September 28, 2011


...Go ahead,  I'll wait a minute for you.  Now, relax and kick your feet up because I haven't posted in 10 days so you know this is going to be a long one (lol).  All kidding aside for a moment, let me take a minute to say THANK YOU AGAIN to all who take the time to read my blog - ESPECIALLY to new followers.   Seriously I get a little misty when I think about you, and I do not take your readership lightly.  

Now for Eyewitness News at 6...

1)  I finished the second pair of pants that match my 3 piece MINI WARDROBE CAPSULE (blogged about here), and I did wear them to work last Thursday.


I know I see wrinkles down the front leg too, but really they are not that bad at all.  They did turn out just a little loose through the hip area, which is much better than them being to tight.  I plan on going back in to tweak them just a bit.  Overall, a nice wardrobe addition and they match both capsule tops perfectly.  I'll give them a rating of 9 (with 10 being the highest) for wear-ability until I make the needed alteration.  Fixing won't take but a minute...but that's what I say about EVERYTHING!  (ha)

2)  Look Mom, I made a new top!

McCalls 6164 view A
This pattern has hung on my inspiration board I guess since it first came out.  I just didn't know how I'd like the Grecian draped sleeves.  But I finally went ahead and made it up.  Love this Joann's clearance table jersey - it's super drapey.  Believe me the color is really bright for me being such a neutral person.  But every now and then I need to break out of my norm to cheer everybody else up and wearing this today did just that.

I guess I JUST DON'T KNOW MY SIZE!, or this pattern just runs large.  I made size LARGE and this thing swallowed me.  Of course I used my bust size when determining the size to use, but I should have listened to Myra who made the same top and wished she had gone down a size too.   I did take her advice about raising the neckline (I raised 1 1/2") which worked out nicely.  Thanks to Lisa I pulled this book off the shelf

and tried a new neckline binding on this top - LOVE IT TOO!  I know many of you already have this - I used the Single-Fold Binding for knit fabrics, pages 40-43.  I was scared to interface this jersey so I tried it on a scrap first - no problem.  I will be using this method again and again, but I'm kinda wonder how it would work using Steam-a-Seam rather than regular fusible interfacing.  Mmmmm, I'll have to check that out.

Tonight I'll go in and take up the sleeve and the side seams on this top, but until I get that done,  I'll need to rate this top a 7 on the wear-ability scale.

3)  I love getting GOOD mail - you know the kind I mean... stuff you want!, not expected or unexpected bills and the like.  This is what I call GOOD MAIL:

Vogue 1242, 2767,1200, & 1025
A few weeks ago Tanya of Eating Pins held a blog celebration (not a contest) a straight give-a-way.  All you had to do was select the patterns  you liked - and they were yours!  THANK YOU TANYA!  Vogue patterns I didn't have were in today's mail - YEAH TANYA!  Better than shopping at BMV even.

4)  Ok, Ok I'm getting ready to close.  Lastly, I hung this great picture in my sewing cave this weekend.  

It sort of reminds me of this  picture from Ballard Designs -  Cost: $299.00.

  I like mine better - cost: $10.00 at a Goodwill 1/2 price sale.

Ok, Ok, that all for this time.  Thank you so much for reading....

September 19, 2011


...Am I just old school - or is everyone who makes pants as serious about creases as I am???
I love a razor sharp crease, especially in a pair of pants that I make for myself.   Yet I can't figure out why it's easier to set the crease some of the time than it is others.  I would think that it might have some to do with the grain line that the pants were cut on, but I think I'm pretty good at getting my pattern pieces laid out straight.

Well, while busy making a new pair of my TNT pants I happened upon some instructions on how to set the crease of during construction.  Now, you may know about this already, but I didn't know that!  I've told you before that what I "don't know" could fill a small reservoir; but I thank God for an insatiable hunger for knowledge.  He just keeps on making it available to me.

After darts are sewn in and pressed fold each front pant leg, and each back pant leg individually; steam press from hem to crouch curve.

  I used my handy dandy pounder to set the crease while the fabric was still warm, and allowed each pant leg to sit still until it was cool.  I'll be using this technique for all my pants from now on.

A portrait of the pressing tools I use to get a professional finish.  My EXTRA large padded sleeve board, one of my hams, and a great pounder.

Here I'm using the sleeve board and ham to press open my side seam, and set the hip curve into the pants.

I called this picture "from sea to shiny sea" because I've use the board to press the entire inseam from one leg to the end of the other.  I find that amazing.
I'm in love with these pants and they aren't even finished yet - I this color somewhere and they called it Copenhagen.  Doesn't that sound like a marvelous fall color?  Today I rushed home from work to get to Copenhagen (lol).  They fit in so well with my three piece capsule (blogged about here).  I can see the 3 pieces expanding and expanding; I've also started work on my second 3 piece capsule of a different color palette.

Sewing for yourself is so wonderful, there is always room for another adventure...

September 14, 2011


For some reason I just had to get this top out of my system.  I stitched up a markup just to see how this thing would work out - we'll just call this a wearable muslin o.k.

PATTERN CHANGES:  Of course I had to change something about the pattern.  Just call me Ms. Pattern Morpher extraordinaire.   The one review I found of the pattern mentioned that the neckline had bra strap visibility, so I widened the neckline by 1 1/2", AND raised the neckline to boot.  After finishing it, I wish I hadn't raised the neckline as it made it look sort of boat neckish - but at least bra straps showing won't be a problem.  I also lengthened both sleeves about 1 1/2 inch (don't even ask me why I did that).

I added a bias self fabric neck binding rather than hemming the neck edge.

FABRIC:  I used a WalMart purchased (who knows what kind of)
knit to stitch a markup just to see how this THING would work out - we'll just call it a wearable muslin o.k.

PATTERN RATING:  Super easy, super quick - you definitely won't not need the pattern instructions for this one.  I cut it out and started stitching last night.  Could have finished but you know I'm a working girl, and a sister has to get some sleep (lol).  

WEAR-ABILITY TEST:  Just finished it this afternoon so I haven't worn it yet.  Because of the quality of the fabric I think this will be - a Saturday pair with really dark slim cut jeans tucked into some cowgirl boots - kind of top, especially with that low slung belt.

TIPS OR TECHNIQUES USED:  I used my jersey ball point needle again of course and didn't have any problem with missed or uneven stitching.  To tell the truth almost the entire thing could be done on a serger (don't know why I'm scared to pull that one off yet).  Used Steam-a-Seam Lite to turn up hems, then stitched down.  This time I took some pictures to show my version of turning up a knit sleeve hem using Steam-a-Seam.  And why in the world did I come home with 1/4" SAS rather than 1/2"???  Oh well, just had to make it work. 
My marvelous seam roll.  Over 20 years old and still tight as a drum.
Trusty SAS; got to make sure I buy 1/2" next time.
Apply adhesive strip on edge of sleeve, pressing with your fingers.
Press, steam and roll.
Continue applying adhesive all around until you meet where you started; pressing in place with your fingers.
Fold up hem allowance evenly all around.
Press and steam, then roll , press and steam, then roll all around to where you began.
Finished product
Stitch down narrow hem to secure

There you have it!
What have you fallen in love with lately?
For me it's this
I'm loving views A and B, it's called a Popover, and is very trendy right now.  I also like Shrugs C and D.  It's an old pattern, but paired with just the right fabrics it will do the trick for me... I'm contemplating this as my next project - gearing up for Fall even though the high today was 93 degrees. Autumn IS in the air (somewhere)!!!

September 13, 2011


I'm sure it hit the pattern counters in mid-July, but yet I haven't seen any of the bloggers that I visit regularly stitch it up.   I like the serious asymmetrical vibe of the top, and it looks so quick and easy.  Truthfully, I've been just a little a-f-r-a-i -d to give it a whirl.  I even checked on pattern review, and only one person has reported making it.


September 10, 2011


...first many thanks to those of you who took the challenge of watching me work my way out of my recent sewing slump.  I accomplished my mission of creating the coordinated pieces of my

.Two knit tops with one pair coordinating TNT pants
Simple, yes; but I think it snapped me out of a depressed sewing stage. 

Piece 1:     Vogue 8634 Cowl neck knit top

FABRIC:  1-5/8 yards of a lightweight two way stretch knit purchased from Vogue Fabrics .  I'll need to be careful in laundering this fabric - it has a tendency to shag a bit.  I'll probably hand wash to make it last a while.

PATTERN RATING:  Super easy, super quick.  45 minutes to make less the layout, cutting time, and an hours nap I took last Saturday afternoon.

WEAR-ABILITY TEST:  Opppps!  This top made it into this weeks work rotation but did not stand up to the test.  Be careful if you plan on making this pattern because the neckline is an extremely low cut.  I spent the day pulling it closed;  got really tired of looking down at my bra all day long - should've just pinned it up.

SOLUTION:  Came home yesterday and ripped off the cowl collar.  Had enough fabric left to re-cut the bodice and sleeves for a new top because there was no way was I willing to spend time removing all of the serge stitches.  Raised the front neckline of the pattern a full 3 inches and remade the same pattern.  Now I love it and plan on making another maybe in a solid color.

TIPS OR TECHNIQUES USED:  Used Steam-a-Seam Lite to turn up hems, then stitched down.  Gives me a slightly stabilized more professional looking finished product. I have to try hard to remember to switch over to a jersey ball point needle when sewing knits.

Piece 2:     Simplicity 2181 Mock Twist Front knit top

FABRIC:  1-7/8 yards soft jersey knit purchased at JoAnn's for $1.80 (after redeeming a coupon).  One of my favorite fabrics.  Its forgiving, easy to sew up and take care of.  Minimal to no ironing needed after washing. 

PATTERN RATING:  Not so quick because pattern has 8 pieces.  A two day project for me, but well worth the time to produce.

WEAR-ABILITY TEST:  Gave this top a whirl at work also this week and it did pass the test.  Completely comfortable and easy to wear.

TIPS OR TECHNIQUES USED:  Used Steam-a-Seam Lite to hem this top too.  Used a number 2 lead pencil to mark because chalk does not work for me on jersey fabric.  Same with the jersey ball point needle.

FABRIC:  2-7/8 yards of really nice gaberdine - source unknown.  Washes up nicely and wears great without stretching out of shape as the day progresses.  Wish I remembered where I got this from.

PATTERN RATING: What more can I say about this pattern.  I've tweaked and tweaked it again and again.  But the only change I added this time was more stabilization of the pocket area, which  I'll address in another post. 

WEAR-ABILITY TEST:  Haven't worn these yet, but they fit real good in the sewing room.  I'm almost sure they will work out fine.

TIPS OR TECHNIQUES USED:   When ever I have to hem something that I know will leave pic marks on the right side of the fabric, I've started using stitch witchery.  I'd rather use this than try to live with pic marks showing through.

 It was such a good sewing week, now own to the next project...

September 4, 2011


PLAN:  scheme, design, way of doing things. 

It's taken me some time to get it together, but in the scheme of things, I do love it when a plan comes together.  It's all about my attempt to break the slump I've been in.   I've concluded that because of:
  • my lack of planning,
  • my trying to do too many things at once, coupled with
  • my sewing room disorder
eventually contributed to the project indecisiveness that threw me into this sewing slump.  Thank God for self-analysis, and it's free too.

That being said, I'm ready to unveil my little "snap back scheme":

Two knit tops with one pair coordinating TNT pants.

Simple, yes I know, but it will give me two outfits that can be added to later - this is just a little jump start.  Sometimes a big plan is just too much for me to handle.  It not only overwhelms, but at times gives me a good case of sewing paralysis.   I mentally cannot handle coordinating six, nine or twelve fabrics and patterns right now.  But, I've been able to manage three fabrics and patterns.  I had to go back to an old adage that I use to lean on, that being "you CAN eat an elephant - just take one bit at a time".


Now to put the scheme in motion...

September 2, 2011


...I've truly been in love with Italian Sausages I think since first tasting them who know how long ago.  I used to wait until the annual fall county fair to have one - or maybe two.  But last year at the fair they weren't that great so I decided to start making my own. You know the type - smothered in colorful peppers, onion and just a little bit of tomato sauce - on a big old hoagie bun.   Looks something like this in my big old cast iron skillet...

 ...and something like this on my sesame seed bun
Mmmmmmmmmm, smoking!  I'm a glutton for colorful food - I MUST have color on my plate, after all we eat first with the eyes.   

I don't need a recipe for everything, but I do like them for most things.  I modified Pat and Gina's recipe from Food Network - mine has fewer ingredients but I really love the results I get.

Dollhouse Italian Sausage with Peppers & Onion

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package Johnsonville Sweet Italian Sausage (or flavor of your choice)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 large yellow onions, sliced, (or colors of your choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1- 4 oz. can Tomato Sauce
  • 5 Sesame seed hoagie rolls (or roll or bun of your choice)
Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the sausages and brown on all sides, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from skillet and reserve.
Add onions and peppers to the skillet and saute until tender and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic. Stir in the tomato sauce. Cook for a few minutes, then add the sausages back to the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is nice and thick, about 10 minutes.
Serve on a nice hoagie roll
NOTE:  I've even gotten brave enough to try this with Beer Brats and they are just as wonderful!, no more waiting until fair time rolls around.

P.S.  I'll be getting some sewing in tonight!!!

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