September 22, 2010


I've actually had my coat muslin made up for over a week now, but didn't feel it was ready for world unveiling (just kidding). On a serious note, have you ever started/or wanted to start a project and just got bogged down in over thinking it??? Well that is what happened to me! I so want to do a good job on this coat.

  • For starters, I know that the collar is too short for some reason, as it did not meet the placement markers on the coat front. I need to go back to check it with the pattern - I probably cut the wrong size collar.
  • This is the second fitting of my first muslin; it has a 5/8" seam allowance. Initially, it was just a little too snug for wearing over sweaters and the like, so I let out all (7) seams (from 5/8" to 3/8"). I am NOT AT ALL good with fractions at all, but I think I reduced each seam 1/4", making my coat 1 1/2 inches larger overall (feel free to help me with the math). This could account for the collar being too small.
  • I can see a problem with the back on the left side. (picture 3) There seems to be more fabric on the left - there definitely are more wrinkle lines. I'm thinking that taking in the center back seam in that area might help alleviate these wrinkles. What do you think.
  • I don't think the wrinkling across my back waist area is too bad (pictures 3&5) - your thoughts.
  • And what do you think about my sleeves. I can see wrinkles on the underside close to my body. (pictures 2&3) I am almost sure that the sleeve placement is correct. Maybe I'm holding my arms too close to my body??? The back seam of the sleeve is supposed to match up with the back princess seam - am I right?
  • Sleeve wrinkles again. (picture 7) Do you think my sleeve placement is correct?
  • Do you think the wrinkle pool across my back is being caused by the belt here?

I retraced the entire pattern per suggestions made by Gertie, and was going to sew up an entirely new muslin with 1" seams, but I just could not commit to all of the extra work involved. So I decided to just give this one more try. My kids at school took pictures for me this morning, and after seeing them I feel a whole lot better about this muslin.

NOW, MY FELLOW BLOGGER FRIENDS, I NEED TO KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS AND/OR SUGGESTIONS ABOUT MY MUSLIN. Please consider that I am operating with mid-week brain cells at the moment.

Coat construction is scheduled to commence: Monday, September 27th (my little sister's birthday).

Thought I'd include a picture of the ladies that greet me at 7:45 every morning - AKA My photographers.

SIDELINE SEWING RELATED NOTE: After much hemming and humming I did make it down to the fairgrounds on Saturday to submit my exhibit entries. Who would have thought that both my sewing buddies would be unable to participate this year because they are BOTH of town! Nevertheless, I am a big girl so I went it alone this time. Judging started on Monday of this week, but results won't be revealed until the fair opens (October 7-17). Be assured that I will let you know the outcome....

September 16, 2010


I do so LOVE my blog! I count it an honor and a privilege that people find it worthy of stopping by to just look in, comment, or answer one my many questions. As with many other aspects of life, I have to refer back to a quote from Mary Kay Ash - you know, the real Mary Kay. "Help enough people get what they want, and you will automatically get what you want". It is my sincere hope that someone somewhere will be able to gain some tidbit of sewing information from my blog.

I received information this evening that my blog has been added to Online's list of 50 Best Blogs for Sewing Students. Well, that is good news to me! There are quite a few other blogs that I recognize on this list.

I've been considering several new features that I want to incorporate into my blog. Just got to work out a few kinks before I do, so be on the lookout...

I've been mentally battling to decide whether or not to do a Textile Entry at our local fair this year. You might remember that I entered 5 items back in 2008 that yielded 5 prize ribbons and a small check. So this morning I pulled 5 hand sewn items from the closet, and I think I'm going for it again this year. This will add some sewing related excitement to my life this weekend.

I worked up the first muslin for my Lady Gray coat (all is going well) and will be posting pictures soon. I can already visualize myself wearing this coat...

September 11, 2010


I was sent two wonderful blog awards but have yet to acknowledge receiving them. Please, please forgive my slowness, but do know that both awards are graciously accepted.

This first one from

and this second one from

The rules for the first award are:
1. Tell us what you like about YOUR blog,
2. Then send the award to 10 other blogs that you read.

and, the rules for the second award are:
1. Tell us 10 thing about yourself,
2. Then Send the award to 5 other blogs that you read.

I hope the senders don't mind but I'm taking the liberty of mixing up the rules. I'll tell you what I like about my own blog, and then send BOTH awards on to 5 blogs that I read - Hows about that?

"I love the fact that this is my own personal domain. I can express myself just as I like (although I try to keep the contents clean). I can dress it up or down depending on my mood. I feel free in sharing small tidbits of information that a novice sewer might be able to use. If I get stumped on a project my blog allows me to reach out to thousands of people who have more knowledge of the craft than I, but who are willing and able to help me out. My blog has opened up a whole new world to me, one that is exciting, inspiring. It constantly feeds my hunger for more and more knowledge."

Now to share BOTH awards with 5 other bloggers:

The rules are:
1. Answer the question : "What do you like the most about your own blog?"
2. Pass this award to another five other blogggers.

Sewaholic - wonderfully young, talented, and creative
SewonandSewon - to welcome Lisa back to blogging
Clio - just completed the most amazingly great fitting pants, and is about to embark on creating some fine lingerie
Cindy - my sister from another mother who operates a fantastic "learn to sew" business in South Florida
Candice - creating gorgeous garments from way across the pond.

September 10, 2010


...I chose the lining fabric for my upcoming Lady Gray project.

It's actually a charmeusey feeling silky print that I picked up at Joann's this afternoon. The print is a large paisley/flower pattern in the colors purple, brown, off white, and teal on a green background. I didn't want to use a solid, but thought that a lively print would give the coat a certain POP of color that I could flash upon opening (lol). Since the wool flannel shell fabric is light weight, I think the weight of the lining will give the the coat a little more body and warmth. I'm thinking that I might underline with a light batiste, but the verdict is still out on that one.

I also picked up the 1" buttons for the coat

and think I now have everything needed for the job. Tonight I was planning on tracing the pattern on some of my Swedish pattern paper that I picked up at the sewing expo back in March and haven't touched since. I can feel myself getting a little sleepy right now, so I'd better save that job for tomorrow morning.

I scouted Joann's for fabric to make a wearable muslin. I couldn't find anything I liked that wouldn't cost as much as the as the actual coat, so I had to squash that idea. So my plan now is to fit the Swedish pattern paper after stitching it together. We'll see how this plan goes...

September 8, 2010

Ottobre Shrug...

I just entered a contest where this Ottobre shrug/mini cape/wrap/scarf is the prize in a give a way. I really like it and think it would be a great wrap to spruce up a fall outfit. Hope I wasn't too late in entering.

September 6, 2010


I finished Butterick 5147 sheath (AKA my little black dress). I loved this fabric at first sight, and immediately thought it would make a cute LBD for my graduation day back in June. However, try as I might, I just could not seem to get the dress fitted correctly. So it has hung on the door in my sewing room since that time. I came close to throwing it in the trash several times, but for some reason thought I would eventually get back to it. Lisa came to visit me on Friday and was kind enough to pin fit the dress while I wore it inside out. I made a shoulder seam adjustment by sewing a 1 1/4" seam rather than the original 5/8". Secondly, I tapered the dress in about 1" from the hip area down. I also scooped the neckline out just a little because I thought it was much to high, and that was it.
Simple right? Yes it was! Except, I was in such a hurry to get the dress completed that I stitched the side seams without realizing that (according to the pattern instructions) it would have been much better to install the lining at the neckline and arms before doing so. It would have been much easier to remove the side seam stitching and then attach the lining, but I didn't want to chance losing the fit in the hip area. So I spent the afternoon hand stitching the lining to the armholes. Talk about time consuming. After applying stretch lace and hemming my first self-made LBD is finished. Couldn't do a picture wearing it because I looked a hot mess today. But, I can't believe the fit. It is so comfortable - no pulling, it's just right!

I will make this or a reasonable facsimile in the very near future, but I was amazed that a garment using only two pattern pieces could give me such a fitting fit. But now that it's done, I still love the fabric and now I love the dress. Thanks again Lisa.

IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL IT'S FINISHED, the inside of the garment that is.

Several posts ago I received a request from an Anonymous commenter that asked for garment finishing tips. She wrote:

"I can see that to take the "next step" in sewing and make my garments look more professional, I need to make the inside look as good as the outside. I know you have talked about the importance of this, but I would love it if I could get some tips on how to do that. The pattern instructions that typically come with your basic Simplicity or whatever pattern just don't really tell you how to do this. E.g. some ways to finish and/or make seams, hems, etc."

The hem finish I use depends on the project type. I took these pictures to illustrate "one way to finish hems" for her ( and anyone else interested). I used Wrights Flexi-Lace Hem Tape (I often call it stretch lace). About 1/2 pack was used for this project. The packages contain 3 yards.

After the hem is measured and pressed, the edge of the fabric
is serged to provide a ravel free surface.

The Flexi- Lace is then pinned to the serged edge of the hem.

Here the lace is stitched to the edge of the hem, right over the
serged edge. I use a medium length zigzag stitch to attach the lace
making sure I do not sew over pins.

This picture show the hem of the dress pinned in place after the lace has been attached.
The dress is now ready to be hand hemmed.

I do not use this method on all garments. I tend to use it on garments that I feel are special, or ones that I know I will keep for a very long time.



The purple wool flannel and matching Gutermann thread was in the mailbox on Saturday. The color is not as deep as I had thought, but I do like it. This wool flannel is very similar in weight to suit weight wool. I really don't think it should cause any bulky seam problems at all. I still need to find the lining for the coat, but I'm getting very close to the muslin stage...

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...