Swinging watercolor plaid S8132

Simplicity dress 8132Back in the blogging saddle I go! I took quite a break there.

I just love wearing this dress – Simplicity 8132! It is swishy and cool and I feel great in it, but I am super comfortable, too. Trapeze dresses are fantastic! Continue reading


How to kick the B6169 Moto Jacket up a notch

IMG_1210I have a lengthy story about the 3rd challenge of the PR Sewing Bee – A Lined Jacket in 10 days! but let me cut to the Cliff’s notes.

I was totally intimidated by the challenge and time constraint, so I thought it would be wise to make a pattern I already knew and loved, the Butterick 6169 moto jacket. But I second guessed myself when I realized so many contestants were making moto jackets. So I chose another pattern and totally constructed an amazingly difficult wool jacket with bound button holes, then hated it as soon as I put it on. I went back to my original plan of the B6169 with 3 days left and decided to just kick it up a notch.

IMG_1193Plaid is everywhere this fall, and so I was especially ready to use this beautiful soft wool blend that I had been saving, but I only had 1 and 1/4 yards. So, bring on the leather and mix it all together with some fit adjustments and new techniques.

IMG_1180I’ve been terrified of matching plaids for years. You must make sure it is perfect before you cut it out. And cutting is so final! When it came right down to it, I did actually have fun with it, like putting together a puzzle, once I got my pattern pieces marked and I thought to turn the front and back on the bias. My side front, upper sleeve, and side back were the pieces I matched and I’m pleased with how they turned out.

IMG_1247A note for all of us to remember — Wine is a great idea lubricator and helped me in my late night creative planning process. It is not, however, helpful when trying to determine if your plaid is balanced or not. I thought it was balanced, but realized in the full light of morning that it actually wasn’t quite. And this accident lead to the leather strip down the back! Since my back pieces didn’t seam into perfect chevrons, the addition of the leather piece and a little pleat ended up being my favorite part of the jacket.

Alterations this time: I went down another size (2 sizes down from my measured size) shortened the sleeves, took out sleeve head ease and cut down the neckline by 3/4 an inch.

IMG_1201And of course I added lined sleeve zipper vents, which I claim is a new to me technique because, even though I put zippers into the seams of my tweed pants, these vents are lined and I used a facing. And it was darn tricky. You know – those wouldn’t have been so tricky if I had a pattern. But not only was it the first time I tried it, but I was winging the facing pattern. You don’t know what to watch out for before you’ve gone through the process at least once. I now know to make your facing plenty wide so it is easier to turn. And lay your zipper in before you sew it in to check for length. I almost ran out of zipper.

IMG_1269The lining is a special piece that I got from a sewing meet-up at Amy’s house from Sew Well. I’m glad I used a piece of Seattle in my jacket as I’ve been a bit homesick (for the people, not the weather!) and I know that Jennifer from My Sewing Suite has the other half of this fabric and I can think of her and my Seattle Sewing Peeps when I wear it.

IMG_1216The jacket really was kicked up a notch, even over my bright floral one. This one is more designed and very me! It fits well and I know I will be wearing it a lot when it finally dips below 80 degrees here. That is something to look forward to, certainly!


I made a sweatshirt…sew what?

SewWhatSweatshirt12I love this simple, cozy sweatshirt pattern from BurdaStyle magazine 9/2014 #114. The set-in sleeves are still relaxed, the neckline in wide and easy to wear, but the coolest feature is that the bodice can be cut on the bias in any woven fabric and paired with knit sleeves for a very cool effect. Next time I will use a wool for a sweatery version. Continue reading

Leather up front, comfy party in the back


Deep, dark confession of one of my biggest fashion struggles: I am always cold. The climate here is not friendly to fashion. Furthermore, I work from home, in front of a computer screen all day. I sit there, not moving or generating any body heat, and I get colder and colder and colder. I drink hot water like an old lady to keep warm.

So, on a daily basis I struggle with the pull to wear clothes that I love and made with my own 2 hands, and staying cozy in my jammies all day until shortly before I retrieve my girls from the bus stop.

I think these leather and knit “jeggings” fill a gap. They are warm, stretchy, comfortable, but I still feel great and stylish in them. Continue reading

Burda Desert Moto Jacket for the Sewing Bee

FrontA1Once the weather turned really cold, my sewing ideas turned to jackets. I love to wear jackets! I think they look great AND KEEP ME WARM. Also, I can wear them with jeans. All good reasons to make dozens, right? This Burdastyle Desert Moto Jacket has been on my wishlist for a while. Aren’t the style lines cool? Yes, but they are darn tricky to sew! Continue reading

Easy A-line

PRSelfDraftedSkirt2aAs soon as I saw that Pattern Review was holding a Sewing Bee type contest I got worked up. Ideas flooded my mind, I made a list that covered an entire page. I entered early and waited anxiously for the details on our first challenge. I seriously woke up at the crack of dawn that day to find out what it was. I saw it was an A-line skirt. I went back to bed.

PRSelfDraftedSkirt4a Continue reading

Renfrew knit dress w/leather

renfrewDress1This is what I call easy! A Renfrew T that I extended a few inches to turn into a dress. I’ve seen it done here and here. But then I complicated matters with leather shoulder inserts.

renfrewDress2Upon catching sight of this fabric I instantly imagined a cozy knit dress that I could wear boots with all winter long. But my mind wouldn’t allow me to simply follow a pattern. Oh no! I had to add my own twist– I love a twist!

renfrewdressAMy twist was the shoulder inserts. I had a scrap of embossed fake leather from who knows where that I had been biding my time on. Now was the perfect time to unleash it! But I did have to do a pattern alteration that made me nervous (and excited). I pinned the pattern’s shoulder seams together to draw the new pattern piece  over it and extend down the shoulders. Then I had to modify the existing pattern pieces and, of course, add seam allowances all around. It was especially interesting the shape of the piece of leather I ended up with. Putting the shoulder seam together doesn’t result in a straight line over the shoulder. The shoulder seam is sloped so the pieces come together at an angle. Getting that angle right was the tricky part, or the leather wasn’t going to lay correctly.

renfrewDress3So, my tiny twist took quite a while, but it turned out splendid. It is just the detail to turn this from straightfoward to unique. And those unique design details are one of the main reasons I sew!

I tried to lift my foot off to show off my new shoes, but I almost fell over! That is why I am making that silly face!

I tried to lift my foot up to show off my new shoes, but I almost fell over! Don’t I look surprised?

The Renfrew has a fairly modest (high) neckline, at least on me. So I brought the whole dress shape in to be more body-con. This knit is very forgiving of my figure issues and the curvier shape makes it more edgy. But I promise it is still so comfy to wear! Just a simple knit dress, really.

I’m entering this in Project Sewn Sew-Along! I’m number 45!