Lots of Lindens!

Embellishing the Linden Sweatshirt // Boots & Cats

So many Lindens! Okay, well…two Lindens!

When I first made this pattern two years ago and participated in the Linden swap, I concluded with saying I would definitely be making more. Why wouldn’t I? It’s a quick and easy pattern, has a classic shape and lends itself to warm fabrics that satisfy my need for more sweaters. When you have 6 months of cold weather to deal with, you never seem to have enough sweaters. I just want to be warm, people!

Embellishing the Linden Sweatshirt // Boots & Cats

In my sewing journey I feel like I have crossed over the bridge of making things that look ‘home made’  into making things that look comfortable and fashionable . For the most part I have to say that beyond improving my skills, it has a lot to do with my fabric choices. I’m finally being very particular about quality and things like how it feels, drapes and moves. After observing other seamstresses and discerning what it is about their makes that make them look polished and professional, I uncovered the next step; trims and embellishments.

For the longest time I would never have even thought about including extra details like piping, embroidery or colour blocking. Which is why the sewing community is such a wonderful place, there are so many opportunities to be inspired and see things that unlock something new in your mind. About a year ago on Instagram, I saw a gold-piped Linden by Elle . It looked so beautiful and professional and it was definitely one of those *ding* moments.

Embellishing the Linden Sweatshirt // Boots & Cats

I almost immediately started hunting for gold piping of my own. I first found some on Etsy, but when it arrived it was overly shiny, puffy and so not chic. Feeling a little burned I filed away the idea. Luckily good ol’ fabricland had the PERFECT gold piping (dainty, sparkly and just cool) when I was searching for something else. (Of course, you realize that by sewing this beautiful gold detail onto black fabric it will be impossible for your camera to capture it’s perfect beauty – so you’re gonna have to trust me on this.)

I paired the piping with a quilted poly knit. I liked the play between the lines in the fabric and the contrast stripe of the gold.  As I was preparing to cut out my fabric, I decided to stick my nose into my stash for any other fabric that wanted to be a Linden. I’ve only done it once before, but I prefer batch sewing when making the same pattern. It makes it seem much quicker and the results are twice as satisfying.

Embellishing the Linden Sweatshirt // Boots & Cats

I unearthed a swath of grey french terry from my Blackbird fabrics remnants order and juuuuuuust managed to eke out enough for the second sweater (the sleeves may or may not be a little lot off grain). Totally stoked on my gold piping, I couldn’t just leave this one plain now could I? I dove into my random box of bits and bobs full of rick rack, trims and more. A number of years ago I inherited a bag of random sewing everything and inside were a number of lace trims and off cuts. I didn’t really expect to like the look of white lace, but this one just felt at home as soon as I experimented with placement. Sold.

Embellishing the Linden Sweatshirt // Boots & Cats

I zipped them both up on a weekend afternoon, making my regular length adjustments. The lace had to be tacked down to the front and back before sewing it up to keep it from flopping around and I learned that hand sewing down all the little details takes up WAY more time than you think it will. The lace also didn’t have a flat edge, so I could have sewn it first and then tacked it on top of the seam, but I like the definition of the edges being tucked into the seam. The piping was a far easier detail to add, just being sandwiched in the seam and done. I think I am going to have to stock up on more piping for the future.

When I was making these, I was pretty confident that because of the gold trim, the black one would be my favourite. But the surprising outcome of the lace, plus the super cuddly factor of the french terry, has solidified the grey one as #1 sweater in my heart.

Embellishing the Linden Sweatshirt // Boots & Cats

I love the feeling of constantly being inspired by fellow sewing people. Linden is one of those great patterns that is so simple – but has endless possibilities to create something totally unique. There are still so many ideas out there…and it’s still winter…so…more sweaters, anyone?

Thinking of Spring // The Linden Swap

The Linden Swap // Boots & Cats

In my opinion, the best part of blogging about sewing and DIY projects is the community of creative people that surrounds it. I could spend hours on Google or Pinterest typing in pattern names and numbers, seeing how other’s have interpreted, changed and completely manipulated a basic design. The immense amount of skill, creativity  and charisma out there is mind-boggling. In the last few months my passion for sewing has been invigorated by the oodles of talented seamstresses online and it motivates me everyday.

At the start of this year, I made a personal goal of getting more involved in this community and wanted to work on making connections with more sewists (is that the technical term?) over the web. As if by fate, a few days later I spotted the #LindenSwap put on by Oh She Dabbles and We the Sewing. It was a sign, and I was so in!

The idea was that two sewists would be paired up and they’d make a Grainline Linden for one another. After Carrie played matchmaker, I was paired with the lovely Stitch and Cappuccino. We hadn’t known each other before, but I could tell we have similar styles so I couldn’t wait to see what surprise she had in store for me.

The Linden Swap // Boots & Cats

One cold, dreary Wednesday morning,I got a note from the postman. A parcel had arrived from across the pond! I tore it open to reveal a stunning two-tone cropped Linden (and an bonus chocolatey treat), what an uplifting surprise.

The Linden Swap // Boots & Cats

A perfect transition piece from winter to spring, this Linden is gorgeous. The grey knit fabric is so soft and lines the whole top, so it has a bit of warmth to it too. The softness of the colour choices was also so to my taste. I forced myself to think warm spring-like thoughts and traipsed outdoors to catch a few photos of this pretty thing.

The Linden Swap // Boots & Cats

Why am I looking down in ALL the photos, you ask? Because sunshine + snow = BLINDINGLY BRIGHT LIGHT. You know that photography tip that suggests using something white to bounce the light onto your subject in a natural way? Yeah, it was like that but times a bajillion. Also, it was cold. But you must never admit defeat.

She added 3cm to the length of the cropped version of the pattern, which made it a perfect length for me. This is great to note, as I have shied away from making my own B version of Linden for fear of unwanted midriff exposure. It has a perfect loose, boxy edge to it.

The Linden Swap // Boots & Cats

The one I made and sent away featured a stretchy textured knit with polka dots and plain sleeves on view A (what can I say, I think black and white dots are the cutest). I also added 3 cm to the length everywhere as we discovered we were pretty much the same size. (You can see more details on her blog here)

The Linden Swap // Boots & Cats

Even though I added in a Sewaholic “one of a kind” label to the collar, I have to admit that isn’t tooootally true. I was so enamored by the dots I selfishly made myself a matching one with the leftovers. (I wasn’t alone! True Bias did it too, so I am less ashamed of my selfishness.)

I really hope more swaps come about in the community this year, it was really fun to make something for someone else and it is so exciting to have a surprise garment waiting for you on the other side.

Happy March and think warm!