Monday, December 26, 2016

Two Finished Projects

Hello? Hello? Anybody out there?

Now that Christmas is over I can show off the two quilts I've been working on and yes, I did finish both of them in time to give them for Christmas. I don't have a good place to display quilts for photographing so I got just a corner of each. This first one was a gift to my grandson. (age 17) He loved it.

And this one went to my brother-in-law (husband's brother) and his wife. This is the one that took me forever to finish and I wasn't entirely happy with the way it turned out but they loved it and were very impressed. (It's easy to impress people who don't quilt.)

And now it's time to get back to regular sewing and start the next quilt. After being so busy for weeks I hardly know what to do with myself now but at the same time I don't feel really motivated by any particular project or idea. It might take me a few days to get started on something.

Someone once called the week between Christmas and New Year's "the quiet week at the bottom of the year." I like that - a week in which it's okay to just do nothing, (or as little as possible) to reflect, to re-group, to read a book and drink hot tea, or just sit back and watch the Mythbusters mega-marathon. (or whatever series you like to binge on) It sort of seems like a bonus week. So, whatever you're doing with your bonus week, happy new year and happy sewing and crafting.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Creepy Christmas Cards

Hello all. No sewing to show off right now. Sewing clothes has recently taken a back seat to quilting as I try to finish two(!) quilts by Christmas. I have successfully completed one. The other? Not looking too good right now.

Anyway, I really just wanted to share this collection of weird Victorian Christmas cards. (50+) Some of them are cute but most are like "What the H__?!" and a few are seriously creepy. Which is your favorite and which one most creeps you out?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ideas? Opinions? Tips?

I have this medium-heavy "stretch" twill fabric that, in fact, has hardly any stretch at all. Six inches of fabric (crosswise) stretches to maybe seven inches. I was going to make jeans but I must have a decent amount of stretch in my jeans and trousers so now I'm thinking about making a skirt. The problem? I want to line it and I don't know what kind of lining to use. Should I look for something with the same amount of stretch or should I just treat it like a non-stretch fabric and have a non-stretch lining?

* * * * *

More info: Here's the pattern I'm thinking of using, view C, the middle one. (Butterick 6418; I meant to capture the entire envelope in the picture but I missed.) It's an old pattern, 3 sizes too small but I'm confident in being able to upsize it it.

And this is just an idea I have right now. I had a black one like this years ago and I loved it but now skinny skirts are a little outside my comfort zone especially ones that are open to mid-thigh. Still, at the moment I'm really liking the idea. (By the way my fabric is bright pink.) I would always wear it with tights, thus the need for a lining so it won't cling. The fabric is heavy enough that it might actually be okay without a lining but I would hate to get it made and discover that I should have lined it.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Really Quick Leggings Post

I actually had a lot more to say about these but I'm in a bit of a rush. I found this wonderful, buttery soft stretch "ultra-suede" and immediately knew I had to have some leggings out of it.

That's how they will appear in public but you want to see more don't you? No, you just think you do. You really don't.

Okay, fine. Here's my "sexy leggings pic". I hope this doesn't spoil anyone's appetite on the day before Thanksgiving.

Pattern: McCall's 6173, with a lot of fitting tweaks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Underneath It All

Isn't it funny how we get used to new things and after a while it feels like the new things are the way it's supposed to be? I clearly remember back in the 70s, watching TV with my mother and seeing a Bali bra commercial on TV. They were showing beautiful, happy models wearing Bali bras and they bragged about the wonderful, natural shaping and Mom said something about how it would make you look like you weren't even wearing a bra. I didn't have as strong an opinion as she did about it but I tended to agree with her. I was young and still happy to even need a bra and I didn't want to wear anything to reduce the appearance of what little I had.

Fast-forward to the present. Now almost all bras are the more rounded "natural" shape and the few that are not get reviews on Amazon complaining that they are "too pointy" and "cone shaped" as if that was the most horrible clothing faux pas in the world.

Recently Tasha wrote about sewing retro bras and linked to her earlier post about retro bras. Now this got me interested in trying one myself. My fitted dresses and blouses never seem to fit quite right and it occurred to me that maybe a different shaped bra would make a difference.

The main limitation I have is that I am absolutely fanatical about having seamless cups so making my own is probably not going to happen. Fortunately, we have Amazon reviews and sometimes it's the negative reviews that are most helpful. By reading a whole bunch of these reviews I managed to find two retro shaped bras that are also seamless. Both are Playtex brand.

This one has unlined cups and the sides and back are wider than normal. I'm probably not going to be able to wear this with anything sleeveless. Also, I get just a bit of wrinkling on the cups but, overall, it's not too bad. It's wearable, at least in the winter.

And here's the other one. It's my favorite of the two. I think it will work fine for summer clothes although it is lined, which can be a good thing or a bad thing just depending.

Now, I hope you're still reading because here's the funny thing. When I first tried these on I was a bit freaked out. These bras don't look pointy at all on the models in the pictures but when I looked down at the girls I was like, OMG! they're so pointy! I thought, "I can't wear these in public; everyone will be staring at my pointy boobs." But when I looked in the mirror it didn't look quite so bad so I decided to keep them and give them an honest try. After wearing each of them for a whole day I was sold. My clothes definitely fit more like I feel they're supposed to.

I bought several more of the second one and for about a week it was the only style of bra I wore. Then I put on one of my modern shaped bras and a strange thing happened. I felt like it looked kind of wrong. Actually a little bit gross. Now don't get me wrong. I don't think modern bras are gross or that anyone else looks gross when you wear them. It's just how I felt about myself wearing one after a week of wearing so-called "pointy" bras. It's really funny how easily we get used to things and then whatever we're used to seems right.

I'm Sorry

I don't do politics here but I feel an irrational urge to apologize to the world for the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, even though I didn't vote for the guy and I know I'm not personally responsible. But when I think of the rest of the world watching I am embarrassed. Please don't think too harshly of us. In fact, slightly more than half of voters did vote for Clinton but we have this weird thing that most of us don't fully understand called the Electoral College.

I am worried but I am sure we will survive. We always do somehow. Now back to sewing. There will be sewing posts soon, I promise.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Happy Colors

I love this shirt! In this shirt I shall go forth into a world overwhelmed with grays and browns* and spread light and happiness wherever I go, even if it's only the happiness of getting to say you can't look at me without sunglasses.

Here's a close-up of the fabrics. The colors in this photo are reasonably accurate, at least on my screen, except the yellow, streaky fabric is a bit more orangey in real life.

The main fabric was a two-yard piece I purchased at a local quilt shop. For a long time I wasn't sure what to do with it. That store always has a lot of one and two yard pieces that always tempt me. They usually end up being sleeveless or short sleeved tops. I can't really remember my thought processes with this but after having it for a few months I somehow decided it needed to be a Simplicity 1538 so I went back to the same store to look for the contrast fabric. I originally wanted something predominantly the sort of harvest gold color in the main print but I didn't find anything like that and settled on this bright orange-yellow. I'm glad I chose it because I love the way it turned out.

This is the second time I have made Simplicity 1538. It's a good basic shirt pattern, relaxed fit but not sloppy. The sleeves are a little longer than I like. Somehow I always end up with sleeves a little too long or a little too short. They're also a little bit too loose at the cuffs but, overall, acceptable.

*The grays and browns of nature haven't taken over yet. It's been almost as warm as summer here and the grass and foliage are still ridiculously green for November. I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

More Inspiration - 50's

Oooo! Vintage fans, check out this collection of 50's dresses. There are more than a dozen photos but here are some of my favorites.

It's hard to see much detail in this pretty floral but I think I like it a lot. The neckline is a little higher than I like for summer. And gloves? Lovely and elegant but no thank you.

I love the border on this one. Not sure about wearing a mostly white dress though. It's something I've always shied away from.

Oooo, a big, bias-cut plaid. I must do this!

And finally, I need this coat - the one in the middle.

I also like the applique skirts and the country style jumpers. What about you?

* * *

By the way, I have a shirt finished except for the buttons so I will have something to show off soon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Birds and Sunflowers and Fenceposts

Have you ever bought a pattern and then looked at it at home and realized that there isn't much that you like about it? That's what happened with me and Simplicity 8166. I knew that I would not like the high collar on views A and B. I thought I would just make the version with the bow but then I remembered that bows bother me and if I made it with the bow I probably wouldn't wear it very often. So I thought, okay, no collar, no bow; this is still good. But then I got it out of the envelope and started cutting pieces and noticed something else about it. The "placket" is really tiny and narrow and it has button loops instead of holes, which would probably be okay but right away it turned me off. Still, no problem; I could just make a normal placket. Also, I wanted a bit longer tunic, also no problem. And, sleeve elastic bothers me too so I made narrow bands instead.

So I got started but as I was sewing it I started having serious doubts. I kept thinking it was going to end up being a dumpy looking smock thing. But, actually, I think it turned out... okay.

To be honest, I think it sort of needs the bow and/or a collar of some kind. Or maybe if I just corrected the shape of the neckline a little bit and possibly added a bit of trim. I used four mismatched gaudy, gold-colored buttons thinking it might make up for the lack of a bow. The bottom one is non-functional.

The verdict, totally wearable, even though far from perfect. I will definitely make it again, with even more changes.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


I found this photo on the Vintage Fashion Archive Facebook page. I am especially interested in the dress on the left.

That looks like it would be easy to copy. I might already have a pattern or patterns that would work. Things I would change: 1. Eliminate the seam down the front. 2. The bodice is a little too blousy. I think those might not be actual princess seams, just trim, so I would make an actual princess seam bodice. (Are you starting to see what attracted me to this dress?) 3. A more fun color, likely a print - a tiny floral or geometric print or maybe pin dots.

Also, I'm not sure about the sleeves. I wear dresses mostly in the summer and tend to not wear anything with sleeves very often - in fact almost never. But I'm not sure how this would look without sleeves. I'm having difficulty picturing it. So maybe a winter dress with long sleeves. But, again, I mostly wear dresses in the summer, rarely in the winter, so I'm afraid it would end up being one of those dresses I only wear to funerals, unless I made it in a color or print that would be totally inappropriate, in which case I might never wear it, and both of those scenarios make me sad.

So anyway... those are just some early thoughts. What do you think?

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Little Western Shirt

Have you ever made something for a tiny person and it turned out so adorable you wish you could wear it yourself? I'm generally not a big fan of western style clothes for myself but this shirt that I made for my granddaughter is just so darn cute!

The pattern is Kwik Sew 3146. It includes two yoke styles, the western you see here and a standard yoke. It was pretty easy, just like a typical adult shirt pattern but in toddler size. The floral fabric was a scrap left over from a shirt I made for myself a couple of years ago. (I never blogged it and I'm not sure if I have a picture of it but it's one of my favorites.)

I haven't given it to her yet. I'm sure my daughter-in-law will love it. About 3-year-olds you never can tell.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Something for Warm Fall Days

Just a really quick showing-off of my latest:

This was a two-yard piece I bought at a local store. I used New Look 6078 and modified the neckline and used sleeves from a different pattern. I love the colors in the fabric. I don't know if you can tell from the picture but it has a lot of gold metallic in the print. I like this pattern a lot too. I've used it at least a dozen times.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Huh... That's Odd

A little background for those not familiar with Blogger: Blogger has a lame little stats thing that is more annoying than helpful. Mine usually shows that I have fewer than 10 pageviews on most days, often fewer than 5. On days when I actually post something that goes up to between 15 and 20, occasionally slightly higher. Well, today I sign in and see that yesterday I had 77 pageviews! Strangely, that is equally as disheartening as it is exciting.

I have an embarrassing little confession: I crave attention like a small child. Or a puppy. But I am afraid to do anything to actually attract attention because I'm afraid I will come off as needy (which I guess I am in a way) or as a creepy stalker. So, more than three times as as many pageviews as I normally get on a good day. (And pageviews don't really tell you much. That could be just 7 people viewing an average of 10 pages each (Yes, I know my math is wrong.) which is only one of the reasons the thing is annoying.) But anyway, the reasons it was a little disheartening to see are, 1, that I got no comments that day and 2, my last post was just complaining about not being able to find underwear that I like. (So the lack of comments might be a good thing?) I really hope someone scrolled down far enough to see the last dress I posted.

Oh well, I'd best move on before I start sounding any more needy. I'm also just really curious as to the reason for the sudden upsurge in pageviews. (and possibly actual visitors?) Who were those visitors and where did they come from?

* * *

It seems like ages since I posted pictures but I have been sewing. I made the orange trousers I mentioned before but they came out too large. I don't know how that happened since I used the same pattern that I have successfully used a dozen or more times. I can fix them but I really hate taking things apart.

I am currently working on an early fall blouse - fall colors but short sleeved for the warm early fall weather. It shouldn't be too long until I have that one finished.

I have mostly been working on a quilt that I really want to get done by Christmas so other sewing is coming along more slowly even though I have a dozen things I want to sew and get done right now. The change of seasons is always inspiring. Even though I didn't want summer to end, didn't want to stop sewing breezy summer dresses, I suddenly find myself interested in sewing fall things.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


This is going to be a little off topic but if you'll excuse me I'm going to talk about my underpants for a little bit. I have the worst time trying to find acceptable underwear. Currently my go-to, though still imperfect, choice is Bali's cotton Full Cut Fit. (if I remember the name correctly) They're what some of you like to call "granny panties". And can we talk about that for a minute? I hate that term. It's pejorative. It's age shaming and it's trying to make people feel embarrassed about their clothing choices. Can we just stop it?

But anyway... I don't necessarily want the high waist but if you get a lower waist you get stuck with a higher leg opening in the back and I can't stand that. I don't see how anyone can tolerate having the elastic or the edge of the leg opening going across the the butt cheek instead of underneath it where it belongs. On the other hand, aside from the too high waist I don't really like the Bali fabric. It's a cotton spandex - 10% spandex according to the label but it feels like it has hardly any at all. It also tends to pill or get fuzzy after a few washings. But they are wearable so they're what I generally settle for. I have also tried Bali's Skimp Skamp (TM) and in some ways they are better but the narrow leg elastic is extremely uncomfortable.

The "World's Best Fitting Panty" (TM) has the perfect fabric, a cotton spandex with a nice firm, but not too tight, stretch and the waist on the regular briefs version sits slightly below the natural waistline but they have the too high in the back leg openings which is totally unacceptable to me.

So I recently decided to try something totally different: the so-called "boy short". I had not considered these before because the term "boy short" is very off-putting. I am not a boy and I don't want to wear "boy" anything but, desperation. I tried two different brands so far and even with legs they somehow manage to be too high in the back. I know there are "boy shorts" with longer legs but I don't want longer legs. What I really want is some comfortable cotton spandex underpants with not too high a waistline that completely cover my butt, which is admittedly not small but neither is it huge. It shouldn't be this hard.

By the way, when you search for boy shorts on Amazon a whole lot of unmentionables that I really don't want to mention or ever see again come up in the results - items that are most definitely not boy shorts! Seriously Amazon? You need to fix your search function so that only the stuff we're actually searching for comes up.

I did once try sewing underwear but after three tries I was not able to end up with anything wearable. The main problem, I think was the inability to find the right fabric and elastic. But maybe I will try again someday when I get sufficiently desperate.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Summer's Last Fling?

I feel like I have been working on this dress for a month and that I should have been able to complete three or four dresses in the time it took me to sew just this one but sometimes that's just the way it goes. I'm not going to try to figure out when I started it because it might turn out that I really have been working on it for a month. I have been working on a couple of other projects as well so it's not like I've been lazy but when I take longer than I expect to finish something I can't help feeling like a bit of a slacker. Anyway, here is the tropical print dress, finally.

This is the bodice of Simplicity 1803 and the skirt of Vogue 8811 plus pockets. I eliminated the center front seam because it was totally unnecessary and would not have worked out well at all with this lovely, large floral. I spent most of the time I was working on this feeling angsty about getting the princess seams and the armholes to fit just right. They're not perfect but they're not too bad. I have this idea that I can't let go of that if I could just find the right bra the princess seams would fit perfectly.

I love this dress. The fabric is a lightweight cotton and it feels sort of light and floaty and of course the colors are amazing. Love it! I wish I had sewed it sooner so I would have more summer left in which to wear it. Fortunately, summer is not gone yet. The forecast for this week is for temps in the mid-90s F. So I will get to wear it at least once.

Since it's still so warm and likely to stay that way for another week or two I was tempted to squeeze in one more summer dress (actually still tempted) but, even though I'm not ready to let go of summer yet I am ever so slightly weary of sewing princess seams and bust darts and attaching skirts to bodices and sewing really long hems. (Of course the blouses I will be sewing for fall will have either darts or princess seams too but they're still something different.) I decided to start the orange trousers because they will be needed sooner than long sleeved shirts.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Two New Patterns

Bought these today.

I will almost certainly never make 8244 as shown. Narrow skirts are not my style at all. I bought it for that asymmetrical top detail. The other one, 8166... I'm thinking about fall tunics. I'll probably make changes to that one too. The collar looks uncomfortable. But anyway, there's a good chance I might be trying that one out soon.

Lazy Weeked, Nothing to Report, Sewists Guilt

I spent the entire weekend watching the Star Trek marathon on BBC America. Absolutely no sewing got done and not much of anything else either. I was thinking I would have have the tropical print dress done by last Thursday or Friday but I didn't. Last week I mostly worked on a couple of quilts - the one I have been working on for literally years and the new one I just started which I must get done by Christmas. But a new week has begun and I have all the time in the world. I'm determined to not waste quite so much of it, even though I think, once in a while, we need to just "waste" time and that such time is not really wasted at all. So, actually not all that much guilt.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Template Troubles

The template I was using previously was misbehaving this morning. It refused to load completely, so I'm going to try this one for a while. I like it but I'm afraid most people might consider the background "too busy" so I'm going to look around for more templates and maybe change to something else. Thoughts?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Brief Summer Review and Thinking About Fall

As I have said before, I don't like being tied to a sewing plan but I do find it useful to have a list of maybes, then if I don't have anything I'm especially excited about sewing next I can just pick something from the list. I had 20 fabrics on my list, as updated in June (I called it a plan at the time but it wasn't really a plan.) Of those, I have sewed 12. That would not be good if it had been a plan but okay for a list, and considering that I also sewed several things not on the list.

Of course, summer is not over yet and I might still get around to one or two more but I'm going to sew the tropical print next. I would have started it already but I decided to work on a quilt top and go ahead and get that done instead of piddling around with it for the next six months.

I'm a summer person and I hate to think about summer being over. And it's not over yet. We still have at least another month of warm weather here but I have, almost involuntarily, started thinking about fall sewing. Here are a few things that are on my mind.

These are two pairs of fabrics that go together. The pattern has contrasting collar cuffs and placket. The local quilt shop always has a bunch of two yard cuts of fabric. They're not really bargain priced and sometimes it's hard to think of what to do with just two yards but for some reason they're fun to buy. That's what the fabric on the top left in the photo was. It took me quite a while to decide on what I wanted to do with it. I was originally thinking something for summer but as soon as I started thinking about fall this completely clicked and I think this might be my first fall thing. The piece on the top right I've had for two or three years and was always going to use this pattern but I originally had a different purple fabric that I settled on and wasn't satisfied with to go with it. But then last week I found this tie-dye purple and it's almost exactly what I had in mind in the first place. So, yay! I'm ready to go on these and just need buttons.

This second photo is all cotton knits that I got at the Hancock Fabrics going out of business sale. At first I was thinking t-shirts but it seems a little too thick for t-shirts and I have enough of those anyway so now the plan is for cardigans. I already have an orange (RTW) cardigan so the orange might stay in the stash for a long, long time. I'm thinking I'll start with the green, which is more gorgeous than it looks in the picture. It's a really green green, almost like a John Deere green or the green crayon in a box of eight crayons only prettier. The pink is not a very useful color for fall so it can wait until late winter or early spring.

The last two are stretch twill, originally both destined to be trousers but the blue is not as stretchy as I like, in fact, it's hardly stretchy at all. How they can get away with calling this stuff a stretch fabric is beyond me. But it's still a nice, non-stretch fabric and I already have another idea for it, which I won't reveal yet. The orange is nicely stretchy though and I will go ahead with my original plan for it even though orange trousers in my size are a little scary.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Colors! My Colors! (And a Monstrous Run-On Sentence)

Have you ever decided that you are absolutely not going to buy any more fabric for a long time because you are suddenly slightly horrified to realize how much you already have, but then a local quilt shop has a 30% off on everything sale(!) and you remember you actually do need a few small pieces to finish or refashion some things, like contrast for a couple of shirts you're planning, for example, so you go just to buy those things and you leave the store proud of yourself because you only bought what you went there for but then you keep thinking about that one really gorgeous fabric that you didn't buy because you were determined to be good and you go back and buy some because, what the heck, it's 30 percent off!?

Yeah, that's what happened to me. (This is actually lighter weight than "typical" quilting fabric, perfect for a summer dress.)

I am so excited about this fabric, I was going to cut it out today but then I realized that I do not have a zipper or thread to match. The only place within an hour's drive of me that has sewing notions (other than quilting notions) is Walmart and they probably have the right color thread but no chance on the zipper so I'll have to order that. :-(

For the most part, it seems like I have been sewing some uncharacteristically subdued colors lately. I mean, I like all the garments I've made this year. I like a wide variety of colors - sometimes it's the print that's the main thing - but I have been craving some real COLOR! Summer's last fling, perhaps. So for now I wait and look through my stash for something else colorful, though I know I have nothing else quite this bold.

What's In a Name?

I had an epiphany yesterday. Well, not really; I just like the word "epiphany" and this seemed like a good excuse to use it.

When I first decided to start a sewing blog I wanted the word "sew" in the title but it seemed like all the good sewing blog titles were already taken so after much thought I settled on "And Sew It Goes". I actually sort of like it. It's not bad for something I settled on and I was satisfied with it but yesterday I thought of something that is both more meaningful and more "me".

I enjoy attention and praise as much as anyone. In fact, sometimes I think I might crave attention a little too much. But, to be honest, I do get a little tired of non-sewing people always being SO AMAZED that I sew. Yes, it is nice to be able to impress people but I feel like a bit of a fraud - like I'm getting praise that I don't deserve. Sewing is really no more impressive than a lot of other things people routinely do, such as driving in a large city, using computers, baking cookies, or keeping house plants alive. (The first and last of those are more difficult for me than sewing.)

I don't have much patience with people who say they would love to learn to sew but they "can't" or "could never learn". Look - for most of the history of civilization not sewing was not an option for most women. The only women who could get away with not sewing were those who were wealthy enough to pay someone else to do it for them, so anyone with two functional hands can learn to sew. Now if you really don't want to or "don't have time" that's fine. That's disappointing but I can accept that. Just don't act like sewing is some kind of strange superpower. It's not.

I must admit that I do have a selfish motive for wanting more people to learn to sew. The more people there are who sew the more local fabric stores there will be, but seriously, I don't expect everyone to know how to sew and if people are impressed that's cool too, just not so much over-the-top, OMG-you-have-superpowers impressed.

So anyway, sorry for getting preachy. I know the people who really need that sermon will never see it. Anyone who comes here will most likely be someone who already sews or who is seriously interested. I just wanted to explain the name change and why this one is more ME.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Brand New Sloppy Old T-Shirt

Fair warning: this post contains the worst photos of me you will ever see. I'm talking driver's license photo bad. In fact, I've had better driver's license photos. But for this garment that seems sort of appropriate somehow. So anyway...

First, about the fabric - I went looking for some hemp fabric to make my oldest son a shirt for his birthday because I knew he would get a kick out of having a shirt made of hemp. (One thing we have in common is that we are both easily amused.) I found Hemp Traders. This jersey is 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton. It is wonderful! It's soft and drapey but really well behaved and a dream to sew. The cut edges don't even curl up like most knits do. You've gotta get some of this stuff. It comes in more that 20 colors.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of that t-shirt to show you. As I said last week, when the kids get to be six feet tall it's just about impossible to dress them up and force them to pose for pictures. But it really turned out great. I'm tempted to say perfect. And he liked it so, yeah, perfect.

I bought almost twice as much fabric as I needed (It's 64 inches wide) so I had enough left over for another shirt. I thought about making one for my other son but I decided he would probably like a different color better so I made one for myself. I used this really old pattern, upsized and lengthened it just a bit.

I will never wear this in public but that's exactly what I intended - a comfortable shirt for housework and just lounging around. So we'll start with an "action shot".

Yikes! I don't look like that. No, seriously, I don't, not even when I'm zombied out in front of the TV. I refuse to believe it. Anyway, you probably want a better look at the shirt. Here ya go.

The hem is straight; it just looks that way because of the slouchy style and the way I'm standing, I think. Anyway, it feels great and I love it and I'm definitely buying more of this fabric, and making some things that can be worn in public.

By the way, the pants I'm wearing are a very old pair of L.L. Bean Perfect Fit(tm) Pants. I highly recommend them if you want some nice, practically indestructible RTW knit pants. Sadly, the color selection is very limited - what I like to call six shades of dull - but, to be fair, they are all useful "go with everything" colors.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Regrets? No and Yes

I don't regret this dress. I like it. It's another Simplicity 1803, view C this time, and it's the best fit of these princess seams so far. (Bodice only; I don't like the extra seams in the skirt of this pattern)

But as I started sewing it I noticed that these are fall colors and I started thinking what a lovely fall tunic it would have made.

I have been obsessed with these scoop back dresses though and I want more, more, more of them.

So I don't regret the dress but I regret not having the fall tunic that might have been. Does that make sense?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Brief, Unillustrated Notes

I made a t-shirt for my oldest son. I will probably never get to show that one to you. When kids get to be six feet tall it's kind of hard to forcibly dress them and make them pose for pictures. But I do have to say something about the fabric. It's a 55 percent hemp/45 percent organic cotton from Hemp Traders. It is wonderful to sew with - very well-behaved on the sewing machine - and it feels like it would be very comfortable to wear. I have some left over, maybe enough for a tank top for myself. And I'm definitely buying more.

I am almost finished with another dress. No surprise - another scoop back. I love it but at the same time I'm not without a minor regret regarding the fabric. More on this and some photos, probably sometime in the next few days, maybe a week.

I am getting really close to finishing a quilt that I started several years ago so now I'm getting excited about quilting again and I'm so full of ideas. That's not 100% a good thing though. I have more ideas than I have time or money. Most of my ideas involve buying more fabric, unfortunately, but I do have a lot of scraps that could become a lovely quilt. In fact, scraps are taking over my house and I really need to make a scrap quilt. I just need to decide on an interesting pattern.

Finally, I want some of this fabric SOOOO bad but I don't know... I can't picture what to make of it. It's quilting fabric, so obviously I could plan another quilt, but I was actually thinking something to wear but I'm having trouble coming up with an idea for such a large print. Oh well, sadly, I'll probably just let it go.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Jellyfish Dress

It's not perfect but I love it anyway so I'm not going to point out its flaws this time.

This is the bodice of Butterick 5748 again and the skirt of Vogue 8811. I didn't get a picture of the back this time but I must say I think I'm addicted to these scoop backs. I have made several, using two different scoop back patterns, and now when I put on an ordinary dress it almost feels wrong to have fabric touching my upper back.

Of course I added pockets, as always, and you might notice the two sea green buttons at the neckline. I just happened to have those, only the two, and they're very close to the color of the sea weed in this print so I decided to use them for a little decoration. I'm not sure they're really noticeable enough to make a difference but I like them and I'm glad I used them.

You know, it's funny... I am not especially attracted to navy blue and I would never claim it as one of my favorite colors but I keep making and loving navy blue things. (Well, two so far this year) I think it's more the colors that go with it though. These ocean colors look so cool and summery and the jelly fish are great fun.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Not Sewing

Hey, it's been a long time, huh? Actually I have been sewing. There was one week when I only did one little thing the whole week - fixed some pockets that were bugging me. And I'm almost finished with another dress that I feel like I've been working on forever, doing just one little step a day most days. Eventually I'll take some pictures and get around to showing off some things but that's not what I'm here for today.

This is not about sewing but it is crafty and it's incredible. I want to shrink (like in those movies) for just an hour down to the size to fit in this dollhouse so I can walk around in it. I'd probably throw out the skulls and the creepy dog skeleton but otherwise this is fascinating and wonderful.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Eifel Towers and Lavender Lace Become the Lazy House Dress

I was having a bad face day. Actually, I have a cold sore. I have been using that stuff that costs nearly $20 for a tube the size of a five-year-old child's pinky finger. I'm not sure if it works or not. Maybe a little but certainly not well enough to justify the price. But I'm not here to talk about overpriced OTC pharmaceuticals.

I used my go-to lazy dress pattern, Kwik Sew 2671. "Lazy" because it's easy to sew - no darts or zipper - and because it makes a very comfortable, lazy day kind of dress. I have made it probably a dozen times with various modifications. I prefer the look of a more fitted bodice but I wear the dresses made from this pattern more than anything else so I'm always happy to have another one.

This time I made it with a seam down the front of the bodice instead of buttons so I could use this cotton lace trim. I'm a little embarrassed about the obvious lack of pattern matching but I think something would have ended up cut in half and/or not lined up no matter what I did.

How about an action shot? Not one of my best but it'll do.

I have to show you a close-up of the fabric so you can see the detail in the bird silhouettes.

The verdict: This is another one of those, "I love it when I'm just wearing it, not looking at pictures of myself wearing it," things so overall, a win.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention, I made side seam pockets this time. Also, two modifications I always do when I use this pattern. 1. It's supposed to be a jumper so I always make the arm holes smaller. 2. I hate sashes and tie belts so I leave it off and put elastic at the back waist instead. I think I could have used a shorter piece of elastic in this one.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Colorful Cats

I needed this. I was feeling a need for some outrageous color. These colorful cat silhouettes are just the thing. I used the bodice of Butterick 5748 with a plain gathered skirt again. (I don't know if I will ever make it with the circle skirt. I like the idea of a circle skirt but I'm not sure about actually living in one.) I also lowered the neckline a little and I'm not really happy with the shape of it this time.

This photo is out of focus but in some ways I think it's the best of the photos I took of this dress.

Most of the photos had these goofy wrinkles across the bodice. But you know, that's life. We are not department store mannequins. We move, we breathe, we are imperfect. But I do need to talk about that bodice a little bit and not just to make excuses for it.

You may remember that the first time I used this pattern my usual size (16) was way too big. So this time I cut a size 14. Well, it turns out that a size 14 in this pattern is a little bit tight so I let out the back seam a quarter of an inch. That's not much and it still doesn't have as much ease as I'm used to but it did give me a little more breathing room and it's not uncomfortable at all. I think those wrinkles are due to a combination of it being a little bit too snug and just a smidgen too long for me. If I use this pattern six more times I think I might get it all figured out.

The trim is cut from a small piece of fabric I had left over from another project. It wouldn't have been my first choice of trim color if I had been buying something new but I already had this and it was a spur of the moment decision and I think it looks okay.

Here's one more pic. The goofy pose mostly smoothed out the goofy wrinkles.

Overall I really like it. It's not perfect but it's perfectly wearable and super fun.

Monday, June 27, 2016

#%&*$@&! Zipper!

Zippers - I've installed tons of them. Well, maybe not tons but a lot and I almost never have any trouble with them, though some end up looking better than others. But today... well, refer to the image above.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Loving the Red, White, and Blue

I was thinking of this fabric as red, white, and blue but the "red" is actually mostly a sort of salmon pink, which is lovely and I'm still probably going to wear it on the 4th of July.

I used the bodice of Simplicity 1803, View B, and a plain gathered skirt. Last summer I made View C, the one with the square neckline and the fit was not great so this time I cut a size 14 instead of my usual 16. You know... I think I have a tendency to get stuck on things like numbers and have a hard time believing it could possibly be wrong even if it's a number I don't especially like. The whole time I was sewing this I kept thinking and worrying, "This is wrong; I can't wear a size 14; it's not going to fit..." and so forth even though the more logical part of my brain was pretty sure it would fit.

And it does. The princess seams are maybe not quite right but overall it's great. I love it! It actually makes me feel youthful. I know it's not the sort of style that actual youthful people are wearing these days but that's not what matters. If I had to live in just one dress for the rest of the summer I think this would be it.

Here's a back view. I'm loving these scoop backs even though my back isn't the most lovely thing to be showing off to the world.

And of course it has pockets.

(I have a blue (lapis) and white (shell) necklace that I was going to put on for these pictures but I forgot and I didn't want to go back out and start all over again.)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Shoe Review

I first started seeing those woven elastic shoes a couple of years ago, maybe longer. It seems really recent but I know it's been longer than it feels like. At first I thought they might be one of those things that most people either love or hate and get all worked up about way out of proportion and I wasn't sure which side I would be on. Then last 4th of July I noticed my sister-in-law was wearing a pair of them and I asked her about them. She said that they are the only kind of shoes she wears now.

My sister-in-law and I have very little in common, fashion-wise. She is more conventionally fashionable than I am. (I'm more like, "Oh, that's fashionable now? Get it away from me.") But anyway, the shoes - I'm always looking (usually unsuccessfully) for comfortable shoes that look appropriate with dresses and some of the more recent styles of these are fairly attractive. The earlier styles I saw looked a little tacky or clunky to me. So, I've been curious about them and finally got around to trying a pair about a month ago and then bought two more pair.

Shoe selfies are a bit awkward so these are not the best shoe modeling photos.

Stretch shoes, silver, pink

This first pair is Bernie Mev brand. They look more grey than silver in this photo but in real life they're definitely sparkly silver with a subtle bit of pink trim. They feel like house shoes, very comfortable and kind of flimsy. The sole is very thin and it almost feels wrong to wear them outside the house.

Stretch shoes, multi-color

This multi-colored pair I actually saw at Walmart a few weeks before I bought the silver ones and thought about buying them but didn't. I'm not a snob about Walmart generally but I am a snob about buying their shoes or any cheap shoes but I went back and bought these. In some ways they are actually better shoes than the silver ones. The sole is sturdier, like an athletic shoe sole, and they have a very thick cushiony insole. Downsides: The heel piece is very stiff and uncomfortable. I bought stick-on heel pads and that fixed that problem. The other thing about them is they are rather tight with a very strong elasticity. They're fine when I'm standing or walking but when I'm sitting down, not putting weight on my feet they put the squeeze on my toes.

Stretch shoes, navy blue

This navy blue pair, received just a couple of days ago, are Sketchers brand and they're the best of the three - sturdy enough sole, cushy insole, and just right stretch. I'm trying to resist the temptation to get one or two more pair of these. The "bronze" ones would be very useful. They would go with a lot of different clothes. But I tell myself I need to wait a while and see how well these hold up in the long run.

I'm not ready to give up all other shoes because I still like most of my other shoes but I can really understand why someone would want to wear these exclusively. I can see myself wearing them more and more.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Sewing Plans Udate

Back in January I posted pictures of some fabrics that I planned to sew this year. To save you the bother of clicking on that link here are the two spring/summer priorities pics. (Below that I'm going to babble some more and post another picture of more fabric.)

It's been good having a plan. I haven't been completely dedicated to it but it's useful because when I get stuck and can't decide what to sew next I can pick something from the plan. So far from the first photo I have done (or am working on) all except the aqua polka dot and the floral right below it. Right now I am not sure if I will sew those this summer or not. I am currently working on the dark blue floral in the lower right corner.

In the second pic I have only done the first two in the top row. The vintage ads fabric, because of both the color and the weight, feels like fall to me so I'll probably wait until September, maybe late August, to sew that one. The peachy pink with the antique pickups is only 3/4 of a yard and I haven't found anything to go with it yet. The last two, the two florals, I'm not quite as excited about as I was a few months ago. I still love the fabrics; I've just become more interested in others.

And here are are those others, the fabrics that are really floating my boat right now.

The chicken print and the dark print on top of it go together. I luuuuuve the cat batik print. Must make that one really soon. I am just a wee bit scared of the last fabric in the top row. It's just too much gorgeousness. Not only is it pretty but it feels especially nice, very smooth. (These are all 100% cotton, BTW) So even though I really want to sew it and wear it, I might end up procrastinating until next year. Next, the jellyfish print. Isn't that cute? It's nice and lightweight so it should be very wearable for summer. I forgot about and recently rediscovered the bird print. I don't really have any ideas for that one. It's only 3 yards so depending on what I decide I might need to find another small piece to go with it.

Finally, the last one is a very recent purchase but I know what I want to do with it and I'm thinking I might make it very soon, maybe even next. It was on clearance. It's 4 1/2+ yards and in addition to it being on sale I got the 1/2+ for free because it was the last on the bolt. I'm thinking of this for a "house-dress" because it's cheap fabric and dark colors so even though I do love it I will feel comfortable enough wearing it while I'm cooking and cleaning and other housewifey things. (Okay, fine, mostly reading sci-fi novels, spending too much time on Facebook, and of course sewing.)

There's more of course. There is always more but these are the ones that are most on my mind today. So how is your summer sewing coming along?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Blue and Pink

This sweet and lovely fabric was the oldest in my stash by a couple of decades.

It was a leftover piece. I bought it in the late 80's and made a dress. It had lace trim and buttons that looked like little pink pearls. It looked like an Easter dress for a giant four year old, which, actually, was sort of the look I was going for. I loved it but I always felt self-conscious wearing something so traditionally pretty so I only wore it a few times. It hung in my closet for 15 years while I gained two sizes and finally, regretfully, I gave it up to make room for more wearable things.

I had slightly over a yard and a half of the fabric left and for all those years I have been trying to decide what to do with it. Finally, here it is: *

I used the same collar from the old McCall's pattern as this blouse but this time I put it on New Look 6078. And I love it! It also feels really good to have finally done something with that old piece of fabric. It helps to justify my pack-rat ways.

Here is a closeup of the collar. I still need lots more practice doing scallops. I'm not totally thrilled with the way they turned out but overall I'm ecstatic about this blouse. (The buttons are actually a much lighter pink than what it looks like in this picture.)

*The skirt is this one