Janky June Update

It’s So Janky

Did you hear that June is janky sewing month? What you didn’t receive the memo? Well that just shows you how janky this plan was. My friend Caroline over at 4-sisters came up with the concept on the heals of what she calls her janky jeans. I might or might not have volunteered to make a badge for Janky June. I can’t remember if I had volunteered but I know it was not done.


Source: www.urbandictionary.com

So let’s start from the beginning.  What is Janky June? Janky June is a month long sewing challenge to sew as jankily as possible.  Crooked topstitching? Great. Unfinished seams? 4 gold stars. Puckered stitches? A+. You get the idea. Janky sewing is not only ok, it’s encouraged.



Submission #1: Manhattan Shorts

My first submission for Janky June are my Manhattan trousers turned shorts. Cutting off the legs of a trouser pattern is a janky way to make shorts. These will cup under your butt too much and will cut into your tights when you sit. I doubled down on these so-so shorts and made two. Notice the “fine” (as in good enough) quality of the these photos and my “fine” pressing skills?

Manhattan Shorts

The red pair I screwed up in so many ways I ran out of fabric and had to use a filmsy cotton fabric for the pockets. I have to lose about 15 lbs to fit into these because I didn’t account for the less stretchy fabric. I’m hoping the stuffed sausage look comes into style.

Manhattan Shorts Pocket



Submission #2: Circus Tent Top

Simplicity 1107 Front

I call this top my circus tent top. It’s Simplicity 1107. There is 7″ is total ease in this top for the XXS size and grows to 9.5″ of ease in the XXL.  The fabric recommendation calls for light weight wovens and knits. So if you’re using a knit, the ease is EVEN MORE. I made a XS but my measurements would put me in S. My first attempt at the top had about EIGHT INCHES too much ease. I believe that’s a record for me. In the spirit of Janky June I’m going to have to give Simplicity A+ for the ginormal ease. The extra + for a pattern piece that is not nested with the other sizes and is not labeled with any size at all. A++ Simplicity!! My half-ass solution was to cut off the godet-ish side pieces and attached the back piece to the front.

Simplicity 1107 Side

Too lazy to Photoshop the dog out.

That meant I removed the excess in the godets and removed 8 seam allowances. The back is not as swingy but it’s better than looking like a circus tent.

Simplicity 1107 Back

There’s that dog again. Still too lazy to Photoshop him out.

Lastly check out this fantastic coverstitching. I can’t even blame this on wine or a small earthquake. It was all me. :)

Simplicity 1107 Coverstitch

Janky July?

 Since June is nearly over. I vote for Janky July. So who wants to join me in janky sewing?

Jankily yours,

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Link to my Pattern Review.

10 Responses to Janky June Update

  1. June says:

    OMG, I literally snorted when I saw the coverstitching. You are too funny! Thanks for the tip about cutoffs – I had no idea.

  2. Ms. McCall says:

    LOL I love the Janky June theme, but since you saved the top, and the contrast pocket is really cute, I don’t think these projects qualify!!

  3. accordion says:

    Liking this theme. I just did a janky pair of work pants. I cannot get the measurements right. I increased the size to accommodate the less stretchy fabric. Not enough.

  4. Kyle says:

    I’ve been thinking about rebranding my blog. How about “Just Janky”? Hmmmm….

  5. Oh hun, been here, done this. Especially the shorts thing, I think this is why cutoff jeans are always so darn short. But, don’t sell out next month yet! Things will get better soon!

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Burda Swim Cover Up

Caftan Dress Turned Swim Cover Up

Burda Caftan Dress 06-2011 119B Front

This swim cover up is actually a caftan dress pattern from Burda’s June 2011 issue, pattern #119B. I really loved the billowy sleeves and the flowy side slits. I couldn’t imagine wearing this deep of a V neck as a dress. It was perfect for a swim cover-up which is maybe what they had intended as the model has a bikini top underneath.


Source: BurdaStyle.com


I took up the dress bodice length by 5 3/4″ and 1″+ in the width. I also took the sleeves front and back in by 4″ in the length and the width each.  I like the 3/4 sleeve better on me and it works better as a swim cover up.  Even after making the pattern much smaller, this pattern is still a fabric hog or stash buster, however you want to view it. I left out the sleeve ties because I was too lazy to make them. I also took out the back center seam which will only work if you have enough fabric width to go from sleeve hem to sleeve hem.

Burda Caftan Dress 06-2011 119B Back

Photography in The Sun

I don’t usually take pictures in noontime sun but I didn’t think to take photos until after lunch. The sun cast all sorts of horrible shadows on my face and on the garment. And it was hot; so hot the hound couldn’t stand it and headed inside.

Waffle Gives Up

Happy Sewing,

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2 Responses to Burda Swim Cover Up

  1. accordion3 says:

    I love how the sunglasses and shadows make you look mysterious! Lovely cover up too.

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Self Drafted Tank and Jalie Jean Take Two

April Fool’s

As many of you have figured out by now my April 1st post about launching a pattern line of stacking ring dress, macaron hat and lobster bib was a joke. For anyone who missed the post or want to have another laugh I highly advise you go read it now. I’ll be here waiting…


Self Drafted Tank

Welcome back. I have a few things to share. The first is this self drafted tank.

Self Draft Tank Front

I’ve been wanting to make some tank tops for the summer.  I love my Kirstin Kimono tees but I don’t like the tan lines. I was going to make more of the So, Zo tanks but the thin strap leaves my bra straps showing, so this tank is perfect. I also love the interesting arc shaped seam line that lets me play with stripes.

Self Draft Tank Side

I do love stripes. I’m hoping the horizontal stripe, bust gathers and empire-ish seam could do my small bust some good. So far I’ve made 3 of these tops, they’re so quick to make if you’re a sloppy sewer like me.

Self Draft Tank Back



Jalie Jean Take Two

The second thing I wanted to share was another version of Jalie (pajama) Jeans. This version is in blue with an orange topstitch. I did a fancier “fly” front design.

Jalie Jean Part 2 Fly

And no more thigh pockets! I tried out a new pocket design that was a partial success. I like the design it’s just not center. Oops. If you missed the post on how I sew on the pocket design check it out here.

Jalie Jean Part 2 Pockets



Serger Clean Out

I cleaned out and oiled my serger for the first time in a decade. I’m not even sure if I’m suppose to oil the thing. Just like taking apart a sewing machine, make sure you take lots pics and lay out the components in the order that you take it apart.  Don’t ask me how I know, ask the extra screw. So I did eventually find where that screw was suppose to go. Phew!

Serger Clean Out



Waffle’s 7th Birthday

Lastly it was Waffle’s 7th birthday on April Fool’s. If I had to give up sewing or the dog, I give up sewing. Love this little guy.

Waffle Turns 7

This is my favorite pictures of him of all time. He had such a bobble head. The pic has that soft glamour shoot look. Y’all remember those from the 80s?

4 Weeks

Happy Sewing,

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16 Responses to Self Drafted Tank and Jalie Jean Take Two

  1. Mads says:

    Your tank is so cute! I love it in the stripes. And Happy Birthday, Waffle!! Baby bassets always look so hilarious with their enormous skulls (in a cute way)–how cool that you have that picture of him as an itty bitty basset baby!

  2. accordion3 says:

    Nice drafting! Loving the stripe placing too, and those jeans look very comfy.

  3. Kay says:

    Ooooooh! That’s a fabulous tank…If you aren’t releasing that as a pattern, could you please show us how you did it? I can see how the cured seam line is made, but how did the gathers come into the picture? share please.

  4. Carrie says:

    Love that tank top! It fits you great and look super comfortable (same with the jammie jeans :)
    Also, Waffle is just the cutest thing! That puppy picture is too adorable for words

  5. aleah says:

    I love that tank! If you’re not going to release it as a pattern (which you really should, it’s super cute and not like anything else I’ve seen lately), can I at least trace your dodgy draft next time I see you? 😉
    Waffle’s so cute! I love the kitten pics we have of our cat too – they’re so adorable when they’re tiny.

    • Yes, you are welcome to trace my dodgy draft. I might actually clean up the draft before then. Every time I make it I’m fixing the same problems on the fly. I want to see your kitten pics. So adorable.

  6. rtrittel says:

    Your tank is lovely – well done! Oh, that ‘bobble-head’ Waffle is soooo cute! Can’t blame you for loving that little guy!

  7. Ginny says:

    I adore your tank!!! It’s so fun, feminine and flattering. Will there be a pattern? The jammie jeans look so comfy and cute — I should make something similar. Great sewing!!!

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Detective Houndstooth Sewing Pattern Launch

Did You Miss Me?

Some of you might have noticed that I haven’t been blogging lately. My insecure blogger-self hopes that you did. I’ve been locked up in my sewing room working on a super top secret sewing project. I’m so thrilled to announce that I’m jumping on yet another bandwagon and launching a sewing pattern line.  It’s named after my blog, Detective Houndstooth.

Det HT Sewing Pattern Banner

Mysterious Sewing Patterns

As you can see by my tagline, I’m creating a line of mysterious sewing patterns. I will be adding tons of fun puzzles and mysterious for  you to solve because sewing up a pattern isn’t enough of a challenge.

1) Ease: I won’t spell out the ease. You have to guess what it is by measuring the pattern pieces and subtracting the body measurement. I’ll keep you guessing by throwing in negative ease on a woven garment. You won’t know if it’s too big or too small until you’re trying on the garment. I can hear the laughter now.

2) Instructions: The instructions will be filled with fun puzzles. The steps will be out of sequence and once in a while I’ll leave out a step.  You fill in the blank. What fun!

3) Pattern PDF: I will be only selling PDFs. The PDFs will be printed on no less than 70 pages.  Pattern pieces will be put across as many sheets as possible for maximum mystery. Keep your eyes out on those itty bitty slivers of a pattern piece corner.


Upcoming Patterns

Due to the huge success of my free patterns which has made me a whopping -$52 (it’s a long story) I’m making the most downloaded ones into patterns. First up is a dress based on my very popular stacking ring pattern. The rings are easy to fit and hides a number of body issues. Separate rings are a great color blocking opportunity.

Det HT Stacking Ring Dress

My second pattern will be a hat based on my macaron measuring tape. Macarons are all the rage in foodie world. Now you, too, can be on the bleeding edge of fashion with this hat.  The retractable measuring tape can also double as a chin strap. Never lose your hat in the wind again.

Det HT Macaron Hat

The third pattern that I’ll be launching is in the functional fashion category, a lobster bib based off my of reuseable bag tutorial. This lobster bib folds up and can nicely fit in your purse. You’ll never be caught without one if you’re ever at a surprise lobster dinner. What? That doesn’t happen to you once a month? The roomy bag will catch all your spills with room to spare. *No lobsters were harmed in the making of this pattern.*

Det HT Lobster Bib

Testers Needed

Of course I won’t dare release a pattern without testing it out first. So if anyone wants to be baffled and befuddled by a sewing pattern, please let me know in the comments. You will need to give me feedback within 2 days of getting the pattern. It is mandatory that you participate in the blog hop and write reviews on 4 different sites.  You are highly encouraged to write only nice things. Any negative comments will be blamed on user error and dismissed immediately.

Don’t forget to sign up in the comments of this post.  So who’s in?

Happy mystery sewing,

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21 Responses to Detective Houndstooth Sewing Pattern Launch

  1. Pingback: Self Drafted Tank and Jalie Jean Take Two - Detective Houndstooth

  2. Mads says:

    LOLOL!! This post and the hilarious photos made my day.

  3. LindaC says:

    This is hysterical. Thanks for the smiles. Is it wrong that I want a macaron hat? 😉

  4. Caroline says:

    You are so damn funny! This is the best April Fool’s prank I saw this year. And a very astute commentary on certain indie pattern companies too ;-).

  5. aleah says:

    Nhi, this is amazing!! Can I just say that maybe my favorite thing about your totally fantastic photoshops is that your shoes match the rings dress. Actually, just everything about the ring dress is awesome. Count me in the blog hop :)

  6. BeccaA says:

    These patterns sound great. I can’t wait to fill in the blanks and tape all that paper together. ROTFL–great post!

  7. Kyle says:

    I am *howling* with laughter! Quite clever, Det. Houndstooth!!

  8. nothy lane says:

    This is the best blog post I’ve read this year! SO funny…

  9. Hi Nhi,
    We met at PR San Francisco a few years ago! I finally got my act together and started a blog. I wouldn’t mind testing. Will you be at PR LA? If so, looking forward to seeing you again there!

  10. Kimber says:

    Love today’s post! ROTFL!

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Strawberry Wrist Pincushion – Free Pattern

It’s a Slap Wrap Pin Cushion!!

Strawberry wrist pincushion 2

Optional needle holder leaf is not shown. That comes later.


I’ve been meaning to make myself a wrist pin cushion for a long time.  I decided to make the pincushion into a strawberry as a nod to dangling strawberry on those ubiquitous tomato pincushions.  Unlike the tomato pincushion, this strawberry would be life size.  Since there’s numerous strawberry stands and farms in my town and I live near the “Strawberry Capital of the World,” it just seemed fitting.  The pattern and construction took me a bit of fiddling around to get it just right.  Since I’ve already went through the trouble, I wanted to share it with everyone.  Who doesn’t need a strawberry pincushion?





 Gather your materials

  • 6″ x 5″ red cotton fabric with white polka dots.
  • 10″ x 6″ green wool felt
  • Poly fill stuffing
  • Metal from a slap wrap bracelet.  I got mine from a vending machine at the pizza place for $0.75.  It was very easy to cut around the edges and remove the metal inside.Slap Wrap
  • Download the pattern here.


Construction Steps

  1.  Cut out your pieces.

    Cut Fabric

  2. Fold the red polka dotted fabric in half on the dotted line.  Sew along the dashed line shown on the pattern.  You will have something that looks like a strawberry cone.  Trim away the excess at the tip.  Turn the cone right side out.Sew Strawberry
  3. Pin the strawberry cone to one of the green felt wrap cover matching the circles.  The strawberry cone should be slightly on the diagonal.  Use the pin to hold the layers together and stitch approximately a 1/2″ circle around the pin.  You will have to push back the extra fabric while you do it. Sew Strawberry onto Wrap Cover
  4. Prepare to sew the cover by laying the pieces down in this order:  Green felt cover, metal slap wrap with the curve facing up, green felt cover with the strawberry cone sewn on it. Assemble Layers
  5. Baste both the green felt covers to the metal slap wrap using a glue stick.  Smooth out any lumps and ensure good contact by rubbing it with your fingers.  Glue Baste
  6. Roll the strawberry cone up and pin it so it’s out of the way.  Draw the outside of the metal slap wrap using chalk.  You can feel the edge of the metal with your finger.Trace Wrap
  7. Using a zipper foot stitch around the cover using your chalk line for reference.Sew Cover
  8. Trim off the excess.  You can either cut a straight or decorative edge.  I decided on a scalloped edge.  I used a paper scissor and muscled my way through the layers.  It was tough and a little messy but worth the effort. Trim off excess
  9. Unpin the strawberry cone.  Run a gathering stitch around the opening.  Stuff the strawberry with polyfil firmly.
  10. Gather and StuffPull the gathering threads to close the opening.  Stitch to secure. Sew close
  11. Attached the stem to the cap by pulling the stem edges through the slit in the cap and stitch to secure. Stem to cap
  12. Pin the cap to the top of the strawberry.  Stitch to attach. Sew cap on
  13. You’re done.  Put in pins and enjoy.Strawberry wrist pin cushionStrawberry wrist pincushion 2

Optional Needle Holder

Like any good pattern maker, I tested the pincushion after I finished it.  I started putting needles into the cushion and proceeded to loose these needles IN the cushion.  So I decided to add a leaf needle holder.

  1. Cut out the optional strawberry leaf out of the green felt.  The pattern has smooth edges.  To make the jagged edges snip using the tip of your scissors.  Make the edges jagged half way down the leaf.Strawberry leaf
  2. Stitch the leaf onto the wrap cover.  Stitch down each of the 3 leaf lobes.  This step is easier if you close up the slap wrap.Stitch on leafCongratulations.  You now have a needle holder.  Make sure when you put your needles on the leaf that sharp end points into the middle of the leaf.Strawberry wrist pincushion with needle holderStrawberry wrist pincushion with needle holder 2


Put in some pins and needles and you’re all set.   I hope you give this pattern a try.  If you do feel free to e-mail me with questions and finished pics.

Strawberry wrist pincushion in use

Happy pin cushion sewing,

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18 Responses to Strawberry Wrist Pincushion – Free Pattern

  1. Julianne says:

    Aren’t you glad slap bracelets are around again? I feel like they disappeared between 1993-2009. Dark days!

    “Strawberry Capital of the World” reminds me of a stripper named Ana I knew about 10 years ago in New Orleans. I’ll tell you the story next time I see you.

    I have not tried a wrist pincushion as an adult, but now I’m thinking about my favorite fruits. I generally just keep a bowl of pins nearby. Do you use yours all the time, or for certain projects or processes?

    • Last I remembered the slap wrap was probably 1991. I didn’t know they stuck around until 2009.

      Yes, we need to get together stripper story aside.

      This is my first wrist pincushion in my entire life. I think it had to do with my new-ish sewing room. It’s so much bigger I’m moving around a lot more and my 1 pound emery pincushion isn’t mobile. I’ve weened myself off of pins but now that it’s so convenient I’ve addicted to it again. I might need to go to pin rehab.

  2. Karen says:

    You’re always coming up with something simple and brilliant! I was just lamenting losing all but one precious needle inside my pincushion. I’m going to add a felt leaf. Voila!

  3. Pingback: How To Make A Strawberry Wrist Pincushion | Mantuas

  4. BeccaA says:

    What a clever idea. I had never heard of a slap wrap before. I may make a velcro close band to use instead if I get my act together to make one of these. So cute!

    • You should definitely try it. It was so easy I was kicking myself for not making one sooner. If I glued the strawberry to the wrist band with Liquid Stitch I would have been even quicker. Give it a try.

  5. Pingback: Tutorial: Strawberry pincushion for your wrist – Sewing

  6. nothy says:

    How adorable! What a smart little notion too – having it on your wrist will keep the pins handy. I’ve been looking for one forever and never thought to make one. How smart.

  7. June says:

    Super cute! I use one that is just a plain magnet on a Velcro wrist strap. Yours definitely has much more style!

  8. Anne says:

    Adorable!! I’ve got a Craft Gossip post that links to your tutorial here:

  9. Kyle says:

    That is really cute!

  10. Ginny says:

    Oh wow, so cute!!! I think I need to make one! But I have never heard of a slap wrap bracelet and am not sure what to look for — is it something I could buy at the craft store?

    • Thanks Ginny. I hope you do try it. Assuming you find the material, of course.

      If you remember back in the late 80s/early 90s, these are the bracelets that are straight and when you hit them on your wrist, it wraps around the wrist.

      I’ve seen them at party supply stores, dollar stores and those machines at the pizza place where you put quarters in and get a little toy in a round plastic container. They seem to be coming back as party favors. Just avoid the silicone ones. You can’t get the metal piece out of those easily. Ask me how I know.

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