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In Progress

July 12, 2014

I’ve been slowly working my way through a semi-tailored jacket project, but it’s a slow process that I’m definitely enjoying.  Unfortunately I’m also moving to a new place (a whole house to ourselves! So much closer to work!) so I’m packing up the sewing cave.  Since there’s nothing else to really post about in the mean time, here is Spot, who has decided my half finished jacket is very comfortable…



She’s also taken to the habit of sleeping my sewing desk chair and last weekend she snuggled up on my lap as I tried to sew.  That sound cute and all but sewing with a cat on your lap is not easy.  Especially when she pulls pins out of the fabric if they come too close to her face.  So helpful, so cute.


Not Every Time’s A Charm

July 2, 2014

This will be a quick post because there isn’t really much new to say – I made NL6808 again. Although I’m not quite so pleased with it this time around. I decided to use the scoop neck version instead of my usual boat neck just for kicks, but it’s super big. The top is supposed to be semi-fitted, which normally I like, just not in conjunction with the wide neckline. I feel like I could expose myself at any moment. I wore the top all day Saturday at home and I’m pretty sure that’s where it will stay because I just wouldn’t be comfortable in it at work.

It looks fine standing still...

It looks fine standing still…

I (again) didn't ad the zipper because it's just loose enough to get in and out of without it

I (again) didn’t add the zipper because it’s just loose enough to get in and out of without it

This is what I feel like it going to happen all the time, along with crazy gaping when I lean over

This is what I feel like it going to happen all the time, along with crazy gaping when I lean over

Pretty fabric though, right? It’s a printed linen, very thick and floppy, which didn’t help the situation I think. I’m hoping I have enough left to squeeze out a skirt.


Minnesota Meet-Up?

June 29, 2014

Calling all Minnesotan sewistas, seamsters, quilters, crafters, and beyond!

Embroidery design by Corinne of September House, a St. Paul resident

I think it’s about time we had our own awesome mid-western meet-up, instead of just hearing longingly about the huge meet-ups in London, New York, and L.A.  I would not mind organizing said meet up to be somewhere in the Twin Cities, but is any one interested?  What should we do (besides go fabric shopping, duh)?  Also, who all lives in MN or the surrounding states (and doesn’t mind traveling to the cities)?  I really don’t know many people in MN since I only moved here a year ago.

You don’t have to be a garment sewer either, currently I have a love of embroidery too.  So all fiber related crafters are welcome.  And please spread the word since I know I have a limited audience.  Below is a form for easy contact, it just goes to my email (which is also listed on my side bar), or leave a comment on this post with an email I can reach you at:


Fabric Tourism: Seattle

June 22, 2014

Mr. Husband and I recently took a vacation trip to Seattle. We’ve visited there several times now because we have friends living within walking distance of downtown (and Mr. Husband not-so-secretly wants to move there and leave all the Midwest weather behind) and every time I’ve bought fabric. In fact, my mom and I both like to find the local fabric stores any where we go (if we can) but independent fabric/quilt shops aren’t as plentiful in the Midwest as they are on the coasts. On top of that, 9 out of 10 the shops you do find are more than likely just barely staying afloat, so why not support them? If anyone is interested (or if I just feel like it at some point) I’ll go over the stores I’ve found in Minneapolis/St. Paul, but today I’ll just talk about the Seattle stores I’ve been to since it’s fresh in my mind.


I only went to two fabric stores this time around, but I’ve been to a couple more previously which I discussed here (and as of right now, I know they’re still in business):

Nancy’s Sewing Basket

2221 Queen Anne Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98109

Nancy’s Sewing Basket seems like a fairly established place, it’s pretty large for an independent fabric store and has a big selection. Lots of formal wear fabrics, knits and suiting. They have an entire room devoted just to ribbons. All the notions you might need for apparel sewing. Japanese pattern books and (if I’m remembering correctly) Decades of Style patterns, along with the usual McCalls, Butterick, Vogue, and Simplicity (didn’t spend much time looking at those of course). I almost never ask for help or want help at fabric stores, but once at the cutting counter, the employees were nice enough and seemed to really know what they were doing.

From Google Street View

From Google Street View

Stretch cotton on top for a pencil skirt and poly knit on bottom for a wrap dress

Stretch cotton on top and poly knit on bottom

Drygoods Design

5308 Ballard Avenue Northwest
Seattle, WA 98107

This was my favorite of the two stores I visited this year. Drygoods is very small and hard to find but you can really tell everything was picked and arranged with care and they obviously really love what they do (I assume there’s more than one person working/running the store, but I only met one lady). First, to even get into the store, you have to walk through a tiny coffee shop at the front of the building. Drygoods has a window display and a sign outside, even a separate address from the coffee shop, but they are connected. This is a great setup for when you drag friends and husbands along like I did. The store has quilting and apparel fabric, but I would go so far as to say some of the fabric they arranged with the more standard quilting stuffs could totally be used for clothing (think linen types of fabric). When I was poking around the woman at the counter was making stuffed lemons on an old Singer machine for a new summer themed window display. Mostly this store was just fun, there were lots of little things to pick up at the counter (I got a neat new chalk dispenser thing) and even some local paper goods. To top it off, after cutting my fabric, the woman working there tied up the fabric with string and stuck a pixie stick in with it. Style points right there.


From Google Street View


Teal voile (so soft!) on top, black cotton with an awesome diamond weave in the middle, and some heavy weight cotton with metallic thread on bottom

Teal voile (so soft!) on top, black cotton with an awesome diamond weave in the middle, and some heavy weight cotton with metallic thread on bottom

It was a great trip, more than likely not our last to Seattle, and now I’m sad I have to go back to work and leave my sewing alone :(


Cambie, Shaken Not Stirred

June 18, 2014

The Cambie dress pattern seems to ride a very fine line between super twee and possibly sophisticated. I’ve made it once before and only wore it that one time because it just wasn’t “me.” It also didn’t fit that great, I used the a-line skirt but it was too big so it always looked (to me) like the gathered skirt version. And the sweet heart neckline, while cute on some people, just feels weird in my definitely-not-sweet style.

Worn to family wedding #2 for the summer

Worn to family wedding #2 for the summer

It’s kindof funny how I actually really love most everything Tasia at Sewaholic puts out, but her style is so much more girly than mine. I think it’s because her patterns are very current to what I actually see on the streets in “middle America” (or North America because Tasia is Canadian, doesn’t matter, we love our neighbors to the north). Styles change much slower in the middle of the continent. Modern or edgy is nice, but Sewaholic just feel more current – like what people want to wear now, instead of what people think will be the future of fashion, if that makes sense. Her patterns are also very easy to remove the “girly” factor when that’s not your style, I can not say that about most indie pattern companies out there.

Pattern: Sewaholic 1201 Cambie Dress

Fabric: Navy with white grid line linen blend, and some poly lining fabric for the skirt (bodice is self lined).

Design Likes/Dislikes: I like the idea of the a-line skirt, but it’s still too full on me. I also like the sleeves, I think they’re really what make this pattern cool. I dislike the neckline though, a lot, which I obviously changed. The pockets are just ok, honestly I don’t feel like I need pockets in my clothing that much.

The wedding was at a really cool old manor style house. I wish I'd gotten more pictures here, but I have a hard time getting other people to understand how I want my pictures, hence why I use the self timer usually.

The wedding was at a really cool old manor style house. I wish I’d gotten more pictures here, but I have a hard time getting other people to understand how I want my pictures, hence why I use the self timer usually.

Sizing and Fit: From my original post about this dress:

I cut a 2 at the bust then graded to a 4 at the waist and continued with the 4 in the skirt

I think I should have graded back to a size 2 for the skirt because I ended up removing a lot of width from it. But the waistband is a perfect fit, almost tight, so what it really comes down to is I’m not pear shaped like these patterns are supposedly geared towards. I probably should have started with a size 4 on top, then graded down the skirt. Whatever.





Changes: I already mentioned reducing the skirt, which caused the pocket openings to become smaller (because I didn’t do this until the dress was mostly complete). I also changed the neckline, several times. I meant to cut the neckline straight across, but it got off grain and with a plaid, anything off grain is too noticeable. So I cut it out again and accidentally cut the sweet heart shape, so I cut it out again, straight, and on grain. But then it looked too stuffy on me. I waited until the dress was otherwise completely finished (hemmed and all) and scooped the neckline out just a little bit (you can do that with this dress because the neckline, armholes, and zipper are the only places the lining is connected to the exterior), now I think it looks so much better.

De-SweetingCambie (15)

You might have noticed I also cut several pieces on the bias, mostly so I didn’t have to think about matching plaids at all, and to break up the pattern more. I was really worried about how this would end up looking (messy or off kilter), but thankfully it looks great! I actually started to hate this dress while I was sewing it (taking up 4-5 inches when hemming helped my perspective a lot, which is why I waited to do the neckline). The bias back makes the zipper wavy, but that’s minor in my mind.


For Next Time: There will not be a next time, I think I can firmly say that I am done with the Cambie. This dress was very much an experiment that thankfully worked out, but there was too much that had to change from the original pattern.

By the way, if any family members or neighbors are reading (and are similarly sized to me) and would like to take the red Cambie off my hands, I’d be glad to give it a new home (wink wink)! The dress measures about 33″ around at the bust, 28″ at the waist, and 40″ at the hips (6″ down from the waist).


Ferris Pillow

June 13, 2014

Often I start embroidering things without a plan for a final product, which is the case here. I have a giant pinterst board full of embroidery patterns and inspiration so when I’m at a loss of what to embroider next, but just want to stitch, I scroll through it and try to pick something. This Ferris wheel pattern is a free pattern from Just Crafty Enough. I love Ferris wheels, they’re my favorite ride at summer fairs or amusement parks (one of the coolest Ferris wheels I’ve been on is the London Eye, which most people don’t seem to agree with me, but most people also don’t like Ferris wheels as much as me…). Did you know the Ferris wheel was designed for the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893 by a civil engineer, it almost wasn’t built at all because everyone thought a giant spinning wheel would be super dangerous. It was seriously big too, 264ft. They also thought it would be a suicide magnet so the cars (that could hold up to 60 people each!) were completely enclosed (meaning the windows didn’t open basically).

12 inch x 12 inch pillow

12 inch x 12 inch pillow

History aside, I made this embroidered Ferris wheel on dark blue quilting cotton with white floss and made the bad decision to iron transfer the pattern with black ink, so I could only work on it in the daylight by a window. But it worked out fine and I finished it just a couple weeks before my cousin’s wedding, so I turned it into a little pillow cover for them as a gift. I’m pretty pleased with how well the whole thing came out since I was just cutting up rectangles as I felt like it and hoped they’d fit!

I didn't have enough of the first blue, but thankfully I have tons of blue quilting cotton for a maybe-someday-quilt

I didn’t have enough of the first blue, but thankfully I have tons of blue quilting cotton for a maybe-someday-quilt


A Dress Finally Get’s Its Day In The Sun

June 9, 2014

I made this dress so long ago, I don’t have any idea how many years it’s been hanging in my closet – too pretty to giveaway, too fancy for any normal event. I do know I made it in college, possibly as a possible sorority formal dress, but I decided it needed a self fabric belt to look best (I still have my leftovers of this silk deep in the stash just for that purpose too), but never got around to doing it. Something about all those long darts in front makes the proportions look funny to me. A fancy catholic wedding seemed the most appropriate place to finally give it’s due.

I apparently had a difficult time standing still for pictures this day

I apparently had a difficult time standing still for pictures this day, it’s probably Pedro’s fault somehow.

Pattern: B6582, Semi-fitted dress, mid-calf has gathered shoulders and back zipper. A: attached bow. A,B: straight, back vent. C: flared, belt. Purchased petticoat and belt-kit.

B6582, apparently I just copied that blue dress lady in the back…

Fabric: Blue dupioni silk (?) (anybody know how to wash this stuff without loosing the shine?)

Design Likes/Dislikes: I like the idea of the shoulder gathers and cross over front, but in reality the neckline is a lot higher than I originally thought it was supposed to be, and I didn’t do a very good job getting even gathers so they’re barely noticeable. I also (still) think all those long darts in front and back might look better broken up by a belt, maybe. Maybe someday I’ll get around to the belt idea to finally test that theory… ha! This dress isn’t leaving me though, the fabric is too pretty.

BlueSilkShantung (4)

Sizing and Fit: I assume I made a size 10, because I always do. The fit is spot on, is it strange that I (basically) haven’t changed sizes in probably 10+ years? Makes for easy sewing, that’s for sure. Again, I think the front neckline is too high, but it doesn’t choke or anything, the back neckline is lower than the front which adds some variety to the dress. Of course I don’t think I got any pictures of the back of the dress…

BlueSilkShantung (9)

Changes: I probably just shortened the dress, vintage repro patterns are always so long.

For Next Time: This is a pretty dress, but I won’t be making this pattern again. I only like it this much because it fits and the fabric is awesome anyways.

BlueSilkShantung (8)




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