Thursday, December 19, 2019

Holiday Sparkle with a Fast and Easy Dress

The holiday season is upon us and it has brought cooler temperatures here in Texas! I am so excited to finally be consistently dressing in Fall/Winter wear. 

Holiday dressing is a great opportunity for me to add some sparkle to my wardrobe. I found this fabulous black, gold, and tan, cotton spandex jersey at Nature's Fabric. It has just enough sparkle to not be over the top.

I rarely take direct inspiration from pattern envelopes, preferring to put my own spin on my garments. With this dress though, I pretty much used the fabric to make the dress straight from Mccalls 7993. I added black cotton spandex jersey, also from Nature's Fabric, for the contrast.

This is a simple dress where the pleated and cuffed sleeves are a focal point.

 The cuff can be worn fully extended

 Or rolled back for a shorter look.

The stand collar can also be fully extended

Or folded down

This is a fast and easy dress to make. It is described as a "fitted" dress, so I was surprised by the generous ease in this size medium. I am happy for the looser fit, but if I were hoping on bodycon style, I would have been disappointed. 

I am very happy with this dress. The fabric is comfortable and easy to wear. I expect this will be in heavy rotation this season when the occasion  calls for a bit of easy elegance.

Happy Holidays and Happy Sewing,

Monday, November 25, 2019

Sewing Themed Holiday Ornaments

Looking for a great way to celebrate the joys of a handmade holiday? I made these fun and cheeky laser-cut ornaments with a focus on sewing. Show your passion for your craft with these fun and whimsical ornaments. Each ornament is laser-cut from 1/4 in. craft wood and hangs from a ribbon. 

Sewing Machine to embellish it with your favorite fabric

"Roll with it" Rotary Cutter

Zipper with scissors

Shirt pattern with scissors

Dress with Pockets with scissors

Hem your own pants with

Each ornament varies in size use this 1-inch grid for reference.

Now available in my etsy store.

Happy Sewing,

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Adding "A Little Bit of Sparkle" to the Everyday.

When I choose collections and fabrics I want to work with on blog tours, I like to have a plan for what they will become.

This was no less true with the newly released "A Little Bit of Sparkle" I really love the metallic prints Riley Blake is produces. They are saturated, bold with a soft hand.

When I received the fabric, I started laying it out and started cutting out a lovely pencil skirt ensemble. It was a style of clothing I wore frequently when I was the Dean of Discipline at a large local university; I guess I was feeling nostalgic. Little Miss, who has never seen me dress like that asked, "When are you going to wear that? 

Her innocent question reminded me of my goal this year to make more everyday clothes. Coming off of my dramatic make from the previous post, I felt needed to scale things back for this one. 

I chose to jazz up the Fall staple of a mixed fabric hoodie. I used New Look 6529

Image result for new look 6529
 to combine "Scatter Black" with French Terry.

The French Terry knit along the back allowed me to use the woven fabric on the front.

I enjoyed the print so much I added it to the end of the sleeve.  I also like how it almost camouflages the front pocket. 

I have made this pattern before and wore it to threads. I am glad I paused to switch my plan.

It is comfy and cute and perfect for everyday living with my little bits of sparkle like that little guy back there.

Happy Sewing,

Friday, November 15, 2019

A Panel Coat to Use All of the Fabrics!

When I saw a version of the Folkwear Tibetan Panel Coat this summer, I wanted to make one immediately. Unfortunately, my schedule, fabric options and the sweltering weather didn't allow me to get to it until now.

This pattern is for a traditional Tibetan garment that can be worn as a full-length, lined or unlined vest or sleeveless coat. Pieced panels serve as a wonderful canvas for combinations of fabrics in various colors, prints and textures. It is a creative playground with multiple options and it can be made reversible. 

Coutriere Parisienne from Riley Blake Designs, with its French garment images, and bold text, felt absolutely right for this coat.

I was spoiled for choices with this collection, but narrowed it down to these four prints and a solid black cotton from my stash. 


In terms of construction, this pattern is fairly easy to make. Though this is a new-to-me pattern company, there are no new-to-me techniques.

There is a lot of planning, cutting and piecing of the fabrics for this coat. This can be made leisurely on a weekend or on evenings.
Thanks! I Made Them Pattern Weights
That being said, it was time-consuming for me to make.  My creative indecision extended the construction time significantly. With the lined version, there five potential fabric choices. With those choices, I have multiple placement considerations. I played with which fabric to accent which area and on which side. I know there's a mathematical calculation for all potential possibilities. Having just lived through all configurations, I can't calculate them for you now. 

I changed my mind so many times that I just had to stop, make a decision to begin.

Once the initial decision was made and sewn, I then considered the next decision until it was done.

I like that this is a culturally significant garment with the history included in the pattern envelope. Because of that, I wanted to make something wearable for me, but without significant modifications. 

I however, did make the following small changes:
  • I reduced the width of the sleeve facing down to 3 in. to mimic the width of the hem facings and balance the sharp contrast of the black fabric

  • I underlined the white fabric with black so the red on the underside would not show through

  • I machine sewed the shoulder, neckline, and vent facings rather than hand sew them. I enjoy hand-sewing, but in the interest of time chose not to. 

  • I sewed the medium, but could have made the small. I added a tie belt to pull in some of the fullness 
This was a wonderful creative project for me. I love my final results on both sides of the fabric. My deliberations, though maddening to me in the moment, worked out in the end. I listened to my creative discontent and adjusted until it was satisfied. I love this coat and this fabric pairing. 

If you are looking for a satisfying project to dive into, I recommend this one.

Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Golden Days of Sewing Mama and Me Forever!

I recently had a discussion with a friend about if and when, we would end our coordinating sewing for our children. I joked that it would likely end for me on their wedding days. She was not having it and decided it would never end with her kids. I love her enthusiasm, but I am uncertain of that commitment. I hope for everyone's sake, we can come to a happy medium. Until then, I am so thrilled that Little Miss still wants to match me in our making.

I recently received this new Golden Days Knit fabric from Riley Blake Designs.

Little Miss immediately made a request for a Fall cardigan. I thought it was a great idea and I asked her thoughts on my making one to match. Her response was different than I expected. She wanted me to make something different for myself, not because she didn't want to match, but because she wants something different for herself for when she can fit my clothes. She does not want to grow into a bigger version of something she already owns (this kid is a trip)!  I can't fault her logic so she got her cardigan, and I made a  tunic for myself.  

For her, I used Simplicity 8184 for this fast and easy sew. 
Simplicity Pattern 8184 Girls' and Girls' Plus Skirt, Knit Top, Cardigan and Leggings

 She cut it out and I sewed it together on my serger and my coverstitch.

 She really loves the pointed detail of the front hem.

She has worn this three times in a week and is really pleased with it's comfort and fit.

For my coordinating tunic, I chose to use New Look 6638 in view C

New Look Sewing Pattern N6638 Misses' Knit Tops
I used my serger and coverstitch to whip this one up in a flash. It has "grown on" sleeves (new-to-me term) and bust darts for shaping. The features make it a great beginner knit pattern.

The v-neckline is comfortable with no over exposure or gaping. This print is bold and colorful perfect to make a statement top. 

I am happy I got to use this fabric with my daughter. A full length garment for either of us would run the risk of being too much of a good thing. Additionally, this way we can share the joy of fabrics and Mama and me collaborations for a little while longer.

Happy Sewing,