Category Archives: Featured

Winner and a NEW contest!

It’s Friday! Not only is it almost the weekend, but it’s time to draw for the Hot Pattern Classix Nouveau Kaleidoscope Top pattern! And the winner is….. comment #2, Vicki Timmons! Congratulations – don’t forget to send me your shipping information so I can send out your prize!

Didn’t win this week? Don’t worry, the Blog-o-versary celebration lasts all month long! Up for grabs this week is one yard of Amy Butler‘s Nigella print, Wood Fern (in forest). To be eligible for this week’s contest, you’ll need to leave a comment in this post. Earn a second entry by tweeting a link to this post and leaving a second comment here about your tweet. Comments will be closed midnight (CST) Thursday, February 16 and a winner will be drawn by random number generator.

Speaking of Amy Butler, did you all see that she’s re-releasing her very first fabric collection, Gypsy Caravan? I can’t wait – this was probably one of my all time favorite lines! What do you think about her big news?

Blog-o-versary Giveaway

February isn’t just for celebrating Groundhog & Valentine’s Day, it’s also time to celebrate this blog’s 6th year anniversary! To commemorate another year in cyberspace, I thought we could do some fun giveaways this month. To kick off the blog-o-versary ‘festivities’, I’m giving away a fabulous pattern: Hot Pattern’s Classix Nouveau Kaleidoscope Tops (this is a multi-sized pattern designed for the advanced beginner that comes in 3 unique styles).

To be eligible for the draw, you’ll need to leave a comment in this post. Earn a second entry by tweeting a link to this post and leaving a second comment here about your tweet. Comments will be closed midnight (CST) Thursday, February 9 and a winner will be drawn by random number generator. Good luck, have fun, and thanks for celebrating with me!

That Was Fast

If I had known that this Vogue top was going to sew up so quickly, I would have gotten up early on Saturday morning (before all the hustle and bustle of the day) so that I could wear it later on that evening. It really was easy to put together and I’ve got to say, looks great on. I do think that it is a bit too large (just a bit too much ease for my taste) in the midsection of the top, right under the bust – but since the fabric is so light and drapey, it works. If I make it again with a beefier material, I think I’ll trim this area down some – I think it would just make me look ‘bulky’ otherwise. I highly recommend this one – even for beginners!

1972 Review

First off, I’m going to apologize for the horrible photo of my latest project… Easton dropped our camera rendering it useless so I’m stuck using my phone (note to self: my next phone purchase will include a fantastic camera built in) until we buy a new one. With that said, I am finished with my Simplicity top! So, what did I think about this Sew Simple pattern? It’s, o.k. Let me explain further:

I think what makes these patterns “Sew Simple” is that there isn’t a lot inside the package – one look (no options length, etc.), simple closures (i.e. elastic waists instead of fitted), and lots of ease (so little to no fitting). The directions are simple to follow, but don’t expect any additional tips or tricks on working with the material, etc. (I’m thinking you’ll probably have to select a Sewing for Dummies pattern if you’re looking for that). I will say that I think Simplicity’s “Sew Simple” pattern line is much more on trend than their “It’s So Easy” collection – not just the pattern envelope design (which reminds me of the original Built by Wendy series), but the garments themselves. 1972 is a perfect example, it has a modern shape, fabric belt (very hot right now), and cute sleeve detailing. However, what kills it for me is how it draws too much attention to your waist area. See all that fabric in the sleeves? A lot of that gets gathered into the waistline and makes a pooch right around your midsection. An easy solution would be to wear the belt lower, but since this top is on the short side, wearing it lower would mean right around the hem line so that doesn’t work either. My solution? Wearing this top slightly off the shoulder so you line of sight is drawn upward. Because the neckline of this top is fairly large, it works without looking stretched out, plus I think it gives it a more modern look, too. Overall, not a bad pattern, but I don’t think I see myself making it again.

Corseted Skirt Tutorial, Part 2

If you’re following along with yesterday’s Corseted Skirt Tutorial, then at this point you have the beginnings of a waistband. Now it’s time to put it all together! Before we do, let’s talk a little bit about the skirt tiers.

First you need to determine how long you want your skirt to be. For this swap, my partner wanted her length to be right around 30″. Next. decided how many tiers you want your skirt to have (I went with 4). Now comes more math. Subtract 4 1/2″ from you length (this is the size of the waistband). In my case it was 30 – 4 1/2 = 25 1/2. Now divide that number by the number of layers to your skirt (25.5/4 = 6.375) and add your seam allowance. This would make your number 6.375 + .5 = 6.875 or 6 7/8. For cutting purposes I find it easier to round up and make these squares a full 7″.

Now that you have your width of your skirt layers. It’s time to tackle the tier length. The question you want to ask yourself is, “How full do I want my layers?” (As a reference, the skirt in yesterday’s photo is slightly gathered)

For a slightly gathered look:
Tier one: Add 5 inches to your hip measurement width.
For example if you had 40″ hips, your first tier would be 45″ long (plus seam allowances)
Subsequent tiers: Multiply the previous number by 1.3
For example: My second tier you multiply 45 x 1.3 = 58 1/2″ (plus seam allowances), my third tier is 58 1/2 x 1.3 = 76″ (plus seam allowances), and my fourth tier is 78 x 1.3 = 99″ (plus seam allowances).

For a very gathered, fuller skirt:
Tier one: Add 10 inches to your hip measurement width.
For example if you had 40″ hips, your first tier would be 50″ long (plus seam allowances)
Subsequent tiers: Multiply the previous number by 1.5
For example: My second tier you multiply 50 x 1.5 = 75″ (plus seam allowances), my third tier is 75 x 1.5 = 112.5″ (plus seam allowances), and my fourth tier is 112.5 x 1.5 = 168.75″ (plus seam allowances).

Whew, now that we’ve tackled that, let’s get back to sewing.

1) For the first tier, sew the short ends together 1/2 way – this area will eventually be closed with velcro after being attached to the waistband. Fold back the raw seam allowance on the back edge of the tier (the one that will be attached to the open end of the waistband).

2) Use a long machine stitch and sew around the top edge of the tier. Gather by pulling up bobbin thread – distribute fullness evenly.

3) With right sides together, place gathered tier to waistband, matching raw edges and sides. Sew in place.

4) Cut Velcro the length of the opening (mine was approximately 7″). Stitch ‘fuzzy’ side of Velcro to the lining side of the back waistband and finished tier edge. Stitch ‘scratchy’ side of Velcro to the right side of panel and tier with the raw edge. Your skirt should now look like this:

Now it’s easy!

5) Sew the short end of the tier together. Use a long machine stitch and sew around the top edge of the tier. Gather by pulling up bobbin thread – distribute fullness evenly. With right sides together, place gathered tier to previous tier and sew.

6) Repeat until all layers are attached. For the last tier. Press up hem and sew in place.

7) Thread ribbon through loops and work that skirt!

Like any pattern, there are lots of modifications you can make.

One suggestion is adding patchwork. It’s not so noticeable in the photos, but every other layer of my skirt is made up of patchwork blocks. To do this, after you determine the length of your tiers, determine how many blocks it will take to make up that measurement… and then round up or down – whichever is closest to your original number. For example, I went with an even 7″ block so for a 76″ tier, I used 11 blocks.

Another is adding a ruffle at the bottom of the skirt… I wound up doing this at the end, last minute because I just felt like it would add ‘something’ to the finished look (especially since this was a shorter skirt). To determine the ruffle’s length, calculate it just as you would another layer. In my case, I multiplied 99 x 1.3 to get 128.7 and decided on a 3″ width.

Lastly, skip the Velcro and sew in a zipper instead. I went with Velcro, not just because it’s easy, but also because it might give a bit more room if my partner needs an extra 1/2-3/4″ in the waist area. You could also move the zipper to the opposite side of the waistband – although I really like the fact that it’s hidden behind the corset and ribbon.

With that said, I hope this tutorial works for you! I’m anxious to mail this skirt off and see how my partner likes it!

Corseted Skirt Tutorial, Part 1

When I signed up for the Over 30 Geezer Swap, I didn’t know that I would be so ‘challenged’ in the project that I was going to create… a corseted, patchwork, broomstick style skirt. Since there doesn’t seem to be a pattern out there, I decided to make my own – and thought that I would share a mini-tutorial with you for those who are interested in making their own:

1) Measure yourself. It’s important to accurately measure your waist and hip size since these numbers will determine how you will cut your material.

2) Divide your hip measurement in half, then add your seam allowance and 5″ for the width of the material. This will be your back waistband – cut two from your material.
For example: For a 34″ waist; divide by 2 to get 17. Add 1/4 seam allowances on both sides to get 17 1/2 x 5″ rectangles.

3) Determine how large of an opening you want to your corseted area to have. I went with 3″. I subtracted that number from the divided hip measurement (17), added seam allowances and 5″ for the width of the material. Cut two pieces with this measurement – these will be your front pieces.
For example: For a 34″ waist and a skirt with a 3″ opening you would subtract 17-3 to get 14. Add the seam allowances in to get 14 1/2″, with a 5″ width. Your rectangles would measure 14 1/2″ x 5″.

4) Since the skirt isn’t really designed to be cinched and closed, I decided to add a panel that fits where the front and back are joined. I cut this approximately 2″ longer than the opening area and add 5″ to the width. With right sides together, sew along 3 edges, turn right side out, and press. Set aside.
For example: For a 3″ opening, you would add 2 inches to make a 5 x 5″ square.

5) You’ll need to make loops for your skirt to hold the ribbon (I made 8). Cut a strip 1 1/2″ wide by 20″. Fold in half, right sides together and sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn right side out and press. Cut into 2″ segments and set aside.

6) With right sides together sew one front and one back piece together along one short edge. Repeat for remaining, lining pieces and set aside.

7) Along the short, free edges of the front waistband, mark the seam allowances on the top and bottom. Place 3-4 loops just under these markings and baste (this will keep the loops from getting caught while sewing the lining and skirt). Repeat for back of waistband.

8 ) With right sides together, place lining on top of waistband matching raw edges and seams. Sew along the top and side edges, leaving bottom edge free. Clip corners, turn right side out and press.

At this point you should have something that looks like this:

9) Add the panel to the front waistband. To do this overlap the the front side of the panel with the back of the waistband front by 3/4″. Stitch close to the panel’s finished edge. Do not sew the other side of the panel and the back waistband together (Velcro will later be sewn to this area so that the skirt can be opened up and slipped on over the hips).

This is a good ‘stopping point’ and a nice break away from the math! Part 2 will discuss how to finish up the the waistband and how to determine the length of the skirt tiers.

Cabriolet Wrap

This weekend, I felt the need to make a little something for myself. Since our temperatures are still in the 100’s with no relief in sight, I just can’t seem to bring myself to make something for fall – it just sounds so hot and itchy. So, I decided to make Fabric.comHot Pattern’s free pattern: The Cabriolet Wrap-Over Skirt/Dress (I liked the one on their blog so much I couldn’t help but try it out).

I found an interesting gauze at Joann’s at 60% off – I couldn’t resist picking it up because it seemed perfect for this pattern… plus it was the ‘right’ price, too! Overall the Cabriolet Wrap’s sewing is very easy, it’s predominantly straight lines and gathering so it really is great for a beginner. However, be warned, since there is so much material that you’re working with, there’s lots of hemming and gathering involved so this does take awhile to construct (my particular wrap seemed to take even longer since my gauze fabric liked to stick to itself).

When it comes to wearing the Cabriolet Wrap, I suggest having a helper… or a bit of patience to get everything arranged, wrapped, and laying correctly. This seems to be especially true when it comes to wearing this as a dress (and of course my favorite way to wear this outfit) because you’ll definitely want the ‘volume’ of the waistband and ties around your bust to give this dress some length. Overall, a wonderful free pattern and was definitely worth the time to make!

Mission Maxi Version 1

Thanks to a very laid back and quiet Saturday morning, I managed to finish my first version of the Mission Maxi… and I don’t get to keep it. While test fitting the dress, Taylor walked in and liked it so much, she tried it on and we both thought it look better on her than me – so it’s hers. Now that I’ve noted what changes I’d like to make my second time around, I’m ready to start on my polka dot version. Since this is a (fairly) new pattern company and a highly ‘pinned’ pattern, I’m sure you all are ready for a review – so here it is:

Pattern Description: From the pattern: “A soft free flowing maxi dress sewing pattern with plenty of options to choose from: tank top maxi, halter top maxi, and godet back maxi. Views A and B can be made as tank tops too! The pattern booklet includes a glossary of terms, metric conversion chart, and illustrated instructions in color. Full size pattern pieces in sizes 2 to 18 accompany the booklet.”

Pattern Sizing: 2-18, I made a size 10. The finished dress is very fitted, so if you are looking for a looser fitting garment then I would recommend going up a size or two.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, definitely.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I thought so, although this is a fairly straightforward design. There are lots of illustrations that accompany the written directions as well as tips for working with knits on a home sewing machine so this is a good beginner pattern.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Likes: I think that this is a great basic pattern (wardrobe builder) than can be dressed up or down depending on the fabric or style you chose. It also sews up easily and quickly.
Dislikes: I’m not particularly fond of how the binding is appliedfinished around the neckline and arms (I’m guessing it’s designed this way so that it’s easier for the beginner to construct this dress and so that the binding works with all dress sizes). However, it doesn’t bother me enough to want to change it for future versions either.

Fabric Used: A stripe rayon jersey from

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: None, in fact, I didn’t even have to take up the hem on this one (in the photo, the dress hasn’t been hemmed yet).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes.

Conclusion: A wonderful basic, wardrobe builder pattern!

McCall 6069

Since my Vogue dress didn’t quite work for me, I was scrambling to find something that would work for this past weekend’s wedding. I recently picked up McCall 6069 and searched the stash for a fabric that might work….. I settled on a black, floral jersey that I had purchased a long time ago at a Joann’s clearance sale.

Overall, this dress was a great replacement – it was comfortable to wear (although I eliminated the back strap across the neck and I have a feeling I wouldn’t have had ‘shoulder slippage’ if I would have kept it), easy to sew, and best of all, it has pockets! Even though this dress was labeled as ‘1 hour’, I found it took longer than that to sew (closer to two) so be sure to allot yourself enough time to make this dress. For anyone thinking that you need a serger to sew up jerseys: I made this dress exclusively on my sewing machine!

Project Details:

Vogue 6069, View A

Black floral jersey from Joann’s

Materials & Cost:

McCall’s Tunic

I thought it was time to finally make something just for me. A few weeks ago, I picked up McCall 6287 and some gorgeous black jersey. It’s been staring at me ever since so I decided to put it to good use…. I should have done it sooner, this was probably one of the EASIEST patterns that I’ve ever made. In fact it was so easy, I had to re-read the directions 3 or 4 times to make sure that I wasn’t just imagining how simple it was! What makes this particular pattern such a piece of cake? Raw edges – because you’re working with jersey, you don’t have to finish the edges of your material (they won’t ravel or fray). However, this does mean that you’ll need to carefully cut your material to make sure all the edges are smooth and don’t have any ‘burrs’. The sewing is only 4 steps making it a perfect pattern for the beginner or someone just wanting to try out using knit material – I HIGHLY recommend this pattern!

Project Details:

McCall’s 6287, View A

Black jersey from Sew Much

Materials & Cost: