30. November 2012 · 3 comments · Categories: Men · Tags: , , ,

Today’s been hard. Yesterday was hard too. A Beagle named Buckley is sick. He’s got some swelling on his head that is indicative of an abscess behind his eye and near his ear. And poor little guy had a seizure this morning.

Can you send him your positive vibes and healing thoughts? Thanks friends. I love this boy so damn much.


Today we have another awesome infographic! This time? Shoes. Because sneakers don’t cut it, fellas. They just don’t. I present to you…The Gentleman’s Guide to Shoes. Please pay special attention to the sock portion of this infographic. It’s imperative.


Do you have male friends that would benefit from this post? Of course you do. Send them the link!

Gah! I could not be more excited about what’s coming up in Meadow Rue land. Lots and lots of sewing, and an entirely handmade holiday! Well, we will see about that.

I’m teaching four fun new classes at Fabricate in Boulder starting this Saturday. So if you haven’t started Christmas shopping yet and you have some button down shirts hanging around, you should join us. I’m serious. It’s going to be on the top ten list of your best times ever.

Click on the photos to be taken to the class info page!

Class space is extremely limited at Fabricate so call 303.997.8245 to register! Full tutorials on these fun projects to come after the holidays!

Fellas. Listen up. Most of you? You need help. We love that you’re easy going, down to earth, and utterly predictable. But your taste in fashion? It needs some improvement.

Luckily Next, is featuring a series of infographics aimed at helping the dudes of the world make some more informed decisions when it comes to style. Thank you Next, thank you so much.

First, just a little suit tailoring for you…

80 hours to tailor a suit? That is one project I won’t be tackling from scratch. Next infographic? Shoes! Stay tuned!

It’s the day before Thanksgiving and I am content as a sleepy Beagle. Five days ago, a ten hour drive dropped me at the doorstep of my home. Not my literal home. It was my sister’s and soon-to-be brother-in-law’s home in Bozeman, Montana. But, it felt like home. That city always does.

Three days later we ventured to a little town called White Sulphur Springs, for a quick planning session, photoshoot and so much good conversation. It felt so warm and welcoming. It was home.

Today, after four more hours on treacherous roads, I arrived at Swan Lake, Montana. The location where many a summer and almost every Thanksgiving is spent. This is home.

The Head and The Heart

None of these places are my actual home. I won’t be visiting the home I grew up in, the home my father inhabitated as a little boy. But my soul doesn’t feel empty. It feels full to the brim with the most wonderful energy from the people I care most about.

If I were to lose all of my possessions, my house, and my beloved iPhone, I would still have home. Because home is people, it’s all of those crazy, wonderful memories that return when you smell something familiar, it’s a feeling of total contentment. Home is a full and open heart. Home is a beagle, a roaring fire, and wide open blue skies.

I hope you’re enjoying home these holidays, no matter where you are!

Have you checked out Meadow Rue Men yet? If not, you’re missing out!

Hold on to your hats, folks. Today’s Sistershare (in combo with my sister’s sewing skills) is about to blow your mind.


Has anyone heard of Oliver + S, only one of the most awesome pattern companies around? Of course you have. The company published a stellar book, called Little Things to Sew chock full of children’s patterns. The end result from their messenger bag pattern? A grown woman coveting a child’s accessory. It’s totally normal.

I want one. You can have one!

The facts, straight up:
Pattern: Oliver+S Messenger Bag from Little Things to Sew
Size: child (the book includes an adult size as well)
Fabric: Ikea Tidny canvas, purple Jo-Ann bottomweight cotton/poly blend
Notions: two strap adjusters (look for these in the purse aisle, not the notions aisle), bias tape maker
Difficulty:  3 out of 4 scissors (Intermediate)
Model:  The ever lovely Ms. Madeleine (thanks M!)
Make it again?:  I cut out two, so I’m guessing another is in my future.

Her words:

“If you haven’t perused the offerings in Little Things to Sew, do yourself a favor and head on down to Barnes and Noble just to flip through this book.  There are twenty different projects, great instructions, and gorgeous photographs to look at.  Pair that with your favorite Starbucks seasonal beverage, and I say you’ve got yourself a Saturday morning outing.

Oliver+S patterns are expensive, but this book is a great way to pick up a bunch at a relatively low cost.  If your Jo-Ann store carries it, I suggest using a 50% off coupon to bring the cost down to less than a buck a pattern.  While you’re at Jo-Ann, head over to the purse notion aisle and get your strap adjusters.  They didn’t have the simple metal loops, so I bought a two pack of their strap adjusters and pried off the little slider bar from the middle of one.

The first thing you’ll notice about the patterns in this book is the need to trace each one.  I spent the evening cross-legged on the floor with my big acrylic ruler, a roll of tracing paper and the third season of Glee on streaming Netflix.  It didn’t take more than an episode to trace the Messenger Bag, Explorer Vest,  Reversible Bucket Hat and Messy Kid Bib (to be featured in the near future). 

The bag itself is easy to construct and surprisingly simple to line compared to say, a child’s backpack. I made the bias tape (best tute here) and strap from the lining fabric and I’m really pleased with the contrast between the graphic canvas and the solid purple accents.  Only thing I’d change?  I’m thinking if you added another two inches to the length of the large panel, it might be visually more appealing. 

Love the bag, but don’t want to make it yourself?  Here’s your opportunity to own it. My little messenger bag is featured in an auction to benefit a sweet kiddo looking for her family.  Your tax deductible bid goes to offset the costs of her future adoption.  Didn’t realize overseas Down syndrome adoption even existed?  Take a look here.

You guys, this is big. My first guest post is happening today…right now, in fact! And I couldn’t be happier to feature my internet buddy Elena from Randomly Happy for the inaugural post! Take it away, Elena.

Hiya lovely Meadow Rue readers. I’m Elena over at Randomly Happy. It’s such a treat to be here with you. These Sew Thrifted posts were the very first posts I stumbled across and are what hooked my on Meadow Rue in the first place.

If your thrifting adventures are anything like mine, you might be stumbling across some lovely items of clothing that are just several sizes too big. Case in point: this lovely vintage skirt I found in my local thrift store. So hard to resist with it’s yellow polka dots and pleats. But just way too huge. And, trust me, nothing makes you look less attractive than an oversized, pleated polka dot skirt. 

But there’s hope. Skirts are ridiculously easy to take in. And so, I wanted to share two ways you could use to tailor thrifted skirts like this. One way is super quick and works when skirts are slightly too large. The second way is best if a skirt is significantly massive. Both of these work best if the skirt has an elasticised waist (i.e. no zipper), or has a seam at the back centre.

No 1: The quick way to take in a skirt1. Turn your skirt inside out and try it on. Work out where you want the skirt to sit on your waist. Mark this with a fabric pen or tailor’s chalk. Make sure you take in roughly the same amount of fabric on both sides.

2. Wander on over to your sewing machine. With both sides of the skirt together and starting at the top sew over the line you marked and gradually continue down till about half way down the skirt. Make sure you gradually taper the line, bringing it closer and closer to the original side seam. This helps stop the fabric from bulking up and giving you weird seams on your hips (not flattering – trust me – I’ve learned the hard way!).

No 2: When a skirt is huge1. Repeat step 1 above. Now, instead of tapering the line just continue straight down to the bottom of the skirt. Cut away the excess fabric and zig zag the seams to stop them from fraying.See, so easy. And quick too. You might need to hem the skirt – especially if you’re short like me – but even then this can all be wrapped up in an hour.

So, would you be willing to take the plunge and resize your next thrifty find? Or are you strictly sticking to your size?  

It’s four days before Fall Break and I swamped with work. A midterm and presentation are coming up on Thursday…and I’m writing about skinnifying a tie. You see where my priorities lie.

But really, this post was begging to be written. Who doesn’t love a skinny tie? Don Draper loves skinny ties. Men look better in them. End of story.

I asked my male model what the purpose of a tie was anyway. I mean, they’re totally decorative and they appear somewhat uncomfortable. He said he thought it was some sort of medieval napkin. I hope that’s true. The neckties at the thrift store would indicate that’s true. Stain city, friends.

Want to learn how to skinnify your man’s ties? Well listen up!

1. Turn your tie to the back it should look something like in the diagram above.
2. Snip off the point of the tie along the magenta dotted line.
3. Seam rip up the center back seam of your tie (mint dotted line) to the width of the tie that you’d like to skinnify the rest of the tie to.
4. Turn the seam ripped length of the tie inside out and sew along the bottom and up the side (second diagram). Be sure to leave an inch so that you can turn the tie back to the right side. Trim off the excess fabric.
5. Turn the tie right side out and hand sew the remaining inch of center seam.
6. Press well (If your tie is silk, be sure to use a low iron setting!).

If you’re me, you’ll need several lessons on how to tie a necktie, then you’ll just give up and let your man do it. Also! Encourage him to leave the top button of his shirt undone for a Jim-Halpert-type look.

More men’s post to come friends. I hoping I can incorporate a three-piece suit into a post. Google image searching Don Draper was a big mistake.

Little kid fabric is the best. Munchkins get to wear prints of elephants and puppies and it’s totally cool.

Adults? We get to wear stripes. Maybe the occasional ikat, but that’s it. It’s my life’s mission to design a line of playful fabric for adults. It won’t be weird. I promise.

Polly Peasant Dress Neck Detail

This week my sister Whitney is sewing up the most adorable little dresses you’ve ever seen, by putting all those random fat quarters to use.

Polly Peasant Dress in puppy print

So much painful adorableness going on here. I swear, everything miniature is better than full size.

Polly Peasant Dresses
The facts, straight up:

Pattern:  Polly Peasant Dress & Blouse by Etsy seller Sew Much Ado
Size: 3T
Fabric: Two fat quarters per shirt plus white Kona cotton (three fat quarters would suffice if you want the entire shirt from the same fabric), all of mine is from Jo-Ann (surprise, surprise)
Notions:  3/8″ elastic, safety pin
Difficulty: beginner
Make it again?: This isn’t even my first attempt at this pattern, so I’d say it’s likely I’ll do it again.

Her words:
“Do you ever look at those little fat quarter packs of fabric in the quilting section and think that the print is fantastic, but there’s not nearly enough to make something decent?  I’m not kidding when I say I’ve purchased these turquoise elephants no less than three times when they were on sale for 99 cents apiece.

Well, here’s something to do with them!  You’ll need at least two matching fat quarters.  Grab a third for the sleeves unless you have a coordinate at home.  I used plain white cotton.  The pattern is a breeze.  Every step is accompanied by a photo and she talks you through project with or without the use of a serger. 

These are just as simple as the pants from last week.  I’d imagine this would be a great time to let your little one pick out her favorite fabric.  (Because, you know, your children spend hours upon hours in the fabric store with their mom… just like we did as kids.)  With four bucks and an hour to sew, you can complete this project easily.  Have fun!”

Saturday night was the best. I mean, really the best. I was able to spend two hours with twelve lovely Colorado bloggers. Beware: I’m going to show you a million pictures and make you insanely jealous. I’ll go back to being polite and inclusive…tomorrow.

Meadow Rue Readers, meet: (back row) KimAshley, Me, Lizzie, Meghan (middle row) Liz, Rebecca, AnneKeely (front row) Katie, Erin, Elaine, Anne

Kim organized the most awesome craft: fabric printing on jersey scarves. Despite getting yellow paint nearly everywhere, this was totally theraputic. More fabric printing needs to happen in life.

The swag bags. Oh dear, there was nothing lacking in those swag bags. Kim even threw a ringpop in for all of us (flashback to 1992!). If I could only take one thing to a desert island, it would be this swag bag.

This little print is going in a thrifted frame and up on my sewing room wall asap. It’s has been scary, Yellow Heart Art. How did you know?

The most awesome craft kit from Katie at Lemon Jitters was included. I can’t wait to dig into this. That tiny wooden plane will be put to good use, you can be certain of that.

Knitted (or crocheted?) things from Snowdrift Designs! I really should learn the difference. Regardless, this red cup cozy has been planted firmly on my coffee mug since Sunday morning. And I refuse to drink out of anything else. It serves as a coaster too! And the coaster serves as a coaster, also. Imagine that.

A bright and cheerful fat quarter from Fabricate! The event was hosted at their adorable fabric store and sewing studio. The perfect venue for an intimate gathering.

Cards and prints! A fun Thank You from Ashley at Bow & Arrow Art and a Colorado state print from CAPow!

Overall, the night was a small trip outside my comfort zone coupled healthy injection of whoa-I-need-to-get-my-shiz-together. These ladies are big time, and after a bit of blog stalking, I am so inspired. Being surrounded by other people who understand the self-induced stress that comes from getting a post up is a strange comfort. What was even more awesome? Their personalities totally shine through in their writing, something that I continually strive for, but am completely unaware if the effort is working.

Twas a good night, friends. A good night indeed.

My life changed today. My sister informed me of buttonhole elastic. Please tell me you’ve never heard of this. Make me feel just a teensy bit better about my naiveté. And please excuse me while I have a total why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moment.

What is it you ask? Well, it’s elastic with buttonholes. Duh.

Still don’t get it? It wasn’t so intuitive for me either. By sewing a button into the back of the pants where the elastic peeks out, you can adjust the fit of the waist by buttoning the elastic at different lengths. This stuff is perfect for growing kiddos or for adults who have simply indulged in a large meal. This year I’m totally wearing flannel pants with buttonhole elastic to Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not a far departure from the usual holiday attire, so I’m sure it won’t be an issue.

Whitney is ready to clad the growing children of the world with adjustable waist flannel pajama pants. Five pairs? This woman is on a roll.

The facts, straight up:
Pattern: dana-MADE-it’s Kid Pants 
Size: 2T-3T
Fabric: an assortment of Jo-Ann flannel
Notions: buttonhole elastic, plus one random button per pair
Difficulty: beginner
Make it again?: I’m a little tapped out after all these, but never say never.

Her words:

“Did you stock up on flannel during the big Jo-Ann sale?  It ended up being $2 and change per yard and I went a little nuts.  There are only so many basic baby blankets with satin binding you can make before you need a break (amen sister).

 Enter kid pants.

 Kid pants are about the easiest thing on the planet to whip up, as evidenced by the FIVE PAIRS I cranked out in one sitting.  Assembly-line sewing is the way to go here, folks.

 Dana’s blog is fantastic and this pattern happens to be free.  If the size doesn’t suit you, you’ll find a link to drafting your own pattern based on an existing pair of pants.  The pattern goes together lickity split.  Once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably crank out a pair in 30 minutes if you’re doing multiples.

I opted to do buttonhole elastic on these and if you use the link above, you’ll see that the stuff is really pretty inexpensive.  Hopefully buttonhole elastic makes them more wearable, although let’s be honest… flannel is really only appropriate about six months out of the year.  I suppose a kid’s waist doesn’t grow too terribly much in a season?

Here’s a good buttonhole elastic tutorial if you need one. I used a single button instead of two, but the effect is nearly the same.  And no worries about picking out perfect buttons – I raided my stash of those ones that come in the little envelopes attached to new clothing.  Look at me… repurposing just like my little sis!”

I am so proud. Tear.