Party dress, finished

First off, the lapped zipper. This is something you hardly see anymore, even on fine clothes. It’s the details that take simple cotton from plain to a really lovely dress.I have so many dresses with a separate bodice and skirt, it’s nice to have one with princess seams.
A very nice party dress, not too fancy, but if I make a little Bolero style jacket, it will work in colder weather as well.In the pattern instructions, the inset is supposed to attach to the bodice with snaps. I bought the snaps, but didn’t feel like that was a good solution. So I just sewed it in place, I think it looks fine. I did double lace. Wasn’t too sure about the color, but this greyed down blue works really well. Just another small detail that makes a big differenceHere I am, admiring a mosaic bird I made a few years ago, I keep on thinking I’ll make more for this wall. I really should.And now, lets see the skirt in motion! It looks lovely, clothes are meant to move. Who knows, I might be dancing in this, it should swish well – and it does.



First of all, I have to share a picture that Yvonne put together of all the blocks from her workshop.The great thing about being in a workshop is seeing how the same pattern comes out so differently depending on the fabrics that are used.

A while ago I found a sewing You Tube Channel, Sew Over It, I watched a few episodes than forgot about it. Meanwhile, a new sewing podcast has started up from London. It’s called Stitchers Brew and in it, Megan and Gabby either talk about their own sewing or interview, usually in person, other interesting sewers. So there I was reintroduced to Lisa Comfort, not only is she adorable, she really knows her stuff!

I have been burned by Indie patterns, I am fine with the big four, I guess that just means I’m older and not a hipster, oh well. But I have had problems with some very big names in the Indie world, like a sleeve that didn’t have a front and back. Which means it didn’t fit right. Or the patterns are all the same, very basic.

After her interview I went back to see some of her videos and I came across this pattern:What is so nice about You Tube is she showed a number of versions and she was very explicit about using a drappy fabric like rayon. There are a number of interesting features, like a half stand collar. So I ordered the pattern and taped the pieces together. Then I went to Michael Levines and looked for rayon.

Rayon isn’t easy to come by and often, I don’t like the print. I found this print, fun, my colors and it works! Sewing with rayon isn’t easy, it is a slippery fabric. Lisa is right, had I made this out of cotton, it just would be one big box, because the rayon drapes, the shirt has a lovely shape. So yes, I will be ordering more patterns from Sew Over It. Lisa really knows what she’s doing and I’m seeing original designs, not the same old same old.

Still working on the party dress, I could have put in an invisible zipper, but I want to elevate this dress, make it more ‘couture’ so instead I lapped the zipper in the back and as you can see, I’m tacking it down with tiny stitches.I love the rayon lining, gives the dress more body as well as being very breathable and comfortable.I lined the complete dress, something I rarely do, I just serged the lining but used lining lace on the dress.This sort of works like horsehair, it doesn’t give as much body as horsehair would, but just enough so the skirt has volume.  Next post, me modeling the dress.


All kind of creativity, nothing finished yet

Still exploring the city and being creative.Block by block, this quilt is growing.Top is now done. Most of the blocks are very similar, with differences in placement of color. There are some other shape differences as well, but not much. I love scrappy, I don’t like rainbow.

Now I have to figure out how to quilt this.I started a new knitting project, this is the swatch.It will be another cardigan. I know yarn stores are having a very hard time surviving, the big knitting craze of 10-15  years ago is over. So most stores carry specialty yarn, not the basics. Sure,  I will be ordering basics online, but that does make it hard for me to support my LYS when I can’t find what I want. Because this is a very simple shape, the kettle dye look works, but I do miss just finding Cascade yarn at my LYS.

Clothes sewing continues. I have a wedding this summer which gives me an excuse to make a cute party dress. Yes, this is very simple, and yet it is lovely. I went to Mood LA and saw my friend Kay who now works there. We both agreed that the option on the right isn’t very accurate, it would take so much fabric to get those very large elements to look like that, in reality, they’d be chopped up.

So I started looking at silks, no luck, I don’t want solid color, what can I say, I’m a print girl! The prints were either too busy, or like this too big.So I ended up with the blue cotton print, a pretty lace for the inset and rayon lining. By fully lining the dress, I will give it more structure and that will help elevate it from a simple cotton dress.This time, I made a muslin, I want the dress to really fit right. I have a long torso, so I did add to the length of the bodice before making the muslin.It fits the dress form.More important, it fits me, no on to actually sewing the dress.  Although it is a simple pattern, I’m not rushing anything. I want to get this right.

Ok, back to work.


Still sewing

I bought some lovely rayon in Albuquerque last fall. Although it is dark, I waited to make a summer dress. Rayon is so light and flowing, which makes it a little hard to sew with, but I make one little move and:the skirt just flutters! There is some nice detail and draping on the bodice, but with the busy print, it’s probably not that noticeable.I stepped out of the sun, you get a better idea of the print here.Side view, later this week the temperatures will climb again and I’ll be able to wear this dress.I needed a new knitting project, so I went to a new to me yarn store. They don’t make them like they used to, hardly any yarn and no books or magazines. So I sat there, went through Ravelry, until I found a pattern. Lucky for me, I do like this royal blue.Maybe the yarn stores figure that everyone is buying the basics online. I actually miss Cascade or Brown Sheep yarn in stores. It is true, I do buy some yarn online, I guess I’ll just be buying more online.

Meanwhile, there was an interesting article about the demise of Classic Elite Yarns, another great standard quality yarn company. Business is always changing, it’s true of the fabric companies and the yarn companies. Right now everyone wants the one of a kind hand dyed yarn – so I guess that is why the stores don’t carry the basics.



One of the charity projects that quilt guilds do is make pillowcases for foster children. Many guilds will pre-cut the fabric, so I took a package of 5. I try and make as many as I can that will appeal to boys. Like everything else, there are tons of options for girls, less so for boys.The first one from this batch I made with French seams. Very nice clean and enclosed. I have a five needle serger, which means that not only can I clean the edges, I can also sew the seam at the same time. Since it is a chain stitch I have to weave in the end and use fray-check since that kind of seam can unravel easily.  But it makes sewing pillowcases so much faster.I know, we are constantly being warned, don’t use pins when sewing on the serger.  Well, in this case, I am sewing through either three or five layers of fabric. (If there is a narrow row of decorative fabric, which there sometimes is.) That is hard to hold together so, I  pin. I work very slowly, making sure to remove the pin before it hits the knife. I get it, it’s easier to tell people not to do something rather than explain how to do something carefully. Lucky for me, I’m not a dummy.How cute are these?!?When I finished the shirt, I had enough fabric leftover for a pillowcase.


sewing factory

The clothes sewing continues, I’m making lovely summer clothes and the weather turns cold.  Oh well.I made a cute dress out of the rayon challis. I’m so glad this fabric is rayon, I might have been tempted to buy it even if it were polyester, and then I would have regretted the decision. I know, soon it will be warm, or rather hot. but it bugs me that on Mothers Day, I have to wear this with a sweater. I’m sure I shared this a few years ago when I made this dress.  I am very impressed with how well these photos came out! So really, it’s more about the photography here. I wish I knew how I accomplished this, then I could repeat it.In the fall I made four long sleeve button down shirts. I pulled the pattern out and made a short sleeve version.Paired with a skirt I made a few years ago.I deliberately took these pictures by the red roses, they work so well with this shirt.


Me made May

Every May, on Instagram thousands of women post #MemadeMay, a daily picture in something they have made.  I have to say, I probably wear something handmade almost every day of the year. If it is a garment, either knit or sewn or maybe a piece of jewelry I made a number of year ago. So I don’t post daily.

Funny thing is this year, I am getting my garment sewing urge back big time this May.I’ve had this blue fabric forever when I make skirts I want some of them to be basic plain skirts. I like a skirt with a little flair.Then I’ve found this Tula Pink fabric,  enough for another skirt. A slightly different pattern, one I actually like better. Then I had the pleasure of going to Michael Levines, where on the sales table I found this beautiful piece of rayon, enough for a dress.Look at this cotton shirting! Yes, I will make a short sleeve button down shirt from this.And this knit, which might become a sleeveless maxi dress.

I better get sewing.


Sewing clothes again!

Time to sew summer clothes! I retired a number of skirts and dresses, so I need to make more.

I found this cute simple knit at JoAnne’s, it is 90% rayon, which means it feels so soft and lovely. Being a natural fiber, it will be comfortable in the heat.It is a little harder to handle than cotton knits,  but a little extra time is worth it. I don’t like only using my serger, I find that the seams do open up, so I sewed the seams first on my regular machine. I used a specialty thread that has some Lycra-stretch to it.  Well, that didn’t work at all. I don’t buy Clarks thread, but I bought this one, never again.So I went back to the regular thread and the fine zigzag stitch. Not everything new is better than the tried and true. I LOVE knit dress, comfortable, pretty and they aren’t restricting at all.Now I need to pay a serious visit to Mood in search of more summer fabrics.


Getting serious about appliqué

I’m starting to think about a full applique quilt, maybe something along the lines of a Baltimore Album quilt, but not using the old fashioned templates, something new, but I’m not sure exactly what yet.

So, first off I need to try out more tools.Karen Kay Buckley has come out with a simple tool called perfect seams.  These little plastic templates help make a perfect tubes, from 1/2″ to 1/8″.

It’s simple, cut the fabric on the bias, sew wrong sides together into a tube, using a zipper foot, as I sew, I keep moving these templates down and finally out.Trim the sewn edge, iron down and start appliqueing.I have here the 1/2″, 2/8″ and 1/8″. The narrower the tube, the easier it is to get tight curves. I sewing with silk thread, strong and almost invisible. I sew by hand, for me, applique is hand work.I twisted these freely as I sewed.  Knowing me, I probably won’t use the 1/2″ much.

Then I decided to embellish with more Appliquick shapes. Don’t look at these for color schemes, I’m using us scraps I have on hand.

I could just keep going, but I think I’ll stop here. I had a $10 gift certificate from Candy’s Quiltworks. So I bought some more boy fabric and made another pillowcase.  This is for foster kids, they always need pillowcases to give the kids and girls themes are more plentiful than boys. So whenever possible, I’m making pillowcases for boys.


Two kinds of knits

I love knit fabric, especially one that is mostly rayon. And look at that print, those roses! This took two hours to make, I love my serger. The only thing I did on my sewing machine was sew the hems.The sun is in her eyes, otherwise, I can assure you, very happy granddaughter. Look how her shoes match perfectly.Who doesn’t love a dress that twirls?

And then there is the knitting that takes a long long time.Another shawl, although, sadly, despite all the work, it’s more like a scarf than a shawl, it does cover my shoulders, but not enough.Knitting with two yarns takes longer than just one. The narrow bands are one skein that gradually changes color.Interesting shaping, which is what attracted me in the first place. I’ve already wound up another ball of yarn, even if my knitting has slowed down a lot, I have to have a project on hand.