Sew Grateful GIVEAWAY!!!

As you know, I am sew grateful for you all!! To say thank you,

I will give away

one DIGITAL DOWNLOAD pattern/tutorial

from each of these indie pattern sellers to

THREE lucky peeps!!

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All you have to do is comment with a choice A and B (in the event that your first choice is taken) and that’s it!

If you’re feeling charitable, you can share:

Your favorite color

Favorite book

A fab quote

You have until

Friday, February 8th at Midnight

to enter!!


Dolman Love, Story Love

I made this top on New Years eve. I think….this is why it’s important to blog promptly, or you’ll have forgotten all of your on the fly “mods”, misplaced the pattern notes you jotted down on the back of an envelope (my favorite doodling place) and forget when you actually made something. Which, as a sewing blogger, is clearly unacceptable. 😛

Dolman Love

Handmade Top :: Cation Designs (free) Pattern
Jeans :: Forever21
Boots :: Anne Klein
Bangles :: My grandma’s
Necklace :: From my Sissy

Dolman Love

Dolman Love

This pattern is perfect. The top is DEAD comfy AND it has stripes. My favorite.

Dolman Love

I love how the size and color vary across the fabric. I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of rayon blend. Definitely little, to no cotton content, very stretchy and cozy.

In other words, perfect.

Dolman Love

And this dolman ease is perfect, too. Not too baggy in the armpit area and my narrow upper body is not swallowed up by extra fabric.  I’m too lazy to get the pattern out, but I’m fairly certain that I stuck close to my Lydia mods. The back is cut smaller than the front and the side seams  taper out to go over my hips instead of going straight down so that it sits on top of my hips. I have a ton of this fabric, it was a good 60 inches wide and I think I ordered three yards of it with a Drape Drape dress in mind. I’m so glad I went with something more wearable, instead.

This was a work outfit, of sorts. I volunteer at StoryCorps once a month and today was my January date. I missed out on a volunteer gathering (fucking migraines) in Decemeber so I hadn’t been by the office for a bit. Apparently the volunteers were given a gift.

A copy of this book:

It is SO beautiful! Though I enjoy listening to people speaking their stories out loud, I will always, always connect to the written word more. Essentially making this book perfect for a sap like me, lol.

Now, I think I mentioned how I BAWLED at my volunteer training. Well, it was this love story that did me in:

It was terribly embarrassing to cry in a room full of strangers. But, I did warn them that there was a chance it could happen after the first emotional story we listened to. But I was not prepared for my reaction to Annie and Danny’s amazing love for one another. They inspired this pin board and a really amazing heart-to-heart with my husband.

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I feel so fortunate to have a chance to work with the StoryCorps staff and assist in preserving the amazing oral histories they record!

Some about laughs, some about love, some about loss,
and most of them a combination of all three.

Sew-Along Success!!

Sew Along Success!!

OK. I really felt like I hit the mother load with that vintage pattern haul I posted a while back. I loved that Taran and I had bought ours on the same freaking day and I loved that Vicki had it, too! Well, when I jumped at the chance to sew-along with them, I hadn’t taken Simplicity 8498 out of its envelope. When I did, I was reminded that the previous owner was a working seamstress and sewing instructor. This meant that the pattern was sliced, diced and altered to within an inch of its fragile tissue paper life.

Do I go with the mods? Or, with the aid of A LOT of tape, try to stick the thing back together? Laziness won out. I kept the pieces as is, wished for the best and cut it out of this olive colored wool I’ve had for ages and didn’t mind wasting. And there it sat. Until I saw Taran’s gorgeous version!! If I wasn’t going to go balls out and make a floor length masterpiece the least I could do is finish on time!!

Sew Along Success!!

How was I to know that a sewing MIRACLE would await me! The previous owner must have been shaped EXACTLY like me!! I have never had bust darts fall so perfectly right out of the gate! Nor have I had a pattern go together with such ease. The only trouble I had was with the facings (which look like hell in comparison to the pro job done on the rest of the garment) and it turns out that I used the wrong pattern pieces, lol. She, my Sewing Fairy Godmother, had made her version with sleeves. I didn’t think that was wise to do with wool, but I sooo have plans for a cotton sateen version of this.

I mean, seriously, LOOK at this dart placement and fit!!

Sew Along Success!!

She had added about an half inch of ease at the bust and slashed and spread the back. I don’t think the original width stood a chance of going over my hips.

Sew Along Success!!

I left off the back darts. My Sewing Fairy Godmother had crossed them out on the pattern so I decided to follow her wisdom.

Sew Along Success!!

That’s a damn good fit for someone with a serious sway back. If had put on a slip here, the fabric wouldn’t be sitting on my tush like that, lol. I think the cotton version might need them. It doesn’t have the same drape as this wool suiting.

Sew Along Success!!

I catch stitched the hem. I’m so glad I did. I love how invisible, but sturdy, it is. After trying it with lots of things, I paired it with a Lydia top (because it’s wool and I’d like to avoid dry cleaning for as long as possible) and dark ribbed tights.


Overall, a massively enjoyable sewing experience!! I was so inspired by my success, I spent the rest of that night and the next day (yesterday) sewing!! The fit was not a fluke, people! Stay tuned for Sewing Fairy Godmother miracle fit #2 and a self drafted success story!

Illustration to Life

I’ve spent way too much (like WAY TOO MUCH) time today looking at my pattern stash and vintage pinboards trying to make some matches. Fun!!! As much as I love the old fashioned illustrations, I like to see the clothes made up, too.

Here are some of the connections I made.

 Two Piece Ensembles

Models Cordie King and Alberta Culbreath model afternoon fashions for Ebony Fashion Fair in 1958.

Barbara Smith (right) and another model pose for the legendary Pittsburgh photographer, Charles “Teenie” Harris, backstage at a fashion show around 1969.

Simplicity 4018

Simplicity 4132

A-line skirts, blouses and knits.

Howard University theater students photographed in 1946 by LIFE magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt.

African American teenage girls c.1950’s

Simplicity 4676

Advance 9916

Simplicity 3117

40s Pants

Dorothy Dandridge rehearsing with composer, arranger and vocal coach extraordinaire Phil Moore in March 1951.

Three women, one wearing dark sweater with two daschund appliques, posed around a suitcase in front of brick building, 1940s.

Lauren Bacall

Simplicity 3223

40s Power Shoulders

Advance 4328

Fall Sewing Scheme

I was strolling, virtually, with my sewing peeps when, Janice mentioned her lack of sewing plans for fall. In a counter argument, my girl Heather, chimed in with her fall make plans.  Janice has some really valuable points about sewing what you want and thinking through your reasons for what you choose. And there was some definite overlap between what Heather and I wanted to make and it got me thinking about my fall agenda. I know, that for me, making plans can be the kiss of death. But, I’m gonna do it ANYWAY, lol. With Janice’s philosophy in mind. Here’s my, tentative:

Colette Anise  Sewaholic Minoru

Anise is up first. Coletterie has a sew-along planned and I’ve purchased the Anise Companion, as well. I have three fabric choices in contention at the moment. I’ll post more on them soon. If that goes well, I will try to tackle Minoru. There are sew-along posts on Tasia’s blog to help me if I make it there.


Colette Sencha Victory Patterns Roxanne

I want to make view 1 of Sencha and a long sleeved version of Roxanne.

Colette NegroniPattern Runway Pussy Bow Blouse

There are two Negroni‘s planned. One for me. And I have to (FINALLY) make my hubby something! He deserves it. He approved the fabric (a gorgeous blue french cotton for him, and yellow for me) and the pattern. I have a nearly done Pussy Bow Blouse on my dressform right now, in need of a sleeve, hem and buttons.

Grainline  Scout Woven TeeVogue 8815

I am full of variations for more Scout Woven Tees, I want one in challis or crepe. Or leather!! And I’d like a long sleeved peplum top, I think.

The left one is a Burda Magazine pattern. I’ll use Lydia to make my own version in black thermal knit. I’ve already had a comically spectacular failure at making that bow blouse, lol. I was rushing and working with a silhoutte that I don’t love. I’d still like to give it another go using some of the mods I made with my last Sencha.


Burda Style 7283Colette Beignet

Mimi’s version of BS7283 convinced me that I had to have one! I still haven’t gotten over my failed Beignet. It was massive, lol. I have some lightweight denim that should prevent it from being super bulky like that one, too. I’m thinking of nixing the buttons on this.

Pattern Runway Skirt

That gathered skirt might become a circle skirt instead. Either way, I want it in this olive wool I’ve had in the stash forever. I already have a Meringue, from The Colette Sewing Handbook, cut out and ready to go.


McCall's 6404   Grainline  Maritime Shorts

Vogue 1051

The pants are the only true question marks on the list. I’m going to start with the pattern most likely to be worn, the first one, McCall’s 6404. I love so many versions of that Alice and Olivia pattern, but my preferred fall/winter footwear options won’t really work with that silhouette. The shorts from Jen will have to be done sooner than later, depending on how the weather plays out.

Dress Options

 McCall's 6553Simplicity 2246


I MUST have McCall’s 6553!! Mimi, Sallie and Ginger made this one a must sew. I have this gorgeous, slinky, black crepe de chine that is begging to become that dress. I have a great chambray for Simplicity 2246. I have very strong feeling about the wiggle dress in Gertie’s book. I have a function to go to with my grandma that I would like to make it for, but I don’t know if that will happen in time. There’s bound to be tons of fit issues with my pear shape and I have a ton of school work that makes deadline sewing a bad idea. I have a variation on that last dress already cut out and ready to go.

There it is! Ambitious to be sure, but these are only plans, people! Rules are for fools and are made to be broken…..or whatever, lol. I’m sure there will be something frothy and cute to distract me. But, either way, I end up with more (hopefully) awesome handmade goodies.

Will you join the virtual sewing stroll and post or reply with your list???

The “Hold the Buttons” Sencha

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

The Facts
Fabric | Red, dotty rayon challis from, where else, It was $1.95 a yard and I had a TON of it, lol. Some was wasted on a failure and I also used it to make this skirt. I think I might be able to squeeze one more thing out of the remnants.
Patterns | Colette Patterns, Sencha. This is my second, it’s modified even more than the first.
Year | Current
Notions | Thread and a zipper. There’s a bit of iron on interfacing at the center back to support the zipper.
Time to complete | I’ve had major insomnia lately (anxiety over school, cataloging and classification SUCKS) so I was, literally, up all night sewing this. The fabric, and my desire to get cleaner results, made me take my time. I stopped, with just the zipper and neckline to go, when the sun came up and finished the next (last) night. I’m really proud of the finishing on this one. The inside is so nice and neat!
First worn | To take the kiddies to school. On the way home, I posed for some timer shots, ALONE, in a semi populated area!! This is HUGE for me. I only felt a little awkward. Check out this pic of me laughing when an older gentleman, probably a professor, stopped to say “looking good” and that I “chose a great model” lol.

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

My daughter took a few shots with it belted, though I prefer it without it. You can see all of the pics here. I’m holding a rock in my hand, btw. I found it on the stairs, there. My kiddies collect cool looking rocks. This one is a pretty beige color and very smooth.
Wear again? | Yes. It is so slinky and comfy. Hubby and the kiddies like it, too. I really, really love working with challis. I’ve loaded up my cart with some cool selections for future projects.
Total price | A couple bucks for the fabric is really all.

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

I chose to use a zipper as the closure partially out of laziness (my new machine has a 4 step buttonhole that seems like too much work) and partially out of practicality. I was never crazy about the buttons on the first one, I disliked the way it made the bottom portion flare out. I initially planned to insert a side zip. But, even with the extra width for the cut-on facings removed from the center back, it was still very wide. You can see in the shot below how much room I still had to groove by the size of the facings.

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha
I think removing width from the center, rather than cutting a smaller size was the right choice, at least the darts seem to be properly placed. The upper back could be taken in some more (I folded out a small section at the upper back and cut it smaller than the front. Both front and back are a smaller size at the waistline and tapered out to a larger size for my slightly larger lower half), my back is super narrow, but overall I’m pleased with this fit.

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

I’m happy to be sewing again. Along with back to school fever and PMS sapping my energy, I had the worse streak of sewing failures ever at the same time. Going to Gertie’s book party, chatting with awesome sewing peeps and being surrounded by so much handmade goodness really lit a fire in me! I was especially jazzed after dinner with Janice, Sharon and Cindy talking about draping and sewing challenges over yummy Korean BBQ. I hope my sewing luck, and patience and attention to detail, continue!

The "Hold the Buttons" Sencha

PS- I am CRAZY about these shoes!! I LOVE oxfords and I love finding things a good price. I almost caved and bought a similar pair from Asos for $90. I found these in H&M for $35! The jeans were only $10.90 from Forever21. Love it!

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. 😮
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!