Monday, December 21, 2015

Pattern of the Year and the Blue Bear

I have lost track of how many of these tops I've made, but it seems like I've been wearing one every day. The Textile Studio Santa Monica Tee: My Pattern of the Year for 2015. Incidentally, I'd have to say their Monaco tee was pattern of the year last year.
I'm holding a little bear I made for Hospice of Michigan. They are sewn by volunteers from the clothing of a person who has passed away and given as a keepsake to the bereaved family. God has given sewing to me as my gift to serve others and I hope to make many more  bears this next year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Its true, what they say

About how everything comes around again. I bought this pattern in 1994 when it first came out. And now, in 2015, I can jump on the high-low hem wagon with it.

5 feet of fierce!
I will tell you I bought it because that girl on the envelope is just plain fierce!
Too bad I'm not 6 feet tall like her!

I do like it though and think I'll make it again with some black Sophia double knit. This time, though I made it with some incredibly unnatural double knit polyester. (there was a note on it saying it was from Carol B. So, Thanks Carol!)

The pattern is intended for a woven, but I think it worked out great with this stable knit.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

back in action

I've been back in the sewing room with one of the truest of my TNT patterns: the Textile Studio's Santa Monica tee. I just can't stop making these!
Black Stretch Velvet

Jersey from

ITY from

I've been sticking to the tried and true just because it's a bit easier for me for right now. And I love this pattern anyway. I feel like I have most of the dexterity back in my hand. Except for one thing. You know how you can just tell if you've got the right numbers of layers under your hand, headed for the needle or serger blade? Well, I can't. So I keep accidentally sewing an extra bit of something where it doesn't belong. I know I just need to slow down and pay extra attention.
And the other thing: I was never a good typist and I'm even worse now. Thank God for right click and replace in Google Chrome. Thank God for many things!!!

Finally, here are a couple of things I made before the Stroke but never blogged about. Too cold to wear them now. Both fabrics are a really light weight cotton with embroidered dots from JoAnns.


 I am so happy and grateful to be back sewing and to all of you taking the time to read my posts!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Rugby Skirt

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my last post.
I think its a good idea for me to stick with my tried an true patterns for now.
So I made this skirt from trusty old Butterick 5539. Really, what else could I do with this fabric?
Dust the furniture?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Life-Changing Event

Dear Readers:
some of you may have noticed I've been absent for three months.
I went into the hospital August 20 for what should have been routine gall bladder surgery.
And I had a stroke.
I'm doing pretty well, Thank God. If you met me in person you probably wouldn't even know it happened.
I've had some excellent physical therapy.
And psychotherapy for the crippling depression an anxiety. That's getting better now too.
I am still, however,  dogged by Chronic Daily Headaches , which I've struggled with now for 15 months.
It's one day at a time for me.
I have sewn a couple of things, one I will show you later this week, the other was a total wadder.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Dressing Gown: Butterick 6176

A couple of months ago, my daughter and I did some actual retail shopping. I noticed two ladies who appeared to be wearing a beach cover up over their street clothes. My daughter told me it was 'a thing'. Well, I think it looks a bit strange to wear a beech cover up over your street clothes, but instantly, I realized I had just bought a pattern for that same garment! It seems like one of those fast fashion trends that will quickly be on its way out and will soon be showing up at the thrift stores.

I used the pattern (Butterick 6176) to make a dressing gown for my daughter out of my strange cocker spaniel/ Stanley cup fabric. Its a crepey, medium weight rayon. Only 35 inches wide, only fumes were left when I finished.

I added carriers, a belt, interior ties and side vents. I finished the neck and front edge with lime green bias tape for a little pop of color again the tan fabric. I sewed the sleeves in flat versus the instructions which have you sew the lower portion of the side seam, then set the sleeve in. I think that's a bit strange for a kimono sleeve. I made the length halfway between view C an D.

My daughter is happy with it, it's a nice weight for summer and its already makeup colored so you don't have to worry about stains. I'm happy because I have found a purpose for this crazy fabric.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


What the fabric!

This is the fabric I'm working with right now. It came from a yard sale. It's a hideous color and has a very strange print. It has....

Allstate Hands 


Cocker Spaniels


The Stanley Cup!!

If your eyes aren't broken yet, take a look at this fabric I saw at Joann's this week:


That's what you're calling your company?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Welcome back Y2K: Vogue 8907

I bought this pattern (Vogue 8907) intending to make view B but never got around to it. Recently though, when looking through my pattern hoard, I noticed view C and I was, like, OMG!!! It's just like one of my favorite tops I ever made: Style 2891

Image result for style patterns 2891
I had made it with fabric I bought on my honeymoon in Aruba in 2000. I loved that top. It was a sad day when it no longer fit and we had to part. Thankfully, I still have my husband and he still wears the shirt I made him from the same fabric.

Though this was intended to be just a wearable muslin, I really love this top. I love orange! The fabric is a slubby polyester linen look-a-like inherited from Gwen.

It was a bit wrinkled the day we took these photos (on just as beautiful as Aruba Belle Isle) but then the wind blew them right out!

I bought the Lrg-Xlg-Xxl pattern range which is too big for me. I made it smaller by taking an inch out along the front and back centers but then added an inch to the front with an FBA. I also raised the armholes up an inch.  I had pre-washed the fabric and was surprised to see it shrank a bit more and fit better after it was washed.

Hopefully there will be enough summer left for another one!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Outsmarting a bad pattern, Vogue 8657

I bought this pattern a while ago. Why? I don't know. The nice drape must distracted my attention away from that tie belt. The only thing I would ever wear with a tie like that is my bathrobe. And I would only wear that in public if my house was burning down.

Still, something intrigued me about this pattern. Many times I pulled it out to look at it only to set it aside again. When I read the reviews on PR, I had even more misgivings about it. Rarely have I seen a pattern with worse reviews: poorly drafted sleeves, misplaced snaps, fronts falling open and, worst of all, it's entirely self lined and required three yards for the sleeveless version!

I decided to make a muslin with an old sheet. But first, the FBA needed to be done. Not one but two, since its asymmetrical. It was getting late and I decided to put it aside and leave those FBAs for the morning. Then I had a brainstorm. You know, one of those ideas you have to write down in case you forget it by morning! Morning came and the idea was still rushing to get out: I had decided to make two lefts, one FBA and no tie. I did a narrow hem on on the front, neck and lower edges and finished the armholes with bias. Then I sewed the center fronts wrong sides together and just let the front fall where it may.

I really like how it turned out. Its cool and breezy and perfect for this hot weather. Not bad for a dog pattern and an old sheet!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nothing fancy

Just some everyday skirts. This is my TNT knit skirt pattern  (Butterick 5539) which I have made what seams like a hundred times before. Its been hot as blazes around here and these are perfect easy summer sewing. The front and back pattern pieces are the same because I am too. I sew the side seams, serge the elastic to the top edge, flip it to the inside and zigzag though it, then hem. I could do it in my sleep.

I made the necklace and earrings too.
They're quartz, black Czech glass and Thai silver.

The white parts of the fabric are puffy.

This one is a really nice heavy knit. They're both from Haberman's

This white fabric came from the free table.

It's puffy too.

Puffy is fun as long as it's not under your eyes!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Green Goodness

 It's my favorite Bolthouse Farms juice. And it goes perfectly with my new top. 

Though I love knit tops and make a lot of them, I'm still always looking for the perfect simple woven top. I pulled this pattern from my horde because it has raglan sleeves like the Textile Studio Santa Monica Tee I've been so much enamored with lately. Its Simplicity 4368. I believe it is out of print.


I like this top all right. I like the color a lot. I'm not that crazy about the three little pleats though. The fabric is a bit stiff for my taste. I did an FBA on the pattern and moved the darts down but not enough. It's not perfect, but I will wear it, just not once a week. I would like to make it again in a drapier woven. 

I made this skirt to go with it. The fabric was four home dec samples I recently scored from the free table. Its really beautiful fabric, a cotton linen blend. I even took the time to underline it. I consulted Helen Armstrong's book for making a wrap skirt from a straight skirt pattern. I added 3 inches beyond the center front. This is not just enough overlap! Maybe I misunderstood. It would be enough overlap if the front underneath was a full front, but I cut both fronts the same. Its too bad because there was enough fabric to cut it that way. This skirt looks fantastic as long as I don't sit down. Unfortunately I will not be wearing this. Unless I can fix it somehow. I'm thinking a brass zipper with a green tape might work? Hmm??

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Pattern vs. Print

Look! A Gnome in the Garden!

When I wore this top for the first time the other day a young lady complimented it. "I like your top. I like the pattern." I replied "Thanks. Its a nice pattern but this was the wrong fabric for it." Typical exchange between sewers, right? But this cashier was not a sewer. In an instant, I could see the quizzical look on her face. What she meant was she liked the print not the pattern. I caught myself before I started giving her the pattern number.

V8976, Misses' Tunic

The fabric was so terrible to work with that by the time I finished this top I was thoroughly sick of it. But when it was finally warm enough to wear, I had forgiven it. I really kind of like it. I love how the tails flap in the breeze.

This is the second time I've tried this pattern. The first time was the version with sleeves. It was a mess. It was way too big, especially the neck opening. And really long. And I had used a thin knit that wasn't warm enough on its own and it looked ridiculous with a sweater over it. I trashed the top but kept the pattern. It really makes a lot more sense as a sleeveless tunic.

Knowing it was too big, plus I've lost weight and was using this rather spongy knit, I set about doing some serous taking in. First, I moved the center front 1 1/2 inches past the fold of the fabric. I took another inch off the sides. I shorted the front and back 3 inches and took another 4 inches off the hem. I also raised the armhole an inch but my bra still shows under the arms. I've seen a lot more bra than this on a hot day!

I pulled. I tugged. I folded. I had to call in an extra set of hands. This fabric could not be straightened. Luckily, I had a lot of it. Sewing it was pretty straightforward although the fabric was hard to handle. I sewed the shoulder seams then foolishly finished the neckline before checking the armholes. And I ended up with one inch seams on the side. I swear, the more I worked on it the bigger it got. It's got a mile, mile and a half of hemming. This is the first fabric my cover stitch machine has not gotten along with. All I wanted was to just get it over with.

And try again.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

From the Needs Work Department

This is one of the first Textile Studio Santa Monica tees I made. It was made last fall/winter and I wore it all the time since I have several sweaters that go really well with it. It was one of the first things I'd pull out and put on from the basket of fresh laundry. It was one of my favorites.  I go to put it on the other day, it was chilly and it has three-quarter length sleeves, and I can't get my arm through the sleeve. The sleeve is all stuck together. With something minty. It's GUM!! I was a bit cross with the gum chewer who committed this crime, but luckily it was just the sleeve. So now it has cap sleeves and I can wear it all summer too!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

17 colors of ITY!

These two solid colored tops are the last two of Santa Monica tees I had planned. On a whim, I added this fabric to my cart on Amazon just to qualify for free shipping. I've been buying fabric online for many years, mainly from (which Amazon now owns) but this was the first time from Amazon's site. I rarely see anything other than prints, so I was very surprised to find so many solid colors of ITY fabric. The shipping from this seller was super fast and the price good. As you know, buying fabric online can sometimes be disappointing, but not this time. This is great fabric!
(I'll get to that print top later)
I have not been paid for this endorsement,
but will accept either cash or fabric.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kwik Sew 3756--Another Two Tees

I've been busy in the sewing room making more tee shirts for the summer. This is an old Kwik Sew (3756) pattern that I've made before with long sleeves. I really, really like this cap sleeve version. These are both ITYs recently purchased from Haberman Fabrics.

The square sweetheart neckline is ingeniously made by way of a clever tuck and front facing.  How the hell did they think of that? My hat goes off to whoever came up with this idea. I am totally green with pattern drafting envy!

As much as I do like it now, I have to say I was less than thrilled when I made it before with long sleeves. For one thing, it was a little big, but mostly it was because of this:

Whatever I used to stabilize this seam itched like crazy. I wore it once in a while, but whenever I did, I couldn't wait to get it off. This time around, all I did was serge that seam. It totally doesn't need any additional stabilizing.

Strangely, this pattern included a binding for finishing the sleeves. You can see it on the blue top on the envelope above. I simply turned under the edge and hemmed on the cover stitch.

And, as clever as I think that little tuck is, I thought it looked terrible in a solid colored fabric. Like any dart, I like what it does, but I don't want to have it screaming at me!

I used fusible tricot for the front facing instead of the sew-in recommended in the instructions.

I highly recommend this pattern but would only make it in a print. Like every Kwik Sew pattern I've ever used, it's well drafted and indeed quick to make, especially since I streamlined three of the steps!