Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.

Planning More Clothing Projects

Planning More Clothing Projects

During the winter, we often get these back-door cold fronts that sweep down from Canada and come with frigid temps (the air temp is currently -15 as I write this) and high winds that blow down off the mountains from the east. One of the delightful side effects is that our road drifts shut in a couple of places. Last February, two days after I was admitted to the ICU and in the midst of one of these storms, the hospital called the husband at 5:30 a.m. to let him know they had intubated me. He had to drive to town with chains on his truck. I don’t think he had ever done that before. We keep chains on the plow truck because it stays here in the neighborhood, but driving with chains on is not a regular occurrence otherwise.

I did not plan well this week. We needed chicken feed. I also had a baby shower to attend yesterday and the requested gift was diapers and wipes (this is the third baby for this family). I should have picked up all of this stuff when I was in town on Thursday but I thought the clucks had enough food and I forgot about the diapers.

As I was putting on my boots and coat and scarf yesterday morning, the husband said he thought I would be back shortly because I wouldn’t be able to get down the road.

Wonder of wonders, the county had sent out the plow truck, which had just plowed open one lane of the road where it had drifted shut. I doubt I could have gotten through otherwise. I stopped a little further up the road when I saw my friend Susan outside her house, and she and I made quick plans to travel to the baby shower together.

Town was mostly deserted—which makes it a shopping paradise as far as I am concerned—and I got the chicken feed and diapers and a few other things. Joann Fabrics is on the east side of Kalispell, near the grocery store, so I always arrange my trips to town such that it is the last place I stop before heading for home. I consider it my reward for having to go to town and run errands.

I’ve got a cowl neck pullover top made out of some hot pink French terry fabric. It’s going on two or three years old now and is starting to show its age, but I still have it because a) it’s long enough on me and b) it’s hot pink, not some muddy earth tone color. Now that I have gotten comfortable with the serger and the coverstitch machine, I decided I’d like to make a few more just like it. I even considered taking it apart and using it as a pattern, but I would prefer to continue wearing it. Instead, I bought this pattern:

It’s the Nancy Raglan Tunic/Dress pattern from 5 out of 4 Patterns (picture from their website). I have broad shoulders, so raglans are a good style for me. The pattern can be made in a tunic length or dress length. I’d love to have a couple of cozy dresses like this to wear to church during the winter months and some tunic-length tops to wear during the week.

When I got to Joanns—there is a point to this long, rambling story, so bear with me—I noticed that an entire shelf of fabrics had been emptied out. I know from their current mailer that they are getting ready for spring fabrics and are putting some of the previous season’s fabric on sale. One of the fabrics that had gone missing was some striped navy blue French terry I had had my eye on for a few weeks.

I walked around the store for a bit trying to find said fabric. I think it was in a pile that was waiting to be labeled with clearance tags. I could have asked the lady at the cutting table to pull it out and cut some for me. However, I ran across a bolt of light blue French terry already on the clearance rack, so I picked up that, instead. I need three yards for this pattern; there were 3-1/3 yards on the bolt and because I took all of it, I got an extra 10% off over and above the clearance price.

It needs a trip through the washer and dryer. I always pre-wash my fabric.


The Nancy pattern is on my flash drive, ready to take to the blueprint shop for printing. I do not want to print out dozens of letter-sized pages and tape them together. Hopefully I can get this tunic cut out and assembled some time in the next couple of weeks.


After lunch, I picked up Susan and we went to the baby shower. I was thrilled to see how many handmade gifts the mom-to-be received in addition to diapers. (Many of the attendees were women from church.) The baby’s great-grandmother made a beautiful flannel blanket to continue the tradition of providing the blanket that the baby comes home from the hospital wrapped in. Another woman had made a handmade quilt. One of the mom-to-be’s friends made an adorable pair of crocheted Mary Jane booties. Another woman brought a darling crocheted hat. I gifted a flannel and minky baby blanket.

I’ve lived here for 25 years now and I still have to pinch myself sometimes—we do “community” so well, in so many ways. There were women from ages 30 to almost 90 at that shower, and these traditions continue to get passed from one generation to another. I treasure our community for how rare and beautiful it is.

Those Seven Little Words

Those Seven Little Words

All Over the Sewing Map

All Over the Sewing Map