Sunday, February 20, 2022

Who Am I?

Hi, my name is Carolyn, even though my online name for the last 16 years has been Diary of a Sewing Fanatic. It's not Caroline, Carol with or without an e, or Carolyne...but most especially it's not Caroline.  I was born the year after Caroline Kennedy was born.  At that time, the Kennedys were a beloved family.  Many people thought I should be honored to be named after Caroline Kennedy. But my parents didn't name me that, my name is Carolyn.

I love three things - sewing, reading and Barbies.  I've been sewing for 52 years and my love to sew has been well documented here. During that time I've sewn everything...coats, lingerie, wedding & prom gowns, tops, pants, tees, jackets, clothing for my children, grandchildren & ex-husband, and loads and loads of dresses.

While I can sew well, I do not tailor.  Nor do I care much about patternmaking/design, draping or quilting.  I just like to sew clothing.

My First Love is Fabric...

The thing I absolutely love the most about sewing is fabric. I'm sure my grandmother, who sewed herself and taught me to sew imbued her love of fabric in me.  My first sewing projects were Barbie clothes. The fabric I used was one of her recycled Church dresses. I still remember that fabric 52 years later because it was so amazing.  It was one of those early 60s dresses. A basic sheath dress made from a beautiful navy blue silk.  The overskirt was a beaded and embroidered navy silk overlay. 

I knew she'd outgrown the dress but didn't know why it was in her recycle bin. Her recycle bin was full of everything in the house that no one wore anymore. All of that was cut up and incorporated into the quilts and throws she made for the household.  Everything was reused.  Nothing was thrown out.

Every summer until I was 12 was spent with my grandparents on their 5 acre farm in South Carolina.  When I came home from that particular summer my Barbies had an amazing wardrobe that I'd hand stitched using the remarkable blue dress as my fabric.  Barbie's wardrobe had dresses, pantsuits, a jumpsuit and an amazing duster from the embroidered overlay piece.  My love of sewing, fabric and collection sewing was born.

Seriously, fabric is everything to me as evidenced by my collection.  I understand that to some it could be overwhelming to own this much.  But to me, it's my comfort creative outlet...the place where I begin my sewing journeys and what I continually add to.  My fabric buying did decrease some in the last couple of years. Moving, packing and unpacking, will do that to you. However, I still love my collection and now I add special pieces to it, trying to buy more discriminately.

The Resource Center houses not only my fabric collection but also my notions,  button & trim collection, as well as, my pattern collection. Honestly, I have a hard time giving away patterns. It's like I'm giving away hopes & dreams and creative possibilities. Now this doesn't apply to fabric or trims. Those I willingly share. I just tend to hold onto my collection is DEEP!  

Also, I use to sew ALOT.  Turning out 50-60 pieces a year.  I don't sew that much anymore.  Some of it is circumstance. Some is I no longer need to fill my life with sewing to dispel the things I didn't like in other areas of my life. Some is that the pandemic has reduced the amount of time I spend outside my home. As we're moving forward now, I'm living a hybrid life.  Time at work and time at home so my clothing needs have changed. 

Books are my Second Love...

I love a good sewing book! I've collected quite a few of them and still reference them when I need to solve a sewing challenge.  There are multiple ways to learn to sew now but books are my touchstone.  It's the way I learned and what I still reach for when I need something.


I'm on vacation until March 1st. I'm really tired since I'm finishing up two large projects at work.  Also spending a lot of time commuting to NYC is draining. I've definitely lost my commuting chops.  

For this sewcation, my intent is not to pump out a lot of garments. Since going back to work, I'm discovering pieces I haven't worn in the last two years that still fit (Praise God!) and some that don't.  Those pieces will be donated. I don't have this great need to add a lot of winter pieces to my wardrobe. I want to use this time to sew whatever comes to me...well to me from my list of course! LOL!

I also have two shirts that need to be photographed and blogged. I was so busy and tired that I was vegging on the weekends instead of spending quality time with my sewing machine.

Finally, is it just me, but the desire to sew lovely spring dresses is strong with me. The days are are starting to get longer and it's not pitch dark at 5pm anymore. This year we seem to be having more warmer days interspersed with cold ones. So my thoughts are turning to spring sewing.  How about you? If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, are you still sewing winter or are you thinking about putting the heavy fabric pieces away and delving into those frothy, light fabrics for spring? always more later!

Thursday, February 03, 2022

A Mood Borderprint Shirt

If you're on IG you know ads and reels rule our feeds. Whatever you show the most interest in, IG aka Meta aka Facebook picks it up and sends it back to you in a multitude of ads. I've learned not to click the ads because then one ad begets another ad and it's like rabbits multiplying.

I will admit that I don't mind the online fabric company ads, though. While 90% of the time I don't click through or make a purchase, this fabric is the direct purchase of an ad and a fellow sewist, Karon. Her IG handle is Cookeka. Yeah, y'all inspire me with your makes too! 

The Fabric ~

This borderprint showed up in my IG feed as a sponsored post. I was really intrigued by it but when I clicked in the blue that enticed me wasn't available. So I clicked out but every time the ad showed up, I checked to see if the blue was back in stock.

When it finally was in stock, I purchased four yards to make a shirt. I always buy more of a border print than I need for a standard garment. You never know how much you'll need to get the design idea you imagined.

Pattern ~

I started with my TNT shirt pattern back yoke and gathered lower back (Vogue 7700). The fronts are from Vogue 8722 (which I've used before) because I wanted solid front pieces that wouldn't interrupt the print. Collar, under collar and cuffs are from my TNT pattern which started life as Butterick 5678

I'm definitely pulling from patterns I've used before to get new looks. While I know there are new shirt patterns out there, I'm not trying to refit new patterns, especially when I know these pieces all work for me.

Cutting out the Fabric ~

As you know, cutting out a borderprint is the most important part. So I took my time to get the look I wanted. Using Karon's shirt as an inspiration, I cut the main border piece down the front so it would match at the center fronts.

Then since I was using the yoked back and gathered bottom for this shirt version, I cut the on the fold piece by centering the fold on the fabric.
o Pinned it on the fold line. 
o Drew around that piece.
o Then flipped it and drew around the other side before cutting it out. 
o This way I made sure the border print was perfectly centered in the center back of the piece.

The sleeve was cut with the border print down the center of the sleeve.  While the yoke, collar, under collar and cuffs were cut on the yardage featuring the the border print.

Construction ~
There are no new construction techniques used in this shirt. If you need to know about how I sew these shirts, all of the links above will take you to posts that detail my shirt construction.  The only thing I did do was change the thread during construction.  Dark navy blue in the border print areas and ivory in the other areas.

My buttons are dark navy blue purchased from Cedar Goods Dry Lane in PA during the last Sew Camp.  I deliberately chose such dark buttons so they would melt into the print. I wanted to highlight the border print.

A few photos ~

Conclusion ~

This is the first of three border print shirts I worked on during my holiday break. I know at $17 a yard that this is bordering on the high end of what I normally pay for shirting fabrics.  However, this shirt was worth every penny for the drama and affect it's giving.

I am culling, as in giving away, and altering some of my older shirts.  The more traditional closer fitting ones are going.  A few of the gathered back ones, need arms enlarged because everything about me is bigger since Covid. This go round I want more interesting shirts, different fabrics, larger more vibrant prints, nothing totally traditional since that's not my lifestyle any more.

I'm also going to make several different types of shirts, tops and blouses.  Things that will work over leggings, jeans and capris for summer.

One more cause I love this one ~


Another border print shirt is up next... always more later!


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