Sewing Hiking Clothes

I have a tendency to fall down sewing project rabbit holes.

This latest one was jump-started when my mom, sister-in-law, and I decided to go on a vacation together next summer. We plan on walking the Great Glen Way in Scotland, which is a path some friends have traveled and highly recommended.

Of course after signing off on the dates and the cost of the trip, the next question in my mind is “WHAT DOES ONE WEAR ON A WALKING PATH IN SCOTLAND?”

The answers that I’ve gathered include: long pants, waterproof  items, comfortable/breathable activewear, and sturdy shoes that are well-broken-in.

Which is similar to the list of requirements for hiking gear, something that I theoretically use frequently but which has historically eluded me. (I generally hike in cotton leggings or running shorts.)

Why has hiking gear eluded me in the past?
-I am a lady, and the availability of technical gear for women hasn’t always been great. It’s getting better, of course, but…
-I am a tall lady. Maybe 10% of technical gear made for women is also available in longer lengths. (Let’s not even discuss whether they think to increase the rise in addition to lengthening the inseam.)
-I am larger than a size 10. Back when I was still a size 10 – aka when I was a teenager – I would go to outdoor stores and only fit into the LARGEST PANT SIZE.

So, over the past decade, I’ve mostly avoided the hunt for hiking pants. I would occasionally find something that sort-of-worked, but the other reality is that technical gear is EXPENSIVE. I’m not willing to spend $100+ on a pair of pants that sort-of-work.

Having tackled jeans-making in the last six months (hello, neglected blog, I have definitely not told you about this), I’m feeling much more confident in my ability to tackle this project. However, the jeans were made by using an incredible indie pattern AND some thorough teaching tools. So my first step in this process was to research the heck out of it! Since I found a lot of small pieces of information in various places, I figured it could be helpful to share them here. Stay tuned!

2017 Maker Report

This has been such a surreal year – I bought, decorated, and moved into my first house at the beginning of the year – and I’m sure it’ll always be an outlier in that regard.

Every time someone asks what I’m working on, from a sewing/quilting perspective, I’d said, “My house is my hobby right now.” And that’s been true – a lot of this list is going to include house projects which I’m VERY proud of completing. But I also wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the many things that were sewn this year, even if they were often in batches,  and sometimes frantically to a deadline.

1. Somewhat over-ambitiously, I thought I’d dip my toe into upholstery. This only involved buying a DIY upholstery book and attempting to re-seat a cute chair I found on a sidewalk years ago. It was more effort than I expected, though I’m still proud of the outcome. (No pictures of the finished product though – just this process shot…)
Still collecting hobbies. #waitingformorestaples

2. This tabletop was built a few years ago with the help of a friend’s husband. He had the tools and the attention to detail to ensure my vague vision was well-executed, and I actually placed the tabletop on a smaller table in our house for a while. But once I closed on the house, I knew I could finally complete my vision of building a pipe base. It was really fun to sketch and plan the measurements, and VERY frustrating to twist it all together.
Built some legs. Then I took everything apart to be re-assembled in the new home!

3. This was a quick re-upholstery job, covering a dingy fabric stool with some heavyweight fabric that I (tragically) tried making into a dress many years ago. I love having a fabric stash, especially one filled with mistakes that I haven’t yet tossed, so I can dig through for materials in the middle of the night.
I'll probably hate this tomorrow, but this bench needed some cushion and I've had this fabric (from a failed dress) for at least 10 years. #neverpackthestaplegun

4. I assembled a LOT of furniture in the past year, but this bed was the most difficult. So I feel like the Maggie who wrestled with it one night in February should be honored.Guest ready! #onceiwashthesheets #afterifindthem

5. DID YOU KNOW you can by some hairpin legs on Amazon and attach them to a random board and suddenly have a decorative bench? YOU TOTALLY CAN.
Here's the bench! Fitting perfectly against a narrow wall, as if I planned it. ❤

6. Once I was all moved in, with a SEWING ROOM (which was admittedly the last thing to be set up in the house), I felt some pressure to take advantage. This quilt was partially pieced before the move, and had a client eager for delivery, so it was the first finished and photographed at this new house.Untitled

7. Me Made May motivated one sewing project, though in past years it’s been responsible for the bulk of my sewing. This dress, however, became one of my most worn items as the weather changed.I made this dress yesterday. I'm wearing it today. Not sure what #MeMadeMay2017 will look like since homeownership continues to claim my extra money and time. BUT I'm thankful for this fabric in my stash and for the minor alterations that made this favori

8. Since I was doing laundry every few nights so that I could put that purple dress back on, I made a few more versions to get me through the summer. (I love a handmade uniform.) A few weeks ago, I made two more copies of this dress, and now I legit have a summer wardrobe. #maggiemadewardrobe

9. I was clearly getting some sewing mojo back along with that project, because I decided to tackle a queen-sized linen whole cloth quilt for the guest bed. It took a lot of hours, particulary the hand-quilted portions, but I love it (and have already started dreaming of making a throw blanket of a similar style).
Had one section left to quilt. Now I have to figure out what to bind it with.

10. True confession: I DO NOT REMEMBER BEING THIS PRODUCTIVE. But apparently I made ANOTHER quilt for a client, and finished it in August/September. New house fact: I can lay out (and pin baste) a twin sized quilt in the living room if I just move the coffee table (and plants).

11. For my birthday, my parents offered to visit and help me with house projects. The list I came up with was EPIC and included, as a final dream item, this small addition to my back porch slab. The new view from my back door. #mudpiesforeveryone #wecaneatonthepatio

12. I asked to participate in the New City Artist Exchange this year, partially to motivate myself to make some new things, but also so that I could collect more art for my walls. Overall, I made 15 (or 16?) small quilted works, which probably add up to the work of a whole quilt. Finally make a first attempt at something for the Art Exchange with @newcityartsinitiative! I’m paper piecing for the first time, and it’s fun! (Wonky McWonkerson on the top right will be blamed on the learning curve.)

13. One of my wardrobe goals over the past few years is to sew as many basics as possible. So I was thrilled to realize that the Plantain and Nettie tees I’ve sewn in the past have been my most-worn. I made a batch of new ones, and would apologize for the lack of creativity in color selection except for the fact that these are the colors I grab first in my closet Every Single Time. (Except for the pink. That was to coordinate with a burgundy pencil skirt.)Clockwise: #plantaintee times three, then one #nettietee. Millennial pink, slate, indigo, navy. #batchsewing #winterlayering

14. Weirdly, I’m the most proud of this next one. Perhaps because it’s one of the most recent? The story is that I wanted to build some more shelving, and realized that I was trying to determine when my parents were next in town so my dad could help. But then I thought, “Maggie, you are bad-ass enough to build furniture without any help!” And so I did some research, bought some lumber, assembled it…unassembled it, bought some crucial new tools (wood glue, clamps), assembled it again, and now I feel like I could make anything! 😍👷‍♀️🙌

15. The first time I’ve ever sewn curtains, an it happened in the middle of the night when I had a spontaneous desire to floral ones.This is my last Project Report (any Octonaut fans will know the tune I sang that to): the first time I have EVER sewn curtains! 😱

16. Here’s a quick sketch I made a week ago when I realized there was a need for something this size/color/texture on my living room wall: Pulled out the camera while sun was shining this weekend.

17. And here’s my final report of 2017 (unless something else is made in the next few weeks): 4 of 6 throw pillows I’ve re-covered to better fit into this new space. All of them made with fabric from my stash (small scraps and leftovers, or larger pieces I knew I’d likely never sew garments with) and all assembled somewhat frantically the night before houseguests arrived. 20171217-IMG_6491

So my 2017 tally is 3 full-sized quilts (plus the quilted art pieces, plus a baby quilt commission that I didn’t put in here), 3 dresses, 4 shirts, 6 pillows, and a beautiful collection of things built for the house. I feel pretty good about this level of creative productivity! And I’m excited to see what I manage to make in 2018 – maybe I’ll find excuses to use the sewing room more frequently.

50 books finished in 2017: Disunity in Christ

50 books finished in 2017


The blurb from the back is perfect:

With a personal touch and the trained eye of a social scientist, Cleveland brings to bear the latest studies and research on the unseen dynamics at work that tend to separate us. Here are the tools we need to understand how to overcome the hidden forces that divide us.


48 books finished in 2017: Parable of the Talents

48 books finished in 2017

Oh man. This book is fearless in its description of people (frequently men) who use religion for selfish aims. BRUTAL.

And the story apart from that is fascinating as well. I am sad that the third in this trilogy was never finished, because I suspect it would have jumped forward multiple generations, and I love when Butler does that. She’s such a great world-builder!