Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Does anyone out there have difficulty with making gathers? This is one of the many ways in which, after literally four decades of sewing experience, I am still incompetent. I long ago gave up on the method recommended in all pattern instructions of a double row of long machine stitches because the thread always breaks. If it's just a short piece to be gathered, like a sleeve, I just make gathers with pins. For longer things like skirts and ruffles I do it with a running stitch by hand.

The little dress in the previous post turned out to be too short. Since I had quite a bit of the skirt fabric left over, the simple solution was to add a ruffle. The piece seems ridiculously long for a ruffle on a small child's dress so, feeling a bit lazy, I started trying to think of alternatives to hand gathering. I came up with what I thought was the brilliant idea to use hand quilting thread which is considerably stronger. So, feeling quite proud of myself I filled a bobbin and threaded the machine with quilting thread and did the stitching. I started carefully gathering but in a very little time the thread broke, as usual. It seems impossible that this happened. I was going slowly and carefully, not pulling hard at all and this seemingly very strong thread just broke! How is it that other people can do this but I cannot?

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Quick Little Dress

Something I made yesterday for my granddaughter.

I added the patch at the last minute when I realized that it's very difficult to tell the front from the back.

This is the pattern.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Just a Few Shades of Grey

I am usually opposed to grey except in a strictly supporting role but this cute little floral print was simply irresistible. It sort of reminds me of old black and white movies.

I decided almost immediately that it had to be another Simplicity 1882, this time with white piping.

I like this pattern even though I have not yet been able to get the princess seams to come out right. It's like it was designed for someone with weirdly high and wide set boobs. I mean, I know mine are over fifty and not as perky as they used to be but come on! Nobody is shaped like that. [ahem] Anyway...

This was my first attempt at piping. I've always been a little afraid of it. I definitely need lots more practice but I'm willing to live with this. Overall, I like it well enough. I need some colorful accessories to go with it. I have to confess I don't put as much thought into accessorizing as I probably should.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Too Precious

In Felicia's blog post and in the comments there is mention of fabric that is "too precious" to use and finished garments that are too precious to wear. I rarely have the former but sometimes do have the latter. So I thought I would share a few of my "too precious" garments.

I don't think I ever blogged these first two. The color in these pictures is awful, especially the first one. It has been raining so I couldn't take pics outside. The ceiling light has CFLs that are supposed to mimic the color of incandescents and they ordinarily seem pretty close but in pictures they really throw off the color. But anyway...

This fabric features several of my favorite things: music, tea, and roses and the colors are fantastic - a sort of faded red-orange, peachy pink, ivory, with little touches of sea green. The complicated print has opera posters, fragments of musical scores, writing that I can't make out (possibly poetry? Or is it love letters?) roses, and the words "Tea for Two". I absolutely love it and I only wear it about once a year.

This next one is both beautiful and sentimental for me.

I bought this gorgeous fabric about six years ago and sewed it almost right away. I knew my mom would love it too and I was looking forward to showing it off to her but I didn't get the chance. Now? It doesn't really make me all that sad anymore but I still don't wear it except maybe once a year mainly because the fabric is just too gorgeous. I sort of wish I had used a different pattern. This one is okay. It used to be my favorite shirt pattern but not so much anymore.

Here's one that I made and blogged about last summer

Since it's still relatively new I'm not really sure if it's going to be "too precious" but I'm leaning that way. When it gets warmer though I am going to try to wear it and all of these too precious things more often. Here's one more in the category of "might be too precious," originally blogged about here.

What is it that makes something too precious to wear? It's love and fear. Really, really loving a garment and fearing that something terrible will happen to it. Besides just simply knowing that the more I wear them the sooner they will wear out, I have visions of clothing disasters involving barbecue sauce or blueberry pie filling. I worry that I will be in an accident and they will have to cut my clothes off of me, which is silly because in that case I would have a lot more to worry about than just my clothes but that's where my mind goes. But I have all these other clothes that I wear every week, that I have worn dozens of times without ever having anything at all happen to them so why worry? Why not enjoy the clothes I love the most. I'm going to try. I really am. I keep telling myself that but maybe this year...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dark Purple Drapey Thing

I don't generally go for this kind of drapey neckline but there's a gorgeous piece of fabric that I've had for a while (not this fabric but another one) and it seems like it needs to be something like this so I bought this pattern for it but I've still been hesitating to start it. Then I saw this extremely cheap dark purple polyester and thought it would be good for trying the pattern for the first time.

And here's the result.

I don't know... I sort of like it and sort of don't like it. I definitely don't like the way the hem came out. I'm going to blame the fabric for that. This was is a very easy pattern but this fabric was a bit hard to work with. By the way it's quite a bit darker than it looks in this second photo. That's it under the pattern in the first photo. It's closer to the actual color, at least on my screen.

Aside from the bad hem, I still have mixed feelings about it and I'm not sure if it's because it's that bad or if I'm just not used to wearing this style of top. It's indecently comfortable though. It's so lightweight I feel like I'm not even wearing anything.

I'm going to sew at least one more test top before I cut into the precious fabric but I still think this is the right pattern for it. I'm just not sure if I'm the right sewist for it.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sorry, No Pics

It seems like it's been ages since I've had any new sewing to show off. My latest thing was a pair of black denim trousers. I'm calling them trousers* because they have none of the usual jeans details. They're just plain. I did take a few pictures of them and was going to post but when I saw the pics I chickened out. They're nothing special anyway, very basic. (*Also I'm trying to be more international and saying "trousers" instead of "pants" even though it feels weird.)

I just started a purple top which I should be able to show off in a few days, maybe next week. I'm already worrying about the end result though so I don't know. I've been having trouble getting started on anything. There are a bunch of things I want to make but I don't know which I want to do next so instead of just grabbing something at random and starting it like I should I've been procrastinating.

I think maybe the weather is a big part of my problem. (It's always easy to blame the weather isn't it?) It's been lovely almost all winter, just like spring, but now, the last official week of winter it has turned cold. I think Mother Nature is schizophrenic. Or maybe she just has a drinking problem.

What I really need to do is some of the alterations and re-fashions that I've been putting off forever. It's always more fun to sew new things though.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Friday, February 24, 2017

Second Thoughts... and Third Thoughts

I always had it in mind to use Simplicity 1538 for this fabric but the day I cut it I was wearing an old McCall's 4922 and impulsively decided that I wanted to use that pattern instead. Then the day after I cut it I wore the Simplicity 1538 and wished I had stuck with my original plan. But it's okay. It's another one of those things that I like much better when I'm just wearing it and not looking at pictures of myself wearing it.

It was 80°F and extremely windy yesterday when these were taken.

It has a relaxed fit, which seems a little bit wrong for something with princess seams (or maybe it's just too large?) and somehow it overemphasizes my pear shape. I wish I had stuck with my original plan but, as I said, I like it just fine when I'm wearing it. I love the colors, which are a bit brighter in person.

Here's one more pic just because cat.

Friday, February 10, 2017


This really has nothing to do with sewing but maybe this will inspire you to think about spring sewing. (Any excuse right?) It's going to be 70F here today and over 80(!) tomorrow so I'm already thinking about spring. No flowers yet though.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Very Red

My camera has a problem with red. Whenever I try to photograph something red it ends up looking like just a solid red blob. I only managed to get one kind of okay but not really good picture.

I don't often sew solid colors (except for trousers) but solid colors can be useful and this intense red is such a fun color. The fabric is cotton. And I'm sure you notice the cute heart shaped buttons. I have 7 of those left over that I can use on something else!

The pattern is McCall's 6076.

Not very exciting, just looking at the envelope but I've used it several times and it always looks better on me than it does on the models (if you'll pardon the bragging) The one change I made here is the sleeves. The originals are straight and huge at the wrist and about 3 inches too long so I shortened and tapered them. I also shortened the body about an inch. I love the result. Perfect for Valentines Day or any other day. Red and hearts are appropriate almost anytime.