regardless of how much water I drink*.  It may not feel much like you’re running a marathon, but your body is working really hard at something it’s new at.  Make sure you’re getting all of the hydration and electrolytes necessary to take care of yourself.

  All in all, nursing is one of those things that you, unfortunately, kind of have to figure out the details of on your own, but the more information you have, the easier it can be.  Find as much help as you can early, and stick out those first two weeks!

*Fellow Gatorade non-fans, my Mr. found this coconut water powder for me that does basically the same thing, but the “original” flavor is essentially flavorless.  I’ve been adding it to my tea and it’s doing just as well at keeping the headaches away as the Gatorade ever did!

Japanese Sewing-Shape Shape Folded Shrug

  I’m torn you guys.  I really love the Japanese sewing book (Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa) I got from my friend Megan, and so I kind of want to tell you all to go out and get it…but I also don’t want you to come after me all Frankenstein’s monster style with pitchforks.
  *sigh*
  The pieces in the book are all pretty simple and geometric in styling and so they’re the kind of thing that you want to use really beautiful fabrics for.  Problem is, somewhat because they’re so simple in style, they are not simple in construction.  At all.
  After completely striking out on finding anything nice enough at my local JoAnn Fabrics I made the trek to Haberman Fabrics in Royal Oak to get the good stuff.  Michigan seamstresses, if you haven’t been there yet, go…but be warned that it’s dangerous.  I usually have to restrain myself to keep from rolling in their fabrics, and even my Mr, the non-sewer, the one and only time he walked into the store walked out with a serger for me!  It’s like heaven.
  So I came home with fabrics for this pattern and one of the other ones in the book and was hovering over them with my scissors, but chickened out and decided to try the patterns with “practice” fabrics first.  Woo boy am I glad I did.
  This is the twelfth project in the book: the folded shrug.  Looks pretty easy, doesn’t it?  HA.
  Finding the pattern pieces in the included pattern sheet is, in and of itself, a challenge.  To save on paper, the pieces are all printed one on top of another and you need to trace them onto separate tracing paper.  Not a huge deal, and not even that difficult once you figure out how the system works, but absolutely overwhelming the first time you look at it.  Checking on the project instruction pages to give you an idea of shape and where grain-lines ought to be helps immensely.
  This project consists of two roughly rectangular pieces and a few strips of bias tape for fastenings.  Nothing seems that unusual, but once you start construction it gets crazy fast.
  The whole thing is folded over on itself so in some spots the inside shows and some spots the outside shows and so the finishing gets tricky, marking gets tricky and making sure you put it all together with the right side out (where it’s supposed to be out) gets really tricky.
  And unfortunately, either because of a loss in translation or just because the author wrote it that way, the instructions aren’t particularly clear.
  Luckily, with the “practice fabric” I chose, the fact that I wound up with the wrong side out where the right side was supposed to be out doesn’t show too badly.
  This cool, quilted black fabric is something I’d grabbed at a resale store for cheap and while it doesn’t drape quite as prettily as I think the silk blend I got will, it hides my mistakes nicely.  Besides, it will be warm and there’s never any concern that I’ll wear black.
  The whole thing ties in the back across your shoulders and then buttons below your arms around your rib cage.
  For this version, because my fabric was black (an easy color to find) and because it was thick (and not really suited to making narrow bias tape or tubing) I used store bought bias tape for my ties and black elastic cording for the button closures.
  The instructions indicate you should make your own bias tape for the ties and your own very tiny tubing from the main body fabric for the button closures.  I’ll need to do it for my next attempt at this shrug since the color I got is not easily findable in bias tapes/elastic, but I’ll fully admit, I’m nervous.
  I’m really enjoying this book.  I’ve gotten a little bored with traditional clothing shapes lately, so the more geometric fits are refreshing and, while it’s intimidating to feel like a newbie seamstress again, I’m really liking that I’m being forced to challenge myself when it comes to finishing skills.
  I’ve sewn for a long time and so I’ve gotten to the point where I’m pretty confident with traditional pattern piece shapes.  I haven’t tried too hard to get into tailoring and seam finishing though, so it’s good that these pieces are forcing me to slow down a little and find ways to make the simplest shapes (rectangles anybody?) perfectly cleanly sewn and finished.
  I cannot in good conscience suggest that new sewers pick up this book for anything other than enjoying the concepts and pictures.  That being said, if you’re experienced with needle and thread and are looking for a challenge, by all means.
  I plan on making several more projects from this book, but without doubt, I will be doing them in inexpensive practice fabrics the first time.