Holiday cocktail party 

Doesn’t a holiday cocktail party deserve a little bling? Definitely not my normal wear, but I was able to squeeze it out in two very long evenings, once I came to terms with the fact that my original idea wasn’t going to be in working order in time (I’ll come back to that another day, but it was red, which I do wear sometimes, and definitely more often than brocade or metallics!)

Anyway, I took a pattern I’d fitted already, the Grainline Scout tee shirt, and hacked the sleeves to be like the Itch to Stitch Sirena, but with a split bell.

Brocade being what it is, shreds like crazy when you just look at it askance, so the complexity of the project was more than a tee would have been… but I have lovely invisible neckline seam and invisible hem, and a fully lined brocade top, not bad for two evenings. Next project will be much simpler, because I need a break from complicated projects! 🙂

Anyway…. “Scoutena”, LOL:

eggplant, navy, & metallic gold brocade

vertical seams finished by the underlining

hemline stitched to underlining- nothing shows outside

the split bell sleeve

neckline with turned in self-bias binding tacked to the underlining

the finished top

And, modeled, with my loving husband putting up with me, running late, asking if he’s clicked yet to “just take the pic already”!


Oh boy. I promised myself early this year that this would be the year I would learn to make jeans. I got some denim (stretch, and non-stretch). I got a pattern or two. I got rivets and jeans buttons. 

Have I made jeans yet? With three-quarters of the year gone – still a resounding no.

I don’t know why they’re so intimidating. Like my friend Rosemary says, it’s really just trousers made of denim, right? And I’ve made several pairs of trousers now, pretty wearable even they’re not even approaching perfect. 

Still, I’ve been content to focus on other goals (vintage unprinted pattern? Check. Fly-front shorts? Check.), but then Rosemary needed new jeans, and a shot of sew-jo, and when I mentioned I had the supplies but was chicken to actually make jeans… she offered for us to do it together! Community sew-jo, if you will.

So…. October 14th is the official start date for an unofficial, informal jeans Sewalong. Make jeans, make pants, use a pattern you’ve never tried, use one you’ve made a 100 times… but if you plan to finish pants for US Thanksgiving (and I know, decently-fitting jeans is a small thing, but one worth giving thanks for, among the rest of life’s blessings), feel free to join us. Get all the details in Rosemary’s blogpost

I will probably make the Morgan jeans by Closet Case Files, but I have until the 13th to commit, right?

Vintage swish!

Advance 5378, a pattern from 1951 (and therefore, yes, older than I!) came into my hands via Facebook auction. Love at first sight! 

Advance 5378, a 1951 vintage nightgown pattern

It wasn’t the right size, but I decided as well as being my first go at sewing an unprinted pattern, I would also be my first go at grading a pattern up significantly. (No making things easy here, apparently.)

While the gown isn’t perfect – it’s still a heck of a lot of fun to wear around the house! The skirt is just the right fullness and length to be unequivocally elegant (and I didn’t add any length – shorter sewists take note; I’m 5’8″).

I used a lightweight linen-cotton blend, so comfy! and finished nearly every seam with a French seams, and I added a lining in the bodice so everything’s cleanly finished there as well. 

The (tiny, little) downside – this is pretty fitted in the waist. Loose enough to be comfortable, but it’s an over-the-head donning, vs having a zip or other fastener to make it easier. Next time I’ll consider that more as I do adjustments. 

UPSIDE – the pattern has a pocket! LOL How bad can it be? 🙂

So without further ado:

unprinted pattern pieces, coded with punched holes

first bodice

a lovely butterfly pocket, if I do say so myself

cleanly finished bodice lining

bias tape hemming

cross-back bodice!

cross-back has a nice pointed back waist

finished gown!!

And the swish! (This “magic spinning” appears to have turned my tomato red, finally! LOL, so I’m going to be eating a delicious, ripe, freshly picked ‘mater tomorrow!)

a ’51 nightgown covers enough for sundress in 2016!

A trendy bird?

So it turns out the McCall’s pattern company is hosting an online bomber jacket sewalong! They’ll support direct questions if you’re sewing up M7100 or with B6181, but really you can sew any bomber jacket you want to.

Since I already had M7100…. I’m jumping in. 

I had a bit of white eyelet pleather – I know! It’s TOTALLY my normal thing to wear, right? But I fell in love with how unexpected it is… so I stashed some for a motorcycle jacket. But when this sewalong came up, I decided that a moto jacket would probably break up the eyelet too much, with all the pockets and zippers (and trust me, I am not reducing the number of pockets on anything!), so I’ve decided to give a go here.

Sewlong Summer Blog Tour

This tour is about sewing for the transition from summer. While the last couple of days have finally been beautiful, it sure hasn’t felt like “Sew-long, Summer” much at all!

However, as they do, the seasons will change. In the transition zone, you can’t usually predict the weather, not will it be the steady over the day; it can be hot, warm, or breezy and a little chilly in a single 24-hour span! So for the interim: an elbow-sleeved jacket to toss on as needed. Too warm for the heat of summer (but perfect for the indoor AC), great for transition days when you’re not quite ready for fleece and definitely not ready for down & shearling!

HotPatterns 1031 Boulevard Cardigan-Jacket

HotPatterns 1031 Boulevard Cardigan-Jacket! I’m not even sure how long I’ve had this pattern, but when Melissa mentioned “transitions” in describing the Sewlong Summer tour…. it immediately jumped to mind. (And in keeping with the theme of another sewing group I’m in – this is made entirely from stash!)

I love HotPatterns’ drafting, but the niggling thing I don’t like is the “same weight/print” lines, regardless of size. I usually deal with this by carefully tracing out the size, or blended size, I need; this time I went with a straight size, and was out of the tissue I usually trace on, so I marked all the cutting corners with highlighter so my eyes would stay uncrossed…. and so I wouldn’t make a mistake in cutting!
The fabric I chose is an embossed poly knit. I know, poly! But it has good recovery, and looks fairly decent, so I gave it a try. I loved the texture.

Button selection pondering, and fabric texture

The construction of this jacket went fairly quickly – perhaps my skill level might be considered intermediate now? The pattern is labeled intermediate, but what I think may actually push it to intermediate is the minimalistic instructions! On the plus side for speed is that I ended up not needing any pattern adjustments, a very rare thing indeed.

So…. a bunch of construction and detail pics! 🙂

trimming and clipping the faux vent (instructions not included)

right side front done! suddenly looks like a jacket

pocket birdies!! and these are nice deep pockets

facing gets attached at the end

I ended up choosing completely different buttons!

detail of the front yoke & pocket

this fabric topstitched really nicely!

birdies under my collar too

And, the finished jacket! It’s very comfortable, just enough stretch. 

theres a huge mirror by the elevator in the basement of my office building, so I took a “just in case” shot

yes, I can move around in this!

back yoke, and the sleeves fit pretty well also

Blog tour notes! 

Check out the participants’ blogs:

Don’t forget to enter the raffle, sponsored by Blue Dot Patterns, Zierstoff Patterns, and On the Cutting Floor. 

Fun discounts and coupon codes from our sponsors:

Sponsor Collage Final

Angelia Sewalong, part 4

Next week will be the big reveal! I know, you already know what they look like; there’s a photo on the pattern and pictures of the ones other people have made all over the Internet…. but anyway.

This week, you should have finished all the early stage work: the pattern fitting adjustments, the final cutting, the interface attachments. Did you thread your machine in the right color, too? 

Some progress pics: 

underlining pinned in place



various interfaced bits, & a waistband facing

Now’s the time get the machine going. I have a bit of an extra step, basting the underlining in place, but if you didn’t need to do that, you’d have jumped right to…

The zipper fly!

I’m a tease, I know. It went better than I expected, but pics will come on Sunday’s bonus post which will have the full reveal. I haven’t made much progress on the shirt though, so that post will likely only be the shorts instead of the whole outfit. I’ll probably end up taking the Juki to NC when I visit my sis for our birthday weekend (unless I get a lot done on the shirt on this Sunday – hey, it could happen!)… 

Have a great weekend, sew up a storm (or some shorts), and see ya Sunday!

Angelia Sewalong, part 3 

This should have been out *last* Friday, I apologize. I think I’ve figured out what I did wrong though, so watch this space next Friday too!

For last week, and adding in this week (but I’m not sharing too many photos just yet), you’d have finished cutting all your pieces out out and done your zipper fly. 

I was amazed, and measured at least a half dozen times to get to this decision, at just how little adjustment I needed to make. 

Being slightly paranoid, I did still add 1/4″ to the back crotch seam. As my new online friend Crystal terms it, I have an “Awesome Ass”, LOL, that requires a bit of pattern adjustment. (Don’t you agree that sounds much more complimentary than “Fat Butt”?? Plus, if you sew and are larger than a B cup…. you’re used to FBA standing for Full Bust Adjustment, which means you can’t use it for Fat Butt Adjustment. So AAA it is! 😀 ) 

Since my Awesome Ass comes with a comparatively small waist, I graded one size between waist and hip. That’s it. Really. I haven’t decided yet if I’m freaked out or pleased, LOL. 

Since my linen blend is a bit on the thin side, I’m underlining the main body pieces with a very light cotton. Check it out; could be worse than crackage? 

bit sheer you might say


It’s not too terrible when there isn’t a strong lamp right behind it, but I did still prefer it with the added underlining. 

pile o’ tiny pieces

Next week, my first zipper fly will make an appearance! I’m excited that this possibly sets me up for actually conquering jeans this summer….

How are you doing?

Angelia Sewalong, part 2

Ok, so I planned to print out the pattern last weekend and cut everything out, and work ahead. Life got in the way a bit (friends needed help, so a worthwhile cause). 

Also, I think I mentioned that I’d never used a PDF pattern before. I worked it up in my head to be this huge onerous task, to print to scale and line everything up, so each chance I got, I felt like it wasn’t enough time at the moment…. I knew it was do or die, so I sucked it up, buttercup, and guess what?

Kennis is a rock star! The scale test printed to exactly 1″x1″…. I easily printed only what I needed, there’s a very clearly labeled with a map of what goes where…. The hardest part was figuring out how to tell my Mac to only print one sided, vs my default save-the-environment-double-sided. 

Now this is exciting! Fabrics are all washed, dried, and prep-folded; the linen I washed and dried twice just in case of excess shrinkage. From bottom to top in the picture:

  • Linen rayon blend, medium weight but still slightly sheer due to the loose-ish weave
  • Cotton daphne (a brand name for lawn, maybe? Very lightweight) for underlining
  • Star printed quilting cotton for pocket bags and facings, to go with the Fourth of July theme. I’ll decide later about sneaking a bird inside somewhere…


fabrics washed & prepped for cutting into

Tomorrow night, I’ll finish all the cutting and probably even a seam or two, although I confess – she starts with the zipper fly! Another technique I’ve never used. The instructions look really clear in reading them; I’ll let you know how it goes in the doing of them.

So how are you doing? Watch for more pictures later, and next week’s list of things to do will posted late Friday (but certainly feel free to work ahead if you like).

Announcing an Angelia Shorts Sewalong!

Do you have Itch-to-Stitch’s Angelia Shorts pattern, but want some company sewing it up? Or haven’t dared try them yet? 

Angelia Shorts pattern image courtesy Itch-to-Stitch


Either way – join me as we figure it out together, and have Angelia shorts for Independence  Day! (Yes, that means I’m making mine in red!)

The Angelia Sewalong runs from June 3 to July 3, and I’ll be posting at least once a week, on Fridays with next steps, and taking a look at what we did, and possibly other times during the week as well. 

Follow along so you can have your shorts ready to wear for barbecuing with your family, running around town, or just looking good hanging out at the park listening to music and waiting for the fireworks (well, that’s what I’m up to anyway).

 So this week – you’ll want to:

  • Get the pattern if you don’t have it.
  • Choose your size (Kennis includes both body measures and finished garment measures to make it easier for you to choose!).
  • Choose which view to sew – we’ll be doing View B here.
  • Print the size(s) you need and get the sheets taped together (again, Kennis has good instructions in the pattern for that – but holler if I can help figure anything out).
  • Choose, pre-wash-and-dry your fabric! For View B, we’ll need 1 3/8 yards.
  • Check that you have all your notions (get them if you don’t already have them). These are listed in the pattern, but for View B, we’ll need light to medium weight fusible interfacing, an ~ 7″ zipper, and eight 3/4″ buttons that look good with your fabric.
  • Cut out the pattern pieces you printed, then lay them out and cut them from the pre-laundered cloth.

The Angelia shorts are designed for a light to medium weight woven fabric, so skip the t-shirt jersey this time. 🙂 Since we’re making  them for the Fourth, I went with solid red, but really you could make them out of many varieties of woven fabrics – on the pattern product page there are photos of the shorts the pattern testers and others have made, so check that out for ideas as well.

One of my favorite fabrics is linen, and I found a reasonable linen/rayon blend at JoAnn Fabrics (with a coupon), and had buttons in my stash, so I’m using those. If I see fancier/prettier buttons I like I may switch out later, but for a first try at these shorts, matching red buttons seems pretty good to me! (Separately I’m also making a 40s style blouse using the blue & red fabric in the pic. Direct flattery/imitation of one I saw in a Facebook group that was just too fabulous to not make, and this is as good an excuse as any to get that done.) 

40s blouse fabric, and the red linen!


By the way, lest you accidentally mistake me for an expert, LOL, please be aware that I’ve never used a PDF pattern before, nor have I sewn a zipper fly, nor have I managed to sew any of my Itch-to-Stitch patterns yet. I almost forgot – I haven’t run a Sewalong before either! So I’ll be figuring it out as we go… but I’m game for an adventure; are you? Comment below! Even better, ask about the Facebook group, Sewalongs & Sewing Contests.

The Sew a Seasonal Wardrobe challenge is done…

And I finished!! The challenge started February 1st, but I didn’t find out about it until late March. I joined anyway, thinking the end of May was so far off…. but if I’d been honest, 8 weeks meant I’d have to average about 1 item a week, which is way faster than I usually sew.

Anyway, I learned a lot, tried new techniques and tools, and I think I’ve decided I’m actually officially past the beginner stage – there were several times during this where I thought to myself, “hey, why don’t you skip that part (pinning, pressing, stay stitching, whatever) and go straight to sewing”? … but I’ve enough experience now to know that skipping those things is false time savings. Without them, it’s a lot fussier/harder to do the actual sewing, and the finished items look a lot less nice.

In any case, the eight that made it to completion:


Vogue 8717 jacket & pants


Butterick 6021, ivy+blue dress, and made-up belt (I didn’t like the tie one in the pattern)


Vogue 8717 pants (the second iteration), and McCall’s 7357 tunic


Grainline Studios Scout tee


McCall’s 6604


McCall’s 7254, in a sweater knit