Gertie’s New Book for Making me Eat my Words

Hello, friends. It may or may not come as a shock to know that sometimes….
I am wrong.
I know, I know. This is a troubling revelation. :o
Let’s just skip right over all the ways I can be wrong in my “real” life and get right to the sewing related ones, shall we?

The thing that’s currently making me eat my words is this:

I decided, sight unseen, that I absolutely did NOT need this book. I don’t like hand sewing. I’m too cheap to invest in most Garment District fabrics. I like get-in-and-get-er-done type sewing. Keep your pad stitching and bound buttonholes. PLEASE.

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

But, it took exactly one paging through of this book to make me do a complete 180. The content is not so very different from Gertie’s blog. In fact, the content is exactly the same. Though I always click through to her to read her posts, and have meet her in person on two occasions and found her perfectly amiable (I’ve been reading Austen themed books again, sorry) I am not a frequent commenter and had not been inspired to take weeks rather than hours to make a garment.

Is it the magic of book form that caused this alteration in my point of view??? As I’ve said before, as recently as my last post even, I LOVE BOOKS. I should amend that to say that I love the printed (or digital, I love my Nook) word.I promised myself that I would fall back on my purchases, though.

Until I started reading glowing reviews of the book and considered breaking that (very weak) promise. My husband didn’t help when we stopped by B&N. I was disappointed that they didn’t have it in yet and said that I probably didn’t need it anyway, to which he responded “Why not?? You like to sew and you like books.” I said “But I have a lot of books with the same info already.” He said “Yeah, but sometimes it’s helpful to read the same thing a lot of different ways.”

To buy or not to buy something is truly always that simple with him. Me: Do I really need more shoes??? Him: Why not? You like shoes and it’s not like one more pair will put us on the street. It’s hard to argue with that logic when you WANT the thing anyway, lol

This dress, and the inclusion of a much coveted blouse she made, didn’t hurt either.

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

Truthfully, some of my hesitation was related to what Devra mentions here. While I have not invested in the classes and private teaching some seamstresses have, I do know that Gertie has. I even met one such private teacher, Sharon Butler, in person. I would love to see her, and others behind the scenes, have the kind of opportunities that some less experienced bloggers have had. That doesn’t take away from the joy I feel in watching women succeed at their chosen career and their opportunity to work and live on their own terms. I’m delighted by that. I do wish that the love was shared around more evenly.

Having said all of that, I do heartily recommend this book. It’s one of the few craft books in my collection that I read through, like a novel, from the intro. I’m usually a flip through kind of reader with how-to type periodicals, but this one had a writing style that grabbed me and held me.

Overall, it’s a great book to add to your collection, whether you vote yes and no to horse hair braid!

Black & White at the Night Circus

This guy is a little more ogre than circus clown, but he makes an interesting backdrop!

Black & White & Night Circus

It’s literature inspiration week at the Sew Weekly, and I’m on the front page! Friends, I LOVE TO READ!! Heck, I’m in school studying librarianship! It is my favorite thing to do. Followed by making things. For this week’s challenge I had my heart set on channeling one of my absolute favorite protagonists (EVER) one Ms. Lisbeth Salander. I fell instantly, and hard, for this character from her first appearance in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I loved her more when I watched the Swedish film version. And, though I mightily resisted watching it at first, the American version only increased my devotion to her.

Why, then am I not dressed like my beloved ball busting heroine?? All of my ideas for a Salander style ensemble were way too hot for the warm weather we’re still having. I tried to shift gears to something temp friendly, but still applicable, and it just didn’t work. I spent a lot of time trying to force it, but the good sewing juju didn’t like my manhandling and flew the coop.

I needed to shift gears. I tried to think of ANY of the books that I love (and even the ones I don’t) that matched anything I had in my stash. I almost made a Red Dress. Or something Indian inspired.

Then, I spotted my borrowed copy of The Night Circus and had a brainstorm.

Black and White and Red. Reveur style.

I had white t-shirts and black t-shirts and a black & white shirt and a red & white bit of fabric. A plan decided, I set into motion. Only, it was slow motion as I continued to be plagued with problems. That the bit of red & white fabric was SO uncooperative! But, I powered through and ended up semi pissed with the lame version of what I saw in my minds eye. I think the mood of failure had a lot to do with the fact that through it all, I was still wishing to be Salander for a day. (I had even found some awesome graffiti to pose in front of!) I was also missing my pop of red….

And then I remembered my favorite lippy. And then I saw the pics. And then I kind of loved my Reveur Style!

Black & White & Night Circus

Black & White & Night Circus

The Facts
Fabric | A couple of my hubby’s old t-shirts and dress I thrifted from the Goodwill store for the striped accent.
Patterns | BurdaStyle’s Lydia for the top, I winged it on the skirt. It’s a tube with an elastic waistband. I used the existing shirt hem for the bottom.
Year | Current
Notions | Thread and a bit of elastic.
Time to complete | I had a hard time with this challenge. I have been sewing, and ruining fabric, for days to come up with this relatively simple ensemble. But, it’s done and I love it. No harm, no foul. Just wasted time and fabric, lol.
First worn | On a picture walk with my kiddies. You can see the little three in a conference off to one side while my oldest takes the pics ;o) I find new graffiti every single time I leave home, now. It’s awesome! (FYI: the twins are the two closest to me, the one is the red hat is 17 months older than them, but I am often asked if they are triplets)

Black & White & Night Circus
Wear again? | Yes. Initially, I wasn’t too jazzed about the overall look because it was not what I had in mind for this challenge. At all. (Another round of music and book challenges, please) But I think it looks rather nice in pics and it is very comfy as its made entirely of t-shirts ;0)
Total price | I’m going to call it free so I can stop beating myself up about the money wasted on all of my failed efforts for the week.

Black & White & Night Circus

I even dragged out a prop for the shoot ;o)

Black & White & Night Circus

I would have loved to find a bowler hat or a B&W umbrella as seen with the author here, but we work with what we have, eh? The white portions are unevenly cut, intentionally, so that more or less of the b&w fabric shows from each side.

Black & White & Night Circus

Overall, the look’s not bad. One more shirt with a bit of pizzazzzzz to add to my go-to fall jeans and tee uniform. And a dead simple, dead comfy little slip of a skirt to throw on with tunics and even more versions of Roxanne and Scout. Leave it to me to use a fantastical, magical, transcendent work of art to make practical, casual basics! I mean, look at what Gina did this week! I’ve got to find my A game!

Writing for Others


As I’m approaching the end of my grad school career (TWO MORE CLASSES), I’ve been trying to plan things to do with the free time (YAY!!) I’ll gain when assigned reading is OVER. One of my goals, aside from sewing and creating because, after all

I wanted to find some opportunities to have my work published by someone other than me ;o)

A chance to do just that tweeted it self right into my lap! I follow The Indie Chicks on twitter and they tweeted a call for submissions. Before I could talk myself out of it, I replied with a pitch and they were interested!

I wrote and photographed a simple tutorial on how to take an old pair of pants from this:

To this!

Check it out over on The Indie Chicks!





Roxanne Scout Rides With Hipsters

The "Roxanne Scout" Tee

Hipster Mobile!

The "Roxanne Scout" Tee
This week’s sewing was, in a word, sucky. I started this blouse and completed it all the way up to the point of it lacking one more sleeve cuff and buttons to be done, when I tried it on…and the second sleeve was BACKWARDS!!! Of course, I had already serged and finished the inside. I didn’t have the heart or the energy to go on after I’d unpicked it all.

The next day, I started something else instead. A mash up of two recent makes, The Scout Woven Tee and Roxanne.

Meet Ms. Roxanne Scout.

The "Roxanne Scout" Tee

The Facts
Fabric | 100% Nani Iro Double Gauze $33 for 1 1/2 yards making this the most expensive fabric I’ve ever purchased. And then let sit in the closet for over 2 years.
Patterns | Victory Patterns, Roxanne and Grainline’s Scout Woven Tee
Year | Current
Notions | Thread only, I skipped interfacing the collar
Time to complete | It was fairly quick. Though, I did need to take a minute to redraw the collar on Scout to the same dimensions as Roxanne. But even that was super fast.
First worn | On a lunch date with my hubby and a dinner date with a friend.
Wear again? | Yes. I love how light it is and I’ve always loved this fabric. I’m happy that it’s finally out of the closet!
Total price | $33 for the fabric. I’m wearing it with $10 jeans from Forever21.

The "Roxanne Scout" Tee

I love the look of this collar with the shorter tee length. Though I made the same mod (intentionally this time) to the front I think the original closed neckline would work better due to the collar weight. I don’t want to use a closure, but I’m thinking of adding one so that the left side stops drooping. I added a bit more width to the Scout body and repeated the curved hem detail from last time. I have so many more ideas for this little tee. You might even see one for next week’s challenge.

Hubby snapped my pics before our date. These were taken with my iPhone because the freaking camera batteries were dead when I took it out of my purse. Grrrr. I couldn’t stay mad in this pretty top, though. This Nani Iro fabric is magical! It’s asymmetrical so it has a different print on the front, back, each sleeve and collar section. I LOVE that!

The "Roxanne Scout" Tee

The "Roxanne Scout" Tee

The "Roxanne Scout" Tee

The centering of this motif was a total accident! I wish you could see the thread I used a bit better. It’s variegated. And it is awesome! Overall, not a bad little top to transition into fall. Hopefully, its pretty floral print will help me hang on to enough of summer to get me through the early fall chill. If I get too cold, maybe the hipster who owns this ride will give me a lift!

The "Roxanne Scout" Tee

Only in Brooklyn! I LOVE my city!!

As always, there are a few more pics here.

PDF Pattern Storage

Hi, all!!

What I Wore :: 8.16.12

As you can see from the smile above, I was already in a pretty great mood from spending the day out with my kiddies at the little lady’s swimming lesson (OMG, I have to be in the pool with her. My muscles are SCREAMING from the workout!) and frolicking around in the park. My great feedback on Roxanne didn’t hurt, either! Thanks!

I am now in a FANTASTIC mood!! The grade for my research class was posted, I got an AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!! It was touch and go, peeps. My average was 89.99, last I checked.


I had some wiggle room on my final exam. There was some debate over the correct answers to a few questions. Now, I’m only two courses away from graduating with a 4.0!

Anyway, enough about that. After reading this post over on Did You Make That, I thought you (meaning the general sewing interwebs population) might want to see how I store my PDF patterns. I use to fold them and store them in one of these sectioned accordion files, but they creased horribly. And it became harder to store as the folder expanded.

I hit upon the idea of storing them flat, but keeping them corralled when I got my hands on this HUGE sketch board my sister was getting rid of. She’s an art student, so she probably got it in the supply store near her campus. This one on Amazon is close in size.


You can see in the photo below that I’ve used small paper clips to keep the pattern pieces together and then stacked and clipped them to the board. It works pretty well.

PDF Pattern Storage

This is awesome because keeping everything flat is beneficial since folding PDFs is not the same as folding a tissue paper pattern because of the tape used to put them together. I’ve ironed across tape while trying to flatten a pattern before, it melted within seconds! NOT good! (Roxanne is the one with the blue painters tape. I ran out at this point while putting it together. I had to hunt around for a substitute!)

I also keep my cutting mats flat here. I ruined a really great one when it slipped down and curved on one end while I was storing it behind my couch. Another great thing about this board is that I can stand it up and slip it behind my sewing or storage tables and the strong clips don’t slip. Though, in the interest of full disclosure, I usually leave it on the floor in front of the fabric and craft supply closet ;p

Oh, another thing I forgot to mention here (I did post about it on Instagram), I tried to dye the front and back sections of my hair blue-ish last week. As you can see from the photo below, which shows the top of my head quite clearly, it did not work.

In a big, EPIC FAIL, kind of way!

Back to the drawing board (with bleach!!) soon.

Don’t Upset the Rhythm

Don't Upset the Rhythm

“Don’t Upset the Rhythm (Go Baby Go)” is my favorite Noisettes song!! Though equally loved songs like “Never Forget You” and the hard rocking “Don’t Give Up” and “Scratch Your Name” might be more your flavor.

It’s musical inspiration week at the Sew Weekly. I was inspired by the beauty above, Shingai Shoniwa. I’ve already blogged about how much I love her style. A small part of me wanted to go for one of her more avant garde looks which might be comprised of headdresses, feathers, winged jumpsuits, hot pants, bustiers, glittering fringe and/or exaggerated hip & shoulder details complete with face paint and bare feet for maximum jumping, thrashing and cartwheeling ability. I could also go with one of her chic or casual looks with a trim sheath dress, short-shorts or high waist pants.

But then I saw the new Victory Patterns on Kristiann’s Pinboard (she is so freaking nice I want to buy TWO of every pattern in her shop!!) and I HAD to have ROXANNE!! I knew with a funky print and a teeny, trim skirt I could have my Shingai inspired look and wearability, too!

Don't Upset the Rhythm

Don't Upset the Rhythm

Don't Upset the Rhythm

These pics (and the one at the top) were taken in Fort Greene Park. I spent a huge part of my childhood playing, cooking out, sledding, snowball fighting, relay racing and more in this park! I’m standing in front of the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument you can view a full shot of it here.

Don't Upset the Rhythm

The Facts
Fabric | A rayon blend (I have NO CLUE what it’s blended with) woven ($2.39 a yard) for the top, quilting cotton (free) for the contrast and a stretch rayon blend ($2.39 a yard) for the skirt. The rayon blends are from and the I got the quilting cotton at a BurdaStyle sewing club meetup.
Patterns | Victory Patterns, Roxanne and none for the skirt.
Year | Current! Very, very current! I bought the pattern the same day it was released. It was PERFECT for this challenge!
Notions | Thread and elastic (the skirt waistband).
Time to complete | Two hours or so for the top. I struggled with the collar a bit. This was due to my tendency towards sewing inconsistent seam allowances. I had to resew one collar piece so that they matched and then I was too stubborn (or tired, really) to follow the (very simple and clear) pleating directions. Don’t sew when tired, peeps. The skirt was dead simple, but it was try #3 for a bottom. Number one: pants cut with the stretch going the wrong way @^$*^@#@!! Number two: a black knit version of this skirt which didn’t look great with the blue. It worked out in the end.
First worn | To take my little daughter to swimming lessons. I hope I didn’t look like a Real Housewives wannabe with red lips on in a pool at 10am ;o)
Wear again? | Hell yes!! I LOOOOOVE tops like this! The skirt is a bit too snug so it rides up. It’s okay for wearing with long and loose tops like this, though.
Total price | About $20 including the cost of the pattern, which I will definitely, definitely use again (and again!). I mean, LOOK at the back!

Don't Upset the Rhythm

PARTAY IN THE BACK, BAM! You might not have noticed the modification I made (unintentionally, but it’s really perfect as I normally can’t tolerate high, closed necklines) so I will point it out to you.

Don't Upset the Rhythm

The slit should be at the back of the top on this version, not the front. Remember what I said about sewing while sleepy….Rather than get really peeved and throw the top down in defeat, I took Shingai’s advice. I didn’t let it upset my rhythm!!

Go baby, go baby, GO!

Don't Upset the Rhythm

The pics were taken by my Missy, again. We snapped SO many, I had a hard time choosing, click here for more!!

When I look for completed versions of patterns I always wish the seamstress said more about sizing. Antoinette asked me about it in the comments. I answered there, but I’ll include my tidbits here, too:

I made the size 4 with no mods, except for the mistake with the neck opening, and I love the fit. I can’t really compare it to the Big 4 because I haven’t really sewn enough current patterns to be sure of my “regular” size.

My high bust measurement is 34 1/2, which is the listed bust for size 4 of this pattern. But the actual finished size of the top is closer to 42 inches (with the pleats relaxed) rather than the 50 listed in the pattern size.

I hope that helps someone!

Flirty. Swirly. Skirt.

Tank :: Old Navy
Skirt :: Handmade
Sandals :: Forever21
Purse :: Coach

I was up at the ass crack of dawn (only 7am, but on 3hrs sleep {I was in the sewing zone making a true WINNER} it felt QUITE ass crack-y) to take my son to swimming lessons. The NYC Parks Department had a lottery for free ones, and I entered two of my kiddies. The other two weren’t interested and I was not in the mood to persuade them. Maybe next summer.

Anyway, we were up and out in record time, especially considering that I felt like I was walking around in a fog. My sister came with to keep an eye on the other three kiddos in the nearby park while he (WE) conquered a massive attack of the nerves poolside. All of this before 10 am only to get there and the lesson was canceled because there was too much chlorine in the pool.

We go back tomorrow for my little lady’s lesson. I have to get in with her due to her age. I wish I could get them into the same class, with them separated I have to be at the pool everyday for the next two weeks.

Oy, what a busy (and wet) way to end the summer.

The “Scout’s Honor” Woven Tee

The "Scout's Honor" Woven Tee

My shirt looks rather off white in some of these photos. I promise you, it IS yellow!

Scout’s honor!

The "Scout's Honor" Woven Tee

The Facts
Fabric | A basic, lightweight woven cotton. 1.5 yards for $5.97. called the print “retro trees” but my oldest son The "Scout's Honor" Woven Teethinks that they like dandelions ;o)
Patterns | Grainline’s Scout Woven Tee (Jen is offering 15% off patterns right now)
Year | Current.
Notions | Thread.
Time to complete | About an hour, including cutting.
First worn | To pick up a stack of free French books with the kiddies.
Wear again? | Yes! I’m not crazy about this fabric, but it was the only yellow I had. I was also skeptical that it would look good on once I finished it, but I really like it.
Total price | I used a yard of the fabric and the pattern cost me $6.50 (less 15%), so about $10. I expect to use this pattern a lot, woven tees have incredible fall wear potential, so the cost of the pattern is negligible. I refashioned the shorts last summer. They’re much more wearable at this length.

The "Scout's Honor" Woven Tee

The "Scout's Honor" Woven Tee

My Scout has a shaped hem (and NO bias binding on the neckline, it’s the devil ;p). This was necessary for two reasons. One, my front and back hems didn’t match up. I think this was due to my printer running out of paper partway through printing. After I added paper, I ran off the missing pages. I may have forgotten to deselect auto rotate when I restarted it. I also went against my gut and didn’t taper the side seams as much as I normally would so that the shirt wouldn’t sit on top of my hips.

IThe "Scout's Honor" Woven Tee

The size 0 was more than large enough for my small upper body, but I was worried about it looking too boxy with the extra fabric, so I was conservative in my tapering. It worked out because I love the hem feature, it makes room for my hips and the fit is pretty awesome!

I have my oldest daughter to thank for today’s pics. My children have become my go-to photographers!They are always so jazzed about helping me show off what I make! This area was PACKED with people lunching, smoking and lounging. I had no fear or awkwardness stopping to take these flicks! Hell, I even spoke on camera this weekend and did not have an attack of nerves. Don’t let anyone tell you that sewing doesn’t boost confidence!

The "Scout's Honor" Woven Tee

I’m glad to be back over on the Sew Weekly!! My machine drama completely threw off my groove! I had 1000+ unread posts in my Google reader and I watched way more TV than I had in a long while. I’ve missed my weekly sewing routine, which apparently affects the groove of the rest of my life!

I used up all of my mojo last week sewing up Promaballoona frocks. But that effort, and my great Saturday afternoon craft date with David and Goodwill, reset my inner creativity clock. I’m back in the saddle again and looking forward to next week’s challenge!




Upcycling with David & Goodwill

On Saturday, I spent some sisterly time with this beauty crafting up a storm at the Goodwill Boutique store in the West Village. It was such a nice time! David, who I met through BurdaStyle, hosted the upcycling event. Using fabric paint and pencils I enhanced not one, but two projects! The tees were provided for us and I brought the pants along with me. I finally got around taking some pictures of them both, today.

Goodwill Boutique :: Hanes Ucycled Tee

Goodwill Boutique :: H&M Upcycled Pants

Goodwill Boutique :: Hanes Ucycled Tee

Goodwill Boutique :: H&M Upcycled Pants

Goodwill Boutique :: Hanes Ucycled Tee

Goodwill Boutique :: H&M Upcycled Pants

I LOVE how they came out!! I see so many dot print refashions in the future. Look at what David did with his project. I’ve already thrifted the perfect  pink oxford to try this with, next! It’s the perfect project for pants like these, that are a little boring and a little too big. This bit of paint gives them new life!

Sweet Book Hangover

In a protest against boring textbook reading, I thrust all library science related texts to one side and did some REAL reading. During a library visit with the kiddies I spotted two books that I had previously placed on hold and never made it the branch to pick up:

Two powerful stories that could not possibly be more different from each other.

The Night Circus is very difficult to sum up. Calling it a love story seems ludicrous when the story contains so much more. But, saying that it is about magic without mentioning love seems dishonest and misleading. Little Bee is also a sort of love story. Though giving a potential reader that information alone would lead them to a great shock. Both stories are equally about loss, hopelessness and hope.

I read into the small hours with both books, which led to that hangover like feeling each morning. I couldn’t help it. I absolutely craved to know what would happen next. The writing in both stories, though very (very) different in each, is so very beautiful. Descriptive but not unnecessarily so. Musical while staying true to the story each one is striving to tell. Emotional. Clear. And unique, too.

I have to say that both began strong but seemed to lose me a bit towards the end. Maybe I was expecting too much after becoming so emotionally invested in (and damn curious about) the outcomes. I am planning to reread them both. Which is my favorite thing to do when a book challenges me or makes me fall in love with it. I prefer to know very little about a book before I read, so I will not give true summaries here in case any of you feel the same. I do heartily recommend them both.

The Night Circus to escape this world and Little Bee to wake up to it.

Have you read anything good lately? Have you read either of these beauties?