Fabric Haul!!

I offered up a video of my recent purchases on my last post, I did my best to deliver.  Be warned, it is total shit, but there is fabric, so give it a watch and I will try to do better if I ever make a video again.


Well, I hope you enjoyed that.  Isn’t it enlightening to see yourself on camera, I discovered I have a little bit of a lisp, and several more chins than are necessary on any given human.  Forgive the hair, I had just rolled out of bed and did not feel like messing around with that.  I am wearing a shirt that I made last year, I hated it initially, and I have only worn it a few times, but now I really like it!  I also think I did a pretty decent job of it too!  I am pretty sure it was my very first knit project.  I would love to get some feedback on the video, I know its not edited or dressed up at all, but neither is my shit blog, what media do you guys prefer.  I have to be honest, this was a little easier for me to do once I got over seeing myself on camera and listening to my stupid voice.  Either way, I am curious about what you guys think.

Mcall’s 7546 Progress

I know I said there was going to be a Nicole Miller tunic pattern coming up, but lets just forget I said that since it turned into one hell of a disaster.  I will go back to it eventually, but for now, lets move on!

I had a firm talk with myself about slowing down and doing things carefully and just basically I need to chill out.  So I had an idea from Pinterest about a shirt I liked and I have a pattern that would be a good starting point to make my Pinterest inspired shirt from, I just need to make a muslin and see if it will fit.  I thought it might be a good idea to make a wearable muslin this time using Mcall’s 7546.

I am going with View C for the muslin, and view A for my inspiration top.  I am most concerned about the fit in the bust and hip area, I have been trying to get away with not doing an FBA and I have been having some really mediocre results with that.  So I used the pivot and slide method from Nancy Zieman’s fitting book.  According to her method I need to start with a size 12.  From there, I need to add a total of 4″ to the bust, 6″ to the waist and 8″ to the hip.  It sounds crazy, but I usually have really nice results from doing it her way.

So, I got all my pieces cut out and interfaced and got to work.  I really slowed down, marked my fabric very carefully, took my time and all that.  Step one… slash the giant dart and sew it together on all the pieces.  No problem…

progress shirt

No problem till I felt my scissors cut something thicker than I expected.  Dear lord, I have sliced right into my side seam in a completely different part of my pattern piece!  Apparently it got folded under there on accident.  So, there you have it.


See the nice big slice on my sheer gauzy fabric… Yeah, of course you do.  If you look at the bottom right corner of the picture you can see my fat cat’s gut in the frame. 



Its ok, no big deal, its a muslin after all, maybe a little less wearable now, but nothing I can deal with, I got some sashiko thread in the mail the other day, I have some interfacing to stick it back together, I think it hides under the sash on the shirt anyway.  There are options for how I can deal with this, and honestly I think when I did it, after the 5 seconds of horror were over, I had a little laugh about it.  One of these days I will have a project that does not contain a catastrophe!  Will be back with more updates later.  I might make a little video showing some fabric that just arrived if I can figure out how to do it.  Don’t hold your breath, I am really bad at all this technology stuff, but I think it would be worth a try.

Till next time…


McCalls 7468 Fail? Maybe….

I’m halfway through this pattern and some fabric handling mistakes have been made.  I think this may be a fail.  So, do I square up and push through, or do I abandon it?  I am using a rayon twill and it is so finicky, raveling like crazy, and giving me a hard time.  I should have found a way to stabilize it before I cut it, but I didn’t and now some pretty important detail pieces are way off.  Its not great.  I will think it over and decided what to do, maybe I could finish it and call it a muslin.  Ugh, I was really needing a win right now.

PR Sewing Bee Defeat!

I regret to inform the 5 people who randomly read my blog that I have not made it to round 3 of the PR Sewing Bee.  I don’t feel sad, although I am a little disappointed.  I did my best, I learned some new techniques, I pushed myself to the limit of my abilities, and I feel like I did pretty well for my first contest ever.  I will learn from my mistakes and I will try again next year.  I wish all those continuing on in the competition the best of luck, I am excited to see what you all come up with.

Upcoming post on a Nicole Miller tunic top I am currently working on.  When I finish, I will get it up here.

PR Sewing Bee Round 2 Entry

This was exhausting.  I am so glad this demon jacket is finally done.  My mom asked me today if I was going to chill out on the next round if I made it.  Absolutely not!  I am however, grateful for a break.  I screwed this jacket up so many times that I may have lost count.  Lets get started!

I started with Vogue 8146, I wanted a pattern with a center seam on the sleeve, preferably a raglan sleeve, and something that did not require a lot of fitting.  This pattern fits the bill perfectly.

I sewed up a straight size 12 in some scrap fabric to check the fit and it seemed to fit just fine.  Then I had to decided how to make an insert fit into the sleeve and I thought that a box pleat would be the way to go.  It would give me a way to hide the ends of the insert that would create the sleeve “stuffing”.  I added 2″ to the top and bottom of the sleeve center seam and blended out to 1 1/2″  along the middle to allow the sleeve to open a bit and show the stuffing.  I did not mark on the pattern where I wanted grommets to go because I wasn’t really sure about the spacing until I had a chance to put it on.


I made up a muslin for the sleeve I had designed and it looked pretty good.  One thing I did not think about was how cropped this jacket was going to be.  If I had remembered to, I would have lengthened it by a lot!  Cropped isn’t really my favorite look, but its ok.

I used the aforementioned stolen silk boucle for my actual garment and I was a little surprised at how lightweight it was.  Next time I make this jacket I will use something with a little more heft, I think some of my issues later were caused by the lightness of the fabric.  I did underline it to keep the boucle from fraying and because I like to do that on jackets, it just took forever…. I seriously need a serger.  I could have just zipped around the edges and saved about…. 6 hours?


When it was time to grommet the sleeves, I marked out one sleeve, placed grommets to check where I wanted them and then got started installing.  First one turned out great.  The next 5 were the most disastrous nonsense I have ever seen.  The little aluminum form was destroyed.  I thought I had done something wrong.  I was totally right, I was using the apparatus incorrectly and had destroyed the damn thing, and the sleeve.  So I sewed up the lining and called it a night.  I was working on this between the hours of 1am and 6am so I couldn’t run to the store and get a new kit at this point, so I had to just move on and start again when the stores opened.

It was actually a lucky break, I realized I didn’t make the pleat deep enough because I forgot to include the seam allowance when I notched where the pleat went.  I am glad I realized that before I started in on the next one!  Had I not been forced to recut grommet disaster sleeve, I wouldn’t have noticed it on the other sleeve.  I fixed the pleat on the old sleeve, recut the new sleeve and then grommeted away happily until I realized I cut two left sleeves….

At this point, I wanted to give up.  Shutter the sewing room doors and never go back.  But I got a nice pep talk from my boyfriend and correctly cut out a new sleeve and put more grommets on it and finished constructing the outer shell of the jacket.  Oh wait, no I didn’t, I screwed up the collar as well and had to chop it off and recut it too!

It was a matter of poor interfacing choice.  I didn’t use beefy enough stuff and it was really crazy and terrible.  It occurred to me that I should take pictures of these ridiculous disasters as they come up…. Would you guys like that?  I love seeing that stuff, keep it real!

I got the thing together and sewed in the lining, made the sleeve inserts which have snaps that correspond to little snaps I hid inside the box pleat so that I could make that stuffing interchangeable.  Maybe switch up the color if I want to.  Then I put the ribbons in and showed my boyfriend and he was like, “I thought you were making a beaded closure for the grommets?”

Well, I was but I bought 60$ worth of beading supplies and could not for the life of me figure out how to get the idea in my head into those beads!  He said he was sad that I couldn’t figure out how to make my dream come true!  Well, that’s one hell of a guilt trip so I sat down and figured it the hell out!  Now I can secure the grommets with ribbons or jewels!!!

Ok, here are some finished pics.  Boyfriend was trying to get out the door to go to the gym so I didn’t have time to fully swap out the ribbons for beaded bits so I just got them on the sleeve and took pics to show the option of having them.

Hopefully it was enough to make it to the next round!

Good luck to all of the other talented competitors!


I Made It!!!!

This is a quick post just to let anyone who cares know that I made it through to round 2 of the PR Sewing Bee!  I am going to have to get busy on the next challenge which is to make something with a fabulous sleeve.

I was lounging around in the bathtub this morning enjoying my bedtime routine (remember, I sleep during the day like a vampire), when I saw the post for the next challenge.  I immediately threw “couture sleeve detail” into Pinterest and started a board for sleeves.  As I was pinning away at anything and everything that caught my attention an idea started to form.  I managed so smash together ideas from four different sleeves into one.  This will involve some grommets, some ribbons, some large beads and silver chains as well as some floofy inset fabric that has yet to be determined.

I leapt out of the tub to grab my little design notebook (thanks Mom!) and quickly sketched out my idea, then had a quick rummage through my pattern stash to find the most appropriate pattern.  Then I remembered that I had a very special piece of fabric.  See, in June I flew out to Michigan to help my mom out after a surgery and while she was recovering and miserable, I raided her fabric stash and in her pain induced haze I made off with 5 1/2 yards of pure silk boucle… Am I proud?  No.  I figure I should honor her silken sacrifice with a fantastical jacket.  She is my number one fan and has already forgiven me for my transgression against her fabric stash.

Anyway, I am probably going to be really busy with this thing for the next week, especially since I have absolutely no clue how I will turn my vision into a real live garment.  I have some ideas, but I think this will be a lot of trial and error to get just the right effect.  Wish me luck!

PR Sewing Bee 2017 Round 1 Entry


I have officially done the best I could do with the deadline we had, entry has been submitted, sewing room tidied, and I celebrated my usual way with a beer and a hot bath.  I highly recommend it.  There were some ups, and some downs, new skills learned, mistakes made and discoveries along the way.  So, kick back, grab a beverage and allow me to take you on a journey…

First things first, find a pencil skirt pattern that was already in my stash. I used Vogue 8750 because it had some really cool seamlines to play with and I wanted to do some color blocking to go with my musical inspiration.  I have a lot of random songs I love, but I have a super real love affair with the soundtrack to Sister Act 2.  If its on TV, I have to watch it.  I know that its ridiculous, and I know that not only am I not a Catholic, I’m not even a religious person, but when you combine gospel, Motown, and 90’s era hip-hop with the sweet vocal stylings of a young Lauren Hill, well…. IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER?!?!?!?

Look, feel free to tease me for my obsession with a 90’s garbage movie soundtrack.  I have heard it all before and I make no excuses.  I used this as my inspiration to make a nun’s habit inspired color blocked skirt with piping that reminded me of the staff in sheet music.  I used denim to reflect the grittier youthful side of the kids.

I sewed up a muslin to check the fit first, it seemed pretty good right out of the packet with no alterations in a size 18.  Then I made a shit ton of bias tape and hand basted the cording into it, then zipped it through the machine. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be, which is good because I thought it was going to take forever and cause me to miss the deadline.

Then I sewed my little heart out, progress pics to prove it!

front progress

The pattern called for a lot of edge stitching, so I went somewhere near an edge stitch and a topstitch and did it in contrasting thread.  The biggest pain in the ass for this whole project was how many times I had to switch between thread.  I think I could thread that machine in the dark now.

Skirt Detail

I checked the fit and decided it needed to come in at the waist and I wanted to peg it a little more so I brought it in a total of 2 inches starting at the waist and tapering down to the first horizontal seam.  for the bottom, I took it in at the side seam by an inch tapering to nothing using the hip curve.  It ended up fitting really nicely.

The zipper insertion went pretty well, except the part where its in backward.  I decided to go ahead and live with it.  I was getting down to the wire and I can still use it effectively and you would never know.  Well, I guess you guys know now!!  This skirt has a ribbon waistband, I thought the instructions were good, but I think I may have somehow done it wrong.  Am I right to think that you should be able to see the whole ribbon or not?  You don’t see the top and bottom of the ribbon in my skirt, just the bottom shows.  Have a look and tell me if I did it wrong like I think I did.

ribbon waist

I would have liked this to look different.  Right?  Hmm…

That was it, I just needed the pictures.  My boyfriend agreed to help me out properly and actually try to do a good job which was nice.  I had to wait till I got home from work to do it and try to not look like I worked a full shift overnight, I think I did ok.  Some lipstick and dry shampoo can fix a lot of my problems.




So, let me know what you guys think.  I think I would have liked more black and less white in there.  Did any of you enter the Sewing Bee?  I have seen a lot of really beautiful and innovative stuff out there and I was happy to participate and join in the fun.  Judging from the gallery I am in good company here.  Best of luck to all those who entered!

Pattern Review Sewing Bee 2017 and a New Robe



I have never entered a sewing contest before, but I thought I would give this one a try.  I don’t think I could have picked a worse contest to do for my first time, but I am a jump in with both feet kinda girl.  So, the Sewing Bee contest is 4 rounds, I am going at this with the assumption that I probably wont get much farther.  I held off on it until I could see what the first project would be.  I was hoping it wasn’t shorts or a damn toaster sweater or something, I’ve had enough of that for now.  When I found out it was a pencil skirt type of challenge I was all in.

Full disclosure, I have always wanted to be a pencil skirt wearing lady, my life as a mechanic has not been able to facilitate the necessity of that.  But I want one… I want one real bad.  I have periodically tried them on in the store, but the hip curve is always way off for me.  To get my ass to fit in a store bought pencil skirt, I have to get a large or an extra large and I have more of a medium size waist. It’s flat where it should curve or is curving where I am flat.  This seems like a good way to make a long standing dream of mine come true.  I am about to become a fancy pencil skirt wearing lady.

I sewed up a muslin and it fit pretty good, no tweaks needed other than a little shortening.  I cut out my fabric and I thought that this would be an awesome opportunity for some color blocking to fit in with my inspiration (theme is music or musician).  I also decided to add piping… which I have to make… I basted it tonight at work, because I have a lot of down time.

Progress pic here…

I finished my robe first, Vogue 9015 as promised and I did a real shit job on the finishing.  I had an excellent time with it the whole way through.  I thought my fabric would be a nightmare to sew with, some cheap poly satin from Joann’s, it was easy.  I thought attaching the sleeve lace would be tough, it wasn’t.  It was great from start to…almost finish.  I was supposed to finish the edge around the neck and front with self bias.  But I decided to save on time so I could start the aforementioned pencil skirt by narrow hemming the whole thing.  Well, I am an idiot.  That was dumb, tough to narrow hem things that go from straight grain to bias , to cross grain and so on.  Ugh, so, some of it is awesome, some of my neckline looks like a lettuce hem.  Whatever, it covers my naked body after a bath.  I’ll be less stupid the next time.


Not too bad, wobbly edges will have to do.


The print does give me life though.  How crazy is that!

Wish me luck!


Butterick 6031 Review

Ok, so lets get the bad news out of the way first.  The skirt I have been promising is not coming.  I went out to a nice dinner and thought it would be the perfect time to wear it and I put it on and it was way too big.  Please, allow me to explain.  My weight has been fluctuating quite a bit lately.  I  lost 20 lbs. from January to May, gained back 15 lbs. in two weeks on a trip to Georgia (barbeque guys…)  then, lost 10 lbs. by the end of June, then went on a cruise for a week and gained 10 lbs. back!  Whoa!  Shit got crazy.  I am currently down 15 lbs. from my original weight.  See, I made a resolution last year to eat healthier Monday through Friday and I really stuck to it, but when I have to travel all of that goes out the window and I have done some serious travelling.  So, when I made the skirt I had significantly different waist measurements.  Had I put the damn thing on immediately it would have been perfect, now its about 3 inches too big in the waist, and that is the only part that’s meant to be fitted to the body, it looks terrible now!  Ugh, I don’t know if I want to deal with taking it in.  What should I do?  The zip goes through the waistband and it has huge box pleats evenly spaced all the way around.  More trouble than its worth or suck it up and make it work?

On to the review!  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been having some sewjo issues and to get me through these tough times I decided to sew up some sleepwear and robes and underwear stuff.  Finished item number one is up on deck!  I made the slip, view C of Butterick 6031 with some modifications based on the availability of soft stretch lace.


Clearly noted is the size of lace required.  I clearly ignored it.


Here’s the deal.  I was having some trouble sourcing the soft lingerie lace, Amazon helped me out, but I could only find something I liked in 2 1/2 in width.  This pattern calls for 1/2 inch and 1 1/2 inch stretch lace.  So, modifications were made, this was both good and bad.  Bad because some things didn’t line up quite right and good because its soft and stretchy and comfy and not at all a big deal for the most part.  Lets look at some pics.


Front pic includes shit hem and my laziness.


This is the front of the slip, I omitted the slit entirely due to the size of the lace I was using and how lazy I was feeling.  I also omitted all bows because I wasn’t interested in that nonsense.  My lace is much wider so I ended up sewing the edging lace at the very top and the bottom with two lines of stitching instead of one called out in the pattern instructions.  I thought it would be too weak on the top if I didn’t.  I wish I hadn’t on the bottom because it makes an unsightly bump in the middle of the lace.  I could have done without that because there was no structural integrity to deal with.  I also decided not to use straps with sliders and to just make the wide lace nice and snug and then I wouldn’t have any hard bits pressing into my skin while I sleep.  I know it will stretch out eventually but that’s ok, this was a trial run so I will deal with the consequences when they come.


The back is ridiculously terrible.  since I only used the lace as straps, I really wanted to sew it on good, so I did big giant squares of stitching to attach it and it is just awful.  Do I care?  not for something I sleep in, but if this were an actual dress or something for public consumption, I wouldn’t have taken so many liberties with the construction.  I was also really sloppy putting the elastic in the back too.  I think it was late and I just wanted to wear  it to bed.  I also may have had some sake at that point and was feeling pretty “whatever” about everything.


Folded lace crammed into the sloppiest back elastic in internet history.  No more sewing and sake drinking.  Good gravy, look at those threads everywhere.  I have no excuse.


The only serious trouble using the wrong lace gave me was a big overhang where the front and back connected at the side seams.the cup lace should end where the top of the back starts.  Mine was too long.  In order to get my notches to match up, I just folded that shit over to force it.  Am I proud?  No.  Does it fit and do its damn job?  Yes.  Will I do better next time?  Who knows.  This was also a nice reminder that I cant wait to have a serger.  I know its possible to sew successful knit garments on a regular machine, but it is probably not as much fun.  I was having some serious thread problems.  The lightening bolt stitch is a violent one and my machine really hated it.

I also attempted to sew the underwear from view D, but this lace really was not going to work with this.  I pinned it and just decided to wait till I can find what I really need.  Here is a nice picture illustrating why I made that decision.


See how the width wont allow it to go around the sharper curves?  I saw it too, which is why this is on hold.  Also, this fabric is a plum color, all of my pics currently look yellow because I tried in vain to get the color to come out correctly.  #itdidnt


Next up is Vogue 9015, I will be making the robe and chemise.  One caveat… I can feel a cool breeze in the air and the days are getting ever so slightly shorter.  I am starting to feel some inspiration for transitional wardrobe pieces coming back.  I may switch gears, I may not… Even I don’t know what I will do after the robe.

I Have Sewjo, It’s Just Bad Sewjo…

Ok, here it is.  I have been sewing, I actually have more time now that I got my sleeping schedule worked out.  I just have hated everything I’ve made so far.  I make it halfway through a project and decided I hate it.  As soon as I actually put real clothes on again, I will have pictures taken of the long awaited skirt, and I also made a new top.  As I believe I explained earlier, I wear a uniform to work and loungewear around the house prior to work.  My weekend was happily spent binge watching Netflix.  I believe I will at least try to get myself out to dinner next weekend.

Anyway,  I tried to make a dress and I just hated the fabric, hated the construction, hated how the style ended up and I stuffed it in the bin for things that went hopelessly wrong.  Then I had a good lay down on the sewing room floor and thought about some things.  Why have my past few makes not had me super excited.  Why am I choosing these things to make when I don’t think they will bring me happiness?  So, while I get my shit together I have decided to replace my one and only piece of sleepwear.  I still love the act of sewing, and makers gonna make, so I may as well make something with no pressure involved.  I am thinking part of my problem is that I know the weather will be changing soon and I am over summer sewing.  The reality is that it will probably stay warm out here well into October, so I am hesitating about starting fall even though my heart is screaming about sewing crispy button up shirts and sweaters.  Had a chat with mom about this and she said to just sew what I like and eventually fall will come and I will be ready.  She is right.  In the meantime, Vogue 9015 and Butterick 6031 will be up on deck.


I want to make this B6031 view C sleeping slip?  Also the underwear,  if the undies work out, it would be a great way to use my knit scraps.  The short robe and the slips in view E and view C on the Vogue pattern are also going to happen.  When I visited my mom and raided her stash back in June she let me run off with a piece of silk charmeuse that  felt like the most luxurious thing I’ve ever touched.  The colorway isn’t really my jam though, I thought it would make a beautiful nightgown that would feel amazing.  I spend a solid 8 hours a day in bed, I may as well feel like angels are brushing their wings against me while I dream.  I also have a floral peach skin I got from Joann’s to test the fit out.  A wearable muslin if you will.  I have some poly satin to make the robe from and that’s about it.  I will provide all pics from my finished makes on the dressform, I am not nearly bold enough to have boudoir photography posted on the internet.  So, this is coming, hopefully soon, and hopefully by the time I finish there will be a cool breeze giving me the ok to do some fall sewing.


I guess you can see the shirt I made while you wait for me to get my life together… It is Butterick 5889 View C.  Split sleeve, very blousy, super loose fit tunic top.  I made it from a rayon challis that I got in a mystery bundle from Fabric Mart.


It isn’t really my favorite print, but I thought it would make a good wearable muslin and it did.  I also made a more cropped length.  When it came time to hem it I just started folding it up and it actually looked better shorter.  What I didn’t realize was how far into my shirt you can see if I raise my arms.  I guess you could call it the lower armscye area?  Anyway, you can see straight though to my knockers.  Whatever, it’s comfy enough to go on a long car trip, felt like I was wearing nothing at all!  The pictures are terrible, as usual.

I would normally have been asleep by then, and had to drive for 2+ hours to get to my drill site.  I wasn’t feeling or looking particularly lovely or put together.  It was an easy make for times when you need something to just cover your body.