Fancypants: What do you want to know?

Your body is unique. Sew pants made to fit it! Beginners Welcome and Encouraged.This blog post is part of the Fancypants Sew-Along. You can catch up on all of the sew-along posts here. You can learn more about Fancypants or get your copy of the tutorial here.

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At this point, we’ve talked about choosing your fabric, taking your measurements, and drawing your pattern.

And now I am sitting here, fingers hovering over the keyboard, not really sure what else to say. For one thing, the tutorial takes you through the whole rest of the process from cutting your fabric to sewing your pants. I don’t want to repeat any of that stuff here.

For another thing, there hasn’t been much activity on my previous sew-along posts. Without any comments or feedback, I don’t know if this series has been of any value. For a feedback junkie like me, it’s really really hard to keep going when there’s nothing but silence in return.

So. I’m opening this up to you.

If you are reading along, and if you are enjoying this series, and if you can think of something else you’d like me to explain in more detail, please speak up! I’d be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

And if there are no questions? That’s ok too! It tells me that the pattern is clear enough and detailed enough without any extra hand-holding necessary.

Just in case this is the last post of the sew-along, let me just thank you for reading this far, thank you for buying my tutorial, and wish you many pairs of happy pajama bottoms in your future 😀

If you’d like to share images of your progress in social media, use the #fancypantssewalong hashtag or tag me @lclarke522 (on Twitter and Instagram)!

Everyday Baby: Test knitters wanted!

New pattern from Polka Dot Cottage

Hello, fellow knitters :-)

My 4-in-1 baby sweater pattern is ready to be tested, and I would love to have a small handful of volunteers to give the pattern a try for me!

UPDATE: I have all of the testers I need but I’ve added Everyday Baby to Ravelry so you can add it to your knitting queue or even preorder a copy of you like. Thanks for your interest! Click the button below, or visit this link.

The main pattern is a long-sleeved cardigan based on my Everyday Cardigan pattern. There is also a cap sleeve variation, which is achieved with short rows. Another two variations are based on my Everyday Pullover pattern and are shown with both long and cap sleeves.

Everyday Baby: a new pattern from Polka Dot Cottage

The pattern is sized for 0-3m (3-6m, 6-12m, 12-18m, 18-24m, 2T) and is meant to be worn with 1.5 to 2 inches positive ease. Finished chest measurements for the six sizes are as follows: 17.5 (18.5, 20, 21, 21.5, 22.5)”

You will need between 175 and 450 yards of worsted weight yarn, depending on what size you knit and whether there are sleeves. For my three samples (which were all smaller sizes), I used one skein each of Berroco Vintage, Cascade 220 Superwash, and Kraemer Yarns Perfection.

I am looking for enough volunteers that each size will be tested (so, at least 6) and I’d also like to see a mix of long-and-cap sleeves, cardigans and pullovers.

If you do a test knit for me, I would like your feedback on the readability of the pattern, whether the instructions were easy to understand, and any other thoughts you might have about the pattern or the finished product.

You will get to keep your finished knit, and give it to your favorite tiny person 😍

If you are experienced with baby knits, feel free to share your thoughts on how this stacks up in comparison to other sweaters you’ve done. I want to hear both the good and the bad!

Everyday Baby: a new pattern from Polka Dot Cottage

One important thing: I would require that you be a Ravelry user and that you post a project for your test knit, along with at least one photo and any notes you might want to include, and that your project be linked back to the Everyday Baby pattern page (once it’s created).

I am not the fastest knitter in the world, but I finished each of my samples within 48 hours. So, they’re pretty quick knits!

Ideally, I would like to have all of the test knits finished and listed on Ravelry by next weekend (July 25th/26th).

In exchange, I will send you a free copy of the pattern when it is complete, and if you blog your knit I will happily share your blog post with my readers.

A new pattern from Polka Dot Cottage

Any takers? Leave a comment or email me. Tell me what size you’d like to knit, and whether you want to do View A, B, C, or D.

UPDATE: I’ve got all of the testers I need now. Thank you!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

P.S. I’ve been using the #pdceverydaybaby hashtag for my Instagram photos related to this project. Feel free to use it for your test knits, too!

TWiP: Little girly things on little wooden hangers

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

If there is one unifying theme to this week, it is “Dressing up the Baby.” Last week in Cambridge, the boys and I picked out some fabrics for a couple of tiny dresses for their new cousin, and this week I sewed up two of them (more on those in a future post). Plus, I’m still working on prototypes for that new baby sweater pattern.

It’s entirely possible that I may be going slightly overboard with all of the little girl clothes I am dumping on my sister-in-law 😀

Aside from the copious amounts of sewing and knitting, and the styling of little girly things on little wooden hangers, there has also been the requisite amount of summering around here. Exactly as it should be for the middle of July!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot with my DSLR for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2015), plus some phone snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…


Instagram: You’re probably tired of seeing this little sweater by now, but I just can’t get over how quickly it is coming together! I need to have long weekends like this with no responsibilities more often 😁 [in Burlington, MA]

365: 2015 192/365 – We found a couple of mermaids in the pool today – this one and her sister, with whom I later teamed up to defeat the Water King. The Water King proved to be a worthy adversary, and the battle raged for [what felt like] hours. One by one, we used our special powers (including the very potent Pink Power) and eventually we lobbed enough Golden Balloons at him that he ended up in jail. With that, we were saved from becoming Water Seals! Whew. [in Burlington, MA]


365: 2015 193/365 – 30 minutes before checkout. One of us is all packed except for a camera and a laptop. The other two have barely moved since they got up. I will leave who-is-who as an exercise for the viewer. [in Burlington, MA]

Instagram: Refueling before our long drive home 🍔 [in Woburn, MA]


365: 2015 194/365 – Auditioning buttons for the little sweater.

Instagram: I am very happy with the way my baby sweater came out, but I learned a few things in the process, and now I’m making another to see how my pattern changes go. Love pink and green together!

Instagram: I ❤ the first night on clean sheets.


365: 2015 195/365 – The little blue sweater is bigger than I intended. I re-worked the pattern measurments and am starting over with prototype #2. I’ll probably sew a little dress to match this one, too, and I love this pink & green floral with this yarn!

Instagram: I took a break from knitting, and sewed the little peasant dress that will go with the sweater.

Instagram: That moment you realize that the dress you made for your 6 week old niece is pretty much identical to the shirt you are currently wearing. (What does this say about my taste?)


365: 2015 196/365 – Well, the sweater doesn’t really go with the dress as I had hoped. The shapes fit together all wrong on the hanger, at least. Still they’re pretty cute on their own. There’s no reason they have to be worn together, so I’m calling this a success 😉


365: 2015 197/365 – Somebody got the pool to himself for a little while this afternoon. [at my parents’ house]

Instagram: Hanging out in Mom’s kitchen, making a wineberry crisp and listening through the window to the family playing cards outside. #summer #jerseyfresh  [at my parents’ house]

Instagram: Sitting in the breeze and knitting a little purple pullover.  [at my parents’ house]


365: 2015 198/365 – Breakfast is always pretty good the day after I’ve made a fruit crisp…

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

My mind’s single track


When the boys and I follow Neil to one of his conventions, sometimes we get involved in the convention goings on, sometimes we socialize a little bit with friends we know there, sometimes we go off on little adventures in the town, and sometimes we hang out in our hotel room working on individual projects.

This trip to Readercon last weekend included most of those things, and it was a really nice time, but I have to admit something: it didn’t much matter where I physically was during our trip, I was nearly always mentally in one particular place – Pattern Design Land.

Oh! the one track mind I had!

2015 191/365

Before we left, I had decided I wanted to attempt to adapt my Everyday Cardigan pattern into a baby size. I packed a hank of Berroco Vintage, my #7 circular, and my laptop which had the original pattern notes on it. By Thursday night, within hours of arriving at the hotel, I had re-worked the first part of the pattern, cast-on, and nearly finished the yoke.

The speed at which baby knits come together is something I find thrilling. I couldn’t get this little sweater out of my head (or my Instagram stream, for that matter).


Friday morning we went fabric shopping, and I bought a couple of prints that would go with that little sweater. How cute would a hedgehog dress be, peeking out from under a little blue cardigan? I think it’s perfect for fall. (Which is coming in a few months, whether I am finished with summer or not…)

By Friday evening I had finished the body and realized I had forgotten to bring my #7 double-points and couldn’t do the sleeves – oh! the horror!


Saturday morning I dropped in to the local yarn shop (Edwina’s Knitch, cute little shop, such a nice owner) and procured the needles I needed.

By Saturday night, the sweater was finished. I blocked it, and stuck it in my suitcase.

2015 194/365

Such instant gratification! By Monday morning I was home and dumping out Granny’s buttons all over the dining room table and searching for the perfect set.

This weekend sweater obsession has been good in terms of pattern-making. It’s great to have a project small enough that you can finish it in 48 hours and still have all of the start-to-finish details fresh in your mind.

I have decided that this sweater is too big to be considered a 6 month size. For one thing, my gauge was off (which is weird – I knit with this yarn all the time, and my gauge is always the same. I’m not sure what happened), and for another, I don’t think the baby measurements I originally snagged from the internet were all that accurate.

Monday morning, this realization led me to finding a new set of (reliable) sizing standards, which led me to re-working the entire pattern, which led me to making a really cool spreadsheet that theoretically gives me sizes up to age 12!

(I say “theoretically” because there are design changes I would make for the bigger kid sizes. If I do them someday, they’ll be a separate pattern.)

2015 195/365

So now I am armed with my newly-modified pattern, and I’ve cast-on another version. This one will hopefully be the smaller size I envisioned, but if it’s not, I can keep adjusting my pattern and trying until I get it right. It’s pretty cool when a sweater is so tiny that you can knit it in two days. (It takes me so. much. longer. to make my own sweaters. Ugh.)

I hope my baby niece is going to like wearing tiny cardigans, because depending on how long it takes me to perfect this pattern, I may have a lot of them for her. I have to make sure each prototype is a different size, so I can spread them out a bit 😜

Though, honestly, I do feel like this little pink one is going to be perfect, which means I can quickly get to the part where I pretty-up the pattern itself and publish it. I love that part – it’s always fun to put a new pattern out into the world!

On the other hand, I may be addicted to little knits, and I may have to try just one more after this for the sake of my art 😄

If you are interested in baby knits, stay tuned, because as long as my mind is stuck on this track, chances are good that this pattern will be forthcoming very very soon.