At work yesterday, I had the break room all to myself. It was a busy day, library visitor wise, but surprisingly empty in the employee areas. No problem. That meant I could take some stealthy pics of me enjoying lunch in front of the window and directly next to the heater. It was COLD out yesterday!



I had to twist up my hair. I’d combed it out a few days ago. It was so massive I couldn’t get a hat on, lol. That wouldn’t do for the cold snap ARCTIC temps out. I knit the sweater I’m wearing ages ago and I made the dress a while back, too. This is the first outing  in a long time for the sweater and the first ever for the dress. It was comfy and warm, but after speed walking all the way to work from home (which is NOT close, long story about this that I’ll skip) I was so charged with static cling, it clung to my legs all day. I should have worn the (lined) midi skirt I sewed up (rather than cut out my coat or work on my sewing dare. I’m a chicken) instead.

I was so tired from walking so far to work (in the snow), running around helping patrons all day and battling the wind on the way home that I was in bed by 9pm. I woke up at about 4am and watched some of Amelie on cable and then crashed again.

I spent the few spare minutes I had at the desk researching sewing books. This one was available as an ebook. I downloaded it to my Nook when I got home.

It’s an interesting read, though some of the construction details are not applicable to my project.  About my project, Lsaspacey brought up a great point in the comments of my last post.

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Many of these older designs call for big shoulder pads. I HATE shoulder pads. So I immediately became concerned that I’d have huge droopy shoulders. So I did what I always do when trying to gauge size: I layered the pattern pieces, of Simplicity 4110, over something that fits.
Coat Front

Coat Back

The fit at back, hip area is pretty good. The front looks like there’s more than enough space for the double breasted overlap. But this coat is a more fitted design. Do you think more ease might be a good idea?

Check out my So(wn) Brooklyn playlist on Kollabora while you ponder ;p


The Blogger Connection Ensemble

The Janice Skirt & Rachel Topper

This outfit has sewing blogger influence all up and through it! The skirt is inspired by this look of Janice’s. WAY BACK in September I fell for it. I drafted the pattern in early October…..and pinned to the curtain in my sewing room. Then, my sewing success high fueled by my desire to make some back-to-work clothes led to the Janice skirt’s date with the machine. I have had limited to no success working with things I’ve drafted myself. But, using a combination of my TNT skirt pattern and careful studying of pattern images led to a pretty great first try! I still like the suspenders, but I’m brainstorming the best way to make them removable. Thoughts?

The Janice Skirt & Rachel Topper

I chose this denim because I killed a skirt made from the same in the wash (and was too lazy to unpick it, re-serge the seam allowances and reattach the zipper). Plus, it has great stretch and is thick without being too stiff. I think I might need a little more wiggle room to eliminate the bunching in front. I’ve put on a bit of winter padding, which always goes to the hips. But I can totally live with it. The bunching and the padding 🙂

The Janice Skirt & Rachel Topper

I like that the waistband is curved and slightly higher in the front.

The Janice Skirt & Rachel Topper

The Janice Skirt & Rachel Topper

Those back darts lie totally flat against my body. I’m pretty proud of that even if I am a little self conscious about the way it emphasizes certain assets. And my little pouf of lower belly which my husband has had it with me complaining about, lol

The Janice Skirt & Rachel Topper

The Rachel Topper is Sewing Fairy Godmother miracle #2. It’s Butterick 9374 done up in stretch cotton plaid and is named for this Rachel, we both bought the fabric (for $1 a yard) during our trip around the GD together. I have another zillion or so yards, so look for more projects/muslins.

The Janice Skirt & Rachel Topper

Anyway, the fit. About 1.5-2 inches was folded out of the back piece with the facing shortened accordingly and a tiny bit more ease was added to the front armhole. Again, both mods are perfect for my narrow back and dislike of tight armholes (which seem to come with sewing a smaller size  to accommodate for my back and small bust). As you can see in the photos below, it is a mite short when not tucked in. I would definitely make this again, though. As well as the  matching jacket, which is already modified for me 🙂

The Janice Skirt & Rachel Topper

All told, two more items added to my handmade wardrobe!! With fun connections to the sewing community!


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

Mystery Possessions

Friends, am I the only who has things in their home with no clue what so ever where they came from??

Yes? No? Well, meet:

Stoles : Capes : Shorties

the vintage pattern collection from space. Or, wherever it is mystery possessions hale from.

Come back tomorrow for a peek inside. Bring your own horror mystery possession story.

Blame your hoarding on aliens, too!!