Sunday, January 22, 2023

Do You Jelly Roll???

Let's start out by saying I'm not a quilter.  Even though I've made several "quilting" projects, they're not my top must sews.  However, I love jelly rolls.  The thought of them, how the fabrics play so well together, how they can become so many different things.  

Whenever I see one, the possibilities of what the new yardage can be inspires me.  Especially black & white jelly rolls.  So while I'm not a quilter, I was inspired to buy several jelly rolls and make two yards of fabric from them to create a top.

Supplies used ~

2 packages of black & white Ankara strips purchased from Cultured Expressions.  Each package had 20 strips.

1 yard of solid black cotton fabric from StyleMaker Fabrics for the strips, sleeves and back insert.

7 3/4" buttons purchased several years ago from Pacific Trimmings

1/2" black bias binding also purchased from Pacific Trimmings

First let's discuss making the fabric ~

Honestly, this was the most tedious part of the sew and took me about 4 days to complete. I whined through this part because not only was each seam sewn but they were pressed open, then flat, and serge finished.


Here's how I made it ~

1.  Sorted the strips into piles.

2.  Determined how I wanted the layout of the strips to look.

3.  Sewed the strips together using a 1/4" seam. My sewing machine has a 1/4" foot with guide and one without a guide.  Using the one with the guide was SOOOOOOO helpful!

4.  After 11 strips were sewn together, I added a black strip cut in the same dimensions (2.5" x 45") to differentiate the sections.

5.  When each section was sewn, I pressed the strips to the left side.  Then each strip was serge finished. I did this because my yardage will be used for a garment and needs a cleanly finished inside.

6.  Continued this for 3 sections to get the yardage I desired.

You can see I made this yardage during my Christmas break!

Once you decide how much yardage you need - I needed 2 yards to make the top front, back, front facings and sleeve bands - then you can start your garment's construction process.

Since I had all of those seams, I chose a pattern that didn't have a lot of pattern pieces. I didn't want to cut apart the fabric I'd just sewn together. So I started with Anna Allen Clothing's Anthea Blouse.

Design/Construction Changes ~

I need you to know that while this pattern goes up to a size 22, in my opinion, it's not size inclusive. The hip measurement on a size 22 is 51" way below the amount of space I need for a flowy hemline.

I made some simple pattern adjustments to get the top to fit me.

  • I'm bigger on the bottom than the top.  So the shoulders and bustline on the size 22 fit with no problem.  My challenge is my abdomen and waist.
  • I also had no challenges with the sleeves since the design is for very wide sleeves.
  • On the front pattern piece I did a slice and spread from the abdomen to the hemline - spreading the pattern 1" at the hemline.
  • To add width to the back, I went with a design technique to get the necessary width. Especially since I needed to go from 51" to 65" at the hemline (this includes ease for wearing). 
  • I added an 8" insert to the back that when opened, gave me more than enough space in the abdomen and hip area.
  • The back pattern piece says to cut on fold. I cut them as single pieces adding 1/2" seam allowance to both. 
  • Then the insert was sewn to either side of the back pieces using a 1/4" seam allowance. 
  • I chose a point about 6" down the back and stitched the original two back pattern pieces together using a 1/4" seam allowance. 
  • Press flat and open and walah, extra width and cool design feature.
  • The last design feature was to cut the sleeves from the solid black fabric and the sleeve bands from the jelly roll fabric. 

A few more things ~

- I did lengthen the blouse by 3" because my comfort level is that everything adequately covers my abdomen and backside.

- I didn't want topstitching to show on my blouse front.  So I hand stitched the bias binding down and didn't include topstitching on the front facings.

- The pattern tells you to double roll the hem and topstitch it down. I used a bias binding to finish the hemline because the bulk in double rolling the hemline would have distracted from the finished look.

I have this thing about "corralling" patterns so your eye has a place to rest. I think it makes the finished garment more appealing to the eye. That is why I used the black sleeves, black strips, and black back insert.

Here are a few pictures ~

I did make a few design decisions that affected the end result but everything was done to highlight the beautiful fabric made from the jelly rolls. This was the only thing I made during my Christmas break.  Making the fabric took 4 days alone, then construction took another 2. I was fine with this project taking up the bulk of my sewing time.

Especially since this is my last post as a Janome Maker.  I've been a Janome Maker for almost three years and it's been a privilege and an honor to rep one of the best sewing machine companies out there. I'd like to thank everyone who worked with me at Janome to make this one of the best experiences ever! always more later!

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

It's 2023...

At times during 2022 it seemed like it was flying by and at other times it seemed to drag interminably.  No matter because the 365 days that comprised 2022 have passed into history and we're now moving forward into 2023.

Since I was trying to finish off 2022 posting makes that hadn't made it to the blog, I didn't do an end of year sewing review. For someone who thought they didn't sew much, I did end up completing 20 pieces. Which is a lot for the laid back lifestyle I live now especially since it's not that long ago when 40-50 garments were sewn every year.  Boy has life changed!

Let's recap, shall we...

My favorite make of 2022 would be:

This is another Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress. I love this silhouette and received a ton of compliments on this particular dress every time I wore it. I'm sure it's the fabric choice which I also adored. This dress was in the post, The Replacement Three.

The pattern that most surprised me - McCalls 7969

So much so I made it twice. This was one of my favorite summer dresses and I felt beautiful in it every time I wore it.  My last version was made late into the season and I didn't wear it out and about but it will definitely be worn in spring/summer 2023.

My favorite new top for 2022 - Simplicity 8658

I made two of these in 2022 but this one is my favorite.  I'm sure it has to do with the fabric I used. It cheers me up every time I wear it. It's also comfortable, a statement piece and it exemplifies what my lifestyle is now.

My least favorite make - The Cashmerette Club Gilmore Skirt 

My dislike has nothing to do with the pattern but with what I wanted and didn't get from the pattern. I completed the skirt, tried it on and thought yuck. It just didn't look like I wanted and that's not the pattern's fault.  That's also why there are no pictures of me wearing the skirt and probably will never be. It went straight into the donate pile.

Unselfish Sewing -

I used a scrap quilt that my Mother had originally sewn together to make this lap quilt as my May Janome project. It was an interesting sew that once again confirmed I'm not a quilter *smile* but remaking something my Mother originally sewed was a real full circle moment.


1.  I sewed several Style Arc patterns last year and I have a few more on my list to make in 2023.

2.  2023 will start off with me in top creation mode.  I have several I want to make and add into my wardrobe for winter and early spring.  Especially since I will be going back into the office twice a week.

2.  I've receded a lot from social media for a variety of reasons but mostly because I really just want to sew...not influence anyone, not sell anything, not front for another business, etc.  Because somewhere in there the joy of creating got lost in taking the best pictures, learning to make reels, and pushing garments out to have content on my or their pages.

3.  To me sewing what I want to wear, not always using the latest patterns or the trendy fabrics to create have a much higher priority.

4.  I also want to sew more from my fabric collection because I really don't want to add a lot more to my collection. I've spoken several times about trimming it down some and that is definitely the plan in 2023.  I've also accepted the fact that I will probably buy a piece of fabric every now and then until the day I die.  I just don't want to accumulate it at the pace I've previously accumulated it.

5.  Which brings me to the fact that my contract with Janome has expired.  My last post for them goes live in a couple of weeks and then I'm done.  It has been wonderful to be in partnership with them and I will get to keep my sewing machine so I'm thrilled about that.  Hopefully, I'm parting ways with them on a good note and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the program.  If you're interested in repping an amazing sewing machine company, you should apply to them.

In conclusion (sounds like Your Honor should go there!  hahahahahaha), I want to find my joy in sewing again.  Make what I want.  Take flights of fancy.  Take my time and marinate in a project. Use some techniques that have been hanging out in the back of my brain because if not now, when? Dive into my fabric collection and pull out some of the treasures but most importantly I will continue to blog.

Yes, I'm sticking with blogging because honestly it's how I like to communicate my sewing with the world best.  Don't know how frequently I will do it but I plan to continue sharing here. I will keep up my IG page too but when I want and how I want.  I'm not trying to buck IG's algorithm - find me, don't find me, I'm good.  I will NOT be getting a tik tok page. I like to share my makes but it's the creating I desire more...and I want more of that on my own terms in 2023. I hope you'll still be hanging out with me here... always more later!


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