December 31, 2014

HELLO 2015...



... it's beginning to look more and more like an actual coat, especially since I've got the sleeves in.  After a slight snafu in trying to substitute a two piece sleeve (oh, how glad I am that I had residual fabric) I decided to proceed with the original one piece sleeve.  You will notice a caving at the upper back sections, but I am positive that this will be corrected with the insertion of shoulder pads.  I lightened the pictures so the completely (lintified) black coat would be more visible in the pictures.

Indentation at the lower back of the coat spreads out correctly after my hips and butt are inserted into the coat (lol).
I'm happy thus far, but will of course arrive at a point of utter over-joyment when the project is finally completed.  In an effort to see light at the end of this outer wear tunnel, I've updated my finish line list as follows:
.  install sleeve headers and purchased shoulder pads
.  install bias cut horsehair canvas in sleeve and lower hem areas
.  install front facing
.  make and insert lining
.  hem
.  make button holes (which, by the way, will not be bound but rather double stitched machine worked)
.  sew on buttons

Note:  I'm always confused as to using the word "installed" when referring to a sewing application.  Should I say install or insert???

I am trying to complete this project ahead of the next cold snap which I know cannot be too far off even though we've had temps in the mid 60's this week.  So keep cheering for me Mom and my other support team members I'm trying hard to get to the finish line before you all tire from reading about this winter coat project...

December 30, 2014


...With 2015 knocking at the door my heart is filled with joy, thanksgiving, gratitude and ANTICIPATION!
Really, my mind is overflowing with thoughts of the endless POSSIBILITIES God has placed within each of us.  Sometimes just thinking about them makes my heart race, and it makes me feel a little hyperventilatey (self-created word) (calm down girl)!
Can you imagine someone getting that excited sitting in a sewing room?  Of course possibilities extend beyond sewing and the sewing room; but I’m just saying, even a pattern envelope contains endless possibilities if we take full advantage of it.
I pray that I will have the gumption to step out on just a few of those possibilities in the New Year – if so, how wonderful that will be!

December 23, 2014


...working hard on knocking down my "FINISH LINE LIST":

.  Padstitched undercollar
.Padstitched and taped lapel
Thanks to a tip I got from Erica Bunker on using my machine's serpentine stitch

in a grid formation, padstitching takes just a fraction of the time it would take to hand stitch.  Now, finally, on this totally cozy rainy day I'm ready to move on to construction...

December 22, 2014


...finally finished all of that underlining, applied a layer of interfacing to the back, front, and front facing.  Now it's time to move on to applying a little more structure to places that need extra strength and places that might cave my coat in in certain areas.  This is my first time using horsehair canvas interfacing - I always told myself that it was just too expensive.  But after discovering that you DON"T have to interface the entire coat with the stuff, I decided to give it a try.  I made the coat's back stay and a shoulder stay pattern and cut those from the canvas.  Wish I had purchased fusible because my fingers are finally showing wear and tear from all my hand stitching.  (I don't feel comfortable using a thimble to my demise.) I'll also use the canvas for my hems because I am SURE that will make a difference in my finished project.
Looks a mess with all that hand stitching BUT thank God for linings.  Next I'll pad stitch and tape the lapel since I may have to delay my trip a couple of days because the weather outside is frightful...

December 21, 2014


...every year I can't keep my memories from  trailing back to the sights, sounds and tastes of long ago Holiday Seasons.  That's how it is when you had a good childhood.  Approaching Thanksgiving and or Christmas my Daddy (actually my great-grand father) made his wonderful Brunswick Stew.  It was such an exciting time, and he always made a big production of the whole thing so it was more like an event. I remember the whole thing - opening all the cans of vegetables, the slow methodical cooking process, and of course us gathering around the kitchen table to savor his magnificent stew.  Oh how I loved my Daddy - he had a way of making the simplest things extra special.  Some years ago I came across a little cookbook that contained almost his exact recipe.  Everyone in my family agrees that it is a reasonable facsimile.  To continue his Holiday Tradition I make it every year - I've actually made it twice this year (I think it's a wonderful rainy day or cold weather comfort food).  My Daddy's stew was so good that other people in the neighborhood would ask him to make it for them too.  Mine hasn't reached that acclaim yet, but I have shared the recipe with several others who enjoy it.   My blogger friend Diane of "Remembering Oz" asked me to share it so here goes.

 1 – 2 pound Boston Butt
2 ½ to 3 Cups Water
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Seasoned Salt
3 Bay leaves
1 can Diced Tomatoes (not petite)
1 small can Tomato Sauce
1 can Whole Kernel Corn, drained
1 can Sweet Peas, drained
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 – 24 ounce bottle Ketchup
3 Tablespoons Worcheshire Sauce
Hot Sauce to Taste (I use half a bottle)

Place Boston Butt in slow cooker or pot on top of stove with just enough water to cover; add salt, pepper, seasoned salt, garlic powder and bay leaves.  Cook slowly until meat is fork tender.  Once meat is done, place on a plate or cutting board and shred with a fork or cut into bite size pieces.  Discard bay leaves but reserve liquid.

In a large pot add just a small amount (start with just 1 cup) of reserved liquid; the shredded meat, tomatoes, tomato sauce, drained corn and peas, onion, sugar, ketchup, worcheshire sauce and hot sauce to taste. 

Cook for 1 hour over low heat stirring occasionally so the stew will not stick to pot.  Add more of reserved liquid (in small amounts) during cooking time if needed or if you want the stew to be thinner.


December 20, 2014


Yep that's right!  A good cup of coffee and my Daddy's Brunswick Stew.  I'll eat anything for breakfast - I was raised that way!  My goal last night was to finish underlining my coat pieces (adding structure and warmth).  Well, I got soooooo sleepy and decided to just go to bed.  Well today's another day and this morning found me at it again.  I can't wait to get this step completed so I can move on to the interfacing stage.  Every step gets me closer and closer to a finished product!

Have a wonderfully blessed Pre-Holiday weekend everybody!

December 15, 2014


...after experimenting with two coat patterns and making 3 muslins I finally managed to get a fit that satisfies and so the construction process has begun.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I've come to the realization that I am in need of a full length black winter coat.  I'm so glad that this nice wool fabric was in my stash.  I remember buying it from Hancock's a couple of summers ago.  Sometimes it's really hard to buy winter specific fabric during the summer even when it's at an excellent price.  But I knew that I would eventually find a use for this piece so I purchased 4 yards when it was 70% off.
Cutting was done on Saturday, and thread tracing completed on Sunday
So tonight I started the underlining process
Hopefully I'll get to work on this a little bit every night this week after work (fingers crossed).  Real sewing progress always takes place on weekends.  I've promised myself that I AM NOT going to let this project stress me out.  I've made my "FINISH LINE LIST" already so I'll be slowly marking things off...

December 8, 2014



...have you ever heard of fleece leggings?  Well I hadn't until I ran into these at
Grosgrain Fabulous.  I love these, and honestly can already see myself making a pair of them for warm and toasty winter pajama bottoms.  She's even included a pattern/tutorial link for them here.

I've been watching this blog for quite a long time now after becoming totally amazed at her many talents back in 2010 when she did an entire month of cardigan re-fashioning.  This one being my favorites of the 30 she re-styled that month
When I first ran across SBCC I chuckled a little bit at the blog title - but this girl is no joke, and neither is her blog.   I know that I've talked here about alterations to make wide pant legs skinner, but I recently ran into some very interesting information at SBCC Patterns that sheds much more light on the subject.   We all know there is nothing quite like well illuminated instruction - right?  I wanted to share it here just in case you hadn't seen it and might be in need of the information at some point.
Having skinnyed several pairs of pants myself with just "O.K." results, this illustration in itself made perfect sense.  It lets me know why I ended up with the results I got.  If you do visit SBCC for more skinny on the subject, you might also want to read more on her "Pant Alteration Philosophy" here.
It's so much fun discovering "New to me Blogs".  Sometimes I gain new knowledge from them, and at times I just gather loads of sewing inspiration.  If you have a few minutes of reading time I'm sure you will agree that My Daily Theardz supplies both.
The blog is positive and uplifting and I'm so glad that I took a look in.

Well it's back to muslin fitting for me...

December 2, 2014


I usually don't make publicly tooting my own horn a habit, but as a friend once told me - "it's a poor frog that doesn't praise her own pond!". Today I wore my wool Ninot jacket made earlier this year. I do so much admiring and praising other peoples work but today I'm praising my own. I did such a marvelous tailoring job : welt pockets, bound button holes, padstitching, shoulder and back stays, as well as under lining. I love the jacket and am admiring my own handiwork.  

 Mmmmm maybe I should take this jacket a step further and really make this independent pattern pay for itself. Stay tuned  and see what unfolds...

December 1, 2014


... yes, like millions of others across the nation I went back to work on Cyber Monday.  Since I literally walk miles in my lab during the course of the day being comfortable, but a bit trendy, is what I aim for.  A simple pencil skirt made back in September paired with a sweater is easy dressing.  This is the second time I've worn this skirt.
McCall's 6654

Also, I have actually been working on a project.  I have decided that I am really in need of a knee length black coat.  Mom, I know, I know - I've been adamant in repeating that "I don't like long coats".   I apologize - Mom - I have had to change my mind.  The new coat process has begun and I've  been muslining.  I choose way out of print McCall's 5247.
A classic design that I plan on making a little less a-line.

The muslin is working out quite well.  I keep trying it on trying to make a decision as to if I need to cut a size larger while waiting for a new shipment of interfacing.

November 29, 2014


My Thread Tree  
A valuable tool purchased at a sewing expo about 4 years ago.  I love it!  It's a constant companion that I just wouldn't want to do without...

November 27, 2014



Wouldn't want to do without them!  They really come in handy when altering patterns.  You can purchase from online tailoring sources, but I've also purchased at Hobby Lobby.  They come in all shapes and sizes...


...even though it's been a really long time since I've owned a dog, I love watching


November 25, 2014


...Guess I really should put the top up.  It's such a drizzly rainy type of November day.  Just the right kind of pre-Thanksgiving day that lets us know Fall really is here.  It's a perfect Fall day - I LOVE IT!  But, alas, rain does to my hair what kryponite does to superman (hahaha).

The first stop - CREOLE CONTESSA...
 This is the second trip to Contessa's place.  It's one of the best food blogs I've come across and it really appeals to my inner gourmet self.  The blog has lots of variety, color and user friendly recipes so I think it deserves another little a peek.
I promise this dish will appear in my kitchen one day soon!

Second stop - SewDIY...
on the agenda because it seems to me Beth fully embraces HER OWN unique style. Whenever I see her model her easy, carefree designs I imagine (unlike me) that she never gets caught up the kind of indecisiveness that can cause confusion and slows down the whole sewing process, or worse yet, shuts it down completely.

Yes she wears it well!

One final stop at The Tell Tale Tasha's:
I admit - this picture makes me want to whip up a poncho, cape or SOMETHING!  Love Tasha's  rendition of Olivia Pope outerwear.  Mmmmmm, cape or poncho?, I really need some tweedy warm fabric for cover and style real soon!
Well that's the end of trip #6.  Enjoy a warm and cozy Thanksgiving week...


... I do love my pressing tools.  These are just some of them, I also have a collapsible June tailor board,  two very nice sleeve boards, and a couple of pressing sticks that didn't make it into the picture.  I've had one of my hams and my seam roll for a very long time and they have held up very nicely.  I have two different sized hams - they are my saw dust stuffed babies.  Pressing tools recently added to my "WISH" list are a pressing mitt and a velvet/needle board.
What are your pressing favorites???

November 23, 2014

I just don't want to be without my gravity feed steam iron.  I've gotten so use to it.  It's weight and the amount of steam it produces is so important to quality pressing that kicks my hand sewn garments up a notch - for real

Seriously, at first I was actually afraid of it.  I didn't know if I could be careful enough with all that steam.  It seemed a scary contraption, but we have gotten soooo use to each other.  It's kinda like my relationship with my pressure cooker (for lack of a better comparison) haha.

Gotta LOVE a good pressing tool...

November 22, 2014

SEWING SPACES/SEWING ESSENTIALS/WHAT DO YOU LOVE... baby shears and thread snips.  All sizes shapes, all sizes.  I keep them posted in different areas on the sewing table and in different areas of the room.  I want them handy, within arms reach at all times.  I love them, wouldn't want to be without them. 

I want several more types and colors.  Kai has a short pair that I've placed on my wish list.  What do you love about or in your sewing space...

November 21, 2014


...mmmm yes, let's talk a little about our proverbial sewing (rooms, spaces, studios, or caves).
 Whether it's:
  •  a tiny closet (like mine use to be) 
  •  the kitchen table (I've sewn there too)
  •  your bedroom (been there, done that)
  •  your basement, or
  •  a dedicated room
  • I even know one lady that has a complete little house located in her back yard (refrigerator, television, bathroom and all) lucky girl.
 Whether we think it's the ideal place or not, there is something about it or in it that we love.  Why else would we spend so much time there?

Today I'm highlighting these beauties
My magnetic pin holders or cushions (as I call them) - I LOVE THEM.  Yep, I have a small collection (use to have 5 but gifted one of them) and really wouldn't want to be without them.   And would you believe that from time to time one of them will come up missing - go figure!  The lavender and dark blue ones are my oldest and most favorite.  They are made sturdier, heavier and don't come apart opposed to the two sitting in front. 

November 20, 2014


...oh yes, Amen!  I do love this jumper.  Remember, it's McCall's 7014, my knock off of a knock off of a Ralph Lauren Blue Label Dellora Tweed Dress that I blogged about here.  I love it when a project turns out exactly as I envisioned it - and this one did.

Forgot to take my point and shoot to work today so I had to resort to my cell phone.  My kids are teaching me Instagram and other technological things.  They are amazed and giggly to know that I am even interested in social networking but they all loved this jumper.  We snapped a few pictures just before we left for an early morning job shadowing trip.

Meanwhile, there are soooooo many potential sewing projects floating around in my head.  I just want to sew and sew, and sew up so many things.  I keep telling myself not to get so bogged down in planning details that it makes deciding on a new project confusing.  I have a few "I really need" items and lots more "I want" things to make.  Right now I need to concentrate more on cake rather than frosting...

November 19, 2014

WORK WEAR: VOGUE 8939 #3...

...I made this dress twice last year (one for myself and one for my Mom) both in classic black.  Back in the summer when I found this maroon sweatery knit Vogue 8939 immediately came to mine.  This dress has been ready for a couple of months (posted here) and today seemed just the right time to give it a test drive.   I don't mind having two of these dress in my closet one little bit, and might even give it one more go should I come across just the right fabric when ever I have time to shop through my stash.

I love this pattern - just four pattern pieces, made for knits and what attracted to me most is that it has no bust darts.  I HATE bust darts in a knit garment.  The dress wore wonderfully and just my style.  I can dress it up or down, it just really fits my lifestyle.

We've had some drastic weather the last couple of days.  Temperatures have dropped tremendously here as they have all over the country.  Yesterday a tornado even touched down in an adjacent county.  Thank God it only took out a barn and a storage unit - they said it was only on the ground for one minute.  The word C-H-I-L-L-Y was not enough to describe today making me decide that I need a new black coat...

November 15, 2014

MY KNOCKOFF OF A KNOCKOFF OF A Ralph Lauren Blue Label Dellora Tweed Dress...

...long title for a project that I think took me too long to make.
A few weeks ago I happened upon a new blog called That Black Chic and fell head over heels in love with one of her projects.  I even featured her blog and the project on one of my blog trippin posts.  I just had to have a dress like it, so I set out to make that happen.  I decided to make use of fabric already in my stash (a stripped tweed wool blend) and used bits of leather left over from a previous project.  The fabric was gifted to me a very long time ago so this ensemble really cost me nothing but time.

I did have to work up two muslins to make this simple McCall's jumper work, but I love the fit results so muslining was well worth my time.  Without further ado here is a picture of my knock off of That Black Chic's knockoff - of the Ralph Lauren Blue Label Dellora Tweed Dress.
My Rendition

Right shoulder leather trip and armseye piping

Left armseye piping

Both pockets have leather piping

Neckline with leather piping

Side view of the cap
I'll make sure I take a picture wearing it - hopefully next week.  Now I'm trying top make a decide what project I'll work up next.  Decisions, decisions...

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...