Friday, October 21, 2016

My New Favorite Maxi Skirt in Ankara Wax Fabric

I love a good maxi skirt! Don't you love a good maxi skirt? I especially love a African wax print maxi skirt. I have been on the hunt for a new pattern that was beyond the basic gathered skirt with a waistband, button and zipper. I had done it, liked it, but wanted to mix it up. My search brought me to The Lorelai Skirt by Cheryl of Paradiso Designs.

This Paradiso patterns are not like commercial patterns. You cut your size by calculating a formula using your measurements. Because of this, you can be make all sizes including plus sizes. The Lorelai skirt can be made 3 styles, maxi, midi & sport. The maxi length has 2 options, with or without a patchwork or contrast inset. You can choose to add pockets or not. 

Because this is not your typical pattern, you may be intimidated by the format of the instructions. My trick was to print them, choose my option and highlight my steps and illustrations. Once you identify your choice from the others, you will be able to follow the steps with no problem.


This skirt feels really amazing! The wide elastic waistband is worn low on the hips and is close-fitting before widening at the gathered lower skirt.  


The skirt back mimics the front skimming the body.


The sides of the skirt feature super sexy yet, discrete slits up both sides. The placement reveals just enough leg and nothing more even with a gust of wind.

I always feel confident wearing what I make. Taking a piece of fabric and transforming it into something wonderful is thrilling. The combination of cut of this unique pattern, my choice of bold fabric, and styling makes me feel particularly Badass! I have been on a duo making kick lately and plan to make another soon. If you want to feel Badass too, I suggest you get this pattern. You have to provide the big ass Afro, sunnies, attitude and 1960's filter yourself though.


Side Note: I will be at the Quilt Market October 29-31  and the Quilt Festival  November 3-6, 2017. I will be helping with Paradiso Designs and The Tunic Bible (CT Publishing) as well as enjoying the show. If you see me, please come up and say hello.

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Tunic Bible Blog Tour and Giveaway!

I have been a long time admirer of the work of the authors Julie Starr and Sarah Gunn. When they invited me to make a tunic from their, not then released book, I was thrilled! I initially thought I was to be a pattern tester, but learned my make would be included in the book gallery alongside other sewists I admire. I did not attend American high school, but I felt like I was invited to eat lunch at the "cool kids table"! 

When you call something a "Bible", you set the bar pretty high for meeting all your needs. This book claims to be "the only tunic pattern you'll every need! It includes a graded bodice pattern with alternate neck plackets, collars, and sleeves that allow you to tailor tunics to suit any style, length and fabric. After reading and sewing from this book, I think it lives up to its' name.

I have mentioned before that I loathe tracing patterns. I am also lazy when it comes to learning a new pattern writers process. It doesn't stop me from making them, but it does slow me down. These usual prohibitions become irrelevant with the limitless options available here. The book is visually appealing and loaded with inspiration and mixing formulas to customize your tunic.

With so many possibilities, I happily contemplated which of the many versions I would make. The beauty of this book is that even if you are not  tunic wearer, you can find a style that works for you. In the end, I chose the short tunic with the shorty placket and the ruffle sleeve.

I made my tunic in an Ankara Wax print based on my measurements with no adjustments. I love the silhouette and the way it skims my body without being to snug. I did not add a zipper when I made it last Fall. I am recovering from 2 knee surgeries since then and suffering from a lack of cardio. I may add a zipper now to help ease getting it on and off.

I was drawn to this tunic option because of this ruffle sleeve. It's construction is like none I have done before and I love the structure it has. It is poofy and stable at the same time! 

I considered a contrast placket, but decided I wanted to showcase all of the wax fabric. This would be fun with contrasts on the ruffle and placket don't you think?

When Julie asked me to make a tunic, I immediately thought of the possibilities of a jersey hand-stitched version. The time-frame was too tight to make the book gallery deadline, but I knew I had time for the book release.


I made this hand-embellished, hand-sewn tunic using the V-neck placket and slim sleeves tapered to the wide width. I stenciled and airbrushed the front fabric using my flower stencil before sewing around the shapes to secure the red layer to the black. I then removed the middle of the shapes to complete the reverse applique technique.

I stitched red and silver sequins at the ends of the pointed stars for some sparkle. To guild the lily, I added an exposed bias neckline secured with random beaded parallel stitches along the neckline.

I added a 1/2 inch fabric strip along the wrists and secured them with more random beading to mimic that of the neckline.

The wrist and dress hems are left raw and unhemmed. They will curl in time adding more texture. 


These tunics are unbelievably comfortable and easy to wear. Now that the pattern is traced, I am sure to try the other variations. I have my eye on a maxi length version next.

Ever generous, Sarah and Julie are giving away a copy of  The Tunic Bible to one lucky reader. The contest is open everyone nationally (hard copy) and internationally (digital copy). I will also give the winner an stenciled image felt version of this flower stencil. The 18in. x 12in. firm felt is painted with the design and just needs to be cut so you can get started. 

Enter here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

To continue the blog tour be sure to visit the other bloggers.

October 3
October 4
Cloning Couture
Generation Q Magazine
October 5
Featherstitch Avenue
October 6
October 7
Sew Busy Lizzy
Jennuine Design
October 8
Inside The Hem
Girls in the Garden
October 9
My Love Affair with Sewing
October 10
Evolution of a Sewing Goddess
Creating in the Gap
October 11
House of Pinheiro
The Tunic Bible
Happy Sewing and read your Bible,

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

If I Sew for Fall Will That Usher It In?

It is so hot it feels like the height of Summer. The official start of Fall is in a few days and I am hoping  the climate gets the news! Fall is my favorite season to enjoy and for sewing projects. I love the cozy pieces, fun fabrics and layers.  


At a recent pattern sale, I picked up Butterick 6388 and was waiting for a change in the weather to get sewing. The change has not come, but I could wait no longer.
                 Image result for butterick 6388
After much deliberation, I decided to use retro double knits from my stash. I made a black/brow version first. After getting rave reviews from my family, I made another in a cream knit of a slightly lighter weight. 

The seam lines, multiple pattern pieces, and many marks to transfer imply a level of difficulty that may be off putting, but need not be. This pattern came together very fast and with great ease. If you make it, be sure to do your stay stitching and carefully clip your curves. This will make the tricky parts go smoothly.

I  made the size Medium based on my measurements.  When I pinned it to my dress form, I found the bodice a bit loose. I stitched the arm seams at 1 inch and graded back to 5/8 at the hips. I am on the fence about the fit now that I have seen the photos. It feels good, but is that too much ease?

If you have been here before, you know I have a thing for a good collar! I love the lapped collar here; it is what drew me to this pattern. The print fabric was firm enough to hold it up with no problem. I should have probably used a lightweight knit interfacing on the cream one as it falls a bit in back.

I knew going in, that the seam details of this dress would probably be lost in this print fabric choice. Luck thing I like the print, so I don't mind.

They are clearly more visible on the plain canvas of the cream knit fabric.

I usually prefer side seam pockets as a rule. I find I can put more in them without the changing the look and flow of the item. These will keep my hands warm, but they will not hold much. Additionally, a pet peeve of mine is seeing the outline of pockets against my skin in light colored garments. To avoid this problem, I used fabric in a brown that matches my skin tone.This color choice camouflages the pockets without distracting from the look of the dress front.

This is the pocket outline if I used white. Above it, is the indistinguishable outline of the brown pocket.

 In addition to this change, I also added more top stitching than the pattern suggested. I carried it down the angled seam

I am 5’8” and like my legs, (it only took a few decades). This is “just” the right length for me. It is borderline too short. If you are uncertain of the length, cut it longer and make a deeper hem. 

I am pleased with these dresses. I think they will transition well into Fall and Winter with some added tights and a coat. The vest and the shirt patterns will be good options as well. If this is on your list, I say grab it and make it.

Happy Sewing,

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jeanius Refashioned Coat Using Simplicity 1254

It is 90 degrees in Texas and I have made my Winter coat! I am so ahead of the game this year! Yay me! Okay, that is not completely accurate. I have finished my Winter coat from last year! 

I began this refashioned, pieced denim coat last Winter using Simplicity 1254 by Leanne Marshall. After spending many hours piecing the coat exterior, I lost my sewjo. All the improvising and auditioning placement of pieces, took it out of me. That coupled with the rapid change in weather, relegated the shell of this coat to my W.I.P. pile.  

I picked this project up again when Lisa over at Pattern and Branch alerted me to the #Refashioners2016 #Jeanius challenge. The Refashioners is a challenge created by Portia Lawrie of Makery that showcases ways to refashion a selected garment. This years challenge is denim from jeans.

To make my coat I pieced 9 pair of men's and women's jeans. After "making" my fabric base, I cut the pieces and sewed per instructions.

The cowl is large and can be used as a hood if you prefer. My choice of denim makes it too heavy for that to be practical. 

The only change I made to the instructions was to add two snaps to the underside of the front facing. This part is made using the waistband from one of the jeans. It it does not lay flat because of its' thickness. The snaps keep it together. 

The inside of the coat is lined with Dutch Wax fabric. As is normal with me and linings, I had some troubles with sewing it. Nothing about the pattern just me and the way my brain works. It required a little more concentration, but I go the job done.

Lining Front

Lining back
It is funny, when I pulled this from the W.I.P pile, I couldn't remember why I lost my sewjo. I expected to see glaring problems to resolve. There were none. It serves as a reminder to walk away from stressful situations and projects if you can. Time away gives new perspectives and can reignite excitement after the love is gone.

How about you think about making a project? The challenge goes until September 30th so you have time. 

Happy Sewing,

Friday, August 5, 2016

A New Embroidery Machine For Me!

Thank you to those who voted for my hand-sewn dress! I won second place in the Allbrands Sewing Contest! I won a Brother sewing-embroidery machine. Here are the details of my new toy. I cannot wait to begin playing with it!  

An inspiration to modish mavens and fashionistas, the Project Runway Limited Edition LB6770 PRW sewing and embroidery combination machine brings new creative potential to a designer’s palette. With 70 built-in embroidery designs, five monogramming fonts and 120 frame pattern combinations, the LB6770 PRW imparts style and panache to designer creations. Using the 67 built-in stitches, 98 stitch functions and 10 styles of one-step automatic buttonholes, this limited edition machine brings added dimension, color, texture, imagery and sophistication to apparel. The built-in embroidery card slot allows the use of thousands of optional Brother embroidery designs for greater differentiation tailored to a designer’s unique vision.

Design it with Sewing
  • 67 Built-in Stitches
  • 98 Stitch Functions
  • 10 One-stop Automatic Buttonholes
  • Advanced Needle Threader Saves Wear and Tear on Eyes/Fingers
  • Built-in Variety of Utility and Decorative Stitches
  • Automatic Push-Button Thread Cutter
  • Super Bright, LED-Lit Work Area
  • Super-Easy Bobbin Winding System
Embellish It With Embroidery
  • 70 Built-in Embroidery Designs
  • 5 Alphanumeric Fonts
  • 120 Frame Pattern Combinations
  • Embroidery Rotation in 90˚, 10˚ and 1˚ Increments
  • Embroider Designs up to 4” x 4”
  • Built-in Memory Allows User to Save up to 12 Embroidery Designs
  • On-Screen Editing to Create the Perfect Embroidery Patterns
  • Built-in Card Slot Enables Use of 1000s of Optional Brother Embroidery Designs
Sewing Stitches
  • Stitch Attributes: Mirror, twin, multi-directional, side cutter, satin stitch regulator
  • Stitch Width: up to 7.0 mm
  • Stitch Length: up to 5.0 mm
  • Utility stitch functions: Yes
  • Reinforcement Function: Yes
  • Quilting stitch functions: Yes
  • Heirloom stitch functions: Yes
  • Built-in Decorative Stitches: Yes

Embroidery Pattern
  • Monogramming Fonts: 5
  • Frame Patterns: 10 frames, 12 patterns
  • Decorative Patterns: Yes
  • Media Recognition: Memory Cards
  • Embroidery File Formats: .PES and .DST embroidery data files are compatible with this machine. 

Needle/Thread Features
  • Needle Threading System: Advanced
  • Upper Thread Tension System for perfect stitches on any fabric: Manual
  • Needle Positions: 15
  • # of needles: Single needle machine
  • Bobbin: Top (horizontal)/Drop-in Quick Set™
  • Thread Sensors: Upper Thread and Bobbin Sensors
  • Thread Cutter Button: Push-Button Automatic
  • Bobbin winding system: Super Easy Bobbin Winding System

Machine Features
  • Maximum Sewing Speed (stitch per minute): 710
  • Free Arm: Yes
  • Presser Foot Attachment: Snap-on
  • Drop Feed Function: Yes
  • LCD Touch Control Panel: Backlit, Touch Screen 380 mm x 710 mm
  • Presser Foot Pressure: Auto
  • Maximum Embroidery Field: 4” x 4”

  • On-Screen Editing: Yes
  • Display Control Panel: Backlit, Touch Screen 380 mm x 710 mm
  • Compatible with PE-Design/PED Basic: Yes
  • Design Memory: Yes (sewing/embroidery)

Carton Contents
  • Accessory Storage: Yes
  • In the box: 7 feet (buttonhole, overcasting, monogramming, zipper, zigzag, blind hem, and button fitting), seam ripper, 4 bobbins including clips, needle set, twin needle, cleaning brush, eyelet punch, screwdriver, touch pen, 3 spool caps, spool pin, spool net, foot controller, scissors, disc-shaped screwdriver, embroidery hoop, accessory case, and manual.
I feel like a college Freshman on day one of school. I have no experience with embroidery machines and everything I read is like a new language. There is so much to learn and I am so excited to see what I can do with this machine. If you have any tips, or resources you can share, I would really appreciate it. 

Happy Sewing,