Jalie Tee Shirt – The New Pattern


Last week I was on vacation.  DH finished my new sewing table for cutting just in time.  I began by starting a pair of drapes for the bedroom but hit a snag, so I stitched up a pair of Ottobre pants for DGD (which she will not allow me to photograph) and then made myself a new top from the newly revised Jalie Tee shirt.  I have made a number of tops from the older pattern.  As far as I can tell the main changes are the length…the new one is longer, and the sleeve, for some reason they have gotten rid of the difference in the front and back sleeve cap.  Did that matter like I thought it would….not really.

I used a piece of fabric that I had purchased on a Hancock fabric clearance table for just over a dollar a yard.  I like the color and the nice lacy texture, but unfortunately it has little stretch.  So…to compensate I cut an extra inch on the sides and on the under arm seams.  Not bad…certainly wearable.  Now the fabric was a nightmare to sew.  The open weave led to a series of thread nests in the machine.  Fortunately I have a roll of solvy that I had purchased on a coop and pulled it out.  When the seams were sandwiched between solvy I could manage to get them sewn.  I did not hem the sleeve or the bottom of this top.  I simply zig zagged near the edge in case some ‘unknitting’ occured.  I have washed the top in the machine to remove the solvy and it still looks fine.  Good thing, I was tired of fighting the fabric.  But, I do like the top.

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2010 Goals

OK…I’m a goal driven gal.  Resolutions aren’t really the same thing in my mind.  Goals are achievable, resolutions are dreams.

This year my goals related to sewing are:

  • Sew from my stash fabric resource center.  I have a great deal of wonderful fabric, I need to use it before my tastes change or it develops a moth infestation, rots, etc.
  • Get rid of stashed fabrics that are no longer flattering to my skin or haircolor…nope…still remaining silver haired for 2010.  Or sew those fabrics into useable garments or accessories for grandchildren or daughters.
  • Learn to grade patterns and use that skill.
  • Create at least one draped garment for myself.
  • Sew regularly.
  • Finish all home dec projects for which I currently have fabric.
  • Loose weight, and sew as I go so that I have well fitting, weightloss motivating clothing.
  • Organize my newly inhabited sewing room.
  • Hang out with sewing friends more, maybe even organize one sew-in in my sparsely decorated livingroom.

Non sewing goals…

  • Do yoga or other flexibility exercises every day.
  • Work on my Bible study project.
  • Clean off my home office desk once a month and start over with the piles.

Yes, I know that is quite a list, but  I do think they are achievable goals.  I’m not disciplined enough to count yardage used and yardage purchased like some of you.  I just go in, grab a hunk of fabric and start the process.  This does not mean I will not purchase any fabric in 2010..that is completely unreasonable in my mind, but I need to get my stash whittled down to where I can store it all in either my sewing room or my ‘fabric storage closet’

  • Make soap regularly…yes, I love my home made soap and so does my family.
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Warm Winter Coat Emerges From Stash

Last August when we moved, and the extent of my fabric inventory became fully apparent, I resolved to sew with what I had. We are visiting grandchildren in Kansas and I need a suitable winter coat. After nearly 17 years in the Nashville, TN area, I no longer own a coat that is suitable. I did have 4 yards of heavy navy blue wool melton, 5 yards of slate radiance, assorted tailoring supplies and a stack of Ottobre womens pattern magazines. I selected a princess line coat from the fall 2008 issue. The only changes I made were ditching the patch pockets over the tummy and replacing them with inseam pockets of cotton velveteen. A nice warm luxury. The radience makes an incredible lining. Slick enough to slide into the coat easily and nice and sturdy as well as all natural. My tailoring techniques are pretty much fusing and due to the weight of the wool applied only in the facing, neck and shoulder areas. It’s been tested as we drive across lower Missouri and found to be perfect! My only purchase was buttons and a spool of upholstery thread to sew them on with because the have metal shanks.

Not a Wedding Gown but….


Here’s what I have been making.  

I know it doesn’t fit my dress form.  It’s for a slim little redhead who will wear it over her wedding dress on Saturday.  I drafted the pattern with PMB.  It is elbow length and lined with a chartreuse radiance lining.  (See picture of lining below.)  The faux fur is from Fabric.com…just took a yard.  I made the button by gathering a circle of fur and sewing it into a ball which is simply sewn to the cape by stitching thru the center to form a shank.  It closes with a ponytail loop sewn into the collar/cape seam.  capelining

I have also altered a red dress for DGD to wear as she serves as her mother’s maid of honor, hemmed the wedding dress (charmeuse) with a chiffon grecian style overlay, and altered my own dress…no…I didn’t make it…and shopped for shoes..and…and…well, you get the idea.

Tomorrow we host the family for Thanksgiving.  It’s a big day for us.  We always make it our special day.    We also celebrate our own wedding anniversary on November 30, it will be 7 wonderful years! 

Like Fine Wine

When we first saw our new home we noticed the wine cellar that had beenfine-wine created under the stairway to the bonus room.  Dark, climate controlled and in my mind, just the absolute perfect place for storing fabric.  DH kindly removed the cross members which held the bottles.  I lined the wooden shelves so the wood, would not come into contact with my fabrics.  The wood had been sanded quite smooth and finished but I just can not risk some of my fabrics.  So, I began this afternoon to unpack boxes, refold and compartmentalize my fabrics, mostly by color.  It will be so easy to see what colors I have on hand and so nice to know that what is safely tucked away under our stairs is of a very fine vintage!

The rest of my much smaller sewing space is beginning to take shape.  All my machines are now moved into the room following a frantic search for the serger which had mistakenly been placed on a high shelf in the garage.  The double door closet will be transformed by DH from one hanging shelf to a full wall of shelves and he will build me a cutting/ironing table with storage there as well.  But in the meantime, I could sew.  You just never know when you will be overcome by an irresistible urge to whip up a new garment, or if the need for a quick bit of mending will arise.

It is a bit ironic, that I have left behind my drapery cutting table and now live in a home devoid of all window coverings…but I will manage.  I see lush drapes for the bedroom, simple pleated drapes for the living room and a relaxed roman or two on bathroom and office windows.  Undecided yet is what will grace the dining room, my sewing room and the guest bedroom.  I think at this time the sunroom windows will remain just what they are…glorious portals for sun or storm (and besides, they have sun film already applied.)

Ahh….it’s starting to feel like home!


Kwik Sew Jacket

KSjacket Finished this jacket some time ago and never got a picture up.  It’s a mirror shot so leaves something to be desired.  But I love the jacket.  FBA and shortened the sleeves otherwise XL fits fine.  My topstitching with Gutterman Topstitch thread leaves something to be desired.  I think I prefer regular weight thread for this job. 

May have gotten a bit carried away with the FBA too, but I hate a jacket that gapes.

This is just a piece of white linen/cotton blend that’s been in the stash for ever.  Unlined is perfect for summer.

Kwik Sew 3529

It’s a Wild One!

This is my first Ottobre children’s garment.  I have been sewing with the Freedman-OttoSummer09 women’s patterns for some time but just ventured into the children’s.  I have 3 DGS who are all 7…or just about one is just 3 weeks away.  I thought I would enjoy myself and save the mamma’s some money by making some school clothes.  But…I need to test sizes.  So..the boy who likes animals is going to get this shirt made from a cotton fabric from my stash that was very popular with sewing DGS for making pillows and bags.  The buttons were from the stash too so I think I get extra credit here.  Oh Pam…not quite competition for you yet, but I must say the excellent draft of Ottobre makes me look good, don’t you think?

On a side note, much of my sewing room is packed and stored because our house is on the market…you know what…I really am more productive with fewer choices and more room for the creative juices to flow so I don’t get all caught up in trying to choose something from the endless piles.  One thing I have noticed in the past is that some of my favorite garments were challenges from leftovers or too little fabric…I think I like problem solving as much as sewing.  I really do have to figure out how to manage the stash better. 😉


Sweet Nothings

Sweet Nothings published by Lark Books

Sweet Nothings published by Lark Books

Sweet Nothings


I made the cut.  Lark books will be releasing this book on creating lingerie in October.  I submitted a project and it was chosen!  My project was a cute camisole that is made of rib knit and stretch lace.  It looks great if you need to fill in an overexposed neckline.  I know it’s bragging, but I am sooo….excited!  It was fun to be published in Threads, but now I feel like a designer and an author!

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It’s the Cat’s Meow

I have taken a hiatus from sewing because life got in the way.  I went off to Little Rock to be with my nephew who just got a very successful kidney transplant.  I tell you, it was like a miracle unfolding before our very eyes and a young man now has a new lease on life.

But this week, I had to sew…actually I started this last weekend.  For some CatCavetime now I have had a Simplicity pattern (now OOP)  for making a pet bed.  This is a round ball like cave…just the sort of thing that kitties crave.  As a matter of fact, both mine just love it.  Making the thing, on the other hand…was not such a fun project. 

The outer shell is an inexpensive, knit back faux fur.  The inner shell is a knit microfiber suede that is a lot more lime green than it appears in the photo.  It is cute.  You cut 2 layers of the inner shell…I cut 1 of green suede and 1 of muslin, and sew pockets to insert 3/4″ foam cut to shape.  That was not too bad until I tried to insert the curved pieces in the front sections….it is narrow at the fullest sides of the circle and even my tiny hands (size 4.5 ring) will not fit through…so it was shove and pull…one piece of foam is now 2 pieces, and I have NO fingernails.  You run a piece of 16 gauge wire in the channel of the front opening for support.  DH helped me manhandle the 18 gauge wire I found in the jewelry section of JoAnn’s and we got it done.

The best part…the lime microfiber is a wadder recycled….sometimes I skip the muslin and usually I am sorry….no muslin for the cat cave.  And it is adorable…at least the Kitties, DH and I think so….

On the cutting table now:  Hot Patterns 1002 and Simplicity 2697.  Hope to finish at least one of them tomorrow.

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Instructional Design and the 6 Year Old Sewist

My 6yo DGS loves to sew.  We have already zipped up a pillow for his bed and he wanted to make pajama pants. 

DGS likes to sew, and he likes to sew FAST!  He also likes doing something I tell him is hard.  He is great at figuring out how things work and so if he sees it  done a time or two and figures it out on his own he likes it much better than if you tell him directly how something is done.

To make the pants I traced around a Kwik Sew (2604 with the legs lengthened) pattern with a piece of chalk right on the back of the flannel.  The flannel stuck together nicely and so he could cut it out without the PJshelp of pins.  It worked great and when I let him use the ‘big scissors’ (aka my KAI shears – purchased from Bobbi Bullard) he cut an amazingly straight line.

I  then pinned the seams using my big old quilting pins.  I placed a big chunk of blue painter’s tape on the 5/8 mark on my sewing machine bed.  I told him that he could sew as fast as he wanted (of course I had the sew slow button pushed on my Pfaff 7570) as long as he kept his hands in front of the needle, he kept the fabric even with the blue tape, and he pulled out any pins before he sewed over them.  I told him this would be very hard.  And, if he ran over any pins and broke them he would have to throw the pins away and I would have to take over the sewing.  I stressed that sewing over pins was dangerous as we might get one in our eye, and besides…I was sure he would be as good at stopping as he was going fast, because after all, he was a very good sewing machine driver.  We only went over 1 pin in the whole construction process and when we did we stopped and talked about how glad we both were that it did not break and we didn’t hurt our eyes.

After the seams were sewn we went to the serger.  Yes…I let the boy serge around the waist.  I did the serging on the pant legs.  He was great at keeping the fabric right against the knife.  I did not let him cut any off.

Then, I pinned in the casing and the hems.  The casing sewing was easy because I put a pin laying down in the “hole” we were leaving and told him to stop before he got to it, he did.  He also figured out how to use both the back stitch and the stitch in place button successfully after seeing me do both one time.

for the hems we just folded up the serged edge 1/2 inch and put the pant leg on the free arm.  He successfully kept the edge of the presser foot pretty straight on the hem.  We didn’t have to fix any missed pieces although I am glad we were not using the black thread he wanted to use.  I told him black thread could only be used by experts and he would have to practice a bit first.  This was only after he refused to accept my explanation about matching thread.  After all, the pirate monkeys in the print did have black hats!

Skills I successfully described as advanced included using my duckbilled scissors and using a seam ripper.

Contrary to good sewing technique, we did not press any seams.  I trust that boy a lot more with the sewing machine than I do the iron.  I also ran the elastic through the casing because he had a hard time with that task.  Once finished, he put them on, modeled them for grandpa, and declared that he was smarter than any boy in his class because he could sew!  I of course, being a very proud grandma, agreed!

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