Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Fine Art of Never Letting Go

I'm sorry I don't have a Before photo. So here's the story. I made a dress ages ago - maybe 20 years, I can't remember - out of this really cute yellow and white check with ladybugs. But it didn't turn out well. I loved it until I put it on and looked in the mirror, then it just didn't work for me. I tried once to fix it by making a complete new bodice for it. Slight improvement but it still didn't work. So for years I tried to think of something else to do to fix it. I considered giving it to Goodwill but it's so hard to let go.

Finally a few weeks ago it hit me. Why not make something for the granddaughter! The pattern is McCall's L9462, plus pockets from another pattern.

Yes it's wrinkled. Don't judge; Her mom honestly doesn't have time for ironing.

You may notice she's holding something very small in her hand.

It was quick and easy to make and she likes it.

But the story doesn't end there. I had a few little scraps left and I had an idea. So I searched for and quickly found some black and white stripe fabric. I used New Look 6963, my current favorite long shirt pattern and here's what I came up with:

And the back:

This is different for me. I don't often wear stripes and never anything as plain as black and white stripes but I love this. Sometimes less really is more. Less of this adorable ladybug check fabric works so much better than more. And best of all, I was able to let go and yet not let go.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Dots and Daisies and a New Pattern

Hey everyone I used a new pattern! So what? you say? Well, I've been using the same three dress patterns for at least a decade so it's kind of a big deal for me. Actually, though, I have had my eye on Vogue 2960 for several years but I was hesitant because I was sure those boob gathers were going to be too high for me. And it turns out I was right. They are too high and I have no idea what to do about it but you know what? I don't care. I love this dress anyway.

And the back.

I read several reviews that said the neckline on this pattern was way too low and gaping so I raised it an inch and a half. That may have been more than strictly necessary but it works.

The back is a little poofy and, as I said, the boob gathers are too high but other than that I like the fit. The skirt was pretty easy. I was concerned that there is so much fabric in the skirt but it doesn't bother me or get in the way like I was afraid it might. I made side seam pockets, which were not included in the pattern but must have pockets! They tend to get lost in the pleats and at first I had trouble finding them but I'm getting used to them.

The fabric is a very inexpensive cotton that I originally bought just because it was cheap to try out a different pattern but I'm glad I procrastinated about that because I think it works much better for this and now I like it much better than I originally did. Added big white buttons and some red rick-rack and it might just be the most adorable dress ever even if it's not perfect. This might be my Fourth of July dress if it's not cool and raining like it has been so often lately.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Little Something

I bought this pattern several years ago. I never had any great enthusiasm for it. I was hoping something new would make me stop using the same three dress patterns over and over again (Not that there's anything wrong with that) and this seemed like something that might work for me. But before I got around to making it I started to have doubts about it, mainly about the high, wide neckline. (and I'm not sure about the shoulder strap version.)

I hardly paid any attention to the little jacket. I had this piece of lovely seafoam green woven polyester, left over from something I made way back in the late 80s or early 90s. For a long time I have had it in the back of my mind to make a little jacket and recently everything just clicked - this fabric, this pattern. And so...

The pattern is for a lined jacket but I didn't want a lining so I cut facings out of a lightweight fabric (cotton? cotton/poly?) that is nearly the same color. It didn't quite turn out perfect but I love it.

And now here's a funny thing - while I was cutting out the pattern pieces for the jacket I started to feel little stirrings of enthusiasm for the dress so maybe I will make it. Maybe.

This was a bigger piece of fabric than I thought it was and I actually have enough to make something else, possibly a skirt if I wore short straight skirts, which I don't. That's okay; maybe in another 30 years I'll figure out something to make out of it.

The dress in the photo is just what I happened to have on when I decided to photograph the jacket. It's several years old. I can't remember if I ever blogged it or even what pattern I used.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019


This will be quick because I don't have anything very interesting to say about this make. I originally planned to make a different kind of top with this fabric but I really love it and I wanted to make something I know I will wear a lot and that is...

... another New Look 6963! I shortened the sleeves a bit on this one.

And it's finally warm enough to wear short sleeves. At least in the afternoon. This month as been crazy so far.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

This 'n' That

First of all I'll get this nasty business out of the way. The spambots have found me. Well... it's only been about one a day and I haven't had one for several days but this common problem angers me way more than it should. To me it feels exactly like someone came to my actual, physical house and put a giant poster on my front porch advertising a used car dealer or something else especially sleazy. Spam in the comments feels the same - exactly! It angers and offends me. I could do things like use a CAPTCHA and ban anonymous comments but I get so few comments I hate to discourage commenters in any way so as long as it doesn't get any worse I won't do that but I really really really really hate spambots to the point that I fantasize about committing acts of physical violence against the their human owners.

And now to the sewing...

I bought some 60 inch wide cotton fabric for Vogue 9106 and I was so excited about trying it out for the first time but then I discovered that I do not have a zipper the right color and they are sold out everywhere! I put my email in at one online store to be notified when they are in stock again but who knows how long that will be. Now that I've seen the actual pieces of this pattern I kind of think I could make it out of 44 inch wide fabric. I just need to figure out how much I would need. A lot.

So I'm in between projects and I don't know what I want to make next. I like Tasha's tradition of birthday dresses and mine is just a little over a week away but I don't know. I think the smart thing to do would be to continue making stuff for the granddaughter and to "fix" some of the things I've been putting off fixing because making new things is more fun. My closet is full. I mean FULL! Overstuffed! I really don't think I could stuff a single thing more in it. Time to make a few more sacrifices I suppose but it's so hard when you honestly love everything. The old "if you haven't worn it in a year" rule doesn't work for me. What an evil, mean-spirited rule!

I still don't have any takers on my swap offer. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about those. I have never sold anything on eBay before and I'm hugely cowardly about it. I don't know. Maybe I'll just keep it all, make a dress for myself (V9106 maybe?) and use the rest to make gifts. (tote bags? throw pillows?) That's IF I don't get any swap offers. That's still open for now.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

For a Small Person and What's Next


For the past two weeks I have been sewing for my granddaughter. Pictures of clothes laid out on the floor are not the best so you'll have to use a little imagination but my model is an hour away and I wanted to show that I have been sewing. These are both McCall's 9227.

I have also been using up small pieces of leftover fabric to make shorts and these capri pants.

I'm probably going to take these to her later today.

* * * * * * *

Now I'm really wanting to sew something for myself but I really don't need any more clothes and I'm getting to the point where I can't stuff one more thing into my tiny, overstuffed closet. But, on the other hand, I have all this fabric. I do have three more pieces for the granddaughter and lots more leftovers that might also be enough to make little clothes so maybe I should keep working on that.

I "decided" that I would spend some time altering and fixing some things that I love but that are not quite right one way or another and I actually did one of those. I'm pretty sure something new is coming soon though because the urge is irresistible. I have two new Vintage Vogue patterns that I am excited about: 9106 and 2960. I'm excited about these but also anxious because I'm pretty sure I'm going to have some fitting issues with both. And 9106 is crazy. Those skirt pieces are huge and it requires 60 inch wide fabric. There is not a lot of 60 inch cotton available but I do have some on order. It's a solid color! Can you believe it?

UPDATE: I just got done cutting out the pattern pieces of Vogue 9106 and I have figured out two things. 1. I think the designer might have been high. 2. Although the pattern only gives yardage and cutting layouts for 60 inch wide fabric I'm pretty sure I can make it out of 44 inch fabric. I just need to figure out how much I will need. Probably a lot.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

A Perfect Storm of Poor Decisions

UPDATE: THIS OFFER IS CLOSED. I didn't get any takers, which doesn't surprise me since I think only two or three people ever read this blog but that's okay. I have thought about it and I will use some of it to make gifts, possibly mother/daughter dresses for my daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

* * * * * *

This might be long but stay with me. I have something to trade but I'm going to tell you my story first.

My first poor decision was to try to recreate a look instead of moving on to something new. I love my kitchen curtains - yellow with a blue paisley-ish floral - but they're too short (and too few) for the windows in the new house so for months I've been searching in vain for a similar fabric.

My second poor decision was to make a desperation purchase. I found a Dutch wax print on Etsy that is actually not at all similar to what I was looking for but it has a yellow background and blue leaves and flowers. The yellow was too bold and the blue too dark but I was desperate and tired of searching and was sure I was never going to find what I really wanted. Well, it turned out that it's not yellow and blue; it's orange and black with just a little bit of blue. Now I know the colors you see on your monitor are not always accurate but the description on Etsy said the background was yellow so I trusted that but it is as orange as orange can be.

My third poor decision was actually not so much a poor decision as a plain old mistake. The windows are not quite as big as I thought they were so I ordered too much fabric. I bought three - yes, THREE - whole six yard pieces of Dutch wax print fabric and I really only needed two.

At first I thought I would just live with my mistake and make curtains but they are so the wrong color and I really want something more serene. I have found another, totally different, fabric that I'm going to use for the curtains. So what am I going to do with three whole pieces of Dutch wax fabric? Hopefully, I'm going to trade two of them to two of you lovely sewing people.

Here's the fabric:

If you are interested and have something you would like to trade either comment with a description and a link to your picture or send me an email to strngwoodlndcreature@gmail.com - It doesn't necessarily have to be six yards or a Dutch wax print. If I can make a dress with it - 3 1/2 to 4 yards - I will be satisfied. I prefer 100% cotton but I have pretty broad tastes as far as color and print. You can look at some of my past blog posts to get an idea of what I like.

Just to be clear, this is NOT first come, first served. It's show me what you've got and I'll decide. I will wait at least a month before deciding, possibly longer. I'm not a very popular blogger so I don't expect to get many offers but I'm hoping I'm wrong. Anyway, once we agree to a trade we can work out the details and exchange snail mail addresses via email and I will ship as soon as I have your address.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Transitioning to Spring

I took at least a dozen pictures of myself (tripod and timer) and every single one of them was out of focus. I should try again, maybe wait until it's warmer and take outdoor photos, but I am impatient to get a new blog post up so here are the two best ones and maybe later I'll update it with a better photo.

It's another New Look 6963 and I love it. It's funny... I wouldn't say hunter green is one of my favorite colors but every time I put on something that color and look in the mirror I think, "Yes, this really works for me." I love the tiny floral print. That makes it perfect for spring even though dark green isn't usually a color associated with this time of year. I was originally thinking of using pink buttons but I didn't have any that were the right pink in my button stash and I didn't want to wait and these marbled green and black ones seemed to go perfectly with the fabric so now I'm glad I didn't have the right pink.

I do want to say something about this fabric. It's a digital print, which I guess is supposed to be sort of a big deal? At least it's priced like it's a big deal. I will be generous in my thoughts and try to believe that there is probably something about the process that makes digital printing more expensive and they're not just charging extra for the supposed coolness factor. Of course, I waited for a 40% off sale and bought this and another digital print. I don't see any difference between them and any other cotton print but that's not a bad thing. Just sayin'.

I do have one pet peeve about it: the selvedge is over an inch wide. And the total fabric width was only 43 inches so there's slightly less than 42 inches of usable fabric width. It wasn't a problem with this pattern but I still feel a little cheated and ever so slightly pissed off.

Anyway, here's the evidence and you get to see the sweet little print.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

#BoPoSew: My Style Journey

Go to Making the Flame for more #BoPoMarch and #BoPoSew.

I used to be thin. Beginning when I was still a child people would tell me that I was "one of those people who can eat anything and never gain an ounce." And for many years I believed it. Even when I started to notice that it wasn't true I could cut back on snacks for a week and lose five pounds as easily as I had gained it. This went on for about a decade - gain five pounds, lose five pounds. Then sometime in my early to mid thirties the weight I gained stopped coming off so easily. I went from a size 8 to a size 10. Then later to a size 12 and finally ending up at my current size(s) - 14 on the top and 16 on the bottom.

Even when I was thin I had a little belly fat and when I started to gain weight that's where I gained it first and most. I can't remember exactly when I bought my former favorite big shirt pattern. I was first attracted to it because it was easy to sew and comfortable but I soon discovered its value as concealing garment. I must have made at least a dozen of them. I wore them with RTW stretch pants and baggy pull-on pants that I made. It felt safe, something I could wear without having to think about it too much. It wasn't the only thing I wore but everything else I wore also tended to be loose and shapeless.

(This is one of those big shirts. Apologies for the odd, off center crop. I was standing next to my niece and while she's beautiful and I would love to show her off too I doubt she would approve.)

My transition away from baggy clothes started with New Look 6598. I saw it and wanted it but I believed I "couldn't" wear anything that was fitted and not long enough to cover my nether regions so it took me a long time to decide to actually buy the pattern and even longer before I worked up the courage to make it. It turned out to be only semi-fitted, loose fitting but with some shape, And I was surprised and pleased that I didn't hate it at all. I didn't immediately give up big shirts but I was happy to have another option.

Later I discovered New Look 6078 and this one was another surprise. Looking at the pictures on the pattern envelope I expected another semi-fitted blouse but it turned out to be close fitting and I wasn't disappointed. It has become one of my basic, go-to patterns. There are others, both fitted and semi-fitted but I'm not here to list all my pattern discoveries today. I have recently gone back to wearing some looser fitting long shirts and tunics but these are different, not huge and completely shapeless like my old big shirt pattern.

I also transitioned from baggy pants to something closer to "skinny jeans". And I re-discovered how much I love dresses and was pleasantly surprised to find that retro style dresses - fitted bodice with a gathered or flared skirt - suit me quite well. All these are exactly the kinds of clothes that the "experts" say are totally wrong for my body type but they make me happy and I am not 100% displeased with what I see in the mirror. (maybe still 30% displeased?) And that's what's important isn't it.

We all have to deal with shaming of one kind or another. There's no getting away from it. Some of the same people who preach against body shaming will shame you for what you eat or what you wear. We are shamed for clothes that are too revealing and for clothes that are too concealing. And it gets worse as you get older. Wear something "too young" and people say you need to learn to dress properly for your age. Try to wear what "they" say is age appropriate and they say it's "dowdy".

When we were kids we were taught the mantra, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." Of course we know that's not true. Words do hurt but maybe "roll with the punches" would be a more useful cliche. We get punched down but we can get back up and carry on.

We don't really have to be personally shamed to feel shamed. It's all over the Internet - people telling us what we should and should not wear based on weight and body type and some of it is even intended to be helpful. It's never going to stop. All we can do is try to ignore it and wear whatever makes us happy. If you see something you like try it and then decide.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A Fun, Colorful Shirt

I saw these two fabrics sitting next to each other at the store and they looked so good together I immediately got an idea what to do with them. I don't have a lot of time to post this so I won't gush about how much I love it or obsess over its minor flaws. Just the details. It's New Look 6078 with the sleeves, collar, and button band of Simplicity 1538 with a yoke that I added on top of it.

And the back

And a close-up of these adorable fabrics