December 20, 2008


All of the knit tops that I made in November were really quick projects since I had wanted to do really easy sewing for a while. I was in Knitsville for an entire month and when I started my next project this month it seemed to be taking a long, long time to complete. I couldn't help but wonder if I had stayed in easy Knitsville too long. Well, with work and two nights school per week it has actually been three weeks since I started this project - and it is not finished yet. Well school is finally out for Christmas, and my stressful night class is over too so I think I'll be able to get my rain coat project finished before New Years.
I'm combining features from both of these patterns to create my own look.

This is my progress on the project thus far:
I used a light weight interfacing on all pattern pieces to give this twill like fabric a little more body. I had to fight with this decision for a while (to interface or not to interface) and at first I used an interfacing that was a bit to stiff. I had to really use a lot of steam to remove it before replacing it with the lighter weight interfacing which gave a much better result.

Now I have to add some buttons, belt loops, tabs on the sleeves and a few more touches to really bring this thing to life. Oh, I forgot to say that it is fully lined. I've wanted a raincoat like this every since my friend Lisa made her black and white version early last spring.


I finally paid a visit to the antique store that carries what I call vintage patterns that Ebony has been telling us about. Their pattern collection consisted of four cabinets each with four or five drawers - and I looked through each and every drawer this morning. Looking through those patterns was a trip back down memory lane. I say this because I saw so many patterns from my past sewing life (remember I had a 15 year sewing interruption) several of which I bought for memories sake. I bought a few others because I really liked them and could see some real possibilities.

I really like this very easy Vogue pattern - it's a sheath like dress with a vee'ed front neckline. I got two Christmas craft patterns, and no I won't get around to using them this year.

These are two chanel like jacket patterns. Rember I still have that beautiful boucle that my Mother sent several months ago.

I like the back of the New Look Pattern and think it will make a nice sun dress for the summer (come on summer! And I had this wrap skirt pattern back in the 80' and loved it .

I made this two piece knit outfit back in the 70's. I remember that it was the first cowl neckline that I ever made. I loved that outfit too. This McCall's pants pattern use to be one of my favorites. I made this pattern over and over again because I had so much success with it. The pattern I bought today is much to small, but if any of you run across it in a size 16, please let me know as I would like to use this pattern again.

I know you will probably not believe this...but I used this last pattern for my wedding dress. Hey it was the 70's, and yes I wore a mini dress and it was sooo very pretty. And yes I was 17 years old and weighed a mere 122 pounds soaking wet. It was in white lace the one on the left....
NOTE: Needed to add a post script here on the wedding dress; I didn't make it but this is the pattern that was used.

December 18, 2008



...AND I am queen for the day
...AND everything in the world is some shade of pink because that's the color I want it to be today
...AND I do think that I have a beautiful heart (although I vent and can be a bit mean at times)
...AND I am blessed to have lived another year
...AND I am healthy
...AND I have a lot of people who really love me and who I love
...AND I am covered by the Blood of Jesus!

November 28, 2008


I thought I'd do a quick post just before I start my next project. Although I didn't announce it beforehand, this is a long totally dedicated sewing weekend. I had to tear myself away from the sewing room to make the sweet potato and broccoli and rice casseroles that I had to take to the Thanksgiving dinner that I was invited to (which by the way was way FAB). I excused myself to come home at a reasonable hour to ... you know what... get back into the sewing room. Soooo I wanted to share what I've worked on thus far this weekend while watching the Macy's parade (and I'm still scoring high on the believe-0-meter if you know what I mean), Miracle on 34th Street, and episodes of the Thorn Birds (there's nothing like my 13" TV in the sewing room, unless it the one in the kitchen).

Next I paired these two patterns together by making the jacket from this vogue pattern and my TNT long sleeved knit top from the Newlook pattern. I made this from a real mystery fabric that I got at Hancock's about a year ago and never could make up my mind what to make with it. I finally decided on pairing these two patterns to use it. Talk about stretchy! I really wanted to ditch this project right in the middle, but figured since I was about half way through it I might as well finish it up. I will wear it, but I will NEVER buy this type of stretchy fabric ever again.

November 24, 2008


I came in and gave my sewing room a once over with the vacumn and boy what a difference. I think every color of thread I own was on the floor. WHAT A BIG DIFFERENCE a little tidying up in the sewing room makes. I had promised myself that I would clean it after finishing every garment, but that never works.

I couldn't find a photographer at work today so I took a picture myself - me in my newest top.

Like Tim Gunn says - make it work!

November 23, 2008


I hope that I'm not boring everyone with pictures of my tops. It feels like I've made about fifty of them, but a review of my posts revealed that there were 5 in October and 9 (adding the two for this post) for November. That's a lot of tops! Do I want more and do I plan on sewing more - YES I DO! There are lots of other types of garments that I do plan on sewing - you know, pants and especially some skirts. And I still have that wonderful boucle fabric that my Mother sent to me, from which I plan on making a channel type jacket and matching skirt. I'm also feeling that I'd enjoy some new PJ's for Christmas. And of course every time it rains I kick myself because I have not made my raincoat yet. There's all kinds of ideas floating around in my head. Then something entirely different might pop up because of some inspiration I seen on sewing blogs. THE CHOICES ARE ENDLESS! But that is just part of the fun.

Here are the tops I made this weekend:

#1 Is from the same turtleneck Kwik Sew pattern that I've been using. I figured I needed a black one.

#2) is from Butterick 4606. I was inspired to make this top after reading Pamela's blog at "Off the Cuff". She has a tutorial there that shows how to change the neckline appearance on a top by using a rubber band or an elastic ponytail holder, and I wanted to give it a try.

I really like this top and it was easy to put together. I still need to practice with the rubber band idea, but I love the idea and already have another one cut out in a solid color.

I only had one problem making this top. I think that I was short changed when this fabric was cut at the store. HAS THIS EVER HAPPENED TO YOU??? It's happened to me several times at different stores - MAKES ME SO MAD!!! Well any ways, I wanted to make a blouse from this fabric but did not have enough fabric for the long sleeved or 3/4 sleeve length, soooooooooo I had to patch the sleeve. I used a french seam to do that rather than just serge the pieces together. I think my 3/4 length sleeve turned out pretty well.

Well that's it for the weekend of sewing. I've got to get rid of this headache, do my hair and prepare for the new week (IT'S A SHORT ONE THANK GOD!). Happy Thanksgiving to all in advance....

November 22, 2008


Yes, as I said before, November has been the month for tops. I don't know how this happened as I certainly did not plan it to be this way. I guess it's just that I love knit fabrics and I had accumulated quite a few pieces and also because I just love going to the closet in the morning being able to pull out something that does not need ironing. I also love the way being able to wear something just a little different makes me feel, even thought it's just a top. Ahhh the simple things of life. Making tops is quick and simple - somewhat like instant gratification which I did need after making so many things that were time consuming. So although I didn't get to do a whole lot of sewing this past week, I did complete another wrap or tie jacket with another matching turtle neck top made from Vogue 8305 and Kwik Sew 2740.

I'm not absolutely sure that I am satisfied with my fabric choice here. I knew I wanted something knit and something red, but this fabric is a little shiny for my taste. Oh I will wear it, but I'm just having second thoughts about my fabric choice - which I'm sure is something we all of us go through from time to time. A should a, would a, could a type thing.

Last Saturday I woke up with some energy (which has been eluding me lately) and I was motivated to cut out 5 garments (all tops). This week I was thinking, "that I must have been out of my mind" to do that. I was afraid that in cutting out so many pieces at one time some of them might become UFO's. I have managed to sew up three of the garments - which is think is pretty good. So I've only got two more to go before all 5 garments are completed - what a marathon! So after finishing this post it's back to the machine to change my thread colors and knock out the remaining two tops...

November 17, 2008


So this is another version of Simplicity 2804 that I made on Saturday before I was called away on a sewing/fabric/friendship trip to Atlanta with Lisa and Ebony. You know how it is when you just want to look at something different - a spur of the moment trip can be just what the doctor ordered (lol). The cotton knit fabric for this top was donated by Ebony - it's so nice of her to share with us from her stash - I bet you wish you knew her too huh. I made a tunic from this pattern before, but this time I chose a shorter version of the same top with the band at the hemline.
This version called for ruching on the bottom of the sleeve.
This is a picture of a suit that I think I made during the later part of August or the first part of September, but this is the first time I've worn it. This outfit was also one of my Georgia National Fair entries that earned me a Second Prize ribbon.
Well I just wanted to check in, I think I can squeeze in an hour of sewing before bedtime, can't stay up too late....

November 13, 2008


I didn't get very much sewing done over the weekend. I finally got my carpet cleaned and with all the moving things around and getting them put back where they were supposed to be I was just too tired. Me and my pals Lisa and Ebony had a Sunday afternoon "SEWALONG" at my house and I didn't get one thing sewn. I did however enjoy their company and all the sewing conversation and sewing planning.

Since Tuesday was a holiday I was determined to make some more headway with my Knit Top marathon. I made this brown knit Vogue pattern, the view with the rounded neckline and long sleeves.

I saw a top similar to this Butterick pattern at WalMart that I liked and used some fabric that Ebony had gifted this weekend to make it up. Don't know why the picture turned out so blurry. This top went together really quickly and I do think I'll make it again. I did lengthen this top 2 1/2 inches.

November 7, 2008


Just when you think you can't take anymore, God gives us FRIDAY!!! Oh my goodness the long hard week has finally ended. I didn't get any mid-week sewing done at all - didn't even get to cut out a pattern. But I did wear my new cardigan wrap and matching turtleneck top today. I enjoyed wearing it and the kids love it.
I'll be checking in again before the weekend end is over. Until then, HAPPY SEWING!

November 2, 2008


I was talking to my Mother just a few weeks ago and I told her that I would NEVER make a turtle neck top. What is it about the word NEVER! Oh you can say it alright, but then you have to take back what you've said. Last week out of no where I got the urge to make a turtle neck top. So I did an internet search of all the pattern companies and this KWIK SEW is what I came up with so here is the results of my new turtle. I made view C with the collar from view A, and it is really a good fit. The fabric is a slightly ribbed knit from Walmart. Only four pattern pieces made it a snap to put together and I think I'll be making a few more of these for the winter.

I had a lot of the ribbed knit fabric left over so I paired my short sleeved turtle with this cardigan-like wrap, Vogue 8138, which was only two pattern pieces, but boy did the sleeve placement give me a mini fit. I'm still not sure if they are in right, but after my second try I am finished with it. Maybe I'll give this another try sometime. I plan on wearing this with jeans (blue or black) and dark gray or black pants. I promise you it will get some wear since I work in a classroom that doesn't warm up until the middle of the afternoon I need something to wrap up in.

Well that's it for this sewing weekend. Maybe I'll get a chance to whip up a quick project during the work week, who knows....

October 31, 2008


Simplicity 2804 Turned out not only to be a good fit and comfortable but also gained me lots of compliments today. I don't just make things to get compliments, but they certainly don't hurt. Compliments confirm what we are already feeling about something we've made. My students were amazed because this was a knockoff of what one of them wore last week. The students inspire me too (sometimes - lol). I think I'll make another one these, I can see myself getting a lot of use from this pattern.

October 30, 2008


Soooo after working on several projects that I think took way too much time to complete, I'm focusing on a mini quest to "Sew Quick and Easy" for just a little while at least. To me sewing quick and easy translates into knit projects - especially knit tops. Last weekend I set out to make three new knit tops, but was only able to crank out two. That third new top was still weighing heavy on my mind when I saw Kim with her new top made up from Simplicity 4076 . Seeing her knit top reminded me of the short sleeved version of the pattern I made back in the spring; the fit was really good and I remember thinking that it was so easy and would make a great TNT tee pattern. Sooo I pulled the pattern, laid it out on Tuesday night, and made it up on Wednesday night.

Marking patterns continues to pose a challenge but especially on knit fabrics. My marking pencils and chalk quite often don't show up, or have disappeared when I need them most. My solution, using these page reinforcement circles. It's easy to mark circles, squares and all the other pattern markings, and they are such a time saver too.

The TNT pattern turned into this top with bell sleeves. The simple pattern design was just right for this sequin-like fabric. I think that when the fabric is fancy the design should be simple. Well at least that's what works for me.

This shiny new top was just the thing that I needed to give this suit that I've had for several years an added lift.

I've been trying to get to the weekend - I'm almost there!

October 27, 2008


I really trying to get use to taking pictures wearing the garments that I make. Today I wore my new blue criss-cross front knit top with the gray pinstripped pants that I made for the fair exhibit earlier this month. This was the first time that I wore both pieces and they were really comfortable which is really important to me. It really does feel good to wear something that I've made and have it fit so good.

Today I received this BFF Gold Card Award from my new internet sewing friend Amy. Thanks Amy, I will try to get back to finish the requirements for it this weekend after I'm finished with work and two nights of math class.

October 26, 2008


As usual I was in a rush to get to the weekend. First I needed to stop by Hancock's to pick up this pattern because Vogue patterns were on sale for $3.99 again. I had noticed this pattern before but failed to buy it last time. I was attracted to this version of the class wrap front tee. I've tried several other wrap tops, but wanted to try this one because it's designed just a little differently as the wrap part is closer to the neckline than the others. I made it in a powder blue to match the gray stripped suit that I made as an entry for the fair. The sheer ruffled blouse that I made to go with the suit will have to wait until next summer, so I needed something a little warmer to wear with the suit now. The top fits very nicely and the slackness in the wrap area that I had experienced with the other sursplice tops is eliminated by this pattern. I am sure that this pattern will become my new TNT for tees because the pattern offers 5 views and includes crew and vee necklines.

The only thing that I will change about the pattern next time is the elimination of the side slits at the hem area. That will also eliminate extra seam finishing work in that area.

Last week one of my students wore a knit tunic similar to this pattern. To achieve a knockoff of her tunic I had to combine two views of this pattern. I wanted the neckline from view D and the band and sleeve from view B. Not a real problem except - I was in a hurry to get the pattern cut out so I could join sewing buddies Lisa and Ebony for an early evening "Sew A Long", and secondly I was talking on the phone when I was trying to choose my a pattern pieces and didn't choose the correct ones. Then I misjudged the yardage of the fabric which meant I had to scrimp on the layout and even do some patching to get the look I wanted due to not having enough fabric...uggggg! Here's the way it turned out. The fit is good and I tried to place the seams where I patched in inconspicuous places so they would not be seen. I think I can put my perfectionism aside enough to wear this less than perfect top. I didn't have enough fabric to make a self belt but that's ok since I not a lover of self belts anyway. I'm showing it without and with a belt. I think I'll be wearing it with the belt.

Sewing this up would have been super easy but it took some time to figure out how to piece fabric to get the collar and hem band cut out. So I'll call it a wrap for this weekend. I figure I'm successful because I have two new tops to wear to work this week which means easy dressing in the mornings....

Paying Homage to Black Pattern Designers...

...for years February has been set aside as a special time to learn about and recognize accomplishments of African Americans and other peopl...