Saturday, July 01, 2023

Slipping into July...

Interestingly someone on Instagram said that I'd abandoned my blog, which I thought was fascinating since I have posted blog posts in 2023. I do try to post monthly, however, if I'm not sewing much there isn't much to share.  Especially since I'm slowly stepping back from the sewing community on social media.

My blog has primarily always been about my sewing journey. I mean over the years I've thrown in some politics, books, museum trips and sewing/fabric shopping adventures. But sewing is my blog's focus and if I'm not sewing, just what is there to say?

Also I was primarily a sewist that made garments to wear to work. Now that I only go into the office twice a week, I have MORE than enough items to choose from to wear.  And for the first time in my 50+ years of sewing, the amount of sewing items I own start to overwhelm me if I think on it to hard. So I purchase few new patterns and even less fabric yardage.

Pieces taken from the fabric collection - all from Fabric Mart

However, my sewjo has flared it's head. Since it's a 4 day weekend and I'm off work to celebrate the 4th of July, I've decided to balance my reading with a little sewing.  I pulled the fabrics above because I want a couple more Wexfords and an eyelet Vogue 9299 to wear with a pair of white capris.

I also have a Rifle & Co Hope dress using the extension pack dress cut out.  There's also a very complicated border print Mysostis dress in pieces waiting to be completed. I started this in early June but since I complicated it, I got stuck with the button front panel. Hopefully I will be inspired to work on it this month and finish it up. I think it will be distinctive when it's finally done!

This is my sewing update as I slide into July... always more later!

Saturday, May 20, 2023

I'm Reading More Lately

As I've stated in several posts, I'm sewing less. And I'm okay with that because I create as I need now and it's enough.  So I've filled the sewing time with reading. If you're only here for the sewing tap out now. Cause I have lots of thoughts about the books I'm reading and how it's different now.

I believe the biggest difference is social media. Between BookTok and Bookstagram, I'm finding authors I never knew about. I've also changed the genre I'm reading. I was primarily a true crime, mystery/thriller, lifestyle, best seller novels reader. I've totally gone in the opposite direction.  Where before I maligned romance novels, now I'm chest deep in them.

I need the escapism they provide.  The world has been through so much in the last 3 years that escapism fare provides the perfect backdrop to the sh*tty things that we humans continue to inflict upon each other...without adding a global pandemic into the mix.

When I was younger romance novels were those little Harlequin Romance books with some bodice ripping, unbelievable characters and situations. Well things have changed in that genre. Not only are there a ton of new authors but the niches have changed too.  Fantasy Romance (vampires & werewolves & fairy lands), Magical Romance, Mafia Romance, LGBTQIA romance, Interracial Romance tales, Plus size Romance's enough to make your head spin.

There's also a ton of new authors with a myriad of writing styles, choosing to write about sex in a variety of ways. It's inspired a lot of conversations with my daughters. LOL!

Anyway, my reading has exploded.  I've read 63 books since January. I read when I commute, waiting for the doctor and dentist, and instead of spending evenings in front of the TV I'm curled up on the couch on weekends...pretty much all the dayum time.  One of my daughters said, I always have a book in hand now and that's true.

Who am I reading?  After 6 months of serious reading I've developed some favorites, Kennedy Ryan, Lucy Score, Talia Hibbert, TL Swan, Lauren Asher, Beverly Jackson, Brenda Jenkins and Taylor Jackson Reid. Though I have a few other new faves too. 

I follow quite a few bookstagrammers on IG as well as Oprah's book club, the Good Morning America book club, Amerie's book club and Reese Witherspoon's book club. I'm also on GoodReads with a small circle of friends. I like variety and it's nice to see so many books available and what my friends and others choose to read. 

Lastly, I purchase most of my books from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble, because there is nothing like walking into a bookstore and perusing what's there! Sort of like fabric shopping in a bricks & mortar store! I'm also reading off my Kindle App on my iPad which offers even more books!

That's what I'm doing instead of sewing. How about you?  Do you read?  If so, what genre do you like?  Any fave authors or books you'd like to share?

I promise more sewing content is coming because I've paired some patterns with fabric for a few new pieces to be sewn when I'm not reading! LOL! always more later!

Saturday, May 06, 2023

A Blue & White Hope

Last year I was on a real tear to purchase blue & white toile type prints. I ended up buying a blue & white print that was similar to a toile and an actual blue & white toile. I was really proud that I only bought two pieces! I'm even prouder that I'm using one for my next Hope.

Of course this is the Hope Dress using the extension pack and it's exactly the same as the funeral dress.  As with all remakes, I improve something with the next version.  For this one, I shortened the length of the elastic I used in the sleeve hems.  I also left the pockets off this one too.

Materials ~

The fabric is a 100% digital linen shirting from StyleMaker Fabrics purchased last year and it's still available to purchase.  

The four 3/4" white buttons are from my button collection purchased so long ago I have no idea where I bought them. 

I used 26" of 5/8" elastic for the sleeve hem casings.  The pattern recommends 1/4" but that would get lost on my body so I changed it.

That's it.  A nice, easy, relaxing sew where I just took the journey.

A Few Pictures ~

(feeling like a matron on an English cliffside with the wind blowing!)

I have fabric set aside for one more version of the Hope Dress using the bias bound, tie front bodice and the original sleeves.  That will be enough for awhile since I will have three different Hopes in my spring/summer wardrobe (not including the funeral dress).  If you don't have this pattern yet, I highly recommend it! always more later!

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

I'm a Fabric Snob

Seriously a snob and if you don't know that you don't know me! LOL! I love fabric and all of it's different fabrications. Now I won't sew it all but I do love it! I also don't like basic fabric or buying fabric that a lot of other sewists use cause who knows when you will see yourself coming or going.

I know I have the luxury of snobbiness because I work in NYC and can visit the fabric shops there anytime. While the garment center has changed, it's still a treasure trove of amazing fabrics that can be touched, purchased and even shipped home from some merchants. I know I'm not limited to "The Craft Store" commonly known as JoAnns.

However, that's one of the things I want to discuss...The Craft Store. It's obviously been upping it's fabric game. Lately I've been seeing fabrics that sewists I admire are using purchased from The Craft Store. Color me impressed! Not impressed enough to give them my fabric dollars but impressed just the same.  

Especially since I understand that not all sewists want to shop for fabric online. Though as an aside, I don't get that since online fabric merchants do a fabulous job of photographing and describing fabrics. They also offer things that The Craft Store doesn't carry. But, if you need fabric, The Craft Store is offering better choices now so bravo to them.

Now back to my snobbery...I'm an old school fabric aficionado. I love natural fabrics. I love types that aren't so commonly sold any more - wool crepes, linen and linen blends like linen & silk, silks of various weights, beautiful challis, jersey knits and rayon pontes. I like a fabric with a beautiful hand that pretreats well and resembles the original fabric after the pretreatment process. 

I love a good print.  A print woven in is always superior to a printed one. However, I will buy a printed fabric if the colors are vibrant and the borders clear. I love, love, love a good panel or border print because the flights of fancy you can take while using them is unlimited.

I'm such a fabric snob that I have a list of online fabric stores that I will always shop. I use to experiment more and try out online fabric stores mentioned by sewists I admire.  Now though I stick to what I know because my list of retailers haven't let me down.

Now my love of fabric is well documented.  But what about you?  Do you love fabric as much as you do patterns? Are you a keeper of many different types of fabric or do you buy as needed? Shop online? At The Craft Store or another local fabric store near you?

Talk back to me because this is "The Question of the Day" always more later!

Saturday, April 29, 2023

McCall's 7969 in Black & White

I loved my first one and understand why there are so many versions on Instagram and Pattern Review. I'd always planned to make another one and when I found this black/white floral double border print I knew it would be perfect. Especially since lately I've really been in a fabric manipulation mood.

Materials ~

4 yards of the black & white rayon floral double border print purchased from StyleMaker Fabrics in July 2022 which of course is no longer available.

Cutting Out ~

As you know the most important part of making a border print stand out is how you use it. A double border print presents it's own unique challenges because technically you only have 1/2 of the fabric to use. I will admit that it took some fiddling to make this fabric sing.

I knew that I wanted the front & back bodice pieces to be floral. The sleeves would also be made from the floral print because I wanted the bodice to pop.  Determining how the skirt would work using the border print was the intriguing part. I was thrilled when I settled on using the borders as the sides of the skirt panels.

Construction ~

The only change between this one and the first is the sleeves. I really like the flare sleeves on my first dress. It's airy and easy to wear plus it covers my larger upper arms. However, there are so many sleeves with elastic hems being shown now that it seemed an easy adjustment to make. I added a casing and some 1/2" elastic to make the hem elasticized.

One more thing to note. I didn't adjust the neckline so that it would sit closer to my body. I like wearing a tank top under the dress. Especially since for this one I can use the solid color as a focal point for this very busy print. 

A Few Pictures ~

As of right now I have no plans to make this pattern again...but never say never! *LOL* always more later!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

A Follow Up to "My Fabric Collection is my Retirement Fund" Post

I wrote this post, My Fabric Collection is part of my Retirement Fund, back in March 2016. I was about 10 years out from retirement then. I'm now three years away from it. My retirement date is on record at my company that's how close it is.

After rereading the post and the comments which are so interesting, I wanted to do an update to this post for a couple of reasons:

1. Covid

Covid changed everything in 2020.  The way we work.  The way we shop. How we live.  When the world shut down in the spring of 2020 due to the pandemic, it caused us all to reassess so much of our lives.  That reassessment affects us all to this day.  It also made me very grateful for the fabrics, notions and patterns I had stashed. I sewed without challenges when it seemed like the world was coming to an end.

2. Moving & Changing Lifestyle

I've lived in this apartment for three years now. I packed, moved, unpacked all of that fabric in the midst of an illness.  An illness that caused me to re-evaluate a lot of what was important to me.

Also, I no longer work in an office four days a week. During the spring until the end of the year, I go in two days a week which changes what I need to wear and sew. Hybrid work arrangements are more the norm since Covid.

My lifestyle is slower now. I'm happy spending time with a good book or a good TV show cause Covid even changed that! There are so many streaming options and movies released to TV.  TVs are larger, less expensive (relative to the inflation we're presently experiencing) with more options to give you that movie theatre experience at home.

3. Balance

My life is more balanced now.  Back in 2016, I worked, sewed, and hung out with friends/family a little. It was like a 50/40/10 split. I read a little but since commuting took up so much of my time, I used my commuting time to do several things.

Now since my commuting time is greatly reduced and even though I have more responsibilities at work, my life seems more balanced. I'm working on spending time equally between sewing, reading, time with my grandchildren and making sure I'm available for my friends. This seems a more realistic picture of what my imminent retirement will look like.

Now let's discuss the main topic of that post - my fabric collection. If you've been reading along, you know I want to reduce my collection by about 20%. That reduction that was discussed some in the comments due to retirement is in full affect in my life. I have several reasons for wanting to lose a portion of it:

  • I want some of my living space back in the Resource Center. I want to reuse some of the wall space currently holding fabric.
  • There are pieces I know I won't use and I want them to go to another sewist who will enjoy them.
  • I've been culling my collection all along but the thought of having to move this much fabric again gives me the heebie jeebies.  And who knows when or if I will need to do so.  Making plans ahead of time just seems wise.

While I'm not concerned about my fabric collection in the event of my death, my daughter has a list of sewists who live nearby who can have dibs to my collection.  She has first rights to everything and the sewists on the list know who they are. This allows for a smoother transition of my things for my daughters. Yes, I thought up this plan when I got sick in 2020.

Finally, while I didn't purchase a lot of fabric in 2020, I did start buying in large amounts again in 2021 and 2022. I've slowed down buying fabric in December 2022 and this year so far I've only purchased a few pieces. My purchases are more well thought and creative driven now. I've been using my fabric money for books.  

However, I also want to use some of those beautiful fabrics I've accumulated. I want to make amazing garments to move around the world in.  Pieces that won't be seen on anyone else. I want to take those sewing journeys while I can still enjoy them.  I want to enjoy the sewing while I can.

That's the update to my post. How about you?  How have your attitudes changed towards sewing in the last seven years? Did Covid affect you? Did the supply chain shortages from Covid cause you to keep more sewing related items on hand? Do you still work 5 days a week at your job's location? Or do you work from home now? Have you retired or is retirement imminent?

I want to hear your thoughts, so talk back to me! always more later!

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Dueling Wexfords

As I stated in my fabric fail Wexford, I was definitely making the pattern again. While the fabric shred as I wore it, the silhouette held up really well.  So I made 2 more unintentionally making them both in the black family.

In the first post, I didn't talk about any of the changes I made to the pattern or the size I used. I cut a size 24 and added 1" to the hemline...though I may add another inch for future versions.

While I've only used this pattern as a top, I will be making the dress portion later this spring. It's such a relaxed and comfortable wearing garment that I can see a longer version of this for summer wearing.

Wexford One:

The first Wexford is made from a black & white rayon knit purchased from Fabric Mart's brick & mortar store.  The changes to this one are that the neckline and sleeve hems are bound in some black knit scraps. As with the first one this is an easy sew. 

Wexford Two:

The second Wexford is made from a luxurious rayon knit that was purchased from Elliot Berman's shop pre-Covid.  This means that it was from the old place and not the new one.  Also the hand on this fabric is lush. I chose this fabric in an attempt to replace the pleather version.  

For this one, I used a black fold over elastic trim instead of the binding piece included with the pattern.  Other than that there were no changes.  Again a quick sew that let the fabric do the talking.

Besides making the dress version of this pattern, I have a few more top versions floating around in my head - a lace one, maybe a mesh one and finally I have several cool knits that would look amazing in this silhouette.  So sooner or later more of these will show up here.

Don't forget this is a Cashmerette Club pattern so if you want a copy of the pattern you will need to join the club either monthly or yearly. Oh and they're PDF only patterns... always more later!

Monday, April 17, 2023

A Sunflower Katie

For this make, the panel fabric totally drove the idea. I saw this fabric on Julia Allisson Cost's IG account and I knew I had to have some because...

Sunflowers are one of my favorite flowers.  They remind me of my grandmother's garden and the summers I spent on my grandparents farm. BTW, it was my grandmother who taught me how to sew.

The fabrics come from Julia's hand painted art.  Which means the fabrics are different and unusual and that always excites me. 

The Pattern:

When I saw these panels on Julia's site, I knew they would make "the perfect" MimiG Katie shirt.  BTW, this is one of those TNT patterns I revisit over and over again.  I've made several and they're still on rotation in my closet. I love this silhouette because of the ease of wear, comfort factor and how different fabrics can make interesting variations of the pattern.

Pattern Layout:

The front & back pieces were placed directly on the sunflower print so all the other pieces could be pinned around them. I wanted the sunflowers to be the focal point.

The sleeves were cut into two pieces and stitched together because there wasn't a white piece wide enough for the full sleeve.

When I realized the button front bands were sewn on, I made sure the shirt front and the button front pattern pieces were laid side by side on the fabric.  This allowed the print to carry across the front of the shirt which is what I wanted.

The collar was cut from leftover stem pieces because I wanted the print to play well together.  A white collar would look disjointed with the sunflower print button fronts. I ended up having to piece the fabric together to get a full collar.  It works because you don't notice the seaming on the collar piece.

The collar band was cut from a yellow gingham that's been in the fabric collection for years but originally purchased from Fabric Mart. I was going to use this gingham for the collar band, the hem facings and the pockets. BUT the gingham was too bright underneath the white fabric.  

I pivoted by using it only on the collar band. I used a lighter yellow gingham bias binding that I bought during my last Carriage Corner Sew Camp weekend for the hem facing. I love how its barely noticeable on the hemline.

Other Supplies:

I chose a button with a transparent greenish cast because it worked with the variety of colors on the front band.


This is a simple sew. Probably why I make it again and again.  The only changes I made was to omit the pockets. I know but I'm just not a pocket girl. Also I used the bias binding mentioned above instead of the hem facings.

One thing to note - I did change the thread to sew the buttonholes on so they would merge into the background instead of stand out.  I wanted nothing to diminish this fabrics beauty.

A Few Pictures:

I referenced this garment in my Threads Interview.  

Where they asked what I was currently working on.  A link to the article is here.  

I have a few more Katie's planned using some very distinctive prints. Sooner or later they will make an appearance here. This make falls into my taking my time, using an amazing fabric to make a distinctive, totally me garment. always more later!

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

A Funeral Dress

My cousin recently passed away and I realized that I no longer own a proper funeral dress.  My lifestyle is so casual now and most funerals during Covid either happened via Zoom or YouTube so I didn't need to be "dressed" to attend a funeral.  And if you don't know, a Black funeral is a celebration of life.  So not only is the funeral a celebration of the person but people of my generation tend to dress our best.

So I needed a dress.  I did have enough time to rush order some black linen from Fabric Mart because spring has sprung here on the East Coast. My pattern of choice was the Style Arc Hope Dress using the extension pack. Buttons and black bias binding came from my notions stash.

Construction was easy and didn't take long, 8-9 hours over the weekend, that was cut out to finished dress. 

  • I did add 8" at the lengthen/shorten line and another 1" to the hemline of the skirt pattern piece to maximize the dress.  Probably why the Hope Dress is so popular.
  • The other construction item was I used a 5/8" seam allowance to sew the bodice to the skirt instead of the 3/8" the pattern recommends. This was to cover the 2 rows of basting stitches.  
  • I added my label to the facing.  
  • Then used bias binding to clean finish the facing because I wanted some pretty in the dress, even if I was the only one to see it.  
  • The black & white buttons were from my notions stash and gave the dress a pop...cause seriously all black.

I made this one in a size 22.  The last time I made this dress, I chose a size 26, why? That one the fit was too loose, this one fits way better. 

I know extension packs can seem like they're not worth the money. But this extension pack is GOLD! I have plans to make several more dresses using this button front version and the bias bound neckline. There are some rayons lounging in the fabric collection that would do this pattern with the extension pack justice.

The photos below are how I wore it to the funeral. These were taken right as I got home...

As I stated, I will be making more of these for spring/summer! BTW, I will be off the week after Easter.  A short trip with my grands and then a little sewing. Since the weather is changing, maybe some pictures too...

However, I do have a question, do you have a dress or suit for funerals? always more later!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

It Feels Like Spring

The clocks have sprung forward an hour.  It's light longer and here on the East Coast it's been a relatively mild winter.  I, for one, haven't missed the snow piles or the bitterly cold days. So it's with a happy heart that I'm emerging from the darkness of winter and thinking of Spring.

My company has updated it's work from home policy and we're now required to be in the office 4 days a month. Since I absolutely HATE carting my laptop back and forth, I'm going to be in the office 2 days a week from now until at least October/November...which has made me want to sew some new garments.

I've been looking at the spring/summer offerings online, saving pics of items that caught my eyes.  These two interpretations of the same dress sparked an interest.

Probably because I've made it before and this dress is still hanging in my closet. 

It's from an out of print, Simplicity 2894 pattern. When I made it in 2017, I had planned to make more.  That never happened but I really want to make a few this year because it was an easy to wear, very comfortable dress.  I have several printed linens that would look amazing in this silhouette.  Of course I will maximize it since my ankles don't look as good as they did in 2017. 

I've been thinking about what I want to sew for spring.  Again it won't be a garment a week because I don't have the need even with going back to my office.  However, I'd like to add some different dress silhouettes to work with the dresses I made last year.  I'd also like to add some tops/blouses and toppers to wear over jeans. Realistically it doesn't get dress warm until late May/early June so a couple of those would be nice to add to my wardrobe too. 

Those are my thoughts as we roll further into March with Spring on the horizon... always more later!


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