An Elegant Ensemble


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Flowers as big as your head–YEAH BABY




Finally finished up colorblocked fleece number 2, and it is great!

If you recall, the pattern I started with was this one, dated 1994:


This should have been somewhat quick, but it sure wasn’t.

I had less than a yard of the very fabulous flowered fleece, and smaller pieces of the other fabrics, so it was back to colorblocking, this time in a more complicated way than I did for the Hello Kitty pullover.  I’ve been collecting inspiration for a while now, so I had things like this and this in mind.  Seriously, I’ve been thinking about this particular project for so long that I was kind of tired of it before I started work on it.  What finally got me moving to make the pullover (despite my lack of enthusiasm) was just wanting to tidy up–fleece takes up a LOT of room and I wanted that big bag out of my sewing room.

Cutting this out was a major project, what with all the different fabric sections to put together and arrange in a way that would actually fit the pattern pieces.  I thought I had enough of the black to do a solid back, but nope–that had to be pieced, too.  The entire process took a solid 5 hours of work.  Oy.


Managed to get the collar flipped up here, but it’s actually pretty well-behaved.


Bonus Pooh fluff, but I still didn’t manage to get that zipper pull to show up.

I cut out a large, the smallest size in my pattern, and I should have taken the time to grade down the sleeves and the top half of the front and back pieces.  I wound up having to bring the shoulders up 3″, take in the sleeves, take in the bust area, and cut 3″ off the bottom before hemming it.  On the plus side, though, all the trimming involved in those adjustments did mean that I was left with several long skinny strips of fleece, so I’m now set on Shelby toys for a while.  🙂


In other news, the sew-along I’ve been running in the Sew-Alongs and Sewing Contests Facebook group is going really well!  It began on January 9th, and already we’ve had several amazing finished projects.  The theme of the sew-along is Ridiculous Prints and I’m completely lusting after so many of the fabrics the participants are using.  Seriously, why do I not have any dinosaur fabric??!?  Huge hot air balloons??  Monkeys with red-rimmed glasses???

Here’s what I dug out of my stash for the sew-along:



And this fairly newish pattern, which I’ve been wanting to try for a while:


The real challenge for me on this wasn’t finding a ridiculous print, but finding a large enough cut of one to make something for a fairly big person.  This fabric has been in my stash at least 10 years, maybe 15?  My sister and I both bought some; I used some pieces of mine for purse linings and other small things, while she used hers to make a shift dress that she wound up giving to me, as she didn’t like the fit of it.  So I had about 1 5/8 yards of fabric, plus the shift dress, for this blouse.  I searched and searched through my boxes and drawers for a complementary fabric for the center front of view B, but couldn’t come up with anything more interesting than a plain white poly-cotton.  And I couldn’t get to the fabric store because of this:



The fabric is white, but it’s very soft and has a nice drape, so I think it will work well; it’s actually the center portion of a bed skirt that I bought at Goodwill over the summer.  So it’s not the most exciting choice for the contrast, but maybe that will be my excuse to use some sexy buttons?  Hmmm . . . .

And in the midst of this, I found myself volunteering to run another sew-along!  I recently joined the McCall’s Facebook group, then decided to join their Dinner Date Dresses Sew-Along in July, then the person leading that month’s project bowed out and they asked for volunteers and I wanted to make sure the sew-along would still happen ’cause the dress is really cute . . . .



Sewing, Snow, and Stuff


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From today’s walk:  14F and enough wind to make the snow “fall” horizontally.  😦

Hello all, and I hope January is treating you well!

I’ve got some frosty pictures to show you, as well as some news, and, most importantly, sewing!

I participated in Friday Night With Friends last night, and did some work on another colorblocked fleece pullover.  Do you remember the wild flowered fleece remnant I got from SCRAP?  It’s now become this:


It’s hard to see here, but I’ve put in a black zipper which I took out of a cheap and nasty waist pack.  I like the long zipper pull on it. 

I’m using an old pattern (dated 1994), also from SCRAP, which should win some sort of award for least promising cover photos ever.


Don’t bother fitting–just make everything as large as possible!

The line drawings, though, show that this is a nice basic pullover that’s perfect for colorblocking (i.e., not a lot of seams to complicate matters).


The fit on this thing is SUPER weird, though.  It’s designed to fit some sort of busty linebacker, as far as I can tell.  In order to get those slightly-dropped shoulders, I had to bring the sleeves up a full three inches.  I also had to narrow the sleeves by 4″ so they wouldn’t be massive.  I took in the side seams, but I’ve still got all this room for the huge bust that I don’t have, and it’s now too tight at the hips.  More work to be done there, needless to say.

And I can use all the fleece I can get.  It has been SO COLD and SO SNOWY here–pretty unusual winter for us this year.  I haven’t taken many photos because it’s been way too damn cold to go outside much, but here’s another one from this afternoon.


I’m starting to understand why “snowbirds” here travel south in the winter, while these obviously-not-very-bright geese and I stay here for some reason.

Partner and I took a trip to Portland last month and apparently brought the bad weather with us.  It was a bit warmer than at home, which meant the snow had thawed halfway and had the usual Portland rain on top of it.  :/



BRRRR . . . I had packed for typical Portland weather, not this, so I wound up wearing many, many layers at a time.


Always looking for color.


A small part of the large stained glass window in the fire station near the waterfront Saturday Market.

In other news, you remember the sew-along that I was doing with the Sew-Alongs and Sewing Contests Facebook group, right?  Well, I won!  The prize package consisted of several indie patterns, plus a gift certificate for some fabric–WOOT!  And I’ve also been asked to run a 2-week sew-along in the group, to be announced tomorrow.  That should be super fun and get me to FINALLY use some fabric I’ve had forever.  Stay tuned for more on that.

I plan to focus more on quilting than clothing this year, though.  I didn’t feel inclined to do any sort of wrap-up post at the end of the year, but I did look through what I’d made in 2016 and realized I managed to not finish a single quilt!   I’ve been missing quilting and I want to get back to it.  I’ve pulled out my blocks for the RSC 2015 quilt and I would like to finish that up–it’s way past time that I finally made a queen-size quilt for our bed.  In addition to that, I’ve got a commission to make a simple baby quilt for a friend of my sister’s, and my niece will need one for her baby that’s due this summer.

So that’s the plan for the moment.  I’m really glad I don’t have to actually stick to these plans that I make, as they’re constantly evolving, but that’s the plan right now.  Until it isn’t.  Which could happen at any moment.

Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying your January and keeping your feet warm (currently my number one goal).


Just So Very Fabulous


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Proof that my inner child has excellent taste.

Yep, other sewing bloggers make Chanel-style jackets with all sorts of fancy tailoring, I make goofy pink hoodies with cartoon cats on them.

I LOVE THIS, you guys.  It’s so soft and warm (and I have been informed by a reliable source that I am extra huggable while wearing it), plus it’s bright and colorful and I really like how the colorblocking turned out.

AND it has this super-warm hood with EARS.


Livin’ the dream.

When I started this hoodie, I figured it was just a fun, goofy thing that I’d wear around the house, but it actually turned out much cooler than I anticipated.

Here’s the pattern I started with:


I omitted the front pocket and the bottom and sleeve bands (plenty of length without using the bands).

For the colorblocking, my arrangement of pieces was guided by how much fabric I had.  I had only one strip of the Hello Kitty fleece–11″ x 60″–and only one of its long edges was straight, so the strip went down the front and back with the straight edge toward the center of the pullover.  (I got really lucky and had just enough to make it all the way down both pattern pieces.)  I had lots of pale pink fleece, so that became a sleeve and part of the front; I was hemming and hawing about how much of it to put on the front when I realized the fabric had a stain on it.  So it was cut where it is to avoid using the stained part.

Here’s the process I used to assemble the front.

  1.  The pattern piece was meant to be cut on the fold, so I traced it and taped the halves together.


2.  I laid the fabric pieces out and moved them around until the front pattern piece was covered.


3.  I pinned the pieces together wrong sides together.  I used lapped seams to attach them, which I had read somewhere was a good way to do non-bulky seams on fleece and other non-raveling fabrics; you just sew the pieces together wrong sides together, trim down one seam allowance, and sew the other seam allowance down over it.  Similar to flat-felling, but easier because you don’t have to fold the edge of the seam allowance under.


There is seriously nothing Shelby likes more than cutting out fabric.  This whole process took HOURS and she sat there and watched intently the entire time.  She looks relaxed here because I was taking pictures rather than cutting; as soon as I started working with the fabric again, she was up and studying what I was doing.

4.  I placed the pattern piece on my newly-pieced fabric, pinned, and cut.


The piecing on the back is simpler, in large part because cutting this out took forever and I was tired and ready to move on by the time I got to the back piece.  As I wrote above, at this point I wasn’t really taking the project seriously and trying to do my best work on it.  But my view of it changed when I tried it on after putting the black band on the neck edge.  It just all seemed to work much better than I had expected.  I had been planning to do a white hood and skip the ears, but it suddenly seemed very important that I make a black hood with ears.


This is a double layer of the leftover Blizzard fleece from my partner’s cycling jersey, so it is WARM.

Side note here:  between my scrap quilting and my adventures in colorblocking items of clothing, I think a lot about how best to combine different fabrics.  The issue for me is that I love to use scraps to make things–it’s cheap and fun and creative and interesting–but I don’t want the things I make to look “scrappy” in the “scrappy quilt” sense of the word.  I want them to look put together and coherent, not random or disorganized.  And one way to do that, I’ve found, is to use a very limited set of colors, as I’ve done in this hoodie.  So I decided not to include the white and orange fleece remnants I had.  And I kept the sleeve colors the same as the front pieces they were next to so that they would look connected, not random.

As for the pattern, I sized down a bit as it was pretty oversized, and the fit is fine.  I’m always a little bit wary of unisex patterns because they usually involve some weird fitting issue due to the pattern company’s attempt to fit everyone in the world with one pattern.  Usually it’s linebacker shoulders, but in this one the only problem I have is that the sleeves are a little bit looser than I would like.  I get a draft up them, so I might try to overcome my aversion to mending and narrow them a little from the elbow down.  ETA:  I did take in the sleeves, and the fit is MUCH better.  I tapered from the shoulder because a whopping 3″ needed to be removed at the wrist and the look and fit of the entire sleeve is much improved.

I’m really happy with how this project came out, and I’ve been wearing my new hoodie pretty much constantly since I finished it.  I have a feeling this isn’t going to be the last colorblocked fleece I make this winter.

I hope you’re all staying comfortably warm in fun and colorful ways, and I will be back soon with some nature-y pictures I’ve been accumulating and some fun news as well.


ETA:  I have linked this post up to Scraptastic Tuesday over at She Can Quilt.

More Adventures in Fleece


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Friday night was another Friday Night With Friends, so I got busy with my pliers and zipper repair kit and put new top stops on my partner’s fleece cycling jersey zipper.


Oh, how I labored over that zipper!

I wasn’t able to find a repair kit for the kind of big chunky zipper I’ve got in here (I don’t know the correct name for this type, but it’s the kind that’s labeled as a “parka” zipper), so I ordered the #5 kit and hoped for the best.  As I feared, the only way to get the stops on was to put them parallel to the edge of the tape, rather than parallel to the teeth as they usually are.  They seem secure enough, though, and I sewed a stop with thread below them just to be sure.

I am proud of how that zipper came out, though, and that the collar seams match up when the zip is zipped up–probably the first time I’ve ever really managed that.  Hand-basting the zipper in made the difference, though removing basting from fleece is not a task designed to make you happy.  😛

The pattern I used is Jalie 2216, and this is the third version of that jersey.  For this one, he wanted a warmer, thicker fabric, so we chose Joann’s “Blizzard” fleece, which is really nice stuff.  Dense, thick (but not so thick that it’s hard to cut or sew), and very soft.  (No, I am not a paid spokesbot for Joann’s, but my opinions can totally be purchased with fabric.  Call me!)

He also wanted the back pocket extended a bit on both sides so that he wouldn’t have to reach so far to access it.


BTW, getting better results when photographing black things by putting them on a darker background, overexposing them, then darkening the pic as needed.  Would be even better with a model in it, but he is busy napping at the moment.

The ends of the pocket are supposed to be enclosed in the side back seams there, but I’ve extended them a few inches and just sewed the raw edges down.

He also asked me to change the way the elastic is attached to the wrists of the jersey so that it would be fully enclosed.  Jalie’s method for attaching elastic is to have you zig zag it directly onto the raw edge of the fabric on the wrong side; then you fold the raw edge under and zig zag again.  The problem is that the edge of the elastic inevitably sticks out a bit and can irritate your skin.  So I simply added 1/2″ to the sleeve length and folded the edge under twice before zig zagging.

I’m very happy to say that this version of the jersey came out infinitely better than the first one, and much better than the second.  The recipient loves it, I’m happy with my work on it, I actually got it done BEFORE the season in which it will be worn, AND I had enough black fleece left over to use it for the hood on my Hello Kitty pullover.  WIN.

Also, I finished the pullover yesterday–I AM WEARING IT NOW–and will get pics for you ASAP.

SO VERY FABULOUS, my friends.


Have a very excellent week, folks, and I will yell at you again soon.


Catching Up


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That corduroy is so gorgeous!


I finally got it together to take some (admittedly meh) pictures of what I’ve been making, so let’s take a look.

Here’s the finished vest; if you recall, the two front pieces are corduroy, and the collar, back, and lining are a drapey poly/rayon, all from the stash (pattern is Butterick 6383).  I like the drama of this style–and LOVE the fabrics–so I will wear it, but NOBODY better say a thing about clown collars.


Believe it or not, I am not a professional model.

I had planned to wear this with a black turtleneck, but it looked much better over the red.  What it REALLY needs, actually, is the same top, but in maroon, which would coordinate better and not upstage the corduroy so much.  Will keep my eyes open for something like that.

Also, I didn’t realize it until I saw the pictures, but the neckline is a bit wide on this.  I’ve already overlapped the fronts more than the pattern called for–it was pretty huge.  I took advantage of the roominess of it to just sew the button through all the layers; this is one of those rare and beautiful instances where the lazy sewing method is also the more attractive one, as my machine would have made a mess of a buttonhole on these fabrics.

(Side note here:  does anybody understand the logic of when Big 4 patterns include a lining and when they just have facings?  I lined this and I actually think it was a lot easier than the big hassle the instructions put you through to face all those raw edges.  Are a lot of sewers intimidated by linings, so they avoid them?)


Need to tack down the point on the right front, I think.


Yep, black.


I am much more enthusiastic about the red jacket, though it took me a while to get there.

Pattern is Butterick 5689 (out of print, but available on Amazon), fabric is 2 1/2 yards of fuzzy red fleece from SCRAP.  Total out-of-pocket cost for this was about $13.


Whoops!  Collar wants to stick up, but I’m training it to curve nicely and it’s getting better.  The color of the fabric is much brighter in real life–not enough light in my living room.


Pattern didn’t call for a lining, but it has big facings. 

Apparently, I like living dangerously, because I cut this out on the day after the election.  I was in a state of horror/grief/shock, and I knew I shouldn’t take on grading a pattern in that frame of mind, but I did it anyway because I couldn’t bring myself to care about screwing it up.  I also didn’t cut this thick fabric in a single layer like I should have, because keeping track of that was more than my brain could handle.  I’m frankly a little bit amazed that all the pieces actually fit together like they were supposed to.

I constructed it in a similar mental state, and I now have no idea how all those front pieces go together (this jacket is a lot more complex than it looks), but I just followed the pictures carefully and it worked.  I had graded up a bit, but I wound up taking out the extra in the side seams.


YOWEE–look at the scrap of fabric I found in the stash for the pocket linings!

The biggest problem I had was with the collar.  I continued the front topstitching all the way around the base of the collar, hoping to hold the facing down, and that was a mistake.  All it got me was a weird lump under the collar that kept it from lying down flat.  Once I removed the extra topstitching and slip stitched down the facing, the whole area looked better.  I also put in some thin shoulder pads.  The collar still wants to flip up, but it’s getting better each time I wear the jacket.


There was no way my sewing machine would be able to do a buttonhole in this fabric, so I used a big snap under the button. 

That wearing business, though, that’s turning out to be surprisingly fraught.  I haven’t actually managed to wear this jacket anywhere other than the mailbox yet.  It turns out that the taboo status of red from my childhood is still stuck in my head.  Yep, I know it’s nuts, but I just seem to keep finding reasons to NOT wear this.  That’s why it keeps getting worn out to the mailbox–I’m trying to get used to that color, that particular color that nice Catholic girls just DO NOT wear.  Though I am crazy about bright colors, I thought for a long time that I didn’t like red.  It was a big deal a couple of years ago when I made the red knit top that I’m wearing with the vest in pics above; I only had that fabric because it was part of a Freecycled bag of fabric, as it wasn’t something I would have ever bought for myself.

Another problem with wearing the jacket is that I wasn’t sure for a while if I liked it.  It’s a little bit unstructured and droopy; my partner said it reminded him of a bath robe, which happened to be exactly what I had been thinking as well.  But I wore it today–to the mailbox, of course–and decided that unstructured was a perfectly respectable thing for a jacket to be, especially if said jacket is as soft and cuddly as this one.  So one of these days I will actually wear it someplace other than the mailbox.

In the meantime, my partner’s new fleece cycling jersey is all done, except for the new top stops for the zipper that I am waiting for UPS to bring me (why yes, the need for top stops was discovered the hard way).  And the Hello Kitty pullover is coming along.  It is easily the goofiest thing I have ever made and ZOMG I FREAKING LOVE IT SO MUCH.

I hope you all are getting down with your goofy selves, and wearing all the colors, too.



Endings and Beginnings


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Happy bears make everything better.

How’s everybody doing?

It’s been a supremely weird, discombobulating couple of weeks, hasn’t it?

I actually wrote a long, long post about the election the other day, but then decided it was so “inside baseball” that it was probably interesting to nobody but me.  I felt better having written it, and that’s enough.

All I really want to say about the election, and our rather uncertain future, is this:  President Obama was on a conference call the other day with some Democratic activists and he told them that they have until Thanksgiving to mourn, then it’s time to get to work.

I sent a card to Hillary Clinton to thank her for her lifetime of service to the country and apologize for how she has been repaid for that service.  I’ve told Chrissa and Rachael at SCRAP that I won’t be volunteering there for a while.  My partner and I are going to sign up to work at Second Harvest; I’m also looking for a local immigrant organization that needs volunteers. And, even though I’m one of those people who really hate telephones, I made my first political call today to Paul Ryan to express my support for Obamacare.  My goal is to make one call a day.  I’ve also put myself on a news diet, just for my own mental health.  I’ve been a political junkie for some years now, but I need to change how I engage with politics–less time spent reading about horrible things that I have limited power to change, much more activism to hopefully help change what I can.  #ImStillWithHer  #StrongerTogether

And, while I’m doing that, thank goodness there’s sewing, and cats, and fall weather, and delicious food, and all the pleasures of life.  The American Thanksgiving is coming up this Thursday, and my honey and I will eat too much at the buffet, take a walk in the cold, and then come home to mulled wine, an afternoon nap, and sleepy cats on the bed with us.

On the sewing front, much has been happening here.  I finished both the vest and the red fuzzy jacket, though I haven’t gotten around to taking pictures of them yet.  I have reservations about both, but I probably need to actually wear them out of the house before I decide what I think.

In the meantime, I’ve started work on my partner’s cycling jersey, which then promptly came to a halt when I realized I’m out of narrow elastic and the zipper I bought for the jersey isn’t long enough.  :/

Also, my plan for the extremely fabulous corduroy has changed again.


I’ve had such a hard time committing to a pattern for this, I think because it’s such a great fabric and I don’t want to waste it.  I love jumpers because I can layer them and change how they look, but I wanted something really interesting and non-frumpy for this one.

So I got this at Joann’s on Saturday:


Looks like I’m finally going to have to learn to pattern match.  😛

I’ll have to lengthen it a bit, but I should have enough fabric to do that.

This dress is lined, and that’s a good thing, because that corduroy is going to fray like crazy.  I went to the stash, not expecting to find anything suitable that would be long enough, and found this:


No, not the fabric model–look at all that color around him!

This is a really unusual cotton that I bought at a quilting store years ago.  It’s magenta at one selvage, then shades to purple, blue, green, and finally dark gray at the other selvage.  I had figured I’d use it as a quilt backing, but I think it’ll make a cool lining for my cool ’60s style jumper.

But before I do that, I simply MUST MUST MUST do something with this:



This Hello Kitty remnant has simply GOT to get combined with some other fleece pieces–I’ve got light pink, dark pink, orange, white, and black–to become a pullover.  I’m not sure why, but I’ve been dreaming of colorblocked fleece (and grabbing fleece remnants at SCRAP) since the middle of last summer, and fleece season is finally here!  And I really need me some cute and colorful and silly right about now.

So I’m hoping to get the cycling jersey done this week, then get to the Hello Kitty pullover.

Hope all is well with you folks.  Back soon with project pictures.




Plans, and the Changing Thereof


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Sunday snog-fest on the sewing room windowsill.



I participated in Friday Night With Friends this week, and decided to get a start on my vest.


I’d been having second thoughts about my fabric choices for this.  All three fabrics here are very lightweight synthetics with a lot of drape.  But look at that photograph of the jacket in taffeta.  The suggested fabrics also include jacquard, broadcloth, linen, and tweed.  All fabrics with some body.  And the pattern is meant to be oversized–I sized down to an L and the finished hip measurement is still 13″ larger than my hips.  The vest is designed to stand out from the body, and I was afraid that my drapey fabrics would just make it look like a tent.

So I went to the stash again and came up with some gorgeous corduroy.  This is for the right front:


I wasn’t able to capture the depth of color in this–it’s amazing.  Those are gold highlights and the background is black, though it looks blue here.

And this is for the left front:


It’s black, but I’ve lightened it to show the texture.

So I cut the vest out on Friday and sewed a bit on Saturday, and this is what I have so far:


Hmmmm . . . don’t know how I feel about it yet.  Especially the puffy collar.  But, at the same time, I feel like everything about this project is new and a bit risky, and I’m just going to go with it for a while.  It’s a style I’ve never worn, with various features that are new to me, and I’m just going to wait to form an opinion until I see all the elements together.  These fabrics were just sitting around in a box, and at least now there’s a chance they’ll become something very cool.

I used to have a supervisor at a former job who was a terrible control freak about certain things, especially food.  You remember the sandwich-ordering scene from “When Harry Met Sally,” right?  Like that.  Then one day it occurred to me that controlling everything like that–wanting it the way you want it, as Sally put it–means you are never pleasantly surprised.  Like I frequently am by things like this and this.  So I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised by how this vest turns out.  🙂

This project has reminded me of how much I DESPISE gathering, however.  Gathered and tiered skirts were a thing when I was a teenager and I spent so many miserable hours wrangling long strips of cotton, and YUCK.  Was glad to get that over with.

Another change of plans that happened this weekend was this:


My honey came home from a bike ride Saturday afternoon and asked if I would make him another fleece cycling jersey, but this time with a full zip and thicker, warmer fleece.  And off we went to Joann’s to use our coupons and get supplies.

And yes, I did try to talk him into the tie dye fleece, or the fleece with the dogs on it, or the fleece with the huge black and yellow houndstooth, but we came home with the black.


So my plan right now is to finish the vest; I’m adding a lining, but that doesn’t really take any more time than facings.  Then I want to cut out the cycling jersey and my red jacket.

It’s going to be a very fuzzy week here.  🙂


Dramatic Developments


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The gun that is introduced in Act One . . . .

Sorry to have disappeared on you folks!  I keep doing that, don’t I?  I’m going to have to get a regular weekly-or-so thing going again . . . .

Anyway, the good news is that I am better at sewing than I am blogging, and work on my Destination Happy and Healthy collection has been coming along well.

You’ll recall that I wanted to make a slightly-slouchy turtleneck using this vintage pattern and some black cotton knit I got from SCRAP.  What I was going for was a top with lower armholes, a looser fit, and a softer, less constricting neck than the base-layer-type turtlenecks I see in stores.


I wasn’t sure how much ease I’d want in this, so I tried to err on the side of more–about 5″.  That was pretty close to perfect; I just increased the seam allowance a bit on the side seams to get it just the way I wanted it.  I also shortened the top and raised the shoulders so that the seams weren’t halfway down my upper arms.  And the collar piece was just ridiculously long–something like 13″, I guess for those women with “swan-like necks”?–so I shortened it, folded it in half, and sewed both edges to the neck of the top.


Dropped shoulders still dropped, just not as far.


Loose, comfy fit, but not sloppy.  Win!


I’ve also finished my black jumper!

My goal with this was to make a plain black dress that I could wear with a blouse or turtleneck underneath (and maybe leggings also) and accessorize with my VAST collection of hefty “statement” necklaces (see a small portion of said collection in the top photo).  Which I seriously love but never get to wear because I don’t have anything plain enough to serve as a good background for them.


I’ve had the lightweight, stretchy black denim for this in my stash for a couple of years now, but I’ve been putting off making it, I think because I was afraid it wouldn’t work.

But we have a success!



I really like it!  I was going for “Art Teacher” and hoping to avoid “Nun” and “Dystopian YA Novel” and I think I’ve done that.  (I have some experience with nuns and they don’t generally go for statement necklaces.  I just hope I don’t look like an extra from “The Handmaid’s Tale.”)

I was surprised when I first took the pattern out of the envelope–I had already cut it and had totally forgotten.  I suspect that project was a wadder; this dress is fairly fitted and I had cut out a 20, which would have been too small.  This time, I graded up to a 22 at the bust and hips, 24 at the waist, and the fit was right on.

This is a really simple style, but it took some time to complete because the denim frays like you wouldn’t believe, and I had to finish all those long, long seam allowances.  I didn’t want to use my usual French seams because of the bulk of the denim, so I chose two different finishes:  for the princess seams front and back, I pressed the seams open, folded the seam allowances under, and stitched them down about 1/4″ from both sides of the seams.  I also changed the back zipper from a lapped to a centered style so that I could approximate the look of the topstitching on the back seam as well.


You can see some zig zagging there; I initially hoped that would be enough to tame the fraying, but no way.


I inserted pockets of black rayon-poly into the side seams (YAY POCKETS), then bound the seam allowances with some bias fabric strips I had cut the wrong size some time ago and never used.

Somewhere in the midst of all this, my sister and I signed up for an “Intro to Beading” class at the new Makerspace that opened up here recently.  And I made this:


I’m pretty sure I was the only one in the class that didn’t think it was weird, but it reminded me of a Mid-Century Modern walking tour I had done not too long before.

I was thinking of that black jumper as I was making it, and then I remembered that I still had some of that fantastically-soft purple knit in the stash.  So obviously I had to make a purple turtleneck to go with my black dress and purple glass necklace.



AND, as if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also taken my first stab at making leggings!

Which . . . didn’t work out so well.  I need to take them in at the waist and, I suspect, add some elastic to the yoga waistband, so I’ve set them aside for now.  I’ve still got about 2 yards each of the black and the purple knits, and definitely want to turn those into leggings once I have a pattern that works for me.  I’m going to have SO MANY cozy warm layers to wear this winter!  I’m really pleased with how my fall sewing plans are progressing.  I’ve now got 6 wearable items done!

Next up may be the vest, now that I have the turtleneck I wanted to wear under it.


I hope that your creativity is flowing in dramatic (and well-fitting) directions.

Talk to you soon.


ETA:  I have linked this post up to Crafty Quilter’s October UFO Linkup.





On the other hand . . . .


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Somehow I’ve managed to avoid taking any nature photos in the last couple of weeks, so here’s one from our trip to the Oregon coast, just because.

I had planned on writing this over the weekend, but I wound up spending WAY too much time obsessively following the news and not much got done.  OY.  There’s a part of me that wants to write about this current batshit-crazy election season we’re in here, but a much bigger part is just overwhelmed by it all.

The important thing is this:  please, if you are a U.S. citizen, REGISTER AND VOTE.  Please.  Vote for Hillary Clinton, the only candidate that can stop that narcissistic, xenophobic bully.  I hear you if your conscience is telling you to vote third party.  Lots of us want to change the system, including me, but a third party vote in this election is not going to accomplish that.  What it could do, however, is get us into another war, roll back protections for LGBT people, and plunge the country back into recession.  We have to keep him away from the Presidency, and Clinton can do it.

Okay, let’s set all that aside for the moment and talk about sewing, shall we?  I don’t know about you, but sewing helps calm me and quiet my mind when it’s full of noise, and I could use a little quiet right about now.

No finishes here the last couple of weeks, but that’s because I’ve literally been working on about 10 things at once!  Which–surprisingly–has felt stimulating rather than overwhelming.  I found an out-of-print pattern to make with the fuzzy red fleece and got the notions for it the other day.  I only have 2 1/2 yards of the fleece, a bit skimpy for most jackets in my size, but this one should work.


I also have a couple of silver-colored buttons I could use . . . putting off that decision until later.

I also got a Hello Kitty fleece remnant at SCRAP the other day (I am pretending to be all grown-up about this, but my inner 6-year-old is jumping up and down with excitement).  It’s a longish strip about 11″ wide, so my head is full of fleece colorblocking thoughts.



Last weekend was all about muslins.  I made one for the black jumper and one for the maroon corduroy.  Which forced me to confront how my body has changed due to menopause.  Sigh.  It’s a lot easier to ignore my new waist pudge when I’m making loose tunics and things; not so much with something a bit more fitted.  The truth is that the pear shape I’ve had my whole adult life is now more of an apple, and I’m going to have to adjust my expectations and pattern choices accordingly.  (So easy to write, somewhat more difficult to do.)

Because these two jumpers are more fitted, I had to grade up to a size 22 at the bust and hip (!), 24 at the waist (!!).  I’m pretty happy with how that worked on the black jumper, so I cut it out in my “real” fabric last week.  This is how far I got on sewing it up during Friday Night With Friends.


Ugh.  Photographing black denim is a problem.

I didn’t have enough of the black denim for facings, so I decided to use this fun fabric, which I had to piece (of course):


The denim is fraying like CRAZY, so next step is figuring out a way to bind the seams in a non-bulky way.

As for the maroon corduroy jumper, I’m just not sure about that one.  I’ve set it aside for now while I ponder my options.  In order to get the look I envisioned, I might have to fit the jumper more than I’m really comfortable with.  Hmmm . . . .

Anyway, first priority this week is to prep for the unpaper towel class scheduled for Saturday.  Then it’s back to the black denim.

Have a great week, everybody!


Folk Art Flannel


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I am so very much NOT a fan of brown, but I LOVE this shirt.  Love all the fun colors, the super-soft flannel, the shape, everything.  And I did an image search to see if I was totally off-base comparing this to folk art and, nope, I was right.

Just to refresh your memory, the brown fabric was 2 yards of flannel from Goodwill, supplemented with some scraps of green flannel from my stash.


The illustrations on B6099 don’t do a great job of selling the pattern, but I liked the fact that it had some unusual features and I thought it might give me sort of a peasant-y look when paired with the flannel.

I did view A and sized down to an L based on the finished measurements, which worked out perfectly.  When Butterick puts “loose-fitting” in the pattern description, they mean it.


Still have a comfortable amount of ease there.

Cutting this out was quite a project.  I deliberated a long time on what fabric to pair with the brown, but I ultimately decided that I wanted something dark that wouldn’t upstage the main fabric.  Problem was that I only had scraps of the green.


I shortened the sleeves a few inches, but still had to piece them in order to get them on-grain.  I also added a center seam to the yoke and the collar facing.  The cuffs were narrowed and done in two pieces, as I didn’t have big enough scraps by that point to cut them whole and fold them over.


I added extra buttonholes and buttons (somehow I keep on doing that, don’t I?)  I marked the first buttonhole going the wrong way–perpendicular to the band rather than parallel–but I liked it, so I did them all that way.  😉


Breaking with tradition, I got the collar on the first try!

I don’t repeat patterns very often, but odds are good I’m going to try this one again; I think it would be wonderful in a lighter fabric for the spring, maybe a solid to show off the features better.  It’s not really a quick and easy sort of pattern, what with the pleats, front band (those things always confuse the hell out of me), and the cuffs; I think it could be very versatile, though, depending on the fabric you use.  In the meantime, however, I’m really loving how this came out, and I’m looking forward to wearing it if it ever cools off here.

This is project #2 in my Destination Healthy and Happy sew-along.  Project #3–the denim dress–is actually finished also, but I don’t have any decent pictures of it yet.  And decent pictures may not be possible until I up my exercise to where it should be and lose a few pounds I put on recently (I am HARRUMPHING SO HARD about this right now, you have no idea).

Next up is the black jumper that I’ve been meaning to make forever; I cut out fabric for a muslin last night and will sew that up this weekend.

There is a chance, however, that plans could change.  Just look at what happened today:


I saw this fabric yesterday at SCRAP and didn’t buy it.  Because I’m a sensible person, and I have lots of fabric, and I really don’t need more, right?  But then I obsessed over it–I actually dreamed about it, if you can believe that–and I went back this morning and bought it.

I initially thought it was fake fur, as I commented over at Steph’s place, but it’s actually a fuzzy fleece–even better!  The real color is a bit darker than the photo, just the richest, deepest red you can imagine with a subtle floral pattern.  I rarely wear red, for multiple reasons (that I really should write about sometime), but this is just gorgeous and so cuddly.  A jacket made out of this may yet find its way into my fall sewing plans.

Have a great weekend, everybody, and I hope you’re planning all sorts of colorful sewing for fall.


Note:  I am linking this post up to Finished Or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts and Oh Scrap! at Quilting is More Fun Than Housework.