My summer of discontent

Well, the summer hasn’t gone exactly as planned.

My big vision was to pare down the content of the sewing room to a manageable level by making lots and lots of cute, adorable, useful stuff. And not bring more fabric in than what went out!

Didn’t happen.

Instead of making all those aforementioned items and discontenting my room, I have instead recontented it. I know, that’s not technically a word, but it fits. I used up a whoppin’ 3 yards of fabric, and brought in at LEAST 10…maybe more. Let’s see now, how does that compute? Goal: get rid of at least 10 yards. Reality: used 3 yards, brought in 10 more. Difference: a whole lot!

About the only thing I’ve actually made in the last few weeks (other than a huge mess, which doesn’t count) have been some tea towels and a skirt/blouse ensemble. And naturally, I not only made that ensemble – I proceeded to remake it . . . and remake it again. I must love my seam ripper a lot!

This is what happens to me when I try to be smart and enlarge a pattern without making a muslin first. The waistline on the blouse (Simplicity #1364) was pretty close – but the shoulders?? Not so much.

and this was after the second remake!

and this was after the second remake!

The shoulder seams hung down at least 1.5 inches below my actual shoulder; but hey, I got the sleeve size right, at least. And the skirt (Simplicity #1369) hung a bit low in the front and hiked up in the back – no doubt due to my lack of military bearing. That only took one remake, and doesn’t look all that bad now, at least not enough to keep me from wearing it.

I don’t feel too badly about all this, though, since I’ve not sewn a whole lot of clothes for myself, and have not tried to alter a skirt/blouse pattern in the recent past. Next time I’ll know a little bit more and maybe do a little bit better.

Not to be dissuaded from my goal, there is a WIP on the sewing room table, which should remove another item from my fabric inventory. I have an idea for a messenger bag and a jeans purse, thereby using up one entire pair of jeans and at least a yard of lining fabric.

What have y’all been doing this summer? Hope you’re contented with your (fill in the blank) ________ room content.

It’s late, so I must go do my nightly inspection now. Gotta check the inside of my eyelids for holes. Good night………………………….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

He’s a work of art

So, last week was hubby’s birthday. OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration…not the whole week…just one day out of the week. Anyway, for his birthday I decided to make him a shirt. OK, uhm…that’s not exactly right either. I didn’t make him a shirt, I made a shirt for him.

Now, says I to me, how can I make this fit into my REmissionary theme? I mean, I actually used a pattern and fabric that I bought for a specific purpose. Oh, I know how – I can call it ‘old’ fabric, since I bought it so long ago (last year). Well, that fits the ‘old things’ part. Now about that ‘new mission’ thing…hmmmmm…………..Ah yes. The original goal for that fabric was to make shirts for both of us. Well, I didn’t quite calculate the yardage needed for two; this one took almost the entire piece! But, I can now say that the scraps are ‘old things with a new mission’ because I can use that bit of leftover fabric for a cool little bag for myself. There ya have it – the whole theme! And just look how good this shirt looks on him – he’s a work of art!

more skirting??

This is getting to be a habit! I just KNEW if I made one skirt it would fling a cravin’ on me for more.

I found another tutorial on, and just had to try it out. Hubby came in and looked at it about halfway through. He said, “That’s nice. It’s kinda big though, isn’t it?” “Well, honey,” sez I, “that’s cuz your wife is fat.” He says I’m too hard on myself. I say I’m trying to be realistic. Who’s right??

This is my first pleated skirt since high school Home Ec. Since it’s been so long, I wanted to make a muslin first, to see how long it took and how hard it was to do. First view:

The tutorial said it was a weekend project; I think I did pretty well on the first making. It took about 4 1/2 hours, partly because I decided to hem it by hand. All in all, the skirt has been fun to try, and not as hard to make as I first thought it would be, after I figured out what she meant on how to fold the pleats into place.

I know, I know, I’m never satisfied with my projects. Well, I’m doing better – I only remade this once! I found that hubby was right, it WAS too big. I did measure it, I promise – but it’s harder than I thought to measure myself. I somehow got it two inches too big in the waist. So, off came the waistband, and I took in the front side pleats one inch each. It’s also scratchy! The original pattern didn’t include a lining, but this wool blend really needed one. I used an old halloween costume I found in a free box at a yard sale – cha ching! Saved money on that part of the project!

Also, the instructions didn’t say a thing about putting a button or snap above the zipper, so I just took that upon myself to include. 🙂 I actually think I was supposed to have the zipper all the way to the top of the waistband, but it ended up just below the band. Oh well, I managed to get the invisible zipper in the right way the first time, so I wasn’t about to take THAT out again. The only thing to do, then, was to add a button on that two inches of extra waistband left after I adjusted the pleats.

Here’s the remake. Of the skirt, that is . . . the “me” remake is a work in progress – 6 pounds down and only 23 to go!

So, whatcha think? Is it a keeper or a tosser? Should I seriously consider using it to line my garbage can, or line it up with a nice blouse and wear it?

I’ve finally stopped skirting the issue

Some things are just out of my realm. Show me a purse, and I can usually figure out a way to make it, or at least something similar. Tortilla warmers, bibs, mug-rugs, oven mitts? No problem. Even aprons are within my Hmm…I think I can do this realm. But clothing?? Nah. Not without a pattern and a clear set of instructions.

Until today.

I seem to have an issue with making clothes, especially for myself. I haven’t done that since high school Home Ec!! But, after reading a whole bunch of It’s easy, you can do it clothing tutorials on, I finally decided it was time to stop skirting the issue. So I made a skirt – with issues. OK, so it looks homemade. I can live with that.

Several of the tutorials were about making simple elastic-waist skirts, so I thought, “Hey, maybe it IS so easy I can do it. I’ll give it a try.” Naturally, I had (count ’em!) none of said tutorials in front of me when I embarked on this adventure, so I did it purely from memory and makeup. I remembered a few of the pointers, and I made up others as I went. Not bad for a first try in ____ years, eh? Here’s my attempt at my own It’s easy, you can do it tutorial. If you can make a skirt using this, I will be very, very happy. If you can’t . . . well . . . reckon I’d better get busy and do a better job on the next one.

First thing was to figure out how big it had to be. I wanted the skirt to be loose fitting, so I measured the biggest part of me (not my mouth!) and added about 16 inches. For the length, I wanted it to come just below the knee. Anything longer than that makes me look about 2 feet tall and 4 feet wide. I don’t like being a 2X4.

I added 3 1/2 inches to the length, to allow for the hem and the elastic casing. That meant I needed a piece 60X26. I marked the measurements on my fabric and cut one large rectangle. That meant I only had to do one side seam, making the rectangle into a tube. I had intended to use a 1/2-inch seam allowance, but ended up at 1/4-inch. So to fix that and try to avoid fraying, I ironed it open and stitched up each side of the seam at 1/8-inch. Next was the hem. I folded it under 1/2-inch and ironed it down. I sewed that down and turned it under again at 5/8 inch, sewing about 1/2 inch in from the fold. That gave a nice clean finish.

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On to the casing! I measured 1/4-inch from the top, ironed that down, and folded it again at 2 1/4 inches for the 2-inch elastic. I sewed that down about 1/8-inch from the edge (I just noticed I said 1/4-inch on the picture. Wrong! It’s 1/8 inch), leaving about 2 1/4 inches open to feed the elastic through. 

Using a safety pin to feed the elastic was a big help. Many of those tutorials had suggested this step, but I did it because that’s how my mother used to do it. She could make anything! I inherited many of her traits, including her ability to use a safety pin for feeding elastic. I also inherited her wisdom in pinning the other side of the elastic down so it didn’t feed right on through before its time.

After I got all the elastic fed through, and the two ends pinned together, I sewed them with a zig-zag stitch and eased the sewn part into the opening. Then I sewed that opening closed, making sure I had the elastic out of the way. After that, I evened out the gathers and paraded around the sewing room in my brand new skirt.

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Here’s the finished product. I haven’t ventured into the great outdoors clad in my fancy new duds yet, but I will. I will.

definitely not a model

definitely not a model

tucked or untucked?? untucked!

tucked or untucked?? untucked!

The Velvet and the Vest

It may feel soft, but it’s no soft touch! I had no idea velvet could be so difficult to work with. I’m thinking, what did I get myself into here? Ah, I know – a challenge! Am I up to it? Yes.

On second thought . . . I dunno. I think this might take me down a notch or three. Since I’ve never worked with velvet, nor crepe-backed satin, NOR children’s clothing (other than baby clothes), I just might have taken on more than I can handle. But then again . . . maybe not. Yah, yah, I know – make up my mind, why doncha!

It wasn’t exactly an auspicious beginning with this bolero, but I’m determined to conquer it. Velvet likes to move around all by itself – did you know that? Well, I didn’t! I could have SWORN (if I swore) that I saw it creep sideways more than once while I was pinning it down, and then again when I was putting the first of many seams in that I immediately ripped right back out. Finally I decided the only way to tame that stuff was to hand-baste it into place.

I’m tellin’ ya, if this project turns out well, it will be through sheer perseverance and prayer! This bolero may become my muslin, as I work out all the challenges (thankfully, there’s enough left to cut out another one). But I was happy that the muslin of the vest turned out really cute, at least. Next step is to try it in satin. 


works with cotton - how 'bout with satin?

works with cotton – how ’bout with satin?

Here’s Take One. Stay tuned, folks. Round two is about to begin. Velvet, to your corner. LubbyGirl, to your corner. Now shake pins and come out fightin’!


This (above) is the look I’m after, only in velvet.

This (below) is what I’ve got so far.

it crept, it crawled, it snuck around


 (oh…by the way…I’m on the mend, slowly)