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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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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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!

I’ll turn on a dime for a trip to the beach!

Maybe I just have sewing ADD….I certainly have the unfinished projects to support that diagnosis, but I choose to think I am just going where my excitement dwells today.  Last weekend I convinced DH that I needed a trip to the beach (which he does not enjoy) that is near fabulous golf courses which he does enjoy very much.  By Tuesday we had made reservations at a golf resort on the gulf in a community with a private beach.  So…since I will be spending 4 lovely days enjoying both the beach and the pools (this place has 3 thank you and one is right across from the little guest house we have rented.)

Yes, if you must ask, I do still have one leg in a cast part time.  But I am mostly a beach lounger and sand can be banished from an air cast with the help of a blow dryer and a vacuum cleaner.  So, I need swim suits…lots of suits.  LOL

Today I made the Jalie 2006 Tankini.  Normally, I sew Kwik Sew suits but I wanted to try this one since Jalie has such great patterns.  I was not disappointed.  Their patterns fit incredibly well.  I did make a few minor modifications in the interest of my age and my figure. 

suit2Here’s the suit top  and here are the bottoms.suitbottom   As much as I would love to show you what the suit looks like on, I would need a psych exam if I posted pictures of myself on the Internet in a swim suit.  Trust me, this is a much less distracting view.  🙂

I cut the entire suit from my normal size.  I happen to be the same top and bottom.  I did modify the top by making it about 2 inches longer.  I don’t need the peek-a-boo look going on with my tummy.   I also curved the back leg of the panty down about 1/2″ extra at the outer edge of the curve.  I like plenty of ‘bun coverage’. 

I need a bra in my swim suits.  While this suit does have a nice shelf bra I am afraid that is not sufficient for this chest.  And besides, I need a bit of modesty in the event of a cool breeze.  So…I added molded swim cups straight from Anne at the Needle Nook.  Don’t ask me what size they are…I just call up Anne and tell her I need more.  She knows what size I need and kindly spares me the details.  They arrive in just a few days.  I installed the cups, and a firm 3/4″ elastic band below them which sews into the sideseams.  Also, in the interest of a smoother fit, I lined just the top portion of the back of the suit as well.  This is a standard stretch swim suit lining with lycra.  I just left the bottom edge of the back lining unfinished.  It seemed smoother that way. 

I  fully lined the bottoms.  Just makes for a firmer fit and less jiggles.  I anchor the lining in the crotch seam, sew the side seams independently and then add the elastic.  This leaves all seams in between the suit and the lining on the bottoms.



My only other addition was a little band of twill tape between the bra cups.  I find that at times when my suit gets wet the cups seem to want to migrate toward the underarm area.  I am hoping this bit of 3.8″ twill tape firmly anchored to the cups and lining only will prevent that tendency.  This theory has not yet been “water tested”.


This pattern has a cute skirt too.  I have plenty of leftover fabric since I am so short.  I plan to whip up the skirt too before I rethread the serger. 

Source of fabric:  Rose City Textiles – has been in stash 4 or 5 years.

Techniques used…3 thread overlock with woolly nylon in the lower looper on all seams.

   Elastic serged to edges and turned then sewn down with 3-step zig-zag.  Yes…my Evolve will do a cover stitch and normally I use it on suits.  But I quickly realized that there was a lot of bulk where those little straps connected to the top of the suit.  While the technique for installing the straps worked beautifully, I did not trust the coverstitch not to ball up and look unsightly in a very visible place.  So…I just used the 3-step and it turned out lovely.  This is what Jalie recommends anyway.  Interestingly, they do not show serger techniques in their instructions.  I used the stretch blind hem on the hem.  I like it, I could have used the coverstitch there, but why…this was so easy and I did not have to rethread the serger.

If you are not accustomed to sewing your swimsuits let me encourage you to consider making one.  They are so easy.  So quick.  So inexpensive.  And they actually cover you where you want to be covered!

UPDATE:  Tracing cute skirt pattern – 10 minutes, Sewing Cute skirt pattern: 15 minutes.  Tried it on, fits like a charm!

Another Stitch or Two

This weekend I was leading a class for our ASG chapter.  We are trying to hold a few classes to mentor beginning sewists in our group and to invite others who would like to sew to join us.  The pattern selected was the reversible apron pattern from the Paisley Pincushion.  this is an excellent pattern for beginners.  It offers many opportunities to practice straight and curved seams without the need to worry about fit.  Also, no little edges to turn or anything to bind.  Never being one to leave well enough alone, we did add the use of Steam-A-Seam Lite 2 to the construction process.  So much easier for a beginner to sew on a pocket when it’s already bonded firmly in place.  One of our students was just 9 years old and she did a fabulous job with her apron.  Her choice of fabric was just adorable..Yellow sparkly with butterflies and purple sparkly as the contrast.  Since I don’t have her momma’s permission (forgot to ask) I won’t post her picture here but  I will post the two aprons I made, one as a sample, and the other which went to the lesson in strategic stages for demonstration which was later finished.  And you can get a look at my messy sewing table too.

Wild-apron Pink-apron

Then later, I made myself a knit top from some cute fabric ordered from Vogue fabrics.  As I began to cut it out I realized the selvedge was too cute to cut off so it became the hem for the bottom and the sleeves as well as the trim for the neck.

This top was a bit of a challenge.  It’s a puckered knit with 50% stretch.  The trick was controlling the stretch.  Well…the solution was Pam Erny’s light weight fusible tricot.  That stuff is golden!  I was able to use it to control the shoulder seam, the sleeve cap and the neck to get a perfectly beautiful neckline in a very stretchy fabric prone to a great deal of “growth”.

sleeve-1 Here’s the sleeve cap showing the pattern, the fabric wrong side up and the strip of interfacing.  For the neck and the sleeves I cut a 1/2 inch strip of interfacing shaped to the pattern piece.  I laid the fabric on the pattern, arranging it perfectly then pinned on the interfacing and fused into place with light pressure.  When the seam was serged  1/4″ was in the serged seam and only 1/4″ remained.  Even though I purposely did not create a tight bond, the interfacing has done it’s work.  I did not show and the sleeve and neckline look fabulous.  You be the judge.




sleeve2 Sleeve pinned in place ready to fuse.












Here I am serging along.  Yes, I have pins, but I pull them out just before they reach the knife….honest!








Greentopdone Didn’t the neck turn out beautifully?  this is the selvedge serged on and the seam allowance is topstitched into place.  The neckline was stabilized with the interfacing trick prior to adding the trim.



Weekend Sewing

On Saturday I created two golf shirts for DH.  Both were plain white pique knit, exactly what he wanted.  I used the KwikSew 2763.   KS2763Having made it once before I knew it was a winner.  I did use the stretch collars because I had them on hand and was short of fabric.  This knit is almost impossible to find.  I purchased it from Anne at the NeedleNook last summer and she was out.  She told me that she does not currently have it in any color but pink.  Unfortunately, I was also a bit shy on one sleeve.  So…I pieced the sleeve in the back creating a “detail”.  I did this same piecing trick on both sleeves to make it look intentional.  I guess you could say it was really because I definately intended to get two shirts out of this yardage.  DH is going on a golf trip in 2 weeks and will need a suitcase full of golf polos.

On Sunday I made a top for myself from Burda 7/2007.  It is the twist top.  I had cut this top out some time ago, but after reading the directions procrastinated on stitching it up until I had a clear head.  So…I thought I might share the photos I took.  The nice thing about this top is the built up neckline…no peep show like so many of the twist tops provide.  It is a plus pattern and it fit right out of the magazine, however I did lengthen it a tad to provide full tummy coverage.  Although with the cotton lycra I used…it’s pretty form fitting. 

twist-1 Here is the top with the center front stitched up and the facings folded in. 

twist2 This is the first twist.  The instructions tell you to twist the right front over the left 2 times.

twist-3 After 2 twists, you get this.

Now, sew flip the top down over the bottom of the bodice and pin the darts together….

twist4 twist5 Here’s what it looks like from the other side.

This is a nice top…definately wearable.  However all my photos in the mirror are unshowable.  I will undress my DTD later and give you a “body shot”.

All in all…a great weekend for sewing!

Not the most elegant solution-but functional

scrub-pant As you may recall, I was making a pair of scrub pants for DD.  Per her instructions I “lowered” the waist 2.5″ from the ‘natural’ waist.  Well…DD had never worn scrub pants before and discovered that the elastic waist, even with a drawstring, did not fit like jeans.   When sitting…ahmmm…let’s just say it was a little more revealing than intended.  Not the professional look we were striving for.

So….unstitch the casing…use my handy dandy clover ripper…love these!  To cut through the serging.  Fortunately, I was pretty good and hadn’t nicked the elastic.  Cut a 3″ extension of the fabric.  Apply to the top of the pants. (Click the picture for a better view).

pants-closeNow the dilemma…what to do with the eyelets for the drawstring.  I cut a rectangular piece of fabric and pressed 3 sides under.  Applied Steam a Seam light and fused to the front of the pants over the eyelets.  Then, I fused tricot interfacing to the inside for comfort.  I topstitched the rectangle.  Reapplied the elastic, created a second set of eyelets and tada….wearable pants! 


Now…if we could just do something about my Photo shop skills.  🙂

Happy sewing…


Hey Hey We’re the Monkeys!

Burp ClothsOK, you need a few years on you to appreciate that one.  But those of us joining the grandmother set have friends having grandchildren and thus showers to attend.  I have a friend with a daughter having a shower for a child who’s sex is yet unknown.  She likes green….so I obliged.  I whipped up 2 soft flannel recieving blankets in a sturdy flanel 45″ square.  Receiving blanketsBig enough to really use.  These are very simply made…cut the square, use a saucer to curve the corners, serge.  I threaded my serger with Metlock in the needle, wooly nylon in the lower looper and the smallest pearl cotton I could find in the upper looper.  I set the stitches close together and did a wide 3 thread overlock.  Turned out beautiful and soft.  Almost looks like a narrow satin binding.  Then, my favorite, in the singing monkey flannel, burp cloths.  I just improvised a nice “dog bone” shape that would lie on the shoulder.  Backed the flannel with a nice plushy terrycloth to absorb well and serged again.  Mom-to-be has a nice off beat sense of humor and I  think she will enjoy these much more than something that smaks of pink, or blue or baby mint green.  Sewing time:  30 minutes.  We’re to busy sewing……..layetteThe Gift Assortment

One for Goodwill

I completed the Hot Patterns  Miss Moneypenny Pussycat Blouse last evening.  While I admire the precise drafting of skills of Trudy, the patternmaker, the blouse was not a keeper for me.  I made the blouse of a crinkled rayon print that had been a long time stash dweller for me.  I learned a few things in the construction and so will consider the blouse a valuable sewing lesson but will not add it to my wardrobe.

Lesson 1:  Crinkle rayons can be  a bear to cut accurately but pinning them to tissue paper helps.  I used a sharp rotary cutter and managed to get a pretty good cut.  Once cut however, the rayon is quite forgiving.  If you need to ease, just pin in place, hit it with a stiff shot of steam and the fabric will shrink right into place.  Due to this characteristic and Trudy’s pricise drafting, the blouse was a dream to construct.  Even the sleeves went in like a dream without a single tuck to pick out and redo.

Lesson 2: Make a muslin…this blouse fabric, no longer being my best color, fell into this category.  I learned that to fit the pattern well in the future I would need to increase the sleeve circumference and omit the normal shortening of the bodice.  I think the draft was just created for a shorter top than I can wear comfortably out of a light fluttery fabric.  Since that is the desireable fabric for Miss Moneypenny’s Pusycat blouse, I would lengthen it if I were to make it again.  However, I doubt I will, the style just did not flatter my figure.  Thus…I will not show a photo of myself in the blouse on this site. 

Lesson 3:  When serging fine fabrics and erratic threadloops appear, apply your thread nets to the spools.  I simply forgot to install the nets and found my looper thread jumping every few stitches.  Installing the nets gave me a nice uniform serge.

For me, sewing is about the process as much as it is about the expanded wardrobe.  Therefore, I can cheerfully donate, a nicely made blouse to the local Goodwill bin and hope that it will fall into the hands of someone who will adore it.

Pay It Forward

I was reading Teri (Mermaid’s) blog and found a great post about a twist on the “Pay it Forward” movie.  I love the idea of creating for the creative.  So…I simply must join in!  Teri got this from Gaylen’s blog…so I’m using her “rules”.

Pay It Forward meme

I will send a handmade gift* to the first three people who leave a comment requesting to join this Pay It Forward exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet, but you will receive it within 365 days. The only thing you have to do in return is “pay it forward” by making a similar agreement on your journal.

My handmade specialty is sewing, I also love crazy quilting, fabric art and rubber stamping.

*The “gift” you send doesn’t have to be handmade–choose your specs when you post it on your blog.If you want to join, leave a comment with your email addy (so I can reply — spell out the email if you don’t want it harvested), and we’ll hash out details.


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