Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sewing Talk!

Y201410, Fall 2014V1416, Misses' Top and Pants
Look at me I'm on the cover of Vogue Patterns! Oh wait, that's not me. Ever since I saw the fall Vogue Patterns with this featured outfit I've been planning this post. You see, I already have that entire outfit in my closet! The difference is that I made mine in 2009, a full five years (six if you count from the time I got the idea) before the other designer thought of it (patting myself on the back with big smile).

My outfit is from my last SWAP attempt (completed just not in time for the contest).

I guess the only appearance the blouse made on this blog was while I was ranting about my buttonhole dilemma. The same dilemma that prompted the buttonhole flow chart. The pants were featured in my one and only Blog-eo (I didn't add a title to the post so I couldn't figure out how to create a link, just look for the post on Friday, February 13, 2009).

Here are the patterns I used (sorry, nothing current!).

Well, it's taken me almost two weeks to put this post together - sigh. Want to spend more time here but responsibility is calling - literally the dog is crying to go outside! Happy sewing to you all!


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Just a "checking-in" note. I'm still around just barely managing to find anytime to sew. The state of education is a mess around here and it's eating up all my time. On top of that, I checked my Feedly account in August and all, I mean ALL of the blogs I read were gone. I had just updated it a few weeks earlier to add some new bloggers. UGH, now I haven't even been able to see what everyone else is doing.

I've managed to get a few things sewn but even fewer pictures. Here are a couple to prove it :)

New Look 6793

And a beautiful pair of navy wool pants. Unfortunately, I have no idea what pattern I used. I'm pretty sure it's one I've used before - probably a Simplicity or Vogue.

Lastly, please do whatever you can to prevent the privatization of our schools, and the unbelievable teacher evaluations and student testing expectations that our politicians (mostly non-educators) are implementing. They are not the answer. Check out Diane Ravitch's blog to find out more.

Friday, November 22, 2013

My Latest Plan For A Plan

Ugh. I hate it when I miss so much sewing/blogging/pattern-reviewing time. When I looked at my blog tonight I realized that I have four "drafts" that I started to write in the last six months but never finished them. Well, I'm is the oldest one and I posting it even though fall is almost over. Keep reading, there a  couple of pix at the end to prove that I have actually been able to complete a few projects.

At the time I started this post it seemed a realistic goal to have some of these pieces completed before May. Well, there hasn't been any spring sewing and thankfully (not really) the weather hasn't turned to spring yet either. Anyway, this is how I'm now going to start creating my SWAP's. I was inspired by my favorite wardrobe planning blog The Vivienne Files. I couldn't find the original post I remember about the Crazy 8 but if you look for it on her blog you will find loads of ideas and inspiration.
As I remember it, there is a blazer, a cardigan, two tops, one blouse, one pant, one skirt, one dress. I just scanned some basic pattern outlines to remind me what the pieces need to be added. When I'm ready to match it with the fabric, I'll pick a specific pattern to use. 

She suggests you purchase (gasp! - that's sew to you and me) an entire Crazy 8 in one solid color and another entire wardrobe in a coordinating solid color. Did you catch that word "solid"? Yes, a total of 16 pieces in solid colors. This is probably the biggest obstacle. I mean it makes sense, but I rarely go to a fabric store in search of 10 yards of the nicest tan fabrics I can find. There will be prints but they come in when you add pieces that coordinate with both solid colors.

Here's how I worked it out with my current stash and finished garments. My first solid color is royal blue. I've had all these beautiful coordinating blue fabrics for awhile, but had a complete roadblock when it came to figuring out what to make with them. For this board the solids are on the left and I only included the fabrics/garments I already have. (The smiley faces are the completed garments. The blue dress also needs a face. It was my Easter dress...completed the week after Easter...but in time for Mother's Day ;) On the right are the prints that will coordinate with the blue and other solids in my closet (black, gray, tan).
The second solid color is, well, I'm calling it gold. The jacket is the one that ended up with the backward sleeves that is still waiting to be fixed. The skirt I wear all the time! I love wearing it with a chambray shirt and boots :) The gray floral is on the sewing table this week, and just now (11/21/13) I'm thinking that metallic gold blouse just might work for Christmas.
I also have enough wool to create two more Crazy 8's in ivory and tan and, I have a workable Crazy 8 in my closet using gray and black. Gosh, when I write it down like this it sure seems like I've got an awful lot of clothes, doesn't it? Oh, well!  I'm thinking the ivory will be the starting point for my spring work wardrobe. Off to go plan and hopefully sew something up!

Projects without Posts :(
Vogue 1268
Top Simplicity 7967 (1980's?), Pants Burda...
New Look 6049 
Jacket McCall's 4596 (Old but not vintage)

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Just a quick link to show you where I wish I was today Cleveland Museum of Art  It's only about 10 minutes from my house, but there's no way I can fit it in my schedule. Le sigh.

(Pic from the Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Friday, May 17, 2013


This post is about my non-sewing life. Tomorrow my choir and band are performing at Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Since I recently realized that some Clevelanders might actually read my blog thought I would share this.

It's a great (free) way to support Cleveland student's and visit the museum (shhh, they don't advertise this part, but if you tell them you came to hear the John Marshall choir/band your wristband will be free). I think this is the 14th year for this event and I've only missed one. But, this is the first year I have been just plain excited to perform. I'm at a new school, the kids are great, and I know it will make this year of stress and non-blogging worthwhile. By tomorrow evening I might even be ready to sew!

Have a great spring weekend, and if you come to the Rock Hall make sure to come over and say "Hello." (Choir at 12:40pm, Band at 1:20pm)!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Sewing, It’s a Head Game.

Sewing’s not just skill, it’s a head game and right now I’m on the losing end! It’s seems like it’s been at least a year since I’ve made a garment without some stupid mistake. This time it’s my lovely gold suit. The first mistake was that I really should have interfaced all the pieces. The wool is very soft and drapey and it just needs more structure. The second mistake, which I didn’t discover until I took the pictures and studied them a bit. I’m 99% sure the sleeves were put in backwards. Yup, backwards sleeves. See those lines on the sleeves? I’ve made this jacket before and it didn’t have those lines. Sigh. The final stupid mistake was that after I made all the buttonholes and added the buttons – which were really hard to match with this color – I remembered I needed one more for the back. This I didn’t have. I didn’t have the additional button and had no idea when or where I bought the four that were on the front. (Probably JoAnn’s but in the last year they have completely restocked their buttons making it very unlikely that I will find another one there. Plus, I just hate going there lately. They’ve “updated” my store and I hate it. Can’t put my finger on any one thing, just know that I hate it.) Wait! There's one more mistake - I also messed up (cut it out wrong) the vent in the skirt! It looks okay on the outside but I won't be posting any pictures of the inside!

My head game stems from trying to capture what my sewing life used to be. The life I had when I truly earned the name “Lean Mean Sewing Machine” and would easily have made this suit in a weekend (my weekends always start on Friday night). I have always had a project-oriented personality. Before kids, and before a mentally draining job, this worked well for me. Now it has become my nemesis. I still work one project at a time but the gaps of construction time are so long, I forget what I’ve already done! Did I cut this with a 3/8” seam or 5/8”? Sigh.

So, I made this suit. I like, not love, it. I’ve purchased a few pieces (prints) that I thought would go with it. For the most part, when I get them home, they don’t. I toiled for probably two years before I committed to what I thought would be the best jacket pattern and now I'm not sure what blouse necklines work best with it. I’ve worn the skirt with black and light blue and just noticed that it’s really pretty with my royal blue. The skirt will get a lot of wear, not so sure about the jacket. But, that could be because the skirt’s been done for a month and they jacket has become is still hanging on the dress form. We’ll see.

I've got more to post but time's not on my side. Happy sewing! Be sure to keep your head in the game!

Friday, February 8, 2013

One, Two, Three, Four, FIVE?

That's right in my never-ending quest for the perfect-every-time buttonhole I have now purchased FIVE vintage buttonholers. Rather than go through the very lengthy explanation I shall refer you to my handy-dandy butthonhole flowchart. Of course, it doesn't really end there. The Necchi student model, and the Singer Fashion-Mate were donated/sold. After that I decided I had to give the whole idea a rest...a long rest. Then, about 1-1/2 years ago I was at an antique mall and saw one of those old b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l machines for a mere $35. I buckled, bought it, and brought it home. It's a black Necchi BU Nova in it's own table. Sigh. It's so pretty. It didn't work with any of my buttonholers but I didn't really care.

After surfing Craigslist, and ebay, and posts about buttonholers recently I finally found what I think is a perfect match. On a recent unexpected snow days (only unexpected because my kids had to go to school but I didn't - yipee!) I took the plunge and ordered one more buttonholer that I'm confident will work. Ebay had not one but three Griest #7 (for a high shank, left aligned needle) buttonholers and one sailed home to me. I haven't tried it out yet. Hold your breath and wish me luck. I'll report back soon! Hopefully in the near future I'll be putting about four vintage buttonholers up for sale. Update: UGH!! It doesn't fit!!! After 20 minutes of scratching my head (when attached the buttonholer is still about 1/2" from touching the faceplate) I  realize that the buttonholer IN the box doesn't match the picture ON the box! I did not get a Griest #7 I got an older model #? that is not for a high shank machine. The search continues...

Just for fun...
When I took these pictures all I could think of was that I had to share them with my online sewing friends because I know some of you love vintage as much as I do. These are from my daughter's family b-day party last year.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Finally started sewing the one piece of fabric I wanted to tackle during my Christmas break. I managed to cut out the main pieces on the last day of break but you know, sewing is a lot like painting a room. You can't wait to do the painting and see the results but there's so much prep work. This weekend I cut out the lining, fusible interfacing and organza, then fused everything. Saturday night I finally got to sew.

Hoping to write an actual review for this one when it's done. Here are a couple of teaser pix.

Crossing my fingers that I'll have a new outfit for church (because that's usually my Saturday night goal) soon!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

No More Excuses

Hmmm, just looked over my posts from 2012 and it was pretty sad in both quantity and quality. Hardly any of them were actually about sewing! Many were just excuses for why I didn't have anything to share. Well, for this post I've decided to end the year with some actual finished sewing projects!

Vogue 8772 Let's start at the end with this chambray shirt. (Technically finished on 2013 but I'm not the technical type.) I hardly ever think to use Pattern Review as a resource but when I remember it's very helpful. This pattern was purchased before the research but it looked like many people had success with it. A nice classic, fitted blouse with darts (I'm just really not a fan of the princess seam).

Well, just look for the lines, they point to all the problems. Apparently the full bust adjustment I made wasn't quite enough, and the upper arm width I added wasn't quite enough, and even though others felt the sleeves were too long (which is why I didn't add any length to mine), they weren't quite long enough for me. They may look like they're long enough in the picture but they don't meet my "reach" length and within the first five minutes of wearing it I had to unbutton the cuffs. The more I looked at the fabric the more I decided it just looks like a dark blue oxford cloth instead of an authentic chambray. Having said all that, I wore it yesterday under a sweater and it wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. I'll keep it until I replace it or it just starts to bother me too much!

Butterick 6861 (OOP or vintage depending on when you were born ;) I really love this one...even though I put the buttons way too close to the edge. The fabric is a silk charmeuse leftover from my Minneapolis days - guess that makes the fabric vintage too!
During my years of sewing, including the year this pattern was new, I was on a quest to find this style of blouse. I could never find one that was easy, fit my bust, and had buttonholes instead of loops. Don't know how this one escaped me the first time around. The only design change I made was to raise the neckline slightly. The only fitting change was a full bust adjustment. I probably should start adding a sway back adjustment but I keep trying to tell myself I just need to make the hips wider. Also, I don't usually remember this until I'm taking pictures!

McCall's 6866 (OOP/vintage) yuk. The armholes were waaaaayyy too tight even after I made adjustments to the pattern. To me, the collar doesn't look like the pattern cover at all. It has more of a curve to the outside edge. When I cut it out (summer of 2011), it was going to be a dress. Yuk. If UFO's didn't bother me so much I never would have finished this. I cut off the extra length to try and save it. Even though the fabric (from Janie's) is really nice, it's way too stiff for the look I wanted for this top.
I didn't finish it till right before school started and it's still in my closet but I don't think it will be there for very long in 2013.

Simplicity 2700 (Current!) I made this pair of black pants in 2009 that I absolutely love. Well, I wanted to duplicate them with this gorgeous royal blue wool I've had for a few years. I always knew I wanted to make a pair of pants with the fabric but wasn't confident that the rest of the world was ready to for them (i.e., I didn't want anyone making fun of me!). Seeing how almost every store in the country is selling blue pants this year, I decided I would finally be brave enough to make a pair of my own.
Even though they are all wrinkled in the pictures from a long day of work, I'm really please with the fit. Again I followed Peggy Sagers method for fitting and bravely sewed about 1-1/2" down from the CB top seam. The pattern looks very strange, but it works on me. I added belt loops to this pair, you know, so I could add a belt to the look!

For a very long time I avoided the trend of low-rise pants. When I finally caved and made my first pairs, I found that I hate where the waistband hits me and really don't think it is flattering on my curvy body at all. I like to wear blouses with my pants and if the waistband hits me in the hip area I feel like a box. Even though this is a really good pattern - especially the pockets - I don't know if I'll make it again. I'm ready to go back to a waistband at my waist.

Well, it's not the prettiest post ever but at least it's about sewing. I'm off to see if I can get at least one sewing  project done before school starts again on Monday.

Happy New Sewing Year to you all!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Happiness is a New Machine

Santa came a little early to my house. Funny thing though he only brought one present...for me!

TaDa! - Way to go Santa! A Craigslist find. I think it's about six years old which I don't mind at all since it will be replacing my 3-thread serger that's somewhere around 20 years old. (Yes, they made sergers for home sewists 20 years ago. Don't doubt me, I was there~!) I was looking for at least a 4-thread but this is way more than that. It's a Singer QuantumLock so it does all the serger stuff and converts to a coverstitch. I could never quite justify the money for a coverstitch because I didn't think I'd use it that much. But, hey! Now I've got two for one at what I thought was a great price ($200). If that's not a good price, please don't tell me. I read that a lot of people don't like to switch back and forth but I'm will to give it a try.

As a second Christmas surprise, I ordered thread (I've also been serging with thread that's 20 years old too. I know, I know...) from Wawak on Wednesday and it came TODAY!! That's two days from order to delivery. Can't wait to try out this baby. I mean for real try it on a garment.

P.S. - When I told my son that I gave myself and early Christmas present he went on and on about that was just not right because now it won't even be a surprise. Love him.

Friday, November 30, 2012


...just to prove I haven't given up blogging! I keep trying to figure out how I found the time to do this when I first started blogging. Well, whatever time I used then, it's gone now! My job is overwhelming this year and my kid's schedules are getting busier. Anyway...I have done some sewing, some fabric shopping, a lot of planning, and not much, but some, picture-taking. Here's some of the pieces I've finished and photo'd.
My first Hot Patterns garment. It doesn't look so great up close. Well, it's just a couple of things that most people wouldn't notice but we that sew know....(button placement is wrong, one of the cuffs buttons the wrong way, sleeves are too long.)

LOVE these pants. I don't think I've ever had a pair that fits like that in the back. It's Vogue 8751 fitted using Peggy Sager's pants fitting method from this webcast. I have another pair of pants using a Simplicity pattern and the same method with similar good results. No pix yet though.

This is Butterick 5566 and the fabric is leftover from a jacket I made. It's a reversible wool denim and with the dark side on top and lighter side on the bottom.

That's about it for the completed projects. Here are a few other miscellaneous pix.

A fun evening! Deepika was in the area to film an episode of It's Sew Easy and Janie had a get-together so we could all meet IRL (honest, I wasn't the only one there ;)

Don't blink, you might miss it! This is my one and only attempt at a quilt. When HGTV was still very new to me I was inspired by one of the shows hosted by Alex Anderson and set out to make my own watercolor quilt. That was 15 years ago (gulp) and what you see is what I did. This summer I decided to donate it to my church and see if the quilting group can finish it off.

Thanks to all of you that still find time to blog! I continue to be inspired by you. Happy sewing to you all!

The Dangers of Sewing.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Picture Tells It All

Just in case you don't recognize it, this is my cutting my sewing area...where I used to sew. Someday, when my boot is off (from June's broken foot)...and my attic walls and ceiling are close to perfect...I hope to sew again.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A New Kind of SWAP

Have I mentioned that I heart ? Well, I do. Recently she put together pieces for a vacation at the shore that expanded to become an entire casual summer wardrobe. This is why I love her posts. There it was, a basic plan for all the summer clothes I'll need to play, run around, and still look put-together. I just need to put my own spin on it.

So here's step one of my interpretation of her plan. (Keep in mind that it's July and I haven't touched my sewing machine since....hmmm.....Easter? Like many others, house maintenance is my first priority this summer. That and renewing my teacher license which means taking a few classes. Oh yea, then there's the kids...oh yea, and then there's that broken foot I got last week.) Her first post is here and you can sneak a peek here to see how she turns into enough clothes for a summer wardrobe.

Sorry, no pics for my plan yet. Well, I have them but they're still in my head so I can't share now!

One or two people left her comments on her choice of using all L.L. Bean clothes. I thought this was funny because a) they were limiting themselves to the exact items shown, and b) when you sew you can make the pieces fit you/your life (as if you didn't know this already) so who cares who the original designer is?!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sweet Pattern Memories

I grew up in a transitional time when, up until my junior high held a lunchtime walkout /protest, girls couldn’t wear pants to school. I was a painfully shy student, really, painfully shy. But, I was not afraid to let my clothes speak for me. It was during this time that I made and wore an outfit that got me sent home from school for the first and only time in my life. That’s right, the outfit I made with this pattern (view 2 with the mini-length overskirt made out of a pastel pink small polka-dot knit) caused 1) other students to buzz, 2) my first trip to the principal’s office, and 3) a free walk home in the middle of the day to change clothes.

I loved that outfit. I loved it because I could tell the world that I was unique without having to say a word (plus it was pink!). I really love the fact that I can run across patterns like this online and have a sweet pattern memory.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Hello, sewing world. I miss you! Life has been filled with kids, work, and well, guess that's all work and kids. No wait, also home repair. I'm trying to get all these (more than 20) minor repairs done on my house just in case some smaller, less expensive version of my home, on the right street appears on the market.

It's been so bad that today (80+ degrees) I still have turtlenecks, and wool garments in my closet. I haven't even switched my wardrobe to shorts and t-shirts yet. That's bad.

The school year finally ended and brought just a few more things to break up my daily/yearly routine, i.e., I'll be leaving my current high school position as they are eliminating music from their curriculum, I'll be assigned to a different building within the district, our union just rejected (by 97% - that's how ridiculous it is) the current contract offer, and I'm enrolled in two classes this summer to renew my teaching certificate (ironic, no?).

So far, it looks like the summer is going be filled with purging the old and anticipating the new. That reminds of the reasons my sewing has slowed is because my very old, very basic Simplicity serger upper blade finally bit the dust. I've been scouting craigslist for a decent used 4-thread (mine is only 3) but just haven't found the right machine at the right time (financially). Just when I thought a new machine had become my only option, I found out that the Babylock parts fit my machine. Yay!

Enough with the excuses! I love reading about what you're doing. I know I'm missing out on so many new bloggers. I hope that I'll have something significant to add soon. :)

I really, really, really wanted to make my daughter's 5th grade promotion dress and I was absolutely heartbroken that I had to go RTW. But, she looked so cute...
(First day of kindergarten - with a dress I did make - and last day of 5th grade.)