Making Clothes

I recently emptied out my closet, removing everything that doesn’t fit. There was…not much left.
About a third of this is referee stuff, and another third is stuff I don’t really like, but will wear if I have to. There is some stuff in the dirty laundry (not much, though), and I have a pair of jeans (and underthings of course) that are not hanging.

I have a plan. Kind of.

First I freaked the fuck out on Twitter, because I have no idea how to build a wardrobe. I don’t know how to determine or build my personal style. I am just clueless. Kind friends talked me down from the ledge, recommending various style blogs, etc., but what I really want is a checklist that is for people like me, and that doesn’t exist.

As far as I can tell, my style falls into two general categories (three if “lazy slob” counts): rockabilly and hippie. NOT SUPER COMPATIBLE, but I am not going to listen to any ideas my brain might have about needing to stay consistent. Those are the styles I am comfortable wearing. END OF STORY. (Right? Please validate me.)

So I’m going to do some shopping, but also some sewing.


For years I have wanted a closet full of Simplicity 3835 tops. The pattern booklet looks super-dull, but a quick google image search should show you why I am smitten with the pattern. I will have to make full bust adjustments, which I understand in theory but have never actually done. Cross your fingers for me.

I only recently discovered Sonya Phillips‘ patterns, but I can very very easily picture myself wearing leggings and a linen Dress No. 1 every day. (I will have to get some leggings.)

I’m also thinking about Colette Violet, but not until I have pattern adjustments mastered. (And eventually: Tia dress.)


I also want to make myself some skirts. The Spin Skirt (WITHOUT THE RUFFLES) is my front-runner, but I am also looking for a simpler A-line pattern for corduroy skirts because I want to be Melissa Auf der Maur circa 1995, which the one on the right looks promising for. Possibly I could use the Spin Skirt for both, though.

I’ll be shopping for fabrics, but I also have these:

photo2 (1)

I originally intended to use the (top) blue fabric for a Sew Liberated Lola apron, but I am open to using it for something else. The strawberries were for Grace, and I feel like an asshole considering using them for myself. I don’t know for sure how much I have of the stars, but it looks like at least 1.5 yards. I planned, years ago, to use the pond print for the Trapeze Sundress from Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing, and I might still do that but I don’t have to.

I don’t have to use any of them, of course. Just brain-dumping. I kind of feel like I should be looking for small, subdued all-over prints, but maybe that is boring? I DON’T KNOW.

Please dress me.


I was still in bed this morning when Sam brought me an orange balloon and asked me to blow it up for him, which I did.

Later, he was playing a game of Don’t Let The Balloon Touch The Floor and I told him he needed to stop because it was turning into a game of Hit The Balloon Into Mom’s Face.

Later still, when I’d had some coffee, he asked if he might play with his balloon again. I said yes, and he did, and he had a good long run of keeping it in the air before it landed on me.

“Oh, why am I not good at this?!” he cried in frustration. “I guess I will not be a balloon thrower, after all!”

It’s amateur night again.

Oh, do I have a blog?

I woke up early today. Sometime not very far past 5:30, and I have a fairly strict rule that I do not get out of bed before 6:00 so I stayed there for a bit, listening to Grace snore. Sam was awake too, up in his bunk bed, kvetching that the fan Will put in the bedroom window (which I loooooooove) is too loud and he was too cold. I got him another blanket, and stayed up. Will got in the shower, and then we had an earthquake.

Earthquakes are loud. It sounds like everything is shaking, though it doesn’t always feel like it. I was worried about Sam, so I stood up to run back to the bedroom, only one really doesn’t do that during a quake. I sat back down involuntarily and waited it out. As I expected, Sam was a little freaked out and Grace was still fast asleep.

It was a 4.7, not too shabby. Over on Twitter, half of Los Angeles was calling it a Shamrock Shake and the other half was fuming because they didn’t think of it first.

We are (probably) not Irish. I am Sicilian, Dutch, Welsh, English, and I think French (possibly some other stuff too). Will is mostly English and Scottish on his mother’s side, and we don’t know his father’s heritage (adoptions were closed in the 1940s and he chose to never pursue it). The red hair most likely comes from the Scotch and Dutch sides of the family.

For Saint Patrick’s Day we will be eating fish and chips for dinner and drinking a pint of Murphy’s. But I will not be wearing green, and don’t even think about pinching me.

Like Grapes on a Vine


Uva uvam vivendo varia fit.

Look, that isn’t a real Latin saying (it’s nonsense, basically), but it is a real quote from Larry Mcmurty’s Lonesome Dove. He claims that it means something to the effect of, “two grapes that grow together on the vine grow to be like each other.” Probably his description is more succinct? I bet he had more coffee than me.

Anyway, Will and I adopted it as our motto way back when. And it’s been more true than I’d ever have imagined. I mean, for heaven’s sake, look at that photo. We have the same damn hair. Mine is a little swoopier, maybe.

We don’t finish each other’s sentences so much as we say things in unison all the damn time. People must think we’re crazy.

To be fair, I think we probably are.

You seem an opinionated fellow.

Hi! I need your opinions.


These are my Posy and Paw Print Cardis. Right now they are offered as a buy one, get one 50% off, because the fit and instructions are very similar.

Yesterday I accidentally designed a bonnet to match. I’d actually intended to do that since I first designed Posy in 2011 but for whatever reason yesterday was the day the bee crept into my, well, bonnet. I intend to make a regular (beanie-style) hat as well.

Should I make an ebook of all four patterns, or sell the hats separately and keep the sweater deal as-is?

Cover Reveal: Face Time

My friend Stephanie has another book coming out! I suspect she is some sort of robot. This one is contemporary adult romance (I guess? I don’t know genres), along the lines of what we were calling chick lit a few years ago but with a twist: it’s told from both points of view. As with Removed and Released, I read an early version of the manuscript. I know a few major changes have been made and I can’t wait to read the final book! I feel pretty certain it will be just as sexy as the version I read. ;)

Face Time

Look, I’ll be honest. I don’t really like people on my book covers. But this one is so clever–it conveys exactly what the book is about, and the man ‘playing’ Lee is so cute! And I’m crazy about the skyline graphic at the top.

Want to know more? How about the book’s official blurb?

After the best first date ever, Lee thought Laura was funny, intelligent, and impulsive; a whirlwind of bright laughter and happiness. Laura loved Lee’s sweet smile and the way he expertly filled in every awkward pause. He held her hand and then pulled her in for the most perfect kiss she’s had in years. What could possibly be wrong? Just the 7000 miles that separates them the next day.

Even though Lee has gone home to Seoul, Laura can’t stop thinking about him. What starts as an innocent text thanking him for their dinner date becomes something much more: someone either of them can’t live without. But Laura’s got a live-in mother going through a midlife crisis, and Lee’s stressful traveling schedule means they’ll be apart for some time. Life, family, and a complicated past also get in the way, and they’re both going to need actual face time to figure it out.

Told from both Lee and Laura’s point of view, FACE TIME is a funny, romantic, modern-day story about two people who connect across the world.

You can find Face Time (Love in the Digital Age #1) on Goodreads.

And I bet you’d like a give-away. Enter below to win:
- 10$ amazon gift card
- e-copies of both Removed (Nogiku #1) and Released (Nogiku #2) –mobi or epub file
- e-ARC of Face Time (available March 2014) – mobi or epub file

a Rafflecopter giveaway

banner Lola's Blog Tours

Olympic Pride

Human rights, and especially the rights of LGBTQ people, are very important to me. To say I am horrified that the Olympics are happening in Sochi, where the Russian government treats being gay as a criminal act (and don’t bother telling me it’s decriminalized, their actions speak much louder than their laws), makes me sick. I love the Olympics. Sure, I’m more of a summer games girl (GYMNASTICS!!!!!) but the winter games are pretty great too (ICE SKATING!!!)

I can’t boycott the games. I couldn’t watch them if I wanted to, so I have no leverage. I can try to boycott sponsors, but I don’t think that would be super-effective.

Lucky for me, my fellow knitwear designer Bristol Ivy hatched a lovely plan: during the games, I and several other independent designers will be donating a portion of pattern sales to a variety of organizations working for gay rights. Bristol has a complete (evolving) list here.

All of my self-published patterns are eligible. I considered offering a discount, but decided against it. Instead, I will give 75% of the full price to Lambda Legal during opening ceremonies (for simplicity’s sake, all day Thursday Friday PST) and 50% of the full price for the duration of the games. All fees (Paypal, Ravelry, etc) will come out of the remaining percentage, so if you buy a $6 pattern a full $3 (or $4.50 opening day) will go to Lambda Legal. You don’t need to use a coupon code or anything; I will count every sale.

Blog Tour: Nogiku Series by S.J.Pajonas

Nogiku banner

Hey! I am one of today’s stops on my friend Stephanie’s blog tour! Yay!

I signed up to write a review of the first two books in the Nogiku series, Removed and Released, and I’m going to–but it’s not going to be a very traditional review. Here’s the thing: I’ve read these books at least 2.5 times each, through various incarnations. I can’t really write a proper review. But I can tell you what I love about them.

Stephanie can build a world like almost no one else.

In any genre, but especially dystopic future-sci-fi-samurai-I don’t even know what-fiction, world is as important as any character in the book. The world is a character in these books. This short excerpt is very nicely representative of the incredible skill with which big ideas are related in simple, quick brush strokes:

Nishikyō itself is mostly devoid of charm and uniqueness, except for a few temples and theaters, but each building’s owner takes care to set their place apart from the blandness around it. It’s not surprising I would have walked past this place had Jiro not led me directly here. Its exterior is austere, simple.
Inside, they must have knocked out all of the existing structure and rebuilt it entirely from the floor up. The walls are papered a lovely shade of cream and lit softly from above. Real wood supports and beams are shellacked a deep, dark coffee brown. I place my hand on one, and it’s warm and organic. Nothing like the cool and precise composite material we use around the city to mimic the real thing.
The genkan has an area of cubbies for shoes and sets of washed slippers for guests. It’s cool in here as I thought it would be, but comfortable. Okiyas call private contractors to bring in more cooling units so the geisha can entertain in their silk kimono and not overheat. It’s something they can easily afford in this business.
A doorway opens off to the right and a young woman dressed in a lovely pink and green kimono comes out to greet us.
“Irasshaimase, Itō-sama! You’re expected. I hope you’re well.”
“I am, Shichi-san, and you?”
“I am well, thank you.”
“Shichi-san, this is another family guest, Sanaa.” He gestures to me, and I stand absolutely still. I’ve never been to an okiya and am not sure how polite or formal I’m supposed to be. When Jiro sees my frozen state, he puts his hand on the small of my back. He probably thinks this is going to have a calming effect on me, but now I’m fluttery instead.

Oops, a little romance sneaked in there. Oh yeah, these books are dead sexy. By the way.


Sexy-looking, too. Stephanie designed and did the layout for the books herself. The chapter headings are so gorgeous you will swoon.

She employs one of my favorite literary tricks, making her books semi-bilingual by introducing Japanese words and phrases in context (italicizing the first use) and then using them without further explanation throughout. A glossary is included at the end of the book, but the language is incorporated so well that you probably won’t need to reference it more than once or twice.

Steph’s writing background and training was in screenplays, and if you’ve read any screenplays (I’ve, uh, read a lot) you can tell in the way her plots unfold. She knows what she’s doing!

The stories unfold slowly in places, and the narrator, Sanaa, is difficult for me to relate to; she is frank and direct about her emotions, the writing walking the line of showing and telling, so that I sometimes feel a bit, er, removed from her. That said, while I don’t relate to her I am a bit in love with her, and all the other characters (especially Mark Sakai).

Warning: reading these books will make you desperately crave Japanese food and/or culture. Like wow.

Information about the books, along with Stephanie’s bio and a giveaway, below the cut.

Continue reading