Fashion Design

I’m sew excited! (Ha! Did I really write that?). I just registered for a continuing education class in Fashion Design at OTIS College of Art and Design. I signed up for Introduction to Apparel Construction Techniques. And, I don’t even sew clothes :-). The class is held at California Market Center, which is in the heart of LA’s Fashion District and covers an entire city block.

Have I mentioned that I love “school shopping”? Here’s a copy of my class supply list:

  • Five yards muslin
  • 2″ x 18″ see-through ruler
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • industrial single-needle foot
  • bobbin and bobbin case
  • needles
  • Scotch tape
  • French curve
  • notcher
  • cone of colored thread
  • pins
  • tracing wheel
  • seam ripper
  • flathead(standard) screwdriver
  • Sharpie marker
  • #2 pencil
  • note-taking materials

I figured I probably will learn some fun new things which will be useful for quilting- or who knows, maybe I’ll expand my reperatoire.

When I was at Sewing Summit I met Gretchen of Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing and was amazed at the clothing she sews. She’s adorable.

I also started watching Project Runway the other night (I know, I’m a little bit behind…) and you never know, maybe I’ll be doctor-turned-fashion-designer…


ps. If you’re reading this post in a “reader”, please head over to my blog and let me know your thoughts on my new layout. I would love to have feedback on the design and also any quirks that show up in your browser. I’m finding out that it doesn’t show up the same for everyone.

Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad

Jake and I had dinner with some new, great friends last weekend. Autumn made an incredible kale and brussel sprout salad. It was perfect timing as I was able to re-create the salad for Thanksgiving. And it was a hit, yay!

Try it, I bet you’ll like it.



The Boston Modern Quilt Guild was asked to participate in Jay McCarroll’s Habitat challenge. We were each given a fat eighth of the fabrics in the BRIGHTS colorway.

However, one of the prints was not from the BRIGHTS colorway, but (accidentally?)  from the EARTH colorway.  And, as much as I tried, I could not bring myself to mix it in.

I also could not bring myself to add this print in, although looking at my finished quilt, I actually think it would have looked OK.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do for this quilt. As I haven’t been quilting for very long, I am trying to do something unique with each quilt to help me learn a new technique. I had a vision of doing something with curves. I drew a sketch on a manilla envelope and then Jake whipped out a really nice drawing in Adobe Illustrator.

 I was initially going to try to make the curves with finished seams, but then decided it just seemed too hard. Since then I have seen some tutorials of people doing designs similar to what I had envisioned (check out Amy’s tutorial from Stichery Dickory Dock).

I decided to cut a bazillion curved pieces of fabric from kona snow with a template. This was a perfect project to do while watching Dexter (we watched multiple seasons in a few weeks…).

 I sewed together the fabric squares with some kona solids mixed in (we were only allowed to add solids).  I used pomegranate, carnation, buttercup, peridot, aqua and black.  It actually looked so nice and simple that I almost stopped there. But then I decided that this was a challenge quilt so it would be better to do my original design. And I’m glad I did.

 The “template” pieces give the quilt an entirely different look.

I laid the template pieces on top of the squares and then did a snake-like stitch from one end to the other. It made a beautiful pattern on the back of the quilt.

 The night before the quilt was due, I had not yet finished sewing all the pieces on. Taz came over and was working on her challenge quilt and it was so nice to have company!

I finished the outside edges with a serger and then changed my mind multiple times on how I wanted to do the edging/binding. I felt like a traditional binding would look strange with all the curves so I wanted to wrap the template pieces around the edge. But when I wrapped them, they didn’t overlap anymore so you could see the serged seam. So, I cut larger pieces out of kona snow and sewed those on so they overlapped, but that looked strange, so I ripped all of those out (this is where I always hear Laura saying “If you’re going to sew you’ve got to be willing to rip…”), and put the original pieces back on.

 If I had been forward planning I would have turned right sides together on the ends to have a closed seam, but I couldn’t change it once all the pieces had been sewn on (this is hard to explain…). Or, if I had used a matching thread color it wouldn’t have been as noticeable.

Taz gave me the idea to fringe the edges of the pieces, and I love how that turned out. I was racing against the clock to get to our quilt guild meeting and Jake helped me fringe all the edges (*best husband EVER*).

 It turned out baby quilt size. I like it, but am not sure exactly what to do with it. Kitty quilt?




I am working on another baby quilt and I haven’t moved forward because I can’t decide how to quilt it. I was originally thinking of echoing the diagonal seams on each side but then realized that would make a funky pattern in the middle of some of the squares. I’ve never stippled anything and that makes me a little nervous (although there always is a first…). I’ve been collecting different ways to quilt on pinterest, but still, nothing is coming to me. Suggestions?

There will be a polka dot border and solid border around the pieces that are pieced. The fabric is Kate Spain Fandango.


One of These Isn’t Like the Others…

When I used to live in Boston (Wow, I can’t believe I can say that!), I used to go to Laura’s Sewing School on Monday nights for sewing class. It really was so much more than class. I loved the other women and looked forward to seeing them every week. It was great to get together to chat sew :-). And I also liked the strawberry pop (“soda” in Boston) and popcorn I ate every week.

One of my classmates, Elena, is originally from Spain and teaches at Brandeis University. While we were together in class, she made an amazing dress for her daughter, a shirt for herself and was working on a quilted tote bag when I moved away. She had bought some adorable butterfly quilting pins and when I saw them, I think my eyes got big. She saw how much I liked them and suggested we swap a pin. So, now I have one butterfly pin in my collection. I was sewing this weekend and every time I used this pin I thought of Elena. I felt connected to sewing school.

So, can you tell: Which one of these isn’t like the others?

Miss you girls!! Keep me updated on your projects!

– erica


My life has felt a bit overwhelming and stressful lately, so I decided it was time to take a step back and think about some of the wonderful things in my life. And most of those are people. I have been blessed with many great people in my life.

Yesterday I was sitting in my new office (in Hollywood, CA) and I received a text message from Rosie, my friend and medical assistant, in Boston. It made me teary. Rosie really made my job in Boston special.

When I first started to practice in Boston I was coming from hospital medicine. Switching to a full time clinic job was more foreign than I anticipated. In the hospital, patients have already had a significant work-up in the Emergency Department and you already know that they are sick. In clinic, you have to decide if an issue is serious or if it’s something that will get better on its own. And, seriously, was not prepared for the questions patients would ask (“uh…. what?  Um…. I’m not sure…”). I mean, they did not teach us that stuff in medical school! Trial by fire.

And I’m super organized, which is good and bad. If things aren’t all done in order, I get flustered (which is probably why the move and all of our snaffoos have been so hard on me). But, luckily, I was partnered with Rosie, who saved me every day.

Rosie is very organized and pays attention to the details, just like me. So I could count on her, which allowed me to relax. I knew things were going to get done.

And, she’s also an absolute sweetheart. So, my patients also loved her. Which is doubly awesome.

We both had multiple stressors over the past year, and there was something calming about going to work and being a team. Even if everything else in our lives was chaotic, we could function and get things done at work. I think that was good for both of us. Seeing Rosie always put a smile on my face. Sounds cheesy, but, it’s true.

Rosie has been one of my favorite people to show my sewing projects to. She’s always interested (or at least pretends well ;-)). One day she asked if I wanted to go to a fabric store that she knew about in Cambridge, MA. Didn’t take much convincing. So we went together after work. I got the adorable polka-dots that I used for the back of Andrew’s quilt and a beautiful bird fabric that caught Rosie’s eye.

So, I had a yard of the bird fabric sitting in my apartment waiting for a project to make for Rosie. When I saw a tote bag tutorial, I thought, this is it! The fabric was a thin quilting cotton weight so I added fusible interfacing to it to give it more weight. I have added interfacing to pouches before and it worked well, but I don’t know if I did something wrong this time because after the tote was finished I noticed that if you folded the bag there would be a strange crease in the material from the interfacing bending. Has anyone else had this happen? Any ideas on how to avoid this? Did I not iron it long enough? Otherwise, I think the tote turned out really cute.

I did have some problems with the pattern though. The lining was cut out exactly the same size but had a smaller seam allowance so it was all bunchy when I tried to insert it. So, I had to go back and resize the lining.

I could literally write a novel about Rosie. Here’s a couple of parting photos:

Rosie planned the most amazing surprise bridal shower for me at work. I literally had no idea and when I walked in the conference room with all the decorations and food and co-workers, I cried. THANKS.

Before I left for CA, Rosie took me out for dinner at a Brazillian restaurant. We had “Mu-que-ca’s” (a Brazillian meal in a clay pot). YUM.

And she has the most adorable dog, Millie.

Rosie, I love you! You will be missed daily.



I feel like I can smell mold everywhere. Rainwater got into our moving truck when they were packing it up in Boston and then bred lots of mold all over our things as it traveled across country. Unfortunately lost a LOT of stuff. All my dresses, belts, a large portion of our books (including cool art books that Jake owns), Jake’s senior portfolio from art school, furniture….

Right now it’s all sitting in our landlord’s garage while we try to get the claim form filled out for the moving company.

So, I’ve been a bit behind on everything. Including sewing. Including blogging.

But don’t worry. I’ll be back. SOON.